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3 reasons you must not see 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey covers the eyes of Dakota Johnson, who plays Anastasia Steele, in a scene from the new Universal Pictures movie Fifty Shades of Grey (Credit: Universal Pictures/Focus Features)Fifty Shades of Grey tells the story of Ana, a college student, and Christian, a successful entrepreneur.  The two engage in a sexual relationship that becomes increasingly abusive.  Tonight, the film version of the novel premieres in theaters, timed for the Valentine's Day weekend.

Please, do not see this movie.  And do all you can to encourage others not to see it.  Why is it so dangerous?  Consider three facts.

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The shocking truth about energy drinks

Red Bull drink cans are seen in a supermarket in Vienna March 14, 2013 (Credit: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger)Students in middle school who consume sweetened energy drinks are 66 percent more at risk for hyperactivity than other kids.  Is anyone shocked by this fact?

What surprises me is that the Yale School of Public Health thought it needed to conduct such a study.  Their researchers surveyed 1,649 students in 5th, 7th, and 8th grades, learning about their beverage consumption and assessing their levels of inattention and hyperactivity.  Shockingly, they found that "only energy drinks were associated with greater risk of hyperactivity/inattention."  Any parent of a middle-school child could have saved Yale the trouble.

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How to discuss same-sex marriage

A same-sex wedding cake topper is seen outside the East Los Angeles County Recorder's Office on Valentine's Day during a news event for National Freedom to Marry Week in Los Angeles, February 14, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/David McNew)The number of states that allow same-sex marriage has nearly doubled since October, from 19 to 37.  After the Supreme Court denied Alabama's request to block same-sex marriages last Monday, USA Today headlined: "Handwriting on the wall for gay marriage."

Last Sunday's Grammy Awards featured videos and performers proudly affirming homosexuality.  (See Nick Pitts's Sam Smith: beautiful voice, dangerous dreams.)  Most observers assume the Supreme Court will make same-sex marriage (SSM) legal in all 50 states when it rules this summer.  My purpose today is not to discuss the merits of the issue (for more, see my 5 ways to debate same-sex marriage).  Rather, it is to prepare us for the opposition we face.  If you affirm biblical marriage, what is the best way to discuss your views with those who disagree? (Tweet this)

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Brian Williams and the temptation of exaggeration

Brian Williams speaks at the 8th Annual Stand Up For Heroes, presented by New York Comedy Festival and The Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York (Credit: AP/Brad Barket) Brian Williams recently told the nation that a helicopter he had been traveling in during the invasion of Iraq had been forced down by a rocket-propelled grenade.  As everyone now knows, the NBC Nightly News anchor exaggerated the extent to which his helicopter took enemy fire.  Now he faces a "fact-checking inquiry" regarding the Iraq incident, his reporting during Hurricane Katrina, and other issues that arise during the investigation.  He has announced a voluntary leave of absence, and his professional future is in doubt.

While many are debating Williams's actions, I'd like to focus on his motivations.  He had clearly climbed to the top rung of his professional ladder.  His nightly broadcast was the top-rated newscast on television.  He achieved rock-star status, hosting Saturday Night Live and appearing on late-night comedy shows.  He was trusted by three-fourths of the viewing audience, and was recently ranked one of the most trusted people in America.

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Toronto Jane: the future of ISIS

Female members of ISIS, part of the ISIL Takfiri militant group, wearing full battle gear over their veiled clothing (Credit: Reuters/Tabatha Kinder) "Toronto Jane" is a woman from Canada who joined ISIS last December.  The banner of her Twitter feed is an image of a severed head.  She has been traveling across the region controlled by the world's largest terrorist army, lauding its beheadings and other acts of violence.

The U.S. State Department believes that around 12,000 foreign fighters like "Toronto Jane" have traveled to Syria to join terror groups, including ISIS.  Estimates of the number of Americans fighting alongside Syrian-based jihadists ranges from several dozen to 100.  As ISIS continues to expand, such foreign soldiers are its future.

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