News from Washington to California

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about a thing called “fake news.”  Some big newspapers and television networks have been accused of putting out stories that are no more accurate than what you’re likely to see on Facebook or Twitter. Well, I want you to understand that anything I write should never be considered as “news.” Therefore, I have a clear conscience regardless of whether it’s fake or real.

In Washington, a successful businessman who has hired thousands of workers was forced to drop out as a candidate for Secretary of Labor. Instead the job will go to a lawyer who never hired anybody, at least not with his own money.

For the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt got confirmed, even though about 90 percent of EPA employees don’t like him. Too many environmental employees are determined to keep adding regulations until you can drink a glass of water directly from the Mississippi River. They should go to Pittsburgh or Cleveland and ask an 80-year old person how the air quality compares to the 1950s. Is it 99 percent cleaner?

The EPA has done a masterful job of cleaning up our air and water since it was started in 1970. It met its goals. Maybe it’s time for employees to return to their home states, work in a steel mill or coal mine or on a dairy farm or cattle ranch. See what the conditions are, first hand, and learn about the cost of meeting the latest EPA dictates, such as the “Waters of the U.S.” regulation.

Next we come to the Department of Education, which used to be part of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Has it met its goals of making American students the best prepared in the world? Not even close. Companies have to hire immigrants because we don’t produce nearly enough engineers, business entrepreneurs, and doctors and nurses.  Of course not every student is brilliant. Those should be taught how to weld, saw a 2×4, operate a backhoe, and most important, how to work. I read a report from Florida where hundreds of unemployed Americans were hired to work in the vegetable fields and only a handful lasted a month. The others quit, and had to be replaced by immigrants. Maybe Secretary DeVos can ask a few old retired teachers how they managed a classroom forty or fifty years ago and prepared their students to become productive citizens. I bet teachers have not changed. What changed is the way they are managed from Washington.

Plenty of folks are upset with President Trump. Protests are as common as 5K races, Awards shows, and Cheerleader competitions. You can’t go a week without a million showing up to march and carry placards. But the stock market and other parts of the economy seem to like the direction we’re headed.

California has been so concerned about years of drought they never considered what might happen if it rained.  They built the Oroville Dam fifty years ago, and not once had any water gone over the emergency spillway. Now the emergency spillway is the emergency. Even though the dam is made of earth, not concrete, and is taller than Hoover Dam, legislators have been focused on high-speed rail, snail darters, and environmentalists who hate dams.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

          “We’re up here working on a picture (Steamboat ‘Round the Bend). We’re working on the Sacramento River. We could have worked on the Los Angeles River, but they’d have had to haul the water too far. I hope some of these relief agencies (will) irrigate the Los Angeles River.” Radio, May 19, 1935

“We are celebrating the birth of George Washington. He was not only the Father of our country, but he was the most celebrated woodsman that ever lived. He gained more fame with his hatchet than Lincoln did with his axe.” Feb. 22, 1925

Weekly Comments: Whew, what a start (and finish).

Trump has heads spinning in his first few days as President. Kinda like FDR in 1933 (see quotes below). FDR used “fireside chats” on the radio like Trump uses Twitter.

Trump nominated more successful business people than lawyers and politicians to key positions. Maybe it should be no surprise that many of those nominees are opposed by lawyers/politicians. They hate to see their clout slip away.

Neil Gorsuch was nominated to the Supreme Court to fill the “Scalia” seat. Scalia believed in the Constitution and so does Gorsuch. So why are Senate Democrats battling this pick? Why not wait for the next (potential) Supreme Court vacancy when Trump might want to replace a “liberal” Justice with a Constitutionalist. That should be the battle.

You wouldn’t believe how many travelers and their families were delayed because of the restrictions on people arriving from 7 countries where ISIS dominates. Thousands and thousands were affected at airports across the country. Actually the ruling affected about a hundred who were delayed a few hours; the thousands were hindered by the protesters. Hundreds protested at the Columbus airport even though there was not a single affected foreign passenger arriving.

Later, a federal judge ruled against Trump. When the ‘Muslim Ban’ protesters were informed they had won and could go home, they declined, “Hey, we’re protesters, we’ve got lots of signs: ‘No Wall,’ ‘No Borders,’ ‘Pro Choice,’ ‘Black Lives Matter.’ Some are written on the back of ‘I’m with Her.’”

Ever since Trump’s election, the economy seems to be looking up.  Not sure that’s the reason, but the Dow-Jones topped 20,000, more people are working, wages are inching up, pipeline construction approved, and companies and are announcing thousands of new jobs. Let’s hope it continues. The recovery from the Great Recession was too sluggish with growth of only about 2 percent a year.

I wonder how many sports writers had written their Super Bowl stories in advance with the headline, “Patriots Win Big.”  Kinda like political writers November 8 with, “Clinton elected President.”  Well, it took 31 points in a row, the biggest Super Bowl comeback and overtime, but Tom Brady and Bill Belichick won their fifth. The real headline: Brady Deflates Falcons 34-28.

It was wonderful to see President George Bush and Barbara handle the coin toss. He predicted it from his hospital bed a couple of weeks ago. Awesome.

On a “Will Rogers” personal note, his great niece, Doris “Coke” Lane Meyer died last week at age 97. She was the daughter of Will’s sister, Maud Rogers Lane and the last relative old enough to remember him. I was fortunate to see her about every year, at the celebration of Will’s birthday in November. She was 15 when her “Uncle Will” died, and had delightful memories of his visits home to Oklahoma.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

          “America hasn’t been as happy in three years as they are today… The whole country is with (President Roosevelt). Even if what he does is wrong they are with him. Just so he does something. If he burned down the Capitol we would cheer and say, ‘Well, we at least got a fire started.’” DT #2054, March 5, 1933

“Say, this Roosevelt is a fast worker. Even on Sunday… why this President closed all the banks and called Congress in extra session.” DT #2055, March 6, 1933

“America can carry herself and get along in pretty fair shape, but when she stops and picks up the whole world and puts it on her shoulders she just can’t get it done.” DT #2063, March 15, 1933