Texas Liberal

All People Matter

An Autobiography In 220 Words

A possible autobiography of who I am. 


1970’s— First Realizations

1. Other kids are not always nice.

2. While it may seem counter-intuitive, humor does not make friends, but it does earn respect.

3. Intellect gets you noticed and has a deeper value as well.

Though it was not yet clear what that deeper value would be.    

1980’s—More Realizations

1. Women, gays, blacks, and self-defined punk rockers make reliable friends. At least they did for the person I was becoming.

People on the outside, if they are not too angry to connect, can be of great help to each other.  

2. Knowledge is not inherently power. It depends on whether what you know can be applied.

Knowledge, however, does allow you to navigate life easier. It provides the context needed to understand everyday life. 

This is how I came to a more generalized approach to thinking, instead of a detail-orientated type of thinking.   

A general approach to life must be found. You won’t most often find specific answers.


1. How do I balance a strong personality with an ideological commitment to collective action? How I do communicate that personal independence and collective action do not conflict?

2. How can I be as inclusive and open to others as possible, while still holding strong views? 

1994—Met future wife.

2000’s — Always More To Consider

1. How do I best communicate my values? What is the widest definition of communication I can use to assert my values?

2. Just as knowing history helps you understand the present, longstanding friendships give your life context and meaning        

3. Effective communication and good relationships require much self-discipline.

March 3, 2008 Posted by | Central Questions, My Wife Is The Best Person Ever, Uncategorized, Welcome To TexasLiberal | , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Texas Liberal Plans & Goals For 2008—To Be A Genuine Alternative


Texas Liberal has many plans and goals for 2008.

I’ll continue with topics I posted on in 2007 and add new subjects for 2008.

With this an election year, I’ll be making posts about not just the ongoing campaign, but also about political history.

All events have context. History is about putting current events in context.   

I’ll be discussing questions of political science and political philosophy.

To take their fullest form, events require the substance provided by what some might term “abstractions.” 

In 2008, I’ll continue taking up questions of relationships and interactions with others and trying to draw the link between the personal and the private.

Relationships, like current events, always have a broader context.

In 2007, I made many posts about Colonial American history. In 2008, a focus will be American history from  Washington through Polk—1789-1849.  This will be in addition to more recent political history for the 2008 Election.

I’ll continue to write about marine mammals and sea life. ( The drawing is of a modern whale ancestor called a Kutchicetus. )

I’ll work hard to find good pictures and drawings to accompany posts.

A goal for 2008 will be to link more often to blogs far away from my home city of Houston that are doing interesting work.    

There’s a whole world out there.

Texas Liberal is a political blog located in Texas—It’s not a Texas politics blog.  

I have many reference books and other books I’ll draw upon in the new year.

I’ll be using Congressional Quarterly’s Guide To U.S. Elections, S.E. Finer’s History of Government from Earliest Times, The 2008 Almanac of American Politics, The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress 1789-1989 by Kenneth C. Martis,   30,000 Years of Art by Phaidon Press ( To help with picture selection and art-related posts) and The National Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals of the World.

(If you have a question about American political history, I might have the answer. Please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at the address provided at the end of this post.)  

A more general reading list that will be reflected in the blog will include Vernon L. Parrington’s The Romantic Revolution in America 1800-1860, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe , Revolutionary Characters by Gordon S. Wood,  and James K. Polk and the Expansionist Impulse by Sam Haynes.

I’ll also be reading Carl Zimmer’s At The Water’s Edge about the evolution of marine mammals.

To the extent possible, I’ll post every day. We’ll see how that goes.

In 2008, I’ll try to offer an alternative voice to the increasing mainstreaming of some political blogs.  

Some political blogs have in many respects become adjuncts of one or the other major political parties.

It is difficult to seek mainstream power and influence, and then not become or be part of the mainstream.

In the end, I think it’s up to blog readers, rather than blog owners or groups of blogs, to define what the so-called netroots really are.  

I’ll start the year by linking to Reporter’s Without Borders Handbook For Bloggers And Cyber-Dissidents.   

Good luck in 2008 and thanks for reading. Please consider forwarding the link to somebody else. A blog grows one reader at a time.

I can be e-mailed at naa six-one-eight AT att.net   

January 2, 2008 Posted by | Art, Blogging, Books, Campaign 2008, History, Political History, Politics, Relationships, Sea Life, Welcome To TexasLiberal | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

500th Texas Liberal Post—Each Post Worse Than The One That Came Before


This is the 500th Texas Liberal post. While not a big deal for you the blog reader, I’d like to comment. 

500 posts is not a lot for some blogs, yet it is still quite a bit of work.

I enjoy blogging and I’m thankful to have the ability and the time to communicate with others.  

Three important things we have in life are our relationships, our values and the ability to communicate.

Since the beginning of October I’ve run just under 400 page views a day according to my WordPress stats. That’s good I’d say. I appear to still be moving up in traffic. My goal is 1000 page views a day at some point in 2008 and to take it from there. 

If you like Texas Liberal, please forward the link to somebody you think might feel the same way. The internet may seem like mass communication, but you build an audience for a blog one–by one–by one. 

There are a few of my entries I’d like to link to that I feel, for various reasons, have some merit. ( At the bottom of this post I’ll mention some other strong blogs. It’s no fun without other blogs.)

Malcolm, Martin & Liberals Like Myself is a brief overview of how I came to my outlook on politics and society. It describes why I’m often not at ease with people who might in some respects appear to be natural allies.   

My Excellent Wife Wearing Wedding Dress And Holding Bowling Ball is a great post because it involves my wife. My wife is the best person in the world.

 A Very Good Phone Call With Melissa Noriega is my favorite post about Texas politics. I went from skepticism about Houston Council candidate Noriega to an ongoing dialogue with someone who is now a friend and a sitting Councilmember.   

Colonial Loyalists As Modern Conservatives With Bonus Tarring-And-Feathering Picture is a good post from the number of entries I’ve made on Colonial America.  

Texas Fish Kill As Andy Warhol Painting is my favorite post on sea life. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage posting about sea creatures. In this post, I simply enjoy the three illustrations of the fish.

As Liberal As I Am, If Hillary Clinton Is The 2008 Democratic Nominee I’ll Give Her My Strong Support lays out some of my views about the 2008 campaign.

I Tipped The Kid Who handed Me A Burrito $5 Because I Felt He Shared My Outlook And Might, With Time, Share My Values  is a post that I hope suggests we can always be of help to good people.   

People Have A Right To Define Family As They Wish is the post I’m most proud of on the blog. Every day I get search engine traffic from someone googling the term “define family” or “what is family.” I feel maybe this post has helped somebody.   

Posts I’ve written have been linked to by Crooks and Liars , SlateThe Agonist, rebecca’s pocket and The Minneapolis Star-Tribune . I’ve been picked up by BlogBurst a number of times and those good folks have landed me at USA Today, The Austin-American Statesman and the Reuters News Agency. 

Blognet News/Texas and Lefty Blogs are most helpful. And, of course, so is WordPress. I can’t say enough good about WordPress.    

I have one of five featured political blogs at the Houston Chronicle and I also blog at Where’s The Outrage?

Where’s The Outrage? is the home of the Errington Thompson podcast. 

My thanks to Dwight Silverman at the Chronicle and Errington Thompson at WTO? in North Carolina for these opportunities. 

Friendly bloggers and good blogs can be found at, among other places, Jobsanger, Brains & EggsLast Row, Blue Bloggin’ , Who’s Playin? and Panhandle Truth Squad.

South Texas Chisme does a very good job of conveying a lot of information in an efficient way while keeping a sense of humor.    

I’d also like to note two blogs, on the opposite side of the aisle from myself in some respects, that were nice enough to recently place me on their blogrolls.

Bloggin’ All Things Brownsville is well-conceived and well-executed. I’ve had to find a voice for my blog. I think BATB knew what she was doing from the start.

And—Thanks to my friend Tito for the link from Custos Fidei. That link is, I think, another example of how people often sense they have something in common despite clear enough differences.  

Also, closer to my side of the aisle, The Field Negro out of Philadelphia is well-tuned to my sensibilities. Thanks to that blog for the link.

Thanks George and Bill in Cincinati for all the comments and thanks to Citizen X for reading the blog. Thanks to many long-time friends who read the blog.      

Thanks to super-smart Alex Ragsdale at the U. of Houston and thanks to her good friend Will who is studying at Georgetown. Both are bright young folks who will do great things.    

Most of all—Thanks to everybody who has read Texas Liberal and thanks for the comments. As I mentioned up top, please consider sending this link to others as I work to grow Texas Liberal.

The illustration is of some type of pygmy Mastodon. The Mastodon is the state fossil of Michigan.

November 29, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Cincinnati, Colonial America, Good People, Houston, Houston Council Election '07, Martin & Malcolm, My Wife Is The Best Person Ever, Politics, Sea Life, Texas, Welcome To TexasLiberal | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Malcolm, Martin & Liberals Like Myself

Politically-minded individuals take different routes of historical knowledge and personal experience to establish their ideological commitments.

For me, reading about Martin Luther King and Malcolm X was a major part of the political individual I am today.

Experience I would later gain matched some of what I had read. 

A point Malcolm X often made was his distrust of white northern liberals. This is what I am in many ways. I’ve lived in Texas for the last nine years and above the Mason-Dixon line for the first 30 years.

Here is a quote from Malcolm on the subject of white liberals— 

“I’ve been up north and you don’t know how to deal with it…He’ll sit there and smile in your face. You’ll go down to see them in the office, and they’ll serve you cookies and tea, and shake your hand and pose for a picture with you. And at the same time, keeping Negroes in ghettos and slums.” 

This quote matches well-enough my experience in Cincinnati city government. I worked for a black member of the City Council who was in some respects to the left of other council members both black and white. 

From the perspective of that office, you did not worry so much about Republicans and conservatives—They were what they were. It was so-called progressives and liberals who would say this and say that, but who at heart were not really engaged in the work of justice and meaningful change.

Martin Luther King came to this view later in his life than did Malcolm. Yet King did indeed come to this view. He saw the liberal as often more committed to order than to justice. He was disappointed by the slow liberal response to President Johnson’s war in Vietnam. 

King always retained his commitment to integration. Malcolm’s changes after visiting Mecca are well-documented. Yet their critique of the liberal remains of value to this day. 

On a personal level, none of this means I try to be something I’m not. I am what I am. Nor does it mean that the repeated failings of the black political establishment should go unnoticed. It’s also so that many white liberals risked their lives or expended considerable effort on behalf of the Civil Rights movement. 

It simply means that I try to understand why I hold the views that I hold. I know my beliefs come from many sources. Self-understanding is a path to effective communication with others. It is also a tool for effectively critiquing one’s own thoughts and actions. 

June 11, 2007 Posted by | Best Posts Jan.-June 2007, Cincinnati, Martin & Malcolm, Political History, Welcome To TexasLiberal | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome To TexasLiberal

This is TexasLiberal I’m Neil Aquino, a resident of Houston.  

I’m committed to advancing liberalism in Houston, Texas, and across the nation. My blog will speak to that goal. I believe progress can be made and will be made at every level. 

Houston is a city that has never elected a Republican mayor. You can’t argue with that. But Houston is also a city that’s never realized the political possibilities of its majority-minority population and many committed liberals. 

In Texas, far more people than understood realize things must change. A Houston Chronicle article from September 2005, says 45% of Texans surveyed might support an income tax if it reduced property taxes and helped fund education.  

It’s taken as an article of faith that an income tax would never pass in Texas. Yet, with the right circumstances, nearly half of Texans would be open to the idea.  

With courage and effort the day may come when Texas has something approaching a fair system of taxation.    

In our nation, it’s time to win the fight over the direction the country and the Democratic party take after the Bush nightmare ends.   

This blog is about the belief that things can get better if good people are willing to work hard to make them better. 

All ideologies are in the minority. Most people are apathetic or, at best, hold few strong beliefs. The liberal, just like the conservative, wants to be part of the hardworking minority that prevails.  

June 30, 2006 Posted by | Houston, Texas, Welcome To TexasLiberal | 6 Comments