Friday, May 25, 2012

Should You Attend an Online University?

The Democratizing Forces of Online Universities

Blogging democratized the news industry; has the increase in online learning platforms democratized the education industry? With the proliferation of free and low-cost online educational tools, learners unlikely to attend a traditional four-year college now have greater access to education.

Free and low-cost educational platforms such as "Online Schools" now dominate the online educational market. Coursera, a platform that allows you to take classes from accredited and well-respected colleges across the nation, including Stanford, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania, has attracted investors across the United States. TED-Ed, an educational alliance created by TEDTalks, allows users to access lectures and lessons on a variety of subjects, from the arts to science and technology. Udemy, a new startup venture, further democratizes the learning process by allowing users to post their own lesson plans. Because of the availability of user-generated content, Udemy functions more as a community skillshare than a classroom.

Online classes and non-degree educational platforms democratize the entire learning process. First, online classes and educational platforms are generally available for free, low-cost or at a rate drastically reduced from classroom learning prices. This allows a greater number of people to access information. According to a recent Seattle Times article, the cost of attending a four-year college rose by 300% from 1990-2011. This escalating cost has led to an “education bubble,” where graduating seniors are saddled with debt that they can no longer afford to pay back. The democratizing forces of online schooling allow students who are unable or unwilling to take out federal or private loans to access training without taking on exorbitant debts.

Secondly, because platforms like Udemy allow users to upload their own videos, lesson plans and PowerPoint presentations, a wider variety of information is available to interested parties. Classes in business are positioned next to classes in technology, history, mechanics and engineering. So online learning even democratizes the former hierarchical structure of subject matter that is available to college students.

Because online education is available on demand, at all hours of the day or night anywhere in the world, students who would not have had access to traditional American college campuses are engaging in exchanges of ideas. For instance, MITx, a new initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, allows a fluid exchange of ideas between MIT students and engineers of all nationalities and age ranges. Additionally, learners who work full time jobs and have families can now access educational platforms in their spare time.

According to the New York Times, online education has even democratized what students value in education. Big name professors or large, well-stocked libraries are no longer a draw for online learners. Instead, accessibility, quick response time and availability of technical support have all increased student registration and retention rates. These services can be provided by online educational platforms at a fraction of the cost of celebrity professors or rare books.

Though stalwarts of four-year colleges may consider online educational platforms secondary to a traditional college campus experience, many online learners disagree. With free or low-cost training and education available to a wide variety of learners across all age ranges and nationalities, online educational platforms have, and will continue to, democratize the educational process.

- Estelle Shumann

"We only truly learn when the future has become history; when we're leaping forward, turning mistakes into achievements."   ~ Anonymous

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

HUFFINGTON POST: Lydia Cornell, 'Too Close For Comfort' Star, Backs Gay Marriage

First I have to tell you something my radio co-host Doug Basham said after he saw Katie Couric ask Sarah Palin about gay rights. Palin answered that one of her best friends is gay, and that her pal "made a choice that isn't a choice that I have made.” Basham said, “I wish Couric had asked Palin, 'Do you remember the exact moment you chose to become heterosexual?'"

My sister is gay, and she never made a choice, but that’s beside the point. The marriage contract is a private contract between two individuals. How does it hurt anyone to let two souls honor their monogamy by allowing them the sanctity and dignity of marriage, as other human beings have a right to? Isn’t this in the Bill of Rights? I am heartsick at the bigotry I see in America today. I can’t believe my sister may never have the same rights I have! And furthermore, according to Suze Orman — as it stands now, civil unions do not permit the transfer of a deceased person's estate to the partner. Next of "kin" is first in line.

After my Ann Coulter death threats and hate-mail settled down, one thing became clear: right-wing Christians are obsessed with the sexual immorality of others to the exclusion of any other sin, including their own sins of pride and judgment — which by the way, were the only sins Jesus ever cared about or actually mentioned! Sexual immorality was not even on Christ’s radar, as was clear when the mob was stoning the prostitute: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

He did condemn divorce, but since divorce is rampant among evangelicals, no one ever sees them picketing courthouses to abolish divorce.

All this talk about Christ’s return and the "Rapture" misses the point entirely. I've prayed about this and been given a revelation of my own: when humans can love each other unconditionally — love their enemies and neighbors as themselves — then the so-called Rapture will happen. It will not be a big Broadway show; it will be a change in consciousness. This is the Second Coming. It will occur in the hearts of men.

The Ku Klux Klan also used the Bible to justify killing Blacks. Where are all the reasonable, sane people of faith who actually follow Christ’s teachings?

Maybe they don't realize that 'Christ' is the root of the word 'Christianity' because the vowel sounds are different! They often espouse the EXACT OPPOSITE of Christ’s teachings. If fundamentalists take the Bible literally, then why don’t they take Christ’s actual words literally?

There's a cartoon I saw shortly after the 2004 election: I can't remember the exact words, but two pot-bellied Rednecks are standing around drinking beer, happy with being red: "Well, my son lost his legs in Iraq, veteran benefits got cut, lost my pension plan to Enron, got laid-off down at the plant, they cancelled my health insurance, Bush vetoed stem cells which would have saved my daughter’s life from brain cancer -- BUT I'M SURE AS HELL GLAD THOSE TWO GAYS DOWN THE STREET CAN'T GET MARRIED!"

We’re a nation ruled by several opposing forces: the atheist, the optimist, the materialist — and of course, the idiot — that person inside all of us (or just fundamentalists and neocons) who choose to remain unconscious.

What is so strange is that modern-day fundamentalists often condone the death penalty quite casually, yet think fetal cells in a Petri dish are too sacred to be used for stem cell research in order to save lives! This seems highly immoral to me.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be gay or lesbian in America today. There is a “Christian” group that has a website called "" that displays an animated picture of Matthew Shepherd surrounded by flames, burning in hell. Shepherd was brutally murdered in Wyoming, the victim of a hate crime.

Instead of seeing the beauty and unique goodness of the gay person — his artistic gifts of design or dance, the sweetness of his spirit, his yearning to be accepted and to bury the agony of being bullied as a child or of being “born different" — the morally repulsed “Christian” chooses the easy way: hatred.

My son’s best friend and his brother are being raised by a gay male couple, who are scholars and wonderful parents. Both children are completely "straight" and have girlfriends already. The family considered moving to Canada out of fear. They are very afraid of the hateful Christian ruling elite in America. I can’t think of anything more un-Christlike than an intolerant “Christian.”

It saddens me that many in the religious right have taken their obsession with morality and their fear of Hollywood to such an extreme they've lost compassion for their fellow man. They have become homophobic, disdainful of the poor and cruel toward any human who does not meet their rigorous standards — while ignoring their own pride, the character flaw which annoyed Christ the most!

Intolerance is the easy way out, and many will go through this wide, broad gate. Very few will squeeze through the "narrow gate" of turning the other cheek and loving one's enemies. It's easy to judge others from a position of moral superiority; it's difficult to look kindly upon criminals, prisoners, "sinners." It's difficult to love "the other," as Christ commanded us to do. Most fundamentalist right-wing Christians these days refuse to look at their enemy as a whole human being. They are ruled by primitive fears that totally contradict Christ’s entire mission: to love one another for love casts out fear.

Some background: Just after the election in November 2005, I was so upset over the bizarre form of Christianity George Bush espoused in justifying his invasion of Iraq — and so appalled at Ann Coulter calling herself a Christian while engaging in "extermination speak" toward liberals — I wrote an article for BradBlog Death is Sexier than Sex to Ann Coulter I admit the title is provocative but I had no idea what I was getting into. My family and I received the most virulent hate mail and death threats from Ann Coulter fans because of this line in particular: "I never mix religion with politics, but for Christ's sake, don't they know that Jesus was a Democrat? A bleeding heard liberal!? (I think that was the line that annoyed them.

But maybe it was this one from the same article: The Great Peacemaker was the very essence of love and compassion; he was revolutionary in his softness and forbade vengeance of any kind. How the "Christian right" has twisted The Great Peacemaker's teachings is one of the riddles of our times. For years I’ve been bewildered to the point of jaw-gnashing agony at how fundamentalist Christians can call themselves Christian, when they do not follow the teachings of Christ! Are they reading the same bible I'm reading? I feel I’m going insane. How the Christian right has twisted Christ's peaceful message is one of the riddles of our times..."

There is such a hunger for a fresh, inclusive, non-fundamentalist Christianity — the kind Christ intended. Unless you are an alarmist, Premillenialist or Dominionist who believes in the end-times, the Rapture or the Apocalypse — you have no right to call yourself a Christian anymore. Where are all the reasonable, sane people of faith who actually follow Christ’s teachings? If fundamentalists take the Bible literally, then why don’t they take Christ’s actual words literally — instead of reading that tribulation porn known as the La Haye- Jenkins "Left Behind" books? It bears repeating: maybe they don't realize that Christ is the root of the word Christianity because the vowel sounds are different!

On the night of November 5 we saw at least nine helicopters circling over our city. We thought it was another SWAT team lock-down, which happens at times in our residential neighborhood. Two weeks ago the police put blockades up and wouldn't allow anyone to leave their homes because an armed robber was hiding in someone's back yard.

This time it was one of the biggest civil rights protest in years: the Proposition 8 Gay Marriage ban. Protestors were marching down Santa Monica to Wilshire in Beverly Hills — to the corner where Trader Vics used to be, inside Merv Griffin's Beverly Hilton.

Though we live on a tree-lined street far from the action, the kids climbed on the roof to see if they could catch a glimpse of some fighting. My youngest has a new BB gun (environmentally friendly) and thought he was in a video game "Resistance 2." I am excited to show my kids that actual protest marches are still happening these days — and that civil rights are something to fight for.

The core of Christ’s teaching is: ‘Love one another' and leave judgment and vengeance to God.”
In fact, the main thing he warned about was the self-righteous pride, arrogance and intolerance of the religious leaders (the pharisees) — because these meant “unkindness or lack of compassion.” These people were truly a destructive force in society for they cared more about style over substance — rituals, rules and dogma over the spirit of compassion or love.

But man’s big job on earth is to learn the law of love, the Golden Rule. To love the unlovable, no matter how disgusted, offended or persecuted one is by him. A soft answer turns away wrath. It's easy to be loving to those who are loving to you, but a true Christian must go much further and return love for hate.

Jesus was the Prince of Peace. His entire ministry was spent caring for the poor, the lepers (today’s Aids victims), the immoral "sinners", prostitutes, outcasts, prisoners and forgotten ones whom the religious leaders thought were too dirty to touch. By accepting them and with love and compassion — not by moralizing or ostracizing them — they became whole. No matter what our religious beliefs, it's our job as a society to care for the poor, the "least among us."

Oddly, Christian evangelicals threw out the whole of Christ’s teaching, in order to focus on the “frightening” sins of homosexuality and abortion, which Christ never once mentioned!

Get this: Ann Coulter gleefully promoted the death penalty, even for 4-year-old boy who killed his brother. “Once a child commits a crime like that, what are the odds that he could be redeemed in any event, no matter where he’s put?” It’s hard to comment on a quote like this. (Did you really say that Ann?)

Jesus himself didn’t judge others, he spoke gently in parables. He attracted people to him with his revolutionary softness, never by force, aggression. The crowd wanted to stone the adulterer, but Jesus’ heart was so big, he healed her of her “sin” and guilt simply by his love and acceptance. Everyone is redeemable (even William Ayers!) The divine idea that you win your enemies to your side by making them you friend, never by fighting them — actually works.

A young girl of 14 was kicked out of her Christian school for having two lesbians as parents. These were the only parents the girl had ever known. The two women had been partners for 22 years and had 2 other children; they were a loving, stable Christian family, so utterly non-controversial that no one even knew they were “different.”

This cruel ostracism is in direct opposition to Christ’s teachings: to punish a child and take her away from her friends – because one doesn’t approve of her parents' genetic orientation — is not what Jesus would do. In fact, it is destructive to the child and morally reprehensible. I wonder what they do in the case of a divorced couple or a single mother who had a child out of wedlock. After pride, Jesus mentioned only one other sin: divorce. Jesus never once referred to homosexuality. But divorce was truly destructive to the child.

Letter to the School Principal

"The Bible has been used to justify slavery, inquisitions, apartheid and the subjugation of women. Just as slavery was condoned for centuries based on people's interpretation of the Bible, just as the Crusades were fought in the name of God, just as Christ was crucified because people misunderstood Him and misinterpreted the Scripture, so too the topic of homosexuality has been misunderstood. It is now time to raise a voice, an Angelic choir, and a national outcry against Christian intolerance that promotes condemnation, discrimination and hatred toward homosexuals.

Please explain how your actions differ from the Pharisees or Nazis? These two groups wanted to exclude others and wanted to exercise absolute power over others as well. They wanted to stone and gas those who they feared and were different, I guess you only what them removed. Well feel proud Mr. Stob, you are as benighted and in good company as Fred Phelps, and the pastor who resigned after he kicked people out of his church who did not vote Republican."

Looking more deeply into the school’s reasoning, it is clear they were motivated by fear — fear that other students would be tainted by the school’s validation of a lesbian couple. But why were they so afraid? Maybe she was expelled to protect a fundamentalist worldview that children of gays cannot grow up ‘straight or moral’. In this line of thinking, if fundamentalists’ children go to school with a normal, well-adjusted child of two lesbians — it will be difficult to brainwash the students that lesbians can’t raise a child well.

But all we’re dealing with is fear. The Bible says, “Perfect love casts out fear.” Fear itself is not from God, and good Christians should never make decisions based on fear (as in ‘preemptive strike’) because “Love casts out fear.” We should first look “to do no harm.” We should always try to do the kindest thing, the least hurtful thing.

More than any other virtue, Jesus pleaded with us to love one another. If you think you're supposed to go into the world and spread the Gospel without bringing the love required, then it's pointless. The entire message is about love. Love heals all wounds.

That doesn’t mean we are never to reprimand a violent or immoral act. But we are to “hate the sin and love the sinner.” The sin in this case is not the existence of the girl’s female parents. The sin is the behavior of the school board, who imagined a sinful lifestyle, and judged people who were just trying to get through the day. Life is hard enough without adding to each other’s suffering.

Jesus also did not say: “Blessed are the warmakers.” and “If you suspect someone is going to attack you, invade his country and bomb him back to the Stone Age.” These warmongering right-wingers are behaving in absolutely un-Christlike ways. They have corrupted Christianity and usurped it for their own militant, belligerent agenda.

We will never understand everything others do but taking away others' rights is not our business. Our business is to to embrace our differences, and “leave judgment and vengeance to God.”

Liberal-bashing radio hosts and pastors are committing moral crimes by telling their flock that it’s their patriotic duty to hate others whose beliefs and appearance are different. This resulted in the recent killings in the Unitarian Church in Tennessee. This is what many modern churches do: target people they disapprove of by selecting one or two sins they believe belong to that group, and make their lives a living hell. And they receive tax-free funds to do it!

Fighting and disapproving of one’s enemies” is not the Way; it is in direct opposition to Christ’s teachings. It’s too easy to hate, too mainstream; everyone can fit through this broad, wide gate.

But the narrow gate Jesus says we must pass through to attain union with God or Love, involves “loving our enemies”. It’s so simple, it’s hidden in plain sight, like an anagram: Look at the sentence above: “Since God is love, to attain union with God, we must LOVE!” This is simple, but not easy. It’s much easier to gossip, demonize liberals, exclude gays, and ostracize prisoners — who are most in need of redemption.

This is very difficult, especially if you equate your enemy as a homosexual, and you blame homosexuals or liberals for the evils of the world. Anger feels good. It feels good to be morally superior to others. Religious fundamentalists justify their judgment of gays by scouring the bible for one remote mention of homosexuality as a sin. This occurs in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul, long after Jesus died.

They cling to this, saying the sin of homosexuality (and abortion) is worse than any other sin, even murder. But why? Why do they fixate on sexual immorality? Because they themselves must be guilty of prurient sexual thoughts; puritans who are ashamed of human sexuality. I too am horrified by the increasingly pornographic world we live in, and especially the effect it has on our children. I want stricter Internet controls, and frankly, I wish porn wasn’t so available on the Internet at all.

But there is also a spiritual answer here. We are “fighting our enemies” by focusing so much on the lascivious aspects of our society, giving attention and power to this element. In fact, the solution is NOT giving evil so much attention. I know that when I focus on the good in others, the good increases.

The more one pushes something down, the more it rears its ugly head in inappropriate places; perversions appear. This explains why celibacy in priests acts like a pressure cooker, often resulting in crimes of molestation. Celibacy is unnatural; too much pent up desire perverts itself. Like Pandora’s box, whatever is taboo becomes irresistibly tempting. People will sneak out of their cages to experience the forbidden.

So the Puritan, guilt-ridden over his own uncontrollable urges, cannot live with himself. Unable to cut out his own filthy thoughts, he looks outside himself for someone to blame and project his guilt onto. The easiest way to ameliorate his shame is to broadcast the evil, project it onto others where he can see it – and lash at it with swords. This way he can feel morally superior and “religious”; it’s a quick fix. He investigates it, dwells on its dark side, inflates its evil effects until evil is all he sees. Hence the homosexual is no longer a human, but an object of disgust.


As a culture we put so much emphasis on the body: on cellular substance of the fetus, the death and burial of a corpse, the saving of an unconscious sack of flesh that contains no life force or spirit, as in the case of Terry Shiavo. We are focused so exclusively on the letter, not the spirit; the style, not the substance; the right hat, not the heart, the ritual, not the meaning — and the flesh which can be wiped out so easily — that it must make me wonder: is flesh man’s most important quality?

At the risk of sounding like a crackpot, I have to say here that I no longer believe in the physical universe as being primary, or that important. In other words, the things I know are valuable and real are the things I can’t see with my eyes – the invisible qualities of love, truth, wisdom, soul, principle, thought, harmony, wisdom, compassion, beauty, strength and character – things that cannot be physically touched or scientifically proven.

As Emerson said: "this is a spiritual universe and thoughts rule the world."


Archives from last election:

Digg Celebrity Interview with Actress Lydia Cornell

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT back on TV on WGN! Check out my new interviews on SitComs Exclusive! "Unleashed"

Check out Basham and Cornell Radio archives for podcasts of our amazing guests from CNN's Paul Begala, Tom Daschle, John Dean, Bill Press, Pat Buchanan, Greg Palast, Pulitzer Prize Winner Charlie Savage, Brad Friedman, John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Robert Wexler, Charlie Rangel, Carolyn B. Maloney, Senators Patrick Murphy, Byron Dorgan, Fareed Zakariah, Naomi Klein, Paul Krugman, etc.

Our radio show Basham and Cornell — the only Progressive show in Vegas — helped turn Nevada blue for the first time in years! Of course, had a little help from Obama :)

In this blog below is an essay from a book I'm writing about left wing Christianity — why it's wrong to condemn gays or gay marriage.

Also: check out my Election Day cover story on Obama, gay rights, Sarah Palin's cruelty and Hollywood porn. It has lots of pictures! Lydia Cornell Cover Story Retroality Magazine

Monday, May 21, 2012


NC pastor gives sermon on killing off homosexuals

2 hours 22 minutes ago - WCNC Charlotte 2:22

MAIDEN, N.C. -- A local pastor is igniting controversy, preaching a plan to eliminate gays. NewsChannel 36 received several calls and complaints Monday about Pastor Charles Worley's sermon from May 13. It was originally posted on Providence Road Baptist Church's website. The 71-year-old pastor delivered the sermon in response to President Obama supporting gay marriage earlier this month. But it's Worley's idea on how to control the homosexual population, not politics, that sent this video viral.

How dare this man spew his hateful rhetoric.

THIS IS THE VERY DEFINITION OF EVIL, if evil exists at all: A false prophet, a hateful arrogant pharisee (the very opposite of a Christian) this man is a maniac who dares to call himself a "Christian pastor" spewing extermination speak, hate speak and bigotry on the level of Hitler.

According to Christ Himself: The only thing that matters is how you treat others, the thoughts you harbor in your heart, the love you give, the compassion and understanding for the downtrodden. The spirit not the flesh. Never throw stones, never harbor hatred for your fellow man; give generously to the poor and to anyone in need, anyone who asks you for your coat. Never judge your fellow man, never take judgement or vengeance into your own hand.

No true man of God, no real Christian would ever say things like this, least of all think them.  NOr would they be quick to fight or carry guns. This is so opposite of love, and reality. I am sick of putting up with this hate speak, in the name of God. ENOUGH IS ENOUG

The only "sin" according to Christ, the Great Peacemaker, Himself is hatred, intolerance, and judging others, And acting as these religious pharisees, these anti-Christian hypocrites with dark hearts full of evil.. are acting..

THE WAY THIS PASTOR Chuck Worley of Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina and the horrifying, anti-Christian "Fred Phelps" of his phony, contemptible Westboro Baptist "Church" who makes money off families who are grieving by picketing military funerals to protest gay existence for some bizarre reason.  They are a family of corrupt lawyers, and all these hateful people should be ashamed of themselves and we should protest against them for lewd, criminal behavior in their dark, mental illnesses and obsessions What twisted hearts they have. How little they know of the true meaning of Christ's entire mission. I must somehow find it in my heart to forgive them, and I will. But only with the Grace of Love.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

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