#579 Nov. 29, 2009

Will misses out on Indian dinner

COLUMBUS: Last week the President put on a big dinner, and announced it was to honor an Indian. Well, being part Cherokee I figured I could talk my way into the affair. It would give me something interesting to write about, and besides, what harm could it do?

Then I found out the dinner wasn’t for us Indians at all. It was for the Prime Minister of India. So I stayed home and watched football.

Now we’re all reading about a man who took his young blonde wife to the dinner without an invitation, and he’s got more publicity than the Prime Minister. Of course publicity is what he wanted, and now he’s demanding over $100,000 to appear on television to talk about it. Only catch is, if any network is dumb enough to pay him, the check will be delivered by the Secret Service with an arrest warrant for trespassing and impersonating a notable person. The fair thing to do with these publicity hounds is for the U. S. Navy to transport them to the Indian Ocean and set them loose in a row boat off the coast of Somalia. Why, that might get them a role in a reality show after all.

Earlier the government announced that the terrorist who planned the 9/11 attack will get a trial in New York City. It’s going to cost us taxpayers over $100 Million to try a man who already pled guilty and asked to be executed. This decision to foolishly waste these millions of dollars was made by the same government that wants to be in charge of your health care.

Of course the reason for a civilian trial is to show the world that we play fair, even with a man responsible for killing 3000 people. This new gentler approach to diplomacy has already had an effect in the Middle East. Remember how we’ve been trying to get Iran to shut down their two uranium enrichment plants? Well, this weekend Ahmadinejad admitted that having two of these plants is inappropriate; he plans to build ten more.

The big global warming conference starts December 6 in Copenhagen. If it’s like previous conferences, while it’s on you can expect Denmark to have a record cold spell. President Obama is expected to announce, in a good will gesture, that we will drastically cut carbon emissions. In the spirit of global cooperation, China, India and other countries are lining up to applaud our cuts. They are also offering to help us reach our goal by taking off our hands any excess manufacturing jobs.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Diplomats are just as essential to starting a war as soldiers are for finishing it.” Saturday Evening Post, June 9, 1928

 “America has a unique record: We never lost a war and we never won a conference.” Radio, April 6, 1930

(Concerning national topics) “We discuss them morning, night and noon and I don’t suppose there ever was a time when everybody knew as little about what they are talking about as they do today. Actual knowledge of the future was never lower, but hope was never higher. Confidence will beat predictions any time.” DT #2224, Sept. 19, 1933

#578 Nov. 22, 2009

Weekly Comments: Plenty of turkeys, and not just in Congress

COLUMBUS: It’s Thanksgiving in America, and turkeys are plentiful. And not just in Congress either. Our turkey growers outdid themselves and the country is flooded with cheap gobblers. Grocery stores are practically giving away turkeys this year. Plan to buy an extra one or two and donate them to a charity that’s feeding the hungry.

You might remember a few weeks ago I wrote about a shortage of chicken wings. Well I think if one of these Wing restaurants wants to be a big hit with customers, they can advertise a “super size” special and hand out turkey wings. No need to pretend that little chunks of chicken breast is boneless wings. These are real wings, bones and all.

The health care bill got 60 votes in the Senate, but it don’t mean anything. They are merely agreeing to sit down and argue over it till Christmas. But still, these votes didn’t come cheap. Senator Landrieu wrangled $100 million for her Yes vote, and she practically said it’ll take far more to get another Yes in the final round. Senator Lieberman is in there to look out for his Connecticut insurance folks, and no one knows what he received.

An Illinois senator, who already received a prison and 3000 jobs, voted for it. He said on television that the American people want this health care bill passed so we can get on to fixing the economy and finding jobs. Really, I think what most people want is a job and the economy fixed, then worry about health insurance later.

When more than 10% is out of work, having a job is something to be thankful for. Prospects are looking mighty bleak for next year because employers are cutting jobs faster than President Obama can manufacture new ones. He’s holding a Jobs Summit in Washington next month but I doubt it’ll add many jobs, at least outside of Washington. He just returned from China and all he had to do was look around over there and he could see where many of our jobs went to.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“A bought vote is better than no votes at all. The counters can’t tell whether they are bought or just bargained for.” DT #73, Dec. 4, 1926

“You can’t have a picnic lunch unless the party carrying the basket comes.” DT #1714, Jan. 21, 1932

#577 Nov. 15, 2009

This time it’s Pelosi sweet talking Reid

COLUMBUS: The Health Reform bill finally passed the House. I think it was by 220-215, and now our Senators get to argue over it.

Don’t be surprised to see Speaker Pelosi standing beside Harry Reid addressing questions about the merits of the bill. She’s liable to reach over, put her arm around Harry’s waist and say, “Harry, we have written a perfect health care bill; why don’t you go to your Senators and sweet talk them into passing it as is, as a favor for little ole me.” Well, you’ll see Harry’s eyebrows raise and his eyes open wide as he inches sideways out of her grasp.

No doubt we need some reform for the few million who can’t get insurance. I was talking to a Judge in Claremore a week ago, and she said it’s really sad to see so many foreclosures in her court because severe illness has wiped out a family’s ability to make house payments. And some of these houses are old and small, worth only $35,000 she said.

Just wish Congress would concentrate on helping those kind of folks and reducing costs for the rest of us without messing up what’s good about our system. Why would you cut salaries for doctors and nurses and leave the lawyers alone? Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and other Wall Streeters say we have to pay bonuses of $30 Billion this year or we’ll lose these bright financiers. Aren’t they the ones who helped shove us into this recession? Wouldn’t it make more sense to reserve the $30 Billion for doctors?

I just returned from speaking in Lubbock. Headline in the Avalanche-Journal says: Cotton producers are all smiles. They’re smiling because cotton yields in West Texas are ten percent above last year, while the rest of the country is down. Bet you didn’t know almost forty percent of our cotton will come from Texas this year. Wonderful people in Lubbock; even got to see the famous American Windmill Museum, a must-stop for a windy speaker.

The President decided to try the foreign terrorists in New York instead of at Guantanamo in a military trial. The Attorney General says we will convict them in NY, then put them in prison in Illinois. He did not say what would happen if their lawyers are better than our lawyers and they are set free.

Senator Durbin is thrilled that 3000 Illinois Democrats will be hired to guard the 200 prisoners from Gitmo. They plan to buy an empty prison and fix it up. I’m wondering, with 15 armed guards for each prisoner, why do you even need a prison.

Back in May I proposed Nevada as a better choice. We already spent $10 Billion tunneling out a storage space for nuclear materials under Yucca Mountain, but Senator Reid won’t let us store any. So, just build a steel gate across the entrance and put the terrorists in there. Once a week bring in food and water and let them take care of each other. No guards needed inside. Let those 3000 do something useful, like farming or working in a meat processing plant. Maybe some could become doctors and nurses. Anything but Wall Streeters.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“(Congress) wouldn’t be so serious and particular if they only had to vote on what they thought was good for the majority of the people. That would be a cinch. But what makes it hard for them is every time a bill comes up they have things to decide that have nothing to do with the merit of the bill. The principal thing is of course: What will this do for me personally back home? A man’s thoughts are naturally on his next term, more than on his country.” WA #78, June 8, 1924

#576 Nov. 8, 2009

Will Rogers celebrates 130th birthday

CLAREMORE, Okla.: In the election Tuesday the results in New Jersey and Virginia shook up Democrats. In Ohio the voters passed two Issues that shook up Nevada and HSUS.

Voters who have opposed gambling for fifty years changed their minds and Ohio will now have Casinos in four cities. This means massive changes. The big airlines are adding non-stop flights to Toledo. Cincinnati will become known for something besides the pork packing capital of the country. And why would Californians and New Yorkers go to Vegas when they can choose to lose their dough in Cleveland.

On the animal care Issue, Ohio decided that farmers and other ag professionals know more about caring for farm animals than HSUS lawyers in Washington, DC. The majority of voters like meat, and when it comes to ensuring a bountiful, healthy local supply they trust veterinarians more than vegetarians.

On November 4, Oklahoma celebrated “my” 130th birthday. The Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club was in charge and did a marvelous job. Of course they’re 110 years old themselves. At this age, when they ask you to make comments, there’s hardly anything that you haven’t said before. So I just thank my young friends and relatives. To me they’re all young.

The Rotary organized the parade in Claremore. When it’s 75 degrees on a Saturday afternoon in November, it’s not hard to draw a crowd. After a month of rain, it was sunny and warm all week and folks just wanted to be outside. The high school band was behind me and they played Oklahoma!  Probably played it 20 times, each time sounding sweeter than the previous. Antique cars are always popular; Model T and Model A Fords, Chevys, Packards. My personal escort was a 1921 Model T Ford Huckster pickup. Among the two dozen cars and trucks was a 1909 Hupmobile. That’s no joke. Of course there were horses, plenty of old farm tractors, and who could forget the Shriners in their entertaining little cars.

Friday night I had what you might call a return engagement at the Poncan Theatre in Ponca City. A top professional speaker will tell you there’s nothing better than to be invited back a year or two after a talk. For a mediocre speaker, it might be 10 years. For me, it was 78. Yes, Feb. 5, 1931 was the first one. I think 78 years is a new record for a speaker returning to the same place. At least without Botox. Or embalming fluid. This beautiful auditorium was built in 1926, and my first talk was during a fund-raising tour for those suffering from the drought and Depression. The Poncan was fully restored around 1990 and seats 800.

Ponca City is full of history. E. W. Marland made a fortune in oil and invested it all right at home. (His company became Conoco.) The Marland Mansion, with 55 rooms, is the biggest and most magnificent in the whole Southwest. He funded the famous Pioneer Woman statue. I was there for the unveiling April 22, 1930. President Hoover opened the ceremony (from the White House) over a national radio broadcast. I got to pull the cover off, and said, “This is the first time I ever undressed a woman. In public.”

Flags are flying at half-staff to honor those killed at Fort Hood. Thirty were injured and thirteen killed. They were preparing to face enemy gunfire in Iraq or Afghanistan but were gunned down by a hate-filled psychiatrist who likes Muslim terrorists more than American soldiers.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

(Unveiling of The Pioneer Woman statue) “Well, Oklahoma had a great day here today.  Mr. Hoover opened our ceremonies from Washington, in repayment for the State going Republican the last election. Then Pat Hurley, our unanimously most popular Oklahoman and Secretary of War, from a sick bed in Washington, made a radio talk to us that would have done credit to a Democrat. It was a wonderful gathering, a tremendous crowd. Ah, folks, you can act and talk, and do stunts all over the world, but the applause of a home audience is sweeter to your ears than anything in the world.” DT #1167, April 22, 1930

“Five thousand feet in the air, and [pilot Frank] Hawks is starting a dive for the field to land at Ponca City.” DT#1416, Feb. 5, 1931

#575 Nov. 1, 2009

What did we learn in 80 years?

COLUMBUS: It’s been 80 years since the stock market crash that started the Great Depression. It was caused by too many people spending money they didn’t have to buy things they couldn’t afford. Kinda like a couple of years ago. Back then it was overpriced stocks they were buying, and more recently it was houses.

Treasury Secretary Geithner is walking an economic  tightrope. He’s got to balance bankers and Wall Street financiers against business, farmers and the general public. He wants business to hire more, banks to loan more, us to spend more, and China to hold a second mortgage on the whole country. But we’re knocking him off his high wire by saving money when we should be spending and demanding the government save more, too. We don’t want to add two trillion dollars to the deficit just to give health insurance to six million people.

Here’s some ironical news on global warming. Ice in the Arctic Ocean is melting and in the process has uncovered vast supplies of oil and gas. Democrats say, “We don’t want it, it’s tainted. Let the Arctic freeze over again.” But Republicans will say, “Sure, let it freeze. But can’t we drill and lay the pipelines first?”

In Afghanistan, Karzai’s opponent for President announced he is dropping out because he has no chance of winning the election. When the news reached Washington, John McCain muttered, “Wish I’d thought of that.”

In football the big excitement today was Brett Favre returning to Green Bay to play the Packers. He’s 40, and led the Minnesota Vikings to their second win this season over his old team. The old guy just keeps going and going.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers (on the Depression):

“Sure must be a great consolation to the poor people who lost their stock in the  crash to know that it has fallen in the hands of Mr. Rockefeller, who will take care of it and see that it has a good home and never be allowed to wander around unprotected again.
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.  But it’s just as (columnist) Arthur Brisbane and I have been constantly telling you, ‘Don’t gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock, and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don’t go up, don’t buy it.” DT #1019, Oct 31, 1929

“Candidates have been telling you that if elected they would ‘pull you from this bog hole of financial misery.’ Now is a good chance to get even with ‘em, by electing ‘em, just to prove what a liar they are.” DT#1334, Nov. 2, 1930