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How to make a million dollars in a week

The Thrill of the Chase: A Memoir by Forrest Fenn (Credit: Dal Neitzel / Lummi Film)Forrest Fenn has been called "the real Indiana Jones."  The Texas-born, Santa Fe-based archaeologist and entrepreneur has been making headlines for decades, most recently in a feature article in the current Newsweek.  Fenn has been finding artifacts in the ground since he was a boy and making a living at his passion for nearly that long.  Steven Spielberg, Shirley MacLaine, Steve Martin, and Robert Redford are just some of his celebrity customers.

Now he's garnering global attention for a new enterprise: buried treasure he invites you to find.  Fenn has filled a lockbox with a million dollars in antiquities and hidden it somewhere.  He wrote an ambiguous, meandering poem that he says points to the way to it.  (You can read and try to decipher it on the Newsweek website.)  Thousands of people have responded, creating treasure forums and attempting various expeditions.  If you have time and money to spend, you can join them.

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When prostitution and nudity are legal

red light district red neon sign on a red brick wall (Credit: kirilart via fotolia.com)It's a strange day in the news when a state judge rules that a prostitution ring run by a former college president is legal.  Former University of New Mexico President F. Chris Garcia was accused of helping a physics professor from New Jersey oversee a prostitution website they called "Southwest Companions."  State District Judge Stan Whitaker ruled that the website did not constitute a "house of prostitution," since it wasn't "a place where prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed."

Prostitution laws were enacted before the Internet age; those in New Mexico did not envision the use of a website for such a purpose.  Even though "Southwest Companions" employed 200 prostitutes, they were not paid through the website.  As a result, according to the judge, there is no current way to prosecute its operators.

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Miss USA, Rahab, and the ethics of lying

Sheena Monnin Miss Pennsylvania 2012 in her Sherry Hill preliminary opening number dress (Credit: Sheena Monnin via Facebook)Sheena Monnin competed in the recent Miss USA beauty pageant.  After she failed to make the top 15, she charged that the outcome was rigged, claiming that another contestant saw a list of the top five finalists before the contest began.  She also resigned her crown as Miss Pennsylvania.

Pageant organizers claimed that Monnin actually resigned because of her opposition to the inclusion of transgendered contestants.  Donald Trump, the co-owner of the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageant, has vehemently denied her allegation that the contest was fixed, and promises to sue her.

Who is lying?  Why does it matter?

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Does America stand for liberty or equality?

Woman suffrage headquarters in Upper Euclid Avenue, Cleveland--A. (at extreme right) is Miss Belle Sherwin, President, National League of Women Voters; B. is Judge Florence E. Allen (holding the flag); C. is Mrs. Malcolm McBrideShould Muslims be required to clock out to pray?  Hertz instructed 26 Somali Muslim employees at its Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to do so.  They refused, so Hertz fired them.  Now the National Labor Relations Board has sided with Hertz.

Should Baptist softball teams withdraw from their league if another team's pastor is gay?  Three churches in the St. Louis area did so recently when they learned that the new pastor of St. John United Church of Christ is bisexual.  However, the local ministerial alliance allowed the pastor to remain part of their group.

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Do politicians talk about religion too much?

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (C) receives a blessing from Pastor Dennis E. Terry, Sr. (L) after being interviewed by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins (R) at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana March 18, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/Sean Gardner)According to a new Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 38% of us say there has been too much expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders. This is the highest percentage since the Pew Research Center began asking this question more than a decade ago. By contrast, 30% say there has been too little talk about religion from our candidates and leaders. Two years ago, the numbers were reversed (37% vs. 29%).

These statistics represent a serious shift. In 2001, only 14% of independents thought there was too much talk about religion. Today, that number is 42%. Why is this? Does this survey represent a dangerous trend?

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