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Maybe there is something to the “artists are crazy” meme

We’re all familiar with the perception that most artists, at least the really good ones, have a bit of crazy in them.  If that’s really the case, this guy’s art must rival the masters:

A Norwegian conceptual artist has described how he boiled up his own hip bone, stripped off the flesh, and then ate it with some potato gratin and a glass of wine.

Alexander Selvik Wengshoel, 25, told Norway’s Nordlys newspaper that hospital doctors had allowed him to film the hip replacement operation he underwent aged 21, after which he had taken the bone home as an artistic souvenir.

“When I got home I sat in my living room and suddenly I had a whim that I should cook the meat,” he told the newspaper.

He said that he had first boiled the bone to loosen the small handful of flesh attached to it, and then fried the meat which came off.

“First I just had a little taster, but since it tasted good, I made it a full dinner of it,” he told the paper. “It was a very exciting and stimulating. It was so personal.”

Asked how the meat had tasted, Wengshoel replied that it had tasted like “wild sheep”.

Wengshoel made his startling claim at the opening of his graduation exhibition from the Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art.

The hip bone, stripped of all its flesh, was also displayed as part of his work, which largely involved subjecting himself to extreme pain by piercing his flesh with hooks.


Two thoughts of why he might do this.

First, he truly is a “starving artist” and needed to eat.  I’d give the odds of this being the actually reason a big fat zero.

Second and more likely, this is a publicity stunt aimed at getting his name out into the art community and the general public as well as piquing curiosity about his art in hopes of selling some pieces.  Okay, mission accomplished.  I’m sure he’ll get his fifteen minutes of fame and perhaps enrich himself in the process.

But dude, you have to admit, even to come up with this idea requires more than a smidge of crazy.  And what will he do next in an effort to one-up himself?  Only the truly crazy can imagine.

California REALLY doesn’t want any businesses located in the state

If they did, why would they consider legislation like this?:

SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — A California effort to lead a national debate over the growing wage gap between CEOs and average workers took its first step in the state Legislature on Thursday with support from Democratic lawmakers, organized labor and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

Reich, who served in the Clinton administration during the 1990s, said the bill would reward “responsible” companies with lower tax rates and help the middle class while countering a trend that he said endangers the underpinnings of the American economy.

SB1372 would punish companies that pay CEOs more than 100 times the median wage of their workers by imposing a higher corporate tax rate. Companies with less of a wage gap would be rewarded with a lower rate. (emphasis mine)

Yeah, punishing companies with a large wage discrepancy is going to draw more business in to the state. If you believe that, I have a pocketful of carbon credits I’d be willing to sell you, cheap.

Even if a company doesn’t have a large wage gap as outlined in the bill, what business owner wants to set up shop in a state so willing to insert itself into the day to day management of one of the most personal aspects of private sector business?  Why would an owner even think the state would stop there and not continue to nit pick on other perceived “injustices” it might find and then legislate even more changes to which  companies would have to comply.  Pretty soon, the government WOULD BE running your business.


Rewarding bad behavior: Government edition

First the I.R.S. gives out millions in bonuses to their employees who hadn’t bothered to pay their taxes and now this:

The director of the Phoenix VA hospital where at least 40 military veterans died from delays received more than $9,000 in bonus pay in 2013, public records show.

Last year, Sharon Helman, the director of the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System, got a $9,345 bonus, in addition to her annual base salary of $169,900. Overall, leadership at the hospital was paid more than $700,000 in taxpayer money, according to publicly available salary data.

CNN reported Wednesday that at least 40 patients have died at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System because of delays in treatment, and many of them were placed on a secret list to hide the wait times from officials in Washington.

According to internal emails obtained by CNN, top management at the Phoenix hospital, including Helman, was aware of the practice and defended it.


Another day, another irritating McCain quote

Between Boehner’s shot across the bow at the conservative base and the most recent America shaming from McCain, could “comprehensive immigration reform” including a “path to citizenship be far behind?”

“Here’s Johnny..…”:

“They’re not going home. And so why don’t we give them a path to citizenship,” McCain asked at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy Jr. forum.

“There are not enough buses to deport them,” he added. “It’s de facto amnesty.”

“It’s really tough,” he said, adding it would take years for people’s status to change. “If you keep these people in the shadows, it is a stain on America’s honor.”

A “stain on America’s honor?” Really?

The masses of illegal immigrants currently residing in the US chose to come to here and remain here, “in the shadows,” yet somehow it’s America’s shame to bear if these millions of people aren’t given an eventual citizenship?  How is America to blame for its own laws being broken? Usually the shame is on those who’ve committed the wrong. Isn’t the dishonor here on those who broke the law when they crossed over illegally into the country in the first place?

Tangentially, isn’t this kind of blame America thinking exactly opposite of the “personal responsibility” message the GOP is supposed to embrace? What about holding those who broke the law personally accountable for their actions?

McCain seems to have the victim and perpetrator roles backwards in this case.

Of course his motivation for supporting the “pathway to citizenship” is the same misguided meme:

McCain also repeated his previous prediction that “the Republican Party will never win another nationwide election unless we enact comprehensive immigration reform.” 


#NewsFlash: The Republican party won’t win another nationwide election if it DOES  enact comprehensive immigration reform which includes a pathway to citizenship and the ability of those new citizens to vote.  The data points to illegal immigrants largely identifying more with Democrats than Republicans.  There’s no reason to think that if Republicans sign on to some kind of immigration reform which includes citizenship and a right to vote that that identification will change.


Outrage du jour…

This just leaves me shaking my head:

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service handed out $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with disciplinary issues — including more than $1 million to employees who didn’t pay their federal taxes, a watchdog report says.

The report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said 1,146 IRS employees received bonuses within a year of substantiated federal tax compliance problems.

And the bonuses weren’t just monetary. Employees with tax problems received a total of 10,582 hours of paid time off — valued at about $250,000 — and 69 received permanent raises through a step increase, the report said. The report looked at bonuses in 2011 and 2012.

Employees’ tax problems included “willful understatement of tax liabilities over multiple tax years, late payment of tax liabilities, and underreporting of income,” the report said.

Here’s a question. If these IRS employees are known to have “willfully understated” their tax liabilities or under reported their income (how can they do that when they WORK for the IRS?), why, oh why are they STILL employed by the IRS?

Oh, that’s right. They’re represented by a union….

Moving back home: The Baby Boomer edition

Because we’ve had such a fabulous recovery post stimulus……

At a time when the still sluggish economy has sent a flood of jobless young adults back home, older people are quietly moving in with their parents at twice the rate of their younger counterparts.

For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians aged 50 to 64 who live in their parents’ homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.

The jump is almost exclusively the result of financial hardship caused by the recession rather than for other reasons, such as the need to care for aging parents, said Steven P. Wallace, a UCLA professor of public health who crunched the data.

“The numbers are pretty amazing,” Wallace said. “It’s an age group that you normally think of as pretty financially stable. They’re mid-career. They may be thinking ahead toward retirement. They’ve got a nest egg going. And then all of a sudden you see this huge push back into their parents’ homes.”

Hush campaign ACTIVATE!

Just because you have Obamacare doesn’t mean you’ll see a doctor.

First it was that the Obama administration had somehow miraculously coerced enough people into signing up for healthcare insurance (under penalty of law) that they had reached their seven million sign ups goal by the end of the enrollment period.  There were cheers far and wide from the media and other adoring sycophants.  All that was missing was a “Mission Accomplished” banner.

Then, just a few days ago, President Obama himself did a victory lap and announced that the enrollment number had grown again and now topped eight million people.  This time, his announcement was delivered with a jab at Republicans, suggesting that they need to accept Obamacare and move on already.

But as the saying goes, “All that glitters is not gold,” and just because those new enrollees may now have health insurance (many being subsidized by their fellow taxpayers), they may not be able to see a doctor. This phenomenon is particularly true in California where the largest number of new Obamacare enrollees (three million plus) are located:

MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) – While open enrollment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act is closed, many of the newly insured are finding they can’t find doctors, landing them into a state described as “medical homelessness.”

Rotacare, a free clinic for the uninsured in Mountain View, is dealing with the problem firsthand.

Mirella Nguyen works at the clinic said staffers dutifully helped uninsured clients sign up for Obamacare so they would no longer need the free clinic.

But months later, the clinic’s former patients are coming back to the clinic begging for help. “They’re coming back to us now and saying I can’t find a doctor, “said Nguyen.

Thinn Ong was thrilled to qualify for a subsidy on the health care exchange.  She is paying $200 a month in premiums. But the single mother of two is asking, what for?

“Yeah, I sign it. I got it. But where’s my doctor? Who’s my doctor? I don’t know,” said a frustrated Ong.

Nguyen said the newly insured patients checked the physicians’ lists they were provided and were told they weren’t accepting new patients or they did not participate in the plan.

Yes, people now have medical insurance, but what good is it when you can’t find a doctor willing to accept it?

Making matters worse is that one third of the primary care physicians in the state are ready to retire so the squeeze is just beginning.



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