A free pass to be a whiny baby

A gay atheist doctor in Indiana wonders if the shiny new RFRA lets him refuse service to assholes.

“Dear Governor Pence and the Republicans in the state legistlature,” Freiheit’s letter begins, “As a gay atheist doctor in a small town in Indiana, I want to applaud your bravery and standing up for your principles, because it would seem that you have given me a chance to finally stop having to treat asshole, bigoted Christians at my practice, based on my own deeply held religious views, and not anything more sinister or petty, of course.”

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Much to agree on

I’m reading tweets from the American Atheists Convention again – there’s a lot of good stuff going on there, despite all the disagreement over CPAC and humanism/social justice/feminism. My friend Vyckie Garrison is this year’s Atheist of the Year; there was an ex-Muslims panel with Heina Dadabhoy and Muhammad Syed and Sarah Haider, and Asif Mohiuddin just did a talk.

They all stood in solidarity:

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Guest post: That’s going to be quite a picture

Originally a comment by hotshoe on No snow at the Phillips Station site.

A slow-motion natural disaster which directly affects at least 40 million people – and indirectly affects all 320 million USAians, as well as having international implications – is bound to create a little emotional tension. It’s bound to lead to finger-pointing and blame-games, but those are worthless (even if accurate, which they’re mostly not) unless in turn they lead to actual solutions.

Yes, turning off the fountains is a good minor solution; Las Vegas is criminally wasteful. Turning off the agricultural output — which has up till now been larger than the output of entire countries such as Mexico, Germany, and Canada — is not a good solution. However, turning off CA agriculture has already happened in some degree, and we’re just waiting to find out what fresh disaster that causes. [Read more…]

The worst the Christian community can do in America

Ayaan Hirsi Ali gave the keynote at the AA Convention, and James Croft livetweeted it. There was some…dubious stuff in it.

Such as a Dear Muslima for teh gayz.

James Croft @JFLCroft 5 hours ago
“If you are gay the worst the Christian community can do in America is not serve you cake.” @Ayaan #AAcon15 Privilege check needed!

Oy. That’s so not the worst the Christian community can do in America. [Read more…]

Do the right thing

Ensaf Haidar asks Obama and Kerry to do what 60 members of Congress have done, and demand the immediate release of Raif Badawi.

When I am allowed to speak with Raif, I brief him about all that is being done on his behalf. Because of a global outcry by citizens and governments of the world, Raif has not been flogged for 11 consecutive weeks. But I know that as soon as the media spotlight fades and pressure on the repressive Saudi monarchy eases, Saudi Arabia may seek to do what it pleases with my husband. It is critical that the pressure not abate, not even for an instant.

More than a million people around the world have demanded that the Saudi Arabian authorities release my husband, including more than 60 members of Congress who have sent a letter to the Saudi king calling for his release. But despite this, neither the White House nor Secretary of State John Kerry has followed suit. I beg members of the administration to follow their congressional colleagues’ lead and demand that Raif be released immediately. The United States presents itself as a champion of human rights throughout the world. It cannot allow its important strategic relationship with the kingdom to overshadow its moral standing. Raif must be returned to my arms, not dragged to his death.

Do it, Barack Obama. Do it, John Kerry.

A better fundraiser

The fundraiser for the pizza family in Walkerton, Indiana is now at $749,741 and still rapidly climbing. Quite a reward for making public their religious opposition to same-sex marriage.

A more worthy fundraiser is one to send Sunil Khandbahale to MIT.

Born and raised in a rural farming village in Nashik, India to uneducated and illiterate parents who firmly believed in the power of education to unlock their children’s potential, Sunil was the first in his family to go to university and now he’s been acccepted to MIT Sloan’s fellowship program. [Read more…]

Even drinking water

Ouch. More on that drought in California:

Southeast of Lake McClure is the town of East Porterville, where waterways aren’t the only thing drying out. The town’s residents have also run out of well water, the primary source of drinking water for many of the area’s homes, according to the New York Times.

Residents haven’t had running water in months and rely on donated water tanks to bathe, wash clothes and eat, the report added. To drink, many of the city’s residents rely on bottled water, either donated or purchased on their own.

The town is largely made up of Mexican immigrants who work in the fields all day, toiling under the sun. The local high school has allowed students to come in early to take showers in the locker rooms, if needed, the report added.

Mexican immigrants who work in the fields all day, toiling under the sun, who have to buy drinking water.

H/t Dave Ricks.