There is no Texas flag or Confederate flag being used to sell the food despite the talk of secession and treason from far right-wing people like our Texas Governor Rick Perry or extreme Texas Congressperson Ron Paul.
It seems that peddlers of fajitas and tortas may be better and more loyal Americans than some of our leading Republican elected officials in Texas.
I’m sorry that many on the right don’t seem to love our nation anymore.
In any case, you can sell stuff to Texans without being a right-wing crazy.
Liberals love the U.S flag and our federal union. The new health care reform bill, which will benefit millions of Americans, is a fitting symbol of the superior powers of the federal union over the far more limited powers held by the states.
The Houston International Fest runs one more weekend. The last two days are Saturday 4/24 and Sunday 4/25. You should go if you are anywhere near Downtown Houston.
While it is somewhat expensive in my view, the festival is good-natured and attracts all types of folks. There are bands to see, cultural exhibits, and food to eat. The Caribbean is the region of the Earth that is the focus of the festival this year.
While my post here and my blog are on the left, the International Fest is happy to have visitors of all ideological leanings.
At the end 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. (Each week I run the TPA round-up and include facts about Texas politics or Texas history. Running the round-up this week with information about the Green Party in no way implies that my TPA fellow bloggers support or do not support Green Party ballot access or any Green Party candidates in Texas for 2010.)
With the round-up this week is information about efforts by the Green Party of Texas to get ballot access in Texas for the 2010 election. If successful, these efforts may lead to automatic ballot access for Texas Greens in 2012.
Greens are running a candidate for State Comptroller named Ed Lindsay. There is no Democrat in this race. If Mr. Lindsay can get on the ballot and then win 5% on Election Day, the Green Party would qualify for automatic Texas statewide ballot access in 2012. With no Democrat on the ballot, the 5% goal is very possible.
There are Greens running for other positions for the Texas Statewide ballot and in other races in Texas. A petition effort is underway to help get these folks on the ballot. This petition effort is detailed at the link to the Green Party of Texas.
The statewide races in Texas are important in 2010. Bill White for Governor and Linda Chavez-Thompson for Lieutenant Governor are the Democratic nominees who I strongly support. Given the difference between these two candidates and their Republican opponents, it is essential that they be elected for the economic and educational well-being of all Texans. Another big issue is how Texas will implement federal health care reforms. Will Texans get access to health insurance and have a chance to get well when they get sick, or will our state government fight health care reform all the way and allow people to die from lack of care in order to satisfy the Republican political base?
These things said, Texans deserve options at the ballot box. In addition to giving Texans a true choice in the race for State Comptroller, Greens are offering a candidate , Paul Cardwell, for the District 9 State Board of Education race where there is also no Democrat on the ballot.
Libertarians are on the ballot all over Texas. Libertarian ballot access gives Republicans an option when they do not like their own nominees, and it gives voice to constituencies in Texas that may not always find something to support with the two major parties. While Libertarians are a dismal selfish lot, they have the right to ballot access and to try to convince voters to accept their barbaric law-of-the-jungle views.
Greens should have the chance to advocate for economic, social, and environmental justice and fair play. Here are the ten core values of the Green Party.
The Green petition can be signed by any person who did not vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries last month. I voted in the Democratic primary and am not eligible to sign the Green petition. You must also be a registered voter to sign the petition. Here is a list of county Green Party contacts in Texas if you want to volunteer to circulate the petition.
The Greens are making the petition available online for you to print up and circulate. You can print it and have family members and friends sign. Here is an explanation of this process. Even the smallest number of signatures makes a difference.
Please consider the helping the Green Party get on the ballot in Texas in 2010. Green party ballot access will strengthen democracy in Texas by giving voters more options.
Here is the weekly TPA round-up—
At Texas Vox, our thoughts remain with the victims of the West Virginia mining disaster, the worst mining accident in 25 years.
An ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland is disrupting air travel in Europe.
(Above–The offending volcano. It is called Eyjafjallajoekull. This name is combination of the worlds “islands”, “mountain” and “glacier”. The picture was taken by a photographer giving his or herself the name “boaworm” )
(Update–5/21/11–The volcano erupting in Iceland at the moment is a different volcano. However, much of the information in this post is about volcanoes in general, and would be useful to read to learn more overall about the subject. Thank you for reading Texas Liberal.)
(Update—4/19/10—There is a new ash cloud.)
(Update—4/20/10—Half of EU flights may be in the air by the end of Tuesday.)
(Update–4/21/10—More flights up and running.)
(Update–4/25/10–Europe is looking for new ways to deal with a future eruption.)
(Update–5/5/10–Airports are closed in Ireland and Scotland.)
(Update–5/8/10—Yet more ash in the sky.)
(Update 5/16/10—It goes on and on.)
