All entries by this author

You’re wearing that?

Mar 25th, 2015 11:13 am | By

Helen Lewis has been following the NUS Women’s conference, including the brouhaha about the jazz hands item. She has some questions about some of the votes.

The conference also voted to renew the no-platform on radical feminist Julie Bindel, for (among other things) reiterating her belief that “bisexuality doesn’t exist as a sexual identity, thus erasing bisexual individuals’ identities and experiences” and having “criticised women who wear the niqab in her article for the Daily Mail . . . [by] refusing to believe that Muslim women have made their own decision to wear the niqab she denies Muslim women agency”.

Oh really? What about Muslim women who criticize women who wear the niqab? Are they too denying Muslim women … Read the rest

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The very young ones they give to madrassas

Mar 25th, 2015 10:15 am | By

More hideous news from the Boko Haram front.

About 500 children aged 11 and under are missing from a Nigerian town recaptured from militants, a former resident of Damasak has told the BBC.

A trader in the north-eastern town told Reuters news agency that Boko Haram fighters took the children with them when they fled.

Five hundred.

The senator representing the north of Borno state, Maina Maaji Lawan, told the BBC’s Nigeria correspondent, Will Ross, that the case in Damasak was typical and many hundreds of children were missing.

He said: “The very young ones they give to madrassas [Islamic schools]… and male ones between 16 and 25, they conscript them and they indoctrinate them as supply channels

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The abuse contained the strongest expletives

Mar 25th, 2015 9:57 am | By

The BBC has finally sacked Jeremy Clarkson, and it tells us (up to a point) what the “fracas” was. (Note, by the way, the self-serving word. People do love to do that – use the passive voice with no agent [“what happened” “what was said”] and mild words in place of accurate ones. “Fracas” – it sounds like 18th century gents quarreling over ale in Sam Johnson’s sitting room. “Fracas” is cozy for “that time I punched and shouted at and threatened someone.” The word is “assault” at the very least.) (I’m well aware that millions of people must have already said all that. I wanted to say it anyway.)

In a statement from BBC Director General Tony Hall

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Tonight’s song

Mar 25th, 2015 9:21 am | By

A perfect Jesus and Mo today – “perfect” in the egocentric sense of “exactly what I’m thinking about myself right this second”…but also in the more usual sense.

Many thanks to Saudi Arabia for this week’s strip.

Zing!

Support Jesus and Mo at PatreonRead the rest

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The reason women even exist

Mar 24th, 2015 3:02 pm | By

Explaining what women are for. (Some guy shared this link as he was trolling on Twitter, and I saw it.)

The Word of God (Hebrews 4:12-13) does not flatter women (nor men). He tells it like it is, and it is often not the way people think it is (Isaiah 55:8; Romans 1:18). Women are not the same as men. Some, it seems, have not noticed this simple fact. But, the reality is, the Creator made two different kinds of human beings, one male and one female, and He expects them to behave accordingly (e.g. Deuteronomy 22:5). The male was made out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). The female was made out of the male’s rib

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Saudi Arabia is “a beacon of light”

Mar 24th, 2015 2:47 pm | By

Oh, that’s how you want to play it, Saudi Arabia? It might backfire. I certainly hope it does.

Adam Taylor at the Washington Post blog.

You know how Margot Wallström was going to give a talk at the Arab League, a talk that included some praise for the idea of women’s rights, and how Saudi Arabia blocked her from giving that talk and recalled its ambassador and generally threw a huge tantrum.

The feud has sparked an intense domestic debate, with Sweden’s king even stepping in. Part of this is because of the considerable economic pressure Saudi Arabia is able to put on Sweden (Sweden exported $1.3 billion to Saudi Arabia last year). But perhaps even more powerful has

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Silly or trolling: pick one

Mar 24th, 2015 2:19 pm | By

Great. Another mobbing. NUS Women, the National Union of Students Women, are apparently having a conference and they tweeted a ludicrous and embarrassing tweet, so…of course they’re being Twitter-mobbed, because it’s Tuesday.

First the ludicrous tweet.

Well jazz hands trigger my anxiety, so could we do a square dance instead? But wait, square dances trigger some people, so maybe we could meditate for 2 minutes instead? Yes that should work, and I can’t see any possible downside at all.

Ok fine, it’s a silly suggestion, but Twitter mobs are overkill for silliness. The hashtag is mob-city.

We can’t have any nice things!

 … Read the rest

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A reassessment

Mar 24th, 2015 12:37 pm | By

Deep rifts? Between the US administration and Netanyahu?

The White House issued a passionate call for eventual Palestinian statehood on Monday as it stepped up criticism of the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, for appearing to question a two-state solution to Middle East peace.

“An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end,” Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, told a conference of liberal activists in Washington. “Israel cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely,” he added.

“A ‘one-state solution’ would effectively end Israel’s nature as a Jewish and democratic state,” he added. “Unilateral annexation of the West Bank territories would be both wrong and illegal. The United States would never support it, and it’s

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Even after adjusting for factors such as

Mar 24th, 2015 12:19 pm | By

Jeez, you’d think at least nursing would pay women as much as men. But no.

Even though nine out of 10 nurses are women, men in the profession earn higher salaries, and the pay gap has remained constant over the past quarter century, a study finds.

The typical salary gap has consistently been about $5,000 even after adjusting for factors such as experience, education, work hours, clinical specialty, and marital and parental status, according to a report in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

Well boo.

Muench and colleagues used two large U.S. data sets to examine earnings over time. One, the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, provided responses from nearly 88,000 participants from 1988 to

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Seeing that freedom under fire

Mar 24th, 2015 11:33 am | By

This one is so dense I can’t see how anyone can believe it.

A Republican congressman has introduced legislation that would force cadets at the Air Force’s Academy to say “so help me God” during their oaths every school year. He said the legislation is necessary because Americans don’t have “freedom from religion.”

Yes we do. Freedom of religion includes freedom from [requirements to adhere to] religion. Of course it does.

He said the bill would protect the freedom of Our Sojers.

“Our Constitution’s very First Amendment protects every individual’s freedom of religion. But our servicemen and women who protect our county with their lives are seeing that freedom under fire,” he said in a statement.

The U.S. Air Force

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They smashed a brick in her face and called her “Rushdie’s bitch”

Mar 24th, 2015 11:04 am | By

An open letter from PEN South Africa:

The savage attack on Zainub Dala shows the terror of the freedom to use words, and the desire to obliterate them.

On Wednesday March 18 author, Zainub Priya Dala was violently attacked as she left her hotel during the Time of the Writer Festival in Durban. A woman driving alone, she was harassed by three men who forced her off the road, cornered her, held a knife at her throat, smashed a brick in her face, and called her “Rushdie’s bitch”. The day before she had been asked about writers she admired: Salman Rushdie’s name had figured on a long list of others. People walked out in protest.

Writers do not fear

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Hit in the face with a brick

Mar 24th, 2015 10:01 am | By

A South African author was hit in the face with a brick last week for daring to say she likes the writing style of Salman Rushdie. The Hindustan Times reports:

An Indian-origin author in South Africa was brutally assaulted and verbally abused after she praised controversial writer Salman Rushdie whose work has angered Muslims around the world.

No. That bad phrasing again. Some theocratic Muslims decided to make an issue of one of Salman Rushdie’s novels, and worked up other Muslims to join in. His work did not just straightforwardly “anger Muslims around the world.”

Zainub Priya Dala was hit in the face with a brick last week after she praised Rushdie’s writing at a school in Durban, a

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You don’t say?

Mar 24th, 2015 9:21 am | By

There’s a program at Duke, the You Don’t Say? campaign, in which student athletes say why it’s not cool to use a particular slur.

One sample:

You Don’t Say? Campaign

I had to look through a lot of them to find it, but there is one for “cunt.”

 … Read the rest

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We’re not doing too badly

Mar 23rd, 2015 5:36 pm | By

Humphrey and the boys agree that in principle they’re all in favor. Oh yes certainly. We’re all thoroughly in favor of equal rights for the ladies.

As Sir Humphrey says…

And speaking as an ardent feminist myself -

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhZRDoGZg00

H/t Cassidy McJones… Read the rest

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Mustn’t be greedy

Mar 23rd, 2015 5:09 pm | By

Via Musawahin India the Supreme Court ruled against polygamy.

In a historic decision last month, the Supreme Court denied a Muslim man the right to have more than one wife and upheld his termination from employment for committing bigamy. The court observed that polygamy was not integral to Islam and the practice was not mandated by religion simply because it was permitted. Similarly, in 2005, the SC had boldly acknowledged that, despite codification and the introduction of monogamy, too many Hindu marriages, like Muslim marriages, continue to be bigamous. This latest SC decision is in line with the reform of Muslim personal law that it initiated three decades ago in the Shah Bano case.

In a catena

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River day

Mar 23rd, 2015 4:51 pm | By

More river graphics.

The Missouri has such an eccentric course. Poor Lewis and Clark, thinking it was just going to flow tidily west into the Pacific and be a super-useful transportation route.

Missouri river basin (Wikimedia Commons)

West! North! West! North north north north! Westnorthwestnorthwest west west west SOUTH!

And then it breaks into three smaller ones and the Pacific is still way over on the other side of a lot of mountains.

And then look at the comparative volumes. I had NO idea the Ohio was 20 times the size of the other two.

Wikimedia

H/t Alex

The Mississippi is really the Ohio. Who knew??

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Fluvial

Mar 23rd, 2015 4:20 pm | By

I got curious, for some reason I don’t remember, about what causes one river to flow into another, so I did some Google-work and found a big ol’ source on rivers in Virginia. I love this one graphic:

(Source: USGS National Atlas)

Rivers rivers everywhere!… Read the rest

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The greatest threats to women, in his view

Mar 23rd, 2015 1:22 pm | By

Here’s the thing. If you have a conspicuous history of complaining about “American women” objecting to what you consider trivial problems like sexual harassment, it’s silly for you to insist that you’re an “ardent feminist.” You can’t do both, as the saying goes. You can take constant potshots at feminism, or you can be an ardent feminist, but you can’t do both. You can claim you’re an ardent feminist while taking constant potshots at feminism, but it won’t be an honest claim.

Just last November – such a short time ago – Kimberly Winston made clear what a yawning gap there is between the claims to be a passionate feminist and the reality.

Bottom line: He stands by everything he

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El Rhazoui’s “relative position of power”

Mar 23rd, 2015 12:47 pm | By

Shulevitz ends that op-ed with a story that needs separate treatment, because it’s a whole other issue, and one I have very strong feelings about.

A few weeks ago, Zineb El Rhazoui, a journalist at Charlie Hebdo, spoke at the University of Chicago, protected by the security guards she has traveled with since supporters of the Islamic State issued death threats against her. During the question-and-answer period, a Muslim student stood up to object to the newspaper’s apparent disrespect for Muslims and to express her dislike of the phrase “I am Charlie.”

Ms. El Rhazoui replied, somewhat irritably, “Being Charlie Hebdo means to die because of a drawing,” and not everyone has the guts to do that (although she didn’t

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And a video of frolicking puppies

Mar 23rd, 2015 12:01 pm | By

I saw an oped by Judith Shulevitz being passed around by a lot of AntiSocialJusticeWarriors yesterday, so I’m reading it. It’s about safe spaces and avoiding scary ideas and all that – a familiar enough subject.

If her account is accurate there is some very silly stuff out there, but it’s not clear whether it’s just some patches of eccentricity or a pervasive trend. Still…let’s look at a patch or trend, whichever it is. There was a debate on rape culture at Brown University, for instance.

Meanwhile, student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting.

The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who

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