We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
An update from our occasional contributor Black Dog:
Your intrepid scribe returned this past Sunday from San Antonio, TX, where I attended the Ducks Unlimited Convention, which celebrated our 80th year. I’ve been a volunteer since 1984, so I remember the 50th Anniversary celebrations well.
My notes from the Convention indicate since DU’s inception in 1937, DU has conserved almost 14 million acres of wetlands across North America. We are in the middle of a five-year capital campaign, Rescue Our Wetlands. The goal is $2 billion and I can tell you we are somewhere around $1.8 billion with 18 months to go, so I’m pretty sure we’ll meet our goal early and hopefully exceed it.
We’ve had to increase our emphasis on public policy efforts in Washington, DC, where we opened a new office on Capitol Hill last year. As you know, we partner with the Federal and State governments here in the US, as well as the Provincial governments in Canada on our wetlands and water conservation missions. I attended the DU Mexico BOD meeting and was amazed to learn how far our donor’s dollars go in Mexico. A number of the DU Mexico staff were in San Antonio and gave presentations on their efforts in the Yucatan, as well as Mexico’s Central Highlands.
Our mission is science based and that leads us to areas where we can have the most impact. The EVP of DU, Dale Hall, in his address on Saturday, reminded us we are a hunter-based and friendly organization and if you don’t believe in sport hunting, DU is probably not the organization for you.
We elected a new President for a two-year term – Rogers Hoyt from South Texas, a third-generation rancher. He replaced Paul Bonderson, a tech entrepreneur from Northern California.
San Antonio – big convention town and of course, the Alamo. We took a tour of the Spanish Missions, of which the Alamo is the most famous. There were originally five. We visited two of the other others, which are also restored and have active Catholic parishes. The Alamo is pretty amazing, as is the story. Very inspiring when you see the flags of the States who had residents who died at the Alamo. I think Travis’ letter from the Alamo is one of the most inspiring pieces of writing in US history.
The San Antonio CBD is pretty small and the Riverwalk is the big attraction – numerous bars and restaurants along the river. Very walkable and there are small tour boats on the river. The Convention was at the Marriott and it was excellent – very convenient to everything in downtown and about a $15 Uber car ride from the airport. I don’t know the attendance, but at the gala banquet on Saturday evening, the auction alone raised over $300,000, a new record for a Convention auction (of course, everything’s bigger in Texas …..). I’d guess over 1,000 attended the banquet.
First pic is of the Alamo, the second of one of the other Missions (I can’t remember which one). Interestingly, the Spanish had turned the Missions over to the Native Americans and “Texans” by 1800. Most folks came to Texas for the lure of inexpensive land and eventually, Mexico became concerned there would be more white Americans in Texas, than Mexicans. That led to the Mexican-American War, which ended shortly after the Battle of the Alamo. I remember reviewing a deed several years ago for a piece of land in Bexar County, where San Antonio is located. The original land was granted as a reward for (and this is a direct quote) “ . . . defending the land from the evil General Santa Ana . . .”.
Stop trying to sanitize what Ducks Unlimited has become. Ducks Unlimited was a major supporter of the Obama Administration's Clean Waters USA land grab, in which the EPA asserted federal jurisdiction over prairie puddles as "navigable waterways." Then after the regulation became a political hot potato DU cynically denied that they supported it, apparently forgetting that the Internet is forever.
San Antonio is indeed a great convention and vacation town .... a unique city, and the story of the Republic of Texas is indeed inspiring.
Unfortunately, many of the 'field' organizations are now entangled in politics.
The story of Ducks Unlimited is chronicled in a good book - "The Ducks Came Back", by K. Kip Farrington, Jr., who had and wrote about a number of mid-20th Century passions and pastimes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._Kip_Farrington