Jul 07

There was never any doubt for T.R.

Anxious to put the bitter taste of a losing presidential campaign behind him,Trbrazil1_3  Former President Theodore Roosevelt decided to discover a new, 1,000-foot long tributary of the Amazon River. The year was 1914 and T.R. was 54 years of age.

To put things in perspective, 54 was not the new 34 in 1914. Rather, it was very close to the end for the average male, who lived to be about 60.

But, T.R. thrived on the new and different. So, along with his son, Kermit, a few specialists and about 20 local Brazilian soldiers, he set forth on what was then called the “River of Doubt.”

Three months and 55-pounds later, T.R. emerged from the wilderness. He’d contracted malaria, re-injured an old leg that became infected and watched as one of his men drowned and another was murdered. But he emerged victorious and returned to New York as a conquering hero.

I mention the T.R. story because a) it appealed to my sense of adventure and b) it struck me that none, repeat none, of our current leaders would ever contemplate such a risky trip.

T.R. lived his life in an all-out attempt to squeeze every second from it. He never walked around an obstacle but, rather, charged through it. There was no obfuscation. No flip-flopping.

What would T.R.  do if he were alive today? Impossible to say, of course. But, based upon his image and reputation, he wouldn’t let things linger in Iraq. Nor would he allow gas prices to edge ever higher. The old trust buster wouldn’t take kindly to the endless downsizings, either.

We need a T.R. in the worst way. Sadly, the lightweights we’re stuck with couldn’t find the River of Doubt, much less navigate its treacherous path. And, the River of Doubt itself? Well, it’s now known as Rio Roosevelt in honor of the first man to chart its entire course.

Mar 27

1.67 pennies for your thoughts

The U.S. Mint recently admitted that it now costs 1.67 cents to produce a single penny. They say penniesPenny_2
now are 97.5 percent zinc with thin copper plating and admit that the value of the metal exceeds the coin’s face value! To borrow Peppercom’s Deb Brown’s favorite expression, ‘you simply can’t make this stuff up.’

So, in a period of tremendous economic uncertainty, market flux and job loss, our country is deficit-spending to create coins that no one wants or uses. What’s wrong with this picture? A penny for your thoughts. Make that 1.67 pennies for your thoughts.

I’m surprised I haven’t read more news stories about this farce. I’m also surprised McCain, Hill or Barry haven’t jumped on the issue to position it as yet another example of big government waste. God knows Clinton and Obama need something right now to distract negative stories.

If I were running the show, I’d tell the U.S. Mint management team we’ll be deducting an extra .67 cents from their annual salaries for every new penny they make. That should get their attention. I’d also enroll them in an Economics 101 class ASAP.

Whoever’s running the U.S. Mint is one bad penny. One might even call them cents less.

Thanks to Deb Brown for the idea.

Feb 20

Obama, can you spare a dime?

I’m simultaneously amazed and appalled at extraordinary amount of campaign monies being racked upMoney
every month by Obama, Hillary and McCain. It’s especially galling when one juxtaposes the candidates’ war chests with the very real pain many Americans are suffering right now.

So, here’s a suggestion: Obama, Hillary and McCain (I try to ignore Huckabee, hoping he’ll go away) should tithe a percentage of their monthly campaign contributions to needy causes. Each candidate, for example, could ‘adopt’ street people in the primary states still left to contest and pay for a week’s worth of free soup, clothing, shelter, etc. Each candidate could demonstrate real caring and concern by reaching into their own ‘pockets’ and helping the less fortunate.

Imagine the image and reputation boost if Hillary or Obama did just that in, say, Texas. It might be enough to ensure victory. But, sadly, more money for the poor would mean less money for those horrific, pit bill attack ads. And, no candidate could possibly win without those.

Thanks to Greg Schmalz for the idea.