Will offers plan to get rid of Qaddafi; honors Ferraro and Liz

March 27, 2011

COLUMBUS: College basketball has narrowed down the field. Next weekend, the best four teams in the country will be… at home. Meanwhile in Houston, four teams with 37 losses among them will be playing for the trophy. Butler and Virginia Commonwealth will be America’s favorites, but Vegas money will be on Kentucky and Connecticut.

Some folks here in Columbus want to invite Duke, Kansas and Pitt to join Ohio State in an impromptu battle of the original #1’s. That’s sort of the way it works in football, you know, with a committee picking the top two. But in basketball the suspense and excitement is greater as any of about 50 teams has a reasonable shot at the Final Four.

In Libya we’re helping the rebels go after Qaddafi. President Obama won’t admit on television that we want him dead, but he’s hoping for a quick end to the war. Well, here’s my plan. To speed up the demise of Qaddafi all we’ve got to do is drop a few more bombs on the Presidential Palace. His army will get the hint they ain’t about to receive any bonus, or get paid at all, and they or one of his female bodyguards will turn on him. If bin Laden is worth a twenty-five million dollar bounty, Qaddafi ought to be worth ten.

Meanwhile in Europe, Germans are rioting against nuclear power plants. Seems they want to shut them down and instead get their electricity from solar and wind. Last I heard Germany is paying 30 cents a kilowatt-hour for solar electric. When they see their electric bill triple, these same Germans will be clamoring for more nuclear plants. In England, the hooligans are bored with soccer so they are rioting against the government for cutting the budget. Seems the payments for staying unemployed are being cut, and these guys would rather riot than work.

In Portugal, where their debt is almost as bad as in Greece, the national leader proposed cuts to manage the massive deficit. The Parliament said “No, we’d rather go bankrupt and get bailed out.” So the leader resigned. In a couple of months we’ll see how our Congress votes on the same issue. I doubt anybody will resign, even if they should.

This week we lost two great women who were idolized for decades. Liz Taylor was a beautiful movie star that every eligible man in America wanted to marry, and seven actually did. Geraldine Ferraro was a Congresswoman who was selected by Mr. Mondale to run for Vice-President in 1984. Even though they lost to President Reagan, she led a remarkable life and was admired for her pioneering spirit and level-headed analysis of national issues.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
(On wars) “Either make it official and go in a shooting or stay out!… “I tell you wars will never be a success… until they announce before they start just what it’s for.” WA #6, Jan. 21, 1923
“One of the greatest upsets in basketball was by a team from Kentucky. A few years back tiny Center College at Danville, with only a couple of little brick buildings, beat Harvard!” (paraphrased from WA #277, Apr. 15,1928)

Will finds good news in Oklahoma

March 20, 2011

COLUMBUS: Just returned from Oklahoma. I was down on the Texas border in Hugo, Choctaw County. This town is the winter home of circuses and is best known for its bluegrass festival and cemetery. All I know is what I read in the newspaper, and what struck me about the local daily, The Examiner, was everything in it was good news. Except for two obituaries.

The front page stories were about the local high school pageant with 11 lovely, poised, talented girls competing for a crown and $10,000 in scholarships, and an interview with the man who founded the Bluegrass Festival in 1969. There was not a single mention about any car wrecks, house fires, or political shenanigans. So, I’m following the same style in this column.

Back to Hugo. You may be wondering why the cemetery is famous. Well, it is because of the circuses. The only home a lot of circus performers know is the one where they spend each winter. So naturally this is where they choose to be buried. A whole section of the local cemetery is filled with elaborate circus-themed headstones, including stone clowns, elephants, and a trapeze. The circuses have already left town for a long touring season, but the cemetery stays put.

Also stopped at the Museum in Claremore. Last month’s snow has melted, the grass is turning green and flowers are blooming. The whole place is looking mighty spiffy.

Here’s more good news from Oklahoma. There’s enough oil stored at Cushing to get us through a short war in the Middle East. Tanks are overflowing because oil is coming in from Canada faster than the pipelines can carry it out.

Have you noticed how much oil we’re getting out of North Dakota? Add in all the reserves in Texas and Alaska and we could practically ignore Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela.

College basketball is hoarding all the TVs that aren’t tuned in to Japan or Libya. A slew of the big boys got knocked out by the likes of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth and Butler. Some of our big conferences that felt mighty proud going in are barely hanging on. We always enjoy seeing a big team upset by one of the little fellows, as long as the big team ain’t ours.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“There was never such an overproduction of oil in the World, and yet Gasoline was never much higher. But there you have a business that’s in the hands of a few men, and they see that the price is kept up. It’s not regulated by supply and demand; it’s regulated by manipulation.” WA #421, Jan. 18, 1931

 “Ten men in our Country could buy the World, and ten million can’t buy enough to eat.” WA #451, Aug. 16, 1931

Earthquake disaster in Japan draws world support

March 13, 2011

COLUMBUS: With the gigantic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, most of the world has stopped worrying over their own minor headaches to offer the Japanese prayers and help.

Here are two noteworthy comments from Will Rogers: “That Japanese earthquake, in addition to being the greatest calamity in the history of the world, according to newspapers and experts, has not reaped half of its destruction yet.” Sept. 1923 (the Shinsai quake killed 142,800; damages totaled $2.8 Billion)
“Well, here we are at Managua, Nicaragua. 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. Naturally what they need is money. The government or the people haven’t got a cent. The Red Cross combined with the relief organization here has done great work as usual and still is.” April 8, 1931

Just as years ago, send your donations to the Red Cross (or Salvation Army) to do the most good. Controlling the nuclear meltdown is the most crucial immediate problem, but millions of injured and homeless people need our assistance. Japan is just as broke as we are, so they will appreciate any aid, including from China and Korea.

The budget crisis in Washington continues to get worse. You can’t compare it to a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan, but unless the President and Congress cut spending, we’re headed for a financial jolt that could be even worse. Senator Durbin admitted we have a serious problem, borrowing 40 percent of what we spend. But he added, “We cannot solve this problem in six months.” Well, that’s like a drunk admitting he has a problem, but refusing to give up whiskey until he empties every bottle in the house.

No one is expecting them to save $14 Trillion in six months, but Mr. Durbin says that even a $10 Billion reduction (one third of one percent) will harm the current budget.

The President acts like this “financial drunk” we’re on can last forever, or at least until after the 2012 election. Oil and gasoline price increases are crimping personal budgets, but more offshore drilling is out of the question.

And airline ticket prices have jumped. I think they estimate how much it would cost you for gas to drive the distance you’re flying, then tack on that amount.

Historic quotes by 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.”   
Oct. 31, 1929

“There’s as much money in the country as there ever was. Only fewer people have it.” Radio broadcast, Oct. 18, 1931

Arithmetic skills lacking in Washington; common sense missing in Hollywood

March 5, 2011

COLUMBUS: Washington claims they are getting serious about the budget deficit of $1.6 Trillion. Republicans scoured the budget appropriations and found $0.06 Trillion they can cut without destroying the country. President Obama and the Democrats searched through the same appropriations and could only find $0.01 Trillion that is unworthy of being added to the Visa card. Then the President proudly announced that his offer met the Republicans “half way”. Even a second grader knows that half of 6 is 3, not 1.

And today I read a newspaper column by Paul Krugman saying we should be spending even more, going deeper in debt. To think he received a prize for his knowledge of economics.

Fellows, suppose you told your wife that last week you made $600 and spent $1000, and next week you’ll make $600, and to make up for your previous overspending you will only spend $995 of it. An iron skillet to the noggin would be the likely result. It seems a bunch of folks in Washington need to be hit over the head, perhaps repeatedly, until they learn arithmetic.

Some state Governors are showing their math skills. Florida decided they did not want to accept a down payment from the US taxpayers for a train from Disney World to Tampa Bay. You will note it was only a down payment, and the state would have to finish paying for it and cover all future operating losses. Ohio turned down the same offer for a train from Cleveland to Cincinnati, and Wisconsin did the same for a Milwaukee-Madison Express. Now right there, the President had a perfect chance to reduce his budget by $0.036 Trillion. But instead, he sent the down payment money to other states for more trains that people don’t want to ride at full fare, and local taxpayers don’t want to subsidize.

Congress decided to postpone their budget vote for two weeks, perhaps giving them time to dig up an old copy of Ray’s Arithmetic. The National Football League put off a week their deadline for a union decision. For some folks, the prospect of losing a whole season of  football is more worrisome than the country going another Trillion dollars in debt. These NFL owners can estimate their income for next season, and there’s no way they will agree to pay 140% of that amount to the players.

With all the news today from Libya, Wisconsin, and the budget in Washington, the TV news shows always find time to squeeze in the latest tidbit from Charlie Sheen. You would think from their reports that Hollywood had never before seen such a train wreck masquerading as an actor. But debauchery is no stranger to Hollywood. Will Hays was hired in 1922 to clean up Hollywood, and he did. But nothing lasts long out there, especially good behavior. Look at Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Natalie Portman, even Miley Cyrus. The only cure is to ignore them. And their ability to avoid being ignored is what makes them Hollywood stars.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Actors are like politicians, they never grow up.” DT #1892, Aug. 28, 1932