Texas Liberal

All People Matter

I’m Willing To Sail With A Ship Of Fools

Above is the video for the song “Ship of Fools” by World Party. The song is from 1987.

If you’re old enough, you likely recall the song and the video.

The lyrics say–” I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools.”

The song is about economic and environmental exploitation.   

The lyrics also say–“You’re gonna pay tomorrow.”

Here are the full lyrics.

I understand not wanting to set sail with a ship of fools. It is often hard to understand why the world is as it is.

And we may well pay tomorrow. Our current recession seems to be a form of payment for overconsumption.

Though it is really the very poor that pay in ways we never see or give much thought about.    

That said, I’m willing to to share the ride with a ship of fools. You’re born, you do your best, and you take your chances.

We’re all connected to each other and I accept that fact. 

I’m not resigned or fatalistic. I feel I try in life.

If I do my best but go down with the ship—I have at least done my best.  I’d rather sail with a ship of fools than sail alone.

Anyway—What if I’m the fool and the rest of you are doing me a favor by letting me stay on the ship? 

Please click here to read about World Party’s Karl Wallinger.

May 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Economic Classes Of England in 1709 As Seen By Daniel Defoe


Below is a list of economic classes in England back in 1709 as described by Daniel Defoe (above). It seems things were at least not fully different 300 years ago in England from what we experience in the U.S. today. Though the so-called middle sort and the working trades might feel they don’t have it as well as Defoe suggests.

Relative to the rest of the world however, such folks for the most part are doing well even in this recession. 

Where do I fall on this list?

Due to my blogging income, I’m part of the great who live profusely.

The list—

1—The great, who live profusely.

2—The rich, who live plentifully.

3— The middle sort, who live well.

4—The working trades, who labour hard, but feel no want.

5—The country people, farmers, &c, who fare indifferently

6—The poor, that fare hard.

7—The miserable, that really pinch and suffer want.

I can’t claim to know much about Daniel Defoe except that he wrote Robinson Crusoe. Defoe was born at some point between 1659 and 1661 and died in 1731. It appears that  he had an eventful life and you can read about it by clicking this link. It’s Wikipedia and I’m hesitant to send people to Wikipedia. But I poked around and it appeared to be the best link about Defoe’s life.

May 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up With Santa Elena Canyon Photo

File:USA Santa Elena Canyon TX.jpg

Below is the weekly Texas Progressive Alliance Round-up.

Above is Santa Elena Canyon with the Rio Grande running through the canyon. The picture was taken by one Daniel Schwen. Santa Elena Canyon is part of Big Bend National Park in Texas. 

It would be nice to see a canyon and a river like that. I’ve never seen anything like that in person except for the time I passed through the Rocky Mountains on a Greyhound Bus.

The round up—

WhosPlayin only had Random Thoughtsthis week, but guest blogger Calvin Tillman — mayor of Dish, TX — weighed in with his thoughts on the Stacked Deck being dealt by the Texas Railroad Commission and their bias towards the interests of the oil and gas companies.

At Left of College Station, Teddy reports on the recent increase in violence, the withdrawal of troops, and the possibility of what could happen in the war that has vanished from public debate: the fading war in Iraq.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme says the Voter ID debacle demonstrates the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Off the Kuff takes a look at a battle between cities and some legislators over red light cameras.

WCNews at Eye On Williamsonposts on the great job his Democratic state representative in HD-52 is doing this session in Diana Maldonado’s Legislation.

Continue reading

May 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Malignancy Known As The Texas Legislature Rejects Expanded Health Insurance For Kids

As always in the malignancy known as the Texas legislature, it is proving difficult to pass a bill that would expand health insurance for kids. In Texas this is known as the CHIP program. Fights about health insurance for kids are a mainstay in the Texas legislature.   

( Above–The legislative process in Texas. It starts with nasty voters who have suppressed any decent thoughts. After the mutations of  party primaries, the general election and committee assignments, the process results in the legislative session. 

The mutation process insures that only the most aggressive and malignant legislators form the majority in legislative chamber. The legislature goes into remission for almost two years after the end of each session, but always comes back strong so as to do more harm.  There is hope for a cure, but so far voters have rejected any cure.)     

You can read about the latest go-round on kid’s health insurance in the Houston Chronicle.    

Governor Rick Perry, who has said that Texas might wish to consider leaving the union, says that he would in any case veto an expansion of children’s heath care if it came to his desk.

What can I add? Texas is a cold-hearted mess and many people seem content with that fact.

May 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Texas Blogger To Host Nation’s Biggest Punk Rock Blast

I’m glad to report that this upcoming August 15 I’ll be the master of ceremonies at Newport, Kentucky’s Southgate House for America’s biggest punk rock blast of 2009. 

Newport is just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.  

You’d think I’d be content with being the top blogger in Texas and with being a member of the Academy of Political Science.

Nope–That’s not enough.  

The event is a release party for the CD of last year’s Jockey Club reunion concert at the Southgate House. The Jockey Club was the greatest punk rock venue of the 1980’s. 

( Above–Another excellent night at the Jockey Club back in the late 80’s. Please click here for some more Jockey Club pictures.  The Jockey Club can also be found on My Space and on Facebook.)

This concert is being put on by Cincinnati-based publisher Aurore Press. Aurore Press is the forum for dissenting views in Cincinnati. Please click the link and see what’s going on at Aurore Press.

Below are the details as they stand at the moment.    

Roast/Benefit for “Handsome” Clem and his Family—

You can’t have a CD release without a party and Aurore Press knows this so with the help of The Southgate House, we’re putting on another Jockey Club inspired shindig to benefit our friend and Cincy punk legend “Handsome” Clem Carpenter and his family. Clem has had a few rough years as of late and his friends want to thank him for everything he’s done over the years with a benefit/roast in his honor! The show on August 15, will feature: Gang Green, SS-20, Libertines US, and Human Zoo. We’re working on one more JC era band to top off the bill and we’ll let everyone know when that comes together–so, 5 bands in all coming together again for a night for the scrapbooks hosted by “Hockeypunk” Neil Aquino, so come early and stay late, get yer CD (proceeds from the CD will also be donated to the Carpenter family) and have a ball!

I hope to see you there on August 15.

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Toxic Golden Alga (Singular) Menaces Texas Freshwater Fish—Some Links To Study Algae (Plural)

File:Algae harvester-1.jpg

(Above–An algae harvester. In 2005, a used algae harverster was putchased for the good of the people of Carroll County, Indiana.)

The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife reports the following—  

“Since January 2009, a microscopic alga most often found in north and west Texas has been confirmed at four south Texas sites: Corpus Christi, Kingsville, McAllen, and Jim Hogg County. All four occurrences caused fish kills in private ponds and investigations by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Kills and Spills Team have found no evidence that public waters were affected. …The organism, Prymnesium parvum or golden alga, is a naturally-occurring species that was first confirmed in Texas’ Pecos River in 1985, marking the first record in the Western Hemisphere. Since then, golden alga has been found to occur in inland waters of an additional 15 states. Prior to 1985, this species was mostly known from brackish European waters…. Sometimes the algae reproduce very rapidly, resulting in what is referred to as a bloom. Golden alga blooms can give the water a yellow or copper color and cause foaming along shorelines. Under certain environmental conditions, golden alga produces toxins that affect gill-breathing organisms such as fish, clams and mussels. There is no evidence that these toxins harm other wildlife, livestock or humans….Fish can escape a toxic bloom by retreating into an area that receives fresh, flowing water, such as a cove or inlet…. It remains unknown why golden alga blooms have been restricted to freshwater in the U.S., while they are a coastal concern in places such as Europe, the Mediterranean, and New Zealand. Due to its wide salinity tolerance, there is concern that golden alga might one day threaten Texas’ bays and estuaries and cause fish kills similar to those caused by red tides…Golden alga does not thrive in waters with salinity below approximately 1.5 parts per thousand. Pond owners might reduce the chances of a bloom, and any resulting threat to surrounding water bodies, by avoiding the filling or topping of ponds with salty ground or surface water…TPWD has neither the authority nor the resources to treat private ponds. More information about golden alga, including treatment options for private waters, can be found on the TPWD Web site.”

