Will’s take on Immigration and Memorial Day speeches

#411, May 29, 2006

COLUMBUS: The calendar says it’s May and I know this is Memorial Day, but the temperature says August. The heat has even affected Congress. (At least we hope it’s the heat because that’s a temporary affliction.) The House passed an Immigration bill, then the Senate passed an Immigration bill that’s exactly the opposite of the House bill. It’s hard to believe these folks were elected in the same country.

Immigration is still the big argument today, except for a brief pause to pay tribute to all our soldiers who died defending our rights to have these arguments. Before the speeches ended, in Iraq and Afghanistan a few more were added to the rolls of fallen heros.

Indonesia had another earthquake. They claimed they were looking for a volcano eruption, and the quake caught them from behind. Between tsunamis, volcanos, quakes and military uprisings, Indonesia gets hit with disasters about as often as Florida gets a hurricane. Of course we’ll help ’em, but probably not as fast as the UN wants us to.

Ohio voted against English as our official language. See, Ohio is practically begging Honda to build another automobile plant here and hire some of the 200,000 Ohioans laid off by GM, Ford and other manufacturers. The Legislature was split down the middle on whether to stick with English or switch the state entirely to Japanese.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (on Immigration and Decoration Day)

“Another Decoration Day passed and Mr. Abraham Lincoln’s 300-word Gettysburg Address was not dethroned. I would try and imitate its brevity if nothing else. Of course, Lincoln had the advantage; he had no foreign policy message to put over. He didn’t even have a foreign policy. That’s why he is still Lincoln.” DT #268, May 31, 1927

“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

“I read the new census. Talk about putting a quota on immigration. Why, the Yankees are swarming into the South like locusts.” DT #1201, June 1, 1930

[Near the end of the 1928 Presidential campaign between Herbert Hoover and Al Smith….] “Well there goes that Radio (ad) again. ‘If I am elected, I will pledge myself to relieve the Farmer. I will enforce the law, restrict immigration, and ___ ___.’ Oh, applesauce. I will be glad when it’s all over.” WA #304, October 21, 1928

Will Rogers on the radio again

#410, May 21, 2006

HORNER, West Va.: The Senate voted to make English the official language of the United States. Some of you will recollect that the state of West Virginia voted last April to make English the official language, so it only took 13 months for the news to reach Congress. [Interested readers looking at Weekly Comments on my web site can click on Archives. Then scroll to number 363, April 24, 2005]

If this gets adopted the next argument will be over “whose English is official”. West Virginia jumped in first, but others will say the English spoken in Massachusetts is preferred, or Alabama, or Oklahoma. Should the English language used by teenagers in Instant Messages be official? That would sure make our books and newspapers shorter, but to us old folks it’s Greek.

I’m in West Virginia today for the Eatin’, Singin’ and History Festival. It went over so good last year the radio station WHAW decided to broadcast it again. Along with all the gospel, country and bluegrass singing, they added Bum the Wonder Horse to the bill and he put on a wonderful show. “I” had a favorite horse one time named Dopey, and just like Bum, the name was no reflection of his intellect. Bum knows colors, numbers, and understands hundreds of words. In fact if understanding English is what it takes to be a citizen, then he qualifies.

Jack Caldo, who used to be on WHAW in the early days of radio (1950s and 60s), was back in town to MC the show. Folks seemed as pleased to see him sorta brought back to life as they were me. When Jack first saw the script, and read where he was supposed to introduce “Bum the Wonder Horse”, and later on “Will Rogers”, he thought maybe the whole show was a joke.

This county is home to the old insane asylum, the Weston State Hospital, a huge historic structure of hand cut stone. It’s empty now, but a fellow wrote a new book kinda based on it. He called it “The Hospital: Rude Awakenings”. It’s a scary ghost story, fiction of course, but it’s got as much truth in it as The Da Vinci Code.

Sure hated to see that race horse break his leg in the Preakness. The veterinarians who put it back together are saying Barbaro’s got a good chance of walking again.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“A man that don’t love a horse, there is something the matter with him. If he has no sympathy for the man that does love horses then there is something worse the matter with him.” WA #88, August 17, 1924.

“Excuse me for keeping my hat on, but I’m gettin’ just a little gray and I don’t want it to show over the radio.” Radio broadcast, March 31, 1935

The Rogers border plan: troops and gators

#409, May 15, 2006

COLUMBUS: President Bush announced his plan to use the National Guard to secure the Mexican border. The news hounds had been saying for days that’s what he would unveil to the country, and if he had stopped there, his popularity would have shot up. But like any politician, you give him a national audience he can’t stop at 5 minutes. He felt compelled to dive into other immigrant problems and the longer he talked the more he lost.

I read where alligators killed three people in Florida, and I think President Bush is overlooking a border solution. Florida’s got an excess of gators, so ship a few thousand of ’em to the Rio Grande.

Now a few folks have remarked that I seem kinda down on illegal immigrants, and perhaps I should welcome them. I have nothing against any of them individually and mean no harm. But I come by my opinion honestly, as you will see if you to reread my Weekly Comments of April 1.

Not everybody is happy with the Bush border plan. The mayor of El Paso said on ABC television that it’s the states up north clamoring for troops along the border. “Put the National Guard in states like West Virginia, Ohio and Wisconsin, and see how they like it.” Well, I think Senator Byrd would welcome a few thousand troops to the Mountain State, as long as they are paid for with federal tax dollars. Anything to draw more tax dollars into the state, he’s for it. Ohio’s Governor Taft might not object either, and he would use them to keep Ohioans from leaving, not to keep immigrants out.

Wisconsin is a different story. The only way immigrants can sneak in is to swim across Lake Superior. Any man who can survive that is one tough hombre, just the kind Wisconsin’s looking for. They would put them to work cutting timber in the north woods, and the best ones could play defense for the Packers.

Now I know the El Paso mayor means well, but I wouldn’t criticize the National Guard if I was him because when they build that new border fence, they might put it on the north side of town.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

(In Mexico, Dwight) Morrow calls himself Ambassador from the United States, not America. You know Mexico feels, and with some slight justification, that they are in America too. They don’t feel that America ends at the Rio Grande River. Of course they may be wrong, but they are just childish enough to feel that way. But we always speak of ourselves down there as being From America, as though they were in Asia.

… Nature so provided that the worst part of Mexico joins us. If it hadent been we would have taken any good part long ago.” Saturday Evening Post, May 19, 1928

Bankers, Geography and Mexico grab Will’s attention

#408, May 8, 2006

CANTON, Ohio:  Mexico changed it’s mind on drugs. Yes, after Mr. Fox announced marijuana, cocaine and all these other drugs would be legal, why the outflow of Mexicans northward ground to a halt. Remember the millions that took off work last Monday? By Tuesday a million of them were back on home soil, already high in Tijuana, Juarez and Matamoros.

President Fox is a smart man, and sensing an end to Mexico’s biggest national product (Yankee dollars), he reversed himself and said Mexico will stay tough on drugs. From now on, or as long as he’s in office, drugs are illegal, except the ones marked for export to the U. S.

Did you see the survey that showed a third of our young adults can’t find Louisiana on a map? Lots of other places they couldn’t locate either. We’ve been laughing for years at the young fools Jay Leno interviews as he’s “Jay Walking”, and here we find out they’re in the majority. It’s bad news and good news: they’re old enough to vote, but they’re unlikely to ever find the polling place.

Here’s a long term solution to our geography ignorance. Every baby that’s born, send them home with one of those puzzle maps with all fifty states, and they’re not allowed into kindergarten unless they can name and locate all fifty. And they can’t get into first grade until their parents can name the state capitals.

President Bush received a letter from the former terrorist who’s running Iran. It was 18 pages, and he was impressed with the length, “It’s longer than my college thesis.” After reading all the fine print and pondering over it, he and Secretary Rice decided it read less like a Nuclear Peace Offering, and more like a man announcing his candidacy for 2008. Get a copy of it if you can, and read it. You’ll agree it looks better than most Party Platforms we come up with every four years, and just as likely to ever be followed.

The so-called approval ratings of Congress and President Bush are so low only about a third like the job they’re doing. That’s not good in an election year and reminds me of 1932. “There is one thing you can bet on this year. No voter is going to do anything that a politician thinks he will do. The way most people feel, they would like to vote against all of ’em if it was possible.” (DT #1797, April 27, 1932)  (more below…)
How’s this for a testimonial? “What a great ‘Uncle Will’ you did for the Western Arts Convention (Apr. 22 at Claremore, OK). Your quotes were well chosen and your mannerisms were so exactly like I remember Uncle Will. Thanks for keeping him alive still today. Hope you carry on like this for many years.” Doris “Coke” Lane Meyer, Bartlesville, OK  (Will’s grand neice)
Remember two weeks ago I joked about bringing rain to Oklahoma? Well, it rained the day I left, and since then Claremore has had 7 inches. I may have underestimated myself. I see where the drought has moved to Florida, and grass fires are breaking out. I’m willing to go down there for the right offer and try my hand at rainmaking again. But like a Wall Street broker, past success is no guarantee of future showers.

I’m here in Canton, home of President William McKinley and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Today it’s home to a convention of bankers, or at least the computer folks that provide all the Information Technology for the banks. Their job is to provide the equipment and write the software that makes a modern bank as fast, accurate, honest and burglar proof as the tellers used to do with pencil and paper and a Winchester. They chuckled at my jokes on the bankers, but not as much as ones on lawyers, farmers and Democrats.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“The banker, the lawyer, and the politician are still our best bets for a laugh. Audiences havent changed at all, and neither has the three above professions. And incidentally comedians havent improved.” WA #659, August 11, 1935

“Branch banks are all the go now. They realize they have got to bring the bank nearer the robber. He won’t be annoyed by driving through [downtown] traffic just to rob a bank. The branch bank is the robbers’ only salvation.” DT #393, October 25, 1927

May Day, May Day, May Day

#407, May 1, 2006

COLUMBUS: This is a new national holiday. The first one created by immigrants since Thanksgiving.

The presidents of Hormel, Tyson and the other big meat packers announced that May 1 will be “Meatless Monday”. They made the announcement in Spanish, and their message, loosely translated into English, means, “Let ’em eat Spam.” Our farmers and ranchers are raising 100 percent American beef, and these meat packers want you to believe if it wasn’t for Mexicans you would have to buy it on the hoof and butcher it yourself.

May 1, 2006, will go down in history as the red letter day for automation. Today, all over the country, engineers are working overtime to build robots and machines to do all the jobs these folks walked out on. Businessmen will pour in millions of dollars to rush the work. You just watch, in five years they will have a big plant where hogs and steers walk in one end and steaks and pork chops go out the other. The only thing inside will be machines with one man making $200 an hour operating ’em all by computer.

And hotels… each room will come equipped with it’s own robot to make up the bed, clean the sheets and towels and carpet, and even hand you the soap after you’re in the shower. It will wake you in the morning and hand you a chocolate mint at night. Unwrapped.

There won’t be a farm commodity you can name that won’t be planted, cared for, and harvested automatically. Grapes, strawberries, raspberries, almonds, tomatoes. Even the tractors won’t have drivers, just a person in a control tower somewhere running a dozen at a time.

President Bush came out against the Spanish version of our Star Spangled Banner. He said it should only be sung in English, and “anybody that wants to be an American citizen should know how to sing it.” He went a little overboard on that last comment. He’ll back off when he realizes at least two-thirds of us would be deported, led by Roseanne Barr.

I don’t understand why folks working here legally are marching in support of the illegal ones. Just suppose, for example, you had bought a ticket to a big game, say, the Rose Bowl football championship. You arrive early along with the other 100,000 ticket holders, only to find that someone had left a gate open and about 20,000 had already sneaked inside. And one of them is in your seat. I kinda doubt you would be thrilled, so you find a police officer. You explain that someone is illegally in your seat, and you want him evicted. The policeman says, “I understand your predicament, but so many sneaked in without tickets there’s no way we can clear ’em all out. Enjoy the game.”

You know, instead of a day, why don’t they take off a week, or the whole month. Don’t work, don’t buy anything, and while they’re at it, maybe they could stay out of hospitals and emergency rooms, and public schools. Well, I probably went overboard myself there at the end.

Give Mexico credit. Last week they announced a plan that will slow down movement across our border, and might cause a few million Americans to move south of the Rio Grande. They made it legal to use drugs.

Congress is threatening to break up Big Oil because they made $8 profit for every $100 they took in. One Senator said patriotic Americans should buy only from companies that make less than 8%, and refuse to use any product from a company making more. He backed off when someone explained he was encouraging people to stop using Tide, Pepsident and Google, but to go out a buy a big GMC pickup.

The government has taken on the oil companies before, and it didn’t work: “One time the Government split up Standard Oil into 31 parts, and in two years each one of the 31 was bigger than the original. So it looked like they just thrived on being split up.” (WA #378, March 23, 1930)

Yesterday gasoline cost around $2.75 to $2.90 most places in Ohio, but Wal-Mart was selling it for $2.63. Now that puts some people in a pickle. They want to boycott Exxon because it is so big, yet Wal-Mart can sell for less… because it is so big.

I told you last week I had a solution to traffic jams in Claremore caused by the railroads. There are two railroads and fifteen grade crossings, and the mayor would like the railroads to fix the problem. First, it is only fair to point out that the two railroads have been in Claremore more than a hundred years, no change. What has changed is the cars. A solution that will work in 2006 is the same one I proposed in 1924. “The only way to solve the traffic problem of this country is to pass a law that only paid-for cars are allowed to use the highways. That would make traffic so scarce that we could use our Boulevards for children’s play grounds.” (WA #56, January 6, 1924)

In other old business from Claremore, I wanted to tell you about more of the Wild West competition. The award for Trick Roper of the year went to Kenneth Durham, who also won the “horse catch”. The best young roper is Cody Lamb. Darrell Hawkins received the Montie Montana award for Showmanship. The gun spinning champion was Paula Saletnik, better known as Pistol Packing Paula. The best trick riders, men and women, were Shawn Brackett and Loretta Pemberton. There’s a lot more champions in more categories, and I don’t mean to slight any of them. Next year plan to go to Claremore in April and you can meet them yourself.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

“United States Marines landed at Vera Cruz, Mexico, to protect Standard Oil interests. Next week Standard Oil, in repayment for Marines’ courtesy, raised price of gas 3 cents.” WA #111, January 25, 1925