Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Military Option Must Exist For Iran Nuclear Program—Israel And Iraq War Are Separate Questions

A military option must be on the table as President Obama considers how to respond to Iran’s secret nuclear program. 

I say this as someone on the political left who opposed the Iraq War and who is always for diplomacy over war.  

When you have a country with a president who denies the Holocaust, fixes elections, represses his own people and conducts a secret nuclear program, that’s a problem.

It is even more of a problem when that country is run by religious crazies and is close enough to a nation full of Jewish people to launch missiles and bombs at them. 

Those of us on the left need to view Iran as a separate question from objections we have to various Israeli policies and our longstanding opposition to the War in Iraq.

President Obama will first use diplomacy to address this question. Diplomacy is always the best path and President Obama was elected with the hope that we would now begin to find a path other than war to solve our problems. 

If diplomacy does not prevail, I support in this case whatever actions must be taken to prevent Iran from obtaining and possibly using nuclear weapons. History tells us that when nations make threats about wiping out Jewish folks that these threats must be taken at face value.     

Here are some basic facts about Iran from the BBC.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

Neda Video—Ongoing Iran Protests

Above is the Neda video of the young woman shot and killed during street protests in Iran.

Her full name was Neda Agha Soltan.

The video is graphic and disturbing to watch.

The New York Times blog on the protests in Iran has reports on Neda. You have to scroll down to find the reports.  There is one entry with a link to what is said to be a picture of Neda’s grave.

Update 6/23—Here is a New York Times article about Neda. 

Update 6/24–The latest from Iran.

Update 6/25—The latest from Iran.

Here is a Neda Facebook memorial page.

Global Voices has links to more Iran videos and to bloggers writing about Iran.

Reporters Without Borders says that both traditional journalists and bloggers have been detained by the government.

A mix of traditional journalists with the resources of so-called mainstream news outlets, along with bloggers and people using Twitter have all been essential to reporting this story.

Nico Pitney’s Iran liveblogging in the Huffington Post has been of value.

June 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Protests Ongoing In Iran

Protests in Iran are ongoing.

Global Voices has links to blogs and people using Twitter who are reporting about events in Iran.

Here is the blog Revolutionary Road. This blog is based in Iran. 

Here is the BBC on Iran.

These protests have been taking place for a week now. These are people serious about being more free. They merit our support.

June 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

Ongoing Protests In Iran—Links To Learn More

Hundreds of thousands of supporters of opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi turn out to protest the result of the election at a rally in Azadi (Freedom) Square in Tehran, June 15, 2009

Protests, such the one seen above, are continuing in Iran over the disputed outcome of the Presidential Election.

It seems that the vote was rigged.

People in Iran want more freedom. 

Here are some links to learn more about this subject. It is up to you learn about the world.   

Global Voices Online is a good resource to read about Iranian bloggers and people using Twitter in Iran to talk about what is taking place.

Here is a Los Angeles Times story about the use of technology in the Iran crisis.

Here is the most recent Amnesty International report on Iran.

Here is the BBC on the situation in Iran. There is plenty of information here about what is going on right now and background information about the situation.  

Here is Al Jazeera on the conflict in Iran.

Here is Reporters Without Borders discussing censorship in Iran since the election.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Burning Of Obama Pictures In Iran Is Not Creative At All—Time To Talk To Iran

Iranians burn posters of Obama

Some folks in Iran got straight down to business as usual by burning pictures of newly sworn-in President Barack Obama.

Why did they do this? Because they were not creative enough to think of other ways to express dislike for Mr. Obama and American policies. How long are these folks going to go on with the picture burning?  I’m reasonably certain that people across the political spectrum in the United States, and elsewhere in the world, see this behavior and say, “Wwhat else is new?”

I think it shows more effort to make an effigy of an American leader for burning, than simply to burn a picture. We’ve been the Great Satan for 30 years now and this is all they’ve got?

I’m no expert on Iran, but I imagine most folks in Iran want a nice quiet life with no trouble. This is what most people in the world want. We could rustle up a crew here in the United States to do all kinds of crazy things. We’ve got millions of crazy folks here in America. So I’m sure you can find some people in Iran who will burn pictures of Mr. Obama. 

It’s time to talk to Iran—Just as Mr. Obama said during the campaign. And it is time for far greater political freedom in Iran and for a turn away from all this destroy Israel jazz. I wonder how many folks in Iran would really willingly give up a son to fight Israel?  

I have no trouble with the majority of folks in Iran and I’d bet money that most people in Iran have no problem with me either. This endless conflict has an absurd aspect at this point. I hope Mr. Obama makes some effort to reach out to Iran.

Here is some information about Iran from the BBC.

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama | , , | 4 Comments

Observations On Clinton/Obama Debate

Welcome to Texas Liberal live blogging of the Texas Primary debate between Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Clinton of New York.

Above is a photo of Stephen Douglas of Illinois of the famous Lincoln–Douglas Debate of 1858.     

7:05 PM—Mrs. Clinton mentions the great Barbara Jordan.

7:10 PM–Senator Obama correctly points out what a waste of resources the War in Iraq has been, though does not mention that Mrs. Clinton voted for the war.  This great web page discusses the obscene cost of the Iraq War.

7:18 PM–In a question about Cuba, Senator Obama says it does not hurt to talk to people.

He’s right. What does it hurt to talk?

7:22 PM—Everybody likes to mention John Kennedy.

7:25 PM–Senator Obama mentions shipping out jobs to other nations. But maybe it is time for India and China to live the kind of lives we have lived here for many years. What about scaling back our lives to some degree as the world changes?

7:30 PM–Mrs. Clinton discusses aggressive government regulation to address the housing crisis.

Good for her! People like government a lot better when it is doing something for them. Government has a role in people’s lives.

7:35 PM–Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama both right on immigration. Find a path to citizenship for these folks.  

7:41 PM– Mrs. Clinton and Senator Obama both right again. Border fence a bad idea. How can you police and fence all of the border? Sensible policy ideas would work much better.

7:49 PM—Commercial Break–No reason not to profit off democracy.

7:53 PM—Question about how civil this debate has been in contrast to rough words spoken in past.

Mrs. Clinton works a few jabs in.   

8:00 PM– Senator Clinton denigrates the idea that words matter and that hope matters.  

8:05 PM–Senator Clinton fails to mention that her health care effort helped lead to the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress and all the years of damage that takeover caused.

8:09 PM–Another commercial. The TV and the computer are in different rooms and I have not seen any of the debate. Just hearing it. Here is a picture of my TV—

8:14 PM—Obama wrong on health insurance. Everybody has to have it.  

8:19 PM–Mrs. Clinton mentions Kosovo. Learn about this new nation with this BBC link.

8:23 PM–Aggressive bellicose John McCain said we might be in Iraq for 100 years more and also joked about bombing Iran.  

8:27 PM—Mrs. Clinton mentions Brownsville. Here is my favorite Brownsville blog—Bloggin’ All Things Brownsville.

8:33 PM—Question about earmarks. Earmarks are often good. They create jobs and help local areas complete needed projects. 

Mr. Obama says that many earmarks are good.   

8:39 PM—Mrs. Clinton refuses to say she will not allow so-called superdelegates to decide the nomination. 

8: 45 PM–Senator Obama and Mrs. Clinton mention all the hard times they have had in life.  

Mr. Obama was raised by a single mom.

Mrs. Clinton mentions, indirectly, her cheating husband.

Debate over.

Now nothing to watch until rerun of That ’70’s Show at 11.

I thought these candidates had pledged they would entertain me 24 hours a day.

What do I do now?   

February 22, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Living In Harris County, Texas Has Made Me Hispanic

The Harris County, Texas Clerk’s office reports that nearly 150,000 voters with Hispanic sounding surnames are likely to vote in the county in 2008.

Houston, where I live, is in Harris County.

