Texas Liberal

All People Matter

The Fighting Temeraire—Our Idolatry Of Technology And Markets Over The Needs Of People

The painting above is called The Fighting Temeraire. It was painted in 1839 by J.W.W Turner.

Please click here to learn more about Mr. Turner.

The Fighting Temeraire is the sailing ship being pulled into port by the steam ship at the front of the picture.

Here are some facts about the ship The Fighting Temeraire.

Here are some facts about the painting.

The idea of the painting is that the age of sail is over. The steam ship is hauling in the Temeraire to be broken up at the ship yard.

While it turns out that this is a well-known painting, I’d not seen it until I recently read a book called Ship–The Epic Story Of Martime Adventure by Brian Lavery.

The story of a newer technology replacing an older technology is as old as the hills.

Progress has value.

At the same time, government has an obligation to help hard-working people who have been displaced with education relevant to finding a new job, access to health care, and unemployment benefits.

Machines are machines and people are people.

Ships go to scrap yards. People merit better.

In our modern idolatry of technology and markets, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the object of public policy is to improve the lives of human beings.

We cannot lose sight of the fact that we are here on Earth to help others.

March 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Catching Up

I’ve been traveling for two weeks and I need to catch up with life.

Either you run the blog or the blog runs you.

To metaphorically illustrate my need to catch up with life, envision me as the last of the four chuckwagons in this picture of a chuckwagon race at the Calgary Stampede. ( Photo by Resolute— http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Resolute)

Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

March 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

Leaving In One Way Or Another

After two weeks, it is time for me to leave Cincinnati.

I’ll be returning to Houston in a standard manner. I’m going to get on an airplane and fly home.

There are more showy ways to take your leave.

For example, above you see where The Waterfront restaurant had been moored on the Covington, Kentucky side of the Ohio River at Cincinnati. Last Friday night the place was unmoored by strong river currents.

Many people were dining and working at The Waterfront at the time. The good news is that the barge the restaurant sits on did not float very far. Everybody was rescued and nobody was hurt.

Below is a picture from last Sunday of the barge being pushed by tugs to another spot along the river.

I’ll be making a much less noteworthy departure today.

(Photos copyright Neil Aquino 2011)

March 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Keith Haring—Ways To Dispose Of The Dead

I went to the Keith Haring exhibit at Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center today.

The exhibit is very much worth visiting.

Mr. Haring lived 1958-1990.

Two days after the death of my dad, this exhibit seemed like a proper mix of intellect and aesthetics, and of good cheer and death.

Many Haring drawings dealt with AIDS. In a number of his works, Mr. Haring showed a justified contempt for Ronald Reagan due to how Mr. Reagan ignored the AIDS crisis.

The museum said you could not take pictures of Mr. Haring’s art. At the same time, the exhibit celebrated Mr. Haring’s start as a graffiti artist, and talked about him being arrested for chalk drawings in public spaces in NYC.

Everything becomes a product.

Death is a product. You can buy different funeral packages that help you dispose of the dead person in your life in varying ways.

The picture above is from the book I bought today of drawings completed by the deceased Mr. Haring.

One way we dispose of the dead is to remember them in a way that suits the needs and wants of the living.

Please click here to learn more about Mr. Haring.

March 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

When Will Government Get Out Of Our Lives?—Socialism In Clear View

Above is a picture I took two days ago in Cincinnati’s Eden Park.

Look at all the ways government intrudes in our lives.

Government tells us we are at the corner of Alpine and St. Paul.

Maybe we feel we are someplace else.

The government just wants us to think we are at the corner of Alpine and St. Paul.

Government tells us this is a one way street.

What about hard-working, English-speaking, tax-paying Americans who want to go another way down this street? 

First they tell us what we can do in our very own cars. Next they will harvest our organs for a United Nations organ bank.

The government wants us to stop at a certain place on the road.

What if this is not the place we wish to stop?

Should not free citizens be able to employ their superior knowledge of traffic management to know just the right place where they should stop?

Government says we can not turn left between noon and ten on Sunday. 

Where is that restriction in the Constitution?

Sunday is the sabbath. What if God directs me to turn left at Alpine and St. Paul in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday?

If you look at the top of the stone wall near the pole of the traffic sign, you see that the stone wall was built by the New Deal Works Progress Administration in 1941.

Socialism.

When will the Cincinnati Tea Party come to tear down this wall and build a new one with citizen-volunteer labor?

How have the people of Cincnnati allowed this socialism to stand in clear view for 70 years? 

When will government get out of our lives?

( Photo copyright 2011 by Neil Aquino)

March 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Anthony S. Aquino

Anthony S. Aquino lived September 20, 1930-March 12, 2011.

Tony was a third-generation Italian, a Rhode Islander, a combat veteran of the Korean War who saved many lives as a medic in that war, a committed liberal, a reader of books and newspapers, an award winning reporter, and my father.

Just like the boats and ships in Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay, Tony would want for me and for all of us to stay the course.

So that is what we will do.

At the top of this post is a picture of Narragansett Bay at Providence, Rhode Island. This is a scene Tony would have known well.

March 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 11 Comments

Going Upstream

With this post is a picture of a barge laboring upstream on the Ohio River.

I took this picture yesterday from the Eden Park overlook in Cincinnati.

The river is a few feet above flood stage at the moment, and it is difficult for barges to go upstream. There are strong currents in the river.

All of us are going upstream in one way or another.

Without forgetting the role of circumstance in life, since it is beyond your powers to control a flooding river, and without forgetting that it takes a team of people to run a ship, you will simply have to press on against strong currents.

March 12, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Structure Is Freedom—A Plane Is Able To Fly For A Reason

The Hospice people I talked today to in regards to the terminally ill person in my life were solid. I spoke to three nurses and a social worker.

The folks at Hospice do the work of existence.

Existence has a structure of life and death. Freedom comes from structure.

In an airplane last week, I thought about how the plane can fly because existence has a structure that we make use of to gain the speed and mobility of air travel.

Today I saw the Ohio River flood its banks because it has been raining. (Above –The flooding Ohio River today.)

Seeing the flooding river, I was thankful for existence, structure, and freedom.

(Below—A river–either the Mississppi or the Ohio– as seen for my airplane window in February of last year.)

(Photos copyright 2011 Neil Aquino)

March 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Popular Krohn Conservatory Closed On Mondays—Who Needs Any Good Cheer On A Monday?

Want to see all the exotic plants at Cincinnati’s popular Krohn Conservatory? Looking for a few minutes out of the cold in the dark of winter by visiting the Krohn?

You’d better hope it is not Monday.

Who needs a morale boost on a Monday? Folks spend all weekend looking forward to Monday.

It is limited resources for all except when it comes to corporate profits.

People need to decide what kind of future they want to have in this nation.

If you don’t get involved and fight back, the things we all count on from government will go away, and your future will have no value but the profit you can make for others. 

(Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

March 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

I Took A Break From Death To Note All The Hair On The Baltimore Relief Pitcher

There is a lot going on in the world.

The Texas legislature is in session and is contemplating brutal cuts in already underfunded education and health programs. Folks are fighting for the rights of working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana. Libya is in a civil war.

These things matter a great deal. However, I’m in Cincinnati dealing with a severe illness in the family. I can’t get to all the things I would like to blog about.

One thing I am able to get to is watching television in the nursing home room I’m spending a number of hours in each day.

This afternoon I watched a replay of game 7 of the 1979 World Series on ESPN Classic. In this World Series, the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles.

Above is a picture I took off the TV. The Baltimore relief pitcher you see is Don Stanhouse.

Even in the shadow of death in the nursing home, I was amazed by all the hair Mr. Stanhouse had on his head and on his face.

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cincinnati Tea Party Cell Drinks From Cracked Cup

Above is a picture I took today of a bumper sticker for a Tea Party cell here in Cincinnati.

The sticker reads as a libertarian con job. Unable to ever win more than 1% running as libertarians, they are trying something new.

I guess if social issues matter to you, the Cincinnati Tea Party would have you go elsewhere.

You knew the Tea Party had a lot of crackpot ideas. Based on the image above, it seems the very cup they drink from is cracked.

Why would you put a tea bag in a cracked cup?

The hot water leaks out and scalds people with drastic budget cuts to education and needed social services in these hard times.

The Cincinnati Tea Party cell would no doubt tell you that they have many good ideas on how we should conduct our public affairs.

Yet they are unable to even design a bumper sticker that makes sense.

March 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 7 Comments

See The Solidity Rather Than The Transient Impact Of Time And Events

Once again today, I spent a number of hours with the terminally ill person in my life.

At first consideration, it might seem that this person is overrun by age and disease.

But if you listen and pay attention, you can find the foundation of the person who has been in the world since 1930.

There are times for all of us when we do not appear to be the person that we know we really are.

Look past the ravages of time and impact of events. See instead the solidity and the best aspects of the person who, despite everything, still exists.

(Picture Copyright  2011 Neil Aquino)

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

Diverging

I spent a number of hours today with the terminally ill person in my life.

He’ll soon be taking a diverging track.

Picture of railroad tracks taken today in Cincinnati, Ohio.

( Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino)

March 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment