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After Hurricane Ike Blog Post From Main Branch Of Houston Public Library

Greetings from the Downtown Main branch of the Houston Public Library. The people’s tax dollars are working well as I have a computer from which to make a blog post. I have 51 minutes left in this session before my time is up. Other citizens must be allowed to use the computer.

We can share even in times of trouble!

This is my first after Hurricane Ike blog post.

People sure do want government help when they need ice, or are asking if staying at a hotel during an evacuation will be covered by FEMA. 

Or when they need a computer at the Downtown Public Library. 

Our power has been out since Friday night. That was the night of the storm. I am writing this on a Tuesday afternoon. 

I know the absence of power is a great hardship for some. It’s been okay enough for us. We have a small battery operated TV. Late last night we watched this sit-com called Still Standing. The well-meaning but goofy dad told a boy that his teenage daughter had a crush on him. Needless to say, the dad spent the rest of the hour making it up to the girl.

The show would not be so funny in most contexts. But after three days of hurricane coverage it was funny enough. Anything that did not involve somebody suffering was good. 

The wife and I had plenty of food and water ready to go as Ike approached. Yesterday I had a marshmallow and peanut butter sandwich and a banana and peanut butter sandwich for dinner.

( The guy next to me just rubbed his eyes after touching these dirty keyboards. I bet he gets pink eye.)

My wife has been working since the day after the storm. I have not worked since the storm. I miss my wife when she is gone.

When she gets home at night I hand her a nice warm bottle of water and a granola bar. We turn on the camping lantern that is strong enough to light an entire room. Then we fiddle with the tiny TV to see what channels we can pick up. Just because we picked up a station the night before, does not mean we can pick up the same channel the next night.

(As a prank I try to convince the wife that the curfew is lifted and that she can go out after nine. I’ve yet to fool her.)

We’ve had water all the time. We have many bottles of water. The city water from the tap has been working as well. Not for consumption since the city has been telling people to boil water, but for toilet flushing. We had water saved up in buckets for that purpose. Yet it has been a relief not to have to worry about that issue. As long as you can flush your toilet everything else is okay.

I sure have not missed hearing about the presidential campaign. I’m making a point not to check on it in my hour session here at the library. I’ve been reading the paper, though averting my eyes at any campaign report. What a dumb campaign it is. I hope that when I am fully back in the world Senator Obama will have a 15 point lead. I hear also there has been some type of financial collapse on Wall Street.

Problems everywhere.

My parents in Cincinnati lost power from Ike as well. They are back up and running though.

The big issue from Ike is how people are doing in Galveston, Bolivar, and the Beaumont area. I’ve got my check book in my back pocket and I’m going to stop at the United Way office on my way home and offer a donation. I heard they were taking donations. So is the Red Cross and other agencies.

I’m also concerned for folks in Houston and elsewhere who are losing wages from not being able to work.

I’m down to my last 19 minutes and I want to check my e-mail. I hope people are doing as well as they are able to do. Good luck to all. I’ll likely come back to the library tomorrow and offer another post. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

September 16, 2008 Posted by | Galveston, Houston, Texas | , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Last Post Before Hurricane Ike Arrives In Houston/Galveston Area

This will be my last post before Hurricane Ike reaches the Houston/Galveston area. My wife and I live in Houston. The storm is expected to arrive in just a few hours. It’s unclear what conditions will be like after the hurricane. I don’t live in a flood area and I’m likely to be fine. Strong winds in the city of Houston are a cause for thought. But we will come out of it okay. 

As it stands currently , this storm is a very severe matter. Because of its erratic course, and because Houston has not had the recent experience New Orleans had of Hurricane Katrina, the national attention on Ike is coming only now.

It’s possible the path of the storm may change in the next few hours in a way that would minimize damage to the most populated portions of the Houston/Galveston area. Though I would not bet much on this prospect. The best scenario, that the storm shrink and weaken, is a hope we can also retain to the last moment. Yet again, the course and force of the storm appears largely set.   

Above is a picture of Galveston, Texas. You see how low-lying it is. A very strong storm surge is expected and the island may be fully undewater by this evening. I’ve visited Galveston at least every couple of months for the ten years I’ve lived in Houston. Galveston is a fifty mile drive to the south. I view Galveston as a home away from home. I hope that the city and the island are able to recover as quickly as possible. Here is some history of Galveston.

We have the things we need for an extended power outage. I think having no power for one or two weeks is our greatest concern. That this is what worries me most shows that we are fortunate. Many people living closer to the coast are going to lose their homes. Some people will be hurt and I suppose some will die. 

Let me take this chance to express my complete contempt for the idiocy of the ongoing Presidential campaign. Maybe the one advantage of not having power for a few days is that I’ll not have to hear about the campaign. You get a clear sense of how awful and dumb the campaign is when something as potentially bad as this hurricane is at your doorstep. A leading reason it is so bad is the constant lying by John McCain and his campaign. Stuff like allegations that Senator Obama supporting sex ed for small kids. We have more important concerns to discuss than deflecting these lies.

Just as a hurricane can be a life and death matter, so is politics in many respects. Issues of greater access to health insurance and climate change need to be addressed now. 

During the hurricane and in the days after, I’ll be reading What Hath God Wrought—The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe. This book is the most recent Pulitzer Prize winner for history.

Good luck to everybody impacted by Hurricane Ike. I’ll post again after the storm has passed, and depending on when power is back up and running.

Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

September 12, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Galveston, Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

As Slavery, Civil War & Jim Crow Followed One Another, So Could Bush, McCain & Palin

Some fear, as they should, the idea of George W. Bush, John McCain, and Sarah Palin serving successively in the White House.

As unbelievably bad as this would be, history teaches nothing is so horrible that it can’t occur. For example—

Over 200 years of American slavery,


Was followed by a brutal Civil War

And then 100 more years of Jim Crow

The good news is that we can still work to elect Barack Obama and defeat John McCain. We don’t have to accept one lousy thing and then another and then another.

September 12, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ike? Yikes!

Not much blogging today. Among other obligations, I’ve got to pick up a few hurricane supplies. The wife and I have what we need. But when you see a forecast as bad as the current one, you wonder if you might need just a bit more water to get through.

Also, I bought a giant danish pastry log. I might use it as a life preserver.  

The good news, for my wife and myself at least, is that we don’t live in an area prone to flooding. And the hope is always that the storm may diminish, or at least land in an area with as light a population as possible. 

These things said, it seems likely that Hurricane Ike will be trouble for somebody somewhere along the Gulf Coast. 

Here is the link to the National Hurricane Center. You can read about what a hurricane is and how to prepare for a hurricane.

Below is a picture taken last Sunday of the insides of Hurricane Ike. This picture is from the blog of Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground

Here is a picture of Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower

September 11, 2008 Posted by | Houston | , , , | 1 Comment

Was Rudy Giuliani In Lipstick A Pig?—Palin, In Or Out Of Lipstick, Had Women In Wasilla Pay For Rape Kits

Giuliani in drag

The latest fuss over nothing in the campaign to elect a leader for the 300 million people who live in the most powerful nation on Earth is the term “lipstick on a pig.” Senator Barack Obama used the term to express, correctly, that claims of reform from the McCain/Palin ticket are bogus no matter how that campaign attempts to distort the facts.

Above is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in lipstick on Broadway in 1997. He is singing with Julie Andrews. I’d say it is at least piggish to make a career profiting off of September 11, 2001. 

As for Sarah Palin, while she was Mayor of Wasilla women had to pay between $300 and $1,200 for rape kits. ( It was a blogger friend of mine, Op Edna, who uncovered this fact.)

Wasilla is a town of just a few thousand people. The Mayor never took leadership in changing this barbaric policy in this small community. Did she not know or did she not care? Given that the Wasilla police chief was quoted in a newspaper defending the policy, one can assume she knew. 

