Tag Archives: Secretary of Agriculture

Trump picks Sonny Perdue to run USDA–last cabinet secretary chosen

 

Official portrait of former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue after a contentious selection process appointed Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture

 

 

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January 9. 2017. One day before his inauguration, Donald Trump names former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to be his Secretary of Agriculture. The last cabinet member to be selected and its least important cabinet member, the selection process was contentious. Perdue is noted for his economic development of Georgia especially improving the port of Savannah, largest single-terminal container facility in North America, and Brunswick, a center for automobile imports.

Perdue has played a significant role in increasing chicken production in Georgia a role which may put him at odds with the President who appointed him. Georgia’s booming chicken industry depends on Hispanic agricultural labor–putting him at odds with his Administration’s immigration.

A strong supporter of trade with Cuba, Perdue has visited the island where he hopes Cuba will purchase large quantities of Georgia chicken.

When you return to this posting, expect more Sonny. What follows is my profile of Sonny published early in December.

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Sonny Perdue first came to my consciousness when the press reported he wore a tie with tractors on it when President-Elect Trump interviewed him at Trump Tower

As with another former governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue has a silly first name and an odd way of dealing with it. Born in 1946 son of a farmer, Sonny’s parents named him George Ervin Perdue III. When he became governor he formally changed the name with which he signed documents to his childhood nickname.

There is some special quality former governors of Georgia have that border on the spiritual. Either they are condemned to a lifetime of obscurity or they become President. Take Jimmy Carter, for example who changed his first name formally so he could sign Presidential Proclamations using his nickname. What did Jimmy do as Governor of Georgia that suited him for the Oval Office? Yes, he unveiled a portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a sign that Georgia recognized its greatest Twentieth Century leader. What else did he do?

My mother explained it. “People tell me he is worth watching.” Similarly (although there is no chance of Sonny becoming President), he has a watchable quality. Currently, Perdue is watchable.

In 2008 The New York Times regarded Perdue as sufficiently watchable to include him on a list for potential running mates for Vice President. How does one get to become a member of the cabinet? It helps to be a name on the right list.

This is how the Times eased Perdue into a slow rise from obscurity. “Republican governors said that Mr. Pawlenty and Mr. Sanford were in the top-tier of potential running mates, but that Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida and Gov. Sonny Perdue of Georgia were also contenders.” Note: the online version of the Times hotlink Purdue’s name and gave him the opportunity for a quote.

“Mr. Perdue said he had not asked anyone to include his name on a list of potential running mates. But he said, ‘People include my name because we’re the capital of the South, a fast-growing region, and we’ve had wonderful success with a conservative fiscal policy.’”

The paragraph above indicates that when the spotlight was upon him (albeit briefly), he performed well. How well did he perform as Georgia’s governor? He was elected with two campaign pledges 1. Administer the state more efficiently. 2. Improve education; specifically, raise SAT scores.

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See Wikipedia:

“Two primary objectives in Perdue’s administration was on reforming state government and on improving education. Perdue advocated reforms designed to cut waste in government, most notably the sale of surplus vehicles and real estate. Prior to Perdue’s becoming governor, no state agency had even compiled an inventory of what assets the state-owned, much less managed them.

“In education, Perdue promoted the return of most decision-making to the local level. After Perdue took office, Georgia moved out of last place in SAT scores in 2003 and 2004. Although it returned to last place in 2005, Georgia rose to 49th place in 2006 in the combined math and reading mean score, including the writing portion (new that year).[8] The high school class of 2006 recorded the sharpest drop in SAT scores in 31 years.[“

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Perdue’s Helpful Family Tie

Last night (December 4), breathless, my Ear on the Ground in Georgia (EOGG) left a voice message at 9. “You know, Perdue’s cousin sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee.”

Perdue’s cousin is Senator David Perdue Republican of Georgia. On Friday, Senator David Perdue (a staunch Trump supporter) met with the President-elect at Trump Tower. They discussed farm legislation. The current farm bill expires in two years. The Administration will have a difficult time renewing the legislation. What is most significant about farm legislation these days is that it is not  significant. Until the 1970s, farm legislation determined how much a farmer could or could not plant. No more.

Current legislation deals with technical issues of little concern to consumers. The Farm Bureau and other farm groups are working overtime to prepare because (to repeat) it might not pass. Job One for Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture is to make sure it passes.

No other cabinet agency has the intimate relationship required  between the Senate and House Agriculture Committees in whose hearing rooms I have spent ten years of my life. In these Committee rooms it is helpful to have cousins (kissing and otherwise) who are members of the Committee. Sonny Perdue’s selection could very well be determined by blood as well as qualification.

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Interlude.

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http://agriculture.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=3626

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Copyright © 2017 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.

 

 

My first “real” job: Scanlan’s Monthly 1970 NOT for minors

 

Next time think twice about Germany
Think twice about Germany. From my personal collection.

Premature Publication

Why this posting is being published before completion:

  1. To await the references from William Gillis, editor The American Historian, to arrive by U.S. mail. Gillis is the author of a brilliant paper on Scanlan’s Monthly written as a graduate student at E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Here is a link to the paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Toronto, Canada, August: 2004. http://list.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0411a&L=aejmc&P=46716
  2. To acknowledge that without Gillis’s paper giving my 8 issue service at Scanlan’s a patina of respectability, I would not have had the courage to write let alone publish this work in progress.
  3. To sell a complete set on Scanlan’s on e-Bay or to the highest bidder, preferably a well-healed university. Gillis says it is difficult now for scholars to read the publication. [Scholars!]
  4. To entice Ralph Steadman to send me the original drawings of his work that appeared in Scanlan’s. Most especially, this one which I saw him create at the editorial offices above a bar in the then seedy section of Times Square.
  5.  Scanned from my personal collection

Scanned from my personal collection

  1. [Query: How do I get this to read 7 instead of 1?] As a kindly suggestion for Chanukah / Christmas presents to suggest purchasing children’s book and not-for-children art as gifts while the British pound is weak and the dollar strong: http://www.ralphsteadman.com/
  2. To locate J.C. Suares whose work at Scanlan’s prepared for the creation with David Schneiderman of the op-ed page of The New York Times.
  3. To express appreciation to Warren Hinckle III [http://www.argonaut360.com/] not only for having shared with him months of near-lunacy [near?] but appreciation for his work at Rampart’s which convinced Martin Luther King, Jr. to denounce the War in Vietnam.
Martin Luther King speaks out against the Vietnam War, Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967. I was a sophomore at Columbia at the time and attended the speech. To the left is bearded Rabbi Abraham Heschel, Professor of Theology and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Heschel wrote a letter to my draft board saying that it was in keeping with Jewish tradition for me to be a conscientious objector
Martin Luther King speaks out against the Vietnam War, Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967. I was a sophomore at Columbia at the time and attended the speech. To the left is bearded Rabbi Abraham Heschel, Professor of Theology and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Rabbi Heschel wrote a letter to my draft board saying that it was in keeping with Jewish tradition for me to be a conscientious objector

 

  1. [Query: How do I get this to read 9 instead of 1?] To allow frequent site contributor Hadley Baxendale to make a pre-publication comment to this prematurely published posting.
  2. To convince my skeptical webmaster and friend Kathy Forer I really did work for a publication that PAID for advertising
  3. To insert a permalink in my published, incomplete, and out of control posting on ENRIQUE IGLESIAS http://www.joelsolkoff.com/enrique-iglesias-plucks-an-adoring-fan-from-the-audience-sings-with-her-on-stage-as-she-and-he-take-cell-phone-photos/

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Now to return to the Scanlan’s posting in progress:

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My first “real” job: Scanlan’s Monthly 1971 [NOT for minors]

Working at Scanlan’s was one of the weirdest experiences of my life

The advertisement that begins this posting is a good example of what I mean by weird:

This is the back cover of the second issue of Scanlan’s Monthly where in 1970 I worked on the editorial staff after having been hired at the downstairs bar of Sardi’s Restaurant.

This is the upstairs bar at Sardi’s:  Sardi’s Restaurant is located on West 44th Street in the Times Square neighborhood of Manhattan. Founded in 1927, Sardi’s is across from the center of the theatre district.

Sardi’s Restaurant is located on West 44th Street in the Times Square neighborhood of Manhattan. Founded in 1927, Sardi’s is across from the center of the theater district.

The restaurant appears regularly in films showing Broadway producers, playwrights, and actors celebrating or bemoaning the first performance of a play. Generally, the scene includes an out loud reading of a review from The New York Times, a review that either made or broke the play. [Note: the offices of The New York Times are around the corner; Clive Barnes then its theater critic was a bar regular.]

Working out of bars in fancy New York City restaurants was an essential part of my first real job after graduating from Columbia College. [Many years later President Barack Obama received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia.]

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I was 21 years old, having majored in Medieval European History without a salable skill to my name except the bravado to convince the magazine’s already notorious editors to hire me.

This was regarded as a dream job for any journalism school graduate. Only I was not a journalism graduate and had no formal training. As it would turn out, now that I am weeks away from my 67th birthday, I had no formal training to do any of the jobs that punctuated my career including:

  • Writing a speech for a controversial President of Lebanon who was literally blown up before he was able to deliver it
  • Publishing a book on food policy read by the most influential Secretary of Agriculture in my lifetime with whom I became telephone buddies after he was forced to resign from office in disgrace
  • Working on a report on the M1 tank for Congress’ General Accountability Office
  • Serving as a political appointee in the Carter Administration in a job requiring extensive security clearance and confirmation by the U.S. Senate
  • Designing on-line documentation for startup companies in the Silicon Valley of California describing how to use a software product when the software had not yet been completed

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My first task of the day was to report to my boss the late Sidney Zion, co-editor of Scanlan’s Monthly. Instead of going to the magazine’s office, located between Broadway and Seventh Avenue, I got off the subway at Eighth Avenue and climbed the steps to the bar. Sidney appeared, first thing in the morning (11 A.M.) for his first scotch on the rocks.

Sidney, formerly a legal reporter for The New York Times, was my boss because only he was allowed to write checks.

Sidney’s co-editor Warren Hinckle, III, who had turned Rampart’s Magazine from a Catholic school publication into the Bible of the 1960s counterculture, was so notoriously a spendthrift he had to ask Sidney to write checks for his many expensive story ideas and ventures.

Warren Hinckle III in a San Francisco bar 36 years after he hired me. Photo courtesy Wikipedia
Warren Hinckle III in a San Francisco bar 36 years after he hired me. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Warren was the most brilliant editor I ever worked for. (I have worked with many brilliant editors). With rare often disquieting exceptions, Sidney did little work.

Warren ran the magazine. Running the magazine was often a complicated affair because Warren lived in San Francisco where he had an office and staff —flying into New York once a week. My first experience with a FAX was the now primitive contraption that tied the two offices together sending editorial material and nonsense back and forth from coast to coast.

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Let us start with the advertisement that begins this posting: Think twice about Germany. The third issue of Scanlan’s, for which I co-authored with Warren the cover story on Russian Pornography, had an editorial “THAT LUFTHANSA AD.”

The editors explained:

“Since Scanlan’s charges money to print letters to the editor (write us a letter and we’ll send you the rates), we make things more or less even by buying advertising. Our back cover last month carried an ad for Lufthansa, the German airlines—but not from Lufthansa.

“Some ads we buy because the editors like them and think they make interesting reading….Other ads we buy for other reasons, as you will see. One such ad appeared last month on our back cover. And for that story we take you to Advertising Age, the weekly newspaper of the advertising industry.

“NEW YORK, April 1—Second thoughts about the new Lufthansa German Airlines’ ad theme, ‘Think twice about Germany,’ appears to be in order.

“Scanlan’s Monthly’s April issue carries what at first glance appears to be a Lufthansa ad, but at second glance turns out to be a doctored version.

“The back cover ad of Scanlan’s substitutes two photos for the gemuelich scenes carried in the original Lufthansa ad, by D’Arcey Advertising. One of the pictures in the spurious ad shows a nude woman, hands bound behind her, about to be thrashed by a soldier while a cameraman records the scene. The second picture shows Wehrmacht officers giving the ‘Heil, Hitler’ salute.”

Thus endeth the editorial.

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Subsequent Ad Age reports, read by the Scanlan’s staff avidly, reported the agency pulled its expensive campaign, one executive complaining about Scanlan’s “They did not even bother to show it to us first.”

A lasting consequence of Warren and Sidney’s stunt is today all advertising contains a copyright line, not then considered necessary because no publication ever had the effrontery to BUY advertising.

After revealing one of my first tasks on the job was to deliver by hand the check to the man who doctored the ad, the best way to proceed is to show how buying ads was possible.

What follows are photographs of the covers of each of the eight monthly magazines (with short descriptions of each) Scanlan’s produced before it went bankrupt and I was left unemployed.

 

The first issue of Scanlan's Monthly, March 1970
The first issue of Scanlan’s Monthly, March 1970 from my personal collection.

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Scanlan’s Monthly 2, April 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlan’s Monthly 2, April 1970, from my personal collection

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Scanlan’s Monthly 3, May 1970, from my personal collection

Scanlan’s Monthly 3, May 1970, from my personal collection

Table of Contents

TOC_Russian

Russianporn1

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 coverRussian1

 

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Scanlan’s Monthly 4, June 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlan’s Monthly 4, June 1970, from my personal collection

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Scanlan’s Monthly 5, July 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlan’s Monthly 5, July 1970, from my personal collection

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Scanlan’s Monthly 6, August 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlan’s Monthly 6, August 1970, from my personal collection

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Scanlan’s Monthly 7, September 1970, from my personal collection
Scanlan’s Monthly 7, September 1970, from my personal collection

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Scanlan’s Monthly 8. This was the last and mostly despicable issue of Scanlan’s in which I had no hand in creating although I was there at the time. The editors explained the date thusly: “This issue, Volume 1, No. 8, is now January 1971, and will appear on the newsstands in early December. Our last issue, Volume 1, No. 7, was dated September and was on newsstands during September. All subscribers will receive twelve full issues during the term of their subscription.” Subscribers ate their hearts out. The magazine folded and I was out of work. From my personal collection.
Scanlan’s Monthly 8. This was the last and mostly despicable issue of Scanlan’s in which I had no hand in creating although I was there at the time. The editors explained the date thusly: “This issue, Volume 1, No. 8, is now January 1971, and will appear on the newsstands in early December. Our last issue, Volume 1, No. 7, was dated September and was on newsstands during September. All subscribers will receive twelve full issues during the term of their subscription.” Subscribers ate their hearts out. The magazine folded and I was out of work. From my personal collection.

 

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Copyright 2014 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved. As for the copyright status of bankrupt Scanlan's Monthly itself, the author welcomes comments from well-credentialed copyright attorneys.