All entries by this author

Using abducted students as cooks, sex slaves and porters

Apr 17th, 2014 6:22 pm | By

Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 100 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in Borno State.

The government closed all schools in Borno three weeks ago because of frequent attacks in which hundreds of students have been killed in the past year. The girls who were kidnapped had been recalled so they could write their final exams.

The extremists have been using abducted students as cooks, sex slaves and porters.

Boko Haram has been on a rampage this week, blamed for four attacks in three days that started with an explosion at a busy bus station during the Monday morning rush hour in Abuja, the capital, which killed at least 75 people.

Two attacks in northeastern villages killed 20 people

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Gabriel García Márquez

Apr 17th, 2014 6:12 pm | By

From the Guardian:

Few writers have produced novels that are acknowledged as masterpieces not only in their own countries but all around the world. Fewer still can be said to have written books that have changed the whole course of literature in their language. But the Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, who has died at the age of 87 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease achieved just that, especially thanks to his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Since its publication in 1967, more than 25m copies of the book have been sold in Spanish and other languages. For at least a generation the book firmly stamped Latin American literature as the domain of “magical realism”.

Born in the

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Silence empowers the Neo-Nazis

Apr 17th, 2014 5:41 pm | By

As I’ve been pointing out, Ayaan Hirsi Ali gets misread by people who are convinced she’s a far-right racist, or people who want to convince others that she is. There’s “Loonwatch” for instance. Loonwatch gives a very warped version of the talk in which she mentioned Anders Breivik. The article is titled Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Sympathizes with Terrorist Anders Behring Breivik and it repeats the accusation in the text.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was invited to Germany to receive the Axel Springer Award, to recount her “escape” from Islam.

Sympathy for the Devil

In her acceptance speech, Ali expressed her sympathy for terrorist murderer Anders Behring Breivik. Her writings were included in Breivik’s manifesto and she took the opportunity

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You check it like you actually give a damn

Apr 17th, 2014 1:50 pm | By

Another message to men – specifically geek guys – about sexual harassment.

That women are harassed online is not news. That women in comics and the broader fandom cultures are harassed online is not news. That these women are routinely transmitted anonymous messages describing graphic sexual violence perpetrated upon them for transgressions as grave as not liking a thing… that is actually news to me, and it’s probably news to a lot of you guys reading this.

But it’s not news to a lot of women I know, and to women whose work you’ve read here and around the Web.

Nope, it’s not.

The Internet is a boon to humanity. It is also terrible. That is its special nature.

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Sisters contact

Apr 17th, 2014 11:02 am | By

Damion Thompson reports at the Telegraph (yes, I know – the Telegraph) that the University of East London said No to gender segregation at an event on its campus.

blogged yesterday about this “segregated” Muslim event organised by the Islamic Society of the University of East London, due to happen tonight at UEL’s main lecture theatre on its Docklands campus.

Much to my surprise, UEL immediately banned it from their campus. See the reaction below by Peter Tatchell, who brought this to public attention:

Check out the poster for the event.

SEGREGATED EVENT, spelled out right there on the poster, and then segregated numbers for the “brothers” and “sisters” to contact.

Update:

The New Ham Recorder has moreRead the rest

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Ownership

Apr 17th, 2014 10:48 am | By

This business of rape being something that’s done to the man who owns the woman who is raped…I watched some of the 1959 movie Anatomy of a Murder the other day, and was struck by something the defense lawyer-protagonist (Jimmy Stewart) said. One character said of another, “He was a nice guy.” Jimmy Stewart responded, “Yeah, a nice guy, except for his habit of raping other men’s wives.”… Read the rest

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Proxy

Apr 17th, 2014 9:33 am | By

The horror…

A woman in India sought to enact revenge on her daughter’s rapist, so she got four men, including her own husband, to gang rape the wife of the accused man.

According to reports, the revenge rape, which happened in Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, India on Sunday, left the accused rapist’s wife struggling for life on the side of a road.

The mother of the teenage girl that was originally raped allegedly called on three men and her husband to rape the wife of her daughter’s rapist in retaliation for the crime. The four men wound up abducting the woman, taking her to an area near a police station in a neighboring village, and gang raped her.

Later on, the

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She’s down, kick her some more

Apr 16th, 2014 6:26 pm | By

Another piece of annoying waffle about Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Brandeis, this one in The New Republic. Isaac Chotiner muddles it from the beginning:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the outspoken (this is almost a euphemism) Somali-Dutch opponent of Islam, was recently offered an honorary degree by Brandeis University. The school, which apparently only recently became acquainted with some of her comments about the Islamic faith, decided to revoke the offer of the honorary degree and instead invite her to campus for a dialogue.

No. It wasn’t “we want to switch the honorary degree to a dialogue.” Brandeis revoked the award (it wasn’t an offer at that point, because Hirsi Ali had accepted), period. It also said she was welcome to come … Read the rest

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They don’t believe in fictional gods

Apr 16th, 2014 5:33 pm | By

This could happen to anyone.

On March 14, 2013, a 63-year-old atheist writer named Aleksandr Kharlamov was arrested in his hometown of Ridder in the east region of Kazakhstan and tried under the country’s Criminal Code Article 164 on charges of “inciting religious hatred” for articles he wrote criticizing religion. According to Forum 18 News Service based in Oslo, Norway, Kharlamov’s sentence included a month of enforced psychiatric detention and five months in prison. During that time Kharlamov lost 44 pounds.

An atheist writer. I’m an atheist writer. I’m trying to imagine being arrested and imprisoned for that.

[T]he American Humanist Association connected with Kharlamov and supported his legal efforts with a $2,000 donation as part of its increased work

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Dial it down, North Dakota

Apr 16th, 2014 4:28 pm | By

North Dakota went a little too far, a judge has ruled.

A federal judge has struck down a North Dakota law banning abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, calling the law “invalid and unconstitutional.”

The law, passed by lawmakers in the state just over a year ago, bans abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy and is considered the most restrictive in the country.

Another loss for the “it’s not your body any more, IT’S THE BABY’S” crowd.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland, who is based in Bismarck, cited the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, saying “no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at

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When do we get to give informed consent?

Apr 16th, 2014 4:11 pm | By

Miri is angry. She’s right to be angry. What’s she angry about? People who don’t know jack shit about psychology making pronouncements about psychology, especially aggressive personal “you don’t have that you liar!!” type pronouncements.

Apparently a bunch of Skeptics™ don’t know what posttraumatic stress disorder is, but insist on lecturing those diagnosed with it (or those who have studied it) without ever bothering to educate themselves about the disorder, its symptoms, and its etiology. Because nothing says skepticism quite like blathering on about what you have no evidence for!

Well they probably saw an episode of a tv show that mentioned it once. I saw this one episode of The West Wing this one time, when Josh had … Read the rest

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More from Father Gearoid

Apr 16th, 2014 11:22 am | By

After Gearoid O Donchu says he would do nothing different as a result of hearing the confession, so he would let the people who drank the poisoned wine after him drink it and die.

Michael responded [5:40]

I think anybody listening to this will understand that that is a deeply immoral position – that on the basis of what you believe the creator of the universe is saying to you that you would allow another innocent priest to die by drinking altar wine that you are knowingly leaving there that’s poisoned – or more seriously, because it’s an actual case that we’re talking about, you would leave vulnerable children to be raped on the basis of not giving information that

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Florida leads the way

Apr 16th, 2014 10:32 am | By

It’s not just Oklahoma. Florida passed a bill last year barring local governments from enacting mandatory paid sick time laws. The Orlando Sentinel reported on June 14:

Florida Gov. Rick Scottdidn’t waste much time in signing a bill Friday that would block local governments from enacting mandatory paid sick time measures, such as the one pending in Orange County.

The Republican governor sided with Walt Disney World, Darden Restaurants, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and a broad array of powerful business interests who argued the ban was needed to avoid a patchwork of local employment rules for companies.

That’s code for “to avoid having to pay for workers’ sick leave.”

“Protecting small businesses and jobs from

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Guest post on “you got politics in my programming”

Apr 15th, 2014 4:37 pm | By

Originally a comment by DrMcCoy on When openness is taken as an absolute.

as few as 1.5% of open source programmers are women [...] chauvinism, assumptions of inferiority, and outrageous examples of impropriety (including sexual harassment at conferences where programmers gather) to a lack of women mentors and role models

A shame. really. :/

This is why I’m glad at least GNOME’s Outreach Program for Women exists. There should be more programs like that, though.

But the outcry on reddit and Phoronix when it was announced that the GNOME Foundation had a temporary cash flow problem. People yelling that the GNOME Foundation was wasting their money on that “useless” program and how they’re using donations to push their political … Read the rest

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That’s absolutely shocking

Apr 15th, 2014 4:18 pm | By

Michael Nugent and a priest, Gearoid O Donchu, on RTE’s Liveline with Joe Duffy talking about whether priests should report child rapists whose rapes they learn of via the confessional. Michael starts briskly with

It’s one of these things where the Catholic church thinks their own internal rules trump the law of the land.

They go on to discuss a hypothetical in which X tells a priest in the confessional that X has poisoned the communion wine. The priests says shocking things, and Michael says how shocking they are and what this shows about the way religion corrupts morality.

It’s great stuff!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7WpMpMY11QRead the rest

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Only male lecturers are assigned

Apr 15th, 2014 2:47 pm | By

More gender segregation at universities and colleges, this time in Israel. (Sorry about that site – it sticks a share button on the margin where it blocks some of the text and you can’t move either the button or the text. Top notch design, there, Al-Monitor.)

Israel is trying to get more ultra-Orthodox to do some work besides poring over the Talmud, but there are complications.

The Council for Higher Education (CHE) reported to the Knesset in February 2014 that many ultra-Orthodox men would like to study in the coming academic year. However, it seems that most will not do so, because they refuse to study in institutions where men and women sit together in classrooms.

Girl cooties. Can’t … Read the rest

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When openness is taken as an absolute

Apr 15th, 2014 11:50 am | By

Another piece about the (cough) unwelcoming atmosphere for women online. Astra Taylor makes the connection between the libertarian worldview of many techy types and the flourishing of misogyny.

Despite being held up as a paragon of political virtue, evidence suggests that as few as 1.5% of open source programmers are women, a number far lower than the computing profession as a whole. In response, analysts have blamed everything from chauvinism, assumptions of inferiority, and outrageous examples of impropriety (including sexual harassment at conferences where programmers gather) to a lack of women mentors and role models. Yet the advocates of open-source production continue to insist that their culture exemplifies a new and ethical social order ruled by principles of equality,

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Rayhaneh Jabbari still breathes

Apr 15th, 2014 11:29 am | By

Fox News (it’s the only source for this I’ve seen) says the execution of Rayhaneh Jabbari has been postponed. She was scheduled to be killed today.

The government announced that the execution will be postponed but did not give any indication the sentence had been overturned. It also did not disclose if any future execution date had been set.

Jabbari, who has already served seven years in prison, claims Sarbandi drugged her and attempted to have physical contact with her.

Activists around the globe have been working tirelessly to prove Jabbari’s innocence and to have her death sentence revoked.

And have apparently managed to win a delay.

“She has been tortured in so many ways in prison. They may have

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A white supremacist doesn’t like being called a white supremacist

Apr 15th, 2014 10:02 am | By

There’s this from Ed Brayton:

So it looks like I’m going to be sued by a white supremacist who doesn’t like it that I’ve called him a white supremacist several times over the last few years. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail right now because I need to hire an attorney (one in Texas, unfortunately) and get some advice on how exactly what I can and can’t say publicly, but in order to do that I need to raise some funds. Here’s what I do know: I’m not going to back down from this. I’m not going to let this racist jerk intimidate me into silence. But I need your help on this one, if

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Let them eat cupcakes

Apr 15th, 2014 9:39 am | By

From the annals of Grinding the Poor:

At a time when many states and cities are working passing minimum wage increases, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) has gone in the opposite direction and signed a law banning cities from passing higher wages. The bill also bans them from enacting paid sick days or vacation requirements.

That’s…pretty extraordinary. No paid sick days for you, peasants! Pass the brioche.

The law will stymie the efforts of activists in Oklahoma City, where a labor federation has led the push on a petition to raise the city’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The state’s current minimum has been set at the federal level of $7.25. In 2012, 64,000 workers in the

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