#570 Sept. 27, 2009

Weekly Comments: Peace talks are fine but keep your gun loaded

COLUMBUS: This was quite a week for peace. At the United Nations, President Obama called to order the Security Council and they unanimously passed a motion to work toward a world without nuclear weapons. As soon as the vote was announced they all cheered, and every leader there slipped out and called home with the same message: Build more Nukes.

Next up was the speeches. Qaddafi of Libya and Chavez of Venezuela and the little fellow from Iran that we can’t pronounce all got their turn on stage. They took turns bashing America and the rest of the civilized world, and seeing who could tell the biggest lies. Where is Joe Wilson when you really need him?

Our President is back in Washington, working on changes in health care. He already promised to cut prices by eliminating waste and fraud. But he never defined exactly what fraud he would go after. Well, in a recent interview he gave a hint. After ACORN was embarrassed by videos where they promoted illegal activities, he was asked about the $50 million the government had paid to ACORN. He said that’s nothing to be concerned about because we have bigger problems to solve. So right there, he pretty much set the bar on fraud. If you want to cheat the government out of health care funds, keep it under $50 million and you’ll be home free.

Food prices are back in the news. Farmers are getting paid less than a year or two ago, but grocery stores and restaurants are charging more. Not much different than in 1925: “Steak on the plate went up, steak on the hoof went down.”  Now, the Dept of Agriculture has a solution for you; get to know a farmer and buy direct. Not only do you cut out the middle man, you get acquainted with the folks that work to grow your food.

Speaking of farmers, one thing they are all praying for is a late frost. All across the country many crops got planted a week or two later than normal. They’re growing fine, but a delay in freezing weather would be greatly appreciated. Norman Borlaug, the great agricultural scientist who died recently, developed genetically-modified crops that helped keep a billion people from starvation. But I doubt he came up any that would keep growing after a hard freeze.

I just returned from Norfolk where I spoke at the Performing Arts Exchange. It’s mainly musical groups, singers, and dancers in kind of a gigantic tryout to get booked for live shows across the country. My angle to get hired was to promise not to sing, dance or play an instrument. Being over there so close to Washington, I  told them for my act I just watch the government and report the facts. Don’t even have to exaggerate. There’s no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“It’s all right to go to these (Disarmament) Conferences. But it’s always well to come home and reload your gun after each one is over.” WA #416, Dec. 14, 1930

#569 Sept. 20, 2009

Weekly Comments: Health care plan floods air waves

COLUMBUS: This morning President Obama booked himself on five TV news shows, and Monday night he’s on Letterman. Don’t be surprised if next weekend he preempts the half time show of every football game.

He says that if he can’t persuade us on television, he’ll start calling on the telephone. Can you imagine him calling 300 million of us? Naturally he’ll commence with the Democrats. He’ll hope to convince enough Democrats that he don’t have to worry with the Republicans at all.

His problem is that the majority like their health care the way it is. Don’t change a thing, they say. Well, the reason they like it is because they aren’t the ones paying for it. If everyone knew the cost, and had to pay it themselves, they might be willing to shop for a cheaper option.

The President says medical costs are too high and they have increased way too fast over the past ten or twenty years. He may be right, but half the increase is because of new medicines and technology. Do you want to give that up? What’s that leave to cut, other than trial lawyers and insurance profits? I rather doubt you want to cut your doctor’s salary, at least not until after your surgery.

It kinda looks like he’s gonna keep hounding us till we give up and accept it. Only then can we ever hope to find out exactly what it was we accepted.

Some of our big economists announced the “Recession is over.” Well, that’s just an economist’s way of saying it probably won’t get any worse unless you lose your job. It’s like a weatherman reporting that the river has stopped rising; it don’t mean the flood is over if you have five feet of water in your living room.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“I’m not a member of any organized political party… I’m a Democrat.” (no specific date)

“The trouble with the Democrats has been up to now that they have been giving the people ‘what they thought they ought to have,’ instead of ‘what they wanted’.” Saturday Evening Post, March 30, 1929

“Democrats never agree on anything… That’s why they’re Democrats; if they could agree with each other, they would be Republicans.” Saturday Evening Post, May 1, 1926

“Perhaps in a few months our Politicians will change… You know, Politicians, after all, are not over a year behind public opinion.” WA #25, June 3, 1923

#568 Sept. 13, 2009

Weekly Comments: Tips for writing health care bill

COLUMBUS: This was a big weekend for football. And it seemed that anybody not watching football was in Washington Saturday for the 9-12 gathering. In some of the football stadiums where the home team got beat, the chant at the end of the game was the same as it was in Washington: Throw the Bums Out!

The main problem with this health care reform bill is that there are a half dozen versions and they’re all written by lawyers. (See Historic quotes.) Each one is a thousand pages, so naturally you can find something on page 523, say, of one bill that contradicts page 879 of another one.

Only way to clear this thing up is to condense it down to about 20 pages that spells it out straight. Does this new government insurance cover American citizens? (Yes or no). Does it cover people who are here illegally? Does it cover the birth of a baby? Abortions?

If insurance is offered to everyone, will they charge the same for a healthy 30-year old as for an overweight 60-year old smoker? (Before answering, think of charges for auto insurance based on driver age and vehicle value.)

Once they get it down in simple English you won’t need any politician to stand up and explain it and risk being called a liar. He can just hand it to you and say read it yourself.

Now when it comes to cost, if they claim it won’t cost you anything, why that’s like your dentist saying, “This won’t hurt much.”  And if they say it will be paid for by eliminating waste and fraud, just ask how much waste and fraud they eliminated last year. No matter how many scoundrels they eliminate, there’s always another batch ready to pounce on easy money.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“The minute you read something and you can’t understand it you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer. Then if you give it to another lawyer to read and he don’t know just what it means, why then you can be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer. If it’s in a few words and is plain and understandable only one way, it was written by a non-lawyer.
Every time a lawyer writes something, he is not writing for posterity, he is writing so that endless others of his craft can make a living out of trying to figure out what he said, course perhaps he hadent really said anything, that’s what makes it hard to explain.” WA #657, July 28, 1935

“Today, Saturday, minds are not on politics, they are not on national affairs, they are on football. Did you know that football is becoming about as big a nuisance as politics? Millions of football fans are going to football games this afternoon. Mind you, I think it’s a great thing.” DT #726, Nov. 23, 1928

#567 Sept. 6, 2009

Weekly Comments: Is Congress smarter than a fifth grader?

COLUMBUS: Tomorrow is Labor Day, and it’s been more than 25 years since we had so many out of work. It’s a shame; we’ve got near ten percent unemployment, and at least that many more who aren’t working as much as they want to.
I read a message from Dan Burris that sure relates to Labor Day, “In the past, our country needed a well-trained work force. Now it needs a work force capable of being re-trained again and again.”  He sure has that one right. He is what’s called a Futurist, and he does a better job of looking into the future than anybody on Wall Street, or in Congress.
As a result of the recession we’ve lost $2 Trillion in retirement savings accounts. So President Obama announced over the radio Saturday that he wants workers to spend less and save more. Then on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Geithner announced that the government will continue to spend all of the $700 Billion stimulus. After all, the purpose of the stimulus is to put money into the economy, probably to offset the money that workers are holing away and taking out of the economy.
This week President Obama will address the nation (and Congress). It’s a big speech, kind of a State of the Union of private and government health insurance. The president has a monumental task because the vast majority like what they’ve got and don’t see any reason to tie the knot with a government health plan they don’t hardly know. The President may tell us it’ll be three or four years before the nuptials are consummated and by then the big galoot will look mighty handsome.
Some folks are concerned that on Tuesday President Obama is gonna speak directly to our school children and that he might hint to ‘em to, you know, join the Young Democrats. But really, I think other than telling them to stay is school and study hard, he’ll spend most of his speech explaining why we need to act now to solve the health care dilemma. He figures if a fifth grader can understand it, maybe Congress will, too.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

 “Tomorrow is Labor Day, I  suppose set by act of Congress… How Congress knew anything about labor is beyond us, but anyhow tomorrow is Labor Day.” DT #967, Sept. 1, 1929

“Now we read in the papers every day (about) one or a dozen different problems that’s supposed to be before this country.  There’s not really but one problem before the whole country.   The only problem is at least 7,000,000 people are out of work.  That’s our only problem.  There is no other one before us at all.  It’s to see that every man that wants to (and) is able to work, is allowed to find a place to go to work…” President’s Organization on Unemployment Relief Broadcast, October 18, 1931

 “Spending when we didn’t have it put us where we are today. Saving when we have got it will get us back to where we was before we went cuckoo.” DT #1353,  Nov. 24, 1930

 “We live better and owe more than anybody in the world.” Aug. 8, 1928