Earthpages.org

The Real Alternative


Leave a comment

Today’s Top Tweet – Armchair psychologists doing more harm than good?

I’m using a really old computer tonight, waiting for more RAM to come in the mail. Rather than carry my newer laptop up and downstairs all the time (which has plenty of RAM), I thought I’d just copy a quote from Today’s Top Tweet instead of using highly.co (which really only works with a half-decent computer). 🙂

People have a tendency to make accusations of mental illness against someone if they’re angry with the person, or if they sense that the person is acting differently from what is normally expected.


4 Comments

Today’s Top Tweet – Corruption: Hiding the skunk at the garden party?

A study has recently come out about corruption around the world. There are a few factors that make me question it.

First, criminals usually don’t report their crimes. So things could be, and probably are, much worse than what we see. Only those insider deals, bribes (given and taken) that have been officially dealt with hit the radar.

Second, human bias is unavoidable and, third, corruption within the corruption indexing system, itself, is also possible.

For political and economic reasons, blind eyes could be turned toward home affairs while faraway countries are highlighted. This is called scapegoating. Scapegoating happens within small and large groups. It’s a pretty common human dynamic among people who can’t or don’t want to look at themselves honestly. Or among people who do know themselves fairly well but wish to mislead others for (perceived) personal gain.

The former are just ignorant. The latter, creeps.


3 Comments

Today’s Top Tweet – Eye on Extremism

I’ve recently discovered Miluramalho’s Blog. The woman behind it seems like an intelligent, spiritual force to be reckoned with! Her blog entry “Eye on Extremism” covers so many areas that mainstream TV news tends to brush over in favor of idiotic stories like “Why does Donald Trump sniff so much when public speaking?”

Check it out!


3 Comments

Sh**! I think it’s time for the Guru

Please listen to this. I discovered it in the mid-90s. Guru is in the other world now but his song lives on. More relevant today than ever.


2 Comments

Today’s Top Tweet – Corruption… Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves

Today’s top tweet actually comes from yesterday. I’ve been busy learning Linux (read here) so the news – or at least my commenting on it – has taken a temporary back seat.

But I’ve more or less figured out enough Linux to do the news with it. So here I go…

About today’s tweet…

When I won a scholarship to study in India I was a naive North American. I had a few misconceptions:

One… I thought Canada and the US were basically the same. Two… I thought large scale corruption only took place in seedy, faraway countries.

Image - wikimedia.org

Image – wikimedia.org

So when in India, I was offended by its obvious, in-your-face corruption.

This was the mid-to-late 1980s and you couldn’t miss it. I’m not sure about today. The last time I visited India was around 1991.

To make a long story short… on returning to Canada and the Canadian academic system, I was happy. I even felt – at the beginning – that I had found a new ‘family.’ A group of honorable people dedicated to learning and knowledge in areas I was becoming increasingly interested in — in my case, Psychology and Religion.

http://www.transparency.org/policy_re...

World Map Index of perception of corruption 2010 (Image: Wikipedia)

A few years later, however, my new ‘family’ proved to be just as weird and dysfunctional as any biological family can be. And I realized that corruption is not just an Asian thing. These days I believe it’s everywhere. We just hide it better in the West.

So I usually laugh at global measures of corruption… corruption “indexes” and so on.

Can a broken yardstick accurately measure another broken yardstick?

No. Obviously not. Measures of corruption, themselves, are inherently biased. Possibly even corrupt, themselves. That’s why I welcome today’s top tweet. We need to realize this.

Corruption isn’t just a topic for disgruntled outsiders shafted by the system. It’s something that hurts us all. And the longer we turn a blind eye to corruption, the longer it will do its damage to real people, here and abroad.


Leave a comment

Today’s Top Tweet – RT (Russian Television)… life after the zombie apocalypse?

We get RT through our cable package. Every now and then it’s fun to watch. You get a totally – and I mean totally – different slant on the news. Coverage of Europe seems a bit better than the major American and Canadian networks. But what really struck me last night was the coverage of the US.

With an almost obsessive focus on the States, RT showed clips of a seemingly harmless group of anarchist protesters being clubbed by American police in LA. In this case, I don’t think the video was lying. But I’m not sure if it was the 1992 riot or something more recent.

Members of the Toronto Police Force

Members of the Toronto Police Force (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The scenes reminded me of a time, a few years back, when people questioned whether Toronto police were too heavy-handed during a G20 protest.

If a news network were to repeat a few choice clips of that Toronto event, it could make Canada look like, well, the Russian front!

But the point is, on the whole our cops are pretty decent people who do a good job, and a very difficult and dangerous job to boot. And I suspect it’s the same in the US.

Sadly, the veneer of civilization is pretty thin. This was painfully evident during a Toronto blackout a few years ago.

Before long people began to vandalize and rob. I began to feel scared. Would the downtown mobs reach my North Toronto neighborhood? A nearby bus shelter was trashed, shattered glass everywhere. They got close.

English: Plainclothes Officers -- circa 1919

Plainclothes Officers — circa 1919 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even in our enlightened age, it seems that life without cops would quickly revert to jungle life.

But I digress.

To return to RT, except for a story about apparently innocent athletes tested for drugs, I also noticed a dearth of news about Russia, itself. Always this obsessive attention to other countries. And the anchors, forgive me for saying, look like they are slightly doped. Say the wrong thing and God knows what happens to them. Even Larry King, whom I used to admire, has a show on RT. I’m not sure what’s worse. That, or his cheesy paid for TV interview/ads.

Speaking of ads, I didn’t see any on RT. Just lots of filler between news stories. Promos for RT.

By way of contrast, CNN’s Carol Costello seems so alive this morning and certainly NOT drugged. A real personality. I wonder what it is about Russians and their history that has lead to these dull, controlled mouthpieces we see on their news? Whatever happened to Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, Gogol, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky? Clearly not all Russians seem like they’re auditioning for a zombie flick.

Why don’t the people stand up?


Leave a comment

A Modern Miracle of Hanukah Dedication?

By Rabbi Allen Maller

This is the true story of retired Army Major Mike Neulander, from Newport News, Virginia, and who is now a Judaic silversmith.

In the fall of 1990, I received notice that I would be transferred to the First Cavalry Division, which was headed for Saudi Arabia. Then as now, Jews were forbidden to enter the country. But our Secretary of Defense told the king of Saudi Arabia, “We have Jews in our military. They’ve trained with their units and they’re going. Blink and look the other way.”With Kuwait occupied and the Iraqis at his border, King Fahd did the practical thing. We shipped out.

But there was a problem. Normally the dog tags of Jewish servicemen are imprinted “Jewish.” But the army, fearing that this would put Jewish soldiers at great risk should they be captured, substituted “Protestant B” on the tags. I didn’t like the whole idea of classifying Jews as Protestant-anything, and so I decided to leave my dog tag alone. I figured if I were captured, it was in God’s hands. Changing my tags was tantamount to denying my religion, and I couldn’t swallow that.

In September 1990 I went off to defend a country that I was prohibited from entering. The “Jewish” on my dog tag remained as clear and unmistakable as the American star on the hood of every Army truck.

A few days after my arrival, the Baptist chaplain told me. “I just got a secret message through channels,” he said. “There’s going to be a Jewish holiday. You want to go? It’s at 1800 hours at Dhahran Airbase.”

The holiday turned out to be Simhat Torah, a holiday that I hadn’t celebrated since I was a kid. Services were held in absolute secrecy in a windowless room. We couldn’t risk singing or dancing. We were strangers to one another in a land stranger than any of us had ever experienced, but for that brief hour, we felt at home.

The next time I was able to do anything remotely Jewish was Chanukah. As Rabbi Romer talked about the theme of Chanukah and the ragtag bunch of Maccabee soldiers fighting Israel’s oppressors thousands of years ago, it wasn’t hard to make the connection to what lay ahead of us. There, in the middle of the desert, inside an green tent, we felt like we were Maccabees.

We blessed the candles, praising God for the miracles He performed, in those days and now. And we sang the special blessing, the Shehecheyanu, thanking God for keeping us in life and for enabling us to reach this season. The feeling of unity was as pervasive as our apprehension. I felt more Jewish there on that lonely Saudi plain, our tanks and guns at the ready, than I had ever felt back home in a synagogue.

That Chanukah in the desert gave me the urge to reconnect with Judaism. I felt religion welling up inside me. I know that part of my feelings were tied to the looming war and my desire to get with God before the unknown descended on us.

The soldier sitting beside me stared ahead at nothing in particular, absentmindedly fingering his dog tag. “How’d you classify?” I asked, nodding to my tag. Silently, he withdrew the metal rectangle from beneath his shirt and held it out for me to read. Like mine, his read, “Jewish.”

During the remaining months before we returned home I never met a Jewish soldier whose dog tag was “Protestant B.” Maybe I had experienced a modern miracle of Hanukah dedication

Thanks to rabbimaller.com