The TDPW has more information on the golden alga than you could ever imagine.

Here is a definition of Algae—

“Any of various chiefly aquatic, eukaryotic, photosynthetic organisms, ranging in size from single-celled forms to the giant kelp. Algae were once considered to be plants but are now classified separately because they lack true roots, stems, leaves, and embryos.”

Here is a definition of the word eukaryotic. I don’t know that word—

“A single-celled or multicellular organism whose cells contain a distinct membrane-bound nucleus.”

There are different types of harmful algal blooms. 

The Red Tide is the most well-known of these blooms.

Here is information on algae.

Algae can be our friend or it can kill fish and make us sick.

I vote for friendship with algae!

( Below–Kelp is an alga.)

File:Kelp forest.jpg

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama’s Coalition Leaves Out The Far Right And The Most Poor

Political columnist E.J. Dionne, who gets it right often enough, writes that President Obama is creating a political coalition inclusive of all with the exception of the far right.

Mr. Dionne says this—

“Over the last week, the true nature of Obama’s political project has come into much clearer view. He is out to build a new and enduring political establishment, located slightly to the left of center but including everyone except the far right. That’s certainly a bracing idea, since Washington has not seen a liberal establishment since the mid-1960s.”

Here’s the  full column.

I think Mr. Dionne misses something here that is picked by Bob Herbert of the New York Times.

From Mr. Herbert–….

“….the Center for Labor Market Studies has compiled data showing that the recession’s effects have been “disastrous beyond belief” for some groups, including young men, men without college degrees and black men. These job losses among young workers have ominous long-term implications for American families and the economy as a whole.”

Here’s the full column. 

It’s possible that President Obama cares about the plight of the most poor. Yet I’m yet to be convinced he cares enough to do anything about that plight or to take real political risks for the poor.

Addressing the needs of the truly down-and-out would require asking some basic questions about our economic system. It would also require asking questions about our Democratic party which uses the votes of the poor to gain office to extent those votes are needed, but often does little to offer hope to the poor the rest of the time. 

President Obama is off to a good start in many respects, but there remains room for improvement. Taking political risks for the good of all Americans would be part of that needed improvement.

Please click here for an article from The Nation magazine about the need for a program of a full employment in our nation. 

May 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Terrible Graduation Rates Show You Can Do Anything To The People Of Houston And Get Away With It

A new study reports that only 58.5 % of Houston-area high school freshmen graduate four years later.

Here is the Houston Chronicle story about the study. 

From the study—

Children at Risk, a Houston-based advocacy group, commissioned the Texas Education Agency to conduct study of six-year graduation rates for the region’s 130 high schools. They learned that 53 percent of the students who begin as ninth-graders in the Houston Independent School District had not graduated from any Texas high school in six years. The combined graduation rate for the entire region’s high schools is 58.5 percent.”

This report tells me you can do anything to people in and around and Houston and get away with it. Can you imagine people tolerate this? Or take it as normal?

These type numbers exist in cities and rural areas across the country.

You’d might as well put people in camps or brand them with irons. A poor city neighborhood in this society is a camp in any case. One that Republicans ignore all the time and Democrats often only notice at election time.

( And an isolated rural area can often be a kind of more wide-open camp that Democrats ignore and Republicans often only notice at election time.)

You can’t get anywhere in this country without a high school degree. You can’t even be sure of your prospects anymore with a college degree. People should be demanding action. People should have been doing so a long time ago because these bad education numbers are longstanding.

Our Harris County sheriff, Democrat Adrian Garcia, wants Harris County to build a new jail. Yeah–Another jail. That will solve our ills.    

Please click here for my post on the subject of why people believe conspiracy theories.  I assert people often hold such views because nothing is so crazy or brutal that it can’t be true. It seems plausible enough that we as a community in Houston would be content enough with large numbers of our poor just dying off. How would it be so different from how we treat folks currently?

May 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Analysis Of Upcoming Sotomayor Debate—You’ll Have To Learn About Supreme Court On Your Own

File:Reagan with Robert Bork 1987.jpg

Below is analysis and a transcript of upcoming debate over the appointment of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

“Blah Blah Blah.”

She’ll legislate from the bench. She’s an activist judge. She’s a liberal.

Blah Blah Blah.

Same stuff every time.

(Above–Robert Bork with Ronald ReaganMr. Bork was, thankfully, rejected for the court.)

President Obama has said he’s looking for a mix of real-life experience and knowledge of the law for the Supreme Court.

It’s seems that this is just what he’s found.   

I’m not saying you should not read about Judge Sotomayor. You should. Here’s a good story to get started.  

Here’s how Business Week magazine sees her record on business issues.

What I’m saying is  that instead of following the moronic debate that will end with Judge Sotomayor being confirmed, one could learn about the history of the court and gain some context beyond the same old junk.  

Here’s the Supreme Court web home.

Here’s a review of A People’s History of the Supreme Court by Peter Irons.

Here’s a review of The U.S. Supreme Court–The Pursuit of Justice edited by Christopher Tomlins.

Here’s a link to learn about some important cases in Supreme Court history.

Here’s a list of all 110 Supreme Court Justices to date.

You won’t learn this stuff in school, on CNN or with a Twitter message. You’ll have to learn it on your own.

In many respects, the best sources remain books, a good daily newspaper and your own hard work.

(Below–The great Chief Justice Earl Warren.)


May 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Green Tea With Soy Milk—Excellent!


I’ve been drinking green tea with a measure of steamed soy milk.

A friend told me that this is what she drinks and that it’s an excellent drink.

Right she was.

(Above–Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. I’ve been lucky enough to have a cup of tea at the park.)

I ask the drink-fixer at the Starbucks or wherever to please make it with three-fourths tea and one-fourth soy.

Every time I drink this drink I feel energized and feel ready to take on the next damned hassle life blasts my way.

Green tea is said to be good for you. Here is an article from the University of Maryland Medical Center that discusses the pros and cons of green tea. The pros appear to outweigh the cons.

Here are some pros and cons of soy milk. Again, the pros appear to outweigh the cons.

May 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

No Surprise That Houston Cop Is Hit By Two Separate Drunk Drivers

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Houston Police officer Lloyd Morrison was hit by two separate drunk drivers Saturday morning while stopped to address a traffic accident. This happened at 3:30 AM on I-45.

Here’s the Houston Chronicle story.   

Above–Houston’s highways are like the Wild West in the modern day.

The first drunk driver clipped the officer’s car. Then, another drunk driver hit the car and caused officer Morrison to be pinned against a fire truck. Officer Morrison is in critical condition, but appears to have a hopeful prognosis.

I often have to drive on Highway 290 around midnight on Friday and Saturday evenings. I’d say I see a driver who seems drunk at least half the time. I’ve called 911 at least three times about swerving drivers.

I hope this incident leads to more enforcement on our roads by both HPD and the Harris County Sheriff.

Our highways are full of drunks and crazies. Law-abiding motorists need help.

May 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Short Post Week At Texas Liberal


It’s short post week at Texas Liberal.

No post will be more than 150 words.


Because I’ve got things to do and thoughts to think.

Short post week begins Tuesday, May 26 and ends Friday, May 30.

Short posts get a short week.

General Walter Short (above) was in charge of the defense of U.S. military installations in Hawaii at the time of Pearl Harbor.  His record in that capacity is still debated.

Still, who would want to be recalled for having that job at that time?

Here is the link to the U.S. Navy history of Peal Harbor. 

