Jim Cox sells car for $513,000 at Branson Convention Center

The Branson Collector Car Auction, a bi-annual event organized by local entreprenuer Jim Cox featured a Ford Cobra which sold for $513,000.

Kidnapped to South America - Book Review by Sam Clanton

Anglen Explains Torturous Events in Book About His Son's Abduction       

-by Sam Clanton   (10/15/2011)

As I sit down to write this evening, I've already mentally prepared myself for a weekend with my boy. Tomorrow morning I'll wake up early and drive a couple of hours to attend my son's soccer game. After that we'll probably enjoy a nice lunch, and an afternoon of hanging out and catching up. The next day will likely involve some outdoor activities; maybe we'll go to the creek and catch crawdads, or throw a fishing line in the water.

These are the kind of moments that you can't take for granted if you're like me, and had to fight for the right to remain in your child's life. His mother left one day when he was just a baby. I wouldn't see him again for 4 months, after a gut-wrenching, embarrassing dispute that would ultimately be decided by a judge. I revisited that struggle this week as I read Randy Anglen's book, “Kidnapped to South America”.

Randy Anglen was the attorney I hired to take over my custody battle. I had seen him at work in other situations, and decided he was the person I needed working for me. I was right. From day one, I knew he wasn't going to roll over when my child's mother poured on the accusations and justifications for purposely taking my son away from me. I was desperate at the time. I was hurting and emotionally compromised, and Randy knew it. He helped me stay in the game mentally. He was efficient and aggressive as a lawyer, and above all, he was kind and sincere in his dealings with me in my fragile state. I'll never forget or cease to appreciate the simple compassion he showed me.

So, for me to read his book -- a chronicle of how his life changed when his son was taken from him -- was unbelievable on the one hand. How could this man, a knowledgeable attorney who helped me secure a relationship with my son, be denied the right to father his own child? Incredible. But unlike the civil court system in Missouri and throughout the United States, the courts in Chile seem to have little regard for the rule of law, and even less for the international treaties that have been put in place to prevent this very situation.

Where I was met with understanding and assurance that I would in fact have the chance to know my son, Randy was met with contradiction, cruelty and alienation. My four months without seeing my boy turned out to be four years for Randy. The anguish and humiliation I felt during my battle was a pittance compared to the hellish realities he has had to endure.

This is a book about pain. With Randy's background, both in law and journalism, “Kidnapped to South America” reads like a John Grisham novel -- a legal thriller that becomes more twisted with the turn of each page. But, as he warns the reader up front, it doesn't have a Hollywood ending. It's a story about coping: having to get up each day and somehow live your life when it is overwhelmed with circumstances that are apparently beyond your control, despite your best efforts. The fact that he was able to finish writing the book is a testament to the depth of his character.

I understand why Randy wrote it. Christian Anglen will one day know all about his father's struggle to remain in his life. He'll know that his mom, in continued acts of unfathomable selfishness, kept him away from his dad in her native country, and worked to sabotage their father-son bond. Sadly, Christian will probably lose a lot of respect for his mother at that point. On the bright side, he'll gain a ton of respect for his dad. I hope when that day comes, he'll be able to reach out and find Randy.

Kidnapped to South America! The Story of My Son's Abduction was published in April 2010 by AuthorHouse. It's available for purchase online (paperback, $10.90) at http://kidnappedtosouthamerica.com/.

Randy Anglen maintains his law practice of 20-plus years in Hollister, Missouri, where he serves as Municipal Judge.

Sam Clanton is a former newspaper editor and radio announcer, turned mandolin picker and harmony vocalist. He lives in Branson, Missouri.

Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Post Hamas/Isreal Trade

Israel exchanged 1,024 prisoners for one soldier who was  held by Hamas since June 2006. The 25 year old Gilad Shalit was returned last night and the first wave of Palestinians, totaling 450, were returned last night via Cairo, Egypt. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered the following statement published below without edit after the return of Shalit.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Transcript:

Citizens of Israel, today we are all united in joy and in pain.

