April 29, 2007
Why don't you come back here and say that?

So this Texan goes to visit Australia, and while he's there he takes a tour of an Australian ranch. The Aussie rancher tells him how big the ranch is, and the Texan says "Big deal. Where I come from, we've got ranches big enough to be their own country." They go to see some of the cattle, and the rancher explains how big the steers are, and the Texan says "Big deal. Where I come from, we'd consider anything this size to be a runt." It goes on like that for awhile, when suddenly a kangaroo goes bounding past them. In surprise, the Texan says "What the hell what that?", to which the Aussie replies "Oh, just one of our pesky little grasshoppers."

For some reason, I was reminded of that joke when I read this story about Governor Perry's visit to Pittsburgh.

With the Texas House poised to consider a border security bill and state budget writers deciding how much to spend on the effort, Gov. Rick Perry told a Pittsburgh newspaper that some border-crossers with al-Qaida ties have been apprehended.

"The information that we have is that there have been individuals who have crossed, and some that have been apprehended, that have ties back to the al-Qaida network," Perry told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on a trip to the city to speak at a Boy Scouts dinner.

"I don't get confused that with the lack of manpower and the lack of resources that the federal government has made available that you can cross the border, and you can cross the border with enough frequency and with enough items to create a lot of havoc," he said.

Perry spokesman Ted Royer said Friday the statement was a continuation of comments the GOP governor has made for years. The comments have been based on federal intelligence sources having "confirmed that al-Qaida and other terrorist networks view the Southern border as a prime point of entry," Royer said, with people from countries where al-Qaida has a known presence having been apprehended not just in Texas but all along the border.

In other words, Royer "confirmed" what his boss said by saying "well, we know that al Qaeda thinks that they could sneak people across the Texas-Mexico border, if they ever get tired of coming into the US on student visas and stuff like that, and we've caught people who came over that way who originated from countries where al Qaeda operates, which could include the US if you stop and think about it." Damn those pesky grasshoppers!

I'm not sure what has me chuckling more about this story, Perry's pathetic braggadocio, or the fact that he couldn't be bothered to tell members of the Senate about this little nugget of intel:

"We have absolutely no information" about such apprehensions, said Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, International Relations and Trade Committee chairman. "I would urge the governor to call us in, and give us a briefing, so that we can better serve our communities along the border.

"It's alarming, if that is so," he said. "I would very much ... be interested in knowing when this happened, and how it happened, and what law enforcement agencies were involved in the apprehension, and where those individuals might be today.

Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, said of the governor's comments, "I've never heard that. I've heard accounts where people have said that, but I've never seen an independent, verifiable report that makes that allegation.

"To use al-Qaida as a ruse to try and get a border security bill before the people is not helpful," Shapleigh said. " I hope when he comes back he'll discuss it with those of us who live and work on the border."

If he didn't discuss it before, I don't know why he'd bother now. Note that Democratic Senators aren't the only ones in the dark.

GOP Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said only that he had heard of illegal entries by people from the Middle East, but the individuals aren't labeled as terrorists.

Obviously, this was on a need-to-know-basis only, which is why Perry waited till he was safely out of state before sharing it with a public audience.

I can only presume that Perry's remarks were intended to put pressure on the Lege regarding HB13. Given the pushback it's gotten from border police chiefs and other legislators, he must think it needs the help. I just don't know if that's the kind of help that it needed. Express-News link via Dig Deeper Texas.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 29, 2007 to Show Business for Ugly People