Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Understanding your zodiac sign / Saving the butterflies / Pence lays groundwork for the future / Sharon Stone’s story / New insight into Pliny’s masterpiece

This week: Understanding your zodiac sign / Saving the butterflies / Pence lays groundwork for the future / Sharon Stone’s story / New insight into Pliny’s masterpiece

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. Save the Butterflies — but Not to Save Our Food Supply
By Erica Fleishman | Opinion :: Scientific American | March 2021
“These insects are lovely, but despite what many think, they aren’t significant contributors to pollinating agriculturally important plants”

2. How to Understand Every Zodiac Sign, by Element
The Cut :: New York Magazine | March 2021
“The signs are grouped into four elements — fire, water, earth, and air — with three signs in each.”

3. How to make sure Biden’s infrastructure plan can hold up to climate change – and save money
By Jeremy Bricker | The Conversation | March 2021
“In the Netherlands, some flood control systems are designed to adapt to future climate change.”

4. Insurrections, Indigenous Power, & The Empire for Slavery in the Southwest
By Max Flormen | Muster :: The Journal of the Civil War Era | March 2021
“The realities of Indigenous power, marronage, and Mexico’s emancipation policies haunted Anglo-American visions of a white supremacist imperial order in the trans-Mississippi West.”

5. Trump’s heir? Pence reemerges, lays groundwork for 2024 run
By Jill Colvin | Associated Press | March 2021
“The former vice president is steadily reentering public life as he eyes a potential run for the White House in 2024. He’s joining conservative organizations, writing op-eds, delivering speeches and launching an advocacy group that will focus on promoting the Trump administration’s accomplishments.”

6. Seeing Isaac Woodard
By Kirstin Butler | American Experience :: PBS | March 2021
“Remembering the WWII veteran beyond the vicious racist attack that blinded him.”

7. The Essential Larry McMurtry
By Tina Jordan | The New York Times Book Review | March 2021
“The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter explored the myths and legacies of the West in his work.”

8. Fishmeal—The Superfood That Never Was
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: Simone de Beauvoir and ‘The Second Sex’ | What Writing Can Tell Us About the Arabs before Islam | The Trans-Pacific Silver Trade and Early-Modern Globalization | Colonial Medicine and STDs in 1920s Uganda

9. Sharon Stone Is Telling Her Side of the Story
By Dave Itzkoff | The New York Times | March 2021
“The actress and star of films like Basic Instinct and Casino writes about her life, upbringing and brushes with death in a new memoir, The Beauty of Living Twice.”

10. President Ulysses S Grant
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2010-2019
Also see: The Unicorn | The Spanish Armada | The Delphic Oracle | Pliny’s Natural History

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Biden’s first hundred days / The second impeachment / A new look at kangaroos / Romulus and Remus / The Spanish Inquisition

This week: Biden’s first hundred days / The second impeachment / A new look at kangaroos / Romulus and Remus / The Spanish Inquisition

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism. Learn more about my academic background here.

1. Donald Trump impeached a second time over mob attack on US Capitol
By Lauren Gambino | The Guardian | January 2021
“The sole article of impeachment charges the defeated president with ‘inciting an insurrection’ that led to what the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said would be immortalized as a ‘day of fire’ on Capitol Hill.”
Also see, from Foreign Affairs: Present at the Destruction
Also see, from The Washington Post: Four years ago, I wondered if the media could handle Trump. Now we know.
Also see, from The Lily: One way women in D.C. are trying to identify pro-Trump rioters? Dating apps.
Also see, from The New York Times: A Preordained Coda to a Presidency
Also see, from NPR Public Editor: From ‘Protest’ To ‘Riot’ To ‘Insurrection’ — How NPR’s Language Evolved

2. The hundred day mistake
By Alasdair Roberts | The Wilson Quarterly | Winter 2021
“Is an FDR-style legislative blitz the best way forward in our present crisis?”

3. World’s oldest painting of animals discovered in an Indonesian cave
By Ibrahim Sawal | New Scientist | January 2021
“The paintings of three pigs, alongside several hand stencils, were discovered in the limestone cave of Leang Tedongnge on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.”

4. Vogue’s Kamala Harris cover shows that diminishing powerful Black women is still in fashion
By Karen Attiah | Opinion :: The Washington Post | January 2021
“In life, as in boxing, it’s often the punches you don’t see coming that knock you out.”

5. Queen Bee Sperm Storage Holds Clues to Colony Collapse
By Karen Kwon | Scientific American | January 2021
“Analyzing fluid from queen bees’ specialized sperm sacs can expose stressors”

6. Will COVID-19 vaccines work on the new coronavirus variant?
Associated Press | December 2020
“Experts believe so, but they’re working to confirm that.”

