Alright ... enough is enough ... just WHO is that they have sitting in the Texas Governor's office, and where have they squirreled-away the REAL Rick Perry?
Like water pouring through a breached levy, we have had a veritable torrent of phone calls, executive orders and emergency declarations ... all originating from somewhere in the vicinity of the offices of the chief elected official of the Lone Star State.
They have served to mobilize pretty much the entire state to receive and care for an estimated quarter-of-a-million refugees from Louisiana and other states ravaged last week by Hurricane Katrina. They have also served to cause me a great deal of distress as I contemplate doing something I never thought I'd have occasion to do ... write something complimentary about Rick Perry!
Yesterday, I wrote of Congressman Dan Flood, whose personal initiatives - strengthened by every ounce of political clout he could bring to bear - focused badly-needed state and federal attention and resources on communities threatened by the rising waters of the Susquehanna River, in 1972. Am I seeing a similar display of will as I watch Rick Perry dealing with a flood of his own in 2005?
By all appearances, emergency preparedness and planning by local, state and federal officials, for the possibility of severe storms and flooding in Louisiana, looks more like the script of a Marx Brothers movie. But, couple this with the unprecedented sweep of Katrina and the total destruction of infrastructure for communications, transportation and emergency response, and there's nothing to laugh about.
And then there was Texas. It looks to me as though calls went out from Perry's office to just about every agency and department of the state government, with marching orders for putting much of the state on an emergency relief footing ...
* The Texas Education Agency (TEA) cleared the way for Texas public schools to opening their doors to school-age refugees.
* The Texas Attorney General warned businesses that fraud and false advertising to inflate prices in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in Southeast Louisiana will not be tolerated.
* The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) offered expanded, round-the-clock services at highway rest stops and welcome centers to accommodate buses with evacuees from New Orleans, provided constant updates on highways in and out of the affected areas, and polled its 25 districts to develop a list of assets that can be made available to the Louisiana Department of Transportation to assist the state in its cleanup efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
These are just three early, very general examples. There are, by now, a hundred other, smaller and more detailed examples of how the State of Texas is mobilizing to meet the emergency needs of its neighbors.
And it appears to have all started in Rick Perry's office, and it was given teeth by the Governor's emergency declaration earlier this week.
Rick Perry? ... Who'd'a thunk it?