Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Goals of the Texas legislative session / Q&A on Obama’s fight with GOP / Appreciating Al Jazeera / Happy birthday, Tricky Dick / Why do animals play?

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Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism.

1. Lawmakers Want Big, Bold Measures This Session
By Aman Batheja | The Texas Tribune | Jan. 11
“[T]here is widespread interest among state leaders to make large investments in Texas’ future this session, specifically billion-dollar commitments to water and transportation projects that prepare Texas for a population boom demographers warn is on the way.”

2. Q&A: Obama lacks clear edge in next fight with GOP
By Alan Fram | Associated Press | Jan. 11
“The government will run out of cash in about two months. The Obama administration will need congressional approval to borrow more money or face a first-ever federal default, threatening global, economy-rattling consequences.”

3. Banks seek NSA help amid attacks on their computer systems
By Ellen Nakashima | The New York Times | Jan. 11
“The cooperation between the NSA and banks … underscores the government’s fears about the unprecedented assault against the financial sector and is part of a broader effort by the government to work with U.S. firms on cybersecurity.”

4. Happy 100th, Nixon: You’re still tricky to critics
By James Hohmann | Politico | Jan. 9
“Richard Nixon would have turned 100 Wednesday, but about the only people marking the occasion are historians, family members and loyalists from the disgraced 37th president’s administration. And even they’re slowly dying off.”

5. Turn the channel to Al Jazeera
By Daoud Kuttab | The Los Angeles Times | Jan. 8
“The Arab network should be a welcome source for U.S. news junkies.”

6. Japan Explores War Scenarios with China
By J. Michael Cole | Flashpoints :: The Diplomat | Jan. 9
“There has been much speculation over the years about whether Tokyo would intervene if the PLA ever invaded Taiwan.”

7. Why do animals like to play?
By Jason G. Goldman | BBC Future | Jan. 9
“Recreation may look like it serves no obvious purpose, but when dogs and other animals are having fun they are learning some valuable lessons.”

8. How Much Alcohol Is Safe for Expectant Mothers?
By Melinda Wenner Moyer | Scientific American | Jan. 4
“An occasional drink during pregnancy is unlikely to harm most children, but we lack the tools to fully measure alcohol’s effects on the developing brain”

9. Kisses and Hugs in the Office
By Jessica Bennett and Rachel Simmons | The Atlantic | December 2012
“How a once-intimate sign-off is feminizing the workplace, for better or worse”

10. Converting Paper to Digital Files
By J.D. Biersdorfer | Gadgetwise :: The New York Times | Sept. 21
“What’s the best way to convert a box of old newspaper and magazine clippings to digital files, doing it myself and without spending a lot of money?”

Author: Fernando Ortiz Jr.

Handsome gentleman scholar, Civil War historian, unpretentious intellectual, world traveler, successful writer.

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