Thomas Jefferson was fed up. For more than 15 years, he had been fighting to convince the American government that something needed to be done about the hostage crisis along the Barbary Coast of North Africa.
For centuries, state-sanctioned pirates from Algeria, Tripoli (now Libya), Algiers, and Morocco, had been aggressively pursuing European and North American trading vessels, sometimes merely stealing the ships’ cargo, other times capturing the crews and holding them as slaves until exorbitant ransoms were paid. Other countries could pay an annual “tribute” to the leaders of each of the Barbary nations in return for a promise to be left alone, but the newly-independent United States (which could no longer claim protection under the British flag) could hardly afford to meet these demands. In 1795, more than ten years after Jefferson picked up the cause, tribute payments to Barbary rulers made up more than 16% of the entire national budget, and the demands continued to increase. The nation was on the verge of bankruptcy to pay off foreign terrorists.
Enough was enough. When Jefferson was sworn in as president in 1801, after a bitter and hard-fought campaign against John Adams, he was determined that the harassment and endangerment of American lives would not continue.
One of America’s most inspiring athletes is about to compete for the gold in Rio and once again live up to the words her father would say to her when he tucked her in each night in her childhood. “You’re the best, you can make a difference, you can change the world.”
Of course, the Summer Olympics ended last month but the Paralympics kicked off last week, and American swimmer Mallory Weggemann is set to shine. Yet as remarkable as her abilities in the pool are, what makes Mallory truly special is her incredible story of determination. Her story is a challenge to each of us as we consider the ways that we handle disappointments and setbacks in our own lives.
Mallory was a stand-out varsity swimmer in high school but never set her sights on making a career of it. Instead she always imagined her future would look quite typical: a career, a family, a quiet life in suburbia. But on January 21, 2008, that future was forever changed when she walked into a clinic for a routine procedure . . . and she never walked out.
Don’t look now but the Kansas City Royals, the defending World Series champions, are roaring back into contention thanks in part to a leader who knows how to manage change.
On August 5, the Royals looked out of the playoff hunt with a 51-58 record. But after winning 17 of their last 21 games, the Royals are back from the brink, surging to a 68-62 record and are now five games behind in the wild card chase.
Manager Ned Yost knows how tough it is for a team to defend its crown. From 1991 to 2002, Yost was with the Atlanta Braves, serving as bullpen coach and third base coach under Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox as the team contended every season and won the World Series in 1995.
Looking back to his time in Atlanta, Yost said he learned important lessons from Cox and GM John Schuerholz as the Braves lineup often featured new players each season.