Your one-stop Superbowl blog

We must celebrate our national holiday, Superbowl Sunday, so use this blog to make predictions, comment on the game, and complain about the half-time show.  You can live-blog the commercials.  We will even modify our newly-minted blog rule to allow for trash talk, as long as it’s related to sports, since that seems to be an issue in this particular game. [Read more…]

Luther and bowling?

Martin Luther’s influence goes far beyond the theology of the Lutheran Church.  His putting the Gospel and the Word of God at the center was the catalyst for all Protestantism.  But even his theological opponents have accepted his ideas like worship in the vernacular, congregational singing, and vernacular translations of the Bible.  Then there are his cultural contributions:  universal education, standardizing the German language, vocation.  But there are also things he is credited for that are questionable or uncertain, like inventing the Christmas tree.  And there are things that that he is credited for that are just wrong, like writing “Away in the Manger” and being the source of German anti-semitism.  Being a master of language, he is supremely quotable on all kinds of subjects.  But he is also cited as the source of things that he never really said (such as the “Wise Turk” quote).  I have recently learned that Luther is considered one of the inventors of bowling!  [Read more…]

What NSA can learn from your “Angry Birds” app

According to secret documents released by Edward Snowden, certain cellphone apps–including the popular game “Angry Birds”– are “leaky,” allowing the NSA to tap into your smartphone and its treasure trove of information about you. [Read more…]

The President and the Rule of Law

During his State of the Union address, President Obama said that because Congress keeps thwarting his agenda, he will advance his positions about immigration, the environment, the economy, gun control, and other of his priorities by issuing executive orders.

He has already been doing that sort of thing.  Conservatives don’t like Obamacare, so they might be glad that the President has changed and delayed its terms.  But by what authority does he just alter a duly-ratified law?  The president is supposed to execute the laws, not create them or change the ones that he doesn’t like. [Read more…]

Fixing my technological fix

Friends, there has been some good discussion about yesterday’s post regarding the comments on this blog.  No sooner, of course, did the Patheos tech people implement the changes but, before I could even explain them, someone started flagging everything, resulting in a “flagocalypse.”  So to prevent any one person from doing that, or from flagging comments just because they disagree with them, I have asked the Patheos tech people to require THREE flags before the comment disappears, leaving behind only the “Comment Awaiting Moderation” line.  True, a sinister cabal could still banish innocent comments, but an individual will not be able to.  Also, this will enlist the virtual community that we have built up here in protecting itself and enforcing its rules of decorum. [Read more…]

Demonic possession & exorcism in Indiana?

The Indianapolis Star reports on a case of apparent demon possession and successful exorcism in Gary, Indiana.  I don’t know what I think of all of this, but this case–complete with walking on a ceiling and many other seemingly supernatural manifestations–is unusually well-attested, with police witnesses, psychologists, the Department of Child Services,  and the Roman Catholic Church all weighing in.

Reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski has written a bit of journalism that will leave you on the edge of your seat.  But don’t read it late at night.  I’ll get you started after the jump. [Read more…]