Texas Liberal

All People Matter

People Believe Wild Things Because Nothing Is So Brutal That It Cannot Be True

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote in 2008 about conspiracy theories that many people believe. 

For example, 30% of black people believe it’s possible AIDS was deliberately manufactured to kill black folks.

This is held out as a crazy thing to think.

I don’t believe it myself.

But if you asked me if many white people and white politicians don’t care if poor urban black people live or die, I would say that’s correct.

And plenty of black politicians don’t care either.

In my own experience as a city council aide in Cincinnati, Ohio, I read the files of black cancer patients who had intentionally been given extra doses of radiation to see how they would react.

Get this—They suffered.

Poor black people in cities, blacks and whites in rural areas, our colonized undocumented labor force, and poor people of all kinds, get inferior hospitals and inferior care.

When you ask black folks if AIDS was the work of government, maybe what you’re really asking if the government would do things that would kill people who look like you do.

“Yes” seems to be a logical reply.

Mr. Kristof wrote that it was crazy that 36% of Americans believe that government orchestrated 9/11 or knew about it advance.

Well—I’ve always thought that was a mistaken belief .

George W. Bush was intent on going to war in Iraq before 9/11. He did not need any provocation.

What people know is that we lied about why we went to war, we did not give our troops the right equipment to save their lives, we sometimes kill innocent civilians, and that the troops sometimes get rotten care upon arriving back home.

Did the government or former President Bush know about 9/11 in advance?

No.

Was a government led by President Bush capable of terrible acts that cause people to die?

Sure–All the damned time.

Mr. Kristof mentioned two other conspiracy theories in his column.

One is that the levees in New Orleans were opened on purpose in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

This was not so.

Yet it had been known for years that the levees might not hold during a bad hurricane and that much of New Orleans was vulnerable. Then, after it was clear the disaster response was poor, President Bush said his FEMA director was doing a “heckuva job.”

So why not figure that levees were opened by design? Is that much worse than the truth of the matter?

Another view held by many is that crack cocaine was deliberately introduced into poor neighborhoods.

Now that one is crazy.

These communities were already so flooded with alcohol, cigarettes, overpriced grocery stores offering inferior produce, bad schools and a host of other urban afflictions, why would you have to introduce something new to harm people?

The history books tell us that we won our land in good part by exterminating the native population, and that we built up the land with the frequent and longtime use of slave labor.

Our own experiences in life show us that our cities are left to rot year after year. And the poor are getting more poor even as the rich get richer.

So when you ask if the people in charge of our country are capable of barbaric or even genocidal acts, why would many give any other reply than “yes?”

And if you ask would millions of Americans stand by and do nothing or even support terrible and genocidal acts?

Of course they would.

People believe all sorts wild and terrible things because they have every reason in the world to believe such things.

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

People Believe Wild Things Because Nothing’s So Horrible It Can’t Be True

Blogger’s Note—I’m on a Summer Solstice blogging holiday. I’m re-running some posts for the next few days. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal. I’ll be back to regular posting soon.)  

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recently wrote about conspiracy theories many people believe.  

For example, 30% of black people believe it’s possible AIDS was deliberately manufactured to kill black folks.

This is held out as a crazy thing to think.

I don’t believe it myself.

But if you asked me if many white people and white politicians don’t care if poor urban black people live or die, I would say that’s correct.   

And plenty of black politicians don’t care either.  

In my own experience as a city council aide in Cincinnati, Ohio, I read the files of black cancer patients who had intentionally been given extra doses of radiation to see how they would react.

Get this—They suffered.  

Poor black people in cities, blacks and whites in rural areas, our colonized undocumented labor force, and poor people of all kinds, get inferior hospitals and inferior care.

When you ask black folks if AIDS was the work of government, maybe what you’re really asking if the government would do things that would kill people who look like you do.

“Yes” seems to be a logical reply.  

Mr. Kristoff says it is crazy that 36% of Americans believe that government orchestrated 9/11 or knew about it advance.  

Well—I’ve always thought that was a mistaken belief .

George W. Bush was intent on going to war in Iraq before 9/11. He did not need any provocation. 

What people know is that we lied about why we went to war, we did not give our troops the right equipment to save their lives, we sometimes kill innocent civilians, and that the troops sometimes get terrible care upon arriving back home.   

Did the government or President Bush know about 9/11 in advance? No. Is the government as led by President Bush capable of terrible acts that cause people to die? Sure–All the damned time.  

Mr. Kristoff mentions two other conspiracy theories in his column. 

One is that the levees in New Orleans were opened on purpose in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

This is not so.

Yet it had been known for years that the levees might not hold during a bad hurricane and that much of New Orleans was vulnerable. Then, after it was clear the disaster response was poor, President Bush said his FEMA director was doing a “heckuva job.”    

So why not figure that levees were opened by design? Is that much worse than the truth of the matter? 

Another view held by many is that crack cocaine was deliberately introduced into poor neighborhoods.

Now that one is crazy

These communities were already so flooded with alcohol, cigarettes, overpriced grocery stores offering little or no produce, bad schools and a host of other urban afflictions, why would you have to introduce something new to harm people?  

The history books tell us that we won our land in good part by exterminating the native population, and that we built up the land with the frequent and longtime use of slave labor.  

Our own experiences in life show us that our cities are left to rot year after year. And the poor are getting more poor even as the rich get richer.

So when you ask if the people in charge of our country, or others in positions of power, are capable of barbaric or even genocidal acts, why would many give any other reply than “yes.”

June 23, 2008 Posted by | Hurricane Katrina, Politics | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

People Believe Wild Things Because Nothing Is So Brutal Or Crazy That It Can’t Be True

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recently wrote about conspiracy theories many people believe.  

For example, 30% of black people believe it’s possible AIDS was deliberately manufactured to kill black folks.

This is held out as a crazy thing to think.

I don’t believe it myself.

But if you asked me if many white people and white politicians don’t care if poor urban black people live or die, I would say that’s correct.   

And plenty of black politicians don’t care either.  

In my own experience as a city council aide in Cincinnati, Ohio, I read the files of black cancer patients who had intentionally been given extra doses of radiation to see how they would react.

Get this—They suffered.  

Poor black people in cities, blacks and whites in rural areas, our colonized undocumented labor force, and poor people of all kinds, get inferior hospitals and inferior care.

When you ask black folks if AIDS was the work of government, maybe what you’re really asking if the government would do things that would kill people who look like you do.

“Yes” seems to be a logical reply.  

Mr. Kristoff says it is crazy that 36% of Americans believe that government orchestrated 9/11 or knew about it advance.  

Well—I’ve always thought that was a mistaken belief .

George W. Bush was intent on going to war in Iraq before 9/11. He did not need any provocation. 

What people know is that we lied about why we went to war, we did not give our troops the right equipment to save their lives, we sometimes kill innocent civilians, and that the troops sometimes get terrible care upon arriving back home.   

Did the government or President Bush know about 9/11 in advance? No. Is the government as led by President Bush capable of terrible acts that cause people to die? Sure–All the damned time.  

Mr. Kristoff mentions two other conspiracy theories in his column. 

One is that the levees in New Orleans were opened on purpose in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

This is not so.

Yet it had been known for years that the levees might not hold during a bad hurricane and that much of New Orleans was vulnerable. Then, after it was clear the disaster response was poor, President Bush said his FEMA director was doing a “heckuva job.”    

So why not figure that levees were opened by design? Is that much worse than the truth of the matter? 

Another view held by many is that crack cocaine was deliberately introduced into poor neighborhoods.

Now that one is crazy

These communities were already so flooded with alcohol, cigarettes, overpriced grocery stores offering little or no produce, bad schools and a host of other urban afflictions, why would you have to introduce something new to harm people?  

The history books tell us that we won our land in good part by exterminating the native population, and that we built up the land with the frequent and longtime use of slave labor.  

Our own experiences in life show us that our cities are left to rot year after year. And the poor are getting more poor even as the rich get richer.

So when you ask if the people in charge of our country are capable of barbaric or even genocidal acts, why would many give any other reply than “yes.”

April 1, 2008 Posted by | Cincinnati, History, Hurricane Katrina, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Republicans Think The United Nations Directs American Public Policy—When Somebody Tells You They Are Crazy You Should Believe Them

Many conservatives and Republicans in our nation operate under the view that the United Nations is directing a number of  public policy priorities in the United States.

(Above–Example of United Nations sponsored bike trial in the radical hotbed of Granbury, Texas.)

From the New York Times

Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities. They are showing up at planning meetings to denounce bike lanes on public streets and smart meters on home appliances — efforts they equate to a big-government blueprint against individual rights. The protests date to 1992 when the United Nations passed a sweeping, but nonbinding, 100-plus-page resolution called Agenda 21 that was designed to encourage nations to use fewer resources and conserve open land by steering development to already dense areas. They have gained momentum in the past two years because of the emergence of the Tea Party movement, harnessing its suspicion about government power… In January, the Republican Party adopted its own resolution against what it called “the destructive and insidious nature” of Agenda 21. And Newt Gingrich took aim at it during a Republican debate in November.”

Fox News has reported on Agenda 21. Fox says that President Obama and the United Nations want to take over rural America.

Mother Jones magazine wrote about this issue last year.

From Mother Jones-

Tea partiers see Agenda 21 behind everything from a septic tank inspection law in Florida to a plan in Maine to reduce traffic on Route 1. The issue even flared up briefly during the midterms, when Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes accused his Democratic opponent of using a bike-sharing program to convert Denver into a “United Nations Community.”

Here is the Agenda 21 website of the United Nations.  

You may think that Mitt Romney is some type of moderate or that there remain reasonable people in the  mainstream of the Republican Party.

Yet the Republican National Committee has passed a resolution opposing Agenda 21.

Where are the moderate or reasonable Republican objections to this stuff? There are no liberals or urban planners in this country working or operating under the direction of a United Nations mandate.

These people on the right are paranoid and crazy. They are telling you each day that they are paranoid and crazy.

When somebody tells you who they are–You should believe them.

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Simple Things Often Make The Biggest Impression

It is not the biggest thing in the world, but can’t the Houston Public Works Department have a sign that is correct instead of missing a letter in the word Houston?

Why should anybody believe that government will do a good job fixing stuff when even this most basic matter can’t be done correctly?

(Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

July 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

While Many Things You See And Read Are Lies….Not Everything You See And Read Is A Lie

While you should not believe everything you see and read….

Nor should you assume that everything you see and read is a lie.

Regretfully, figuring out what is true, and what is not true is not always this easy.

( Photos copyright 2011 Neil Aquino.)

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Show Respect For Others By Communicating In A Clear And Concise Manner About Complex Things

Please take one minute to watch this video I filmed in Houston’s Memorial Park. In this video, I hold up a sheet of paper that reads “Show Respect For Others By Communicating In A Clear And Concise Manner About Complex Things.”

The video has sound. You can hear the motorcycle that passes by and the people talking on the motorcycle. 

I believe all people have the ability to understand complex things. It is a respectful course to follow to make the effort to convey to others what you feel and believe.

Behind me in the video is a flag at half-mast for the death of Senator Kennedy. A flag at half-mast conveys complex ideas of loss, care, loyalty, respect and patriotism. It is a simple symbol that conveys a great deal.

We all have the ability to communicate and to understand. We all merit the respect inherent in the effort to communicate and understand.

September 2, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

25 Things About This Blogger—With Paul Revere Painting

I’ve been tagged for one of these 25 things about me lists on Facebook. Vanity compels me to comply. I’ve not yet posted this on Facebook. It’s just that I need a blog post for today.

I like Facebook. It’s an easy way to keep in touch with folks.  If any of the blog reading public would like to add a friend who is also one of America’s leading bloggers…..well, I can’t help you.  But if you’d like to add me, my name in Neil Aquino and I live in Houston. Look me up and I’ll add you on. The more the merrier. 

Here we go—

1. Anything good about me, or good in my life, is in large part due to my wife. Anything bad is my doing.

2. I’ve had four clear-cut best friends at points in my life. One is my wife. One was a grade school kid I’ve long lost touch with. One is just beginning the study of Chinese medicine in Portland, Oregon. I still exchange e-mails with her on and off.  The final one is the only I can’t have a decent conversation with anymore. I’m appreciative of her friendship at one time in my life, but I don’t regret the inability to converse with her now.

3. Sometimes I wonder if I would be better off giving up the blog and writing a letter to a friend each day. I give a fair amount of thought about the best ways to communicate.

4. I work hard to maintain friendships across the years and across what are now often great distances. I’m mostly successful with this. Yet I have room to do better.

5. When we keep up with friends, I feel we provide our lives with a measure of permanence that offers a rebuttal to death. We are saying there is a source of stability in an existence marked by things moving away from each other. Longstanding relationships also give a greater relevance to the ways we’ve spent our time in life. When you have a friend for a long time, it’s evidence that you made a good decision many years ago. 

6. I feel you can define family in anyway you choose.

7.  I wish I had the ability to be an artist of some kind. I’d like to be able to  paint a picture. I’d paint a picture of people in a way that conveyed who they are. I’m lucky to have seen in person Copley’s painting of Paul Revere in Boston. Below you see that painting. It’s my favorite.  In this painting, Mr. Revere is both a worker and a thinker. 

 

8. I wish I had the time in life to be as creative as I feel I could be. I could gain a measure of that time by the better application of self-discipline.  

9. I feel that both the material events in our lives, as well as the thoughts that we think, all need context. Nothing exists alone. We need to know what came before and what may come after.

10. I think one can merge the public and private aspects of life in ways that give greater meaning to both. The two should not be divorced from one another.

11. I often wonder how one can combine a strong desire to be alone with a need to communicate. Hopefully, I’m able to do this in a way that is neither (fully) stand-offish or involves being around to much. (Though in truth, I’ve not yet figured this mix out.)

12. I have a good memory. I recall some things with such clarity that I feel the events I’m thinking about are taking place again.  This makes me wonder that if man is the measure of all things, than does not the abilty to retain and relive our memories challenge some of our concepts of time? The past is present in our thoughts and as a guide to our future actions.    

13. If each morning we could take just a few moments to assess our lives and our goals for the day, that would be an act of creation and imagination we could accomplish each day.

We could create time and time again. We could do so in a way that builds upon what came before, so that even an act of creation comes with context. I want to have the discipline to be able to do this.

14. I’m not convinced our leaders really believe most Americans have a viable economic future. At least in relation to how we have lived before. 

15. I’ve never spent a night outdoors and I never will unless forced to do so by a bad turn of events.

16. Just because your life is very good, does not mean it is entirely the life you want. Expressing this thought does not detract from the good things in your life. 

17. I’d like to live on an island.

18. I feel at home when with the wife, when at the ocean in Galveston, Texas, when writing, and when reading.  I also felt at home when I was at a bar called the  Jockey Club in Newport, Kentucky. That place has long been torn down.

19.  Much about the practice of politics bores me. I did not like most people I met when I worked in politics. Though the time I spent involved in politics was worth it.

20. I’m proud of the fact that my name has been on the ballot twice. Once as a candidate for Democratic precinct executive a Hamilton County, Ohio. I was the only candidate and won with about 15 votes cast in my little voting precinct.  That was, I think, in 1992. I got a certificate of election from the county. In 1997, I ran for the Cincinnati Board of Education and won about 10,000 votes.  I finished 9th of 12 with the top four being elected. I was endorsed by Stonewall Cincinnati and by a number of unions. Beyond being glad I had not finished last, I felt that I had done well in the voting.

 21. The best non-fiction book I’ve read is S.E. Finer’s three volume history of government. The best novel I’ve read is The Remains Of The Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.  

22. I’d like to start volunteering somewhere. I have a place in mind.

23. I’m lucky.

24. I think we can balance a strong and autonomous personality, with the need for collective action in our political lives. What could be better than free citizens making the willing choice to work for common ends?

 25. I’ll end where I started—Anything good about me, or good in my life, is in large part due to my wife. Anything bad is my doing

January 31, 2009 Posted by | Art, Blogging, Books, Cincinnati, Galveston, Houston, My Wife Is The Best Person Ever, Politics, Relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

While Pastor Wright Says Some Good Things, What Is He Doing With Kwame Kilpatrick?

View image detail

Above you see a picture of Pastor Jeremiah Wright goofing around with Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. ( Pastor Wright is on the right and Mayor Kilpatrick is on the left.) 

This was at the Detroit NAACP Freedom Fund dinner last week.

I’m sympathetic to some of what Pastor Wright is saying.

One thing he is saying is what Martin Luther King often said—That America can at times be a wicked and sinful nation, and that if a transcendent moral power exists in the universe, he or she may wish to consider what judgement should be passed.

Fair enough.

But what is Pastor Wright doing playing around here with disgraced Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

Mayor Kilpatrick had an affair with an aide, exchanged racy text-messages with her, lied about it, cost the City of Detroit nine million dollars in a whistle-blower suit resulting from his actions, and is under indictment. 

This is not what Detroit needs.

The Detroit City Council–majority Black and Democratic–has called on Mayor Kilpatrick to resign.

Pastor Wright had the opportunity to admonish Mayor Kilpatrick at the NAACP dinner. That would have been closer to a prophetic course.

Keeping company with a man of power and corruption is less than a prophetic course.

I want to believe Pastor Wright is a man of vision. I did have to wonder though when he canceled his guest sermons in my hometown of Houston a few weeks ago due to death threats.

What kind of prophet cancels a call to to preach because of death threats?

April 28, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I Do Not Believe That “What Goes Around Comes Around”

 

“What goes around comes around” may be true in a collective sense over the long haul. If we continue heating the Earth, we may all suffer the effects of global warming. (Though the global poor will suffer first and suffer more.)

But what goes around is most often not the case for people who do bad things in public life. As an example, longtime segregationist wrongdoer Strom Thurmond lived to be 100. He spent his 100th birthday as a United States Senator.

Bad people in public in public life only get what they deserve if the public makes sure that they do at the ballot box. That’s the only way. Larry Craig type scandals arrive only so often. (And Mr. Craig is still in the Senate.)    

It’s up to you to do the work of democracy.

November 2, 2007 Posted by | Politics, Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

A Few Things Really Count— Much Of The Rest May Get Pitched Overboard

In the 1930’s, President Franklin Roosevelt complained about conservative federal courts striking down parts of the New Deal. In response, Roosevelt proposed his ill-advised and ill-fated  “court packing” plan to align the Supreme Court in his favor.   

Today, Republicans claim left-leaning federal judges are ruining the conservative agenda. Some Republicans have taken to bullying judges they don’t like. 

In the 1940’s, Republicans worked hard to prohibit the votes of servicemen abroad fighting in World War II from being counted. They were afraid most of the troops would vote for F.D.R. 

In the Florida vote count of 2000, Republicans demanded military votes from abroad be counted even if they arrived after the deadline. They guessed most service members would vote for George W. Bush. 

In the 1960’s, liberals supported a Civil Rights movement rooted in the black church.  

Today, liberals say the church should stay out of politics. 

Very few things are core principles. Positions we may think essential to our beliefs as liberals or conservatives are, if we review them, arguments more closely linked to circumstance than to basic truths.

Liberals hold as a core principle an active government that helps those who need help. Liberals assert everyone should be treated equally under the law and, at a deeper level, that all people have equal value. Liberals believe in a balance between personal freedom and obligation to society. 

Liberals should keep in mind the basics. We can keep true to our beliefs and win elections at the same time.

August 23, 2006 Posted by | Best Posts 2006, Politics | Leave a comment

Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List For 2013

File:Martin-Luther-King-1964-leaning-on-a-lectern.jpg

(Blogger’s Note–This is the sixth annual Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List at Texas Liberal. There are 3 additions for 2013. )

While it is always instructive to watch a rebroadcast or listen to a recording of the I Have A Dream speech, there is a next level for someone who wants to better understand Martin Luther King and his message.

Reverend King asked serious questions about America as a war criminal nation in Vietnam. He asked if America merited divine judgement as a wicked nation of racism and social inequality.  These questions are as relevant as ever as America is engaged in endless war and as income inequality grows.

It is within your power to bring about a better world. You have the ability to understand complex things. Learn about what a true prophet of justice Martin Luther King was in our society. After you learn more about Dr. King, take action yourself  to address the great pressing social problems of American life, and to address adverse conditions in our world as a whole.

Here is an admittedly incomplete, but I hope useful, Martin Luther King viewing, visiting, listening, and reading list.

An excellent book is Martin & Malcolm & America—A Dream Or A Nightmare by James H. Cone. This book follows the words and the careers of both these men. The premise of the book, which holds up in the telling, is that Dr. King and Malcolm X were not as far apart as often portrayed. Malcolm was a man with a broader vision than one of simple racial solidarity, and King was in many respects a fierce and almost apocalyptic critic of America.

( Below–Martin & Malcolm)

File:MLK and Malcolm X USNWR cropped.jpg

I’m glad to say I bought my copy of Cone’s book at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.  This site is operated by the National Park Service. You can tour Martin Luther King’s boyhood home at this location. You’ll also want to tour the Auburn Avenue Historic District around the King home.

(Below—Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. This was King’s home church.)

In Washington, when you visit the Lincoln Memorial (photo below), you can find a small marker indicating the exact spot where Rev. King made the “Dream” speech. It is a good place to stand.

The best one volume work on King’s life is David Garrow’s Bearing The Cross—Martin Luther King, Jrand the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Bearing The Cross was the 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner for biography.  You can’t help but feel the deep-sea like pressure on Dr. King in the final years of his life. I wondered if towards the end of his life King felt  death would be the only true escape from the exhaustion, the misunderstandings and the conflicts.

An interesting DVD is King–Man Of Peace In A Time Of War. Much of the hour long presentation is a rehash of King biography. What makes this special is a roughly 15 minute interview Dr. King did with afternoon television host Mike Douglas.  Mr. Douglas asked tough questions about Dr. King’s stance against the Vietnam War and about the effect of that opposition on the Civil Rights movement. Dr. King is calm, cool and collected. You could see how King was a leader who could speak anywhere and to anyone.

A solid explanation of Reverend King’s theology and a good analysis on the failure of Southern segregationists to mount an even more aggressive opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, can be found in A Stone Of Hope—Prophetic Religion And The Death Of Jim Crow by David L. Chappell.

A Testament Of Hope—The Essential Writings And Speeches Of Martin Luther King, Jr is needed for a complete King library. In honesty I’ve always found this book to be sprawling and without  clear focus. It consists of King sermons, some interviews and excerpts from his books. You might want it on your bookshelf , but there are more concise ways to get at the “essential” King.

(Photo below is Rev. King with Coretta Scott King.)

New Listings for 2009

A quality children’s book on King is Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. The writing in this book is clear and concise and respectful of the intellect of children. It’s a great introduction to King and a gateway to further studies by young people.

A comprehensive examination of King’s radical views on economic questions can be found in From Civil Rights to Human Rights—Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice by Thomas F. Jackson. King had leanings towards forms of socialism and came to see the fight for fair wages as an essential element in the fight for full human rights. It should not be forgotten that King died in Memphis fighting for striking sanitation workers.

A web resource to learn about King is the Martin Luther King, Jr, Research and Education Institute that is run by Stanford University. There are King sermons and addresses you can read and a link to a King Online Encyclopedia.  (These things said, there is nothing as good as having you own printed collection of King sermons that you can take anywhere.)

New Listings for 2010—

Beacon Publishing in Boston has re-released two titles written by King. The books are available in both paperback and hardcover and are attractively  presented.

The titles are

Stride Toward Freedom–The Montgomery Story.

Where Do We Go From Here–Chaos Or Community?

Beacon describes Where Do We Go From Here in this way—

“In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., isolated himself from the demands of the civil rights movement, rented a house in Jamaica with no telephone, and labored over his final manuscript. In this significantly prophetic work, which has been unavailable for more than ten years, we find King’s acute analysis of American race relations and the state of the movement after a decade of civil rights efforts. Here he lays out his thoughts, plans, and dreams for America’s future, including the need for better jobs, higher wages, decent housing, and quality education. With a universal message of hope that continues to resonate, King demanded an end to global suffering, powerfully asserting that humankind-for the first time-has the resources and technology to eradicate poverty.”

Construction has begun in Washington of a King Memorial on the National Mall. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

Here is the web site of the King Memorial. 

New Listings for 2011–

King–-The Photobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr by Charles Johnson and Bob Adelman is a top-notch photo record of the life of Rev. King. It’s necessary that you read Dr King’s words and understand what he was saying.  It also has great value to see King as he battled the Southern sheriffs and as he marched with the people.

Powerful Days—The Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore helps place Dr. King in context as part of a much larger movement.  We can’t forget that the Civil rights movement was, when all was said and done, led by average Americans who demanded that our nation finally live up to its founding ideas.

Going Down Jericho Road–The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign by Michael Honey reminds us that King died in Memphis fighting for the rights and wages of city sanitation workers. As I write this in early 2011, public employees are being blamed by some for the economic hard times we are facing. Don’t be tricked. Public employees are our fellow working people and Martin Luther King gave his life to make sure that they would be treated with dignity and respect.

New Listings for 2012—

Malcolm X–A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable was one of the N.Y. Times best books of 2011. It offers a new and expanded view on another great figure of the civil rights era.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is consistent with the focus of King’s final years on economic inequality. I cannot know for sure, but I believe King would have strongly supported Occupy Wall Street. Economic justice was an essential part of Martin Luther King’s work.

The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth died in 2011. Rev. Shuttlesworth was a leader of the Birmingham Civil Rights campaign. Here is Shuttlesworth’s obit from The Birmingham News.  This link also ofers additional links to learn more about the Birmingham campaign.

New Listings for 2013—

The 2005 Citizen King video from the American Experience series on PBS can be watched in parts on You Tube. This 2 hour presentation focuses on the last 5 years of King’s life. It is well worth your time.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute tells the story of the black experience in that city and of the famous civil rights struggles that took place in Birmingham. The center also focuses on the fight for human dignity all over the world.  I was lucky enough to be able to attend the opening ceremonies of the Institute in 1992. If life takes you to Birmingham, this is the place to go.

A book that a made a great impact on me in recent years was John Brown–Abolitionist by David S. Reynolds. Brown is one of the very few people I’ve ever read about who saw all people as full equals. That he was able to do this in the 19th century makes this accomplishment all the more amazing. Brown was a prophet.

There are three reference sources on Dr. King that stand out as best.

Here are the three—

Strength To Love is the best collection King sermons. It is a concise manageable book. You can cram it in your back pocket or in your purse. ( A larger purse at least.) I think you could read nothing but this one 158 page book, and know everything you need to know about Martin Luther King.

The audio collection of King’s sermons called  A Knock At Midnight might change your life. Stick the CD’s in your car stereo or listen to them at home and you’ll hear  King just as he was—Mighty and frail at the same time. I’ve listened to the sermons on Knock many times and they never get old. You can’t help but learn something or see an old question a new way each time you listen.

The definitive books on Martin Luther King’s life and the Civil Rights era are found in Taylor Branch’s three-volume America In The King Years series.

These three books are the Pulitzer Prize winning  Parting The Waters 1954-1963Pillar Of Fire 1963-1965, and At Canaan’s Edge, 1965-1968.

(Photo below of Rosa Parks with M.L.K. in the background. Here are facts about the Montgomery Bus Boycott.)

These books stand not only at the top of King biography, they stand as great examples of American biography. The picture of Dr. King is complete. You get the good and the bad. There will be times you’ll shake your head and ask yourself how Rev. King could have said that or done that.

You’ll also see how brave King was and how brave the Civil Rights marchers and protesters were. You’ll get a clear sense of the obstacles faced not just from whites, but from status quo blacks as well.  Mr. Branch offers a great deal of context for King’s life and experiences. He provides full portraits of other great Civil Rights leaders.

I can’t recommend all three volumes strongly enough. Read them and you’ll be an expert.

Please click here for a Texas Liberal post on King’s sermon Unfulfilled Dreams

January 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Looking For A New Flight Plan

I’m offering up today on the blog this nice picture you see above of planes on the ground that I took last month at the Schaumburg Regional Airport in suburban Chicago

I’m reaching a point of being tired about blogging about politics.  I have a picture of grounded planes here because I’ve not yet chosen a new flight plan.

I’m not tired of the blog. I’m not tired of communicating with folks. I’m not tired of talking about my values in a public forum.

I am not dispirited by the current Presidential race. While I regret that President Obama did not choose to prepare for the first debate in a way that respected his supporters, I’m relating a feeling I’ve had for many months now. I think the Presidential race as of today is a 50-50 proposition for both major party candidates.

I will admit that I do not see the Democratic Party making major gains in Texas in 2014.

Nor do I see Houston municipal politics as offering much hopeful in the 2013 election cycle. The 2013 elections in Houston will be another low-turnout race with Democratic Mayor Annise Parker running to the right, right-wingers offering up attacks on the Mayor because Mayor Parker is gay, selfish “progressive” interest groups looking out for only themselves, and big money running the process.

Here is the link to the Green Party of the United States. The Greens at least offer some hope that things can be better.

I’ve been working on an art project—for lack of a better term at the moment— and I think there are many ways to communicate with folks and to convey your values and ideas.

We live in a big hopeful connected world. Every person has value. Every place has value. Every moment has value. The everyday work we do merits respect.

These are things I’m going to keep on saying.

I’ve got some more political posts relating to Campaign 2012 to make between now and the election. I’m certain I’ll continue to make overtly political posts when I feel they’ll be helpful.

I have some thinking to do about how to proceed with the blog and how to best move ahead.

Thanks for reading Texas Liberal and please check back with the blog often. There is a lot more to say and to share.

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

Everything We Need To Understand The World And To Make Progress In Life Is Around Us Each Day

Here is a picture of supplies, parts, and tools that will be used for building and putting together things here in Houston.

I came across these items as I walking a few days ago.

This blog is a big believer that everything we need to understand the world is all around us each day—And that it is up to each us to make use of these tools.

Life is about everyday stuff done in a hard-working, creative, and hopeful way.

The work of creativity, getting things right, and justice is up to each of us.

Circumstance matters and we will likely need the help of others in what we hope to accomplish.

The role of circumstances beyond our control and the fact that we are all connected is central to the liberal and progressive view of the world.

We won’t always find the parts and tools that we need just laying out on the street corner and ready to go like we see in the picture.

The tools needed won’t be the same for every person.

But what we need to view the world in a creative and hopeful way and to move ahead is found each day in our relationships, in knowledge that is available from many sources, and from our own reserves of hard work and decency.

September 28, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Drought And Heat Go On And On In The United States—We’ll Ignore The Causes And Ignore The People Who Are Impacted

Many places in the United States are dealing with drought conditions.

Above you see a map of drought conditions in the United States from the National Drought Mitigation Center.

It is very dry out there in our great nation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared more than half of all U.S. counties as disaster areas for this year’s growing season.

It has also been very hot in the United States in 2012.

Changes in the climate are messing with some of America’s infrastructure. Roads and railroad tracks are buckling.

Does all this have anything to do with global warming?

Many people think this is the case.

New Scientist magazine reported recently that the severe 2011 Texas drought was made much more likely to occur by a warming planet.

Scientists who before have doubted global warming are changing their minds as the evidence becomes more clear.

Still–President Obama says very little on climate change, and Mitt Romney–despite previously saying he believed in climate change—now says he has no idea if human beings are heating up the planet.

Many farmers who are suffering from the drought want help from the federal government.

What these farmers feel about government help for others I’m not certain.

Though I bet some of them at least are not strongly in favor of government help for others besides themselves.

No worries though about any ideological inconsistencies from our nation’s farmers.

Congress was unable to agree on a drought relief bill before going on a recess and so farmers will not be getting any relief for the time being at least.

So the drought and the heat  will likely go as we refuse to take a serious look at what may be causing the unusually severe weather, and as we allow farmers to keep on taking the hits.

That’s how we do things in the United States of America

August 3, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment