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. 

The State Department, in something of a hurry, sends half a billion dollars to the UN's climate fund.  

Olga Khazan reports on the network of anti-vax doctors who will now have far more influence under Trump. 

Point of Inquiry has Daniel Dennett this week, chatting with his former student, Lindsay Beyerstein. 

Pro-lifers want to march against Trump too.

Human Rights Watch puts the U.S. on the list of states that it says pose a threat to human rights because Trump will soon be in charge

President Obama commutes the sentence of Chelsea Manning. Julian Assange, who said he'd turn himself over to the U.S. if Obama did this very thing, is wriggling out of his promise.

Kristin Du Mex at Religion & Politics describes Trump in terms of the rise of evangelicals' embrace of "militant machismo":

The truth is, many evangelicals long ago replaced the suffering servant of Christ with an image that more closely resembles Donald Trump than many would care to admit. They’ve traded a faith that privileges humility and elevates the least of these for one that derides gentleness as the province of wusses. Having replaced the Jesus of the gospels with an idol of machismo, it’s no wonder many have come to think of Trump himself as the nation’s savior.

Betsy DeVos. Well. As Emily Willingham says:

DeVos raised eyebrows and dropped jaws during her confirmation hearing before the Senate education committee where she showed her ignorance about two widely divergent subjects: bears and disability laws. 

Manuel Roig-Franzia at WaPo looks at the conspiracy theories surrounding the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich, and the misery it causes his family. As his brother Aaron says, “When facts aren’t required, how are you supposed to counter any argument?” 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is proving more and more to be something of a wild card-maverick type, made a secret "fact-finding" trip to Syria to meet with Assad. 

Meet Cameron Harris, who invented fake news about Hillary Clinton "stealing ballots" to go along with his fake publication.

A Supreme Court case involving trademarks (in this case, one that is seen as racially disparaging), Howard Friedman notes that it raises the specter of blasphemy laws

A woman in Pakistan, who trapped her daughter into an "honor killing" by burning her alive, gets the death penalty.  

Chris Stedman is leaving Yale to establish a Humanist Center in Minnesota.  

Depression is now linked with heart disease in men. Oh great. 

Pope Fluffy says don't waste your time going to church if you don't walk the walk:

If I say I am Catholic and go to mass, but then don’t speak with my parents, help my grandparents or the poor, go and see those who are sick, this does not prove my faith, there’s no point. 

This is interesting: The Atheists in Kenya Society wants February 17 to be an official atheist holiday in Kenya

Gwyneth Paltrow wants know, just don't. The thing she wants you to do? Don't. 

MSN shares four tips for when you're preparing to get a psychic reading. Here are mine:

1. Don't

2. Go

3. To

4. Psychics. 

Quote of the Day:

Sidney Fussell at Gizmodo on the hearing for EPA nominee Scott Pruitt, which he called a "surreal nightmare":

There are points where Pruitt came across both as patently unqualified and shamelessly unethical, particularly when he refused to answer simple questions. The whole thing was disappointing, but not the least bit surprising. On the upside, Pruitt said he’s disagrees that global warming is a Chinese hoax. So at least there’s that.

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#1 Randy (Guest) on Thursday January 19, 2017 at 2:14pm

Pope Fluffy hasn’t read this own book.

“By grace are ye Saved through faith; and that not of yourselves ... Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5)

#2 Randy (Guest) on Thursday January 19, 2017 at 2:17pm

“Oh great”

If this is the case, I should have been dead of a heart attack about two decades ago.

Perhaps my heart is made of cockroaches.  (If someone wants to make this into a novel, go right ahead…)

#3 Randy (Guest) on Thursday January 19, 2017 at 2:23pm

“wriggling out of his promise”

Nope.  Just as with Trump and assessing the validity of the election, he is waiting to see the proof.  Words are words, but a person physically released from prison is another thing entirely.

Once Manning is actually released, in only a few short months, then you can start calling Assange a liar about this, and so will I.

Frankly, Manning should have been pardoned outright.  She’s a hero to her country, and to the world.

It’s my hope that Trump will pardon Assange, and we can move past all this business.

#4 Randy (Guest) on Thursday January 19, 2017 at 2:25pm

In regard to my previous comment on Manning, please recall liberals’ reaction to NC’s repeal of HB 2, effective in the middle of this year.  It was denied as being a repeal (even though it plainly was, just delayed by a few months).

Consistency.  What’s that again?

#5 Randy (Guest) on Thursday January 19, 2017 at 2:28pm

“Tomorrow is the first day of President Trump.”

I was hoping I was delusional.  But it seems it’s really happening.  2016 was a lose-lose election, and we’re going to lose bigly.

Until about June when he either quits or is impeached.  Then we’ll lose even biglier with Pres. Pence.

#6 dmbierlein on Thursday January 19, 2017 at 2:52pm

No, I think Pope Fluffy DID read his book.

James 2:14 “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

#7 dmbierlein on Thursday January 19, 2017 at 2:56pm

“reaction to NC’s repeal of HB 2”
Well, that certainly was a nice sentiment for the brief time it lasted.
Nah, I’ll stick with the “not really a repeal” meme.

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