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Fall Is Here—Please Enjoy All Seasons Of The Year

(Blogger’s Note 9/23/11 –I made this post last year and have updated it just a bit for this year. It looks to me like it took some work, so why not use it again? Thanks for reading Texas Liberal. I hope you enjoy all seasons of the year.) 

September 22 is the first day of fall.

(Above–The 1890 painting Autumn Rain by Julian Alden Weir.)

What exactly is fall?

Here is a definition.

From that defintion–

“The autumnal equinox marks the first day of the fall season. On this day, the Sun is again directly over the earth’s equator, and daylight lasts 12 hours in the Northern Hemisphere and decreasing. This day is typically recognized as September 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the first day of spring is recognized on September 23.”

Though I imagine we all get the idea no matter the specific definition. Even if it is our own idea that we get.

The seasons mean different things to different people and the seasons mean different things depending on where you live.

Here are facts about why leaves change color from the United States National Arboretum.

The seasons may mean something totally different from what we take them to represent in everyday thought.

Martin Luther King once said this—

“The sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.”

Metaphor gives life substance.

Above is a picture taken by Wing-Chi Poon of the Lost Maples State Natural Area in Texas.

This park is in Bandera and Real counties in Texas.  It is yet another resource provided by government for the good of the general public.

I turned 44 a few days ago. I don’t suppose that it is yet the autumn of my years. Maybe it is mid to late summer.

For those who don’t want summer to ever end—No need to worry.

Climate change is real and it will stay warmer more and more as the years pass by.

Summer is my favorite season. I like the heat and the long days because I feel they are the most conducive to creativity and optimism.

Though, of course, fall has many virtues.

In the last few years I lived up north in Cincinnati, fall made me apprehensive because the short cold days of winter that were approaching struck me as depressing.

Now that I am in Texas, I would enjoy at least a few crisp autumn days.

This makes me yet another person to observe that we only know what we are missing until after the fact.

Houston is often very hot and first day of fall does not mean so much. It’s greatest meaning may be that hurricanes rarely strike this part of the country after the third week of September.

How should we note the first day of fall? Should we conduct a sacrifice?

No. I think that would be somewhat severe.

Instead, let us mark the new season by being kind to others.

I think that would be best for all seasons of the year.

(Below—Autumn at Tsaritsyano Park in Moscow. Picture taken by Корзун Андрей.)

September 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Every Day Is The Right Day To Be Hopeful—2011 Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List

File:Martin-Luther-King-1964-leaning-on-a-lectern.jpg

Blogger’s Note–April 4, 2011 marks 43 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King.  To mark the day with hope instead of just the memory of the killing, here is my 2011 Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. Every day is the right day to be hopeful. This is the fourth edition of the list. I update it each January with new titles. A comprehensive study of Rev. King’s life will convey just how radical he was. It is essential that we as liberals study the past to understand the lessons of history, and, also, the spiritual and intellectual underpinnings of our beliefs.  Don’t believe the lies that Martin Luther King was some type of soothing figure of reconciliation who wanted no more than for people to just get along.  Dr. King demanded social and economic justice for all.  Rev. King’s message is very much needed today as the poor and middle class alike are under attack from a revived far-right. We must take action ourselves to keep Rev. King’s vision alive. Nobody will do the work of freedom for us. Each individual must make the decision to work with others for a more fair and just society.

While it is always instructive to watch a rebroadcast or listen to a recording of the I Have A Dream speech, there is a next level for someone who wants to better understand Martin Luther King and his message.

Reverend King asked serious questions about America as a war criminal nation in Vietnam. He asked if America merited divine judgement as a wicked nation of racism and social inequality.  These questions are as relevant as ever as America is engaged in endless war and as income inequality grows.

It is within your power to bring about a better world. You have the ability to understand complex things. Learn about what a true prophet of justice Martin Luther King was in our society. After you learn more about Dr. King, take action yourself  toaddress the great pressing social problems of American life, and to address conditions in our world as a whole.

Here is an admittedly incomplete, but I hope useful, Martin Luther King viewing, visiting, listening, and reading list.

An excellent book is Martin & Malcolm & America—A Dream Or A Nightmare by James H. Cone. This book follows the words and the careers of both these men. The premiseof the book, which holds up in the telling, is that Dr. King and Malcolm X were not as far apart as often portrayed. Malcolm was a man with a broader vision than one of simple racial solidarity, and King was in many respects a fierce and almost apocalyptic critic of America.

( Below–Martin & Malcolm)

File:MLK and Malcolm X USNWR cropped.jpg

I’m glad to say I bought my copy of Cone’s book at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.  This site is operated by theNational Park Service. You can tour Martin Luther King’s boyhood home at this location. You’ll also want to tour the Auburn Avenue Historic District around the King home.

(Below—Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. This was King’s home church.)

In Washington, when you visit the Lincoln Memorial (photo below), you can find a small marker indicating the exact spot where Rev. King made the “Dream” speech. It is a good place to stand.

The best one volume work on King’s life is David Garrow’s Bearing The Cross—Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Bearing The Cross was the 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner for biography.  You can’t help but feel the deep-sea like pressure on Dr. King in the final years of his life. I wondered if towards the end of his life King felt  death would be the only true escape from the exhaustion, the misunderstandings and the conflicts.

An interesting DVD is King–Man Of Peace In A Time Of War. Much of the hour long presentation is a rehash of King biography. What makes this special is a roughly 15 minute interview Dr. King did with afternoon television host Mike Douglas.  Mr. Douglas asked tough questions about Dr. King’s stance against the Vietnam War and about the effect of that opposition on the Civil Rights movement. Dr. King is calm, cool and collected. You could see how King was a leader who could speak anywhere and to anyone.

A solid explanation of Reverend King’s theology and a good analysis on the failure of Southern segregationists to mount an even more aggressive opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, can be found in A Stone Of Hope—Prophetic Religion And The Death Of Jim Crow by David L. Chappell.

A Testament Of Hope—The Essential Writings And Speeches Of Martin Luther King, Jr is needed for a complete King library. In honesty though, I’ve always found this book to be sprawling and without  clear focus. It consists of King sermons, some interviews and excerpts from his books. You need to have it on your shelf, but there are more concise ways to get at the “essential” King. Continue reading

April 4, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 4 Comments

What To Do When Visting Houston For The Final Four—Some Excellent Suggestions

The college basketball Final Four will be played in Houston. The event begins on Saturday, April 2 and ends on Monday, April 4.

(Above–Basketball. Here is a useful history of basketball.)

What should folks visiting Houston do while in our city for the Final Four?

I have some suggestions.

1.  Thank every person you see in Harris County for helping to pay for Reliant Stadium. Even if the money comes from car rental and hotel taxes, it is still money that belongs to the people of Harris County.  Our county has a big budget shortfall right now that will involve vital services being cut. Still, even if some folks can’t  get mental health counseling anymore , we at least have plenty of taxpayer subsidized sports facilities.

People at the games are free to start chants in favor of socialism as they enjoy the Final Four.

2. Arrive in Houston early and attend the Harris County Green Party fundraiser to be held at 8:00 PM on Thursday, March 31 at Bohemeo’s. Bohemeo’s is located at 708 Telephone Rd. in Houston. We deserve other options than just the two major parties.

3. Visit our newly renovated Downtown Houston Public Library. The library had plenty of books for you to read.

4. April 4th marks the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King. ( Please click here for the best Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List on the web.) The well-known Rothko Chapel features a sculpture outside the building that honors Reverend King.  The Rothko Chapel is located at 3900 Yupon Street.

(Below–Rothko Chapel. Photo by Argos’Dad.)

