In his December 12 column entitled “With the wrong vision historic downtown Branson is a dead man walking”’ the Ole Seagull ponders on the future of historic downtown Branson, Missouri, in the face of the $150 million retail development called Branson Landing that is being built about a block away down the hill and across the tracks on the shores of beautiful Lake Taneycomo. Is it too little too late?
Today Reuters News Service and others are picking up the statements that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made to troops currently in Kuwait preparing to move north into Iraq. Asoldiers that will soon be going to Iraq, asked why “soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles? And why don’t we have those resources readily available to us?” One of the reasons Rumsfeld gave was “”As you know, you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”
What a pathetic response. If ever there was a war where a nation had the time to have the “Army you might want or wish to have” the war in Iraq is it. The United States picked the time and place. Our troops should have had everything they needed to bring as many of them home safety as possible. Instead, over a year President Bush declared “Mission Accomplished,” a lame excuse like this is used to justify asking our sons and daughter to risk their lives without adequate protection.
The January 15, 2001 edition of “The Nation” magazine contained an article about the then nominee for Attorney General, John Ashcroft, entitled, “Did Ashcroft Take the Lowroad on the Highroad?” The article said, “In general, politicians of unquestionable integrity do not behave in a manner that provides ammunition to advocates of campaign finance reform. But here was one instance when Ashcroft acted in a fashion that led observers to suspect he is not as honest as he is pious.”
The instance involved the use of Ashcroft’s gubernatorial powers, as the then Governor of Missouri to facilitate the construction of a $140 million, eighteen mile, by pass around Branson, Missouri. The article reported, “But there is no question that the new highway was beneficial to several key political contributors to Ashcroft, most notably Peter Herschend, an owner of the Silver Dollar City amusement center. The road–US Highway 465–would skirt Branson and swing by Herschend’s Silver Dollar City.”
Interestingly enough, no national media ever picked up this story or the allegations it contains. How much effort would it have taken to examine whether or not there was an “economic emergency” justifying such action? An Ole Seagull would suggest that such an investigation would have produced then, and would produce now, more evidence showing why a lot of locals call the Highroad, “Pete’s Highway” than it would that there was an “economic emergency” or that the Highroad has eliminated Branson’s traffic problems.
Prior to December 7, 1941 there was peace between the United States and Japan. At approximately 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, on Sunday, December 7, 1941, while Japanese diplomats met with Secretary of State Cordell Hull in Washington, DC, the country of Japan shattered that peace by spilling American blood in a cowardly surprise attack on the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. The attack killed over 2,400 and wounded over 1,175. On Monday December 8, 1941 President Roosevelt went before Congress and declared December 7, 1941 as, “A date that will live in infamy.” Congress declared war against Japan on that date and the United States entered into World War II.
At approximately 9:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, after repeated warnings for Japan to surrender, the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. In spite of the horrific carnage and destruction that resulted Japan did not capitulate. On August 9, 1945, another Atomic Bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Japan sued for peace the next day and the formal surrender papers were signed, on the deck of the Battleship U.S.S. Missouri, on September 2, 1945. Peace had been restored.
In his farewell address given in January 1953, Truman said, “The President–whoever he is–has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.” He did his job and hundreds of thousands of lives, Japanese as well as American, were saved and World War II was ended. Why would anyone apologize for that?
In a recent Springfield News Leader story entitled “Downtown Branson motivated to change,” local Branson entrepreneur, Dimitrios Tsaharidis said, “If we don’t connect with the waterfront, we’re dead.” The “waterfront” referred to is the new Branson Landing Project located just down the hill from historic downtown Branson. Will the businesses of historic downtown Branson heed this warning? More importantly,where is the motivation for the restaurants and retail establishments in the new high rent Branson Landing Project to “connect,” with the restaurants and retail establishments located up the hill in historic downtown Branson?
An editorial entitled “Branson, the expectation and the ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire‘” written by the Ole Seagull and appearing in the Branson Courier and in the Branson Daily Independent on December 5, 2004, discussed the relationship of the future of Branson, Missouri to its past.
The city of Branson, Missouri is not “Branson.” It is a city that wasn’t even in existence when tourists first came to the Ozarks to go to Marvel Cave or to walk in the footsteps of Harold Bell Wright’s “Shepherd of the Hills.” To this very day its primary attractions, Silver Dollar City, is located miles away from the city of Branson in another County. “Branson” “Branson” is a visitor expectation for entertainment that is fulfilled, not a city.
The question for Branson, as is the case with a lot of small tourist towns and cities, is how far away from their past should they move as they reach for the future. Edward Gibbon, an 18th century British historian and the author of “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” said, “I know no way of judging of the future but by the past.”
In an article published in the December 4 New York Times, entitled “Supreme Court to Hear Case on Cable as Internet Carrier,” reported that “The F.C.C. had decided after two years of study that broadband cable service was an ‘information service’ and not a ‘telecommunications service’ – categories that in the commission’s view are mutually exclusive under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. By placing cable on the ‘information’ side, the commission freed it from the obligations the law places on carriers like traditional phone companies, which must permit interconnection with other carriers.
“But the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit disagreed, ruling last year that cable broadband service was a hybrid that could not be freed by administrative decree from its common-carrier obligations.”
Is this but another act of judicial activism or is their some merit to the judge’s theory of an “information/telecommunications” hybrid? Although the Ole Seagull has a problem with judicial activism he must acknowledge that the fact that the internet is being used to provide telephone services does give credence to the judge’s position.