Five Things Perry Should Take Back While Rolling Back His Gay Comments

He does have nice hair, though.

It took long enough, but Gov. Rick Perry finally walked back his already infamous comments in San Francisco in which he compared being gay to being an alcoholic. While we admire that Perry at least may have been (probably accidentally) implying that sexual orientation is something you're born with, not something that "reparative therapy" can change, we're pretty sure he was only saying that by accident.

Now he says he should have stuck to the big picture of jobs and the economy and whatnot since everyone needs jobs. "I stepped right in it," he told the Christian Science Monitor on Thursday. An underwhelming statement, but for Perry that was practically an apology. This got us thinking about a few other things Perry has done and said that we wouldn't mind him completely taking back.

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Greg Abbott's Spanish Campaign Ad Kicks Off General Election Campaign Ad Season

Greg Abbott got his Spanish on for his first general campaign commercial (but didn't speak it himself.)
Perhaps it was just a big coincidence that Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott then turned around and premiered his first campaign commercial on Tuesday and it was all in Spanish and set to first air during the Mexico-Brazil match of the World Cup. Maybe. It's a popular technique these days for Republican candidates to conveniently remember and trot out their Hispanic significant-others in an attempt to counteract the general approach of the party on issues like the aforementioned immigration (they're agin' it.)

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So How Corrupt Is Texas?

We could do worse.
According to a new study, Texas is among the second-least corrupt states in the country. Of course, that might be hard to believe, given recent news about Rep. Steve Stockman.

The study, published by the Public Administration Review, is based on work by the City University of Hong Kong and Indiana University. Researchers created a corruption index based on the number of public officials convicted for violation of federal corruption laws. They logged more than 25,000 convictions.

So where does Texas stand? Top 20.

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Rick Perry and His Move to Suggest Being Gay Is Like Drinking Too Much

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Photo by Ed Schipul
If only Gov. Perry was joking when he said that about alcoholism.
Is Gov. Rick Perry deliberately trying to embarrass Texas? That's what we began pondering after we saw the news this morning. Last night, Perry continued his tour of California with a stop in San Francisco -- yup that would be the city of Harvey Milk and everything -- where he opened his mouth and proceeded to compare gay people to alcoholics.

Perry was in town to talk up shale plays and to encourage California to deregulate and try and be more like Texas, but then an audience member asked if he believed homosexuality could be cured, and Perry said he didn't know whether or not it worked, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. When asked whether he believes homosexuality is a disorder, according to the reports, Perry responded, ""Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that." He continued, "I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way."

And across the Lone Star State, Texans who do not in any way agree with Perry woke up and face-palmed repeatedly this morning.

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Behind Culberson, Federal Funding for METRO Blocked (Updated)

Photo by Dan Thibodeaux
Congressman Culberson has something to smile about. He got what he wanted.

Updated: This story was updated to include quotes and information provided by METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia.

A debate on Houston transit was settled Tuesday, mostly by people who don't live here.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a transportation spending bill for fiscal 2015 Tuesday, 229-192, cutting off funding for METRO's proposed University Line in the process.

Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, included in the bill a section that "bars the use of funds to advance in any way a new light or heavy rail project ... if the proposed capital project is constructed (or planned to be constructed on) Richmond Avenue west of South Shepherd Drive or on Post Oak Boulevard north of Richmond Avenue."

Strange coincidence: the University Line is supposed to run along Richmond and go through Shepherd.

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Congress Votes to End War on Medical Marijuana

Photo by Hammerin Man via flickr

Medical marijuana patients, rejoice. The federal government is no longer in fear of your (state-legal) reefer.

Late last night, Congress voted to essentially end the federal war on medical marijuana by approving a measure that prohibits the Department of Justice -- which includes the DEA, by the way -- from spending federal funds to fight state laws on medical cannabis. This means that if a state has legalized medical marijuana, the medical marijuana dispensaries are no longer subject to the threat of raids by the federal government, and patients and providers are no longer subject to arrest.

"It's becoming clearer and clearer that marijuana prohibition's days are numbered," says Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, who has been lobbying for support of the measure since 2003.

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Women Can Run in Red States, But Pretty Is What Gets Elected, Dartmouth Study Says

Photo by Alan Kotok
Good face? Better chance at winning in politics in red states, says study.
If state Sen. Wendy Davis hadn't been a pretty, blond, clearly feminine woman, would she have ever had the chance to stage a filibuster? Would Ann Richards have been governor if she didn't have a girl face? We kind of thought the days of a woman being judged by how she looks and whether or not she is wearing makeup, doing her hair and showing off her darling little ankles were long gone. These are things that shouldn't matter in this day and age in politics, but a Dartmouth study has found that while men can run for anything and look any way they like, if a woman in a red state is running for office, she has a much better chance of being elected if she has a clearly feminine face.

The study was conducted by polling 260 people across the country about facial cues -- the information collected in just milliseconds when you first see someone. Dartmouth psychology professor Jon Freeman and his four co-authors started by showing people computer images of the faces of politicians, according to Vox. Participants were then asked to quickly categorize the pictures of each politician as male or female. The study traced how quickly the participants actually recognized each face as male or female and clicked on the box on the computerized test. Then the test results were compared to actual electoral results. That's where things start to get depressing.

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Dan Patrick Isn't Alone; Here Are More Examples of Texas Political Mudslinging

Even Ann Richards threw (and ducked) her share of mud.
Political fights can get ugly, but the grappling over who will get the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor got particularly unsightly last Friday. Up until then, both the remaining candidates, State Sen. Dan Patrick and current Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, had done their best to embarrass and undermine each other, but it all got down into the real dirty fighting on Friday when Jerry Patterson, current land commissioner, former candidate and an ally of Dewhurst, released Patrick's medical records showing that Patrick was twice admitted to a mental hospital to be treated for depression back in the 1980s. It was a nasty bit of work in an increasingly ugly race, but this kind of below-the-belt political antics has a history in Texas. Here are five standout examples of down-and-dirty political fighting in the Lone Star State. It's worth noting that sometimes these things don't go as planned:

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Second Chances Rarely Apply to Texas Death Row Inmates

Photo by Christopher
We're a state of second chances, but rarely when you end up here.
"America is a country of second chances" Rick Perry said in a recent television interview.

His declaration was very statesmanlike, but he was referring to himself and his possible repeat performance as a presidential candidate. If he truly believed in the concept of second chances, things might be different in Texas.

So, what about second chances for condemned prisoners in Texas? That's a valid question.

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Five Things Ukrainians Need to Know About Ted Cruz

There's been a lot going on in Ukraine, what with Russia and Putin and all that upheaval. It's been so crazy that everyone in Washington D.C. has an opinion on Ukraine and half of them seem to be actually crossing the big water to go tell Ukrainians in person what they ought to do. Well, you can now add Sen. Ted Cruz to the list of in-the-flesh advisers. Cruz has announced he is heading over to Ukraine in a couple of weeks. That should give the people of that nation ample time to prepare. In case they somehow are unaware of the Cruz-ness of the world, we have a few tips for how to handle all of the greatness that is Cruz.

5. Don't bring up the Canadian thing. Cruz is a U.S. senator and he's from Texas and everything, but his mother kind of slipped up. She had him while the family was living in Canada so technically Cruz is a Canadian citizen. This was uncovered last year and splashed all over the place during an extremely slow news cycle. Cruz even kept the story going by pledging to get rid of his Canadian citizenship as soon as possible, though he still hasn't actually done it. So he might seem a little too cheerful and he might say "Eh" at the end of a sentence every so often, but he is totally not Canadian where it counts (in the voting) so we advise y'all to pretend like you don't notice the little signs and let him be.

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