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Top Texas Political Bloggers Oppose Federal Spending Freeze

Top progressive bloggers from across Texas issued a statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address cautioning the President to avoid implementing a federal spending freeze.  While these bloggers maintain their support of their President and their Democratic candidates, they reject the notion that a spending freeze is a valid solution for working Americans in this time of economic crisis.

“A spending freeze is foolish,” said Trey McAtee, an Austin-based blogger who writes under the pseudonym of  ‘McBlogger.’  “It is not in line with the ideals of President Obama’s supporters, and as progressive bloggers we’re here to make sure he knows that.”

These members of the Texas Progressive Alliance, a coalition of progressive Texas bloggers formed in 2007, call on President Obama to reconsider his plans for a spending freeze and instead focus on restoring the confidence that businesses have in the future.

( In addition to this posting, my friend and fellow TPA member Perry Dorrell of Brains & Eggs had additional comments. Paul Krugman at the New York Times agrees that the spending freeze is a dumb gimmick is a dumb stuntThe TPA posts a weekly round-up that I normally post here on weekends. This week though I’ll send you to my friends at South Texas Chisme for the round-up.)

The following individual statements were issued:

“The economy is still in a precarious and fragile state, even today.  The deficit hawks in Congress have decided to willfully ignore reality and opted instead to play politics on the issue of the deficit.  They’re making demands that, if the President accedes, will lead to a long lasting economic malaise.”

— Trey McAtee of McBlogger (http://www.mcblogger.com)

“The spending freeze will likely affect those who need it the most during this difficult time in our economy.  Throughout his campaign, Obama criticized his opponent’s calls for a spending freeze, calling it a ‘hatchet when we need a scalpel.’  The only difference progressives see now between Obama and McCain’s platform is that Sarah Palin isn’t standing next to him.”

— Rachel Farris of MeanRachel (http://www.meanrachel.com)

“During his candidacy, President Obama promised to overhaul immigration early in his first term. However, many immigrant rights advocates fear Obama’s spending freeze will put a halt to any type of immigration reform. Any further delay to fix the broken immigration system and this nation will continue to see the devastation of thousands of families and neighborhoods.”

— Edmundo Rocha of Para Justicia y Libertad(http://xicanopwr.com/)

Continue reading

January 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Flights Of Critically Injured Haitians To U.S. Stopped In Money Dispute

File:Boy receiving treatment after Haiti earthquake.jpg

A dispute over who will pay the bill has stopped the airlift of critically injured Haitian earthquake victims to Florida.

These folks cannot the help they need in Haiti.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist has written a letter asking the federal government to pay some of the costs of treating these patients in Florida.

Other states have also received a smaller number of these patients and those flights have stopped for the moment as well.

This dispute could not have been resolved while the flights continued?

Some say it is the military that is halting the flights. The military says some hospitals are denying the patients.

Governor Crist is running in a Republican primary for the U.S. Senate against a tea party-type. This primary is closer than had been expected.

Is Governor Crist raising this point to protect himself from a charge that he is allowing Florida to spend money on dark-skinned foreigners?

Could nobody in the federal government contact the White House so the President could order flights to continue? I’m sure that in the end something will be worked out to pay for these treatments.

Meanwhile, it is possible that somebody has died already because they could not get airlifted out of Haiti and receive better treatment.

Can’t people get their acts together when lives are on the line?

It really is sickening. It’s all about money.

The relief effort in Haiti is ongoing. Doctors Without Borders is one of a number of groups that is offering needed help.

January 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Did My Wife And I Divide This Pizza?

How did my wife and I divide the pizza you see in this picture?

We each ate half. That’s how a good marriage goes. You share stuff.

It is good to share.

It is good to share in our personal lives and it is good to share our resources as citizens and taxpayers.

Behind the pizza, you see our fiber optic Christmas tree.

We keep it up year-round. As good as our lives are, it is always useful to have some nice colorful lights.

January 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Is Jarvis Johnson For Real As He Discusses Poverty In Race Against Sheila Jackson Lee?

Houston City Councilmember Jarvis Johnson sent out the numbers you see below about the 18th Congressional District of  Texas. Mr. Johnson is running in a Democratic primary in this district to unseat incumbent Sheila Jackson Lee.

(Above–The 18th was once represented by Barbara Jordan.)

(Here is a profile of this race from the Houston Chronicle.)

From Mr. Johnson about the 18th

151,855 (23%) residents are in poverty,

66,238 (35.4%) children are in poverty

25% of women are in poverty

28 % of African Americans are in poverty

25% of Latinos are in poverty.

From the 2006-2008 American Community Survey Census

67% are high school graduates or higher compared to the 85% national average.

17% have a Bachelor’s degree or better compared to the 27% national average.

50% of housing units are owner occupied compared to the 67% national average.

50% of housing units are renter occupied compared to the 33% national average.

$37,133 is the median household income compared to the $52,175 national average.

Here is a map of the 18th District.

Okay– I’m glad Mr. Johnson is discussing poverty. Poverty is an issue that should have mattered in the race for Mayor of Houston last year. Houston is full of poverty and misery.

The question is—What is Mr. Johnson going to do about any of this?

Here is something of an issues platform on Mr. Johnson’s campaign web home. I think it has a measure of substance.

However, nowhere on Mr. Johnson’s web home can you find a detailed explanation of what he would propose to help fight poverty in the 18th district.

I think many people are tired of Congresswoman Jackson Lee’s endless publicity seeking and are open to change.

Earning the trust of voters is difficult when minority voters and urban Democrats of all kinds vote for Democrats year-after-year and our cities only seem to get worse.

Imagine if state legislators and Congressional representatives in electorally safe urban districts devoted some of their campaign war chests to voter registration? Imagine if they began to really speak the truth about the problems facing the poor and the problems facing urban America?

Here’s an article recently published in New Scientist magazine about the impact of stress, poverty, and crime on breast cancer rates of women in American urban neighborhoods.

From the article—

“But according to a novel collaboration between sociologists and biologists, the strain of living in some of the toughest neighbourhoods in the US may cause biological changes that lead directly to earlier deaths. Results from the collaboration indicate that social isolation and a fear of crime cause an overload of stress hormones that can change cell biology, sending tumours into overdrive. “We’re showing that your social environment can affect your health directly,” says Suzanne Conzen of the University of Chicago. “It goes into gene expression. That concept is really new.”

Science is finding new ways to report a story that anyone could guess—Poverty kills.

Republicans seem lost to any measure of decency on this issue. What is so frustrating is the silence of so many Democrats on the question.

I’m going to listen to what Mr. Johnson says on these issues of poverty as the campaign moves on to the March 2nd primary Election Day.

Hopefully he is for real.

Despite many disappointments with politicians,  I like to “Keep Hope Alive” as Jesse Jackson often urged folks to do.

(This is the Texas Liberal “*Texas Primary Post of the Day.* Posts do not appear each day.)

January 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Review Of State Of The Union Address—Waving Yams

This evening I watched President Obama’s State of the Union Address.

I thought it was a good speech. I was entertained up until the point where I got bored.

Here is a transcript of the speech. You have a brain. Read the speech and give some thought to what you think.

I was glad the President mentioned health care reform as an ongoing issue. We must press on with this fight so that people are covered when they are sick. It is terrible to be sick without coverage. How can we allow that in our wealthy nation. How can anyone of any political party wish that on anybody?

I was glad to see that the President had some fight in him. Though frankly what other option did he have at this point but to show some spunk?

I did though very much dislike the spending freeze idea. If you are going to be a far right-wing Republican, why not just be a far right-wing Republican? I’m holding out hope that the President is lying in some way about that idea.

I could spend some time writing an in-depth analysis of the speech, but the post would be stale not long after it was written.

I have other things to do.

I wrote a few hours ago what I had hoped to hear in the speech.

I’m still waiting for an adult discussion of the realities of the global economy with the American people, but at least I agreed with many of the policy initiatives the President offered.

I thought to myself this evening that if I were President of the United States, I would wave a giant sweet potato at the public and at Congress to show that I meant business.

Above is a picture me doing just that—Waving a giant sweet potato.

Look at what I learned from Wikipedia this evening—“In many societies yams are so important that one can speak of a ‘yam civilization’. Growing the tuber is associated with magic; the best ones must be given to the chief or king; there is a series of myths connected to a divine origin; a farmer may gain a lot of prestige by growing the largest or longest yam.”

Here are facts about sweet potatoes and yams.

