Shaping Opinion

Tim O'Brien

People, events and things that have shaped the way we think.

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Josh Chin: The Emerging Surveillance State
5d ago
Josh Chin: The Emerging Surveillance State
Wall Street Journal Deputy Bureau Chief for China and author Josh Chin joins Tim to talk about his new book he co-authored with fellow WSJ journalist Liza Lin. It’s called “Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control.” Josh tells about how China has led the way into a new era of mass surveillance on a scale the world has never seen. And it’s not limited to China. idea of an authoritarian state spying on its citizens is nothing new. Many are alive today who can still remember the secret police of East Germany and their middle of the night raids. There are even a few who still remember the Nazis. And of course, the Soviet Union had its KGB. In these countries, spies could be anywhere, and on top of that, you could never be entirely sure you could completely trust some friends or family. But the difference between totalitarian governments of the past and the ones emerging today centers on people. You just don’t need as many, or sometimes any, if you’re a totalitarian regime who wants to spy on your people to control them. You don’t need as many of those secret police or snitches to get the information you want. Today, the difference is, in a word, technology. And nowhere is this more evident than in China. Josh Chin wrote a book that we will talk about today, and in it, he says that by the start of 2020 – by the start of the pandemic – there were almost 350 million cameras installed on Chinese streets, in public squares, in subway stations and around buildings. There were more than 840 million smartphones throughout the country in the purses and pockets of individuals. Each collecting and transmitting data on its user back to a central database. Organizing it to create a profile on the behaviors of each person. In China, mobile payment systems log millions of transactions every day, and send that data back into the system, further completing the state’s picture of each individual. For Chinese citizens, where you go, what you do, what you buy, the questions you ask search engines, all of it paints a mosaic of you for the authoritarian government. That profile is so full of data, so full of analysis, that the artificial intelligence platforms that follow you, may know you better than you know yourself in some respects. And perhaps even more chilling, the predictive analytics built into these platforms are quite effective at predicting what you will do next. Machines that learn, not shadowy spies, can now listen, see and even think on an entirely new level. Harvesting data. And judging you. Imagine the power that would give an authoritarian government. Well, you don’t have to, it’s here. It’s the power of Big Brother from George Orwell’s prescient book, “1984.” But Josh Chin thinks there’s another book that may have been even more prophetic. It was written in Russia just over 100 years ago, and it’s called simply, “We.” Links Surveillance State: Inside China's Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control, by Josh Chin and Liza Lin (Barnes & Noble) Two Faces of China's Surveillance State, Wall Street Journal Josh Chin's Website About this Episode’s Guest Josh Chin Josh Chin is an award-winning journalist and author who has spent almost two decades documenting the rise of China, mostly for The Wall Street Journal. Josh was hired by the Journal to cover the Beijing Olympics as a freelance video journalist in 2008. He later joined the paper full time to run its China blog, China Real Time, which covered the country's development in every facet, from the delightful to the deadly serious. He switched to reporting on Chinese politics in 2013, covering Xi Jinping's crackdown on dissent, the activities of Chinese military hackers, and China's race to build technologies of the future. In 2017, Josh teamed up with fellow Journal reporter Liza Lin and other colleagu...
Josh Chin: The Emerging Surveillance State
5d ago
Josh Chin: The Emerging Surveillance State
Wall Street Journal Deputy Bureau Chief for China and author Josh Chin joins Tim to talk about his new book he co-authored with fellow WSJ journalist Liza Lin. It’s called “Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control.” Josh tells about how China has led the way into a new era of mass surveillance on a scale the world has never seen. And it’s not limited to China. idea of an authoritarian state spying on its citizens is nothing new. Many are alive today who can still remember the secret police of East Germany and their middle of the night raids. There are even a few who still remember the Nazis. And of course, the Soviet Union had its KGB. In these countries, spies could be anywhere, and on top of that, you could never be entirely sure you could completely trust some friends or family. But the difference between totalitarian governments of the past and the ones emerging today centers on people. You just don’t need as many, or sometimes any, if you’re a totalitarian regime who wants to spy on your people to control them. You don’t need as many of those secret police or snitches to get the information you want. Today, the difference is, in a word, technology. And nowhere is this more evident than in China. Josh Chin wrote a book that we will talk about today, and in it, he says that by the start of 2020 – by the start of the pandemic – there were almost 350 million cameras installed on Chinese streets, in public squares, in subway stations and around buildings. There were more than 840 million smartphones throughout the country in the purses and pockets of individuals. Each collecting and transmitting data on its user back to a central database. Organizing it to create a profile on the behaviors of each person. In China, mobile payment systems log millions of transactions every day, and send that data back into the system, further completing the state’s picture of each individual. For Chinese citizens, where you go, what you do, what you buy, the questions you ask search engines, all of it paints a mosaic of you for the authoritarian government. That profile is so full of data, so full of analysis, that the artificial intelligence platforms that follow you, may know you better than you know yourself in some respects. And perhaps even more chilling, the predictive analytics built into these platforms are quite effective at predicting what you will do next. Machines that learn, not shadowy spies, can now listen, see and even think on an entirely new level. Harvesting data. And judging you. Imagine the power that would give an authoritarian government. Well, you don’t have to, it’s here. It’s the power of Big Brother from George Orwell’s prescient book, “1984.” But Josh Chin thinks there’s another book that may have been even more prophetic. It was written in Russia just over 100 years ago, and it’s called simply, “We.” Links Surveillance State: Inside China's Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control, by Josh Chin and Liza Lin (Barnes & Noble) Two Faces of China's Surveillance State, Wall Street Journal Josh Chin's Website About this Episode’s Guest Josh Chin Josh Chin is an award-winning journalist and author who has spent almost two decades documenting the rise of China, mostly for The Wall Street Journal. Josh was hired by the Journal to cover the Beijing Olympics as a freelance video journalist in 2008. He later joined the paper full time to run its China blog, China Real Time, which covered the country's development in every facet, from the delightful to the deadly serious. He switched to reporting on Chinese politics in 2013, covering Xi Jinping's crackdown on dissent, the activities of Chinese military hackers, and China's race to build technologies of the future. In 2017, Josh teamed up with fellow Journal reporter Liza Lin and other colleagu...
Mike Mariani: Moving On with Life After Catastrophe
Sep 19 2022
Mike Mariani: Moving On with Life After Catastrophe
Author Mike Mariani joins Tim to talk about what he learned about how people move on in their lives after enduring a life-changing trauma or catastrophe. He’s the author of the new book called, “What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us: Who we become after tragedy and trauma.” In this episode, Mike uses the famous saying that inspired the title of his book as a launching point to tell a story that doesn’t sugar-coat how people respond to adversity, while providing hope and inspiration. Nietzsche was a late 19th Century German philosopher who had a great deal of influence on society at a pivotal time in history. His writings and his voice came along at a time when society itself was undergoing a transformation in both Europe and America, relying less on the agrarian economies of nations, and increasingly on an emerging industrial economy. Leaders and peoples were starting to question the status quo, and Nietzsche offered up some of the answers.  Yet there is one quote of his that has embedded itself into our culture, particularly in America, that is so ubiquitous that it is almost never questioned even to this day.  Nietzsche is the one who said, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” This saying was the inspiration for a new book by Mike Mariani that states, “What doesn’t kill us makes us,” but he doesn’t finish the sentence. Does he believe it or not? Actually, it’s not that simple. Mike has had his own share of troubles in life, things that didn’t kill him, and for the longest time, he lived by that mantra, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” But in the past ten years – Mike is only 36 years old now – he sensed that life isn’t so black and white. Maybe the issue isn’t whether something that doesn’t kill us should make us stronger or weaker, just different. That was the starting point for his research and his book. If tragedy and trauma don’t make us stronger, for better or worse, how they change us? To imagine the kinds of trauma Mike was thinking of, think of someone who lost the ability to walk, or someone who has been sent to prison for a long time and lost their freedom, or someone with a condition that prevents them from living the life they once knew. Mike asks, how does a person go about reconstructing their existence in the wake of calamity after much of that existence has been irretrievably lost? What do those whose lives have been knocked off their orbits have in common? How do we make sense of and find meaning in a life where suffering and misfortune go uncompensated? Before we talked about the stories or the themes of the book, I wanted to know how he researched it. Who did he talk to? How does he know? Links What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us: Who we become after tragedy and trauma, by Mike Mariani (Penguin/Random House) Mike Mariani Website Review: 'What Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us,' Wall Street Journal The Curious Afterlife of a Brain Trauma Survivor, Wired Magazine About this Episode’s Guest Mike Mariani Mike Mariani, Photo Credit: Diana Jahns Since graduating with his MA in literature, Mike Mariani has worked as an English professor and freelance journalist, writing feature articles for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Guardian, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Newsweek, GQ, Vanity Fair, Mother Jones, and The Atavist and essays for The Believer, Slate, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Pacific Standard, The Nation, and Hazlitt. Some of the topics Mariani has written about include the history of medical gaslighting, criminal cases involving mental illness, the opioid crisis, and the neuroscience of inequality. Mariani currently resides with his wife in Northern California.
Dr. Warren Farrell: America’s Boy Crisis
Sep 12 2022
Dr. Warren Farrell: America’s Boy Crisis
Best-selling author Dr. Warren Farrell joins Tim to talk about America’s boy crisis. Warren has written books that have sold around the world, and was named by the Financial Times as one of the world’s 100 top thought leaders.  In this episode he talks about his book called, “The Boy Crisis: Why our boys are struggling and what we can do about it.” We dig into the challenges boys face now and how parents and others can help them become the men everyone wants them to be. the past couple of decades, there has been a gradual shift in the way society has approached issues affecting both boys and girls. One of the more surprising tends that has come out of this are many indicators that boys have suffered. In all 63 of the most developed nations, boys are falling behind.  They’re falling behind in school with scores dropping in reading and writing. Boys are more likely to drop out of high school and college than girls. They are more likely to die from an opioid overdose. Boys and young men are more prone to depression and suicides than girls and young women. Once in their 20s, men are five times more likely to commit suicide than women. There has been a noticeable drop in the average IQ for boys. These are just some of the indicators that Warren Farrell cites in his landmark book called, “The Boy Crisis.” Warren has written many books about men and family over the years. He’s done an extensive amount of original research on men’s issues in society. As a result, he’s gained insights into how those issues start to take shape long before boys become men. Links WarrenFarrell.com The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It, by Dr. Warren Farrell, Amazon Attention Must Be Paid: Warren Farrell and the Boy Crisis, Psychology Today Warren Farrell: Boys are in crisis. Fatherlessness is the reason, Associated Press About this Episode’s Guest Dr. Warren Farrell Dr. Warren Farrell has been chosen by The Financial Times of London as one of the world’s top 100 thought leaders, and by the Center for World Spirituality as one of the world’s spiritual leaders. Dr. Farrell’s books are published in more than 50 countries, and in 19 languages. His most recent, The Boy Crisis, (co-author, John Gray), was a finalist for the Indie book publishing award. His other books include The New York Times best seller, Why Men Are the Way They Are, plus the international best seller, The Myth of Male Power. A book on couples’ communication, Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say, was a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. And Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap–and What Women Can Do About It was selected by U.S. News and World Report in 2006 as one of the top four books on careers. Dr. Farrell has taught at the university level in five disciplines, and appeared on more than 1,000 TV shows, being interviewed repeatedly by Oprah and Barbara Walters, as well as by Peter Jennings, Charlie Rose, and Larry King. He has been featured repeatedly in Forbes, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Warren Farrell is the only man ever elected three times to the Board of the National Organization for Women in NYC. And currently, as Chair of the Coalition to Create a White House Council on Boys and Men, he is working with the White House to create such a Council. Dr. Farrell teaches couples’ communication courses around the country, and speaks internationally on the global boy crisis, its causes, and solutions. Warren has two daughters, and lives with his wife in Mill Valley, California, and virtually at www.warrenfarrell.com.
Eight Voices: Where Were You on 9/11?
Sep 5 2022
Eight Voices: Where Were You on 9/11?
In this episode we hear from eight people who talked with Tim to answer the question, “Where were you on 9/11?" But the real focus of this episode is on you, your experience with 9/11.  Just as importantly, even if you were too young to remember or weren’t even born yet, this episode is all about why 9/11 still matters to this day, even if you don’t realize it. now been 21 years since the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. Last year’s 20th anniversary activities are now behind us, and that pivotal moment in our history has returned to its trend of fading in the nation’s memory. One thing we’ve done since the start of the Shaping Opinion podcast was to commit to doing our part to keep the memory of 9/11 alive. To remember those who died, those who survived, and those who tried to help. To remember the lessons of such a tragic event, and to teach new generations of the events and their lessons. Let’s start this episode with a summary and a reminder of what happened that day. On a beautiful early fall morning, 19 terrorists from the extremist group al-Qaida implemented a plan to hijack four commercial aircraft and crash those planes into strategic targets. Those targets were the Pentagon, another site in Washington that no one would fully confirm at the time, and the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City. The hijackers boarded planes at Logan Airport in Boston, Dulles Airport just outside of Washington, D.C., and Newark Airport in New Jersey. All four flights were scheduled to go to California. American Airlines Flight 11, left Boston with 74 passengers and a crew of 11. This included five hijackers including the leader of the operation. The plane was destined for Los Angeles, but it was the first of two planes to hit the World Trade Center towers. A second flight with hijackers aboard left Boston a little later. This was United Flight 175. It carried 56 passengers and nine crew members. Among those passengers were five hijackers. Not long after American Flight 11 hit the World Trade Center in New York, this flight, United 175, hit the other tower.  At 8:20 am, a third flight with hijackers aboard left Washington’s Dulles Airport.  This was American Airlines Flight 77.  The plane had 64 people on board: a crew of six plus 58 passengers, including five terrorists. The plane flew west towards California, but then after the hijackers took control, it turned around, back towards Washington and headed for its target, the U.S. Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. By 9:45 a.m., American Flight 77 had hit the Pentagon, killing everyone on board, and causing death and destruction on the ground. Three planes had hit their targets, while a fourth plane was in the sky with hijackers aboard. It’s United Airlines Flight 93 that had left Newark, New Jersey bound for San Francisco. It has 33 passengers and seven crew. The flight had been delayed 25 minutes from taking off. This gave passengers on Flight 93 time to learn what was happening and to mount their own counter attack. They did, and they foiled the hijackers’ attempt to hit a fourth target. The common assumption now is that Flight 93 was set to hit the U.S. Capitol building. Instead, Flight 93 crashed into a field in Somerset County Pennsylvania.  This happened just before 10 a.m. that morning. Everyone on board was killed. Less than 10 minutes later at 10:05 a.m., the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed, onto the street below. The collapse sent a volcanic cloud of dust and debris into the sky and down every street in the vicinity.  Then at 10:28 a.m., the north tower collapsed in just the same way. In the end, 2,996 people were counted as killed in the terrorist attacks. This included the 19 terrorist hijackers who are on those four aircraft. The people who died in New York, Washington, D.C.,
Neuroscientist Karl Friston on Intelligence and Free Energy
Aug 29 2022
Neuroscientist Karl Friston on Intelligence and Free Energy
Pioneering neuroscientist Karl Friston joins Tim to talk about a concept he’s developed called the free-energy principle, which may hold the key to advancing the understanding human intelligence as we know it. Karl is a theoretical neuroscientist. He’s an authority on brain imaging. His work has advanced mankind’s understanding of schizophrenia, among other things. At the moment, he’s becoming better known as the originator of the free-energy principle for human action and perception. In this episode, we’ll talk with Karl about that free-energy principle, what it is, what it means and what it can mean for the future. hope you have your coffee and are sitting in a comfortable place, because this conversation is going to introduce you to some entirely new thinking from one of the world’s most unique scientific thinkers, Karl Friston. Before we get started, you need to know a little about Karl, and you will need an explanation of some of the words we will use here. Karl Friston is a theoretical neuroscientist. As mentioned, he is an authority on brain imaging.  1990, he invented something called statistical parametric mapping or (SPM).  invented SPM, a computational technique that helps create brain images in a consistent shape so researchers can make consistent comparisons. He then invented Voxel-based morphometry or (VBM). An example of this is when he studied London taxi drivers to measure the rear side of the brain’s hippocampus to watch it grow as their knowledge of the streets grew. After that, he invented something called dynamic causal modeling (DCM) for brain imaging, to determine if people who have severe brain damage or minimally conscious or vegetative. He is one of the most frequently cited neuroscientists in the world.  Each one of these inventions centered on schizophrenia research and theoretical studies of value-learning – formulated as the dysconnection hypothesis of schizophrenia. To try to simplify, it’s the hypothesis that when the so-called wiring in your brain isn’t all connecting properly. Karl currently works on models of functional integration in the human brain and the principles that underlie neuronal interactions. His main contribution to theoretical neurobiology is a free-energy principle for action and perception (active inference).  That’s what we cover in this episode. Karl received the first Young Investigators Award in Human Brain Mapping in 1996. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1999. Since then, he has received numerous other honors and recognition for his work. Links The Genius Neuroscientist Who Might Hold the Key to True AI, Wired Karl Friston, The Helix Center Karl Friston and the Free Energy Principle, ExploringYourMind.com About this Episode’s Guest Karl Friston Karl Friston is a theoretical neuroscientist and authority on brain imaging. He invented statistical parametric mapping (SPM), voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and dynamic causal modelling (DCM). These contributions were motivated by schizophrenia research and theoretical studies of value-learning, formulated as the dysconnection hypothesis of schizophrenia. Mathematical contributions include variational Laplacian procedures and generalized filtering for hierarchical Bayesian model inversion. Friston currently works on models of functional integration in the human brain and the principles that underlie neuronal interactions. His main contribution to theoretical neurobiology is a free-energy principle for action and perception (active inference). Friston received the first Young Investigators Award in Human Brain Mapping (1996) and was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (1999). In 2000 he was President of the international Organization of Human Brain Mapping. In 2003 he was awarded the Minerva Golden Brain Award and was elected a Fellow of th...
Encore: Miss Manners Talks about 21st Century Etiquette
Aug 22 2022
Encore: Miss Manners Talks about 21st Century Etiquette
Judith Martin, better known to millions of readers as Miss Manners, joins Tim to talk about good manners, an understanding of etiquette and civility are as important as ever. Judith is an author and a syndicated columnist. In this episode, she talks about her career at the Washington Post, about how etiquette and manners in society have evolved, and about her new book called, “Minding Miss Manners: In an Era of Fake Etiquette.” This episode was first released April 27, 2020. Judith Martin’s official bio, she describes herself as being a quote – “perfect lady in an imperfect society.” She’s Miss Manners, the pioneer mother of today’s civility movement. And then with her wry sense of humor, she adds, quote, “Now, if she could only persuade people to practice civility as much as they talk about it.” Her syndicated newspaper column under the heading of Miss Manners is distributed three times a week in more than 200 newspapers in the United States and other countries. Her column has chronicled matters of manners since 1978. She’s written several books over the years, and she has received numerous honors for her work, among them the National Humanities Medal in recognition of her contributions to society as America’s foremost etiquette columnist and author. In these current times, you wouldn’t be faulted if you believe that the world needs a champion for better manners now more than ever. Judith Martin is that champion. Links Minding Miss Manners: In an Era of Fake Etiquette, Good Reads Miss Manners, Syndicated Columns MissManners.com Miss Manners Archive, Washington Post Judith Martin Books, Amazon.com About this Episode’s Guest Judith Martin Photo Credit: Daniel Lake Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, is a columnist, bestselling author of numerous books, and manners authority. Born a perfect lady in an imperfect society, Miss Manners is the pioneer mother of today’s civility movement. She lives in Washington, D.C. and Venice, Italy.
Encore: The Story Behind the Electoral College
Aug 15 2022
Encore: The Story Behind the Electoral College
Author and Electoral College expert Tara Ross joins Tim to tell the story behind the Electoral College, how it governs elections and why it is still needed. Tara’s latest book is entitled, “Why We Need the Electoral College.” This episode was first released October 12, 2020. happened five times. Five times a candidate won the presidency even though he did not win the popular vote. He won the presidency because he won the Electoral College. If you’re wondering why the United States doesn’t just choose a president based only on the popular vote, the answer as we know it was given in 1804. Some in congress wanted Congress to choose the president. Others wanted a democratic popular vote. And even to this day, many Americans believe that we do elect a president based on that popular vote. The country’s leaders arrived at a compromise which created the Electoral College. Tara Ross is a retired attorney and the author of four books on the Electoral College. While she is one of the nation’s leading experts on the Electoral College, she continues to find that most Americans remain generally confused about why it exists and what it does. Links Tara Ross Website Why We Need the Electoral College, by Tara Ross (Amazon) Presidential Election Process, USA.gov What is the Electoral College? National Archives About this Episode’s Guest Tara Ross Tara Ross is nationally recognized for her expertise on the Electoral College. She is the author of Why We Need the Electoral College (2019), The Indispensable Electoral College: How the Founders’ Plan Saves Our Country from Mob Rule (2017), We Elect A President: The Story of our Electoral College (2016), and Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College (2d ed. 2012). She is also the author of She Fought Too: Stories of Revolutionary War Heroines (2019), and a co-author of Under God: George Washington and the Question of Church and State (2008) (with Joseph C. Smith, Jr.). Her Prager University video, Do You Understand the Electoral College?, is Prager’s most-viewed video ever, with more than 60 million views.   Tara often appears as a guest on a variety of talk shows nationwide, and she regularly addresses civic, university, and legal audiences. She’s contributed to many law reviews and newspapers, including the National Law Journal, USA Today, the Washington Examiner, The Hill, The Washington Times, and FoxNews.com.  She’s addressed audiences at institutions such as the Cooper Union, Brown University, the Dole Institute of Politics, and Mount Vernon. She’s appeared on Fox News, CSPAN, NPR, and a variety of other national and local shows. Tara is a retired lawyer and a former Editor-in-Chief of the Texas Review of Law & Politics. She obtained her B.A. from Rice University and her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.  She resides in Dallas with her husband and children.
Encore: Sharyl Attkisson Focuses on “The Narrative”
Aug 8 2022
Encore: Sharyl Attkisson Focuses on “The Narrative”
Sharyl Attkisson joins Tim to talk about her latest book and the current state of the news media in society.  Her book, “Slanted: How the news media taught us to love censorship and hate journalism,” centers on that dynamic called “The Narrative,” which appears to drive so much news coverage we see today. Sharyl talks of her many years as a network reporter and the way the media covers news today. This encore episode was first released December 7, 2020. Attkisson has been a working journalist for more than 35 years. She’s the host and managing editor of a nonpartisan Sunday morning TV program called, “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson.”  She’s a contributor and contributor on numerous other news programs, and she’s an author. In addition to her most recent book called “Slanted,” she wrote another best-seller called The Smear. Both books get into detail about what goes on behind the scenes in the news media. How some stories see the light of day, while others are sure never to see the light of day. Sharyl has covered presidents. She’s won five Emmy Awards and an Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting. She’s worked at CBS News, PBS and CNN. Please Thank Our Sponsors Please remember to thank our sponsors, without whom the Shaping Opinion podcast would not exist.  If you have the need, please support these organizations that have the same taste in podcasts that you do: BlueHost Premium Web Hosting Dell Outlet Overstock Computer Center Philips Hue Smart Home Lighting Links Slanted: how the news media taught us to love censorship and hate journalism, by Sharyl Attkisson (Amazon) Sharyl Attkisson Official Site Sharyl Attkisson on Twitter Full Measure News Busted! After lawsuit thread the New York Times goes into full retreat, NewsThud.com Just the News
Encore – Sgt. Leroy Petry’s Medal of Honor Story
Aug 1 2022
Encore – Sgt. Leroy Petry’s Medal of Honor Story
U.S. Medal of Honor awardee Sgt. Leroy Petry joins Tim to tell his Medal of Honor story, from a life and death battle in Afghanistan to the very definition of the word, “honor.” Sgt. Petry is a retired U.S. Army Ranger who is one of the few to receive the military’s highest honor, and one of the very few medal recipients who have survived to tell their own story. This episode was first released October 20, 2020.   In April of 1862, a group of Union Soldiers in the middle of the Civil War had an assignment. They were supposed to make it across Confederate lines to steal a Confederate train car and ride it to Union lines. Along the way, they were supposed to destroy track and depots, cutting off the Confederate supply lines and transportation. That group of Union solders was called “Andrews Raiders.”  Twenty-five men volunteered for the mission that ended in a dramatic train chase and capture by Confederate forces. Eight of the original 25 volunteers escaped. Three were declared missing. Another eight were hanged. Among those who were executed was leader James Andrews. Another six found their way back to the Union Army as part of a prisoner exchange a year later. That following March, the survivors met with President Lincoln who thanked them for their service and their efforts in the daring mission, and he told them they’d be the first to receive a new honor. The Medal of Honor. And with that, he had a prototype of the medal and gave it to the youngest member of the group, Private Jacob Parott. Jacob Parott was the first in the Army to receive what is now regarded as the highest honor any member of America’s military can receive. The Medal of Honor is the award for valor in combat for all members of the armed forces. Since 1862, more than 3,400 such honors have been bestowed, many if not most of them, posthumously. Not many who earn such an award, live to talk about it. Today, the Medal of Honor is awarded sparingly to service members who as the Army says are, “the bravest of the brave; and that courage must be well documented.” Since the medal is awarded sparingly, and so many of those who receive it die in combat, there are few recipients alive today to tell their story. Retired Sgt. Leroy Petry of the U.S. Army Rangers is one of those few warriors. The U.S. Army Ranger Creed Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of the Rangers. Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite Soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster and fight harder than any other Soldier. Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one-hundred-percent and then some. Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained Soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow. Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country. Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor. Rangers lead the way! Please Thank Our Sponsors Please remember to thank our sponsors, without whom the Shaping Opinion podcast would not exist.  If you have the need,
Susan Wagner: An American Sculptor
Jul 25 2022
Susan Wagner: An American Sculptor
Sculptor Susan Wagner joins Tim to talk about a life as an American sculptor, some of her iconic works, and the creative process.  Listen to Susan give insights into what it is about three-dimensional art, sculpture, that taps the human imagination, and draws us to it. She’ll also talk about what it means to “dance with clay.” you were to travel to the Vatican in Rome, or the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, or just about any major destination in the city of Pittsburgh, you may have seen Susan Wagner’s work. She’s a sculptor who focuses on classic depictions of famous and not so famous people. Art draws us to it. Whether it’s a painting or a sculpture, it catches our attention and pulls us in. Whether it’s modern, abstract or classic, depending on our tastes, and maybe just the mood we’re in at the time, a certain piece of art may stop us in our tracks and make is look, and then think. Why is that?  That’s what we’ll be talking about today with Susan. Since this is a podcast, and you can only experience this through your ears, you cannot see everything we’ll be discussing. We’ll do our best to describe the subjects, but you can also see for yourself by visiting our episode page at ShapingOpinion.com, or go to Susan Wagner’s website at Classic-Scultpure.com. I first met Susan recently when I was doing research for a project that I’m helping with. But I had seen her work before. If you live in Pittsburgh and travel to any of the hottest tourism destinations in the city, you’ll see several of her works. She was commissioned to create larger than life versions of baseball greats Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski and Willie Stargell. A short walk away, her sculpture of a police officer stands watch over the city at the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. She’s created historical figures, works depicting medical pioneers, saints, and others. But my favorite one, I have to admit, is a fictional figure of a little girl in a garden at Pittsburgh’s UPMC’s Passavant Hospital. Susan Wagner titled that piece “Hope.” Gratitude Our thanks to Susan Wagner for her participation, and for her photography we are using to show you her work. Also, a big thank you to the BFG Cafe in the Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh where we did this interview. Links Susan Wagner's Website - Classic-Sculpture.com New Abraham Lincoln Statue Unveiled - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Pirates Unveil Bill Mazeroski Statue - Associated Press History Behind the Statues at PNC Park - MLB.com New Statue Pays Tribute to Legendary Transplant Surgeon Thomas Starzl - University of Pittsburgh website About this Episode’s Guest Susan Wagner Photo Credit: Susan Wagner Susan Wagner is an accomplished sculptor and painter who specializes in figurative sculptures from a few inches tall to larger than life and Fauve style paintings which emphasize painterly qualities, the imaginative use of color and simplified lines. Her mastery of the human anatomy and her ability to capture likeness and convey emotion through both clay and canvas is evident in her sculpture and painting portfolios and truly what makes her works outstanding and unique. Susan’s art is now displayed in public forums and private households around the world ─ from her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to the Vatican. Susan’s art and work ethic are heavily influenced by her roots in the Pittsburgh area. Her drive to create was evident at an early age, she remembers digging the red clay from newly bulldozed ground around her home and using it to make sculptures. Growing up in working class neighborhood, Susan learned to stay grounded, be dependable, and always meet deadlines, making her an ideal artist to work with. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a double major in art and anthropology, she started her own freelance business,
Seven Voices: That First Job
Jul 18 2022
Seven Voices: That First Job
In this episode we hear from seven people who talked with Tim to answer the question, “Tell us about your first job?”  As he’s done before, Tim set out to get the answer to the question on the streets of his hometown, Pittsburgh.  You’ll hear from Liana, Luil, Jim, Deborah, Margaret, Rishu and Benjamin. Each person was selected randomly in “man on the street” interviews, and we had no idea what they would say. The interesting thing is how much time we spent talking of the meaning and value of work.  is the third episode in a row where we’ve talked to a random set of people about a simple question on a topic we know they’ve given plenty of thought to. The topic is that first job. Your first job. What was it like? What did it mean to you? What did you learn? As before, I took to the streets of my hometown of Pittsburgh.  And as before, the seven voices you will hear were all selected at random. I had no idea in advance that I would be speaking to them about their first jobs. And I had no idea what they might say. As I’m finding is the case, when you do something like this, you end up talking to more people while not recording them than when they do agree to an interview. The seven people you will hear from today are Liana, Luil, Jim, Deborah, Margaret, Rishu and Benjamin. As before, I started each of these conversations with one simple question. This question was, Tell me about your first job. More often than not, when we think of teenagers and their first jobs, maybe your own first job, you think of a fast food restaurant. Maybe you delivered newspapers, or were a babysitter, or cut lawns. If you live in a city or a suburban area, these of popular first jobs. But if you live closer to the country, there’s a good chance your first job came on a farm. Links 20 Good First Time Jobs, Indeed The 20 Most Common First Jobs, Monster.com
Seven Voices: Who is Your Hero?
Jul 11 2022
Seven Voices: Who is Your Hero?
In this episode we hear from seven people who talked with Tim to answer the question, “Who is your hero?”  As he’s done before, Tim set out to get the answer to the question on the streets of his hometown, Pittsburgh.  You’ll hear from Peter, Estie, Ashley, John, Erin, Mary and Ken. Each person was selected randomly in “man on the street” interviews, and we had no idea what they would say, but all of their answers came from the heart and may surprise you. we’re going to talk about heroes.  As you’ll hear, they come in all shapes and sizes. Before we get started, let’s talk about the word “hero” and the idea of heroes in our culture. The modern concept goes all the way back to the 14th Century in France where the word “heroe” originated in the old French language. Its root came from Latin for “heros” and the plural was “heroes.” The word stood for a man of super-human strength or physical courage. In ancient Greece, the Greeks used the term heros to stand for someone considered a demi-god.  To be a hero was to hold the highest place in society. To be revered. To be respected and admired. To be larger than life for exhibiting acts of great bravery. Fast-forward to today, and our culture is a lot more liberal with its use of the word “hero.” Characters in movies based on fictional comic book characters are dubbed as heroes. The actors themselves are sometimes thought of as heroes for actions that are far less than brave. Professional athletes are often put on the same pedestal. In this episode we’re not going to talk about whether that’s right or wrong. Instead, we’re just going to ask people who are their heroes. Last week, you really liked our episode where we set out to get answers to our question about the American Dream, so we thought we’d do it again, only this time with a different question. As before, I started each of these conversations with one simple question. This question was, Who’s your hero? Links Hero - Online Etymology Dictionary Richard Linklater - IMDb Mt. Washington Overlook - Visit Pennsylvania
