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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015


The "Queen of Rockabilly" is still working it.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Docs of the Day

And here's a great one by Wim Wenders on the life of Brazilian photographer Sabastiao Salgado. It may not be up for long, so watch it ASAP.


Go Zags

Too bad Notre Dame couldn't get over the hump last night and beat Kentucky.

Did you hear or read the critics unloading on Kentucky coach John Calipari for not giving ND any credit in a close game?

I don't like coach either, but I thought the criticism was a little over the top, which I suppose is the purview of social media these days.

At any rate, Wisky vs. Kentucky will be interesting.  Naturally I want the Badgers to win it this time,

But I want Gonzaga to win it all.


Cozy Deals

Ralph Nader with some warm and fuzzy notes on the wiles of big business.

Be sure to read the report on megadeals.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cry Uncle

What if money really can't buy you love?

Wall Street would be fucked then, wouldn't it?

Go Liz!

P.S. The moons are aligning or something.  There is way too much irony in the news these days.



For a minute there it looked as if Mike Pence was angling to become Ted Cruz's running mate in '16.

Now we know he was just momentarily confused.  Right?

BTW, can we quit talking about "gay rights," and start talking about human decency and common sense?

Or at least the Bill of Rights?


Game of the Day

The Elite Eight starts today at 3 PT and features two of my favorite teams among those remaining. Arizona, because it's a PAC team, and Wisky, which hasn't a lot of bball tradition and is not Duke or Kentucky.

Wisky's rise has been recent enough that it's not stale, and doesn't have a lot of "one and done" superstars.

I cannot stand Duke and Kentucky.  I don't like either coach from a personality standpoint, and I hate their domination of the game over the years.

If Gonzaga could knock off Duke tomorrow, I'd be happy with that as well.

So there.


Friday, March 27, 2015

American Crime

If you're like me and don't have TV, episode three is free at

Episode 3:

Interview with Felicity Huffman.

Viewer discretion is advised:  There are real artists at work here.


Close Your Eyes, Speak Your Mind


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Doc of the Day

I thought this was very interesting.  Maybe you'll enjoy it as well.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Wretched Place

I'd say someone scrubbed this platform and train clean for this shot.  I haven't seen either sparkle like this since they were new!

Anyway, this is why we live here in part, though several Christian radicals preach in the environs daily.

Just out of frame to the left, the photog could have snapped a shot of a madman holding a "Repent!" sign and talking about your damnation with a fiery conviction.

Woohoo, Portlandia!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

Flashback Post

RBPD reprise: A Sweet 16 story, March 18, 2012.


Far Away, So Near

I was a high school junior and non-politicized, uneducated to that point.

That summer I would read the first book, independently, I ever read about Auschwitz.

Then the worm turned, and things got weird.  At one point I mistakenly thought it was over, that the consciousness of a nation had been uplifted.

No more war!  Justice!

I was wrong.  We are lost forever.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mighty Ducks Gunned Down

I'm telling you Oregon left it all in the gym tonight in Omaha, played well indeed.

Another brilliant display by the Ducks' Joe Young, but he didn't get enough help.

Wisky takes down Oregon, just as I predicted.

Oregon was the best "one-man team" in the country late in the season.

Next year!!


Blue Notes

The Blue Cranes 3, by Lee Santa.

Lee captured this in February at the Alberta Street Pub, during Portland Jazz Fest.

I'm partial to Lee's pics of bass players.  He has a real strong feel for what is happening there, like he's embedded the lines in his head as he pulls the shutter.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Roger's Final Poem, Mailed to RBP Mere Days Before His Passing

Untitled/The Last Poem of Roger Blakely III/March 2010

I've been having those feelings
that life was better with music, mystery,
empty bottles, and early morning
poetry festivals from the bottom
of the drunk tank floor.

I do reserve the right to be lost at any time.
So that I never need to be frightened,
I carry at all times
on my person
a small unseaworthy sailboat,
vast uncharted waters,
the prayers of past generations,
and a category five hurricane.

I tell you, I miss the late night air.

To the memory of Roger Blakely III, from "Nightscape in Empire & The Talent Poems."


Upward Pac-12

I'm so right on I stink.

Utah is in the Sweet 16, the third from the PAC, after beating East Coast darling Georgetown.

Meanwhile, Oregon gets a great team tomorrow in Wisky.  No chance


ABC Hits One Out

I picked up on the new ABC series "American Crime" last week via the lagged stream. Early for me.

Best thing I've seen on broadcast TV since I don't know when. "All in the Family," perhaps.

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

This is gritty TV and so well done--like a cable program--you wonder how it came to be. John Ridley, the scenarist of "12 Years a Slave," writes and directs.


Moving On

Halfway home after Arizona dispatches tOSU.

I expect Utah to win to make it three in the Pac-12 Sweet 16 march.

Oregon can't beat Wisky, however.

Oregon got the short straw in this deal, who are we kidding?



For the record:

I wasn't one of the critics of the PAC who said UCLA didn't belong in the tourney. Contrarily, I've praised the Bruins' talent all year and said they didn't play well together at times.

They were under performing earlier in the year with all that talent. The Bruin faithful were blaming the coaching of Steve Alford.

It was a head-scratcher at times.

The Bruins and their coach have fixed things, and not a moment too early, beating UAB to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

To me, the PAC always looks like it is getting short shrift.  I say the more the merrier from the West Coast and screw the East Coast bias of ESPN's basketball moguls.

Hell, if Cincy somehow finds a way to upset Kentucky, watch out for the Bruins!

Oregon got stroked with its seeding in Wisky's region for the second year in a row, btw.  No respect there, to be sure.


RP Thomas

Ubik storage.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Oregon Wins!


The four Pac-12 reps are in the round of 32 as Oregon downs Okie State.

Go away East Coast bias.  The announcers had hella time trying to figure out who was who on Oregon's team.

They seemed sad that Oregon won.


SCOTUS at the Scrota

To be clear, forcing millions of people to change insurance policies back then was plenty disruptive, far more so than the law’s advocates realized it would be. But that disruption was part of a transition to a new environment for health insurance -- one in which more people had coverage and those with coverage were more secure. By contrast, the (considerably) greater disruptions from a Supreme Court decision eliminating tax credits would signal a return to the pre-Obamacare status quo -- an environment in which many fewer people had insurance and those with coverage couldn’t be as confident it would pay for their needs. 

Such a transformation could be a nightmare for whichever politicians the public holds responsible -- to say nothing of the people who suddenly find themselves with no way to pay their medical bills.

Stop making sense.

BTW, single-payer nationalized health care would make more sense. And no, I don't give a fuck about the health insurance industry. I'll say to them the same thing the GOP radicals say to poor people.  Go get a job.


Thursday, March 19, 2015


Pac-12 stalwart Utah survives S.F. Austin.  This leaves Oregon as the lone possible Pac-12 team to be eliminated in the first round tomorrow.

Still trying to figure out why Utah got a higher seed than Oregon. The Ducks beat the Utes twice this season and finished second in league play as well as second in the conference championship.


I've cleaned the kitchen, and I'm ready for the Georgetown vs. Eastern Washington nightcap.

Tomorrow, I should do something a little more productive, but what the heck?


This is Good

Lotta lower seeds moving on.  This is gonna be hella tourney, but the number ones may end up dominant.

tOSU advances over VCU.  The Buckeyes get Arizona next.

UCLA with another bogus miracle.

I need a ticket here in Portland!



I'm streaming two games right now at

Back and forth. Pretty good reception given my sketchy wireless.

Got dishes piled up in the sink. Ignore them.

Windows open on a nice day.

Cool for now.

#14 seed Northeastern taking #3 seed Notre Dame to the wire in Pittsburgh.

The other 14-3 games are tight as well.

This is what it's all about.

Later:  the first #3 goes down!  Unfortunately UAB beats Iowa State, which I had going to the elite eight.

So much for my expertise.  UCLA plays soon, the first PAC-involved game.  I guess I'll have to watch.


Stupid Stuff

Academics spend their entire careers debating grand strategy. However, creating foreign policy in practice isn't difficult. Washington's elite might disagree about details, but believes with absolute certainty that Americans should do everything: Fight every war, remake every society, enter every conflict, pay every debt, defeat every adversary, solve every problem, and ignore every criticism. Unfortunately, over the last two decades this approach has proved to be an abysmal disaster.

There's an equally simple alternative. Indeed, the president came up with it: "don't do stupid" stuff. Too bad he failed to practice his own professed policy. Washington should stop doing stupid things.

But, as noted earlier, U.S. foreign policy is run by fools. Only the American people can change that. They must start electing leaders committed to not doing "stupid" stuff. Only then will Washington end the endless cycle of intervention, disaster, intervention, and disaster.

The rest of the story from Doug Bandow.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Danger Woman

Kshama Sawant, the socialist on the City Council, is up for re-election this year. Since joining the council in January of 2014 she has helped push through a gradual raising of the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Seattle. She has expanded funding for social services and blocked, along with housing advocates, an attempt by the Seattle Housing Authority to allow a rent increase of up to 400 percent. She has successfully lobbied for city money to support tent encampments and is fighting for an excise tax on millionaires. And for this she has become the bĂȘte noire of the Establishment, especially the Democratic Party.

The corporate powers, from Seattle’s mayor to the Chamber of Commerce and the area’s Democratic Party, are determined she be defeated, and these local corporate elites have the national elites behind them. This will be one of the most important elections in the country this year. It will pit a socialist, who refuses all corporate donations—not that she would get many—and who has fearlessly championed the rights of workingmen and workingwomen, rights that are being eviscerated by the corporate machine. The elites cannot let the Sawants of the world proliferate. Corporate power is throwing everything at its disposal—including sponsorship of a rival woman candidate of color—into this election in the city’s 3rd District.

Sawant’s fight is our own.

The always righteous Chris Hedges takes a close look at Seattle Councilwoman Kshama Sawant's work.


Oliver Scores!

This is great stuff.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Space Race

This BBC series came out in 2005, I believe.  Worth a watch.

Might not be a lot of surprises or new info for some of you, but I was never one to follow the space race very closely, so I enjoyed my first viewing of this last evening.

I knew the talking points, of course, for I followed the news. But I never dug into the background like some.  And of course, as history all of the events grow in complexity and meaning.

The earliest event I can recall from memory is the Soviets sending the dogs into space, followed by the American chimp's harrowing journey.

The series is a docudrama, and well done I think.  Enjoy it if you haven't already.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

My Conspiracy is Better Than Your Conspiracy

Remember H. Clinton's "vast right-wing conspiracy?"  Here's its counterpart, Bibi's "global leftist plot."

One more and we'll have the Three Stooges all over again. Plenty of candidates out there.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Late Again

I'm finally getting around to reading Cheryl Strayed's "Wild." Found a copy in the community room downstairs.  Excellent book.


1st Game

Arizona just ran away from Cal without playing well.

The team is loaded, has just three losses. The only team in the league with similar talent is UCLA, but the Bruins don't play as unselfishly.

UCLA could beat Arizona, but I wouldn't bet on it.


The High Cost of Education

The story of the day on the Iran front is the publication of what its authors titled “An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

It was signed by 47 Republican senators led by freshman Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who, as reported by LobeLog, received nearly $1 million in advertising support from Bill Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel in the closing days of last November’s campaign. The basic thrust of the letter is to warn the recipients that once President Barack Obama leaves office, any deal that he and his P5+1 partners may have reached with Iran regarding the latter’s nuclear program could be revoked “with the stroke of a pen.”

There are already lots of arguments breaking out over whether the basis of the letter was an accurate statement of U.S. law.

One prominent Harvard law professor who also served as a top Justice Department official under George W. Bush, Jack Goldsmith, called at least one of the letter’s assertions about the ratification process “embarrassing.” It was especially embarrassing not only because Cotton graduated from Harvard Law School, but also because Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who earned a M.A. and PhD in international law at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver — Condoleezza Rice’s alma mater — felt compelled to correct Cotton’s understanding of Washington’s international legal obligations.

It would be interesting to hear more from Sen. Tom Cotton's profs at Harvard Law School about their prized graduate.  I wonder what they would say about him?  Off the record, of course.

I don't think enough credit is given to how institutions like Harvard, Yale, et al, protect their own.  I imagine it is akin to the way a public university protects its prized athletes.  That is, you'd have to be a blithering imbecile to fail if you simply show up every day and make an effort in class.

In the same way the public school will protect its investment in its gifted "student-athletes" to maintain status in the business of big-time college football, an elite private school will protect its rich-dunces in order to maintain a role in power politics.

Athletes are helped to survive college to exert their gifts in the name of the institution, thus enriching it; talentless rich kids survive college to pass their present/future gifts of money to said institution, thereby maintaining its wealth.



All kinds of conference playoff action today in college hoops.

One of my small pleasures/escapes.  The PAC is in Vegas, the games start at noon.  Oregon plays tonight.



Speaking of the Dead

It has been almost 20 years since legendary Grateful Dead lead guitarist Jerry Garcia transitioned to the big acid test in the sky. And since Jerry left us the debate has raged over whether the remaining members of the band -- Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart -- could call themselves the Grateful Dead. That question was answered definitively on February 28 as some 500,000 fans logged on to the Ticketmaster website in an attempt to purchase tickets to the "Fare Thee Well" shows, scheduled for July 3-5 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Even if these shows go down as the greatest in the history of rock and roll, this is not the Grateful Dead.

Many of the 500,000 hopefuls had already engaged in the largely futile exercise of participating in the mail order presale, thinking they were involved in a revival of the beloved tradition that marked the band's commitment to its fans by selling tickets directly, rather than through third-party agencies. Unbeknownst to the true Deadheads who put their hearts and souls into decorating their envelopes and sending off large sums of money on Jan. 20, back-room deals had already been made with big music industry players to cash in on the genuine love and appreciation that is still alive and well among those who have never been able to replace the Grateful Dead as a source of joy and inspiration in their lives.

I wonder of Chris in Houston saw this piece...

They just don't throw the doors open anymore like they did at Woodstock, do they?


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

That Sickening Feeling

Today and yesterday were basketball days.  Tomorrow will be as well.

Not much to do except to sit quietly in a corner and marvel at the fuckedupness of it all. With the landlord snooping around, I wonder if the hammer is about to fall?

They don't like my act.  My act is to talk about things that bother me about the building and conditions here.  I'm like Henry  with his "plights and gripes." I don't tell them how great they are.

I would have been beheaded in the French Revolution.

I would have been one of the European fascists' earliest victims last century.

But this is the American epoch, and the time is now.  The enemy works in subtler ways, a refined expertise.

Just a lot of crap to have to put up with when you can't buy them off. If you can't buy people off you're gonna get stepped on.

You're gonna get sucker punched.  I can almost feel the calamity building.

Piss on it


Monday, March 9, 2015

A Long-Lasting Smell

How was it that during Vietnam bad ideas exerted such a perverse influence?  Why were those ideas so impervious to challenge?  Why, in short, was it so difficult for Americans to recognize bullshit for what it was?

The retired military man, like a modern Thucydides, calls bullshit.

A commentator rebuts: "I think there is a conflation on his part of intellectuals who embrace the idea of societal goals for the benefit of the society with those who are there to just put a rubber stamp on the narrow interests of the military-security-industrial complex."

I agree, but AB's righteously angry letter favors a vernacular we're very fond of here at RBPD, and he does present seldom-heard points overall from ex-military leadership, including the waffling Colin Powell, who said about Iraq, "If you break it you own it," and went ahead and helped smash it to smithereens.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Must Be March

The latest in Lunardi's Bracketology.

He has Oregon visiting Charlotte to play VCU in the South section.

VCU beat Oregon handily earlier this season, so this doesn't look like a good matchup for the Duckies.

Second round would likely involve Duke.

Oh well, they've got a ticket punched and ready for the dance, and just getting there has been surprising for Oregon's faithful.

This bracket is not golden by any means.  Selection Sunday next week determines reality.

Here's an interview with a Portland lad who played at Jesuit High before going to Kentucky, flushing out, and transferring to Gonzaga.

ED:  Lunardi's revised bracket (for today) has Oregon moving up two seeds and playing LSU in Omaha.  That would be an Oregon crowd given Altman's roots.  I like this much better than VCU in Charlotte.


Young Neil

One must be vigilant in reminding oneself of how powerful Neil Young was as a singer in his youth.



I'm gonna take my sweet time with my next project, a revised edition of my historical essays, "Alt-Everything."

The book, like everything I've done, is pretty ragged in places--in need of both rewriting and editing--alternative writing, you might say.

I've published a lot of stuff just to get it out there, because if I don't do at least that much I tend to let the entire project slide--sometimes right out of consciousness.  Terrible admission, I know.

My latest fiasco is with my newest collection of poems, wherein I dropped the period ending the second stanza of a poem and then featured it on the back cover, a glaring omission that I'll blame on my deteriorating eyesight.  Heh... I've fixed the error and a few things inside the book that I overlooked in my haste to finish it.

Well, stuff is never done I imagine.  I'm not too worried about the content of the new work--it is what it is, and it's likely not for everyone, but the little errors annoy me because I'd like to present something that at least has the appearance of being competent in its physical properties, if not as a work of art.

I always say I'm better at editing others' work than my own; I think everyone is like that.

If some of the poems don't work, that is one thing.  If one doesn't work because of lazy or unclear punctuation and spelling, that is something else.  That particular poem shortchanges itself from the get-go.

So I would say to anyone who has read the book and noticed these annoying items, please be aware that I've found some of the things that may have you ready to toss the book away--but probably not all.

Well, I know you wouldn't do that because you're big fans of mine. So just know that I'm aware of how things are.


Good Old Days

This was shot in conjunction with one of the first ever (1972) "Renaissance Faire(s)" in Veneta, Oregon.  I once attended an organizing meeting at the University of Oregon, where Kesey and others presented the faire's agenda one year, though I think that was prior to the planning of this benefit concert.

My energy was short-lived, however, and I subsequently dropped any involvement.  I did go to the faire in Veneta later.  The first and last time I ever attended.

Funny thing is I don't recall seeing this show, so perhaps I was there on the wrong day--or even the wrong year.  The "faire," after many transmutations, is now known as the Oregon Country Fair.  Perhaps you've been there, too.

Clearly the filmmakers were trying to emulate the impact of "Woodstock" with the behind-the-scenes focus and narrative style.

Anyway, this is for Chris Pilon of Houston, who once lived in the old neighborhood in Portland and loves the Dead.



The description of the death of Robert-Francois Damiens, the man who attempted to kill Louis XV, is not for the faint-hearted.

On March 2, 1757, in front of a crowd of spectators, Damiens was drawn and quartered, which means that his limbs were tied to four horses that were then urged to gallop toward the four points of the compass.

To discover why six horses were needed in the end and why various additional tortures were inflicted on the convict, you need to turn to the detailed description that opens French philosopher Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, perhaps the most blood-curdling beginning to an academic book ever.

In this 1975 masterpiece, Foucault argued that punishment, which was public and dramatic for much of recorded history, became progressively more hidden during the construction of the modern penal system. As part of this pivotal transformation, Foucault noted, “it is the certainty of being punished and not the horrifying spectacle of public punishment that must discourage crime.”

Institutions, in other words, replaced the theater of cruelty. What was once spectacle has become hidden from our eyes.

The rest of the essay by John Feffer.


Saturday, March 7, 2015


Mr. Johnson passed away in 2010, age 79.

Meanwhile in Washington, it's business as usual.

While this stigma festers.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Doc of the Day

This was an interesting doc from the BBC a couple of years ago.

Just watched it for the first time.  Very well done.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ducks and Beavs

Oregon vs. OSU tonight!  From Gill.

If Oregon wins it's most assuredly guaranteed a spot in the big dance. If OSU wins, new coach Wayne Tinkle may lock up the Round Bend Coach of the Year crown.

I'll be on the edge of my seat as usual.


One of Many?

Amazing story from the extended Charles Deemer family annals. (This is a link to a link, for context.)

CD told me about this yesterday over coffee.  Quite an American story.  CD is the adoptive stepfather of San Francisco artist Aaron Levi, the biological son of Wilt Chamberlain.

Aaron's adoptive mother is CD's wife, Portland artist Harriet Levi.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Wanted: Another War

When Netanyahu addressed Congress on May 24, 2011, to embarrass President Obama and cut down American criticism of the most recent illegal Israeli settlements, Congress gave him 29 standing ovations. That was a gesture of thoughtless servility, and a mistake that should not be repeated. The difference between George Washington and Benjamin Netanyahu marks a real choice. In the matter of the proper judgment of American interests, Washington and Netanyahu stand at opposite poles. They cannot both be right. On March 3, before awarding Netanyahu another 29 standing ovations, or 19 or even one, let the members of Congress ask themselves whose advice they will heed on the danger of "passionate attachments" and "inveterate antipathies." Netanyahu and his backers in Congress are an existential threat to the independence of American foreign policy.

Yale professor David Bromwich on threats, real and imagined.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Confronting Economic Apartheid

The battle between popular will and the demands of corporate oligarchs, as they plunge greater and greater numbers of people around the globe into poverty and despair, is becoming increasingly volatile. Ali noted that even those leaders with an understanding of the destructive force of unfettered capitalism—such as the new, left-wing prime minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras—remain intimidated by the economic and military power at the disposal of the corporate elites. This is largely why Tsipras and his finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, bowed to the demands of European banks for a four-month extension of the current $272 billion bailout for Greece. The Greek leaders were forced to promise to commit to more punishing economic reforms and to walk back from the pre-election promise of Tsipras’ ruling Syriza party to write off a large part of Greece’s sovereign debt. Greece’s debt is 175 percent of its GDP. This four-month deal, as Ali pointed out, is a delaying tactic, one that threatens to weaken widespread Greek support for Syriza. Greece cannot sustain its debt obligations. Greece and European authorities will have to collide. And this collision could trigger a financial meltdown in Greece, see it break free from the eurozone, and spawn popular upheavals in Spain, Portugal and Italy.

The cost of open defiance, which, Ali pointed out, is our only escape route from corporate tyranny, will at least at first be painful. Our corporate masters do not intend to release their death grip without a brutal fight.

Chris Hedges on Tariq Ali.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Hoops

It's tipoff time for the big game between Stanford and Oregon.

The winner is most assuredly in the big dance; the loser could be out, depending on many other possible scenarios nationwide and how things play out in conference championship matchups, etc.

Gonna try to stream it.  Hope it works.  I have a hard time with bball on the radio these days


Ducks win!  Ducks win!  Ducks win!  Victory includes a first round bye in the PAC tourney, which is gold.  Ducks going to the dance, even if OSU beats them in Corn Valley.