Sunday, November 30, 2014

The new illegals….

Quiet! Keep your head down. No flashlights. Remember “Jo Ann Castle"....


From The Manitoba Herald , Canada
By Clive Runnels

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration. The recent actions of the Tea Party are prompting an exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray, and to agree with Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night. "I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota . “The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left before I even got a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?”

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. He then installed loudspeakers that blared Rush Limbaugh across the fields. "Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through and Rush annoyed the cows so much that they wouldn't give any milk.”

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons and drive them across the border where they are simply left to fend for themselves. "A lot of these people are not prepared for our rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a single bottle of imported drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley Cabernet, though."

When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about plans being made to build re-education camps where liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR races.

In recent days, liberals have turned to ingenious ways of crossing the border. Some have been disguised as senior citizens taking a bus trip to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans in blue wig disguises, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior citizens about Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to prove that they were alive in the '50s. "If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we become very suspicious about their age," an official said.
Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and are renting all the Michael Moore movies "I really feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. "How many art history majors does one country need?"

OK, OK, your pulse is pounding, I know….here’s the splash of cold water:

The Manitoba Herald was last published in the late 19th century, and it seems that Clive Runnels is a pseudonym. The original source of this droll spoof is unknown.

I offer it as a wry commentary on current events.

And in case this will help you out:  the name of Lawrence Welk’s honky-tonk piano player was Jo Ann Castle.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving without football?

Thanksgiving without football?

Yeah, right.

Except, in 1762, it was a bit of a different story:

Readers of the Providence Gazette on November 13, 1762, would have spotted this good news, namely, a proclamation by Rhode Island Gov. Samuel Ward:

“ALMIGHTY GOD in the Course of His wise and gracious Providence, having vouchsafed many great and signal Favours to the Kingdoms of Great-Britain and Ireland, to the British Plantations, and to this Colony in particular, the General Assembly passed an ACT, appointing THURSDAY the Eighteenth Instant, to be observed as a Day of Public Thanksgiving . . .

“AND that the said Day may be religiously observed, as a Day of public Worship and Thanksgiving, without any Interruption, I do strictly inhibit and forbid any servile Labor to be done thereon, and all Manner of Sports and Pastimes.”

Americans wouldn’t get around to organizing the National Football League until 1920, so that last bit about forbidding “all Manner of Sports and Pastimes” probably wasn’t a great big deal to the Rhode Islanders in the middle of the 18th century….

Y’know, the bigtime sports and pastimes in the colonial era were winners like ninepins, cockfighting and dueling, I guess folks could pass on these for one day without too much pain….

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Never hurts to check the gate again….

See, the whole gate thing….

What’s stopping you from doing what you really want to do?

It never hurts to mosey past the gate again, just to check…. 

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Define “prosecutor”….

Just a few facts about Robert McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecutor who handled the grand jury on the Ferguson police shooting case.

McCulloch didn't ask the grand jury to consider any specific charge against Darren Wilson, the white cop who shot Michael Brown, an unarmed young black man, on Aug. 9. Although he’s the prosecutor, McCulloch abstained from all prosecutorial leadership of the grand jury’s investigation. Keep in mind that a grand jury isn’t responsible for determining guilt or innocence; a grand jury is only responsible for deciding that there is probable cause for an indictment that will be adjudicated in a trial.

McCulloch has been the county prosecutor since 1991. During his entire career, he has never brought charges against a police officer in a shooting incident.

McCulloch’s father, a police officer, was killed in the line of duty by a black man.

You make your own inferences.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Darren Wilson……J’accuse!

The St. Louis County grand jury decided it would not indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, on August 9.

I respect the process of the legal system.

I do not respect this outcome.

There’s no reason for anyone to be proud of that work.

Just for perspective, take one whole minute and imagine that you’re a young black man.

p.s. read Darren Wilson’s grand jury testimony here, decide for yourself if you believe it

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

You infer, I infer….

Almost half of the Republicans in Congress represent the southern states that were the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. There are no more white Democrats from southern states in Congress.

Among all Congressional Republicans, 1 out of 10 comes from Texas.

You make your own inferences….

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

It’s official: real news is, you know....

The three major TV networks and Fox News didn't carry President Obama’s high-profile address about immigration reform last Thursday night.

So I guess it’s more or less official—in case you were still wondering—the networks and Fox care more about entertaining their prime-time audiences than they do about bringing real news to the American public.

The president’s executive action on minimizing deportations and on other elements of reforming America’s sadly oppressive immigration policies has stirred up a hornet’s nest in Congress and across the land.

The networks and Fox knew this would happen—everybody knew it would happen, we just didn’t know the big fat details until Thursday night.

A presidential address on a subject of immense importance to millions of immigrant Americans, and a subject of immense controversy among our political leadership and tens of millions of Americans, is the kind of thing that should be broadcast as widely as possible.

What were the networks and Fox thinking?

Ooops, I forgot….November is ratings sweeps month for the TV industry….and the ratings racked up during the month-long audience-counting sweeps period are the basis for establishing TV advertising rates.

Entertainment and cash flow. That’s what it’s all about.

p.s. the president’s address was vintage Obama, regardless of your political position, it’s worth watching it here

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The wisdom of William Faulkner

“The past is never dead.
                    It’s not even past.”

William Cuthbert Faulkner (1897-1962)
American writer, winner of Nobel and Pulitzer prizes

Remember “the good old days” and “the bad old days”….?

We’re living in them right now.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

“…the commotions in America…”

A war by any other name....

It seems not everyone in London languished in post-war pain for years and years after the American colonists won the Revolutionary War.

Shortly after the November 20, 1785, death of Sir James Wright, the last British royal governor of the colony of Georgia, a London newspaper commented on his colonial service in his obituary:

“… As he presided in [Georgia] for two and twenty years with distinguished ability and integrity, it seems to be a tribute justly due to his merit as a faithful servant of his king and Country. Before the commotions in America, his example of industry and skill in the cultivation and improvement of Georgia was of eminent advantage…”

We call it the “Revolutionary War.”

The late 18th century obituary writer in the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser called it “the commotions in America.”

I guess there was some small comfort in taking that point of view….

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Keystone Pipeline steel – from India

Here are a couple tidbits about the notorious Keystone XL Pipeline proposed by TransCanada Corp. to bring its Canadian tar sands product to the Texas Gulf Coast for refining.

The CEO of TransCanada said recently that, after completion of the pipeline, it would support about 50 permanent new jobs. Although proponents of the pipeline have been claiming it would massively create new jobs, the sober estimates are that several thousand temporary workers would be hired to build the pipeline, some for as little as two months….

.…and while we’re on the subject of American jobs: TransCanada has already acquired the steel pipe for the project and put in storage—it was purchased from India.

One more point: the Keystone pipeline isn’t going to do much to further American energy independence. Obviously, America doesn’t own the Canadian tar sands, TransCanada owns it and wants to sell it—and TransCanada hasn’t attempted to conceal the prospect that some or a lot of the refined end products at Texas refineries will be put on the world market for sale to the highest bidder.


Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mandate for change? well, not really….

Regardless of what you thought you were voting for on Nov. 4, the usual suspects are still running the show in Congress.

You know, some things just don’t change much. If more people would bother to vote, that might change in the future.

In America today, people have more respect for cockroaches, more or less, than they do for Congress.

Yet, in the U. S. House, with all 435 seats in play, only 18 incumbents were defeated on Nov. 4.

In the Senate, with 36 seats in play, only 4 incumbents were defeated.

Both parties in the House and Senate re-elected the same people for leadership positions, these are people who deserve to have their pictures on the wall in every Post Office: McConnell, Reid, Boehner, Pelosi….

In the House, with women filling almost 20 percent of the elected seats, the Republicans named 20 men to be the new committee chairs from the majority party, and boldly retained Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) as chairwoman of the Administration Committee, which serves the American people by overseeing the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and the National Zoo.

In terms of its membership and leadership and damn near everything else, it’s the same old same old….

We need more people to vote in 2016.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

$290 million for coming up short….

I wonder how much Bill Gross would have pulled down if his Total Return Fund had actually outperformed the stock market in 2013?

See, he got a bonus of $290 million last year for his dubious work as Chief Investment Officer for the Pacific Investment Management Co.

The thing is, his flagship Total Return Fund was in the bottom third of its class in terms of total return in 2013. When it had $293 billion under management in April 2013, the Total Return Fund was the largest mutual fund in the world.

So, the investors got screwed, and Gross got $290 million.

Who thinks that’s right?


Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Just say “No”

Pick a cheaper college....that's the ticket!

A new report says that 70% of college graduates leave the campus with a bachelor’s degree and a big bill to pay.

These students have an average of $28,400 in student debt.

And these are students from public and private non-profit colleges. The for-profit colleges refuse to report the debt burdens of their students, so it’s a good bet the real number for the whole nation is higher.

Monthly student debt repayments are a big problem for new graduates, many of whom are facing serious obstacles to getting a job.

Has anyone thought of this "solution"?

Next year, every student who wants to go to college should choose a college that he/she can attend without borrowing any money....of course, Mom and Dad should help out as usual.

I'll confess my bias: for most students it really doesn't matter much which college they attend. 

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

“Spell backwards, forwards.”

Take a look at this dreadful beauty—it’s a voter “literacy test” from Louisiana in 1964.

This is what faced black and white prospective voters in the Pelican State who couldn’t prove they had at least a 5th grade education.

Except, of course, some election officials (all white) sometimes forgot to administer the test to some white folks who wanted to vote….

This kind of absurd discrimination was outlawed by the 1965 Voting Rights Act. For the moment, let’s not even bring up today’s version, namely, photo IDs….

Folks who wanted to vote had 10 minutes to complete this so-called “literacy test,” and one wrong answer meant failure.

I wonder how many Louisiana election officials could read this document in 1964, or explain each item in clear English….

You’re literate. Give this a try.

Set the timer for 10 minutes.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The new “poll tax”….

The new wave of Republican restrictions on voter registration and actual voting may seem like an academic issue to many folks, but for the poor, it’s real and it’s a knockout. reports that even something as seemingly mundane as getting a photo ID can be painfully expensive for folks at the lower end of the socio-economic scale who are least likely to have one already.

A Harvard Law School study estimates the cost of obtaining an ID ranges from $75 to $175, when you add up all fees, travel/parking costs, lost pay from taking time off from the job….

If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, or living with no paycheck at all, that kind of expense can make it effectively impossible to get the ID needed to vote.

By the way, the infamous Jim Crow poll tax that was finally invalidated by the Supreme Court in 1966 was only $1.50 (about $11 in current dollars).

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

“Voter apathy” isn’t quite right….

I’m reading about “voter apathy” in the after-action analysis of  last Tuesday’s midterm elections, a Republican win for sure.

I don’t think that’s the right word for it.

It’s more like “citizen apathy,” because voting is one thing a lot of people didn't do last week.

In fact, the turnout nationwide was the lowest since 1942.

The current estimate is that barely more than 36% of folks eligible to vote actually did so....that's slightly more than half the number of folks who voted in the 2012 presidential election.

In Indiana, only about 28% of those who could have voted actually went to the polls.

When the norm is to skip voting, by what tortured definition can we claim that we live in a democratic republic?

I fear that millions and tens of millions of Americans are going to be hurt by what the new Congress will do and refuse to do in the next two years. I suspect that most of them couldn’t be bothered to vote last week.

It’s a dreadful mystery to me.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank you for your service to our country

You know a veteran. Join me in saying “Thank you” today.

U.S. Marines, Belleau Wood, WWI

Iwo Jima, WWII
US Marines, Danang, Vietnam
US Air Force pilot

US troops in Iraq

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Monday, November 10, 2014

The wisdom of Harry S. Truman (part 2)

Well, sure, this is a bit dated, and, sure, it’s partisan as all heck, and, gosh, it’s not true that every Republican is like this….

“Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home—but not for housing. They are strong for labor—but they are stronger for restricting labor's rights. They favor the minimum wage—the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all—but they won't spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine—for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing—but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think the American standard of living is a fine thing—so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” 

Harry S. Truman (1884-1972)
33rd President of the United States, straight talker

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tuesday voters: older, whiter….

Shame on the folks who didn't vote on Tuesday

I realize I may be yelling at some of my friends and acquaintances.

There are plenty of excuses for not voting, but there aren’t any good excuses except for the ones that start “on my way out to vote I fell down the stairs and broke both legs….”

Here’s a preliminary report from NBC, this has to be a guess based on exit polling, so we’ll look for more accurate figures later….

….but the accurate numbers are likely to be in this ballpark.

I’m trying to understand it, but mostly I don’t get it.

It’s dreadful that so many folks repeatedly decline to vote, when the election outcomes for so many folks are so clearly a threat to their personal self-interests.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Will the Republicans work at governing?

I voted for President Obama the last two times around, so I’m not seeing much good news in the election results this morning.

I’m afraid that the next two years could be a very bad time for Americans, America and our system of government.

Maybe I’ll be surprised.

Maybe the Republicans in Congress will respect the fact that the will of the people put a Democrat in the White House two years ago.

President Obama has already figured out that Republicans control both the Senate and the House.

Maybe the Republicans in Congress will decide to work with the president to start governing the country.

We’re going to need compromise all over the place to start passing legislation to boost growth in our national economy, help create jobs for the millions of Americans who want to work, tackle the rebuilding of our transportation infrastructure, work on smart energy policy that won’t fry our planet, deal with our education problems….

The election is over.

In Washington, let’s stop the yelling, and get to work.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When is a condo not a home?

Well, for starters, if you own an expensive condo in midtown Manhattan but you don’t live there, then it’s not a home.

There’s some weird stuff going on in the prime big city residential markets all over the globe: folks with a lot of money are buying apartments, co-ops and condos for great big bucks, but they’re not putting any food in the frig in these places….because they don’t live there.

Two weeks ago the Sunday New York Times did a shocking piece on this, read it here.

For example, in a cozy section of Manhattan—between 56th and 63rd streets, between Park and Fifth avenues, at the southeast corner of Central Park—more than half of the high-priced digs are vacant more than 10 months a year.

Their owners use them infrequently, or, as investors, never.

For example, Trump Tower (721 Fifth Avenue) has 237 units, some with price tags north of $25 million—only 108 of them qualify under city property tax rules as primary residences. In 129 of these units, no one's home.

Many of the folks who own this expensive, empty housing are not New Yorkers, and many of them are foreign nationals.

It seems like part of the reason that housing in New York City is so expensive is that a lot of the existing housing stock isn’t being lived in.

I wonder where the Trump Tower doormen live?

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

You owe it to yourself to vote

One recent study indicates only 26 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds plan to vote in the midterm elections tomorrow.

Shame on the rest of them.

Shame on everyone who cares about bad government, who cares about what happens to our society, who cares about people with power who aren’t doing the right thing, who consciously cares about her own self-interest….and doesn’t plan to bother to vote tomorrow.

I’m not just saying “It’s your civic duty to vote.”

I’m saying that, if you care about that stuff, then refusing to vote isn’t a good strategy.

Dare to vote for candidates who are better than the ones who got elected last time.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Gull watch

Sassy gulls, squabbling,

   not quite ignoring me, ‘cause

       I might drop a crumb….

Aug 18, 2014
Narragansett, RI

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Memento mori….

Plenty of ink has been spilled on the topic of old soldiers, here are a few pictures (maybe) worth a thousand words….

The Brown University Library offers a collection of mid-19th century photographs of old soldiers, veterans of the Napoleonic Wars in the early years of that century.

Here are a few examples, very likely taken on May 5, 1858, in Paris during a veterans’ celebration:

Quartermaster Fabry of the 1st Hussars

Sergeant Taria,Grenadiere de la Garde, 1809-1815

Monsieur Moret of the 2nd Regiment, 1814-1815

These photos suggest to me a somewhat macabre passivity….these old gents submitted to the photographer after squeezing into their uniforms yet again, they consciously or unconsciously disdained the passage of time, perhaps not even imagining that they were much closer to death than to their days of glory….

I think of the possibly apocryphal words reportedly whispered by slaves in ritual warning to proud Roman generals as they paraded in triumph:

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Memento mori.

[Thus passes the glory of the world.]

[Remember (that you have) to die.]

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014