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Sunday, October 28, 2007 ISSUE #476
 

Wild fires, politicians and World Series compete for attention

#476, October 28, 2007

COLUMBUS: If you've been watching those television reports, it looks like half of southern California was on fire. Those Santa Ana winds come every year or two and in the old days they didn't do much harm. Then real estate agents started selling "recently cleared" hillsides as prime property with a view.

Idaho and Montana had ten times as many acres burn but you don't see much about it.

Santa Monica, and the 200-acre parcel there known as the Will Rogers Ranch, has escaped the fires, at least up to now. Actually it's a State Park, and the state of California just spent $5 million renovating the old house and barns. So I figure in case any wild fire even comes close, Governor Schwartzenegger will be out there driving a tractor to plow most of the 200 acres as a fire break.

If these folks insist on building houses where fires are an annual event, as predictable as hurricanes in Florida and tornados in Kansas, they better stop using kindling as the primary construction material. On these steep hillsides use concrete and dig 'em back in underground. Maybe leave enough of the flat roof sticking out for a couple of lawn chairs. That might even work in the next round of disaster news from California with rain and mudslides. But I ain't no expert on it, and if somebody gave me a chance to live around San Diego I'd probably jump at it even if all I had was a pup tent and a hammock.

We had some excitement in Columbus last week: Rudy Guiliani and Barack Obama were both in town campaigning. I think they were trying to raise dollars more than votes. Only problem for them, with the All-American Quarter Horse Congress, Ohio State football, and the World Series, hardly anyone knew they were here.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"Here is a suggestion that will help you all out of a lot of anxiety and anguish in case your town or district should be hit by some disaster. Run quick and turn off the radio, otherwise you will hear where your own home has been swept away by the flood, you have been lost in the fire and your husband kidnapped.
We had an earthquake here. That's all we had (which was plenty) but that wasn't enough news for the radio. They added 'oil wells overflowing and on fire, a city burning to the ground' and as a P.S., 'a tidal wave coming in from the ocean.' So, in case of disaster, run (don't walk) to the nearest radio and turn it off, for they take delight in killing you, whether you have been killed or not."
DT #2069, March 22, 1933

"They say it's wrong to buy votes, but you notice from the election returns [yesterday] that the fellows in Pennsylvania, and Illinois that bought the most, got elected. A bought vote is better than no votes at all. The counters can't tell whether they are bought or just bargained for." DT #73, Nov. 4, 1926

"...Why, you ask, did I want to locate an issue for the Democratic Party? I belong to neither party politically. Both parties have their good and bad times, only they have them at different times. They are each good when they are out, and each bad when they are in. I did it out of pure sportsmanship... I wanted to bring elections back where they occupied almost as much importance as the World Series." May 1, 1926, Saturday Evening Post

"My idea of the height of conceit would be a political speaker that would go on the air when that World Series is on." DT #683, Oct. 3, 1928


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