Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Vermont Is First For Obama—Maple Syrup Subsidy Should Be Increased

Tiny Vermont is the first state to be called for Barack Obama. That is three electoral votes for Senator Obama.

It’s time to increase the maple syrup subsidy to help the people of Vermont.

Above is a maple syrup house.

Here is information on how maple syrup is made.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Election Night Blogging, Politics | , , , , | 1 Comment

We Are Seeing The Mountaintop

Here is what Martin Luther King said regarding mountains in his I Have A Dream  speech in 1963–

“This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. ”

And here is what King said about mountains in his final speech delivered the night before he died in 1968 —

“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!” 

If we elect Barack Obama today, we won’t quite have reached the peak Martin spoke of in 1963. But we will have climbed past a point I never thought I would see reached in my lifetime.

Far more than color, it’s about, after all these years, an affirmation, as visible as possible, that every American is a full American no matter what.

I’ll leave you with a picture of swing state Rocky Mountain peaks in Colorado. Let’s hope that tomorrow freedom is indeed ringing from those high peaks and from all peaks in our great nation.

 

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Martin & Malcolm, Politics | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Photo Essay—Go Out And Vote

People have been doing it for a long time–

And yes—sometimes it is meaningless–

Yet often the right to vote has come at a high cost ( Blacks voting in New Orleans after the Civil War) —

So take a spin of the wheel—

 And cast a ballot.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Texas Progressive Alliance Election Eve Roundup

Here, my fellow Americans, is your Election Eve edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance‘s weekly roundup.

jobsanger believes an avalanche of new voters could produce some surprises on election day, including the possibility that Georgia will turn blue, and even though an amazing 23% of Texans think Obama is muslim, a huge turnout in the urban areas and South Texas could produce some surprises in Texas, and early voting totals show this is happening.

Justin at AAA-Fund Blog is glad that 60% of Asian Americans polled in Harris County support the Democrats. He also is glad that voting this year was not a chore as it often feels. Justinurges everyone to support AAA-Fund’s five Texas endorsees: Rick Noriega, Al Green, Nick Lampson, Hubert Vo, and Sandra VuLe.

It’s been an exciting week for Democrats. First up was Hank Gilbert asking a Cornyn staffer to take a walk from a Rick Noriega event. Then there was Texas Blogger (and current TPA Chair) Vince Leibowitz spanking the Mike McCaul campaign for their amateurish content theft. Finally, we at McBlogger received word that Dr. Dobson had traveled to the future and didn’t like what he saw. Which is something you’ll probably love.

Vince at Capitol Annex tells us how State Rep. John Davis (R-Clear Lake) is sending out his wife to attack Netroots backed candidate Sherrie Matula (D-Houston). In return, he opens John Davis’ own personal Pandora’s Box and tells the world about Davis’ record.

The Texas Cloverleaf notes that Barack Obama leads John McCain in fundraising in Denton County of all places! In nonpartisan news, while Obama is raising money, Ron Natinsky is spending it. The Dallas City Councilmember is spending your tax dollars on trinkets bearing his name. In shocking news, No, we couldn’t make this stuff up if we wanted to.

Continue reading

November 4, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Campaign 2008, Politics, Texas | , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Win It For Paul Wellstone

With the big day almost here, let’s not forget the great liberal Paul Wellstone.

Senator Wellstone of Minnesota died six years ago, but his deeds and ideas live on. I think Senator Wellstone was the one politician I have had true faith in for all the years I have followed politics.

Here is the link to Wellstone Action!

Hopefully, the Republican who took Senator Wellstone’s seat will be defeated tomorrow.

In any case, we can hope that the better days Senator Wellstone worked so hard for are finally here.

November 3, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hey California Obama Voters—Stop Hassling Gay Folks

There is a mean-spirited initiative on the ballot in California that would prohibit gay folks from getting married.

There is concern that increased minority turnout in California for the Obama campaign will help advocates of this obnoxious ban.

Come on everybody–Life is brief and brutal. Let folks have the life and the relationships that they want to have in the short time we have on this Earth.

We all know Senator Obama would not vote for this ban in the privacy of the voting booth.

Discrimination of all kinds is wrong. There was a time when the most important personal relationships of black folks could be torn apart without consequence. Why would anybody want to come between people who just want to have a life together?

November 3, 2008 Posted by | Barack Obama, Campaign 2008, Politics, Relationships | , , , , , | 2 Comments

If Massachusetts Repeals State Income Tax, Maybe They Could Rename The State “Texas.”

Massachusetts has an initiative on the ballot that would repeal the state income tax.

Latest polls have the issue failing, but not by much.

(Above–What might as well be Massachusetts.)

If the people of Massachusetts choose to repeal the state income tax, maybe they could just rename the state “Texas.” Texas has no income tax.

Massachusetts could have our high poverty rate and absence of basic services. Maybe the folks up in Boston and Gloucester and Worcester could even start executing people like we do down here.

Howdy Massachusetts! Why don’t you folks pull the trigger and become the new Texas. We’d love to look up north and see you Yankees living as we do.

November 3, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics, Taxes---Yes!, Texas | , , , , | 2 Comments

Texas Liberal Election Predictions

Here are my Texas Liberal election predictions. Please take them to the bank. They are certain to be correct.

President— Senator Obama will win 52.0% of the vote. Senator McCain will win 46.8%. 1.2% will go third party candidates. I don’t know what the final electoral vote count will be, but Mr. Obama will have at least the 270 needed for victory. That’s good enough.

Once in the voting booth, some of our fellow Americans, though not enough to shift the outcome, will have “second thoughts” about Mr. Obama. The motivation will in part be racial, but the larger factor will just be how fully different an Obama Presidency will be from we have known in recent years. Even a bad situation, if familiar, can be comforting. 

The racists have already made up their minds against Mr. Obama. But the good thing is that some racists will vote for Senator Obama and some of these people will see the world in a new way after Mr. Obama is President.

We all have room to grow. 

What will carry the the day for Mr. Obama will be increased turnout of black voters and young people. I don’t feel polls have captured these voters well. There are so many black folks who have just sat elections out over the years.

With the election of Mr. Obama we will be, for the time being at least, emancipated from the post 9/11 era of fear based politics. America’s political majority will be a multi-racial coalition of people who have hope for a decent future. 

That’s the side that I want to be on!

United States Senate—I predict 58 Democrats and 42 Republicans. Then 57 Democrats after Election Day when we do what is right and kick Joe Lieberman out of the Democratic caucus. This would be an overall gain of 7. 

I sure hope that Al Franken beats Norm Coleman in Minnesota. The Idea of Mr. Coleman sitting in Paul Wellstone’s seat just makes me sick.

United States House—I see a Democratic gain of 24 for a 257-178 Democratic Majority.

Here in Houston, Nick Lampson and Michael Skelly will lose their House races. Local Democrats will say how sad that all is, but in fact many Democrats will bid both men a hearty good riddance. Mr. Skelly’s campaign in particular has exceeded what is needed to win a Republican district. Is it really so that liberals are unlikely to be successful business people? As for Mr. Lampson, he got his two extra years in Congress and now he can pay his karmic debt for his terrible 2006 campaign. 

In my other hometown of Cincinnati, my parents will still be afflicted with Mean Jean Schmidt as their Congressperson, However, across town, increased black turnout is going to finally, after all these years, nail Steve Chabot. I don’t feel that my parents should move across town to live in the Democratic district. Maybe they could just drive over there every so often. 

Texas—Democrats will win back the Texas House, but fail to have a working majority because they refuse to move Texas into the 20th-century with a party-based majority system. Freelance House Democrats will hold out on the vote for Speaker to see who offers the best deal. Some will support a Republican for Speaker. The public will lose out and I’ll say I told you so.

Harris County, Texas—Democrats will win all offices but for County Judge Executive. They will win back the judgeships.  

The first thing I’ll be looking for is major reforms of how we conduct the death penalty in Harris County. Hopefully, the new District Attorney will pursue a course far less bloodthirsty and barbaric from what we have seen from the seemingly inhuman men who have been elected to this office in the ten years I’ve lived in Houston.

It will be up to rank-and-file Democrats and all people of Harris County to see that the new Democrats in Harris County office really represent a change. There is more to our county than traffic and hurricanes. There are many people who need help from government.

Urban voters are used by Democrats all the time. The switch to Democrats in Harris County reflects demographic trends, high turnout for Mr. Obama, and campaign money that flowed on in from big donors when it seemed likely Democrats could win the county. It is not some grassroots rebellion.

They’ll use us if we let them. Let us remain vigilant and make life better in our county.   

For those opposed to my views this Election Day, I offer nothing but the back of my hand. For those on my side of the aisle, let’s hope that this time the wheel lands on our number.

November 2, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Cincinnati, Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Confederate Flag & Obama Sign

Above is a picture of a home in Martinsville, Indiana of a Confederate flag on the flog pole and an Obama sign on the lawn.

Here is a story from the Reporter-Times of Martinsville on this home.

The wife is an Obama supporter and the husband, who seems to be source of the flag, does not vote. The wife says the husband is a “non-conformist” rather than a racist.

Here is information about Martinsville. It was once called the “Goldfish capital of the world.” Apparently there are many fisheries in Martinsville that distribute fish around the globe.

Below is Martinsville from the air. Just under 12,000 people lived in the city in 2000.

It might seem like just another small town. But all people are unique in some way.

Or, if not quite unique, at least not entirely predictable. 

October 31, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Please Think Before You Vote—Galveston Voters Rejected Seawall in 1886

 Galvestonseawall.jpg

The great new book Galveston–A City On Stilts is about the building of the famous seawall (above) and other steps to make Galveston more safe from hurricanes.

This all took place in the years after the terrible Hurricane of 1900. The 1900 hurricane killed many thousands of people.

In Galveston  it says this—“In 1886, a commission of city leaders considered building a seawall to protect Galveston Island.  Citizens rejected this proposal because it seemed costly and unnecessary.”

When folks are voting this year on the absurd idea to do away with the income tax in Massachusetts, or voting for McCain because they just can’t accept a black President, think about the folks in Galveston in 1886. If they had been a bit more forward looking they would have likely escaped a great tragedy.

Please think before you vote.

(Below–Galveston in 1900)

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Galveston, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ronnie Musgrove Is The Democrat On The Ballot For U.S. Senate In Mississippi

I just read that in Mississippi party identification is not on the ballot. This is a concern for some Democrats because many first time voters are expected in Mississippi.

(Here is information about visiting Jackson, Mississippi. The photo above is of the statehouse in Jackson.)

(Here is information about visiting other spots in Mississippi.)

I’d just like to pass on that former Governor Ronnie Musgrove is the Democrat on the ballot in Mississippi.   

This is a race that can be won.

The Mississippi Democratic Party could stand to improve the quality of its web home.

I urge my fellow Southerners in Mississippi to study who the Democrats are on the ballot before voting. A new day is coming in Mississippi and in America and you want to be certain to be a full part of the change.

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Is Running For The Texas Supreme Court? How Should One Vote?

Who is running for the Texas Supreme Court? Who is currently on the court?

There are three Democrats running for the Texas Supreme Court in 2008. The current Court consists of nine Republicans and zero Democrats. Three of the nine seats are up for election this year.

(Above is Lady Justice holding the Scales of Justice in what is quite a scene. The painting was completed in 1686 by Luca Giordano.) 

Even if you are not a liberal such as myself, do you think a court of nine Texas Republicans will rule in a way that helps average people in Texas? I think only a hard right partisan would hold such a view.

Electing the three Democrats on the ballot in 2008 would simply restore a measure of balance to the Texas Supreme Court.  

The three Democrats are Jim Jordan for Chief Justice.

Sam Houston for Place 7. 

And Linda Yanez for for Place 8.

Texas Watch discusses here the bias on the current court in favor of insurance companies and polluters.

Here is an overview of the Texas Supreme Court races from the Houston Chronicle.

Here is the web home of the Texas Supreme Court.

How can nine justices of one party, and zero justices of the other party, be good for our democracy and for our State of Texas?

October 28, 2008 Posted by | Art, Campaign 2008, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Early Voted In Harris County—Some Democrats I Enjoyed Voting For And Two That Failed To Impress

Yestrerday I early voted at the Harris County Administration building (above) located at 1001 Preston Avenue in Downtown Houston, Texas. 

The electronic voting gizmo, which I feel is programmed to flip all my votes to the Republican Party, allowed me to vote in Vietnamese—

(Sunset in a Vietnamese fishing village called Mui Ne

   

…And in Spanish as well.

( Below is Valparaiso, Chile.)

If English is the official language of the United States, how come I can vote in Vietnamese and Spanish in a right wing place like Texas? We’ve even been at war with Vietnam and Spain in the past.

I’m glad we have the ability to make peace with former enemies. We are all brothers and sisters.

I’m very glad I got the chance to vote for a black man named Barack H. Obama for President of the United States. That is what I call progress.

( Below–Blacks voting in 1867. Here is a history of Reconstruction)

I voted for each Democrat on the ballot. Though I did not use the straight party ticket button. I enjoy voting and I went down and selected the name of each candidate.   

I’ve written before, and still assert, that the straight ticket voter is possibly the most rational voter of all. Party identification serves as a kind of shorthand for voters to be able to navigate the large number of issues we confront in our complex society.

However, we do retain the right not to support all the candidates of our favored political party. Inevitably, some will be hard to take.

I paused over the names of Michael Skelly for the 7th U.S. House district from Texas and David Mincberg for the office of Harris County Judge Executive.

Mr. Skelly has campaigned in large part on the false issues of earmark reform and a balanced budget. These are irresponsible postions at a time when swift and decisive action from government is needed to bring our economy back to health.

Here is what Nobel Prize winning New York Times columnist recently said about government’s role in our economic recovery—

….there’s a lot the federal government can do for the economy. It can provide extended benefits to the unemployed, which will both help distressed families cope…It can provide emergency aid to state and local governments, so that they aren’t forced into steep spending cuts that both degrade public services and destroy jobs. It can buy up mortgages (but not at face value, as John McCain has proposed) and restructure the terms to help families stay in their homes. And this is also a good time to engage in some serious infrastructure spending, which the country badly needs in any case. The usual argument against public works as economic stimulus is that they take too long: by the time you get around to repairing that bridge and upgrading that rail line, the slump is over and the stimulus isn’t needed. Well, that argument has no force now, since the chances that this slump will be over anytime soon are virtually nil. Will the next administration do what’s needed to deal with the economic slump? Not if Mr. McCain pulls off an upset. What we need right now is more government spending — but when Mr. McCain was asked in one of the debates how he would deal with the economic crisis, he answered: “Well, the first thing we have to do is get spending under control.”

If Mr. Skelly’s opponent has been bringing earmarks to this district, that is one way we would be better served by keeping the incumbent. Regretfully, the incumbent is quite far to the right.   

David Mincberg has been running a tone deaf negative campaign against the Republican incumbent. After so many years of Republican rule in Harris County, there are so many unmet needs and things to to be done. Why don’t we hear about some of that? Instead, what we are getting are attacks against incumbent that are simply not going to resonate with the public after his very visible role during Hurricane Ike.

Also, Mr. Mincberg has a campaign sign—one so big that it needs to be propped up from behind with rods—located on the right of way on a 610 feeder road near the Galleria. I’d like to take that sign and nail it to the side of Mr. Mincberg’s house. (I won’t though. And don’t you either.) 

I did in the end vote for Mr. Skelly and Mr. Mincberg. Though I’m not sure that was the right course. There is little doubt these men would be better than the incumbents. But from my view, as a liberal who has lived in a city all his life and had my vote taken for granted by Democrats who deliver little, both Mr.Skelly and Mr. Mincberg send up warning flags.

It’s not about ideological differences. There are only two main political parties for 300 million people and a big tent is required. It’s about the issues you choose to focus on and how you campaign. There is plenty of room for political creativity and correct behavior in even the most Republican of constituencies. 

In contrast to Mr. Skelly and Mr. Mincberg, there were votes I was glad to cast—

Rick Noriega for the United States SenateMr. Noriega will be quite a contrast to the far right incumbent. He has served his country in war and is now ready to serve in Washington.  Also, his wife has been known to visit this blog.

Ellen Cohen for the Texas House District 134—It is good that Ms. Cohen appears to have an easy race after banishing the lousy Martha Wong in 2006.

Loren Jackson for Harris County District ClerkMr. Jackson is very honest, never puts a campaign sign in the public space, and once gave me a campaign tee-shirt. Below is a picture of Mr. Jackson. If you see him be certain to shake his hand and to tell him you share his commitment to freedom.  

Loren Jackson

Adrian Garcia for Harris County Sheriff—Mr. Garcia is going to bring some real justice to our county. Everybody is going to be treated the same and that treatment will be just and decent.   

It was fun to vote. I encourage all who share my views to go out and vote. As for those who do not share my views—I can’t offer as much encouragement. You might want to think about staying at home. I’m sure there is some dusting or laundry you could catch up on. 

( Below—The young women below wanted citizens to vote “no” on the showing of movies on Sunday in the town of La Grange, Illinois. This was in 1929. I don’t know how the vote turned out.)  

original negative 

October 27, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Admissions Of The Failures Of Extreme Free Market Policy

Alan Greenspan admitted yesterday that he may have been wrong in some respects in his extreme free market approach to the American economy during his time as chairman of the Federal Reserve.

From Mr. Greenspan’s testimony yesterday before Congress—

I made a mistake in presuming that the self interest of organizations, specifically banks and others, was such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and the equity in the firms,” Greenspan said. Having run the… central bank from 1987 to 2006 — under…three Republicans and a Democrat — Greenspan acknowledged that views he’s long held are now in question. “The problem here is that something that looked to be a very solid edifice and indeed a critical pillar to market competition and free markets did break down. And that, as I said, shocked me and I don’t fully understand why it happened,” he said. “And to the extent I figure out where it happened and why, I will change my views. And if the facts change, I will change.” Word of Greenspan’s confession spread quickly in Washington, where until recently he was treated as royalty….”After years of confrontation about the role of government regulation, I’m glad to see he now recognizes that his ideas are flawed,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and frequent Greenspan sparring partner, said in a statement.”

Senator Sanders, the one Socialist in Congress, always took on Mr. Greeenspan when he testified before House committees during Mr. Sander’s time in the House. 

Less noticed yesterday was that former President Bill Clinton criticized his own administration’s handling of issues related to the world food supply—

“Former President Clinton told a U.N. gathering Thursday that the global food crisis shows “we all blew it, including me,” by treating food crops “like color TVs” instead of as a vital commodity for the world’s poor. Addressing a high-level event marking Oct. 16’s World Food Day, Clinton also saluted President Bush — “one thing he got right” — for pushing to change U.S. food aid policy. He scolded the bipartisan coalition in Congress that killed the idea of making some aid donations in cash rather than in food. Clinton criticized decades of policymaking by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and others, encouraged by the U.S., that pressured Africans in particular into dropping government subsidies for fertilizer, improved seed and other farm inputs as a requirement to get aid. Africa’s food self-sufficiency declined and food imports rose.”

Here is a BBC report on the World Food Crisis.

Free market policies, many of them quite extreme, regarding our most basic needs of money to live on and food to eat have failed. (Government oversight of these free market policies failed as well.)

Let’s hope that Senator Obama, if elected, and the newly strengthened Democratic Congress can make again the case for government’s—and by extension the average person’s— role in our economy and society. It’s clear that the old order has abdicated. For the moment at least. Now is the time for policies that favor people over greed in both the United States and the rest of the world.

October 24, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Unlike The Candidates In The Final Days,You Can Go Places For Any Number Of Reasons

In these last two weeks of the Presidential campaign, the two major party candidates only travel to states that they feel serve some purpose to visit. They only have so much time.

Senator Obama visits states he feels he has a chance to win. 

Senator McCain, at least at this writing, goes where he feels must to spark a comeback or to keep up appearances.

Is this a course we should follow in life? Given that we only have so much time, should we only go to places where we are reasonably certain things will go well? Or, if things have gone wrong in life, should we allow ourselves to reach a point where we go places only because we feel we have no option?

It’s easy to go where we know things will be good. It’s easy to go somewhere because we feel we have no choice.

Politicians are practical to a fault. Most are at least. They will use what works and discard what does not.

I think a good course to follow is to go as many places in life as one can regardless of underlying circumstances. These places can be geographical locations, or mental places where you consider ideas outside your normal day-to-day thinking. This could also mean seeing people and talking to people that you do not normally speak with.

As a general rule, it is best to not behave as politicians do. This is for no small reason that politicians often feel they have little option to act beyond the narrow range allowed them by the general public.

As the candidates pursue their schedules for the needs of the moment and put forth ideas that they feel people want to hear, remember that you have a far wider range of options in your life.

October 23, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , | 2 Comments