• The American Family Association has denounced a Geico ad that they say promotes bestiality because it shows a talking pig on a date. AFA thinks it’s just one more example of the decadence of modern America ever since we fell from the Golden Age of the 1950s, when advertising was never be so crudely sexual.
• Girl, 15, goes back to school after missing class for several weeks. Doesn’t sound like earth-shaking news, until you realize that the girl in question is Malala Yousafzai, and her going to school terrifies some people more than all the drones and all the armies of the world. As it should.
• Assignment desk for the Barna Group and/or LifeWay Research: “A survey released Wednesday by the advocacy coalition No More found that 51 percent of young people ages 15 to 22 know someone who has experienced domestic violence or sexual assault.”
It would be helpful to see a religious community breakdown of those figures. Maybe along with a disagree/agree/strongly/etc. question about how members of various religious communities feel about their churches/leaders as a source of support, protection, or aid when it comes to domestic violence and sexual assault. A “How Are We Doing?” kind of poll.
• March Madness: The quest for the Golden Poo resumes as The Consumerist hosts its annual Worst Company in America bracketed tournament. Wells Fargo lost in a first-round upset, but you can still head over there to vote for (against) Sallie Mae.
The BUILD Act – BUILD stands for Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development — would make brownfields cleanup grants available to a wider variety of groups and local governments, and would generally smooth the way for communities to redevelop these properties. The bill specifically calls for extra assistance for disadvantaged and rural communities.
The legislation is sponsored by a motley bipartisan crew of senators: Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.). That’s right: Republicans are working with Democrats to support the EPA’s efforts to clean up cities.
Bipartisan Senate support doesn’t mean it could get through the tea-party dominated House, but, hey, maybe.
• Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr’s response to this question: “If as a result of some cataclysm, it were possible to retain just one passage from the Bible — what would your choice be?”
• I am not a pacifist. I am almost a pacifist. Here’s a sharp post from Scott Paeth that describes what I mean by that:
It is always better to begin from a place of deep skepticism about war in general, and about the necessity for any particular war. While it should be possible to overcome that skepticism in the rarest of circumstances, it should never been easy to do so. And while refusing to support war as a matter of principle in the vast majority of cases may mean that there are places and times where we could fight and perhaps should fight but don’t. It is, I think, better than fighting in places and at times when would should not and must not.
•This post from Ben Myers is a beautiful thing, “Letter to a Nun“:
In another box I found your notebooks, your diaries, a thicket of hardbound journals, spiral-bound notebooks, curious handmade paper stitched together in hand-stitched notebooks. Perhaps from India, I thought. I picked one up, a cracked blue notebook, and flicked through the pages, wanting to see your neat blue handwriting but not to intrude on your private thoughts. My eyes caught on one sentence:
“The door is not closing properly.”
I’m sorry, Sister, I read that part by accident. I didn’t mean to read a word. Ashamed, I closed the book. (I hope you got your door fixed.)
• If nothing changes between now and Opening Day, the New York Mets will start the season with no outfielder earning more than Bobby Bonilla.
I don’t mean that none of their current outfielders is paid more than Bonilla was paid back when he played for the Mets in 1992-1995, I mean that he is currently receiving more in deferred salary from the Mets than the team is paying any of its current outfielders. The team’s highest-paid outfielder hasn’t played a game since the Clinton administration.