Windows on the World of Raymond Plank
Founder, Apache Corp

Vol. 2012 No. 5




Our forefathers, in search of a better world, endorsed our country with several great documents some 230 years ago, among these being the Declaration of IndependenceThe Constitution and its amendments, the Bill of Rights.  

July 4th was the day set aside to be celebrated as Independence Day, which included “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  

There was considerable debate over entitlements between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton with respect to “and the pursuit of happiness” which emerged as they compromised the immortal clause.  

Being a nitpicker at times, I like to think the phrase out of place.  I see "the pursuit of happiness” less as an entitlement and more the product of lives well lived, more likely to ensue as the product of life and liberty, if pursued within the context of the spirited admonition “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”

Stated differently, happiness is more likely to embrace us over our lifetimes, when our values encompass others to a greater degree once we are either able to gain sufficient footing, or standards, to reach beyond the challenges of “food, clothing, and shelter,” as we move from childhood dependence to lives of encouraging others, as my father put it, and as reflected in my memoir “A Small Difference,” to being able to reciprocate as an expression of self.


Independence Day July 4th celebrations became a family day, and remain so, as children and parents share activities and the joys of summer together in a day of participation versus TV and sports of the season.  

Political leaders have long used the day for speech making and power seeking ostensibly in the public interest, yet over the decades in their quest for political power; the day of Independence was and is for recognition of those who have served and continue to serve their country.  However, it does seem to me that major sports have better expressed our symbols of Independence Day with values and soul with songs such as the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America while saluting our flag with stars having expanded from thirteen colonies to fifty states.

We have been pelted by politics and with respect to the future, the predominant indicator suggests more of the same – our nation’s values held hostage to influence seekers and wielders.

Change being inherent within humans, its rate accelerates, and where it takes humanity is far from peaches and cream.  Much of the trend is toward “hell on earth” as the conflict of gridlock grows exponentially.

Yet we continue to have able, talented, men and women working to advance rather than destroy mankind and much of our planet earth.


The key to our future is to understand and more freely participate, not as spectator, not only as voters, but also as women and men seeking to participate in a worthy present and future objective.

In writing my memoir “A Small Difference” my greatest concern was that it not be well done, that it miss the mark, and flop.  Yet someone drove sixty miles today to have me autograph his copy, and two others, one for his daughter at Christmas.  Another person came by, and we discussed what and whether we might help his relative make better use of his present life.  A third called from Denver wanting to come by in early August on his motorbike.  His topic fits the above.  The representative at a major university called to check the prices for their school’s possible use and followed up the next day by placing an order for five hundred seventy-five copies, and another major university having ordered five hundred copies for their classroom studies.  I’d like to work to see twenty respected universities do likewise.

Instead of slamming the President in this Windows, for those interested in energy or employed in the field of energy, I’d like to recommend the one hundred forty-six page book by a renowned world authority John M. Deutch of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) where he leads the energy endeavor.  Written in 2011 and entitled The Crisis in Energy Policy, in my second detailed reading, I found it masterful.  If the president has time for reading on the campaign trail, he might benefit and spare the world great pain.

Raymond Plank

July 22, 2012