African American Art and its Effects on the African American Community

The African American art world has had a profound, yet sometimes an overlooked effect on the American community throughout history.African American artists have chronicled the struggles and the achievements of African Americans throughout the past several hundred years. The University of Southern California states “Less attention has probably been paid to African American artists than to their counterparts in literature and music, yet their contributions have also been significant in the development of American culture.” Many African American artists have documented their American experience through their painting, writing, architecture and many other forms of art. Paul R. Williams was one such artist. An architect that was born in 1894, he became one of the foremost architects in Southern California. He created a staggering amount of projects in his 60 year career. Williams designed over 2000 residences and many commercial buildings both in Southern California and elsewhere. Many of Williams’s projects were very high profile projects. The famous Shrine Auditorium, the Hollywood YMCA and the Los Angeles County Court House are three designs that have propelled this architect to the realm of the elite. Williams’s effect on American architecture has lived on since his death in 1980. Among Williams other projects are the United Nations building in Paris, the MCA building in Beverly Hills, CA and the Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills Ca. All of these buildings are worth a visit to see Williams style.Many African American artists have used African themes in their art. One such artist is Claude Clark. Born in 1945, Clark has been in the African American art scene for over 50 years. His place in art history was cemented with his leadership in the 60s during the civil rights struggles. Clark studied art under the direction of Dr. Albert C Barnes between the years of 1939 and 1944. Dr. Barnes was a well known collector of art. Barnes founded the Barnes school of Art through his foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania. It was during this time with Barnes that Claude Clark honed his painting skills and became interested in African Art. Clark also enjoyed painting around themes of the struggles for African Americans in the Deep South and also enjoyed painting Caribbean subjects. In later years, Claude Clark taught as Associate Professor of Art Talladega College in the 1940′s and 50′s. Claude Clark enjoyed a long career and died in 2001.Many believe the most prominent African American painter in US history was Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence’s work was primarily based in US history and documented the themes of slavery and racial oppression. Lawrence was one of the first African American painters to gain national prominence. His paintings have kept him in the public eye for the better half of 60 years. Lawrence gained popularity as a very young age. In his 20s, Lawrence gained national attention for his exhibition titled “The Migration of the Negro”. This was a series of 60 paintings that was sold to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Phillips Collection in Washington DC. Lawrence was an integral part of the great Harlem Renaissance. He studied at the Harlem Art Workshop where he met many like minded artists that shaped his work for years to come. It was during these years that he met the painter Gwendolyn Knight who became his wife for the next 59 years. The most famous work from Lawrence was titled The Migration Series. The series begins and ends with the images of the railroad station. The work shows the South and represent the migration North and the massive number of African Americans making this journey. The project shows the despair of working in the agriculture of the South and the hardships endured. The paintings show the poverty and the motivation that gave African Americans the need to move north. When the paintings depict the North, they show the exploitation of African Americans in dangerous industries and tough living conditions. The hope for a better life is the motivation that kept them going but the struggles are the same as in the South with just a different location and different surroundings. All of these artists are only a few of the many African Americans that had a profound effect on the art world in American in the last century. Their art lives on to tell the stories of the African American experience.

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Finding an Entertainment Center

Some people buy entertainment centers out of necessity, while some buy it to make it a centerpiece of their home. Like many people, the entertainment center is one of the most prized possessions in the home. Others are content with a table and chairs as their entertainment center and while that’s not a bad idea, it just doesn’t look appealing. There are many things to consider when buying entertainment furniture.Your television-The TV is one of the largest pieces of electronics and whether it’s a flat screen or not, it is still an essential part of your entertainment needs. Find a system that can comfortably fit a television.Surround Sound-The sound system can come with a few accessories or plenty of accessories. Know how many accessories your system has and find an entertainment system that’s right for that.DVD Player or Media Player-Some come pre-installed with the television, but not always. If they have to come in separate boxes then room must also be made for them. There are those that come in slim forms and ones that come in large sizes.Compartments-Some entertainment furniture have a basic layout where there are few compartments to hold your equipment while some have a compartment for everything. There are several types available and the kind that you get is determined by how intricate you want your entertainment furniture to be.These are just a few of the things that are looked at when considering an entertainment center. There are others, but ultimately the buyer must decide how much they want to spend and what kind of design best fits their needs.

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Decorating Your Home With Art Deco Design

There are many style options you can choose from to decorate your home in today’s day and age, even options that one would never have considered back in the 20th century or even in the past few decades. This includes one style from the 20th century that seems to be regaining some popularity recently, and that style is art deco.Back in the 1920s to 1930s, art deco design was very popular. In that time period, art deco was considered to be functional, elegant, and ultra modern. Art deco designers would often reject the traditional ideas and materials of decoration and interior design, instead opting to use more unusual materials such as ebony, marble, stainless steel, lacquer, aluminum, inlaid wood, sharkskin, and zebra skin.The use of harder, metallic materials to construct the furniture used in art deco design were to reflect the celebration of the machine age. Sometimes, art deco designers would alter the furniture they had to give it more of a look that fit the art deco interior design. This is why the process of Lacquering (or giving the furniture a glossy finish) was created.In addition, art deco designers liked to emphasize clean lines and geometric shapes. Strong, sharp angles were often added to the layout of the room to emphasize the art deco interior design.If you are considering turning your living room or bedroom into a room that accentuates the art deco design, here are some ideas and tips to consider.Realize that there is often a pyramidal effect on the rooms that use the art deco design, thanks to the Aztec and Egyptian elements that influence art deco.Giving your room a gradual lessening of form can present a perception of strength and endurance to those who experience your room. That is why this type of interior design was very popular back during the days of the Great Depression, as people tried to display their financial strength and stability in that dark economic period.There are other ways to emphasize the art deco interior design in your room.One way is to add more furniture pieces and accessories that have black and green tones to your room, as black and green are primary colors in art deco design.Adding intriguing and unusual accessories, such as distinctive artwork, is another way to add to the art deco flavor of your room.Another way is to have wall-to-wall carpet that coordinates well with the art deco design of your room. This would include having neutral color carpet to help soften up the intensity of the art deco interior design.You should also pay attention to the lighting in your room, as it should match up well with art deco decorating. Lamps with geometric glass shades often work best with art deco interior design.In addition to artificial lighting, you should also consider the natural lighting from your windows and the window treatments. With art deco design, going with ordinary-looking drapes may be your best option, though if you want to have people focus on your window style, you could consider using vintage drapes instead.Decorating your home with art deco design involves using materials that are different from traditional materials, such as ebony, marble, stainless steel, sharkskin, and zebra skin. Lacquering is also a key component in art deco design. Art deco also emphasizes clean lines and geometric shapes, especially strong, sharp angles. Art deco design continues to make a comeback after being very popular in the 1920s and 1930s; if you want an ultra modern, functional, yet elegant design, art deco would likely be your best interior design option.

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Small Business Medical Insurance and the Impact of Health Care Reform

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as the “Health Care Reform Act” was signed into law on March 23, 2010 by President Obama. Most of the initial provisions did not go into affect for 6 months, or September 23, 2010. The bill is a whopping 2000+ pages long, with a 14-page Table of Contents! It’s no wonder that most employers have little comprehension of what is contained in the bill, and less understanding of how the bill will affect their business. To understand the impact of the bill on your business, you should contact a specialist who is an expert on small business medical insurance plans and is familiar with the Act.In the meantime, we will take a cursory view of health care reform, and a year-by-year snapshot of changes to come. Hopefully, it will provide a starting part for discussion.The Act contains five key provisions:1. The requirement for all US citizens and legal residents to have health insurance;2. Penalties for employers who do not offer health insurance for their employees;3. State Based Health Exchanges created to offer cost effective insurance options4. Premium credits for low income individuals;5. Eliminates pre-existing condition and annual/lifetime benefit limitsA Year by Year Look at Health Care ReformSome changes went into effect in 2010, such as coverage for adult dependents (dependents until age 26), and several more will happen in 2011. The most significant changes, however, will not go into effect until 2014. Below is a snapshot of key changes that will be going into effect in the coming years:2011· No pre-tax reimbursements from “health accounts” for non-prescribed, over the counter medications,· 20% tax on nonqualified HSA withdrawals,· Reporting the value of employer sponsored coverage on w-2′s (delayed)· Automatic enrollment in long term care program, employer may opt out (delayed),· Drug company fees: $2.5 billion in 2011, $4.2 billion in 20182012· Uniform explanation of coverage,· Pre-enrollment document sent explaining benefits and exclusions,· 60 day notice for material modifications, if not provided in uniform explanation of coverage,2013· FSA contributions limited to $2,500,· New federal employer tax, $2.00 per covered individual per plan year· Medicare payroll tax increase from 1.45% to 2.35%,· Employer notice to employees of exchanges, premium subsidies, and free choice vouchers,2014· Individual mandate – every citizen must have coverage,· Individual penalties for not purchasing coverage,· Guaranteed issue,· State health exchanges effective· Standard benefit plans, (bronze, silver, gold, platinum),· Waiting period not more than 90 days,· Employer penalties for not offering coverage or at least one FTE receives a tax credit,· Health insurance company fees: $8 billion 2014, $14.3 billion 2018, 2019 prior year amount increased by premium growth rate.2018· Cadillac Tax. 40% tax on plans value in excess of $10,200 single, $27,500 family.Penalties for Non-CoverageAs stated, most of the act’s important provisions will become effective in 2014. The most relevant law for employers is the penalty they will face for non-coverage of employees. The exact penalties are complicated to calculate, base on numerous factors. Some of the basic guidelines are outlined below:Employers with more than 50 employees: · If coverage is not offered by the employer and even one full-time employee (FTE) receives a premium tax credit, the employer will pay a fee of $2,000 per FTE, excluding the first 30 ee’s.· If “affordable” coverage is not offered and one FTE receives a premium tax credit, the employer will pay the lesser of $3,000 for each employee receiving a tax credit, or $2,000 for each FTE. Affordable coverage is defined as an employee cost of health insurance, less than 9.5% of household income and the actuarial value of plan is at least 60%.· A Voucher will be required if the employee contribution exceeds 8% of household income.All Employers: · Employers that offer coverage are required to provide a free choice voucher to employees with incomes less than 400% of the Family Poverty Level (FPL), whose share of premium exceeds 8% but less than 9.8% of their income and who chose to enroll in a plan in the Exchange.· A Voucher equals to what the employer would have paid to provide coverage under the employer’s plan. Employers providing free choice vouchers are not subject to penalties.Employers with 200 or more employees· Required to automatically enroll employees into health plans offered by employer. Employees may opt out.If the provisions of the health care reform act sound complex, they are! We highly recommend you consult with a specialist who is an expert on small business medical insurance plans and is familiar with the Act. Feel free to contact CPEhr’s benefits specialist with any health care reform questions.

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Insurance Companies and Universal Health Care

Insurance companies serve a very important function in our society. The purpose of insurance is to share risk. Risk is the amount of economic loss that someone is willing to assume in an activity. For instance, a bank would not loan money for the purpose of buying a house, unless the house was protected against losses such as fire, wind and other perils. That protection is provided by a Homeowner’s policy.A loan to purchase an automobile would not be available unless the car was insured for losses by theft or collision. That protection is provided by an auto policy.Health insurance is a policy that shares the risk of losses caused by injuries or illness. A share of the risk is assumed by the individual through a deductible or co-pay. In-other-words, if someone visits the doctor, that individual may be required to pay the first $15 or $20 of the visit. The health insurance company assumes the risk of the remainder of the cost.That shared risk comes about through an exchange of ‘consideration’. Consideration is value. The insured pays a premium in exchange for the promise of the insurance company to pay certain costs associated with the insured’s health care. Which brings us to the controversy surrounding the government’s efforts to institute what some call universal health care.No matter what side of the argument you are on, in favor or against universal health care, one issue has been settled. President Obama stated publicly that it is impossible to insure the ‘uninsured’ without additional costs. So, the idea that this will be a ‘deficit neutral’ policy has been debunked by the administration itself. Either taxes go up to pay for the program, or health care will have to be rationed to keep costs neutral, or bring them down.In response to the public out-cry about a government health care program, the administration has called the insurance companies villains. After all, insurance companies exclude preexisting conditions for some period of time when an individual enrolls (however that is not always the case with group policies), and insurance companies are making a ‘profit’.PreExsiting ConditionsThink about the concept of risk and preexisting conditions. An individual has a home that has been damaged by fire. Would a homeowner’s insurance company now write a policy that would cover the repairs to home caused by the preexisting fire? Of course not! That is not shared risk, that is bad business.An individual has a preexisting health condition, say diabetes. Purchasing a policy that would exclude the treatment for diabetes for a limited period of time (usually two years), now results in a shared risk. The health insurance company will cover the person for other perils, and if that individual pays the premiums over time, that exclusion regarding the preexisting condition is then dropped.Is it possible for the government to insure everyone in the United States and force insurance companies to provide policies without regard to preexisting conditions? It is possible, but not without driving the cost of health-care way up. After all, the money to pay the doctors and hospitals have to come from somewhere and President Obama stated that ‘We are out of money’. Since the government doesn’t earn money, its only source of revenue is taxes.ProfitInsurance companies are being cast as the bad guy since companies make a profit. Which do you prefer, companies that are well run that make a profit, or a company like General Motors that required billions of dollars of taxpayer money to bail the company out? A profit is what allows companies to expand services and provide jobs. Companies that fail to make a profit, go out-of-business.The government not only fails to make a profit, as a well run business entity should, it runs at a deficit. The latest example is Cash for Clunkers. Not only was taxpayer money used to subsidize auto sales, now car dealers are complaining that the government is not sending the checks for the Clunkers that were promised. It appears that many buyers will have lost their old cars and now face repossession of the new cars purchased since the money for the program did not actually exist.This does not bode well for a government run health care system.Tort ReformDoctors and hospitals must practice defensive medicine. People will sue for anything. Tort lawyers use a ‘shot-gun’ approach when filing a malpractice lawsuit. All doctors, nurses, technicians and hospitals involved in a case are named as a defendant, whether that party had any actual responsibility for the claimed injury and damage.We need a loser pay system, which provides that anyone who brings a lawsuit and loses, is required to pay the other side’s attorney fees and expenses. That would do away with most frivolous lawsuits and bring the costs of health care down.Big Government SolutionGovernment should be required to live within its means. It does not, and the government, not insurance companies, is the villain in this scenario.The founding fathers did not foresee a large, powerful centralized government. That is what was the war of independence against England was all about. The US Constitution delegated specific powers to the Federal Government, and it does not specify taking over any private sector industry.Medicare and Medicaid are government health care programs on the verge of collapse. Even President Obama admits Medicare cannot be sustained. No program can be sustained when it runs at a deficit and all government programs run at a deficit.Universal Health Care will run at a deficit from day one and that is just bad business.

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