Spend, and get re-elected. Save? You’re fired.

COLUMBUS: Did you see this news from California? The State Parks Director, Ruth Coleman, was fired because she managed to save and squirrel away $50 million over the past few years. Meanwhile, the legislature and various governors over the last few years have run California into a $55 Billion hole. I think the state got it wrong. Gov. Brown and the legislators are the ones who should be fired. And put Ruth Coleman in as Governor.
A reader asked me how many days President George W. Bush spent at his ranch in Texas compared to the number President Obama has spent at his home in Chicago. Well, it seems Bush was back home on his ranch about 450 days in 8 years. Some folks refer to those as “vacation” days, but I never met a rancher who considered being home a vacation.
I don’t know how many days President Obama has spent at his home, but I’m guessing less than 20. And who can blame him? Have you seen the murder rate in Chicago? And who it is getting shot? So the President is only looking out for personal safety when he takes, or sends, his family to Hawaii or Martha’s Vineyard or Vail or Spain or Botswana.
Mitt Romney flew to London in time for the Olympics. He made a mistake of reading the local papers which have been criticizing the government for lack of preparation for the Games. For example, they had to call in thousands of their military at the last minute to protect the athletes. Well, when a reporter asked him about the Olympics he simply reported what he had read. Now the Brits are mad at Romney instead of those in charge of the Olympics.
Then he went on to Israel and met with his old friend, Prime Minister Netanyahu. He made sure he didn’t read any local newspapers. While there he is holding a fund raiser in Jerusalem, expecting to clear over a million dollars. When President Obama heard the news, he said, ‘Why didn’t I think of that.’
Congress, which has been deadlocked all year, says they will work one more week, then go on vacation for a month. If they accomplish as much this week as in the previous 30, exactly what are they vacationing from? Can’t be from overwork.
For that killer in Colorado, when he’s found guilty, I suggest a firing squad. He killed 12, injured more than 50 and fully intended to kill or maim everyone in his apartment building. For all my friends who own guns and support the NRA, I have a question. Has anyone found it necessary to fire a hundred rounds in a minute? Any hunter who needs 100 shots to bring down a deer, or a bear or even a bull moose, should be spending less on ammunition and more on shooting lessons.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“Today Congress went to work. What are you laughing at? Honest, they went to work. Well, they did come in and sat down.”
“Any program that has to pass by that Senate is just like a Rat having to pass a Cat Convention; it’s sure to get pounced on. And the more meritorious the scheme is, the less chance it has of passing.”  WA #385, May 11, 1930

How small businesses are created

The drought and heat are spreading across the country, affecting almost two-thirds of it. I just returned from trips to Indiana and Kansas and the corn looks pitiful. Now Kansas is known for its wheat, not corn, and they harvested a good crop last month. But what little bit of corn I saw growing around Wichita and Salina has turned brown like it was October. And the ears, what there was of them, were puny. Indiana corn does not look much better. Soybeans and sorghum are still green, and those crops could be salvaged by a good rain.

I’m flying to Fort Worth, Texas for a meeting with hundreds of folks that work with farmers to conserve our soil and water. Fort Worth, the home of “my” old friend Amon Carter who owned the great newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. And like a lot of daily papers lately, it has gone through some tough times.

We are going through an economic slump that reminds us of the Great Depression of the 1930s. And with this drought, if it wasn’t for the changes farmers have adopted to protect their soil, we might be looking at a repeat of the Dust Bowl of the same era.

In the Presidential campaign, Mr. Obama told us last week that anyone who has a small business didn’t do it on their own, that somebody else made it happen.  That’s what he said. Well, one common way for a person to have a small business in 2012 was, about 3 or 4 years ago, to have had a big one. In that case, the President is right; it wasn’t the owner who made it happen.

Mrs. Romney has a horse, and some Democrats don’t like it. She has a couple of Cadillacs, and they don’t like that either. But here’s an oddity: if you offered a fine horse and a new Cadillac to those same critics, 99 percent of them would accept it.

Here’s my suggestion: instead of asking Mrs. Romney to give up her horse, President Obama ought to get one. Actually he should get four horses, so the whole family can ride. The grass around the White House would make a beautiful pasture. He could assign an employee from the EPA to follow the horses with a scoop shovel and wheel barrow. The little vegetable garden on the White House lawn looks a bit undernourished, and could use some fresh…uh… nutrients. You know, it’s possible that if the President spent less time sitting in a golf cart, and more time in the saddle, he would get a better perspective of where the country ought to be headed.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“A man that don’t love a horse, there’s something the matter with him. If he has no sympathy for the man who does love horses, then there is something worse the matter with him.” WA #88  August 17, 1924

 “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 kinder like Kansas ought to pay for the extra top soil. But Kansas can sue ‘em for covering up their crops.” DT #2697, March 28, ‘35

Presidential race turns into a Hollywood fight

Washington has learned a new sport. It’s called “Hollywood fights.” You remember, in the movies, a fellow swings a powerful uppercut, you hear a loud thud, and the other fellow falls back like he’s dead. Then he recovers and swings at the first guy… loud thud… and he falls down. This goes on for a while, back and forth.  But, really, nobody lands a punch.  It’s all for show. And after a while the audience gets tired of watching and goes home.
Well, these fake Hollywood fights have moved east. The President came out for increasing taxes on the top 2% and is going around the country saying it’s only fair; increase taxes for folks like Mitt Romney and George Clooney, but leave the rest of us alone.
On the other side, the Republican House voted to repeal the new health care law.
Now, the President and the Republicans know that neither plan is going anywhere. But they spend their time and energy (and our dollars) trying to convince us they won the fight by throwing better punches. Voters are already tired of watching these shenanigans and are ready to walk out the door, go home, and stop paying to watch these fake battles. They might be persuaded to tune in after the election in case one of them did get knocked out cold.
There’s a question I have been hoping a reporter would ask the President and Mr. Romney, and I guarantee it would draw attention. See, businesses are holding on to vast amounts of cash, maybe a trillion, rather than buy new equipment or hire workers. They seem to be waiting until after the election before making any moves. Here’s my question: “Mr. President, if you are re-elected on Nov. 6, what do you predict these companies will do with all that money?”
Then ask Gov. Romney the same question. The answers, if they are honest, would tell you a lot about where the economy will be headed in 2013. But odds are they would not be honest, and I’ll be just as confused after they answer as I was before.
A week or so ago President Obama reminisced about earlier vacation trips when the family rode a Greyhound bus then hung around the Howard Johnson motel all day. I don’t think he got many votes with that story. A lot of people can’t even afford a bus ticket, and for those who can afford it, who wants to ride all day on a bus. All day on an airplane is tough enough, in those tight seats, but at least you get somewhere on a plane. Young folks today aren’t satisfied with staying for days at a Howard Johnson’s, even if they get ice cream. They want vacation trips like the ones the President’s wife and daughters have taken the last 3 years. Or at least a trip to Disneyland, Cedar Point, the beach, or the Grand Canyon.
The so-called Humane Society (HSUS) is up to a new trick. They claim their goal is to protect farm animals from “slave holders” and make ‘em turn loose their hogs and chickens to roam free. But the HSUS lawyers are now suing these farms for generating too much odor. Really? If you want something that stinks, let 1000 hogs and 1000 chickens run free on the range; you’ll get more odor complaints than ever, and especially from those whose backyard the hogs adopt as part of their free range.
The real goal of the HSUS is to get all of us to stop eating meat. Not a chance. Just like the Republicans have no chance Obama will dismantle his health care law. And no chance the President can get Republicans to enthusiastically increase taxes on their wealthy contributors.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:
“You must always remember that in politics,  there is some crookedness going on on both sides.”
 DT #2090, April 16, 1933

Drought and health debate heat up the country

Most folks have the electric power back on, but the heat and dry weather are still scorching much of the country. Of course, a hundred degrees and no rain is kinda normal for Oklahoma and Texas. But around here, it’s enough to send people scurrying inside if they can find a cool place.

It’s even worse for the crops, especially corn. This year is shaping up to be drier than 1988 for the Corn Belt states. It might be the hottest summer around here since the 1930s. Some folks are blaming it on global warming, but really it fits a pattern. My friend, Elwynn Taylor, at Iowa State University, says that the Midwest has had a severe drought about every 19 or 20 years going back over 500 years. Now, neither one of us is that old, but he uses geological records based partly on the width of tree rings. We’ve been overdue for a bad one, and if this is it, why, the prospects for the next several years will be rosier.

Another contributor to the heat is the campaign. Both sides are spouting out more heat than reason.

In 1923 I said, “If you ever injected truth into politics, you would have no politics.”
The new health care law is exhibit #1 for 2012. The Supreme Court approved it only after scratching out “penalty” and writing in “tax”.  But President Obama says it’s not a tax, it’s a penalty because Mitt Romney said one time it’s a penalty. Now I blame Chief Justice John Roberts for this confusion. Instead of rewriting the law himself, he should have called up the President and Congress, and told ‘em, “If you want us to say this law is constitutional, first you have to go back and present it as a tax and vote for it as a tax. If it’s still a penalty, it’s unconstitutional.”  Of course, there’s about 20 other or additional taxes in that law, and anyone fortunate to be employed with an income will be paying ‘em. Probably.

Then along comes the idea for “single payer” health care, which sounds terrific, like a children’s bedtime story. Does it mean that all 300 million of us could get sick, and there would be a “single payer” for all the bills? Who is this generous wealthy benefactor? Santa Claus? Well, no, it’s the government, which already overspends by 40 percent. This generous debtor-benefactor will have to collect more income taxes from those already paying income taxes, meaning that 10% would pay about 70% of the total health care costs.

The health care law will create a need for way more doctors. Did you notice the provision in the law to recruit, train and hire thousands of new… IRS agents? No mention about where the thousands of doctors might come from.

Regardless of who gets elected Nov. 6, he is in for a terrible jolt. Expiring tax cuts, automatic cuts in federal spending, economic slowdowns in Europe, China and India.  I heard John Stockman on a TV show say, “When the winner sees the problems facing the country, he’ll probably ask for a recount.”

Historic quote by Will Rogers:
“We shouldn’t elect a President; we should elect a magician.” 
 DT #1196, May 26, 1930

Storms knock out electricity, newspapers and more

WESTON, West Va: No electricity, no phone, no newspapers, no radio or TV stations, no mail, no gas stations, no stop lights, no Wal-Mart or Kroger, no air-conditioning, no running water. That’s life this weekend for a third of West Virginians and millions more from Illinois to Virginia and Maryland, the result of high winds that cut a wide swath across the region Friday.
Chain saws, generators (with extra fuel), and charcoal grills are in high demand. Neighbors are looking out for neighbors and anyone else who needs help.
Shade trees (the ones still standing) provide relief from sweltering heat. Without radio, TV, or internet, folks can sit around and actually talk with each other.
Thousands of workers are not relaxing. Power company crews, electricians, roofers, and tree removers will get no holiday break this week.
Power outages create a peculiar irony. While living conditions may remind us of the “dark ages” of 50 to 75 years ago, we eat like kings.  The best cuts of meat from the freezer are cooked on the grill: prime rib, pork tenderloin, venison steaks. And for dessert, gorge on ice cream before it melts.
Churches were open Sunday, worshiping in the cool of the morning, with light from stained-glass windows.
Of course, this “no electric” situation is mild compared to the folks with “no house” because of wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico.

The Supreme Court made history June 28. Chief Justice John Roberts handed down a decision that was unlike others from the highest court. He decided the Affordable Care Act was based on additional taxes rather than a mandate. Now President Obama and the Democrats had sworn it was not a tax and never would be a tax. They did this swearing with one hand on the Bible and the other on the heads of the voters. But when the Supreme Court says it’s a tax, it’s a tax. Everyone knows Congress loves to levy taxes so Mr. Roberts, with four other justices, said it is constitutional. But did you notice he kind of deferred the final decision to a “court” he considers higher than the Supreme Court: the American voters. At the same time, though, he sorta chastised the same voters for what they did in 2008 when he said, “It’s not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

Justice Roberts’ decision to rewrite the law before ruling on it goes along with a statement by  President Franklin Roosevelt, “The United States Constitution has proved itself the most marvelously elastic compilation of rules of government ever written.”  FDR and President Obama like that word “elastic”.
The main concern of the big majority that have health insurance is that they will lose access to their favorite doctors and hospital staff. On top of that loss, they will have to pay more taxes to cover the uninsured. No one seems to know whether there’s 50 million of ‘em or 10 million. Thanks to Justice Roberts, we’ve got something to argue over for the next 5 months.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:
“Congress ought to really get into the main show next week… They will get settled down to ‘steady taxing’.”
 DT #2633, Jan. 13, 1935