Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Weekly Comments: A Letter to the President #582

Dec. 20, 2009

My Dear Mr. President:

I hope you don‛t mind that I am writing this letter directly to you. The last time I did such a thing, it was to President Coolidge in 1926. Now when you read of my concerns, you may say, "Why didn‛t you write your Senator?"

Well, sir, I would have, but have you noticed lately how much it costs to get a Senator‛s vote? Of course there‛s nothing new about a Senator swapping votes. In 1930 I wrote, "A Senator learns to swap his vote at the same age a calf learns which end of his mother is the dining room." So I was not surprised to learn this week that Nebraska‛s Senator Nelson had swapped his vote on the health care bill for a record amount that could add up to Billions of dollars. Sen. Landrieu of Louisiana is crying that she was shortchanged because she only got $300 Million for her vote. The only way Nebraska could have gotten more was if Warren Buffett had donated his wealth to the state instead of giving it to Bill Gates.

So back to my reason for writing. This country is going deeper and deeper into debt, and you aren‛t helping. You have stated that if we don‛t pass health care reform, we‛ll go bankrupt. Then you favor a health bill that will add to the debt, instead of lowering it. You go to a global warming conference in Denmark (where it was snowing) and promise to give a Trillion dollars that we don‛t have to other countries (including China which has more of our money than we do).

I don‛t believe in annoying a President without offering a solution. Spend the next few weeks, while Congress is gone, digging up ways to cut spending. Then every day you announce a few of these spending cuts by stating, "My fellow Americans, I know you are reducing your spending to live within your means, and so am I." And then you announce the particular cuts for that day. Here‛s a few to ponder. Move the terrorist trials back to Gitmo. If an economist searched for the most expensive place on earth to hold a trial, he couldn‛t find one costlier than New York. Next, cancel the new prison for them in Illinois. Just say "We can‛t afford to spend $100 million to replace one we already paid for at Guantanamo Bay. We guard the prisoners there with a couple of hundred military; no need to hire 3000 in Illinois to do the same job."

Instead of giving $100 Billion a year to these other nations, think outside the box. They blame us for burning oil and coal and raising temperatures. If they want us to replace these cheap fuels with expensive solar and wind, let them pay us to do it. These poor flat island nations are concerned about the water rising; let ‛em sell their beachfront property and move to Tibet or Switzerland. We‛ve got millionaires eager to buy an island.

Then look around the White House and at the various departments spread all over Washington. There must be a few folks you could get along without. Check some old records of how many worked for previous presidents, like Jimmy Carter or Lyndon Johnson. I don‛t expect you to go back to Mr. Coolidge because he and Mrs. Coolidge practically ran the White House by themselves.

I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas. Don‛t be overly extravagant on the gifts. Ask Mrs. Obama what she wants, but if it involves travel remind her that you two just returned from Norway and Denmark. That‛s farther than most Americans can afford to go for the holidays.

Your accomplice in debt reduction,


Randall Reeder
Will Rogers Today http://willrogerstoday.com
614-477-0439 willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Weekly Comments: Congress spends mythical dollars; President creates mythical jobs #581

Dec. 13, 2009

COLUMBUS: Congress passed another spending bill for $1.1 Trillion, bringing the total budget for next year to $3.6 Trillion. While most folks are cutting back, making do with less, Congress decided the government needed a big raise. Since taxes will only bring in about $2 Trillion, President Obama will ask China to kick in the rest.

Back in 1930, I said on the radio that Henry Ford would make a great President. He would arrange Congress like an automobile assembly line. A bill would start out, and as it went by, every Congressman and Senator would add something on to it. Well, this year for the budget bill they added 5000 things on to it. That’s 5000 pork barrel earmarks who’s only purpose is to get them re-elected, which means they serve no national purpose at all. Can you imagine a Model T Ford with 5000 extraneous gadgets stuck on it? Why, it would be so weighted down it wouldn’t even roll off the assembly line. With broken springs, bent frame and four busted tires, you would have to pull it off with a bulldozer.

With so many people out of work, the president announced a “targeted jobs program”. It’s a good idea and I hope it works, but so far the new jobs are mostly targeted for Washington, DC. That’s the one place that doesn’t need more jobs. It’s the only place where you can sell your house for more than you owe on it.

Here’s more news about jobs. The Census Bureau had planned to hire 5000 people in Ohio to make sure everyone got counted in 2010. Maybe where you live it’s different, but in Ohio the population hasn’t changed much in ten years. So it was surprising to learn that the Census Bureau decided 5000 couldn’t handle the load, they will need 20,000. I don’t know what those extra 15,000 are going to do all day, but at least President Obama can claim he created the jobs. I joked earlier when the Census Bureau gave up on using computers, and went back to pencils, they should just hire Fed Ex, UPS, and Google. Those folks know where everybody lives, and would finish the count in a week.

Temporary, short-term jobs had been up a bit, but even that number will decrease since Tiger Woods left the country.

Historical quotes from Will Rogers:

“When the government runs anything, as they do practically everything (in socialist Russia), there is always about twice or three times as many working in the place as would be found in private enterprises.” Saturday Evening Post, Nov. 6, 1926

“The budget is a mythical bean bag. Congress votes mythical beans into it, and then tries to reach in and pull real beans out.” DT # 2047, Feb. 24, 1933

“Henry Ford has given more value for the least money. A Ford car and a marriage certificate is the two cheapest things there is. We no more than get either one than we want to trade them in for something better.” Radio, June 1, 1930

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekly Comments: Will misses out on Indian dinner #579

Nov. 29, 2009

COLUMBUS: Last week the President put on a big dinner, and announced it was to honor an Indian. Well, being part Cherokee I figured I could talk my way into the affair. It would give me something interesting to write about, and besides, what harm could it do?

Then I found out the dinner wasn’t for us Indians at all. It was for the Prime Minister of India. So I stayed home and watched football.

Now we’re all reading about a man who took his young blonde wife to the dinner without an invitation, and he’s got more publicity than the Prime Minister. Of course publicity is what he wanted, and now he’s demanding over $100,000 to appear on television to talk about it. Only catch is, if any network is dumb enough to pay him, the check will be delivered by the Secret Service with an arrest warrant for trespassing and impersonating a notable person. The fair thing to do with these publicity hounds is for the U. S. Navy to transport them to the Indian Ocean and set them loose in a row boat off the coast of Somalia. Why, that might get them a role in a reality show after all.

Earlier the government announced that the terrorist who planned the 9/11 attack will get a trial in New York City. It’s going to cost us taxpayers over $100 Million to try a man who already pled guilty and asked to be executed. This decision to foolishly waste these millions of dollars was made by the same government that wants to be in charge of your health care.

Of course the reason for a civilian trial is to show the world that we play fair, even with a man responsible for killing 3000 people. This new gentler approach to diplomacy has already had an effect in the Middle East. Remember how we’ve been trying to get Iran to shut down their two uranium enrichment plants? Well, this weekend Ahmadinejad admitted that having two of these plants is inappropriate; he plans to build ten more.

The big global warming conference starts December 6 in Copenhagen. If it’s like previous conferences, while it’s on you can expect Denmark to have a record cold spell. President Obama is expected to announce, in a good will gesture, that we will drastically cut carbon emissions. In the spirit of global cooperation, China, India and other countries are lining up to applaud our cuts. They are also offering to help us reach our goal by taking off our hands any excess manufacturing jobs.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Diplomats are just as essential to starting a war as soldiers are for finishing it.” Saturday Evening Post, June 9, 1928

“America has a unique record: We never lost a war and we never won a conference.” Radio, April 6, 1930

(Concerning national topics) “We discuss them morning, night and noon and I don’t suppose there ever was a time when everybody knew as little about what they are talking about as they do today. Actual knowledge of the future was never lower, but hope was never higher. Confidence will beat predictions any time.” DT #2224, Sept. 19, 1933

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Weekly Comments: Plenty of turkeys, and not just in Congress #578

Nov. 22, 2009

COLUMBUS: It’s Thanksgiving in America, and turkeys are plentiful. And not just in Congress either. Our turkey growers outdid themselves and the country is flooded with cheap gobblers. Grocery stores are practically giving away turkeys this year. Plan to buy an extra one or two and donate them to a charity that’s feeding the hungry.

You might remember a few weeks ago I wrote about a shortage of chicken wings. Well I think if one of these Wing restaurants wants to be a big hit with customers, they can advertise a “super size” special and hand out turkey wings. No need to pretend that little chunks of chicken breast is boneless wings. These are real wings, bones and all.

The health care bill got 60 votes in the Senate, but it don’t mean anything. They are merely agreeing to sit down and argue over it till Christmas. But still, these votes didn’t come cheap. Senator Landrieu wrangled $100 million for her Yes vote, and she practically said it’ll take far more to get another Yes in the final round. Senator Lieberman is in there to look out for his Connecticut insurance folks, and no one knows what he received.

An Illinois senator, who already received a prison and 3000 jobs, voted for it. He said on television that the American people want this health care bill passed so we can get on to fixing the economy and finding jobs. Really, I think what most people want is a job and the economy fixed, then worry about health insurance later.

When more than 10% is out of work, having a job is something to be thankful for. Prospects are looking mighty bleak for next year because employers are cutting jobs faster than President Obama can manufacture new ones. He’s holding a Jobs Summit in Washington next month but I doubt it’ll add many jobs, at least outside of Washington. He just returned from China and all he had to do was look around over there and he could see where many of our jobs went to.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“A bought vote is better than no votes at all. The counters can't tell whether they are bought or just bargained for.” DT #73, Dec. 4, 1926

“You can't have a picnic lunch unless the party carrying the basket comes.” DT #1714, Jan. 21, 1932

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Weekly Comments: This time it’s Pelosi sweet talking Reid #577

Nov. 15, 2009

COLUMBUS: The Health Reform bill finally passed the House. I think it was by 220-215, and now our Senators get to argue over it.

Don’t be surprised to see Speaker Pelosi standing beside Harry Reid addressing questions about the merits of the bill. She’s liable to reach over, put her arm around Harry’s waist and say, “Harry, we have written a perfect health care bill; why don’t you go to your Senators and sweet talk them into passing it as is, as a favor for little ole me.” Well, you’ll see Harry’s eyebrows raise and his eyes open wide as he inches sideways out of her grasp.

No doubt we need some reform for the few million who can’t get insurance. I was talking to a Judge in Claremore a week ago, and she said it’s really sad to see so many foreclosures in her court because severe illness has wiped out a family’s ability to make house payments. And some of these houses are old and small, worth only $35,000 she said.

Just wish Congress would concentrate on helping those kind of folks and reducing costs for the rest of us without messing up what’s good about our system. Why would you cut salaries for doctors and nurses and leave the lawyers alone? Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and other Wall Streeters say we have to pay bonuses of $30 Billion this year or we’ll lose these bright financiers. Aren’t they the ones who helped shove us into this recession? Wouldn’t it make more sense to reserve the $30 Billion for doctors?

I just returned from speaking in Lubbock. Headline in the Avalanche-Journal says: Cotton producers are all smiles. They’re smiling because cotton yields in West Texas are ten percent above last year, while the rest of the country is down. Bet you didn’t know almost forty percent of our cotton will come from Texas this year. Wonderful people in Lubbock; even got to see the famous American Windmill Museum, a must-stop for a windy speaker.

The President decided to try the foreign terrorists in New York instead of at Guantanamo in a military trial. The Attorney General says we will convict them in NY, then put them in prison in Illinois. He did not say what would happen if their lawyers are better than our lawyers and they are set free.

Senator Durbin is thrilled that 3000 Illinois Democrats will be hired to guard the 200 prisoners from Gitmo. They plan to buy an empty prison and fix it up. I’m wondering, with 15 armed guards for each prisoner, why do you even need a prison.

Back in May I proposed Nevada as a better choice. We already spent $10 Billion tunneling out a storage space for nuclear materials under Yucca Mountain, but Senator Reid won’t let us store any. So, just build a steel gate across the entrance and put the terrorists in there. Once a week bring in food and water and let them take care of each other. No guards needed inside. Let those 3000 do something useful, like farming or working in a meat processing plant. Maybe some could become doctors and nurses. Anything but Wall Streeters.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“(Congress) wouldn't be so serious and particular if they only had to vote on what they thought was good for the majority of the people. That would be a cinch. But what makes it hard for them is every time a bill comes up they have things to decide that have nothing to do with the merit of the bill. The principal thing is of course: What will this do for me personally back home? A man's thoughts are naturally on his next term, more than on his country.” WA #78, June 8, 1924

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekly Comments: Will Rogers celebrates 130th birthday #576

Nov. 8, 2009

CLAREMORE, Okla.: In the election Tuesday the results in New Jersey and Virginia shook up Democrats. In Ohio the voters passed two Issues that shook up Nevada and HSUS.

Voters who have opposed gambling for fifty years changed their minds and Ohio will now have Casinos in four cities. This means massive changes. The big airlines are adding non-stop flights to Toledo. Cincinnati will become known for something besides the pork packing capital of the country. And why would Californians and New Yorkers go to Vegas when they can choose to lose their dough in Cleveland.

On the animal care Issue, Ohio decided that farmers and other ag professionals know more about caring for farm animals than HSUS lawyers in Washington, DC. The majority of voters like meat, and when it comes to ensuring a bountiful, healthy local supply they trust veterinarians more than vegetarians.

On November 4, Oklahoma celebrated “my” 130th birthday. The Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club was in charge and did a marvelous job. Of course they’re 110 years old themselves. At this age, when they ask you to make comments, there’s hardly anything that you haven’t said before. So I just thank my young friends and relatives. To me they’re all young.

The Rotary organized the parade in Claremore. When it’s 75 degrees on a Saturday afternoon in November, it’s not hard to draw a crowd. After a month of rain, it was sunny and warm all week and folks just wanted to be outside. The high school band was behind me and they played Oklahoma! Probably played it 20 times, each time sounding sweeter than the previous. Antique cars are always popular; Model T and Model A Fords, Chevys, Packards. My personal escort was a 1921 Model T Ford Huckster pickup. Among the two dozen cars and trucks was a 1909 Hupmobile. That’s no joke. Of course there were horses, plenty of old farm tractors, and who could forget the Shriners in their entertaining little cars.

Friday night I had what you might call a return engagement at the Poncan Theatre in Ponca City. A top professional speaker will tell you there’s nothing better than to be invited back a year or two after a talk. For a mediocre speaker, it might be 10 years. For me, it was 78. Yes, Feb. 5, 1931 was the first one. I think 78 years is a new record for a speaker returning to the same place. At least without Botox. Or embalming fluid. This beautiful auditorium was built in 1926, and my first talk was during a fund-raising tour for those suffering from the drought and Depression. The Poncan was fully restored around 1990 and seats 800.

Ponca City is full of history. E. W. Marland made a fortune in oil and invested it all right at home. (His company became Conoco.) The Marland Mansion, with 55 rooms, is the biggest and most magnificent in the whole Southwest. He funded the famous Pioneer Woman statue. I was there for the unveiling April 22, 1930. President Hoover opened the ceremony (from the White House) over a national radio broadcast. I got to pull the cover off, and said, “This is the first time I ever undressed a woman. In public.”

Flags are flying at half-staff to honor those killed at Fort Hood. Thirty were injured and thirteen killed. They were preparing to face enemy gunfire in Iraq or Afghanistan but were gunned down by a hate-filled psychiatrist who likes Muslim terrorists more than American soldiers.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

(Unveiling of The Pioneer Woman statue) “Well, Oklahoma had a great day here today. Mr. Hoover opened our ceremonies from Washington, in repayment for the State going Republican the last election. Then Pat Hurley, our unanimously most popular Oklahoman and Secretary of War, from a sick bed in Washington, made a radio talk to us that would have done credit to a Democrat. It was a wonderful gathering, a tremendous crowd. Ah, folks, you can act and talk, and do stunts all over the world, but the applause of a home audience is sweeter to your ears than anything in the world.” DT #1167, April 22, 1930

“Five thousand feet in the air, and [pilot Frank] Hawks is starting a dive for the field to land at Ponca City.” DT#1416, Feb. 5, 1931

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weekly Comments: What did we learn in 80 years? #575

Nov. 1, 2009

COLUMBUS: It’s been 80 years since the stock market crash that started the Great Depression. It was caused by too many people spending money they didn’t have to buy things they couldn’t afford. Kinda like a couple of years ago. Back then it was overpriced stocks they were buying, and more recently it was houses.

Treasury Secretary Geithner is walking an economic tightrope. He’s got to balance bankers and Wall Street financiers against business, farmers and the general public. He wants business to hire more, banks to loan more, us to spend more, and China to hold a second mortgage on the whole country. But we’re knocking him off his high wire by saving money when we should be spending and demanding the government save more, too. We don’t want to add two trillion dollars to the deficit just to give health insurance to six million people.

Here’s some ironical news on global warming. Ice in the Arctic Ocean is melting and in the process has uncovered vast supplies of oil and gas. Democrats say, “We don’t want it, it’s tainted. Let the Arctic freeze over again.” But Republicans will say, “Sure, let it freeze. But can’t we drill and lay the pipelines first?”

In Afghanistan, Karzai’s opponent for President announced he is dropping out because he has no chance of winning the election. When the news reached Washington, John McCain muttered, “Wish I’d thought of that.”

In football the big excitement today was Brett Favre returning to Green Bay to play the Packers. He’s 40, and led the Minnesota Vikings to their second win this season over his old team. The old guy just keeps going and going.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers (on the Depression):

“Sure must be a great consolation to the poor people who lost their stock in the crash to know that it has fallen in the hands of Mr. Rockefeller, who will take care of it and see that it has a good home and never be allowed to wander around unprotected again.
There is one rule that works in every calamity. Be it pestilence, war or famine, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The poor even help arrange it. But it's just as (columnist) Arthur Brisbane and I have been constantly telling you, ‘Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock, and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it.” DT #1019, Oct 31, 1929

“Candidates have been telling you that if elected they would ‘pull you from this bog hole of financial misery.’ Now is a good chance to get even with ‘em, by electing ‘em, just to prove what a liar they are.” DT#1334, Nov. 2, 1930

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Weekly Comments: Chicken wings, hogs and horses. Plus Fox and FFA. #574

Oct. 25, 2009

COLUMBUS: I am proud to report that, considering the boycott of Fox News, President Obama and his administration are not ignoring me any more than they used to. Whereas they have ordered newspapers and networks to disregard Fox News stories, no one has been barred from repeating any stories I dig up, humorous or otherwise.

Still, I am concerned. So to avoid upsetting the government any more than I did eighty years ago I am screening my readers. This screening is kinda like the TSA, except you get to keep your shoes on. Anybody who shows a pained expression from trying to read between the lines is obviously from the government and will be asked to skip to the funnies. Those reading with a smile and occasional hearty laugh are clearly bright, well educated, and recognize foolishness when they see it.

At least our government is not as bad as Saudi Arabia. Here, if you report something they don’t like on television news you get snubbed; over there you get 60 lashes.

This whole country is upside down. They want to reduce payments for doctors, nurses and insurance companies but expect them to give better health care. They want to reduce the deficit by spending more. Their solution to unemployment is to give more people jobs in government.

Even chicken prices are upside down. Do you like chicken wings? Well, those flapping appendages of skin and bones and a little meat are more expensive than chicken breast. Folks are just wild over chicken wings and it’s created a national shortage.

Bars and restaurants tried disguising chicken legs as wings, but there’s way too much meat on ‘em to fool anybody. Tyson has breeders working overtime trying to produce White Leghorns with four wings.

This wing deficit was serious till they solved the whole thing by cooking tiny pieces of breast meat, doubling the price, and selling them as “boneless wings.”

Hog farmers, who have lost more money and said less about it than anybody, used to advertise “Pork: the other white meat.” Their new slogan is “Pork: it tastes like wings.”

The All-American Quarter Horse Congress ended here today. Seldom do you see so many beautiful horses at one place.

Meanwhile, in Indianapolis the national FFA convention wrapped up. The farm boys and girls from Oklahoma won top honors in so many categories no other state even came close.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Last week when I was (in Kansas City), there was 1700 young boys and girls brought there by that great Paper, the Kansas City Star, from over 30 states. They were taking vocational (agriculture) training and had led their various districts back home in the studying of farming, and stock raising.” WA #207, Nov. 28, 1926

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekly Comments: Deficit dollars could fill Grand Canyon #573

October 18, 2009

COLUMBUS: Do you remember how awful you felt a year ago when the federal deficit for 2008was announced at over $400 Billion? How can we ever pay it back? What’s this country coming to?

Well, hang on to your hat and bank account. The deficit for 2009 is $1.4 Trillion. According to the Associated Press, in one year we added more to the debt than the total for the 200 years from 1776 to 1976. It’s $4700 for every man, woman and child in the country. Let’s suppose you’re a family of five and you have an extra $24,000. If you send it to Washington, and the rest of us do it too, then we would have a balanced budget. But only for this year. Prospects for next year look like you better be ready to donate $30,000.

With this deficit hanging over our heads like an anvil, you might think the big news programs this weekend would have been investigating what caused such a calamity, and how to fix it for 2010. No, I didn’t hear any tough questions about the budget. All the investigative reporting was about a balloon floating over Colorado. If you asked a television executive they would likely admit, We’ve got all this great video of the balloon, but nary a photo of the deficit.

Well, here’s a suggestion for a photo of the deficit: take a picture of the Grand Canyon. Then ask viewers to guess, if you stood on the rim and threw in a dollar bill for every dollar of the deficit, how long would it take to fill it. Well, my guess is if you took all our unemployed and lined them up around the Canyon with a scoop shovel, the way the deficits are growing they would have it plumb full by election day 2012.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“The budget is a mythical bean bag. Congress votes mythical beans into it, and then tries to reach in and pull real beans out.” DT #2047, Feb. 24, 1933

“At the next session, [Congress] won't have anything to settle much, outside of unemployment, two billion dollar deficit, arrange extra taxes where they will do least harm next November, relieve Wall Street and think up something new to promise farmers.” DT #1672, Dec. 2, 1931

[Will humorously proposed splitting the country, with Republicans taking states East of the Mississippi, and Democrats taking the West.] “We'd split up and that would do away with the debt, see? Both sides would start in owing nothing. And the Republicans would perhaps continue the same way. But the Democrats, it wouldn't take them long to dig up a deficit. And then the Democrats could take whatever they're using for money, and they could inflate or do anything they wanted to with it. And the Republicans, who say we should never have gone off the gold, well, if they had their own country they could go back on it, if they want to.” Radio, June 9, 1935

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekly Comments: Prizes for the President, but the wrong ones #572

October. 11, 2009

COLUMBUS: Sometimes a man can’t win. You lose the Olympics that you wanted to win; then win a Nobel Peace Prize you wanted to lose.

President Obama said he was “humbled,” and announced he would donate the $1.5 million Nobel prize money to charity. I suggest he give it to the Red Cross, or to whoever finished second. But any good, deserving charity is fine, but not PETA, ACORN or HSUS.

Last year those Nobel folks in Norway picked a man who worked on peacemaking for more than 30 years. But nobody ever heard of him so this time they selected one that’s famous, even if he had only been in the White House a week. My friend from Oklahoma, George Campbell, joked it was the Nobel Prize for Unpacking. The Nobel committee even admitted it was a prize for promise. They liked his potential and attitude. (Kinda like most 2008 voters.)

Now in the last hundred years they have selected many deserving winners of the Peace Prize. Norman Borlaug was a great one because his agricultural research helped feed an extra billion people. Mother Teresa in Calcutta and Desmond Tutu. The Red Cross got it three times.

But when it comes to wars, they gave more Peace Prizes to men that ended a war by surrendering than to ones that won. Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill “won” World War II and saved Europe, but never got a Peace Prize. President Reagan won the Cold War over Russia, and never got a Peace Prize. But Gorbachev did.

Don’t be surprised if President Obama is also be named the Time magazine Man of the Year. And there’s a chance he’ll be the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. But whether he makes the cover of the Swimsuit issue, I’ve got my doubts.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“We are a good-natured bunch of saps in this country. When the President is wrong we charge it to inexperience...When Congress is wrong we charge it to habit.... When a bank fails we let the guy go start another one....Everything is cockeyed, so what's the use kidding ourselves.” DT #1226, June 30, 1930

“I would like to stay in Europe long enough to find some country that don't blame America for everything in the world that's happened to 'em in the last fifteen years– debts, depression, disarmament, disease, fog, famine or frostbite.” DT #1718, Jan 26, 1932

“This Kellogg peace treaty, a lot of folks don't seem to be enthusiastic about it, but it's based on a great idea (to outlaw war), and if he does get away with it he deserves a lot of credit... I have a scheme for stopping war. It's this: no nation is allowed to enter a new war till they have paid for the last one.” DT #653, August 29, 1928 (Secretary of State Frank C. Kellogg received the 1929 Nobel Peace Prize)

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Weekly Comments: H1N1, by any other name, can make you squeal #571

October 3, 2009

COLUMBUS: It’s a shame some folks are getting H1N1 flu virus, especially students. For most of them, it’s no worse than other ailments that occasionally torment college students.

While I was in Norfolk last week I read the Saturday edition of the Virginian-Pilot. I’m sure it’s an honorable newspaper, and that they practice “honest and intelligent journalism” because that’s what it says right under their masthead. So I was surprised to read a story in there about swine flu. Calling H1N1 by another name that defames an innocent farm animal is about as “honest and intelligent” as saying the Washington Redskins are a great football team.

According to the Virginian-Pilot, the Medical College at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore has started a plan to call anything associated with H1N1 by a swine term. They say it’s in fun, but I rather doubt the Agricultural College at Johns Hopkins would be too thrilled about these learned medical professionals poking fun at their business. Of course, Johns Hopkins has not seen fit to teach agriculture, so there’s no one to complain, for instance, that a student with swine flu be called a pig. Or a sick freshman, a piglet. I’m guessing an older female student with flu is a sow. A sick student’s room is called a pig pen, or if it gets messy while the student is laid up with flu, a pig sty. An isolated area at the dining hall where flu-laden students are allowed to eat together is called the trough.

Well, as long the dining hall keeps serving all the students ham and pork chops for supper and bacon and sausage for breakfast, I guess they can go hog wild with their swine terms without any real harm. And if the students remember to wash their hands frequently (with hog tide) maybe it’ll keep a few more of them from having to pay a visit to one of these Medical College interns. That could be dangerous because those funny docs might jab a needle in sideways just to hear you squeal.

Here’s another idea for ‘em: change the name of the university to Johns Hog-kins.

Now I don’t mean to pick on a fine newspaper or university, because there’s plenty of others just like them. You may remember my feeble attempt to change H1N1 to Hiney. I think our students would quickly adopt the nickname Hiney flu, if the newspapers and MTV would get behind it. They are great to take on new terms, like BTW and LOL, and I think calling it Hiney flu would have a certain appeal to them.

Even David Letterman might joke about Hiney flu. That’s about as close as he’ll want to get to a joke of a sexual nature. Now, I’m not going to pile on a fellow humorist except to point out that this may explain why Katy Couric hasn’t been on his show for a while. And I did hear a rumor that CBS is insisting he change the name of his business to Worldwide Pants Down.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“The New York Times advertises ‘All the news that's fit to print’. I believe the news that's NOT fit to print is what makes the newspapers.” WA #138, Aug. 2, 1925

“Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers. The old paper in the morning is my breakfast. Course I don't entirely depend on it. I like it accompanied by some ham and eggs, and a few biscuits, a series of cups of coffee, and a few wheat cakes to help get your mind off the editorials.” WA #257, Nov. 27, 1927

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Weekly Comments: Peace talks are fine but keep your gun loaded #570

Sept. 27, 2009

COLUMBUS: This was quite a week for peace. At the United Nations, President Obama called to order the Security Council and they unanimously passed a motion to work toward a world without nuclear weapons. As soon as the vote was announced they all cheered, and every leader there slipped out and called home with the same message: Build more Nukes.

Next up was the speeches. Qaddafi of Libya and Chavez of Venezuela and the little fellow from Iran that we can’t pronounce all got their turn on stage. They took turns bashing America and the rest of the civilized world, and seeing who could tell the biggest lies. Where is Joe Wilson when you really need him?

Our President is back in Washington, working on changes in health care. He already promised to cut prices by eliminating waste and fraud. But he never defined exactly what fraud he would go after. Well, in a recent interview he gave a hint. After ACORN was embarrassed by videos where they promoted illegal activities, he was asked about the $50 million the government had paid to ACORN. He said that’s nothing to be concerned about because we have bigger problems to solve. So right there, he pretty much set the bar on fraud. If you want to cheat the government out of health care funds, keep it under $50 million and you’ll be home free.

Food prices are back in the news. Farmers are getting paid less than a year or two ago, but grocery stores and restaurants are charging more. Not much different than in 1925: “Steak on the plate went up, steak on the hoof went down.” Now, the Dept of Agriculture has a solution for you; get to know a farmer and buy direct. Not only do you cut out the middle man, you get acquainted with the folks that work to grow your food.

Speaking of farmers, one thing they are all praying for is a late frost. All across the country many crops got planted a week or two later than normal. They’re growing fine, but a delay in freezing weather would be greatly appreciated. Norman Borlaug, the great agricultural scientist who died recently, developed genetically-modified crops that helped keep a billion people from starvation. But I doubt he came up any that would keep growing after a hard freeze.

I just returned from Norfolk where I spoke at the Performing Arts Exchange. It’s mainly musical groups, singers, and dancers in kind of a gigantic tryout to get booked for live shows across the country. My angle to get hired was to promise not to sing, dance or play an instrument. Being over there so close to Washington, I told them for my act I just watch the government and report the facts. Don’t even have to exaggerate. There’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“It's all right to go to these (Disarmament) Conferences. But it's always well to come home and reload your gun after each one is over.” WA #416, Dec. 14, 1930

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekly Comments: Health care plan floods air waves #569

Sept. 20, 2009

COLUMBUS: This morning President Obama booked himself on five TV news shows, and Monday night he’s on Letterman. Don’t be surprised if next weekend he preempts the half time show of every football game.

He says that if he can’t persuade us on television, he’ll start calling on the telephone. Can you imagine him calling 300 million of us? Naturally he’ll commence with the Democrats. He’ll hope to convince enough Democrats that he don’t have to worry with the Republicans at all.

His problem is that the majority like their health care the way it is. Don’t change a thing, they say. Well, the reason they like it is because they aren’t the ones paying for it. If everyone knew the cost, and had to pay it themselves, they might be willing to shop for a cheaper option.

The President says medical costs are too high and they have increased way too fast over the past ten or twenty years. He may be right, but half the increase is because of new medicines and technology. Do you want to give that up? What’s that leave to cut, other than trial lawyers and insurance profits? I rather doubt you want to cut your doctor’s salary, at least not until after your surgery.

It kinda looks like he’s gonna keep hounding us till we give up and accept it. Only then can we ever hope to find out exactly what it was we accepted.

Some of our big economists announced the “Recession is over.” Well, that’s just an economist’s way of saying it probably won’t get any worse unless you lose your job. It’s like a weatherman reporting that the river has stopped rising; it don’t mean the flood is over if you have five feet of water in your living room.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“I’m not a member of any organized political party... I’m a Democrat.” (no specific date)

“The trouble with the Democrats has been up to now that they have been giving the people ‘what they thought they ought to have,’ instead of ‘what they wanted’.” Saturday Evening Post, March 30, 1929

“Democrats never agree on anything... That’s why they’re Democrats; if they could agree with each other, they would be Republicans.” Saturday Evening Post, May 1, 1926

“Perhaps in a few months our Politicians will change... You know, Politicians, after all, are not over a year behind public opinion.” WA #25, June 3, 1923

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weekly Comments: Tips for writing health care bill #568

Sept. 13, 2009

COLUMBUS: This was a big weekend for football. And it seemed that anybody not watching football was in Washington Saturday for the 9-12 gathering. In some of the football stadiums where the home team got beat, the chant at the end of the game was the same as it was in Washington: Throw the Bums Out!

The main problem with this health care reform bill is that there are a half dozen versions and they’re all written by lawyers. (See Historic quotes.) Each one is a thousand pages, so naturally you can find something on page 523, say, of one bill that contradicts page 879 of another one.

Only way to clear this thing up is to condense it down to about 20 pages that spells it out straight. Does this new government insurance cover American citizens? (Yes or no). Does it cover people who are here illegally? Does it cover the birth of a baby? Abortions?

If insurance is offered to everyone, will they charge the same for a healthy 30-year old as for an overweight 60-year old smoker? (Before answering, think of charges for auto insurance based on driver age and vehicle value.)

Once they get it down in simple English you won’t need any politician to stand up and explain it and risk being called a liar. He can just hand it to you and say read it yourself.

Now when it comes to cost, if they claim it won’t cost you anything, why that’s like your dentist saying, “This won’t hurt much.” And if they say it will be paid for by eliminating waste and fraud, just ask how much waste and fraud they eliminated last year. No matter how many scoundrels they eliminate, there’s always another batch ready to pounce on easy money.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“The minute you read something and you can't understand it you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer. Then if you give it to another lawyer to read and he don't know just what it means, why then you can be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer. If it's in a few words and is plain and understandable only one way, it was written by a non-lawyer.
Every time a lawyer writes something, he is not writing for posterity, he is writing so that endless others of his craft can make a living out of trying to figure out what he said, course perhaps he hadent really said anything, that's what makes it hard to explain.” WA #657, July 28, 1935

“Today, Saturday, minds are not on politics, they are not on national affairs, they are on football. Did you know that football is becoming about as big a nuisance as politics? Millions of football fans are going to football games this afternoon. Mind you, I think it's a great thing.” DT #726, Nov. 23, 1928

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekly Comments: Senator Kennedy, a man of good humor #566

August 30, 2009

COLUMBUS: Will Rogers would have enjoyed talking and joking with Senator Kennedy, just as he did Huey Long, Reed Smoot, Joe Grundy, Jim Reed, and all the other humorists in the Senate.

One thing in common all the speakers said about Ted Kennedy was that he liked to laugh. It seemed that he treated debate in the Senate like a mock debate in college; when it was over he would hug his “opponent” and joke about how they had done.

