All entries by this author

Efua Dorkenoo

Oct 20th, 2014 3:28 pm | By

Another big loss.

Efua Dorkenoo, widely seen as the mother of the global movement to end female genital mutilation, has died after undergoing treatment for cancer, her family have confirmed. She was 65. Dorkenoo – known affectionately to many as “mama Efua” – was a leading light in the movement to bring an end to FGM for more than 30 years, campaigning against the practice since the 1980s.

The girls’ and women’s rights campaigner saw the progression of the movement to end FGM go from a minority, often ignored, issue to a key policy priority for governments across the world. Proof of this arrived with the launch of The Girl Generation on October 10 – a major Africa-led campaign

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Between a bad thing and another bad thing

Oct 20th, 2014 12:28 pm | By

Pragna Patel on the difficulty of human rights work between conservative views of economics and law on the one hand and religious fundamentalism on the other.

First, we are compelled to challenge the state for removing legal aid from a huge range of civil and criminal matters which impact not only on individual rights but also on our demands for institutional accountability in the face of abuses of power that seem to be growing rather than diminishing. The government’s ‘reforms’ on legal aid are strongly located in a fiscal context that reiterate some of the key overarching aims of the present government: localism, alternative dispute resolution strategies, deficit reduction and deregulation. Taken together these measures are destroying one of

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Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh

Oct 20th, 2014 11:52 am | By

Tolu Ogunlesi reports on another everyday hero.

Last month, the Nigerian government released the 2014 National Honours award list: more than 300 people, many of them serving government officials, seemingly recognised simply because of the public office they hold, not for anything particularly honourable or heroic. An outcry followed, largely due to the absence of one name: Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevoh. A government spokesman was forced to explain that the awards are never given posthumously.

The public’s indignation was understandable: Adadevoh was the Nigerian doctor who oversaw the treatment of Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian national who brought the Ebola virus to Nigeria. She died of the virus on 19 August, one of eight fatalities out of 20 cases (each

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His only crime is being a free voice

Oct 20th, 2014 11:31 am | By

Raif Badawy’s wife Ensaf Haidar writes about what Saudi Arabia is doing to her husband.

In May, his sentence was reduced to 10 years in prison, a fine of $100,000 and 1,000 lashes. He is to be lashed 50 times each Friday after prayers until it reaches 1,000 lashes.

Ra’if is not a criminal. He is not a murderer or a rapist. He is a blogger. That’s it. His only crime is being a free voice in a country that has no tolerance nor understanding for freedom.

He’s a blogger. I’m a blogger. I try to imagine being lashed 50 times to punish me for that. I try to imagine spending ten years in prison for that. I can’t.… Read the rest

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What counts as plagiarism?

Oct 20th, 2014 10:20 am | By

I’m not sure what to think about this.

There’s this C J Werleman guy, who has been accused of plagiarism. I’ve been seeing mutterings about it in passing for a few days, without following them up, because he’s not someone I’ve been aware of. But PZ has a post about the subject today and I read that, so then I read his source, which is Godless Spellchecker.

PZ:

But he has done the unforgivable: serial plagiarism, and when caught out, has apologized, but simultaneously belittled the seriousness of the offense and blamed it on a campaign by our little neo-conservative atheist cabal of Harris and Boghossian.

I agree that they are wrong about so much else, but

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Also helped fuel the haters

Oct 19th, 2014 5:31 pm | By

Mother Jones has a big story on #GamerGate. As it goes on it tells me some things I didn’t know.

Sarkeesian noted recently that she has been “subjected to the worst harassment I’ve ever faced” as part of a convoluted conflict known as #Gamergate, which has been roiling the gaming industry since August. Playing out primarily on social media, #Gamergate centers around several women who work in the industry and have criticized its dominant macho culture and frequent sexualization of women. Their critique has met with intense harassment and bullying. The FBI is currently investigating the threats against Sarkeesian and others, according to Vice.

Note, again, how familiar that is – their critique has met with intense harassment … Read the rest

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Not a good idea to irritate my buddy Gamer here

Oct 19th, 2014 4:40 pm | By

There’s further mainstream media coverage of #GamerGate, while Christina Hoff Sommers continues to tweet in support of the brave rebels.

Christina H. Sommers @CHSommers · 7 hours ago
Not a good idea to irritate hundreds of thousands of gamers. @Gawker #GamerGate Ht:@lizzyf620 https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=mk3y98Z5kuw …

Media has maligned & defamed millions of innocent gamers. Big mistake. You have awakened a sleeping giant. @Gawker #GamerGate

#Gamergate is not about misogyny.It’s a consumer rebellion against media bullies & shallow ideologies. & these r consumers who
like to win.

If you missed this Spike article, pease read it now! #Gamergate http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/gamergate-an-un-pc-rebellion/16029#.VEPxAoq9KK0 …

Gamers are one of the most diverse & welcoming groups I have ever known.But in the face of unfair attacks,they react. http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sd5gl1

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Whimsy at the University of Sydney

Oct 19th, 2014 3:56 pm | By

Strange doings at the University of Sydney.

The University of Sydney has suspended Prof Barry Spurr over emails in which he called the prime minister, Tony Abbott, an “Abo lover”, Indigenous Australians “human rubbish tips” and Nelson Mandela as a “darky”.

Don’t tell me let me guess – he was using those insults “ironically” – right? He didn’t mean them literally, it was just a performance, a many-layered meta-joke. Right?

Spurr, a poetry expert, was a specialist consultant to the federal government’s national curriculum review looking at English from foundation to year 12.

The emails, first obtained by website New Matilda, have seriously damaged the review’s findings, with Labor calling them “tainted” and the Australian Education

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One hour and six minutes

Oct 19th, 2014 11:19 am | By

Pacific Standard reports on an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum called Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe.

I think high heels are one of the weirdest and most perverse customs we have over here in the putatively developed world. They’re temporary foot-binding, and if they’re worn long enough the damage becomes permanent. They don’t damage the feet as much as foot-binding did, but that’s not much of a distinction.

Now, they’re also “a choice,” and feminism is all about choice, and yadda yadda. But for one thing, they’re not a completely free choice, given all the contexts in which they’re more or less obligatory, and for another thing, I flatly reject the idea that all choices made … Read the rest

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Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

Oct 19th, 2014 11:00 am | By

The European Humanist Federation points out that the 2014 EU report on countries that are candidates for membership does a lousy job of monitoring abuses of the rights of non-believers in those countries.

…the 2014 reports have clearly failed to address the situation for non-believers in these countries, with not one single mention of their situation being present within the section on ‘Freedom of thought, conscience and religion’ in this year’s reports.

They do a good job on reporting violations of the rights of adherents of minority religions, but they leave out the rights of adherents of no religion. It’s as if rights came with religion but not with no religion.

Negating [neglecting?] to report on the

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Look in another place

Oct 19th, 2014 9:39 am | By

If we get depressed about the tattered “heroes” of atheism and skepticism we can turn our attention away from them in favor of people like William Pooley, a nurse who caught Ebola while volunteering in West Africa. He was flown home to the UK and treated, and he recovered, so now he’s taking a well-deserved breather returning to Sierra Leone.

Mr Pooley will work at the isolation unit at Connaught Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where he will train staff and set up new isolation units.

He will work with a team from King’s Health Partners – a collaboration between King’s College London and three NHS trusts – which is operating in the country.

Dr Oliver Johnson, programme director

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Gender activists and hipsters with degrees in cultural studies

Oct 18th, 2014 5:51 pm | By

A month ago Christina Hoff Sommers did a 6 and a half minute video for the American Enterprise Institute in which she took a sarcastically skeptical look at the criticisms of gamer culture. There’s a partial transcript on the page and I transcribed some of the rest for myself.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MxqSwzFy5w

She started by saying that hard-core gamers, those who play more than 20 hours a week, are 7 to 1 male to female.

But are video games rife with sexism? Do they promote a culture of misogyny and violence that must be dismantled? My answer is no. As I looked into the literature on gaming, I discovered that gamers make a lot of people nervous. Not only are most of

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Another level

Oct 18th, 2014 4:01 pm | By

Here’s another branch of the Harassing Women on Twitter industry – people threatening a woman with rape because blah blah blah blah.

TV presenter Richard Madeley has said people who sent “sick rape threats” to his daughter are in “deep trouble”.

Chloe Madeley received threats on Twitter after defending her mother, Judy Finnigan, who caused controversy when she described a rape committed by footballer Ched Evans as “non-violent”.

Well that’s ironic. I wish people wouldn’t declare the rapes of other people “non-violent” – I wish people would just get out of the business of minimizing the rapes of other people altogether – but I don’t think the right response is to threaten such people’s daughters with rape.

Mr Madeley

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Guest post: Horrified to listen in to some sexist chat

Oct 18th, 2014 2:50 pm | By

Originally a comment by Lee Brimmicombe-Wood on A rebellion against moral crusaders.

So far as I can see, the authoritarian gaming press has, to varying degrees, come down on the side of virtue. If the gamers are winning, as Summers suggests, I’m not seeing it.

Of course, as an industry insider it’s always possible there’s something I’m not seeing.

I wade into the open sewer of message boards only so far. However, I very much doubt that my corporate masters will ever be moved to send out a memo suggesting we ditch diversity or in any way rein it back in.

That said, when it comes to questionable content I’ve pointed the finger before at Marketing. Devs are, of … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



A rebellion against moral crusaders

Oct 18th, 2014 12:55 pm | By

Christina Hoff Sommers is promoting an article at Spiked about #GamerGate as fantastic and honest. Let’s see.

Video games aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. They can be enormously time-consuming and often require a considerable level of dedication to master. However, there are good reasons for non-gamers to be paying attention to the video-games industry right now – it has become the site of a rebellion against moral crusaders and their relentless push to politicise every aspect of culture and society.

That’s not a good start. It’s never a good start to claim that it’s only analysis or criticism or interrogation of X that is political, while mere X itself just is, politics-free.

That’s not right. Video games aren’t some … Read the rest

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Science causes the spread

Oct 18th, 2014 11:30 am | By

Andy Borowitz at the Borowitz Report at the New Yorker.

There is a deep-seated fear among some Americans that an Ebola outbreak could make the country turn to science.

In interviews conducted across the nation, leading anti-science activists expressed their concern that the American people, wracked with anxiety over the possible spread of the virus, might desperately look to science to save the day.

“It’s a very human reaction,” said Harland Dorrinson, a prominent anti-science activist from Springfield, Missouri. “If you put them under enough stress, perfectly rational people will panic and start believing in science.”

But that’s tragic because it’s science that got us here. If it weren’t for science there wouldn’t be all these pesky airplanes flying back … Read the rest

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But you’re not a real ___

Oct 18th, 2014 10:30 am | By

Kenana Malik told a poignant little anecdote in his talk on multiculturalism at the Secular Conference last weekend.

The Danish MP Naser Khader tells of a conversation with Toger Seidenfaden, editor of Politiken, a left-wing Danish newspaper that was highly critical of the Danish cartoons. Seidenfaden claimed that ‘the cartoons insulted all Muslims’. Khader responded that ‘I am not insulted’. ‘But you’re not a real Muslim’, was Seidenfaden’s response.

Ahhh, not real. So to be “real Muslim” you have to be offended by the Danish cartoons. So a real Muslim = someone who is offended by the cartoons. So the core of being a Muslim becomes [the state of being offended by the cartoons]. It’s no longer an … Read the rest

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Where loyalty extends only in one direction

Oct 17th, 2014 6:37 pm | By

I knew it. Except it’s worse than I thought. Or it’s as bad as I thought but was only surmising.

The NFL, and women who are beaten up by their football player husbands.

Whenever Dewan Smith-Williams sees Janay Rice on television, she feels like she’s looking into a mirror. Smith-Williams, 44, remembers the denial, the secrecy, the sense of isolation, the shame.

But most of all, she remembers the fear of ruining her husband’s career as a National Football League player — the feeling that coming forth, or seeking justice, would destroy her four children’s financial security. She understands that struggle not only because she, too, was a domestic-violence victim, but because she watched so many other NFL

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Trafficked into slavery in a cellar

Oct 17th, 2014 6:07 pm | By

A millionaire Salford couple kept a girl in their cellar as a slave for nine years. The BBC reports.

A deaf girl from Pakistan kept as a slave for nine years by a millionaire couple from Salford is to receive £100,000 in compensation.

Ilyas and Tallat Ashar were jailed last October after the girl was found in their cellar in 2009.

The victim was repeatedly raped and forced to work as a servant at the family’s properties as a child.

Manchester Crown Court ruled the couple must also repay £42,000 of benefits falsely claimed in her name.

Oh she was raped, too. That’s nice – that’s a nice touch.

She was ten when she was trafficked into the UK. TenRead the rest

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Good news, if it can be believed

Oct 17th, 2014 4:07 pm | By

News from Nigeria, which the BBC indicates should be received with caution.

Nigeria’s military says it has agreed a ceasefire with Islamist militants Boko Haram – and that the schoolgirls the group has abducted will be released.

Nigeria’s chief of defence staff, Alex Badeh, announced the truce. Boko Haram has not made a public statement.

A cease-fire? It’s hard to see how Nigeria can agree such a thing without simply letting Boko Haram go ahead and kill hundreds of people whenever the mood takes it.

But if the schoolgirls are released, that would be a very good thing.

The group has been fighting an insurgency since 2009, with some 2,000 civilians reportedly killed this year.

Oh shut up, BBC … Read the rest

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