The Degree To Which We Are All Screwed

April 5, 2017

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

Housekeeping note: I'll be away starting tomorrow and until Tuesday of next week. I promise you'll be okay. The rest of the world? Who can say.

The latest Cause & Effect newsletter is out, now on its new day, every other Wednesday. This new schedule was determined thanks to super-sophisticated algorithmic machine intelligence in order to maximalize optimization of consumer engagement. Plus it's the day the other newsletter comes out on the off-weeks.

Josh Zepps has got Paul Offit on Point of Inquiry this week, talking about the abyss into which science is being pushed in the age of Trump. 

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBT employees from discrimination, which means this is probably going to go to the Supreme Court. 

This is days after Trump revokes Obama's Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order. AND as the administration cuts off funds for the United Nations Population Fund, the leading provider of family planning and contraceptive services in the world. Way. To. Go. 

And Texas is looking at a bill to give every court clerk the chance to be Kim Davis, allowing them to opt out of signing same-sex marriage licenses.  

Word of advice: NEVER try to knock Joe Nickell over with the force of your chi. Joe will kick your chi's butt every time. 

Last night, Sen. Jeff Merkley filibustered the Gorsuch nomination for 12 hours. Referring to the denial of a vote on Merrick Garland's nomination, he said, "To proceed to fill this stolen seat will damage the court for decades to come." 

Putin's Russia looks to label Jehova's Witnesses as "extremists," which would be aimed at banning the religion from the country. This kind of thing is like the latest fad for autocrats.

After his busy time at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Michael De Dora rounds up CFI's advocacy activity in his monthly update. 

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is forming a cyber security directorate to stamp out blasphemous content. Unreal. 

Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese Christian, testifies at his blasphemy trial.

As some people orchestrated this case, it caused an uproar. People are scared, investors are running away and my neighbors are seeking 'refuge' in Singapore. I should apologize for this uproar. 

The CDC says that when kids die of the flu, it's usually because they weren't vaccinated.  

Behold more numbers about global warming indicating the degree to which we are all screwed.  

A tick, "fat with blood before it died," was preserved in amber over 20 million years ago after it bit a monkey, and today it presents to scientists the first ever fossilized samples of mammal blood cells.

Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is not afraid to take on Big Easter Egg. #WarOnEaster

Florida State Sen. Joe Negron says his state's new "religious freedom" bill "could lead to students proselytizing in school." Correct.

Texas State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., a Democrat who supports the state's own version of the anti-trans "bathroom bill," said during debate:

I don't believe in separation of church and state. Everything that I do, I look at it as an act of faith, of moral obligation... 

Quote of the Day:

A dose of sanity from meteorologist Brooks Garner at KHOU in Houston, on the subject of whether alien spaceships made people's radios go screwy:

It was no fault of your TV or radio -- or the transmitters -- and it likely wasn't aliens. It was an observed and measurable phenomena called, "temperature inversion." Normally it's hotter at the ground that in the sky. Many times however, on clear nights, the ground cools faster than the air high above. This creates an inverted temperature profile, where it's actually warmer above the ground then at the surface. That setup traps pollution making for poor air quality, and if strong enough, can bounce radio signals due to density changes. ... Next time you have trouble receiving a radio signal on a clear night, it's most likely not a flying saucer hovering over your car or home, but instead it's just the weather.

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