You may not like where they come down on the subject, but it can’t be argued that Texans at least take the issue of primary education seriously. The electoral success of George W. Bush’s 1994 gubernatorial and 2000 presidential platforms proves that, as does the enormous public interest in the Texas School Board textbook shenanigans.
It’s no surprise, then, that Democratic candidate for governor Bill White has been focusing on education this week. Today his staff hammered incumbent Repub Gov. Rick Perry for his record on education, but not before White himself went positive with his own plan, outlining five points at the National Council of La Raza's annual conference yesterday. It’s heartening see a border state Democrat standing up to viciousright-winglies about Latinos and La Raza, especially with so many running the other way after the administration’s Arizona lawsuit. Thank you, Bill “Backbone” White. This from White’s campaign:
White hammered incumbent career politician Rick Perry on recent revelations of the Texas Education Agency's Enron-style accounting on school accountability measures.
"They decided to cheat, and then once caught cheating they failed to acknowledge responsibility and accept accountability. They counted failing scores as passing," White said. "How can you teach individual responsibility to students, or emphasize the importance of parental responsibility, if the state's CEO and his appointees don't accept responsibility? How can you hold teachers, principals and school boards accountable if accountability does not start at the top?"
"Pretending that schools are improving, rather than actually improving them, has been a pattern in Texas during the last decade under this governor," White said, citing Perry's failure to account for the actual dropout rate and his veto of a bipartisan bill that would have expanded early childhood education.
"The choices confronting Texas are very stark and very plain. Will the state with one out of every ten Americans in public schools set a goal, tell the truth about where we are and where we want to be, and act to educate its younger population that is largely Hispanic? Will we, as did generations before us, act on the fact that young Texans are our greatest resource, or will we simply pretend they are? Will we plant for a future with great abundance, or will we forgo that hard work and live off our harvest?" White asked.
Perry spoke at an education event today, and White’s spokesperson Katy Bacon fired back in a press release: "Does Rick Perry think it's acceptable that Texas ranks 49th out of 50 states in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma? That SAT and ACT scores are lagging while college tuition rates have skyrocketed 93 percent. Only a career politician would try to brand this as success, accountability and preparing the workforce for the future."
Bill White, the Democrat with a decent chance to become Governor of Texas, has been hitting incumbent Rick Perry hard the last few days for not working very much. A recent campaign press release said stat records show "Part-Time Perry" look 15 long weekends last year. That's followed up by this video, talking to normal Texans about records showing Perry works just 7 hours a week:
What scares me about this is that if Perry was able to cause this much damage to the state in just 7 hours a week, how bad would things have been had he worked a full 40? I guess he needs the extra 33 to maintain that perfect hair helmet, though, so that's fair.
I’ve made this point before, but it bears repeating: This is not an anti-Democratic year, it is an anti-incumbent year. And that means Democrats can blunt our losses by winning in places where Repubs are still in charge.
Case in point, a new PPP poll shows the TX-GOV race tied at 43. Even better, incumbent Repub Rick Perry’s approval spread has dropped to 36-49 while Democrat and former Houston Mayor Bill White is at 37-25. This is a race we can win and a candidate we should get behind.
Perry’s approval rating briefly surged when his secessionist talk gave him new-found popularity among Tea Party types, but I’m not surprised it didn’t last. Let’s remember, this is the guy who won re-election in 2006 with just 39% of the vote. More importantly, Governor Good Hair is no small government libertarian. Constitutionally and historically, the Governor of Texas is a weak figure, but Perry changed that, grabbing power the same way his predecessor did at the national level: taking it despite the law and against the peoples’ wishes. In his first two terms, he tried to ram through a corrupt and untransparent $145 billion highway project that no one wanted, including land owners, environmentalists, and yes, the 2006 state GOP platform. In 2007, he circumvented both families and the state legislature by issuing an executive order requiring all girls to receive HPV vaccinations before 6th grade.
Last December, Texas Monthly explained why White might be the dream candidate Texas Democrats have been looking for for the past 16 years. He has no true political enemies – a rare thing for a mayor – and is widely known for his adept handling of Hurricanes Katrina and Ike. Additionally:
He banned, for all practical purposes, lobbyists from city hall and from any involvement in city contracts, thereby cleaning up what many had come to call "the trough." He took on the city's legendary traffic jams and, in a series of programs, untangled some of them and sped up commuting times. He reduced the city's property tax rate five years out of six; shored up the city's wobbly pension system; reduced the City of Houston's energy consumption by 6 percent, making Houston one of the greenest cities in the country; took on petrochemical companies over air pollution; added parks and libraries; cleaned up decaying neighborhoods and built affordable housing; revamped a badly managed police department, resulting in the city's lowest crime level in decades; and signed new contracts with firefighters giving them 38 percent raises, the first salary increase in six years.
An inept and unpopular incumbent? Shifting demographics? A great Democratic candidate? This is the best chance we’ve had to win in Texas in over a decade and might be the best chance we’ll get for the next one. It’s the perfect year to have this shot, too, since the 2010 census will give us the chance to fix Tom Delay’s corrupt Congressional redistricting.
The end of another fiscal quarter is rapidly approaching, so I’m going to start pushing our Going on Offense Act Blue page again. With the Arkansas primary over, I’ve replaced Bill Halter with Bill White. Please give to White today, and to any of the other stellar progressive candidates who represent our best chances to win this November.
This week's roundup features mayors' reactions to Arizona's immigration law, a Supreme Court ruling on deportation laws, and more...
On Tuesday, the U.S. Conference of Mayors approved a resolution condemning Arizona's new immigration law. Our own Alan Jenkins has more on that story here. Meanwhile, some Arizona lawyers are concerned that the law, which goes into effect next month, could result in an influx of new cases that might overwhelm the state's court system. And some Arizona lawmakers have proposed an additional law that would deny citizenship to children of illegal immigrants born in the United States.
We can’t impede progress in the name of environmental action that yields little for the environment and even less for our people.. and we should look at the environment as an economic opportunity. – Meg Whitman
As we enter the 60th day of the BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico it has been amazing to me the outcry that has occurred from all camps concerning the responses to the crisis. The one which has troubled me the most has been the criticism which has been directed at the president. Let us be clear this disaster was masterminded and created by the profit seeking British Petroleum and they should be held responsible for all aspects of this disaster. My concern is with those who believe unrealistically that this or any president can somehow plug up a hole in the gulf that is 40 miles off-shore and a mile deep. Or that we have the technology to respond to such a disaster somewhere on a shelf somewhere and we are just not using it. The truth is that the majority of this country has been asleep on the possibility of a disaster like this because of our dependence on fossil fuels and the marketing of big oil.
Many of the critics have suggested the President institute special powers such as the war powers given during a state of attack by foreign powers or terrorists. The problem with these suggestions is that they ignore the reality of our current political state or the current state of our judiciary, specifically the Supreme Court which has shown recently its propensity for corporate bidding. Have these critics so easily forgotten the mantra of the right for the last two years that President Obama is a socialist looking to privatize all industry and undermine our way of life. Now they are suggesting that this same president seize BP to insure their compliance even temporarily is absurd. Not to mention the fallout from the oil industry lobbyists and their congressional minions. Does anyone think that this Supreme Court would allow such tactics without taking action to prevent it?
I understand that this is an environmental disaster of monumental proportions but let’s not be naïve enough to believe that the criticism from the teabaggers stoked by their Astroturf benefactors would somehow be silent because this is a national disaster. While for most Americans this is a tragedy of historical proportions for these folks it is just another opportunity to fault the President and his administration for not safeguarding our country. Unfortunately when disasters of this magnitude occur many folks are unable to get their heads around it and so they become overwhelmed and desensitized to the suffering of others. As a nation we have become more regional and isolated from each other and so if these types of things don’t directly affect us we tend to compartmentalize them as someone else problem and so it is difficult to craft national responses or national outrage. While those in the gulf and environmentalists understand the depth of the disaster there will be those who will attempt to minimize the human and environmental toll on this nation.
The tragedy in the gulf demonstrates our false reliance on technology or our belief in technology and how we have convinced ourselves that technology can and will solve all of our challenges. Many critics believe we have the technology to plug a hole in the ocean as if it were some hole in the bathtub to be plugged by so much silicone. Should we have had in place safety precautions to deal with this tragedy? Of course we should have been more vigilant in holding these corporations to higher safety standards, but let’s not forget that for years we have allowed these corporations to skirt safety and write their own rules. The answer to this disaster is not to criticize this President but to put in place the regulatory mechanisms to prevent future disasters and to hold BP responsible for the entire restoration and financial liability for this one. But let’s not kid ourselves into believing that those forces who want to keep us dependent on fossil fuels will go quietly into that good night.
Here are a few quotes that demonstrate the willingness of these paid clowns to sacrifice the rest of us for their short-term gain.
"What better way to head off more oil drilling, nuclear plants, than by blowing up a rig? I'm just noting the timing, here." —Rush Limbaugh
"Extreme deep water drilling is not the preferred choice to meet our country's energy needs, but your protests and lawsuits and lies about onshore and shallow water drilling have locked up safer areas. It's catching up with you. The tragic, unprecedented deep water Gulf oil spill proves it." —Sarah Palin
"From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented." —Texas Gov. Rick Perry
If the firms that employ an increasing majority of the population are driven solely to satisfy the owner's greed at the expense of working conditions, of the stability of the community, and of the health of the environment, chances are that the quality of our lives will be worse than it is now. - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi