Thursday, December 30, 2010

One Step Forward, Two Back,0,4869113.story

Now Powelson's son, identified in court papers as T.G., is one of 20,000 students across California whose mental health services may be in jeopardy in the new year because of a line-item veto by the governor. In October, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger slashed $133 million in funding for what are known as AB 3632 services, a 25-year-old program that requires state and local education and mental health agencies to jointly provide education-related mental health services.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rant On, Charlie

If we often define "freedom" in entirely political terms, we will understandably focus on the recent assault on civil liberties, notably in the United States. Yet in today's all-encompassing, profit-driven Marketplace (erroneously termed a "society"), most people are "indefinitely detained" in economic servitude. Abjectly dependent upon imperious corporations for survival itself, an employed person readily sacrifices his first and fourth amendment rights in order to earn a paycheck in the privately-owned workplace.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

An Army Against One

Several police patrol units went to the Oak Lawn Hilton this afternoon after learning that a man who brandished a gun at his former workplace in Ford City in Chicago was in one of the hotel's rooms, authorities said.

Before police could locate the man, he had turned the weapon on himself in an attempted suicide, police said. According to hotel manager Rick Harmon, the man survived the attempt and was transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn for treatment and a psychiatric evaluation.


Police officers prepare to enter the Oak Lawn Hilton this afternoon. (Chicago Tribune/Warren Skalski)

Before arriving at the hotel, the man reportedly created a disturbance at his former employer in Ford City by brandishing the weapon and then leaving behind a suicide note, authorities said.

There was no barricade situation at the hotel, and no hotel guests had to be evacuated, authorities said.

"At no time during this unfortunate incident was anybody at the hotel at risk," Harmon said.

Both the Chicago Police Department and the Oak Lawn Police worked together to keep the situation under control and contained. They did not even draw their weapons at any time during the situation."

-- Wendy E. Normandy

Monday, December 20, 2010

Joy To The World,0,3428487.column

Regardless of the time of year, Americans are stressed, and often it's job-related, experts said. Three of four Americans surveyed this year said they experienced an unhealthy amount of stress, according to the American Psychological Association's 2010 Stress in America survey released in November. The association didn't provide comparison figures for earlier years but said stress has been a continual problem for the last several years.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dismally Hard At Times

And what is CBT?

It is a form of talking therapy that encourages depressed patients to exchange their self-destructive thoughts for healthier ways of believing and acting.

It is the modern equivalent of telling people (gently) to shape up, smarten up and take responsibility for their own lives.

Except that you could not possibly convey that time-honoured message with such stark clarity these days. Apparently, we are all too fragile to hear such sage advice: the shock might send us rushing to the medicine cabinet.

That is a terrible shame. All the antidepressant drugs and therapy-speak in the world cannot take away the simple, honest fact that life for all of us can be dismally hard at times.

For most of us, though, the healthiest option is to face our problems vigorously, rather than disappear down a black hole of antidepressant dependency.

That is an especially important message to spread during this economic downturn. Times are getting harder.

But instead of grasping for tablets, we would be far better off being encouraged to rely on our own resources — positivity and self-reliance.

Read more:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Anti-American Feel Good

America, Y Ur Peeps B So Dumb?

f you hang out much with thinking people, conversation eventually turns to the serious political and cultural questions of our times. Such as: How can the Americans remain so consistently brain-fucked?

Joe Bageant is author of the book, Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War. (Random House Crown), about working class America. He is also a contributor to Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance from the Heartland (AK Press). A complete archive of his on-line work, along with the thoughts of many working Americans on the subject of class may be found on ColdType and Joe Bageant’s website,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lab Rats

Duh. Didn't See It Comin':

Increasing levels of information overload from computer and smart phone screens cause a “bottleneck” in the brain and prevent any deep thought, according to Nicholas Carr, former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review.

His comments add to the weight of evidence that our addiction to technology and the snippets of information it provides is damaging our ability to apply our power of thought in a meaningful way.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Waiting For Flying Saucers

Live Bait & Ammo #160: Waiting for Flying Saucers ?

