The great State of Texas has always been an asylum for colorful characters, but something is burnishing those colors to high gloss of late. It may be the oil from the Gulf is getting into our water table, it might be "El Nino," but I think it's the coming elections.
Help the teachers!
Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott, one of the most hard-hearted humanitarians in the Republican Party, has issued a ruling designed to save teachers' money by preventing their employers from gathering their union dues. He probably figures that, after their union is destroyed, the teachers will solve all their money problems by not having any.
BP is Innocent!
According to the Texas AFL-CIO, the Texas Attorney General, a stone-cold Republican, has publicly absolved British Petroleum of all guilt associated with their oil catastrophe. He probably heard that, earlier, the stone-cold Governor said that BP has a good safety record and the oil spill was just an "act of God!"
Governor captive in palace!
Texas Governor Rick Perry reports that the Legislature insisted that he live in a $10,000/month taxpayer-supported mansion in the beautiful hills outside Austin while fire damage is fixed in his regular mansion. Legislators can't remember it. The governor has not yet responded to the Texas AFL-CIO's offer to rent him a trailer house.
Texas' fleas-on-a-dog lobbyists are arming themselves in time for the next legislative session to open in January, 2011. Apparently, there's a slow line and a fast line for people to get into the State Capitol, and the fast line is for people who are packing!
It never rains here!
While the Republicans who run Texas are sharpening their knives to whack the state's long-suffering employees, who already make less than those in other states and those in comparable private-sector jobs, they are busily ignoring the Texas AFL-CIO's demand that they spend the billions of dollars in the "Rainy Day" fund first. How wet do people have to get before we know it's raining?
What kind of jobs?
It may be, as almost all the Texas candidates say, "all about jobs," and it's true that Texas' unemployment, while outrageous, is lower than the national figures. But it isn't really "all about jobs," it's really all about getting paid, and Democratic Candidate Linda Chavez-Thompson recently revealed that Texas has the highest proportion of minimum wage employees in the nation! Undoubtedly, Texas employers think we could do better on jobs if they succeed in lowering wages down to nothing - Texas had 100% full employment until 1865!
Texans get electric shock
Dallas columnist Steve Blow checked on electricity rates here and there, and found that Texas, which proudly de-regulated the utility companies before everybody else so we could get cheaper electricity even though our rates were lower than the national average back then, pays more than any of the contiguous states and more than the average of all de-regulated states. Blow sobs, "The deregulation that was supposed to bring such wonderful competitive pricing to Texas has only locked us into perpetually higher costs." What a shock!
Republicans prize the environment
The front page of the Dallas Morning News revealed that the Texas Green Party had received a very expensive campaign gift from committed Republicans. A Republican consultant in Arizona had arranged to have a Chicago company gather 92,000 voter petitions, at around $4 a signature! Another Republican consulting organization in Missouri had actually paid the money. Greens said they would be proud to accept this effort to get them on the Texas ballot, but did not, at least not in the article, compliment those fine Republican out of state consultants for their profound concern about the environment in Texas. If they don't clear this up soon, people are likely to think that the GOP doesn't really support the Greens, but just wants to draw votes away from labor's candidates in November. This is how cynicism gets started.