#588 Jan. 31, 2010

Trains, terrorist trials and Toyota

COLUMBUS: The economy is so bad it is even affecting the Gitmo terrorists. They had their bags packed  for a Billion dollar stay in New York City and the trip may be canceled because of the cost. Attorney General Holder is the only one who doesn’t care where the money is coming from.

President Obama should call him and say, “Eric, the only way those trials will be in New York is if you pay for them yourself.”

Toyota is running into trouble because of a stuck gas pedal. Our young drivers today can dial a cell phone and type a text message at 60 miles per hour, but they never bothered to learn how to deal with a stuck accelerator. It just seems natural to me that if the gas pedal sticks when you’re going faster than you want to, hit the clutch. If you don’t have a clutch, shift to neutral.

Now I would never pretend to tell you how to fix an automobile. But for all those Toyota owners who are afraid to even back out of the garage, perhaps a squirt of oil or WD40 can give some peace of mind.

The federal government just announced they expect to take in $2.2 Trillion in taxes next year. That seems like a lot of money, and you would think that just about any government, even the one headquartered in Washington, could survive a year on $2.2 Trillion.

Well, here’s a shocker: out of that $2.2 Trillion, they plan to spend $3.8 Trillion. In other words, we can live on our own for 7 months, then the next 5 we’ll live off the in-laws.

Despite the deficit, President Obama announced he wants to spend $8 Billion on new passenger trains. “The airlines and car companies are making too much money so I want to give them some competition. I want to discourage air travel and cut car sales. Amtrak has a proven financial record, so we want to give them more routes and more trains. We’re gonna borrow the $8 Billion from China, and then require States to match it.”

The Governors said, “We’re broke. We can’t afford what we already have. How about if you send us the $8 Billion, and forget the trains.”

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“There couldn’t possibly be one that knew less about Machinery (than me)…  If I raised up the hood and a Rabbit jumped out, I wouldent know but what he belonged in there.  I drive ’em, but I sho don’t try to fix ’em.” WA #317, Jan. 20, 1929

“If your time is worth anything, travel by air.” DT #389, Oct. 20, 1927

#587 Jan. 24, 2010

Old trucks serve politicians, farmers and football players

COLUMBUS: The election in Massachusetts was won by Scott Brown. The pundits are still debating whether he got elected because of his views on health care reform, or because he drives a truck.
Political candidates are not taking any chances. All across the country they are out searching for just the right pickup truck to drive during the campaign. Of course, it has to be an American truck, and the older the better. Prices have doubled in a week.. Farmers have seen a steep drop in the value of corn in the bin, but the old pickup in the shed can make up for it. Even if it’s a newer model, most farm trucks are so beat up they look to be at least thirty years old.
Personally, if in a moment of insanity I ever feel the urge to run for office, I’ll go to Tulsa and borrow my friend Gene’s 1921 Model T Ford Huckster pickup. Why, just the thought of running against such a formidable foe would so dishearten any other possible candidates that I would be a shoo in.
Speaking of farmers, I spent the past two weeks at agriculture conventions and meetings in Florida, Iowa and Ohio, and this week I’ll be in Minnesota and back to Ohio. If you’re not in agriculture I tell you that you can feel proud of these farm families who are learning the latest techniques and practices to grow  food more efficiently. They are striving to make our streams cleaner, improve our soils, and save fuel and labor.
When President Obama gives his first State of the Union speech, if he’s looking for a bright spot or two in the economy he would be wise to point out what our farmers are doing. For example, they set new records for growing corn and soybeans. Dairy farmers are producing more milk with fewer cows. Here anyone is free to buy the kind of food they want, whether it’s organic, vegetarian, local, or hauled across the country. And from our abundance, we’ll donate generously to hungry people in Haiti and other countries.
We are down to two football teams left. The New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees slipped by Minnesota and Brett Favre in overtime 31-28. And the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning came back to beat the Jets 30-17. The Saints and Colts seem to be evenly matched, and if I were betting I would put my money on the team with the most players that drive a truck.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“Us Democrats just seem to have an uncanny premonition of sizing up a question and guessing wrong on it. It almost makes you think sometimes it is done purposely.” Saturday Evening Post, Jan. 19, 1929
“Republicans like to drive a little cheap make of car around… They just love to play poor.” Saturday Evening Post, March 30, 1929
“Last year we said: ‘Things can’t go on like this!’ And they didn’t – they got worse.” (Notes, undated)
“Our President delivered his first (State of the Union) message to Congress.  You know that’s one of the things that his contract calls for, to deliver a message to Congress to tell them the Condition of the Country. This message, as I say, is to Congress; the rest of the country know the condition of the country, for they live in it.  But the Senators and Congressmen have no idea what is going on in America.  So the President has to tell ’em.” WA #371, Feb. 2, 1930

#586 Jan. 18, 2010

Earthquakes seldom change

COLUMBUS: Massachusetts is voting this week on whether they want their health care reformed. I think this voting is a good idea and should have probably been used in other states. Nebraska and Louisiana got it whether they wanted it or not.

One of the health care debates is over putting a big tax on the so-called Cadillac insurance plans. The vast majority figured that’s fair because they’ll never get close to owning a Cadillac. The only time they even expect the pleasure of riding in one is on a final trip to the cemetery. Well, you can imagine the shock when so many of these folks driving Fords and Chevys learned they have health insurance fit for a Cadillac owner. They aren’t so high on the tax now.

It’s terrible what’s happened to the people in Haiti. It won’t be easy rebuilding a country that was never built in the first place. Any new building that’s done had better be done well. Geologists had been predicting this earthquake for years, and they say it still only affected about ten percent of the likely area. There are more shocks to come.

Earthquakes don’t change and neither does the generosity of American people.  Cuba and Venezuela like to criticize, but how many shiploads of food and supplies do you see them delivering?

We could help Haitians improve their farming. Why are people going hungry in a country where they can grow food year round? Give them seeds to grow vegetables and fruit rather than cotton and coffee. Show them how to set up farmers’ markets in town, and how to sell to the cruise ships and tourists.

Before you can do all these good things, they need water and food to survive. We love to complain about our government, but Haiti has no government. No police, no army, no law and order. Well, they got some semblance of a government, but it’s useless. Looters and hoodlums are keeping supplies from starving children. But our many charities and churches have been there for years and they will persevere and do the best they can.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“They tell you pictures don’t lie, but the ones you saw of this earthquake did, for they didn’t tell that eight days after it happened there is from one to three hundred bodies still under those ruins. Sitting here in a Marine tent writing this and am going to sleep here.
Naturally what they need is money. The government or the people haven’t got a cent. The Red Cross combined with the relief organizations here has done great work as usual. If through the Red Cross and public donations… it would relieve the situation as to food and get some roofs to cover these people.
Goodness knows, you generous folks have been asked till you are ragged, but honest, if you saw it, you would dig again. I have finally found somebody poorer than a southern cotton renter farmer.
It just falls where everything else does, on the generosity and goodness of the American people. If you saw, as I did this morning, 2500 mothers with babies in their arms go by and get their ration of milk you would say there was some poor devil that needed it worse than you do.” DT #1469, April 8, 1931 (in Managua, Nicaragua)

#585 Jan. 10, 2010

Bankers get millions, California gets husks

COLUMBUS: President Obama and Congress have been out trying to restore confidence. But with the high unemployment, gas prices, and looming inflation, the only place where confidence has been restored is among the big bankers on Wall Street. As a reward for the tremendous work those birds did on our economy the last two or three years, they are receiving million dollar bonuses. If we had let AIG and Goldman Sachs go under like we did Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, they would be on a New York street corner selling apples.

In California, Governor Schwarzenegger had the best line of the week on the health care bill. Concerning the extra billion or so that Senator Nelson got for Nebraska’s Medicaid patients, Arnold said, “Nebraska gets the corn, we get the husks.” California has a deficit of $25 Billion and it will take more than husks to fill their coffers. Don’t be surprised if the Governor devises a scheme to send all of California’s folks on Medicaid to Nebraska. He may send a couple million excess immigrants also. That would go a long way toward restoring confidence in California.

While the President and Democrats in the House and Senate fight over the final health care bill, the argument in the rest of the country is whether the negotiations should be televised on C-span. I’m not sure America could stand to watch. The return of the early rounds of American Idol is as much pain as we can endure.

What most people want the government to work on is defeating radical Islamists. Bin Laden and his fellow terrorists have been outsmarting us for years. You know, they may have changed their strategy with suicide bombers. Every year or two they come up with a different way to threaten an airplane and they tell the bomber, “We don’t care if it works or not. If it don’t, they’ll spend millions on a trial, and billions devising technology to prevent the previous method. Instead of bringing down a plane, we’ll bring down their economy.”

So, Mr. President, knock out these terrorists and that will do more to restore confidence than a million speeches.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“I like to make little jokes and kid about the Senators. They are a kind of a never ending source of amusement, amazement, and discouragement.” WA #345, Aug. 4, 1929

“You know I am an Indian.  My folks are Cherokees and I am very proud of the fact and us Injuns are mighty proud of Charlie Curtis.  He is a leader of the Senate and was the most able man in there.  Of course that don’t give you much of an idea of his ability, but he is at least the best they had in there.  A Senate leader is a very important position.  Then they elected him Vice-President (in 1928), and he lost his standing then and he is down at the bottom now and has to work up again.” Radio, April 27, 1930

#584 Jan. 3, 2010

Weekly Comments: Our New Year Prophets are not Optimists
    COLUMBUS: This is the time for reflections and predictions, and even the optimists are having a tough time finding something to cheer about. Unemployment is over 10 percent and it may drop to 8 or 9 by Christmas. The stock market rose to 10,500, but it is still a third below 2007. Even if it don’t go up, you can bet on Wall Streeters collecting million dollar salaries.

Predictions say the deficit will get worse. But nobody knows how much worse because it depends on how much China will lend us. The Chinese are getting concerned about the worth of our collateral. Half of our states are broke and looking to Washington for help. President Obama should say to the Governors, “Make your case directly to China; I don’t need to be a middleman.”

Even global warming. Ever since that conference in Copenhagen, the weather has gotten colder. Yes, it’s supposed to be cold in January and we’re accustomed to it. But these global warming proponents got us excited about the prospects of vacationing at home instead of Florida. We should have suspected it was a trick when the President booked his vacation in Hawaii.

One good thing that 2010 has brought us: the end of the inheritance tax. You would be surprised at the number of rich old men who have been hanging on for the last month or two just to avoid paying this tax. In your hometown newspaper, right beside the story about the first baby of the new year, you’ll read about a local millionaire passing away after a prolonged illness. The story will say, “Mr. Jones left a thriving business valued at $50 million to his offspring. He couldn’t take it with him, but he made sure it wouldn’t get auctioned off to Washington either.”

Since the death tax returns next January at around fifty percent, 2010 is liable to go down in history as a record year for the high number of our wealthy men and women passing on.

Speaking of old men, did you see Bobby Bowden coach his last  football game for Florida State? It was the Gator Bowl against West Virginia, and I think they should have arranged it so he went against Penn State instead. Bowden vs. Joe Paterno. Two 80-year old coaches going at each other. And to raise interest they could have agreed that the loser retires, and the winner has to keep coaching. Dadgumit, that would have been a Classic.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Won’t 1933 see a change for the better? I don’t think so. We haven’t suffered enough; the Lord is repaying us for our foolishness during prosperous days. He is not quite ready to let us out of the dog house yet.” DT #2002, Jan. 3, 1933

“If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on.” DT #1453, March 20, 1931

“Now they got such a high inheritance tax on ’em that you won’t catch these old rich boys dying promiscuously like they did. This bill makes patriots out of everybody. You sure do die for your country if you die from now on.” DT #1767, March 23, 1932