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Swing State Miss America Contestants—We Can Respect People While Also Objecting To What They Do If We Choose

Here I am the last month at a Cincinnati Reds game with swing state beauty pageant winners.

These ladies recognized me in Cincinnati as the Texas Liberal blogger and approached me for a picture.

The above sentence is a lie.

On the left is Ms. Ohio and on the right is Ms. Pennsylvania.

Miss Ohio is Elissa McCraken of Ada, Ohio. 

Miss Pennsylvania is one Jordyn Colao of Erie.

I know some folks dismiss these folks as shallow or symptomatic of a sexist culture—and of course it is a sexist culture in very many ways—but I wager life is as difficult for the contestants in these pageants as it is for most of us.

I bet many of them come from blue-collar or middle class homes and that winning the contest takes plenty of personal discipline and hard work.

Here is website of the Miss America pageant.

I believe that the division of the nation is so complete that separate Miss America pageants are now held for solid Obama states, solid Romney states and for swing states.

This is why Miss Ohio and Miss Pennsylvania were hanging out together.  Miss North Dakota and Miss Utah must be on some other circuit.

If you are old enough, you can recall that Bert Parks hosted Miss America for many years.

Here is an article about a protest against the Miss World competition in London in 2011.

From that article—

” The Miss World contest doesn’t have a pleasing past as far as its experience with feminist organizations goes. The protest in 1970 against the Miss World Contest in London was a spurring moment in the women’s liberation movement….Girls, will you turn around? host Bob Hope asked the contestants during the live event at London’s Royal Albert Hall so that judges could get a 360-degree view of the participants in bikinis. Hope didn’t have a clue that he was going to be pelted with flour bombs and tomatoes by feminists present in the show. Police later arrested five protesters. Police later arrested five protesters.” 

That is excellent. I wish I had been at that event and seen the protest.

While we need to be respectful of how people live and what people do, we also reserve the right to hold strong opinions and to take actions that we are prepared to accept the consequences of when we disagree with what is taking place.

October 10, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Charles De Gaulle’s Great Speech Of June 18,1940

File:De-gaulle-radio.jpg

June 18, 1940 is the day that General Charles De Gaulle made the speech on the BBC from London that began French resistance to Nazi occupation.

It was a great speech that is still recalled in France and in all places where the great events of World War II are remembered.

(Above–De Gaulle speaking on the BBC during World War II.)

De Gaulle left France in 1940 as an exile and came back four years later to lead France.

France and De Gaulle appeared to have been defeated in 1940. But they were not defeated.

A great two-volume of De Gaulle was written by Jean Lacouture. The first volume is called De Gaulle–The Rebel, 1890-1944Here is a review of that book. The second volume is De Gaulle–The Ruler, 1945-1970.

A good one-volume biography is The Last Great Frenchman–A Life of Charles De Gaulle by Charles Williams.

De Gaulle’s war memoirs are justly well-regarded.

(Below–Some of De Gaulle’s words in French. Photo by Semnoz.)

Here is some biographical information about Charles De Gaulle.

Here is a BBC biography of De Gaulle.

De Gaulle was neither a figure of the political left or right. His loyalty was to France and, sometimes, to the idea of putting on a grand performance on the world stage.  He was often serious and absurd at the same time

What could have been more absurd than the notion of one lone general banished to London after the Nazi overrun of France coming back within a few years as the political master of France?

Charles De Gaulle is a subject that merits your further study. In studying the life of De Gaulle you will learn about French history, World War II, European and Cold War politics of the 1950’s and 60’s, and the bloody battle for Algerian Independence.

You’ll also learn about fighting and winning a fight that seemed at first to be hopeless.

Here is the great speech I referenced above. It is also called the Appeal of June 18—

The leaders who, for many years, were at the head of French armies, have formed a government. This government, alleging our armies to be undone, agreed with the enemy to stop fighting. Of course, we were subdued by the mechanical, ground and air forces of the enemy. Infinitely more than their number, it was the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans which made us retreat. It was the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans that surprised our leaders to the point to bring them there where they are today.

But has the last word been said? Must hope disappear? Is defeat final? No!

Believe me, I speak to you with full knowledge of the facts and tell you that nothing is lost for France. The same means that overcame us can bring us to a day of victory. For France is not alone! She is not alone! She is not alone! She has a vast Empire behind her. She can align with the British Empire that holds the sea and continues the fight. She can, like England, use without limit the immense industry of United States.

This war is not limited to the unfortunate territory of our country. This war is not finished by the battle of France. This war is a world-wide war. All the faults, all the delays, all the suffering, do not prevent there to be, in the world, all the necessary means to one day crush our enemies. Vanquished today by mechanical force, we will be able to overcome in the future by a superior mechanical force.

