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.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Roth's Last Dance

Referring to himself in the third person as he ponders his career, Nathan Zuckerman, through whom Roth so often spoke, ruminates in Zuckerman Unbound: “All he wanted at sixteen was to become a romantic genius like Thomas Wolfe and leave little New Jersey and all the shallow provincials [behind].” But as it turned out, “he had taken them all with him.”--SM

Nice piece here on Philip Roth's love affair with his home town of Newark, NJ.

Roth has always been one of my favorite writers.  At 84 he says he's published his last book.


Friday, June 23, 2017


The Beavs fall but have another chance tomorrow.  The CWS is a double-elimination tourney and OSU has split a pair with LSU.

Rubber match...

This is quality baseball worth watching.  Things will be tense in Omaha tomorrow.


Bell and Boucher to Golden State

The NBA champions Golden State went after Jordan Bell in the draft with the 38th pick, then signed Chris Boucher to a two-year deal.

Damn, the Warriors know what they're doing.  Might be why they're the champs. With the B boys in the fold there'll be hell to pay for opponents attempting to get to the rim.

Add two shot blockers to that already great team?

Won't be fair.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rall Again

“I am not a member of any organized political party,” Will Rogers said ages ago. “I am a Democrat.”

So frustration with America’s officially-licensed nominally liberal political party is not new. Even for them, though, I can’t imagine that any party ever worked as hard to pull defeat from the jaws of victory as the Dems are doing now.--TR

The mess is blooming.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Psychopathy Explained

Can't seem to face up to the facts
Been so nervous can't relax
Can't sleep bed's on fire
Don't touch me I'm a real live wire.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Van the Man

It was time
again today
to escape the torrent
the fading away
the fortune tellers' lies
and empty noise.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Santa in PDX

The Sandpoint, Idaho photographer, Lee Santa, was in Portland last week to shoot the Joe Lovano concert.  See the photos here.

We published Santa's "A Journey into Jazz: Anecdotes, Notes and Photos of Jazz Fan" in 2014.  The book has earned wide praise, and you can buy it here.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

'Tis True

We’ve seen this before. Muhammad Ali, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Craig Hodges, Tommie Smith and John Carlos all faced similar treatment after using their platforms to take principled stands. Kaepernick has made millions of dollars in the NFL, so he will be fine either way. But there are many lessons to be learned from this situation.

One important lesson is how the owning class relies on patriotism to help protect and secure its position in society. The notion of patriotism is one that tells the American working class that they have a deep, common bond with the American capitalist class. This, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth. As being consistent with capitalism, the owning-class minority has driven the working-class majority into widespread deprivation in order to secure more and more wealth for itself. One way to hide this reality is to create an artificial bond based on geographic and cultural nationalism—patriotism.--CJ

A Colin Jenkins piece at Truthdig.

On the college front, Oregon has the number 10-rated class for 2018 at this time.  Maybe the new coaching staff can get 'er done, right?


Wednesday, June 14, 2017


The not-so-new Democratic Party had its claws on the People’s Summit this past weekend in Chicago. Readers might think that after so much greed and profit from war and after such loss of human resources, that someone would stand up and shout: “What’s the matter with you people… can’t you see the obvious… can’t you see the handwriting on the wall!”--HL

Good piece.

Rall on fire.


Friday, June 9, 2017


Hedges in Portland, KBOO benefit.



The question now is whether the Democrats will change.

So far, despite the title of the New York Times article, the answer is no. Although there is widespread voter support for single payer, Nancy Pelosi says the party is not going there and is funneling advocates’ energy to the state level, even though state single payer systems are not possible without federal legislation. At the national level, Democrats are paying lip service to Medicare for All: “We need to get there eventually but right now our task is to fix the ACA” is the current talking point.

The reality is that the political currents have shifted. The public is not going along with the con. People want solutions to the healthcare crisis, not more tinkering with the current failed healthcare system. Across the country, the message is clear that the public supports National Improved Medicare for All. And whichever political party in power embraces this will see a surge in popularity.--MF

Corporate Dems can't figure it out, or refuse to at any rate.

B is for bone.


Another View

Scheer has been there and done that.  The 81 year-old maestro is still strong.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Summer Ahead

CounterPunch mandate.

Read it all every day.

While you're at it.

We need real clarity now more than ever.

That's all. Very sketchy WiFi these days.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Go Beavs!

OSU is blowing Yale away.

Been 10 years since the Beavs won the CWS.  Is it ordained?


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Money Hole

Military spending is the biggest waste of federal tax dollars ever. Both political parties are equally complicit.

The militarism scam is the best-kept secret in American politics.--TR

Or as Gen. Smedley Butler put it, "war is a racket."

The top one-hundred U.S. defense contractors.


Monday, May 29, 2017

The Fallibility of Hubris

Whether any American liberal wants to or not, anyone who is mourning Manchester needs to hear it said: We’re crying over the horror in Manchester today because yesterday Hillary Clinton was laughing about the horror she inflicted on Libya –including the killing of Ghaddafi by those protected Salafist proxies who sodomized him with a bayonet: “We came. We saw. He died. [big smile, joyous laugther]” Yes, exactly that.

Ha, Ha. Maybe she can get a gig in a comedy club in Manchester.

Really, knowing what we do about Libya through to Manchester, does any of the outrageous things we’ve from Trump equal the despicableness of Hillary’s perverse glee in this video? It’s an image not to be forgotten.-- JK

Pilger speaks!

Another "must read" from TE.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Small Talk

I can remember back in the day when bus drivers were as least as smart as Ralph Kramden.

This is why I never attempt to engage a city bus driver in conversation.  It's too dangerous.

As an aside, nobody was more surprised than my painter colleague and I when we were once thrown off a city bus coming home from a job just because the swine driver felt for some unfathomable reason that we were, in the middle of a conversation about work, talking shit about him.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Long Weekend

Memorial Day weekend.  Get out there and do something.

And remember to remember.

My WiFi is bad right now, so visit again next month and I might have something to tell you.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Fan's Note

Lived through the power outage, a harrowing affair.  My senior center was closed, but the meals were saved thanks to the tenacity of the Elm Center staff!

The MOW people rock!

Speaking of food, as in food chain, here's an interesting piece.


Monday, May 22, 2017


If journalists were doing their jobs as laid out in widely accepted political theory and First Amendment doctrine—to hold power accountable, especially when the checks and balances built into formal institutions of the republic fail—they would not settle for liberal pieties but instead would embrace the radical analyses that have animated the best of journalism throughout history. Tom Paine, the greatest journalist of the Revolutionary era, never settled for the liberal pieties of his day, which may be why he’s rarely remembered as one of our “founding fathers” despite his considerable contributions to independence.--RJ

One for the road.

Two for the road.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Branded and Dying

The assignment is to go up to Boston to cover the third annual Content Marketing Conference, a sold-out, $1,250/ticket, four-day powwow for 300 marketing professionals flown in from San Fran and Toronto and other prosperous North American cities. They will sleep at the conference hotel in $349/night rooms with swanky waterfront views. The Struggling Writer is picked up at the train station by a taxi and deposited at the corner of a dingy half-block. The taxi departs hastily. The S.W. finds the entrance to the Airbnb rental, a narrow building adorned in uninspired graffiti.

The Content Marketing Conference takes place in a wing of the Westin Hotel. The spectacular, light-filled lobby is abuzz with men and women ages 20s to 50s in biz attire tapping on laptops, while others quickly wheel compact travel luggage over polished marble. A long escalator to the second floor is decorated with decals of male and female Superheroes soaring through space: neon-green faces, neon-green capes. Spandex-enhanced anatomies accompany motivational implorings such as “Rid the World of Bad Content.”-- Tablet online

Pretty funny and clever, if not up to the standards of Hunter S. Thompson as infiltrator and skeptic.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

RIP Chris Cornell

I figure there have been but a handful of singers max who were able to sing this song and get it right.  You know, the composers; another one in his raw and intriguing way was Chris Cornell.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Race is On

Great news developing out of Bend, in Oregon's 2nd Congressional District. The potential ouster of Republican Trumpster Greg Walden, the arch-conservative corporate lackey/congressman who helped write the Trump/Ryan anti-health bill, just got a jump start.

This will only work if Eastern Oregon voters come to their senses, but a high-profile candidate like Rachael Scdoris-Salerno can't hurt the cause.

If fame is what it takes to unseat a corporate-backed henchman, I'm all for it.


50 Years On

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 70, still has his principled worldview, elan and tenacity--and now a new book about his long friendship with his college coach and mentor, John Wooden.

He is troubled by the "one-and-done" rule in college ball and how it has changed the college game.

Abdul-Jabbar was always more than merely a highly successful basketball player. His skill ultimately gave him a powerful voice, which he has used more frequently than most professional athletes, past and present, to address social injustice.

The Cleveland Muhammad Ali Summit, June 1967. Kareem was still Lew in this photo.

The summit was called to mull over Ali's anti-war statements and draft resistance.  Blacks were by-and-large still divided on the ramifications of  the Vietnam War at the time.  In April, Martin Luther King had for the first time acknowledged publicly his growing anti-war sentiments, calling the U.S. "a leading purveyor of violence" in the war.

In Cleveland the assembled athletes and black business advocates heard Ali out.  Upon leaving UCLA, Lew Alcindor embraced the Muslim faith and changed his name, like Cassius Clay had before him.

The summit was a seminal moment in the history of black dissent.  At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, two track medal winners, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raised their gloved-fists in open protest of racial injustice in the U.S.

And of course disbelieving conservatives and racists were appalled, just as they are today if any social movement for betterment upsets their narrow view of the world while scaring the holy shit out of them.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

De Quincey

When he picked up his pen, De Quincey left the world of ‘mere facts’ and entered a field of free unstructured space in which to create a world of his imagining. Writing was a form of vagrancy, the page an open road, grammar the generator of limitless possible routes through thought. To be a writer was to be a flâneur, to be a flâneur was to embody the movement of imagination itself.--LRB

A terrific book review by Nicholas Spice.


Monday, May 15, 2017


Only the catchment areas of the Amazon, the Congo and the Nile exceed that of the Mississippi, which drains 40 per cent of the United States, encompassing thirty-one states (and two Canadian provinces). Other renowned calamities in the United States – the (human-caused) Johnstown (Pennsylvania) flood of 1889 (more than 2,000 German and Welsh immigrant ironworkers lost their lives when a rickety dam burst higher up the valley), the Galveston (Texas) hurricane of 1900 (the nation’s deadliest hurricane), the San Francisco earthquake and fire (1906) and Hurricane Katrina (2005) – involved more physical damage and greater loss of life. But the area affected by the Mississippi flood of 1927, the most severe in US history, is unrivalled in the annals of American “natural” disasters. Unusually heavy and persistent precipitation began in August 1926 throughout the Mississippi basin and did not let up until the spring of 1927. Long-term processes of deforestation in the upper basin, wetland drainage and installation of monoculture agricultural regimes had seriously compromised the earth’s capacity to store moisture from rain and snow, hastening runoff and erosion of the “naked” soil. So, by late spring, 30,000 square miles across seven states, from Cairo, Illinois, to the Gulf of Mexico, inhabited by nearly a million people, stood under up to 30 feet of water--TLS

Feels like we're about to be flooded out with all the rain from the sky and the gloom from reality.


Saturday, May 13, 2017


My daughter was diagnosed with thyroid problems after giving birth to her son eight years ago.

My friend CL battled mysterious medical problems until discovering he too had a thyroid condition that he has under control now.

Recently, I went for my annual medical checkup and have learned that I've joined the club.  Had symptoms, odd aches and pains and a lack of energy that I thought might be age-normative, for I am on the down slope shall we say--but alas a blood test revealed the truth.

Ha, I've added a thyroid medication to my growing list of legal drugs that I consume daily. The heart, liver, lungs and colon are good for now, but I've joined the masses with the thyroid thing.

I hope the miracle drug works and the long list of negative side effects don't appear and my energy comes back.  Watch out!  I might yet again be a dynamo.

Ain't it grand?


Thursday, May 11, 2017


All she needs is the turban and shades and it would be the reality TV version of “Sunset Boulevard.” Now that  Hillary is slowly reappearing now and then,  out there on the news show circuit,  she resembles  a defiant Norma Desmond . And  we are forced once again to bear witness to the absurdity  that is the Democratic party.--JG

This is pretty funny despite its excruciating sadness...


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Stink and the Fog

In a very short amount of time, it’s become something of cliche to talk about Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey as the equivalent of Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” when Nixon fired anyone at the Department of Justice unwilling to fire the Watergate independent prosecutor.

If that does turn out to be an apt analogy, it’s hardly surprising that this is happening in many respects.

The crimes of Watergate came out of the Vietnam War, though this is poorly understood. The Watergate “plumbers” were originally set up to plug the leaks about the Vietnam War.--SH

Out of the cheap stink of the Nixonian analogy and the militaristic fog of the power struggle in Washington, comes an actual essay of merit!

And another from Andrew Bacevich.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017


The mountain rises glistening from an encasement of glaciers in the far reaches of the Karakoram. Pyramid-shaped, an austere link to eternity, K2 yields only to Everest in height and is deadlier. Its walls are vertiginous no matter the approach.

Only the most experienced climbers attempt ascents, and for every four who crawl to its peak, one dies.

And then there is winter. Fourteen of earth’s mountains exceed 8,000 meters (26,246 feet), and climbers have reached the peak of 13 in winter. K2 is the forbidding exception. Ten Polish climbers hope to make history by reaching the summit next winter.--NYT

An excellent feature on mountaineering from the NY Times.


Monday, May 8, 2017

About Time

Finally reading some more Orwell recently, a book I put off for far too long.  Like my favorite,"Down and Out in Paris and London," it's a goody.

"Homage to Catalonia" is Orwell's memoir of fighting the fascists in the Spanish Civil War.  I should have read it years ago, just never got around to it for some reason--perhaps sloth.  Or perhaps I'd read too many books about war and suffered from second-hand battle fatigue.  Anyway...

Great read.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Why History?

History properly and deeply understood is profoundly dangerous to authority. Consistent with Santayana’s oft-quoted remark that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” it warns us about past mistakes. National leaders’ remarkably recurrent faith in splendid little wars that will be concluded quickly with little human cost is one among many examples.--PS

Paul Street lights up lazy historicism in this essay of the day.


Thursday, May 4, 2017


After taking heat from Hood River to Bend last month from constituents pissed off by his stupidity, 2nd District Oregon Rep. Greg Walden and other goofy bastard Republicans yucked it up with Trump in a WH ceremony celebrating Trumpcare's House victory Thursday.

Walden is third from the right (front row), next to Paul Ryan. Moments after this shot was taken, Walden crawled under Ryan's skirt and kissed the Speaker's ass.

How do you like him now, Eastern Oregon?


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Delusional Neocon is a Liar

Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that she takes "absolute personal responsibility" for her 2016 loss. But she doesn't, really.

Clinton suggested in an interview at a "Women for Women" event in New York that her forthcoming book would include plenty about how misogyny contributed to her loss, adding it to the blame she has assigned to FBI Director James Comey and Russian hacking. And by the end of the interview, she also blamed the debate questions she was asked.--WP

I was accused of being a misogynist for not supporting her, even though I was a vocal supporter of Jill Stein and the Green Party.

Absolutely no evidence has been put forward that Russia influenced the election.

Hillary's notion that Comey's work changed the minds of voters is pure self-aggrandizement, as even the Washington Post understands in a rare moment of lucidity.

Clinton liberals are full of shit, as is their heroine.

At least she didn't take the final step and blame Sanders and Stein for her failure, though she likely believes that as well.  Note also that she didn't blame the DNC, which would have been somewhat closer to the truth.

What an entitled, elitist fucking snob.  Or, as I would shorten it, bitch.

And no, being anti-Clinton does not make me an implicit Trump supporter, which is what every uneducated pragmatic voter I've run across believes to be the case.

Late-stage neoliberalism is killing the country, and both of the candidates were callous jackasses in it for the wrong reasons.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Feeble Minds

The idiots take over in the final days of crumbling civilizations. Idiot generals wage endless, unwinnable wars that bankrupt the nation. Idiot economists call for reducing taxes for the rich and cutting social service programs for the poor, and project economic growth on the basis of myth. Idiot industrialists poison the water, the soil and the air, slash jobs and depress wages. Idiot bankers gamble on self-created financial bubbles and impose crippling debt peonage on the citizens. Idiot journalists and public intellectuals pretend despotism is democracy. Idiot intelligence operatives orchestrate the overthrow of foreign governments to create lawless enclaves that give rise to enraged fanatics. Idiot professors, “experts” and “specialists” busy themselves with unintelligible jargon and arcane theory that buttresses the policies of the rulers. Idiot entertainers and producers create lurid spectacles of sex, gore and fantasy.--CH

Hedges at Truthdig.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Narrative

The ruling class is seriously rattled over its loss of control over the national political narrative—a consequence of capitalism’s terminal decay and U.S. imperialism’s slipping grip on global hegemony. When the Lords of Capital get rattled, their servants in the political class are tasked with rearranging the picture and reframing the national conversation. In other words, Papa Imperialism needs a new set of lies, or renewed respect for the old ones. Former president Barack Obama, the cool operator who put the U.S. back on the multiple wars track after a forced lull in the wake of George Bush’s defeat in Iraq, has eagerly accepted his new assignment as Esteemed Guardian of Official Lies.

At this stage of his career, Obama must dedicate much of his time to the maintenance of Official Lies, since they are central to his own “legacy.” With the frenzied assistance of his first secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, Obama launched a massive military offensive—a rush job to put the New American Century back on schedule. Pivoting to all corners of the planet, and with the general aim of isolating and intimidating Russia and China, the salient feature of Obama’s offensive was the naked deployment of Islamic jihadists as foot soldiers of U.S. imperialism in Libya and Syria. It is a strategy that is morally and politically indefensible—unspeakable!—the truth of which would shatter the prevailing order in the imperial heartland, itself.--GF/BAR

I like this tough talk.  Gimme more like this and less bullshit, please. Everyone.

While you're feeling languorous, study this four-part series on American Imperialism and its discontents.


Thursday, April 27, 2017


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday unveiled its controversial immigrant crime office, complete with a hotline for U.S. citizens to report alleged crimes committed by undocumented aliens—which was promptly overwhelmed with calls about extraterrestrials, UFOs, and First Lady Melania Trump.--NP

Give the hotline a call.


No. 1

Oregon's acrobatic tumblers are the best!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

We hold these truths...

The unambigious fact is that US capitalism is a mechanism for looting the many for the benefit of the few. Neoliberal economics was constructed in order to support this looting. In other words, neoliberal economists are whores just like the Western print and TV media.

Yet, Americans are so insouciant that you will hear those who are being looted praise the merits of “free market capitalism.”--PCR

'Tis the truth.

Resulting in more truth.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Never Ending

That new ruling reality of our American world should, in turn, offer a hint about the nature of Donald Trump’s presidency.  It should be a reminder that as strange... okay, bizarre... as his statements, tweets, and acts may have been, as chaotic as his all-in-the-family administration is proving to be, as little as he may resemble anyone we’ve ever seen in the White House before, he’s anything but an anomaly of history.  Quite the opposite.  Like those generals, he’s a logical endpoint to a grim process, whether you’re talking about the growth of inequality in America and the rise of plutocracy -- without which a billionaire president and his billionaire cabinet would have been inconceivable -- or the form that American war-making is taking under him.--TE

9/11 as embarkation and a persistent chaos.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day

At Earth Day in Portland this morning the crowd was rocking to Bob Marley and the Wailers. Peter Tosh was an important player in the Wailers whose voice hit me harder than Marley's.

Legalize It and Mama Africa.


Think Again

There’s a season for it–the thinkpieces, the brave suggestions, the crawling out to the edge of the limb and saying, yes, I have the answer, we should force America’s youth to come together and serve in some collective cause.

In spite of the right’s fondness for military service and such pageantry, it’s usually the left or the more accurately, the muddy, authoritarian center that suggest this kind of thing. Progressives worry over wars, but they don’t worry enough over the civilian casualties in other countries, or the blowback in America. Sometimes they become overly concerned, instead about how poor people join the military, and rich, privileged people don’t. Sometimes they even pull up an extra deep argument, dust the dirt off of it, and say, gee, maybe the draft can stop wars! Charlie Rangel spent decades in congress trying to bring back conscription for that very reason.--LS

Rather than make it mandatory that every young person in the country be subjected to service in order to perpetuate Empire and fight the ruling classes' wars, I'd rather those same youths join the struggle to destroy oligarchy and the perpetual wars it thrives on.

They won't, but neither would many accept the service mandate with the joy and acquiescence people imagine.

The notion that America's wars of aggression would come to a screeching halt if everybody had to serve is an example of the muddled thinking that gave us Trump and Clinton in the first place--a pair of neocons hell bent on imperial expansion and regime change wherever their puppet masters deem it necessary.

That one of these pols is deemed more reckless than the other in our shallow discourse is hardly the point. The road to catastrophe is well-marked, and the two-way power struggle at the top between corporate Democrats and Republican fools is the truly frightening reality.

The method of ruination employed by the two-headed monster is merely a sideshow--a fast versus a slower burn, with the current head of state, Trump, the leading arsonist.

One guarantee of mandatory service would emerge sooner than not, however.  The jails the U.S. oversees at home and throughout the world would be bulging with newly minted "traitors" and "seditionists" in a new and improved description of  "terrorism" (meaning against corporate interests).

If you are skeptical that such would happen rather than a sudden breakout of war resistance, think again while you still have ability to do so.


Friday, April 21, 2017


And now we take a break from the rigors of maintaining Round Bend Press to watch the 3rd season of Bosch, which arrived today at Amazon Prime.

I've got to squeeze it in now because I'm on an Amazon Prime trial that ends in a week.

This is what I've been waiting for and it is all that matters--an escape into a cops and criminals serial.  I must binge.

Hell, it says right in my blogger profile that I like this kind of junk, so bear with me and come back soon.



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Capturing the Queen

After Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss nearly six months ago, her most powerful Democratic allies feared losing control of the party. Efforts to lip-synch economic populism while remaining closely tied to Wall Street had led to a catastrophic defeat. In the aftermath, the party’s progressive base—personified by Bernie Sanders—was in position to start flipping over the corporate game board.

Aligned with Clinton, the elites of the Democratic Party needed to change the subject. Clear assessments of the national ticket’s failures were hazardous to the status quo within the party. So were the groundswells of opposition to unfair economic privilege. So were the grassroots pressures for the party to become a genuine force for challenging big banks, Wall Street and overall corporate power.

In short, the Democratic Party’s anti-Bernie establishment needed to reframe the discourse in a hurry. And—in tandem with mass media—it did.

The reframing could be summed up in two words: Blame Russia.--NS

Right on, Norman.

Check out this WP essay if you can stomach it.  Exactly what Solomon is referring to from the elite of the elites in the news media--another Sanders hit piece.  Surprise!

Hillary did it to herself, with a little help from her friends.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017


In response to these changes in its urban character, Portland saw the rise of a literary and cultural avant-garde that thumbed its nose at the city’s gathering prosperity. Darker and angrier than the beatniks or hippies, the new avant-garde drew on international artistic currents to articulate the spirit of revolt. Near the center of the ’70s avant-garde in Portland was a performance poetry troupe called the Impossibilists. Founded by Tom Cassidy and Mark Sargent, the Impossibilists published manifestos—mingling poetry, prose, satire, and graphic art—for a period of more than ten years. They also staged live shows, readings, and events. Their manifestos featured writers and artists like Curtis and Katherine Dunn, and later figures from outside Portland like Subwaxin Haddock and Blaster Al Ackerman. Though circulation never exceeded a few hundred copies, their literary activities—and their forceful assertion of an avant-garde ethos—helped shape Portland’s cultural identity. --EJC

Tom Cassidy illustrated my first and only Mississippi Mud short story. He managed the Earth Tavern when I moved to Portland in 1977, and he usually worked the door for shows.

Lucas would sneak into the venue by walking in backwards (to give the illusion that he was walking out, get it?) and Cassidy seemed to appreciate the ruse, as he normally let Lucas get away with it. I usually ended up paying at the door.

I didn't contribute to the Impossibilists, but perhaps I should have.  I liked all the characters surrounding the movement/scene, including everybody mentioned in this piece.

The scene moved to the Long Goodbye Tavern, circa 1978, which I described in the intro to Cold Eye: A Generation of Voices, a collection focused on the Portland writers who met there on Tuesday nights to read and drink.

I was genuinely discomforted when Cassidy moved to Minneapolis. Seemed like a Portland loss at the time, and it was indeed.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

He Gone

Jordan Bell announced this morning he's going pro, signing with an agent like Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks before him.

All three should have taken a cue from Buddy Hield and CJ McCollum, both of whom played four in college and had it pay off.

Bell, the best of the three Oregon players who led the Ducks to the Final Four this season, doesn't have an NBA 15' shot.

Brooks doesn't have small forward handles in the realm of Justin or Josh Jackson, expected NBA early draftees.

Dorsey lacks NBA strength and natural jumping ability, and though he got better at finishing at the rim late in the season and his shot started falling regularly he's rough, and I expect NBA players to stuff him often.

Dorsey has dual citizenship (Greece).  Could make a team there and be a hero.

Oregon's big three went for the money that may not even be there after things settle.

I think they're all a little naive or simply don't care about college any more. Could have been another great team next year.

Meanwhile Kentucky has its usual array of 5-star NBA-ready guys coming in.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Bad Journalism

For example, of all places, National Public Radio just ran a lengthy segment examining the numerous instances in which Donald Trump has this week proven himself a liar and a fraud by advancing policies in direct conflict with his campaign platform and campaign promises.  Throughout the piece, the NPR journalists discussed how Trump was “learning on the job,” how these self-contradictions represented a possible shift to the political center, and how during the campaign, “Trump needed to say” one thing, and as President, he “needed to say” another.  Not once during the piece did anyone speak up to say: “Since when did it become acceptable for a person running for, let alone winning, the presidency to so transparently lie and manipulate and speak in inflammatory terms without commitment to the public or accountability for his words?”  NPR completely avoided the real story, which is that Donald Trump lacks the intelligence and mental health to meet what has long been the minimum standard for someone running for, let alone holding, our nation’s highest office.  Instead, in terms that often amounted to outright praise, NPR normalized Trump’s ego-driven self-license to campaign on lies, fantasies and ignorance.--HE

Hank has discovered, perhaps belatedly, that NPR isn't really all that. The reportage and analysis he finds lacking has been the network's stock-in-trade for a long time now, with the reprehensible Steve Inskeep and Cokie Roberts leading the pack of assorted bobble-heads.

NPR is the radio version of the HuffPost, that is weak-kneed "journalism" of the most-simplistic variety.

As execrable as poisoned food, it cannot be digested without waves of nausea overcoming the senses. The fare further blurs the line between "fake" and "real" news as its toxicity levels become dangerous to the human spirit.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cool Chaos, Hot Wars

It is a crushing blow to have your idols defrocked before your eyes. Generally speaking, the best course of action is denial, which can at least forestall having to cope with reality for as long as you can reasonably deny what happened. The neoliberal Clintonistas have done just that in the wake of their heroine’s epic meltdown last fall, when all manner of misdirection was employed to whitewash the neocon hobgoblin Hillary Clinton into some kind of iconic facsimile of humility and virtue, the brave flagbearer for female kind. Anyone familiar with Clinton’s record found themselves retching in alleyways as the pro-Hillary throngs flowed down the streets, chanting and punching the sky with their baleful banners.

The Clintonistas have chiefly attempted to salve their psyches by transmuting their worshipful emotions into a seething animus for Donald Trump, who has always presented as the antichrist to Hillary’s redeemer. The usefulness of Donald Trump is that he provided a perfect cipher into which identity politics neoliberals could pour all of their unbridled fury over the rejection of their political idol. Make America Great Again meant nothing. Much like Barack Obama represented for these same neoliberals a void on to which they could project all of their finest ideals about race, equality, and justice. Change You Can Believe In meant nothing.--JH

An exceptionally good piece at CP dissecting the hypocrisy of it all.

This piece brought me out of the doldrums that have been immobilizing in recent days.  I've been binge-watching the serials Bosch and Mozart in the Jungle at Amazon Prime, and a little baseball.

Last month I had another Netflix free trial and caught the second season of Better Call Saul.

Free trials.  Damn, I love free trials.

I also love being lazy, though I oft feel guilty about it.  Ha...


Sunday, April 9, 2017

It's the Policy, Stupid

The rise of Islamic State has instilled pride and self-empowerment for many Sunnis, humiliated by the U.S. occupation. It has exposed the weak and corrupt ruling elites who have sold themselves to Washington. It is proof that the Western military forces are not invincible. These groups will suffer reverses, but they will not go away.

There is no clean or easy way to exit from the morass we created in the region. None of the insurgents in the region will willingly lay down their weapons until the U.S. occupation of the Middle East ends. The wars we started are complicated. There is a myriad of proxy wars being fought beneath the surface, including our war with Russia, Turkey’s war with the Kurds, and Saudi Arabia’s war with Iran. The civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen are the human fodder. This slaughter has already lasted nearly 16 years. It will not cease until the United States is exhausted and withdraws its forces from the region. And before that happens, many, many more innocents will die. So save your tears. We are morally no different from the jihadists or the Syrians we fight. They reflect back to us our own repugnant visage. If we wanted this to stop, we could make it happen.--CH

Hedges, with his usual clarity, insight, and humane arguments.

Paul Street swings the hammer.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Choir Practice

I suspect that when human beings started gathering in larger groups, creating more complex societies, those who were deemed to be poorer residents became objects of derision and disgust. Perhaps this is because impoverished persons remind those who are better off of vulnerability and human dependency. In our own society, Nancy Isenberg (2016) documents how the poor are negatively represented and treated throughout U.S. history, which seems to confirm the idea that as long as the poor are among us there will be people who abhor them. While the people who are poor may be despised by other members of society, I contend that neoliberal politicians (and their adherents) are more susceptible to class animus than politicians who hold more humanist and socialist views. This is evident today with Republicans in charge of the government, though let me be clear that Republicans are not the only neoliberals in the government and, therefore, not the only ones who display a willed indifference to persons lacing in economic resources.--RL

On the effects of neoliberalism.



The use of force by the United States against the sovereign state of Syria is a prima facie violation of international law. It is an act of aggression against the UN Member State in violation of the Charter of the United Nations. It therefore gives Syria the right to react in self-defense or a legal justification for the use of force and it gives any other United Nations Member State the right to act in collective self-defense and to support Syrian action against the U.S. This is the basic understanding of the international legal consequences of the United States use of force against Syria.--CD

Spelled out for dumb asses.

Aggression redux.


The Bullshit Never Ends

Here we go again.

Bush and Cheney and the neocons are grinning.  Hillary Clinton is ecstatic.  Tim Kaine wants to take credit for it. Kissinger approves. The corporate media love it.  Trump's minions fall in line.

That extra 57B for the DOD is going to come in handy.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Recent Months

I'm a blocked artist much of the time, but I think this is my best picture in recent months.  Strangely, it is an exact replication of the evening view I have across the courtyard in my apartment complex, believe it or not.

I call my ability to capture the essence "ultimate realism."


Lost Ball Trick

Everyone can agree, we've never seen anything like this before.

Baseball is back, with all of its wicked weirdness.

Well, you can't blame this one on Steve Bartman.


From Russia, With Love

How dreadfully depressing life has become in almost all of the Western cities! How awful and sad.--AV

Essay of the day, by the author of several intriguing works.

I'm reminded of H. Miller's The Air-Conditioned Nightmare, a not unpleasant reaction.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

50 Year Ago

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettos of the North over the last three years, especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, “What about Vietnam?” They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.--MLK

King's greatest speech.  He was assassinated a year later.


Monday, April 3, 2017


I found this cover of Black Sabbath's classic in St. Clair's weekly "Roaming Charges" column at CP.

No shit, I've always thought a great singer (Ozzy wasn't) could make hay with this song, like Eddie Vedder and Lucinda Williams have with Dylan's "Masters of War."


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Ducks Fall

The sad news is that Oregon lost to UNC and the Russians control your mind.