60 Minutes reports on Tabasco, the Jon Stewart of Egypt and drones. 5 generations have controlled McIlhenny, the company that makes Tabasco. Satirist Basseem Yousef has been arrested for his show, which is watched by 30 million people in the Arab world. Drones have been used to survey the damage caused by the Japanese tsunami and the Tacloban City supertyphoon, and to scout for enemy forces in Afghanistan.
Sanjay Gupta goes over to the only Tabasco factory in Avery Island, in Louisiana‘s Cajun Country. CEO Tony Simmons, the great, great grandson of founder Edmund McIlhenny, tastes the hot pepper mash daily. “If you think Tabasco is hot, the raw ingredients are 10 times hotter.” It jolts the wide-eyed Gupta, who tells Simmons, “Wow! I have newfound respect.” The mash is so hot that the wooden barrels, where they are stored, have stainless steel hoops, as the peppers would corrode ordinary steel. The mash is stored in wooden whisky barrels for 3 years, before vinegar is added to them. The Tabasco property grows peppers for seeds. The seeds are sent to farmers in American and Latin America, who plant them and mix the harvest with salt. The mash is then sent to the Tabasco factory.
Since it was founded in 1868, McIlhenny has been run by, or for, 5 generations of family members. In the US, hot sauce revenues of various companies are over a billion dollars. McIlhenny’s sales of “Cajun catsup” are estimated at $200 million, in 166 countries. Simmons refuses to disclose figures. He does tell Gupta:
There was no commercially sold hot sauce before Tabasco. Edmund invented the category…Only 30 percent of companies outlive the founder and only 12 percent make it to a third generation.
Gupta also talks with 4th generation McIlhenny staffer Coy Bouette, who had shown him the barrels:
My grandfather, he ran our processing department. My mom works in our HR department and my dad runs our maintenance shop…It’s my whole life. I was born and raised here…I eat Tabasco every day–morning, lunch and supper.
Gupta asks Simmons about the purchase offer of a billion dollars for the company. Simmons says that it would be up to the shareholders to decide, and he likes owning the company.
The Arab world has never seen a show like Baseem’s. His talk show is like Jon Stewart’s, except Baseem’s audience is 20 times bigger. He passed over a chance to be a cardiac surgeon in Cleveland, to live the “Egyptian dream”, to be called an “infidel”, a traitor.
Egypt became a dictatorship now that the generals are in charge. Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been “lionized for overthrowing” President Mohamed Morsi. Since last summer, thousands of protesters have been killed and hundreds of journalists and dissidents have been tortured and arrested.
Bob Simon asks Egypt’s Jon Stewart Basseem Yousef if he’s scared going up against powerful people. Yousef replies,”I’m always not scared”. He laughs. “What could happen?
Simon: They could hurt you.
Yousef: Like what?
Simon: There are many ways, and we know what they are.
Yousef: If it happens, it happens.
Yousef adds that it’s better to let go of your fears, so you can operate, so he’s trying to do this. “Sometimes, fear is crippling.”
Missy Cummings, who runs the drone research labs at MIT and Duke, thinks that drones are no more invasive than CCTV cameras, Facebook and cellphones.
At a drone show, Cummings shows us the most exciting thing: a medevac (medical evacuation) helicopter that can navigate itself, load a passenger and bring it to another destination.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein, who I had rooted for Vice President, for Walter Mondale, disagrees. She wants to regulate them. “What is the appropriate law enforcement use for a drone? When do you have to have a warrant?…What’s the appropriate government use for a drone?”
That’s our recap of 60 Minutes today, 3/16/14. Tune in for next week’s recap. Til then, please check out our 60 Minutes archive HERE.
Image Credit: 60 Minutes