Archive for the 'education' Category

Israeli lobby group has begun to pay students to agree with Israeli policy

A pro-Israeli lobby group, has begun a program to pay Canadian and American university and college students to agree with Israeli policy and to voice pro-Israeli sentiment in classroom discussion, and in grassroots organization with other campus groups.

The program, organized by the pro-Israel lobby group Stand With Us Campus, offers $1000 per year to pro-Israeli students or to students who may be enticed to go along in order to receive the prize of $1000 (source).  In exchange for this money, students are to, in Stand With Us Campus‘s own words, “build relationships with their campus groups and individuals” to influence discourse in favour of Israel and then (again, in their words) “report back to SWU campus staff to evaluate program effectiveness and network among themselves to ensure consistency.” (source)

So the next time you hear an undergraduate  student in class claiming that Israel is only defending itself when the Palestinian/Israeli  death toll is more than 14-to-1 in Israel’s favour, just think:  he or she might actually be getting paid to say (and believe) such arguments.

According to Stand With Us Campus‘s literature, so far, the following Canadian and American universities and colleges have a student or students  (or “Fellows”, as they call them) who are being paid to advocate Israeli policy in their discussions and in their extra-curricular campus activity.

(Canadian schools listed in boldvictim-of-israeli-attack.png

Columbia University
Cornell University
Florida Atlantic University
Florida International University
Indiana University
Johns Hopkins University
Lawrence University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
McGill University
Miami Dade College
Northern Illinois University
NYU
Queens College (CUNY)
Rice University
San Diego State University
San Francisco State University
San Jose State University
Santa Monica College
State University of New York at New Paltz
Swarthmore College
Syracuse University
The George Washington University
The University of Texas at Austin
Towson University
University of Arizona
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Riverside
University of California, San Diego
University of Florida
University of Michigan
University of New Mexico
University of North Texas
University of Oregon
University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern California
University of Vermont
University of Victoria
University of Windsor
Wayne State University
(source)

standwithuscampus.png

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Note: The images used in this piece are curtosy of Information Clearing House‘s photographic archive of images of the most recent Israeli incursion into Lebannon (the one that was planned months before to await provocation).  WARNING:  If you click the above link to Information Clearing House, the images you will see are much more graphic than the images included in this post.  The images selected for inclusion above were selected because they were generally much less gruesome than the worst of the images of Israeli attacks.

Propaganda in Action: Ontario’s election “priorities”?

A new poll just released by Environics, shows something more revealing than it bargained for. What it shows can be considered even more proof that the media does not have a left-wing bias.

The Environics poll asked Ontarians what they thought the most important factor/issue determing their vote in the upcoming election would be.

The results are interesting.

environics

Now, some of these factors can be broadly categorized into socialist/social democratic issues (namely heath care and social programs/poverty/minimum wage) and conservative/capitalist issues (namely the economy and taxes). Recompiling the list with these ideological concerns grouped together results in this list of what Ontarians care about:

ontario-election-issues-people.PNG

So what do Ontarians care about? Notice that by far, the answer, according to Environics, is overwhelmingly coherently socialist/social democratic issues, followed by two ideologically neutral issues, then followed by coherently conservative or capitalist issues.

But now let’s take a look at what the mainstream media coverage of the Ontario election considers to be the important issues.

We can see that the media has little interest in the issues that Ontarians actually cares about:

ontario-election-issues-media.PNG

I compiled the data for this table using targeted advanced Google news searches and can be verified, if you’re interested, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

We progressives can easily convince ourselves that society is hopelessly biased and political culture hopelessly corrupted by the mainstream media, but I see these results as reason for optimism rather than forlornness.

Voters aren’t clamoring for tax cuts despite the hugely disproportional media coverage of the issue and voters continue to support socialist issues as their #1 election issues. If that, in and of itself, does not give progressives great faith in the prospects for the kind of changes we seek, then I don’t know what will.

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See also:

The ‘Propaganda in Action’ series (the rest of the series)

The NDP are cowards, what should true progressives do?

What do politics and monkey shit fights have in common?

The propaganda & hypocrisy of 9/11 anniversary media coverage

The Paulitics coverage of the Ontario 2007 election

The absolute best one line quote you will ever read… EVER!

I don’t even know what I can add to this quote to make it better, so here it is:

“If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it ought to be good enough for the children of Texas.”
-‘Ma’ Ferguson (former Texas governor) speaking on Spanish as a second language in the United States

’nuff said.

How our schools kill creativity

This is a video of a talk Ken Robinson gave to the TED lecture series in California on how schools kill creativity.

In this talk, the always hilarious, but also always informative Ken Robinson first asks whether our schools stifle creativity.  I thought this very personal discussion by Robinson about whether this sanitation of our creativity is done and how it is done, does a great job of illustrating how this, the basic driving force of industrialization, ultimately poisons ourselves and cannot continue on indefinitely.

And besides, I laughed my butt off at his description of university professors, so even if you disagree with this, I still figured it was worth sharing.

Enjoy.

09b6b66d-8c3b-488d-9dd3-3da9110be4ee.jpg

click here for Ken Robinson’s talk

An atheist argument for teaching religion in school

This video is of a short but fantastic lecture given at the famous TED lectures in California by Dan Dennett.   The lecture makes a compelling case why we atheists should support the teaching of religion in schools (with Dennett’s caveat, of course, that ALL religions are taught and that instruction be factually-based).

As a product of Ontario’s publicly-run Catholic education school system from kindergarten up until my first year of university, I do have to say that while I hated catechism class and found it terribly brainwashing, Dennett does make a very strong case.

Looking back, I can see that the one religion class of my entire pre-university schooling which I actually enjoyed was the one which was taught without bias and which was geared towards exactly what Dennett is talking about — all world religions.  This class helped lay the foundations for me to understand the ability of religion to manipulate society and opened my eyes to many issues and topics which still continue to influence my research.  And that was just one short class.

Maybe we athiests have been going about it all the wrong way?  Maybe we shouldn’t be trying to ban religion from the classroom, but should try instead merely to get away from the parochial cuius regio, eius religio by presenting a complete anthropological account of religion stripped of its dogma?

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For Dan Dennett’s TED lecture, click here.

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For the TED website with links to other very interesting lectures on Technology, Entertainment and/or Design, click here


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