A Letter to the President

(Will Rogers wrote “letters” to President Coolidge during a 4-month family trip to Europe in 1926. The short ones were published in the New York Times and syndicated as Will’s “Daily Telegrams.”)

My Dear Mr. President,

I saw that you spoke at the graduation ceremony at the Air Force Academy last week. Did you realize, after speaking for an hour, you would then be expected to shake hands with 900 graduates? Without a break? After standing all that time, naturally you were a bit confused, winding up in front of your lectern, where you tripped and fell.

Always stay behind the lectern, not in front of it where the stage is teeming with mic wires, teleprompters, and, yes, sandbags. Frankly, at my age, after all that time on my feet, I might fall flat also, with or without a sandbag to blame.

And about those stairs… Mr. President, you should always use a hand rail. It may not look “manly” or “presidential” but it beats banging up your knees, or worse. Please inform your “advance men” (or more likely, advance women in your Administration) to check out any future stairs you may be compelled to climb or descend. If no hand rail is present, tell ‘em to install one. Or, take the elevator.

Have you noticed that all other Americans get to walk comfortably on and off airplanes? Yet, you, the most powerful leader in the world, are forced to climb the stairs, 5-stories high, to get into your personal 747. And you’re OUTSIDE. Rain, snow, freezing or a hundred degrees on the tarmac. With all the elements to deal with, they make you salute, wave, and pause for photos.

And skipping. Do you really have to skip? Or is a trot? Is that because your heels are shaped like horseshoes? Just walk. We can see you are slim and trim. Congratulations on keeping your weight controlled and your muscles toned. You don’t need to show up other 80-year-olds.

If you stop skipping, and walk carefully, perhaps you can conserve enough energy to answer questions from reporters. I’ve noticed in the White House press room, the journalists all sit. No reason you can’t walk in there, grab a chair, and sit beside the lectern, and answer questions for a couple of hours. That should be less tiring than shaking hands with 900 cadets. And you won’t have to keep up with a script on a teleprompter written by speed-readers.

Yours devotedly,

Randall Reeder

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“(Newspapers) claim that the farmers are kinder losing confidence in you helping them out. Well, you are pretty wise; you know there ain’t many farmers… If it’s only the farmers that are against you, why, you haven’t lost much strength. You got to do more than just live in the country to be a farmer. Then again you got to figure that it’s a long time till the (election). A couple of good crops and any fair luck working along the line of supply and demand, and you will capture the farmers back again.” May 17, 1926.

Honoring David Brandt, the Meme and the Man.

Last week I included a short tribute to a friend, David Brandt, who was nationally known for his educational efforts promoting no-till, cover crops and other conservation agriculture practices. Here is more information, plus photos.

He and his wife Kendra, began growing crops without plowing in the early 1970s, partly because no-till required less machinery. They benefited from no-till research begun by Ohio State University a decade earlier and encouragement from a representative of Chevron Chemical Co. which produced an effective herbicide to manage weeds. Dave soon began experimenting with cover crops (planted after harvesting corn, soybean, and wheat cash crops) in order to keep living roots in the ground and “cover” the soil to minimize erosion from rain and wind. He was always willing to share his successes (and failures) to help other farmers succeed with what is known today as Conservation Agriculture System practices.

You may not know the farmer, David Brandt, but you have probably seen his photo. A photo of him, taken in 2012 by the USDA, was used a few years later to create a “meme” with the words, “It ain’t much, but it’s honest work.” The meme went viral and has been seen by millions around the world.

Brandt was recognized nationally and internationally as a top example of how farming could and should be done. He was in demand as a speaker and consultant promoting soil health in a way that is saving soil, profitable for the farmer, and results in cleaner air and water for society. He was very human, likeable, generous, and had an infectious laugh. He won’t be forgotten.

Last week I was on a Zoom webinar about David Brandt, hosted by two Indiana farmers. Other panelists were from Iowa, Oklahoma, and Ontario, Canada. For more than two hours, we told stories about the influence he had on us and others. A dozen listeners, from as far away as Australia, chimed in with their own memories.

Because I worked with David Brandt for thirty years as an OSU Extension Agricultural Engineer and Executive Director of the Ohio No-till Council, I have been called on for information, quotes, and photos for local and national media. I’ve posted several of these articles about his passing on Facebook.

Responses from his friends and colleagues are amazing, but not surprising. Here are a few: “Such a great man and such a loss.” “Kind and generous soul who helped and guided so many farmers.”  “Very sad for losing a friend, and it’s a big loss for conservation agriculture all around the world. He was here in France in 2015 invited by our ag minister.”  “May his legacy of promoting soil health live on.” “Condolences from Nebraska, such a special, one-of-a-kind person. ” “All those lives he touched will continue his legacy.”

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

Will Rogers wrote this tribute on the passing of William Howard Taft, the only person to serve as both President (1909-1913) and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Taft was a “big man.” This quote fits David Brandt who was also a big man.

      “It’s great to be great but it’s greater to be human. He was our great human fellow because there was more of him to be human. We are parting with three hundred pounds of solid charity to everybody, and love and affection for all his fellowmen.” DT #1122, Feb. 28, 1930

Photos: the famous Meme. And my photo of David Brandt in Sept. 2020.

The Durham Report. Solving the Debt and Illegal Immigration Crises. Tribute to a Friend

The Big News this week was the Durham Report. John Durham was appointed as a special counsel in 2019 by U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr to determine whether the FBI violated the law while investigating the 2016 Trump campaign’s connection to Russia. The report concluded the FBI should never have opened the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation and only did so because Director James Comey and those directly under him favored Hillary Clinton.

This may be a surprise if you get all your news from CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC. Or you read the New York Times or the Washington Post. Most “journalists” have scoffed at the Durham Report. No journalists from the NY Times or WaPo gave back their 2018 Pulitzer Prizes for their false reports on the Putin-Trump “love affair.” No journalists apologized for repeating false stories fed to them.

You probably remember several of the FBI leaders, including Director James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, Peter Strzok and Andrew Weissman, who executed the investigations of Americans in a fake conspiracy. TV networks had the nerve to interview McCabe and Weissman who naturally denied there was a problem with their investigations. “No there there,” claimed Weissman.

Congressman Adam Schiff, as the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, then Chairman, repeatedly claimed (falsely) he had proof of Russian interference in the 2016 election. He claims the Durham Report is “flawed.”

Republican Congressman Devin Nunes knew in 2018 the Steele dossier that implicated Donald Trump was fake, paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Nunes said that President Obama knew in August 2016 that the Steele dossier was a hoax. But after Clinton lost to Trump, Obama conspired with FBI Director James Comey to pin false stories about Russian influence on Trump.

Even the judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) knew the basis for FBI investigations was false, but still approved them.

The Durham investigation took 4 years. If everyone involved had cooperated and provided evidence immediately, Durham could have finished the report in 6 months! This wild tale started by Hillary Clinton in 2016 skewed the 2018 and 2020 elections. And if the Durham report had come out 9 months ago, in September 2022, Republicans would probably control the Senate. How many other ‘events’ happened since 2016 because of the Clinton lie, perpetuated by the FBI?

President Biden returned from the G7 meeting in Japan. In discussions with Speaker McCarthy on raising the federal debt ceiling above $31.4 Trillion, Biden can’t seem to find any expenditures to cut from the budget. I suggest he spend a few hours reading a publication on federal waste compiled by Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, “Federal Fumbles: Ways the Federal Government Dropped the Ball.” This 68-page book describes 50 projects ranging from several thousand dollars to a few million that frustrate any taxpayer with common sense.

Here’s another change that would save Billions. President Biden is welcoming more than 2 million illegal immigrants a year, then deciding which ones (about 10%) qualify for asylum. Dealing with the 90% who should never have been allowed to enter is overwhelming border states and mayors in New York City, Chicago, and other sanctuary cities. The simple, cost-saving solution is that no one can enter at the border unless they have applied for and been approved for asylum. I feel sorry for the 90%, but why don’t they go to another country.

A personal note. If you are in agriculture, you may have known David Brandt. He died yesterday at age 76 of severe injuries from a traffic accident 3 days ago. An Ohio farmer who I worked with for 30 years, Dave was nationally known for his educational efforts promoting no-till, cover crops and other conservation agriculture practices that are profitable for the farmer and can save billions for society. Here’s a recent example of the problem: on May 1st, a Dust Storm resulting from freshly tilled dry soil and 50 mph winds resulted in 7 deaths and 30 injuries from a crash of about 70 vehicles on I-55 in Illinois. If that farmland had been no-tilled with cover crops there would have been no dust. No dust. No crash. No deaths. No injuries.

Rest in Peace Dave. You left an amazing legacy on Earth.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“The time to worry over a debt is before you get it, not after you got four-fifths of it.” DT #1991, Dec. 21, 1932

Open Borders Impact the Climate. Mother’s Day Gift Suggestions from Will Rogers

The Biden Administration has several conflicting stances. Maybe unintentional, but it’s still odd how one policy is in direct opposition to another. For example, allowing millions of immigrants to enter illegally increases global warming. And promoting organic farming can harm the environment.

During the 2020 campaign, candidate Joe Biden made it plain that he intended to open the border. He also announced plans to end our use of fossil fuels. Either 80,000,000 voters did not believe how disastrous such policies would be, or they voted for Biden because they had contempt for Donald Trump.

On illegal immigration, the border with Mexico became more catastrophic this week with the end of Title 42 which restricted immigrants who didn’t have a Covid vaccination. Out of 300,000,000 citizens in this country, only two claim the border is secure and under control: President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas.

About 10,000 immigrants are being processed and released each day by the Border Patrol agents and 1500 US Army soldiers. Meanwhile, thousands more are sneaking across stretches of the border where no wall exists and Border Patrol folks have been reassigned to desk duty. Since January 2021, 1,200,000 “Got-aways” have entered. These are illegal immigrants seen by Agents or cameras, but not caught. How many more have entered without being seen? Could it be 2,000,000?

Environmentalists who dominate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are determined to improve air quality (shutting down power plants) and water quality (restrictions on little streams and ditches), and stop global warming. (John Kerry, Climate Czar, says ‘climate change is a catastrophe.’)

But illegal immigrants are coming here to increase their Carbon footprint. Yes, typical immigrants add 4 times as much “global warming impact” than if they had stayed in their home country. Naturally they come here for a better life: earn more money so they can travel by car instead of bicycle; eat beef and pork instead of nuts and beans; get plentiful clean water (hot and cold) from a faucet instead of carrying it in a bucket from a community well.

Organic farming typically involves a lot of tillage. Even with crop rotations and cover crops, usually a lot of the ground is bare, making it susceptible to soil erosion from rain and wind. Organic farming is a small but growing percent of crop production. More than half of major crops are grown with intensive tillage.

No-till farming is a solution (soil is protected by living plants and crop residue) but the EPA is slow to approve new herbicides necessary to manage weeds without cultivation.  So, no-till and other farming practices that improve the quality of water and air (preventing soil erosion and dangerous dust storms) are hampered by government regulations. The absence of tillage also allows the soil to store carbon that plants remove from the air. Reducing carbon dioxide in the air is one way to reduce global warming.

Decisions by President Biden resulted in Americans paying more for electricity and restricting fossil fuels. But they have no beneficial effect on the climate because China, India and several other countries are increasing their use of coal, oil, and gas. Why don’t other countries follow Biden’s (and John Kerry’s) lead? Because, like our illegal immigrants, billions of people worldwide want to improve their lives, which means increasing their carbon footprint.

Today we celebrate Mother’s Day. Anna Jarvis began the effort to honor mothers in 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia. By the 1920’s the florists, candy makers, and the greeting card business had commercialized Mother’s Day to the extent that Anna Jarvis fought against an official Mother’s Day. She criticized sons and daughters for being too lazy to write a personal note and for giving candy, then eating most of it themselves.

Will Rogers had his own opinion on what to give mothers. He devoted most of his 15-minute radio broadcast to them on Mother’s Day, May 12, 1935:

       “The florists 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… There’s nothing in the world more beautiful than flowers. And every home that can possibly afford ’em should have flowers. But on the other hand, there’s an awful lot of need and want in the country, and I got a plan. My plan is not to eliminate flowers. I’m strong for 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.”

King Charles III Crowned; Will’s friend Edward, Prince of Wales; Army Troops Sent to Mexican Border  

King Charles III was crowned today. It’s the first Coronation in the United Kingdom in 70 years.

Now, I never met a British Royal. But Will Rogers did.

Will Rogers became friends with Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1924. Before I tell you why Edward liked Will, let me remind why you might know about him. He became King Edward VIII in January 1936 (5 months after Will’s death). Eleven months later, Edward abdicated the throne to “marry the woman I love,” a twice-divorced American socialite, Wallis Simpson.

Prince Edward visited the United States often and was treated like, well, like Royalty. As a 30-year-old bachelor prince, he received adoring attention from women. However, newspapers and comedians made fun of him for frequently falling off his horse during steeplechase races and while playing polo.

Will Rogers frequently defended him on the Ziegfeld Follies and in his syndicated newspaper columns. Will spent one 15-minute radio broadcast entirely on Prince Edward, May 18, 1930. Here’s one segment: “Now, I suppose, according to the usual run of American humor, I am supposed to tell you some jokes here tonight, Prince, about your falling off your horse.  Well, I have never seen a picture of you where you had fallen that the horse hadn’t fallen too. I am not much of a horseman, but all these people that joke about your falling off, what do they expect a man to do when his horse falls?  Is he supposed to remain up in the air until the horse comes back up under him? I saw one picture where you had fallen in a creek. We haven’t got a comedian in this country that could swim across this creek, much less try to jump it on a horse, and we haven’t got an editorial writer that could row across it. So, I am afraid we are going to have to find something else to kid the Englishman about besides his horsemanship.” Will closed with, “Fine fellow! Very, very human. No wonder they like him over there, for he is a regular guy.”

Will Rogers said Edward didn’t want to become King. He was having too much fun as a Prince. But, as mentioned above, he did become King, for 11 months.

Here’s an interesting angle to consider. When Edward abdicated the throne, his younger brother became King George VI. When George VI died in 1952 at age 56, his 27-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, became Queen.

Now, suppose Edward VIII had remained King, married an “acceptable” woman, and had a child. Edward lived until 1972, and that child, in his/her early 30s, would have become King or Queen. In this rewrite of history, Elizabeth would not have been a Queen, and there would have been no coronation today of King Charles III. (The Church of England policy has changed in 85 years. No problem with King Charles being divorced and married to a divorcee.)

Meanwhile, along our border with Mexico, officials are preparing for a surge of illegal immigrants after May 11. As if the absurd numbers we have allowed into the country already are not enough, more than 10,000 a day are expected to overwhelm Border Patrol agents and towns and ranches along the border. The Biden Administration has done nothing to discourage the 90% of asylum seekers who do not qualify for asylum.

About 1500 Army troops will arrive at the border. That sounds like a great idea until you hear they are only serving in a clerical role. Instead of using them to support the Border Patrol in keeping illegal immigrants from entering, their role is to rapidly register and welcome them into our country.

It is high time for President Biden to go to the border, stand along the Rio Grande River for a full day, and personally greet a few thousand. At the end of the visit, he could take a couple dozen with him on Air Force One. Half could stay in the White House, the others at his Delaware homes. With luck, none would be a Cartel drug dealer or Chinese spy.

AI. Fueling Arguments. Equity vs. Equality. Sex Education Revised. Upside Down Mortgage Rates

You have heard of Chat GPT, a magical way of writing intelligent sounding articles in a hurry. It’s called “Artificial Intelligence,” or AI. I liked it better, growing up on a cattle farm, when AI meant Artificial Insemination. Either way, AI can improve the product, partly by leaving out the bull.

Interestingly, Will Rogers wrote about an author a hundred years ago who may have stumbled on an early version of Chat GPT: “A professor of Columbia University won a prize for writing a book in 15 hours. That’s a good thing. The quicker the authors write them the quicker they can get to some useful work.”  (WA #49, Nov. 18, 1923)

In that same Weekly Article, Will joked about his own writing style: “I am changing my entire method of Literature, and I hereby bid Adieu to my half-wit audience. A writer’s writings never appeal to a higher grade of intelligence than the writer himself. So, from now on, I am going to give these learned and heavy thinkers a run for their laurels.”

I’m writing this article without any assistance from AI. Like Will, I just watch the government and report the facts. I don’t even have to exaggerate.

The arguments over our energy sources are getting ridiculous. Currently, about 75% comes from fossil fuel and 10% nuclear. Those sources of dependable energy have powered our economy to global leadership over the last ~150 years. Yet political leaders, from national to local, are expecting us to abandon those abundant, reasonably priced sources and go 100% to solar and wind in 10 to 20 years. The realistic prediction is that in 2050 we’ll use just as much fossil fuel as today, plus an increased amount of renewable, weather-dependent energy.

Governor Gavin Newsom of California wants to ban diesel trucks. And I’m guessing that if he ever gets elected President, he would also ban diesel fuel in locomotives, bulldozers, and farm tractors.  New York is banning gas stoves, which are used in more than half of homes and in every restaurant.

But the craziest ban of fossil fuels came from Energy Secretary Granholm. She claims that by 2030, the Defense Department will convert all powered equipment on land, sea, and air to run on solar and wind energy. She seems to believe all our future wars will only be fought where the sun shines and the wind blows. Does she think the warring sides will declare a 2-hour truce every day at noon so they can recharge batteries?

Have you heard of “equitable grading” in schools? Why has “equal opportunity” been replaced by “equity outcome?” Turning in homework late, or not at all, makes no difference. Take tests over again to improve your grade. And a few colleges refuse to use ACT or SAT test scores in accepting new students.

Can you imagine if the National Football League used a similar “equity” arrangement to draft college players?  The Carolina Panthers had the first pick Thursday night and selected a quarterback, Bryce Young of Alabama. With “equity grading” the names of all hundred or so eligible quarterbacks would have been put in a hat and the Panthers would have pulled out a random name. A team that wanted a defensive lineman would have selected from a different hat with a few hundred names, and so on. Would anyone watch the games?

A grade school in Vermont has eliminated “male” and “female.”  Now, I may get kicked off the internet, but I’ll risk it to tell you what 5th grade students are being taught. “Male” has been replaced by “person who produces sperm” and “Female” is a “person who produces eggs.” Perhaps there’s nothing inappropriate with this precise description. Frankly, those descriptions could solve a current controversial issue if they applied it to high school and college sports.

Are you buying a house? If you have a great credit score because you paid off student loans, sacrificed, and keep your credit card balances low or zero you would expect to get a better deal on your interest rate. On the other hand, if your credit cards are maxed out, you are behind on repaying student loans, both of your cars are in danger of being repossessed, you would expect it would be hard to get a mortgage, and the rate would be higher. Well, in both cases you would be wrong. In Washington DC, common sense is turned upside down.

In case you missed the 3-minute video, President Biden announced that he and VP Kamala Harris are running for re-election in 2024 against Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“We are just here for a spell and pass on… So get a few laughs, do the best you can.” WA #445, July 5, 1931

Pursuing Pure Air, Picking a Convention Site, Saving Rats, and a $20 Million Woman

Income Tax Day is past. I’m guessing the federal government will collect a record amount of revenue this year. Yet, President Biden insists we spend at least a Trillion dollars more than we take in. The Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, has offered a budget equal to 2022, and to increase it by 1% a year for 10 years.

But President Biden claims our government cannot operate if we cut a single program, agency, or department. He says we need every one of the 2,000,000 federal employees. What would our economy be like if none of our big companies eliminated a position or fired an employee? What would a President Elon Musk do with the leaders of the Dept. of Homeland Security or Dept. of Education or any of the other 13 Cabinet level departments?

Last week I criticized the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for wanting to ban all vehicles powered by gasoline or diesel by 2032. This week they proposed extreme requirements on capturing carbon that would eliminate coal, oil, and gas for generating electricity. EPA says our air is not clean enough to breathe.

I have two suggestions for the EPA: Out of the 17,000 who work there, send 200 of the top officials to several countries around the world for a month. Have them live among the average families in South America, Africa, India, and China. Then have them report their experiences with air quality to their EPA colleagues.

If they still complain about having to live here and breathe our air, give each of the 200, or even all 17,000, a gas mask and a life-time supply of oxygen. Let them enjoy 100% clean air while the rest of us inhale air that is 99.9% clean. Either way, it would keep our economy growing with abundant energy and save Trillions of dollars, much of which would otherwise go to China for solar panels, wind turbines, and raw materials for batteries.

You probably know that Chicago elected a mayor who is reducing the police force, raising taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals, and supporting a teacher’s union that’s lackadaisical about student achievement. In response, President Biden and VP Kamala Harris, seeing the increasing lawlessness, poverty, and growth of youth gangs, immediately decided that Chicago is the perfect place to host the Democratic Convention in 2024. Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York City and Atlanta may have been considered but could not promise the chaos, upheaval and riots guaranteed by Chicago’s new mayor. I don’t know how many people are involved in putting on a DNC Convention, but in Chicago it will be doubled. Why? Because every delegate, Party official and media person will demand a bodyguard.

In New York City, Mayor Adams hired a person to drive millions of rats out of the city. That drew an immediate reply from PETA… on the side of the rats. These “People for Ethical Treatment of Animals” said rats are animals, too, and need protection. To keep the new Rat Czar from killing millions of these precious 4-legged mammals, PETA set up a website called “Adopt-a-Rat.com.” PETA’s nation-wide program is aimed at individuals and families that, for whatever reason, don’t want a “Rescue Dog” or “Rescue Cat” from a local shelter. PETA will ship you a “Rescue Rat” for a donation of only $19. And for a limited time, until May 31, they will double the offer, providing you TWO Rescue Rats. PETA has declared that May is “Save a Rat Month.” Adopting a pack of rats is the ideal gift for Mother’s Day.

You may be thinking, “All this for only $19? That’s less than a bouquet of roses.” Well, in the tiniest of fonts, (which I’ve blown up to normal size here) PETA’s rat offer is for $19… a month. And in even tinier print, it says you are agreeing to pay $19/month for 5 years, or until every rat in New York City has been adopted into a loving home.

(Ok, PETA is not rescuing any New York rats. If you want one, you’ve got to go there and trap it yourself, saving the $19/month.)

For the last two years no one connected with the Biden Administration has been able or willing to define a “woman.” But this week Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg broke ranks. He publicly stated that he wants a woman. One that weighs about 115 pounds and is 5ft-4in tall. Now, this is a special woman, in fact so special she will cost $20 million. The Biden Administration finally recognizes there is a difference between men and women and that is why Sec. Buttigieg needs a female dummy for automobile crash tests. Male dummies have dominated the profession, and it’s time for a female dummy to slide into the driver’s seat.

Let’s hope this breakthrough in defining a difference between men and women will apply to the sports world so males can be prohibited from competing as females in high school, college, and beyond.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“The Budget is a mythical beanbag. Congress votes mythical beans into it and then tries to reach in and pull real beans out.” DT#2047, Feb. 24, 1933

“Been out to a calf branding at the Quien Sabe Ranch… Didn’t mind all the men beating me roping, but when a girl did, it looks like golf will be coming on me pretty soon.” DT#2430, May 17, 1934

Goodbye Gasoline; Hello China; and Will Rogers on Income Taxes.

This is no time for humor. Income taxes are due.

Did Congress vote to eliminate gasoline and diesel engines in 10 years? If they did, I missed it.

But the Biden Administration announced a new rule that effectively forces us to buy Electric Vehicles. The rule doesn’t say that; instead, it places exorbitant restrictions on our favorite cars and trucks, powered by gasoline and diesel. The government is pressuring Ford, General Motors, and other car manufacturers to abandon internal combustion engines. They are making it more expensive to drill for oil, transport, and refine it.

Are you surprised that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is dominated by employees who are dedicated environmentalists. They are so dedicated to “saving the environment” that nothing else matters. No common sense. For instance, if the U.S. eliminated ALL fossil fuel, would that eliminate global warming?  No, because we only contribute 15% of the gases claimed to cause global temperatures to rise. Unless other countries, especially China and India follow suit, our sacrifice would have no effect on global temperatures and ocean levels.

But these EPA folks, led by Climate Czar John Kerry, argue that China will follow our lead. Well, President Nixon established diplomatic relations with China fifty years ago, and years later we negotiated free trade agreements. The intention was for the Communist Chinese to see how great democracy and capitalism are.

Unfortunately, it is not working out. China took advantage of free trade to become a world power, in position to knock us out of #1. At the same time, we are becoming weaker. China is expanding by burning coal, stealing our technology, and supplying raw materials for our EV batteries.  China took over Hong Kong and is planning to take control of Taiwan. Not exactly following democratic principles.

Russia arrested Evan Gershkovich, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, charging him with espionage. Now they are offering the possibility of a prisoner swap. Here’s my suggestion for President Biden: Offer Putin ONE BATTLESHIP in exchange for Evan. While Putin is salivating at his good luck, Biden can explain, “Yes, you release Evan Gershkovich in 24 hours or we SINK one of your battleships.” Of course, it’s a ridiculous idea. But it might let Putin know that he can’t just arrest one of our journalists every time he wants us to release a top Russian spy.

Here’s a link to a 21-minute video of me and “Will Rogers”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcPmaR3zGec
Plus a short “outtake” (50 seconds) of my reaction during an outdoor interview when a plane flies over:

Income taxes are due on Tuesday, April 18. We got a short reprieve this year. Below are a few favorite Will Rogers comments on taxes.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers: (on taxes)

     “The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.” WA #17, April 8, 1923 (also WA #99, Nov. 2, 1924)

     “Finding things to tax is becoming quite a problem. You see when taxes first started, (who started ’em anyhow?) Noah must have taken into the ark two taxes, one male and one female, and did they multiply bountifully! Next to guinea pigs, taxes must have been the most prolific of animals.” WA #594, May 13, 1934

    “You can’t legitimately kick on income tax, for it’s on what you have made. You have already made it. But, look at land, farms, homes, stores, vacant lots. You pay year after year on them whether you make it or not.” DT #1798, April 28, 1932

    “The whole trouble with the Republicans is their fear of an increase in income tax, especially on higher incomes. They speak of it almost like a national calamity. I really believe if it come to a vote whether to go to war with England, France and Germany combined, or raise the rate on incomes of over $100,000, they would vote war.” DT #1435, Feb. 27, 1931 [in 1931, the top rate increased to 63%, from 58% previously]

    “The crime of taxation is not in the taking it, it’s in the way that it’s spent.” DT #1764, March 20, 1932

     “If your Income Taxes go to help out the less fortunate, there could be no legitimate kick against it in the world.” WA #421, Jan. 18, 1931

A Manhattan Fiasco, Chicago Election, Ukraine Soil, and U.S. Energy Stifled

The arrest of Donald Trump last week created a “made-for-TV” spectacle. He flew from Mar-a-Lago to New York City on his private jet, stayed overnight, appeared briefly in court, and flew home. Newscasters reported Trump and his Boeing 757 drew more viewers than O. J. Simpson and his Ford Bronco.

You may be thinking Trump’s round trip flight was expensive. But the cost is small compared to the $4,000,000 it cost New York City taxpayers to pay for police protection for those 24 hours.

After arresting Trump, District Attorney Alvin Bragg triumphantly announced, “We cannot and will not normalize serious criminal conduct.” Interesting that he ranks a payoff to a porn actress as serious, but not conduct that is increasingly normal in his district, including car-jacking, flash mob robberies, rape, and murder.

In Chicago, you may remember a month ago the voters kicked out Mayor Lori Lightfoot because she let crime get out of control, big companies and wealthy residents are leaving the city, and schools are a disaster. Last Tuesday, in the runoff election, voters picked Brandon Johnson who campaigned on higher taxes for businesses, fewer police, and higher salaries for teachers. He is a community organizer and he had the support of teachers, government workers and other union members. They provided all the votes he needed since only a third of the people voted. (Will Rogers wrote this about Congress, but it applies here: Have you noticed that no matter who we elect, he is just as bad as the one he replaces?”)

You can’t blame the teachers for supporting a man who promised to raise their salaries. But what about the parents? I read that 95% of Chicago students are far behind their grade level. But if you’re teaching Freshman English you sure don’t want to upset a bunch of 220-pound 17-year olds by correcting their punctuation. Some of them are armed!

As Will Rogers wrote in 1926, “Playing [speaking in] Chicago tomorrow night, perhaps. Hope I reach the stage before the machine gun bullets lay me low.” If Chicago continues its decline, will it become the next Detroit? On Easter Sunday, we can hope Chicago can be resurrected. But it will take a savior who adopts strict rules like Rudy Giuliani’s “broken window” policies on small crimes in New York several years ago.

Russia’s War on Ukraine continues. Many Americans are wondering why we keep sending Billions of dollars to Ukraine with President Biden’s promise to continue “as long as it takes.” I’ve already told you my view: help defeat Russia (Putin) “as soon as possible.” My top reason is seldom mentioned by others: Ukraine has about 20% of the best farm soil in the world. And Russia has about 20%, right across the border. (The US has about 20% of this rich, black soil also, some of it 6 feet deep, mainly in Iowa and Illinois.) You may remember, for decades Ukraine was called the “Breadbasket of Europe.”

Western Europe learned how dangerous it is for Russia to provide all their natural gas. If Putin wins control of ~40% of the most productive farmland in the world, their food supply could also be in jeopardy.

Speaking of natural gas for Europe, Senator Joe Manchin, D-WV, continues to get shafted by Congress, the Biden Administration, and now, the US 4th Circuit Court. Manchin was tricked into supporting the (falsely named) “Inflation Reduction Act” last summer with a promise that essential natural gas pipelines would get federal approval. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is 90% complete, but the judges agree with environmental activists who, according to Manchin, “seem hell-bent on killing any fossil energy that will make our country energy independent and secure.” One purpose of this pipeline, and others, is to transport natural gas from the “Shale Crescent” (Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania) to the East Coast where part of it would be cooled to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and shipped to Europe to replace Russian gas.

I hope you had a blessed Easter. I’ve seen several lovely photos on Facebook of families all dressed up in their Easter finery. In 1929, Will Rogers wrote, “I believe I discovered a way to aid preachers in getting people to church. Publish their pictures in the papers every Monday, instead of just on the day after Easter. There is no reason why people should have to wait from one Easter to another.”

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“There was no shooting in Chicago election day, but it will drop back to normal right away.” DT #219, Apr. 6, 1927

Trump indicted in Manhattan. University “Word-Police” Go Bonkers

Former President Trump knew it was coming. On Tuesday, on orders from District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Donald Trump will be arrested and walked into the Courthouse in Manhattan.

It will be a huge event. Bigger than the Easter Parade. Bigger than a World Series win by the Yankees. Even bigger than… well, it is so big Mayor Adams has ordered all 36,000 NYC police to be on duty. Probably several thousand will surround the Courthouse. (That kinda makes you wonder why all Washington, DC police weren’t on duty on January 6.)

While crime in New York City is rampant with murders, drugs on every corner, and subway attacks, Alvin Bragg is bragging that he’s the first prosecutor to take down a former President of the United States in 250 years. Many say he is abusing criminal law. Of course, he’s not the only one thrilled about Trump’s demise. Most television opinion commentators are overjoyed about the former President being arrested. “No one is above the law!” they shout, almost in unison. “No one is above the law!”

One of my old friends excitedly announced on Facebook that the news of Trump’s upcoming arrest was the best birthday present he ever received.

Do you know what Trump did that led to this arrest? Seven years ago, he is accused of giving $130,000 of his own money to Stormy Daniels to keep quiet. (One of my female friends figures that a man of Trump’s age probably needed some “uplifting assistance.” She doesn’t think he is guilty, but if successful, it was worth the money.)

Now, Trump’s alleged actions may be opposed to your moral character, but is it against the law?

Contrast this Trump situation to a politician who receives (not gives) Millions (not thousands) from China. Does that deserve arrest and years in a federal prison? Well, we may find out in 3 or 4 years if a biased Republican District Attorney, bent on revenge, decides to indict Joe Biden.

Michigan State has joined several other universities in creating a list of words and phrases that no one should use because they might offend a student. We would all agree there are certain words that we don’t use in polite company. Some were routine and accepted many years ago, but not in 2023.

Now, pretend you are in a class at one of these elite schools and you get this question on a quiz: Which of the following words and phrases is NOT objectionable? Pioneer; Grandfather clause; Gift; America; Playboy bunnies; Rule of thumb; Eggs; Female; Cake walk; Bonkers; Overweight; Senior; Hold down the fort; and Christmas.

Before I reveal the answer, let me assure you that serious students do not have the time or inclination to waste precious hours on such drivel and poppycock. It is only students in easy classes, and excess administrators, who have too much free time on their hands. And I’m guessing next year they will ban “poppycock.”

Okay, which one did you pick? The only one on that list that is acceptable at Michigan State is… Playboy bunnies. Shocked? Oddly, the word “bunnies” by itself is on the do-not-utter list.

I was going to wish you (at least most of you) a Happy Easter. But at several colleges, “Easter” is forbidden. Lord help us.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Say, did you read what this writer just dug up in George Washington’s diary? I was so ashamed I sat up all night reading it.” DT #416, Nov. 21, 1927

“Many a politician wishes there was a law to burn old records.” DT #627, July 30, 1928

“A college president’s work nowadays consists of thinking up new things for the students to play with that looks like studying.” DT #798, Feb. 15, 1929