Eclectic is my reading and memory is short. to find mullings later: Here I come.

both the kindness and gratitude groups showed measurable improvements over those who simply monitored their mood. Both the kindness and gratitude groups enjoyed a higher percent of happy days, where they felt optimistic and expected the best. They were also more satisfied with their lives, which they perceived to be more meaningful, and they felt more connected with others each day. In effect, all of these positive outcomes—this increased sense of connectedness, enhanced satisfaction with daily life, optimism, and reduced anxiety—address in some way the problems which qualified participants for the study in the first place. (Remember, they were all clinically distressed and seeking therapy that was at least more than a month out.) So these results suggest that this brief intervention—which was self-guided, and lasted only two weeks—didn’t just increase feelings of gratitude. Keeping lists of gratitude and kindness made people feel happier, more connected, and more meaningful—doing the work that therapy is partly designed to do, all before a single professional session.

TOUCH this image: A theopoem on a rearrangement of leaves by Andy Goldsworthy

Before we recreate a situation like that of 100 years ago, stop, think (because this is how it starts):
It is too early to know what happened to Flight MH17. It may indeed have been shot down by Russian separatists, as the Ukraine government and its western allies are claiming. Or it may have been shot down by forces linked to the Ukraine government. If separatists were responsible, it is likely to have been a horrible mistake rather than a deliberate attack on a civilian airline, since it is very difficult to see what possible benefits such an attack could bring to the separatist cause. Naturally that isn’t the way the Kiev government and its supporters are presenting it.

I’m concerned about the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill. I’ve been reading about how it is being rushed through parliament and thus avoiding proper scrutiny -necessary as it seems to give powers which are severe in their threat to privacy of ordinary citizens.

Are you able to explain why the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill is being rushed through Parliament in just a few days? Doesn’t such a bill merit the same scrutiny as other laws which affect the vast majority of the public? I urge you to vote in Parliament tomorrow to amend the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill, to ensure it goes through proper democratic scrutiny and debate within the next six months.

Privacy campaigners have released a joint briefing document on what seems to be wrong with the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill. Would you read it to better understand their concerns before you vote on the 15th?

I would love it if we would reserve the terms “wisdom” and “wise” for guidance that makes life better – especially useful guidance that makes life better for most or all of us – including all the creatures of this living, fragile Earth – over the long term. That’s what we need wisdom for, now more than ever.

The whole idea of “leaners” and “lifters” is the central teaching of the right wing ideologue, Ayn Rand, who penned books like The Virtue of Selfishness. It’s a self-serving crock. Rand found out the hard way. After a lifetime proselytising on behalf of the “producers” and denouncing anyone needing government assistance as “parasites,” when Rand became old and sick, she discovered that even a bestselling author could not afford health care in the neoliberal US. She availed herself of Medicare and ended her life on what she had despised – social security.

even thoughts of being wealthy can create a feeling of increased entitlement — you start to feel superior to everyone else and thus more deserving: something at the centre of narcissism. They found this was true of people who were, in real life, better off. Wealthier people were more likely to agree with statements like “I honestly feel I’m just more deserving than other people” and place themselves higher on a self-assessed “class ladder” that indicated increasing levels of income, education and job prestige. This had straightforward and clearly measurable effects on behaviour.

the great whales … may be the enablers of massive carbon sinks via their prodigious production of faeces. Not only do the nutrients in whale poo feed other organisms, from phytoplankton upwards – and thereby absorb the carbon we humans are pumping into the atmosphere …

The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in the trade deal could mean a future UK government would face lawsuits worth billions of pounds from multinational corporations if it
decided to remove companies from the NHS, freeze energy prices, restore public control to the railways, outlaw fracking, or raise the minimum wage. Similar agreements are already in existence other places in the world and the results are alarming. Just to give a few examples: Tobacco giant Philip Morris is claiming billions of dollars because Uruguay and Australia want to warn the public about the negative effects of smoking on cigarette packets Mining company Lone Pine are claiming $250 million because Quebec placed a moratorium on fracking Swedish energy corporation Vattenfall is claiming $3.7 billion because the German government phased out nuclear power after the Fukishima disaster Ecuador has been forced to pay more than $1.7 billion to oil company Occidental even though that company broke the law Slovakia has to pay $22miliion after it reversed the privatisation of its health insurance system

"Investor-state dispute settlement" is bad news. It’s always better if you can put things in your own words, but here are a few of the problems with ISDS. 1. It bypasses national court systems, establishing special tribunals that only corporations can access.
2. It allows corporations to overturn democratically agreed rules and laws.
3. It makes democracy more remote from the people.
4. It could be a threat to our environment, public health laws, food standards rules, restrictions on hazardous chemicals and many other policy areas.

I’m very worried about the Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement aspect of the TTIP agreement currently being negotiated. I’m doubly concerned because it appears to have such potentially huge ramifications which could in effect undermine democratic accountability and enable big business to trump the hard-won advances in democratic rights and freedoms. While the argument has been that ISDS has never yet resulted in a win for a business over government legislation, yet this is not guaranteed and it seems to me wrong in principle that businesses should have such rights over democratic governments. ISDS agreements were designed for use where governments were not stably democratic. There is, on this basis no reason to implement such an agreement where the EU and the USA are involved. In these countries legislation is enacted after extensive consultations and reports which already include submissions and often extensive arguments and effort on the port of the the lobbying departments of affected companies. There is no good reason to give them a further opportunity to subvert a democratic decision in which they have already been involved (often to a greater extent than ordinary citizens).

If politicians wish to treat our armed forces with more respect, they should stop sending soldiers to be killed or maimed (or to kill and maim) in unjust foreign wars.

We’ve had 75 years of complaints from big business—when the minimum wage was instituted, when women had to be paid equitable amounts, when child labor laws were created. Every time the capitalists said exactly the same thing in the same way: We’re all going to go bankrupt. I’ll have to close. I’ll have to lay everyone off. It hasn’t happened. In fact, the data show that when workers are better treated, business gets better. The naysayers are just wrong.