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Doobie Brothers, The Funny Farm, Travel Trauma

Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
July 3, 2022 4:44 pm

Doobie Brothers, The Funny Farm, Travel Trauma

Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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July 3, 2022 4:44 pm

Lee Cowan hosts this July 4th weekend edition of "Sunday Morning.” In our cover story, Kris Van Cleave looks at the difficulties facing exasperated travelers this summer. Plus: Major Garrett talks with a woman who had to leave the country in 1962 to get an abortion; Lesley Stahl explores animal friendships; Jim Axelrod sits down with the Doobie Brothers; David Martin looks back on the life of WWII Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. Hershel "Woody" Williams; a Robert Krulwich video essay examines the threat posed by rising greenhouse gases; and Rita Braver visits an accidental tourist attraction: gigantic decaying busts of U.S. presidents.

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Learn more at Good morning. Jane Pauley is off this weekend.

I'm Lee Cowan, and this is Sunday morning. It's one of the true delights of summer. The holiday getaway.

The only drawback, at least these days, is actually getting away. Nearly 48 million of us are traveling this Fourth of July weekend. 42 million on our ever more crowded highways. And while air travel is all but back to pre-pandemic levels, you've certainly heard about all of those canceled flights and scheduled cutbacks. This is going to be a rough summer for flying. It is indeed a rocky road, Chris Van Cleve will tell us.

No matter where you're going or how you're getting there. Listen you. Hey. And then on to Leslie Stone with a story of a modern Noah's Ark filled with some unlikely fast friends. It's not quite the biblical tale of the lion lying down with the lamb, but these friendships are still pretty jaw-dropping. The emo and her goose pal. That goose is just always wherever she is. The alpaca and his steer buddy. Look, see how he's waiting?

Where is he? There's your buddy. And a donkey and an adorable llama. Later on Sunday morning, animal odd couples down on the funny farm. The Doobie Brothers have been rocking for more than half a century now and they have the hits to prove it. Jim Axelrod talks with them about the good times both then and now. A band like ours is a little different than a lot of bands. It's more than a little different when you consider the rock and roll hall of fame band, the Doobie Brothers. On tour again and back with their first album in years. We're still able to do it and people maybe want to hear us. Oh, they want to hear you.

What's kept them running for more than 50 years. Ahead on Sunday morning. Just in time for the fourth of July, David Martin helps us remember a true American hero. Plus a birthday gift from Steve Hartman, opinion from historian Douglas Brinkley, and more.

This Sunday morning, July 3rd, 2022. We'll be right back. Time was we flew the friendly skies and gas was a bargain. But these days, Chris Van Cleve tells us travel often means trouble. Fasten your seat belts. There's travel turbulence ahead. Another day, another slew of flight cancellations. A lot of people will have to decide, drive or fly. I mean, who doesn't know someone whose flight wasn't canceled? What started as a summer of so-called revenge travel after two years of the pandemic has turned in to travel hell. I'm extremely frustrated and disappointed.

They got a few people on board and then all of a sudden canceled the flight. I can't even get home now. I don't know how I'm going to get home.

Thank you. Kendall Young and her kids were not about to risk losing a minute at Disney World this weekend. In case we did miss this one, I had an extra day to catch up. So if we did cancel, I kind of built in an extra day. Forty eight million are expected to be on the move this Independence Day weekend, the busiest of the pandemic, and the nation's airlines are struggling to keep up. Since Memorial Day in the U.S. alone, over 200,000 flights have been delayed, 24,000 canceled, impacting nearly 2.4 million passengers, roughly the population of Houston. That's up from pre-pandemic levels, while the airlines are flying up to 25 percent less than 2019 and charging 45 percent more for airfare. Is it fair to say this is the airline's fault? There's shared responsibility. Airline and aviation is a team sport.

Henry Hartevelt is an airline industry analyst and founder of Atmosphere Research in San Francisco. What went wrong this summer? It seems everything has gone wrong. One, airlines are still working to rehire pilots, flight attendants and other employees. Two, the FAA is still working to rehire people. Three, the airline scheduled a lot of flights. And four, we've just had bad weather and a lot of it. You put that all together and you have a fragile system that has no room left to flex.

It just shatters. Congress taxpayers bailed out the airlines so they wouldn't lay anyone off. What do you mean there aren't enough people? The airlines got more than 50 billion dollars in government subsidies to keep operating and to keep people working. But in the first few months before any subsidies were guaranteed and seeing their traffic fall by 96 percent, airlines panicked. That pandemic panic led to the airlines offering early retirement to tens of thousands of employees. By December of 2020, more than 3,000 pilots took buyouts, worsening a growing pilot shortage. Delta pilots marked the start of this holiday weekend picketing at airports coast to coast.

Pilot Maggie Eichhoff. What Delta has done is over scheduled us. We just don't have the pilots right now to staff it. And COVID continues to be an unwanted passenger resulting in higher than normal sick calls. This is going to be a rough summer for flights.

It's going to be a rough summer and so we're just going to step through it as best as we can. Captain Laura Einsettler has been an airline pilot for 27 years. It's as frustrating for us as it is for the passengers. You don't want your flight delayed either. We do not want our flights delayed.

Either we like to be in charge, in control, and fly the schedule as we have expected it to be. Right now we're doing things to sacrifice things like flying on our days off and giving up our vacations for ourselves. We tried to talk to the CEOs of the nation's four biggest airlines, but none were available to discuss summer travel. The airlines say they have already cut 15 percent of their planned summer flights and are ramping up hiring and training to try to meet growing demand. And Thursday, Delta's CEO sent a letter to customers apologizing for the recent stretch of delays and cancellations. I had a meeting with all the airline leaders about what they're doing to prevent cancellations. Next day I woke up in the morning my flight was cancelled. Count Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg among the millions flying this weekend. Is this the new normal or is it going to get better?

This can't be normal. We can't have this number of cancellations and delays and accept it. What's your message to the airlines?

We're counting on you. We're looking for you to provide the service that matches the tickets that you've sold. The bottom line is they need to deliver. On Wednesday, Senator Bernie Sanders called for fines up to $55,000 per passenger if an airline cancels a flight due to staffing shortages. Is the situation so bad that DOT should start fining airlines? We have fined airlines where they've failed to provide refunds or treat customers well in other ways. But not for canceling a flight for staffing.

Right, so there are other authorities that we may have and we're going to look at it. But what I'd much rather do is just have a good outcome so that we don't even have to go there. It's clear that the airline sector is not ready to meet public expectations and I'm concerned about that. Whose fault is that?

I'm not interested in the blame of the game. I'm interested in making sure that passengers can get to where they need to be. A record 42 million people are opting to drive this weekend. But hitting the road comes with pain in the pocketbook. Gas prices are $1.74 more on average than a year ago.

Monty Kenney was gassing up at a Bucky's in northwest Georgia in the midst of a 3,000-mile family road trip. Why not fly? It's too expensive and I've got a wife and a kid with me, so to pay for all three would be it'd be even more than what we're spending. And those spending to fly aren't necessarily landing happy. Airline analyst Henry Hartevelt found 74 percent who flew or planned to fly said they regret their decision. But he has some advice for finding friendlier skies. Always take a non-stop where you can. You mean the first of the morning? Take the first flight in the morning that you're able to take.

Those are the least likely to be cancelled or delayed. He also says to pack light. Checked luggage can complicate things if you need to rebook. But most importantly, keep it light. If something goes wrong, stay calm.

But unfortunately what you need to presume with your summer trip is something will go wrong and you're going to be grateful and maybe buy a lottery ticket. Some 60 years ago an Arizona woman's quest for an abortion riveted the nation and some say helped pave the way for the Roe v. Wade decision, which as you know was just overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Major Garrett takes us back in time. Sherry Chesson was a married mother of four and star of Romper Room, a children's TV show in Phoenix where she was known as Miss Sherry.

Romper, bumper, stomper, boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me. That year she became pregnant and to treat morning sickness took a sedative her husband Bob Finkbein brought back from Britain. What I did was poison myself with a drug that I whose name I didn't even know. That drug she later discovered contained thalidomide, a chemical linked to severe birth defects.

We have our four children to consider. Sherry and Bob not wanting to bring a child with a congenital disorder into their family opted for an abortion which at the time was only available in rare cases. In all the soul searching I have done I sincerely feel that I would not be giving life to anything.

I feel that I would be giving a kind of living death. First though with the promise of anonymity, Chesson called the local newspaper to warn the community about thalidomide. The story rocked Phoenix. Chesson's name leaked out and the hospital canceled the abortion after the local prosecutor threatened legal action.

I feel mentally like about a one-tenth of what I used to be. Soon Chesson's painful story was in the pages of Life magazine and the nation began to ponder the deeper complexities of abortion and a woman's choice. Eventually a hospital in Sweden promised to provide the abortion so the couple flew to Stockholm.

Their every move covered by an aggressive press corps. Now that it's all over do you still think that you've done the right thing? More than ever I mean I don't know if it was womanly intuition or the god inside of me said don't have this baby and I didn't and now I'm now I know it was the right decision. Threatening letters piled up the FBI provided security for the family and the Vatican condemned Chesson and called the procedure murder. It was a good thing it was an honest thing it was a thing any mother would do to save her own child from from suffering. I remember waking up after the operation and saying to the Swedish doctor was the baby a boy or girl and he said it was not a baby it was an abnormal growth that never would be a normal child. That August the same month of her abortion President Kennedy praised a top food and drug administration official Dr. Francis Kelsey for keeping thalidomide out of America. Recent events in this country and abroad concerning the effects of a new sedative called thalidomide emphasize again the urgency of providing additional protection to American consumers from harmful or worthless drug products. In the years after Chesson's 1962 case some states legalized abortion. When the Supreme Court defined abortion as a constitutional right in 1973, 13 states already allowed the procedure.

Chesson was the first the procedure. Chesson knew a world without Rose constitutional protections now she like the rest of America has been cast back into a world without them. We can't go back to willow sticks and knitting needles and all the things that women have perforated their uteruses with. 60 years on and three weeks shy of 90, Sherry Chesson is a bit fragile but focused and fierce about what has been lost.

The Supreme Court may be surprised to know there is light in what they've done. They have empowered women everywhere. I feel it my my granddaughters feel it added to all of that is a great dose of anger and we as women I will say it again and again we shall prevail. Chesson's thoughts about abortion are like the issue itself layered and complicated. She thinks of herself as pro-choice and anti-abortion. Some people think it's oh it's a form of birth control if I go out and get pregnant I can have an abortion. No that's not the reality of abortion. The abortion has a great ugly um for life if you if you will say where you think can I should I um there's a lot of tears for a lot of people and the aftermath is horrendous. Chesson says she never set out to be an abortion rights activist. I didn't know a thing about abortion. My abortion was to me the most hateful and yet the most loving thing I ever did but I didn't know a thing about it. What she wanted to do was warn people about thalidomide.

Exactly. That had to have been a scary time. It was very scary and I just heard on the radio yesterday where women here are being because of the trigger laws are being thrown out of their doctor's office. I know how that feels because you know what 60 years ago it'd be 60 years in don't do the math uh in August I was thrown out of my doctor's office out of the city and out of the state. After her abortion the tv station fired Chesson telling her she was no longer fit to be around children. They gave her another less prominent show but when she got pregnant again she was fired for that too.

Think of the Arnie major. I didn't have a baby and I lost my beautiful wonderful romper job and I did have a baby and I lost my beautiful wonderful job. Make up your mind. I remember both my parents sitting sitting me down and they didn't use the word abortion. They told me that mommy had a bad seat inside her and the doctors were going to take it out. Chesson's daughter Terry Finkbein Arnold was seven years old in 1962.

All the press was there and they had all these cameras with the old-fashioned flash bulbs that would pop and hiss. I was terrified. Chesson had two more children after the abortion. This is baby number six. Kristen Atwell Ford still lives in the Phoenix area. She paid dearly for standing up for herself and her family but I wouldn't be here if she didn't if she hadn't. No she wouldn't be here because if I had had to carry a baby around in a basket I mean it would have been impossible.

I never ever ever would have had another child. I'm grateful. I'm grateful that my mother stood up to the state of Arizona to the United States and found a way to determine what was best for her and her family. She's my hero.

We set aside the 4th of July as a day to come together to honor these United States. Of course our differences are many these days. If only as Leslie Stahl suggests we could follow the lead of some of our fellow animals down on the farm. In the leafy pine barrens of southern New Jersey lies a very different kind of farm. So for those people who have never been here never even heard of the funny farm how would you describe it?

I say heaven on earth especially for animals and for people because when you walk through the gates you can feel the inner peace and harmony because they all get along here. They do it's kind of astonishing. The astonishing funny farm a not-for-profit animal sanctuary open to the public two days a week was created by New Jersey's own Dr. Doolittle Laurie Zaleski. We have a mommy sheep and a baby sheep. This is basically a farm for rescued animals. Most of them were they abused? Abused, unwanted, neglected, elderly, disabled. Every single animal here is a rescue. So you've been healing them as well as protecting them?

Yes. She's healed and protected more than 600 animals over the last 20 years from retired racehorses to raucous roosters. We have 115 roosters. Well no wonder it's so noisy.

It is very noisy. Listen you, hey why'd you name it funny farm? Why didn't you name it heaven on earth or whatever? So my mother had the original funny farm and she said it's full of animals and fit for lunatics.

The people are the lunatics. As she writes in her book there are lessons here for our polarized at each other's throat society because the creatures on the funny farm live in harmony no matter how different they are. It's not quite the biblical tale of the lion lying down with the lamb but as friendships go this bond is pretty jaw-dropping between Emily the emu a very large bird and a goose named airplane because of her wounded wings. Can you see the emu from here?

Oh yes. The emu and airplane. Oh airplanes oh my god look at that. I mean he is glued to her. That goose is just always wherever she is. Look at that. Do you know why the goose loves the emu? Maybe he likes larger women. I don't know. I'm not really sure.

I thought it's possible that she protected him at one point that we just don't know about and he thought you know this is my protector and I'm gonna stay with her. Zaleski introduced us to another cross species couple. Look at how beautiful that animal is.

You're very attractive. A donkey and a very kissable llama. So this is Lorenzo. This is Lorenzo and this is Jethro.

So tell us about how this friendship developed. Jethro was here with his horse that passed away. The pony died and Jethro went into mourning. He did go into mourning yes.

This poor guy was suffering because he was so sad. Lorenzo came and they bonded themselves. They just found each other. I mean these two are such an odd couple.

An even odder couple might be Yogi the steer and Cooper the alpaca. Look see how he's waiting? Look where is he?

There's your buddy. He's coming out too. Wherever Yogi goes he goes. They make an adorable pair today but two years ago Yogi's long horns ripped a hole in Cooper's side by accident. When I tried to take Cooper to the hospital Yogi was definitely freaking out. You told me he cried. He cried. He went it broke my heart. It's you know where's my friend?

Where did you take him? Are they really missing them? Are you attributing human emotions to your animals?

You're making it up. I absolutely think that they miss each other. But was it grieving? I think he was grieving.

Sure. People say they don't have emotions. They do have emotions. But scientists complain.

Scientist schmientist. What do they know? What do they know? What do they have in their backyard?

Exactly exactly. So what's your favorite coupling? Dogs. Dogs and dolphins just have. They play in the water?

Yes. Jennifer Holland has collected dozens of stories of unexpected animal affection in Unlikely Friendships, one of a series of unlikely best sellers. One of my favorites is an iguana with a cat and the fact that the iguana not only would cuddle with the cat but would let it play with his tail and lick him and share his food.

Those kinds of stories just really make me smile. In the course of writing her books the former National Geographic staffer had some questions. You know I wanted to know was there science behind this? Do we understand why this happens? And started looking into it and realized we don't really have one answer because there's so many different contexts, so many different animals.

It would be very difficult to do a rigorous study and explain what's happening. But I wondered if in some of the cases it's less friendship and more pet owning. I'm thinking that gorillas are very close to us and that maybe our instinct for a little pet is instinct.

I mean if a gorilla is the way we are we want a little kitten. Right and part of that may be kind of the a little bit of that parental instinct just kind of that instinct to care for. Wanting to mother. Wanting to mother. Zookeepers often place orphan babies with mothers of another species who are nursing.

I asked Holland if the need for protection might come into play. I told her about the goose and the emu and as you saw them walk along you thought oh she got herself a bodyguard. Yes and also even with an animal that's blind another animal may kind of turn into a seeing eye dog and protect that animal and show where the food is and just be the bodyguard be the helper. Animal altruism. Animal altruism. I love it. And when animals meet when they're young anything is possible.

How does that song from South Pacific go? You've got to be carefully taught to hate and fear. What about the lion tiger and bear? Oh my. Oh my. Exactly.

Yes. So they were really pals. They were pals and these are three animals that would never meet in the wild. These three predators turned pals were found as babies in a drug dealer's basement and brought to an animal sanctuary where they became lifelong buddies.

And it just happened that these three found something again positive in each other and pal around together. I think you see this in captivity so often because these animals are taken care of. They're not competing for food. They're not stressed and so they have this luxury of being able to be social with other animals. Laurie Zaleski takes that if you feed them they won't fight theory to a whole other level.

Okay Leslie come on in I want to show you my roommate. Oh I have 35 animals in my house. Wait a minute you have 35 animals about in your house?

What like what? I have 10 dogs about 20 cats. A cockatoo who is louder than all of them put together. A chicken.

Here's Adele the diva chicken. She lives here with the dog? She does. And they don't eat her?

They don't eat her no. You know what comes to mind? Noah. It's like Noah's ark. It's Noah's ark.

Saving animals is what Noah did really. Yes. Wow. You're biblical.

I'm biblical. Hi podcast peeps. It's me Drew Barrymore.

Oh my goodness. I want to tell you about our new show. It's the Drew's News podcast and in each episode me and a weekly guest are going to cover all the quirky fun inspiring and informative stories that exist out in the world because well I need it and maybe you do too. From the newest interior design trend Barbie Corps to the right and wrong way to wash your armpits. Also we're gonna get into things that you just kind of won't believe and we're not able to do in daytime television so watch out. Listen to Drew's News wherever you get your podcasts. It's your good news on the go.

This is The Takeout with Major Garrett. This week Stephen Law ally of Mitch McConnell and one of Washington's biggest midterm money men. List for me the two Senate races where you think Republicans have the best chance of taking a Democratic seat away. Nevada, New Hampshire. Not Georgia. Well, Georgia's right up there but New Hampshire is a surprise.

In New Hampshire people really just kind of don't like Maggie Hassan. For more from this week's conversation follow The Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. It's a word used perhaps a little too often. Hero. Last year our David Martin talked with the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Second World War. Herschel Woody Williams.

Williams died Wednesday at the age of 98. We thought his story is worth another look. We think you'll agree that he is indeed a true American hero.

Herschel Woody Williams is literally one of a kind. At the age of 97 he is the last living recipient of the Medal of Honor from World War II. But it's the way he lived all those years since that really sets him apart.

I felt that I owed back more than I could ever possibly give. He grew up on a farm in West Virginia during the Great Depression. There were 11 born to my family. Only five of us survived to adulthood. The attack on Pearl Harbor united Americans as never before in history. After Pearl Harbor he tried to enlist in the Marines but was rejected as too short. When the Marines started taking horrendous casualties fighting the Japanese across the Pacific the height limit was eased and he ended up a Marine. What was your first taste of combat like?

Exceedingly scary. In February of 1945 a massive invasion fleet gathered off the Japanese held island of Iwo Jima. We didn't know that they had 22,000 Japanese on the island. We didn't know that they had miles of tunnel dug out in that volcano. As depicted in the movie Letters from Iwo Jima the Japanese held their fire until after the Marines had landed and then turned the beach into a slaughterhouse. The beach was just full of everything you can think of. Trucks and tanks just blowing up. More than 6,000 Marines would die.

I just stacked them up you know like cord wood. Finally Marines made it to the top of Mount Suribachi for the most famous flag raising in American history. Did you know the flag had gone up? No it did not. I think I had my head buried in the sand.

The flag was up but the battle for Iwo Jima was far from over. There was no protection. We'd run from shell crater to shell crater if we could find one and finally we hit this long line of pillboxes, reinforced concrete pillboxes. Japanese machine guns inside the pillboxes cut down the advancing Marines until Williams commander turned to him. He said do you think you could do something with a flamethrower? What are you supposed to do with the flamethrower? Put flame in the pillbox so that you would annihilate everybody within that pillbox. With covering fire from four riflemen Williams crawled toward the first pillbox with Japanese bullets ricocheting off his flamethrower. I look up on top of this pillbox and I see a little bit of blue smoke rolling out of the top of it. So I crawled up got up on top of the pillbox and here's a pipe that is just about the same size of my flamethrower nozzle.

So I just stuck it down and let it go. That was my first pillbox. Williams is credited with taking out seven pillboxes in the course of four hours. That was February 1945. Peace may be restored.

When Japan surrendered in September of that year Williams was on Guam killing time when he suddenly received a summons. You're going to go see the general and I said what for? Can't be good news.

That's what I thought. I'm scared to death but I'm following orders you know. So I walk into the tent walk up to his desk and he said you're being ordered back to Washington. I'd never heard of the Medal of Honor.

I didn't know such a thing existed. The boy from Quiet Dell West Virginia found himself at the White House being presented the Medal of Honor by President Truman. I never even dreamed of being able to see a president of the United States and I'm standing shaking hands with him. Now you talk about a scared moment. I was a wreck.

I really was. He got over the nerves but never the responsibility that comes with the medal especially when he learned that Corporal Warren Bornholtz and Private First Class Charles Fisher, two of the riflemen who had provided covering fire during those four hours of flaming hell, had been killed. Once I learned that my whole concept of the medal changed. I said this medal does not belong to me.

It belongs to them. So I wear it in their honor not mine. They sacrificed their lives to make that possible. Williams learned what that sacrifice meant to their families at an early age. Remember the scene from Saving Private Ryan where the car drives up to tell a mother her son has been killed in combat?

Well Woody Williams delivered those Western Union telegrams before he joined the Marines. When I handed her the envelope she just collapsed. As a matter of fact as an 18 year old boy I didn't know what to do.

I didn't do anything left because I didn't know what to do. You've done a pretty good job of making up for it. Well it left a lasting impression on my mind. Made me realize what it costs just to have our freedom and be who we are. He worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for 33 years.

Afterwards he set up the Woody Williams Foundation to support Gold Star families and designed this monument in their honor. We're in all 50 states. Does that require a lot of travel on your part? We try to attend every dedication and every groundbreaking. Before COVID hit this 90-something would be on the road more than 200 days a year.

Why do you drive yourself like that? At your age everybody would understand if you begged off. This is my way of making sure that our Gold Star family members are not forgotten. This past April Charles Coolidge, the only other living Medal of Honor recipient from World War II passed away. Now you're the last man standing. Yes. Does that add to the feeling of responsibility? Yes it does.

It does. Do you ever wonder why you've been given so long to live? Maybe I'm making somebody else's life a little better, a little more meaningful. Woody Williams has led the most meaningful life possible, although he puts it differently. I'm just absolutely the most fortunate person you could lay your eyes on.

Steve Hartman this morning has the story of one very happy birthday. What may look like a house to you is something much more magnificent to the boy inside. What did you think when you saw this place for the first time? We said it's second heaven. Second heaven?

Yes you pass through this before you go to the big heaven that is what I believe so. He means that literally and why wouldn't he? Abraham and his brother James are from Sierra Leone. They were homeless before finding their way to an orphanage and eventually to their new family outside Charlotte, North Carolina. Joe and Jamie Walker adopted them last fall and they say the boys have been wide-eyed with wonder ever since.

It's fun. Every little thing that we take for granted coming home from the airport and I hit the button to open our front gate. Dad. Everything is magic to them.

It's magic. Whether it's a present just showing up on Christmas morning or something mundane like a car wash the kids are constantly blown away. But the biggest surprise the most profound reaction happened last month on Abraham's 12th birthday. You had birthdays before you came here how did you celebrate them? That would be a crazy question.

Why is that a crazy question? I never celebrate them I never knew it was my birthday. So when the song started and his mom appeared with that glowing tribute Abraham was overwhelmed. When I see the cake I thought that is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. The birthday cake. It's not just a birthday cake. It's a blessing cake. A blessing cake and what a blessing it is that once a year friends and family gather just to honor our existence. Most of us take that for granted but not in this house not anymore. Just being reminded that we need to stop and be super grateful for what we do have.

A good wish for America from this American dream come true. It's Sunday morning on CBS and here again is Lee Cowan. Back in the 70s the Doobie Brothers turned out their fair share of hits while selling out concerts coast to coast and to hear them tell it they took full advantage of that rock star life they talked with our Jim Axelrod for the record. Considering they've been playing this riff for half a century maybe it shouldn't be a surprise but knocking the rust off never sounded so good as this band tuning up in a rehearsal hall in Burbank. A band like ours is a little different than a lot of bands I think. The Doobie Brothers are more than a little different selling more than 50 million albums over the last 50 years. You can count on one hand and maybe have a few fingers left over the number of bands that have had that kind of longevity.

I think we all feel pretty lucky. While other members have come and gone over the years Michael McDonald, Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons and John McPhee the core four Doobies are all feeling pretty fortunate to still be playing together and not about to let the kind of festering resentments that broke up other bands and threaten theirs keep them from celebrating their rock and roll hall of fame career with a 50th anniversary tour. I think as dinosaur bands go we get along better than a lot of them too yeah dinosaur bands ouch I was gonna say that that is a crazy term I heard about that later. Their story begins in 1970 in San Jose California where Johnston and Simmons met playing guitar. Jamming led to booking some gigs which then meant they needed a name. Then this guy said do you smoke so much weed you should call yourselves the doobie brothers weed yeah right that's gonna fly. Their hard driving rock appealed to a crowd of bikers and hippies in northern California as they reeled off a string of hits. China Grove, Blackwater, rocking down the highway.

All right so these years 71, 2, 3, 4, 5 like everything's going great yeah and it accelerated each year. It was all anyone who's ever strapped on a guitar and chased the rock star dream could imagine which is exactly when the trouble started. All the obvious stuff drugs, booze, women. There really is no way for a bunch of guys in their 20s that are now having outsized success to handle all of that gracefully.

That's true we didn't. Co-founder Tom Johnston was the first casualty sidelined by a bleeding ulcer as the band was on tour. I had to leave the band unfortunately I mean I'd had the ulcer since high school. And then throw in the booze, the drugs, the lifestyle of a rock and roll star.

It exacerbates the whole problem. The doobies needed to find someone fast. A few of them knew a keyboardist who was playing clubs in and around Los Angeles.

At that point I was playing in the Trojan Room in Glendale. You're at the Trojan Room in Glendale on a Tuesday and by Thursday you're playing with the Doobie Brothers. Michael McDonald's life would never be the same nor would the Doobie Brothers when it came time to record their next album. I started to kind of bring it you know kind of bring in songs that were at the point at that point kind of you know in varying degrees of being finished.

Taking to the streets was one of them. The sound of the Doobie Brothers was shifting and softening. Were you aware that, am I changing the sound of this?

Oh yeah hyper aware of that and not in a good way. I felt like oh boy you know I'm gonna be the reason this whole thing turns into **** you know. What it turned to was platinum. Actually their 1979 album Minute by Minute went triple platinum. When you're recording Minute by Minute here are you aware that this might really be huge? I don't think you can ever predict those things. I think you can only say this is accomplishing what I had in mind as a writer or as you know as a player.

One of the tracks What a Fool Believes became the band's all-time biggest hit winning a Grammy for Record of the Year. Is anyone saying we are losing our soul of who we are but we're so enormously successful how do you balance this? I balanced it by leaving. I didn't feel like musically I really belonged in that situation. Nowadays it doesn't matter but in those days I didn't feel like I was in the right place at the right time.

But those days are now more than four decades ago. These days they've got better things to worry about. Who's gonna sing what part?

What's that chord? And I don't think anybody really cares about whatever happened back then. I know I don't. Maybe that conflict in 1976 just isn't as relevant anymore. I can't even remember it so it doesn't matter. Last year the Doobie Brothers minus McDonald's released their latest album Liberty their first in more than a decade.

Songs not as much by artists from the 70s as in their 70s. And at some point John said something like you know I'm thinking about you know those were the better days and I'm going these are the better days what we're living right now. Right now back together aware of the passage of time but grateful for the way they still have to combat it. We're still you know able to do it and people maybe want to hear us.

Oh they want to hear you. And when we get up there and perhaps starts Blackwater or we jump into China Grove or take into the streets. And all of a sudden we are 20 years old again you know and we're doing what we always did you know. That's magic.

It is. It's been quite a week for former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson and the January 6th committee which prompts these thoughts from historian Douglas Brinkley. With Independence Day upon us let's celebrate an underappreciated type of American archetype the hyper-partisan defender of democracy that is politicians who put country over party in times of crisis. Charles Thompson was the secretary of the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1789.

Along with John Hancock he was one of only two names to appear in the original printing of the Declaration of Independence. Thompson wrongly thought that the new country couldn't survive a two-party system. That polarization would reign supreme and that the new nation would inevitably devolve into two mobs vying for power every four years. Thompson didn't know then that the federal government could produce incorruptible leaders such as Cassidy Hutchinson and Liz Cheney. They're truth tellers in the Margaret Chase Smith tradition. During the 1950s Senator Joe McCarthy, a Republican, had consolidated considerable power in Washington by redbaiting citizens as being communists. It wasn't Democrats who called out McCarthy. It was Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, a Republican, who in her 1950 Declaration of Conscience speech from the Senate floor slammed her roguish GOP colleague as having debased America. Chase Smith's willingness to speak truth to members of her own party was what Cassidy Hutchinson did last week in front of the January 6th committee when she bravely testified that she didn't want to see the United States Capitol trashed in the peaceful transfer of power to power disrupted.

Likewise during Watergate it wasn't the Democrats that doomed Richard Nixon's fate but three forthright Republicans. John Dean. I began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency.

Howard Baker. What did the president know and when did he know it? And Barry Goldwater. Whatever decision he makes it will be in the best interests of our country. So fear not Charles Thompson. When a discombobulated Donald Trump is said to have grabbed the steering wheel of his armored SUV on January 6, 2021, directing it to the U.S. Capitol riot, Patriots Liz Cheney and Cassidy Hutchinson headed straight for the Constitution.

I'm Lee Cowan. Thank you for listening and please join us again next Sunday morning. The best way to protect the good people is to convict the bad. So here's to us. The Good Fight, the final season, now streaming exclusively on Paramount+.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-29 19:35:34 / 2023-01-29 19:52:00 / 16

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