Hanford is located just a few hundred miles from our home in Portland, and they offer public tours throughout the summer. The tours book up quickly. Interest is high. This summer, Kathleen and I finally made it onto the list and we had the opportunity spend a day on a bus touring the Hanford Nuclear Complex. No one is allowed to take photos. Apparently, the disposal of nuclear waste is just as sensitive as the process of nuclear enrichment.Read More
Posts from Pumpjack Press authors and contributors about culture, books, economic and social justice topics, history and more, with the occasional poem and short story.
At their peak, unions achieved many things. So what went wrong? In short, early idealism about organizing workers into a bloc as a counterweight to industry in a capitalist economy fell victim to age-old human love of power and fear of the “other.” Has the moment arrived for a union resurgence?Read More
Ten tips for when pot-smoking family and friends visit Oregon for the first time since legalization
Oregon voters legalized marijuana on July 1, 2015. A year later, my cousin and a contingent of her pot-smoking extended family and friends visited from an east coast state where their habit is still carried out under threat of arrest and imprisonment. The visit was an eye-opener. What I learned during their stay in Oregon may help Oregonians—or others living in state where pot is legal—prepare for similar visits.Read More
Bonnie and Clyde died on May 23, 1934. Bonnie Parker was 24 and Clyde Barrow was 25—startling young—when they were killed in a hail of bullets on a county road by a hastily convened vigilante ambush comprised of judge, jury and executioner. But what if things had turned out differently? What if grinding poverty had not pushed them into a life of crime? What if they had never died?Read More
These are challenging times for progressives. The policies being enacted are bad enough — placing profits over people, removing environmental protections and quickening the wealth extraction by the elites. But even more troubling to me about the election outcome was the disheartening swell of racism, misogyny and homophobia, of the misdirected anger lingering on the hot edge of violence, that seemed to eclipse the common sense of otherwise rational, compassionate human beings. I want to better understand it, so I’ve been doing some focused reading. Here’s my list of reading in the age of Trump that, taken in order, helped me find some clarity (but no solace) about what is happening in America.Read More
I sometimes imagine a long-ago unicorn moment when a path appeared that, had it been taken, may have dramatically altered the lives of America’s working class, or what we now call the 99 percent. In the mid- to late-part of the 20th century, the labor, civil rights, environmental and feminist movements were at an apogee, an emerging counterweight to the wealth extraction and concentration grinder of capitalism. Looking back, the potential was breathtaking. And then it all fell apart.Read More
I collect rocks. Size is irrelevant. I love medium-sized metamorphics as much as barely-there agates and volcanic bombs. Collection criterion is three-fold: an ability to represent provenance geologically, strength (as in an absence of friability; they can’t crumble in my pocket or backpack), and distinctive looks (a little crystal pop, a ruggedly weathered surface, a sharp volcanic edge; all these things attract my eye). These are attributes I’ve typically looked for in men, too. Clark has all three. He’s a very rare find.Read More
This trajectory of the visual arts mirrors (or perhaps was at the leading edge) a centuries-long philosophical evolution about human’s relationships to authority, the concept of individuality, the discovery of atoms, and shifting ideas about the human mind (from the Cartesian spark of God duality through Freud all the way to the mind-is-body model emerging from neuroscience). Why does the novel’s form remain stubbornly fixed despite these parallel cultural, scientific, and artistic changes? Where is the equivalent of the abstract painting in fiction? And what are the implications of its absence?Read More
Wait, don’t cry (even though your tears would be delicious little curds), you know its for the best.
Given how close we’ve been for so long, this probably seems like it’s coming out of the bleu (the one side of you I never really “got”) but you have to understand, it’s not because I don’t love you. Just think about all the good times we’ve had together. Some great times, actually.Read More