7. ‘A Social Species’: How Kangaroos Communicate With People
By Yan Zhuang | The New York Times | December 2020
“Researchers say that kangaroos are the first wild animals to exhibit interspecies communication that is more commonly seen in animals that have evolved alongside humans.”

8. The End of Colonialism in South Asia
By Christopher Rose, Joan Neuberger and Henry Wiencek | 15 Minute History :: UT Department of History | 2014-2020
Also see: The Spanish Inquisition | The Haitian Revolution | America’s Entry in to World War I | Simón Bolívar

9. How to Build a Covert Fire
By Malia Wollan | Tip :: The New York Times Magazine | December 2020
“First, find a suitable place to dig. Look for firm soil, not too rocky or sandy; a trowel, while not strictly necessary, will make the job easier.”

10. Tutankhamun
By Melvyn Bragg | In Our Time :: BBC 4 | 2013-2020
Also see: Epicureanism | The War of 1812 | Romulus and Remus | Comets

100 Years Ago in Texas: A Selection from the General Photograph Collection

The Top Shelf

For our first blog post this year we display a few images that give us a glimpse of Texas in 1921. They show typical small businesses in a time before chain stores. Views in rural communities reveal streets reminiscent of the 19th century. At the same time, urban areas were growing fast. We selected one image to illustrate the expanding role of military bases as one of the vehicles of growth. There were no major events in Texas that year other than the tragic flooding that took place in Central Texas in September, caused by a dying hurricane moving over the area. At least 215 people died, including 51 in San Antonio. Most of these photographs are copies from family collections.

La Gloria, 101 South Laredo Street, San Antonio, one of many small neighborhood grocery stores before the arrival of chain supermarkets. (098-1119, courtesy of Patti Elizondo)

Brooks Field…

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Juan Nepomuceno Cortina

The Top Shelf

Today in Texas history, marks the beginning of what is known as the first Cortina War.  On July 13, 1859, Juan Nepomuceno Cortina, shot Brownsville marshal, Robert Shears, after watching Shears violently drag to jail one of Cortina’s former ranch employees.  This conflict came after much racial tension between Anglo and Mexican Texans.  Here are two images of Juan Nepomuceno Cortina from the General Photograph Collection.

(General Photograph Collection: 073-0842b)

(General Photograph Collection: 092-0193)

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César E. Chávez in San Antonio

The Top Shelf

Beginning in 2014 on March 31, César E. Chávez Day has been designated a federal commemorative holiday in honor of the civil rights activist and labor leader.  Cities across the country celebrate his legacy through community service and educational programs. Since 1997, the City of San Antonio has memorialized Chávez’s work with the annual César E. Chávez March for Justice.

While Chávez began working in California in the 1950s to improve the conditions and pay of agricultural workers, it was not until 1968 that he received national attention.  It was then that Chávez, as leader of the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), called for a national boycott of California table grape growers.  The following year, Chávez made his first public appearance in San Antonio to enlist local support.  From then until a year before his death in 1993, Chávez made return visits to speak, lead marches, and participate in strikes…

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Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: The hunt for an aircraft carrier / The White House and Fox News / Frida’s brand / Women in coding / What not to do in politics

This week: The hunt for an aircraft carrier / The White House and Fox News / Frida’s brand / Women in coding / What not to do in politics

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. The Epic Hunt for a Lost World War II Aircraft Carrier
By Ed Caesar | The New York Times Magazine | March 2019
“In 1942, a volley of torpedoes sent the U.S.S. Wasp to the bottom of the Pacific. For decades, the families of the dead wondered where in the lightless depths of the ocean the ship could possibly be. Earlier this year, a team of wreck hunters set out to find it.”

2. The Marines don’t want you to see what happens when propaganda stops and combat begins
By Alex Horton | The Washington Post | March 2019
“The Marine Corps, like other service branches, dispatches its media wing to curate its own version of war. Everyone knows the deal: The good will be widely distributed, and the violent, the illegal, the inexplicable are wiped from existence.”

3. From Bauhaus to Frauhaus
By Naomi Wood | 1843 :: The Economist | February/March 2019
“Women have been written out of the history of the Bauhaus. As the influential German design school turns 100, Naomi Wood puts them back in.”

4. When The Commander in Chief Is ‘Unfit,’ What’s a General to Do
By James Kitfield | The Daily Beast | March 2019
“Now Trump wants alliances to be protection rackets. The Mattis resignation in protest last year reflected disgust among officers trying to defend the U.S. That’s only gotten worse.”

5. The Making of the Fox News White House
By By Jane Mayer | The New Yorker | March 2019
“Fox News has always been partisan. But has it become propaganda”

6. That Time Tucker Carlson Called Me the C-Word
By Joan Walsh | The Nation | March 2019
“For Fox News, Carlson’s history of foul sexist comments is a plus, not a liability.”

