Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Here Come The Salmon Up The Fish Elevator

Here come the salmon up the salmon elevator at the Ballard Locks in Seattle, Washington.

Off they go to spawn or to be eaten by a sea lion or to end up on your plate.

July 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Sunny Yellow Tugboats In Seattle

Here is a picture of a number of yellow tugboats near the Ballard Locks in Seattle.

I know it is supposed to be cloudy in Seattle, but I’ve had sun on all the 4 days I’ve been in Seattle so far.

It has been cloudy in the mornings, but very sunny in the afternoons.

Here is a picture of some sunny yellow tugboats in Seattle, Washington.

These boats are damned cheery in an industrial sort of way.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

The View From Point Defiance Park In Tacoma, Washington—What An Excellent Park And City To Visit

Here is a view of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge from the excellent Point Defiance Park in fabulous Tacoma, Washington.

I was at this park just a few hours ago. As you can see, it was a nice sunny day.

There are many things to do and see in Point Defiance Park.

Also, there are many things to do and see in Tacoma, Washington.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Big Wooden Seal Of State Of Washington

Here is the Seal of the State of Washington that was on exhibit at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Washington became a state in 1889.

This picture is from the very good Washington History Museum in Tacoma, Washington.

If in or near Tacoma, this is a museum you should visit.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Does Anybody Refuse Use Of The Free Government Service Of The Ballard Locks In Seattle?—I Wager Not

Here are two photos I took a few hours ago of the Ballard Locks on the Lake Union Ship Canal in Seattle, Washington.

These locks assist all sorts of boats and ships in reaching Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean.

These locks are owned and operated by the U.S government. They are free to use by all craft.

The tour guide on the boat ride I took to see the locks, said that big ships, fishing boats, tour boats and pleasure craft use these locks.

Do any of these vessels refuse this service because it is run by the government? Isn’t this socialism?

I bet nobody refuses use of the Ballard Locks because they are run by the government.

This is just how conservatives accept Social Security and veteran’s benefits and all sorts of government benefits and services, even as they complain about government.

People like government just fine when they are the ones benefiting.

Beyond selfishness, Liberals, progressives and other thoughtful folks also like government for all the good it can do, and for all the good it does in fact accomplish in our society.

July 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The View From The Top Of The Space Needle— Both Interesting And Instructive

Here is the scene from the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington on the evening of July 18.

What is seen in this picture is some of Downtown Seattle, a portion of Puget Sound, and the Port of Seattle.

The port and the ships entering the port are part of the scenery when considered from the broad vantage point of the top of the Space Needle.

Industry and technology are a large part of what defines us as people. Industry is just as much a valid part of the modern landscape as is nature.

The view from the Space Needle is not only interesting. It is instructive as well.

July 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vending Machine Selling Books–If I Controlled The World’s Vending Machines

Here is a vending machine that sells books. This machine is at Seattle Center. Seattle Center is where the Space Needle is located.

If I was in charge of the world’s vending machines,they would all sell books.

Vending machines under my command would sell works of history and well-regarded novels.

I suppose that this would greatly diminish global vending machine profits.

July 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

North America Is A Large Continent

What a large continent we live on in North America.

I know this because I flew across the continent just a few hours ago.

I’ve posted a picture of the continent. I can’t tell you exactly where I was flying over when I took this picture. It was some place far away from any ocean.

I’ll be posting from Seattle for a few days.

I try to do my best for the blog reading public no matter where I am in the nation.

Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

July 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

I Had A Dream I Was Swimming In Boston Harbor—Would This Be Advisable?

A few nights ago I had a dream that I was swimming in Boston Harbor.

(Above–Boston Harbor and the Boston Skyline from Spectacle Island.)

In this dream, the water I was swimming in was calm and blue. I was near a beach.

Not far away from where I was swimming, was an industrial portion of the harbor with power plants and factories.

Do people swim in Boston Harbor? Is it safe to swim in Boston Harbor? How polluted is Boston harbor?

It does seem that people do swim in Boston Harbor. Here is the link to an event where people swim around the harbor to raise money for charity.

I’m not sure what this tells us because  the people doing this appear to be active swimmers who would swim anywhere for the challenge—Though they do not appear  to die on the spot after they get out of the water. They do serve this guinea pig function.

As for normal people who would like to use the harbor , there is a group called the Boston Harbor Association that has a focus on water quality issues. They say they are for a “Clean, alive, and accessible Boston Harbor.”

Here is some of what the Harbor Association says about the cleanliness of water in the harbor—

“Water quality at Boston Harbor Beaches has improved dramatically over the past decade due to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s Boston Harbor Project and water and sewer projects being implemented by the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. These projects are eliminating long-time bacteria problems associated with wastewater discharged into Boston Harbor and the number of days that beaches are closed due to water quality issues has continued to decline. Most of Boston Harbor Beaches meet swimming standards over 90% of the time.”

If the water is safe to swim in 90% of the time, I guess my chances are nine in ten that I was okay after the swim in my dream.

(Below–Boston Harbor in 1973. Picture taken by Michael Manheim.)

Some of you will recall that the condition of Boston Harbor was an issue in the 1988 Presidential campaign. George H.W. Bush asserted that his opponent, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis had not done enough to clean the harbor. Here is one the ads from the 1988 campaign that attacked Mr. Dukakis.

It sure is something that a Republican could get the edge on an environmental  issue. They must have been laughing it up at the Bush campaign.

Here is the link to the advocacy group Save The Harbor. If you poke around this site you’ll find facts about the harbor and a list of links to news stories involving the harbor.

The Massachusetts Water Resource Authority has many facts about the harbor and about harbor beaches.

Here is a list and some facts about Boston-area beaches.

A book on the harbor that I’ve not read is–Political Waters: The Long, Dirty, Contentious, Incredibly Expensive but Eventually Triumphant History of Boston Harbor—A Unique Environmental Success Story. This book is by Eric Jay Dolin. While the length of the title is a turnoff, I’m sure the book is quite useful. Mr. Dolin wrote a book I’ve read about the history of U.S. commercial whaling and he is well-informed on these New England nautical topics.

I don’t know why I had this dream. It could because I was in Boston two years ago. It could be that my father once told me that he swam in what was then a very dirty Providence River when he was a kid.

Whatever the reason for the dream, it does seem that, in most cases, you can swim in Boston Harbor.

(Below—A 1854 painting called Boston Harbor. The artist was Fitz Hugh Lane.)

July 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does The Tea Party Represent?—Will Centrists & Independents Support Tea Party Backed Republicans?

Above you see what the Tea Party presents itself to the public. The billboard you see here was paid for by a Tea Party group in Iowa.

Is President Obama as bad as Hitler or Stalin? Is he for genocide and putting people in camps?

I’m very liberal. I’m not going to vote for any Republicans in the upcoming November elections. I’m upfront about this fact.

If you’re somebody who could vote either way depending on the candidates and the office up for election, you’ve got to decide what you’re going to do.

Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, who is up for reelection, recently said that he would support lawsuits looking to see if President Obama was really born in the United States.

The economy is a mess and Louisiana is under siege from all the BP oil, yet this is what Senator Vitter is talking about. This is how beholden Republicans are to the Tea Party/far right wing agenda.

A few days ago the NAACP passed a resolution saying that the Tea Party has racist elements.

Let’s say you don’t agree with this or that you don’t like the NAACP. Fine.

See what you think, however, of the Tea Party response to the NAACP’s assertion

“You’re dealing with people who are professional race-baiters, who make a very good living off this kind of thing. They make more money off of race than any slave trader ever. It’s time groups like the NAACP went to the trash heap of history where they belong with all the other vile racist groups that emerged in our history,”

The NAACP is not some revolutionary outfit.  They don’t profit off race as did slave traders. They are not a “vile racist group” like some other groups in our American history.

The Tea Party, lead by Glen Beck, is going to hold a rally next month at the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech.

Why would the Tea Party they do this other than to mock the memory of the day? What’s the point but to anger people? A rally could be held any other day and any other place.

It seems apparent Democrats will lose seats in Congress in 2010.  Democrats are not going to be promoting a big agenda in the next session of Congress regardless of whether they hold on to their Congressional majorities or not.  

The Republicans seem to be almost fully under the thumb of their most extreme ideological supporters.

Such as the Texas Congressman, Joe Barton, who apologized to BP.

Such as Republican Kentucky U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul who said that private business places should not be forced to serve black people.

Such as Republican Nevada U.S. Senate nominee Sharron Angle who seemingly has called for violence if Democrats hold on to Congress.

I predict that these Tea Party supporters will prove to be far to the right, that many politically centrist and independent Americans will choose not to support Republicans in the 2010 elections.

The Tea Party represents an angry ideological extremism out of step with the majority of Americans.

July 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Picture Of Corpse Flower At Houston Science Museum

Here we have a picture I took on the afternoon of July 14 of the so-called corpse flower that is at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

(Update–You can go to the museum blog I link to below for the latest report. They have a twitter feed on the side of the blog as well that has some information.)

The police officer is there in case the flower starts to attack people.

You can access a webcam of the flower from the museum web page.

The corpse flower will smell like rotten flesh when it blooms.

The Houston Chronicle ran a story of this flower.

From the Chronicle story–

“The corpse flower is so rare that only 28 have ever been known to bloom in the United States. The 29th is poised to open any day now at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The lime-green bud, which resembles an oversized endive, was nearing 5 feet tall on Wednesday in the museum’s Cockrell Butterfly Center and has been growing about 4 inches a day. Cockrell director Nancy Greig says it could open Friday or by early next week. Once open, the corpse flower will last about two days…As its common name warns, the corpse flower is a smelly thing, with the withering stench of rotting flesh. As the spathe begins to unfurl, the spadix becomes a gas chamber, heating its natural oil and emitting noxious fumes for eight to 12 hours to attract pollinating carrion beetles.”

Here is the Houston Science Museum blog about the plant.

Here is a photo essay on the flower from the Houston Chronicle. It has all the pictures you need of this flower.

Here are some basic facts about flowers.

I know this plant has a freak show value, and I’ve got nothing against a freak show, but wanting to see this corpse plant could also be a good time to learn the basics about all types of flowers.

All knowledge is connected.

Below is what the flower will look like after it blooms.

July 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 5 Comments

Texas State Rep. Garent Coleman Is Speaking Up For All People In Houston Region—Where Are Other Elected Democrats?

Democratic Texas State Representative Garnet Coleman has written an opinion column for the Houston Chronicle saying that new Arizona immigration law is like a new form of Jim Crow.

Here is some of what Rep. Coleman had to say—

“I am thankful that the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against Arizona’s immigration law because it interferes with the federal government’s constitutional authority to set and enforce immigration policy. By declaring “reasonable suspicion” to be grounds for detainment, such laws not only overstep their boundaries, but they ensure that people of a certain ethnicity are born suspects.”

Rep. Coleman has also spoken up many times for President Obama’s health care reforms that will help many uninsured people in Houston, in Texas and all over the nation.

Here is Mr. Coleman’s blog.

As did President Theodore Roosevelt (above) , Rep. Coleman understands the role of the “bully pulpit”  as an officeholder.

Words matter. Moving public opinion matters. Mr. Coleman gets this fundamental purpose of politics and governance.

It would be good if other elected Democrats in Houston and the Houston region would speak up more often.

Very often our elected Democrats are silent despite the many issues of poverty, fair wages, lack of health care, immigration and education that are such critical concerns in Houston.

Houston is a Democratic city and Harris County is moving towards the Democrats.

Strong and visible leadership by elected Democrats would help create the infrastructure required to turn Election Day victories into forward-looking public policy.

July 14, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Can’t Apple Tell The Truth About The Defective iPhone 4?

The new iPhone 4 from Apple does not work correctly.

(Above—1983 mobile phone. Picture taken by Redrum0486.)

The iPhone4  calls all the time because it was made with a defective antenna.

Consumer Reports says you should not buy this phone until the problem is fixed. They say that at first Apple suggested that customers buy an additional product Apple sells in order to address the defect.

As always, Apple is keeping an arrogant silence about any problems.

Why can’t Apple just tell the truth and offer good service to customers?

Apple promotes an image of being better than other technology companies.

How is what going on here with reflective of a good company?

July 14, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

I Ran Aground Today

I had plans for the blog today, but I ran aground with other tasks.

My morning is represented by the paddleboat above that is grounded on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River near Cincinnati. I took that picture a couple of weeks ago.

These things happen in life.

And now I have to move on for the day.

Sometimes big ships get grounded and I suppose that is a real problem.

Below you see a picture taken by a Rae Brune that I took off of Wikipedia.

That ship is the CP Valour. It was grounded on the Azore Islands in 2005.

My grounding was minor. Like that old paddlewheeler instead of the big ship.

I’ll set sail anew tomorrow.

July 13, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Public Servants And Right-Living Folks Need A Government Strong Enough To Protect Them From The Large Numbers Of Violent, Law-Breaking & Nutball Fellow Citizens

We hear often about that the people need protection from government.

We often hear this from folks who make use of government programs in their life, but who don’t want to pay for these programs and who don’t want others to be helped.

Such as—The disproportionately white, affluent and older membership of the so-called Tea Party movement.

In any case, the fact is that public servants often need to protected from the general public.

In today’s Houston Chronicle there is an article about Houston police officers writing tickets on the side of the road who are being struck by passing motorists.

From the article—

“Last year, 26 HPD units were struck by motorists, a 37 percent increase from the 19 incidents the year before, said Capt. Carl Driskell, who heads HPD’s traffic enforcement division. Driskell said two officers and a motorist were injured in the 19 incidents in 2008. In 2009, four officers and four motorists were injured in roadway crashes involving HPD vehicles. Drunken driving was involved in 17 of the 45 wrecks during the two years, he said. “Just those two numbers would indicate we have a problem, and we have to educate the driving public,” said Driskell, who added there does not seem to be as big a problem on rural roadways. Last week, an HPD officer writing a ticket on a roadway was hospitalized after being struck by a tire that flew off an 18-wheeler. Police do not know if the vehicle was in the lane next to the officer, but they say the enforcement operation already was planned because of the growing number of incidents. In October 2007, Pct. 5 Deputy Constable Jason Norling, 38, had pulled over to issue a traffic citation when he was struck and killed by a distracted motorist.”

There is a law in Texas regarding this subject. Again from the Chronicle—

“The state law went into effect in 2003 and requires motorists approaching an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing to vacate the lane next to the vehicle or slow to 20 mph below the posted speed limit.

We all know that millions of our fellows in the general public are out there driving drunk, driving crazy, packing guns, shooting guns, ignoring jury notices, not voting in most elections, and cheating on their taxes.

Government officials and right-living persons need protection from these people.

I want a government strong enough to protect public servants and all the decent folks in our communities from all the nutballs and wacko people.

All people matter and have value, but there is no inherent virtue in the conduct of the people taken as a whole.  Virtuous conduct comes from the personal decision to be a good person and a good citizen.

July 12, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment