AUSTIN, Texas -- (With apologies to Ring Lardner and the "You Know Me, Al" letters.)

Dear Friend Dubya,

You know me, pal -- your ol' buddy, governor of Texas and the man with the reelly, reelly good hair. I am writing to tell you what to do in the wake of this here Hurricane Katrina. Numero Uno, you got to send money to Texas. Yup, that is the primero responsibility you got, and since -- you don't mind my saying so -- you ain't done too good so far, I suggest you listen to me on this, instead of making another dumb mistake, like sending aid to Florida.

Florida may be run by your brother, but he's got dick for hair and his schools are already funded, see? Whereas in Texas, we have generously opened some of our finest air-conditioned sports arenas to these soggy refugees from Louisiana so they can sit and drip on real Astroturf. As your momma, that great Houstonian Barbara Bush, said after visiting the Astrodome, those people are better off now because "they were underprivileged anyway."

She also said the idea they would stay in Texas is "a scary thought" -- but hey, that's just because she hasn't considered the fiscal implications for our schools.

Dubya, ol' pal, it's an ill wind that blows nobody good, and Texas is standing right in the path of some beneficial fallout from Hurricane Katrina. See, you and the federal government will pay Texas to educate the schoolchildren of Louisiana, which will be real handy for us on account of we don't have the money to educate the schoolchildren of Texas. We'll just take a nice, generous payoff from y'all, meld it in to our underfunded schools and -- viola! -- education all 'round.

I ain't been this happy since the legs fell off Nell's hamster. After I called two special sessions this summer to solve the school finance crisis and not a damn thing was accomplished, people said I'd have to learn to be a fool. Said I couldn't get a whore a date on a troop train. They've all been taking lessons in how to talk Texan from Dan Rather.

OK, so I started the year by saying the most important thing we had to do in this state was solve the school finance crisis. Everybody knows the Legislature is worthless as wet bread to begin with, and on school finance they looked like a rubber-nosed woodpecker in a petrified forest.

I would have let it go, but the way we finance public schools in Texas has been getting declared unconstitutional for 25 years now. That's where the mule throwed Russell. We already fixed the courts so they're stacked with right-wing Republicans -- what we need is a different constitution. Anyway, I called a special session on school finance, and all these Democrats said no idiot would do that without a done deal, or even a plan. But what do they know? They only ran the state for 130 years.

Now it's our turn, and just because the first special session didn't work worth squat was no reason not to call another one. But now I got one wheel down and the axle draggin'. So send that money, pronto.

Oh, and I want to clear up that story about my asking people to send their contributions for Katrina relief aid to my foundation. Now, dog bite my buttons. My OneStar Foundation is just as good as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, and that's why I said to send money there. And who is this guy Fred Lewis with this Campaigns for People, some election-money reform group, to say I'm trying to benefit politically from Katrina victims? (What he actually said was, "One thing about politicians, you can never overestimate their shamelessness.")

My OneStar Foundation coordinates faith-based initiatives and promotes volunteerism, and it's run by the very fine former chair of the state Republican Party. Of course, both of us have been featured speakers at this project to unite churches and organize their membership to vote in coming elections. But that has nothing to do with OneStar's website, which has all those nice pictures of me on it. That's all to help faith-based programs and hurricane victims.

Dubya, my man, I'm sure you can appreciate our fix here, since you were the one who cut state taxes bigger than outside and at the same time passed a bunch of requirements for higher performance from the schools. It ain't worked good so far -- in fact, we hung the wrong horse thief. The only way we could fix this on our own is to raise taxes, so I know you'll understand when I say: Get that money down here faster than small-town gossip.

Your pal, Gov. Goodhair Perry

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