I want to note a passing:
Sam Gilliam, a Washington artist who helped redefine abstract painting by liberating canvas from its traditional framework and shaking it loose in lavish, paint-spattered folds cascading from ceilings, stairwells and other architectural elements, died June 25 at his home in the District. He was 88.
The cause was kidney disease, said Adriana Elgarresta, public relations director of New York’s Pace Gallery, which represents his work.
Mr. Gilliam was a relatively unknown art teacher in D.C.-area schools when he burst to international attention in 1969 for an exhibition that stunned the art community with its bravado.
Resembling a painter’s giant dropcloths, his flowing, unstructured canvases, known as drapes, appeared in what was then known as the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The extravagantly colored swags of fabric were suspended from the skylight of the Beaux-Arts building’s four-story atrium and prompted then-Washington Star art critic Benjamin Forgey to summarize the impact as “one of those watermarks by which the Washington art community measures its evolution.”
In a matter of months, Mr. Gilliam would become known throughout the country and later around the world as the painter who had knocked painting out of its frame. Over a career that spanned decades and several stylistic changes — not all of them as well received as his drapes — Mr. Gilliam would forever be known as an artistic innovator because of Corcoran show.
Suspending stretcherless lengths of painted canvas from the walls or ceilings of exhibition spaces, Gilliam transformed his medium and the contexts in which it was viewed. As an African-American artist in the nation’s capital at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, this was not merely an aesthetic proposition; it was a way of defining art’s role in a society undergoing dramatic change. Gilliam has subsequently pursued a pioneering course in which experimentation has been the only constant. Inspired by the improvisatory ethos of jazz, his lyrical abstractions continue to take on an increasing variety of forms, moods, and materials.
In addition to a traveling retrospective organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. in 2005, Sam Gilliam has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1971); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (1982); Whitney Museum of American Art, Philip Morris Branch, New York (1993); J.B. Speed Memorial Museum, Louisville, Kentucky (1996); Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (2011); and Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018), among many other institutions. A semi-permanent installation of Gilliam’s paintings will opened at Dia:Beacon in August 2019. His work is included in over fifty public collections, including those of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Tate Modern, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Art Institute of Chicago. He lives and works in Washington, D.C.
And this is his "Solar Canopy."
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Within days of the reactionary Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to outlaw abortion, seven states have done so, either through trigger laws that took effect automatically, or through certification of the high court action by state officials which activated such laws.
According to Planned Parenthood, the states where abortion is already illegal and reproductive health clinics have ceased operating include: Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Utah, with a combined population of 52 million.
There are 15 states where the procedure is severely restricted and soon to be entirely illegal: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, with a combined population of 93 million.
In four more states, Kansas, Nebraska, Michigan and North Carolina, the legal status of abortion depends on impending court decisions or, in Kansas, a statewide referendum in August. Some 26 million people live in these four states, bringing the total number of people living in states where abortion is banned or under immediate threat to 171 million, just over half the US population.
That leaves 24 states where the status of abortion remains on fairly strong legal foundations: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington.
Geographically, the division of the United States is quite stark. Abortion is likely to remain legal in the northeast and Middle Atlantic states, and along the entire West Coast and portions of the Mountain states, and in a few spots in the Midwest. Across the entire South, most of the Midwest, and some of the Mountain states, it will be savagely proscribed.
While the right to this vital medical procedure and fundamental democratic right is being taken away from women immediately, the response of the Biden administration and the Democratic Party as a whole is to view the issue purely as an opportunity to reverse their dismal poll numbers and mobilize support in the upcoming midterm elections on November 8.
Biden made a perfunctory statement Friday in response to the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. White House sources told the press on background that the speech had already been written last month after the draft of the controlling opinion by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to the media. It was only “tweaked” in response to the handing down of the actual ruling.
The administration has convened a series of meetings to discuss what practical response it could carry out to aid women seeking abortions in the affected states, but nothing has happened so far except a joint letter from Attorney General Merrick Garland, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, reminding insurance companies that they must continue providing coverage of contraceptive services under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Some 30 Democratic senators sent a letter to the White House over the weekend, urging Biden to take “bold action” and use “every step available to your Administration, across federal agencies, to help women access abortions and other reproductive health care.” Diplomatically, however, they did not actually spell out a single concrete action that Biden should take.
The “left” wing of the Democratic Party has seized on the abortion issue as a means of voter mobilization in November, and rehabilitating the Biden administration in the eyes of millions who voted for Biden in 2020 to oust the hated Trump, but have seen the Democrats abandon their promises of significant social improvements and reforms. This includes such issues as voting rights, relief for student debt, serious protection against evictions and foreclosures, and a real fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been entirely abandoned.
Reaction to the news was swift and predictable. Liberals expressed outrage and marched on federal courthouses and even to the homes of Supreme Court justices. Barack Obama released a long winded 700 word statement declaring himself, and his wife, strongly opposed to the court’s imminent decision. The statement is amusing because it gives the impression that Obama had nothing to do with the current state of affairs.
As a presidential candidate in 2008 Obama promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have codified abortion rights into federal law. But once in office he never pushed congress to pass it. In typical Obamaesque fashion he would claim to believe that women had the right to choose abortion, but that he didn’t want to demonize the opposition, and he wanted to find consensus on the issue. After his usual routine "on the one hand this, but on the other hand that” on April 29, 2009 he finally said out loud what was clear. "The Freedom of Choice Act is not my highest legislative priority." It wasn’t even his lowest legislative priority. Obama never lifted a finger to get it passed, even during his first two years in office when he had majorities in the House and the Senate.
Knowing full well that Roe v. Wade hinged on having a supportive Supreme Court in place, he dithered on doing what he had the power to do. In 2013 he knew that the democrats might lose control of the senate in the 2014 election. He asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, already 80-years old and a cancer patient, to step down. She declined and he didn’t press the issue. In 2016 conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died and senate republicans refused to even hold hearings to confirm Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland. Obama had the option of making a recess appointment that would have put Garland on the court but he didn’t do that either. Such a move would have been controversial, and perhaps Garland’s presence would have been short, but it would have made clear that democrats were as committed as they claimed to be on the issue of abortion rights.
Instead they play games with democratic voters. Any unhappiness with the democrats is met with the plea to protect the federal judiciary from conservatives. This ploy is nothing but a cynical effort to keep left leaning democrats in the fold and to discredit anyone who questions the party's continued failures to do what the people want them to do.
Now the liars and hypocrites like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who once claimed abortion was a "fading" issue are sending fundraising appeals to brain washed liberals who will again write checks and declare their devotion like Stockholm Syndrome hostages. Hillary Clinton’s foolish appeals to conservatives included choosing anti-choice senator Tim Kaine as a running mate and at times saying she was "ambivalent " about abortion are now forgotten as the supposed left of the party remain lost.
They are lost because they don’t know the most basic rules of political mobilizations. Instead of harassing SCOTUS justices at home, they should be harassing their democratic representatives. Why march to a courthouse instead of to the office of democratic member of congress and demand that they make abortion legal? In particular, senators have the ability to end the filibuster which would give the senate the ability to pass a Freedom of Choice Act with their small majority margin. Every democratic senator should be quaking in his or her boots for fear that they’ll be turned out of office if they do not act to protect abortion rights.
Even now when they could still save ROE by voting to make it law, they do nothing.
Nine out of 10 Democrats and more than half of independent voters said they oppose the ruling, while only 20% of Republicans opposed it.
"What the court did is clearly outside the mainstream of public opinion, and that is reflected again in the NPR poll," wrote Domenico Montanaro at NPR.
The poll of 941 people, which had a margin of error of +/-4.9 percentage points, found that only 39% of respondents were left feeling confident in the court after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling—a new low for the survey. As Common Dreams reported last week, a separate poll by Gallup taken just before the ruling found that only 25% of Americans had confidence in the court.
Two university professors in the northern Iraqi province of Erbil were killed in an armed attack by a former student on Tuesday, the Erbil governor said.
Kawan Ismail, the dean of the college of law at Salahaddin University in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, succumbed to injuries he sustained in a shooting by a dismissed student, Erbil Governor Omed Khoshnaw told a press conference.
The student attacked the dean and shot him and killed another engineering professor, the governor was quoted by the official Iraqi News Agency as saying.
Qassim, who has previously clashed with law lecturer Nishtiman Osman over his Erbil transfer request, readied his gun early morning and made his way towards her house determined to commit a crime.
The woman had filed a lawsuit against Qassim and was in the Soran administration on Tuesday to attend the first court session. Her husband, Idris Izzat, who is also a well-known university academic in Erbil, was alone at home when the student arrived.