The Common Good

Blog Posts By Joshua Witchger

Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 34 weeks ago
Super Bowl inforgraph, and a collection of notable commercials from years past. Take a look at radio Tanzania, and see a baby with some serious ping pong potential. And finally, take a look at some good music that released this week. 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 34 weeks ago
In anticipation of Sunday's festivities, Jimmy Fallon interviews Bruce Macabee, the puppy who predicted the Patriots to win. L.L. Bean celebrates it's 100th birthday in a fun way, Darren Aronofsky wants Russell Crowe to play his Noah, LeVar Burton gets the @ReadingRainbow twitter handle, Neil Young talks about Steve Jobs' love for vinyl, and an infograph on the social lives of religious Americans, and our favorite scenes from the classic 1993 film, Groundhog Day.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 34 weeks ago
Groundhog's Day 101, five-year-old on advertising logos, more on the Puppy Bowl, and dogs delivering receipts to customers at a veterinary clinic. Plus several posts on books, including Jonathan Franzen's thoughts on eBooks, and a look at 2012 Oscar nominee The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmorin. Click to see more.http://youtu.be/7-Nl4JFDLOU
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 34 weeks ago
The Super Bowl is right around the corner, which means tons of sweet commercials (OK GO among the most recent buzz), but more importantly, Puppy Bowl VIII. Also in today's links: Stephen Colbert chases Jon Stewart around NYC, and the basics behind the new alternative activity known as hockern, or extreme sitting. Plus bits on David Lynch, Ira and Philip Glass, Arrested Development, and the 2012 Light Festival.      http://youtu.be/f9ZGOLs-7uE
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 35 weeks ago
Ferris Bueller is back and ready for the Super Bowl. Kermit and Piggy strike back (at FoxNews), a dad covers Depeche Mode songs with his kids. Animals acting out scenes from Star Wars, the case of the missing ladybugs, a Sojo Octet (we told them to wear matching outfits but they didn't listen), and other odd tales...
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 35 weeks ago
During this 35-minute audio story, Hitt walks through many aspects of the immigration bill and introduces real stories of people interacting with it — from Scott Beason, a Republican senator who was the primary sponsor for the bill last season, to Latino families pulling their kids out of school, quitting their jobs, and remaining safe in their isolated neighborhoods.Hitt demonstrates how this is not only a huge issue for the state, but also for the church. A woman shares that people at her congregation are suspect when passing the peace, some won’t even shake hands. But again, this is what HB56 is about: making life uncomfortable to the point that the undocumented people will leave because it’s easier to flee than to stay.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 35 weeks ago
A huge collection of 90s pop classics set to the tune of one man's melodica, animals appearing everywhere -- in public libraries, photobombs, even to predict the superbowl, how to mount a hot pocket holder to your X-Box controller, the first installment of FRIDAY'S HIGH FIVE, and more!
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 35 weeks ago
Sing along to the news with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Vermin Supreme, and Newt Gingrich. See what happens when things that shouldn't be put in the microwave are cooked. Read about Dwight Schrute's new television endeavor. Listen to an acapella mashup of Bon Iver and Bon Jovi. And more...
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 35 weeks ago
Art in the streets and in the windows of dirty cars, photography hot spots around the world and how it's bringing healing to victims of sexual abuse, Leonard Cohen, David Lynch, Mitt Romney, and a guide to discovering what type of worshipper you are.      
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 35 weeks ago
Saudi Arabia’s first public display of contemporary art opened last weekend in Jeddah.The National reports that the city was crowded as people visited the raw concrete building that features more than 50 pieces from 22 local artists, under the somewhat provocative title, “We Need to Talk About It.”The exhibit displays a spectrum of the land’s story – past, present, future. But because the art is open-ended, multi-faceted, and Saudi Arabia is governed by powerful clerics under a version of Sharia law, this public test of authority proves to be a difficult subject.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 35 weeks ago
Take a roller coaster ride on a classical music score, and see a voilionist respond to a cell phone interruption. See a visual of the day the internet went dark, and generate your own SuperPAC name. Plus, for the first time, Disney employees can grow facial hair. Take a look at today's links of awesomeness!  
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 36 weeks ago
President Obama wishes Betty White a happy 90th birthday, Will Farrell's homemade commercials for Old Milwaukee, contest for Anne Rice's new novel, Megadeath bassist to become ordained Lutheran minister, and more.  
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 36 weeks ago
All the hype about SOPA, dogs bark to the tune of Darth Vadar, debunking myths about homeschoolers, Tim Tebow visits Sin City, innovative musical projects, extreme skateboards, the day the LOLCats died and more.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 36 weeks ago
Fight global poverty, invest in agriculture. ~ Growers FirstAs the winter winds bite at our collars, a hot cup of coffee is a perfect antidote for healing.  But what you might not consider when you sip a mug of dark roast is the economic injustices that many coffee growers around the world face.   Coffee is one of the largest cash crops in the world – the U.S.D.A. Foreign Agricultural Service reports that last year 15,689,340,000 pounds of coffee were distributed worldwide. Yet, indigenous coffee growers see only a tiny fraction of its revenue. These are some of the reasons why fair exchange programs such as  Growers First  got into the coffee business — to tip the scales of economic and social inequity that has become a way of life for many coffee farmers globally in a more just direction.Even more importantly, Growers First exists to transform lives. The non-profit based in Laguna Beach, Calif., has a powerful story of action, conflict, struggle — and ultimately hope.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 37 weeks ago
After vandals threw a 20-pound rock through the window of an Iraqi restaurant in Lowell, Mass., its owners, overwhelmed with fear at this unwarranted hate crime, came close to shutting its doors permanently.That is, until a group of U.S. veterans flooded into the restaurant to support the owners.Last week, Veterans for Peace organized war veterans and citizens to gather in solidarity with the Iraqi store owners. Their efforts filled the seats of the restaurant twice, and also brought the neighborhood a clear sign that city hate crimes won't be tolerated by people of good will.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 37 weeks ago
TV's award winning comedy 30 Rock debuts tonight, create your own remixes with Mono's customer appreciation page, discover hidden features on the iPhone, Hostess nears bankruptcy, GOOD's new social justice efforts, and more. Plus videos of chain reaction mechanics performing mundane tasks and a backstage glimpse into the gospel vibes of Wilco, Mavis Staples, and Nick Lowe. 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 37 weeks ago
Polaroid camera are back on the market, apocalypse survival guide, Jack Kerouac for bros, the NBA begins using 3D graphics, the hit show Portlandia, James Franco's new film, classic album covers are given a clip art makeover, and more.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 37 weeks ago
It's always encouraging to see musicians using their unique platform to inspire social change.When it comes to an indie supergroup such as  New Party Systems — compirsed of members from TV on the Radio, Notekillers, and Liturgy — disparate audiences are drawn together for common purpose: economic justice.New Party Systems's song "We Are," which dropped on the web yesterday, draws attention back to what the Occupy Movement is: A place of rising consciousness, full of energy and passion to bring about change.While it may seem that the Occupy Movement is losing its steam, this expression reminds us its the spirit is alive — and growing.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 37 weeks ago
When you hear the phrase “the 99 percent,” many different images and ideas come to mind. Much of the mainstream media has depicted the Occupy Movement in a negative light and its participants as "dirty hippies," radicals, stoners or losers.That’s why Brooklyn photographer Vanessa Bahmani decided to let the 99 percent portray themselves.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 37 weeks ago
A zombie version of the Oregon Trial, what it would look like if Batman had been created by Dr. Suess, and could an App a day keep the doctor away? Plus, videos of wackadoo political candidates, what happens in a book store at night when no one's around, how to get discovered on YouTube by Russell Crowe (without even trying), and ... Aunt Carol grooving to Usher’s “You Make Me Wanna.”
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 38 weeks ago
Stephen Colbert takes Pat Robertson's challenge to America and prays at full volume, file sharing considered "religious expression," Harrison Ford watches Indiana Jones for the first time, Gary Busey and Ted Haggard on Wife Swap, facebook plans networking offline, part two of Jimmy Kimmel's Christmas trick, and — our of the mouths of babes —a Christian version of the Black Eyed Peas song "My Humps."
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 40 weeks ago
Whether it's variations on familiar holiday tunes, cartoons prancing around on screen, or watching kids open terrible presents, treat yourself to a break from the day to take in a little holiday cheer.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 40 weeks ago
Something’s wrong here: The United States is the most charitable nation in the world, and yet nearly half of Americans are classified as poor/low income, with 16 percent now living below the poverty line.This week, the Charities Aid Foundation released the 2011 World Giving Index, a comprehensive study that ranks countries by their generosity. The study, gleaned from 150,000 interviews with participants in 153 nations, focused on three categories:  monetary donations, time spent volunteering, and willingness to help a stranger.This year, the United States topped the list, up from fifth place in 2010.While the amount of money Americans give to charity has not increased markedly, the study found a 4 percent increase in volunteering time, and an 8 percent increase in helping a stranger. (While this may not seem like drastic change, one percent means thousands of people.)
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 41 weeks ago
citizen flash mob performs Glee's "Last Christmas" at Target, Sir David Attenborough narrates "What a Wonderful World" to clips of nature, Christmas decorations seen as tributes to the Pagan Sun-God, Banksy's latest satrical sculpture on the church, Jesus visits the Denver Broncos, a bread nativity scene, year in review lists, and Teddy the talking porcupine wishes you all a very "Merry Christmas."
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 41 weeks ago
Toast! A vicar beatboxes the Nativity Story. Butter shortages wreak havoc on Norway. Ten out of Tenn gives away its new Christmas album. Knit some dim sum for your cat. Iconoclastic Hasidic-reggae master Matisyahu shaves his beard, and more! 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 42 weeks ago
When asked why he’s so vocal about his beliefs, Tebow says, "If you're married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only tell your wife that you love her on the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and have the opportunity? That's how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ."Wow, I can see why God would like him. And why fans of Cinderella stories would too. This season, as the Bronco's starting quarterback, Tebow has led his team to several dramatic victories, battling back from trailing scores in the last quarter. He’s a gifted athlete, and one who seems to be genuinely humble about it.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 42 weeks ago
After two weeks of extensive talking, and running hours beyond schedule, a deal to cut global carbon emissions finally has been reached. As the climate conference in Durban, South Africa came to a close last weekend, a treaty known as the Durban Platform emerged, requiring all countries to begin curbing carbon emissions by 2020.The deal binds all countries — rich and poor — to “hold the increase in global average temperature below 2C or 1.5C above pre-industrial levels,” according to the Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Further, plans for enhanced action must be solidified by 2015, with the contracts bearing legal force.Michael Jacobs, a member of the of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in London, told the BBC that " by forcing countries for the first time to admit that their current policies are inadequate and must be strengthened by 2015, it has snatched 2C from the jaws of impossibility. At the same time it has re-established the principle that climate change should be tackled through international law, not national, voluntarism.”But the treaty has its drawbacks.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 42 weeks ago
Tweeting the Bible, designing the Bible. Choosing an ethical restaurant. Paper sculptures. Ron Swanson cookies. Whisker Wars!
Posted by Anne Marie Roderick, Joshua Witchger 2 years 43 weeks ago
Today marks the anniversary of World AIDS Day. The USAID estimates that since the epidemic began, over 60 million people have been infected with the disease, and over 25 million lives taken.One of the most prominant figures fronting the fight against AIDS is U2 frontman, Bono. In 2002, Bono became vocal about the epidemic, embarking on a tour across the American Midwest to recruit churches to join the fight against AIDS in Africa. In Christianity Today’s 2003 feature “Bono’s American Prayer,” (written by Sojo’s own Cathleen Falsani) he articulates the crucial role the church must play in combating the epidemic."If the church doesn't respond to this, the church will be made irrelevant. It will look like the way you heard stories about people watching Jews being put on the trains. We will be that generation that watched our African brothers and sisters being put on trains."
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 44 weeks ago
The real Dunder Mifflin Paper Co., the goods and evils of the pepper-spraying cop, N.T. Wright's fiery predecessor, the belt of the Virgin Mary closes Russian tour, Parker J. Palmer, and more.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 44 weeks ago
Yesterday Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced a moratorium on all executions in the state, declaring capital punishment to be a “perversion of justice.”Oregon has carried out two executions in the last 47 years, both during Kitzhaber's tenure as governor.With convicted murderer Gary Haugen facing the death penalty on Dec. 6 — coupled with the governor's growing frustration with the death penalty — Kitzhaber had had enough and halted Haugen's execution as well as any in the foreseeable future."I refuse to be a part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer and I will not allow further executions while I am governor," Kitzhaber said in The Oregonian.Sparing Haugen’s life is not only a powerful victory for his family and loved ones, but also for anti-death penalty activists such as Naseem Rakha, who has devoted much of her career to writing about capital punishment as a journalist and novelist.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 44 weeks ago
Earlirer this week, the latest of these online Occupy groups -- OccupyMusicians.com  -- launched a press release, declaring solidarity with the 99 percent as a community of musicians, stretching across a wide scope of genres and fan bases. Daily, collective support of the movement is growing. 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 45 weeks ago
tweet of the day: The father of liberal theology, Fred Schleiermacher, was born today in 1768. “Born” and “today” are just metaphors, of course. (via @shipofools) Plus interfaith bridge building, an extensive interview from U2, Jana Riess is Flunking Sainthood, Pakistanian cell phone censorship, Oscar-worthy documentaries, urban farming, Malawi introduces an anti-farting law (seriously, see above) and more.    
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 45 weeks ago
Two Muslim Americans resopnd in different ways to TLC's All-American Muslim; authors honored at 2011 National Books Awards; solar organizations introduce Occupy Rooftops; how cloud seeding effects water shortages and weather systems; Google's new music store; and much more. 
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 45 weeks ago
Just days before the country’s first democratic election (set for Nov. 28), 27 Coptic protestors were killed for demonstrating against the military’s recent burning of a Christian community center. And despite drawing global attention, which included anti-violence demonstrations in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, the Global Post reports that, "the demonstrations reflect mounting fears in Egypt’s Coptic community and its Diaspora that after the pro-democracy uprising of earlier this year the predominantly Muslim Egyptian society seems as indifferent to the Christian minority’s concerns as ever. “
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 46 weeks ago
Looking at reality TV’s latest sensation: All American Muslim, stories of Missouri's Chocolate University harvesting more than cocoa beans, exploring the terms behind the latest anti-bullying legislation, Bill McKibben, social media meets religion, God and sports, Proposition 8, and more.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 46 weeks ago
Flying rhinoceri. Wordless storytelling. A religious culture of hip. And much more.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 47 weeks ago
Seventy-five years of Santa-school, celebrating National Sandwich Day, Muslims save Jewish bakery, remembering the inventor of the theremin, Cameron Crowe's new film, Lady Gaga's new anti-bullying project, and a new song from Mumford & Sons.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 48 weeks ago
Is Halloween a prime time for evangelism? Are religious tracks passed out along with (or in lieu of) "treats" really the best way to spread the gospel message? Or do the roots and practices of Halloween run so deeply counter to Christian tradition that Halloween is best ignored by believers? At times such as these, the church often finds itself wrestling with the big question H. Richard Niebuhr posed in his seminal 1951 work, Christ and Culture. That is, to what extent should Christians engage in and interact with the world around them?
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 48 weeks ago
Halloween Light Show Set to the tune of LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem," this incredible video shows what is possible with a little engineering and large budget. A Halloween light show, candy, costumes, culture, and more!
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 48 weeks ago
Return of the hobbits, Alec Baldwin's radio show, a megachurch mega-graph, short documentary on women, families, and climate change, occupy Wall Street's library, Will Ferrell, and more!
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 48 weeks ago
ART and DESIGN: Bansky's sculpture at Occupy London, a NYC exhibit dedicated to Conan O'Brien art, the carving of the world's largest pumpkin, Tim Burton's balloon for the Macy's Day Parade, a new universal human rights logo, and more.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 49 weeks ago
At 92 years old, Seeger – who was joined by 60s folk singer Arlo Guthrie, and several other musicians – marched over 30 blocks in peaceful protest, ending with a variety of musical performances, one of which involved the folk hymn “We Shall Overcome,” a song Seeger helped popularize half a century earlier.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 49 weeks ago
Occupy Writers; Wild Turkey Chases Camerawoman; Mars Hill Plays the Name Game; Knitting Sweaters For Penguins; Essays on Faith and Life; Music Interviews and News.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 49 weeks ago
Controversy at the World Scrabble Championships, President Obama's teleprompter was stolen, 40 signs of the times, the debut of "The Walken Dead," R.E.M. releases final song, unlikely Occupy Wall Street supporters, Walker Percy, and more!
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 50 weeks ago
Herman Cain imagines a world full of pizza in song. A new face of money is born our of the Wall Street protests. And a few cool stories on art and photography.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 50 weeks ago
Occupy Wall Street's struggle for nonviolence. What do marriage and family have to do with economic growth? Map: Protesters' long-term plans for occupying Zuccotti Park. Herman Cain to meet with Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio over immigration. While corporate profits are at 60-year high, main street businesses continue to struggle.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 50 weeks ago
Herman Cain Sings "Amazing Grace"
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 50 weeks ago
Bloomberg Tells Occupy Wall Street Protestors to Clear Park by Friday Wall Street may not be occupied for much longer. Two days after Mayor Michael Bloomberg said protesters could stay in Zuccotti Park "indefinitely" if they followed the law, the mayor visited them tonight to say they had to be out of there by Friday, according to the mayor's office. The reason given by the mayor tonight was that the park needs to be cleaned. Learn more HERE.
Posted by Joshua Witchger 2 years 50 weeks ago
Ben & Jerry's "rejected" flavors. A Gawker map of the "1 percent." Bjork releases album as an app. One Dress for One Year - an act of civil disobedience? Gasoline for charity? Chris Matthews takes on the Southern Baptist minister who calls Mormonism a "cult." And the catechism cataclysm.