Culture

Breaking: Airplane Mystery Solved!

By on 3.21.14 | 1:57AM

You read it here first, folks. The airplane puzzle has been solved. No, not the fate of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, or the "zombie plane," as CNN has speculatively dubbed it. Not even the timeless stumper as to whether Joey has ever seen a grown man naked. I'm talking about a mysterious small aircraft that has been incessantly circling a neighborhood in Sacramento for the past few weeks. News 10, Sacramento's ABC affiliate, has the scoop. Through some intrepid sleuthing, a college student--who chose, perhaps wisely, to remain anonymous--found out that the planes use the FBI's callsign, "Jenna."

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The Fate of the Westboro Baptist Church

By on 3.20.14 | 5:52PM

By now you have likely heard the loud sigh of relief from just about every American other than those of the Westboro Baptist congregation in Kansas. Their founder and pastor Fred Phelps passed away on Wednesday, according to his church and family.

Phelps founded the infamous church in 1955 and pastored there until he died at 84 of a mysterious illness, leaving a legacy of abominable hatred behind him.

His own son, Nathan Phelps, abandoned his father’s heretical congregation thirty years ago and wrote of him: “Destroyed by the monster he made.”

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Crushing Rocks

By on 3.20.14 | 3:23PM

Ryan Anderson is a dangerous man. 

So says the student body and administration of Stanford University, one of America’s “premiere” institutions of “higher education.” Anderson is one of a few intellectuals brave enough to make the case that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Though nationalized same-sex marriage by judicial fiat will likely come upon us in a very short time, nevertheless the best and brightest of the Millennial generation at Stanford cannot tolerate Anderson’s willingness to stand on the “wrong side of history.” After all, his clarity, logic, humility, poise, and courage might reveal the hollowness of what is arguably the most successful social movement in American history.

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Another Perspective

The Ignorance of Neo-Prohibitionists

By 3.20.14

A brief but intense spiritual crisis beset the nation late last month after it was revealed that bottomless brunches were illegal in New York. Many New Yorkers were outraged and took to social media to say so, often in melodramatic fashion. The dismay dissipated a few days later, however, after the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) clarified the law in question.

That law—N.Y. 117-A—makes it a crime to “offer, sell, serve, or deliver to any person or persons an unlimited number of drinks during any set period of time for a fixed price.” This makes it sound as if unlimited drink offerings are prohibited, particularly since the statute says: “UNLIMITED DRINK OFFERINGS PROHIBITED.” However, it turns out there is an exception in the case of “certain” brunch specials, which are legal “when the service of alcohol is incidental to the event.” In other words, bottomless brunches are okay.

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Eminentoes

Deport Bieber

By 3.20.14

As mid-year elections approach, it’s unlikely that Congress will undertake any major effort to change the status quo as it pertains to immigration. The mere suggestion of a change to policy in the areas of border security, interdiction and enforcement, guest worker programs, visa requirements, deportation, and approval sends scads of well-meaning older adults to their phones and fax machines, intent on papering their legislative offices with as much outrage as they can muster between rounds of Wheel of Fortune.

But perhaps there’s a leap forward in immigration policy we can all support, left and right, young and old, those concerned with the future of rock and roll and those still concerned that Elvis once appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show with his hips in full swing. There’s a solution that could save our children, save our country, save our ear drums, and save our municipal law enforcement from drunken Ferrari drag racing for months.

America, it’s high time we deport Justin Bieber.

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Evolutionary Biology Does Not Explain Morality

By on 3.19.14 | 3:43PM

David Brooks rightly holds that the evolutionary picture of human nature is inadequate:

[The] strictly evolutionary view of human nature sells humanity short. It leaves the impression that we are just slightly higher animals — thousands of years of evolutionary processes capped by a thin layer of rationality. It lops off entire regions of human possibility.

According to Brooks, evolutionary biologists have reduced human nature to two distinct systems, one “to procreate or strut or think in certain ways” and another focused on reason and consciousness. Although biology depicts this dual nature, Brooks recognizes that morality mostly consists of reason ordering our more animalistic impulses:

Deep down we are mammals with unconscious instincts and drives. Up top there’s a relatively recent layer of rationality. Yet in conversation when we say someone is deep, that they have a deep mind or a deep heart, we don’t mean that they are animalistic or impulsive. We mean the opposite.

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Are Abortion Doctors “Helping” Women?

By on 3.19.14 | 1:32PM

“We need to be vocal and educate people about this—abortion is not a terrible social ill, it’s just a part of women’s health.” –Doctor Estes to Tara Culp-Ressler

“The biggest weapon in the other side’s arsenal is shame and stigma.” –Merle Hoffman, CEO of Choices, to Culp-Ressler.

Abortion providers are nervous. States across the nation, most notably Texas, Ohio, and Mississippi, have passed late-term abortion bans and other restrictions on the unethical procedure.

Tara Culp-Ressler’s piece at Think Progress illustrates the desperation of these doctors, who must deal with the limitations of their “job options,” along with, God forbid, Christmas cards from pro-lifers who pray for them. 

Can we really see abortion professionals as martyrs in this regard? Throughout the piece, we read about “help,” “care,” “social justice,” “reproductive rights,” and women’s health. No mention of what abortion actually is: the destruction of a life. It doesn’t matter how young that life is: it is a human, not a “fetus.”

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The Papal Spectator

A Pope of Hope and Change

By 3.13.14

At a recent dinner party a non-Catholic friend commented that she hoped Pope Francis wouldn’t turn out to be another Obama. When pressed as to what she meant, she explained her fear that Francis’s papacy would go much like Obama’s presidency: first international acclaim, and soon thereafter a cooling of emotion as the pope, like the president, realized that change is hard to accomplish. 

Among the top priorities for both Church leaders and the laity alike was reform of the Roman Curia, the Church’s central administrative body. As we mark the one-year anniversary of his election today, it seems Francis has spent the past month ensuring that this hope for change becomes a reality. 

On February 19, Francis concluded a three-day stretch of meetings with his handpicked committee of eight cardinals tasked with leading this reform. Sometimes referred to as the C-8, this was the third of these meetings since his election, with reports suggesting that a new apostolic constitution that would fully reorganize the departments within the Curia is in the works.

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Banning “Bossy” is Just Plain Bossy

By on 3.12.14 | 3:22PM

By now you've probably heard about Sheryl Sandberg's and Maria Chavez’s campaign to ban the word “bossy."

The campaign stems from a sexist conniption about the fact that rude, pushy girls often get labeled “bossy” by their peers and other adults. Sandberg and Chavez write:

Behind the negative connotations lie deep-rooted stereotypes about gender. Boys are expected to be assertive, confident and opinionated, while girls should be kind, nurturing and compassionate. When a little boy takes charge in class or on the playground, nobody is surprised or offended. We expect him to lead. But when a little girl does the same, she is often criticized and disliked.

Hogwash.

First of all, pushy, rude, and “bossy” guys are typically labeled much worse things—“jerk”, “a--hole," and “douchebag” being just a few choice words that come to mind. There was always that guy in high school—the popular, dashing one who got all the attention and girls. Sure, he led the wolf pack of seniors, but did people really love him? Or were they just afraid to stand up to him?

The same goes for bossy girls.

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The Nation's Pulse

A Volley of Valentines in Virginia

By 3.11.14

Last month some women started a new front in their long war on men, women and children, a war with so many victims killed — and disabled in soul and body. And they lost. On February 17, Virginia state Senator Stephen H. Martin and other pro-life Virginia legislators received late valentines from the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition asking them to give up their opposition to abortion.

 

I find the report of this volley of valentines in Virginia disturbing on several levels. First, I was not aware that organizations, for-profit or not-for-profit, send valentines. Valentines are meant to be sent by individuals to individuals. Second, since valentines are used to express romantic love, or affection, or at least friendship, it is wrong to send them to an opponent, much less to ask the recipient to change their sincerely held beliefs. Third, it is just plain hard to believe that valentines would be used to lobby legislators.

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