heading into nut country

A couple of days ago I was asked to reflect upon — and possibly reconsider — my periodic denunciation of Republicans from Texas. It was suggested that categorizing Republicans as either being ‘from Texas’ or ‘not from Texas’ was, in effect, a way of claiming Texas Republicans were different from other Republicans — and different in a way that could be seen as demeaning and condescending.

Okay, it wasn’t actually put that way. What happened is I got an email from somebody who read a recent post here, and who wasn’t happy with my approach. He (I assume it’s a guy) wrote this:

Why do you say Republicans from Texas and Republicans not from Texas? It’s insulting. You act like Republicans from Texas are slobbering devils. What make you think your any better?!

Good question. What make me think I’m any better than Republicans from Texas? Nothing at all. I’m not better; I’m just not a lunatic. But in my defense, I’m pretty sure I’ve never said Republicans from Texas are devils. I may have suggested they drool and/or slobber; I can’t recall. But it sounds like something I might have said.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and his demon-free Republican finger

Republicans from Texas, you elected this yahoo as your governor

Also in my defense, Republicans from Texas have proven themselves to be — let’s say ‘irrational.’ No, let’s not say that. Let’s say completely fucking insane. And homophobic and misogynistic and paranoid and angry and pretty much dismissive of anybody NOT white or male or Christian. Also, stupid. I forgot to include stupid. Republicans from Texas seem to have a mortal lock on stupid.

Also too Republicans from Texas, your relationship with guns is unseemly and more than a little creepy. Seriously, it borders on perversion. And not in a good way.

Republicans from Texas, this yahoo is your nominee for the next governor

Republicans from Texas, this yahoo is your nominee for the next governor

But for the moment, let’s ignore the firearm fetishism of Republicans from Texas. Let’s ignore their entire 2014 Party Platform, which includes some phenomenally stupid planks (such as the notion that Congress should deny the Supreme Court jurisdiction over “cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and the Bill of Rights”, or the idea that the U.S. is in danger of falling under Shari’a law). Let’s ignore the fact that every Republican in Texas seems to think draft-dodging pedophile Ted Nugent is the epitome of American patriotism. Let’s even ignore the fact that a LOT of Texas Republicans would like to secede from the United States.

The Republican NOT from Texas that Republicans from Texas most admire

The yahoo that Republicans from Texas most admire

Let’s just look at one classic example of how Republicans from Texas perceive effective governance. Let’s take very brief look at how Greg Abbott, the current Texas Attorney General and the front-runner in the Texas gubernatorial race, would run his state.

You may recall that just under a year ago a fertilizer plant in the small Texas town of West exploded, killing 15 people (many of whom were firefighters and first responders), injuring more than 300 others, destroying around 150 buildings (including an elementary school and an apartment complex for senior citizens). We don’t know the direct cause of the explosion, but we DO know the indirect causes: nearly non-existent regulation of the industry compounded by over-regulation of health and safety agencies.

What's left of the West, Texas fertilizer plant

West, Texas fertilizer plant after the explosion

Seriously, think about this. There is NO statewide fire code. Some counties have a fire code, but it’s actually (and no, I’m not making this up) illegal for more than half of the counties in Texas to create their own fire code. That’s right, they’re forbidden by law from establishing a county fire code. If that’s not bad enough, the Texas Fire Marshal isn’t allowed to inspect fertilizer plants without permission from the plant to be inspected. That’s completely fucking nuts. The West, Texas plant hadn’t been inspected since 1985. Almost 30 years, without an inspection.

Without inspections, there was no way anybody could have known the plant was storing about 110,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia — twice the amount it was permitted to store. There was no way anybody could have known the plant was storing more than half a million pounds of ammonium nitrate (domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh needed only 4000 pounds of ammonium nitrate to blow up the Murragh Building in Oklahoma City). We’re talking about 1350 times the amount that would trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In other words, without inspections there was no way anybody could know the plant was, in effect, an undetonated bomb. At least not until it actually detonated.

Republican candidate for Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott

Republican candidate for Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott

But almost a year has gone by since the explosion. Surely by now the State of Texas has done something to protect its citizens.

Nope. No fucking way. We’re talking about a government of Republicans from Texas, remember. There are exactly zero changes in the way fertilizer plants are regulated or inspected.

I take that back. There’s at least one change. Attorney General Greg Abbott decided the Department of State Health Services, which maintains a list of facilities that store deadly chemicals, could deny the people of Texas access to that list. Why? Who the hell knows? Republicans from Texas, boyo.

Senior citizen apartment complex, West, Texas

Senior citizen apartment complex, West, Texas

So how would an ordinary citizen — let’s say, for example, somebody whose elderly parent had lived in the senior citizen apartment complex destroyed by last year’s chemical explosion — how would that person find out if their parent’s new apartment building was also at risk?

Simple! According to Abbott in a recent interview, all the nervous person would have to do is “drive around” and look at the facilities near the apartment house (or home, or school, or church, or gun shop).

“You can ask every facility whether or not they have chemicals or not. You can ask them if they do, and they can tell you, well, we do have chemicals or we don’t have chemicals, and if they do, they tell which ones they have.”

Just ask, that’s all you’d have to do. Surely the facility managers wouldn’t lie to you. Just drive around until you spot a suspicious-looking facility, park your car, walk up to the front door and…oh, wait. What if the privately-owned facility is on private property? What then? Happily, Abbott has an answer for that question:

“[Y]ou may not be able to walk on private property. But you can send an email or letter or notice to anyone who owns any kind of private property or facility, saying that under the community right to know law, you need to tell me within 10 days what chemicals you have.”

And he’s right. The law does say that. Sort of. Alternatively, if the facility didn’t want to send the list of deadly chemicals to a private person (who could, after all, be a terrorist intent on destroying America by taking our guns and making us gay marry our cousins), they have the option of sending the information to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Which, according to Abbott, can then deny the public access to that list.

West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion

West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion

That’s governing Texas Republican style. Back in 1963, when President John Kennedy was visiting Texas, a couple of hours before his motorcade took him to Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Kennedy told his wife, “We’re heading into nut country today.”

Little has changed, I’m sorry to say. That’s why I single out Republicans from Texas for special attention. Because those bastards deserve it. It’s Chinatown Nut Country, Jake. Chinatown Nut Country.

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8 thoughts on “heading into nut country

  1. Pingback: Is My Gravatar Crooked? | RosieSmrtiePants

  2. Yoiu have to remember this is the home to the open-carry advocates that have been “lovingly” nicknamed “The Banana Brigade”. This is because the weapons they want to parade out in public with are most often the AR-15s and AK-47s that can be equipped with banana clips capable of carrying dozens of rounds of ammunition for their military-style assault-type weaponry. Consider the open-carry advocate who, at a demonstration in a Southeast Texas community after having been told to make sure the weapon he displayed was not loaded and had a soda straw in the chamber, appeared in front of a local reporter showing his weapon’s magazine was round and loaded to the hilt with 70 rounds of live ammunition. To this he told the reporter, “You never know when one of these anti-gun nuts needs to have his thinking straightened out”.

    But we learned something else from the Banana Brigade. They don’t want to deal with anyone having questions, or seeking to express concerns. Ask the Police Chief of Port Arthur, Texas. He said he wanted to talk to the advocates before issuing them a permit to hold a rally in the city, but not a damned one of them ever would meet with him. According to the Banana Brigade, by wanting to talk first and maybe issue a permit later, this Police Chief was violating both their First and Second Amendment rights.

    Go figure …

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    • PS: The other part of the reason why we call this bunch the Banana Brigade is because one of them, a gun shop owner, hired some kid to stand at a major highway intersection dressed as a banana and flashing around an AK-47. It got the kid busted. It also scared the bee-jeebers out of a mess of passing motorists. But, according to the Banana Brigade, that was because “the people of Southeast Texas are too stupid and naive to know the danger they are in”. From the criminal element or gun-toting idiots talking taking over?

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      • Funny, but my first reaction to a guy toting a firearm where it doesn’t really belong is to wonder what made him so insecure in his manhood that he needs a stand-in phallus that shoots bullets? I’m not just making a penis joke here, I’m serious.

        How emotionally limp is a dude who can only feel secure with an AK-47 slung over his zipper in Home Depot? Is he threatened by the guy in the lumber section who is taller than him? Is it because the dude knows more about ripping plywood? Is he afraid someone’s gonna cut ahead of him in the check out lane? What exactly scares him so badly that he needs a weapon to navigate society? You know, the rest of us just suck it up and deal with life like adults.

        Besides, only a man who carries a gun ever needs one.

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  3. My personal opinion is they are no more than a bunch of left-over hippies and other non-conformants tired of killing zombies in their video games. And I have to wonder if they aren’t just looking for an excuse to shoot another human being and being allowed to get away with it?

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