Congratulations, Wuhan coronavirus, you’re now officially a global emergency. NYT reports:
The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on Thursday as the coronavirus outbreak spread well beyond China, where it emerged last month. …
… The declaration “is not a vote of no confidence in China,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the W.H.O.’s director-general. “On the contrary, the W.H.O. continues to have confidence in China’s capacity to control the outbreak.”
The declaration comes now, he said, because of fears that the coronavirus may reach countries with weak health care systems, where it could run amok, potentially infecting millions of people and killing thousands.
How does one tell if one has said virus? It’s complicated.
You know what would be really good right now? The promotion of scientific thinking by a guy known for playing a pan-cosmic superbeing. I have just the thing: Here’s video of John de Lancie at CSICon 2019.
Kansas is yet another state in which conservatives are trying to get “In God We Trust” forcibly displayed in all government buildings and public schools. The AP reports:
Told after the hearing of Atheist America’s view that posting the motto would stigmatize non-believers, [bill sponsor State Rep. Michael Capps] said: “I can’t control what someone else thinks. It’s not my responsibility to be in their heads.”
Capps noted that the state constitution mentions God, starting in its preamble and added, “Does having the reference to God in the Kansas state constitution make every atheist feel second-class?”
Yes, yes I believe it does.
Holly Hollman of the Baptist Joint Committee, writing at The Hill, explains why religious communities should support “no-aid”/Blaine amendments, not try to undermine them as is likely to happen as a result of Espinoza v. Montana:
[N]o-aid provisions protect religious liberty by guarding the rights of people of all faiths and the nonreligious. They remind us that religion is distinctive and beyond the competence of the government. They are the corollary to special religious exemptions that religious schools enjoy. These commonsense measures ensure that religious institutions are accountable to and dependent on their religious communities, not government entities. That’s why Montana delegates, including Catholics, overwhelmingly affirmed its no-aid provision in 1972 when it adopted a new constitution. And that’s why religious groups from a variety of faiths support the no-aid rule as an essential protection for religious liberty.
Also opining on the Espinoza case, The Columbian of Washington state sees through the false equivalencies conservatives make between race and religion:
One aspect of the Montana case that has us particularly concerned is an attempt to equate this so-called religious discrimination with racial discrimination. Chief Justice John Roberts said no one would defend shutting down all public swimming pools “because a higher percentage of African Americans come and use the pools.” The lawyer representing Montana agreed. “How is that different than religion?” Roberts asked.
It’s much different, Your Honor. Practice of religion is a choice; racial ethnicity is not. Equating racial and religious bias in this case seems rather specious and disingenuous. Frankly, most of those in recent years who claim their religious freedom is being trampled are those who want permission to discriminate against those they disapprove of, such as same-sex couples.
Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bank are pulling their support of Florida’s school voucher scheme after an investigation by the Orlando Sentinel revealed the schools benefiting from the scheme are discriminating against LGBTQ students. You needed an investigation to know that?
John Fea at Religion News Service wonders whether there are any Democratic candidates that might attract votes from white evangelicals.
Correct. Fea says it’s mostly about abortion, because we’re stuck in a time loop and we’re never getting out.
Speaking of which, Sarah Pulliam Bailey looks at how Democrats who oppose abortion rights no longer feel at home in the party. None of the candidates responded to her request for comment on the issue of losing antiabortion Democrats, except for one:
The one candidate who responded was Tom Steyer, the hedge fund manager and philanthropist, who said women’s abortion rights have come under unprecedented attack in states like Georgia and Alabama.
“I believe that ‘safe, legal, and rare’ is just old language that doesn’t reflect the current belief that abortion is health care and everyone should be afforded a right to health care,” Steyer wrote in an email.
It doesn’t matter, because how can any Democrat possibly top this kind of rhetorical gold from the current president:
The Green New Deal, which would crush our farms, destroy our wonderful cows. They want to kill our cows. You know why, right? You know why? Don’t say it. They want to kill our cows. That means you’re next.
What is even happening.
The head of the UK’s NHS, Simon Stevens, comes after Gwyneth Paltrow and Andrew Wakefield in a speech:
Myths and misinformation have been put on steroids by the availability of misleading claims online. … Fresh from controversies over jade eggs and unusually scented candles, Goop has just popped up with a new TV series in which Gwyneth Paltrow and her team test vampire facials and back a ‘bodyworker’ who claims to cure both acute psychological trauma and side effects by simply moving his hands two inches above a customer’s body.
The president might very well be acquitted today, and Britain is leaving the European Union today. Whatever. The Spitzer Space Telescope is now offline. Thanks for all the stars.
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.