Texas Liberal

All People Matter

No Good Paul Bettencourt Keeps The Faith With His No Good Supporters

Harris County Tax Assessor Paul Bettencourt is leaving public office for the private sector. This even though he was reelected for a full term just last month.

Mr. Bettencourt, a Republican, could justly be called a quitter. Yet I find that in his no-good way, Mr. Bettencourt has kept the faith with his no-good core of supporters in the Harris County electorate.

Mr. Bettencourt, though our county tax collector, made his name in large part by encouraging people to challenge their property tax assessment.  Mr. Bettencourt is also responsible for maintaining the county voter rolls. Not surprisingly, in this capacity he worked hard in 2008 to purge voter rolls of a number of likely Democratic voters.

Mr. Bettencourt was not popular in some circles because he was honest or because of some unbreakable compact with the citizens of Harris County.  Mr. Bettencourt was popular with some because he appealed to their worst instincts.

This final act of contempt by Mr. Bettencourt is consistent enough with his tenure as Tax Assessor.  He kept the faith by holding the office for Republicans at least until the 2010 special election for the completion of his  term. 

Just as he was elected to do rotten deeds, Mr. Bettencourt left his office in a rotten fashion. If only politicians who promise to do good were as faithful to goodness as Mr. Bettencourt has been to rottenness.

December 8, 2008 Posted by | Houston, Lousy People | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Victimized People Possess No Inherent Nobility

The Financial Times reports that some South Africans are brutalizing and running off immigrants from troubled Zimbabwe.

From the story (Here is the full article)— 

Isaac Moyo fled to South Africa from his impoverished and repressive homeland Zimbabwe six years ago. He has carved out a new life as a painter in the Johannesburg township of Alexandra, enabling him, like many other Zimbabwean exiles in South Africa, to send home much-needed money to keep his family going.

But on Monday night his new, more hopeful, life came to an abrupt end when a mob of machete-wielding South Africans yelling xenophobic slogans smashed down the door of his shack and forced him and his three brothers to run for their lives. Clutching a small mirror and a bucket of old clothes, all he could grab with him as he fled, he is now camping at the local police station and planning to return to an uncertain future in Zimbabwe

“We were preparing food [on Monday evening]. Then we started hearing guns and shouts of people celebrating they’d been chasing foreigners back to Zimbabwe,” he said. “They came to our house. They took everything, our bicycles, sewing machines, blankets, saying: ‘You didn’t get this from [President Robert] Mugabe. This is our property.

“They were shouting: ‘Go back to Zimbabwe. We don’t want to see you here. You’re taking our jobs’

I read this while eating lunch today. I just shook my head. You’d figure longtime victims of Apartheid would know better than to harass and attack people.

But the truth of the matter is that down-and-out people and victimized people possess no inherent nobility. 

We saw this in economically messed-up West Virginia this week where many Democratic primary voters openly cited race as a factor in their votes.

Everybody counts in this world. Yet this does not mean we have to romanticize people or patronize people with the idea that suffering brings some sort of wisdom or dignity.

I think sometimes liberals are guilty of this. 

People of all kinds are good and people of all kinds are lousy.

May 16, 2008 Posted by | Immigration, Lousy People, Politics | , , , , , | 2 Comments

$800K For Streetcar Study In Cincinnati—More Warped Priorities At The Expense Of Average People

Cincinnati City Council has allocated $800,000 for the study of streetcar routes in Cincinnati.

This despite failing schools and failing neighborhoods.

You the blog reader know this racket from what I’ve already told you.

Street cars will revitalize the city and make Cincinnati a fun place to visit!

( Above you see that while Cincinnati is considering streetcars, it is falling behind Tokyo in bullet trains.)

The gains from installing street cars will trickle down from Downtown and the inner-core to the entire city!

We need street cars just as we needed taxpayer subsidized department stores Downtown, and taxpayer subsidized stadiums!    


These street cars are proposed to run only Downtown and in a very small number of areas close to Downtown. 

You can bet property owners along possible streetcar lines are excited.

When you oppose these types of projects you’re told you lack vision. 

Yet so often the so-called civic boosters and rah-rah types who advocate this nonsense, urge pragmatism and restraint when it comes to addressing the needs of the poor.       

It is hard not to be angry at the city councilmembers who enable this stuff at the request of their corporate donors and owners.

It is a difficult and life-long lesson to direct your efforts at the right people 

You have to realize it is structural and that in most cases when you get rid of one bad councilmember, he or she is replaced by another one responsive to the same interests. 

These priorities are set by people who have little contact with the day-to-day facts, for both good and ill, of living in Cincinnati.

This kind of thing goes on in cities across the nation.

But you can’t give up.  

Citizens must establish the civic priorities by voting, remaining informed and speaking out.

Citizens must be able to imagine a better and more just future than that offered by the same people who have brought the urban decline of recent years.

Otherwise, what you get are underused streetcar routes to Nero-like stadiums while neighborhoods decline and clear out.     

March 20, 2008 Posted by | Cincinnati, Lousy People, Politics | , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Bad Man Exits Elevator Before Woman Holding Ten Bath Towels

You’ll think I’m making this up, but just a few days ago I saw a man get out of an elevator before allowing the woman in the elevator to exit.

This was at a hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas. The man was from out-of-town, so his actions cannot be seen as a reflection on the good people of Corpus Christi.

It happened like this—

There were three people on the elevator. Myself, the bad man, and a woman hotel employee who was carrying maybe 10 bath towels.

We were all going to the lobby.

The elevator stopped at the lobby.

The bad man got off the elevator without a thought to the woman with the towels.

It’s one thing in a very crowded elevator, but when it’s a small number of people you let a woman out first.

Especially if she is carrying many thick bath towels.

Why let a woman out first?

Because it is polite–That’s why. Doing so suggests you were not raised in a cave. It is a small social courtesy that reminds us we live in a society and that the others sometimes come first.

I saw the woman move to get out of the elevator first. It was just the slightest movement towards the door.

She gave no visible reaction when the man bad man went out first. I’m sure she is acquainted with being treated poorly by guests at the hotel.

A measure of a person is how they behave when they have the choice to be either rude or polite– How they act away from home where nobody they know can judge their actions. 

It is good to be polite and it is bad to be rude.

It’s that simple.

March 17, 2008 Posted by | Lousy People | , , , , | 10 Comments

Burr, Calhoun, Agnew, Cheney—Who Is Worst Vice President Ever?

Some say our current President is the worst President ever. That could be true.

It may also be so that Vice President Richard Cheney is our nation’s worst Vice President in history. 

Let’s review the candidates for this distinction along with the years each served as Vice President—

Aaron Burr of New York (1801-1805)—While Vice President, Mr. Burr shot and killed founding father Alexander Hamilton in a duel. After leaving office, Mr. Burr would scheme to form a new nation involving the western holdings of the United States. 

John C. Calhoun of South Carolina (1825-1833)—In opposition to tariffs approved by Congress and by President Andrew Jackson, Vice President Calhoun took his native South Carolina to the brink of secession with his false doctrines of interposition and nullification. Later President Jackson would say he regretted not having hung Calhoun.

Spiro Agnew of Maryland (1969-1973)—Mr. Agnew resigned in disgrace for tax evasion while Governor of Maryland. Vice President Agnew was also the right-wing attack dog for President Richard Nixon.

Richard Cheney of Wyoming and Texas (2001-Current)— Mr. Cheney has played a key role in the failed invasion of Iraq. He has advocated a great and unneeded secrecy in government. Mr. Cheney has also claimed that the Vice President is not part of the executive branch.  

My pick–Calhoun

July 19, 2007 Posted by | Lousy People, Political History | 9 Comments

I Can’t Muster Much Anger At Barry Bonds After A Youth Spent With Pete Rose

Texas Liberal is sorry to post about sports. Sports get too much attention in our society. Still, because I am a hypocrite, here is a baseball post.

I’ll be attending the San Francisco Giants/Houston Astros game tomorrow night in Houston. Barry Bonds of the Giants has been booed by Houston fans each time he has come to bat for the past two days.

I won’t be one of the people booing Mr. Bonds tomorrow. I lived in Cincinnati for 18 years and for much of that time I was subjected to Pete Rose. I don’t know what Mr. Bonds has done or not done, but he can’t be much worse than Pete Rose.

Mr. Rose bet on his team and is a convicted tax cheat.

Mr. Rose was from the West Side of Cincinnati. While it is not so much the case anymore, the West Side of Cincinnati was for many years the more law-and-order part of town.

I always felt that many of Mr. Rose’s most vocal supporters were some the same people who had been hostile to black Hall-Of-Famer Frank Robinson during his time in a Cincinnati uniform in the 1960’s.

A solid book about Mr. Rose is Hustle–The Myth, Life And Lies Of Pete Rose by Michael Sokolove.

May 17, 2007 Posted by | Books, Cincinnati, Lousy People | 7 Comments

Don’t Let The Holidays Distract You From How Lousy Congressman Nick Lampson Is

It’s been a few weeks since the November election and the holidays are here. However, none of this is any reason to forget about the cruddy campaign run by Democratic Houston-area Congressman-elect Nick Lampson.

Lampson seemed intent on campaigning to the right of the awful Shelley Sekula-Gibbs in Texas U.S. House district 22. He talked about how super-tough he would be on immigration. He criticized Gibbs for routine votes on water and sewer rate hikes while she served on Houston City Council. It was terrible to watch.

During the election I asked what Lampson would do after he won. Would he just turn off the rhetoric or would he continue in his nasty ways?  We’ve not heard much from Lampson since Election Day. Just as well I suppose.

Still, we can’t forget how Lampson campaigned and he should not get a free pass when Congress is back in session next month. We expect Republicans to be lousy. We expect more from Democrats.       

December 21, 2006 Posted by | Houston, Lousy People, Politics | 2 Comments

Rotten Cincinnati Bengals Ripoff & Fleece Taxpayers Every Chance They Get

At the same time a new study said suburban poverty is up in the Cincinnati region, the greedy Cincinnati Bengals football team billed Hamilton County, Ohio $900,000 for new turf for Paul Brown Stadium. The county must pay this money due to a taxpayer-fleecing contract it signed with the Bengals. 

Hamilton County is where Cincinnati is located and is the largest county in the Cincinnati area.

Already Hamilton County taxpayers have given the Bengals hundreds of millions of dollars for construction and upkeep of Paul Brown Stadium. Now the Bengals want nearly a million dollars more. 

The Bengals are never called to account for this money. The promise was that Cincinnati and the Cincinnati region would benefit from having an NFL team. The fact of increasing poverty in the region would appear to tell a different story.

The fault for this terrible waste of money rests in the end with the people of Cincinnati & Hamilton County. It is a given that the Bengals will take every dollar they can get and that their political allies will make sure the team is protected. No reasonable person expects the Bengals to do anything but cheat the public. That is what they do.

It is the people of Hamilton County who have acquiesced to this scam. It is the very same people who must work and fight to take back control of local government from the Bengals and their political henchmen.

December 13, 2006 Posted by | Best Posts 2006, Cincinnati, Lousy People | 8 Comments

Houston-Area Bloggers Should Reconsider Support For Far Right-Wing “Democrat” Nick Lampson

U.S. House candidate Nick Lampson is running yet another ad placing him to the right of his Republican challenger. This new ad criticizes his opponent, Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, for voting to raise water and sewer rates. Houston needs all the revenue and infrastructure it can get. What would Lampson have us do? Dump our waste on the street like we are living in the 19th century?  

Already Lampson has run a mean and appalling ad placing him to the right of the conservative Sekula-Gibbs on immigration. Liberal and progressive bloggers in the Houston Metro area have no doubt seen these awful ads. 

Houston-area bloggers should reconsider backing Lampson. Is our support so easily taken for granted? I realize every seat counts in working towards a Democratic House majority. Yet even in these circumstances, Lampson is asking a lot of us. This is a race I think people would be justified leaving blank on their ballots.  

November 2, 2006 Posted by | Houston, Lousy People, Politics | 4 Comments

Like Nancy Reagan, Normally Hard-Hearted Trent Lott Has A Soft-Spot For Own Troubles

Mississippi Senator Trent Lott is angry because insurers won’t pay for property damage Lott sustained in Hurricane Katrina. Lott accuses the insurance industry of “outright meanness.” 

As a prominent Republican Senator and former Senate Majority Leader, outright meanness is something Lott knows all about. It’s something he’s routinely practiced as a leading Republican since the Reagan years. 

Lott is proposing legislation to investigate the insurance industry. No doubt the investigation is warranted. Still, the idea of the Southern conservative Lott using the federal government to go after private industry is ironic.

Lott may even end up doing other hurricane victims some good. Sometimes even lousy people can’t avoid helping others.

Lott’s concern about the conduct of the insurance industry mirrors Nancy Reagan’s work for stem-cell research after President Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Lott and Mrs. Reagan are two conservatives who did not care much about the misery of others until they each personally suffered a calamity. 

October 13, 2006 Posted by | Lousy People, Politics | 1 Comment

Mark Foley & Dennis Hastert Make Excuses In A Way Republicans Would Scream About If Liberals Did The Same

Republican conservative Mark Foley is accused of sending nasty e-mails to young boys.  Mr. Foley claims he was molested as a young person by a member of the clergy. He also says he is an alcoholic.

When liberals claim outside factors as the cause of bad deeds they are called soft on crime. But the conservative Mr. Foley has no problem saying other people and other factors are responsible for the bad things he has done.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a very conservative man, did not act when made aware of odd e-mails by Mr. Foley. I thought Republicans were all about protecting children and keeping America safe from sexual predators. 

What a right-wing performance! Excuse-making conservatives and the Republican House leadership looking the other way at a possible pervert in their midst.

What a crew of hypocrites.     

October 5, 2006 Posted by | Lousy People, Politics | 1 Comment

White Sox Collapse After Manager Makes Gay Slur

When Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen made an anti-gay slur last June, the White Sox were playing well and seemingly headed towards the playoffs.  

Guillen should’ve been suspended. The White Sox refused.   

At least the next best thing happened—-The White Sox have sucked since Guillen made his comments. They’ll be eliminated from contention any day now.  

I don’t believe in karma. Yet in this case my theory is that the White Sox collapsed because they have a gay-baiting manager who got away with saying lousy things.

September 23, 2006 Posted by | Lousy People | 1 Comment

Big Bully Kinky Friedman—Mean To The Core

Big bully Kinky Friedman is the subject of a documentary being filmed as he campaigns to be
Texas governor.

While Friedman knocks so-called professional politicians as sleazy, he won’t say how much he’s being paid for the documentary.  

Friedman’s a real tough guy. He’s shown he can bash illegal immigrants and Hurricane Katrina victims with the best of them.  

Freidman knows picking fights with people who can’t fight back is often a winning strategy. At least it is when your goal is to appeal to the worst in people.  

But Kinky is more than just your run-of-the-mill bully—Kinky has figured out how to pick up a check on the side as a reward for kicking the little guy while he is down.

September 22, 2006 Posted by | Lousy People, Politics, Texas | Leave a comment

Libertarians Of All Kinds Are Unhelpful People

I’ve been reading Coast Of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990-2003, by Kevin Starr.

Starr writes about the migration of some Californians to remote northern counties in that state. He says:

Beginning in the 1960’s, the top tier of California had become increasingly the refuge of those fleeing the cities. First it had been the hippies and the marijuana growers; now it was the larger and larger number of whites escaping the racial complexity and perceived dangers of the cities….”  

One wonders how really different the personalities and ideological leanings were and are between the marijuana growers and the white-flight types.

The so-called counterculture of 1960’s always seemed to me as libertarian as anything else. Regardless of what might at first appear to be political differences, aging hippies and younger white-flight families leaving cities have plenty in common.

One of the things they have in common is taking to the hills instead of trying to help make our cities and our society better.

September 12, 2006 Posted by | Books, Lousy People | 2 Comments

Kinky Friedman—Just Another Texas Bully

Kinky Freidman is the worst of the four major candidates running for Texas governor in 2006. This is quite an accomplishment. Two of the other candidates, incumbent Republican Rick Perry and independent Carol Keeton Strayhorn, are also awful.  

Mr. Friedman is running as a non-politician. He says his lack of political experience is good.  Yet recent nasty comments about Hurricane Katrina victims in Houston show Mr. Friedman as the very model of a Texas politician. He is all about kicking the little guy when he is down.

Instead of proposing to assist hurricane victims, Mr. Friedman termed people displaced by Katrina and still living in Houston as crackheads and thugs. Mr. Friedman thinks the State of Texas should give Houston $100 million for police to help manage the increase in crime in the past year. For $100 million we could actually help poor people in Houston acquire skills to get jobs. But why help people when we can crack skulls instead?

The cigar-chomping testosterone-drunk Mr. Friedman is just another in a long line of Texas bullies appealing to the worst instincts of the electorate. 

September 11, 2006 Posted by | Lousy People, Politics, Texas | 3 Comments