Archive | April, 2011

The Perverted Village

Readers: I received this poem, written by former Lt. Governor Bill Hobby, and immediately emailed him and asked his permission to share it with you. He agreed. Thanks Governor Hobby!

By Bill Hobby

Sweet Austin, capital of the Lone Star State,
What have we done to earn this grisly fate?

Why do you make of us a state of fools?
To save a buck you close our schools.

Because research and scholars you do mock
Once proud, higher ed is now a laughing stock.

North and South, East and West
Our highways were once the best.

Now, because of what you’re doin’
You’ll let them go to rack and ruin.

By now we should have learned to be wary
Of those that gave us Clements, Craddick, Perry.

King Richard Perry—the motto of his reign:
If at first you don’t secede, try, try again.

The springs over which he rules have run dry in fact,
But, never fear, the Rainy Day Fund’s intact!

O for the glorious days when our Lone Star’s light
Shed on the likes of Briscoe, Richards, and White.

Once famed, our glories melt away,
Now that the radical right holds its sway.

From the Llano Estacado to the Rio Grande
This land is your land, this land is my land.

The Lone Star dips slowly into mire.
On dune and headland sinks the fire.

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Comments { 5 }
Sweet Austin, capital of the Lone Star State,
What have we done to earn this grisly fate?
Why do you make of us a state of fools?
To save a buck you close our schools.
Because research and scholars you do mock
Once proud, higher ed is now a laughing stock.
North and South, East and West
Our highways were once the best.
Now, because of what you’re doin’
You’ll let them go to rack and ruin.
By now we should have learned to be wary
Of those that gave us Clements, Craddick, Perry.
King Richard Perry—the motto of his reign:
If at first you don’t secede, try, try again.
The springs over which he rules have run dry in fact,
But, never fear, the Rainy Day Fund’s intact! 
O for the glorious days when our Lone Star’s light
Shed on the likes of Briscoe, Richards, and White.
Once famed, our glories melt away,
Now that the radical right holds its sway.
From the Llano Estacado to the Rio Grande
This land is your land, this land is my land.
The Lone Star dips slowly into mire.
On dune and headland sinks the fire.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

target=”_blank”

Comments { 0 }

Leo Berman: a man who has documented nothing so far

After President Obama’s certificate of live birth was made available, Texas State Representative Leo Berman was unconvinced that The President was actually born in the U.S. He demanded proof.

Now that President Obama’s long form birth certificate has been produced, Representative Berman reportedly remains unconvinced, doubting the accuracy of the official document, and explaining that more proof is necessary.

Fair enough. But The President has already provided just about as much proof as exists that shows that he was born in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Representative Berman has provided absolutely no proof whatsoever of many, many things.

We here at Letters From Texas Worldwide Headquarters choose to begin by demanding proof that he doesn’t dream of young boys while napping on the floor of the Texas House.

Comments { 6 }

Planning on getting up early for the Royal wedding?

Now you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Comments { 0 }

Headline of the day so far

By my count, there are three ways to interpret this headline – one is accurate, and the other two are funny.

Comments { 0 }

Headline of the day so far

Sometimes, insider references are a bit jarring to outsiders.

Comments { 4 }

TPA weekly blog round-up

Here’s the best of the Texas Progressive Alliance from the last week:

The long range plan to kill public education is reaching the end game. Over at TexasKaos lightseeker talks about seeing one of the (unintentional) moving parts at a public lecture given by one of the premier charter schools in the nation. Check out Educational Reform and Our Common Peril!

Bay Area Houston has the latest on State Representative Larry Taylor’s emergency surgery.

What conservatives believe to be true ranks far above what is actually true, and even what is demonstrably true according to science and mathematics. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs points out that this why Rick Perry declares Easter weekend as ‘Days of Prayer for Rain in Texas’, and why John Cornyn “isn’t so sure” that Jon Kyl was wrong when he claimed that abortions were 90% of Planned Parenthood’s budget. It should consequently be no surprise that they place no value in teachers and education.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme thinks the Texas Supreme Court, aka the republican crony justice system, sucks.

Always looking out for your mental health and well-being, Letters From Texas Worldwide Headquarters, Psychological Testing Department, offers a redistricting rorschach test.

The Senate Finance Committee lead by GOP Senator Steve Ogden approved their version of the Texas budget last week. WCNews at Eye On Williamson shows that it truly is the lesser of two evils.

How about a bit of good news for a change? Off the Kuff notes that a bill that gives microbreweries greater latitude in getting their beers to customers passed the House last week.

Neil at Texas Liberal praised Governor Perry for his call for prayer to end the severe drought in Texas. At the same time, Neil asked that if prayer can end the drought, might it be that Texas is being punished by God for hard-hearted policies towards the poor?

McBlogger take a looks back on one idea to bring more water to Texas that will work, and another that’s from Governor Perry.

Easter Lemming discovers Oh the places you will go as an iPhone, even if it is no longer your iPhone.

Comments { 0 }

Always looking out for your mental health and well-being, Letters From Texas Worldwide Headquarters, Psychological Testing Department, offers a redistricting rorschach test.

Comments { 0 }

Waiting for rain

Yesterday was the most depressing, and most hopeful, day I’ve ever spent in the Big Bend/Davis Mountains region, when I surveyed damage from the Rock House fire that started in Marfa, raced through Fort Davis, and is still burning East of the McDonald Observatory.

On the road between Marfa and Fort Davis

On the road between Marfa and Fort Davis, one can drive miles without seeing a living thing – there is nothing left alive between the deep blue sky and ash-covered dirt – only some charred fence posts along the road remain.

In Fort Davis, the scars of the fire’s path make many acts of heroism obvious. At house after house, one can see where the fire came right up to homes, then split before coming together on the other side to continue its wind-fueled death march. What happened is obvious on its face: residents – defying orders to evacuate – stood shoulder-to-shoulder with volunteer firefighters, and they never gave up on beating back the flames to save their homes. Armed with little more than garden hoses, shovels, and courage, most succeeded.

Outside the McNight Mansion
Inside the McNight Mansion

The biggest architectural casualty of this war appears to be the McNight Mansion in Fort Davis. Just across the road from the historic Jeff Davis County courthouse, the mansion is situated in a grove of giant old cottonwoods. The rock exterior shell of the house remains, but that’s just about all. The house doesn’t look like it merely burned – it looks more like a bomb hit it. Inside the house, everything is destroyed. And yet, on the mansion’s porch, a wood porch swing remains completely undamaged, swaying in the West Texas breeze.

A few blocks away, the home of a decorated combat veteran burned to the ground. Searching through the rubble later, the man apparently found his Medal of Honor, before the heavy equipment came in and scraped up what was left of the house and hauled it away. Already, there’s no sign that the house was ever there.

From the high altitude of the McDonald Observatory, one can see vast expanse of fire damage in the region, as well as the smoke plumes of pockets of fire still burning, which according to local ranchers may never be extinguished until the rains come.

Despite the enormity of it all, there is no sign of despair, but plenty of signs of hope and determination. Fort Davis is bustling. Clean-up operations there are already well-underway. In fact, most buildings that burned have already been cleared away by crews. Galleries and restaurants are open, main street is undamaged, and the welcome sign is up.

In the country the fire didn’t reach, it’s so dry that every blade of grass is dead, and even the old oak trees are dropping their leaves. Cattle look stressed. There’s no moisture at all in the air. The hot dry winds continue to blow. But there’s more to do than just stand around and wait for rain.

One rancher, having already lost all his cattle and his range land to the fire, was busy helping others by hauling cattle feed to another rancher who lost his grass, but not his cattle. The man’s truck, struggling up a mountain with an over-loaded trailer behind him, overheated. We went to get him more water, and he continued on his way with no sign of discouragement or defeat, to help somebody else.

Clean-up efforts are underway in Fort Davis

Others are stockpiling and distributing hay and feed, which has come in, donated or at cost, from every part of the country. The hardware store in Alpine is encouraging people to buy a fence post, at their cost, to donate to ranchers who lost miles and miles of ranch fencing, which costs $5.75 a linear foot to replace. Schools are having bake sales, churches from all around are pitching in what they can. The Feds have brought in the heavy airborne artillery, some of it standing by at the Alpine airport, there to ensure that pockets of fire still burning don’t spike out of control and start this nightmare all over again. People at the Texas Department of Agriculture are putting donated equipment together with the highest need, and have started a fund to help replace ranch fencing.

In this region, helping each other out is apparently what you do while you’re waiting for it to rain.

When the rain does come – and sooner or later it always does – life will return with a vengeance. We saw signs of that yesterday, just outside of Marfa where the fire first started. Fire crews there attempting to stop the fire at its origin dumped a lot of water on the ground. And as a result, poking through the dark ash along the road, are fresh sprigs of green lush grass.

Here’s where to contribute to the relief fund.

Comments { 4 }

Redistricting Rorschach Test

The state House redistricting map is out, so this seems like as good a time as any to remind you that redistricting is not – we repeat not – a political process. It is never a process resulting in officeholders choosing their voters, but rather a purely altruistic exercise in which voters are given a fresh opportunity to choose their officeholders. Therefore, strange and illogical conclusions to this wonderful process are impossible.

There is a logical explanation for strangely-shaped districts. Those moving maps forward are simply concerned for our mental health. Thus, they have created this legislative rorschach test, so that it can be ascertained the extent to which we are, in fact, nuts.

It is in that spirit that we here at Letters From Texas Worldwide Headquarters present this House District Rorschach Test, in which you, the crap-reading public, are encouraged to add to the comments section the first thing that comes to mind when looking at these inkblots, which are actual proposed state House districts.

Example 1:

Example 2:

Example 3:

Example 4:

Comments { 6 }

The Texas Republicans in charge: working hard for YOU.

Well, maybe not you specifically, but at least they’re working on behalf of somebody.

Key quote: “This is not just for rich people. You can get used yachts as well.”

Comments { 5 }

Federal gu’mint? We don’t need no stinking Federal gu’mint

Q: see if you can guess which state has received aid from FEMA for more disasters than any other state. Oh, come on, just guess. Give it a shot. Just, you know – first thing that pops into your pretty little head.

A: obviously that was too easy for you.

Comments { 1 }

TPA weekly blog round-up

The Texas Progressive Alliance sincerely hopes that the Texas wildfires will soon be controlled as it brings you this week’s roundup.

The first State House redistricting map is out, and Off the Kuff has a look at it and some alternatives to it.

Letters From Texas poked fun at the…um…hard turn John Sharp’s web domain has taken, in which somebody has…um…erected quite a different focus. But most of the week was spent on more serious concerns – the West Texas range fires.

Having previously declared himself out on supporting President Obama’s re-election campaign, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs finds even less to like about the rumored candidacy of Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez for US Senate. Less, as in nothing.

The Texas Cloverleaf looks at the proposed TX House redistricting implications in Denton County.

This week on Left of College Station, Teddy covers the local politics of the City of College Station controversial vote to annex the community of Wellborn, and Teddy covers the national politics of the Congressional Republicans failure to lead by their politicalization of military pay. Left of College Station also covers the week in headlines.

From Bay Area Houston: The Houston Chronicle asks How stupid are Texans?

DosCentavos opines on State Rep. Leo Berman’s kinder gentler racism through a “cost-saving” English-only bill.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants everyone to know that Victoria DA Hissy Fit’s tainted case against city officials has been dropped.

The Texas GOP released it’s proposed map of Texas state House districts for the next decade. Dembones at Eye On Williamson posted about the most oddest shaped district in the map, Gerrymandering Wilco.

Libby Shaw at TexasKaos tells us that When Middle Schoolers Serve in Congress there is price to be paid.

Neil at Texas Liberal noted that Rick Perry has asked Barack Obama and Washington on help with Texas wildfires. While everybody impacted by the fires merits help, it sure is something that Washington-basher Rick Perry feels he must turn to the federal government to solve Texas problems. Where are the Texas Tea Party citizen-volunteer disaster relief teams to help people in need?

Like many, the crew at McBlogger is feeling the pinch of higher gas prices. What’s really causing it and what can be done about it may surprise you.

TexasVox brings you a double dose of bad news about fracking, first bad news for the climate from shale gas as it could be warming the planet worse than coal and second, the awesome press conference put on by our TPA friend TXSharon about health effects from fracking. Oh, and on a completely unrelated note and blog, I warn you not to go see the new movie version of Atlas Shrugged.

Comments { 0 }

Letters From Texas poked fun at the…um…hard turn John Sharp’s web domain has taken, in which somebody has…um…erected quite a different focus. But most of the week was spent on more serious concerns – the West Texas range fires.

Comments { 0 }

The Texas Legislature needs more days like this

Good-humored bipartisanship, with a beat Paul Burka can dance to.

Comments { 4 }