Portraits in Deregulation

Deregulation Fertilizer Plant ExplosionHere’s what we know after more than a decade of Republican rule: Texas works. -Governor Rick “Good Hair” Perry

Howdy there, Texas! How’s all that DE-regulation workin’ out fer y’all?

Governor Perry is absolutely correct when he tells us that “Texas works”. What he neglected to mention is that it doesn’t work very well. Molly Ivins, a native of the Lone Star State, once expressed a heartfelt feeling of gratitude toward the state of Mississippi: “If it weren’t for that state, we here in Texas would be dead-last in everything.” Dear Lord, I miss Molly Ivins. She was just about the funniest human being who ever walked this earth.

The fertilizer plant that exploded a few miles outside of Waco, Texas, this week decimated part of the town. The plant had not been inspected since 1985 — nearly three decades ago. As of this moment, 15 are dead with an estimated 60 or more not accounted for. We can expect the death toll to go through the roof in the days to come. 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that was legal to have in one spot was at this site. In an interview on Current TV the other day, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now put it perfectly when she labeled this latest massacre “industrial terrorism”. And this was indeed a massacre. Make no mistake about it. This is the price we pay for conservative form of governance. Are you having fun yet?

This is a topic I’ve been beating to death on this site for nearly seven years now. Conservative ideas and conservative policies and conservative politicians have destroyed this country. This used to be a nice place in which to live. It’s not anymore. And if the people in the so-called “Red States” keep going down the road they’re presently traveling, it’s going to get a lot worse for them in the future.

Would you like to check out a real, honest-to-goodness conservative paradise? Here’s a perfect illustration of what I’m talking about: Have you ever caught those ads that are shown late at night on cable television? “For less than a dollar a day you can help Julio get the food he needs to eat and the clean water he needs to drink”. You see scenes little Julio walking through garbage-strewn paths, attempting to retrieve water from a sewer-contaminated stream. Those ads always emanate from countries like El Salvadore or Guatemala — right wing dictatorships — places where there is no government regulation whatsoever!

Wanna have a gander at what the conservatives in this country have in store for America if they ever unconstitutionally seize total control of our government (as they’re trying to do)? The next time you take a vacation, visit one of those places. Have a lovely trip.

QUESTION: Have you ever come across a listing of states with the lowest quality of life for its citizens? They tend to be in the red states – with Mississippi, Texas and Alabama always at the bottom. What’s the most progressive state in the union? With very little argument, it would have to be Vermont (home of my man, Bernie Sanders!) On every list ever compiled of states in this union with the highest quality of life, Vermont is usually at or near the top. Sure, people there may pay a bit more in state taxes, but their lives are a lot better than in shit holes like Texas or Mississippi. And the crime rate in cities like Burlington is relatively low. Tell me, where would you rather raise your children?

This ain’t rocket science, kids.

rick perryIt’s always a hoot watching Rick Perry trying to lure business from California to his state. His pitch? Texas has a “predictable” business climate, by which he means, “ain’t no gub’ment messin’ round here with all them damn regulations”. As Amy Goodman pointed out during her Current TV interview, between the years 2008 and 2011 California had fourteen-hundred labor-related deaths. In that same period Texas had eighteen-hundred deaths. These are instructive numbers especially when one considers that California’s population if forty percent higher than that of Texas. Something to think about, ay?

The catastrophic explosion this week in West Texas that killed 60-or-more people was pretty predictable, too. The more we allow corporate America to rape and denigrate the American infrastructure, the more we can expect this sort of thing to happen in the future. It’s sort of like with guns: Less regulation means more deaths. Again, this is not terribly difficult to figure out; in fact it’s kind of a no-brainer.

tom deganBREAKING NEWS: Right wing form of governance does not work. This is a lesson that should have been learned nearly a century-and-a-half ago during the administration of Ulysses S Grant. Why are we still having this conversation?

Howdy there, America! How’s that “Reagan Revolution” workin’ out fer y’all???

Tom Degan
The Rant

Thursday, 25 April 2013


You know, I was just thinking: If the day ever arrives when true Progressives are ever able to take over the congress and the senate and every statehouse and every small town governmentacross the land, what would I do? What would I have to write about? Oh, the dilemma….


Damned in Paradise
by John Kobler

This 1977 biography on the life of the actor, John Barrymore, is the best one written on the man as far as I know. Although long out of print, you can probably find it on ebay – as I did my copy. Jack Barrymore was a complete mess – depressed, dysfunctional, self-destructive – and (next to Montgomery Clift) the most unhinged alcoholic I’ve ever read about. But there was also something genuinely lovable about him. He’s one person I would have liked to hang out with. It has been said that his portrayal of Hamlet on the stage has never been surpassed in ninety years. By the time of his death on May 29, 1942, he had been reduced to portraying crude caricatures of himself in B movies. A truly brilliant, tormented and tragic figure.

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