Mourning with Uvalde, Texas; Memorial Day; and No Relief for Black Farmers

Nineteen children and two teachers were slaughtered in Uvalde, Texas, by a crazed 18-year-old with a semi-automatic rifle and 300 rounds of ammunition. He and others like him, including the 18-year-old who killed ten in a Buffalo grocery store, should never be allowed anywhere close to any weapon more powerful than a slingshot.

A school can have a great plan for safety and security with a hundred elements. But if even one is not followed, disaster can occur, especially if amplified by poor judgement and bad decisions.

Tomorrow is May 30, Memorial Day. It used to be that May 30, regardless of the day of the week, was always the day to honor those who sacrificed their lives in defense of the country. May 30 was called Decoration Day because those graves were decorated with flowers and/or flags.

While President Biden and other leaders around the world are pushing farmers to grow more crops this summer, one group of farmers is being held back.

According to John Boyd, Jr., President of Black Farmers of America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture promised $5 Billion to “farmers of color” a year ago. But those payments have been held up by a lawsuit alleging reverse discrimination against white farmers. Many of these Black farmers have debts and are unable to borrow money for seed, fertilizer and diesel fuel.

You may be wondering, why would these minority farmers deserve special treatment? For decades discrimination against Black farmers was prevalent in the South. Much of the USDA money allocated to farmers is determined by local county committees, not by USDA employees in Washington. Those committees were dominated by White farmers. They often refused to grant funds, loans or services to Black farmers, which often forced them to sell their land. You may be surprised to know that Black farmers once owned 14 percent of all farms in the country; now just over 1 percent according to USDA.

For John Boyd and other minority farmers, even if the $5 Billion relief funds were released immediately, it may be too late to help increase total crop production needed to alleviate food shortages in poor regions of the world.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.” (Attributed to Will, but not verified)

“Another Decoration Day passed and Mr. Abraham Lincoln’s 300-word Gettysburg Address was not dethroned. I would try and imitate its brevity if nothing else.” DT #268, May 31, 1927

“This would be a great time in the world for some man to come along that knew something.” DT #1611, Sept. 21, 1931

“Farmers are learning that the relief they get from the sky beats what they get from Washington.” DT #2445, June 4, 1934

Global Cooling?? Disinformation and Energy Shortages

If you don’t understand why fuel prices are rising like a helium balloon, let’s pretend the situation is reversed. Yes, this scenario is absurd, but humor me for a couple of minutes. Ok?

The date is January 20, 2041. We have 80% of our energy provided by solar and wind, and only 5% from oil, natural gas and coal. The new President is absolutely convinced that global cooling is about to destroy civilization. Snow and hard freezes in early June in our great Corn Belt states, and killing frosts by Labor Day. Crops and trees suffering from a lack of carbon dioxide in the air. Fear that half our food production would be eliminated. Sea levels falling so rapidly that ships won’t be able to reach the docks for loading and unloading.

So, the President takes immediate action to eliminate solar and wind energy, “Our future as a human race depends on converting all energy sources to fossil fuel.” The first action, with support of Congress, is to allocate $10 Trillion to increase fossil fuel use from 5% to 90% in 8 years. The second action is to order that within 2 years all wind machines must be shut down and solar collectors covered with thick blankets.

By January 2043 all solar and wind energy has been shut down except for a few illegal locations called suneasies and windstills. Because it takes months or years to ramp up the previously decimated fossil fuel industry to drill wells and open coal mines, Americans are paying outrageous prices to heat their homes even with thermostats at 55 degrees. When questioned, the Secretary of Energy laughs and says the problem is price gouging by big energy companies (which are just emerging from bankruptcy). The Secretary of the Interior announces the only leases for new oil or gas wells will be on abandoned solar farms. With all this misery, there is one bit of good news. Illegal immigration from Mexico has completely stopped. In fact, Mexico and Central America are facing a crisis of Americans trying desperately to move there.

Back to reality in May 2022… In President Biden’s haste to convert all energy use to weather-dependent renewables, energy supplied by coal, oil, gas and nuclear has been smeared, beaten down and regulated to the point where total energy available cannot meet the demand.

I’m fortunate the Disinformation Board has been shut down. Otherwise, my silly story about global cooling would get me thrown off social media, email, and the Post Office would only deliver once a month.

Someone even more fortunate is Hillary Clinton. We’re just now learning that it was the Democrat candidate for President in 2016 who personally directed and financed the disinformation Russia-Trump collusion story.

Why was the Disinformation Board, headed by Nina Jankowicz, “paused” after only 3 weeks? Probably because the #1 disinformation item was the claim that the Mexican border crisis is being “effectively managed.” The man who uttered that ridiculous bit of disinformation was the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas. He was Jankowicz’s boss. How could she rat out her boss?

Are you ready for a shortage of electricity and gasoline? A professor at MIT, Edmund W. Schuster, warns that because of the premature closing of fossil fuel electric power generation plants, we can expect blackouts this summer, even in the Midwest. And gasoline inventories are extremely low. Even at $6.00 a gallon, gasoline may be rationed.

So, imagine a hot week in August, no electricity (air-conditioning) for hours at a time, and you can’t get enough gasoline to drive to the mountains to cool off.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Everything nowadays is a Saying or a Slogan… Even if you want to get married a sign will stare you in the face: ‘You get the girl, we will furnish the Ring.’ That has led more Saps astray than any misinformation ever published, outside the Prize one of all, which is: ‘Two can live as cheap as one.’ That is the biggest Bunk Slogan ever invented. Yes, two can live as cheap as one if you don’t want to eat or wear anything during its lifetime. Two can’t even live as cheap as two, much less one.” WA #122, Apr. 12, 1925

“Now Rumor travels Faster, but it don’t stay put as long as Truth.” Ether and Me, 1927

Food Shortage, Fighting Inflation, and an Eclipse Tonight

We have been told to expect a shortage of food because of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Nobody told us the first major shortage would be baby food.

And where were our news media three months ago? On February 17, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered Abbott Nutrition to recall products and shut down a Michigan facility that produces 40% of the infant formula consumed by babies in the US.

Let that sink in. Four out of every ten babies, except the ones being breastfed, depended on that facility for 100% of their food supply.

On February 17, the loss of 40% of our baby food supply should have been the No. 1 headline story on every TV network and newspaper in the country. And it should have stayed No. 1 until a 24/7 “warp speed” effort tracked down the problem and got the plant back at full capacity. Unbelievably, it took 3 months for the FDA to clear the plant.

Can you imagine the reaction to an immediate 40% reduction of any other essential product? Suppose 40% of households had the electricity shut off for 3 months. Or 40% of farmers had no diesel fuel for their tractors at planting time for corn and soybeans.

Please don’t consider me callous for mentioning this shutdown occurred because 4 babies got sick and 2 died. How many babies have suffered from a lack of approved formula or from a poor substitute?

Parents have been warned to not substitute any “homemade concoctions.” But you have probably seen social media postings of a typical “formula” from many years ago. It is a precise mixture of evaporated milk, water and Karo syrup. Of course, the ones bragging about it are the ones who survived. (I may have thrived on it myself.)

President Biden announced he is attacking inflation. Since diesel and gasoline prices are primary sources or causes of price increases for many products, the President took immediate action to reduce production of diesel and gasoline.

What? Yes, he eliminated oil-rich areas of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico from production and made it harder to construct pipelines to economically transport fuel. And instead of allowing the experienced geologists and engineers to test, calculate and decide the best locations to drill, the Secretary of Interior in Washington, DC will tell the companies where they should drill.

President Biden announced a way to add to our food supply. He is encouraging farmers who grow wheat to plant soybeans after harvest. It’s a good idea. Many farmers already do that. The only problem is that most wheat is grown west of the Mississippi River. Much of that region is in a severe drought that will likely cut wheat yields drastically. Kansas, the leading wheat state, will harvest about 20% less than the 10-year average, according to USDA estimates.  Not much chance of growing soybeans planted into parched ground in July.

A special treat for you tonight, if you read this quick. A total lunar eclipse will occur across the country tonight, around midnight on the East Coast. It’s called a blood moon because it’ll be mostly red.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“It’s all right to fix the world, but you better get your own smokehouse full of meat first.” DT #2636, Jan. 6, 1935

“The big event for people who go in for outdoor amusements was the Eclipse… It was also the only thing that went off on schedule. I wish those scientists would run the railroads.” WA #112, Feb. 1, 1925

Mother’s Day, Inflation, Supreme Court Breach of Trust, Putin’s War, and Rich Strike

This is Mother’s Day.

Here’s Will Rogers in 1930, “My own mother died when I was ten years old.  My folks have told me that what little humor I have comes from her.  I can’t remember her humor but I can remember her love and her understanding of me. 

“Of course, the mother I know the most about is the mother of our little group.  She has been for twenty-two years trying to raise to maturity four children, three by birth and one by marriage. You know, there ought to be some kind of a star given to any woman that can live with a comedian.  Now, that little compliment ought to repay for the flowers that I forgot to get today.” (Radio, Mother’s Day, 1930)

The Federal Reserve Board met and raised its official rate by half a percent to a target of one percent. That is still far, far below the rate needed to tamp down inflation which is over 8%. The Dow has been on a roller coaster this year with a lot more downs than ups.

Will Rogers wrote often about the Federal Reserve Board, “If a 1 percent raise in rate [from 5% to 6%] can upset the whole of Wall Street, then they are working on a mighty slim margin.” (DT #881, May 23, 1929) A few weeks earlier he wrote, “There is two things that can disrupt business in this country. One is war and the other is a meeting of the Federal Reserve.”  (DT #837, April 2, 1929) You will recall that a few months later, in October 1929, the stock market crashed, starting the Great Depression.

The Federal Reserve by itself can’t control inflation. The President and Congress need to act. So far, the Biden Administration has been adding fuel to the flaming inflation rate. They may know how to cool inflation, but refuse to do it.

For the first time in over 200 years, someone in the inner circle of the Supreme Court broke a sacred trust by printing a 100-page first draft of an opinion and sneaking it out of the building months before a final version will be announced. This is shameful. I hope they catch the culprit soon before they do more damage to the Supreme Court.

Putin’s war on Ukraine has reached 75 days. He thought it would be over in 3 or 4 days. We celebrate V-E Day today (Victory in Europe, May 8, 1945) while Russia celebrates on May 9. Since Putin can’t claim a great victory over Ukraine, there is speculation he may ramp up attacks. He could order the slaughter of thousands more civilians, destroy more industries, and wipe out wheat harvest and the planting of other crops. All of our aid in the future, even more than the $33 Billion being considered in Congress, must be for direct military aid to help Ukraine defeat Putin and restore their original border.

The Kentucky Derby win yesterday by Rich Strike, an 80-1 long shot, will be talked about for decades. That horse was not even in the field until the day before. Rich Strike winning could only be topped by a Model T Ford winning the Indy 500.  As Will Rogers said, “Money, horse racing and women are three things the boys just can’t figure out.”  (DT #2679, March 7, 1935)

[Correction from last week: on Twitter I’m @WillRogersToday]

Student Debt, Twitter, and Disinformation

My little offering last week on student debt was on point. It’s been on the national news every day. Remember, I said that around 10% deserve relief. And the Biden Administration has already canceled the debt for most of those.

For the other 90%, one of my friends in Arizona had a great suggestion: each individual should appear in front of three “evaluators” to justify why they cannot afford to pay their loan. Each would be questioned on their reasons, and offered tips on ways to cut other expenses, and/or add income. After a 30-minute session, most would leave the room disappointed. A few may cry. But they would have a plan! Another friend added, “Make it a reality TV show!”

I think we’re onto something big. With millions pleading their cases, starting with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, the show could run 24 hours a day. Why, it might become such a tremendous success, so huge in fact… well, there’s a rare possibility… it could even resurrect CNN+.

Elon Musk is paying over $40 Billion for Twitter. You might think it’s a social media powerhouse. But it’s not. The revenue generated is tiny compared to Facebook, YouTube, and other parts of Jeff Zuckerberg’s Meta. Few people use it, and 10% of those write 80% of the Tweets.

So why do we all think Twitter is a huge platform? Because newscasters report on Tweets by politicians, athletes, actors, and other famous people. Do you ever hear one say, “Here’s something I saw in an email message or on Facebook.”?

I’m getting back on Twitter (@randall_reeder). I got on it years ago but stopped using it because almost all Will Rogers quotes are more than 140 characters. Even with the current limit, quotes by Will (and me) seldom fit. I have a lot to learn. First lesson: brevity.

Did you hear this? The Biden Administration saw that bank robberies are up. So, they created a “Board to Reduce Bank Robberies” and started looking for a person to run it. Among the applicants one stood out. He appeared to be supremely qualified. The only negative was he insisted on working remotely instead of moving to Washington. At the confirmation hearing in the Senate, conducted on Zoom, after several Democrats praised this outstanding individual, one Republican Senator asked, “Concerning this need to work remotely, exactly where do you reside?” “I’m currently in Kansas. To be exact, in Leavenworth. I wouldn’t mind moving to Washington, but that will depend on the Parole Board.” Well, that ended the hearing. But one staffer admitted, “At least he’s an expert on robbing banks.”

Ok, that didn’t happen. But the Biden Administration did create a “Board to Reduce Disinformation.” And they found the perfect person to run it. Nina Jankowicz is an expert on disinformation. Concerning disinformation in politics, she is at the top of the pile. She was such a prolific producer of disinformation during the 2020 election that a few Democrats credit her with winning the election for Biden-Harris and the two Georgia Senators.

Why didn’t they offer the job to Congressman Adam Schiff? He was outstanding at providing disinformation for four solid years. He would have probably turned it down so he could remain as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. See, in that esteemed post, everyone believes him when he speaks out on top secret information, even when he makes it up.

Is it a coincidence the Disinformation Board was announced just days after Twitter ceased to be a liberal-leaning social media platform? If Biden had been President in 1996, I bet he would have formed the same Board on Disinformation when Fox News Network began broadcasting.

The Gridiron Dinner was last night. The newspaper, TV, and other media folks gave President Biden a standing ovation and uproarious applause. Comedian Trevor Noah got plenty of laughs. [A few people think the dinner should have been cancelled and each person donate the money they would have spent on it to support Ukraine.]

Will Rogers was the MC for a few of these dinners. He was in the audience in 1931 and wrote this: “Tonight’s Gridiron dinner here in Washington, where the President attends and sees the cleverest kidding and satires, was put on by the newspaper men who know these big birds backwards.”

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

We used to look on [May Day] as a beautiful Spring Day when we had a picnic and fastened ribbons to the top of a pole and danced around and sang and played… Everybody was just poor and ignorant enough to be happy.” DT #863, May2, 1929