All entries by this author

And he likes to wear sparkly tutus

Aug 28th, 2016 7:45 am | By

A Facebook post by Jen Anderson Shattuck:

My three-and-a-half-year-old son likes to play trucks. He likes to do jigsaw puzzles. He likes to eat plums. And he likes to wear sparkly tutus. If asked, he will say the tutus make him feel beautiful and brave. If asked, he will say there are no rules about what boys can wear or what girls can wear.

My son has worn tutus to church. He has worn tutus to the grocery store. He has worn tutus on the train and in the sandbox. It has been, in our part of the world, a non-issue. We have been asked some well-intentioned questions; we’ve answered them; it has been fine. It WAS fine, Read the rest

Guest post: Guess who some of those other racist developers were

Aug 27th, 2016 5:42 pm | By

Guest post by James Garnett

Today on I see that Donald Trump gave a speech in which he says that he will “fix the inner cities”. He complained about violence and shootings, declaring “we, as a society, cannot tolerate this level of violence and suffering”. It seems like he thinks that the problem of “the inner cities” is violence, and moreover that his solution is probably stricter sentencing, prison terms, etc.

But what really is the “problem” of the inner cities in America’s larger metropolitan areas? Surely there are many causes, but one that seems to be consistent is poverty. Violence always naturally follows where poverty takes root. It didn’t used to be like that, though—poverty was not always … Read the rest

You shoot at the enemy

Aug 27th, 2016 5:16 pm | By

And here we have Maine governor Paul LePage being “colorful.”

Paul R. LePage, the ever-combative Republican governor of Maine, refused on Friday to apologize to a Democratic state lawmaker for leaving a threatening and expletive-studded voicemail message that was criticized by some state Republicans and left top Democrats suggesting that Mr. LePage should resign.

You’ll be wanting to know what the expletives were. The Times doesn’t want to tell you, but I listened to a recording at Salon. The epithets were:

  • You cocksucher.
  • You little socialist son of a bitch cocksucker.

Not very gubernatorial, I think you’ll agree.

Mr. LePage did apologize in a statement Friday to the state for his choice of words in the voicemail message, but

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Aug 27th, 2016 3:44 pm | By

There are a lot of ways to enforce orthodoxy. A very popular one right now is to accuse heretics of “denying my/our lived experience,” at which point the heretic had damn well better apologize and swear to do better, or else prepare to be shunned.

But lived experience isn’t a conversation-ender. People can claim to have experienced anything, including absurdities, so why should it be treated as ungainsayable? People have claimed to be victims of  Satanic rituals, alien abductions, the Freemasons, reverse racism, hauntings, The Jews, misandry – you name it. They’re not always right, and they’re not always telling the truth. We’re not required to believe everyone’s stories about “lived experience,” so the accusation of failing to do … Read the rest

Looking empowered

Aug 27th, 2016 11:05 am | By

So there was a book launch today in Townsville, Queensland in Australia of Prostitution Narratives, a compilation of sex trade survivor testimonies. The launch was disrupted by pro sex trade advocates.

Members of the public were invited to the book launch at a Townsville domestic violence service over three weeks ago, through advertising on social media.

The domestic violence service that offered the use of their conference room, as they do for many groups,  was contacted by a representative of local sex industry group RESPECT, a couple of weeks ago. They said they disagreed with the event and asked to leave their flyers at the venue.  The host service agreed to accept the flyers.

On Friday last week

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Only the fanatic can ever win in this Not Muslim Enough game

Aug 26th, 2016 6:03 pm | By

Maajid Nawaz had an excellent piece on the “burkini” issue at the Daily Beast yesterday. He says the ban is absurd and petty, and also playing into the hands of the Islamists, who want to see a religious war cleaving the world into two factions. But he also says that the whole “modesty” thing is terrible.

There is no better way to kickstart dividing people along exclusively religious lines than by committing atrocities in the name of Islam. Their hope is that everyone else also begins to identify Sunni Muslims primarily by their religious identities, in reaction to the atrocities. In this way, religious identity has won and citizenship becomes redundant.

But the backward trajectory of contemporary liberalism is

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An opportunity to dip her toe in the water

Aug 26th, 2016 11:35 am | By

Mahnaz Nadeem has an excellent piece on the burkini ban at Sedaa.

She looks back to a time when Muslims weren’t under relentless pressure to demonstrate their religiosity.

Before then Islam was cultural and spiritual and no-one was publicly over-preoccupied with proving how puritanical they were; they were more concerned about the day-to-day and making the most of their arrival to this land of opportunity. Iranian Fatwas, Bosnia, Chechnya, Palestine issue, 9/11 and Wahhabi funding changed our psyche so that we came to adopt religious positions by default on absolutely everything under the sun.

Which is a bad trend, because the religious position isn’t always the best one, to put it mildly.

Muslim women who wear the costume are

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Welcome to the university

Aug 26th, 2016 10:56 am | By

The whole point of women is to be machines for sucking the penis.

A giant banner sign posted at a home near the University of Cincinnati campus asking “Your daughter got a gag reflex?” has area residents, returning students, and alumni upset, saying it represents rape culture. They’re demanding the university take swift action against those responsible.

“Rape culture” isn’t even adequate to name that. It reduces female humans to literally nothing but holes for men to use as penis-pumping devices. I’m naïve enough to think that’s not the sum total of what girls go to universities for.… Read the rest

As a mother she wants to make sure no one is falling through the cracks

Aug 26th, 2016 10:17 am | By

The EpiPen price gougers are busy explaining that it’s all the fault of the insurance industry. I expect that if you asked the insurance industry, it would be quick to offer the explanation that it’s actually all the fault of the pharmaceutical industry. Meanwhile little Susie just accidentally ingested some peanut, and will she get the injection in time? Tune in tomorrow to find out.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch struggled Thursday to justify the repeated big price hikes of the company’s lifesaving EpiPen devices as criticism continued that Mylan is gouging consumers with a retail cost of more than $600.

“No one’s more frustrated than me,” Bresch told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday when she was pressed on the

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The burkini ban

Aug 26th, 2016 8:33 am | By

Breaking news: France’s highest administrative court has ruled the burkini ban illegal.

The State Council upheld a challenge by human rights groups which argued that the ban in the Riviera resort of Villeneuve-sur-Loubet infringed personal freedoms in a ruling that is likely to set a legal precedent for 29 other towns that have banned the garment.

The ban “constituted a serious and manifestly illegal infringement of fundamental liberties, ” the State Council said in its judgement.

Patrice Spinosi, a lawyer for the Human Rights League, said the decision to “suspend” the ban would also apply to the other 29 French towns.

I’m sure you’re all well familiar with this incident in Nice:

There’s no denying it’s beyond bizarre … Read the rest

Secret hearings with no transcripts

Aug 25th, 2016 6:14 pm | By

In more news from the Moral Squalor Files – the ACLU is suing an Arkansas county for setting up a debtors’ prison.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the City of Sherwood, its district court judge, and Pulaski County. The suit claims they’re violating a person’s due process rights, and preying on the poor, by creating a never-ending spiral in hot check cases.

This lawsuit claims that the Sherwood courts are trapping people into a never-ending spiral of repetitive court proceedings and ever-increasing debt, adding it’s been happening for the past 25 years or so.

Squalid though we are, we don’t allow debtors’ prisons.

“In this country, you cannot be jailed if you

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A nice little earner

Aug 25th, 2016 6:00 pm | By

For the backstory on the EpiPen price-gouging – Tom Cahill at US Uncut:

The EpiPen is a life-saving device commonly used by those with food allergies susceptible to anaphylaxis. Should someone accidentally ingest food that prompts a potentially fatal allergic reaction, like peanuts or shellfish, the EpiPen provides an emergency dose of epinephrine into the person’s bloodstream, immediately alleviating anaphylactic shock. Sheldon Kaplan, who invented the EpiPen, designed it on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense to provide an easily deliverable antidote to nerve gas. The company he was working for eventually released it for public use several years later.

However, in 2007, Mylan Pharmaceuticals acquired the rights to the EpiPen and immediately started raising the price. After

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Need an EpiPen, kid? That will be $600

Aug 25th, 2016 5:49 pm | By

Here’s a good thing to sign: a petition to Mylan Pharmaceuticals telling it to undo its massive price hike on EpiPens.

To: Heather Bresch, CEO, Mylan Pharmaceuticals
From: Your Name Here

The EpiPen contains only $1 worth of medicine, but you’re charging hundreds of times that amount. How many poor children will die because their parents can’t afford $600 EpiPens? Drop the price of this lifesaving medicine NOW!

The petition has gone viral, and social pressure does work in these cases.

Meanwhile, the way we do things in this country? It’s disgusting.… Read the rest

For the little people, for the real people

Aug 25th, 2016 1:53 pm | By

Of course. Nigel Farage teams up with Trump to give the Two Worst White Assholes show.

Farage won cheers by sticking to his time-honed rhetoric of slightly shaggy populism, low on specifics but heavy with generalist calls to national pride and taking back control.

“I think that you have a fantastic opportunity here,” he told the crowd. “With this campaign, you can go out, you can beat the pollsters, you can beat the commentators, you can beat Washington. And you’ll do it by doing what we did for Brexit in Britain.

“My advice for you – if you want change in this country, you’d better get your walking boots on, you’d better get out there campaigning. And remember, anything

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This ain’t ‘kids joshing around’

Aug 25th, 2016 11:34 am | By

A couple of days ago it was Michelle Marie getting a barrage of abuse on Twitter. The next day it was hackers abusing Leslie Jones. Sexism and racism meet to form the fun new game of Attack the Visible Black Woman.

Leslie Jones, a co-star of this year’s “Ghostbusters” movie who has been besieged in the past month by online abusers who have targeted her appearance and her race, was victimized again on Wednesday when her personal website appeared to have been hacked.

The hackers inserted a picture of the gorilla Harambe on the site, and exposed what appeared to be explicit photos of the actress, along with pictures of her driver’s license and a passport, and images

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Beyond the usual platitudes

Aug 25th, 2016 11:14 am | By

The University of Chicago has written a little note to incoming students, in which it tells them not to bother expecting trigger warnings or safe spaces.

They all received a letter recently from John Ellison, dean of students, which went beyond the usual platitudes of such letters and made several points about what he called one of Chicago’s “defining characteristics,” which he said was “our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression.” Ellison said civility and respect are “vital to all of us,” and people should never be harassed. But he added, “You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and

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Said no woman ever

Aug 25th, 2016 9:31 am | By

A new Assigned Male comic, from the series by Sophie Labelle:

Sophie Labelle

Liar liar pants on fire.

Have you ever seen any women saying what the woman in the second panel says? That trans people “deserve to suffer a slow death and be raped in a dark alley”? I don’t recall ever seeing that or anything like it, while I do recall seeing a lot of the inverse – trans women calling down violence on feminist women.

Sophie Labelle – translation: Wisey Thepretty – is doing that thing called PROJECTION.

It’s a funny thing that there’s so much ragey abuse from trans women to women – and so little from trans men to men or women. Why … Read the rest

When she speaks, we forget that the sex buyer exists

Aug 24th, 2016 5:28 pm | By

The Swedish writer Kajsa Ekis Ekman takes a hard look at feminist women who rush to the defense of johns.

There is something very odd about the prostitution debate. While the absolute majority of sex buyers are male, an overwhelming majority of intellectuals defending prostitution are women. It’s a strange phenomenon that most definitely needs its own analysis.

At the forefront of international “sex work” discourse, we generally do not find a sex buyer, but a female academic. In any magazine, at any conference, at any event where the john is to be even remotely criticized — a pro-prostitution female academic is there to defend him.

Who is she? Well, she calls herself “subversive,” “revolutionary,” even “feminist.” That

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An inconvenient trip

Aug 24th, 2016 4:52 pm | By

There’s Two Women Travel. You can just read their tweets, and the BBC has a story.

The description on their Twitter bio was simple: “Two Women, one procedure, 48 hours away from home.” But more than 40,000 tweets about their journey revealed a conversation that was far more complex.

The Twitter account @TwoWomenTravel was set up on Saturday by a pregnant Irish woman and her companion. It documented their journey from Ireland to the UK for an abortion.

Because of course they can’t get one in Ireland, still under the heavy thumb of the Catholic church.

As hundreds showed their solidarity for the woman and her companion, their actions gained attention from high-profile social media users like comedian

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Fetishistic invocations of Logic and Reason and Facts

Aug 24th, 2016 4:37 pm | By

Sam Kriss went to a Conway Hall event to hear from the brave champions of Free Speech.

Last night, I watched the trolls announce their revolution. At the launch of the Young British Heritage Society – something describing itself as a “new conservative and libertarian national student organisation dedicated to opposing political correctness on the university campus” – chairman Danial Mirza asked his audience for a show of hands: who among them had been banned from Facebook or Twitter? A loose thicket of arms suddenly rose out of the crowd.

These are the inexplicably furious young reactionaries of the internet, the people who every so often make the news, whenever they’re accused of ruining the life of another liberal

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