Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Dallas Museum Of Art - "Variations On Theme: Contemporary Art 1950's - Present"

A couple of days ago, I went to the Dallas Museum Of Art.  They have some great stuff in there. 
I also got a chance to check out the Nasher Sculpture Center for the first time.  It was incredible.  (I used to run the Jukt Micronics metal shop.  Many of the artists that Mr. Nasher purchased had some serious metalworking chops.  A few of them did welds that looked like birdshit on a wire, but most of us can overlook that.)   

And then there was the Dallas Museum Of Art's exhibit called "Variations on Theme: Contemporary Art 1950s–Present"  Much of the art in that particular display was pretentious junk.  Give a relatively talented 8th-grader plenty of time and materials, turn her loose, and tell her to start painting/building/stuffing and protesting.  Mix her output with that of the Modern Masters on display at the DMOA, and I would defy any layman to distinguish the 8th-graders stuff from that of, say, Mark Rothko

But here's why you should go see that exhibit.  The descriptions on the wall beside each painting are freakin' hilarious. 
(To learn more about the descriptions and manifestos and stances and alliances that are now so critical to your enjoyment of contemporary art, check out Tom Wolfe's brilliant The Painted Word.  It is not a satire.  You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll go to the DMOA to see what he was talking about.) 

This piece was my favorite.  It's by Gerhard Richter, who Wikipedia claims is now the top-selling living artist. 
Here's the description:

The text, just in case you can't read the pic, is as follows:
Gerhard Richter
German, born 1932
Mirror, 2008
Mirror glass
Lay family acquisition fund, 2010
This piece, which is a fully functional mirror, questions the nature of representation, a central concern of Gerhard Richter in his long career as an artist. 
Shit, people, it's a fully functional mirror !!  The sumbitch works !!!!  And not only does it work, it questions the nature of that which it represents.  YOU can look at it this mirror at the DMOA for only $14.00  
Playing with the notion of what is an accurate depiction of reality, it simply and literally reflects what is in front of it, whether museum visitors or other works of art. 
Much like the ones for sale at Home Depot. 
The ubiquitous mirror is at once a common, everyday material and a mysterious object, invested with mythic capabilities and allusions, capturing a moment in both time and space. 
It is almost impossible to pass a mirror without looking; it demands our attention, and thus, our time. 
Here's the real thing, which rivals the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the Mona Lisa, and maybe even those paintings of dogs playing poker.  It looks a lot better when other people are taking the picture. 
By the way, I impovised some bullshit of my own when I transcribed the text that describes this mirror.  I bet you didn't catch it, did you?  None of it matters.  It's just buzzwords piled on catch-phrases dumped in with jargon.  And lots of "juxtaposition".  Everywhere I looked, there was "juxtaposition". 

One word of warning.  I don't know much about Richter's work, but I think that this might not be the original Richter mirror.  After a close examination, I think this might be a clever fogery done by another artist.  Something about the style seems off, and the technique is less polished.  Is there anyone in the DFW area who could examine this piece and make a determination? 

This next bit o' commentary was in a different exhibition.  They're impressed that this Japanese dude constructed two different J.C. Penney clothing pedestals that are filled with identical amounts of water.  I think. 

Here are the pieces in question.  I swear to God I think that we used to stack books on these at Barnes And Noble, but they didn't have identical amounts of water in them back then.  (The piece on the wall was actually kinda cool, but didn't have water in it.) 

Anyway, I had a fun day off in the Dallas Museum District.  Seriously, check out the other stuff at the DMOA, and be sure to take in the Nasher Sculpture Center. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

On Olympics uniforms made in China

Here's Don Boudreaux of the Cafe Hayek blog, on purchasing Olympics uniforms from China:

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) – a leader of a party whose members publicly preen themselves on their alleged devotion to science and realism – throws a conniption fit because the uniforms to be worn by U.S. athletes at the 2012 Olympics were stitched together in China rather than in America (“Burn US Olympic uniforms because they’re made in China,” July 12).

Mr. Reid’s outburst reveals his ignorance of a foundational conclusion of economic science, namely, that people are enriched when they’re free to purchase from whomever they choose regardless of political boundaries. Yes, there are economists who emphasize (mostly purely theoretical) exceptions to the case for free trade – none of which are relevant here – and even a few fringe economists who reject that case altogether. But economists’ overwhelming, non-partisan, and research-based consensus today is, as it has been for years, that free trade (even when unilateral) is beneficial. Mr. Reid’s temper tantrum proves that he is either inexcusably dimwitted about matters on which he legislates, or interested, not in science and realism and truth, but in scoring political points by appealing to the uninformed emotions of constituents.

If Mr. Reid had announced that locating water in the Mojave is easily done with divining rods, that cancer is best cured with crystals, or that the Senate chamber is haunted by Daniel Webster’s ghost, he’d be laughed out of office. But let him make a similarly laughable remark about trade and he continues to be treated as if he and his opinions deserve respect.


Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"You Didn't Build That" - The definitive poster collection

Barack Obama went off-teleprompter a couple of days ago and gave us a rare glimpse into his, oh, what shall I call it?  What's the word?  He gave us a glimpse into his....mind. 
If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. 
Hit the link to read the whole thing. 
The problem with his thinking, of course, is that he assumes that if government didn't build the roads and bridges, they wouldn't get built.  What a disastrous little man.  He's a parasite that thinks he's a host. 

I went on Facebook last night and started saving the parodies that my friends were posting.  I suspect people will be producing them for years. 

And the greatest one EVER....

Monday, July 16, 2012

How ObamaCare will work

How will ObamaCare work? 

Go here for all the details. 

Why Libertarian? by John Jay Myers

My buddy John Jay Myers is running for U.S. Senate.  This is from his campaign website.  Please spread it far and wide !  (You can also go here to send some money to his campaign.) 

I am asked, “Why don’t you run as a Republican?  You could do so much good in the Republican Party.”  I should not be upset.  After all, it’s sort of a compliment -  “They like me.  They really like me!”  It’s hard to respond because I don’t feel like knocking anyone's attempt at freedom or smaller government.

Libertarians are the Party of Principle.  The others are Principally Party.

America is ripe with crony capitalism, foreign intervention, debt and inflation, economic  controls, and Ponzi schemes.  Yet every election cycle we are led to believe that the major challenges facing us are “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and mosques.  Well ladies and gentlemen, I am here to tell you that we need to focus on the issues that unite us, and stop being divided by the idiocy of the election cycle.  It is time to stand up and say, “Stop stealing my stuff!”

As long as we remain divided and so full of hate towards one side or the other, we will always fail to notice the two major parties slipping out the back with our wallets, our future, and our freedoms.

This is where the constitution comes in, and why we must return to it.  Right now the Republicans and the Democrats are constantly giving deals to Big Insurance, Big Pharma, Big Energy, Big Oil, Big Banks, Big Auto, Big Agriculture, Big Education, Big Foreign Aid, Big Religion, and Big War.  I ask you, by what right?  By what right can they do this?  It is not our government’s job to take our stuff and give it to the politically connected friends of politicians.  Their only job is to protect our life, liberty, and property.  This is a relatively simple job the current crop of leaders seems completely unable to handle.

If you turn in your constitution to Article 1 Section 8, you will find the 17 enumerated powers of government.  Where do you see the power to give our money to any of those industries?  It is not there.  War is actually in there, but we don’t even have an officially declared war going on.  We have strayed far from what our founders envisioned and more towards what Eisenhower warned us about, the corruption of the Military-Industrial Complex.

But we can change the Republicans...

No, you can’t.  God bless ya for trying.  We may be able to get a few reasonably good Republicans in there, and in my opinion Ron Paul is one of the greatest men in America.  But, most of the liberty candidates were shot down, and even Rand Paul has had to fly very low on the radar, and either has intentionally toned down his message or is not as much like his father as I had hoped.

But my question is, where do you think all the hardcore neo-con nanny staters are going to go?  They simply are not leaving the GOP.  Those people believe we need to outlaw masturbation and have constant wars with half the world regardless of the cost or the lack of sense that it makes.  Those people believe being fiscally conservative is not good enough - they have to tell people how to live their lives, and in some cases die.

They are not leaving the Republican Party, and their influence and power is growing.  Christine O’donell didn’t win the primaries because she wants to end the wars and let people be free.  She won because she is a social conservative who is willing to say, “We should stop spending money, and live within our means” - the meaningless mantra of every shell Republican who can’t figure out that Barack Obama’s health care plan did not double our debt during George Bush’s 8 years in office.

Do you believe these people are just going to disappear?  It’s not going to happen.  The Republicans will always find themselves bitterly divided, and that will not work when it comes to spreading liberty.  It is a package deal.  You can’t just take a little freedom.

Do you want to spend years of your life pounding your head against a brick wall only to find that half the bricks will never break?

The Power of Being Libertarian

This year I think we are going to see some very good poll numbers from Libertarians despite the fact that the media ignores us, and then they don’t allow us in the debates because they say we haven’t gotten enough media attention.  If it wasn't so horrifying I would have to laugh.  For some strange reason they say we don’t poll that well when we either aren’t included in the polls, or haven’t been mentioned in the media.

But, there is another reason why we should vote and run as Libertarians - because we are right.  Our message is true, and we do not have to sacrifice some of our policies in order to appeal to a hard core wing of our party.  We do not have to soft sell the message.  The message is freedom, and when we start turning in numbers from 10-20%, we just may see that the Democrats and the Republicans, who are two sides to the same coin, just might start thinking a little more Libertarian.  This to me would be a small victory on the way to major party status.

It is however very important that Libertarians stay true to the message of Less Government and More Freedom, and stand strong behind Social and Fiscal freedoms, which include religious freedom and tolerance, and ending the wars.

"But I am an Independent!"

No you are not; you are dependent.  You are  dependent on the two major parties to come up with a candidate that you are going to vote for.  But as we have already shown, both sides are the same.  Who is going to get the candidate who shares your belief on the ballot?  Now is not the time to think, “The two parties got us into this mess and I am done with parties.”  You would still only have those two.  Now is the time to support a party that most represents you.

If those people only knew how hard it is to achieve and maintain ballot access for anyone but the two major parties, they would be more willing to help.  Libertarians work very hard to get on the ballot especially considering we get no donations from major corporations because when elected they know we would not give them anything.

For those people who say they are independent I say, sorry, you are very dependent.  If you don’t help a third party, any third party for that matter, you always will be.

Remember....Go here to send John Jay Myers some money for his campaign. 
Some in the Libertarian Party might take exception to my comment “I believe in Principle before Party.”  I do believe this, but let me say I also believe the Libertarian Party needs to flourish and become a true option for the American people.  It would be silly for me to tell people that they should not always vote for party and then tell them that they should only vote for mine.  However, I would like to take this time to explain the many reasons why I believe people should vote Libertarian and run as Libertarians.

But My Teacher Says...

I was forwarded a letter the other day from the Texas Secretary of State.  It was an instructional tool for teachers to help them explain to students why we have a two-party system.  It went on to say that “it helps preserve majority rule in a democratic state.”  If you know me, you would understand why this completely gets under my skin.   We don’t have a two-party system.  If you look in the constitution, you will not find any mention of having parties whatsoever.  I am quick to point out that the words majority rule, democratic, and democracy are also all not found in the constitution.  Not once.

Democracy is the idea that people can vote themselves things.  But the first question is where do things come from?  That is where it should hit you.  A direct democracy is theft.  It is legal theft, but it is not much different than a gang with guns stealing from you.  Because if you do not submit to the will of the majority, a man with a gun will soon come and take your stuff, and possibly put you in jail.

A simpler analogy is that democracy is simply two wolves and a lamb voting on what is for dinner, and you can bet that the answer will be lamb chops.

So we actually live in a republic.  The difference is that individuals have rights, and the government has no power to take them away.  This is why we have a constitution. So as Thomas Jefferson put it,  “In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution.”

I personally do not have any confidence in the man known as a politician, except that he is probably a "confidence man" (con-man for you kids out there).  Which is why I ask the left and the right, “If we are all so sure the government is corrupt, why be so quick to give them more power?”

When we are taught that we only have two parties, they are robbing us of choice.  What we really have is a majority opinion, and no one standing up for the opinion or rights of the minority.  This smells a lot like lamb chops cooking to me.

Libertarians endorse many methods of ending the two party monopoly.  Among them are Ranked or Approval Voting.  Either is a step in the right direction from where we are now.

R’s and D’s are opposites?

Let’s play a game: which side supports the drug war, Iraq, Afghanistan, Patriot Act, and Gitmo?  If you said Republicans, you would be right; if you said the Democrats, you would be right as well.

Which side supports socialized medicine, bailouts, stimulus, and debt?  If you said the Democrats, you would be right; if you said the Republicans, you would be right as well.

Far from being opposites, neither will bring the troops home, restore fiscal responsibility, deal with entitlements, or promote free markets.

You may be starting to see why it is important that we have a strong Libertarian option.  Libertarians would have a none-of-the-above approach on all of these issues.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dammit, Dammit, Dammit !! Michael Mann and Jerry Sandusky

Dammit, Dammit, Dammit !!

I had this idea 3 weeks ago, but I've been too busy at work to devote any real time to the research. 

There's a researcher at Penn State named Michael Mann who was implicated in a lot of the ClimateGate emails.  The emails hint that Mann over-massaged the climate data to give the impression that there really was a massive "blade" on the Climate Change hockey stick.  (There isn't one.  They made it up.  Time will tell, won't it?) 

Penn State's faculty, the same group of government Teat-Suckers who let Jerry Sandusky rape little boys for a few decades, they did an "investigation" of Mann and declared his actions to be acceptable. 

I was going to post a bunch of Penn State logos scattered throughout a straightforward defense of Michael Mann.  Go here for the defense I would've used.  The Canadians, Israelis, Aussies who visit this site would've been totally lost.  The Americans, with the Jerry Sandusky/Joe Paterno/Penn State coverup in their media every day, would've gotten the joke. 

But dammit, dammit, dammit, I've waited too long. 

Go here to read the guy who beat me to it.  It's greatness. 


BTW, It's been hot in the northeast United States but so far the Texas summer has been relatively mild.