Tag Archives: events

My older son is home for his birthday-

Andrew sleeping on the couch this morning:


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What I Did Today

The trail to the big tree, Erin’s Rest, on Powell Butte has been cut off by the caretaker with downed trees (to prevent erosion from off-trail hikers). Today I went up with a pair of pruners and found a back way that with some work provides access.
Years ago when we found this place we knew we had found the right spot. We used it as a burial ground for ashes and other offerings. Every year (or more often) we bring things like shells, rocks, coins, flowers.
Google Earth gives a very unsatisfactory view of the the place- the tree there is old, tall and gnarly. Just below the trail is a drainage ditch that is a breeding ground for frogs in spring. Unfortunately it isn’t a very good one- most of the tadpoles die when the ditch dries up just after Portland’s Rose Festival. Every year I grab as many of the live ones I can before they can become bird snacks, raise them up and set them loose.
A new home this year- I’ll put a fish tank on the balcony in back and when they are ready they can just climb out.
The bottom picture is from when Erin was little- about 6. I was a single dad then with her and her little brother, Andrew (he was 1 year old).
I am covered with scratches from blackberry thorns. My pants are trashed. But the way is made for a visit tomorrow. This year will be #15. She’s been dead longer than she lived. You would think that it would stop hurting.
This coming week is Andrew’s birthday- we are flying him home from the Bay Area. I really can’t wait to see him.

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From MindFreedom & the NYT

The New York Times

April 1, 2008
Colorado Proposes Tough Law on Executive Accountability By DAN FROSCH

DENVER — For 30 years, Lew Ellingson loved being a telephone man.

His job splicing phone cables was one that he says gave him “a true
sense of accomplishment,” first for Northwestern Bell, then US West
and finally Qwest Communications International.

But by the time Mr. Ellingson retired from Qwest last year at 52, he
had grown angry. An insider trading scandal had damaged the company’s
reputation, and the life savings of former colleagues had evaporated
in the face of Qwest‘s stock troubles.

“It was a good place,” he said wistfully. “And then something like
this happened.”

Now, Mr. Ellingson is the public face of a proposed ballot measure in
Colorado that seeks to create what supporters hope will be the
nation’s toughest corporate fraud law.

Buttressed by local advocacy groups and criticized by a Colorado
business organization, the measure would make business executives
criminally responsible if their companies run afoul of the law. It
would also permit any Colorado resident to sue the executives under
such circumstances. Proceeds from successful suits would go to the

If passed by voters in November, the proposal would leave top
business officers having unprecedented individual accountability,
said Mr. Ellingson, a member of Protect Colorado’s Future, a
coalition of advocacy groups that supports the initiative.

“If nothing else, these folks in charge of the corporations and
companies will think twice about cutting corners to make themselves
look more profitable than they really are,” he said.

The plight of Mr. Ellingson’s former employer, Qwest, based in
Denver, was a motivation for the proposal, said Jess Knox, executive
director of Protect Colorado’s Future.

Last April, a jury in Denver convicted Qwest‘s former chief
executive, Joseph P. Nacchio, of 19 of 42 counts of insider trading.
Mr. Nacchio was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay a
fine of $19 million and forfeit $52 million in money he earned from
stock sales in 2001.

In March, however, a federal appeals court panel reversed the
conviction on the grounds that a judge had improperly excluded expert
defense testimony.

The panel ordered that Mr. Nacchio receive a new trial in front of a
different judge.

“The reality is that for years, not just in Colorado but in many
states, citizen taxpayers have paid the price for C.E.O.’s and
companies who break the rules in order to get ahead,” Mr. Knox said.

Ultimately, the proposal would extend criminal and civil liability to
executives who knew about corporate fraud and did nothing to stop it,
but who were not necessarily involved in it, said Mark Grueskin, a
lawyer for Protect Colorado’s Future.

Not surprisingly, the proposal, and subsequent versions with
alternative language that have been suggested by Protect Colorado’s
Future, has generated sharp opposition from Colorado’s business

If the measure is approved, some fear that the courts will become
overwhelmed with frivolous lawsuits. Those lawsuits, in turn, could
bankrupt small and midsize companies and make it more difficult for
legitimate lawsuits to succeed, said Joe Blake, president and chief
executive of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re very concerned that any number of people could crowd the
docket and frustrate the court system with suits that are perhaps
well-intentioned but highly frivolous,” he said. “We’re going to have
chaos out here.”

Mr. Grueskin countered that the measure would parallel current state
law and require plaintiffs to pay for their lawsuits if a court ruled
that they were frivolous.

“There is an inherent disincentive to use this as a means for a
gadfly to act as a corporate obstructionist,” he said. “I would be
surprised if there would be many responsible companies that would
have a problems with this.”

Legal fees aside, Dean Krehmeyer, executive director of the Business
Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics at the University of
, which conducts ethics training for executives and
directors, says the litigious nature of the measure could create a
chasm between businesses and their communities.

“Leading business organizations and communities can create value by
working in partnership, not necessarily by using the courts as a
first option,” he said.

The measure, whose language was already approved by a state title
board, must receive 76,000 signatures in support within six months to
be placed on the November ballot. Protect Colorado’s Future said it
planned to start a signature campaign.

A lawyer for the chamber of commerce, Doug Friednash, said the
business group would file a challenge to the proposal in Colorado
Supreme Court on Tuesday. He said the language could mislead voters
into thinking they were supporting a measure that simply cracked down
on crooked executives, as opposed to one that left business owners
and other employees susceptible to lawsuits.

But Protect Colorado’s Future has already drafted a modified version,
cleared by the review board, that limits the initiative to executive
officials, its true intention, the group said. The chamber of
commerce, has asked the board to reconsider its decision on that
version at a hearing on Wednesday.

Regardless of which version of the measure is put to voters, Mr.
Ellingson predicts that Coloradoans, with the fallout from Qwest
still fresh, will back the proposal in overwhelming numbers.

“I don’t know who can oppose this. This is common sense,” he said.
“We need businesses to survive, but we don’t need criminals running

Wouldn’t it be great if we could hold all corporations accountable for the damage done in the name of profit? How many lives have been cut short by Zyprexa and other mis-used neuroleptics while Big Pharm reaps billions?

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Forced Electroshock in Oregon + other stuff

Reprinted from OCSC:

Hi MindFreedom Oregon TALK list:

I asked for and receive statistics about State of Oregon electroshock
(that is, electroshock by State of Oregon “Hospital”).

Definitely, at least one individual received electroshock over their
expressed wishes, using involuntary electroshock.

What suggestions do you have for us to all do something about that?

Below is e-mail I received (in addition to the involuntary shock…
two are considered ‘voluntary’ though they received via guardian).


From: Robert.E.Nikkel@state.or.us
Date: March 6, 2008 12:30:53 PM PST
Subject: SPAM-LOW: Information on Electro-Convulsive Shock Therapy
To: oaks@mindfreedom.org
Cc: Robert.E.Nikkel@state.or.us, Madeline.M.Olson@state.or.us


The following are ECT statistics for calendar year 2007 and 2008 to

3 voluntary consents for ECT; 1 by patient and 2 by guardian
1 involuntary ECT plus 2 who had override consents but did not
receive ETC.
All ECT sessions are conducted by and at OHSU.
Maynard E. Hammer
Deputy Superintendent
Oregon State Hospital
Oregon Department of Human Services
Fax: 503-945-9429
e-mail: maynard.e.hammer@state.or.us
Bob Nikkel, MSW
Assistant Director, DHS
Addictions and Mental Health Division (AMH)
500 Summer St NE, E-86
Salem, OR 97301-1118
fax: 503-373-7327

Also,if you want, see and listen to the latest news conference by the Dalai Lama regarding the current uprising in Tibet:


And a silly animated gif:



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Tomorrow is my birthday.

Today I was in a meeting with a roomful of people with from state government, colleges, think-tanks etc. I’m on the executive committee for the state Behavioral Healthcare Workforce Development Task-force. One of the proposals discussed was to dismantle the committee. I don’t think it will dismantle, though, but may evolve instead.

Simplified bird’s eye rundown- Reason for dismantling: It hasn’t accomplished anything. Reason to keep it: it hasn’t accomplished anything.

Big problem: people entering the workforce as MSW’s etc. are unprepared for the work asked of them in the community. Turnover is ridiculously high. These things are getting worse. There is a need for people to come together with some vision to change the direction things are going.

This is our current draft mission statement:

Addiction and Mental Health Division (AHM) Behavioral Health Workforce Development (BHWD)

Revised Mission Statement

In order to assure that every Oregonian with a mental or substance use disorder has the necessary support to be in recovery, we must have a behavioral health workforce that is consistently prepared to implement evidence-based practices (EBPs), practices informed by indigenous knowledge and interventions consistent with a multi-faceted definition of recovery.

To realize such a vision we need to create or coordinate with a sustainable entity that brings together consumers and families, executive level personnel from behavioral health preparation sites, recovery agencies and prevention programs, and government institutions, to provide ongoing leadership that promotes integration and alignment of science (EBPs), consumer and family choice, workforce development, cultural appropriateness, and state policy.

To that end, the Behavioral Health Workforce Development (BHWD) Committee will plan and implement strategies to meet the following objectives:

Career Development for People in Recovery

1. Significantly expand the role of individuals in recovery.

2. Design and develop career pathways for people recovering from mental illness and family members.

Professional Development and Retention

1. Service providers and academic settings must work together to stay current with issues in service and be active in exchanging knowledge.

2. Clinicians, clinical supervisors and managers must demonstrate their mastery of competencies related to recovery, staff development and agency administration.

3. Staff retention strategies must be implemented and sustained system wide including clinical supervision, coaching and mentoring.

4. Well-articulated career ladders must be established, articulated and sustained, including management and leadership skills.

Graduate Behavioral Health Workforce Training

Undergraduate, graduate and residency programs will prepare students to practice in contemporary service environments using EBPs (Evidence Based Practices) of consumer choice with the goal of initiating, enhancing and sustaining recovery.

Meanwhile the state is spending a bazillion dollars on 2 new Psych Hospitals- with nothing set aside to implement effective community programs.


Oh, and don’t even get me started on evidence based practice, the catch phrase of the year/ decade (?). It begs the questions: whose evidence? for what exactly? One answer is that the “evidence” is never aimed at discovering how people can lead happy, self-directed lives.

Today’s stupid animated gif:


Maybe one more:


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2 more days

to my birthday.

I am going to the beach.

silly animated gif:


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Various news items

First- (personal update):
We are still unpacking but slowly finding a sense of place in our new townhome/ apartment. Several issues to deal with- mostly monetary (getting health care premiums paid, re-establishing household supplies, 2 broken vacuum cleaners…). We have a bed- donated by May T from Meeting. Food is being brought to us by strangers- nice strangers. Most animals are back- except the white cats are still at my sister’s house.

From Common Dreams:

Bush The Torturer, The Tyrant, The Disgrace

by Pierre Tristam

On Saturday, Mr. Bush vetoed a bill that would have outlawed the CIA’s use of torture in interrogations (a bill, it should be noted, John McCain, alleged opponent of torture, voted against). He had the temerity, our Dear Leader, to begin his official endorsement of torture in his radio address this morning with these words: “Good morning.” Good for him and his kind of delusional sadists, maybe. Not so good for this country, whose reputation today takes one more plunk toward the abyss of rogue and less than ordinary nations. Not so good for the rest of the world, either, whose nations have been disbelievingly howling, in Babels of translations, that most American of plaints: “Say it ain’t so.” This spring training for terrorist-interrogators (for torture is terrorism at its distilled worst), it very much is so. The United States is officially, proudly, the land of torturers. It’s true that the United States has been at this for years. But the difference here is not only that the president is endorsing torture, but that he’s doing it so openly and willfully. It isn’t arrogance anymore. It isn’t even hubris. Arrogance and hubris suggest that at least some awareness that public perceptions still matter. In Bush’s mind, perceptions are for the birds. This is pure tyranny. His statement embracing torture, a study in mendacity, is worth a line-by-line look.

“This week,” he began, “I addressed the Department of Homeland Security on its fifth anniversary and thanked the men and women who work tirelessly to keep us safe.” Really? As of last May 1, Homeland Security, the Washington Post reported, “had 138 vacancies among its top 575 positions, with the greatest voids reported in its policy, legal and intelligence sections, as well as in immigration agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Coast Guard.” It got so bad that a panicky report was sent to the House committee overseeing the department-the department led, as we unfortunately know, by the intrepidly dismal Michael Chertoff, who captained the agency through its finest hour: its spectatorship of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath.

“Because the danger remains,” Bush continued, “we need to ensure our intelligence officials have all the tools they need to stop the terrorists.” All the tools. Not the necessary tools, but all the tools. The most effective way not to worry about crossing the line into the dark side is not to have a line at all. For the Dear leader there is no question of nuance, of the difference between right and wrong. It is all right as long as he declares it so. By all means necessary (although I hate to soil Malcolm’s fine line, given its context, with the Dear Leader’s criminal intent). But by that reasoning, nuking Kandahar would be justified. Aren’t nuclear weapons also tools in the fight against “terrorism”? One day, the question may well be answered. Especially if the country insists on electing John McCain (and liberals who personally despise the black one or the bitch, as their prejudices couch them, insist on helping along the reactionaries).

Where Bush Lies Like a Nixonian Sweat Bead

“The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror — the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives.” The bill, of course, does no such thing. It does not take away the CIA’s right to detain anyone. It does not take away the CIA’s right to question anyone. It only forbids the CIA to employ waterboarding and other forms of torture or degrading and dehumanizing treatment of inmates-inmates, we should always, always remember, who aren’t terrorists, but alleged terrorists. Until they are proven so, it is only their incarcerators who are the demonstrably proven terrorists.

Bush then lists a series of supposed terrorist attacks the interrogations foiled. We have to trust him on that one, as several of them have never been mentioned before. Trusting Bush at this point, of course, is an exercise best left to the pathologically cretinous. One example from the plots Bush does mention-the supposed attack on the Library Tower in Los Angeles. It’s an old story, peddled by his administration since 2002. But when even the Voice of America, which is barely two radio waves removed from Radio White House, gives credence to doubts about the Dear Leader’s story, it’s time to give his fictions a chance to get sold as the latest memoir. “Micheal Scheuer, who was the leading al-Qaida expert in the CIA’s counter-terrorism center in 2002,” VOA reported in 2006, “says he is not aware of any such serious threat against the West Coast in 2002. As the man in the CIA who knew more about Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida than perhaps any other agency officer, he says it is unlikely that he would not have been kept informed on such a plot. “It could be that it was very closely held, but I think that’s unlikely,” he said. “It could be just a function of my failing memory. But this doesn’t sound like anything that I would recall as a major threat, or as a major success in stopping it.’”

Brutality’s Euphemisms

Bush in his radio address then moves on to euphemizing torture as “specialized interrogation procedures to question a small number of the most dangerous terrorists under careful supervision.” It’s a little disingenuous for the man who turned extraordinary renditions into a secret competitor of Disney’s Vacation Club, the man who replaced the Soviet Union’s gulags with a secret gulag of his own (using, cleverly, the Soviet Union’s old prisons in some cases, as in Poland and Romania), the man under whose careful supervision the likes of Khaled el Masri and Maher Arar were wrongly imprisoned, tortured in Afghanistan and Syria, and released without apologies long after the CIA knew they had the wrong men-it’s a little disingenuous for that man now to claim “careful supervision” in torture chambers.

And to characterize torture as “these safe and lawful techniques.” Safe? When, by 2006, more than 100 individuals in American detention had been murdered by their captors? Lawful, when this very veto the Dear Leader is bandying about is an attempt to evade the law? But here’s his reasoning: limiting the CIA to interrogation techniques allowed only by the Army field manual would be wrong because the field manual deals with soldiers. The CIA deals with terrorists. Just as Bush on March 8 officially placed the United States as a champion of torture, Bush on this day also placed the United States as a champion of separating the race between legitimate human beings and sub-human creatures-”hardened terrorists.” The circular argument gives the appearance of perfect logic-if you’re willing to accept the notion that some human beings are not quite human beings. And isn’t that the notion once peddled in the United States about blacks-excuse me, about niggers? Isn’t that the notion peddled about Indians, at least while there were enough of them around that a distinction mattered? Isn’t that the kind of distinction some conservatives attempted to write into the Constitution with their prohibition of “oriental” immigrants at the turn of the last century?

Some things don’t change. Once a bigoted nation, always a bigoted nation. But this goes beyond bigotry. Bush is projecting an interpretation of human beings that links up with the sort of distinctions Nazi and apartheid regimes were known for, when they, too, facilitated the torture and murder of “enemies” by dehumanizing them in the eyes of the public. This is no different. He may be speaking the language of Anglo-Saxon civilization. He may be doing so from the august rooms of the White House. What he’s saying makes him no different in these regards than the tyrants of the 20 th century. His rhetoric is another chain-link to his actions: he dehumanizes in words in order to dehumanize in deeds.

Last month Michelle Obama was criticized for saying that finally, she can be proud of the United States, the implication being that she hadn’t been proud of it before Barack Obama’s hopeful run. She may want to rethink her newfound pride. There’s nothing to be proud of when the president reduces this country to rank criminality while calling it, of all things, a “higher responsibility” that is “keeping America safe.” No one should envy the next Americans to be taken prisoner by rogue nations and terrorists, now that we’re no better than either.

Now for something completely different- Big Bang/ Universe Expansion diagram:


Today’s Rumi:

The way of love is not a subtle argument.

The door there is devestation.

Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom.

How do they learn it?

They fall, and falling

they’re given wings.

Check out

Better Bees than Bears- my older son’s blog.


Silly animated gif:


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Burning down the house!

My house burned down last night. No shit. Everything goner in a matter of minutes. Makes you think about what’s important. (Everybody’s okay- even the damn bird.)

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MLBM, tonight’s Rumi

Mad Liberation

By MOonLight

KBOO Radio 90.7 FM

1- 2 a.m. Late Friday night

(yes, I know that it is technically Saturday morning– relax, it’s just a radio show)

February 22, 2008

Dedicated to Everyone

who has ever been given a psychiatric label, to anyone who

experiences mental health challenges and to anybody who

has the misfortune (or good fortune) of being awake at that


You can participate!


Call in at (503) 231-8187

Friday nights from 1 am to 2 am following the full-moon, will be a

segment on KBOO radio (90.7 on your fm dial, to the left of NPR),

also streamed on the internet on their website,

http://www.kboo.fm/index.php will be time for of Mad Lib by

Moonlight. The program is part of the usual Friday night show, The

Outside World.

Your Radio really is talking to



you. Join the conversation.




Rumi: Birdwings

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror

Up to where you are bravely working

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead

Here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes.

If it were always a fist or always stretched open,

You would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting

and expanding,

The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated

As birdwings

and a silly animated gif (dalerwalkenshoes):


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Life, Death and Poetry

I had a scary experience today-

I’m a type one diabetic and take two different insulins to live. One of them is a slow-release, 24 hour shot (Lantus, 48 units in the morning), that provides a background level of insulin that helps keep things level from the sugar that my liver naturally adds to my blood throughout the day. The other is a fast acting insulin that helps me deal with food intake (Humalog). In using the Humalog I may over the course of the day approximate the same amount as the Lantus but it depends on my food intake and other factors. Since I generally don’t eat a lot of breakfast, my morning Humalog is in the neighborhood of 6-8 units.

Today I got them mixed up. I was distracted. Partly it was because I was reading a poem I really like to my wife- a devotional poem by the Persian mystic, Rumi. Partly I was distracted because I’ve been under a lot of stress (don’t want to go into that now- very complicated). Basically, I took an accidental overdose of the Humalog. I wasn’t really sure what I had done, still distracted, but noticed that the vials were not in the “order/ position” where they should be when I have just taken Lantus. I couldn’t be sure if I had taken the wrong insulin or if I had just messed up my usual practice of how I kept the vials(my strategy for avoiding this kind of mix-up). I felt fine- my blood sugar level had been moderately high this morning- 220 just before I took the insulin. I took a shower, my wife left for work. I figured I would know soon enough if I had made a mistake.

While in the shower I was thinking of this passage from the Teachings of Don Juan. Not that I have that great a memory (hadn’t read those books for almost 40 years) but I remembered the gist of a certain passage. I really don’t recall the exact words but the point was that death is your constant companion; “Always standing to your left, an arms length away. Usually you don’t notice him until he taps you on the shoulder.”

What I remembered was the description of how this companion could be an ally in times of confusion or indecision. The advice went something like this: “When you find yourself in doubt about how to behave/ decide in a certain situation, look to your left and ask your companion. Sometimes you will hear what he has to say and can learn something about how to respond. If instead you find that your companion turns and looks your way, you will know in a moment the triviality of your problem.”

Thinking along this line I was going about my business of the morning. Very suddenly I became disoriented, sweaty, weak- I knew what had happened and I knew I was in some serious trouble. I grabbed a liter of Sprite that I keep in the fridge for blood-sugar emergencies. I started slamming in while simultaneously dialing 911 and trying to take a blood sugar reading. I was becoming so dizzy I wasn’t sure I would be conscious for long. I got through to 911 immediately, they were very helpful, very fast and said that an ambulance would arrive soon because one was in my neighborhood. I managed to wake my son so that he could let in the EMTs when they arrived if I was incapacitated. Before I was done waking him, they were at the door. By this time I was barely conscious. and had consumed most of the Sprite.

Next thing I knew I was in the hospital with an IV getting pumped full of sugar. I was beginning to feel okay, my blood sugar readings were climbing at an acceptable rate. They kept me there for as long as it took to know that the Humalog had been depleted from my body- several boring hours. My wife Julie left work and came to keep me company. This had never happened before but we figured out a strategy to make it even more unlikely in the future. I missed work for the day, my boss/ co-worker had to cancel my appointments.

Most of the experience was boring but there was that brief moment when my “companion” turned toward me and made everything I’ve been worried about seem very trivial.

Here’s the rest. The poem I was reading to Julie when I mixed up my insulin vials:

Rumi: The Seed Market

Can you find another market like this?


With your one rose

You can buy hundreds of rose gardens?


For one seed

You get a whole wilderness?

For one weak breath,

The divine wind?

You’ve been fearful

Of being absorbed in the ground,

Or drawn up into the air.

Now, your waterbead lets go

And drops into the ocean,

Where it came from.

It no longer has the form it had,

But it is still water.

The essence is the same.

This giving up is not repenting.

It’s a deep honoring of yourself.

When the ocean comes to you as a lover,

Marry at once, quickly,

For God’s sake!

Don’t postpone it!

Existence has no better gift.

A perfect falcon, for no reason,

Has landed on your shoulder,

And become yours.

and I may as well throw in a stupid animated gif:

Breaking the rules


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