Texas Liberal

All People Matter

I Made The Sun Look Like A Flower

I took this picture of the sun a few days ago, and I made it look like a flower.

I don’t know why it turned out that way.

April 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 3 Comments

Individuality & Connection

I was out and about in Houston today.

The picture above was taken today and conveys the fact that it was quite sunny.

I was thinking as I walked and drove around about the need to take everybody as individual, while at the same time not forgetting that everyone is connected.

These two imperatives can draw upon different internal resources, and can highlight competing strains of thought about how to view the world.

Also, it was so bright and sunny as I traveled  around the big city today. Individual things stand in such clear relief when so clearly lit.

Still–I was not swayed from my thoughts. Being under the light of the sun was a unifying aspect of the things I saw.

In the year ahead please consider finding the internal resources and flexibility of mind to accept the people you encounter as individuals and without preconceived notions, while at the same time grasping that what happens to one person happens to all people.

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

Rain And Sun

Rain and sun at the same time in Houston a few days ago.

Life is full of mixed results.

September 16, 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

At First There Was No Sun, But Now There Is Some Sun

This morning there was no sun at all in Houston and Galveston. As you can see by the picture, there is at least some sun now in Galveston and the Gulf of Mexico.

Things are looking up.

Though clouds or sun, it is always a good day to take a walk in Galveston.

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

Heat Emergency Guidelines

File:Sun in X-Ray.png

Below are some heat emergency guidelines from FEMA.

Here is the complete infromation from FEMA on how to deal with extreme heat. 

(Above–The Sun. Here are facts about the sun)

It is very hot in Houston.

Maybe you live in the Houston-area or maybe it is very hot where you live.

While you may be able to handle the heat, be certain that you are taking the right steps.

Consider if anybody you know might need some help.  

The guidelines from FEMA—

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
  • Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
  • Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities. Circulating air can cool the body by increasing the perspiration rate of evaporation.
  • Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Drink plenty of water. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
  • Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
  • Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.

June 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Galveston Sunset Two Weeks Before Hurricane Ike

Here is a picture of the sunset I took in Galveston two weeks before Hurricane Ike.

Things are nice and normal in life. Then something goes wrong and everything is a mess. 

At the time I took this picture, people were still concerned that Hurricane Gustav might hit Galveston.

Here is the link the United Way’s Hurricane Ike fund.

The very good news is that things in Galveston will get better again.

Here is information about Galveston. 

Here is information about the sun.

October 5, 2008 Posted by | Galveston | , , , , | 2 Comments

Sun Halo On Ethiopian Election Day Seen By Some As Sign & Links To Ethiopian Bloggers

On a day of local elections in Ethiopia last Sunday, a halo around the sun was seen by some as a sign from God or a miracle of some sort.

( Above is a painting in a church in an Ethiopian town called Bahar Dar.  Here is information about that town. It seems an interesting place to visit.)

Here is information about religion in Ethiopia.  

Some say that an Ethiopian sun halo in 1991 led to a change in government  

Here is a story about this most recent halo. Regretfully, the same corrupt bunch has been returned to office.

If I were running for office, and people believed a cloud formation had spelled out my name and this was a sign to vote for me, I would do all I could to encourage such speculation.

On the other hand, if people saw such a cloud formation as the Devil’s work, I would call for reason to prevail and for a campaign based on the issues.

Please click here for a story about a minister in Houston who says he has a Cheeto that looks like Jesus with his arms out and praying.

And here is a man who says he saw the image of Jesus in a frying pan.

This is all fine by me. It is not hurting anybody. Sometimes I’m a bit envious of people who feel they see these things. I don’t believe in any miracles. Maybe life is easier if you do. In any case, I’m not judgemental about this stuff. People are just trying to get by.

Here is a story about what was stake in Ethiopia in these elections. It seems democracy still has some ground to gain in Ethiopia.

Click here for a BBC overview of the current state of Ethiopia.   

Here is the Ethiopian Reporter newspaper.

Here is the Ethiopia page from the excellent Global Voices

( The bloggers below are not people who saw the sun halo as a sign. I’m taking this post as a chance to link to some of our blogger friends around the world.) 

Here is the Ethiopian blog Addis Journal.

Here is the blog My e-Shoe Box. 

Here is the blog Merkato.

Here is the blog Meskel Square. It is by a journalist who spent time in Ethiopia and is now in Sudan. 

Here is Abesha Bunna Bet. This gentleman is someone now living outside of Ethiopia.

Below is a picture of last Sunday’s sun halo in Ethiopia.

Here are the reasons a sun halo would occur.

 The sun over Addis Ababa on Sunday


April 15, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments