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Walter Isaacson on Elon Musk and A Book on Happiness

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
September 10, 2023 4:16 pm

Walter Isaacson on Elon Musk and A Book on Happiness

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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September 10, 2023 4:16 pm

Guest host: Lee Cowan. In our cover story, David Pogue talks with Walter Isaacson about his new biography of Elon Musk. Plus: Norah O'Donnell interviews Oprah Winfrey and Harvard professor Arthur Brooks about their collaboration, a book on happiness; David Martin talks with Gen. Mark Milley about intelligence for the war in Ukraine; Mo Rocca sits down with former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg to discuss a new arts complex at the site of the World Trade Center; and Kelefa Sanneh finds out what chef and restaurateur Mario Carbone puts in his Sunday sauce.

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Audible dot com slash wonderypod. There are so many amazing days on the way to your wedding day, and Zola's here for all of them. Like the day you find your perfect venue, the day you almost skip to the mailbox to send your invites, and the day you realize making a budget isn't so scary. Zola has everything you need to plan the wedding you want, like a free website for your guests to RSVP and shop your registry.

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Start planning at Zola dot com. That's Z-O-L-A dot com. Good morning. Jane Pauley is off this weekend. I'm Lee Cowan, and this is Sunday Morning. We all want it. Many of us find it.

But most of us feel it rarely lasts long enough. Happiness. So essential, the right to the pursuit of happiness is front and center in the Declaration of Independence.

Of course, what isn't spelled out is just how we go about pursuing this precious right. This morning, Nora O'Donnell is talking with a familiar figure who's been looking into happiness for decades now and has decided to share her findings. In 25 years on TV, Oprah Winfrey considered herself a teacher.

I have deep appreciation for nature. And today, she's still teaching. Her latest lesson, something you won't want to miss. How do you define happiness?

You need enjoyment, you need satisfaction, and you need purpose. Oprah on what it means to be truly happy ahead on Sunday morning. Wow. He's been called the Thomas Edison of our times, but he's also been called a lot of other things as well.

Some not quite as flattering. David Pogue will take the measure of Elon Musk. Who is Elon Musk? The genius who's building rockets to Mars and saving the planet with electric cars? Or the idiot who ruined Twitter? I think he's only happy when he's in a storm, when he's in a drama, when it's being pushed. Coming up on Sunday morning, a new biography of a complicated billionaire.

And much more besides. With our David Martin, we'll take you deep inside the Pentagon, where Americans are helping Ukrainian forces in the war with Russia. Mo Rocca assesses the rebirth of Ground Zero with former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Calafasane has just the recipe for the perfect Sunday sauce. A story from Steve Hartman.

And hear about the perils of finding a new job online. It's a Sunday morning for the 10th of September, 2023. We'll be back in a moment. Every big moment starts with a big dream. But what happens when that big dream turns out to be a big flop? From Wondery and Atwill Media, I'm Misha Brown and this is The Big Flop. Every week, comedians join me to chronicle the biggest flubs, fails and blunders of all time, like Quibi. It's kind of like when you give yourself your own nickname and you try to like get other people to do it. And the 2019 movie adaptation of Cats.

Like if I'm watching the dancing and I'm noticing the feet aren't touching the ground, there's something wrong with the movie. Find out what happens when massive hype turns into major fiasco. Enjoy The Big Flop on the Wondery app or wherever you get your podcasts. You can listen to The Big Flop early and ad free on Wondery Plus.

Get started with your free trial at Wondery dot com slash plus. To some, he's a visionary. To others, he's a petulant and sometimes petty billionaire. Whatever your opinion of Elon Musk, chances are you have one.

And as our David Pogue reports, a new biography is sure to inflame passions for and against. You may love Elon Musk or you may despise him. Let's start with the richest and stupidest man in the world, Elon Musk. But you have to admit he's interesting. I reinvented electric cars and I'm sending people to Mars in a rocket ship.

Did you think I was also going to be a chill, normal dude? You just have to say I want to talk to you about Elon Musk and boom, people love talking. Walter Isaacson has written biographies of Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. And this coming week, our sister company, Simon & Schuster, will publish his biography of Elon Musk.

