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
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
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

(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
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
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.