A Real American Horror Story

is this the face of a criminal? Or a victim?

A woman should not leave two children in a truck in the sun with the window partly open and the keys left in the ignition. Not even if she’s homeless, has no one to watch her kids and chooses to take an awful risk so that she can make the job interview that just might be her path out of poverty and desperate decisions.

When you’re faced with nothing but bad or terrible choices who wouldn’t try to choose the least awful option? Shanesha Taylor shouldn’t have done it, but she did it and all it got her was a week behind bars, her children taken from her and the scorn of every morally superior idiot who never committed a sin and is armed and ready with a pocketful of rocks.

So much cynicism. So little heavy lifting to prove this story isn’t every bit as tragic a damning indictment of both bad personal decisions and an American society that doesn’t give two slimy shits about poor people as long as they stay out of sight and die quietly in their hovels.

Is anyone really giving Shanesha Taylor a pass for the bad decision to leave two infants in a locked car? No, but nobody has nominated Taylor as Mother of the Year material either.   There are plenty of creepy politicians like Paul Ryan happy to exploit the most helpless while accepting back-slapping praise for guns, not butter budgets.

Contemporary conservatives like Ryan  backhand away any concern for someone like Taylor. His ilk are determined to punish people like Taylor for her sins. The sin of being a poor Black woman with children who probably doesn’t vote the right way.

Shanesha Taylor without tears.

I understand Ryan’s lack of compassion for and inability to identify with Taylor’s plight. They have never been an impoverished, homeless and desperate Black woman with two kids facing a bad choice and a worse choice.    Any indignation I feel for Taylor’s irresponsible decision is tempered by sympathy for the dilemma that drove her to make it.

“I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.” Malcolm X said that. I second it.

Like me, he was a Black man who could see the connections and contradictions of Shanesha Taylor’s story and those whom self-righteously penalize her for being too weak to carry the weight of a system that fails poor women and children with disgusting certainty.

How many Wall Street executives are sleeping on a thin mattress with their backs to the wall lest they receive a midnight visit from a Nazi skinhead with a swastika face tattoo? Think of all those corrupt Congresscritters who resign to “spend more time with their families” as well as their mistresses and boy toys on the side. If leaving infants in a truck in the heat of the Arizona day is grounds for legal sanction then what should be done with a president, vice-president, National Security Adviser and Secretary of Defense who lie an entire country into a phony war and kill nearly 5,000 U.S. troops and possibly a million Iraqi citizens?

If George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld don’t deserve to be arrested for war crimes, can’t they at least have the goddamn decency to hide in their holes like the criminal scum they are? Why hasn’t someone performed a citizens arrest yet and marched the lot of them into The Hague or at least a Supermax prison?

This is what real criminal behavior looks like.

Putting Taylor behind bars may satiate the need to make her pay for her bad judgment, but it glosses over how states like Arizona balance the books on the backs of their least affluent and most needy citizens eventually creating “solutions” as dire as the original problems.

Criminalizing poverty is insane. Conservatives have made it their mission to slash and gut social programs designed specifically to assist women like Shanesha Taylor. Welfare, daycare and childcare, food stamps, homeless shelters, jobs programs, WIC, and anything else that isn’t a sacred cow like tax cuts and military spending.

A tax cut wouldn’t have helped Taylor and neither will Paul Ryan’s latest punish the poor Congressional budget. The Republican Party wants people to learn how to catch their own fish instead of sitting around and waiting for someone to give them fish to eat. They forget how hard it is to catch a fish when you can’t afford to buy a pole or bait.

Probation, jail time, and the other suggested corrective measures for Taylor show the disdain of the well-fed and markedly unsympathetic for a woman who doesn’t look like them, doesn’t belong in their circles they travel in and whose circumstances they can’t begin to conceive.

Conservatives like the idea of poor people working, but they want them to suffer a bit for whatever little help they receive and if they can be humiliated and have their dignity peeled away from their body in strips, that’s always good for a laugh.

When they actually break down in tears as Shanesha Taylor did, then it’s downright hilarious.

Taylor is, we are told, a bad mother. A loser. A dope who probably made dopey and bad decisions all her life so we must hold her up to contempt and compare her to welfare cheats and con artists.

But race has nothing to do with it. Gender has nothing to do with it. Poverty has nothing to do with it and how do we know this? We don’t. We just say we do because then its all of the individual’s fault and society is blameless.

American Injustice.

Taylor lives in an America most Americans don’t see because she cannot claim “affluenza” to escape responsibility.  Pleading she would not fare well in prison  is not a defense available to her.  Any society that has no fairness, understanding or compassion in it for desperate people is a society with no goodness or mercy in it and is not a society that can be defended.

“This is America’s opportunity to help bridge the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. The question is whether America will do it. There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will.”

One day we will have to stand before the God of history and we will talk in terms of things we’ve done. Yes, we will be able to say we built gargantuan bridges to span the seas, we built gigantic buildings to kiss the skies. Yes, we made our submarines to penetrate oceanic depths. We brought into being many other things with our scientific and technological power.

It seems that I can hear the God of history saying, “That was not enough! But I was hungry, and ye fed me not. I was naked, and ye clothed me not. I was devoid of a decent sanitary house to live in, and ye provided no shelter for me. And consequently, you cannot enter the kingdom of greatness. If ye do it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye do it unto me.” That’s the question facing America today.”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break the Silence” delivered on April 4th 1967

 

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No, I’m Not Nostalgic For Dubya

Presendentin’ be hard work.

It’s Old Presidents Week here at The Domino Theory.   It be that way sometimes and especially when they are making news.

Facts are stupid things.  Ronnie Reagan said that.  He was right about facts occasionally being stupid.  Facts are also subject to being manipulated, misleading and meaningless.

The disaster movie that was George W. Bush’s presidency has been ripe for a rehabbing and with President Obama’s recent spate of dilemmas, diversions and drama it’s getting one.

Gallup pollsters announced Tuesday that the last Bush in office is more popular than our sitting president. Forty-nine percent of Americans now see Bush in favorable terms, compared to 47 percent for President Barack Obama.

Bush’s 49/45 approval-to-disapproval rating split in the new poll also is the first time since 2005 – not-so-coincidentally the same year as Hurricane Katrina – that more Americans say they approve of his presidency than don’t. It’s also a major uptick from his favorability rating low of 35 percent in March 2009. (His high: 87% two months after the 9/11 attacks in 2001).

No, I don’t know WTF he’s doing either.

Before you could say, “Holy Revisionism, Batman” a colored conservative was all up in my Facebook news feed proudly proclaiming,  “If you take off your Obama blinders you can see why life was better under Bush.”

Really?

The economy collapsed under Bush. The bank bail-out was introduced and signed into law by Bush. Bush burned through Bill Clinton’s surplus like a horny sailor in a whorehouse. Bush dragged the country into one war in Afghanistan and left it unfinished and then into another with Iraq based upon cooked “intelligence” of Weapons of Mass Destruction” that weren’t there because they didn’t exist. Bush ignored the poor and the Black drowning like rats in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina but rammed through a tax cut that redistributed the wealth into the pockets of the One Percent.

Oh, and the worst terrorist attack ever occurred while George W. Bush sat on his ass reading “My Pet Goat.”

To sum up, if you were  Black  after Hurricane Katrina, or in the World Trade Center on 9/11 or one of the over 4,000 soldiers whose lives were wasted in Iraq, your life wasn’t better under Bush. Your life was OVER because of Bush.    Nostalgia for the Bad Old Days of Dubya and Evil Dick Cheney coming from a Black person is like an ex-slave reminiscing for the  cotton fields. 

Yes,  Barack Obama is having a series of rotten days and weeks.   The afterglow of his reelection has faded and the grind of governing has knocked him from his once lofty poll numbers.   No surprise there.   They only place they could go was down.   But polls don’t decide whether a presidency is a success or failure.    History does that and in my history George W. Bush is still the all-time, undisputed, winner and still champion  Worst President Ever.

So I really don’t give a damn what a Gallup poll of 1,529 morons with short-term memories and no sense of history says. A majority of people thought slavery was a great idea once upon a time.

“Better off under Bush?”

Only if you’re a damn fool or a crazy Republican.  But I repeat myself.

 

Barack Obama Into Darkness?

When the “news” broke last week that the National Security Agency under the Obama Administration was harvesting telephone records made within the United States the reaction was as predictable as it was swift.   One big, huge WTF????

Those of us who did not choose to tear out our hair, rend our garments and demand Barack Obama be frog-walked out of the Oval Office in chains were exorcised as fools for surrendering our liberties without a peep of protest.

This conclusion is as fallacious as it is ridiculous and some of you really need both a laxative and a good night’s sleep.  Not necessarily in that order.
I never said the government gathering information on the public was “OK.” But I’m not going to lose it now when I didn’t see all you outraged civil libertarians demanding George Bush’s impeachment when he did THE EXACT SAME THING without Congressional oversight or judicial warrant.

Sure we do. I do. You do too. Everyone does and yes, I am including all of you who couldn’t wait to crow  “See! I toldja the government was listenin! I toldja Obama is no different from Bush. I toldja.”

Correct me if I got it wrong, but how did you get here? Was it via the Internets? Do you have an Internet Service Provider? Did you post on your laptop, smart phone or I-Pad?

Thanks for sharing with the the National Security Agency (which has only been around for 60 fucking years so I really don’t get why everyone is acting like they were just dreamed up by Dubya and now operate with the blessings of Barry).

Nobody is stealing your information about your next booty call, idea for the Great American Novel or your favorite porn bookmarks. You gave that information away. Yep. You left the door unlocked and now that it’s your shit getting peeped and not just some Muslim taxi driver in New Jersey you want to get all bent out of shape?

It is to laugh.

Let’s not do this dance. There is NO privacy on the Internet and there certainly is none on Facebook, or Word Press. Unless you believe founder Matt Mullenweg has 1000 lawyers on retainer ready to spring into action to quash any government subpoena from the Obama Administration for my complete posting history.   I can assure you he does not.

There is no “right to privacy.” It is a fantasy and was bought by Disney and will be part of the next expansion of Mickey’s Toontown.

There is only the illusion of privacy. Your internet provider has your ISP. Your credit cards have your information. You use a loyalty card at the grocery store to get 25 cents off a loaf of bread and you’re handing over more information. You lose your shit when a phone call drops because you’re out of range of a cell tower.

When Verizon asked, “Can you hear me now?” didn’t you know it was a purely rhetorical question? Of course they can hear you now. They have always been able to hear you.

It’s not just Big Brother watching. Little Brother and Sister are too and we gave them permission to do so a looonnnnng time ago.   Am I happy to have confirmed what I already suspected, that President Obama is continuing what President Bush started?   Not really, but I never assumed any differently because I knew when giving a choice between protecting privacy rights and the nation from another 9/11 event,  security is probably going to trump privacy.

This does not make be a blind Obamabot.  I simply don’t see the reason I’m supposed to be freaking out.

I know it’s the default position for many of us on the Left side of the aisle to lose our shit and start dust off 1984 when this kind of story jumps off, but the reality about American life is unless you’re living in a cabin in the woods with no electricity, running water and totally cut off from civilization and living completely off the grid you give away your personal information and privacy EVERY DAMN DAY.

But now y’all want a cop an attitude and act like the piano player in the cathouse who claims he didn’t know there was fornicating going on upstairs?  Please stop and look at the facts.

  • The government is not listening to your phone calls.
  • This is a program implemented with Congressional oversight and with judicial review.
  • It is neither unlimited in what information can be data mined or extended into perpetuity.

You didn’t care when it was happening to Muhammad and Ahmed. Why so serious now?  Because your boring little phone conversations flying through the air are being intercepted?

…a computer will sort through the millions of calls and isolate a very small number for further scrutiny. Perhaps one of the numbers was called by one of the Tsarnaev brothers before the Boston Marathon bombings. Or perhaps a call was placed by a Verizon customer to a known operative of Al Qaeda. The Supreme Court long ago authorized law enforcement agencies to obtain call logs — albeit on paper rather than from a computer database — without full probable cause to believe a crime had been committed.

Civil liberties are not something easily retrieved once given away, but little-by-little, bit-by-bit, Americans have surrendered their liberties and frankly, I find the hand-wringing and caterwauling both too little and too late. When you cede your power to politicians and bureaucrats you can’t come back later and shriek, “This isn’t what I wanted.”

If you want to maintain your taste for sausage you probably don’t want to see how the sausage gets made.

obamabush-obama

Post-Election Psychos: Haters Just Keep On Hatin’

There’s a good reason the President has all those men in black following him around.

I’ve never been to Coldstone Creamery, but I hope their ice cream is better than some of the people who work there serving it up.   One of their employees in Sacramento, Denise Helms, 22, posted her shiny happy reaction on Facebook to the news of the president winning a second term.

“And another 4 years of the nigger. Maybe he will get assassinated this term..!!”

Social media never sleeps and Helms’ remarks soon drew the attention of a local TV station.  Helms didn’t seem to think what she said was any big deal.

“I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. … The assassination part is kind of harsh. I’m not saying like I would go do that or anything like that, by any means, but if it was to happen, I don’t think I’d care one bit.”

Helms cared enough to delete her original post and add a new one.  “So apparently my post last night about Obama got onto Twitter and Fox 40 came and interviewed me cause apparently a lot of people in Sacramento think I’m crazy and racist. WOW is all I got to say!! I’m not racist and I’m not crazy. just simply stating my opinion.!!!”

“…but I meant “nigger” in a NICE way!”

Ever notice how idiots who spout racist crap are so quick to proclaim they aren’t racist?     Is there a nice, non-racist way to call the president a nigger?

The Secret Service says they will look into the matter.  They tend to take threats against the President of the United States as serious business even when they are made by a dumb ass.

I have to say I’m a little concerned at how badly some people are taking Obama’s reelection.  Didn’t they even consider the possibility, however small, that Romney might lose?

Apparently not.  Some idiot in Texas is taking the prospect of four more years as such a grim prospect that he wants to secede from the United States.   A petition with over 51,000 signatures has been posted on the White House website.

The U.S. continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the U.S. suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect its citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.

The hell with Texas.  Let ’em walk.   Besides oil and Texans what else do we get from that batshit state?

Wait.  I liked Lyndon B. Johnson and Molly Ivins and they both were from Texas.  Hell with Texas.  Make ’em stay and suffer.   Bunch of whiny crybabies.

It’s too bad that Miss Helms and apparently the entire Lone Star state can’t accept the judgment of their fellow American citizens, but if I got through eight years of George W. Bush (former governor of the great state of Texas) they can get through for more years of Obama.

And if they can’t they can just take a big ol’ suck on the lighted end of my victory cigar.

Hillary: Redeemed, Resurrected and Ready for 2016

Cocked, locked and ready to rock for another presidential run?

Sometimes the best way to make a comeback is to never go away.  Hillary Clinton’s bounce back from wandering in the wilderness to my best bet to win the  Democratic nomination in 2016 is a resurrection of Biblical proportions.

Clinton has emerged as one of the most formidable and accomplished politicians in American politics.   After the bitterly fought election of 2008, her stature had been diminished and the Clinton brand name had lost a bit of its luster, tarnished somewhat from the campaign and the fatigue with Bill Clinton.

America needed a break from the Clintons.  By settling into his post-presidential life, Bill has largely put the taint of his sexual indiscretions and impeachment behind him.  The committed Clinton haters will never give up that hate, but their numbers are dwindling.

A 2011 Gallup/USA Today poll of America’s Most Admired People placed Hillary Clinton at Number One (in a tie with President Obama.  George W. Bush is at second place and Bill Clinton at third).  I don’t think that’s an accident.  Hillary is no longer thought of as simply another former First Lady.  She’s grown far beyond that.

Clinton was a respected U.S. Senator.  She’s worked hard as Secretary of State and from all outward appearances, been loyal to President Obama.  Whether or not she thought her reputation needed rehabilitation, Hillary has thrived when she accepted Obama’s offer to join his administration.

While she has said she will not return as Secretary of State if the president wins reelection, nobody should believe she’s going to retire from politics.   If Obama wins, there’s nobody in the Democratic Party better positioned to succeed him in 2016 than Hillary Clinton (sorry, Joe Biden).  If Romney wins, she becomes the Democratic front-runner in 2016 (sorry, Joe Biden and Andrew Cuomo).

If Romney loses, there’s going to be a pushback from the moderate wing of the Republican Party.  The far-Right of the GOP has pushed Romney to take positions that makes him less palatable to independents.    I can see someone emerging to pull the Republicans back to the center and away from the challenges posed by a Tea Party favorite such as Senator Rand Paul and that person could well be Jeb Bush.

George Bush’s reign of error made the Bush brand toxic in 2012 (can anyone recall any Republican presidential candidate praising Bush 43?) and the party is desperately trying to avoid any mention of the Bush years.  Voters needed a break from the Bush family and by 2016, another time will have passed to forgive, if not necessarily forget, the bad old days of Dubya and Evil Dick Cheney.

I’m predicting a Clinton vs. Bush: Round Two in 2016.  It would be a contest of epic proportions.  But it sure wouldn’t represent any sort of drastic, dramatic change in American politics.   If you loved Bill and George Sr. and Jr., you’ll love Hillary and Jeb.

Clinton will be 68 in 2016 and younger than Romney will be then.  She’s redeemed her slightly tarnished image.  She can raise money.  She’s a formidable campaigner.  She’s married to a guy who knows how to win.  Why shouldn’t she take a couple of years off and in four years, the Democrats will be begging her to run to replace Obama or take on Romney.

Bill wants this to happen.  George Sr. and Karl Rove want this to happen.  Even if Romney wins and runs for a second term,  I expect Jeb Bush to challenge him for the nomination.

The Dynamic Duo of the Democratic Party are poised for 2016.

It would be the ultimate triumph of status quo, business as usual, politics, and the final throwdown between two political dynasties and I am absolutely convinced that is exactly what is coming America’s way in 2016.  Hillary can write her own ticket and if she wants to, she’s a lock to make history in four years by adding “President of the United States” to her resume of accomplishments.

Love her, like her or loathe her, but you can’t stop her.

Mission Over, Nothing Accomplished

Did we win? Do you care?

President Obama announced last week he was bringing all the troops home from Iraq and effectively end the nearly nine-year war.

“As promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year,” Obama said. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”

“Today, I can say that troops in Iraq will be home for the holidays,” Obama said.

Predictably, the Republican presidential candidates squawked like irritated chickens in response to the president’s announcement despite the Obama Administration simply fulfilling an agreement that was struck by President Bush with the Iraq government to withdraw the troops.

Despite their inability to agree on the economy or much else, Republican presidential candidates spoke with one voice in reaction to President Obama’s announcement of a full U.S. withdrawal from Iraq this year.

They were against it.

It was an “astonishing failure” that risked all the gains made “through the blood and sacrifice” of thousands of Americans, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he was “deeply concerned” that Obama had put “political expediency ahead of sound military and security judgment.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) cited it as another example of the president’s foreign policy weakness, and Jon Huntsman, Obama’s former ambassador to China, called it a “mistake.”

