“There are no words in any language to express truly our grief and the sympathy we wish to extend to you and your family on the death of your husband, the President—our President,” wrote sixteen-year-old Marcy Wentworth on the cold, rainy afternoon of November 25, 1963, as she bent over an ivory sheet of Crane’s stationery.
On the last morning of his life, John F. Kennedy awoke beneath Vincent Van Gogh’s Road With Peasant Shouldering a Spade, an atypically placid landscape by an artist known for his agitated imagery. Along with an assortment of fifteen other paintings and small sculptures by big names such as Monet, Picasso, and Henry Moore, the Van Gogh had been installed in the Kennedys’ suite just hours before their arrival at Fort Worth’s Hotel Texas.
I consider myself to be as much a representative of a true Texan as anybody I know, but I have to confess to one shortcoming: I just don't get the gun culture, and I don't think I ever will. That's not to say that I don't like shooting. I was Deadeye Dick at my CHL class, scoring 236 out of a possible 250 with a borrowed Glock. But I don't own a gun and have no plans to get one. I know that the vast majority of gun owners are people just like me, but my experience in my CHL class confirmed once again that there is a small segment of gun enthusists who are some of the most paranoid people I have ever encountered. They are absolutely certain that a government agent will knock on their door at any moment and seize their private arsenal. If someone handed me a flier that declared, "Get your guns & Head to San Antonio," I would probably get in my car and head for Dallas as fast as I could.
Attorney general candidate Dan Branch has issued a statement vowing to attack voter fraud. And once again, I am compelled to point out that voter fraud is a solution in search of a problem. Except for rare incidents, such as those involving ACORN a few years back, voter fraud is next to nonexistent. Dan Branch knows this, and so does anybody else that has followed the issue.
The good news about Brandon Creighton's and Steve Toth's decision to run for Tommy Williams' Senate seat (SD 4) is that there will be one less far-right member of the Legislature. One of them has to lose. In all seriousness, I think Creighton made a mistake with this decision. He had a chance to win a statewide office (Dept. of Agriculture) and passed it up.
Suzan Lane grew up on a rice farm outside Houston. She was ten years old when she penned a letter to Jackie. (Photograph by Johnny Miller)
Dec. 6, 1963
Dear Mrs. Kennedy,
“There are no words in any language to express truly our grief and the sympathy we wish to extend to you and your family on the death of your husband, the President—our President,” wrote sixteen-year-old Marcy Wentworth on the cold, rainy afternoon of November 25, 1963, as she bent over an ivory sheet of Crane’s stationery. Her bedroom, in her family’s northeast Austin home, was her sanctuary from her four younger siblings, and it was there—after three wrenching days of watching TV news reports about the assassination—that she tried to articulate her sense of loss. A red Royal typewriter sat on her desk, but she had decided to write the letter by hand, so that Jackie Kennedy would see her sincerity. “We Texans pride ourselves in our state,” she continued. “That such a perverted act would happen here doubles the weight of grief in our hearts.”
The awkwardly named Economic Stabilization Fund, more commonly called the Rainy Day Fund, is our piggy bank, and we owe its existence to our mineral wealth. It was created in the late eighties, as rising oil prices were pulling Texas out of a prolonged economic downturn. The idea was simple: a state fortunate enough to be visited every so often by an oil boom ought to be able to set aside a little something during the good times to help out during the bad. It’s a way of spreading out our booms.
Kudos to Greg Abbott for coming out in favor of the DREAM Act (or, at the very least, reforming it), which the Republican candidates for lieutenant governor were quick to denounce in their recent debate.