All entries by this author

Sure, he said

Oct 30th, 2014 6:29 pm | By

In case ya missed it – Anita Sarkeesian on the Colbert Report.

Lots of applause and squeeing.

At the end Colbert kind of dropped the persona.… Read the rest

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In which I surprise them

Oct 30th, 2014 5:30 pm | By

Well, ok, just to confuse everyone, I’m going to disagree with one feminist claim about street harassment. The claim is in a piece by Kat George (whose work I’m not familiar with) on the harassment video and what counts as harassment. She starts with the fact that with any harassment story there are always men and some women who will say “oh but that’s not harassment, it’s just being nice.” True enough. But then she goes on.

Here’s the thing: by the inherent nature of being a woman walking in the street, almost ALL uninvited attention from men is threatening. Women are victims of sexual violence EVERY SINGLE DAY, even in “liberal” cities like New York. Whether it’s a

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He’s never understood how someone could be proud of being gay

Oct 30th, 2014 1:54 pm | By

I had barely finished that post about Stefan Molyneux and his occasional collaboration with Peter Boghossian and my stubborn difficulty taking in just how right-wing some popular atheist men are, when my attention was drawn to a new provocation by Boghossian.

I’ve never understood how someone could be proud of being gay. How can one be proud of something one didn’t work for?

That’s a tweet as well as a Facebook post. His FB posts are all public, so public discussion is possible.

Lindsay Beyerstein pointed out that one way one can be proud of what one worked for in this context has to do with the courage and work it takes to come out. Is it ok with … Read the rest

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The video also unintentionally makes another point

Oct 30th, 2014 1:17 pm | By

Hanna Rosin at Slate takes on the glaring flaw in that street harassment video: the shortage of white guys doing any harassing.

The one dude who turns around and says, “Nice,” is white, but the guys who do the most egregious things—like the one who harangues her, “Somebody’s acknowledging you for being beautiful! You should say thank you more,” or the one who follows her down the street too closely for five whole minutes—are not.

This doesn’t mean that the video doesn’t still effectively make its point: that a woman can’t walk down the street lost in her own thoughts, that men feel totally free to demand her attention and get annoyed when she doesn’t respond, that a woman

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All the cold-hearted jerks who run the world

Oct 30th, 2014 11:46 am | By

For your viewing pleasure – David Futrelle created a brief video excerpted from a very long video by libertarian MRA Stefan Molyneux.

I stopped listening a bit after minute 1, but I may go back to it later. I stopped at the line

All the cold-hearted jerks who run the world came out of the vaginas of women who married assholes.

I stopped there because it’s all I needed for the moment. That’s his claim. All the bad men in all the places? They’re all the fault of women, because they came out of vaginas. Never mind all the bad men; BLAME THEIR MOTHERS.

What made me curious about Stefan Molyneux? The fact that atheoskeptic guy Peter Boghossian has done Read the rest

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One year old

Oct 30th, 2014 10:50 am | By

Say happy birthday to EXMNA! It’s their one year anniversary.

This month, Ex-Muslims of North America celebrated our 1 year anniversary as an organization; we also recently received our 501c3 designation, making us an official charitable organization.

It is difficult to put into words how proud I am of our organization and everyone involved. Since our launch 1 year ago, we added new chapters in 14 major cities across North America. Our members hail from dozens of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, but find commonality in our shared experiences and struggles both as ex-Muslims and as non-theists.

Together, we have fostered a community where we continue to learn from each others’ experiences in both adversity and triumph. I

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Hey beautiful

Oct 29th, 2014 4:54 pm | By

The Wall Street Journal reports on the reactions to the Hollaback harassment video.

[T]he woman in the video, actress Shoshana B. Roberts, and the anti-harassment organization that sponsored it, Brooklyn-based Hollaback!, have also received a host of death and rape threats, officials say. Those threats, which have been passed along to New York City police, underscore how casually some people view street harassment, experts say.

“We’ve had so many people reach out saying, ‘Thank God, this is exactly what my day looks like,’ or people who were shocked, saying, ‘I had no idea that this is what women face. I’m so grateful,’” said Emily May, the co-founder and executive director of Hollaback!. “But we’ve also gotten this tremendous backlash

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10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman

Oct 29th, 2014 4:37 pm | By

Nine and a half million people have watched the video that documents street harassment in New York.

The selected comments are depressing. Of course.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1XGPvbWn0ARead the rest

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Guest post: As women entered the field

Oct 29th, 2014 12:05 pm | By

Originally a comment by sambarge on Yes yes.

The de-valuation of work by feminization is fully documented in labour history. The reason we talk about pay equity (versus equal pay for the same job) is the valuation or classification of labour or job duties that are viewed a “feminine” or “masculine”. Physical strength, for example, is rated higher than accuracy in data entry and, not surprisingly, physical strength is a stereotypically male trait (unless we’re talking about labour that requires physical strength that is defined as female such as housekeeping or laundry workers, then there are no points or recognition for the physical strength required to do the job).

The easiest examples of the devaluation of work when it … Read the rest

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Simon talks to Katha

Oct 29th, 2014 11:46 am | By

Simon Davis interviews Katha Pollitt for VICE on the launch of her new book saying why abortion is a good thing.

It’s not surprising that many people who don’t want to see all abortion clinics shut down have bought into a few of the assumptions of the pro-life movement. The result is what we have today: a situation where a majority of people believe abortion should be mostly legal but frowned upon.

Which is why I wrote that piece for Free Inquiry a few months ago.

It is precisely those people that Katha Pollitt, columnist for The Nation, wants to speak to in her new book Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, which came out just as the Supreme Court

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The devil’s work

Oct 29th, 2014 11:15 am | By

That zany pope. One minute he’s saying friendly things about evolution and gravity and shit, and the next he’s sharing the love with exorcists. Exorcists.

Just in time for Halloween and against an unspecified “steady increase” of demonic possession, Pope Francis thanked exorcists for showing the church’s “love for those possessed” by the devil.

About 300 exorcists from around the world attended a convention in Rome last weekend (Oct. 25-26) and their spokesman later expressed concern about the number of people turning to Satanism and the occult.

In a message sent to the Rev. Francesco Bamonte, who heads the International Association of Exorcists (known as AIE), Francis urged the experts to demonstrate “the church welcomes those suffering from

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They spat holy water

Oct 29th, 2014 10:55 am | By

A tv show rented a newly constructed house in a suburb and set up appointments with several psychics to check on hidden spirits and forces and fossnagles. They also set up a dozen hidden cameras to capture the skilled professional checking.

[A] duo named Susan and Rev. Joseph said there was negative energy in the house. “It’s negative in the sense that it could cause setbacks, it can cause financial setbacks,” Susan said. To purge it, they burned incense and chanted all over the house, and claimed to have trapped the negative energy in a bottle.

Despite their supposed abilities, the psychics were not aware that Jeff Rossen had been monitoring their activities from a control room upstairs in the

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Yes yes

Oct 28th, 2014 6:01 pm | By

Huh. Another Dear Muslima, because the last one worked out so well.

He appears to be talking, or to think he’s talking, about timidity in making moral judgments. But how odd, and how deeply unpleasant, that he chooses that example of all possible examples. That it’s the rights of US women he chooses to hold up to ridicule and hostility because they are less threatened than those of women in theocracies. It’s odd and deeply unpleasant the way they keep doing this – letting the mask slip.

Update: This is also a public Facebook post, which makes it easier to reply to.… Read the rest

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A firm believer in gender equality

Oct 28th, 2014 5:39 pm | By

Katherine Adams explains her profound reservations about feminism*.

Like any other socially conscious woman, I am a firm believer in gender equality. Ending workplace discrimination, making reproductive health care affordable—I’ve championed these goals my whole life. They’re important to me, and that’s why the feminist movement frustrates me so much. I’m sorry, but I simply cannot and will not support feminism if it means murdering all men.

Typical boozhie liberal. You can’t make a lobster risotto without breaking eggs!

I understand why some people might believe the only way to advance women’s rights is to slaughter every man on the planet, but that sort of radical, explicitly homicidal position, which for all I know is a fundamental aspect of

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A vote on the “woman question”

Oct 28th, 2014 4:37 pm | By

I’m re-reading The Freethinkers. It’s a terrific book. I want to share a passage with you, from the chapter “Lost Connections: Anticlericalism, Abolitionism, and Feminism”:

The tension came to a head in New York City in May 1840, at the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society (of which Garrison had been a found member in 1833). In a Machiavellian Parliamentary maneuver, Garrison forced a vote on the “woman question” by appointing Abby Kelley, a Quaker and a great admirer of the Grimké sisters, to a post on the organization’s powerful business committee. Kelley’s appointment was confirmed by a close vote, but several hundred members – a minority, but a highly influential one – pronounced it a violation of

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Diego, paraaaaaa!

Oct 28th, 2014 4:02 pm | By

Now it’s Diego Maradona.

A leaked video has surfaced this week allegedly showing former Argentinian soccer star Diego Maradona hitting his ex-girlfriend.

According to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the video captures an intoxicated Maradona speaking to his ex, 24-year-old Rocío Oliva, in an aggressive manner before physically assaulting her.

“Stop! Stop! Stop hitting me,” the woman cries out in the clip, according to a NY Daily News translation.

One after another.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKNq19x6pcsRead the rest

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To fend off challenges from Left

Oct 28th, 2014 3:19 pm | By

Headline on article about the politics of Hillary Clinton:

Clinton copies Warren to fend off challenges from Left

To “fend off”? Why not do it because Warren is right? Or not do it if you don’t think she is right?

I know, that sounds dewy-eyed naïve, but really, if politicians do things solely for tactical reasons, what reason do we have to think they will go on doing said things once they’re elected?

The body of the article:

Hillary Clinton has copied the populist, anti-corporate rhetoric of Sen. Elizabeth Warren partly in the hopes of keeping the Massachusetts Democrat, or any other liberal challenger, out of the 2016 presidential race, some liberal activists say.

There again. If that’s what … Read the rest

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Voting is for solid citizens with plenty of $$

Oct 28th, 2014 2:55 pm | By

More background. The Washington Post in July on how voting has changed since Shelby County v. Holder.

What did Shelby County v Holder do?

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was unconstitutional. Section 4 lays out the formulas for how the Justice Department enforces Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 requires that the states identified with a history of discrimination  obtain approval from the federal government before they can make changes to their election law. Section 4 formulas as of 2013 mandatedthat “Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia in their entirety; and parts of California, Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina,

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No mere historical artifact

Oct 28th, 2014 12:27 pm | By

From October 18, the New York Times story on the stealthy SCOTUS ruling allowing Texas’s Jim Crowesque voter ID law in the next election.

The Supreme Courton Saturday allowed Texas to use its strict voter identification law in the November election. The court’s order,issued just after 5 a.m., was unsigned and contained no reasoning.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg issued a six-page dissent saying the court’s action “risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.”

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the dissent.

It has a history, that kind of thing. It’s not an accident, it’s not just some random idea that occurred to the Texas legislators one day out of the … Read the rest

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When most Texans were sleeping

Oct 27th, 2014 6:09 pm | By

This is a news item I missed, and it’s making steam come out of my ears. An estimated 600,000 Texas voters – the population of a big city! – though registered to vote, won’t be able to because they cannot meet photo-identification requirements set out in the state’s new voter-ID law, SB14 . It’s the strictest voter ID law in the country and you know why those fuckers in Texas passed it.

It was justified by Governor Rick Perry and the Republican chiefs in the state legislature as a means of combatting electoral fraud in a state where in the past 10 years some 20m votes have been cast, yet only two cases of voter impersonation have been prosecuted

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