The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.
Posts on social media are at the center of a lot of crazy stuff right now.
To celebrate our freedom from British tyranny, NPR tweeted out the text of the Declaration of Independence. It…confused some people:
Some supporters of Donald Trump didn’t recognize one of the nation’s founding documents and accused the broadcaster of inciting violence and even revolution.
Similarly, a bunch of Trumpy dudes were fooled by a social media hoax story claiming that Confederate graves and flags were about to be desecrated in protest, so the dudes got together for their own counter-protest…against a fake protest. And then one of the dudes rested a flagpole against the holster in which he had stowed a revolver, which of course then fired and shot the guy in the leg.
Trinity College professor Johnny Eric Williams posted an essay by “Son of Baldwin” called “Let Them Fucking Die,” which Michael Harriot of The Root says “suggests that black people should stop placing their lives in danger trying to save bigoted whites who contribute to their oppression.” You can imagine what happened next. Harriot writes:
When a conservative website alerted the school about his comments, it assumed that Williams was about to … umm … well, that part is not clear. What is clear is that the whites did what they do every time any black man raises his voice above a whisper: They called the police. The police shut down the college campus, causing a public outcry that an academic who teaches about racism was actually talking about racism within shouting distance of the whites and their children.
Williams had to flee the state because of a storm of death threats, and Trinity suspended him.
Jared Yates Sexton posts a sobering Twitter thread on the threats journalists are facing in the Time of Trump:
Even as I’m typing this I’m getting antisemitic memes and messages. It’s happening in realtime.
Highly recommended: CFI’s former boss Ron Lindsay’s CSICon 2016 talk on why the hell it is we do what we do.
Look out: Anthony Kennedy really might retire really soon.
A new poll shows that CNN is slightly more trusted by the American people than Trump, 50% to 43%. (7% “don’t know” which makes me think they were like, What’s a Seein’ N?) Axios characterizes this poll as “astonishing,” but I don’t know why.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in DC struck down the EPA’s suspension of Obama’s emissions standards on oil and gas wells, because they say that while the EPA can make new rules, it can’t delay existing ones while it thinks them up.
Susan Gerbic responds to a video of “grief vampire” Tyler Henry apparently getting some pretty unlikely “hits” for a supposed connection to the afterlife, reminding us of the myriad factors that could be contributing to Henry’s perceived success:
We need to use common sense; what is more likely? That this sitting was arranged between reality TV people and leakage happened, either intended or accidental? Could it be good guessing, with Ed and Ryan thrown out as common names and they got hits as family members and the rest of the sitting was carefully edited out? Or Is the Hollywood Medium really communicating with the dead?
An alt-med YouTube “health” vlogger ate what she thought was a giant aloe vera leaf on a live stream. It was actually a poisonous Agave Americana, so she got sick and had to be hospitalized. Chris Mills at BGR writes:
There’s a few things we can take away from this: livestreaming is bad, eating strange plants you found on the internet is a terrible idea, and when alternative medicine screws up, at least the hospital will still be there to save you.
Republican Rep. Clay Higgins wanted to make the point that the U.S. military “must be invincible,” so he recorded video of himself speaking from within a former Nazi gas chamber at Auschwitz. This did not go over well.
Turns out that when it comes to being in certain situations with the opposite sex, many Americans are…Pence-ive. GET IT? God, I’m so sorry.
Now it can be told. Vox‘s Brian Resnick on how you would perish in the event of an asteroid strike: “If you’re going to die via an asteroid, it will be the wind and shockwave that gets you.”
Quote of the Day:
Samuel Adams in 1768:
There is nothing so fretting and vexatious, nothing so justly terrible to tyrants, and their tools and abettors, as a free press.
Packs quite a punch in these times, don’t it?
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