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

New CWA church insert: Aims at the heart, since the mind will surely be blown

The following Concerned Women For America church bulletin insert is not only offensive because of its aggressive tale of homosexuality needing to be “sacrificed to God” in the way that a father might theoretically sacrifice his son. But also look at the way they are pushing it on people:

Screen Shot 2010-09-03 At 10.55.14 Am

[SOURCE]

“Aims at the heart”? “Demands a sincere response from anyone seeking to please God”? Of course they say all this while completely shutting out any scientific evidence or theological interpretation that diverges from their own faith-based biases. Oy!



Have a look at what CWA wants churches to tell congregants:



The Preeminence of God




Good As You

—  John Wright

Mixed District Court ruling for NOM; or as they’ll surely call it: partly activist, partly okay

Not sure what to make of this mixed-bag decision, really:



PORTLAND — A U.S. District Court judge has delivered a split ruling that backs disclosing the names of out-of-state donors who helped repeal a gay marriage law in Maine.

Saying a state law requiring that the names of donors be disclosed within a certain time frame is “unconstitutionally vague,” U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby nevertheless said the request by the state Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices that the National Organization for Marriage disclose names of donors who gave money to defeat a gay marriage law in Maine is not a burden on NOM’s freedom of speech.

But Hornby took shots at some of Maine’s campaign finance disclosure rules. The judge said rules requiring 24-hour disclosure of independent expenditures over 0 — not just before an election, but whenever they occur — “has not been justified … is impermissably burdensome and cannot be enforced.”

Judge: Names of gay-marriage foes must be disclosed [Portland Press Herald]

So it seems good, but with some caveats. Still chewing on it; see below and form your own thoughts.

**The full opinion:



Dbh 08192010 1-09cv538 Natl Org for Marriage v Mckee




Good As You

—  John Wright