Pink Slime – Waste Not Want Not

Governor Rick Perry is in the news again, this time as a spokesman for Pink Slime.  He and some other carnivorous Governors, Republicans mostly, from meat eatin’, beef producin’ states have gone on a campaign to promote the wholesome nutritious goodness of finely textured beef, aka Pink Slime, which they claim has gotten a bad rap.  And maybe they’re right.

Pink Slime is nothing more than a bunch of finely blended left over scraps off the carcass of a cow treated with a spice rub of ammonium hydroxide.  Nothing wasted.  Waste Not Want Not, as the song and saying goes.   The final product is not unlike a can of wiggly Spam or pack of hot dogs that Ralph Nadar once nicknamed “pink missiles”.    What’s the big deal?   The thing is, Americans like to waste.  (As an American, I include myself in the mix, but am not necessarily talking about you, for the record, although you too may see a little of you in the pronoun we.)  We want the choicest cuts, not the scraps.  Or else we want skinless and the leanest cuts as we politely pass on the organs, those so called “sweet meats”.  Ever conscious of our weight, or just plain picky, my was I ever as a child, we don’t eat everything on our plate.  If you’ve ever bussed tables at a restaurant, you know what I mean.

We waste like no other society. We are especially fond of hazardous waste produced by our frenzied fracking behavior, all so that we can waste precious and finite fossil fuels.  We dig, drill, frack and plunder like there’s no tomorrow, as if the Mayan prediction for the end of the world were not only an inconvenient but an inescapable truth.

We are so hopelessly addicted to fossil fuels that we waste billions on tax breaks for the already ungodly profitable Big Oil companies, who scream that billions in profits are not enough.  Who cares, as long as we have cheap gas for our SUVs?

We waste time too. Lots of it.  The idiot box is full of mind numbing dumbness.  Take sports, what a distraction.  I sometimes find myself watching the Golf Channel.  And I don’t know why.  I don’t even like golf.

Romney the Losing Winner

Mitt Romney won the Iowa Caucus by 8 votes to a surging Rick Santorum.  While there was a larger turnout in 2012, Romney got fewer votes in Iowa than he did in 2008 as a second place finisher.  Looking at 2011 polling data compiled by Real Clear Politics, Romney polled over 25% only 3 times; the last time was 10/12-10/19 in a University of Iowa poll where he ranked second – 27% to the then front runner Herman Cain’s 37%.

Mitt Romney is in trouble.  He may win New Hampshire, but unless he wins convincingly, and I don’t think he will, it won’t be seen as a victory.  New Hampshire voters know Romney’s record as the former Governor of neighboring Massachusetts.  They know he is suspect as a real conservative candidate. They remember Romney Care.  They’ve heard negative ads against him.  They know of his changing positions and do not regard him as  principled. In 2008, he finished 2nd to John McCain in New Hampshire.  In 2012, the conservative Rick Santorum may be a stronger candidate than John McCain and more electable than Mitt Romney. I predict Santorum will finish a close second to Romney in New Hampshire.

If the Tea Party approved Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann bow out of the race, their supporters are most likely to side with Santorum or Gingrich.  Ron Paul is a wild card in the race.  He probably has no chance of winning a primary but will likely stay in the race until the end.  In 2008, he stayed in the race until June.  My guess is that his supporters will not enthusiastically back any other candidate and that some will vote for the Libertarian Gary Johnson in the general election.

What Happened to Governor Rick Perry?

It wasn’t so long ago that Governor Rick Perry was on top of the world.  From 8/29/-9/1, 36% of Republican voters in polling done by Politico/GWU/Battleground compiled by Real Clear Politics favored Rick Perry.  He led Mitt Romney, his closest opponent, by 19%.  As of December 25, 2011, he trails the front runner Newt Gingrich by 21%, and Romney by nearly 18%. So what happened to Perry, anyway?

His fall has been the result of a string of horrific debate performances and a series of embarrassing gaffes. When off script, he tends to ramble and use folksy, colloquial language.  In the South Carolina National Security and Foreign policy debate, he said: “…I don’t trust ’em…I’m tellin’ you, no dollar’s goin’ into those countries…” He said there is a perception that with China’s rise, “we have had our day in the sunshine”. In the California debate, Perry opined that “when you get a balanced budget amendment in Washington, D.C., you will finally start getting the snake’s head cut off”.  Later in the debate, asked to name one of the many scientists he claims are coming forth daily to question that climate change is attributed to man, Perry danced awkwardly around the question: “Well, I do agree that there is — the science is — is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy at — at — at jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet, to me, is just — is nonsense. I mean, it — I mean — and I tell somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.”  In the Florida debate, becoming  a little flustered, he said he’d put the “aviation assets on the ground” to help secure the border.  In the Michigan debate, he made one of his most embarrassing gaffes: “And I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone, Commerce, Education and — what’s the third one there?  Lets see…third one, sorry, I can’t.  Oops”. To Perry’s credit, later in the debate he said, “by the way, that was the department of Energy I was reaching for a while ago.”  The fact of the matter is, to use one of Perry’s favorite catch phrases, the Guv. from Texas is just not a good debater.

Ironically, Texas is home to some of the best high school and college debate programs in the country.  Governor Perry’s campaign team should consult the debate coaching staff from UT Austin, University of North Texas, Baylor, Trinity University or U T Arlington.

It’s not just the folksy lingo and poor debate performances that account for Perry’s decline; he seems to be lacking in the knowledge department.  He struggled to name one of Obama’s SCOTUS picks in Sonia Sotomayor, calling her Motomayor and thought there were only 8 members on the court.  He suggested to a group of college students that the voting age was 21 and referenced a voting date that was not accurate.  So given these gaps in knowledge, I was surprised to learn that in college, he made a C in American History.

In reviewing the Governor’s college transcript, I am not at all surprised however that the pre-veterinary major made a D in Economics given his disastrous economic plan which calls for privatizing social security, lowering income taxes, eliminating capital gains taxes and incentivizing profiteering  American companies who do business abroad to return home and create jobs.

Governor Perry may make a late surge, but not getting on the ballot in Virginia will make the task all the more difficult.  As a write-in candidate, he’s not likely to get many votes.  If he debates better in the 10 or so Republican debates scheduled for 2012, he may have a shot at the nomination in August…but it will be a long shot.  The Guv. better go git him some debate trainin.

Rick “P Guv.” Perry Keeps It Simple

Presidential candidate Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, looks, sounds and acts like another former Governor of Texas and President, GW, also known as just plain W, a man I often call Bush the Younger. Like W, Perry, or P for short, no, P. Guv., that’s it – P. Guv. has taken to the idea of privatizing social security which he calls a Ponzi scheme, as if Wall Street could and should be trusted with our retirement money. He was saying that Americans ought to take responsibility for their retirement – but I ask how can we invest responsibly when investment bankers and fund managers are not regulated? Without proper regulation, they essentially have a license to swindle the American people.

P. Guv. called the federal government a “nanny”, suggesting almost that we don’t need government doing things for us. How can we act responsibly if the government does not have our backs. After all, don’t we rely on the government to protect us from scams, from tainted food, from air pollution? Don’t we look to the government to ensure our Constitutional rights, and to protect our basic freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights? Isn’t this a good thing?

As to taxes, I believe that all residents should pay taxes, but not the same taxes, as P. Guv. suggests. The flat tax would be an absolute disaster and give yet more tax relief to those who have not been paying their fair share. Not one for big ideas, P. Guv. is banking on simplicity – a simple tax code and a simple dismantling of government to benefit corporate America. Profit over people – a very simple message indeed.