The Morning Heresy 5/17/12: Un-liked

May 17, 2012

Your daily digest of relevant news and links from Paul Fidalgo

First things first. As our Facebook followers know, we uploaded a bunch of photos yesterday from the Castles along the Rhine cruise ("It went well, thanks," reported our boss), and while this usually is a non-event where all the images happily snuggle together in one fell swoop in a photo album, something went terribly pear-shaped with our program, and every single photo went into folks' news feeds individually, littering people's Facebook homepages with pleasant-yet-relentless images of happy secularists and scenic European vistas.

Naturally, this cheesed a lot of folks off, and I don't blame them. I posted a bevy of apologies for the mistake, and they are sincere. Again: sorry about that.

But it also looks like as a knee-jerk response to the perceived spamming, we lost a lot of "likes" on our Facebook page. I'm here to say, folks, come back. It was an unintentional screwup with a piece of software, not an example of our heartlessness or ineptitude, and we'll find another way to put up photo albums in the future. We care a lot about our Facebook presence, it's the center of so much activity for CFI, and we'd hate to think that one mistake was enough for folks to turn their noses up at us from here on out.

Come back. Re-like usre-follow us. If you haven't "liked" us on Facebook or Twitter yet, now's the time to show you both support the freedom of inquiry AND forgive human fallibility.

That is all. On to the news.

Despite our efforts and those of others, the House GOP succeeded in passing its watered-down version of the Violence Against Women Act, one which removes protections for all manner of victims based on their nationality, religion, and sexual orientation. I find it mind-boggling even for this crop of conservative zealots, and then Right Wing Watch informs us that opposition to the real version of the bill was pushed by a guy who is himself a convicted domestic abuser. There really is no reasoning with these people.

Brianne Bilyeau at Biodork has ten reasons why the Women in Secularism conference this weekend will "rawk" 

Charles C.W. Cooke at National Review sees a double standard in Obama's use of religious justifications for his policies. 

Coincidentally, this is exactly what I cover in my latest Friendly Atheist piece on whether Obama's same-sex mariage position is an "imposition" of his religion 

Point of Inquiry's Chris Mooney checks the fact-checkers in The Nation 

Weekly Standard cover story criticizes the "psychopundit," folks like Chris Mooney (singled out in this piece) who use science to understand partisan leanings. Dylan Otto Krider rebuts

Rick Santorum, who can make anything sound dirty, tells Romney to wield the "potent weapon" of sex and gay marriage. Ed Brayton says:

Yes, you should do what Santorum did. Because it worked so well for him. In related news, the New England Patriots say the New York Giants would be better off playing like they did in the Super Bowl that they lost.

Also from Brayton: Obama just can't win - now he's pissed off his fellow Evil Kenyan Muslims 

Glenn Beck's The Blaze seems to think it's important that its readers know that Jessica "Evil Little Thing" Ahlquist supports removing the Woonsocket cross. It also reminds its readers, unrelatedly, that she's received threats in the past. I'm sure they have nothing but good intentions. 

Christian Post notices that the Secular Coalition for America's presidential candidate scorecard gives Romney a better grade than Obama in one area: Whether a candidate thinks God is speaking to him  

Conservative outlet CNSNews: Interior Department opposes adding FDR prayer to WWII memorial  

Zuhdi Jasser and Lantos Swett serve of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom write that the spike in anti-blasphemy activity threatens the Arab Spring

Sussex County Council in Delaware ordered by a judge to suspend opening meetings with prayers 

Taslima Nasreen posts a haunting video of Jeremy Irons on opposition to the death penalty 

Traditional marriage = 700 wives.  

SecDef Panetta is being lobbied to grant amnesty to servicemembers who report UFO sightings 

So what are you doing in August? That's right, you're going to Eugene, Oregon to fill your Skeptic's Toolbox

Pakistani president Zardari: We won't misuse the blasphemy law. Well, that's a relief. 

Pliosaurs may have suffered from arthritis in their jaws (I bet they also ground their teeth in their sleep like I do) 

Daily Mail: UK MPs uniting to stop legislation that would ban insults 

CSI's Joe Nickell reviews Cusack's Poe, finds the production wanting 

Nigerian "natural health expert" touts his "herbal vaccine" against malaria  

Don Swaim looks at the impact of Ingersoll on Ambrose Bierce 

Most depressing lede of the day

A 23 year-old female cancer patient died in Yemen after checking into an alternative health clinic run by a prominent cleric and wanted terrorist.

Quote of the Day    

Op-ed by high school science teacher A.J. Fields in the Charleston Gazette:

Scientific theories are not "just theories." They are the end product of years of research, experimentation, hard work and much debate. Literally thousands of scientists working around the world agree that the world is getting warmer and humans are the cause. This idea does not become controversial because some commentator on Fox News or some conservative think tank disagrees. That is not a debate among equals. If 10 doctors tell you that you have cancer and need chemotherapy, but the guy at the health food store tells you to take vitamins instead, what would you do?
Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI . Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

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The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta