Texas Liberal

All People Matter

If Mr. Obama & Mrs. Clinton Can Make Up, Who In Our Lives Can We Move Ahead With?

It appears that President-elect Barack Obama is going to select Senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Without forgetting that political relationships are about using people, there is a lot to be said for moving ahead after a hard fight and hard feelings.

Given this reconciliation between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton , it is a good time to think about who in our lives we can move ahead with, past bad times, to a better relationship.

When we are in our graves, how will our anger and our grudges serve us?

November 30, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics, Relationships | , , , , | 11 Comments

People Who Owned Mean Rotten Dog Now Won’t Take Down John McCain Sign

Not far from a home I lived in for many years in Cincinnati, was a house where was kept a horrible mean dog. Every time I would walk past that house, this big terrible dog, which was kept tied up outside, would bark and lunge at me.

I hated that dog and I despised the people who keep such a dog that scared people who were just passing by.

In my most recent visit to Cincinnati, which ended yesterday, this same house had in its lawn a John McCain sign. They have this sign up even though the election was over three weeks ago.

It’s been a few years now, but I’ll bet you the same rotten people live in that house.

I’m glad that dog is dead now. And while I don’t wish harm to come on the people who live in that house, I will say they are the same miserable rotten folks they were a decade ago.

November 29, 2008 Posted by | Cincinnati | , | 10 Comments

Gay Canadian Flag


Here is a gay Canadian flag that I took a picture of in Galveston, Texas.

November 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

I’m Thankful For My Excellent Wife—Happy Thanksgiving


Above and below are pictures of my wife. In the picture below she is with me. We are at a miniature golf course in Galveston in these photos. I don’t know if the course still exists. It may well have been blown away by Hurricane Ike. 

On Thanksgiving Day, and on all days, I’m thankful for my wife. She is the best person ever.

Please have a very good Thanksgiving. I’ll be back with a new post on Saturday.


November 27, 2008 Posted by | Galveston, My Wife Is The Best Person Ever | , , | 1 Comment

Global Financial Panic Be Damned—I’m Big Time

Cutting back due to the global financial panic makes you a sucker. Take it from me, a player, you can live big time all the time.

Just last night I had a $16 glass of scotch and took a $10 spin of a roulette wheel.

Here in Cincinnati, on my Thanksgiving blogging break, I was with my friend, who I’ll call “Kate” (That is her real name.), and we took a ride.

First, we went to the famous Palm Court room in the Downtown Hilton. (Photo above.)

I decided I’d like to order the second glass of scotch I’ve ever had. The waiter made a suggestion I followed ( I’m clever that way.) When we got the check, we saw I had enjoyed a $15.75 glass of scotch.  Just think how much it would have been if they had charged me for all the ice in that glass. The scotch was a 12 year old Macallans. (If that’s lousy stuff ,please don’t tell me.)

I’ve never had a $15.75 glass of anything. However, having nothing to fear but fear itself, I had this luxury last night even as the world collapses around us.

It’s all okay. My father had gave me $20 right before I went out last night. Just because you’re 41 doesn’t mean you can’t take a handout from your father. A player never passes up the big score.

Next up Kate and I got in my rented Ford Focus–I may own a Japanese car but I pledge to always rent American–and we drove on down River Road.

Harrison tomb.JPG

I had planned to take Kate to see (photo aboveWilliam Henry Harrison’s tomb. ( A player knows American history like the back of his or her hand.) But it was dark and I guess I drove past it. Before we knew it we had crossed over into Indiana. (Your best friends are the people who will follow you to even William Henry Harrison’s tomb at 10:30 PM on a 35 degree night. If you have a friend like that, be sure to treat them well.)

Lawrenceburg, Indiana (photo below) , just over the Ohio-Indiana line, has a casino. It’s on a so-called boat that goes nowhere. The boat is on the Ohio River. I thought maybe I could go to the casino and win back my dad’s $20. Having spent the money on scotch the first time, I thought I could win the cash back and possibly take up smoking with it the second time around.

Lawrenceburg from the air, looking northeast

I told Kate I wanted to go in and try the roulette wheel. We went in and saw that the wheel cost a minimum of $10 to play. (You can tell my wife I was with Kate, but please don’t tell her about the $10 roulette wheel.)

I made my $10 bet on the number 22. The number 2 was the winner. A player knows when to quit. Kate and I left.

On the way back, Kate and I talked about just how many people were at that casino at 11 PM on a Tuesday night. The casino was, as casinos can be, depressing. 

No matter. A player doesn’t let other people’s troubles get him down. I’m going to hit up dad for the $10 I lost on the roulette wheel and go buy some lottery tickets.

