Rick Perry Can’t Handle The Truth

Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee

Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee

Via Raw Story, the above cartoon by Jack Ohman of the Sacramento Bee, published last Thursday, has Texas Governor Rick Perry all hot under the collar–so much so that he (or some flunky) wrote a letter to the editor, which the Bee published on Friday. Here it is:

Re “Business is booming in Texas” (Editorial cartoon, April 25): It was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon. While I will always welcome healthypolicy debate, I won’t stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans.

Additionally, publishing this on the very day our state and nation paused to honor and mourn those who died only compounds the pain and suffering of the many Texans who lost family and friends in this disaster. The Bee owes the community of West, Texas an immediate apology for your detestable attempt at satire.

– Gov. Rick Perry, Austin, Tex.

So far, Ohman’s editor Stuart Leavenworth is standing up for him. You can read his full response at the above link. From Raw Story:

Stuart Leavenworth, the editorial page editor of The Sacramento Bee, said the cartoon illustrated Perry’s “disregard for worker safety, and his attempts to market Texas as a place where industries can thrive with few regulations.”

Earlier this year, California Gov. Jerry Brown chided Texas for having a high percentage of workers earning minimum wage. Perry responded about a month later by running radio ads in California that encouraged business owners to move to his state. Perry claimed building a business in California was “next to impossible” because of regulations and taxes — regulations and taxes that his state lacked.

Ohman wrote about the “controversy” on his blog today. He says that a number of readers chastised him for the cartoon.

Their comments ranged from “you are a sick human being” to “insensitive and tasteless.” I’m not sure I am clinically qualified to give myself a direct diagnosis, but I am pretty sure I am not a sick human being. Let’s explore the question of tastelessness.

The Texas chemical plant had not been inspected by the state of Texas since 2006. That’s seven years ago. You may have read in the news that Gov. Perry, during his business recruiting trips to California and Illinois, generally described his state as free from high taxes and burdensome regulation. One of the burdensome regulations he neglected to mention was the fact that his state hadn’t really gotten around to checking out that fertilizer plant. Many Texas cities have little or no zoning, resulting in homes being permitted next to sparely inspected businesses that store explosive chemicals….

When I have to come up with these ideas, I can assure you that I am not really deliberately trying to be tasteless. I am not. What I am trying to do is make readers think about an issue in a striking way. I seem to have succeeded in this cartoon, one way or the other.

The question is whether it is tasteless or not.

My answer, respectfully, is that it isn’t.

Having said that, what normal person doesn’t mourn those poor people fighting the fire and living by the plant? I certainly do. What makes me angry, and, yes, I am driven by anger, is that it could have been prevented. I guess I could have done a toned-down version of the cartoon; I am not sure what that would have been, but I think many readers’ objections just stemmed from the fact that I used the explosion as a metaphor, period. The wound is fresh, the hurt still stings.

texas-governor-rick-perry

Personally, I thought the cartoon was brilliant–a perfect example of the old saying “a picture is worth a thousands words.” Apparently it got a pretty big rise out of Perry when the thousands of gallons of ink spilled on news stories hasn’t. Perry should be ashamed to show his face in public after what happened in West, Texas. Why on earth do Texans keep reelecting this guy?

Ohman recommended that Perry read this outstanding investigation by Pro Publica, which I read and recommended a few days ago: What Went Wrong in West, Texas — and Where Were the Regulators? Perry should either read it or have his flunky read it to him. Then he should wake up and realize that millions of Americans disapprove of his laissez-faire, Ayn Randian approach to government, and cartoonist Jack Ohman expressed our feelings perfectly.

But I don’t expect Perry will take responsibility for his role in the West, Texas disaster, because he can’t handle the truth.

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17 Comments on “Rick Perry Can’t Handle The Truth”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    You can use this as an open thread.

  2. janicen says:

    The satirists and cartoonists are the only people who report the truth in this country. Talk to my daughter and her friends, this is where they get their news and info. They don’t trust the MSM.

    Ohman nailed it.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Writer at NY Review of Books has found MIsha in Rhode Island.

    http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/

    • bostonboomer says:

      Today I was able to meet “Misha,” whose real name is Mikhail Allakhverdov. Having been referred by a family in Boston that was close to the Tsarnaevs, I found Allakverdov at his home in Rhode Island, in a lower middle class neighborhood, where he lives in modest, tidy apartment with his elderly parents. He confirmed he was a convert to Islam and that he had known Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but he flatly denied any part in the bombings. “I wasn’t his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Allakhverdov said.

      A thirty-nine-year-old man of Armenian-Ukrainian descent, Allakhverdov is of medium height and has a thin, reddish-blond beard. When I arrived he was wearing a green and white short-sleeve football jersey and pajama pants. Along with his parents, his American girlfriend was there, and we sat together in a tiny living room that abuts the family kitchen.

      Allakhverdov said he had known Tamerlan in Boston, where he lived until about three years ago, and has not had any contact with him since. He declined to describe the nature of his acquaintance with Tamerlan or the Tsarnaev family, but said he had never met the family members who are now accusing him of radicalizing Tamerlan. He also confirmed he had been interviewed by the FBI and that he has cooperated with the investigation:

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Someone attacked me on Twitter.

  5. Fannie says:

    Darn it……..last week or so, I saw a map listing world wide cities who had 30 millions dollar earners, and NY and Los Angeles was at the top of that list, not Dallas or Houston. Perry was going around like he was the score keeper and winning in comparison to California………….when he didn’t even make the list, and I would guess the reason must be related to the quality of life in TEXAS.

    And I recall that West reported to Homeland Security once in 7 years……and hadn’t had OSAH in their since 1985, not to mention West had an illegal amount in storage.

    Tell Mr. Nice Hair to stop worrying about balding, and just deal with it.

    • Why pick on Mr. Ohman alone? there were at least five other cartoons last week making the same point. and Janicen is right about cartoonist and satirist. they are mostly the only ones putting out the truth these days.

  6. Fannie says:

    Correction….Here is the listing for US cities……….the top three 1) NY 2) L.A. 3) S.F………..note Dallas and Houston is 6/7 on the list……….With the top three having high taxes, makes you wonder why Dallas and Houston isn’t on top of the list.. There is another such list with world wide cities, that I can’t find.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/where-the-one-percent-live.html

  7. bostonboomer says:

    All hell is breaking loose on the Tsarnaev story.