Tag Archives: Rick Perry

Israel Award given to Texas Gov.

This is just so odd to me, that I have to pass it along.

Apparently today in Israel, where Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been all week, he received the Defender of Jerusalem award.  Never a dull moment for Rick Perry, the DMN is reporting this, about the award:

But the award also is interesting because of who it comes from – a South Florida foundation started last year by Guma Aguiar and his wife. Brazilian-born Aguiar, 31, who shuttles between Florida and Israel, is the founder of Leor Energy. The company discovered a ridiculously large natural gas field in East Texas several years ago that has turned him into a billionaire.

In January, Aguiar was sued by his uncle, who claimed that Aguiar believes he is the Messiah and is trying to bolster that image by giving away millions of dollars. The suit was dismissed in June.

Um, what?

What’s ironic about the entire situation–Messiah claims aside–are Rick Perry’s own words, a mere three years ago:

Gov. Rick Perry, after a God and country sermon attended by dozens of political candidates Sunday, said that he agreed with the minister that non-Christians will be condemned to hell.

“In my faith, that’s what it says, and I’m a believer of that,” the governor said.

In no way am I judging one’s own personal beliefs, but does it seem odd to anyone else that Perry is visiting this nation in the first place?  Not to mention receiving an award from a man who might claim to be the Messiah?

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Rick Perry cyclist veto haunts him (again)

In case you missed it, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a bill that would make the roads safe for cylcists, construction workers and humans in general.  Here’s an Austinist post about the initial veto, then a story from the Statesman about the cyclists reaction.  Said one voter:

“I have never voted in a Republican primary in my life,” said Hill Abell, owner of Bicycle Sport Shop in Austin. “But more than likely, if Perry has a significant opponent in the primary, I’ll be supporting that opponent with my vote, and financially.

Well the anger at Perry has boiled over in recent days, as the granddaughter of a Texas House member was struck while riding her bike by an SUV that didn’t have a “share the road” bumper sticker, I’m guessing.  According the Houston Chronicle story:

Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, sponsor of a bill to protect bicyclists, expressed relief Wednesday that her granddaughter and a friend suffered only minor injuries after getting hit by a SUV. Gov. Rick Perry recently vetoed legislation that Harper-Brown plans to push again next session to protect vulnerable road users.

“Now I can put a face to it,” Harper-Brown said about efforts to help raise awareness for the perils facing vulnerable road users. “It really does touch home now.”

Luckily the girl is doing fine now. It’s sad that sometimes this is what it takes to make issues “real” for us, but I know we’ve all been in a situation like this.  Problems never seem as serious as when they hit close to home.  (Also, they’re talking about this story over at the Lone Star Times, if you’re interested.)

So the question arises, why did Perry veto this bill? The Chron story says the bill “would have required motorists to give cyclists and other vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, runners, motorcyclists, construction and maintenance workers at least 3 feet clearance when they pass, or at least 6 feet for commercial vehicles.”  This seems reasonable.  Actually, this seems almost like common sense.  How is this not on the books already?

As expected, the veto started a grassroots movement against Perry.  Unfortunately for the governor, he’s used to things like this (TTC, HPV, etc.), but cyclists have already gathered more than 4,000 signatures for “a petition declaring they will keep the governor’s veto on their mind when they vote next year.”  For an incumbent who received 39 percent of the vote last time, this doesn’t bode well.

The thing that would get to me, if I were Perry, is that story about the granddaughter.  Obviously the cyclists mobilized almost immediately following the veto because the believed in the bill in principle.  But the story of Harper-Brown’s granddaughter getting hit by a car?  I’m just glad that blood isn’t on my hands.

Texas higher ed has much room for improvement

Carlos Guerra of the San Antonio Express-News has an eye-opening commentary in today’s paper.  He chronicles the rising and falling standards of higher education in Texas. According to Guerra, Texas was falling behind other states in the late 90s in terms of offering competitive universities and programs.  Research dollars were leaving the state in droves, as were our brightest students.
Guerra hinges his commentary on the following set of conditions:

Too few Texans were going to college and earning degrees. And exacerbating it all were the gaps among the state’s racial and ethnic groups. Blacks enrolled and graduated at rates lower than Anglos, but it was the abysmal rates for Latinos — Texas’ fastest-growing group — that are the worst economic threat.

To combat this, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board unveiled a plan titled “Closing the Gaps by 2015.” The goal was to “increase college enrollment and graduation rates while upgrading university excellence and research.”
Improvements have been made, particularly among African American enrollment in Texas schools, but Hispanics still lag.  Why?  Because Texas has the highest dropout rate in the country. A comprehensive plan to keep students in high school and adequately train them for real life experiences has not been offered by any state-level official in the last 10 years.
If education becomes an issue in this upcoming governor’s race, it will be interesting to see if Rick Perry decides it’s an important enough issue to add to his states’ rights platform.

Rick Perry and food stamps

A Dallas Morning News story today highlights a critical issue that’s being either ignored or swept under the rug by Texas legislators and Gov. Rick Perry.  According to the Texas Legal Services Center, the last month has seen thousands of Texans applying for food stamps who’ve been ignored by their state government.  The story says:

Last month, more than half of new food stamp applications from metropolitan Dallas and Houston languished beyond a 30-day processing deadline required by law. Statewide, one-third weren’t handled in timely fashion last month, according to a suit filed in U.S. District Court in Austin late Friday.

The Health and Human Services Commission spokeswoman, Stephanie Goodman, said the recession and Hurricane Ike have caused an overload on the states’ infrastructure.
Regardless of excuses, deputy director of Texas Legal Services, Bruce Bower, said “it’s unacceptable for nearly 60,000 households a month to be applying for food stamps in desperation, and not receive prompt word on whether they qualify.”
Adding to the drumbeat, Celia Hagert, a nutrition expert with the CPPP, said that recent events such as the recession and Hurricane Ike cannot be blamed for the current situation, since the system has been failing to meet federal timeliness standards for three years.
Why does this matter? Well, it’s all a bit ironic, considering Rick Perry has been marching around the state saying how great the Texas economy is and how we have a $9 billion surplus.  Need a reminder?  Here’s a graf from his Washington Times op-ed from last week:

For example, our just-concluded legislative session yielded a balanced state budget, tax relief for 40,000 small businesses, and it left $9 billion unspent for future state needs.

I guess I’m unclear about what our future needs are, if they aren’t Texans who are forced to go hungry? I understand that he has to campaign right now to keep his job, but can we reevaluate our priorities for a second and take care of our own?

Will Rick Perry disrupt Senate election process?

Today’s Statesman has a commentary by Gardner Selby that might pop some eyes regarding statewide elections in the coming months.  According to his column, if Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison steps down from her senate seat to allow another Republican to gain experience until the special election, Rick Perry may declare an emergency and hold the special election whenever he chooses.

This runs contrary to what most other political reporters have said. They claim that if Hutchison resigns early enough, the special election will be in November.  But if it’s after a certain deadline, the special election won’t beheld until May.  In essence, this Selby piece throws that logic out the window.

As stated above, the law requires to the governor to claim that this election must be held for emergency reasons.  Selby seems to think Perry will certainly invoke this rule.  I‘m just curious what the “emergency” will be? Obviously with a Perry-picked replacement, he has who he wants serving the citizens of Texas in (that God-forsaken place) Washington.  What would spur the need for an immediate, long-term replacement?

Obviously this is all detail stuff, but it’s fascinating nevertheless.

Rick Perry takes stimulus, threatens secession

The Federal stimulus money seems to be a recurring subject in the Texas media.  Although Rick Perry rejected $555 million in unemployment insurance money, he accpepted about $14 billion in Federal stimulus money.  This often gets swept under the rug by his campaign, and for good reason.  First of all, it’s an incredibly large sum of money.  A 10th Amendment candidate, as Perry is attempting to brand himself, should not have accepted any Federal money.

The problem with this, as Jason Embry points out, is that the Rainy Day Fund” that Perry touts “went untouched,” could not have been so without Federal aid.  Embry gets his information from the National Conference of State Legislatures:

The national group asked states to say how they closed their budget gaps for the 2010 budget year, and 35 states responded. Of those, 25 said they used federal stimulus dollars to close budget gaps, and Texas reported that it relied most heavily on stimulus dollars, using those dollars to provide 96.7 percent of the gap-closing solution. Nebraska was next at 88 percent.

So if it weren’t for Obama’s stimulus, Perry would have had to deplete the Rainy Day fund, and probably also raise taxes to make up for the difference.  Because the mainstream media doesn’t make a habit of getting into details like this, you rarely hear about it.  Kudos to Embry for taking the time.

This “Please, sir, can I have some more?” Perry is rarely seen in public.  Rather, we get his opposite twin–the 10th Amendment posturing Perry.  On the Mark Davis show this morning, Perry claimed that if Obama’s healthcare plan became law, he would make the “not in my state” stand. Secession, anyone?  That’s the only plausible thing Perry could be referencing.  Otherwise, he’s obligated to comply with U.S. law.

And somewhat related to the “Two Perrys” theory, the Dallas Morning News notes that public and private Perry are very different, as well (“Democrats routinely mention they’ve talked to Perry about some issue or another, and suggest they get along just fine when it comes to most state-specific issues.”)

This, understandably, upsets many conservatives.  Bloggers at the RNI have noticed the disparity between Perry’s words and actions:

While Texas Governor Rick Perry assumes a populist tone at several Tea Party Rallies in the Lone Star State, even to the point of suggesting to reporters that State secession might happen if there is continued overreach in Washington, it is important to recall that he has been a “friend” of policies favoring amnesty for illegal immigrants, a Trans-Texas Corridor, and an emerging, de facto North American Union. If he has such checkered past on issues of national sovereignty, then his sudden interest in state sovereignty must be seen for what it is: a campaign gimmick and an act of brazen, political demagoguery.

A harsh critique, indeed.  But it’s not entirely unfounded.  Someone who has moseyed about the governor’s mansion for as long as Perry has is bound to have people who notice his political maneuvering.  To counter them, he’s become incredible astute at learning how to get elected.  As long as he can keep what happens in between elections fuzzy in the minds of Texas voters, he’s sitting pretty.

A blogger asks “Are Republicans gullible?”

I imagine that most Texas political blog readers–like you reading this one now–have a good handle on “who’s out there.”  But in case you missed it, I found a great post by a Texas Republican woman who does a good job analyzing the Perry-Hutchison race.

She brings up a great point about people who are on the fence in this race:

[T]he same short-sighted Republicans who gave us President Obama because of their refusal to support Senator John McCain could cause Texas to end up with a Democrat governor. Perry only got 39% of the vote in his last election. And he didn’t exactly have an impressive legislative session this time around.

A Democrat as the governor of Texas. At first thought, it’s almost hard to imagine.  But if you think about it, she’s right.  Perry barely escaped with his career last go-around.  Four more years of flirting with the TTC likely hasn’t gotten him very far.  A Perry vs. Democrat general election is a gamble for Republicans.

She continues her blog post by analyzing Perry’s conservative credentials, which she finds to be shakey at best.  (She makes the claim that his stances are mostly political pandering.)  It’s an interesting view.  I realize not all Texans share it, but as the race develops, we’ll see how the “Perry for 14 years” idea goes over with voters.