November 26, 2008 Posted by | Cincinnati | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life Is A Like A Harbor Where Ships Come And Go

( Blogger’s note—As I am on my Thanksgiving blogging break, I am running both new and repeat posts this week. This post is a repeat. Thank you for reading Texas Liberal and please have a nice holiday.)

Life is like a harbor where ships come and go.

Some ships come early in the day.

Others arrive late.

Some ships stay just a brief time.

A few are looking for a port to call home.

Some come and go many times.

Some harbors are serene.

Others are more busy.

As the day progresses, traffic may diminish.

Though a sense that a harbor is safe, or in some other sense good and useful, may mean traffic and activity never fully ceases until the day is over at last.

If what is left for the most part are good memories, the voyage has reached a successful end.

In these regards, I would say life is like a harbor where ships come and go.

November 25, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

Can It Be A Real Thanksgiving Without Smallpox?

The following is from an article called “The Truth About the First Thanksgiving” by James M. Lowen. Mr. Lowen has written Lies My Teacher Told Me and Lies Across America— (Above–One idea of the first Thanksgiving as painted by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. Mr. Ferris lived 1863-1930.)

The summer after the Pilgrims landed, they sent two envoys on a diplomatic mission to treat with Massasoit, a famous chief encamped some 40 miles away at what is now Warren, Rhode Island. The envoys discovered and described a scene of absolute havoc. Villages lay in ruins because there was no one to tend them. The ground was strewn with the skulls and the bones of thousands of Indians who had died and none was left to bury them. 

( Can’t figure out how to fix the glitchy font on the above paragraph—Things happen.)

During the next fifteen years, additional epidemics, most of which we know to have been smallpox, struck repeatedly. Europeans caught smallpox and the other maladies, to be sure, but most recovered, including, in a later century, the “heavily pockmarked George Washington.” Indians usually died. Therefore, almost as profound as their effect on Indian demographics was the impact of the epidemics on the two cultures, European and Indian. The English Separatists, already seeing their lives as part of a divinely inspired morality play, inferred that they had God on their side. John Winthrop, Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, called the plague “miraculous.” To a friend in England in 1634, he wrote:

“But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by the small pox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not fifty, have put themselves under our protect”

Here is a timeline of European disease epidemics among Native Americans.

Here is information about smallpox.

Most of us have much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving and on all days. Yet this does not mean we should forget how we got what we have, and what costs were inflicted on people we felt were in the way.

(Below —A scene from King Philip’s War. This 1675 conflict is a more accurate reflection of relations between white settlers and Native Americans in colonial New England than the painting at the top of this post.) 

Early American Conflict.jpg

November 24, 2008 Posted by | Art, Books, Colonial America, History | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bars In Kentucky Close At 2:30 AM

As I noted in my most recent post, I am taking a Thanksgiving blogging break. Of course, my commitment to the blog reading public is such that even when on a blogging break, I’m still serving you the reader.

My most recent service to blog readers came just this morning when I learned that bars in Kentucky close at 2:30 AM. I was at a bar in Newport, Kentucky—the famous Southgate House— and at 2 AM two large guys came around and shouted we had half an hour left. At 2:30 we were all out the door.

It sure was cold in Newport, Kentucky today at 2:30 AM.

The 24 hour White Castle near the Southgate House is, indeed, open 24 hours. Even after the bars close the White Castle is open.

I’m using the time on my Thanksgiving Blogging break for discovery and greater connectedness with our world. Today I’ve discovered and connected with the fact that bars in Kentucky close at 2:30 AM.

Knowing this, I am more at one with others and myself. ( I had been feeling divided.) 

This evening I will explore a bar on the Cincinnati side of the Ohio River. What will I learn about myself and our world?

November 23, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

Thanksgiving Blogging Break

It’s time for a Thanksgiving blogging break. For the next week or so, I’ll have some new posts and some “encore” posts to share with you the blog reading public. Maybe one day this week I’ll not post at all.

Above is Gerald Ford extending a pardon to a turkey just like he extended one to Richard Nixon.

Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.  Please keep in touch and have a good Thanksgiving.

November 22, 2008 Posted by | Blogging | , , | 3 Comments

You Can Spend Thanksgiving Anyway You Choose


(Blogger’s note–This is a post I made last year. I’ll be running a few repeat posts this week as part of my Thanksgiving blogging break.)

Thanksgiving is coming up. It’s a day we are supposed to spend with family, eating a large meal and watching football. If that’s what you do, good for you. You’ll get no argument here. (Despite my dislike of football and the concussions and long-term disability suffered by football players.)

