WH press group condemns attack on cameraman at Trump rally
By KEVIN FREKING
Wednesday, February 13
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House Correspondents’ Association condemned on Tuesday an attack the night before of a television cameraman working at President Donald Trump’s rally in El Paso, Texas.
The association’s president, Olivier Knox, said Tuesday the group is relieved that “this time, no one was seriously hurt.”
Knox said the president should make clear to his supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable.
There was a brief scuffle on a press platform away from the stage on Monday night, when a man began shoving members of the news media and was restrained.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president “condemns all acts of violence against any individual or group of people — including members of the press.”
“We ask that anyone attending an event do so in a peaceful and respectful manner,” Sanders said.
Eleanor Montague, the Washington news editor for the British Broadcasting Company tweeted that BBC cameraman Ron Skeans was attacked at the rally and is doing fine. She said the crowd “had been whipped up into a frenzy against the media” by the president and other speakers. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Donald Trump Jr., were also among the speakers at the rally, which focused on border security.
Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of Trump’s re-election campaign, said an individual “involved in a physical altercation with a news cameraman” was removed from the rally. He praised “the swift action from venue security and law enforcement officers.”
Ivanka and her tower of crumbs
February 13, 2019
Author: Preminda Jacob is a Friend of The Conversation, Associate Professor of Art History and Museum Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Disclosure statement: Preminda Jacob does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Partners: University of Maryland, Baltimore County provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
For two hours each evening, an Ivanka Trump lookalike has been vacuuming a hot pink carpet at the Flashpoint Gallery in Washington, D.C.
As she appears to be on the cusp of completing the task, spectators soil the carpet with bread crumbs. She vacuums them up. The audience tosses more crumbs onto the carpet. The pattern repeats itself.
Jennifer Rubell’s installation, titled “Ivanka Vacuuming,” has already elicited a response from the subject.
Following the Feb. 1 opening, Ivanka Trump tweeted, “Women can choose to knock each other down or build each other up. I choose the latter,” to which Rubell parried, “I would encourage you to see the piece and form your own direct response. … Not knocking anyone down. Exploring complicated subjects we all care about.”
As a historian of contemporary art, I wanted to learn more about this headline-grabbing work. So I followed Rubell’s directive and saw it myself.
The piece certainly pops: It’s pink. Very pink. And the Ivanka double has a plastic sheen that borders on surreal.
It took a moment to adjust to the saccharine visuals. But it soon became apparent that Rubell was drawing from a rich tradition of performance art. She seems to be compelling viewers to think about the huge numbers of women who perform invisible labor – all in exchange for a few crumbs from the great American pie.
Repetitive, relentless work
The work of art has been staged at the back of the gallery, in a space surrounded by three white walls. In the foreground, there’s a white cube, approximately three-and-a-half feet high and topped with a two-foot mound of Panko bread crumbs. Text invites the viewers to scatter the crumbs onto the pink carpet to keep the Ivanka doppelgänger busy.
Fortunately, the night I visited, Rubell was in the gallery observing the performance. She told me that she has witnessed the live performance in Washington, D.C., a few times. Otherwise, she’s been watching it on a live feed from her home in New York City.
The Ivanka lookalike is a model whom Rubell hired through an agency. In my brief conversation with Rubell, she mentioned that although she had to make some minor adjustments to the model’s hair color and makeup, it was relative easy to mimic Ivanka’s look because she is already so doll-like.
Rubell cited pioneering performance artist Vito Acconci as an inspiration for her interest in the medium. You can see his stamp on “Ivanka Vacuuming” in works like “Step Piece.” Over a performance period of one month in 1970, Acconci documented himself, each day, stepping on and off a stool in his apartment at the rate of 30 steps per minute until he was unable to continue. He wanted to highlight the absurdity of certain repetitive tasks.
Invisible female labor
In her work, Rubell is also tackling the seeming endlessness of mind-numbing labor. But she’s doing it in a way that aligns herself with artists such as Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro, who co-founded the California Institute of Arts’ Feminist Art program.
In 1972, Chicago and Schapiro collaborated with other feminists to create installations, performances and discussion groups concerned with the invisible labor performed by women, especially in the home.
Titled “Womanhouse,” this influential exhibition criticized prevailing attitudes towards femininity and domesticity that had been instilled through a range of cultural messages, from advertisements for home appliances, to toys like the Barbie doll.
The exhibition was set up in a dilapidated Los Angeles mansion. A group of 23 artists refurbished the residence prior to installing their work to make the familiar spaces of the home seem strange. For instance, the walls of the kitchen were pockmarked with fried egg sculptures that resembled eyes or breasts, while the shelves of a linen closet were merged into the body of a life-size mannequin doll.
In “Ivanka Vacuuming,” I also see echoes of New York-based artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles. In 1973, Ukeles got down on her hands and knees to scrub the floors and steps of the Wadsworth Atheneum museum. In another famous work, Ukeles shook the hand of every New York City sanitation worker.
Like “Ivanka Vacuuming” and “Womanhouse,” Ukeles wanted to bring attention to the drudgery of everyday tasks that are crucial to our well-being but go largely unrecognized and unrewarded.
The viewer as enabler
There’s a twist to “Ivanka Vacuuming,” however: It requires audience participation. In order to complete the work, viewers must grab from the pile of crumbs sitting on an abstract cube in the darkened half of the gallery and toss them into the brightly lit performance space.
Audience members are invited to make a mess – and then grapple with what it feels like to have someone else clean it up. Ryan Maxwell Photography
Rubell’s invitation to viewers made me think of Yoko Ono’s famous “Cut Piece” from 1964. In it, Ono sat on the floor with her legs folded beneath her body and a pair of scissors by her side. Viewers were invited to approach the artist, one by one, and cut off a piece of her dress. The performance continued until the artist was almost naked.
I was also reminded of the 1990 work “Untitled (USA Today),” in which artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres piled a large mound of candy wrapped in red, blue and silver foil against the corner of a gallery and invited visitors to help themselves. Torres was prompting the viewer to think critically about the sugary news dished out by mainstream newspapers like USA Today and the way many readers uncritically gobble it up.
Rubell’s work likewise, challenges her audience to engage and to think critically.
Vacuuming isn’t inherently degrading or abject. But it’s difficult to imagine Ivanka, at any point in her privileged upbringing, wielding a vacuum.
The artwork is jolting in the way that it juxtaposes Ivanka’s public image – pristine, professional, camera-ready – with tasks performed by the maids and housekeepers who labor in Trump’s homes, hotels and resorts.
But Rubell slyly subverts the dynamics of control. Who’s in charge? Is it the wealthiest one percent whose needs power the vacuums, start up the hotel laundries every night and turn on the kitchen fryers at 4 a.m.?
Or, perhaps it’s us – the public, the spectator – who keep the crumbs coming, participating in a system that privileges the few at the expense of the many.
Your relationship may be better than you think – find the knot
February 8, 2019
Author: Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., Professor of Psychology, Monmouth University
Disclosure statement: Gary W. Lewandowski Jr. does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
There’s an old saying, “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” In other words, before you give up, take matters into your own hands and try a little harder.
As a psychology researcher, I believe this adage applies to relationships, too. Before you let go, look for the “knots” that might save you from accidentally letting a great relationship slip from your grasp. Relationship science suggests that the problem is that people tend to overemphasize the negative and under appreciate the positive when looking at their romantic partners.
If you could build the perfect relationship, what would it look like? Perhaps more importantly, how does your current relationship stack up? Expectations for today’s relationships are higher than ever. Now that relationships are a choice, mediocrity isn’t acceptable. It’s all or nothing, and no one wants to settle.
The secret to avoiding settling seems simple: have high standards and demand only the very best. Researchers refer to people who are pickier than others and always want the absolute best possible option as maximizers. Their counterparts are satisficers – those satisfied once quality surpasses a minimum threshold of acceptability. For them, “good enough” is perfectly fine. As long as their relationship exceeds their predetermined benchmarks for “high quality,” satisficers are content.
Maximizer personalities will tend to exhaust all options and explore many possibilities to secure the flawless partner. You might think that sounds ideal, even noble, almost like common sense. But there are hidden downsides. Call it the myth of maximization, because the research reveals that maximizers report more regret and depression and feel threatened by others whom they perceive as doing better. Maximizers also experience lower self-esteem and less optimism, happiness and life satisfaction. And they prefer reversible decisions or outcomes that are not absolute or final.
See the problem? In long-term relationships, people tend to prefer more of a “‘til death do us part” approach rather than a “’til I find something better” tactic. Overall, the implication for your relationship is clear: The continuous pursuit of perfection could be fine for a car, but in your relationship it may result in failing to recognize the truly great relationship that’s right in front of you for what it is. Impossibly high standards can make an excellent relationship seem average.
You may also undervalue your relationship by being too quick to identify imperfections, notice the negatives and find problems. Blame what psychologists call the negativity bias, which is a tendency to pay attention to the bad or negative aspects of an experience.
In other words, when your relationship is going well, it doesn’t register. You take it for granted. But problems? They capture your attention. The bickering, insensitive comments, forgotten chores, the messes and the inconveniences – all stand out because they deviate from the easily overlooked happy status quo.
This tendency is so pronounced that when a relationship doesn’t have any major issues, research suggests that people inflate small problems into bigger ones. Rather than be thankful for the relative calm, people manufacture problems where none previously existed. You could be your own worst enemy without even realizing it.
Time to recalibrate. The key is separating the critical from the inconsequential in order to distinguish minor issues from real problems. Identifying the true dealbreakers will allow you to save your energy for real problems, and allow the minor stuff to simply fade away.
Data from a representative sample of over 5,000 Americans, ranging in age from 21 to over 76, identified the top 10 relationship dealbreakers:
- Disheveled or unclean appearance
- Too needy
- Lacks a sense of humor
- Lives more than three hours away
- Bad sex
- Lacks self-confidence
- Too much TV/video games
- Low sex drive
Beyond that list, there are certainly annoyances that can become dealbreakers in otherwise generally healthy relationships. And if your partner disrespects, hurts or abuses you, those are behaviors that shouldn’t be ignored and should rightly end your relationship.
In a follow-up study, researchers asked participants to consider both dealbreakers and dealmakers – that is, qualities that are especially appealing. When determining whether a relationship was viable, it turned out the dealbreakers carried more weight. The negativity bias strikes again. The fact that people tend to focus more on the breakers than the makers is further evidence that we’re not giving some aspects of our relationship enough credit.
To help you better appreciate your partner’s good qualities, consider the qualities individuals find most desirable in a marriage partner.
What have you been missing in your relationship? Surely there are boxes that your partner checks that you’ve neglected to notice. Start giving credit where credit is due.
In fact, some studies suggest you should give your partner even more credit than she or he might deserve. Instead of being realistic, give your partner the benefit of the doubt, with an overly generous appraisal. Would you be lying to yourself? Sure, a little bit. But research shows that these types of positive illusions help the relationship by decreasing conflict while increasing satisfaction, love and trust.
Holding overly optimistic views of your partner convinces you of their value, which reflects well on you – you’re the one who has such a great partner, after all. Your rose-colored opinions also make your partner feel good and give them a good reputation to live up to. They won’t want to let you down so they’ll try to fulfill your positive prophecy. All of which benefits your relationship.
It’s time to stop being overly critical of your relationship. Instead find the knots, the parts of your relationship you’ve been taking for granted that will help you hold on. If you know where to look and what to appreciate, you may just realize there are a lot more reasons to happily hold onto your relationship than you thought.
duncan hackett, logged in via Google: I really wonder why behaviorists feel the need to talk about things that involve feelings. They think behavior is all that matters. All you have to do is change behavior and feelings follow like some mute puppy dog. So if you act like a normal person, copy people who have successful relationships, then you will have one too. Simple as that. Except it isn’t. You have to ask what causes a person to make themselves miserable by seeing all the negatives, in a relationship or in life? They answer the question by calling it a name, a negativity bias, which explains absolutely zero. It doesn’t seem to have a purpose or an origin. It just exists in order to explain something else. How silly is that? Instead of exploring how you feel, why you might feel the way you do, tracing it back to your childhood, where it so obviously comes from, they want you practice self deception. It is no surprise they want you to deceive yourself, because that is all they are good at. Isn’t it about time we saw through this nonsense? Behaviorism is an empty doctrine with no explanatory power whatsoever. it is self contradictory and doesn’t follow science or common sense.
Opinion: Down With Galantine’s Day!
By Karen Straughan
The shiny new tradition of Galantine’s Day, as described by character Leslie Knope of the popular sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” is a “girls’ morning out,” complete with frittatas, mimosas and thoughtful gifts in gorgeous wrapping. And as always, canny marketers are capitalizing on feminism-themed gifts such as “male tears” coffee mugs, and “The Future is Female” designer laptop bags.
Speaking as a former server who once had to endure the vagaries of Mothers Day — the busiest day of the year, and consistently the least lucrative — I have to condemn this holiday as the paean to privilege that it is.
And yet Galantine’s Day has become the latest celebration de jeure among the elite, well-heeled, educated and persistently intersectionality-oblivious chattering class of feminists. It’s probably the most stunning example of privileged, cis-heteronormative, neuro-typical, middle class, white feminist insensitivity since the Declaration of Sentiments forgot to even mention female-bodied people who identify as non-binary.
Where is the holiday for agender people, I ask? Or for women who have penises? Or, for that matter, for male identifying persons who retain their vaginas?
Where is the holiday for the mostly working class women and women of color who will be expected to serve these “ladies” their brunch food and fruity spritzers? Where is the celebration of women like me, who due to my atypical personality don’t have female friends to invite anywhere on any day, and who are miserable and anti-social before 1 p.m.? Or for the millions of women who will never be able to take a morning off to attend a party that might fall on a workday?
What about those of us who suck at choosing the perfect gift, or wrapping it in the perfect way? Is this new “holiday” just another opportunity for us to fail? As if Christmas, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, housewarmings, baby showers, weddings and birthdays weren’t opportunity enough. More than this, what about those of us who can’t afford to purchase a dozen gifts for a dozen friends, or to even eat out at a restaurant?
Not to mention all the female identifying people who are gluten, egg, dairy and citrus intolerant. No waffles, omelettes or mimosas for them, even if they’re lucky enough to have friends, be invited, and can afford to take a morning off work and split a huge tab with a bunch of egg-eating drunks!
And what happens if Galantine’s Day happens to fall during Ramadan? What then? Brunch hours are daylight hours, people. Are our Muslim sisters supposed to just sit there and watch the rest of us eat bacon? Or are they supposed to travel to Inuvik in order to be able to join friends in a yearly celebration of womanly solidarity? And what about those of us who are afflicted with anxiety disorders that prevent us from leaving our homes?
Galantine’s Day is an elitist, exclusionary, class and race insensitive, white feminist abomination, and anyone with an ounce of humanity should rightly condemn it.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Karen Straughan is a spokeswoman for Men’s Rights Edmonton and a contributor to AVoiceForMen.com. She wrote this for InsideSources.com.
Confusing and high bills for cancer patients add to anxiety and suffering
February 13, 2019
Author: Mary Politi, Associate Professor of Surgery, Division of Public Health Sciences, Washington University in St Louis
Disclosure statement: Mary Politi receives funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the American Cancer Society (ACS) the Barnes Jewish Hospital Foundation (BJHF), Merck & Co, the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), and the Society of Family Planning (SFP).
Weeks after my father passed away from cancer in 2010, my newly widowed mother received a bill for US $11,000.
Insurance retroactively denied a submitted claim for one of his last chemotherapy treatments, claiming it was “experimental.” All of the prior identical chemotherapy treatments he had received had been covered, and the doctors had received pre-authorization for the treatment.
Was it suddenly experimental because it was not prolonging life anymore? Was it a clerical error, with one insurance claim submitted differently than the others?
As my mother and family grieved, we had this bill looming in the backs of our minds. We took turns calling the insurance company and the hospital billing office, checking websites, and deciphering billing codes on various pieces of paper.
Advances in cancer treatments have improved patient outcomes overall, but many of these interventions have increased costs of care. Even when care is “covered,” the definition of “coverage” can include high deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and surprise out-of-pocket bills for patients. As one participant in a recently published qualitative study of cancer survivors told us, “You just have to call both parties and figure out, what are you chargin’ me for? Plus … you’re getting billed for months ago.”
By the time patients receive these delayed bills, they may be unable to recall the particular visit in question, which makes it exhausting for them to manage their finances and diagnosis. The problem is so significant that the National Cancer Institute has a term for this: financial toxicity.
A scary disease, an opaque system
In the U.S., cancer is one of the most expensive diseases to treat; only heart disease costs more. This cost burden is often passed on to patients.
And to make matters worse, lack of transparency about cost and coverage can be confusing. Seemingly arbitrary changes in insurance decisions can contribute to patients’ financial toxicity, or the hardship, psychological stress and behavioral adjustments associated with costs of care. For example, some patients have unexpected bills after they receive a diagnosis or abnormal result on a screening test.
In these cases, care that was previously categorized as preventive (and free from out-of-pocket costs) can become a diagnostic or surveillance test, with associated fees. Other patients are surprised when they receive a bill for physician time as well as a hospital facility fee. It is difficult for patients to keep track of all of these changes and adjust cost expectations.
The impact of high care costs is substantial. People with high out-of-pocket costs are less likely to receive necessary care, which can compromise cancer treatment and may affect overall or cancer-specific mortality. In a recent study, almost a third of adults said they delayed or avoided care due to costs.
A patient participant in a study we conducted talked about the time she spent navigating the billing process, commenting, “The billing was extremely daunting. I kept a three-ring binder that was three inches thick … tried to match things up. It was a mess.” That time and effort could be spent healing or engaging in valued activities, she relayed to us.
Hidden costs of care
In addition to direct costs of care, there are indirect costs of care, such as fees for transportation, parking, housing when needed, and the time spent managing the financial aspects of care on top of treatment.
My father had to pay between $18 and $30 per day just to park at the hospital in New York City where he received his treatments, depending on how long he stayed. This parking fee was on top of tolls ($15) and the time spent traveling to and from the hospital. For him, this meant anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. Transportation and parking costs are typically not covered by insurance, though some hospitals, health centers and nonprofit organizations offer assistance with these indirect care costs.
Many other patients have to take time off work while they are undergoing cancer treatment or follow-up care. Cancer patients who are unemployed may even have lower survival rates. One patient in our study commented, “It takes me two-and-a-half hours to get here. I was coming every month, then every two months. Now I’m every three months. Eventually, I go to six months, but I have to take off work every time to come.” Another patient stated, “My vacation and sick time ran out … I had to go on disability.”
Although addressing out-of-pocket care costs for patients requires multiple systemic changes, there are strategies that can help.
First, patients and their clinicians can discuss the costs of care and create cost-saving strategies. Patient-clinician cost discussions can reduce overall costs to patients, but many clinicians are hesitant to talk about costs with patients.
If there is more than one treatment option available with equal effectiveness data, patients can ask, “is there a difference in price between options”? Developers of patient-centered decision aids can also add the relative costs of treatments so that patients can weigh cost along with other aspects of treatment to support their choice.
Health care institutions may be underutilizing social workers, financial navigators and other care center resources. Social workers, financial navigators and other care center resources staff with adequate training that promotes patients’ access to care and assistance can help manage their out-of-pocket expenses. This process can yield positive outcomes for both patients and health care institutions.
Less may be more
Sometimes, treatments are not needed and may add burden to patients. For example, a shorter duration of radiation for early stage breast cancer works just as well as longer durations; chemotherapy might not benefit some patients at earlier stages of cancer or some older adults; and some scans may be excessive.
Until we change norms and engage patients, clinicians and systems to weigh the pros and cons of care that is considered unnecessary or even harmful, many patients and clinicians might fear less aggressive treatment. There’s also the Choosing Wisely campaign which is designed to help by summarizing evidence in plain language and recommending commonly overused interventions.
Finding sustainable solutions to reducing cancer-related financial toxicity requires a collaborative effort between doctors, patients, policymakers, health insurance companies and health care institutions. Easing the cognitive burden associated with the financial stress that comes with cancer care can lead to better outcomes for cancer patients’ health and quality of life.
Research coordinator Nerissa George, MPH, contributed to this article.