Lessons learned from Bob Evans and Bill Clinton

#461, June 25, 2007

COLUMBUS: Now you folks know I ain’t one to lecture on arithmetic. But the folks in Washington could use a refresher or two from an old Ray’s Arithmetic book. When 80 percent of the American voters disapprove of the Immigration Bill, why is it hard for them to comprehend that only 20 percent approve of the President and the same 20 percent approve of Congress. I don’t know if that’s a good example of the 80-20 Rule, but it’s awful close.

I spent last week in Minneapolis at a convention of agricultural and biological engineers. They were celebrating 100 years of the organization, and even Bill Clinton stopped in for the gala affair. Now, you already know our former President is recognized as a great speaker, and I’ll give you an inkling on how he does it. He talked for 15 minutes, and the entire time he was focused on that audience. He talked with passion about hunger in Africa, touched on global warming, and how stretching our freshwater resources is crucial. And on every point he told those engineers that THEY are the profession being called on to deal with these issues over the next century. Now those engineers know they aren’t the only ones working on those problems, but he left them inspired to want to go out and lead the way to solutions. He never mentioned politics, and it got me wondering if the same idea might work for our current herd of candidates for 2008, if one of them has the nerve (and ability) to try it.

Also last week we lost an American marvel. Some of you might think that “Bob Evans” was just a made up name for a restaurant and brand of sausage. But no, Bob Evans was a farmer who started a small restaurant in Gallipolis, Ohio, where he also made sausage for wholesale distribution. You may wonder how a man can get famous making sausage. Well, he lived by a simple rule, “Don’t put anything in the sausage you wouldn’t want to eat yourself.”

That’s a good rule to live by no matter what you’re “making”: whether building a car, teaching arithmetic, giving a speech. Put only your best into it. And Bob Evans loved horses. He helped save the Spanish Barb Mustang Breed from extinction, and raised hundreds of Quarter Horses, giving away 40 colts a year to deserving 4-H youth. He was devoted to improving the poverty-stricken area of Appalachia, kinda like Mr. Clinton is helping in Africa, except Appalachia was home to Bob Evans.

In other so-called news, Wednesday night on CNN, Larry King intends to interview a prisoner just released after serving a sentence for a whole bunch of violations with a motor vehicle, including driving drunk at night with no lights and no license. I don’t know why he picked just one to interrogate. He should gather four or five released this week for similar convictions and give them all a fair chance to explain themselves. Now wouldn’t that be more fascinating than a Presidential debate for suspense, surprises, and intrigue?

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“MINNEAPOLIS, Minn: The Senate just sits and waits till they find out what the President wants so they know how to vote against him.
Be a good joke on ’em if he didn’t let ’em know.
That’s the way Mr. Coolidge used to do. He would keep ’em guessing so long that they voted his way accidentally part of the time.” 
DT #1225, June 29, 1930

“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, 1930

The End

#460, June 11, 2007

COLUMBUS: This was a week of endings. Some happy endings, some not, depending on your point of view.

HBO filmed four different endings for the Sopranos, and didn’t use any of them. Viewers were expecting murder, massacre and mayhem, and instead what they got was a tie in soccer.

“Dollar Bill” Jefferson, the Louisiana Congressman, got out on bail and he paid his $100,000 bail bond in cash. I guess the FBI overlooked one of his freezers.

I told you last week Paris Hilton went to jail. Well, the Sheriff let her out, and the next day the Judge put her back in. The Weekly papers never had a chance; even the Dailies were two editions behind. The sheriff blamed it on sickness. You’ve heard this one already: with Paris constantly crying, moaning, yelling, and cussing , everybody in the jail got sick of her. Tonight I heard on television she suffered from A.D.D. Yea, right. In her case that means Absence of Dad’s Discipline.

The Belmont Stakes had a happy ending, happy for everybody but the boys. The filly, Rags to Riches, nosed out Curlin and left the rest of the colts in the dust. In Hollywood half the producers are planning a movie on her, naturally called Rags to Riches. The other half are working on one about Paris Hilton’s jail time. They hope to call it Riches to Rags.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky it’s not the ending, but the beginning that’s messed up. Some fellow down there lives by the theme, “All I know is what I read in Genesis”. He claims Earth began just 6000 years ago, not millions, and the Lord created it in a week with a day to spare. As I see it his only mistake was calling it a Museum. If he named it the Genesis Movie, or Genesis Theme Park, why even the scientists would gladly pay $10 to see it. Dinosaurs chasing fruitlessly through the Garden of Eden after Eve would attract ’em. Of course, Adam, being the slower of the species, would have long since met his demise.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Money, horse racing and women: three things the boys just can’t figure out.” DT #2679, March 7, 1935

“Nobody knows where they came from. Everybody looks at their enemies and hopes and prays they didn’t come from the same place.” WA #139 August 9, 1925

“But that Clarence Darrow! I wouldent debate him on the subject of evolution. Why, we wouldent be over the first part and into the rebuttal till he would have me jumping up on the back of a chair picking fleas off myself.” WA #228 April 24, 1927

Weekly Comments: Will reveals secret for success among candidates

#459, June 4, 2007

COLUMBUS: Paris Hilton went to jail today. Lindsey Lohan heard about Paris, and said I want in there, too. I tell you, it’s a stampede in Hollywood to see who all can get in with her.

Do you remember William Jefferson, the New Orleans Congressman who bribed foreign leaders and hid $90,000 in his freezer? Well, he was arrested today and could serve up to 200 years in prison. He wants to plea bargain a lighter sentence so he can get out by November 2008, mainly to attend his re-election victory party. So much for “Jeffersonian Principles.”

CNN put on a Presidential debate in New Hampshire Sunday night for the Democrats. There wasn’t a stage in the state wide enough to hold all the candidates, so they took over an ice rink. If Hillary appeared cold on camera, at least she had an excuse.

The Republicans get their shot Tuesday night on the same stage. All together we’ve got about fifty candidates and just over a year to go until the Conventions. Now don’t fret about the huge number. We’re likely to have some campaigns run out of dough, a couple of divorces, and a half dozen arrests, so the field will kinda narrow itself. If a man can arrange to do all three, he’s a shoo in. And he’ll name Paris Hilton for V-P.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

“I hope the Democrats win this [1928] election just for one thing. I have heard 5,000 hours of speeches on a “return to Jeffersonian Principles,” and I want to see what “Jeffersonian Principles” are. Is it just an oratorical topic, or is it an economic condition? I know that Jefferson was for the poor, but in his days that was good politics, for practically everybody was poor.” DT #700, Oct. 24, 1928.