However, for many, Thanksgiving is a different holiday than the popular image of the day.

Some spend the day with friends instead of family. Some are alone. 

Maybe you don’t like your family or maybe your schedule or budget does not allow travel to where your family lives. Maybe you’re alone at this point in life.

Whatever Thanksgiving is for you, it’s your choice or your circumstance. Many popular notions and conceptions are as unrealistic as the menu above. How many people are serving pumpkin bread in the shape of a pumpkin? Or mashed turnips?

Each year my wife goes to see her family in Chicago for Thanksgiving. For scheduling reasons, I’m unable to go with her to Chicago or to my parents home in Cincinnati. Most years I’m fortunate enough to get an offer from a co-worker here in Houston for Thanksgiving dinner. I politely decline.

Instead, I drive down to Galveston and have a day at the ocean. I eat at some seafood house. It’s always packed and I’m always the only person there alone. I survive just fine. People are too busy stuffing themselves to notice I’m alone.

One year I did not go to Galveston. Instead, I went to the House Of Pies on Kirby Drive in Houston. I had just purchased all three volumes of Robert Remini’s life of Andrew Jackson. I had a lot of reading to do. I sat in that restaurant for maybe three hours reading about President Jackson. It was a wonderful day.

In the House Of Pies that day were gay couples and folks of all types. There were all sorts of people in, I’d wager, all sorts of personal situations.      

All good relationships between people have value. 

All people have value. 

Whatever Thanksgiving brings your way, make the best of it. Life is not like what is shown on TV commercials and TV shows. Life is what it is. Have a very good Thanksgiving.

November 22, 2008 Posted by | Books, Galveston, Relationships | , , , | Leave a comment

Galveston—A Disaster Before And After Hurricane Ike


Just over two weeks ago I took my first trip down to Galveston since Hurricane Ike. Ike hit in mid-September.

Above and below are pictures I took in Galveston. One is of a boat still out of the water. The other is of a very damaged pier. You can explore the online edition of the Galveston County Daily News to get some sense of life on the island today.

The upshot of what I saw in Galveston is that the outward damage to buildings could have been much worse, but that many homes and business places were flooded with sea water and need much work before they can be used again.

The fact that gets lost is that Galveston was an economic disaster zone before the hurricane. The poverty rate on the island has always been high. In 2007, 20.6% of people living in Galveston lived in poverty. This is even higher than the appalling 16.3% rate for all Texas. 

With massive layoffs at the University of Texas Medical Branch in recent days, Galveston has become even more of a disaster zone. UTMB is the largest employer in Galveston. 8,000 of its 12,000 employees live in Galveston. 3,000 people are being let go with this round of layoffs. Galveston had a pre-hurricane population of just over 50,000.

It’s a trick when we are told the hurricane was a unique disaster for Galveston. The trick is that disaster conditions that merit a special response come only every so often, and the rest of time it is business as usual.     

Of course in Texas, we do things a bit differently. The prevailing ethos under both Democratic and Republican political control in Texas has often been to kick a guy when he is down. The layoffs at UTMB, under the pretense of losses sustained since the hurricane, is a fine example of this creed. The fact of an actually acknowledged disaster was just the right time for the huge job cuts. 

Oh, for the malignant neglect of better days!      

The downsizing of UTMB began before the storm. The number of beds and services for the uninsured were already being cut.  You can take what the University of Texas Board of Regents says about the cuts being a result of the hurricane as false. They want to chop down the size of UTMB and leave Galveston, of all things, high and dry, when it comes to places to work on the island.  

Galveston is one of the founding communities of Texas. It’s history runs many years before that of most of the rest of Texas. I’m not going to pretend I have the solution to Galveston’s problems. A good starting point might be to see Galveston as worth saving. And to realize that even with the Sea Wall, Galveston has long been underwater in many regards.     


November 21, 2008 Posted by | Galveston, Texas | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Houston-Cincinnati Flight Lacks First Class Section—Am I Going Nowhere?

The Houston-Cincinnati flight that I take twice a year has no first class section. Does this mean the airline views all passengers on this flight as second class? Am I a low rent person who should be denied even the chance for an upgrade?

(Above is a first class suite on an Emirates Airline Boeing 777-200LR. Looks nice.)

The easiest explanation for the absence of a first class is that the jet that flies between Houston and Cincinnati has something like 55 seats, and is not large enough for a first class section. This brings up other questions. Am I going places in life others avoid? Am I headed nowhere?

It could be that for a plane flying over our so-called “heartland”, it would seen as out of character to make a class distinction between passengers.  As we fly along and over the Mississippi River and the Ohio River, we are all just so many Huck Finns (Below–Huck Finn) on a lazy raft up and down the river.


