#561 July 26, 2009

Weekly Comments: New Jersey suffers a blow, gains an island

COLUMBUS: New Jersey suffered another blow this week. The FBI rounded up about 50 mayors and legislators for corruption. The only surprise is that five rabbis got in on the graft.

New Jersey hasn’t been the same since Sam Goldwyn moved the movies to Hollywood, and Henry Ford loaded Edison’s Menlo Park on railroad cars and hauled it to Dearborn. Half of the state is fine farm ground, but the other half is mainly used to bury the bodies.

In a related story, Cesar Chavez of Venezuela announced that his personal oil company, Citgo, is donating an island to New Jersey. I bet most of you didn’t know Mr. Chavez owned any American soil, but he does. Pettys Island is situated in the Delaware River and sorta protects Philadelphia from New Jersey. Nobody lives there and if George Washington had known about it when he crossed the Delaware he could have used it as a rest stop. But George never saw it because it was dark.

Lately it got a lot of attention from Realtors, dreaming of selling lots. It seems many folks would like to live on the island, I suppose because they figure technically it’s not in either New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

Chavez wants to rip out the oil refinery and leave the island as a park and wildlife refuge. With this latest round of crime, what New Jersey needs it for is a prison. Think Alcatraz East. Cut an entrance door into those big oil storage tanks and shove a dozen crooked politicians in each one. If they run out of room, maybe Rockefeller will donate a few tanks from Standard Oil of New Jersey.

Sarah Palin turned Alaska over to the Lt. Governor today. She gave a speech, didn’t say much, but invited everyone to visit Alaska. I may take her up on it. Next August would be a good time to go. I want to take a plane up to Barrow, but not a small one.

President Obama is pushing Congress to come up with a health care plan this week. He won’t tell them what he wants, so they have to guess. Congress was hot on the idea of taxing anyone with health insurance worth over $40,000 a year till they realized they were included, and cooled off on that plan. Now, giving everyone equal health care is a good theory. We feed the poor, but not the same food they eat on Martha’s Vineyard. We want everyone to have shelter, but won’t give ‘em tile roofs and silk sheets. We want everyone to have an aspirin for a headache, but million dollar surgeries? Well, that’s pretty much what they’re arguing over.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“New Jersey broke a life long precedent last week.  She made the front page without a murder.” WA #11, Feb. 25, 1923

“Theories are great, they sound great, but the minute you are asked to prove one in actual life, why the thing blows up.” DT #2205, Aug. 28, 1933

#560 July 18, 2009

Will makes jokes at Treasury’s expense

COLUMBUS: At a time when the government is ordering big companies to cut back on frivolous expenses, why along comes news that the Treasury Dept, that’s in charge of all this debt we’re racking up, wants to hire a Cartoonist. The whole idea is, to relieve their stress he is supposed to kinda make fun of the workers dealing with this Trillion dollar deficit, and get them to laugh at themselves. You know, to laugh even more than they are currently laughing at the taxpayers for taking on this humongous debt.

Well, a Senator got wind of it (and who knows more about frivolous spending than a Senator), and they canceled the plan. But there’s good news for these forlorn federal money changers. At no cost to the Treasury, every newspaper cartoonist in the country will draw something that’ll remind them to be happy they even have a job. And a few of us who aren’t cartoonists will toss in a humorous jab now and then to help lighten the mood.

Congress and Treasury Secretary Geithner didn’t much care for my plan last week to cover the uninsured. They came out with their own plan: to cover all your medical costs while you’re living, they take everything you’ve got left when you die. It’s kinda like the plan drawn up by a Treasury Secretary 74 years ago. (See below)

I can’t finish without writing about Walter Cronkite. I got to meet him a few years ago when he talked at an Ohio Broadcasters convention. I asked him if he knew he was born on the birthday of another legendary American, Will Rogers. He seemed surprised, but I’m guessing he knew and just temporarily forgot it. Mr. Cronkite may have died today at 92, but he won’t be forgotten, temporarily or otherwise.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

(The Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau) “came out with a plan to put a bigger and better tax on these big estates: an inheritance tax. On an estate of say $10 million, why the government will take about 90 percent of it, giving the off-spring 10.  And on estates of a 100 million, 200 million, a billion, and like that, well, the government just takes all of that and notifies the heirs, ‘Your father died a pauper here today.  And he’s being buried by the Millionaires’ Emergency Burial Association.’
Now mind you, I don’t hold any great grief for a man that dies and leaves millions and hundreds of millions and billions.  I don’t mean that.  But I don’t believe Mr. Morgenthau’s plan will work, because he gives figures in there that shows what this new inheritance tax would bring in every year.  He says in 1936 we get so much, in 1938…  He give these figures to show what it will bring in every year, that is, as long as the Democrats stay in.
He seems to know just who’s going to die each year.  And how much they’re going to leave.  Now, brother, that’s planning, ain’t it, when you can figure out that!  Now suppose, for instance, he’s got scheduled to die J. P. Morgan.  He’s got him scheduled to die on a certain year.  And you can bet, if they can arrange it, they’ll have him die while the Democrats are in, so they can get the benefit of that estate anyhow, see? Now, according to plans, J. P. Morgan has got to die in order for Mr. Morgenthau to reach his quota for that year.  Now I think Mr. Morgan is a nice man and his patriotism might compare with some of the rest of us. But whether he’d be patriotic enough to want to die on this year’s schedule just to make Morgenthau’s budget balance, I’ve got my doubts. That’s asking a good deal of a man to just die right off just so I can balance my budget.  He might be rather unreasonable and not want to do it.  I say, old men is contrary.  And rich old men is awful contrary.  They’ve had their own way so long…
So in order for Mr. Morgenthau’s plan to work out, he’s got to bump these wealthy guys off, or something.  Well, now, the government’s doing everything else, you know, but there is a Humane Society.” Radio, April 28, 1935

#559 July 11, 2009

Will offers health care plan: adoption

COLUMBUS: T. Boone Pickens is back in the news again. With Congress working on a bill to replace coal with wind and sunshine, Boone cancelled his plans for installing 600 wind machines in West Texas. Now there’s as much wind as ever around Lubbock and Amarillo, and you can’t find a better place to set up gigantic windmills. Only problem is, where they need electricity is East Texas, and nobody has volunteered to pay for the transmission wires.

So Boone is looking for a home for his wind machines. Frankly, a perfect location for half of ‘em is downwind of Washington. You’ve got both the source and the need in the same vicinity. As for the other 300, I’m open to suggestions.

Congress figured out how to pay for health care for 50 million people without insurance: let the rich cover ‘em. According to the plan, any family making over $350,000 will be asked to contribute. The government collects the money, then after taking out the overhead, doles it out to the uninsured whether they want it or not.

I think a simpler plan would be adoption. We have about 1 million who are wealthy enough to be the “payers”, and 50 million “payees.” So I suggest each rich payer kinda adopt 50 payees. Set it up like one of these dating web sites, call it www.healthEharmony.com, and let each of our wealthy select their 50. Maybe some millionaires could adopt 100, like Jay Rockefeller and Warren Buffett (and Boone Pickens if he ever sells his windmills). My plan eliminates the middleman and minimizes the operating cost, assuming we can find someone to build the web site for less than $18 Million, which seems to be the going rate in Washington.

To be fair, the first ones to choose can’t just pick up 50 young, healthy guys who don’t expect to ever see a doctor till they’re at least 80. No, they can take about ten of those, but the other forty are split between the unemployed, those too sick to work, and our so-called undocumented immigrants.

The only problem is gonna come when another 50 million or so see this adoption plan as such a good idea they want in on it. I’m not sure families making, say, $200,000 are going to look favorably on adopting their share.

How’s this for stimulating jobs? General Motors got $20 Billion more from the government, and announced they’re cutting 6000 salaried workers and maybe 20,000 more in factories. At least they’re out of bankruptcy, and they’ll do all right if they can keep running the company from Detroit instead of Washington.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“Everybody says, ‘Where’s the money coming from we’re spending?’  Well, I don’t know, but just offhand, I’d say it’s coming from those that got it…. There’s one good thing about the American form of government. The fellow that’s got nothing, he don’t pay nothing.” Radio, April 7, 1935

#558 July 5, 2009

U.S. Senate gains another humorist

COLUMBUS: Al Franken finally got into the Senate. It was a tight race, and it took the lawyers eight months to figure out who won because they were getting paid by the hour. The Republicans in Minnesota set a record in a losing cause: the most money ever spent to keep a comedian out of the Senate.

Dan Thomasson, a fine syndicated newspaper columnist, quoted “me” in his article Sunday, “Al Franken, the comedian turned politician, should be right at home in Congress, which Will Rogers once described as the greatest collection of humorists in the world.” Well, Dan, I appreciate the mention. You’re right, I did refer to Congress a number of times as a bunch of comedians, but never did I use “greatest.” They’ve got too much ego as it is.

If you’re in the Southeastern states, keep an eye out for eight bicyclists who are riding from North Carolina all the way to Oklahoma on the “Trail of Tears.” In case you don’t remember your history, President Andrew Jackson got the Indian Removal Act passed by Congress to make all Indians move west of the Mississippi River. The Supreme Court, under John C. Marshall, said, “No, you can’t do that.” But ole Andy defied the Supreme Court, and had the Army round up the Cherokees and four other tribes at gunpoint and forced them to leave their homes and head west. About one out of every four Cherokees died before they reached what is now Oklahoma. So if you live near that route through Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas, keep an eye out for those bicycles and clap as they go by.

California is putting on a memorial service for Michael Jackson. Gov. Schwarzenegger missed a big opportunity to trim the state deficit. More than a million and a half people wanted to come to Los Angeles for the service, but California only allowed 17,500. See, they should have moved it to some wide-open spot outside of town, invited everybody, and had state employees run all the concessions. By monopolizing the sales and stretching the service to 3 or 4 days, why California could have cleared a billion dollars just on cold drinks.

Governor Palin announced she is resigning. She hasn’t called me to explain why she’s quitting, so I’ll just let the other commentators do all the speculating.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Politics is the best show in America and I am going to keep on enjoying it. So on with the show…. One thing about the Democrats, they never put on a dull show.” WA #521, Dec. 18, 1932

“Compared to (Congress) I’m an amateur, and the thing about my jokes is they don’t hurt anybody. You can say they’re funny, or they’re horrible, or they’re good, or whatever, but they don’t do any harm. But with Congress every time they make a joke it’s a law… and every time they make a law, it’s a joke.” Radio broadcast, May 5, 1935