5/27/09—I’ve not done such a good job this week keeping to my short post pledge.

May 26, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day.

Please be mindful of the those who have fought in our wars.

Please also be aware of those who have worked for peace.

Let’s work for the day when there are no more wars. Such a time is possible.

May 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 2 Comments

Memorial Day Parade 1942—Houston Memorial Day Events

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

(Blogger’s Note–5/29/11– Here are events for Houston Memorial Day 2011. There is no Memorial Day parade in Houston.)

Above is a Memorial Day parade in Southington, Connecticut in 1942.

Here is information about the picture. The picture was taken by Fenno Jacobs.

The small crowd is due to the fact that town’s war factories did not close for the parade.

Here is a list of Memorial Day events in the Houston area as collected by the City of Houston.

Here is the link to the Houston National Cemetery. There is a Memorial Day event at the cemetery—Here are the details.

There is a Memorial Day event at Seawolf Park on Pelican Island near Galveston Island.

Here is the link to Arlington National Cemetery.

Here is the link to Southington, Connecticut.

Southington does not list a Memorial Day parade on its list of town events for May.

Here are links about the history of Memorial Day and about the men and women who served and died in the service of others.

People talk a lot about respect for veterans. Just like they talk a lot about family and God and all that.

I’m wary that anything people talk about at length in our society is really anything that is strongly believed.

It’s not that people are lying when they say they care a lot about veterans and family and God.

Though many are lying.

It’s just that they talk and talk and yet people’s actions don’t meet up with the words.

I look at people and want to feel that they have the substance and quality to hold beliefs in a serious and thoughtful manner.

I have to admit though that in many cases I can’t get myself to that point about folks.

In fact, when I hear of a view that is claimed to be deeply held, I often wonder what misdeed or neglect is being covered for with the assertion of care and sentiment.

I think it is unlikely that we as a society care much about veterans, or that most people will take time on Memorial Day to think about the people who have died in our wars.

May 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

I’m Sorry I’m Not Able To Accept Charges On Collect Calls From Harris County Jail—Rules For Inmates Making Collect Calls From County Jail


If you are the person who called me earlier this evening from the Harris County, Texas jail asking if I was able to accept the charges on a collect call—I’m sorry that I was not able to accept such charges.

( Above–Video to Kraftwerk’s The Telephone Call.) 

I did give taking the call some thought. The recorded operator said it would cost $3.60 to accept the call. The recording did not say who was calling. All it said was that it was a collect call from the Harris County Jail.

I asked myself who I knew that might be in the county jail. While I can think of people I know that should be in jail, or that I wish were in  jail, I don’t feel I know anyone in jail at the moment.

I was somewhat curious about who was on the other end of the call.  Maybe it was a person who wished to discuss American history with me this evening. Or a person pondering the nature of redemption after the committing of misdeeds.

In the end however, my guess was that I was better off not taking the call. 

Here are rules and procedures regarding inmates in our Harris County Jail.

Here is the link to County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

Sheriff Garcia is a Democrat elected in 2008 to replace a Republican Sheriff.

Republicans are on the run here in Harris County. Harris County is the nation’s third most populous county.  Over 3.5 million people live in Harris County.   

Republicans think they can run minority-bashing anti-urban campaigns in a majority-minority urban county. 

That plan did not work so well for Republicans in 2008. 

Below are the rules for inmates placing a collect call at the Harris County Jail—

Inmates can place collect calls to phone numbers where collect calling is not restricted. This is the most common method of placing calls from the facility. However, there are some situations where collect calls are restricted… e.g.

  • The phone number has reached its credit limit for collect calls
  • The owner of the phone has requested no collect calls be permitted to their number
  • The phone number is assigned to a cellular phone or pager
  • The phone company of the called party has restricted collect calls

Rates – Rate quotes are available to the called party at the start of each call


  • Inmate dials phone number
  • System determines if called number is able to receive collect calls and places or rejects the call
  • Called party must positively accept the call by following the automated instructions

May 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment