New book Blown for Good reveals details inside Scientology headquarters

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A new book released today by author Marc Headley, Blown for Good, reveals details inside Scientology headquarters at the organization’s “Gold Base“, located near Hemet, California. Headley joined the organization at age seven when his mother became a member, and worked at Scientology’s International Management Headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005.

While an employee of the Scientology headquarters located in Riverside County, California, Headley had the experience of practicing Scientology counseling services called “auditing” with Scientologist Tom Cruise, shortly after the actor had completed work on the film Days of Thunder. In 1990, Cruise was training to become proficient in the Scientology auditing techniques, and Headley was selected to become the actor’s auditing partner. Though a young actor at the age of 28, Cruise was already known for his work on films including Top Gun and Born on the Fourth of July. Headley writes in the book that he was chosen to work with Cruise because he had not yet progressed in Scientology levels, and because he was seen as a low security risk due to his young age at the time. Headley writes that he worked with Cruise for hours and hours each day, for a period of three weeks, on Scientology techniques called “Training Routines“.

The book provides details of what life was like for the author inside the organization’s headquarters. The inner flap of the book includes a map of the “International Headquarters of Scientology; Gilman Hot Springs, California”. Headley writes that under the direction of Scientology leader David Miscavige, employees who signed billion-year contracts routinely put in 100-hour weeks of work for minimal pay. According to Headley, possible discipline faced by the Scientology employees for perceived mistakes included being separated from family as part of the Scientology policy of “disconnection“, being declared a “suppressive person“, or being sent to the “Rehabilitation Project Force“, a program where Scientologists were assigned harsh labor.

Headley’s tasks while working at the Scientology compound Gold Base included dealing with audiovisual equipment used for organization presentations and speeches by Miscavige, and supervising production of thousands of audiotapes of lectures given by Scientology’s founder L. Ron Hubbard. From 1989 to 2005 Headley worked at the Scientology film production studio on scripts for movies which would be used to instruct new members of the organization on its practices. He faced repercussions from Miscavige if he could not meet production quotas. Headley asserts that he was physically abused by Miscavige, a claim made previously by other former Scientology officials in a series of investigative articles published in the St. Petersburg Times.

The book gives background on a 9-minute long video of Tom Cruise, leaked to the Internet in January 2008, that featured the actor discussing his views on Scientology. The Church of Scientology‘s attempts to remove the leaked video from the Internet motivated the group Anonymous to focus its efforts against the organization. Headley writes that initially the promotional video about Cruise was supposed to feature celebrities including Will Smith speaking about the actor, but Miscavige instead insisted Cruise should simply talk about himself.

Headley describes a form of Miscavige’s management previously related in the St. Petersburg Times, where the Scientology leader made his staff play musical chairs to the Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody“. Miscavige told 70 Scientology executives that they were to compete for chairs, and that only the last individual left after several rounds would remain at the compound, while the other executives would be assigned to remote locations. After a dramatic competition with multiple staffers in tears that they would be separated from their families, Miscavige stated no one would be removed from the compound.

In 2005, Headley left the Scientology compound in Hemet on a motorcycle, and fell off his vehicle after being chased by Scientology security guards. Riverside County police helped Headley escape from the Scientology security. Headley traveled to Kansas City to meet his father. He was later joined by his wife Claire who had also worked at the Gold Base compound.

I have never read about behavior like this in my life, I can’t imagine it. It’s really weird.

Headley filed suit against Scientology in January 2009. In the legal case, he asserts that Scientology violated United States labor law with regard to his treatment while an employee of the organization. Headley and his lawyer Barry Van Sickle succeeded against attempts by the organization to get the suit dismissed. Headley’s lawsuit is set to begin in U.S. federal court in November 2010.

Headley’s story provides a damning account of life working for Scientology leader David Miscavige at the secretive desert base.

American talk radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou discussed the book Wednesday on their program The John and Ken Show on KFI. “This is, the Scientology cult, is I guarantee you, a thousand times more bizarre than you could have ever imagined. And what these celebrities do, like Tom Cruise, is a thousand times more strange than you could ever imagine. I have never read about behavior like this in my life, I can’t imagine it. It’s really weird,” commented one of the hosts about material revealed by Headley in the book. Headley writes in the book that he started to question his involvement in Scientology when secretly listening to The John and Ken Show and watching Conan O’Brien make fun of Scientology celebrities. The National Enquirer reported on the release of Blown for Good, calling it an “explosive new book”.

The book was reviewed Wednesday by the Editor in chief of The Village Voice, Tony Ortega, who characterized it as a “remarkable account”. “Headley’s book also provides stunning material that has rarely been collected in one place, even with the Internet’s deep resources on L. Ron Hubbard’s strange creation. Headley’s story provides a damning account of life working for Scientology leader David Miscavige at the secretive desert base”, wrote Ortega in the review. He commented, “Perhaps the best service that Headley provides with Blown for Good is giving non-Scientologists the sense of what it’s really like to work, day in and day out, in such a strange organization, from the lowliest laborer mucking out excrement in a Gold Base pond (Headley says shit was coming out of his ears and pores for days) to what kind of luxuries the celebrities and high-ranking members enjoy.”

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Open source game developer Perttu Ahola talks about Minetest with Wikinews

Open source game developer Perttu Ahola talks about Minetest with Wikinews
August 14th, 2020 | Uncategorized |

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Recently, Finnish open-source video game developer Perttu Ahola discussed Minetest, his “longest ever project”, with Wikinews.

Started in October 2010, Minetest was an attempt by Ahola to create a sandbox game similar to Minecraft. Minecraft is a multi-platform commercial game, which was in alpha version when Ahola challenged himself to create something similar to it from scratch, he told Wikinews.

Minetest is an open-source game, which is free for anyone to download and play. It is written in the C++ programming language, and the source code is available on code-hosting site GitHub. According to Ahola, Minetest attempts to run on older hardware, with limited graphics, but to be accessible to more people: those who have outdated technology, and making it available for no cost. Minecraft, on the other hand, is a paid game, currently costing USD 26.95 for its computer version. Minecraft is currently owned by Microsoft, and performs poorly on older hardware.

A correspondent from French Wikinews contacted Perttu Ahola via Internet Relay Chat a few weeks ago, discussing Minecraft. This interview is built on top of the previous interview, as we take a deeper dive into knowing more about this free game which is about to turn ten years old in a few months.

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Five Questions To Ask A Professional Painting Contractor Before Hiring

August 10th, 2020 | Design Agency |

Submitted by: Steve A. Parker

The painting contracting industry is an important part of the construction and real estate industry that facility managers and property owners can t do without. Because of this, many unscrupulous entities masquerade as legitimate painting contractors to rip off unsuspecting building owners. How can facility managers protect themselves from these rip-off artists? Often it is as easy as just asking the right questions and getting the right answers.

The right questions can be asked during interview, or as part of written requirements that need to be submitted, or casually posed to the painting contractor during meetings.

1. “WHERE are your legal business documents?”

Business papers and other pertinent legal documents such as contractor s and business licenses, W-9, and insurance certificates are just some of the documents that a legitimate painting contractor can easily provide the facility manager with. It is part of the contractor’s portfolio. Facility managers can use these documents to verify the authenticity of the contractor’s business operations.

2. “WHO can you cite as references of your past works?”

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A legitimate painting contractor should have no problem providing a list of references of previous work completed. Many professional contractors will normally include referrals from previous clients, particularly of past projects that were successfully done. Painting companies are proud of client referrals and testimonies. They know that the bigger the client or the project that they have worked with in the past, the better chances of impressing prospective ones and getting the next jobs.

When the facility manager has obtained a reference from the prospective painting contractor, the next step is to contact these clients and acquire information about their experience in working with the said contractor.

3. “HOW do you plan to do the job?”

The painting contractor should be able to provide job details as part of the hiring process. Their plan should be clear on activities, tasks and time lines. Their proposals will tell facility managers whether or not they are capable of doing the job or just simply promising the moon to get hired.

4. “WHY is your price this much or this little?”

An experienced painting contractor will not quote a project price that is either too high or too low, only a fair and actual estimate of project costs. A contractor that quotes too high is potentially out to rip-off the project, or is simple an amateur with no knowledge of correct pricing.

How to tell if the project estimates being put forward are too high or too low? By comparing it with the pricing estimates from other contractors. If the pricing is off, ask the questionable contractor for the reason behind the pricing.

5. “CAN you provide a work warranty?”

A written warranty of the work should be provided by the painting contractor. This is to assure the facility manager that the contractor can remedy or replace any fault or problem that occurs after project completion. The warranty period and scope of post-project work should be specified clearly in the warranty.

Getting as much information out of bidding contractors gives the facility manager a basis in decision-making. The legitimate painting contractor will not shy away from transparency in their answers.

About the Author: Steve Parker, Sr. Estimator.

is one of the leading painting contractors providing commercial and industrial painting services to over 1,000 Fortune 500 customer nationwide. We are one of the best known painting companies, to deliver top quality service to clients. Call 877-724-3371 for a no obligation Estimate.


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Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas dies at age 75

Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas dies at age 75
August 8th, 2020 | Uncategorized |

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas died Friday at age 75, after suffering from heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. He began the Beverly Hills Playhouse in 1978 and taught acting classes there to noted actors including George Clooney and Gene Hackman. Katselas is survived by a sister and two brothers.

Katselas directed an off-Broadway production of Edward Albee‘s The Zoo Story, and received a Tony Award nomination for his 1969 direction of Butterflies are Free. Actress Blythe Danner won a Tony Award for her role in Butterflies are Free under Katselas’ direction. He moved to California to direct the film version of that play, and went on to direct films and television movies. Actress Eileen Heckart received an Academy Award for her role in the film version of Butterflies are Free.

Katselas directed the San Francisco and Los Angeles productions of the play P.S. Your Cat Is Dead! by playwright James Kirkwood, Jr. In his author’s notes in the publication of the script, Kirkwood acknowledged Katselas, and wrote that the plays were “directed with incredible energy and enthusiasm by Milton Katselas, to whom I am extremely indebted”.

Katselas directed the television movie Strangers: Story of a Mother and Daughter, and actress Bette Davis received an Emmy Award for her role in the movie. Katselas taught many famous actors including Michelle Pfeiffer, Richard Gere, Robert Duvall, Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Goldie Hawn, Christopher Walken, Burt Reynolds, George C. Scott, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Alec Baldwin, and Patrick Swayze. Katselas was credited with being able to nurture actors with raw talent so that they could develop strong Hollywood careers. He utilized innovative techniques in his courses – one course called “Terrorist Theatre” had a simple premise: successfully get an acting role within six weeks or leave the course.

He grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to parents who had immigrated from Greece, and graduated from Carnegie Mellon. He studied acting with Lee Strasberg in New York at the Actors Studio, and received advice from directors Joshua Logan and Elia Kazan.

Katselas was a prominent Scientologist, and a July 2007 profile on Katselas in The New York Times Magazine observed that some of his students stopped taking courses at the Beverly Hills Playhouse because they felt they had been pressured to join the Church of Scientology. According to the article, Katselas credited Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard “for much of his success in life”, and one of his students works at Scientology’s Celebrity Centre. The article commented that some in Los Angeles view the Beverly Hills Playhouse as “a recruitment center for Scientology”.

Katselas met L. Ron Hubbard after moving to California, and began studying Scientology in 1965. The New York Times Magazine reported that he had reached the level of “Operating Thetan, Level 5, or O.T. V.” in 2007. According to The New York Times Magazine when Scientologists proceed up the “The Bridge to Total Freedom” they learn the story of Xenu, and that: “75 million years ago the evil alien Xenu solved galactic overpopulation by dumping 13.5 trillion beings in volcanoes on Earth, where they were vaporized, scattering their souls.” A Church of Scientology publication, Source, lists Katselas as reaching O.T. V. in 1989.

Is it appropriate to recruit for Scientology in an acting school?
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He is brilliant, and knows me so well as a person and an actress that he gets the most out of me.

Though some actors felt pressured to join the Church of Scientology after taking courses at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, at least one individual felt Katselas was not active enough with the organization. Actress Jenna Elfman left the Beverly Hills Playhouse because she felt Katselas was not committed enough to Scientology. Katselas had previously directed Elfman in half of Visions and Lovers: Variations on a Theme, two one-act plays about relationships that he had written himself. In 1999 Katselas had planned to adapt the script of Visions and Lovers to a film version, and Elfman was set to reprise her role from the play. In an article in Variety about the project, Elfman commented on her experience working with Katselas: “He is brilliant, and knows me so well as a person and an actress that he gets the most out of me.”

Other prominent Scientologist actors who have studied under Katselas include Giovanni Ribisi, Jason Lee, and Leah Remini. According to Rolling Stone, Katselas also recruited actress Kelly Preston to Scientology. Actress Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson), told Scientology publication Celebrity that Katselas motivated her to get more active in Scientology, and she stated she took the organization’s “Purification Rundown” and her life “took off completely”.

Life is an endless unspooling of art, of acting, of painting, of architecture. And where did I learn that? From Milton.

Anne Archer was introduced to Scientology while studying at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, as was former Scientologist and now outspoken critic actor Jason Beghe. Beghe told Roger Friedman of FOX News in April 2008 that “He [Katselas] gets kickbacks”, and that he was brought to a Scientology center by fellow Beverly Hills Playhouse classmate Bodhi Elfman, Jenna Elfman’s husband. In a 1998 article for Buzz Magazine, Randye Hoder wrote “In his class, Katselas is careful not to label anything as a tenet of Scientology, but there is no question that the church’s influence seeps into the playhouse.”

Anne Archer’s husband and fellow Scientologist, producer Terry Jastrow, commented to The New York Times Magazine that Katselas changed the way he experiences life on a day-to-day basis: “I go out in the world and look at human behavior now. I see a woman or man interacting with a saleslady, and I see the artistry in it. Life is an endless unspooling of art, of acting, of painting, of architecture. And where did I learn that? From Milton.”

Actor Anthony Head of Buffy the Vampire Slayer spoke highly of Katselas in a 2002 interview with San Francisco Chronicle: “He’s this wonderfully intuitive teacher and his premise is basically: The only real barriers are the ones we put in front of ourselves. If you say, ‘My character wouldn’t do that’ — bollocks! Ultimately it’s you who wouldn’t say that. Who knows what your character might do.” In the acknowledgements of her 2004 autobiography Are You Hungry, Dear?: Life, Laughs, and Lasagna, actress Doris Roberts wrote: “I thank my friend and acting teacher, the incredible Milton Katselas, for his insights, wisdom, and inspiration, which have helped make me the actress that I am.”

I really care about the craft of acting. It’s absolutely necessary to take the time and patience to really develop an actor.

Katselas authored two books: Dreams Into Action: Getting What You Want, first published in 1996 by Dove Books, and Acting Class: Take a Seat, which came out earlier this month. Dreams Into Action, a New York Times Bestseller, sought to modify motivational acting exercises to the field of business.

In an interview in the 2007 book Acting Teachers of America, Katselas commented on his experiences as an acting teacher over the years: “I have very special teachers here at the Beverly Hills Playhouse—some have been with me for over twenty-five years. I believe that to make a difference over the long haul, we need to train teachers. I really care about the craft of acting. It’s absolutely necessary to take the time and patience to really develop an actor.”

