Monthly Archives: September 2014



J. California Cooper in 1987. Credit Ellen Banner

A spokesman for Random House, her publisher, confirmed her death. She had had several heart attacks in recent years.

Ms. Cooper won an American Book Award in 1989 for the second of her six story collections, “Homemade Love.” Her short story “Funny Valentines,” about a woman in a troubled marriage who repairs an old rift with a cousin when she moves back home, was turned into a 1999 television movie starring Alfre Woodard and Loretta Devine.

Writing in a vernacular first-person style, Ms. Cooper set her stories in an indeterminate rural past permeated with violence and the ghost of slavery. The African-American women she depicts endure abandonment, betrayal, rape and social invisibility, but they survive.

“Some Soul to Keep” (1987), her third collection, includes over-the-back-fence tales. One story tells of two women who become close friends after one woman’s husband dies and the other’s leaves. They learn that long-lived rumors of their dislike for each other had been fabricated by their husbands. Another story is about a blind girl who is raped by her minister, gives birth to his son and raises him alone because, she explains, he makes her forget she is blind.

Ms. Cooper’s 1991 novel, “Family,” one of five she wrote, is narrated by the ghost of a slave woman who committed suicide before the Civil War and who follows the lives of her descendants as they mingle and procreate in a new interracial world, marveling at how “from one woman all these different colors and nationalities could come into being.”

Ms. Cooper was clear about the religious values that informed her stories. “I’m a Christian,” she told The Washington Post in 2000. “That’s all I am. If it came down to Christianity and writing, I’d let the writing go. God is bigger than a book.”

In an interview on NPR in 2006, she said, “What I’m basically trying to do is help somebody make some right choices.”

Alice Walker, in the foreword to Ms. Cooper’s 1984 collection of stories, “A Piece of Mine,” wrote: “In its strong folk flavor, Cooper’s work reminds us of Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Like theirs, her style is deceptively simple and direct, and the vale of tears in which some of her characters reside is never so deep that a rich chuckle at a foolish person’s foolishness cannot be heard.”

Joan Cooper (the middle name California was her own invention) was born in Berkeley, Calif., to Maxine Rosemary and Joseph C. Cooper. She lived most of her life in Oakland. Through the years she declined to give her exact date of birth to interviewers. Her daughter, Paris Williams, told The Associated Press that her mother was 82 when she died.

Ms. Cooper attended technical high school and several universities, including the University of California, Berkeley. While raising her daughter, she variously worked as a secretary, manicurist and teamster while writing in her spare time.

Ms. Cooper was a recipient of the James Baldwin Writing Award and the Literary Lion Award from the American Library Association. No information on survivors besides her daughter was available.

Ms. Cooper’s first goal was to become a playwright. She had written more than a dozen by the early 1980s (she wound up writing 17) when Ms. Walker, who came to see one of her plays, suggested she try her hand at writing short stories — “because it was easier to get paid,” Ms. Williams told The A.P., quoting Ms. Walker’s advice to her mother.

Ms. Cooper had never shared that story in the few interviews she gave. In 1994, she told The Los Angeles Sentinel that she considered the details of her own life her own. She had never courted fame, she added, and would evade it if it ever “started catching up with me.”

“I love God,” she added, “and I know he said love people. And I do. Just at a distance.”


J. California Cooper.

A powerful author and a legendary storyteller of pain anguish, travails, and triumph.

Her stories are timeless and universal in the human drama of life in this world.

She was one of a kind and she will be missed.

Rest in peace, Ms. Cooper.

Rest in peace.



James Traficant in 2002. Credit Dennis Cook/Associated Press

His death was confirmed by Heidi Hanni, a spokeswoman for the Traficant family.

Mr. Traficant was known for his colorful personality and wardrobe, his legislative theatrics and his wild mop of hair. So it was only something of a surprise when the hair turned out to be fake, a fact that was made clear when he had to remove his toupee during booking after his arrest on bribery and racketeering charges.

The charges stemmed from accusations that he solicited bribes from business executives in exchange for government favors. Mr. Traficant served as his own lawyer at trial and was convicted in April 2002.

Three months later, the House Committee on Standards and Official Conduct recommended that Mr. Traficant be expelled from Congress. He became only the second House member to be ousted for unethical conduct since the Civil War.

He was released from prison in 2009 after serving seven years of an eight-year sentence. He tried to revive his congressional career the next year, running as an independent, but won only 16 percent of the vote in his old district in Ohio.

Mr. Traficant, first elected to the House in 1984, was known for his loose tongue, combative nature and hostility to government bureaucracy and regulation. Voters appreciated him because he was aggressive in seeking federal money for projects like bridges, roads and community centers in a district that was at the heart of the hard-hit industrial Midwest.

He peppered his speeches on the House floor with “Star Trek” references and ended hundreds with the order “Beam me up.”

James Anthony Traficant Jr. was born on May 8, 1941, in Youngstown, Ohio, to James A. Traficant, a truck driver, and Agnes T. Traficant. He played football at the University of Pittsburgh, where he graduated with a degree in education in 1963. He worked as a drug counselor for 10 years before he was elected sheriff of Mahoning County in 1980.

He became a local celebrity in 1983 when he was acquitted on a federal corruption charge in another case in which he acted as his own lawyer, even though he had no law degree. Prosecutors had accused him of accepting bribes from organized crime figures while he was the sheriff, but he argued that he was conducting a sting operation at the time.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia, and their two daughters, Robin and Elizabeth.

In Washington, Mr. Traficant was an anti-establishment eccentric in the buttoned-up capital, and the behavior that was derided on Capitol Hill made him a favorite among his mostly blue-collar voters at home. He opposed free-trade agreements, pushed for “Buy American” requirements in spending bills and raged against foreign aid.

“He was always rooting for the underdog, and was willing to spend his time and energy trying to help people that nobody else would listen to,” Representative Tim Ryan, Democrat of Ohio, told The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “There wasn’t a guy who had more charisma, or more of an ability to make someone feel special and part of the fun that was going on.”

Mr. Traficant frequently used one-minute addresses on the House floor, a tradition that allows members to discuss any topic. His were pugnacious, sometimes crude, and included rants against the North American Free Trade Agreement and, a favorite, government regulations.

“Mr. Speaker,” he said in one 1998 speech, “the Lord’s Prayer is 66 words, the Gettysburg Address is 286 words, the Declaration of Independence is 1,322 words. U.S. regulations on the sale of cabbage — that is right, cabbage — is 27,000 words. Regulatory red tape in America costs taxpayers $400 billion every year, over $4,000 each year, every year, year in, year out, for every family.”

“Beam me up.”




Don Keefer, left, in a famed “The Twilight Zone” episode in 1961 with John Larch and Jeanne Bates. Credit CBS

But Mr. Keefer, who was 98 when he died on Sept. 7 in Sherman Oaks, Calif., may be best remembered for his role in a classic 1961 episode of “The Twilight Zone.”

The episode, “It’s a Good Life,” is set in fictional Peaksville, Ohio, a small town that has been paralyzed by the strange powers of an otherwise unremarkable 6-year-old boy named Anthony, played by Billy Mumy. Anthony is able to transform people and animals that bother him into objects, or make them disappear, simply by concentrating. What sets him off more than anything are people who think “bad thoughts” about him.

Anthony’s tortured family and most of their terrified town have become practiced in humoring Anthony, but one neighbor, Dan Hollis, played by Mr. Keefer, reaches his breaking point. Given a Perry Como record at his birthday party, hosted by Anthony’s parents, Hollis is urged not to play it, for fear it could anger Anthony. Hollis agrees but is frustrated and begins drinking. The alcohol soon overcomes him.

“You monster, you,” he says, staring at Anthony. “You dirty little monster! You murderer! You think about me. Go ahead, Anthony. You think bad thoughts about me, and maybe some man in this room, some man with guts, somebody who’s so sick to death of living in this kind of place and willing to take a chance, will sneak up behind you and lay something heavy across your skull and end this once and for all.”

No one does, and Anthony, as always, has his way.

“You’re a bad man,” Anthony says. “You’re a very bad man, and you keep thinking bad thoughts about me.”

With that, he points at Hollis and turns him into a jack-in-the-box, his cone-capped head bobbing on a spring.

Everyone is aghast but too afraid to challenge the boy. Anthony’s anguished father urges his son to do with the jack-in-the-box what he does with many of his creations — think it away to the cornfield outside.

Donald Hood Keefer was born on Aug. 18, 1916, in Highspire, Penn., the youngest of three sons of a butcher and a homemaker. He graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1939 and performed excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays at the New York World’s Fair that same year.

In the Broadway staging of “Death of a Salesman,” directed by Elia Kazan, Mr. Keefer played Bernard, the studious son of Willy’s neighbor Charley, in a cast that included Lee J. Cobb (as Willy), Mildred Dunnock (Linda), Arthur Kennedy (Biff) and Cameron Mitchell (Happy).

Before then he had supporting roles on Broadway in “Junior Miss” and “Othello.” He studied method acting as an early member of the Actors Studio in Manhattan.

In 1951 he appeared in a film version of “Death of a Salesman,” his first movie role. He went on to appear in “Hellcats of the Navy” (1957), which starred Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis, the future first lady; “The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming” (1966) and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969), among other films.

He also appeared in numerous other television series, including “Gunsmoke,” “The Munsters,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Mission: Impossible,” “Barnaby Jones” and “The Waltons.”

His survivors include his son Donald, who confirmed his death; two other sons, John and Thomas; and two grandchildren. His wife, the actress Catherine McLeod, whom he married in 1950, died in 1997.

Correction: September 27, 2014
An earlier version of this article misidentified the year in which an episode of “The Twilight Zone” featuring Mr. Keefer, “It’s a Good Life,” first aired. It was 1961, not 1959.SOURCE

‘It’s A Good Life.’

Always one of my favourite Twilight Zone episodes.

I originally posted on that episode and the series The Twilight Zone  here.

Thank you Mr. Keefer for the joy you gave us all in your performances.

Rest in peace.

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Quick Facts

The United Nations’ (UN) World Tourism Day is annually held on September 27 to raise awareness on the benefits of tourism.

Local names

Name Language
World Tourism Day English
Día Mundial del Turismo Spanish
עולם יום תיירות Hebrew
يوم السياحة العالمي Arabic
세계 관광의 날 Korean
Welttourismustag German

World Tourism Day 2014

Saturday, September 27, 2014

World Tourism Day 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Many people around celebrate the United Nations’ (UN) World Tourism Day, which is on September 27 each year. The day aims to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic values.

An senior couple with a camera, touring on vacation.

World Tourism Day recognizes the importance of tourists and the tourism industry across the globe.

© Nikada

What do people do?

The United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) invites people worldwide to participate in World Tourism Day on September 27 every year.  The UNWTO Secretary-General annually sends out a message to the general public to mark the occasion. Many tourism enterprises and organizations, as well as government agencies with a special interest in tourism, celebrate the event with various special events and festivities.

Different types of competitions, such as photo competitions promoting tourism, as well as tourism award presentations in areas such as ecotourism, are held on World Tourism Day. Other activities include free entries, discounts or special offers for the general public to any site of tourism interest. Government and community leaders, as tourism business representatives, may make public announcements or offer special tours or fares to promote both their region and World Tourism Day on or around September 27.

Public life

The World Tourism Day is a UN observance and it is not a public holiday.


Tourism has experienced continued growth and deeper diversification to become one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. ‎Modern tourism is closely linked to development and includes more new destinations for tourists. These dynamics turned tourism into a key driver for socio-‎economic progress.‎ Tourism has become one of the major players in ‎international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income ‎sources for many developing countries.

The UNWTO decided in late September 1979 to institute World Tourism Day, which was first celebrated on September 27, 1980. September 27 was chosen as the date for World Tourism Day because that date coincided with an important milestone in world tourism: the anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes on September 27, 1970.

The UNWTO believes that the date for World Tourism Day is appropriate because it comes at the end of the high tourist season in the northern hemisphere and the start of the tourist season in the southern hemisphere, when tourism is of topical interest to many people worldwide, particularly travelers and those working in the tourism sector. Each year has a different theme – for example, “Tourism – Celebrating Diversity” was designated as the theme for 2009, with Ghana as the event’s host country for that year.

World Tourism Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Thu Sep 27 1990 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Fri Sep 27 1991 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Sun Sep 27 1992 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Mon Sep 27 1993 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Tue Sep 27 1994 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Wed Sep 27 1995 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Fri Sep 27 1996 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Sat Sep 27 1997 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Sun Sep 27 1998 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Mon Sep 27 1999 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Wed Sep 27 2000 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 27 2001 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Fri Sep 27 2002 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Sat Sep 27 2003 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Mon Sep 27 2004 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Tue Sep 27 2005 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Wed Sep 27 2006 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 27 2007 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Sat Sep 27 2008 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Sun Sep 27 2009 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Mon Sep 27 2010 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Tue Sep 27 2011 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 27 2012 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Fri Sep 27 2013 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Sat Sep 27 2014 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Sun Sep 27 2015 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Tue Sep 27 2016 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Wed Sep 27 2017 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 27 2018 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Fri Sep 27 2019 World Tourism Day United Nations observance
Sun Sep 27 2020 World Tourism Day United Nations observance

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International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons
26 September

“Nuclear disarmament is one of the greatest legacies we can pass on to future generations.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Sculpture depicting St. George slaying the dragon.
The dragon is created from fragments of Soviet SS-20 and
United States Pershing nuclear missiles.
Credit: UN Photo/Milton Grant

Achieving global nuclear disarmament is one of the oldest goals of the United Nations.  It was the subject of the General Assembly’s first resolution in 1946. It has been on the General Assembly’s agenda along with general and complete disarmament ever since 1959.  It has been a prominent theme of review conferences held at the UN since 1975 of States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It was identified a priority goal of the General Assembly’s first Special Session on disarmament in 1978, which attached a special priority to nuclear disarmament.  And it has been supported by every United Nations Secretary-General.

Yet today, some 17,000 nuclear weapons remain. Countries possessing such weapons have well-funded, long-range plans to modernize their nuclear arsenals. More than half of the world’s population still lives in countries that either have such weapons or are members of nuclear alliances. As of 2014, not one nuclear weapon has been physically destroyed pursuant to a treaty, bilateral or multilateral, and no nuclear disarmament negotiations are underway.  Meanwhile, the doctrine of nuclear deterrence persists as an element in the security policies of all possessor states and their nuclear allies. This is so—despite growing concerns worldwide over the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of even a single nuclear weapon, let alone a regional or global nuclear war.

These facts provide the foundation for the General Assembly’s designation of 26 September as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. This Day provides an occasion for the world community to reaffirm its commitment to global nuclear disarmament as a high priority. It provides an opportunity to educate the public—and their leaders—about the real benefits of eliminating such weapons, and the social and economic costs of perpetuating them. Commemorating this Day at the United Nations is especially important, given its universal membership and its long experience in grappling with nuclear disarmament issues. It is the right place to address one of humanity’s greatest challenges, achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.

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Quick Facts

World Maritime Day is held on the last week of September each year, although the exact date is up to individual governments around the world.

Local names

Name Language
World Maritime Day English
Día Marítimo Mundial Spanish
עולם יום הימי Hebrew
يوم الملاحة البحرية العالمي Arabic
세계 해양의 날 Korean
Welttag des Meeres German

World Maritime Day 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

World Maritime Day 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The United Nations (UN), via the International Maritime Organization (IMO), created World Maritime Day to celebrate the international maritime industry’s contribution towards the world’s economy, especially in shipping. The event’s date varies by year and country but it is always on the last week of September.

Small Syrian harbour in Tartus

World Maritime Day focuses on the marine environment, as well as safety and security for boats and ships..

© Kolos

What do people do?

World Maritime Day focuses on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO’s work. The day also features a special message from the IMO’s secretary-general, which is backed up by a discussion paper on the selected subject in more detail.

World Maritime Day is celebrated in many countries worldwide, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Many maritime organizations and unions hold special events and activities to celebrate this day. These activities and events range from symposiums to luncheons, as well as school lessons that focus on the day. Some classes may organize a trip to a maritime museum so students can understand the significance of the maritime industry in shaping world history and its importance in world trade.

Public life

World Maritime Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.


Throughout history, people have understood that international regulations that are followed by many countries worldwide could improve marine safety so many treaties have been adopted since the 19th century. Various countries proposed for a permanent international body to be established to promote maritime safety more effectively but it was not until the UN was established that these hopes were realized. An international conference in Geneva in 1948 adopted a convention formally establishing the IMO, a specialized UN agency that develops and maintains a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping.

The IMO’s original name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) but the name was changed in 1982 to IMO. The IMO focuses on areas such as safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.

World Maritime Day was first held on March 17, 1978 to mark the date of the IMO Convention’s entry into force in 1958. At that time, the organization had 21 member states. It now has about 167 member states and three associate members. This membership includes virtually all the nations of the world with an interest in maritime affairs, including those involved in the shipping industry and coastal states with an interest in protecting their maritime environment.

Note: The dates below are a rough guide on when World Maritime Day is observed, based on the most recent previous dates it was observed by the UN. It is also important to note that the exact date is left to individual governments but is usually celebrated during the last week in September.

External links

IMO: World Maritime Day

World Maritime Day Observances


Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Thu Sep 27 1990 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 26 1991 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 24 1992 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 23 1993 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 22 1994 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 28 1995 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 26 1996 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 25 1997 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 24 1998 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 23 1999 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 28 2000 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 27 2001 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 26 2002 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 25 2003 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 23 2004 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 22 2005 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 28 2006 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 27 2007 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 25 2008 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 24 2009 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 23 2010 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 22 2011 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 27 2012 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 26 2013 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 25 2014 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 24 2015 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 22 2016 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 28 2017 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 27 2018 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 26 2019 World Maritime Day United Nations observance
Thu Sep 24 2020 World Maritime Day United Nations observance

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MAVEN Makes It to Mars
NASA’s latest interplanetary spacecraft has settled into orbit around the Red Planet. Its year-long scientific scrutiny could reveal how and why Mars lost so much of its primordial atmosphere.

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission Arrives Safely
On September 24th, after a convoluted, 10-month, 400-million-mile flight, India’s first-ever interplanetary explorer fired braking rockets and slipped into orbit around the Red Planet.

Dust Makes Cosmic Inflation Signal Iffy
A new analysis of Planck data provides the best measurements ever made of polarized dust emission across the sky – and bolsters the claim that the signal heralded as evidence for cosmic inflation is from dust instead.


The 2014 Autumnal Equinox Arrives
What is the “fall equinox” — and how do we know when it happens?

How to Never Miss an Aurora
Learn exactly how and when to expect the next display of the northern lights with a few easy-to-use online tools.

Tour September’s Sky: Farewell to Saturn
The astronomical calendar says autumn arrives on September 22nd. It’s a season of transition, with plenty of celestial comings and goings in the evening sky.

Wake Up to a Total Lunar Eclipse on October 8, 2014
Start your day with an eclipse of the full Moon! On the morning of October 8, 2014, a total lunar eclipse will be visible across most of North America.

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, Sept. 26 – Oct. 4
Sky & Telescope’s weekly celestial-events calendar, with sky views, offers selected astronomy sights for your unaided eyes, binoculars, or a telescope.


Exotic Cruise to See the 2016 Solar Eclipse
In partnership with InSight Cruises, Sky & Telescope offers you a golden opportunity to witness the spectacular beauty of the March 9, 2016 total solar eclipse in the western Pacific aboard the Holland America liner ms Volendam.

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Antigovernment Protest to ‘Shut Down All Ports’ Fizzles, Leaving Law Enforcement Waiting

By David Neiwert on September 22, 2014 – 3:44 pm

The most recent attempt to protest federal immigration policies by shutting down the nation’s ports of entry along the Mexico border has, to no one’s great surprise, turned out to be another fizzle.

Sheriff Omar Lucio at the Veterans International Bridge border crossing on Saturday.  (Credit: Maricela Rodriguez/Valley Morning Star)

Calling itself a coalition of antigovernment “Patriot” groups angry about immigration enforcement, “Shut Down All Ports of Entry” had attempted to organize a protest Saturday morning at a number of the United States’ border crossings wherein participants would drive up to the port, turn off their trucks and cars, and walk away from them.

But on Friday, the organization took down its Facebook page and removed all content from its website except for a notice announcing that the protest had been cancelled out of fears of retaliation by the drug cartels.

“There has been an unsubstantiated threat of mass violence to attendees, along with very suspicious activity on the Facebook site,” wrote organizer Satsyi Barth. “These two items are more than enough for me to immediately stop any protest that was going to occur. Your lives, and the lives of our law enforcement, are more important than any protest.”

According to one news report, however, a small group of six protesters comprising three small cars did arrive at the port of entry in Brownsville on Saturday.

Local law-enforcement officials, meanwhile, were less than happy about the whole affair. Omar Lucio, the sheriff of Cameron County, Texas, told the Valley Morning Star in Brownsville that he and state and federal law-enforcement officials had prepared a significant response on Saturday to the protest, all for naught.

“We paid people overtime,” Lucio said. “Yes, I hate to waste that kind of money. As law enforcement, you never know what’s going to come up. You use these resources and other resources. We take care of people in the U.S.”

Lucio said that about 30 sheriff’s deputies, including a 15-man SWAT team, and a number of Texas Rangers and FBI officers were present at the Veterans and Gateway bridge crossings on Saturday.

It is unclear whether actual threats against the protest were delivered by Mexican drug cartels, or there simply was not enough support for the protest. Though the organizers called themselves a “coalition” of “Patriot” groups, Hatewatch could not find any other groups aligning themselves with the protest or publicly supporting it. Organizers told Hatewatch that members of other “Patriot” groups planned to participate, but could not name them.

Barth told the right-wing Breitbart website that the protest shut down because of threats:

Cartel threatening mass blood shed. One of the guys in Texas was followed into a Walmart, on the freeway, then approached at his hotel. At the same time, I got a bunch of requests to join the [Facebook] page from Sonora Mexico. I grabbed as many as I could, but realized it was getting out of control fast and I didn’t want them to see who the attendees were. This is after it was requested that we avoid certain areas, because of the recent border threats, unrelated to us. The cartel has people at every port listed..waiting for us, so I was told.

Two previous “Patriot” attempts at shutting down key U.S.-Mexico border crossings–one led by radio host Pete Santilli in July, and another in August by the Santilli-led “Border Convoy”–ended as non-events with similarly dismal turnout.


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Joe Sample at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2011. His last solo album, “Children of the Sun,” is to be released this fall. Credit Jean-Christophe Bott/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The cause was mesothelioma, said his manager, Patrick Rains.

The Jazz Crusaders, who played the muscular, bluesy variation on bebop known as hard bop, had their roots in Houston, where Mr. Sample, the tenor saxophonist Wilton Felder and the drummer Nesbert Hooper (better known by the self-explanatory first name Stix) began performing together as the Swingsters while in high school.

Mr. Sample met the trombonist Wayne Henderson at Texas Southern University and added him, the bassist Henry Wilson and the flutist Hubert Laws — who would soon achieve considerable fame on his own — to the group, which changed its name to the Modern Jazz Sextet.

The band worked in the Houston area for several years but did not have much success until Mr. Sample, Mr. Felder, Mr. Hooper and Mr. Henderson moved to Los Angeles and changed their name to the Jazz Crusaders, a reference to the drummer Art Blakey’s seminal hard-bop ensemble, the Jazz Messengers. Their first album, “Freedom Sound,” released on the Pacific Jazz label in 1961, sold well, and they recorded prolifically for the rest of the decade, with all four members contributing compositions, while performing to enthusiastic audiences and critical praise.

In the early 1970s, as the audience for jazz declined, the band underwent yet another name change, this one signifying a change in musical direction. Augmenting their sound with electric guitar and electric bass, with Mr. Sample playing mostly electric keyboards, the Jazz Crusaders became the Crusaders. Their first album under that name, “Crusaders 1,” featuring four compositions by Mr. Sample, was released on the Blue Thumb label in 1972.

With a funkier sound, a new emphasis on danceable rhythms and the addition of pop songs by the Beatles and others to their repertoire, the Crusaders displeased many critics but greatly expanded their audience.

For Mr. Sample, plugging in was not a big step. He had been fascinated by the electric piano since he saw Ray Charles playing one on television in the mid-1950s, and he had owned one since 1963. Nor did he have any problem crossing musical boundaries: Growing up in Houston he had listened to and enjoyed all kinds of music, including blues and country.

“Unfortunately, in this country, there’s a lot of prejudice against the various forms of music,” Mr. Sample told The Los Angeles Times in 1985. “The jazz people hate the blues, the blues people hate rock, and the rock people hate jazz. But how can anyone hate music? We tend to not hate any form of music, so we blend it all together. And consequently, we’re always finding ourselves in big trouble with everybody.”

They didn’t find themselves in much trouble with the record-buying public. The Crusaders had numerous hit albums and one Top 40 single, “Street Life,” which reached No. 36 on the Billboard pop chart in 1979. Mr. Sample wrote the music and Will Jennings wrote the lyrics, which were sung by Randy Crawford.

By the time “Street Life” was recorded, Mr. Henderson had left the Crusaders to pursue a career as a producer. Mr. Hooper left in 1983. Mr. Sample and Mr. Felder continued to work together for a while, but by the late 1980s Mr. Sample was focusing on his solo career, which had begun with the 1969 trio album “Fancy Dance” and included mellow pop-jazz records like “Carmel” (1979).

His later albums included the unaccompanied “Soul Shadows” (2004). His last album, “Children of the Sun,” is to be released this fall.

He also maintained a busy career as a studio musician. Among the albums on which his keyboard work can be heard are Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark” and “The Hissing of Summer Lawns,” Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer,” Steely Dan’s “Aja” and “Gaucho,” and several recordings by B. B. King.

His music has been sampled on numerous hip-hop records, most notably Tupac Shakur’s “Dear Mama.”

Joseph Leslie Sample was born on Feb. 1, 1939, in Houston, the fourth of five siblings, and began playing piano when he was 5. His survivors include his wife, Yolanda; his son, Nicklas, a jazz bassist with whom he occasionally performed; three stepsons, Jamerson III, Justin and Jordan Berry; six grandchildren; and a sister, Julia Goolsby.

Mr. Sample’s fellow Crusader Mr. Henderson died in April.

In recent years, Mr. Sample had worked with a reunited version of the Crusaders and led an ensemble called the Creole Joe Band, whose music was steeped in the lively Louisiana style known as zydeco. At his death he had been collaborating with Jonatha Brooke and Marc Mantell on a musical, “Quadroon,” which had a reading in July at the Ensemble Theater in Houston.

Correction: September 18, 2014
An obituary on Monday about the pianist Joe Sample misstated the year his album “Soul Shadows” was released. It was 2004, not 2008.

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