UAW President Bob King and his corporate partners at GM, Ford, and Chrysler-Fiat will blame the competition they’ve rigged on workers and relentlessly degrade them into believing they are worth less and less as profits rise. That’s not a guess, it’s the drill.
History lessons must be revised before the profiteers of war and labor are able to con workers with the same old lies. We have to be literally vigilant. The most common words in the con man’s lingo are “free” and “lucky”. As in, you are lucky to have a job but you are free to quit if you don’t like it. Unless, of course, you’re enlisted. In which case, you defend freedom while the lucky sit home and collect dividends. The only reason we have enough volunteers in Afghanistan today is because there isn’t enough opportunity in the land of the free. It’s an old story.
When the Confederacy failed to acquire enough volunteers, they instituted conscription with exemptions for important people. Slave owners decided slave owners were too important to fight in the war to defend slavery. The Confederacy granted one exemption for every twenty slaves owned. Thus, a plantation master with one hundred slaves could have an exemption for himself, his three sons, and a nephew. It was, as workers said back then, “A rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.” Men who refused conscription were hung. Their property was confiscated and friends and neighbors were warned not to help the draft dodgers’ women and children.
Today, working people in the south commonly sport the rebel flag. They’ve been conned into believing that the Civil War was about some principle other than the privileges of slave owners. Through a revision of history, they’ve come to believe that defending slavery was a war for freedom. In fact, the only thing free was labor. Slavery, which provided free labor for the rich, depressed wages for all workers regardless of color. White southern workers not only got screwed, they fought for the honor of getting screwed, and some of them are still defending that honor.
Sometimes the truth is too painful to admit. When facts defy our cherished beliefs, something has to give. We can reject the beliefs we were taught, or we can reject the facts and alter evidence to sustain beliefs that bolster a more glorious version of events.
On December 21, 1954 Marian Keech and a small cult of followers gathered on a hill expecting that the world was going to end and that they, the true believers, would be rescued by flying saucers. When the world didn’t end and flying saucers didn’t appear, Marian and her followers claimed that their faith had saved the world from destruction. Faith can dominate experience because beliefs are not bound by hard facts or natural law. The supremacy of belief over reality is self perpetuating.
We have our own true believers in the UAW. They still believe Bob King and his enforcers have our best interests at heart when they claim that concessions save jobs and workers have to be more competitive. UAW members who believe this Concession Caucus boilerplate are like the workers who fought to defend slavery while the slave owners drank sweet tea on the verandah and cheered them on. One has to wonder where they’ve been for the past thirty years.
How many more times will American workers be conned into “A rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight?”
A goldfish lacks foresight because a goldfish doesn’t have any memory. Every time he swims around the bowl, the view is brand new. The struggle against oppression is a struggle against denial and the tendency to forget painful memories. America invaded Iraq because America forgot the Gulf of Tonkin.
- Gregg Shotwell

Friday, December 3, 2010

Technology Noose

There's A Place For Us...:,0,603742.story

Her classmate Krishna Mundada, 17, of Vernon Hills, said he witnessed others being bullied, insulted and even stalked on the site.

"It only brings out the coward in people, and it's only making matters worse for everyone," Mundada said.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Sort Schema Madness:,0,4540402.story

Your mind is a muscle you can train; meditation is the tool used to focus it or quiet it down. Every day thousands of thoughts zip through our heads, something Gerlach likens to a jar of dirty water: Keep shaking up the jar — or your head — and it will remain clouded. But "if we set the jar down, letting the dirt particles settle to the bottom, it leaves clarity at the top," she said.

Meditation will not stop your thoughts. It will not empty your mind. Instead, proponents say, it teaches you how to replace the mental chatter in your head with stillness. This ability helps us live more consciously in the present moment.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Work Kills

Do Nothing Buy Nothing:

Compared with men who worked less than 40 hours per week, unfit men who worked 41 to 45 hours a week were 59 percent more likely to die of heart disease, although they were not more likely to die of other causes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

194 Years of Scabs

In truth, European trade unionists are astounded and confused by the free-for-all mentality of the U.S. This bizarre arrangement where a worker’s established role in society can be traded away promiscuously—can be placed on the market and sold to another party like a cheap commodity—blows their minds.

Clearly, they don’t understand America. They don’t understand our mindset, our deep-seated entrepreneurial impulses, our categorical reverence for the free market, our belief that anything that can, in principle, be bought or sold is, therefore, automatically, for sale. It’s this mentality that created pay toilets at the airport.

From their perspective, calling a scab a “replacement worker” is as absurd as calling a traitor an “alternative patriot.” No flag-waving American would stand for that kind of verbal legerdemain when it came to defending one’s country; and no one should stand for it when it comes to labor disputes. But we do.

David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright, is the author of “It’s Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor”. He served 9 terms as president of AWPPW Local 672. He can be reached at

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday News Wire

Believe the G? It's Worse!:

More than 45million Americans, or 20 per cent of U.S. adults, had some form of mental illness last year, it was revealed this week.

U.S. government research showed that of those 45million, 11million had a serious illness.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

WBI Forum

Stress Cracks:

This page hosts open discussions about the problem of workplace bullying and solutions for resolving it. Take some time to share your story. Read about the experiences of others. Share ideas and information with people who know exactly what it feels like to be a target. Remember, it takes a great deal of courage to tell one's story. Please be encouraging and supportive of one another.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Needless Waste

How Mean We Are:

Bullying is as ingrained in the fabric of our culture as baseball and apple pie. Telling kids to stop picking on others isn't very effective when they see the adults doing it. For example, many workplaces aren't much different from high school campuses with the harrassment, rumor mongering, sabotage, and shunning that goes on. Boorish behavior is encouraged and rewarded in business and government, hence your high school bullies go on to become bully bosses. Until society as a whole takes a zerio tolerance approach to bullying, it's futile to tell the kids not to do it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Good Professor

November 11, 2010

Aunt Lil, I remember:

On the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month ...

Laying Down Arms


On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the Great Powers of the World signed the armistice laying down arms after four years of the bloodiest war in history. That was 1918.

Now, we call it Veteran's Day.

What caused the armistice was the refusal of soldiers to fight. They refused 'to go over the top' anymore. In Russia, France, England, Italy they refused to participate in the slaughter which had begun in 1914.

What we learn from Armistice Day is that the soldier is the front line of the peace movement.

Sailors and soldiers mutinied against the war, turning their arms not on so-called "enemies," namely brother soldiers from across the world: instead, they turned their arms upon the officers who otherwise sent them to the butchery of the trenches or ordered them to a freezing death in battles at sea.

In late October 1918 at Kiel and Wilhelmshaven, the home ports of the
German fleet, the sailors refused the orders of their officers. Soldiers were brought in to force the sailors to obey. Instead the soldiers embraced their cause, "Frieden und Brot” or Peace and Bread.

One such sailor was a former stoker named Karl Artelt who had shoveled coal into the fires which kept the steam engines of the battleships burning. On a voyage to the Far East he witnessed the Chinese revolution of Sun Yat-sen. Later, perhaps as the engines of the German naval squadron were transformed from coal to oil, he became a skilled metal worker in the engine room. In other words his experiences below decks put him at the central themes of his historical epoch - imperialism and the oil machine - and he used these experiences to overthrow the war mongers. Such men put an end to World War One.

Together soldiers and sailors formed direct democratic councils. On 9th November 1918 a socialist republic was declared in Berlin. Hindenburg and Ludendorf, the German generals, had to agree to an armistice.

So: Honor the soldier who takes direct action for peace. Honor the soldier who thinks. Honor the soldier who brings Empire to its end.

Remember the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month!
Bring the troops home!

Peter Linebaugh teaches history at the University of Toledo. The London Hanged and (with Marcus Rediker) The Many-Headed Hydra: the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic. His essay on the history of May Day is included in Serpents in the Garden. His latest book is the Magna Carta Manifesto. He can be reached at:

Monday, November 8, 2010

War Criminals, One And All

Oh Dear Obama! This World is Full of Agony

Posted on 06. Nov, 2010 by Raja Mujtaba in US

By Dr Mustafa Kamal Sherwani

Dedicated to his India visit.

Don’t believe the hopes of the ecstatic world,

When you sit on the mighty American throne;

Try to change your country into a sacred place,

Make it shine with piety, as once it shone.

I know you inherit the legacy of a devil,

Whose hands are full of ravages and blood;

Who exulted over the wails and shrieks,

Who ruined the peace like a miserable flood.

Have an intent gaze at Michelle –your wife,

When, of Iraq and Afghan folk, you think;

Tell her 'someone will rape you in front of me',

Imagine her agony, and look at her horrific blink.

Cast an affectionate glance at Malia and Sasha,

Your lovely daughters of 11 and 7 years old;

Tell them ' I will be shot before your eyes',

Then face the truth as a person- brave and bold.

Bring to your mind the images of countless houses,

Which your deadly bombs have reduced to rubble;

The mounting heaps of the dead whose life has gone,

Like a slight breeze breaks a water’s tiny bubble.

Dr. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani, LL.D. Chairman, All India Muslim Forum

Lucknow ,U.P.India

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Love Is Kind, Fear, Unkind

World Wide Pain:

Workplace mobbing is a 'virus' or a 'cancer' that spreads through malicious gossip, rumour, hearsay,and unfounded accusations. It is done with deliberate intent to have those targeted 'eliminated' or 'forced out' of their employment. Accusations of unsubstantiated 'bullying' can even be made against the target as the perpetrators realise the benefits of claiming 'victim' status.

Those targeted are often:

  • Change agents
  • High achievers (sometimes with public recognition)
  • Enthusiastic (eg those who volunteer)
  • Whistleblowers
  • Known for their commitment to human rights

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Home Run Around

Post-Election notes:

I awoke this morning with a txt proclaiming the End of the World (as we know it) from a stalwart Green Party activist in SW Chicago. His guy for State Rep, Ochsenfeld, a very decent man got 15%. Locally Greenies clocked in at anywhere from 7 - 15%. The top of the ballot for Governor, Rich Whitney - a very credible presentation to be a candidate in the land of Mutt and Jeff politics - got 3.4%. The showing by Rich Whitey (as the ballots prepared by the Chicago Election Commission printed last week) denies him funding ( correction: 11072010, ews... creates position for GP to gather exorbitant number of petition signatures ) for the next election. The misspelling of his last name blamed on bureaucratic error. I can't get enough of Chicago politics.

You want politics? I'm currently at lunch, enjoying a Hoppy afternoon, watching the San Francisco population elevate to near god-head baseball playing country boys and Latin American especials with the orchestrated pomp and circumstance of Circuses rather than Bread. Always money for fireworks shows or funerals of state proportions for fallen police officers of street death or terrorist fly overs by infernal killing machines. Winning a World (regardless of Japan, Cuba, etc) Series every lifetime deserves mention. It doesn't deserve too much of our time or tax dollars.

The fascist backdrop of the state buildings, the security presence, and Jon Miller introducing Herr Govenator ("come with me if you want to live" a patron comments), spooked me but the crowd roars. He says the Giants "are a machine". Trans Humanism is complete in California....

... all very corporate, owner/slave type speeches from the Brass, I believe "our boys" may have been used. The players sit on the stage as if in a corral and look with the nervous attitude of an alpaca - they know where they are, do you?... thoroughbred horses, some with brains. Does anyone remember Andy Messersmith? or Curt Flood? Ted Lindsay?, hockey fans?...

One ironic observation watching this corporate media feed is the crowd is overwhelmingly white. Very un-diverse, even the camera can find a black face at the Republican National Convention, but not here in the Land of Political Correctness.

Except for the players, of course...

The manager delivered a very humble speech, as a good leader should do. He said the team felt "the presence" of the fans as they charged their way to (a quarter million dollar extra payday) a championship, but his sincerity was felt. This team has a lot of personality. I watched every pitch. I suppose I'm as distracted in life as the next mook in this great land of ours.

"Let's all say Juan Uribe!" Uooooo..., or did they say "Doo Do"?

So, this morning was spent reliving the crushing defeat of any social legislation, now just rapturously adoring athletes. As selected players came to address the crowd some spoke better than national candidates, some have never spoken before a crowd since high school speech class, some said thanks for the coaches and teachers in their life. Even one or two said, "thank God" (at the same time recognizing the training/medical staff). Rally Thong delivery crushed the Rally Monkey hex, perhaps Cub Fans should roast Sam Sianis (or his goat).

If it was so easy...

As Paris burns, ... reporting from the front lines... holding the barricades
- friend of Leon Berger 11032010



The statue existed without incident for 11 years at the corner of Addison and Sheffield, except for a couple pranks in which someone hung a dead goat carcass on the statue. That occurred once in 2007, and again before the home opener in 2009.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blue Monday News

Be Brave, Take The Tour... Viva Le Dickens:

Amen, Brother:

LONDON: Alcohol is a more dangerous drug than both crack and heroin when the combined harms to the user and to others are assessed, British scientists said on Monday.

Presenting a new scale of drug harm that rates the damage to users themselves and to wider society, the scientists rated alcohol the most harmful overall and almost three times as harmful as cocaine or tobacco.

Read more:
Alcohol more harmful than heroin, crack cocaine: Study - The Times of India

Get 'Em Early:

He found that the youngest children were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and to be prescribed behavior-modifying stimulants such as Ritalin than their older classmates. He told the press that the "smoking gun" was that the diagnoses depended on the children's age relative to classmates and the teacher's perceptions of whether they had symptoms.

"If a child is behaving poorly, if he's inattentive, if he can't sit still, it may simply be because he's 5 and the other kids are 6."

"There's a big difference between a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old, and teachers and medical practitioners need to take that into account when evaluating whether children have ADHD," he urged.

Friday, October 29, 2010

EWS Friday Newswire

It's Gettin' Closer All The Time:

Every 34th wage earner in America in 2008 went all of 2009 without earning a single dollar, new data from the Social Security Administration show. Total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined, but at the very top, salaries grew more than fivefold.


Trade Union Voice:

Listen to an overbearing gatekeeper, Jon Faine, attempt to rubbish the genuine concerns of an Australian trades unionist, Kevin Bracken, in an attempt to stifle any debate about the many anomalies in the official 9/11 story.

Trades Hall president Kevin Bracken stands by his 9/11 conspiracy

Why Do We Put Up With It?:

Out of more than 100,000 people stopped and searched by police using controversial anti-terror powers not one single arrest was made for terrorism-related offences, new figures show.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Days of the Dead

Horror as the background music, or Muzak, of life:

A few months after that night drinking beers at Fort Hood, I was again in Killeen, Texas. A taxi driver bringing me in from the bus station told me he had planned to be career military, but things changed when he did his time in Iraq. Now his wife was a few months from getting out of the army herself, he said, and then they would leave this bleached, desiccated town, this awful swathe of beige and neon and yellow ribbons in the middle of nowhere, and do something else. Other than that, he didn’t want to talk about Iraq. We rode through the nighttime streets in a thick silence. Outside the motel he turned toward me as he made change. It was a cheap place with brash lighting that cut slantwise through the taxi window and gave one side of his brown, angular face an intense clarity. He looked at me. “I killed a family,” he said. “At a checkpoint. I killed them all.” That was it. I took the change, and he drove off.

JoAnn Wypijewski is on the road in a ’63 Valiant, sending stories to CounterPunch as she goes. She can be reached at

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chains Invisible

Why Would Anyone Be Afraid Of Work?:

Almost three in 10 workers have played hooky from their jobs by calling in sick at least once this year, according to CareerBuilder’s annual survey of workplace absenteeism. More than a quarter of employers attribute the bogus sick days to the job stress and burnout that’s continued in a weak economy.

Of the employers who checked up on an employee, 70 percent asked the employee to come back to work with a doctor’s note, half called the “sick” employee at home, and 18 percent had someone else make the phone call.

And, in a scene reminiscent of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 15 percent of bosses said they drove by the employee’s house or apartment.