Sen. Byrd helps state one last time
#610 July 4, 2010
WESTON, West Va: Senator Robert Byrd left the Capitol Building for a final time last week. He was elected to Congress the same year Eisenhower was elected President, 1952.
As President, Eisenhower is remembered for building the Interstate Highway system. In West Virginia, Byrd is remembered for building everything else. Not quite, but he did arrange for a few buildings, including Social Security and FBI units, to settle in West Virginia when they ran out of space in DC.
I got to introduce him once in 1978 in Charleston when a wonderful group called Toastmasters gave him a Communication and Leadership award. He was the Senate Majority Leader at the time.
Byrd’s funeral was Friday in Charleston. When you look over the list of dignitaries who attended, including the President and Congressional leaders, you realize that, even in death, he managed to bring a few more federal dollars to his home state.
Down on the Gulf coast, a lot of beaches were deserted for the holiday. Usually hurricanes get the blame, but this year it’s BP.
I don’t want to get tarred and feathered for helping out BP, but if we expect them to pay all these Billions in costs, they’ve got to sell some gasoline, and people are boycotting BP filling stations. Here’s my idea: change the name of the stations from BP to Amoco. Americans like Amoco, which traces it’s roots to the Standard Oil companies of John D. Rockefeller. Henry Ford and Rockefeller did more to put Americans on the move than anyone. And Eisenhower helped them get there on smooth pavement without a stoplight at every intersection.
Did you know that President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4? He has become kind of a patron saint to the Tea Party folks, not because of when he was born but what he did as President. Here’s how I summarized his record as he left office in March 1929: "Coolidge (becomes President) and does nothing and retires a hero, not only because he hadn't done anything but because he had done it better than anyone."
President Obama gave a speech on illegal immigration: "No matter how decent they are, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable. We’re going to publish their pictures in the newspaper. Then we’ll expedite their hearings so they can vote in 2012." He didn’t really say the last part, but he was thinking it. The 11 million he referred to is an underestimate, and if he wrangles a way to make these folks American citizens without shutting down our borders, he’ll find out there’s 20 or 30 million by the time he leaves office.
Historic quote from Will Rogers: (on Independence Day speeches)
"Never was as much politics indulged in under the guise of Freedom and Liberty. They was 5 per cent what George Washington did, and 95 per cent what the speaker intended to do." DT #2782, July 5, 1935