Texas Liberal

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Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up—The Work Of Freedom Is Up To Each Of Us

Here is the weekly posting of the Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas. TPA members are citizen-bloggers working for a better Texas.

(Above–A WPA poster for an event in Texas back in New Deal days. From the American Memory project of the Library of Congress. Texans where happy to vote for Franklin D. Roosevelt and take all sorts of government funds until race became an issue for real in the 1960’s.) 

Every Texan and every American has the ability to attend a public meeting, attend or organize a protest, write or call an elected official, talk to friends and family, start a blog, donate money, write a letter to the editor, volunteer for candidates and causes, engage in acts of civil disobedience, and to run for public office.

The work of freedom and justice is up to each of us.

I say this every week in this space. There is nothing more basic and essential I can tell you.

Here is the round-up—

Could BeTrue of South Texas Chisme sees Republicans holding on to private power at the expense of children.

More Congressional candidate interviews from Off the Kuff, who has conversations with Marc VeaseyRamiro Garza, and Anthony Troiani 

BossKitty at TruthHugger takes a vacation from the sanitized, filtered, Hollywood marketing of political candidates and looks at the world, specifically the dramatic trial in Norway for a mass murderer has unified civilized Europeans who sang … To Annoy The Monster. Continue reading

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May 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Breakfast at 4:30 AM—A Helpful Waiter, A Book To Read And A Good Start To The Day

Due to an unsual set of circumstances, I was out and about this morning around 4:30 AM.

It sure is nice and quiet at 4:30 AM. I think I’d enjoy being out at that hour more often.

I decided to stop at a 59 Diner along the 1-10 east feeder road for breakfast. I ordered what was termed the “Texas Sampler.”

You see the Texas Sampler above. It was a very fine breakfast.

Here is a history of breakfast from the Breakfast Panel. The Breakfast Panel appears to be a lobbying group advocating the consumption of breakfast. It is currently funded by the Association of Cereal Food Manufacturers.

All righty.

Here are some health ratings for a variety of cold cereals.

With my breakfast this morning you will see that I also had a book to read.

I was reading Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser. This book argues that city living is best in a variety of respects including access to economic prosperity, and an environmental impact less than that of suburbs.

I’ve included above a link to a review of the book and to the author’s website if you want to know more. A strength of the book is that it is not ideological, and offers critiques of policies that might be associated with both the  right and  left.

The waiter today at the 59 was very good even at such an early hour. He was a pro.

Commanded by the spirit of Franklin D. Roosevelt on this President’s Day, I left a good tip for my fellow working person on the job on a holiday at 5 AM.

Below is a picture of the 59 at 5 AM this morning. I think I was there just before the morning breakfast traffic.

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

President Obama To Visit Texas—How Will He Refrain From Laughing When Some Texans Demand More Federal Help?

President Obama will be Texas today.

The President is scheduled to visit El Paso and Austin.

(Above–President Obama at Texas A & M University in 2009. President Obama and Texans get along just fine–Unless some folks would claim that the photo is a fake.)   

Because the Johnson Space Center Houston was not awarded a retired space shuttle, and because the President has not declared a federal emergency over ongoing wildfires in Texas, some feel Mr. Obama does not like Texas.

This article on the President’s visit to Texas written by Maria Recio at McClatchy Newspapers has the following quote–

“You can almost make the case the administration has a vendetta against Texas,” said Republican Rep. Michael Burgess.

Congressman Burgess has also been going around talking about fictitious death panels as a part of Health Care Reform.

Why would anybody not like such a fine person?

The federal government has helped Texas with the wildfires—

“Current federal aid covers 75 percent of Texas’s costs for emergency response work, such as evacuations, equipment, field camps and meals for firefighters, police barricading and traffic control. The agency’s regional office in Denton continues to monitor the situation and work closely with Texas Forest Service and Texas Division of Emergency Management, FEMA officials say. In addition, firefighting teams from more than 30 states have provided state-to-state support for firefighting efforts in Texas.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry has asked why parts tornado ravaged Alabama have been declared disaster zones while  Texas has not been so designated.

From our Governor—

“You have to ask, ‘Why are you taking care of Alabama and other states?’ I know our letter didn’t get lost in the mail…” 

What a decent Christian man.

If it is all about a political grudge, why should President Obama help Alabama anymore than he should assist Texas? Barack Obama won 39% of the vote in Alabama in 2008. He lost Texas with 44% of the vote.

The President is not going to win Alabama in 2012.

Here is the bottom line—

Rick Perry and Texas accepted many billions of dollars of Barack Obama approved federal stimulus dollars. 

The federal government has helped Texas with the wildfires.  Tea Party supporters and other Republicans and others are free to form a battalion citizen volunteers to help Texans deal with the problems presented by wildfires. To this point, though the fires have been going on for some weeks now, I’m not aware of any so-assembled  citizen-volunteers.

* The Lyndon B. Johnson  Space Center was a gift to Texas from a Texas politician who looked up to Franklin D. Roosevelt as a hero. You’d think that conservative Texans would be demanding that the federally operated  Space Center be removed from Texas as an intrusion upon our states rights and sense of self -reliance.

It is not that I view Barack Obama with an uncritical eye, it is just that opposition to him in some quarters of Texas is so extreme that you can’t but help to be glad to see the guy in the Lone Star State. You’ve got to appreciate him for the enemies he has made.

The bad news for Texans is that these enemies, maybe 20% of all Texans, are the people who vote in Republican primaries. This angry minority is doing great harm to public education and public health in Texas.

May 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Party Holding White House Has Lost U.S. House Seats In 33 Of 36 Midterm Elections Since Civil War

In 33 of the 36 midterm elections held since the end of the Civil War, the party in the White House has lost seats in the United States House of Representatives.

We need to recall this as the 2010 midterm elections approach. There are underlying patterns in all things. This historical fact and pattern of midterm losses for the party holding the Presidency  is one that has impacted both major parties over many years.

Beginning with 1866, only in 1934, 1998 and 2002 has the party holding the White House gained in the U.S. House.

In 1934, Democrats picked up nine seats to add onto an already large majority, as President Roosevelt remained popular and Republicans continued to be associated with the 1929 crash.

(Below–Joseph Byrns of Tennessee was the first Speaker for the House session that convened in 1935. He died during his term.)

In 1998, Democrats won five new seats as part of the backlash against the Republican vote for the impeachment of President Clinton. Despite the Democratic pick-ups, Republicans retained narrow control of the House.

In 2002, Republicans gained seven House seats in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and due to the widespread public support of President George W. Bush at that point.  This allowed Republicans to expand a slight House majority.

(Below–Dennis Hastert of Illinois was selected House Speaker in 1999 and held the office through 2007. Mr. Hastert was the longest serving Republican Speaker in Congressional history.)

What each of these elections has in common is that they took place in the shadow of larger history-making events. The Great Depression. A vote to impeach the President. The September 11 hijackings.

While in some cases the party occupying the White House has lost only a few House seats, the trend is unmistakable. Midterm elections offer voters a chance to vent against the party holding the Presidency.

In terms of a switch of party control in the House, this has occurred ten times in the 36 post-Civil War midterms. This is something I’ll be writing about in an upcoming post. I’ll also soon be discussing Senate results in midterms.

Liberals and all Democrats should recall that what is taking place today is is often how it is in our politics. It is difficult to see republicans doing well for the moment, but there is reason for hope in the days ahead.

Liberals and all Democrats should also recall that the election has not yet been held.

Consider donating or volunteering in the weeks ahead to the Democrat of your choice.

Here is some history of the House from the House Clerk. You can find, among many other things, the party breakdown for each session of Congress at this site.

A useful book is House–The History of the House of Representatives by Robert Remini.

September 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is America?—How Should America Be Defined?

What is America? How should America be defined?

America is the idea and the fact of a strong federal government over the lesser powers of the states as written in our United States Constitution. The Constitution was in many ways a response to failure of the Articles of Confederation and the incompetence and corruption of state legislatures.

America is Emancipation and the victory of freedom over states rights treason in our Civil War.

America is the expanded economic freedoms and opportunity of the New Deal.

America is the hopeful progress of the Great Society and the Civil Rights Movement.

These are the things that define America.

It is a story of progress, of ever-expanding freedom, and of an always widening definition of what it means to be an American.

If America ever becomes something else than the progress we see detailed above, then it will no longer be America.

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

American Politicians Who Have Won Nobel Peace Prize—Maybe Award For Mr. Obama Will Make World A Better Place

  

President Barack Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

While it is easy enough to ask what Mr. Obama has done to merit the prize, maybe it will serve as a spur for the President to pursue a more peaceful course in world affairs than he otherwise would have. 

Our right-wingers here in America will complain about the prize, but Mr. Obama could cure cancer and they would still complain.

Given the power of the President of the United States in the world, why not roll the dice and see if the Nobel Prize can be used to make the world a somewhat less barbarous place? Mr. Obama certainly seems more open to a peaceful world than did George W. Bush.

Mr. Obama is not the first U.S. President or the first American politician to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He is the first sitting President to win the award since 1919.

Here is a list of American politicians who have won the Nobel Peace Prize—    

In 1906, President Teddy Roosevelt won the Nobel for his role in ending the war between Japan and Russia.

One-term Republican New York Senator Elihu Root won the prize in 1912. As Secretary of State under Teddy Roosevelt, and as Senator, Root help negotiate and arbitrate a number of international disputes.  

Woodrow Wilson  won the Peace Prize in 1919 for his part in creating the League of Nations.   

It was bit more rocky , though with some successes, for the League after the Nobel. As for President Wilson, the fight over the League led to his suffering a stroke and to a bitter end to his Presidency.  

Vice President Charles Dawes was a 1925 co-winner.  Mr. Dawes had done work to ease tensions between Germany and France after WW I. While that clearly did not work out over the longer haul, it made an impression at the time. Mr. Dawes was Vice President under Calvin Coolidge.  

Another one-term Republican Senator, Frank Kellogg of Minnesota, was the 1929 Peace Prize winner. (The photo above is of Mr. Kellogg.)

As Secretary of State under Calvin Coolidge, Kellogg was a force behind the Kellogg-Briand pact. Kellogg-Briand was signed by 64 countries and was about the renunciation of war as an instrument of policy by these nations. It did not have much effect at the time, but why not try?  

1931 co-winner Nicholas Butler, was Teddy Roosevelt’s running mate on the 1912 Bull Moose ticket. Butler won the prize for his international work on behalf of Kellogg-Briand.

Former Tennessee Senator Cordell Hull was the 1945 winner.  Secretary of State under F.D.R, Hull played a major role in creating the United Nations.

Former President Jimmy Carter was the  2002 winner. President Carter has dedicated much of his efforts since leaving the White House in 1981 to conflict resolution, election monitoring and disease eradication 

Al Gore won the prize in 2007 for his work to combat the effects of climate change.

( Below—Al Gore.)

October 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

What Is The Subconscious Mind?

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For many years I had a recurring dream that I was in the Brown University Bookstore on Thayer Street in Providence, Rhode Island. (Above you see a picture of the Brown University Bookstore I took last year. The store is the grey building on the left. To the right is Thayer Street.)

After some years of this dream, I began to think about this place during my waking hours. 

As long as the dream went on, I never figured out why I was having the dream.   

As a kid I often went to the Brown U. store.  Last summer, in Providence for the first time in 20 years, I went into the bookstore for first time since maybe 1980. I’ve not had the dream since I went into the store last year.

In the past couple of months, I’ve had a new recurring dream. I dream I’m in parts of Providence that I knew as a kid, but did not see when in Providence last summer. I’ve now had this new dream three times.

Though I lived in Providence for my first 13 years, I consider Cincinnati, Ohio  my hometown far more than Providence. Cincinnati is where I lived the 18 years after Providence. Yet its Providence I keep dreaming about.

I think this is in part because I visit Cincinnati twice a year and have only been to Providence once in the past 20 years. I think if I did not regularly see Cincinnati, I would dream of that city as well.

In any case, all this got me to thinking about the subconscious mind.  What is the subconscious mind? 

A New York Times article from 2007  says it is something that guides your actions more than you realize. It says our minds respond in ways we don’t fully control in response to clues and triggers. For example, if we see a briefcase we may become more competitive. 

Past that article, what I found by poking around on the internet—perhaps reflecting a subconscious view that I don’t really want to know what is lurking in my mind—was nothing very solid.

There is a lot of stuff about using your so-called subconscious mind to quit smoking or become rich. Other web pages had a New Age feel. New Age stuff is fine for people who go for all that–But it does not do so much for me.

Wikipedia has a definition. 

Beyond my wariness of what I read in Wikipedia—And I do appreciate Wikipedia for all the pictures I use on this blog that I get from that source—I find myself wondering how we can well-define something that takes place in our subconscious. How can anyone know for sure?

I’d like to think that right now in my subconcious mind some type of dinosaur fight is taking place—

File:Laelops-Charles Knight-1896.jpg   

Here is the defintion of subconcious from The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

” Of or pertaining to, existing in, the part of the mind which influences actions etc. without one’s “full” awareness.”

I think this is as close as we are going to get to a good definition.

Your subconcious mind is present in some respect and it is messing with you in someway. If all it is doing is making you have a dream about a place you left a long time ago, you’re likely getting off lucky.

( Here is a link to information about Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. Maybe those of who reached this post via a search engine question will have thoughts of all the good FDR and the New Deal accomplished planted in your subconscious when you are deciding in the future how to vote.)

May 11, 2009 Posted by | Books, Cincinnati | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Specter Switch—Republicans Unable To Get A Hold On Senate Since 1929 Crash

File:MLKjr and Specter.jpg

The switch of Arlen Specter from Republican to Democrat leaves Republicans with just 40 Senators in the 100 seat Senate. After Al Franken is seated in Minnesota there will be 58 Democrats and 2 independents who mostly vote with the Democrats in the Senate.  

( Above–Arlen Specter with Martin Luther King. Please click here for the best Martin Luther King reading list on the web.)

This weak Republican presence in the Senate is not out of line with Republican membership in the Senate since the 1929 stock crash. Beginning with the 1930 election, the first after the crash, Democrats have reached 60 or more seats in the Senate 11 times. Mr. Franken’s seating will make that 12 times.

The peak of Democratic control was the 76 seats won in the 1936 election.

(Below–Charles McNary of Oregon was leader of the very small Republican Senate minority after the 1936 election.)

File:Charles mcnary.jpg

The Republican high since 1930 is just 55 seats. This mark was reached in the elections of 1996, 1998 and 2004. The last time Republicans were as strong in the Senate as are Democrats today was after the election of 1920 when they had 59 seats. The Senate at that time had only 96 seats as Alaska and Hawaii were not yet part of the union.

Democrats have won more than 55 seats in the Senate 20 times since 1929 in contrast to the inability of Republicans to win as many of 56 seats since that year.

( Here  is the link to the web home of the U.S. Senate. There is a lot of information to be found at the Senate site. Here is a link to the divisions by party going back to the beginning of the Senate in 1789.)   

The last time Republicans reached 60 seats was the election of 1908. Republicans won 60 seats that year in what was a 92 seat Senate.

Democrats have had two main periods of dominance in the Senate since was 1929.  In the years between and including the first election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, and his final election in 1944, Democrats never fell below 57 seats.

( Below—Republican Robert Taft of Ohio was Senate Majority Leader at the time of  his death in 1953.

File:Robert a taft.jpg

In 1958 Democrats won 65 seats and in 1978 they took 58. In between those years, they never went lower than 54 and seven times eclipsed 60.  

(Below–Mike Mansfield of Montana was Majority Leader of the Senate 1961-1977. That is the longest tenure in that position.) 

File:Mike mansfield.jpg

Republicans have only had two stretches since 1929 where they’ve won control of the Senate in consecutive elections. 

In the Reagan years, Republicans ran the Senate after the 1980, 1982 and 1984 elections. After the Republican Congressional landslide of 1994, Republicans won at least 50 seats each election up to and including 2004.  Though after the 2000 election Republican control was ended when Jim Jeffords of Vermont switched to the Democrats giving Democrats a 51-49 edge.

( Below–Howard Baker of Tennessee served as both Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the Senate.)

File:Howard baker jr.jpg

A qualification to all this could be that many Democrats in the years of Democratic control since 1929 were Southern Democrats who often voted with Republicans. True control of the Senate often eluded the more progressive elements of the Democratic Party.

There is truth to that qualification. But it must be said that the New Deal and Great Society programs that conservatives would like to undo were passed in these years. Civil Rights legislation also passed in these years though it took a long time and required the principled support of some Republicans in the Senate.

Today’s strong Democratic majority has moderate members, but nothing like the segregationists of the past. 

For 40 years, since the Sunbelt driven election of Richard Nixon in 1968, we’ve been hearing about the supposed realignment of American politics towards Republicans. Well–Where is it?

( Please click here to read about the Senate’s art collection.) 

Today’s Democratic majorities and the states that Barack Obama won come from all around the nation. In the South, Mr. Obama won North Carolina, Virgina and Florida. Senator Specter’s switch only adds to the 80 years and counting slump of the Republican Party in the U.S. Senate.

( Coming soon -A look at membership of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1929. The story is much the same as it has been in the Senate.)

(Below—Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia has seen a lot of Senate history since he entered the Senate in 1959.  He is the longest serving Senator ever.) 

File:Robert Byrd Majority Portrait.jpg

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Art, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Today’s Conservatives Falsely Claiming Boston Tea Party Legacy

File:Boston Tea Party-Cooper.jpg

Far-right activists are staging so-called “tea parties” on April 15 to protest the fact that in a free society one must pay taxes and abide by the decisions of the electorate.  (Old-time image of tea party above.)

The claim being made by these extreme elements, when they are not advocating violence, is that somehow we are moving towards tyranny.

By trying to steal the symbolism of the Boston Tea Party, Republicans and the extreme right (no distinction appears to exist between the two) are confusing the idea of  no taxation without representation with bitterness about losing last November’s election.

(Here is the link to the Boston Tea Party Historical Society.)

Below is from the web home of a tea party web site. They say here that “Revolution is brewing.” Just what does that mean? Is it violence? What do they think a revolution is in this context?  

Tax Day Tea PartyThe actual New Englanders who were part of the real Boston Tea Party are the same people, or the fathers of the people, who would later become FederalistsUnitarians and abolitionists.  

Today’s Southern-based overwhelmingly white American right has nothing to do with the legacy of the Boston Tea Party.

The only historical  tradition these people are drawing upon is that of the treason of the first shot fired on Fort Sumter in 1861  to begin the Civil War. (Engraving below.)

File:Bombardment of Fort Sumter, 1861.png

America does have a visible representative of the best and most inclusive traditions of American History— The America of Thomas Paine, William Lloyd Garrison, Abe Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Sitting Bull, Franklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King and Caesar Chavez. 

That leader is the President of the United States and his name is Barack Hussein Obama. 

File:Ann Dunham with father and children.jpg

April 9, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Colonial America, Martin & Malcolm, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Liberalism Thrashes Conservatism In Live Action Video

The video above, which runs just under two minutes, shows in dramatic detail the recent victories of liberalism over conservatism in our politics. It also discusses policy gains that we as liberals can hope to see in the upcoming months and years. These are gains we can hope to see if President Obama and the Democratic Congress follow the correct course.

This video features Franklin D. Roosevelt  and George W. Bush.

April 6, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Distractions To Make Up For Lost Post

 

I had a nice long post ready to go. But when I hit the “publish” button, all the words went away. I don’t know where they went. I don’t have time to get much together before bedtime.  I have to be at work early tomorrow. Yet I know you folks count on a post each day from Texas Liberal.  So I’ve assembled a few distractions for you to stare at until I update the blog in about 24 hours.

Above is a running mule. Sometimes you run and run and still don’t seem to make much progress.

Below is the spinning Earth. We are all sisters and brothers on the Earth.

Next we have a house being built. You don’t see that much anymore.

Here we have pink heart becoming gay pride symbol indicating my support for gay marriage.

Here we have a boat and a bridge. Regular readers of this blog will know I like the ocean and water and boats.

Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was a great President who strongly enhanced the role of government in our economy.

And, finally, a tree and a leaf. This is a symbol of both death and renewal.

Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

January 16, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Uncategorized | , , , , | 5 Comments

As Roosevelt Acted To Stop Farm Foreclosures, So Must Government Help Distressed Americans Today

I’ve been reading The Coming of the New Deal by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. This book, published in 1959, was the second of three titles in Professor Schlesinger’s The Age of Roosevelt  series.   

Described in the book is Franklin Roosevelt’s response in the first weeks of his administration to problem of farm foreclosures. I’m less interested on the specifics of the program—I know little of farms or banking—than I am in the fact that the actions detailed here took place at all. These are things that took place within the first weeks and months of the Roosevelt administration in 1933.   

( Above is a picture of a dust storm in the Depression-era Dust Bowl farm crisis. The farm is in Stratford, Texas. The photo is from 1935. Here is some history of the Dust Bowl and of farming in the 1930’s)

From The Coming of the New Deal—

“The mortgage question was causing more immediate unrest than anything else;, and the administration had already moves with vigor to relive the situation. At the end of March, Roosevelt reorganized the hodgepodge of federal agricultural credit instrumentalities into a single new agency, the Farm Credit Administration….It’s powers confirmed by the Emergency Farm Mortgage Act and supplanted in June by the Farm Credit Act, FCA refinanced farm mortgages, developed techniques for persuading creditors to make reasonable settlements, set up local farm debt adjustment committee, and eventually established a system of regional banks to make mortgage, production, and marketing loans and to provide credits to cooperatives. It loaned more than $100 million in its first seven months–nearly four times as much as the total of mortgage loans to farmers from the entire land-bank system the year before. At the same time, it beat down the interest rate in all areas of farm credit…Though anger still rumbled in the farm belt, FCA gave every evidence of getting at least the emergency debt problem out of the way.”

The response to the problem of farm foreclosures reported In New Deal are such a contrast to the go it alone ethic of recent years. It reminds us that government has a role to play in our economy and in our society.

In the days ahead, as we recover from the current financial crisis, let’s recall that government action has served us well before and is needed again to take us back to prosperity. 

Hopefully, larger Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, and a new Democratic President, will lead the way. Hopefully, our newly elected political leadership will have the courage and imagination to try new ideas and ask the American people to see that we are all connected in this life. 

Here is some very good history of the New Deal.

Here is a history of New Deal agricultural programs

President Roosevelt’s first Secretary of Agriculture, and future Vice President, Henry Wallace, was an interesting figure. American Dreamer–The Life And Times Of Henry A. Wallace by former Iowa Senator John Culver and John Hyde is a good book on Wallace and Depression era agricultural programs.

( Below is an Iowa farm foreclosure sale from the 1930’s)

digital file from original neg.

October 10, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Many Presidents Have Died Early In Their Terms—President Palin

When a President has died in office, it has often been quite early in his term. This has often made a big difference in American history.

This is the Texas Liberal Election Fact of the Day.

The first President to die in office, William Henry Harrison, expired just a month into his term. Harrison died in 1841. President Harrison, at 68 the oldest President to that point, was a Whig. His Vice President, John Tyler, was a representative of the Southern planter class picked to help balance the ticket and not in full agreement with the Whig mainstream. As President, Tyler pursued policies, such a veto of a national bank, that greatly distressed Whig leaders such as Henry Clay.

President Zachary Taylor passed on in 1850 after serving just 17 months of his term. He was succeeded by Millard Filmore

Abe Lincoln’s (above)1865 assassination occurred just a month into his second term. His Vice President, Andrew Johnson (below), who had not been Lincoln’s first term VP, had very different views than Lincoln on Reconstruction, and how the South and Southerners should be handled after the Civil War.

Here is a stark difference between the person elected President and the person elected Vice President. The United States got one month of a great President and just under four years of a terrible President. And black folks got a century of Jim Crow.  

James Garfield was shot in the first year of his term in 1881. He died a few months later. Garfield’s successor, Chester Arthur, might well have been an improvement. President Arthur sought Civil Service reform and was surprisingly independeant despite a reputation as a machine politician.

William McKinley was shot and killed in the first year of his second term in 1901. McKinley’s Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt, who like Andrew Johnson had not been the first term VP, was a very different man than McKinley.

Franklin Roosevelt was shot at in 1933 in the time between his election and inauguration. Roosevelt’s Vice President-elect, John Nance Garner was far more conservative than F.D.R. You might never of had a New Deal if Garner had become President instead of Roosevelt.

Roosevelt would later die in the first weeks of his fourth term. Vice President Harry Truman who had not been VP in the first three F.D.R terms, took the White House and did a pretty good job.  

Also, Ronald Reagan was shot and seriously wounded in his first year as President in 1981.

Let’s say you are less than a hardcore Republican, yet are still considering voting for 72 year old John McCain. American history shows us that you may feel you’re voting for Mr. McCain, but that what you really may get is President Sarah Palin.

October 2, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Election Fact Of The Day, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Let’s Take The Lemon Of The Bailout And Make The Lemonade Of Greater Regulation And Universal Health Care

With the $700 billion Wall Street bailout moving towards a vote in Congress, let us no longer hear that government should stay out of our economy.

This proposal came from a far-right Republican President and has had the support of most Republican senators.

If we can do this, we can have universal health care. If an argument in favor of the bailout is that in time taxpayers will get the money back from the bailout, why not also invest in average Americans? Won’t we also get a return on an investment in average folks?  

(Here in Texas, many are making use of government programs to help recover from Hurricane Ike.  Even in Texas people are finding that stuff happens and that help is sometimes needed from government.)

It’s clear now that we can have more regulation of our economy and that government can take steps needed to protect Americans from the excesses of Wall Street and irresponsible banks and financial firms. 

Do you think your retirement is safe in the hands of an unregulated Wall Street? And in regard to health insurance, do you trust the private sector to ever deliver on the right that all have of access to health care?   

I understand the bailout is hard to accept in many respects. Who wants to bailout Wall Street?

It is conservatives from the White House and Senate who have made the case here for government intervention in the economy. We should take advantage of this unexpected support for a place for government in our economy. We should do this just as Franklin Roosevelt turned the Great Crash into something better. Let’s take this lemon and make lemonade.

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics, Taxes---Yes!, Texas | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chet Edwards For VP?—Texans Who Have Run For VP On Major & Minor Party Tickets

With Texas U.S Representative Chet Edwards of Waco being considered for a place on the Democratic ticket with Barack Obama, here are other Texans who have run for Vice President on major and minor party tickets.

First the major party candidates—

John Nance Garner

The first Texan on a major party ticket was John Nance Garner of Uvalde. Mr. Garner ran successfully with Democrat Franklin Roosevelt of New York in both 1932 and 1936. Immediately before becoming Vice President, Mr. Garner was Speaker of the U.S. House.   

Vice President Garner was never fully on-board with the New Deal. He offered support for F.D.R in his first term, but was a source of behind-the-scenes opposition in his second term.  

In 1940, Vice President Garner opposed President Roosevelt for the Democratic nomination. Mr. Roosevelt was easily nominated for a third term.

The link above to Mr. Garner, as well as the links to Lyndon Johnson ,George Bush, Martin Van Buren and Dan Quayle will take you to the excellent U.S. Senate page on Vice PresidentsThere are first-rate profiles to be found of all VP’s at the Senate site.)  

Lyndon Johnson

Lyndon Johnson ran with Democrat John Kennedy of Massachusetts in 1960. Immediately before becoming Vice President, Mr Johnson was Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate.   

As Vice President, Mr. Johnson was placed in charge of America’s manned spaceflight program.

With the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, Mr. Johnson became the first Texan to serve as President of the United States.    

George H.W. Bush

George H.W. Bush  of Houston was the first Texas Republican to run for, and serve as, Vice President. He ran with Ronald Reagan of California in 1980 and 1984. Mr. Bush held a variety of political jobs before his selection as Mr. Reagan’s Vice President.

Despite suspicions that Mr. Bush had knowledge of the Iran-Contra affair, he went on the become the first sitting Vice President since Martin Van Buren to win election as President.

Lloyd Bentsen    

Lloyd Bentsen, of Hidalgo County and Houston, ran with Mike Dukakis of Massachusetts in 1988. Mr. Bentsen had been a U.S. Senator since 1971.

Governor Dukakis had been tricked by early polls suggesting he had a chance to carry Texas in the general election. He did not win Texas in the fall.   

The Dukakis/Bentsen ticket lost to George Bush and Dan Quayle of Indiana in 1988. This was the first time that two of the four candidates at the top of the ticket in a Presidential election were from Texas. Mr. Bensten had defeated future President Bush in the 1970 U.S. Senate race in Texas.

Mr. Bentsen later served as Treasury Secretary for Bill Clinton.  

There have also been Texans who have run for Vice President with minor party tickets. 

In 1880, Benjamin Chambers ran with future Populist Party founder James Weaver of Iowa on the Greenback Labor ticket. This slate won a decent 3.3%  of the national vote that year. Greenback Labor ran on an economic agenda to the left of the major parties. Greenbacks favored an income tax and the vote for women. I think I might have voted Greenback in 1880.

James Britton Cranfill  from Parker County was the Prohibition Party running mate in 1892.  George Carroll ran on the second spot of the Prohibition ticket of 1904. While Mr. Carroll never became Vice President, he did serve two terms as an alderman from Beaumont.

(The profiles of Mr. Cranfill and Mr. Carroll are from The Handbook of Texas Online and are very good. I cannot find any information on Mr. Chambers.) 

The 2004 Prohibition running mate, Howard Lydick of Richardson, is a Texan.

July 10, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Political History, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment