Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Next Occupy Galveston Event Is On October 22

The next Occupy Galveston event is just a few days away.

From the Occupy Galveston blog

We will be holding a public protest against unethical banking practices and corporate crime on Saturday, October 22nd from 9:30am-1:00pm at 22nd & Market St in front of the Bank of America. If enough people gather we may be having an impromptu march to other large banks in the area and organizing a General Assembly nearby. Please come join us, IT IS TIME TO DEMAND THAT YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!

We are the 99%, We Will Not Be Silenced!

Above you see a number of fine Americans at a recent Occupy Galveston event.

The Occupy Wall Street represents a broad cross-section of Americans.

You can start an Occupy movement in any city.

Use Facebook or Google to see if there is an Occupy movement near you.

Here is the Occupy Houston website. 

Here is the Occupy Wall Street website.

Occupy Wall Street is about everyday Americans who want a political system that is not bought off by big money, and who want hard work to matter in terms of living a decent life, having access to decent health care, and to being able to retire at some point in life.

October 20, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

What Are The 2011 Texas Constitutional Amendments On The Ballot?—I Don’t Know

There are 10 amendments to the Texas Constitution on the 2011 ballot.

These items are called propositions.

(Below–A 1631 painting by Judith Leyster called The Proposition.)

What are these propositions?

I have no idea.

There are resources you can use to figure out how to vote on these issues.

Here is a guide from the Texas Secretary of State. 

Houston area Democratic State Representative Scott Hochberg has some facts about  the amendments.

This pdf report from the House Research Organization of the Texas House of Reps. is useful.

The League of Women Voters of the Houston Area has information about these propositions. This is also a pdf file.

Progress Texas has a view on these amendments from a left of center perspective.  

Here are facts about how the Texas Constitution is amended from the Handbook of Texas Online. 

I promise the blog reading public that I will take some time the night before I vote to figure out what I think on these amendments.

Early voting in Texas for 2011 runs October 24-November 4.  General Election Day is November 8.

Here are my endorsements for the 2011 Houston city elections.

(Below–Some movie I’ve never heard of.) 

October 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 9 Comments

Photos From 12th Day Of Occupy Houston—Occupy Wall Street Protests Taking Place Across The Nation

Here are some pictures from the 12th day of Occupy Houston.

I took these pictures a few hours ago.

Below—When I went to Occupy Houston this time around, there were about 35 people taking part. This is at Tranquility Park in Downtown Houston.  In talking to a few people I’ve gotten to know, I was told that the crowd ebbs and flows based on the time of day and what is taking place. Occupy Houston is not as big as other Occupy efforts across the nation. On the other hand, the people involved in Occupy Houston seem on-board for the foreseeable future. They have stuck it out through rain and heat. Given that this movement had never even bveen heard of a few weeks ago, I’d say they are doing well. And you never know when something will take off even more successfully.

You can stop on by Tranquilty Park yourself to say hello and to lend your support.

Below–Some signs on display at Occupy Houston. Do you really imagine that your retirement will work if you don’t have Social Security? Who gets a pension anymore? Can you be sure that your 401k money will be there when you are set to retire? The markerts swing up and down all the time.

Below–Somebody donated a flat screen TV to Occupy Houston. I hope they can keep that thing dry the next time it rains. Occupy has been showing videos and movies on that TV. When I took that picture, the Occupy Houston livestream was what was being shown. So that is me taking the picture on the TV.

Below–The fellow citizen you see in that picture brought his own stuff to Occupy Houston. He then procceded to make his own signs. Nothing is more central to the ork of freedom than the decsion of each individual to work with others for a better nation and a better world.  The work of freedom is up to each of us.

Here is a previous round of pictures from Occupy Houston. Here are pictures from the first day.

Here is the Occupy Houston website.

Occupy Houston is planning various events siuch as an acoustic night and movies related to the ideas behind Occupy Wall Street.

There is also an Occupy Houston Facebook page.

Here is the Occupy Galveston blog.

Here is the Occupy Wall Street website.

Here is why I support the Occupy movement.

Here is how you can start an Occupy movement in the city, town or suburb where you live.

The New York Times reports that Occupy Wall Street is discussing specific dmands as the movement grows.

This article also discusses a process of more specific demnads that has taken place at Occupy Austin.

From the report—

“In Austin, Tex., participants agreed on four demands, including an end to corporate personhood and tax reform. One Austin activist, Lauren Walker, linked the movement’s goals directly to government officials. “This is our time because we’re coming up to the 2012 elections,” she said, suggesting that protesters saw the presidential election as a “deadline” ….” 

Follow Occupy Wall Street and related efforts around the nation and see what you think

Find an Occupy movement near you and get involved.

October 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Festival Ballet Providence Staging All-Star Benefit Gala Performance On 10/19—You Should Attend

My Uncle Tom in Providence, Rhode Island wants folks to know about the above event.

Tom Aquino is a strong supporter of Festival Ballet Providence.

Here are some details about this event—

“Festival Ballet Providence is presenting “Together we Dance” an All-Star Benefit Gala performance.  Featuring special guest artists from: American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Lithuanian National Ballet, and New York City Ballet. “

Here is some history of ballet. 

Below is a picture of Tommy that I took earlier this year in Providence.

I’ve parked the rental car in something of an improvised location so we could visit the Rhode Island Korean War Memorial in Providence.

My recently deceased father fought in the Korean War.

In this picture, Tommy is admiring my parking skills and is wondering who would question family members paying tribute to a fallen warrior.

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

I Need A Haircut—Some Haircutting Links

I’m going to get a haircut today. It has been almost two months since my last haircut.

(Above—An 1880 painting called The Barber. The Barber is the work of Nikolaos Gyzis. I really don’t like that painting at all.)

I’ve been going to the same barber for 13 years. He has no idea what my name is. He always calls me “Young man.”  The barber can call me young man as he is pressing 80.

At the end of his life Lyndon Johnson allowed his hair to grow longer.

I keep my hair short. I’m helped in this preference by not having much hair in the first place.

The barber shop I frequent just had a makeover. New owners bought the place and installed wood paneling on the walls, a flat panel tv on the wall, a book case full of books nobody reads, some art, and even a bottle of whiskey with some glasses so patrons can have a drink if they wish.

They did keep the 80 year old barber who does not know my name after 13 years. He was the previous owner. He no longer wanted the hassles of owning the shop. He always gives me a good haircut. I’ll go to that shop as long as he is still around.

However, I do miss how the shop was before the new owners. There were some framed pictures of trains and old cars. There was a small television on which the barber would play old western movies or dvd’s of bluegrass gospel concerts that had often been recorded in Tennessee or Kentucky. I thought the stuff the barber played on the TV was interesting.

Last year I wrote a post about a song I heard at the barbershop called “You Don’t Love God If You Don’t Love Your Neighbor.”

The barber does not play these things on the big new TV on the wall. Either he does not know how to operate the thing, or they told him not to play his videos anymore.

Here is some history of barbering that goes way back.

Here is some history of black owned barbershops in the United States.

Here is a history of various hairstyles over the years.

Here are pictures and descriptions 0f 25 hairstyles of the past 100 years.

(Below— A restored barbershop that is part of a pioneer village in Scurry County, Texas. Photo by Billy Hathorn.)

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

You Can Start An Occupy Movement In Your City—Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

At the end of this post is the most recent Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.  TPA members are citizen-bloggers working 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 to run for public office.

The work of democracy and freedom is up to each of us.

The Occupy Wall Street efforts that have sprung up around Texas and around the nation are also very much do-it-yourself endeavors.

(Above--People doing the work of freedom.)

Here is a comment I got on the blog a few days ago from Gordon Haire of Galveston, Texas—-

Occupy Galveston’s growth has been amazing. On Monday, Oct. 10, a friend offered me a ride to the protest in Houston.

“Why are we doing it here?” I asked.

She told me to start it by posting an event on facebook. I posted the event for noon Wednesday Oct. 12, fully expecting to be a lone protester. More than a dozen people gathered, and several people stopped by and said that they would be joining us for the Saturday protest.

That’s how easy it is to start an Occupy movement in your town.

You can’t beat that.

The Occupy effort is about everyday people working together for the 99% of us who want to work hard, pay our fair share, and live in a society where we care for one another.

We don’t have to allow big money to rule our lives.

If there is not an Occupy movement where you live—Go ahead and start one. If there is already an Occupy movement where you live—Get involved.

There are Facebook pages and websites for many Occupy groups. Poke around a bit and you will find them.

Here is the round-up—-

Off the Kuff took a look at demographic change in one of Houston’s historic neighborhoods.

Harold Cook at Letters From Texas takes a look back at old friend Molly Ivins, when he reviews a new book just released about her. His conclusion: “if you ever spent evenings with Molly, reading the book will give you the gift of spending one more. Even better, if you never got to spend that evening with Molly, you’re in luck – after reading the book, you’ll feel just like you did.”

Bay Area Houston has an interesting audio clip of Teabag darling Galveston County tax assessor/collector Cheryl Johnson. Continue reading

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

Sam Houston Points You Towards A Nice And Productive Weekend

Above is the great Sam Houston in Houston’s Hermann Park.

Sam is pointing you towards having a restful and productive weekend.

The two are not all contradictory. Getting stuff done can help ease the mind.

One thing you could do is visit the Sam Houston Memorial Museum up the road from  Houston in Huntsville.

Another idea would be to support Occupy Houston and Occupy Galveston over the  weekend.

Here are some facts about Sam from the excellent Handbook of Texas Online.

Sam looks to have someplace in mind with his pointing up on that statue.

But for our purposes let’s just say that Sam is suggesting that you pick any enjoyable and helpful course for the weekend.

October 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Houston City Elections—Vote Even If You Are Not Enthused

I’m overdue to blog extensively about the upcoming Houston municipal elections. Early voting starts on October 24 and Election Day is November 8.

I’m embarrassed to claim these elections are relevant. The energy and optimism of the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Houston movements in recent weeks has made our Houston city elections seem even more irrelevant.

The narrow ideological range of the issues discussed in city elections—and of the candidates themselves—helps explain and perpetuate the chronically low turnout in Houston.

I don’t care about red light cameras. I am so tired of hearing about the red light cameras.

However, there are reasons for hope and ways to make your views known even within the paltry options provided on the 2011 Houston municipal ballot.

Karen Derr and Josh Verde are progressive options to the Ellen Cohen money machine is Council district C. I live in Distrct C.

Amy Price is a great new voice for At-Large #4.

And while Democratic Mayor Annise Parker is the only credible candidate for Mayor—Progressives and liberals have the option to leave the ballot blank for Mayor.

You don’t have to reward Mayor Parker for attending Republican fundraisers, or for raising a $2.3 million campaign warchest while doing nothing to register voters or strengthen the Democratic Party for the fights ahead in 2012.

The near 50% child poverty rate in Houston? It’ll be a cold day in July in Houston before you hear Mayor Annise Parker address that topic with any intensity.

Houston city elections often seem to be little more a taxpayer-financed subsidy for a political class of consultants, city contract seekers, and all-purpose opportunists who all have little do with everyday life in Houston.

We’ll have to make the best of this election, and then work with Occupy movement to bring real hope and change to our politics.

I’ll be blogging more on our Houston elections over the next couple of weeks.

The League of Women Voters of the Houston Area has a voter’s guide online in pdf form to help voters learn more about Houston city candidates. 

October 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photos From Occupy Houston—Learn About The Occupy Movement For Yourself

Below are five photos from Occupy Houston that I took a few hours ago.

The Occupy Houston has been going on for a week so far.  

1. New participants are always welcome.

2. Each day there is an agenda.

3. If you come to visit or to stay overnight–There will be some healthy food for you to eat.

4. The Occupied Wall Street Journal from the New York Occupy Wall Street effort relates the news from where this movement began.

5. This fine young citizen made his own sign, and then worked to convey his message.

Here is the Occupy Houston web site.

There is also an Occupy Houston Facebook page. There are Occupy Facebook page for many Occupy efforts across the nation. Search Facebook for a movement near you.

Here is a post I’ve made with a link to Occupy Galveston and to other Occupy efforts in Texas. 

Here is a list of Occupy movements in our great nation.

Here is the Occupy Wall Street web site.

The Occupy Wall Street effort is a chance for a real national movement that is free of big money and that brings many of our fellow Americans into political activity for the first time.

I ask my fellow citizens to take the time to consider the Occupy movement, and to consider if this is something that is relevant to your life.

Occupy Wall Street is about the 99% of us who can’t afford a lobbyist, and who simply want hard work and playing by the rules to lead to a decent life.

October 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 6 Comments

Occupy Galveston Protest On October 15th—Links To Other Occupy Movements In Texas

Among the many Occupy movements in Texas, I’m glad to report there is one in Galveston.

Galveston is a great Texas city. It is a fine spot to spend a day at the beach and to enjoy all the attractions, and it is a great place to stand up for the other 99%.

(Above–The Flag of Texas waiving proudly in Galveston Bay. Photo copyright Neil Aquino.)

Occupy Galveston has a blog.

Occupy Houston also has a Facebook page.

From the Occupy Galveston blog—

“We will be protesting in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world on Saturday, October 15th, at 3:30PM on 37th and Broadway. We have chosen this location rather than a downtown one in an effort to gain maximum exposure within the community. We will be providing education regarding what the Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Together, and Occupy Galveston movement is about and how you can take part. Please come out and join us!”

Here is the Occupy Wall Street web site.

Many Texas cities have Occupy eforts taking place.

Here is a list with links of some of these Texas cities—

If there is not an Occupy movement where you live, then start one yourself. The work of freedom and democracy is up to each of us.

October 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts Health Care Reform Was The Model For Federal Health Care Reform—What Did Romney Tell People To Get Elected In Liberal Massachusetts?

NBC News reports that the White House used the Massachusetts health law as the model for federal Health Care Reform, and that the Obama White House met with policy experts who helped write the Massachusetts law that was signed by then Governor Mitt Romney.

“Above–Governor Romney’s portrait as Governor of Massachusetts. Painted by Richard Whitney.)

From NBC

“Newly obtained White House records provide fresh details on how senior Obama administration officials used Mitt Romney’s landmark health-care law in Massachusetts as a model for the new federal law, including recruiting some of Romney’s own health care advisers and experts to help craft the act now derided by Republicans as “Obamacare….. “The White House wanted to lean a lot on what we’d done in Massachusetts,” said Jon Gruber, an MIT economist who advised the Romney administration on health care and who attended five meetings at the Obama White House in 2009, including the meeting with the president. “They really wanted to know how we can take that same approach we used in Massachusetts and turn that into a national model.” Romney has forcefully defended the Massachusetts law he signed, but says he is adamantly against a “one-size-fits-all national health-care system” imposed on all 50 states. “I will repeal Obamacare,” he has said. “And on day one of my administration, I will grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states.”

Federal Health Care reform will help millions of now uninsured Americans get access to health insurance.  It will stop insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and kicking you off coverage if you get sick. Having health insurance will allow people  to change jobs more freely, and will allow people to avoid bankruptcy if they get sick.

Read here for yourself what Health Care Reform is really about.

For Governor Romney to threaten to effectively repeal Health Care Reform that he helped bring about–and that will help millions of Americans—is just sick.

This is all simply about catering to extreme states rights views among the Republican primary electorate.

It is no surprise though. Republican primary voters get their kicks by cheering executions, cheering uninsured people dying, and booing gay Iraq combat veterans. 

I wonder if the Republican primary electorate is so caught up with anger that they fail to ask themselves what Mitt Romney must have told the people of Massachusetts to get himself elected in that liberal state. It can’t be what he is telling Republicans nationally in 2012.

Adherence to to extreme right-wing views by average working people will be of little comfort when you need health insurance, and when you need Social Security.

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

Less Or More

I’ve been out and about in Houston today.

In my travels about the city, I came across the sign you see here in the picture.

I like this sign because it leaves open the question if the goods in this store cost more or less than $1.

Maybe even the prices are determined by a spin of the wheel, or by drawing from a deck of cards when you take your purchase to the register.

October 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Pluto May Have An Ocean—You Never Know What Lies Beneath An Icy Exterior

New Scientist magazine reports that Pluto may have an ocean.

(Above—A rendering of what might look like on the surface of Pluto. This image comes from the European Southern Observatory.)  

From New Scientist

“PLUTO could hide a liquid ocean beneath its icy shell. Indeed, other bodies on the solar system’s frigid fringe could also harbour subsurface oceans, and these could provide the conditions to sustain life. Temperatures on Pluto’s surface hover around -230 °C, but researchers have long wondered whether the dwarf planet might boast enough internal heat to sustain a liquid ocean under its icy exterior. Now Guillaume Robuchon and Francis Nimmo at the University of California, Santa Cruz, say there is a good chance it does.”

New Scientist is a great resource. I subscribe to the print edition.

There are other bodies in our Solar System. Jupiter’s moon Europa likely has an ocean.

The New Horizons space probe is currently flying out towards Pluto. Here is the New Horizons web site from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This mission was launched in 2006 and will reach Pluto in 2015. This is the first mission ever to Pluto.

A great book to learn about this history of the various satellites and missions that humans have blasted off into space beginning with Sputnik in 1957 is Jane’s Space Recognition Guide by Peter Bond.

As the pace of discoveries out in space picks up, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives want to cut funding for the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. This project would be known as the James Webb Space Telescope.

There has been some dispute about if Pluto is a planet or not. Pluto is not currently classified as a planet. It is now termed as a “dwarf planet.”

I don’t find this dispute very interesting. Here is a National Geographic story on this issue. 

Here are facts about Pluto from NASA.

Despite the ice exterior, Pluto may have an internal source of warmth. This is yet further proof that no matter how a person may appear or seem on the outside, you never know what they are thinking or how they will act.

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

Occupy Wall Street Type Efforts Taking Place Across Texas—Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

At the end of this post is the most recent Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

(Picture is from the Occupy Houston march on October 8. Here is my account from this event. Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.) 

TPA members are citizen-bloggers working 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 to run for public office.

The work of democracy and freedom is up to each of us.

With the round-up this week is a list of Facebook pages and websites links for Occupy Wall Street inspired protests here in Texas.

Here is that list—-

Daily Kos and Mother Jones have great lists of Occupy efforts across the nation.

Occupy Wall Street and related Occupy efforts are already changing the debate in our nation.

I support this initiative because I work for a living, pay my taxes and vote in every election. I want a fair decent society where people can find a decent job and where everybody pays a fair share of the taxes we need to run our local, state and federal governments.  This is in so many ways a movement of everyday folks. 

Please consider taking part in the Occupy effort  in Texas or wherever it is you live. Check on the web or on Facebook to see what it going on in your neck of the woods.

See you you think and make the call to get involved.

Here is round up—

Off the Kuff notes that the federal court in San Antonio has issued an injunction preventing the state from implementing its new redistricting maps, and that until preclearance is granted it will draw its own maps to use for next year.

CitizenAndy has joined the dark side with his new blog Darth Politico. He’d appreciate if you checked out the new site, liked Darth Politico on Facebook, and subscribed to his feed. He’s especially proud to have The Ghost of Sam Houston blogging at his site.

Letters From Texas explains why conservative pundits’ Perry problems perpetually persist. Perfect. Continue reading

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

Red, White, And Blue In Bristol, Rhode Island—Add On Pitch For Occupy Wall Street

Many of the streets in Bristol, Rhode Island have red, white, and blue dividing lines.

And many of the houses have American flags.

The home in the picture above was just a normal residential house.

The picture above was taken a month after the Fourth of July. Those flags and the bunting on that house were not just up for the Fourth.

In Rhode Island two months ago I noticed a large number of homes had American flags on display.

Maybe this has to do with the fact that Rhode Island was one of the original 13 colonies.

The oldest continuous Fourth of July parade in the nation is held each year in Bristol. The parade dates back to 1785.

As I recall it from when I was a kid in Proviodence, many streets in Rhode Island had those red, white and blue dividing lines during the Bicentennial year of 1976.

Consistent with the spirit of freedom, Occupy Providence will convene on October 15 in Burnside Park in Downtown Providence.

There are Occupy events taking place across the nation. Look for one near you.

The Occupy effort is part of the long American history of progress and fair play.

Here is the Occupy Wall Street web site.

October 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment