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Why All the Whoop-de-doo?

December 10, 2019

Two articles of impeachment. Pfft, that’s nothing. The Morning Heresy has LOTS more articles than that, like, every damn day! [Puts hand to ear.] I’m being told that this is a different use of the word “articles.” I’ll have to get back to you.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has released a report on “Apostasy, Blasphemy, and Hate Speech Laws in Africa.” In the official statement, Vice Chair Gayle Manchin says:

We have seen the dangers of speech laws that fail to protect human rights in Africa – from the misapplication of hate speech laws in South Sudan to the use of the blasphemy law in Mauritania to impose a death sentence on a blogger. We urge the U.S. government to push for the repeal of blasphemy and apostasy laws in Africa, as well as for the assessment and reform of hate speech laws to conform with international standards.

Before we were all obsessed with the in DC who really wants a Space Force, folks in DC were obsessed with other people’s space forces. DCist looks back at UFO fever in 1950s Washington:

“Why all the whoop-de-doo about flying saucers?” wrote Vienna resident D.V. Gallory in a letter to the editor published in the Washington Post on August 15, 1952. “I don’t see anything astounding about them at all. The air and the sky around us are full of wonders much more spectacular than saucers.”

This is the world we live in: Ohio State Rep. Timothy Ginter is a co-chair of the Ohio state branch of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, which is what gives us Project Blitz. He is also the guy who sponsored the egregious bill that declares a religiously based answer in school can’t be considered incorrect, which was also created by Project Blitz. He is also the guy who says he has “no knowledge” of Project Blitz. This is how things work now.

Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed accepts the Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm, winning in large part for ending conflict with Eritrea. Not everyone is pleased with the decision, and Abiy is not taking questions.

Kentucky, where there is only one abortion clinic, forces doctors to show women who want an abortion an ultrasound image of their fetus, no matter what she wants, and describe in detail what’s going on in there, whether or not they want to or believe they ought to. The Supreme Court seems to think this is fine.

A judge in Albany rejects a challenge to New York’s school vaccination mandates.

Ben Friedman writes in the Orlando Sentinel about how he went looking for a job at a Christian-affiliated nonprofit. He’s Jewish, but they totally don’t discriminate, so the interview went great! Except:

Unfortunately, the enlightenment ended there. After the interview, I was notified by human resources that, while my status as a non-Christian was perfectly acceptable — and the team liked me a lot! — openly gay candidates are not eligible for employment because homosexuality violates the organization’s values. During my conversation with the hiring team, I had “come out,” and though the organization proudly boasts a comprehensive non-discrimination policy for its clients, it does not extend that support to its own employees. …

… I was refused consideration for a taxpayer funded job, not for any lack of skill or qualification, but for simply having the audacity to exist as my authentic self.

Homophobic bigotry masquerading as religious liberty isn’t a new phenomenon, and religious institutions have a right to preach inclusion while practicing exclusion — I’m not here to debate that or convince you otherwise. But even if we accept the inevitability of faith-based intolerance, there’s no reason that society should continue to promote that harmful behavior through tax dollar subsidies.

Speaking of not discriminating against Jews, Trump tells the Israeli American Council, in effect, hey Jews, I hear you guys really like money!

“You’re not going to vote for the wealth tax,” he went on. “Let’s take 100 percent of your wealth away. No, no. Even if you don’t like me — and some of you don’t; some of you, I don’t like at all, actually — and you’re going to be my biggest supporters because you’ll be out of business in about 15 minutes.”

At Skeptical Inquirer, Kenny Biddle looks into the alleged paranormal mysteries of the so-called “Conjuring House,” which, despite its spooky reputation for ghostly tragedy, also housed a very normal and non-spooky daycare business.

KQED talks to Asheley Landrum, assistant professor of science communication at Texas Tech University, about how people come to buy into nonsense beliefs like the flat Earth:

One of the things we found is that many people with this belief discovered flat Earth through YouTube. One of our research participants told us he started off by watching videos that were suggested to him on YouTube because of his interest in conspiracy theories. He started looking into conspiracy theories about the Illuminati and Sandy Hook, and the whole time he was watching he kept being suggested flat Earth videos by the algorithm.

He said he was going to watch one of the videos with the intention of discrediting it, but by the end he accepted that Earth is not round.

The next Mars rover, going to Jezero Crater in 2021, is gonna look for fossils. Yeah you read that right. Astronomy reports:

The researchers found evidence for hydrated silica in Jezero Crater when data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft matched up with similar measurements taken of hydrated silica in the lab. Once the rover lands in 2021, scientists will be able to study the minerals up close and figure out how they formed — and whether they might contain signs of past life.

Jezero Crater was once home to rivers that carved a delta into the planet’s surface. It’s possible that the hydrated silica formed in these deltas … Other possibilities are that it formed in volcanoes or rocks upriver, and that wind or water carried it into the delta. Some of these scenarios are more promising for preserving signs of life than others.

Missouri State Rep. Mike Moon says the statue of Roman goddess Ceres on top of the State Capitol is bad because it’s the idolization of a pagan, “false” god, and it’s not fair that he can’t have Jesus up there.

Dig this stinger from the Editorial Board of the York Dispatch:

… if the “war on Christmas” didn’t exist, conservatives would have had to invent it. Which pretty much explains why they did.


This is the next big thing in the “gig economy”: Baptism trucks.

Anthony Magnabosco and Rebecca Fox put together a survey of atheists and why they rejected religion, and many of the responses were put into this neat video.

Um, this, I guess, video game, I Am Jesus Christ, is, um, a thing?

René Auberjonois, who will always be Odo to me, has died at age 79. A couple of years go, I wrote about why his portrayal of Odo on Deep Space Nine resonated so much with me:

Though he takes a humanoid form as best he can, no one thinks Odo, the changeling, really looks like them. He doesn’t understand humanoid behavior, but he does try to map it out in order to follow others’ motivations and how they lead to actions. He is impatient with the things that humanoids seem to find fulfilling and important, which to him seem pointless and wasteful. He comes off as mean when he doesn’t intend to. He craves companionship, but knows he can’t have it. And when it all comes down to it, when he’s tired of pretending to be one of the “solids,” he must — absolutely must — return to his bucket. He must resume his true liquid form, stop pretending, find total solitude, and rest.

Prof. Ajoy Roy, a former professor of physics at Dhaka University and father of slain CFI ally Avijit Roy, has died at age 85.

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.