Fact Checking Sites
In these days where so many seem to be challenged by facts and where truth can be at a deficit, it is helpful to have a few fact checking sites at our disposal. Here are 5 that are, as far as I can tell, among the most reliable.
there is also the Washington Post blog Fact Check, the Sunlight Foundation, the Poynter Institute, among others that can be trusted.
A Nursing Home for Sex Workers
In many countries once sex workers are no longer desirable enough to work, they end up destitute and homeless. Carmen Munoz saw that, and a sex worker herself she was not only touched by their plight she wanted to prevent this from happening to her. Her own story Continue reading
The Fight Against Deportation
There’s already the outline of a movement to fight whatever the Trump administration may do about deportation. Several Ivy League universities including Harvard, are making plans to protect the students there illegally, some young people in the US since childhood. The Catholic Bishops have asked Trump to rethink his planned deportation policy. Cardinal Jose Gomez, head of the Los Angeles diocese has already expressed his opposition to deportation. There’s also the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, Charlie Beck, who declared that deporting people is not the job of the police. The Los Angeles Unified School district has also reaffirmed that its campuses are safe zones, that is places where immigration agents are not welcomed.. Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C. along with several others cities—32 so far in California, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut and several other states—are sanctuary cities, that is cities where people here illegally are not prosecuted just for being here illegally. While it’s not a guarantee and the concept has no legal standing, it nevertheless indicates that these cities are and will be more welcoming to illegal immigrants. There are already several churches Continue reading
Hacked E-Mails, Leaks and Transparency
Are we enabling hackers? Every time someone is hacked, not only is the fact known, but what is hacked is made public. Sure the gossipy part of us reads what Colin Powell had to say about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. But do we actually need to know what he said? Is that truly newsworthy? What cause has been advanced? The ratings of certain news outlets or the voyeuristic part of us? Same thing when Sony was hacked a while back. Careers were lost over it, but was it necessary for us to know what celebrity said about what executive? The media make no distinction between what is relevant and what is not. Similarly they make no distinction between leaks, which are at times legitimate, that is when they have no axe to grind, and hacks. In the personality base media age, it is tempting to go for the lowest denominator—one way our culture has gotten to be the way it is—but that does not mean it is right, or constructive. Indications are that Continue reading
“Survival of The Nicest”
I ran across “ Survival of the Nicest” (published by The Experiment in 2014) at least a year ago and then somehow forgot about it until I read about it again in a newsletter I receive. It’s not the kind of book one should forget, it speaks about how altruism could actually help human kind with its struggles. Its full subtitle is “How Altruism made us Humans & Why It Pays to Get Along.” You may not read this book, but regardless you ought to know its thesis. It is written by a science writer and PhD in biophysics, Stefan Klein, and looks at how the idea of evolution is helped by our ability to cooperate, share and be generous, and this not only in humans but in other species of the animal kingdom. He addresses how our social nature leads to our ability to adapt and succeed. He suggests that while the ideas of survival of the fittest may work in the short term, in the long run it is survival of the nicest that should make us get ahead. He cites examples from nature and tries to answer questions such as what motivates humans to help others, does unselfishness exists and why are some individuals more altruistic than others?
Next time the news, people’s behavior, or circumstances around us remind us of Continue reading
A New Kind of Debtor Prison
Nicholas Kristoff, the thoughtful and socially conscious NYT columnist wrote eloquently about what could be called debtors’ prison not long ago drawing attention to the fact that people who can’t afford to pay fines are jailed instead, a system that ensures they won’t be able to pay. Serving time puts one’s job in jeopardy, should one have a job because many of those who are fined are homeless, for example being fined for sleeping on a park bench. The system also places the children of single parents at risk, and can mean eviction for some. Still nation- wide the practice continues and is often used as a means for certain localities to raise money. But a few days prior to Kristoff’s column, the LA Times had run a similar article in this case drawing attention to the fact that the ACLU had fought and won several lawsuits trying to outlaw the practice. They have won in Richland, Washington, Biloxi, Miss., Colorado Springs, Colo. and East Pointe, Mich. We might all remember that the issue of jailing people who can’t pay fines was an issue in Ferguson, Mo, one the federal government made the city discontinue. The aim of the ACLU lawsuits is Continue reading
Ballet Shoes For Black Dancers
It’s usually difficult for whites to be aware, much less understanding, of the difference being black makes in today’s world. Ballet shoes may be a small example, but it is revealing of how easy it is for the society to ignore the needs of non-whites. Ballet is an art form based on tradition. The tradition favors white ballet dancers, and usually females. Slowly over time black dancers have made inroads both in the US and in the UK. Most of us now know of Misty Copeland and the Washington Ballet. Eric Underwood is another black dancer, an American who dances with the UK’s Royal Ballet. Because ballet shoes only come in fleshtones accommodating white dancers, he had to apply pancake make up to his. Fleshtone shoes allow the dancer to look natural, the idea is for the shoes to blend in with the skin. It takes up to half an hour for Eric, and other black dancers, to apply the pancake, some of it is lost during performing and since his ballet shoes only last 3 or 4 days, Continue reading
Spending on Others
Hard to If you want to be happy spend money on others. Psychology professor Elizabeth Dunn and marketing professor Michael Norton document all this in their book Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending. They’ve of course conducted research and experiments and on a recent PBS program Elizabeth Dunn even spoke of living what she has come to believe. She and a group of friends are engaged in a project pooling resources to sponsor a refugee family. To these authors happiness is not spending on oneself, but on others. One may like spending money on oneself, it may make one happy, but the gratification of spending money on others is greater, which means that maximizing self-interest is not always an answer and altruism may not be as devoid of gratification as we might have thought. To someone like me who has been practicing meditation and the values it represents for years or to someone who agrees with the idea of Continue reading