Texas Liberal

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Senator John Cornyn Cares A Great Deal About Texas Wildfires And About Photo Ops

Texas U.S. Senator got a briefing yesterday from the Texas Forest Service about the wildfires in Texas.

Above you see a picture from this briefing.

The Senator is the gentleman with white hair.

Do you think the folks from the Texas Forest Service briefed Senator Cornyn on the sharp cuts to the Forest Service approved by Governor Rick Perry and the Republican-controlled Texas legislature?

From the Fort-Worth Star Telegram-

The Legislature cut the agency’s funding this year to $83 million from $117 million, according to Robby DeWitt, the forest service’s associate finance director. … Chris Barron, executive director of the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas, said: “It’s very frustrating that they don’t have the proper tools and resources to fight these fires. If fire departments had enough funding, if the forest service had enough funding, we wouldn’t be in this predicament over each and every year.” 

Senator Cornyn wants you to know that he is very concerned about the wildfires in Texas.

Senator Cornyn is real concerned just as long as you know that his concern does not translate beyond a photo op, and a briefing with people who have no choice but to sit with the Senator and to be used as props.

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September 30, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. You are pretty tough on a guy who seems to be doing his job Neil. What would you say if he didn’t talk to the Forest Service at all? I am sure you would criticize the matter either way. The fact that a US Senator is sitting in front of “props” from the Forest Service should strike you as an opportunity for the people to be heard. I am sure it would be a great time to hit the Senator with all the information available to the Forest Service – instead of just sitting in for the picture op. I wonder how that conversation would go?

    “Thanks for coming Senator.”

    “Glad to do it gentleman.” the senator smiles as the cameras click away. “Tell me about these fires.”

    “Well,” starts the Forest Service agent, “the thing is, these fires were quick and hard to handle because of the drought, high winds and the budget cuts didn’t help.”

    “You don’t say. I know we cut your budget back, but we had to do something to balance the state budget and you know, we couldn’t really cut social services anymore than we have. There are those who have come to depend on us. Imagine what would happen if they were in line at Wal-Mart and their LONE STAR card wouldn’t go though. Could you just imagine how humiliating that would be for them?”

    “But senator, we don’t have funding to buy more equipment to prevent lives being taken and property being destroyed.”

    “Do you think a larger budget would have prevented these fires?”

    “Well like I said, the worst drought in Texas History and the high winds caused a perfect storm for a disaster – so, the answer is no.”

    “Sounds terrible, gentleman. Do you think if we left the budget alone you would have been better prepared for these fires?”

    “Well, honestly? No sir. The budget cut only went into affect a week before the fires even started and we didn’t layoff any firefighters in the Forest Service at all.”

    “But there must have been something you could have used the money for.” states Cornyn.

    “Actually, we had a lot of help. We even got a DC-10 jetliner to aid in the fight and a lot of help from around the country. The locals were very supportive and donated a ton of supplies, most of which we have kept in surplus at our stations. Other fire squads from around the nation commented on how well organized and equipped we were to fight this fire stating they were use to sleeping in the same clothes they fought in and without showering. We had showers, camps, food and entertainment for all of these crews. It was really something. But I guess there will be a hefty bill for all of this I am sure.”

    “Yes there will.” assures the senator. “We have racked up over $200 million in fire fighting expenses, which were taken from the state coffers. You see, in the case of emergencies like this, we don’t turn our backs on the situation just because your department is overdrawn. But I bet the liberals would love to imagine us as doing so.” smiles the senator. One more camera clicks and a blogger from Cincinnati has an opportunity to criticize one again.

    Comment by Mike | September 30, 2011

  2. What this blogger from Rhode Island, Cincinnati & Houston would like is a Texas state government that plans for trouble rather than allowing the departments needed to combat the trouble to be overdrawn. It might also help if our state government and our elected Texas federal officials in Washington would at least admit the chance that the drought and heat this summer might be in someway connected to global warming that we add to here in Texas with often lightly regulated pollution. Otherwise we may just be adding to the problem for future years.

    The suggestion that we don’t turn our backs on big problems in Texas is not so. We turn our backs on people in need all the time in Texas. Your gratuitous comments about people with lone star cards—When you could have made the point about the fires without taking a shot at people at poor people in the midst of a recession–is an insight into the outlook that makes it easy for so many Texans and for people all over our nation to turn their backs on people in emergency situations.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | October 1, 2011

  3. The simple point I was trying to make is a budget cut prevented in one place will be felt in another. You want to hold the government accountable for making the hard choices and criticize their decisions. You misdirect the readers of your blog by trying to make it seem those cuts affected the ability of the Forest Service in this fire. It couldn’t have since the cuts went into affect a week prior to the wildfires. But I am sure you will ignore that fact and any other that may destroy your arguments.

    Also, the fact that the Lone Star card exists should give you some proof, if not, comfort that Texas and Texans have not turned their back on the poor or folks in need. I don’t like the Lone Star card because it makes it “comfortable” for someone to use it. When my family was in need, we were on food stamps and the embarrassment of using them in public alone was enough to encourage me to insure my family would never know that feeling. That’s part of building the character of a person instead of allowing them to “settle” into a lifestye where help is expected and not appreciated.

    Comment by Mike | October 3, 2011


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