Rick Perry goes from “wow” to “oops” to “ouch”

To the relief of most Texans, our prodigal governor hath returned.

Most presidential pretenders envision a come-from-behind campaign ending in glory, but Rick Perry ran a vainglorious campaign that went in the other direction, ending in: “Oops.” What happened to poor Perry was… well, Perry. His brain bone simply does not connect to his tongue muscle. So he fumbled, bumbled, and stumbled through the Republican debates, showing the entire nation that he was not presidential sapling, much less timber.

Rick was richly financed by corporate interests, burning through more than $21 million on his political joy ride. But he finished a sputtering fifth in Iowa and New Hampshire and was about to be lapped by “other” in South Carolina, before mercifully ending his sad run. Worse, polls showed he had fallen to third place in his home state!

So, he’s back – but not to any cheers. The general feeling here is that he embarrassed himself and made Texans look like a bunch of ignorant hillbillies. In a new poll, 45 percent of Texans say he soiled the State’s national image, and 56 percent don’t even want him to run for governor again.

Also, Texans are a bit chapped about Perry’s prodigality with our money. While he was running around denouncing government spending and berating people who live on government payrolls, Rick kept drawing his $150,000-a-year state paycheck, even though he wasn’t doing state work. He was also doubling-dipping, using a special loophole to take $92,000 a year in state “retirement” pay, while also collecting his gubernatorial salary. Then there’s some $2.6 million billed to us to cover the cost of the state security detail that traipsed along with him on the campaign trail.

Perry will always be branded nationally as the “oops” guy. But in Texas, he’s called Rick “Ouch” Perry.


The Adelson campaign: buying our future

Already, four of the GOP presidential contenders have had to drop out – Michele Bachmann because she was too wacky, Jon Huntsman because he was too sane, Herman Cain because he was too exposed, and Rick Perry because he was too dim-witted.

But the greatest surprise is the sudden surge of the Adelson campaign. Little-known until now, Adelson was the big winner in South Carolina, is way out front in Florida, and looks to have the political kick needed to go the distance.

Never heard of the Adelson campaign? It’s the married duo of Sheldon and Miriam, neither of whom are actually on the ballot. Rather, they are running on the cash-ticket.

Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas-based, global casino baron, has long been a major funder of far-right-wing causes – and, he’s Newt Gingrich’s very special political pal. When Newt’s presidential bid nearly flat-lined after his electoral collapses in Iowa and New Hampshire, Sheldon rushed in with emergency CPR – Cash-Powered Resuscitation. This one rich guy wrote a $5 million check to Gingrich’s SuperPAC, which is named “Winning Our Future.” The PAC injected Sheldon’s money directly into toxic attack ads against Mitt Romney in South Carolina’s primary, jolting Newt’s campaign back to life.

However, Gingrich still lacked the financial vitality to match Romney’s media buy in Florida’s pricy primary. No worries, though – Miriam Adelson stepped in to infuse Winning Our Future with another $5 million jolt of CPR. The Gingrich campaign, you see, is a vessel for the Adelson campaign, and word is that this one power couple is prepared to spend another $10 million to make their boy the GOP nominee, with more to come if he’s the one to run against President Obama.

Forget “Winning Our Future” – the ultra-rich Adlesons are “Buying Our Future.”


A tiny bug spreads happiness

Great news, people: a hot spot of nine-spotted ladybugs has been spotted in Amagansett, New York!

This uplifting story is a rich organic mixture of state pride, nature’s resilience, America’s scientific pluck, teamwork, serendipity, and bug love. In today’s hard times, we need this.

Let’s start with the bug. This ladybug is the classic Coccinellidae beetle, with exactly nine black spots on its red back. A benevolent and delightful creature, it’s beloved by everyone from children to farmers – so beloved that it is the Official Insect of New York State. Sadly (and somewhat embarrassingly), however, this state official had vanished entirely from the state that honored it, with the last recorded sighting in New York being 29 years ago. Apparently a victim of competition from imported Asian and European ladybug species, as well as pesticides and the loss of habitat, only 90 of the native nine-spotteds have been seen in all of North America in the past decade.

But since 2000, a team of diligent Cornell University entomologists and volunteers have kept up the search through Cornell’s Lost Ladybug Project. The searchers persisted, even when New York’s legislators tried in 2006 to abandon the bug that seemingly had abandoned their state. Luckily, though, legislative inertia killed that effort to replace the state insect, and the Ladybug Project kept faith and kept looking.

Then, this summer, lo and behold, a volunteer spotted one sitting pretty as you please in a patch of sunflowers on an organic farm in Amagansett. About 20 more were subsequently found on the farm amidst rows of carrots, beans, and flowers – enough for the project to establish a reproducing colony, while also building confidence that more will be discovered.

To keep up with this bit of good bug news, go to www.lostladybug.org.