Please allow me to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped make the first annual Viva Big Bend Music Festival such a success. From the City of Marfa’s sponsorship, Planet Marfa and Padre’s venues, the promotion of Marfa Public Radio, The Big Bend Sentinel, to the volunteers, local fans, out of town visitors, and performers, caterers and suppliers–working together we all pulled off a fun, well-attended and critically acclaimed first-time event that will grow in size and popularity in years to come.
Particular recognition and thanks go to Visitor Center Manager Minerva Lopez, and her husband Delfin, who spent countless unpaid hours (after normal work hours) volunteering their own time, early mornings and late into the evenings making the USO Hall clean and shiny for the events there. They clean up after one, and then again for the next, setting up tables and chairs and all the grunt work behind the scenes that the public doesn’t see. The audience and performers only see a clean, shiny hall and kitchen, freshly mowed lawn and swept sidewalks.
Minerva and Delfin do this, and more, of their own time and sweat, and they do it for the love of this community so that residents can be proud of our USO Hall, and visitors have the best first impression of our facility and town.
We received nothing but praise for the USO Hall as a performance venue, and music industry professionals from all over Texas–including the Texas voting delegation of the Grammys–who got to see and hear the historic hall in its best light and mentioned how much they liked it. Hopefully this will translate into future bookings for musical events. And for sure the 2013 Viva Big Bend Music Festival will be back bigger and better.
My personal gratitude and appreciation to Minerva and Delfin are immeasurable, and I want to make sure the community knows what a treasure they are to Marfa. They certainly are to me!
Terry Tex Toler
Director of Tourism
City of Marfa
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There are many enemies of publicly owned resources. Not surprisingly many come from states like Nevada and Utah where most of the land is federally owned. Texas has the 4th lowest amount of federal land and you would expect more support for national parks, refuges, and US forest service lands.
On a local basis that may be true but in our current political climate that does not seem to be true at the state level. But I think in the Big Bend area most residents treasure our federal lands. The biggest threat to our nearest national park is H.R. 1505, the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, sponsored by Utah Representative Rob Bishop. On June 19, 2012, this act passed the House of Representatives as part of a larger package of 14 bills approved within H.R. 2578.
The Bishop border bill will waive more than 15 federal laws within 100 miles of the Mexican and Canadian borders, and give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) virtually unlimited power to do whatever the agency wants to achieve “operational control” over these lands. It would explicitly allow DHS to construct and maintain roads, set up monitoring equipment, construct a border fence, and use off-road vehicles on patrol. The 1964 Wilderness Act, the 1916 National Parks Organic Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and many more laws would be waived.
Neither DHS nor its Border Patrol say the legislation is needed. As expected, Representative Francisco Canseco is a co-sponsor along with several other Texans including Louie Gohmert.
For Big Bend National Park, this could mean ATV trails up arroyos and ridges, upgraded backcountry roads included the River Road, lights and sensors along the river, and fencing. An example of what can happen is the 8,000 miles of access roads across the Cabeza-Prieta wilderness in Arizona.
There is no public benefit from this bill. Anti-wilderness and anti-public lands legislators are simply playing on border security fears to gut our nation’s bedrock environmental protection and public lands laws.
Action is currently stalled on this bill while the U.S. House works on preserving tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and creating several fiscal cliffs, but it will be back after the elections if not sooner.
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I see that Mrs. Jones is on her rants again full of few facts as usual.
Yes, we get the fact that “Mexico has no gun ban.” We got that several times. And apparently this was the cause of gangs and the cartel in Mexico according to her. Wow, now that’s interesting. As anyone, with some common sense, should know it’s not the gun ban that caused gangs and cartels, it’s drugs. Most of which is going where? To a country that bans drugs.
I also want to point out that another country that is close to us has banned guns. Its been in effect for a over 20 years. They rarely have problems. And if you haven’t guessed, it’s Canada. If you will take your time to check your facts you will find that the current president you so dislike has done more for gun owners than less. FACT not FOX. This President is NOT and never has said anything about banning guns. As mentioned before the ammo for guns in 2009 became scarce and prices were elevated was done by the ammo producers and not the President. Rumors were wild and crazy. Ammo producers reaped the harvest.
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An open letter to my elder brother, Jim Willeford:
Jim, “hand-held nuclear weapons” are light years away from firearms, and the National Rifle Association will never endorse them. That’s a different subject altogether than the Aurora, Colorado storm over firearms. Anybody who isn’t against nuclear proliferation at every level is a psychopath and should be locked away. Eugen Weber (Univ. of California, LA) said, “… consistency is a weakness of little minds.” Don’t extrapolate the current gun-control frenzy into an all-weapons catch phrase.
L.T., the Black rapper, said it well on TV two days ago. When asked why Americans need guns he replied: “To protect us from the police.” I agree with that and shall herein widen the context to mean “from the authorities.”
As I recall, you acquired a handgun a few years back, and for good reason. So, it’s all right for Jim to have a gun, but other folk should be denied the same right. Is that what you’re saying? That’s pretty elitist any way it’s cut.
My greatest disappointment about the Aurora affair is that amongst a whole crowd of Americans not one took the shrimp on. If just one person had charged , more would have followed. It’s almost a rule. Has the USA become a nation of sheep? Perhaps we deserve to fall under tyrannical rule. And tyrannies are almost always conservative — how would that effect the recent advances in human freedom — such as a woman’s “right to choose” on abortion, and gay marriage? Ahhh, how about the Civil Rights act of 1965 and our Voting Rights Act?
At the theater in Aurora, despite the very commendable rapid and efficient response of the local police within 90 seconds, they were still 90 seconds too late. The horror in Colorado will be a case study in why “license to carry” laws are passed in some states. But, as I understand it, the theater management had a “no guns” policy. Remembering that the perpetrator surrendered meekly to police, I suggest that had there been only one person with a firearm in the audience the extent of the tragedy might have been averted. Had there been several armed citizens in the auditorium, well, there probably wouldn’t have to be a trial. The joke would be on the Joker, and Batman would have had the last laugh.
Eventually a licensee will go too far, as may have happened in Florida. The trial (Florida vs. Zimmerman) will tell all and a jury will decide. Do isolated incidents justify a complete overhaul of policy? I think not. Do we outlaw automobiles and reenact Prohibition when a multi-casualty collision occurs?
As to the rest…. This from Richard Grunberger in The 12-Year [German] Reich (1973): “The savage persecution of homosexuals began during the [Ernst] Roehm Putsch of 30 June 1934 [“The Night of the Long Knives”], the wide-ranging massacre … was retroactively legitimized by law … on 3 July 1934. Indeed, retrospective legislation [after 3 July] became an integral feature of Nazi legal procedure…. Between 1934 and 1938 [prosecution for] homosexuality went up by 900 per cent…. In the latter instance [homosexuality] prosecution was of course indistinguishable from persecution. Homosexuals were predestined concentration camp fodder.”
Jim, I just read Ian Kershaw’s 2008 book on Hitler and the Germans. Kershaw points out that Evangelical Christians were among Hitler’s best civilian support during the short-lived Third Reich. Pretty scary stuff. It reminds me of ex-Senator Santorum and the things he said while running for the Republican nomination: he “hates” the separation of church and state, students should be discouraged from moving on to higher education (so as to widen the scope of a minimum-wage workforce, I’m sure), etc. All this is programmatic to the development of a fascist state.
The inability and/or unwillingness of a society to resist internal oppression means failure. The Germans learned that the hard way. In the U.S.A. the process will wait for the moment and circumstance. And if Americans don’t come politically alive and accept the ideological responsibilities placed on each generation by the Constitutional Framers, the fall is inevitable. In short, VOTE!
The right to keep and bear arms was placed number two in our Bill of Rights; that is, right behind the First Amendment which guaranteed individual freedom and the separation of church and state. This prominent placement could not have been accidental. I say, leave it alone. We have too many laws now; what we may need is better enforcement. The first step a totalitarian state takes is to make laws nobody can obey; that way, they can always get you for something. Texas, the prison state, has almost 2,000 felonies on the book. Nobody can go through life without violating one or more of them. All it takes is diligent surveillance of a supposed “offender,” then eventually…. And with today’s surveillance technology, nobody can hide.
So, who knows if and when our armed populace may have to stand up to the elites of the United States in order to protect us all from further oppression? And, oh please dear brother, don’t tell me, “it can’t happen here.”
Jim, I learned a lot about both sides of the law while serving those years as an elected sheriff in Texas. A lot of it isn’t pretty. But you know that story. Let me say that going back to university for graduate studies is the best thing I’ve ever done. It taught me history and the historical method. More important, it taught me tolerance. And I shall be forever grateful.
Finally, an addendum: one must not forget about China. Demographers tell us that old Cathay will have 30,000,000 unmarried men of military age by about 2025. The largest army ever assembled. More assault rifles and plenty of ammunition may seem a pretty good idea to Americans just a few years down the pike. God only knows.
Suggested reading in my preferred order:
Ian Kershaw, Hitler, The Germans, and the Final Solution (2008).
Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago (1974).
Charles L. Mee, Jr., Meeting at Potsdam (1975).
Warren F. Kimball (Ed.), Franklin D. Roosevelt and the World Crisis, 1917-1945 (1973).
Leon Poliakov, Harvest of Hate: The Nazi Program for the Destruction of the Jews in Europe (1971).
Richard Grunberger, The 12-Year Reich: A Social History of Nazi Germany, 1933-1945 (1972).
With love and affection, and in memory of our beloved parents, tu hermano en Mexico Viejo.
Story filed under: West Texas Talk