Friday, June 29, 2012

"Taxing the Poor for not Buying Health Insurance is Unfair"

I have heard people talk of being poor, of having been poor or of knowing what it's like to be poor. But boy howdy, they sure don't act like it! Anyone who celebrates this health insurance ruling is either a predator or a predator enabler (Hi, Mr. President!). This ain't no joke and this ain't no game.

Anyone who threatens my life deserves to die. I don't care why you think you may do it, you just need to be eliminated from the face of the earth for the common good. By God, a whole lot of you fit that bill! But it won't be by my hand you'll die, but by you're own. I cannot wait!!!!

This health insurance ruling is nothing more than one more way of squeezing the working poor and the middle class out of their remaining money. Go ahead, call me a freeloading Lazarus, Mr. Money Worshipper. I'll call you for what you are: an assassin no one can live with. Mandate money all you want, doesn't make you any less of a killer. DIE NOW!

It's not just the right wing destroying this country but also the comfortably left, eschewing liberal values in the name of staying comfortable. It's not a choice of people and profits, it's a choice of people or profits. Only one of those choices exists in reality, the other merely fictional numbers we use to blackmail each other with. Laugh at our ignorant ancestors all you want, we'll be laughed at just the same: witch burning capitalists, corporate superstition, and asking wooden idol dollars to save us.

I have no place in the unreality of this goddam society. I'm not here to babysit your goddam illusions. I'm here to destroy them. You're here for that too. You can buy into the bullshit all you want, receive high praise for "explaining" how we can have our profit and eat it too ("If only they would listen!"), and bless the savagery of these times but you do so at your peril. One day you'll have to stand naked and explain why, given only as much recourse as you gave: none.

First Person: Taxing the Poor for not Buying Health Insurance is Unfair, Frightening

I am frightened and disappointed by today's Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

This legislation will do nothing to make health care more affordable for my family. Our costs have risen more than 20 percent since its passage, and I expect costs to increase even more following today's ruling. The decision came at a particularly bad time for my family, as we may lose our health insurance in a matter of weeks.

In May, my husband lost the job he'd held for the last several years. He is interviewing for a new position today, but if he doesn't find work before his coverage from his old job ends, we will be uninsured.

Under the ACA, families like mine will be fined with a tax penalty if we don't acquire health insurance. But getting insured may not be possible until my husband finds a good job.

As a 40-year-old mother of three, I'd be crazy not to want health insurance for my family. But I already know what it's like to fall through the cracks. I work hard every day as a freelance writer to pay the mortgage while my husband looks for work. My income alone certainly puts our family of five under the poverty line. But because we were responsible and put away some money in savings, we don't qualify for food stamps, free phone service or any other type of social service. Our low income is irrelevant until we've spent nearly every dime we have in savings.

Our situation is complicated by the fact that our youngest daughter has a congenital heart defect. It breaks my heart to think we might not be able to provide health insurance for her even if only for a little while. But it infuriates me to think that our government would punish us for something we simply can't avoid. We have to eat and we need a roof over our heads. If it comes down to a choice, food and shelter trump insurance.

We live in Tahlequah, Okla., a small college town where many working-class people are self-employed or work for small businesses. I dare say everyone I know wants health insurance, but good jobs with great benefits are hard to come by here.

It's just not fair to tax people for not purchasing what they simply can't afford.

Don't speak to me of acceptable flaws, that it's OK to fuck people today because we say we'll stop fucking them later, that a holocaust must be tolerated because there is no other way. That's absurd on the face of it. Go ahead, show me the life that's unimportant and not valuable, show me the person it's OK to hurt - you'll be looking in the mirror the entire time.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Glass In The Garden: Chihuly Sculptures (Photo Essay)

Dale Chihuly Bio:

Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for more than a decade.

In 1968, after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971, Chihuly cofounded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art.

His work is included in more than 200 hundred museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including eleven honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Chihuly has created more than a dozen well-known series of works, among them Cylinders and Baskets in the 1970s; Seaforms, Macchia, Venetians, and Persians in the 1980s; Niijima Floats and Chandeliers in the 1990s; and Fiori in the 2000s. He is also celebrated for large architectural installations. In 1986, he was honored with a solo exhibition, Dale Chihuly objets de verre, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, in Paris. In 1995, he began Chihuly Over Venice, for which he created sculptures at glass factories in Finland, Ireland, and Mexico, then installed them over the canals and piazzas of Venice.

In 1999, Chihuly mounted a challenging exhibition, Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem; more than 1 million visitors attended the Tower of David Museum to view his installations. In 2001, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London curated the exhibition Chihuly at the V&A. Chihuly’s lifelong fascination for glasshouses has grown into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings. His Garden Cycle began in 2001 at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. Chihuly exhibited at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near London, in 2005. Other major exhibition venues include the de Young Museum in San Francisco, in 2008, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2011. Chihuly Garden and Glass opened at Seattle Center in 2012.

SunClose The Sun

There, now you know as much about Dale Chihuly as I do. Not that I'm any sort of arts patron but until the Chihuly exhibit came to the Dallas Arboretum I'd never heard his name before. And even though I read a fairly unflattering review of the exhibit, I quite rightly figured I did not have sensitivities to be alarmed about placements and whatnot that the reviewer complained of. I was just going to walk around and see some neat shit.

The Dallas Arboretum is a worthy place to visit in its own right, set on Dallas's one natural treasure: White Rock Lake. Originally an estate it still retains the original house at the garden's peak and the surrounding gardens are a wonderland of exploration. I heard one woman say while touring the exhibit, "This is as good as anything I've seen in Europe."

FloatBoatLake Float Boat and Carnival Boat (White Rock Lake in the background)

Like (very large) Easter eggs, the sculptures are spread around the gardens. A guide book is handed out upon entry but I carried too much crap already to lug that around too (picked one up on my way out, though). So I was on my own to blindly explore the place and be pleasantly surprised by my discoveries. Away we go!

Setps Down

Before I could reach the gardens proper, I saw the first of many brides.


Then I got my first hint of what was to come.


The Yellow Icicle Tower

CatTails Cattails


To the right of the field was a forested walkway lined with the Blue Marlins and Turquoise Reeds




Several artists had set up shop to create their own impressions of the sculptures. I thought that was delightful!


Like two sentinels guarding an entrance I was beckoned forth to the lower gardens by the estate house.




Hornets Mirrored Hornets

This leads to the iconic boats on the endless edge pool.




Of course, to some this was still just a cool place to run around, with or without any sculptures!


Onward through the gardens.


In the distance, the Dallas Star, looming like a starburst.




Hiding nearby we find a friend.

Baby Rabbit

The Neodymiums perhaps were my favorites of all:




We come across another stunning bride.


Hey, what are all those people taking pictures of??


Ah, the Blue Crystals in the creek.


On the hill, a rising Sun



Speaking of the sun, I needed a rest from the heat. The estate house was built long before A/C so they had to create their own areas for cooling. This pergola is my favorite.


Oh hey, look what's peeking through!


After hiking around for over an hour I was pretty beat. Photography has a certain nervous energy to it that is exhausting. But then I overheard something irresistible: there's a night show where the glass lights up! That I had to see.

My return to the pergola came after a short but intense spring storm moved through.

Storm Sky 3

Pergola Debris

So intense, in fact, it brought golf ball sized hail that smashed my beloved Neodymiums. By the artist's decree, any damaged sculptures are not allowed to be viewed. The Neodymiums were cordoned off as strictly verboten. I thought that was a mistake. If you want to imitate nature, why not go all the way and show nature's damage? Alas, I waited for the sun to set and the glass to glow.

Sun Clouds Crop

Sunset Trees

Sunset Impression

Already we can see the effects of the lowering sun.

Purple crowd

Boats Reflection Moody waters

Crowd Close This shot felt very European to me for some reason, very classical.

Once darkness had fully descended, I went to revisit my friends from the day and even find a few new ones in the night.

Yellow Tower Night

Dancing Reds

Blue Reed Forest

Star Cafe

Star Crop

Rising Sun

Sun Leaves The Sun with leaves in silhouette

Boats Night

Boat 1 Night

Another exhibit on display is the "Small Houses of Great Artists". This struck me as ethereal and magical and so I had to stop by Vincent's famous yellow house.

Van Gogh!

One thing I had missed during the day were the waterfall sculptures at the very end of the gardens.

Water Plaza

Water Reeds Central

Water Reeds Central Flash Freeze framed the water

A short video of the water plaza:

On the way out is the gift shop where you can buy your very own Chihuly sculpture.

Display Price? $7,000! I bought two

The night shoot was incredibly tough with the heat and post storm humidity. My entire body was drenched in sweat and I had to pause a couple of times from dizziness. Still, it was worth the effort to capture such staggering images.

There is still much I have left out. Click here to see the entire shoot. I leave you with a warm night stroll through the blue reeds.