He Gets Sweaty and Swallows a Lot

June 19, 2017

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

Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, of Sterling, Virginia is charged with the murder of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen. Torres allegedly confronted Nabra and a group of her friends outside an IHOP, all of whom fled to a mosque except for Nabra whose body was found yesterday afternoon. 

In London, a man plows into a group of Muslims leaving a mosque, killing one and injuring 10 others. When the driver tried to escape on foot, he was tackled by another man who reports that the driver said, "I want to kill more people, I want to kill more Muslims." 

Alex Jones comes off really, really bad in Megyn Kelly's interview. Like, right away. Here's TV critic Eric Mink's take, via Poynter:

Viewers knowing little to nothing about right-wing extremist media icon Alex Jones going into this week's 'Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly' on NBC came away knowing considerably more. They now know Jones is a pumped-up radio and internet performer who peddles vile, fact-free conspiracies to an immense audience. They know he makes good money doing it. They know President Trump follows Jones' work, which sometimes worms its way into presidential tweets and speeches. They know that when Jones is pressed on some of his more absurd, offensive and contradictory spewings by focused and well-prepared journalists, he gets sweaty, swallows a lot, loses his concentration and becomes a thoroughly ridiculous figure.

Charlie Sykes, a conservative who appears briefly in the Kelly piece, writes at NYT that Jones can't just be wished away:

The dirty secret of many conservatives is that they never admit to actually reading Mr. Jones’s ranting, but they also never publicly denounce him. 

Oregon becomes the first state to allow residents to identify their gender as "nonbinary" on driver's licenses and official IDs.

Ann Neumann at The Baffler introduces us to the concept of "death doulas," folks who will, "for a fee, swoop into your home and help you navigate the end of your life, from your spiritual needs to the arrangement of the furniture in your sickroom."

Bill Nye does a quick mini-interview with Vox, and reveals his "worst intellectual habit":

Jumping to conclusions. We all create hypotheses in undisciplined fashion, and then you have to go back and be intellectually disciplined.

DID YOU KNOW that Barack Obama is operating "a mansion command center within walking distance of the White House" in what is really a "soft coup"??? The Family Research Council says it's true.

Ari Feldman at Forward looks at the career of the American Center for Law and Justice's chief counsel, the peerlessly snide Jay Sekulow, now a leading member of Trump's legal team dealing with the Russia investigations. A few years ago I had some WORDS about Sekulow and the ACLJ. 

Deepak Chopra, I suppose looking to start a fight, tags some famous scientists and another guy in a tweet asking whether the universe is conscious. Brian Cox weighs in with this answer:

No. 

Nebraska's Department of Correctional Services rolls back some the religious accommodations it provides to prisoners. For example, "inmates have to store nearly all their religious items in one six-quart plastic container, which they can buy in the canteen for $1.65."

David McAfee at Friendly Atheist dispels some myths about "breatharians" who claim to solely feed of the universe's energy or something.

With Gwyneth Paltrow as the prime example, Michelle Dickinson at the New Zealand Herald laments the undeserved trust consumers place in celebrity health advice

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has a plan to reduce crime: pray it away

Brian Koberlein deals with some of the outlandish claims about "Nibiru," Earth's alleged nemesis-planet, or maybe a red dwarf star, that's going to kill us all.

Russia has a psychic cat to predict football outcomes.

This looks like a pretty good nanny gig, as long as you believe in ghosts but also aren't afraid of them hanging out with you. 

Now it can be told: Kurt Russell claims to be the pilot who reported the "Phoenix Lights" UFO incident in 1997. 

Elon Musk's Tesla cars will be able to detect UFOs soon. For safety! Seriously, it seems like it's more about detecting obstacles in fog. Why he said UFOs, I dunno.

Shortly after I publish this post, NASA will hold an 11am news conference having to do with exoplanets.

Quote of the Day:

Toni Hassan at the Sydney Morning Herald reports on the influence (or lack thereof) of religious belief on left-leaning politicians. Former New South Wales premier Kristina Keneally says she is constantly asked how her faith informs her decision-making, and says: 

By the end of my [political] career, I started saying things like, 'Oh, 37 per cent.' It was a ridiculous question but, in my entire time in politics, nobody ever asked me 'what economist do you read' or 'who influences your economic thinking?'. Not one.
 
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