As we go about our daily lives we are confronted with a wide variety of situations – economic, societal, political or in our personal and work relationships. Some of these are of short-term passing interest, some long-term with far reaching impact and some are of an emergency and critical nature.
What I hope to provide here is some insight to this complex web of differing situations. With different amounts of information and different forms of presentation, I will try to deliver content that will be of interest to everyone.
The Situation Room is my blog page where I will go into more detail about current events, major topics having an immediate impact on our everyday lives and long-term trends that can affect us in slower and more subtle ways.
The Situations page contains shorter, “small bite” reads, designed to spark interest in a topic and start a conversation or desire for more research and thought on how you might view or deal with the situation.
Our Interact page provides even more topics with content from my social media posts, podcasts and videos. Whether you want to listen while commuting to work or spinning through Facebook or Twitter after dinner, I trust that there’s something here for everyone.
If you find this interesting and informative, our Subscribe/Contact page will give you the chance to subscribe to my blog, podcast, videos or newsletter; follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram; and, if you’re curious, a link to buy copies of my book, including “Deadly Indifference” about what truly happened leading up to, during and after Hurricane Katrina.
Finally, if you would like to become a Sponsor for any of my informative products or are interested in having me speak to your company, convention or other group you can find the information and contact us on our Engagements and Sponsorships page.
I hope that you will find this to be an educational and informative journey, generously sprinkled with honest and frank opinions, humor and insights that you won’t find elsewhere. If you’re ready, start by reading below about My Life to find out about my experiences and how I developed my philosophy of resilience and tenacity.
One of the challenges that I face is the double-edged sword of notoriety. Through many of my experiences, positions I’ve held in my career and public successes and embarrassments I have had the great pleasure of being considered an expert in certain areas. By having a public podium in radio and television I have had the opportunity to meet numerous people, ask them questions about their lives, work and business and their opinions on those situations that mattered to them. But I have also had to endure “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” whether it was deserved or not. Like all of you, my life has been a variety of good times and rough times; elation and sadness; triumph and defeat. I believe that those experiences have been the forge that has crafted my personality, my resolve and my philosophy on how to continue to pursue life. My life is the foundation of the insights and humor (both good and bad) that I bring here to The Situation.
I grew up in a small town in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Neither of my parents were college educated, and grew up during the Great Depression. Their lives had an obvious impact on my path in life. Education, manners, personal responsibility, faith, were the cornerstones of my childhood. Each of those were drilled into my personality through my parents and carry through today to my children and grandchildren.
I grew up in a time when even in junior high school and high school we were exposed to a wide range of topics. Whether it was chemistry (not so good), algebra (again, not so good), American and world history (aced it), literature (aced it) and debate (champions!) our teachers taught us something else – how to think critically. We were exposed to some of the great ideas that formed my perspective on society and government. Imagine a high schooler being required to read George Orwell or Ayn Rand. Imagine a high schooler in debate being required to argue both sides of an issue. That was my high school education and was a precursor to my success in college and law school.
I practiced law for many years, first in a law firm known for taking on tough, controversial cases. I eventually went into practice for myself, and finally ended up serving as in-house counsel for a family that operated insurance, ranching, oil and gas, offshore drilling in South America, and environmental remediation. I have defended first degree murder cases, and represented hundreds of landowners in a class action lawsuit trying to protect their private property rights against the State of Oklahoma.
But, as usual, I was looking for a new challenge.
I found that challenge in the International Arabian Horse Association as their first Commissioner, a position literally based on the concept of the Major League Baseball’s commissioner’s office. And what an experience that was. After being selected as the first Commissioner out of hundreds of applicants, I was told by the same people that hired me that the challenge was so great I probably wouldn’t last beyond my first three year contract. I took that challenge and remained as Commissioner for over ten years. But those ten years are a story itself. I’ll tell about those years sometime. I should actually write another book about those ten years because not only were they some of those most challenging, they were also some of the most unbelievable ten years. At the end of my first three years, I truly understood why the Board of Directors and the Selection Committee said I probably wouldn’t last beyond those first years. Challenge accepted. I’ll tell you more about that later.
And then, my family, my friends, everyone I talked to said I had to take the next challenge because it would the “chance of a lifetime.” Were they ever right about that. I was asked by President Bush’s transition team to become his General Counsel at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. I agreed to serve for a least one year. And then 9/11 happened. I eventually became the Deputy Director, Director, and then the first Under Secretary of Homeland Security.
Those five-plus years were indeed the chance of a lifetime. And those years in the Bush Administration changed my life forever. I’ll talk and write more about that later. I just want to leave that phase of my life hanging here because so many people already have preconceived notions about me based on that time in the Bush 43 Administration. I want to confirm and challenge some of those preconceived perceptions. But we’ll do that over time in this section.
This My Life section has more to come. Stay tuned. This won’t simply be a biographical section of The Situation. It will be an on-going reflection of my life. And we’ll start with again with My Life on January 20, 2001. Hang on for a wild ride.