#535 January 25, 2009

Welcome President Obama, to America 2009

COLUMBUS: For any of you planning to do your income taxes on TurboTax, I’ve got disappointing news. Despite what you heard last week from the Congressional hearing, Turbo Tax has no such thing as a Geithner Tax Credit. So if you’re wanting to hold back $32,000 from taxes owed, you’ll just have to make up your own deduction, that’s all. Of course if Mr. Geithner gets confirmed as Treasury Secretary, maybe next year they’ll add it.

Gov. Blagojevich, who will soon be impeached, convicted and jailed, went on the news and said he’s like an “innocent cowboy about to be hung for horse stealing.” Well, when you grow up on a ranch in Indian Territory (Oklahoma), you get to know a lot of cowboys, some of them innocent. And their language at times could get a bit colorful, like when a rogue steer broke loose from the herd. But I never ever met one so low down he ever tried to sell a Senate seat.

I’m not happy with all these national TV shows inviting Blagojevich to appear. Here’s a better example of how to treat someone of that kind: “Two weeks ago I had two hours with Al Capone. But there was absolutely no way I could write it [in my column] and not make a hero out of him… What’s the matter with an age when our biggest gangster is our greatest national interest.” (Will Rogers, March 11, 1932)

Did you attend the Inauguration of President Obama? About a million and a half crowded onto the Capitol grounds, although Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on television Sunday she counted two million. You just wait, by the end of the year, at least five million will claim they attended. Personally, I was in Columbus, Ohio, looking East. The only thing blocking my view of the Capitol was a wide-screen TV.

President Obama is a fast worker. He immediately tackled the number one problem concerning the American people today: closing Gitmo. He’s so fast he closed it without figuring out where to send the terrorists. With no money to build a new prison, choices are limited. Maybe send them to Joliet with Blagojevich, or Senator Reid can house them underground in Nevada with the nuclear waste, or split ’em up and let them move in with members of the ACLU. Nobody else wants them.

Frankly, I think the best option is Magic. Go down there, paint it pink, move the entrance to the other side and change the name from Gitmo to Paradise Royal Princess Resort. Announce to the world the terrorists are now housed on a lovely Carribean Island at Paradise Royal Princess Resort. Everyone will be thrilled. And for any news hounds and lawyers you take down there, if you blindfold them and fly in circles for awhile, no one will ever know.

In New York, Caroline Kennedy changed her mind. Instead of joining the Senate, she decided to join Toastmasters. After a year or two of going to those club meetings, she’ll know how to talk without uhs and ums and you knows. She will become an expert at giving a short, clear, organized talk that’s understandable only one way, a skill that will disqualify her from ever being a Senator.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“We are a funny people. We elect our Presidents, be they Republican or Democrat, then go home and start daring ’em to make good.” DT #2700, April 1, 1935

“Mr. Roosevelt stepped to the microphone last night. His message was not only a great comfort to the people, but it pointed a lesson to all radio announcers and public speakers what to do with a big vocabulary: leave it at home in the dictionary. Some people spend a lifetime juggling with words, with not an idea in a carload.” DT #2061, March 13, 1933

January 19, 2009

Weekly Comments: Will likes new Treasury plan

COLUMBUS: This historic week we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King on Monday, then at noon Tuesday we inaugurate Barack Obama, kind of a product of Dr. King’s influence.

No inauguration has been more anticipated, at least since 1933. And no President since Franklin Roosevelt has arrived with more problems piled on his plate.

Our new President has brought in experienced hands to run the government. Only one having any difficulty with Congress is Tim Geitner. Everybody in Washington and on Wall Street says he’s got to be the Treasury Secretary because he is the only man in America that understands how the economy works today. I’m not sure that’s right, but if it is, they should change the economy back the way is was when us common folk could understand it.

Now I’ve got to admit I kinda like Tim Geitner’s plan to stimulate the economy. See, if we follow his example, you keep all the taxes you would normally pay in 2009 and 2010, and then pay ’em in a lump sum in November 2012. But you only pay ’em then if you get offered a big government job. The Geitner Plan ain’t as complicated as the one Congress is arguing over, but it’ll work faster and eliminates overhead.

I spent a few days last week with 800 farmers in Indianapolis. You might remember that a year ago these same farmers voted in the “National No-Till Farmer Presidential Primary”. Barack Obama won for the Democrats and Mike Huckabee for the Republicans (McCain was second). Look at the millions of dollars saved if the country had accepted those results and jumped right to the general election. Well, this year those farmers learned about Fertilizer, mainly how to get by with less by using it in the right place at the right time. You still produce the same crops, but at lower cost. Now if we could do the same with politics, maybe we could get out of this financial rut and back on solid ground.

America got another hero last Thursday. Sully Sullenberger showed us how to land a plane on water without the benefit of pontoons. The Airbus folks deserve credit for designing and building a plane that held together. Next they gotta figure out how to add a safety device that’ll knock those wild geese out of the way, like a cow catcher on a locomotive.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Just been prowling around with the farmers. They have about given up hope of getting farm relief and have decided to fertilize instead.” DT 3494, Feb. 26, 1928

“America hasn’t been as happy in three years as they are today [Inauguration Day]. No money, no banks, no work, no nothing, but they know they got a man in there who is wise to Congress, wise to our big bankers and wise to our so-called big men. The whole country is with him. Even if what he does is wrong they are with him. Just so he does something.” DT #2054, March 5, 1933

“It’s news if you can get anything out of the government, but if the government gets anything out of you, that ain’t news, that’s just a habit.” DT #2076, March 30, 1933

#533 January 11, 2009

Congress and Obama ready to stimulate us

COLUMBUS: While Mr. Obama is counting down the days to January 20, Congress is counting up the ways to spend a Trillion dollars. Democrats insist on $500 Billion for wider roads, longer bridges and cleaner sewers, and the Republicans want to let the taxpayers keep $500 Billion and invest it themselves.

Since our new President wants to get everyone working toward a common goal, he will accept both plans, add $200 Billion of his own, and then announce, “We have reached an important compromise for $1.2 Trillion at this critical juncture in American history.” He’ll go on to say, “We expect this to stimulate the recovery and create 4 million new jobs.”

Whether this will work, I got my doubts. In the last couple of years Americans spent $7 Trillion more than we had in our bank accounts, so spending another Trillion on credit ain’t likely to solve the economic doldrums.

These bailout ideas are drawing some curious requests. $5 Billion was requested for the porn industry. Congressmen may misread “porn” as “pork”, and vote for it automatically. But really, the only chance it has getting through, is if it’s divided evenly among all 535 in Congress and they get to distribute it personally.

Over in Gaza, Israel told Hamas, “If you keep firing rockets at us, we’ll keep dropping bombs on you.” Well, wars haven’t changed in 80 years: “They are pretty bad, these big wars over Commerce. But one over religion is really the most bitter.” (Will Rogers, Sept. 8, 1929)

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“[Franklin Roosevelt] was inaugurated at noon in Washington [on March 4], and they started the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, and before it got half way down there, he’d closed every bank in the United States. Now a Republican woulda never thought of a thing like that… But that shows you how fast he works. He’s ahead of you all the time.” Radio, April 30, 1933

“It’s surprising how little money we can get along on. Let the banks never open. Just everybody keep on trusting everybody else. Why it’s such a novelty to find that somebody will trust you that it’s changed our whole feeling toward human nature. Why never was our country so united, never was a country so tickled with their poverty.DT #2057, March 8, 1933

For three years we have had nothing but, ‘America is fundamentally sound.’ It should have been, ‘America is fundamentally cuckoo.’ The worse off we get the louder we laugh, which is a great thing. And every banker ought to have printed on his office door: ‘Alive today by the grace of a nation that has a sense of humor.'” DT #2057, March 8, 1933

[Of the new Cabinet members] “three of ’em escaped from the Senate. That’s like going to the old man’s home to get an athlete. But I believe they are going to be all right.” DT #2046, Feb. 23, 1933

January 4, 2009

Obama, Franken and Burris ready to make history

COLUMBUS: The Obamas moved to Washington. Just when our new President (in two weeks) is trying to concentrate on fixing the economy and the important issues of the world, why, his old friend Blagojevich names a new Illinois Senator. That governor is shrewd; picked an old politician who lost so many elections in the last few years, no way he could pay a bribe. These Federal prosecutors, if they can’t convict him for bribery may have to do like they did with Al Capone: send him up on tax evasion.

The Senate is ready to reconvene, but they don’t know yet who will show up. Roland Burris claims the Illinois seat because he would be the only African-American in there. Al Franken says he is rightfully the Minnesota Senator because he would be the only Comedian. (He’ll find out otherwise soon enough.)

Caroline Kennedy wants the New York seat. Did you hear her? “I really want to, you know, represent New York. But if that doesn’t, you know, work out, I’ll move to Massachusetts and, you know, wait.”

Israel waited until after Christmas to go into Gaza and root out the Hamas Muslims. Ironical timing, don’t you think? Europe immediately told Israel they should stop fighting and negotiate. Of course, Hamas terrorists have been firing rockets into the south end of Israel for two years, so Israel asked Europe, What would you do if they were firing those rockets at the South of France? Well, Europe hadn’t thought of that possibility, so they are working on a compromise if Hamas promises to aim no farther than ten kilometers inland.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“This Depression must have finally hit the Senate. They are investigating it. If they want to know what is holding back relief measures, all they got to do is look in the mirror.” DT #2039, Feb. 15, 1933

“Senator Carter Glass, when he told the Senate that the whole Reconstruction Finance thing was bad, told them what every Senator knew in his heart, but didn’t have the nerve to say. Every man, every industry in the United States was hit by Depression. Before you start dealing out public funds to help, you should have first found out, have we enough money to give aid to every one, every industry. If not, I am not going to give part of them a sandwich and leave the rest go hungry. But no, they didn’t do that. They just started right in by helping the bankers, so every man, woman and child in the U. S. thinks, and rightfully so, that they have got as much right to get some sort of government aid as the bankers. Due to the lack of foresight of our lawmakers it will never be finished till the last one hundred and twenty million reach in and get theirs, because they feel they got it coming.” DT #2044, Feb. 21, 1933

“Well, for breakfast this morning we got three new Cabinet officers… This fellow [new Treasury Secretary] William Woodin that has inherited the deficit, I don’t know him, but I, along with everybody, rush to offer him condolence. Accepting receivership of the U. S. is also no small chore.” DT #2045, Feb. 22, 1933

(in the days before Roosevelt’s inauguration)