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Rick Perry "disgusted" by cartoon depicting explosion (and himself)

4:30 pm - 04/27/2013
AUSTIN, Texas -- Gov. Rick Perry said Friday he's disgusted a California newspaper ran a cartoon that depicts him boasting about booming business in Texas, then shows an explosion, a week after a fertilizer plant explosion killed 14 people in a Texas town.

Perry said he wants an apology from the Sacramento Bee on behalf of the town.



The cartoon in Thursday's edition shows Perry crowing that "Business is Booming," flanked by signs saying "Low Tax!" and "`Low Regs!" It's a play on the Republican's often-repeated mantra that his state's low-regulation, business-friendly climate has its economy humming.

The next panel reads "Boom!" as a blast engulfs the area behind the governor and his signs.


An April 17 explosion in the town of West, which is outside Waco, left a crater more than 90 feet wide and is estimated to have caused more than $100 million in damage. The blast occurred moments after a fire was reported at the West Fertilizer plant.

Ten of the people killed were first responders who rushed to the nighttime blaze.

In a letter to the Bee's editor, Perry said it "was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon."

"While I will always welcome healthy policy debate, I won't stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans," Perry wrote. "Additionally, publishing this on the very day our state and nation paused to honor and mourn those who died only compounds the pain and suffering of the many Texans who lost family and friends in this disaster."

President Barack Obama was among those who attended a memorial service for the explosion victims Thursday at Baylor University in Waco.

The Bee's editorial page editor, Stuart Leavenworth, responded Friday that the artist, Jack Ohman, "made a strong statement about Gov. Rick Perry's disregard for worker safety, and his attempts to market Texas a place where industries can thrive with few regulations."

"It is unfortunate that Gov. Perry, and some on the blogosphere, have attempted to interpret the cartoon as being disrespectful for the victims of this tragedy," Leavenworth said. "As Ohman has made clear on his blog, he has complete empathy for the victims and people living by the plant.

"What he finds offensive is a governor who would gamble with the lives of families by not pushing for the strongest safety regulations. Perry's letter is an attempt to distract people from that message."

Ohman defended his cartoon with an Internet post, noting that the fertilizer plant "had not been inspected by the state of Texas since 2006" and that many "Texas cities have little or no zoning, resulting in homes being permitted next to sparely inspected businesses that store explosive chemicals."


"My job, as I understand it, is to be provocative," Ohman wrote. "I provoke, you decide. I don't dictate, I put out my opinion along with everyone else. I sign my name. I own it. In my opinion, I could have gone further. Much further."

California has seen Perry's touting of his state's pro-business prowess firsthand. In February, a public-private Texas marketing firm ran radio ads featuring Perry denigrating California's taxes and regulation, and then Perry traveled there to recruit jobs. He made a similar trip – this time backed by a print-media ad buy – to Chicago this past week.

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, also a Republican, called for Ohman to be fired. "I think it's reprehensible for a member of the media to sit in safety and mock such a profound tragedy regardless of any `point' he is trying to make."

Perry, meanwhile, wrote that the newspaper "owes the community of West, Texas, an immediate apology for your detestable attempt at satire."

Ohman posted that he had received "varying levels of concern about the cartoon depicting Gov. Rick Perry's marketing of Texas' loose regulations, juxtaposed with the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas," but that he would draw the cartoon again without thinking twice.



source
the cartoon

so what do you all think? tasteless or a point made about Perry's policies, given what i've heard from friends in TX, not to mention the facts that have come out about what caused the incident in the first place?
tigerdreams 28th-Apr-2013 12:01 am (UTC)
Yeah, well, it is "with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed" your policies that allowed such a shameful level of deregulation as to permit the conditions that led to this tragedy. The cartoon wasn't mocking the people who died -- if it was mocking anything, it was mocking the attitude that complete deregulation is in any way compatible with basic safety standards.

If anything was questionable about the cartoon, it was the choice to visually depict the explosion so soon after the event itself -- but I'm not sure I'd go along with that argument. Like with the gun control conversation in the wake of public shootings, there's the danger that if you don't talk about the issues that led to or permitted a tragedy right after it happens, then everyone will forget about it after a couple of news cycles and nothing will be changed or improved.
mollywobbles867 28th-Apr-2013 12:05 am (UTC)
+1
bushy_brow 28th-Apr-2013 04:34 pm (UTC)
MTE.
zinnia_rose 28th-Apr-2013 12:21 am (UTC)
The cartoon's message certainly needs to be said. If Perry really gave a crap about the people who died, he'd have issued a sincere apology and he'd be working hard to change his shitty policies.

As for if it was in poor taste, yeah, probably a little, but Rick Perry has no right to get upset. If one of the victims or a victim's family had come forward that would be a different story.
world_dancer 28th-Apr-2013 12:41 am (UTC)
1) The artist isn't mocking the tragedy, he's mocking the circumstances that led to the tragedy. There's a difference. People don't mock the fact that the passengers of the Titanic died, but they will mock the fact that there weren't enough life boats, for example. These are two different things.

2) If your public policy creates a disaster, you deserve to have that policy criticized.

3) If the best you can do to defend yourself is to say that the person pointing out the emperor has no clothes is someone not worth listening to for whatever reason you want to make up, then you deserve to be doubly criticized for your lack of understanding and concern about the lives entrusted to you.
executivehpfan 28th-Apr-2013 12:50 am (UTC)
Oh, Rick Perry. Shut the fuck up.
romp 28th-Apr-2013 12:57 am (UTC)
The cartoonist is successful so I assume he won't be hurt by this. It's his job to call out hypocrisy, after all.

Went to the source to see the cartoon and yikes at the people who are falling for Perry's spin. D:
keestone 28th-Apr-2013 01:11 am (UTC)
That cartoon is very clear in its statement on the results of lack of regulation, and it's a powerful image. Jack Ohman did his job and did it well, and I'm glad his editor is standing behind him.
spyral_path 28th-Apr-2013 01:15 am (UTC)
Good on the editor and the cartoonist for not backing down. What's offensive is that a plant ckntaining that much explosive material could be that close to a school and residences and that it hadn't been inspected since 2006. Wasn't that the same stuff Timothy McVeigh used in his terrorist attack in Oklahoma? Wouldn't lots of regulation and inspections make sense?
nesmith 28th-Apr-2013 01:29 am (UTC)
The consequences of these assholes' anything-but-regulation, zoning-laws-who-needs-those policies is coming home to roost, and now Governor Goodhair wants to deflect and deny. Good on anyone who won't let him do that.
tilmon 28th-Apr-2013 01:48 am (UTC)
Perry, that's so typical of you. You receive criticism by pretending that the criticism is not directed at you, but at some unfortunate blameless third-party you have victimized. Fact is, Ohman wasn't mocking West. He was mocking you and your bidness politics, and you know it.
shadwrayvn 28th-Apr-2013 02:45 am (UTC)
This Texan agrees with the cartoonist & thinks Rick Perry needs to fuck off.
foureyedgirl 28th-Apr-2013 03:14 am (UTC)
This Texan does too. I hate Perry with the fire of a thousand suns.
hirolin 28th-Apr-2013 03:42 am (UTC)
SAME
rainbow_fish 28th-Apr-2013 01:44 pm (UTC)
Yup.
bushy_brow 28th-Apr-2013 04:36 pm (UTC)
Ditto.
borrowed 28th-Apr-2013 11:16 pm (UTC)
+1
venuspersephone 30th-Apr-2013 10:21 pm (UTC)
This *ACK!* resident of Texas (not Texan) agrees.
aviv_b 28th-Apr-2013 02:59 am (UTC)
Just another day in Perryland. Where a few dozen people sacrificed on the alter of deregulation is something to be expected, but not to be criticized. He's just all butt-hurt cause his shit got called.
lone_concertina 28th-Apr-2013 04:21 am (UTC)
As a 6th generation Texan with friends in West and the surrounding cities who is also training to be a firefighter and first responder, Perry can fuck off with his self righteous attitude regarding this cartoon. A good political cartoon encourages and spurs on debate, which is exactly what this one did. It called into question Perry's preferred method of governing without disrespecting the lives that were lost.

I only hope this encourages ENOUGH debate that lawsuits are filed against all appropriate regulatory boards, the owners of the plant, and maybe even the state itself.
365reasonswhy 28th-Apr-2013 05:05 am (UTC)
I hate how the right consistently using the excuse of honoring the dead as a reason why we can never talk seriously about the circumstances that lead to their deaths in the first place.

STFU Rick Perry.
yeats 28th-Apr-2013 10:21 am (UTC)
I hate how the right consistently using the excuse of honoring the dead as a reason why we can never talk seriously about the circumstances that lead to their deaths in the first place.
well put.
hinoema 28th-Apr-2013 10:52 am (UTC)
Exactly. Wrapping themselves in the flag or the constitution to deflect blame is bad enough; wrapping themselves in the shroud of one of their policy victims is heinous.
rainbow_fish 28th-Apr-2013 01:45 pm (UTC)
Ia. It's super gross.
hey_spectrum 28th-Apr-2013 02:44 pm (UTC)
I agree. The best way to honor those who die in unnecessary wars, explosions and elementary school gun violence is to make sure it doesn't happen again. Refusing to talk about the root of the issue ensures that it will
skellington1 30th-Apr-2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
YES.
underlankers 28th-Apr-2013 12:20 pm (UTC)
I don't think this is necessarily either-or here. It is tasteless to one extent but the policies it criticizes......one can't make shit smell like roses. And even if it were a purely tasteless cartoon, freedom of speech must protect that speech which is most offensive. In this case it's only tasteless insofar as it pointed out the obvious truth which Rick Perry would rather not have discussed, which is why I said tasteless to one extent.

Edited at 2013-04-28 12:22 pm (UTC)
bnmc2005 28th-Apr-2013 03:33 pm (UTC)
Way to bring the cartoon even MORE publicity and keep the discussion going, Mr. Perry.
moonshaz 30th-Apr-2013 01:56 am (UTC)
I have six words for Rick Perry.

These four: If the shoe fits...

And these two: CRY MOAR.
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