Here’s a new feature where I point you to other stuff I’ve hurled around the internet today — stories I’ve written elsewhere, newsletter articles and stray tweets. Whatever else I did, really.
I have a new piece on one of my long standing political stories : the designed-for-fraud Pigford at Breitbart.com. It’s a fairly detailed piece that covers a lot of history. As usual with my stories, if you’re skeptical of the claims please click the links. It’s all soundly sourced. Here’s a bit…
The original famers’ settlement was created in 1999 and is known as Pigford, named for a farmer named Timothy Pigford. Pigford himself was a legitimate farmer and he and a few hundred other farmers say they were discriminated against by the USDA. While all sides including critics of Pigford agree that some farmers were discriminated against, the suit was modified by lawyers to open it to people with a much more tenuous claim that they had “attempted to farm.” The number of claimants skyrocketed, of course, as lawyers found tens of thousands of people to claim that they “attempted” since there was literally no procedure to verify the truth or falsity of any claim.
For a good look at the state of the Pigford settlement as it was being developed, watch this video from 60 Minutes in the late 1990s.
One of the attorneys featured in that video is a man named Richard “Al” Pires, a white liberal attorney who is widely acknowledged as father of the Pigford settlement as it exists today. It’s not conjecture to call Mr. Pires the mastermind behind Pigford’s “attempted to farm” standard; he discusses it openly in this article from 2000:
“I argued that such cases should be included because that’s a form of discrimination. We looked through the consent decree and concluded that these cases weren’t technically allowed. I asked the government to consider allowing these farmers to participate.
“The government’s answer was, `What keeps thousands of people from claiming they tried to get an application when they didn’t? How do you keep false stories out?’
Sadly, the real answer is – nothing. Billions in fraud ensued and continues until….now! Read it all here.
The new issue of my newsletter for creative conservatives is about expanding your influences. I talk about an idea from the book Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon:
One topic the book covers is about curating your influences. Kleon suggests finding people who have influenced you and then research who their influences are.. then go looking into who THEIR influences are. Steal Like An Artist suggests creating a family tree of artistic influences. With unlimited digital services like Spotify and Netflix to listen to music or watch movies, it’s now possible to trace back through your ‘influence tree’ on a budget and from the comfort of your own home.
Your art is going to be better if you make a conscious effort to expand who influences you.Which brings us to hugging Michael Moore.
Although my personal blog (you know…what you’re reading right now) is going to be focused more on tech and creativity this year, my Twitter feed remains whatever is on my mind and that means a bit of politics. Here’s a few tweets from today..