Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearings to become secretary of defense have raised questions about the Republican Party’s ability to conduct U.S. foreign policy worthy of a major international player; Hillary Clinton may be responsible for the decline in the use of “Hillary” as a baby name; meanwhile, although President Obama is quite adept at Internet use, his tendency toward waging a “cyber war” is a deficient approach to online security. 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.

The Republican Obsession If last week’s hearing for Chuck Hagel raised questions about his capacity to be secretary of defense, the show trial conducted by his inquisitors on the tribunal raised questions about the GOP.

‘Ex-Gay’ Blogger for the ‘Christian Post’ Caught on Grindr, Admits His ‘Disobedience to Christ’ Activist Zinnia Jones, via one of her readers, revealed a Grindr profile yesterday belonging to someone who appeared to be Matt Moore, an “ex-gay” blogger for the Christian Post, who has written much about his departure from the “gay lifestyle”.

NYC Officials Threaten Funding of Brooklyn College Over Israel Event In defense of Israel, liberal officials are copying Giuliani’s 1999 termination of funding for a museum exhibiting “offensive” art.

Watching Fish Thoughts Form Scientists record the neuronal activity of a fish brain as the animal watches its prey.

Russian Government Now Views Internet as Main Threat to Its Position The growth in Internet use in the Russian Federation over the last year has meant that “for the first time, the Internet began to be considered by the Russian government as the main source of threat to its well-being and stability,” according to the annual report of the Agora Inter-Regional Human Rights Organization.

Hilary: The Most Poisoned Baby Name in US History The root word for Hilary is the Latin word “hilarius” meaning cheerful and merry, which is the same root word for “hilarious” and “exhilarating.” It’s a great name.

Why We Took Cocaine Out of Soda When cocaine and alcohol meet inside a person, they create a third unique drug called cocaethylene.

The Problem with Tweeting a Revolution During the most heated days of the Tahrir Square protests, Andy Carvin sent more than 1,000 tweets per day.

Six Israeli Security Chiefs Stun World Six former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel’s secretive internal security service, have spoken out as a group for the first time and are making stunning revelations.

Geeks are the New Guardians of Our Civil Liberties Recent events have highlighted the fact that hackers, coders, and geeks are behind a vibrant political culture.

Israeli and Palestinian Researchers Reveal that Both Sides Need to Take a Closer Look at the Books They Teach In the Israeli-Palestinian public relations wars, it’s conventional wisdom that the textbooks used in schools in the West Bank and Gaza breed hatred for Israel.

The Pernicious Persistence of the ‘Language Shapes Thought’ Theory Did you know that thinking in Korean makes you process life differently than thinking in English?

The Obama Administration’s Lousy Record on Cyber Security Barack Obama is probably America’s most web-savvy president ever.

GOP to Reid: Thanks for Caving on Filibuster Reform It was very fitting that pretty much immediately after Harry Reid ended the possibility of filibuster reform in the more-sclerotic-than-ever U.S. Senate, a Republican appointee-run court effectively killed the recess appointment.

MOOC Mess Maybe it was inevitable that one of the new massive open online courses would crash.

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.