The destiny of the world is here. I, General of Gaulle, currently in London, invite the officers and the French soldiers who are located in British territory or who would come there, with their weapons or without their weapons, I invite the engineers and the special workers of armament industries who are located in British territory or who would come there, to put themselves in contact with me.

Whatever happens, the flame of the French resistance not must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished. Tomorrow, as today, I will speak on Radio London.

June 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

De Gaulle’s Famous Speech Of June 18, 1940

File:De-gaulle-radio.jpg

June 18, 1940 is the day that General Charles De Gaulle made the speech on the BBC from London that began French resistance to Nazi occupation. It is a great speech that is still recalled in France and in all places where the great events of World War II are remembered.

(Above–De Gaulle speaking on the BBC during World War II.)

De Gaulle left France in 1940 as an exile and came back four years later to lead France.

France and De Gaulle appeared to have been defeated in 1940. But they were not defeated.

A great two-volume of De Gaulle was written by Jean Lacouture. The first volume is called De Gaulle–The Rebel, 1890-1944Here is a review of that book. The second volume is De Gaulle–The Ruler, 1945-1970.

A good one-volume biography is The Last Great Frenchman–A Life of Charles De Gaulle by Charles Williams.

De Gaulle’s war memoirs are justly well-regarded.

(Below–The great speech in French. Photo by Semnoz.)

Here is some biographical information about Charles De Gaulle.

Here is a BBC biography of De Gaulle.

De Gaulle was neither a figure of the political left or right. His loyalty was to France and, sometimes, to the idea of putting on a grand performance on the world stage.  He was often serious and absurd at the same time

What could have been more absurd than the notion of one lone general banished to London after the Nazi overrun of France coming back within a few years as the political master of France?

Charles De Gaulle is a subject that merits your further study. In studying the life of De Gaulle you will learn about French history, World War II, European and Cold War politics of the 1950’s and 60’s, and the bloody battle for Algerian Independence.

You’ll also learn about fighting and winning a fight that seemed at first to be hopeless.

Here is the great speech I referenced above. It is also called the Appeal of June 18—

The leaders who, for many years, were at the head of French armies, have formed a government. This government, alleging our armies to be undone, agreed with the enemy to stop fighting. Of course, we were subdued by the mechanical, ground and air forces of the enemy. Infinitely more than their number, it was the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans which made us retreat. It was the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans that surprised our leaders to the point to bring them there where they are today.

But has the last word been said? Must hope disappear? Is defeat final? No!

Believe me, I speak to you with full knowledge of the facts and tell you that nothing is lost for France. The same means that overcame us can bring us to a day of victory. For France is not alone! She is not alone! She is not alone! She has a vast Empire behind her. She can align with the British Empire that holds the sea and continues the fight. She can, like England, use without limit the immense industry of United States.

This war is not limited to the unfortunate territory of our country. This war is not finished by the battle of France. This war is a world-wide war. All the faults, all the delays, all the suffering, do not prevent there to be, in the world, all the necessary means to one day crush our enemies. Vanquished today by mechanical force, we will be able to overcome in the future by a superior mechanical force.

The destiny of the world is here. I, General of Gaulle, currently in London, invite the officers and the French soldiers who are located in British territory or who would come there, with their weapons or without their weapons, I invite the engineers and the special workers of armament industries who are located in British territory or who would come there, to put themselves in contact with me.

Whatever happens, the flame of the French resistance not must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished. Tomorrow, as today, I will speak on Radio London.

June 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Values Of Sacrifice, Society & Connection Require Our Efforts—At Least In England People Are Fighting Back

In the United Kingdom, people protest when drastic budget cuts raise college tuition by astronomical rates.

Above you see a picture of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker reacting when even the royal car was attacked and knocked about during protests in London.

In the United States, we do nothing at all when one of the two major political parties has no greater concern than tax cuts for the most wealthy in a time of recession and war.

We allow the hours of our lives we spend working and spend caring for the people in our lives to slip away, while the powerful few preach on and on about austerity and tough choices.

Sacrifice has value. We are all part of a society. We are all connected.

These values of sacrifice, society and connection will carry the day only when we work hard and fight back against what is taking place in this nation.

December 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Election Day In The United Kingdom Is May 6—Facts About The U.K. Election

This post has been updated elsewhere on the blog. Thank you for reading Texas Liberal.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called an election for Great Britain for May 6, 2010. The ruling party decides when an election will be contested within the guideline that one must be held at least every five years. Elections may be called before five years if the governing party thinks they can win at a given moment.

(Above—The chamber of the British House of Commons.)

In this election, the ruling Labor Party is looking to win a fourth consecutive term. The Conservative Party currently leads in the polls. A third party, the Liberal Democrats, will also win a number of seats in the House of Commons.

The incumbent Prime Minister is Gordon Brown of the Labor Party. If Labor wins a majority of seats, Mr. Brown will be returned to office.  The Conservative leader is David Cameron. As the leader of the second largest party in the British Parliament, Mr, Cameron is currently leader of the opposition. The leader of the Liberal Democrats is Nick Clegg.

If you click the name of the party leaders in the paragraph above, you will get a profile of each gentleman from the BBC.

(Update—4/17/10—Liberal Democrats are moving up in the polls after a strong debate showing by Nick Clegg.)

(Update–4/19/10–Liberal Democrats now lead in some polls.)

(Update–4/21/10–Conservative newspapers now attacking Liberal Democrats as they advance.)

(Update–4/26/10–A hung parliament still seems very possible.)

(Update–4/28/10–Prime Minister Brown is overheard calling a woman a bigot. The woman was obnoxious and did merit an insult from the Prime Minister. )

(Update–5/1/10–While the Tories appear to have the edge, many outcomes remain possible.)

( Update–5/1/10--Leading newspapers that have in the past endorsed Labor are now supporting the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.)

In the United Kingdom and in a parliamentary system, a vote for your local member of parliament is a vote for which party you’d like to see control the national government. In the United States, voters spilt tickets all the time. In England, if you like your local M.P. but want a Prime Minister of a different party than your M.P, you have a choice to make.

(Below–Prime Minister Brown with his wife Sarah Brown.)

There are 648 seats in the House of Commons. If you win a majority of seats, then your party runs the government. It is also possible that no party will win a majority of seats. Here is a link to what happens if no party wins a majority of seats. Here is a BBC history of Parliaments in the 20th century where no majority was won.

Here is the link to the U.K. Parliament. Here is a list of frequently asked questions about the British Parliament.

(Below—In Wales, Labor has the edge but Conservatives did very well in elections for the European Parliament held last year. The Liberal Democrats and a Welsh nationalist party called Plaid Cymru also have boosters in Wales. Picture is of the Welsh city of Swansea.)

Here are parties with five seats or more in the current line-up of the House—

1. Labor–341

2. Conservative–193

3. Liberal Democrats–63

4. Democratic Unionist Party–8

5. Scottish National Party–7

6. Sinn Fein–7

If you click the name of a party, you’ll get the official web page for that party.

You see that the British House of Commons has many more parties than does the U.S. Congress. The Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein are parties that have to do with the politics of Northern Ireland. The Scottish National Party favors an independent Scotland.

Update–4/20/10—The Scottish Nationalists say a hung parliament would enhance Scottish interests.)

(Below–In Scotland, Labor is the leading party, but there is also strong support for the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party. Conservatives hope to gain in Scotland in 2010. Here is a link to a story about the small Scottish Socialist Party. This party says they hope make Scotland a green socialist place. Sounds good to me. Picture is of the Isle of Skye in Scotland.)

The Liberal Democrats are the perennial third party of British politics. They are not the same as liberal democrats in the United States. Though they are sometimes—though not all the time— to the left of our Democratic Party. Click the Liberal Democrat link above and read more if you wish to understand better. The Liberal Democrats often urge reform of the practices of the House and of how campaigns are financed. It is possible that if neither Labor or the Conservatives win a majority on election day, that the Liberal Democrats could help form a coalition government in exchange for ministerial seats in the new majority.

(Below–David Cameron, in the center of the picture, on the hustings in 2006.)

The Conservatives are still seen by many in the U.K. as the party of the privileged.  That may be, and I would not vote for them if I lived in the U.K., but I do note that when I  visited their web home a few minutes ago there was a plank against the bullying of gay kids in schools and a plank in favor of the National Health Service in Great Britain.  It must be nice to have party of the right that is not fully crazy. However, on the question of British integration into the political structures of Europe, the Conservatives are to the right of the center-right governments that lead Germany and France. This is a position that can lead to immigrant-bashing and Muslim-bashing rhetoric on the campaign trail.

(Below–Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg making what appears to be a campaign stop on the sun.)

Labor moved to the right with the election of Tony Blair in 1997.  Under Mr. Blair’s leadership, Labor gave up on some of the more economically socialist and militant of its positions. Some on the old left resented this, but ,on the other hand, Labor has won three elections in a row beginning in 1997 after the wilderness of the Margaret Thatcher years.

(Below–In Northern Ireland. local issues and local parties will hold sway over national issues that move the election elsewhere. Though if there is a hung parliament, all seats will matter. Picture is of Belfast City Hall.)

The BBC has comprehensive coverage of the election.

(Below–In London, it is a fight between Labor and the Conservatives with other parties playing only a small part.)

C-Span will be broadcasting debates between Mr. Brown, Mr. Cameron and Mr. Clegg. This will be the first time that British party leaders will meet in American-style debates for the top office. At the C-Span site there are also archives of the weekly Question Time sessions in the House. Watch these sessions and you can see the three leaders in action.

(4/16/10 Update—The NY Times writes about the role of immigration in the election as some blue collar British voters decide who to to support. I wish people would stop blaming immigrants for their problems.)

The left-wing Guardian newspaper is covering the election. The Guardian has a regional breakdown of the election that will fill in the facts from the regional pictures I offer in this post.

(Below–In England outside of London, Labor and the Conservatives are the leading parties. Though other parties are not conceding this important area.  The picture is of Stonehenge. The Druid vote might be important in a close contest.)

With the prospect of a change in government or of a hung parliament, the upcoming British election looks to be worth following.

If you feel this post has merit as an introduction to the U.K. election, please forward it on. A blog grows one reader at a time.

April 14, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

De Gaulle’s Great Speech Of June 18, 1940—Learning About Charles De Gaulle

File:De-gaulle-radio.jpg

June 18, 1940 is the day that General Charles De Gaullemade the speech on the BBC from London that began French resistance to Nazi occupation. It is a great speech that is still recalled in France and in all places where the great events of World War II are remembered.

(Above–De Gaulle speaking on the BBC during World War II.)

De Gaulle left France in 1940 as an exile and came back four years later to lead France.

France and De Gaulle appeared to have been defeated in 1940, but they were not defeated.

A great two-volume of De Gaulle was written by Jean Lacouture. The first volume is called De Gaulle–The Rebel, 1890-1944Here is a review of that book. The second volume is De Gaulle–The Ruler, 1945-1970.

A good one-volume biography is The Last Great Frenchman–A Life of Charles De Gaulle by Charles Williams.

De Gaulle’s war memoirs are justly well-regarded.

(Below—De Gaulle on the cover of Life Magazine in 1958.)

Here is some biographical information about Charles De Gaulle.

Here is a BBC biography of De Gaulle.

De Gaulle was neither a figure of the political left or right. His loyalty was to France and, sometimes, to the idea of putting on a grand performance on the world stage.  He was often both serious and absurd at the same time

What could have been more absurd than the notion of one lone general banished to London after the Nazi overrun of France, coming back within a few years as the political master of France?

Charles De Gaulle is a subject that merits your further study. In studying the life of De Gaulle you will learn about French history, World War II, European and Cold War politics of the 1950’s and 60’s, and the bloody battle for Algerian Independence.

You’ll also learn about fighting and winning a fight that seemed at first, in the eyes of many at the time at least, hopeless.

Here is the great speech I referenced above. It is also called the Appeal of June 18—

The leaders who, for many years, were at the head of French armies, have formed a government. This government, alleging our armies to be undone, agreed with the enemy to stop fighting. Of course, we were subdued by the mechanical, ground and air forces of the enemy. Infinitely more than their number, it was the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans which made us retreat. It was the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans that surprised our leaders to the point to bring them there where they are today.

But has the last word been said? Must hope disappear? Is defeat final? No! Continue reading

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding The Time And Discipline Needed To Figure Out What Is Important

The following is from Graham Greene’s The End Of The Affair. The starting point is a meeting between a private detective and a novelist. The Mr. Savage in this excerpt is the detective—

” ‘And if there’s anything more you could tell me that would be relevant?’  I remember Mr. Savage had said—a detective must find it as important as a novelist to amass his trivial materials before picking out the right clue. But how difficult that picking out is–the release of the real subject. The enormous pressure of the real world weighs down on us like a peine forte et dure…..How can I disinter the human character from the heavy scene—the daily newspaper, the daily meal, the traffic grinding toward Battersea, the gulls coming up from the Thames looking for bread, and the early summer of 1939 glinting on the park where the children sailed their boats—one of those bright condemned pre-war summers?”  ( Please see the bottom of the post for what peine forte et dure means and where Battersea is located.)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the time to sit and think— or maybe take a walk and think— and to be able to sift out what’s important from what’s not important or not as important? 

I recall the Japanese Tea Garden (picture below) in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco as a place where I felt I could think. But I’ve only been there once and may never go again.

The time and effort to think things through, must, when all is said and done, be summoned as act of personal discipline and good use of time.

( I’ve looked up what peine forte et dure means–It was a form of punishment for a defendant who refused to plead one way or another to a crime. Heavier and heavier stones would be placed on his chest until he either made a plea or died. Battersea is a section of London running along the River Thames—I had to look that up as well.)

February 4, 2008 Posted by | Books, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment