Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Outsourcing seems to be the way to go. Think of it as global sub-contracting. On paper it makes sense to farm-out a job you can get done more cheaply…unless there’s an unhidden cost or risk.
One of the things that keeps the Homeland Security people up at night is wondering how the next bad guys are going to get into the country to do their evil deeds. If it can be imagined, it can be done. The movie, “Red Dawn,” is based upon the premise that the US could be invaded from Mexico, the continent divided up the middle, and essential conquered in two. They dreamed up that scenario twenty five years ago, long before the appearance of Al Qaida.
President Bush will make stops in Arizona and Texas this week to address an issue that has divided some members of his own Republican Party -- illegal immigration.
What if the bad guys were to dress like the good guys, and get into the country in disguise? What if the bad guys were to dress like Border Patrol agents, and just let the rest of their friends in?
The main supplier of uniforms for US Border Patrol Agents is a company based in Nashville, Tennessee, VF Solutions…which subs-out some of its work to other garment manufacturing plants in Mexico…Canada…and The Dominican Republic.
Here’s another thought for you: We all know that the major networks would love nothing more than to see a female US President. Geena Davis’ role in “Commander in Chief” is how The Media would have you think you’d like things to be. Same rationale behind "The West Wing"—it’s how the creative intelligentsia wanted things to be.
There’s a new crop of shows in development now that makes you wonder what these people are thinking…or smoking. According to Variety Magazine, some of next year’s hits will be based upon the premise of the demise of America. ABC-TV’s vision of a post-apocalyptic realm is portrayed in two shows, “Resistance,” and “Red & Blue,” CBS is going the plague route with “Four Horsemen,” those apocalyptic wranglers, and another imagines life might be like a small town named Jericho, after the walls fell down.
Variety quotes one TV exec observing that “the creative community appears to be really inspired this year.” Sounds to me like they’re all off their meds. What’s even sadder than TV shows built around the destruction of our country is that people will watch them…and advertisers will support them.
If art is imitating life, 2006 will really suck.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Sometimes I'm so grateful for things my knees go weak.
In a world in which everything counts, when's the last time you tallied your count?
The totals are staggering.
As I look around the table today, surrounded by my bride's people (I am the outlaw), it's an amazing amalgam of philosophies, occupations, even shapes and styles:
A Gospel preacher...
An animal husbandrist (is that a word? He breaks-in horses...)
A hair stylist (technically, counting my bride, there are two present...)
A pair of housewives, one of which is also a teachers' assistant...
A hardware store employee...
A college student...
An airframe mechanic...
...and yours truly, able blogger to some, Talk Show Host to many, father to two, and one and only husband to my bride of 26-years next month.
I am thankful, indeed, for the blessing and priviledge to be invited into your car radios and desktop computers and who knows how else you listen each day. I am grateful for your support, appreciative of your suggestions for improvement, and fascinated by what fascinates you.
I am more than glad for my job--I am indeed fortunate to work for a fair and benevolent employer who values my skills and grants me the freedom to use my God-given talents.
I am fortunate to be surrounded by a wonderful cast of colleagues and support staff who are every bit as passionate about their jobs and their contribution to the stations' success as am I.
We have much to distract us this Thanksgiving 2005, with cleanups from storms, extra people in town, the war, the border, the price of gasoline, and the cost of eggs in China--especially with Avian Flu. But there is much for which we can truly be thankful, living as we do, where we do, with whom we are blessed to be living.
I hope your Thanksgiving Day is festive, full of friends and family, and is festooned with the reality of all the blessings we enjoy.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Houston-- Politics makes for strange bed fellows and business partners…Would you believe Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is shipping cheap heating oil to the Northeast to help less-fortunate Americans weather the winter chill this season?
The Chavez administration is not a big fan of the Bush administration, so Venezuela’s state-owned oil company is supplying oil at 40% below market price through it’s US subsidiary, Citgo Petroleum, to be distributed through a couple of non-profit groups, Citizens Energy Corp and the Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance.
Under an agreement brokered by Democrat Representative William Delahunt with the Chavez government, low-income Massachusetts residents could receive discounted home heating oil this winter. Remember the Chavez government is a political adversary of Mr. Bush. Remember, too, that most Northeastern congressmen have staunchly resisted development of petroleum reserves along the East Coast over the years. So, apparently, it's far less difficult to negotiate for cheap oil from one of America's "least-favored" foreign neighbors than it is to develop and provide energy domestically.
Is this a blatant grab for positive PR by the Chavez government, or a literal illustration of the political theory of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend?” It obviously is a pitch for headlines for the Democrat Representative of that fair state, apparently willing to go to any lengths to embarass George Bush. Makes you wonder…
It’s pretty embarrassing for Congress, however, which supported Venezuela’s previous, "new" government after a coup in 2002. That leadership was subsequently booted out of office--which was re-taken by Chavez, who is now addressing an issue that the US leadership has failed to adequately manage in this country.
Hugo Chavez’ style of governancet is two-fisted: one of velvet, the other of steel. He buys loyalty from his constituents by providing the necessities of life cheaply, while repressing any form of dissent. Chavez believes America’s poor are the result of rampant Capitalism. Hmmm...it's interesting to note the per capita GDP for Venezuela last year was about $5,800...while the US GDP was $40,100. You do the math. Where would you rather live?
Perhaps the perceived trend in this country towards a mentality of looking to the government for sustenance from the womb to the tomb is being exploited by Venezuela as an opportunity to embarrass President Bush and the Republican Leadership, while currying favor from poor (and relatively naive) Americans in the Northeast this winter.
And so the dilemma for Massachusetts’ poor shapes up to be a question of whether you have enough patriotism—and income—to stay warm this winter, or accept the charitable discount from a despotic country willing to turn up the heat on President Bush, at 40%-off. Representative Delahunt seems to have already made up his mind.
While the US government’s operating theory appears to be “be ye warmed and filled,” Hugo Chavez’ message is more like “be ye filled and warmed.”
Monday, November 21, 2005
The Clanton Hacienda-- My daughter sent me an instant message this morning. Short, to the point. I thanked her. She IM’d me back, “your welcome.”
I sat there for a minute, staring at the screen.
I just put her through 14-years of public school (including Cosmo school), and I get “your welcome”?
So, I IM’d her back, “you’re.”
“(contraction of you and are)”
She IM’d me back, “r u kidding me?”
Before I could respond that as her loving parent, it was my responsibility to provide these gentle corrections, and that I didn’t want her to appear an ignorant reflection of her Dad and Mom, she typed another line to me, “I don’t have time for this.”
So there you have it.
You can IM to your heart’s delight, or in many cases, “2 yur hartz d-lite,” and I guess the normal rules of the grammatical road don’t apply.
Your vs you’re.
That’s one of those minor English conundrums like To, Too, and Two.
Hey, I’m no William Safire, but I, too, like to use the right word, especially when there are more than two ways to spell a similar-sounding word, a.k.a “homonymn.” Notice how I cleverly worked all three into the same sentence?
Here’s another one that sort of gets my goat in a minor way:
Their vs they’re vs there.
The possessive pronoun vs the contraction vs the adverb.
Then, there’s their’s vs theirs vs there’s.
Pick which word isn’t really a word.
You won’t find their’s there in the dictionary.
Minor stuff…like then and than…used to vs use to…who vs whom. Merry, marry, Mary.
You get the idea. No wonder California public schools would just as soon teach Ebonics.
But the one that really sends me over the edge on the grammarmometer is regardless vs irregardless. Regardless of what some may think or say, “irregardless” is a double-negative, and really not a word.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Salt Lake City—I have been here since Thursday evening, attending a Leadership Conference for Volunteers in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Salt Lake City is one of the cleanest cities I have ever visited. Maybe it’s the Mormon influence, or maybe it’s because Salt Lakian’s (is that the proper term?) are among the friendliest people I’ve ever encountered. I suspect it’s both.
By night, the city is laid out in a matrix of electric jewels, ringed by snow-capped mountains gleaming under a November full moon. By day, it’s a charming combination of westward-ho ruggedness and sparkling contemporary applications of aluminum and steel in angles and arcs. Mountains peek between the skyscrapers like silent sentinels of progress, reminders of the city’s origins. And it’s so clean.
I attend these leadership conferences once a year as part of my responsibility to the local chapter. But what I gain from the personal stories, news ideas, and talks with the doctors and researchers who are using LLS-generated fund is beyond measure.
There are basically three kinds of cancer: Bone, tissue, and blood. Since 1960 the survival rates for blood cancers have doubled, and in some cases, have tripled, thanks to the research that has been made possible by funds raised by the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society.
I used to attend these meetings with a comparatively detached form of interest; I did not have leukemia, although I had lost friends and family members to the disease. This year’s meeting has been different, because I have attended for the first time as a cancer patient. Having cancer can really crystallize the mission and the message of what this organization is about.
Like the Pig and the Chicken discussing making breakfast for the farmer, the chicken is interested in contributing…the pig has a different level of commitment at stake.
Funds provided by LLS were a large part of the success in bringing Gleevec to market, which has been a miracle drug for people with CML (Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia). Now doctors at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah like Katherine Ullman, Ph.D., and Paul Shami, M.D., are working on research into cell nucleus structure and operation to find a key to stopping rapid cell division—a hallmark of cancer cells. Dr. Shami is figuring out how to use Nitric Oxide (NO) to kill Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) cells.
Also in the labs right now is a new pill for CML for patients resistant to Gleevec, enzyme inhibitors for clinical trials for AML treatment, and more filling the research pipeline with lots of possibilities for finding cancer cures. Here’s the cool part about Leukemia research: curing blood cancers is the key to curing the other two kinds of cancer, bone and tissue.
Shameless plug #1—go to http://www.lls.org/ for complete details.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education, and patient services. For my cancer today, the best option available is surgery with a painful, protracted recovery. I go under the knife December 5. But as the work of the LLS continues, there’s every reason to believe that as we find cures for blood cancers, we will also learn the cures for my type of cancer.
There are an estimated 747,000 Americans living with blood cancers right now. I don’t know the figures on how many are afflicted with bone and tissue cancer. I know one guy, though, who is.
Shameless Plug #2—when you go to http://www.lls.org/, find the place where you can make a contribution to the work of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The families we serve and the doctors we fund will appreciate it.
So will I.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Some days this show just isn’t long enough to get in all the important stories that should be discussed. While we are all about the business of the day, we’re also all about the business of life, and life has its turns and twists that make you stand back now and then and say, “ahh...!”
In Oklahoma City, a mother got fed up with her 14-year old daughter’s poor grades, chronic tardiness to class, and sass-talking to teachers…so she made the little brat stand at in intersection last weekend with a cardboard sign that read: "I don't do my homework and I act up in school, so my parents are preparing me for my future. Will work for food."
I think it’s brilliant.
I think it’s bold.
I think it’s made a difference, because the mother has already seen a change for the better in the behavior of the teenager in the past few days.
It’s also opened a real can of worms…as reactions range from "Hoo-aah's" to condemnation for the public humiliation of the daughter by the mother.
How about a life-lesson teaching the cause and effect of a lack of education.
How much less embarrassing is it to be 44 instead of 14, and stand on the side of the road holding a sign that says “will work for food.”
Did you ever ask yourself who are the parents of that bum?
Why is it necessary to now beg for work—or food?
Where was the mistake made?
Is this an instance of "killing a kid psychologically," as alleged by a writer to The Daily Oklahoman op-ed page, or a great example of a parent taking extraordinary measures to keep her teenaged daughter from making a colossal mess of her life with poor decision-making skills?
Is it psychological abuse to point out the shortcomings of a kid in the formative years?
When my son was very young—just a few months old—our pediatrician diagnosed a condition in which his legs and feet were turned inward, and he prescribed casting his legs with the feet turned outward over several months to correct the defect. So we had his legs cast in plaster at the age of 6-months…and for weeks, carried around this blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby boy with a smile for everyone…and ten pounds of plaster encasing his legs.
Was it cruel to add the extra torque and extra weight to our infant’s legs?
Was it psychologically damaging to correct a problem early in his life so that he would be able to function like “normal” people later in life?
Was he emotionally scarred because we took steps to fix something that was headed in the wrong direction?
You oughtta see him play basketball now.
We as parents need to do the hard things that result in the right outcome for our kids. So we put their legs in casts…we put braces on their teeth so they won’t look like Mister Ed…and sometimes, it’s not a bad idea to expose them to the realities of life affected by poor choices.
It’s interesting to see the outcome of this “extreme attitude make-over:” The student was getting C’s and D’s in school…now, attendance has been perfect and her behavior has done a one-eighty. Humiliating? Perhaps, at 14, the lesson plan was a little embarrassing…but how humiliating is it to be holding signs, begging on the street corner at 44?
The academic experts are also weighing-in…Donald Wertlieb, a professor of child development at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University, says, "such punishment could do extreme emotional damage."
He thinks "rewarding positive behavior is more effective."
"The trick is to catch them being good," saith the Professor, who theorizes the mother "has not had a chance to catch her child being good, or is so upset over seeing her be bad, that's where the focus is."
No, professor, the trick is not to “catch them being good.”
The object is to turn mis-behavior into opportunity for correction.
If you don’t provide positive guidance, how will a kid know the difference between right and wrong behavior? For that matter, without a standard against which to compare behavior and provide correction, how will a kid know the difference between right and wrong?
Maybe if more parents took the initiative in correcting their children—instead of relying on daycare or public schools to apply a politically-correct, sterile standard of performance of behavior—we’d have fewer 44-year old failures.
Like casting twisted feet in plaster to re-direct their correct growth, sometimes a weekend of humiliation can provide the proper guidance to straighten out developing young minds.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
My daughter just received her cosmetology license. Don’t worry, my likeness at left is not a result of her training. While she was in school, I would serve as a practice pad for various phases of her education, like haircuts and pedicures. Gotta admit, getting one's feet softened and nails clipped without bruising one's chin on one's knees has a certain appeal when you’re north of 50. Last night she treated me to a treatment, and I was a captive audience to the TV for three-quarters of an hour.
I learned a couple of things sitting in the chair last night: My daughter has a bright future ahead of her so long as people want someone else to clip their toes. And network TV is pretty bleak in the evenings. Are they connected? I hope not, because while my feet felt great, I felt a little dumber after watching TV.
“My Name is Earl” has been running trailers in the movie theaters the past few weekends…looked like a pretty entertaining plot line: Loser tries to reverse mistakes he’s made in his life, and in the process, gets into some socially-challenging situations, featuring the wrinkled moronics of Jason Lee. This is NBC Putting the “sit” in sit-coms.
So I watched last night’s show in which Earl’s ex-wife gets married and invites everyone but Earl to the wedding… which he, of course, crashes, and then tries to make up to his ex-wife, at which he also fails miserably, and tries to make up for… You get the idea.
This show does for the lower-middle class what “blaxploitation” films did for that demo in the 70’s—made all those who were taken in by the genre just a little less intelligent for the experience. The sad thing is that this is what some network TV entertainment has devolved to—poking fun at people who are too stupid to know any better.
I liked the premise—karma is a funny thing, which is an obvious play off of John Lennon’s “instant Karma’s gonna getcha!” The disappointment is that the writers went for the cheap and easy gags instead of developing the story line into something with more return for your investment of a half hour of viewing.
During “Earl” the network ran an ad for the program to follow, called “The Office.” I figured it was a take-off on “Office Space,” and with Steve Carell—a.k.a. Ron Burgundy from “Anchorman,” and “The 40-year old Virgin,” there might be some funny gags. It was like a bad mockumentary, with Carell’s character obsessing over a failed fling with his female boss in the parking lot of a Chili’s. I honestly felt dumber for the experience.
Guess I forgot—these shows aren’t on The Discovery Channel for a reason. At the Peacock Network on Tuesday nights, check your brain at the door.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
We received several requests for the transcipt of my comments yesterday on the value of "focus," so we decided to post them here for your convenience.
Our friend, Jason Bernstein at Morgan Keegan, is fond of saying “no one plans to fail, they simply fail to plan.” That’s not just true of financial planning…the theory covers any area of your life.
I was thinking about this over the weekend, talking with guests at a wedding in San Antonio at the Mission Espada…it boils down to one simple word: Focus.
The bride and groom planned that wedding for two years. They had a goal, and they had a plan for achieving it…working extra jobs…doing much of the preparations themselves…creating a special day that was uniquely their own. They had focus, and they never let their eyes wander from their goal.
When you sharpen your focus on accomplishing a task, reaching a goal, or fulfilling a promise, you achieve completion quicker with less wasted time and energy, ready to go to the next item on your list.
Shawn Belding’s e-mail blast on “Winning in the Workplace” begins with a simple question too few of us really ever address effectively: Where you would like to be in your career two years from now? Five years? Ten years?
The truth is that if you don’t have a good answer for those questions, you don’t have a plan, and you have very little control over your career path. And if you think “career planning” is only for people at the top (and why shouldn't you be one of them??)--you’re wrong. If you’re the mailroom supervisor, you’d better have a plan, or you’re going to be delivering mail to the corner office instead of receiving your mail there. I know—I was a mailroom supervisor at one point in my checkered past.
This is the time of year when we all like to look back over the wins and losses of the past ten months, and begin to think about what 2006 has in store for us. This kind of thinking generally crystallizes on New Year’s day, when we resolve to eat less, exercise more, quick smoking and start living the rest of our lives better than we lived the past.
Sadly, most of those resolutions are broken by the end of the first month. That’s not a plan. That’s a cultural tradition.
So you don't want to be CEO. Even if you just want to maintain the status quo, it's a good idea to know how you're going to achieve/maintain it. That’s how successful people to it.
I knew ten years ago I wanted to be a radio station general manager. I knew three years ago that I wanted to take the Business Radio format to the network level. If you can dream it, you can do it…but you’ve also got to have a blue print.
Shawn Belding’s advice has five parts:
1. Set your goal: Figure out what you would really like to be doing. Write it down. Meditate on the words and their meaning. Draw up a job description for yourself: how do you want to spend the productive hours of your life—and how many hours are you willing to devote to that? And is your goal realistic?
My son and my nephew were discussing their dating experiences lately (nil), and one said to the other, "maybe we need to lower our standards to raise our averages." No disrespect intended to future prospects, but the point between the lines is to make sure there's a realistic goal in place.
We can't all be CEO (unless we start our own company); my son and my nephew likely aren't going to be dating the Olson twins. If your goal is unreasonable, reset to something more realistic. But keep your standards!
2. Find a mentor: Find someone who has already achieved a similar goal, and ask them what it takes to get there. You'll find most people quite willing to help out. And in time, be a mentor to others. What goes around, comes around. Bob Hopkins, the publisher of Philanthropy Magazine, is fond of saying you have to give to get. That's also true in the Help Dept. Don't forget those you mentor you...and return the favor when asked.
3. Set a timeline: Set a 'deadline' for achieving your target, then set timelines for all the steps on the way. That’s sound planning. Measure and re-measure, too, to make sure you’re plan is realistic.
4. Set the wheels in motion: Take action right away - don't procrastinate!
"Procrastination isn't the problem, it's the solution. So procrastinate now, don’t put it off."
Get started, and then…
5. Monitor your progress: Whenever you hit a bump in the road, or are unsure as to a decision, talk to your mentor. There are going to be set backs. Don’t try to bear it all yourself. Share. Delegate. Direct.
Too many people on the way up find themselves on the way out because they werent’ more inclusive of their peers. You’re not the only up-and-commer. Just as you’re following the lead of someone you respect…recognize there are others following the trail you’re blazing. If you’re the mail room supervisor…consider, one of your helpers just might be the right person to fill your shoes, as you move on ward up the ladder.
That’s a truth regardless of your role in your organization.
And remember…while any of us can be replaced…the key is to make that happen at the place and time of our choosing. The best way for you to move up and out is to groom your successor…get’s back to that mentoring thing.
Make that plan. Focus on each aspect of that outline to build your own success.
Monday, November 14, 2005
My partner for the final 30-minutes of the show each day is Kristina Ramirez, who provides live updates while the stock markets are open. Kristina is a lot like my wife, in some ways. She puts me on my best behavior, and she makes me laugh.
Kristina went to the Black Eyed Peas concert last week.
She said it was cool beans.
Kristina called her friend between market updates with a live report of another stripe.
“Girl, there’s a 70% sale on shoes at New York & Co!”
We captured the moment for prosperity…and posterity.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Have you heard of congestion pricing? That’s where a city charges drivers for entering the most heavily-trafficked parts of town at the busiest times of the day. By creating a financial incentive to carpool or use mass transit, congestion pricing is thought to be a means of smoothing traffic flow be reducing volume.
Congestion Pricing is not yet reality, it's not even a proposal – but the concept is bouncing around in Manhattan, where it would mean big changes for New Yorkers and anyone visiting the city by car. It’s been considered in other cities, too—Houston and Harris County have spoken of a variable rate fare for tolls on the Sam Houston Tollway system…
I think imposing congestion pricing for access into Washington, D.C. would be an educational experience for some of our nation’s lawmakers. Not that they’d be paying the fares out of their own pockets—you and I would be doing that, you can bet. But the concept of prices going up with increasing demand—something you and I deal with on a weekly basis—might be an interesting notion to grasp for senators and representatives wrestling with the complex theory of why fuel prices went up following this summer’s hurricanes.
Because the storms shut down production, oil companies were forced to raise prices to retain supplies. That’s a novel concept for some lawmakers, apparently. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden found it to be an “astounding theory of consumer protection” during the recent Petroleum Inquisition of the CEO’s of America’s larger oil companies.
The more cars on the road, the less lane space, and the higher the cost to drive: Congestion Pricing…by any other name, it’s still just Economics-101.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Today is Veteran's Day, set on the date the world ended the "war to end all wars." Somehow, I suspect everyone lost that war. Separate the politics from the personnel. Sanctify today as a day to remember and remark the service rendered and the lives sacrificed by others for the freedoms we enjoy.
I am not a Veteran. There is no way I could ever relate to what our fighting men and women are going through. But I can--and do--admire them for what they're doing and why. One of our staffers, Ray Whitworth, a producer for our Dallas affiliate, KMNY/ BizRadio1360AM, wrote the following trbiute, and has graciously allowed us to post it here.
Read and appreciate.
In our recent history, we shall never forget the brave Americans who lost their lives on Sept. 11,2001.We shall never forget the brave service personnel who are currently risking their lives in service of our country, so you and I live to be free.
Sixty-four years ago another sneak attack on the shores of America was performed, we know it today as Pearl Harbor. Allow me to tell the tale starting with that fateful day how one man started to make a difference that affected many lives.
It was December 7, 1941--a Sunday. The weather in Hawaii was partly cloudy, the temp hovered in the mid 70’s, and the winds were calm blowing out of the west. The night shifts at one of the docks of Pearl Harbor were gathering for a pick up game of baseball. Though it was football season, baseball was considered America’s national pastime. The Yanks and the Dem Bums, The Brooklyn Dodgers were still being talked and argued about. Church bells clang of many denominations sounded for its members to answer the call for prayer. Radio KGMB in Honolulu was on the air playing the latest from The Dorseys, Sinatra, Miller, and Ellington plus traditional Hawaiian music.
Across the island inlet was an army air force base named Hickam Field. The troops were answering the call for breakfast at the mess hall, except a few who were manning a small radar site watching for airplanes in their vicinity. One of them was a short 23-year-old corporal Named George. He was a native of the farming community of Bonham, Texas. His friends gave him the nickname of “Whit”.
The radar station was instructed to be on the lookout for a small flight of unarmed B-17’s arriving from California. Rumors had circulated that early morning of contact with a mini-sub off the beach of Oahu. The radar crew showed numerous blips approaching the islands. The Chief master sergeant told the crew to ignore them. They were false echoes due to the weather conditions and they were picking up sea birds.
At 7:54am Pacific time, the last minute of peace for the next three years and nine months was fading away. The clock struck 7:55am;swarms of green planes with red circles flew out of the rising sun of that Sunday morning. Through the Hawaiian valleys and up over dormant volcanoes, over the scattered fields of macadamia, and pineapples they flew. Over the houses of its inhabitants came the deafening roar of their Mitsubishi engines were the sons of Banzai.
The Pearl Harbor Naval base stood in their path to history. They dove onto the ships sleeping in their berths extending a deadly satanic invitation to war. Black plumes suddenly covered the bright sunlight that once was covering the landscape. Screams of brothers in arms pierced the air then quickly silenced, as the death knell of ships heaved with artificial thunder.
Japan was attacking and the United States once again was at war.
Service personnel scrambled for machine guns, anything to answer back these cowardly betrayers of peace. At Hickman Field, George and his comrades in arms jumped into a sandbagged machine gun nest and opened fire on the red-circled planes. We don’t know to this day if he and his buddies downed any, but they tried--and stayed manning the machine guns for three days without relief.
America was awakened, never to sleep again.
As the war in the Pacific was underway George was transferred to India. There he was assigned to guide planes over the Himalayans mountains, commonly referred to as The Hump, so that our British and Chinese allies would receive necessary munitions and supplies in Burma.
September 2,1945: VJ day--Victory over Japan.
Allied forces steamed into Tokyo Bay. Among them were Pearl Harbor veterans who could be spared to witness the defeat of the enemy. George was among them.
Peace was again in session--though shaky.
In 1948, the Soviet Union broke the agreement with the Allied countries and closed the gates to West Berlin. President Truman ordered US military transports to begin airlifting supplies into the fractured city. George was sent to help bring those planes in so that the citizens would not starve.
The planes flew, each man aboard wondering whether they might be shot down, triggering another war. The flights were steady and frequent, and George would find himself at times being flown in and out of Germany for rest periods, traveling in hostile Soviet skies.
When George flew back in, he and other service personnel noticed the faces of the German children. Some were scared. Orphaned, their clothing was tattered. Their eyes were blank--no smiles--just a quiet plea to be released from the barren bombed out city of Berlin.
The servicemen took it upon themselves to hand out Government issued Hershey Bars that were given to them. The children quickly snatched them, ate them in a fury, or as George wrote in his photo album, “ broke off as many pieces as they could to give to smaller children who couldn’t be more than 2 or 3.”
A few days later, small white-handkerchief parachutes floated to the ground for the children as Allied planes were on their final approach for landing at the Berlin airstrip. Dangling from the parachutes were Hershey bars. The airmen would soon be called “The Chocolate soldiers”. George was one of them.
Some parachutes “accidently”strayed into the Soviet Occupied zone, and the Soviet authority complained to the Allied Command. The Allied Command told the airmen to cease the droppings, but the crew personnel ignored the order and the Allied Command looked the other way. Soon more “parachutes" would find their way into the Soviet Zone, “accidentally.” A few months later the gates to West Berlin were open and the German citizens were then free to travel.
A couple of years passed, and George was transferred to Yucca Flats, Nevada, where he was “volunteered” to fly into and around Atomic Bomb tests and their menacing mushroom clouds. He was assigned to run and participate in many tests for radiation levels.
In 1951, George got married and sired a son in Dallas, Texas a year later. He was so happy that there was another Texan in the family. He was soon transferred to the Alaskan Territory as the cold war was heating up with the Soviet Union once more.
George was assigned radar duty to watch for possible approaches of bombers from Russia. He and his wife had another son while stationed there. A year later, Georege's health was declining and he was transferred to San Antonio, Texas where the Air force had the beast hospital facilities. The diagnosis was lung cancer. He passed away on Christmas morning,1956.
He was Tech Sgt. George Arnold Whitworth, my father. I am Ray Arnold Whitworth, a proud son, a proud American, whose father made the supreme sacrifice. I was only 1 when he died, but I know him all the same.
For all who served, thank you. For all who are serving, thank you. One person can make a difference.
In 1973 in St. Louis, Missouri a devastating fire heavily damaged the National Military Records Depository. Every military record with names that began with “H” thru “Z” that were enlisted before 1964, were destroyed. This included veterans from the Civil war to Korea.
In 1982, days of heavy rains pelted the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, flooding the city. Some cemeteries were demolished, with caskets floating into the adjoining rivers. They were all retrieved but valuable paperwork for identification was lost. The remains were buried in a mass gravesite as “Unknowns”.
My Father and Grandfather were among them.
Ray Whitworth and granddaughter, Deja.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
The Big Guys of Big Oil got drilled by the Senate yesterday in a joint hearing of the Senate Energy and Commerce committees. There lots of questions, primarily looking into whether or not their companies were guilty of "price gouging" during the 2005 Hurricane Season.
Big Oil turned in some Big Profits in the third-quarter, a 62% jump to about $25.9 billion; ExxonMobil’s quarterly profit was record setting. The other side of that story is that Big Oil’s profit margin—the difference between what they earned, and what it cost them to operate—wasn’t so big, just south of 10%.
Big Banking had a profit margin of 20%. When does their congressional inquisition begin?
Some members of Congress have called for a return of the Windfall Profits Tax, funneling the money to lower-income consumers to help them with energy costs. Holy Communism, Batman, Joe McCarthy is spinning in his grave!
Unless the Oil execs had spoken up in defense of their profits, the fact that the industry invests billions in developing new sources of energy regardless of the market price of oil or the level of the industry's profits, would be lost in the murmers of the gathering crowd.
That’s just another example of Washington’s myopia when it comes to realistic planning, and their shallowness of thought on the matter. That’s a gentle way of stating that these guys are pretty stupid. Not to mention hypocritical.
Forgotten in the pompous circumstance of Congress’ current witch hunt in the oil patch is the fact that this same august body has lacked the spine and foresight to stand up to environmentalists (who use electricity, too), effectively neutering Big Oil’s ability to do in this country what it does best: find and produce sources of energy domestically.
There are special interests everywhere you look.
Big Oil has been tarred and feathered before because of its lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. There should be an equal amount of pitch and bitumen to go around for the environmental lobbyists, too.
Just as pork is the other white meat, environmental lobbyists represent the other special interests in Washington. And it is those special interest groups who have successfully thwarted efforts to drill for oil off the east and west coasts of this country for years, as well as the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge.
Last night House leaders scuttled opening the Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil drilling. Why? Fear overcoming resolve in addressing America’s energy issues… They also dropped from the budget plans to allow oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
So the irony is that the politicians pandering to the wishes of “Tundradites’” are now complaining about supply-induced pricing…when they are just as much a part of the problem.
What you’re seeing and hearing in the comments of people like California Senator Barbara Boxer and others on the panel is their knee jerk reaction—not to the price of gasoline, because really, they can well afford it. Their beating the brow of oil execs like Lee Raymond is in response to the shrillness factor in the voices of their constituents.
And they don’t get it.
In response to suggestions for a federal price gouging law, Federal Trade Commission Chairperson Deborah Majoras said it "likely will do more harm than good. While no consumers like price increases, in fact, price increases lower demand and help make the shortage shorter-lived than it otherwise would have been," she stated in yesterday’s hearing.
Oregon's Democrat Senator Ron Wyden responded by saying, "that's an astounding theory of consumer protection."
It’s supply and demand. And whether you’re discussing the price of oil in America, or the price of eggs in China, that’s a fact, Jack...er, Ron.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Never ask, "What's next?"
Over the weekend, third-rate scap merchants appropriated a length of communications cable from the line feeding audio and telemetry from the KMNY studios to the transmitter site in Hurst.
Engineers worked all day Sunday to splice in a new set of cable, and the service was restored late Sunday night.
Apparently, the copper addicts found this just too irresistable, and overnight absconded with the spliced-in cable segment.
We are presently working on a wireless solution...
...I'd settle for a Dobermann and a loaded AK-47.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Today is Election Day in Texas.
Back in 1864 on this date, Abraham Lincoln was elected to his second term as President of the United States in an election that helped ensure the preservation of the Union. It was one of the only times in history that an election was held by a nation in the middle of a civil war. Another such event took place just a few weeks ago by the people of Iraq, voting on a new constitution for that war-wracked country.
In that election, more than 60% of the population voted, dipping their finger in purple ink to signify their participation in the process. Some were shot on their way to the polls. In Texas, today is the day for the Constitutional Amendment election.
It is estimated only 16% of registered voters will take part in today's polling. No one is shooting at voters.
Today we're deciding the fate of several constitutional amendments for Texas. Secretary of State Roger Williams is estimating only 16% of registered voters will participate in today's polling. No one is shooting at Voters here. No one leaves the polling booth with fingers stained purple.
One of the issues on today’s ballot is Proposition 2, the Marriage Amendment, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. This issue is being hotly contested by both sides. With a 16% turn out, this and other issues could easily be decided by a few voters.
Secretary Williams is encouraging voter turnout by a new campaign which will recognize two counties in Texas with the highest voter turnout as the Stephen F. Austin “Champions of the Republic.”
We at the BizRadio Network believe that voting is not only your right, but your responsibility. Take time today to place your vote on issues of importance to our state.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Sometime over the weekend, Saturday night/Sunday morning, copper thieves sliced through a multi-strand cable at the point from which it emerges from the Trinity River Bank at the KMNY-AM (Dallas affiliate BizRadio1360) transmitter site in Hurst.
The copper crooks not only knocked the station off the air, but also severed phone service for many residents and businesses in the area. Cable repair crews are working frantically to restore service in the area.
We'll have the station back on the air as soon as possible. In the meantime, log onto the BizRadioNetwork website to listen to live streaming audio...which in some cases, is live steaming audio.
Too bad the cable wasn’t carrying a few thousand volts of electricity.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Have you seen the latest fashion statements from Abercrombie & Fitch? That’s not a metaphor. A&F has a fresh line of slogan T-shirts for girls that are eliciting nervous chuckles from some and have hatched a “girl-cott” for the store by a group in Allegheny County, PA.
What could possibly be wrong with a t-shirt slogan?
Would you want your teenaged—or college-aged daughter prancing around in a t-shirt that sports this phrase across the chest: “Who Needs a Brain when you Have These?” Another one says, “I Had a Nightmare I was a Brunette,” and then there’s the T that reads “Available for Parties” across the front.
Yeah, great packaging.
Abercrombie is no stranger to criticism. There was the 2003 catalog with photos of topless women and bottomless men which provoked so much ire that the company pulled the publication. Remember last year's U.S. Olympic gymnastics team failing to win a gold medal? Right on cue, A&F sold T-shirts with the phrase "L is for loser" next to a picture of a gymnast on the rings. Those shirts were pulled from the racks after USA Gymnastics called for a boycott.
I think I'd have seen the Olympic Wrestling Team over for a little attitude adjustment at A&F.
While Abercrombie backed down then, it’s not now. Their defense: "Our clothing appeals to a wide variety of customers. These particular T-shirts have been very popular among adult women to whom they are marketed." In other words, if A&F prints them, girls will buy them.
The irony is this: with the controversy comes attention—media attention—and that’s what it’s all about for Abercrombie & Fitch. Controversial marketing. Packaging. Image: Concepts with personal applications that should be more fully developed before trying on such slogan shirts.
Young girls wishing to be trendy with an A&F slogan shirt that’s somewhat demeaning to the fairer sex might be initiating a trend they cannot reverse.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
We went to another doctor for a second opinion on my prostate cancer.
He said I've got it, and I dress funny.
Second opinion--what else did I expect?
So now it's a matter of choosing who, where, and when.
We already know why...and, excruciatingly, how.
I guess cancer patients always live in a semi-state of denial--hoping against hope.
Always looking for another opinion.
Me--I'm just looking for a date and a time to carve this stuff out of my belly so I can get on with the business of loving my family and living my life.
It's not so bad, really.
A friend of mine was just told this week that his cancer is terminal.
Sometimes, second opinions are worse than we expect.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Politicians screaming for windfall taxes on oil companies' "windfall" profits make me see red.
Exxon-Mobil earned over $10-billion in profits last quarter, Shell racked-up $9-billion, BP made $6.4-billion, and Conoco-Phillps was a comparative slacker, earning only $3.8-billion in profits.
Would that I were as sluggish.
Congress wants to tax the oil companies on profits for any oil above $40/barrel. Here are two important pieces of information that you're not hearing much about--and which grandstanding senators are ignoring:
- The profit margin by big oil companies is less than 10%
- Senator-investors' profits on their stocks were up 12%
Once again, we have the Pot calling the Kettle a cookware-American.
The New Yorker published a piece of research by Georgia State professor Alan Ziobrowski surveying the stock transactions of senators between 1993 and 1998, revealing their ability to beat the markets by 12%. Most fund managers feel good about a 2% spread.
When's that investigation beginning?
For that matter--big banks enjoyed a 20% profit margin this last time around. How come no one is looking at their books? Oh yeah, they just did...and sent some guys to jail as I recall...and still made a 20% return.
Don't recall anyone in Congress advocating a bail-out of the oil industry when a barrel of oil cost $10/barrel, do you? We've got milk subsidies, sugar subsidies, lumber tarrifs, garment tarrifs, and nothing but red tape and double speak from Washington when oil companies want to build new refineries.
The government will sustain a failing railroad operator for decades (Amtrak) but has not the political backbone to employ a little common sense in analyzing what it costs to produce a gallon of gasoline. When you extrapolate the benefits to society, the economy, and national security from enabling Big Oil to expand capacity and build new refineries, it's a no-brainer.
Which should be a slam-dunk, since that seems to be what we've sent to Capitol Hill.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
The old adage “sex sells” has been pushed aside by a new paradigm: “Fear Sells.”
Maybe that’s a by-product of our aging generation.
Does it not seem there are more things tend to worry us than in our youth? Remember, when we were 17, we were going to live forever!
Eyes fade, tissues sag, energies wane.
And for that we have lasers, creams, and vitamins.
Fears of those effects are mitigated by the balms to our self-esteem.
Fear is a real motivating factor.
The media knows this.
You cannot get away from the story of the Asian Bird flu…avian flu…each night on TV you see images of dead chickens and ducks slung over shoulders or cradled in the arms of some third-world chicken farmer, wearing a face mask and looking forlorn. Breathless reporterettes anxiously report that the Asian Flu could wipe out millions, and there’s nothing you or the government can do about it.
Who needs “Fear Factor” when you’ve got prime time network news?
I have a general rule that the greater the hype, the more shallow the threat.
Bird Flu passes from bird to bird. The H5N1 variant has claimed only 60-lives despite the high level of contact between foul and man in the hyper-populated Far East. Indeed, the European Center for Disease Prevention says the risk to the public “at this stage is minimal.”
Still, President Bush and his Health Czar are going out on a limb and making the political and public proclamation that The Government is On The Case to find an antidote to Bird Flu.
Tilt some windmills while you’re at it. The odds of you catching bird flu this winter are infinitesimal.