It is virtually impossible to see the devastation after Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines or last weekend's tornadoes in the Midwest and not feel a tug on your heartstrings. But charity scam artists use that near-universal empathy to steal from survivors of these terrible events the help that they need.
I have to tell you, as a disaster responder, the greatest gift I have ever experienced was the time -- just last September -- when, our arms full of those bright yellow bags, the volunteers and I were actually turned away. That's right: a storm-impacted community turned us away and told us to take the supplies to another neighborhood, as they were able to care for themselves. What a gift!
"Technology was invented by Satan." So said Norman Mailer at a book event in Los Angeles in 2007, just half a year or so before he passed away. Mailer, who is the subject of a new biography, Norman Mailer: A Double Life, by J. Michael Lennon, also contended late in his life that God was "an existential God."