1. Why thinking that Mister Rogers ever flipped anybody off just because you’ve seen a picture of him holding up his middle finger is just exactly the same kind of dumb as thinking that Romans 1 is some kind of clobber-text against lesbians. (via AZSpot)
2. “If you’re one of those people reading this who is skeptical about the CFPB, I’m here to tell you not to be. That agency really and truly does exist to hold banks and financial institutions accountable for how consumers are treated.” — “Thank you, CFPB!”
3. Here’s a Christianity Today piece arguing that evangelicals ought to adopt the Catholic position opposing IVF and surrogacy, and the Catholic view of marriage more generally. “It may be time to consider that our Catholic brothers and sisters are right on these issues,” Jennifer Lahl writes, giving away the game that her introductory throat-clearing remarks about the need for more “ethical reflection” was an insincere pose. Ethical reflection is not the agenda here — the agenda is getting evangelicals to embrace Humanae Vitae without thinking or reflecting. They are coming for your birth control.
4. Jake Swearingen upends an urban legend about rural America: “The evidence against cow tipping is immense, and backed up by both farmers and the laws of physics.” And, yes, he supplies the physics, complete with diagrams and equations. But I particularly like his invocation of the dog-that-didn’t-bark evidence from YouTube: “YouTube, the largest clearinghouse of human stupidity the world has ever known — where you can watch hours of kids taking the cinnamon challenge, teens jumping off rooftops onto trampolines, or the explosive results of fireworks set off indoors — fails to deliver one single actual cow-tipping video.”
5. This post, similarly but more seriously, demolishes a much more pernicious myth: “Your friends who think torture is effective at getting reliable information are wrong.” (via Jay Lake) Torture always works to do only what it was designed to do: extract false confessions.
6. World Vision, the Christian relief and development agency, is taking another block of bloggers overseas to highlight the Good Things they’re doing. This time the trip is to Guatemala and the roll of bloggers going along is a pretty terrific bunch, including: Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, Matthew Paul Turner, Caleb Wilde, Zack Hunt, Micha Boyett, Shelby Zacharias, Roo Ciambriello, and Jessica Shyra. I respect World Vision a lot because they’re a responsible, efficient and effective relief and development agency. I’m starting to respect them even more, though, for their taste in bloggers.
7. “My Name Is Not Robert.” Benjamin Weiser’s report of this tragic clusterfuss by police in two different states reads like a horror story. For Kerry Sanders, it is a horror story:
The inmate’s assertion might well have seemed implausible, given the extensive system of checks and safeguards used in law enforcement to ensure that one person is not mistaken for another. There is a national database of fingerprints and photographs, which are taken when people are arrested; there are lawyers and judges to protect and administer justice; and there are prison staffs with files on the medical, personal and criminal histories of inmates. The United States has had its share of wrongly convicted people, but the idea that a man who had never even been convicted was behind bars seemed inconceivable. That a prison did not know whom it had in custody would mean it had failed the most basic test of its competence and security.