Weekend Links

Rhode Island has legalized same-sex marriage, becoming the 10th U.S. state to do so.

– Earlier this week NBA player Jason Collins made headlines by becoming the first American male pro athlete to come out as gay. Of course, Rush Limbaugh used the occasion to lambast the media for refusing to tolerate anti-gay bigots like himself.

– Former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes says that it’s “not at all unreasonable” to believe that “the U.S. government is preparing our military forces to do violence against Christian denominations that refuse to abandon God’s Word on matters like homosexuality.” Alan Keyes: bringing crazy to a whole new level.

Buddhists in Myanmar have continued their extermination campaign against the nation’s Muslim minority–burning hundreds of homes, ransacking two mosques, and killing at least one person. Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama has condemned the violence, calling it “very sad” and pleading with those committing the attacks to “remember Buddha’s faith.”

– Turkmenistan’s authoritarian leader, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, fell of a horse during a televised race last weekend. The state-controlled media, however, is making no mention of the fall, instead reporting that Berdimuhamedow won the race. (Oh please let “Falling Berdimuhamedow” become an internet meme…)

– Goddammit…It turns out that the Syrian rebels are actually Islamists who want to replace the current neo-Ba’athist government with an Islamic theocracy. (So this is basically going to be Iran: The Sequel, right?)

Scientific American tackles the question of why some people believe conspiracy theories–even contradictory ones. Umm…is it because they’re fucking nuts?

A Tennessee man with Down’s Syndrome is suing a Florida radio station and others for altering a photo of him holding a handwritten sign by replacing the actual words with humorous but potentially offensive phrases (like this one). He is asking for $18 million in damages. Now, I’m not going to call the lawsuit “retarded”…but $18 million? Really?

A Turkish sociologist has apologized for saying that autistic children are atheists and that atheism is a “form of” autism.

– Florida Republicans are pushing the “Timely Justice Act”, which would speed up executions by limiting death row appeals. Ugh.

– According to this columnist, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is still necessary because some parents in Georgia hosted a private prom that only white kids attended. (I fail to see how a racially homogenous private event is a sign that, absent federal intervention, the south would revert to pre-1965 voting restrictions on blacks.)

A Florida high school student is facing felony charges over a science experiment gone wrong.

U.S. International Religious Freedom Commission points out that eleven years after being liberated from the Taliban, Afghanistan is still a steaming shithole of intolerance and oppression (they didn’t use those exact words, though).

The CEO of Concerned Women for America went on Fox News to condemn the “National Day of Reason” by arguing that reason causes moral relativism, which caused the Holocaust. (I’m surprised she didn’t try to squeeze evolution in there as well.)

– Cato’s Doug Bandow on why the U.S. should stay out of Syria: “Intervention today would mean joining a fratricidal conflict in which neither side is pure and future rounds of killing are likely. Americans would die for no good purpose — and probably keep on dying as part of an interminable occupation force.”

– In an interview this week, President Obama questioned the state of human rights in Venezuela following their recent election, and of course the Venezuelan government reacted as it always does–by accusing the U.S. of intervening in its affairs and of being behind post-election violence in the country. Hey Venezuela: You know you’re insane, right?

– In a separate interview, President Obama dismissed the idea that an American citizen being detained in Venezuela is a spy, calling the charges “ridiculous.”

An interesting (SFW) look inside the “Feminist Porn” industry.

The FDA has approved over-the-counter sales of the Plan B morning-after pill to women 15 and older. (Well, it’s a step in the right direction…) On a related note, the Obama administration has announced its intention to fight a federal judge’s ruling that emergency contraception be made available to girls of any age, without a prescription. Goddammit.

– Speaking of Obama, here’s a list of 6 brave government whistleblowers being prosecuted by the Obama administration.

– New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed into law an “Overdose Protection Act”, which will allow individuals in the state to seek medical help for themselves or anyone else experiencing a drug overdose without fear of prosecution. Finally, a drug law that puts saving lives above punishing drug users.

A worldwide study has found that majorities in all 13 surveyed nations favored a separation of church and state. (I think it’s safe to say they didn’t do any polling in the Middle East.) The study also found that suspicion of Islam is highest in Spain, and lowest in South Korea.

On Fox News this week, a Republican strategist accused President Obama of encouraging statutory rape for supporting access to Plan B for 15 and 16-year-old girls. Did it ever occur to him that these girls are probably having sex with 15 and 16-year-old guys?

May is International Masturbation Month, at least according to a San Francisco sex shop and my roommate.

– And finally, scientists may have discovered yet another medical use for marijuana: It appears that the THC in cannabis has been found to weaken the HIV-1 virus, the most common form of the virus that causes AIDS.

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