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Saturday, April 19, 2014

3 Freaky April Fools’ Day Stories

Rick Perry's bright idea may increase Texas-bound nuclear waste.
None animated GIFOn a recent morning, after checking news reports, I thought: What a freaky news day.

Freaky Story No. 1: The Governor of Texas rarely has any ideas. But apparently one unexpectedly erupted from the usually dormant cluster of low-voltage brain cells in Rick Perry’s head. The headline on the story says the Guv had essentially declared to the entire nation: “Bring us your nuclear waste.”

That’s just bizarre. While any quasi-sane governor would be trying to protect the state, its people, and future generations from the highly radioactive detritus of the nuclear power industry — here was Gov. Goober waving in the waste.

This is the same governor who adamantly rejected federal dollars to provide health coverage for millions of uninsured Texans. It seems that his health care plan is for each poor family to put a cask of nuclear waste in their closet.

Freaky Story No. 2: A new report from an outfit called the Partnership for a New American Economy. Great, I hear you saying — at last we’ll get moving on conversion to a greener economy, rebuilding and expanding our infrastructure, and re-investing in middle class jobs.

Oh, come on — stop making sense. This “new economy” bunch turns out to be one strand of the bad-old low-wage economy. It’s comprised of fast-food chains, agribusiness outfits, and other smooth operators that want Congress to create a steadier stream of cheap, immigrant laborers to exploit.

Finally, Freaky Story No. 3: Republicans in Congress want to “help” the rising number of poor people by gutting food stamps. How does slashing spending on the SNAP programby $137 billion over the next 10 years help the needy, you might wonder? Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the plan’s lead pusher, explains that it “empowers recipients to get off the aid rolls.”

All this freakiness was in the news on April Fools’ Day — but none of it was a joke. Now that’s really freaky.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower