Will suggests new lessons for students

April 29, 2012

COLUMBUS: President Obama has been flying around the country, speaking to college students about paying off their loans. He told them he plans to keep their interest rates low. But kinda subtly, I think a lot of students thought he said, “Re-elect me and if you don’t get a job, I’ll not only lower your interest, I’ll cancel your debt.” He didn’t say that, but that’s what they heard.

What he should be telling them, straight out, is to buckle down, take the tough math and science classes, study far into the night, and go after a degree that means something. Then when you graduate you’ll likely have at least two good job offers to start work the next Monday.

If the President and Congress really want to reduce problems with student loans they are talking to the wrong students. They should be talking to junior high, not college students.  Tell ‘em the truth about careers and job prospects and salaries. For too long these young students have been told to “just follow your interests and passions.” That’s good advice for a hobby or weekend recreation. But when it comes to careers, pick one that’s in demand and has good long-term prospects for movin’ on up.

And there’s nothing wrong with a good job right out of high school or tech school. Brother, if you can weld or operate heavy equipment, the oil and gas business has work for you, if they can keep the EPA from shutting them down.

A dozen Secret Service agents got in trouble in Columbia so now they have strict limits on their behavior. From now on, if you want to go out carousing on foreign junkets at government expense, first you have to get elected.

When that GSA administrator, Jeff Neely,  heard about the late-night escapades of the Secret Service agents, he was upset, “Dang, I spent $800,000 in Las Vegas and all I got was a hot tub, a mind reader and a clown.”

The Presidential campaign is getting downright nasty. The Number One issue facing the country this week is dogs. Not jobs. Not deficits. Not immigration. Dogs! The whole argument boils down to this: would a dog prefer to ride to Canada on top of a car, or be eaten in Indonesia.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“The only salvation for the young is to increase the college term to an additional four years. .. It will save parents an awful lot of worry.  Just think of taking a son or daughter off your hands for another four years. You’ll say, “What could they learn in another four years?” Well, there must be something about making a living.” Radio, June 2, 1935

“I love a dog. He does nothing for political purposes.” DT #2288, Dec. 3, 1933

Earth Day is special for farmers

This is Earth Day. People around the world are celebrating their accomplishments in saving and caring for the Earth’s resources.

Do you know who owns and manages more of the Earth’s land area than any other private entity? Farmers. In the U.S., that’s over 900 million acres of farm land.

If you live in town and all you grow are some flowers on a windowsill you know it takes some effort to get them to grow and bloom and flourish. Here’s a question for you: next spring, do you dump out the old soil and buy a new batch for the pot? Well, farmers can’t do that. The soil they have today is the same as they had last year and will be pretty much the same in ten years or fifty years, except for what they lose in dust storms and rain storms. So farmers have a special interest in keeping their topsoil in place and making it more productive.

We heard the “Occupy Wall Street” folks complain about the “1 percenters” with all the money  and how the other 99 percent deserved a big chunk of it. You might be surprised to learn about a totally different group of 1 percenters in this country. That 1 percent is the farmers that grow and provide the food for 98 percent of us.

A friend of mine, Ed Winkle, wrote me that the best thing he has ever done for conserving Earth’s resources, and saving his own farm, was learning to no-till. (In case you don’t know, no-till means the farmer plants directly into undisturbed soil rather than plowing it first. Weeds are controlled with a few ounces of herbicides.) Ed said his dad rented a no-till corn planter in 1976 and the farm has not been plowed since.  No-till saves soil, oil and toil and raises a profitable crop.

Good weather this spring has crops ahead of schedule. Almost half the corn has been planted and it ain’t even May. Wheat in the Plains states looks great. Last year, it was so dry in Texas and Oklahoma, a farmer had to cover ten acres to get enough wheat for a loaf of bread.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers: (35 yrs before the first Earth Day)

 “Flew through these dust storms last night with the pilot flying entirely by instruments. It’s a terrible thing, and it’s going to bring up some [peculiar] cases in law. If Colorado blows over and lights on top of Kansas, it looks like Kansas ought to pay for the extra topsoil. But Kansas can sue ‘em for covering up their crops… You’ve got to put a brand on your soil, then in the Spring go on a round-up looking for it.” DT #2697 March 28, 1935

 “We’re just now learning that we can rob from nature the same way as we can rob from an individual.  All (the pioneer) had was an ax, and a plow, and a gun, and he just went out and lived off nature.  But really, he thought it was nature he was living off of, but it was really future generations that he was living off of.” Radio, April 14, 1935

Will’s views on Mothers and Millionaires

COLUMBUS: The campaign for President has come down to a clear choice between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Americans have been saying for a long time their main issues are jobs, reducing the deficit and health care. The voters have six months to figure out which one has the best plan to lead the country.

President Obama officially proposed the millionaire’s tax he has been campaigning on for awhile. He wants anyone who makes a million dollars to pay 30% income tax. Fact is anyone receiving a million or more in salary is already paying over 30%. Folks like Warren Buffett and Mitt Romney depend mainly on capital gains for their income which is taxed at 15% because they already paid over 30% on it when they earned the investment in the first place.  The President says doubling this capital gains tax will cut the annual deficit by $5 Billion. When he was confronted with the idea this would cut jobs and only reduce the deficit by half a percent he said, “It’s a start.”  Really, he should have proposed 60% to make it worthwhile.

After the election look for him to admit, “Sorry, I miscalculated on the deficit reduction. I meant to say the 30% minimum tax will apply to all who make over $100,000.”

I read in the paper that over a hundred people got sick with salmonella from eating lean tuna scraped off the bones. It reminded me of the story about lean beef trimmings that got so many people hysterical it can no longer be sold. Hundreds of beef packers lost their jobs even though it never made anybody sick. Maybe treating tuna with a little ammonia and irradiation ain’t such a bad idea after all. Call it tuna slime.

Mothers got back in the news this week. You would think anybody in politics would be smart enough to leave these women alone. Why, in the old days half the women lived on farms and nobody ever had the nerve to claim these farm women didn’t work.

North Korea is probably the least civilized nation on Earth. Today the Communist dictator celebrated the 1912 birth of his grandfather (who started the decline in 1950), while thousands of Koreans are locked away in prisons and the other 90% are starving. China, which used to be the most civilized nation on the planet, is responsible for this mess, and could end the misery starting tomorrow.  The Chinese leader needs to say the equivalent of, “ Kim Jong Un, tear down this wall.”

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“My own mother died when I was ten… The mother I know the most about is the mother of our little group [Betty Blake Rogers]. She has been for 22 years trying to raise to maturity four youngins’, three by birth and one by marriage.” Radio, May 11, 1930

 “In this country people don’t vote for, they vote against.”  Radio, June 9, 1935
 “Every guy just looks in his pockets and then votes.” WA #196, Sept. 12, 1926

April is a fun month, until…

COLUMBUS: April is National Humor Month.  April Fools Day got us off to a good start, plenty to laugh about. Then we fill out our Income Tax, and we stop laughin’.

Maybe we should change it to National Liars Month.  As Will said, “The income tax has made liars out of more American people than golf has.”

The Masters has had plenty of winners over the years, with names like Jack, Arnold, Gary, Ben, Sam, Phil, and even Tiger. But never a Bubba. If the elite members of the Augusta Golf Club can give a green jacket to an ole Georgia Bulldog named Bubba, no reason they can’t let a woman join. Unless maybe her name is Daisy Mae or Bobbi Jo.

President Obama sure ain’t the first one to take on the Supreme Court. Franklin Roosevelt blasted the old Conservative justices. FDR’s National Recovery Act, a primary part of his New Deal, was struck down over an interstate commerce case in 1935. See, Roosevelt said the government could prevent chickens that had not been inspected from being sold across state lines. But the Supreme Court said there’s nothing in the Constitution to prevent a fellow in Brooklyn from buying a crate of New Jersey chickens, even if they’re ill.

Losing that case made Roosevelt so mad he wanted to add a bunch of justices to the Supreme Court so they could outvote the 9 old Republicans. Well, that idea got thrown out, but he still got his way; during his four terms, eight of those old men died and he replaced them with young Democrats. Whether that strategy will work for Obama I got my doubts.

Republicans seem to be losing interest in the Presidential race. Romney is so far ahead nobody is paying much attention to Santorum and Gingrich. What they need is another debate. Invite President Obama. If he doesn’t show up, set up an empty chair with his picture. All their comments will be directed at him whether he’s there or not. The President says Republicans have declared a War on Women. By the end of that debate, he would probably wish he had a few skirts to hide behind. But, it would all be in fun. It’s April; we need a few more laughs.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

(On golf) “I am not going to make the mistake of the usual fool, just because I don’t play the game, and tell there is nothing to it. There is skill in anything, if you practice it long enough… The main thing that struck me about the game was the amount of skill they had developed in getting near the hole and how little they displayed in getting into it… I have a little polo field where I work my horses and practice hitting the ball. No one would ever be foolish enough to think I was playing a game of polo. ” WA #163, Jan. 10, 1926

  “Horses are too cheap for a man to spend half his life walking over the country looking for holes in the ground.” WA #19, April 22, 1923

Supreme Court ponders health care as costs triple

April 1, 2012

COLUMBUS: The Supreme Court heard the arguments on the health care law last week and is pondering a decision. If they find out the cost estimate has tripled from $900 Billion a year to $2600 Billion they will vote it down 9-0. See, if it goes through it’ll take ALL our tax money and we can’t afford a Supreme Court. Those justices know they have job security, but there’s no guarantee we’ll pay ‘em.

Now that protests across the country have drawn attention to the terrible death of a black 17-year old in Florida, maybe Rev. Sharpton and the others can take on a much bigger problem among minorities, whether African, Mexican or Indian. That is the hundreds killed every month by those of their own race.  Illegal drugs, prescription drugs, liquor, gang violence, and a variety of crimes are killing our young people. And Whites are not exempt from this mayhem either.

Congressmen who spout off  while wearing a cowboy hat or a hooded sweatshirt come across as a poorly informed judge-want-to-be who’s eager to hang a perpetrator before he has been charged. Maybe Senator Coburn and Congressmen Ron Paul and Jim McDermott (doctors) can bring some sanity to the discussion of how to battle these evils killing our young folks.

In New York, Mayor Bloomberg is protecting hungry vagrants from the scourge of too much salt, sugar, and trans fats, but he lost a well-fed constituent who dined on tofu.

The $650 million lottery jackpot will be split by three winners who each get $100 million. If that arithmetic seems odd it’s because the federal and state governments take their half of the winnings off the top. Over a hundred million folks bought losing tickets without being forced to, yet we’ll complain about having to pay our income taxes. The odds of getting your tax money back in government services, though slim, is way higher than winning a lottery. I wonder how many tickets were bought with a welfare check or food stamp dollars.

The basketball championship comes down to UK or KU. It’s Kansas and Kentucky, two basketball powerhouses whose history goes back to James Naismith, Pfog Allen and Adolph Rupp. A Kentucky win means they will have to truck in some old couches from colleges in neighboring states; after recent wins they already burned all of ‘em in Lexington. No use to ask West Virginia; they burned all their remaining couches after the Orange Bowl.

Meanwhile the Republican championship is between Romney and Santorum. Mitt is coasting along well ahead, while Rick’s followers (this being Easter week) are praying he will rise again.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Did you read about those great Kentucky basketball players?” DT #532, April 10, 1928 (Actually Will was congratulating Ashland College of KY, which won the NIT.)

(At the end of a nice tribute to mothers on Mothers Day, 1935)  “Father had a Day, but you can’t find anybody who remembers when it was. It’s been so confused with April the First.” Radio, May 12, 1935