Posts Tagged ‘LBJ Library’

We are only nine days away from the 100th celebration of the birthday of President Johnson next Wednesday, August 27. During this countdown, I have been monitoring the important events of his life as documented by the LBJ 100th Centennial Celebration. On this day in 1964, President Johnson signed the Hill-Burton Act which provided resources to build hospitals, mental health facilities, medical and dental schools and to support the education of future doctors, nurses and dentists.

As I read his comments at the signing, I am struck by how the same issues he tried to address in 1964 are still with us in 2008.

On this day in August 1964, President Johnson signed a bill extending the Hill-Burton Act.

The President said,

We have many new hospitals today in cities that are large and small. But many of our most important hospitals are too old. The hospitals which serve more than two-thirds of our population in nearly 200 metropolitan areas are obsolete, are out of date, are desperately in need of modernization. This legislation that I am signing today will help us get started on that long overdue job. …

The Hill-Burton hospital construction program has been extended another 5 years, but Congress has also provided assistance for constructing mental health facilities, mental retardation facilities, the medical and dental schools that we need.

And Congress has helped to meet our health manpower needs by a program to overcome our critical shortage of nurses, a program to train more graduate public health personnel, and by providing assistance to students attending medical and dental and nursing schools.

We are supporting, as no nation on earth has ever supported, the strength of our medical profession. We are supporting them with modern facilities, with more and better trained manpower, and productive research in more and more fields. I believe that we are pursuing a sensible and yet a most responsible course.

Texas Forums will host forums on The Cost of Health Care on October 7, 2008 at the LBJ Library Atrium on the 10th floor from 6:00 – 8:30. We will be using the National Issues Forums discussion guide, Coping with the Cost of Health Care: How Do We Pay for What We Need? From 6:00 – 6:30 our partners will be on hand with information about health care in Texas. So far, we are partnering with the following organizations and our list is growing:

Our colleagues at the University of Houston Downtown Center for Public Deliberation will be holding forums on this same issue on September 18, 2008 giving us a glimpse into how Texans in two different communities are thinking about the cost of health care and possible remedies that they would be willing to support. This will provide talking points that our partners can use to inform the Texas Legislature about the concerns of Texans who come together to deliberate this critical issue.

On the national front, dozens of Public Policy Institutes in the National Issues Forums network and all twelve Presidential Libraries will also be hosting forums on Coping with the Cost of Health Care. The results of these forums will be reported in a national report commissioned by the Kettering Foundation and prepared by Public Agenda.

If you would like more information about these upcoming forums or about partnering with us to encourage public forums on this critical issue, contact Taylor L. Willingham at taylor [at] austin-pacific. [dot] com or leave a comment here.

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This is the first recipe ever posted on this site, but it’s appropriate given that it was President Johnson’s favorite cake and this is the Centennial of his birth. Cook it up on August 27th and let me know how it is. Or better yet, join me at the LBJ Library for free cake, ice cream and Bar-B-Q (probably in that order!) and the opening of the “To the Moon: The American Space Program in the 1960’s” exhibit.

German Chocolate Pound cake

1 Pkg German Sweet Chocolate
2 Cups of sugar
1 Cup of shortening (1/2 olive; ½ Crisco)
4 Eggs
2 Teaspoons vanilla
2 Teaspoons butter flavoring
1 Cup butter milk
3 Cups of sifted flour
½ Teaspoon soda
1 Teaspoon salt (light on this)

Melt chocolate over hot water. Remove and stir until cool.
Cream sugar and shortening
Add eggs and flavoring
Then butter milk
Add chocolate
Next dry ingredients with milk
Cook in angel food cake 350 degrees for about 1 hour.

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Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park News Release

President Johnson at the ranch he loved

President Johnson at the ranch he loved

Stonewall, TX – Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park invites everyone to come out to the LBJ Ranch on Wednesday, August 27 in celebration of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s life and legacy. On that date, our 36th president would have been 100 years old. In his honor, the annual wreath laying ceremony will be presented in the Johnson family cemetery on the LBJ Ranch near Stonewall. The public is invited to drive from the State Park to the ranch for this program, which will commence at approximately 10:30 a.m. Gates to the LBJ Ranch will open at 9:30 a.m. Drivers must display a permit to drive onto the ranch. Permits will be available at Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site’s Visitor Center, one mile east of Stonewall or 14 miles west of Johnson City off U.S. Highway 290, where traditional old time games and refreshments will be served all day.

President and Mrs. Johnson’s daughters, Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson, will lay the wreath and share their personal reminiscences. Colonel Jacqueline D. Van Ovost of Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, representing the sitting president, will assist in laying the wreath and offer remarks suitable to the occasion.

Texas White House

Texas White House

Immediately following the ceremony, the public is invited to enter the famed Texas White House for the first time to view the newly restored presidential office and enjoy National Park Service tours of the room and the grounds. Tours will begin in the historic airplane hangar, a short walk from the house and grounds. Additional rooms in the house will be furnished and opened to the public on future dates.

Lynda Robb, the elder Johnson daughter, is a self-proclaimed “professional volunteer.” She is currently President of the National Home Library Foundation and Chair Emerita of Reading is Fundamental. She has previously served as co-vice chair of America’s Promise, a board member of Ford’s Theatre, Chair of the President’s Advisory Committee for Women, a member of the selection board of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, Chair of the Virginia Women’s Cultural History Project, Chair of the Virginia Task Force on Infant Mortality and Commissioner on the National Commission to Prevent Infant Mortality. She is a graduate of the University of Texas and recipient of numerous civic awards and honors. She and her husband, former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senator Charles Robb, have three daughters and two grandchildren.

Luci Baines Johnson is Chairman of the Board of LBJ Asset Management Partners, Inc. and Vice President of BusinessSuites, a nationwide office business service center. Her diverse community commitments include board member of the LBJ Family Foundation, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation. She is a co-founder of Children’s Hospital Grandparent’s Club, a board member of SafePlace, a Life Trustee of Children’s Hospital Foundation of Austin and the Seton Fund, a member of the advisory board of Trinity School, and a former member of the advisory boards of the University Of Texas School Of Nursing and the School of Communication. She has received numerous awards including the YWCA of Greater Austin–Women of the Year 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award, the SafePlace 2006 Community Hero Award, the 2005 Girls Scouts of America’s Women of Distinction Award, 1997 Top 25 Women Owned Businesses by the Austin Business Journal and the Distinguished Service Award from Georgetown University School of Nursing (1996). She is married to Ian Turpin and has four grown children, one stepson, and ten grandchildren.

Colonel Jacqueline D. Van Ovost is the Commander of the 12th Flying Training Wing (FTW), Randolph Air Force Base. The wing maintains approximately 150 aircraft and includes an infrastructure worth more than $3.1 billion for a work force of about 8,000 active duty, reservists and civilians. The 12th FTW hosts Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, 19th Air Force, Air Force Personnel Center, Air Force Recruiting Service and 30 other tenant units, while supporting an estimated 51,000 retirees. Colonel Van Ovost is the recipient of the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Aerial Achievement Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and Air Force Commendation Medal.

President Johnson’s birth date has been celebrated with a wreath laying since August 27, 1973. He died on January 22, 1973, and the National Park Service has been conducting public tours using a bus fleet since then. In contrast to the park ranger-guide bus tours of the LBJ Ranch, this year the public will access the ranch in their own vehicles. The ranch will be open for touring by private vehicle beginning August 27 and continuing until September 30, when this vehicular access will be evaluated.

For further information or driving directions, and for additional upcoming events during 2008, Lyndon B. Johnson’s Centennial Year, please call (830) 868-7128, ext. 231 or 244, or log on to www.lbj100.org.

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The participants in the small groups at the Central Texas D&D Summit had almost forty-five minutes to share the lessons and insights they have gained during the course of their dialogue and deliberation work.

Steven Fearing set up the groups with the following comments.

  • This meeting is not a workshop on dialogue and deliberation techniques. Instead it is an opportunity for us to get to know each other and to document what we have done and learned. More importantly, we want to build relationships and find out how we can work together in the future.
  • You will be working in small groups at five tables
  • Each table has a facilitator
  • You have a template prepared by Sunni where you can capture in words and pictures from your group’s dialogue.
  • You will have 45 minutes for this portion and should feel free to take breaks as needed
  • Goal for our time in these small groups is to share and capture key learning, insights, and challenges related to dialogue and deliberation in community work.
  • After 45 minutes, we will come together to capture common themes – such as assets and resources, challenges and opportunities. Sunni will help us integrate all of the ideas we discuss in our groups and chart on our templates into a graphic narrative.

Each group had a beautiful graphic map drawn by Sunni Brown where they could capture their insights. The groups were lightly facilitated by Rod Reyna, Susan Schultz, Tobin Quereau, and Mary Thompson. The facilitators charged the participants:

  • Think of a time when you brought people together to work on an issue or community problem. What lessons have you learned about using dialogue and deliberation for helping people work together? These may be lessons you learned from your successes or things you learned that you would do differently.
  • Think also about challenges you have faced and what you would like to do better, and
  • What else do you need to be more effective in using dialogue and deliberation in your work with communities?

Here are the results of their small group dialogue:

Yellow Group

yellow group

Susan Schultz, Neil Meili, Stephanie Nestlerode, Steve Swanson, Lindsay LeBlanc

Blue Group


Mary Thompson, Ed Sharpe, Margaret Valenti, Robyn Emerson, Oliver Markley, Patricia Wilson

Red Group


Tobin Quereau, Ann Brudno, Jenny Meigs, Tom Moran, Landon Shultz, Mike Aaron, Leilani Rose

Green Group


Rod Reyna, Sherry Lowry, Robena Jackson, Cathey Capers, Juli Fellows, Steven Fearing

As the participants described their templates, Sunni captured their themes:


Prior to the reporting out and reflection, Erin Kreeger and Taylor Willingham had a charge for the group:

As you listen to the groups’ posting their templates, listen for assets and opportunities. Think about the opportunities that you identified in this room that will help you in your work. Perhaps you identified asset or opportunities that involve:

  • Connecting with someone else in this room or someone who needs to be part of this community
  • Participation in an event or activity
  • Contributing your expertise or resources

Make note of the ideas as they come to you. After every group describes their template we will have time for collective reflection that Sunni will capture for us in graphic form.

Here are some of the opportunities the group identified to connect:


In keeping with our spirit of reflection and “continuous improvement” (that term is here for Charles’ benefit!) Charles Knickerbocker led us in a period of reflection on the meeting. He asked them what worked and what did we need more of. Here’s what the group had to say:

what worked

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On April 19, 2008, thirty advocates for dialogue, deliberation and community engagement in the Central Texas region gathered at the LBJ Library for a “learning summit.”

participantsParticipants represented a range of sectors – civic, government, business, non-profit/NGO, education – with a myriad of expertise and knowledge both on issues and approaches, from smaller-scale group dialogues to large, multi-stakeholder initiatives.

There was no magic or mystery to how participants were selected. The planning team simply brainstormed until we had 50 potential invitees with the understanding that 1) we could physically and design-wise handle 30-40 and 2) this was only the first gathering of what we hope will become a sustainable network.

The initiative for this gathering came from the growing number of people in Central Texas dedicated to engaging citizens in dialogue about deep-seated community problems and finding opportunities for people to meaningfully engage with each other in building relationships. Momentum has been building for five years and dozens of informal networks were already engaging with each other.

dianeBut the upcoming National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation 2008 conference in Austin; the resources of Patricia Wilson and students in the courses she teaches on participatory planning, civic engagement, facilitation, conflict resolution, and group process design; the leadership of the LBJ Presidential Library; and the persistent and gentle persuasion of Diane Miller (gentle? Diane? she may look it, but who are we kidding here?) ultimately led to a formal gathering of these amazing D&D practitioners. This unique gathering of regional practitioners even drew the attention of NCDD.

NCDD posting

The summit was organized and sponsored by:

We identified four outcomes for the day and Charles Knickerbocker (who is our much-appreciated “accountability guru”) provided potential metrics for measuring our movement toward those outcomes:

Inform: Acquaint participants with National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD) and the upcoming conference in Austin.

Metric: Track with NCDD and record the number of participants that register for the conference.

Learn: Share and capture key learning, insights, and challenges related to dialogue and deliberation in community work.

a) Identify specific local D&D efforts that could be used as examples of NCDD’s ‘Seven Challenges Facing the D&D Community’;
b) Members of the NCDD_CenTX team (to be determined) will then document these examples (according to a format yet to be determined) for presentation at the conference.

Build: Strengthen professional connections and personal relationships.

Metric: All participants will have complete contact information for each other and will spend quality time in dialogue in small groups and with individuals from other small groups.
Provide the time and format for participants to identify opportunities for their continued collaboration

Sustain: Understand the assets within the Central Texas D&D network, ways to support each other, and possible next steps.

Metric: Document in report, refer to CentTex D&D Development committee for recommendations

The agenda for the day drew upon the best thinking of several experienced facilitators and meeting agenda designers. Consolidating the best thinking of so many talented, passionate individuals involved negotiation and compromise carried out through multiple phone conversations and face-to-face meetings. But the planning team recognized the huge potential of this meeting and remained committed to a collaborative process.

  • We “walked our talk”.
  • We left ego at the door, challenged our own assumptions, and put personal agendas aside for the larger common good.
  • Knowing that no agenda would ever be perfect, we were at least confident that we had integrated our best ideas.
  • We also agreed that magic was possible no matter what the agenda given the talents and expertise of the invitees.

Steven Fearing, Jenny Meigs and Charles Knickerbocker did the heavy lifting, creating extensive, thoughtful and comprehensive pathways to our proposed outcomes. If I could remember the quote or process, I could sound brilliant here, but I can only recollect that there is a process where the dialogue continues until the answer emerges. I think it is from a Native American culture, perhaps the talking circle describe below by wikipedia and amended with my reflections bracketed [ ] and italicized:

A large circle [that sounds like us!] may continue over successive days [goodness! That’s definitely us!]. Discussion continues until consensus is reached, that is, no one objects to the proposed decision (it may be obvious that consensus has been reached [or they may be worn out!]; or the speaker may say that they are “testing for consensus”, silence denotes agreement), or until the stick has been passed around the whole circle once in silence. [not sure we were ever silent, but we did agree to move forward.]

But the NAME of the process that we followed is NOT important. What IS important is the level of trust in our relationships that emerged, the learning we have shared, AND the fact that we successfully created a process for a powerful, creative day with talented individuals we want to include in our growing network of D&D practitioners!

We prepared an agenda for the facilitators that provided more extensive scripting and background information. We enlisted the support of Sunni Brown, founder of BrightSpot Information Design to provide graphic facilitation and to design templates to guide the small group work. We also asked Rod Reyna, Mary Thompson, Susan Schultz and Tobin Quereau to assist with facilitating the small group work.

Participants were invited via a personal e-mail from Diane Miller followed by an e-vite and a reminder one week before the event.

Prior to the meeting, participants received an agenda and a document, Emerging Themes prepared by UT student Jenny Meigs. This document was based on a dozen interviews with local D&D practitioners. A handful of people met over breakfast at Casa de Luz, (the only organic, vegan, macrobiotic restaurant in Austin) to identify recurring themes in the interviews. (Pretty tough on us coffee drinkers to meet that early in such a healthy place, but we’re confident with the quality of the work we did!)

The emergent themes were:

  • Designing Processes from a Systems Perspective
  • Moving from Dialogue to Action
  • Meeting Public Expectations and Changing Perceptions
  • Getting Real about Power and Diversity
  • Creating Safety to Allow Vulnerability
  • Going Deeper Towards Wholeness

While these themes did not drive the agenda, our hope was that we could replicate, on a larger scale and WITH caffeine, the experience several of us had at Casa de Luz.

So we gathered 30 participants on the 19th at the LBJ Library. We provided EXTRA strong coffee from Jason’s Deli (the difference between an event organized by caffeine-addicted Taylor vs. healthful-minded Patricia who is determined to poison us all with her good habits!) as well as fresh fruit (Patricia has had SOME impact on me), morning breads and orange juice. (Apologies to Oliver Markley for the lack of decaf. I haven’t gone THAT far to the healthful side, yet.)

Long-time Texas Forums member Mike Aaron served as the greeter welcoming participants, passing out name tags, providing introductions and confirming contact information.

room set up

The room was arranged such that we could accommodate up to five tables of eight people, but we consolidated our configuration to four tables of seven people, leaving the middle table open for the myriad of facilitators we called into action.

(“How many facilitators does it take to screw in a light bulb? We don’t know, they’re still designing the process!)

Within minutes of our scheduled start time of 9:00, LBJ Library Director Dr. Betty Sue Flowers welcomed the participants and invited them to enjoy the current museum display, Bills, Bills, Bills. Then everyone went to work sharing their stories and the lessons they were learning while Sunni worked her magic on the white chart paper posted along the glass wall of the LBJ Library’s Brown Room.

[note: this chart is this author’s chicken scratch layout of the room set up provided to the UT maintenance crew and should not be confused with the artistic charts prepared by Ms. Brown and posted in future blog updates!

The opening discussion of our session along with the really artistic recording of Ms. Brown will be covered in the next blog posting.

Stay tuned!

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In his homecoming speech at Bergstrom Air Force Base, January 20, 1969, President Johnson said, “We have the best system in all of the world, but it takes all of working all of the time to make it work.”

That’s the charge to all of us who work with Texas Forums, to find a way for all of us to work together all of the time. Given his record on civil rights, it is not a stretch to imagine President Johnson also charging us, “to make this system work for all of us.”

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From President Johnson’s Diary:

June 23, 1967, was the first day of the Glassboro Summit Conference in Glassboro, New Jersey. President Johnson met with Aleksei Kosygin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Soviet Union. Upon meeting Johnson, Chairman Kosygin congratulated the President on the birth of his new grandson, Patrick Lyndon Nugent. The two leaders discussed problems in the Middle East, disarmament and nuclear arms control, and Vietnam, among other issues. In the evening the President left for Los Angeles, California, for a President’s Club Dinner.

Read President Johnson’s diary from the Glassboro Summit

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Just a couple of interesting items at the LBJ Library in addition to the documents stored in the archives:

Letter from a very young 71/2 year old Brian Williams now the famous news anchor who said, “I have not been in the White House before, but I will someday.”

An old dictaphone machine that is used to play the dictabelt audios.  The old machines held two belts. One belt would only hold about 15 minutes. If the recording exceeded that time, the machine would switch over to the second tape:

  • These tapes were restricted for 50 years, but Mrs. Johnson agreed to make them available sooner.
  • The library holds 643 hours of conversation and have processed about 552 hours, but hopefully will be completed in 2008, the 100th birthday of President Johnson.

Replica of the hotline that was in the Situation Room. The hotline was put into place in August 1963, but not used until the conversation with Robert McNamara June 5, 1967. President Johnson’s first message was reportedly addressed to Comrade Kosygin because the U.S. operators did not know how to address Kosygin and the Soviet operators reported that the correct title, “Comrade.”

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Bess Abell, former social secretary of the White House told how President Johnson would always let you know where you stood. If you did something good, he’d compliment you and suggest you should be on his cabinet. If you did not perform well, he would say, “if there’s a mistake here that you haven’t made it’s only because you haven’t thought of it.”

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This seems to be a common reflection from Mrs. Johnson in the home movies she took of President Johnson! Every comment on his physique, brings a chuckle from the audience here at the LBJ Library watching the live broadcast taking place from the Oval Office just down the hall.

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