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Two reasons why your small town newspaper is better than a daily

August 19, 2015
Two reasons why your small town newspaper is better than a daily

This week, I thought maybe I should write about something big that is going on in the world. That is, until I remembered that there is a lot going on in the world to which I am completely oblivious.  The fact is that I don’t keep up much with what is going on in the world. I intentionally don’t spend much time consuming “news,” particularly of the world and/or national variety. My only newspaper subscriptions are to local, small town newspapers which (not coincidentally) carry my column.
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Who was the ‘Benton’ of Bentonville, Arkansas

August 19, 2015
Who was the ‘Benton’ of  Bentonville, Arkansas

When anyone hears of the town of Bentonville, Arkansas, he or she probably thinks:  “That’s the headquarters of Walmart.” Bentonville was named for a prominent politician named Thomas Hart Benton who exerted great influence on the West. His daughter Jessie Benton Fremont was important in history too, as most certainly was her husband John C. Fremont.
Benton, born in North Carolina in 1782, moved west to Tennessee where he became a protege of Andrew Jackson, serving as the latter’s aid-de-camp in the War of 1812. In 1815 Benton chose to move farther west to the new Missouri Territory.
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University president says Davis statue to be moved

August 19, 2015
University president says Davis statue to be moved

A bronze statue of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, will be moved from the Main Mall of the University of Texas at Austin campus to UT’s Center for American History for interior display, in accordance with a decision made last week by UT President Gregory Fenves.
Fenves said he appointed a task force in June, shortly after he became president, “to identify options for the statues along the Main Mall that have long been a source of discussion, debate and more recently, controversy.” The task force reported its findings to Fenves on Aug. 10.
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Missing all that rain from a few months back yet?

August 12, 2015
Missing all that rain from a few months back yet?

Remember that time it rained a lot? Two months ago?
Just a little while back, it would not stop raining, and we begged it to stop.
Well, it’s stopped.
Now, after already receiving more rain by July than we usually get in an entire year, we are setting records on the other end of the spectrum.
The precipitation has, well, dried up.
It last rained – officially at DFW Airport – July 8; that’s 34 days as of Tuesday Aug. 11 and counting.
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Winning well

August 12, 2015
Winning well

I recently received, as a gift, a collection of poetry. The friend who gave it to me told me about the author, his mother’s cousin, who wrote thousands of quatrains (four line poems) over several decades. He described her as the smartest person he had ever known (quite a compliment coming from a retired university professor), and also described her writing process.
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Henry Ford – not the automaker – helped Calif. rebels in 1846

August 12, 2015
Henry Ford – not the automaker – helped Calif. rebels in 1846

Tracking down historic stories is like solving a murder mystery and often as difficult. Fred B. Rogers researched the story of the man who suggested the famous grizzly bear on a white sheet that became the banner for rebels in California in 1846, calling themselves the Bear Flag Republic.  Rogers’ book: Bear Flag Lieutenant.
Ford, a descendant of ancestors who arrived in the English colonies in the early 1600s, actually was named Noah Eastland Ford when he was born in New Hampshire in 1820, the youngest of six children. In 1840 he traveled to Boston to work, but within a year enlisted in the dragoons of the U.S.… Read the rest

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Fifth Circuit delivers opinion concerning voter ID law

August 12, 2015
Fifth Circuit delivers opinion concerning voter ID law

Even if the Texas Legislature did not intentionally pass a voter identification law that illegally discriminates against voters who are black, Hispanic or poor, the practical effect of the law is discriminatory and in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.
A 49-page opinion of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was released on Aug. 5. The panel ordered that much of the case be remanded to a federal district court in Texas for further consideration.
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Putting a ring on it – 40 years apart

August 5, 2015
Putting a ring on it – 40 years apart

This seemed like a really good idea at the time.
In the spring of 1975, I had an elaborate (for me) scheme to impress my impossibly lovely next door neighbor who was now visiting me at UT-Austin from Southwest Texas State in San Marcos.
We had bought tickets to a Chicago concert together earlier; they were $5 each and we walked to a neighborhood drug store – in an old house! – where a lady moseyed over from a counter to a small booth, opened the window, and we picked out seats off the venue chart. (After any purchase, those seats were X’d out with a pencil.)
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Desert: ‘It’s a dry heat’

August 5, 2015
Desert: ‘It’s a dry heat’

You’ve heard that, right? “It’s a dry heat.” It’s 110 in the shade, but it’s a dry heat. That’s what they say, anyway. Well, whatever they’re selling, I’m not buying. Dry heat! If there are 3 digits involved, it’s hot! My idea of perfect weather can be summed up by my golf game. I usually shoot in the 70’s. If it’s much warmer or colder than that, I don’t play.
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Irish sportsman hunting alone in 1847-48 got into trouble

August 5, 2015
Irish sportsman hunting alone in 1847-48 got into trouble

Suppose you were a young, former British army officer hunting alone in the American West, traveling with a dog and your supplies on a sled. You had spent a night under a heavy buffalo robe, holding the dog, Ishmah, for warmth. It was so cold your beard had icicles, and “jingled like bells.” With the sled loaded to begin traveling the next morning, Ishmah heard wolves howling and ran off, pulling the sled with all the supplies.
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