#452, April 16, 2007
COLUMBUS: The massacre at Virginia Tech kinda knocks you for a loop. What is it about April that attracts these catastrophes? As I write this, the killer has not been publicly identified. I doubt anyone will ever come up with a reason for the slaughter, like a lot of the slaughter in Iraq, Sudan, and other places we seldom hear of.
(I wrote most of this column before the news hit us from Blacksburg.)
I was in the Texas Panhandle last week; Amarillo, Pampa, Lubbock. Met some wonderful people in Texas, including at the Dallas Ft. Worth Airport. In Pampa they invited me to speak to the Knife and Fork Club. These Knife and Fork clubs are a historic, but vanishing breed, and I hope you get a chance to join or speak at one. Pampa is built on cattle, wheat and oil, or as they say it, “where the wheat grows and the oil flows”. They don’t just pump the oil and ship it out by the barrel. No, they got companies there like Cabot Carbon and Celanese that are smart enough to turn the oil into valuable chemical products.
In Lubbock I stopped at the National Ranching History Center. It’s a humbling education to see how those old homesteaders lived down through the years. Lots of old houses, barns and windmills were brought in from all over the state and preserved, going back a hundred to two hundred years. In an hour or less you can walk through two centuries of history.
Also met a lot of cotton ginners and farmers at their annual trade show. This part of Texas grows more than a quarter of all the cotton in the whole country and they are mighty efficient. They have to be efficient because water from the Ogallala is getting scarce. The irrigation engineers are helping ’em stretch every gallon. Back East plenty of folks would gladly donate their excess water today.
I got my taxes paid. Coughing up more dough is never pleasant, but there is some satisfaction in knowing the report is finished. Just like 75 years ag “You can’t legitimately kick on income tax, for it’s on what you have made.” (April 28, 1932) Now I’m sure someone will remind me the rate was a bit lower back then under Hoover.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (on taxes)
“The crime of taxation is not in the taking it, it’s in the way that it’s spent.” DT #1764, March 20, 1932
“It costs ten times more to govern us than it used to, and we are not governed one-tenth as good.” DT #1770, March 27, 1932
“Always remember this, that as bad as we sometimes think our government is run, it is the best run I ever saw.” WA #521, Dec. 18, 1932