In fact, if Governor Goodhair's parents couldn't handle lifelong abstinence and had practiced coitus interruptus instead, the best part of Rick Perry would have run down his father's leg. In the face of a runaway birth rate among Texas teenage females, Governor Goodhair advocates premarital abstinence because it "worked for him." The Lone Star State is a disaster by any measure but Governor Goodhair proclaims this to be "the Texas Century." Rick Perry is dumber than dirt and the Dumbos in Texas have made him the equivalent of an Arab state ruler for life. (Is there a connection between Texas gubernatorial voting and spending on mental health in Texas?) Consider the benchmarks ranging from health insurance to voter turnout and the Lone Star State is last (or next-to-last) among the states of the Union. If Tunisians, Egyptians, Bahrainians, or Libyans lived in Texas under Goodhair, they would be in the streets from Amarillo to Brownsville, from El Paso to Texarkana. If this is a (fair & balanced) convocatoria de una huelga general, so be it.
Vannevar Bush Hyperlink — Bracketed Numbers — Directory]
 Abstinence In Texas The Krait (Gail Collins)
 Texas On Brink, Part V Emily Ramshaw
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[x NY Fishwrap]
Mrs. Bush, Abstinence And Texas
By Gail Collins
Tag Cloud of the following article
Today, let’s discuss choices, starting with Barbara Bush raising an alarm and Gov. Rick Perry’s personal experience with sexual abstinence.
I did throw in the last one to keep you interested. Sue me.
This month, The Houston Chronicle published an opinion piece by the former first lady titled “We Can’t Afford to Cut Education,” in which Mrs. Bush pointed out that students in Texas currently rank 47th in the nation in literacy, 49th in verbal SAT scores and 46th in math scores.
“In light of these statistics, can we afford to cut the number of teachers, increase class sizes, eliminate scholarships for underprivileged students and close several community colleges?” she asked.
You’d think there’d be an obvious answer. But the Texas State Legislature is looking to cut about $4.8 billion over the next two years from the schools. Budgets are tight everywhere, but Perry, the state’s governor, and his supporters made things much worse by reducing school property taxes by a third in 2006 under the theory that a higher cigarette tax and a new business franchise tax would make up the difference. Which they didn’t.
“In Austin, I’ve got half-a-dozen or more schools on a list to be closed — one of which I presented a federal blue-ribbon award to for excellence,” said Representative Lloyd Doggett [D-TX]. “And several hundred school personnel on the list for possible terminations.”
So the first choice is what to do. You may not be surprised to hear that Governor Perry has rejected new taxes. He’s also currently refusing $830 million in federal aid to education because the Democratic members of Congress from Texas — ticked off because Perry used $3.2 billion in stimulus dollars for schools to plug other holes in his budget — put in special language requiring that this time Texas actually use the money for the kids.
“If I have to cast very tough votes, criticized by every Republican as too much federal spending, at least it ought to go to the purpose we voted for it,” said Doggett.
Nobody wants to see underperforming, overcrowded schools being deprived of more resources anywhere. But when it happens in Texas, it’s a national crisis. The birth rate there is the highest in the country, and if it continues that way, Texas will be educating about a tenth of the future population. It ranks third in teen pregnancies — always the children most likely to be in need of extra help. And it is No. 1 in repeat teen pregnancies.
Which brings us to choice two. Besides reducing services to children, Texas is doing as little as possible to help women — especially young women — avoid unwanted pregnancy.
For one thing, it’s extremely tough for teenagers to get contraceptives in Texas. “If you are a kid, even in college, if it’s state-funded you have to have parental consent,” said Susan Tortolero, director of the Prevention Research Center at the University of Texas in Houston.
Plus, the Perry government is a huge fan of the deeply ineffective abstinence-only sex education. Texas gobbles up more federal funds than any other state for the purpose of teaching kids that the only way to avoid unwanted pregnancies is to avoid sex entirely. (Who knew that the health care reform bill included $250 million for abstinence-only sex ed? Thank you, Senator Orrin Hatch!) But the state refused to accept federal money for more expansive, “evidence-based” programs.
“Abstinence works,” said Governor Perry during a televised interview with Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune. [Watch Goodhair speak like a male bovine fertilizer salesman with a mouthful of samples.]
“But we have the third highest teen pregnancy rate among all states in the country,” Smith responded.
“It works,” insisted Perry.
“Can you give me a statistic suggesting it works?” asked Smith.
“I’m just going to tell you from my own personal life. Abstinence works,” said Perry, doggedly.
Tortolero, who lectures around the country on effective ways to prevent teenage pregnancy, once testified before a committee in the Texas House that was considering a bill to require that sex education classes only provide information that was medically accurate.
The bill was controversial. I’ll let you ponder that for a minute.
Tortolero said she got some support from a legislator who was also a pediatrician. “We talked back and forth for a month. But some groups in Texas were threatening him and he was a very junior member,” she recalled. The bill died.
Meanwhile, Perry — having chosen not to help young women avoid unwanted pregnancies and not to pay enough to educate the booming population of Texas children — wowed the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington with his states’ rights rhetoric.
Which would be fine, as I said, if his state wasn’t in charge of preparing a large chunk of the nation’s future work force. Perry used to be famous for his flirtation with talk of secession. Maybe we should encourage him to revisit it. Ω
[Gail Collins joined the New York Times in 1995 as a member of the editorial board and later as an op-ed columnist. In 2001 she became the first woman ever appointed editor of the Times editorial page. At the beginning of 2007, she stepped down and began a leave in order to finish a sequel to her book, America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines. Collins returned to The Times as a columnist in July 2007. Besides America's Women, which was published in 2003, Ms. Collins is the author of Scorpion Tongues: Gossip, Celebrity and American Politics, and The Millennium Book, which she co-authored with her husband, Dan Collins. Her new book is about American women since 1960. Collins has an undergraduate degree in journalism from Marquette University and an M.A. in government from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.]
Copyright © 2011 The New York Times Company
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[x TX Tribune]
Texas Is "On The Brink," Legislative Study Group Says
By Emily Ramshaw
Tag Cloud of the following article
Texas' superlatives are nothing to brag about, according to the fifth edition of "Texas on the Brink," an annual review that ranks the state on dozens of factors ranging from health insurance to voter turnout.
Despite having the highest birth rate, Texas has the worst rate of women with health insurance, and the worst rate of pregnant women receiving prenatal care in the first trimester, according to the report commissioned by the Legislative Study Group, a liberal-leaning research caucus in the Texas House. While Texas has the second-highest public school enrollment, the state ranks last in the percentage of people 25 and older with a high school diploma. And though Texas has the highest percent of its population without health insurance, the state is 49th in per capita spending on Medicaid, and dead last in per capita spending on mental health, according to the report.
Here's a look at how Texas compares to other states
At the bottom:
— Tax expenditures per capita (47th)
— Percent of population 25 and older with a high school diploma (50th)
— Percent of poor people covered by Medicaid (49th)
— Percent of population with employer-based health insurance (48th)
— Per capita spending on mental health (50th)
— Per capita spending on Medicaid (49th)
— Percent of non-elderly women with health insurance (50th)
— Percent of women receiving prenatal care in first trimester (50th)
— Average credit score (49th)
— Workers' compensation coverage (50th)
Near the top:
— Number of executions (1st)
— Public school enrollment (2nd)
— Percent of uninsured children (1st)
— Percent of children living in poverty (4th)
— Percent of population uninsured (1st)
— Percent of population living below poverty (4th)
— Percent of population with food insecurity (2nd)
— Overall birth rate (2nd)
— Amount of carbon dioxide emissions (1st)
— Amount of toxic chemicals released into water (1st)
— Amount of hazardous waste generated (1st) Ω
[Emily Ramshaw investigates state agencies and covers social services for the Tribune. Previously, she spent six years reporting for The Dallas Morning News, first in Dallas, then in Austin. In April 2009 she was named Star Reporter of the Year by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the Headliners Foundation of Texas. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, she received a bachelor's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.]
Copyright © 2011 The Texas Tribune]
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Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves by Neil Sapper is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at sapper.blogspot.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available here.
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