The money is trickling in

If you check out my fundraising page for the Light the Night charity, you’ll see that we broke $1000 today — we’re at $1850. It’s not enough. My obligations don’t even begin to kick in until we hit $2500, so you’ll have to do more.

Also, nag Ed: he still hasn’t committed to what he’ll do, which is cheating. Some of you are probably holding off until he acquires some nerve.

Greta is going to be wearing a rather spectacularly brilliant hairdo, since we’ve already passed her goal…but you can always suggest new ideas.

Avicenna is also in the game!

FtB will Light the Night!

Freethoughtblogs is gearing up to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by begging you, our readers, to donate in the name of our group. It’s easy: just go to my donation page, click on the little donation box, and type in a great big number. Or a little number if you can’t afford much — every penny is gratefully received.

Now you should do it because you just want to contribute to cancer research, but then maybe you already make charitable donations that you personally care about, so why should you bother to donate to our cause? So we’re also offering personal inducements that might persuade you to kick a few bucks our way. Greta is dying her hair if we raise $1000. Ed is fishing for ideas — go inflict some horrible ones on him. We’ll probably bring on a few more FtB people with their own little forfeits and sacrifices.

I hate to say this, but they are mere pikers. I snort in their general direction. I can do better than that.

What, you may ask, will I do if we raise certain specified sums of cold hard cash? An exotic tattoo, perhaps? Jump out of an airplane? Sing an embarrassing duet with one of the other FtBers?

Nay. I shall not stoop to such trivialities. I shall be bold.

If we raise $2500, I shall explain oncogenes to you. Right here on the blog. I shall write the post while wearing a pirate hat, even.

If we raise $5000, I shall explain tumor suppressor genes to you. I might even be naked, wearing only the pirate hat, when I write it.

For $10,000, I’ll host a Google+ Hangout with select individuals to discuss molecular mechanisms of cancer. Clothed, to everyone’s relief. While drinking Scotch (moderate amounts, of course).

$10,000 is our group’s ambitious goal. If it looks like we might significantly exceed it, I’ll open the floor to further suggestions, along the lines of the above ideas, that might provide more incentives.

There is also a rumor that another network might be joining this fundraising effort as well, if it happens, we should also discuss what special task I ought to undertake if we raise more money than they do. But more about that later.

I just donated to The Ada Initiative

Since my daughter works in and is a student of computer science, I figured I’d better do what I can to make that field a better environment for women.

You can also donate now. It’s a good cause!

P.S. Matching funds! Your donation is worth twice as much if you give now!

I just got a comment on twitter about this post:

@Miserere22: @pzmyers hopefully she gets raped. no offense.

Hopefully their account gets reported by people all over the world. No offense.

That kind of asshole is what we oppose — you might also donate to the Ada Initiative to spite him and all of his fellow misogynists.

Tilling the fields of the enlightenment

While I was preoccupied with promoting women’s rights in Ireland, Time magazine apparently decided that atheists were miserly skinflints who lacked a social conscience. Ed is encouraging a letter writing campaign — send your disagreement to — but maybe we should think about sending a mission of atheist care workers to New York to enter their editorial offices and labor to bring them out of their wretched ignorance. It seems a shame that supposedly literate, intelligent workers are doomed to be doing their job so poorly.

Charities to avoid

Never give money to any organization unless you’ve investigated it first. The Tampa Bay Times did a lot of investigating for you, and compiled a list of the 50 worst — it seems a shame that we don’t have a law that sets a threshhold for the ratio of money spent on salaries to money disbursed for the actual cause — below this number, you’re a legitimate charity, above that number, you’re a grifting operation preying on the generosity of the public.

They probably can’t do that, though, because then every priest would get labeled as a con man.

The worst are the cancer charities, and the article singles out the Reynolds family and their nepotistic mill for turning dying people into salaries. Cancer is so easy for these crooks: everyone hates it, there’s no plus side to the disease, and there’s a wealth of tragic heart-string-tugging tales to be mined from it. And you can’t tell from the names what they’re doing! “Breast Cancer Society,” for instance…how can you refuse to support that? “Children’s Cancer Fund of America” — OMG, children with cancer? Here’s $50. And then the members of the family doing the bilking make 6 figure salaries for shipping boxes of surplus junk to cancer patients.

It reinforces my opinion that most people are good, but that there are always parasites who know what buttons to push to exploit them.

Help the Cambodian children

I think promoting critical thinking and secular ethics in Cambodia (and the world!) is a good idea, and here’s a charity planning to do just that. The Cambodian Children’s Trust (a secular organization) is raising money to teach children ethics and philosophy.

They’ve got backing from Atheist Alliance International, which is going to pay half the cost if they can get seed money from donors like us. Go forth and help build more secular humanist institutions in the world!

An opportunity to help

As mentioned in this post, I was waiting for Foundation Beyond Belief to put up a crisis response page. If you were thinking of making an aid donation, go here to help victims of the Oklahoma tornado.

I’ve seen some reluctance to donate because Oklahoma’s senators, Coburn and Inhofe, are fucking selfish scumbags. Don’t let that hold you back — the children who were killed or hurt or made homeless didn’t vote for them, so just think of them when you dig into your pockets.

(Also, apparently my very general link from last night led to about $3000 in donations — you can do better now that you’ve got a specific focus!)

Disaster in Oklahoma

Moore, Oklahoma has been completely flattened by a tornado. Homes and businesses have been destroyed, but also a couple of schools and a hospital.


And here’s a time-lapse video of this monster ripping through the countryside.

What can we do? I mentioned it to Foundation Beyond Belief — go to the “Crisis Response” link and tell them you want to contribute to the relief efforts. If enough of us do that, they’ll set something up to take your godless donations and send them to where they’re most needed. And then send them money!

Zingularity also has a post on the catastrophe.

Foundation Beyond Belief now has a crisis response page. You can make charitable donations there.

The death toll is at 51 and rising, with at least 20 dead children.