Imagine the impact it would have if the President, Prime Minister, Chief, or King of a nation that held yams as central to their existence waived a yam at Congress or Parliament.

Maybe the Mr. Obama should have waived a hamburger at Congress and the people.

It would be great if our nation could be united behind ideas that I agree with if so prompted by important and specific foods.

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Historian Howard Zinn Dead At 87—Learn About Your History And About Yourself

The historian Howard Zinn has died at the age of 87.

(Above—Howard Zinn in 1945 as a bombardier in WW II.)

Professor Zinn was well-known for having written A People’s History Of The United States–1492-Present

Here is Professor Zinn’s obituary in the Boston Globe. Dr. Zinn was a professor at Boston University. At B.U, and in larger society, Dr. Zinn was both a writer and an activist.

From the Globe obit– “For Dr. Zinn, activism was a natural extension of the revisionist brand of history he taught. Dr. Zinn’s best-known book, “A People’s History of the United States” (1980), had for its heroes not the Founding Fathers — many of them slaveholders and deeply attached to the status quo, as Dr. Zinn was quick to point out — but rather the farmers of Shays’ Rebellion and the union organizers of the 1930s.”

Here is the Howard Zinn website.

Here is some information about A People’s History.

Go to your local bookstore right now and buy a copy of A People’s History.

Learn about your history and by so doing learn about yourself and the society you live in today.

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Hope For The State Of The Union Address This Evening

File:Ford Rocky and Albert in Congress.jpg

My hope for the State of the Union speech this evening is that President Obama stays the course on health care reform, and that he speaks to the American people in an adult way about the realities of a changing economy and the need for government to play a part in helping Americans with jobs, education and home ownership.

(Above–President Gerald Ford of Michigan giving State of the Union in 1975. Seated to the right is House Speaker Carl Albert of Oklahoma. On the left is Vice President Nelson Rockefeller of New York.)

January 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Is The Boy With The Cold Hard Cash Always Mr. Right?

A few days ago I heard the Madonna song “Material Girl”

(Above–A scene from the video to Material Girl.)

One line in the song is–“The boy with the cold hard cash is always Mr. Right.”

Do I agree with this viewpoint?

Should you agree with this viewpoint?

In my opinion, you should not concur with this stance.

We should like and love people based on their merits.

We should look hard past superficial qualities to see people as they are.

Life is brief and brutal. Let us like people for the right reasons.

Let us take today as a good day to take stock of the people in our lives and to assess if we are doing right by them.

January 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Respect For Others Is The Highest Duty Of Civil Life—Get That Through Your Head

Here is a sign that was up in the elementary school where I voted in Houston’s municipal elections last month.

Is it possible that “civic life” was the term that was meant to be used rather than “civil life?”

No matter. The message is clear enough.

I could write a long blog post right now about whatever, but what could I say that would improve on this message?

Imagine if people got this idea through their heads in our colleges or in our churches.

Often the simplest things are the most important ideas to communicate.

What the hell is wrong with people? Why are so many unable to grasp simple and decent things?

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 3 Comments

If Rick Perry Were Elected President, Would We Have To Take Leave Of Ourselves?

Texas Monthly political writer Paul Burka has suggested that Texas Governor Rick Perry is running for President in 2012.

Click here to read a portion of the article. You’ll get the drift.

Many know that Governor Perry has advocated secession from the Union by our State of Texas. It is the type of seditious talk that defines the modern Republican party.

Hearing that Governor Perry might wish to run for President, I wondered what he would advocate the United States should leave once he is elected.

The United Nations?


North America?

(Above—North America. We’ve got to get out!)

Maybe it is a deep philosophical question.

Can one leave one’s self?

(Below–Rene Descartes as painted by Frans Hals in 1648. A comprehensive understanding of consciousness may be required to grasp this problem)

Maybe it is a matter  of psychology or mental health.

Can we lose all touch with ourselves?

The good thing is this—That traitor Perry is never going to be President of these United States.

We would never elect a testosterone-poisoned states rights crazy Texan to lead this nation.

Ummm–Except for that one that we already did elect.

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just Two Months Remain Before My Tenth Wedding Anniversary

Today being January 25, 2010, I am just two months away from my tenth wedding anniversary with the wife.

The wife can be seen in the picture above.

I’m damned glad about my marriage.

