From the Annals of the Plains – In 1873, Joseph Glidden of DeKalb, IL submitted an application to the U.S. Patent Office for barbed wire. Glidden’s was not the first barbed wire. His design was inspired by seeing an exhibit of Henry Rose’s single-stranded barbed wire at the De Kalb county fair. Glidden’s design significantly improved on Rose’s by using two strands of wire twisted together to hold the barbed spur wires firmly in place. The design was also easily mass-produced. By 1880 more than 80 million pounds of inexpensive Glidden-style barbed wire was sold, making it the most popular wire in the nation. Ranchers and farmers quickly discovered that Glidden’s wire was the cheapest, strongest, and most durable way to fence their property.
From the Annals of the Pests – In 1984, Charles W. DeRyee, a druggist in Corpus Christi, mentioned in a letter that the boll weevil was in Texas. This was the first known reference to the pest being in Texas. The tiny insect was one of the most devastating pests ever to effect American agriculture. By the 1920’s, the BW was present in ever cotton producing region of the state. Eradication programs have been somewhat successful, but the BW remains a problem to this day.
Ah, who is Red kidding? The Texas Tribune reports that Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid “Cupcake” Miller has come up with yet a third explanation for why his trip to participate in the Dixie National Rodeo in Mississippi was billed to the taxpayers. First, we were told that Miller decided to set up a work meeting with Mississippi agriculture officials when he wasn’t roping calves, but those meetings fell through. Then, we were told the trip was intended to be personal in nature and was it was but a mere mistake to book it as a business trip. Red knows you can hardly wait for the next iteration of the explanation for the perambulations of the good commissioner.
Miller has told the Tribune there was “absolutely no validity” to the complaints from liberal advocacy group Progress Texas that led to the Rangers investigation, calling them “harassment.”
“There’s nothing absolutely illegal or wrong with either of those trips,” he said.
But on Thursday, Miller’s political consultant told the Tribune a new version of the Mississippi trip. He said it was always supposed to be a business trip to meet with Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith and that those meetings did occur, contrary to what his boss has previously said.
“I think there was some discrepancy about whether or not he had a meeting with her on that trip,” Smith said. “He met with her multiple times. He went to the rodeo with her.”
Tribune attempts to confirm whether Mississippi officials met with Miller have been unsuccessful.
As for Miller’s rodeo-ing while on a state-paid trip, Smith said there was nothing wrong with it and compared it to buying souvenirs while on a business trip.
“He can’t flip a switch and say, ‘I’m no longer the agriculture commissioner here, and I’m the agricultural commissioner now,’” Smith said.
Miller, who had hip surgery this week in Fort Worth, was not available for an interview. Last week, his staff said he was on medical leave. And the week before that, the Tribune was told the commissioner’s schedule was too full to allow one.
Red guesses that “Jesus Shot” thing didn’t work out exactly as planned if Miller needs hip surgery. And if Red ever finds that switch, he damn sure is going to flip it.
Red knows that many elected office holders will attempt to use their office to keep their name in front of the voters as much as possible and gratify their all-consuming egos. You can’t go anywhere in Texas without finding a County Commissioner’s name on a sign within a half-mile. But Agricultural Commissioner Sid “Cupcake” Miller is taking it to a higher level with his new stickers that every Texas gas station must place on fuel pumps.
The sticker is topped by Miller’s name in large print and then after a friendly “Howdy Neighbors!” (Red admires proper use of an exclamation point!), Sid goes on to disclaim responsibility for motor fuel taxes and make sure the driver knows that the dastardly U.S. Congress and Texas Legislature are to blame.
When asked why Miller’s name was so prominent on the new stickers, the Texas Agriculture deputy commissioner’s response was: “The individuals involved in the design are not currently in the office.” If only the same could be said for Sid.
The Texas Tribune reports that the Texas Rangers are now investigating Texas Agriculture Commissioner and Tea Party Hero Sid Miller of Stephenville. The Rangers are investigating two trips Miller took to Oklahoma and Mississippi that were charged to the State but appear to have been for personal reasons. Miller traveled to Oklahoma for a “Jesus Shot” from a discredited doctor and claimed he was traveling to meet Oklahoma officials. The Oklahomans have repeatedly stated they knew nothing about Miller’s trip. Miller also traveled to Mississippi to take part in the National Dixie Rodeo and did very well by all accounts. Miller claimed that he intended to meet with “agricultural officials” there but when the meeting fell through he reimbursed the State. Miller’s claim was contradicted by his communications director Lucy Nashed who claimed the trip was always personal and mistakenly booked as being for State business. Nashed resigned this week saying there “was a tremendous lack of communiction” at the Agriculture Department.
Sid, a word of advice from Red, when your communications director is complaining about a lack of communication, you have a problem. And Sid, you’re making it way too easy.
Photo of Sid “Cupcake” Miller from http://www.mysanantonio.com
Texas Agriculture Commissioner and Tea Party darling Sid Miller posted a photo on his Facebook page of President Barack Obama smiling, holding up a blue T-shirt with the face of Che Guevara. Miller claimed that Obama was holding the shirt during his trip to Cuba this week. The indignant Miller wrote:
President Obama refuses to return to the United States in order to meet with European leaders to discuss a response to today’s terror attacks in Brussels–attacks that severely injured a number of Americans. Instead, he remains in Cuba holding a shirt depicting the image of Che Guevara–one of the most reviled terrorists of the modern age–a murdering thug who was responsible for thousands of innocent deaths. President Obama is laughing at us. He understands the symbolism of this picture and yet he doesn’t care. I believe his actions are disgraceful. Do you agree?
Apparently, Miller is easily duped as the photo is from Obama’s 2009 visit to an MIT research lab and the image of Guevara was photo-shopped in. Sid might have figured out that this shot probably wasn’t from the Cuba trip by looking at the English language sign in the background. But that would have required some actual thought.
Sid needs to stop posting stupid crap on Facebook and consider doing the job he was elected to do.