Monday, January 28, 2013

Hatin' on the Arts

So there's this bill in the OK legislature to be formally introduced on Feb. 4th that would cut all funding to a state agency - the Oklahoma Arts Council. I've written a little about it here and here, if you're interested. But basically it's a political maneuver by a 23-year old "spending cuts at all costs" freshman lawmaker from Tecumseh. There are several problems with this measure. If passed, it would remove oversight of works of art in the state capitol. And as the LA Times has reported:
"As a state government agency, however, the Oklahoma Arts Council notes that in fact it cannot raise its own funding. Nor does Crockroft's letter say how, exactly, $4 million in existing private donations likely to be diverted away from arts programs across the state to fund the agency might be made up. Finally, the state would also lose its $750,000 federal grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, further widening the funding gap."
I think the paragraph above needs to be plastered on as many billboards across the state as possible. The Times goes on to report that the bill was generated by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a right-leaning ideas group funded in part by the Koch brothers. On their website, there's a section called "What Would Reagan Do?" Well, Reagan worked toward a dismantling of the National Endowment for the Arts! the OCPA knows it, they pushed it on newbie Cockroft, he wants to appeal to tea-party inclined voters and keep his legislative seat. Kid is 23, remember.

One more piece of the puzzle that shows that not only are Oklahoma's citizens blindly going with the flow, so are its legislators.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

This is post # 200

Here's a letter I sent to a few OK state representatives about this whole Arts Council funding business:

I am writing you to express my sincerest desire that you withdraw HB 1895, which aims to reduce funding for the arts 100% by 2017. The legislation implies that a fiscal emergency exists, and that action to reduce funding to the arts is "immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety".

I am certain that the arts are essential to public safety, peace and community health. The US Department of Justice in a January 2000 bulletin detailed in length the benefits of music, arts and drama in reducing crime among teens.

If you are interested in reducing state expenditures, perhaps an examination of education dollars vs. incarceration dollars would be applicable. One report shows that 1 year of attending Princeton University is actually cheaper than 1 year of imprisonment.

This model holds true across the board, with per pupil costs much lower (as much as 3 times cheaper) than per prisoner costs. Perhaps a rollback of state appropriations to the prison industry would be a better solution to your supposed "emergency".

Funding the arts reduces crime and incarceration rates. Education is cheaper than imprisonment, better for our society, and provides a stronger and safer future for us all. Please stand up for the arts, in our schools, our cities and our society.


Andy Beck

I have little faith that legislators pay much if any attention to their constituents. But hey, if I can irritate my legislator enough for even a response, I'll consider it a win.

** Rep. Josh Cockroth isn't my OK State Representative.

OK Legislator wants Arts Funding Removed

OK House Representative Josh Cockroth has introduced legislation that would reduce state funding of the arts 100% by 2017. The move would save the state a total of $4 million a year over the next 4 years. A gradual reduction of 25% a year. 

More after the jump...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

There's something off about this picture

Saw this image going around Facebook lately. It caused me to think.

If its not the blatant racism (the criminal is African American? REALLY? The "Law Abiding Citizen" is a country white man?) it's that nowhere in the Obama Admin proposals is there a ban on handguns and shotguns.

So this is wrong.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kids update

Instead of being that annoying guy who obsessively posts pics of his kids, i'm just going to be that annoying guy who never posts anything, then dumps a video of pictures of his kids. Boom.

Thursday, January 10, 2013