George H. Ward, a research scientist at the University of Texas Center for Research in Water Resources, predicts that global warming could spell disaster for the state's water supply. Population growth alone would make coping with a multi-year drought like the one Texas experienced in the 1950s "extremely difficult," he writes. But when you factor in the mid-century effects of climate change, which he predicts will reduce flows in rivers and streams by an additional 42 percent under drought conditions, "the situation is even more serious."
The Texas Droopidor Ricketts Perry
There Ain't No Such Thing as Global Warming
The Scientists are Goddamned Nuts
On Monday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry left the presidential campaign trail in South Carolina to attend to the most destructive wildfire in his state's history. Touring the flames in Bastrop, which has lost 600 homes to the blaze, he urged people to be "incredibly careful" because "people's lives, pets, livestock, and frankly, legacies of generations to come can be put in jeopardy." Perry was warning against sparking fires with cigarette butts, but not, it would seem, against sparking them with his own risky brand of climate change denial.
According Jianbang Gan, an environmental science professor at Texas A&M University, global warming is strongly tied to an increase in wildfires. He predicts that if the temperature climbs by 7 degrees Fahrenheit—what climate experts predict for Texas by the end of the century—the number of wildfires will more than double. Increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere will cause plants to grow faster, while higher temperatures will dry them out more quickly, setting the stage for the kind of intense blazes that have consumed 3.5 million acres in the Lone Star State this year.
The direct causes of this year's wildfires are a record-breaking heat wave and the worst single-year drought in state history, which is itself linked to climate change. The drought has been the result of storms shifting northward—the same conditions predicted by climate change models. Though it may also be caused by the naturally occurring La Niña weather pattern, human-induced global warming "is almost certainly making this extreme event worse," Texas A&M climate scientist Andrew Dessler told ThinkProgress Green. "There is absolutely no way that you can conclude that climate change is not playing a role here."
Rick Perry's Juvie Record.
Why did the GOP presidential contender wait six years to clean up the culture of child rape at Texas youth detention centers?
Martinez's story is hardly an outlier. For years, the Texas juvenile justice system was wracked by reports of rape, unsanitary conditions, and physical abuse. According to statistics submitted by the TYC in 2007,83 percent of residents who requested counseling that year were ultimately diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. At one youth facility in central Texas, the mistreatment and squalid conditions (feces on the walls and bed-sheets, steel bars blocking fire escapes) were so bad they left no choice but for the agency to shut it down entirely.
Mon Sep. 12, 2011 3:00 AM PDT
Mary Jane Martinez's son Jimmy entered the Texas criminal justice system in 2003 because he missed his school bus. He was charged with truancy and destruction of property (for throwing rocks) and sent to live in a county juvenile detention center for a sentence of six months. After five months, instead of being released, he was transferred to an academy 400 miles away, managed by the Texas Youth Commission, the agency that oversees detention and treatment centers across the state. Jimmy finally came home, four years after he was sent away, a period his mother now describes as a living hell. His best friend had been murdered, and Jimmy had been beaten and raped—both, Mrs. Martinez testifed, by TYC guards.
"It just made him worse," Martinez says of the treatment. "My son has PTSD now. He's schizo." Unable to find a job after getting out, he was arrested for burglary and landed in a prison facility eight hours away from his native San Antonio.
Rick Perry's Texas Miracle—for Corporations
The governor gave big companies hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to create jobs. When they failed to deliver, he fudged the numbers.
Thu Sep. 8, 2011 3:00 AM PDT
Over the past several years Gov. Rick Perry has crisscrossed his home state, braggingabout the Texas Enterprise Fund, his economic program that has given millions of taxpayer dollars to corporations such as Caterpillar Inc., Texas Instruments, and Home Depot. The TEF program is supposed to draw businesses to the state and create jobs. It has been a centerpiece of the so-called Texas economic miracle Perry now touts on the presidential campaign trail.
But there is a problem behind his happy Texas tale: The program appears not to have worked nearly as well as Perry claims. The governor has repeatedly overstated how many jobs it has created, according to several Texas-based advocacy and research groups. Moreover, Perry's office has stonewalled attempts to get clearer information about the program's lackluster results.
In January 2010, Perry's office claimed that TEF had created 54,600 jobs since it began in 2003. But company-reported data shows that, by the end of 2009, fewer than 23,000 jobs could be attributed to TEF. And two-thirds of TEF-backed companies failed to meet their job targets. The program handed out nearly $440 million during that period.