-December 9, 2013-
3:00 -- Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner sentenced, but media can't seem to determine his political affiliation. The Panthers' horrible showing in New Orleans, why leftists believe Obamacare will work, and why one progressive says Canada's death panels should be emulated.
4:00 --NC Secretary of Education June Atkinson says voucher money could go to "schools of terror" - when asked about a private Christian schools stance against gay marriage. Plus, NC Republicans say they'll try to get teachers a pay raise, Budget Director Art Pope responds to leftist picketings of his family's store. Meanwhile, Congressional leaders are in budget talks.
5:00 -- One in five Americans will be "rich" for some period in their lives. And would you rather have your dream job making $40,000 or the worst job - but making $150,000?
-December 10, 2013
3:00 -- President Obama shakes a communist's hand and poses for a "selfie" at the memorial for Nelson Mandela. Outrage ensues.
4:00 -- Mark Keller & Rick Phillips join us in studio to preview tomorrow night's Hometown Holiday Jam at the Orange Peel. Plus, Janet Casperson from Blue Ridge Bear Yogurt & Espresso tells about their "Joe for Joes" care package drive they're running. Stop by and donate to help send sweets & coffee to troops in Afghanistan.
5:00 -- More on the "Selfie seen around the world." Plus, NC DHHS software problems are completely different than the Obamacare website problems because ... well ... the GOP is in charge of the NC government while Democrats are in charge of the national failure.
-December 11, 2013
3:00 -- A former deputy with the Buncombe County Sheriff's office stabs a guy outside an Asheville bar and police arrest the guy who got stabbed.
4:00 -- Jake Frankel from the Mountain Xpress stops by to talk about the latest edition on news stands today. Plus, a sword-wielding robber, a fake sign language interpreter at Mandela's memorial, and a new world record low temperature of -135.8 degrees.
5:00 -- Fake or real? Which is better. Christmas trees, that is.
-December 12, 2013
-December 13, 2013
The following is the text of a speech given by my father at a Home Depot corporate event in 2011. He's a Vietnam veteran and was working across the street from the Twin Towers on 9/11.
Patriots Day Message to Home Depot Employees
September 8, 2011
Good Afternoon, my name is Terry Kaliner.
First I want to thank the Military Appreciation Group Board and the Diversity and Inclusion Council for inviting me. I am honored to be here at the home of the home improvement capital of the world and I am happy to say that “I am a proud HD customer”.
I am also an accountant and as required by SOX and as part of full disclosure about me, I have the honor to be the father of Frank Kaliner one of your MAG board members.
I have been asked to speak about my experiences with respect to my take on Patriotism and the events of 9/11 nearly ten years ago.
To me Patriotism is the highest level of participation and service that a citizen can partake as a member of our Republic. The actions can be a host of activities such as volunteering and voting. Some of our Patriotic citizens have chosen to wear the uniform of service such as Police, Fire, EMT’s, Medical, security, first responders, and of course our beloved Military.
Each of these people has and continues to show a high level of devotion to our country and our fellow citizens. This speaks volumes about the sacrifices they and their immediate family members make every day. A lot of people give so much when they participate in this call while others have given all that they have.
We stand today on the shoulders of those before us who stood at Lexington and Concord, and those who froze at Valley Forge to help create a unique country for these many generations of a free people and a Republic to both hold and cherish.
It is this sense of Patriotism we must work daily so that we can pass it on to the next generation stronger than when we received it. This country’s history is filled with rich stories of sacrifice and struggles which has created the fabric of our love of country.
This fabric has worked its’ way into our family lives and our activities: whether it is the parades we go to, the national songs we teach and sing with our children and grandchildren or just placing our right hand over our heart and removing our caps when the national anthem is played and our flag passes in a parade. It is teaching what the Flag means to you and others and why we honor it.
Some may say that our flag is just made of cotton rather than what it is – a living symbol of the millions who sacrificed so much here and around the world. Each of their stories is worth repeating and taking to heart. For without those stories our fabric is weaker, our cause is not as clear, and our colors are not as deep and true. Each of those stories is a single thread that has added so much to the fabric of our country.
