Texas


"Bush's National Park Service announced this February that it would allow BNP Petroleum Corporation to drill for natural gas on Padre Island National Seashore. This will put pipelines, heavy equipment, and large trucks on the longest undeveloped beach in America... It will hurt tourism, the ecosystem, wildlife, and local businesses -- all so one oil corporation can plunder a minor gas deposit that amounts to only one day's worth of fuel for America" (Jim Hightower. "Walking On Air." Texas Observer, 5/21/04: 15).


"...in Texas, a country -- oops, make that a state -- where supporting "anti-evolution" gets you elected to school boards, common sense is at a dire premium... publish ideaologically tainted textbooks unconcerned with hard science..." (James E. McWilliams. "When Bovines Go Bad." Texas Observer, 8/13/04: 24-25).


"...in Texas, a country -- oops, make that a state -- where supporting "anti-evolution" gets you elected to school boards, common sense is at a dire premium... publish ideaologically tainted textbooks unconcerned with hard science..." (James E. McWilliams. "When Bovines Go Bad." Texas Observer, 8/13/04: 24-25).


"Bush's National Park Service announced this February that it would allow BNP Petroleum Corporation to drill for natural gas on Padre Island National Seashore. This will put pipelines, heavy equipment, and large trucks on the longest undeveloped beach in America... It will hurt tourism, the ecosystem, wildlife, and local businesses -- all so one oil corporation can plunder a minor gas deposit that amounts to only one day's worth of fuel for America" (Jim Hightower. "Walking On Air." Texas Observer, 5/21/04: 15).


"Texas leads the nation in mercury pollution... Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, especially for young and unborn children... linked to learning disabilities, brain damage, and, in rare instances, death...

"Currently, however, the state does not routinely test fish for elevated mercury levels" ("Bidness Rules, But Don't Eat the Fish." Texas Observer, Feb. 4, 2005: 4).


"Did you know that since January 1, women in Texas have not been able to obtain abortions from the sixteenth week of pregnancy on?...

"HB15 is a flagrant violation of Roe v. Wade, which allows states to regulate second-trimester abortions only to protect women's health" (Katha Pollitt. "Down and Out in Texas." The Nation, May 10, 2004: 9).


"I believe the homebuilding industry is the source of all that is wrong with this [Texas] state in terms of tort reform and the influence of money in politics" ("Letters." Texas Observer ,Feb. 18, 2005: 2).


"... House Speaker Tom Craddick... Craddick is most certainly a creature of ideology... the speaker literally switched off Wolens' microphone in a floor debate...

"...when he announced new committee assignments. The choices showed a remarkable amount of vindictiveness... mob-rule legislating" ("UndemoCraddick." Texas Observer, Feb. 18, 2005: 3).


"In June 2003... Governor Rick Perry abolished an entire agency with a line-item veto... Perry's action will likely end up costing the state much more than that. For an institution that was unique in the nation, the agency had a rather bland name--the Criminal Justice Policy Council. It had started in 1984 as a council of elected officials tasked with forcing agencies dealing with the criminal justice system to work together...

"Over two decades Fabelo would transform the council into an unbiased source of data and planning for one of the largest prison systems in the world. The council studied everything from prison costs and upkeep to the effectiveness of drug treatment programs. Astoundingly, 1 out of every 20 Texans are under the control of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice either in prison, parole, or on probation. Fabelo created order from chaos...

"...it was Fabelo's appraisal of privatization--grounded in realism and not ideology [which cause Perry to kill his agency]...

"We have about the same prison population as California, [which] has 13 million more people. And that gives you a sense of how high our incarceration rate is...

"Right now with the highest incarceration rate in the country... If we build more prisons... are you going to get dramatic declines in crime? The answer is no...

"The probation system in Texas is not a very effective system... The caseloads [for probation officers] are 100 to 116 for felony probations...

"...if you're a probationer... you don't get a lot of attention that can help you get out of trouble. In particular, attention with employement problems, substance abuse problems, and so forth. On the other hand, if you're doing well on probation, you stay on probation forever because you're paying fees... Half of the funding of the system comes from fees paid by probationers...

Question: What would the ideal caseload for probation officers look like?

"It variees. Some people say seven" (Jake Bernstein. "They Shot More Than a Messenger." Texas Observer, Feb. 18, 2005: 6-7).


"...Waste Control Specialists (WCS), backed by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons...

"... its mammoth site in Andrews County, near the New Mexico border... fledgling radioactive empire in West Texas...

"...licenses would allow WCS to being accepting the leftovers from a retired bomb plant in Fernald, Ohio... would also allow WCS to permanently dispose of Texas' (and other states') commercial radioactive waste as well as federal low-level radioactive waste...

"The state and the people of Texas, however, won't receive a cent on most of this revenue...

"According to an official with TCEQ, WCS was recently issued its "third notice of administrative deficiency." If not corrected, WCS would have to start the licensing process all over again...

"Nevada.. is still fighting to rid itself of the Yucca Mountain high-level waste site... Utah, which is home to WCS's long-time rival Envirocare, has been moving away from radioactive dumping due to public opposition... South Carolina is eliminating the importation of the most radioactive of the low-level waste despite its generating an estimated $300 million in revenue for the state. That leaves WCS holding a virtual monopoly...

"...why can't the depleted uranium just stay in New Mexico? Simple: The state and its people don't want it.

"WCS is promoting its various radioactive ventures as a popular jobs program for West Texas and a chance for Texas to seize the market in "an emerging industry" (Forrest Wilder. "Going Nuclear in West Texas." Texas Observer, Feb. 18, 2005: 10-11, 19).


"In recent years, Texas Republican politics--aside from an occasional spasm from the right-wing grassroots--has been a top-down enterprise run by a small circle of powerful politicians financed by a few extremely rich ideologues...

"Pitted against Craddick and the handful of millionaires who bankroll the Legislature's right-wing leadership, a collection of volunteer soccer moms didn't seem to have much of a chance.

"Yet, on March 7--the night of perhaps the most influential Republican primary ever in Texas--there they were, crowded into an Arlington dive bar named J. Gilligan's to celebrate a resounding triumph in the state's headliner race. Diane Patrick, a University of Texas-Arlington Professor, had handily defeated state Rep. Kent Grusendorf (R-Arlington), a 19-year House incumbent and powerful chairman of the House Education Committee. As the face of the right-wing's master plan for education, Grusendorf was Parent PAC's top target. He was the man who treated school superintendents and PTA members as if they were trifling little annoyances, going so far as to introduce a group of PTA members about to testify at a committee hearing as "a look behind the Iron Curtain." And now they had taken him out" (Dave Mann. "Wrath of the Soccer Moms." Texas Observer, March 24, 2006: 6-9, 18).


Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS