#713, June 24, 2012

Supreme Court on hot seat

COLUMBUS: The Supreme Court is reaching a deadline on the health care law. They have been pondering on it for weeks. I got ‘em figured out on the announcement. They will have their limos waiting with the engines running so they can make a quick getaway as soon as the verdict is read. Meanwhile, President Obama’s representatives and the Republicans will have their responses ready no matter which way it goes. Each side is rehearsing their reactions, whether it’ll be sad, giddy, disappointed, elated, disgusted or simply confused.
Before they get to the health care law, the Supreme Court will decide if Arizona can arrest people who are not in the U.S. legally. Attorney General Holder says it’s ok for Arizona to ticket a driver for rolling through a stop sign, but they can’t arrest him if he looks foreign, even if he has no license. The governor says illegal immigrants are costing the state billions for education, health care and law enforcement and she wants to send them home.
President Obama announced a way for young illegal immigrants to become legal and stay here, at least as long as he is president. All they have to do to is turn in their parents. In fact the parents kinda have to hand themselves over to the Border Patrol. They must write a letter that essentially says, “We sneaked across your border with our (son/daughter)  _____________ when he/she was only ___ years old.  Come and pick us up and deport us back home where we belong. Our kid is now your responsibility.”
The Senate passed a Farm Bill. Mind you, 80 percent of the budget goes to food stamps, but farmers will get the blame for recklessly profiting off the other 20%.  Before it’s official it has to get passed in the House, and Frank Lucas of Oklahoma will make sure no shenanigans get stuffed into the final version. They are trying to reduce the cost, and the best way would be to get our unemployed back to work so they don’t need food stamps.

In the Midwest, farmers were delighted with the early, dry spring. Corn and soybeans got planted early, and wheat harvest is way ahead of schedule. But the dry spring turned into a dry summer and farmers aren’t so thrilled. The No. 1 prayer request at church on Sunday is for rain.
Gasoline prices are coming down. Some folks are only putting in a half tank because they expect it to be a nickel cheaper when they run low again.  When President Obama took office in 2009 it was less that $2.00 because of the recession.  If it gets back that low by election day, do you suppose Republican voters will give him credit for lowering prices to 2009 levels?
Last week officials measured the ocean level along our Atlantic coast and discovered it is 5 inches higher than 20 years ago. Well, that just shows you how fat we have become. When our summer swimmers cause the ocean to rise 5 inches… maybe Mayor Bloomberg is right. If someone insists on drinking a half gallon of Coke, don’t let ‘em near the water.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“It rained in the Middle West. Farmers are learning that the relief they get from the sky beats what they get from Washington.” DT #2445, June 4, 1934
“If a farmer could harvest the political promises made him, he would be sitting pretty.” 
WA #403, Sept. 14, 1930

Second 2012 Presidential debate: Coolidge vs. FDR

Folks, can you believe it? We arranged a second Presidential debate between Mr. Coolidge and Mr. Roosevelt.

Will: Many folks think January 1, 2013, will bring financial calamity, with vast tax increases, funding cuts for our military and social programs, and raising the debt ceiling again. What would you do if elected?
CC: “The people cannot look to legislation generally for success. Industry, thrift, character, are not conferred by act or resolve. Government cannot relieve from toil. It can, of course, care for the defective and recognize distinguished merit. The normal must care for themselves. Self-government means self-support.”
FDR: “There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still. Take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly, and try another. But by all means, try something… The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today… The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
CC: “We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once… They criticize me for harping on the obvious; if all the folks in the United States would do the few simple things they know they ought to do, most of our big problems would take care of themselves.”

Will: No matter who is elected, you will have to deal with Senators and Congressmen of the other party. How would you approach that situation?
CC: “There is only one form of political strategy in which I have any confidence, and that is to try to do the right thing and sometimes be able to succeed… I have found it advisable not to give too much heed to what people say when I am trying to accomplish something of consequence. Invariably they proclaim it can’t be done. I deem that the very best time to make the effort.”
FDR: “There is nothing I love as much as a good fight. In our seeking for economic and political progress, we all go up, or else we all go down… I am neither bitter nor cynical but I do wish there was less immaturity in political thinking… A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.  (On the other hand) a reactionary is a somnambulist walking backwards.”

Will: Somnambulist? I’ll have to look that one up later. Congress is debating the new Farm Bill. Mr. Roosevelt, I believe the very first Farm Bill was passed under your watch.
FDR: “Yes, prosperous farmers mean more employment, more prosperity for the workers and the business men of every industrial area in the whole country… A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.”
CC: “Agriculture in America has been raised to the rank of a profession. It does not draw any artificial support from industry or from the Government. It rests squarely on a foundation of its own. It is independent…  Although it is gratifying to know that farm conditions as a whole are encouraging, we ought not to cease our efforts for their constant improvement.”

Will: What’s your stand on labor unions?
FDR: “If I went to work in a factory the first thing I’d do is join a union.”
CC: “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time… This country would not be a land of opportunity if the people were shackled with government monopolies.”

Will: Closing comments?
FDR: “We are trying to construct a more inclusive society. We are going to make a country in which no one is left out.”
CC: “You can’t know too much, but you can say too much.”

#711 June 10, 2012

The 2012 election: Coolidge vs. FDR

Calvin Coolidge and Franklin D. Roosevelt were both President (separated by Herbert Hoover). They never ran against each other.  Until now. Yes, this is their first ever debate. I will ask the questions.

Will: Mr. Coolidge, you are known as Silent Cal. Is that because you are frugal with words?
CC: “I have noticed that nothing I have never said ever did me any harm… Don’t you know that four-fifths of all our troubles would disappear if we would just sit down and keep still?”
FDR: I agree. My motto as a speaker is: “Be sincere; be brief; be seated.”

Will: Sounds like good advice for any candidate. Mr. Roosevelt, what is your opinion of the 2010 Health Care law?
FDR: “Are you laboring under the impression that I read these? I can’t even lift them.”
CC: “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.”

Will: Our economy is not so great today. How would you improve it?
CC: “I favor the policy of economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people… Civilization and profits go hand in hand…. The business of America is business.”
FDR: “I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a New Deal for the American people. While they (talk) of economic laws, men and women are starving. Economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings. Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.”

Will: What about the national debt?  To reduce trillion dollar deficits, do you favor more taxes on the wealthy?
CC: “Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong… Wealth comes from industry and from the hard experience of human toil. To dissipate it in waste and extravagance is disloyalty to humanity… There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.”
FDR: “Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay… Over ninety percent of all national deficits from 1921 to 1939 were caused by payments for past, present, and future wars…The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”

Will: What is the proper role of religion in America? In our government?
FDR: “I am a Christian and a Democrat, that’s all. Whoever seeks to set one religion against another seeks to destroy all religion… Physical strength can never permanently withstand the impact of spiritual force. ”
CC: “Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberality, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government… It is hard to see how a great man can be an atheist. Without the sustaining influence of faith in a divine power we could have little faith in ourselves.  ”

Will: Closing comments?
FDR: “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
CC: “I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves.”
(Note: the “quotes” are authentic.)

Americans trying to hold onto jobs and money

COLUMBUS: John Edwards was set free. The jury figured a man with a mistress who went through a million dollars in a year, well, he’s been punished enough.  The trial stretched out to six weeks, and the only question they had to decide was this: did Mrs. Mellon give John Edwards a million dollars because he was running for President, or because she thinks he’s cute? In other words, would she have written such a check if he was not a candidate at the time?
In Egypt, Mr. Mubarak did not get so lucky. He was found guilty of killing thousands of demonstrators last spring and got life. Oddly, the ones working for him that were on trial were declared innocent. Mubarak was quite a President, but I rather doubt that he personally did all that shooting and killing.
Employment numbers came out and the economy appears to be getting worse. Fewer people have jobs and that makes it tougher on the ones still working.
No only are there fewer jobs, we have fewer millionaires and billionaires, and the ones we’ve got are losing money. Look at Mark Zuckerburg. He lost another ten billion last week on top of the ten billion the week before. If Facebook keeps dropping at this rate, by the end of the summer he will have to go back to Harvard and try to invent another company in his dorm room.
Now, no one is feeling sorry for a rich man who comes up a couple million short. Unless of course he was the one paying your salary. And that’s the bind we’re in. We’re supposed to dislike the wealthy and love the poor and downtrodden. The problem is, the poor never hire anybody. They can elect ‘em , but not hire ‘em.  And that’s why there’s so many with no job.
In Wisconsin they are voting Tuesday on whether to let out the governor early or make him work all four years. Gov. Walker has had a tough run. He has worked to streamline state government and the ones being streamlined don’t like it. If he gets thrown out, that’ll be another one standing in the unemployment line.
The U.S. Treasury is selling bonds at an interest rate so low it can hardly be called interest. It’s more like saying, “Give us $1000, we’ll hold it for 10 years, and promise to give you back the full $1000.”  Well, the way the stock market is moping around, this may be the best deal you can get. Like I stated in a movie one time, “I’m more interested in the return of my money than the return on my money.”
Queen Elizabeth is celebrating 60 years of wearing the crown. That’s a record that stands up there with Cal Ripken and Hank Aaron, except she didn’t have to show up at work every single day or hit home runs. Being a Queen, she mostly just stands and waves. She has been a good Queen though, no personal scandals, and she keeps her husband in line. However, she goes through $80 million a year, which makes our GSA seem like pikers. Maybe she should give tours of Buckingham Palace for $10 a person and make royalty a paying proposition.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“These (poor) people that you are asked to aid, why they are not asking for charity, they are naturally asking for a job. But if you can’t give them a job why the next best thing you can do is to see that they have food and the necessities of life.” Radio, Oct. 18, 1931