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MindMover

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Member since: Sun Jul 31, 2011, 04:36 PM
Number of posts: 5,008

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The Scene of the Crime (Return to My Lai)

There is a long ditch in the village of My Lai. On the morning of March 16, 1968, it was crowded with the bodies of the dead—dozens of women, children, and old people, all gunned down by young American soldiers. Now, forty-seven years later, the ditch at My Lai seems wider than I remember from the news photographs of the slaughter: erosion and time doing their work. During the Vietnam War, there was a rice paddy nearby, but it has been paved over to make My Lai more accessible to the thousands of tourists who come each year to wander past the modest markers describing the terrible event. The My Lai massacre was a pivotal moment in that misbegotten war: an American contingent of about a hundred soldiers, known as Charlie Company, having received poor intelligence, and thinking that they would encounter Vietcong troops or sympathizers, discovered only a peaceful village at breakfast. Nevertheless, the soldiers of Charlie Company raped women, burned houses, and turned their M-16s on the unarmed civilians of My Lai. Among the leaders of the assault was Lieutenant William L. Calley, a junior-college dropout from Miami.

By early 1969, most of the members of Charlie Company had completed their tours and returned home. I was then a thirty-two-year-old freelance reporter in Washington, D.C. Determined to understand how young men—boys, really—could have done this, I spent weeks pursuing them. In many cases, they talked openly and, for the most part, honestly with me, describing what they did at My Lai and how they planned to live with the memory of it.


In testimony before an Army inquiry, some of the soldiers acknowledged being at the ditch but claimed that they had disobeyed Calley, who was ordering them to kill. They said that one of the main shooters, along with Calley himself, had been Private First Class Paul Meadlo. The truth remains elusive, but one G.I. described to me a moment that most of his fellow-soldiers, I later learned, remembered vividly. At Calley’s order, Meadlo and others had fired round after round into the ditch and tossed in a few grenades.

Then came a high-pitched whining, which grew louder as a two- or three-year-old boy, covered with mud and blood, crawled his way among the bodies and scrambled toward the rice paddy. His mother had likely protected him with her body. Calley saw what was happening and, according to the witnesses, ran after the child, dragged him back to the ditch, threw him in, and shot him.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/03/30/the-scene-of-the-crime

The Growing Degradation of Work and Life, and What We Might Do to End It

n a recent New York Times' article, former labor editor Steven Greenhouse writes about how employers in the service sector often demand that their employees work shifts that allow them little time for rest. For example, a worker might have to close a night shift on Wednesday and open the morning shift on Thursday:

"At Hudson County Community College in Jersey City, Ramsey Montanez struggles to stay alert on the mornings that he returns to his security guard station at 7 am, after wrapping up a 16-hour double shift at 11 pm the night before."

Given that it takes precious minutes to get home, at least an hour or two to wind down and take care of chores, and an hour or more to prepare and then get back to work the next morning, Montanez probably has to get by on no more than five hours of sleep. If he has children or is responsible for the care of others, then the time crunch is still worse.

The practice of having employees close late and open early has become common enough that there is now a word for it - "clopening." Management justifies the practice by claiming that turnover in restaurant and other service jobs is so high that only the relatively few longer-term employees are sufficiently trustworthy and "have the authority and experience to close at night and open in the morning." Labor advocates say that the reason for clopening is that scheduling is often no longer done by actual managers but by "sophisticated software" purchased by companies.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/29643-the-growing-degradation-of-work-and-life-and-what-we-might-do-to-end-it


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Sad that the only economic game in town is degrading all life on this planet ...
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