No Obligation to Make Sense

January 24, 2017

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

Trump reinstates the destructive and cruel "global gag rule," a Reagan-era dictate barring any organization working outside the U.S. and getting federal funds from discussing abortion, ever. It's just callous and backward. CFI has always staunchly opposed the rule, and we're part of a huge coalition of organizations pushing back. Jina Moore at Buzzfeed helps explain...

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The Murky, Otherworldly Ether

January 23, 2017

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

The Women's March on Washington, along with its sister demonstrations around the world, was magnificent. I love these pictures. Estimates of the numbers of people who came out vary wildly, but a few things are certain: the crowd in DC alone utterly dwarfed the number that came out for Trump's inauguration (which also happened). Nationwide, according to two researchers there were at least 3.7 million protesters, which is more than 1% of the entire U.S. population. 

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I’d Vote for Any Ungulate in Rut

January 20, 2017

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

I can't seem to wake up today. Almost as though my body is saying, "No, really, you don't need to see this." 

SciAm reports on the possible consequences of this "vaccine commission" Trump might create with RFK Jr.:

Public health experts and autism advocates are deeply worried that an effort with presidential backing could undermine public confidence in vaccines and trigger epidemics of all-but-eradicated diseases. 

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The Province of Wusses

January 19, 2017

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

I was sick yesterday. Today is our last full day with President Obama. Tomorrow is the first day of President Trump. 

As though fuming in frustration, Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016, the third straight year it's done so. NYT's Justin Gillis puts it plainly:

Temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization. 

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Why Can’t I Just Not Care?

January 17, 2017

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

The theater where I direct a show with University of New England students every year (we're doing Into the Woods this year because we're crazy) is apparently haunted. As long as the ghost doesn't screw up the performances, then fine.

Peter Boyer at Esquire reports that the Trump communications team may evict the press corps from the White House altogether

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Out of the Comfort Zone

January 13, 2017

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

The Washington Post editorial board comes down against Trump and the news of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. being maybe-asked to head a "vaccine safety commission," saying, "He will endanger the health of millions of children if he fans doubts about vaccine safety."

Emily Willingham scared the crap out of me, as a recently-diagnosed autistic, with this today: "Of all of the groups out there whom Donald Trump disdains, whom his policies will endanger profoundly, autistic people stand to suffer the most." ... 

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Sincerity-Proof Chamber of Distortion

January 12, 2017

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

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz introduces a "scientific integrity" policy to try and brace against the coming Trump storm. Chris Mooney reports:

The seven-page policy prevents other agency employees, such as political appointees or press officers, from leaning on or torquing scientific findings. “Under no circumstance may anyone, including a public affairs officer, ask or direct any researcher to alter the record of scientific findings or conclusions,” the document states. The document also embraces a strong commitment to whistleblower protection laws and says the agency will install a “scientific integrity official” within the Energy Secretary’s office to head up enforcement of the policy. 

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A Stench So Severe

January 11, 2017

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

Yesterday was crazy. I mean, just ridiculous. The mind reels just trying to recall all the weird, troubling, inspiring, depressing, hilarious, and bizarre things that happened.

So of course you have the Russia thing, and the pee. What's true, what's not, I dunno. So I won't get into that here. Trump's tantrums on Twitter are not inspiring confidence.

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Choose to Avert Your Eyes

January 10, 2017

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

Donald Trump seems a rather unprecedented figure, but Rick Perlstein sees a lot Nixon in Trump. He talks about this comparison on the latest Point of Inquiry.

The Cleveland Clinic assures us that its anti-vaccine ranting "wellness" chief, Dr. Daniel Neides, will be "appropriately disciplined." I bet they put him in a room and disrupt his chakra.

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Pretty Obviously Cartoons

January 09, 2017

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

Jeff Sessions, we're not sure you're the right guy to be defending anyone's rights. CFI's Michael De Dora reaches out to the Senate to urge them to press Sessions to explain his seeming preference for injustice over justice:

CFI respectfully requests you to ensure that our next Attorney General is one committed to ensuring civil rights for all, not one who, as Sen. Sessions is reported to have said of civil rights cases as a US Attorney, wishes he “could decline on all of them.

This is maddening: Dr. Daniel Neides, COO of the Cleveland Clinic, espouses anti-vaccine lunacy about autism and neurological diseases. The clinic itself had to tweet, "We fully support vaccines to protect patients & employees. Statements made by our physician do not reflect the position of Cleveland Clinic." 

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