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15 December 2016
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December 7th 1941

Seventy-five years ago the sun rose on Oahu (Hawaii) a few minutes before 0630 hrs. Later accounts vary in many details, but all agree that the day dawned fair—blue skies, wispy clouds, a fresh breeze. It was a quiet Sunday morning.
     On the great naval base at Pearl Harbor, a battle-of-the-bands competition had been held the evening before. American battleships carried 20-man bands, and in a semi-final two weeks earlier the USS Arizona's band had qualified for the final round. The concert on Dec 6th was a second semi-final, and the Arizona's musicians attended only to watch and listen.
      Next morning they were back aboard ship. When "first call to colors" was bugled (through the loud speakers) just before eight, the band formed up on the fantail to play The Star Spangled Banner." But before they struck up came the drone of approaching aircraft.
     Astonishingly—incredibly—low flying planes, bearing the distinctive red "meatball" insignia, appeared, dropping torpedoes and dive bombing. Arizona's bandsmen rushed to their battle stations. The US Coast Guards motto is semper paratus, always ready, but in 1941 peace-loving America was minime paratus, very little prepared, even though Europe had been at war for over two years and Japan for more than four.

Remember Pearl Harbor  
Photo courtesy of Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Barker/US Navy    

"The Navy is not going to be caught napping," the secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, had promised a mere three days earlier. The Japanese attack—boldly conceived, assiduously plotted and rehearsed, shamelessly perfidious—torpedoed not only battleships, but American complacency.
     Japan's great victory, however was a catastrophic miscalculation. Never since have Americans been so collectively aroused, ignighted and determined. The empire's doom was assured even before the attacking aircraft had returned to to their carriers 200 miles north of Oahu. Imperial Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the commander-in-chief of the Japanese fleet and architect of the attack, feared as much. If ordered to go to war with America, he had warned, "I can guarantee to put up a tough fight for the first six months, but I have absolutely no confidence as to what would happen if it went on for two or three years.
      In exactly six months—June 7th 1942—a shattered Japanese strike force would retreat from Midway (Island) , leaving four aircraft carriers on the bottom of the Pacific. Yamamoto survived Pearl Harbor by less than two years: American pilots, fittingly, ambushed his plane (on April 18, 1943, during the Solomon Islands campaign in the Pacific Theater of World War II. He was killed on Bougainville Island when his transport bomber aircraft was shot down by United States Army Air Force fighter aircraft operating from Kukum Field on Guadalcanal).
     Hearing of Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill in beleaguered Britain gloated: "Hitler's fate was sealed." while the Japanese "would be ground to powder." And so they were.
      But for the 2,403 Americans killed at Pearl Harbor, there would be no victory celebration. At battle quarters, Arizona's bandsmen did not fiddle. When general quarters sounded, they dropped their cornets and clarinets and hurried to the ammunition hoists beneath the forward turrets, where they handled the heavy powder bags for the ship's 14 inch guns.
     At nearby Tripler Army Hospital, Army nurse Anna Busby was herself a patient that morning, with an infected cheek. Hearing explosions, she rushed out to a lanai to look. "My God the Japanese are bombing Pearl Harbor!" another nurse exclaimed. "Well we will all be needed on duty," Anna replied. She doffed her patient's gown and donned her nurse's uniform. "You can't go anywhere with that red face, " the chief nurse said. "You'd better take charge of the women's ward." And so Anna recalled, "I reported on duty, took the report, and now I was in charge of the women's ward, where I was a patient in the last hour."
     Only minutes after the attack began, a Japanese bomb hit the Arizona, triggering a volcanic explosion in the forward magazines. The ship broke in half and quickly sank. Almost 1,200 sailors and Marines, including all 21 musicians died.
     We sleep peacefully in our beds at night, it has been said, because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf. But few of the sailors on the Arizona were rough men. Many were homesick young recruits, 18- and 19-year old boys from rural and working class America. One bandsman had enlisted the year before at 16. Arizona's dead remain entombed in their sunken ship, America's most poignant war memorial,
     At Gettysburg, the Park Service boasts of offering visitors "fresh experiences for a new generation." There's no need for "fresh experiences" at Pearl Harbor. Silent, still and solemn beneath the harbor's lapping waters, the Arizona mourns her dead mutely, timelessly.
     They fought the enemy, said a poet. We fight for living and self-pity.
     Arizona's wounds still bleed. Every day, two or three quarts of oil seep from the ship and float to the surface. "I was very, very frightened," nurse Busby recalled of December 7 and the days following. Like most on Oahu, she feared the attack was prelude to invasion. Japanese brutalities in China made this a terrifying prospect.
     "I was petrified," she admitted. "But I did my duties. I carried on."

Robert R Garnett
Professor of English

Gettysburg College





Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:

FDR Addresses US Congress

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.1

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the un bounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in
an address to Congress on Dec. 8, 194


Everyone knows the 80/20 rule: 20% of the people in any given situation or organization do 80% of the work, contribute 80% of the revenue, show up 80% of the time. Conversely, 80% of the people do 20% of the work, contribute 20% of the revenue, show up 20% of the time. From volunteer organizations (like BNI) to the federal government, the 80/20 rule holds. [Some argue that the ratio may be 90/10, but you get the idea.]
     You can probably site examples of the 80/20 rule at work in your company or business.
     Now consider applying the rule to to troublesome clients or customers. 80% of your tsouris comes from 20% of the folks that you serve. So if one or two of your clients or customers are driving you crazy and are draining time or energy away from more reasonable and profitable clients, maybe it's time to politely—but firmly—part your business from this minority.
     Suggest that another firm or individual might be better able to work constructively with them. Offer to supply a list of your competitors.
     There—you've just killed two birds with one stone.

A Modern Glossary for Workplace Survival

Nodding is a key ingredient of your pleasant persona. Good nodding soothes people and lets them know you're paying attention even when you're not. In open meetings, where you can almost doze and not get caught, it may be wise to interject an occasional comment like "Huh" or "No way" to show you're in the same room.

Parent is the organization that owns the organization that owns the one that owns yours. Parents are gray and sober of mien, and they tend to nag a lot. This parent could also divest you without a tear or make you travel to Dubuque in the winter. So it pays to make a big fuss when it visits and to tread lightly when you are a guest in its home.

Perks are all the goodies your company lavishes on you at their discretion. Included are caps, jackets and the occasional Clippers ticket for lowly types; posh hotels, unlimited access to golf, tennis junkets and Lakers season tickets for high middle management; and airplanes, cars and new spouses for very senior people. The best perk of all is a flexible and mighty slab of plastic in your wallet and a controller who signs off on your expense account without reading it too closely.

to be continued

Stanley Bing
in the Wall Street Journal

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Remembering Pearl Harbor.

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy.
The 80/20 Rule Revisited.
The ABC's of Business, Part VIII.






"Life is Nothing if You Are Not Obsessed"

Douglas Coupland









"It is Useless to Attempt to Reason a Man Out of a Thing He Was Never Reasoned Into."

Jonathan Swift












"You Can Never Be Too Rich Or Two Thin."

The Duchess of Windsor











"You Can't Get Rich in Politics Unless You Are a Crook."

Harry S Truman




































































"Build a better mouse-trap and the world will beat a path to your door."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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