The Texas legislature has gaveled into session with a new house speaker and big news on the budget front. We’ll hear more on what’s happening at the Texas capitol. Plus from the nations capitol, a conversation with a U.S. congressman from the Rio Grande Valley on the realities ahead on the presidential impeachment front. And with the muting of the president on social media…a new conversation about the future of big tech and free speech. Also, the completion of an historic sculpture in Galveston more than a hundred years in the making. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:
Stories From Texas
With Texas reporting new record high numbers of Coronavirus cases, a warning from Washington that more needs to be done, we’ll have details. Also, as the fight against COVID-19 continues, setbacks reported in the war against human trafficking in Texas. Plus high hopes versus realistic expectations: with change at the White House, what Texas immigrant rights advocates think they’ll see when it comes to changes on the ground. And rarely has a nation been so well served by a people so ill treated. Now the postal service set to celebrate the Japanese American soldiers who saved thousands of Texans in WWII. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:
A new political landscape in Texas? Not quite. On the day after the general election, what has changed, what hasn’t, any why? The dominant narrative in the run up to election day was how an historic turnout in a state seldom considered in play in recent years might change the political map of the Lone Star State. Notably: the power of younger voters, the Latino vote, and the fight for the suburbs. Donald Trumps six point margin of victory, and republican retention of control of the Texas house raise many questions about expectations and assumptions in the run up. We’ll explore that and more today on the Texas Standard:
A democratic presidential campaign raising the stakes big time in Texas. We’ll follow the money and what its telling us. Also, imagine dropping your absentee ballot in the mail, and a few days after the election finding something unexpected in your mailbox: your unopened ballot. Concerns grow in Dallas county over problems coping with mail in ballots during an election season likely to include many of them. Also as the stakes heat up in the Texas race for U.S. Senate. Politifact check weighs in on a claim by the incumbent. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:
Less than 3 weeks until early voting in Texas and already some numbers are in: registration shatters records. Jeremy Wallace of the Houston Chronicle with more on voter registration records being set, what it tells us and what it doesn’t when it comes to the election outcomes. Also decriminalizing homelessness: one year on after a change in laws in the Texas capitol city. How much of a difference is it making, and are other Texas cities following suit? And far fewer cars on Texas roadways, why aren’t traffic fatalities far fewer as well? Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:
My friend, Jac Darsnek, owner of the always remarkable Traces of Texas webpage sent me a message recently. He asked if I had ever told the story of Dora Hand on the radio. I said, no, but I will. Thanks for the suggestion Jac. Here we go:
Dora Hand, many said, was the most beautiful woman in Dodge City, back in the seventies. That would be the 1870’s. To her rare beauty you may add an angelic, hypnotic voice that mesmerized all the cowboys who saw her perform at the Lady Gay Theater. She was a nightly singer there and performed also at the Alhambra Saloon. The cowboys coming in off the range from long cattle drives flocked to hear her. She sang in church, too, and those same cowboys, many of them strangers to church, would go just to hear her sing. Dora was much loved in the city for her singing and also because she shared her substantial income quite liberally with the less fortunate of Dodge.
Dodge City Mayor Jim “Dog” Kelley also owned the Alahambra and as such, was Hand’s benefactor and protector and probable boyfriend. One cowboy from Texas, the wealthy and handsome James “Spike” Kenedy came to hear her sing and was soon infatuated with her. Dog and Spike eventually got into a bar-room brawl over their dislike for one another and Mayor Kelley spiked, Spike, head-first embarrassingly into the dirt-street outside.
Spike Kenedy could not let this slight go unanswered. He left town a while and bought himself the fastest horse he could find so that he could outrun any posse that might pursue him. Then he returned one night to the mayor’s house and fired two shots through the plank wood at the spot where he knew Dog slept. Kenedy then raced off on his fast horse for what he thought was a clean get-away. Unbeknownst to him, Mayor Kelley was not home. Dora was house-sitting. Spike had killed her.
Famed Dodge City Sheriff Bat Masterson assembled a posse of lawmen including Wyatt Earp, Bill Tilghman, and Charley Bassett. Together, they took off after Spike Kenedy. It was kind of a dream-team posse, as if Superman, Batman, and Spiderman and Captain America got together to bring Spike to justice. They took a short-cut and caught up with Spike as he was ready to cross the Arkansas River. He turned his horse and ran, but Wyatt Earp shot Spike’s horse out from under him. Mastersno winged Spike in the shoulder. They took him back to Dodge and put him in jail, where Spike learned he had killed Dora, instead of Kelley , though he didn’t confess to the crime.
Spike’s father, Texas rancher Mifflin Kenedy immediately made his way up to Dodge City to arrange defense for his son’s crime. His father was no stranger to Dodge City as he provided, from his ranches in Texas, a huge percentage of the cattle brought there each year. Mifflin Kenedy, was also the co-founder of the King Ranch. Kenedy, Texas is named for him, as is Kenedy County. Suffice it to say that he was quite rich and influential.
So he arrived, they say, with a satchel full of money, and arranged for his 23 year old son Spike to get the medical care he needed for his shoulder wound. A judge conducted an inquest into Hand’s death. But after a meeting that included Marshal Masterson, Mayor Kelley — the crime’s supposed target — deputies and the judge, they came to an understanding. Spike would be released for lack of evidence. No one saw him do it.
Some say that there was a good deal of money exchanged that day, because, in the year following, each of those attending suddenly had eyebrow-raising funds for the building of nice homes and purchasing of successful businesses. No one knows for sure, but that’s what many have deduced.
Dora, just 34, was not forgotten. She received a magnificent funeral with a grand escort from all levels of society. As many as 400 mounted cowboys escorted her funeral carriage to Boot Hill, the biggest ever seen in Dodge City.
Spike, or Santiago as his mother, Petra, called him, eventually lost most of his left arm due to infections within the wound. He returned to Texas and died six years later at the age of 29 of typhoid fever. He is buried in the family plot in the Brownsville cemetery.
For a more detailed story see Petra’s Legacy: The South Texas Ranching Empire of Petra Vela and Mifflin Kenedy by Jane Clements Monday and Frances Brannen Vick, 2007.
Historic: Vice President Joe Biden picks his own VP. Senator Kamala Harris and the intersection of race and gender in American politics. Also, back to school this year is filled with stress and anxieties for all. A conversation about the challenges in special education during this pandemic. Plus, what is the recovery rate of COVID-19 and can we even really answer that question? And entertainment awards season is just around the corner. It’s usually fancy dresses and red carpets but it will look different this year, many hope in more way than one. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:
Though a more peaceful evening across Texas, voices continue to rise over police force against African Americans and people of color. Amid days of demonstrations over policing, a former Texas mayor and one-time presidential candidate decides it’s time for a full throated endorsement of Joe Biden. Our conversation with Julian Castro on what was, for him, a tipping point. Also, the return of the Brown Berets to El Paso. And an attempt to get back to normal at Texas A&M. We’ll talk with the system’s chancellor and more today on the Texas Standard:
50 years ago today, what many people mark as the start of the modern environmental movement. What is the state of the Earth today? During a time of global pandemic, a pause to reflect on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Also, testing for Coronavirus ramping up in the most populous counties, whats holding back similar gains elsewhere in Texas? Plus how COVID-19 is keeping em down, way down, on the dairy farm. And a Texas congressman’s claim about a German powder that kills Coronavirus: a Politifact check and more today on the Texas Standard:
If you’re a nonessential worker and you’re out for a drive, what happens if you get pulled over? The realities of police work during a pandemic. Today, our conversation with the chief of police of the Texas Capitol City on enforcement of stay at home orders, and how police are dialing back some of what they do to keep officers safe.. Also state parks and historic sites now shuttered. We’ll hear from the head of Texas Parks and Wildlife. Plus the boom in urban bear hunts: teddy bears that is. Some practical tips for first time hunters and more today on the Texas Standard:
Iowa? Check. New Hampshire? Check. Brace yourself for Super Tuesday where Texas is sure to shine, we’ll have all the details. Also Food safety, food labels, small producers and big producers. A roundtable with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And what’s the meaning of a warrant forgiveness? We’ll explore. Plus how artificial intelligence is inspiring new music. And have you started thinking about your Valentine? Ours will melt your heart. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:
Just ahead of Super Tuesday, voter registration hits an all time high in Texas. We’ll look at what the new record setting numbers add up to. Other stories we’re tracking: governor Abbott’s decision to stop accepting refugees, widely panned by big city mayors and major newspaper editorial boards. We’ll hear why its playing out in somewhat unexpected ways in Amarillo. And Politifact Texas marks 10 years separating fact from fiction. All of those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:
As the senate takes up impeachment, it takes up something else in the spirit of bipartisanship with major implications for Texas, we’ll hear all about it. Also, Texas among the states becoming magnets for people from Puerto Rico. As the territory hits population lows, who’s left? And remembering a moment that made Barbara Jordan a household name 24 years after her passing. Plus the week in Texas politics and much more today on the Texas Standard:
The house moves closer to impeachment, but any closer to the removal of the commander in chief? We’ll do a breakdown of the next steps in the process. As members of the house prepare to vote on the removal of a president, they also hand him a political victory on trade. One that will have a real impact on the Lone Star State. Plus the eyes of Texas might be upon you more than you think. We’ll take a closer look at the state’s network of surveillance centers. And a surprising shift in the incarceration of minorities. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:
It’s not pay for play, but college athletes won’t have to turn away endorsement dollars. A shakeup in the big buck business of college sports? We’ll have the story. Also a shortage of water at an ice detention center. What we know about conditions and what we don’t…and why. And the latest numbers on Texas kids and health insurance add up to a grim situation, we’ll take a look. And hell yes, or no? Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke says he’s not for weapons confiscation. We’ll have a Politifact check and more today on the Texas Standard:
Guilty. A jury has convicted a former Dallas Police officer of murdering her neighbor in his own apartment. We’ll have reaction and a look ahead to sentencing. Also, Texas State University under scrutiny for under-reporting sexual assaults on campus. We’ll take a look at what happened and why. Meanwhile, the state’s first black city is at risk of being overtaken by developers. A look at the history we’re about to lose. And California is going to let college athletes profit off their images despite NCAA rules. Why Texas should care. All of that and then some today on the Texas Standard:
A major rule change for migrant families in detention just announced which some say could mean families held in detention indefinitely. We’ll have details. Other stories were tracking, a new spring in the step of Texas Democrats. A closer look at a possible shift in the political psychology of the Lone Star State. Also, water borne toxins blamed for the deaths of 4 dogs in the Austin area, but the same algae blooms linked to those deaths can be found across Texas. Practical tips on keeping pets safe and cool around the water. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:
Now that we’re in the dog days of summer, I’ve been thinking about the long summers of my youth. We had longer summers then. It’s not just an idealized memory. Schools would dismiss us in late May and we wouldn’t return until September 2nd or so, generally the day following Labor Day.
What I remember distinctly about those summers of more than 50 years ago, is that I was a free range kid. My mom opened the gate in the morning for me and my brothers and we’d wander out into the great pastures of our neighborhood and entire town – yes, it was a small town – unsupervised. We’d roam all over with all the other kids, also free range, and play games and sometimes watch TV at other kids’ houses until we were chased out by a stern mom who’d tell us to “get- on-outside and play.”
I say we were unsupervised, but not really. The whole town had its arms around us and made sure we behaved, and were safe.
About noon we’d meander back home and have dinner. That is what we called lunch then. The noon meal was dinner. Then we’d have a nap, with cicadas humming loudly, and go back out until supper time, about seven. We’d eat supper quickly so we could get back out to our friends where we’d play until well after dark, enjoying games like “kick-the-can” and “red light.”
The grown-ups were out there with us, sitting in lawn chairs, making homemade ice cream, listening to baseball games on small transistor radios and gazing up into the stars, marveling at the tech-savvy age they lived in, where they could see NASA satellites passing over.
Yes, as kids, we were quite free. I remember one day me and my brothers were on our bikes with backpacks on, ready to head out and my father said, “Where are you boys going?”
We said, “To the lake.”
He said, “To that one five miles east of town?”
“Yes, sir,” we said.
“That one out there on the FM road with all the 18 wheeler traffic?”
“That one you have to cross the rattlesnake field to get to?”
“Yes, sir,” we admitted.
“All right. Just be back by dark or your momma will worry,” he said.
I like that my Dad would never admit to worrying himself. He just worried about my mom worrying.
He was also big on the idea that boyhood shaped and toughened the man that the boy would become.
Once I asked him for a ride over to my friend Gonzalo’s house.
He said, “It’s only a mile over there. Walk. It’ll do you good.”
I said, “But it’s about 100 degrees right now.”
He said, “Wear a hat.”
Summers sure are different for kids now. The world is no doubt more dangerous now than it was then.
But no matter the reasons I’m grateful for the boyhood I had, rather than these modern ones, with kids so often cooped up inside with high tech games. To be honest, though, I do have a tiny bit of cross-generational tech envy in me. I know that when I was 15 I would have loved to have had an Xbox. Still, I know for sure that I wouldn’t trade my free-range summers for all the terabytes of RAM in the world.
A presidential visit to El Paso and a rejoinder from a Texas representative: no thank you Mr. President, we don’t want to hear from you. We’ll have more on Mr. Trump’s visit to El Paso and our conversation with Texas state representative from El Paso, César Blanco. Also the latest from a city still in mourning over the loss of 22 people. And psychologists discuss the issues of mental health and guns. And changes to Texas’ laws on hemp and CBD oil creating confusion over pot arrests? Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:
Have you been living in the U.S. for at least 2 years? Can you prove it on demand? We’ll look at what new rules on expedited deportation could mean for Texas. Also, as Washington focuses on the Mueller report, many in Texas talking about the 18 year old Dallas born U.S. citizen, detained by border agents for three weeks without explanation. What’s making news in your part of the Lone Star State? Tweet us @TexasStandard. Plus, a change in federal rules that could take away food stamps for more than 300 thousand Texans, we’ll have details. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard: