Shutdown ends; Wall debate intensifies

We used to talk about how a good president could keep the trains running on time. This shutdown ended because President Trump couldn’t keep the planes flying on time.

We’re glad the Air Traffic Controllers and all federal employees are back on the job, and getting paid.

Television newscasters highlighted employees who were so broke they couldn’t afford food for their kids or gas for the car. For their benefit, I hope that, along with their back pay, the government sends a copy of the FEMA fact sheet explaining how much savings workers should set aside for emergencies. One or two month’s salary is the minimum.

We’ve got bickering and back-stabbing between Democrats and Republicans; we don’t need bickering and hurt feelings between ones who had an “involuntary furlough vacation” and the ones who had to work through the shutdown. That disparity is probably the real reason so many called in sick instead of working.

The argument over a wall on the Mexico border caused the shutdown.  My recent ideas for a physical barrier, including my analogy with “chickens on a football field,” have failed to persuade any Democrat, including Speaker Pelosi. They have their own ideas for “border security” (which loosely translates to “open borders”).

The President has 3 weeks to convince Democrats to appropriate $5 Billion for 250 miles of steel barrier. Can he convince Speaker Pelosi? Not a chance. She is so dead set against an “immoral” wall she will go to her grave opposing any kind of wall. Her grave will likely be in the back yard of the Pelosi Estate, which is surrounded by a wall.

Concerning the battle between Trump and the Democrats, here is an interesting quote by a former president, “You now see how essential system and plan are for conducting our affairs wisely with so bitter a party in opposition to us. They look not at all to what is best for the public, but how they may thwart whatever we propose, though they should thereby sink their country.”

Was that President Obama? Or Clinton? Or FDR? No, it was Thomas Jefferson, in 1804.

We’ll get back to the wall/fence/barrier argument in a week or two.

Did you see the Washington Post newspaper headline: “Five black activists arrested for vulgar verbal attack on high school students?” Of course not. There was no such story although there should have been. Instead the more common “headline” in the news and social media last weekend was “White Catholic boys wearing MAGA hats abused a Native-American Vietnam War veteran at the Lincoln Memorial.” To their credit, most of these “news” folks corrected their initial story. But a few persistent Trump-haters stuck with their story. No one is disliked more in this country than Trump and Trump supporters, unless maybe it’s the New England Patriots and a couple of NFL referees.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“I hope the Democrats win this election just for one thing. I have heard 5,000 hours of speeches on a ‘return to Jeffersonian principles,’ and I want to see what ‘Jeffersonian principles’ are.” DT #700, Oct. 24, 1928

“Jeffersonian Principles has always been a big sales argument with us Democrats. It seems that Jefferson was for the poor. Well, that strikes me as being mighty good politics in those days for that’s about all there was.” Saturday Evening Post, March 30, 1929

Fences, chickens and border security

Friends and countrymen (and women), I’m looking for 8 volunteers for a demonstration of border security.

Here’s what we’ll do. Find a high school football field and put up an 8-foot chicken wire fence on one sideline and both end zones.  Then we’ll turn loose 3000 chickens (White Leghorn pullets) on the grass field. We’ll add a dozen Rhode Island Reds and a dozen Bantams. All these chickens will be content, at least for a while, pecking and scratching the sod.

But one sideline, 100 yards long, is open. No fence to contain the fowl. How do we keep them from escaping? Well, that sideline will be patrolled by my 8 volunteers, plus Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. We’ll let the two Congressional leaders add some technology, maybe a couple of drones, to help corral the chickens. I’ll give each volunteer a small lasso, but be careful not to wring their necks. Let’s not upset PETA.

Our challenge is to keep chickens from crossing that boundary. Do you think 10 people can do it? Maybe. Those chicks will be happily eating bugs, ants and earthworms.

Oh, I forgot two little details. The two dozen Rhode Island Reds and Bantams are the most critical ones to keep from crossing. Under no circumstances are any of those 24 allowed to cross the sideline. Second, we’ll have 11 football players on the field trying to “drive” the chickens toward the open side.

Can you see that field? Chickens running about, wings flapping, and 11 athletes, arms flailing, trying to herd them across the sideline that’s protected by 10 people frantically twirling little lassos, guarding their ten yards of the boundary.

To be fair, we’ll only run this little experiment for 8 hours, a normal work shift. Do our volunteers have any chance of succeeding? Not a chance. Not a chance. Even if all 8 were professional soccer goalies, hundreds will cross the boundary. Even if they concentrated on stopping the two dozen “undesirables” they would surely miss a couple of them.

Now, change the scene. Add a fence on that sideline with a gate at one corner. The gate could easily be guarded by two ordinary people, even Schumer and Pelosi. One person could patrol the fence to capture any chicken that dug under or flew over it. That means chickens are prevented from crossing that border, and the other 7 folks can be reassigned to other locations where a fence is not feasible, or to airports and seaports where 40 percent of unwanted “chickens” are entering.

Whether this little experiment will change any Democrats minds about a border fence, I’ve got my doubts. In their definition of border security, there is no place for any kind of physical barrier.

Every farmer and rancher knows fences are not perfect and they don’t last forever. But ask one with a thousand cattle (or 3000 free range chickens) how many cowboys would be needed if there was no fence around the pasture.

This partial government shutdown is getting serious since it went on beyond the holidays. Employees missed their first paycheck on Friday, and many seem to be flat broke. I found a helpful article with suggestions on how much savings a person should have for emergencies such as this one. It was published by FEMA, and ironically, probably written by employees who are currently furloughed.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“You may ask: Isn’t the Presidency higher than Senator? Well, no! The Senate can make a sucker out of any President, and generally does.” Republican Convention article, June 8, 1920

“Washington, D.C. papers say: ‘Congress is deadlocked and can’t act!’ I think that is the greatest blessing that could befall this country.” WA #59, January 27, 1924

“Say, did you read the latest census figures? Talk about putting a quota on immigration. Why, the Yankees are swarming into the South like locusts… They ought to be met at the Mason-Dixon Line and deloused.” DT #1201, June 1, 1930