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2012 Fourth Of July Events For Houston, Galveston, Fort Bend & College Station—Fourth Of July Reading List

There are many events planned to mark Independence Day for 2012 in the Houston area. The Fourth falls on a Wednesday this year.

(Above—Fireworks over Houston.)

In addition to the events listed in this post, there ways you can observe the Fourth in a patriotic fashion on your own. We don’t have to wait for somebody to put on a fireworks show.

We can express patriotism by treating each other kindly, by treating our fellow working people well, by being accepting of all people, and by learning our shared history instead of being ignorant.

At the end of this post is my Fourth of July Reading and Reference list which has some good resources to learn about our nation’s history.

Patriotism is an everyday affair and is well-expressed by being a good fellow citizen to the everyday people who make our nation–for better and for worse–what it is.

A worthwhile thing to do before the fireworks is to attend the Bayou Bend Fourth of July celebration.

Here are some details about the Fourth at Bayou Bend—

“Celebrate Independence Day at Houston’s home for American decorative arts and paintings. The annual 4th of July blowout at Bayou Bend offers up an extravaganza of Americana: performers, crafts, activities, refreshments, and more. Don’t forget to sign the giant Declaration of Independence before you leave!”

Bayou Bend, run by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts is a great year round  place to learn about early American history.

The big fireworks show in the Houston area is the Freedom over Texas festival that is held on the Fourth.  This event will take place in Eleanor Tinsley Park. There will be a lot of people at this festival and it will be very hot.

Please note this reminder from the City of Houston on the Freedom Over Texas webpage—

 “The Houston Parks & Recreation Department regulations prohibit dogs, amphibians, reptiles and snakes that are considered dangerous. Therefore, we require the ban of all such animals…”

I’m not certain which amphibians and reptiles are viewed as dangerous and which are not.

Another big event is the Houston Symphony’s Star Spangled Salute which is held on the Fourth at the Miller Theater in Hermann Park beginning at 8:30 PM.

Red, Hot & Blue is the fireworks event to be held in The Woodlands on the evening of the Fourth. Fireworks is a fine way for The Woodlands to note the Fourth. Getting it right for the Fourth is a sharp contrast to the inappropriately celebratory manner in which The Woodlands noted Memorial Day 2012. You’ll have to decide for yourself if a place that sees Memorial Day as just another time to shop is the right place for an expression of loyalty to our nation.

In Galveston there will be fireworks at 37th and Seawall at 9:15 PM. I bet the fireworks are nice along the ocean.

The Galveston County Daily News usually does a good job listing holiday events in Galveston County.

Sugar Land promises “an 18-minute spectacular fireworks show that will color the sky with magic and majesty.”  Here are the details.  

Rosenberg in Fort Bend County has an event planned for the Fourth.

The George H.W. Bush Library in College Station has the “I Love America celebration all day on the Fourth.  There will be fireworks at the end of the night.

I’m not being sarcastic when I tell you that I would go to the Bush Library for the Fourth if my schedule allowed. The Bush Library event would be my first pick.

Here is a list of some Houston area fireworks shows from the Houston Chronicle.

I’m certain I’ve left off many events on this list, If you have something you’d like me to add to this list, please leave a comment and I will add your event.

Here is my Fourth of July Reading & Reference list—-  

(Above–Black Americans observing the Fourth in 1939 in St. Helena Island, South Carolina.)

What books and resources would be helpful to learn more about the American Revolution and about America?

As I’ve said before, I don’t believe the Revolution was a liberal or conservative event in the sense we think about such things today.
Continue reading

June 23, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Texas U.S. House District 22—Facts, History & Views

Texas U.S. House district 22 is up for grabs in 2008.

Here are some facts, history and views on this race. 

Texas U.S. House district 22, previously held by disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, is now held by Democrat Nick Lampson.  

( Here is a photo of Mr. Lampson. He is happy in this picture.)  

Here is some information about Mr. Lampson from the 2008 Almanac of American Politics

Lampson grew up in Beaumont; he got his first job sweeping floors at age 12 when his father died. After graduating from Lamar University, he taught science in Beaumont schools, leading the first local Earth Day celebration in 1979, and then taught a real estate management course at Lamar; he also headed a home health care company. In 1977, he was elected Jefferson County tax assessor; he claimed to cut the cost of tax collections during his 18 years on the job. In Lampson’s previous House stint, he had a moderate voting record and was a member of the New Democrat Coalition. He promoted the Johnson Space Center from his Science Committee assignment and also looked after local needs from his perch on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In 2003, Lampson fell victim to the 2003 redistricting plan that was designed to oust Anglo Democrats like him. Republican Ted Poe defeated him 56%-43% the next year in the newly formed 2d District.

On the Republican side, an April 8 runoff will decide the nomination.

One of the two Republicans in the runoff, Pete Olson, a former chief of staff to far right-wing Texas Senator John Cornyn, is a conventionally awful conservative Republican.

Mr. Olson is your man for more war, more tax cuts for the rich and no progress on universal health care.

The other candidate, former Houston City Councilwoman Dr. Shelley Sekula Gibbs , is uniquely awful.

Due to a quirk in electoral law, Ms. Sekula Gibbs served a two-month term in the U.S. House between Election Day 2006 and Congressional Inauguration Day 2007.

Here is an account of that term from the Associated Press after staffers resigned citing mistreatment by Ms. Sekula Gibbs  —

The staff members have a combined thirty-plus years of experience working on the Hill,” Mr. James wrote. “Never has any member of Congress treated us with as much disrespect and unprofessionalism as we witnessed during those five days.”

Ms. Sekula-Gibbs has raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill, largely because of the resignations. Earlier, she told reporters she planned to resolve such thorny issues as tax cuts, immigration reform and the Iraq war — all in less than two weeks of a lame-duck Congress”

Despite how lousy the Republicans are, voting for Mr. Lampson is a judgement call.

On one hand, in 2006 Mr. Lampson  campaigned to the right in order to win a Republican-leaning district. George W. Bush won 64% here in 2004. Sometimes you do what you have to do.

On the other hand, Lampson’s 2006 campaign seemed at times further to the right than required. Specifically egregious in my view was an ad criticizing Dr. Sekula Gibbs for routine city council votes on water and sewer rate hikes.

Cities have to be able to function.

Here is Representative Lampson’s campaign page

You could argue that as long as Mr. Lampson supports Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker and votes with Democrats as often as political realities allow, why not take the best you are going to get in tough circumstances?

Or, you could argue that we are not always obligated to take the least-bad option. Sometimes you can just leave a blank spot on your ballot. If we always take the least-bad option, we’ll just end up being used.

For example, as a lifelong resident of cities, I’ve long felt Democrats take the votes of black folks in every election, but often offer little in return.  

On Election Day, you might be able to stomach Mr. Lampson and vote for him. Or you might feel it is all too much. We’ll see how obnoxious Mr. Lampson’s campaign is in 2008.     

This is a basic dilemma in districts where a candidate for the minority party in the area has to contort his or herself to get elected.

( Photo of contortionist.)

The 22nd Congressional district of Texas is in the Houston metropolitan area. A focus in the district is on the growing suburban city of Sugar Land. 80,000 of the 22nd’s 800,000 people live in Sugar Land. (Here is a history of Sugar Land.) 

The district includes portions of Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston and Harris counties. While Sugar Land is in Fort Bend ( Which is a big place with nearly 500,000 people), roughly half the district lives in Harris County.

Other communites in the 22nd include Pasadena, Santa Fe, La MarqueWebster, La Porte and Pearland.

Some these places are aging industrial areas while others are newer suburbs.

In contrast to booming Sugar Land, Pasadena is an established center of industry. 140,000 people live in Pasadena. (Here is a history of Pasadena.)

( Photo of Pasadena, Texas.) 

Houston suburbs are very ethnically diverse. This is a strong point of Houston and the Houston area. The 22nd is counted as 8% Asian, 9% black and with 20% of Hispanic origin.  

An important source of jobs in this Republican district is the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Republicans are fine with government spending when they are the ones cashing the checks.

(Relative importance of Texas-22 as seen from moon. Here are some basic facts about the moon. )

 

Good luck to liberal and progressive voters in Texas U.S House district 22—You’ll need it!

March 11, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments