To the Point

There comes a time in every epoch when pragmatism simply evolves into extreme acquiescence and surrender to the forces of apathy and do-nothingness, a guarantor of the status quo in all of its easy, democratic criminality--its fortress of greed.--TL Simons

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Dear Librarian

Dear Librarian:

I've noticed Multnomah County Library has circulating copies (and one in Reference) of my book "The Children of Vaughn: The Story of Professional Baseball in Portland, Oregon (1901-2010)." Since you've taken this decent step on my behalf, and more importantly on behalf of Portlanders who like good books that reference Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, I am curious why you don't have the rest of the Round Bend Press Books (founded in Portland in 2010) catalog available? 

Here is our website:  All of the writers and artists represented by RBPB are local or regional and have much to offer discerning readers in the fields of fiction, poetry, autobiography, jazz, photography, art, history and much else. 

Here is my suggestion then. Take a closer look at Round Bend Press Books, read our catalog and make a decision beneficial to our community by stocking these editions on your shelves. By doing so I think you'll discover you're doing your patrons a real service.  I can guarantee you they will enjoy all of our titles, not just "The Children of Vaughn."

Terry Simons
Round Bend Press Books
Portland, Oregon

This has been a bug up my ass for years now, so I wrote my friendly librarian.  It would be nice if the literary crowd would start paying attention, beginning with the local library.


Sacrifice for the Dead

My pal Chris who lives in Houston wants to go to the Grateful Dead's "Fare Thee Well" show(s) in Chicago.

He's one of the many who have been aced out in the primary market for tickets to the concert, which sold out Soldiers' Field in a heartbeat.

I was never a huge fan myself, but Dead Heads are in heat, it seems, and this final tour for the old geezers, band and fans alike, is must-see programming.

If he goes, Chris will have to pay big.  He is a lifelong fan, having followed the band around the U.S. and Europe in the past.

The Dead aren't what they used to be without Garcia, of course, but the times have changed as well.

Where do hippies get their money these days?  Wow...


...and furthermore...

Wages for most Americans are rising only very slowly right now and have been stagnant in real terms for most of the last four decades -- not least because most of the better floors in the U.S. economic building are currently being gutted by deindustrialization. You can't get everyone out of poverty while simultaneously outsourcing to Asia the well-paying jobs on which the general prosperity of middle-class America still depends. And you do not solve poverty -- for the society as a whole -- by focusing policy on routes out of poverty by a hard-working few. You solve poverty by raising the base of the ladder for everyone. No matter what Republicans claim, you cannot make the American dream a reality for the mass and generality of Americans by simply creating more ladders that reach up to the privileged few. You can only make the American dream a reality for the mass and generality of Americans by raising the floor on which the ladders are actually set. Poverty is not something to be escaped from. Poverty is something to end.

Wake Forest University's David Coates hits all of the right notes here.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Another View

The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.

“To initiate a war of aggression…,” said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, “is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened.  Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.

The great Aussie John Pilger gets on his high horse and rides it into your brain.

Here's a companion piece that balances Pilger while largely bearing out his argument.



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Que Paso en Pasco?

But unlike Ferguson, the Pasco story is also uniquely Latino. It’s about an agricultural city where more than half of the population is Hispanic, in a state with a rich civil rights history. A community where some have deep roots, and others, like Zambrano-Montes, are newer immigrants. Where shops and restaurants and churches cater specifically to city residents, and Spanish is the first language for many. A place where an important number of residents—up to 20 percent, according to a Fusion report—are undocumented. And if Pasco is anything like the dozens of cities across the United States where Latinos are a majority, chances are it feels like home to them and they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Where is the outrage?

Are we as a culture becoming immune to the follies of the police state?  Like war, if it doesn't touch us it isn't very important?


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Patriotic Fiction

There it is, readers. You have your lumpen rightists, who have acquired more power than seemed possible a few years ago but still face the knotty problem of stupidity. You have your mainstream rightists, polished and clever, intent on staying the expansionist course and persuading us it is best for all. On the foreign policy side, these people remain the right’s true center of gravity.

And you have your neoliberals, ever dressing up the rightists’ agenda as the progressive thing to pursue. This, the Williams-Sonoma crowd, is possessed of an egregious righteousness. They are the heirs of the Cold War liberals, those gutless many who assumed whatever shape necessary to avoid confronting American paranoia, reaction and aggression, usually out of sheer self-interest.

The rest of the story from Salon.


1 of 3

Oregon plays the first of its final three in league tonight in Berkeley, and it's pretty much a must-win game for the basketball Ducks to keep their hopes alive for the big dance.

I think Oregon needs to win two of the three to get off the March Madness "bubble" and into the thick of things.

Cal tonight, Stanford on Sunday (a game Oregon won't win in my opinion), and the closer with Oregon State in Corn Valley, which will also be very tough because the Beavs play so damn well at home.

Starts tonight at 8.  Hope the stream works; if not, there is radio.

My evening is thus planned.

Later:  Yes!  Oregon by 11.



That's what happened when we went to America's "music schools" starting in the '50s. It was a crushing blow that has only recently begun to change. However, in my opinion, that was nothing compared to what we got at "dinnertime." When white restaurateurs finally decided to bring jazz out of Harlem, in a misguided, albeit successful, attempt to get the big tourist money downtown, things really changed. See, jazz was not meant for the dinner table, or in many ways, not even the concert stage. It was meant for dance. Black folk danced to jazz -- all kinds of jazz. As a result we were all over the radio, and all over the movies. But that came to a halt with the advent of television. Television is all presentation. I don't think anyone realized it at the time, but closing the dance floors was the kiss of death for jazz in terms of its big-time entertainment value.--T.S. Monk

The rest of Monk's essay.



Easy marks.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

It's Official

This is the latest non-news debate.

We are officially condemned to hell, and we deserve to be.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Feelin' Old/Poem of the Day

You poisoned my sweet water.
You cut down my green trees.
The food you fed my children
Was the cause of their disease.

My world is slowly fallin' down
And the airs not good to breathe.
And those of us who care enough,
We have to do something.......

Oh... oh What you gonna do about me?
Oh... oh What you gonna do about me?

Your newspapers,
They just put you on.
They never tell you
The whole story.

They just put your
Young ideas down.
I was wonderin' could this be the end
Of your pride and glory?


I work in your factory.
I study in your schools.
I fill your penitentiaries.
And your military too!

And I feel the future trembling,
As the word is passed around.
"If you stand up for what you do believe,
Be prepared to be shot down."


And I feel like a stranger
In the land where I was born
And I live like an outlaw.
An' I'm always on the run...

An I'm always getting busted
And I got to take a stand....
I believe the revolution
Must be mighty close at hand...


I smoke marijuana
But I can't get behind your wars.
And most of what I do believe
Is against most of your laws

I'm a fugitive from injustice
But I'm goin' to be free.
Cause your rules and regulations
They don't do the thing for me


And I feel like a stranger
In the land where I was born
And I live just like an outlaw.
An' I'm always on the run.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Faked Out

Came across what I thought at first glance was a crime scene this afternoon. Turned out to be Grimm filming a scene in O'Bryant Square, a noted Portland trouble spot in real life.

Didn't see the crew trucks on the other side of the park until I walked past. I should have also noticed that a lot of people were standing around in costume, which happens more in filmmaking than it does in real life.



New Gov

And so Oregon has a new governor.  I don't expect much to change.

The futures of Kitz and his girlfriend will be interesting to watch unfold, if nothing else. Could get jail time, but likely won't.

High school graduations will remain at the bottom of the scale, poverty will grow worse, corporate giveaways will be unfazed--hello tax abatements!

The wingnuts are saying we should have voted the Republican into office, even though Dennis Richardson is a bible-thumping hack--Oregon's equivalent of Huckabee, with a similar worldview.

I don't like any of them of course, Dems or Repubs.  The Dems for their neoliberal bullshit, the Repubs for their insane social agenda and peddling of religious dogma.

It is a real mess over here, however I'm glad Kate Brown is in office now rather than Richardson. It's a matter of degrees of ineptitude. I'm happy Kitz quit, and wish he'd had more sense about the company he keeps.

That's love and politics in the Upper Left Coast of the good ol' USA.


No Milk

An unexplained power outage in the neighborhood this morning. It is ongoing. Seems to be centered just a couple of blocks up the street, including Safeway, which is in panic mode and fortifying with a truckload of ice, and the convenience store across the street which has thrown in the towel and closed for the day evidently, for it is dark and abandoned.

Thus I have no milk for my oatmeal and coffee.

I walked into Safeway at nine to ask about the timeline of this event and a  bemused clerk said it happened at 7 a.m.

Then she said, with a faint smile, that the damages would total $10 million.  I laughed and said would it not be wiser to just start giving perishables away so that they're not wasted.

If you walk out with something I won't stop you, she said.

We had quite the fantasy working there for a moment.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Snowed In

"I wasn't sure what was going on, if it was some kind of spiritual event or what. The whole sky lit up like somebody lit up a lightbulb," said McGehee, the owner of the Mary's by the Sea summer rental business in Rockport. "My God, this is pretty interesting."

I too had numerous "spiritual events" in the snow when I lived in Maine, but none of them were exactly related to the snow or God--except tangentially.

But in my two winters there I didn't see this much snow, either.  Sorry I'm missing it.  I'll tell you one thing, if you're prepared and comfortable with it the snow creates such incredible beauty that you're left in complete awe.


Sunday/Two Talent Poems

Talent Sunday

The pious were in church Sunday morning
while the rest of Talent slept.  In the Church of
God, a cleric gave warning: “Brothers and sisters,
our deep suffering and goodwill would be blessed,
our lives less stressed, if on the way out you left
a ten dollar bill.”  Amen, the righteous rang out and
dug deep into their pockets.

The wag Ted, recently trying to dry out, said, “Rex,
ya think Tex is out of bed yet?  About God I have
my doubt.  A double about now and a few while
tithing may improve the faith I am lacking.”
Rex, bereft of humor but full of good sense, said,
“but how?” Ah man, the wag sang out distressed,
and dug deep into empty pockets.

Talk of Talent

Sunday morning at
Talent's Universal Church
of God, Pastor Fred Herring
called Ted a “cautious man
given to reason
despite the demons
that afflict human beings.
Though Ted be sodden
and occasionally unhappy,
all of God’s children
are part of His Divine plan.”

The philologist Carl Hicks
knew the ambles of rhetoric.
This love of Ted was sudden.
Fiction. On the sidewalk
gossip filled the emotional air.
About the wag’s failings the flock
heard from his barber Dale Stock:
“His account is overdrawn,
we know he’s an expert con,
and what he says is cheap talk.”

“I like him,” Lizzie DeLay replied,
not caring if anyone noticed her fib.
“If something happened, he died
or whatever, I’d be heartbroken.”
Rex Dern turned red. “Don't be glib,
Dizzy. You hate him. Don’t lie.”

As Carl Hicks turned toward Noble
Coffee, Dooley said, “C'mon, I’ll buy.”

from Nightscape in Empire & The Talent Poems


Friday, February 13, 2015

RIP David Carr

The author of The Night of the Gun passed away yesterday.

Hours before his death, David Carr led this forum at the New School.

Carr was lively and perceptive in his scrutiny of the media's role in our lives, sort of a tamer version of Chomsky, coming as he was from the inside out.

John Nichols discusses Carr here.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Their Plight

The poor in Cambodia's capital are merely pawns in the game.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2 Cellos with Cobain

Couldn't get this tune out of my mind today, so what the hell.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Documenting a History of Terror

“Many of these lynchings were not executing people for crimes but executing people for violating the racial hierarchy,” he said, meaning offenses such as bumping up against a white woman or wearing an Army uniform.

But, he continued, even when a major crime was alleged, the refusal to grant a black man a trial — despite the justice system’s near certain outcome — and the public extravagance of a lynching were clearly intended as a message to other African-Americans.

The bloody history of Paris, Tex., about 100 miles northeast of Dallas, is well known if rarely brought up, said Thelma Dangerfield, the treasurer of the local N.A.A.C.P. chapter. Thousands of people came in 1893 to see Henry Smith, a black teenager accused of murder, carried around town on a float, then tortured and burned to death on a scaffold.

Until recently, some longtime residents still remembered when the two Arthur brothers were tied to a flagpole and set on fire at the city fairgrounds in 1920.

Read more about this history project here.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Stormy Monday

Hella storm out there at the moment.

The wind came up as I walked to the store. It blew my stocking cap off my head and over the fence at the high-rise construction site on the corner. A worker attempting to fortify a section of the fence that was about to topple over retrieved the cap for me from the edge of the fifty-foot subbasement hole that is being surfaced for parking. Had my cap fallen in I wouldn't even have tried to recover it.

That's my excitement for the day.  I'm just fortunate I still own a stocking cap on this stormy Monday.



The go-to site for info about my new book.

Or click here or on the sidebar image to see it at Amazon.



On March 4, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a lawsuit designed by conservative advocates to destroy Obamacare. If the plaintiffs prevail, about 8 million people could lose their health insurance. Premiums are likely to skyrocket by 35 percent or more, threatening coverage for millions of others. Health policy experts have estimated that nearly 10,000 people a year could die prematurely if they lose their coverage. Obamacare itself could collapse.

The King case started out as a legal theory hatched by a group of conservative lawyers in 2010 at a conference sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, the right-leaning think tank. Attendees were urged to devise a litigation strategy to bring down the Affordable Care Act, which months earlier had been signed into law. The libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank funded by big pharmaceutical firms, oil and gas outfits, the Koch brothers, Google, tobacco companies, and conservative foundations, answered the call. ("This bastard has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene," Michael Greve, then CEI chairman, said at the conference.) But CEI had to recruit plaintiffs—actual people who could claim they had been harmed by the Affordable Care Act in a particular way—to launch its lawsuit.

Gory inside pictures of  the plaintiffs in the King v. Burwell fiasco. They may not be so "unusual" at all, however.


Sunday, February 8, 2015


Another penis enhancement regimen spoiled.  Listen, it only worked for Hemingway because he was a real writer.

But the real question is where else can a man earn 10 million a year reading Pentagon and CIA news releases over the airwaves?


Friday, February 6, 2015

Fed Alert/Update

UPDATE: I've discovered, belatedly as usual, that even though the First Row URL I always used to find sports streams has been shut down, is now the magic address.  This is where First Row took you before it was ceremoniously shut down by ICE earlier this month, so a previous post here has been deleted.

I hadn't made the connection until doing a little research this morning.  However else you cut it this is good news for sports watchers, so let's hope it survives the next round of ICE legal wrangling.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


There is so much damn good stuff in this aggregate website that you would be negligent not to read it.

And this one, which has links to everything a man or woman needs to survive.


Signing Day

So you want to know all about the Oregon recruits who signed letters of intent today to play ball with the Mighty Ducks next season?  You really do, right?

Okay, here's the lineup with a neato package of highlights and bios, and an interactive map that tells you where the players are from. It's interesting (not really) that not one of this year's signees is from the state of Oregon.

Oregon has a scarcity of top talent because it has a scarcity of human beings, go figure.

Oregon's class is rated number 16 in the country and third in the PAC behind USC 1-1 and UCLA 7-2.

CD, a UCLA honk, is likely happy, but USC signed most of the big stars out of the LA region, just as it does every year.

In reality the whole class-rating and star system in recruiting circles is pretty much overrated. Oregon has never had a top-ten class but does fine year in and year out because the coaches there are first-rate.

You wouldn't know that listening to many spoiled Duck fans who complain otherwise, but it's true.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

CounterPunch Failure

Liberal writers have been lining up for the last month to decry American Sniper along predictable, ideologically comfortable lines. “Macho Sludge” was the title of an Alternet piece by David Masciotra. Chris Hedges called it “a grotesque hypermasculinity that banishes compassion and pity.” These reviewers, driven perhaps by their own political distaste of American Sniper miss much – or most of what is at work politically in the film. Straight propaganda rarely makes for compelling entertainment, so the enormous popularity of American Sniper (hauling in $30.6 million in its fourth weekend to total to nearly $250 million in 17 days of broad release) suggests that it has reached far beyond the hard core of ultraconservatives one would expect to embrace the film these reviewers describe.--J.E. Lowndes

Don't let anyone tell you that CounterPunch is simply a leftist rag with a slanted view, for it actually published this piece by a University of Oregon professor.

I can't imagine CP co-founder Alexander Cockburn ever accepting for publication such tripe were he alive.

The Ivory Tower in Eugene just took an RPG round right between its cornices with this piece.

I'll be as succinct as I can. There is no excuse under the sun for this kind of pseudo objectivity about American Sniper. First, not one of the writers the author mentions was placing the sole blame--or credit--for the film's popularity on "ultraconservatives."

Second, ultraconservatives are not exclusively under the spell of propaganda these days, nor have they ever been.  Propaganda's effect, like the measles, can touch all of us who are unvaccinated, and regarding its preemptive wars the U.S. is profoundly ill.

Liberals in the 2003 Congress supported the Iraq invasion for God's sake, and their constituents are pouring into the theaters to absorb this film's muddled message.

And that message is that Americans can get it wrong and wrong and wrong again, and it still won't rectify matters or negate the allure of hegemony on naive minds--liberal or ultraconservative or anywhere in-between.

In other words it's an American film, and that presents a whole lot of political problems that we're unable to solve with the supposedly wise help of Rowdy Yates, Dirty Harry, and Josey Wales.

This is not an us or them matter. This is a significant problem with the terms of the debate.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Telling It

The integration of elites of color, including Barack Obama, into the upper echelons of institutional and political structures has done nothing to blunt the predatory nature of empire. Identity and gender politics—we are about to be sold a woman president in the form of Hillary Clinton—have fostered, as Malcolm understood, fraud and theft by Wall Street, the evisceration of our civil liberties, the misery of an underclass in which half of all public school children live in poverty, the expansion of our imperial wars and the deep and perhaps fatal exploitation of the ecosystem. And until we heed Malcolm X, until we grapple with the truth about the self-destruction that lies at the heart of empire, the victims, at home and abroad, will mount. Malcolm, like James Baldwin, understood that only by facing the truth about who we are as members of an imperial power can people of color, along with whites, be liberated. This truth is bitter and painful. It requires an acknowledgment of our capacity for evil, injustice and exploitation, and it demands repentance. But we cling like giddy children to the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves. We refuse to grow up. And because of these lies, perpetrated across the cultural and political spectrum, liberation has not taken place. Empire devours us all.

Chris Hedges on Malcolm X.  A must read.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Good Game/Doing it Right

I'm all for social intercourse whenever it happens, but I'm chuckling right now as I think about something a friend said the other day over coffee.  He commented that the Super Bowl is like St. Patrick's Day, a U.S sanctified amateur hour.

The reference is of course to how people who don't have the slightest interest in either the Irish or football pour out of the woodwork on the appointed day and take over out of sheer numbers--bold in their ineptitude and suddenly inspired interest in the proceedings at hand.

Confronted with the mass mind you're overwhelmed and you lose your sense of pleasure and control of whatever space you're in at the time.

I'm glad I'm home alone watching the Stupor Bowl with Chris Collinsworth and the dependable Al Michaels broadcasting the game.

Next up, my dinner of Chicken Alfredo, followed by a little more work on my next book.  I'll skip the halftime show, thanks.


Good Radio

The This American Life podcast on William S. Burroughs will be available here tonight at 7 CT.  I heard it yesterday.

Recommended for fans and haters alike.



Not into the Stupor Bowl this year for some reason, and I've never been a big "fan" of watching the glitzy new commercials that occupy many viewers.

Don't feel like joining the crowd.  So I'll sit home and stream it if I can.

Definitely not into the hype.  It's not Oregon football so I'm kind of like, what's the big deal?

Ho hum...