Tag Archives: Rick Perry

The Texas Miracle

Rick perry dressed as Jesus appears to walk on water. He is actually being held up by people below the water with education cuts, uninsured, and minimum-wage workers  on their shirts.
Cartoonist John Cole mocks Rick Perry’s attempts to keep Texas afloat.

 

            The Texas Miracle, by John Cole is a political cartoon mocking Texas Governor Rick Perry for his comments on the well being of Texas and his presidential candidacy. It shows a man wearing a white robe and sandals with the word Perry on his robe. He appears to be walking on water, but directly under the surface are children and men holding him up. The people underneath Perry have “education cuts”, “uninsured”, and “Minimum wage workers” written on their shirts (Cole). The cartoon implies that Gov. Perry is not performing any miracles; he is both physically and metaphorically stepping on the groups of people underneath him. The Texas Miracle is similar to the John Knott cartoon, We’ve Survived Other Bad Storms, in that the subjects in the people depicted are in water, and this water is oppressing them. The “storm” that Knott used as an analogy for The Great Depression could also be parallel to the flood that Noah and his family escaped in the bible. However in The Texas Miracle the population was unable to escape the flood because of an ignorant deity.

The accompanying editorial, Walking on Water talks about Perry’s recent presidential candidacy, and why he appeals to the “mad-as-heck right-wing base”. The authors also talk about the not-so-miraculous Texas miracle (Editorial Team). The miracle that Perry claims to have caused is just Texas continuing to profit off of a new way to drill for oil called fracking, which harvests the oil through horizontal fractures and drilling (Krauss). The editorial also comments on how well the housing district is doing, again emphasizing that this was not Perry’s doing, “Much of what Perry lays claim to is not the result of his governance, but existed well before he took office.”

You may recognize the Phrase “Texas miracle” from President George W. Bush’s two thousand presidential campaign and his “No child Left Behind” education reform act (Leung). The act was plan to make teachers accountable for their students’ grades, and required standardized testing for all students, while attempting to lower drop out rates in Houston especially. The program had great success in the first year but it was too good to be true. A vice principal at Sharpstown High School, found there were no drop-outs in the two thousand one two thousand two school year, when in fact there were four hundred and sixty two drop outs. The system had made a code for when a student dropped out it was programmed as a transfer or other acceptable reasons, so the miracle was just a lie. Just like Bush, Perry took advantage of the natural strength of Texas and used it for his own benefit. “According to The American Statesman, almost half of the state’s job growth came in the education, health care, and government sectors”, but when the state was faced with a twenty seven million dollar deficit Perry took four billion from K-12 schools. Already suffering as one of the least educated states, Perry stepped on education so that Texas would have less debt, and Texas suffered for it.

Texas’ population was been growing more rapidly than any other state from nineteen ninety to two thousand eleven this is in part due to the oil boom, but Perry found a way to make this benefit him (Plumer). Perry brags that Texas has a low unemployment rate but in fact at the time it was just a tenth lower than the national average, and the majority of those workers are working for minimum wage, which means that they have little or no insurance from their job (Meyerson). To add onto that Perry Doesn’t would prefer the states control of minimum wage and opposes the increase of minimum wage, claiming to be protecting the small businesses (Selby). At this time Texas was also the most uninsured state in the country, with twenty six percent of the population uninsured, Rick Perry still resisted universal healthcare. Perry said “They did not want a large government program forcing everyone to purchase insurance”, which may be the case, but this works well with Perry’s views on minimum wage and his refusal to increase the Medicaid (Benen). You see if Texans make less than four thousand five hundred dollars a year they can apply for Medicaid, but if they make less than eleven thousand six hundred dollars a year they are too poor to buy insurance for themselves (Damico). This is called the Medicaid expansion gap, and Rick Perry walked all over the people in this gap just to make the state more profitable.

A few parallels can be made between The Texas miracle and We’ve Survived Other Bad Storms, the major one being the water. In both cartoons the water is rising, because Rick Perry has no intention of changing his policies and will continue to take money from education. The water is also rising on the two business men while they converse in the storm, which was also brought on by the government’s inflation during the twenties. We’ve Survived Other Bad Storms could also have a religious aspect to it, where Herbert Hoover, who was blamed for The Great Depression, could be seen as an ignorant deity. As he told the public over and over that the depression would pass, doing little or nothing to help the floundering public, while the floodwaters continue to rise leaving the population without an ark. In both cartoons the public is the victim of the governments poor choices and both cartoonists depict their suffering through water.

The Texas Miracle by John Cole is mocking Rick Perry’s foolish attempts to take credit for the relative low amount of debt that Texas is in. The cartoon and editorial both ridicule him for refusing to help those beneath him, calling him a lone star blustering bible thumper. The Texas Miracle illustrates just how unlike Jesus Rick Perry truly is, and what lengths he is willing to go to in order to make a profit for the great state of Texas.

Works Cited

Benen, Steve. “Perry Boasts about Texas’ Uninsured Rate.” MSNBC. NBCUniversal News Group, 13 Feb. 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Cole, John. “John Cole Cartoons » Walking on Water.” John Cole Cartoons » Walking on Water. The Time Tribune, 18 Aug. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Damico, Oct 19 2016 | Rachel Garfield and Anthony. “The Coverage Gap: Uninsured Poor Adults in States That Do Not Expand Medicaid.” Kaiser Family Foundation – Health Policy Research, Analysis, Polling, Facts, Data and Journalism. WordPress.com, 19 Oct. 2016. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Editorial Team. “John Cole Cartoons » Walking on Water.” John Cole Cartoons » Walking on Water. The Times Tribune, 18 Aug. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Krauss, Clifford. “Shale Boom in Texas Could Increase U.S. Oil Output.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 27 May 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Leung, Rebecca. “The ‘Texas Miracle'” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 6 Jan. 2004. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Meyerson, Harold. “The Sad Facts behind Rick Perry’s Texas Miracle.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 16 Aug. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

New World Encyclopedia. “Texas.” Texas – New World Encyclopedia. New World Encyclopedia, 20 Nov. 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Pallardy, Richard. “Rick Perry.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 9 Nov. 2015. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Plumer, Brian. “Breaking down Rick Perry’s ‘Texas Miracle'” The Washington Post. WP Company, 15 Aug. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

Selby, W. Gardner. “In 2014, Rick Perry Saying He Opposes Federal Government Setting Minimum Wage.” @politifact. Politifact.com, 30 May 2014. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.

 

Toyota Gets Rustled By Rick Perry’s Texas

toyota-gets-rustled-by-rick-perrys-texas-horsey

 

David Horsey’s cartoon Toyota Gets Rustled by Rick Perry’s Texas provides a hyperbolic illustration of the relocation of industries from California to Texas. Through the depiction of former-governor Rick Perry and two other Texans dressed as stereotypical cowboys taking the Toyota headquarters from California, the Texans are likened to rustlers, stealing something that belongs to California (Horsey). Although Toyota decided to relocate to Texas because of Texas’ favorable business climate and to be closer to their Southern manufacturing hubs, the portrayal of the Texans in the cartoon casts an unfavorable light on Texas, further communicating California’s feelings that they had been stolen from (Hirsch). The accompanying editorial “Toyota exit from Torrance inflames Texas/California rivalry” goes on to provide more background behind the tension between the two states’ vastly different economic models. With two powerhouse economies, California and Texas can be “seen as the perfect contrast between a high-regulation blue state and a low-regulation red state” (Horsey). Since the Toyota industry was moving from California to Texas, it only added fuel to the fire for people arguing over which economic model was superior (Horsey). Overall, Horsey’s depiction of Toyota being stolen away to Texas provides insight to the relocation of industries in response to push and pull factors, as well as Californian sentiment about Toyota’s departure.

The car production company Toyota had been in California since 1957 (Ohnsman). Although it started as a Japanese company, Toyota eventually grew large enough to begin international sales, setting up a headquarters in California to be closer to the American market (Toyota History). However, over the 50 years that Toyota was stationed in California, California’s regulations grew stricter and taxes increased (California Code of Regulations). California’s businesses were “strangled by red tape that [made] starting and running a successful business difficult” (Fleeing California). All of these issues created a push factor, pushing businesses to look to other states for a more business-friendly climate. When compared to California, Texas had far less restrictive regulations. Since “[b]eing unfriendly to business isn’t good for the economy,” Texas’ regulatory simplicity, lower tax rates, and decreased red tape were all pull factors for industries in highly-regulated states, incentivizing them to relocate to Texas (DeVore).

In addition, the sentiment depicted in the cartoon is worth noting. Because the cartoon and editorial were published in the LA Times, they take on a very California-sympathetic tone. Instead of objectively showing Toyota making the choice that best benefited their business, the cartoon’s imagery makes the Texans out to be the bad guys. It is not coincidental that former-governor Rick Perry is portrayed as a rustler. The term rustler is used to describe cattle thieves, but it is commonly associated with the wild west cowboy era during the second half of the 1800s. Because California felt Texas had taken something from them, the Texans were likened to rustlers, stealing hard-working ranchers’ cows for profit in the time of the cowboy. By choosing to depict the Texans as rustlers, the cartoon is not only equating the Texans to thieves, but also presenting them as old-fashioned and stereotypical. The humor lies in understanding the common stereotype of Texans as antiquated cowboys, giving an additional layer of negative connotation to the representation of Texans as rustlers.

The factors surrounding the relocation of production from one state to another closely parallels the decentralization of industries towards the end of the Great Depression. In a similar fashion, John Knott’s cartoon Come to Texas! depicts industries coming to Texas to take advantage of Texas’ better business climate in the late 1930s (Knott). Just like how northern centralized industries decentralized to combat the problems of the Great Depression and the utilize the benefits of production in Texas, Toyota left California’s harsher business climate and regulation in favor of the advantages of being stationed in Texas. Even 70 years later, industries like Toyota still decentralize production to Texas because of its more business-friendly environment.

In conclusion, David Horsey’s political cartoon Toyota Gets Rustled by Rick Perry’s Texas provides commentary on the relocation of Toyota’s industry from California to Texas, including insight to the Californian viewpoint of the events. Despite some sour feelings in California, Toyota chose to come to Texas to escape high levels of regulation and take advantage of the business-friendly climate, similarly to the proceedings portrayed in Knott’s cartoon. Whether in the 1930s or the 2000s, Texas continues to draw in industries due to its lower regulations and environment that’s kinder to businesses.

 

 

Works Cited

“California Code of Regulations.” Westlaw. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. https://govt.westlaw.com/calregs/index?__lrTS=20161130033726038&transitionType=Default&contextData=%28sc.Default%29

DeVore, Chuck. “What Makes Texas The Most Small Business-Friendly State, And Rhode Island The Least.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 18 Aug. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. http://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckdevore/2015/08/18/less-regulation-taxes-unionization-make-texas-most-small-business-friendly-rhode-island-least/#71f9cff76d37

“Fleeing California.” The Washington Times. The Washington Times, 17 Feb. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/17/editorial-businesses-flee-californias-high-taxes-a/.

Hirsch, Jerry. “3,000 Toyota Jobs to Move to Texas from Torrence.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr. 2014. Web. 06 Nov. 2016. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-toyota-move-20140429-story.html

Horsey, David. “Toyota Exit from Torrance Inflames Texas/California Rivalry.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 1 May 2014. Web. 06 Nov. 2016. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/topoftheticket/la-na-tt-toyota-exit-20140501-story.html

Knott, John. “Come to Texas!” Cartoon. Dallas Morning News. 27 March 1937. Sec 2: 2. Print.

Ohnsman, Alan. “Tesla Leads in California Auto Jobs as Toyota Plans Exit.” Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 16 May 2014. Web. 06 Nov. 2016. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-05-16/tesla-edges-out-toyota-as-california-s-top-auto-employer

“Toyota History: Corporate and Automotive.” Toyoland. Toyoland, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. http://www.toyoland.com/history.html

Business in Texas

contemp-cartoon
Jack Ohman mocks the policy of lax business regulations which caused the recent West Texas Explosion

 

                Business in Texas, published in the Sacramento Bee, is a political cartoon by Jack Ohman that satirizes the believed benefits of attracting future business to Texas with the promise of limited government regulation. The cartoon depicts a figure without eyes who is Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas, advocating that “business is booming in Texas” with a backdrop promise of “low taxes and low regs”. In the next panel an explosion takes place right next to Perry which alludes to the factory explosion which took place in West, Texas. Due to promises of low taxes and low regulation, Perry aims to attract potential businesses to Texas to increase the economic prosperity of Texas yet there are unforeseen consequences with the promise of low regulations.

The West Fertilizer Company was one of many businesses that came to Texas due to the lack of regulation. During this time, Governor Perry, pandered to many different companies on how Texas lowered government intervention and regulation which would be perfect for businesses to foster and grow. Attributed in the cartoon as a man with no eyes, Perry seems to be a man who has turned a blind eye towards the consequences of setting such low regulations. Furthermore, Perry’s stature of a small head with a huge body is a familiar symbol of corporate greed or greed in general. Wanting to promote economic prosperity in Texas, Perry will do anything to attract more votes to win reelection. Attracted to this “ideal” situation many businesses set up shop in Texas with the mindset of gaining huge economic profits by cutting corners and dodging usually strict business regulations.

The West Fertilizer Company had already been established in West Texas in 1962 but with the new Governor Perry inspections turned from yearly checks to none. The West Fertilizer Company had problems dating back to 2006 when a citizen filed an ammonia smell complaint (Fernandez) and later the company was fined $7,600 due to failure to file risk management and violations on how it stored anhydrous ammonia. Most recently, in 2011, the facility was fined $5250 after a safety inspection.

The explosion occurred on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. The sheer magnitude of the explosion was equivalent to a 2.1 magnitude earthquake and had the force of 10 tons of TNT. The play on words “business is BOOMing in Texas” alludes to the fact that just because business is growing doesn’t mean it is in a healthy way. Ohman, criticizes businesses and the government for allowing these businesses to indulge in such dangerous practices without considering that they could be endangering human lives. At least 15 people died that day and around 160-200 people were injured– most were first responders and firefighters. The blast had flattened homes within a five-block radius (Meyer). The fire that started the explosion was claimed by the Bureau of Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to be arson. Yet there have been many previous cases of burglary due to lax security since ammonia was a key component of methamphetamine.

In the investigation that followed, The West Texas Company was found to have mismanaged their resources, failed to report the contents of the facility, failed to take preventable measures against fire, and the inability of state and local regulatory agencies. The 270 tons of ammonium that were contained in the facility was well over the 400-pound regulation and required the plant to report it to the Department of Homeland Security, yet the plant did report it to the Department of State Health Services. Due to the lack of communication between these two agencies and a report filed that “there was no risk of a fire or an explosion” by the plant, the State didn’t deem the plant a risk. Furthermore, the last full safety inspection was conducted in 1985 (Propublica) – 27 years before the explosion. Governor Rick Perry’s low regulation also allowed homes and schools to be built literally blocks away from these sites due to outdated haphazard zoning policies. In the cartoon, Governor Perry doesn’t seem to be surprised but is rather unfazed at the explosion in the background. Ohman seems to be claiming that Governor Perry knew something like this would happen, almost expecting it, and yet he doesn’t seem to care much even though at least 15 Texas citizens perished.  Furthermore, the proximity of the blast in the cartoon may allude to the fact that these dangerous facilities could be right next to where you live and you never know when you will become a headline.

The issues illustrated in Business in Texas are very similar to those depicted in the political cartoon Spring Comes to East Texas by John Knott, a political cartoonist who worked at the Dallas Morning News. Published on the first day of spring in 1937, Knott’s cartoon portrays a lone figure, deemed to be Persephone, staring forlornly at a backdrop of an innumerable number of graves under a darkening sky.

In 2011 an explosion that rocked West Texas was like the one that devastated New London Texas. In 1937, New London was in a time of economic prosperity very similar to the one being experienced in Texas in the late 21st century due to an influx of businesses. Yet both cartoons portray a type of disaster that befell these two communities. In Business in Texas the tragedy is quite clear, the explosion caused by lax regulations and a blind eye towards those consequences eventually resulted in a factory explosion that killed at least 15 people. Failure to report the amount of possible explosives and disregarding the unforeseen yet possible consequences, the West Texas Plant put everyone around them in danger. On the other hand, in Spring Comes to East Texas, Knott illustrates a picture of death and finality yet includes a deeper symbolic meaning with the picture of Persephone. Persephone, who represents spring and life, is present, yet around her lacks life and the coming of spring. Knott’s portrayal of this scene points a finger at the board members who decided to cut costs and in the end caused the deaths of 294 children and teachers which has put even spring on hold to mourn for this tragedy. Just like the West Texas Plant, the board of directors disregarded the possibility of a gas leak, which could have very likely happened, and continued to proceed as if the lives of the people in their school were insignificant compared to the costs of paying for actual natural gas.

The irony in these two cartoons is that even in present day Texas, 80 some years after the incident, businesses are still cutting corners and reaping the benefits. It seems that throughout this period no one has learned that the cost of letting businesses do whatever they want is too high of a risk. Many people still believe that “businesses can come down here and do pretty much what they want to do, that is the Texas way” (NY Times). Almost a whole decade spanning these two incidents, nothing much has changed which is a worrying trend that history may be waiting to repeat itself again.

Works Cited:

Fernandez, Manny. “Lax Oversight Cited as Factor in Deadly Blast at Texas Plant.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Apr. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/us/lack-of-oversight-and-regulations-blamed-in-texas-chemical-explosion.html>.

Urbina, Ian, Manny Fernandez, and John Schwartz. “After Plant Explosion, Texas Remains Wary of Regulation.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 09 May 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/10/us/after-plant-explosion-texas-remains-wary-of-regulation.html>.

Fernandez, Manny. “Fire That Left 15 Dead at Texas Fertilizer Plant Is Ruled Intentional.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 May 2016. Web. 17 Nov. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/12/us/texas-fertilizer-plant-explosion.html>.

Meyer, Theodoric. “What Went Wrong in West, Texas — and Where Were the Regulators?” ProPublica. N.p., 29 Apr. 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2016. <https://www.propublica.org/article/what-went-wrong-in-west-texas-and-where-were-the-regulators>.

Ohman, Jack. “Rick Perry ‘explosion’ Cartoon Published to Make a Point.” Sacbee. Sacramento Bee, 25 Apr. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. <http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorial-cartoons/jack-ohman/article2577318.html>.

Ohman, Jack. “Business in Texas.” Sacramento Bee 25 Apr. 2013: n. pag. Print.