Laws proposed this year include a bill whose proponent is an Oklahoma cardiologist who see venomous effects in hormonal contraception for women; the Obama administration has created a new policy that will allow more public access to federally financed research; meanwhile, an Italian newspaper claims Pope Benedict resigned thanks to pressure from a secret gay lobby. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

Creationism, Ayn Rand and Gun Control: Actual Laws Proposed this Month Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants Republicans to stop being the stupid party — but apparently the memo hasn’t gotten out to state legislatures around the country.

Downton Abbey or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Aristocracy In case you were confused as to the interests and attitudes of the early 20th century British landed gentry, they were a benevolent feudal hangover, protecting those under their power with grace and empathy, and, in general, stiff-upper-lipping themselves into modernity.

More than Half of Our ‘Tuna’ Isn’t Really Tuna That delicious slice of toro you just slathered up with some wasabi and soy sauce? Turns out it might not even be tuna.

Goodbye, Petraeus The general’s gone, but a new book on his big idea is essential for the coming defense debates.

White House Delivers New Open-Access Policy That Has Activists Cheering The Obama administration announced on Friday a major new policy aimed at increasing public access to federally financed research.

‘Friends of Hamas’ and Why the GOP Can’t Win the Internet If you want to appreciate how vast the digital divide is that historically separates conservative failures and liberal accomplishments online, and if you want to add some context to the recent New York Times Magazine feature article on how Republicans’ chronic online shortcomings dim the party’s electoral chances, just look at how the two camps were marking their time in recent days.

Depressing Reality Behind Oprah’s Giveaways Oprah is famous for giving out free stuff to her audience (which is a big switch for older readers, who may remember when she was famous for being fat and losing a bunch of weight).

Pope Benedict XVI Resigned Partly Because Of Powerful Vatican Gay Lobby, Italian Paper Claims Was the pope under the influence of a secretive “gay lobby” within the Vatican itself?

Delaying Car and Home Ownership Has Helped Millennials Dramatically Reduce Their Debt Prior to the recession, a lot of us binged on things we had no business buying, like big houses and second cars and smaller luxuries affordable only with credit card debt. In the process, Americans – and young Americans in particular – became an impressively (and historically) indebted lot.

MIT Students Debate the Value of iPads in the Classroom Two questions are being addressed this semester in an MIT education class: “What’s worth learning?” and “How do we know that students are learning what’s worth learning?”

What’s Next for Books in the Digital Age? As volumes printed on paper evolve to newer media – at some point, a printed volume seems likely to become a luxury item – we’re obliged to think about what constitutes a book in the digital age.


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