Southern Baptist Leaders To Host Nashville Sex Summit

By: Kelli Findlay

Nashville, Tennessee (AP/Theloop) – Southern Baptist Convention leaders are hosting a summit in Nashville that will focus on sex. The topics will range from pornography, teen sex, homosexuality and how pastors can talk to their congregations about human sexuality. Russell Moore, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president for the Southern Baptist Convention, said the summit’s theme is a timely one. “So many of the questions that pastors grapple with today deal with situations that would not even have been possible a generation ago,” Moore said in a press statement.

Convention being held April 2014

Convention about sex and pornography being held April 2014

“As technology advances and the culture changes, the questions that we have to grapple with are often increasingly complex.”

Panel topics include discussions on the gospel and homosexuality and the gospel and ministry in a sex-saturated world. The sessions will also focus on how the “gospel shapes a person’s sexual identity, redeems sexual desire and sets free people held captive by sin.”

The summit will be held from April 21-23. The event’s main sessions will be streamed live on the Web for people who cannot attend.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Kardashian and West Expecting a little Kimye

Atlantic City. N.J. – (AP/The Loop)- Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are feeling lucky about their first child together.

“It’s true,” the 32-year-old reality TV star said in a statement on her site Monday. “Kanye and I are expecting a baby. We feel so blessed and lucky and wish that in addition to both of our families, his mom and my dad could be here to celebrate this special time with us.”

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West pose at an event

Kardashian’s father, Robert Kardashian, died in 2003. West’s mother, Donda West, died in 2007.

Kardashian added in the blog post that she was “looking forward to great new beginnings in 2013 and to starting a family.”

The 35-year-old rapper revealed to a crowd of more than 5,000 in song form at a concert Sunday that his girlfriend is pregnant. Kardashian was in the crowd at Revel Resort’s Ovation Hall with her mother, Kris Jenner, and West’s mentor and best friend, Jay-Z.

The news instantly went viral online, with thousands posting and commenting on the expecting couple.

Most of the Kardashian clan tweeted about the news, including Kim’s sisters. Kourtney Kardashian wrote: “Another angel to welcome to our family. Overwhelmed with excitement!”

West told concertgoers to congratulate his “baby mom” and that this was the “most amazing thing.”

Representatives for West and Kardashian didn’t immediately respond to emails about the pregnancy.

The rapper and reality TV star went public with their relationship in March.

Kardashian married NBA player Kris Humphries in August 2011 and their divorce is not finalized.

West’s Sunday-night show was his third consecutive performance at Revel. He took the stage for nearly two hours, performing hits like “Good Life,” ”Jesus Walks” and “Clique” in an all-white ensemble with two bandmates.

Kardashian is expected to spend New Year’s Eve at public appearance at a Las Vegas nightclub.


AP Writer Bianca Roach contributed to this report.


Follow Mesfin Fekadu on Twitter at . Follow Bianca Roach at


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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Balancing Work and School

By Laura Mish

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – While popular culture displays college as simply fun and games, most college students realize the intense load a class can carry. For the students with jobs outside of school, officials say the level of stress could be multiplied drastically.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Career Planning Counselor, Mark Rehm, said having a job in college enhances responsibility, but it can also contribute to the lack of student commitment to classes. He said it is estimated that only one-fifth of UTC students have a job, and of those, the job easily affects their academic success.

Rehm said success in school or work depends on individual priorities, and to succeed in either of the fields, students need to master time management.

It has been determined that after graduation what set students apart from other competitive applicants won’t simply be a degree, but a student’s work experience, he said. During college Rehm says having a goal is fundamental to the future of all college students.

“If you have an end goal in mind you’re going to have better academic success,” he said, “You can also align yourself up with relevant job opportunities before you get to the end.”

Joe Palermo, a senior taking 21 hours this semester, said he chooses not to have a job during the school year because managing work and school would affect his academic success.

“I really don’t have time for a job,” he said, “I find it hard to study and get A’s while having a job.”

UTC Health and Human Performance professor, Jamie Harvey, said students need to focus on taking care of their health in order to better balance a school and work load. The best way to handle a busy schedule is to increase rest, minimize procrastination and practice self-discipline, she said.

Harvey said taking small steps toward a goal will enhance a student’s performance, both physically and academically.

“Being healthy in human performance, and seeing healthier behaviors, the student has to take on the self-discipline of rest and sleep, and relieving stress,” she said.

Harvey said an essential way to reducing stress and fulfilling goals is planning physical activity. Exercising frequently will increase energy, and boost performance, she said.

Click here to listen to Mark Rehm talk about balancing work and school

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One in a million in Tennessee?

By Donielle Tatum

WASHINGTON (UTC/The Loop) — Who believes they’ll be a millionaire?

About two in 10 Americans do — a small showing of optimism compared to Australians, but downright cheery next to Britons when asked about becoming wealthy in the next ten years, according to a new Associated Press-CNBC poll.

In all three countries, more than seven in 10 of those surveyed said they were unlikely to become millionaires in the next decade.

The results reflect the psychic toll that the worlds’ economic troubles have taken on the aspirations of individuals. Solid majorities of can-do Americans — 61 percent — and Britons — 63 percent — say it’s extremely or very difficult for their countrymen to become millionaires today.

“It’s an unrealistic thing for anybody to assume,” said Jason Hall, 35, a heavy equipment operator in Loganville, Wis.

Across the pond, 19-year-old Natasha Hill, an apprentice at a London hair salon, said many of her friends looking for work amid high unemployment have essentially given up.

“There’s no determination, nothing to aim for,” Hill said. “Everyone is in robot mode — they just settle.”

On the flip side of the planet, just 35 percent of Australians feel the same way, the results found.

“Oh, yes, yes, yes you can” become a millionaire, said Australian student Hannah Peters, 21. “Anybody can become a millionaire. There are so many opportunities here. You just have to know how to go about it.”

The Aussies have reason to be so darned sunny.

Unemployment there is 5.3 percent, nearly half the United States’ 9.1 percent. Just under 8 percent of Brits are out of work. And a natural resources boom in Western Australia is helping grow the country’s economy about 3 percent this year, according to forecasts by the International Monetary Fund. The equivalent figure for the United Kingdom is 1.7 percent and for the U.S. economy, 2.8 percent, though many private economists expect it to be lower.

Still, becoming a millionaire was tough to imagine for many Down Under.

“My pay is lousy and I spend it,” said Tasmanian Brian Draney, a 47-year-old lineman and father of two young children.

Polling last month by the AP and CNBC found that Australians are the most optimistic of the bunch, with 29 percent of respondents there saying they feel good about their prospects of eventually becoming a millionaire in the next decade, compared with 21 percent in the U.S. and just 8 percent in the U.K.

In reality, the United States leads the world in millionaires, more than 5.2 million of them in 2010, or nearly one in every 20 households, according to The Boston Consulting Group’s latest annual global wealth report. Great Britain had 570,000 millionaires, or about one in every 45 households. Australia had 133,000 or about one in every 60 households, but that’s an increase of 35,000 over the previous year.

The BCG survey measured millionaires in terms of U.S. dollars. Those polled by AP and CNBC were asked how likely it was that they’d be worth a million of their own monetary unit — U.S. dollars, Australian dollars or British pounds. One million American dollars is worth about 964,000 Australian dollars, and about 633,000 British pounds.

But the difference is academic when large majorities never think they’ll have such fortunes to their names.

“I’ll never make a million, because my family is bleeding me dry,” said Brian Bolton, a married 47-year-old civil servant in Brisbane, Australia, who has two young children. “Every day my bank balance is substantially lighter and I don’t know where it goes.”

Asked to imagine being millionaires, residents of all three countries had similar priorities for spending it: The bulk of them said they would save it, invest it, buy real estate, pay down debt and share with family, the survey said.

Respondents across the board listed “saving or investing” as their first priority. The last priority? Americans and Australians listed “giving away to charity.”

“I’d give charity a taste,” said Draney, the lineman from the Australian island state of Tasmania. On second thought: “That’s just asking for trouble because then they’d annoy me for the rest of my life.”

Brits left “paying down debt” for last, the polls showed.

Wail Al-Dour, 26, has trouble even envisioning himself as a millionaire. His chosen career, filmmaking, is tough to break into.

“The environment right now is hard,” he said in London. “Everyone thinks they’re going to be just scraping by.”

Back at the London hair salon, Charlotte Hagan-Boyla, 19, confesses to “spending money the day I get it.”

But becoming a millionaire, she thinks, isn’t out of the question. You could win the lottery, she reasoned, or you could work your way up.

“Or,” she added, “you could always marry a rich man.”


Associated Press Writers Cassandra Vinograd in London, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia and Christopher S. Rugaber in Washington and Deputy Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta and News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.


On the Web:


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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Chattanooga Teen Exposes the Struggles of Being Gay on Campus

By:Brittany Tonkin

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/ The Loop)- Entering a college classroom and facing your peers for the first time is a nerve racking experience for anyone, but imagine already being judged and stereotyped before you even take your seat. That is exactly what happens every time Will Scruggs, an 18 year-old freshman, enters a classroom; Will is openly gay.

Will Scruggs Studying

Will Scruggs grew up in the Chattanooga area and during his high school years hid a very large, defining part of himself- his sexuality. Entering college gave Will the chance to be true to himself and open up about his sexual orientation to his peers and family.

Not everyone was excited about Will’s “new-found” lifestyle and some of his former high school classmates have had no problem letting him know that. Scruggs said that he has had fellow college classmates with previous connections from high school stop talking to him on a regular basis, or completely ignore him all together after discovering he is gay.

Aside from encountering peers from his past, Will also faces the daily challenge of meeting new peers. Although Will feels that most people he meets will be polite and accepting, he said that it is still nerve racking meeting new people at school because he doesn’t know how they perceive him as well as the “gay community.”

Scruggs said, ” I have never experienced a teacher taking a personal prejudice against me being gay or  have that reflected on the grades I receive in their class, but I would definitely say that it does present a very strong challenge in assimilating in with your peers and your classmates. You don’t know who is accepting of you and who isn’t.”

Will ran into such an instance in his Anthropology class. He was selected to work in a group with fellow classmates to discuss religion. Throughout the discussion Will came to realize that the students in his group had very strong religious upbringings and still firmly held onto those beliefs.

Scruggs said that because the classmates in his group did not agree with his lifestyle they strongly excluded him from the group’s discussions and completely disregarded what his views on the topic of religion were.

Fortunately, not all students have treated Will the same way as the students in his Anthropology class. Lizzy Casey, a 20 year-old junior, said, “I have grown up in a very religous family and still attend church myself, but your lifestyle is your choice and dosen’t affect me or the way I treat someone.”

Stephanie Raulston and Will Scruggs Getting Ready for Class

Stephanie Raulston, a 20 year-old junior, said that being in classes and interacting with gay people doesn’t make her feel uncomfortable at all. She feels people don’t realize that discriminating against a gay person for their lifestyle is the same thing as being racist and should be treated as an equally sensitive topic.

Raulston said, “That’s your lifestyle, that’s who you are and there is no reason to discriminate against someone who is just oriented differently…It’s just like making a racist joke; it’s awkward if your offending someone.”

Will said he is thankful for people who choose to place their own biases aside or willingly accept him without thinking twice and only wishes everyone could do the same.

When asked if he had any advice for fellow gay students facing the same challenges, Scruggs said, “So long as teachers don’t dock your grades because of a personal opinion against homosexuality and it’s simply having problems with interacting with your peers and having them accept you sometimes in life you just kinda have to suck it up. You have to move on and you have to do your best to succeed academically.”

CLICK HERE to listen to Will Scruggs advice!

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Miley Says All Is Fine

By: Shawna O’Neal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Miley Cyrus says she feels more at ease heading out on an international tour now that things are fine on the home front.

Earlier this year, her parents, Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus, were getting a divorce, and her father was critical of his daughter’s behavior. But the

Miley and her parents

The Cyrus Family

Cyruses recently called off their divorce and the family is spending time together.

“I think it’s good, especially when you go on the road. You have to make sure everyone is happy before you start traveling, you’re away. My family is good. They are stoked for tour. As long as I’m happy they are happy,” Cyrus said in an interview on Thursday.

The former “Hannah Montana” star is leaving for South America and Australia on April 27 for her Gypsy Heart Tour. It will be the first time Cyrus, whose most recent album is titled “Can’t Be Tamed,” has gone to South America, and she’s excited — even though she won’t be able to communicate with her fans in their language.

“I speak zero Spanish. I actually failed Spanish so I will have someone with me making sure I can get through my way,” she said.

She recently released one of the album’s songs, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” in Australia, and said she’s excited to sing the Poison cover (which featured Bret Michaels) there live.

But she won’t be releasing that song in the United States, and right now, she has no plans to tour in her native country either.

“I just think right now America has gotten to a place where I don’t know if they want me to tour or not. Right now I just want to go to the places where I am getting the most love and Australia and South America have done that for me,” she said. “Kind of going to the places where I get the most love. Don’t want to go anywhere where I don’t feel completely comfortable with it.”

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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The Royal Couple, match made in the heavens

By Victoria Hampstead

LONDON (AP) — Kate Middleton and Prince William are a match made in heaven. Just check their horoscopes.

The couple will be delighted to know their star signs, Capricorn and Cancer, indicate they are highly compatible and have a good chance of having a successful marriage, according to leading British astrologers.

“They probably feel like soulmates,” said Wendy Stacey, chair of the Astrological Association of Great Britain.

Take it as a bunch of hooey or a celestial peek into the future. Just keep in mind that The Associated Press reported in 1981 that an astrologer warned that Prince Charles, who was born under the complex sign of Scorpio, would have a “stormy marriage” in his union with Princess Diana, born under the sensitive, intuitive Cancer star sign.

Everyone knows how that ended up.

Jay Lucan, who works with the British Astrological and Psychic Society said the new royal couple have “75 percent relationship compatibility” based on their star charts — giving them “definitely a good chance” of outlasting William’s parents in matrimony.

Both Stacey and Lucan acknowledge they cannot confirm the accuracy of their predictions for many reasons. The biggest drawback is not knowing Middleton’s exact time of birth; Prince William’s was publicly announced as a matter of national interest.

So what do the couple’s birth dates tell us?

For starters, Middleton, born on Jan. 9, 1982, is a Capricorn (an earth sign) while William, born June 21, 1982, is a Cancer (a water sign). Each star sign is designated an element: air, water, fire and earth.

“Cancers and Capricorns are opposites as water and earth,” Stacey explains. “As a result, they can read each other very clearly and they have a deep emotional understanding. It’s quite a lovely thing.”

Middleton and Prince William, the astrologers claim, both exhibit characteristic traits of their star signs.

“William is emotionally very private — a typical Cancer. He doesn’t share a lot and likes to retreat,” Stacey said. Case in point: the couple plan to settle post-wedding in a backwater town in Wales as Prince William works as a search and rescue pilot with the Royal Air Force.

Think of the crusty crab that represents the Cancer sign, Lucan said — crabs have a thick shell on the outside, protecting a very vulnerable soft body. “William’s not that well-equipped to deal with criticism. He shares that same trait with his mother (also a Cancer),” Lucan said.

As a Capricorn, Middleton, apparently, is much tougher. “She definitely wears the pants in the relationship,” Stacey said.

Typical of her sign, Middleton is ambitious: she’s a commoner marrying into the world’s most famous royal family. And extremely patient — she did, after all, spend eight years waiting for her prince to pop the question.

(This version CORRECTS in last sentence that couple were together at least eight years.)


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.


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Royal Wedding Dress

By: Shawna O’Neal

LONDON (AP) — Only a handful of insiders know which designer Kate Middleton has chosen to create her top-secret wedding gown, but at least one person — dressmaker Elizabeth Emanuel — understands what that person is going through.

The woman who co-designed the taffeta confection that Princess Diana wore in 1981 when she walked down the aisle to marry Prince Charles believes Middleton’s mystery designer is probably more than a bit anxious as the April 29 royal wedding approaches.

“I’m sure they are nervous now,” said Emanuel, relaxed and chatty in her central London studio, surrounded by mannequins wearing dramatic handmade wedding gowns. “It’s such a big event, with billions watching, you cannot make mistakes. There is no second chance, it has to be perfect.”

Emanuel and her ex-husband David triumphed in their own pressure-packed moment, coming up with a showstopping gown that transformed Diana from a little-known nursery school teacher into a glamorous princess. The dress was groundbreaking for its tight bodice, cinched waist and what seemed like miles and miles of taffeta, silk and lace.

Rosemary Harden, director of the Fashion Museum in Bath, England, said the dress set trends throughout the globe.

“It definitely set the tone for 15 to 20 years,” said Harden. “It was something everyone remarked upon — it took people’s breath away. It was the archetypal fairy princess dress, with an incredible quantity of beautiful fabric and beautiful silk and that long train.”

Harden said the tight bodice, puffed sleeves and very full skirt Diana favored eventually fell out of style as strapless wedding gowns came in — and she believes styles will change again once Middleton’s dress is unveiled.

There have been leaks suggesting that Sarah Burton, creative director of the Alexander McQueen house, is designing the dress, but she has denied the reports — though some believe she may be covering up her involvement to maintain secrecy.

Middleton, with her long, lean figure, has likely chosen a classic design with some distinctive “edgy” detailing or feature to make the gown memorable, Emanuel predicted. She thinks Middleton may wear her long hair swept up, while other fashion figures have suggested Middleton should let it cascade to her shoulders as it usually does.

The designer, whose long career has encompassed making outfits for stage and screen, does not expect Middleton’s dress to resemble Diana’s. The two brides are very different: Diana was still in her teens when she married, and she had not yet plunged into the fashion world. Middleton is 29 and has developed her own style, which emphasizes her slender figure, pale skin, and dark brown hair.

Fashions have changed as well, with softer fabrics like tulle and organza more popular in gowns than the stiffer taffeta used in Diana’s dress. There also may be fewer frills, and less volume in the skirt.

“It was perfect for the ’80s, but not for today,” Emanuel said of her most famous work, which is often on public display at Althorp House, Diana’s ancestral home, or touring museums throughout the world.

Emanuel thinks Middleton’s designer has moved beyond the planning phase and is now cutting the actual fabric in a nerve-wracking, unforgiving process that can become quite expensive if an error is made and some of the pricey material ruined.

Emanuel remembers her own time in the spotlight as a blur. She and David worked around the clock, even making the bridesmaids’ dresses and backup gowns for emergency use by Diana in case the press discovered the real design ahead of time.

They were so worried that something might go wrong that they made an “overskirt” that could be worn on top of the real skirt in case someone accidentally spilled juice or coffee on Diana as she was dressing for the ceremony.

There were endless fittings with the incredible shrinking bride — Diana lost so much weight in the weeks before the ceremony that the designers had to make several successively smaller bodices. She had a 23-inch waist by her wedding day.

Emanuel, 57, said as the wedding date neared she started to worry that the gown’s 25-foot (7.6-meter) train would separate from the rest of the dress as Diana entered St. Paul’s Cathedral. She feared she would be remembered as the woman who designed the dress that fell apart.

Emanuel used safety pins, hooks and stitches to secure the train and make sure calamity didn’t strike.

“We made a parasol in case it rained,” she said. “Actually two: one ivory, one white, so the umbrella maker wouldn’t know the color of the dress.”

Sounds a bit paranoid? Not really. She remembers reporters constantly begging her for information, making up sob stories about how they would be fired if they didn’t find out details about the dress.

That was in the quaint, pre-Internet era. Today, Emanuel said, the pressure is even more intense and the need for secrecy even higher because anyone with a camera phone could flummox the palace’s best laid plans if they get a shot of Middleton entering a design salon for a gown fitting.

Regardless of the designer, Emanuel believes the fittings are taking place at one of the royal palaces in a secure environment, because the design studios are likely staked out by the ultra-competitive British press.

But why hasn’t the name leaked out? Why hasn’t the designer boasted to his or her partner, who told the dentist or the school teacher, with the whispered warning not to pass it on, starting a chain reaction that ends with the designer’s identity on the front page of tabloids?

Emanuel said it hasn’t happened because it’s in everyone’s interest to maintain secrecy so that Middleton can surprise fiance Prince William — and the world — on their wedding day. Keeping the design out of the news is an important part of the royal wedding gown commission, she said.

“It’s got to be a surprise, that’s the whole thing,” Emanuel said. “Bit by bit, all the details of the wedding are being released, and that’s the last thing, and everyone wants to know.”

She had faith that the designer — expected to be British — will engineer a showstopper.

“I’m sure it will be a fantastic surprise when she gets out of the car; that’s what everyone’s waiting for,” she said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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LOL! Words R so 2000Late

By: Jess Medeiros

NEW YORK (AP) — “ILY!” Susan Maushart’s 16-year-old daughter often calls out over her shoulder as she leaves the house. Sure, actual words would be better. But Mom knows not to complain.

“A mother of teenagers is pathetically grateful for an ‘I love you’ no matter what form it takes,” she observes.

Then there are the various forms of “LOL” that her teens use in regular parlance — it’s become a conjugable verb by now. And of course, there’s the saltier acronym used by son Bill: “WTF, Mom?!” But before you judge, note that former VP candidate Sarah Palin just used that one in a TV interview. And CNN’sAnderson Cooper used it on his show the other night.

Acronyms have been around for years. But with the advent of text and Twitter-language, it certainly feels like we’re speaking in groups of capital letters a lot more. It’s a question that intrigues linguists and other language aficionados — even though they’ll tell you they have absolutely no concrete research on it.

“It’s fascinating,” says Scott Kiesling, a socio-linguist and professor at the University of Pittsburgh. “What’s interesting to me as a linguist is figuring out which words get picked up, and why. What is it that makes OMG and WTF and LOL so useful that they spread from the written to the spoken form?”

One possibility, Kiesling proposes, is that some of these acronyms actually become a whole new thought, expressing something different than the words that form them. For example: “You wouldn’t say, ‘OMG, that person just jumped off a cliff,'” he explains. “But you’d say, ‘OMG, do you see those red pants that person is wearing?'”

Which brings us to WTF, an acronym that needs no translation. When Palin used the expression recently in a Fox News interview — twice in two sentences, actually — some pundits were a little shocked. (Palin was playing on the president’s “Win the Future” message in his State of the Union speech.)

“That’s going to be a tough one for her to come back from and explain,” remarked conservative commentator Pat Buchanan on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Host Joe Scarborough simply shook his head and said: “Not very presidential.”

But the chatter died down quickly. “I haven’t seen any big blowup,” says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert on political communication. “It was misplaced humor. But I assume she thought it was clever and thus would not be judged.”

Clever may be in the eyes of the beholder. But Palin is not the only prominent person to use the expression on TV recently. On “Anderson Cooper 360″ Monday night, the host was commenting on rapper B.O.B.’s use of an airplane’s public address system to perform for the captive passengers. “WTF, B.O.B.?” Cooperasked.

Imagine if he’d said the actual words — a quick call from network executives might have ensued. But WTF seems to have become a winking way of saying something with a little edge, a little bite, without being truly offensive.

It can also be a good icebreaker with an audience. “I do a lot of public speaking,” says Maushart, the mother of three, who is also an author (The recent “Winter of our Disconnect.”) “And if there is one utterance that I always know will get a laugh, it is WTF. It establishes that you are kind of with it. It brings an instant laugh.”

And so she doesn’t mind when her kids (they are 20, 17 and 16) use it. If only she could keep up with all their other acronyms. They’ve graduated from the simple LOL and LOLOL to LMAO — literally, laughing so hard that part of your body comes off (for extra credit, use LMAOOTF — it means it’s all happening on the floor.)

Her youngest, Sussy, 16, seems particularly advanced. These days, she has started saying “K-Dot.” Translation: OK, but with a finality to it, as in, end of discussion, “K” followed by a period, ergo: “K-Dot.”

Not avant-garde enough for you? Try this: Sussy also is known to SPEAK a question mark when asking a question. As in: “Do you really want me to do that, question mark?”

All this delights Robert Lane Greene, author of the upcoming book “You Are What You Speak” and a self-described linguistics nut. Greene doesn’t buy in to the concern that kids are destroying our language.

“People often think the language THEY learned was perfect,” he says. “But innovation is generally enriching. It’s fascinating, if you don’t pull your hair out over it.”

So just how new is the use of acronyms? Did this all come from Internet speak, texting and the like? “Americans have always liked abbreviations,” says linguistics professor and author Deborah Tannen, author of several popular books on language. “That certainly predates the Internet.”

In fact, acronyms date back to ancient times, Greene points out — the Romans and the Greeks used them. In the United States, they came into prominence in the early 20th century with the New Deal, the series of economic programs passed during the first term of Franklin D. Roosevelt — who, of course, became known by his three initials. They are widely used in the military and today’s government bureaucracy.

People who think acronyms are new may be suffering from what linguists call a “recency illusion” — the illusion that something is new merely because one has just noticed it. They may not realize, for example, that the oft-used “snafu,” in its cruder, more popular version, contains the same “F” that “WTF” does.

But one thing that does seem genuinely new, Greene says, “is that these three-letter phrases from the Internet and twitter-speak are being spoken out loud.”

And so, maybe you CAN blame the kids for that.

However, Greene notes, “People have been complaining about what the kids are doing to the language since ancient times, and Latin. Language is always changing. It’s a fact of life.”

And besides, young people are always on a search for the next new thing. And so this whole spoken-acronym thing may be a fad, destined for the linguistic garbage heap in a matter of a few years.

Remember the word “groovy”?

“One generation’s teenage slang,” Greene says, “is the next generation’s “OMG Dad, I can’t believe you said ‘groovy.'”

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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Girl Scouts Cookie Protest

By Bryson Simpson

MINNEAPOLIS (AP)– Minnesota Girl Scouts say they will sit out an upcoming cookie sale to protest plans to sell off some of their camps.

Financial pressures and declining membership have led the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys council to sell four of its 12 camps.

The sales have upset some Girl Scouts and leaders, who have formed an opposition group. One of its leaders, Kim Zaiman of Maplewood, says her daughter and some other members of their troop won’t be selling cookies when the annual sale starts Saturday. And she says the boycott is gaining support.

National Girl Scout officials say many councils have sold property to save money in recent years.

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis first reported the cookie sale protest.

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