December 6, 2004: Headlines: COS - Malaysia: Writing - Malaysia: Humor: Houstaon Chronicle: Kinky Friedman proposes Texas Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Malaysia: Special Report: Author, Humorist and Malaysia RPCV Kinky Friedman: December 6, 2004: Headlines: COS - Malaysia: Writing - Malaysia: Humor: Houstaon Chronicle: Kinky Friedman proposes Texas Peace Corps

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Kinky Friedman proposes Texas Peace Corps

Kinky Friedman proposes Texas Peace Corps

Kinky Friedman proposes Texas Peace Corps

Candidate Friedman puts his political ideas on the record
Houston Chronicle

Kinky Friedman plans to kill Kinky Friedman next year. The novelist/humorist/songwriter(ist)/philanthropist says he will bring to an end the mystery-novel protagonist who has carried his name for years.


Kinky Friedman campaign slogans:

Kinky Friedman: Why the hell not?
Friedman for governor: How hard could it be?
My governor is a Jewish cowboy.
Leave no lesbian behind.
He ain't Kinky, he's my governor.
Let's make the Lone Star shine.

Friedman has been working on the final Kinky Friedman detective novel between plugging a pair of new nonfiction books: 'Scuse Me While I Whip This Out: Reflections on Country Singers, Presidents and Other Troublemakers and The Great Psychedelic Armadillo Picnic: A Walk in Austin.

Despite busy publishing pursuits, Friedman has set his sights on a different line of work, namely governor of Texas.

In his scant remaining free time, he also works with the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch -- providing endorsements, spiritual guidance and proceeds from his Private Stock brand of salsa -- and hangs out at home with his five dogs, "the Friedmans," which he plans to take with him to the governor's mansion.

Q: How long have you been running the rescue ranch?

A: We've been doing it for five years. Now we've got donkeys, pigs, roosters, goats, some cats. It's been a labor of love.

Q: Sounds like satisfying work.

Bill Olive: For the Chronicle
Kinky Friedman is adding a political campaign to his already busy schedule.

A: The adoptions are hilarious and poignant. A dog with a horrific background comes to the ranch with a horrible story and ends up living very happily on some expensive houseboat or in a mansion in Dallas. I've lately come to conclude that when a stray crosses your life, it may be as close to God as you're going to get in this life. I guess it's kind of a Buddhist thought, me being a Judeo-Christian, with Jesus and Moses in my heart. I'd probably be a Buddhist if it weren't for Richard Gere.

Q: Your olive oil also raises money for charity, right?

A: Yes, Farouk and Friedman. Farouk (Shami) is my Palestinian hairdresser. His family owns some olive groves south of Jerusalem. Our profits go to injured Palestinian and Israeli children. I think Farouk and I are the last hope for peace in the Middle East. I guess as long as there's trouble, we're in business.

Q: So word is you're running for governor. Was there something that prompted this?

A: I think it happened when I was trapped on a cliffside in Cabo five years ago and I almost died. The waves came higher, and I was swept out to sea. The real tragedy was that if I'd stayed out 15 more minutes I'd have made CNN. After that, I felt there was something more I could do. But I'm running as an independent, the first time that's happened since Sam Houston. That's because in the Lone Star State, the parties made it so difficult to get on the ballot. In California, Gary Coleman can run.

Q: What's your time frame for starting a campaign?

A: We'll make an official announcement next month at the Alamo. And we have to start collecting petition signatures in '06. At that point, people will no longer think it's a joke. Texans want a governor who spiritually matches the state. Somebody who's colorful, independent-thinking, which is exactly what we don't have. The career politicians in both parties are ribbon cutters. They don't care if Guam passes us in education. I want to make the Lone Star shine again.

Q: What can we expect from you as governor?

A: I want to legalize gambling to pay for education.I also want to have the umbrella organization, the Texas Peace Corps. I've talked to Laura Bush, Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie about it. It will help with education in the state; the schools have been stripped of any kind of music and arts. And it'll also do things like Habitat for Humanity. It'll be above politics, it doesn't go through Texas legislature. And it'll be run by young people.

Q: Seems like you could secure some high-profile endorsements?

A: Yes, though I'm just running as a person. I have no political experience, but I'm friends with the past two presidents. I don't know how much ice that's going to cut. It still might come down to money. But we're going to run on the coin of the spirit, because we won't have enough money to get me and my cigar into the governor's office. Some people believe in me more than I believe in myself, like Penn and Teller. They're determined to come here and make my opponent disappear.

Q: Do you think you can change much as governor?

A: It doesn't matter what a governor thinks about abortion or Iraq. But the governor can inspire. That's what Rick Perry has failed to do. I want to stop the wussification of Texas. You can't legislate against Texas looking like Cleveland or every other place, but you can make your thoughts known.

Q: Your last foray into an election didn't go so well.

A: No, I ran unsuccessfully for justice of the peace, but I'm not going to hold the wonderful people of Kerrville responsible for the horrible mistake they made 18 years ago.

Q: So legalizing gambling, dewussification, any other plans?

A: No lesbian left behind. I'm all for gay marriage. They have every right to be as miserable as the rest of us. But really, a return to the glory of Texas is the issue. The cowboy spirit. I aspire to inspire before I expire.

Q: Are you still going to have time to write during campaign season?

A: Well, there's one mystery coming; it should be out in the spring. It's the last of the series, where Kinky dies. Unless we hear clamoring from the reading community, we won't bring him back.

Q: The Star of David on the state flag was an inspired, if bold, bumper sticker. Was that your idea?

A: That was a good one; somebody else made that. A friend of mine in Kerrville said, "People aren't going to like you messing with the flag." But I've had some of the biggest rednecks you've ever imagined say to me, "I want one of those Jew star bumper stickers." They love 'em. I think even the evangelicals will support the Kinkster. They say the Jew and the Texan have little in common except we like to wear our hats indoors. I don't think this will break along party lines, though. I think the parties will break down. I'm not a politician, I'm a Jew. I'll hire good people. I always say, "Read my lips: I don't know . . . but I'll find out."

Q: So any big Hanukkah plans for the Friedmans?

A: Well, I can't go back to Vegas to celebrate for a while. This last trip was not a financial pleasure for the Kinkster. I think I'm just going to relax at the ranch. Hang out with the five Friedmans for a bit. There's something about both Hanukkah and Christmas that children can grasp that adults no longer can. They don't know how commercialized both have become.

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Is Gaddi Leaving? Is Gaddi Leaving?
Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.

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Bill Moyers wins Environmental Citizen Award 1 Dec
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RPCV Chris Matthews interviews RPCV Chris Shays 30 Nov
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Story Source: Houstaon Chronicle

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Malaysia; Writing - Malaysia; Humor



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