My wife helps me be a better person.

January 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 6 Comments

Keep Your Foot On The Gas When Taking A Picture of Stray Pit Bulls

Here is a picture of some stray pit bulls that I took while driving around the  area of the Houston Ship Channel.

These dogs were hanging around on a side street.

I stopped the car to take the picture and the dogs stared at me.

I had my foot on the gas ready to go.

Yeah–I know this was stupid on my part. But I’m always looking for a picture to take for the blog and there were those dogs.

The Ship Channel area has many things to see. Here is a picture I took of a huge yard of crushed cars that is near the Ship Channel.

January 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up—My Conversation With Congressman Al Green

At the bottom of this post is the weekly round-up of the Texas Progressive Alliance. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

In the picture above you see Houston Congressman Al Green marching in a Houston Martin Luther King Parade last week.

Mr. Green is a Democrat representing the Ninth Congressional District of Texas.

You see that Mr. Green is waiving at me as I take his picture.

I’m certain the Congressman is thinking something like—“Greetings to you my fellow citizen”

I feel he is also thinking—“Hello Texas Liberal readers.”

The Congressman did come over and shake my hand.

I told him—“You tell Obama to start fighting.”

I’ve been frustrated that President Obama does not advocate more forcefully for the causes he says he supports while at the same time Tea Party crazies are running wild.

In response to my statement Congressman Green said “Yeah” and went on his way.

I think Congressman Green and I really connected.

Click here to visit Congressman Green’s “Virtual Office”

Maybe when nobody is looking you can steal a  “virtual paperweight”

The round-up—

Off the Kuff takes a look at some demographic trends in the Houston area.

Something STINKS about TCEQ’s recent Fort Worth air study. Considering that the Barnett Shale has a staggering asthma rate of 25% compared to 7.1% statewide, TXsharon thinks it’s time for an intervention in Texas. Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme, along with every other progressive, knows why Democrats are having a hard time. Even theTea Party activists know that our country should not be run by corporate lobbyists.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson discusses the importance of the elections this year: 2010 races loom large for 2011 legislative redistricting. Continue reading

January 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 3 Comments

Picture Of Peace Car

Above is the Peace Car.

I took a picture of the Peace car at this week’s Houston Martin Luther King Parade.

If you see the Peace Car around Houston, be sure to offer up a friendly wave.

January 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

2000’s Warmest Decade On Record—You Can Advocate For Your Kids’ Future Or Not

NASA reports that the years between 2000 and 2009 were the warmest decade in the world on record so far.

(Above—Fallen Angels in Hell. Painted in 1841 by John Martin.)

From the New York Times story on the issue—

“The decade ending in 2009 was the warmest on record, new surface temperature figures released Thursday by theNational Aeronautics and Space Administration show. The agency also found that 2009 was the second warmest year since 1880, when modern temperature measurement began. The warmest year was 2005. The other hottest recorded years have all occurred since 1998, NASA said…James E. Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said that global temperatures varied because of changes in ocean heating and cooling cycles….“When we average temperature over 5 or 10 years to minimize that variability,” said Dr. Hansen, one of the world’s leading climatologists, “we find global warming is continuing unabated.”

Here is the full Times story.

Here is the NASA press release on the matter.

From the NASA release—

“Climate scientists agree that rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases trap incoming heat near the surface of the Earth and are the key factors causing the rise in temperatures since 1880, but these gases are not the only factors that can impact global temperatures….Three others key factors — including changes in the sun’s irradiance, oscillations of sea surface temperature in the tropics, and changes in aerosol levels — can also cause slight increases or decreases in the planet’s temperature. Overall, the evidence suggests that these effects are not enough to account for the global warming observed since 1880.”

I don’t have kids. I’m 42. I’ll be here for whatever remaining amount of time. Many years hopefully. I’ll get by one way or another. And I will remain involved because I think it is important to remain involved.

For those of you with kids, you can decide to take part in politics or not. You can have your kids live in a good world or a bad world. You can ask people you know to be involved in politics and advocacy.

You can leave your kids a world of rising oceans and a nation where nobody has health insurance, or you can do your best to make our nation and our world a decent place to live.

It is your call.

Here is a BBC story about the risk of food and water shortages around the world poised  by climate change.

Greenpeace is addressing global issues of climate change.

January 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments