Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


December 18, 2012

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Communications have changed

CROSSVILLE — Not far from Crossville an infant was born near Byrdstown in a rented log cabin in 1871. From those humble beginnings Cordell Hull gradually grew interested in law and politics. He studied at Cumberland University of Law in Lebanon, TN and then was elected state representative in 1892 and again in 1894. After serving in the Spanish American War he was elected in 1906 to serve in Congress. From that time until his death in 1955 he served his country in Washington, D.C.

Cordell Hull remains a significant figure in world history and yet few people today, even in Tennessee, recognize the name. But there are good reasons to remember.

He helped draft the Federal Income Tax Law in 1913 and in 1916 the Inheritance Tax Law. In 1933 he was chosen by FDR to be the Secretary of State and remained in that position for eleven years.

Early in January 1941, our ambassador in Tokyo informed Hull that in case of war a massive surprise attack would be made on Pearl Harbor. This information was passed on to the president and both the Army and Navy. For the rest of the year negotiations to preserve peace continued.

Hull was to meet with two Japanese officials on December 7. They delayed the time from 1300 to 1345 and finally appeared at 1420. Our espionage had picked up the message Tokyo was relaying to the two. It told  the attack on Pearl Harbor was underway but FDR phoned Hull with the same news just as they appeared for the meeting. They handed the official message to Hull and started to speak but an angry Secretary of State held his hand up and waved them out of the office accusing them of lies.

In 1945 he received the Nobel Prize for Peace. Cordell Hull worked

tirelessly to establish what eventually became the United Nations.  Although

a significant figure in world history when people on the street or students in a classroom are asked who was Cordell Hull they have no idea. Would the world of tweeting and twittering have made a difference?

Hard to believe even the Pope has been caught up in this latest rage. He is tweeting and twittering. This whole new world is only six years old. Twitter came into being March 21, 2006 after a “daylong brainstorming session” by board members of the podcasting company Odeo.

They were searching for a social tool to microblog broadcasts of daily short burst messages to the world. In today’s attention-deficit population they decided a short message using only 140  characters or less was important. Twitter became the tool to send tweets.

In the first year they reported 400,000 tweets a quarter. By their 6th birthday in March 2012, they had 140 million users sending 340,000 tweets daily!

Though they have had a short life their logo has been upgraded three times. The first was a simple twitter with the letters in blue. In 2010 the logo was redesigned and twitter was in black but a bird colored blue was added. It became known as Larry the bird and many believed was a salute to the basket ball star Larry Bird. In June of 2012 the third redesign is just a lone blue bird.

Even though this way of communicating is new it has proved to be dangerous. Auto accidents increased because drivers were trying to tweet while driving. Even worse more and more pedestrians are being killed or injured because they are so involved with tweeting they cross busy streets without paying any attention to signs or traffic.

Only time will tell what changes await communicators. Mark Twain cautioned, “If you have nothing to say, say nothing.”

• • •

Dorothy Copus Brush is a Fairfield Glade resident and Crossville Chronicle staffwriter whose column is published each Wednesday. She may be reached at

Text Only
  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change

    The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.

    July 8, 2014

  • We the People: American women, be informed and vote

    Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize.  This is especially true for women.

    July 8, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014