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Jim's Jottings


Every poll has a purpose, and nobody asked me



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August 17, 2011 - I took a poll, an unscientific poll, with predictable results because I made up the questions.

Questions asked in polls, I believe, are made up to direct the answerer to respond in ways assuring the questioner's sponsors get the percentages they are paying for or expect.

My poll has no sponsors. It was taken in the presence of hunters, fisherman, golfers and other fellow males of unquestionable honesty and integrity while drinking soda pop at Oxford's 24th St. Tavern.

Questions covered local, county, state and national governments. Fifty two percent answered with a yes or nod, 38 said no (I think) and ten percent didn't know.

Are you in favor of reducing the national debt limit? Since this column is being written after the exhausted, overworked and underpaid legislators took their very deserved vacation after raising the debt limit, the question is moot.

Should there have been a national debt in the first place? See percentages above.

Are you in favor of motherhood? Same percentages.

Fatherhood? Likewise.

Some questions were more rhetorical, like: Do you favor hearing heat index numbers rather than thermometer readings? What about the chill factor?

Basically, the audience felt the weather has been screwed up ever since some Indian shot that first arrow in the air, and has gotten worse with each rocket launch.

As the evening went on the percentages changed. Do you have confidence in our government? Never did, 85 percent, 15 percent undecided.

Do you believe in the here after? That's what I'm here after, 95 percent. Five percent. Huh?

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During one of the talking-heads panels, Charles Krauthammer told his audience how Congressmen make budget cuts: First they put in a request for money, like to invade Normandy again. Then at crunch time they withdraw that request, thus making them appear fiscally responsible.

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Will Rogers' name was mentioned often during the recent federal budget harangue. A bronze statue of him is in the chambers of the United States House of Representatives and the hall shown in most of the television coverage is named Will Rogers Hallway.

Yet, Will Rogers seems to have spent most of his waking hours finding words to condemn the actions of Congress.

Like: "If you ever injected truth into politics you have no politics."

"America has the best politicians money can buy."

"We all joke about Congress, but we can't improve on them. Have you noticed that no matter who we elect, he is just as bad as the one he replaces?"

"Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously, and the politicians as a joke, when it used to be vice versa"

By the way, Rogers was an admitted Democrat, and most popular in the 1930 depression years. By trade he worked in rodeos doing rope tricks and appeared on Broadway.

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While I'm in this mind-set, how about something from Mark Twain: "Fleas can be taught nearly everything that a Congressman can."

• I have a chronology of Michigan history since 1622 when Etienne Brule and his companion Grenoble, French explorers, searching for a water route to the Pacific Ocean, discovered Lake Superior, yet nothing is chronologized for 1926, the year I was born. I do know that 1926 still has the record as the hottest year.

Jim Sherman, Sr. is president of Sherman Publications, Inc. He has penned "Jim's Jottings" since 1955.
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