Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Rick Perry’s Fed Up!—Not Really The Most Fun You Can Have In A Field In Indiana

I was driving with a friend yesterday in Indiana.

We came across the field you see in the first picture below.

This field contained both a farm silo and a football goalpost and upright.

My friend and I figured that this just had to be the most wholesome middle-America location in all the nation.

Farm and football in one spot in Indiana.

I just happened to have in my rental car a copy of Rick Perry’s book Fed Up!

I wondered if reading Fed Up! as an everyday middle American in such a wholesome spot in Indiana would cause the book to make some sense.

So far I’ve just read the book as a liberal snob in the big city of Houston.

In the bottom picture you see me reading Fed Up! in front of the silo.

I’ve got to tell you that this book reads just as stupid and mean-spirited in rural America as it does in the big city.

Though, of course, Indiana voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

People all over the nation have the decency and common sense to know that we should care for one another, and to know that government has a role to play in our lives.

If Rick Perry is nominated by the Republican Party in 2012, his extreme views will be rejected in all parts of our great republic


August 31, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Republican Judge Rules Against Rick Perry’s Forced Sonogram Law

A federal judge has ruled against much of the Texas Forced Sonogram law that was signed into law in 2011 by Texas Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry.

This law forces an unwanted sonogram on women seeking a legal abortion in Texas. It forces doctors to discuss the results of the sonogram with these women.

If the State of Texas and Rick Perry can force one type of unwanted medical procedure on free citizens, what stops the state from forcing any type of unwanted medical procedure on free citizens?

How can it be that the individual mandate to purchase health insurance that is part of President Obama’s Health Care Reform is an intrusion into people’s freedom as Republicans often assert, but Rick Perry can tell women and doctors what to do in the most private and personal of  concerns?

Here is the Houston Chronicle story on the Forced Sonogram ruling.

It should also be noted that thew judge in this case, Sam Sparks, was appointed by Republican President George H.W. Bush.

August 31, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Bend In The River

Here is a bend in the Ohio River as seen from Eden Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. I took this photo yesterday afternoon.

It was a nice day.

Though I’ve lived up north for 30 of my 43 years, it’s interesting to be in a place where you can feel summer waning even if just to small degree. This feeling makes you value the day all the more.

Every day has value.

I’d also like to please note that this is post number 2,500 at Texas Liberal. Thanks to everybody who has read the blog.

(Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

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

Living In The Lap Of Labor Book Release At Comet In Cincinnati On 9/3—-It Shall Be A Big Event

(Blogger’s Note—As you can see below, I’ll be taking part in the big event that is the subject of this post. Please stop by and say hello if you are in Cincinnati!)  

Living in the Lap of Labor Book Release September 3!

LIVING IN THE LAP OF LABOR is the latest and greatest from the hard-working editors of Aurore Press on the subject of LABOR. You know, the daily drudgery, grind, sweat, slog, moil, slavery, travail, chore, duty, treadmill…look it up yourself!

THE BOOK includes over 20 writers expanding on the topic of WORK. On September 3 at The Comet, get the book, hear 14 contributors read and listen to the working class sounds of Uncle Dave Lewis & William Gilmore Weber IIIDixie Trash and SS-20!

Be sure to get a book this Saturday. The first 40 copies are available in a limited edition super industrial format!

Readings begin at 9:30 PM

Nathan Singer
Mark Flanigan
Nick Barrows
Uncle Dave Lewis
Neil Aquino

Mark Messerly

Chuck Byrd
Justin Patrick Moore

Yvette Nepper
Luke Radkey
Betsy Young
Michael Kearns
Candace Miller-Janidlo

The Comet is located at 4579 Hamilton Avenue in Northside: www.cometbar.com.
Be sure to RSVP and let us know you’re coming!

Followed by the music of:

Uncle Dave Lewis & 
William Gilmore Weber III

August 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Smithsonian American Art Museum Has Collection Online—Seward’s Purchase Of Alaska

Internet users are able to view much of the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Look at the middle of the right hand side of the link I provide above.

The print at the top of this post is titled Secretary Seward Buys Alaska.

This work was completed in 1973 by Warrington Colescott.

Secretary of State William Seward is buying Alaska from the Russians in this painting while a cast of characters look on.

Animals are looking on as well.

Nobody seems to be up to any good. Even the animals seem to have an angle.

Here is a picture of the check used to purchase Alaska in 1868. This took place during the administration of President Andrew Johnson. 

Here is a description of Mr. Colescott’s work from an exhibition of his prints held in Albany in 1995.

Here are some facts on the Alaskan Purchase from the Alaskan Humanties Forum. 

Here is the link to the Seward House Museum in Auburn, New York.

The Smithsonian provides an excellent resource by making this art so easily available to the general public.

There is so much to learn and understand if we take the time to do so.

Considering a work of art can lead us to any number of subjects to study, and to discoveries and reflections about history and public life and about our own lives as well.

August 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some History Of Organzied Labor In Texas—Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

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 and 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.

With Labor Day just over a week away, this is also a good time to consider organized labor in Texas.

Texas is not a strong union state. Many working people in Texas seem more concerned with keeping others down instead of helping themselves and other working people. However, there are unions in Texas, and there are many working people in Texas–both in and out of unions– with self-respect and with respect for fellow Texas working people.

Let’s stay politically active, be aware of the gains unions and organized labor have brought us, and let’s always treat other working people well.

Here is a history of organized labor in Texas from the excellent Handbook of Texas online.

From that history—

Rapid industrialization of Texas in the years during and immediately after World War II increased the number of nonagricultural workers and thereby the potential union membership. Organizational drives by several national unions proved quite successful in the immediate postwar period. By 1946 about 350,000 Texans were union members, of whom about 225,000 were in unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and 60,000 were in the Congress of Industrial Organizations affiliated unions; the remainder were in such unaffiliated unions as the railroad brotherhoods and the Southwestern Telephone Workers (the two largest independent groups)….The massive demographic and socioeconomic changes that began in Texas in the 1960s have had a dramatic negative impact on the role of organized labor. The state’s population increased by almost 90 percent between 1960 and 1995. Since a good portion of this growth was a result of adult immigration, the labor force grew at a slightly higher rate than the general increase. The movement of women, many of whom were not prime breadwinners, into the labor force, together with the fact that half the population growth in the 1980s was Hispanic, brought a need for different organizational strategies that, even by union admission, have been slow to develop….Even as the unions were forced onto the defensive by changing conditions, they also strengthened their efforts in such areas as combating environmental hazards and achieving safe working conditions… The 1989 explosion and fire at Phillips Petroleum in Pasadena, which killed twenty-three workers and injured 314, brought investigations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and by the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers’ Union and led to massive fines for safety violations levied against Phillips and against Fish Engineering and Construction, a contractor.”

Here is the Texas AFL-CIO.

Here is a lengthy list of unions in Texas that includes a number of links to these unions.

Here is the round-up—

Off the Kuff has one piece of advice for President Obama regarding Rick Perry’s presidential ambitions.

The already-existing field of Republican presidential candidates — along with former Bush administration officials and even the current occupants of the White House — reacted to Rick Perry’s entry into the race, and Letters from Texas reacted to their reaction. The conclusion: they’re all screwing this up.

Bay Area Houston says that fact-checking Rick Perry is not for the ignorant. Continue reading

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

Flights In Last 18 Months—We Can Always Book The Next Flight Even If The Last Flight Was Turbulent

Flights I’ve taken—all of which began in Houston— in last 18 months:

1. 2/10–Routine trip home to Cincinnati to see parents and friends.

(Above–The Ohio River is still hazy from the sky right before you are told to turn off all electronic devices on your approach to Cincinnati.)

2. 3/10– Unexpected trip to Chicago for a family death on wife’s side.

3. 7/10–Routine trip to Cincinnati to see parents and friends.

4 7/10—Vacation to Seattle with wife.

(Below–Between Houston and Seattle. Though, as you might guess, this is much closer to Seattle than it is to Houston.)

5. 1/11–Visit with ill father in Cincinnati. Also saw friends.

6. 3/11–Visit to ill father in Cincinnati and death of father. Also saw friends.

7. 8/11–Trip to R.I. with wife to help put dad’s ashes in sea. Saw family. It was also a vacation.

8. 8/11–Trip home to Cincinnati next week to see mom and friends.

If we stay the course—and get can a window seat on the airplane since I enjoy seeing what the world looks like from the air—we can make progress in life and enjoy life even when things don’t always go as we would wish. We can always book the next flight even if the previous flight was turbulent.

(Below–Clouds looks pretty much the same no matter where you are in the sky.)

August 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We’ve Just Got To Fight

Republicans impeached Clinton, stole the 2000 election, question Obama’s citizenshipwreck 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)

August 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 2 Comments

Door That Serves No Apparent Purpose

In the spirit of my post a few days back about staircases to nowhere, here is a door that does not appear to serve a clear purpose.

I took this picture two weeks ago.

It is late and I have a busy day tomorrow so I don’t have any metaphor to offer up as to the meaning of the door.

This door is part of the hurrricane dam that protects Downtown Providence, Rhode Island.

Here is a post I wrote about this structure back in 2008. 

Hopefully the dam will not be required to deal with Hurricane Irene as it moves up the east coast.

(Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

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

Water Use Restrictions In Houston—Chair Of Council Water Committee Opposes Enforcement Even During A Drought

The City of Houston has mandated that people conserve water.

( Above—Houston this past Sunday.) 

This is because it never rains and it is very hot every day.

Here is what the city is requiring of folks—

As you may be aware, due to persistent drought conditions and declining combined reservoir storage, Stage Two Water Conservation Measures went into effect for the City of Houston earlier this month. Customers must follow the irrigation limit and schedule which was originally voluntary during the Stage One measure, i.e., limit irrigation to the hours between 12:01 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. or between 8:00 p.m. and midnight on no more than two days per week in conformity with the following schedule:

 • Sundays and Thursdays for customers with even‐numbered addresses

• Saturdays and Wednesdays for customers with odd‐numbered addresses

It may reach 105 in Houston this upcoming weekend.

So far people have not quite been fully on board with the water restrictions that the city has imposed.

Houston also has a problem of water main breaks caused by the drought conditions.

I wonder where any money will come from to address this infrastructure issue as the drought continues. I think this would be a good use for some of the Renew Houston money given that the public was misled on the cost of this initiative.

Houston Republican City Councilman Mike Sullivan does not think we should be ticketing homeowners for water issues.

From the Houston Chronicle

“I don’t think we can penalize and cite homeowners when we’re behind in fixing our water leaks and also talking to business and industry about reducing water consumption,” said Councilman Mike Sullivan, chairman of the Council’s Water Resource Management Committee.

I guess we should only obey the law when it suits us to do so.

How long will we be “talking to business and industry about reducing water consumption?”  The drought has been going on for many weeks and months already.

Aren’t you glad that the chair of the so-called Water Resource Mangement Resource Committee is going around saying we should not enforce water use restrictions during a drought.

Some project that the drought in Texas could last for another year.

Here are some specific questions and answers for the mandatory water restrictions in Houston.

While this idea is not under consideration in Houston, some water policy experts suggest that the best way to limit water use during a drought is to raise the price of water.

There is no way to know for certain that the current drought has anything to do with global warming.However, it is a possibility.

The water use restrictions are likely going to be with us in Houston for some weeks and months to come. Let us make an effort to comply.

Here are some water conservation tips from the City of Houston.

(Below—Discovery Green Park on Sunday 8/21. Parched grass and no crowds.)

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Back To School Advice—I’m Sorry You Have To Go Back

Not that I know many children, but for kids going back to school in Texas and anyplace else–I’m sorry your vacation is over. I hope you got time alone and time away from adults.

Though you should really be going to school year-round. I say this with a heavy heart, but so many people seem to know hardly anything at all.

Though that might well be the fault of your parents. Or maybe some combination of your school and your parents.

(Above–Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary in Providence, R.I. I attended this school.) 

For whatever number of you who might grow up to be decent adults–Don’t let school ruin you if it is a place you can’t stand to be, don’t listen to the other kids, and learn as much on your own as you are able.

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

It Is Hot And Dry Every Day In Houston, Texas

Two pictures of the record breaking Houston drought as seen in Houston city parks this past Sunday—

Above you see trees losing leaves and dying from a lack of rain in Memorial Park.

And here you see parched grass and an empty park even on a weekend at Discovery Green Park in Houston.

It is hot and dry every day in Houston, Texas. It has reached at least 100 each day in August so far.

(Both photos copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

August 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Instead Of Reading This Blog, Go And Read About Events In Libya—The Work Of Freedom Is Up To Each Of Us

Instead of reading this blog, go and read about events in Libya.

After many years of brutal dictatorship, it seems hopeful that Muammar el-Qaddafi (Above) is on the way out.

Though, as I write this post, the battle is not yet over.

Here is live blogging of events in Libya from the BBC.

The excellent Global Voices has reports from Libyan bloggers and a live Twitter feed from Libya.

Global Voices has reports from people all over the world who are working for freedom from repression.

Here is a history and some demographic facts about Libya from the BBC. 

Here are links to a number of articles about North African politics from The Economist.

Events in Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan and Libya have led the global news for months now.

It is up to each of us to learn about the world.

It is an open question if the events in this part of the world will lead to freedom, or only to dictatorships or repression of a different kind.

Given the brave sacrifices made by so many in Libya, Syria, and other places in recent weeks, the least we can do is understand what is taking place.

An additional form of respect for the courage we have seen in North Africa, would be for each of us to take part in politics here in the United States, or wherever it is you are as you read this blog.

As we have seen globally in 2011, the work of freedom is up to each of us.

August 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

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 and 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.

The round-up—

Off the Kuff notes that the Voting Rights Act is squarely in the sight of Texas Republicans as they try to get their gerrymandered maps approved.

As Texas Governor Rick Perry (R – idiculous) officially enters the race for President,Letters From Texas presents Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Perry, But Were Afraid To Ask.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson warns that a Rick Perry presidential run should not be taken lightly, because if elected he would be Bush on Steroids.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme thinks that Rick Perry (r-Dominionist) is just a puppet for the true leaders of the slow moving mob of republican fanatics.

Over at TexasKaos, Libby Shaw gives us a quick summary of Good Hair’s presidential creds in The Success of Rick Perry. Continue reading

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Public Speaking Schedule And New Publicity Shot

While you did not realize that you wanted to know my speaking schedule and see my new publicity shot, please allow me to offer these things to the blog reading public.

As I mentioned a few days back, I’ll be on a blogger panel sponsored by Texas Democratic Women on Monday, August 22 at 6:30 PM. This panel discussion will take place at Harris County Democratic Party headquarters at  1445 North Loop West, Suite 110.

I’m not certain what I’ll be saying at this event, though, like Howard Cosell, I’m certain that I will “Tell it like it is.

Also, on the night of Saturday, September 3, I’ll be taking part in the spoken word event being staged by Cincinnati’s Aurore Press that is described 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.”

The Comet is at located at 4579 Hamilton Avenue in Cincinnati.

With such an agressive speaking schedule—I intend to put my all into these two grueling appearances—I thought I should have a publicity shot ready to go.

A lobster bib lends a measure of dignity to any individual and will enhance my reputation as a serious observer of the political scene.

Legal Sea Foods is free to comp me a meal any time in exchange for the free plug.

August 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 3 Comments