Archive | August, 2012

Arts History Update for late August 2012

30 Aug

Arts History Update for late August 2012 by David Cummins

 

The website at the Texas Tech College of Architecture does not as yet have any schedule for Fall semester lectures open to the public. These have been outstanding in the past so check on the website after the semester begins August 27 http://arch.ttu.edu/wiki/2011-2012_Lecture_Series

 

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On Thursday September 20 Carlos Eire will speak at the Texas Tech International Cultural Center Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. The location is 601 Indiana Avenue. Eire is the author of Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy (Thomson Gale 2003) paperback (Free Press 2004) is a bargain book at Amazon.com for $5.60 new, or used in good condition at ABE Books for $3.49 including s&h.

 

The book is a memoir of a three year period before, during and immediately after the Cuban Revolution which displaced Batista in favor of Fidel Castro. The period ended when Eire’s parents placed him and a brother on a children only airlift to Florida in 1962. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Peter_Pan His mother was able to rejoin her children three and one-half years later. Eire is currently a professor of history and religious studies at Yale University. He will speak about immigration.

 

A study pack of 56 pages is available on the book at BookRags http://www.bookrags.com/Waiting_for_Snow_in_Havana

The book won the National Book Award for 2003 in non-fiction and you can hear his acceptance speech online http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2003.html#.UC1-JqllSOI See also http://www.nationalbook.org/nba2003_ceire.html#.UC2AvallSOI

 

 

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As the Fall semester begins, remember to look at the calendar of events for the Texas Tech School of Music at http://www.depts.ttu.edu/music/NewsEvents/Calendar.asp and for the School of Art http://www.depts.ttu.edu/ART/SOA/nav/landmark/currentprograms.php and its schedule of speakers http://www.depts.ttu.edu/ART/SOA/nav/landmark/speakerschedule.php and exhibits schedule http://www.depts.ttu.edu/ART/SOA/nav/landmark/exhibitschedule.php and for the Department of Theatre and Dance at http://www.depts.ttu.edu/theatreanddance/dtd/SeasonPresent.asp and for the Presidential Lecture & Performance Series http://www.depts.ttu.edu/cvpa/college/president/Fall2012.asp and notice the general calendar of events at Texas Tech at http://events.ttu.edu/cal/main/showMain.rdo An all purpose calendar unrelated to Texas Tech is the Select a Seat Ticket Office, online at http://www.ticketsage.com/_lubbock/ always a good place to scour up a night out on the town.

 

 

On Saturday August 18 the Lubbock Heritage Society sponsored a luncheon at Slaton’s Harvey House at 400 Railroad Avenue, a beautifully restored Harvey House on the historic Santa Fe Railroad [currently Burlington Northern Santa Fe] branch line between Sweetwater and Amarillo. Beginning in the 1990s the Slaton Railroad Heritage Association made this Harvey House reclamation and restoration a project that has resulted in its current status as an event center and bed and breakfast inn. http://www.slaton.tx.us/index.aspx?nid=101 A website for Harvey House is www.harveyhouseofslaton.com The stucco structure was built in 1912 and the restoration items were crafted to exactly match up with photographs taken during its period which ended in 1942. Here is a website listing former Harvey Houses in Texas with photos of the Slaton house http://www.harveyhouses.net/states/texas/txhouses.html Mr. Harvey opened his first railroad restaurant in Topeka Kansas in 1876.

 

A special treat at the luncheon was a presentation by an octogenarian lady Jolele Fonzy who told us that her mother was a Harvey House girl for two years in Sweetwater Texas and it was while working there that her future husband, who was a railroad worker, stopped by and met her. Her stories warmed the hearts of attendees. She exhibited photographs of the Slaton Harvey House when it was in operation so that we could see how authentic the restoration pieces are. We learned that Jolele and her now deceased husband had operated Fonzy Western Wear in Slaton for many years, a clothing and saddle shop.

 

Tony Privett, long-time president now former president of Slaton Railroad Heritage Association said “One could only imagine what local males thought when they wandered into a Harvey House and found an elegant restaurant that was just as likely to offer lobster as ham sandwiches, served on fine china with English silver and cloth napkins by an attractive and intelligent Harvey girl.”During its peak period as many as eight passenger trains in one day passed through, needing meals. Today there are several Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight trains that pass by but don’t stop.

 

The Lubbock Heritage Society website is http://lubbockheritagesociety.bravehost.com/LHS_board.html

 

The Fred Harvey Company operated the principal visitor services concessions at Grand Canyon National Park until 1968. Mr. Fred Harvey persuaded the Santa Fe Railroad to run a branch line from Williams Arizona to the canyon. His sons and grandsons were managing the company when El Tovar Hotel opened at the south rim in 1905. Mr. Fred Harvey died in 1901. Yes he saw the advent of the dining car on the railroad so he negotiated a contract with Santa Fe Railroad to prepare and present the onboard meals. Whether a passenger ate on the train or at a Harvey House next to a railroad station, it was Fred Harvey’s food and service. The Fred Harvey Company hired Mary Colter, architect, to design Hopi House (1905), Lookout Studio and Hermits Rest (1914), Phantom Ranch (1922), Desert View Watchtower (1933) and Bright Angel Lodge (1935). The Fred Harvey Company later built Yavapai Lodge motel complex (1958) and still later Maswik Lodge and Kachina and Thunderbird guest rooms. It sold out to Xanterra Parks and Resorts, Inc., the current operator, in 1968. http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/history-722.html More information at http://www.harveyhouses.net/fredco.html

 

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On Saturday August 25 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. is a free Ceili [Gaelic music and dance party] at Yoga Bean coffee shop and yoga studio at 3135 34th Street in Lubbock. Professor Christopher Smith heads the Vernacular Music Center at Texas Tech. He scheduled this activity where the Tech Irish Set Dancers and the Tech Celtic Music Ensemble will perform and lead us, the amateurs, in dance and song. Vernacular Music Center website is www.vernacularmusiccenter.org Welcome in the Fall semester by attending a Gaelic music and dance party.

 

The location is on the south side of 34th Street east of Indiana Avenue, a street very recently repaired and quite usable. Next door the former Home Cafe is now Crafthouse Gastropub operated by Kate and Jason Diehl. Food and libation is always a winner. 3131 34th Street.

 

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Arts History Update for early September 2012

30 Aug

Arts History Update for early September 2012 by David Cummins

 

Nathalie Kelley’s watercolors appear in the entrance lobby to the Scurry County Museum on the campus of Western Texas College in Snyder Texas http://scurrycountymuseum.org/exhibits/south-gallery-rotating-exhibit/ until September 8 and Alejo Suarez Jr’s airbrush paintings hang in the south gallery through October 20. Here’s Nathalie’s website with images of her fabulous art http://nathaliekelleyart.com/ . She’s a local Snyder artist. Here is a picture of Alejo Suarez Jr. and eight of his airbrush paintings on exhibit http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=454045177949142&set=a.453291144691212.103887.177979758889020&type=1&theater He also is a Snyder artist.

 

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This Land is Your Land – A Woody Guthrie Centennial Celebration Concert will take place at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall in Washington DC on Sunday October 14 at 7:30 p.m.

http://www.kennedy-center.org/events/?event=XNAEG Woody lived in Pampa Texas from 1929 – 1936 and worked at the Harris Drug Store that is now the Woody Guthrie Folk Music Center http://www.woodyguthriepampatx.com/ While originally an Oklahoman from Okemah his father relocated to Pampa where he would attempt to pay off debts left behind in Okemah, a busted oil town. Woody and the other children remained in Okemah. Woody’s mother Nora was afflicted with Huntington’s Disease and its dementia manifestations caused her to be institutionalized in Oklahoma Hospital for the Insane in 1926 and she died there in 1930. Woody rejoined his father in Pampa in 1929 at age 17. Woody picked up a guitar and harmonica and the rest is history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woody_Guthrie Unfortunately the Huntington’s Disease gene was passed from his mother Nora to Woody and he would eventually be hospitalized in New York City and die of its complications in 1967.

 

Jimmy LaFave is a singer-songwriter and will appear in concert in Pampa on Saturday October 6 to perform a tribute Walking Woody’s Road at a catered dinner $20 in the Heritage Room of the M.K. Brown Civic Center. http://tx-pampa3.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=175 So if you can’t make it to the Kennedy Center, head for Pampa and listen to the Dust Bowl Troubadour’s music. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/wwghtml/wwgtimeline.html Here’s Jimmy LaFave’s website http://jimmylafave.com/ LaFave then heads for Washington DC to the Kennedy Center to perform on October 14.

 

Strokes of Electricity: Woody Guthrie Art Exhibit is on view August 1 – October 31, 2012 at Mariposa Museum and World Culture Center in Peterborough New Hampshire. http://www.mariposamuseum.org/ At the museum one may purchase the book Woody Guthrie Artworks, the Journals, Drawings, and Sketchbooks of an Original (eds. Steven Brower and Nora Guthrie, Rizzoli 2005) This Nora is Woody’s daughter named for her grandmother. Some people are surprised to learn that Woody was an excellent and inspired artist. There were many times when he put down his guitar and harmonica and picked up brush pen and pencil to draw and paint. He was multi-talented.

 

Joe Klein, Woody Guthrie: A Life (Knopf 1980) paperback (Delta reprint 1999) $13.73 at Amazon.com, hardcover at Lubbock Public Library B G984K

 

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Stacy Dean Campbell is a singer-songwriter, author, and now television narrator and producer. His novel Cottonwood (Blue Quill Press 2004) was accompanied by a CD in which he sang 12 original compositions that relate to the story line that is set in 1937 Dust Bowl days in West Texas. That novel is now being filmed as a movie in which Willie Nelson has a small part.

 

Campbell is the on camera narrator guide in Bronco Roads Life in the West television series http://www.broncoroads.com/ in which he occasionally breaks into song such as Cottonwood http://www.broncoroads.com/musicplayer/index.html

 

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Apple’s patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/lhk/applevsamsung ended on Friday August 24 with a jury verdict of $1.05 billion in favor of Apple and dismissal of Samsung’s $399 million counterclaim. Appeals will follow, but for now we’re breathless if that is possible after so many large corporations have demonstrated poor judgment to the nth degree, actionable fraud, industrial espionage and pirating. It’s now an old story of big business boardrooms and management behaving so badly and the human perpetrators being rewarded financially despite their immorality. This hedonistic capitalism by the vaunted scions of industry who are immune from personal accountability or responsibility, is disgusting.

 

This lawsuit was about the software research and development that’s gone into high-end smart-phones and tablets. Picture if you will, side by side, a Samsung Galaxy S II smart-phone and an Apple iPhone 4. These are the most desired highest technology and highest priced smart-phones on the planet. The end of the trial decision is that Apple did not infringe on any of Samsung’s patents and that Samsung egregiously deliberately and continually infringed on several key Apple patents. Some of the infringements deal with software that appears in Samsung’s tablets and Apple’s iPad tablet, so you could picture those two items side by side.

 

No one expects any money to change hands anytime soon, so what if any injunctions the federal district court trial judge Lucy Koh http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/lhk issues in the next few weeks, may be as important economically as this huge verdict. Few people are predicting that the judge will enjoin sales of Samsung’s high-end products which contain software over which Apple had patent-protected exclusive use rights. If that occurred, however, Apple would extend its lead to more than 2/3 of all high-end smart-phones and tablets on the planet, and Google Android and Microsoft Windows 8 phone and tablet would seem to be lower end and backwater competitors.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/25/technology/jury-reaches-decision-in-apple-samsung-patent-trial.html?_r=1

 

As individual consumers without a large business investment on the table, just go on and do what you’re doing, buying and using either high-end or mid-range or low-end technology products that work for and please you.

 

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The Museum of the Southwest at 1705 W. Missouri Avenue just west of old downtown in Midland www.museumsw.org is on a five acre campus containing a sculpture park. Its current exhibition is American Plains Artists 28th Annual Juried Exhibition August 16 – October 14, 2012 http://artmuseumtouring.com/Museum-of-SW.html

 

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In the 19th century there was a Hudson River School, why not the 21st century? Marina Abramovic purchased a downtown Hudson New York building and is now transforming it into a center for performance art http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-opinion/the-scene/2012-08-13/marina-abramovic-hudson/ naming it for herself. She purchased a home in the countryside nearby. She has first class architects engineers and designers at work so this may be stunning. Stay tuned. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Abramovi%C4%87 Hudson is about 100 miles north of New York City perhaps 20 miles south of Albany on U.S. Highway 9, on the east side of the Hudson River.

 

 

 

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville Arkansas is open and first year visitors are pleased. It opened as a first quality museum, the passion of Miss Alice Walton daughter of the founder of WalMart http://crystalbridges.org/Collection It was designed by Moshe Safdie. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_Bridges_Museum_of_American_Art Notice the listing of acquisitions specifically made for the permanent collection. Here is a 17 minute lecture by Moshe Safdie on building uniqueness, that is fascinating http://www.ted.com/talks/moshe_safdie_on_building_uniqueness.html

 

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The Old Jail Art Center in Albany Texas www.theoldjailartcenter.org has on view a Toni Frissell photograph of Bob and Helen Kleberg on horseback moving through the herd on the King Ranch. It doesn’t get more authentic than that http://artmuseumtouring.com/Old-Jail.html on loan from the King Ranch Archives through September 9. http://www.tonifrissell.com/

 

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Arts History Update for mid August 2012

14 Aug

Arts History Update for mid August 2012 by David Cummins

Hope you watched on TV-PBS channel 5 KTTZ-TV The Barnes Collection www.pbs.org/arts/exhibit/barnes-collection/ on Friday evening August 3 or when repeated early Saturday morning. If not, access it on podcast archive on the PBS website. http://video.pbs.org/video/2262732513 The opening of the new Barnes Collection in downtown Philadelphia in May 2012 was tremendous and so many more people will now visit and thrill over the stupendous unrivaled collection. Out at the Merion suburb the original buildings contain the written archive and are a legacy to Albert Barnes, eccentric and radical for his day. They may be visited as well.

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National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis Tennessee www.metalmuseum.org is unique in that metal art is made there as well as displayed there. Virgil England’s exhibit ends September 2 and is astonishing. Can one do that with metal? He started as a knife or blade maker and gradually morphed into metal art. Here’s the outdoor sculpture garden http://www.metalmuseum.org/sculpture_garden.html objects with which you might compare the sculptures going up along Lubbock roadways in spaces allotted by the Texas Department of Transportation. The Library’s metal work collection looks intriguing. http://www.metalmuseum.org/library.html

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Yeiser Art Center in Paducah Kentucky www.theyeiser.org opened in 1957 as a non-profit art gallery in the historic Market House in downtown Paducah. The Kentucky Arts Council assists in funding this small museum/gallery. Its online Exhibitions page is impressive http://www.theyeiser.org/exhibitions.html

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A contemporary sadness in economic life is how established companies treat their public so poorly. Big business knows full well that customer call services divorced from the retailer, and able to perform only quite limited tasks, have irritated and disappointed their customers, particularly when the hated automated phone tree and long-term call waiting while listening to Muzak and the ubiquitous “your call is important to us” euphemism is in use. If it really were important to the company, it would devise a way to answer its customers speedily with more capable responders.

More is going on. On Thursday August 9, 2012 Google Inc. announced that it has agreed to pay a $22.5 million penalty to the Federal Trade Commission. That’s a record amount. Why? It abused the privacy of Internet users who were using Google products, and it did so even after it had earlier signed an agreement in October 2011 with the FTC not to do that. Further, in an even earlier agreement in March 2011 with the FTC, it had promised to stop breaching customers’ privacy rights regarding Google Buzz, its then social networking site [current site is Google + www.plus.google.com ]. What we can say with certainty is that Google continually misrepresented to customers their privacy rights on the Internet and Google’s role in respecting those rights. Even after it acknowledged wrong-doing and agreed with the FTC to improve its behavior, it lapsed back into the bad behavior. This is management that doesn’t really care about its customers and is willing to promise a federal regulatory agency anything so long as it can continue to do what it wishes to do in the moment. http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/08/google.shtm Here’s where you can read the FTC news release. http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/c4336/index.shtm And its claims. The FTC also ordered Google to disable all the tracking cookies it had agreed that it would not place on its customers’ computers.

One of the things it was doing, was placing cookies onto customers’ computers when they used the Apple Internet Browser Safari when surfing the web, and surfing toward any site that was within Google’s advertising network of companies. Presumably its customers who were incensed by this privacy breach would be incensed at Apple, not Google, since the undesired consequence came out of using Safari. So Google was intentionally doing the wrong thing and doing it in such a way that its competitor Apple would be blamed.

The Google Internet Web Browser is Chrome.

The extent to which an individual computer user can avoid cookies, is dependent on which browser s/he uses. If a user prevents all cookies, many websites will be difficult to access. What is easily accomplished is that a user can clear his/her computer of cookies that have been placed, even though new ones will start appearing thereafter. You can learn more at www.allaboutcookies.org Some folks clear out their cookies once per month and feel relatively free of unwanted tracking and its consequences. Remember that spyware and malware attacks against your computer are often accomplished through your browser, so a high security setting is advisable. Each of the browsers has a geek team at headquarters assigned to pre-empt and take responsive action against spyware and malware attacks so those browser updates you notice are often protective.

Popular browsers, all free for downloading, and their latest versions are:

Mozilla Firefox version 14

Microsoft Internet Explorer version 9

Google Chrome version 20

Apple Safari version 5

Norwegian Opera version 12

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Timothy Egan will be in Lubbock on the Texas Tech campus at the Allen Theatre Friday October 12 at 7:00 p.m. to speak at the Presidential Lecture & Performance Series. http://www.depts.ttu.edu/cvpa/college/president/Fall2012.asp Tickets are $15. He’s the New York Times stringer in Seattle Washington whose writing and reportage have been widely praised. He will speak about his book The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl (Houghton Mifflin/Mariner Books 2006). Texas Tech selected this book for its incoming freshmen/women to read this Summer and for Core Curriculum professors to highlight throughout Fall and Spring semesters. $18.06 hardcover $9.74 paperback $8.52 Kindle, used in very good condition $4.98 at Amazon.com and new in paperback $5.67 including shipping & handling at ABE Books. www.abebooks.com

If we recall the haboob or severe dust storm on October 17, 2011, and then imagine a whole month of those, we get the idea of what the Dust Bowl must have been like. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/dust-storm-haboob-blasts-lubbock-texas-video/2011/10/18/gIQAY37NuL_blog.html

Similar books are: Jerry Stanley, Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp (Crown Books for Young Readers 1993) Donald Worster, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s (Oxford University Press 2004) Martin W. Sandler, The Dust Bowl Through the Lens: How Photography Revealed and Helped Remedy a National Disaster (Walker Childrens 2009).

 

Surviving the Dustbowl (WGBH TV Boston 2007) is a video at Texas Tech Digital Media Studio Library F595.S93

Many familiar agricultural practices in the Southern Plains are designed to avoid the conditions that made the Dust Bowl possible. Still, if or when deep well irrigation becomes uneconomical or impractical, and dryland farming and pasturage become marginal, those conditions may return unless wisdom and action replaces the ignorance and inaction of the 1930s. Egan’s book may be a glimpse into the future as well as an unblinking look into the past.

Plan to watch Ken Burns’s documentary The Dust Bowl on TV-PBS November 18-19, 2012. http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/

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The Venice Italy Biennale of Architecture is August 29 – November 25, 2012 http://www.labiennale.org/en/architecture/news/02-05.html The exhibition portion is titled Common Ground. Oh yes, there is also art, cinema, dance, music, theatre ….. all the muses are in play and on offer.

Arts History Update for early August 2012

2 Aug

Arts History Update for early August 2012 by David Cummins

 

Giacomo Balla, Mercury Passing Before the Sun (1916) is on long-term loan to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Museum at Palazzo Venier dei Leoni in Venice Italy. http://www.guggenheim-venice.it/inglese/collections/artisti/dettagli/opere_dett.php?id_art=1&id_opera=58 Some additional examples of his work, as a founder of futurism, are on this website http://bittleston.com/artists/giacomo_balla/ It is interesting to speculate on his mind and paintbrush while The Great War [thereafter renamed World War I] was ongoing.

 

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Richard W. Slatta, The Mythical West: An Encyclopedia of Legend, Lore, and Popular Culture (ABC-CLIO 2001) Texas Tech Library non-circulating GR1009.S53 but through Amazon.com you can purchase new at $15.99 including s&h, at ABE Books in very good condition $12.39 including s&h

 

  • Richard W. Slatta, Cowboy: The Illustrated History (Sterling Pub. 2006) Southwest Collection Library at Texas Tech 51 s631 C873 non-circulating and purchasable at ABE Books paperback in very good condition $5.92 including s&h or hardcover in good condition at Alibris for $4.43 plus s&h

     

  • Richard W. Slatta, National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration (American Cowboy Culture Association Inc 2010) is a lavishly illustrated social and cultural history of this signature event held in Lubbock each September since 1989. The book celebrates western Americana and includes comments from participants and attendees on what makes cowboy culture special for them. Slatta’s website is www.cowboyprof.com. The book may be ordered from the symposium website for $45 at http://www.cowboy.org/About/First-Edition-Book The cover for the book is a painting by Wayne Baize, a member of Cowboy Artists of America http://www.cowboyartistsofamerica.com/members/active/wayne_baize.html and here is his website http://www.waynebaizeca.com/index.html Slatta is a North Carolina State University professor, not Texas Tech University.

 

The Cowboy Way: An Exploration of History and Culture (ed. Paul H. Carlson, Texas Tech Univ Press 2006) $15.94 hardcover at Amazon.com. This collection of essays is quite interesting. On sale currently at the TTU Press for $15.16 http://ttupress.org/

 

John R. Erickson, The Modern Cowboy: Second Edition (University of North Texas Press 2004) paperback $15.56 at Amazon.com. Erickson is perhaps best known for his children’s series Hank the Cowdog http://www.hankthecowdog.com/ He next appears in a Hank in Concert event in his hometown Perryton Texas on August 25, 2012 with his wife Kristine at the Ellis Theater. http://www.hankthecowdog.com/events

 

 

 

Art on the Llano Project has now identified the third sculpture along Lubbock major roadways, Brent Baggett’s Sky Drill (2012) is scheduled for installation Thursday August 2 astride Spur 327 where it meets westbound lanes of South Loop 289. The fourth is William Cannings’s Black Pink at an undisclosed location in late August. http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2012-07-28/next-art-llano-outdoor-sculpture-be-installed-thursday#.UBVNLmGe4wA His gallery pieces include these

http://www.anyatishgallery.com/content/william-cannings

 

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Another Day Another Dollar: The Legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Texas Panhandle is an exhibit through the end of this year at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon. http://panhandleplains.org/pages/another_day_another_dollar_the_legacy_of_the_civilian_conservation_corps_in_palo_duro_canyon_213.asp As most know, the signature contribution of the CCC in these parts was the building of Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Most workers were paid a dollar a day and they worked hard outdoors during the dust bowl days of the Great Depression.

 

The infrastructure of the State of Texas including the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is under great stress, some would say “crumbling” but the Governor and Legislature of Texas are unwilling to pay the tab to put unemployed Texans to work repairing that infrastructure. And they refuse to accept federal dollars to maintain and expand Medicaid for poor Texans who lack health care. They pose and posture and abhor “abortion” as ordinary folks suffer while their representatives represent someone else, certainly not them. When bad politics reaches the point of immorality, normal people are disgusted. Governor Perry is fast becoming our state’s worst governor, and a national embarrassment when he brought his irrational hokey all hat and no cattle style to the presidential primary campaign of 2012. Texas is a populous wealthy state that reduces funding for public education, parks, health and welfare, etc. because it refuses to adopt a fair and balanced state taxation system. The office-holders within government are intentionally making government ineffective/ineffectual and then those office-holders run for re-election to maintain their power over the non-performing or under-performing government they created. Foxes are operating the hen house.

 

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As you know, the effective date for the major provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010, is January 1, 2014. That is only 17 months hence. While some provisions have gone into effect already, and have provided some benefits for health care providers, insurance companies, and patients, a major provision is for health insurance companies to operate within health insurance exchanges in each state. That’s important because in 2014 and later when companies issue a policy to people or groups who previously were uninsurable [usually due to existing serious health conditions like cancer] or insurable only by a highly rated very expensive policy, those policies must now be issued [no refusals of coverage and no exclusions from coverage] at generic rates and the selling health insurance company will submit the policy to the exchange for its state. Such policies will be re-insured by all the insurance companies in the exchange pro rata [i.e. the risk in high risk policies will be spread among all the health insurance companies operating in that state].

 

The Act respected federalism, the concept of fifty sovereignties acting within one sovereignty, and invited each state and the District of Columbia to set up and manage its own health insurance exchange. [Recall here that under the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 the subject of insurance was acknowledged by Congress to be left to the states for regulation so there is a Department of Insurance in each state but no federal department of insurance. State regulation of insurance has been an operable fact for more than a century and a half. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insurance_regulatory_law#State-Based_Insurance_Regulation The PPAHC Act respected that division of authority and assigned the health insurance company exchange mechanism to the states to set up and manage, although it will be funded by the federal government.] The federal government offered grants to all the states for their use in studying how each state might wish to create and operate an exchange. Texas refused the planning grant money.

 

What has been the experience elsewhere? Sara Rosenblum et al., State Health Insurance Exchange Laws: The First Generation (The Commonwealth Fund July 2012) is a summary with data current through May 1, 2012. http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Publications/Issue-Briefs/2012/Jul/State-Health-Insurance-Exchange-Laws.aspx The 18 page brief is down-loadable from the website but you can email Commonwealth Fund and ask for the entire report. It’s probably free also info@cmwf.org

 

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have already set up health exchanges by passage of laws, and as expected the details vary widely according the exchanges a good deal of flexibility and assigning state administrators wide authority to enact state policy and implement federal policy relative to how the exchanges do or will operate. Click on the map http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Maps-and-Data/State-Exchange-Map.aspx and you will get an idea of that variety. For instance, California acted quickly to implement the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 by enacting in that same year the California Health Benefit Exchange Act creating an independent state entity with a five member board. The entity will coordinate exchange operations with Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program [CHIP] which are currently financed 90% with federal funds 10% with state funds, and managed by the state. It’s interesting to notice that two states already had state health insurance exchanges in place prior to the PPAHCA of 2010 at the federal level. They are Massachusetts (2006) and Utah (2008). The idea of better management of health insurance products/markets and how health care providers work in tandem with insurance financing, has been around for some time. Cooperation and improvements in this area are ongoing, although Texans wouldn’t know that because their Governor and Legislature have stiffed the federal government on Medicaid, CHIP, and PPAHCA notably saying in press releases that Texas will refuse federal money and do things or not do things our way. Of course Texas Medicaid and CHIP are the most restrictive and limited in the nation, causing Texas to end in a tie with Mississippi for worst public health care for poor people in their states. It’s a disgraceful fact. Those of us who have read the PPAHCA legislation, as opposed to those who decry it without reading it, know that if Texas [or any state] continues to refuse federal money and not create a health insurance exchange in the state, the Act expressly allows the federal government to step in and create a federal exchange for Texans and thus protect Texans’ right to financing of health care when the state refuses to do so. If Texas continues to refuse Medicaid monies as it is currently doing, the same thing will eventually happen, the federal government will step in and operate and manage a federal Medicaid and CHIP program in Texas for Texans. Frankly that would be beneficial because Texas politicians have short-changed poor Texans by using Medicaid and CHIP as a political football to espouse anti-abortion ideas as if anything more than one percent of Medicaid and zero CHIP monies were ever spent on abortion.

 

The Texas Legislature recently passed legislation and Governor Perry quickly signed it, requiring a sonogram before any abortion can take place in Texas [inside or outside of Medicaid financing] at the same time the Legislature passed a reduction in its 10% funding of Medicaid and CHIP, losing nine federal dollars for every single dollar of reduction. It is such action over a period of years that eventually caused Texas to compete with Mississippi for the nation’s worst manager of Medicaid and CHIP programs.

 

Three states, Kentucky, New York, and Rhode Island have established health insurance exchanges by executive order. In Ohio and Michigan health insurance exchange legislation has passed one of the two houses of the state Legislature and is pending in the other. In 24 other states federal planning grant monies have been received and the state is studying and pursuing its options. The last 8 states, including Texas, have announced that they will not receive any planning grant and do not intend to pursue health insurance exchanges.

 

I am a great believer in “state’s rights” and applaud any state that will address a problem not perceived elsewhere and be a laboratory for how to solve it, but “state’s rights” comes a cropper when a state just announces that a problem doesn’t exist and sticks its head in the sand so it won’t discover any evidence of the declared non-existent problem. One needs to have his head there, because the press often reports that Texas, a very populous state, has the highest number of uninsured [lacking health care insurance of any kind] people than any state in the nation, and its percentage of uninsured children is the highest as well. Federal law requires that uninsured people be treated at any hospital’s emergency room [all medium size and larger hospitals are federal contractors so this law applies to them; e.g. UMC, Covenant Medical Center System, Grace Clinic, etc. in Lubbock] and if you haven’t been to an emergency room lately please go and see for yourself how an efficient ER can be overrun/decimated. Both UMC and Covenant reacted and have set up Clinics in outlying areas of Lubbock and in rural areas that will provde ER type services there for uninsured folks, thus freeing the main hospital’s ER from some of the strain. Both UMC and Covenant have a profit and loss statement that lists a huge sum for their provision of medical care to folks who have no health insurance and are not covered by Medicaid or CHIP. The Governor and Legislature are stiffing those hospitals as well as poor Texans and it’s disgraceful. Worse, it’s immoral.

 

More than sixty-five years ago I was taught “if you do it to the least of these, you do it to me” and now despise politicians who exult in depriving poor people of health care that the politicians regard as their own due. If there were only some way we could force Presidents and Congress and Governors and Legislatures to have only Medicaid health care coverage, and their children only CHIP coverage, the problem would be cleared up instantly.