7. The Branding of Frida Kahlo
By Rachel Syme | The New Republic | March 2019
“Can the artist’s things tell us what drove her”

8. How to reduce plastic, foil and other kitchen disposables
By Katherine Roth | Associated Press | August 2018
“Remember that in addition to reducing and reusing, recycling is an easy option for many items, including glass, plastic containers, bottles, cans, clean aluminum foil and batteries.”

9. From Divorce to Blackface: A Short History of Political Taboos
By David Greenberg | Politico Magazine | February 2019
“Americans’ standards are rapidly changing.”

10. The Secret History of Women in Coding
By Clive Thompson | New York Times Magazine | February 2019
“Computer programming once had much better gender balance than it does today. What went wrong”

New Additions to the San Antonio Black History Collection

What an incredible collection.

The Top Shelf

The San Antonio Black History Collection is rich in materials that reflect African-American Life in the 20th century. Many materials come from San Antonio funeral homes, schools, and churches. The collection has been arranged into the following series: businesses, churches, clubs and organizations, education, history, military, newspapers and magazines, and photographs.

Highlights of the collection include paper fans (or church fans), several African-American church records, and an incomplete run of SNAP magazine. The paper fans are undated, but reflect advertising for several San Antonio, Texas, mortuaries and funeral homes. Church materials include programs for Sunday services, yearbooks, and newsletters. Of note is a ledger for Ephesus Church of Seventh-Day Adventists (1873-1928) that lists church members names and addresses, and in some cases, the dates of death (bulk dates for the records are 1923-1928). The ledger also contains brief synopses of meetings among the reverend, church staff, and elders for the years…

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Election 2018: Recommended reading II

Today we’re seeing a blizzard of news analysis pieces, essays, op-eds, and a million other election-related items. Here are five pieces I’d recommend.

Today we’re seeing a blizzard of news analysis pieces, essays, op-eds, and a million other election-related items. Here are five pieces I’d recommend.

1. Jeff Sessions out as attorney general
By Politico | November 2018
“President Donald Trump announced on Twitter on Wednesday that Jeff Sessions is out as attorney general, and that Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, will take over as the acting head of the Justice Department.”

2. Texas Congressional Delegation Grows More Diverse Amid Several Republican Upsets
By Marcia Recio | Texas Monthly | November 2018
“An evening that included the unseating of longtime Congressman Pete Sessions saw the historic election of the state’s first two Latinas to Congress.”

3. How a Democratic U.S. House could alter foreign policy
By Patricia Zengerle | Reuters | November 2018
“Democrats plan Russia-related investigations, such as a probe of possible business ties and conflicts of interest between Trump and Russia. From a policy perspective, a Democratic-led House would push to punish Russia for interference in U.S. elections and activities including its aggression in Ukraine and involvement in the Syrian civil war.”

4. A partisan war awaits Trump. That just might suit him.
By Peter Baker | The New York Times | November 2018
“Combative by nature, happier in a fight, the president may now have to choose between escalating the pitched conflict that has torn Washington apart in recent years and attempting the sort of reach-across-the-aisle conciliation that has rarely marked his presidency so far.”

5. Don DeLillo on Trump’s America: ‘I’m not sure the country is recoverable’
By Xan Brooks | The Guardian | November 2018
“He has spent half a century dissecting America’s dreams and nightmares. Now the great novelist is imagining what his ‘deluged’ country will be like three years from today”

Follow past entries here.

Election 2018: Finally over

What a night. Democrat Beto O’Rourke goes down in defeat. Republicans hold the Senate and may lose the House. Bexar County is bluer than ever.

This series was meant to continue into the midnight, 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. hours but the intricacies of editing took precedence, followed by the need for some sleep.

9:00 to 10:00

What a night. Democrat Beto O’Rourke goes down in defeat. Republicans hold the Senate and may lose the House. Bexar County is bluer than ever.

The hardest part of the night is underway … editing all the little stories that are flowing in from the reporters and piecing them all together for tomorrow morning’s broadcast.

Preparing a newscast seems to be more art than science — the tone has to be just right; there’s a particular balance of information and voices that must be achieved.

Follow past entries here.

Election 2018: It ain’t over ’til it’s over

There are almost 8,000 precincts in Texas, and only a fraction of their votes have been tallied. The following hours offer only more drama and tension.

7:00 to 8:00

Our news coverage plan is unfolding almost flawlessly. I’m so proud of my reporters. I’m so proud of my entire news team.

Some of these races are unfolding with greater drama than anyone expected. Differences in vote percentages that are less than one percent in some races.

The mood in the newsroom is one of confidence, excitement and fascination. Republicans in Bexar County took a beating in early voting, and many Democrats are leading.

But there are almost 8,000 precincts in Texas, and only a fraction of their votes have been tallied. The following hours offer only more drama and tension.

It’s only 8 p.m. Six hours to go. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

Follow past entries here.