What was already known about Governor Palin is that she opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest. This position is so extreme that even Cindy McCain opposes Governor Palin’s view.

People can decide for themselves what facts and actions are relevant in this campaign.

September 10, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

I Just Called The Obama Campaign And Asked Them To Start Fighting Back

I just called the Barack Obama campaign at 866-675-2008 and asked that a message be passed on that Senator Obama start fighting back more aggressively. I picked option 6 on the automated line to speak to a volunteer.

( Here is a good history of the telephone.) 

The very nice woman I spoke to said that she had been on duty for 15 minutes so far today, and that I was the fourth person to call with that same comment. She said she would pass my message up the chain.  

Here is a Washington Post column about a weak non-combative interview Obama did recently on a Sunday morning talk program.

Are we going to lose again because we allow people who lie about everything to define us? We need to fight back as hard as we are able.


(Here is a brief history of boxing.)

September 9, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , | 4 Comments

Who Can Vote In Texas? When Must One Register To Be Eligible? When Is Election Day?

(Blogger’s Note  10/3/12—Here is a link to my post about 2012 voting information for Texas.)

Who can vote on General Election Day in Texas and in Harris County, Texas? When must one register to vote in order to be eligible? What day is Election Day?

The last day one can register to vote this year is October 6.

These are the qualifications for being eligible to vote for all of Texas —

To be eligible to register to vote in Texas, any United States citizen residing in Texas who is:

  • At least 18 years old on Election Day
  • Not a convicted felon (unless sentence, probation and/or parole are completed)
  • Not declared mentally incapacitated by a court of law.

The information below describes how one can register and by what day one must register—


Registering to vote is easy in Texas. It doesn’t even require a stamp! Official applications to register to vote are postage-paid by the State of Texas. In most Texas counties, the Tax Assessor-Collector is also the Voter Registrar. In some counties, the County Clerk or Elections Administrator registers voters. You may obtain an application from the county Voter Registrar’s office, the Secretary of State’s Office, libraries, many post offices, high schools and on the web. From our website, you may request that we send you an official, postage-paid application. Or, you may download an informal application, but you will be required to affix a stamp before mailing. You may also register to vote when you apply for or renew your driver’s license.

Read the instructions on the form, fill it out and mail it to the Voter Registrar in your county, or take it to the Voter Registrar’s office in your county. You must be at least 17 years and 10 months of age on the date you apply.

If for any reason you cannot register yourself, with your permission, your spouse, parent or child may fill out and sign an application for you if that person is a registered voter or has applied for voter registration. This person is known as your “agent.” The application must be received in the Voter Registrar’s office or postmarked 30 days before an election in order for you to be eligible to vote in that election. You will receive a voter registration certificate in the mail after the Voter Registrar has processed your voter registration application. Upon receipt of the voter registration certificate, sign it, fold it and keep in it in your wallet and take it to the polls with you when you vote.

All voters who register to vote in Texas must provide a Texas driver’s license number or personal identification number issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety. If you do not have such a number, then you must state that fact and provide the last four digits of your social security number. If you do not have a social security number, you must also state that fact.

These facts come from the office of the Texas Secretary of State. You can click the link for full details.

This blog posts out of Houston in Harris County, Texas. Here is the web page of the Harris County Democratic Party. Here is information about registering to vote in Harris County.

Here is the Barack Obama web page.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 4, 2008.

Below is Humble, Texas. This fine community is in Harris County.

September 9, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Hurricane Ike Kill Enough People In Cuba That It Becomes Less Of A Gulf Threat?

Flooded streets of Baracoa in eastern Cuba 7 September

I know that people use language incorrectly sometimes. I make mistakes in what words I choose. But I can’t help but notice that I’ve heard at least two weather reporters express hope that Hurricane Ike is sufficiently weakened while passing over Cuba, so that it becomes less of a threat for wherever in the Gulf of Mexico it lands.

( Above is damage in Cuba from Ike.)

Yet the longer Hurricane Ike stays over Cuba, the more harm it will do to people in Cuba. Instead of making it a zero-sum issue of who suffers to what degree, I imagine the hope people have is that the storm weakens in a way that harms as few people as possible. It would take just a small bit more extra effort to express concerns over the storm in that more helpful way.

Here is the National Weather Service report on Hurricane Ike.

September 8, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Driver Honks, Rolls Down Window, Asks If I Want Obama Sticker

A few days ago I was stopped at a red light when the driver in the car next to me honked and signaled me to roll down my passenger side window.

I eyed him warily and rolled down the window with one hand, while reaching for the revolver in my glove compartment with the other hand.

Ha!–That’s a joke. I rolled down my window to see what he wanted.

He said he saw the Rick Noriega for U.S. Senate bumper sticker on my car, and asked if I would like an Obama sticker. He waved a few Obama stickers around. I told him I had one already and that I had just not put it on my car as of yet. ( I’ve still not put the sticker on. I will, I will.)   

This interaction warmed my heart. It’s good to know people are driving about looking to do the right thing. Decent folks know this gentleman was motivated by a desire for a better country and for a government that helps people.

It is excellent that we all have the capacity to do small things that make other people’s day a bit better, and that some are able to help us all move forward even when stuck at a red light.

September 8, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Just How Is It The Government Could Come And Take Away Your Gun?

(Blogger’s Note 12/18/12—I wrote this post in 2008 and it is just as true today as it was four years ago. Efforts to restrict the types of guns that led to the Newtown, Connecticut massacre will not stop law abiding folks from owning guns. They will simply lead to fewer crazy massacres of innocent people who are doing no more than going about daily life.)

(Blogger’s Note 1/16/13—Here is a link to President Obama’s sensible gun control orders that he discussed today. These orders will not stop lawful people from having guns.)  

This morning I listened to a radio report about a Barack Obama campaign appearance in Scranton, Pennsylvania. A voter, who seemed friendly enough by the sound of her voice, asked Senator Obama about rumors she had heard that if elected he would take away people’s guns.

I just shook my head when I heard this.

One thing I’ve always wanted to know is just how the government could go about taking people’s guns away?

Let’s say that by some impossible occurrence, the Second Amendment were repealed. This could not happen for real, but let’s just say for purposes of this blog post that it did happen.

Do you think people would just give up their guns?

How about the late Charlton Heston you see in the photo above and the National Rifle Association members he represented? Will they give up their guns because they were instructed to do so?

Do you think this couple in the picture below would just go to voluntary drop-off point and give up that gun they have on the stove? Or hand it over to federal gun collector who rings the door to collect the guns?

( The picture was taken by Kyle Cassidy for his book Armed Americans–Portraits of Gun Owners In Their Homes.)

Or this guy—Would he quit hunting because a law was passed banning guns?

No—Whatever gun control laws passed at the margins of the millions and millions of guns owned in America, none are going to involve going into people’s homes and taking away guns. Do you think Barack Obama is going to be sitting in the Oval Office signing an order to round-up people’s guns?

If we reached the point of government forcing everybody who owns a gun to give it up, we would be in a police state of some kind in any case. Gun owners and the rest of us would be over-matched by the huge weapons and tanks that the government has.

Nobody is coming for your gun. People should be worrying about other stuff. If it is gun issues that are stopping you from voting for Barack Obama, you don’t have much to worry about. The NRA has a vested stake in keeping people hyped-up on this issue. Ask the NRA what they are going to do to get you higher wages or to improve the school your kids attend.

September 7, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 73 Comments

Candidate Families—Props To Be Used

Sarah Palin gave an interview to People Magazine and allowed two of her children to be pictured on the cover of the magazine.

But I thought the McCain campaign said the Palin family was off-limits. Except, of course, during Republican Convention week when the Palin children were seen by millions.

The Obama campaign has also said family is off-limits. Except, of course, when the Obama campaign wants to use kids for its own purposes. Then you get a lot of family from the Obama campaign.