What kind of access did you get to write the book? I said, I want to be by your side for two or three years. I want to be in every meeting. And he said, fine. What is Elon Musk like? There's no single Elon Musk. He has many personalities.

Elon Musk's? Yeah, exactly. Almost multiple personalities. And you can watch him go from being very giddy and funny to being deeply in engineering mode.

And then suddenly the dark cloud happens. It's almost like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Isaacson writes that Musk's volatility stems from a brutal childhood in South Africa with his abusive father, Errol. Everything's related to the traumas and the drives of childhood. It made him adventurous. It made him so that he felt more comfortable with drama. I did not have a sort of happy childhood, to be frank.

It was quite, quite rough. But it has left deep scars on him, the way his father treated him when he was bullied on the schoolyard, when his face was pounded into the concrete steps and his father took the side of the person who beat him up instead of Elon. Errol Musk said, I raised him to be tough. So Errol Musk doesn't make a whole lot of apologies. By age 31, Musk had founded and sold two software companies, making him a multimillionaire.

One of them was PayPal. With that money, he founded SpaceX. So we are here at the SpaceX rocket factory. How would you say this differs from what we would see at Boeing?

Everybody here is willing to take risks and they know how to move fast. When Musk and I would walk along this corridor and he would see people being a bit lethargic or not enough people, he'd say, where's everybody? Get this moving.

This needs to be done by tonight. That would never happen at Boeing. And what's the urgency? He feels there's an urgency for humans to become multiplanetary, to get to Mars. And he feels there could be a crisis on Earth or something could happen and we need to be a multiplanetary species. If you're the employee, your blood's got to run cold when he comes by your station. You know, there are people who really try to avoid eye contact because he can be brutal. He can get really mad.

He can unload on people. I'm actually making history tonight as the first person with Asperger's to host SNL. Or at least the first to admit it. Musk is open about his Asperger's syndrome, but he believes that expressing empathy with his employees will only slow things down.

He'd say to me, yeah, I don't have as much empathy. I'm not like you. I don't want the person in front of me just to love me. I've got to get this mission done. Sometimes it's not easy.

You have to put some personal things aside, but ultimately the reward's worth it. If anyone's learned how to get along with Musk, it's Tesla's design chief Franz von Holzhausen. He's been at Tesla for 15 years, shaping every Tesla model, including the radically designed stainless steel Cybertruck. It's something where we can put the frame on the outside of the vehicle, too. It really conveys toughness.

It's bulletproof. Let's say I'm Elon and I'm saying we have to do it this way, and you, based on your entire career and wisdom, disagree. There's moments where you agree to disagree, but ultimately it's Elon's company.

He's the boss. These days, SpaceX and Tesla aren't Musk's only projects. There's his brain implant company, a tunneling operation, Tesla's solar roof division, and a new artificial intelligence company.

Tesla is also developing a humanoid robot designed to do our dirty work for us. And then there's Starlink, a constellation of 5,000 satellites that can bring an internet signal to the entire planet, including remote regions and disaster areas. Last year, Musk shipped thousands of Starlink terminals to help the Ukrainian military at no charge. But when he believed that Ukraine was going on the offensive, attacking Russian ships in Crimea last September, Isakson says that Musk shut off their service there. Musk felt that would lead to World War III, and so on his own, he decommissioned Starlink along the Crimean coast. In fact, as Isakson has now acknowledged, that's not quite what happened. Starlink wasn't running in that region in the first place.

But when Ukraine asked Starlink for service there, Musk did decline to activate it. So how does Elon feel about having this much global power? You know, he says to me, how am I in the middle of this? But frankly, he loves it. He loves drama. He loves being the epic hero.

I think it is a little bit dangerous because he loves it too much. But when it comes to controversy, it'd be hard to top Musk's purchase of Twitter last year for $44 billion. He immediately fired over 80% of the employees, reinstated Donald Trump's account, and loosened the rules against hate speech and misinformation.

It won't be perfect, but I think we wanted to really have the perception and reality that speech is as free as reasonably possible. In July, he changed Twitter's name to X. He loves the letter X.

It's mysterious to him. There's SpaceX. There was, his first payments company. That becomes PayPal. His son has a name that looks like a druid auto-generated password, but they call him X. I mean, it's just X, the letter X.

And then the AE is, like, pronounced ash. Musk has had 11 children with three women. Isaacson's book reveals that Musk's ex-girlfriend, musician Claire Boucher, whose stage name is Grimes, had a new baby boy last year. His full name is Techno Mechanicus Musk.

Of course, Musk has never been a typical CEO. I mean, it's legal, right? Totally legal.

Okay. He's smoked marijuana on camera. He's challenged Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to a cage match. And he's frequently in trouble with the government, whose regulations he despises.

Generally, you know, government should, I think, just try to get out of the way and not impede progress. If you ask him what the biggest problem facing America these days is that we're too risk-averse, we have too many referees and not enough doers, and that's why we don't build high-speed trains or rockets that can get to orbit. Already, the U.S. government hires SpaceX to carry our astronauts into orbit, contracts with Starlink to connect our military, and plans to pay Tesla to open its network of electric car charging stations to all drivers. But in a recent New Yorker article, journalist Ronan Farrow writes that the U.S. is becoming dependent on Musk even as he's becoming more erratic. Elon Musk has behaved erratically at times, talking about his loneliness, his sadness, the fact that there have been questions about his psychopharmacology and public reports about, you know, the Tesla board being concerned about his ambient use, the ketamine use. But whatever his eccentricities, Elon Musk really has changed the world. Tesla's success triggered a global shift to electric cars. Two. One. And SpaceX has now conducted 261 successful launches in a row for a fraction of the traditional cost to taxpayers.

In large part, that's because the company figured out how to land its boosters after each launch and reuse them. Do you admire him? A biographer has to show the light and the dark strands, and you've got to be critical of the dark strands. You've got to be admiring of the light strands.

But then the toughest thing is to show how they intertwine. And how about his legacy? Do you think we'll be talking about Elon Musk 100 years after he's gone? He brought us into the era of electric vehicles when GM and Ford had given up.

He said, yes, we can shoot astronauts into orbit when NASA had decommissioned the space shuttle. So 100 years from now, we'll still be baffled in some ways about how dark he could be. But we'll say, yeah, yeah, he put his finger on the surface of history and the ripples came out. Tomorrow will mark 22 years since the horrific attacks of 9-11. When Michael Bloomberg stepped down as New York City's mayor a decade ago, the reconstruction at Ground Zero was a work in progress. Today, there are just a few finishing touches left. And he gave our morocca a tour. In the shadow of where the Twin Towers once stood, glowing above the memorial pools honoring the nearly 3,000 people killed on September 11th, stands a shining new monument to the living.

The $500 million Pearlman Performing Arts Center opens its doors this month. The Pack, as it's known, is the final major piece of the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. It's also the coda to a remarkable story of the revival of a neighborhood that many thought would never recover. You know, in 2001, before the attacks, downtown Manhattan had 33,000 people living in it, roughly. When it got to the year 2020, the number had grown to roughly double.

I don't think many people would have predicted that. Today, it is a residential area. When I worked on Wall Street, there was nobody yet in the streets at night, and now the streets are packed with people.

So how did that happen? Well, we made it safe and we made it inviting. All the things that you should do to make any city attractive. I'm really going to have enormous problems, but I know that we are up to the task. We can do it. When Michael Bloomberg was first elected mayor of New York, Ground Zero was still burning. We will rebuild, renew, and remain the capital of the free world. The emotionally fraught task of rebuilding it became a decades-long project that didn't end when he left office in 2013. Bloomberg is the chairman of both the 9-11 Memorial and the PAC, and has donated $130 million to the new art center alone.

The design was to have a place for families to grieve, but also to have something for those families to live and to enjoy life, because the deceased, I always thought, would want their families to be able to have a life and to remember them, but go on and look to the future. Michael Bloomberg's 12 years in office coincided with an urban renaissance, not just in New York, but in cities across the United States. Downtowns flourished as crime fell to its lowest rate in decades, a far cry from where many American cities find themselves today. Compared to early 2020, before the pandemic, most American cities, by most measures, are still worse off.

Some are actually getting worse. What is the number one thing that has to happen for cities in general in the U.S. to turn it around? Well, the first thing, you've got to stop crime and get guns off the streets.

There's no secrets here of this stuff. All these problems are problems that we know how to solve, but you've got to have the desire to do so. Bloomberg's success here has made him something of an authority on metropolises worldwide. His foundation has worked with cities from Atlanta to Lima to Milan. You really are still bullish on cities in general.

Oh yeah, absolutely. They have to get their crime rate lower and get the garbage picked up quicker and make their school systems better. Vital services. And enforce the law better and that sort of thing. And if they do that, they'll be fine.

We all forget, history shows we've been there before. After 9-11, many worried that residents and businesses would flee New York, setting off a vicious cycle. Empty buildings leading to lower tax revenues. Cuts in essential services.

Higher crime and ultimately more people leaving. That didn't happen then, but the rise of remote work in recent years has reignited those fears in many American cities. I know you want people to go back to the office. You've written about this, but remote working is here to stay. I mean, in Minneapolis, the mayor there said he thinks it's going to top out at 75 percent coming back.

He doesn't know what he's talking about. You think more people will come back? I can't work with you if it's over Zoom. Yeah, but realistically, what percentage of office workers are going to come back? There are going to be office towers that are still empty. I'm not sure why that's true. I will say we are paying our employees for five days a week of work, okay?

Now, if you think that those can be done at home, I don't know, but every golf course that I've heard about in the last three years has had record summers, okay? This is funny, but it's tragic. Yeah, and I feel terrible for younger workers. Liza just off-camera, I mean, she's like in her 20s. She comes to CBS and no one's there. She has one chance to have a great career. It is to build a cadre of friends right now at her age that will be references for her going forward because if she doesn't have somebody they can call, she probably won't get that job.

You can call me. These are the people that are going to teach her how to do these things, how to interface with people. Can you imagine, say, in 20, 30, 40 years, cities, downtowns that are primarily residential where people aren't commuting to go to work? Human beings probably don't change very quickly in what they do.

You can't do the same thing via Zoom that you can do face-to-face, period. And so this is the biggest theater we're going to look into here. Now 81, Bloomberg is worth an estimated $96 billion. He's pledged to give away the majority of his wealth, including his stake in the company he founded. May I ask, Ron Perlman gave a lot of money.

Yep. You gave more. Why isn't it called the Bloomberg Center? Well, number one, he started it.

Number two, my name's on too many things already, I think. But Bloomberg has contributed far more than money, says PAC executive director Hadi Kamara and artistic director Bill Rauch. There's no question that this building would not exist without Mike. I think Mike really believes deeply that arts would be a vital element of how to rebuild down here. More than just sort of a nice thing to have. Oh, absolutely.

I think theater and arts in general have such an impact in the communities that they're a part of. And I do believe that they're essential to the nurturing of the soul. And I'm not surprised that you believe that. I believe that as well. But was it reassuring, surprising to find that somebody like Mike Bloomberg believes that as well? It was exciting to see that there was so much dedication to see it through over the course of these 20-plus years, but not surprising. Tell you what, can you level the floor for us?

Thank you. That's power. The former mayor is particularly excited by the performance space's adaptability. Three theaters can be configured in more than 60 different ways to feature theater, dance, music, opera and film. So now we have a totally different venue. But for the mogul-turned-mayor-turned-benefactor, this building is about more than the art inside. It's that art's ability to transform a place. We started out to give people a place to mourn, to remind us that if we don't pull together, we can't do amazing things. But if we can, we can against all odds and all of the prognostications really create something. The bottom line is if there is culture here, businesses and people will move into that area and follow it. That's why, in the end, New York, you can be reasonably sure, is going to survive and do well. You've no doubt heard the old adage, one good turn deserves another.

And Hartman has proof. At the bottom of a hole in Chesterfield County, Virginia, utility worker Calvin Gaudette is fixing a leaky water main. But no gusher down here compares to the fountain of good deeds he delivers up there. Whether it's buying coffee for the next car, Take care of the people that are behind me. Or groceries for a random shopping. I'm going to pay for this. Calvin gives away about half his income to total strangers.

I'm going to fill your truck up for you. In return, he may get a thank you. Why is that?

At best. But he remains undaunted. You don't never know. You can do something for somebody or talk to someone and you can change the whole situation. He says it happened once.

You can come around, thank you. A few months ago, Calvin was in this Burger King drive-thru when he happened to look in his rearview mirror and saw a woman who just seemed sad. So Calvin did what Calvin does, bought her meal. Only this time, his random act of kindness would not soon be forgotten. Somebody to do something that nice for you on that very moment when I thought nothing could make me happy again. It just touched my heart. This is Andy. Denise Walters had just lost her husband of 41 years.

I just wish he was still here. And says Calvin's kindness was exactly what she needed at exactly the right time. In fact, it had such a profound effect, she chased him down, told his boss, and got him recognized before the county board of supervisors. He saw that I was upset and showed compassion to a complete stranger.

Since then, they have stayed in touch and grown their circle. Nice to meet you, I'm Chris. Nice to meet you, Chris.

Told her, you may have lost your husband, but you gained a family. He's just an amazing man. Just an amazing man. He's also her new role model. I want you to have this.

Denise is now doing the same thing. He has shown me the way. So you feel like you're on a mission now? Oh, absolutely. If he can do this, I can do this. And maybe we can do this. Go spread that joy somewhere, okay?

Thank you. No matter how old we are, at the end of the day, most of us just want to be happy. But what does happy mean? Oprah Winfrey went looking for answers, and as Nora O'Donnell tells us, she turned to one of the pros. How long have human beings been chasing happiness?

How long have human beings been walking the earth? Arthur Brooks' life mission is sharing what he's learned about happiness with the world. In fact, it's what the Harvard professor is paid to do. So your day job is teaching happiness at Harvard.

Yeah. How did that get on the syllabus? The secret to happiness is actually teaching happiness.

That's the reason I do it, is because it's not research, it's me-search. To his great surprise, his lessons reached far beyond the classroom, to include one star student. How did you find Arthur Brooks? During the pandemic, I was in search of fuel to keep myself inspired, to keep myself open to possibility, to keep myself hopeful.

I started reading his column in The Atlantic, and then looking more and more forward to that column on how to build life. So that's when Oprah Winfrey decided to personally reach out to Arthur Brooks. The first time you picked up the phone and you hear a voice on the other line say, this is Oprah, what did you think? Well, I said, yeah, and I'm Batman. But it was Oprah, and she invited him over for dinner.

And I'm thinking, what happened to my life? You know, I'm just a college professor who fell off the turnip truck in front of Oprah Winfrey's tea house. She's the perfect person to have for dinner, because you just probe his brain about all the things you've ever wanted to ask about your own emotions and searching for happiness and well-being and all of that. So I am the kind of person, as you know, that believes that life is better when you share it, whether that's bread or information. To share that information, they hatched a plan to co-author a book. It's pretty nice when Oprah says, let's write a book together.

It's not the worst thing that can happen to you in your life as an author, that's for sure. The book builds itself as a guide to getting happier, and the formula is not what you might think. I'm going to tick off a few things that people may associate with happiness.

So you tell me yes or no if they are necessary for a happy life. Money. No. Fame.

No, no, double no. Power. No.

Good looks. Nope. None of them. None of them.

None of them. But if you were an alien and landed on Earth, and specifically in America, and looked at social media, you would think that the way to happiness is money, fame, power, and good looks. Social media is this laboratory for the earthly goals that actually make you miserable.

Everybody is looking at other people's social media, what they believe to be other people's lives, which is only a snapshot of other people's lives, and feeling envy about that. And one of the things that Arthur and I talk about in this book is that envy is the great destroyer. The happiness killer. It is the happiness killer.

Oprah says she's had a front row seat to people's quest for happiness after 25 years on TV interviewing more than 37,000 people. Every day I would sit and talk with the audience, and most people would always just say, well, I just want to be happy. I just want to be happy.

Well, what does that look like? Define it. Define it. Define happiness. Define it. Most people have never defined it, and then they'd say, well, I want my kids to be happy.

Well, that's your kids, but what do you want? And so being able to answer specifically what that looks like for you is the beginning of being happier. All happiness is a combination of enjoyment, satisfaction, and meaning.

That's what we need. We need to enjoy our lives, which is not the same thing as pleasure. You know, the pursuit of pleasure will lead you to addiction and misery. Enjoyment adds in people and memories, which is the reason that beer ads never have a guy alone pounding a 12-pack in his apartment, but rather they have him with friends because they want him to be the source of enjoyment. Satisfaction is the joy that we get after a struggle because humans are made to struggle and to achieve, and meaning is the hardest one.

Meaning is the sense of coherence, you know, things happen for a reason, direction and purpose. There's a reason for the things that are happening in my life, and there's a reason for my life. What makes you happy in daily life? So, so, so, so, so, so many things.

Nature makes me joyous and so much happier. Along with nature walks, Oprah also loves bread. Oh, my God.

What? Bread! Which is why we met her at the Amy's Bread Cafe in the Museum of the City of New York.

Olive fresh baked is always my favorite. Any of that here? I know, right here. Okay. Wow. As for Arthur's happy place, it's the gym in his basement where you'll find him every day at 5 a.m. You measure out here?

Oh, yeah. Coffee rounds out the morning ritual. How much is habit important in happiness? It's important to actually have a routine for what you're trying to do to set your day up in the right way.

Structuring your day is critically important. Another thing that's important, accepting unhappiness as part of life. The truth is all of us have suffering in our lives. The job is not to eradicate the suffering. It is to grow and learn from the suffering because it is part of our life's journey. That is part of what it means to be fully alive. You can't be happy unless you're also unhappy. You cannot control all of the external circumstances in your life, but you can control how you feel about those circumstances in your life.

It boils down to the thing that I do when I go to teach in South Africa to my girls. I always teach a class called Life 101, and at the end of that class, I leave them with the poem Invictus. The last lines are, I'm the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. And so taking control of your emotions and not allowing your emotions to control you, taking the wheel allows you to be the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.

I love Invictus, and if I had on short-sleeved shirts, you would see my goosebumps. Really? Oprah and Arthur have charted a course for happiness, and what seems to make them happiest is teaching others all about it. Any standout memories from writing the book together?

Well, everything with Oprah Winfrey is a standout memory. Arthur says you make him happy. Does he make you happy? He makes me happy. I just look at his bald head and I just get happy.

I look at that peanut head and it just makes me smile. For weeks now, Ukrainian troops have been battling Russian forces in a make-or-break offensive. And as national security correspondent David Martin reports, a world away from the front lines, the U.S. military is playing a vital role. No other American has been more deeply involved in the war in Ukraine than General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

What do you have up first this morning? About ten minutes, I got a call with General Zeluzny. General Valery Zeluzny, commander of Ukraine's armed forces. I talk to him every week as a minimum, sometimes twice a week, three times a week.

That much? It's 6.45 a.m. Three hours later, he takes us underground, deep in the bowels of the Pentagon, into a top-secret command center where all the intelligence collected from the battlefields of Ukraine is monitored by his staff. This is the crew that keeps the secretary and I informed on a day-to-day basis of what's happening out there in the current operation. How well can you see through the fog of war from here? The fog and friction of war is always present, but our information systems are pretty good. Since the war began, this center has kept a 24-7 watch on Russia's catastrophic invasion, indiscriminate strikes against cities, and the leveling of entire villages without let-up.

According to the latest casualty estimates, Ukraine has lost 200,000 soldiers killed or wounded, and Russia a staggering 300,000. You've seen your share of combat. Have you ever seen combat like this? No, and I've been in a lot of firefights.

I've been blown up several times in vehicles, in mines and IEDs and RPGs, but never to this degree of intensity. For the last 100 days, Ukrainian troops have been firing artillery at what U.S. officials say is an unsustainable rate. As they try to break through Russian front lines.

The Ukrainian offensive, which Milly helped plan, is running into stiffer than expected resistance. It's going slower than people anticipated for the war games that were done, where we helped them do their war gaming and planning. But that's the difference between war on paper and real war.

So this is real people getting really killed and real vehicles are really blown up. So people tend to slow down in situations like that, but it's very deliberate and they're making progress every day. They're taking so many casualties.

How much more slow and deliberate progress can they stand? Your question is how long will the political will of the Ukrainian people withstand this level of carnage? And the same applies to Russia, by the way.

That's an unknown answer. Maps on the TV screens, these are unclassified because we're here, track the painful progress of the offensive. It looks like the Ukrainians, the yellow, have cut a pretty good wedge out of the Russian lines.

That's true, yeah. What physically is that, that they've had to get through? Well, it's minefields, it's trenches, it's ditches, it's small 10, 12 man, 100 kilo teams armed with anti-tank munitions.

What other defenses are they going to encounter if they make it through those? Those orange lines you see there are Russian trench lines. And in between those orange lines, which you don't see, are minefields and tank ditches and what's called dragon's teeth, barbed wire, that sort of thing. This is a multi-layered Russian defense in depth. The U.S. advertises the $44 billion in military equipment it has committed to Ukraine, but says very little about the equally valuable intelligence. Do you share what you know about Russian troop movements with Ukraine? Our intelligence pipes to Ukraine are quite open, for sure. And of course the CIA and interagency, NSA, all those guys. But there's pretty open pipes on intel to Ukraine. So are you helping Ukraine select targets? Target selection and authority to strike is with Ukraine. What we do is provide them situational awareness. But you tell them there's a command post over there, there's an ammunition dump over there.

We'll give them the situational awareness as best we can tell. So this really is a proxy war. You don't have boots on the ground, you're not making decisions, but you're helping Ukraine kill Russians. We're helping Ukraine defend themselves is what we're doing.

The Ukrainian goal is to reach the crossroads city of Melitopol, where they would be in position to cut Russian-occupied territory in two. How much longer do they have to keep fighting before winter? The weather folks are telling us that you're looking at something in probably the beginning of October before the rains come. It won't be the winter.

It will be the rains that make the ground soft and make it unacceptable for ground maneuver. Ukraine's President Zelensky has said he will keep fighting until all of the territory Russia now occupies is liberated. That area is not a small area. That area, roughly speaking, is about the eastern theater of war and the American Civil War. That goes from basically Washington, D.C. to Atlanta, and that is a very large piece of ground, so they've got a tough fight ahead of them. It's not over. And if they don't achieve their objectives, does that mean we're into a forever war?

Neither side at this point in time have achieved their political objectives through military means, and the war will continue until one side or the other has achieved those means or both sides have determined it's time to go to a negotiating table when they can't achieve their objectives through military means, and that time is not yet. If there's one day of the week to indulge in our favorite rituals and pastimes, it's today, Sunday. With Kellefisane, we check out What's Cooking.

Come over here, Kellef. It's a recipe that was written into the script of The Godfather. You start out with a little bit of oil, and you fry some garlic, and you throw in some tomatoes, some tomato paste, you fry it, you make sure it doesn't stick. You got to throw a boil, you're shoving all your sausage in your meatballs. Sunday sauce, as it's called, simmers for hours. For generations of Italian-American families, it's been a tradition, and sometimes a temptation. It's just sort of stewing slowly on the back of the stove for invariably a couple of hours while you try to grab a piece of bread and steal some sauce out of it.

I really didn't start cooking in the kitchen with my family until I did it with my mother's parents, my grandparents, who were born in Italy. Chef Mario Carbone says the secret ingredient is people. I think in its sort of philosophical form, it's this pot of tomato sauce as the fireplace around what you gather, your friends and family around, and into that sauce can go meatballs or brajole or Uncle Tony or anybody goes in the sauce. It's really just a tool to feed your family but also to bring everybody to the table.

The next thing I'm going to put in is a little bit of tomato paste. Getting everybody to the table at Carbone, his namesake restaurant in New York's Greenwich Village, isn't easy. You've had President Obama eating here. I heard Justin Bieber was once turned away here.

He did not have a reservation. Not exactly the story, but you know how the press goes with that. We love Justin and Haley. They're regulars. Is this a red sauce restaurant?

Yeah, absolutely. We're a red sauce joint. There are many red sauces served at Carbone, which also has locations in Dallas, Miami, Las Vegas, and Hong Kong. Mario Carbone says the restaurant's meat sauce is the closest to the one his mom makes.

But mine is a little bit more complex. His version includes ground beef, ground veal, and instead of ground pork, pork sausage. The veal is a lighter pink, the beef is the darker pink, and why do you use the sausage instead of the pork? You can almost smell the why right now.

I mean, it's reminiscent of the stewed sausage that often goes in sundae sauce. Come Sunday... Somehow it all gets back to me working. You do it so well.

We don't want to take the job away. You're the expert. The Carbone family gathers for a feast, usually cooked by Maria Carbone. Who's in charge today? My mother's in charge. And where did you learn your recipe?

From my parents. Did you do it a little different from how they did it, or did you try to follow exactly the same? I followed it.

I did follow it. Mario does it a little bit differently. Maria Carbone makes her sauce from scratch. At least she used to. So, in the old days, she would stew this with cans of tomatoes. Yeah, tomatoes. But you're opening up a jar of tomato pasta sauce.

House-branded. I've got to think, in your day, you weren't using something from a jar. No, absolutely not. It's a little different when it's your son's jar. When it has the name Carbone, absolutely. So here's the pasta going in. But does the family approve? How's this sundae sauce coming along? It's delicious.

What can I say? I think you could still claim some credit for that sauce. I think so, right?

He couldn't have done it without you. This is true. Technically true.

This is true. We like to cook together. Looks good, smells good. We're ready for dinner. Well, Maria did a good job.

Yeah, good job. And mom. And mom.

For Mario Carbone, red sauce is serious business. Except when it's not. Can we have a check, please? No check, family. Oh, it's free? Yeah. Oh, nice.

It's like when we go to a restaurant. What did you ask Mickey for? I said, send me something that I never had before. I told him to send me the check. I'm going to send him the check. For those of you with dreams of finding that perfect match, we have commentary this morning from Brad Mislow.

It's an old story. We met online. We exchanged messages. I told some jokes, got some laughs. We agreed to meet, and we did. It went great. Hey, you.

Stay in touch, I was told. Wow, I thought. At long last, this could be the one. And then nothing. No more emails. No more texts. I realized I was getting ghosted. Well, these are the perils of online dating, right?

Wrong. This was a job search. And let me tell you, if you're looking for work in today's online world, then be prepared to have your heart broken again and again and again. Finding work nowadays comes with all the same emotional twists and turns as finding a date. There's longing, hope, clever DMs, anxiety, and also ghosting.

So much ghosting. Remember, it's not you, you tell yourself. I was laid off on December 20th last year, which HR should have known was my birthday.

You know, no big deal. And I've been actively job searching ever since. Every day, I check websites like LinkedIn and Indeed to see what's out there. I post, I comment, I invite people whom I'll never meet to connect.

All this is done under the guise of professionalism. But it sure feels like dating. And just like dating, you gotta have some game. If you're lucky, you'll get an invite to a video interview. Ah, the first date of the job search. So be sure to shower, put on a clean shirt, comb your hair, and please put the cat in the bathroom. Maybe you'll get invited to a second interview.

Or not. If you know someone who's currently looking for work, be kind. Job hunting, like finding a mate, is usually a long and tedious process. More than six million Americans are unemployed right now. Many of us have been affected by layoffs in tech and media. Companies like Amazon, Google, Meta, Disney, Netflix, even Zoom have all shed staff for about a year now. Not to mention the many startups and advertising agencies that support them.

Why now? New AI technologies like ChatGPT and just the fear of a recession have scared companies into slamming on the brakes on hiring. Yeah, it's rough out there.

And it could be a lonely existence. As for me, well, I'm still at it. Looking for the one.

At least the next one. Listen, I got all the right qualities. I'm smart, I'm not afraid of commitment, I'm a good listener, and I chew my food with my mouth closed, which is a key factor in keeping any long-term relationship alive. So chin up, job searchers. Here's hoping we'll all be off the market soon.

The job market, that is. I'm Lee Cowan. Thanks for listening. And please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. See you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-27 15:47:30 / 2023-09-27 16:05:40 / 18

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