Memorial Day. The President Speaks. Electric Policy Sparks Concerns.

Will Rogers wrote, “Another Decoration Day passed and Mr. Abraham Lincoln’s 300-word Gettysburg Address was not dethroned. I would try to imitate its brevity if nothing else.”  (May 31, 1927)

President Biden’s speeches are imitating its brevity (if nothing else). He keeps ‘em short.

If you are in a Toastmasters Club you know we count ahs, ums, and other word fillers used during a speech. For the President we count the number of words he misread or mispronounced off the teleprompter. In a short speech to the NAACP, he messed up 9 words.

President Biden also messes up facts. When he took office inflation was 1.4%. He claims it was 9%. He claims he created 15 million jobs when, compared to March 2020, we have only added about 3 million jobs. (The other 12 million were shut down temporarily because of Covid, then returned naturally.) He says the border is secure while welcoming more than 10 million immigrants into the country illegally.

In his speech to the graduating Cadets at the U. S. Military Academy, he told them he was recruited to the Naval Academy to play football. He never received any kind of appointment offer to the Naval Academy.  He challenged them to keep fighting for Democracy. Of course, they will fight abroad for democracy. But the President wants them to “fight for democracy” at home by voting for him and other Democrats. I’m surprised he didn’t accidentally brag about canceling student debt. That would have gone over big for West Point grads who are committed to 8 years of service in the Army and Reserves to “pay off” their debt.

Words matter. And we can joke about misused or mispronounced words.

But policies are what counts for most of us. The federal government is shutting down power plants at the same time the demand for electricity is growing faster than any time in recent history. Do you remember the first time you heard that instead of our personal computers storing everything, it would instead be stored in the “cloud?” I bet you looked up. We thought it was a magical storage system in the sky. But the “cloud” is actually huge Data Centers that use vast amounts of electricity. More than 5000 are in the U.S. And Artificial Intelligence (AI) services are adding vast electricity demands to these data centers. Data centers require electricity constantly, not just when the sun shines or the wind blows.

Add the push for Electric Vehicles and pressure to ban gas stoves and furnaces in favor of “all electric” homes. While environmentalists, led by John Kerry and Energy Secretary Granholm, are shutting down coal and natural gas power plants, they pretend that solar and wind energy will provide 100% of our electricity.

This nutty policy for electricity would be like convincing us to eat more vegetables while forcing farmers to grow less vegetables by cutting irrigation, fertilizer and pesticides.

NOTE: One of many tornadoes this weekend hit Claremore, Oklahoma. A lot of damage. Electric lines are down. Fortunately, the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and the immediate vicinity were not hit.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

 (Many politicians in both Parties suggested Will run for President.) “I would be the only President this country ever had that was funny purposely!” Republican National Convention, 1928

“The President [Roosevelt] made one of his best speeches in Tupelo, Miss., Sunday. He told that the people could make their own electric energy cheaper than they were getting it.” [promoting the Tennessee Valley Authority], DT #2586, Nov. 19, 1934

“Scientists say that the next war will be fought with electricity. I’m glad to hear this as it means it will be a light war.” WA #59, Jan. 27, 1924

Weekly Comments:  A Wedding and a Funeral, but no Divorce

Columbus: Sometimes when I’m exhausted and it’s late as I sit down to write Weekly Comments, I look to Will Rogers to fill in with funny, provocative, and inspiring thoughts.

Tonight is one of those nights. I just returned home to Ohio after a long weekend in West Virginia. I was invited to a wedding yesterday, one that had been planned for more than a year. And a couple of days ago, a relative passed away after a long battle with a debilitating disease, and the funeral visitation was today.

Will Rogers did in fact write about weddings, especially royal weddings in Europe and among his fellow actors in Hollywood. And he wrote poignant, deep thoughts about death.

But if I wanted to use really funny comments from Will tonight, in addition to a wedding and funeral, I should have also attended a divorce.

You may be wondering, what’s funny about a divorce?

Unlike today, back in the 1920s getting a divorce required planning and determination. And money. The only state that allowed a divorce in a reasonable time was Nevada. And by 1930, Reno was known as the “Divorce Capital of the Country.” A wife looking to get away from a husband permanently, could travel to Reno, stay for 90 days, walk into the Courthouse, and be freed from a husband. No reason required. And if desired, the next day she could return to the same Courthouse with a new guy, and start another marriage. So, with hordes of desperate housewives and Hollywood actresses lounging around Reno for 3 months at a time, Will Rogers found plenty to joke about.

But the fun for Reno began to end in 1931. Arkansas, Idaho and other states saw how lucrative this divorce business was. So, they passed laws that an angry wife could also petition for divorce in Little Rock or Boise, or anywhere in these other states after only 90 days. Nevada got wind of this intrusion on their divorce business and reduced the residency to 42 days. Competition among states kept the days of residency spiraling down. Today, no state has an advantage and the economic boost for hosting a divorce is almost zero. Except for the lawyers.

I’ll end on a high note. The wedding was held in the “Almost Heaven Barn.” Can you imagine a nicer facility for a young couple to begin their lives together as one? (It’s located a few miles off I-79. Yes, it’s on a… Country Road.)

The visitation at the McCulla Funeral Home was a chance to meet and share stories with friends, co-workers and relatives as we celebrated a life taken too soon. Talking with his successful adult sons and daughters, and seeing his bright, young grandchildren assured us that his legacy will live on and on and on.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“It’s kinder like Hollywood weddings.  I get a bundle of invitations every day to attend the weddings, but I would always rather wait a few weeks and take in the Divorce.  Weddings are always the same, but no two Divorces are alike.” Letters of a Self-made Diplomat to his President, 1927

“I maintain that it should cost as much to get married as it does to get divorced. Make it look like marriage is worth as much as divorce, even if it ain’t. That would also make the preachers financially independent like it has the lawyers.” DT #562, May 15, 1928

“(My sister, Maud Rogers Lane) has passed away. But she had lived such a life that it was a privilege to pass away. Death didn’t scare her. It was only an episode in her life. If you live right, death is a Joke to you as far as fear is concerned.” WA #128, May 24, 1925

“What constitutes a life well spent, anyway? Love and admiration from your fellow men is all that any one can ask.” WA #139, Aug. 9, 1925

Weekly Comments:  Ham for Mother’s Day, Chaos for College Commencement

Columbus: The anti-Jewish protests/riots interfered with students’ rights to attend class in peace. Then the presidents of several universities let the chaos damage a highlight for students and parents: graduation day.

Columbia and USC canceled graduation. Emory and a couple others canceled their controversial commencement speaker.

And Ohio State University wished they had canceled their speaker. He wrote his speech while hallucinating on a psychedelic drug. Then, in Ohio Stadium, in front of 70,000 people (new grads, their moms and other family members), he delivered it as if he was auditioning for a diabetic drug commercial. He was booed more than a Michigan quarterback.

Those Ohio moms and Mothers everywhere are celebrating. The one day a year when mom might get breakfast in bed and not have to wash the dishes herself.

        Will Rogers paid tribute to Mothers twice on his Sunday night radio programs: on Mother’s Day in 1930, then again in 1935. Here are a few excerpts:

“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.” 

“Mothers, it’s a beautiful thought.  I was just in here listening to a friend of mine, Rabbi Magnin, a very popular Jewish rabbi.  He was delivering a beautiful thing over the radio about Mother’s Day, and I felt ashamed to come in with my little words.  I mean well, but I ain’t got the words.

 But Mother’s Day, it’s a beautiful thought. And someone said, ‘Let’s give Momma a day. We’ll give her a day.’  And then in return, why Mother gives you the other 364.

I doubt even then if the thing would have gone through if it hadn’t been for the florists. Of course, florists, they got mothers, too. But they’ve got more flowers than they’ve got mothers. And they’ve got a great organization.

The florists, they’ve just practically corralled this Mother’s Day business. They have led us to believe that no matter how we have treated our mothers during the past year that a little bouquet of hyacinths or daisies will square it, not only with mother but with our conscience, too, when as a matter of fact you don’t have to be squared with your mother. She knows you better than you know yourself.

A mother is the only thing that is so constituted that they possess eternal love under any and all circumstances. No matter how you treat them, you still have their love.

But to get back to this flower business, there’s nothing in the world more beautiful than flowers. And every home that can possibly afford ’em should have flowers. But they’ve just got one drawback. You can’t eat ’em. And I imagine an awful lot of mothers today would not have rebelled if you’d sent ’em a ham. Yeah, a cut of beef or a whole lamb. Suppose the meat growers had been on the job and linked Mother’s Day up with their organization like the florists have. If they’d done that, instead of receiving a bunch of hollyhocks, she’d receive a cluster of pork chops. 

Father had a day, but you can’t find anybody who remembers when it was. It’s been so confused with April the first.”

Hamas Protests Continue. FFA Students Excel. Horse Racing and Women

I’m sorry to have to write again about Hamas/Palestinian protesters on university campuses. They harassed Jewish students and professors, and interrupted classes and final exams.

After forcing the University of Southern California to cancel graduation, the protesters moved across town to UCLA. They built a “fort” of plywood and lived in tents. If you have bought any three-quarter inch plywood recently, you probably wonder where they stole a hundred sheets of it.

Several professors at colleges across the country support the radical minority of students who are making life miserable for the 98% who are studying for an education leading to a valuable career.

As the semester ends, protesters are focused on graduation ceremonies. At the University of Michigan yesterday, several graduating students stood up, yelled and waved Palestine flags. I’m guessing they waited until after they got their diplomas. Any job offers may be rescinded.

Over 2000 protesters have been arrested at 50 colleges. You might think the city jails are full of protesters. But no, they have all been released so they can return to campus and continue protesting. At the very least, protesters should be held for 24 hours and forced to watch over and over the videos recorded by the Hamas terrorists as they slaughtered, tortured, raped and captured innocent people in Israel on October 7, 2023.

It is curious why so many female students and professors are foolish enough to support the Hamas terrorists. Hamas forces its own Gaza citizens, mainly women and children, to suffer the brunt of the war (living in tents, starving) while the terrorists are safe, secure (and well fed) in tunnels under Rafah. Hamas continues to hold more than a hundred hostages, including Americans.

Meanwhile, in many states high school students who belong to FFA are attending state conventions this month. (Until a few years ago FFA was officially Future Farmers of America.) Students are being honored for their years of work in various business, science and engineering categories. New leaders are elected for next year. Their agriculture science teachers have prepared them well for a stable, successful future.

Many graduating seniors in FFA will enroll in a college in their state and study for an agriculture-related career. Others will go to a trade school or continue on the family farm. These FFA members, whether in high school, college or throughout their lives, will be serving their communities. They will serve as leaders and as servants. Instead of yelling insults at Jews or other minorities, their loudest debate may be whether red or green tractors are the best.

In the Kentucky Derby yesterday, Mystik Dan, an 18-1 longshot, won by a nose over two other horses. Fierceness was the favorite but finished far back in 15th place.

Historic quotes:

“Money, horse racing, and women: three things the boys can’t figure out.” DT #2679, March 7, 1935

“Of all the cockeyed things we got in this country at the present time, it’s some of our judges, and courts, and justices. We got more bandits out on bond than we got people for ’em to rob.” DT #1374, Dec. 18, 1930

“You can take a sob story and a stick of candy and lead America right off into the Dead Sea.” WA #51, Dec. 2, 1923

“A fool that knows he is a fool is one that knows he don’t know all about anything, but the fool that don’t know he is a fool is the one that thinks he knows all about anything. Then he is a dam fool.” DT #325, Aug. 7, 1927

“There was 1700 young Boys and girls brought there by that great Paper, the Kansas City Star, from over 30 states. They were taking vocational training [FFA] and had led their various districts back home in the studying of farming, and stock raising.” WA #207, Nov. 28, 1926