Texas doesn’t have a recall procedure for politicians in office. If it did, would Texans have the guts to use it on Rick Perry?
You’ve probably seen it in the news: Over the last ten days, Texas has been scorched by several large wildfires. At least two firemen were killed. Hundreds of homes and one state park burned away. (See the Christian Science Monitor: “Texas wildfires: Why this season is one of the worst in state history,” and “Can U.S. handle historic Texas wildfires?”)
Firefighters, mostly, come from small town, volunteer fire departments. Most of the affected towns are too small to be able to afford a larger, professional fire-fighting department.
Gov. Rick Perry’s mathematical errors cost Texas $27 billion, a shortfall that Republicans propose to make up by cutting to the bone, and deeper, education programs, road building and maintenance, aid to the poor, and police and fire departments.
Yes, in the middle of one of the biggest fire disasters in Texas history, Rick Perry and the Texas Lege propose to cut the funding to the fire fighters.
If they don’t cut funding, they would have to roll back tax cuts to wealthy property owners granted six years ago, or dip into the states $9 billion “rainy day” fund.
Gov. Perry does have one other trick up his sleeve to help victims of the fires: He’s asked Texans to pray for rain. Fire departments need equipment, people and training, all of which cost money. Gov. Perry asks for prayers instead.
Gov. Perry Issues Proclamation for Days of Prayer for Rain in Texas
Thursday, April 21, 2011 • Austin, Texas • Proclamation
TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME:
WHEREAS, the state of Texas is in the midst of an exceptional drought, with some parts of the state receiving no significant rainfall for almost three months, matching rainfall deficit records dating back to the 1930s; and
WHEREAS, a combination of higher than normal temperatures, low precipitation and low relative humidity has caused an extreme fire danger over most of the State, sparking more than 8,000 wildfires which have cost several lives, engulfed more than 1.8 million acres of land and destroyed almost 400 homes, causing me to issue an ongoing disaster declaration since December of last year; and
WHEREAS, these dire conditions have caused agricultural crops to fail, lake and reservoir levels to fall and cattle and livestock to struggle under intense stress, imposing a tremendous financial and emotional toll on our land and our people; and
WHEREAS, throughout our history, both as a state and as individuals, Texans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up through prayer; it seems right and fitting that the people of Texas should join together in prayer to humbly seek an end to this devastating drought and these dangerous wildfires;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICK PERRY, Governor of Texas, under the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the State of Texas, do hereby proclaim the three-day period from Friday, April 22, 2011, to Sunday, April 24, 2011, as Days of Prayer for Rain in the State of Texas. I urge Texans of all faiths and traditions to offer prayers on that day for the healing of our land, the rebuilding of our communities and the restoration of our normal way of life.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my Office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 21st day of April, 2011.
Governor of Texas
Perry’s call for prayer rightly earned ridicule. Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars wondered about Jon Hagee and Pat Robertson weighing in, as they usually do, claiming big disasters to be the result of sinfulness in the local population. P. Z. Myers at Pharyngula simply wonders about the effectiveness of a governor who does that.