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Saturday, August 27, 2005 ISSUE #377
 

Folks,

As I write this on Sunday afternoon, if you have been watching the News, you know that "Catastrophe Katrina" is about to hit New Orleans and a broad strip of the Gulf Coast.

"Weekly Comments" is written as of Saturday morning (yesterday) while we were still on the American Queen. We spent much of Saturday touring New Orleans, including the French Quarter, Jackson Park, and the river front which has been shown frequently on newscasts today. We flew home to Ohio last night.

In case you are wondering, the American Queen was scheduled to depart Saturday evening with a new group of excited steamboaters, and I'm guessing they have revised the schedule and will keep on rollin' up the river as rapidly as possible to minimize the danger.

Like you, we fear the worst for New Orleans and the other coastal areas, but we pray for a miracle.

Regardless of the intensity of the Hurricane Katrina, there will be a great need for relief for families who are displaced (or worse). If anybody wants to put on a fundraiser to help with the relief effort, and you think the presence and entertainment of "Will Rogers" can aid the cause and pull in a few thousand dollars, let me know.

Randall

Louisiana and Iraq's Constitution draw Will's attention

# 377, August 27, 2005

ABOARD THE AMERICAN QUEEN: For the second time this month, we had a wonderful time on this big sternwheeler. If you ever want a great audience for old-fashioned comedy get on stage on one of these steamboats. For this particular round trip from New Orleans, we got upriver as far as Vicksburg. Other times the American Queen starts and stops at places such as St. Louis, St. Paul, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

Spent a day at Baton Rouge, Huey Long's home ground. Toured the Capitol Building that Huey designed himself while he was Governor. It's a skyscraper, and they told me it has more marble than any other building. It took only 14 months to build, and cost $5 million in1932. On the 27th floor is an observation deck on the outside that goes all the way around. I think that was to let Huey look out over his subjects.

Politics and Louisiana are synonymous; you can't talk about state politics anywhere in this country without Louisiana politics entering the conversation. And Huey's name is usually at the center of it.

In 1970 the Louisiana Senate was ready to vote on a bill to let men work without joining a union. So a half dozen members of one union decided to protest, and in a fashion that's rare even in Louisiana politics, they set off a dynamite blast. Inside the Senate chamber. It went off in the middle of the night and pretty much destroyed the inside of the chamber, doing millions of dollars of damage. It was intended to go off during the day while the Senators were voting. Their lives were saved only because those boys were ignorant on how to correctly set a clock. The Senate chamber was restored to its original grandeur, with only one piece of evidence of the blast: a pencil was embedded in the ceiling about forty feet above the floor, and it's still there.

All I know is what I read in the newspaper. Everybody is frustrated that Iraq can't agree on a Constitution. They been working on it for a couple of years. Now just imagine, if we didn't have a Constitution and we had to start writing one from scratch. Why, it would take 20 years, and you still wouldn't have agreement between Pat Robertson and Ted Kennedy.

Gas prices are up $0.73 since last year. You can't blame that on the Democrats. Remember, they wanted to raise the price by only $0.50, and got voted down.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

[Note: Huey Long was one of Will's favorite "characters", and Will referred to him more than 60 times in his newspaper columns and radio programs. Below are two of them. Huey Long was Governor from 1928-32, and a Senator from 1932 till his death in Sept.1935, just a month after Will died. His goal in life was to become President. Sen. Long was assassinated in a hallway in the Louisiana Capitol and you can stand on that spot and read about it. He is buried on the Capitol grounds.]

"That Huey Long episode in our history like to took up as much of our political historical space as anything George Washington did. Huey made the boys a few preliminary remarks that lasted well into the latter part of January. Huey had it in for Carter Glass [who sponsored] a very sound banking bill. Certainly knows what one should be. Then right in the midst of it to hear somebody crashing right through the Louisiana cane breaks with an arm load of adjectives that it would take a good strong voiced man a month to dispose of. Why naturally that was dumbfounding to the sensibilities of a man of the Carter Glass type.

But you can't blame Huey near as much as you can blame the system that allows a prolonged thing like that.... I was a hoping that Huey might be the means of getting a rule like that changed. I'll bet you another one or two of those Filibusters break out before this session is over. This Huey Long spree of consonants and vowels that he excelled in, why it's not the first one in the Senate by any means. Somebody is always trying to talk a bill to death in there. But Huey killed the bill and wounded the Senate." WA #527, Jan. 29,1933

"I hate to report any short-comings in one of my heroes, but Huey is going back. Imagine only being able to talk sixteen hours [in a filibuster]. Why before he was fattened by the luxury of senatorial life, he would have talked right on into July.

But at that he pulled the biggest and most educational novelty ever introduced in the Senate. He read 'em the Constitution of the U. S. A lot of 'em thought he was reviewing a new book." DT # 2763, June 13, 1935.


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