Is Our Independence Costing Us Our Freedom?
By Terrence Daryl Shulman
4th of July Holiday is upon us. A time for reflection on
independence and freedom. For many or most, this opportunity will be
marked by bar-b-ques, a day off work, time with family and friends,
drinking, eating, shopping. While I'm likely to engage in more of
the same, I'm also trying to take a moment to consider the deeper
meaning of both independence and freedom. One of the first thoughts
that came to my mind is how independence can be both a gift and a
trap. I thought about how the "go it on our own" mentality
of politics often leads to isolation and chaos rather than
co-operation, unity and order. I've thought about my own patterns of
fierce independence which have kept me stubborn and stuck at times,
afraid to ask for help as if to become "dependent," weak,
or needy. I'm reminded that there's a middle ground between
independent and dependent: it's called
personal relationships as in relationships between nations, perhaps
it's the most healthy and realistic way to operate. "No man is
an island." And no nation either. We are all inter-connected.
nobody likes being a slave or under the thumb of anyone. One of the
worst feelings in the world is feeling trapped or unfree-which
prompts me to consider the deeper meaning of "freedom." Is
freedom an external reality or an internal reality? Is freedom,
ultimately, a state of mind? I'm thinking of Nelson Mandela who was
imprisoned for 27 years-much of it in solitary confinement. Yet, it
seems that he was able to keep his dignity and his mind
"free" to a large extent. I'm thinking of Professor
Stephen Hawking whose body is confined to a wheelchair with advanced
ALS. While he recently experienced the euphoria of weightlessness in
a zero-gravity capsule, he never struck me as anyone stuck in the
victim mode of his own dire physical condition. On the contrary, he
used and expanded his own mind for the benefit of others.
just another word for 'nothing left to lose.'" This memorable
line from Janis Joplin's song may mean many things to many people
and may be more of a Zen Koan in the end. Does the line imply that
we must lose everything in order to be free? Does it call upon us to
take risks even if we don't get what we want, we experience freedom
itself in the taking of the risk? Does it mean I can just do
whatever I want? What's your definition of freedom?
know I still fall too easily into the mindset of thinking:
"I'll be free when..." I'll be free when I have a million
dollars. I'll be free when my wife stops "nagging me."
I'll be free when I don't have to work anymore. I'll be free when my
back doesn't hurt and stiffen. I'll be free when I move to
California. I'll be free when I let go of my anger. I'll be free
when I cure my addictions once and for all. I'll be free when I move
to a deserted island. I'll be free when I don't have any bills or
responsibilities. I'll be free when I stop chasing freedom...
going to do my best to be happy that I live in a country that,
despite its room for improvement, allows me largely the freedom and
independence to shape my own life. I am the ultimate creator of my
own freedom. I am also responsible for my own thinking and my own
life. If I don't like it, I have the freedom to change it. If I need
help doing so, I have the freedom to seek out help. I also have the
freedom to do nothing. As for independence, while I often fantasize
about needing nobody and nobody needing me, that is not real freedom
or real joy when I think about it. Relationships enrich my life.
Responsibilities enrich my life. Sure, I don't want to overdo it,
but I do see the value in inter-dependence as the goal and the
while I'm enjoying my 4th of July vacation on the lake with my wife
and family and friends, I'm hoping to do my best to maintain the
awareness of deeper, profound freedom and independence that
transcends the national and encompasses the universal. Ultimately, I
get to say if I'm free or not. Perhaps, that's the greatest form of
self-autonomy and independence.
Hayes Releases 2012 Theft Survey Results!
Chapel, FL - Just 23 major retailers apprehended over 1.1 million
shoplifters and dishonest employees and recovered over $189 million
from these thieves in 2012, according to the 25th Annual Retail
Theft Survey conducted by Jack L. Hayes International, the leading
loss prevention and inventory shrinkage control consulting firm.
2012, shoplifting apprehensions increased 7.4% and the recovery
dollars from shoplifters increased a amazing 22.7%". Dishonest
employee apprehensions and recovery dollars also increased in 2012,
5.5% and 7.0% respectively", said Mark R. Doyle, President of
Jack L. Hayes International. "It should be noted that these increases
follow similar increases reported the previous year!" Mr. Doyle
added, "The seriousness of retail theft is a much greater
problem than many people realize. These theft losses are stealing
profits from retailers and driving retail prices higher for the
from this highly anticipated annual theft survey include:
23 large retail companies with 18,900 stores and over $596 billion
in retail sales (2012).
1,145,688 shoplifters and dishonest employees were apprehended in
2012, up 7.3% from 2011.
Dollars: Over $189 million was recovered from apprehended
shoplifters and dishonest employees in 2012, up 18.1% from 2011.
Apprehensions: 1,074,593 shoplifters were apprehended in 2012, up
7.4% from 2011.
Recovery Dollars: Over $138 million was recovered from apprehended
shoplifters in 2012, an increase of 22.7% from 2011. An additional
$46.8 million was recovered from shoplifters where no apprehension
was made, up a significant 25.2% from 2011.
Apprehensions: 71,095 dishonest employees were apprehended in 2012,
up 5.5% from 2011.
Recovery Dollars: Over $50 million was recovered from employee
apprehensions in 2012, up 7.0% from 2011.
out of every 40 employees was apprehended for theft from their
employer in 2012. (Based on over 2.8 million employees.)
a per case average, dishonest employees steal approximately 5.5
times the amount stolen by shoplifters ($715.24 vs $129.12).
full survey results visit the Jack Hayes website at:
Many Pets Are Too Many?
hoarding is keeping a higher-than-usual number of animals as
domestic pets without having the ability to properly house or care
for them, while at the same time denying this inability.
Compulsive hoarding can be characterized as a symptom of a mental
disorder rather than deliberate cruelty towards animals. Hoarders
are deeply attached to their pets and find it extremely difficult to
let the pets go. They typically cannot comprehend that they are
harming their pets by failing to provide them with proper care.
Hoarders tend to believe that they provide the right amount of care
for their pets. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Animals provides a "Hoarding Prevention Team", which
works with hoarders to help them attain a manageable and healthy
number of pets.
animal hoarder keeps an unusually large number of pets, but fails to
care for them properly. A hoarder is distinguished from an
animal breeder, who would have a large number of animals as
the central component of his or her business; this distinction can
be problematic, however, as some hoarders are former breeders who
have ceased selling and caring for their animals, while others will
claim to be breeders as a psychological defense mechanism, or in
hopes of forestalling intervention. Gary Patronek, director of the
Center for Animals and Public Policy at Tufts University defines
hoarding as the "pathological human behavior that involves a
compulsive need to obtain and control animals, coupled with a
failure to recognize their suffering." According to another
study, the distinguishing feature is that a hoarder "fails to
provide the animals with adequate food, water, sanitation, and
veterinary care, and... is in denial about this inability to provide
hoarding impacts communities across the U.S. on a daily basis with
approximately 3,500 reported new cases discovered each year.
However, there are many cases that go unreported. There are
approximately 250,000 reported animals that are victims of animal
hoarding every year. However, there are many cases that go
unreported. Animal hoarding in adults often is triggered by an
event or situation such as the loss of or stress in a relationship,
economic hardship or a major health issue. Animal hoarders have
also been known to hoard objects; approximately 40 percent of object
hoarders also hoard animals.
hoarders often fall into one of the following three categories but
can sometimes exhibit characteristics across categories:
The Overwhelmed Caregiver: The overwhelmed caregiver initially
provides adequate care for the animals and believes that while a
problem has slowly developed, it's not as serious as others think it
is. The overwhelmed caregiver may be socially isolated but is
willing to accept intervention.
The Rescuer Hoarder: The rescuer hoarder develops a compulsion based
on a strong desire to rescue animals from possibly deadly
situations. He/she actively acquires animals and believes no one
else is capable of caring for them. Often working with a network of
enablers, the rescuer hoarder gains proximity to the animals and
finds it difficult to refuse taking in any new animals.
The Exploiter Hoarder: The exploiter hoarder takes in animals to
serve his/her own needs and is indifferent to any harm caused to the
animals. Typically denying a problem exists, this type of hoarder
rejects authority figures or any outside help and has a strong need
to be in control while expressed very little remorse or guilt. The
exploiter hoarder may continue to acquire animals over time.
The Breeder Hoarder initially breeds animals for sale and becomes
overwhelmed with the amount of care they require and the sheer
number of animals in the home. This type of hoarder doesn't
recognize the severity of the conditions to which the animals are
at the beginning stages of hoarding exhibit some ability
care for their animals. If they are aware a problem is developing,
they are unable to correct it. Therefore, conditions for the animals
continue to deteriorate.
Clutter: Two Ways to Put Your Inbox on a Diet
By Walter Mossberg, Wall Street Journal June 26, 2103
you have two much stuff in your email inbox? Walt Mossberg reviews
Mailstrom and Sizzle, both of which are web-based services to help
you clean out junk mail and other unwanted inbox clutter.
of people feel they're drowning in email, with swollen inboxes that
make it hard to pinpoint important messages in a sea of annoying
marketing mail and unwanted newsletters.
major email players have tried to improve the situation. Google's GOOG +0.41%
Gmail now has a "Priority Inbox" feature that uses
algorithms to help highlight important messages. Apple's Mail
program lets you designate important senders as "VIPs"
with their own folder. And Microsoft's MSFT +0.09% Outlook.com
(formerly Hotmail) has a "Sweep" feature for easier
deletion of unwanted emails.
new programs try a more brute-force approach, analyzing inboxes from
many email services and letting you delete large batches of unwanted
messages with a single click. They also make it easy to unsubscribe
from mailing lists. This week, I tested two, both free and from
startups: Mailstrom and Swizzle.
are email programs, like Outlook or Apple Mail, designed as your
primary way to receive and send email. They are complementary tools,
meant to be used periodically to chop down the size of an inbox.
Both are Web-based though Swizzle plans a mobile version soon.
though both make mass deletion and unsubscribing simple, they do
take some effort and time to use. You have to study their analysis
of what's in your inbox and choose which senders or topics merit
mass deletion or unsubscribing. I found the effort was worth it.
Right away, I used Mailstrom to get rid of around 22,000 emails in
about half an hour. The feeling of satisfaction was huge.
two programs are quite different. Mailstrom attacks all your email,
including messages from individuals, businesses and list blasters.
Swizzle is tuned to just highlight marketing email, like offers for
goods and services. Swizzle also suggests other marketing email you
might want to start receiving. It offers to send these to you in a
less annoying way, bundled into a "Daily Digest."
says it only downloads the subject line and metadata of emails.
Swizzle says it only analyzes the bodies of emails to detect if
they're marketing messages.
much preferred Mailstrom because it gave me a more comprehensive,
detailed analysis of my inbox and because my mission was to reduce
all email clutter. Swizzle's offers to send me new email-even compressed
into a Daily Digest-would add to the inbox.
programs share some disappointing downsides. For technical reasons,
neither works with most company email systems, which typically use
Microsoft's Exchange service. Neither works with Microsoft's online
email service, Outlook.com, still usually called Hotmail. Nor do
they work with email services that use a back-end system called
"POP" or "POP3,"used by services like EarthLink,
that doesn't synchronize what's deleted among devices.
rest of the article at:
is its own reward.--Anonymous