Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Reaping what one sows

I am not taking sides here because it is all such a fucking mess that  I can't find a side to take other than we should scrap everything and start from scratch.  But as to the title of my blog, I remember how Obama Care passed:


This, meaning the then and the now, is no way to govern.


Monday, May 15, 2017

A Less Than Satisfying Exchange

Dear Senator Scott,

I have been wanting to write to your office since President Trump was elected, but there is so much wrong with his presidency that I just haven’t had the strength.  However, the firing of Director Comey at this juncture is the last straw and I feel compelled to finally communicate my displeasure. 

Time has come for congress to appoint an independent prosecutor, not only to investigate the Russian connection to President Trump, but to look into all the president’s dealings.  The “Trump people” are using the office of the President of the United States of America to make all kinds of personal deals and this country is looking more like a Banana Republic every day; it’s not only embarrassing, it is dangerous. Honestly, I am not even certain what it is the man knows and doesn’t, he appears totally clueless to me, which is plenty scary in itself, but the people around him aren’t, and they are using their position to enrich themselves; they use the White House as a marketing tool.

Senator Scott, I have no clue what our foreign policy is: very very scary (double adverb like the president likes to use either for emphasis or because his vocabulary is limited, mine isn’t), our environmental policies are a disaster, this medical bill fiasco solves absolutely nothing, and as long as “the optics” look like they do, you legislators will not be able to do anything concrete for the foreseeable future (not that your track record has been very good for, oohhhh the past 8 years).  We will soon be hankering for the 2% growth rate of the Obama years.  I did not think President Obama was a very good president; but President Trump will make him look like Lincoln.

In conclusion: I, your constituent who did vote for you, want you to call for an independent prosecutor to investigate this very dangerous White House.


Katya Cohen

Dear Ms. Cohen,

Thank you for contacting me to share your thoughts on former FBI Director James Comey’s dismissal by President Trump. I value your opinion on this important issue and firmly believe that I cannot perform my responsibilities efficiently without having the benefit of the views of my constituents. I thank you for the opportunity to respond.

As head of the executive branch, it is entirely constitutional for President Trump to exercise his discretion regarding who leads executive branch departments. It must be remembered that every employee of the executive branch works for the president.  As with previous administrations, there will continue to be no tolerance for excessive over-reach by the executive branch. I will continue to push for accountability and transparency at all levels of government.

I thank former Director Comey for his work and service to our nation. Leading the bureau responsible for upholding our nation’s laws and integrity is no simple task.  As per the powers vested in the Senate by Article Two, Section Two of the constitution, my role in the Senate will be that of appropriate consideration and review of the new FBI Director nominee.  As such, I look forward to focusing on reviewing President Trump’s pick for FBI Director.

I do not believe that the Director’s dismissal will affect how the FBI carries out its investigations, and I have full confidence in the brave men and women serving our nation every day at the FBI. Multiple federal entities are currently and independently conducting Russia investigations, including the Senate Intelligence Committee. Chairman Burr and Ranking Member Warner have repeatedly demonstrated they are working together to uncover all of the facts, and I have no reason to believe they will not.

I look forward to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, and to reviewing that and any findings made by the FBI at the conclusion of their investigations.

Again, thank you for sharing your perspective with me; I hope that you will continue to do so in the future. If I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of my staff.
For more information, please visit my website at www.scott.senate.gov and subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter. I also encourage you to follow me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SenatorTimScott and Twitter:www.twitter.com/SenatorTimScott for daily updates.

Tim Scott

Dear Senator Scott, 

Thank you for your predictable response.  I understand the constitutionality of Director Comey's dismissal and understand the Congress' willingness to see how this all shakes out before committing yourselves to anything; we will all have to wait and see.  However, apart from this matter, my concerns also have more to do with the overall ethical environment within the White House, and honestly, with the president's mental health.  It's going to be a long four years....


Katya Cohen

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Like an Oasis

Artforum May 2017  Tobi Haslett on the Whitney Biennial

Like an oasis in a desert, finally an art review with meaty content.  It’s been so many years since I’ve read one that I forgot how pleasant it is be informed by one.  I almost forgot what it is like to read a well written, formed, and formulated opinion that actually imparts information.  



Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day, March for Science, and the Stickiness of Alternative Facts

After years of the intellectual contingency of the far left beating the drum to the sound of “Science is just White Man’s mythology used to oppress the masses,” all of a sudden science seems to matter to progressives. These are ironic times indeed....

I listen to the news while I am working in the studio until the news depresses me too much and I switch to jazz.  This past Friday leading to a weekend of protests for science all over the world, the news was full of reports about it.  It was interesting to listen to and to find out about the different flavors the international marches were going to come in.  

I listen to the news on National Public Radio which is progressively bent, and so it was doubly interesting to listen to them interview a Nigerian organizer who was telling the reporter that in Nigeria they were marching for GMO’s.  Yes, I said FOR GMO’s. Usually on NPR one only hears about the ill effects of GMO’s on food production and how the E.U bans such products in their sphere of influence; and if NPR listeners hear about a protest, it is usually anti-GMO.  Well, here was a person from a developing nation clamoring for GMO’s, or what in Europe is known as "white man’s tools of oppression".  Weeelllll, it seems like scientific fact might actually be local (-;

I have a friend who used to do some landscaping for us and his father worked in the AG School at the university in town.  He told me we would never be able to feed the world population had we not engineered food and used all the chemistry we have done…  These are scientific facts, that is, facts supported by data that progressives don’t usually like to hear.  Honestly, I like my food organic and grass fed, but "facts be facts"… or are they?  

Today, facts be damned, let’s march for science no matter what's what!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The kind of Political Discourse I love

One in which my representative actually agrees with me!!! hah hah

By way of context: 

When Nikki Haley left the helm of this state after Trump made her an offer she could not refuse on her climb to seeking her party's nomination for the presidency of this mess of a nation, I thought that at least the State of SC might finally pave a few of its crumbled (note, they are no longer crumbling, they are way beyond that) roads. Unfortunately Governor McMaster is in the same pockets she was in, and we are left with one more governor willing to sink this state for the profit of a few.  It's "bidness" as usual in the state of South Carolina. Heck, I bet his street and those of his puppet masters have new pavement....

Dear Senator Alexander, Representative Clary, and Governor McMaster (I address all three since you ostensibly represent me),

It is hard for me to believe that you guys are still dickering over how to get money to pay for our urgent infrastructure needs.  That being said, you don’t seem any more dysfunctional than the rest of what has become an embarrassment of a nation; and this is not a compliment. 

Let me ask you this: when you want a TV, or say, an internet plan, what do you do?  Do you issue a bond in order to get funds to pay for these things, or do you go out to Wal-Mart and get one; or in the case of digital connectivity, call an internet provider and pay a monthly fee to get on that digital highway in order to surf for cute pictures of cats?  Buying infrastructure should be no different than buying internet time; the people getting the benefit of using roads should pay for them, and they should do so in the form of present day taxes since it is a public good they want to be using privately.
I understand one might call this a regressive tax, but I sure as heck know that is not why people of the republican persuasion don’t want to pass it.  And regressive or not, everyone should pay for road reconstruction and maintenance regardless: you use it, you pay for it.  And at this juncture I might add that this is the real conservative way of looking at things. 

I know republicans, and apparently Americans, are allergic to the word “taxes”, but it is high time we change that attitude; the status quo is no longer working.  As a state (and as a country) we need to start paying, as a group, for what we want to consume, not consume and then defer the costs of that consumption for future groups to pay.  If we don’t start taking responsibility for our expenditures, we will cease to be a nation.  I understand that it is complicated and that some debt is a good thing; but debt does not mean never ever paying for anything.

We, as a people, need to live up to our fiscal responsibilities, not continue to be a debtor nation, which only enriches the banks (and the people who run them).  We saw how well that turned out in 2008.  We cannot continue passing ALL costs to future generations.  In fact, as concerns infrastructure, that model has failed completely.  I travel to other countries and, as pointed out by our very own president, this one is truly an embarrassment.  Moreover, and as concerns this letter, it is infuriating for me that I can tell, with closed eyes, just by the way my car rides on the pavement, when I have entered South Carolina from either Georgia or North Carolina, themselves not the states with great roads.

We, the people of South Carolina, should pay for our needs as we go, not borrow more money we will then have future generations find a way to default on.  This state can’t even live up to its current future obligations, i.e. The State Pension Plan, why incur more debt?  You need to start simplifying things, cleaning house, not complicating them and letting the state crumble more than it already has.
Please, if this applies to you, stop being in the pockets of the special interests that are insisting that you keep from levying a tax, a tiny tiny tax on gas, whose prices are some of the lowest in the nation, so that we can start rebuilding that which we urgently need.  Let’s start acting like responsible adults for once; in the long run that can only benefit the state as a whole. 

… And I know I should apologize for being curt, but I am so steamed at this point…


Katya Cohen 

Ms. Cohen,

Thank you for reaching out to me regarding South Carolina’s infrastructure issues and how to address them.  I am proud to be a sponsor of H. 3516, the Roads, Bridges and Infrastructure bill.  This bill passed the House of Representatives on March by a vote of 97-18 and I was proud to cast my vote for this important legislation.  This bill resides in the Senate, and you have correctly addressed this issue to Senator Thomas Alexander.  I remain hopeful the Senate will pass this bill.  Of course, Governor McMaster has pledged to veto any gas tax increase, and I hope I have the opportunity to override his veto.

You are absolutely correct that outside influences and groups are attempting to influence the vote of our General Assembly.  Fortunately, the House did not succumb to these tactics, and I have the Senate has the intestinal fortitude to do the same.

I am honored and privileged to represent you and House District 3 in Columbia.  Again, thank you for sharing your views with me, and please feel free to reach out to me at any time.



A few more shots taken in a walk of less that a 1/4 mile on one of the state roads:

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hah as in Aha

On March 6th I wrote A Funny- not hah hah- Thing About Alternative Facts

Today, April 10th, I read the following in Artforum, one of those journals whose text and texture I had to master along my "art journey" as described on the A Funny....  It comes from an interview by Michele Kuo, the magazine's editor, with Adam Szymczyk, director of this year's Documenta 14.  I take it out of context, but it definitely echoes what I said on my blog entry.  ....Though I might think it is more funny, as in hah hah, than she does (-;

MK: Absolutely. And I think one of the most ironic or shocking developments we’ve witnessed in the past two decades is the way that some of these strategies have been so handily appropriated by the Right. For example, the jettisoning of master narratives and the critique of empiricism have now been globalized and deployed in all these reactionary ways. The denial of climate change is an obvious case in point. But we face a real dilemma, because even though we need to resist the resurgence of “alternative facts,” we can’t go back to a naive conception of truth and objectivity.