Online searches for ‘sex’ increase at an alarming rate!

Screen grab of Merriam Webster Online's most popular searches for April 19, 2014.

Screen grab of Merriam Webster Online’s most popular searches for April 19, 2014.

Because, apparently, they need a definition for it.

“Like, you wanted a definition?”

The blessing of outsider status and the hope for radical tolerance

One good thing about growing up sheltered and fundamentalist: Having felt so many times like an outsider in college and in jobs, I don’t feel entitled to be surrounded by like-minded people. As a “conscientious objector in the culture war” (Greg Wolfe’s phrase), and as a third-party voter, I don’t feel like I have the special privilege of using coercion and prestige to try to get others either to buckle under my point of view or to leave my country, company, church, community, etc.

Better yet, I’ve had the privilege of finding out that some people who radically disagree with me are actually wonderful, interesting, worthwhile human beings.


‘Not just insane, but flat-out evil’: Pat Dollard blasted for ignorant comment after Fort Hood shooting


Notice how self-identified political conservatives shout-down one of their own when he says something crazy, demeaning, and derogatory.

Originally posted on Twitchy:

After the Fort Hood shooting today, Pat Dollard tweeted the following:

Absolutely ignorant and unacceptable.

The disgust was a bipartisan affair:

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Web Exclusive: extended interview with former Bloomberg editor Ben Richardson


A few years ago, didn’t CNN have a similar problem with its Cuban bureau? Didn’t the bureau withhold some information because it was afraid of being kicked out of the country? Yet didn’t that withheld information relate directly to controversies about the way Cuba’s policies and practices were assessed?

Originally posted on Reliable Sources:

In this extended “Reliable Sources” interview, Ben Richardson talks to Brian Stelter about the broader journalistic challenges of covering China.

Richardson, a longtime editor at Bloomberg News, recently resigned over what he called the “mishandling” of an investigative story about hidden financial ties between the families of Chinese officials and a wealthy businessman. A spokesman for Bloomberg declined to comment on the story or on Richardson’s resignation.

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Louis C.K. on Saturday Night Live: skeptical of skeptics

Last night, Louis C.K. was the guest host on Saturday Night Live. Here’s an excerpt from his very funny opening stand-up comedy:

“I’m not religious. I don’t know if there’s a God. That’s all I can say honesty is, I don’t know. Some people think that they know that there isn’t. That’s a weird thing to think you can know. ‘Yeah, there’s no God.’ Are you sure? ‘Yeah, no, there’s no God.’ How do you know? ‘Because I didn’t see him.’ There’s a vast universe. You can see for about a hundred yards when there’s not a building in the way. How could you possibly — did you look in everywhere? Did you look in the downstairs bathroom? ‘Nah, I haven’t seen him yet.’ I haven’t seen 12 Years A Slave yet. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.” (To the best of my DVR transcription skills.)

And a bit earlier in his opening act, this:

“I don’t think women are better than men, but I do think men are worse than women.”

Take a look at this New York Times article on Saturday Night Live: “The God of ‘SNL’ will see you now.”


Techniques of the Manipulator: Gaslighting


I wonder: Could it be that sometimes, when a minister or a guru presents a “spiritual” explanation of what is happening in another person’s life, it is a kind of “gaslighting.”

Originally posted on aloftyexistence:

gaslighting Today’s discussion on commonly used tactics and tools of the manipulative personality is gaslighting. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse and control where a person is made to doubt their memory and perception of reality. In order to achieve this aim gaslighters present another, untrue version of events or ideas to the person they are trying to gaslight, while continuously denying said person’s claims as false, if not delusional.

Out of all forms of emotional warfare, gaslighting is one of the most intriguing. It is subtle, cunning, and extremely malevolent, but can indicate insecurity on the part of the gaslighter — since they believe they can not counter the other person’s claims, they simply deny that they exist. Gaslighters can seem harmless, if not helpful and well-informed. Through apparent innocence, charm, and/or insistence, they can convince not only the other person, but those who are aware of or observing…

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‘Class move’: Anderson Cooper will not show images of grieving family members


(My reaction was, “Why stop now?”)

Originally posted on Twitchy:

In its coverage of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, it might seem as though CNN is running footage of devastated family members 24 hours a day. Thanks to Anderson Cooper, the number is actually closer to 23 hours a day. Cooper has pledged not to show video of shattered family members, deeming it intrusive.

Viewers seem to appreciate the thought.

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Five things you didn’t know about Jesus


“In the end, as theologians like to say, Jesus is not so much a problem to be solved as a mystery to be pondered,” writes Rev. James Martin. That reminds me of a Gabriel Marcel quote. (Also interesting in this short piece: The literary evidence of Jesus growing in wisdom, in a natural, normal sense, rather than just knowing all from the beginning.)

Originally posted on CNN Belief Blog:

Opinion by the Rev. James Martin , special to CNN

(CNN) — With Easter approaching, and the movie “Son of God” playing in wide release, you’re going to hear a lot about Jesus these days.

You may hear revelations from new books that purport to tell the “real story” about Jesus, opinions from friends who have discovered a “secret” on the Web about the son of God, and airtight arguments from co-workers who can prove he never existed.

Beware of most of these revelations; many are based on pure speculation and wishful thinking. Much of what we know about Jesus has been known for the last 2,000 years.

Still, even for devout Christian there are surprises to be found hidden within the Gospels, and thanks to advances in historical research and archaeological discoveries, more is known about his life and times.

With that in mind, here are five things you…

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When Homeschoolers Turn Violent: David Ludwig

Originally posted on H . A:

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 5.36.11 PM

Series note: “When Homeschoolers Turn Violent” is a joint research project by Homeschoolers Anonymous and Homeschooling’s Invisible Children. Please see the Introduction for detailed information about the purpose and scope of the project.

Trigger warning: If you experience triggers from descriptions of physical and sexual violence, please know that the details in many of the cases are disturbing and graphic.


David Ludwig

“It was an intentional murder, I intended to shoot them, and I did.” So said David Ludwig, an 18-year-old teenager from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania after murdering the parents of his girlfriend.

On November 13, 2005, 18-year-old David Ludwig from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania murdered his girlfriend's parents.

On November 13, 2005, 18-year-old David Ludwig from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania murdered his girlfriend’s parents.

Both David and his 14-year-old girlfriend, Kara Beth Borden, were Christian homeschoolers. The two teenagers attended church, went to youth group, and were homeschooled in Christian families. Their families were “active in a local home-schooling support network” and originally met…

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Transformative or just taking? Lawyers struggle to define fair use in wake of Google Books case


“Fair use” and “transformative use” rulings have shortened the reach of copyright law. As critical as this is to our contemporary technological advances, it still does not address the less-legal, more-ethical zones of plagiarism.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

When federal judge Denny Chin declared last fall that Google’s(s goog) decision to scan 20 million books did not violate copyright law, the ruling came as a new high water mark for “transformative use”  – the idea, loosely defined, that it’s okay to use someone else’s creative work if the new work is different enough from the original.

“Google’s use of the copyrighted works is highly transformative,” wrote Chin in a signature passage of a ruling that used the word “transformative” more than a dozen times.

In an era where digital technology is making images ever easier to manipulate, this transformative trend is likely to continue. But not everyone is happy about it. Some artists worry that the idea is making nearly any use a “fair use,” while lawyers wonder if the notion of “transforming” is too simplistic in the first place.

From “Pretty Woman” to 20 million books

“Transformativeness has…

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The solution disagreement

Sure, we all agree we have a problem. We just don’t all agree we have a solution.
(drawn from Thomas Sowell’s ideas)

How to make your church more popular

I’m kicking myself — I’ve been completely oblivious to something right under my nose. Here’s my no-duh moment: Of course people who elevate casual and contemporary services are primarily concerned with numbers.

Membership. Attendance. Popularity.

It’s been called “social proof” by Dr. Robert Cialdini, psychologist and author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. When other people like it, you should like it, too.

I think of it this way: In the non-rational zones of anyone’s emotions and social interactions, we can expect to find a sort of default formulation that looks something like this, if applied to local congregations:

What Will Draw And Keep People = Big Congregation = Status Of Success = Implicit Proof Of The Best Theology Or Doctrine Or Worship Style Or Order Of Service Or Sound System Or Pastoral Hair Gel Or Whatever The Leadership Deems Most Important To Get Butts In The Seats = It Worked!

People will think, “That church is so big — they must be right, and I’m left out. Honey, we should check that place out next Sunday.”

Novelty works for a while. Any retailer will tell you novelty is a great way to get people in the door. However, novelty only remains novel for so long. So congregants, like consumers, eventually look for a new novelty. How can anyone use Novelty 2.0 to compete when Novelty 3.0 is available in the same market?

Thus, church leadership continually finds itself in a state of cyclical exasperation: The leaders must fine-tune that which is not fine-tunable — meaning, human beings.

(In some churches, it means trying to fine-tune God’s Sovereignty, which is by definition impossible, so each effort in ministry can be likened to a hamster’s efforts to keep the wheel spinning in place. He won’t get anywhere, but he can look great by spinning it faster. I can’t know if I’m one of the Elect, so maybe if I can keep the wheel spinning — i.e., work hard at character — I can look like I might be Elect, and thereby ease my anxiety and terror, even though I can’t build true character, so I shouldn’t try, but if I don’t, I won’t have anything to go on except my work ethic and my hopes that I believe right enough and enough enough, which has me thinking about that great Calvinist hit song “The Last In Line” by Ronnie James Dio, which seems to be referring to Judgment Day with the lines, “We’ll know for the first time / If we’re evil or divine / We’re the last in line.” Anyway, I’ll come back to great heavy metal songs that illustrate Calvinism, like “God Hates Us All” by Slayer, at a later date.)

A Parable

Once upon a time, the church leaders jiggled the handle twice and the toilet quit running for a few minutes. When it started running again, the leaders jiggled the handle twice, and it worked again. But when the toilet starting running after that, two jiggles wasn’t stopping the toilet from running. They waited a while and tried one jiggle. No luck. Eventually four jiggles worked — but only for a short time. So the leaders sent the pastor off to a conference on ever-more-precise handling jiggling.

The greased path

Everyone’s a hypocrite because everyone slips on the greased path to the mountaintop of his own ideals. The greater each ideal, the greater each slip.

P.J. O’Rourke Fans – Community – Google+

You might enjoy this Google+ community. Take a look:
P.J. O’Rourke Fans – Community – Google+.

Aggressive Nature


Think about your boss, your minister, your spouse, and others in your life. Doe these characteristics apply?

Originally posted on Psychopath Resistance:

Aggressive Nature

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