#472, Sept. 17, 2007

Looking over the candidates and the airlines

COLUMBUS: Well, I’ve laid off the Presidential candidates for a few weeks. Not much has changed. According to the latest polls there is still more people running for President than there is paying attention to ’em.

Senator Clinton announced her health insurance plan. Says it will work just like automobile insurance; anybody that drives a car has to buy insurance. Sounds like a good plan, and it might work if everybody bought it. But if every driver has to have insurance, why does a portion of my insurance bill go to cover the “uninsured motorist”? Mrs. Clinton will have as much luck telling everyone to buy health insurance as the New Hampshire legislature does telling other states when to hold their primaries.

Fred Thompson joined the fray for the Republicans, and Newt Gingrich is inching closer to the sideline. If the Republicans can round up a couple more prospects they might yank out the whole first team and send in the backups.

For the Democrats, they still got so many players on the field there is no one on the bench ready to jump in, except maybe Sally Field. Did you see her on the Emmys? Her only mistake was announcing her campaign on Fox. After about fifteen seconds they cut her off. A lot of these Presidential contenders would be surprised how many viewers want to cut them off around ten. But you just watch, if Sally wants it Larry King will give her a full hour.

The airlines have caught a lot of flak this summer for cutting service and canceling flights, and a few deserve it. But on Southwest Airlines they run on time and they still serve the same food for breakfast, lunch and dinner as they did thirty years ag a bag of peanuts. Same drinks too. The only suggestion I have for improvement is in the gate area at the airport: instead of making you stand in line for the best seats on the plane, arrange the seats in the waiting area in three rows. That way you pick a seat in either the A, B, or C row, and that’s the sequence you get on the plane.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (80 years ago)

“The trouble with the Democrats is that they all want to run for President. If they had somebody on their side that would announce he didn’t choose to run, why he would be such a big novelty that he would be nominated by acclamation.” DT #355, Sept. 11, 1927

“I flew in a plane today piloted by [Charles] Lindbergh, from San Diego to Los Angeles. You have never seen him at his best till you sit out in the pilot’s seat by his side. When he has a plane in his hands there is no careworn or worried look. That’s when he is in his glory.

He brought eleven of us, including my wife, on a wonderful trip in a giant three- motored Ford plane. When Ford takes to the air, aviation is assured.” DT #365, Sept. 22, 1927

#471, Sept. 11, 2007

Cowboys and Oklahomans thrill Will

COLUMBUS: I returned to Ohio Sunday night and read that Senator Clinton is planning to give almost a million dollars in campaign contributions to a deserving charity. Seems the money came from dubious sources so she wants to give it away, but hasn’t decided who needs it the most. Well, can you think of a more downtrodden, needier bunch nowadays than the Michigan Wolverines? Next worst off might be Notre Dame.

I stopped in Oklahoma to give a lecture at Ardmore Thursday night. See, the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation presents an annual series of programs called Profiles and Perspectives, and they figured Will Rogers would be as good as anybody to lead off. They had a wonderful turnout, even set up extra chairs in the back of the theater. It was the kind of audience a speaker wants to take along for every talk.

This Noble Foundation provides great service to Oklahoma and north Texas. If ever a family lived up to their name, that one has. The Noble Foundation helps farmers and ranchers improve their breeding and raise better grass and hay for their livestock. And they’re working on turning switchgrass into ethanol. They have so many down-to-earth researchers and other folks working at Ardmore it’s practically a second ag college for Oklahoma. (http://www.noble.org )

Lubbock has hosted the Cowboy Symposium and Celebration for 19 years, and I finally got to go. Alvin Davis has kinda planned every one of them, bringing in an assortment of western singers, cowboy poets, storytellers, and chuckwagon cooks to entertain and feed everybody. Saturday night they put on sort of a Vaudeville show and that drew about 700. That audience was just as lovely as the one in Ardmore. If you want to see how much fun these folks can have playing cowboy, look at a couple hundred of these pictures taken by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:

Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (see the added note at bottom)

“Every man has wanted to be a cowboy. Why play Wall Street and die young when you can play cowboy and never die?” DT #1549, July 10, 1931

(slightly edited)  “Texas is so big… There is single ranches here bigger than France and counties bigger than England.
It’s so far to town that the cowboys that started in to vote for Teddy Roosevelt arrived just in time to vote for Franklin.
The lakes of Switzerland would be buffalo wallows in Texas.
If Texas had been in Europe, eighty wars would have been fought over it.
Texas is located between Mexico and the United States to keep Mexico from annexing the United States. It’s the only State where a Republican has to have a passport to enter.”
 DT #1926, Oct. 6, 1932

Note: That was 1932. Of course today Republicans don’t need passports to enter. And, really, neither do Mexicans.

#470, Sept. 2, 2007

Weekly Comments: Congress and college football get restarted

COLUMBUS: Congress is coming back from their August vacation, or as the Congressmen refer to it, a “District Work Period”.

The Senate returns for what they humorously call their “Washington Work Period”. Yes, on Tuesday the Senate will be open, but their Men’s Rest Room may remain closed till October.

Congress spent their entire August recess digging up Water projects to fund. So far, their wish list of new and improved dams, canals, locks, levees, lakes, swamps, harbors and sandy beaches adds up to $22,000,000,000. You know, if they can find $22 Billion for water, maybe they can round up a few Billion to fix and replace some bridges OVER the water.

Yesterday hundreds of college football teams started their seasons. Only one that didn’t start was Michigan. Like an old Model T with bad gas and burned out plugs, they cranked and cranked the engine, got it to sputter a few times, but at the end it conked out and died on the field. Little Appalachian State University rode up to Ann Arbor from the mountain town of Boone, North Carolina, grabbed the football, stuffed it up the Wolverines tail pipe and held it there till the whole team turned Blue.

But don’t write off Michigan. They have a week to fix up the old Tin Lizzie and take on Oregon. And in case you’re wondering, Appalachian State’s next opponent is Lenoir-Rhyne. Before you count them out, remember a week ago you hadn’t heard of Appalachian State either.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“All I know is what I read in the papers. I thought this week I would be able to write you something nice clean and uplifting, with no trace of scandal. But I just can’t find anything. Why, even if you talk about the church now you are just as apt to be discussing some of their scandals as you are if you talk about oil.” WA #69, April 6, 1924

“In Europe, Public men DO resign. But here it’s a lost art. You have to Impeach ’em.” He Chews to Run, in Life magazine, June 7, 1927

“Tomorrow is Labor Day, I suppose set by act of Congress. Everything we do nowadays is either by or against acts of Congress. How Congress knew anything about labor is beyond us, but anyhow tomorrow is Labor Day.” DT #967, Sept. 1, 1929