Quote of the Day

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.-- George Orwell

“I would rather be a swineherd at Amagerbro and be understood by the swine than be a poet and be misunderstood by people.” ― Søren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

The opinions, rants and absurdities expressed herein belong solely to the founder of RBPD. Read with caution. Content may induce nausea, confusion, vertigo, tears, hallucinations, anger, pity, reflexive piety, boredom, convulsions, lightheadedness, a fit of ague, or an opposing view.

Books by RBP writers: Round Bend Press Books. For RBP's writing and editing services go here.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Lazy




















Computer definitely slow. Plugged in and losing power?

Don't even want to deal with it.  Want to be lazy instead.


TS

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Slow Night

My WiFi is cutting in and out a lot these days.  Or my computer is blinkering, littered with viruses courtesy of N. Korea or one of the thousands of U.S. intelligence agencies.

Some good football on now, ex-OSU coach Mike Riley being interviewed about his new job at Nebraska.

Humble guy, a good "old" coach.

Good luck, Mike.


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Friday, December 26, 2014

The Great Levine













Did Obama suddenly see the light?

It is not likely. It is more likely by far that he is as wary as any President before him of what Noam Chomsky calls “the threat of a good example.”

Why did he do it then?   He must have felt that he had no choice.

He must have realized that, thanks to America’s declining position in Latin America and the world, the time was right to reset American-Cuban relations on a realist basis.

He deserves credit for that. Even with the diplomats of many nations and the Pope at his back, it took courage.

This must have been especially hard for a man who has otherwise been distinguished only for vain attempts at placating his most retrograde and obdurate domestic opponents. Anti-Castro animosity runs deep in their quarters.

“Realism” is the name that political scientists give to the default position in diplomacy. The idea, basically, is that a country’s foreign policy does, and ought to, advance its national interests in more or less the way that economic theorists think that economic agents normally do, and ought to, maximize their own interests.

Realism seems commonsensical enough, though this impression can fade when the concept of a national interest is subjected to scrutiny.

What is its connection to the interests of the nation’s people and to the interests of its economic and political elites? If, as seems hard to deny, national interests typically coincide with ruling class interests, why should anyone outside elite circles care about advancing them?

These are interesting questions to ponder.   For now, though, it will be best just to concede that these and other similarly vexing questions can be answered — well enough to conclude that countries really do have free-standing national interests that are not just misleading names for something else; in other words, that the basic intuition realism articulates is sound.

Andrew Levine is on a roll.


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Out on an Island
















Ten years later, there are no large national monuments erected in memory of those who suffered in the aftermath of the disaster. There is not even a national archive of those who lost their lives. Small memorials dot the coast, but most are in serious need of a good paint job.

In the decade since the tsunami, Sri Lanka has undergone massive change. The nearly 30-year-old war is over; the displaced have returned to new or repaired homes; and for the majority of the island, the crashing waves have been relegated to the realm of a bad, fading nightmare.

But for the tens of thousands who lived through the catastrophe in 2004, the terror of that day will never be forgotten. And while development picks up around the island, with shining new roads leading the way to luxury tourist destinations, many are yet to come to terms with the loss, trauma and poverty that the tsunami brought into their lives.

Photos and story by Amantha Perera


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Thursday, December 25, 2014

War is Absurd












This year marks the 100th anniversary of World War One's legendary Christmas Truce, when English and German soldiers in the first few deathly months of the war spontaneously laid down their guns to declare their shared humanity in what one young Englishman called "one of the most extraordinary sights that anyone has ever seen." About 30,000 British soldiers up and down the Western Front took part in the truce, enraging military commanders. The next day, combat resumed until November 1, 1918. By then, over ten million soldiers had died, along with seven million civilians.--Abby Zimet at CommonDreams


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Merry Christmas



Happy birthday to Jesus Christ, iconoclastic rebel and educator, spiritual light to some, bane to others.


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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Stone

Happy birthday to I.F. Stone, journalist, who was born today in 1907 and lived for 81 years.

In 1967, Stone wrote:

Stripped of propaganda and sentiment, the Palestine problem is, simply, the struggle of two different peoples for the same strip of land. ... For me the Arab problem is also the No. 1 Jewish problem. How we act toward the Arabs will determine what kind of people we become – either oppressors and racists in our turn like those from whom we have suffered, or a nobler race able to transcend the tribal xenophobias that afflict mankind.1 (I. F. Stone, “Holy War,” New York Review of Books, August 3, 1969)

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Ha Ha

The play of the year happened in today's bowl game in the Bahamas between Central Michigan and Western Kentucky.

You don't see a final play like this often work.  Trailing by five TDs in the fourth, Central Michigan almost pulled off the miracle comeback with five straight scores.

Missed the two-point conversion for the win, though.


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Olive Bread

Oh man, CD dished me a few samples of his bread products yesterday--and I gotta tell you. It was all great stuff, but the olive bread was over-the-top good.

That was some of the best olive bread I've ever had.

Now that I've had the real deal how do I go into Safeway and take that product seriously?

Can't be done.


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Monday, December 22, 2014

Gimme the Money

Happy birthday to Diane Sawyer, celebrity journalist.

From 1962 to 1965, Sawyer was America's Junior Miss, touring the country to promote the Coca-Cola Pavilion at the 1964–1965 New York World's Fair. At first, Sawyer thought that travelling around the country as America's Junior Miss would be a terrifying experience, but it made her learn to think on her feet and do it with poise and grace.

Source: Wikipediayerass


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Poem of the Day/Poker











I'm meeting this poet for coffee tomorrow.

Poker

Retirement feels like
an all night poker game

and here I sit
with a pile of chips

and feeling good
after a night of winning

but I don't cash in
I keep playing

and hit a losing streak
fading chip by chip

and if this continues
I'll end up broke

squandering it all
because I keep playing

and this easily turning
victory into defeat.

Charles Deemer


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RIP Joe Cocker



Because who doesn't appreciate a Randy Newman cover by Joe Cocker?  Or sex while wearing a hat for that matter?


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Avoiding the Tawdry

In case it is not abundantly clear to rational-thinking ordinary folks everywhere.






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Friday, December 19, 2014

A Lose-Lose Proposition


Andrew Levine has become one of my favorite political analysts.

On the Republican side, the party’s grandees, even dearer to Wall Street than Clinton Democrats, will either succeed again in keeping their useful but refractory idiots in line or they will not.

If they do, the Republicans will again nominate someone their base will despise. We saw how that worked out in 2012.

On the other hand, if the base gets its way, those “uncommitted” voters on whom the outcomes of American elections depend will be scared off again, as well they should be.

More from Mr. Levine at CounterPunch.


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Real Playoff

No one will ever know if Baylor and TCU could have beaten the other big boys in the FBS playoff because they were subjectively shunned by the TV broadcasters and the "committee" to fit a stone-cold marketing paradigm.

But fortunately for me, I get to watch a real playoff game tonight--the entertainment of Sam Houston vs. North Dakota State in the FCS championship semifinal.

The way it oughta be.


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Raiders Become NAIA Champs

Southern Oregon University's football team is playing for the NAIA National Championship this afternoon.

Go Raiders!

Won it.  Never seriously threatened.


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Keith Richards



Happy birthday to Keith Richards, guitarist (Dec. 18.1943 to present).


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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Poem of the Day


















Closings

                               1

“Always Be Closing,” Liam told us—
ABC of real estate, used cars,
and poetry. Liam the dandy
loved Brooks Brothers shirts, double-breasted
suits, bespoke shoes, and linen jackets.
On the day Liam and Tree married
in our backyard, Liam and I wore
Chuck’s burgundy boho-prep high-tops
that Liam bought on Fifth Avenue.


                               2

When the rain started, we moved indoors
and Liam read a Quartet aloud.
T.S. Eliot turned old and frail
at sixty, pale, preparing for death.
Then poets of new generations
died—Frank O’Hara first, then Jim Wright
with throat cancer in a Bronx hospice,
Sylvia Plath beside the oven,
Thom Gunn of an overdose, Denise


                               3

Levertov, Bob Creeley, Jane Kenyon...
In a New York bar, Liam told me
eccentric, affectionate stories
about a road trip in Tree’s country
of Montana, and the joy they felt
in the abundance of their marriage.
At Bennington Tree said, “Fourteen years
after the wedding in your backyard,
I love Liam with my entire heart.”


                               4

Liam’s face changed quickly as he spoke,
eyes and mouth erupting with gusto
as he improvised his outrageous,
cheerful, inventive obscenities.
When I first met him—I expounded
at a young poet’s do—his bearded
face was handsome and expressionless.
He would not defer to a poet
fifty years old! After a few months


                               5

he was revising my lines for me,
making the metaphors I couldn’t.
Even now, working at poems, I
imagine for a moment Liam
disassembling them. A year ago
he watched the progress of age turn me
skeletal, pale flesh hanging loosely
in folds from my arms, and thin rib-bones
like grates above a sagging belly.


                               6

His body would never resemble
my body. Four or five times a week
we wrote letters back and forth, talking
about class structure, about how Tree
took charge over the Academy
of American Poets, about
poems and new attacks on free speech...
When I won a notorious prize,
Liam sent me eighty-one notions


                               7

about projects I might undertake.
Number fifty-six instructed me:
“Urge poets to commit suicide.”
His whole life he spoke of suicide
lightly, when he wasn’t preserving
the First Amendment from Jesse Helms,
or enduring two colon cancers,
or watching films, or chatting with Tree,
or undergoing heart surgeries.


                               8

If he walked their dog Keeper one block,
he had to take nitroglycerin.
When Jane was dying, Liam and Tree
drove up to say goodbye. I wheelchaired
Jane to a pile of books by her chair
to find the color plate of Caillebotte’s
shadowy kitchen garden at Yerres
for the jacket of Otherwise, when
Tree would design it. I think of Jane’s


                               9

horror if she were alive to know
that on August fifteenth Liam pulled
the shotgun’s trigger. The night before,
wearing a tux over a yellow
silk shirt, he danced with Tree once again,
before bed and the morning’s murder.
He left Tree alone and desolate
but without anger. Tree knew Liam
did what he planned and needed to do.

Donald Hall

Source: Poetry

An interview with Donald Hall.


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John Kennedy Toole

Happy birthday to John Kennedy Toole, New Orleans author of A Confederacy of Dunces, (Dec. 17, 1937--March 26, 1969).

Toole submitted Dunces to publisher Simon & Schuster, where it reached noted editor Robert Gottlieb. Gottlieb considered Toole talented but felt his comic novel was essentially pointless. Despite several revisions, Gottlieb remained unsatisfied, and after the book was rejected by another literary figure, Hodding Carter Jr., he shelved the novel. Suffering from depression and feelings of persecution, Toole left home on a journey around the country. He stopped in Biloxi, Mississippi to end his life by running a garden hose in from the exhaust of his car to the cabin. Some years later, his mother brought the manuscript of Dunces to the attention of novelist Walker Percy, who ushered the book into print. In 1981, Toole was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Source: Wikipedia


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Fox Piven on Zinn

Readers of this volume are likely familiar with Zinn’s opus, "A People’s History of the United States." The essays in this volume are somewhat different. A People’s History documents the struggles of ordinary Americans for a measure of justice, but it does so at a remove of several decades, and even centuries, from the people and the events it describes. These Nation essays remind us that for nearly fifty years Zinn himself was deeply involved in the major twentieth-century struggles for social justice in the United States: the emancipatory movement of African-Americans for civil and political rights and the recurrent movements against America’s imperial wars, first in Vietnam and then in Iraq and Afghanistan...

More from Frances Fox Piven as she introduces Howard Zinn's posthumous collection, Some Truths Are Not Self-Evident. 


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Monday, December 15, 2014

Alex Cox



Happy birthday to Alex Cox (Dec. 15, 1954--present), British director of Repo Man and Sid and Nancy.

Cox was almost 30 when he released Repo Man in 1984. Born outside Liverpool, England, in 1954, he attended Oxford University, Bristol University and UCLA, where he wrote a smart thesis on Spaghetti Westerns and completed a student film called Edge City for under $10,000. In the early 1980s, he fell into the punk scene in Southern California, where bands like X, Circle Jerks and The Germs were gaining prominence. Cox saw a subculture movement that “encouraged anarchic tendencies because it had revolutionary expectations” (2). Repo Man would be his opportunity to bring punk energy and oppositional politics into cinema.

Source: Senses of Cinema


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Finding Tonks

Why would a successful novelist and poet quit writing to publish at 50 and spend the rest of her life isolated, and immersed in New Age psychobabble and the Bible?

The author suggests the poet was mentally ill and then backs off, describing a normal life spent out of the limelight.

A friend from the time described (Rosemary) Tonks as something like a prophet: “Surrounded by the voices of conventional wisdom, she manifested the loner’s stare into, and the need to speak of, the indescribable future before it was too late.” But she wore this quality uneasily. She told interviewer Peter Orr in 1963: “I think it is diabolical, this getting of a poet out of his or her back room and the making of them into public figures who have to give opinions every twenty seconds.”

The rest of the essay by Ruth Graham.


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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Shirley Jackson

Happy birthday to Shirley Jackson, American author of "The Lottery" (Dec. 14, 1919--Aug.8, 1965).

She wrote to Stanley Kunitz:

I very much dislike writing about myself or my work, and when pressed for autobiographical material can only give a bare chronological outline which contains, naturally, no pertinent facts. I was born in San Francisco in 1919 and spent most of my early life in California. I was married in 1940 to Stanley Edgar Hyman, critic and numismatist, and we live in Vermont, in a quiet rural community with fine scenery and comfortably far away from city life. Our major exports are books and children, both of which we produce in abundance. The children are Laurence, Joanne, Sarah, and Barry: my books include three novels, The Road Through the Wall, Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest and a collection of short stories, The Lottery. Life Among the Savages is a disrespectful memoir of my children.


TS

Library

Discovered my baseball book on the Portland Beavers is in the public library here in Portland.

Which means you don't have to buy it if you live in the area.

I'm surprised because I once exchanged pleasantries with the book buyer at the library and was ceremoniously ignored when I suggested she put Round Bend Press titles on the shelves.

Small miracles must indeed happen.


TS

Solo

As corrupt as they are I guess you have to take any tiny morsel.

Oregon Sen. Wyden has been leading the good fight.



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St. Marcus Wins Heisman, Now What?

So much has been made of  Marcus Mariota's fine "character," angelic demeanor, good deeds and extraordinary leadership that there is zero room for doubt.

I have zero doubt that Marcus Mariota is a winner off the field as much as he is on it.

That said, nothing is written in stone. The future awaits.

One slip up by the hero in the next 60 years and the dogs will be unleashed. That is the way the gossip industry--our current mainstream media--works.

The way it works now is to build people up before you tear them down, an accelerated form of construction and demolition.

To giveth celebrity is to potentially taketh it away

If Oregon stumbles in the playoffs--and who knows what will happen there besides the armchair pundits?--the poison pens will strike like flashes of lightning.

That will not be terribly serious, but normative.

However, if Mariota stumbles as a professional, ala Joey Harrington, or this guy yesterday, he becomes fair game for the sports-minded mob.

God forbid he ever commit a transgression off the field more serious than driving his new Maserati too fast through downtown Tampa Bay.

If that happens he becomes fair game for everybody else.

Sainthood is a risky business.  It's too bad society insists on cooking up these fantastic narratives to begin with, because humanity is more complicated than sainthood.

Real life sometimes gets in the way.

Even O.J. would confess to that.


TS

Friday, December 12, 2014

Mailer's Letters














People today, even many writers, don't pen letters in the old-fashioned sense thanks to email and instant messaging, Skype, and a host of other technological creations.

A new collection of selected letters by Norman Mailer could be, among other things, a fascinating study of how the art has ebbed away.

There is much else good to tantalize and dazzle you here.


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A Criminal History


With the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture, it becomes clear that in the aftermath of the loathsome terrorist attack of 9/11, the United States entered into a new and barbarous stage in its history, one in which acts of violence and moral depravity were not only embraced but celebrated. Certainly, this is not to suggest that the United States had not engaged in criminal and lawless acts historically or committed acts of brutality that would rightly be labeled acts of torture. That much about our history is clear and includes not only the support and participation in acts of indiscriminate violence and torture practiced through and with the right-wing Latin American dictatorships in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil in the 1970s but also through the willful murder and torture of civilians in Vietnam, Iraq, and later at Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, and Afghanistan. The United States is no stranger to torture nor is it a free of complicity in aiding other countries notorious for their abuses of human rights. Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman reminded us by taking us as far back as 1979 that of the “35 countries using torture on an administrative basis in the late 1970s, 26 were clients of the United States.”

The rest of a learned piece by Henry Giroux.


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Joe Williams



Happy birthday to Joe Williams, late great American jazz and blues vocalist (Dec. 12, 1918--March 29, 1999).

He said it:

"I'm very fortunate, I think. At first I never wanted to embarrass my parents.  Later, you didn't want to embarrass humanity, especially if you were fortunate to have a gift, a gift to give society. And I learned the rules of the road very early. . . . You start by not killing yourself."


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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Awards
















The annual college football awards show is on.  St. Marcus has picked up two awards tonight with perhaps a third to come.

The Heisman is presented Sat. night.  Mariota won the Davey O'Brien Award given to the nation's best quarterback.

(Later: He also won the Maxwell and Camp awards, both given to the "best player" in college football.)

The show is pretty lame, rife with poor attempts at humor, ESPN self-love, and awkwardness.

I'd like to see an athlete turn down an award some day, say something like, "No thanks, send some money to a person who needs it instead."

Anyway, that's enough hype for me.

Congrats to Oregon and St. Marcus.

Go Ducks!


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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Emily




















Happy birthday to Emily Dickinson, American poet, rebel and sexy "recluse" (Dec. 10, 1830--May 15, 1886).


Much Madness is divinest Sense

Much Madness is divinest Sense -
To a discerning Eye -
Much Sense - the starkest Madness -
’Tis the Majority
In this, as all, prevail -
Assent - and you are sane -
Demur - you’re straightway dangerous -
And handled with a Chain -

Emily Dickinson


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Bad Apples!!

This feels very bizarre to me, like I'm in a time warp, or have just been dropped down from outer space and landed in a country filled with strangers, like the kid in "Brother from Another Planet."

Didn't we know about this stuff as early as 2002?  If not then, we certainly did by the time Abu Ghraib came into light.

Remember the hoods and hooks, the wires, the naked men stacked to the ceiling?  Remember Lynndie England pointing at a penis and giggling?

Thumbs up?

Her and her sadistic boyfriend getting off on it, torture as porn?

I distinctly recall Rumsfeld claiming Abu Ghraib was the work of "a few bad apples," or something to that effect.

Good lord, wasn't it obvious that he was lying?  I mean, I thought that was simply understood, basic.

So now the scope and breadth of the CIA's torturous work is suddenly revealed?  The Dems are finally outraged?  That the CIA lied and said torture worked when it didn't?

The corporate media, propaganda shills for the Iraq War to begin with, now have a big story?

C'mon, I don't think anyone really believed that CIA operatives were merely having a series of picnics around the world.

And what exactly is the history of the CIA other than a partially open book, page after page of nefarious behavior/policy that dates all the way back to assassinations and coups in Iran and Guatemala in the days of the Dulles brothers and Eisenhower?

The Iran/Contras scandal under the idiot Reagan?  Ollie North?  The entire crowd that floated around during those Reagan years and then resurfaced years later to join George W. Bush's team?

Halliburton's mercenaries attached to the hip...

And that's just the known knowns.

How about the unknown knowns?

Jesus Christ!  What planet am I on!?

It feels to me like people are play-acting.  And the play is atrocious.

Has anybody figured out who shot the Kennedys yet?

That'll be a big surprise when it's finally revealed, right?  Remember when Jagger/Richards said it was you and me?

Well, that was just a metaphor.


TS  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Poem of the Day














A Partial History Of My Stupidity

Traffic was heavy coming off the bridge,
and I took the road to the right, the wrong one,
and got stuck in the car for hours.

Most nights I rushed out into the evening
without paying attention to the trees,
whose names I didn't know,
or the birds, which flew heedlessly on.

I couldn't relinquish my desires
or accept them, and so I strolled along
like a tiger that wanted to spring
but was still afraid of the wildness within.

The iron bars seemed invisible to others,
but I carried a cage around inside me.

I cared too much what other people thought
and made remarks I shouldn't have made.
I was silent when I should have spoken.

Forgive me, philosophers,
I read the Stoics but never understood them.

I felt that I was living the wrong life,
spiritually speaking,
while halfway around the world
thousands of people were being slaughtered,
some of them by my countrymen.

So I walked on—distracted, lost in thought—
and forgot to attend to those who suffered
far away, nearby.

Forgive me, faith, for never having any.

I did not believe in God,
who eluded me.

Edward Hirsch

from The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (1975-2010)


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Dalton Trumbo

Happy birthday to Dalton Trumbo (Dec. 9, 1905--Sept. 10, 1976), American screenwriter and novelist who wrote the anti-war novel "Johnny Got His Gun."

A member of the Hollywood 10, he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947.  He refused to testify and was sent to prison for 11 months. Upon his release, he was blacklisted in Hollywood but wrote under various pseudonyms while living in Mexico City.

He eventually returned to the U.S. and retrieved his name and standing in the film industry.  In 1970 he said of the era and events that nearly ruined him:

"There was bad faith and good, honesty and dishonesty, courage and cowardice, selflessness and opportunism, wisdom and stupidity, good and bad on both sides; and almost every individual involved, no matter where he stood, combined some or all of these antithetical qualities in his own person, in his own acts."


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The Way We Are

The U.S. police state starts at the top and, unlike money, trickles down to communities. It is always dressed in the best military hardware our tax dollars can buy. Whether the U.S. is intent on controlling the oil fields of the Middle East or the poor in our own ghettos, violence is the surest methodology and collateral damage is, like torture or a choke hold, something we must all accept--or else.

President Barack Obama has bungled the job of appointments to key national security positions for the past six years, and the nomination of Ashton Carter will allow him to maintain his streak. Carter is the classic example of the defense intellectual who has labored in the halls of academe, and then becoming extremely hawkish as he or she attains status and influence in the halls of the Pentagon.  An important example is Carter’s views on national missile defense over the past three decades.  In the 1980s, while on the faculty of Harvard University, Carter wrote a study for the Office of Technology Assessment that assailed the effectiveness and usefulness of President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative.  As a defense department official in the Clinton and Obama administrations, however, Carter became a strong supporter of both national missile defense in the United States and even the ridiculous idea of installing a regional missile defense in Eastern Europe against the possibility of a threat from Iran.  The latter idea at least displays a certain amount of imagination.

The rest of the story from CounterPunch.


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Misstep

The ACLU stepped on a pile of dog shit yesterday.

In preparation for the much-anticipated release of the Senate's summary report on CIA torture, the head of one of the country's leading rights groups on Monday proposed a controversial solution to ensure that such crimes are never committed by the American government again: pardon President Bush and those who tortured.

Published in the New York Times op-ed pages, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero argues that an executive pardon by President Obama "may be the only way to establish, once and for all, that torture is illegal."

See the rest of it here.

Full disclosure:  The ACLU once got me off of a bad rap, so I have a proclivity to admire the organization.  But this is plainly wrongheaded.


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Disaster at 6:38

Hope this morning isn't a harbinger of the rest of the day.

I spilled the brew (all of it) from my French press onto my kitchen counter top, down the front of the counter and into the drawer space and all over the kitchen floor.

Felt like I was in an unsolvable conundrum.  I needed a cup of coffee to wake up, but I was too sleepy to make a cup of coffee (evidently).

I hesitated for a moment.  Should I clean up the mess first, or ignore it and make another cup?

This is where a rich man has an advantage.

Have the butler figure it out.


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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Final Four

Oregon vs. Florida State (Rose Bowl)
Alabama vs. Ohio State (Sugar Bowl)

Left out:  Baylor, TCU.

The committe chairman just said that the august body "didn't depend on hypotheticals" in choosing the field, which is laughable. This process was the ultimate hypothetical exercise.

A cruel, cruel hoax, right?  Nope.  Endless talk to follow.

Oh well, at least Oregon is in.


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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Funny


Happy birthday to Steven Wright (Dec. 6, 1955 to present), purposefully laconic comedian.

Wright has stated, "Someone showed me a site, and half of it that said I wrote it, I didn't write. Recently, I saw one, and I didn't write any of it. What's disturbing is that with a few of these jokes, I wish I had thought of them. A giant amount of them, I'm embarrassed that people think I thought of them, because some are really bad."


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The End of Football


Well, it didn't work on any level, just as many of us said it wouldn't.

There are five one-loss teams and one unbeaten team standing, and there are four openings in the CFP.

Two teams, minimum, and college football fans across the land are gonna get screwed.

Why?

So the elite asses can have it their way.

It sucks, like everything the rich and powerful touch.


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Friday, December 5, 2014

Oregon Wins the PAC!
























Somebody should give this guy a Heisman Trophy.

Oregon's defense came out and answered a lot of questions, and after a slow start the offense found its rhythm.

Ducks 51--13.


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Game On

I'm listening to the Arizona network stream of the Pac -12 CG.  I must say, it is a differing perspective.  The Wildcats are sure confident.  I'm not surprised.

After all, Oregon hasn't beaten the Tucson school in many moons.

Will that change tonight?

Depends on if Oregon has solved its linebacking problems.  That is the achilles heel of this Duck squad, cause for uncertainty against teams like Arizona.

Flashy skill players like Arizona's have given Oregon problems obviously, and poor tackling in space is the reason.

So there you have all the pre-game analysis I'm capable of for now.

A little nervous and edgy.  I hear the weather is bad in Santa Clara. It's a neutral field, natural grass, so maybe that won't matter. Both teams have to suffer the bad turf if it's problematic.

We'll see.

Go Ducks!


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Thursday, December 4, 2014

To Nebraska: A Moral Tale


Good and bizarre news out of Corvallis and Lincoln.

It's quite funny in reality.  OSU "fans" were shocked this morning to hear that the coach they so desperately wanted to dump into the street has simply parlayed their discontent into a better job.

Mike Riley has taken the head coaching job at Nebraska. That's right. He kissed off Corvallis before the Beaver geniuses could kiss him off.

This is like wrecking your junker old Dodge and having somebody mistakenly cut you an insurance check for a Rolls Royce.

Good for the old coach, 61.

I'm on record numerous times here in saying I like Riley.  I think he's an outstanding coach.  Hell, two years ago his team went 9 and 3 and won a bowl game.

Riley historically coached up the mostly average players he brought in. There were of course exceptions, but depth of talent was always an issue.   Where he couldn't find more than a handful of first-rate talents, he found the rough-cut diamonds.  The hometown boy did good with what he had to work with, time after time.

OSU had 28-straight abysmal seasons once the racist Dee Andros drove the program off the road in the early '70s.  Riley came in and changed that.

Riley always said he wanted to "coach at Oregon State for life."  Well, the natives turned restless (a sign of the times) and the storm recently turned as ugly as the loudest louts in the "Beaver Nation." He lost seven games this season, including a seventh straight to rival Oregon.

Riley brought a program up from the bottom, escaped to the NFL until he was fired, and then returned and continued to build a steady winner.  Again, with many average players and facilities.

Injuries on the defense killed his thin Beavers this year, and that happened because Corvallis is not an optimal place to recruit to; the school's facilities are mediocre.  The stadium, despite a recent renovation on one side, is basically a dump, and Corvallis itself is caught in an Andros-induced coma of acculturated conservatism that reeks of bigotry.

It's a beautiful little town with a gorgeous campus and excellent academics, but under its skin there's a cesspool of certifiable rednecks that run things.

So OSU's loudest complainers got what they wanted.

A job opening that a coach far less seasoned and savvy than Mike Riley is will take as a stepping stone to something better. You know, like Riley did, though he didn't really want to until all the shouting began.

The moral is, of course, be careful what you wish for Beaver fans. You outshone the Ducks' crybabies who wanted Helfrich fired after one loss earlier this season.

You won something, finally, I guess.


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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Portland Legacy

Once upon a time in Portland.








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RIP Bobby Keys



They worked well together...


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Marx Was Right

A growing dossier of evidence suggests that he may have been right. It is sadly all too easy to find statistics that show the rich are getting richer while the middle class and poor are not. A September study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington noted that the median annual earnings of a full-time, male worker in the U.S. in 2011, at $48,202, were smaller than in 1973. Between 1983 and 2010, 74% of the gains in wealth in the U.S. went to the richest 5%, while the bottom 60% suffered a decline, the EPI calculated. No wonder some have given the 19th century German philosopher a second look. In China, the Marxist country that turned its back on Marx, Yu Rongjun was inspired by world events to pen a musical based on Marx’s classic Das Kapital. “You can find reality matches what is described in the book,” says the playwright.

Read all of it here.


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Down Mexico Way

Some forty minutes from where I live, there’s an open market that gets cracking at seven, a twenty-four hour OXXO (Mexican 7-11), and important for me, there’s my pal, Juan—Tzeltal Maya, cool guy, terribly afflicted by MS—who opens his internet café at (or usually—believe it—15-20 minutes before) 6:30 AM.

An interesting slice of life from modern Chiapas.



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Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy
















Happy birthday to Liz Kennedy, historian/anthropologist/author, born Dec. 3, 1939.

Elizabeth Kennedy's pioneering role in the development of modern lesbian history was the result of her search for a different and more responsible way to use her anthropological training, as well as with the changes in her personal life. She, like many other feminists of her generation, left her marriage, fell in love with a woman, and came out as a lesbian. Her partner, Barbara "Bobbi" Prebis, was one of her major informants for her thirteen-year research project (initiated in 1978) into the social and cultural character of the largely working class lesbian community of Buffalo New York from the 1930s to the 1950s. Based on this research, Kennedy, in collaboration with Madeline Davis, published in 1993 the pathbreaking community study Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold.

In the early works of US lesbian history, Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold stands out for its rigorous oral history methodology. In the process of researching and writing the book, the authors not only drew information and perspectives from veteran members of the Buffalo lesbian community, but returned over and over again to that community with their results, sharing various iterations of the manuscript, both to make sure that they were accurately representing those about whom they were writing; and to return the results of their researches to the community itself. As a result of this work, Kennedy went on to become an important figure among oral historians in the US and internationally and has remained a central figure in lesbian and LGBTQ history in general.


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When Will It Ever Change?















What more can you say?

What more?

What more?


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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

We're All Tourists Now












Chris Hedges scored yesterday with this fine essay recounting a recent visit to an old prison that is now another roadside American attraction.

I took the ferry from Pier 33 on San Francisco’s Embarcadero to Alcatraz. I stepped onto the island from the gangway, walked up the hill to the old prison entrance and was given a portable audio guide. I spent two hours going through the corridors and cells where horrific suffering and trauma crushed human beings. Alcatraz purportedly had the highest insanity rate of any federal penitentiary of its era.

I was regaled through the headset with stories about famous Alcatraz inmates including Al Capone, Robert “Birdman” Stroud and George “Machine Gun” Kelly, escape attempts, the 1946 armed uprising that was ruthlessly put down by the Marine Corps, and intrepid FBI agents who hunted down the nation’s most notorious criminals and brought them to justice. In this binary, cartoon narrative of good guys and bad guys, of cops and gangsters, even the repugnant J. Edgar Hoover was resurrected as a virtuous symbol of law and order.


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Monday, December 1, 2014

Sam
















While I was sleeping yesterday, old Sam Clemens had a birthday.

Happy belated birthday, Sam.


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Mid-Erotica

A review of Alain Robbe-Grillet from Senses of Cinema.










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The Magic Christian



Watch it while you can, adapted from the classic novel by Terry Southern.


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Woody



Happy birthday to Woody Allen, genius filmmaker, writer, jazz clarinetist (Dec. 1, 1935--present).

Known to have stated: If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative.

And this: It's just an accident that we happen to be on earth, enjoying our silly little moments, distracting ourselves as often as possible so we don't have to really face up to the fact that, you know, we're just temporary people with a very short time in a universe that will eventually be completely gone. And everything that you value, whether it's Shakespeare, Beethoven, da Vinci, or whatever, will be gone. The earth will be gone. The sun will be gone. There'll be nothing. The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction. And work works as a distraction. You can distract yourself a billion different ways. But the key is to distract yourself.


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Mark Strand (1934-2014)














The End

Not every man knows what he shall sing at the end,
Watching the pier as the ship sails away, or what it will seem like
When he’s held by the sea’s roar, motionless, there at the end,
Or what he shall hope for once it is clear that he’ll never go back.

When the time has passed to prune the rose or caress the cat,
When the sunset torching the lawn and the full moon icing it down
No longer appear, not every man knows what he’ll discover instead.
When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky

Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in    flight,
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing
When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end.

Mark Strand reading and bio.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

BBall

(New home in the works at PSU)

Portland State and Oregon clashing tonight on the hardwood in Eugene.

I want PSU in this one, but the Vikings are getting handled at the moment.

Go Viks!


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Saturday, November 29, 2014

St. Marcus














(Oregonian photo)

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The Bear

After the 1982 season, Bryant, who had turned 69 that September, decided to retire, stating, "This is my school, my alma mater. I love it and I love my players. But in my opinion, they deserved better coaching than they have been getting from me this year." His last regular season game was a 23–22 loss to Auburn and his last postseason game was a 21–15 victory in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee over the University of Illinois. After the game, Bryant was asked what he planned to do now that he was retired. He replied "Probably croak in a week." His reply proved ominous.

Four weeks after making that comment, and just one day after passing a routine medical checkup, on January 25, 1983, Bryant checked into Druid City Hospital in Tuscaloosa after experiencing chest pain. A day later, when being prepared for an electrocardiogram, he died after suffering a massive heart attack. First news of Bryant's death came from Bert Bank (WTBC Radio Tuscaloosa) and on the NBC Radio Network (anchored by Stan Martyn and reported by Stewart Stogel). On his hand at the time of his death was the only piece of jewelry he ever wore, a gold ring inscribed "Junction Boys". He is interred at Birmingham's Elmwood Cemetery. A month after his death, Bryant was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, by President Ronald Reagan. A moment of silence was held prior to Super Bowl XVII, played four days after Bryant's passing.

Source: Wikipedia

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