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Sunday, March 09, 2014 ISSUE #792

 Illinois farmers appreciate Ukraine’s soil
     California got some rain and snow, but not enough to make a dent in their drought. Even if it’s only a drop in the bucket, relief you get from the sky beats any you get from Washington.

    Putin invaded the Crimea part of Ukraine. His soldiers just rolled in and took over and there don’t seem to be a thing the United States or Europe can do to stop him. England is pondering an idea of digging up Neville Chamberlain and sending him to Moscow to negotiate.

    Putin says he invaded to help protect Russian-speaking folks from Ukrainian-speaking natives. Well, I’ve been told there’s so little difference between those two languages they all understand each other. But they don’t understand Putin, and why he feels compelled to jump ‘em.

    Putin’s biography shows he headed up the KGB and was a Communist. Reagan convinced Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall,” and Putin never forgave him. Russia stretches across 8 time zones, from Alaska to Finland and Turkey, but Putin dreams of restoring the old USSR boundaries.

    Don’t blame President Obama for not knowing exactly what to do. President Bush sure goofed when he looked Putin in the eye and found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy. In 1930, “I” wrote, “If I wanted to start an insane asylum that would be 100 percent cuckoo, I would just admit applicants that thought they knew something about Russia.”  In 1934, “I” checked out Ukraine, stopping at Odessa on the Black Sea, “Russia and Turkey have been fighting over this for a thousand years.” (You probably noticed that Turkey dropped out of the fight years ago. But not Russia.)

    In all the debate on TV about Ukraine, I still have not heard a soul talk about how valuable their soil is. I was in Peoria, Illinois, on Friday speaking to 350 soybean farmers and, brother, those farmers have soil that’s just as good as Ukraine and they appreciate what they have. Illinois produced more soybeans last year than anybody, even Iowa. They agreed that it would not be good for Putin to control 40 percent of the best land in the world when we only have 20 percent.

    Putin is using his oil and gas as leverage over Europe. With oil and gas, we can drill down deeper and find more of it. But when it comes to the best soil, what you see is it. There ain’t no more to be found.

    I told those Illinois soybean growers I was glad they met in Peoria, and not Chicago. Illinois may be the Land of Lincoln, but Chicago is owned by Al Capone. In Peoria, if someone happens to start shooting, you can duck behind a CAT.

(Note: if you want to watch a classic Will Rogers movie, one of his best, Judge Priest, is on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCi2Pc5QUgg. If you prefer to watch a DVD, it and several other movies are available at: WillRogers.com.)

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