Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Houston Parade For Iraq Veterans On Saturday, April 7—You Can Go And Still Not Forget That The War Was A Lie

There will be parade in Houston on Saturday, April 7 to honor those who served in Iraq.

Here are details of this parade

“The parade, sponsored by the City of Houston in partnership with the Astros 2012 opening weekend festivities, will step off from the corner of Texas and San Jacinto at 4 p.m. and then proceed east on Texas to Crawford and then north (left) on Crawford to Congress, ending at Minute Maid Park.”

I will attend this parade.

You can honor our veterans without forgetting the fact that War in Iraq was based on lies,  and that more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians died in this war.

My dad, who saw combat in Korea, was always clear to me that he viewed himself as just an unlucky guy fighting a bunch of other unlucky guys.

He saw combat veterans, and civilians killed in a war, as people for the most part being harmed and used by others who did not have to bear the cost of what was taking place.

In any case, I hope to have some pictures of the parade up on the blog within a few days.

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Houston Mayor Annise Parker Blind To The Symbolism Of The Anti-Food Sharing Ordinance—The Shadow Sells The Substance

Below are specifics of the anti-food sharing ordinance as reported by Mayor Annise Parker’s office.

The Mayor’s office was able to post these rules on the day in-between the anniversary Martin Luther King’s death and Good Friday, to tell folks how sharing food with the homeless will now be regulated.

One  of the two most disturbing things about this in my view, is that public property is seen as having an “owner’ and is being treated  here by Mayor Parker no differently than private property.

The other issue that bothers me most is the blindness of the Mayor and Council Democrats regarding the symbolism of restricting the sharing of food with the homeless.

Sojourner Truth had it right when she said that “the shadow sells the substance.”

The only Councilmember who seems to fully get the symbolism is Libertarian-leaning Republican Helena Brown, who will soon be holding a so-called town meeting on the subject. Ms. Brown is both smarter and more dangerous than people on various sides of this debate want to give her credit for being. Ms. Brown denies her City Hall staff fulltime hours and access to City of Houston health benefits.

Here is the Facebook group that is organizing a petition drive to repeal the ordinance.   

In any case, you can read here the Mayor’s side of the issue as we move ahead with the petition drive to repeal the ordinance. Nothing you’ll read will change the bottom line that the sharing of the food with the homeless has now in many instances been criminalized. Mayor Parker simply does not want to understand this basic reality.

From Mayor Parker—

There is lots of misinformation about the Charitable Food Service Ordinance. Here are the facts about the ordinance adopted by City Council yesterday:

  • It takes effect July 1, 2012
  • It recognizes the importance of charitable behavior while still providing protection for owners who don’t want that charity occurring on their properties
  • The only mandatory component is a requirement to obtain written permission from the owner before any charitable food service on both public and private property without the written permission of the owner.  Organizations that fail to obtain written permission may be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to $500. The rest of the ordinance creates the voluntary Charitable Food Service Provider Program.  This allows organizations to coordinate services, but without concerns about red tape. Organizations desiring to participate in the voluntary Recognized Charitable Food Service Provider Program will be required to:
  • o Register basic contact information with the City of Houston
  • o Cooperate with the City in scheduling any food service event at which five or more individuals will be fed
  • o Follow basic hygiene, sanitation, and food safety rules provided by the Houston Department of Health and Human Services
  • o Have at least one person at each food service site who has completed the free training in sanitary food preparation offered by HDHHS
  • o Authorize inspections by the HDHHS of their kitchens and transport vehicles and the like
  • o Implement changes suggested by the Health Department
  • o Clean up after the event
  • The names and addresses of organizations that abide by the above requirements will be listed on the City’s website. In addition, they will be entitled to use their designation as a Recognized Charitable Food Service Provider in their publications.
  • The Parks and Health Departments are developing rules for the use of City properties for charitable food service activities.

In Houston, we identify a problem, put an idea out there to address it and then listen to the community for feedback.  This time the process worked better than we expected.  So many people from many diverse groups got engaged and there is renewed focus on finding ways to address our problem of homelessness.  While not everything is in agreement as to the direction being taken, the process has been very productive. Mayor Parker hopes everyone will all stay engaged because there is more work to do to solve the problems that prompted this discussion:  the unapproved use of private property, the lack of coordination that results in food being wasted, the health and safety issues that can arise due to improperly prepared food and the trash often left behind. In six months, this ordinance will be reviewed in the City Council- Quality of Life Committee.

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Streak Over—Lou Gehrig

For the first time in a maybe a couple of years, I did not post on the blog yesterday. I just had to show myself that I could go a day without a post.

It’s not something I’m looking to quit like someone trying to quit smoking. It can simply be annoying to feel internally compelled to do something each day, no matter how productive you hope you are being with what you are doing.

Either you run the blog or the blog runs you.

Any mention of a broken streak makes me think of Lou Gehrig. Lou Gehrig’s streak of 2,130 consecutive games played was ended in 1939 because he was sick with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Above you see a picture of Gehrig being hugged by Babe Ruth on July 4, 1939. This was the day of Gehrig’s farewell and his famous luckiest man speech.

As I think the picture suggests, Ruth and Gehrig were not friends.

Luckiest Man–The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig by Jonathan Eig is a strong account of Gehrig’s life.

When Gehrig’s streak ended, he was pretty much done. This blog, however, shall be moving forward.

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment