Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Texas Senate Votes 31-0 To Let You Take Your Gun To Work

The Texas State Senate voted by 31-0 to allow people to take guns to work. 

Yep—31-0. The Democrats in the Senate voted for it as well. There are something 11 or 12 Democrats in the Senate. 

Note to Democrats—Thanks for nothing.

At current, employers have the right to ban guns on workplace property.

The measure will allow you take you gun and ammunition to work as long as you leave it in your car and as long as it is not visible in your car.

So after your layoff or after your fight with a co-worker, you’ll have a cooling down period of the time it takes you to get to your parking lot and find your car.

I wish it were so that when this law is passed by the malignancy known as the Texas Legislature and signed by our terrible governor, that every person who voted for it could be prosecuted as an accessory to murder when the first person with access to a gun at work kills somebody.

I would double-charge all the Democrats who voted for the bill since I expect nothing from Republicans in any event.

31-0. Imagine that.

March 27, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Texas | , , , , | 6 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance of bloggers is hard at work serving you the blog reading public. Here is the latest round-up of TPA blogs. 

(Above–Pecos, Texas.)

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is now saying that the economic downturn has landed full force in Texas. Spared from the worst job losses during the first 6 months of the current recession, Texas is shedding jobs at an alarming pace. Wcnews at Eye On Williamson looks at the trends and offers a sobering assessment of the hard-line-let-’em-crash mentality of Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas GOP.

Off the Kuff points to a bill by state Rep. Dwayne Bohac to demonstrate that the push for voter ID really is about vote suppression.

If Republicans really cared about election integrity, then why do we still have non-auditable electronic voting machines? CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know.

BossKitty
at TruthHugger sees an opportunity to get a degree in the dark arts in If Texas HB-2800 Passes, I Want A Masters Degree In VooDoo.

In a post that took some work and came out well, Neil at Texas Liberal wrote about what Google searches miss. Also, Neil read the bird sermon of St. Francis to a dancing duck chicken.

Continue reading

March 25, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Politics, Texas | , , , | Leave a comment

TPA Roundup With Link To Spring Breaker Jobsanger And An Oyster Shooters Picture

Here is the weekly Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. In addition to all these great bloggers, let me also add to a link to the great Amarillo blogger and TPA member Jobsanger. Ted, who writes Jobsanger, is not on the round-up this week because he was booking his spring break tickets.

Here is the link to Jobsanger. Ted’s blog is celebrating three years of operation and you should visit him and see what he has to say. 

Ted is a little older than many of the other spring breakers so he still thinks that Fort Lauderdale is the place to be. But look at the picture of Fort Lauderdale beach below. Not many people there.  Ted will have to drink his oyster shooters all by himself.

Below is a picture of some oyster shooters. Looks icky but Ted loves them.  

Here is the weekly round-up

Mayor McSleaze McBlogger returns from his holiday to post his thoughts on developments in the Wall Street infotainment industry.

Vince of Capitol Annex took a new look at the latest creationist attack on science in Texas classrooms in Bill Would Make “Strengths and Weaknesses” Teaching Of Evolution State Law.

State representative Wayne Christian has filed a bill that would scare Texas citizens from filing ethics complaints against elected officials, notes JohnCoby at Bay Area Houston. Continue reading

March 16, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Politics, Texas | , , , | Leave a comment

Rick Perry & Republican Southern Governors Find A New Schoolhouse Door To Block

With his refusal of federal stimulus dollars to help unemployed folks in Texas, far right-wing Governor Rick Perry has found his schoolhouse door to stand in and block.

Governor Perry and other Republican Southern governors, along with disloyal secessionist Sarah Palin, now have an updated interposition and nullification stance to rally around. They don’t want that mean old Federal government coming in and telling them what to do!

Some things are very slow to change in at least some quarters of the South.

There is our Governor below. Big tough guy Rick Perry laying down the law as he runs scared from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s 2010 primary challenge. 

rickperry.jpg

March 13, 2009 Posted by | History, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Texas Voter Supression Bill & Low Minority Turnout—Twin Evils

The so-called voter ID bill now before the Texas legislature is nothing but a voter suppression bill. Voters in Texas already present a driver’s license or a voter registration card to be able to vote. (Though I was asked specifically for a driver’s license last November.)  

Under the bill, voters would now, by law, be asked in all cases for a photo ID. If you do not have one, you’ll have to come up with two forms of alternative identification.

The alleged reason behind the bill is stop voter fraud. But there is little evidence of voter fraud in Texas. The fact is that some minority and elderly voters don’t have photo Id’s and it is not always easy for them to acquire such identification.

(There is plenty of evidence that many people in Texas don’t have health insurance, but Republicans don’t see that as such an urgent concern.)

Republicans in Texas know that it is likely Democratic voters the voter suppression bill will impact.  And they know that the demographic clock is ticking in Texas politics. Sooner or later, let’s hope sooner, Republicans are going start losing statewide elections in Texas just as they are now losing elections in Harris County and Dallas County. 

Republicans can hold back the demographic realities of Texas….

Just as easily as one could hold back this wave pictured above.

However, it should not be forgotten that these issues of voter turnout are a two-way street.

File:Japanese Road sign (Two-way traffic).svg

In majority-minority cities and legislative districts around Texas, elected officials—most often Democrats—say little or nothing about the poor turnout that goes on year after year. Not only do they say nothing about it, they do nothing about it.

In our majority-minority state of Texas, we would not have so many elected Republicans if many probable Democrats would come out to polls on every Election Day.

It seems that many of these elected officials are content to serve in safe districts and to never have to worry about a primary challenge or an overly attentive electorate. Many elected Democrats thrive in these situations while accusing the other side of voter suppression.

We can fight against the voter suppression bill now up for debate in Austin. However, if we had our own house in order as Democrats and folks on the left side of the ideological aisle, maybe we would not be fighting this battle today.

March 13, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Texas | , , , | 1 Comment

Grain Elevators

Image, Source: digital file from original transparency

Above are grain elevators near Amarillo, Texas photographed back in 1943. The picture was taken by Jack Delano  and can be found at the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress.

Here is information about grain elevators. 

Here is some history of grain elevators.

Here are some quick facts on the subject

“Storage building for grain, usually a tall frame, metal, or concrete structure with a compartmented interior; also, the device for loading grain into a building. One common mechanism consists of a hopper, a long rectangular open trough, and an endless vertical belt or chain with flights (crosspieces) for conveying the grain to the top of the stack. The force of gravity enables elevated grain to be unloaded quickly and easily from chutes.”

The idea of a grain elevator is pretty remote from my day-to-day urban life.It’s good to learn about things you feel little connection with. Learning about things you feel little connection with helps expand your world.

March 12, 2009 Posted by | Texas | , , | 2 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Bloggers Take Phone Call With Houston Mayor Bill White

A group of Texas Progressive Alliance bloggers recently interviewed Houston Mayor and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate for Texas Bill White.  The interview was conducted on a conference call. I was on the call.

Like all the bloggers on the call , I was wearing a huge diving suit–

God knows what people are doing while on the phone.

The Texas Progressive Alliance is a confederation of Texas political bloggers from the Democratic and left side of the aisle. Quite often, members of this group find themselves in agreement. (We’ll focus on agreement here.) 

Mayor White, while no doubt serving what he saw as his own purposes, was good to make the time to take the call.

The call was organized by well-regarded Houston blogger Charles Kuffner. Charles takes it well that sooner or later I’ll be passing his daily blog traffic and I respect him for that. Thanks to Charles for setting up the call. 

The call was recorded so, I guess, that we can’t claim the Mayor said something he did not, and, so the Mayor can’t claim we all speak Klingon to each other when gathered in a group.

Below is the transcript of the call in Cuneiform

     

( Thanks to Perry at Brains & Eggs for chiseling out this transcript.) 

I asked the Mayor a question about the impact of cuts at the University of Texas Medical Branch hospital in Galveston.  Mayor White has expressed concern about the lack of beds in our area for the uninsured after these cuts, and has said that our local teaching hospitals need to find enough insured patients to help pay the bills given the demands placed on the system by the uninsured. 

This situation might prompt the Mayor to advocate for Universal Coverage. Below is part of what the Mayor says on his campaign web home about health insurance–

Increase the number of insured Americans — We should expand enrollment in existing programs and develop new plans like three-share programs that allow employers, employees, and public funding to each contribute to the cost of affordable premiums for basic care

I don’t know that increasing the number of Americans with coverage is the same as universal coverage. Given how many Texans lack health insurance, I would call upon the Mayor to give further consideration to his views. 

Regarding UTMB related concerns, Mayor White said he had just testified to the state legislature on the matter. He said, in essence, that no progress had been made on resolving the problems. I do believe the Mayor is sincere when he says he would like to find some solution. I hope he will continue to address this issue. 

(I don’t have the exact quote from the Mayor because I’m not a reporter. I do seek though to be an honest broker and this is pretty much what he said.)

I was glad to have this chance to speak to the Mayor. Normally we only get a chance to talk when I go to his house and yell questions at him from beneath his second-floor window.  He does open the window and respond, but I can’t hear him when his neighbor’s dog barks. 

I look forward to more of these calls with candidates for office in Texas. Next time I promise I’ll turn down the TV in the background. It’s just that the call took place at the same time as a Good Times marathon on Nick At Night.    

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

More Of Our Colonized Low Wage No Rights Labor Force Dying In Desert For The Chance To Mow Our Lawns

The article below was in the Houston Chronicle today. It is about the increased number of folks dying in an effort to reach the United States from Mexico. They die so they can work in our restaurant kitchens, our construction projects and on our lawns and gardens for poor wages and no benefits. We don’t thank them for it very often. Though we do complain about them very much. 

(Above–Work by a Thomas Castelazo noting border deaths at Tijuana-San Diego border

They are really the perfect workers for a place like Texas. They are good for employers who get what is in essence a colonized labor force that will accept any wage you pay (when employers come through with the money which is not always) and will not stick up for themselves when abused because of fear of deportation

These workers are also good for the political majority in Texas, those Texans who vote, because they are just the kind of low wage and no rights workers that we seem to be asking for when we vote as a state for John Cornyn, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Rick Perry and John McCain. 

When will a solution to all this be found that is decent and human? 

From the Chronicle— 

BROWNSVILLE — The number of unauthorized immigrants who died trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico declined border-wide except in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, leading Mexican officials to conclude that increased Border Patrol presence has channeled migrants to the valley’s most dangerous river and brush routes… While notoriously rugged U.S. Border Patrol sectors such as Tucson and Yuma in Arizona, and El Paso, Texas, saw a marked decline, the number of deaths in the valley grew by 72 percent last year…The tallies also count bodies recovered on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande that are not recorded by U.S. officials. They do not include bodies with identification from Central America or other places. …“What we’re thinking is that people decided to cross from this part of the border because they think others are more dangerous,”…. “Then they come to this side, they see more deployment; they go to riskier places, more isolated places. They cross from ranches that are more apart from the highways.”… Many drown because the Rio Grande in the upper valley can have currents swirling under the surface from recent dam releases. Others fall ill in the brush and are left behind. Still others die in vehicles that crash and overturn while drivers attempt to flee authorities.

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Art, Immigration, Politics, Texas | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does Congressman Gene Green Need With All That PAC Money?

What exactly does Houston-area Congressman Gene Green (above), a Democrat, need with$842,656 in PAC money? This is the amount of PAC money Congressman Green raised in 2007-08.  This PAC money was 78% of all the money Mr. Green raised in this election cycle. Overall, Mr. Green was fifth in the entire U.S. House  in 2008 for money given by PACS as a percentage of all campaign funds raised.   

Mr. Green serves the 29th U.S. House District of Texas. The district includes, among other places, much of the Houston Ship Channel and other parts of Houston, portions of Pasadena, Baytown and Humble, as a well as South Houston and Jacinto City. Here is a profile of the district from Mr. Green’s office. 

These PAC statistics are from a recent USA Today story. 

Two Texas Republicans, Joe Barton and Kevin Brady were the PAC champions. Mr. Barton, of Ennis, got 88% of his money from PACS while Mr. Brady, of The Woodlands, came in next at 86%.  Overall PACS spent $416 million on federal elections in 2008.

You can click here and get a picture of where the money Mr. Green raised in 2008 came from. Below is a list of various industry groups that donated to Mr. Green for the most recent election. 

Health Professionals $168,396
Oil & Gas $84,500
Lawyers/Law Firms $77,472
Electric Utilities $57,949
Industrial Unions $52,750
Building Trade Unions $52,000
Chemical & Related Manufacturing $50,538
Transportation Unions $40,500
TV/Movies/Music $40,500
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $34,600
Automotive $19,000
Beer, Wine & Liquor $17,500
Lobbyists $17,250
Telephone Utilities $17,000
Sea Transport $16,500
Misc Energy $15,000
Public Sector Unions $15,000
Telecom Services & Equipment $14,000
Misc Unions $13,500
Retail Sales $13,000

Just what does Rep. Green need with all this money from all these groups? His 2008 Republican opponent raised just over $14,000. Mr. Green has won reelection with almost 75% of the vote in the last two elections. In 2004 he won with 94%.

Maybe what Mr. Green wishes to do is scare off any potential Hispanic primary challenger in a district that is two-thirds Hispanic. Now I know it would be shocking if Mr. Green was taking advantage of money from the alcohol industry and the pharmaceutical industry to scare off potential Hispanic opposition in a two-thirds Hispanic district, but these things do happen.

(Local gasbag Marc Campos has been trying to stir-up a primary fight   for Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee. That’s his right and I don’t care one way or another, but if his goal is to increase Hispanic representation in the Houston-area, a subject he often discusses with varying degrees of bluster, the 29th might seem his better chance. C’mon Marc– Find a candidate for this one! )  

Mr. Green has, according to the 2008 Almanac of American Politics, voted  for a bill to roll back subsidies for the oil industry. It’s not that Mr. Green is at the total beck-and-call of the groups that give him money. It’s rarely that simple with these guys. (At least in any way you can pin down.)  Though I wager campaign contributions may well gain access to speak to Mr. Green and senior members of his staff.

Here is some information on Mr. Green’s voting record.

The issue is that Mr. Green uses his incumbency to scare off challengers and that he is such a willing participant  in a system that, while legal, is rotten. This should not be the program. It would be of value for a primary opponent of any ethnicity to take on Mr. Green in 2010 and to bring these issues to greater public attention.

March 3, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Censure Texas State Representative Leo Berman

Texas State Representative Leo Berman, a Republican from Tyler, should be censured by the Texas House of Representatives. This is the view of  the leading political bloggers in Texas. It is the view of all   freedom-loving Texans.

Reasons for Mr. Berman’s censure by the full Texas House of Representatives, and a full account of his appalling, insensitive, hard-hearted, and racially charged behavior as a Member of the Texas House are found at Censureleo.com.  

From CensureLeo.com

“On Thursday, February 18, 2009, State Rep. Leo Berman (R-Tyler) committed an act which we believe constitutes conduct unbecoming a member of the Texas Legislature—for which he should be censured by members of the Texas House of Representatives… After a panel discussion sponsored by Texas Employers for Immigration Reform, Rep. Berman was engaged in a heated verbal conflict with Harry Joe, a Chinese American immigration lawyer from Dallas…. Berman, who was invited to participate in a panel discussion to speak about a bill he authored requiring illegal immigrants to relocate to “sanctuary cities,” was approached by Mr. Joe after the session….Following their exchange, Berman told Harry Joe to “go home” (as in “back to China”) and “kiss my ass.”…While the Rules of the Texas House of Representatives set forth no specific standards for member decorum and behavior, it is clear to most people that Berman’s actions are clearly unbecoming a member of the Texas Legislature….The Texas House of Representatives should immediately censure Berman and condemn his conduct….We–netroots activists from across Texas–seek to see the Texas House of Representatives pass a resolution censuring Rep. Berman. Using this site, you can find out how to contact your Representative to urge them to support a censure resolution, and how to contact House Speaker Joe Straus to demand that the Speaker formally and officially condemn Rep. Berman’s conduct.”

Please visit CensureLeo.com and see what steps you can take to make sure that Mr. Berman is called to account for his poor behavior while in the performance of his duties as an elected representative of the people in the State of Texas.

February 24, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Texas | , , , | 11 Comments

Top Texas Blogger–That Being Myself–Joins Denton County, Texas Democratic Party Facebook Group

At the request of Denton County citizen and Democratic activist Judith Ford, I’m pleased to announce the I’ve joined the Facebook page of the Denton County, Texas Democratic Party!

Ms. Ford is precinct chair for precinct 224 in Denton County. Her blog is called Castle Hill Democrats. Ms. Ford reads this blog often and I sure do appreciate it.

I’m pleased to be part of this Denton County group and I encourage everyone on Facebook to seek it out and join up.

Here is the link to the Denton County Democratic Party.

Here is information on Denton County. It is in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and over 400,000 people live there. Above is a picture of the county courthouse.

I have two friends in Denton County. Ms. Ford and Stephen Southwell. Stephen writes the leading Texas political blog Who’s Playin? 

Hello Denton County!!!!!!!

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Politics, Texas | , , , | 7 Comments

I Will Never Vote For Kinky Friedman For Any Office

The Houston Chronicle reports that Kinky Friedman is considering running for Governor of Texas as a Democrat in 2010. In 2006 Mr. Friedman ran unsuccessfully for Governor as an independent.

I would like to say here, for the record, that I will never vote for that libertarian leaning, testosterone poisoned, immigrant hating, Hurricane Katrina evacuee bashing, no good bully no matter what.

If by some awful occurrence Mr. Friedman were the nominee of the Democratic Party for Governor of Texas in 2010, I would sit that race out as a voter.

February 11, 2009 Posted by | Immigration, Texas | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up—Definitions Of Confederation

The Texas Progressive Alliance is a confederation of liberal and progressive Texas bloggers.  Each week, a round-up is issued to inform you, the blog reading public, as to what Texas bloggers thought merited a second look as the week’s best posts.  

Here are definitions of the word confederation

1. the act of confederating.
2. the state of being confederated.
3. a league or alliance.
4. a group of confederates, esp. of states more or less permanently united for common purposes.
5. the Confederation, the union of the 13 original U.S. states under the Articles of Confederation 1781–89.
6. (initial capital letter) the federation of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, formed in 1867 and constituting the Dominion of Canada.

Here is the round up— 

TXsharon made another video this week and it’s gross! Watch it on Bluedaze then answer this question and this question if you can and know that HELP IS ON THE WAY!

And speaking of Oil and Gas, WhosPlayin analyzed a contract his city of Lewisville made, leasing its mineral rights cheap to purposely bring in oil and gas development to the suburban Texas city of 92,000.

The Texas Cloverleaf  brings you the Trinity Toll Road Boondoggle, soon to be funded by your tax dollars.

There are four US Attorneys in Texas. Off the Kuff takes a look at the people who want one of those jobs.

BossKitty at TruthHugger is concerned about the changing mental state in America. Are people becoming meaner? What do you think about our Mean Economy Spotlights Mean Spirits – Op Ed

Violence in Mexico and on the US border can’t be ignored any longer. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants Hillary Clinton, not Glenn Beck, to provide solutions.

Adam at Three Wise Men explores the possibility of Howard Dean as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Continue reading

February 9, 2009 Posted by | Blogroll, Politics, Texas | , , , | Leave a comment

Hurricanes Not A Rainy Day Expense?

The malignancy known as the Texas State Legislature must decide if it should make more cuts to state programs, or dip into the nine billion dollar rainy day fund to help pay for expenses related to Hurricane Ike and two other hurricanes that impacted Texas last year. 

Above—Not a rainy day. Hurricane Ike flooding not far from where I live in Houston.

Governor Rick Perry says that the Federal Government should pick up many of the costs. That’s because Governor Perry is a big believer in using government to help people. (That’s a joke.  He’s not those things. He’s a mean guy who panders to a mean constituency.)

The idea that we would even consider cutting services in this already barbaric state because we had a hurricane that came and did people a lot of damage is….well, that idea is just Texas for you.

February 6, 2009 Posted by | Galveston, Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Congressman Culberson Says Stimulus Package Is Trojan Horse Meant To Turn America Into France

My Congressman here in Houston, John Culberson, has said the following about the proposed government stimulus package that will soon be passed in Congress and signed by President Barack H. Obama—

“Redistributing hard-earned tax dollars will do far more to expand the power of the federal government than it will to stimulate the economy,” said Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston. “This legislation is a Trojan horse that liberals are using to ultimately turn America into France, because it contains massive expansion of multiple federal programs that are utterly unrelated to stimulating the economy.”

Well, I sure hope all this is true.

I hope stimulus package dollars are used to build a Trojan Horse such as you see below….

( Here is a history of the Trojan War and the Trojan Horse.) 

…..And that this horse is filled up with liberals. I hope the commander of the horse is the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill (below) who is brought back to life by Wiccan socialists in a pagan rite also funded by stimulus dollars. It’s time for everybody to get a fair share of the faith-based dollars.

(Here is information about the best biography of Tip O’Neill. It is called Tip O’ Neill and the Democratic Century and was written by John Farrell.)

(Below are Wiccans chanting and casting spells for federal dollars and to bring Tip back to command the liberals in the Trojan Horse. Here is information about the Wicca religion. If you want to join up with them I say more power to you.)

And I hope that the liberals come out of the horse and help turn America into France.

Below is the French city of Calvi. Can we please make America look like this?

The new President and the increased Democratic majorities in Congress are working out even better than I had imagined.

Could anyone in Washington be more useless than my Congressman? So much is going on and going wrong and what he has to offer is liberals turning America into France.

January 28, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Books, History, Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment