Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In Other Art News

MOMA sends me monthly newsletters and this month they were featuring F-111, an iconic James Rosenquist work that takes up four walls. When I was in NYC in 2003 I saw the only Rosenquist retrospective ever including his 35-foot long Econo-mist before its shipment to the German bank that commissioned it. I had no idea who he was or what I would be seeing when I went there. I can say it's been a major influence on my dreams and, apparently, my life. It was stunning but I could not get a print of any part of it and had to settle for one of a water lily, which hangs on my living room wall next to Lichtenstein's Big Dog opposite the front door. That would be more impressive if I had a vestibule. Anyway, Rosenquist is 79 now and he lost his home, studio and work stored for upcoming shows in a fire three years ago. I would like to cover three walls in my living room with something like his work. But then I'd have to get rid of all the stuff and learn the basics of billboard art.

Climate Change Hero

His name is Lonnie Thompson. And he's been a man obsessed.

His West Virginia farm upbringing came in handy as he challenged Mongol porters to contests shooting wild game. Other times, he went hungry. Once, in China, dinner was a bowl of stewed camel paws.
One more time, just for the record. Stewed. Camel. Paws.
As far as I'm concerned, these people are all honorary contrariennes.

The Outsource, er Offshore President

From Vanity Fair.
To give but one example, there is a Bermuda-based entity called Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd., which has been described in securities filings as “a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.” It could be that Sankaty is an old vehicle with little importance, but Romney appears to have treated it rather carefully. He set it up in 1997, then transferred it to his wife’s newly created blind trust on January 1, 2003, the day before he was inaugurated as Massachusetts’s governor. The director and president of this entity is R. Bradford Malt, the trustee of the blind trust and Romney’s personal lawyer. Romney failed to list this entity on several financial disclosures, even though such a closely held entity would not qualify as an “excepted investment fund” that would not need to be on his disclosure forms. He finally included it on his 2010 tax return. Even after examining that return, we have no idea what is in this company, but it could be valuable, meaning that it is possible Romney’s wealth is even greater than previous estimates. While the Romneys’ spokespeople insist that the couple has paid all the taxes required by law, investments in tax havens such as Bermuda raise many questions, because they are in “jurisdictions where there is virtually no tax and virtually no compliance,” as one Miami-based offshore lawyer put it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Too Long For Facebook

Andrew Sullivan's perspective on Roberts' vote for the ACA includes one of the most concise, spot-on summaries of what the Republicans have been doing that I have ever read. It got my blood boiling and my fever rising. It is strikingly well-written.
It is the Rant O' Teh Decade.
 But it's too long for Facebook and may even be a bit over the 500-word fair use limit for this site. I'm running with it anyway.

One of the most strikingly anti-conservative aspects of today's allegedly conservative movement, after all, is its contempt for institutions, especially elite institutions that in any way limit the scope of fundamentalist ideology. And so Newt Gingrich's crucial innovation was throwing out the politeness and manners and decorum and rules and traditions of the House of Representatives in order to gain power by populist demagoguery. You can see his legacy in Tom DeLay's implementation of the Medicare D entitlement under Bush, an essentially lawless an rule-free process that made a mockery of parliamentary procedure. You saw this contempt for the rule of law, if it got in the way of desired policy, in the torture policy under Bush, cynically making the patently illegal "legal" through cynicism and double-speak. Similarly, McConnell's use of the filibuster is essentially a display of contempt for the American constitutional system, rigging the system to nullify legislative majorities and to conduct politics as a zero-sum war for power, rather than as a means to debate, discuss and implement necessary changes in an evolving society. The give-and-take of American constitutionalism has been essentially reduced by the GOP in the last two decades to take-and-take-some-more. They impeache one successful president, in an act so disproportionate to the offense (and the offense was real: Clinton was a shameless perjurer) that it helped gut any bipartisan functioning of an institution designed for deal-making across the aisles or within them.
They treated the 2000 election, when Bush lost the popular vote, as a landslide mandate election - again with no deference to the other side or sense of governing as one nation.
After Bush vs Gore and then Citizens United, I think Roberts saw the full political and constitutional consequences of a radical Court vote to gut the key legislative achievement of a duly elected president and Congress. In other words, he put the institutions of American government before the demands of partisan powermongering. And he deftly nudged the issue back into the democratic process, where it more comfortably belongs.

Julimac, Democratic Strategist

If I had any energy or stamina at all, I'd be raking in the big bucks this election season, because, sure enough, the Dems are doing exactly as I said they should.
First a little test-marketing, then some polling. If it works — and it will — go viral, strangle the R's with it, and drag 'em to the bathtub. We take back the House. Yay!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Morning Entertainment

I am considering printing out the Little Surrealist Dictionary and carrying it with me wherever I go. I'm not sure I need anything else until I get it memorized.
Looking at the sea being ploughed by boats, the Buddhist priest Kanguen asked his deciple Daichi "Could you from your room stop those boats sailing past?" The young disciple closed the shutters. Then the master said: "All the same, you couldn't have stopped the boat if you had no hands."

The young disciple closed his eyes.