Although John F. Kennedy died half a century ago this month, the legend of his assassination lives on—at least in the publishing industry, which has never stopped taking us back again and again and again to Dealey Plaza. Nearly 1,400 books have been written about the assassination; one New York house, the Norton-distributed Skyhorse Publishing, has recently turned the topic into a cottage industry, with plans to print or reprint 25 Kennedy books this year alone.
Jake Silverstein: You have the distinction of being the only reporter who was there when President Kennedy was shot, when Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested, and then when Oswald was shot. How did that happen?
Guillermo here has heard all the jokes. He knows how many aggies it takes to eat an armadillo (three—two to watch for headlights), why the chicken crossed the road (to show the armadillo it could be done), and what “armadillo” means in spanish (speed bump). And frankly, he’s not amused.
Click here to read more about the Nine-Banded Armadillo.
In a fluorescently lit bunker two floors beneath the concrete and bustle of Manhattan, a dozen or so reporters, publicists, and stylists gather around Riff Raff to see “the Bieber chain.” Everyone in the room has already watched the jittery six-second video Riff Raff posted to Twitter two weeks earlier of himself hanging backstage with pop stars Drake and Justin Bieber in Toronto.
In the food court of a nearly empty mall in North Dallas, Rick Santorum is explaining the importance of authentic characters and narrative arcs. It’s mid-morning on a Tuesday, most of the stores aren’t open yet, and the fire alarm is blaring for reasons unknown. Santorum is dressed in a dark suit, no tie, and a pair of Tony Lama cowboy boots he bought in Denver.
1. Craig's Listing
It doesn’t take anything away from Craig Watkins’s accomplishments as district attorney of Dallas County—since he won election in 2006, his office has exonerated 33 prisoners, some of whom had been incarcerated for decades—to say that he has been very lucky. A Democrat, he was swept into office on a wave of anti-Bush sentiment, becoming the first black DA in Texas history.
There are a dozen sit-down toilet stalls in the New Braunfels Buc-ee’s men’s room. On a recent Sunday, all of them were occupied, door locks slid to red, even as a good number of urinals—and there are 33 to choose from—went unmanned. The convenience store’s facilities are different from almost every other men’s room in America—not because they’re huge, and not because they’re busy (although both those things are true), but because elsewhere, stalls are usually a last resort.
Assuming that Wendy Davis decides to test her mettle against Greg Abbott, as seems likely at this writing, one thing is certain: absent a black swan event, she will not become the next governor of Texas. The electoral deck is too heavily stacked against her, and Abbott is too talented and disciplined to commit the sort of dramatic serial unforced errors required for a Democratic victory. But how Davis loses will have profound repercussions for the state.
A year ago this month, I was nervously preparing for my star turn at the 2012 Texas Book Festival. Two hundred and sixty people in my line of business—torturing the alphabet for fun and profit—were converging on the Capitol grounds, and I was going to play the big room, the Senate Chamber, at high noon.
JAKE SILVERSTEIN: You are famous for having made a dramatic public reversal on the subject of education. As a historian and as somebody who was involved in the policy making process as a member of George H. W. Bush’s Department of Education, you were a supporter of some of the elements of what is now known as reform—high-stakes testing, accountability, competition, school choice. And then three years ago you broke with that movement and became one of its fiercest critics.