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Yet Another Sports Stadium In Houston—Thank You Taxpayers

Great news!—Houston is getting yet another stadium.

In case you did not feel that facilities built over the last decade for the baseball Astros, football Texans, and basketball Rockets were enough, now we will have a new stadium for the soccer Dynamo.

The pictures at the top and bottom of this post come from the Facebook page of Houston City Councilmember Stephen Costello.

In the center of the photo above is Mayor Annise Parker. She is wearing orange. Three people to the left is Houston U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee.

I’m not certain who the other folks are. I suppose I could study the picture and maybe guess. But the bottom line is that they are the interchangeable municipal luminaries who back big-ticket projects in Houston year-after-year while rarely–if ever– mentioning that we have a 60% child poverty rate in Houston.

(Above–Some things never change. Painting is “Thumbs Down.” It is an 1872 work of Jean-Leon Gerome.)

The Dynamo stadium uses less public money than have the recent sports complexes in Houston. Though the city paid $15.5 million to buy the land where the stadium will be located, and the Dynamo will get sales tax “rebates” amounting to $3 million over the next 30 years. The City of Houston and Harris County have also committed $10 million each in taxpayer dollars towards the facility.

Taxpayer funds will be used even as we plead poor on services for the poor, education, honoring pension commitments, and keeping up our roads.

Claims of the economic benefits of stadiums are greatly exaggerated.

The sign below says “This your stadium.”


February 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Ides Of March—Good Books And Resources To Learn About Julius Caesar And The History Of Ancient Rome

It is the Ides of March. You should beware.

Here is an explanation of what the Term Ides of March means.

(Above–The Death of Caesar. This work was painted in 1798 by Vincenzo Camuccini.)

What books can you read to learn about the events surrounding the rise of Julius Caesar and the fall of the Roman Republic?

I can suggest three.

A classic is The Roman Revolution by Sir Ronald Syme. This book was published in 1939 and has stood the test of time.

A more recent title is Rubicon–The Last Years of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland. This book was published in 2003.

Rubicon is a bit more modern in style and worthwhile to read. Though the Syme book remains the standard by which histories of the last years of the Roman Republic and the rise of Augustus are measured.

A quality biography is Caesar–Life Of A Colossus by Adam Goldsworthy.  This book was published in 2006.

Though these events may have been long in the past, the impact of the rise of Caesar and the history of Rome is still felt today.

Here is a comprehensive timeline of Ancient Roman history.

Here are some essays Ancient Rome from the BBC.

(Below—Whoopee! It is Cleopatra and Caesar as painted by Jean-Leon Gerome in 1866.)

March 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment