Quote of the moment

"I have to tell it again and again: I have no doctrine. I only point out something. I point out reality, I point out something in reality which has not or too little been seen. I take him who listens to me at his hand and lead him to the window. I push open the window and point outside. I have no doctrine, I carry on a dialogue." Martin Buber

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not Easy to Find Happiness and Well-being in Chile

Looks like Chile isn't doing so well- ranking 4/10 in the Better Life Index scale set up by the OCED:
The Index allows you to put different weights on each of the topics, and therefore to decide for yourself what contributes most to well-being.  http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/#/

How’s Life?

Chile has made tremendous progress over the last decade in terms of improving the quality of life of its citizens. Since the 1990s, the country has seen a track record of robust growth and poverty reduction. Notwithstanding, Chile ranks low in a large number of topics relative to most other countries in the Better Life Index.
Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In Chile, the average household earned 8 712 USD in 2008, less than the OECD average .
In terms of employment, nearly 59% of people aged 15 to 64 in Chile have a paid job. 51% of mothers are employed after their children begin school, suggesting that women encounter difficulties when balancing family and career.

Having a good education is an important requisite to finding a job. In Chile, 68% of adults aged 25 to 64 have earned the equivalent of a high-school diploma, slightly lower than the OECD. As to the quality of its educational system, the average student scored 449 out of 600 in reading ability according to the latest PISA student-assessment programme; this figure is lower than the OECD average.

In terms of health, life expectancy at birth in Chile is 77.8 years, just below the OECD average. The level of atmospheric PM10 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 61.5 micrograms per cubic meter, and is by far the highest level in the OECD.

Concerning the public sphere, there is a strong sense of community and high levels of civic participation in Chile. 85% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need, lower than the OECD average of 91%. Voter turnout, a measure of public trust in government and of citizens' participation in the political process, was 88% during recent elections; this figure is higher than the OECD average of 72%. In regards to crime, 10% of people reported falling victim to assault over the previous 12 months.

When asked, 66% of people in Chile said they were satisfied with their life, just above the OECD average of 59%.

See also:

The pursuit of happiness

May 24th 2011, 14:44 by The Economist online 

A correlation between well-being and wealth
FOR more than 70 years, economists have been fixated with measuring economic ouput. Their chosen measure, gross domestic product, has limitations—it takes no account of natural-resource depletion and excludes unpaid services such as volunteering. On May 24th the OECD launched its alternative measure of well-being which includes 20 different indicators across 11 sectors in its 34 member countries, from life satisfaction to air pollution. It has produced an interactive tool which allows users to change the weight of each sector according to their own view of its importance. The chart below shows the results of its headline Better Life index (which is equally weighted) plotted against GDP per person at purchasing-power parity (which adjusts GDP for differences in the cost of living across countries). Money may not buy you happiness. But it can buy a strong correlation with a fancy new index that aims to put a number on contentment.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Survey for People with Disabilities! We Want Your Opinion!

I'm all about new research in the field-- This one is for People with Disabilities! A survey from the University of Michigan, please respond if relevant to you.  This five-minute survey is a short snapshot survey of people with disabilities to ask them about their identities and their experiences. 

 People with Disabilities! We Want Your Opinion

Please take 5 minutes to fill out this brief survey. A team of researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a short snapshot survey of people with disabilities to ask them about their identities and their experiences.

Your input will help us to better understand how people with disabilities view their lives and the society in which they live. Together, these surveys may lead to positive change for people with disabilities in a number of different ways. We appreciate you taking the time to participate in this important research effort, and please feel free to pass along this information to anyone you think may be interested!

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns at Rottenstein.Lab@umich.edu

You can also learn more about who we are and this project at the following website: http://www.psychologyofdisability.org

JRC's Dr. Israel "retires" from Rotenberg-Reality check: founder set to face charges

 Ohhh bull pucky! “I am now almost 78 years old, and it is time for me to move over and let others take the reins,” Dr. Israel wrote in a letter to the JRC Board of Directors. Dr. Israel, 77, informed the JRC Board of Directors last week that he will step down on June 1, 2011 and move to California where he will join his wife Judy. The JRC Board of Directors voted to accept his resignation, with regret, and then voted to appoint longtime Assistant Executive Director Glenda Crookes as the Interim Executive Director. The Board also authorized a national search process to identify a permanent successor to Dr. Israel.
See what is REALLY behind Israel's departure:
Rotenberg founder set to face charges - The Boston Globe   

The Guardian Exposes the Truth about the Judge Rotenberg Center

Washington, DC — March 14, 2011 – Last year, Disability Rights International published the report Torture not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the United States on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center.
The report resulted in a top United Nations human rights official declaring that the school’s practice of shocking children to control behavior was, in fact, torture–and a violation of the Convention against Torture. The United Nations called on the United States government to investigate the school.
On Saturday, an article in The Guardian of London followed up on this story. The Guardian visited the Judge Rotenberg Center and interviewed parents and students whose lives have been affected by the extreme punishments used on children and young adults at the school.
Laurie Ahern, President of Disability Rights International, was interviewed for the article:“It’s horrible that children and adults with disabilities are still, in 2011, being tortured through the use of electricity. We wouldn’t tolerate that in Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib. We don’t do it in domestic prisons any more. If your neighbour used a Taser on their children to get them to behave, you’d have them arrested. They’d be picked up even if they did it to their dog.”
Read the Full Guardian Article Here.

Read the urgent appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture UNITED STATES: Torture Not Treatment - Electric-shock and long-term restraint on children and adults with disabilities at the Judge Rotenburg Center:

[WASHINGTON, DC, 29 April 2010] - Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) has found children and adults with disabilities tortured and abused at a “special needs” residential facility in Massachusetts and has filed an urgent appeal with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture to demand the United States government end the torture immediately.

In a report released today, Torture not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the United States on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), MDRI documents the use of electric shocks on the legs, arms, torsos and soles of feet of people with disabilities – for weeks, months and sometimes years. JRC uses punishments as treatment and US advocates have been trying for decades to close the school and end these practices. The school also uses four-point restraint boards, tying children to the boards while simultaneously shocking them for hours; mock assaults; food deprivation; shock chairs; isolation and long-term restraint. Residents at JRC are diagnosed with a variety of behavioral, intellectual and psychiatric disabilities such as autism, bi-polar disorder and learning disabilities.
Laurie Ahern, President of MDRI, states, “The cruelty perpetrated against children and adults at JRC is psychological and physical abuse, couched in the name of ‘treatment.’ The severe pain and suffering leveled against residents there violates the United Nations Convention against Torture. And to the best of MDRI's knowledge, JRC is the only facility of any kind in the US – and perhaps the world –that uses electricity combined with long-term restraint and other punishments to intentionally cause pain to children with behavioural challenges and calls it treatment.”

MDRI calls on the Special Rapporteur, along with the Obama Administration and the Department of Justice, to end the abuses against people with disabilities at JRC. MDRI is an international human rights and advocacy organisation dedicated to the rights protection and full participation in society of people with disabilities worldwide.


Johne Cleese has kindly helped us world travelers now that summer  (or for us in my neck of the woods, winter) travel season is upon us and with all the political upheaval in the world we should all be aware the various threat levels around the world.

By John Cleese

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross."

The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.
Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be alright, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is canceled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

John Cleese - British writer, actor and tall person