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Should old acquaintance be forgot? Heck no, especially the ones who are still here



Every year about this time, news media of every kind put together end-of-the-year roundups. It’s a good way to reflect, to perhaps gain insight and to get a glimpse at how future generations will view anno Domini 2018.

Plus, it’s a good way to fill up space during a slow news period when a lot of your staff goes on vacation.

One of the traditional newsroom year-end rituals is to do a roll call of all the famous people who died over the past year. Several years ago, when I was heading up an entertainment section, I got the idea, why do the same somber list as everyone else? So instead I started a new tradition of giving a shout-out to famous people you may be pleased, or at least surprised, to know are still around to join us in the new year.

The only firm rule to my list is that a celebrity has to be at least 85 years old. And I try not to have too many people who are still consistently in the limelight, unless their age may be surprising, like say, Betty White, 96; Clint Eastwood, 88; or William Shatner, 87.

The reigning champs for longevity are Olivia De Havilland, known best for being Scarlett O’Hara’s friend and unwitting rival Melanie Wilkes in “Gone with the Wind,” who is 102; and Kirk Douglas, who was and always will be able to truthfully say, “I am Spartacus,” even at 102.

There’s always a risk that the list could be inaccurate by the time it gets released. In fact, the day I started selecting names for this year’s list, it was announced that one of this year’s shoo-ins, Marvel Comics maestro Stan Lee, had died at 95.

So, with that disclaimer, here are some of the celebrities that will ring in 2019.

The name Ann Taylor Cook may not ring any bells, but her face is etched in almost all our memories. She was the original Gerber baby. A family friend drew the charcoal sketch when Cook was 4 months old and submitted it into a contest a year later. Today, Cook is a healthy 91. Maybe it’s something she ate.

Another image most of us can picture is the famous photo of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald as he was handcuffed to a Texas lawman wearing a light-colored suit and a Stetson. That lawman’s name is Jim Leavelle. He’s 98 today, and you bet he still has that hat.

In the world of sports, Marv Levy of the Buffalo Bills and Bud Grant of the Minnesota Vikings share a dubious distinction in NFL history. They both coached their teams to four Super Bowls and lost them all. But in the game of life, they’ve both beat the spread – Levy is 93, Grant is 91.

Between Grant’s run in the ’70s and Levy’s run in the ’90s, The San Francisco 49ers were the darlings of the football world, running off four championships. Of course, the city had crooner Tony Bennett’s heart long before that. He’s been singing about it since 1961, and still is at the age of 92.

Alfred Hitchcock is remembered for two things: an incredible catalog of movies and an obsession with “cool blonde” actresses. Three of those actresses who starred in Hitchcock films during the director’s most celebrated creative streak (1954-1964) met various on-screen fates, as well as some reputed off-screen drama working with the Master of Suspense: Eva Marie Saint of “North by Northwest,” 94; Kim Novak, from “Vertigo,” 85; and Tippi Hedren, who had two go-arounds in “The Birds” and “Marnie,” 88.

None of the Mercury Seven, America’s first astronauts, are still with us. Neither is Neil Armstrong, who will forever hold the distinction of being the first human to set foot on a celestial body other than Earth. But before we started reaching to the heavens, pilot Chuck Yeager pushed the limits of manned flight when he broke the sound barrier in 1947. He’s still going strong at 95.

Speaking of going strong, urologists across America credit Bob Dole with saving untold lives when, after an unsuccessful bid for the presidency, he retired from politics and became the spokesman for Viagra. Millions of men got checkups, including prostate exams, as a condition of getting a prescription for the little blue pill. Had Dole, now 95, become president, he would have the record for longevity among former presidents.

That distinction, instead, belongs to George H.W. Bush, who died November 30 at the age of 94 years, 171 days. He may not hold the record for long, though. Jimmy Carter, who was born 101 days after Bush, could surpass him on March 12.

They say laughter is the best medicine. Could be – TV producer Norman Lear, whose sitcoms dominated the 1970s, is 96. One-time Vegas mainstay comedian Shecky Green is 92. Jerry Stiller, whose been funny in several TV shows, most notably “Seinfeld” and “The King of Queens,” and is the father of another funny guy, Ben Stiller, is 91.

TV comedy pioneer Sid Caesar lived to be 91, while two of his writers, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, are still with us at 96 and 92, respectively. Caesar also had a kid working for him by the name of Woody Allen, but at 82 he won’t qualify until 2021.

May we all be here to welcome him to the list.

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The Nation

U.S. Senate introduces bipartisan bill to promote women in trucking



Women make up 47 percent of the United States’ labor force, yet represent 24 percent of America’s trucking workforce and only about seven percent of drivers.

WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today introduced the Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act.

Currently, women make up 47 percent of the United States’ labor force, yet represent 24 percent of America’s trucking workforce and only about seven percent of drivers. This legislation would support women in the trucking industry and would establish a Women of Trucking Advisory Board.

“In Wisconsin, we make things, and we need to ensure we have a strong workforce to transport our goods to market,” said Senator Baldwin. “Women currently make up less than ten percent of the truck driving workforce, and removing the barriers that get in the way of women pursuing and retaining careers in trucking is key. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort with Senator Moran because more job opportunities for Wisconsin women will lead to more economic security for working families.”

“As the trucking industry continues to face a driver shortage, we need to examine new ways to recruit and retain drivers that are delivering Kansas goods across the country,” said Senator Moran. “Because women are substantially underrepresented in the trucking industry, Congress should explore every opportunity to encourage and support the pursuit of careers in trucking by women. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan and sensible bill with Sen. Baldwin that will lead to new job opportunities for women and increase equality for women already in the trucking industry.”

The Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce would direct the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to establish a “Women of Trucking Advisory Board.” Under this bill, the board would identify barriers to entry for women in the trucking industry, work across organizations and companies to coordinate formal education and training programs and help identify and establish training and mentorship programs for women in the industry. The legislation also requires the FMCSA Administrator to submit a report to Congress on the board’s findings and recommendations.

This legislation is supported by the Women in Trucking Association and the American Trucking Association.

“By creating an advisory board to utilize the expertise and resources of the Federal Motor Carrier Administration and the members of the board, we can increase the opportunities for women as drivers, technicians, owners, trainers and in other relevant career roles,” said Women in Truck Association President and CEO Ellen Voie. “I look forward to working with you and your office (Sens. Moran and Baldwin) in advancing this bill.”

“On behalf of the American Trucking Association, I write to express thanks and support for the introduction of the Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act,” said American Trucking Association President and CEO Chris Spear. “Your (Sens. Moran and Baldwin) thoughtful and timely legislation brings important attention and focus to the advancement of female representation and participation in trucking.”

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The Nation

David Isaac named TMC Transportation’s Trainer of the Month for September



DES MOINES, Iowa — David Isaac has been named TMC Transportation’s Trainer of the Month for September.

Isaac started at TMC on Valentine’s Day in 2014. He spent eight years in the military and transitioned into his job at TMC while he was still enlisted.

“TMC was the only flatbed company that stood out to me, especially the company being employee-owned,” he said.

After driving on his own for a year and a half, Isaac decided to give driver training a try.

“The instruction aspect of the job was interesting to me,” he said. “There are multiple ways to do one job, but I wanted to make sure that the end result is what is required of our company standards.”

When it comes to his training style, Isaac takes a supervising role.

“I try to let my trainees do as much as they can on their own, but I keep a close eye on them so I can correct them as needed,” he says. “I feel like this is the best way for them to get a feel of what it will be like once they have their own truck.”

Isaac’s favorite part of training is meeting other drivers and helping to be a part of their success. “It’s great to see new guys do well,” he said, adding that it is great for the company and himself as a driver.

“You can learn even while you’re teaching, whether it be a load you wouldn’t normally or discovering a more efficient way to do things,” he said.

Overall, Isaac is grateful for the opportunities he’s had while driving for TMC.

“From the discipline it takes to do the job to the relationships I have built with my peers, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else,” he said.

Each month a TMC Transportation trainer who demonstrates the outstanding qualities TMC looks for in a trainer is honored. The Trainer of the Month recipient is chosen based on their safety record and the safety performance of their trainees, the number of drivers trained and the retention percentage of those drivers.

For more information, visit












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The Nation

SBTC’s anti-ELD petition stalls, Lamb uses ‘phone call’ to put blame on OOIDA



Small Business in Transportation Coalition President James Lamb tells viewers his investigators have uncovered evidence that the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is sabotaging his organization’s efforts to get 100,000 signatures on a petition to ask the White House to immediately suspend the ELD mandate. (Courtesy: SMALL BUSINESS IN TRANSPORTATION COALITION)

In an online editorial we posted August 22, we described the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) as positioning itself to be a one-organization wrecking crew targeting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the electronic logging device mandate.

In particular, SBTC and its president, James Lamb, have been on a tear against electronic logging devices.

(This is the same James Lamb who in early 2018 agreed to settle a probe into his business dealings brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which accused Lamb and several of his businesses of cheating owner-operators out of millions of dollars over the course of several years. Lamb denied the charges, but the FTC is in the process of paying out $900,000 to truckers who the FTC says were scammed.) 

After the FMCSA denied its application asking that carriers with under 50 employees be exempted from the ELD mandate, SBTC asked FMCSA to reconsider the denial. 

With no apparent hope that FMCSA would reverse its decision (remember ELDs were ordered by Congress), Lamb and SBTC have moved up the ladder to Congress and now to the White House.


Currently, SBTC is asking drivers to sign a petition asking Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and President Donald Trump to immediately suspend the ELD rule.

SBTC says it needs to have 100,000 signatures (it’s not likely to happen) before the White House will respond to the request to suspend the rule (that’s not going to happen).

On October 31, Lamb published an e-mail asking the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to join SBTC in support of the petition.

Lamb apparently never heard from OOIDA, and with his petition drive stalled at around 30,000, Lamb decided to blame OOIDA for the slowdown and appears to have set out to make his point with an elaborate scheme that he is reporting through his e-mail blasts to the media and others, claiming that OOIDA is sabotaging his petition effort.

In a video released at 5:20 p.m. Central time November 11, Lamb said he had some “disturbing” information regarding the ELD suspension petition.

“We have through our private investigators uncovered that OOIDA has been sabotaging our petition. We hired a private investigator to follow up on leads that we have received regarding possible interferences with our petition and boy, did we find out what’s going on here.

“I’m going to play you the tape the investigators sent me (actually the tape of the phone call made only hours or maybe even minutes before) so you can listen to it yourself and boy is it bad news for Todd Spencer (OOIDA president and CEO) and this woman … at OOIDA.”

That “call” was obviously definitely recorded November 11 because the caller mentioned having to work on the holiday, which was Veterans Day. The man said his name was Mike (he also used the name Michael).

It was easy to tell the call was a set up because the man who identified himself as Mike was obviously and purposely speaking into a recording device and recording the other end of the call from a speaker phone.

(An average observer would likely have thought the call was legitimate and that Lamb’s investigators had worked hard to uncover it, but we rather suspect it was a set up and the tape was handed to him shortly after it was made. Or he might even have been in the room when the “call” was made.

A transcript of the tape shows Mike told the woman at OOIDA he wasn’t a member of OOIDA but had heard about the petition campaign and wanted to know if OOIDA was in support of the petition.

He even claimed he’d never heard of James Lamb.

The woman at OOIDA offered to send Mike information about Lamb.

She asked for his e-mail address and after a long hesitation he gave two: and

E-mails sent to those addresses by The Trucker bounced back as undeliverable. (Surprise, surprise).

Based on the transcript, Mike kept trying to coerce the woman into telling him not to sign the petition (the “call” lasted almost 15 minutes), but not once did she do that, only suggesting that petitions were not effective in getting change in Washington.

Contacting members of Congress is the most effective way, she said, citing an instance when OOIDA and its members contacted a Congressman, contacts that led to him reversing his support of speed limiters.

The woman told Mike that some members of OOIDA had signed the petition.

Mike kept on and on, obviously and in the opinion of this writer hoping the woman would tell him not to sign the petition, but the woman said absolutely nothing to discourage drivers from signing the petition.

At one point, the woman reminded Mike that OOIDA had been fighting against ELDs and their predecessors since 1978.

After the tape of the telephone “call” ended on his video, Lamb reiterated that OOIDA had done everything in its power to keep truckers from signing the petition.

“Mr. Spencer it looks like we have a problem. Our legal team (the same one that handed Lamb the tape of the supposed phone call) is going to be reviewing this and you are going to have some explaining to do to a judge,” he said.

We too, have a problem, and it’s with Mr. Lamb trying to lay the blame for his failure directly on someone else.

We call on Mr. Lamb and his organization to get off his anti-ELD horse.

That horse is in the barn, sir, and it’s not coming out.

If you are as powerful as you say you are, turn that power into doing something about the real issues that plague trucking today, matters such as driver pay, the lack of safe parking and driver detention, just to name a few.

OOIDA and many others in the trucking industry are really concerned about those issues.

So should you be.



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