Bringing back the brooch

Do you think Sarah Palin will work hard to help end child poverty or work hard to get health insurance for kids who don’t have health insurance? What are the chances of that? Here is a story about funding Governor Palin cut for unwed teen mothers. Why should we care about the Palin children when Governor Palin does not care about other people’s children?

Below is the prop room at the National Theater in Mannhiem, Germany. I think the Presidential and the Vice Presidential candidates keep their children in a room like this for when they are needed.

I’m not likely to bring up the Palin children on this blog as the campaign progresses. I don’t feel it serves my purposes to do so. Yet as Republicans have pursued brutal anti-family policies for many years now and have had no problem defining family for others, I don’t see why the families of these people are off-limits. Isn’t being a “Hockey Mom” a big part of why we are supposed to like Sarah Palin?

It’s all about family.

For that matter, Senator Obama opposes gay marriage as well.  Maybe his opposition is just a matter of politics. But since he feels other people’s most intimate and personal relationships are a matter of politics, why should those most close to him be immune from scrutiny?

We know that in the end it will be about who can be used, or not used, and in what way. Using people is a fully bipartisan practice.

My wish is that these people would run on issues more so than family. I don’t care how they define family. Yet this does not seem to be the world these men and women want to make. They use family as it suits them.

September 6, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Brazoria County Democrats Working Hard For Freedom

Unlike Sarah Palin, members of the Brazoria County Democratic Party don’t hang out with secessionists when they don’t get their way.  

(Surfside Beach is one of the fine communities in this Houston metro area county.)

Instead of seeing how they can leave the United States, Brazoria County Democrats stand and fight for Brazoria County, The State of Texas and the United States of America.

Below are the strong principles of the Brazoria County Democratic Party.   

  • Affordable healthcare for all
  • Quality public education
  • An energy-independent America
  • A cleaner and healthier environment
  • Deficit reduction and a stronger economy
  • Freedom from government interference in private lives and personal decisions
  • Protection of Social Security
  • Separation of church and state
  • Honest and transparent government
  • Keeping faith with our veterans
  • A safe and secure homeland
  • Military action as a last resort based on facts (Afghanistan) not by choice based on misinformation (Iraq)

Check out the web page of the Brazoria County Democratic Party. See what you can do to help and what you can do to help reaffirm belief in our great country. 

September 5, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Crazed Ship’s Captain Barks Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up To Telegraph Operator

Here is the most recent Texas Progressive Alliance weekly blog round-up— 

Is John McCain’s vice presidential pick some kind of joke? McBlogger’s Mayor McSleaze thinks it’s more like a situation comedy.

CouldBeTrue is happy for Webb County! Finally, the long sheriff’s primary is over and Martin Cuellar is the official sheriff-to-be. And, yeah, the AG is looking into the hinky first recount.

With Tom DeLay and the TRMPAC indictments back in the news, Off the Kuff conducts an interview with Cris Feldman, one of the attorneys who won a civil judgment against TRMPAC for its violations of campaign finance law in the 2002 elections.

Stace Medellin at DosCentavos is celebrating ten years of living in the Houston area. Read about what brought him to Houston and what has kept him in the big city.

Neil at Texas Liberal is glad to note that the Galveston County Democrats Club is, as always, working hard for all the people of Galveston County—Both on the mainland and on the island.

The Texas Cloverleaf reminds everyone that McCain is older than fiberglass. His new sidekick leads a state with a population smaller than Collin County. Sitcom indeed.

jobsanger wonders why the Democratic Convention didn’t show a little respect for Lyndon Johnson’s 100th birthday, and prepares to enjoy the prospect of dueling Republican conventions.

Continue reading

September 5, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Politics, Texas | , , , | Leave a comment

Sarah & Todd Palin Linked To Secessionist Party

There are questions about the patriotic loyalty of Sarah Palin and her husband Todd Palin. Both attended meetings of the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party. Mr. Palin was a member for a number of years. Governor Palin may or may not have been a member. She claims she was not.  In any case, Governor Palin addressed the party as recently as 2006. 

