Texas: A not-so-great state

As Perry eyes the presidency and Dewhurst makes a bid for the Senate, let’s look at the story the numbers really tell

Phyllis Guest | Taking NoteGuest.Phyllis.2

It seems that while David Dewhurst is running for the U.S. Senate, Rick Perry — otherwise known as Gov. Goodhair — is planning to run for president. I wonder what numbers they will use to show how well they have run Texas.

Could they cite $16 million? That’s the sum Perry distributed from our state’s Emerging Technology Fund to his campaign contributors.

Or maybe it is $4.1 billion. That’s the best estimate of the fees and taxes our state collects for dedicated purposes — but diverts to other uses.

Then again, it could be $28 billion. That’s the last published number for the state’s budget deficit, although Perry denied any deficit during his last campaign.

But let’s not get bogged down with dollar amounts. Let’s consider some of the state’s other numbers.

There’s the fact that Texas ranks worst in at least three key measures:

We are the most illiterate, with more than 10 percent of our state’s population unable to read a word. LIFT — Literacy Instruction for Texas — recently reported that half of Dallas residents cannot read a newspaper.

We also have the lowest percentage of persons covered by health insurance and the highest number of teenage repeat pregnancies.

Not to mention that 12,000 children have spent at least three years in the state welfare system, waiting for a foster parent. That’s the number reported in the Texas-loving Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, the Legislature has agreed to put several amendments to the Texas Constitution before the voters. HJR 63, HJR 109 plus SJR 4, SJR 16, and SJR 50 all appear to either authorize the shifting of discretionary funds or the issuance of bonds to cover expenses.

Duh. As if we did not know that bonds represent debt, and that we will be paying interest on those bonds long after Dewhurst and Perry leave office.

Further, this spring, the Lege decided that all voters — except, I believe, the elderly — must show proof of citizenship to obtain a state ID or to get or renew a driver’s license. As they did not provide any funds for the issuance of those ID cards or for updating computer systems to accommodate the new requirement, it seems those IDs will be far from free.

Also far from free is Perry’s travel. The Lege decided that the governor does not have to report what he and his entourage spend on travel, which is convenient for him because we taxpayers foot the bill for his security — even when he is making obviously political trips. Or taking along his wife and his golf clubs.

And surely neither Rick Perry nor David Dewhurst will mention the fact that a big portion of our state’s money comes from the federal government. One report I saw stated that our state received $17 billion in stimulus money, although the gov and his lieutenant berated the Democratic president for providing the stimulus.

And the gov turned down $6 billion in education funds, then accepted the funds but did not use them to educate Texans.

The whole thing — Dewhurst’s campaign and Perry’s possible campaign, the 2012-2013 budget, the recent biannual session of the Texas Legislature — seems like something Mark Twain might have written at his tongue-in-cheek best.

We have huge problems in public school education, higher education, health care, air pollution and water resources, to mention just a few of our more notable failures.

Yet our elected officials are defunding public education and thus punishing children, parents, and teachers. They are limiting women’s health care so drastically that our own Parkland Hospital will be unable to provide appropriate care to 30,000 women.

They are seeking a Medicaid “pilot program” that will pave the way for privatized medical services, which will erode health care for all but the wealthiest among us. They are fighting tooth and nail to keep the EPA from dealing with our polluted environment. They are doing absolutely nothing to ensure that Texas continues to have plenty of safe drinking water.

They are most certainly not creating good jobs.

So David Dewhurst and his wife Tricia prayed together and apparently learned that he should run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat. Now Rick Perry is planning a huge prayer rally Saturday, Aug. 6, at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

God help us.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

February’s ‘Whistleblower’ is a Convenient Guide to Lies, Gay-Bashing, and Distortions Surrounding ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal

Whistleblower

WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah has published the February issue of his side project Whistleblower, which is a contains all the lies and distortions about 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal in one tidy edition.

And it has the proud endorsement of several bigoted veterans.

Check it out online here.

Farah


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

@IowaForFreedom/@JudgeBus: A faith-based war on gays’ ring fingers with judges as the convenient vehicle

Most of the other folks associated with the judicial retention campaign are more mealy-mouthed, making it sound as if the so-called “Iowa For Freedom” effort is made up of a non-partisan, non-faith-based coalition that cares solely about civil law and its boundaries. But leave it to Bryan Fischer — an early Iowa For Freedom Bryan-Fischerbacker whose employer, the American Family Association, is a major force behind the effort — to come right out and admit what we all know: That the campaign is inordinately dependent on those who wish to cast a religious-based vote against same-sex marriage itself:

(click to play audio clip)

*AUDIO SOURCE: Bryan Fischer, 10/25 [AFA Radio]

It’s enraging, really. Three judges who chose to go to law school rather than seminary and whose duties quite literally require a separation of church and state to adequately do their jobs are now being subjected to the anti-LGBT whims of evangelical conservatives. On marriage equality, there is no way these judges could have shown any sort of sense in the eyes of Bryan and Fischer and company, unless the answer was a firm and flat NO! And because “no” is not the answer they found in the constitution, they are now being punished by a well-financed, well-connected, highly one-sided, vindictive effort to force them into retirement.

Who would Jesus spite? Judicial independents (and independence), apparently.

***

**EARLIER FISCHER: He’s the guy who’s said that “homosexuals in the military gave us…six million dead Jews,” who’s said “homosexuals should be disqualified from public office,” who has called on Christian conservatives to breed gays and progressives out of existence, has called gay sex a “form of domestic terrorism,” who’s said only gays were savage enough for Hitler, has compared gays to heroin abusers, has directly compared laws against gay soldiers to those that apply to bank robbers, who once invoked a Biblical story about stabbing “sexually immoral” people with spears, saying we need this kind of action in modern day, and who has spoken out against gays serving as public school teachers, and who has blamed gay activists for dead gay kids, saying that: “If we want to see fewer students commit suicide, we want fewer homosexual students.”

**EARLIER: This is also the guy who Baptist Press columnist Penna Dexter says should advise us all on politics and religion: Just ask yourself where you’d stand in a Penna Dexter/Bryan Fischer world [G-A-Y]




Good As You

—  admin