Time to Get Ill

Five songs to fire up Lone Star legislators

Gov. Rick Perry on opening day of the 83rd Texas Legislature, 1.8.13
Gov. Rick Perry on opening day of the 83rd Texas Legislature, 1.8.13 (by John Anderson)

The 83rd Texas legislative session convened Jan. 8 for its biennial spectacle. Squabbling over a budget surplus will prove its own sport. Both have jeering crowds, egotistical stars, and take place under a dome. The key difference remains a soundtrack. Just as “We Will Rock You” amplifies gaming, politicos need some tunes to fire up their legislatin’!

(1) “Back in the Saddle,” Aerosmith

Picture this: As the song’s opening fret slides and drums build, a giant black SUV rolls up to the Capitol. Our perma-Governor Rick Perry emerges in a well-manicured suit and awful Oakley sunglasses. His coif is perfect.

His entourage escorts him through a throng of reporters that he coolly ignores, then navigates him through the marbled building all the way to the entrance of the chamber. Just as the note bends quicken with Steven Tyler’s first screeched “I’M BACK,” Perry kicks open the doors with crocodile boots and fireworks erupt from behind the podium.

The crowd of lawmakers is largely stunned, aside from David Dewhurst, who’s jumping up and down hysterically like a star-struck teenage girl. No problem, Perry the cosmo cowboy ain’t afraid of saddle sores or anything else. While there’s speculation on whether he’ll run as an incumbent for the umpteenth time, we’re stuck with him for this session. Love him or hate him, he’s back, bitches.

(2) “Time to Get Ill,” Beastie Boys

During Perry’s “State of the State” address, Rev. James Caldwell of Houston shouted from the crowd, “Governor Perry, what are you going to do about the seven million uninsured in Texas?”

The 59-year-old preached was later charged with disrupting a public meeting and carted to Travis County Jail, but the disruption threw a spotlight on the governor’s refusal to expand Medicaid to include more adults. No more Beastie Boys should ever get ill, but that goes double for many Texans, who are left without access to health care.

So this one goes out to the dude who has been battling the flu with an hourly job and no benefits. We’re fighting for you.

(3) “Weird Science,” Oingo Boingo

The State Board of Education swore in members yesterday amid the effects from last year’s deep education cuts and fears for more in 2014-2015. As always, the divide between religion and science in the classroom stands ready to flare up. Indeed, the word “science” makes many Republicans recoil in horror – like vampires threatened with garlic!

Where does science belong in our classroom? Texas remains notorious for its close-minded religious values, which trickles through to the rest of the country via textbook printing. Whatever legislation might sneak up, let’s remind the capitol that not all of their constituents are Christians. Somewhere, Bill Zedler just shed a tear.

(4) “Respect,” Aretha Franklin

As lawmakers wage war on Cecile Richards and Planned Parenthood, Texas women are left wondering where their health care will come from and what options are left. Ms. Franklin spelled it out for us long ago: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

The Texas Women’s Health Program, which replaced the federal WHP Jan. 1, just posted a list with fewer than 1,000 providers, a shockingly limited reach that’s especially sparse in South Texas. I can just imagine the late Ann Richards stone facing the audience with a slight hip shake as this song blares.

(5) “The Rain Song,” Led Zeppelin

A drought? Shit, are we still in that? Water restrictions may have lifted, but we remain in the grips of an alarming water shortage, made all the more grave by our rapidly growing population. Thus, this song would be brought to you by the Texas Water Development Board, and it will require some participation.

You see, they’ve developed a $53 billion plan to meet the state’s future water needs, but it has yet to be funded. So, as a back-up plan, all our lawmakers are going to rain dance. That’s right, to all 7:38 minutes of this song. Even you, Rick Perry. Put down the cowbell and bring some tambourine!

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83rd Texas legislative, Queen, Aerosmith, Steven Tyler, Rick Perry, Beastie Boys, Oingo Boingo, Aretha Franklin, Ann Richards, Led Zeppelin

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