Herman Cain let stand his assessment of last weekend, in which he announced that withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan were “a dumb thing to do.”

This is the GOP plan for dealing with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: stay the course no matter how disastrous or how much the American people dislike the course.   Not a one of them has any better ideas than to gripe, whine, bitch and complain.  Over 4,400 have been killed in Iraq with thousands more wounded.  The number of Iraqis dead is somewhere over 100,000, but nobody knows for sure.

But nine years of blood, death and billions of dollars wasted isn’t enough for Mitt and the Seven Dwarfs.

Don't be afraid kid. We're liberating you. Don't you feel liberated?

I guess the better option would to allow thousands of American troops to stay in Iraq and pouring billions of dollars into rebuilding their infrastructure while allowing this country’s to crumble. Oh, and by the way? That Sharia law thing American citizens want no part of here? Let’s allow our soldiers to be subject to it there.

Sorry kids. You hoped Daddy would be home for the holidays? BZZZZZTTT!!! He has to stay in Iraq because the Republicans say the process that led to their exit is flawed.

Wherever the American flag is planted the Right-wing insists it must remain there in perpetuity. Before the corporations and contractors can safely move in to profit from the wars, the grunts have to bleed out and die off.

First we’re liberators. Then we’re occupiers. We’re always capitalists.

The politicians like things as they are just fine. The people have rejected it. They want the wars ended and the troops home.  Now who’s gonna tell the GOP?

I don’t give a damn about whether the troops are coming home because Iraq wants the right to make American soldiers subject to their laws.

I definitely don’t give a damn whether any Republican presidential candidate has “concerns” or not.

I don’t want to spill another drop of American blood on Iraq soil and I don’t want to spend another dime propping up another corrupt government.

It’s their country. Let them work out their own problems for a while. Push come to shove the U.S. knows the address if they need to return.

Bring the boys home for Xmas and tell the last one out of Iraq turn off the lights

Declare victory and come on home.

Hot Mess from Texas: Governor Goodhair Gets in the Race

"Praise the Lord and pass the hair spray."

When the economy is in the crapper, jobs are scarce and people are frightened about the future, any incumbent should be scared of joining the millions in the unemployment line.

Seems like it was light years ago the GOP was wondering if anyone worth voting for would get in the ring with President Obama.  Now they’re practically tripping over each other to take a whack at the guy.

Every month there’s a new “Republican whom Obama fears” squeezing out of the clown car. It was Mike Huckabee for a while and Mitch Daniels for a minute. Next up it was Newt Gingrich, he with all the experience and a personality so repulsive his own staff quit on him.  Fox News mastermind Roger Ailes kept bringing pizzas and pie to his BFF, Chris Christie,  but it wasn’t enough for him to wipe the crumbs off his chins and waddle into the race.

Then it was Michelle Bachmann who is far-right in her politics and hard-working on the campaign trail seen as the Woman Most Likely To. Herman Cain got some love until his anti-Muslim rants started turning off his media admirers. Even Jon Huntsman was hailed by TIME as the guy most likely to beat Obama in a general election.

Mittens thinks as long as he keeps projecting inevitability, that’s all it’s going to take for him to clinch the nomination. Now Texas governor Rick Perry has announced and he might have something to say about that.

Then there’s Sarah Palin hanging over the entire race like a vulture waiting for a sign of weakness from the front-runners that might open the door for her non-campaigning campaign. Superstars don’t dirty their hands by shaking the greasy hands of folks at the Iowa State Fair.

The sun shines on the asses of a lot of dogs.

"The next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please, pay attention."

The late, great Texas progressive, Molly Ivins could see from a mile off the sleaziness and incompetence of the politician she dubbed, “Governor Goodhair.”

