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Monday, July 02, 2007 ISSUE #462

Oklahoma floods are surprise to Will

#462, July 2, 2007

COLUMBUS: Here in this part of the eastern Corn Belt rain has been mighty scarce the last couple of months. Other areas are suffering from dry weather and it seems that if it ain't drought, it's floods. No in-between.

Back in the '20s and '30s I wrote about floods in Mississippi, Alabama, Pennsylvania (Johnstown), Ohio, Indiana, and even California and China. But never in Oklahoma. Not even once did "Oklahoma" and "flood" appear in the same sentence.

So these rain storms that have been pouring over Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas for what seems like 40 days come as a shock. For Oklahoma the norm is 40 days with no rain.

I read in the Daily Oklahoman where 1000 barrels of oil washed into the Verdigris River from a refinery on the state line in Coffeyville, Kansas, and it's headed straight for Oologah Lake. That's my old Cherokee home grounds, and I thought, "With all the misery from the floods, at $70 a barrel, finally a chance for the old Indian to cash in on some oil." But the newspaper went on to say the oil will likely dissipate before it gets to Oologah. So that's $70,000 over the dam.

As America celebrates Independence Day, a handful of problems with weather won't get in the way of a good time. Anybody can rattle off a list of concerns, from the war in Iraq, to a Presidential pardon, to radical Muslim doctors who want to kill people rather than heal them. But this country has seen worse in 231 years. These other countries claim they don't like us and say we have a million faults. Many even prefer Putin to Bush. But give 'em half a chance to leave home, and you know which country they'd flock to. So rest assured that July 4 will never be just another date on the American calendar.

I want to congratulate a columnist for The Dispatch here in Columbus. Mike Harden received the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award from their national organization. I wasn't at their convention in Philadelphia for the presentation, but did show up at a surprise party for him Friday. Mike is partially retiring (cutting down to one column a week instead of three), but don't expect him to ever retire for humanitarian service.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"[President Andrew Jackson] sent the Indians to Oklahoma. They had a treaty that said, 'You shall have this land as long as grass grows and water flows.' It was not only a good rhyme but looked like a good treaty, and it was till they struck oil. Then the Government took it away from us again. They said the treaty only refers to 'Water and Grass; it don't say anything about oil'." WA #267, Feb. 5, 1928

"Now they have moved the Indians [again] and they settled the whole thing by putting them on land where the grass won't grow and the water won't flow." Radio broadcast, Apr. 27, 1930

"Sen. Lowden [candidate for President] was awful strong with the farmers, but the farmers got a good crop, so I guess they forgot about him. Rain was with [President Coolidge] ... and it’s awful hard to beat for a farmers' "relief" measure.
You give me rain whenever I want it, and give my opponent arguments and figures on his side, and I will clean him nine times out of ten. Rain at the right time has got more to do with a full wheat bin than all the protective tariffs you can shock up in one pile."
WA #263 Jan. 8, 1928

(Possibly concerning the Immigration Bill...)
"Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, that don't hurt anybody. It's when they do something is when they become dangerous." DT #1038, Nov. 22, 1929

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