My irregular round-up of thoughts and items of interest:
Gustav Metzger (1926-2017), the German founder of “auto-destructive art,” demonstrated the art’s creative process in 1960 by “painting” hydrochloric acid on a piece of nylon canvas. As you’d expect, the canvas was shredded. Years later, just before the opening of a new show, a very apt event occurred. As reported by The New York Times,
In 2004, Tate Britain recreated Mr. Metzger’s 1960 Temple Gallery show in “Art and the ’60s: This Was Tomorrow.” The exhibition suffered a well-publicized mishap when a cleaner came across a clear plastic bag filled with crumpled paper and cardboard — part of the installation — and, assuming it was trash, threw it into a compactor.
“The things we are passionate about are fueled by mundane tasks. All is necessary.”
—Valerie June, on working to support your art and family.
From Misty: The Ides of Trump.
Watch this great 30-second clip from yesterday’s Meet the Press interview with Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich:
I hope Trump supporters take his words to heart. Don’t be losers. Be compassionate.
Our postal problems continue. Misty noticed that our postal person hasn’t picked up our apartment complex’s outgoing mail for nearly a week. The box is stuffed full. God only knows how many folks’ bills and, as in Misty’s case, prescriptions for a mail order pharmacy have been sitting there and for how long. Apparently, according to the law, USPS mail pickup is a courtesy. Well, my using USPS as a mail carrier is a courtesy, too, considering I have many other options for mailing services. I’m not too worried about postal inspectors coming after me for using UPS or FedEx instead of stamped letters.
My first complaint against the local USPS postal person has been filed.
Texas Republicans are trying to pass legislation that would require local governments to hold an election any time they want to increase property taxes by four or more percent. The current cap is eight percent. As one would expect, local governments — counties, cities, school districts — oppose state-mandated elections to fund local services. The majority of school funding comes from property taxes. While Texas legislators may complain about and campaign on our high property taxes, the only reason they remain at such a rate is because those lawmakers failed to effectively fund education for Texas students. So, local districts have to raise taxes over and over again to provide basic services to students. Limiting their ability to do so only limits their ability to grow public services at the same rate as the population grows. And, in Texas, the population is booming.
At the same time, they’re trying to take those locally raised funds and give them private enterprise to educate students under a bill filed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s implementing voucher/education savings accounts/whatever they’re calling such programs at the moment.
Republicans would limit the amount of money schools and local governments can raise without incurring the expense of an election and taking those tax dollars away from the public to send some students to private, for-profit and religious schools. What the hell kind of sense does that make? Does one hand not know the trouble the other is causing?
Not to mention that, overall, voucher programs harm students more than help them. Just because your kid had a good experience doesn’t mean a large part of the private education sector isn’t filled with fraudsters, cons, morons and cult leaders. If you think it’s all about your kid, go back and watch the Kasich video above.
Lots of hand-wringing about language in the contracts acts are required to sign before performing at South by Southwest. It essentially said that foreign bands who play a gig outside SXSW-sponsored showcases would be reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. SXSW has removed the offending lines. What offends me, though, is that no one is complaining about SXSW’s ban on playing gigs outside the festival. If you want to talk about constitutional rights, there are a couple others being circumscribed by SXSW.
After looking through this contract sent to me by sxsw I have decided to cancel Told Slant’s performance at the festival pic.twitter.com/rI2Xv0duJl
— Told Slant (@Felixixix666) March 2, 2017
Most locals can’t afford to get into SXSW showcases. Bands will often play side gigs that locals can attend and afford. So, what SXSW was really saying was, “If you play an outside gig that threatens our business model, we’ll call the law.” That, to me, is the deeper issue that needs resolving. Just because a band is accepted into SXSW, its members shouldn’t be forced to surrender their rights to constitutional protections while on American soil.
I thought an investigative series into air ballon safety would be boring. I was wrong.
Contrast the below statement to Kasich’s above:
“If you ask someone to give up something, there will be resentment. If that claims my congressional career, so be it. It will be worth it to me to have effected this change.”
—Representative Michael C. Burgess, Republican of Texas and chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health, on repealing the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.
It should end his career, especially given his goal is to deprive Americans of life-saving health services.
We’ll finish off with a Leonard Cohen quote I read over the weekend. Note that hineni is Hebrew for “Here I am.”
“That ‘hineni,’ that declaration of readiness no matter what the outcome, that’s a part of everyone’s soul. We all are motivated by deep impulses and deep appetites to serve, even though we may not be able to locate that which we are willing to serve. So, this is just a part of my nature, and I think everybody else’s nature, to offer oneself at the critical moment when the emergency becomes articulate. It’s only when the emergency becomes articulate that we can locate that willingness to serve.”