Friday, May 29, 2015

Did Houston's No-Zoning, No-Planning Anarchy Help Cause Floods?

In 2015, Houston, Texas still lacks zoning and has poor planning. The result is the hideous floods we saw recently. We lived in Houston for two years and it is the most hideous City in America -- tacky, ugly and mosquito-ridden, with sulfurous refinery emissions, and condos next to auto repair joints next to honky tonks next to churches next to fried chick joints next to scrapyards next to vacant lots. Some 25% of the land is unoccupied, leading to sprawl. In H.L. Mencken's phrase, Houston looks like it was designed by someone "with a libido for the ugly." Worse, there is poor drainage (see photo). In contrast, Memphis, Tennessee (where I lived during law school) learned its lesson from 1880s Yellow Fever epidemics, when Memphis ceased to exist and lost its corporate charter from Tennessee. There is exquisitely good drainage in Memphis, almost none in Houston. LESSON: we need more zoning and planning, not less.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Washington Post on Capitol Hill Workers Working The Night Shift

Lovely long article in May 20, 2015 Washington Post about all of the thousands of workers who work through the night cleaning, disposing of trash, polishing, waxing, painting, maintaining and protecting our U.S. Capitol and Congressional office buildings. It speaks of workers as people, talks about the importance of their work, and treats them as heroic. Steve Hendrix, "The Capitol’s Shadow Army -- Hundreds on the night shift tidy the corridors of power after democracy’s workday is done (Washington Post, May 20, 2015). Why can't other U.S. publications ever write about workers as anything other than objects, if at all? Why are the only people treated as important people with money and power? The 1% are dumbing down debate, destroying the middle class, destroying lives, while debates on tax, living wage and other policies treat people as expendable digits. Enough. Look at the "profiles" in any newspaper (including the better ones). The Post article may be read here

Saturday, May 23, 2015

70% of Irish People Vote for Gay Marriage -- Overwhelming Vote -- When Irish Eyes Are Smiling -- Éirinn go Brách (Ireland Forever!)

I awoke this morning with a song in my heart to the news from NPR on my cellular telephone: we won!

 The ancestral home of my first American ancestor just voted by some 70% to recognize Gay marriage, the first nation in the world to do so by popular vote, and now the 20th in the world.

Irish people returned to vote from as far away as Australia. Éirinn go Brách! (Ireland forever!)

In 1991, I wrote the first article on Gay marriage for an American Bar Association publication ("What makes a marriage legal") after our landmark case of Rinde v. Woodward & Lothrop (equal discount benefits for Gay and Lesbian employee partners for department store employees at 30 Woodward & Lothrop and John Wanamaker stores in six states and D.C.).

 Here's a song dedication -- sing it loudly and proudly -- it's our time, our planet and our equal rights will be respected and not neglected.

Chorus: When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, sure 'tis like a morn in spring. In the lilt of Irish laughter, you can hear the angels sing. When Irish hearts are happy, all the world seems bright and gay, And When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, sure, they steal your heart away.
Verse 1: There's a tear in your eye and I'm wondering why, For it never should be there at all. With such power in your smile, sure a stone you'd beguile, So there's never a teardrop should fall, When your sweet lilting laughter's like some fairy song And your eyes twinkle bright as can be. You should laugh all the while and all other times smile, And now smile a smile for me.
Verse 2: For your smile is a part of the love in your heart, And it makes even sunshine more bright. Like the linnet's sweet song, crooning all the day long. Comes your laughter so tender and light. For the springtime of life is the sweetest of all, There is ne'er a real care or regret. And while springtime is ours, throughout all of youth's hours, Let us smile each chance we get.