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Political Influence: It’s Bigger In Texas

Columnist Gail Collins on Texas –how the Lone Star State sways our national politics.

Photo illustration (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Photo illustration (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

From “Who Shot J.R.?” to its Armadillos, everything in  Texas is outsize: land,  oil,  egos  and maybe, it’s political influence on the other 49 states. It’s not just because we watch Dallas or root for America’s Team, the Cowboys.

Whether it’s banks, textbooks, environmental regulations or sex ed, New York Times columnist Gail Collins writes that Texas dominates the political range, and the rest of us are sheep. From the Alamo to Sugarland,  Texans complain they’re oppressed. But are they?

This hour, On Point:  Texas, and how it sets the American Agenda.

-Jacki Lyden



Gail Collins, a columnist for the New York Times, she’s the author of the new book As Texas Goes…: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda.

Bill McKenzie, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Dallas Morning News.

From The Reading List

The Daily Beast “Texas refuses to accept federal funding for sex education programs that teach kids how to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases with tactics other than celibacy. The reason, according to a spokeswoman for State Health Services, is that its “first choice is that teens chose not to have sex.””

Slate “My fascination with Texas began rather suddenly. It was the spring of 2009—you will remember, that was the season when the political right was failing to adjust to the idea of a President Obama. And there was Gov. Rick Perry at a Tea Party rally in Austin, publicly toying with the idea that his state might consider seceding.”


Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.

“Reprinted from As Texas Goes…: How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda by Gail Collins. Copyright (c) 2012 by Gail Collins. With the permission of the Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company.”



Better in Texas by Rick Trevino

Texas by George Strait

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  • ElfmanNW

    Does Texas have too much national influence?  In a word yes, especially with regard to education.  The lowering of education levels and social policy to Texan levels.  I wish that Texas would secede.

    Here is an example:


    • Lin

       Secede and bring FL with them.

      • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

        I’ve been hoping Perry would make a real attempt at this…

        • TFRX

          Empty threats from Perry and others. Secession means not being a “tax debtor state”.

          Them low tax rates are easier to maintain when the Feds (i.e. blue states, largely) kick in a chunk.

  • Roy Mac

    If they were as good as they think they are, they’d bring Molly Ivins back.

    • John in Amherst

       Don’t expect Rick Perry to lead pray-ins for her resurrection any time soon….

  • jefe68

    Texas does like to things large as they say.
    They have the worst outcomes in schools, no unions by the way, the worst health care problems, about 25% of Texans do not have health insurance and the number is growing (6 million and growing). They have some of the worst health care problems in the nation as well. If I’m not mistaken Texas execute more people than any other state. Then there is the issue of how for some reason they have control over the what goes into text books. Which is absurd as they people who control this seem to be into Creationism and for some reason have removed a lot of Thomas Jefferson from the history books.

    Now I must say they do make some great barbecue and have a rich history, but I would not want our nation to mirror Texas.

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Don’t forget teen pregnancy rates: highest in the country because of Bush/Perry “abstinence/not contraception programs.

  • Yar

    The miracle of the transistor is that a small force can control a much larger force.  The same is true in politics, but just as with electronics once pushed beyond some limit, it breaks down and fails.  I have said on this blog I feel we are moving toward revolution.  I don’t see revolution as a solution, I see it as the result of current failures.  I wish to prevent the destruction of our society.  We are two Countries which don’t balance, not too long ago we were balanced by a strong middle class, that has eroded and now we flip from one political extreme to the other.  

    We need to clean house, all 435 US house seats are up for election this fall, I propose we “the people” field candidates that pledge not to take any money or trade in the stock market while in office.  Even if we only elected one or two from ‘the people’ the system will be changed for the better.  With social media this is possible.  I have hope for our democracy.
    An idea can change the world with a method of sharing and something to stand for.  

    • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

       Yes, we have reached the tipping point.

      • JGC

        Citizen’s United got us to the tipping point that much faster.

    • HaveSeenItComing

      Yes, it’s a sad demise. You don’t really notice it unless you have lived through it like me. I’m a 60 year old baby-boomer and never thought I would see the day I am glad  to be getting old and want to die before the safety net is removed, and I’ve been lucky – many other’s haven’t. Bernie Sanders put it very well when he said “the poor and less fortunate don’t have lobbyists”. There are more and more people every year that don’t have lobbyists.

    • Patrik

      History’s lessons are never learned, therefore, the same mistakes and abuses of power will be made followed by the same consequences (revolution).  It seems a vicious cycle of the natural human existence.

  • Hidan

    Texas has a great influences in it’s buying power of text books which is troubling cause they actually have people who believe in creationism and don’t believe in evolution. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Part of the planned ‘Dumbing-Down of America’?
         Radical Muslims sneak across the border, disguised as drug-dealers, human-traffickers, cheap labor that suffers abuse, or other welcomed individuals, and plant phoney-baloney ‘science’, ‘history’, and ‘religion’ into the text book requirements?

      • Gerald Fnord

        Only after they bury those lying “fossils”, actually sculptures fashioned by gay artists working on grants from Soros and the N.E.A..

    • denis

      and most often don’t practice the lessons in the scriptures

    • SMK

      Texas’s influence over text books is quite troubling. I have not heard the whole show, and if it has not been discussed with the guest yet, I hope they do.

  • J__o__h__n

    As the topic is Texas, will Gail still be able to mention Romney’s dog on the roof of his car?

    • notafeminista

      Right after the WH chef discusses seven ways to prepare terrier.  Stop it.

      • J__o__h__n

        It was a comment on her long running joke of inserting a reference to it in all of her columns.  Don’t tell me to stop making jokes you don’t understand. 

        • notafeminista

          There’s nothing to misunderstand.  It’s not funny.

          • Dangling Man

            Actually, it’s actually very funny. Not the cruelty to the dog, but Willard’s obliviousness.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Do you sell this cookbook?

  • Newton Whale

    J.R. Ewing is buying our democracy:

    Rank of Contran Corp., a private Dallas-based holding company owned by billionaire and longtime Republican donor Harold Simmons, among the top business contributors to super PACs: 1Amount that Contran Corp. has contributed to super PACs to date: $3 millionTotal contributions by Simmons and Contran to the Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads super PAC, which does not back a specific candidate but Republicans generally: $12 millionRank of American Crossroads among super PACs receiving the most business money: 1Amount that Simmons was fined by the Federal Election Commission in 1993 for exceeding the legal limit of campaign contributions in the 1989 and 1990 elections: $19,000Rank of TRT Holdings — a private company based in Irving, Texas that owns Omni Hotels, Gold’s Gym, an oil exploration firm, and other businesses — among the top super PAC business contributors: 2Rank of Texas among the states where businesses have contributed the most to super PACs:1Number of Texas businesses that have contributed to super PACS: 124Amount that Texas businesses have contributed to super PACs: $7,807,815Percentage by which super PAC contributions from Texas businesses exceed those from Oklahoma, which comes in second: almost 55http://www.southernstudies.org/2012/02/institute-index-super-pacs-rake-in-corporate-cash.html 

  • Terry Tree Tree

    BIGGER in Texas?  At least the Abuses and Mistakes?
       Part of the effects of decades of oil-related pollution on the brains of the children?  The people in general?
       HYPOCRICY is BIGGER in Texas?  Preachers like Jimmy Swaggart?

  • Greyman

    Inasmuch as Gail Collins seems never to have resided in Texas, her “theoretical observations” on what life there consists of will have to be interpreted or translated to On Point’s national (non-Texas) audience by Mr. McKenzie. (btw: I myself lived in Fort Worth, the capital of Dallas, for four years some years back.) Texas is NOT New York and justly can be said not to operate with the pretensions common to NYC, New England, and the rest of the Vaunted Northeast Corridor. (Id est: if Gail Collins only came by her interest in Texas in the spring of 2009, she’s come to the game pretty late.) 

    • Ray in VT

      Given the state’s environmental and public health record, if Texas is humble, then, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, it has a lot to be humble about.

      Having read some works on the process of textbook adoption and who influences that process, I am particularly concerned with their education standards, given their influence upon the textbook publishing market, and how that may influence the textbook options available to my local school districts.

    • Adks12020

      Ummm, Fort Worth, the capitol of Dallas? What? Fort Worth is a city near Dallas….if you meant capitol of Texas I’m pretty sure Austin the capitol of Texas.

      • Greyman

        I sprang that private joke on purpose: you would have to have lived in the Metroplex to appreciate it.

        • Adks12020

          ahh, the inside joke is on me..haha

  • Dangling Man

    I just spent a month in San Antonio, a town that lives on our tax dollars via the military. Let’s just move the bases and let them secede. 

    • Roy Mac

      Can’t the remaining states just expel them?

    • LaurenceGlavin

      I used to work at the Internal Revenue Service center in Andover, MA.  It’s closed now (except for a few minor functions);  most of the work was re-directed to Austin, TX, possibly because the White House was occupied by an unelected Texan.  (NOTE: to that caller from Connecticut…if we had had direct election of Presidents, Goerge ‘W’ would have gone home; he failed to get a majority of the votes, remember?).  How many jobs in the Austin, TX metropolitan area are at their IRS facility?

  • Greyman

    With the New York Times monopolizing On Point programming this morning (David Sanger in Hour One, Gail Collins in Hour Two): why are we not observing the “outsized” influence of the New York Times?

    • John in Amherst

       Ya!  Let’s get Rush or Glenn to add some balance!  What is all this fact-based, nuanced reporting & commentary anyhow?

      • John in Amherst

         Sorry Greyman – low blow on my part.  It IS possible to have conservative opinions without being a bigot or a nut-job.  But you will have to admit that this show hardly excludes the right from dominating some show, e.g.: the guy who was on defending the greed-i-good 1%ers just a week ago…

    • jefe68

      Don’t listen.

  • Sblashill

    I know, crazy how instrumental Dick Armey’s moneyed pals were in creating the Tea Party.

    I never even call it the Tea Party anymore, except to clarify what I mean when I refer to the “Dick Army [sic].”

  • AlisonO

    I moved to Texas, kicking and screaming, as a young Army bride in 1987. As a result of attending college there (Southwestern U) and a newspaper internship in Austin, I opened my mind to the culture and learned to enjoy aspects of the state and its staunchly proud people. It will never be anything like my native New England, but I appreciate more of the variations in the fabric of the country as a result. And I miss Molly Ivins as the state’s ambassador to the New York Times.

  • John

    “Don’t Mess with Texas”  Sounds fine to me – if Texas would stop messing with the rest of us.;-)

  • Greyman

    Arguably, Robert Rubin, Treasury Secretary for President Bill Clinton, played a much larger role, for a longer period, in repealing Glass-Steagall, petitioning for it as strenuously and persistently as he did from 1995 to 1999. Phil Gramm hardly “gave” us financial deregulation and hardly played the most prominent role. Is it not rather the case that the Harvard Business School hijacked the national economy, since so many of the geniuses who contributed to deregulation and who guide so many Wall Street powerhouses (and who staff so many prominent Federal positions) are graduates therefrom? This hour sounds like total denial and total diversion. 

    • Greyman

      Awww, shame on me again! Every time I badmouth Harvard University here, it turns out that Harvard is co-sponsoring the days’ program!

      • Terry Tree Tree


  • Wingswork

    Texas is always shouting, “I’m bigger ‘n you! I’m louder ‘n you!  Please pay attention to me!!!” So desperate for validation of who they are. Go ahead and be Texas. The rest of us don’t have to be like you and we’re all still Americans.

  • Luisa

    I grew up in Houston the product of a parent from Dallas and a parent from Cleveland. Whie a student at UT Austin I remember attending a party during a UT football game; candles were lit and prayers were offered.  Fortunately I was able to move away in 1981 and became a proud and happy Yankee.

  • Mass

    From Massachusetts : “give Texas back to Mexico, Give Alaska back to Russia, give Florida back to Spain” the rest of the country would be much, much better off.

    • Greyman

      –but who would take Massachusetts back? the UK?

      • Ray in VT

        … and why would we want to give it back to anyone.  It is the birthplace of the Revolution and has some of the top colleges in the nation.  Besides, that would be one less blue state to bankroll the red states.

      • Pancake Rankin

        The Indians.

  • John C

    There’s a saying that’s very popular in the inner city that captures much of the sentiment of this topic, especially reading and listening to it from the perspective of perhaps a more urbanized Texan.

    “Haters gonna hate.”

    I’m laughing so hard.

  • TFRX

    I wish Gail Collins would stop comparing NYC and Texas directly. She’s done it twice now, and the idea of 200k more people “not being welcomed perhaps” in the most densely populated county in the USA as reflecting badly on NYC is a hoot.

    We’ve already touched on the Texas myth, of how suburban it is where people indulge their ideas of being not suburban.

    Haven’t we got anything about Texas suburbs v. Suburban Anywhere, USA?

  • Marlene

    I was raised in Austin Texas and live in Concord Massachusetts.  Just every other place I lived there are all kinds of people.  There are plenty of environmentally aware people in Texas.  There are just as many people here in Concord driving suburbans as there are in Austin.  I don’t like stereo typing ANY group of people.  I personally prefer the friendly neighbors I had in Texas to the standoffish New Englanders.

    • Wingswork

       I’ve visited the south and Texas many times in my life. I don’t find people there any more friendly than in New England. I always have conversations in lines at the cash register with people here. They just don’t do it in a loud and giddy way. Neighbors here are very helpful and friendly too. They just don’t need a lot of attention for doing it and don’t brag about it.

      • Ray in VT

        I’ve always heard about the cold New Englanders too, but I’ve not found that to be the case.  Perhaps there is an urban/rural divide in that respect, but I’ve always found people in rural Vermont to be quite friendly and helpful in general.

        • TFRX

          A Southerner friend of mine characterized that split as sometimes being only on the surface.

          I was told their parents “had lived in (mid-sized city) for only 40 years” and were treated like late arrivals.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m not surprised about that.  I’ve definitely met Vermonters who consider anyone who isn’t a 3rd, 4th of 5th generation Vermonter to be an out of stater.  I don’t subscribe to that view, but it is around.

            One of my non-native friends related this saying to me:

            “just because the kittens were born in the over doesn’t make them muffins.”

            That was the response given to one from out of state who believed that their children were Vermonters because they were born here.

            That having been said, I don’t perceive there to be a significant difference, in general, between how natives and transplants are treated, as long as one doesn’t try to rock the boat a great deal.  Few things angered my father years ago then when someone moved into town from Mass. or Jersey and then proceeded to complain about how things were like where they were from.

          • TFRX

            Oh, also that: I know I’m certainly a “flatlander”, but I don’t know if your family’s been there enough generations to be a native!

            And I thought it was “biscuits”, not “muffins”.

            BTW much of what I think I know about Vermont lore is from Chris Kimball’s frontnotes for “Cook’s Illustrated”, so correct as needed.

          • Ray in VT

            My memory may be faulty over the specific bread product, so you may be right on that one.

            Much of my family has been here since just after the Revolution.  Some were here before that, but were driven out during the Royalton Raid.

            I’ve always thought that being a Vermonter was more about outlook rather than birth, but I know that some do not share that opinion.  It’s a quirky place, and it’s tough to figure out sometimes.

          • jefe68

            Yup, it sure is.

          • jefe68

             Once a lowlander always a lowlander.

          • Michele

             I used to live in North Carolina, and I have always characterized the difference between N.E. and the South as friends vs. acquaintances.  In the South they are friendly to everyone but you’ll have very few true friends in New England everyone may not be as friendly on the surface but the friends you make are more likely to be real friends.

    • crowdog

      Hey, I thought you said you don’t like stereotyping….standoffish New Englanders? 

    • JGC

      Oops, were you just caught stereotyping New Englanders as “standoffish”?  Maybe we are just catching your judgmental Texan vibes, and that is why we are so shy and retiring.

    • jefe68

      During the last hurricane here in New England, my standoffish neighbor came out in the middle of the storm with his chain saw to help me remove a 1500 pound tree that just fell on my driveway. I only knew him to say hello when I walk by his yard with my dog. I’ll take that kind of standoffish anytime. Beneath that facade of gruffness there are real good folks. 

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Does Rick Perry still have that asprin between his legs?  Did he ever NOT keep it there, since age six?

    • J__o__h__n

      I thought that was a santorum backer who said that. 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        That is the sensibility of ‘abstinence only’ Sex Education!

      • Pancake Rankin

        It was a Bayer Crop Science commercial on the Sunday chats.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Texas created a Texas-sized mess in the U.S., and wants to do a ‘W’ desertion from the obligations they presumed?

  • Brynn Leggett

    I disagree with the recent caller who said that Texans are proud of their state just becuase they are from there. I spent the first 18 years of my life in Houston and have since lived in a lot of other places and loved them all. When I was proud to be a Texan, I had lots of reasons we were the best (even though years later, I see that they are rather silly, at the time, they were a serious point of pride!) Some examples of these Texas-isms: We are the only state that can fly our flag at the same height as the US flag. We are the only state who has maintained the right to seceed from the union whenever we want and we have the natural resources and military to survive on our own. Our capital building is the tallest in the nation!

    • Adks12020

      yeah kinda silly since if Texas seceded they would lose the military since it’s actually the US military that has installations there….and they don’t actually have the right to secede

      • Wingswork

         Seceding would hardly make Texans the “real Americans” they like to brag about! Quite silly.

      • Guest

        Actually, they do according to the agreement to join the Union, since it was to protect the southern border.  The excuse that is used to discount a secession is the Civil War. Texas isn’t going to secede but it’s part of their bravado.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Is ALL the Texas Air National Guard of the quality of ‘bravery’, and dedication to duty, as the best known?
         Drunk instead of reporting for duty?

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Any witnesses that Rick Perry, ‘W’, and other advocates of ‘abstinence only’, did NOT stay abstinent UNTIL marriage, and then ONLY to have children? 

    • Pancake Rankin

      There’s Fathers’ Day; and then there’s Wankers’ Day.

  • MrNutso

    Texas’ huge ego makes me wonder what the state is compensating for.

    • Alan in NH

       Well, one possibility is this: Texas was created as the result of an enormous land grab from Mexico, and it entered the Union as a slave state, then fought for the Confederacy. I’m not sure they’ve ever gotten over that heritage. Perhaps this explains the volume…

      • Theeleggedtable

         What is the point about Texas being created as a result of a land grab?

        How is that in anyway different from every other part of the United States? The first 13 Colonies grabbed the land from England, then they grabbed it from the Native Americans, France, Spain, and Mexico.

        Here is order of progression for ownership of Texas: France, Spain, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Statehood.

        I am not sure why people think that Texans should be any more ashamed of its past then any other state. I mean hearing about the treatment of Native Americans by the United States should make any citizen ashamed.

        Texas is not a panacea and not many Texans believe it to be. Yes there is pride to be from Texas, but I see the same pride every where I go. People are proud to be from California, New York, New Hampshire. People are proud to be from the U.S.
        Atrocities have been committed by/in all of these places and yet people can still be proud, while realizing that there are some reforms which need to be made.

  • Bruce

    Texas setting the agenda for the rest of the nation?  You must mean the Texas that epitomizes the “race to the bottom”–highest illiteracy and drop-out rates, poorest air quality, highest uninsured rates, predominance of minimum wage jobs, enormous (and growing) gap between the rich and poor, greatest proportion of families and children living at or below poverty level, etc.

    Texas politicians of the GOP stripe seem to get elected and govern based on the notion of “vast empty spaces,” that is to say as village idiots, who have not awakened to the reality of contemporary society where most of the population resides in metropolitan areas containing most of the businesses, entrepreneurs, jobs, schools, research facilities, etc. that drive the economy.

    While they decry Big Government, they are among the first to have their hands out for govt. assistance or intervention when a hurricane or wildfire strikes.  And, of course, they are quick to praise the free market and competition except when they get in the way of all those subsidies to Big Oil and Agriculture. 

  • Wingswork

    Look at Massachusetts’ job growth! “Mass growth rate outpaces national GDP”, 4-27-12/ The Boston Herald

  • Guest

    I grew up in Austin, graduated from McCallum High School and then got out as fast as I could. I was accepted to UC system
    and I never looked back. There is a great comparison. One has Asian immigrants, whereas, the other has Mexican immigrants. The difference is amazing and one is clearly higher on the ladder than the other.
    Then add their political leanings to the mix and it’s a place where I will never live again. Horrible weather, dust storms, drought and fire are always an issue that are not addressed with any resources. Let it ripe, more or less is their position just like the death penalty.
    After 40 years here, I love where I live and we make a decent living.  That is not the case in Texas but Texans will makeup whatever makes them feel better.

    • Mexican Immigrant

      Are you suggesting that Mexican immigrants are somehow inferior to Asian immigrants? Further, are you saying there are no Mexican immigrants in California?

      • JGC

        I think that (inferiority) is exactly what Guest is saying.  Also just saw another posting from Guest saying essentially no Mormon is to be trusted. I detect a fear of “the other”. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/willie.nelson.7146 Willie Nelson

    As a genuine walkin’, talking, but not very tall Texan, living in Tennessee, I still love Texas.  Each time I drive through Texarkana and cross that state line, I breath in larger Oxygen molecules, I see a larger “Big Sky” than I have seen in months, and all the signs seem to be in LARGE PRINT!  I remember how dissippointed I was to hear when Alaska became a state that it had more square miles and higher mountains and bigger bears.  Never the less, possessing one of the most famous Texas names, thanks to my late dad’s name, it is fun to be a native Texan named Willie Nelson.  Since the other guy is just an entertainer, that makes it more enjoyable.  Politics is not an issue, all of us Texans vote just like we want irregardless of who’s in charge wherever we happen to live. 

    • Mike from Rutland

      HA!  Your Texas education is shining through.  “Irregardless” isn’t a word.  Look it up…unless the publishers have tailored a text book to fit the educational preferences of misinformed Texans.

      • Ray in VT

         A lot of people use that one, so I don’t think that we need to criticize Texas or Willie for it too much.  It’s grammatically incorrect, but I know that I use quite a bit of non-standard English as well.

        • Michele

           Actually, it is not grammatically incorrect.  It is an arcane iteration of the word “regardless”.  However, I do agree with your sentiment.

    • Sam Walworth

      Nothing wrong with Texan Geography and Flora and Fauna. I am sure I will love it as well :)

  • Adks12020

    I wonder if the fact the many of the large school text book companies, like MacGraw Hill, are based in Texas has an influence on other states.  It would seem to me that has to have an influence on the scores in Texas (knowing what is in the books sooner) and the curriculum in other states.

    • Ray in VT

      I’m not sure that having the companies located in Texas affects their content.  Given that the companies are trying to sell the most copies of their books, the fact that Texas has such a large student population is certainly likely to have an impact upon the content.

      • Maryrita

         I have been hearing over many years that TX does indeed have a huge impact on textbook publishing, simply because they purchase so many books and they have a statewide board that mandates certain content in the textbooks that will be purchased for every public school child in the state. Here’s a recent controversy. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124737756

        • Ray in VT

          I followed that story at the time, and I did not like what I heard coming out of their state board.  I wouldn’t want my kids using texts that met their standards when it comes to history, and I suspect that their cell complexity language is merely to cast doubt on the Theory of Evolution.

          Diane Ravitch’s the Language Police and James W. Loewen’s Lies My Teacher Told Me were also interesting reads on the topic of bias and promotes it in textbooks.

    • revesby

      Time to check your facts. None of the big three educational publishers are headquartered in Texas. The corporate HQ of McGraw-Hill is in New York City, Pearson’s is in London, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is in Boston. McGraw-Hill’s K-12 division, Glencoe, is based in Ohio, Pearson’s K-12 is in Boston, and HMH’s are divided between Evanston (IL), Boston, NYC, and Austin. HMH is the only one with any sizable editorial presence in Texas, and they’re stuggling so badly they just declared bankruptcy.

  • Mike from Rutland

    Leave it to Texans to have the least education, but the loudest opinions…

    • Zing

       Check Bob Riverbleat

  • Maryrita

    To a recent point about healthcare: While living in Texas, my sister-in-law devolved into mental illness, and also had some physical health problems. Her daughter tried to find services to help, but there was nothing. Consequently, we brought her here, to Massachusetts, where she was able to get the health and mental health services she needs. However, she’s now separated from her daughter and grandchildren. Thanks, Texas! Way to keep families together!

    • Sam Walworth

      Well Maryrita,

      Dont you know our lord and savior and our dear messiah, had professed from his holy mouth that “Government is part of ever problem on earth, and if you rely on government for anything, you are a lazy bum”

      Your sister in-law should go out and work and earn her own healthcare, too bad that she is on government dole and getting all the benefits here..

      [For who are humor challanged, its a sarcasm, please note that all the references to lord, savior, messiah all Do Not start with Capital letters, hence they are not to be confused with the Almighty]

      • Lin

         Awesome, Sam!

  • bigbadwolf

    Does anyone know the name of the song about Texas that they played on the program ? Thanks

  • bigbadwolf

    hmm..the name I was looking for is right above the “Add New Comment” box. Duh :)

  • Carpet-bagging Yankee

    I moved to Texas almost 20 years ago, and still feel alienated from it culturally, environmentally, and politically. As soon as I can retire, I plan on getting out of this place. When they describe Texas (in tourist spots) as a “whole other country” they say more than they mean to.

    By the way, Collins is right and Perry wrong about Texas retaining a right to secede, it did not. However, the 1845 annexation resolution has an even odder provision: Texas has the ability to subdivide itself, amoeba-like, into as many as five states anytime it wants to (that is, the Texas legislature has the sole say on this). How does the idea of TEN Texas senators grab you? Fortunately, Texans are so in love with the shape and size of Texas, they could never bear to do such a thing.

  • Theeleggedtable

    I must say that many of the comments on here do reinforce the perception Texans have of New Englanders looking down on them just because they come from Texas.

    I grew up in Austin and moved to Houston last year for work.

    To all of those who are disparaging Texas and Texans due to the political atmosphere here please study some Texas Politcs.

    This state was democrat up until about 20 years ago when Ann Richard lost the govenership to George W Bush. The gerrymandering which proceeded the election has kept Texas locked in Republican control since.

    Look at some electoral maps for the past few presidential elections.

    Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston all have districts which went for Obama. The districts in the cities which went Republican are stretched over several rural counties for the express purpose of negating the urban vote.

    Look up the recent redistricting where Lloyd Doggett had his district (Travis County, Austin) combined with the Hispanic democratic stronghold of San Antonio.

    So don’t make such disparaging comments about Texas and Texans just because of how it is run. You probably don’t like being called a shady American when you go overseas, and we don’t like being called names when we visit other states.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Then don’t visit other states. 

      Texas was a bastion of democratic machine corruption under LBJ, who helped steal the election for JFK with the payola of the second seat in the White House and a possible (gee, it happened) succession to the oval office.

      We still don’t know if he killed Kennedy. But it’s as likely as any other scenario.

      By the way, we Vermonters were an independent republic 59 years before the Lone Star Republic was stolen from Mexico.

      • Theelegeedtable

         Hmm, if I am a US citizen why should I not visit other states?

        Like I said, believing that every Texan is responsible for the actions of our government is as ridiculous as a Parisian blaming every American for the actions our country takes which they object to.

        I didn’t say anything about when we became independent so you may be falling victim to an assumption about the homogeneity of Texans.

        About who killed Kennedy, I think it is more likely that his attempt to peel back secrecy led to  it. I guess we will probably never know. Here is an interesting speech by him not to long before he died.


        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          You said you don’t like being called names when you visit other states. So the obvious solution is to stay home.

          Not only are you as arrogant as a Texan, but assume that federal citizenship over-rides state citizenship. We were founded as a republic of sovereign states (and were so, until Lincoln beat back that notion with a bloody internecine war that asserted the dominance of northern industrialism and the Republican Party over southern agrarianism and Democratic Populism).

          Every American citizen shares culpability in our nation’s policies, and the same holds true at the state level (unless, perhaps, you don’t pay state or federal taxes, and so aren’t complicit).

          As for who were the killers of JFK, RFK, and MLK – that’s been well established: it was a consortium of CIA, Mafia, and anti-Castro Cubans, with (at various events) the assistance of local police and the US Army.

          What we don’t know is who called the shots. LBJ was one of the most powerful men in the country at the time of JFKs assassination, and had every reason to put out a hit after he heard that RFK was going to replace him on the 1964 ticket.

          • Gigglegiggle123

            Someone’s cranky and has nothing better to do. :(

          • jefe68

            You don’t know the half of this guys act.

          • JGC

            What the…!
            And from what I learned about LBJ in the recent Caro biography, as the VP, Johnson was about as isolated from power as the Kennedys could make him.    

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            You put a leash on a man who’s used to wielding power and he’s going to bite back.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            One book that I read about LBJ, said that one of his political opponents in Texas was asassinated, just before the election?
               Although LBJ was a real arm-twister, and FOUND all the skeletons that people had hidden, as a means of control, MANY feared what he would be like as President, so he could only get Vice-President?

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            I’m not sure what your last question mark means, but LBJ’s mistress said that, when he found out he was going to be dropped from the 1964 ticket in favor of RFK, he said “I’m going to get that f*cker”.

          • jefe68

            Your a real piece of work.
            That’s not what Theelegeedtable was saying, but you know better.

            Personally, I loath Texas politics.
            However, they have given us some of the greatest musicians and are still producing great music.

            Stevie Ray Vaughn, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, Janus Joplin, King Curtis, Bob Wills/Texas Playboys, T-Bone Walker, Freddie King, Charlie Christian, Red Garland, Eddie Durham, Albert Collins,

            Blind Willie Johnson, Johnny Copeland, Z.Z. Hill, Pee Wee Crayton, Harry Choates, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Gatemouth Brown, Leadbelly, Big Mama Thorton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Sippie Wallace, Victoria Spivey, Mance Lipscomb, Scott Joplin, Hot Lips Page, Gene Ramey,

            Jack Teagarden, Teddy Wilson, Kenny Dorham, Ella Mae Morse, Charles Brown, Ernest Tubb, Lefty Frizzell, George Jones, Leon Payne, Tex Ritter, Roger Miller, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Johnny Horton, George Strait, Jim Reeves, Waylon Jennings, Buck Owens, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Ray Price,

            To name a few.

  • Zing

    Leave it to the sandbox socialists. They got their asses handed to them in Wisconsin.  So let’s pile on Texas.  Problem is, “they ain’t nothin they can do about it”.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      All hat and no cattle.

    • Zazk_management

       You a union lovah ain’t ya? Zing just like your boy Reagan..go eat some bar-b-que and listen to some bad tele playin dixie

    • JAPark85

      As a Texas who moved to Wisconsin, I try my best to make the people here feel better about what happened to their state by telling that their governor is a little bit less of a jerk than Rick Perry is. I tell em’ “hey, at least he believes in evolution.” 

  • LoganEcholls

    Texas: the last great bastion of economic freedom and mental slavery.   I say, let them secede, but first they have to give up their nukes.  You just can’t trust introlerant children with those kinds of fireworks.  They can keep their belt buckles, bland cuisine, and bad religion.

    Actually, can we let the entire south secede still?  I mean, I am glad that we did away with slavery, but what did we really gain by letting them back into the union?  Because of progressive tax structure, the red states are mostly a drain on blue state federal tax dollars anyway.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      “what did we really gain by letting them back into the union?”

      Markets for northern industrial goods, a steady flow of former slaves to become wage slaves in the northern ghettos, and the expansion of industrialism into the untarnished midwest.

      Hell, without the Civil War, we would never have had GM, US Steel or the (Michael) Jackson Family. 

    • Japark85

      I really can’t speak for the bad religion ‘cept maybe the band. I really don’t know about the belt buckles either. I don’t believe in God and I don’t believe in wearing belts. However, it’s a bad idea to bash the food anywhere.  You really can’t say call Texas bland with so much certainty until you try the Dallas gas station style tacos, the greasy spoon restaurants in Dallas, the brisket in Lockhart, the taco stand tacos in Austin, the Korean food in Houston, the Carne Asado in El Paso… the list goes on but I’ll spare you the trouble of reading any more. The thing I miss most about home is the food!

      P.S. I dream about escabeche!

  • Jardo .

    Listening to the show: How do you mention Rick Perry as a Texas politician and leave out Ron Paul?  What do we as listeners have to gain from hearing the mere OPINIONS about how good, bad or influential any given state is?

  • crtum

    Collins sounds like the angy, self centered one here this a dumb idea for a book. Nothing wrong with being proud and if the rest of the county wants to follow so be it. Not like anyone is following say Vermount. May be that is why the Vermount caller sounded so arragrant.

  • Tyler Evans

    Incredibly ignorant guest giving out inaccuracies galore. She seems to believe that EVERYONE in the state of Texas (where I reside) is some mega conservative paranoid nut job that is screaming “GOVERNMENT IS TERRIBLE!”
    I’m progressive and live in a fairly progressive neighborhood, and I was appalled by this episode, and found it ridiculous that this guest was not being called on her incredible inaccuracies and stereotypical portrayals of the state and its residents. The callers also seemed to do NOTHING but put down Texas. 
    I am far from being a Texan, I was born in South Carolina, raised in Georgia and have only lived here 10 years or so, but seriously, this show was RIDICULOUSLY one sided and derogatory. Shoddy work by everyone on this show this time, and it’s a shame because On Point is one of my favorite shows.

  • Fair and balanced

    Due to the popularity of the “Survivor” shows, producers are planning to do one entitled Survivor, Texas

    The 8 contestants will all start in Dallas , then drive to Crawford, McGregor, Waco , Austin , and San Antonio .
    Then over to Montgomery, Houston and down to Brownsville .
    They will proceed up to Del Rio , El Paso , Odessa , Midland , Lubbock , and Amarillo .
    From there they will go on to Abilene and Fort Worth .
    Finally back to Dallas .
    Each will be driving a pink Prius with all of the following bumper stickers.
    1 “ I’m a Democrat”
    2 “Amnesty for Illegals”
    3 “I love the Dixie Chicks”
    4 “Boycott Beef”
    5 “I Voted for Obama”
    6 “ George Strait Sucks”
    7 “Reelect Obama in 2012”
    8 “I’m here to confiscate your guns”

    The first one to make it back to Dallas alive wins.

    • Sam Walworth

      I thought the USA was land of freedom and individual responsibilities where all matters of disagreement were sorted out in a democratic and peaceful manners.

      The kind of “fatwa” (“The first one to make it back to Dallas alive wins.”) you have issued as far as I know, exists only in places like Saudi Arabia (women can’t drive), Taliban era Afghanistan (anything and everything can be termed illegal depending on the mood of the village leader), not sure if I should celebrate your views or mourn about the death of freedom in the America, as I knew it.

  • Derick_Mickles

    The hate, venom, and hypocrisy on display in these comments is nothing short of astounding. It’s as if most of these comments came from jealous 12 year olds. It’s obvious most of you hate Texas and Texans a great deal. Don’t be surprised if you reap what you sow later on. A decent program, but it’s so obvious these people want a fight. I think they’ll get it soon enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.dorn Paul Dorn

    The most curious thing about recent Texas history is how it allowed blueblood Ivy League-educated New Englanders–Bush I and Bush II–pass themselves off as cowboys.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SJGAGBG34OPWWP7TCU5DPUNXJA Linda Wilson

    I found it odd that, judging from the comments, Texans were listening to this show, yet none called in.  I wonder why.

    Texans have always wanted attention, and now they’re getting it.  As the author pointed out, many of their programs have been put in place at the federal level.  Many corporations — American and foreign — have moved there to take advantage of the fact that Texas has no income tax and few worker protections so many workers — American and foreign — have had to move there as well.  The lack of income tax is starting to attract retirees, although Texas’ other charms have limited that migration to some extent.  That brings in more federal subsidies in the form of Medicare and Social Security.  And Texas has, for many decades, benefited from federal agriculture subsidies, energy subsidies, military bases, and huge boondoggles like NASA.

    Texas is in the spotlight now.  Excuse the mixed metaphor, but if you can’t take the heat, you should have kept your hands out of the cookie jar.

Sep 3, 2014
This still image from an undated video released by Islamic State militants on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, purports to show journalist Steven Sotloff being held by the militant group. The Islamic State group has threatened to kill Sotloff if the United States doesn't stop its strikes against them in Iraq. Video released Tuesday, Sept. 02, 2014, purports to show Sotloff's murder by the same rebel group. (AP)

Another beheading claim and ISIS’s use of social media in its grab for power.

Sep 3, 2014
In this Fall 2013 photo provided by the University of Idaho, students in the University of Idaho’s first Semester in the Wild program take a class in the Frank Church-River Of No Return Wilderness, Idaho. (AP)

MacArthur “genius” Ruth DeFries looks at humanity’s long, deep integration with nature – and what comes next. She’s hopeful.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

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