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Member since: Thu Feb 14, 2008, 10:58 AM
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Efficiency up, turnover down: Sweden experiments with six-hour working day

Source: The Guardian

A Swedish retirement home may seem an unlikely setting for an experiment about the future of work, but a small group of elderly-care nurses in Sweden have made radical changes to their daily lives in an effort to improve quality and efficiency.

In February the nurses switched from an eight-hour to a six-hour working day for the same wage – the first controlled trial of shorter hours since a rightward political shift in Sweden a decade ago snuffed out earlier efforts to explore alternatives to the traditional working week.

“I used to be exhausted all the time, I would come home from work and pass out on the sofa,” says Lise-Lotte Pettersson, 41, an assistant nurse at Svartedalens care home in Gothenburg. “But not now. I am much more alert: I have much more energy for my work, and also for family life.”

The Svartedalens experiment is inspiring others around Sweden: at Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska University hospital, orthopaedic surgery has moved to a six-hour day, as have doctors and nurses in two hospital departments in Umeå to the north. And the trend is not confined to the public sector: small businesses claim that a shorter day can increase productivity while reducing staff turnover.

At Svartedalens, the trial is viewed as a success, even if, with an extra 14 members of staff hired to cope with the shorter hours and new shift patterns, it is costing the council money. Ann-Charlotte Dahlbom Larsson, head of elderly care at the home, says staff wellbeing is better and the standard of care is even higher.

Carer Lise-Lotte Pettersson dances with a resident at Svartedalens care home. “I used to be exhausted all the time… But not now,” she says. Photograph: Daniel Breece for the Guardian

“Since the 1990s we have had more work and fewer people – we can’t do it any more,” she says. “There is a lot of illness and depression among staff in the care sector because of exhaustion – the lack of balance between work and life is not good for anyone.”

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/17/efficiency-up-turnover-down-sweden-experiments-with-six-hour-working-day

Sanders Marches for Voting Rights

Source: BernieSanders.com

ARLINGTON, Va., – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday joined civil rights demonstrators on the last leg of a 860-mile march from Selma, Alabama, to call on Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act.

Sponsored by the NAACP, the “Journey for Justice” crossed Memorial Bridge into Washington, D.C., and ended on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Sanders denounced “cowards” in Statehouses who enacted new laws designed to suppress turnout on Election Day by making it harder to register to vote. Republican state lawmakers have exploited a Supreme Court ruling that gutted the landmark Voting Rights Act.

“We are a few steps from Arlington Cemetery where people fought and died for democracy, not to make it harder to vote,” Sanders said before the last leg of the march began. “Our job is to make it easier to vote. Our job is to try to increase voter turnout. And these Republican governors are afraid when people get into the ballot box and they don’t want them to vote. We’re gonna change that.”


Keynesianism Explained (Krugman)

Source: NYTimes


I would summarize the Keynesian view in terms of four points:

1. Economies sometimes produce much less than they could, and employ many fewer workers than they should, because there just isn’t enough spending. Such episodes can happen for a variety of reasons; the question is how to respond.

2. There are normally forces that tend to push the economy back toward full employment. But they work slowly; a hands-off policy toward depressed economies means accepting a long, unnecessary period of pain.

3. It is often possible to drastically shorten this period of pain and greatly reduce the human and financial losses by “printing money”, using the central bank’s power of currency creation to push interest rates down.

4. Sometimes, however, monetary policy loses its effectiveness, especially when rates are close to zero. In that case temporary deficit spending can provide a useful boost. And conversely, fiscal austerity in a depressed economy imposes large economic losses.

Read more: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/15/keynesianism-explained/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Dr. Who Game Maker launched today.


Street art fest bringing 40 new works to Eastern Market (Detroit)

Source: Freep

On your mark, get set, paint!

The inaugural Murals in the Market festival opens Thursday, and by Friday morning most of the roughly 45 national and local invited artists will be hard at work on 40 newly commissioned works of street art in Eastern Market and environs. For the nine days of the festival, Eastern Market, already one of Detroit's richest centers of street art, will pulsate with the energy of artistic creation. The festival will effectively double the number of authorized murals in the market, and the spectacle of dozens of artists all working at the same time within a few concentrated blocks of the city promises to shrink the distance between artists and the public, letting everyday folks in on the process of how murals get made.


"It's going to change the landscape of the entire area," said festival director Roula David. "The murals will be a catalyst for people to explore the market. They'll go down streets where they haven't been just to see the art. When you put up art, it makes everything feel safer and makes people feel more welcome."


Detroit has long been a haven for illegal graffiti, but in recent years the city has become one of the most vibrant centers of authorized street art in the country. Hundreds of murals done with permission, by some of the most famous street artists in the world as well as gifted metro Detroit artists, can now be seen all over the city.

Read more: http://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/2015/09/11/mural-festival-bringing-40-new-works-eastern-market/72013322/

Some current street art in/near Eastern Market via: http://ilovedetroitmichigan.com/detroit-graffiti-street-art/10-new-works-of-detroit-street-art-in-eastern-market/ :

Clinton falters in new national poll

Source: The Hill

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is faltering in her bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, a new national poll of Democratic-leaning voters shows.

Clinton's support has fallen 21 points since July, from 63 to 42 percent, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Monday, dropping below 50 percent for the first time.

Support for Clinton has particularly eroded among women, an integral demographic for her campaign, falling from 71 percent two months ago to 42 percent now.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who gained 10 percentage points since July, now stands at 24 percent support in the poll, while Vice President Joe Biden has gained 9 points amid increasing interest in a potential White House bid, putting him at 21 percent now.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/253519-clinton-falters-in-new-national-poll

Underwater sculptures emerge from Thames in climate change protest

Source: The Guardian

At high tide, you might barely know they’re there. But as the water level of the Thames comes and goes twice a day with the tide, the four ghostly heads – and the horses they sit atop – slowly emerge fully into view.


The installation, which sits less than a mile from the Houses of Parliament, comprises four life-size shire horses, standing as a symbol of the origins of industrialisation but also as a warning for the bleak future it is creating for the world by their representation of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

While the bodies of the figures and horses are moulded from real life, each of the horses’ heads has been replaced by the “horse head” of an oilwell pump – a political comment on the impact of fossil fuels on our planet.

For Taylor, the position of the sculpture is particularly opportune. “I quite like the idea that the piece sits in the eye line of the place where many politicians and so many people who are involved in climate change all work and make these damaging deals and policies, yet who are in this state of mad denial,” he said.

The middle-aged suited figures that sit on top of two of the horses, looking defiantly into the distance, are also a direct reference to the politicians and businessman who Taylor believes are allowing climate change to continue under their watch.

Taylor added: “The suited figures are ambivalent to their situation – I wanted to create this striking image of a politician in front of the Houses of Parliament, ignoring the world as the water rises around him. And they are sitting on horses that are grazing, taking as much as they can from the ground.”

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/sep/02/underwater-sculptures-thames-london

Pics via: http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-culture/blogs/prophetic-horsemen-sculptures-emerge-river-thames :

Meet Baddie Winkle, Who Fell In Love With Raver Clothes At Age 87

Business Leaders Write To Obama Urging Him To Not Allow Drilling In The Atlantic

Source: Think Progress

For coastal companies that depend on a healthy stream of tourists to keep business healthy, the prospect of drilling in the Atlantic Ocean means one thing: spills that will sully beaches and drive visitors away.

More than 300 Atlantic coast businesses sent a letter to President Obama Thursday, urging him to take back his administration’s proposal to allow drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. In January, the Obama administration announced a proposal to sell oil and gas leases in offshore sites from Virginia to Georgia. Currently, there is no offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, though drilling does occur in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the letter, the businesses outline the economic risk posed by offshore drilling, saying that monetary losses due to lost tourism revenue could be “devastating.” They also note that the Energy Information Administration estimates that the Atlantic Ocean holds only about 209 days’ worth of oil and 13 months’ worth of natural gas.

“Offshore drilling is incompatible with our tourism and fishing industries. When you drill, you spill, and day to day drilling operations result in chronic pollution and the industrialization of the coast for oil facilities,” the letter reads. “Look no further than the devastation the BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe brought to the Gulf of Mexico’s fishing, tourism and wildlife to recognize the impact drilling would have here on the Atlantic Coast.”

Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/09/10/3700223/businesses-against-atlantic-drilling/

California Police Ransacked Public Apartments Without Warrants Under ‘Neighborhood Blitz’ Program

Source: Think Progress

In an invasive, war-like operation known as the Neighborhood Blitz, police officers in Stockton, California illegally searched the apartments of poor minorities and physically disabled people, according to a class action lawsuit filed Wednesday. Under the guise of standard housing inspections, armed officers routinely burst into homes with little to no warning, ransacked the premises without warrants, demanded personal information from tenants that had nothing to do with their homes, and threatened renters with arrests and homelessness.

The nine plaintiffs — all of whom are African American, Hispanic, or disabled — allege the Stockton PD stormed into their Gateway Court apartments and subjected them to unconstitutional searches. Rather than giving tenants 21 days’ notice, per Stockton’s municipal code, police entered the units with less than 24 hours’ notice and often walked in without the permission of the people living there. Lacking warrants, the cops examined mattresses, closets, drawers, and cupboards — throwing the contents on the floor. They also searched plaintiffs’ medications and demanded to see personal documents, including bills and rental papers. Officers would come at any time of day or night — barging in when people were eating or sleeping — and several searches of pregnant women’s apartments were conducted without taking the women’s health into account.

If tenants tried to deny entry or failed to comply with officers’ demands, the police threatened to arrest them, place them in homeless shelters, and shut down the apartments altogether. An armed officer was present during all of the searches.

Ultimately, no arrests were made. But the lawsuit follows a long line of complaints against the police department for its police brutality and racial profiling.

Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/09/10/3700184/california-police-ransacked-public-apartments-with-no-warrants-or-probable-cause-a-lawsuit-says/

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