Dave Richards for March 6th…………….
--For many years we have listened to doctors, clergy, or other officials lecture us about how almost anything we might wish to do that tastes good, feels good, or is otherwise desirable is “bad” for you and will lead to terrible consequences. I’m like most of you, I listen to the warnings and I realize that sometimes these experts are right and sometimes they’re wrong.
I remember when my family was using real butter in our house. Then came the experts telling us we’ll all die of heart attacks if we continue this horrible practice and we had better use Margarine, if we knew what was good for us. Unfortunately, some years after that a new set of “experts” were telling us switching to Margarine was a big mistake and if we knew what was good for us we’d either switch back to butter or use nothing at all.
I’m sure both of us could add a dozen more separate times the “experts” were wrong. This kind of “crying ‘wolf’” scenario emboldens us all to disregard the warnings of “experts” more and more with each year. But every now and again those “experts”, the “people-who-suppose-they-know” actually do get it right. I was witness to this over the past week.
A dear friend of mine, Bill Lally, who grew up in the Sheldonville section of Wrentham, died a miserable death last Saturday. Bill succumbed to skin cancer. The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and when you’ve lost the battle for your skin, you’ve lost your life. Some of you may remember Bill. We were young guys starting out in the radio business in the early 1970s together at what was then WWON radio. Bill had far more on-air talent than I. A well-articulated, deep voice, even in his late teens and early twenties, with a sharp and painfully dry wit. Bill early in his career moved up to responsible positions in New York and then Los Angeles.
I said some of you may remember Bill for the brief years he worked in Woonsocket radio. Whether you do or don’t, if you ever met Bill, you’ll remember his sun-tanned skin. Bill nurtured that tan for many, many years. I noticed it like everybody did, but it was none of my personal business, so I said nothing to him about it, except once to jokingly ask him if he were taking a “reverse Michael Jackson treatment”. It wasn’t funny then, either, but Bill laughed. He appreciated even a bad attempt at a joke.
It seems clear today that getting too much exposure to the sun (or tanning lights) does nothing to you that you can detect while it is happening, except maybe a sunburn. But 40 years later, when you’ve finished your career and are looking forward to a nice retirement is when it hits you.
If you are like me and got plenty of sun when we were kids because our parents honestly believed it was a healthy thing for kids to do, keep an eye on your skin. Warts, moles, or birthmarks will usually give you early warning. See a doctor. Weeks and months could make a difference.
--There is much discussion about President Trump’s announcement that he wants to protect jobs at home by placing substantial tariffs on steel and aluminum. This is a matter of policy and a delicate balance of imports and exports and how they affect employment in any country. I don’t think I understand these complexities well enough to comment on their merits. But there was one remark the president made about these tariffs which did send up a red flag for me. I didn’t catch it all, but the upshot and part of the quote was that he wasn’t concerned about starting a Trade War because “Trade Wars are easily won.”
Let me tell you why the thought behind these words concerns me. The way I read the history books, in the years leading up to the second world war, a key causative factor behind Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor, which thrust our nation into the world wide conflict, was steel, and a trade embargo.
The United States, as I read, had agreed to sell massive quantities of scrap metal and steel to the Empire of Japan. However, when Japan joined Italy and Germany to form the so-called “Axis” powers, the U.S. cancelled those contracts because they knew the scrap metal and steel was being used to build armaments and make us morally complicit with countries which were at war with our friends.
History describes the discussions between representatives of Japan and the U.S. as negotiations which were designed to camouflage preparations for Japan’s sneak attack. Whether they were or not, the talks were supposed to actually be trying to get the U.S. to reverse our decision of cancelling the contracts to sell Japan the metals it sorely needed. In hind-sight, it is clear that Japan was angered by our refusal to honor the contracts and they felt justified in attacking us.
If you look back in the history books you will see many military conflicts which had their start in trade disagreements. Not all the time, but often enough to make me feel very uncomfortable when a world leader seems to think little real damage will come from a trade war. I think any disagreement between sovereign nations has a potential to get out of hand and should not be taken lightly.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading.