July 29, 2010

Special Civil War Series: Blockade Running

July 27, 2010: In honor of the approaching Sesquicentennial (150 year) anniversary of the Civil War, our Rotary Civil War series presenter, Dr. Stephen R. Wise discussed the fascinating history of Blockade Running.

Dr. Wise, director of the museum and the Cultural Resource Manager for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot located at Parris Island, began his presentation with a quick tourist pitch for the Parris Island Museum. He noted the hours of operation and free access to not only the museum, but the walking history tours and golf course as well.

Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Dr. Wise was drawn to the University of South Carolina to study under the noted Civil War historian, Thomas Connelly. Dr. Wise explained that it was Mr. Connelly who assigned him the Blockade Running topic, a topic of which he “had no idea would be so interesting!”

Throughout his presentation, Dr. Wise remarked blockade running as a Confederate tactic that “gave the South the opportunity to win the war.” The success of the blockades was partially due to the “motivating factor of profit” derived from their supply system of cotton out and supplies in. Cotton prices skyrocketed during the war as Dr. Wise gave the example of one vessel with 1,000 bales of cotton could produce 9 million dollar in profit. In addition to profit, success in blockade running was also due to the steam powered vessels, such as Calhoun, Colonel Lamb and Clyde steamers such as Let Her Rip. These “sleek steamers” easily avoided federal Union vessels and sustained the logistical supply line.

Dr. Wise explained that Charleston’s rail connections and proximity to popular trade routes, such as Naussau, made it the first choice of the blockade runners early in the war. George Trenholm, a Charleston native, who called Ashley Hall home, was the head of largest blockade running fleet.

Dr. Wise remarked that through blockade running, the South “developed the means to fight.” As cotton was exported, vital war supplies such as weapons, accessories, cloth for uniforms, leather for shoes and medicine were imported to popular blockade running ports such as Charleston, Galveston, Wilmington, Savannah, New Orleans and Mobile. Blockade running provided the necessary materials for the Confederate army to meet their adversaries and a “chance for victory.”

Reported by E. Teal Van Saun

July 23, 2010


July 20 2010: Marco Cavazzoni, VP and General Manager of Boeing Final Assembly and Delivery for the new "Dreamliner" enthusiastically brought us up to date on this sensational new industry in Charleston. Marco is a graduate of the University of Toronto, has a masters degree from Concordia University and a doctorate in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University. He is also a world class swimmer. He has worked on the C-17 and 747-400 aircraft.

The 787 airplane embraces the newest of technology highlighted by the use of carbon fiber filaments which give the plane more strength, less weight and it will not rust. Two main rear sections of the plane are totally made in Charleston, and two mid sections are made in Japan and Italy, transported here on the "Dreamlifter", and then assembled and attached together.

Among the plane's many advantages are: less fuel needed and overall lower operating costs; less maintenance; less airport fees for reconfiguring the plane; more speed; more revenue creating cargo; better altitude pressure within the plane; less body stress in taking off and landing as the fiber carbon body will stretch; and the ability to easily reconfigure the plane from seats to cargo.

The Dreamliner is a true world plane in that parts come from around the globe and more airline companies outside the United States are purchasing the plane. 863 planes have been ordered to go to 56 customers. Due to its many improvements including better fuel efficiency and overall weight, the 787-8 can fly from New York City to Hong Kong without a stop.

The interior is very friendly to passengers with more height, better air quality, improved storage for carryon luggage, quieter sound and improved humidity.

The assembly building when completed will be the largest such building in the world, with 1.1 million sq. ft. under roof. The assembly area is totally open with no obstructions and will have a balcony to view the planes being built. Virtually the whole state has been involved in this construction with South Carolina contractors doing the work. The company also has and will continue to employ local people.

Production is expected to begin in July of 2011 with the first plane rolling out in the first quarter of 2012. Marco assured us that he will return to our club to keep us up to date on progress.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

For more information on the 787 and other Boeing airplanes, as well as pictures of the products, visit Boeing’s public websites at: www.newairplanes.com or www.boeing.com.

July 13, 2010: Digit Matheny introduced Dr. Jairy Hunter, President, Charleston Southern University, for his extraordinary work at building the college's reputation and fundraising.

According to Dr. Hunter, "CSU students, faculty, staff, and coaches are special. Our academic programs are rigorous and our campus is inviting. Our graduates are competitive and successful in their chosen fields. CSU is an university on the move, a recognized leader in higher education…"

Dr. Hunter talked about the special mission of the college to attract students of all walks of life who value an education augmented by the Christian faith. He elaborated on his four key tenets of leadership:

1. Integrity - "Character counts," he said. Honesty includes an innate sense of rightness. Just as is stated in the Rotary 4-way test, we must live our lives in ways that benefit others.

2. Commitment - "We must see things through, no matter how small or big…" He shared the story of friends who were married for 65 years. Commitment means dedicating one's self to bigger issues and other people's needs ahead of self.

3. Common sense - We must always think clearly and simply about what needs to be done. Oddly, he said, common sense can often be difficult to come by. "It's a rare quality, and must be cherished."

4. Compassion - This attribute is best embodied by the 4-way test and mission of Rotary. He relayed the story of the student he once interviewed who vowed he only wanted to be a surgeon, the best surgeon, so he could help others who had no chance of decent care. That student became a successful surgeon, and on meeting him many years later, Dr. Hunter congratulated him on sticking to his plan and helping others, but the former student announced, he was selling his practice and seeking another path to indigent people in other parts of the world. He is an example of having an uncompromising calling to help others in much worse condition.

Submitted by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee

July 2, 2010

Think Big America; Big Ideas for Energy

June 29, 2010: Speaker: Former Texas Congressman, Charlie Stenholm, introduced by Rich Dukes.

Mr. Dukes introduced Rep. Stenholm as a Sr. policy advisor in Wash. D.C. and lobbyist.

Rep. Stenholm stated that his topic would be: Federal energy policy and alternative sources of energy. He said: "I'm not a lobbyist, I'm an educator." He stated that he represented "big oil, little oil and Texas oil."

He talked about the oil well blow out in the Gulf and remembered the 11 lives lost in that disaster, the 30,000 who live and work in the Gulf every day. He also stated that these deep water wells are necessary because 70% of all of our oil comes from deep water wells.

Regarding the Gulf accident he said: "The definition of smart is believing one half of what you hear. The definition of brilliant is knowing which half to believe."

Rep. Stenholm said that he supports all supplemental energy sources. He said that we cannot replace fossil fuels for the next 50 years. The sources of alternative energy he spoke of supporting are: nuclear, hydrogen, wind, solar, bio fuels, coal, oil and gas. He said that there are no alternatives to fossil fuels, but there are supplemental energy sources. Ten years ago he opposed ethanol, but now he supports it.

He returned to speaking about the Gulf, saying that this is the greatest environmental disaster in our lifetime and that the possibility of a hurricane in the Gulf made it even worse. He stated that our goal should be to: "Plug the hole, clean up the mess and figure out what went wrong so that it doesn't happen again."

He stated that if we'd drilled in ANWAR 10 years ago, we would have an ample amount of domestic oil. He also said that the Obama plan to start drilling offshore again, prior to the disaster in the Gulf, was the right decision.

In terms of our current energy policy, he does not believe that "cap and trade" is a good idea.

He spoke about the national debt, saying that from Washington through the Clinton years, the debt was $5 Trillion. Through the Bush years, it went up to $10 trillion. At the conclusion of the Obama presidency, it will be $20 trillion. 7% of GDP (gross domestic product) is energy related.

He said that he was worried about a 6 month moratorium being placed on offshore drilling by President Obama. He said that it would take a drastic toll on the economy and on the price of gasoline.

He stated that the oil companies have not been good stewards of the land in the past, but with horizontal drilling capabilities and other advancements in drilling procedures, they have become far better stewards of the land.

"The marketplace is the best determinate of what the policy should be." Stenholm

"We, in the oil patch, make some mistakes. We're not perfect but we will learn how to take care of the problem. We will come up with a solution." Stenholm

His final statement was: "Plug the hole, clean up the mess, discover the cause, and figure out how to do it right next time."

There was only one question: How do we fund the surface transportation bill? Answer: "enact a carbon tax." Stenholm's closing thought was America needs to "think big!"

Submitted by: Bill Christian, Keyway Committee