Shrooms help cancer patients

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You don’t have to die to benefit from a transcendent experience, however:

Researchers believe psychedelic mushrooms may help alleviate psychological and spiritual distress for patients with a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.

Survival rates for cancer patients have improved dramatically in recent years with improvements to diagnosis and treatment, but physicians sometimes struggle to address patients’ psychological needs.

recent study suggests psilocybin – the psychoactive drug in magic mushrooms – may help patients with the anxiety, depression, anger, social isolation, and hopelessness they may experience while undergoing cancer treatment.

The hallucinogen treatment, which iscurrently seeking additional participants, has been shown to induce a mystical or spiritual experience in patients and offers a unique therapeutic approach to reduce anxiety in terminal cancer patients, researchers said.

“Mystical or peak consciousness states in cancer patients have been associated with a number of benefits including improved psychological, spiritual, and existential well-being,” said study co-author Anthony Bossis, of the New York University College of Dentistry.

The researchers said some cancer patients develop a demoralization syndrome that’s similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, and they become immobilized by their fear of death.

“The whole point (of psilocybin treatment) is to dislodge them from that,” researcher Jeffrey Guss told The Atlantic. “What’s remarkable is that even though we don’t tell them what narratives to form, there is an enormous commonality. Patients will come to me and say, ‘I understand intuitively now that love is truly the most important force on the planet. I experienced a profound sense of peace that I never felt before and it has stayed with me. I know now that my consciousness is bigger than me.’”

The study describes one patient who experienced extreme fatigue, pain, and psychological distress from his cancer and biweekly chemotherapy treatments.

But he reported dramatic changes in his attitude, coping, and mood 18 weeks after psilocybin therapy, saying his “quality of life is dramatically improved.”

Another patient, a pre-med student, described his experience with the therapy.

“I was outside of my body, looking at myself,” the patient said. “My body was lying on a stretcher in front of a hospital. I felt an incredible anxiety — the same anxiety I had felt every day since my diagnosis. Then, like a switch went on, I went from being anxious to analyzing my anxiety from the outside. I realized that nothing was actually happening to me objectively. It was real because I let it become real. And, right when I had that thought, I saw a cloud of black smoke come out of my body and float away.”

Patients in the study underwent two therapeutic sessions – one in which they were given psilocybin and another in which they were given a placebo.

They received psychological preparation before the psilocybin dose, followed by a series of psychotherapeutic sessions.

“Patients who have benefited from psilocybin clinical research have reported less anxiety, improved quality of life, enhanced psychological and spiritual well-being, and a greater acceptance of the life-changes brought on by cancer,” Bossis said. “It is a welcome development that this promising and novel clinical research model utilizing psilocybin has begun to gain clinical and academic attention.”

A real interview

John Oliver interviews former NSA head Keith Alexander, and he’s a helluva lot harder on him than our so-called “journalists”:

The next revolution


An interview with one of the Occupy founders. Go read it, it’s interesting:

In a boarded-up hotel along a windy country road, a couple dozen activists are gathered for a workshop. They are mostly women, and mostly over 40. The workshop is being held by Micah White, one of the instigators of Occupy Wall Street.

After the dust settled from Occupy, White packed up his bags in the Bay Area and moved here to Nehalem, a small town in one of thepoorest counties in rural Oregon. Nehalem sits on the Pacific Coast, in the shadows of popular vacation destination Manzanita. But White isn’t here for a vacation, and he came to town with a mission.

The demise of Occupy left everyone with one question: “Now what?” Almost three years later, White is helping the founders of Occupy, US Uncut, and others to launch The After Party, a new political party on “a mission to restore democracy” and occupy the ballot box in time for the 2016 elections. How? By organizing statewide ballot initiativesousting corrupt officials, and encouraging everyday people to run for local and county offices.

Inspired by the success of Occupy Sandy organizing efforts, The After Party also seeks to turn communities into self-sufficient hotbeds of social action. White and the After Party team want to create what they call “mutual aid flash mobs,” citizen gatherings where people can do things like start a time bank, plant urban gardens, fix local roads, organize free healthcare clinics, and build tiny houses for the homeless. Nehalem, population 267, will be a test lab.

Because the only possible use for humans is as a cog in the work wheel

259 2002_2003 Alia's Kindergarten Class

This is really disgusting. But that’s the point of this education “reform.” Enough of the critical thinking, your job is to do a good job for your employer, and the sooner you learn your place, the better:

An annual year-end kindergarten show has been canceled at a New York school because the kids have to keep working so they will be “college and career” ready. Really.

That’s what it says in a letter (see below) sent to parents by Ellen Best-Laimit, the interim principal of Harley Avenue Primary School in Elwood, N.Y., and four kindergarten teachers. The play was to be staged over two days, May 14 and 15, according to the school’s calendar.

One mother who received the letter, Ninette Gonzalez Solis, wrote on Facebook that parents learned recently the play was being canceled and started calling the principal, leading the school officials to send out the new missive. Solis wrote that she was very upset about the cancellation.

All but one of the people who signed the letter were unavailable for comment. One asked me to call back but then didn’t answer the phone. District Superintendent Peter Scordo declined to discuss it.

Remember when workers died for their rights?


How did we end up right back where we started? Bill Moyers:

On April 20, 1914, the Colorado National Guard and a private militia employed by the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company (CF&I) opened fire on a tent camp of striking coal miners at Ludlow, Colo. At least 19 people died in the camp that day, mostly women and children.

A century later, the bloody incident might seem a relic of the distant past, but the Ludlow Massacre retains a powerful, disturbing and growing relevance to the present. After a century of struggling against powerful interests to make American workplaces safer and corporations responsive to their employees, the US is rapidly returning to the conditions of rampant exploitation that contributed to Ludlow.

That’s especially true in mining, where a coordinated union-busting campaign, the corporate capture of federal regulatory agencies, and widespread environmental degradation leave coal miners unsafe and mining communities struggling to deal with the massive environmental impact of modern mining practices.

A century ago, miners led the fight for workers’ rights. The Gilded Age of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was a period of great upheaval for the American working class. For decades, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) had worked to organize the nation’s coal miners. Its success often hinged on whether the government helped mining companies crush strikes or protected workers. In 1897, deputies in Luzerne County, Pa., killed 19 striking miners in the Lattimer Massacre. But five years later, when Pennsylvania miners struck again, President Theodore Roosevelt intervened on their behalf, providing them with a partial victory. Roosevelt’s actions, while hardly indicative a new pro-labor federal government, reflected a growing belief that labor deserved a fair shake.

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