Bill White Volunteer All Right

Yesterday, partly in a quest to be more sociable — and partly in a quest to save (improve?) the universe — I volunteered, phonebanking, for Democrat Bill White‘s campaign (Twitter; Twitter) for the Texas governor’s office.

Some bullet-points about Bill White:

  • The Houston area led the nation in job growth during Bill White’s years in office. It added more jobs than 37 states combined.

  • Houston voters returned him to office as Mayor with overwhelming re-election margins of 91% and 86%.

  • Bill White’s parents were schoolteachers, and he calls “education the most important business of state government.” He pledges to work toward increasing public education’s share of the state budget and toward making two- and four-year colleges more affordable.

  • He helped Houston free up an additional $80 million for parks and $40 million for libraries.

His main opponent, incumbent governor Rick Perry:

  • Perry opposes consensual oral or anal sex between anyone, gay or straight, as does the 2010 Republican Party of Texas; both want those acts to be illegal.

  • In 2009, with Texas unemployment at 8%, Perry expressed disbelief when others said Texas was in a recession. Earlier, that January, in the middle of Texas-record job losses, Perry turned down half a billion in federal stimulus funds targeted toward unemployment benefits for Texans.

  • Perry-appointed chairperson for the current Texas State Board of Education, Gail Lowe, removed Thomas Jefferson from the curriculum standards’ list of world philosophers, making space instead for 16th-century theologian John Calvin (among others); according to Max Weber and more, much Calvinism, if not Calvin, considered great success in money-making to be a sign that a person is one of the elect going to heaven.

  • Sarah Palin is endorsing Rick Perry’s gubernatorial run. The two appeared together at the Super Sunday with Sarah! event along with Ted Nugent, where Perry said: “Sarah Palin was a great person to put on the [Republican Presidential] ticket.”

I had a lot of fun phonebanking. Most of the time I was just leaving answering machine messages or marking numbers as disconnected (“or no longer in service”); when I did get a person on the phone, most all of them were very polite, even the Perry supporters. I got the hang of it quick, and definitely talked a few people into yard signs or text-message updates or whatnot. ;-) If you’re able to volunteer, I bet you’ll get the hang of it quick, too. Find out how to volunteer for Bill White!

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3 Artists Speaking with their Guitars

Yesterday (18 June 2010) my friend and I attended the final concert of Guitar Fort Worth‘s sixth season. Texas Wesleyan University hosted the event at Martin Hall as part of their Wesleyan Masters Concert Series. The three classical guitarists pictured above gave the audience a wonderful evening. Will Douglas is on his way to study with Eliot Fisk at The New England Conservatory of Music; Michael Dailey, who started playing at age five and has taken lessons from players such as Andres Ségovia and Pepe Romero, remains impressive as head of household for much Fort Worth classical guitar; Emma Rush, founder and director of the Guitar Hamilton concert series and a top graduate of Hochschule für Musik in Detmold Germany, soon heads for concerts in Canada, Turkey, Mexico, and elsewhere.

Listening, I kept imagining the guitarists as making for us in the audience conversations with their guitars, and I was pleasantly surprised at how closely their personalities and their playing seemed to match. Will Douglas struck me as a fun guy whose performance resembled kind, pleasant talk — especially I’m thinking of the piece he played by Johann Kaspar Mertz, “Lied Ohne Worte”; Michael Dailey gave small benevolent smiles at the conclusion of each piece he played, all of which sounded effortlessly articulate, fluent, and well-spoken, filled with the neat nuances artful speakers include when they converse; and, Emma Rush brought an enigmatic, mysterious, almost secretive touch to her playing that became most exciting when she dazzled us with Jose Luis Merlin‘s “Suite Del Recuerdo.” I’d enjoy hearing any of these three perform again. When it came to a close, I realized the concert had made my world seem to brightly open more widely than before.