Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Goodbye Mr. Boll Weevil; You Gave Us Quite A Battle

         Oh, de boll weevil am a little black bug. 
         Come from Mexico, dey say,   
         Come all de way to Texas,    
         Jus' a-lookin' foh a place to stay,   
         Jus' a-lookin' foh a home,
         Jus' a-lookin' foh a home.             

Sunday's newspaper carried an article that the boll weevil will soon be non-existent in Louisiana and cotton production per acre will double.  I have not kept up with advances in agriculture and especially with the boll weevil battle for many years.  I think my last cotton crop was the summer between my sophomore and junior years at LSU, but I was a veteran of the fight against the boll weevil and the army worm. The pink bollworm was a later arrival.  The boll weevil forced many farmers to give up cotton and diversify to other crops, often to their betterment. At least one town in Georgia erected a statue to the weevil to recognize the gain made by switching away from cotton. 
It wasn't the weevil that forced my dad and many other small farmers out of growing cotton.  The federal government did this with an allotment program that reduced  cotton acres to a non-profitable amount and by paying farmers to plant pine trees instead.  In the 1930's Claiborne parish led all Louisiana in production of oil and gas and acres planted to cotton.  In 1950 two cotton gins operated in Homer; a few years later not one acre was planted to cotton.  Production of cotton went to the river parishes, later replaced by soy beans and then by corn for ethanol.  

We struggled against boll weevils but nothing we tried really worked.  To control army worms we dusted the cotton with a dangerous pesticide, calcium arsenate.  We had to bathe, put on clean clothes and dust the cotton plants at night, hopefully after dew had fallen and the moon was shining.  We then had to bathe again and dress in more clean clothes because we were dealing with a dangerous poison.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Congress Passes It And We Learn and Weep

That grand dame Nancy Pelosi advised passing Obamacare and put it in force before attempting to find out what effect the law would have on the health industry and individuals.  Quite the opposite way things are usually done. Congress passed it and now we are finding that among the things it means are higher costs, higher taxes, fewer choices, fewer doctors and degraded health care.

Now that lovely duo of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank have gifted us with a 2,000 page "financial reform" that whips Wall Street and banks into line (but leaves Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae alone) and that they say we will learn what it means after it is in operation.  We already know that parts are unconstitutional  and will take away property and individual rights.  What's the next 2,000 page bill to come along that we will not know what it means until after it passes --cap and trade?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You Might Be A Red Neck If --

As we were making plans to go to North Carolina to celebrate granddaughter Lily's first birthday, I was reminded of a two-week prospecting trip I made  to the two Carolinas years ago when I was with the Louisiana Department of Commerce and Industry.  I planned the trip around I-95 to cut down on driving time but I still did a lot of driving.  The trip got off to a bad start. I was very busy and was in Alexandria with a client on Friday and left my glasses, never to be seen again.   Sunday I flew into Columbia, rented a car and checked into a motel. My first action was to buy some reading glasses but South Carolina did not permit the sale of glasses over the counter.  I had maps of the two states but without glasses I had to get out in the sunshine, make a tunnel with my fist and peer through it.

At one of the very first calls I made, the president's secretary met me and said, " We have been looking forward to meeting you.  One of our best friends is Roy E. Lowe and we wondered if you are related."  Then it happened.  I said something like this, "I don't know but my grandfather was from South Carolina. I find people here are friendly good ole red necks like we are in North Louisiana."  She exploded ,"you dast not call me a red neck."  Things went downhill from there.

I understood that people called Southern white males red necks as a word of opprobrium, but a red neck to me  was a person who worked hard in the open and got his neck burned brown.  To me, being a hard worker and honest was not something to be ashamed of and did not make me less a person than anyone else.

(By the way, a number of companies visited the state and two industries located plants in North Louisiana as a direct result of my sales trip.)                 

I look forward to a happy time while we are in North Carolina.  This I know and know full well, there are two words no one will hear me say.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bring Back DDT Now

The report at our church Sunday on  the just concluded annual conference of the United Methodist Church raised the issue of the millions who will die this year from malaria.  Many funds have been donated to buy nets which provide some temporary protection from mosquitoes while a person is sleeping.  As far as I know nothing was said about restoring the use of DDT, proven to be the most effective and safest insecticide ever produced. DDT saved millions of lives before some nuts who called themselves saving the environment got it banned. Why do we allow a few screwballs to do so much harm?  Are not people as important as, say a toad?  A lot of issues make me angry but the failure to use DDT to save millions of lives tops the list.  Why, I again ask why, do we allow this to continue?

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 14 is Flag Day

There are lots of days with special significance to our nation that are marked by flying the American Flag and of
all days flags should fly today and July Fourth.  The Stars and Stripes was born this day in 1777 in Philadelphia. I wonder if the courthouse square in Homer is blanketed by flags the way it was when I lived there. Today is also the birthday of the United States Army.  

Speaking of birthdays, Jessica will be 20 tomorrow.  Happy Birthday, honey; you are still the best Father's Day present I ever received.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Birdhouse Caper

Years ago Evelyn Brewer, a seventh grade classmate brought to the classroom a birdhouse she had built and planned to enter in a upcoming crafts show.  The house was pretty, but small and probably was made from a kit, but it inspired Mr. Trout, the teacher, to embark upon a birdhouse building frenzy,  using class time and students to run errands to acquire materials.  We were told to study on our own while all this manufacturing was going on (You can imagine how much studying actually went on.) 

The more houses Mr. Trout and his helpers put together the more imaginative and unusual the birdhouses became.  I can remember only one, but that one is interesting to me even today.  The teacher sent a boy to buy a broom and a metal funnel.  He attached the funnel as the roof  to the lower part of a birdhouse, severed the straw from the broom and glued it to cover the entire structure.  It was supposed to resemble a home in the South Sea Islands or Africa, take your pick.  I've considered  making one following that design but never got around to it. 

Evelyn entered her little birdhouse in the craft show and Mr. Trout submitted his entire collection. Came the judging and Evelyn got an honorable mention.  As for the entire lineup from the teacher, no firsts, no seconds, no thirds, no honorable mentions.  What was wrong with the judges?  You can bet Mr. Trout went on and on about that.  He was so angry he even found fault with Evelyn's house, saying the opening was too small for a bird to enter.  Evelyn never defended her house; she just smiled, and the class went back to studying

Monday, June 7, 2010

D-Day and the Battle of Midway

Yesterday, June 6, was the 66th anniversary of  the Western Allies invasion of Normandy, which led to the victory over Germany in World War II.  There are many D days and H hours during a war but Normandy has claimed the designation of D-Day for itself alone. The Battle of Midway ending June 7, l942, was a great naval victory, sinking four Japanese aircraft carriers and establishing the United States Navy on a par with that of Japan.   American industry geared up to quickly build more ships and the United States began to take the offensive in the Pacific.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Drilling in Gulf Must Continue

When an individual has spent 20 years as a newspaper editor, he will have written hundreds of editorials, some which almost wrote themselves and others which came to light only after a struggle.  Since the two mining disasters, one in a coal mine and one on an oil platform, I have written several articles but have posted none here because the situation keeps changing and outdates what I have written.  One thing that remains unchanged is a call for prayers for the families of those who lost their lives.  They seem to have been forgotten in the turmoil over the environmental  damage.  

Mining, whether for coal, oil or minerals, has always been a dangerous occupation, but safety continues to improve and we learn from each disaster. The nation cannot stop mining coal and it cannot stop drilling for oil. Offshore drilling  is not new; the first ever done was in l911 in Caddo Lake near Shreveport. Deep sea drilling has been carried on for years and will be continued no matter what the United States allows. Fully 33 per cent of our domestic oil production comes from the gulf and 80 per cent of gulf oil and 45 per cent of gulf natural gas comes from water more than l,000 feet deep.  President Obama has taken advantage of  the oil spill to place a moratorium on production and drilling in the gulf.  This will result in the loss of thousands of jobs and possible bankruptcy for oil field companies.  This is at best a stupid move and must be changed. This country needs to become self-sufficient in energy for the economy and for national security.  A slowdown in domestic production will mean more money leaving the country to buy foreign oil..  Realize that every tanker is a potential oil spill, and we have learned that this administration has no plan to deal with oil spills.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Matter of Grades and Respect

My daughter returned to Baton Rouge after two weeks at home, moved into an apartment ant took up her summer job.  She will assist the youth director of her church and right away will be taking some of the youth on a trip.  Later she will accompany the youth choir on a nine-day tour.

Just before she left I said her mother had told me she made all A's the semester just completed. She acknowledged that she had.  I said, "If I had known when I was attending LSU that I would have a daughter who would make straight A's in college, I would have made straight A's too."  My sincere statement was greeted by laughter and hoots from not only my daughter but my wife and my son.  Some days you don't get no respect.