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Inside this week’s issue

Heavy topics
• Everybody loves Raymond—and Barack
• Bible banned at school during “Religious Freedom Day”
• Keith Drury: What’s wrong with the church?
• The weight adventure: week 3

Light touch
• Barbie turns big 5-0: exclusive interview
• Do guys really think about sex every seven seconds?
• Top ten Super Bowl commercials
• “Writing with Humor” at Taylor University
• Best late-night lines of the week

Everybody loves Raymond—and Barack

To paraphrase the hit CBS sitcom from a few seasons back, “Everybody Loves Barack.” (According to Gallup polls, the brand-new president has a 68 percent approval rating his first week in office. Only John F. Kennedy has had higher.) And that concerns me!

1. The media loves Barack
A late-night comic quipped that MSNBC was the “Obama for President Headquarters.” The media is supposed to be a suspicious, cynical group of curmudgeons—and it performed its role with great enthusiasm during the George Bush administration. The media has traditionally been the fourth “checks and balances” component in government, but the unabashed gushing over the new president concerns me.

2. Congress loves Barack
I can’t believe that Obama’s choice for Treasury Secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, failed to pay more than $34,000 in federal taxes over several years while facing questions about the employment papers of a former household employee—and is still being considered by the Senate panel! Whether it was intentional or an honest oversight, it still seems grounds for disqualification, and that concerns me.

3. Pro-abortionists love Barack
The new president is probably the most anti-life president with his support for abortion, partial-birth-abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Here are my grave concerns.

4. Gay rights activists love Barack
And the new president apparently loves them. On the official White House Web site (www.whitehouse.gov), there are several items listed under “Support for the GLBT Community” including adding sexual orientaton as employment discrimination and expansion of hate-crime legislation. Conservative church gorups and Christian organizations are concerned that they would a) have to hire openly gay people for ministry positions and b) that speaking out against what they believe is immoral behavior would be considered a hate crime. (Click for my thoughts on hate crimes.)

5. Church leaders love Barack
It’s not suprising that so-called “liberal” church leaders love Barack, but “conservative” Rick Warren has walked through the moral mine field of hosting both Obama and John McCain at his church, inviting Obama to his AIDS summit, and praying at the inauguration, while still voicing disagreement with Obama’s pro-abortion stance. The suspicious, cynical journalist in me suspects Rick Warren is being used by Obama simply to appeal to Christian conservatives, just as Republicans have used them in the past.

6. The world loves Barack
I do appreciate Obama’s less confrontational and combative tone when it comes to international relations. Christians are taught to pray for peace. But in my darker moments—God forgive me—I think He’d make a great anti-Christ.

7. I love Barack
Barack Obama is charming, witty, gracious, thoughtful and articulate. I really love him as a person. But I’m deeply concerned when anyone is so likable. (Okay, there’s that cynical, suspicious curmudgeon journalist in me coming out again.) I’ve met too many likable people who turned into monsters when they finally married the girl, took over power, or some crisis revealed the real person beneath the facade. (I hope his recent snub of Republican legislators with, “I won,” doesn’t confirm my concerns.)

Barack Obama took office in what resembled a Woodstock love-in, but love can be blind! So, I pray for the new president—and the media, the congress, the church and ordinary citizens.

Bible banned at school during “Religious Freedom

Can you say ironic?

According to ChristianPost.com, “A Southwest Florida man who in past years has been allowed to distribute free Bibles to high school students on Religious Freedom Day was turned down this year by the district’s superintendent.” The article didn’t say if Korans or other religious material were banned as well.

Keith Drury: What’s wrong with the church?

The always insightful—and occasionally inciteful—Keith Drury lists nine things he feels are wrong with today’s church. I’ve got to agree with all nine! Plus, he asks, “Might Barak Obama help deliver Evangelicals from a tendency toward civil religion?”
What’s wrong with the church?
The blessing of Barack

The weight adventure: week 3

Inspired by The Biggest Loser, my daughter and I are competing with a group of Facebook friends to shed some weight, so to be accountable, I’ll be posting my percentages each week. This week—sound of scale beeping, dramatic pause, closeup of Jim gasping—+1.5 percent! Below the yellow line and back on the treadmill.

Barbie turns big 5-0

Fifty years ago this coming March, Barbie Millicent Roberts emerged from her bright pink box to become the most popular—and at times controversial—doll in the civilized world.

But this investigative humor columnist has discovered gloom beneath the glamour of Mattel’s money-making miss.

Wearing faded jeans and a T-shirt, Barbie confided, “I’m just so tired of being dolled up all the time. The whole Barbie image is just so plastic.”

More of exclusive interview

Cindy Crawford downs a Diet Pepsi in classic Super Bowl ad

Do guys really think about sex every seven seconds?

Where do women get these ideas?! Probably the same source that tells them if they turn the thermostat to 90 the room will heat faster. Or maybe it’s from watching Super Bowl ads. (See pic above and text below.)

According to the folks at snopes.com, the “seven-second rule is pure fiction.” Alfred Kinsey’s research revealed 97% of men thought about sex between a few times a day and a few times per month, with 54% falling into the daily category.
The scoop at snopes
Love, marriage and incredible sex (my “adult” site for adults)

Top ten Super Bowl commercials

Guys probably think about sports more than sex—if you believe the Super Bowl hype. Me? I watch it for the commercials. So, if you’re like me—and that’s a frightening prospect—here are . . .
ESPN’s top ten picks
Metromix’s top ten
MSNBC’s top ten

Writing with Humor at Taylor University

I’ll be teaching a course on “Writing with Humor” at Taylor University Fort Wayne Saturdays February 14, March 14, April 18 and May 9. Click for syllabus; call 800.233.3922 for details and registration.

Best late-night lines of the week

Craig Ferguson
• Oscar nominations came out today. “Benjamin Button” got 13. That’s as many as people who have actually seen the movie.

Jimmy Kimmel
• After 10 inaugural balls, Obama was up and in the office at 8:30 this morning, and then he went to church. Is it a good sign that after one hour of being president he decided the best thing he could do for the country was pray?

Jay Leno
• Barack Obama said his first act as president will be to pardon Aretha Franklin’s hat.

David Letterman
• In “Top Ten Signs Obama’s Getting Nervous,” 4. Offered Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, $100,000 to buy his old Senate seat back.

John Stewart
ChangeFest 2009: There’s no change! video

Final touches

Thought for the week
If people are kicking you in the behind, at least you’re in front of them. Billy Graham
• Click for more encouraging quips and quotes.

More light touches
Church humor from Rev.
The Dredge Report (Humor page)
Top ten lists

Have a great weekl! (And come back next Monday for more “heavy topics with a light touch.”)

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