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What are Thinking Distortion’s, how do they really affect me, and if intellect alone is not the answer, what is?

by Stephen Ulrich –

I spent the day yesterday, a long day, with good friends and family.   My buddy invited me fishing up at Lake Merwin.  My wife was going to be up there anyway, with his and a few of their old girlfriends.  It is really sweet, they are all in their 50’s and have been together since high school.

I had been working on my own boat all week to get ready for the season, so the conversation started, but Ricky said he was taking his boat up early for the girls, so I didn’t need to bother with mine.  Sweet.  I know Ricky is a solid guy and a good friend, his equipment is all top notch, and he doesn’t do anything half-assed so there is nothing to worry about.

Ricky told me he would pick me up at 4:20AM, and I grumbled just enough that he shouldn’t get used to this kind of hour, but FISHING after all…    I set the alarm, chased the dog upstairs at 9:30 and pulled the blackout curtains to get a good night sleep.  Sleep is critical for me.

3:40 came, and I popped out of bed to pee, slapped the alarm off the table and fed the dog.  The dog eyed me incredulously as she is used to waking ME up. Hour later we were up at the lake and my wife was out in the driveway in her nightgown ta meet us.  It was a hot evening, never got below 75’ all night, so the girls were all up.  We said our hello’s and jumped down to the boat and got out on the water.   It was a gorgeous warm morning, and watching the sunrise neither of us really gave a darn about fishing.  We got a cycle of putting all the gear together, and considered it good prep for someday when it was cooler and the Kokanee might be a little bit more important.  They eat good, but not much of a fight.

The rest of the morning was spent touring on the lake, some of the favorite places of Ricky’s youth.  Leisurely ride back, replete with local Fried Chicken Tenders at Amboy Booze and Bait dumped me home around noon.  We were just in time to meet my wife’s brother and his wife and kids downtown Vancouver for one of their weekend get togethers at Esther Short park.  Great flea market type atmosphere and an amazing violinist (Aaron Meyer) that reminded me very much of the 1960’s phenom David LaFlamme of It’s a Beautiful Day fame.

Point being that it was a wonderful, fulfilling, day.  Crashed and burned and woke up positive and hopeful.

I have a morning meeting I go to at Kaiser, to help me with some anxiety issues.  Seems like drinking too much for much of my life was at least in part, self-medication for some other issues.  Like Ana says, we all have our demons.

The therapist has us list what our feeling number is, and mine is an 8.  I am happy, focused and optimistic.  What is working for me?  I made a conscious decision to enjoy the drive down to the meeting.   At the stop lights, I was enjoying my sports talk radio and the fact that people are still making fun of LeBaby for not being a team player, and trying to run the NBA on his own.  I am thankful my heart is back to sinus rhythm, and when I get telemarketing calls I am thankful for having a roof over my head to take the calls under, and a phone to take them on.

The Distorted Thinking we discuss runs the gambit around all sorts of delusions that range from overgeneralization and expecting perfection, to either/or thinking and other forms of straight negative thinking.  We banter back and forth all of the tools we can us to tell ourselves we are OK, to remind ourselves that most of our phobias are just that, and to predict triggers and convert all of this exercise to good old-fashioned practice.  If this sounds a bit like mindfulness practice, of Buddhist influence, that is because it is.  Kaiser has taken great strides towards incorporating its wellness programs with substance abuse and general mental health programs, and this is no exception.

I asked the therapist point blank:

“OK, I get the recognition of the negative, and the need to remind myself of the fallacies of distorted thinking. I get the logic. I do the practice.  I breathe. I meditated for an hour and a half this morning –  I get that part.  NO WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO.?

There was a palpable hush in the room.

She finally broke the silence, “Well, just practice.”

Me: “Yeah, I get that.   That does not seem to be working, I still feel totally messed up.”

“Well, you are not the only one.   75% of all human thought is negative.”

“Even the Dali Lama?”

“Yes, that is why he practices all the time……”

I had left for the meeting in a wonderful mood.  The self-hypnosis was actually working.  This deflating news hadn’t broken my spirit.  I chose to enjoy the drive home as well, and it worked.

Then a few other things started going wrong.  My dog is still upset that my wife left us for three days, so to punish her, (the dog) won’t eat.   My wife is now going to have to be in Boston at the end of next week, and not only do we have our own puppy, we have another.  It will be fine but its just another thing. The Myrtle Tree between our house and the neighbors looks like it is dying from the 95+ heat of the past few days….

I got depressed.  Something I never do.  Went in and told all of this to my wife who basically said, “Honey, it’s something we all struggle with day to day.  Get used to it.  You are not alone.”

Yeah, I think:  Misery likes company.   So, I am relegated to a life of meditation, counseling, meetings and self-help.  This sucks.  There is nothing more I can do.

Then, the little light bulb goes off.

That is why people pray.  There IS something else.  I know that, because the last time I was in the ER for a week with Pneumonia, it WAS a miracle I survived.  ALL THAT IS, still has the power and has never let me down.  All, I need to do is tap into the I AM and things always work out.  Maybe not the way I want or expect them, but they work out.

It is hard to feel alone when I remember my place in all that is.  Not larger, or smaller.  Not smarter or more important, or less important.  Just part of.  Humility is not a weakness, it is a blessing.

Yesterday was a good day.  So Is today.  I am happy to be present.

 

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Can we use the shootings as an excuse to unite the parties?

Here we go again.

By Stephen Ulrich –

Washington (CNN)Rep. Steve Scalise, a congressional staffer and members of the Capitol police force were shot Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia, during Republicans’ early-morning practice ahead of a charity baseball game.

 

Another day, another shooting.  This time it was not a terrorist.  We think.  Who knows, who cares?  It has gotten so that I really dread watching the news any more. I have scores of friends who have dropped out of the social media sites, like FaceBook, etc.  They, like me, are weary of the election, the divisiveness, the killings.  We are weary of the hatred.  We are weary of ISIS, Conspiracy, Investigations, Russia, FBI, CIA. …   the word “recuse.”

Recuse:  challenge (a judge, prosecutor, or juror) as unqualified to perform legal duties because of a possible conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.  We have attorney generals that cannot be impartial?  God save us.

Back to that – God, indeed, save us.  Whatever your belief, whether it is Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Rhastafarian, Buhddist, or you just believe that the Mountains, Creator, or something is bigger and more powerful than I am.  Please compel it in whatever way you feel drawn to , to have it save us.

Save us from the hate, the shootings, the blaming, the contempt. Yes, the contempt.  I remember when people could respectfully disagree and still break bread and hug each other and  mean it.  It has gotten so bad, there are households that have broken up over Trump vs Clinton?  Goodness people, grow up!

People are dying in the streets and we are debating whether we feel the Warriors should go to the White House or get in a last snub at the president.  I’m not a fan (of the current holder of the office) but for goodness sake, GET OVER IT! First of all, it is the office of the President of the United States, not one single man.  Also consider this – What if Trump decides he doesnt want to handle the drama, and DOESN’T INVITE THEM?  What are we going to spew the pages of twitter with then?

We could, however slim the odds, use this latest horror to unify us.  There IS somewhere, back there somewhere, a great Country of hard working people that overcame all odds and braved all adversities to occupy this land.  Then, when the europeans that moved over took it from them…………..(oops.  That’s another story).

We could use this as a rallying point to begin to unify the two “parties.”  To acknowledge our differences but respect and cherish our bonds and the commonality of the human condition.  We all, after all, do want the same thing right?  We want to be fed, have a safe roof over our heads, have the love of community and family…we are a very blessed nation.  Yet we whine like two year old spoiled children being deprived a sucker.

In the imortal words of Antsy McClain “Can’t we all just get along?”

 

 

 

 

 

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With Trump out of the Paris climate deal, France looks to poach top researchers

Last week, President Donald Trump announced he will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. Other world leaders are not hesitating to capitalize on that decision.

The day before Trump’s announcement to leave the international commitment to fight climate change, French President Emmanuel Macron trolled Trump, retooling the U.S. president’s campaign catchphrase in a speech, encouraging everyone to “Make Our Planet Great Again.”

This week, Macron doubled down on the sentiment and launched a website to help those passionate about climate change research emigrate to France.

And what’s the address to this digital one-stop shop for those looking to move to France?

www.MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain.fr.

Oh snap! GIF via “The Maury Show.”

The site serves as a clearing house for information about education, work, and research opportunities as well as links to the necessary applications and documents one would need to emigrate to France.

For those unsure if France is right for them or overwhelmed by the daunting process of emigration, users can describe where they’re from and the work or research they do and receive information appropriate to their situation. There are different pages for students, researchers, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs.

While this particular call to acton is not limited to Americans, Macron has previously invited American scientists to continue their research in France.

Macron made an appeal in February, before he was elected president, encouraging Americans to consider working in France in the wake of Trump’s skepticism about climate change.

GIF via Tristan Oliver/YouTube.

With the launch of the site, it’s clear Macron is standing by his campaign promise and looking around the globe for top talent, no matter whose toes he may step on.

And his offer to researchers isn’t just lip service; there are funding opportunities to back it up.

After successfully submitting project proposals and other relevant documents, senior and junior researchers may be eligible for a four-year grant covering their salary, staff and student salaries, and work expenses, up to 1.5 million euros.

That may be a difficult offer to turn down, especially as America’s local and federal governments grapple with potential budget cuts, especially for climate related research.

A NASA flight crew member works inside a NASA Operation IceBridge DC-8 research airplane. NASA’s Operation IceBridge has been studying how polar ice has evolved over the past eight years. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

Macron and 193 other world leaders have committed to getting serious about climate change.

Trump’s efforts to put politics over the planet will not stop climate change or the people working to solve it.

No matter our countries of origin, this is a global problem that will require global solutions. Kudos to Macron and other world leaders who are giving this issue the time, attention, and resources it deserves.

Share image: Twitter, Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images .
 

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Republicans think disabled Americans are gaming the system, so they want to make the ADA harder to enforce

by Jake Flanagin –

The Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives is considering a major reform of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990—a federal law which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the public sphere (at work, in schools, riding public transit, and in all spaces open to the general public, including privately-owned businesses). For example, under the ADA, businesses open to the public, such as restaurants or pharmacies, need to be wheelchair accessible.

The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (HR 620) seems like a rather innocuous bill at first glance—it compels the Department of Justice to formulate a program that educates state and local officials and business owners on “strategies for promoting access to public accommodations for persons with a disability.” A prime example of fatty, ostensibly meaningless Washington wonk-speak. But it goes further—the bill, if passed, would prohibit civil suits arising out of a failure to provide adequate access to public accommodations for the disabled unless the plaintiff provides offending property owners with a written notice specifying the deficiency. Owners would then have 60 days to respond with a written plan for improvement, and an additional 120 days to correct the deficiency, or at least demonstrate sufficient progress towards a correction.

As of now, if a disabled individual cannot access a business open to the public, they can immediately file a complaint with the Justice Department, which will investigate and determine whether a legitimate ADA violation has occurred. If a violation is identified, most plaintiffs opt to mediate with the offending business under the Justice Department’s moderation. If a business fails to cooperate, the Justice Department may sue on the disabled individual’s behalf. These individuals may also file lawsuits against businesses in civil court without federal involvement, sidestepping the entire mediation process.

“The cornerstone of current enforcement options is that the violation can often be resolved swiftly,” Robyn Powell, an attorney and disability law and policy consultant who disabled herself, writes for Rewire. With the passage of HR 620, individuals with disabilities will be forced to wait 180 days, and likely longer, to seek vindication of their federally-protected civil rights.

Sponsored by Texas representative Ted Poe, a Republican, along with two Republican and three Democratic colleagues all from Texas and California, HR 620 aims to “curb frivolous lawsuits filed by cash-hungry attorneys and plaintiffs that abuse the ADA,” according to a a Jan. 2017 press release.

Poe contends that most small business owners in the US “believe that they are in compliance with the ADA and have even passed local and state inspections.” However, “certain attorneys and their pool of serial plaintiffs troll for minor, easily correctable ADA infractions so they can file a lawsuit and make some cash.” He points to an alleged “whole industry” comprised of “people who prey on small business owners and file unnecessary, abusive lawsuits.”

And he’s not entirely wrong. Indeed, according to a report compiled by attorneys with the employment/labor law firm Seyfarth Shaw, ADA Title III lawsuits—the aforementioned suits filed in civil court sans Justice Department intervention—surged 37% in 2016. But only a fractional minority of these suits were filed by so-called serial plaintiffs, with only 12 having filed more than 100 ADA Title III suits respectively. (A group including two broader disabled-rights advocacy organizations, among some notable ADA abusers.)

While frivolous ADA Title III suits, also known as “drive-by lawsuits,” are certainly a problem worth addressing, disabled-rights advocates view HR 620 as a bill that addresses symptoms over root cause.

“There is no active monitoring of ADA compliance,” writes Kim Sauder, a disability studies scholar, in a Dec. 2016 entry published to her blog, Crippled Scholar. “Dealing with infractions of laws governing accessibility [in the US] is often primarily done through complaints. So while the law may say what needs to be done, unless someone actually complains there is little incentive to actively comply. There is no independent body doing regular inspections and meting out fines for non-compliance.”

In effect, measures like HR 620, which stifle the complaints process, actively obstruct enforcement of the ADA as it is currently formulated. “Enforcement depends on people with disabilities who know their rights to challenge violations,” Robyn Powell explains. “Filing lawsuits is timely and expensive. Finding an attorney that is knowledgeable about the ADA is very challenging. I say this because I believe it is fairly safe to assume that there are far more ADA violations occurring than we will ever hear of. As a disabled woman, I encounter violations daily.”

Still, a few notable cases of ADA abuse (such as Florida’s prolific drive-by plaintiff, Howard Cohan), supplemented by high-profile exposés that only substantially consider one side of the issue, have instilled a widespread misconception: That ADA regulations are overwhelmingly weaponized against small-business owners to the enrichment of a few slick-haired lawyers and system-gaming plaintiffs. It’s a bilateral shoving-match that excludes the individuals the ADA was specifically crafted to protect.

Parking regulations are among the most frequently cited in arguments against the current system of ADA enforcement. “What opponents don’t understand is that the width of parking spaces matter for people with disabilities who drive, such as myself,” Powell says. “I drive a wheelchair-accesible van. If someone parks too close, I am literally stuck because no one besides me can drive my van. This has happened to me more times than I [can] count, leaving me stranded outside for hours, until the person returns to their car.”

The solution disabled-rights advocates call for revamps ADA enforcement methods entirely, sidelining citizen complaints as the chief vehicle for compliance, and inspiring more evenly-spread regulation. “It would be better if government took an active role in monitoring and enforcing accessibility legislation,” says Kim Sauder. “It would likely create a more accessible environment. It would also remove the need for mass lawsuits. It would also remove the proprietor-as-victim narrative because the law would be enforced more uniformly. People would not be able to opine that they had been hit with an infraction when the guy down the street did not.”

Of course, this is a long shot in the current political climate. The Trump administration, and our Republican-dominated legislature, have demonstrated an outsized affinity for the interests of small-business owners—at least on paper—and an active hostility towards federal regulation. Neither is likely to recognize stricter federal regulation as a solution to any problem, not least enforcement of the ADA.

 

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If we handle it like we would a sexual harassment case, Trump is guilty as hell

          Bill O'Reilly lost his job for it, and that was not about national security
by Steve Ulrich

Trump did not “order” Comey to break the law, but he sure tried to badger him into it.

I have just been watching the Comey Testimony.

I made a comment that Trump appears to have been “shady” enough not to have ordered Comey to drop the investigation.  He kept saying he appreciated Comey’s loyalty, he HOPED that the “Russia investigation” would be dropped.  He “hoped” that Mikel Flynn would be left alone because “he’s a good guy.”  Sitting with the President of the United States (the office, not the man) can be intimidating enough.  This a ruthless, bully of a man that is used to pounding through negotiations and getting his way.  Comey is a very honorable, if not somewhat timid man, who didn’t have the temerity to just tell his “boss” that it would be illegal for him to conduct himself that way, and to go to hell.  You have the President of the United States telling you to stop an investigation, to virtually commit treaason. He was stunned.  Sure, it would have been better if he had just said “Mr. President, you cannot ask me to do this.”

Your colleagues are shocked and want to know what they should do with the information.  The leaders of the FBI didn’t know if they should share with the leaders of the Justice Department.  The attorney general was about to (and later did) recuse himself from the case. Frankly they didn’t know what to do with this. Comey has now come forward in a public, non-classified environment to share this.

The esteemed Republican senator from Idaho, after placating Comey by praising his character and record, was quick to point out that “nobody has ever been charged with hoping.”

I took this at face value, and point of law. Trump never made a direct order for Comey to break the law here.  It was pure innuendo and suggestion.

Trump has weaseled out on a technicality once again.

­­­­­­­­­­Until my wife brought up the fact that if this were a sexual harassment case, he would be fried.  “Oh, Jane Doe, I would love for you to stay, I hope you will have sex with me.”   “I am the president, and it would really do you and your career good if you stayed and screwed me.” Oh, you won’t?  You’re fired!

SAME THING.  If the prosecution goes after this as a pure “harassment” case, we would have successfully prosecuted him.  Fortunately, for the American People, this harassment was an enticement to suppress evidence, medal with an ongoing classified security investigation, and commit treason.  THAT, is grounds for impeachment and imprisonment.

SEND THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW – LETS DEFEAT TRUMP’S DEFENSE BY CALLING IT JUST WHAT IT IS, ILLEGAL HARASSMENT.

 

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Most People Won’t Negotiate A Job Offer — But Here’s Why You Should

Dear Liz,

I am expecting a job offer tomorrow or the next day, but I’m a little worried that it may be low.

I told my hiring manager “Blake” that I need to earn $58,000 in base salary to accept the job. He said “That’s in the range” and then we went on to another topic.

Shutterstock

The reason I expect the offer to be below $58,000 is that Blake spent a lot of time in our last phone conversation talking about the company’s bonus plan.

I’m happy to get a bonus, but the bonus plan is brand new. It’s untested.

I have been around long enough to know that a new bonus plan involves a lot of guesswork. In the best case, I might earn an extra $12,000 annually from the bonus plan.

I can’t rely on my bonus check to pay my bills.

I thought it would be pushy of me to say “The bonus plan sounds fine, but I still need my $58,000 base salary” so I didn’t mention it on the call with Blake.

If the offer is low, how do I tell Blake that I need $58,000 as a base salary in order to take the job?

Thanks Liz!

Yours,

Nona

Dear Nona,

Congratulations on your job search success!

If the offer is perfect, you won’t need to negotiate it.

Blake may have talked you through the bonus program but still be planning to offer you the $58,000 base salary you and he discussed.

If that doesn’t happen — for instance, if the base salary in your offer letter is $52,000 instead of $58,000 — here’s how to negotiate with Blake.

RRRRRING!

Blake: Hello, Nona! Did you receive our offer letter?

You: I did Blake — thanks for that! Do you have a minute to talk about it?

Blake: Sure. I just need you to sign it and get it back to me, either by post or by scanning it and sending it via email.

You: Great! I’m excited to join your team and get started. We’re a little ways apart on salary. That’s why I called.

Blake: How so?

You: We discussed compensation a while back so the conversation may have slipped your mind, or maybe we crossed wires. I’m looking forward to accepting your offer, but we talked about a $58,000 base salary and the offer letter mentions $52,000, which is a pretty big gap. I’m hoping we can figure out a way to bridge that gap together, so I can join your department.

Blake: Hmm. Yes, now that you mention it I remember we talked about $58,000 but back then, we had a much smaller bonus program. Our bonus plan is richer now — we talked about it the other day.

You: For sure. The thing is, the bonus plan is brand new. It’s untested. The bonus plan is a nice add-on, but I need $58,000 in base salary in order for the job to make sense for me. How can we close the gap and shake hands on a deal so I can get in there and begin helping you?

Blake: I might be able to get you an extra week of vacation. Would that help?

You: It would. That would narrow the gap a thousand dollars, to $5000. I will need a bump in the base salary offer in order to accept the job. I can’t accept the offer at $52,000, as much as I look forward to working with you and your team.

Blake: Okay. Let me talk to a few folks here and get back to you tomorrow.

You: That sounds great, Blake. Thanks!

End of Script

Many people would take Blake’s offer as is. They would be afraid to negotiate.

After all, how many of us were taught to negotiate a job offer when we were in school? Not many of us were!

Many people would say to themselves “A six-thousand dollar gap is only $500 per month, and that’s before taxes. I don’t know what Blake’s previous bonus plan looked like, but it was probably worth about six grand a year to me, instead of $12,000.

“That’s why Blake feels like he can offer me six thousand dollars a year less than the number we talked about. It’s because the new bonus plan — if it is realistic and if I hit the goals, which may have little to do with my performance and lots to do with other factors — is worth an extra $6,000 compared to the previous plan.”

You are not a fearful job-seeker. You know your value and you are not willing to start a new relationship by playing the part of a door mat. Here’s what your trusty gut may tell you:

“I have no reason to take a pay cut at this stage in my career. If Blake finds my background appealing, other managers will too. Blake should be good to his word. We talked about my $58K target, and he didn’t say ‘No, I can’t do that’ so he should do it. How could I feel good about accepting this job if Blake begins our relationship by low-balling me?”

Most job-seekers don’t negotiate job offers, but they should. You communicate your value through your actions even more than your words.

You can still accept the offer even if Blake can’t get all the way to your $58K target. It’s up to you whether to accept or decline the revised job offer Blake comes up with.

Some people might fear that if they negotiate, Blake could rescind the offer altogether. If any manager would consider doing that, can you really afford to trash your mojo by working for them?

People tell you and show you who they are. Blake needs to step up or hire somebody with less self-esteem than you have.

No company will ever love you more than they love you when they are trying to recruit you. If they don’t show the love in that critical juncture, they never will!

 

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Man dies after going swimming with new tattoo

Fresh ink made him vulnerable to flesh-eating bacteria.

man gets a tattoo on his back

It’s important to remember: A fresh tattoo is essentially an open wound. (Photo: GOLFX/Shutterstock)

There are all kinds of reasons to look before you leap into the ocean.

After all, as pollution takes its toll, these waters are growing increasingly toxic not only to marine life, but to the humans who ply them.

Likewise, there are lots of reasons to be wary of getting a tattoo — from the possibility of infection to the mysterious origins of the ink itself.

But it’s hard to imagine a cautionary tale that combines both. Until, that is, a study surfaced in BMJ Case Reports.

The medical journal describes the case of a man who went swimming in the Gulf of Mexico immediately after getting a tattoo.

The 31-year-old, whose name has not been published, managed to contract a skin disease called Vibrio vulnificus.

He wouldn’t be the first person to fall prey to the sea-borne bacteria.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates it causes 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths every year, often from contaminated beaches, and even certain shellfish.

Vibrio vulnificus bacteria under electron micrographVibrio vulnificus bacteria, as seen under an electron micrograph. (Photo: CDC/James Gathany/Wikipedia)

But what makes the man’s deadly dip especially chilling is that the study authors — Nicholas Hendren, Senthil Sukumar and Craig Glazer of UT Southwestern Medical Center — suggest it may have been avoidable.

The fresh ink, essentially an open wound, made the swimmer particularly vulnerable to the flesh-eating bacteria. In turn, the infection led to septic shock, and ultimately the patient’s death a couple of days later.

The researchers are quick to point out the man had liver disease, which would have also made him vulnerable to bacteria.

The common thread here? Tattoos take days, even weeks to heal. Until then, they weaken us, much like a disease.

And that leads to a decision no one ever thought they would have to make: ink or swim?

 

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