Qaddafi is dead. Who’s next?

Oct. 23, 2011

COLUMBUS: These Wall Street Occupiers, who are protesting against the rich because they won’t share their money, have collected over a million dollars in donations. After watching and listening to some of these birds I suspect that half of the money came from parents just to keep them out of the house.

Police have arrested some of them, not just in New York, but in other cities. I can imagine hearing a judge say to the dad of a 26-year old college student, “A month in jail or a month of house-arrest. Which do you want for your son?” The dad pauses. The judge asks him again. Finally, the dad says (in Jack Benny style), “I’m thinking, I’m thinking.”

These protesters have been arguing over how to spend the million dollars. Why not just divide it evenly among everyone there. Isn’t that their goal, that everyone share the wealth equally. Or even better, since New York City has spent over four million dollars for police to protect them from each other and irate neighbors, why not give it to the city.

Qaddafi was captured and shot through the head. In the end the $200,000,000,000 he stashed away in various banks did not save him. I heard that $37 Billion of it is right here in American banks. Since we spent about one Billion supporting the Libyan revolution, this might be the first war in history where we come out ahead.

President Obama announced that we will take all our troops out of Iraq by Christmas and turn the whole country over to the Iraqis. In Iran, Ahmadinejad was delighted. He doesn’t understand English very well and thought the President said we were turning the country over to the Iranians. No, no. That little fellow has been needling us for more than thirty years, and if he tries to sneak into Iraq, we’ll sic Israel and Turkey on him. Secretary Clinton should send him an overnight diplomatic letter warning him. And include a late picture of Qaddafi.

Last Tuesday I was in Grand Junction, Colorado, breaking bread with the fine folks of the Knife and Fork Club. Most of us back east don’t know it, but the western slope of the Rockies is sitting on enough oil shale to keep our Fords purring for another hundred years. It may not be as cheap as oil from the Middle East, but we won’t have to fight Ahmadinejad to get it.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“Wall Street is being investigated, but they are not asleep while it’s being done. You see where the Senate took that tax off the sales of stocks, didn’t you? Saved ’em $48,000,000.” 
DT #1803, May 4, 1932

“Big headlines in today’s papers say that the big bankers, to show (the President) his financial scheme don’t suit them, they are unloading government bonds and securities by the bushel. He won’t play their way so they are going to sell their ball and bat and get out. I can’t just recall, but as well as I remember, wasn’t they the fellows that the government was helping so much not long ago?”  DT #2281, Nov. 24, 1933

Farmers may be needed after Wall Street protest

Oct. 16, 2011

COLUMBUS: The protest in New York City has grown. The liberal arts students have been joined by George Soros, Democrat office holders, unions, and the unemployed (who mainly took college classes in liberal arts).

They complain about being unemployed, but how many of the Occupiers have you seen or heard that you would want to hire to work beside you?

Would they accept an opportunity to work if it was offered? President Roosevelt set up the WPA during the 1930’s and put men to work building roads, parks, schools, and other long lasting public projects. If you handed these protesters a shovel, sledgehammer and crosscut saw would they ask directions to the job site or would they scoff at you?

At the dedication to the wonderful memorial to Martin Luther King, President Obama offered support for the protests, “Dr. King would want us to challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing those who work there.” Good point. And considering the unimaginable debt piled up in the last few years, Dr. King might also want us to challenge the excesses of the federal government without demonizing the civil servants who work there.

Big banks and Wall Street firms don’t have many fans today. The excesses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are at the root of declining home values and foreclosures. Successful businesses aim to produce more with less cost, so if they borrow to expand, it is often for new machines, not new employees.

In those New York protests, consider what you don’t see. You don’t see nurses, or engineers, or farmers. In contrast to the Tea Party rallies, I only saw one American flag, and it was upside down. Now, when the city gets around to cleaning up the mess they may bring in a couple of  farmers with a front end loader and a manure spreader. They can haul the stuff to Central Park to fertilize the grass.

In Washington, the Congressional supercommittee of 12 is supposed to reach a budget compromise by Thanksgiving. Their colleagues in the House and Senate were asked to turn in ideas on how to save over a Trillion dollars. Well, so far they have offered to cut payments to farmers by $6 Billion. In all other areas the proposals total about $100 Billion. And that’s $100 Billion of increases, not cuts. Congress had better bring in Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson with their 2010 report, read the Constitution to see what the federal government is required to do, and appropriate funds accordingly.

Warren Buffett could have helped out. He made $62 Million and could have given almost half ($29 Million) to the government. That would have eliminated his complaint that his secretary pays a higher percentage than he does. Instead he gave only 11 percent to the IRS. He gave the other $22 Million to charities. He believes they are wiser than the government in how the money is spent.

Did you read about the woman who got lost in a corn maze and called 911? Well, I have a suggestion for farmers who want to attract customers afraid of getting hopelessly lost in a corn maze: cut a maze in a field of soybeans. Charge $3 to crawl through the maze. If they get frustrated, tell them to stand up.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“Senate has been investigating Wall Street for ten days and all they have found out is that the street is located in the sharp end of New York City, that not only the traders but the street itself is short, that neither end don’t lead anywhere.” 
DT #1790, April 19, 1932

“Funniest thing in this controversy over a bill to regulate Wall Street. Wall Street now wants to write their own bill. They are pleading guilty, but want to privilege of pronouncing their own sentence.” DT #2386, March 27, 1934

Steve Jobs and Henry Ford changed America

Oct. 9, 2011

COLUMBUS: Steve Jobs changed America. So did Henry Ford.
Ford put American drivers on the road. Jobs took the driver’s eyes off the road.
The Model T was so cheap farmers could buy one to go to town to buy supplies. With an iPhone they don’t have to go to town. They check prices while standing out in the field and send an order to have the stuff delivered.
Ford converted horses from a beast of burden to an object of curiosity. Jobs’ computers converted secretaries to administrative assistants.
Ford practically invented the drive-in movie with a huge 60-foot screen. The iPad lets us watch movies on a 6-inch screen.
Ford let you snuggle in the back seat and make whoopee. Jobs lets you film yourself in the back seat making whoopee.
Henry said, if worst came to worst, he could give the cars away if he retained the selling of the parts. Steve could give away the iPod and iPhone if he retained the selling of the tunes and apps.
Ford started his car business in the bedroom. Jobs started his in a garage, which would not have existed if not for Ford.
Ford gave us a gas station on every corner. Jobs converted half those filling stations to Starbucks.
Thanks to Ford, finding a parking space was our biggest worry. Now it’s finding space on broadband.
We no sooner get a Ford car paid for than we want to trade it in for a newer model. You get a new iPhone, turn it on, and there’s an app showing what the next model will do better.
Walt Disney (not Henry Ford) took a mouse and made him likable. Steve Jobs took a mouse and made it useful.
Eve bit the apple and saw she was naked. Steve designed the Apple and IBM lost its shirt.

In Washington, President Obama says we are “going soft” and he doesn’t like it. What upsets him is that not enough people are working hard enough to qualify for the Millionaire’s Tax. Meanwhile on Wall Street the Occupiers want to eliminate all millionaires and billionaires. And they are using their iPhones to round up more protesters to say vile things about wealthy folks, such as Steve Jobs.

West Virginia held a special election to pick a governor. Earl Ray Tomblin won by promising more coal and lower taxes. He’s a Democrat, but President Obama is not quite sure if he’s for or against him.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“A Ford car and a marriage certificate is the two cheapest things there is.  We no more than get either one than we want to trade them in for something better.” 
Radio, June 1, 1930

Wealthy stockbrokers get criticized by college students

Oct. 2, 2011

COLUMBUS: On Wall Street for three weeks straight, college students have been protesting against the stockbrokers. The stockholders ain’t too thrilled about them either.
These students say they are protesting because greedy Wall Streeters make more money than the students. Well, of course they do. And these students will be even worse off financially when Daddy finds out they have cut class for three weeks.
But these protesters are not alone. There are plenty of company presidents who say the economy is falling apart. They are cutting jobs faster than Obama can create them.
President Obama killed another Al-Qaeda leader, al-Awlaki in Yemen. If we keep taking out the top guy, maybe those Muslim terrorists will take the hint. They have been recruiting other Muslims to sign up for suicide missions; they are just now learning that taking over as the top guy is also signing up to die.
The ACLU objected to the killing because al-Awlaki was an American. Well, in World War II do you suppose that General Patton, before shooting him, would have asked the guy commanding a German battalion, “By any chance, were you born in New Mexico?”
Andy Rooney, 92, retired from “60 Minutes.” He said he was proud to be a writer (starting in World War II) and never wanted to be famous on television. I admire him for that. Many television folks are famous simply because they read what others write for them. Andy wrote hundreds of great essays for the CBS show, but my favorite was one on store-front displays in which he decided, “I never met a mannequin I didn’t like.”
With Andy retiring, that opens a job for a younger fellow, maybe in his early 70s.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“It looks like the financial giants of the world have bungled as much as the diplomats and politicians. This would be a great time in the world for some man to come along that knew something.” DT #1611, Sept. 21, 1931

 “I believe if it was announced that (this Depression) couldn’t be solved, why people would go back to working on their own problems, and maybe first thing we knew we would be doing pretty good. I think just the announcement that it couldn’t be solved would be a blessing. It’s this uncertainty of not knowing that’s a worrying us more than the actual discomforts of it.
I will bet you in the next Presidential race, you won’t get candidates coming out saying they can fix it. They have learned their lesson. The most that will be said in the next campaign platform of either party will be: “Now boys, we are going to try and check it, but we are not saying we will, but we will promise you this, we are not going to let it spread any more than we can possibly help.” 
WA #569, Nov. 19, 1933