Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sales Tax

The Eastpointer

.01 Cent Sales Tax

By Richard E. Noble

The new publisher of the Chronicle, surprisingly enough, has asked me to offer, occasionally, some of my personal opinions on local issues in my new column. Actually this may be the first time in my life that anyone has actually asked for my opinion.
The previous owner Mr. Tom Hoffer encouraged me to work for him because he also said that he would like to print some of my ideas and opinions. But whenever I submitted those opinions he had a problem. He rejected on the average 50% of my submitted opinions and ideas. But to his credit he did relent 50% of the time.
In my past life I usually volunteered my opinions even to strangers, unsolicited. But after a number of years of volunteering I discovered that my friendships were getting fewer and fewer and barrooms became a big problem for me. Like the old joke; “I thought he said stand up and he was actually saying shut up.” - and thus I decided to become a writer.
In this way I could vent all of my opinions and ideas and unless some fool decides to publish them, I have no problem. My backup strategy has been the George Washington technique - say as little as possible thus leaving your ignorance to speculation.
My new boss expressed his interest on what I might have to say on the proposed .01 cent sales tax that is being considered by referendum this coming November 6th.
Well, the first question I ask myself is whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing.
It is clearly a good thing in its overall intent. A local hospital benefits everybody. It, of course, helps the local community; it serves the visiting community; it caters to rich and poor alike; it adds to potential positive growth and development; it helps to keep the good medical people in all the peripheral offices and clinics; it benefits the Realtors and the developers; just like a good school system, it increases everyone’s property values, it makes the community more desirable and acceptable to potential new residents and workers, it provides good local jobs - skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled, it is futuristic, its positive and it’s needed and will become even more necessary as the community grows. And last but not least, it is money that will be spent in the United States of America, in this very community, for the benefit of AMERICANS.
Many folks say, Well let’s look at the numbers. What’s the bottom line? Is this thing going to make a profit or a loss?
Well, the bottom line for doing “good” has always been extremely negative. Trying to do good and make things better has always been a big gamble.
But my bottom line evaluation goes like this; What am I being asked to risk or gamble for the possibility of this good thing?
The answer is ... One penny.
This isn’t exactly like risking the family farm. In fact this isn’t even in the category of buying a lottery ticket. This “risk” is just about nothing. And everybody is going to share in this cost - residents and non-residents, rich and poor alike.
My next consideration is whether or not the people who are asking for this tax and sacrifice on my part are decent, honest and truly concerned with doing good and improving things in this community or do they have some suspicious underhanded intentions.
I had been assigned to cover the County Commission meetings for a number of years. And this may be putting myself out on a limb but as I have listened to these representatives from the Hospital, whether they have been the administrators and directors, doctors, nurses, EMT workers, laborers and employees, Hospital Board Members, even the interim temporary management team, I have always come to the same conclusion. I don’t know if these people have been right or wrong but they are certainly sincere and appear to be honest, straight forward and business like. On the local level, many of these people may in fact be some of the best people that this County has to offer. They are concerned, caring, and always talking about the benefit to others and the community. It don’t get no better than that!
And the last thing; what they can spend this money on is outlined in the proposition. By law the money can not be spent for anything not stated in that proposition.
If I had been asked to write that proposition, I would have made it more vague and non-specific to give the hospital and the community more space to move and do different things. From my point of view the proposition is even tighter and more restrictive than I would have liked if I were managing such a project. So I have no beef in that regard.
In conclusion, one penny on a sales tax isn’t going to bust my family budget. A local hospital is a good thing that benefits not only the local community - rich and poor - but the visitors and new potential citizens as well.
I don’t see what this community has to lose. This is a no brainer for me.

Richard E. Noble has been an “Eastpointer” for around thirty years now. He has authored two books: “A Summer with Charlie” which is currently listed on and “Hobo-ing America” which should be listed on Amazon in the not too distant future. Most recently he completed his first novel “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother” which will be published soon.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby

Making Bigotry Comfortable

By Richard E. Noble

It was once said of Ronald Reagan that he made the racial and class bigot comfortable. Well, if Reagan made the bigot comfortable, Bill Cosby just bought him a case of beer and new recliner or a bottle of scotch and a new polo pony.
Nick the Greek and a number of others lost their jobs for saying considerably less than Bill Cosby.
If Cosby’s latest monologue was played in the background while George Wallace or Strom Thurmond’s image was up on the screen with their lips moving, I could have believed it. But when I heard sound bites of Cosby’s ranting, I figured that they must be exaggerating. This must be media hype.
So I got on the Internet and googled Cosby. I read his whole speech and watched a video. I read commentary and looked all over; but it was true. Cosby said all that stuff. And it didn’t sound any better when I saw his face on the screen and his lips moving.
Cosby has now written a book - with the help of a college professor and now it seems to me he is on a national campaign to try and clean up his image and redeem himself in the eyes of “his people”.
He isn’t saying that but if that isn’t the case - why the college professor?
Cosby knows how to speak. He has made millions over the years from speaking - and writing. But now he needs a black intellectual, college professor sitting next to him with a box, a pooper scooper and a big bag of kitty litter to try and clean up his verbal waste.
Cosby said he didn’t realize when he was spewing his vitriol that others (read white people) were listening as he was “scolding” his people.
Well, if I was a black teenager struggling in one of America’s many trash dumps and bullet ridden inner city concentration camps, I certainly wouldn’t be looking up to Mr. Cosby as one of “my people”. For sure he would be in the “one of them people” category for me.
Many in the black community are asking themselves has Cosby done a good or a bad thing.
There is no doubt in my mind, the path that Mr. Cosby has taken to show his anger and discontent with “his people” has already done more damage to black people and their struggle for social justice than even he and ten college professors will be able to redeem. But I wish him good luck nevertheless; he is going to need it. It will take more than just a sense of humor to bring back his popularity to a good many of “his people” I’m sure.
But with all that said, a nationwide discussion is now open. So I think that I will throw in my two cents.
Cosby has hit on a number of very big and important issues. One he hit right on the head, a second he skirted and a third he seems to have missed entirely.
It was stated or extracted from his book that 70% of black children are born to single mothers; coupled with that he points out that 44% of America’s enormous prison population is black. I knew about the prison statistic but I didn’t know that the fatherless situation was so wide spread. That is truly the most horrid thing that I have yet to hear on this subject. I could hardly believe that I had heard this statistic correctly. But this fact clears a good many things up in my mind.
To me these two figures are intimately related. I know that they are substantiated in the related social sciences that deal with this subject and not just in my experiences or my opinions.
Children who have no fathers, a bad or negative father; an abusive father, an alcoholic father, a distant or unloving father and so on, invariably have problems with regards to authority. This is a fact. I don’t think that you will find any qualified person who would disagree with that notion. And prisons are and always have been full of just this type of individual.
I know that this is the age of women. And I have read that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle and that may all be true in certain areas. But in regard to motherhood and child rearing, it is false. Children need fathers or father stand-ins or substitutes or something. But a child without a father or one of the above is like that fish trying to learn to ride that bicycle. Dads are very, very important to children.
Even the early death of a father has huge effects on the attitudes and mental outlook of a child.
The next issue - the one that Cosby skirted - deals with that word “endemic”. When Cosby and his college professor used that word they were clearly talking about racism.
Racism being the notion that there has been and is a built in, long historical hatred and prejudice towards blacks in the United States of America.
I would certainly not debate that issue. The historical record is clear. To make any attempt to deny it is ludicrous. But denying still takes place.
I remember forty years ago watching William F. Buckley debate the famous black writer and poet. James Baldwin, on his TV show - Firing Line.
Somebody should replay those debates today. I think even Mr. Buckley would have to hang his head in shame and embarrassment for his ridiculousness.
But, of course, I remember agreeing entirely with Mr. Buckley at the time. As a young white man who had only known one black person in his life up to that time and who considered slavery ancient history, mine was more of an emotional response than one based on intellect or actual knowledge.
But the endemic nature of racism in America is not even worthy to be debated. It is true and we should be big enough to recognize it by now.
That brings me to the third very important issue crucial to this discussion - the one that Cosby didn’t even mention. It deals with another endemic problem that is not peculiar to the United States or to racism. Truthfully it is endemic to the entire civilization of mankind. It is beyond nationalism; it is beyond racism; it is beyond sexism; it is beyond culture and society. This problem is endemic to the human species.
It is abuse. The human race is abusive and the human being is basically an abusive creature. He develops abusive systems, abusive laws, abusive social structures, abusive theologies and philosophies.
Symptoms of this abusive nature are obvious but yet go unrecognized as abuse. One is war and another is poverty.
Civilization has always hated the poor. And in the United States and all capitalistic nations that hatred is even more intense because of the exaggerated and excessively encouraged competitiveness.
People will argue and even deny as Mr. Buckley once denied and argued over racism, that this hatred does not exist. But once again the historical record is undeniable. It is all spelled out in book after book, fiction and non-fiction, fantasy and true to life, for those who have the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the intelligence to understand and realize - and the moral integrity to admit to truth.
Crime and poverty also fit together like a hand in a glove. Prisons have been filled, since the early beginning with the poor.
Poverty, slums, ghettos, abuse, drugs, alcoholism, abandonment, hate, crime and an overall bad attitude are born and bread in poverty and poor living conditions. You can yell and scream about this all you want and tell me all about your poor and struggling beginnings but the numbers are all in. The record is clear.
In Poverty is where traditional crime is born and bred.
So the poor and working class that Mr. Cosby maligned so viciously with white stereotypes and elitist rhetoric certainly do need responsible fathers and a new attitude towards fatherhood and parenting in general. But without a job that provides hope for the future, a roof over a family’s head, food on the table and respect for the worker, I would say that a responsible and respectable fatherhood becomes severely handicapped if not impossible.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mein Kampf

Chapter 10 Part 11

By Richard E. Noble

If Adolf had acted alone, and even wrote Mein Kampf as a testament to his belief, History would have classified him as nothing more than an insane fanatic, much like the Marque De Sade. He would probably be studied as we today study the antics of Jack the Ripper, Henry Dormer, or Charles Manson. But Adolf championed a crusade and led a whole nation off into his paranoid world of destruction. He championed Evil in the name of Good. And the residue of Adolf s philosophy speckles the landscape of thought all about us today.
Now let us get into his theory for curing Syphilis and prostitution.
"...The great masses of the people, anyhow, can never see the whole way before them without getting tired and without despairing of the task ... Thus, by employing all propagandistic auxiliary means, one should have made the fight against syphilis appear as THE TASK of the nation, not as ONE TASK among others. For this purpose one should have hammered into the people its evils as the most terrible misfortune in its full extent, and under application of all auxiliary measures, till the whole nation should have come to the conviction that upon the solution of this question really everything depends, future or doom...”
First knowing Little Adolf as we do now, we have to ask ourselves is he actually talking about the disease syphilis, or is he speaking allegorically about the plague of the Jews on his chosen people?
Well as we turn the page we find out that he is actually talking about the disease syphilis. His plan in conquering syphilis first begins with an all out frontal attack. Adolf was not a person to do anything in half measures. It was all or nothing, in everything. He focused himself one hundred percent on whatever goal, and he wanted one hundred percent concentration on the part of his followers, and the benefits of such intensity are clear, or should be to anyone.
"...The first condition for only the moral right to fight against these things is to make early marriage possible for the coming generation...”
I guess the logic here is that if we gave young children at the onset of puberty, the ability to have sex on a regular basis, sanctified by marriage, the plague of socially contagious diseases would be dissolved. I suppose that this could be so, if for one thing marriage was a permanent condition, from which no one wandered.
I think that societies and religions through the ages have done their best to establish this, but unfortunately a cure for human promiscuity must be searched for elsewhere. It is also interesting to note here that I am presently reading the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi and in the practice of his Janist, or Hindu faith he was in fact forced into a child marriage. He has nothing but bad things to say about the arrangement. He is filled with guilt over his early indulgence in sexual activity, and later in life turned to abstinence as a personal cure for his problem with sex. And sexual abstinence may indeed be the cure for all of man’s problems, social, and personal and philosophical.
“... Prostitution is a disgrace to mankind ... Its limitation is and remains the creation of the possibility of early marriage, according to human nature, above all for the man; because the woman is here only the passive part, anyhow ..."
Whoaaa! Adolf really loaded that one up didn’t he? The first way that we can interpret this is to infer that sex is for the most part a male problem. So if we can basically make some sort of arrangement that would keep the man in a state of sexual satisfaction, then the problem of prostitution along with sexually spread social diseases would be eliminated. The first thing to do is to establish early marriage for all the boys and consequently all the ‘passive’ little girls.
First, I do think that men have a much greater problem in dealing with sex than women, but women’s involvement in this problem I would not consider passive. Women are deeply involved in this problem on a personal basis, but from a different perspective. Women may not be compulsively drawn to repetitive sex as men seem to be, but there can certainly be no question that they are compulsive breeders, and are led to reproduce under even the most stifling of circumstances. The present population of the world can serve as testament to this.
The next question that one might ask is why is sex ‘wrong’? Why has it traditionally been considered ‘evil’? What is the evil in Prostitution? Why does Adolf consider prostitution a disgrace to mankind?
Adolf is once again a traditionalist. He expresses the traditional religious attitude to promiscuous sex.
If there were no socially transferable diseases related to the practice of sex, and there were no social obligations centering on birth, would sex be wrong or evil? Let’s say that sex was not an act of reproduction, but merely a social activity participated in for its shear pleasurable, and soothing aspects. Pregnancy was caused by the female’s exposure to lightning, as believed in some primitive societies. If these were the conditions what would be the evil involved in sex?
Well, we would still have the psychology involved in the intimacy of the human relationship. We would have the perils of association and friendship to deal with. We would have bonding, and dominance, and jealousy, and rivalry and all of the consequences of the human relationship. But would anyone say that because of the perils of friendship, that friendship is evil? There would certainly be problems but no one would say that because of these problems, friendship is a disgrace to human kind.
Prostitution under these conditions would be the marketing of a pleasurable experience, often associated with friendship, for money. I will treat you as a friend for fifteen minutes or an hour or an evening, for $19.95. This, one might not consider nice, but on the other hand what is the practice of psychiatry, or psychoanalysis? Or if we are speaking morally, how moral is it to learn the cures for diseases, and then charge the sick for your services? So then aren’t we reducing the situation to the question of whether or not pleasure is ‘evil’?
Once again we return to the territory of Religion and philosophy. Without personal negative and social consequence, what would be the evil in prostitution?
Obviously Adolf does not see sex as an evil, for he encourages it with the practice of early marriage. Is prostitution caused by the lust for promiscuous sexual activity, or by adverse economic conditions?
Who is the chief moral culprit, the person who seeks to indulge uncontrolled passions, or the individual who tweaks these passions for monetary enhancements? If we relieved disease and pregnancy from the process, would anyone care? Even if we say that pleasure is acceptable with moderation, we then have to deal with a personal definition of ‘moderate’.
Adolf sees prostitution and syphilis as a serious problem facing the structure of his society. As a social reformer he seeks a solution.
"...Marriage also cannot be an end in itself, but has to serve the one greater aim, the propa and preservation of the species and the race. Only this is its meaning and its task ...“
Well, there we have Adolf s Roman Catholic upbringing and religious training once again. Sex has one purpose ... procreation. So then maybe we are dealing here with the traditional religious distaste for pleasure. It seems to me that Adolf could easily be a member of today’s religious Moral Majority.
If sex were only for procreation, then why did God attach pleasure to the act? If procreation is the sole purpose of sex then why did God not make pregnancy mandatory with each sexual episode? If the reproduction of life and the preservation of the species is the sole purpose for mankind, then why did God have to lure the species into the act of sustaining itself by attaching pleasure to the episode? But Adolf did not say that procreation was the sole purpose of the sexual act, he said that procreation was the sole purpose of the social involvement called Marriage. Is there a difference?
Not if he then attaches the elimination of syphilis and prostitution with the concept of early marriage. I hate to say it but this solution for the problems involved in this situation seems not only naive, but down right stupid. What has early marriage got to do with prostitution and sexual promiscuity, and even more what does this conclusion tell us about the thought processes of Adolf, himself? If early marriage were to solve these problems, or one was to think that it would, then one would have to have certain preconceived notions. What would some of these notions be? Well, one would have to believe that syphilis and prostitution are problems of puberty and youth? Wouldn’t one also have to believe in the sanctity of marriage? In other words, once a person marries, he or she is bound to that mate, till death do us part. This would also have to be a person who believes in adherence to rules. Adolf has stated basically that young men need an outlet for their sexual passion, and if society made it possible financially for the boys in particular to marry young, this would eliminate the need for prostitution and consequently eliminate the disease of syphilis.
Adolf seems to be totally unaware of the notion of infidelity in marriage, and attributes all promiscuous sexual activity to youthful sexual experimentation. He certainly is not showing awareness of what we call the homosexual life style. He also seems to be completely unaware of any female sexuality, or the plight of unemployed woman in a devastated economic situation. I imagine he would not have been able to conceive or believe in such a circumstance as precipitated by the Mayflower Madame.
His answers here in this circumstance seem so naive in today’s light as to be ludicrous. I can not even imagine today’s Catholic Pope, or religious leaders like Billy Graham even suggesting such a possible solution to these problems. (Also, the inability to get a divorce except under special circumstances is a tenant of Catholicism, so maybe Adolf considered that once married divorce would then be made illegal by he and his government.
But then we might ask what did he intend to do to those married who strayed from their vows?
Auchwitz, I would presume.
It is difficult for me today to even think in terms of a loyal divorce-less society but I can remember my days as a ardent Catholic when such a thought was accepted without question. Although I have read many present day religious elite suggest that the Aids virus is in fact a message of warning from God to those who do not practice a monogamous relationship.
So, far be it from me to predict what any religious leader might suggest. Could it now not be a warning from God to all practitioners of the horrible self indulgence in the hedonistic practice of sex in general? Could it also not be a message from God that He is in actuality seeking a means for the destruction of mankind? If not, why did He chose to inflict with infective disease His sole method for the reproduction of the human species? We now have new epidemic death inducing diseases that are spread from one person to another by breathing. What conclusions about the intent of God are we to draw from this?
But, as for Adolf, is he a religious conservative here championing the principals of his own faith, or is he acting as a politician re-affirming what are the basic views of his electorate?
On the one hand Adolf does seem to be the unscrupulous politician, but on the other hand his sincerity and commitment to certain goals, whether we agree with these goals or not, does convey a spirit of seriousness and sincerity.
In any case, there you have Adolf s answer to the problems of prostitution and the spread of diseases caused by sexual contact. Today we have the same problems. Our present day answers are:
Prostitution is illegal throughout most of the United States. The police arrest both the prostitutes and their clients. Although a lot of arresting goes on, prostitution seems to be flourishing. So many people participate in this crime that we don’t have the prison space to contain them. So they are arrested, confined temporarily, and released.
The Aids virus is our Syphilitic plague of today. It is a contagion that has spread throughout the world. It is dominant in, I would guess, every country in the world. Our solution is primarily education, and the basic admonition to practice ‘safe-sex’. The ramifications of the disease are explained on TV, on radio, on posters, in schools, at health care facilities, etc.
The sexually active are advised to practice safe sex and the young are admonished and encouraged to refrain from sexual activity altogether. But nothing seems to be slowing down the spread of the disease. Everyone is secretly hoping for a cure or a vaccine from the scientific community that will make the problem go away. Basically we have today no better answers than Adolf.
Ideally, if people were to marry early, as Adolf recommends, or retain their virginity until marriage, and then restrain their sexual activity to their mate, the future of the spread of this particular disease would be curtailed, providing every one could be found a mate.
If men did not seek prostitutes, prostitution would soon become an unprofitable business and disappear. Conversely if women refused to sell themselves in such a manner, and respected the rights of other women in their marriage contracts, and promises, the problem would again disappear.
But we do not live in an ideal world, and without any doubt, although we all laugh and giggle, sex is and forever has been one of the greatest problems facing humankind.
If we were all to accept the notion that sex was only to be participated in for the sake of having a baby, and that one should only have a baby if one is married and seeking the responsibilities of parenthood, our problems with sex would once again disappear. Or would they?
Sex is for the most part a very unsanitary procedure. Parts of the body that expel human waste, toxins, and poisons from the body are in direct contact. Certainly, this fact alone presents a very volatile prospect for the spreading of disease. We as humans should take the whole procedure with much more care and consideration. Sex, to me, is one of the big three considerations of my life. My three areas of primary investigation are and have been; God, war, and sex. Sex has received the least attention in my educational inquiries. I intend to read and study more about the subject, but just as with my other two topics of study I have very little hope of ever riding the race of any of their problems in these areas. But most certainly sex is no giggling matter.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The Eastpointer


By Richard E. Noble

“So what nationality are you anyway?” I asked my locally grown little helper over at Hobo’s Ice Cream Parlor - a little business over in Carrabelle that I once owned.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I mean where were your grandparents born?”
“They were born in Carrabelle.”
“Well then how about your great grand parents?”
“I don’t know, Carrabelle, I guess.”
“No. What I’m trying to find out is what nationality you are. You know, like what country in Europe your ancestors came from.”
“None of my family has ever been to Europe as far as I know.”
“They had to come from someplace. Nobody in America comes from America originally. Even the Indians came from someplace else. You’re name sounds to me like it could be Irish or maybe English.”
“Listen,” the boy said getting a little annoyed. “I’m American, my mother and father are Americans, my parents and great grand parents are all American as far as I know. I don’t even know anybody who’s Irish. I wouldn’t know an “Irish” if he walked in that door right now. I don’t know where the heck you come from but we’re all Americans here and that’s it!”
I laughed, but it made me think about my old neighborhood. In that neighborhood everybody knew everybody else’s nationality. Even today when I talk to an old buddy invariably in our conversation one of us will ask; “Yeah Jack Greco, was he Italian, Syrian, Greek or what?” Here in this community a kid don’t know an Irishman from a German. Is that good or bad?
The very next day this old buck walks in the door and starts chattering away. The first thing I notice is that he has a foreign accent.
I ask him, “Where are you from?”
He says, “Carrabelle.”
Oh no not this again, I say to myself
“No, you didn’t get an accent like that from being born in Carrabelle. I know what Carrabelle sounds like and you ain’t it.”
The man laughed, “No originally I’m from Poland.”
“No kidding? I’m Polish too.”
“Pardon me?”
“Well, I’ve never been to Poland but my grandmother on my mother’s side was from Poland and her husband was too.”
The man stood there staring at me for a long while. Then he smiled and said.
“Let me tell you something. I was born and raised in Poland. I lived there for forty years. Finally I was luckily enough to be allowed to come over here to this country. I know Poland and I know Polish people. You are not Polish.”
“I’m not? Well when my grandmother finds this out she is going to be very disappointed.”
“I doubt that very much,” added the old man. “If I know anything about your grandmother and I think I do, she came over here to become an American. Her children were born here and that makes them Americans. You were born here of American parents and that makes you a double American. Son, take my word on this, you are one hundred percent American. If you leave Carrabelle and travel to any country in the world as soon as you open your mouth those people will know that you are American. You have got American in your blood; it is written all over your face. It is in the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you act, the things you believe. It is your attitude, your style, your manner, your custom - it is everything about you. I know Polish and I know American, believe me you are American. You can not be anything else - even if you want to be. You are American through and through.”
After the old man left I began thinking. It was kind of peculiar. I was born and raised in this country but in all of my life living here, no one had ever before called me an American. I have been called a lot of other things but never an American - and certainly never has anyone ever said that I was a one hundred percent American. And when finally someone does call me an American it is a guy with a foreign accent from Poland.
And in addition to all that, unless I was reading this guy wrong, he thought that my being a “one hundred percent American” was a good thing and not a bad one.
I don’t know which of those two revelations is the more shocking – that I am a “one hundred percent American” or that someone in this world today thinks that being an American is actually “a good thing”.

Richard E. Noble has been an “Eastpointer” for around thirty years now. He has authored two books: “A Summer with Charlie” which is currently listed on and “Hobo-ing America” which should be listed on Amazon in the not too distant future. Most recently he completed his first novel “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother” which will be published soon.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Manya Sklodovska

Manya Sklodovska 1867-1934

By Richard E. Noble

Manya Sklodovska was just another dumb Polack; one of those inferior Slavic types who would have been executed or worked to death if Adolf Hitler had his druthers a century later. I found out about Manya by way of a second hand bookstore where I found this tattered worn copy of her life, written by her daughter. This book is no “Mommy Dearest”. This book written by a daughter about her Mother is inspirational.
Manya had such a propensity to read books as a young girl that her school-teacher parents tried to keep them away from her. Manya was self-sacrificing, an attribute that is much disparaged today. She sacrificed her own educational opportunities to work as a governess and put her siblings through school. When she finally did get her opportunity to learn, she worked so hard and skimped so, even on food in order to buy books that she nearly succumbed in her own ardent efforts.
She was pursued by a quiet, passionate young man, a student of science who was amazed by Manya’s scientific understanding. She also excelled in Math. They had a wonderful and lasting relationship until his death in a terrible shocking tragedy. Together, the two of them working with scanty funds in an unheated shed made a discovery that won them the Nobel Prize on December 10th, 1903. In December of 1911 she won her second Nobel Prize - this time in chemistry. Twenty-four years later, in the same hall in Sweden, another of her daughters, Irene won the same award.
During World War I she adapted the discovery of Roentgen, the X-ray, to a Red Cross vehicle and along with her daughter drove across battlefields servicing field hospital surgeons in their attempts to save the wounded. She twice refused the cross of the Legion of Honor claiming that she was only a soldier doing her duty.
She was the first female professor, and the first female head of a science department at the Sorbonne. She established the first institute of science in her native Poland. The list of her accomplishments goes on and on. She is without doubt one of the most amazing woman that I have ever read about. Every time that I look at a picture of this great woman, I see in her eyes another not so great dumb Polack, my grand-mother, and it makes me proud.
This book is entitled simply “Madame Curie” and it was written by one of her daughters, Eve Cure. In my opinion, this is a must-read for any young girl today. Don’t miss it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Danbury Hatters Case 1908

"America on Strike"

By Richard E. Noble

Loewe and associates in Danbury, Connecticut manufactured hats. They refused to allow a union into their shop. The United Hatters Union instituted a boycott. The hatter’s union had branches in twenty one other states. A man by the name of Lawlor was the agent for the United Hatters of North America. The boycott went rather well. Loewe’s business was suffering. Instead of discussing the situation with the union, Loewe decided to file a suit against Mr. Lawlor and the Hatter’s Union. Loewe charged that the Hatter’s Union was in effect a monopoly and that it was acting illegally in combination conspiring to restrain interstate trade. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 had supposedly banned trusts and monopolies from acting in such a way.
Businessmen felt that it was not only their legal right to conduct their businesses in any way that they saw fit, but that this was pretty much the law of nature and of God. The government had no right to interfere. The businessman’s right to hire and fire human beings was a part of the businessmen legal property rights. The fact that businesses were rapidly turning into monopolies and controlling everybody’s rights seemed to be of no consequence. Yet even though businessmen felt that they had the right to monopolize things, many citizens, workers, consumers and a few politicians thought otherwise. The result was the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. This Act was actually made into law by a Senator Hoar.
Many people were afraid of huge concentrations of wealth in the hands of a few. This was the situation throughout the United State at that time. A very few men owned and controlled most everything. The legislative intent of the law was to restrict, minimize and inhibit the spread of these few men and their business trusts and monopolies. After passage of the Bill twenty-five new trusts were formed in the next five years. No business trust or monopoly was ever brought up on charges of violating this law. Instead the law was shuffled and re-interpreted to undermine and shut down unions and the union movement. It was first used successfully in the Pullman strike against Eugene V. Debs. Debs went to prison. Now it was the Hatter’s turn.
The Hatter’s Union, it was determined by the United States Supreme Court, was without doubt a powerful organization. Its boycotting activities were most definitely restraining Mr. Loewe’s hat sales in several different states. For this reason it was decided that The United Hatters constituted an illegal combination which was acting in a way to restrain interstate trade and thus meet the terms and conditions specified in the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
Not only was the Hatter’s Union ordered to stop its boycotting activities but Mr. Loewe and associates were awarded a cash settlement for the financial damages done to their business. The company had estimated its damages at around $74,000. The court decided to award them triple that amount. The Hatter’s Union was ordered to pay Loewe and associates $232,240.12.
In 1911 the case was brought before the Circuit Court of Appeals. The Hatter’s Union lost once again. In 1922 action was taken by the courts to levy upon the property of the individual members of the Hatter’s Union.
Good-bye Hatter’s Union. This decision now made it possible according to Samuel Gompers, for the business community in co-operation with the courts to dissolve any union in America.
Slowdowns were considered sabotage; walkouts were met with shutouts, close-outs and literal starvation. Talks and discussions via collective bargaining were considered by bosses to be intimidation and threat. Strikes were met with machine guns, club wielding strikebreakers, Pinkerton gangsters and criminals, followed by the State Militia and Federal troops. Economic stances such as boycotts were now considered acts in restraint of trade under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and the Clayton Act that was to follow. What was left as a course of action for the workers living and working in recognized poverty, filth, and starvation? We shall see.

*Books used in this essay include: “Recent American History”, by Lester B. Shippee; “The American Pageant” A History of the Republic, by Thomas A, Bailey; “Labor Problems in American Industry” by Carroll R. Daugherty; “American Economic History” by H. U. Faulkner;” Summaries of Leading Cases on the Constitution” Paul C. Bartholomew, page 150.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Mark Twain's Weapons of Satire

“Mark Twain’s Weapons of Satire”

Edited by Jim Zwick

Book Review

By Richard E. Noble

As the old joke goes about the more one reads, the more he realizes how little he knows - so does it seem with Mark Twain, and the Philippines.
I’m sure that there are many out there today that are unaware that the United States had a war in the Philippines in the early 1900’s.
Actually the war in the Philippines was a part of the war that we call “the Spanish American War”. That is the war that Hearst and Pulitzer are so famous for promoting - do you “remember the Maine”.
Well, in any case, as a part of that war Dewy defeated the Spanish Fleet over in the Philippines. The Spanish really weren’t all that challenging to defeat as I read in my history books but that victory then led to a ground war of occupation in the Philippines.
The United States’ part in this occupation, in every account that I have read thus far, is a horror story.
If one takes the time to research this war one will come upon pictures of Nazi-type mass graves and disgraceful Mai Lai type atrocities with the American army under some famous or notorious generals as the perpetrators. One was Arthur MacArthur, father of the famous Douglas MacArthur; another was a General Frederick Funston who it seems indirectly called for Mark Twain to be hanged for treason; and General Leonard Wood, a Rough Rider and Teddy “good buddy” who benefited greatly from his association with the famous War-hero president. He was appointed Governor of Cuba and then governor of the Moro Province in the southern Philippines.
It seems that Mark Twain became the head spokesperson for an anti-war group called “The Anti-Imperialist League”.
Some of the writings in this book were not published while Mark Twain was alive and there are several that were never published at all - until, of course, their inclusion in this book.
If you are a Mark Twain buff you know that Mark Twain was more than just a humorist and that he had many strong likes and dislikes.
He was not a fan of organized religion. He was not a fan of the Bible. And if you read some of his writings that have been published since his death it seems that he may not have been much of a fan of God altogether.
He didn’t think much of the Boer War or Winston Churchill and he was adamantly opposed to America’s Imperial policies under president McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt. He was not all that keen on McKinley or Teddy personally either.
On the other hand, though he never has said directly what he thought about the Civil War he was very admiring of General Grant. In fact, Mark Twain published Grant’s Memoirs for him and made sure Mrs. Grant got the proceeds.
He wrote a funny little piece about his part in the Civil War but shortly thereafter he took Horace Greeley’s advice to young draftees and went “West Young Man”.
He clearly admired the Young Filipino hero and revolutionary Emilio Aguinaldo. Of course, since we were at war with the “revolutionary” insurgents in the Philippines, to be admiring of Aguinaldo was comparable to Jane Fonda admiring Ho Chi Mm during the Viet Nam conflict, and many Americans in Twain’s day felt exactly that way.
Mark Twain says some very anti-American stuff in this book. He was not one that favored the “My County Right or Wrong” slogan. He had some extremely negative things to say about patriotism and those who use it and the American Flag to spew vindictiveness and hate and lies and positive war propaganda. To be quite honest he says some things in this book that would have Jane Fonda blushing.
So if you have always considered Mark Twain as the all American boy, pure red, white and blue rah, rah, rah, and a true replica of what it is to be a “real” patriotic, god-fearing, American, you may have some re-evaluating to do here.
It may be that in the not too distant future poor, old Mark Twain will be going into the right-wing trash bin along with other notables like Tom Paine, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, Thomas Jefferson and of course Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

You Ain't From Around Here

The Eastpointer

“You Ain’t from Around Here, Are Ya?”

By Richard E. Noble

I suppose that there are a few out there who might incorrectly assume that because a person has lived in the town of Eastpoint for thirty years or so, he could rightfully call himself an “Eastpointer”. I am not so naive. I would never, even in my wildest dream tell anyone that I was an Eastpointer. I could no more be an Eastpointer than if captured by a Seminole as a child and held on a reservation for thirty years would I be an Indian.
But when introducing myself to people from far off and distant places like “Tallahassee” for example, I can refer to myself as an “Eastpointer” because what the heck would they know, anyway. They probably wouldn’t know an Oysterman from a Fisherman, a Crabber from a Picker, a Shucker from a Culler or a Dealer from a Deck Hand.
Often here in this neighborhood people refer to me as a “Yankee” - sometimes even as a “damn Yankee”.
I was informed the very first night that I arrived here in Eastpoint of the difference between the two definitions.
The wife and I were at the old Charlie’s Bar when a rather large fellow with a mud stained T-shirt, a baseball cap and a pair of ragged looking stained white rubber boots came up to the bar next to where we were sitting. He looked me up and down rather curiously, and then said, “You ain’t from around here, are ya?”
My first thought was how did this guy come to the conclusion that I “wasn’t from around here”? I mean it wasn’t like I was Chinese or something. I wasn’t dressed in a Tuxedo or sporting a Gene Autry cowboy shirt and ten gallon, Wild West hat. I mean before landing here in Eastpoint, I had been from one corner of this country to another. My wife and I had traveled from Oregon and Washington State to Fort Lauderdale and Key West, Florida, from Baja and San Diego, California to Portland, Maine and Boston, Mass, from the upper peninsula of Michigan to Port Isabel, Texas. Like the song said “We had been everywhere man.” And in traveling to all these different places no one ever looked at us and said “You ain’t from around here, are ya?” That was wierd.
“No I ain’t,” I said.
“I didn’t think so. Where are you from anyway?”
“Well, before we arrived here we were working in Orlando.”
“You ain’t from Orlando.”
“You mean where was I born and raised?”
“Yeah, that’s what I mean.”
“Well, originally I’m from New England - Massachusetts in particular.”
“That is just what I thought! You’re a Yankee.”
Now I thought that was rather peculiar. All the many years that I had lived in New England nobody had ever called me a Yankee. I was raised in a town up there that was called the “Immigrant City”. We had somewhere around 40 to 60 different nationalities who had settled there over the generations. I had been called a “Polack” and I had been called a “Harp” and I had sometimes been called a “Limey” depending on which of my immediate ancestors my accuser was familiar with. But no one had ever called me a Yankee.
“What the heck is a Yankee anyway?” I asked.
“Well there’s two kinds,” he said. “Let me ask you a question. Are you just passing through or are you lookin’ to buy a place and settle here?”
“At the moment we ain’t planning on settling anywhere,” I said. “We plan on staying any place that we can find work.”
“Well, we got plenty of that around here. But if you ain’t thinking of settling here and you’re just planning on passing through that would make you just a plan old Yankee.”
“And if I was planning on settling in?”
“Well, in that case you would be one of them damn Yankees.”
Everybody around the bar laughed. When the big gentleman walked away the bartender said “Don’t mind him. He don’t mean nothin’ by it. He kian’t help himself … he’s an Eastpointer.”
At this point I still don’t know if being known as an Eastpointer is a good thing or a bad thing. When my wife and I began our careers as “oyster people” we were working for this fellow who owned a little campground down by the water’s edge. We were standing on the “hill” one morning warming our hands over a small fire when I asked the old “salt” if he was originally from Eastpoint. He immediately began laughing and slapping his thighs and elbowing everyone standing around him. “He thinks I’m an Eastpointer,” the man said laughing and sputtering. “Can you believe that?”
Well after the laughing and sputtering died down, I followed up and said, “Well where are you from anyway?” I was sure that he was going to tell me that he was from Georgia or Alabama, or Louisiana or some place like that, but instead he proclaimed, “Why I’m from Carrabelle originally. I don’t have no relation to none of these folks over this a way.”
So there you go.
My conclusion was that if Carrabelle was a separate entity to this “Eastpointer” then maybe being a Yankee wasn’t all that distant either.

Richard E. Noble has been an “Eastpointer” for around thirty years now. He has authored two books: “A Summer with Charlie” which is currently listed on and “Hobo-ing America” which should be listed on Amazon in the not too distant future. Most recently he completed his first novel “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother” which will be published and on sale soon.