5. Drive 50 miles down the road and visit Galveston, Texas. There is a lot of history in Galveston and there is plenty to do. Galveston is working to recover from Hurricane Ike and your visit will be most welcomed. One of the very best attractions in Galveston is the free Bolivar Ferry. This boat trip runs about 25 minutes each way between Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula.  You can park the car and walk on board. Or you can drive on and explore Bolivar.

(Below–View from the Bolivar Ferry. Picture taken by myself.)

The Bolivar Chamber of Commerce thinks the ferry is wonderful. I’m glad to see this Chamber favors the Texas Department of Transportation money that keeps the ferry free to all.

In any case, provisional on your ability to drive in a civilized fashion if you are renting a car, and contingent on your willingness to tip well given that you have enough money to attend these basketball games, welcome to Houston.

March 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bomb Found At Spokane Martin Luther King Parade

A bomb was found Monday along the Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane, Washington.

(Above—The Houston Public Library Mobile Express vehicle at the 2011 Houston Martin Luther King parade.  Learning is a lot better than trying to kill people.)

The bomb were discovered and defused before the parade began. The bomb was discovered by Spokane city workers.

These city workers saved people’s lives. While attacking public employees is all the rage at the moment, we should recall that government employees help us in many ways, and that Martin Luther King died while fighting for public sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee.

The bomb had a remote detonator. The FBI says that the bomb had the potential to do a great deal of harm.

While no person has been arrested for this crime, it does seem conceivable that this was an act of right-wing domestic terror.

My friend Errington Thompson at the blog Where’s The Outrage? has also posted on this subject. Errington’s post has an extansive list of act sof  violence committed by the American right since 2008.

I’m glad to be a contributing blogger at Where’s The Outrage?

Right-wing hate speech in an ongoing threat in our nation. While most people draw the line at violence, it just takes a few extremists for bad things to happen.

For a sense of Martin Luther King represented, please check out my Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List.

January 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List—Updated For 2011

File:Martin-Luther-King-1964-leaning-on-a-lectern.jpg

Blogger’s Note—This is the fourth edition of the Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. There are three additions for 2011.

While it is always instructive to watch a rebroadcast or listen to a recording of the I Have A Dream speech, there is a next level for someone who wants to better understand Martin Luther King and his message.

Reverend King asked serious questions about America as a war criminal nation in Vietnam. He asked if America merited divine judgement as a wicked nation of racism and social inequality.  These questions are as relevant as ever as America is engaged in endless war and as income inequality grows.

It is within your power to bring about a better world. You have the ability to understand complex things. Learn about what a true prophet of justice Martin Luther King was in our society. After you learn more about Dr. King, take action yourself  toaddress the great pressing social problems of American life, and to address conditions in our world as a whole.

Here is an admittedly incomplete, but I hope useful, Martin Luther King viewing, visiting, listening, and reading list.

An excellent book is Martin & Malcolm & America—A Dream Or A Nightmare by James H. Cone. This book follows the words and the careers of both these men. The premiseof the book, which holds up in the telling, is that Dr. King and Malcolm X were not as far apart as often portrayed. Malcolm was a man with a broader vision than one of simple racial solidarity, and King was in many respects a fierce and almost apocalyptic critic of America.

( Below–Martin & Malcolm)

File:MLK and Malcolm X USNWR cropped.jpg

I’m glad to say I bought my copy of Cone’s book at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.  This site is operated by theNational Park Service. You can tour Martin Luther King’s boyhood home at this location. You’ll also want to tour the Auburn Avenue Historic District around the King home.

(Below—Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. This was King’s home church.)

In Washington, when you visit the Lincoln Memorial (photo below), you can find a small marker indicating the exact spot where Rev. King made the “Dream” speech. It is a good place to stand.

The best one volume work on King’s life is David Garrow’s Bearing The Cross—Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Bearing The Cross was the 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner for biography.  You can’t help but feel the deep-sea like pressure on Dr. King in the final years of his life. I wondered if towards the end of his life King felt  death would be the only true escape from the exhaustion, the misunderstandings and the conflicts.

An interesting DVD is King–Man Of Peace In A Time Of War. Much of the hour long presentation is a rehash of King biography. What makes this special is a roughly 15 minute interview Dr. King did with afternoon television host Mike Douglas.  Mr. Douglas asked tough questions about Dr. King’s stance against the Vietnam War and about the effect of that opposition on the Civil Rights movement. Dr. King is calm, cool and collected. You could see how King was a leader who could speak anywhere and to anyone.

A solid explanation of Reverend King’s theology and a good analysis on the failure of Southern segregationists to mount an even more aggressive opposition to the Civil Rights Movement, can be found in A Stone Of Hope—Prophetic Religion And The Death Of Jim Crow by David L. Chappell.

A Testament Of Hope—The Essential Writings And Speeches Of Martin Luther King, Jr is needed for a complete King library. In honesty though, I’ve always found this book to be sprawling and without  clear focus. It consists of King sermons, some interviews and excerpts from his books. You need to have it on your shelf, but there are more concise ways to get at the “essential” King.

(Photo below is Rev. King with Coretta Scott King.)

New Listings for 2009

A quality children’s book on King is Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. The writing in this book is clear and concise and respectful of the intellect of children. It’s a great introduction to King and a gateway to further studies by young people.

A comprehensive examination of King’s radical views on economic questions can be found in From Civil Rights to Human Rights—Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice by Thomas F. Jackson. King had leanings towards forms of socialism and came to see the fight for fair wages as an essential element in the fight for full human rights. It should not be forgotten that King died in Memphis fighting for striking sanitation workers.

A web resource to learn about King is the Martin Luther King, Jr, Research and Education Institute that is run by Stanford University. There are King sermons and addresses you can read and a link to a King Online Encyclopedia.  (These things said, there is nothing as good as having you own printed collection of King sermons that you can take anywhere.)

New Listings for 2010—

Beacon Publishing in Boston has re-released two titles written by King. The books are available in both paperback and hardcover and are attractively  presented.

The titles are

Stride Toward Freedom–The Montgomery Story.

Where Do We Go From Here–Chaos Or Community?

Beacon describes Where Do We Go From Here in this way—

“In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., isolated himself from the demands of the civil rights movement, rented a house in Jamaica with no telephone, and labored over his final manuscript. In this significantly prophetic work, which has been unavailable for more than ten years, we find King’s acute analysis of American race relations and the state of the movement after a decade of civil rights efforts. Here he lays out his thoughts, plans, and dreams for America’s future, including the need for better jobs, higher wages, decent housing, and quality education. With a universal message of hope that continues to resonate, King demanded an end to global suffering, powerfully asserting that humankind-for the first time-has the resources and technology to eradicate poverty.”

Construction has begun in Washington of a King Memorial on the National Mall. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

The Memorial has a web home. At this site, you can find a video of what the memorial will look like and a history of the project.

New Listings for 2011–

King–-The Photobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr by Charles Johnson and Bob Adelman is a top-notch photo record of the life of Rev. King. It’s necessary that you read Dr King’s words and understand what he was saying.  It also has great value to see King as he battled the Southern sheriffs and as he marched with the people.

Powerful Days—The Civil Rights Photography of Charles Moore helps place Dr. King in context as part of a much larger movement.  We can’t forget that the Civil rights movement was, when all was said and done, led by average Americans who demanded that our nation finally live up to its founding ideas.

Going Down Jericho Road–The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign by Michael Honey reminds us that King died in Memphis fighting for the rights and wages of city sanitation workers. As I write this in early 2011, public employees are being blamed by some for the economic hard times we are facing. Don’t be tricked. Public employees are our fellow working people and Martin Luther King gave his life to make sure that they would be treated with dignity and respect.

There are three reference sources on Dr. King that stand out as best.

Here are the three—

Strength To Love is the best collection King sermons. It is a concise manageable book. You can cram it in your back pocket or in your purse. ( A larger purse at least.) I think you could read nothing but this one 158 page book, and know everything you need to know about Martin Luther King.

The audio collection of King’s sermons called  A Knock At Midnight might change your life. Stick the CD’s in your car stereo or listen to them at home and you’ll hear  King just as he was—Mighty and frail at the same time. I’ve listened to the sermons on Knock many times and they never get old. You can’t help but learn something or see an old question a new way each time you listen.

The definitive books on Martin Luther King’s life and the Civil Rights era are found in Taylor Branch’s three-volume America In The King Years series.

These three books are the Pulitzer Prize winning  Parting The Waters 1954-1963Pillar Of Fire 1963-1965, and At Canaan’s Edge, 1965-1968.

(Photo below is of Rosa Parks being booked during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.)

These books stand not only at the top of King biography, they stand as great examples of American biography. The picture of Dr. King is complete. You get the good and the bad. There will be times you’ll shake your head and ask yourself how Rev. King could have said that or done that.

You’ll also see how brave King was and how brave the Civil Rights marchers and protesters were. You’ll get a clear sense of the obstacles faced not just from whites, but from status quo blacks as well.  Mr. Branch offers a great deal of context for King’s life and experiences. He provides full portraits of other great Civil Rights leaders.

I can’t recommend all three volumes strongly enough. Read them and you’ll be an expert.

Please click here for a Texas Liberal post on King’s sermon Unfulfilled Dreams

January 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The First Day Of Fall Is Upon Us

September 22 is the first day of fall.

(Above–The 1890 painting Autumn Rain by Julian Alden Weir.)

What exactly is fall?

Here is a definition.

From that defintion–

“The autumnal equinox marks the first day of the fall season. On this day, the Sun is again directly over the earth’s equator, and daylight lasts 12 hours in the Northern Hemisphere and decreasing. This day is typically recognized as September 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the first day of spring is recognized on September 23.”

Though I imagine we all get the idea no matter the specific definition. Even if it is our own idea that we get.

The seasons mean different things to different people and the seasons mean different things depending on where you live.

Here are facts about why leaves change color from the United States National Arboretum.

The seasons may mean something totally different from what we take them to represent in everyday thought.

Martin Luther King once said this—

“The sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.”

Metaphor gives life substance.

Above is a picture taken by Wing-Chi Poon of the Lost Maples State Natural Area in Texas.

I had not heard of this Lost Maples place before I started writing this post. It is not at all like what I see in Houston.

Isn’t it excellent that the world is full of different places? There is so much to see and to learn.

This park is in Bandera and Real counties in Texas.  It is yet another resource provided by government for the good of the general public.

I turned 44 a few days ago. I don’t suppose that it is yet the autumn of my years. Maybe it is mid to late summer.

For those who don’t want summer to ever end—No need to worry.

Climate Change is real and it will stay warmer more and more as the years pass by.

Summer is my favorite season. I like the heat and the long days because I feel they are the most conducive to creativity and optimism.

Though, of course, fall has many virtues.

In the last few years I lived up north in Cincinnati, fall made me apprehensive because the short cold days of winter that were approaching struck me as depressing.

Now that I am in Texas, I would enjoy at least a few crisp autumn days.

This makes me yet another person to observe that we only know what we are missing until after the fact.

Houston is often very hot and first day of fall does not mean so much. It’s greatest meaning may be that hurricanes rarely strike this part of the country after the third week of September.

How should we note the first day of fall? Should we conduct a sacrifice?

No. I think that would be somewhat severe.

Instead, let us mark the new season by being kind to others.

I think that would be best for all seasons of the year.

(Below—Autumn at Tsaritsyano Park in Moscow. Picture taken by Корзун Андрей.)

September 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anniversary Of Dream Speech A Good Time To Learn More About Full Legacy Of Martin Luther King

(Blogger’s Note—With this weekend being the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream Speech, it seems like a good time to repost this M.L. King Reading & Reference list. I update this list each year in January with new additions. Many are familiar with the Dream Speech. That’s good. But King had much more to say on many topics. Please consider taking the time to learn more about the full message of Martin Luther King.)

This is the third edition of the Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. There are three additions for 2010.

While it is always instructive to watch a rebroadcast or listen to a recording of the I Have A Dream speech,  there is a next level for someone who wants to better understand Dr. King and his message.

Reverend King asked serious questions about America as a war criminal nation in Vietnam and he asked if America  merited divine judgement as a wicked nation of racism and social inequality.  These questions, even in the time of Barack Obama, are still worthy of consideration.

Here is an admittedly incomplete, but I hope useful, Martin Luther King viewing, visiting, listening, and reading list.

An excellent book is Martin & Malcolm & America—A Dream Or A Nightmare by James H. Cone. This book follows the words and the careers of both these men. The premise, which holds up, is that Dr. King and Malcolm X (photo below) were not as far apart as sometimes portrayed. Malcolm was a man with a broader vision than one of simple racial solidarity, and King was in many respects a fierce and almost apocalyptic critic of America.

I’m glad to say I bought my copy of Cone’s book at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia.  This site is operated by theNational Park Service. You can tour Martin Luther King’s boyhood home at this location. You’ll also want to tour the Auburn Avenue Historic District around the King home. Continue reading

August 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

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

What Does The Tea Party Represent?—Will Centrists & Independents Support Tea Party Backed Republicans?

Above you see what the Tea Party presents itself to the public. The billboard you see here was paid for by a Tea Party group in Iowa.

Is President Obama as bad as Hitler or Stalin? Is he for genocide and putting people in camps?

I’m very liberal. I’m not going to vote for any Republicans in the upcoming November elections. I’m upfront about this fact.

If you’re somebody who could vote either way depending on the candidates and the office up for election, you’ve got to decide what you’re going to do.

Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, who is up for reelection, recently said that he would support lawsuits looking to see if President Obama was really born in the United States.

The economy is a mess and Louisiana is under siege from all the BP oil, yet this is what Senator Vitter is talking about. This is how beholden Republicans are to the Tea Party/far right wing agenda.

A few days ago the NAACP passed a resolution saying that the Tea Party has racist elements.

Let’s say you don’t agree with this or that you don’t like the NAACP. Fine.

See what you think, however, of the Tea Party response to the NAACP’s assertion

“You’re dealing with people who are professional race-baiters, who make a very good living off this kind of thing. They make more money off of race than any slave trader ever. It’s time groups like the NAACP went to the trash heap of history where they belong with all the other vile racist groups that emerged in our history,”

The NAACP is not some revolutionary outfit.  They don’t profit off race as did slave traders. They are not a “vile racist group” like some other groups in our American history.

The Tea Party, lead by Glen Beck, is going to hold a rally next month at the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have A Dream speech.

Why would the Tea Party they do this other than to mock the memory of the day? What’s the point but to anger people? A rally could be held any other day and any other place.

It seems apparent Democrats will lose seats in Congress in 2010.  Democrats are not going to be promoting a big agenda in the next session of Congress regardless of whether they hold on to their Congressional majorities or not.  

The Republicans seem to be almost fully under the thumb of their most extreme ideological supporters.

Such as the Texas Congressman, Joe Barton, who apologized to BP.

Such as Republican Kentucky U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul who said that private business places should not be forced to serve black people.

Such as Republican Nevada U.S. Senate nominee Sharron Angle who seemingly has called for violence if Democrats hold on to Congress.

I predict that these Tea Party supporters will prove to be far to the right, that many politically centrist and independent Americans will choose not to support Republicans in the 2010 elections.

The Tea Party represents an angry ideological extremism out of step with the majority of Americans.

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

Hellhound On His Trail Is Useful Addition To The Study Of Martin Luther King—Extreme Right-Wing Views Remain A Threat

An addition to my Martin Luther King Reading & Reference list for the next year will be Hellhound On His Trail–The Stalking Of Martin Luther King Jr. And The International Hunt For His Assassin. This book is written by Hampton Sides.

This book is an account of how James Earl Ray, living as an escaped convict with the alias of Eric Starvo Galt, plotted the death of Dr. King.

(Above–James Earl Ray.)

Martin Luther King was killed on April 4, 1968.

I’ve long found the shooting of Rev. King to be an emotional subject and I’ve  avoided the topic as I’ve studied King. When in Memphis, Tennessee 12 years ago, I did not visit the Lorraine Motel. The Lorraine is where King was killed as he stood on a balcony.( There is now a museum at this location)

I was just a few blocks from the Lorraine while I was in Memphis. I just did not figure that seeing where King had died would add to my knowledge. I did not want to see such a terrible spot.

I decided to read Hellhound after reading a review written by Janet Maslin in the New York Times. Here is the Maslin review.

(The book was released in conjunction with a PBS documentary on Ray and King called Roads To Memphis. I have not watched this show. Roads can be watched online at the PBS web home.)

In Hellhound, the narrative details the months leading up to King’s shooting by following the lives of both King and Ray. There is no mystery in the outcome—Ray will kill King in Memphis. But the story is told with such discipline and with such an inevitable detail-by-detail push towards a tragedy  you wish you could stop, that you feel caught up in the event. There are also chapters in the book detailing the Civil rights movement after King’s death and, as the title of the book suggests, the search for Ray after he pulled the trigger.

( The Washington Post review of Hellhound, written by King scholar David Garrow, has links to two books previously written on King’s assassination.)

While it is no surprise that Ray had been a volunteer for the 1968 presidential campaign of segregationist  George Wallace, it is hard not get angry that a man in many ways indistinguishable from someone today attending a Tea Party rally or calling Rush Limbaugh, could do such harm. It is a reminder  that racist views and racist people can’t safely be dismissed even as much as we would like to tune them out.

This is the virtue of the book beyond the value it has as a well-told story. You must remain involved and aware. Not is some crazy vigilante sense–but in the regard that your actions in life help lessen the hate we have in this society. And that when the  hate can’t be stopped, you must make an ongoing effort to be on the side of justice and concern for others.

Ray’s alias of “Galt” may have come from a character in a novel by the brutal Ayn Rand. Ms. Rand wrote novels of extreme free market economics that extolled the virtues of being a selfish person. The connection between these law of the jungle economic views and States Rights’ racism can be found easily enough in the collection of political stands held by many in the Tea Party movement and in the Republican Party today.

Hellhound does not deal much with the idea of the King Assassination as a conspiracy. I would not have read this book had that angle been the focus. All we have to do is look at the hatred we see in our society today to know that the foundation is always in place for bad acts to be committed.

I recommend Hellhound as a well-told story, as a useful report on an important event in American history, and as a reminder of both the progress made and the work still to be done in the never-ending fight to make America a more just and decent society.

The good news is that there are many millions of people in our nation and in our world who know right from wrong, and who make being a decent person a big part of they are both in their political and personal lives.

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Every Drive I Take Is A Freedom Ride With My Martin Luther King License Plate

Every time I drive my car, I am taking a freedom ride.

This is because I have my Martin Luther King license plate in the front windshield of my car.

I bought this excellent item in Atlanta 15 years ago when I drove to that city to see the home where Rev. King lived, and to see the other sites connected to Martin Luther King.

The license plate says—“In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. The spirit of freedom, justice and human dignity.”

Every day is the right day to live the values of Martin Luther King. These every day values can be expressed in the great and strong words Dr. King used. Or they can be expressed in a front windshield.

You see that in this picture the sun is shining on this message of hope and freedom.

Please click here for my Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List. This is the best such list on the web.

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 3 Comments

42 Years Since Death Of Martin Luther King—Learn More About Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King was shot and killed 42 years ago today.

Rev. King died April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.

It is always the right time to think about the life of Martin Luther King.

A good way to learn about Rev. King would be to click this link to the third edition of my Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List.

This is the best such resource on the web.

Dr. King was and is far more than just the I Have A Dream Speech.

Take the time needed to learn about Dr. King.

Learning more about Rev. King will inform you on how to conduct yourself as an individual in a difficult world, and on how to see yourself as a member of our complex society.

April 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Martin Luther King Died Helping Working People

Above is a picture of a City of Houston garbage truck that I took at a Houston Martin Luther King parade two weeks ago.

The truck has a sign noting that Reverend King died while helping striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee.

We should recall Reverend King died helping average working people just like you and me.

All work has value. All working people merit respect. When you don’t respect working people, it is as if you don’t respect yourself.

The fact that so many people don’t respect themselves helps explain in part why this society is so messed-up.

How can they respect others when they do not respect themselves?

Here is my Martin Luther King Reading  & Reference List. It is the best such resource on the web.

A book about Reverend King in Memphis is Going Down Jericho Road—The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign. This book is by Michael K. Honey.

I can’t include Jericho Road in my King list since I have not yet read the book, but it is well-reviewed.

Here is the Facebook page of the City of Houston Solid Waste Management division.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Farouk Shami—Jerusalem Is Not In Texas

Farouk Shami is a wealthy businessperson who is spending a lot of money to run as a Democratic primary candidate for Governor of Texas.

The primary will be this upcoming March 2nd.

Here is the web home of the Shami campaign.

Above is a picture of Mr. Shami and myself. This picture was taken a few hours ago.

I heard Mr. Shami speak at Martin Luther King Day festivities here in Houston.

He struck an economically populist tone in his remarks.

He was clear that he viewed himself as a racially inclusive candidate.

These are things that I want to hear.

Unfortunately, Mr. Shami was not disciplined in his remarks and I feel this absence of discipline will make it difficult for him to win the primary or move the agenda in Texas to the left.

For example, Mr. Shami said this afternoon that people will not have to pay electricity bills in two years because of his policies on solar power.

This does not seem likely.

Mr. Shami made reference to a gimmick he has going that if 100,000 Texas jobs are not created in his first two years as Governor, he’ll resign and give the State of Texas 10 million dollars.

What is that all about? How is that serious stuff?

Please look at the picture at the top of this post.

Mr. Shami is wearing a scarf.

That is fine. You don’t have to be Audrey Hepburn to pull off a scarf.

The problem is what the scarf says. On one side it says “Palestine” and on the other side it says “Jerusalem is ours.”

I read that scarf and I thought to myself—“Isn’t this race difficult enough for you already?”

You’re a guy named Farouk Shami running for Governor of Texas against a strong primary opponent.

So in addition to all that, you offer your views on an emotional issue that has nothing to do with Texas?

I wish Mr. Shami would run a focused campaign that would productively discuss issues that maybe an establishment candidate like former Houston Mayor Bill White will not likely discuss.

Mr. White is the leading contender in the primary.

There is a room for economic populism and for a strong challenge to Mr. White in the March primary.

Regretfully, Mr. Shami does not yet seem the right person to fill these roles.

Bill White appears to be the best option for positive change in Texas in 2010 and beyond.

(Blogger’s Note—This is the first in my “*Texas Primary Post Of The Day” series. ( *Posts will not appear each day.) If you have an idea for a post or a candidate you would like me to support, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.)

Below—Not part of Texas. Though at one point there was a Jerusalem, Texas.

January 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

When And Where Is The 2010 Houston Martin Luther King Parade?—I Will Tell You

When and where is the Houston Martin Luther King Parade for 2010?

It begins on Monday, January 18 at 10 AM at the intersection of Allen Parkway & Taft.

Here is the web home of the parade.

How can one learn more about Martin Luther King?

One way to begin learning more about Dr. King is to read my Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List.

This list is the best such resource on the web.

Please have an excellent Martin Luther King Day for 2010.

January 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments