Roaming Charges: Knocked Out and Re-Loaded

Iron T. Rex, Olancha, California. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

+ There’s no more fragrant emblem of what American freedom has been distilled down to than a mass shooting at an Independence Day parade. For the last century, much of the world has been compelled to witness the imposition of American’s peculiar concept of freedom at automatic gunpoint and now the message is being brought forcefully home.

+ So police came to Crimo the Creep’s house twice. Once when he said he wanted to kill himself. Then again a few months later when he said he wanted to “kill everybody,” starting with his own family. During this visit the cops seized Crimo’s extensive collection of knives and swords. Then after a few more months the Illinois police, determining this person was of sound mind (or as sound as any other white American’s during the G0-Fund-Me Stage of Capitalism), issued him a gun permit and allowed him to buy three weapons, including an assault rifle, which he hid under a dress as he climbed the fire escape to the roof of the building where he began his filthy rampage. In this case, the police played a more pro-active role than the passive Uvalde cops. Here they actually helped arm the son-of-a-bitch.

+ Crimo the creep climbed up a fire escape in drag, shot 40 people in front of at least a dozen well-armed police officers, climbed back down the fire escape in his dress, walked to his car and sped away unmolested by anyone. He drove around for more than two hours until he was finally identified­ by a private citizen. Finally, the police pulled his car over and took Crimo into custody without a bruise on his frail body. Contrast this with the case of Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old black man lit up by Akron police on June 27th for a “traffic and equipment stop.” A short car chase ensued before Walker parked the car, got out the passenger side and started running. By this time at least five police cars were on the scene and eight cops took off after him. A few moments later they opened fire. In the next 10 seconds, the cops shot at Walker nearly 100 times with at least 60 bullets hitting his body, several after he was prone on the ground, bleeding out. The police cuffed his corpse. Walker was unarmed when he was shot.

+ The rightwing can’t decide where to pin the blame for the Highland Park slaughter: the NRA decried “gun-free” cities, Laura Ingraham pointed her puritanical finger at recreational pot, Tucker Carlson excoriated men-hating single-mothers and Marjorie Taylor Greene asserted that it was a plot hatched by a cabal of LGBTQ Democrats to bludgeon Republicans into supporting gun control, a scheme, which–with all due respect for Marge–seems far beyond their current level of competency.

+ At least, they’re showing a little spunk, demented as there cause is. Contrast the right’s vigor with the banal tautologies uttered by Kamala Harris…

+ Try parsing the meaning of this chop-logic response, when Harris was asked whether the Democrats made a mistake in not codifying Roe at some point over the last five decades.

Harris: “I think that, to be very honest with you, I do believe that we should have rightly believed, but we certainly believe that certain issues are just settled.”

+ When Thomas Pynchon won the National Book Award for Gravity’s Rainbow, he sent Professor Irwin Corey, master of doublespeak, to accept (or rather reject) it on his behalf. Corey, who made a career out of speaking nonsense, made more sense than stultifying utterances of the vice-president.

+ There have been more mass shootings in the last five years than in any other five-year span since 1996.

+ According to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as an incident where four or more people are injured or killed, there have been 2,403 mass shootings from 2017 to 2021, with 2,495 dead and 10,225 injured. The group’s data reveals a steep rise in recent years: 692 mass shootings in 2021, up 66% from 2019’s total of 417.

+ As of July 6, the group has recorded 320 mass shootings, putting 2022 on track to finish as one of the deadliest years in US history.

+ In the past five years, assault-style rifles (AR-15s and AK-47s) have been used in more than half of the mass shootings in the US. Up from a third in the previous five years.

+ According to the CDC, 124 people die every day in the US in acts of gun violence.

+ A day before the Highland Park shooting, Jason Osborne, the Majority Leader of the New Hampshire House, tweeted out this Independence Day message…

+ In speaking out against the tepid bipartisan gun deal, Arizona Congresswoman Debbie Lesko said she loves her 5 grandchildren so much she’d shoot them to save them: “I have 5 grandchildren and I love them so much I’d do anything, anything, to protect my 5 grandchildren, including, as a last resort, shooting them, if I had to.” She’d shoot them to save them from what…becoming zombies? (By the way, Lesko is running unopposed for reelection this fall.)

+ So the “Gentlelady from Arizona” said she’d shoot her 5 grandchildren to protect them (from learning CRT or being forced to say the word “gay”, presumably), while the creator of Dilbert calls on dads to murder their own sons. The family values crowd sure has come a long way…

+ I told Stephen Eisenman, who has a powerful piece on the Independence Day slaughter in this weekend’s edition of CounterPunch, that I used to stay frequently in a leafy neighborhood of Highland Park, crashing on the couch of socialist academics and using their Craftsman-style house to launch forays into the city to visit the Art Institute, catch a blues act or watch the Cubs get battered at Wrigley. It was a self-consciously progressive community, proud of its tolerance, even though it’s one of the Chicago metro area’s whitest enclaves and a place that no doubt served to incubate the maniacal resentments curdling the mind of a miscreant like Crimo. My mental geography of Chicago is fairly primitive and it wasn’t until Stephen mentioned Ravinia Park that I was reminded of another trip to Highland Park on a train from downtown in 1977 to see Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger. We arrived back in the city after midnight to find that the parking garage had been locked for the day. We spent the rest of the night and early morning in Grant Park, smoking weed and drinking Rolling Rock beer with a group of houseless black men, who were bemused at our excitement over an evening spent listening to music without a beat. On the drive back to Indianapolis, we learned Elvis had died, “straining at stool.”


+ An analysis by the Death Penalty Information Center found more than 550 prosecutorial misconduct reversals and exonerations in capital cases, amounting to roughly 5.6 percent of all death sentences imposed in the US in the past half-century. (Of course, most of this evidence would now be excluded by the Roberts Court.)

+ Even so, Oklahoma plans to execute 25 prisoners in the next 29 months after ending a moratorium spurred by botched lethal injections and legal battles over how it kills death row inmates.

+ It’s inconceivable that the radicals of the American Revolution–Paine, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison–would have shackled themselves to legal theories from 1532 & provided no practical way to alter course in the face of imminent threats. Yet here we are.

+ Ulysses S Grant: “It is preposterous to suppose that the people of one generation can lay down the best and only rules of government for all who are to come after them, and under unforeseen contingencies.” (Personal Memoirs, Ch. XVI)

+ Biden’s Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra: “Unless we’re all going to say the word of the Supreme Court will no longer have value, we have to heed the word of the Supreme Court.” Imagine any of the anti-abortion people saying this after Roe v. Wade was decided…

+ Rosa Parks on Clarence Thomas: “His confirmation to the highest court in the land would not represent a step forward in the road to racial progress but a u-turn on that road. …His statements on Brown v. Board of Education case…and even on the Roe v. Wade to me indicate that he wants to push the clock back. …The Supreme Court now appears to be turning its back on the undeniable fact of discrimination and exclusion …I believe that Judge Thomas will accelerate that trend and that will be destructive for our nation.” (Sept. 13, 1991)

+ According to many GOP politicians and lawmakers, fourth graders aren’t mature enough to read about sex but they are old enough to give birth to a baby.

+ Philip Gunn, the Republican House Speaker in MS who demands that 10-year-old girls must bear the children of their rapists, was personally involved in the coverup of pedophilia in the Southern Baptist Church.

+ Pharmacies are now refusing to fill prescriptions for methotrexate, a drug used to treat cancers and rheumatoid arthritis, because it is also an abortifacient.

+ Those ubiquitous Crisis Pregnancy Centers are not “abortion clinics.” They’re usually the opposite, outlets that try to badger vulnerable women into not terminating their pregnancies. In Massachusetts, these fake clinics outnumber legitimate abortion care providers 3-to-1.

+ Coming soon to Texas? In El Salvador, a woman who miscarried her fetus was charged with homicide, convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

+ Doctors, nurses and hospital administrators in Louisiana say the state’s extreme abortion ban will force them to choose between avoiding prosecution and treating pregnant women in grave medical danger.

+ As our government lurches more toward a theocracy, the country as a whole is becoming more secular. For the first time, more Americans (29%) now consider the Bible a “fables, legends, history, and moral precepts” recorded by humans,” than those who believe it to be “the literal word of God” (20%). But half of the believers now have lifetime appointments to the federal bench.

+ Biden: “We need two additional pro-choice senators & a pro-choice House to codify Roe as federal law. Your vote can make that a reality. I know it’s frustrating and it made a lot of people very angry. But the truth is this… women of American can determine the outcome of this issue.”

+ Vote harder for the people who did nothing and we’ll promise to work harder at doing nothing for you in the next two years! (Note: Both Manchin and Sinema are “pro-choice”, so if that’s really all Biden needed, he’s already got it, but he’s too much of a weakling to force their hand on junking the filibuster.)

+ In its decision outlawing voter drop boxes, the rightwing Supreme Court in Wisconsin compared this fairly common method of voting to the way elections were held in Iraq under Saddam, North Korea, Cuba and Syria…

+ In June 2020, Richmond police tear-gassed protesters, then tweeted out a statement saying it was necessary to protect them from the protesters’ violence. After settling a lawsuit, the Department has now retracted the tweet and declared it as false.

+ Speaking of lying, last week the Supremes refused to hear an appeal from Paul Storey, a death row inmate in Texas. During the penalty phase of Storey’s trial, prosecutors lied to the jury, telling them that the family of Storey’s victim wanted him put to death. In fact, they didn’t. The lower court judge excoriated the prosecution and set aside the death verdict. The Texas Court of Appeals overturned the lower court and reinstated the death penalty. The Supremes couldn’t be bothered to even hear the case.

+ Prison officials in Arizona, a state which routinely puts juveniles in solitary confinement, admitted in court records that they have “confined many prisoners in their cells for 168 straight hours and provided them with only a few meals for the entire week.”

+ While we’re in an Arizona state of mind, during the first three nights of protests against the overturning of Roe, the Arizona Department of Public Safety arrested 9 people at the state Capitol. Judge the hearing the cases released 8 for lack of probable cause, noting that 4 were detained merely for walking outside the crosswalk.

+ Meanwhile, Arizona just moved to outlaw the recording of police officers within a distance of 8 feet.

+ The Farmington Hills, Michigan police department shooting range only uses images of black men as targets. The department was outed by a local Boy Scout troop which had toured the training facility…

+ LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, failed to attend Civilian Oversight Commission hearings on gang members inside his own department last week, saying he fears for his safety because members of the public have shown up to the hearings wearing “F the sheriff” shirts.

+ It’s hard enough to be a public school teacher or librarian without having to put up with the shitstorms manufactured by the rightwing culture warriors. And it’s beginning to show.  A new report by the Florida Education Association shows that the state is 9,500 teachers short for the upcoming school year with the very real possibility that more than 450,000 Florida students may start the school year without full-time, certified teachers. This is, of course, part of the plan to destroy public education in the US, so that schools are run by corporations and churches, assuming there’s much of a difference anymore.


+ The next target is higher education. Ron DeSantis just signed a bill requiring students and professors in Florida’s public universities to register their political views and affiliations with the state. Universities risk the loss of state funding if staff and students’ beliefs do not satisfy Florida’s GOP-run legislature…

+ In 1969, Michel Foucault was running the new philosophy department at the University of Vincennes in suburban Paris, which he had turned into a kind of intellectual boot camp for student rebellion and cultural revolution. Putting his own theories into raucous praxis, Foucault encouraged his students to take over campus buildings and was himself on the frontlines of the barricades as the truncheon-wielding Parisian police suppressed the occupation. One of Foucault’s colleagues was a militant philosopher named Judith Miller–not the WMD fabulist at the New York Times, but the daughter of Jacques Lacan, the inscrutable Freudian savant. Miller was a Maoist, who wanted to dismantle the entire university system. She handed out course credits in philosophy to random people she met on the street, in the Metro and on busses, later declaring in a radio interview that “the university is a figment of the capitalist imagination.” When he learned of the interview, France’s Gaullist Minister of Education, Olivier Guichard, personally fired Miller and stripped the accreditation from Foucault’s entire philosophy department. Miller is dead now, but I like to think that one of the people she handed out course credits to fled France for Tallahassee and is now occupying an office in the philosophy department of Florida State University, where she has waited for this very moment to emerge and present Ron DeSantis with a practical demonstration of her “political ideology.”

+ An DNA swab revealed that Governor Stitt is a distant relative of the man who lit the torch on Giordano Bruno…

+ Christopher Rufo, the Seattle-area lawyer who plotted the GOP’s culture war hysteria over Critical Race Theory, is laying the groundwork for a McCarthyite purge of the federal government designed, in his own words, “wipe out the infrastructure for leftwing ideologies.”

+ Catharine MacKinnon’s legal theories have never been my cup of tea, but it’s hard to dispute this conclusion…


+ According the Truth Commission in Colombia, at least 64,084 minors were murdered between in the country between 1985 and 2018. Among them, 14,562 were Indigenous children and 27,290 Black minors…

+ Everyone saw through Boris Johnson. Like Trump, he was one of the most transparent politicians in history. He lied compulsively but so blatantly everyone knew it. He was a con man who fooled no one, which is the kind of grifter we should prefer–rather than a truly gifted political trickster like Tony Blair. Johnson’s virtue was his shamelessness because it merely highlighted the shamefulness of his acts. BoJo left his fingerprints on every crime and misdemeanor. But now he’s gone and we’ll mourn his passing and not merely for the entertainment value. Johnson be replaced by another of his rapacious lot, someone blander, more efficient and thus more lethal. For all the scandals he survived, it’s ironic and perhaps fitting that his fall came at the hands of a mere “Pincher.”

+ Tariq Ali: “Tories always been ruthless in dumping Prime Ministers who might lose them the next election: Thatcher, May, Johnson. Labour only ruthless in removing a Leader who poses a threat to the extreme centre: critical of NATO/ capitalism/freedom for Assange/support for trades unions…”

+ Vincent Bevins on the UK press after the fall of BoJo: “This crisis has revealed the rot at the heart of Westminster. Five thousand oxford grads are paid to sit around tweeting awful jokes all day in the desperate attempt to go viral and hold on to their jobs in media.”

+ The Biden administration’s whitewashing of Shireen Abu Akleh’s assassination by the IDF is a more grotesque form of corpse abuse than the brutal attack on her funeral. It signals that the complicity of the US in her murder has now gone from passive to active.

+ This “investigation” makes the Warren Commission seem legit…

+ The Financial Times on the inflation panic and the risks posed by the  contractionary policies being instituted by the Fed and other central banks: “Central banks now seem determined to restore that monetary version of toxic machismo that says if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not working.”

+ Walmart opened in July in 1962. Its revenue for that year was $975,000. Its revenue in 2022 is approaching $975,000 every minute.

+ 51% of U.S. parents estimated that they’ll spend over 20% of their income on child care this year , nearly three times the 7% that the federal government defines as “affordable”. Back in 2019, only 31% of parents said they’d spend that much.

+ Have you noticed that it’s taking longer and longer to prove the obvious? A first-ever (!) study of homeless encampments finds that cities are shelling out millions in clearance costs — only to push unhoused people from one camp to another. Imagine that.

+ Sri Lanka has run out of fuel left. Amid the country’s deepening economic crisis, public transport has now basically come to a stop.

+ According to the UN, 2.3 billion people experience moderate or severe episodes of hunger last year. This number will rise greatly this year.

+ The US has the highest maternal mortality rate of any “high income” country. And the death rate has worsened during the pandemic. A new study found a 33 percent increase in maternal deaths over the pre-pandemic period and a 41 percent increase in “late maternal deaths” (a death that occurs less than a year after the end of a pregnancy) over the same period of time. (The increase in mortality for the entire US population over the same time period was 16 percent.)

+ According a report out of CalTech, an animal study of a vaccine using “mosaic nanoparticles” has been shown to be effective against an entire suite of different coronaviruses. Maybe they can just start infusing these “mosaic nanoparticles” into plastic water bottles and packaging and it will eventually find its way into the bloodstream of every living creature. The surest route to universal vaccination without any political backlash. There haven’t been any trucker protests about the plastification of the planet….

+ Hiroshi Yashuda: “We are observing that more people are dying with COVID under the slogan of ‘living with COVID.'”

+ A medical marijuana farm in Thailand has been feeding free-range chickens with cannabis instead of antibiotics, and researchers said the experiment has yielded promising results.

+ As our late friend Pierre Sprey pointed out nearly 30 years ago, Soviet radar had no problem detecting US stealth technology. Now it appears that nearly every radar system can pick up stealth fighters like the F-35 and F-22. These “Stealth” fighters can barely fly in the rain, but when they do manage to get airborne, everyone can see them coming once they get over the horizon line…But they sure look cool at Super Bowl flyovers!

+ In 2014, journalist Ken Auletta wrote a credulous puff piece for the New Yorker on the corporate fraudster Elizabeth Holmes and her blood-testing company Theranos. In an interview with the New York Times, Auletta confessed that he was taken in by Holmes, in part because of the “luminaries” she’d amassed for her board of directors, including George Schultz, Sam Nunn, Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis and Henry Kissinger. (All of whom, it must be said, had a lot of bloodwork on their resumés.) The Times interviewer (Maureen Dowd) chided Auletta for not talking directly to Kissinger, who, Dowd seemed to suggest, could spot a fraud when he saw one. Auletta snapped back that he had talked to Kissinger and that the old man claimed to be terrified of Holmes. “He said, ‘We were all afraid of her.’ He said, ‘When I go to board meetings, I feel like I have to ask permission to go to the bathroom. She was so dominant.’” (It’s no surprise Kissinger fell under Holmes’ spell. For most of his adult life, Henry K. liked to be “dominated” by blondes: Diane Sawyer, Candice Bergen, Jill St. John, Liv Ullman, Gloria Steinem.)

+ Speaking of Kissinger, he was interviewed this week on PBS by Judy Woodruff, where he pontificated on the Jan 6 insurrection, blurting that  “to try to overthrow the constitutional system is a grave matter, and I find no excuse for that.” How many excuses did he find for himself when he decided “to overthrow the constitutional system” of another another government, Chile’s, for example?

+ Unsafe at Any Stream: Car crashes killed 43,000 people in the US last year, the most since 2005. One of the major factors seems to be a new generation of distracted drivers, trying to steer, pass and brake while watching the “entertainment systems” that are now standard features in most new cars. Over to you, Ralph Nader.

+ Stephen Jay Gould: “I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.”

+ Oil demand is falling, but prices at the pump aren’t. (Another case of market failure and price gouging.)


+ It ain’t just the Supreme Court which is writing a death sentence for the planet…Despite his vaporous vows on climate matters, Biden is moving to open more off-shore areas to oil leasing.

+ The Supreme Court bailed out the Biden administration in the EPA v. West Virginia case. The court can now be blamed for doing what the Biden EPA was already going to do: Nothing. If you can’t regulate CO2 emissions from coal plants, you can’t regulate them from anything. And it didn’t take long to see Biden’s back up plan: little bits of nothing dressed up to sound like something. Game over. Next?

+ For you originalists out there doing your “major issues” equations: When the Constitution was adopted in 1789, atmospheric CO2 levels stood at about 280 PPM. We are now at 420 and rising…

Graphic: Scott Duncan.

+ It was the warmest June ever in the remote town of Svalbard. The Nordic region around the northern Barents Sea has warming that is 2 to 2,5 times higher than average in the Arctic and 5 to 7 times higher than global average.

+ Portugal and Spain are in the midst of the worst drought in 1,200 years. According to new research, winters that experience “extremely large” highs in the Azores have increased dramatically from one winter in 10 before 1850 up to one in four since 1980. These extremes drive the wet weather northwards, making heavy rain in the northern UK and Scandinavia more likely.

+ In 2021, 60% of Sicilian municipalities (138 out of a total of 235 municipalities) were affected by fires.

+ Mount Sonnblick in Austria (3100m) hosts the mountain observatory with the longest and most reliable climatic data in Europe. Prior to this year, seasonal snow at the Observatory had never melted earlier than 13 August (1963 and 2003). That streak ended on July 5th, when all measurable snow had melted…

+ In 2021, China’s CO2 emissions rose above 11.9 billion tonnes, accounting for 33% of the global total. While Africa and South America accounts for 3-4% of global emissions.

+ Between January and June, 2022, Europe imported 35% more coal compared to same time last year, as both Germany and Austria began restarting idle coal plants. The coal came largely from US, Australia and Colombia.

+ After a mega-drought of 22 years and counting, the Great Salt Lake has now dwindled to only a third of the size it was 30 years ago and is dropping fast.

+ On taking the grandkids to see Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty: “But why did they call it a ‘jetty,’ Gramps?”

+ 20 years ago, I wrote a book titled, Been Brown So Long, It Looked Like Green to Me. The publisher hated the title (He wasn’t a Richard Fariña fan, either), but it continues to ring true (unfortunately). To wit: The EU just voted to classify some gas and nuclear energy projects as “green,” a bit of legislative deception that will almost certainly be re-enacted elsewhere.

+ The latest victims of climate change are ancient bristlecone pines. These 1,ooo+ year-old tree have now been nearly wiped out in the Panamint Range of Death Valley National Park.

+ The Brazilian Amazon rainforest has been deforested by a record amount in the first half of 2022, according to the country’s Space Research Institute. At least, 3,750 square kilometres of the world’s largest rainforest were lost in Brazil between January 1 and June 24.

+ Searching for gold in the Yukon, miners instead discovered a perfectly preserved baby mammoth in the melting permafrost. “I thought it was a baby buffalo in the beginning,” Travis Mundy, an excavator operator, told the Washington Post. “And then I got out, and I was inspecting it, and it had a trunk, so I had no words.”

+ BYD, the Chinese auto manufacturing that Warren Buffett infused with cash, has overtaken Elon Musk’s Tesla as the world’s biggest electric vehicle producer by sales. BYD is also #2 in the production of EV batteries.

+ Hummer has released its first EV. It weighs 9,000 pounds is powered by a battery that is so large and inefficient that it produces more CO2 emissions than a gas-powered Chevy Malibu.


+ Nietzsche on the uses and abuses of history: “Modern man drags around with him a huge quantity of indigestible stones of knowledge, which then, as in the fairy tale, can sometimes be heard rumbling around inside him.… Knowledge, consumed for the greater part without hunger for it and even counter to one’s need…. Anyone observing this has only one wish, that such a culture should not perish of indigestion.”

+ The FBI kept a close watch on Mort Sahl, monitoring his performances and recording his “subversive” jokes. J. Edgar Hoover, frequent target of Sahl’s ridicule, thought he was a “sick man.” Hoover was apparently convinced that Sahl and Lenny Bruce were getting money and materiel from “a source considered to be communistic.”

+ Why are rightwing men, like Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro, suddenly so obsessed with Elliot Page? Is it because they were once sexually excited by his appearance in films like Juno, Inception and To Rome With Love?

+ In 1928, the French actress Sylvia Maklès (Renoir’s Day in the Country, Siodmak’s White Cargo) married the philosopher Georges Bataille. She was 20 and he was 32. The marriage lasted for 16 years, during a time when Bataille was deeply into De Sade and by all accounts putting the Marquis’ “philosophy” (that is, “Be Cruel”) into fairly rigorous practice. The relationship yielded a daughter, Laurence, who became the Polish painter Balthus’ teenage muse, subject and lover. (Laurence later became a psychoanalyst. She had a lot to work out.) Sylvia, and Laurence, were considered  Jewish and lived under constant threat of  deportation during the Nazi Occupation, spending much of their time away from Paris in the South of France. Eventually the couple divorced (who could blame her?) and Sylvia soon married the neo-Freudian Jacques Lacan, where she presumably spent the next 28 years analyzing the psycho-sexual implications of what Bataille had put her through for all those years. Possessed of a rugged constitution, Sylvia outlived Lacan by another decade.  After his death, Sylvia said that life with Lacan often went beyond  the boundaries of the pleasure principle. He was, she remarked, “a domestic tyrant.” Is there an American actress with anything remotely like her resumé? Let’s just hope Wes Anderson, the maker of Francophilic frivolities, doesn’t film her biopic.

+ Joe Strummer when he was a gravedigger in Newport, Wales. A few years later he dug the graves for Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd…

+ My answer to someone who said all of the Runaways songs “sucked”: All rock music sucks. Rock music is supposed to suck. Sucking is what rock is all about. If it doesn’t suck, it’s not rock. The more it sucks, the harder it rocks. So suck it up and rock on down the highway.

And When It Drops, Oh, You Gonna Feel It…

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

The Last Interview and Other Conversations
Janet Malcolm
(Melville House)

Raymond Chandler: The Detections of Totality
Frederic Jameson

The Last Days of Roger Federer and Other Endings
Geoff Dyer
(Farrar, Straus Giroux)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Music is Here: Live in Paris, 1973
Freddie Hubbard

Last Night in the Bittersweet
Paolo Nutini

Give or Take

Other People’s Mail

“Biography is the medium through which the remaining secrets of the famous dead are taken from them and dumped out in full view of the world. The biographer at work, indeed, is like the professional burglar, breaking into a house, rifling through certain drawers that he has good reason to think contain the jewelry and money, and triumphantly bearing his loot away. The voyeurism and busybodyism that impel writers and readers of biography alike are obscured by an apparatus of scholarship designed to give the enterprise an appearance of banklike blandness and solidity. The biographer is portrayed almost as a kind of benefactor. He is seen as sacrificing years of his life to his task, tirelessly sitting in archives and libraries and patiently conducting interviews with witnesses. There is no length he will not go to, and the more his book reflects his industry the more the reader believes that he is having an elevating literary experience, rather than simply listening to backstairs gossip and reading other people’s mail.” (Janet Malcolm, The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes)

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3