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.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Big Game















There is a consensus.

A dickhead from Minnesota killed a big cat in Africa.

What a dumb thing to do.


TS

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Degrees of Radicalism

One of the burdens faced by American politicos is sustaining a nostalgic fiction that we’re still living in a golden age of American Exceptionalism. Marketing strategies for selling cars, toothpaste and political candidates will continue to work this realm with glossier and glossier messages how special we are and how the rest of the world pines for our rule. Likewise, they will continue to fall short on sustaining our crumbling public infrastructure and the dignity of our poor. America’s resurgence depends, we’re told in a full-page New York Times ad, on Reagan-like conservative optimism. Reagan optimism amounts to symbolically polishing up the locomotive pulling the American dream while conveniently forgetting about the fetid, jammed cattle cars and the dilapidated caboose at the end of the train.

John Grant with more than a few good reasons to grow depressed.

I kid, sort of...


TS

Scorching


Already.

Need a swimming pool.  I'd jump in the river but would rather not risk the water-borne diseases.

I should join the #ShellNo protest in St. Johns.  They have kayaks down there.




TS

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rich Kid

Mariota's signing bonus was for 16 million.

Not bad.


TS

Uh...revolution?

A few weeks back I wrote a piece that was pretty rough on Bernie Sanders. I admit it. I pulled him through the mud by his loafers and smeared his good name. I had the audacity to point out his rubber-stamping of various wars, his silent support for Israel’s assault on Palestine, and his crude vote during Bill Clinton’s presidency that peeled away the rights granted by habeas corpus. I even called his campaign a dead end. I mean, I was rough on the old comrade.

A slew of emails soon flooded my inbox from Bernie-fanatics. They chastised me for claiming Bernie wasn’t worth the effort (“How dare you, you fucking ass-wipe!”). They openly proclaimed their admiration for Sanders (“It’s like Noam Chomsky is running for the White House!”) and begged me to abandon my criticisms and jump on the latest freight train to change (“You’ll be forced to come around, he’s going to cream Clinton in the primaries, you watch!”). Fact is, I’m not sorry in the least that I wrote the truth about his misdirected campaign. In fact, the Bernie-bots are exactly the reason Democrats don’t give a shit about progressive politics. Let me explain.

Joshua Frank cuts away the fat, unloads the lard, surveys the scene.


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Photo of the Day
















Hangin' around.


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Medicare


My dear old mom, born in 1908 and educated through the 5th grade, lived to be 90 with the advantage of Medicare.

There is no way in hell that would have happened otherwise.  Here's another little detail.  She worked hard her whole life, first raising eight children, then picking crops in the fields surrounding my home town, where I joined her as a boy and made money for our household.

Her husband, my father, died young.  She did not find another to take care of her.  She took care of herself, and me, the last of the brood.

We made more money for the capitalist farmer.  My older siblings made money for yet other bosses. You learned soon enough that not everyone could be the boss.

We spend too much time in this country ragging each other for not being "the boss," unable to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps.

When my mother was 85, I visited her in the nursing home where she spent her final years.  She needed a wheelchair and oxygen, but man she was serene.  I pushed her around the streets adjacent to the home.  When she insisted on looking at the flowers, I stopped.  She smelled them, encouraged me to do the same.  They smelled good.

You wanna know what she loved?  Her children.  Her grandchildren. Her great-grandchildren.  Pretty simple really, she got to see a lot.

Unless you're a sorry-ass who thinks people should not have the opportunity to live as long as they desire and are capable of on this planet, there is no excuse for not taking care of our countrymen across the board--cradle to grave.

What else is of more value than the care of our people?

Of course, marketing death is big in this country we already know. But think about it.

Expand, do not contract.


TS 

Essay of the Day

This is not to say American historical development during the three centuries from John Winthrop to the advent of FDR was sweet innocence incarnate. America was always capitalistic, a fragment of Europe absent its premodern institutional base of feudalism (even American slavery was business-oriented first and foremost, the dripping magnolia hiding the dark secret, except to master and slave alike, of profit in the international market). The decks were cleared for expansion: for honing a capitalistic entity which demanded ideological absolutism; a compliant, degraded labor force, agricultural and then industrial; a polity riddled with division, both racial and class, to prevent common awareness of exploitation and the solidarity needed to oppose it. Yet the indivisibility or interchangeability of capitalism and America was bound to be shaken up, less by reform (always within acceptable ideological bounds) than by the social protest of working people and their, along with depressed minorities, whether native blacks or recent immigrants, wider yearnings for a decent life beyond sharecropping and the factory whistle.

The always cheery and luminescent Norman Pollack with another gentle reminder.


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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Video Rally Wed. Night

"I often make the joke, although it's not such a joke, that if we can spend half of the time in this country talking about why the middle class is collapsing, as opposed to football or baseball, we would revolutionize what's going on in America," Sanders told Vox. "I want that discussion. I want to know why the rich get richer and everybody else gets poorer. I want to know why the United States is the only major country on Earth that doesn't provide health care to all of its people, the only major country that doesn't have family and medical leave so that women can stay home with their kids when they have a baby. Those are the questions we should be discussing."

Big rally Wednesday night.  Bernie will talk about his disgust for the billionaires, as usual.  Will he mention how much of their wealth is attached to the armaments industry, the MIC and perpetual war?

Probably not.  You know, to a large degree he backs U.S. hegemony and violence straight up.

Many are speculating that Sanders will throw his support to Hillary if his campaign flails in the coming months.

I'd like to hear him state unequivocally that he won't do that.

Why do I suspect there is another huge disappointment on the horizon?


TS

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cosby


The tide - cultural and perhaps legal - may have finally turned against America's dad and serial rapist Bill Cosby with a devastating cover story in New York Magazine featuring the stark photos and searing stories of 35 of 46 women who to date have accused Cosby of rape, drugging and sexual assault over a span of decades. Their group photo culminates in an empty chair, representing "the women who couldn’t come forward mostly (because) we, as a culture, wouldn’t believe them.”

To tell you the truth, I never thought "Fat Albert" was all that funny.  I used to think I just didn't get it.  When my pals in high school walked through the hallways saying, "hey, hey, hey. I'm just Fat Albert,"  I wondered what in the hell was the attraction.

Christ, even Pryor was funnier than this guy, and he lit himself up smoking a rock.  Not to mention some real comedic artists, such as Belushi--in fact a barrel-full of SNL artists--and the obese gentlemen whose names escape me at the moment, who were indeed NBC stalwarts.

 Oh, Candy and Farley.


TS

Sunday, July 26, 2015

In and Out of Africa

"I am proud to be the first American president to come to Kenya – and of course I’m the first Kenyan American to be president of the United States," Obama said during the speech to a packed stadium in Nairobi, which was repeatedly interupted with loud rounds of applause.

However, given that in order to prepare for the presidential visit it was necessary for Kenyan military and police forces to conduct the "biggest ever security operation" in the nation's history, some observers took the opportunity to make more critical observations about how Obama's foreign policy choices in the region have impacted local people and undermined stability during the course of his presidency.

Remarking on the overwhelming military presence in the capital of Nairobi, Abdullahi Halakhe, a regional security analyst, told Agence France-Presse ahead of Obama's arrival that "the level of security [was] suffocating,"

"I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills."--Karen Blixen

The new hegemony.


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Okay...


Why isn’t this headline news? People take tons of these chemicals everyday thinking they’ve been thoroughly tested and are totally safe. Now we find out that’s not the case. Now we discover that you can get a heart attack or stroke “as early as the first few weeks of using” them. Doesn’t that come as a bit of a shock to you, dear reader? Doesn’t that make you suspect that the FDA is not telling the whole truth here, but is simply covering up for a profit-obsessed industry that doesn’t give a rip about its customers health?

Now this, just as I've upped my dosage of Ibuprofen to fight back pain?

You can't win.


TS

Friday, July 24, 2015

Old Yardley Nailed It


That was then. This is half a century later. "The Catcher in the Rye" is now, you'll be told just about anywhere you ask, an "American classic," right up there with the book that was published the following year, Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea." They are two of the most durable and beloved books in American literature and, by any reasonable critical standard, two of the worst. Rereading "The Catcher in the Rye" after all those years was almost literally a painful experience: The combination of Salinger's execrable prose and Caulfield's jejune narcissism produced effects comparable to mainlining castor oil.

Agreed.  Somehow I missed this reassessment of Salinger's novel when it was published in the Washington Post eleven years ago.  Ha!

What a pleasure to read it tonight.

I never liked the book.  I thought the prose was contrived and, well, phony.  The narrator's first-person voice never cut it for me.  There was no kid there.

I think Salinger was a master short story writer, but CITR really did suck.  We should all write a bad novel and get rich.


TS

Essay of the Day/Henry Giroux


Bland’s death over a routine traffic stop is beyond monstrous. It is indicative of a country in which lawlessness is now integral to the police state, and extreme violence is the new norm for a society fed by the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, the incarceration state, the drug wars, and the increasing militarization of everything, including the war on black youth. Routine traffic stops for black drivers contain the real possibility for turning deadly. There is more at stake here than the fact that, as Federal statistics indicate, the police are “31 percent more likely to pull over a black driver than a white driver.”[11] There is the violence that propels a deeply racist and militarized society, a violence that turns on young people and adults alike who are considered disposable and a threat to society.[12] This type of harassment is integral to a form of domestic terrorism in which blacks are beaten, arrested, incarcerated, and too often killed. This is the new totalitarianism of the boot in your face racism, one in which the punishing state is the central institution for both controlling poor minorities of race and class and enforcing the rules of the financial elite. How much longer can this war on youth go on? As Karen Garcia points out, “When police officers can stalk, threaten, harass, assault, arrest, injure and kill black people for the crime of merely existing, I think it’s high time that the USA declares itself a state sponsor of terrorism.”[13]

This is a good one, folks.  So much that needs to be stated over and over again.


TS

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Think About It











As U.S. Congress considers signing the unprecedented nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers announced earlier this month, renowned scholar and activist Noam Chomsky on Wednesday asked a less-considered question: "Why is the deal being pursued?"

When Chomsky speaks it's always a good idea to pay attention.


TS

Finding Work

I'm developing another website related to Round Bend Press.

In this one I hope to draw some visitors who are writers and might need a little help with their manuscripts.  I'll ask for a negotiated, nominal fee. Maybe I'll throw in a publishing deal if I love the work and the writer is interested.

I'm more interested in finding some blossoming writers than making money, though I could certainly use a few more bucks now and again, which is why I now have a donate button at this site.

I've managed to do some decent editing on various projects unrelated to mine in recent years, and I think it may be time to put my skills to use--or attempt to.

I'm absolutely convinced I'm a better editor than a writer.  The proof is in a number of books I've helped RBP authors bring to fruition in the past.  I get jazzed when I read manuscripts that have the potential to evolve into something special.

Everyone needs an editor, I say.  Even the so-called geniuses have or had editors in their corner. Thomas Wolfe and Kerouac come to mind.  It's said Fitzgerald was an atrocious speller.

In a sense, writing is a solitary experience that can drive you nuts like solitary confinement in a jail. But the publishing end of the experience turns out to be collaborative, like a stage play or a jailbreak.

Someone has to be able to figure out what in the hell the writer is trying to say!  Even if that is as clear as a bartender's "last call," further work will usually be necessary.

Maybe someone out there will take a leap of faith and give me a shot while figuring out that I'm a very discerning, detail-oriented reader, if at times a sloppy writer who dashes off stuff here and there like an anonymous poster at any newspaper website.

My intent is to demonstrate when I mean business, I mean business.


TS

UCLA in the Hunt?












A little something to cheer up CD, who is under the weather.

He's a big Bruins honk, and though I don't like them I know they're pretty darn good.  My Ducks miss them this season, unless they meet in the PAC championship game.

That would be cool.

The season begins in just over a month, and I await with my usual growing anticipation.  Love the college game, my favorite spectator sport these days.

Oh, I almost forgot the obligatory footnote:  College football is as corrupt as the Harding and Bush administrations.


TS

Prisons

When U.S. President Barack Obama visited the El Reno Correctional Facility in Oklahoma last week to check on living conditions of prisoners incarcerated there, no one in authority could prevent him from visiting the prison.

Obama, the first sitting president to visit a federal penitentiary, said “in too many places, black boys and black men, and Latino boys and Latino men experience being treated different under the law.”

The visit itself was described as “unprecedented” and “historic.”

But the United Nations has not been as lucky as the U.S. president was. Several U.N. officials, armed with mandates from the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, have been barred from U.S. penitentiaries which are routinely accused of being steeped in a culture of violence.

There is a lot of work to do in this administration's remaining months.


TS

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Memorable Republican Moment


Anyone who followed the 2008 presidential campaign will recall Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, the man who was plucked out of obscurity by Republican candidate John McCain to be paraded around as “Joe the Plumber,” intended, presumably, to represent the voice of the American Everyman.

No one is suggesting that Joe was stupid or dimwitted or in any way mentally challenged. It wasn’t his native intelligence that troubled us. Rather, what made Joe so damned infuriating was his annoying combination of abysmal ignorance and near suffocating arrogance. While practically every word out of his mouth was factually inaccurate or unsupportable, he uttered them with the supreme confidence of a Nobel Laureate.

The tragic, albeit funny, story of Joe the Plumber, by David Macaray.


TS

Rubio's Cuba

A recent New York Times profile of Marco Rubio accurately describes the junior Senator from Florida, and member of the three-ring circus that is the Republican Presidential primary field, as Cuba’s “least favorite son.” The piece quoted a Havana resident as saying Rubio is “against Cuba in every possible way… Rubio and these Republicans, they are still stuck in 1959.” Presumably this view was representative of others that Times writer Jason Horowitz encountered while conducting his research in Cuba. This should not come as a surprise. Rubio is a reactionary fanatic who demagogues incessantly about the evils of the Cuban government. He supports illegal and immoral policies that cause vast damage to the Cuban economy and needless suffering by the Cuban people.

Interesting and predictable.  The clown car has definitely left the highway.


TS

Satire's Future


Hadley Freeman on Jon Stewart.

My own feeling is that Stewart did for television what Charlie Chaplin did for the movies, that is he broke through the dominant shield of the ordinary and caused it to collapse on itself in a revolutionary moment.  But because both mediums draw from--are indeed dominated economically by--the self-satisfied middle the effects are singular and difficult to duplicate.

Some very good ones followed Chaplin.  Will anybody worth a damn replace Stewart?

John Oliver's HBO show is quite good, to be fair.  I like his work.

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Another View

Progressives, like liberals, tend to believe that the police in the United States’ capitalist society can be fair in their enforcement of the laws, doling out the same type of protection to the poor and non-white as they do to the wealthy and the middle class. They do not accept the more radical analysis which understands that the role of the police is to protect the white wealthy and middle classes from the rest of the nation. So, when statistics point out that hundreds of (usually unarmed) people of color and the poor are brutalized and even killed by police every year, these progressives see the problem as being one of incorrect training or just a small percentage of “bad” cops. In order to understand that this brutality and these murders are part and parcel of policing in capitalist America would require a rejection of the system most progressives and liberals are already invested in.

Ron Jacobs looks beyond the progressive/liberal sanctuary.


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R.I.P. E.L. Doctorow











The fact is that some terrible deep damage to the nation was done in the aftermath of 9/11. The government that swung into action misdirected its response and, with devious arguments to the American people, took us to war. In short time it had adopted the policies of an authoritarian state. Americans found themselves the sponsors of torture, and of the endless imprisonment without trial or counsel of presumed terrorists; they learned well after the fact that they themselves were subject to secret illegal surveillance by their government, and they saw their Constitution disdained with the unilateral abrogation of international treaties such as the Geneva Convention, though such treaties are constitutionally "the supreme Law of the Land." All these measures were claimed as wartime expedients and promoted with a propaganda of fear. At the same time, the scientific evidence of global warming was ignored, religious literalism was put in the way of medical advance, regulatory agencies were given over to the very industries they were to regulate and, rife with wartime corruption, this government left to wallow an American population severely alienated by gross economic inequalities, the forces of wealth thriving at the expense of the middle class and the shrill demagogues of right-wing radio and television shouting down all principled disagreement with what was happening. The resulting trauma to the American people’s sense of themselves and their country is still being felt. We have not wanted to believe that a sitting president and his advisers could have so given themselves to an agenda of social, economic and environmental deconstruction, and with such relentless violations of constitutional law as to render themselves, definably, as subversives.--E.L. Doctorow

Like a great number of people I came to Doctorow when The Book of Daniel arrived. It was, my God, a literary novel!  At the time I had the snotty idea that people weren't writing such things anymore. Then I read Ragtime and Loon Lake and enjoyed them as well.  I have Billy Bathgate on my shelf right now, in fact, having recently snatched it from the senior center across the street.  Maybe I'll try it when I'm done with Mitchell's Up in the Old Hotel.

TS

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Epidemic

















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All Wet













Take the elevator to the 10th floor and launch your fishing skiff.

TS

Monday, July 20, 2015

Annals of a Police State

Insofar as the state, and the prison administration, know that solitary confinement drives people insane through isolation and torture, its use signifies that the state desires this outcome. That is a political desire, a desire to do irrevocable damage to people. It happens silently, as punishment for thinking autonomously, for self-respect against the violence of imprisonment, as a political stance. On the street, however, when comparable irrevocable damage occurs, as when a cop shoots someone, he must give an account. “He was reaching in his waistband, and I felt threatened” (Gary King). “He attacked me and tried to grab my gun” (Michael Brown, shot as he stood a 100 feet away). “She became uncooperative, and made a threatening gesture.” These appear as mantras in all parts of the country. The uniformity of these excuses give them away as formulas, not reasons. They are tacit admissions that no threat existed, only disobedience, and self-defensive resistance.

An important essay by Steve Martinot.


TS

Bombs Away

Donald Trump is currently taking flak from the media and politicians for deprecating John McCain’s status as a “war hero”. Trump’s rhetoric is typically bombastic, but this time he may have struck a nerve. Here is a piece that Cockburn and I wrote in 1999 about a psychiatric evaluation of McCain underwent while a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. The psychological portrait drawn by Spanish psychiatrist Fernando Barral is that of a deeply narcissistic personality, cold, hardened and largely devoid of human empathy, a man who seemed to view the bombing of civilian populations as a kind of sport. These aggressive personality traits have also characterized his nasty political career.–JSC

The 1999 piece by St. Clair and Cockburn on John McCain touches on some ignored areas of the McCain/Trump feud.

In other words this is a no-win situation for us mortals.  Both of these guys are bad news, but big media typically aren't going there.

The Washington Post tries to differentiate them based on career factors, over-baking the war hero myth surrounding McCain and the cut-throat business practices of Trump.  The truth is they're a lot more alike than we tend to realize or are willing to admit.


TS

Weather Report

It's a lot cooler here in Oregon today.

I feel a little more comfortable without the temp near 100, but the cloud covering is sort of a negative, and lowers the spirit a little.

Oh well...


TS

Gaining Ground

On his latest round of campaign rallies this weekend, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) drew three more huge crowds in support of his populist message. And while this has become a common occurrence these days for the senator, who is running for president in the 2016 election as a Democrat, the most recent turnouts are particularly significant because he is on a red-state swing.

In Arizona and Texas, massive crowds—including his biggest one yet—showed up to see Sanders speak on economic and inequality issues. And he didn't shy away from criticizing the Democratic Party for 'turning its back' on people in conservative states.

Bernie is taking the fight to the Republican redneck zone.

Good idea.  Go for it, Bernie.


TS

"American Desperado"

Death came for Jon Roberts, the infamous cocaine cowboy, on Dec. 28 at age 63, after a long battle with cancer. But his public career as a charming monster is just beginning

A true-crime memoir, "American Desperado" (Crown; $28), written with journalist Evan Wright, has just been published. In Hollywood, director Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg are developing a movie based on his exploits.--The Sun-Sentinel, Dec. 29, 2011.

Not just a good read, but a great read by the author of Generation Kill.

Not a big Wahlberg fan myself, so let's hope they don't screw it up too badly.


TS

Writer with His AlphaSmart


CD is keeping busy, brooding, playing multiple instruments, researching a projected novel and otherwise displaying the energy of a man half his age.

Heh, he says he's "retired."

I'm looking forward to the end results of all of this.

He mentions writers' rooms in the movie business, writers "staring off into space," seemingly not working, but thinking.  I'm reminded of reading something by a journalist at The Oregonian years ago--I'm certain it was the sports writer Paul Buker-- who commented on the frequency with which writers leave their desks and head to the water cooler--particularly as a deadline approaches.

Yep, sometimes that is what it takes to get it out there.


TS

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Kurt and Amy

A few small glimpses of Amy Winehouse lurk underneath the construction of AMY WINEHOUSE, but mostly the film is an exploitive compilation of video clips of Amy, some filmed with her permission, but most without. Combined, these clips create a kind of filthy Dead Celebrity Porn made by the record company to garner a few extra dollars off Amy’s dead body. Montage of Heck also combines archival material of Kurt Cobain, but this film was made by his family, with his daughter playing a critical role. While the film itself is far from a masterpiece in documentary filmmaking (and at times feels like an infomercial on Kurt Cobain), there is an emotional tension knowing that the movie was made with the endorsement of his daughter.--Kim Nicolini

I was a huge fan of both of these artists.  The truth is I don't really know what to think.  I haven't seen either pic.  When I do, I expect to experience a lot of pain.  Numerous artists in my own age-cohort died in the 70s when I was awakening, but I never gave it much thought, perhaps because I didn't expect to live very long either. The 27 Club was sort of blase, if that is something one can passively recognize.  Janis, Hendrixs, Morrison (who am I leaving out?) lived like I did, but evidently used harder drugs.  I don't know.  Cobain's death set me back.  Winehouse, with her emergence and life story unfolding in the ubiquitous social media of our days,  rocked me. There was something about her voice that mesmerized me. I guess I wasn't alone.  I don't know what to say.  It may be years before I'm brave enough to watch these films.  Or I may never get around to it.

TS

RIP, Alex Rocco



TS

Kindle Edition


Only $2.99.

Buy it or be square.














TS

Saturday, July 18, 2015

No HRC


Speaking at an annual meeting for progressive organizers and advocacy groups on Friday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on presidential hopefuls to support recently introduced legislation that would stem the ever-turning revolving door between government and the financial industry.

"We have a presidential election coming up. I think anyone running for that job—anyone who wants the power to make every key economic appointment and nomination across the federal government—should say loud and clear that they agree: we don’t run this country for Wall Street and mega corporations. We run it for people," Warren said, according to her prepared remarks, during the keynote address.

Hillary is weak.  We don't need her kind, according to Lauren McCauley.  I agree.


TS

92 in the Shade

I have to take a little walk today before it gets too warm. Need to get the blood going.

I think it'll be fun, if my back holds up.

If not, I'll probably be crying.

TS

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ibuprofen Works

Slept a little better last night after medicating with Ibuprofen.  Feel pretty good for now, with a tad more mobility.

My brother eats a lot of Vicodin for his back pain.  I tried it once when I broke a finger on the job.  It hit me wrong, just as the label warns, and gave me extreme nausea.  No good.

I gave my extra pills away.  A drug-addled co-worker appreciated them.

I'll stick with the lesser drug, thanks, just as a friend suggested. Never really been into pills, though I take a few for non-pain issues. Beer has always been my liquid cure-all.

People are funny about it.  They see you hobbling and have stories about their own pain.

It's a good conversation starter, though you might not want to listen in if you're skittish or easily bored.


TS

Amy & John

It has been almost a year since President Barack Obama admitted, “in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. ... we tortured some folks.” The administration of Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush, carefully crafted a legal rationale enabling what it called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which is no more than a euphemism for torture. From the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay to the dungeons of Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Bagram air base in Afghanistan, countless hundreds, if not thousands, of people were subjected to torture, all in the name of the “Global War on Terror.” With the exception of a few low-level soldiers at Abu Ghraib, not one person has been held accountable. The only high-level person sent to prison over torture was John Kiriakou—not for conducting torture, but for exposing it, as a whistleblower.

She has it right, as usual.

Kiriakou speaks.


TS

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Cold Eye, the Kindle Edition


(Lee Santa photo)

Cold Eye and the Long Goodbye

"When I moved to Portland in 1977, a segment of the city’s literary scene was centered on the Long Goodbye, a café/club in the heart of what is now known as the Pearl District, the upscale enclave of restaurants and apartments at the edge of Portland’s city center. In 1977, the area was a rundown district full of crumbling, turn-of-the-century warehouses. A few craftsmen and artists lived there on a dime and a dream, satisfied with the inexpensive rent and plentiful solitude. At night, the district was eerily dark and quiet, with long shadows, dim streetlights and a foreboding, noirish feel. The café’s owner, Richard Vidan, must have felt that vibe when he opened the place, naming it after Raymond Chandler’s famous noir novel.

"The Long Goodbye was a music, theater and poetry venue in the enduring fashion of fifties and sixties-era New York coffee houses, a place where poets looked like poets. I haven’t owned a beret in years, but I know I had a black one back then, and I’d usually don it for Tuesday night open mic, when the poets gathered. I carried my precious poems in a leather shoulder bag and kept a G harmonica in my tweed sports coat, just in case. At times, I wore a beard, or I’d trim it back for the Beat feel. It didn’t concern me that I was twenty-years late for that literary movement."--Terry Simons

This is a small slice of the literary history of Portland, of which I'm very proud.  Buy it now at the Kindle store.


TS

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Not Again...














The back pain has returned with a vengeance.

This is clearly a case of lumbar spinal stenosis, "relatively common in adults over 60," according to the websites.

But Doc, what about children over 60, like me?  Why?

This is my best computer-generated diagnosis; last time I figured my arthritic left hip was to blame, but now I think it's the stenosis.

My brother has been in a wheelchair for over 20 years due to sciatica.  Hope to avoid that...


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You Had to Be There














Regarding Nixon--this and this.

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Nightscapes













































Photos by Terence Connery.

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Laugh of the Day













In the words of one voter who was surveyed, “When I hear some of these candidates talk, I sure do miss Sarah Palin.”

Too funny.


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Monday, July 13, 2015

Dig In











Bernie by the numbers.

We're all in this together.

Norman Solomon weighs in.

A few words regarding drone warfare.

Pilger makes a point.

Etc., etc.


TS

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Good Thinking

As the United States military continues to sell the idea of joining its ranks to high school students throughout the nation as the best way for many poor students to get financing for college, the will to create true social responsibility for our nation’s underserved and underprivileged children is getting further out of reach.

Many democratic governments throughout Europe offer their children a free college education. Some, like Denmark, even pay their children a living allowance of around $1000 to go to college. In South America, the government of Brazil offers its students a free college education. The United States, conversely, charges students exorbitant fees for education which has forced many poorer students to either join the military and utilize the GI Bill or take out huge loans in order to go to college.

In the richest country in the world, for the people in the poor districts throughout America, the only possibility of a free college education comes with the costs of possible loss of life, possible disfiguring injury, possible increases in mental illnesses like PTSD, increased incidences of suicide both during and after military service, and if you’re a female, possible sexual harassment and increased incidences of rape.

Some cogent thinking from Adam Vogal.

I worry about the future of my 7 year-old grandson in the face of this blight.  What choices will he have in another 10 years?  Will he be able to go to college if he wants to?  Will the military snap him up like convenient carrion and march him off to the never-ending wars this country has given its youth?

All to protect the assets of sonsofbitches?

I can tell you at times this world frightens me.  I literally get sick to my stomach imagining the next horror perpetuated by the psychopaths among us--and I'm not talking about the random losers who crawl out of their holes and create mayhem out of some twisted sense of paranoid logic.

I'm talking about the thieves and liars at the top, the users and abusers with their deliberate designs and American-flag lapel pins glistening under the strobe lights of the corporate media.


TS

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Briefly, Good Reading









The July 5 referendum in Greece provides the clearest and most inspiring evidence to date, but the message it conveyed has been clear for a long time: that people hate the banksters who impose austerity upon them, and that they hate austerity even more.

What could be more understandable? Most people are working more (or no less) for less (or no more) — not for the age old reason, that there is not enough to go around, but because of the machinations of banksters, and the politicians and bureaucrats who serve their interests and the interests of their class brothers and sisters.

It is thanks to them, not scarcity, that many of the gains of the past century are now being rolled back.

A good read by Levine.

Another by Paul Craig Roberts.


TS

Friday, July 10, 2015

Reminder

It was not “faulty intelligence,” as Jeb Bush claims,  that led to the war in Iraq.  He knows better.  His brother’s Administration meant to invade Iraq from its first days in office, and Jeb Bush was prominent among those demanding it.

“Faulty intelligence” is a facade and a fraud.  America was taken deliberately into war by a fanatic group obsessed with democratizing the world by force—the force of U.S. military supremacy.  The group was called the Project for the New American Century.  Dozens of PNAC members–Vice President Richard Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, for example—dominated the Administration of George W. Bush in setting foreign and defense policy, and leading the nation to war as a result.

Jeb Bush was a founding member of the Project for the New American Century.

Let's not forget it in the months ahead.


TS

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Quick Note













Former President George W. Bush is attracting a flurry of renewed criticism after revelations surfaced this week that he charged a charity for severely wounded veterans of the so-called War on Terror $100,000 in speaking fees.

The ultimate wastrel.


TS

Two More

Got to keep it short and sweet, as my computer is overheating. Gotta get it fixed one day soon.

Two more Kindle editions of my work are up and ready. Everything is cut-rate.

We're trying to make a buck here.


TS

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Kindle and Smoke

Hey, RBP fans.

If you have a Kindle-compatible device you might be excited to know you can go here to access Alt-Everything.

Don't miss out.

The fan on my computer, or something similarly evil, must be broken.

I smell burning.

I may have to shut things down until I can get this baby into the shop, see what the problem is.


TS