Seven Voices: The American Dream
Jul 4 2022
Seven Voices: The American Dream
In this episode we hear from seven people who talked with Tim to answer the question, “What is the American Dream?"  Tim set out to get the answer to the question on the streets of his hometown, Pittsburgh.  You’ll hear from Vidya, Dwayne, Chuck, Leah, Jack, Tamara and Charlie. Each person was selected randomly in “man on the street” interviews, and we had no idea what they would say, but all of their answers were moving, thought-provoking and inspiring. Happy Independence Day! thousands of years, around the world, people weren’t trusted to govern themselves. It was assumed you needed a king, a czar or a dictator to decide what’s best for you. But in 1776, a group of brave revolutionaries came along with a different idea. They believed that common and civilized people could run their own country. That they didn’t need a king, a monarchy or a dictatorship to run their lives. They believed in freedom, and they spelled it out in the Declaration of the Independence, and the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. They created the greatest country in the history of the world based on the principles contained in these documents. The thinking is that all people want to be free to decide for themselves on everything from religion and work, to how they raise their families, what they could own, how they could own it and how they can craft their own lives for themselves. But it’s more than just wanting to be free. They deserve to be free. The founders of the United States of America said it’s not the government that should have the power to grant you your fundamental rights or take them from you. Instead, your rights come from a higher source of power, that your rights and freedoms already exist.  They believed that you are born a free person. You can only lose that freedom or certain freedoms when someone else takes them from you. These thoughts inspired a revolution. Time and again over America’s history, it has had to struggle and sometimes fight over the very issue of freedom, and many of the freedoms we now cherish. There is always someone who wants to take some freedoms away from someone else, and so it’s a struggle for a country like ours to preserve those freedoms. But freedom has survived and thrived, and it has made many things possible for our nation, our people and our future. In the process, our nation has changed the world and advanced all humanity. We have a term for the thing that sets America apart from all other countries. It’s just two words. When we think of what makes America the exception in all of history…we think of the American Dream.  That is the subject of this episode. Links Declaration of Independence Constitution of the United States of America Revolutionary War, History Independence Day, National Parks Service
Paul Tasner: It’s Never Too Late to Start a Business
Jun 27 2022
Paul Tasner: It’s Never Too Late to Start a Business
Entrepreneur Paul Tasner joins Tim to talk about his unique story of becoming a successful entrepreneur after the age of 66.  He’s the founder of a growing company called PulpWorks, a company that’s focused on sustainability, solving the problems of toxic plastic packaging. In this episode, Paul talks about the time he lost his job, which for most people would end their careers. But for him it marked a new beginning. most people, when you’re 64 years old, you’re either already retired or you’re in the final stages of planning for your retirement. For Paul Tasner, he faced the prospects of regrouping after the fallout of being fired from his job, and then he had a decision to make: ease into retirement, or start something new? He chose the latter after two years of consulting and research, so by the age of 66, Paul became the founder of a company called PulpWorks, which became quite popular as the societal push for sustainability grew and grew. We talk with Paul about his journey. Links PulpWorks (website) Paul Tasner TED Talk, TED Paul Tasner Became an Entrepreneur at 66, Career Pivot About this Episode’s Guest Paul Tasner PulpWorks is the capstone in a 40-year career in supply chain management for Paul.  Earlier, he held leadership positions in procurement, manufacturing, and logistics in ventures ranging from start-up to Fortune 100.  Included among them are: The Clorox Company (consumer packaged goods), California Closet Company (home furnishings), Method Products (consumer packaged goods), Hepagen (vaccines), OM2 (supply chain consultancy), and the Reclipse Group (supply chain consultancy).  His clients have included:  Clif Bar, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis Consumer Health, Borden Chemical, Dial Corporation, Unilever, and Industrial Light+Magic. In 2008, Paul founded and continues to lead the San Francisco Bay Area Green Supply Chain Forum – the first such assembly of supply chain executives anywhere.  He has authored many papers and presentations on supply chain sustainability and currently lectures on this timely topic in the MBA Programs at San Francisco State University and Golden Gate University as well as the Packaging Engineering Department at San Jose State University. He is an Industrial Engineering graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology and holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Boston University.
Encore – Berlin’s Wall that Killed
Jun 20 2022
Encore – Berlin’s Wall that Killed
Historian, author and Heritage Foundation Distinguished Fellow Lee Edwards joins Tim to talk about the Berlin Wall, the world that created it, the Cold War that fostered it, and the free world that brought it down. This episode was originally released April 1, 2019. Berlin Wall was as much a symbol for communist oppression as it was a barrier created to contain citizens of communist East Germany. At the end of World War II, the allies held two peace conferences in Yalta and Potsdam to determine the postwar map of the world. The key figures at those conferences were Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union and Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the United States. Tensions were already rising between the West and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or the USSR. In this context, the allies decided to split Germany into four “allied zones” to weaken the threat of that country re-emerging as a threat to world peace. The Eastern part of the country would be controlled by the Soviet Union, and the western part would fall under the control of the United States, Britain and later France would join. While Berlin is located in the eastern part of Germany, at Yalta and Potsdam, it was determined that as the capitol city, it had such significance that it, too, should be divided. Going forward, West Berlin became a thriving westernized city and enjoyed postwar prosperity, even though it was located deep inside communist East Germany.  East Berlin, on the other hand, remained in dire straits under the tight grip of communism. The Soviets decided to drive the West out of West Berlin. In 1948 they initiated a Soviet blockade of West Berlin to starve the Western Allies out of the city. The U.S. and its allies decided to conduct airlifts of humanitarian aid to West Berliners. Eventually the blockade ended, but tensions continued as the Soviets and the U.S. as super powers engaged in a nuclear arms race for global domination. The threat of World War III was ever-present. By 1958, the Soviets lost large numbers of skilled workers to the West as more and more of East Germans sought freedom in the West. By June 1961, roughly 19,000 people left East Germany through Berlin. On August 12, 1961, roughly 2,400 refugees defected to Berlin in a single day. This was the largest number of people to leave East Germany in one day. That night, Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev approved East Germany’s plans to stop to flow of refugees by closing its border. In one night, part of the Berlin Wall was built.  This did not defuse tensions but had the opposite effect. While it slowed the flood of refugees going from communism to freedom, it only exacerbated Cold War tensions. This did not stop captive East Germans from trying to escape communist oppression. 171 people died trying to defect, while another 5,000 East Germans found a way to successfully reach freedom in the West. Ronald Reagan’s Speech On Friday, June 12th 1987, President Ronald Reagan gave a historic speech of his own at the Berlin Wall. In it, he stepped up his pressure on the Soviet Union, reinforcing his strong positions against the oppression of communism, and then he delivered the now famous line when he called for Soviet leader Mikhail Gobachev to “Tear down this wall.” The Fall November 9, 1989 0 East Berlin’s Communist Party announced a change in its travel ban with the West. They said East German citizens were now free to cross the city’s borders. Both East and West Berliners descended on the wall and celebrated. Guards opened the checkpoints and 2 million people from both East and West joined together to celebrate. Then they physically started to tear it down. Links The Heritage Foundation A Brief History of the Cold War, by Lee Edwards and Elizabeth Edwards Spalding (Amazon)
Encore – The “Lost Colony” is Found
Jun 13 2022
Encore – The “Lost Colony” is Found
Historian and author Scott Dawson joins Tim to talk about his team’s discovery of what actually happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island on the Outer Banks. He has spent the past 11 years working with a team of archaeologists, historians, botanists and geologists to try to uncover the truth behind the story of the Lost Colony. This episode was first released on September 20, 2020. was August of 1590, and Englishman John White was about to return to the Roanoke Colony in the Americas, where he had been named governor three years earlier. John was among 115 English settlers who landed at Roanoke Island off the coast of what we now know as North Carolina in the Outer Banks region. After the group settled in Roanoke, John had sailed back to England to collect a load of supplies the settlers would need. He would have returned to Roanoke Island sooner, but England’s war with Spain complicated things. So, now, three years later, John is about to return to Roanoke, where he last saw his wife and daughter, along with his granddaughter, and the other settlers. Then something unexpected happens. When John White arrives at the colony, he finds no one. Not a single person is there to greet him. Not a trace. One clue, however, would prove to be the key to unlocking this mystery over 400 years later. On a wooden post, one word was carved.  It said “Croatoan,” which is the name of a local native American tribe, and the name of an island south of Roanoke where the Croatoans lived. Those are the facts we’ve known until now. Scott Dawson has studied this mystery more than most and decided to get some answers for himself. Please Thank Our Sponsors Please remember to thank our sponsors, without whom the Shaping Opinion podcast would not exist.  If you have the need, please support these organizations that have the same taste in podcasts that you do: BlueHost Premium Web Hosting Dell Outlet Overstock Computer Center Philips Hue Smart Home Lighting Links The Lost Colony and Hatteras Island, by Scott Dawson, Amazon The mystery is over. Researchers say they know what happened to ‘Lost Colony.’, The Virginian Pilot The ‘Lost Colony’ Wasn’t Really Lost,  Outer Banks Voice The Lost Colony of Roanoke: Did they survive?, DNA Explained Roanoke’s ‘Lost Colony’ was Never Lost, New Book Says, New York Times About this Episode’s Guest Scott Dawson Scott Dawson is a native of Hatteras Island whose family roots on the island trace back to the 1600s. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a BA in psychology and minor in history and is a well-known local historian, local author and amateur archaeologist. He is president and founder of the Croatoan Archaeological Society Inc. and has participated in a decade of archaeological excavations and research on Hatteras Island under the direction of Dr. Mark Horton. He also serves on the board of directors of the Outer Banks History Center.
D-Day: God – Family – Country
Jun 6 2022
D-Day: God – Family – Country
In this episode, we tell the story of D-Day on its 78th anniversary through a historical narrative where Tim also talks about his family’s connection to one of the most pivotal events in our history. The June 6, 1944, allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France through Operation Overlord was one of the biggest military undertakings in world history. This event marked the beginning of the end for Hitler and Nazi Germany. June 5th 1944. The night before the most massive military invasion ever mounted in the history of the world. Hundreds of thousands of troops are amassed in Southern England. They are from the United States, Great Britain, France, Canada and other nations. They are about to board boats of all sizes to cross the English Channel and land on the beaches of Normandy in the North of France. It will be the largest armada ever. There are 4,000 ships from America, Britain and Canada.  1,200 planes are fueled and ready to drop paratroopers behind German lines. They are prepared to attack the German anti-aircraft guns and the artillery that will be aimed at landing forces. This massive operation is called Operation Overlord.  The allied commander is U.S. General Dwight David Eisenhower. And all of their focus will be on landing zones in Normandy. They code-named the beaches Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword. PFC Francis O'Brien The American troops will land at Utah and Omaha beaches. The British troops will land on Gold and Sword beaches. The Canadian troops will land on Juno beach. Today, we will tell the story of how events unfolded, but before that, you need to get to know Private First Class Francis O’Brien. He was better known to his brothers, his family and friends, and now to you as Fats O’Brien.  That’s how I knew him. He was my uncle. Fats is a tough kid from a rough neighborhood in Pittsburgh. He’s barely 19 years old. He comes from a big Irish Catholic family that has just struggled through the Great Depression. He and six of his brothers serve in the Army and Navy in both the European and Pacific theaters of World War 2. Fats was assigned to General Omar Bradley’s First Army. Company E 38th Infantry Regiment. He was part of the second wave that landed on Omaha Beach. He saw action practically immediately and was awarded a Bronze Star for his efforts. Links D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II, by Stephen Ambrose (Amazon) World War II: D-Day, The Invasion of Normandy, Eisenhower Museum D-Day Timeline, Military History D-Day, June 6, 1944, U.S. Army Band of Brothers, IMDB Normandy American Cemetery, American Battle Monuments Commission Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument, American Battle Monuments Commission So, what was D-Day? It was officially known as the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 6th 1944 through August of that year. It represented the Allied invasion and liberation of Western Europe from German control. Again, it was called Operation Overlord. June 6th would become known as D-Day, the first day of the operation. 156,000 allied forces landed on those five beaches that stretched 50 miles wide. But a lot had to happen for D-Day to happen, and that’s what we cover in this episode.
Encore: Mike Vining – A Delta Force Original
May 30 2022
Encore: Mike Vining – A Delta Force Original
One of the original members of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces Delta unit, Mike Vining, joins Tim to talk about his highly decorated career that started in Vietnam and ended in the late 1990s, encompassing many historical missions. Mike was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) operator in the Delta Force, among many other responsibilities. He tells us what goes through the mind of an explosives specialist when time is tight and it could be a matter of life and death. This episode was originally released August 10, 2020. Vining was in high school when he saw the news about the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. The offensive was one of the largest and bloodiest attacks the communist forces of North Vietnam – the Viet Cong – waged against South Vietnamese and American troops. Mike saw what was happening and decided to join the military. He wanted to be in Vietnam joining the fight. Not long after that, Mike got his wish. Before shipping off to Vietnam, Mike completed the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) program in the Army, which also involved learning how to dispose of nuclear weapons. The army sent Mike to Vietnam, where he spent 12 months on combat duty, before his honorable discharge in 1971. Two years later, Mike reentered the Army and served as an EOD specialist once again.  That was the beginning of a long and decorated career in the Army that included serving as one of the first operators in the U.S. Army Special Forces, and its Delta Force unit. He saw action around the world, from missions to Iran during the 1979 U.S. embassy hostage crisis, to many other operations, ultimately serving on the ground in Operation Desert Storm. In this episode, Mike talks about the events that shaped the Special Forces, from an ill-fated desert mission to rescue 53 American hostages in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, to many other touch and go situations. Please Thank Our Sponsors Please remember to thank our sponsors, without whom the Shaping Opinion podcast would not exist.  If you have the need, please support these organizations that have the same taste in podcasts that you do: BlueHost Premium Web Hosting Dell Outlet Overstock Computer Center Philips Hue Smart Home Lighting Links Sergeant Major Mike Vining (Retired), Together We Served 8 Epic Reflections on the Career of the Internet’s Most Badass Military Meme, We Are The Mighty Mike Vining, Universal Ship Cancellation Society Delta Force: Missions and History, Military.com U.S. Army Delta Force, Armed Forces History Museum What Special Ops Learned 40 Years Ago from Operation Eagle Claw, Military Times Operation Urgent Fury: The 1983 US Invasion of Grenada, War History Online About this Episode’s Guest Mike Vining Sergeant Major Mike R. Vining (Retired), U.S. Army, was born in Greenville, Michigan on 12 August 1950 to Roger and Arlene Vining. He graduated from Tri-County High School in 1968 and enlisted in the Army in July of 1968. After completing Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, he attended the Ammunition Renovation Course, at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. he completed the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Program, Indian Head, Maryland in May of 1969 and reported to the Technical Escort Unit, Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland during which time he completed the Nuclear Weapons Disposal Course. In 1970 he deployed to the Republic of Vietnam where he was assigned to the 99th Ordnance Detachment (EOD), Phuoc Vinh. Upon completion of 12 months of combat duty, Sergeant Major Vining was honorably discharged from the United States Army on February 1971. Sergeant Major Vining reentered the Army in 1973 and was assigned to the 63rd Ordnance Detachment (EOD), Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. In 1978, he was accepted to the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment (SFOD) – Delta, where he served with distinction until 1985.
Are Labor Unions Making a Comeback in America?
May 23 2022
Are Labor Unions Making a Comeback in America?
Attorney Dan Johns of the Cozen O’Connor law firm in Philadelphia joins Tim to talk about why, all of a sudden, employees at some well-known companies organizing to unionize their workforces. Dan has been consistently named to the Best Lawyers in America list for employment law, labor and employment litigation. Are unions in America making a comeback? Let’s find out. some union victories at some major American brands, successful organizing efforts to unionize employees in places like Buffalo and Staten Island have given the organized labor movement hope that new generations may embrace collective bargaining as the “new” way to go to work. But are these victories anomalies, or are they a trend that promises to continue? But perhaps even more importantly, the interest in unionization now? Why now? Links Dan Johns Bio, Cozen O'Connor Website National Labor Relations Board, NLRB Website National Labor Relations Act, NLRB Website US Unions See Unusually Promising Moment Amid Wave of Victories, The Guardian About this Episode’s Guest Dan Johns Daniel V. Johns litigates employment-related matters in courtrooms throughout the country, including numerous Courts of Appeals. Throughout his 25-year career, Daniel has represented and advised employers and their management in an array of labor and employment issues, including discrimination, harassment, and other civil rights litigation; interest and grievance arbitrations; at-will litigation; restrictive covenant/trade secret claims; benefits litigation; independent contractor classification issues; collective bargaining; union avoidance; and unfair labor practice litigation before the National Labor Relations Board and various state agencies. Recognized by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, labor and employment law, 2012-2020; and The Best Lawyers in America, employment law, labor and employment litigation, 2012-2021, Daniel has served as lead trial counsel in litigation matters around the country, including claims brought under: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), as well as various other federal, state, and local employment laws. Daniel earned his J.D. at the University of Virginia School of Law and his B.A. at the University of Notre Dame.
End of Watch: The Story of Officer Drew Barr
May 16 2022
End of Watch: The Story of Officer Drew Barr
Cayce, South Carolina Police Chief Chris Cowan joins Tim to talk about something both of us wished we didn’t have to talk about. He tells the story of the recent and tragic loss of one of his officers who was shot and killed while responding to a call. He tells the story of and pays tribute to Officer Drew Barr. In the process, he tells the story of the risks and sacrifices police officers take every day to ‘protect and serve.’ South Carolina is a suburb to the City of Columbia. A few weeks ago, in the early morning hours of a Sunday in Cayce – 2:48 a.m., on April 24th to be exact – there was what police call a “domestic disturbance.” Police were called to the scene. Three officers responded. The second officer on the scene was Drew Barr.  We’re going to tell you what happened, but before we do that, you need to know a little bit about the young officer. Partners Drew Barr and Molly He was 28 years old. He joined the Cayce Police Department in 2016.  In October 2020, he was promoted to the department’s K-9 unit. His canine partner was Molly, a black Labrador retriever, who became his family. He had no wife or children, but he did love his community and he worked to keep it safe. In addition to being a police officer, he was also a volunteer firefighter, a captain in the Monetta Volunteer Fire Department. He was an emergency medical technician. He was a committed professional. These are the details that Cayce Police Chief Chris Cowan does not want to get lost when people talk about Officer Roy “Drew” Barr. Links Cayce Police Department SC law enforcement community mourns slain Cayce police officer: 'He was brave' | Columbia | postandcourier.com 'Our Hearts Are Breaking in Cayce;' SC Fire Captain/Police Officer Killed in Shooting (firefighternation.com) Officer Drew Barr honored at funeral and graveside service (wistv.com) Chief: Man killed SC officer with calculated shot from rifle - ABC News (go.com) Gratitude Our gratitude to the Cayce Police Department for the photos used on this page, to Chief Cowan for telling the Drew Barr story, to Officer Drew Barr himself and to his family for the sacrifices they have made for others. About this Episode’s Guest Chris Cowan Chris Cowan is recognized internationally for his vast network of private and public partnerships and his expansive policing knowledge, from 29 years in law enforcement.   Chris’ extensive experience leading special operations, homeland security, crime suppression, professional development, community policing, media relations and business and community crime prevention units has given him a unique perspective on what it takes to be a guardian to our communities.   He has also served as a Chief Financial Officer, Chief Public Information Officer, Commander of Special Weapons and Tactics Units and Commander of Community Policing Units.  This experience has provided Chris with a unique perspective on mitigating challenges to corporate and community quality of life issues because it has been paralleled with 22 years in corporate security, risk management and professional development.   His passion is holistic policing strategies to provide stability to all citizens, and protect the vulnerable, through programs that create religious, business and neighborhood crime prevention. Commissioned a United States Naval Officer; he secured his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  He has also earned a Masters Certificate from the Australian Institute of Police Management.  Chris is a graduate of the South Carolina Executive Institute, the FBI National Academy, the FBI Command College and the FBI Hazardous Devices School Executive Management Program.   He has over 19 years of leadership experience in the fields of administration, human capital, crisis management, strategic planning, tactical operations,