A social experiment in Iceland has investigated the pros and cons of working a four-day week. Now, the brains behind the trial have released a report and the findings are quite something: not only did people report feeling happier, healthier, and less stressed, many workplaces also became more productive.
The experiment was run by UK-based thinktank Autonomy and the Association for Sustainability and Democracy (ALDA) in Iceland. The full report, released on Sunday, can be read here [PDF].
From 2015 to 2019, two large-scale trials saw 2,500 people in Iceland (more than 1 percent of the country’s entire working population) cut their working hours from around 40 hours a week to 35 or 36 hours. The participants worked in a range of environments, including offices, shops, hospitals, daycare centers, etc, and involved those who worked a typical "9-to-5" day as well as non-standard shift patterns. Throughout the trial, the researchers interviewed workers and gathered data on their well-being and changes to the workplace.
The benefits were clear: peoples’ well-being increased across a range of indicators, from perceived stress and risk of “burnout,” to physical health and work-life balance.
Most participants reported having more energy for other activities, such as socializing, exercising, and hobbies, while explaining the cut in hours allowed them to spend more time with their families and made it easier to complete other home chores. These benefits were especially noticeable among the single-parent families included in the trials. Men in heterosexual partnerships also took on more housework and greater domestic responsibilities, sharing out the division of labor more evenly.
“I work less… For me, it is like a gift from the heavens. And I like it a lot,” one participant said in an interview.
Crucially, productivity was either maintained or improved in the majority of workplaces. The researchers put the improvement in productivity down to better morale at work.
“Moral has been good here, and always has, but it got even better,” a manager said.
Much of the data is self-reported, and though there is what the report calls quantitative data, it's unclear how things like work efficacy increases were measured across the board. However, following the apparent success of the trial, unions were able to renegotiate working patterns and now 86 percent of Iceland’s workforce has moved to a shorter working week.
“The Icelandic shorter working week journey tells us that not only is it possible to work less in modern times, but that progressive change is possible too,” Gudmundur D. Haraldsson, a researcher at Alda, said in a statement.
“This study shows that the world’s largest-ever trial of a shorter working week in the public sector was by all measures an overwhelming success. It shows that the public sector is ripe for being a pioneer of shorter working weeks – and lessons can be learned for other governments,” added Will Stronge, Director of Research at Autonomy.
While Iceland is known for its socially progressive initiatives, it is not alone in its push towards a shorter working week. A number of similar trials are now being run across the world, including in Spain and New Zealand. Even Japan, a country with a notoriously intense attitude towards work, has recently encouraged workplaces to allow their employees to choose to work four-day a week instead of the typical five.
As our July Fourth celebrations were beginning, the U.S. quietly closed and abandoned Bagram Air Base, the largest American military base between the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea.
Afghan looters were soon seen scavenging inside the base.
The long retreat of the American Empire is underway, and this longest war is likely to end in bloody retribution for the Afghans who sided with us against the Taliban and are left behind.
When the last American departed Bagram, The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. is making plans for "an emergency evacuation of the American embassy in Kabul amid concern that a worsening security situation in Afghanistan could imperil the remaining military and diplomatic corps."
Apparently, we are preparing for a possible Saigon '75 finish to the war launched by George W. Bush 20 years ago. Pressed by reporters on the grim situation in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden did not want to reflect on or talk about what might be coming.
"I want to talk about happy things, man," Biden told reporters. "Look, it's Fourth of July ... it's the holiday weekend. I'm going to celebrate it. There's great things happening."
In that same edition, the Journal reported that China has moved 50,000 troops to the border region with India where forces of the two nations, in June 2020, had their bloodiest skirmish in decades.
Other reports suggest that China intends to fill the vacuum left by the departure of America's power and provide billions from its Belt and Road Initiative to build a highway from Kabul, Afghanistan, to Peshawar, Pakistan.
As America executes its strategic retreat from Central Asia, China is on the move.
In addition to militarizing its frontier with India, China is reasserting its maximalist claims to the South China Sea, ending independence and crushing democracy in Hong Kong, continuing cultural genocide against the Uyghurs, and regularly sending swarms of warplanes toward Taiwan to transmit the message to Taipei that annexation is but a matter of time.
Nor was Chinese President Xi Jinping's address on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party an exercise in nuance.
"We'll never accept insufferably arrogant lecturing from those 'master teachers!'" said Xi, drawing a roar from the crowd of party members and veterans. Clad in a Mao suit, Xi had other warnings for those who seek to stand in the way of Communist China's destiny:
"The Chinese people will never allow foreign forces to bully, oppress or enslave us ... Whoever nurses delusions of doing that will crack their heads and spill blood on the Great Wall of steel built from the flesh and blood of 1.4 billion Chinese people."
Undeniably, Xi and his predecessors have an awesome record, as the Financial Times relates:
"China's emergence over the past four decades ranks as the biggest and longest-run economic boom in history. Its annual gross domestic product rose from a mere $191bn, or $195 per capita, in 1980 to $14.3tn, or $10,261 per capita, in 2019. It has raised more than 770m people from poverty and transformed the Chinese economy into a high-tech powerhouse that is on course to eclipse America's in size. This transformation is the landmark achievement of the Chinese Communist party, which celebrates its 100th anniversary on Thursday."
China's growth could not have been achieved had it not been for the U.S. decision to throw open the world's largest consumer market to Chinese-made goods, to bring Beijing into the World Trade Organization, and to sit idly by as a huge slice of U.S. industry and manufacturing was transshipped to China for production there and not here.
Between 1990 and 2021, U.S. imports of Chinese-made goods provided Beijing with the trillions it has accumulated to finance its strategic objective of becoming the first power on earth.
But this is water over the dam. Where do we go from here?
China's assets are impressive. At 1.4 billion people, it has the largest population on earth. If its growth rate continues, it will have the largest economy. Its strategic arsenal of nuclear weapons is a fraction of ours, but given the horrendous damage these weapons can do, a nuclear war would be ruinous if not mortal for both countries.
In terms of conventional military -- ships, soldiers, planes, guns, missiles and bases in the East Asia-Western Pacific theater where any war between us would be fought -- China's advantages are greater.
And of the issues over which we might fight -- islands, rocks, reefs in the South and East China Seas, and Taiwan -- none of them is claimed by us or vital to us. All are claimed by China as rightly theirs.
In the Cold War with the USSR, time, it turned out, was on our side. But in the last decade, Xi Jinping might fairly see time as having switched sides. Either way, we are surely better off relying upon our abilities rather than our weapons to win the competition and settle the rivalry that may settle the future of mankind.
Patrick J. Buchanan
As more information trickles out on the assassination of Haiti President Jovenel Moise, there are details that point to the issue of narcotics trafficking in South Florida and issues surrounding how the cartels use Haiti as a shipping and transportation transfer hub. That old investigative phrase of "follow the money," and who benefits from the death of Moise, will eventually reveal who did this and why. However, there are significant details available today that answer some of these questions while creating additional ones.
It is reasonable to believe the United States government knows exactly what happened in Haiti, who is behind the killing of Moise and why he was killed. There is a large Drug Enforcement Administration operational capability in Haiti, and they have been there for many years. One of the Haitian Americans arrested is believed to be a DEA source having reportedly worked with DEA agents on major cases. That links the DEA and the Department of Justice directly to the assassination of Moise, according to some reports.
Like it or not, the U.S. government is tied into this killing and its aftermath. If not directly, they certainly know why Moise was killed. It could be that some of their very informants were involved, and we know for a fact that the government keeps close eyes on informants. The DEA has a record of sloppiness running confidential narcotics sources, and let us not forget about the various issues -- including corruption -- during the various sting operations south of the border in the 1980s and early '90s. Why is the U.S. government noticeably silent on this assassination? It certainly does bring them further into the spotlight and raises several serious questions about what they do and don't know.
We can ask the attorney general and the director of the DEA if the U.S. government had advance warning about the assassination plan against Moise. If so, why wasn't it prevented? These are all crucial details that the public has a right to know. With the revelation that one of the arrested suspects -- a Haitian and American citizen -- is or was a DEA source, it's reasonable to believe that the DEA must have gotten some details of this planned event before it occurred, since it was a complex, well-planned and successful operation. The DEA and the U.S. intelligence apparatus has a law that must be followed called the "Duty to Warn." Was Moise warned? If so, by what department?
This story should grow legs. A head of state has been assassinated in our backyard, and the DOJ, DEA and FBI either knew about it in advance and said nothing, or really didn't detect the threat and are guilty of malfeasance, misfeasance or incompetence. Any of these outcomes is bad. Some hard questioning will bring the facts of this case into the light. The president of Haiti was tortured and brutally murdered in his home. As a head of state, penetrating his home and bedroom to torture and murder him is almost unheard of. Where were the inner circle, outer circle and perimeter security components? How were all three successfully penetrated? The success of the operational plan to murder him would indicate considerable skill and pre-planning. The brutality of his torture and murder presents questions. A clear signal has been sent. Who was this signal for?
As the details continue to surface on the background of the captured assassins, the links to U.S. law enforcement and its regional counternarcotics programs are coming into view. So is the breadth and depth of the political corruption of Moise's administration. The billions of U.S. tax dollars poured into Haiti over the previous four U.S. administrations are breathtaking. For example: The U.S. government provided funding to conduct a fuel pier refurbishment study that captures the scale of theft in plain sight. A study of pier suitability was tendered by the U.S. government, and $4.5 million was paid for it. The study never occurred because the pier was impossible to recondition. It was a total waste of time and money. The study was commissioned; the pier was declared unsuitable; and a memo saying so was produced. The $4.5 million disappeared, and the issue was closed out on the official books. Case closed.
Ask the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI and the DEA for a report on the origins and ownership of all the weapons recovered from the assassins.
This mess is just the latest example of the disorganized, uncontrollable and unaccountable U.S. government law enforcement and intelligence apparatus. The FBI and the DEA "running sources, CI's, assets, cases, informants" is amateurish and dangerous. I would expect to learn soon that the CIA and military intelligence also have links to some of these operatives from Columbia or some other counternarcotics program. This latest flop will be very difficult to sweep under the rug. When a head of state is killed, global news and questions are going to keep coming.
The Haitian logistics hub for the trafficking of narcotics and human beings continues forward without Moise.
I sent a simple request in April to my government for public data that taxpayers have the right to see. Through the federal Freedom of Information Act, I asked the Transportation Security Administration (as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation) for the following information:
No. 1: The policy statement outlining the processes and criteria according to which officials nominate, consider and approve names for the no-fly list, selectee list and extended selectee list.
No. 2: All information, documents, records and communications within the TSA and/or between the TSA and the FBI regarding attendees of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol rally and their inclusion on the no-fly list, selectee list and extended selectee list from Jan. 6, 2021, through the present. (I requested copies of all information, records, emails, phone logs/transcripts, letters, notes, memoranda and all electronic or nonelectronic communications/records/information related to aforementioned events and aforementioned parties.)
No. 3: All information, documents, records and communications within the TSA and/or between the TSA and the FBI using the search terms "Nick Fuentes," "Nicholas Fuentes," "Nicholas J. Fuentes," "America First," "Lauren Witzke," "AFPAC" or "Groypers."
You'll be interested to know, my fellow American citizens and taxpayers, that the price of unlocking the TSA/FBI's no-fly secrets is precisely $4,536 ($28/hour). Michael Tobias, government information specialist at Department of Homeland Security/Transportation Security Administration/Freedom of Information Act Branch, informed me that "it would take a combined search time of 162 hours" to fulfill my request and that half of the estimated cost -- $2,268 of the $4,536 -- would be due up front as an advance payment. "Thank you and have a great day!" Tobias ended his missive to me.
So much for "freedom" of information. LOL.
I have appealed this onerous tax on investigative journalism and refiled my FOIA request this week, noting that I am a member of the media and reiterating that any information I receive will be shared with the public. Stay tuned for updates, but in the meantime, ask yourselves (and your elected representatives, while you're at it) this question:
What is our government trying to hide at such a high cost to ordinary Americans?
As I reported in this column in April, the subjects of my FOIA request (Nick Fuentes and Lauren Witzke) have faced repeated obstacles to traveling by air since the beginning of the year. Their plight is part of what I believe is a clearly coordinated campaign of discrimination by Big Government and Big Tech against America First nationalists. Remember: Multimedia entrepreneur Nick Fuentes has been banned by all the usual Big Tech suspects (most recently by Twitter last week after the Anti-Defamation League published a hit piece), along with livestream service DLive, Coinbase and every payment processor for his forceful advocacy of populism, an end to mass migration and protection of the nuclear family. Former Delaware GOP Senate candidate Lauren Witzke (banned from Twitter for calling a pedophilia-flirting transgender activist "demonic") had her Wells Fargo account shut down just last month.
Both attended the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol rally for former President Donald Trump, but neither had entered the building. Neither has been charged with any crimes. Both were peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. Yet, President Joe Biden's TSA and multiple airlines told Fuentes he no longer has "clearance" to fly; Witzke cannot check into flights online, is swabbed for explosives and has "Secondary Security Screening Selection" marked on her tickets. My FOIA request would help unearth clues as to the criteria for putting untold thousands of innocent American citizens on secret lists and tyrannically classifying them as "security" threats.
Witzke called out the feds' information lockdown for the bribery that it is: "The full force of the federal government is trying to extort ordinary Americans who just want to know the truth. WHY are they persecuting us?"
Laura Loomer, another early and repeated victim of Big Government/Big Tech abuse, also weighed in: "Not only are they trying to extort people for wanting to know the truth, but they won't even reply to my lawyers requests to find out why the FBI has illegally red flagged me" and prevented her unilaterally from owning firearms. "The federal government is illegally extorting Americans and they are abusing their power to politically persecute and target political opposition."
The rest of the deep-pocketed corporate media remains stubbornly uninterested in freeing the truth on behalf of persecuted dissidents. It's not a newsflash, but it bears repeating: The Fourth Estate is not a neutral actor, but an active collaborator with the Swamp and Silicon Valley in stifling America First.
The concept is simple enough: match the world’s best bull riding athletes against the toughest animal athletes on the planet in an 8-second man versus beast duel.
Put the cowboys against one another in a season-long battle to claim the year-end title of PBR World Champion, and with that, a share of more than $10 million in prize money including the $1 million year-end bonus and the golden buckle for the season’s best bull rider.
Of course, it’s only simple until you strap a tough and determined 159-pound cowboy to the back of a temperamental 1,600 - 2,000-pound bull, a beast, 10 times or more their size, only to see the bull get up off the ground and climb into the air, snort, kick, buck, twist & turn, ...... well .... it's one of those 'you have to be there, to truly appreciate it' moments!
You say you've never have seen it live? Then check out these athletic beasts yourself when PBR returns for its annual visit to Hertz Arena on Friday and Saturday, July 23rd, & 24th, these tickets go fast so if you want to get in, you'd better hurry!
Both riders and bulls will compete to earn points and money while working to move one step closer to the World Finals.
Bulls get points for bucking and kicking and generally putting up a good fight. The riders get them for staying on board long enough — at least eight seconds — and for looking good while doing it too. Good form is everything.
The result is unparalleled action, where danger, drama and heroic accomplishments................ are just a part of the game.
Hertz Arena is located at 11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero, FL
For more information, call 239-948-7825 or visit:Hertzarena.com.
Wednesdays game was postponed due to rain and they played a double header on Thursday where Justin Washington homered and Sawyer Gipson-Long spun a quality start, but the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels dropped both games of the doubleheader to the Hammerheads at Hammond Stadium and will try to even out the series tonight at 7pm. It's Friday and there will be fireworks after the game tonight.
Town of Fort Myers Beach, FL – Community members interested in serving as volunteers to advise and support the work of Town government are encouraged to apply for current openings on four of the Town’s 10 advisory boards and committees.
The Town’s boards and committees exist to advise Town Council about Bay Oaks Recreational Campus, the Mooring Field, Mound House, Newton Beach Park, finances, island preservation and history, marine resources, nuisance abatement, and public safety.
More information and the application can be found at www.fmbgov.com. From the homepage, navigate to: About FMB > Advisory Boards and Committees > Advisory Boards and Committees Application. Contact the Town Clerk’s Office at 239-765-0202 with questions.
It’s what we’ve waited for: Summer! Though the season brings longer, sunnier days, it also comes with life-threatening weather hazards such as extreme heat, rip currents, and thunderstorms and lightning.
1. Excessive heat. It's a killer
Heat is one of the most deadly weather hazards, so don’t underestimate it. Warm temperatures can quickly rise to dangerous levels — especially in parked cars. Get the latest forecast on weather.gov and make sure you know what to do if there’s a heat alert product issued for your area:
• An Excessive Heat Warning means take action!
• An Excessive Heat Watch means be prepared.
Do you know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke? See our graphic and spread the word.
2. Rip currents. Rip currents are so powerful that they can sweep even the strongest swimmer away from shore. If you are caught in a rip current, relax and try not to panic. Follow these tips to make it back to safety:
• Don’t swim against the current.
• If you are able, swim parallel to the current (following the shore) until you are out of the rip current, and then you can swim to shore/beach.
• If you can’t escape, float or tread water and yell or wave for assistance. Always swim at beaches where there are lifeguards.
3. Hurricanes and tropical storms. Have a plan b
efore one hits home.
Many powerful hurricanes, such as Michael, Katrina, Andrew and Camille, were tropical storms just days before making landfall. Don’t wait until it’s too late — know your potential evacuation routes and have an emergency supply kit ready to go now. Also, have a family communication plan in place in the event of an evacuation.
4. Thunderstorms. Go
indoors at the first sign.
Severe thunderstorms can produce dangerous lightning, hail and wind gusts that damage property and threaten lives. If you “See a flash, dash inside” and “When thunder roars, go indoors”: Always head indoors at the first sign of a thunderstorm, and stay away from windows. If there are no buildings nearby, get inside a vehicle to ride out the storm.
It’s 1959, and Rydell High School’s senior class is in rare form. The too-cool-for-school “Burger Palace Boys” are stealing hub-caps and acting tough and their gum-snapping, chain-smoking “Pink Ladies” are looking hot in bobby sox and pedal pushers.
The 1950s high school dream is about to explode in this rollicking musical that is both a homage to the idealism of the fifties and a satire of high schoolers’ age-old desire to be rebellious, provocative and cool.
At the heart of the story is the romance between hot-rodding gang-ster Danny Zuko and the sweet new girl in town, Sandy Dumbrowski. They had a secret romance in summer, but now back in the context of school, peer-pressure and cliques make their love a bit more complicated.
Sandy attempts to navigate the tricky Rydell High School social waters and catch Danny’s attention again, but Danny is chiefly concerned with maintaining his coolest-guy reputation. In the end, the Pink Ladies help Sandy figure out how to win back the leader of his Greaser Boys the T-Birds as the whole gang sings and dances around Danny and Sandy’s romance,
through such hit songs as "Summer Nights", "We Go Together”, "Beauty School Dropout", "Mooning", "Greased Lightnin" and "Born to Hand Jive" recalling the music that became the soundtrack of a generation.
Now playing a six week run at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater until August 14th, Grease is among the world's most popular musicals and has a cult-like following, especially among teens and old guys like me!
Directing and choreographing Grease is Amy Marie McCleary who most recently directed and choreographed Beehive: The 60's Musical at Broadway Palm last month. Other credits include the Second National Tour of Memphis the Musical (Director/Choreographer) and the International Tour of The Wizard of Oz (Choreographer), among many others.
This is a fun show that you will enjoy, starring as Danny is Francisco Thurston who was seen on Broadway Palm’s stage in "On your Feet."
Making her Broadway Palm debut as Sandy is Sarah Lindsey, both did a great job with their roles....but, honestly, right from the first scene, I couldn't stop watching the big man, Nathan Wright as Roger "the Rump" who, for me, stole the show with his incredible vioce and agility.
Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees.There is a summer special whereby tickets are just $20 for children 18 and under, includes the meal and the show. Group prices are also available.
Broadway Palm Dinner Theater is located at 1380 Colonial Blvd. Fort Myers FL 33907
Go to: BroadwayPalm.com or call the box office at : 239-278-4422
It was a warm, sunny, Spring morning. I had just finished driving my son to the sheltered workshop which had just reopened after being closed on and off for over a year due to the Covid 19 pandemic. I was rushing back home, zipping along the mountain roads that I know so well, with a thousand thoughts on my mind, with a ton of wishes and worries bouncing around my brain.
I wouldn’t say that I was speeding but I wasn’t driving as safely as I normally do either. Suddenly, I saw a dark form in the road ahead. I stepped on the brakes and saw that it was a big, black dog standing right in the road. I stomped down on the brakes harder and came to a full stop.
The dog just stood there looking at me in a strange sort of way. Then he shook his head disapprovingly and walked slowly off the asphalt and up into the woods.
I drove away slowly wondering about that dog. Then for the first time that day, I noticed the sunshine glowing off the light green leaves of the trees. I noticed the thousands of buttercups blooming along the side of the road. I noticed the butterflies floating above them. I noticed the birds soaring in the sky.
For the first time that day I felt the Love of our Creator and felt the happiness of Heaven while still here on Earth. I drove on with a clear mind and a warm heart thanking God for sending that Divine dog to slow me down and to wake me up.
Looking back now I see I needed that reminder. I was getting too lost in my own life again to notice the real LIFE all around me. I needed to see again that life is short and I shouldn’t rush through it. I needed to see that life is precious and I should cherish every second of it. I needed to see that life is beautiful and I should welcome that beauty into my heart, mind, and soul. I needed to see that life is LOVE. Life is God’s LOVE expressed in a trillion different ways.
May you enjoy every second of it and may you add your own love to it as well.
Joseph J. Mazzella