Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Once We Cleared Out The Native Population, We Were Free To Have A Good Time

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Here are some folks paddling about on Houston’s Buffalo Bayou a couple of months back. I am sure they are very fine people.

Over a longer time frame however, it is so that once we cleared out the native population of our nation we were free to paddle about and have a good time.

January 10, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

Part Of The Infrastructure

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There may be times you feel like no more than a cog in a machine. 

Here is a picture in which I did seem to be part of the infrastructure.  

I took this picture last week on the new Bill Coats bike-hike bridge over Brays Bayou in Houston’s Hermann Park.

January 7, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Grave With View Of Traffic Would Be Fitting End To An Urban Life

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I saw this grave a couple of weeks ago at Glenwood Cemetery  in Houston.

It seems that a grave with a view of traffic would be a fitting end to an urban life.

Behind the grave in the center of the picture you see there is a car showing something of a ghostly image.

Maybe it was a ghost car.

January 7, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

Conflicting Directions

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These traffic signs along Memorial Dr. in Houston are making opposite assertions.

I took this picture last week.

In theory there is no wrong path you could take when told to go in every direction.

I’m not certain though that in practice things will work out if you go in every direction.

January 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

I Left The Woods For The Safety Of The City

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Given the choice between the wilds and the city, I’ll always choose the city.

I took this picture last week while walking about on some of the hike/bike trails at Hermann Park here in Houston.

I made the mistake of going to some trails that were heavily forested.

I quickly turned around to seek the safety of the urban environment. Even after just a few minutes in the dark woods it was a relief to see in the clearing a tall building and a big electrical tower.

You can see from the picture that the sun shines bright to guide your way when you are in the hopeful openness of the city.

I’m happy to be called a tree-hugger and any other label you would associate with support of environmental causes.

However, I’ve never spent a night in my life outdoors and I never will unless we are in some type of post-apocalypse setting and there is no shelter.

A city is where we will find books and a baseball game and nice trails to walk on that keep you within sight of tall buildings and life-affirming infrastructure.

January 2, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Festive Decorations At Houston’s Glenwood Cemetery—Life And Death Require Each Other

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The office at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston was decorated in a festive fashion on Christmas Eve Day.

There are poinsettias along the staircase and a wreath over the porch.

Life and death could not exist without the other.

Everything we need is around us each day and is accessible with hard work, imagination and luck.

December 28, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Texas State Rep. Dwayne Bohac Thinks Jesus & Christmas Are So Weak In Texas That Government Regulation Is Needed To Prop Them Up—The Merry Christmas Bill

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Texas State Representative Dwayne Bohac thinks that “traditional” observances of Christmas and Hanukkah are so weak and under threat in Texas that government regulation is required to prop them up.

Here is what Rep. Bohac is proposing for the upcoming legislative session—

“Today, State Representative Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston) pre-filed legislation to protect the freedom of Texas Independent School Districts to acknowledge and educate students on the historic and cultural roots of traditional winter celebrations and holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah. 

The “Merry Christmas Bill,” which is expected to receive bipartisan support, affords students, parents and educators the right to celebrate on school property with displays associated with those holidays, including Menorahs, Christmas trees and Nativity scenes.  The bill also clarifies the right of school districts and their staff to use traditional winter greetings such as “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Holidays” on school grounds.”

District 138 Representative Bohac represents a portion of Houston in the legislature.

Above you see Mr. Bohac in front of the Christmas Tree that is located in the Texas House chamber in Austin.

Here is speculation about the likely pagan origins of the Christmas Tree tradition from a web site called All About Jesus Christ. I studied this tree for a few minutes on Rep. Bohac’s Facebook page and saw nothing religious on it at all.

I guess Rep. Bohac picks his battles.

Is it really so that teachers and students in Texas can’t say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” to each other? I have not heard any complaint in the current holiday season that these words are not allowed to be spoken in our public schools. Rep. Bohac’s press release that I link to above offers no specific examples of anybody being prohibited from exchanging these holiday greetings in Texas schools.

Are these traditional observances really so weak even here in conservative Texas that they require government regulation to thrive?

Mr. Bohac suggests government regulation just as the extreme right-wing National Rifle Association last week proposed an armed government presence in all schools.

Does Rep. Bohac believe that government regulation is the answer rather than trying to win the minds and hearts of his fellow Texans with a strongly articulated faith and with quality arguments for his views?

Does Rep. Bohac see his God as so weak that he must intercede on His behalf?

How fortunate it is that we have Rep. Bohac and Texas state government to defend Jesus and Christmas, since it appears from the necessity of the Merry Christmas Bill that the God-fearing people of Texas are not up to the task themselves.

December 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Christmas Wreath & Grave Marker With Similar Look—We Beat The Odds To Exist And To Recall The Dead

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I took a ride around Houston’s Glenwood Cemetery this afternoon.

I enjoyed how the wreath placed next to the grave marker you see in the picture above had an aesthetic as similar as you might find between a wreath and a grave marker.

The stone was the only one I saw like it in the cemetery. The wreath was the only one I saw up high on a single pole.

When you think of how so little of existence is comprised of living things, it is hopeful that we are here for any amount of time.

It is something that we can–even for just a brief time– hold back the law of existence that says things fall apart.

It is even more hopeful that we have the capacity  to recall people who have returned to from where they began.

December 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Instagram Is Right To Want To Sell User Photos To Advertisers—If You Want To Talk About Empowerment Rather Than Selfishness, I Am Ready For The Discussion

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I read today about the prospect of Instagram selling user photos to advertisers.  This caused an uproar on the web. Instagram is owned by Facebook.
 
(Above–You get what you pay for.  This is a picture I took in Downtown Houston last week.)
 
I don’t see how a for-profit company that people often use yet refuse to pay for, owes either privacy or even simple respect to so-called customers.
 
Use of Facebook is a transaction in which we offer our lives, relationships & thoughts as a commodity to a corporation that logically expects to make a profit. I get more than a fair deal from Facebook.
 
This blog is written on WordPress. I don’t pay for the service. WordPress runs ads on my posts to help meet the costs of the business. I don’t see any of the revenue that these ads generate. Why should I? WordPress has been providing me with a “free” service for over six years so far.
 
If you want to discuss a worker’s uprising in a nation where hard work increasingly does not pay off, or the fact that the web and associated technologies are bringing about intrusive private sector and government tracking of our lives—I’m happy to discuss all that and I’m set for big changes in our nation. I’m firmly of the left and I’m ready to be part of moving our nation to the left.
 
However, I’m less open to the view that the fruits of other people’s labor and ideas should be offered for free, and yet at the same time we don’t like the terms of the exchange. There is little ideology or belief of any kind behind this type of thinking other than selfishness.
 
If folks want to talk about real empowerment rather than selfishness, I am ready for the discussion.
 

December 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Prehistoric Landscape In Houston

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Above is a picture I took in Houston a few weeks ago that felt to me what a prehistoric landscape where dinosaurs lived would look like.

You never know what you will find when you drive around and look at the world.

You can see dinosaur tracks in Texas at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas.

The new paleontology hall at the Houston Museum of Natural Science is very good.

Prehistoric Life by DK Publishing is a great resource to learn about the history of life on Earth.

December 17, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Reach Out To Folks During The Holiday Season—On The Outside Looking In

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Above is a picture I took a few days ago while at a bar in Downtown Houston.

In this picture I am outside looking in at people enjoying a gathering of some kind inside the bar. I was out on a porch.

I’m sure the folks in the picture are very nice.

This image made me think of people who may feel depressed or on the outside during the holiday season.

If you know such a person in your own life, you might consider reaching out to them during the holiday season.

And–of course–we should recall that folks can be lonely at any time of the year. Life is very difficult.

December 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

It Seems Wrong To Hoard The Life Boats And Then Tell People To Sink or Swim

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I was driving around Houston a few months back and came upon this collection of life boats.

These boats reminded me of conservative social policy in our nation where the resources of access to education and good jobs are increasingly hoarded outside the reach of people who could make good use of them, while at the same time we are told to sink or swim.

It is wrong to hoard all the resources and all the ways out of trouble in a place that is blocked off from hard-working people who need help. It is wrong to hoard all the resources and then say that people who do not prosper are failures and freeloaders.

December 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 8 Comments

Houston Mayor Parker And Police Chief McClelland Referring Possible Cases Of Houston Police Abuse To Federal Government For Investigation—This Is The Correct Course

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The Houston Chronicle reports that the federal government is investigating 6 incidents of Houston Police shooting or otherwise allegedly abusing unarmed persons. The Chronicle reports that 3 of these matters were referred to the feds by Houston Police Chief Charles McClellend.

( Picture above is of Houston Mayor Annise Parker in front of an airplane.) 

I have made posts on the blog about two of the incidents that the federal government is investigating.

Unarmed teen Chad Holley was beaten in 2010 by a number of Houston police officers.

Earlier in 2012, a double amputee in a wheelchair named Brian Claunch was shot and killed by Houston police.

There is no way the Chief is referring multiple cases of possible police abuse and misdeeds to the federal government without the approval in one form or another of Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Mayor Parker and Chief McClelland should be commended for this course of action.

In the past the Mayor has addressed racism and sexism within the Houston Fire Department.

While our safety forces do many good and brave things, it is also so that some of them engage in wrong actions.

It is good for Houston that Mayor Parker has been willing to confront this fact.

December 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

It Snowed In Houston On December 4, 2009—Vapors Rose Off The Houston Ship Channel

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As remote as it may seem with a recent streak of 80 degree days in Houston, it snowed here on December 4, 2009.

It does not snow very often in Houston. 

Above is a picture I took that day at the Houston Ship Channel. Snow was falling into the water, and vapors ( No doubt some measure toxic) were rising off the water.

Without forgetting the long and harmful history and present day reality of industrial pollution in Houston, it is the case that the mixing of the elements in both the daily weather and in man-made production are things as natural as the first facts of creation.

The so-called natural world and the man-made and industrial world have more in common than they have remote from each other.  And we long ago reached a point on Earth—for better and for worse—where there can be no full distinction between the natural and human made world.

December 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Still Not At Terms With The Outcome Of The Election

This citizen of Houston was as of a few days ago still somewhat frustrated with the outcome of the recent election.

November 26, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments