Thursday Reads

Good Morning!! I’ve got a potpourri of interesting links for you today, so I’ll get right to it.

Yesterday Mitt Romney gave an interview to Mark {Gag!} Halperin of Time. Halperin asked the putative Republican nominee to say specifically what the unemployment rate would be after his first year as POTUS. You may recall that not long ago, Romney stated that unemployment should be below 4 percent and that anything higher than that is unacceptable. But now he’s singing a different tune.

Romney: I can’t possibly predict precisely what the unemployment rate will be at the end of one year. I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we’d put in place, we’d get the unemployment rate down to 6%, and perhaps a little lower. It depends in part upon the rate of growth of the globe, as well as what we’re seeing here in the United States, but we’d get the rate down quite substantially, and frankly, the key is we’re going to show such job growth that there will be competition for employees again. And wages – we’ll see the end of this decline we’re having. The median income in America is down 10% in just the last four years. That’s got to stop. We’ve got to start seeing rising wages and job growth.

Romney gave no specifics about how he would achieve this with the policies he has been promoting–cutting taxes on the rich, raising them on people with lower incomes, and cutting everything except defense spending, which he would increase substantially. Halperin did ask for more specifics, but Romney just babbled a bunch of nonsense:

Halperin: One more question generally about jobs. For people out there, for voters who want to know what you’re about in terms of job creation, is there some new idea, some original idea, that hasn’t been part of the debate in American politics before, that you have that you think would lead to a lot of new jobs?

Romney: Well the wonderful thing about the economy is that there’s not just one element that somehow makes the whole economy turn around, or everybody in the world would have figured that out and said there’s just one little thing we have to do – you know, Greece is settled, and France and Italy are all back and well again. No, it’s a whole series of things. It’s a system of factors that come together to make an economy work. What is it that makes America’s economy the strongest in the world, the most robust, over a century? It’s a whole series of things – everything from our financial service sector, to the cost of our inputs, our natural resources, to the productivity of our workforce, to our labor and management rules and how they work together, to our appreciation for fair trade and free trade around the world, and negotiating trade arrangements that are favorable to us. It is a whole passel of elements that come together to create a strong economy, and for someone who spent their life in the economy, they understand how that works. And it’s very clear, by virtue of the President’s record, that he does not, and he is struggling. Look at him right now. He just doesn’t have a clue what to do to get this economy going. I do. I laid out a 59-step plan that encompasses a whole series of efforts that will together get this economy going and put people back to work.

But from what I could make out in wading through all the blather, it really comes down to the confidence that will wash through all of us once we know that Mr. Fixit, Willard Mitt Romney is going to save us.

Romney: Well actually if I’m lucky enough to be elected the consumers and the small-business people in this country will realize that they have a friend in the White House, who is actively going to encourage economic growth, and there will be a resurgence in confidence in this country and a willingness to take risks, to invest, to add employees. I think it will be very positive news to the American economy. Will I be able to get done between January 1 and January 20 the things that I’d like to do? Of course not, I’m not in office. But I believe that we will be able to have a grace period, which allows us to tackle these issues one by one and put in place a structure, which is very much designed to get America working again.

Romney also gave a speech about education policy in which he proposed to further privatize America’s education system:

Mitt Romney proposed a series of steps to overhaul the public education system, reigniting the debate over school choice as his campaign intensifies its effort to introduce the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to a general-election audience.

The education plan, detailed in a speech today in Washington, would create a voucher-like system to give low- income and disabled students federal funds to attend charter schools, private institutions and public schools outside their district.

“I don’t like the direction of American education, and as president, I will do everything in my power to get education on track for the kids of this great land,” Romney told a gathering of Latino business owners at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

No new ideas there. To be perfectly honest, I strongly doubt that Romney knows the first thing about American public schools. But let me refer you to an expert on Willard’s past history in dealing with public education, the one and only Charles P. Pierce. Pierce writes about what Romney did to the public education system of Massachusetts during his one term as Governor:
Read the rest of this entry »


Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!! There is a lot of news breaking this morning about Libya. The Guardian just posted this story: Barack Obama raises pressure on Gaddafi as no-fly zone gains support

Barack Obama has stepped up pressure on Colonel Gaddafi, saying the US and Nato allies were considering a military response to violence in Libya, with the list of options including arming the rebels.

Obama’s remarks came as Britain and France made progress in drafting a resolution at the UN calling for a no-fly zone triggered by specific conditions, rather than timelines. Downing Street is hopeful that a resolution with clear triggers such as the bombing of civilians would not be subject to a Russian veto at the security council.

The foreign secretary, William Hague, told the Commons a no-fly zone would have to be supported by north African countries and rebel leaders and would also need an appropriate legal basis.

There is concern by Western governments that Gadhafi may succeed in defeating the opposition forces if they don’t get more international support soon. Obama is getting pressure from Senator John Kerry who has been pushing for the no-fly zone for some time now.

Kerry, chairman of the foreign relations committee, argued at the weekend that a no-fly zone would not amount to military intervention, adding: “One could crater the airports and the runways and leave them incapable of using them for a period of time.” ….Obama is believed to oppose US military intervention in Libya, partly because it could boost Gaddafi’s standing. But if civilian deaths mount and the humanitarian crisis worsens, his hand may be forced.

The New York Times says discord is growing in DC over the Libya situation.

Of most concern to the president himself, one high-level aide said, is the perception that the United States would once again be meddling in the Middle East, where it has overturned many a leader, including Saddam Hussein. Some critics of the United States in the region — as well as some leaders — have already claimed that a Western conspiracy is stoking the revolutions that have overtaken the Middle East.

“He keeps reminding us that the best revolutions are completely organic,” the senior official said, quoting the president.

At the same time, there are persistent voices — in Congress and even inside the administration — arguing that Mr. Obama is moving too slowly. They contend that there is too much concern about perceptions, and that the White House is too squeamish because of Iraq.

Furthermore, they say a military caught up in two difficult wars has exaggerated the risks of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, the tactic discussed most often.

The American military is also privately skeptical of humanitarian gestures that put the lives of troops at risk for the cause of the moment, while being of only tenuous national interest.

It really makes me angry that our government had no problem going into Iraq to take out Saddam Hussein over weapons that didn’t exist, but now that we have a humanitarian crisis with people being slaughtered by a vicious tyrant, our President is dithering and the military doesn’t want to help because our own selfish interests aren’t involved. What about doing something because it’s the right thing to do? For once we actually have a chance to be the good guy. Yeah, I know that’s crazy talk…

According to Reuters, Gadhafi is “looking for [an] exit deal.”

Two Arab newspapers and al Jazeera television said on Monday Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was looking for an agreement allowing him to step down, but there was no official confirmation of the reports.

Al Jazeera said Gaddafi had proposed to Libyan rebels to hold a meeting of parliament to pave the way for him to step down with certain guarantees.

It said Gaddafi made the proposal to the interim council, which speaks for mostly eastern areas controlled by his opponents. It quoted sources in the council as saying Gaddafi wanted guarantees of personal safety for him and his family and a pledge that they not be put on trial.

Al Jazeera said sources from the council told its correspondent in Benghazi that the offer was rejected because it would have amounted to an “honourable” exit for Gaddafi and would offend his victims.

So, while Western leaders argue and Libyan rebels hold out for a better deal with the madman, Gadhafi’s forces continue to attack the ragtag opposition from the air. I think our indecisive President needs to think about how he is going to look if Gaddafi manages to crush the opposition and stay in power.

In other news, Alan Simpson is out in public making a fool of himself again.

Read the rest of this entry »


Psychopaths in Charge

In 1991, Brett Easton Ellis published a brilliant satirical novel called American Psycho. The book is narrated by a young man, Patrick Bateman, a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Business School, who is now a fabulously wealthy Wall Street investment banker with a pricey apartment on Manhattan’s Upper west side. In other words, he’s a typical ’80s yuppie, benefiting from the “Reagan Revolution.”

Bateman is utterly materialistic and narcissistic, obsessed with things like getting a reservation at the most trendy, expensive restaurant of the moment and having a more perfectly designed and printed business card than any of the other yuppies he works with. He is engaged to another yuppie named Evelyn, but he doesn’t really have any feelings for her. She is just another status symbol for him to show off to his Wall Street colleagues.

As the book progresses, it becomes clear that Bateman is filled with narcissistic rage. He begins torturing and murdering people–a homeless man, his secretary, a business associate, and more. The crimes become successively more violent and horrifying. In conversations with coworkers, he tells anecdotes about serial killers and even confesses his own crimes, but no one takes him seriously. These other numb, detached young men simply assume Bateman is joking and laugh at his bizarre, inappropriate remarks.

Toward the end of the book, there are hints that Bateman’s descriptions of violent murders could be hallucinations or fantasies–or they might have really happened. The interpretation is left to the reader.

Ellis told an interviewer that he wrote American Psycho at a time in his life when he was living an isolated, consumerist lifestyle, somewhat like Bateman’s:

He did not come out of me sitting down and wanting to write a grand sweeping indictment of yuppie culture. It initiated because my own isolation and alienation at a point in my life. I was living like Patrick Bateman. I was slipping into a consumerist kind of void that was supposed to give me confidence and make me feel good about myself but just made me feel worse and worse and worse about myself. That is where the tension of “American Psycho” came from. It wasn’t that I was going to make up this serial killer on Wall Street. High concept. Fantastic. It came from a much more personal place…

American Psycho was not well received by reviewers–before or after publication. In fact, the original publisher, Simon & Schuster, cancelled their contract with Ellis based on “aesthetic differences.” The book was never released in hardcover, but was eventually published in a quality paperback edition by Vintage Books. After its publication, Ellis was on the receiving end of a flood of hate mail and even death threats.

Today, Ellis points out, the blood and gore that was so shocking in his 1991 book is all around us.

You see it in “Saw” movies or in “Hostel” or anywhere. The gore is mainstream. The stuff you see now wass unimaginable in 1991 and that’s one reason why it caught on. The availability of that kind of subject matter was limited. It was limited to maybe certain graphic novels or transgressive fiction or certain out-there horror films but it wasn’t part of the mainstream. the accessibility of it was unique. This is how we’re rolling now.

What I took from the novel when I first read it was that it was a perfect representation of the societal effects of Reaganism. In the ’80s, American culture became more materialistic, superficial, and value-free than ever before. Reaganism taught that “greed is good.” Becoming wealthy became the highest goal for many Americans. At the same time, anyone who was poor, sick, or disabled was reviled. Reagan made Social Darwinism fashionable again.

Under Reagan, we closed hospitals for the mentally ill and threw them into the streets to beg and to wander our cities muttering as they listened to the voices in their heads. The need for low-cost housing and maintaining public infrastructure was ridiculed, and poor families with children began to wander our city streets homeless, sleeping in their cars or in public parks. Meanwhile the rich continued to get richer, greedier, and more callous toward people who had less than they did.

What other result could we have expected than the America we live in today? We live in a country in which so many people are cold, callous, and calculating, seeking to amass as much money as possible at the expense of ordinary taxpayers. Investment bankers like Ellis’s Patrick Bateman are treated like gods, shielded from any negative effects of their own lying, cheating, and stealing.

Today the message I take from American Psycho is even more troubling to me than when I first read the novel years ago. I see Bateman’s serial murders as symbolic of the damage out-of-control capitalism is doing to us as a people. I look at our political leaders and see empty, cold, callous people with no core values except how to get the most money and power for themselves, and screw the rest of us. They are serial murderers too, only they manage to distance themselves from those they murder in their wars and through their pro-corporate, anti-human policies.

The America we live in today is much like the surreal world that Brett Easton Ellis created in American Psycho, except that we now have even more electronic gadgets, more stuff to do on the internet, more “reality” TV shows where we can ridicule fat people or people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or people trying to sing and dance. We have books and movies so violent that people become desensitized to depictions of blood and gore that seemed shocking in 1991. We are in decline in every way–our health, our incomes, our infrastructure, our rights, our values, our privacy. And the rich are richer and the poor are poorer now than at the end of the Ronald Reagan era.

I know I’m not the only one here who thinks we are being ruled by psychopaths–whether we’re talking about government officials or the heads of corporations. I really believe that, and I don’t mean it as hyperbole. I think the richest among us are the most likely to be detached and callous, because they don’t even have to see the poor and suffering people they are hurting with their greed. Their wealth insulates them from the daily struggles of the vast majority of Americans.

I think this is a subject that is worth talking about. Do you need to be at least a subclinical psychopath to be willing to do the kinds of immoral things government officials, corporate CEOs, and investment bankers do? Like lying in order to enter illegal wars so you can steal oil from other countries and murder hundreds of thousands of their citizens? Like sending young Americans to die for oil and a dying empire? Like taking jobs away from Americans and replacing them with slave labor in third world countries? Like throwing people out of their homes illegally? Like testing drugs on babies and children? Like polluting the water, air, and food with chemicals and refusing to clean up your messes?

I think you have to be a very sick person to do those things. And how is it different from what a serial killer does? First, government officials and corporate CEOs kill and maim and destroy people in far greater numbers and with more powerful weapons than a serial killer. Second, government officials and corporate CEOs don’t need to get close to the blood and death. They get other people to do their killing so they don’t have to see or hear their victims suffer.

So what exactly is a psychopath? Robert Hare, now emeritus professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia developed a checklist used by professionals to identify people with psychopathic tendencies.

People who are psychopathic prey ruthlessly on others using charm, deceit, violence or other methods that allow them to get with they want. The symptoms of psychopathy include: lack of a conscience or sense of guilt, lack of empathy, egocentricity, pathological lying, repeated violations of social norms, disregard for the law, shallow emotions, and a history of victimizing others.

Hare’s checklist (the PCL-R) is used in combination with a semi-structured clinical interview (an interview with set questions that allows the interviewer to follow up with his or her own questions when appropriate) and a detailed review of medical and psychiatric records. The following are the 20 traits for the evaluator to watch for:

•glib and superficial charm
•grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
•need for stimulation
•pathological lying
•cunning and manipulativeness
•lack of remorse or guilt
•shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
•callousness and lack of empathy
•parasitic lifestyle
•poor behavioral controls
•sexual promiscuity
•early behavior problems
•lack of realistic long-term goals
•impulsivity
•irresponsibility
•failure to accept responsibility for own actions
•many short-term marital relationships
•juvenile delinquency
•revocation of conditional release
•criminal versatility

Not all of these characteristics would have to be met for someone to be diagnosed as a psychopath.

Each of the twenty items is given a score of 0, 1, or 2, based on how well it applies to the subject being tested. A prototypical psychopath would receive a maximum score of 40, while someone with absolutely no psychopathic traits or tendencies would receive a score of zero. A score of 30 or above qualifies a person for a diagnosis of psychopathy. People with no criminal backgrounds normally score around 5. Many non-psychopathic criminal offenders score around 22.

The checklist was originally designed for evaluating prison inmates, but not everyone with psychopathic characteristics becomes a criminal. I am arguing that many of them go into business or politics, am I’m far from the only one to suggest that. In fact Hare himself co-wrote a book called Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work. Other books that make similar arguments are The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout, and The Psychopathy of Everyday Life: How Antisocial Personality Disorder Affects Us All, by Martin Kantor.

Just a bit about terminology. Psychopathy and Sociopathy are essential the same thing. Antisocial Personality Disorder is similar too, but could perhaps apply to people who wouldn’t score 30 on Hare’s checklist. I don’t know why the names of this disorder keep changing–it may just be because some psychiatrists see studying prison inmates as somewhat disreputable. Anyway, psychopathy is no longer listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (latest version: DSM IV-TR). Instead, it is subsumed under “antisocial personality disorder.” Here is the DSM-IV-TR criteria for APD:

A. There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:

1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest

2. deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure

3. impulsivity or failure to plan ahead

4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults

5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others

6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations

7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.

B. The individual is at least age 18 years.

C. There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years.

D. The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode.

That official characteristics of APD are much less extreme than the ones on Hare’s checklist. I think it’s fairly obvious that many of our political and business leaders could meet at least three of those criteria. But can anyone argue that someone like Bernie Madoff could not be classified as a full-blown psychopath according to Hare’s criteria? What about Alan Simpson? What about someone like John Ensign or Mark Sanford? I believe I could make an argument for many more of our political and business leaders being either clinical or subclinical psychopaths.

There is some evidence that psychopathy is at least partly genetic, although most criminal psychopaths who have been studied had very abusive childhoods. There is also evidence for differences in the brains of psychopaths compared to typical brains.

I’m going to get into this topic in more detail in a future post. But for now, what do you think? Would it be useful for us to stop denying reality and accept that the psychopaths are in charge of our society?


Catfood Commission Chairmen to Postpone Vote on Recommendations

Via David Dayen at FDL, Alan Simpson are seemingly on the verge of wimping out on their draconian austerity recommendations for fear they can’t get 14 votes for their efforts to turn old people out into the streets.

Dayen writes:

For most of the week, you could see the wheels coming off of the Catfood Commission. First we heard that “they may surprise us,” but then there was this moving of the goalposts. Despite the fact that 14 of the 18 panel members had to agree to secure any recommendations which would go to Congress for a vote, now insiders were saying that a majority vote would show a signal of support.

But it’s clear that Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson can’t even get that. They canceled a planned public meeting today in favor of more private negotiation. And reports emerged that the panel was simply deeply divided on the issues.

Dayen seems to think the whole plan to slash the social safety net is going down the tubes. I hope so. He ends with this:

The entire thing was an embarrassing display from two self-admiring cretins who wanted to use an economic crisis as a pretense to destroy the social safety net. Whatever they come up with will still represent a threat on that front, especially with a Republican House and who knows what in the White House, but this failure will damage the credibility for catfood. And progressive reports which show deficit reduction without touching the safety net are gaining in prominence.

“Who knows what in the White House” That’s a good one.

Truthout has information from one of the most liberal members of the Commission:

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., says that as of this morning she had not been shown the latest proposal of the White House deficit commission, even as she says it is being “shopped around” by its co-chairs in an effort to get the support of a simple majority of its 18 members—not the support of 14 members as was its original goal.

Schakowsky confirmed this shift in an interview with OurFuture.org after giving a private briefing to members of the Tuesday Group, a meeting of progressive organization leaders convened by the Campaign for America’s Future.

Schakowsky has even proposed her own recommendations for reducing the deficit:

The Schakowsky Plan could reduce the deficit by $427.75 billion by 2015, without burdening the middle class. This would surpass the projection of the President’s target of $250 billion — an amount that the Commission’s plan would not even achieve.

Schakowsky’s plan also calls for:

•Raising taxes on the highest incomes.
•Modifying Social Security without changing benefits paid out.
•A $200 billion two-year stimulus investment, creating jobs and providing economic growth.
•Cutting farm subsidies and the Pentagon budget by more than $100 billion (both of which are also being proposed by the Commission, though Schakowsky goes further by cutting unnecessary weapons systems, reducing troop levels and other measures).
•Imposing taxes on corporations that out-source jobs and saving $132 billion from limiting or closing tax breaks on corporations.
•Letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire.
•Treating capitol gains and dividends as regular income, which could generate another $150 billion.
•Removing the caps on payroll taxes for employers and lifting the threshold above $106,000 for employees, and imposing a ‘legacy tax’ above the cap.
•And, most impressively, Schakowsky proposes a Public Option for health insurance, which would lower healthcare costs and allow the government to negotiate drug prices with the PHARMA industry to lower costs, like it does for the V.A. Drug costs could become a fraction of the amount that seniors now pay. Tellingly, both Bowles and Simpson acknowledge a Public Option may be necessary if costs don’t go down, so perhaps a P.O. could finally be on the way? There is certainly no indication health care costs will decrease in 2011.

In addition, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, a Republican, says he’s not voting for the plan.

“It’s tough to ask anybody to support something that they just got, that’s this big,” Ryan said in an interview. The panel needs agreement from 14 of its 18 members to forward a plan to Congress.

“I don’t think there’s 14, and I don’t think I’ll be one of those 14,” Ryan said.

He said panel co-chairman Alan Simpson, a Republican former Wyoming senator, gave him an “oral Cliff notes” version of the plan today. Ryan said it didn’t include major changes from the panel leaders’ earlier draft proposal. Members will receive the plan in writing tomorrow, he said.

How soon can we send Alan “310 million tits” Simpson and Erskine “Sourpuss” Bowles packing? If I never have to see either of their disagreeable faces again, I’ll be very happy.

UPDATE: The Catfood Commission has postponed the vote until Friday.


Simpson Strikes Again

Alan Simpson, Co-chair of President Obama’s Catfood Commission has opened his mouth again, attacking seniors:

…because they are unhappy with his ideas for reducing the deficit by cutting Social Security benefits while reducing corporate taxes.

“I’ve never had any nastier mail or [been in a] more difficult position in my life,” Simpson told Jeremy Pelzer at the Casper Star-Tribune. “Just vicious. People I’ve known, relatives [saying], ‘You son of a bitch. How could you do this?'”

[….]

“We had the greatest generation,” Simpson said. “I think this is the greediest generation.”

Maybe you all have heard about this already–I wasn’t following the news too closely yesterday–but I just had to frontpage it. The nerve of this man! And why isn’t President Obama responding to his ugly slurs of elderly people who paid into Social Security for their entire lives? Why should we take cuts in Social Security so that rich people like Simpson can take more money for themselves?

From TPM:

The problem, Simpson explained, is the “polarized” country we live in, and the media that exemplifies it. He then to reeled off the media figures ruining America for deficit commissioners like him.

“You don’t want to listen to the right and the left — the extremes,” he said. “You don’t want to listen to Keith Olbermann and Rush Babe [Limbaugh] and Rachel Minnow [sic] or whatever that is, and Glenn Beck. They’re entertainers. They couldn’t govern their way out of a paper sack — from the right or the left. But they get paid a lot of money from you and advertisers — thirty, fifty million a year — to work you over and get you juiced up with emotion, fear, guilt, and racism. Emotion, fear, guilt, and racism.

Simpson refers to Rachel Maddow as “that.” Is that because she’s a lesbian or because she’s a woman or both?

At FDL, Jon Walker writes: Is Simpson an Obama-Appointed Bully or Sexist?

While I don’t know former Republican Senator Alan Simpson personally and can’t say definitively whether or not he is a sexist, his behavior says a lot about him. He’s repeatedly behaved and spoken in a manner completely consistent with sexists who have strong disdain for intelligent women. His schoolyard attempts at bullying women, the strange terms he uses, and his incredibly childish attempts at demeaning women who dare criticize with name calling are all trademarks of a sexist.

Walker ends with this:

I could care less about Simpson’s behavior if it weren’t for the fact that President Obama appointed him co-chair of the bipartisan President’s Deficit Commission. It’s disconcerting that Obama tolerates this sexist behavior. Why would he appoint Simpson and stay silent as Simpson used the perch Obama gave him to lash out in such a childish manner and pointedly against women?

The fact that President Obama has not yet countered any of the ugly words that have come out of Simpson’s mouth strongly suggests that Obama himself agrees with Simpson’s views. And Obama dares to call himself a Democrat?

But should Jon Walker or anyone else really be surprised? Obama is the same person who during the primaries in 2008 characterized Hillary Clinton’s experiences as First Lady as drinking tea with foreign ambassadors. He’s the same guy who suggested that Hillary’s “claws come out” if you “challenge the status quo,” and that when Hillary “is feeling down” she “periodically launches attacks.”

No one should be surprised at Obama supporting attacks on the elderly or gays either. Here at Skydancing, we can easily cite the many previous examples of President Obama’s disrespect for seniors and gays.

Alan Simpson is simply saying aloud in very crude language what the President of the United States apparently believes in his heart–if he has one.