Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Time For Greater Compassion For Auto Employees Losing Jobs—The Need For A Program Of Full Employment

We all know that the American auto worker has taken a lot of hits in recent years and months.

It’s not only been auto plant workers. Car dealerships are taking cuts as well.

It’s become part of the routine when these folks lose their jobs, to criticize the American car industry for being out-of-touch with consumers and to criticize auto workers for not seeing the warning signs of trouble. 

These things may be true in some respects. Though we should not forget that much of the criticism of the UAW is coming from the right and what they are objecting to at core is the idea of unions.

We should also note that consumers were in fact buying the big gas-guzzling cars that now seem—to a degree since many people are still buying them and driving them —out of touch with the times. 

In any case, we all know the many issues involved. The point has been made—over and over again— that the auto industry had a large hand in its own troubles.


It’s time for compassion for these folks. Anybody losing his or her job after years on the assembly line is in big trouble. You can’t leave a job like that and make that kind of money again. 

It’s easy to sit behind a keyboard and go on about some other guy’s troubles.  The question now is what are we going to do to help these folks? 

I don’t think anybody has an answer to that question. Just as I don’t think anybody knows what to do with the urban poor and rural poor in our country.  

I question the commitment of President Obama and of the Democratic Congress to really taking on these questions. Doing so would mean addressing some core issues of our economic system, and addressing basic attitudes and stereotypes about people who have not had success in life or who are having a hard time in life.

Our criticism of auto workers seems in some ways meant to absolve ourselves of any oconcern for these people.

Here is a recent article from the Nation Magazine about the need for a program of full employment in our nation.  

From the article—

“The right way to earn our way back to long-term prosperity is through stimulus efforts that will help develop, broadly deploy, fairly compensate and, especially, fully employ our human capital, which will always be our greatest source of national wealth. Only then will we have refired the commercial engines needed to recover from this dismal recession. And only then will we have addressed Americans’ belief that unemployment is by far, with no close second, the most important economic issue facing the country….We need an all-encompassing strategy on the massive scale we used at Normandy to win the war in Europe and that we later had behind the sweeping Marshall Plan to help rebuild Europe’s broken economies. This time, however, our big-thinking strategy must be about creating the 24 million jobs that are missing so that American workers will be nearly fully employed.”

This is the big way we need to be thinking. For all the improvement in our politics and policy with Mr. Obama in office instead of George W. Bush, we are not there yet.

( Blogger’s note—I do not subscribe to The Nation. I buy it on the newstand about once a month. It’s important to realize that seemingly free online content must be paid for by somebody. Please click here to read The Nation and please consider buying it on the newstand or becoming a home suscriber.)

May 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Another Statue Of James Garfield Attacked In Ohio

A sandstone statue carved in the image of President James A. Garfield is shown Friday, May 15, 2009, on the campus of Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio. Someone has beheaded a statue just a day after it was dedicated Thursday.

A statue of President James Garfield had been beheaded at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio.

Here is the link for Hiram College.

Above you see a picture of the headless statue.

Here is a report on the issue from the Zanesville Times-Recorder.

Last year this blog reported that I know who spray-painted the anarchy symbol 15 years ago on the statue of James Garfield  in Downtown Cincinnati. Look at the base at the statue and you can still see where the symbol was painted.

It’s crazy. It seems that every 15 years or so someone in Ohio attacks a statue of James Garfield.

What can be done to stop these attacks! In 2024 another one of these monuments may well be assaulted.

Here is very good information about James Garfield. Mr. Garfield was our 20th President. He served only in 1881 because he was both sworn-in and assassinated in that year. 

The link above is from the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.

From Mr. Garfield’s Miller Center profile—

The youngest of five children born on a poor farm on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio, Garfield is perhaps the poorest man ever to have become President. Supporting himself as a part-time teacher, a carpenter, and even a janitor through college, he was an idealistic young man who identified with the antislavery tenants of the new Republican Party. Garfield studied law on his own and passed the Ohio bar exams in 1861 before throwing himself into politics and winning a seat in the Ohio legislature. Garfield was a loyal Unionist who built a reputation as a Civil War hero that earned him a seat in the House of Representatives without ever having campaigned……Since Garfield was struck down four months into his term, historians can only speculate as to what his presidency might have been like. Garfield was assassinated by Charles Julius Guiteau, an emotionally disturbed man who had failed to gain an appointment in Garfield’s administration. Garfield did have time to appoint his cabinet, however, and in doing so, he refused to cave in to Stalwart pressure, enraging Senator Conkling, who resigned in protest. Had Garfield served his term, historians speculate that he would have been determined to move toward civil service reform and carry on in the clean government tradition of President Hayes. He also supported education for black southerners and called for African American suffrage, as he stressed in his inaugural address. Unfortunately, he is best remembered for his assassination. And although his killer was insane, Garfield’s greatest legacy was the impact of his death on moving the nation to reform government patronage.”

I will say, as much as I like the Miller Center for information about the Presidents,I doubt Mr. Garfield would have done as much for black folks as it is suggested here. Reconstruction-era Presidents talked a good game. But in most cases they did not deliver. 

Here is a useful history of Reconstruction from PBS.

May 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Panhandle Truth Squad Blog Now Five Years Old


The great Amarillo blog Panhandle Truth Squad is now five years old.

Please click here to read Panhandle Truth Squad.

I’ve not met the guys from Panhandle Truth Squad in person as of yet. And in many ways that’s just as well because I wager they are assholes. I know at the least that I’m a jerk and I just can’t imagine that such a meeting would go well.

Still—Someday I’ll be in Amarillo or PST will visit Houston, and we will meet.  

Panhandle Truth Squad has had more than 115,000 vistors since it began posting. While that’s nothing compared the traffic here at Texas Liberal, it is a number greater than the population of the island nation of Kiribati. Kiribati has roughly 105,000 people.   

Above is a picture of Kiribati. I’d run a picture of Amarillo, Texas, but Amarillo looks just the same as what you see above.

 Here is information about visiting Kiribati.

At five years, PST has existed longer than the life expectancy of the octopus. The octopus is a very intelligent creature, but sadly it only lives for five years at most.

Why Panhandle Truth Squad gets more time on this Earth than the octopus is not clear to me. 

Below is an octopus moving from one tidal pool to another during low tide.

File:Tide pools octopus.jpg

May 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments