#557 June 28, 2009

Congress to replace oil from overseas with wind from Washington

COLUMBUS: I flew back from Reno Thursday after contributing slightly to the local economy. The Reno Gazette-Journal reported their state economy is so bad they are laying off university professors.

Then I read in the Columbus newspaper that the Ohio Governor plans to solve the state budget problems by – now get this – introducing slot machines. Considering the shape Nevada is in, with their millions of slot machines, I rather doubt they will do much to close a $3 Billion gap for Ohio. But give the governor credit; all five days I was gone he was on the job, working. No side trips to South America.

In Washington, while President Obama had everybody focused on changing health insurance, Congress passed a bill to make all our best fuels more expensive. Now I don’t mean to sound like a Rockefeller in singing praises of oil (and coal and natural gas for that matter), but the reason oil is so popular is because nobody has discovered anything better. You may remember that before crude oil started oozing out of the Pennsylvania hills, we depended on whale oil. It didn’t take an act of Congress to get us off whale oil (although if our current Congress had been around at the time such a bill would have at least been introduced). Their heart may be in the right place; they think our part of the planet is getting warmer, and they did have the good sense to wait to pass it until most of the country was wilting at 90 to 100 degrees.

The Senate hasn’t seen the bill yet, so there is some hope for common sense. A young friend of mine sent a note that “Passage of the Cap and Trade bill and continued federal debt would mean we are trading our dependence on oil for dependence on credit.” Of course the ones we will depend on for loans are China and India. They’ll have plenty of extra dough because they don’t have a Cap and Trade bill.

On Saturday I was at a reunion of some older folks, and they aren’t too thrilled either at the direction the country’s headed. They remember when electricity was a luxury and more people walked than drove. They probably got by on 20 percent of what they use now, which is what the President wants us all to do by 2050.

Last week we lost Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett. They all made millions, but two of the three died a pauper. They’ll all be missed in their own way.

Next Saturday is Independence Day. As we celebrate, remember the ones who sweated over the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and those who have fought to preserve it since. The women in Iran understand that independence from tyranny is worth fighting for.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“There is one rule that works in every calamity. Be it pestilence, war or famine, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  The poor even help arrange it.”
 DT #1019, Oct. 31, 1929
“Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, they don’t hurt anybody. It’s when they do something is when they become dangerous.” DT #1038, Nov. 22, 1929
“… reunions… To talk of old times with old friends is the greatest thing in the world.” WA #169, March 7, 1926

#556 June 20, 2009

PETA flies in the face of common sense

COLUMBUS: Over in Iran we have thousands of democratic-minded people taking to the streets to battle the government over actions of Ahmadinejad.
Meanwhile in this country we have PETA rising up in indignation over the actions of President Obama. This PETA organization, with the full backing of the (fake) Humane Society (HSUS), has decided that the Iran uprising, North Korea nuclear blasts and Trillion dollar deficits don’t matter as much as the life of one pesky house fly.
Instead of swatting these endangered critters, PETA wants the President and the rest of us to carefully trap annoying house flies, mosquitos, fleas and gnats, then provide them nourishment and comfortable quarters until enough have been rounded up to justify a drive to the country. Then, when a suitable farm habitat has been spotted, said critters will be released and shooed in the general direction of the nearest livestock, farmhands or vacationing dude ranchers.
If you have previously contributed to PETA and HSUS, and find that your views on the care and feeding of house flies and mosquitos are opposite to these organizations, I suggest you ask for return of your money. Maybe half of what you get back  you can donate to those Iranians endangering their own lives to fight for democracy.
Meanwhile California has shut off the irrigation water to farmers who grow a big chunk of our food. And the reason given is nearly as foolish as the house fly killing controversy: they are saving all the water for a little minnow. Now I’ve got nothing against this particular minnow; mixed in a salad, they could be mighty tasty. But I rather doubt that even with the most prolific animal husbandry, you could produce enough of these minnows to replace the nourishment being lost from those dried up farms.
I’m headed to Reno tomorrow for a convention of engineers. Reno’s next door to California, but they continue to provide water to anyone who needs it. Reno was once known as the divorce capital of the country but other states horned in and that business dried up. Today they’re hoping to get back into it, starting with their own U.S. Senator.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

[Letter to President Coolidge, vacationing in Vermont] “Well, I guess by the time this reaches you, you will have brushed all the Chiggers and Fleas and Mosquitoes off of you, and are back in the White House with nothing to worry you but Farmers and Democrats.  If it had been me, I believe I would have stayed up there all year.” Saturday Evening Post, August 1926
“They no more than stop Cal [Coolidge] from fishing with worms than he goes out with flies and catches even more. If they stop his using flies, why, he is getting so Western that he is just liable to pull out his .44 and shoot a flock of fish, or take down his old lariat and [rope] enough for dinner. There’s no stopping the man. He is a modern [Teddy] Roosevelt.” DT #303, July 12, 1927
 “People don’t change under governments. Governments change, but the people remain the same.”  Saturday Evening Post,  Dec. 4, 1926

#555 June 14, 2009

Weekly Comments: Confused about Inflation? Worry no more.

    COLUMBUS: I read in our newspaper that two brothers were arrested for printing money on their home computer. It was $20 and $50 bills, and they said their main goal was to buy a car. When the police asked how they figured to get away with it, the older one said, “The President is printing a Trillion dollars to stimulate the economy, so we’re helping him with a few thousand.”

Inflation won’t make your cash holdings as worthless as those fake bills. And if  you’re broke, inflation don’t worry you. But if you’ve saved a little nest egg, and didn’t lose it on Wall Street, why I don’t blame you for being concerned. Deflation is easy to manage; just put off buying anything as long as you can because it’ll be cheaper next week. But for inflation, the trick is to buy something now that will go up faster than the dollar goes down. Probably “my” advice from 1930 is just as good today: buy land because they aren’t making any more of it. Go out in the country and find a few acres. Even if it don’t make any money, but you can always walk on it.

There’s 180 acres in Pacific Palisades, California, that Gov. Schwarzenegger has about decided ain’t worth walking on, at least not for a few years. It’s the Will Rogers State Park, and along with another 200 parks, it may be shut down. I hate to go against a governor, but parks ain’t the problem in California, it’s people. Not people in general; there’s just too many people on the state payroll. If the governor fired the ones that aren’t working at all, he could save enough to operate all the parks. And  he could balance the entire state budget if he let go all the ones that ain’t worth what they’re being paid,  including two-thirds of the state Legislature.

If Donald Trump can fire Miss California, why can’t the Governor give the axe to a few hundred thousand. (Most people think Donald should have kept Miss California, and fired the judge, but that’s a story for another time.)

The Palau Islands won the Gitmo Lottery. This is not like the lottery won by the young rancher in North Dakota. They gave him a check for $235 Million, and by the time he got it to the bank it was only $85 Million. Palau won $200 Million from us, and all they have to do is take care of 17 Gitmo prisoners. Palau gets the entire check, over $10 Million a terrorist. If this news gets back to the other Gitmo terrorists they’ll all ask for their $10 Million and promise to head directly to one of those South Pacific islands, for life.

The Los Angeles Lakers won another basketball championship tonight, winning in Orlando. They asked Kobe Bryant where he’s headed now. “I’m going home; I’ve already been to Disney World.” Earlier the Pittsburgh Penguins won the hockey title over Detroit. You know, it’s the middle of June. It’s time to put away the winter coats and move on to baseball.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“My old friend [newspaper columnist] Arthur Brisbane accused me good-naturedly of being worried over this Inflation. I wasn’t worried. I was just confused. There is quite a difference.
When you are worried you know what you are worried about, but when you are confused it’s when you don’t know enough about a thing to be worried.
But Arthur, even my confusion is all over now. Everybody that I meet has explained this whole inflation thing so clearly that now I am going around explaining it myself.”  DT #2096, April 23, 1933

“To inflate or not to inflate, that is the Democratic question. Whether it’s nobler in the minds to suffer the slings and arrows of southern politicians, or to take up inflation against a sea of economists, and by opposing, end them.
To expand, to inflate, to inflate perchance to dream. Aye, there’s the rub.
For in that sleep of inflation, what dreams may come, puzzle the will and make us doubtful whether to bear those ills we have, or fly to others we know not of.” DT #2225, Sept. 20, 1933  (Yes, Will Rogers knew his Shakespeare)

#554 June 7, 2009

Weekly Comments: Need a job? Become a Czar.

WILDCAT, West Virginia: More people are losing their jobs every month. Seems like the only profession with immediate growth potential is Czars. If you ever wanted to be a Czar, now’s the time. Just write the President and tell him what particular chunk of American enterprise you want to mold to your own liking. If no one else thought of it, you’ve got a chance.

He already named a Car Czar and one for health insurance. There’s even a Czar in charge of the Great Lakes. Any man that can make those lakes rise and fall at will deserves to be called Czar. Or even King. Nothing needs a Czar more than California, but who would take it in its present state? Maybe Michael Moore, but it was him and a few others that helped put it in its present state.

Oil is up to $70. Did you notice this spring that every time some prominent economist predicted “Oil will maintain a steady price through summer,” they tacked on another $5 a barrel. But we’re looking at the wrong side of the equation. When oil climbed from $40 to $50 to $60 and so on, it ain’t just because oil is getting more valuable. No, it’s because our dollar is getting less valuable. Old man inflation is lurking behind every bush ready to pounce.

Our newspapers and television won’t give up calling this H1N1 flu “swine flu” instead. A few people have died, but not a single hog. The only effect the flu has had on swine is to lower the price the old farmer gets for his hogs. Maybe next time we can call it “oil flu”, and it’ll have the same effect.

Dairy farmers are losing money on milk and culling their cow herds. I believe there’s just as many people “Got Milk” as ever. They’ve got it, they just aren’t drinking it. The old rancher is losing on his cattle too, because once this beef gets to the grocery store, nobody can tell a Holstein from a Hereford.

President Obama’s speech in Egypt went over with the Muslims and Arabs. Whenever he said something complimentary about Islam, he got applause. Whenever he said something complimentary about America they ignored him. Al-Qeida gave the opposition response. They said, “Don’t listen to these Americans. We’re the ones who know what’s good for Muslims, not some man named Barrack Hussein Obama.” Maybe they should have left off that last part.

The reason I’m reporting from Wildcat, is I’m here today with family and friends on a small hilltop cemetery honoring those who lost their lives in wars. Yes, this Decoration Day is later than for most of you, but a few days difference don’t matter to the eight with small American flags by their headstones, including seven from the Civil War. The ceremony was not as elaborate as the one yesterday for D-Day in France, but just as respectful.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“One of the very next things Mr. Roosevelt is going to do, so I was told in Washington on the best authority, was to appoint an oil czar. No industry needs a warden worse.” DT #2112, May 11, 1933

[A woman visiting New York claims] “to be the Czarina of Russia, of course that was in case Russia ever decided to have a Czar and a Czarina. It would be about like me announcing that I had decided to be King of Oklahoma (in case, of course, Oklahoma ever decided to have a King).” WA #107, December 28, 1924

“Steak on the plate went up, steak on the hoof went down.” WA #118, March 15, 1925