Tag Archives: Waco

Slick Willie at it again

Lying, that is. The man who made Monica a household word and openly sold pardons at the end of his second term ought to be more humble. He isn’t.

“With President Clinton wagging his finger at the Tea Party movement and claiming that the movement is inciting violence, it is worthwhile to remember the role the Clinton administration [played] in perpetrating and covering up numerous violent and other crimes at Waco.”

Yeah, Bad Bill, tell us about all the good you did in Waco. For the children.

Time of The Rangers


The amazing thing about the Texas Rangers is that, after a hundred and eighty plus years, they continue to thrive, despite the pressures of political correctness, the addition of a few women to their ranks and recurring political attempts to change them. Indeed, at 134 strong, there are more of them now than at any time in the past hundred years. Some no longer ride or even like horses, but all still dress Western, with boots and big hats. They are, apparently, more independent than ever and certainly better-trained. And they have kept their legendary reputation for toughness and ingenuity while adding a now-rarely-disputed one for integrity.

Independent historian Mike Cox’s valuable new contribution to Texas history shows the evolution of all that in an entertaining sequel to his popular Wearing The Cinco Peso, about the Rangers’ nineteenth century origins. Their new role is more complicated, in keeping with the times. Mike tells it in the same episodic way as his previous book and shows how the Rangers are woven through modern Texas history: policing the border during the Mexican revolution; enforcing Prohibition and gambling laws; taming overnight oil-boom towns; and catching bank robbers and kidnappers. They wisely drew the line at one politician’s insistence that they enforce laws against fornication. They’ve even survived their own romance, from the first dime novel in 1910 to television’s silly kick-boxing version. But some legends are factual. The apocryphal "One Riot, One Ranger" has proven true as often as not. "There’s an unwritten code in the Rangers," longtime leader Homer Garrison said. "You don’t back out of situations…"

Yet Mike shows they have sometimes failed, sometimes spectacularly, as in a 1970s attempt to free hostages during a prison takeover that became a bloody fiasco, and the tragic end to the 1990s Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, though the FBI had more to do with it. Nowadays all Rangers have some college and function as detectives more often than enforcers. As always they are spread thin across the state, each having responsibility for "two to three" of the 254 counties and "some as many as six." Nevertheless, they can mass anywhere on short notice for "situations" requiring their skills and political independence. As the book ends in 2009, they’re investigating  the possibility that the 2008 burning of the 1856 governor’s mansion in downtown Austin may have been retaliation–for the Rangers-led raid a few months earlier on the Yearning For Zion ranch where polygamy with girls as young as twelve was practiced. Driving by the grand old home’s gutted shell, a Texan has confidence that if anyone can track down the pitiless arsonist(s), it will be the Texas Rangers.

For more on Mike’s book:

Publisher’s book page: http://us.macmillan.com/timeoftherangers
Author’s blog with virtual tour itinerary: http://www.lonestarbooks.blogspot.com/
Author’s website: http://www.mikecoxonline.com/

It’s floodin’ down in Texas

Not a good day to be a boat or floating-restaurant owner on the Brazos River, nor to live near any roaring creeks or impromptu lakes around Waco.

"Pouring rain and heavy winds are beating down on Tony Cain as he treads, fully-clothed, through the active Brazos River desperately trying to save his floating restaurant and banquet hall, the Brazos Belle."

Good work in this report from Waco Tribune Herald, with good video clips, though I have never been able to understand the appeal of present tense to young writers–incuding myself when I did it long ago. 

Austin has minor urban steet flooding, and the radar west and south of us is almost empty for the moment, but the worst appears yet to come. Dripping Springs has had almost 4 inches and Burnet County to the west has many flooded roads, Bob Rose says (not a permalink here, so I’ll fix later). And the flood watch continues until tomorrow morning. Email alert from Troy Kimmel that weather service expects the tornado threat to grow in the next few hours, some to us but particularly to our north where a small but hardy surface low is forming southwest of Fort Worth. One good thing, Lake Travis she will rise again.

UPDATE  The rains pretty much quit over the rancho before dark, and no tornadoes appeared anywhere nearby. And, by Saturday afternoon, Lake Travis had risen another five feet–at 665.3 she’s almost back to normal for this time of year.  

Be a Pepper

"On this day in 1984, shareholders in the Dr Pepper Company accepted a buyout offer from a New York investment-banking firm, and Texas’s preeminent soft-drink company went private."

But even though the third most popular soft drink is now manufactured in St. Louis, corporate headquarters remains in Dallas and a trip to Waco will still get you a look at the Dr (no period) Pepper Museum. Or you could visit the blog.

Texas Rangers

The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum, in Waco, is a sight to see, if you’re ever in the area. I was reminded of it when an old Army buddy, Joe Bol, mentioned the Rangers in a comment the other day. So I went looking for the hall’s web site, which I had seen before, but not in a while. The virtual tour is almost as good as the real thing, which I took many years ago, and, in one sense, a little better. That’s because the virtual museum is giving away free pdf copies of old, out-of-copyright books on the Rangers, mainly from the late 19th century, and a few copyright newbies, as well. Check it out. The free books, and the virtual museum. An online gift shop, too. For $7.95, they’ll sell you a gold-colored circle-star badge tie tack. It could be a Christmas or Hannukah present.