Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Rick Perry’s Fed Up!—“The Last Warning Sign To The Danger That Lies Ahead.”

Above is a cup of coffee, a piece of carrot cake and a copy of Fed Up!–Our Fight To Save America From Washington. I took this picture a few hours ago.

As my friend and fellow Texas blogger Steve Wichard wrote when I posted this picture on Facebook—“So you are having something warm, something sweet and something nauseating.”

Steve could not be more wrong.

This is a great book.

You can tell it is a great work from the divine glare you see on this book written by self-anointed prophet Rick Perry.  This book is bathed in light for pointing the way out of our national troubles.

Here is what Newt Gingrich wrote in the introduction to Fed Up!—

” I wish this book never had to be written. It almost came too late. America is recklessly accelerating toward economic disaster. Fed Up! may be the last warning sign to the danger that lies ahead.”

It sure was nice of Mr. Gingrich to write such nice things about somebody to be running for President against in 2012—Assuming the Gingrich campaign makes it as far as 2012.

Just imagine that this solution to our national woes is available for just $21.99 and is explained in only 220 pages. Everything is so simple!

Though would true prophet charge anything at all?

I guess Governor Perry supports even a privatization of salvation.

Here is what it says in Matthew 7:15— “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

While the coffee and the carrot cake are now gone, I’ve only completed the introduction, Governor Perry’s brief preface, and the first 3 pages of Fed Up!

I want to read the book over a few weeks so I can savor every word.

The Governor starts off by the preface saying–” I grew up in Paint Creek, Texas. If you can’t find it on a map I won’t be surprised.”

It seems Mr. Perry was already assessing the geography skills of Texas students after the deep education budget cuts of the recent legislative session.

I’m certain this book will provide me with a number of blog posts over the next few weeks.

If the book does provide me with some blog posts, I might well be the only person who gains anything of use by reading Fed Up!

July 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up—Picture Of Former Enron Buildings To Spur You To Action

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.

To spur you to action, I’ve included with this post a photo I took a few weeks back of the former Enron buildings here in Houston. The former Enron buildings are the two silver buildings in the picture.

I’m certain that once reminded of the corporate outrages perpetrated by Enron, you will take to the streets and demand action for a more fair and just America,

I realize that this hoped-for action is not what takes place with the many thousands of motorists and pedestrians who see these buildings each day. But I would not work on this blog each day if I were not hopeful.

The round-up—

Refinish69 at Doing My Part for the Left has a Texas Update! We Are In A Severe Drought Situation! ACT LIKE IT STUPID! He also has a message for the young people out there: It does get better.

Lightseeker takes us on a quick tour of the Rick Perry religious manipulation tactics over the last 10 years to make a point: when you discuss his upcoming prayer summit, don’t fall into the trap of yelling “church and state”, at least not only and not first. Check it out at Texas KaosTalking Back to Perry’s Prayer Summit.

Bay Area Houston has the scoop on the ground rules for Rick Perry’s “The Response”. Continue reading

July 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Excellent Houston Taxi Cab

Here is a picture I took a few days ago in Houston of an excellent taxi cab.

I don’t know what kind of car that is and I’ll never own a convertable, but that is a fine taxi.

A great book I bought a few weeks ago is Car–A Definitive History of the Automobile by DK Publishing.

Here is a history of taxi cab service in the United States compiled by PBS.

From this history—

“By the end of the 19th century, automobiles began to appear on city streets throughout the country. It was not long before a number of these cars were hiring themselves out in competition with horse-drawn carriages. Although these electric-powered cabs were slightly impractical (with batteries weighing upwards of eight hundred pounds), by 1899 there were nearly one hundred of them on New York’s streets.”

(Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

July 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

I Am Houston

Not Houston Chamber of Commerce approved I suppose, but true in a number of ways.

Photo taken yesterday near the Houston Ship Channel and copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.

July 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 3 Comments

The Simple Things Often Make The Biggest Impression

It is not the biggest thing in the world, but can’t the Houston Public Works Department have a sign that is correct instead of missing a letter in the word Houston?

Why should anybody believe that government will do a good job fixing stuff when even this most basic matter can’t be done correctly?

(Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

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

Republican Todd Staples Praises Impact Of Federal Money In Texas Job Creation—Nacogdoches & Palo Pinto County Line Up For Help From Washington

Republican Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is very excited about federal money coming to Texas.

(Above–Todd Staples, on the left, with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Texas looks to the federal government and the Obama administration to help generate international business for the Lone Star State.)  

From the website of the Texas Department of Agriculture-

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today announced the Texas Department of Agriculture has awarded $750,000 in federal funds to the city of Nacogdoches for sidewalk and parking improvements. The award, made possible through the Texas Capital Fund, will support Archangel Capital Partners, LLC, dba Timber Springs, in developing an assisted living facility that will create 38 jobs in the city of Nacogdoches.

“The Texas Capital Fund is a smart investment that rejuvenates the economies of Texas communities,” Commissioner Staples said. “This award will help enhance economic development in Nacogdoches…”

The Texas Capital Fund, funded by the federal Community Development Block Grant program, provides more than $10 million in competitive awards each year to boost economic development in small Texas communities….

“The city has been working on the Timber Springs project for several years, and this award is an important step in bringing the project to a reality,” Nacogdoches Mayor Roger Van Horn said…. 

State legislators agree the Texas Capital Fund offers immediate and long-term benefits.

“Congratulations to the city of Nacogdoches for receiving this award,” Sen. Robert Nichols said. “I applaud local leaders for their work to bring new jobs and opportunities to the area.”

Did you catch the extent to which all this hinges on money from the federal government?

Nacogdoches County voted 63% for Rick Perry in 2010. I guess it was not cuts in government for themselves that the people of Nacogdoches County supported, but rather cuts for other people in other places.

Texas State Senator Robert Nichols who praised the federal money in the press release above is a Republican.

Here is what it says about Senator Nichols on his campaign web site-

A fiscal conservative

A true believer in the free enterprise system

Sure.

Todd Staples is running for Lt. Governor.

Here is what it says on Mr. Staples’ campaign web page —

“Keeping Taxes Low–While serving in the Texas Legislature, Staples stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Governors Bush and Perry passing record setting tax breaks,which has enabled Texas to lead the nation in job growth.”

Yet in the Agriculture Dept. release it says the following—

“Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today announced the Texas Department of Agriculture has awarded $750,000 in federal funds to the city of Nacogdoches for sidewalk and parking improvements. The award, made possible through the Texas Capital Fund, will support Archangel Capital Partners, LLC, dba Timber Springs, in developing an assisted living facility that will create 38 jobs in the city of Nacogdoches.”

I see. Low taxes create jobs except in cases where spending tax money creates jobs.

Does Mr. Staples appear to have any solid principles when it comes to the alleged core Tea Party/Republican Party issues of taxation and government intervention in the economy?

It seems that he does not. If this use of taxpayer money is okay for the purpose of job creation, why not many other taxpayer financed plans for job creation?

And this is not a one time deal.

Here is another Texas Agriculture Department release from July 8—

“Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today announced the Texas Department of Agriculture has awarded $609,500 in federal funds to Palo Pinto County for real estate expansion. The award, made possible through the Texas Capital Fund, will support Texas Best Proteins, L.P., dba Kennedy’s Sausage Company, in the purchase of an existing facility and 20 acres of land. The project will create 31 permanent jobs.”

Palo Pinto County voted 64% for Rick Perry in 2010.  Given that election result, I think the folks in Palo Pinto should have the Tea Party raise the funds needed to help Kennedy’s Sausage Company.

Here is the web site for Kennedy’s Sausage Company.  I don’t see anyplace on the web site where Kennedy’s thanks Washington for the money.

Does Mr. Staples support rasing the debt ceiling so that we can pay for some more of these federal government grants for Texas?

What hypocrisy from Republican elected officials in Texas and from Texas communities who elect these Republicans.

(Below–Downtown Nacogdoches. Picture by photolitherland.)  

July 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Advice For Successful Networking

Here is some advice for successful networking–

Let’s network with the truth, hard work, imagination and optimism.

When these things are our friends and allies, we shall truly be well-connected.

July 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Cincinnati Bengals Paul Brown Stadium Deal One Of The Worst Deals Ever—16.4% Of Hamilton County Budget

Now here is a shocker from Cincinnati TV station WLWT—-

“Hamilton County’s stadium deal with the Cincinnati Bengals is among the worst ever struck by a local government with a professional sports team, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The newspaper reports that the county spent $34.6 million on the stadium last year, which is about 16.4 percent of the county’s total budget, and a property tax rollback included in the original deal is draining additional revenue.Hamilton County voters passed a half-cent sales tax increase in 1996 to help fund construction on the stadium, which opened in 2000, and Great American Ball Park, which opened in 2003.  To help entice voters into supporting the sales tax hike, county commissioners at the time agreed to roll back property taxes beginning this year. But sales tax revenues did not keep pace with projections, and the county faced bankruptcy if it did not negotiate additional payments from the Bengals and Reds – and reduce the amount of taxes to be rolled back. Under the deal reached in December, about 25 percent of the property tax rollback was retained, meaning homeowners will pay an additional $40 to $45 for every $100,000 of home value. The report says the stadium cost far more than its $280 million budget, although the county and team offer differing figures. Hamilton County officials say the final cost was $454 million, while the team claims the cost was $350 million without infrastructure work around the stadium, the newspaper reports.”

I was in the Cincinnati City Council Chamber when the council–by a 5-4 vote–approved the transfer of land that helped make the stadium deal possible. I’m glad to say that the councilmember I worked for at the time voted no.

I’ve written about this matter from time-to-time over the years. I’m sure I will again. I’ll know I’ll not change anything about how the Bengals operate. Why should they change when they keep getting all the taxpayer dollars and don’t have to put a good team on the field?

Yet still, I’m going to keep writing about this issue.

(Below–A picture I took earlier this year of the Cincinnati Bengals underwater from Ohio River flooding just like Hamilton County taxpayers are underwater everyday from the stadium deal. Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)  

July 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Aurore Press Is A Leading Forum For Dissenting Views In Cincinnati—You Have The Ability To Communicate Your Values

This evening I worked on my entry for the Aurore Press book you see discussed below–

“Living in the Lap of Labor book Release September 3 at The Comet— As many of you know already, we like to put our best foot forward by putting out a collection of writings, musings, rantings, etc. on the topic of our choice with the help of many of our (much more) talented friends followed by a spoken word performance.  We’ve had our next topic in our pocket for some time now but it’s fortunately (or unfortunately) an extremely timely one: WORK. This is a labor book featuring a few of our favorite writers.”

Aurore Press is a leading forum for dissenting views in Cincinnati. I’m glad to say that I’ve contributed to two Aurore books already. I’ve also been fortunate enough to serve as MC for one of the Cincinnati punk rock reunion shows that Aurore holds each year.

The Comet is a well-known Cincinnati bar  I’ll be taking part in the September 3 spoken word event at The Comet.

Click here to learn more about Aurore. They have accomplished a lot so far and they have much more in the works.

Here is what Aurore has to say about themselves—

“Aurore Press began publishing as an independent micro press in 2007. Headquartered in the Northside neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, Aurore Press is the sweat of co-publishers Betsy Young and Chuck Byrd who felt after many drunken, but dead serious, conversations with the most amazing and creative people we knew there was a definite need to showcase some of these unique viewpoints, ideas and talents stewing in Cincinnati’s creative scene on any given time (and not just when the media decides Cincinnati is “in”).

Thnaks to Aurore for allowing me to be a small part of their success.

Every person has the ability to take action and make a difference in the fashion that the founders of Aurore have achieved. Nobody is powerless. Think about the way that you can best contribute . Don’t let the Tea Party and our most regressive people define our futures.

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

I Did Not Vote For Barack Obama So We Would Cut Social Security And Medicare—Contact The White House

Discussions over raising the debt ceiling are ongoing.

(Above–Barack Obama at a campaign rally I attended in Houston in 2008.) 

All I can say is that I did not support Barack Obama in 2008 so that we could see cuts in Medicare and Social Security.

We’ve gone more than far enough with tax cuts for the wealthy and sacrifice for everybody else.

Isn’t this society tilted enough towards the wealthy and powerful?

I’m not sure what else I can say. People know where they stand.

We’ve got to understand the nearly-irredeemable nature of our conservative opposition at this point in our politics, and we’ve got to make the decision that we are going to make progress in this country.

Contact the White House and tell President Obama not to sell out everyday Americans.

July 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 5 Comments

Three Thoughts About Twitter

Three thoughts about Twitter—

1. The two largest groups of my Facebook friends come from either people I’ve encountered through blogging about politics in Houston and Texas, or are people I met 20 or 30 years ago in Cincinnati during my well-spent punk rock youth. I’ve probably got about 200 folks from each of these groups on my Facebook.

Many of my Texas blogger and political friends use Twitter based on the Twitter feeds I see that are automatically set to be posted on Facebook. On the other hand, I’m not aware of a single punk rock friend who uses Twitter.

2. I am increasingly convinced that all those hash tags on Twitter and the abbreviations required to meet the 140 character limit, are somehow part of an evolutionary drive to use language and symbols to drive group cohesion and exclude people who are not in the know. I read that Twitter stuff and I’m just not always sure what people are talking about.

This drive may well reside in the subconscious. Though you can never overstate the cliquishness of both political life and social media. When you combine political life with social media, it seems almost incestuous.

3. While I’m not saying I won’t someday sign on to Twitter, I have not done so to this point. I guess my inner Sid Vicious from my punk rock youth prevails on this matter.

(Below–The Jockey Club in Newport, Kentucky from back in the day. Maybe not so many future Twitterers in that picture.)  

July 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up—The Work Of Freedom Is Up To Each Of Us

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.

Though given the unusually small number of entries in this most recent round-up, it does seem that some of my fellow bloggers were taking the Fourth of July a bit easy.

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.

Off the Kuff took a look at changes in turnout in Congressional districts between 2006 and 2010.

After much chaos, the GOP-led Texas Lege finally adjourned this week. WCNews at Eye On Williamson says that what we got is what happenswhen fools rule.

How does “Tommy Lee Jones, United States Senator from Texas” sound? It’s still a possibility, according to the recent news collected by PDiddie atBrains and Eggs.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is already sick of Rick Perry’s presidential run, what with the propaganda and a**hattery.

Neil at Texas Liberal noted that despite all the talk in Texas about how the federal government is bad, the state of Texas is taking disaster aid from Washington to help manage wildfires and drought.

July 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

If Your Opposition Sees You As Illegitimate By Definition, Then All You Can Do Is Work Hard And Win

Republicans impeached Clinton, stole the 2000 election, question Obama’s citizenship, wreck the economy for political gain, use legislation to keep the poor and people of color from voting, and talk about states rights and seccession.

(Above–Clinton impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.) 

Our political disputes today are not about just policy differences that are open to compromise in the long-term.

There is no middle ground when the other side sees you as illegitimate by definition.

It is just about conflict and the need to win at this point.

(Below–Our fellow Americans. Photo by dbking)

July 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

View Texas In A Different Way—Alexandre Hogue & Texas Post Office Murals

I’ve bought two art books in recent weeks that show Texans working together and respecting the land and culture of the Lone Star state.

These two books are shown above as they are being read by two members of the Texas Liberal Panel of Experts.

On the left, Extinct–A woolly mammoth–is reading Alexandre Hogue–An American Visionary.

On the right, Cactus is reading The Texas Post Office Murals-Art For The People.

Both of these titles are published by Texas A & M University.

Alexandre Hogue lived 1898-1994. He spent most of his life in Texas and New Mexico.

From the excellent Handbook of Texas Online-

“(Hogue) is best known for his paintings of the Dust Bowl of the American Southwest during the Great Depression. Most of his work on this subject is from the 1930s, but the theme of natural balance-and the resulting environmental disasters when humans fail to respect that balance-is found throughout his work.”

Alexandre Hogue’s paintings offer a way of seeing Texas in a way that reflects something more than just doing whatever you want no matter the harm it causes others.

Below is Hogue’s 1939 painting The Crucified Land.

Again from The Handbook of Texas Online

“Post office murals capture the flavor of Texas through its most prominent symbols. Themes include regional history and early settlement. For example, the arrival of the conquistadors in West Texas is a mural theme in the Canyon, El Paso, and Amarillo post offices. Pioneer settlers appear in the murals of Mart, Big Spring, Brady, Wellington, and others. Included also are murals depicting various industries that characterize Texas, such as ranching (Fredericksberg, Amarillo); agriculture (Elgin, Farmersville, Longview); oil operations (Kilgore, Graham); and lumber manufacturing (Jasper, Trinity).”

Here is a list of Texas post office murals. Some of these murals are still around to view. Others are not. Check in advance.

Below is a picture I took from the Post Office of a 1941 Jerry Bywaters mural called Houston Ship Channel: Loading Cotton.

This painting is at a Houston parcel post facility and, regretfully, is not at the moment able to be seen by the public.

Texas can be seen from many different perspectives. You don’t have to accept a Texas where the land and the environment mean nothing, and where the little person gets no regard from the powerful other than a kick in the head.

See Texas in a more just and hopeful way, and then work hard to make your vision a reality.

July 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Old Ship Church—Clears My Mind And Helps Me Focus

I’ve been reading American Visions–The Epic History of American Art by Robert Hughes.

In this book there is a picture of the Old Ship Church in Hingham, Massachusetts.

Above is the interior of this building (Picture by Michael Carter.) Below is the exterior. (Picture by Timothy Valentine.)

Old Ship is the oldest church in continuous use in the United States. It was constructed in 1681.

Here is some history of Old Ship from the official web site of the church.

Take from that history whatever you wish.

What strikes me about the place in the antiquity of the building—at least in the context of the United States—and the minimalism of the place.

Old Ship has been at the same location and serving the same purpose for over 300 years.

Just looking at a picture of Old Ship clears my mind and helps me focus.

I think there are places and things that have a helpful impact for us, and that these places are probably more common than we realize.

You’ve just got to keep an active mind and look around.

July 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments