There is a wildfire at George H.W. Bush Park in Harris County.
Here is a non-ideological assessment of the presidency of G.H.W. Bush. Though this is not the main subject of this blog post, it is always the right time to learn about and to think about new things.
(Update—9/14/11—Progress was made overnight in figthing the fire.)
The picture above is of smoke from the fire as it was seen a few hours ago. This picture was taken by my friend Ms. Alex Ragsdale.
As you can see, the fire is an urbanized area.
This fire is not surprising as there is an extreme drought in Harris County and in Texas. There have been many wildfires in Texas in 2011 and in recent weeks.
These fires have been made more difficult to fight than need be, because Rick Perry and the Republican-dominated state legislature have cut funds for the Texas Forest Service and for firefighters in Texas.
Given the extreme drought conditions in the Houston and in Texas, it is best that we take steps to avoid being the cause of any more fires.
While some people may wish to do what is best, often we make mistakes.
HFD recommends the following safety tips during this drought: Continue reading
Here is the most recent Texas Progressive Alliance round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas. TPA members are citizen-bloggers who are working everyday for a better Texas.
With the round-up this week is news that Texas Governor Rick Perry did not show up at a scheduled news conference to address the Texas wildfires. This despite the fact that Mr. Perry had been able in recent days to go to California to campaign for President.
It could be that Governor Perry did not want to reply to questions about how some Texas firefighters have to pay for proper equipment, and how short-sighted budget cuts have impeded the ability to fight wildfires in Texas.
As Rick Perry runs for President, it is up to each individual to decide how they will respond.
Every Texan and every American has the ability to attend a public meeting, attend or organize a protest, write or call an elected official, talk to friends and family, start a blog, donate money, write a letter to the editor, volunteer for candidates and causes, engage in acts of civil disobedience, and to run for public office.
The work of democracy and freedom is up to each of us.
Here is the round-up—
Amy Price is one of just a few progressives running for Houston City Council in 2011, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs is helping her campaign.
WCNews at Eye On Williamson shows that the Texas GOP’s next trick will be to come after pubic employee pensions to protect their wealthy campaign contributors:“Wisconsin-style” pension scheme coming to Texas. Continue reading
Texas Wildfires—Rick Perry Puts Small Government Ideology Over The Safety And Well-Being Of Everyday Texans
There are wildfires taking place in Texas. There have been many wildfires in Texas in 2011 due to drought and extreme heat.
Many people have had to leave their homes in this most recent round of fires.
Governor Rick Perry has taken time off from the Presidential campaign trail to visit Texas and to appear to be doing something about the fires.
While many brave Texans are working hard to put out the blazes, in some cases the resources do not exist to fight the fires. In other cases federal resources are being used to fight the fires.
And yet Rick Perry has said so many times that the federal government should leave Texas alone.
Despite the important role of the Texas Forest Service in addressing wildfires, this agency was subject to severe cuts in the most recent session of the Republican led Texas legislature.
Governor Perry puts his extreme small-government ideology over the safety and well-being of the people of Texas.
Where are the Tea Party firefighting teams to help put out the fires?
If the choice for President in 2012 is between Rick Perry and Barack Obama, folks are going to have a clear choice to make. I’m confident that people will reject Rick Perry as an extremist.
You may or may not agree with the liberal beliefs I advance on this blog.
In any case, you can use this blog post and additional information you look up on your own about these Texas wildfires, to help shape your views about Rick Perry as he runs for President.
The work of freedom and democracy is up to each of us. Every person has the capacity to understand the most complex issues.
I encourage people to look at the full Rick Perry record and to make the call as 2012 approaches.
Barack Hussein Obama Approves Federal Assistance For Texas Wildfire And Drought Emergency That Texans Are Unable To Resolve Without Washington’s Help
Federal money and other federal assistance will now come to Texas because of President Obama’s decision.
These fires and the never-ending statewide drought are problems that Texas cannot resolve without additional help from Washington.
That’s fine as far as I’m concerned. Sometimes in life you need help.
Maybe this is something that folks in the impacted counties and all across Texas can remember as they go on and on about about how bad government is and how the federal government is all about socialism.
So often the response from the conservative voting majority in Texas for a request for help is a kick in head.
Rick Perry Calls For Prayer As He Afflicts The Poor And The Sick—With Each Plague Of Drought And Wildfire In Texas His Heart Only Hardens
(Above–Plague of wildfires afflicting Texas this year as seen from above.)
” Gov. Rick Perry has proclaimed Saturday, Aug. 6th, as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for our Nation to seek God’s guidance and wisdom in addressing the challenges that face our communities, states and nation.”
You notice that the Governor has declared this day for the entire nation. We hear a lot from Mr. Perry about the federal government imposing upon the states. I guess though it is okay for Governor Perry to impose both a proclamation and his religion on the rest of the nation.
Also from the Governor—
“Given the trials that beset our nation and world, from the global economic downturn to natural disasters, the lingering danger of terrorism and continued debasement of our culture, I believe it is time to convene the leaders from each of our United States in a day of prayer and fasting….”
If people want to pray, that is just fine.
However, if prayer is a possible solution to our problems as Governor Perry asserts, than maybe the natural disasters afflicting Texas in recent weeks are divine judgment for how Texas is treating the poor and the sick.
It has to be a two-way street.
With each plague visited upon Texas, Governor Perry’s heart only hardens—Just like Pharaoh’s heart in the Biblical account of Moses.
It should also be noted that a group strongly involved with the August 6 rally—the so-called American Family Association—has some extreme viewpoints.
” Sparking the controversy are the group’s views on Christianity, its staunchly anti-gay platform and the inflammatory statements of one its executives, Bryan Fischer. In an interview with The Texas Tribune on Tuesday, AFA president Tim Wildmon said Jews, Muslims, atheists or any other non-Christian would “go to hell” unless they accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Wildmon’s father, Don, who famously took on iconic television programs like Three’s Company for promoting what he saw as an immoral lifestyle, is listed as one of the event’s chief organizers….. Over the years, Fischer has blamed gays for the Holocaust and has called on Muslims to convert to Christianity or face the wrath of U.S. military power. He also once blogged that social welfare programs made black women want to “rut like rabbits.”….”
Governor Perry appears to be risking more judgement for Texas as he consorts with these persons.
A great book to read if you want to learn about religion as a force for good is The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann. We can’t allow folks like Rick Perry and the so-called American Family Association to define faith for the rest of us.
President Obama To Visit Texas—How Will He Refrain From Laughing When Some Texans Demand More Federal Help?
The President is scheduled to visit El Paso and Austin.
(Above–President Obama at Texas A & M University in 2009. President Obama and Texans get along just fine–Unless some folks would claim that the photo is a fake.)
Because the Johnson Space Center Houston was not awarded a retired space shuttle, and because the President has not declared a federal emergency over ongoing wildfires in Texas, some feel Mr. Obama does not like Texas.
This article on the President’s visit to Texas written by Maria Recio at McClatchy Newspapers has the following quote–
“You can almost make the case the administration has a vendetta against Texas,” said Republican Rep. Michael Burgess.
Why would anybody not like such a fine person?
The federal government has helped Texas with the wildfires—
“Current federal aid covers 75 percent of Texas’s costs for emergency response work, such as evacuations, equipment, field camps and meals for firefighters, police barricading and traffic control. The agency’s regional office in Denton continues to monitor the situation and work closely with Texas Forest Service and Texas Division of Emergency Management, FEMA officials say. In addition, firefighting teams from more than 30 states have provided state-to-state support for firefighting efforts in Texas.”
From our Governor—
“You have to ask, ‘Why are you taking care of Alabama and other states?’ I know our letter didn’t get lost in the mail…”
What a decent Christian man.
If it is all about a political grudge, why should President Obama help Alabama anymore than he should assist Texas? Barack Obama won 39% of the vote in Alabama in 2008. He lost Texas with 44% of the vote.
The President is not going to win Alabama in 2012.
Here is the bottom line—
* The federal government has helped Texas with the wildfires. Tea Party supporters and other Republicans and others are free to form a battalion citizen volunteers to help Texans deal with the problems presented by wildfires. To this point, though the fires have been going on for some weeks now, I’m not aware of any so-assembled citizen-volunteers.
* The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center was a gift to Texas from a Texas politician who looked up to Franklin D. Roosevelt as a hero. You’d think that conservative Texans would be demanding that the federally operated Space Center be removed from Texas as an intrusion upon our states rights and sense of self -reliance.
It is not that I view Barack Obama with an uncritical eye, it is just that opposition to him in some quarters of Texas is so extreme that you can’t but help to be glad to see the guy in the Lone Star State. You’ve got to appreciate him for the enemies he has made.
The bad news for Texans is that these enemies, maybe 20% of all Texans, are the people who vote in Republican primaries. This angry minority is doing great harm to public education and public health in Texas.
Rick Perry Asks For Help From Washington For Texas Wildfires—Where Are The Tea Party Volunteer Disaster Relief Teams?
( Above—2011 Texas wildfires.)
‘Texas Gov. Rick Perry is asking the federal government to declare the state a disaster area, a bid to spur assistance during a particularly potent wildfire season that has imperiled lives, structures and livelihoods in 252 counties, his office said in a statement Sunday. In his letter written late Saturday to President Barack Obama, sent through a Texas-based Federal Emergency Management Agency official, Perry said that above-average temperatures, lack of rain and low humidity have “caused extreme fire danger over most of the state.” “The wildland fire risk potential has reached a critically high level,” the governor wrote. These conditions “present a serious hazard to the lives and property of the citizens of the state.”
Texans need help from the federal government because of things beyond their control.
I thought the conservative Texas ethos was that a man or woman controls his or her own fate.
This call for help from Washington is being made by a Governor who has engaged in treasonous speculation about secession, and who is pushing savage budget cuts on the most vulnerable Texans.
We should recall that while those suffering from the impact of wildfires merit quick help, many in Texas nursing homes or many Texans who are sick due to no fault of their own also need help.
Of course, it is no surprise that Rick Perry wants help from Washington. According to a map prepared by Texas State Comptroller of Public Accounts Susan Combs, Texas took almost $28 billion dollars in federal stimulus money.
I’d also like to know when the Tea Party volunteer fire companies and the Tea Party disaster relief teams will be rushing to assist people impacted by the fire? Where are county Republican parties in Texas organizing teams of citizen-volunteers to help out our fellow Texans so that they will not have to turn to government?
Are we going to allow socialized fire companies of public employees team up with Washington to do the job that everyday Texas citizens should be doing?
People who have been harmed by the fires should be helped. However, since many of our political leaders in Texas would rather people die than use the Rainy Day fund or raise the taxes needed to meet the legitimate needs of Texans, it is fair to comment when these same officials declare that some Texans are indeed worthy of help from government.
Let’s be clear about the facts—
1. Despite all the tough talk, Rick Perry calls on Washington and Barack Obama for help to solve problems facing Texas.
2. Despite all the criticisms of the federal government from Republican political leaders, Texas received many billions of dollars of Barack Obama approved stimulus funds.
3. While I’m certain many very good citizen volunteers are helping out with the wildfires, the Tea Party movement and other Texas conservatives who sing the praises of citizen action are no place to be found in any organized fashion when help is needed most.