Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Up High & At Sea Level In Seattle

Above is a picture I took in the summer of 2010 from the top of the Space Needle in Seattle.

Below is the ship that was docked at the grain terminal in the right center of the top picture.

Different vantage points offer diferent perspectives.

Both photos copyright Neil Aquino.

December 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Flights In Last 18 Months—We Can Always Book The Next Flight Even If The Last Flight Was Turbulent

Flights I’ve taken—all of which began in Houston— in last 18 months:

1. 2/10–Routine trip home to Cincinnati to see parents and friends.

(Above–The Ohio River is still hazy from the sky right before you are told to turn off all electronic devices on your approach to Cincinnati.)

2. 3/10– Unexpected trip to Chicago for a family death on wife’s side.

3. 7/10–Routine trip to Cincinnati to see parents and friends.

4 7/10—Vacation to Seattle with wife.

(Below–Between Houston and Seattle. Though, as you might guess, this is much closer to Seattle than it is to Houston.)

5. 1/11–Visit with ill father in Cincinnati. Also saw friends.

6. 3/11–Visit to ill father in Cincinnati and death of father. Also saw friends.

7. 8/11–Trip to R.I. with wife to help put dad’s ashes in sea. Saw family. It was also a vacation.

8. 8/11–Trip home to Cincinnati next week to see mom and friends.

If we stay the course—and get can a window seat on the airplane since I enjoy seeing what the world looks like from the air—we can make progress in life and enjoy life even when things don’t always go as we would wish. We can always book the next flight even if the previous flight was turbulent.

(Below–Clouds looks pretty much the same no matter where you are in the sky.)

August 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

While Circumstance Matters, It Is Best Not To Allow Others To Construct Your Reality

Fort Adams State Park, Newport, Rhode Island

Galveston Seawall

Downtown Houston

Alki Beach area of Seattle

Galveston Seawall

Tony Marron Park in Houston  

Serpentine Wall leading to the Ohio River in Cincinnati   

(All photos copyright Neil Aquino.)

Just because there is a staircase does not mean we’ve been offered a chance to move on up, or that there is a way out of a place we don’t want to be.

I suppose in some cases you could see these staircases as offering a way out. At least if you can swim through strong currents to reach the staircases.

While context matters and sometimes we are in a circumstance not of our own making, it is best—with help from others since we need not be alone—to make a world of our own construction instead of allowing someone else to define our world and our options.

The good thing is that we can strive for a society where people work together to find a way out of places that may seem to have no exit, or that appear to lead no place at all.

August 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Staircases To Nowhere—I Have Confidence You Can Find An Alternate Route

(Below–Galveston Seawall.)

(Below–Downtown Houston.)

(Below–The Alki Beach area of Seattle.)

(Below–Galveston Seawall.)

(Below–Tony Morrow Park in Houston.)  

(Below— Serpentine Wall leading to the Ohio River in Cincinnati.)   

(All photos copyright Neil Aquino.)

The good news is that most often we can find an alternate route.

Don’t let other people construct your world.

June 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just Because There Are Stairs Does Not Mean There Is A Way To Move Up—Maybe You Can Build Your Own Staircase

Just because there are stairs, does not mean you have a real chance to move on up.

(Below–Galveston Seawall.)

(Below–Downtown Houston.)

(Below–The Alki Beach area of Seattle.)

(Below–Galveston Seawall.)

(All photos copyright Neil Aquino.)

any people work very hard and yet they just can’t seem to advance.

Here is a series of articles from the liberal political magazine The American Prospect discussing the difficulties of the middle class in the U.S. and offering ideas on how to make the situation better.

There are many ways in life we might feel that the chance to move up is somehow frustrated or blocked.

In these cases, you’ll just have to try to build your own staircase.

For example, I met my need to communicate my ideas to others by becoming a blogger.

I don’t mean to neglect the role of circumstance in life.

It is a fact of life that sometimes the staircase of existence has been knocked loose or leads no place but underwater. A lot of talk about pulling yourself by your so-called bootstraps is junk. Life is sometimes rigged for the good of the few and at the expense of the many.

One good way to build a staircase for yourself is to have some help. Help might come from friends and family. Help might come from the government in the form of assistance for education or with a grant of some kind.

Maybe you can build a staircase that others will use as well.

Without forgetting that sometimes stuff is just not going to work out, you still need to make use of the life that you have.

The good thing is that things in life often work out for the best, and that there are many people out there who share your goals and who are willing to help.

February 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Republican Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack Attacks Free Enterprise—Republican Alaska Addicted To Federal Money As Dope Fiend Is Addicted To Drugs

Picture Of The Day— Above you see a picture of the Seattle Fisherman’s Memorial that I took last month.

From the web page for this memorial

“In 1988, the Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial dedicated this magnificent bronze and stone aggregate monument at Seattle’s Fishermen’s Terminal. The celebration culminated years of effort and generous contribution by Seattle’s commercial fishing community. This towering sculpture and the bronze name plaques at its base have become a place of reverence, recognition and healing for the families of more than 675 local commercial fishermen and women who have lost their lives pursuing their livelihood since the turn of the century.”

Our food does not appear on our plates by magic. Fish, at least those not raised on a fish farm, need to be caught out in the dangerous open water.

It’s good when we honor our fellow working people. We can’t have true respect for ourselves if we don’t have respect for our fellow working people.

Link Of The Day— No matter what they tell you, folks in Alaska love federal money from Washington D.C. They are addicted to this money. They are creations of this money. They are dependent on this money. The people of Alaska are not rugged enough and tough enough to get by unless they  get a lot more federal money than they send to Washington in taxes. A lot of people up there in Alaska go on and on about how they hate the federal government. Yet at the same time, like a drug fiend needing heroin, they take as much federal money as they can get.  They are crazed for the this money. They’ll never stop asking for this money because they can’t exist without this money.

From the New York Times—

“Backed by a blue row of saw-toothed mountain peaks, the Republican state lawmaker Carl Gatto finds himself on a fine roll. Roll it back, he says, roll back this entire socialistic experiment in federal hegemony. Give us control of our land, let us drill and mine, and please don’t let a few belugas get in the way of a perfectly good bridge. “I’ve introduced legislation to roll back the federal government,” he says. “They don’t have solutions; they just have taxes.” And what of the federal stimulus, from which Alaska receives the most money per capita in the nation? Would he reject it? Mr. Gatto, 72 and wiry, smiles and shakes his head: “I’ll give the federal government credit: they sure give us a ton of money. For every $1 we give them in taxes for highways, they give us back $5.76.”

Texas Link Of The Day— Harris County Republican County Commissioner Steve Radack wants more government now to help fight pollution in the county. This call by Mr. Radack is based on his belief that the private sector must be monitored, regulated, and forced by the police powers of the state to do the right thing.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Mr. Radack wants to see a new environmental police unit to fight private industry pollution in Harris County. At current, pollution control in the county is done by the Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services.

Here is what Mr. Radack says—

“In the unincorporated area you’ve got people who are committing crimes as far as pollution is concerned and pretty much operating with impunity because of the way that department is being run,” Radack said. The county had a separate pollution control department from 1971 to 1998, when it was folded into Public Health and is one of nine divisions. Radack said that if the Court approves restoring it as a separate unit, it could and should be done quickly. “(Pollution) kills and injures people, livestock, pets,” Radack said. “It’s a very important aspect of law enforcement.

Given Mr. Radack’s views on this question, does it follow that he believes government regulation is needed in many aspects of the economy to police private sector abuses?

Logic would insist that the above assertion is just what Mr. Radack holds to be true.

August 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Follow The Lighthouse To Marcee Stone’s Campaign In The 34th House District Of Washington

As regular readers of the blog may have noticed, I enjoy the ocean. I often make posts about ships and sea creatures.

Last week in Seattle, I saw the political yard sign you see above.

I saw that sign and said to myself that if I were to run for office, this is just the type of sign I would use for my campaign.

I like the simple symbolism of the lighthouse that helps folks steer away from the rocky shores that could sink their boats.

Because the bottom of the sign was cut off from view, I could not tell what office Marcee Stone was running for or what party she represented.

As it turns out, Marcee Stone is a Democrat running in the 34th House district of Washington.

Here is Ms. Stone’s campaign web home.

Below is a picture of Ms. Stone.

Marcee answers a question about property rights.

Here are some facts about Ms. Stone from her campaign site–

“Marcee Stone has been the Board President for statewide organization Washington Public Campaigns (www.washclean.org) since 2007 and has been active in fighting for public campaign financing bills in the legislature. In 2008 the Governor signed SB 5278 allowing the use of public funds to finance campaigns for local office and Marcee is currently working for the passage of the Supreme Court Fair Elections bills (SB 5912/HB 1738). All three legislators from the 34th have signed on to these bills and the following is excerpted from the 34th District Democrats’ past platform, “We support limitations on individual and corporate contributions and on candidate spending, and public financing for elections for national office.” To that end, Marcee has pledged not to take contributions from corporations or PACs.”

Washington State has no income tax. Here is what Ms Stone says about this fact—

“I believe that it is time for comprehensive tax reform here in Washington.  Washington is one of only four states that do not have some form of an income tax.  Instead, we rely on the sales tax which is very regressive and places a disproportionate level of taxation on low income families, the property tax, which is literally forcing seniors on a fixed income out of their homes, and the Business and Occupation tax which is driving businesses out of Washington State at a time when we need them the most.  We need fairness and stability in our tax system and we should have the added benefit of being able to deduct the taxes we pay here in Washington against our Federal Income Tax.  This issue has been studied and talked about for years.  The time for meaningful reform is now.  W need a comprehensive approach that puts everything on the table with the goal of a system that honors our seniors on a fixed income, provides fairness to low income residents, and encourages business growth here in Washington.”

This is a stance by Ms. Stone that takes some guts. It is the right stance for the hard-working people of the 34th and for all of Washington State.

A more fair tax structure would also be a great idea for Texas. It would be great if we had Democrats in Texas that were willing to address this subject.

Here is a profile of Ms. Stone.

The 34th House district of Washington is an open seat being vacated by an incumbent Democrat. The primary will be held on August 17.  Here is an article about this four candidate race.

34th District Democrats have a blog. The district includes West Seattle, White Center, Burien, and Vashon and Maury Islands.

Here is the web home of the Washington House.

I like Ms. Stone and I hope she wins.

(Below–Maury Island.)

July 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Here Is What Happens When You Run On To The Field

Above is a picture I took of a man who run on the field at the Seattle Mariner baseball game of Tuesday, July 20.

The man was chased by a number of people, tackled, handcuffed and taken away.

A stadium usher said that the man was looking at a night in jail and a $ 6,000 fine.

I’m not certain that this person made the best decision by running onto the field.

July 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

The Nice Way To Say No Tresspassing

Here is a person in Seattle who wants you away from their property, but also wants to be nice about the fact.

July 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

A Great Day In Seattle, Washington—Everyday Has Value

It was a great day today in Seattle, Washington.

You can see from the picture that I’m telling you the truth.

I’m sorry that you were not here to enjoy the day.

I don’t know that I would have wanted you with me. I need some peace.

But I’m certain that you work hard and thst you also merit a nice day at the ocean.

The good news is that no matter where you are, everyday has value and purpose.

July 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Here Come The Salmon Up The Fish Elevator

Here come the salmon up the salmon elevator at the Ballard Locks in Seattle, Washington.

Off they go to spawn or to be eaten by a sea lion or to end up on your plate.

July 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Sunny Yellow Tugboats In Seattle

Here is a picture of a number of yellow tugboats near the Ballard Locks in Seattle.

I know it is supposed to be cloudy in Seattle, but I’ve had sun on all the 4 days I’ve been in Seattle so far.

It has been cloudy in the mornings, but very sunny in the afternoons.

Here is a picture of some sunny yellow tugboats in Seattle, Washington.

These boats are damned cheery in an industrial sort of way.

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

Does Anybody Refuse Use Of The Free Government Service Of The Ballard Locks In Seattle?—I Wager Not

Here are two photos I took a few hours ago of the Ballard Locks on the Lake Union Ship Canal in Seattle, Washington.

These locks assist all sorts of boats and ships in reaching Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean.

These locks are owned and operated by the U.S government. They are free to use by all craft.

The tour guide on the boat ride I took to see the locks, said that big ships, fishing boats, tour boats and pleasure craft use these locks.

Do any of these vessels refuse this service because it is run by the government? Isn’t this socialism?

I bet nobody refuses use of the Ballard Locks because they are run by the government.

This is just how conservatives accept Social Security and veteran’s benefits and all sorts of government benefits and services, even as they complain about government.

People like government just fine when they are the ones benefiting.

Beyond selfishness, Liberals, progressives and other thoughtful folks also like government for all the good it can do, and for all the good it does in fact accomplish in our society.

July 20, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The View From The Top Of The Space Needle— Both Interesting And Instructive

Here is the scene from the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington on the evening of July 18.

What is seen in this picture is some of Downtown Seattle, a portion of Puget Sound, and the Port of Seattle.

The port and the ships entering the port are part of the scenery when considered from the broad vantage point of the top of the Space Needle.

Industry and technology are a large part of what defines us as people. Industry is just as much a valid part of the modern landscape as is nature.

The view from the Space Needle is not only interesting. It is instructive as well.

July 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vending Machine Selling Books–If I Controlled The World’s Vending Machines

Here is a vending machine that sells books. This machine is at Seattle Center. Seattle Center is where the Space Needle is located.

If I was in charge of the world’s vending machines,they would all sell books.

Vending machines under my command would sell works of history and well-regarded novels.

I suppose that this would greatly diminish global vending machine profits.

July 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment