Archive for June 2011

Like discussing the rules of quidditch

Jun 24th, 2011 3:07 pm | By

There’s nothing like a good healthy sense of priorities, is there. What could be more urgent for Irish Catholics than to pitch a huge fit about an art installation that has something to do with “the Virgin Mary”?

In Our Lady and Other Queer Santas, Chicana artist Alma Lopez will exhibit her picture Our Lady, a digital pastiche of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, a 16th-century Peruvian manifestation of the Virgin Mary…The Madonna in a bikini, basically…

On last Friday’s Liveline, one of Ireland’s most popular radio shows, presenter Joe Duffy was flooded with calls from irate Catholics mortified by this “blasphemous” artwork.

You see what I mean. That’s what these irate Catholics are irate about – a picture of something … Read the rest

Padraig Ready on Ireland’s ludicrous blasphemy law *

Jun 24th, 2011 | Filed by

Catholic bullies are pitching a fit about a Mary-tease at University College, Cork.… Read the rest

Parents to be sentenced in faith-healing case *

Jun 24th, 2011 | Filed by

The Wylands followed their church’s method of treatment: prayer, anointing with oil and the laying on of hands. It failed.… Read the rest

How to change a state school to a “faith” school *

Jun 24th, 2011 | Filed by

First change it to an academy, then get easy permission to convert the non-sectarian academy to a “faith” academy.… Read the rest

Salil Tripathi reviews Arundhati Roy *

Jun 24th, 2011 | Filed by

Her critique is almost comic-book like, with sharply edged “good” and “evil” forces. … Read the rest

Last 3 abortion clinics in Kansas may close *

Jun 24th, 2011 | Filed by

Onerous new “facility standards” the clinics have to meet within 90 days may force them to close.… Read the rest


Jun 23rd, 2011 10:53 am | By

The BBC continues to pretend not to understand.

Geert Wilders has been acquitted of “inciting hatred” because the judges managed to distinguish between annoying/unpleasant/offensive and illegal. The BBC isn’t so sure about that.

With Thursday’s acquittal, it appears that Mr Wilders’s radical words are now more mainstream in a country that for decades was viewed as one of the most liberal and tolerant in the world.

But “liberal” and “tolerant” about what? About Islam, mostly. But there are difficulties with being “liberal” and “tolerant” about Islam, given that Islam itself is not altogether “liberal” and “tolerant.” Many critics of Islam, partly including Wilders, are critics of it because it is not altogether liberal and tolerant, or egalitarian or fair. … Read the rest

Wilders verdict stirs up debate *

Jun 23rd, 2011 | Filed by

BBC confuses every issue it raises.… Read the rest

Geert Wilders acquitted of inciting hatred *

Jun 23rd, 2011 | Filed by

Amsterdam judge accepted that Wilders’s statements were directed at Islam and not at Muslims.… Read the rest

“The bishops did not influence our findings” *

Jun 23rd, 2011 | Filed by

Nearly half the funding for the study was provided by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, but.… Read the rest

“Honor” killing in Sweden *

Jun 23rd, 2011 | Filed by

“The honour lies between a woman’s legs,” Sara Mohammad of Never Forget Pela and Fadime explains.… Read the rest

One good thing

Jun 22nd, 2011 4:29 pm | By

Good news about Ai Weiwei though.

The release of Mr. Ai, 54, who is widely known and admired outside China, appeared to be a rare example in recent years of China’s bowing to international pressure on human rights. Mr. Ai was the most prominent of hundreds of people detained since China intensified a broad crackdown on critics of the government in February, when anonymous calls for mass protests modeled after the revolutions in the Middle East percolated on the Chinese Internet.

Crappy about the hundreds though.

China came under unusually heavy pressure from all corners of the globe, not only from standard diplomatic channels but also from prominent people like Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in New York, who harangued China

Read the rest

House of Commons debates sharia June 28 *

Jun 22nd, 2011 | Filed by

One Law for All and the NSS invite you to a debate on the use and practice of sharia law in Britain. … Read the rest

A patronising view of the “Other”

Jun 22nd, 2011 12:16 pm | By

Salil Tripathi set off a seriously interesting discussion of Arundhati Roy at Facebook, via a piece by Andrew Buncombe in the Independent. (This is why, say what you will, FB is not altogether silly.) I got his permission to quote him.

The subject is, as Buncombe put it:

It was the writer and activist Arundhati Roy who set foreign journalists in India busily chattering recently. In an interview with Stephen Moss in the Guardian, Ms Roy was discussing the Maoist and Adavasi “resistance” to encroachment on tribal lands. Mr Moss, asked her why, “we in the West don’t hear about these mini-wars?”. Ms Roy replied: “I have been told quite openly by several correspondents of international newspapers, that they

Read the rest

Andrew Buncombe on Arundhati Roy *

Jun 22nd, 2011 | Filed by

She says she has been told by several journalists that they have instructions – ‘No negative news from India’ – because it’s an investment destination.… Read the rest

Comments on comments on comments

Jun 22nd, 2011 10:30 am | By

I’m burning up the time reading sapient comments on PZ’s response to “Be” Scofield’s “5 stupid things stupid atheists think” so I might as well recycle one so that I can pretend I’ve accomplished something more than reading sapient comments on a post of PZ’s, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Sastra quotes a bit from “Be” and annotates it:

Scofield has gone into Therapist Mode (sometimes known as Anthropologist Mode.) If you’re trying to help or understand other people, don’t treat them as equal members of your own group and argue with them over truth or content. Instead, you concern yourself with what works for them. Are they happy? You shouldn’t try to change their minds

Read the rest

PZ on myths about atheists’ “myths” about religion *

Jun 22nd, 2011 | Filed by

For a start, atheists did not grow up in petri dishes isolated from religion and religious believers.… Read the rest

Ai Weiwei charges will probably be dropped *

Jun 22nd, 2011 | Filed by

“This is a technique that the public security authorities sometimes use as a face-saving device to end controversial cases.”… Read the rest

Ai Weiwei released on bail *

Jun 22nd, 2011 | Filed by

State media said the artist had been freed “because of his good attitude in confessing his crimes”…… Read the rest

Pakistan: man sentenced to death for blasphemy *

Jun 22nd, 2011 | Filed by

Something about text messages that “blasphemed” the Koran, the prophet, the prophet’s friends…… Read the rest