Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekly Comments: Florida oysters and Jersey berry breeders lose in Congress #634

Dec. 19, 2010

COLUMBUS: Congress has been rushing around this week to make up for two years of procrastination. A couple of important bills passed.

But a Trillion dollar appropriations bill failed. It was so loaded down with Christmas presents, it never got off the ground. Six thousand pork barrel projects were wrapped and loaded in the back of Santa’s sleigh, and all it could do was slide down Capitol Hill and crash into a pile of stunned lobbyists. No doubt some of these earmark requests are valuable, but when you know $8 Billion would have to be borrowed from China, it puts these projects in a different light.

New Jersey asked for $500,000 for cranberry and blueberry breeding. Is that for people who want blue cranberries to go along with the red ones?

Retiring Ohio Senator, George Voinovich, asked for $20 million for a Coast Guard station in Cleveland, apparently to protect Ohio from an impending invasion of Canadians. There was $10 Million earmarked to build a Ted Kennedy Institute. The Kennedy family still has over a Billion of old Joe’s bootlegging profits, so they can easily build it themselves.

Florida requested $500,000 for "oyster safety". You know, the best way for a Florida oyster to stay safe from human hands is to claim it’s a close relative of Rocky Mountain oysters. Get a YouTube video showing how "Uncle Rocky" gets harvested and peeled, post a few photos on Facebook, and believe you me, Florida oysters will be safe from consumption by Easterners.

The whole tax argument is over who gets to play Santa Claus. Congress wants you to give ‘em a big chunk of what you earn so they can decide who gets a visit from St. Nick, and how much will be in each stocking. On the other hand, most folks would kinda like to keep most of what they earn, and make up their own mind on spending, investing, or what needy person or charity to give it to.

Merry Christmas everybody, including Congress. Let’s pray the Lame Ducks get out of town before turning into Turkeys. Or mountain oysters.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"Taxes is all there is to politics. You take taxes out of politics, and you don’t have any politics, or taxes, either." WA #161, Jan. 10, 1926

"Merry Christmas, my constant readers, both of you... Men, act surprised this morning as if you didn't know the tie was coming." DT #121, Dec. 24, 1926

"Generally speaking, we do have good cheer in our hearts on Christmas. 'Course, we can't hardly wait till the day is over and to get back to our devilment again." DT # 1379, Dec. 24, 1930

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

Monday, December 13, 2010

Weekly Comments: End of Prohibition could balance budget, and more #632

Dec. 5, 2010

COLUMBUS: Here’s good news from Washington tonight on WikiLeaks. President Obama has ordered all Federal employees without a security clearance to "avoid reading any classified documents from WikiLeaks." Six billion other people have read them, but for government workers they are off limits.

I want to assure our federal workers that nothing in this column is classified. You’re free to keep on reading. It is pure coincidence if any of my disparaging or humorous remarks about a foreign dignitary sound like they were uttered by an Ambassador.

On this day 77 years ago, Prohibition ended. The 21st Amendment wiped out the 18th Amendment but it had little effect on the amount that was drunk. After fourteen years, Americans could once again "have a sociable drink without watching the door."

This got me thinking about other things we Prohibit. What if we took off the prohibition of marijuana? I ain’t in favor of it, but imagine how it could turn out. California held a vote to legalize it November 2, but it failed because too many proponents started celebrating early and totally missed the election. If California farmers started growing thousands of acres of it like they do alfalfa and other crops, they could make a good living selling it for $200 a ton. California could tax it a dollar an ounce and balance the state budget.

The big city legislators would be overjoyed and vote to give the farmers all the irrigation water they need. Minnows be damned. All those tunnels under the Mexican border would come in handy to ship it the other way.

We export 80 percent of the cotton we grow and if we took over the world market in marijuana we could wipe out the trade deficit. If we expanded this idea to include Opium poppies, why it might even stop a war. Afghanistan poppy growers couldn’t compete with American farmers, and without those profits the Taliban is out of business.

Of course, this is foolishness. But no more foolish than some of the blabber coming out of Congress on why they can’t pass an income tax bill, an appropriations bill or an estate tax bill.

Oregon and Auburn finished undefeated and will play for the football championship. TCU was also unbeaten but they’ll have to be content trying to knock off Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Our system of deciding a football champion may have its defects and flaws, but at least we won’t make them fight it out in 120 degree heat in Qatar.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

"(Here’s) what is happening to the youth of this country through drugs. Talk about our crime waves, it's nothing but Heroin. They have got to rob to supply the dope. Talk about profit. Opium from the time a certain amount leaves its original owner until it is split up into all its various ingredients and passes through all the hundreds of hands, increases in value nine thousand times. Talk about bootlegging and doubling your money." WA #242, Aug. 14, 1927

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

Weekly Comments: A better plan for Social Security contributions #633

Dec. 12, 2010

COLUMBUS: The tax deal between the President and the Republicans would leave income taxes where they are, but workers who pay into Social Security will end up with a 2% raise for a year. That may be the only raise they get, so it’ll be appreciated. But the problem is, that means Social Security will go broke sooner.

A better plan would be to eliminate ALL employee contributions to Social Security for a year. But in return, everybody would have to wait a year later to start drawing out their SS checks. The workers won’t complain because they get the money immediately. They can spend it, like the Democrats want them to, or invest it as the Republicans prefer. They’re gonna raise the age anyway, why not do it at once and get it over with.

President Obama had President Clinton join him for a news conference. That went over so well, don’t be surprised if the next one, he’ll invite President Bush. Can you imagine the questions the White House press corps would fire at him? Are Sam Donaldson and Helen Thomas still around?

The President’s supporters are howling that he’s being too easy on the Republicans, giving in on taxes for the rich and estate taxes. Well, all he has to do is point to the election results. A bunch of these folks have been asleep since the election, and most of them were asleep during it. If they had all voted Nov. 2 Obama wouldn’t be in this predicament.

Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve fired up the old printing press. He got tired of waiting for the rest of us to spend some of the money we have stashed in the cookie jar. So he’ll run off $600,000,000 in new bills and spread them around the country. I know that Mr. Bernanke is a smart man, but it has me puzzled how this differs from your local counterfeiter. Either way, if the Xerox is working perfectly, these fresh bills spend the same as the real ones you’ve been hoarding. And the ones you’re been hoarding won’t buy as much as they used to.

John Boehner says that he’ll cut the budget for Congress by 5%. Makes you wonder why the whole federal government can’t do the same thing. At least it’s a start.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"Congress put a tax as high as 72% on some incomes. Of course for a man to give up three million out of four is tough; but, on the other hand, 90 percent of our people would be willing to give up 99 percent of a million if allowed to make one... The crime of taxation is not in the taking it, it's in the way that it's spent." DT #1764, March 20, 1932

(On inflation) "There's two different schools of thought in this country on the value of money. People who have money are against the printing press. They're against printing any more money. And people that haven't got any are in favor of it, you see? That's the two schools. Both of them, mind you, are equally honest. It's awful hard to reconcile two views like that. The only way I see for folks to ever view the money question alike is for everybody not to have any. Then they'll all look at it the same way; or go the other way and let everybody have some, and then they'll all look at it the same way. But if nobody's got any, the old printing press will look pretty good. But if everybody's got some, in the ash can goes the printing press." Radio, May 26, 1935

Randall Reeder

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

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weekly Comments: State Secrets, Billionaires and Lame Ducks #631

Nov. 28, 2010

COLUMBUS: The Lame Duck Congress is back. If we expect the same lame results and lame excuses at least we won’t be disappointed. The problem with this Congress is when it comes to important bills they keep ducking. Our income taxes are set to go up, the death tax returns, and no money has been appropriated to run the government.

On income taxes, I heard Warren Buffett and Bill Gates on television today say that billionaires should be paying higher taxes. Well, nobody is keeping them from writing a check to the government instead of to their charities. But those two men seem to prefer to decide where their money goes instead of leaving it up to Congress.

Wikileaks is raising havoc again. This Australian fellow – I believe his name is Assange, yes, Judas Assange – is publishing millions of secret messages stolen from the State Department. The news that these secret documents would be published made President Obama so mad he sent Assange an email.

If this had happened during World War II, do you think Roosevelt would have sent him a letter? Not a chance. General Eisenhower would have tracked him down and had him hung. And the traitors that leaked the information, too.

Assange says he is against war. If he wants to end the war, why don’t he publish secret messages from Osama bin Ladin and tell us where he’s hiding.

President Obama wants the Senate to approve a nuclear treaty. With all the threats coming from North Korea and Iran you might think this treaty discussion was with them. No, this treaty is with Russia. And the main argument with Russia is not over how many nuclear missiles each of us can have, but whether we can build a bigger defense to shoot ‘em down. Personally, I think we should sign the treaty, then go on building up our missile defense but keep it a secret. From the State Department. If they don’t know about it, neither will Wikileaks.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"A Lame Duck is a politician who has had his salary shot from under him." WA #101, Nov. 16, 1924
"Well, the lame ducks met Monday and that's why they are lame, is because their constituents were thinking faster than they was." DT #1974. Dec 1, 1932

"Everybody is knocking this lame-duck Congress, but do you know those fellows have a chance to make a real name for themselves... They know exactly how the people voted on every question that they will be asked to decide on. They know the majority didn't want prohibition. They know everybody wants government expense cut in half. So when any question comes up all they have to do is read the election returns." DT #1976, Dec. 4, 1932

"Diplomats write notes because they wouldn’t have the nerve to tell the same thing to each other’s face." Saturday Evening Post, June 9,1928

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

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekly Comments: Pat-downs, deficits, and giving thanks #630

Nov. 21, 2010

COLUMBUS: If you’re one of those airline passengers fretting over the new security procedures, I suggest you call your doctor and request, as a precautionary measure, an "internal urological examination." After they look around in there a while for kidney stones, even if they come up empty handed, those TSA pat-downs won’t seem so intrusive.

Ireland announced they need a bailout. I’ve always had a soft spot for Ireland. And I figure if every American who can trace their roots back to Ireland would send them a check for maybe $50, why that would help get them out of a hole. Of course it was the bankers who caused the financial meltdown (does that sound familiar?) so you may be reluctant send your dough to a country whose big bankers are just as shrewd, conniving, and underhanded as ours.

The United States is in a hole far deeper than Ireland’s. President Obama appointed a Commission to look for ways to eliminate the deficit and last week the Chairmen, Mr. Boles and Sen. Simpson, gave a preliminary report. From the reaction in Washington, you would have thought the world was ending. Republicans whined about paying more gas taxes and cuts to defense. Democrats howled about eliminating tax deductions, lowering tax rates, and the prospect that a 5-year old might have to work an extra two years before collecting Social Security. This yammering was caused by some reasonable men and women who have come up with ways to reduce our overspending by half. Imagine the ruckus if they had proposed eliminating it all together.

When you are spending $3.6 Trillion and taking in $2.1 Trillion, you gotta do more than skip a meal once in a while to balance a budget. One of their suggestions is to eliminate 20,000 federal employees (out of 200,000). I think it can work if we find the 20,000 who are responsible for spending the excess $1.5 Trillion every year, and get rid of them along with their budgets. We might lose a few Senators and Congressmen in the process (and a couple of Cabinet Secretaries), but that’s just the price you have to pay for sanity.

This is Thanksgiving week. Besides being thankful for the farmers who provide the food for a bountiful feast, I’m glad to live in a country where a nut can write stuff like this and put it in a newspaper without fear of arrest or getting shot.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"This is Thanksgiving. It was started by the Pilgrims, who would give thanks every time they killed an Indian and took more of his land. As years went by and they had all his land, they changed it into a day to give thanks for the bountiful harvest, when the boll-weevil and the protective tariff didn't remove all cause for thanks." DT #417, Nov. 23, 1927.

"I have been in twenty countries and the only one where American tourists are welcomed wholeheartedly by everyone is in Ireland. They don't owe us and they don't hate us." DT #3, Aug. 1, 1927

"A Senator named (Millard) Tydings the other day introduced a bill where the government couldn't appropriate more money than was coming in. That is, if you didn't have any money you could not dole out any. Well the Senate like to mobbed him. They called the idea treason, sacrilegious, inhuman and taking the last vestige of power for a politician, that is, the right to appropriate money which you don't have." DT #2024, Jan. 29, 1933

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

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekly Comments: Lame Duck Congress or Federal Reserve – which is worse? #629

Nov. 14, 2010

COLUMBUS: Congress returns this week. Not the one you just elected, the one you just kicked out. They’re back in Washington to finish off bills in the next two weeks that they couldn’t agree on for the past two years. Of course, about 75 of them are there mainly to update their resumes and try to land a job with the Administration.

Congress knew for years about the income tax increase coming due January 1. Republicans say nobody should have to pay more, while the Democrats say only the two percent who pay about a fourth of all our taxes should get stuck with a higher tax.

The whole debate centers on who gets to spend the money. The government says, "Give us your money and we’ll make sure it’s spent. In fact for every ten dollars you give us, we’ll likely spend fifteen." On the other side, the folks making over $200,000 say, "Leave us alone and we promise to spend it, not hoard it like we’re doing now. We’ll even hire some workers if we can find ones who want to work."

The Federal Reserve didn’t wait for Congress or the President to act on jobs or anything else. They just went out, borrowed a printing press, and ran off $600 Billion in fresh bills. Now, these bills are real, you can spend them, but they’re going to drop the value of any dollars you’ve got in the bank the same as if they were counterfeit.

The Federal Reserve is telling people who squirreled away some cash, even if it’s barely enough to retire on, that you better spend it because a dollar today will be worth only ninety cents in a few months. But old folks want to put it in something safe, like CDs, and live off the interest. Seems mighty logical. But the Federal Reserve don’t want you to save because they plan to lower the interest rate to zero. Maybe not actually zero, but if it’s half a percent, and you managed to scrimp and save $200,000, you’ll only have $1000 a year in interest to live on.

The old commodity traders saw this inflation coming. They loaded up on oil, corn, wheat, copper, cotton and gold and drove the price of these commodities way higher than a few months ago. We’re paying more for gasoline, but not because it’s worth more; it’s because the dollar is worth less. Let’s hope it don’t go from worth less to worthless.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"An awful lot of people are confused as to just what is meant by a Lame Duck Congress. It's like where some fellows worked for you and their work wasn't satisfactory and you let 'em out, but after you fired 'em, you let 'em stay long enough so they could burn your house down." DT #1980, Dec. 8, 1932

"Now maybe a little shot of printing money would be just what this country needs. They say there's nothing that will make a guy pull his dough out of a bank and start buying something with it as quick as to know that his dollar is going to go down in value. Well, when money's going down you want to have it in something besides a bank. So a little scare might have been just what was needed to kind of get things started" Radio, May 26, 1935

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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekly Comments: Election campaign climaxes, alibis are next #627

Folks, I’ll be on the road this week, in California and Oklahoma. In Long Beach Tuesday (election day), I’ll speak about soil at the national convention of agronomists and soil scientists, then fly to Oklahoma for Will Rogers’ birthday celebration, Thur.-Sat. I hope to see a few of you.

Weekly Comments: Election campaign climaxes, alibis are next
#627 Oct 31, 2010

COLUMBUS: This election campaign is climaxing in Ohio. Bill Clinton and Vice-President Biden were here. And President Obama was in Cleveland today pushing Democrats to vote. You know, when it takes a President to convince Cleveland to vote Democratic, prospects ain’t looking so good for Democrats.

Over in Yemen a few disguised bombs were air mailed by way of FedEx to the US. The good news, for now, is they were intercepted before any exploded. Yemen is an Arab country, pretty much controlled by Al-Qaida. Everyone knows Muslims did it. But you’ll be surprised how many TV commentators will question that conclusion. They’ll say, "It’s not fair to blame it on Muslims. Those bombs could have been put together and mailed by Jews or Hindus or even Methodists."

When it comes to elections, there was one held in Indianapolis last week that hardly anyone can argue with. The National FFA selected their officers for next year and the President is from Oklahoma. Riley Pagett is a member of the Woodward FFA Chapter out in the western end of the state. He and five other officers will be traveling the country, speaking on behalf of what we used to call Future Farmers of America. Several previous national FFA Presidents have gone on to outstanding careers and Riley is sure to join them, if we can keep him out of politics.

Speaking of elections, if you are visiting the United States either legally or illegally, and you’ve got a hankerin’ to vote Tuesday, go to Arizona. See, two federal judges ruled that you don’t have to be an American citizen to vote in Arizona. I know a few Canadians who may fly south early just to have a say in how this country is run. From now on, when it comes to questionable election results, Arizona will rank right up there with Chicago.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (on elections)
"We cuss ‘em and we joke about ‘em, but if they wasent in (Congress), why, they would be doing something else against us that might be worse." Saturday Evening Post, July 24, 1926

"Our system has been that when a man is defeated at election he is appointed to a bigger job than the one he was defeated for." DT #1346, Nov. 16, 1930

"In this country people don't vote for, they vote against. The votes was against Hoover [in 1932]. It doesn't matter who was running." Radio, June 9, 1935

"A flock of Democrats will replace a mess of Republicans in quite a few districts. It won't mean a thing. They will go in like all the rest of 'em, go in on promises and come out on alibis." WA #403, Sept. 14, 1930

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

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekly Comments: Will offers plan for a gutsy candidate #625

Oct 17, 2010

COLUMBUS: The federal deficit is $1.3 Trillion this year. The President says the economy is improving because last year it was $1.4 Trillion.

President Obama was back in Columbus today. He’s been in Ohio a dozen times lately, rounding up votes. He’s telling Democrats, "Even if you don’t have a job, vote for the Democrat anyway. No use for both of you to be unemployed."

Speaker Pelosi’s comment about "more bang for the buck" is getting attention. You would be surprised the number of Democrat candidates who are carrying rifles in their TV ads. In West Virginia, Joe Manchin is not only carrying, but firing. He shot a hole plumb through the Carbon Tax and Trade bill. A lot of Democrats in Congress are taking aim at Pelosi.

Every candidate has been asked exactly how they will cut the deficit. Nary a one has been honest enough to answer, for fear of losing a couple of votes.

Here’s what I suggest for a candidate to announce next week, "Let’s raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 or 72. There will be no inflation adjustment for next year because there was no inflation. Be patient because inflation will take off sooner or later, and we’ll scrape us a small increase for you. For those on Medicaid, you better find a way to live healthier because you’re gonna pay half. Same for Medicare except you pay a quarter, including for drugs. For unemployment, forget about 99 weeks of checks. With my plan, the first week you get 100 percent, and it declines every week until after 29 weeks it’s zero. Currently you wait till the checks stop, then find a job. From now on, you decide how low to let it go before you get off the couch. We’ll raise the income tax, but only on the half that aren’t paying any. It’ll only be 5 percent, and it will give these poor folks a stake in wanting government to spend wisely. We’ll eliminate all public employee unions. If you want to join a union, work for a private company.
We’ll phase out home mortgage deductions. It’s the tax advisors that convince people to keep a maximum mortgage until they’re 80; take out that loophole and they’ll pay off the house by 50 or so, and be glad of it."

For any candidate who will make that proposal I can guarantee one thing: on November 2 he’ll lose. But in 5 to 10 years, people will be telling him he was right.

The rescue of those 33 Chili miners was an inspiring engineering achievement. A determined President went out and got the brightest, most experienced drillers in the world and turned them loose. NASA helped design the recovery capsule. And the miners were brilliantly organized and disciplined.

The first big football poll came out tonight. Oklahoma and Oregon are on top, and that means only one thing. Next Saturday, look for them to get beat.

Historic quote from Will Rogers: (Note that 2010 is kinda opposite of 1930.)
"My advice is, keep the Republicans in power. Otherwise you will add to the unemployment for, if you throw a Republican out there is nothing else he can do, while a Democrat must be able to making a living out of office. Otherwise he would not be living." DT #1335, Nov. 3, 1930

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

Weekly Comments: Politics getting smelly close to the election #624


COLUMBUS: The news got even worse for the Democrats this week. Unemployment is stuck at close to ten percent, and one out of every seven Americans are poverty stricken. And more of them than ever live in foreclosed homes in the suburbs.

Of course it was moving to the suburbs that caused a lot of these problems. When everyone lived in a big house in town, maybe with your in-laws and a bunch of kids, you could walk to work or school. I blame Henry Ford. When he started making the Model T Ford so cheap that just about anyone could afford one, why we moved out of town, built our own house and drove everywhere. Now you’re stuck with two cars and two mortgages. And when your two jobs disappeared, sharing a big house in town don’t seem so bad.

Speaker Pelosi announced that the best economic recovery plan is to hand out more food stamps and unemployment checks. She said that will give the "most bang for the buck." Well, I don’t know what economist she has been talking to, if any. I figure the loudest bang you’ll hear from these out-of-work men will be when they go into the woods aiming to shoot a buck. That can get you more meat than a month’s worth of food stamps.

We only have three weeks till the election. Can you survive that long? With some of these political ads on TV, you’ve got to not only cover your ears and close your eyes, but hold your nose, too. There seem to be more polecats running than usual.

Everybody knows there will be a bunch more Republicans elected to Congress. But the Democrats aren’t giving up without a fight. Why, there’s a few Democrat candidates cussing the President more than the Republicans are.

In West Virginia, the governor is running for Robert Byrd’s old Senate seat. He has come out against just about every one of the President’s policies, but still claims to be a Democrat. Most voters are telling him, "You stay as Governor and let us send someone else to clean up Washington."

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, Oct. 18, 1931

"There is something about a Republican that you can only stand for him just so long. And, on the other hand, there is something about a Democrat that you can't stand for him quite that long." DT #1955, Nov. 9, 1932

(After the dedication of the new Will Rogers Hotel in Claremore, Oklahoma) "I know now how proud Christopher Columbus must have felt when he heard they had named Columbus, Ohio, after him." DT #1111, Feb. 16, 1930

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

Weekly Comments: Congress prefers campaigning to voting #623

Oct. 3, 2010

COLUMBUS: McDonald’s may be dropping health insurance for their employees and that’s got Democrats in Congress concerned. After November, that’s where some of these folks may be working.

As for McDonald’s, the folks who should be concerned about health insurance are the ones eating there. But really, I’m not going to take potshots at any hamburger joint. I’ve raised (and eaten) enough beef in my time to know it won’t hurt you. If you want to stick to eating only vegetables, that’s fine with me. But I’ll take my chances with ham or steak or chicken breast meat along with potatoes, soup beans and onions. And cherry pie. Now that’s good eatin’.

Granted, eating a half dozen Big Macs every day might not leave you feeling chipper. But neither would five pounds a day of broccoli.

Rahm Emanuel is returning to Chicago to run for mayor. Politics in Washington was too mild for him. In Chicago he can cuss out the gangsters and a few stray Republicans.

Washington is deserted. With less than a month till the election, Congress decided it was more important to go home and tell the voters how they intend to vote instead of actually voting. If you want to know where your candidate stands on income tax rates, inheritance taxes, or immigration, just ask. But you can only vote for the person, not how he will vote. In the Lame Duck session, he might do just the opposite. In that two week session after the election, Speaker Pelosi says they will vote on twice as many bills as they have in the previous two years.
In California, the race for governor heated up. Not over how to fix a Fifty Billion Dollar deficit, but rather Meg Whitman’s maid who was fired more than a year ago. It seems Jerry Brown just learned the maid was a Mexican working here illegally, and made an example of her. On TV, Whitman said, "She told us she was legal, we treated her like part of the family, and paid her $23 an hour." The next day two million Californians called Whitman’s campaign office. Not to volunteer, not to complain, but rather to apply for the maid’s old job.

The government announced a warning for anyone traveling to Europe. Al Qaeda is threatening to blow up Europe like they did New York. Well, your odds of being wiped out by a terrorist are probably lower than being killed by a teenager texting while driving. Threat or no threat, here’s what I suggested in 1930: There ought to be a law against anybody going to Europe till they had seen the things we have in this country.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
"I'll bet there is more fool things done for publicity's sake that defeat their own purpose than ever aided it." DT #1816, May 19, 1932

"Being serious or being a good fellow has got nothing to do with running this country. If the breaks are with you, you could be a laughing hyena and still have a great administration." DT #1315, Oct. 10, 1930

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

Weekly Comments: Election campaigns are same as 80 years ago #626

Oct 24, 2010

COLUMBUS: President Obama is crisscrossing the country campaigning for Democrats. Sarah Palin is doing the same for Republicans. Don’t know if it’ll help anybody, except maybe the opponents.

Most Democrats running for Congress swear that if elected, they will vote with the Republicans. And the Republicans vow they will never repeat the mistakes they made from 2002 to 2006. With the mishmash conglomeration that’s gonna get in there, Lord knows what shape we’ll be in by 2012.

As bad as the TV ads are, a surefire way for a candidate to get more votes would be to announce, "I’m stopping all campaigning. No more blistering ads, no long-winded speeches, no harassing phone calls. I’m gonna stay home for the next week, sit on the back porch and contemplate our future. Call me if you want to talk. Here’s my number ______."

Baseball decided they should start the World Series before Halloween. The Texas Rangers are in there for the first time, taking on the Giants of San Francisco. All the big baseball experts from east of the Mississippi were hoping for a few November night games in the balmy climates of New York or Philadelphia. They’ll find that these boys out West can play the game too, if they bother to watch.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (on election campaigns)

"Come pretty near having two holidays of equal importance in the same week, Halloween and Election, and of the two, election day provides us the most fun. On Halloween they put pumpkins on their heads, and on Election day they don't have to. 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

"My idea of the height of conceit would be a political speaker that would go on the air when that World Series is on." DT #683, Oct 3, 1928

"There should be a moratorium called on candidates' speeches. From now on they are just talking themselves out of votes... You can do everybody a big favor by going fishing, then come back next Wednesday and we will let you know which one is the lesser of the two evils."DT #1948, Nov. 2, 1932

"All you will hear from now until the [election] will be: ‘We must get our government out of the hands of predatory wealth.’ ‘The good people of this great country are burdened to death with taxes." WA #86, Aug. 3, 1924

"The promising season ends next Tuesday, and at about 8 o'clock that same night the alibi season opens. Can you remember back when the promise was made on both sides that ‘The campaign will be run on a high plane’? This campaign ends Tuesday, but it will take two generations to sweep up the dirt." DT #706, Oct. 31, 1928

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

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekly Comments: Taxpayers waiting for relief, except in Arkansas #621

Sept. 19, 2010

COLUMBUS: Congress is back, so the comedy should be getting better. We had a long dry spell because most of them went home in August, locked their door, and didn’t come out till they were forced to return to the old Joke Factory. They would occasionally sneak a peek out the kitchen window, but when they saw what the Tea Party did to some of their friends, they jumped back in bed.

Before I get into the tax bill, did you see where Lady Gaga went to an awards show wearing a "dress" made entirely of meat? It was all beef, what there was of it. Not a speck of cereal. Just some cotton thread to hold it together. Ranchers and cattlemen appreciate her support, but if she ever offers you a slice of rump roast, refuse it.

Democrats and Republicans are arguing over the tax cuts that are expiring January 1. Republicans want to keep all income taxes where they are, but Democrats want to raise ‘em for anyone making over $250,000. Democrats figure that’s only 2 percent of the voters, but Republicans say, "Yes, but that 2 percent pays half the taxes, and their spending keeps the economy going." It all boils down to arithmetic, and who is doing the ciphering. To Democrats, votes is most important. To Republicans, it’s dollars.

I think the Democrats might go along with the Republicans if they adopt a controversial provision from the 1935 Townsend Plan. Dr. Townsend’s plan to give pensions to old folks was to pay them $200 a month, but (and here’s the requirement that killed it in the Senate) they have to spend it. No saving for a rainy day. Every month, spend every dollar.

Now, if these higher income folks, and maybe the rest of us, would agree that every month we’ll spend whatever the savings is between the Republican and Democrat plans, then it might get through Congress. That way, the money will be spent to stimulate the economy. The only difference is, the taxpayer decides where his money is spent instead of President Obama.

In Arkansas, Senator Lincoln didn’t wait for any tax savings plan; she reached into Treasury Secretary Geithner’s back pocket and plucked out some cash for her rice and cotton farmers. It’s a Disaster Aid package that zeros in on Arkansas. I figure if Sen. Lincoln hands out about $500,000,000, and she needs roughly 500,000 votes to win re-election, that comes to $1000 per vote.

