Roaming Charges: Tell Tom Joad the News

Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. Still from The Grapes of Wrath. (20th Century Fox).

 “There are two ways of rejecting the revolution. The first is to refuse to see it where it exists; the second is to see it where it manifestly will not occur.”

– Felix Guattari, Texts and Interviews

+ Working class hero Bruce Springsteen is going back out on tour with a group of musicians deceptively calling themselves the E Street Band, which is impossible because Clarence Clemens has been dead for more than a decade. Like most Springsteen tours for the past 40 years, this one features large venues, the “arena rock” gigs designed by Springsteen’s longtime manager Jon Landau. To attend these performances you’ve got to buy your tickets through the greed-mongers at Ticketmaster, the monopolistic corporation Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails gallantly tried (and failed) to take down back in the 1990s. For the Springsteen tour, Ticketmaster is using a “dynamic pricing program,” which raises ticket prices according on demand with the result that some tickets to Springsteen’s shows are now going for $4000 to $5000 a pop. This makes putting a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac seem downright proletarian.

+ Ticket prices for Springsteen’s Born to Run tour in 1975 averaged about $8 for general admission. ($7.50 in Upper Darby, PA, when he played venues that small.) The minimum wage was $2.10 per hour. So a kid had to work less than half a day to earn enough to go to the gig. Today the minimum wage is a miserly $7.25 an hour. But the price of tickets for this fall’s Springsteen tour ranges from $100 to more than $5000 a piece. The cheapest price I could find for the Portland show was a restricted view seat from behind the stage selling for $136–which means that a Springsteen fan who works at a minimum wage job (assuming he has any left) would have to work nearly 3 full days to buy a crappy ticket. Landau said the absurd ticket prices were “a fair price to see someone universally regarded as among the very greatest artists of his generation.” They call him the boss for a reason. Now go tell Tom Joad the news.

+ Given the extortionate price of these tickets, it might be fair to ask just how much more money does Springsteen need? Forbes calculated his yearly income while touring at $81 million. And  that was before he sold his entire catalogue to Sony for $550 million.

+ The ticket prices are grossly inflated, but perhaps not as inflated as Springsteen’s ego these days.


+ Under Texas’ SB 8, doctors who terminate a pregnancy because of a medical emergency may face lawsuits from abortion bounty hunters and the burden of proof is on the doctors to demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence that the abortion was medically necessary. This had led to some truly disturbing dilemmas for Texas doctors, hospitals and patients. One recent story, recounted by NPR, is of the awful ordeal inflicted on Elizabeth, a Texas woman who experienced a partial miscarriage. The hospital, against the advice of her OB/GYN refused to terminate the pregnancy because there was still a fetal heartbeat. The doctors told the woman she needed have a “severe infection” before they could perform an abortion under Texas law. She was sent home, developed a fever and began passing black fluid. She bagged up some of the “foul discharge” to take to the hospital as evidence to prove that her life was at risk…

+ A similar law is now in place in Missouri, where doctors who terminate a pregnancy for a medical emergency must report their decision to the state, where it is reviewed prosecutors to decide whether or not to charge them with a felony violation of the state’s abortion ban.

+ The bodies of 10-year-old girls are not made to give birth to children. Pregnancy alone can exact physiological damage and forced births can cause traumatic injuries that mar bodies for life. Typically, labors for young girls are longer and often obstructed. The head of the fetus tends to pound, sometimes for days, dangerously on the young girl’s bladder and urethra. Frequently, the tissue between the bladder, vagina and rectum is torn.  Teenage pregnancies are more likely to develop anemia, eclampsia, pre-eclampsia, hypertension and infections, all of which increase the likelihood of Caesarian sections. The mortality rate for women giving birth before the age of 20 is twice as high as for those 20 and older and the rate for girls under the age of 15 is over triple. Many young girls who give birth in these circumstances develop a vesicovaginal fistula, a hole in the tissue between the bladder and the vagina. In 25 percent of these cases, the prolonged labor will also result in a rupture of the rectum, causing the girl to leak both urine and feces. These fistulas take months to heal and can result in fatal infections.

+ The descriptions of vesicovaginal fistulas reminded me of the unnerving account of the death of Charles Dickens’ father in A.N. Wilson’s terrific exploration of the great man’s life, The Mysteries of Dickens:

In a week he would lose his youngest child and the father who begat him.

When Dickens arrived at Keppel Street in Bloomsbury (just behind the British Museum) it was to see his father, who was in delirious agony.

The doctor was summoned, ‘who instantly performed (without chloroform) the most terrible operation known in surgery, as the only chance of saving him.’ This involved cutting a vagina-like incision between the anus and scrotum and unsexing the patient. ‘He bore it,’ wrote Dickens, ‘with astonishing fortitude, and I saw him directly afterwards–in his room, a slaughterhouse of blood.’ A few days later, when Dickens visited at eleven o’clock at night and sat beside the unconscious figure, ‘he died–O so quietly.’

+ That’s as close as most men will have ever come to experiencing the pain thousands of pre-teen girls will soon be forced to endure in order to give birth to what one anti-abortion lawmaker called “a blessing from God.”

+ Biden’s response to the criminalization of abortion is to demand that Congress appropriate $37 billion to hire 100,000 more state and local police and arm them with new weapons and surveillance technology.

+ Last week, I wrote about the police shooting of Robert Adams, a young black man who was shot in the back by cops in San Bernardino. I ended by asking how many people each year are shot in similar circumstances, that is shot in the back by cops who say they feared for their lives. It turns out there is a number. Nearly 1-in-3 people killed by U.S. police since 2015 were trying to flee. In these 2,500 killings, police officers were convicted just .35% of the time. 

+ According to a new AP-NORC poll:67% of Americans favor term limits for Supreme Court justices, including 82% of Democrats and 57% of Republicans and 43% say they have don’t any confidence in the court — up from 27% three months ago.

+ Liberalism and rightwing economics merged 40 years ago. It’s called neoliberalism & Biden personifies it holiest tenets. The FDR routine was merely a momentary defense mechanism against the threat posed by Sanders. No one who knew his record in the senate could take it seriously.

+ It’s a great system (for someone), as long as you don’t include life expectancy, maternal mortality, infant mortality, chronic disease, reproductive rights and medical debt.


+ Research conducted by Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, a sociologist at the University of Minnesota, shows that COVID killed black people in rural America at twice the rate of white people. Wrigley-Field told the NYT: “The whole way that the pandemic is framed now from political leaders is very much that people can choose their level of risk, the risk that social groups have does not fall in lock step with their vaccination. It’s decoupled from that because of all the other things in our society that put some people at more risk than others.”

+ Set aside abortion, these are dismal statistics for the world’s wealthiest country and they give a pretty good idea of where the wealth has gone and the consequences of such a predatory system. For example, the maternal mortality rate for all of France is half of what it is here the states unlikely to ban abortion. That’s inexcusable any way you look at it.

Source: NYT.

+ How many different ways can the people running our government tell us that they just don’t give a shit?

+ Lee Zeilden is a rightwinger running for Governor of New York. Out on the campaign trail he has been relentlessly carping about the evils of bail reform. Then he is assaulted at a campaign rally by a drunken and confused man carrying what is described as a “sharp self-defense tool.” , Sandra Doorley, the local prosecutor in the town where Zeilden was attacked, is a co-chair of Zeilden’s campaign. The “tough-on-crime” prosecutor mysteriously files mild charges against Zeilden’s assailant and doesn’t object to his release. Zeilden immediately assails his release as an example of the dangers of a “broken” “pro-criminal” bail system! Set up?

+ 28 women are suing after guards at the Clark County Jail in Jeffersonville, Indiana gave male prisoners the keys to the women’s cells in exchange for a $1000 bribe, allowing the men to enter the cells and rape and assault the women.

+ Meanwhile, an Indiana state senator named Sue Glick admits that rape victims could be charged under abortion bill but not their rapists…

+ Can there be any doubt now that this ego-maniac leaked his own opinion in Dobbs?

+ This recalls the case in New York from a few years ago when two NYPD cops raped a teenage girl in exchange for letting her go free. The cops were defended by the NY Police Benevolent Association and the judge sentenced them to no jail time.

+ BLM Made Him Do It! A former Long Beach police officer who admitted distributing child pornography blamed PTSD and “public animus” against police. The federal judge didn’t fall for it and sentenced him to 70 months in prison.

+ The average response times for the New Orleans Police Department have increased from 51 minutes in 2019 to 150 minutes in 2022. This month, the average response time is nearly 3 hours. The police, of course, blame it on BLM and people taking cellphone videos of their various brutalities. As in all these matters, the crucial response times or those of EMTs and the Fire Department. They’re the people who save lives. The cops arrive mainly to mop up the blood, draw chalk outlines and shoot innocent bystanders.

+ Over the past decade, gunmakers have made more than $1 billion from the sale of assault-style weapons and in the last two years alone earnings from assault weapons sales have nearly doubled companies like Smith & Wesson, Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Daniel Defense.

+ “Under pressure”–a phrase now ubiquitous in descriptions of the harried nature of our existence in late-stage capitalism–derives from a form of torture in the dungeons English prisons known as pressing, where chest-crushing weights were lowered on suspects to extort confessions.

+ Mondays were the day of executions in London, when the condemned were marched down the streets by guards in blue suits (the origin of police uniforms) to the “triple tree” of Tyburn Hill, a triangular gallows where 24 people could be hanged at once.

+ Who am I to advise Putin, but it would have made a much bigger political splash (and perhaps even altered the view of him held by many Americans) if the deal he’d proposed for freeing Brittney Griner had been that Biden free all federal prisoners held on drug “crimes.” In 2019, there were 158,107 people in federal prisons, 46.3% of them (73,210 people) had a drug offense as their most serious charge.

+ Putin wants to trade Griner for Victor Bout, who the NYTs describes as “one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers.” But as arms dealers go, Bout probably wouldn’t even make the grade as a sales rep for Lockheed

+ Putin could also have offered Griner her freedom in exchange for the US dropping the extradition of Julian Assange. That he didn’t is a pretty clear indication (if you needed one) that Assange isn’t a Russian asset….

+ Haiti is in distress again, as evidenced by the 17 people, including an infant, who drowned when their boat capsized off the Bahamas as they tried to reach Florida. Recall that the assassins in the latest Haitian coup were trained by the DEA and that the beneficiary of the coup was invited by the Biden admin to the Summit of the Americas, while the leaders of Cuba and Venezuela were barred.

+ There’s been a full court press from some segments of the left to whitewash the malign venture capitalist and Trump whisperer, Peter Thiel. Both the NYRB and Jacobin have attempted to discredit Max Chafkin’s recent book The Contrarian, including a vicious 5000-word attack in the NYRB, presenting Thiel along similar lines, as just another billionaire trying to get by in hostile world. The NYRB review in particular seemed driven by a personal animus toward Chafkin that was so venomous that it bled over into a little too much Sympathy for the Devil himself…For a more penetrating portrait of Thiel and his links to the MAGA-right and the surveillance state read Eric Draitser’s piece in CounterPunch.

+ The 5 Economic Principles of a Labour (Exploitation) Government…

+ Meanwhile, Liz Truss, campaigning to become the next Prime Minister of Great Britain, has vowed to begin “cracking down” on trade unions. If Truss doesn’t, the Labor Party –which doesn’t mention “labor” in its economic principles–will.

+ India’s foreign-exchange reserves are collapsing. They have fallen by $70 billion, or 11% since September of last year.

+ A silicon valley CEO told the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos that people like him are attracted to super-yachts because they “absorb the most excess capital.”

+ Amazon generated more ad revenue in 2021 than the entire global newspaper industry.

+ Trident, a mortgage lender owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, will shell out $20 million to settle state and federal allegations that the company worked to keep people in nonwhite neighborhoods in and around Philadelphia from applying for home loans…Of course, Buffett is an old hand at redlining for profit. He was a prime investor in Wells Fargo targeted black families in Baltimore and Philly with predatory loans.

+ Raymond Williams: “What breaks capitalism, all that will ever break capitalism, is capitalists. The faster they run the more strain on their heart.” Let the chase begin…

+ A recent New Yorker story recounted the plight of a 91-year-old black woman who took out $29,000  in federal loans. Today, she owes $329,309.69 in student debt.

+ The anti-abortion Democrat from Texas Henry Cuellar has introduced a bill (the Worker Flexibility and Choice Act) exempting all gig workers from federal minimum wage laws and barring states from imposing their own regulations. Come get your boy, Pelosi.

+ A Brooklyn preacher named Lamor Whitehead and his wife were robbed of more than $1 million worth of jewelry while he was giving his sermon. This should make it easier for the Whiteheads’ camel to squeeze through the eye of the needle…(If I recall my scripture correctly.)

+ I’m sure most of you tuned in for the colloquy between those two might defenders of free speech Glenn Greenwald and Alex Jones, a promotion for the hagiography film on Jones Alex’s Wars. But on the off chance you missed it, here’s an example of the kind of probing interrogation Greenwald conducted of the man who trolled and vilified the families of slaughtered children:

+ The deadliest road in America for cyclists and pedestrians is US-19 Pasco County Florida, north of Tampa and St. Petersburg, where there have been at least 34 deaths per 100 miles since 2017.

+ Speaking of St. Petersburg, the city’s yellow parking meter-like donation stations have promoted the fact the money inserted into them goes to the homeless, but it really goes into the pockets of the police department. In FY 2022, St Petersburg Police Department has spent zero dollars of the more than $9,000 raised from the meters on the homeless community.

+ Just in time for hurricane season, the City of Miami is planning to clear its streets of homeless people and dump them in a “camp” on Biscayne Bay.

+ A Texas mother testified before a state legislative hearing on “parental rights” in education that she was shocked that her ninth-grade son was forced to learn about the work of Banksy in his introductory art class, an artist she described as “an anti-free market person. He’s a pro-George Floyd person. He’s got kids with guns. It’s just, you know, very controversial. This is a man and woman kissing, but they’re looking at cellphones.”

+ Mayor PeteBot is now outpolling Biden in New Hampshire. Makes sense. His old firm McKinsey & Co. is basically running the government anyway, the way Goldman Sachs once ran the Clinton regime and the Carlyle Group (now reduced to managing the state of Virginia) ran the Bush Administration…

+ It should be noted that the Respect for Marriage Act, recently passed by the House of Pelosi, doesn’t in fact codify the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling but merely provides protection to couples married after it went into effect. In other words, it doesn’t compel states to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

+ That said, those supposedly “promiscuous” gays seem to have more respect for marriage than heterosexuals. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA, each year just over 1 percent of gay and lesbian partnerships dissolve, compared with an annual divorce rate of 2 percent among straight couples.

+ These days it pays to buck your party. (It pretty much always has.) Lisa Murkowski now has a net approval rating over Biden’s presidency has risen by 22%, trailing only the 27-point boost enjoyed by Joe Manchin.

+ As he gears up to challenge Trump, Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis is eager to show how tough he is on immigrants. A little too eager it turns out. Back in June, DeSantis bragged about 22 cases that led to arrests. But when the Miami Herald checked on his claims, they found that none of the cases involved immigration crimes and all of those arrested were legal residents.

+ JD Vance’s whole campaign has to be some Andy Kaufman-like prank, right? The Hillbilly from Yale was captured in yet another rant about the horrors of the Sixties and the Sexual Revolution where he suggested that couples in violent marriages should stick it out for the sake of the kids:

This is one of the great tricks that I think the sexual revolution pulled on the American populace, which is the idea that like, ‘well, OK, these marriages were fundamentally, you know, they were maybe even violent, but certainly they were unhappy. And so getting rid of them and making it easier for people to shift spouses like they change their underwear, that’s going to make people happier in the long term. And maybe it worked out for the moms and dads, though I’m skeptical. But it really didn’t work out for the kids of those marriages,” Vance continued. “And that’s what I think all of us should be honest about, is we’ve run this experiment in real time. And what we have is a lot of very, very real family dysfunction that’s making our kids unhappy.”

+ Memo to Mr. Vance: 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder suicides are female. A study of intimate partner homicides found that 20% of victims were not the intimate partners themselves, but family members, friends, neighbors, persons who intervened, law enforcement responders, or bystanders.

+ Here’s Matt Gaetz in full-misogyny mode addressing the incel-dominated mob at Turning Point USA last weekend:

Have you watched these pro-abortion, pro-murder rallies? The people are just disgusting. But why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions? Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb.

+ This “Qretin” purveyor of the groomer sex panic (who is himself under investigation of allegations of sex trafficking of a minor that he has denied) actually voted against the recent child trafficking bill. No doubt he did it for Nestor.

+ Gilles Deleuze on the Incel Stage of Capitalism: “It is always from the depths of its impotence that each power center draws its power, hence their extreme maliciousness, and vanity.”

+ Deleuze had a skin disorder which made his fingertips so sensitive that it was painful to pick up small objects like a pen. So he grew his fingernails to extreme lengths using them like tweezers, prongs and pliers. He was the Edward Scissorhands of French cultural theory, shredding everyone from Descartes to Freud.

+ Mike Pence’s former top aide Marc Short on Gaetz : “I’d be surprised if he was still voting. It’s more likely he’ll be in prison for child sex trafficking by 2024. And I’m actually surprised that Florida law enforcement still allows him to speak to teenage conferences like that.”

+ Here’s Tom Klingenstein, chair of Claremont Institute, on why he wants Trump in 2024: “In war, you must make a stand. For that, we need strong men .. Trump is a manly man. When manhood is being stripped of its masculinity, traditional manhood, even when flawed, is absolutely essential.” What are the odds this specimen of traditional manhood could last two nights in the Bob Marshall Wilderness?

+ The real grooming scandal is unfolding through a class action lawsuit filed in California against PetSmart, which claims that the company keeps many of its groomers in a state of debt bondage, requiring them to work for the company for at least two years in order to pay off $5000 in “tuition” from the company’s “Grooming Academy.” The lawsuit alleges that PetSmart even tries to collect the “debt” from workers who have been laid off by the company.

+ I enjoy John Fetterman’s acerbic ads and tweets as much as anyone. They’re  droll, funny and probably politically effective. Certainly the man who got his honorary degree from the University of Oprah is richly deserving of as much ridicule as you can fling at him in 15 seconds. But is the real problem with Oz that he lives in New Jersey or that he’s an authoritarian quack? Fetterman’s ads appeal to a kind of nativism which we need to outgrow, if we have any hope of surviving as a Republic. Why should you have to live in a state to run it? It’s not like politicians are ever forced to live with the consequences of their decisions. Who’s to say that someone who lives in Chicago wouldn’t make a better senator for North Dakota than a corn-fed native? In a federal system, out-of-staters have a fiduciary interest in other states, especially the small, troublesome ones. (You know who you are.) More federal tax money flows into the Flickertail State from Chicago than they’ll ever wrench out of Fargo, but it’s often put to use on schemes that make life worse in Chicago (& everywhere else).

+ This study out of Oregon State University should bury decades of Malthusian trash about the birth rates of the poor: “People who live in socioeconomically deprived neighborhoods are about 20% less likely to conceive in any given menstrual cycle compared with people living in neighborhoods with more resources.”

+ Our friends at the Kopkind Colony, a kind of training ground for young progressive journalists, artist and organizers, suffered a blow last week when a tempest shredded their covid-safe outdoor tent, where they could watch films, debate the vital issues of our time and blow off steam. They need to buy another one before the next group of radical campers arrive. They’ve set up a Go Fund Me page for the cause, which is a worthy one.


+ The heralded Manchin climate bill (aka, Inflation Reduction Act) is a big bust…for the climate. It includes $3 billion in subsidies to increase logging on federal forests; it requires more onshore federal oil and gas leasing before any right of way are issued across federal lands for wind or solar; mandates the sale of offshore oil leases that would otherwise have expired in 2022; gives tax breaks to fossil companies; and includes an agreement from Schumer and Pelosi to pursue “environmental regulatory rollbacks” in the next couple of weeks. This bill will increase, not reduce, emissions. Brett Harl at the Center for Biological Diversity dubbed it a “climate suicide pact.” Really, what did you expect?

+ Death toll from the recent European extreme heat events, include 1,700 in Spain and Portugal and nearly 1,000 in Britain.

+ On Tuesday, the temperature hit 103F here in Oregon City, 5 degrees hotter than the high that day in Joshua Tree down in the Mojave Desert.

+ The North Pacific is experiencing a severe marine heatwave, which will have calamitous impacts on marine ecosystems. Water temperatures have been as high as 13.6°C (24.5°F) above normal.

+ $50 billion: combined profit for Exxon, Chevron, Shell, TotalEnergies and BP in the second quarter of 2022, a new record.

+ The earnings of major independent oil and gas refiners are expected to see average earnings per share of $5.97. By comparison, the most profitable company in the US, Apple, posted $1.52 earnings per share in the last quarter.

+ With money to burn, Conoco, seeking to open more drilling sites in the Arctic, spent nearly $6 million on lobbying expenses in the first two quarters of 2022.

+ A meta-analysis published in conjunction with the latest IPCC Report looked at more than 1,600 academic articles on adaptation and determined that most of those efforts have not been attempts at systemic change, nor have they resulted in any significant risk reduction.

+ A study from the World Economic Forum on private markets and sustainability found that of $1.1 trillion invested in the energy sector by private equity since 2010, more than 80% went directly into fossil fuels.

+ After he was seen walking down a gravel road starting forest fires, an Oregon man named Trennon Smith was tracked down by local residents and tied to a tree until the cops came. He’s now been charged with arson and reckless burning. Smith may be guilty of starting the fires, but when has an oil or coal company executive been tried for creating the conditions that allow the fires to burn? They’re the unindicted co-conspirators of nearly every fire now burning.

+ According to the Department of Energy, the average household in the US spent $9,826 on transportation in 2020, nearly 16% of all annual household expenditures. Transportation expenditures include vehicle purchases, gasoline and motor oil, other vehicle expenses (maintenance, insurance, etc.), and public transportation costs. For households with incomes between $50,000 and $59,999, transportation accounted for 18% of total expenditures – the highest share of any income group. While those in the highest income group spent more on transportation overall, it made up only 13.3% of their household expenditures, the lowest share of any income group.

+ A new study in the Journal of Public Economics provides some of the first evidence of a link between coal-fired power plants and cognitive decline: “We find that every one million megawatt hours of coal-fired power production decreases mathematics scores in schools within ten kilometers by 0.02 σ.”

+ In 2017 Barbados had the third-highest debt per capita of any country in the world. It was spending 55% of its gross domestic product each year just to pay back debts. It was left with less than 5% of its GDP to spend on environmental programs and health care, despite the threat to the island nation from rising sea levels.

+ The drought in the Northeast is so severe that it’s now affecting water supplies. The reservoir for Attleboro, Massachusetts has gone dry and restrictions on outdoor watering are being put in place in towns across the state.

+ David Wallace-Wells: “Over a decade in which the cost of solar power fell about 90%, fracking lost about $300 billion.”

+ St. Louis, under water for much of the week, got more rain in 5 hours (9 inches) than it had ever gotten in an entire day. The normal amount of rain in St. Louis for July and August combined is 7.31 inches.

+ The Mariposa County sheriff said this week that “local militias” have been “patrolling” the scene near the fast-spreading Oak Fire on the doorstep of Yosemite.

+ According to a new study, premature births and miscarriages are more common in summer months, suggesting that pregnancies may be adversely affected by extreme heat and climate change.

+ Florida Power and Light, the state’s largest utility, secretly took over and financed a conservative state news site, then spent years using it to take shots at their opponents in the environmental movement and  government, including Andrew Gillum in the days before the election for governor, when he was neck-and-neck with Ron DeSantis. The head FPL’s public relations unit told the site to run a piece on Gillum, then mayor of Tallahassee, blaming him for the city’s high crime rate. The executive told the editors of The Capitolist that he wanted a story that took off from this premise: “Since the primary xxx number of shootings have happened in Tallahassee.” A few hours later a story along those lines was up prominently on the site.


+ In his book “To Me He Was Just Dad,” Eric Davis recounts this story of watching MTV with Miles back in the 80s: “I remember watching a heavy metal show on MTV and when Slayer came on, I thought, ‘Dad’s going to hate this.’ He watched for a bit and then said, ‘Huh. That drummer is really laying it down, isn’t he?'”

+ I was asked this week what my “Dylan gateway was. How did you first get into Bob?” I hate the phrase “gateway”–a favorite word of the drug warriors–but I picked up an 8-track of Greatest Hits Vol 2 in 71. I was 12 and played it continuously on a drive from Indy to Kalamazoo until my father screamed violently, “Turn that shit off!!!!” I was sold.

+ The great funk bass player Michael Henderson died this week at 71. Henderson played with everyone who wanted that phat sound, from Stevie Wonder to Aretha Franklin, but it was Miles Davis who’s music he helped take into a new direction on Miles’ best “fusion” album, A Tribute to Jack Johnson. Miles Davis saw Henderson perform at the Copacabana in New York with Stevie Wonder. After the gig, Davis told Wonder, “I’m taking your fucking bassist.”

+ Enshrining David Ortiz, who tested positive in 2003 for PEDs, in the Hall of Fame before Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds is just perverse. Before 2003, Ortiz never hit more than 20 HRs in a season playing in the Metrodome. Then he hit 31, 47, and 54…Let all the accused in (my position) or none.

+ Bill Hicks: “They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you’re high, you can do everything you normally do, just as well. You just realize that it’s not worth the fucking effort. There is a difference.”

+ Someone was complaining that there weren’t many great rock songs named after men. There are, of course, many, two of the greatest by The Kinks: David Watts and, of course, Lola.

+ Elvis’ Hollywood striptease…

+ I thought Paul Sorvino’s best role was as Kissinger in Oliver Stone’s Nixon–ingratiating, complicit, pompous and quick to wash his hands once Nixon’s fall was inevitable. Like many New York-based actors, Sorvino’s rise to fame followed a slow arc. He was a working-class actor and his experience showed in his craft. His characterizations had a depth and humaneness that comes from years spent on the streets. The range of characters he played was exceed perhaps only by the range of jobs had to support himself as an aspiring actor. From the NYT obit: “Sorvino worked as a waiter and a bartender, sold cars, taught acting to children and appeared in commercials for deodorant and tomato sauce. After his first child, Mira, was born, he wrote advertising copy for nine months, but the office job gave him an ulcer.”

Who in Mortal Chains, Who in Power?

Booked Up
What I’m reading this week…

Ends of War: The Unfinished Fight of Lee’s Army After Appomattox
Caroline E. Janne
(University of North Carolina)

Red Leviathan: the Secret History of Soviet Whaling
Ryan Tucker Jones
(University of Chicago)

Tree Thieves: Crime and Survival in North America’s Woods
Lyndsie Bourgon
(Little Brown)

Sound Grammar
What I’m listening to this week…

Queen of Sheba
Angélique Kidjo & Ibrahim Maalouf
(Mi’ster Productions)

Misadventures of a Doomscroller

Play or Die
Tony Williams
(Moosicus Records)

It Isn’t the Same Father

+ “There is no such thing as a father in general. There is only a father who works at the bank, who works in a factory, who is unemployed, who is an alcoholic: the father is only the element of a particular social machine. According to traditional psychoanalysis, it’s always the same father and always the same mother–always the same triangle. But who can deny that the Oedipal situation differs greatly, depending on whether the father is an Algerian revolutionary or a well-to-do executive? It isn’t the same death which awaits your father in an African shanty town as in a German industrial town; it isn’t the same Oedipus complex or the same homosexuality. It may seem stupid to have to make such statements, and yet such swindles must be denounced tirelessly: there is no universal structure of the human mind!” (Felix Guattari, Texts and Interviews)

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