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Thursday, December 18, 2003 ISSUE #301
 

Weekly Comments: Saddam is captured; Wright Brothers are celebrated

# 301, December 18, 2003

COLUMBUS: The newspaper headline, no matter what paper you read on Monday, was "We Got Him". Even Saddam Hussein knows it's time to give up when you're in a rat hole surrounded by six hundred soldiers.

Iraq (and President Bush) wants Europe to forgive the debts racked up by Saddam. During his reign Saddam put Iraq billions and billions of dollars into debt, and he ain't even a Republican. But here's what I can't figure out: why would a country like France or Germany or Russia send guns and tanks and planes and missiles to Saddam without making him pay cash? Or at least pay with oil.

You know France sells their gasoline for about $5 a gallon, so if they had said, "Saddam, we'll supply you all the ammunition you can sneak in there, and in return you pay us in crude oil at $5 a barrel." Why, France would have been rolling in dough. That's a deal even Haliburton would have envied.

But Europe wasn't that smart. They traded him war supplies for an IOU, and let him keep his oil and his money. And it ain't just Europe. A lot of us got taken. And that money is not only paying for the Iraqi terrorists shooting at our soldiers, but here's a real kicker, it'll pay for his defense lawyers.

His daughter announced she would hire the best lawyers to defend him, I suppose with one of Hussein's billion dollar Swiss bank accounts. That sure got the attention of our top trial attorneys... Johnny Cochran, Mark Gerogos, Gloria Allred. Even John Edwards might drop his bid for President to go back to his old profession. Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson and Kobe may be left to defend themselves.

Ole Strom Thurmond jumped back in the news this week. It seems he became a father long before anybody let on. I'm not gonna get into the morals of the situation, but this news kinda puts him up there with Thomas Jefferson and Grover Cleveland, and probably others we never learned about even after they were dead. His "new" daughter seems to be a fine lady, a retired school teacher. She is 78 years old and with those genes she'll probably live to 110.

Yesterday they held a big celebration. And I don't mean for that new Lord of the Rings movie. No, this one was for the Wright Brothers from Dayton and their first flight a hundred years ago. Orville and Wilbur may have passed themselves off as a pair of bicycle mechanics, but those boys were natural born engineers. They worked out the science and physics of flying and developed aviation technology still used today.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (on debt forgiveness, Wright Bros., and War)

"They got a new gag in Europe now to help along their argument that America should cancel the debts [from World War I]. They are appealing to our egotism (and they figure we are not short on it). The new gag is "America won the war and she should pay. We admit that it was America coming in when she did that determined the destiny of the War. Therefore, she is answerable for present European conditions, and should put them right."

Now, ain't that a hot one? No matter what you do, you are wrong. If you help 'em lose it you are wrong, if you help 'em win it you are wrong.

There just ain't any such animal as international "good_will." It just lasts till the loan runs out." DT #1687, Dec. 20, 1931

"Well, yesterday [Dec. 17] was the 20th Anniversary [actually 21st] of the first Flying machine flight by the Wright Brothers. People wouldn't believe that a man could fly, AND CONGRESS DON'T BELIEVE IT YET.

The anniversary of the Wrights' flight was celebrated all over the World yesterday...

Our Air Service is waiting for congress to make an appropriation to have the valves ground and carbon removed from the engines." WA #107, Dec28, 1924

"Just read the Smithsonian Institution's explanation about the Wright flying machine. They say the trustees decided [Samuel] Langley's machine could have flown first but didn't. I could have flown to France ahead of Lindbergh but I just neglected doing it. I had a lot of other things on my mind at the time." DT #501, March 5, 1928 [note: the Smithsonian, finally, in 1948 reconsidered and allowed the Wright plane to be displayed]

"About the banquet at Mr. Ford's, it was great [honoring Thomas Edison]. Every time I would waste some coffee out of my saucer it would be on a millionaire. I started to kick on my seat for the guys on either side looked like a couple of Ford dealers. So before I would sit down I made 'em tell. One said he was Orville Wright. I told the other one I suppose you are Lindbergh. He says no, I am only Mr. Mayo. Well, between a forced landing and an operation I was home." DT # 1011, Oct. 22, 1929

"Monday is aviation day. Thirty_one years ago Monday the Wrights made their famous flight at Kitty Hawk. It was a box kite put together with barrel staves and putty. He sat on a stool out in front of the thing, hoping that it wouldn't get excited and run over him. He didn't get very high, but he started something that will change many a map in this world.

Aviation is sorter like the old .45 pistols, which made little men as dangerous as big men. It's a sort of equalizer. You could give little Switzerland enough airplanes and she would worry the old Ned out of the big ones. There is no end to how many we ought to have. Buy about fifty thousand. And take the profits out of war, and you won't have any war." DT #2608, Dec. 14, 1934


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