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I'm watching Leticia Van De Putte, Dem candidate for Lieutenant Governor, miss a golden opportunity while being interviewed by His Wordship Chuck Todd.

Todd asks her why Texas has done so comparatively well during the recession, and she gives him the obligatory "abundance of natural resources" bromide, without elaboration.

Then Todd says that Rick Perry would say that it's because Texas has fewer regulations on business.  And this is where she should have said:

Oh really?  Texas has fewer regulations than other states?  You mean somehow Texas got an exemption from federal regulations?

To which Todd would have said, no, no, I meant Texas itself imposes fewer regulations on business than other states.

Ah, she should have said.  Then it's not a matter of FEDERAL regulations, since obviously every state in the union is under the same federal regulations.  But it's a matter of how the state regulates itself.  So, Chuck, you're saying that any state could have an economy just as robust as that of Texas, if only they would regulate themselves less?

Uh...uh...well that's not exactly...

Then what are you saying, Todd?  I'm saying that Texas has been blessed with advantages that not every state possesses.  Obviously this is not about federal regulations, despite Rick Perry's protestations to the contrary.  This is about hard work in an atmosphere of tremendous good fortune, and any state with the resources of Texas could match its relative success.

Unfortunately, drugstore cowboys like Rick Perry are only concerned about success for the successful.  Outside that relatively small bubble of actual prosperity exists a state that is drowning in this sea of plenty.  As the Texas Legislative Study Group has said in its 2013 report "Texas on the Brink," Texas is

50th in high school graduation rate, first in amount of carbon emissions, first in hazardous waste produced, last in voter turnout, first in percentage of people without health insurance, and second in percentage of uninsured kids.
Now, the GOP has nominated Gregg Abbott, a Perry clone, who has dedicated his entire career to preserving this despicable travesty.  It's time for Texans to fight their way through the GOP media fog, financed by wealthy special interests out for no one but themselves, and listen to some alternatives.

Wendy Davis knows that Texas can do better, that we can be a state of decent human beings who have each others' backs.  I only ask that Texans listen to what she has to say with an open mind, consider which candidate will act in the best interests of all Texans and which candidate will act only in the best interest of the politically connected elite, and then register and vote their conscience.

Chuck, one only has to look at the slate of radical extremists the GOP has just nominated to know that Texas truly is on the brink, and this election may be the state's last chance to reverse this parody of real prosperity that is Rick Perry's chest-thumping Texas for the wealthy, and restore a Texas of which every Texan can once again be truly proud in every sense of the word.

Let's do it.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:42:10 AM PST

  •  Preaching to the choir here (8+ / 0-)

    Speaking as someone who grew up in Waco and was involved in local politics in Austin for quite a while, I moved away finally.

    I have met quite a few Texas expats in other places.  You know, if you want to be in a place with a somewhat more congenial atmosphere for progressive concerns and an environment which supports education better, you have to decide if you have years of your life to spare or whether you want to locate such a place elsewhere.  

    Now I live in Washington State.  The governor we elected is Jay Inslee, a congressman who is a friend of Lloyd Doggett's and who is quite a bit like him.  

    The kind of macho bullshit that led to the development of the legendary Alamo ethos, tends to get in the way of reality and of course, Texas Monthly tends to be one place this is perpetuated.  Much of the press seems to wear this on their sleeve as well.  It is really pretty dick-headed.  

    Hopefully there is a growing antipathy towards the negative results of having governors like Bush or Perry instead of Ann Richards or Wendy Davis.  Hopefully this will lead to more voters coming to their senses.

    However, this is a place where people can get religious zeal by just standing around in the sun too long without a hat.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:55:12 AM PST

  •  My bunkmate in boot was from Texas.... (6+ / 0-)

    As he put on his new boots after we picked up our new uniforms, he told me that this was first time he had a new pair of shoes, previous shoes being sally ann handmedowns.

    He was from Orange and dirt poor.  I imagine it has changed since then, but I always remember him when I think of Texas.  He was a great guy in a bar fight but ignorant as shit and a bigot.

  •  A Texas transplant responds (5+ / 0-)

    I'm going to take issue with your diary.

    I've been in Texas a bit over a year now, mostly in metro Dallas, but with significant time in Austin & Houston.

    Of course, Texas enjoys abundant natural resources - in particular petroleum - and the impact of fracking and horizontal drilling cannot be underestimated.

    But, many of your criticisms are off base.  Of course, Texas is going to have the largest carbon footprint in the country because oil refining in and around Houston dwarves comparable facilities elsewhere.  And, the proximity of petroleum has resulted in a similar clustering of petro chemical plants.  

    But, Texas has an attitude towards business that is lacking in the north.  No, they don't want to put a factory into every backyard, but the government and people think that having businesses expand down here is a good thing.  They try to find ways to achieve regulatory goals, while still meeting business necessities.

    I recall an interview with a senior Exec with a fast food company.  He said, it took up to 2 years and he had to deal with 30+ regulatory agencies when opening a new restaurant in California.  He could get a restaurant from land purchase to operations open in Texas in less than four months.  And, the fewer regulatory bodies actually returned his phone calls and were willing to give clear direction.

    In contrast,, he often received contradictory information from the various regulatory bodies in Cali.  And, then Lawyers would come in and look for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, etc that were so minor -- for example having mirrors in the bathroom hung an inch too high, and it was cheaper to pay $30k to settle, rather than fight it out in a Court system that was, both, expensive and viewed as being stacked against business.

    The bottom line is 1,500 people a week are moving to Texas because it simply is easier to have a good life.  And, if you don't like your job there is always a new company or business coming to town so you can easily switch to sompelace new.   You can buy a house for a fraction of what you would pay elsewhere, and your taxes are low.  Where I am, the schools are good and crime is low. People are friendly, and once you accept that on certain days your clothing is going to melt or catch fire it is all downhill.

    Could Texas improve on a lot of things, of course, but you've got to have a strong economy to generate tax dollars - and in other areas of the country it seems that has been forgotten.

    •  You can't take that at face value. (6+ / 0-)
      I recall an interview with a senior Exec with a fast food company.  He said, it took up to 2 years and he had to deal with 30+ regulatory agencies when opening a new restaurant in California.  He could get a restaurant from land purchase to operations open in Texas in less than four months.  And, the fewer regulatory bodies actually returned his phone calls and were willing to give clear direction.

      In contrast,, he often received contradictory information from the various regulatory bodies in Cali.  And, then Lawyers would come in and look for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, etc that were so minor -- for example having mirrors in the bathroom hung an inch too high, and it was cheaper to pay $30k to settle, rather than fight it out in a Court system that was, both, expensive and viewed as being stacked against business.

      "And, the fewer regulatory bodies actually returned his phone calls and were willing to give clear direction."

      Nobody is going to support idiotic bureaucracy, but quite often the business owners are just flat out ignorant or explicitly duplicitous themselves.

      My sister is a state health inspector.  I hear a lot of these stories from the other side of the bench.  And one thing I will tell you, I ALWAYS take her restaurant recommendations.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 08:19:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think Movelike makes an important point (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlackSheep1, nextstep, auapplemac

        There is a nearly universal feeling in the business community that Texas is business friendly and city and state governments work to help companies build or expand in Texas. In my state, California, there is a nearly universal view that the State is not business friendly even though we lead in tech startups and venture capital. And I see that reflected in rapidly growing companies who keep their knowledge workers here, but all the commercial scale manufacturing is placed out of state, or offshore.

        The perceptions do have a significant impact on business decisions and potential economic growth.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 08:31:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perception (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, nextstep

          I don't think it is perception, but rather reality.

          Two years ago, I attended my Uncle's funeral in western Pennsylvania.  One of the guests was the chief city planner for a second tier California city.  Previously, he had worked with one of the big Accounting firms.  He was appalled at the hoops business had to jump through to operate in California.  From renewables to labor the government made it virtually impossible for business to operate without violating some regulation or statute.  

          The attitude in the city government was that was just the way things were done and it was a natural cost of doing business.  He estimated that some businesses had to put 30% of their time and effort just into regulatory compliance -- not that the compliance regimen was more effective, just a lot more work.

          In his opinion (private, naturally), any business that didn't have to be in California would be nuts to stick it out.

        •  In addition to people moving to TX or maybe (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          because of it, there is a great deal of building and highway construction.

          I live outside of Dallas and they can't build nice apartment complexes and condos fast enough. When I say complex, I mean it. They are large 3 story projects taking up lots of land - not tall impersonal buildings.

          Major expansion also going on with the hospitals such as Baylor and Southwestern Medical Center.

          I'm a expat from Philly. Housing in Texas is pretty amazing. There's a chance I may have to move back to Philly so I've been looking online at houses and apartments in the Philly area. I now live in a 1300 sq. ft. apartment in a park-like setting that would cost twice a much in suburban Philly.

          When regulations are passed just to "feel good" and there are so many that they overlap and the regulators don't even know how they intertwine - business will stagnate. Also if there are not enough inspectors to do a thorough job, then the regs are meaningless.
          However, I am a progressive who finds that social politics dangerous and scary. As a semi-retiree on a fixed income, it's a tradeoff I have to live with and work to change.

          It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

          by auapplemac on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 11:27:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I did not criticize the business climate in Texas. (6+ / 0-)

      I explained it, and you backed it up.

      You do seem to dismiss the outsized carbon footprint, however, as just a cost of doing business.  Sorry, but I don't buy that.  There is a cost to reducing emissions and Texas dodges that cost at every turn.  I'm all for paying the cost and replacing petroleum with alternative energy sources wherever possible.  

      Yes, it's a good place to live - if you live where YOU live.  Obviously you're well off, living where the "schools are good and crime is low."  

      People are friendly?  Eh.  Try standing up in First Baptist Church in downtown Dallas and announcing you support gay marriage.  Let's see how friendly they are then.  Go to the furniture store I went to in Stephenville and pick up their local "newsletter."  There you will see the friendly people of Texas posting pictures of the president with a bone through his nose.  Yeah, people are friendly, as long as you are just like they are.

      Tell your boss you want to start a union or that you support raising the minimum wage.  See how friendly he is.

      The fact that you have a nice place to live and everyone is friendly to you does not address the miserable conditions of the people suffering under the statistics I cited .  You have missed the point.

      But the folks at RedState would back you up in a heartbeat.  In fact you would almost certainly find the folks there "friendly."  You sound like you already have.

      Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

      by ZedMont on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 08:39:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again, going to take issue (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep, auapplemac

        On the issue of Unions, you're right there is a tremendous amount of distrust of them.  But, even if you don't share that view, it is understandable.  Many of my fellow transplants have fled from the crumbling factory towns in Michigan, Ohio & Pennsylvania.  

        But, on the social issues I think you're off base.  I have my own views on things - socially moderate, fiscally more conservative - but, with the recognition the government has a role to play & I surely wish it played its role more effectively than it currently does.

        But, even with the Baptists when they find out I'm Jewish or support gay marriage they disagree - politely, but don't get in my face about it.  Just so long as I treat them with equal respect.

        Am I well off, not at the moment.  But, I hope to be again shortly in thanks to the opportunities I have here that I didn't have in Philadelphia.  As for life being "good" in Plano - it is a middle class community with stretches of poverty and wealth.  

        •  I couldn't care less about unions other than their (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          auapplemac, Tonedevil

          right to exist without intimidation.  That right exists in Texas in the same way that Jim Crow did NOT exist in Texas.

          As for the crumbling factory towns I think it is a mistake to blame them on "unions" without mentioning gross mismanagement.  Funny how European companies prosper while respecting their employees' right to organize.  It's also strange how wage stagnation and income inequality seems to have coincided almost directly with the demise of unions, despite conservative assurances that exactly the opposite would take place.

          How am I off base on the social issues? What are your views on increasing the minimum wage?  Expanding Medicaid? Other social issues?  

          I take back my comment about Red State.  Cheap shot.  But why, with your conservative views, are you a Democrat?  And I realize that the Democratic party is a traditional Jewish bastion, but surely that's not the only reason.

          I'm familiar with Plano, and while technically correct I'm sure, the "stretches of poverty" are not very elastic compared to the rest of the world:

          From Wiki:

          In 2005, 2006, and 2011, Plano was designated the best place to live in the Western United States by CNN Money magazine. In 2006, Plano was selected as the 11th best place to live in the United States by CNN Money magazine.[5] It was also selected as the safest city in America in 2010[6] and 2011 by Forbes.[7] Plano schools consistently score among the highest in the nation.[8] It has been rated as the wealthiest city in the United States by CNN Money,[9] and the United States Census Bureau declared Plano the wealthiest city of 2008 by comparing the median household income for all U.S. cities whose populations were greater than 250,000.[10
          Plano also has a large Jewish community.  Forgive me if my assumption is incorrect but I would imagine you are comfortably ensconced therein, and if so, I would be surprised if you did not find people friendly.  I think Plano in general is Jewish friendly, as I was greeted by a giant rotating dreidel last time I visited Willow Bend Mall.

          Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

          by ZedMont on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 10:08:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Response (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ZedMont

            I won't detail my social beliefs because honestly they aren't any of your business.

            I have developed ties to the Jewish community, but also the Christians community and the veterans (I'm not a veteran) through volunteer work I've done while I was networking.

            I'm an indenpendent & typically split my ticket based upon what I learn about the candidates.  Often, I end up voting for down ballot candidates who lose......badly.

            And, you're right - Plano is great (though like Texas too much of it looks like a strip mall) - which, no surprise is why I decided to live here.  

            •  Well, no, your social beliefs are none of my (0+ / 0-)

              business.  Neither is anything else that you decide is not for that matter.

              I had to chuckle a little, though, at your refusal to discuss your take on social issues immediately after telling me I'm "off base" on social issues.  

              Not that it matters.  You've left enough fingerprints for me to develop a theory.

              Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

              by ZedMont on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 05:20:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  So did you go to the Empire Tribune with a letter (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, auapplemac

        saying that that furniture store's newsletter is a shameful disgrace to the people of Texas?

        no you didn't.

        I worked for 'em in the 1980s, at 110 South Columbia. They're out on the Loop now. You could even send 'em a LTE via email, 'cause they don't have to sneakernet their AP coverage disks across the newsroom every 22 hours any more. They've got real computers and even Internet in Stephenville these days.

        I'm from Texas.
        We need better leadership -- Li'l Ricky is a disgrace, and w was worse; but we exported that carpetbagging jerk as fast as we could manage, along with his buddy KKKKarl Rove.

        We're NOT getting the support from the Democratic Party on a national level that we need. they wrote us off in '94, and now we're their ATM for money to fight in other places 'cause they say they can't afford more losses, and we'll have to wait for the help WE need to win.Talk about LBJ among Dems and they don't mention Medicare or Great Society; they blubber "VietNam!" and run as fast as they can away from real US accomplishments, like the Voting Rights Act and putting a man on the moon.

        I busted tail in '10 to try to get Bill White elected governor. Bill White, the guy whose Katrina Response is now the national model taught in FEMA training. Bill White, the Houston Mayor before this one, the guy who rode a bike all over town and actually got some love from every group in Houston. Bill White who was neck-and-neck with Li'l Ricky the Sunday before the November election Tuesday ... and did it all on frayed shoestrings and his own money (hey Dr. Alameel are you listening???) because the National Democratic Party flipped off Texas.

        Just like they flipped off Chris Noriega for Senate, and stuck the country with "Big John" Cornyn. Just like they turned their backs on us expecting Dewhurst, and were shocked when Calgary Ted got the Junior Senator From Texas seat.

        Just like they're flipping off Wendy Davis with "she can't win" puling horseshit woe-is-me give-us-money-for-other-states propaganda NOW. You can't win if all you do is whine and mock; people don't buy that you have anything worthwhile.

        You can't win in Texas unless you speak to the Latino folks, sincerely and en espanol. You can't win with them by putting down the Church, either. It's been there for them a hell of a lot more often in a crisis than the state or FEMA either one, never mind that they face all kinds of bigotry for even thinking about filling out free school lunch applications or SNAP cards.

        Don't come howling about how bad Texas is unless YOU are working to fix it too.

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 10:02:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, I don't know what the Empire Tribune is. (0+ / 0-)

          Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

          by ZedMont on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 10:13:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  the Stephenville newspaper. (0+ / 0-)

            You know, the thing that isn't confined to the furniture store's customers?

            LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

            by BlackSheep1 on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 10:20:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, this wasn't a newspaper. It was some kind of (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tonedevil, Catte Nappe

              redneck advertising rag called the Buzzard Roost or something like that.  Some local "entrepreneur" realized he could siphon off some advertising revenue from legitimate newspapers by appealing to his neighbors' worst natures.  Really the weirdest thing I've ever seen, looked like every teabagger in the country got together and took out ads in this thing.

              The only reason I was in there was because I was driving from Abilene to Dallas on I-20 and decided to try Natty Flats Barbecue which someone had told me about.  I was relieved to see that N.F. had better sense than to advertise in that thing.  Otherwise I would have been forced to regurgitate on the furniture store floor.  

              I'm past my butt-busting days, but I do have a Wendy sticker on my bumper and I have contributed to her campaign.  It's not much, but if everyone did what I did, I think she would have a better chance than she seems to have now.

              I'm hoping she comes out swinging and kicks ass.  

              Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

              by ZedMont on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 10:48:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, you missed my point completely. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Catte Nappe

                Stephenville has a newspaper. It's been around a long time. Write them a letter complaining about that bigoted rag. It will cost you the time it takes to look up their email address and write them a comment. Is that too much to ask?

                LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

                by BlackSheep1 on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 11:00:51 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Keeping a balance (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil

      Excessive and confusing regulation is not a good thing. Excessive absence of regulations is not a good thing either. Poster case being the West explosion, and the discovery that no entity, federal or state, had any regulatory authority.

      Here's al local consumer advocacy journalist's rant on the issue:

      White is chairman of the Texas Finance Commission. White oversees the state agency that is supposed to regulate payday lending.

      White has another job. He is a vice president at Cash America, one of the nation’s largest payday lending companies.

      West Virginians negotiate from a weakened position. The state is so impoverished that its people are happy to welcome almost any type of industry because it means jobs.

      Not so with Texas. If there’s a lack of protection here, it’s by design. One survey showed that Texas trails only Indiana as the most lightly regulated state.

      Texas has no statewide fire code. State law also prohibits more than half of the counties from enacting their own fire codes.
      http://www.dallasnews.com/...

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 10:12:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's the thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil

      If a business moves to Texas, then Texas hasn't "created" any jobs. We've just moved them from one state to another.

      And odds are, they moved to Texas so that they can pay a lower wage. So it's really the same job now being done for less money.

      If Texas was the mighty engine of job creation that Rick Perry wants us to believe, then he wouldn't have to go around to other states begging businesses to move to his.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 11:52:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oversimplifying (0+ / 0-)
        they moved to Texas so that they can pay a lower wage
        Many other reasons they do so. Some like the fact that it's about half way between both coasts, and the DFW airport is a  draw for some who have lots of employee travel going on. The absence of an income tax is appealing to both workers and their employees, (who fail to think through what infrastructure and services may not be provided as a result). Cost of housing, especially compared to the coasts, is a biggie, too.

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 03:04:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Is this really a good political argument? (0+ / 0-)

    "Actually, Texas kind of sucks" doesn't really sound like a good campaign slogan... in Texas.

    A lot of Texas's problems stem from illegal immigration, something they've been stripped of all power to fix as a state, partially in one of the most poorly reasoned decisions of all time.

    •  MGross: that's a pretty damn poor excuse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil

      and if you ask me sounds like more Gee O Pee "anti-brown-folk" blatherskiting.

      Let's look at what Li'l Ricky and the Lege has done to our schools, shall we? How about our public health infrastructure, and our low-income clinics, and our highways, not to mention things like flat-out NEVER inspecting that fertilizer plant in West for safety's sake.

      Privatization uber alles, and PROFITS first for the corporations bribed to come here with tax breaks that deprive our school districts, counties, cities, hospital districts and municipalities of dollars they need to serve the increased demand on our roads and bridges and schools and water supply.

      Yeah. It ain't the "illegal immigration" that's the issue here.
      It's the never-to-be-damned enough LACK of looking past this quarter's bottom line, and the kowtowing at every turn to oil & gas interests like they'd care about anything except their profit margins.

      LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 10:07:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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