I’m pretty sure I’m one of those so-called Hispanic voters. My last name is A-Q-U-I-N-O.

I once worked with someone in Houston who after knowing me a year blurted out “You don’t seem Hispanic at all.”

Right she was—I’m Italian. At least I am everywhere except the Harris County Clerk’s office.

Or when I get an occasional piece of junk mail or a phone solicitation in Spanish.

My wife and I once went to Italy. Over there they thought she was the Italian. Really she’s Jewish. The dark curly hair tricked the Italians.

(Above is a picture of my homeland—Naples, Italy. I’m glad to report that the wife and I once made it to Naples.)

Growing up on the East Side of Providence, Rhode Island, I recall many teachers who would trip over the pronunciation of my name at the beginning of the school year.

Uh-queen-o is how you say it. (The little cruds I went to school with never tired of pointing out the “queen” part. In Houston I’m a Hispanic Italian. In Providence I was a straight queen.)

The East Side had fewer Italians than other parts of Providence.  So I had clueless teachers and kids who could not help but comment on my name, despite the fact I was part of the largest single ethnic group in the city.

My elementary school and middle school years were in Providence. I went to high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. The high school I went to was 95% black.

Nobody took me for black.

My father once told me to trust people with many vowels in their last name. He meant Italians, but I’ve expanded it to include anybody who fits that bill.

(My wife, who is in fact the best person ever, has kept her two-vowel maiden name. You can’t have everything)

I was in a store last week. I noticed on the name tag of the man ringing me up that he had every single vowel in last name.

All of them!

I praised him for this. I said–“Man, you have every vowel in your last name. That’s great.”

He said, “You noticed.”

I think he was proud of the fact.

Justly so.

I asked the ethinicity of his name.

He said “Persian.”

I said, “Iranian?”

He said yes. He was friendly about it all.

Of course he was friendly—His name was loaded with vowels.

The man seemed somewhat hesitant say Iranian because America is at odds with Iran right now.

Iran is defined as the enemy.

If Iran is the enemy, why did that guy have so many vowels in his name?

I’m not Hispanic. My wife is not Italian. That man at the store was no enemy.

When other people define who you are or what you are, they will most likely get it wrong.

December 30, 2007 Posted by | Cincinnati, Houston, Immigration, My Wife Is The Best Person Ever | , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Mass Strandings Of Striped Dolphins Off Coast Of Iran

There have been mass strandings of Striped Dolphins off the coast of Iran. While we are familiar with such stories in the United States, this is apparently unusual in that part of the world.  

Over 150 Striped Dolphins (photo above) have beached themselves. In Iran this is being termed as dolphin “suicide.” Suggested reasons for these standings are that the dolphins are being tangled up in fishing nets, they are following a sick dominant male dolphin and possibly, disruptions caused by sonar used by US Naval vessels.

Here is a portion of an article from Agence France-Presse

“The mysterious “mass suicide” of 152 dolphins washed up on Iran’s coast over the past month has alarmed environmentalists, with the blame pointed at regional fishing practices, officials said on Monday.

In September, 79 striped dolphins were found washed up near Jask port in southern Iran, and last week another 73 were found dead in the same area.

Pictures of rows of the corpses have been widely featured in Iranian newspapers, which said the dolphins had “committed suicide” — behaviour the animals have occasionally exhibited in the wild.

“The suicide of dolphins on Jask’s coast continues,” Iran’s state run-newspaper wrote on Saturday. “Locals tried to put the animals back in the water but they refused to return.””

Here is information about the Striped Dolphin.   

Here is a good post on this dolphin stranding from a San Francisco based blog called Malaria, Bedbugs, Sea Lice and Sunsets. 

Here is information about the city of Jask in Iran. It looks like a nice place to visit. Most folks in Iran are decent people who want no trouble. This is how most people are all around the world.

Here is a history of Agence France-Presse.

Here are other posts on sea life from Texas Liberal.

November 2, 2007 Posted by | Sea Life | , , , , , | 7 Comments