Raking It In

Are Houston cops trying to make up for lost revenue?

Taking the part of the Grinch is mayoral spokesman Frank Michel: "I think the ordinance that passed has to do with people stepping out into the streets," he says. "It doesn't say they can't solicit donations…What the mayor has said repeatedly is that when you give money to a person on the street, you often enable them in some destructive behavior."

The city's effort comes just as FEMA is forcing Katrina evacuees out of their hotel rooms, but Michel doesn't see any connection.

"It's a huge leap to assume that there's going to be 100,000 people out on the street and becoming homeless," he says.

But if any of them take that leap, they better get some vests.

Any Family Will Do

Last year Texas governor Rick Perry, who was in the middle of a mini-storm of rumors about his marriage, sent out a Christmas card that featured him and his wife looking about as happy and contented as Al-Qaeda hostages in a grainy video (see Hair Balls, December 23, 2004).

This year they decided not to pose for the cameras. Instead there's a lovely painting of the First Couple standing lovingly by a festive tree in the Governor's Mansion as their two kids frolic nearby.

But hey -- the two kids in the picture are very young girls; the Perrys have a 20-year-old son and an 18-year-old daughter. That can't be the Perrys, can it? Don't tell us Rick and Anita had to grab a painting of whatever family scene came closest to theirs in order to put a happy face on the holidays.

"We've gotten so many questions about that," says Rachael Novier, the governor's deputy press secretary.

The painting was apparently not picked simply to confuse casual perusers into thinking it was the Perrys. "It's an artist's representation of family happiness at Christmas. It's a lovely card," Novier says.

And if you're keeping score, you right-wingers convinced the secular army is attacking religion in this country, the card does not include the word "Christmas." (It does include an Old Testament verse.)

Novier doesn't want to tackle the subject of Perry rejecting the Lord Our Savior. "It's just a card spreading joy," she says.

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