Let me ask—Who attends meetings of political parties that advocate secession as a possible solution to local grievances? 

There are also questions about Ms. Palin’s longtime church. It seems that is very far to the right and that Governor Palin may feel the War in Iraq is part of a larger messianic plan. Ms. Palin attended the Wasilla Assembly of God.

As we consider Governor Palin for an office that puts her next in line for the Presidency, we need to be certain of her loyalty to our nation and its constitution. We need to know if her religious beliefs will lead the nation into dangerous and uncharted waters.  

From the New York Times

In the mid-1990s, the Alaskan Independence Party was experiencing a boom of sorts. A governor had been elected on its ticket in 1990, when the party was not even a decade old. And membership was swelling.  Among the new recruits was Todd Palin,  whose wife, Sarah, would later become governor…

The Palins attended the party’s convention in their hometown, Wasilla, in 1994, according to party officials, where the party called for a revote on statehood and a draft constitution for an independent Republic of Alaska. Mr. Palin joined the party.  Ms. Palin remained a Republican and never joined the Alaskan Independence Party, but returned to its convention in 2006 to speak as candidate for governor. After she had been elected, she recorded a video greeting that was played at the party convention this year. “Good luck on a successful and inspiring convention,” she said. “Keep up the good work, and God bless you.”

Now that she is the Republican nominee for vice president — for a campaign whose motto is “Country first” — the couple’s interaction with the Alaskan Independence Party has gotten attention because of its reputation as a secessionist group.  Alaskan Independence Party officials released a statement Monday saying that Ms. Palin had been a member for two years, from 1994 to 1996, information included in reports in The New York Times and other news outlets. In Internet videos of recent party meetings, other party officials can be seen boasting of Ms. Palin’s past membership.

On Tuesday, though, the party’s chairwoman, Lynette Clark, said the earlier statement was false. Ms. Clark said that she had based it on information another party member had given her, but that a review of the records showed only that Ms. Palin had attended the 1994 conference. Ms. Clark added that while the review confirmed Todd Palin as a member, it did not indicate that Ms. Palin had been one.

On Wednesday, Ms. Clark released a corrected statement, saying, in part, “I, foolishly, repeated and accepted as fact what an officer of this membership shared with myself, and husband Dexter Clark, over a year ago.” 

Ms. Palin has been registered as a Republican since May 1982, according to the State Division of Elections. Mr. Palin registered as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party in 1995, remaining a member for all but two months of the next seven years, until he registered as an undeclared voter in July 2002.

he Alaskan Independence Party’s Web site, akip.org, which includes the motto “Alaska First — Alaska Always” in its banner, describes party members as seeking “a range of solutions to the conflicts between federal and local authority,” including “advocacy for state’s rights, through a return to territorial status, all the way to complete independence and nationhood status for Alaska.” It calls for repatriation of lands held by the federal government “to the state and people of Alaska,” as well as, among other issues, the right to home-school children and the privatization of government services.

Ms. Clark objected to descriptions of her party as secessionist, saying it advocates “states’ rights” and “state sovereignty.” Ms. Clark said she interpreted Ms. Palin’s attendance at the 1994 convention as reflecting an interest in hearing a variety of perspectives. “Her heart is very Alaskan,” she said, “and we have Alaskan issues.”

September 4, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How Could Any Voter Be Undecided In This Election?

Can someone please explain to me how any voter could be undecided at this point?

I suppose I could understand if someone is rethinking a long-standing political identity. That does happen. I’m sure it is a change that requires thought and soul-searching.

But the differences between the two parties are so stark, and have been for such a long time now, how could somebody not be certain if they will be voting for John McCain or Barack Obama?

I’m not judging undecided voters. Maybe I’m missing something. Not everybody is going to see the world as I do.

If you have some insight on this question, might you please leave a comment.

September 4, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , | 7 Comments