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Mac McKinnon

Tuesday, June 16, 1998


By Mac McKinnon

Texas highways are some

of the best in country

Regular readers of this column are aware that I love trivia.

I was particularly interested in the latest publication I
receive monthly from John Sharp, state comptroller of public

In this publication, Texas highways are featured. I've
always been a big supportor of the Texas Department of
Transportation (TxDOT) or what used to be known as the
Highway Department. They do a great job of making sure Texas
has the best highways in the world.

Let me share some of the trivia concerning our highways
contained in one article.

- Texas has 3,233 miles of Interstate roads.

- We have 12,107 miles of U.S. Highways.

- Texas has 16,208 miles of state highways.

-Farm to market roads total 40,784 miles.

- Interstate frontage roads amount to 4,511 miles.

- There are 111 rest areas and 804 picnic areas.

I believe it is obvious from those figures that TxDOT stays
very busy and we should applaud them for their efforts. In
case you didn't add it up, that totals almost 77,000 miles
of state maintained roads that crisscross our great state.

Other trivia contained in the article is that the first
interstate highway contract in Texas was issued in 1956 for
U.S. 75 (now I-45) in Navarro County with the last
interstate completed in the state being I-27 in 1992 in the
panhandle connecting Lubbock and Amarillo.

I've been through most of the other states and a number of
foreign countries and none have the highways that we do. I
suppose Germany comes the closest with its autobahns
engineered for high speed driving.

Our highways are also the reason that driving is no big deal
to most of us as we'll get in our car and take off many
miles down the road, further than people in other states
would even think about driving.

In visiting with people in other states, they are aghast
that we will drive 75 or 90 miles just to go to a movie and
not even think twice about it.

People in Washington don't have a clue about the distances
involved in living in Texas. That's one reason people in
government don't understand why every community needs a
hospital as other hospitals are a long way off and time is
important in medical emergencies. There have been times over
the years that the feds didn't want to see money spent on so
many hospitals in supposedly little towns.

All these good roads and long distances are also one reason
that the speed limit needs to be 70 as it is in only a few
other states. Incidentally, according to an article in the
comptroller's newsletter, only four other states have 70
mile-an-hour speed limits, those being Oklahoma, Kansas,
Mississippi and Alabama.

Arizona has a 75 mile-an-hour limit while Montana has no
limit in the daytime - only that the speed be reasonable.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac McKinnon is the editor and publisher of
the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears every Tuesday. He
can be e-mailed at:

Your Views

Silence is acceptance according to reader

To The Editor:
I have gotten a lot of flack over the letter I wrote to the
editor that was printed June 2. The verse before the
scripture Sonii Thorp quoted says, "Everyone of us shall
give an account of himself to God." I did not make a
judgment. I simply asked the question as to whether or not
that had been thought of.

Silence is acceptance. I think Christians have a
responsibility to speak out against evil, otherwise they are
condoning it. I don't retract anything I said in my other
letter. All I'm trying to do is what Jesus would do in the
same situation. Jesus didn't compromise to please the world.
I accept all this flack I'm getting as persecution for the
Word's sake.

Thank you very much,
Betty Daniels
Pecos, Texas

Special days meant to remember all


To The Editor:
I would like to extend greetings of peace, love and the
Lord's blessing on everyone. The Catholic War Veterans held
our services for our fallen brothers and sisters at the
Santa Rosa Cemetery.

We also erected crosses in front of the courthouse, in
remembrance of our fallen comrades, who gave their lives, so
that we could have the freedom that we now enjoy. I believe
that people from our community should consider this a
special day and take the time to honor our fallen heroes who
experienced sacrifices for us.

As veterans we are no longer active in defense of our
country, but we continue to serve and honor our country. I
am asking for our community to please come together and help
us celebrate days dedicated to service to our country such
as Memorial Day and Veteran's Day which will be celebrated
on Nov. 1.

Rafael Hernandez
Commander Post 1859,
Catholic War Veterans

Critic's Corner

List gives insight to interesting books

I recently received a book in the mail for the purposes of
review. The title of the book, "The 50 (plus) Best Books on
Texas," by A. C. Greene, didn't lead me to believe it would
be much.

However, Greene has a great reputation and I've known of him
for many years, so I thought that I'd give it a read. Greene
wrote "The 50 Best Books on Texas" about 16 years ago, an
offering of which I was not aware, and it apparently caused
a flap in the Texas literary community.

This new book is somewhat different than the first with some
books and authors being dropped while others have been added
to the list. The listing was first published in the August
1981 issue of Texas Monthly magazine and was by the author's
own admission, subjective.

Greene was book editor, editorial page editor and columnist
for the Dallas Times-Herald before being awarded a
Dobie-Paisano fellowship which resulted in his classic "A
Personal Country", now available in trade paperback. He
currently writes a column for the Dallas Morning News and
has written more than 22 books, including his first novel,
"They Are Ruining Ibiza".

Now, back to my first statement about not believing the list
of best books on Texas would be very intereresting. How
could a list be interesting?

In short, it is interesting, informative and educational.
I'd always heard of many of the authors but haven't read
many of them, nor was I aware of exactly what their works

This "list" in a very readable style gives the reader
insight into some really great works by some very good
authors as well as background on the writers. I'm sure many
people have heard of most of the works written about by
Greene in the list of books.

It is recommended reading for anyone seriously interested in
writings about Texas, mostly by Texans.

The book, published by University of North Texas Press, is is available through or at your favorite book store..
Mac McKinnon

Our View

Countries subject to unilateral sanctions

It seems that the United States government has a
disagreement going with almost every government in the world.

The most used tool to "punish" other countries who do things
that offend our country is to impose economic sanctions.

Currently, more than 70 countries around the world, home to
more than two-thirds of humanity, are subject to unilateral
sanctions. More than half of those sanctions have been
imposed since Bill Clinton has been president.

These sanctions vary from minor cutbacks in U.S. aid to a
crippling embargo on all trade. History has demonstrated
that these sanctions are basically useless and in fact have
a tendency to hurt our country more than any other type of

Countries all over the world have ways to getting along
without us and our goods. Remember the famous wheat embargo
imposed by President Carter against Russia in the 1970s?
That just about killed American wheat farmers and others
involved in that trade in this country. Russia got their
wheat - and cheaper - from other sources.

It seems that sanctions are used in lieu of genuine
heart-to-heart talks and tolerance. We simply can't expect
every country to be like ours and in many instances, we
shouldn't want things to be that way.

Our intolerance is not only hurting business but will be
felt for years to come as people in other nations get fed up
with our domineering behaviour.
Our use of sanctions needs to be re-thought.

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