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Commentary: Thanks to Perry, everything's better in Texas

Let's take a look at our government here in the so-called Great State of Texas:

Texas wound up with about as many H1N1 vaccines in the first shipment as — Wisconsin?

If you're poor and hungry, take a number. The wait just to see a state caseworker at the north Fort Worth office is 104 days.

A 67-year-old Grand Prairie man won $1 million in the Mega Millions lottery. But the Texas Lottery Commission hasn't paid him a dime, not until it gets the money back from a store clerk who cashed the ticket and now faces a theft charge.

About 100 Texas children die every year of abuse or neglect even after Child Protective Services investigates their homes.

Did I mention that the state lost $19.5 million in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme?

So how's that secession idea looking these days?

As a wannabe nation, Texas looks more every day like the next banana republic.

Aspiring ruler-for-life Rick Perry, governor since the last century, wants to stay in office more than 14 years.

Look, Attila ruled the Huns for only 19 years.

The comparison became even more apt lately when Perry replaced the chairman of the Teacher Retirement System investment board with one of his own campaign finance chairmen. Teachers worry that Perry wants their pension money invested in tollways and other pet projects.

Then there's his replacement of four members of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, which was apparently about to use genuine science to investigate the cause of a Corsicana fire that killed three children and led to the 2004 execution of their father.

Two former commissioners are local: Alan Levy, the lead criminal prosecutor in the Tarrant County district attorney's office, and forensics lab expert Aliece Watts of Burleson. Perry just said that their terms were up and that he wanted somebody else.

Then there's Perry's shake-up of the Texas Tech University board of regents, where regents were asked to leave because they supported one of Perry's Republican primary opponents, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Her campaign accused Perry of using universities to "raise campaign cash."

That idea hit home this week along with the latest campaign news.

The chairman of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, JumBurrito restaurant chain owner Jose Cuevas Jr. of Midland, sent letters asking the very restaurants he regulates to give Perry's campaign $1,000 to $5,000 each.

(Cuevas said he was asking only as a restaurateur.)

If you don't like the smell of all this, the governor will repeat his stump-speech message:

Hey, y'all, he says, Texas has more Fortune 500 companies than any other state. And 70 percent of the new jobs in America.

"You got to get down on your knees every day," he says, "and thank God you live in Texas."

So I guess it can't get any better than this.

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