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Billy West, voice of Ren and Stimpy, Futurama, on the rough start that shaped his life">
Billy West, voice of Ren and Stimpy, Futurama, on the rough start that shaped his life

August 3rd, 2020 | Uncategorized |
This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ren and Stimpy. Bugs Bunny. Philip J. Fry and Professor Hubert Farnsworth on Futurama. Sparx. Bi-Polar Bear. Popeye the Sailor Man. Woody Woodpecker. You may not think you have ever heard Billy West, but chances are on a television program, a movie, a commercial, or as Howard Stern’s voice guru in the 1990’s, you have heard him. West’s talent for creating personalities by twisting his voice has made him one of a handful of voice actors—Hank Azaria and the late Mel Blanc come to mind—who have achieved celebrity for their talent. Indeed, West is one of the few voice actors who can impersonate Blanc in his prime, including characterizations of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and other characters from Warner Bros. cartoons.

What is the fulcrum in Mr. West’s life that led him to realize a talent to shape personalities with his voice, and how did the discovery of that gift shape him? Wikinews reporter David Shankbone found that like many great comedians, West faced more sour early in life than he did sweet. The sour came from a physically and emotionally abusive alcoholic father (“I could tell you the kind of night I was going to have from the sound of the key in the door or the way the car pulled up.”), to his own problems with drug and alcohol use (“There is a point that you can reach in your life where you don’t want to live, but you haven’t made the decision to die.”).

I’m telling you stuff that I never said to anybody…

If sin, suffering and redemption feel like the stages of an endless cycle of American existence, West’s own redemption from his brutalized childhood is what helped shape his gift. He performed little bits to cheer up his cowed mother, ravaged by the fact she could not stop her husband’s abuse of young West. “I was the whipping boy and she would just be reduced to tears a lot of times, and I would come in and say stuff, and I would put out little bits just to pull her out of it.”

But West has also enjoyed the sweet. His career blossomed as his talent for creating entire histories behind fictional characters and creatures simply by exploring nuance in his voice landed him at the top of his craft. You may never again be able to forget that behind the voice of your favorite character, there is often an extraordinary life.

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with renowned voice actor Billy West, who for the first time publicly talks about the horrors he faced in his childhood; his misguided search for answers in anger, drugs and alcohol; and the peace he has achieved as one of America’s most recognizable voice actors.

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Dealing With Disappointment: Using Emotional Leadership To Motivate Your Salespeople

August 3rd, 2020 | It Solutions |

By Pat Pearson

The primary task of Leadership is emotional. People dont leave their feelings at home when they go out the door. Leaders help their people focus their emotions in a positive direction.

– Harvard Business School

The American Management Association released a statistic that stated 90% of the firings, quittings and lack of productivity in American business are created by people not getting along with other people. In other words, the feelings and emotions of your people are responsible for 90% of the problems that plague your company.

This is a relationship business; we grow, succeed, and feel valued by the relationships we develop. These relationships are subject to disappointments, hurt, rejection, and other negative feelings. Research shows that 80% of people in Direct Selling are women. Developing resilience within your sales force means each person will need to be taught the various cycles and strategies, enabling them to handle their feelings, instead of letting disappointments stop or de-focus their energy from their business.

In your Direct Selling Company everyone has the same product to sell and everyone has the same opportunities to succeed. So why do some people shoot to the top while others struggle endlessly?

The leaders in your company know that you can spend thousands of dollars training your people on product knowledge, sales techniques and recruiting skills, but if they dont feel good, they dont work. To overcome this, they need specific training in Emotional Resiliency. Emotional Resiliency is the ability to quickly bounce back once you have encountered problems in dealing with other people.

To become more Emotionally Resilient, we need to understand the Cycles of Change. These cycles are predictable and repetitive. We not only experience them in our life but in our businesses as well. Your leaders and consultants need to understand these cycles and identify which one they are in.

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The four Cycles of Change are as follows:

1) Go for It

2) The Doldrums

3) Cocooning

4) Getting Ready

1) Go for It: This is the high point of the cycle. Its the Honeymoon period with a new recruit. Self talk is characterized by thoughts like, Im doing the work I want to do. Its fabulous! Im loving it, having fun and making money! Im achieving my goals, feeling good about myself and the choices I make. During the Go for It phase, they feel confident, in control, fulfilled. Then something unexpected happens, like an illness, or a falling out with a friend, or a key person in their organization drops out. As a result, negative emotions flare up as they move into a lower cycle.

2) The Doldrums: Research shows that your new business partner will enter this cycle 6 to 8 weeks after being recruited. They will have recruited their friends and relatives and have now hit uncertainties about their ability to succeed. This phase is characterized by self doubt. They feel out of sync. Theyre stuck in a low point, theyre pessimistic, and they cant see the way out. They may feel slightly depressed, perhaps even deeply depressed. They lack energy and direction. They cant motivate themselves to pick up the phone and make the next call because they dread the perceived outcome.

3) Cocooning: During this stage of the business cycle, they become more introspective. They go inward, asking questions, seeking answers to their roles in life, questioning their values, searching for a new identity. They start to reassess their passion and purpose with probing questions like, What is my purpose? Do I want to continue in my business? Am I doing the work I love? The completion of this phase leads to feelings of rebirth and self-renewal, which gradually evolves into the final stage of the cycle.

4) Getting Ready: In this phase, they are moving from inward questioning to outward action. They start experimenting by doing things theyve been putting off or trying new activities. They pick up the phone and call those people who were interested six months ago. They take classes, ask questions, read books, enroll in seminars, and start dreaming again. They start to reformulate the vision they have for their business and life. The knowledge and self confidence theyve gained encourages them to become even bolder. Theyre right back in the Go for It stage of the life cycle.

Everyone goes through predictable and repetitive Cycles of Change. These cycles are fueled by feelings. The more Emotionally Resilient they are the longer they can stay in the positive feelings and the quicker they can exit the negative ones. But no matter how positive they are or how adaptable, all of us will go through these cycles. To become Emotionally Resilient we need to understand three key points about dealing with our feelings.

#1 Feelings are Facts- People may not like what they are feeling (rejected when someone doesnt return a call or hurt if their best friend isnt interested in joining their business) but it is their reality. Many of us try to deny our feelings or glass them over with positive self talk. The truth is feelings are very much in control of their energy and attitude about business.

#2 There are only two ways feelings can be expressed, out or in- If they internalize their feelings it can eat at them and make them feel depressed, hopeless and frustrated. When Im coaching people, the most frequent emotional response to building their businesses is frustration. They are mad at their down line for not producing, for over-promising results that they dont meet. Being nice people, they dont tell others that they are frustrated. Instead they walk around with knots in their neck and back pains. Thats internalizing negative feelings and it becomes a joy and energy drain.

#3 The emotionally healthy way of processing feelings is to first accept what they feel. If theyre mad, theyre mad, if theyre sad, theyre sad. Next they need to express outwardly what they feel; walking around thinking about it doesnt count (thats called obsessing). Find a friend, coach, or therapist and talk about the feelings. The last step is after they have fully expressed the feeling- release it. Be done with it. This is when they can forgive themselves or the other person.

In my seminars, I emphasize this is an emotional business. People buy in the business on an emotional high, and they buy out of the business on an emotional low. What the dropouts fail to realize is that everyone in the business feels negative emotions from time to time. Successful people arent immune to negative feelings, theyve just learned to manage their feelings, rather than let their feelings manage them. When successful people hit a low, they dont drop out. They persevere in the face of adversity, recognizing that low periods dont last forever.

The three most common negative feelings your people will experience are disappointment, anger, and depression.

1). Disappointment: The root cause of disappointment originates with unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others. When they EXPECT others to always behave in a way that benefits them, then theyre just setting themselves up for disappointment. Unrealistic self-talk, such as They should return my phone calls or They should work as hard as I do, just invite disappointment. Disappointment is something they do to themselves. When they say things like, I should be making more money, theyre measuring themselves against an expectation. Instead, they should measure themselves by their actions, not their results. Do the right thing enough times, and the results will come.

2). Anger: Everybody in this business gets frustrated from time to time. Maybe they get tired of hearing no. Maybe their husband isnt as supportive as theyd like. They can try to analyze or contain their anger, but that doesnt defuse it. The best way to deal with anger is to protest it (getting your anger out). Take five minutes and stomp around a bit. Pound a pillow or vent to a friend. Get the anger OUT, for anger turned inward becomes depression. One exercise I teach to help people get their anger out is to have them imaging firing all of the people who wont follow directions. Give yourself permission in your fantasy to fire the people who frustrate you buy pointing at them like Donald Trump in The Apprentice and shouting Youre fired! This exercise will get their energy back and move them through obsessing.

3). Depression: Heres an alarming statistic: 87% of women are depressed at some time in their lives. Most depression is situational depression. An event in our lives sends them into a temporary tailspin. Depression is characterized by lack of energy, no excitement, no focus, no passion in life, chronic sadness, and sleep problems. Situational depression can be resolved by protesting it, exercising, or talking with a therapist or coach. People with long-term depression, six months or more, need to be evaluated by a physician.

All of us will experience the roller coaster of emotions in our business. The Emotionally Resilient will effectively exit this roller coaster and come out a success.

About the Author: Pat Pearson, MSSW is an internationally-known author and speaker with a passion for inspiring individuals to claim their own personal excellence. Her powerful seminars are informative and entertaining, offering practical methods for helping people mobilize their resources to achieve greater success.


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US Department of Justice investigating Ford over emissions testing problems">
US Department of Justice investigating Ford over emissions testing problems

August 3rd, 2020 | Uncategorized |

Sunday, April 28, 2019

On Friday Ford Motor Company announced the United States Department of Justice was performing a criminal investigation of Ford’s internal emission testing practices. Ford said in a financial filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the criminal investigation started on some unspecified date after Ford voluntarily disclosed the matter to the federal government on February 21.

Ford said in their filing the matter “currently focuses on issues relating to road load estimations, including analytical modeling and coastdown testing”, and “does not involve the use of defeat devices” which were an issue with another automaker previously.

“Ford is fully cooperating with the government, and we’ll keep them posted on what we’re finding through our investigation and technical review”, Ford told The Verge. In the filing itself Ford also made this point, writing “In addition, we have notified a number of other state and federal agencies. We are fully cooperating with all government agencies.”

In February, Ford announced investigating itself, following employee concerns that emission testing calculation could be inconsistent. The employees were reportedly concerned about the calculation of “road load”, a measurement of ordinary resistance factors such as tire resistance and aerodynamic drag.

Ford started its investigation by hiring law firm Sidley Austin, according to The Verge.

According to the filing, Ford voluntarily disclosed this matter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on February 18, and also to the California Air Resources Board on February 21.

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“Avast ye scurvy file sharers!”: Interview with Swedish Pirate Party leader Rickard Falkvinge">
“Avast ye scurvy file sharers!”: Interview with Swedish Pirate Party leader Rickard Falkvinge

August 3rd, 2020 | Uncategorized |

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

MP3s for the people? The Pirate Party, a new Swedish political party first publicized in January, wants to legalize sharing music, movies, and other copyrighted content using the Internet. What may seem like a doomed effort by a small group of idealists is attracting significant media attention, in part due to a recent police raid on The Pirate Bay, an extremely popular BitTorrent tracker (see Wikinews coverage).

The Pirate Bay allows people to download content listed in its database using the BitTorrent protocol (including the latest Hollywood movies or computer games) and has gained something of an international cult status, in part for its public and irreverent responses to legal threats received from copyright lawyers of major corporations. The site was reopened days after the raid on Dutch servers (but is now back in Sweden again). Rickard Falkvinge, leader of the Pirate Party, argues that regardless of the legal outcome in the case, the web site demonstrates that copyright law in its current form is not sustainable.

Adopting the moniker of the maligned “Internet pirates”, the party argues for drastically limiting the scope and enforcement of copyright law, abolishing patent law, and protecting privacy in what it sees as a “control and surveillance society”. The party is hoping to garner enough votes in the September election to become a small but important faction in the next Swedish parliament. Rickard Falkvinge found some time in between interviews and party work to answer our questions.

There are rumours that the Swedish government was indirectly acting on behalf of the U.S. MPAA in shutting down the site. Do you feel that your government is beholden to U.S. interests?

Oh, the MPAA said so themselves in a press release, it’s more than a rumor. Check their press release “Swedish authorities sink Pirate Bay”. [Ed.: see below]

And yes, this particular fact has caused something of an uproar in Sweden. It’s widely believed that Swedish authorities were more or less ordered by a foreign power to act forcefully against an entity that was in, at worst, a legal gray area according to Swedish law.

The raid must have boosted your recognition. How many members do you currently have, and how successful has your fundraising effort been so far?

Our member count is at 6540, no, 6541, no wait, 6543… well, you get the picture. Our members register themselves on our website after paying the membership fee electronically, which helps reduce our admin load considerably.

Fundraising brought in 108,000 SEK [Ed.: approx. 14,700 USD or 11,600 EUR], enough to buy 3 million ballots, which is some kind of at-least-we’re-not-starving minimum. We’re not full, but we’re not starving, either. Following the raid on the Pirate Bay, we have received another 50K in donations. My sincere thanks to everybody who wants to help out; we are now looking into getting more ballots to make sure we don’t run out on election day. (10 million ballots was our initial full-score aim.)

Do you think you will be able to cover future expenses such as radio and television ads?

Following the raid on the Pirate Bay, and our tripling of the member roster, we don’t need advertising. We’ve been mentioned almost every news hour across all channels on national television in the last week.

Also, the established parties have now started to turn, following our success. Parties representing almost half of the elected parliament are now describing today’s copyright situation as not working. They still don’t understand why, though, they are just echoing what we say without understanding what the words mean. We’ll get around to teaching them — them and the voters alike.

This might be hard for people not following the Swedish media to grasp, but we have made a big splash. Today, our Minister of Justice was quoted as saying that he’s open to changes to copyright laws that would make file-sharing legal, with the headline “Bodström (his name) flip-flops about file sharing.” Immediately underneath were the Pirate Party’s comments to his suggestions. Let’s take that again: when a minister makes a statement about file sharing, media calls us for comments, and publishes them next to that statement. That’s how big we have become since the raid on the Pirate Bay.

The Minister of Justice later denied having made that statement to the press that reported it.

We will never be able to pay for television ads, the way I see it. Unless a very wealthy donor comes on stage. (If any such person is reading this, we have planned how to spend up to $375,000 in a cost-efficient way up until the elections, on the chance that donations appear. That spending does still not include any TV ads.)

Are you aware of similar initiatives in other countries?

Some are trying, but none have achieved the necessary momentum and critical mass that we have. We expect that momentum to happen once we get into Swedish Parliament and show that it can be done.

[Ed.: A United States variant of the party was recently launched. See also: Intellectual property activism category on Wikipedia]

The name “Pirate Party” seems to identify the party with what is currently defined as a crime: piracy of software, movies, music, and so on. Will a name like “Pirate Party” not antagonize voters, given that the label is so negatively used? How about potential allies abroad who argue for a more balanced copyright regime, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation or Creative Commons?

Oh, it is a crime. That’s the heart of the problem! The very problem is that something that 20% of the voters are doing is illegal by punishment of jail time. That’s what we want to change. Where the established parties are saying that the voters are broken, we are saying it’s the law that is broken.

Besides, it’s a way of reclaiming a word. The media conglomerates have been pointing at us and calling us pirates, trying to make us somehow feel shame. It doesn’t work. We wear clothes saying “PIRATE” in bright colors out on the streets. Yes, we are pirates, and we’re proud of it, too.

Also, the term is not that negative at all in Sweden, much thanks to the awesome footwork of the Pirate Bureau (Piratbyrån), who have been working since 2003 to educate the public.

If you are elected, and have the opportunity to become part of the next government of Sweden, do you intend to focus only on the issues in your platform (IP law and privacy)?

Our current plan is to support the government from the parliament, but not be part of it. If we’re part of it, that means we get a vested interest to not overthrow it, which puts us in a weaker position if they start going against our interests.

Overall, our strategy is to achieve the balance of power, where both the left and right blocks need our votes to achieve a majority, and then support the issues of whichever government that agrees to drive our issues the strongest. Basically, we sell our votes on other issues to the highest bidder in exchange for them driving ours.

Have you already made any contacts in Swedish politics?

Contacts… I’m not sure what you mean. Several of us have been shaking hands with some of the established politicians, particularly in the youth leagues, if that’s what you mean.

I was thinking along the lines of exploring possible modes of cooperation with established political parties — are you already taken seriously?

We are taken seriously by most of the youth leagues and by at least one of the represented parties. In particular, which is what counts, we are now taken seriously by national media. However, we can’t tie contacts that explore modes of cooperation quite yet — since our strategy depends on holding the balance of power, we need to not express a preference for whom we’d like to cooperate with, or we’d put ourselves in a weaker bargaining position.

What is your position on moral rights, as recognized by European Union copyright laws: the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudonymously, and the right to the integrity of the work. Do you think these rights should be preserved?

We safeguard the right to attribution very strongly. After all, what we are fighting for is the intent of copyright as it is described in the US constitution: the promotion of culture. Many artists are using recognition as their primary driving force to create culture.

Publishing anonymously or pseudonymously happens every day on the Internet, so no big deal there either.

The right to integrity, however, is an interesting issue. We state that we are for free sampling, meaning you can take a sound that I made for my tune and use it in your own tunes, or for that matter, a whole phrase. That’s partially in line with today’s copyright law on derivative works; as long as you add your own creative touch to a work, you get your own protection for the derivation. We want to strengthen that right.

You might want to consider the alternative. In the 50s and 60s, a lot of rock and roll bands started doing covers of old classical music. This would almost certainly have been considered to violate the integrity of the original artist — and was considered to do so by many — but in the eyes of many others, it was instead great new culture of a previously unseen form and shape.

So I don’t have a definite answer on the integrity issue. While I am leaning towards the promotion of new culture taking precedence over a limitation right, there may be unconsidered cases.

Do you feel that trademark law is adequate as it is?

Yes. We have not seen any hidden costs to trademarks that outweigh the benefits of reducing transaction costs on a market where seller and buyer are not personally acquainted.

How do you intend to deal with EU treaties which define certain legal frameworks for the protection of intellectual works?

What can they do? Fine us? Send us an angry letter?

Come on, countries need to think more like corporations. If the fine is less than the cost to society, which it is in this case, then the right thing to do is to accept the fine with a polite “thank you”.

Actually, national media just called me about this very question; the Department of Justice has stated that we can’t allow file sharing, as it would break international treaties. My response was that it is more important to not have 1.2 million Swedes criminalized, than it is to avoid paying a penalty fee.

Do you think that weaker intellectual property laws would lessen the amount of products released in Sweden by foreign companies, such as Hollywood studios?

As long as they believe that they will have a revenue here that exceeds the cost of operations, they will keep coming here. Anything else would be wrong from a corporate standpoint.

Besides, you need to remember what we are doing is to change the map according to what reality looks like. We do not want to change people’s behavior. We want to change the law so it reflects what the world actually looks like.

So, as they apparently make a profit today, I expect that to continue.

Do you feel that the music industry in its current form will still be needed in a world where non-commercial copying is permitted?

It’s not so much if they are needed where non-commercial copying is permitted, rather if they are needed when they’re not necessary any more to be the middle man between consumer and artist.

The music industry will lose its current chokepoint, because they don’t add any value to the end product any longer. They will probably survive as a service bureau for artists, but they will not be able to control distribution.

It’s actually quite simple: if they get their act together and provide a service that people want to buy, they will remain. If not, they will vanish. Today, they have legislated that people must buy their service regardless of whether it adds value or not, and that’s not gonna hold in the long term.

Why fight against intellectual property laws, instead of focusing your energy on creating freely licensed content, such as Creative Commons films or open source software?

I want to raise the issue a level, to show that it’s not about payment models or what level of control the copyright holder chooses to exert over his or her work.

Let me put it this way: we have achieved the technical possibility of sending copyrighted works in digital, private communications. I can send a piece of music in e-mail to you, I can drop a video clip in a chat room. That technology is not going away, leaving us with two choices.

So — if copyright is to be enforced — if you are to tax, prohibit, fee, fine, or otherwise hinder the transmission of copyrighted works in private communications, the only way to achieve that is to have all private communications constantly monitored. It’s really that large.

Also, this is partly nothing new. We’ve been able to do this since the advent of the Xerox copier — you could photocopy a poem or a painting and put it in a letter in the mail. Again, the only way to discover or stop that would have been for the authorities to open all letters and check their content.

So we’re at a crossroads here. Either we, as a society, decide that copyright is the greater value to society, and take active steps to give up private communications as a concept. Either that, or we decide that the ability to communicate in private, without constant monitoring by authorities, has the greater value — in which case copyright will have to give way.

My choice is clear.

The Pirate Bay was shut down and re-opened days later on a Dutch server. According to a Swedish newspaper report, traffic has doubled since then. How long do you think the cat and mouse game will continue?

Until one of two things happen: The authorities realize they can’t enforce laws that require monitoring all private communications, especially given the large international level of grassroots support, or [they] actually start monitoring all private communications.

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Canada women’s national wheelchair basketball team gets its first win of London Paralympics">
Canada women’s national wheelchair basketball team gets its first win of London Paralympics

August 3rd, 2020 | Uncategorized |

Sunday, September 2, 2012

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London, England — Yesterday at London’s Basketball Arena, the Canada women’s national wheelchair basketball team earned their first victory of the London Paralympics when they defeated the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team 57–50.

Canada took a one point lead into the second half, when the scores were 33–32 because of a last minute foul that sent Canada to the free throw line where they capitalized by making one of their shots. 4.5 point player Janet McLachlan and 2 point player Katie Harnock dominated in minutes played for Canada during the first half, playing all 20 minutes and leading their team in scoring with 11 first half points for McLachlan and 12 for Harnock. The Canadian team was loudly supported by spectators, earning more cheering from the largely Great Britain supporting fans than the Australians.

The second half saw Canada slowly increase their lead, keeping tied with Australia 4–4 in the first half of third, 6–4 in the last half of the third, 6–4 in the first half of the fourth, and 8–6 in the last half of the fourth. McLachlan finished the game as Canada’s leading scorer with 28 total, 17 in the second half. Harnock had a quieter second half only scoring 2 points to finish with 14. Cindy Ouellett was the team’s third leading scorer, finishing the game with ten.

The Canadian team supported their team from the bench, chanting “Get it out! Get it out!” when on defense and “Let’s go Canada” when on the offense. Other times, one player led the team in chanting support for their players on the court. The team was consistently louder than the Australian bench.

Throughout the game, the Canadians tipped themselves over more in their chairs than the Australians. Ouellett tipped once, and bounced in her chair, with a wheel leaving the ground as she attempted to block shots and steal the ball. Ouellett and Australian Cobi Crispin locked wheels, and required a break in the game where Australia’s coach came on to the court and removed Ouellett’s wheel to detach the pair before putting it back on again.

Following the game, Australia’s Amber Merritt said of playing Canada, “I have the utmost respect for Canada. They’re a great team, but we’ll refocus on the game tomorrow [against the Netherlands] and go out and play like we know we can, the Australian way.”

Prior to the start of the game, McLachlan was the team’s dominating player in the competition. She was ranked eighth in the competition in field goal percentage, and was Canada’a highest ranked player in this category. She ranked second in the tournament in total field goals made per game, with 12. Teammate Katie Harnock ranked eighth. Tara Feser ranked fourth in the tournament for 2 point field goal percentage at 57.1%, while McLachlan ranked ninth with 50.0%. McLachlan was second in 2 point field goals made per game, at 12. Harnock was tied for first with Mexico’s Floralia Estrada Bernal in the competition for 3 point field goal percentage at 20%, and was ranked second in the tournament for most 3 point field goals made with one.

As a team coming into the game, Canada was ranked sixth in total field goal percentage, eighth in free throw percentage, sixth in average rebounds per game, second in fouls, and last in turnovers.

Coming into this game, Canada had lost their first game 70–59 to the Netherlands. They are scheduled to play Brazil today.

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Awesome Chicago Vacation Ideas In Lincoln Park For Everyone

August 3rd, 2020 | Farming |

byAlma Abell

There is something for everyone in the Lincoln Park area of the great city of Chicago. If you are looking for some fun locations where you can spend some vacation time in Lincoln Park, here are a couple of ideas.

ComedySportz Theatre

One entertainment venue for those who enjoy improv is the ComedySportz theatre. Different nights feature different shows for all ages, and classes in improv are also offered for those willing to push their nerves out of the way and go for it. Whether you choose to take a class, or simply watch, those looking for a fun night and a good laugh will find it at the ComedySportz Theatre Lincoln Park.

Steppenwolf Theatre

For those appreciate the art of theatre, the Steppenwolf Theatre is just one theatre of many in Chicago’s version of Broadway. There are currently shows playing through the end of this month, and shows coming up include a play version of “Animal Farm” as well as titles “Marie Antoinette” and “The Herd.” So, if you’re looking to see something original, and cinemas are just not doing it for you, look up shows and times at the Steppenwolf Theatre.

Lincoln Park Zoo

Animal-lovers looking for something to do should check out the Lincoln Park zoo. It is a large zoo, and sure to show you a number of animals that you have likely never seen in real life including dwarf mongooses, Klipspringers, and sand cats. A myriad of reptiles, fish, birds, and amphibians are present as well. If animals fascinate you, consider spending an afternoon in the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the few Chicago vacation ideas in Lincoln Park.

The Boka and the The Butcher and the Burger

If you’re hungry and looking for Chicago vacation ideas in Lincoln Park, should check out the Boka. The menu items have a range of poultry, beef, and seafood, including duck breast, lamb shoulder, and monkfish. The price range is a bit higher here, so be ready to spend at least upwards of $70 for two. For a lower price, consider an evening out at The Butcher and The Burger. There is a variety of restaurants in Lincoln Park for all price ranges, so grab some food and spend some quality time with loved ones!

Chicago actually can be a cool vacation spot. If you are going to Chicago in the near future, consider the exciting venues above. Click here for more information.

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