Andrew Anthony on Bibi Aisha and Afghanistan *

Dec 5th, 2010 | Filed by

National liberation always trumps female emancipation…or does it?… Read the rest

Tomorrow mullahs r demonstrating

Dec 4th, 2010 5:58 pm | By

Where did the day go? It’s 5:45 and no new post. Well I know where it went – some TPM work, News posting, cat contest judging, Saturday afternoon stuff – it all adds up.

Anyway – yesterday in Pakistan shouters were out in the streets shouting. What about? Social justice. No, that’s not right. Peace. No again. Solidarity. Wrong.

No, they were shouting about people who think and say that people shouldn’t be killed for “blasphemy” and especially not for trumped-up “blasphemy” at the behest of spiteful neighbors. Well there’s a lovely cause.

Hundreds of Islamist hardliners took to the streets of Pakistan’s main cities yesterday in support of the country’s prejudicial blasphemy laws and against two leading politicians

Read the rest

Imam offers reward to kill ‘blasphemer’ *

Dec 4th, 2010 | Filed by

“We expect her to be hanged and if she is not hanged then we will ask mujahideen and Taliban to kill her.”… Read the rest

Shehrbano Taseer on convulsions of piety *

Dec 4th, 2010 | Filed by

The Islamists and their apologists seem determined to not even consider the possibility that Aasia Noreen may be innocent.… Read the rest

Islamists fight efforts to save ‘blasphemer’ *

Dec 4th, 2010 | Filed by

At rallies in Karachi, Lahore and other cities, protestors warned the political class against any attempt to amend or repeal the laws.… Read the rest

Bernie Sanders on billionaires v the people *

Dec 4th, 2010 | Filed by

The top 1% earns 23.5%, more than the bottom 50%. This proportion has tripled since the 1970s. Yet it’s not enough.… Read the rest

A friendly epistle

Dec 3rd, 2010 12:28 pm | By

Get a load of this – an open letter from Saleem Chagtai to Usama Hassan, which includes this fragrant observation:

First of all I suggest you stop playing games with people. You sat back quietly at the BMSD event as the Muslim community was derided by the likes of pretentious, ignorant, West-worshipping individuals like Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Nasreen Rehman and of course Ed “Traditional-Muslim-scholars-are-all-closet-secularists-really” Hussain and you talk about spreading misconceptions, lies and slander? I have seen your response to the open letters floating around the internet and have noticed utter intellectual inconsistency as well as skirting around specific charges levelled at you. You play the victim but I find it hard to believe you didn’t foresee what fitnah you

Read the rest

David Allen Green on WikiLeaks *

Dec 3rd, 2010 | Filed by

Transparency is one liberal value, but legitimacy is another. No one voted for WikiLeaks, nor does it have any form of democratic supervision.… Read the rest

Lauryn Oates on the rot at the UN *

Dec 3rd, 2010 | Filed by

The UN will not be defending the rights of human beings not to be murdered by their governments on account of their sexual preferences.… Read the rest

Harry’s Place on Lambert/Githens-Mazer Report *

Dec 3rd, 2010 | Filed by

The main villains are the Quilliam Foundation, Muslim campaigners against Islamist political parties, and newspapers which report on those parties.… Read the rest

The year’s most embarrassing academic report? *

Dec 3rd, 2010 | Filed by

The primary purpose of the Lambert- Githens-Mazer dodgy dossier is not academic; it is political.… Read the rest

PZ notes: it’s not an arsenic-based life form *

Dec 2nd, 2010 | Filed by

It can survive in the presence of arsenic, and incorporate arsenic into its routine, familiar chemistry. Interesting but not revolutionary.… Read the rest

McCain to Mullen: ew, gays in the military, ew *

Dec 2nd, 2010 | Filed by

Gates reminded the Republican senators that the US has civilian government.… Read the rest

Sharia in Aceh, a mural in Sydney

Dec 2nd, 2010 12:00 pm | By

Aceh is officially a horrible place to be a woman.

In Aceh today, it is a crime for two mature people of different sexes who are not married or related by blood to be together in an isolated place.

Ponder that carefully to see just how ridiculous and stultifying it is. Even if those two people have sex, that shouldn’t be a crime, The idea that they can’t even interact without a chaperone is a recipe for culture-wide idiocy.

In the course of their investigations, WH officials say, they sometimes force women and girls to submit to virginity exams, and in some cases, condition suspects’ release on their agreement to marry. Both practices violate international human rights law.

Read the rest

A magenta swan with turquoise spots

Dec 2nd, 2010 11:33 am | By

How fascinating is this new bacterium? (I know it’s not new; new to human knowledge; I look forward to your letters.) It’s a black swan!

The finding shows just how little scientists know about the variety of life forms on Earth, and may greatly expand where they should be looking for life on other planets and moons, the NASA-funded team said.

“Life is mostly composed of the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur and phosphorus,” the researchers write in Science.

These six elements make up the nucleic acids — the A, C, T and G of DNA — as well as proteins and lipids. But there is no reason in theory why other elements should not be used.

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New bacterium: the latest black swan *

Dec 2nd, 2010 | Filed by

“Our findings are a reminder that life-as-we-know-it could be much more flexible than we generally assume.”… Read the rest

Complaints about “no burqa” mural *

Dec 2nd, 2010 | Filed by

”It’s Islamophobic; it’s feeding the racist and sexist attitudes we have in our society.”… Read the rest

Scotland: assisted suicide bill crushed *

Dec 2nd, 2010 | Filed by

“You can’t have both physician-assisted suicide and palliative care. In reality you can only have one or the other.” Eh?… Read the rest

HRW on policing morality in Aceh *

Dec 2nd, 2010 | Filed by

The full report.… Read the rest

Ontario school board allows bible distribution *

Dec 2nd, 2010 | Filed by

“If you deny the religious experience in your education system you open the door to the demonic experience,” said one member.… Read the rest