Texas Liberal

All People Matter

When Will Harris County Judge Ed Emmett Show The Leadership He Is Asking Of Others?

Republican Harris County Judge Ed Emmett hopes Republican legislators in Austin will do they right thing in the face of drastic cuts to vital services that are on the way in Texas.

Here is what Judge Emmett has said as reported in the Houston Chronicle

” In his State of the County address March 4, County Judge Ed Emmett said the county would only see positive changes in the coming years if lawmakers at all levels showed “vision and courage,” such as by raising fees or taxes to pay for mental health care if necessary to secure funding. Emmett, a Republican former state representative, said he expects such actions from the GOP-dominated Legislature at some point. “They’ll get there,” Emmett said. “And if they don’t, then I hope some of them get beat. It’s just that simple. We all have to govern. It’s fine to campaign on what you’re against, but sooner or later you have to govern.”

We can all hope for the things, no matter how unlikely, that we wish to see in life.

Judge Emmett was speaking about funding cuts the legislature is cooking up for Texas counties.

It is unclear what Judge Emmett is really asking of others.

Faced with large cuts for the most vulnerable, and for many other essential services in the Harris County budget just recently approved, where has been Mr. Emmett’s own call for increased revenues to meet the legitimate needs of our county? Where is his leadership? If the money is not going to come from Austin, maybe we need higher taxes in Harris County.

Here is what the Chronicle reports the most recent budget holds for the people of Harris County

“Facing an 11.3 percent drop in revenue, Harris County Commissioners Court passed a budget today that could mean dozens of law enforcement jobs cut or left vacant, hundreds fewer patients receiving mental health counseling and fewer books in county libraries.”

Does anybody seriously think Harris County is currently over-served by government?

Judge Emmett did send one of his top campaign officials to a meeting of a local Tea Party cell last year to reassure them he was on-board with the Tea Party agenda.

Mr. Emmett himself did not show up at the Tea Party meeting.

You can never quite pin the guy down.

Will Judge Emmett be sending another underling to a Tea Party meeting to sell them on the idea of increased revenues for government?

Which Republican legislators in Harris County will Judge Emmett be campaigning against in 2012?

I’m glad Judge Emmett is open to discussing the issues before Harris County in a more helpful way than are most Republican officials.

( Which is not to suggest that many Democrats have been helpful. Most of our elected Democrats in Houston and Harris County have little to say about what is going on in Austin. And it will be a cold day in Hell when you find just about any of them actually organizing voters and registering new voters for the fights ahead.)

Yet given the gravity of what’s taking place now in the legislature, it is time for Judge Emmett to step up beyond being acceptable to enough Republicans and tolerable to enough Democrats, to remain politically popular.

It is time for Judge Emmett to show the leadership he is asking of others.

(Fellow blogger Charles Kuffner has also written on Judge Emmett’s recent comments.)

March 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Academic Tournament—All People Can Learn Something New

I’d like to see a big televised tournament where America’s top 64 history, literature, and art professors are bracketed against each other in a competition.

(Above–An illustration of academic gowns worn at Princeton University in 1902. Maybe professors in this tournament could wear gowns such as these as a type of uniform.)

Each professor would give a lecture that would scored by an attentive public.

The best professors would advance to a Final Four that would take place in a giant sold out stadium.

A selection committee would make sure that professors from small colleges across the nation would be also be considered for the tournament.

Imagine the bracket-busting excitement when, for example, an unkown academic at the Quaker school Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana surprised a heavy hitter from Yale.

(Above–Carpenter Hall at Earlham College.)

Tickets would be so valued that people would pay thousands for them on Stub Hub.

Millions would watch this Final Four on TV.

There could also be another televised competition for college teaching assistants, high school teachers, and teachers at every level of education.

The best teachers would move on to the next round.

In each category, the best of the best would be eligible be move onto a global event that would be held in a large global city every four years.

Television networks all over the world would bid hundreds of millions of dollars for the broadcast rights to this academic Olympiad.

(Above—Professors in lecture halls across the nation would prepare for the big event.)

As for that March Madness basketball tournament now taking place—More power to you if you enjoy watching the games.

People work hard and they need to relax. I follow the baseball season closely.

Just please also consider starting a new book, picking up again one you never finished, or learning about a new subject.

There is no subject so complex that the average person can not learn something useful about it.

No collge education is required to learn about our world. It is only your effort that is required.

March 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment