Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up—Some Mighty Fine Blogging

Here is the weekly round-up of the Texas Progressive Alliance. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas. TPA members are citizen-bloggers who are working hard for a better Texas.

(Above–Our state flag waves proudly over Galveston Bay. Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

Every Texan has the ability to attend a public meeting, attend or organize a protest, write or call an elected official, talk to friends and family, start a blog, donate money, write a letter to the editor, volunteer for candidates and causes, engage in acts of civil disobedience, and even run for public office.

The work of freedom is up to each of us.

Here is the round-up—

Off the Kuff has an update on redistricting litigation that’s being filed.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the Lite Gov.’s latest move:Dewhurst announces for Senate, commits to gutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

A couple of Republican bloggers thought they were breaking news with murmurings of a Texas Senate Demoratic primary challenge by Sylvia Garcia to Mario Gallegos. By the end of the day the senator, the former county commissioner, and their shared political consultant shot the rumor down in flames. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs reminds you why you just shouldn’t believe anything posted on conservative blogs. Continue reading

July 31, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Simple Gifts On Galveston Island

(Blogger’s Note–This is a post from just over two years ago. This post took about 15 efforts to get right on a day that was hot as hell. So I’m certain it merits a second posting. )

Above is a video of me speaking the words of the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts while standing on the eastern end of Galveston Island.

The video runs just over 90 seconds.

Behind me as I speak is a ship in Galveston Bay that is sailing out towards the Gulf of Mexico.

Simple Gifts is one of my favorite songs.

If you click this link, you’ll see the lyrics and the song will play.

The song was written by Joseph Brackett. Here are some basic facts about Joseph Brackett.

Here is some information about Shaker music.

Here is some history of the Shakers.

From that history—

One of the numerous religious sects who emigrated to American shores in search of religious freedom, the Shakers followed Mother Ann Lee to the United States in 1774. Here they established several colonies– the first in 1776 at Nikayuna near Albany, NY–whose governing principles included celibacy and agrarian communal living.

Here are some things you could see if you visited Galveston, Texas.

Here are some facts about Galveston Bay.

Here is the link to the Galveston Bay Foundation.

Here is a link where you can track the location of ships around the world.

Here is some history of ships and boats.

The part of Simple Gifts I like best is where it says that to bow and to bend we should not be ashamed. I would like to live my life by that principle.

But so far I have lacked the discipline to do so.

July 30, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Texans, Rather Than Barack Obama, Will Choose The Weather For Texas—Tropical Storm Don

Texans will not be cowed by a socialized “National Hurricane Center.”

(Above– What the Federal Government wants us to believe.) 

We have been hearing about so-called Tropical Storm Don.

If there is a “tropical storm” off the Texas coast, why can’t hardworking God-fearing Texans see it with their own eyes right now?

And why is government watching over us from space?

Is this how we Remember the Alamo?

I encourage Texans who strongly believe in states rights to head to the beach and take to their boats so Washington understands that it is Texans–and not Barack Obama– who will make the decisions about our weather.

(Below– The Alamo. Photo by Daniel Schwen.)

July 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

Amy Price Gearing Up To Put Forth Progressive Green Values And To Defeat C.O. Bradford In Houston At-Large Position # 4

These are cards for the campaign of Green Houston City Council At- Large #4 candidate Amy Price.

I’ve written about Ms. Price once before. You’re going to see a lot more about her on the blog.

Amy will be running for Council, putting forth progressive Green values, and unseating poor performing incumbent C.O. Bradford.

I attended a campaign meeting this evening. This is a going to be a solid effort.

Here is the Amy Price Facebook page.

More details, reasons to unseat Mr. Bradford, and a campaign website will be forthcoming soon.

July 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Eric Dick Running For Houston City Council Position # 2

Last week I had dinner with Houston At-Large Position 2 Houston City Council candidate Eric Dick.

Eric is a Republican running for an open seat.

Above you see Eric eating some type of Korean stew.

While I will not be voting for Eric, he is willing to meet and talk with people all over our city.

He sat and talked with me even though I have criticized him in a previous post.

Eric is out on the campaign trail and has an enthusiasm for Houston.

Eric and I talked about his race and about his views on city issues.

Eric is conservative and I don’t think he is the best person running for seat #2. I regret the large number of campaign signs he has placed all over Houston.

But I do appreciate the effort Eric is making.

I wish Eric safe travels as he meets with a wide cross-section of Houston voters.

July 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

Texas Liberal Marks Five Years—The Work Of Freedom Is Up To Each Of Us

July 25th, 2011 marked five years since I began regular posting on Texas Liberal.

I did not write on this subject on the 25th because I wrote other things instead for the past two days.

I write this blog with the assistance of the Texas Liberal Panel of Experts.

Above you see the TLPOE–Samuel Slater Bobblehead, Cactus, Extinct and Hamburger Wearing An Astros’ Hat.

They have busted out a bottle of champagne to mark the anniversary of the blog with a night of boozing.

Cactus would have you know, however, that he is not much of a drinker.

This post is the 2,459th entry on the blog. I follow baseball closely, but do not often mention it here since there is already enough sports in our society.

I will say though that 2,459 matches the number of hits in the career of Hall of Famer Lloyd Waner.

(Below–Lloyd Waner)

As I write this, the blog has received 1,615,181 page views. This averages out to just over 300,000 page views a year for the life of the blog.

I’m glad to say I’ve averaged 1000 page views a day or more for 33 of the past 34 months. This is good for one yahoo at home with his computer.

As I can recall at the moment, I’ve made Texas Liberal posts from Galveston, Austin, Corpus Christi, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, Cincinnati, from the Houston Downtown library when my power at home was out after after Hurricane Ike, and from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

These have been the most viewed posts on Texas Liberal—

1. Facts About Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill From Deepwater Horizon Rig Explosion —25,491 views

2. Blog Readers Demand To Know–What Is Done With Shamu’s Body After He Dies?— 21,266 views

3. Four Black Senators Since Reconstruction—Who And Why So Few? —20,282 views

The signature post of Texas Liberal is the Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List  that I update each year. This list is the best such reference on the web.

I also blog at The Daily Hurricane and Where’s The Outrage? Though I have not posted in a few weeks at WTO? I need to get back on track. I’m also a featured  political reader-blogger at the Houston Chronicle. I’m in the process of being moved on the Chronicle so there is no link at the moment.

I’m part of a group of Texas political citizen-bloggers called the Texas Progressive Alliance.

I enjoy writing Texas Liberal and will continue to move ahead with the blog. And I have another project in the works that I’ll discuss soon.

I also intend to active in taking part and posting about the upcoming 2011 Houston City elections.

Thanks to everybody who has read and supported the blog.

And please do not forget the bottom line here at Texas Liberal—

Every American has the ability has the ability to attend a public meeting, attend or organize a protest, write or call an elected official, talk to friends and family, start a blog, donate money, write a letter to the editor, volunteer for candidates and causes, engage in acts of civil disobedience, and even run for public office. The work of freedom is up to each of us.

July 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 9 Comments

Should Abe Lincoln Have Given Jefferson Davis Everything He Wanted?—The Work Of Freedom Is Up To Us

Should Abe Lincoln have given into everything that Jefferson Davis and the South wanted in order to solve a great national problem?

President Obama has likely compromised more than he should on the debt ceiling debate. And yet still it is not enough for Republicans.

Mr. Obama may not be another Lincoln, but today’s Republican Party of States Rights and mindless government bashing would have fit in just fine with the Confederacy.

Just how far backwards are we going to go in this country?

President Obama got it right tonight that we as citizens need to take action ourselves.

Call your U.S. Representative and your two U.S. Senators and demand a solution that involves sacrifice by all and that does not exempt the most wealthy from having to pay a fair share.

But don’t stop there.

Every American has the ability to attend a public meeting, attend or organize a protest, write or call an elected official, talk to friends and family, start a blog, donate money, write a letter to the editor, volunteer for candidates and causes, engage in acts of civil disobedience, and even run for public office.

President Obama’s call for citizen-action  may be the most important thing he said in his debt ceiling speech.

Take up the President on his suggestion of getting involved, and keep up the involvement for the fights ahead.

The work of freedom is up to each of us.


Here is the message I have sent to my terrible Congressperson John Culberson-

Rep. Culberson: God Bless President Obama and freedom. You states rights extremists have always been about obstruction and treason. Stop holding our nation hostage for the benefit of the rich, and out of hatred for the multicultural future of our great nation as represented by Barack Obama. Thank you.

July 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 5 Comments

Debt Ceiling Standoff Reminiscent Of Cuban Missile Crisis—An Interesting View Of The Cuban Missile Crisis

The debt ceiling talks have begun to remind me of the Cuban Missile  Crisis.

(Above–Soviet missiles in Cuba. Big trouble back in 1962.)

Which side will blink first?

(Here are facts about the Cuban Missile Crisis.)

As for the debt ceiling negotiations, I hope President Obama does not sell us out with benefit cuts and domestic spending cuts that make life tougher than it is already. The wealthy have the resources to pay more taxes. If the debt is such a threat, then everybody needs to be part of the solution. Though the real issue–jobs– is ignored by both major parties. 

A great book for an interesting take of the Cuban Missile Crisis is Humanity–A Moral History of the Twentieth Century by Jonathan Glover.

This book examines the brutality of the 20th century and the competing impulses of good and evil in indviduals and in larger society.

It is not a cheery book.

From the 2000 review of Humanity in the New York Times—-

Glover draws hope from the recurring breakthroughs of moral resources and from the happy episodes in which they conspired to avert disaster. During the Cuban missile crisis, Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy were reminded of the human cost of the nuclear brink they were approaching, Khrushchev by memories of two world wars fought on his soil, Kennedy by a graphic briefing of the aftermath of an atomic bomb. And each understood they were in a Hobbesian trap. Kennedy had just read Barbara Tuchman’s ”Guns of August” and saw how the leaders of great nations could sleepwalk into a pointless and awful war. Khrushchev, thinking like a game theorist, wrote to Kennedy: ”You and I should not now pull on the ends of the rope in which you have tied a knot of war, because the harder you and I pull, the tighter this knot will become. And a time may come when this knot is tied so tight that the person who tied it is no longer capable of untying it, and then the knot will have to be cut.” By identifying the trap, they could set the shared goal of escaping it. In the teeth of opposition from many of their advisers, both made concessions that may have literally saved the world.”

Here is a link to the first chapter of Humanity.

I believe that there is good and evil and that people make choices about how they will proceed in life. At the same time, I think we are often trapped in circumstances not of our own making, and that we are not always in control of our choices in life.

I don’t see any fatal contradiction  inherent to these views. It is unlikely that existence itself could come to term without a foundation of conflict, contradiction, and competing elements. These aspects of creation echo in the decisions made by leaders in times of crisis, and in the everyday lives that you and I lead.

We can admit the reality of contradiction and conflict while at the same time choosing clear and hopeful courses of action.

We can take part in the issues of today while looking at the lessons of the past.

We can move forward in a difficult world.

July 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Right Wing Religious Extremist Anders Breivik Is Charged With The Terrorism In Oslo

I heard a brief Fox News radio report a few hours ago about the Oslo terrorist bombing and shooting. The update did not mention that this crime was an act of right-wing Christian extremism. I felt if this terrorism had been conducted by Muslims, that Fox would have reported this fact on the radio.

I want to be certain that people understand who committed the terrorist acts we saw in Oslo this past Friday.

From the New York Times-

The Norwegian man charged Saturday with a pair of attacks in Oslo that killed at least 92 people left behind a detailed manifesto outlining his preparations and calling for a Christian war to defend Europe against the threat of Muslim domination.., Anders Behring Breivik, 32. The police identified him as a right-wing fundamentalist Christian, while acquaintances described him as a gun-loving Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as the threats of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration.”

I’m not suggesting that people either here in America or elsewhere in the world who share the views of Mr. Breivik are going to go out and kill people. I’m simply saying that the Fox report I heard left out an important detail.

You can read what took place and who committed the crime and draw your own conclusions. This is just as you would do in any case after a terrible deed has been committed.

Mother Jones Magazine, a great liberal journal of news and opinion, has more on Mr. Breivik and the motives behind his actions.  Read it and decide what you think.

Here is BBC coverage of the story from Oslo.

July 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up—The Mess That Is Democracy

Here is the weekly round-up of the Texas Progressive Alliance. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas. TPA members are citizen-bloggers who are working hard for a better Texas.

Every Texan has the ability has the ability to attend a public meeting, attend or organize a protest, write or call an elected official, talk to friends and family, start a blog, donate money, write a letter to the editor, volunteer for candidates and causes, engage in acts of civil disobedience, and even run for public office. The work of freedom is up to each of us.

(Above–While it is true that our democracy often seems like a big mess, we each have to make the call to take command of our futures. Photo copyright 2010 Neil Aquino.) 

Here is the round-up—

Off the Kuff wonders how big the next state deficit will be. Because we’re surely going to have one.

McBlogger takes a look at the Republicans’ most recent effort to give us RyanFraud. Continue reading

July 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Stay The Course No Matter How High The River May Be

As I’ve been saying for the past few days–I’m a bit underwater.

Picture is of the Ohio River at flood stage in Cincinnati, Ohio. I took this picture last March when I was in Cincinnati as my father was dying.

There is very much to be hopeful about in our everyday lives. Everything we need to be hopeful and creative is around us if we apply effort and self-discipline to what we hope to accomplish.

Stay the course no matter how strong the currents may be when the river is high.

(Photo copyright  2011 Neil Aquino.)

July 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Amy Price Running As A Green For Houston City Council in 2011

I met this morning with Amy Price.

Amy is going to run a Green for an at-large seat on Houston City Council in 2011.

She is still working out the details, but what I am certain of is that she is going to conduct a solid and hard hitting campaign effort.

Folks in Houston merit more options than so-called Democrats running for city office who are afraid to even say that they are Democrats.

As a Democrat or progressive following Houston politics, if you can’t afford the endless fundraisers, if candidates don’t call themselves Democrats and they take Republican money, if Democrats do nothing to address the dismal turnout we see year after year in city elections—-Then why not get involved on your own and work and fight for your liberal and progressive values no matter what?

The work of freedom is up to each of us.

There is an Amy Price For Houston City Council page that you can like on Facebook and there will be more to come in the weeks ahead.

July 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

Busy—Houston Sunset

I’ve been very busy over the past few days.

In part I have been doing some things connected to the upcoming municipal elections in Houston. I’ll have more to say on that as we progress.

The picture above is of a sunset last week over Harrisburg Blvd. here in Houston.

(Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

I have never once in my life been camping or spent a night outdoors. I’ve spent no more than a few days of my life outside of a city.

Our cities have many nice things to see. You just sometimes have to be on the lookout.

There are so many interesting and good things to see in the world. You just have to stay on the lookout and stay hopeful.

July 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

How About Some Leadership And Energy From The Harris County Democratic Party?

Despite 3,882 followers, the Harris County Democratic Party Facebook page has been updated once since June 29. And that one time was to sell tickets for an event.

Does the HCDP have anything to say about anything here in the third largest county in America, and with city elections taking place in November?

Even if it is just a few sentences, I manage to update this blog nearly every day of the year.

While many good people care about the party and do get involved, sometimes it seems that the Democratic Party in Harris County is little more than a refuge of sorts for longtime loyalists who might now be 75 year old precinct chairs, a source of networking opportunities for a select group of much younger people, and a “flag of convenience” for candidates who at core operate for the benefit of large donors, and who often ignore the many in Harris County who could use some help but are mostly voiceless.

Do you recall any leadership from the HCDP during the recent Texas legislative session?

Can you recall the last time the HCDP got involved in generating turnout and enthusiasm for municipal elections in Houston?

Here is the link to the web site of the Harris County Democratic Party. On the front page of the web site they suggest that you “like” the HCDP on Facebook.

I’m not really certain though why you would do that. The party never says anything on Facebook.

Folks in Harris County deserve better.

Yet what folks need to grasp is that they themselves are going to have to demand more of the party.

We need to demand more of ourselves.

It is up to each of us as individuals to work collectively for a better Houston and a better Harris County.

This is work that we need to start right away.

July 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Learn The History Of Disco Music

(Blogger’s note–I’ve got a lot going on today. This is a rerun of a post from last year. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.)

I enjoy disco music. As I write this post, I’m listening to the disco channel on Pandora radio. I find the music good-natured. Enough of life is angry.

I think if we all played disco in our cars during our commute to work people would be nicer to each other on the road.

At this very moment the song Disco Inferno by The Trammps is playing on Pandora. This is indeed entertainment.

Here are some of the lyrics to Disco Inferno—

To mass fires, yes! One hundred stories high

People gettin’ loose – all gettin’ down on the roof – Do you hear?

(the folks are flaming) Folks were screamin’ – out of control
It was so entertainin’ – when the boogie started to explode
I heard somebody say

Burn baby burn! – Disco inferno!

Burn baby burn! – Burn that mother down
Burn baby burn! – Disco inferno!
Burn baby burn! – Burn that mother down

These words seem like you are being urged to burn something down. But it is quite the opposite. The singer clearly says in the song that your soul is on fire and you are happy. This song is channeling your negative energy away from destructive acts!

A new book reviewed in the New York Times recently tells some of the history and the social meaning of disco. The book is called Hot Stuff–Disco and the Remaking of American Culture and was written by Alice Echols.

From the review-

“But for the thrill-seekers, especially gay ones, who packed the trendier nightspots, disco was the sound of hard-earned freedom. It meant dancing your heart out until dawn, often aided by drugs, in clubs where anybody could pair with anybody. Disco’s beat took over your body and pounded away your inhibitions. At its headiest, the experience was a close simulation of sex, or a direct lead-in to it. Women were the main voices of lust. In “I Feel Love,” Donna Summer’s techno-backed moaning — “Oooooh, it’s so good, it’s so good, it’s so good” — seemed like a six-minute glide on the runway to orgasm….Alice Echols, a professor of American studies and history at Rutgers University and a former disco D.J., knows that most of the music she spun is considered “mindless, repetitive, formulaic and banal.” But in her engrossing new book, “Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture,” she portrays that scene as a hotbed of social change — for gays, for women and their sexual rights, for blacks in the record industry. Other writers have done more to evoke the era’s sleazy glamour and animal excitement. But Echols…has few peers among music sociologists. Scholarly but fun, “Hot Stuff” is not just about disco; it re-examines the ’70s as a decade of revolution.”

(Below—A classic.)

Here is an article on the history of disco from American Heritage magazine. It is a good article that traces the evolution of disco to Paris during WW II.

Now playing on Pandora is Upside Down by Diana Ross.

Here is a history of disco from Soul-Patrol.com.

Listen to some disco and let some happiness into your life. Learn about the history of disco and see why it was music that made a difference in people’s lives and in our society.

(Below–Why must this gentleman be a hater? Photo taken by Rich.lionheart.)

July 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 4 Comments