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Duck Dynasty family stands up for their beliefs

Duck Dynasty stars Phil and Si Robertson grilling some dinner (Credit: A&ETV/Duck Dynasty via Facebook) If you've ever seen an episode of Duck Dynasty, you'll know that the family patriarch, Phil Robertson, is not afraid to say what he thinks about culture and technology.  He regularly calls Hollywood, "Hollyweird" and has been known to toss family member's cell phones in the Louisiana swamp.  Every episode of the hit A&E show ends with the Robertson clan and some friends enjoying a meal together and someone (usually Phil) praying over the meal.  If you're as devoted to the show as I am, you may have noticed that these prayers have been ending more frequently with something like "in Jesus' name, amen."  Apparently, this is how Phil always ends his prayers, but for the majority of the first three seasons, the editors and A&E cut out the Jesus part.  

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America's plan for 'low-level' drug offenders

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks on stage during the annual meeting of the American Bar Association in San Francisco, California August 12, 2013 (Credit: Reuters/Stephen Lam) The population of the United States' federal prison system has grown by 800 percent since 1980.  US Attorney General Eric Holder thinks this is in part due to punishments that are too harsh for low-level drug offenders.  

America has a drug problem.  There is no denying that.  But depending on who you talk to, drug abuse is decreasing or on the rise.  According to the 2013 World Drug Report, cocaine use is falling in the US, but our country is still the largest market for it.  The use of opiates is on the rise in North America.  The Drug Enforcement Administration “estimated that more than 750,000 fewer teenagers used illicit drugs last year than in 2000, a 17 percent decline,” and “current marijuana use by teens has dropped seven percent.”

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Cookies for our enemies

North Carolina Governor McCrory gives a plate of cookies to pro-choice activists outside the governor's mansion (Credit: Irene Godinez via Twitter) Talking about abortion and right to life issues at a social gathering is highly discouraged as it includes both the faux pas of polite conversation: religion and politics. Passion and tensions surrounding the subject will quickly turn conversation into a heated argument.  Pro-choice activists in North Carolina took this argument straight to the governor's mansion after Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill that limits abortion and requires stricter health and safety standards on abortion clinics (much like the bill Texas recently passed).  Those clinics unwilling or unable to comply will be shut down.  

After an unusual turn of events, the protestors packed up their signs and went home early.  Governor McCrory came out with four security guards and met a protestor in the street, gave her a plate of cookies and said, “These are for you. God bless you, God bless you, God bless you.”  The recipient of the baked goods said she was too astounded to say anything back.  While the gesture was not received well by all (some chanted "Hey Pat, that was rude; you wouldn’t give cookies to a dude") it certainly changed the tone of the conversation for a moment.  

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Detroit's bankruptcy and our own spiritual poverty

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr addresses the media as Michigan Governor Rick Snyder listens during a news conference about filing bankruptcy for the city of Detroit (Credit: Reuters/Rebecca Cook)The city of Detroit, Michigan declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy last week, seeking court protection from its 18 billion dollars of obligations.  Michigan's Governor Richard Snyder approved the decision that will allow Detroit to "develop and negotiate a plan to adjust their debts."  Creditors are legally barred from suing Detroit, and the city will not be forced to liquidate any of its assets, though many will likely be up for sale soon.  

In the 1950's, Detroit had nearly 2 million residents and was one of the most affluent cities in the nation—driven by the auto industry's massive expansion after World War II.  The city's population has now shrunk to about 700,000 with a sharp 25% decline in just the past decade.  

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Tsarnaev's Rolling Stone cover and the social media's outrage

Torn up cover of the August 2013 edition of Rolling Stone magazine featuring Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two Boston marathon bombing terroists (Credit: David M Draiman via Twitter) Some of us could qualify for a 12-step program because we're addicted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, and there are others of who are altogether terrified of social media. Many have a love/hate relationship with social media (this includes me).  We check our Twitter feeds throughout the day and post pictures of an idealized version of our lives on Instagram but complain about how these and Facebook eat away at our productivity.

However you feel about it, we must recognize that social media is a powerful tool whether it is used for building God's kingdom or in the hands of someone intent on evil.

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