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

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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”

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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.

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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.

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Election 2018: The turnout factor

Less than an hour to go. Polls close at 7 p.m., and then the early voting numbers are released two minutes later.

6:00 to 7:00

Less than an hour to go. Polls close at 7 p.m., and then the early voting numbers are released two minutes later.

Some analysts think so many people have voted early that those results alone may be enough to call some of these races.

In this county, more than 100,000 people voted today. Nationwide, I’ve heard turnout numbers may break 50-year records. Amazing.

Why? We can guess. Some of the more interesting stories in the coming days will be the ones that include voters’ voices and endeavor to answer that question.

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Election 2018: A rhythm to the heartbeat

From now on, it’s all about how the pieces will fall into place.

2:00 to 5:00

From now on, it’s all about how the pieces will fall into place … or perhaps not exactly into place, depending on how well we’ve planned but also how flexible we are. Some races matter more than others, if only because of how many lives the victors will affect from their seats of political power. More than 450,000 in Bexar County have voted early, via mail, or in person today, and there are about two hours left.

“Keep the stories short and detailed …” “Get their voices and the sound swirling around them …” “These five stories at the top and bottom of every newscast …”

The approach to news, the philosophies, the strategies … after 11 months as a radio news editor, this old newspaperman still has so much more to learn. Sometimes it feels like I’m evolving from thinking two-dimensionally to thinking three-dimensionally.

But there’s a rhythm to the heartbeat of this organism. A pattern in the tapestry. If nothing else, I can latch on to the regularity of how this organism moves from one hour to the next, from one day and week to the next, and make it a part of my own rhythms.

My reporters are filing in, slowly but surely, as we approach our scheduled 5 p.m. staff meeting. I’ve kept them informed about where their candidates will be tonight, where the watch parties will be, and reliable contact numbers. We’ll have our meeting, have some pizza, and then I will deploy our army into the political world, and then the battle begins.

Follow past entries here.

Election 2018: Recommended reading

Today we’re seeing a blizzard of news analysis pieces, essays, op-eds, and a million other election-related items. Here are five pieces that 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 that I’d recommend. I may offer recommendations later in the evening. Please add your own recommendations in the comments.

1. 12 Young People on Why They Probably Won’t Vote
By Rachel Bashein, Zak Cheney-Rice, Amelia Schonbek, and Emma Whitford | New York Magazine | November 2018
“More than half of American adults plan to cast ballots in November, but only a third of people ages 18 to 29 say they will. Here, 12 young adults on why they probably won’t vote.”

2. 7 things to watch on Election Day
By Lisa Hagan and Max Greenwood | The Hill | November 2018
“How big will turnout be? Democrats will pick up House seats but how just how many? It’s not the economy, stupid.”

3. What’s at stake for women in this year’s midterms
By Emily Sugerman | The Daily Beast | November 2018
“Female candidates and abortion rights are on the ballot, while the #MeToo movement is one everyone’s mind.”

4. Voters Head to the Polls, and America Waits for Answers
The New York Times | November 2018
“Will Republicans hold onto their majorities in the House and Senate? Will President Trump’s supporters come out in force at the polls once again? Will a “blue wave” happen?”

5. Spotify Made a Texas Voting Playlist
By Dan Solomon | Texas Monthly | November 2018
“The Sweden-based music streaming service wants to rev up Texans to do their civic duty with songs popular in the state.”