#483, December 24, 2007

Senator provides the comedy

#483, December 24, 2007

COLUMBUS: Not much going on in either Washington or Hollywood. Congress left town, and the Writers are still on strike. If you want comedy, you have to write it yourself.

Senator Harry Reid played a joke on the President. He let all the Senators leave town except one who stayed behind to kinda man the boat. See, sometimes when Congress goes on vacation, the President fills vacancies in various federal agencies, and they can’t stop him. But if a Senator goes in there to bang the gavel each morning, even if no one is there to hear it, and then after spouting a few official sounding words he bangs it again, why that constitutes a full day’s work for a Senator. Not only for that Senator, but for all of them.

So in this way the Senate can keep the president from making recess appointments. They asked Mr. Reid, aren’t these important jobs that need to be filled? He said, “I’d rather have a vacancy than a Republican.”

You know, by the time the other 99 Senators return later in January, that one lonely Democrat banging the gavel will have passed almost as many useful bills in one month as all of ’em did in the previous eleven.

They did pass an Energy Bill. It adds a little more energy, but mainly they want to spread out what we’ve got a lot thinner. They want us to increase gas milage by 40 percent to 35 miles per gallon in 12 years.

These folks clamoring for a 35 mpg automobile will be surprised to learn they’re here today if you want one. But if you ask them, they don’t want it for themselves. They want ’em for everybody else to drive.

And by 2020 they want Ford and General Motors to figure out how to build the same size cars and trucks as they’re driving today, same power, same accessories, but run on 40% less fuel. Detroit may need a hand from Santa Claus to pull that off.

With the North Pole melting maybe Santa can relocate to Detroit. They got empty factories where he can set up shop, vacant houses for all the elves, and plenty of snow.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, they don’t hurt anybody. When they do something is when they become dangerous.” DT #1038, Nov. 22, 1929

“A President just can’t make much showing against (Congress). They just lay awake nights thinking up things to be against the President on.” WA #430, March 22, 1931

“I am too busy replacing presents to write today. I bought some mechanical and electric things for the kids and wore ’em out playing with ’em myself.” DT #120, Dec. 23, 1926

“Well, the neckties were all red and the sox were all too small. So there is practically nothing I can do but just sit and wait for another holiday. If Santa has failed us this time we will see what he brings us on Nov. 4.” DT 441, Dec. 25, 1927 (Yes, Nov. 4 is election day in 2008, and also Will’s birthday.)

#482, December 16, 2007

Global warming for a White Christmas

COLUMBUS: There was big news this week from Indonesia, and it wasn’t a tsunami, although the outcome could be just a calamitous for the U.S.

The other 186 nations had called a conference to arrive at a plan by which the United States would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. At least that was their original intent. But Al Gore flew in to show off the Nobel peace prize he won for global warming, gave a speech and got ’em so riled up they decided a 25 percent reduction ain’t enough, make it 40. They took a vote on it, and the vote was 186 to 1, with us being the 1.

Now that’s a mighty tall order, for us to cut back 40 percent on anything, let alone emissions. See, down in Atlanta they’re running out of water, and with such dire predictions they have not even cut water use 10 percent. We know it’s important, but whether it’s conserving water or cutting gas, we ain’t gonna do it, that’s all.

The main argument up to now has been that most of these other 186 countries (where they still walk to work or ride a bicycle) did not want to cut emissions at all. They wanted us to do all the cutting, along with Europe, while they just kept on emitting. Well, last week they compromised. They said, “We will cut back the same as you, as long as you provide all the technology to do the cutting, and give us the money to pay for it.” Well, that got wild applause, till the American representative jumped up and said, “I object. I object because we are already fighting a war where we’re paying for both sides, and we’re broke.”

Then came a lone voice from the back of the room, “We seek your leadership, but if for some reason you cannot lead, leave it to the rest of us, and get out of the way.” The American was surprised at this offer, and wondered which country could be so generous to take on this tremendous financial burden for the world. Was it Germany? England? Maybe even China with their new wealth?

No, it was Papua New Guinea, whose gross national product would about cover the hotel bill for the conference. And their diplomat was not offering anything; he wasn’t seeking our leadership, just our money.

Meanwhile, from Oklahoma to Maine, the ice and snowstorms continued. If you folks huddle up close to keep warm, and only burn a candle when necessary for reading science journals, we’ll come up with a solution to this problem way before New Guinea.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“There’s the one thing no nation can ever accuse us of, and that is Secret Diplomacy. Our foreign dealings are an open book, generally a Check Book.” WA #45, October 21, 1923

“America has a very unique record. We never lost a war or won a conference.” WA #2, December 1922.

“Merry Christmas, my constant readers, both of you. No scandal today. There is some, but it will be more scandalous by tomorrow.” DT #121, Dec. 24, 1926

“And to the Senate and the House, a Merry Christmas. May the literacy test never be applied to your constituents.” DT#752, Dec. 24, 1928

#481, December 9, 2007

Oprah steals the Presidential campaign show

COLUMBUS: The big campaign news this week is not Romney’s speech, or Huckabee’s prayers or Clinton’s drivers license plan for Mexicans. No, the big news is Oprah.

She spoke to 20,000 in Iowa, then 75,000 in South Carolina, with another stop planned in New Hampshire. If all those folks vote in the primary it’ll set a new record.

Oprah made quite an impression with her speeches, broadcast live on national television. And she has already affected the presidential polls. There’s a new Number 2 in Iowa and South Carolina: Oprah Winfrey.

After her Iowa speech a woman walked out of the building beaming, “Seeing Oprah in person was such a thrill, but I don’t recognize the man she kept talking about. What happened to Stedman?”

When Sean Penn heard that Oprah was going to campaign for Senator Obama, he started calling up the other candidates, to let ’em know he’s available. Clinton said “no thanks”, Edwards said “no”, Richardson, “no”, Biden “hell no”. Finally, he got a yes, from Dennis Kucinich. At their first appearance together, 13 people showed up, including one with a cell phone video camera.

The CIA is used to doing the grilling, but today they’re the ones on the hot seat. Seems they videotaped an interrogation of one of the terrorists, and then burned the tape. Now I ain’t meaning to get in the middle of an argument between the CIA and Congress, but it appears Congress wants to know if the terrorists were tortured, and the CIA just wanted to keep the video off YouTube. The question Congress ought to be asking is, “What did the terrorists tell you, and where is Bin Ladin?” Then let the CIA get back to business, whatever that is. Keeping an eye on Ahmadinejad in Iran is not a bad idea, even if he says he had no interest in a nuclear bomb.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

“While I had my head turned and wasn’t on the radio, Hitler broke out on me. I thought I had him covered. Hitler broke out on me and tore up the Versailles Treaty. It wasn’t a good treaty, but it was the only one they had. And he tore it up. They was a year making it, and he tore it up in about a minute.” Radio broadcast, March 31, 1935

Note: Hitler’s action appalled the French and British, but they did nothing except lodge protests and start negotiations with Germany on nonaggression pacts.

#480, December 2, 2007

Will finds football and politics unpredictable

COLUMBUS: Columnists don’t often make good prognosticators, but two weeks ago I nailed it with my prediction on college football: “You can expect more upsets. Nothing has been as predictable this year as unpredictability. If your team isn’t ranked near the top, why you’re fortunate.”

The bowl games chose up sides Sunday night. Louisiana State and Ohio State drew the long straws so they get to play in the so-called BCS championship game. At least a half dozen other teams claim they are just as deserving, and they’re probably right.

When it comes to these big bowl games, I’m betting on the underdog.

If the elections in Iowa and New Hampshire are as surefire as college football games, why don’t be shocked if there’s an upset or two. If Pitt can win, why not Kucinich. In Iowa polls, Clinton and Romney were leading two weeks ago, now it’s Obama and Huckabee. By Christmas it may be Richardson and Thompson.

If you want a predictable election go to Russia. Their polls are never wrong. Hugo Chavez in Venezuela is trying to learn from Russia, but his election Sunday was more like Florida’s than Russia’s, kind of a tossup. Chavez is determined to replace Castro as our Chief Annoyer south of the border. Only difference between ’em is that Castro has sugar and Chavez has oil. We’re gluttons for sugar, but we’re practically starved for oil.

Speaking of gluttons, I read in the newspaper where the Surgeon General wants Santa Claus to go on a diet. The way the economy is goin’, with gas prices and mortgage rates, the whole country will be slimmer this Christmas. If Santa is willing to work off a few pounds I’ll join him. We can probably round up a few others with excess flesh to shed.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

“Say that Venezuela is quite a country. They have a fellow named Gomez…and he really runs it. They might call him a dictator, but they are the only ones that seem to get anything done in these times.” DT #1477, April 17, 1931