From today's Houston Chronicle:
Rick and Anita Perry are home at last.For the homeless families across our Lone Star State, I’m sure that comes as a great relief. After all, under the wonderful blessings of trickle-down economics, this move signals a change of fortunes for all. It’s only a matter of [geologic] time now before everyone shares in the joys of home and hearth.
Oh, it’s not as though Rick and Anita were sleeping under a bridge or anything. Heavens no. We can’t have that sort of thing. After the suspicious fire at the mansion (more on this below):
The Perrys moved into a five-bedroom, seven-bath home in 2007 at a publicly funded cost of $10,000 per month while the 1856 mansion was closed for repairs.Thankfully, they don’t need to camp out in that $10,000-a-month hovel any longer. The only thing that place had going for it was a couple of big Texas-sized closets to accommodate Rick’s collection of skeletons. Fortunately, the mansion renovation took that into account, so it’s all good.
Texas' governor and first lady stepped onto the sunny veranda of the Governor's Mansion on Wednesday and announced the completion of its extensive restoration following the 2008 arson that destroyed much of the historic home.
The project, led by the State Preservation Board and the Texas Historical Commission, was given $21.5 million appropriated by the Legislature and $3.5 million in donations from corporations and private individuals.Who says we don't care about public schools in Texas? They're a great venue for captive-audience fundraising. Those kids are learning some great lessons about historic preservation and investing in the future. It's not as though they needed that money for those nutritionally dubious school lunches.
Anita Perry recognized Nederland student Maegan Collins for raising more than $500 at her middle school for the Governor's Mansion Restoration Fund.
Gov. Perry lauded the Austin Fire Department for its "bravery and professionalism" in responding to the blaze.Remember: this is the same Gov. Perry who couldn’t manage to make the 30-mile ride from Austin to Bastrop TX during the hellacious wildfires that ravaged Texas last year. He did manage to make the trip to California to shake down some gullible deep-pocket donors. But when it came time to attend a press conference with state and local officials in Bastrop, he was a no-show.. His team cited “logistical issues” for Rick’s inability to attend and laud the volunteer firefighters – stretched to the limit fighting these fires while some of their own homes burned – for their “bravery and professionalism”.
This after our witless Secessionist-in-Chief had cut funding for firefighters by 75% in the midst of an epic drought. So please pardon your intrepid diarist for the string of verbal expletives emanating from her location as she reports on Rick's praise for the Austin firefighters who kept the mansion from becoming a total loss. Clearly this happened in more financially robust times, when priorities were more clear.
But... enough of this depressing stuff... let's follow along below the pile of ashes to see what's arisen now that the mansion is so nicely restored.
Here it is, all nice and better than new, fit for a king and queen. Our governor made a little speech commemorating the occasion:
"Today, it stands renewed as a symbol of Texas resiliency and our state's determination to work together to overcome the greatest of challenges," he said. Perry commended the Legislature for funding the project and referenced Scripture in his remarks.Wait, what? "The poor will always be with us"?
"As the Bible tells us, the poor will always be with us, and there will always be people in need in this state," he said. "I think Texas does a remarkable job of balancing the needs of those who, by no fault of their own, find themselves in great need and also being able to create an economic climate in where we lead the nation in jobs and economic prosperity."
Actually, I've heard this before in Texas, especially from the oh-so-righteous megachurch folks who hold their prayer breakfast on Saturdays at a restaurant I go to anyway. It's almost as though they need to have a certain contingent of the poor around them, if only to say to themselves: "Thank [insert name of deity here] I'm not one of them!"
Because the mansion was undergoing renovations at the time of the arson, prized artifacts, such as Stephen F. Austin’s writing desk, were unharmed and have been returned to their original places.Rick Perry’s grade-school writing desk with the “Rick + Anita 4-Ever” carved into the wood with a Bic pen has also survived, to the relief of many.
The Department of Public Safety has not yet identified a suspect in the blaze, set by a fire bomb.The renovation provided a suspiciously opportune chance to make some crucial improvements and updates to the mansion’s architecture and energy systems:
The home boasts new features: It is powered in part by geothermal and solar energy, employs a fire-suppressant system and is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some 1,700 square feet were added to the event kitchen, basement and private quarters.Those "private quarters" include some upgraded walk-in closets with bank-vault type locking systems. Those skeletons aren't going anywhere. Those "private quarters" will probably be cordoned off from the inevitable tours, so the public will only get a chance to see part of the renovated mansion.
But tours will not resume, Anita Perry said, until the "kinks are worked out".Uh, oh. If we have to wait for the “kinks” to be worked out where our Secessionist-in-Chief is concerned, there won’t be any tours there for quite some time. So here are some pictures of the newly renovated interior to tide you over in the interim.
Isn't that lovely? What a shame that the public won't get to see this beautifully decorated mansion. After all, Anita is such a warm, welcoming first lady who loves nothing better than mingling with the great unwashed masses.
Here she is, leading her ideal mansion tour with just the press. OK, you've seen the place. Now get the hell out.