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Posts Tagged ‘Texas

“Libertarians sometimes prove that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, and that there is a difference between logic and wisdom”*…

 

Art Martinez de Vara, the architect of Von Ormy’s incorporation as a liberty city

For the last few years, Von Ormy has been in near-constant turmoil over basic issues of governance: what form of municipal government to adopt, whether to tax its residents, and how to pay for services such as sewer, police, firefighters and animal control. Along the way, three City Council members were arrested for allegedly violating the Open Meetings Act, and the volunteer fire department collapsed for lack of funds. Nearly everyone in town has an opinion on who’s to blame. But it’s probably safe to say that the vision of the city’s founder, a libertarian lawyer whose family traces its roots in Von Ormy back six generations, has curdled into something that is part comedy, part tragedy.

In 2006, fearing annexation by rapidly encroaching San Antonio, some in Von Ormy proposed incorporating as a town. But in government-averse rural Texas, incorporation can be a hard sell. Unincorporated areas are governed mainly by counties, which have few rules about what you can do on private property and tend to only lightly tax. There’s no going back from what municipal government brings: taxes, ordinances, elections and tedious city council meetings. Still, the fear of being absorbed by San Antonio — with its big-city taxes and regulations — was too much for most Von Ormians.

Enter Art Martinez de Vara. At the time, Martinez de Vara was an ambitious third-year law student at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, a local boy with a penchant for Texas history and right-wing politics.

Martinez de Vara suggested a compromise of sorts. Von Ormy could become a “liberty city” — a stripped-down, low-tax, low-government version of municipal government that’s currently en vogue among the tea party in Texas.

Initially, the city would impose property and sales taxes, but the property tax would ratchet down to zero over time. The business-friendly environment would draw new economic activity to Von Ormy, and eventually the town would cruise along on sales taxes alone…

* Molly Ivins, Fort Worth Star-Telegram (7 September 1996)

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As we seek the middle way, we might recall that this is International Left-Handers Day.  Celebrated since 1976, it promotes awareness of the inconveniences faced by left-handers– 7 to 10% of the world’s population– and celebrates their uniqueness and differences in a predominantly right-handed world.

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Written by LW

August 13, 2017 at 1:01 am

“Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice”*…

 

“Average Dates of Last Killing Frost in Spring,” William Reed Gardner, Charles Franklin Brooks, and F.J. Marschner, 1916.

Published in a 1936 Atlas of American Agriculture, put together by the United States Department of Agriculture, these 1916 maps of the average dates of first killing frosts in fall and last killing frosts in spring were initially intended to help farmers plan their planting schedules. Now, the maps offer a rough gauge showing how much these dates have shifted over a century…

The whole story– and larger versions of both maps– at “100-Year-Old Frost Maps Show How Climate Change Has Shifted the Growing Season in the United States.”

* Robert Frost

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As we cover our fragile plants, we might recall that it was on this date in 1927 that a tornado wiped out the town of Rock Springs, Texas, killing 72 persons and causing $1.2 million in damage. The tornado, more than one mile in width, destroyed 235 of 247 buildings, in most cases leaving no trace of lumber or contents. Many survivors were bruised by large hail which fell after the passage of the tornado.

Rock Springs, Texas after the 1927 tornado

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Written by LW

April 12, 2016 at 1:01 am

Re-building America…

 

A map puzzle that should be simple (for U.S. readers, at least), but may be even more chastening than last Thursday’s

 

Click here to play on Jim’s Pages.

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As we get our bearings, we might recall that it was on this day in 1845 that a majority of the citizens of the independent Republic of Texas approved a proposed constitution, that when accepted by the U.S. Congress and approved by President James Polk later that year, made Texas the 28th puzzle piece– that is, the 28th American state.

The Annexation of Texas to the Union, by Donald M. Yena, 1986. Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

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Written by LW

October 13, 2012 at 1:01 am

Judd the facts, ma’am…

Donald Judd, was an artist, designer, and teacher whose work (largely grouped with the Minimalists, though Judd hated that label) has been featured at the Tate Modern and other museums around the world, and is on display at the Judd Foundation, in both Manhattan and Marfa, Texas.

In addition to Judd’s art, the Foundation displays, and via a “subsidiary” sells, furniture manufactured to Judd designs…  and it displays Judd’s library.

And even cooler (especially for readers who can’t make it to the Spring Street location), the library is searchable online.  One simply clicks on a shelf in the diagram of the layout…

… and sees the shelf in question….

… Mouse over a shelf (on the site), and a tab pops up identifying the theme of that part of the collection; click on a volume to see the bibliographical details of that book.

Tres, tres, cool!

As remind ourselves of Groucho Marx’s insight: “outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend; inside of a dog it’s too dark to read,” we might recall that this is a bid date in the annals of English letters…  It was on this date in 1842, that Alfred, Lord Tennyson, published Poems.  While the future Poet Laureate had been writing for a decade, it was this two-volume release (which included “Ulysses” and Morte d’Arthur”) that made his name.

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And on this date in 1925, Virginia Wolfe published the story of a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway– one of Time‘s “100 Best Novels since 1923” (2005).

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