The above map shows that the “blue” areas of the South, counties where Barack Obama outpolled John McCain are where there was a great deal of cotton production at the start of the Civil War.
What was true abut the cotton production areas of 1860 and the strong Obama areas of 2008, is that they are places where black folks lived back then and still live today.
Click here for a U.S. Census list of the percentage of black people living in each of the states. Mississippi is first at 37.2% and Montana is last at 0.6%.
This link to the New York Times shows where either Republicans or Democrats ran ahead in Presidential balloting from 2004. For the most part, the only parts where Senator McCain gained on George W. Bush was in mostly white areas of the South and Appalachia.
I hope folks in the rural South, elsewhere in the South, and in Appalachia, figure out that insularity and racial suspicion in an increasingly diverse nation, is not the ticket to helping their kids in what will be a difficult economic future.
I’m very glad to be a Cincinnati Queer Blogger. If you go to QueerCincinnati.com and look on the right side blogroll, you’ll see that Texas Liberal has an honored place as a Cincinnati Queer Blogger.
( Here is my post about attending a half gay wedding in Cincinnati. Isn’t it disgusting that we put of the matter of gay people getting married on the ballot? How would you like to have your most basic rights voted on? Do you think all rights for Muslims would pass if they were placed on the ballot? People have essential freedoms that need to be protected. We have a right to the relationships we want in this brief and brutal life.)
It’s great to have this connection to my longtime hometown and to this fine blog. As I never tire of telling folks, I was a Stonewall Cincinnati endorsed candidate for the Cincinnati Board of Education in 1997.
Thank you QueerCincinnati.
( Above is a snowy day in Cincinnati. In the center left is the corner of Martin Luther King & Eden. I lived on that corner for a couple of years. The smoke stack is from a power plant used by the nearby University of Cincinnati. How could I have known when I was on that corner in my college years that I’d someday be living in the semi-tropics of Houston and dealing with hurricanes?)
I’d also like to thank my friend Teddy at Left Of College Stationfor the number of times he has linked to me in recent weeks. Teddy keeps on figthing despite being in an epicenter of the right in College Station, Texas.
Patti at Texas Education sent me a nice e-mail a few weeks back and I have been very slow to respond. I apologize for this transgression. Patti does a great job and I promise I’ve not forgotten her.
Perry at Brains & Eggs, written here in Houston, often gives me a link. Perry is a senior statesman among Texas political bloggers and a link from him is a strong endorsement that you’re doing a good job.
It’s been nice to have comments here from Tiffany who has just begun a blog of her own called What You Got Tired Of Reading On MySpace. I hope she sticks with the blogging and I’ll add her to my blogroll this week.
Jobsanger in Amarillo always does good work. Please read his blog often.
Finally, let me say hello to my friend Lunchcountersitin at All Other Persons out of Washington, D.C. The October 24 post on All Other Persons about the need of the National Urban League to get more with the times in its advocacy is on target. Many times I’ve walked past the Urban League building in Houston and wondered just what it is those folks are doing.
It is great to have so many blogger friends.
Below are two paragraphs from Daily Kos written by Kos himself. They are from a post discussing potential Democratic wins on Election Day that would be highly injurious to Republicans. The post makes the obvious assertion, one all Democrats would agree with, that it would be best if Republicans were to lose in as many places as possible on November 4.
Who on our side of the aisle could disagree?
Then, somewhat out of context at that point in the post, Kos says the following—-
“I realize there are people uncomfortable with aggressive language and action. That’s the difference between liberal weenies and movement progressives. Liberal weenies sit around thinking that “the truth” is enough for victory, and that if we simply explain to voters why Democrats are better, why, we can’t possibly lose any elections! That’s the crowd that wants to keep the “high ground” and doesn’t want to go down in the gutters and fight the GOP where they live, lest we get a little muddied ourselves.
Movement progressives realize that we must do everything necessary allowable under the law to win because elections have consequences. This isn’t about who is most pure, but about taking the fight to the enemy and aggressively embracing progressivism, offering clear contrasts between us and them, and fighting fire with fire. There’s no ambiguity about where I belong.”
Kos says if you do not feel we should do all allowed by law to win elections, that you are a ‘liberal weenie.” We should conduct ourselves as if we were Republicans.
Gay bashing? Suggesting a candidate has fathered an illegitimate black child as the George W. Bush campaign said about John McCain in 2000? A Willie Horton type campaign? Voter suppression within the bounds of the law?
We’ve seen in the primaries and in the general election campaign that plenty of Democrats might well respond favorably to such strategies.
I do not think it would be best to proceed in these ways.
Here is a post where Kos takes on the McCain campaign for being the most negative of the two major campaigns. Is Mr. Obama a weenie? This post was written the same day of the post I quote above.
Written by Kos just 40 minutes before what I excerpt up top here, is a post praising Senator Obama for going after Fox News. The contention , correct in my view, is that Fox News makes a point to exacerbate cultural differences as part of a larger political strategy.
So what does Kos do the very afternoon he rightly takes after Fox News? He looks to promote an internal culture war. Effete liberals are “weenies.”
Think about it. What is more mainstream than being a partisan of one of the two broad based political parties in a nation of 300 million people? What media outlet or consumer product would not kill for the market share of the political world held by the Democratic and Republican parties?
I think Kos is for most part helpful to Democrats and liberals. If he can make a buck off of all this stuff then more power to him.
Kos is very good at marketing his brand. You can bet he’ll do “everything allowable under the law” to make sure his market share does not slip.
( Below–A weenie that a liberal or any other person could have for lunch.)
It is good to be a blogger and it is good to have fellow bloggers. Here are a few blogs for you to review—
Texas Education is posting consistently about a variety of issues related to schools in Texas. It’s a subject worthy of attention and this blogger is working hard.
Castle Hills Democrats is the blog of Precinct 224 in Denton County, Texas. The precinct chair, a Ms. Ford, has been nice enough to visit this blog and to add my shop to her blogroll.
I’d be more than happy to add any Texas or elsewhere precinct blog to my blogroll and give them a plug.
A blog I’ve mentioned before but merits another link is Left of College Station. The young man who writes this blog is doing good work in a tough part of the state for his views. He merits support.
There are three other blogs I’d like to link to here as well.
Black Political Analysis is written by a political science professor at the University of Mississippi. He has been nice enough to link to one of my postr. I’d adding him to my blogroll today and I won’t stop him if he’d like to return the favor.
From My Brown Eyed View is written by a kind woman in Columbus, Ohio. She touches on many subjects and does so well.
Thanks to all these good blogs for the effort they give and for their kindness.
The above poster is of Dorie Miller.
Here is what it says about Mr. Miller in Portrait of a Nation–Men and Women Who Have Shaped America—
” At the outbreak of World War II, the armed services practiced a rigid discrimination against African Americans that included a stubborn reluctance to acknowledge black capabilities, no matter how obvious. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Miller was stationed there on the West Virginia. ….By the time he abandoned ship, he had braved enemy fire to carry his wounded commanding officer to safety and, thought not trained for combat, had manned an antiaircraft gun, possibly downing at least one enemy plane. His bravery initially went unrecognized, however, and only after much pressure from the nation’s black press did Miller finally receive the Navy Cross. But once acknowledged, Miller’s heroism became a means, through posters such as this one, for rallying African-Americans to the war effort.”
Mr. Miller was killed when the ship he serving on was sunk in 1943. This was in the Battle of Tarawa.
Mr. Miller grew up in Waco, Texas.
A navy ship was named after Mr. Miller in 1973.
Here is additional information on Cook Third Class Miller from the the Navy Department’s Naval Historical Center .
The artist of the poster above was David Stone Martin who lived 1913-1992.
Mr. Martin drew posters, magazine covers and album covers. This link to the blog LP Cover Lover is of many creative covers Mr. Stone drew for jazz albums.
The Portrait of a Nation book is first-rate. It was produced by the National Portrait Gallery.
I want to thank five good blogs that have recently added me to their blogrolls.
PoliSci@UST is the blog of the political science department of the University of St. Thomas in Houston. It is a bipartisan blog. I think they added me because I’m a political science graduate of a Jesuit university ( Xavier U. in Cincinnati) and they wanted to give me a plug. (Though they had no way of knowing this until I wrote it here.)
Queer In The Cincy is a fine blog about being gay in Cincinnati and living in Cincinnati. Let it be known I was a Stonewall Cincinnati endorsed candidate for the Cincinnati Board of Education in 1997.
The Old Eighteen is a good new liberal blog in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. I found this blog after its owner was nice enough to leave a comment at my shop. I look forward to getting to know The Old Eighteen better and I hope it gets a lot of traffic.
Two blogs I’ve mentioned recently, but want to mention again are There…Already and Dallas South. There…Already is a fellow Houston-based blog and you might be able to guess where Dallas South is located.
If you link to Texas Liberal, Texas Liberal will link to you. All blogs that post regularly are created equal.
I used the picture above a few month ago. Yet I enjoy it so much I must use it again.
The cave people are not hunting that creature. Rather, it is the creature’s birthday and the cave people have planned a surprise party.
Here is a blog I just discovered.
Jos 76’s Blog–Thoughts and musings on life in a gay marriage is by a man in a legal gay marriage in Massachusetts.
This blog shows, yet again, that gay people are just folks like anybody else who want to live decent normal lives.
Why can’t we leave these people alone?
“It’s spectacular,” said Mijoro Rakotoarinivo of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Madagascar. “It does not flower for maybe 100 years and can be mistaken for other types of palm. But then a large shoot grows out of the top and starts to spread, a bit like a Christmas tree.” Those branches then become covered in hundreds of tiny white flowers that ooze with nectar, attracting insects and birds.
But the effort of flowering and fruiting depletes the tree so much, said John Dransfield, a botanist and the author of the study, that within a few months it collapses and dies. The palm tree, which grows to 66 feet, is found only in a remote region in the northwest of the country. Puzzling Mr. Dransfield is how botanists had missed such a ”whopping palm” until now, adding that there appear to be only about 100 in existence. He suggests that the tree has been quietly living and dramatically dying in Madagascar for 80 million years.”
The Malagasy are thought to be descendants of Africans and Indonesians who settled on the island more than 2,000 years ago. Malagasy pay a lot of attention to their dead and spend much effort on ancestral tombs, which are opened from time to time so the remains can be carried in procession, before being rewrapped in fresh shrouds.
After sometimes harsh French colonial rule, which included the bloody suppression of an uprising in 1947, Madagascar gained independence in 1960. The military seized power in the early 1970s with the aim of achieving a socialist paradise.
This did not materialise. The economy went into decline and by 1982 the authorities were forced to adopt a structural adjustment programme imposed by the International Monetary Fund.
The World Bank has estimated that 70% of Malagasy live on less than $1 per day. Poverty and the competition for agricultural land have put pressure on the island’s dwindling forests, home to much of Madagascar’s unique wildlife and key to its emerging tourist industry.
The island has strong ties with France as well as economic and cultural links with French-speaking West Africa.
Some more facts about Madagascar—
Full name: Republic of Madagascar
Population: 17.2 million (via UN, 2006)
Area: 587,041 sq km (226,658 sq miles)
Major languages: Malagasy (official), French
Major religions: Indigenous beliefs, Christianity
Life expectancy: 54 years (men), 57 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: Ariary
Main exports: Vanilla, coffee, seafood, cloves, petroleum products, chromium, fabrics
GNI per capita: US $290 (World Bank, 2006)
Here is a sunset photo of the capital city of Antananarivo—
An article I read yesterday got me thinking about the things we are willing to pay for and the value we place on things that are free.
The Economist World in 2008 special edition has an article about the very low cost of storing information electronically.
This is one reason there are so many blogs and so many sources of information on the internet. It cost next-to-nothing, in financial terms at least, to set up a blog or a webpage.
As well-established by this blog, anybody can do it regardless of having anything of merit to communicate.
The flipside of this is that it is difficult to get anybody to pay for what they read online. If I started charging 25 cents a day for the right to read this blog, I’m not sure I’d get many takers.
Why pay when you have a million other blogs you can read for free?
This made me wonder if people would be better off in some respects if online content did sometimes cost money. Having to pay might force people away from the computer.
Also, if we paid for what we read, we might better recall what we had spent our valuable time reading. Of all the many blog posts you have read, how many can you remember?
Above is a picture of Turkey Swamp Park outside of Freehold, New Jersey. Maybe we should turn off the computer and go to a nice park.
Or, if the computer were turned off, maybe we would spend more time with each other. Sitting at the computer is such a solitary activity.
We could read to each other as the happy couple below is enjoying.
My Cousin Kim in Plainfield, Vermont has sent me the above picture of recent snow in her town.
Notice the rustic barn or barnlike structure in the photo.
Here is information about Plainfield, Vermont. 1286 people are said to live in Plainfield.
Here is a blog from Vermont called Non-Toxic Kids. It is about not giving kids toxic toys and about all of us living in a more sustainable and decent fashion. The blog owner seems like a nice lady. She cares about her kids and other people’s kids.
Here is Down On The Farm from South Peacham, Vermont. I wonder what it would be like to live on a farm. What a different life. There are so many ways to live in the world.
Here is a Vermont politics blog I enjoyed reading called Norsehorse’s Home Turf.
Below is a photo of what is said the be the scalp of a Yeti or Abominable Snowman. It is kept in a Buddhist Monastery in Nepal.
Here are some basic facts about Nepal–
- Population: 26.3 million (UN, 2005)
- Capital: Kathmandu
- Area: 147,181 sq km (56,827 sq miles)
- Major language: Nepali
- Major religions: Hinduism, Buddhism
- Life expectancy: 61 years (men), 62 years (women) (UN)
- Monetary unit: 1 Nepalese rupee = 100 paisa
- Main exports: Carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
- GNI per capita: US $270 (World Bank, 2006)
- Internet domain: .np
- International dialling code: +977
Here is an overview of Nepal from The BBC. Those folks have had a rough ride of late.
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
Happy New Year and good luck to you and yours in the New Year!
I”ll start 2008 with some links.
Globe of Blogs is a friendly site that makes it easy to look for blogs from all over the world.
The Next American City offers viewpoints on how to improve life in American cities. These folks also put out a great magazine.
City Mayors discusses municipal politics from around the world. A ton of information about mayors and the cities they run. First-rate.
The American Cetacean Society is the best on-line source I am aware of to learn about marine mammals.
Here is a BBC article about the threat climate change poses to poor people in the world. Many of us live quite well in America and people elsewhere pay the price.
Here is the blog Angry Black Bitch out of St. Louis.
Bitch now surpasses Hell as the worst profanity I have written in the blog.
Sometimes you just have to let go of your inhibitions.
Texas could use some more black political bloggers. If I’ve missed some currently blogging, I’d sure like to know.
Backyard Birder is an informative Houston Chronicle reader blog run by committed liberal Birdwoman from Montgomery County, Texas.
The painting is called Market in Algiers by August Macke. It is from 1914
With the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, here are some links to bloggers and other sources of information in Pakistan and some information about that nation.
Here is the blog All Things Pakistan.
Here is the blog The Insider Brief.
Here is a collection of blog reactions to Ms. Bhutto’s death.
Here is the link to the Pakistan People’s Party. This was Ms. Bhutto’s party.
Here is a link to a rundown of political parties in Pakistan.
Here is an obituary for Ms. Bhutto from the BBC.
Here is some American liberal opinion on the situation in Pakistan from The Nation magazine.
Ms. Bhutto was the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was President of Pakistan in the 1970’s. In 1979 he was hanged.
The following is some basic information about Pakistan from The Economist:
Background:The Islamic Republic of Pakistan was founded in 1947. East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) seceded in 1971. Since independence there have been several military coups in Pakistan. The latest took place in October 1999, when the government of Nawaz Sharif was overthrown. The chief of army staff, General Pervez Musharraf, became the chief executive of Pakistan and, in June 2001, the president. He was re-elected as president in October 2007. A general election took place in October 2002, with the pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-i-Azam) emerging as the largest party in parliament.
Political structure: The prime minister heads the cabinet, but the president chairs the powerful National Security Council, which comprises military chiefs and cabinet members. The president can also dismiss the prime minister, the cabinet and parliament. The National Assembly (the lower house of parliament) was elected in October 2002 for a five-year term, but has frequently been adjourned as a result of challenges by the opposition to the legality of General Musharraf’s changes to the political system. An election to the Senate (the upper house), where the four provinces have equal representation, was held in February 2003. Provinces are represented in the National Assembly in proportion to the size of their populations.
I just finished reading The Argument—Billionaires, Bloggers and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics by Matt Bai of The New York Times.
The title of this book, published in 2007, gives the idea of what it is about.
The future direction of the Democratic party is the subject of a struggle between wealthy activists, bloggers who represent the so-called “netroots”, and the old-line party establishment.
Representatives of these factions might be, among a number of others, George Soros for the billionaires, Daily Kos for bloggers and Congressman Rahm Emanuel from Chicago for the party establishment. (The Emanuel story I’ve linked with is two years old, but is still useful to read.)
If you care about the subject beyond this brief summary, you can click the book title above, read the review and figure out what you think.
Personally, I see it as an interesting question and I’m glad I read the book. However, until new ideas emerge instead of what often seems to be a zero-sum quest for power, what I feel I’m seeing is a circulation of elites and insiders (even if they are now sometimes self-created elites and insiders drawn from a somewhat wider base of people) and not real change.
What caught my eye most in The Argument was a quote by MoveOn.Org‘s Political Action Executive Director Eli Pariser. He said the following- — (To be clear, I like MoveOn and Eli Pariser just fine.)
The vision of Democrats controlling all three branches of government—That’s not the vision I’m in it for. The vision is to actually to get somewhere on the issues we care about. Democrats are a vehicle. But if I’m trying to got to Boston, you know the vision isn’t Hartford.
Contrast that to what Martin Luther King said in his great sermon Unfulfilled Dreams —
There’s a highway called Highway 80. I’ve marched on that highway from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery. But I never will forget my first experience with Highway 80 was driving with Coretta and Ralph and Juanita Abernathy to California. We drove from Montgomery all the way to Los Angeles on Highway 80—it goes all the way out to Los Angeles. And you know, being a good man, being a good woman, does not mean that you’ve arrived in Los Angeles. It simply means that you’re on Highway 80. Maybe you haven’t gotten as far as Selma, or maybe you haven’t gotten as far as Meridian, Mississippi, or Monroe, Louisiana—that isn’t the question. The question is whether you are on the right road. Salvation is being on the right road, not having reached a destination.
On this question, more relevant to daily life and to the goals we set for ourselves in our private and public lives than what group of elites controls the Democratic Party, I stand with Reverend King.
It’s okay if we don’t reach a final destination as long as we have made a good faith effort. I say this even though Mr. Pariser’s point is well-taken. In the end it is not about the Democratic Party, it is about the things that will make people’s lives better.
Still, life is such that many aren’t going to reach the goals they set for themselves. Reverend King’s message on this fact never loses it’s resonance.
Above is a picture of Downtown Hartford. Here is a link to the tourism attractions of Hartford.
Please click here for other Texas Liberal posts on Martin Luther King including a post on his Unfulfilled Dreams sermon.
I’ve been remiss not to post about the prehistoric 8 foot sea scorpion that has been discovered. (Be sure to watch the video entitled “The Giant Beast” under the illustration in the link. It shows the sea scorpion attacking other creatures.)
This animal lived 390 million years ago. Its 2 1/2 foot fossilized claw was recently found in Germany.
With the illustration below, you can see just how big this giant scorpion was—
As for the “modern scorpion”, you’ll find them in Texas. None are fatal to human beings. Some scorpions can live up to 25 years. Here is information about scorpions in Texas taken from The Field Guide To Texas Insects by Drees and Jackman.
Since this blog has aspirations beyond Texas, here is a link to scorpions in other parts of the nation.
Here is a link to scorpions of Europe. I imagine them as desert creatures, but it seems that is not fully the case. There are 25 types of scorpion in Europe.
Coming back to Texas, another thing you’ll find in the Lone Star state is the blog Lubbock Left. I’ve never been to Lubbock. I do know that it is a quite conservative place. I think anybody fighting for the left side of the aisle in Lubbock merits support. Especially the friendly folks running that fine blog.
Lastly, and I admit this post is a hodgepodge, here is a stanza from the Gary Snyder poem Milton by Firelight that mentions the scorpion.
In ten thousand years the Sierras
Will be dry and dead, home of the scorpion.
Ice-scratched slabs and bent trees.
No paradise, no fall,
Only the weathering land
The wheeling sky
Man, with his Satan
Scouring the chaos of the mind.