This parody music video from Britain is called Theresa May – “No Majority No Cry”.
It says about itself:
13 July 2017
Do you remember when we used to run
Through the fields of wheat in Oxfordshire
Trampling all the farmer’s crops
As they shouted at us, “Oi, get off my land, you little bastards
That’s criminal damage, I’m gonna smash your fucking skulls in!”
Do you remember when Dimbleby announced
The exit polls, yeah, on the BBC
And there was Georgie with his shit-eating grin
This video shows a golden eagle in February 2013 in Sweden.
By Lee Parsons in Canada:
The persistent Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986): An exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario
More than 100 works by the American artist
15 July 2017
Georgia O’Keeffe, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, April 22- July 30, 2017
On its only stop in North America, at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto, Georgia O’Keeffe features more than 100 works of art by the American artist. Organized by the Tate Modern in Britain in collaboration with the AGO, the exhibition, presenting Georgia O’Keeffe’s varied styles and subjects in drawings, paintings, photography and sculpture, spans her lengthy art career and demonstrates her versatility.
O’Keeffe (1887-1986) is perhaps the best known female artist the US has produced and as such has been subject to outsized scrutiny, analysis and commercial promotion. Though she is best known for her large, erotic floral paintings and her still-lifes and landscapes of the American Southwest, the early abstract work emerges as her most vital and urgent.
The artwork in the AGO show varies in quality as well as style–and not all of it is O’Keeffe at her best. A painting such as Calla Lilies on Red(1928), for instance, while it reveals the sort of strong graphic quality in much of her painting, is emotionally distant, even affected. This is a recurring weakness in her art. The desert subjects of her later years are competent technical explorations, but lack a strong emotional commitment.
Though O’Keeffe explicitly rejected association with any particular artistic school or movement and boasted she had never been to Europe, she was nevertheless profoundly rooted in the modern art world through her own influences and interests, as well as directly through famed photographer Alfred Stieglitz, whom she eventually married. He introduced O’Keeffe to the American avant-garde in New York early in her career at his pioneering Gallery 291.
Her disavowals aside (she also famously declared that she didn’t like looking at art), it is known that O’Keeffe attended cubist and post-impressionist exhibitions and various other shows while living in New York. In any event, it is apparent from her work that she was subject to the modernist artistic ferment–and, of course, the social ferment that produced it. Various works at the AGO can be seen as fine examples of symbolism, cubism, surrealism, futurism and even abstract expressionism, and this sheer diversity is a noteworthy strength of the show.
When O’Keeffe began her art career, before women even had the right to vote in most of the United States, female artists undoubtedly faced particular challenges. However, she always resented her qualification by the press and critics as a “female painter” because of its demeaning implications. Later in life O’Keeffe regularly rejected the claims made for her work by feminists and others.
Because issues of gender weighed so heavily in her critical treatment during her lifetime, one of the stated aims of the AGO exhibition is to shift the conversation away from these factors and to offer the artist the “multiple readings” she has previously been denied. Regardless of the packaging, some of O’Keefe’s work holds up and some of it doesn’t.
American Midwest modern
O’Keeffe was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, but her family moved to Williamsburg, Virginia when she was 15. Her mother, who had aspired to be a doctor, placed a premium on her children’s education, making sure they were given drawing and painting lessons at home.
O’Keeffe distinguished herself in her art education, first at the Art Institute of Chicago and then the Art Students League in New York, where she won a summer scholarship. She began teaching in 1911, but continued her art studies at the University of Virginia.
She developed a friendship around this time with photographer and suffragette Anita Pollitzer, through whom she became involved with the women’s right to vote movement, and who was instrumental in introducing her to Stieglitz. The two met in 1916 and embarked on a love affair and a life-long relationship.
Deeply affected by the outbreak of war in 1914, O’Keeffe was greatly distressed when her brother Alexis joined the military in 1917. Teaching at a college in Canyon, Texas (near Amarillo) she found herself at odds with much of her community over her opposition to the war and her sympathies with German culture.
Stieglitz did not formally dissolve his quarter-century marriage to wed O’Keeffe until 1924, but in the interim their bond had grown through creative collaboration, as had their correspondence, which eventually swelled to some 25,000 pages. Georgia later asserted a greater independence and Stieglitz found himself increasingly alienated from her both geographically and intellectually. They stayed married, but both found other partners. O’Keeffe came to prefer solitude in her later life.
O’Keeffe found her way to life and art in New Mexico by the late 1920s and early 1930s. In her paintings from this period, she returned to representation of the landscape, abstracted and interpreted in her own distinctive style. A particularly strong work in the AGO exhibition, From the Faraway, Nearby(1937), depicts desiccated animal horns, which, along with skulls and bones, were among her favorite subjects. The work reveals a distinctly surrealist influence, although O’Keeffe made clear she did not embrace the ideas advanced by the surrealists, including their political-revolutionary conclusions. She did, however, maintain a dialogue with Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who was deeply impressed with the surrealists’ aims.
During the Second World War, the dark and desolate landscape paintings conveyed O’Keeffe’s response to the unfolding tragedy, even as she kept her distance from society and friends in the East. She evinced a certain aversion to human society throughout her life and even a degree of misanthropy. Speaking in 1944 of New Mexico’s blue skies and her paintings of animal pelvic bones, she commented that “they were most wonderful against the blue–that blue that will always be there as it is now after all man’s destruction is finished.” Indeed, around that time the first atomic bomb was being developed just over an hour away from her Ghost Ranch in New Mexico.
In 1946 Stieglitz opened the final show he was to have of O’Keeffe’s work at his new gallery, An American Place. He died some months later, but not before his wife had the first exhibition devoted to a female painter by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In the years following, O’Keeffe continued to paint and to travel, incorporating the cultural influences especially of the Hopi and Pueblo Indians, but also of Greek, Egyptian, Asian and South American art.
Interpretations and sources
By the time O’Keeffe came across his Gallery 291 in 1915, Stieglitz was among the most influential figures in the New York modern art community. Intent on promoting the advances of modern artists centered largely in Europe well before they were brought to public attention in the renowned Armory Show of 1913, he was especially intent on developing a distinctively ‘American’ brand of modernism.
Never terribly comfortable with art theory, O’Keeffe’s own approach could best be described as intuitive. She was inclined at first to accept the views of Stieglitz and the avant-garde intellectuals around him, but embittered by some of the unwelcome or misguided attention she received, she grew wary and developed the view that “there are as many philosophies (I add ideas on ‘Art’) as there are temperaments.”
As a successful woman in a field dominated by men, she was almost inevitably a controversial figure and continues to inspire both boosters and detractors for secondary reasons such as gender.
Under the difficult intellectual conditions of the 1930s and 1940s, decades whose social and political traumas produced a deep disillusionment and turn inward in artistic circles (including toward Freud and psychoanalysis), it was also perhaps inevitable that an artist such as O’Keeffe would find means of expression obsessively at times bound up with her own physicality.
Her flower paintings–only a few of which are present at the AGO–have been interpreted in a sexualized manner and it is difficult not to see this sort of intimate imagery in a work like Grey Lines with Black, Blue and Yellow (1923). Objecting to such interpretations of her work, O’Keeffe countered, “The subject matter of a painting should never obscure its form and color; which are its real thematic contents.” Her reluctance to acknowledge these subjects in her own work parallels her attitudes to society generally, which she also found uncongenial. These formal preoccupations or claims suggest a retreat from a painful, difficult world.
If O’Keeffe’ flower paintings, as she insisted, are devoid of sexual meaning, then however beautifully rendered, they are merely decorative. Either way, the concerns seem somewhat limited, given the convulsions of the century.
A fixation on O’Keeffe’s gender has undoubtedly obstructed an objective assessment of her work, but this is something that cuts both ways: on balance, it would seem that her art has been paid both too little and too much attention. One need not concur with the harsh assessment of art critic Clement Greenberg that her work “amounted to little more than tinted photography” to agree that her merits have been inflated.
In any event, while the innovations of the cubists and futurists in the 1910s were shaking the art world in Europe and Russia, the inroads in abstraction that O’Keeffe was making when she came to public attention were still unusual in America. Much of the work she did around this time is indeed striking for its inventiveness, passion and audacity–qualities that distinguish a good deal of the successful abstract art of the period.
Works such as Early Abstraction (1915) and Special No. 9 (1915) are among the most successful in the exhibition, representative of the strength of her craft and imagination during this period. Her early paintings of New York City, a challenging subject for any artist, such as New York, Night(1928-1929), are especially evocative of the city and the time.
Reflecting an honesty and compassion evident in what I think is her best work, one of O’Keeffe’s sculptures, a small bronze figure simply titled Abstraction done in memoriam to her mother who died in 1916, is of special note in the AGO exhibition. Elegiac and somber, it is among the most memorable of her images. Here she demonstrated the creativity, heart and sincerity that set her apart.
This video from the USA says about itself:
15 July 2017
Baby Appalachian Cottontail Rabbit having breakfast in the Great Smoky Mountains.
By Kate Randall:
As Senate health plan calls for gutting Medicaid
Study shows US has poorest health, widest health care gap between rich and poor
15 July 2017
A new study reveals findings that will come as no surprise to most American workers and youth: In the United States, your level of income defines your access to health care, the quality of care you receive, and whether you will meet an early death because of it. The US also has the poorest health overall among high-income countries.
Using survey data to measure and compare patient and physician experiences across 11 countries, the Commonwealth Fund’s “Mirror, Mirror 2017: International Comparisons Reflect Flaws and Opportunities for Better US Health Care” finds that the US ranks last overall on providing equally accessible and high-quality health care, regardless of income.
The report compares health care system performance in the US with that of 10 other high-income countries, ranking them in five areas: care process, access, administrative efficiency, equity and health care outcomes. The US ranks last overall, and last in all but one area studied, care process, in which it came in fifth.
If the United States were a politically healthy society, the release of this report would sound alarm bells in the White House and on Capitol Hill. Why, in “the greatest country on earth,” is the health of its citizens in such a deplorable state? What can be done to remedy what can only be described as a health care emergency of crisis proportions?
Instead, the study’s release follows the unveiling Thursday of the Senate Republicans’ latest version of their Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which proposes to slash $772 billion from the Medicaid program for the poor, and the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that an earlier version of the bill would leave 22 million more uninsured by 2026 than under current law.
The Commonwealth study points to factors contributing to this appalling US health report card, which will only be worsened under whatever health care “reform” is hatched in Washington. Life expectancy, after improving in recent years, has been aggravated by the opioid crisis. As the baby boom population ages, more people in the US are living with age-related disease, placing increased pressure on the health care system.
These are problems that could be confronted with timely and accessible health care, but these services are woefully inadequate. In particular, poor access to primary care has contributed to inadequate prevention and management of diseases. And in the US, far more than any other country studied, lower-income people are far more likely to lack access to affordable care, and to suffer and die because of it.
Forty-four percent of lower income people reported financial barriers to care, compared to 26 percent of those with higher incomes. By comparison, in the UK only 7 percent of people with lower incomes and 4 percent with higher incomes reported that costs prevented them from getting care.
According to the study, in the US population as whole in the past year:
• 33 percent had cost-related access problems to medical care.
• 32 percent skipped dental care or check-ups due to cost.
• 27 percent were denied insurance payment for care or did not receive as much as expected.
• 20 percent had serious problems paying or were unable to pay medical bills.
• 60 percent of doctors reported patients often had difficulty paying for medications or out-of-pocket costs.
• 54 percent of doctors reported time spent on insurance claims is a major problem.
• 54 percent of doctors reported a major problem getting patients needed medications or treatment because of insurance coverage restrictions.
These problems are worse in the low-income segment of the US population. For example, 44 percent of this group had a cost-related access problem to medical care, and 45 percent skipped dental care or a check-up due to cost. There is also a 24 percent gap between those in the above average and below average income groups who skipped dental care due to cost.
The study uses “average” income, which was about $75,000 in 2016, as the dividing line between upper and lower income. However, multimillionaires and billionaires skew this average upwards, and due to the growing income inequality in the US, the health care problems of those living in poverty in the “below average” group are most likely underrepresented.
Some of the most shocking statistics presented are on population mortality, in which the US ranked last in every category studied compared to the other 10 countries.
• Infant mortality: 6 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to Sweden, with 2.2 (the lowest)
• Life expectancy at age 60: 23.5 years in the US, compared to 25.7 in France (the highest)
The study also examined “mortality amenable to health care,” or deaths considered preventable by timely and effective medical care. The US had 112 deaths per 100,000 people that could have been prevented with timely and effective care. This is more than twice the rate in Switzerland, at 55 per 100,000.
The US also had a much lower decline in these preventable deaths over 10 years, falling by only 16 percent compared to 34 percent in the Netherlands.
The US spent $9,364 per person on health care in 2016, compared to $4,094 in the UK, which ranked first overall in health care. In other words, while spending far more per person, the US population has poorer health than the other 10 countries studied.
Such figures evoke howls from both big business parties for spending to be slashed. Typical were the recent comments of Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price who said, while claiming to be committed to fighting the opioid epidemic that killed 60,000 people in the US last year, “We don’t need to be throwing money” at the crisis.
What goes unmentioned in such statements is the root cause of the health care crisis in America: a health care system based on capitalist profit. The for-profit insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and giant health care chains are not in business to promote the health of the American people, but to boost their bottom lines.
Whatever health care legislation is passed in Congress—either by the Republicans, or in a bipartisan “compromise” with the Democrats—will be based on this capitalist model. The Republicans’ House and Senate health bills are, in fact, based on Obamacare, incorporating the structures set up under the Democratic legislation.
The central purpose of Obamacare was to shift costs from the government and corporations to the working class, with health care increasingly rationed on a class basis. The Commonwealth Fund’s findings on the state of US health care, particularly those on mortality, are an indication of the preliminary results of this bipartisan strategy.
Behind the BCRA’s proposals to gut Medicaid, and to give the private insurers even more latitude to boost profits through offering shabby, high-cost coverage, lies a calculated effort to reduce life expectancy for working people, and to send many of the old, sick or disabled to an early grave.
The author also recommends:
The emerging class struggle over health care in the US
[29 June 2017]
Australia: Life expectancy gap between rich and poor almost 20 years: here.
The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills. The “disease” of social inequality sends thousands to a premature death: here.
New reports document declining life expectancy and worsening health of US workers: here.
This 2013 video says about itself:
From the Universidad de Barcelona in Spain:
Cretaceous Tanaidaceans took care of their offspring more than 105 million years ago
July 14, 2017
A scientific team has found the first evidence of parental care in Tanaidaceans, dating back to more than 105 million years, according to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports, from Nature group. These new findings are based on the study of three small crustaceans from different species of the Cretaceous -Alavatanais carabe, Alavatanais margulisae and Daenerytanais maieuticus- preserved in amber pieces from the sites in Peñacerrada (Álava, Spain) and La Buzinie (Charente, France), reference models in the study of fossil records in amber with bioinclusions of the Mesozoic in Europe.
The authors of the study are the researchers Alba Sánchez and Xavier Delclòs, from the Faculty of Earth Sciences and the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio) of the University of Barcelona; Enrique Peñalver, from the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain; Michael S. Engel, from the University of Kansas (United States); Graham Bird (New Zealand), and Vincent Perrichot, from the University Rennes 1 (France).
Parental care: protecting offspring millions of years ago
Lots of extant crustacean species show parental care, increasing survival possibilities in the natural habitat. This reproductive strategy, which evolved independently in different lineages, is common in terrestrial and water aquatic species (in oceans, lakes, etc.).
However, there is not a lot of fossil evidence of caring behaviours in crustaceans. Although parental care is documented in fossil records -for instance in ostracods from 450 million years ago- the published article in the journal Scientific Reports shows the first evidence of this behavior in Tanaidacea; a group of small crustaceans belonging to the superorder Peracarida.
“These new findings make up for the first fossil evidence of parental care in the order Tanaidacea. The findings show that certain caring behaviours and related morphological adaptations already existed during the Lower Cretaceous and were almost kept without changes for more than 105 million years” says the researcher Alba Sánchez (UB-IRBio), first author of the study.
Marsupial care of brood-offspring
A feature of Tanaidaceans -and other peracarid crustaceans- is that females have the marsupium, a ventral brood pouch to retain and protect the eggs. After the fertilization, eggs develop into embryos and then young individuals inside the marsupium.
According to the lecturer Xavier Delclòs (UB-IRBio), “The marsupium represents a safe environment for the offspring and may contribute to the success of tanaidaceans in different habitats (marine and freshwater environments, and even humid terrestrial areas), as proposed for some tanaidaceans found in Cretaceous amber.”
Daenerytanais maieuticus: the Khaleesi of crustaceans
According to the new study, the two tanaidacean specimens found in amber pieces from Álava (Spain) -two females of Alavatanais carabe and Alavatanais margulisae- show structures involved in the formation of a marsupium to carry eggs and offspring in sexually mature females.
Regarding the French site of La Buzinie, the specimen they identified is a female of Daenerytanais maieuticus, which was preserved in amber together with her marsupium full of eggs. This fossil, representing a new genus and species, is named after the fiction character Daenerys Targaryen, “Mother of Dragons,” from the series of fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire, written by George R. R. Martin, which inspired the well-known TV series Game of Thrones.
The article, published in the journal Scientific Reports is framed within the research studies of the group AMBARES (Ambers of Spain) and the UB Research Group Sedimentary Geology, and it has the financing of autonomous and national government funds and the collaboration of the Museum of Natural Sciences of Álava (Spain).