That may seem absurd if you don’t live in Arkansas, but odds are your own Congressman or Senator has grabbed even more to spread among the voters.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
"The whole trouble with the Republicans is their fear of an increase in income tax, especially on higher incomes. They speak of it almost like a national calamity." DT #1435, Feb. 27, 1931

"The crime of taxation is not in the taking it, it's in the way that it's spent." DT #1764, March 20, 1932
"Our government is the only people that just loves to spend without being compelled to, at all. But the government is the only people that don't have to worry where it's coming from." Radio, April 21, 1935

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

Weekly Comments: Congress delays tax votes, prefers comedy instead #622

Sept. 26, 2010

COLUMBUS: Lindsay Lohan is back in a Hollywood jail. Meanwhile in New York the young woman hiker that Iran let out of jail for $500,000 met with Iran’s Ahmadinejad. She asked him to release the two guys that were with her but they could not agree on a price. Personally, I think we should offer a trade. Iran gives us the two men, and we give them Lohan and Paris Hilton.

Congress announced they do not have time to vote on the income tax bill until after the election. The voters already know where their Congressman stands on health care, the energy tax and illegal immigration, so Speaker Pelosi does not want to saddle the voters with having another hot issue to keep track of. On November 2, they’ll just have to guess whether their Senator or Representative is for or against ‘em. Of course the same bird that says he’s against a higher income tax now can turn around and vote for it after he’s knocked out.

One reason Congress is short of time is they invited comedian Stephen Colbert to testify about his views on farming. In his entire life he worked exactly one day on a farm so naturally Congress wanted to find out what he knew.

If Congress had invited some actual farmers and ranchers they could have heard the real scoop on agriculture. But farmers in the Midwest are all harvesting their corn and soybeans this month and don’t have time to go to Washington, even to ask for relief.

Congress also put off a vote on the inheritance tax. If you die now, your family gets to keep it all. But if you wait till January to die, the government gets first crack at your fortune, and all the heirs get is a check for what’s left over. Rich old folks will be wary of what Christmas packages they allow under the tree. If it’s ticking, out it goes.

Have you noticed that cars today don’t have bumpers? They used to be strong steel that protected your car when, for example, you bumped into another car while parallel parking. But now these so-called bumpers are self-destructing, plastic coated cardboard that collapses at the first hint of a slight bump with another so-called bumper. In the old days if your car rolled into another one at 3 miles per hour you got a slight jolt. Now what you get is a repair bill for $4000.

I read in the Sunday paper that in Cuba, businesses can now hire people to work for them. Maybe we ought to try that.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"Everything is changing in America. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke, when it used to be visa versa." DT #1966, Nov. 22, 1932

"Now they got such a high inheritance tax on 'em that you won't catch these old rich boys dying promiscuously like they did. This bill makes patriots out of everybody. You sure do die for your country if you die from now on." DT #1767, March 23, 1932

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

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Weekly Comments: Will suggests a quote for President’s new rug #619

Sept. 5, 2010

COLUMBUS: President Obama redecorated the Oval Office. He kept the historic desk, but ordered a new rug to lay on the floor. He had some of his favorite quotes sewed into the rug. Every time he walks into the office he looks down at it, reads one of those quotes, and it inspires or kinda prepares him for the tribulations and turmoil he’s about to face .

Here’s an authentic quote he should add to the Oval Office rug. "I’m not a member of any organized political party... I’m a Democrat."

Then the next time he wonders, "Why can’t I get anything else through Congress? The House is Democratic, the Senate is Democratic, and I’m a Democrat." Just read the quote.

Here’s another one. "Democrats never agree on anything, that’s why they’re Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they’d be Republicans." The next time Congressman John Boehner came to the Oval Office to sound off about something, he would see that quote and laugh so hard he’d forget what it was he wanted to complain about.

Now, I ain’t all one sided. Someday a Republican will get elected President. Eventually. He’ll throw out the Obama rug and bring in a new one. (Or if he’s like Coolidge, he would just turn the rug over and write on the other side.) Here’s a quote for a Republican president to ponder: "Democrats and Republicans are equally corrupt where money’s concerned. It’s only in the amount where the Republicans excel." In fact, that might explain how he got elected.

The economy keeps getting worse. Almost 10% are unemployed and we lost more jobs in August. Here it is Labor Day, and nobody in Washington can agree on how to get people back to work. Republicans want to extend the tax cuts, but Democrats say that’s ok for the poor, but if you’re rich, you need to pay more. Obama says, "If we give rich people a tax cut they won’t spend it. They just put it in the bank or invest it." Well, maybe that’s how they got rich, by saving rather than spending. Instead of criticizing these folks, the President ought to be promoting them.

If some of that money goes to banks instead of Washington, maybe they’ll see fit to loan it out to business so they can hire more help. Of course, the President has to let these businesses know the government isn’t going to swoop in and take more from them for everyone they hire.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"Last year we said: Things can’t go on like this! and they didn’t. They got worse." Jan. 11, 1930

"But we can't alibi all our ills by just knocking the old banker. First he loaned the money, then the people all at once wanted it back, and he didn't have it. Now he's got it again, and is afraid to loan it, so the poor devil don't know what to do." DT #1833, June 8, 1932

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

Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekly Comments: Will recalls Hurricane Katrina, 5 years ago #618

Aug. 29, 2010

COLUMBUS: The economic news got worse this week for the President. A poll reported that 83% of Americans are sending a message to Washington; they rated the economy as Bad or Fairly Bad. The other 17% are actually in Washington.

For everywhere except Washington, unemployment is over 10 percent. Washington is the only place where everybody is employed. (Notice I said "is employed", not "is working".)

It’s been 5 years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and all the newspapers and TV folks are looking back at what they said and wrote at the time. I happened to be in New Orleans following a speaking engagement on the paddle wheeler, American Queen. We were fortunate to be among the last ones to fly out of the New Orleans airport, just 36 hours before the storm hit.

Here are some of my "Weekly Comments" written in the month after Katrina devastated New Orleans. (I was not kind to the Mayor and Governor.)

A gigantic hurricane was forecast to take dead aim on New Orleans 5 days (before it hit). That extremely accurate prediction was made by an agency of the United States government, so don't go laying all the blame on the Feds...

The Times-Picayune reports that as a result of a big hurricane New Orleans is flooded, poor people are stranded and hungry and clinging to rooftops, and chaos rules. Of course that was in the paper in 2002, but nobody at City Hall bothered to read it, even if they could read. Blame the editor for not putting in more pictures...

I have heard (President Bush) will give New Orleans at least $100 Billion for relief. For that you ought to be able to buy New Orleans, at least the part below sea level. In fact if we're going to spend it, that would be a great idea because you would only have to spend it once. For a family living in a $50,000 house below sea level, it will cost at least $100,000 to rebuild it, and the next hurricane it'll get flooded again and cost us $150,000. Now, we know these folks want to go right back where they lived, and who can blame them. But let's make sure where they build is above water level. Anybody that insists on living below sea level, let 'em rebuild in Death Valley.

Here is the key to my Plan for New Orleans. You take all the area below sea level, and divide it in half. Let's say for discussion purposes that whole flooded area is 2000 acres. The half that's the lowest (deepest) will be dug out even deeper, maybe 10 to 20 feet deeper than it is now, and let it fill with water. And you use the fill dirt you took from that half to build up the other half, so where now you have 2000 acres that's likely to flood every now and again, after we move all that dirt, you'll have a beautiful1000-acre lake, and 1000 acres of dry land ready to build on. Of course, we'll use some of that fill material to raise and strengthen the levees.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (on the Mississippi River flood of 1927)
"There will be bills introduced in (Congress) to regulate the rainfalls. Some will suggest moving the river over into some other Senator's state. Some will suggest letting it empty into the Grand Canyon where the levees on each side are high enough now without rebuilding them. Someone will introduce a bill to have the river run up hill so it won't go so fast. But the people down there better not put too much dependence in Congress. They can grow web feet quicker than Congress will relieve 'em. If I was them, I would make my next house a house boat. But Congress might fool us, and let us all hope and pray they will, for if anybody ever needed help it's those people down there.” WA #231, May 15, 1927

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

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weekly Comments: Will offers tips on gov’t spending... and eggs #617

Aug. 22, 2010

COLUMBUS: Washington is on vacation. President Obama is at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts where he traveled after a day at the beach in Florida where he met up with his wife returning from a week in Spain.

Congress is back home. Actually, no one has seen them. Last August they held town hall meetings that caused such a ruckus (remember?), so this year they are holed up in the basement.

All except Vice-President Biden. He come out and said don’t be concerned about the economy, enjoy the rest of the summer, and things will look brighter when Congress gets back to work in a month. In other words, if you are out of a job think of it as a long vacation.

The President has so often been on the opposite side of what people want that he’s sitting up there on a sailboat wondering, "Ain’t there something I can be in favor of that the majority of Americans will agree with me." On illegal immigration, the mosque, health care, government jobs, energy taxes, income taxes and inheritance taxes – he’s been on the short end of all these.

Well, here’s my suggestion that would make everybody cheer him and forget the past. The President should announce tomorrow that Football is a great sport and that we should all support our favorite teams, whether in the NFL, college, high school or peewee. But don’t be surprised if he messes up and instead of football he says soccer.

A long time ago I said, Be glad you don’t get all the government you pay for. Times sure have changed. Today, we got more government than we know what to do with, and we’re only paying for 60 percent of it. China is covering the rest. If we had to pay the total bill, we would all end up at the Poor Farm.

What do we do with all this excess government? The part of it you get yourself, just refuse it. Say, "No, it's government money, and it's tainted. And I don't believe in the government spending all this money, and hence I don't take any part of it." (Radio, Apr. 7, 1935)

Here’s a public service announcement about Eggs. If you plan to eat eggs, make sure they are well cooked. If on the other hand you intend only to throw them at a rotten politician, I suggest Blagojevich. He was saved by a lone juror, likely bought off by the Chicago mafia. He’ll be harder to get behind bars than Al Capone. Frankly, I don’t care if he’s free, if he’ll just shut up and disappear. Like Congress this August.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"Looks like the taxpayers in the U. S. are the only folks hiring any help nowadays. A private business, when it don't do any business, don't use anybody. But the less business the public has the more we hire to tend to it. There is but one county institution that needs enlarging, and that's the Insane place; put us all in there till we know enough to vote to cut out at least 50 percent of our governing expenses." DT #1846, July 5, 1932

"Sure, the government can help us on everything – if we just furnish ‘em the money to do it with." Notes, undated.

"What the government has got to do is live as cheap as the people." DT #1990, Dec. 20, 1932

"It costs ten times more to govern us than it used to, and we are not governed one-tenth as good." DT #1770, March 27, 1932

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

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekly Comments: Remembering Will Rogers, 75 years later #615

Aug. 8, 2010

Seventy-five years ago, Aug. 15, 1935, Will Rogers and world-renowned pilot Wiley Post died at Point Barrow, Alaska. Below are the syndicated newspaper articles, slightly shortened, that Will wrote and sent by telegram in his last week on Earth:

JUNEAU, Alaska, Aug. 7, 1935. Well that was some trip. Thousand-mile hop from Seattle to Juneau. Was going to stop at Ketchikan for lunch, but mist and rain and Wiley just breezed through, never over 100 feet off the water.
And talk about navigating. There is millions of channels and islands and bays and all look alike to me, but this old boy turns up the right alley all the time.
Nothing that I have ever seen is more beautiful than this inland passage, by either boat or plane, to Alaska.

Aug. 8. This is Juneau, the capital of the whole territory of Alaska... The Chamber of Commerce will shoot me for this, but I have been buying raincoats since early morning.
We are going to Skagway now and see the famous Chilkoot Pass. We will do it in ten minutes and it took the pioneers two and three months.

Aug. 9. Bad weather. Not a plane mushed out of Juneau yesterday... Tourists are still arriving by the boatload. Mining activity everywhere. Not much news of Congress, and what we do get is mostly bad. Guess it's about the same down there.

AKLAVIK, N. W. T., Aug. l0. Get your map out and look this up. The mouth of the Mackenzie River, right on the Arctic Ocean. Eskimos are thicker than rich men at a "Save the Constitution convention." We are headed for famous Hershel Island in the Arctic.
Old Wiley had to duck his head to keep from bumping it as we flew under the Arctic Circle. What, no night? It's all day up here.

AKLAVIK, N. W. T., Aug. l2. Was you ever driving around in a car and not knowing or caring where you went? Well, that's what Wiley and I are doing. We are sure having a great time. If we hear of whales or polar bears in the Arctic, or a big herd of caribou or reindeer we fly over and see it. Friday and Saturday we visited the old Klondike district, Dawson City, Bonanza, Eldorado.
Say, there is a horse here; the furthest north of any horse, and he eats fish and travels on snowshoes.

FAIRBANKS, Aug. 13. This Alaska is a great country. If they can just keep from being taken over by the U. S. they got a great future. This is the greatest aviation-minded city of its size in the world. There is only 30,000 white people in Alaska and there is seventy commercial planes operating every day, in winter on skis.
There may be some doubt about the Louisiana purchase being a mistake, but when Seward in 1868 bought Alaska for $7,000,000 he even made up for what we had overpaid the Indians for Manhattan Island.

ANCHORAGE, Aug. l4. Well, we had a day off today and nothing to do, so we went flying with Joe Crosson, Alaska's crack pilot, who is a great friend of Wiley's... In a Lockheed Electra we scaled Mount McKinley, the highest one on the American Continent. Bright sunny day and the most beautiful sight I ever saw... Flew right by hundreds of mountain sheep, flew low over moose and bear down in the valley. Now out to visit Matamuska Valley, where they sent those 1935 model pioneers [as a New Deal project].

FAIRBANKS, Aug. l5. Visited our new emigrants. Now this is no time to discuss whether it will succeed or whether it won't, whether it's farming country or whether it is not, and to enumerate the hundreds of mistakes and arguments and management in the whole thing at home and here. As I see it, there is now but one problem, and that's to get them housed within six or eight weeks. Things have been a terrible mess. They are getting them straightened out, but not fast enough. But it's just a few weeks to snow now and they have to be out of the tents...
There is a lot of difference in pioneering for gold and pioneering for spinach.

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

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekly Comments: Bank reform and a leaning bridge draw Will’s attention #613

July 25, 2010

COLUMBUS: President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform bill. But really, it’s more of a Jobs bill, and all the new jobs will be in Washington. Thousands of Wall Streeters will move down there to advise the government on how to reform Wall Street. A couple dozen Harvard professors will be hired to assist them. Their job will be to write the rules in such a way that nobody can understand them except lawyers. Only one thing will be clear: there will be no rules or regulations pertaining to the financial dealings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Or Congress. Thereby assuring the failure of any financial reforms.

You have read in the papers that Wall Street banks paid bonuses of $2 Billion. These bonuses were paid even though those same outfits went so deep in the hole they had to be bailed out with $800 Billion. It kinda makes you wonder how much those birds rake in when they’re profitable.

Meanwhile, the BP Board of Directors is giving CEO Tony Heyward a $15 Million bonus. To leave. He also gets to keep his yacht and all the oil he can scoop up from the Gulf. No word from the Board yet if they are accepting my suggestion to change the name from BP to Amoco. That idea ought to be worth another $15 Million.

Here in Columbus, the mayor cut the ribbon on a new bridge. It was designed by a Harvard professor named Spiro Pollalis who said the 660 foot long bridge would cost $20 million. It’s called an inclined-arch bridge with one arch, not two, and the arch leans about 10 degrees upstream. Well, he designed it with match sticks and the engineers had to add a million pounds of steel to the design and 2500 cubic yards of concrete so it wouldn’t fall in the river. The cost TRIPLED to $60 million. But the mayor says it’s worth it because this bridge will become the symbol for Columbus, Ohio, the way the Space Needle is to Seattle, the Gateway Arch is to St. Louis and the Leaning Tower is to Pisa.

It seems we spent $20 million to cross the river and $40 million for advertising purposes. From now on, whenever you see on TV a prominent person being interviewed in Columbus, he will be standing in front of this bridge. Or maybe he’ll be standing on it, where hordes of tourists eventually will be photographed, pushing against the tilting arch. The mayor will go down in history because the city will become famous worldwide as the home of the Leaning Bridge of Columbus.

Professor Pollalis was asked about the extra $40 million for his bridge design, he scoffed and said, "In Athens, Greece, today nobody thinks about what the Parthenon cost." He’s right. Greece has been operating by that same economic plan for centuries. That’s why they’re broke.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

"Banking and After Dinner Speaking are two of the most Non-essential industries we have in this country. I am ready to reform if they are." WA #14, March 14, 1923

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

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekly Comments: Wall Street reform, carbon taxes and the Constitution #612

July 16, 2010

COLUMBUS: The big financial reform bill passed Congress. This is the Dodd-Frank bill I told you about last month. I thought they had passed it at 5 in the morning, but that was only a preliminary bill. They took another three weeks to see how much more they could pile on to it.

They got the bill up to 2300 pages, but they still could not find room for even a paragraph on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. How can they claim to reform Wall Street and prevent another financial catastrophe when the main culprits are left alone? That’s like saying, we will stop illegal immigration by patrolling the Mexican border, except for Arizona.

Next they are going to take on the electric power companies. See, this oil spill down in the Gulf made Congress so mad at Big Oil they are getting even by attacking Coal. Senator Kerry says we can’t tax the carbon in oil and gasoline now, so we’ll tax the carbon in coal. I guess he figures we would gripe if we see the price of gasoline increase at the pump, but an increase in the electric bill will slip through.

It appears that BP has capped the well. Once we know for sure there is no more oil leaking into the Gulf, vacationers will return to the beaches. There will still be millions of gallons of oil floating in the water, but people will react to a few tar balls the same as they do to jellyfish: we’ll put up with a little annoyance to enjoy the water and sandy beaches.

The heat has been in the news, and not just the Heat in Miami that signed LeBron James. It’s been so hot across the country Al Gore wishes he had scheduled a Global Warming conference this month. He could gather his doubters in a big convention center, turn off the air conditioning, and start talking. By supper time they would all be persuaded. And talking all day, Al would sweat so much he could go straight to sleep without need of a massage.

The NAACP is angry at the Tea Party, and the Tea Party is upset about the Black Panthers. The Constitution is in the middle, and you wonder how many have read it.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

(Many folks say) "‘Leave the Constitution alone.’ And that's mighty good logic. But here's something they forget. You or I can rightfully say we got where we are by these laws, but there's a lot of folks that haven't got anywhere under ‘em, you know. And the prospects ain't any too bright for 'em to get any further. So they might not be averse to some small change in the Constitution. They might say, ‘Yes, give us what you've got, and we'll say it's a perfect Constitution, too.’ See?
So it all gets back to just how good has the Constitution been to you? That's all it is. And nobody can answer that question but yourself. I would say that to the big majority, almost a unanimous majority over a long course of years, it's been a mighty fine old document, and any person will think mighty serious before he'll vote for any change in the Constitution." Radio, July 9, 1935

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

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Weekly Comments: AG Eric Holder announces a surprise lawsuit #611

July 11, 2010

COLUMBUS: Attorney General Eric Holder sued Arizona for passing a law that allows the state to enforce a federal law that bans illegal immigration. He said, "No state has a right to ban illegal immigration because that job belongs to the federal government."

As a follow up, and to promote the Obama Administration views on immigration, Mr. Holder plans to sue the federal government for having a law that bans illegal immigration.
In the Super Bowl of soccer, Spain beat Netherlands 1-0 in the World Cup. Spain scored 8 times in 7 games, the mark of a dominating champion if there ever was one. It took them until near the end of the second overtime to score their only goal, and that was against a team that was a man short.

Now, I know we’re told that Americans should not joke about soccer because it is most popular sport in the world. But we can’t help it. The two easiest jobs in the world are working as a World Cup timekeeper and scorekeeper. The timer starts the clock and returns 45 minutes later to stop it. Then he rests a few minutes and does it again. The only trick to the job is that when hitting the start-stop button he can’t use his hands. The scorekeeper sits beside the timekeeper and when the fellow on the radio, whose only job is to yell G-O-O-O-O-A-A-A-L-L-L-L when someone scores (and that’s the third easiest job), well, that’s when the scorekeeper changes the 0 to 1, and goes back to sleep.

American kids like playing soccer, so when the World Cup comes on again in 4 years we’ll probably watch it. But only if they ban those darned horns.

Al-Qaeda published a new magazine, Inspire, to recruit English-speaking Muslim terrorist bombers. When asked for reaction from the President, a spokesman said, "It’s a missed opportunity. If we had known they were going to publish, we would have bought a full page NASA ad."

Back to the Arizona lawsuit, a friend of mine in Tennessee suggested instead of battling illegal immigration, we should just give back to Mexico the border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California. Then sit back and watch the fun as Mexico figures out how to deal with all their new illegal non-Mexican residents. The only problem is that when Mexico sees the California mountain of debt and Arizona’s foreclosed homes, they would be begging the U.S. to take them back. Mexico would say, "We don’t want to own your states; we just want our people to live and work there and send money home."

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
"There is a good deal in the papers about giving my native state of Oklahoma back to the Indians. Now I am Cherokee Indian and very proud of it, but I doubt if you can get them to accept it – not in its present state." WA #59, Jan. 27, 1924

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

Monday, July 5, 2010

Weekly Comments: Sen. Byrd helps state one last time #610

July 4, 2010

WESTON, West Va: Senator Robert Byrd left the Capitol Building for a final time last week. He was elected to Congress the same year Eisenhower was elected President, 1952.

As President, Eisenhower is remembered for building the Interstate Highway system. In West Virginia, Byrd is remembered for building everything else. Not quite, but he did arrange for a few buildings, including Social Security and FBI units, to settle in West Virginia when they ran out of space in DC.

I got to introduce him once in 1978 in Charleston when a wonderful group called Toastmasters gave him a Communication and Leadership award. He was the Senate Majority Leader at the time.

Byrd’s funeral was Friday in Charleston. When you look over the list of dignitaries who attended, including the President and Congressional leaders, you realize that, even in death, he managed to bring a few more federal dollars to his home state.

Down on the Gulf coast, a lot of beaches were deserted for the holiday. Usually hurricanes get the blame, but this year it’s BP.

I don’t want to get tarred and feathered for helping out BP, but if we expect them to pay all these Billions in costs, they’ve got to sell some gasoline, and people are boycotting BP filling stations. Here’s my idea: change the name of the stations from BP to Amoco. Americans like Amoco, which traces it’s roots to the Standard Oil companies of John D. Rockefeller. Henry Ford and Rockefeller did more to put Americans on the move than anyone. And Eisenhower helped them get there on smooth pavement without a stoplight at every intersection.

Did you know that President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4? He has become kind of a patron saint to the Tea Party folks, not because of when he was born but what he did as President. Here’s how I summarized his record as he left office in March 1929:"Coolidge (becomes President) and does nothing and retires a hero, not only because he hadn't done anything but because he had done it better than anyone."

President Obama gave a speech on illegal immigration: "No matter how decent they are, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable. We’re going to publish their pictures in the newspaper. Then we’ll expedite their hearings so they can vote in 2012." He didn’t really say the last part, but he was thinking it. The 11 million he referred to is an underestimate, and if he wrangles a way to make these folks American citizens without shutting down our borders, he’ll find out there’s 20 or 30 million by the time he leaves office.

Historic quote from Will Rogers: (on Independence Day speeches)
"Never was as much politics indulged in under the guise of Freedom and Liberty. They was 5 per cent what George Washington did, and 95 per cent what the speaker intended to do." DT #2782, July 5, 1935

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

Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekly Comments: Dodd-Frank, Smoot-Hawley, McChrystal and Lady Gaga #609

June 27, 2010

COLUMBUS: Congress passed a financial reform bill last Friday at 5 in the morning. That’s an odd time for a Congressman to be doing anything, except maybe staggering home.

When I read that the purpose of the bill is "to put a damper on wild and reckless spending of other people’s money by the people in charge," I figured, ‘That’s great.’ And now that we’ve got a damper on Congress, maybe we can also regulate Wall Street.

This new Wall Street and Bank regulation bill is named the Dodd-Frank bill because those two birds had more to do with the financial crisis than anyone else in Congress. Senator Dodd got himself a cheap mortgage to buy a second home he couldn’t afford, and Congressman Frank insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac give loans to families that couldn’t pay the interest, driving Fannie and Freddie to bankruptcy. So now we’ve got financial reform that covers every bank in the country. Except Fannie and Freddie.

Dodd and Frank are hoping this bill doesn’t do for them what the Smoot-Hawley tariff bill exactly 80 years ago did for the reputation of those two Republicans. The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act practically shut down world trade and did more than any other single action to turn a 1929 Wall Street crash into the Great Depression.

The G-20 meeting is in Toronto, and you know what that means. Protesters. This year the protesters are mainly hoodlums who could not afford airfare to the World Cup. Half of them are protesting because they think G20 is a fruity sports drink that tastes sour. They couldn’t identify the 20 countries on a map if their life depended on it.

Canada is spending close to a billion dollars on police for G-20. At $50 million per country maybe this is one meeting that ought to be held over the internet. President Obama likes Twitter, so maybe they should have a #G20chat.

Canada has arrested 500 protesters. Back in 1917 I had a suggestion on what to do with young folks who were marching in protest to the War. "Put them in the Army. This marching is just the training our soldiers get before being sent to fight in Europe." (Paraphrased)

Obama told the other 19 countries he wants them to buy more American products because that’s the only way he can cut the deficit in half. These other countries aren’t quite sure they want the job of balancing Obama’s budget, although Russia did agree to eat more chicken.

General McChrystal got fired. He probably deserved it. Not for disagreeing with the President, but for treating a Rolling Stone writer like a journalist. The magazine cover has a picture of a mostly naked woman who calls herself Lady Gaga. (Some folks think she should leave off the last a.) In a shopping mall today I saw a sign advertising "Bikinis half off". I wanted to go in the store and ask, "Which half is off?" Well, last week Lady Gaga showed up at Yankee Stadium dressed like she had come directly from that store.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"We sure had a great July Fourth, especially after we picked up our morning papers and found that Congress had adjourned the night of the third... This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as we do when the baby gets hold of a hammer. It's just a question of how much damage he can do with it before you can take it away from him. Well, in eighteen months these babies have left a record of devastation." DT # 1230, July 4, 1930 (shortly after passing Smoot-Hawley)

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

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weekly Comments: What BP really wanted to tell Congress #608

June 20, 2010

COLUMBUS: Congress grilled Tony Hayward. By the tone of their questions to the president of BP, some of them literally wanted to put him on one of those big rotisserie grills where you roast a pig. Those Congressmen wanted a piece of him, preferably well done.

Years ago, I would sometimes make up a narrative for a Weekly Article. Last week if BP’s Hayward had said what he was thinking instead of what the company lawyers told him to say, I think the Congressional hearing would have been more honest and educational.

Congressman: How long do you think you will keep your job?
BP: I’m not spending even one minute thinking about keeping my job. We’re working to cap the well and then clean up the Gulf. By the way, how much time do you spend raising money to keep your job?

Congressman: Didn’t you take unnecessary risks with drilling this well? I demand an answer, Yes or No.
BP: Yes. We were forced, unnecessarily, to drill in water a mile deep. That’s an unnecessary risk. We prefer drilling on land, or in shallow water. On federal land, this well would have been capped quickly, put into production, and we would already be writing checks to the U.S. Treasury. Big checks.

Congressman: Why weren’t you personally overseeing the drilling of that well?
BP: We have drilled hundreds of wells every year for years around the world. I can’t keep an eye on each one.
Congressman (interrupting): I have had hundreds of pork barrel projects in my District, and I always keep close tabs on each one.
BP: At BP we don’t have a "grand opening" when a well is completed, and I don’t show up for photos. My job is to run a company. I have to balance a budget. Last year we took in $20 Billion more than we spent. How did you fellows do with your budget?

Congressman: Do you have technical assistants here today?
BP: No, it’s just me. They’re all working to stop the leak. That’s our main concern.

Congressman: I’m most concerned about the small business people along the Gulf coast.
BP. I’m concerned about the small people, too. We’ll make payments to all the small people who are harmed economically by the spill. Now, your President has imposed a 6-month delay in all off-shore drilling. Who will pay the laid off workers, and small businesses harmed by this unnecessary decision?

Now, that would have been entertaining. The well may be putting out 100,000 barrels a day (worth, conservatively, $5 million/day) so you know Mr. Hayward wants to stop the leak even if he did take a day off to watch a yacht race.

This is Father’s Day, and also West Virginia Day. In 1863, after General Stonewall Jackson got killed at Chancellorsville in May, the western half of old Virginia gave up on the Confederacy and asked President Lincoln if they could split and join up with him. Lincoln agreed and signed the papers.

Ironically, 147 years later we’ve got a state already in the Union who asked the President for help, and instead he is going to sue them. Just another example of why, despite all our hopes and dreams, there may never be another Lincoln.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"(You have heard) Lincoln's famous remark, "God must have loved the common people because he made so many of them." You are not going to get people's votes nowadays by calling them common. Lincoln might have said it but I bet you it was not until after he was elected." WA #84, July 20, 1924

(At the end of a tribute on Mother’s Day... ) "Father had a day, but you can't find anybody who remembers when it was. It's been so confused with April the first." Radio, May 12, 1935

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

Monday, June 14, 2010

Weekly Comments: Shovel and pail can aid oil spill #607

June 13, 2010

COLUMBUS: President Obama has called the BP President to the White House for an Oil Summit. If he really wants to stop the oil gusher, he should also bring in the presidents from Exxon, Chevron, Shell and Conoco-Phillips.

These Big Oil presidents are scheduled to meet with Congress on Tuesday. That’ll be a bigger waste than the uncapped well. Congressmen will spend all day asking long-winded questions because they’re on television. There’ll be no time left for answers.

Instead, President Obama needs to get all these fellows huddled in a back room at the White House. He could say, "Give me your five best ideas on how to cap the well." There ought to be at least a couple plans that could work.

Folks keep raising the guess on how much oil is being spilled. Last I heard the well might be producing 50,000 barrels a day. If it was in your home state instead of a mile under water in the Gulf, can you imagine the headlines? It would be bigger the California gold strike in ‘49. Local officials would be dancing in the streets. The Governor would declare a holiday.

Meanwhile the environmentalists are battling the Chamber of Commerce. On TV every night the environmentalists tell how terrible the oil is along the coast from Louisiana to Key West. That scares away the vacationers. Then the local Chamber comes on and says, "No, the beaches in our town are clean, no oil in sight. Bring your family and enjoy our pristine sand."

This could be a great beach vacation season for families. Along with sun screen and beach chairs, make sure every kid has a shovel and pail. If the beach has no oil, they build sand castles. If there is some oil, the kids can put their shovels and pails to good use, cleaning a stretch of beach. They get to keep all the oil they can haul home.

The World Cup has started in South Africa. In the first three days, all the games either ended in a tie or a shutout. I don’t know much about soccer. I heard an expert say after the United States and England tied 1-1, that a tie was better than a win. So now I know even less than I thought. Here’s how the World Cup will be decided: any team that can’t score is eliminated. The teams that can score enough to tie their opponents will be declared Champions. A 10-way tie for World Cup Champion would be about perfect.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"After a football (soccer) game in Lima, Peru, five were killed. They only kill ten in a revolution down there, so two games equals one revolution. Up here we don't kill our football players. We make coaches out of the smartest ones and send the others to the Legislature." DT #1389, Jan. 5, 1931

"For five straight years (Uruguay) has had the champion football soccer team in the world, and they play any country. The referee stays inside a big wire net where the spectators can't get at him. Down here the people vote on whether they will hold a football game or a revolution, both equal in casualties." DT #1939, Oct. 21, 1932

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

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekly Comments: Will sees bright future for these engineering students #606

Folks, this is the 66th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944. And yes, I noticed that on the date of 6-06 this is Weekly Comments #606.

June 6, 2010

PEORIA, Ill.: For the past four days I’ve been here in Peoria, Illinois, the heart of the state, and home to Caterpillar. Folks here in farm country are kinda reluctant to admit they are part of a state that includes Chicago. They’ll remind you this is the Land of Lincoln, not the land of Capone and Blagojevich.

I’m here with engineering students from 25 colleges in the U.S. and Canada who are competing to see who can design and build the best pulling tractor. These schools have teams, (mostly agricultural engineering students), that work all year and then travel to Peoria for the contest.

Now, these are not the big tractors you’re used to seeing on farms or at Tractor Pulls. These are quarter-scale. Each team is given small Goodyear tractor tires that are about two feet tall and a foot wide. And Briggs & Stratton gives them 16-horsepower engines. The students design the rest of the tractor. No two tractors look alike. They can have from 2 to 5 of these engines hooked together, and either 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive.

If you ever wonder about the caliber of students graduating from college today, this bunch will stack up against any of them. I happen to be affiliated with the 13 from Ohio State University and know them better, but the whole contingent worked day and night to get their tractors running and ready to meet the technical specifications. Kinda like NASCAR, the tractors had to meet certain requirements related to weight, safety, braking, and ease of servicing.

This tractor design competition is not a class assignment. But these students probably learn more than in any 10 classes about the practical problem solving skills they will need in business. They learn from failure, working long hours to correct a problem. If the new plan don’t work either, think up another. It may take a dozen tries to get the tractor to run good enough to pull the heavy competition sled even a few feet.. But this week in Peoria we saw many examples of failure turned to success. Dejection replaced by elation.

The government won’t need to create jobs for these students. Their experiences in working together, keeping focus and determination to use creative ideas to complete a task on deadline will get them hired by companies like John Deere, New Holland, and Cat.

These students are too young to remember Winston Churchill, but they followed his declaration during the dark days of World War II: "Never Give Up." They sure didn’t. And as I watched these students trying one creative idea after another to correct deficiencies, I was hoping that, in a similar competition, there are teams of petroleum engineering students working on designs to cap an oil well a mile under water.

When asked about the extremely long work hours, one engineering student replied, “It’s not work when you’re having fun.”

Recently, we lost two great and influential Americans who lived close to a century, Art Linkletter and John Wooden. Whether it was Art entertaining on radio and television, or Coach Wooden inspiring basketball players at UCLA, they also knew how to turn work into fun.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
"There couldent possibly be anyone that knew less about Machinery (than me). I never raised the hood of any car I ever had... If I raised up the hood and a Rabbit jumped out, I wouldent know but what he belonged in there. I drive 'em, but I sure don't try to fix 'em." WA #317, January 20, 1927

"There is no team of horses in the world that depreciates (as quickly as a tractor). And you can raise what he eats. But can't raise what a tractor eats. A horse will keep on going even when it's hungry, but let the old tractor get hungry and, brother, he stops." WA #561, Sept. 24, 1933

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

Monday, May 31, 2010

Weekly Comments: Will won’t trade column for a federal job #605

May 30, 2010

COLUMBUS: Before I get started, I want to get one thing straight. The Obama administration has not promised me a job to get me to stop writing this column. Not even a position on an advisory commission. Now, if they had offered a job on a commission (which they didn’t) the weekly pay would be exactly the same as I get from these Comments. Although they never offered a job to get me to quit, there may be a few times they wanted to shoot me.

The oil keeps on flowing from that BP well, at around 15,000 barrels a day. Wouldn’t you like to receive the one-eighth royalties on a well like that? I know we’re not supposed to see anything but the negatives from this disaster, but consider how many square feet of solar panels it would take to equal the oil from a well like this in a year? Or wind machines?

Petroleum engineers say this oil gusher would be fairly easy to manage if it was on land or in shallow water. I believe them, but I’m not sure they ever had one spewing out this much oil. Everybody hopes, when drilling, they don’t hit a dry hole. But when you hit one with ten times or a hundred times the oil that was planned for, it can be a big a problem.

The government sure doesn’t know how to plug a well. (Stuffing it full of dollar bills won’t work.) But they could perhaps handle the clean up. The President should name a General or Admiral to head it, and bring in men and machines and boats, to collect the oil and keep it off the shores. Work with the Louisiana Governor, oil companies and others that have the materials and the knowhow to get it done. Don’t forget about the idea of using hay to soak up oil.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"(Presidential advisory) commissions are fine, but they turn in a lot of data about something that ain't so good. Now, Mr. Hoover (is a) conscientious, fine, hard-working man, and appointing a commission is not any crime. But it seems like a presidential commission don't get nothin' done. They don't really earn the breakfast that they give 'em at the White House the day they appoint 'em." Radio, April 30, 1933

"(President Warren G. Harding) spoke on Decoration Day at Arlington Cemetery... Mr. Harding said that, in case of another war that capital would be drafted the same as men. He put over a thought that, if carried out, would do more to stop Wars than all the International Courts and Leagues of Nations in the world. Of the three things to prevent wars, League of Nations, International Court, and this Drafting of Capital, this last one is so far ahead of the others there is no comparison. When that Wall Street Millionaire knows that... you come in to get his dough, say, boy, there wouldn't be any war." WA #29, July 1, 1923

"A sure certainty about our Memorial Days is as fast as the ranks from one war thin out, the ranks from another take their place. Prominent men run out of Decoration Day speeches, but the world never runs out of wars. People talk peace, but men give their life's work to war. It won't stop till there is as much brains and scientific study put to aid peace as there is to promote war." DT #888, May 31, 1929
Randall Reeder
Will Rogers Today
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekly Comments: One prominent leader still encouraging travel to Arizona #604

COLUMBUS: The President of Mexico visited Washington last week and he was invited to address Congress. That’s quite an honor.

Now, in his speech I would not have blamed him if he wanted to get a laugh by poking fun at one of our states. I’ve sure told my share of jokes on Texas. But instead of joking, the Mexican President sharply criticized a state and I expected him to get booed and hissed. But he got applause. A standing ovation from more than half our Senators and Congressmen. The reaction in Congress left me scratching my head. Then I remembered something that explains the love for him regardless of what he says. President Calderon has a degree from Harvard.

You may have heard that our Columbus mayor has taken a stand on the Arizona law. He’s against it, and therefore is forbidding any city employee to travel to Arizona. So Columbus has joined the mayors of Los Angeles and San Francisco and the Chicago School Board in the Arizona boycott. Seems the only one encouraging travel to Arizona is Calderon.

Personally, I think if our mayor is looking for a place to boycott he should prohibit travel to Washington, DC. That’s the source of the majority of coo-coo ideas infiltrating the country today. If our mayor is so interested in the laws of other states, I bet he could find at least one law in every one of them that he disagrees with. Why, I bet Oklahoma has at least fifty laws on their books that he could take offense to. Yes, Mr. Mayor, prohibit city employees from traveling to any state, even Cleveland.

If word of this boycott by Columbus gets out, I’m afraid of the consequences. See, there’s thousands and thousands of good ole country folks that travel to Columbus from all over for the All-American Quarter Horse Congress, State Fair, and quite a few conventions. They may decide to stay home, or find a more law-abiding place to spend their time and money.

Los Angeles might have to reconsider their Arizona boycott. They get a quarter of their electricity from Arizona. They even need electricity to pump their water. Why, Hollywood may have to watch their movies in the dark, sitting beside an empty pool. Sipping on (dry) martinis.

Did you hear about the TV network commentator who got all excited watching the live interview Saturday with three mothers? They had just returned from visiting their adult children who had been jailed as illegal immigrants. His exuberance was deflated when he realized the immigrants were not jailed in Arizona, but Iran.

In other news, gas is down to $2.50. It was expected to top $3.00 but Greece and half of Europe are broke so they parked their cars. The bankers and Wall Street are being reformed in accordance with the financial wizards in Congress, led by Senator Dodd and Congressman Frank. We better fill up and hit the road while we still have some loose change in our pockets.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
"The (Hoover) dam is entirely between Nevada and Arizona. All California gets out of it is the water." DT #1900, Sept. 6, 1932

"(Wall Street) was a great game while it lasted... But all that has changed, and I think it will be good for everything else. After all, everybody can't just live on gambling. Somebody has to do some work." WA #361, Nov. 24, 1929

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

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekly Comments: Farmers say hay is solution to oil spill #603

May 16, 2010

COLUMBUS: I heard today that the majority of people in Greece support the government’s attempts to rein in spending and keep from going bankrupt. You would never guess it from the pictures of all the rioters on television. Seems the only ones who get attention are the freeloaders who want something for nothing. They are not too keen on a 20 percent pay cut, and having to work past 53 before retiring on full salary.

Ireland, Spain and Portugal are next in line to cut spending. In Britain the Conservatives welcomed the Liberal Democrats into the fold to work on a financial solution. So far they have agreed on one thing; they don’t want Gordon Brown as Prime Minister.

Elena Kagan appears to be on a clear path to the Supreme Court. She was born in New York City, graduated from Harvard Law, and is either a Catholic or Jew. So right there she meets 95 percent of the qualifications. She’s smart, and will please President Obama by siding with his liberal views. At the same time, it’s hard to believe no one born, raised and educated west of the Hudson River is qualified to be nominated for Supreme Court justice. For the next opening, let’s all get behind someone from, say, Texas, Oklahoma or Montana. It’s time for some Western wisdom on the bench.

In other news, tonight in the Miss USA contest Miss Oklahoma was asked her opinion on Arizona’s new immigration law. She supports the law. "I'm a huge believer in states' rights. So I think it's perfectly fine for Arizona to create that law." She came in second.

BP had a bit of success sticking a one-mile long drinking straw into the leaking well. Really, it’s bigger than a straw and may help get most of the oil pumped into a ship. There’s still over a million barrels of oil floating around the Gulf.

Here’s an idea I heard from a couple of farmers: soak up the oil with hay. Take hay bales left over from last winter, shred the bales and drop the hay from an airplane over the oil slicks. The hay would absorb the oil, leaving the water clear. It would float, and any oil-soaked hay that washes up on shore can be raked and baled and then burned in an electric power plant. (I bet you would never hear a down to earth idea like that from a New York City-born Harvard lawyer.)

Environmentalist have important concerns about off-shore drilling. But consider the amazing output from this single well. If there’s oil under the entire Gulf of Mexico like this gusher, maybe we should drain the Gulf and turn the whole area into a gigantic oil field. Build a dam from Florida to Cancun and pump out the water.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"Flew right over that new Texas oil field that has made oil so cheap that it's cheaper to strike a dry hole." DT #1487, April 29, 1931

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

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weekly Comments: Greece, oil and immigrants affect US economy #602

May 9, 2010

COLUMBUS: Just when we get Wall Street and the stock market in a mood to grow, Greece goes bankrupt and knocks our finances in a tailspin. Spain and Ireland are teetering on the edge of a financial cliff. In France, a thousand farmers drove their tractors into Paris to protest the low price for crops and higher taxes. England held an election and nobody won, so the Queen might have to step in and earn her salary. I think Europe was better off when they were covered by the volcano ash cloud.

The problem in Greece is the government overspent and overpromised. Greeks are guaranteed a high retirement income and they live a long, long time after they retire. The government has been living on borrowed money, and the younger folks are not thrilled at the prospect of paying off the debt and getting none of the benefits. So they decided to let Germany and the US bail them out. Seems the least we should get out of the deal is a few islands.

If you think Greece is an exception, look in a mirror. Nobody these days is overspending and overpromising more than the folks in Washington. Read what happens to Greece, and in about ten years you can read the same news story with Greece replaced by USA.

That oil gusher under the Gulf of Mexico is confounding the best efforts to control it. Still, I’ll put my faith in BP and the oil industry before I would trust the government to plug it.

Arizona continues to get hammered for wanting to enforce the federal immigration law. According to polls, two-thirds of the country agrees with Arizona, including young people, old folks, Democrats, and legal immigrants. In fact the only group that seems to be against it is television news folks. Oh, and one other: the NBA basketball team that plays in Phoenix. On May 5 they wore uniforms with the logo in Spanish, and announced to the country they would rather represent Mexico than Arizona. Maybe they should move south of the border. See if they can equal their multi-million dollar salaries as the Mexico City Suns.

This immigration issue won’t go away till we require foreign workers to have an ID, provide them seasonal work permits, and make the employers pay a fair wage. We need more legal immigrants, but not ones who break the law to get here. They should not expect to become citizens automatically. That has to be earned.

Immigration is a complicated matter, and not everyone will be happy with the result. I’ll remind you of a previous battle over illegal immigration, where Oklahoma is now located. The legal citizens at the time were Indians, and the illegal immigrants who sneaked across the border were white folks from Missouri and Kansas. The government in Washington sided with the illegals.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"Greece is frying in her own fat." DT #2683, March 12, 1935

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

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Weekly Comments: For a Kentucky Derby win, ride a thin horse #601

May 2, 2010

COLUMBUS: The BP oil well in the Gulf is causing havoc. It’s not the first time an oil gusher got out of control, but they say trying to cap this one is like trying to plug a volcano. It’s a shame we lost those 11 men, just like the 29 miners killed in West Virginia. We need some new safety procedures enforced to reduce the hazzards. But oil, coal and natural gas are incredible fuels and keep the country moving. For now, nobody but a hermit can live without them.

A lot of folks are saying we ought to stop off shore drilling; there’s too much risk. But, for a moment put aside the damage to the Gulf region. This well is producing 200,000 barrels a day! Most farmers and ranchers would be thrilled to have a well producing 2 or 3 barrels a day. It make no sense to ignore the potential of these offshore sites.

In the Kentucky Derby, Calvin Borel won again by staying on the rail. This year he rode Super Saver. Thanks to Calvin they need to add another statistic on the Racing Form: width of the horse. I think his secret is that he only rides extremely thin horses. Then he can squeeze through a sliver of space against the rail that no other jockey would even consider.

The Arizona illegal immigration law got a lot of people riled up. All this hollering seems to be about a person having to show ID once in a while. But we all show ID to board a plane, cash a check, vote, enter the Capitol, and even to donate blood at Red Cross.

This new law is the same as a Federal law that’s been around since Roosevelt signed it in1940. Only difference is that Arizona intends to enforce theirs.

Just suppose you bought tickets to the Kentucky Derby, or a baseball game in San Francisco, or a Broadway play in New York. You arrive to find someone sitting in your seats and they refuse to budge. Naturally this would upset you and you would find an officer, show your tickets, and insist the freeloaders be removed. The officer walks with you to your seats, and says to you, "Sorry, I’m not allowed to ask these folks to show a ticket, or any ID. In fact when we opened today, half the seats were occupied because no one guarded the entrances last night. You and the other ticket holders are out of luck." So think awhile before you jump on Arizona and start a boycott.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
"No business in the United States is as cockeyed as the oil business. If ever a business needed a dictator it is them." DT #2115, May 15, 1933

"If you think this ain't going to be the worst winter for unemployment we ever had, just count the number in these college graduation classes. Immigration is not our biggest problem, it's surplus diplomas." DT #1526, June 14, 1933
"I am here in Iowa looking over the future Californians. We are just picking the best. We are not letting them all come like they used to; it's restricted immigration now." DT #491, Feb. 22, 1928

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