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found done in needlepoint on Mel's Front Porch: I Pledge Alligence to the Constitution of the United States of America. And to the Republic for which it guarantees, One Nation, Undeniable, with Liberty, Truth, and Justice for All.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In Fond Memory



Texas, and the country, has lost a legend. Ann Richards passed away tonight, peacefully at home, surrounded by her family. She was 73.

I was proud to live in Texas while this wonderful woman was governor, and I am simply without words. My deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends. I'll leave you with a quote (one of many -- the lady had an amazing way with words).

"I am delighted to be here with you this evening because after listening to George Bush all these years, I figured you needed to know what a real Texas accent sounds like."
~~ 1988 keynote address, Democratic National Convention

Be at rest, Ann. We will sure miss you.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/obit_richards;_ylt=Ap7Gq7u932fk0TYLq9KM8Q5dPqwv

16 Comments:

Blogger meldonna said...

For a full text and video of the speech I quoted Ann from, go to http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/annrichards1988dnc.htm

Those words are as true now as they were twenty-two years ago.

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann Richards was the real deal ... she called out Geo Bush for what he was ... a carpetbagger rich kid. Mel, I was so sad when I saw the news a few minutes ago & somehow knew you'd have something to say. I'll go read your speech link now to remember how beautiful, smart, funny and caring she was. TX just got a little dimmer. D.K.

11:27 PM  
Blogger BBC said...

This country needs to go into anarchy for a while, clear out the whole government, and build something new and better. It won’t do any good to just clean out a few people at the top, other nuts are working their way to the top.

2:39 AM  
Blogger azgoddess said...

love the quote - never knew this lovely lady but as i was reading about her...i'm sure she will be missed...

9:31 AM  
Blogger dada said...

"Poor George, he cain't hep it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth!"

Sure sorry to see Ann go. She was one of those people who made living in Texas a lot more bearable.

8:36 PM  
Blogger meldonna said...

Saw a story about Ann getting a hard time before she was elected governor about the death penalty and enforcing it; he kept asking her how she felt about it, and she said as governor, she would uphold the laws of the state of Texas.

"But what would you do if the Legislature abolished the death penalty?"

Without missing a beat, she replied, "I'd faint."

She was a helluva lady; I'm so glad I got to vote for her both times she ran for Governor. She did Texas proud.

9:33 PM  
Blogger dada said...

Yes Mel--I did too! But evil incarnate (Karl Rove) had much to do with her undoing as far as a second term. She was replaced by a joke which has since grown into an international menace.

11:30 AM  
Blogger No said...

Thanks for posting this. Yours is the only blog (besides me) who mentioned her passing..

12:05 PM  
Blogger meldonna said...

I think me'n you's the only Texans in the immediate crowd. But that's okay.

You might enjoy the following:

Remembering Ann Richards
by Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas—She was so generous with her responses to other people. If you told Ann Richards something really funny, she wouldn’t just smile or laugh, she would stop and break up completely. She taught us all so much—she was a great campfire cook. Her wit was a constant delight. One night on the river on a canoe trip, while we all listened to the next rapid, which sounded like certain death, Ann drawled, “It sounds like every whore in El Paso just flushed her john.”

She knew how to deal with teenage egos: Instead of pointing out to a kid who was pouring charcoal lighter on a live fire that he was idiot, Ann said, “Honey, if you keep doing that, the fire is going to climb right back up to that can in your hand and explode and give you horrible injuries, and it will just ruin my entire weekend.”

She knew what it was like to have four young children and to be so tired you cried while folding the laundry. She knew and valued Wise Women like Virginia Whitten and Helen Hadley.

At a long-ago political do at Scholz Garten in Austin, everybody who was anybody was there meetin’ and greetin’ at a furious pace. A group of us got the tired feet and went to lean our butts against a table at the back wall of the bar. Perched like birds in a row were Bob Bullock, then state comptroller, moi, Charles Miles, the head of Bullock’s personnel department, and Ms. Ann Richards. Bullock, 20 years in Texas politics, knew every sorry, no good sumbitch in the entire state. Some old racist judge from East Texas came up to him, ‘Bob, my boy, how are you?”

Bullock said, “Judge, I’d like you to meet my friends: This is Molly Ivins with the Texas Observer.”

The judge peered up at me and said, “How yew, little lady?”

Bullock, “And this is Charles Miles, the head of my personnel department.” Miles, who is black, stuck out his hand, and the judge got an expression on his face as though he had just stepped into a fresh cowpie. He reached out and touched Charlie’s palm with one finger, while turning eagerly to the pretty, blonde, blue-eyed Ann Richards. “And who is this lovely lady?”

Ann beamed and replied, “I am Mrs. Miles.”

One of the most moving memories I have of Ann is her sitting in a circle with a group of prisoners. Ann and Bullock had started a rehab program in prisons, the single most effective thing that can be done to cut recidivism (George W. Bush later destroyed the program). The governor of Texas looked at the cons and said, “My name is Ann, and I am an alcoholic.”

She devoted untold hours to helping other alcoholics, and anyone who ever heard her speak at an AA convention knows how close laughter and tears can be.

I have known two politicians who completely reformed the bureaucracies they were elected to head. Bob Bullock did it by kicking ass at the comptroller’s until hell wouldn’t have it. Fear was his m.o. Ann Richards did it by working hard to gain the trust of the employees and then listening to what they told her. No one knows what’s wrong with a bureaucracy better than the bureaucrats who work in it.

The 1990 race for governor was one of the craziest I ever saw, with Ann representing “New Texas.”

Republican nominee Claytie Williams was a perfect foil, down to his boots, making comments that could be construed as racist and sexist. Ann was the candidate of everybody else, especially for women. She represented all of us who have lived with and learned to handle good ol’ boys, and she did it with laughter. The spirit of the crowd that set off from the Congress Avenue Bridge up to the Capitol the day of Ann’s inauguration was so full of spirit and joy. I remember watching San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros that day with tears running down his cheeks because Chicanos were finally included.

Ann got handed a stinking mess: Damn near every state function was under court order. The prisons were so crowded, dangerous convicts were being let loose. She had a long, grinding four years and wound up fixing all of it. She always said you could get a lot done in politics if you didn’t need to take credit.

But she disappointed many of her fans because she was so busy fixing what was broken, she never got to change much. The ‘94 election was a God, gays and guns deal. Annie had told the legislature that if they passed a right-to-carry law, she would veto it. They did, and she did. At the last minute, the NRA launched a big campaign to convince the governor that we Texas women would feel ever so much safer if we could just carry guns in our purses.

Said Annie, “Well, you know that I am not a sexist, but there is not a woman in this state who could find a gun in her handbag.”


Remembering Ann Richards
by Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas—She was so generous with her responses to other people. If you told Ann Richards something really funny, she wouldn’t just smile or laugh, she would stop and break up completely. She taught us all so much—she was a great campfire cook. Her wit was a constant delight. One night on the river on a canoe trip, while we all listened to the next rapid, which sounded like certain death, Ann drawled, “It sounds like every whore in El Paso just flushed her john.”

She knew how to deal with teenage egos: Instead of pointing out to a kid who was pouring charcoal lighter on a live fire that he was idiot, Ann said, “Honey, if you keep doing that, the fire is going to climb right back up to that can in your hand and explode and give you horrible injuries, and it will just ruin my entire weekend.”

She knew what it was like to have four young children and to be so tired you cried while folding the laundry. She knew and valued Wise Women like Virginia Whitten and Helen Hadley.

At a long-ago political do at Scholz Garten in Austin, everybody who was anybody was there meetin’ and greetin’ at a furious pace. A group of us got the tired feet and went to lean our butts against a table at the back wall of the bar. Perched like birds in a row were Bob Bullock, then state comptroller, moi, Charles Miles, the head of Bullock’s personnel department, and Ms. Ann Richards. Bullock, 20 years in Texas politics, knew every sorry, no good sumbitch in the entire state. Some old racist judge from East Texas came up to him, ‘Bob, my boy, how are you?”

Bullock said, “Judge, I’d like you to meet my friends: This is Molly Ivins with the Texas Observer.”

The judge peered up at me and said, “How yew, little lady?”

Bullock, “And this is Charles Miles, the head of my personnel department.” Miles, who is black, stuck out his hand, and the judge got an expression on his face as though he had just stepped into a fresh cowpie. He reached out and touched Charlie’s palm with one finger, while turning eagerly to the pretty, blonde, blue-eyed Ann Richards. “And who is this lovely lady?”

Ann beamed and replied, “I am Mrs. Miles.”

One of the most moving memories I have of Ann is her sitting in a circle with a group of prisoners. Ann and Bullock had started a rehab program in prisons, the single most effective thing that can be done to cut recidivism (George W. Bush later destroyed the program). The governor of Texas looked at the cons and said, “My name is Ann, and I am an alcoholic.”

She devoted untold hours to helping other alcoholics, and anyone who ever heard her speak at an AA convention knows how close laughter and tears can be.

I have known two politicians who completely reformed the bureaucracies they were elected to head. Bob Bullock did it by kicking ass at the comptroller’s until hell wouldn’t have it. Fear was his m.o. Ann Richards did it by working hard to gain the trust of the employees and then listening to what they told her. No one knows what’s wrong with a bureaucracy better than the bureaucrats who work in it.

The 1990 race for governor was one of the craziest I ever saw, with Ann representing “New Texas.”

Republican nominee Claytie Williams was a perfect foil, down to his boots, making comments that could be construed as racist and sexist. Ann was the candidate of everybody else, especially for women. She represented all of us who have lived with and learned to handle good ol’ boys, and she did it with laughter. The spirit of the crowd that set off from the Congress Avenue Bridge up to the Capitol the day of Ann’s inauguration was so full of spirit and joy. I remember watching San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros that day with tears running down his cheeks because Chicanos were finally included.

Ann got handed a stinking mess: Damn near every state function was under court order. The prisons were so crowded, dangerous convicts were being let loose. She had a long, grinding four years and wound up fixing all of it. She always said you could get a lot done in politics if you didn’t need to take credit.

But she disappointed many of her fans because she was so busy fixing what was broken, she never got to change much. The ‘94 election was a God, gays and guns deal. Annie had told the legislature that if they passed a right-to-carry law, she would veto it. They did, and she did. At the last minute, the NRA launched a big campaign to convince the governor that we Texas women would feel ever so much safer if we could just carry guns in our purses.

Said Annie, “Well, you know that I am not a sexist, but there is not a woman in this state who could find a gun in her handbag.”


Remembering Ann Richards
by Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas—She was so generous with her responses to other people. If you told Ann Richards something really funny, she wouldn’t just smile or laugh, she would stop and break up completely. She taught us all so much—she was a great campfire cook. Her wit was a constant delight. One night on the river on a canoe trip, while we all listened to the next rapid, which sounded like certain death, Ann drawled, “It sounds like every whore in El Paso just flushed her john.”

She knew how to deal with teenage egos: Instead of pointing out to a kid who was pouring charcoal lighter on a live fire that he was idiot, Ann said, “Honey, if you keep doing that, the fire is going to climb right back up to that can in your hand and explode and give you horrible injuries, and it will just ruin my entire weekend.”

She knew what it was like to have four young children and to be so tired you cried while folding the laundry. She knew and valued Wise Women like Virginia Whitten and Helen Hadley.

At a long-ago political do at Scholz Garten in Austin, everybody who was anybody was there meetin’ and greetin’ at a furious pace. A group of us got the tired feet and went to lean our butts against a table at the back wall of the bar. Perched like birds in a row were Bob Bullock, then state comptroller, moi, Charles Miles, the head of Bullock’s personnel department, and Ms. Ann Richards. Bullock, 20 years in Texas politics, knew every sorry, no good sumbitch in the entire state. Some old racist judge from East Texas came up to him, ‘Bob, my boy, how are you?”

Bullock said, “Judge, I’d like you to meet my friends: This is Molly Ivins with the Texas Observer.”

The judge peered up at me and said, “How yew, little lady?”

Bullock, “And this is Charles Miles, the head of my personnel department.” Miles, who is black, stuck out his hand, and the judge got an expression on his face as though he had just stepped into a fresh cowpie. He reached out and touched Charlie’s palm with one finger, while turning eagerly to the pretty, blonde, blue-eyed Ann Richards. “And who is this lovely lady?”

Ann beamed and replied, “I am Mrs. Miles.”

One of the most moving memories I have of Ann is her sitting in a circle with a group of prisoners. Ann and Bullock had started a rehab program in prisons, the single most effective thing that can be done to cut recidivism (George W. Bush later destroyed the program). The governor of Texas looked at the cons and said, “My name is Ann, and I am an alcoholic.”

She devoted untold hours to helping other alcoholics, and anyone who ever heard her speak at an AA convention knows how close laughter and tears can be.

I have known two politicians who completely reformed the bureaucracies they were elected to head. Bob Bullock did it by kicking ass at the comptroller’s until hell wouldn’t have it. Fear was his m.o. Ann Richards did it by working hard to gain the trust of the employees and then listening to what they told her. No one knows what’s wrong with a bureaucracy better than the bureaucrats who work in it.

The 1990 race for governor was one of the craziest I ever saw, with Ann representing “New Texas.”

Republican nominee Claytie Williams was a perfect foil, down to his boots, making comments that could be construed as racist and sexist. Ann was the candidate of everybody else, especially for women. She represented all of us who have lived with and learned to handle good ol’ boys, and she did it with laughter. The spirit of the crowd that set off from the Congress Avenue Bridge up to the Capitol the day of Ann’s inauguration was so full of spirit and joy. I remember watching San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros that day with tears running down his cheeks because Chicanos were finally included.

Ann got handed a stinking mess: Damn near every state function was under court order. The prisons were so crowded, dangerous convicts were being let loose. She had a long, grinding four years and wound up fixing all of it. She always said you could get a lot done in politics if you didn’t need to take credit.

But she disappointed many of her fans because she was so busy fixing what was broken, she never got to change much. The ‘94 election was a God, gays and guns deal. Annie had told the legislature that if they passed a right-to-carry law, she would veto it. They did, and she did. At the last minute, the NRA launched a big campaign to convince the governor that we Texas women would feel ever so much safer if we could just carry guns in our purses.

Said Annie, “Well, you know that I am not a sexist, but there is not a woman in this state who could find a gun in her handbag.”

~~~~~~

Oh, and I miscalculated in a comment above. 1988 was obviously eighteen years ago, not twenty-two. I believe that qualifies as a 'senior moment'.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those were all such wonderful stories about Ann. What's not so funny is how little I'm seeing about her on TV. It sure seems to me when someone as colorful & charismatic as Ann passes, we usually get a lot of biography-type shows, triubte summaries, etc. And would it be out of the question for GWB to have commented a little about his predesessor? Apparently so. Guess his phony bible-butt-followers wouldn't approve. Have you heard or seen any more than a quick TV comment, mostly on the newsbar? I mean this was a well-known woman, a legend really. D.K.

7:27 PM  
Blogger No said...

Thanks for the article, Mel.

And anonymous, I was thinking the same thing..Would it be so hard for GWB to make just one stinking comment?

Typical.

3:36 AM  
Blogger dada said...

Thanks Mel for sharing the Ivins' article on Ann. I'd seen it in the Saturday paper which got lost before I got around to reading it.

Molly's column was a great tribute to a wonderful lady. (I had to chuckle at her "El Paso" reference.)

Thumbing thru the Dish channels last eve, trying to get oriented to the new numbers, I stumbled across the stage of Ann at the Dem. national convention in '88. I just had to stop and listen. Priceless. As she wrapped up, I wondered where in the hell these days has such charisma gone?

5:10 AM  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

Steel Magnolias so rare , so lovely.....another one gone.

3:31 PM  
Blogger meldonna said...

I just realized I pasted that Molly article three times by accident! Now making Homer Simpson noise -- doh!

Then again, maybe it's just one of those happy accidents that goes to prove Ann was once, twice, three times a lady...

6:46 PM  
Blogger Haider Droubi said...

sorry for that

12:50 AM  
Blogger meldonna said...

Thanks, Haider...and thanks for dropping by.

*m

5:51 PM  

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