All entries by this author

Pieces of chewed gum

Mar 8th, 2014 11:11 am | By

Women who are Mormons are noticing that Mormonism isn’t very friendly to women.

Last year, when Kristy Money was planning a baby-naming ceremony in her Mormon congregation, she asked if she could hold her newborn during the ceremony, sitting or standing inside the circle of men who would bless her daughter.

“All I want is to hold my baby,” Dr. Money, a 29-year-old psychologist in Santa Monica, Calif., said she told her bishop. She said he refused, explaining that only men who hold the priesthood could participate.

So Kristy Money should get out of that congregation and that religion so that her daughter will not be raised in a religion that treats her as an inferior. I don’t suppose … Read the rest

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



Things that are not postmodernist

Mar 7th, 2014 6:08 pm | By

Not everything is postmodernist. Not even everything you dislike is postmodernist. Some things are not postmodernist.

Artistic license is not postmodernist. It has been around for a long time, longer than postmodernism.

Why am I telling you this? Because of some literal-minded bozos who have been complaining that a Hollywood movie about Noah and his big boat CHANGED SOME OF THE THINGS IN THE STORY.

At the request of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), Paramount added a disclaimer which reads, in part, that “[t]he film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith

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



Teach the children well

Mar 7th, 2014 5:29 pm | By

The Atlantic has a very long wordy windbaggy article arguing that universities should teach students religion; not about religion, but religion. Why? Because they’re adrift, and only religion can fix their adriftitude.

Long long long introductory passage that tells us far more than we want to know. He used to teach. He got to know some students.

What I discovered was that many of the students I talked to were disappointed, confused, and lost. They were bright kids. Many of them had looked forward to going to the university all their lives. College was, in their imaginations, a sort of promised land, a place where you find your calling and get the skills necessary to pursue it. What they found,

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



Negative action

Mar 7th, 2014 2:52 pm | By

We know affirmative action is a bad thing, right? At least we keep being told so. “People must be selected on merit, not having the right genitalia.”

What about negative action? Is that a bad thing?

Like that applied to Jenny Collier for example?

Haslemere Thursday 15th May – cancelled

7 March 2014 17:32

Hi Jenny

I’m really sorry but the venue has decided they don’t want too many women on the bill and unfortunately we need to take you out of this one. We hope that this doesn’t cause any inconvenience.

Oh no, of course it doesn’t. How could it possibly cause any inconvenience to be “taken out” of a gig you were scheduled to do, on the grounds … Read the rest

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



Near you on Friday nights

Mar 7th, 2014 2:28 pm | By

Another shrewd bit of ad-targeting on Facebook. Yes, I will certainly find this persuasive:

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



Its high price in terms of the misery and suffering it inflicts

Mar 7th, 2014 12:02 pm | By

More from that HRW statement to the Senate committee in 2012.

The proliferation of super-maximum security prisons is a symptom of profound problems in the nation’s prison systems. Beginning in the 1980s, exploding prison populations caused by increasingly lengthy sentences and diminished opportunities for early release, constrained budgets, inappropriately low staff-to-inmate ratios, and punitive correctional philosophies limited the ability of officials to operate safe and humane facilities. Many turned to prolonged solitary confinement in an effort to increase their control over prisoners. A significant impetus for super-maximum security facilities also came from politicians, who found that advocating harsh policies for criminal offenders was politically popular. Reluctant to be accused of “coddling inmates” or being “soft on crime,” few politicians have

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



A blot

Mar 7th, 2014 11:25 am | By

An item that’s been under my radar is the overuse of solitary confinement in prisons in the US. First there’s the radical, off the charts overuse of prisons themselves, then there’s the wild overuse of solitary in those prisons, and you have a shameful human rights situation. SHAMEFUL.

Fresh Air did a couple of interviews on the subject yesterday.

Human Rights Watch prepared a statement for a Senate committee in 2012.

Solitary confinement in US prisons is imposed for different reasons, but most commonly it is used as punishment for breaches of discipline (“disciplinary segregation”) or to manage prisoners considered to be particularly difficult or dangerous (“administrative segregation”).[4] The increase in solitary confinement in the United States has

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



Behold the great image of authority

Mar 7th, 2014 10:51 am | By

The bishops of the military will retain their grip on the prosecution or non-prosecution of sexual assault cases.

An ambitious bill seeking to stem the rise of sexual assaults in the military died Thursday after senators from both parties refused to limit the role of commanding officers in deciding whether to prosecute such cases.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) pushed the issue to prominence during this congressional session, arguing on behalf of victims who testified that they feared retaliation for pressing assault allegations up the military chain of command. Her bill — which won support from 17 of the 20 women in the Senate — would have shifted sexual assault investigations to military prosecutors.

Instead senators advanced a competing bill sponsored

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



Single-digit heaven

Mar 6th, 2014 6:29 pm | By

Wendy Doniger reports that Penguin’s failure to continue defending her book has caused it to…become much more popular than it was.

What is new, and heartening, this time is that the best are suddenly full of passionate intensity. The dormant liberal conscience of India was awakened by the stunning blow to freedom of speech that had been dealt by my publisher in giving in to the demands of the claimants, agreeing to take the book out of circulation and pulp all remaining copies.

I think the ugliness of the word “pulp” is what struck a nerve, conjuring up memories of “Fahrenheit 451” and Germany in the 1930s. The outrage had been pent up for many years, as other books, films,

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



Pastor under fire for pro-LGBTQ stance

Mar 6th, 2014 6:04 pm | By

Sikivu Hutchinson tells an important story at Religion Dispatches.

On Sunday morning I went to a church service for the first time in decades.

I was there as a community member to support Pastor Seth Pickens of Zion Hill Baptist church in South Los Angeles. A few days before, I’d received an urgent plea from Teka-Lark Fleming, publisher of the local Morningside Park Chronicle newspaper, encouraging progressive black folk to show up at Zion Hill in support of Seth’s pro-LGBTQ stance.

After publishing a column entitled “The 10 Reasons I Love LGBTQ folk” in Fleming’s paper, Pickens came under fire from church officials.  The controversy erupted on the heels of internal criticism he’d received for performing a marriage ceremony for

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



Upskirt navigation

Mar 6th, 2014 5:45 pm | By

If there’s a thing too ridiculous and hostile and contemptuous to be said, you can be sure there will be people to say it. On Reddit. To be passed on by Manboobz.

Her choice in clothing didn’t expose what he took a picture of to the public. He didn’t take a picture of her shins or her knees, he took a picture of the section of her that was under the skirt. It’s exposed to the sidewalk and the floor, but it’s not exposed to the public.… Read the rest

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



Massachusetts will no longer be a refuge for upskirters

Mar 6th, 2014 4:53 pm | By

The Massachusetts legislature fixed that particular omission.

Massachusetts lawmakers Thursday passed a bill banning “upskirting” in response to a ruling by the state’s highest court that said a law aimed at criminalizing voyeurism did not apply to the snapping of secret photos up a woman’s skirt.

The bill now goes to Gov. Deval Patrick, who has publicly committed to signing it, his office said Thursday.

The bill would make photographing or recording video under a person’s clothing illegal, according to a statement from the office of Senate President Therese Murray.

Good. Thank you.

By the way…Is it illegal in Massachusetts (and all the other states) to, for instance, drill a hole in a neighbor’s wall to insert a tiny … Read the rest

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



Register now!

Mar 6th, 2014 1:35 pm | By

It creeps me out to do this because it’s so me me me but Melody says it helps so I’m doing it anyway. If you’re planning to go to Women in Secularism 3 but haven’t gotten around to registering you should do it today if you want the chance to win a signed copy of Why Truth Matters.

Register here.

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



Help them pack

Mar 6th, 2014 12:05 pm | By

A very important thing, that I did not know about: the white man march.

If you go to the home page you will see a photo of four of the whitest white people anyone ever saw. They are dazzlingly white; whitely white white. They are posed as a family group but who knows if they are really a family. They could just be the four people who won the contest in each of four divisions:

  • whitest little girl
  • whitest little boy
  • whitest woman
  • whitest man

There’s an explanation or FAQ page for people who wonder what the white man march is all about.

The White Man March is scheduled for March 15th, 2014, and will involve coordinated pro-white activity

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



Guest post: Knowing everything is just not possible

Mar 6th, 2014 11:20 am | By

Originally a comment by mildlymagnificent on Or even another Tosh.

My own feeling about the far too many self titled skeptics that I deal with online is that they’ve not really learned to be appropriately skeptical. The first and most important lesson for a real skeptic is to acknowledge that it is no longer possible, if it ever really was, to be a “renaissance man” or a fully rounded autodidact.

There really is a limit to how much of the available knowledge and skill in any given topic a non-expert can acquire. So the first responsibility of being skeptical is as accurate an assessment as possible of one’s own expertise.It really doesn’t matter how clever you are or … Read the rest

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



Another “feminists should stfu” message

Mar 6th, 2014 10:27 am | By

So, it’s International Women’s Day on Saturday. Well how fucked up is that, am I right? When is it ever International Men’s Day? When is it Rich People’s Day? White People’s Day? Straight People’s Day? Are we not all human beings???

Fortunately, the president of the Humanist Society of South Australia, Justin Millikan, is on the case. He posted a super-appropriate item on the HSSA page to make this very point. What super-appropriate item is that? A link to an article with the brilliantly aphoristic and wise title:

It is about humanism, not simply feminism

Oh, yes; thank god somebody said that at last. The hell with all this feminism and anti-racism and anti-colonialism and gay rights, the hell with … Read the rest

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



Lev Tahor members flee the country

Mar 6th, 2014 9:51 am | By

An eyewitness tells us in a comment that some of the people at Lev Tahor have fled.

I live less than a kilometre from this group’s houses (I can see them from my backyard across the cornfield) and in the country news travels fast… My neighbour called this afternoon to say that seven cop cars were blocking the entrance to the housing units.

It seems these persecuted families are on the move again…. The Chatham Daily News is now reporting that the 13 children who were due to be taken into protective care today and their parents have now fled to the Caribbean to frustrate justice AGAIN.

Before I saw that comment I saw an email from a reader with … Read the rest

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



No reasonable expectation of privacy

Mar 5th, 2014 4:53 pm | By

WHAT????

CNN reports the Massachusetts Supreme Court says upskirt photography is legal.

Massachusetts’ highest court ruled Wednesday that it is not illegal to secretly photograph underneath a person’s clothing — a practice known as “upskirting” — prompting one prosecutor to call for a revision of state law.

The high court ruled that the practice did not violate the law because the women who were photographed while riding Boston public transportation were not nude or partially nude.

Unnnnnnnh? Yes they were – under their clothes, they were stark naked. Remember that book title – Naked Under My Clothes? It was a joke, but – yes, if someone shoves a camera down your pants, you’re naked, which is why the someone … Read the rest

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



Value in a godless community

Mar 5th, 2014 4:10 pm | By

Amy has a good project: skeptics and atheists do good things and say you’re doing them.

Over the years I have self-identified as an atheist and as a skeptic. But lately, I look around these communities and I don’t see much that reflects who I am or how I feel about the world. I see no need to go into details about that. If you read this blog, you know that over the years many of us who have dedicated our time and money to advancing skepticism in particular, have been let down by the majority of people in leadership positions. Those leaders are not my leaders anymore. They do not stand for my ethical principles. And the good

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



Guest post on Humans, gods, and morality

Mar 5th, 2014 2:53 pm | By

Originally a comment by Marcus Ranum on Separating god from morality.

Morality is such a human concept, it’s hard to see how it would apply to a god, anyway. What does “fairness” mean to a god? Or “honesty”? Can you “steal” from a god? Could a human and a god have a meaningful conversation about morality, especially given the vast power-differential between us?

Epicurus touched on this in one of his sayings:

A blessed and indestructible being has no trouble himself and brings no trouble upon any other being; so he is free from anger and partiality, for all such things imply weakness.

By the same token, I think the idea of a god loving a human (or all … Read the rest

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