Two-and-a-half years ago, I returned to the Prime Minister’s Office.  One of the principal and most complicated missions that I found on my desk, and which I set my heart to, was to bring our abducted soldier Gilad Shalit back home, alive and well.  Today, that mission has been completed.
It entailed a very difficult decision.  I saw the need to return home someone whom the State of Israel had sent to the battlefield.  As an IDF soldier and commander, I went out on dangerous missions many times.  But I always knew that if I or one of my comrades fell captive, the Government of Israel would do its utmost to return us home, and as Prime Minister, I have now carried this out.  As a leader who daily sends out soldiers to defend Israeli citizens, I believe that mutual responsibility is no mere slogan – it is a cornerstone of our existence here.

But I also see an additional need, that of minimizing the danger to the security of Israel’s citizens.  To this end, I enunciated two clear demands.  First, that senior Hamas leaders, including arch-murderers, remain in prison.  Second, that the overwhelming majority of those designated for release either be expelled or remain outside Judea and Samaria, in order to impede their ability to attack our citizens.

For years, Hamas strongly opposed these demands.  But several months ago, we received clear signs that it was prepared to back down from this opposition.  Tough negotiations were carried out, night and day, in Cairo, with the mediation of the Egyptian government.  We stood our ground, and when our main demands were met – I had to make a decision.

I know very well that the pain of the families of the victims of terrorism is too heavy to bear.  It is difficult to see the miscreants who murdered their loved ones being released before serving out their full sentences.  But I also knew that in the current diplomatic circumstances, this was the best agreement we could achieve, and there was no guarantee that the conditions which enabled it to be achieved would hold in the future.  It could be that Gilad would disappear; to my regret, such things have already happened.

I thought of Gilad and the five years that he spent rotting away in a Hamas cell.  I did not want his fate to be that of Ron Arad.  Ron fell captive exactly 25 years ago and has yet to return.  I remembered the noble Batya Arad.  I remembered her concern for her son Ron, right up until her passing.  At such moments, a leader finds himself alone and must make a decision.  I considered – and I decided.  Government ministers supported me by a large majority.

And today, now Gilad has returned home, to his family, his people and his country.  This is a very moving moment.  A short time ago, I embraced him as he came off the helicopter and escorted him to his parents, Aviva and Noam, and I said, ‘I have brought your son back home.’  But this is also a hard day; even if the price had been smaller, it would still have been heavy.
I would like to make it clear: We will continue to fight terrorism.  Any released terrorist who returns to terrorism – his blood is upon his head.  The State of Israel is different from its enemies: Here, we do not celebrate the release of murderers.  Here, we do not applaud those who took life.  On the contrary, we believe in the sanctity of life.  We sanctify life.  This is the ancient tradition of the Jewish People.

Citizens of Israel, in recent days, we have all seen national unity such as we have not seen in a long time.  Unity is the source of Israel’s strength, now and in the future.  Today, we all rejoice in Gilad Shalit’s return home to our free country, the State of Israel.  Tomorrow evening, we will celebrate Simchat Torah.  This coming Sabbath, we will read in synagogues, as the weekly portion from the prophets, the words of the prophet Isaiah (42:7): ‘To bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.’  Today, I can say, on behalf of all Israelis, in the spirit of the eternal values of the Jewish People: ‘Your children shall return to their own border [Jeremiah 31:17].’  Am Yisrael Chai! [The People of Israel live!].

Def Jam 25 Years Later - NPR Transcript

Transcript of National Public Interview with LL Cool J, Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons
Hear the Audio http://www.npr.org/2011/10/09/141181876/rick-rubin-russell-simmons-def-jams-first-25-years

Branson Job Opportunities Down 31% Since 2009

Data generated by the employment website simplyhired.com reports a 31% decrease in Branson since 2009.