Beating Up Babes in Toyland

Humbuggered: Buzz is having trouble this year with Toys for Tots. Just call us a Grinch.

You see this smarmy hoopla on the TV news every night with a bunch of shiny-eyed volunteers handing out plastic Big Box crap for poor children, and the volunteers look awfully pleased with themselves. But Buzz wonders: Is anybody involved with Toys for Tots a Rick Perry Tea Party Republican? If so, here's a holiday wish for you: Keep your damn toys.

You are responsible for this year's state budget, the one Governor Perry keeps bragging about because it doesn't involve a tax increase to stanch the bleeding in safety-net agencies. And as a result of this budget — your budget — Texas Child Protective Services will eliminate 800 positions this year and slash rates paid to service providers by 12 percent. Cuts in their phone-answering staff are expected to produce 85,000 instances in which people try to report abuse of a child but no one takes the call.

Sort of puts that plush toy in perspective, doesn't it?

Ten years ago, the U.S. General Accounting Office found that 200 children a year in Dallas County were being abandoned by their parents to CPS solely because the children were mentally ill. Giving them up was the only way their parents could get the mental health services.

That's a national phenomenon, but it has an especially nasty flavor in Texas, one of six states in which it's illegal to give up your kid solely to get mental health services. To get rid of the kid here, you have to show a pattern of abuse.

Do you think this situation has gotten sweeter?

Kids are not the only victims of Dickensian Tea Party cruelty. The Dallas Morning News did a story in October on a program called The Arc that provides adult guardians for mentally disabled adults. The story gave an example of a guy whose landlord was cashing his disability check for him, which more than paid the rent, but the landlord pocketed the rest. The Arc guardian stopped that.

Half of The Arc's budget came from the state. Thanks to Perry and the Tea Party, all of that funding was cut.

Here's the bottom line: The Perry Tea Partiers are the worst plague to afflict Texas' poor children since the Comanches, who at least had good reason to scalp children.

So here's hoping you Tea Perry guys aren't popping up on television doing the Toys for Tots thing, because if you are, somebody ought to give you a Christmas punch in the mouth.

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