Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Texas Forced Sonogram Bill Is About The Power To Force A Woman To Do Something Against Her Will

The Texas State Senate has the votes to pass bill that forces women seeking an abortion to get a sonogram.

With Republicans in firm ontrol of the Texas House and with Governor Perry ready to sign the legislation, it seems that this bill will soon become law.

Here are facts on the bill from The Texas Tribune

“…..a doctor would have to describe to a woman the details of a sonogram hours before performing the abortion. The doctor would show the woman the sonogram and play the heartbeat audibly, unless the patient opts out. Even if the patient opts out, the doctor would have to describe the development of the fetus, including its dimensions. Women with fetal abnormalities, or who have been a victim of rape or incest, are given an exception.”

What if a woman refuses this procedure?  Will police officers be called to force her against her will to get this sonogram?

Texas libertarians appear to be silent on this issue of forced medical procedures on free citizens.

What medical procedures will the state force next on free people?

Many who oppose Healthcare Reform say it is wrong to force people to buy health insurance. Now these same conservatives in Texas want to force specific medical procedures on women.

Planned budget cuts in the Texas legislature are targeting education and healthcare.

People who are already here don’t matter so much.

This forced sonogram bill has as much to with abortion as rape has to do with sex.

This bill is about the power of government to make women do something against their will.

It is all about power over women and nothing to do with protecting life.

February 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Wisconsin Workers Fight Back—We All Have The Option To Fight Back

Citizens are flooding the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison to protest efforts by Republicans to almost completely restrict the right of public employees in Wisconsin to unionize and to collectively bargain.

(Above–Protests at the Wisconsin state capitol.)

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says these changes are needed because Wisconsin has a budget crisis.

Yet it would be easy to ask unionized workers to pay more for their benefits, without also passing legislation that makes simply maintaining a public employee union from year-to-year very difficult.

The point of Republicans in Wisconsin is union busting.

Is this what working people in Wisconsin who voted Republican wanted last November? Don’t we have any respect for each other as working people in this country anymore?

It is one thing to ask public employees to pay more for benefits. That does not have to be the same thing as union busting.

It is good to see working people fighting back in Wisconsin. People all across the nation have the option to fight back against Republican assaults on hard-working Americans.

February 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Just Because There Are Stairs Does Not Mean There Is A Way To Move Up—Maybe You Can Build Your Own Staircase

Just because there are stairs, does not mean you have a real chance to move on up.

(Below–Galveston Seawall.)

(Below–Downtown Houston.)

(Below–The Alki Beach area of Seattle.)

(Below–Galveston Seawall.)

(All photos copyright Neil Aquino.)

any people work very hard and yet they just can’t seem to advance.

Here is a series of articles from the liberal political magazine The American Prospect discussing the difficulties of the middle class in the U.S. and offering ideas on how to make the situation better.

There are many ways in life we might feel that the chance to move up is somehow frustrated or blocked.

In these cases, you’ll just have to try to build your own staircase.

For example, I met my need to communicate my ideas to others by becoming a blogger.

I don’t mean to neglect the role of circumstance in life.

It is a fact of life that sometimes the staircase of existence has been knocked loose or leads no place but underwater. A lot of talk about pulling yourself by your so-called bootstraps is junk. Life is sometimes rigged for the good of the few and at the expense of the many.

One good way to build a staircase for yourself is to have some help. Help might come from friends and family. Help might come from the government in the form of assistance for education or with a grant of some kind.

Maybe you can build a staircase that others will use as well.

Without forgetting that sometimes stuff is just not going to work out, you still need to make use of the life that you have.

The good thing is that things in life often work out for the best, and that there are many people out there who share your goals and who are willing to help.

February 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Houston-Based King Street Patriot Tea Party Cell Wins Ronald Reagan Award—Prize Is Well-Deserved

The so-called King Street Patriots have won the 2011 Ronald Reagan Award at the recently concluded Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.

(Above–Ronald Reagan in 1980 campaigning in South Carolina with Senator Strom Thrumond. Mr. Thurmond is seen here to the left of Mr. Reagan. Senator Thurmond was a 1948 Dixiecrat candidate for President.)

The King Street Patriots are a Tea Party cell based here in Houston.

CPAC is a national confederation of extreme conservative activists. At the 2011 meeting, libertarian Houston-area U.S. Representative Ron Paul won the presidential straw poll.

Rep. Paul is the libertarian who loves earmarks.

Consistent with the views of portions of the American right, Rep. Paul invited an economist with ties to group advocating southern secession to testify before the House committee he chairs.

In what way did the King Street Patriots (KSP) Tea Party cell reflect the accomplishments of Ronald Reagan?  Why did this group merit the award?

Did the King Street Patriots equal Ronald Reagan’s neglect of the AIDS crisis even as thousands died?

Well…even though the Tea Party position of repeal for Healthcare Reform would cause Americans to lose needed care and to die, this is not why KSP won the Reagan prize.

Did the King Street Patriots match the Gipper in doing to harm to our environment? Remember Mr. Reagan’s nature-hating Interior Secretary James Watt?

Well…even though the Tea Party had a part in electing a Republican leadership in Texas that has pursued environmental polices so bad that even conservative Oklahoma complained to the EPA about the bad air drifting over from Texas, this is not why the King Street folks took the Reagan award for 2011.

Did the King Street Patriots live up to Mr. Reagan’s legacy of making an important 1980 campaign appearance in Philadelphia, Mississippi—near the location of brutal crimes against Civil Rights workers in the 1960’s–and saying “I believe in states rights.”

You got it.

The King Street Patriots won the Reagan prize for their efforts against non-existent voter fraud in majority-minority Harris County, Texas.

As many Southern whites regress to the solid one-party politics of a shameful past, Republicans and allied Tea Party groups around the nation are working hard to put up obstacles to voting by likely Democratic voters.

With Harris County and Texas undergoing massive demographic change, Republicans are afraid that they will lose control of the county and the state.

As much as I don’t like what the so-called King Street Patriots are doing, they are doing things the law permits. We are not going to change the minds of people in these Tea Party cells. They have a right to act in any manner within the law no matter how offensive and wrong.

The real issue is for folks on our side of the aisle to meet the challenge and to make progress. Progress is always possible.

Voter registration drives of likely Democratic voters should be taking place year round. Lawyers should be in place to defend these registration efforts. Our fellow citizens need to know they will backed up when they go to vote.

Democratic elected officials, along with the civil rights and progressive groups, must work together with the same common purpose we often see on the right.  Everyday citizens must be invloved in doing the work of freedom.

It is up to each of as individuals to make the decision to work collectively for the causes we value.

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Some resources on the topic of voting—

Here is information on voting in Texas.

A new book on the subject of voter fraud is The Myth of Voter Fraud by Lori Minnite.

Here is a Green Party history of voting rights in the United States.

Here is the web home of the Harris County Democratic Party. Ask them what they are doing to make sure all people in Harris County are being allowed to vote.

And don’t forget–You are your own best resource for the change you want to see.

(Below–1867 drawing of newly freed black men voting. Women would not get the vote until 1920. And of course, near-total resistance to blacks voting went on well into the 1960’s.)

February 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Blog On Track For Today Despite Minor Technical Derailment

(Blogger’s Note 2/22-11—Welcome Blog Houston readers. Blog Houston has linked to this spot in a post about Metro and a lunch that Metro held for local bloggers.  I have not yet written about this lunch beyond this one  post which I tossed up because I was having technical problems with the blog that day.  This being the case, suggesting I’ve fallen sway to a PR push it not correct . Conservative  bloggers, including at least one person from Blog Houston, were invited to the Metro blogger lunch. At that lunch, high-ranking Metro officials were available and open for any questions.  Blog Houston decided not to attend.  Blog Houston could have covered any subject matter they wanted with Metro at that lunch. It seems to be that rather then being a serious part of any debate, what Blog Houston wants to do is reflexively complain.)

I had another post planned for today, but the WordPress on my computer at home has been glitchy.

I’m writing this post on my phone from a lunch being held for Houston bloggers by Metro. Metro is the public transit agency in Houston.

The lunch is at a big Metro train facility. With this post is a picture of some light rail trains.

These trains run on a set route of tracks each day. You might require a greater measure of metaphoric flexibility in your life.

While this is not the post I had planned for the blog reading public, please know that I am indeed working for you.

And I’m getting lunch out of it.

I’ll have more on my trip to Metro in upcoming posts.

February 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Yet Another Sports Stadium In Houston—Thank You Taxpayers

Great news!—Houston is getting yet another stadium.

In case you did not feel that facilities built over the last decade for the baseball Astros, football Texans, and basketball Rockets were enough, now we will have a new stadium for the soccer Dynamo.

The pictures at the top and bottom of this post come from the Facebook page of Houston City Councilmember Stephen Costello.

In the center of the photo above is Mayor Annise Parker. She is wearing orange. Three people to the left is Houston U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee.

I’m not certain who the other folks are. I suppose I could study the picture and maybe guess. But the bottom line is that they are the interchangeable municipal luminaries who back big-ticket projects in Houston year-after-year while rarely–if ever– mentioning that we have a 60% child poverty rate in Houston.

(Above–Some things never change. Painting is “Thumbs Down.” It is an 1872 work of Jean-Leon Gerome.)

The Dynamo stadium uses less public money than have the recent sports complexes in Houston. Though the city paid $15.5 million to buy the land where the stadium will be located, and the Dynamo will get sales tax “rebates” amounting to $3 million over the next 30 years. The City of Houston and Harris County have also committed $10 million each in taxpayer dollars towards the facility.

Taxpayer funds will be used even as we plead poor on services for the poor, education, honoring pension commitments, and keeping up our roads.

Claims of the economic benefits of stadiums are greatly exaggerated.

The sign below says “This your stadium.”

Sure.

February 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Many Links To Very Good Blogs—TPA Blogger Round-Up

At the end of this post is the current weekly round-up of the Texas Progressive Alliance. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas. TPA bloggers work hard for a better Texas and a better nation. Please visit TPA blogs whenever you get the chance.

A good thing about being a blogger is that you get to know fellow bloggers. Some you meet over the internet. Others you might meet in person as I’ve been able to meet other Houston bloggers.

(Above–Bloggers in the 1950’s used the IBM 1620 Model 1 Level A computer. It was portable if you had a crew of people to lift it and a truck to cart it around.)

I’ve been lucky in the last few weeks to be found by  the writers of three strong new blogs. The folks who write these blogs have been nice enough to visit Texas Liberal often and to leave comments from time-to-time.

Blogging on a regular or even semi-regular basis takes effort. It is good to have the support of people willing to make that effort for things they see as important.

These things being so, please allow me to offer up the links to new blogger friends I’ve made and, also, links to some more established blogs I’ve formed a relationship with in my time writing Texas Liberal.

Three new blogs—

* Spinny Liberal is out of the San Francisco area.  Spinny is clearly putting effort and creativity into her blog.

* Woodgatesview is written in Denton, Texas. Blogger Larry Beck is providing a solid post each day.

* Lesbians In My Soup is written by Katy Anders in Houston. Katy is making her points well. I hope she keeps up with the blogging.

Four established blogs—

* Wandering Off is a travel blog written by Sarah V. in San Antonio. Sarah always has great pictures of her and her family out visiting interesting places.

* Jobsanger is written by Ted McLaughlin in Amarillo, Texas. Ted is a real pro. While regretfully being a pro at blogging does not pay so much, Ted gives his audience a good effort every day.

* The Field Negro in Philadelphia has had a great deal of merited success with his blog.

* Skippy the bush kangaroo is a blog with a large audience willing to give me a plug when I was new at blogging.

If you are a blogger who often visits this shop, please let me know. Please excuse me for leaving you out of this post.

There are three other blogs in addition to Texas Liberal I post at on a regular basis.

These three blogs are—

* The Daily Hurricane. Written in Houston by blog owner Bob Cavnar and a great crew of bloggers, I’m pleased to be on-board at the Hurricane.

* Where’s The Outrage? Dr. Errington Thompson of Ashville, North Carolina writes this blog. Errington offered me space at his shop when I was just starting as a blogger. He does a great job at WTO?

* The Houston Chronicle. I’m a featured politcal reader-blogger at the Chronicle.

Finally, here is a blog that simply holds my personal interest—

* Maritime Texas Blog posts only every so often, but I always enjoy the pictures and the information.

Here, as promised, is the TPA round-up–

Bay Area Houston submits a press release from Rick Perry: TX Gov Rick Perry puts the Chupacabra on emergency legislation.

Off the Kuff conducted an interview with Houston city attorney David Feldman to discuss the upcoming city council redistricting process.

Harold at Letters From Texas poked fun at the Texas weather on bothWednesday and Friday.

While the Big Gas Mafia is pumping diesel fuel into the ground in the name of national security and energy independence, they have been quietly planning to ship a bunch of it to China. TXsharon at BLUEDAZE: Drilling Reform for Texas wants you to think about who profits and who pays for this so-called “clean energy.”

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme notes that privatizing essential services promotes profits, not the general welfare. The Corpus Christi Caller Times pretends (or not) to be all stupid about the rolling blackouts.

Texans came to the shivering realization last week that the energy capital of the world can’t keep its lights on. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs provides the reveal. Continue reading

February 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 8 Comments

It Appears That What Muslims Want Is To Be Free–Just Like You Or I Would Want

It appears that what Muslims want is what people all over the world want.

They want freedom.

Some on the political right in our nation want us to believe that Muslims are nothing but trouble.

But the fact is that people around the globe want freedom.

We see this in Egypt just as we saw it with anti-government protests last year in Iran.

Here is a link to posts by Iranian bloggers reacting to events in Egypt.

For better and for worse, people in all parts of the world are motivated by the same things.

The good news is that all people are equally capable of the better things.

This should be an obvious point.

February 12, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Texas State Senator Whitmire Makes Point Made Clear By Egypt—Individuals Must Fight Back Collectively

Texas State Senator John Whitmire has made the needed point that average citizens themselves are going to have to speak up and fight back to stop the brutal cuts coming in our Texas state budget.

Mr. Whitmire is my State Senator here in Houston

Here is what Mr. Whitmire said as reported in a Houston Chronicle story about budget hearings in Austin

We’re going to have to build an army. You’re going to have to talk to your neighbors, families and employees….It’s going to take hundreds and thousands and millions of Texans. … You’ve got to build an expression of concern we can’t go … just with the cuts.”

Because of Republican mismanagement of Texas state finances and because we don’t pay enough taxes, Texas is looking at a budget deficit as high as $27 billion.

Brutal cuts are being proposed in education and health services. We may not have enough to keep up our roads. Layoffs of government employees are possible even though unemployment is one of our top national problems.

As events in Egypt show, it is up to us as individuals to work collectively with others who share our views.

Here at home, President Obama plans to offer a budget that will impact the poor in many ways.

From the Huffington Post—

“In the past week, the Obama administration has signaled that it will propose significant cuts to community service block grants and an energy assistance program that helps poor people stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.”

People in power will listen to those who seek no more than a fair share of the blessings of our society, only when such people demand to be heard.

These are the facts in Egypt, in Texas, and in our nation.

Senator Whitmire got it right.

It is up to each of us to decide that we want a hopeful future. Once we make that decision, we need then to work with others to make those hopes a reality.

(Below–2011 Egypt protests. People are doing it for themselves. Photo by Ramy Raoof.)

February 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 4 Comments

It Is Wrong To Spread Story Of Alleged Multiple Affairs By Married House Speaker John Boehner

The Texas Liberal Panel of Experts–Cactus, Samuel Slater Bobblehead, Hamburger Wearing An Astros’ Hat & Extinct, are reading the John Boehner sex scandal story in the current National Enquirer.

The panel thinks it very wrong to spread the story that the married Speaker has possibly been involved with at least two other women.

They would never spread such a story about Speaker Boehner allegedly having multiple affairs.

Never would they do such a thing.

February 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

I’ve Found What You’ve Been Looking For

For those who have been looking where to find marine propellers and a washing machine on the same lot, I have found the place for you.

(Here is a history of washing machines. Here are facts about marine propellers.)

This lot is near the Houston Ship Channel.

As those of you kind enough to read this blog on a regular or semi-regular basis may gather, I often drive around the area of the Houston Ship Channel.

I don’t suppose this is normal behavior. Though keeping a daily blog is not normal behavior.

One thing I like about the Houston Ship Channel and the industrial areas around the channel, is that life goes on no matter how polluted the water in the channel may be and no matter how bad the air may be on a rough day.

While I don’t like the pollution, I am glad for the metaphoric point that we can still be productive and energetic even in less than ideal conditions.

There are many interesting things to see in the vicinity of the Ship Channel. Below is a picture I took over last summer of a chopped-up school bus and some tires that have been placed in boats located on a vacant lot.

It looks to me almost like it was arranged with some aesthetic in mind.

You never know where in life you will find a measure of order where at first glance something makes no sense.

Every place has value. Every place has some purpose.

February 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Classic Houston Scene

Above is a classic Houston scene.

The picture shows sea birds flocking on the periphery of the Houston Ship Channel and in front of an auto demolition lot.

To ignore either the natural aspects of Houston, or the industrial landscape of the city, would be to miss the full story of Houston.

In my travels around the city, I try to take it all in.

The natural world and the man made world give value and meaning to one another. Both are essential for people to have productive and enjoyable lives.

(Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

February 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Governor Perry And Extremist Texas Republicans Target History And The Arts—They’ve Done All The Harm They Can Do To Health And Education

(Above–The Donley County, Texas Courthouse received Texas Historical Commission funds for renovation. Governor Perry wants to end funding for the Commission. Photo by Billy Hathorn.)

We all know that brutal cuts in the Texas state budget are on the way.

Due to longstanding Republican mismanagement of state finances, we have a massive budget deficit in Texas.

These cuts to health and education will cost lives and leave Texas children less able to compete with young people in other parts of the nation and from elsewhere in the world.

The leading “health” issue being addressed is legislation that would force some pregnant women to have a sonogram as they engage in a constitutionally-protected medical procedure.

If the state can force unwilling people to undergo a specific medical procedure, what is there to stop the state from forcing other medical procedures on free citizens?

We have the option of raising taxes or using the $9.4 billion Rainy Day fund to help make up the shortfall.

Governor Rick Perry has said many times that Texas will not use the Rainy Day fund.

Texas is 43rd in the nation in state tax burden, while at the same time the overall tax burden in our nation is as low as it has been since 1950.

People can say they are overtaxed, but they are not.  We either have the self-respect to meet the responsibilities of running a decent society, or we can let people suffer and fall behind as we go about our way.

In addition to the cuts in vital public services, Governor Perry has now also proposed to eliminate funding for the Texas Historical Commission and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

It makes sense that a state that places no value on the future would also place no value on the past. All there is are the current political and ideological aspirations of a far-right Governor and a far-right legislature.

The only time history has value is when the State of Texas alters history text books to lie about our past.

Real history goes out the door while fake history goes in our textbooks.

The revision of history is right up there with forced medical procedures with how a totalitarian state would conduct business.

As for the arts, you either feel they have value or you do not. I’m not going to change your mind.

People of all kinds have creative talents. Those with the resources to pursue those abilities will be able to go ahead.

People who need some help in the form of a Texas Commission on the Arts grant, will have to decide where to go in life where what they have to offer will be valued.

The direction of Texas is clear.

* Darwinian cuts for the least amongst us.

* Government control of the bodies and the medical decisions of women.

* Historical indoctrination over historical fact.

* Rejection of  the arts and of the people who pursue the arts.

The people of Texas can decide that this is all okay, or they can decide that the past has meaning and that the future has value.

It is up to you.

(A great Texas artist was Jerry Bywaters. You see below one of his works depicting Texas. Governor Perry feels the arts have little value to Texans.)

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Houston NAACP Holding Meeting On Chad Holley Beating

The Houston branch of the NAACP will be holding a community meeting this evening–February 8– to discuss the video-taped beating of 15 year-old Chad Holley by some members of the Houston Police Department.

The Houston NAACP says—

“City of Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Houston Police Chief, Charles McClelland and District Attorney, Pat Lykos are invited to address the community’s concerns….”

I don’t know if these leaders are attending, but they have been invited.

The meeting will be held tonight at 7:00 PM at the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church. Good Hope is located at 3015 North MacGregor Way in Houston.

Here is the web home of the Houston NAACP. The Houston NAACP also has a Facebook page.

The beating of Chad Holley is a matter of concern for people in Houston. What happens to one person can happen to anybody.

Houston-area U.S. Representative  Al Green has called for a Justice Department investigation of the Chad Holley incident.

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Non-Profit Community-Owned Green Bay Packers Win Super Bowl—Vince Lombardi Was A Democrat

The Green Bay Packers, who just won the Super Bowl, are the only community-owned non-profit team in American major league sports.

(Above–Citizen-owners at the Packers game. Photo by yunggunn2k3.)

From the Georgetown University newspaper The Hoya

“Unlike the 31 other professional football teams, or any other sports team for that matter, the Packers are not owned by some wealthy individual (or group of individuals) seeking a profit. Instead, they’re owned and managed by 111,968 devoted fans. In that lies their power….Green Bay fans themselves vote on and serve as part of the board of directors, which appoints the pivotal managerial and coaching staff of the Packers. Unlike most other teams across the nation, when Packers fans are frustrated, they don’t have to suck it up. They have the ability to enact change through shareholder votes and air their grievances directly with Packer management.Socialism has worked pretty well in this case.”

Socialism seems to work pretty well for the Packers.

Not only that, legendary Packers Coach Vince Lombardi, for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named, was a loyal Democrat.

Coach Lombardi was close friends with John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.

Here is a great quote from Coach Lombardi—

“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”

Congratulations to the citizen-owners of the Green Bay Packers.

Building on a foundation of teamwork provided in good part by the enduring example of the visionary Vince Lombardi, a true people’s championship has been won at Super Bowl XLV.

(Below—Coach Vince Lombardi–A Great American.)


February 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment