The line that defines

first_imgFor nearly 2,000 miles, it runs alongside California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. It begins in the east in Brownsville, Texas, and marches west along the Rio Grande, halting at the Pacific, in the town of Tijuana, notorious for its drug violence and reputation as a party spot for frat boys.Whatever the cause, the mythic U.S.-Mexico border draws millions of people to it each year. It’s the most frequently crossed international border in the world, and is one of the most intriguing unseen lines in history.Just ask Rachel St. John. In her new book, “Line in the Sand: A History of the Western U.S.-Mexico Border,” the Harvard associate professor of history traces the border’s origins to its modern-day consequences.The eastern U.S.-Mexico border was easy to establish: the Rio Grande forms a natural divide. But after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War in 1848, diplomats gathered with maps to configure the western border. According to St. John’s research, they drew arbitrary lines, following no existing geographical feature, but connecting a few known spots like El Paso, the Gila and Colorado rivers, and San Diego Bay.Armed with maps and equipment, a U.S.-Mexico boundary commission next set out into the barren and inhospitable desert with the task of formally surveying and demarcating that part of the border.“There’s this idea that you can draw a boundary line on paper,” mused St. John, “but that’s much harder to put into effect when you get on the ground.”Some of the men’s maps proved incorrect, which spurred on-the-spot compromises — just another added stress in addition to contending with everything from heat and rough terrain to getting lost, Apache attacks, and sometimes death.“The one part of the boundary line that corresponded to a natural geographic feature, the Gila River, was made obsolete by the renegotiation of the border in the Gadsden Treaty of 1953,” wrote St. John. “From that point on, with the exception of a small stretch of the boundary line that runs along the Colorado River, the western border was made up of a series of imaginary lines.” Finalized in 1854, “the boundary line as it exists today was in place,” she said.But what St. John finds remarkable is the shift in the border’s meaning over time.“When the border was first drawn, the government thought, ‘No one’s ever going to come out here. This is the middle of the desert — who cares what happens,’” she said. “But there’s a massive change in economics that begins in the U.S. and spreads into Mexico in the late 19th-century. And as you have the development of this capitalist economy, the border takes on different meanings.”Cattle ranching and mining became big industries, and a railroad was built on the U.S. side. The exchange of goods prompted the U.S. government to send customs agents to the border, and, said St. John, “It’s really the change in the economy that causes the government to care about maintaining the border.”According to St. John, most people assume today that the border is there to regulate the movement of people, “but the sense from both the U.S. and Mexican governments that they needed to regulate the movement of people is a 20th-century phenomenon.”The first people who the U.S. government wanted to control weren’t Mexicans, but Chinese immigrants, St. John discovered. “I find it really interesting that during the first decade of the 20th century, you have Chinese immigrants disguising themselves as Mexicans so they can cross the border.”St. John grew up in Southern California, and as a teenager sometimes trekked to Tijuana herself. “I remember one day thinking, ‘It’s really interesting how the border is one way on this side, and on the other side it’s totally different,’” she recalled.The border now is political, policed, and unpredictable. “All the attention on the border, in some ways, is not a very effective way of dealing with larger problems of managing immigration and other smuggling. Many people in the U.S. without proper documentation entered legally and overstayed their visas. This emphasis on building a wall doesn’t necessarily match up with the issues people are trying to address,” said St. John.“But one thing studying the border has taught me is that it hasn’t always meant the same thing, and so it’s very possible that in the future it won’t mean the same thing,” she noted. “At no time that I’ve seen does anyone want a totally closed or open border. It’s all about creating a border that’s a force field — it lets in the things you want and lets out the things you don’t.”last_img read more


first_imgClick here to subscribe to the Pharr Out BlogHey y’all,I love brownies; brownies are my favorite dessert. I love hiking; hiking is my favorite activity. Now back to brownies…. Forget crème brulee, layer cakes, and cookies (except if they are Miles’ cookies), I want chocolate fudge brownies without nuts and with extra chocolate chips.Some people like to savor their brownies, and appreciate every bite slowly. I am not one of those people. If someone puts a brownie in front of me, I don’t just eat it; I devour it. With restraint out the window and very little concern for what others think, I scarf down however many brownies are in front of me… and then I lick the plate. Oh, and I like my brownies straight out of the oven… still warm.Now to hiking. No one can doubt that I love to hike. I love to be on a trail by a mountain, a valley, a river, on top of boulders, wherever. I can’t get enough of hiking. Sometimes when I hike I want to indulge in the trail, the miles, and the wilderness. I want to consume it so completely and quickly that at day’s end I feel like I was a hiking glutton. Some folks like to savor every step of their hike, spreading it out to make it last longer. I respect and sometimes even envy those people. Someday, after this hike, I suspect I will be more like them.But for now I have a voracious appetite for hiking. And I like my hiking hot, meaning dead of summer, 95-degree, 90% humidity hot. I complain when I see my breath on a cool mid-July morning in Connecticut, but I never complain about the heat. The heat is my friend.So why all this talk about hot brownies and hiking in warm weather? Well, I’ve realized over the years that some people- both on and off the trail- struggle to understand why I hike the way I do. I certainly don’t feel the need to justify my hiking style to them any more than I feel they need to justify their style to me. But in an effort to help folks understand why I hike this way, I’ve begun to use the brownie comparison. When I hike, I devour miles like I devour hot brownies, not so much because I want to set a record but because I want to get the most out of the experience, and to me this means consuming the trail in great chunks.Ok, enough brownie metaphors. I love it when real people bring real brownies to the trail. Brew and I have kept mostly to ourselves on this hike, but once we reached Connecticut some dear friends from my first thru-hike came to the trail bearing hordes of goodies, including some of the best brownies ever. Along with the crew came my friend J (aka “Jukebox”). He was one of my best friends on my first thru-hike and continues to be a tried and true part of my life several years later. He spent a morning pacing me on the trail and then played guitar and enjoyed a beer with Brwe while waiting for me to finish up.Once I reached New York a very hospitable and accomplished ultra runner named Steve came to make sure I was putting in my miles and working hard. That night, he and his wife Mary Ellen provided us with a shower, an amazing dinner, and a very comfortable bed. We have felt very blessed recently by the trail and the provisions, and I feel very fortunate to be out here chewing up miles… and brownies. 🙂last_img read more

Suarez scores as Barca condemn neighbours Espanyol to relegation

first_imgFC Barcelona kept up their pursuit of leaders Real Madrid in the La Liga title race by beating city rivals Espanyol 1-0 at home on Wednesday.The slim win also condemned their neighbours to relegation from the top flight. Luis Suarez struck the only goal in the 56th minute, lashing a loose ball into the net.This was shortly after both sides had been reduced to 10 men each in a frantic start to the second half.Barca’s teenage forward Ansu Fati was sent off for a reckless tackle five minutes after coming off the bench.But Espanyol’s numerical advantage lasted only three minutes as Pol Lozano was dismissed, also following a VAR review.Barca, chasing a third consecutive Spanish title, are on 76 points after 35 games while Real Madrid are top with 77. The leaders can restore their four-point advantage when they host Alaves on Friday.Espanyol, one of Spain’s most prestigious clubs, were relegated for the first time since winning promotion back to La Liga in 1994.They are bottom of the table on 24 points after 35 games.Barca had produced one of their best performances of the season by hammering Villarreal 4-1 away on Sunday.But they looked sluggish at an empty Camp Nou, which normally would have been in full voice on derby day. Espanyol frustrated their more illustrious neighbours in the first half with a five-man defence and created the better chances.Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen had to be aware to prevent his team mate Clement Lenglet from scoring an own goal just before half-time.Espanyol’s Didac Vila fired the loose ball against the post.Ter Stegen had also come to Barca’s rescue earlier, spreading his body and keeping out a low strike from Adri Embarba with his leg.RelatedPosts Suarez agrees Atletico terms Vidal lands in Milan to complete move from Barca to Inter Barca president Bartomeu says he won’t go to war anymore with Messi Barca found a way through with the help of their three forwards.Antoine Griezmann raced to the byline and passed to Lionel Messi whose shot deflected into the path of Suarez and the Uruguayan made no mistake.Reuters/NAN.Tags: EspanyolFC BarcelonaLuis Suarezlast_img read more

Kenosha, Wisconsin Police Investigate Officer Shooting of Black Man in the Back

first_imgA black man was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha, Wisconsin police in front of his three children who were inside his SUV.”I’m pretty sure Jacob’s kids were more traumatized than anybody during the whole situation.” Raysean White saw Jacob Blake and his children on Sunday, when he recorded Blake being shot multiple times by police while Blake’s three children were in a car.— CNN (@CNN) August 25, 2020 Jacob Blake had an arrest warrant out for rape and domestic abuse— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) August 25, 2020 Police shot 29 year-old Jacob Blake as he walked away from them and attempted to reach into his SUV.Blake was reportedly trying to break up a domestic dispute between two women when police were called.Shortly after the shooting, large crowds arrived near the scene in protest.An overnight curfew was disregarded as protests flared up sparking looting and arson.More than 150 national guardsmen were called in to help police control the unrest.The officers involved have been pleased on administrative leave and Blake remains hospitalized in serious but stable condition.New footage shows Jacob Blake brawling with cops before being shot— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) August 25, 2020last_img read more