Most likely though, the view is that only a lower class of citizens would be flying to these places and  my status as a semi-regular on this flight helps confirms this fact. 

Lacking an incentive to better myself, since no first class is even available, I seem certain to have no better fate in life but to be a blogger for all the rest of my days.   

As I sit on the Houston-Cincinnati flight later this week, I’ll reflect on what has gone wrong. If only I had booked a ticket to a first class destination, everything in my life would be different.    

(On my way to Cincinnati I’ll be flying over the Louisville, KY home of the fine blogger who writes Ohio River, Left Bank, MP 606.)

(Here is my review of my last Houston-Cincinnati flight. It was quite an adeventure.)

(The Houston-Cincinnati flight will be aboard an Embraer ERJ 145 such as seen below.)  

November 20, 2008 Posted by | Cincinnati, Houston | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Bloggers Talk Turkey

Here is the weekly round-up from your Texas Progressive Alliance Bloggers. Click the links and read these top bloggers talk turkey on Texas politics.

All liberal and progressive Texas bloggers care a great deal about food safety. Here are the USDA guidelines on buying and preparing a turkey. 

Here is information on veggie turkey.

Here is the link to the town of Turkey, Texas. Turkey is in Hall County and has a population of just under 500. Above is a poor photo of Turkey, Texas. It’s the best I could find. You can make out well enough the word “Turkey” up on the water tower. I’m sorry to report that Hall County voted 74%-26% for Senator McCain over Senator Obama.

I do indeed wish a happy Thanksgiving to the people of Hall County, but they need to get with the program.   

The round up–

Barfly at McBlogger takes a moment to remind all of us that we better not fu*k with Barbie.

Ruth Jones McClendon gets the Speaker’s race dangerously wrong says CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme.

Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at the race for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives and provides answers to two important questions: is a secret ballot legal and will a secret ballot doom Tom Craddick?
Continue reading

November 20, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Random Thoughts On A Time-Pressed Day

Hello blog readers. I had a plan for what I wanted to post today, but life got in the way and I’ll not have the time to do what I wanted. (Below–The sun rises and sets and time passes by.)

C solarcorona2003.gif 

So please allow just a few random thoughts.

I wonder sometimes if the ease of keeping up with old friends via e-mail and Facebook makes it less likely we will try hard to make new friends. A new person seems a much less sure bet when the old people seem always near.

A dispute here in Harris County, Texas, where Houston is located, is about why Hispanic turnout was relatively low on Election Day. The best information I’ve seen on the subject can be found in this blog post at Para Justicia y Libertad

New leadership seems needed for Harris County Hispanics. The old leadership has made little progress over the years. Also, the Harris County Democratic Party is not willing to do what’s needed to gain more minority voters beyond those most easy to get to the polls. The party has an idea of the voters it is willing to try and win. What it’s not willing to do is address questions of social justice when it can rely on, with mixed success, traffic congestion and hurricane preparedness as standard campaign issues.  

I think you can find this type of situation in big cities across the nation.

I read a few days ago that the unsettled frontier democracy we associate today with Andrew Jackson, was always doomed to fall to the more middle-class and settled frontier vision of Henry Clay. We know that Jackson won the White House while Clay tried many times but failed. Yet you often never know until long after the heated battles of the day are over, as to who has really won the issues at the core of the fight.  

Sorry for the absence of links. I’m on the fly today. Thanks for reading the blog and please visit often.

November 19, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Relationships | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hope Is A Rocket That Breaks The Gravity Of Resentment

A few days ago I posted that resentment is a many layered lasagna.  I said it would take some time to shake off the layers of frustration from the Reagan/Bush/Gingrich/Bush years.

Another thing I can say, is that hope is a rocket that breaks the gravity of resentment. 

When we launch space missions to other planets, the rocket has to break the gravity of the Earth to reach space. Then the probe has to break out of the Earth’s orbit to move on to another planet.

Mariner 4 launch 2.jpg

(Above–The 1964 launch of the Mariner 4 mission to Mars using an Atlas Agena D rocket.)  

With the election of Barack Obama, and with strong Democratic majorities in each House of Congress, I don’t have to expend as much energy being pulled back by the depressing gravity of public life. As we progress, maybe I can use some of that newly freed energy to open myself to people and thoughts I might not have otherwise had patience for.   

For the time being at least, the prospect of something better is a rocket breaking the gravity of resentment. Now I can take a better look at new things to be seen.

(Below–Galileo mission to Jupiter with exciting live action effects. This mission took place between 1989 and 2003. )

Galileo Jupiter.gif

November 18, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment