Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Time To Vote And To Encourage Others To Vote—Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

Here is the weekly posting of the Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

Election Day is almost here. I’m sure that most folks reading this blog have voted already or intend to vote. What I’d ask you please is that you do what you are able to encourage others you know to get out to the polls.

I mean this for Texas and for all places if you are an out-of-state reader. So many races are so close.

You have more pull with others than you realize. Friends and family will, in many cases at least, listen to someone they know and trust. Have confidence in your ability to make a difference.

We don’t want to live in a Tea Party/Republican nation.

Do what you are able to do in the time left before Election Day. Stay the course. Be hopeful.

You can see the world for what it is, and yet still be hopeful.

Here’s the round-up–

This week at McBlogger, we take a look at the increasingly desperate campaign being run by Todd Staples. Last Friday they attempted to eavesdrop on an internal Gilbert campaign conference call, if that tells you much. You simply won’t believe the rest

Letters From Texas spent most of the week pointing to Republican efforts to scapegoat and alienate minorities, first pointing out both Parties’ failure to communicate effectively with Hispanic voters, then pointing out Republicans’ blatant attempts to prevent them from voting, and showing that they’d planned to do it in Texas too. Most shocking, however, was the release of a photo of the most disturbing political sign in Texas.

Off the Kuff published his last interview of this cycle, with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White.

Bay Area Houston would vote for Proposition 1 in Houston if….

Ever wonder why republicans have gotten so batsh*t crazy? CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme thinks they’re locked inside their own tiny, tiny minds.

The news of the week in Harris County spread all across the country: well-fed Caucasian conservatives are going places they’ve never gone before — minority early voting polling locations — and doing their damndest to keep as few of ‘those people’ from casting a ballot as possible. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs kept the story up to date. Continue reading

October 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Reenactment Of The First Halloween

Halloween commemorates the arrival of the first pumpkin off the Mayflower in 1620.


I suppose I don’t really know where Halloween comes from.

Here is the Wikipedia entry on the origins of Halloween.

That’s as likely a source as any other on the matter.

If you enjoy Halloween, I hope you have a good time today.

Don’t take any apples with razor blades in them.

File:A82d 1.JPG

October 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

A Lighthouse At Every Intersection—Guidance & Jobs

In Galveston a few weeks ago, I came across an intersection where there was a lighthouse.

I’d like to see a lighthouse at every intersection in the United States.

People seem to have lost their way in so many respects. Many have grounded their ships of hope and decency on the rocky shoals of anger and fear.

Even if you don’t believe people would be better if they there was a lighthouse at every intersection, think of the jobs that would be created by such a project.

For additional jobs, these lighthouses could be staffed by lighthouse keepers.

Of course, we all have our internal lighthouse of our beliefs, our knowledge, and the good people in our lives.

Sadly though, many are so lost in the fog that a lighthouse does not seem to help them.

October 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Sheriff Garcia Says You Have The Right To Vote In Harris County, Texas And In All Places In Our Nation

Hamburger Wearing An Astros’ Hat, who is part of the Texas Liberal Panel of Experts, is seen above with mail from Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

Hamburger regrets that he is not as absurd as a major party nominee  for the U.S. Senate who had to declare that she was not a witch.

Sheriff Garcia says that voters must not be intimidated at the polls by overly-aggressive and possibly racially motivated poll watchers from so-called Tea Party and/or Republican groups.

The Sheriff says—“....if anyone tries to stop you from voting, tell them Sheriff Adrian Garcia sent you.”

The Sheriff has it right. Folks cannot be bullied at the polls.

Here is what the Houston GLBT folks have to say on this concern—

“Lately, we’ve all watched as opponents of equality have gotten more aggressive and more violent.  From tackling and stomping on rival activists, to actual candidates ordering private security forces to arrest reporters, the thug mentality of the far right has gotten out of control.”

(Here are the Houston GLBT endorsements for 2010.)

Perry Dorrell, a great Houston political blogger at Brains & Eggs,  has been writing about these poll watchers.

Jobsanger, a first-rate political blog in Amarillo, has also posted on this important matter.

Leading Houston blogger Charles Kuffner reports that County Attorney Vince Ryan, a Republican, has seen fit to issue guidelines as to what poll watchers may and may not do.

The Houston Chronicle has written about these aggressive Republican poll watchers.

Along the same lines, Democratic Texas Land Commissioner nominee Hector Uribe has cut a 30 second radio spot saying that Tejanos got to Texas first and that they are not going “back to Mexico” or back to anywhere else.

The New York Times has written that Republican-driven efforts to suppress minority turnout, despite the lack of evidence that any fraud is taking place, are going on around the country.

Make sure you vote on Tuesday and make sure you encourage others you know to do the same.

Here are my Texas endorsements for 2010.

October 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Wave Election?

Some say a so-called “Wave Election” is on the way.

(Above–“What Freedom” painted by Llya Yeflmovich Repin in 1903.)

Maybe so. Who knows? The votes have not yet been counted.

As we enter the final weekend before the election, just let go.

Do what you are able to to others to vote. Make sure that you vote. Vote for all the candidates all the way down the ballot.

Make your case. Get ready for the days ahead. Think of what is right in your life even if you expect a rough Election Night.

Do what you need to do to be of use for the people in your life, for our nation, and for our world.

The tides come and go. Our beliefs have a greater permanence.

Let’s keep at it in these final days. Hit back hard while keeping your best qualities.

There is much to be hopeful about—This is so even when nutballs are winning Senate seats.

October 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Top Tea Party Blogger Says Texas Senator Dan Patrick’s Tea Party Caucus Is Phony—Also Says Tea Party Followers Are Dupes If Loyal To GOP

Texas State Senator Dan Patrick is setting up a “Tea Party Caucus” in the Texas Legislature.

I guess Mr. Patrick thinks the Tea Party can help him in some way.

Here is the release from Mr. Patrick on this matter.

Top Harris County Tea Party blogger Dave Jennings at Big Jolly Politics says  this caucus is a bad idea.

Mr. Jennings says that Senator Patrick is just using the so-called Tea Party to serve his political purposes. Mr. Jennings says that once the Tea Party is of no further value to Senator Patrick, the Senator will move on to something else.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Jennings thinks that Republicans overall are taking Tea Party backers for a ride.

Here is a portion of what Mr. Jennings says—

“In other words, Tea Party peeps, you are going to be SORELY disappointed if you think that your support of Republicans is going to pay off in any big, fundamental way after the 2010 election. Yes, it will put a halt to President Obama’s largess in some areas but he’s still going to be playing golf and eating Kobe beef while an ever increasing number of Americans are on food stamps. And Republican leaders are going to fall all over themselves if he invites them to one of his parties….And for you tea parties that have basically sold yourselves to the Republican party, enjoy your lunches and handshakes with R’s because that is all you are going to get for your efforts.”

A few weeks back, Business Week ran a cover story on why many big business folks are wary of the Tea Party.

The Republican Party and the big business folks who own the Republican Party  will take the efforts and energy of the Tea Party, but as soon as possible, they will go back to standard practices. They will have their hands out to government every chance they get for a heaping helping of tax dollars and government subsidies.

A few days ago, I wrote about how some elected Democrats support a policy on drug arrests that needlessly ruins the lives of hundreds of thousands of young minority men and women.

Many elected Democrats are decent people who want a better world. Yet the facts are that even Democrats will sell their own people, in a quite literal fashion, down the river.

You’ve got be involved and you have to remain aware.

While I have nothing at all for the Tea Party or for the Republican Party, what Mr. Jennings and I am are saying strike a similar note.

October 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

World Series Report

In the World Series, Christy Mathewson of the Giants has shut down the Rangers yet again.

Coming off of his World Series wins 100 years ago, Mr. Mathewson has some real staying power.

Here is a post I wrote in 2008 that has a picture of Three Finger Brown’s pitching hand.

October 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Paul Simon Makes His Case For Harris County 295th Civil District Court In 50 Words Or Less

Paul Simon is running for the 295th District Court in Harris County, Texas.

(Above–Mr. Simon.)

Mr. Simon is committed to serving people in Harris County.

I asked Mr. Simon to make his case for election in 50 words or less.

Here is what he said—

“I’m running for Judge of the 295th Judicial District Court. I believe “fair and balanced” is not just a slogan, and judges should work like it’s a full-time job. I promise I’ll always be prepared, I’ll treat each case with the respect, and I’ll make fair and prompt rulings.”

Here is the web home of the Simon campaign.

For more information, Houston political blogger Charles Kuffner interviewed Mr. Simon.

Please vote for Paul Simon for the 295th District  Court in Harris County.

Please vote Democratic in all the races on the ballot and please tell your friends and family to do the same.

October 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Donna Roth Makes Her Case For The Harris County 281st Civil District Court In 50 Words Or Less

Donna Roth is a great candidate for the 281st Civil District Court.

(Above–Ms. Roth making her case to the people.)

All the judicial races matter in Harris County.

I asked Ms. Roth to tell folks, in 50 words or less, why she should be elected.

Here is what she said—

“Each person appearing before the 281st will be treated fairly and with respect. Justice will be served with integrity, accountability and equality. My qualifications and experience earned me the endorsements of all the legal organizations and the Houston Chronicle. Vote for Donna Roth!””

Here is the web home of the Roth campaign.

For more details about Ms. Roth, here is an interview she did with Houston political blogger Charles Kuffner.

Please consider Donna Roth for the 281st Civil District Court in Harris County.

Please be certain to vote for Democrats in all the races on the ballot. Please remind your family and friends to do the same.

October 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

People Don’t Use Pay Phones Much Anymore—But We Can Still Communicate

People don’t use pay phones so much anymore.

Above you see a picture I took a few days ago of a pay phone in Houston.

Over time and as technology changes, we use different methods to communicate.

That’s okay. The only thing that matters is that we communicate our values and our care for one another as best as we are able.

This is something we all can do regardless of the specifics of how we communicate.

It is just a matter of carving out the time needed and of making the effort.

October 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Linda Chavez-Thompson Will Make A Great Lt. Governor Of Texas

I am voting for Linda Chavez-Thompson for Lieutenant Governor of Texas.

(Above—Ms. Chavez-Thompson.)

The  Lieutenant Governor is important in Texas. The Lt. Governor presides over the Texas State Senate. He or she can appoint standing committees and select who will serve on these committees. The Lt. Governor picks committee chairpersons and is the final arbiter of the rules of the Senate. Here is further explanation of the role of the Lt. Governor.

Why do I feel that Linda Chavez-Thompson is the best person for this job?

Here is why—

1. A daughter of immigrant sharecroppers, Ms. Chavez-Thompson has kept faith with working people. Ms. Chavez-Thompson has rooted her professional and political life in concern for others.

From the Chavez-Thompson campaign—

“Linda Chavez-Thompson’s.. story began when she was born in Lorenzo, Texas.  At.. ten, she started working for thirty-cents an hour hoeing cotton… In ninth grade, she had to leave school and to go to work full time to support her family. She continued picking cotton in the fall months and cleaning homes…to earn enough money to buy clothes and food for her family…In December 1967, she was hired as a Secretary at the Constitution Laborer’s Union in Lubbock, Texas. Over the next forty years, Chavez-Thompson kept working.. on behalf of working people, fighting to bring fairness and opportunity to Texans… Her work with unions culminated in 1995, when she was elected Executive Vice-President of the National AFL-CIO, the first woman and the first person of color to hold that position. In January of 1997, Chavez-Thompson was elected to serve as Vice Chair  of the Democratic National Committee.”

(Below—Francis Lubbock was both a Lieutenant Governor and a Governor of Texas. Unlike Governor Lubbock, who led Texas during the Civil War, Ms. Chavez-Thompson will not agree to leave the union if Governor Rick Perry leads Texas to secede.)

2.  Ms. Chavez-Thompson has pledged to push the expansion of children’s health insurance programs in Texas. This is very much needed in our state.

3. Ms. Chavez- Thompson will advocate for affordable college tuition and  stronger training of teachers even as the Texas Legislature confronts the massive Rick Perry budget shortfall.  She’ll be a strong advocate of the American Dream in these hard times.

Please consider voting for Linda Chavez-Thompson to be our Lieutenant Governor of Texas.

(Below–A mural in Ms. Chavez-Thompson’s hometown of Lorenzo, Texas. Here is the city web home for Lorenzo. Here is a history of Lorenzo from the Handbook of Texas Online.  Lorenzo is near Lubbock and had a 2000 population of 1,372. The town is part of Crosby County.)

October 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Stomped On The Head

I’d be remiss not to run a picture of the woman, Lauren Valle,  who got stomped on the head by supporters of  Kentucky  Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul.

Ms. Valle was exercising her first amendment rights. She was unarmed. She was a threat to nobody.

This type of act seems not surprising given the consistently angry tone of the Tea Party.

It’s frustrating that we have to live with this kind of thing. Why would you do this to somebody who was vastly outnumbered at a Rand Paul event, and who was not a threat?

What’s in you that this is your response to disagreement? How can this be part of American democracy?

October 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

Houston Mayor Annise Parker Supports Renew Houston And Red Light Cameras—She Asks That You Please Do The Same

Houston Mayor Annise Parker recently discussed the various City of Houston ballot propositions in a conference telephone call with local political bloggers.

Here is Kraftwerk’s video The Telephone Call. It’s a classic.

(Below–A video snippet from Kraftwerk’s The Telephone Call.)

I don’t have any verbatim quotes from the Mayor’s call because I was knitting during the call instead of taking notes.

Please don’t tell the Mayor because she won’t approve, but knitted graffiti is all the rage. See below–

(Photo by Noah Sussman)

Don’t worry though, the essence of the Mayor’s words are clear in my mind to the extent that anything is clear in my mind.

There are three issues on the Houston ballot in 2010. Mayor Parker favors all three of these issues. See encourages all her supporters and all people of Houston to vote for these issues.

Proposition One is the so-called Renew Houston initiative.  This issue will levy a fee on property owners that will go to a dedicated fund that will be used to address wastewater removal and flooding in Houston.

Mayor Parker says that this initiative will use the funds it raises for only the stated purpose of curbing flooding in our city, and that she is aware of no other solution that has been proposed for this longtime problem.

She says that everybody has to pay up for this, because once exemptions are granted to one group of people or one type of property, then others will want an exemption.

Where would the pleas for exemptions end?

Again—I’m giving you the essence of the Mayor’s remarks because I was baking a pie during the call instead of taking notes.

Proposition Two on our ballot is so tedious to describe that someone is going to have to slap me across the face to keep me awake to write the next two sentences.

(Below–Former President George W. Bush slapping Houston-area Congressman Al Green across the face)

Proposition 2 will, for one time only, lessen the residency requirement for Houston City Council candidates to have lived in their district before the November, 2011 municipal elections. Since council redistricting will take place after census results are announced next year , some incumbents may find themselves in new territory.

(Below–Sometimes the ground shifts beneath your feet.)

Mayor Parker supports Proposition as a basic measure of fairness. Redistricting happens and folks deserve a chance at keeping their seats.

This is, in the main, the substance of the Mayor’s thoughts on Prop. 2. I did not take the exact notes because  I was playing pinball during the call.

(Below—KISS pinball machine. Photo taken by The Consumerist.)

Proposition 3 is red light cameras. If you vote Yes on 3, you will be voting to keep red light cameras in Houston.

Mayor Parker urges you to vote Yes on 3. Her bottom line concern is safety on our roads. She wants drivers in Houston to please stop at red lights. She feels red light cameras lessen the number of people running red lights.

That is pretty much what she said on the matter. I don’t have the exact notes because I was driving while on the call.

(Using the phone. Photo by Edbrown05)

Houston Mayor Annise Parker asks her fellow Houstonians to support all three Houston propositions on the 2010 General Election ballot.

She feels that these issues reflect good public policy that will benefit the people of our city.

I agree with the Mayor on these ballot questions.

Here are my Texas Liberal endorsements for 2010.

October 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In This Case, Democrats Are As Willing As Republicans To Ruin The Lives Of The Urban Poor

In endorsements I have made in this campaign season, I’ve supported many Democrats.

While I’ve also endorsed a Green, a Socialist, and an independent, most of my endorsements have been of Democrats.

While I believe that many Democrats seeking public office are good and decent people, my support comes with a fair measure of reservation.

As a citizen and voter who has spent nearly every day of my life in a city, I feel that Democrats often take the votes of urban voters and offer little in return.

I feel that both liberals and minority voters hear a lot of talk from Democrats, but because the process is so bought off by big money and because so many politicians are cowards, urban policy is ignored and the poor stay poor year after year.

A recent opinion column in The  New York Times by Charles Blow about public policy regarding drug arrests brings this view home.

I’m just going to run the full piece. I subscribe to the print edition of the Times at great cost so I don’t feel guilty.

From Mr. Blow—

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.’s recent chest-thumping against the California ballot initiative that seeks to legalize marijuana underscores how the war on drugs in this country has become a war focused on marijuana, one being waged primarily against minorities and promoted, fueled and financed primarily by Democratic politicians.

According to a report released Friday by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project for the Drug Policy Alliance and the N.A.A.C.P. and led by Prof. Harry Levine, a sociologist at the City University of New York: “In the last 20 years, California made 850,000 arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana, and half-a-million arrests in the last 10 years. The people arrested were disproportionately African-Americans and Latinos, overwhelmingly young people, especially men.”

For instance, the report says that the City of Los Angeles “arrested blacks for marijuana possession at seven times the rate of whites.”

This imbalance is not specific to California; it exists across the country.

One could justify this on some level if, in fact, young blacks and Hispanics were using marijuana more than young whites, but that isn’t the case. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, young white people consistently report higher marijuana use than blacks or Hispanics.

How can such a grotesquely race-biased pattern of arrests exist? Professor Levine paints a sordid picture: young police officers are funneled into low-income black and Hispanic neighborhoods where they are encouraged to aggressively stop and frisk young men. And if you look for something, you’ll find it. So they find some of these young people with small amounts of drugs. Then these young people are arrested. The officers will get experience processing arrests and will likely get to file overtime, he says, and the police chiefs will get a measure of productivity from their officers. The young men who were arrested are simply pawns.

Professor Levine has documented an even more devious practice in New York City, where possessing a small amount of marijuana is just a civil violation (so is a speeding ticket), but having it “open to public view” is a misdemeanor.

According to a report he issued in September 2009: “Police typically discovered the marijuana by stopping and searching people, often by tricking and intimidating them into revealing it. When people then took out the marijuana and handed it over, they were arrested and charged with the crime of having marijuana ‘open to public view.’ ”

And these arrests are no minor matter. They can have very serious, lifelong consequences.

For instance, in 1998, President Bill Clinton signed a provision that made people temporarily or permanently ineligible for federal financial aid depending on how many times they had been arrested and convicted of a drug offense. The law took effect in 2000, and since 2006 lawmakers have been working to soften it. But the effect was real and devastating: the people most in need of financial aid were also being the most targeted for marijuana arrests and were therefore the most at risk of being frozen out of higher education. Remember that the next time someone starts spouting statistics comparing the number of black men in prison with the number in college. Continue reading

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

Advocates For Full Voting Rights Speak Out On Allegations Of Voter Intimidation In Harris County

Above you see Andy Wilson of Public Citizen here in Texas speaking in Houston today about reports of intimidation of voters at polling paces in Harris County.

With Mr. Wilson to the left is Anita Privett of the League of Women Voters of Texas.

Here are details of this press conference from the Public Citizen blog Texas Vox.

From the press release—

“Last week as early voting for the Nov. 2 General Election got under way, there were complaints of poll watchers interfering with or intimidating voters and other potential election violations in Harris and Bexar Counties.  Our organizations–LWV-Texas, Public Citizen, and Common Cause–condemn any and all attempts to sway this election by controlling who gets to vote. The right to vote is sacred. People have died for this right, both in our nation’s past and even in our recent history.   Registered citizens should never be turned away from being able to vote.  Our greatest patriots, such as Washington and Lincoln, waged war to insure that taxation without representation did not occur and to protect the notion of government for, of, and by the people. It was a Texan, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who pushed through Congress and then signed the Voting Rights Act which protects the rights of all citizens to register and to vote. We want to encourage everyone, in Harris County, Bexar County, and across the state, to come out and vote, regardless of ideology, gender, race, income, whether your community is urban, suburban, or rural, and whether your preferred party is Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green, or Tea.  Do not let tales of intimidation frighten you away…”

The Houston Chronicle has reported on these allegations of harassment.

Perry Dorrell at the great Houston blog Brains & Eggs has written on the matter.

All citizens have the right to vote. It’s a shame if that right is being questioned by some based on superficial differences of skin color or because someone may live in one part of Harris County rather than in another part of the county.

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