The quotes below were not about Ted Kennedy, but they probably could have been.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“You know I like to make little jokes and kid about the Senators. They are a kind of a never ending source of amusement, amazement, and discouragement. But the Rascals, when you meet ‘em face to face and know ‘em, they are mighty nice fellows. It must be something in the office that makes ‘em so ornery sometimes. When you see what they do officially you want to shoot ‘em, but when one looks at you and grins so innocently, why you kinder want to kiss him.” WA #345, Aug. 4, 1929

“Well, visited the Senate Saturday and renewed many pleasant acquaintances. They are a fine bunch of fellows when you take into consideration the amount of things the people lay onto ‘em. They rant at each other in there, then come out and are good friends.” DT #2336, Jan. 28, 1934

“Funny thing about being a U. S. Senator, the only thing the law says you have to be is 30 years old. Not another single requirement necessary. They just figure that a man that old got nobody to blame but himself if he gets caught in there.” DT #2770, June 21, 1935

“We lost a mighty good ex-Senator out here this week. James Phelan, a philanthropist, a scholar, a patron of the arts and a gentleman; with these qualifications, naturally a Democrat.” DT #1262, August 11, 1930

“There is an old legend that years ago there was a man elected to Congress who voted according to his own conscience.” Notes, 1919

“You may ask: Isn’t the Presidency higher than Senator? Well, no! The Senate can make a sucker out of any President, and generally does.” Republican Convention, Article #6, June 8, 1920

“The trouble with Senators is that the ones that ought to get out, don’t.” WA #323, March 3, 1929

“The Senate opened at twelve o’clock. Huey (Long) grabbed ‘em by the ears at 12:05 and shook ‘em till four o’clock. Well, when he turned ‘em loose they was ready to go home and behave themselves.” DT #2637, Jan. 17, 1935

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Weekly Comments: Congress wants to fly, not read #563

August 10, 2009

COLUMBUS: This health care argument is putting a dark cloud over summer vacation, and not just for Congress. About three-fourths claim they like their health care just the way it is. But President Obama is trying to convince us to sign up for another plan that will “save the health care system.” Only trouble is it will mainly increase costs and reduce care for the three-fourths in order to insure the other one-fourth.

I happened to talk this week with a young woman who has been accepted to start medical school, and I asked what she thought of the health care proposal. Well, she isn’t too thrilled about it. She’s dedicated to becoming a doctor, but she figures “many of the brightest students will choose a different direction”. I jumped in with, “like becoming a lawyer?” No wonder she’s concerned. With the government adding 40 million people to the health care system, that’s what the country needs all right: fewer doctors, and more lawyers to sue ‘em.

People are shocked that their Congressman hasn’t read the bill he voted for. They’re just now learning what many of us have known for years: nobody in Congress has ever read any bill in it’s entirety.

Well, I ain’t read it either. But according to those who have, the bill is 1000 pages explaining that government commissions will be appointed to fill in 98 percent of the details about the plan. There’s supposed to be about 50 of these commissions and they will bring the final bill up to around 100,000 pages, which of course nobody will ever read. If you want to get a glimpse of the future of your health, ask your Congressman or Senator this question: Out of those 50 commissions, how many will be headed up by a Doctor, and how many by a lawyer?

Congress spent much of 2009 shaming the big banks and automobile companies into selling their executive jets. Claimed it wasn’t right for outfits dependent on public money to have their top people flying hither and yon unless it was coach. Now the newspapers are reporting that Congress ordered a bunch of new jets of their own, costing us half a Billion dollars. I guess if these folks at GM, or Chrysler or Bank of America want to fly anywhere, maybe they can hitch a ride with Speaker Pelosi or Senator Reid. Congress has no intention of signing up to use the same health care plan they’re proposing for the rest of us, and apparently that applies to airplanes, too.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“I don't suppose there ever was a time when everybody knew as little about what they were talking about as they do today. Actual knowledge of the future was never lower but hope was never higher.
Confidence will beat predictions any time.” DT #2224, Sept. 19, 1933

“...People who send useless wires (telegrams) – I was about to say, people who send useless wires to useless Congressmen, but I wouldn't say a thing like that. That's kind of raw, and I wouldn't do a thing like that. I wouldn't say that. So on either one of these plans don't wire your Congressman. Don't wire him; even if he could read, don't wire him.” Radio, May 26, 1935

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Weekly Comments: Ole Will recalls 1927 health insurance plan #562

August 2, 2009

COLUMBUS: Congress has adjourned for their August vacation, at least the House did. The Senate says they want to stay another week to argue over the next Supreme Court Justice and appropriations for agriculture. But really it’s to let the Congressmen and women go home first and take the heat on health care, energy, and global warming.

Dairy farmers say they need support from Congress the same way the automobile manufacturers are benefitting from “Cash for Clunkers”. They figure if the government paid them for sorta de-commissioning every old Holstein cow of a certain age that might reduce the milk surplus and let ‘em get back to break even. Only trouble is that whereas the old cars have to be traded for a new one giving more miles per gallon, most old Holsteins get replaced by young heifers giving more gallons per cow.

The whole health insurance debate has boiled down to who gets the care they need, who pays for it, and who gets a share of the payment. The only ones we can agree on to cut out of the payment is the lawyer, but you’ve got a better chance of cutting lobbyists out of politics.

No dairy farmer wants to go back to milking cows the way they did fifty years ago, and no American in his right mind wants to give up the advancements in medical science over the same time frame.

Well, just as Congressmen sometimes do, I’m yielding the rest of my time here, to a man who had gall stones removed, at age 47, and lived to write and joke about it.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
(Excerpts from “Ether and Me”, a 32 page book Will wrote about his gall bladder surgery in June 1927. The book has sold over 80,000 copies, and is available for about $6 from the Will Rogers Museum at willrogers.com.)

(After the diagnosis, but before going to the hospital) “My wife was setting on the edge of the bed and we were talking it over. She got up and went into another room. I got up and went in to console her. She was digging in an old musty leather case marked Insurance Papers....

(After the surgery...) One day I was a-laying in the hospital and I just happened to have the only bright thought that had come to me in weeks. This operation comes under the heading of sickness, so I thought of those insurance policies I had been paying on for years. This sickness is going to turn out all right. I began thinking how I could stretch it out into a slow convalescence. When my wife called again I broke the good news to her. “If we can get a bona-fide doctor to say I have been sick and couldn’t spin a rope and talk about Coolidge, we are in for some disability.”

Well, I noticed my wife wasn’t so boisterous about this idea. Then the truth slowly came out; she told me the sad story of cutting down on the insurance. She said my good physical condition had misled them. She said the operation would not be money-making.
So if you want to stay well, just bet a lot of rich companies that you will get sick; then if you can’t have any luck getting sick, have the policy cut down, and before six months you’ll be saying “Doctor, the pain is right there.”

Of course if I had had the bigger policy, why, it would have had some clause in there where I got sick on the wrong day or had the wrong disease. There would have been an alibi somewhere, because those four pages of clauses in a policy are not put in there just to make it longer.

We kid about our Doctors and we hate to pay 'em after it's all over and we have quit hurting. But I expect a lot of us have got 'em to thank for us being here.”

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Weekly Comments: New Jersey suffers a blow, gains an island #561

July 26, 2009

COLUMBUS: New Jersey suffered another blow this week. The FBI rounded up about 50 mayors and legislators for corruption. The only surprise is that five rabbis got in on the graft.

New Jersey hasn’t been the same since Sam Goldwyn moved the movies to Hollywood, and Henry Ford loaded Edison’s Menlo Park on railroad cars and hauled it to Dearborn. Half of the state is fine farm ground, but the other half is mainly used to bury the bodies.

In a related story, Cesar Chavez of Venezuela announced that his personal oil company, Citgo, is donating an island to New Jersey. I bet most of you didn’t know Mr. Chavez owned any American soil, but he does. Pettys Island is situated in the Delaware River and sorta protects Philadelphia from New Jersey. Nobody lives there and if George Washington had known about it when he crossed the Delaware he could have used it as a rest stop. But George never saw it because it was dark.

Lately it got a lot of attention from Realtors, dreaming of selling lots. It seems many folks would like to live on the island, I suppose because they figure technically it’s not in either New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

Chavez wants to rip out the oil refinery and leave the island as a park and wildlife refuge. With this latest round of crime, what New Jersey needs it for is a prison. Think Alcatraz East. Cut an entrance door into those big oil storage tanks and shove a dozen crooked politicians in each one. If they run out of room, maybe Rockefeller will donate a few tanks from Standard Oil of New Jersey (that's Exxon, for you younger folks).

Sarah Palin turned Alaska over to the Lt. Governor today. She gave a speech, didn’t say much, but invited everyone to visit Alaska. I may take her up on it. Next August would be a good time to go. I want to take a plane up to Barrow, but not a small one.

President Obama is pushing Congress to come up with a health care plan this week. He won’t tell them what he wants, so they have to guess. Congress was hot on the idea of taxing anyone with health insurance worth over $40,000 a year till they realized they were included, and cooled off on that plan. Now, giving everyone equal health care is a good theory. We feed the poor, but not the same food they eat on Martha’s Vineyard. We want everyone to have shelter, but won’t give ‘em tile roofs and silk sheets. We want everyone to have an aspirin for a headache, but million dollar surgeries? Well, that’s pretty much what they’re arguing over.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“New Jersey broke a life long precedent last week. She made the front page without a murder.” WA #11, Feb. 25, 1923

“Theories are great, they sound great, but the minute you are asked to prove one in actual life, why the thing blows up.” DT #2205, Aug. 28, 1933

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Weekly Comments: Will makes jokes at Treasury’s expense #560

July 18, 2009

COLUMBUS: At a time when the government is ordering big companies to cut back on
frivolous expenses, why along comes news that the Treasury Dept, that’s in charge of all this debt we’re racking up, wants to hire a Cartoonist. The whole idea is, to relieve their stress he is supposed to kinda make fun of the workers dealing with this Trillion dollar deficit, and get them to laugh at themselves. You know, to laugh even more than they are currently laughing at the taxpayers for taking on this humongous debt.

Well, a Senator got wind of it (and who knows more about frivolous spending than a Senator), and they canceled the plan. But there’s good news for these forlorn federal money changers. At no cost to the Treasury, every newspaper cartoonist in the country will draw something that’ll remind them to be happy they even have a job. And a few of us who aren’t cartoonists will toss in a humorous jab now and then to help lighten the mood.

Congress and Treasury Secretary Geithner didn’t much care for my adoption plan last week to cover the uninsured. They came out with their own plan: to cover all your medical costs while you’re living, they take everything you’ve got left when you die. It’s kinda like the plan drawn up by a Treasury Secretary 74 years ago. (See below)

I can’t finish without writing about Walter Cronkite. I got to meet him a few years ago when he talked at an Ohio Broadcasters convention. I asked him if he knew he was born on the birthday of another legendary American, Will Rogers. He seemed surprised, but I’m guessing he knew and just temporarily forgot it. Mr. Cronkite may have died today at 92, but he won’t be forgotten, temporarily or otherwise.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

(The Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau) “came out with a plan to put a bigger and better tax on these big estates: an inheritance tax. On an estate of say $10 million, why the government will take about 90 percent of it, giving the off-spring 10. And on estates of a 100 million, 200 million, a billion, and like that, well, the government just takes all of that and notifies the heirs, ‘Your father died a pauper here today. And he’s being buried by the Millionaires’ Emergency Burial Association.’

Now mind you, I don’t hold any great grief for a man that dies and leaves millions and hundreds of millions and billions. I don’t mean that. But I don’t believe Mr. Morgenthau's plan will work, because he gives figures in there that shows what this new inheritance tax would bring in every year. He says in 1936 we get so much, in 1938... He give these figures to show what it will bring in every year, that is, as long as the Democrats stay in.

He seems to know just who’s going to die each year. And how much they're going to leave. Now, brother, that's planning, ain’t it, when you can figure out that! Now suppose, for instance, he’s got scheduled to die J. P. Morgan. He’s got him scheduled to die on a certain year. And you can bet, if they can arrange it, they’ll have him die while the Democrats are in, so they can get the benefit of that estate anyhow, see? Now, according to plans, J. P. Morgan has got to die in order for Mr. Morgenthau to reach his quota for that year. Now I think Mr. Morgan is a nice man and his patriotism might compare with some of the rest of us. But whether he’d be patriotic enough to want to die on this year’s schedule just to make Morgenthau’s budget balance, I’ve got my doubts. That’s asking a good deal of a man to just die right off just so I can balance my budget. He might be rather unreasonable and not want to do it. I say, old men is contrary. And rich old men is awful contrary. They’ve had their own way so long...

So in order for Mr. Morgenthau’s plan to work out, he's got to bump these wealthy guys off, or something. Well, now, the government’s doing everything else, you know, but there is a Humane Society.” Radio, April 28, 1935

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Weekly Comments: Will offers health care plan: adoption #559

July 11, 2009

COLUMBUS: T. Boone Pickens is back in the news again. With Congress working on a bill to replace coal with wind and sunshine, Boone cancelled his plans for installing 600 wind machines in West Texas. Now there’s as much wind as ever around Lubbock and Amarillo, and you can’t find a better place to set up gigantic windmills. Only problem is, where they need electricity is East Texas, and nobody has volunteered to pay for the transmission wires.

So Boone is looking for a home for his wind machines. Frankly, a perfect location for half of ‘em is downwind of Washington. You’ve got both the source and the need in the same vicinity. As for the other 300, I’m open to suggestions.

Congress figured out how to pay for health care for 50 million people without insurance: let the rich cover ‘em. According to the plan, any family making over $350,000 will be asked to contribute. The government collects the money, then after taking out the overhead, doles it out to the uninsured whether they want it or not.

I think a simpler plan would be adoption. We have about 1 million who are wealthy enough to be the “payers”, and 50 million “payees.” So I suggest each rich payer kinda adopt 50 payees. Set it up like one of these dating web sites, call it www.healthEharmony.com, and let each of our wealthy select their 50. Maybe some millionaires could adopt 100, like Jay Rockefeller and Warren Buffett (and Boone Pickens if he ever sells his windmills). My plan eliminates the middleman and minimizes the operating cost, assuming we can find someone to build the web site for less than $18 Million, which seems to be the going rate in Washington.

To be fair, the first ones to choose can’t just pick up 50 young, healthy guys who don’t expect to ever see a doctor till they’re at least 80. No, they can take about ten of those, but the other forty are split between the unemployed, those too sick to work, and our so-called undocumented immigrants.

The only problem is gonna come when another 50 million or so see this adoption plan as such a good idea they want in on it. I’m not sure families making, say, $200,000 are going to look favorably on adopting their share.

How’s this for stimulating jobs? General Motors got $20 Billion more from the government, and announced they’re cutting 6000 salaried workers and maybe 20,000 more in factories. At least they’re out of bankruptcy, and they’ll do all right if they can keep running the company from Detroit instead of Washington.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“Everybody says, ‘Where's the money coming from we're spending?’ Well, I don't know, but just offhand, I'd say it's coming from those that got it.... There's one good thing about the American form of government. The fellow that's got nothing, he don't pay nothing.” Radio, April 7, 1935

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Weekly Comments: U.S. Senate gains another humorist #558

July 5, 2009

COLUMBUS: Al Franken finally got into the Senate. It was a tight race, and it took the lawyers eight months to figure out who won because they were getting paid by the hour. The Republicans in Minnesota set a record in a losing cause: the most money ever spent to keep a comedian out of the Senate.

Dan Thomasson, a fine syndicated newspaper columnist, quoted “me” in his article Sunday, “Al Franken, the comedian turned politician, should be right at home in Congress, which Will Rogers once described as the greatest collection of humorists in the world.” Well, Dan, I appreciate the mention. You’re right, I did refer to Congress a number of times as a bunch of comedians, but never did I use “greatest.” They’ve got too much ego as it is.

If you’re in the Southeastern states, keep an eye out for eight bicyclists who are riding from North Carolina all the way to Oklahoma on the “Trail of Tears.” In case you don’t remember your history, President Andrew Jackson got the Indian Removal Act passed by Congress to make all Indians move west of the Mississippi River. The Supreme Court, under John C. Marshall, said, “No, you can’t do that.” But ole Andy defied the Supreme Court, and had the Army round up the Cherokees and four other tribes at gunpoint and forced them to leave their homes and head west. About one out of every four Cherokees died before they reached what is now Oklahoma. So if you live near that route through Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas, keep an eye out for those bicycles and clap as they go by.

California is putting on a memorial service for Michael Jackson. Gov. Schwarzenegger missed a big opportunity to trim the state deficit. More than a million and a half people wanted to come to Los Angeles for the service, but California only allowed 17,500. See, they should have moved it to some wide-open spot outside of town, invited everybody, and had state employees run all the concessions. By monopolizing the sales and stretching the service to 3 or 4 days, why California could have cleared a billion dollars just on cold drinks.

Governor Palin announced she is resigning. She hasn’t called me to explain why she’s quitting, so I’ll just let the other commentators do all the speculating.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Politics is the best show in America and I am going to keep on enjoying it. So on with the show.... One thing about the Democrats, they never put on a dull show.” WA #521, Dec. 18, 1932

“Compared to (Congress) I’m an amateur, and the thing about my jokes is they don't hurt anybody. You can say they're funny, or they're horrible, or they're good, or whatever, but they don't do any harm. But with Congress every time they make a joke it's a law... and every time they make a law, it's a joke.” Radio broadcast, May 5, 1935

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Weekly Comments: Congress to replace oil from overseas with wind from Washington

June 28, 2009

COLUMBUS: I flew back from Reno Thursday after contributing slightly to the local economy. The Reno Gazette-Journal reported their state economy is so bad they are laying off university professors.

Then I read in the Columbus newspaper that the Ohio Governor plans to solve the state budget problems by – now get this – introducing slot machines. Considering the shape Nevada is in, with their millions of slot machines, I rather doubt they will do much to close a $3 Billion gap for Ohio. But give the governor credit; all five days I was gone he was on the job, working. No side trips to South America.

In Washington, while President Obama had everybody focused on changing health insurance, Congress passed a bill to make all our best fuels more expensive. Now I don’t mean to sound like a Rockefeller in singing praises of oil (and coal and natural gas for that matter), but the reason oil is so popular is because nobody has discovered anything better. You may remember that before crude oil started oozing out of the Pennsylvania hills, we depended on whale oil. It didn’t take an act of Congress to get us off whale oil (although if our current Congress had been around at the time such a bill would have at least been introduced). Their heart may be in the right place; they think our part of the planet is getting warmer, and they did have the good sense to wait to pass it until most of the country was wilting at 90 to 100 degrees.

The Senate hasn’t seen the bill yet, so there is some hope for common sense. A young friend of mine sent a note that “Passage of the Cap and Trade bill and continued federal debt would mean we are trading our dependence on oil for dependence on credit.” Of course the ones we will depend on for loans are China and India. They’ll have plenty of extra dough because they don’t have a Cap and Trade bill.

On Saturday I was at a reunion of some older folks, and they aren’t too thrilled either at the direction the country’s headed. They remember when electricity was a luxury and more people walked than drove. They probably got by on 20 percent of what they use now, which is what the President wants us all to do by 2050.

Last week we lost Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett. They all made millions, but two of the three died a pauper. They’ll all be missed in their own way.

Next Saturday is Independence Day. As we celebrate, remember the ones who sweated over the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and those who have fought to preserve it since. The women in Iran understand that independence from tyranny is worth fighting for.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“There is one rule that works in every calamity. Be it pestilence, war or famine, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The poor even help arrange it.”
DT #1019, Oct. 31, 1929

“Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, they don't hurt anybody. It's when they do something is when they become dangerous.” DT #1038, Nov. 22, 1929

“... reunions... To talk of old times with old friends is the greatest thing in the world.” WA #169, March 7, 1926

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Weekly Comments: Confused about Inflation? Worry no more. #555

June 14, 2009

COLUMBUS: I read in our newspaper that two brothers were arrested for printing money on their home computer. It was $20 and $50 bills, and they said their main goal was to buy a car. When the police asked how they figured to get away with it, the older one said, “The President is printing a Trillion dollars to stimulate the economy, so we’re helping him with a few thousand.”

Inflation won’t make your cash holdings as worthless as those fake bills. And if you’re broke, inflation don’t worry you. But if you’ve saved a little nest egg, and didn’t lose it on Wall Street, why I don’t blame you for being concerned. Deflation is easy to manage; just put off buying anything as long as you can because it’ll be cheaper next week. But for inflation, the trick is to buy something now that will go up faster than the dollar goes down. Probably “my” advice from 1930 is just as good today: buy land because they aren’t making any more of it. Go out in the country and find a few acres. Even if it don’t make any money, but you can always walk on it.

There’s 180 acres in Pacific Palisades, California, that Gov. Schwarzenegger has about decided ain’t worth walking on, at least not for a few years. It’s the Will Rogers State Park, and along with another 200 parks, it may be shut down. I hate to go against a governor, but parks ain’t the problem in California, it’s people. Not people in general; there’s just too many people on the state payroll. If the governor fired the ones that aren’t working at all, he could save enough to operate all the parks. And he could balance the entire state budget if he let go all the ones that ain’t worth what they’re being paid, including two-thirds of the state Legislature.

If Donald Trump can fire Miss California, why can’t the Governor give the axe to a few hundred thousand. (Most people think Donald should have kept Miss California, and fired the judge, but that’s a story for another time.)

The Palau Islands won the Gitmo Lottery. This is not like the lottery won by the young rancher in North Dakota. They gave him a check for $235 Million, and by the time he got it to the bank it was only $85 Million. Palau won $200 Million from us, and all they have to do is take care of 17 Gitmo prisoners. Palau gets the entire check, over $10 Million a terrorist. If this news gets back to the other Gitmo terrorists they’ll all ask for their $10 Million and promise to head directly to one of those South Pacific islands, for life.

The Los Angeles Lakers won another basketball championship tonight, winning in Orlando. They asked Kobe Bryant where he’s headed now. “I’m going home; I’ve already been to Disney World.” Earlier the Pittsburgh Penguins won the hockey title over Detroit. You know, it’s the middle of June. It’s time to put away the winter coats and move on to baseball.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“My old friend [newspaper columnist] Arthur Brisbane accused me good-naturedly of being worried over this Inflation. I wasn't worried. I was just confused. There is quite a difference.

When you are worried you know what you are worried about, but when you are confused it's when you don't know enough about a thing to be worried.

But Arthur, even my confusion is all over now. Everybody that I meet has explained this whole inflation thing so clearly that now I am going around explaining it myself." DT #2096, April 23, 1933

“To inflate or not to inflate, that is the Democratic question. Whether it's nobler in the minds to suffer the slings and arrows of southern politicians, or to take up
inflation against a sea of economists, and by opposing, end them.

To expand, to inflate, to inflate perchance to dream. Aye, there's the rub.

For in that sleep of inflation, what dreams may come, puzzle the will and make us doubtful whether to bear those ills we have, or fly to others we know not of.” DT #2225, Sept. 20, 1933 (Yes, Will Rogers knew his Shakespeare)

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again

Weekly Comments: PETA flies in the face of common sense

June 20, 2009

COLUMBUS: Over in Iran we have thousands of democratic-minded people taking to the streets to battle the government over actions of Ahmadinejad.

Meanwhile in this country we have PETA rising up in indignation over the actions of President Obama. This PETA organization, with the full backing of the (fake) Humane Society (HSUS), has decided that the Iran uprising, North Korea nuclear blasts and Trillion dollar deficits don’t matter as much as the life of one pesky house fly.

Instead of swatting these endangered critters, PETA wants the President and the rest of us to carefully trap annoying house flies, mosquitos, fleas and gnats, then provide them nourishment and comfortable quarters until enough have been rounded up to justify a drive to the country. Then, when a suitable farm habitat has been spotted, said critters will be released and shooed in the general direction of the nearest livestock, farmhands or vacationing dude ranchers.

If you have previously contributed to PETA and HSUS, and find that your views on the care and feeding of house flies and mosquitos are opposite to these organizations, I suggest you ask for return of your money. Maybe half of what you get back you can donate to those Iranians endangering their own lives to fight for democracy.

Meanwhile California has shut off the irrigation water to farmers who grow a big chunk of our food. And the reason given is nearly as foolish as the house fly killing controversy: they are saving all the water for a little minnow. Now I’ve got nothing against this particular minnow; mixed in a salad, they could be mighty tasty. But I rather doubt that even with the most prolific animal husbandry, you could produce enough of these minnows to replace the nourishment being lost from those dried up farms.

I’m headed to Reno tomorrow for a convention of engineers. Reno’s next door to California, but they continue to provide water to anyone who needs it. Reno was once known as the divorce capital of the country but other states horned in and that business dried up. Today they’re hoping to get back into it, starting with their own U.S. Senator.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

[Letter to President Coolidge, vacationing in Vermont] “Well, I guess by the time this reaches you, you will have brushed all the Chiggers and Fleas and Mosquitoes off of you, and are back in the White House with nothing to worry you but Farmers and Democrats. If it had been me, I believe I would have stayed up there all year.” Saturday Evening Post, August 1926

“They no more than stop Cal [Coolidge] from fishing with worms than he goes out with flies and catches even more. If they stop his using flies, why, he is getting so Western that he is just liable to pull out his .44 and shoot a flock of fish, or take down his old lariat and [rope] enough for dinner. There's no stopping the man. He is a modern [Teddy] Roosevelt.” DT #303, July 12, 1927

“People don’t change under governments. Governments change, but the people remain the same.” Saturday Evening Post, Dec. 4, 1926

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Weekly Comments: Need a job? Become a Czar. #554

June 7, 2009

WILDCAT, West Virginia: More people are losing their jobs every month. Seems like the only profession with immediate growth potential is Czars. If you ever wanted to be a Czar, now’s the time.

Just write the President and tell him what particular chunk of American enterprise you want to mold to your own liking. If no one else thought of it, you’ve got a chance. He already named a Car Czar and one for health insurance. There’s even a Czar in charge of the Great Lakes. Any man that can make those lakes rise and fall at will deserves to be called Czar. Or even King.

Nothing needs a Czar more than California, but who would take it in its present state? Maybe Michael Moore, but it was him and a few others that helped put it in its present state.

Oil is up to $70. Did you notice this spring that every time some prominent economist predicted “Oil will maintain a steady price through summer,” they tacked on another $5 a barrel. But we’re looking at the wrong side of the equation. When oil climbed from $40 to $50 to $60 and so on, it ain’t just because oil is getting more valuable. No, it’s because our dollar is getting less valuable. Old man inflation is lurking behind every bush ready to pounce.

Our newspapers and television won’t give up calling this H1N1 flu “swine flu” instead. A few people have died, but not a single hog. The only effect the flu has had on swine is to lower the price the old farmer gets for his hogs. Maybe next time we can call it “oil flu”, and it’ll have the same effect.

Dairy farmers are losing money on milk and culling their cow herds. I believe there’s just as many people “Got Milk” as ever. They’ve got it, they just aren’t drinking it. The old rancher is losing on his cattle too, because once this beef gets to the grocery store, nobody can tell a Holstein from a Hereford.

President Obama’s speech in Egypt went over with the Muslims and Arabs. Whenever he said something complimentary about Islam, he got applause. Whenever he said something complimentary about America they ignored him. Al-Qeida gave the opposition response. They said, “Don’t listen to these Americans. We’re the ones who know what’s good for Muslims, not some man named Barrack Hussein Obama.” Maybe they should have left off that last part.

The reason I’m reporting from Wildcat, is I’m here today with family and friends on a small hilltop cemetery honoring those who lost their lives in wars. Yes, this Decoration Day is later than for most of you, but a few days difference don’t matter to the eight with small American flags by their headstones, including seven from the Civil War. The ceremony was not as elaborate as the one yesterday for D-Day in France, but just as respectful.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“One of the very next things Mr. Roosevelt is going to do, so I was told in Washington on the best authority, was to appoint an oil czar. No industry needs a warden worse.” DT #2112, May 11, 1933

[A woman visiting New York claims] “to be the Czarina of Russia, of course that was in case Russia ever decided to have a Czar and a Czarina. It would be about like me announcing that I had decided to be King of Oklahoma (in case, of course, Oklahoma ever decided to have a King).” WA #107, December 28, 1924

“Steak on the plate went up, steak on the hoof went down.” WA #118, March 15, 1925

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
http://willrogerstoday.com willrogers@aol.com
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekly Comments: Obama’s plate full with GM, judge, nukes and expensive date #553

May 31, 2009

COLUMBUS: Whoever said, “As General Motors goes, so goes the Nation” sure hit it right. GM is bankrupt, and at the rate our government is spending and printing money, the Nation soon will be, too.

GM will be 70 percent owned by the United States, and the United States will be 70 percent owned by China. When China runs out of cash to loan us, we’ll just crank up the old printing press. By the end of the year, economists say we will borrow $1,000,000,000,000 and xerox another $1,000,000,000,000.

If you’ve got, say, $100,000 holed away for your retirement, with inflation don’t count on living high on the hog. In ten years it may take $100,000 just to buy a new Chevrolet. Hang on to your house because that new Chevy, proudly designed in Washington, will be way too small for sleeping.

The President nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court. She appears to be a fine, experienced judge. Others were also available, but he figured Puerto Ricans have been here over a hundred years, and there’s never been one on the Supreme Court.

I’ve never heard anyone stand up in Washington and say, “Let’s name an Indian to the Supreme Court. They’ve been here longer than anyone.”

The President has his hands full. North Korea and Iran are racing each other to see who can be the biggest annoyance with nuclear weapons. So he’s headed to Egypt and Saudi Arabia to try to line up some help in corralling those two. Osama bin Ladin and the Palestinians are still drawing attention. Pakistan needs propped up. Joe Biden and Nancy Pellosi can’t pass a microphone without yowling in it. About the only ones he has no worries about right now are the Republicans. They’re content to battle each other.

President Obama took Michelle on a date to New York City, including dinner and a Broadway show. Some people criticized him for a trip that cost about $100,000. But let me ask you, fellows, if you had a chance for a Saturday night “date” with a First Lady, wouldn’t you want to spend a little extra to make sure she had a delightful evening?

At least this time, when Air Force One flew to New York City, the President was on it.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“We’ll hold the distinction of being the only nation in the history of the world that ever went to the poor house in an automobile.” Radio broadcast, October 18, 1931

“But poor Mr. Hoover! Whoever he appoints [to the Supreme Court], that Senate will hold a two weeks' clinic over the body. Just offhand, Lindbergh would be the only one I know of that they might let pass. And I'll bet there would be a couple object to him.” DT #1130, March 10, 1930

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Weekly Comments: Wednesday, August 1, 2001

Wednesday, August 01, 2001

SACRAMENTO, Calif.: I’m out here in northern California, seeing if I can help the Governor scrape up some more electricity. I stumbled across one answer to his problem: Raisins.

After wandering around the Capitol Saturday afternoon I headed south in the San Joaquin Valley, looking over the farms down around Stockton, Modesto and Merced. They got hay, corn, cotton, wheat, tomatoes, almonds, nectarines, plums, peaches, dairy cows, cattle, sheep and goats... almost anything you can name, you add water to it, and it’ll grow here.

But the commodity they have more of than they can possibly get shut of is raisins.

Of course they start out as grapes, but after the pickers eat their fill, what’s left over they turn into wine and raisins.

When premium wine is $40, that’s where they make their profits. But they just announced the Grand Champion wine of all California this year is one that only brings $6 a bottle. So wine ranks up there with all those San Jose dot.coms for profit potential. If you can get the best for $6, why pay more.

That leaves Raisins. This state normally produces 40 percent of all the world’s supply of raisins, but in the last two years it’s grown closer to 110 percent. And the price has shriveled to 45 cents.

So if Governor Davis can trade raisins for electricity, he can redeem himself to the farmers and voters. Maybe he can send a few trainloads to Florida... sell them as miniature prunes, and take kilowatts in return. General Mills could add another scoop to their cereal without overloading the box, or cutting into Tiger Woods’ share. Instead of a banana, eat a box of raisins... that’ll help without putting any of our other US farmers out of work.

Modesto has a big sign across Main Street proclaiming to be home to "Water, Wealth, Contentment, and Health". Their Congressman is cutting into their contentment, but they still have the other three to fall back on. Mr. Condit is keeping quiet at a time when his raisin growers need him most.

Engineers are holding a convention this week in the huge Sacramento Convention Center. A fellow needs one of those electronic GPS map devices, just to find the shortest distance between two committees.

The engineering students held a competition on a street near the Capitol. It’s a thing called a Quarter-scale Tractor Pull. Now quarter horses have been around a long time, but these quarter-scale tractors are pretty new. The crowds got excited just like for the full-size tractor pulls at your county fairs. The winner was designed and built at Kansas State University.

At the White House, Jimmy Carter gave President Bush a new plan to improve elections. It’s a good plan, and will cost us less than the lawyers’ bills for the last election. But he wants to make a holiday out of Election Day. Personally, I think everybody should be required to work that day, even if you’re sick. If you want more folks to vote, don’t give ‘em an excuse to stay in bed all day, or go on a 4-day vacation trip.

I compliment him for letting convicted felons vote after they have served their time. That way, more candidates can vote for themselves. Here’s another good one: he wants the news media to remain quiet until after the polls close. To make it even better, why not require the candidates to remain quiet for at least a month before the polls open.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"I'm broadcasting from Sacramento, California; that's our capital out here, a beautiful state capital located in the civilized end of the state.

It's one of the old cities founded during the gold rush days. They used to use gold for money at one time in this country, but now it's the only thing you can't use for money.

(We’ve) got a legislature here. In fact, we got quite a few of them here in the hall – always an undesirable element pert near anywhere you go.

We're up here with a movie company, and the legislature, as I say, they're here, and people can't hardly tell which is which. We're up here making a comedy to try and put over on the people, and they're up here working on one to try to put over on the same people. Their comedy is going to have a little drama in it. For anytime you stick a couple of hundred million dollars on a state in taxes, why you're getting into tragedy then." Radio broadcast, May 19, 1935

"I was up in Sacramento last week. They wanted me to address the legislature, but I didn't get to do it. But it wouldn't have done much – there's nothing much you could do about a legislature.

I mean it wouldn't have done much good to address them. It's almost hopeless, and just about all you can do is just pay 'em and then hope for the best.

Funny joke on them though. They run out of money Wednesday, and they're not getting anything now, so they're getting just about what they're worth." Radio broadcast, May 26, 1935

Randall Reeder is Will Rogers Today
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.