orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

Local News

April 27, 2013

Perry disgusted by cartoon depicting explosion

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday he's disgusted with a Sacramento Bee cartoon that depicts him boasting about business booming in his state and then shows an explosion, and says he wants an apology from the newspaper on behalf of a town where 14 people died in a fertilizer plant blast last week.

The cartoon in Thursday's edition shows Perry crowing that "Business is Booming," flanked by signs saying "Low Tax!" "'Low Regs!," a play on the Republican's often-repeated mantra that his state's low-regulation, business-friendly climate has its economy humming.

The next panel reads "Boom!" as a blast engulfs the area behind the governor and his signs.

An April 17 explosion in the town of West, Texas, outside Waco, killed 17 people, left a crater more than 90 feet wide and is estimated to have caused more than $100 million in damage. The blast occurred moments after a fire was reported at the West Fertilizer plant. Ten of those killed were first responders who rushed to the nighttime blaze.

In a letter to the Bee's editor, Perry said it "was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon."

"While I will always welcome healthy policy debate, I won't stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans," Perry wrote. "Additionally, publishing this on the very day our state and nation paused to honor and mourn those who died only compounds the pain and suffering of the many Texans who lost family and friends in this disaster."

President Barack Obama was among those who attended a memorial service for the explosion victims Thursday at Baylor University in Waco.

The Bee's editorial page editor, Stuart Leavenworth, responded Friday that the artist, Jack Ohman, "made a strong statement about Gov. Rick Perry's disregard for worker safety, and his attempts to market Texas a place where industries can thrive with few regulations."

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