Made In The USA: The Evolution Of American Labor #Labor Day

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(The following excerpt from Made In The USA: The Evolution Of American Labor by Jeff Ihaza recently appeared on aol.com. To view it in its entirety click on the link below.)

For most Americans, Labor Day is little more than the unofficial end of summer — a nice break from the work week that recharges them for the days ahead. It wasn’t always that easy though. During the nation’s younger days, ideas like a minimum wage, an 8-hour work day and protections for working children were still being fought over. In fact, Labor Day as a holiday is the product of a series of efforts from labor unions across the country toward the end of the 19th century.

Nowadays, we celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday of September — but the first Labor Day was actually celebrated on a Tuesday, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In 1882, the Central Labor Union in New York City organized a celebration on September 5th. After two years of simply using September 5th as the holiday, the first Monday in September was designated as the official “workingmen’s holiday.”

This isn’t to suggest that Labor Day didn’t face its detractors. On September 4th, 1887, the New York Times published a scathing article titled “Labor Day and Idle Saturday” in which the author wrote “It is silly to set apart a day on which no labor is to be done as Labor Day.” Nonetheless, the idea of setting aside the first Monday in September as a holiday for workers eventually caught on across the nation.

Cliff Notes Guide To Getting #Happiness Right

a trekker in the himalaya. Image shot 2010. Exact date unknown.

(The following excerpt from Cliff Notes Guide To Getting Happiness Right by Collen Long, Psy.D., recently appeared in psychology today.com. To view it in its entirety click on the link below.)

Believe it or not, as a psychologist who literally wrote the book on Happiness, I have to remind myself certain mantras that help me keep my own life in balance and my happiness sustained. I actually have a list on my phone that says “things to remember,” and page through it daily, when I’m feeling off track. This list of items are little gems, I’ve picked up along the way so far in my 34 years on the planet:

1) In silence, the heart begins to finish its unfinished business. 

2) Do more want-to’s vs. have-to’s every day.

3) Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them.

4) Connection with others is key to fulfillment.

5) Like attracts like. Happy attracts happy.

6) To receive abundantly, ironically we must give abundantly.

7) Choose your thoughts like you choose your clothes.

8) Legitimately and truly don’t care about what others think or do.

9) Go out into the world with your heart, not your brain.

10) Relish in the remarkable ride.

 http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-happiness-rx/201408/cliff-notes-guide-getting-happiness-right

A Plane Ticket Can Take You From Jerk To #Jihadi … #McCain #Kastigar

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(The following excerpt from American Jihadis Douglas McCain And Troy Kastigar: From Losers To Martyrs recently appeared on thedailybeast.com.  To view it in its entirety click on the link below.)

If you can’t make it anywhere, you can make it there—that, at least, seems to have been the theory of Douglas McCain and Troy Kastigar, friends who ended up with ISIS and al-Shabab.
Why be a loser when you can be a martyr?

That was the sad and screwy logic that propelled Douglas McAuthur McCain and his pal Troy Kastigar.

The same dynamic has driven other disappointed souls and threatens to drive many more, as ISIS and al-Shabab and their murderous ilk offer an exciting travel destination to those who are going nowhere.

A plane ticket can take you from jerk to jihadi.

And if you can’t make it anywhere, you can make it there.

But while it seems an odd coincidence that McCain and Kastigar both managed to lose a front tooth in the course of their journeys, it is no surprise that they both ultimately reached the deadest of dead ends.

McCain and Kastigar were born two months apart in 1981 and were buddies at Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope outside Minneapolis. A class of 1999 yearbook picture shows them standing together, though neither seems to have graduated.

While others in the class went on to college, McCain moved in with Kastigar, who was living with his single mom and younger brother in a suburban six-bedroom house on a tree-lined street in New Hope. McCain nonetheless seems to have remained close with his family, who had moved from Chicago to Minnesota when the housing project where they resided was vacated in surrender to gang and violence blight. His given name and middle name may have been in tribute to the famous World War II general Douglas MacArthur, though the spelling would suggest otherwise.

As they went from their teens into their 20s, McCain and Kastigar each had minor run-ins with the law. A sheriff’s mugshot of Kastigar shows that he had a tattoo on the right side of his neck that included “MOB” in apparent tribute not to the Bloods gang but to a local rap crew called GMOB. McCain also got a tattoo on the right side of his neck, though his was more ornate, perhaps reflecting his ambition to make a name of his own as a rapper.

The two sometimes played basketball at the local community center, the African-American McCain and the Native American Kastigar shooting hoops with young men from a large Somali enclave. Neither was particularly skilled.

Kastigar took an interest in Islam and became close with someone named Mohamoud Hassan, who was preparing to join al-Shabab in its jihad in Somalia. Kastigar embraced Islam and took to calling himself Abdirahman.

In November 2008, Kastigar told his mother that he was traveling to Kenya to study the Qur’an. The 28-year-old adolescent instead went to Somalia. His neck tattoo helped identify him after he and Hassan were killed that following September. They were buried side by side.

The media ran a high school photo of Kastigar, and nobody imagined there was any significance in the kid who stood on his immediate left. That was McCain, who had since moved to San Diego and taken a job at a restaurant called African Spice. He had himself embraced Islam, though his coworkers do not remember him as being particularity religious.

“He was just a regular American kid,” a coworker would later tell a reporter.

McCain seemed to be shaken when his father died. He retained a deep attachment to his mother, Judie McCain, and posted a photo of her on Facebook.

“MY BEAUTIFUL MOTHER NOW YALL KNOW WHERE I GET IT FROM,” he wrote.

He still hoped to make it as a rapper and went to Sweden, where the relative rarity of being American and a person of color might compensate for a shortcoming in originality. But iTunes was as brimming with the truly talented there as it was back home.

As his dream faded, McCain’s religious fervor intensified. He changed his Facebook profile photo to the sheriff’s mugshot of the pal who had gone on to die as a jihadi in Somalia.

“One of the realize niggas I know,” he wrote on December 21, 2012.

In the summer of 2013, al-Shabab released a recruiting video called “Minnesota’s Martyrs: The Path to Paradise” that included video taken of Kastigar before his death. Kastigar still had the tattoo, but he had grown a beard and lost a front tooth. The gap imparted a goofiness to his smile as he rhapsodized about the glories of jihad. The words must have seemed to McCain like a personal message from his dead friend.

If you can’t make it anywhere, you can make it there—that, at least, seems to have been the theory of Douglas McCain and Troy Kastigar, friends who ended up with ISIS and al-Shabab.
Why be a loser when you can be a martyr?

That was the sad and screwy logic that propelled Douglas McAuthur McCain and his pal Troy Kastigar.

The same dynamic has driven other disappointed souls and threatens to drive many more, as ISIS and al-Shabab and their murderous ilk offer an exciting travel destination to those who are going nowhere.

A plane ticket can take you from jerk to jihadi.

And if you can’t make it anywhere, you can make it there.

But while it seems an odd coincidence that McCain and Kastigar both managed to lose a front tooth in the course of their journeys, it is no surprise that they both ultimately reached the deadest of dead ends.

McCain and Kastigar were born two months apart in 1981 and were buddies at Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope outside Minneapolis. A class of 1999 yearbook picture shows them standing together, though neither seems to have graduated.

While others in the class went on to college, McCain moved in with Kastigar, who was living with his single mom and younger brother in a suburban six-bedroom house on a tree-lined street in New Hope. McCain nonetheless seems to have remained close with his family, who had moved from Chicago to Minnesota when the housing project where they resided was vacated in surrender to gang and violence blight. His given name and middle name may have been in tribute to the famous World War II general Douglas MacArthur, though the spelling would suggest otherwise.

As they went from their teens into their 20s, McCain and Kastigar each had minor run-ins with the law. A sheriff’s mugshot of Kastigar shows that he had a tattoo on the right side of his neck that included “MOB” in apparent tribute not to the Bloods gang but to a local rap crew called GMOB. McCain also got a tattoo on the right side of his neck, though his was more ornate, perhaps reflecting his ambition to make a name of his own as a rapper.

The two sometimes played basketball at the local community center, the African-American McCain and the Native American Kastigar shooting hoops with young men from a large Somali enclave. Neither was particularly skilled.

Kastigar took an interest in Islam and became close with someone named Mohamoud Hassan, who was preparing to join al-Shabab in its jihad in Somalia. Kastigar embraced Islam and took to calling himself Abdirahman.

In November 2008, Kastigar told his mother that he was traveling to Kenya to study the Qur’an. The 28-year-old adolescent instead went to Somalia. His neck tattoo helped identify him after he and Hassan were killed that following September. They were buried side by side.

The media ran a high school photo of Kastigar, and nobody imagined there was any significance in the kid who stood on his immediate left. That was McCain, who had since moved to San Diego and taken a job at a restaurant called African Spice. He had himself embraced Islam, though his coworkers do not remember him as being particularity religious.

“He was just a regular American kid,” a coworker would later tell a reporter.

McCain seemed to be shaken when his father died. He retained a deep attachment to his mother, Judie McCain, and posted a photo of her on Facebook.

“MY BEAUTIFUL MOTHER NOW YALL KNOW WHERE I GET IT FROM,” he wrote.

He still hoped to make it as a rapper and went to Sweden, where the relative rarity of being American and a person of color might compensate for a shortcoming in originality. But iTunes was as brimming with the truly talented there as it was back home.

As his dream faded, McCain’s religious fervor intensified. He changed his Facebook profile photo to the sheriff’s mugshot of the pal who had gone on to die as a jihadi in Somalia.

“One of the realize niggas I know,” he wrote on December 21, 2012.

In the summer of 2013, al-Shabab released a recruiting video called “Minnesota’s Martyrs: The Path to Paradise” that included video taken of Kastigar before his death. Kastigar still had the tattoo, but he had grown a beard and lost a front tooth. The gap imparted a goofiness to his smile as he rhapsodized about the glories of jihad. The words must have seemed to McCain like a personal message from his dead friend.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/28/american-jihadis-douglas-mccain-and-troy-kastigar-from-loser-to-martyr.html

Are You Raising Nice Kids? #Empathy #Parenting

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(The following post Are You Raising Nice Kids?A Harvard Psychologist Gives Five Ways To Raise Them To Be Kind by Amy Joyce recently appeared on washingtonpost.com. To view it i its original format click on the link below.)

Earlier this year, I wrote about teaching empathy, and whether you are a parent who does so. The idea behind it is from Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard psychologist with the graduate school of education, who runs the Making Caring Common project, aimed to help teach kids to be kind.

I know, you’d think they are or that parents are teaching that themselves, right? Not so, according to a new study released by the group. (Chat with Weissbourd here.)

About 80 percent of the youth in the study said their parents were more concerned with their achievement or happiness than whether they cared for others. The interviewees were also three times more likely to agree that “My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I’m a caring community member in class and school.”

Weissbourd and his cohorts have come up with recommendations about how to raise children to become caring, respectful and responsible adults. Why is this important? Because if we want our children to be moral people, we have to, well, raise them that way.

“Children are not born simply good or bad and we should never give up on them. They need adults who will help them become caring, respectful, and responsible for their communities at every stage of their childhood,” the researchers write.

The five strategies to raise moral, caring children, according to Making Caring Common:

1. Make caring for others a priority

Why? Parents tend to prioritize their children’s happiness and achievements over their children’s concern for others. But children need to learn to balance their needs with the needs of others, whether it’s passing the ball to a teammate or deciding to stand up for friend who is being bullied.

How? Children need to hear from parents that caring for others is a top priority. A big part of that is holding children to high ethical expectations, such as honoring their commitments, even if it makes them unhappy. For example, before kids quit a sports team, band, or a friendship, we should ask them to consider their obligations to the group or the friend and encourage them to work out problems before quitting.
Try this
• Instead of saying to your kids: “The most important thing is that you’re happy,” say “The most important thing is that you’re kind.”
• Make sure that your older children always address others respectfully, even when they’re tired, distracted, or angry.
• Emphasize caring when you interact with other key adults in your children’s lives. For example, ask teachers whether your children are good community members at school.

2. Provide opportunities for children to practice caring and gratitude
Why? It’s never too late to become a good person, but it won’t happen on its own. Children need to practice caring for others and expressing gratitude for those who care for them and contribute to others’ lives. Studies show that people who are in the habit of expressing gratitude are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving—and they’re also more likely to be happy and healthy.
How? Learning to be caring is like learning to play a sport or an instrument. Daily repetition—whether it’s a helping a friend with homework, pitching in around the house, or having a classroom job—make caring second nature and develop and hone youth’s caregiving capacities. Learning gratitude similarly involves regularly practicing it.
Try this
• Don’t reward your child for every act of helpfulness, such as clearing the dinner table. We should expect our kids to help around the house, with siblings, and with neighbors and only reward uncommon acts of kindness.
• Talk to your child about caring and uncaring acts they see on television and about acts of justice and injustice they might witness or hear about in the news.
• Make gratitude a daily ritual at dinnertime, bedtime, in the car, or on the subway. Express thanks for those who contribute to us and others in large and small ways.

3. Expand your child’s circle of concern.
Why? Almost all children care about a small circle of their families and friends. Our challenge is help our children learn to care about someone outside that circle, such as the new kid in class, someone who doesn’t speak their language, the school custodian, or someone who lives in a distant country.
How? Children need to learn to zoom in, by listening closely and attending to those in their immediate circle, and to zoom out, by taking in the big picture and considering the many perspectives of the people they interact with daily, including those who are vulnerable. They also need to consider how their
decisions, such as quitting a sports team or a band, can ripple out and harm various members of their communities. Especially in our more global world, children need to develop concern for people who live in very different cultures and communities than their own.
Try this
• Make sure your children are friendly and grateful with all the people in their daily lives, such as a bus driver or a waitress.
• Encourage children to care for those who are vulnerable. Give children some simple ideas for stepping into the “caring and courage zone,” like comforting a classmate who was teased.
• Use a newspaper or TV story to encourage your child to think about hardships faced by children in another country.

4. Be a strong moral role model and mentor.
Why? Children learn ethical values by watching the actions of adults they respect. They also learn values by thinking through ethical dilemmas with adults, e.g. “Should I invite a new neighbor to my birthday party when my best friend doesn’t like her?”
How? Being a moral role model and mentor means that we need to practice honesty, fairness, and caring ourselves. But it doesn’t mean being perfect all the time. For our children to respect and trust us, we need to acknowledge our mistakes and flaws. We also need to respect children’s thinking and listen
to their perspectives, demonstrating to them how we want them to engage others.
Try this:
• Model caring for others by doing community service at least once a month. Even better, do this service with your child.
• Give your child an ethical dilemma at dinner or ask your child about dilemmas they’ve faced.

5. Guide children in managing destructive feelings
Why? Often the ability to care for others is overwhelmed by anger, shame, envy, or other negative feelings.
How? We need to teach children that all feelings are okay, but some ways of dealing with them are not helpful. Children need our help learning to cope with these feelings in productive ways.
Try this
Here’s a simple way to teach your kids to calm down: ask your child to stop, take a deep breath through the nose and exhale through the mouth, and count to five. Practice when your child is calm. Then, when you see her getting upset, remind her about the steps and do them with her. After a while she’ll start to do it on her own so that she can express her feelings in a helpful and appropriate way.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2014/07/18/are-you-raising-nice-kids-a-harvard-psychologist-gives-5-ways-to-raise-them-to-be-kind/