At least 16 people are dead after a series of tornadoes ripped through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Iowa and Kansas last night. The town of Vilonia, Arkansas, population 4,100, was hit hardest, with nine victims on the same street. The New Vilonia Intermediate School, scheduled to open in August, was destroyed.
April 25th is ANZAC Day. If you are not from Australia or New Zealand (yes they are two separate countries) that probably doesn’t mean anything to you. But Americans could take a lesson from the former penal colony on how to honor our veterans.
ANZAC Day originated to commemorate the landing of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) on Gallipoli in 1915 during World War I. Their goal was to capture the peninsula (which is near the location of the ancient city of Troy). All of the ANZACs were volunteers, and still referred to as ‘Diggers’ after the trenches and tunnels they dug from battle to battle. The campaign was an attempt to take control of Constantinople (now Istanbul) and thereby control of an important sea route to the Russian Empire, one of the Allies in WW1. After 8 months, the Ottoman army fought off the land and sea attacks by Allied powers, resulting in many casualties on both sides, including 21,255 from the United Kingdom, 10,000 from France, 8,709 from Australia, 2,721 from New Zealand, and 1,358 from British India.
We’ve been enjoying mild California-like temperatures so far this spring in Houston, but we know the heat is on its way. And with less than 50% of normal rainfall in Texas, the Water Development Board just reported that drought conditions in our state are getting worse, now affecting two thirds of Texas. 25% of those areas are under ‘extreme’ or ‘worse’ drought conditions. This is up over 20% from just four months ago, with the worst conditions in the northern and northeastern areas of the state.
With drought conditions comes concern about wildfires. We’ve seen large wildfires spread in all different parts of the country, and not just during the summer months. Christie Alderman, new products and services manager for Chubb Personal Insurance says, “At one time, wildfires were more likely to start in the late summer and early fall – and you could warn homeowners about the approaching ‘wildfire season.’ Now we see wildfires threatening homes throughout the year, and it means homeowners must be more vigilant.”
The crisis that was (is) the uninsured was a primary justification for the passage of the ACA. "We have 40 million people without health insurance! We have to do something." And something they did. A massive expansion of the public into the private sector. The cancellation of more than 4 million existing health insurance policies. Double-digit increases in premiums costs, etc.
This morning I attended another informative breakfast session hosted by one of our customers. I probably shouldn't admit that making it to these 7:30am breakfast meetings on time is usually a challenge for me. Today was no different, but I was glad I made it because the speaker had lots of exciting information to share.
James Benham is President and CEO of JBKnowledge, Inc., and proof that really smart people DO come from the south and even from Aggieland. He was writing code by age 11 and by 17 he was co-managing an ISP. He holds a Bachelor of Business Admin in Accounting and a Master of Science in Information Systems from Texas A&M. And although I’ll admit as a Longhorn I was never a fan of the Aggie Corps, but it’s easy to see how all his experiences came together to put him in the CEO chair before the age of 40.