Showing posts with label Rick Perry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rick Perry. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

'Tis The Season

Recently, GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry said the following.

"Our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

Just like Black Friday, Frosty, Santa, and Rudolph, holiday programming for the right also includes the always classic "War on Christmas." 'Tis the season to be jolly and...paranoid about the commies that are forcing our kids to celebrate Kwanzza and hate Jesus. Sadly, it's already December 13th and I have not yet had one conservative (sweaty and foaming at the mouth) take me aside and explain to me in hushed tones that Kwanzaa was started by some evil guy named...well, actually, I don't remember. One of you want to enlighten me?

Perry's claim above, like the War on Christmas, is pure hogwash. He made such a claim in a recent campaign ad in Iowa. Being that my in laws are from that state, I can say with certainty that Perry is doing #1 of Boaz's 14 points: Panic Mongering. 

Because Iowa schoolchildren may both pray and openly celebrate Christmas, according to Carol Greta, general counsel of the Iowa Department of Education. Greta said Iowa school children have never been prohibited from praying at school but she said, school employees may not coerce students into praying or celebrating Christmas in keeping with the First Amendment, which bars Congress from making any law "respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech." Yeah, that pesky Constitution. Funny the people who claim to want to strictly adhere to it ignore that part of it. But what about Texas?

Texas law provides an opportunity for students pray, if they choose, every school day, according to DeEtta Culbertson, spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency. The law states that each school board shall provide a minute of silence at each school during which "each student may, as the student chooses, reflect, pray, meditate or engage in any other silent activity that is not likely to interfere with or distract another student." Culbertson also said each Texas district is left to resolve how its individual schools handle Christmas. Further, in an interview, researcher David Masci of the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life said that children may both pray and celebrate Christmas in school if their actions are self-directed -- not guided by teachers or administrators. Masci said that if Perry said school-directed prayer and Christmas celebrations are restricted, he’d be right.

This is, in fact, the policy at my school as well as my children's school which are in different districts in Minnesota. Kids wear Christmas stuff, talk about Jesus, going to church, and say "Merry Christmas" all the time. This image of children being forced to hide this stuff like they are being persecuted is ridiculous. But, hey, The War On Christmas sells, right?

Far be it from me to interfere with holiday shopkeepers peddling what they know many people want to buy.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Deep In The Heart of Texas

We've heard quite a bit lately from the latest GOP primary presidential candidate, Governor of Texas Rick Perry, about how he is a "job creator." He points to his state of Texas as being an example of what he can do for the entire country. He champions himself as being a less spending, less government and less tax sort of fellow and, by gum, that's just what he is going to do with the federal government if the American people give him a chance.

The problem with all of this's not really true.

Take a look at this graphic.

Take note of the bright blue state of Texas. That indicates that Texas is spending at an amount greater than 3% above FY08 levels. How very interesting. Compare them to the other states that are spending less, many of which are not doing as well as Texas. Of course, this all comes with some good news for states in general.

So, Governor Perry doesn't really spend less as he say he does and likely recognizes the benefits of government spending. But what about his other claims?

Factcheck recently released an excellent piece that outlines a series of additional facts as to why Texas is doing so well. It's true that Texas has added a great deal of jobs recently but they have also been doing so since 1970. In other words, that's normal for them. It's really a no brainer when you think about it given that they do have some of that there black gold down those parts.

Throw in jobs being added in the natural gas sector as well as all of those government jobs I have mentioned previously and it makes sense that Texas is the nation's leader in job creation. Yet, this creation of jobs hasn't kept pace with the influx of people an unemployment has risen to 8.4 percent in the last two years. This happened while the national rate was dropping. And Texas, along with Mississippi, has the largest percentage of hourly workers at or below the minimum wage. The lone star state also has the highest percentage of people without health care (26%).

In addition, Texas didn't experience the housing bust as other states did because of...wait for it...government restrictions on loans! What's that you say? The government interfering in the free market to improve a market outcome? Yes. Yes they did. And it benefited the citizens of Texas and their economy.

Finally, while Texans don't pay a personal income tax, they still pay above the national average in sales tax with local municipalities able to add on to that amount. Property taxes (collected at the local level) are among the highest in the nation.

So, Governor Perry's claims make no sense whatsoever when you consider these facts. He talks a good talk game about less spending, less government, and less taxes because he knows that plays well to the true believers. But the reality shows that he is doing what is necessary to govern.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Knowing What They Want To Believe

It's hard to not be terrified in reading Paul Krugman's recent piece regarding the GOP's emerging anti science campaign. A living example of this is the current front runner of the GOP field for president, Governor of Texas Rick Perry, saying that "more and more scientists are questioning global warming. Let's examine Perry's claim first.

To put it simply, he's wrong and here's exactly why he is wrong.

The IPCC, the US Global Change Research Program, and earlier this year the National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences all are in agreement on the sources of climate change and why it is happening. The last two concluded that climate change is occurring, that it is caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities, and that it poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems. It specifically rejected the view that that those findings are in some way questionable

This committee organized by the NRC and the Academy had this to say.

Although the scientific process is always open to new ideas and results, the fundamental causes and consequences of climate change have been established by many years of scientific research, are supported by many different lines of evidence, and have stood firm in the face of careful examination, repeated testing, and the rigorous evaluation of alternative theories and explanations.

Further, the Academy also did a study which found that 97-98 percent of those scientists actively publishing in the field agree that climate change that human beings are causing climate change. Other surveys reveal the same percentages.

Of course, Perry also hauled the classic "faulty or manipulated data" line which has been thoroughly debunked by three separate reviews. This brings us to Krugman's Anti Science piece.

I could point out that Mr. Perry is buying into a truly crazy conspiracy theory, which asserts that thousands of scientists all around the world are on the take, with not one willing to break the code of silence. I could also point out that multiple investigations into charges of intellectual malpractice on the part of climate scientists have ended up exonerating the accused researchers of all accusations. But never mind: Mr. Perry and those who think like him know what they want to believe, and their response to anyone who contradicts them is to start a witch hunt.

For those of you who are in the GOP or on the right, is this really the direction you want to head? It's honestly just another example of how there is literally nothing behind your ideology other than proving the other side wrong...your central credo being, "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

Krugman points out where we might be headed.

We don’t know who will win next year’s presidential election. But the odds are that one of these years the world’s greatest nation will find itself ruled by a party that is aggressively anti-science, indeed anti-knowledge. And, in a time of severe challenges — environmental, economic, and more — that’s a terrifying prospect.

Amen, brother. And this is why I have this site.

Friday, August 19, 2011

False Statement Friday

The last week has seen a whole slew of patently false statements from the GOP contenders. First up, we have Rick Perry's assertions that he is a job creator and President Obama is a job destroyer. Well, here are the numbers

Seems to me that President Obama not only pulled us back from the brink of disaster but has added many private sector jobs. How about Governor Perry? Anderson Cooper analyzed all of this in a segment on his show Wednesday night. It turns out that federal government jobs were up 7% in Texas and state government jobs were up 8.4 percent. Local government jobs were up 6.1 percent. Of the many new jobs arising in Texas, some are government jobs and some come from President Obama himself! In addition, Perry took 6.4 billion dollars in federal stimulus money in 2009 so one has to wonder how much of that had to do with Texas' job growth.

Governor Perry also told a young boy on the campaign trail that Texas teaches both creationism and evolution in schools. Completely false, as explained here.  And, for whatever bizarre reason, Perry recently said there was a federal regulation that required farmers to obtain a commercial license to drive their tractor on the highway. Also, not fucking true.

Perry, of course, isn't the only one saying things that are complete lies. Mitt Romney recently stated that the United States is "inches away" from not being capitalist anymore. That earned him a "Pants on Fire" rating from Politifact. Apparently, he was doubling down on his earlier "inches away from not having a free market" statement last June. Well, I guess he has the audience for this garbage so why not just say whatever he feels like regardless of the facts.

It will also come as no surprise that Michele Bachmann has joined in as well. This statement

What people recognize is that there’s a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline. They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and our loss militarily going forward. And especially with this very bad debt ceiling bill, what we have done is given a favor to President Obama and the first thing he’ll whack is five hundred billion out of the military defense at a time when we’re fighting three wars. People recognize that.

is filled with so many ridiculous things I don't even know where to begin. The rise of the Soviet Union? Seriously? Bachmann also has naturally blamed the S&P downgrade on the president and offered her position against the raising of the debt ceiling as being proof she was right. The problem here is that S&P's reason for the downgrade was because of Ms. Bachmann's views.

In an interview on Fox News, Standard & Poors' managing director John Chambers seemed to express disapproval that it took so long for Congress to raise the debt ceiling. He said President Barack Obama "characterized the political system as dysfunctional, I think that's a good word. We got to a position where we were within 10 hours of having a major cash flow problem. This is not what happens in other countries," Chambers said on Aug. 8.

I suppose we are all going to have to get used to this malarky for the next 14 months. When they are this ridiculous, however, one has to wonder...who are the people out there that believe this shit?