The Daily Briefing highlights the news of the day and research that reveals the spirit of the day.
The Daily Briefing is a newsletter sent straight to your inbox every morning that provides biblical insight on today's news. This five-minute read gives an overview of the news driving the day and provides Nick Notes. These Notes offer biblical insight of the highlighted article.
Dr. Nick Pitts writes the Daily Briefing each morning. Nick earned his PhD from Dallas Baptist University, where he also serves as the Executive Director of the Institute of Global Engagement. Nick also co-hosts the Point of View radio talk show each Wednesday and frequently appears on Glenn Beck's Think Tank. His op-eds have been published by Huffington Post, Religion News Service, Townhall.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
6. Hunter Biden speaks out amid Ukraine controversy, admits he made a 'mistake,' report says (USA Today)
“Hunter Biden repeatedly admitted he made a "mistake" in not calculating the political ramifications of joining the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company while his father had official business in the country as vice president but denied doing anything "improper," in an ABC News interview that aired Tuesday.
“Biden said he felt he was qualified to sit on Burisma's board, but acknowledged that he would "probably not" have been offered the seat were it not for the fact that his father was vice president.”
“But he said he did not do anything "improper" in "any way whatsoever."
Nick Note: 12 Democratic candidates for president debated last night, but one candidate’s son shared his story earlier that morning. Hunter Biden may be in the spotlight, but he is not alone. A recent study found that 7 in every 10 young people aged 16-25 use family connections to get their first job. However, a classic study finds that weaker ties (“acquaintances”) often matter the most when it comes to finding a job. Nevertheless family connections get your foot in the door, but they don’t keep you there. Such favoritism often hinders competition among colleagues and results in coworkers feeling demotivated in the office. Similar to the Trump children, Hunter Biden was afforded certain opportunities because of his family. Some don’t see anything wrong with that while others don’t particularly enjoy the “swampiness” of it. Mr. Biden’s actions were permissible but they may not have been electorally profitable (1 Cor. 10:23).
“A Los Angeles Angels employee told federal investigators he provided oxycodone to Tyler Skaggs and abused it with him for years before the pitcher’s death from an overdose in July, according to the employee's attorney.
“Eric Kay, communications director for the Angels, told investigators with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that two team officials were notified about Skaggs' drug use long before his death, according to attorney Michael Molfetta.
“Kay also provided the names of five other players who he believed were using opiates while they were Angels in separate meetings with DEA agents in Dallas and Los Angeles in late September.”
Nick Note: Similar to Skaggs, 60 percent of Americans get such stimulants from a friend or relative. In 2017, 39 percent of Americans said it would be easy to access opioids. In 2018, that number jumped to 46 percent. Easy access to it has led to a misuse of it. 18 million people misused medications at least once last year. Each day, an average of 186 Americans die due to overdose. This number has fallen in recent years, from roughly 70,000 in 2017 to 68,000 in 2018, but one death is one too many. If the numbers are correct, 20 percent of you all know someone who has died from overdose. They silently struggle and privately medicate. This morning, you may unknowingly be in close proximity to someone slowing dying because of pain or privately providing pain. We find ourselves among the living and the dead, often not knowing the difference in moment. You may not know the difference but you can make a difference. Jodi Picoult is right: “Heroes didn't leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand… their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else's. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back.” (2 Cor. 2:14-15)
“The number of young people seeking gender transition is at an all-time high but we hear very little, if anything, about those who may come to regret their decision…. “I think some of the common characteristics are that they tend to be around their mid-20s, they're mostly female and mostly same-sex attracted, and often autistic as well.”
Nick Note: Tom Petty Won’t Back Down but it looks like some are backing away from their decision. The Williams Institute estimates that there are 1.4 million transgender Americans. 37 percent of Americans know a transgender person. Approximately 20 percent of patients regret their transition surgery. Individuals who have had transition surgery are 19 times more likely to die by suicide. They are at a higher risk for anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse. As those who follow after Jesus, we must love like him and gently proclaim the truths of him (Eph. 4:15, 1 John 3:18). Jesus relentlessly pursues after us and patiently puts up with us. As Jesus does with us, we should do with our neighbors – regardless of their disposition. The science forecasts a bleak picture for the trans movement. While we must stand for truth, we should be prepared to offer words of healing and hope.
3. SpongeBob' is a 'violent,' 'racist' colonizer, says University of Washington professor (Fox News, h/t: Kerby A)
“For a recently published academic journal, the professor, Holly M. Barker, wrote an article "Unsettling SpongeBob and the Legacies of Violence on Bikini Bottom," in which she offers a different take on the affable sea sponge. “SpongeBob Squarepants and his friends play a role in normalizing the settler colonial takings of indigenous lands while erasing the ancestral Bikinian people from their nonfictional homeland," the article reads.
“Barker calls SpongeBob's colonization of Bikini Bottom "violent" and "racist," and also claims that the cartoon is guilty of the "whitewashing of violent American military activities" against natives of the Pacific.”
Nick Note: Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Apparently a very troublesome sponge. I don’t agree with Dr. Barker’s conclusion but I do appreciate her effort. Interestingly enough, one study found that the average paper in a peer-reviewed journal is read by approximately 10 people. While many may miss Dr. Barker’s paper, a growing number do have concerns about racism. But what would cause her to find these concepts in a talking sponge? Experts call this intrusive thinking. Other examples of intrusive thinking include Taylor Swift’s hit Death by a Thousand Cuts and The Band Camino’s hit 2/14. An idea or thought, like racism in this instance, is always on the mind. Its absence is often greater than its presence. It makes up a large part of your world and you are reminded of it in every crevice of the world. As a Christian, I am concerned about racism but I am also committed to the truth. I don’t want to malign SpongeBob, but more than that, I don’t want others to denigrate people on the basis of their skin color. We can acknowledge this horrific problem without exaggerating it. (Gal. 3:28, Acts 10:34-35, Jn. 7:24, 13:34)
News You Can Use
Nick Note: Watch it here. I can’t stop smiling. “But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? (1 Jn. 3:17)”
Nick Note: Watch it here. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mt. 20:28)”