Jan. 12, 2006
The governor of Texas is despicable. Of all the crass pandering, of all the gross political kowtowing to ignorance, we haven’t seen anything this rank from Gov. Goodhair since … gee, last fall.

Then he was trying to draw attention away from his spectacular failure on public schools by convincing Texans that gay marriage was a horrible threat to us all. Now he’s trying to disguise the fact that the schools are in free-fall by proposing that we teach creationism in biology classes.

The funding of the whole school system is so unfair that it has been declared unconstitutional by the Texas Supreme Court. All last year, Rick Perry haplessly called special session after special session, trying to fix the problem, and couldn’t get anywhere – not an iota, not a scintilla, of leadership.

Instead of facing the grave crisis that might yet result in the schools’ being closed, Perry has blithely gone off on creationism – teach the little perishers the Earth is 6,000 or so years old, that people lived at the same time as dinosaurs, and who cares if the school building is falling apart?

June 24, 2001
First, we Texans would like to salute the only governor we’ve got, Rick “Goodhair” Perry, the Ken Doll, for vetoing the bill to outlaw executing the mentally retarded.
We are Texas Proud.

Such a brilliant decision – not only is Texas now globally recognized for barbaric cruelty, but a strong majority of Texans themselves (73 percent) would prefer not to off the retarded.

Gov. Goodhair’s decision – in the face of popular opinion, the Supreme Court and George W. Bush’s recent conversion on this subject – is a testament to his strength of character.

Or something.

His Perryness announced, anent the veto, that Texas does not execute the retarded. I beg your pardon, Governor. Johnny Paul Penry, now on Death Row for a heart-breaking murder and the subject of two Supreme Court decisions, has an IQ between 51 and 60, believes in Santa Claus and likes coloring books.

And that’s not counting the other six we know about for sure since 1990.

Perry may immediately rival Mitt Romney in the impeccably styled hair contest and the GOP presidential nomination, and that’s all fine and well. There Will Be Blood in the Republican race and I’m content to sit back and watch the splatterfest.

The media loves to anoint the Next Big Thing in politics and this week its Perry. Meanwhile, the Palin Hillibillies from Wasilla bus tour is rolling around in Iowa and the potential threat of her entering the race would suck all the air out of several rising right-wing balloons, including Slick Rick’s.

Perry, with his deep pocketed oilmen buddies and their ability to raise shitloads of money for him makes him a player in the race and will squash some of the feebler contenders (bye-bye Pawlenty, Gingrich, and Santorum), but he’s hardly invincible.

Setting aside his dubious record of achievements in his three terms, Perry has a bigger problem. No matter what his personal relationship with George Bush is, he was Dubya’s lieutenant governor. A lot of voters may have soured on Obama, but they don’t find the taste Bush left any sweeter now than when he left office.

"Go ahead and pull the trigger, Rick. You're only shooting blanks."

Far from being the man who keeps Obama up all night, Perry might be the adversary Obama has prayed for.  Perry gives Obama a second chance at taking down a Republican he’s already defeated once: George W. Bush.

Governor Goodhair is further to the Right than Bush ever was and that will appeal to the G.O.Tea Party base, but with moderates and independents? Not so much. Perry’s ultra conservative bona fides will play well in the primaries, but in a general election they’re toxic.

Democrats should respect Perry as a candidate, but fear him? Not at all. He’s got a good story to tell about job growth in Texas, but it doesn’t come off as impressive when the miserable education and health system of the Lone Star state becomes better known.

Perry has had the luxury of defining himself. That ended when he threw his cowboy hat in the ring.  He will have to spend less time boasting about himself and more time battling to defend himself from his right-wing rivals.

And even if he gets past them, that doesn’t mean Obama is going to curl up into a fetal position because Governor Goodhair is in the race. All that means is that phone book sized folder of opposition research on Perry moves from inside the drawer to the top of the stack.

America only got rid of one Republican Texas governor. I doubt they will opt for a second one soaked in Texas Tea Party as the solution to their problems.