Rick Perry can’t even get cancer research right.
Human trafficking is making news lately. A few weeks after Yuko Narushima's devastating report on the rise of human trafficking by foreign diplomats in the U.S. in the The Washington Spectator, KUT News, an NPR affiliate, reports on a new push to stop trafficking in the Lone Star State.
On August 30 in Washington, D.C., a three-judge panel struck down Texas’s ominous voter ID law for violating civil rights laws and impeding the rights of citizens.
Civil rights advocated cheered, while the conservative leadership of Texas will appeal to the Supreme Court, meaning it ain’t over yet.
How did NPR's Morning Edition miss the story? A news outlet flush with resources, NPR usually gets it right. But yesterday's segment, "Older, Tougher, But Will the Tea Party be Stronger," described something that doesn't exist. That is, a Tea Party movement that wins elections.
Yes, Ted Cruz, the extreme-right Republican who won the Texas Senate primary race last week, said "this is a victory for the Tea Party."
That doesn't make it true. Cruz told completely unhinged broadcaster Glenn Beck that "progressives view private property as illegimate" and want to move "toward a universal collective."
Who, outside the batshit-right demographic, believes that nonsense?
The big national story out of Texas last week was Ted Cruz—the Tea Party Republican who against all odds defeated the U.S. Senate primary candidate backed by Governor Rick Perry and the party establishment.
Well, maybe not against all odds. Cruz's victory is not, as the former state solicitor general claims, a victory for grassroots conservatives. His election was bought and paid for by the Club for Growth, the same national funding combine that underwrote Richard Mourdock's defeat of Senator Richard Lugar in Indiana three months ago. In Texas, the anti-government funding organization provided more than 80 percent of the outside money that Cruz took in and the club's PAC bundled an additional $1 million for him.
The Republican race was the most expensive Senate primary this year and attracted more out-of-state funding than any other primary this year.
We've seen this movie before. An extremist Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate outflanks a conservative Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate and wins the primary, promising to join the Tea Party Senate Caucus (Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio) when he gets to Washington.
Utah Senator Mike Lee knocked off incumbent Bob Bennett, Richard Mourdock easily defeated Dick Lugar in Indiana, Rand Paul upset Republican establishment candidate Trey Grayson in Kentucky. In today's Republican Party, depicting a conservative as a compromising moderate unfit to hold public office always works, unless the candidate is so batshit that the Republican primary is the final triumph in her political career (Christine O'Donnell in Delaware.)
Sometimes good politics makes good policy, and the president combined both on Friday. His executive order that allows 800,000 immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents to avoid deportation and to legally work was a brilliant move. In terms of policy. And politics.
The fundamental decency of the decision is undeniable. Consider. Hours after the story broke, a Mexican-born student at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, a public school in Austin, fired off an e-mail to her principal.
"Does this mean we can go to college? Does this mean we can get scholarships?"
I came to know Bernard Rapoport when he was chair of the University of Texas System Board of Regents, and I was editor of The Texas Observer in the early 1990s. One of our writers was reporting on a story about conflicts of interest within the UT administration. When the university president ignored our requests for what we believed was public information, we did what reporters do. We sent a Texas Public Information Act request letter to each member of the Board of Regents—including board Chair Bernard Rapoport.
B—who passed away late Thursday night in Waco — had been the Observer’s most generous and dependable financial supporter since the 1960s. The University of Texas Board of Regents was the only political appointment he’d ever wanted, and he went at it with the enthusiasm, intelligence and energy he had devoted to American Income Life — the insurance company he and his wife Audre started with a $25,000 investment in 1951.
Today, the Department of Justice refused to certify the voter-ID law that Texas Governor Rick Perry fought before as he was laying the groundwork for his failed presidential campaign.
If the Justice Department’s fight with Texas were a movie, critics would complain that the players are cast by type. Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general who directs the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and his African-American boss Eric Holder vs. Governor Rick Perry, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Attorney General Greg Abbott, three white leaders of a party almost as racially pure as P.W. Botha’s Afrikaner Nationalists were back when they were holding the line on apartheid.
Now the title of a Rick Perry book by Texas writer Jim Moore, “Adios, Mofo” is what Perry said to a dogged ABC reporter working an education-funding story in 2005.
Not $4 million his campaign spent on ads in Iowa can save him. Not even doubling down on his party’s assault on reproductive rights, committing to a policy that would make abortion illegal in cases of rape and incest, will resurrect Rick Perry. Once the primaries turn south after New Hampshire, it will be time to say goodbye to the slow-witted buckaroo from Paint Creek.
When I hear Rick Perry say he wants the federal government to "Get the hell our of our way," I recall a time when the federal government stayed out of our way.
1972. Each workday morning I would drive east, out of Houston, across the bridge over the Houston Ship Channel.
The Ship Channel was one of the most polluted bodies of water in the nation. Arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, dioxins, PCBs, all deposited on the bottom, a sickening patina of oil floating on the surface. At times the channel would catch on fire. The Texas Legislature and the Texas Water Quality Board didn't invest much in the state's waterways.
I avoid predictions. But here's one. By mid-September, the Republican presidential primary will be a two-man race. Texas Governor Rick Perry will eclipse Michele Bachmann, and Republicans will have a clear choice between Perry and Mitt Romney.
Because I divide my time between Austin and Washington, I’ve convinced myself that I have dual representation in the U.S. House: Republican Lamar Smith and Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton. Smith has a vote. Holmes Norton, because she represents the District of Columbia, has none.
In the two-act, one-woman play she wrote and is performing, Taylor Holland resurrected one of Texas Governor Ann Richards' better lines on "concealed-carry" gun laws.
"I told the Republicans I'd sign the bill if they'd require the guy carrying the gun to wear it on a chain around his neck. That way, at least we could say 'Look out, he's got a gun.'"