There are many accounts of what is taking place that you can find on the web or in your local newspaper. (This blog is a big believer in supporting your local newspaper and taking the time to read the news and reflect upon the news with a cup of coffee or in some other civilized way.)
In this post, I’ll address some more basic issues of what is taking place that are not always discussed in news reports.
First of all—What exactly is a volcano?
Here is an explanation of volcanoes from an interview with a scientist conducted by the children’s book publisher Scholastic—
“Volcanoes are really mountains that build taller and taller, with time, as they erupt. That means that molten rock, magma, comes from within the earth and erupts onto the surface. The volcano might be explosive and produce ashes or be effusive and produce lava. The explosions are usually first because there are lots of gases inside the magma. When you have a bottle of soda pop, you do not see any bubbles of gas, but when you open it, bubbles form almost instantly. Once the gas bubbles have all escaped, the soda is flat. Once the magma is flat, a lava flow comes out. Most of the volcanoes from around the Pacific Ocean are composite, which means that there are layers of ashes and lava. Most volcanoes are 10,000 to 100,000 years old — it takes time for them to grow big.”
Some volcanoes are underwater. Here is a post I recently wrote that has many facts about undersea volcanoes.
The Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington reports the following about the origin of the word volcano–
“The word “volcano” comes from the little island of Vulcano in the Mediterranean Sea off Sicily. Centuries ago, the people living in this area believed that Vulcano was the chimney of the forge of Vulcan — the blacksmith of the Roman gods. They thought that the hot lava fragments and clouds of dust erupting form Vulcano came from Vulcan’s forge as he beat out thunderbolts for Jupiter, king of the gods, and weapons for Mars, the god of war. In Polynesia the people attributed eruptive activity to the beautiful but wrathful Pele, Goddess of Volcanoes, whenever she was angry or spiteful. Today we know that volcanic eruptions are not super-natural but can be studied and interpreted by scientists.”
(Below—A picture of the Vulcano island.)
The issue from the Icelandic volcano that is causing all the trouble is volcanic ash. Here are facts about volcanic ash from the United States Geological Survey. This link gives you all the facts you need about volcanic ash.
From these facts—
“Small jagged pieces of rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass the size of sand and silt (less than 2 millimeters (1/12 inch) in diameter) erupted by a volcano are called volcanic ash. Very small ash particles can be less than 0.001 millimeters (1/25,000th of an inch) across. Volcanic ash is not the product of combustion, like the soft fluffy material created by burning wood, leaves, or paper. Volcanic ash is hard, does not dissolve in water, is extremely abrasive and mildly corrosive, and conducts electricity when wet.”
However, if you need even more facts on ash, the BBC has a Q & A.
You can see why you would not want something like that clogging up your jet engine.
The Earth is a complex place with an interesting geology that merits study even when no big disaster is taking place.
Here is a link to Geology. com. There is a great deal of information at this site about the Earth.
A very useful book to learn about these topics is called Earth–The Definitive Visual Guide. I have this book at home and look at it often. It has great pictures and helpful text to help folks understand the world.
There is a lot more to our existence than just freak-show ash clouds that make people study things they might not otherwise consider. Please be someone who is informed and who is curious about as many things as possible. We all the ability to know many things. The information we need to learn these things is all around us if we just make some effort.
(Below—The Cleveland Volcano in Alaska as photographed from space in 2006.)
Above you see a brother of ours—we are all connected—fishing in the Houston Ship Channel.
I took this picture yesterday.
I’ve got a better picture of the guy, but just in case he was skipping work or fleeing the law I don’t want to get him in trouble.
You’ve got to be out of your mind to fish in the Houston Ship Channel.
Or—Maybe you need something to eat.
That man knows full well that the Houston Ship Channel is not a clean body of water.
Yet I can’t imagine that this man would eat fish from the Houston Ship Channel if he felt he had other options.
People do what they feel they must do.
The door to the Open Door Mission on Harrisburg Blvd. in Houston is closed.
I’m not saying that this place does not do good work or that the door is closed for a good reason.
It is not out of business.
I’m simply saying that the door to the Open Door Mission is in this picture quite closed and locked.
Here are two pictures of your friendly blogger.
I know I don’t look so friendly in these pictures. You’ll simply have to take my word for the fact.
In this first picture I am at Burnet Woods in Cincinnati, Ohio on what was a very cold day this past February.
In this next picture, I am at the Houston Ship Channel just a few hours ago. This was a much warmer day in Houston then the day you see pictured in Cincinnati.
Burnet Woods and the Houston Ship Channel are places with both organic and man-made elements.
These are aspects of existence that are found in each of us.
We are partly our own creation and we are partly a creation of things beyond our control.
I dig both these aspects of our existence.
I took these pictures by myself with my iphone.
The ability to be alone, and still to be able to share what I’ve done alone with others is yet another contrasting aspect of the existence we all share.
What an interesting world and existence we all share.
Tomorrow–April 15–is the day we are due to pay our taxes.
Some people don’t pay all the money they owe. The IRS estimates that 16% of people intentionally cheat on their taxes or file no return at all.
People who willingly cheat on their taxes should go off with their freedom-hating, census-hating buddies to Iran or Burma and see how much they like it in those places.
Pay your damn taxes.
Here in Houston and Harris County, Texas, it is runoff day for candidates in races where nobody reached 50% of the vote on Primary Day last month.
There are votes such as this all over Texas today.
The estimated turnout for this vote in Harris County is around 5%.
In Harris County, you can take your ballot in three different languages as illustrated by the sign you see above that was outside my polling place today.
You can vote in English, Spanish or Vietnamese.
In a diverse part of the nation like Houston and Harris County, all groups of people have the right to be apathetic and to have no idea what is taking place.
In less diverse parts of Texas, only one group of people is likely to be ignorant of the events of the day. Here in Houston though, there is a near limitless number of racial and ethnic groups that are ignoring this election.
This is what freedom is all about.
When Will The So-Called Tea Party Stick Up For Coal Miners In W. Virginia Who Die From Greed And No Effective Regulation Of The Mines?
A few days ago I made a post about the coal mine disaster in West Virginia.
(Above—A vigil in West Virginia for the miners killed last week.)
Two causes of the tragedy may be greedy mine ownership from Massey Energy that put safety before profits and, also, poor federal safety oversight of the mine.
This is an excellent question. Where is Mrs. Palin and all the alleged working class champions of the so-called Tea Party movement?
You’d think these champions of working people would be demanding that greedy mine owners and lax regulation be addressed right now for the safety of blue-collar Americans.
Instead, these so-called Tea Party people are out trying to get average working people to fight against finally getting some health insurance.
Let’s be clear—These so-called Tea Party folks are sick with self-revlusion and with anger at anyone they feel has a better life than they do. They also don’t seem to like people that they see as different from themselves.
They are blinded by this self-hate and by this anger.
In my home it takes two people to sharpen a pencil.
The “mini-sharpener” you see above has suction cups on the bottom that allow you to keep it on a surface while you sharpen the pencil. The problem is that the suction cups son’t work.
This is why it takes two of us to sharpen a pencil. However, it still takes but one of us to screw in a lightbulb.
It is okay that it takes two of us to sharpen a pencil because it takes two to make a thing go right.
Here is some history of pencil sharpeners. If you look at the top of the page, you will see links to more facts about the evolution of this device.
Here are four bird species working as a team to eat trash on the Galveston Seawall. I took this picture last week.
I think this picture really shows that we can all come together in life despite our differences.
Here is the most recent weekly Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.
Normally I have additional commentary or facts or photos about Texas to go with the round-up. But this week the TPA round-up is a solo act.
Marshmallow Peeps make sweeping endorsements of Democrats on The Texas Cloverleaf.
CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders why Republicans and Republican suck ups act like bleeping thugs? Perry appointee Nueces County DA Jimenez threw out the board certified attorneys to bring in her cronies, and HD 76 incumbent Norma Chavez channels Karl Rove.
Justice John Paul Stevens will be retiring from the Supreme Court at the end of the current term.
(Above—Justice Stevens in 1976.)
Let’s hope that President Obama picks a liberal to replace Justice Stevens. Let’s hope the President selects relatively young liberal who will serve on the Court for many years to come.
The article explores–among other things–how Justice Stevens became a leader of the Court’s so-called liberal wing after having been appointed to the Court by President Gerald Ford.
There are resources both online and in books to help you learn about the history of the Supreme Court. It is also so that just by regularly reading a daily newspaper you can learn a lot about the court and about the confirmation battle ahead after President Obama makes his nomination.
Below are some links to learn about the court. It is up to you to know what is going on the world.
The Oxford Companion To The Supreme Court is a very useful reference. This book has brief but useful biographies of each Justice who has served on the court, and has accounts of many cases that have been decided over the years.
(Below—William Brennan was a liberal on the Supreme Court. He was a member of the Court between 1956 and 1990. Here is Justice Brennan’s obit from the Washington Post.)
I just watched a 35 year old episode of Barney Miller where gay characters helped bust gay-bashing cop and where, in a separate plot line, a mentally ill man was treated with respect after he tried to kill himself.
Don’t you wish that views and conduct such as I relate from this show could be mastered in 2010?
Open-minded views are always best.
In this episode, one of the gay characters had to be convinced that the cops in Captain Miller’s station house would not do violence to him simply because he was gay. Open-mindedness must be a two-way street.
With exceptions, it is people on the left who best exemplify the views of compassion and open-mindedness that I am relating in this blog post.