My story is not unlike a lot of my generation. A story of a generation taking stands as to the direction of the country and our personal view of the world at that time. We followed the “greatest generation” who spent years at war far away from home and family to a very clear and present danger that faced the world. We on the other hand were being sent off to a war in a little known place with no clear or present danger. The other factor was that this fight was in a place that few of our parents had ever even heard of until we told them we were shipping out.
Born in 1946, my life experiences with Patriotism started with me growing up in The Bronx, New York during the post WWII years of the 50’s and 60’s in a widely diverse community. While in junior high school and high school, during these formative years, I observed inequality, biases and hatred for some of our fellow citizens. Some of these prejudices seemed to me to come out of ignorance, fear and stereo types passed down from generation to generation.
During these years I worked a few jobs including my dad’s auto body shop; I cut lawns, did warehouse work and even worked at a candy store with a real soda fountain.
More than I realized at the time, this part time job as a soda jerk for a dollar an hour, dispensing Coke-A-Cola soda at a real fountain for 12 cents a glass, gave me a deeper impression on my view of America as a nation of immigrants.
These two brothers who owned and operated the candy store exhibited a deep love for our country: by the daily display of the flag, the words they used in dealing with the public, and the way they spoke about our country after hours. It took me a few years to learn from them that this was not the country of their birth or their families, but it was their adopted country after being freed by American service people from a German concentration camp at the end of WWII.
I saw firsthand the prejudices that some of my friends and neighbors exhibited towards these hard working families which were just like the other newer immigrants that came to The Bronx.
I saw case after case where store keepers of the neighborhood would extend care to a family through hard times with “on account” terms, most of which never was paid off. I witnessed the forgiveness of a repair bill by my Dad given to a family who just could not afford the bill with a sick or dying member.
I learned many years later that my Mother was also helping needy families with money to help get them through the tough times. She supported them even though we had limited funds with my Dad working two jobs for some 35 plus years just to get by. These became my first experiences of giving to another without fan fare or notice and only because it was the right thing to do.
After graduating from De Witt Clinton High School and one terrible year of college, knowing that I would be headed to a war, I joined the Marine Corps in 1966. I joined the Marines because of the idealism that JFK brought to the country for those short 1,000 days before we watched him killed in 1963. I decided to enlist along with my best friend, who at the last minute joined the Air Force. I served from May 1966 to May 1968, two years of active duty and then five years of inactive reserve status. My active combat duty of nearly 15 months in Vietnam (“in-country”) was from December 1966 to March 1968.
After basic and advanced infantry training from June 1966 to October 1966, I was formally trained for a mini tank vehicle an M-50, called an Ontos or “PIG”. It had six 106mm recoilless guns. Once “in country” and prior to being assigned to an Ontos Battalion / Company, I had the honor to serve with the men of the 2nd Battalion 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division which was followed by a transfer to the Ontos unit ”3rd Anti-Tank Battalion” / 3rd AT’s in August 1967 for the remainder of my time in Vietnam.
Like most combat Marines you quickly come to learn early on that you are called to serve in many different roles which were based on what is needed at the time versus what you want to do. In my case, I was assigned to an infantry battalion / line company as a grunt and the 106 mm gun section. Our area was the I corps area of northern South Vietnam in place with strange names like Da Nang, Hue, Cont Thien, and Khe Sanh.
We also made excursions into Laos, Cambodia from our positions based at the DMZ . These actions included patrols, security and sniping. Serving with these men was a view of Patriotism that few get to see firsthand. Seeing boys become men and men grow old in months rather than years, was an experience that no one should have to face, yet we did face it.
Like many who served in Vietnam we came home with both visible and non-visible scars. I was lucky to be wounded only twice. My being wounded is a very personal matter to me, since the nature of my wounds seemed to me to be minor at the time and not to the level that warranted any awards.
So I rejected the awards - especially since it might have forced me to leave country and force another Marine to take my place. To me the most important thing was the level of my wounds versus that of my buddies. Their wounds were so much greater than mine. I still had my feet, legs and life where they had given so much more than me.
I eventually returned home in the spring of 1968 to a country in turmoil and conflict with a very unpopular war and time of great civil unrest. At times we came to believe that we were going to be torn apart at our very seems. It seemed that the very fabric of our flag was not only being burned in protest but tested at every level by nearly every person.
Today our new generation of warriors, both men and women, are, I believe, the best of the best that a free country and leader of the world can provide as the last best hope to keep the flames of freedom burning.
I am sure that you all know some of your own who have taken up the call to serve our country in her hour of need and I salute each and every one of you for your patriotism.
One way to give back is to consider joining one of the thousands of veterans support groups, some of which have been created by family members of those who have given their lives for us. One way everyone can give back is with a simple “welcome home” to the returning vets when you meet them and thank them for their service. I would have given anything to hear those words when I first came home rather than what I did hear and what was not said to our returning veterans.
It may seem simple and almost inconsequential, but even the other day while I was at the VA I said “Welcome Home” to a young Army guy who appreciated it so much he stood up on his new legs and said to me “thank you sir.” It is I who is thankful for all that he gave.
I would like to remind you that we are currently experiencing one of the worst suicide rates of returning war heroes with some 1,000 attempts per month with four to five dying per day as per the 2008 study. So if you have a concern for a veteran have them call the National suicide prevention number 1-800-273-TALK (1.800.273.8255) or for any other veterans medical emergence to speak directly to a nurse call 1-800-877-6976 or 911.
Currently some three quarters of our veterans are not enrolled in the VA and thus the current numbers maybe understated. So please help all veterans get enrolled with the VA if only to help improve the care and system. Taking this action to help save or alert the VA for the benefit of that veteran is another way to express your patriotism.
After returning home and being discharged, I joined the work force and took a full time job in an accounting office / accounts payable of an International Airline in 1969. I was hired that night after an interview with the Accounting Manager and over the objections of the Accounts Payable supervisor. I would later learn, the supervisor did not like me because I am a Vietnam Vet. Over the next five years the Accounting Manager George McInerney would become my mentor and friend. He worked with me directly and behind the scenes at the company to push me and encourage me to take up accounting as a profession and avocations, which I did.
After nearly five years with the company - during which I met my love at work, got married, and had our first child - George would provide both accounting and computer programming material to read and study. He also provided great advice as to the way I needed to have a plan for my life.
He explained how he used a five year plan. The plan is simple and is based on your own goals. At four years and six months you sit back and reevaluate your position, and your income. Then take a 360 degree look at your life, work, and family and where you were and where you are going. You confer with your trusted advisers, such as your wife or significant other as to your dreams, desires and what you want to accomplish.
The message was: you must take charge of your life. It is yours and no one else’s. This reminds me of a piece of advice I got from my older sister. She said that when it comes to your life, “this is not a dress rehearsal.”
The decision to move on and away from my comfort zone was not an easy one. When leaving this position I learned the valuable lesson that I should consider being a mentor or being mentored to because either way I got a great deal out of the experience. George taught me to look beyond the resume and discuss the person and judge if the fit is a good one for the company and most importantly the employee.
So with guidance I moved on and became an Assistant Controller for a public pilot training company and was promoted to Controller the following year. Then for the next 40 years I worked as CFO (Chief Financial Officer), Senior Vice President - Finance for a number of companies including a home care company, a national mail order pharmacy, an electronic LCD Panel manufacturer, financial service companies and a host of internet companies as a virtual CFO.
Dealing with the founders, owners, CEO’s and employees, I focused in on helping them meet their dreams and aspirations’. My focus had been restoring profitability and taking the companies over the 100 million revenue volume. I always believed that another accountant would take them to the next level.
My level of training and having a detailed work ethic forced me to learn and understand all the various tasks of the company and employees. My training and mentoring created for me a focus on both the mission and the impact on the various stakeholders. In the Pilot Training Company and the Home Care Company, the review of the benefits and relationships with and between our employees to our clients was a critical aspect in growing the company.
We created a work environment that set our corporate responsibility as our highest goal. This priority allowed us to self report a business error by one of the managers that required us to blow the whistle on ourselves to the Federal Government. This creation of a team spirit allowed for employee participation in stock programs that made every employee a stakeholder in the business.
One of my other positions allowed us to pioneer an expansion of employee benefits to home care workers who never had benefits such as vacation time, sick time and higher respect from co-workers. All of these positions were challenging in many ways but offered rewarding financial compensation. We must be willing to be responsible for what we take from our society and what we are willing to give back to it.
Like you I worked for a few founders who decided early on to give back to this country which had offered them such opportunities like no other country in the history of the world.
One such person was the founder and CEO/Chairman of the Pilot Training Company. He started the world’s first flying eye hospital that travels around the world to provide fee eye care treatments. He did with his own funds and the help friends. These actions, like that of your founders, increase the strength of the fabric of our country with compassion and caring. Giving back comes in many forms and ways and only each of us can define the way we can give back.
In a few days we will come to another September 11th. We will attempt once again to honor those who gave some and for those 3,000 plus of our fellow Americans who gave all that they had in the fields of Pennsylvania, The Pentagon and the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
When the first plane hit the WTC at 8:46 A.M., I was in the local 1/9 NYC subway underneath the WTC buildings. I first believed that a shooting was happening on the platform since the police officer ordered the train held at the station. The train was released and moved to the next train station. Upon exiting I looked up at the WTC along with all the others on the street. I raced up to my office at 11 Broadway and the 17th Floor. Our office was on the back of these full block towers, facing the Hudson River and right in the path of the second plane.
As I called home telling my wife to turn on the TV as the WTC had been hit by a plane, the second jet passed in front of our windows on the way to hit the other tower and kill tenants that were told just minutes before that all is well and you can go back to work.
I immediately told my employees to get what they needed as we were being attacked and had to leave the office. My fear was a second wave of attacks was coming from whoever was behind this. So we quickly walked down the seventeen floors to the ground. I requested the security person in the lobby to sound the alarm and evacuate the building and bring the elevators to the ground floor at once as I told him “we were being attacked.” However this terminology of “being attacked” did not seem to register with him.
I told the employees that we were going to walk over the east side and stay together until we got to the Fulton Fish Market about three quarters of a mile away. While we walked, I listened to my micro portable radio. I started hearing the local and national reports that confirmed we were in fact being attacked and were in the middle of a national crisis.
Once at the Fulton Fish Market I instructed the employees to start walking home and get off of Manhattan and do not take the subways. I was worried that another attack was about to take place in the subway or streets as a follow up to the attack on the building.
The employees headed home and I started heading back across town to the WTC. I was concerned for the people I knew who worked at the WTC were either dead or in pain.
One such person was the supervisor of the New York State Tax Department. He worked on the 86th floor of WTC which was the spot where the second plane hit. I got to know him after working a NYS tax case as the accountant for a local architect for about three years. With monthly meetings held in his panoramic corner conference room, along with the auditor and my client, we came to know each other and had a mutual respect for our positions and to the case.
During our interactions, it became apparent that the auditor had a prejudice against my client since he was not born here. Based on these discussions and evidence I presented to the supervisor, the auditor was terminated in July 2001. It has been said that the supervisor who was a father of six, saved a lot of his staff that day but lost his life. In a way, the firing of that auditor also saved his life as well.
The Supervisor’s courage to do what was right that day was just a confirmation to me of the greatness of the man, who I had come to know and respect.
As I approached Broadway, just one block from the WTC and facing St. Paul Church, I encountered two additional employees attempting to get to our office. One repeated that the subway stopped running and that she needed to get to work. I assured her that there would be no work today as our country was being attacked. I told her to turn around and start walking home at once as all of lower Manhattan would need to be evacuated quickly.
The other employee stayed with me and volunteered to help and do whatever we could. As we stood and watched the death, fire and explosions, we knew that this would become an historic day in each of our lives with an impact on our national fabric.
Before we reached the WTC, from just one block at Broadway and Anne Street the first tower started to fall. I pushed my employee into a nearby car as I got between a car and ambulance as the cloud of heat and smoke raged over us on the street. I grabbed my handkerchief and placed it over my mouth until the ash plume passed. I used the same handkerchief to wipe the smoke and ash from my eyes. My only thoughts were “I am seeing an event like Pearl Harbor and this is war with all the hell that comes with it.”
We recovered and washed our eyes with water given to us by someone at a nearby store. I then surveyed the area only to watch the second tower fall. During this time we watched the end of people’s lives, the hopelessness of the situation and the finality of the events as they unfolded before us. I was thinking about people I knew who worked there in those buildings that were no more.
After the fire balls with their heat and dust passed, the police started clearing the area. Walking towards the area that would be known as the “pit”, I was turned away by the police who ordered that everyone walk north out of the area.
As I started north on Broadway, the streets were empty of vehicles. I then saw a white Jeep coming south on Broadway with the driver holding out his fire helmet rushing towards the pit. That image of those firefighters rushing towards the site is forever burned into my mind. I started walking some miles north to Penn Station for the possible ride home.
The radio reported that the city was closed and sealed with no trains in or out of the city. As I sat near Penn Station a family visiting from the Midwest gave me a bottle of water to clear my nose and eyes from the dust. We spoke for a few minutes as to where they were from and where they were but it did not seem to matter a lot, for we were joined together in this national day of tragedy.
The city eventually allowed the trains to run again. As I rode the train, covered in the grey ash, I just kept thinking of the lives lost and the families who would not have their family member coming home tonight. The following days I viewed the cars left in the parking lots which were not claimed as a stark reminder of the lives lost.
Then within a day the appearance of those famous “missing persons” posters began appearing on nearly every blank space in the city.
That next week required us to return to work, to start the rebuilding of the office and to revive the economy. But, we must always remember those who were killed for just going to work and the unsung heroes who waited for word of their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, family and friends that never came home.
For the next few months we learned the names of the missing and fallen and the toll it took on our communities and country. The full recounting of their actions of bravery may never be fully told.
For the next five years on each Thursday I would walk to the site of the WTC from my office and gaze upon the site of what happened that day and the tragedy that beset our country here and in Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. and the war that followed.
I wondered how this war would treat our warriors. How would we support our men and women when they came home? Would this be a war where a country fails to honor her heroes like Vietnam or would we be a nation that honors those who served the country regardless of the various opinions as to the need to go to war? Some people and some companies have stood up and reaffirmed their commitment to country and warriors alike, such as Home Depot.
Some want to call 9/11 “Patriots Day” - in some way to distance the memory of what happened and what started on that day. Or they want to take an evil day and transform it into a positive action that each and every one of us can participate in to help repair the fabric of our nation.
While I agree with transforming the tragedy into a call to action, I reject the use of the term “Patriots day” for the name of this day at this time. I believe that this day already has been named for what it is 9/11. That name says it all and no other name for this day is necessary.
Especially since, we as a country do not need another “Patriots Day” we have 364 other days to celebrate being a Patriot.
In fact, we even have special days to honor our founders, our fallen and living patriots and even our adoption of our flag. They are July 4, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Flag Day.
Being a Patriot to me is passing our Patriotic culture on to our children and grandchildren. That culture is the patriotism in the songs we sing, the books we read, the flag we wave and parades we take part in.
But it also is in the values and the ethics we abide by on a day to day basis with our employees, customers and vendors. Patriotism is the way in which we deal with one another in every memo, meeting and conversation. The fabric of our country is based on the fair dealing of our every action with each other in all our business dealings.
Being a patriot is having the honor to stand by your word and do what you say you will do including honoring your commitment daily. An example of such a commitment is honoring your core value of using “work time for work”.
Your patriotism is your personal commitments to your faith, your family, your employer, our country and our community.
This patriotism becomes the integral part of the very fabric of our country. You are the threads of our flag. You give back each time you teach your family and friends the example of being fair and stand by your words and deeds. Just like the pilgrims who came here as new entrepreneurs to be followed by millions from all corners of the earth to create other entrepreneurs with you is part of our history.
Your company offers each of you the ability to be more than just an employee but an entrepreneur in this great experiment called America. By means of your commitment to the values which is one of the focuses of Home Depot, you have the ability to participate in the employee activities that give back to your communities. You also have a stock purchase plan that is a great low cost opportunity to build not only wealth but build your dreams and make them a reality.
We also must remember that no matter what our job title is, each of us is the CEO of our own lives and that of our families. This gives us the power to make it whatever we want of it.
I found that, based on my military training and being mentored by great people, success is assured when the values of the mission and when the goals are defined.
Our teams - whether it is a family or military group, who are really like families - can be counted on for mutual support. We are responsible for each other and the mission. After all, you are the “CEO of You Inc.” and you can be a Great American Patriot 24/7/365 days a year.
Thanks each and every one of you for this honor and your commitment to our service personnel and our nation.