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Guest post: We’re not trying to draw bright line boundaries at all

Jul 25th, 2015 10:51 am | By

Originally a comment by Jenora Feuer on We’re going to end up putting feminist intellectual history through its own extinction event.

I can’t comprehend what it means to “know that you are male/female,” because I don’t particularly “feel” my gender.

Me either.

There was a comment at We Hunted the Mammoth a few weeks back (I commented on it here before) where someone said that they had found two different groups of people who really didn’t ‘get’ trans issues intuitively. One was the group of people who strongly identified with their gender, assumed everybody else was like that, and therefore that anybody who didn’t identify with their gender was wrong in some way. The other was the group of … Read the rest

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Guest post: We’re going to end up putting feminist intellectual history through its own extinction event

Jul 24th, 2015 6:27 pm | By

Originally a comment by A surprise to many on The art of the question.

What the hell is so difficult about a yes-and-no answer to the “trans women are women” question? For some, perhaps even most, purposes, yes, absolutely. For other purposes (women’s reproductive health, family policy, FGM), no.

This is no different from any other socially constructed group identity. Is Barack Obama African American? Yes. And no. Is the Nigerian immigrant who runs the pizza place near my job? Yes. And no. Is someone with a Jewish father a Jew? Yes. And no. Are messianic Jews Jewish? Yes. And no.

Am I a woman? Yes. And no. Even though I was identified female at birth and have gestated … Read the rest

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In some photos there is a shackle on one of her limbs

Jul 24th, 2015 5:31 pm | By

Ashley Ford interviewed Nona Faustine for Elle.

Nona Faustine’s photographs are blowing up on Facebook and no one is more surprised than her. Born and raised in Brooklyn, with a distinct city accent, her tone is as light as her work is somber. In the “White Shoes” photo series, Faustine appears in the places where African slaves were bought, sold, and traded in 1620’s New York City. Her expression is solemn, in some photos there is a shackle on one of her limbs, and aside from her shoes, she is completely naked.

Go to the article to see some of the pictures. I saw the first one on Twitter a few days ago; it’s very powerful.

I like to

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Comment-liking crime

Jul 24th, 2015 4:57 pm | By

Ew. Now they’re monitoring what comments I like on Facebook, and blabbing about them on Twitter. It’s exactly like the slimers – they too obsessively monitor every word of mine that they can get access to. It’s creepy and disgusting and loathsome.

Where’s the brain bleach.… Read the rest

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Guest post: Back in fundie-land

Jul 24th, 2015 1:18 pm | By

Originally a comment by A Masked Avenger on The art of the question.

M. A. Melby @11:

As a recovering fundie, I can tell you that there’s only one answer to a question that ends with, “…yes or no?”, and that’s “Fuck you.”

Lawyers get to say “…yes or no?” because you’re compelled by the court to answer. You’ll go to jail for contempt if you don’t. And you’ll face contempt if you answer a yes/no question with a question, or a long answer, or a non-response. [Unfortunately] the lawyer is allowed to make such demands, because they are empowered to compel a response, and to punish you for your refusal.

Inquisitors get to say “…yes or no?” for … Read the rest

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Guest post: Submission

Jul 24th, 2015 12:58 pm | By

Originally a comment by Blondin on An overzealous state trooper.

The cop did a u-turn and covered a lot of ground to catch up with Ms Bland. From her point of view I think she did what most people would do if they saw a cop car charging up behind them. Just that aspect of the story looks suspiciously like a despicable tactic. Anyone who gets out of his way but fails to signal gets pulled over, either because he has a quota to fill, because he’s a loathsome bully who gets a kick out of antagonizing the powerless, or maybe a bit of both.

I keep reading comments saying she should have just complied; she should have just … Read the rest

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The art of the question

Jul 23rd, 2015 5:44 pm | By

Wikipedia entry: Loaded question.

A loaded question or complex question fallacy is a question which contains a controversial or unjustified assumption (e.g., a presumption of guilt).[1]

Aside from being an informal fallacy depending on usage, such questions may be used as a rhetoricaltool: the question attempts to limit direct replies to be those that serve the questioner’s agenda.[2]

President Bill Clinton, the moderator in a town meeting discussing the topic “Race In America”, in response to a participant argument that the issue was not affirmative action but “racial preferences” asked the participant a loaded question: “Do you favor the United States Army abolishing the affirmative-action program that produced Colin Powell? Yes or

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Did you do your homework?

Jul 23rd, 2015 5:21 pm | By

I got a long condescending mansplaining email from James Billingham today telling me how terrible and telling it is that I refused to answer a question that demanded a yes or no response, and how extremely simple and uncontentious it should be to answer the question with a “yes” end of story.

That claim betrays an unfamiliarity with thinking.

Thinking just doesn’t work like that. If you can answer yes or no, there’s precious little to think about. Yes or no is for simple factual questions, or practical plan-making questions. Is the light on? Did you get milk? Are you ready to go? Did you feed the cat?

Questions that are more complicated than that can pretty much never be … Read the rest

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Guest post: He’s thinking of leaving policing

Jul 23rd, 2015 4:43 pm | By

Originally a comment by sambarge on An overzealous state trooper.

The mentality isn’t that you can’t back down. It’s that you can’t escalate needlessly. As you mention, you negotiate or talk. You don’t have to be a social worker but you have to be a human being. You don’t demand something of a person that you don’t have a very good reason for demanding. Because officers are armed and empowered to use force on their own judgment, they have to be of the very best judgment. That is not what we have now.

In short, I agree with everything you’ve said.

I was discussing the Bland case with a good police officer (one who believes he serves the public)

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Tangerines and fish

Jul 23rd, 2015 11:55 am | By

A very interesting Fresh Air a couple of days ago about making the movie Tangerine, about a friendship between transgender sex workers in LA.

When film director Sean Baker moved to Los Angeles three years ago, he found himself drawn to one of the city’s most infamous intersections. The corner of Highland Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard is “an unofficial red light district,” Baker tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. But Baker’s interest in the area went beyond the usual transactions: “I thought there must be some incredible stories that take place on that corner.”

Baker wanted to tell those stories, so he and co-screenwriter Chris Bergoch began walking the streets in search of a collaborator who could act as

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An overzealous state trooper

Jul 22nd, 2015 5:56 pm | By

Oh my god.

I tell you what, one thing I will cop to is putting off stories I know are going to be unpleasant to explore. I do that. So it’s only just now that I started to watch the video of Sandra Bland’s arrest and jesus christ. I’m only 2.18 minutes in and I’ve stopped because it’s hard to take.

The cop simply loses his fucking temper because Bland has the gall to talk back to him.

He picks a fight from the outset, going up to her car window and after a few seconds saying “You seem a little irritated.” She says she is irritated, since all she did was get out of his way. He tells … Read the rest

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How the lies grow and spread

Jul 22nd, 2015 4:54 pm | By

First, the claim about what I said:

Improbable Joe ‏@ImprobableJoe Jul 21
@latsot @oolon How about this question: “did you know that the people you’re friendly with are incredibly abusive to trans people?”

latsot ‏@latsot Jul 21
@ImprobableJoe Well how about it? I’d want to know more about the abuse, I guess. @oolon

Improbable Joe ‏@ImprobableJoe Jul 21
@latsot @oolon The response I got was “how dare you question my online associations”

Then, the actual exchange:

Improbable Joe:

Hey, do you mind if I ask you why you follow obvious terrible bigots like Sarah Ditum and Helen Lewis?

Me:

Hmm. I suppose I do mind a bit, because I think the whole monitoring who follows whom thing is…silly, at

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“Do not use it with non-Muslims”

Jul 22nd, 2015 11:51 am | By

When she was 16, the daughter of a diplomat from a secular family and newly returned home to Kuwait after four years in Morocco, Elham Manea encountered a girl a year older than she was leading an Islamist religious group.

The sessions were fascinating. Our leader explained about the love of God. The moment we enter into Islam, she said, all our sins are washed away and we become equal. The fate of those who are not Muslims was never mentioned. She told us that we could be better people if only we embraced the message of Islam – the true Islam, not the corrupted form of our society. For a teenage girl, lacking direction, the message was mesmerising, and

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Yanking the Overton window back and forth

Jul 22nd, 2015 11:18 am | By

Maajid Nawaz points out in a public Facebook post that liberalism is not extremism.

No, my secular liberalism is not the “other extreme” to Islamism (a desire to enforce a version of Islam over society). The other extreme is anti-Muslim bigotry & the desire to ban Islam.

My liberalism means a legal right for you to be religious, or not.

So no, I have not gone from ‘one extreme to another’. Nor have ex-Muslims for that matter, so long as they remain liberal, ie: support individual liberty.

But obviously, if your starting point is way out there with Islamism, then even conservative Islam appears “moderate” to you, and the idea of liberalism would appear like an extremely distant aberration, even

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Working on a reply

Jul 22nd, 2015 11:14 am | By

An item from Andy McSmith’s Diary in the Independent:

Stewart McDonald, MP for Glasgow South, arranged a Commons debate on civil rights in Saudi Arabia during which he raised the Badawi case. Replying for the Government, [Foreign Office minister Tobias] Ellwood claimed “the case is in the Supreme Court and is under review. We therefore cannot interfere with that process, in the same way that the Saudi authorities would not interfere with our process.”

When challenged, he insisted: “The case has returned to the Supreme Court, which reflects the fact that the leadership has taken stock of international opinion. The punishment has stopped and is under review. Until that process moves forward, it would be incorrect to comment on

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Flying gun

Jul 21st, 2015 6:21 pm | By

Soooooo…stay out of the parks. Well just stay inside altogether. But they can come up to your windows I suppose, so…

I guess just kiss your ass goodbye.

The Feds are investigating.

The US Federal Aviation Administration says it is investigating an online video that shows an alleged home-made “drone” firing a handgun in the Connecticut countryside.

The 14-second video called Flying Gun shows a homemade multi-rotor hovering off the ground, buzzing furiously and firing a semiautomatic handgun four times at an unseen target.

It does, too. A gun. Firing. In a park.

It was posted on YouTube on July 10 and has been watched nearly 2 million times.

It was filmed by 18-year-old Austin Haughwout from Clinton, Connecticut.

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The whole earth

Jul 21st, 2015 5:36 pm | By

From NASA:

On February 11, 2015, DSCOVR was finally lofted into space by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. After journey of about 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles) to the L1 Lagrange Point, the satellite and its Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth. At L1—four times farther than the orbit of the Moon—the gravitational pull of the Sun and Earth cancel out, providing a stable orbit and a continuous view of Earth. The image above was made by combining information from EPIC’s red, green, and blue bands.(Bands are narrow regions of the electromagnetic spectrum to which a remote sensing instrument responds. When EPIC collects data, it takes

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Dahlia day

Jul 21st, 2015 4:06 pm | By

Because.

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More from Saudi Arabia

Jul 21st, 2015 12:12 pm | By

Elham Manea shares some news on the Raif Badawi front.

Important statement of the family of Raif Badawi

We have watched with great interest the response of the British Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Tobias Ellwood, in today’s Parliamentarian questioning regarding the case of Raif Badawi. Mr Ellwood said that he was informed that the case of Raif Badawi was sent back to the Saudi Supreme Court for consideration.

Although we cannot confirm this news due to the secrecy that shrouds the Supreme Court’s procedures, we do hope that the information is accurate. We recall with hope that the last statement issued by the Saudi Foreign Ministry on 12 June did deny that the Supreme Court

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The erasure of Mecca

Jul 21st, 2015 12:02 pm | By

This is something I didn’t know – the Saudis have demolished most of Mecca in order to put up shiny new modern boxes. Ziauddin Sardar wrote it up for the New York Times last year.

WHEN Malcolm X visited Mecca in 1964, he was enchanted. He found the city “as ancient as time itself,” and wrote that the partly constructed extension to the Sacred Mosque “will surpass the architectural beauty of India’s Taj Mahal.”

Fifty years on, no one could possibly describe Mecca as ancient, or associate beauty with Islam’s holiest city. Pilgrims performing the hajj this week will search in vain for Mecca’s history.

The dominant architectural site in the city is not the Sacred Mosque, where the Kaaba,

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