Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Once We Cleared Out The Native Population, We Were Free To Have A Good Time

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Here are some folks paddling about on Houston’s Buffalo Bayou a couple of months back. I am sure they are very fine people.

Over a longer time frame however, it is so that once we cleared out the native population of our nation we were free to paddle about and have a good time.

January 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

Part Of The Infrastructure

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There may be times you feel like no more than a cog in a machine. 

Here is a picture in which I did seem to be part of the infrastructure.  

I took this picture last week on the new Bill Coats bike-hike bridge over Brays Bayou in Houston’s Hermann Park.

January 7, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Grave With View Of Traffic Would Be Fitting End To An Urban Life

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I saw this grave a couple of weeks ago at Glenwood Cemetery  in Houston.

It seems that a grave with a view of traffic would be a fitting end to an urban life.

Behind the grave in the center of the picture you see there is a car showing something of a ghostly image.

Maybe it was a ghost car.

January 7, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

Conflicting Directions

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These traffic signs along Memorial Dr. in Houston are making opposite assertions.

I took this picture last week.

In theory there is no wrong path you could take when told to go in every direction.

I’m not certain though that in practice things will work out if you go in every direction.

January 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

Tar Sands Protesters Are Texas Progressive Alliance 2012 Texans Of The Year

The Texas Progressive Alliance, a consortium of Lone Star-based liberal weblogs, has selected the protesters of the Tar Sands Blockade as Texans of the Year for 2012.

The award has been given annually to the person, or persons or organization, who had the most significance influence — for good or ill — on the advancement of progressive interests and causes over the past twelve months.

“As with previous winners (like Fort Worth city council member Joel Burns in2010, the Harris County Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign in 2008, and Carolyn Boyle of Texas Parent PAC in 2006), the Tar Sands Blockaders represent what progressive Texans strive for: correcting injustices through direct action. Sometimes that takes place at the ballot box, sometimes in the courtroom, and once in a while it happens in the streets. In 2012, it happened in a handful of pine trees in East Texas,” said Vince Leibowitz, president of the TPA.

The Tar Sands Blockade began when TransCanada, the company constructing the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, began seizing property from East Texans via eminent domain to connect the pipeline, which will transport tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in Houston and Port Arthur. Despite the fact that the pipeline hasn’t yet been approved by the US Department of State,TransCanada and other operators have been busily cutting down swaths of forest, appropriating the land along the route as necessary, and when challenged by the small group of people protesting, responded with threatening measures and occasionally brute force.

When petitioning, lobbying, and public hearings failed to slow the construction of the pipeline, concerned citizens took to non-violent protests, risking arrest in order to demonstrate the will and demands of Texans concerned about the environment, about the nation’s continuing dependence on dirty fuels, and the collaboration of government officials with the corporate interests. A group of protestors climbed into a stand constructed in a grove of pine trees and halted construction for weeks.

The movement began in June of 2012 with the formation of the Tar Sands Blockade, and the first lawsuit was filed in July.

As construction began in August, protestors began putting themselves on the line. Seven protestorswere arrested in Livingston, Texas just before the Labor Day holiday. Even as a judge allowed TransCanada to seize a swath of farmland in Paris, Texas, more protestors chained themselves to construction equipment in rural Hopkins County.

The New York Times and the Washington Post picked up the story in October.

Along with the property owner, actress and activist Daryl Hannah was arrested as the two women physically blocked a piece of heavy equipment and its operator from clearing land for the pipeline. Even as the number of arrests climbed past thirty, the protests grew. A few days before the November election, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested at the construction site in Winnsboro. In Cherokee County, sheriff’s deputies pepper-sprayed protesters. All of this occurred while the legal battle went back and forth — in December, a judge granted, then vacated, his temporary restraining order on pipeline construction.

And the efforts to stop the pipeline continue today, even as its construction proceeds apace. On November 29, Bob Lindsey and prominent environmental activist Diane Wilson were arrested by Harris County sheriff’s deputies outside Valero’s refinery in the Manchester neighborhood of Houston, where the pipeline will terminate. They chained themselves to tanker trucks outside the gates, were promptly taken into custody, and continue a hunger strike to this day that adds the humiliating and disgusting conditions of Harris County’s jail to the list of outrages.

With training and mobilization of additional protests and protestors scheduled for early January, 2013, there will be more to report on this action.

The Texas Progressive Alliance salutes those who have sacrificed so much of themselves to underscore the seriousness of America’s fossil fuel addiction, and how the system of corporate and political corruption has come to manifest itself in the controversy surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline.

Runners-up for this year’s Texan of the Year included the following…

— The emerging scandal of the Texas cancer research organization, CPRIT;

— The spectacular failure of Governor Rick Perry’s presidential campaign;

— Attorney General Greg Abbott’s woeful losing record in court in his many lawsuits related to the federal government, including redistricting, voter ID, Obamacare, etc.;

— Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, who defied conventional wisdom and was re-elected to the Texas Senate despite the best efforts of Republicans to deny her;

— The expansion of the Texas Congressional delegation to 36 as a result of the 2010 census and apportionment of extra seats based on population growth in the Lone Star State. New Texans in Washington DC include former Democratic state representatives Pete Gallego and Marc Veazey, but also — and unfortunately — ultraconservatives Randy Weber and Steve Stockman.

January 3, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

I Left The Woods For The Safety Of The City

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Given the choice between the wilds and the city, I’ll always choose the city.

I took this picture last week while walking about on some of the hike/bike trails at Hermann Park here in Houston.

I made the mistake of going to some trails that were heavily forested.

I quickly turned around to seek the safety of the urban environment. Even after just a few minutes in the dark woods it was a relief to see in the clearing a tall building and a big electrical tower.

You can see from the picture that the sun shines bright to guide your way when you are in the hopeful openness of the city.

I’m happy to be called a tree-hugger and any other label you would associate with support of environmental causes.

However, I’ve never spent a night in my life outdoors and I never will unless we are in some type of post-apocalypse setting and there is no shelter.

A city is where we will find books and a baseball game and nice trails to walk on that keep you within sight of tall buildings and life-affirming infrastructure.

January 2, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment