Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Unfairly Fired Shirley Sherrod Says The Real Issue Is Class

I read a story in the July 22 USA Today about unfairly fired U.S Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod.

This is the woman fired because a right-wing blogger took comments she made about issues of race out of context.

I often do read USA Today. I’ve been gettiing the paper of late delivered at the door of my hotel room in Seattle. I’m in that hotel room right now writing this blog post.

In the USA Today article, Ms. Sherrod says that the real issue is not about race but “about the poor vs. those that have.”

Damn right. I could not agree more. I wish some of our fellow working people could see the facts as clearly as does Ms. Sherrod.

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

Please Fill Out Your Census Form—Some Of You Are Just Crazy

Predictions are that a lower percentage of Americans will fill out Census forms in 2010 than did so in 2000.

From USA Today—“Turbulent political and economic times roiling the nation are expected to diminish initial participation by households in next year’s Census despite a $326 million marketing blitz that far outspends previous Census campaigns….Mounting mistrust of government, rising identity theft and record numbers of foreclosures could discourage people from mailing back Census forms next year, according to the Census Bureau… A Census analysis shows that about 64% of households are likely to mail in their forms without additional prodding from Census workers — down from 67% in 2000. That could mean 4 million more doors to knock on.”

(I’m sorry, but I can’t include the link due to ongoing blog and browser troubles. The story appeared in the October 20 USA Today and was written by Haya El Nassar.)

As for people in hard economic times, please realize that the Census helps areas that are worst hit by the bad economy to get federal aid. It will only help yourself and your family to fill out and return the Census form.

As for you right-wingers, please obey the law and complete the Census. If the government wanted to track you down,they could do so in any case. You folks are so often all about law and order and respect for authority and all that stuff, until it is you that has to follow the law and do what is expected of you.

October 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Death Rates Increasing For Hispanic Workers In U.S.

USA Today reports that deaths of Hispanic workers in the United Sates are up 76% since 1992.

This despite the reduction in the number of all workplace deaths in the United States since 1992.

From the story—

“Hispanic workers have fallen off roofs, been crushed under heavy machinery and run over by trucks, according to workers’ rights advocates, such as the Austin-based Workers Defense Project. Austin alone has reported four Hispanic deaths this year. Last month, OSHA pledged to bolster the number of inspectors in Texas in response to the growing number of construction-related deaths, more than half of them Hispanic…. Workers without legal documentation to be in the U.S. are less inclined to join a union, which helps protect workers, or protest when conditions seem dangerous, said Raj Nayak of the California-based National Employment Law Project. “They’re doing the most dangerous work for longer hours,” Nayak said….Jose Omar Puerto, 19, from Honduras, was repairing a roof on an Austin apartment building in 2007 when his aluminum ladder became entangled in electrical wires. He was electrocuted and killed, his sister, Marta Puerto, said. …His company paid for the funeral and the body’s return to Honduras, she said. The family received no further compensation…. Some of the fatalities among Hispanics could have been avoided with proper training, said Michael Cunningham of the Texas State Building and Construction Trades Council, a labor consortium…”No matter what country they’re from, whether they’re here legally or illegally, someone should make sure they have the proper training,” he said.

Here is the full story.

Here is a story about the machine death of 40 year old Ana Marie Vital. Ms. Vital died in California on July 21 when she was sucked into a machine at a factory that is a major supplier for McDonald’s.

Also in the USA Today story about the deaths of Hispanic workers—

“Last year, officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration office in Dallas investigated 50 Hispanic workplace deaths in Texas alone, according to OSHA figures. So far this year, they’ve investigated 21 fatalities, including three workers who fell 11 stories from a collapsed scaffolding last month in Austin. ”

Some folks in Texas and in all parts of the United States love immigrant-bashing. They go after folks who crossed rattlesnake-infested deserts to be treated poorly by people who often have little self-discipline and little regard for others.

We all want the lowest prices at the store, but we rarely ask who is bearing the brunt of lower prices.

It is not the fault of immigrant workers that many in Texas and in the United States have long failed to take advantage of the benefits white skin has historically offered in our nation.

We need to treat each other with compassion. We need to realize that our fates are all connected.

July 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Houston Astros Only Baseball Team Not To Allow Food Or Drink In Stadium

File:Apples.jpg

(Blogger’s Note 3/14/12—This policy has now been changed! You can now bring food and drink into Astros games.)

USA Today reports that the Houston Astros are the only team in Major League Baseball that does not allow fans to bring either food or water into the stadium. You have to buy the overpriced and often yucky stadium food.

( Above–None of these good-for-you apples would be permitted at the Houston Astros game.  Here are many facts about apples. )

This despite the fact that the stadium the Astros play in was built in large part with taxpayer dollars.

( Below– A traditional  Easter meal of Slovakia. Easter ends with the  first pitch at the Astros game. Who has ever heard of Easter nachos? Please click here to learn about Slovakia.

File:Slovak easter food.jpg

From USA Today—

“Most teams don’t publicize it, but at least 21 of 30 major league clubs allow fans to bring some food and drink items to ballparks, according to a review of team websites. Another eight allows fans to bring their own bottled water. One, the Houston Astros, prohibits all outside food and drink.”

Please click here for the full story. The section about food and drink at stadiums is at the bottom.

(Below–Please consume your dried squid before attending the game.)

File:Jrb 20061121 dried squid 001.JPG

The price of food is high at the Astros’ games. Something like $4 for a water. $5 for a hot dog. You get the idea.

The Astros are the only team that can’t even allow you to bring in a bottle of water? They took the taxpayer money to build the stadium.

It would be very fan-friendly if the Astros would make some concession on the issue of concessions in this time of recession.

( Below–Deep fried giant water bugs are eaten in Thailand. You’ll have to finish that snack before your  ticket is taken at an Astros game. Here is information about water bugs.)

File:Giant water bugs on plate.png

May 13, 2009 Posted by | Houston | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans Have High Unemployment Rates

USA Today reports that 11.2% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are currently unemployed

From the article—

“The economic downturn is hitting Iraq and Afghanistan veterans harder than other workers — one in nine are now out of work — and may be encouraging some troops to remain in the service, according to Labor Department records and military officials.

The 11.2% jobless rate for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who are 18 and older rose 4 percentage points in the past year. That’s significantly higher than the corresponding 8.8% rate for non-veterans in the same age group, says Labor Department economist Jim Walker.”

This high unemployment is the thanks we offer as a nation for the service these veterans have offered.

Whether it be children, old folks, or veterans, the widespread expression of public sentiment in our society for any group of people is often the kiss of death. 

We often despise people who remind us of our potential weakness as individuals and who remind us of our obligations to others.

March 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Beyond Horse Race Coverage—How I Follow The 2008 Campaign

The 2008 political campaign has been going on forever, yet it still has many months to go.

Following the campaign can be a big waste of time. So-called “horse race” coverage is often stale within hours of dissemination. Can you imagine anything less relevant than an assessment from July 2004 about the John Kerry-George Bush race?

( Above is some real horse race coverage. The great Native Dancer on the cover of Time in 1954.) 

I find that cable TV coverage is the biggest waste. It goes on and on. Yet rarely does it discuss anything other than the Presidential race. The “analysts” say nothing that any regular follower of politics does not already grasp. 

As for issues, 90% of the public knows full well how they will vote. And candidates gear positions to the political needs of the moment. I know a great deal of where they stand from simple party ID.

These things said, I do keep up with events.

I get three newspapers each day at home. My local Houston Chronicle, The New York Times and USA Today.

The Chronicle tells me as much as I want to know about local and state politics. I get the idea that politics are not very important to people in Harris County and that Texas is a mess. In the Times, I read international news first, and may or may not read the political stories. They run five or six stories a day on the Presidential race. It’s just overload. USA Today sometimes gets a bad rap, but I’ve seen days where they do a better job than the Times.

Online, I read Electoral-Vote.com every morning. It is succinct and they discuss races down the ticket from the Presidential contest. You can read EV for the five minutes it takes and you’re set for the day. I’ll admit to also reading the poll-focused FiveThirtyEight daily. But that’s an indulgence.

I read some local Texas blogs, and check out the Texas LeftyBlogs wire along with BlogNet News/Texas.  There are also a few other blogs I read.  

On TV, I have CNN on as background sometimes when I’m eating dinner or cleaning.

I also suscribe to The Economist and The American Prospect and I read the BBC news web page.

One thing I’d suggest would be to take some of the time you may spend following the campaign, and read a book of political history instead. A good book of this kind will tell you plenty about the 2008 race. Without context we have nothing.

A title I can recommend is America’s Three Regimes–A New Political History by Morton Keller. It does a good job with American political history in less than three hundred pages.

July 25, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments