Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Saliva and our history / Research your home’s past / Purging to remake Turkey / Meet Dina Powell / Assad and U.S. presidents / LBJ and the Secret Service

This week: Saliva and our history / Research your home’s past / Purging to remake Turkey / Meet Dina Powell / Assad and U.S. presidents / LBJ and the Secret Service

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. What 770,000 Tubes of Saliva Reveal About America
Ancestry.com | April 2017
“This unique map shows this country’s great migrations, the echoes of our pioneer ancestors in our genes today.”

2. Has Trump Gone Washington?
By Niall Stanage | The Memo :: The Hill | April 15
“The Trump diehards are queasy at the notion that a president who ran as a proud outsider might be co-opted by a Washington establishment they loathe.”

3. Inside Turkey’s Purge
By Suzy Hansen | The New York Times Magazine | April 13
“As the ruling party expands the ranks of its enemies, life in a fragile democracy becomes stranger and stranger.”

4. How to research a property’s history using Bexar County’s free records search
By John Tedesco | JohnTedesco.net | November 2009
“Here you can search foreclosure notices, marriage licenses, business records — life’s important moments, all documented and filed at the county courthouse.”

5. Who’s Dina Powell? A rising Trump national security figure
By Catherine Lucey | Associated Press | April 13
“An Egyptian-American with international experience and fluency in Arabic, she was soon moved to the National Security Council, though she retains her economic title.”

6. Turkey will never be the same after this vote
By Henri Barkey | The Washington Post | April 11
“The consequences for Turkey are simple: A ‘no’ vote could potentially unleash a period of profound uncertainty and instability. By contrast, a ‘yes’ vote would institutionalize a populist authoritarian system that risks cataclysmic collapse …”

7. The Assad Family: Nemesis of Nine U.S. Presidents
By Robin Wright | The New Yorker | April 11
“Republican and Democratic Administrations alike have coaxed and cajoled, prodded and praised, and, most recently, confronted and condemned the Assads to induce policy changes.”

8. Can a coin dropped from the Empire State Building kill you?
By Reed Tucker | The New York Post | April 1
“From tumbling air conditioners to defective sidewalk grates to deli salad-bar tuna, there’s a random death potentially waiting around every corner in New York City.”

9. The spy who couldn’t spell: how the biggest heist in the history of US espionage was foiled
By Yudhijit Bhattacharjee | The Guardian | October 2016
“Ever since childhood, Brian Regan had been made to feel stupid because of his severe dyslexia. So he thought no one would suspect him of stealing secrets”

10. L.B.J.’s Bravado and a Secret Service Under Scrutiny
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | October 2014
“Johnson built an excellent relationship with the Secret Service. But as early as the week after the Dallas assassination, the F.B.I. director, J. Edgar Hoover, who was an old Johnson friend and Washington neighbor, tried to sow seeds of doubt in the president’s mind about the service.”

Kate Stone’s Civil War: Our pleasant Tyler life

Stone faces the moment she has waited so long for: the return to Brokenburn. And yet, she realizes her time in Texas may be among the best years of her life.

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone faces the moment she has waited so long for: the return to Brokenburn. And yet, she realizes her time in Texas may be among the best years of her life.

Sept. 3, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Just rested after our long, warm walk to church. Mollie and I appeared in all the glories of new caps and bodices, and pretty they are. We think the caps would please the most exacting milliner and Olympia would be charmed with my velvet waist. Mamma and I have worked untiringly to finish them in time, and our labors were only completed at nine last night. We never worked harder in our lives, but the combination of white silk, velvet, and embroidery meets with unqualified approval. Mamma fashioned our caps after we made the braids, and I embroidered both waists, mine in bunches of blue flowers and Mollie’s in pale pink roses. They are beauties.

September is here but My Brother still tarries. Mamma is so impatient to be off that she will not wait many more days on him. She wishes to start everything to the prairie next Thursday, and so our pleasant Tyler life will be broken up forever and a day. I fear we will look back to this last year of our life in Texas with regret. The happiest year of my life. …

Kate Stone’s Civil War: A fear of bad news

Stone’s first standard for even considering spending a significant number of days anywhere in Texas was its number of Louisiana war refugees living nearby. Tyler, Texas, suited her just fine.

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone’s first standard for even considering spending a significant number of days anywhere in Texas was its number of Louisiana war refugees living nearby. Tyler, Texas, suited her just fine.

Note her anxiety over simply the possibility of receiving any news from the outside world. It made her “sick with apprehension.”

Nov. 7, 1863

There are some changes in our household. Mr. Kaiser has left us after his school left him. He has gone seven miles in the country to open another school. May it prove more successful than this attempt. We have forgiven him for his desertion of Jimmy. He cannot help being a coward. He remarked pathetically to Mrs. Carson, speaking of the big boys of the school, that he felt he was on the mouth of a volcano. We have no teacher and no prospect of one.

Mamma is speaking seriously of going on to live in Gilmore to put Jimmy in school, but I hope she will not. There are so many refugees here that we may like Tyler after a while, and the next school the boys may be able to attend. …

Several letters this week. One from Uncle Johnny at Austin. He secured his situation but says everything is very high, wood $40 a cord. A letter from Sarah Wadley just as they were leaving for Georgia. Hope they succeeded in running the blockade and crossing the river in safety.

I do not wish for letters. Have such a fear of bad news. The sight of a letter turns me sick with apprehension.

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