The Dallas Morning News is run by people with multiple personality disorders I swear, as well as some disoriented people under the delusion of gods and angels and demons. Their editorial section is mostly conservative in nature, but every now and then, a little liberal behavior slips through the cracks. Case in point: last week they published an editorial cartoon by Jack Ohman of the Sacramento Bee.

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Oh, man!

This morning in the editorial section of the DeMoN, there were three or four letters to the editor, one of which agreed with the sentiment of Jack Ohman’s political cartoon, and the others were by people who believe the First Amendment is there to give them the right to tell people like Ohman that they don’t have the right to speak. Or draw. Or breathe, really. Not when it comes to pissing on a Texas town that’s recently been attacked by ..well negligence, apparently. Not when it comes to pissing on a governor who feels it’s more important to stop homosexuality and abortions than it is to stop local business from storing OVER TWO HUNDRED TONS OF AMMONIUM NITRATE close enough to blow up a school, a nursing home, and a whole residential area with scores of houses.

Am I blaming Perry? You bet your ass I’m blaming Perry.

He’s been telling businesses all over the country to come to Texas. And his one and only real selling point is a lack of government oversight. He encourages business to come here to Texas cuz he doesn’t care what they do. They can do whatever they want so long as they bring their business here. Our laws are lax. The government institutions that have been set up by previous administrations to prevent things like West Texas blowing up or safety regulations for corporate employees have been seriously castrated by Perry’s policies.

We might fine ya now and then so it looks like we give a shit, but we can probably just slip that back under the table at ya when no one’s lookin.’ COME ON DOWN! We want yer bizness!

Perry doesn’t want government to be Big Brother. I get that. He wants corporations to decide what to do with their resources. How Ayn Rand of him! He feels this stimulates the economy. However, that’s what happened with British Petroleum, and now they have paid coastal cities billions of dollars in clean up and hush money and invested millions more in publicity stunts to give the appearance that the honestly give a shit when truth be told had they given a shit in the first place, the ‘mishap’ that polluted coastal waters woulda never happened, cuz they wouldn’t have been so careless.

But no one important enough was there to stop them from being careless, was there?

It’s what’s happened countless times in recent years here in Texas, in smaller ways that don’t always make it on the Evening News cuz no oceans got polluted and no towns got destroyed but lets say the occasional corporate employee loses his legs in a work related accident that could have been prevented with government oversight, but no, Perry doesn’t want to do that. He wants to encourage businesses to come here. He doesn’t want to then tell them how to do their business once they are here. Even if not sticking his nose in there now and then might save lives. If the occasional Texan gets blown up or loses an eye or has no health insurance to care for his family, well that’s his own look out. He should been more careful.

Not the business. The individual. The business can be as careless as it wants to be so long as it brings its business here to Texas, and the individual Texan will just have to fend for himself. I don’t blame just Perry though. I blame myself for not voting against him (i don’t vote anymore. i don’t see the point). I blame every single person who did vote for Perry, and I blame every single stooge Perry’s got working for him. And I blame anyone who shares Perry’s vision for a government free Texas and an America without abortion or gay sex or educated young people cuz goodness knows that’s what’s destroying this country! Women’s rights! Smart children! Men fucking each other up the ass! That’s terrible! If the occasional city blows up, that’s no big deal, but two women living under the same roof!? That’s unacceptable!

Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (one of Perry’s stooges) has laid down the law here in the Lone Star state! He insists any attempt to offer benefits to domestic partnerships in the state of Texas violates the recent amendment added to the state constitution claiming marriage is only between a man and a woman.

Granted, it’s just his opinion. HA! It’s the opinion of the attorney general. It carries a little more weight down here than yours or mine does. It means a lot of companies will just be afraid to make a stand on this issue, and a lot of people are going to go without needed benefits. Again, this benefits CORPORATE INTERESTS and not the little guy.

Most important, I blame the people of West, Texas. I know it’s politically incorrect of me to say this, especially now of all times when it’s gonna be seen as just putting salt in a wound, but I got damn good reason, and I’ll get to that.

Shifting gears for a second. Let me go back to what Perry IS wasting time on, like preventing a woman’s right to have an abortion, or policies and decisions that actually curtail Texas education, or insisting its wrong for two men or two women can fall in love and raise a family. These are important to Perry; not protecting the little guy from big business. He’s too busy keeping his hand in the pants of gay people to stick his nose in corporate mentality.

Full disclosure. I’m not a woman and I’m not gay, but this kinda shit makes me wanna pretend I’m gay just so I have a better leg to stand on when arguing about this. Cuz first thing people like Perry or Abbot would think about people like me is why argue agin us? You’re white and old and straight and male just like us this doesn’t affect you at all! It affects people I care about and so therefore it affects me. Besides, there’s one thing I’m not that they are: rich. I’m just as much NOT in with the IN crowd of corporate mentality as all the rest of you. Granted, I could probably be bought, but no one would pay my price cuz they wouldn’t get any return on their investment. That’s how this works.

I’m not gay and I’m also not into sports, but this got my attention too this morning. Jason Collins, 34 year old basketball player came forward today to announce he’s gay. This seems to be a surprise to everybody. I don’t watch basketball much but frankly I’m surprised there’s not more of them. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But come on! Look at those pants! Am I the only one not surprised by this? What got me wasn’t that he’s gay, or that he plays basketball, or that he’s black, or whatever. What got me was what he said in his statement.

I’m a 34-year-old NBA centre. I’m black. And I’m gay. I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation.. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ ..If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.

He’s not doing this just for himself. He’s not just doing it for all the other gay athletes in professional American sports (you know they’re out there! They pat each others’ ass cracks! I mean come on! It’s obvious!) He’s doing this cuz he knows — HE KNOWS THIS! — somewhere there’s a kid in a classroom in America looking around and everybody else looks like they got it together. This kid is wrong of course but he doesn’t know that. He thinks everyone else knows exactly who and what they are, but there’s things going on with this kid, inside his mind, things about his body that he doesn’t understand, and he’s afraid of being different. He’s afraid of speaking out. He’s afraid of asking stupid questions cuz people might laugh at him.

Maybe the kid isn’t gay. Maybe it’s something else about himself that he doesn’t understand. Or maybe it’s things about the world around him which other people take for granted but he just doesn’t get why they are that way and no one seems to be asking why.

Jason Collins is standing up. He’s raising his hand. He’s starting a conversation that he’s very right about: it should have happened before now. There are gay athletes in major American sports but admitting this could end your career. At the very least, it will certainly make people change how they behave around you in the locker room, that’s for sure. Jason Collins is taking a chance, he’s risking speaking out, because someone needs to take that risk.

And maybe, just maybe, if some kid sitting in a classroom has seen Jason Collins stand up and raise his hand, just maybe that kid too, will rise!

Now, Let me take you back to West, Texas. Remember when I said I blame the people of West for letting their own town blow up? How many of those people voted for Perry? I bet all of em. What you wanna bet? OR maybe they were like me and decided what’s the point of voting? The Republicans have rigged the game. Democrats and Independents can’t win jack in this state anymore. It’s not a Democracy anymore, cuz corporations are really running the show. You can’t fight city hall. The house always wins.

All that hot air of mine kinda turns to smoke and ash in the wake of something like West, doesn’t it?

That fertilizer company had been there since the early 1960s, and at the time it was built, it was out of the way and remote. It was put where to be close to the railroad but also to be out of the way of the rest of the town that had existed at the time. In the intervening decades, houses and businesses built up around that fertilizer company. And no one thought anything about it. No one spoke up. No one raised a hand and asked a stupid question. I hear tell there was ONE official report of a smell of ammonia coming from the plant. ONE TIME someone ventured to speak out. What happened? Nuthin. A government agency wrote up and filed some paperwork, claimed to investigate the report, fined the fertilizer company. I wouldn’t even classify this a slap on the wrist. Don’t tell me that was the only time ammonia fumes wafted on the breeze from that fertilizer company to the nearby nursing home. Someone spoke up once. We outsiders don’t know who that was or what happened to him after he spoke up, but it’s eerie that in all those decades, there weren’t more people speaking out. There weren’t more people in a town that small that didn’t notice hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate going in and out of that little green building every year.

It’s a quiet little community, West Texas. A small town where everybody knows everybody’s business, and if you don’t behave properly you’d get shunned or shut up right quick. Don’t tell me that would never happen in a small town like that. I’ve lived in small towns like that. I know. So people didn’t speak out. They didn’t stand up and raise their hand. Who would want to be like Jason Collins? Oh, everybody knew something shady was happening in that fertilizer company. They had to. A town that small you know when each other takes a dump, but they put it out of their minds. Nothing to worry about. That fertilizer company is waaaaaaay over on the other side of the railroad tracks. Couldn’t possibly hurt us less than a mile away. We got nothing to worry about. Besides, if there were something fishy over there, wouldn’t our government know about it? Isn’t that what we pay our taxes for?

…tick tick boom.

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