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President’s Day 2012—Resources To Learn More About Our U.S. Presidents

Blogger’s Note—This is–with a few minor changes –the President’s Day post I run each year.  I very much enjoy sharing with the blog reading public the illustration you see above of Lincoln and Washington hugging. It is indeed a great work of art. Please have a safe holiday. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

President’s Day 2012 is Monday, February 20.

Here is a history of the President’s Day holiday. 

Above you see George Washington and Abe Lincoln hugging in the afterlife.

Where can you learn more about the Presidents?

I have four suggestions. Two of these resources are books and two can be found online.

The book The American Presidency–The Authoritative Reference is very useful.

Edited by Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer, American Presidency is a collection of essays about each President up until George W. Bush.

The book offers up a small measure of biography and a larger portion of analysis. With the essays running between 10 and 20 pages, this book is a good path to a reasonably complex understanding of the Presidents in a manageable amount of time.

A great deal of information about the Presidents can be found in The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents by William Degregoiro.

I’m not sure that any book has more facts about our Presidents than Complete Book. Here you’ll learn not just about the Presidents and their terms of office, but also about their cabinets, spouses and children, and various love affairs. It is one of the most enjoyable books I know.

The best online resource I’m aware of about the Presidents can be found at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. There you’ll find biographical information, essays and  a multimedia gallery. It is very well done.

Finally, C-Span offers the excellent American Presidents website. There are broadcasts you can watch showing where the Presidents lived, as well as programs where experts talk about the Presidents and take phone calls from viewers.

It is fine entertainment.

Make use of these top-notch resources, and you’ll know plenty about our Presidents and the impact each had on American history.

Even better, you can make use of these resources as a springboard to additional studies of American history.

The decision to learn more and understand more is up to you.

February 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Occupy Houston Strategy Meeting On Sunday, 2/19

There will be an Occupy Houston General Assembly and planning meeting this upcoming Sunday, 2/19.

This will be a big meeting after the police disbandment of the Occupy Houston camp in Downtown Houston a few days ago.

Here are the details—

This GA is devoted to planning out the future of Occupy Houston. We’ll answer some of the hard questions about what Occupy Houston is , where it’s going and how, specifically, to get there.

The meeting will begin at 1:00 PM on the 6th floor at 2990 Richmond in Houston.

Here is the Occupy Houston website.

Candor requires me to tell you that the website has not been utilized as well as it could be in recent months. The good news is that we can always move forward and make progress.

There is also an Occupy Houston Facebook page.

Here is Occupy Wall Street.

Please attend if you are interested in the success of the Occupy movement as the weather warms up and in the big political year ahead.

February 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

I’ll Be On Cincinnati’s WAIF FM-88.3 On Saturday, March 3rd—Trash Flow Radio

I always enjoy telling folks about my every-so-often public schedule.

I recall that Martin Luther King once said that attention is “Vitamin A for the ego.”

Here is the 2012 Texas Liberal Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. This is the best such resource on the web.

I’ll be in-studio and on the radio on Cincinnati’s community radio station WAIF-FM 88.3 on Saturday, March 3.

( Above—A radio. Here is some history of radio.) 

I’ll be on Trash Flow Radio with my friend Ken Katkin from 3-5 PM Eastern Time on that date.

You can hear the show on the WAIF livestream. 

Here are some recent archives of Trash Flow Radio.

I was a weekly host on WAIF for a few years in the 1980’s. I co-hosted the punk rock show Search & Destroy with Handsome Clem Carpenter.

It was fun.

Here is a description of Trash Flow Radio from the host–

“Avant-garde punk, pop avant-garde, sad songs with loud guitars, loud songs with sad guitars, anti-Beatle exuberance,  pro-drug psychedelia, bargain-bin outsider music, revisionist rock history, music made by teenagers with “sXe” tattoos, and timeless DIY. Absolutely no major label recording artists (except the Ramones). Music from the catholic school, not the parochial.Gushes and rants, stark realism and surrealism, dangerous audio stunts, irritainment, and bad puns. Faint echoes of H.L. Mencken, Coyle & Sharpe, Jorge Luis Borges, Thurgood Marshall, Ron Rosenbaum, Jean Shepard, Lester Bangs, Kim Philby, J.D. Salinger, Bob Lassiter, Carl Reiner, and Eugene V. Debs. Hopefully, some guests. It’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”

I’m looking forward to be being on the air with Ken.

(Below–My appearance on WAIF allows me to run my publicity photo. You see me here identifying with the 99% as I enjoy a lobster in Rhode Island in 2011. )

February 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Man To Tightrope Walk Across Niagara Falls—The Niagara Region Is Interesting And Fun

Permission has been granted on both sides of Niagara Falls for a man to attempt to cross the falls on a tightrope.

(Above–Maria Spelterini crossing a portion of the falls in 1876. The fact that Ms. Spelterini lived until 1912 will clue you in as to the outcome of this walk.)

From Reuters-

“Canada agreed on Wednesday to allow a member of the Flying Wallenda family of daredevils to attempt a tightrope walk over Niagara Falls, clearing the way for the stunt some time during the summer. Nik Wallenda, 33, secured support on the American side of the falls last September when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill giving him one year to perform the feat, which Wallenda says will be the first attempt in more than a century.” 

You can click the link above for all the details. Mr. Wallenda asserts that this walk will be unique in that it will be the first to cross right over the falls.

I support this walk as I can think of no reason not to do so. If this guy is a pro and has the proper permits–More power to him.

Here are facts about tightrope walking.

Here is a history of Niagara Falls daredevils of various kinds. 

Niagara Falls and Buffalo are great places to visit on vacation. Buffalo is one of the cities I encourage folks to visit in the summer vacation post I run each year.

Here is information about visiting the American side of the falls. 

Here is information about visiting the Canadian side of the falls. 

Here is a live image of the falls.

A good book is Niagara—A History of the Falls by Pierre Berton.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Niagara Falls three times.

While it may seem to some a destination more popular in years gone by, there is a lot to do on both sides of the falls for a vacation of a number of days.

The Niagara area is not retro or stodgy or hip. It is just an interesting place to learn and to have fun.

Learning and having fun are often one in the same.

(Below–Niagara by Frederick Edwin Church is a famous painting. It was painted in 1857 and is on display at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. I saw it once and it is quite impressive.)  

February 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Occupy Houston’s Next Steps

Above is a picture I took Tuesday morning 2/14 of the former Occupy Houston camp in Tranquility Park in Downtown Houston.

As I’ve said, the local Occupy movement is better off without the camp.

There are plans for an Occupy Houston 2.0 that either will or will not take shape.

Should the local Occupy move forward you’ll read about here. And hopefully you’ll read about it in other places as well.

If not, you’ll get here a candid acknowledgment of that fact, news of other actions in Houston, and nothing but optimism about the fights ahead.

Here is Occupy Wall Street as the national effort continues.

The work of freedom and justice is up to each of us. Please consider what you are able to do to about a more fair and just nation.

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Damned Litter

Here is a picture I took of some litter that was blocked by a barrier near the confluence of White Oak Bayou and Buffalo Bayou in Downtown Houston.

You could call it damned littler because it is so nasty.

Or you could call it damned litter as it is held back by a barrier.

See? Get it?

Damned litter.

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Occupy Houston Camp Ordered To Disband—There Is A Great Deal To Be Hopeful About

The Occupy Houston camp at Tranquility Park was cleared out this evening by the Houston Police Department at the order of Mayor Annise Parker.

(Above–An Occupy Houston photo from the end of the Tranquility Park camp in Downtown Houston.)

It was a peaceful process.

Here is the press release on this matter from Mayor Parker. 

I could not truthfully argue that Mayor Parker acted in a rash or unreasonable fashion in moving out the Occupy camp. She was patient in this regard.

At the same time, progressives and liberals in Houston should not forget the A- rating on fiscal concerns Mayor Parker received in 2011 from the Texas Conservative Review. Mayor Parker–A Democrat– is no true friend of progressive and liberal aspirations in our great City of Houston.

The camp began on October 6, 2011.  Here is my post from the first day of Occupy Houston.

In the months since October, the Occupy Houston camp had become an eyesore and had stopped serving any useful purpose for the cause of a more just society.

There were many good people who took part on the camp and who are still part of Occupy Houston. Yet this is simply the case as to what the camp at Tranquility had become.

At the same time, the Occupy Houston Facebook page has more than 16,000 followers and the Occupy Wall Street effort continues.

There have been other victories as well.

InterOccupy offers conference calls and news for a growing network of activists and supporters.

As the Occupy effort chooses its next course, it can already claim success in propelling issues of income inequality and economic fair play into the national debate.

I remain hopeful. I’ve come to know a number of good and smart people through my support of Occupy Houston and the Occupy movement.

Just this past weekend I attended an organizing training session in which a number of other Occupy backers also took part.

I don’t know what form the Occupy effort will take nationally or in Houston in the weeks ahead.

I do know that victories have already been won, and that there is much to be hopeful about in the weeks and months ahead.

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

I Took A Ride Tonight—Sleet Then Storms Then Warmth

I took a ride this evening. I often take a ride by myself on Sunday evenings.

Doing this helps me clear my mind for the week ahead.

Above is a picture of Houston at night from one perspective.

There are many different perspectives from which one can view Houston, and from which one can view most things in life.

Many of these different perspectives are available if we just willing to look around.

You can’t tell from this picture, but there was a small measure of sleet taking place in Houston tonight.

Yet soon temperatures are supposed to be up into the 70’s here in the big subtropical city.

Things ebb and flow.

Often on a Sunday night I face a choice between taking my ride, or making a more extensive blog post before the busy Monday ahead.

As a general matter I choose the ride.

I choose the ride despite the fact I value the time of the blog reading public a great deal. I try to run a good blog.

Yet if I don’t have my own act together and my thoughts together, what good am I to others?

The change is temperatures I mentioned before in this post is expected to create some big storms early next morning.

Change often brings about a storm.

Everything we need to consider and understand life to the extent we are able is around us each day.

These things are accessible with hard work, self-discipline, imagination and luck.

Please have a good week ahead.

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Just Imagine If The Catholic Church Advocated For The Poor And For Peace To The Extent They Advocate To Deny Women Birth Control

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is still not satisfied with President Obama’s stance on the provision of contraceptives by entities affiliated with the Catholic Church.

Just imagine if the Catholic Church had taken such a forceful stand against the unjust war in Iraq, or growing American poverty, or the failure of its own officials to protect young people who trusted the Church.

Retired New York Cardinal Edward Egan recently retracted his apology for sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Folks in the Catholic Church have a wide range of views that run from left to right. This is no different from the membership of any other large group or organization.

On the other hand, the leadership of the Church appears to be very much a group of men who have lost their way.

February 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up—The Pecan Tree Is The State Tree Of Texas

Here is  the weekly posting of the  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.

(Above–The Pecan Tree is the State Tree of Texas. What you see here is a copyright free picture of Pecan Tree in Abilene. Here are facts about these trees. Here are some things to do should life take you to the fine City of Abilene.)

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 freedom is up to each of us.

The round-up—

Texas gets a C on its science curriculum standards, despite the worst efforts of the wingnut faction on the State Board of Education. Off the Kuff has the details.

Anonymous blogging is First Amendment-protected speech, as most of us (but not some conservative bloggers) knew three years ago. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs documents the establishment of the legal precedent.

BossKitty at TruthHugger wants you to ask your presidential candidate about America’s water safety. The 35-year-old federal law regulating tap water is so out of date that everyone who unable to afford expensive purification devices is at risk.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson posts on the struggle Texas teachers and schools are having because of the billions the legislature cut from public education last year: Texas teachers and schools need our help. Continue reading

February 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Why Not Show Some Valentine’s Day Love And Respect For Your Fellow Working Person?

Valentine’s Day 2012 is Tuesday, February 14.

If you have a Valentine or not is your concern alone. The gender of that person is your concern alone.

I’m not like these conservatives out there prying into your bedroom and your personal life in the name of limited government and personal liberty.

My Valentine’s message here is that we show some love for each other as working people.

Above is a picture I took last week of a well-done display to sell Coca-Cola products at a nationally known drug store chain.

That display took some hours of a person’s life to get right.  All that Coke was delivered to the store by a working person driving a truck. Many working people had a hand in making that display possible.

The things that everyday working people get right have value. The hours of our lives have value.

The respect we show for others as everyday working people is a measure of the respect we have for ourselves.

Let’s treat each other well as working people. Leave good tips for good service. Treat people as you would wish to be treated. Understand that the frontline person you are taking with is not the same person who set the company policy that you are frustrated with at a given moment. Understand that labor has the right to organize and to insist on fair treatment.

We are not powerless. We have the everyday ablity to respect others and to respect ourselves. We can make life better for ourselves and others if we each make the decision to work together for a more fair and just society.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

February 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Staying The Course—Visit Corpus Christi

Like the ship you see above, I’m staying the course.

There is a lot to do today and so just time for this brief post. Either you run the blog or the blog runs you.

The picture above was taken a few years back in the great Texas city of Corpus Christi.

Corpus Christi is worth a visit.

The Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History was very good.

Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

February 10, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Republican Houston Councilwoman Helana Brown Denies Full Time Work & City Health Benefits To Her Staff—Is This How We Want To Live?

Republican Houston District A Councilwoman Helena Brown could offer her City Hall staff full time work and health benefits, yet she chooses not to do so.

From the Houston Chronicle

Houston District A Councilwoman Helena Brown, whose lone “no” votes against city spending have differentiated her from the rest of the 17-member council, also is an outlier as an employer: She is the only council member to hire an entirely part-time staff that gets no health insurance or other benefits.

“The Council Member and all her staff were offered benefits but declined, choosing to opt for their own health care coverage in the private sector where it is more cost effective for employees, and let us not forget, for the City too!” according to a statement from Brown’s office.

Sure—Part time work and buying health insurance with the fewer dollars you make when you are working part time is best for all of us.

Is that how you want to live?

The facts are in front of us about what will happen we turn our society over to these folks on the right.

Part time work and no benefits for hard working Americans ,while Mitt Romney pays a lower tax rate than do everyday people.

This is all being done right out in the open. People are just going to have to decide what kind of future they want.

February 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 6 Comments

Good Jobs=Great Houston Organizing Training Session On 2/11 & 2/12

There will be organizing training sessions held by Good Jobs=Great Houston this weekend. These meetings will be at 2955 Gulf Freeway in Houston.

Here is the website of Good Jobs=Great Houston.

Here are details of the two sessions—

A weekend of learning, sharing and training. Presented by veteran organizers Lisa Fithian and Juniper, and hosted by Good Jobs=Great Houston. RSVP now for your free space! Please specify Sat, Sun, or both.

9:30 Gather, Food (breakfast and lunch provided by GJGH)
10:00 Organizing For Power
From corporate offices to banks, auto plants to universities to cities and streets, strategic nonviolent direct action can creatively liberate spaces, shift the balance of power, offer alternatives and win. This workshop will look at some success stories, explore different action models, and examine some good practices in the art of actions and campaigns.
2:00 Nonviolent Direct Action
We will do some hands-on exercises including scouting, blockade techniques, flying squads, the five finger and more. We will draw together lessons for our movements about how we can work in alignment with one another despite differences in race, gender, class, culture, strategy, tactics and goals. 

9:30 Gather, Food
10:00 Facilitation and Consensus
This session will help us deepen our understanding of the role of the facilitator and the consensus/decision-making process in building strong groups.
2:00 Organizing Now and for the Long Haul
Our power is relational, so we need to build relationships that support each other and that last. This session will look at some of the basics of 1-on-1 organizing and structures that can support the 99% in being more engaged in this movement for social change

please RSVP to amy@occupyhouston.org. Note whether you’ll be there Sat, Sun, or both!

There is a Facebook page for this event called Organizing the Power of the 99%.

Here are pictures of a Good Jobs=Great Houston protest at the office of anti-worker U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady.  Rep. Brady has repeatedly voted against the extension of unemployment benefits for good people who are hard pressed in the Bush recession.

Day-by-day and step-by-step a more organized and energetic progressive and liberal movement in taking shape in Houston. Attend one or both of these sessions and be part of the progress.

February 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

Occupy Galveston Celebrating Mardi Gras And The 99%

Occupy Galveston is out and about working for the 99%.

(Above–Occupy Galveston out on the streets.)

Here are details of Occupy Galveston celebrating Galveston Mardi Gras-

Ready to parade at Mardi Gras? We will be the pre-parade show for the two major Seawall parades!

We are planning on meetings:

Sat, Feb 11th: Meet at 11am in the open, grassy space at 21st and Seawall across from the Galvez.

Sat, Feb 18th: meet @ Seawall and 25th at 6pm. March up 25th.

You can just march or wear costumes, do street theatre, play music, hold signs!

We will be having Occupy Galveston t-shirts made and will be ordering 99% wristbands to throw to the crowds. If you are interested in ordering either of these, please let us know in the next few days.

Invite your friends, family, and Occupy movements from all over! 

There is an Occupy Galveston Facebook page.

Here is Occupy Wall Street.

February 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment