All entries by this author

What in the world are these people applauding themselves for?

Apr 26th, 2015 11:05 am | By

Rosie DiManno at the Star is repulsed by the rejoicing over the “clarification” by Justice Edward. She is rude enough to point out that it’s a good outcome for JJ but not for her predecessor.

It is nothing less than a tragedy that a second family lost their own similarly afflicted 11-year-old daughter, Makayla Sault, after chemotherapy was spurned.

The two cases are linked because, in both instances, Brant Children and Family Services refused to intervene and compel chemo by taking the girls into agency care.

In the J.J. matter, Justice Gethin Edward ruled last November that the child was not in need of removal from the bosom of her loving family and, further — shockingly — that the

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The child’s well-being has to be balanced against rights to traditional medicine

Apr 26th, 2015 10:30 am | By

Remember? The ruling by Justice Gethin Edward of the Ontario Court of Justice that it was ok for parents to take their child off chemotherapy for leukemia because they’re First Nations people  and

Maybe First Nations culture doesn’t require every child to be treated with chemotherapy and to survive for that culture to have value.

Well now he’s “clarified” that ruling.

The clarification of a controversial court ruling that allowed the mother of an 11-year-old First Nations girl to pull her out of chemotherapy says the best interests of the child are “paramount,” but traditional medicine must be respected.

It is a “significant qualification” of Ontario court Judge Gethin Edward’s November 2014 ruling, according to one legal expert, which

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Guest post: David Cameron’s Handshake with African Homophobic and Witch hunting Pastor

Apr 26th, 2015 9:45 am | By

Guest post by Leo Igwe.

The photos of UK Prime Minister David Cameron shaking hands with the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Rev Enoch Adeboye at the Festival of Life program holding in London must disgust anyone who knows about the teachings and positions of Adeboye and his church, particularly on issues of homosexuality and witchcraft. Rev Adeboye was one of the pastors who openly canvassed support for the anti gay marriage bill stating that homosexuality would wipe out humanity.

He said:

Same-sex marriage is an anathema to the will of God for human beings to be fruitful, replenish and multiply on earth. Anything contrary to that is evil.

How can a man who marries

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All around Pakistan, there are brave women like Mahmud

Apr 26th, 2015 9:02 am | By

Elisabeth Braw wrote an admiring article about Sabeen Mahmud in 2013. It’s heartbreaking to read now.

When you enter Sabeen Mahmud’s airy The Second Floor café, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’re in San Francisco. The walls feature works by young local artists; the menu offers panini and café lattes, and announcements invite you to author readings and discussion evenings. Indeed, with her short, stylish hairdo and edgy glasses, Mahmud herself looks very Californian.

But this is Karachi, a city that most of the outside world associates with extremism and sectarian violence. In fact, Mahmud’s café is a risky endeavor. Intelligence officers frequently show up, especially at Indian events. “But fear is a line in your head”, she reflects.

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Then there remain the many social issues

Apr 25th, 2015 5:09 pm | By

An interesting comment at PZ’s by Keith Monaghan.

Irish Atheist here. I used to be a supporter and paying member of Atheist Ireland until all this went down and Nugent went off the rails. He has poisoned the entire organisation with his willingness to defend abusers and provide a forum to known harassers. Not to mention his embarrassing brown nosing of our great “thought leaders” Dawkins, et al. It’s a real shame because many in Atheist Ireland have been doing great work regarding raising awareness about our ridiculous blasphemy law and the overwhelming control of our schools by the Catholic Church among a great many other abuses committed in the name of religion.

But just as the charitable acts of

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The mirror image is just as foul

Apr 25th, 2015 4:26 pm | By

Nick Cohen looks at the way Lutfur Rahman exploited leftwing ideas to protect his own personal power.

[H]e rigged the vote by using “undue spiritual influence”, an accusation unheard of in a British court since the 19th century. Rahman persuaded clerics to go far beyond saying they thought he was the best candidate. Islam is under threat, they said in so many words. It was the duty of all Muslims to vote for Rahman. If Bangladeshi voters did not, they would be siding with their Islamophobic enemies, perhaps even defying god’s will.

We are used to thinking of racism as Nigel Farage or the Tory tabloids egging on their readers to see the Aids-afflicted foreigner as the enemy. Indeed, it

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Apr 25th, 2015 3:51 pm | By

More from Kathmandu.

Siobhan Heanue again:

Still can’t believe what I witnessed in #NepalQuake today. History crumbling, a nation in despair.

Sachin Jung Karki™ @sachinkarki 10 hours ago
Only Memory #NepalQuake

AJE News ‏@AJENews 20 minutes ago
#NepalQuake magnitude has been revised to 7.8

7.8. That’s so massive.

Samantha Power ‏@AmbassadorPower 3 hours ago
US sending immediate humanitarian aid, disaster assistance teams to support response to #NepalQuake. We stand with ppl of region.

Joel Samuel ‏@joel__Samuel 12 hours ago
#NepalQuake @googleindia launches #PeopleFinder to help people find their kin @ibnlive …

The current death toll is at 1,400 and (of course) rising.… Read the rest

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Maajid’s take: No idea is above scrutiny. No people are beneath dignity.

Apr 25th, 2015 1:04 pm | By

Well so much for Labour.

From the Indy:

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said his party will make Islamophobia an aggravated crime, toughing existing hate crime legislation.

Mr Miliband also said that his party intended to ensure that instances of Islamophobia were marked on peoples’ records, in an interview with The Muslim Times.

Although Islamophobia already falls under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act of 2006, whereby it is punishable by up to seven years imprisonment, Mr Miliband’s proposal would allow authorities to hand down tougher sentences for similar crimes.

“We are going to make it an aggravated crime. We are going to make sure it is marked on people’s records with the police to make sure they root

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Guest post: The suicide pilot

Apr 25th, 2015 12:52 pm | By

Guest post by Simon Trepel, MD. He has more essays at Simon’s Creative Behavioural Therapy.

Truthfully, I probably would not have cared so much, about the shitty thing that Lubitz did, but I was literally stranded on a desert island, thousands of miles across the ocean from home, when he crashed the plane. Now, stranded is a relative term, the island was Hawaii, and I could only be less stranded while being on a desert island, if I was in Australia. But that is where I received the parcel of hate that he chose to deliver to my meme mailbox, that elephant part of your brain that never forgets, yet we call it the hippocampus. That would be a … Read the rest

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The inclusivity of the Students’ Union had to be “maintained”

Apr 25th, 2015 12:13 pm | By

Another “uh oh no you can’t make jokes about erm you know that one guy” episode, this time at the University of Bath.

[“]According to CWIPS” was the title of the performance that had the cramped, upstairs-corner of the Bath Brew House roaring with laughter. The show combined pop culture, Richard Dawkins, and the bestseller of all time – the Bible – to construct an amusingly witty performance. However, prior to the opening night, the society was met with some rather strong requests to edit the show.

[D]uring the opening week one of the SU officials quietly attended one of the rehearsals. Just four hours prior to opening night the committee of CWIPS was told that a sketch

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Un-silencing Balochistan

Apr 25th, 2015 11:47 am | By

The Guardian explains why Sabeen Mahmud was murdered – it was because Baloch separatism is a touchy issue in Pakistan (and it’s become fashionable there to murder people who mention touchy issues).

A leading member of Pakistan’s small band of liberal social activists has been gunned down outside the pioneering Karachi arts venue she founded, in an apparent bid to silence discussion about the country’s brutal efforts to smother separatism in the restive province of Balochistan.

The murder of Sabeen Mahmud on Friday sent shockwaves through Pakistan’s embattled intelligentsia both because she was much loved but also because the killing happened immediately after an event she organised with Mama Abdul Qadeer, an elderly Baloch activist campaigning on behalf of so-called

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Devastation in patan. Kathmandu earthquake

Apr 25th, 2015 10:49 am | By

More from Siobhan Heanue, because she’s a journalist (for ABC, the Oz one) and she was looking at temples when the earthquake hit, so she’s tweeting these heartrending photos.

12 hours ago there was this

LIVE on #Periscope: Patan Durbar Square Kathmandu Nepal …

Then an hour later

Huge earthquake in Kathmandu. I’m terrified.

Locals dragged her into a cafe, she said, but she was still afraid; aftershocks.

Then the first photo

Devastation in patan. Kathmandu earthquake.

Then more photos

Kathmandu patan district. Old royal square devastated.

Looking for survivors:

Kathmandu quake aftermath. Clearing rubble to search for survivors.

She has lots more. Good luck to her.… Read the rest

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Apr 25th, 2015 10:26 am | By

Meanwhile in Nepal…

(I must say I was disgusted to go to Google News for earthquake news and find at the top of the page headlines about ten dead on Everest rather than the hundreds dead in Nepal. A little too katiehopkinsesque, that.)

CNN has accounts from people in Kathmandu.

Kashish Das Shrestha in Kathmandu

“Some of the historical sites are completely devastated.

“Most of the people — a lot of the people — are walking through the city. They’re confused and scared. A lot of people are crying.

“They’re out with their pets and their families and a lot of locals are volunteering in rescue operations.

“In several parts of Kathmandu, a lot of people seem trapped under

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Gender segregation as identity politics

Apr 25th, 2015 9:45 am | By

I’ve seen the name Eboo Patel often in discussions of “interfaith” activities, but I haven’t (that I recall) read anything of his until now. He has a long piece at Religion Dispatches arguing that we should be more accommodating toward haredi men who refuse to sit next to women on airplanes. That’s where “interfaith” takes you, I guess. It’s where privileging “faith” over more reasonable and careful ways of thinking takes you.

He starts by pointing out that people often do change their seats to be helpful to others – parents traveling with children for instance.

The obvious question: why is exchanging seats on an airplane with a senior citizen, a mother with children or a uniformed veteran considered

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Guest post: Media outlets call her office for a rent-a-bigot quote

Apr 25th, 2015 8:57 am | By

Originally a comment by latsot on Actual dehumanization.

As awful as Hopkins is, the UK media are at least equally to blame (I’d argue they more to blame than Hopkins herself) for all her hateful nonsense. I don’t just mean outlets like The Sun. If anything, the more liberal outlets are even more complicit.

Hopkins has set herself up as a professional troll: professional with a capital P. According to an article I now can’t find, she has a team of people scouring news stories and (it’s presumed) coming up with the objectionable responses they can think of, which are then announced by Hopkins. Media outlets call her office for a rent-a-bigot quote. I wouldn’t be surprised if they … Read the rest

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Pure In Heart UK

Apr 24th, 2015 5:11 pm | By

A Catholic girls’ school in Croydon is telling students a bunch of bullshit about what secks will do to them.

Students at a Catholic girls’ school have been warned that sex outside marriage can “destroy their soul” and “make their bodies sick”.

The “warnings” were handed out to 17 and 18-year-olds during a Sixth Form talk at Coloma Convent Girls’ School, in Shirley, Croydon.

Leaflets handed out during a personal, social and health education session (PSHE) warned that condoms and the morning-after pill put people “at risk” and make them “isolated”.

Well it’s like this. Some very puritanical Catholics hate secks and hate girls who do secks and especially hate girls who do secks with pills or condoms. So girls … Read the rest

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Forced penetration

Apr 24th, 2015 4:10 pm | By

One way to make a point about vaccinations…

That was posted on Facebook by an Australian anti-vax group. The SMH reports

It is not the first time the group has made the same comparison. In a tweet in January 2011, the group compared a court ordering a five-year-old girl to be vaccinated to “court orders rape of a child”.

Almost immediately, supporters of the group expressed their disgust, with one commentator, Rachelle Taylor, posting: “This is disgusting. Are you saying you believe your child being immunised is as bad as your child being raped? This could also be very triggering for victims of sexual assault.”

The group responded to one comment on its page, defending its decision to liken

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It is no joke when people start talking like this

Apr 24th, 2015 3:38 pm | By

Zoe Williams wrote a good piece about Katie Hopkins on Sunday (which no doubt Brendan O’Neill would call a bad piece, because what she says is so literal and unparadoxical). Hopkins’s piece was two days before that, then came the capsized ship on Sunday, then Williams’s piece.

The controversialist Katie Hopkins, writing in the Sun 48 hours before the latest mass drowning, suggested using gun boats on migrants; her idea proved unnecessary, of course. Why waste the money when you can let people die by doing nothing, for free? But Hopkins’ phrasing was interesting: “These migrants are like cockroaches. They might look a bit ‘Bob Geldof’s Ethiopia circa 1984’, but they are built to survive a nuclear bomb.” The

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On the other hand

Apr 24th, 2015 2:59 pm | By

In contrast, there’s the predictably and reliably flippant opinion (or pretend-opinion) of the always flippant and callous Brendan O’Neill.

I know we’re all supposed to be spitting blood over Katie Hopkins’ Sun column about African migrants. In fact, anyone who isn’t currently testing the durability of their computer keyboard by bashing out Hopkins-mauling tweets risks having their moral decency called into question.

There you go – predictable and callous. The important thing is to register disdain for people who object to a high-circulation newspaper’s publication of a piece calling African migrants cockroaches. Nicely done, Brendan; your priorities are an inspiration to us all.

And yet, I find myself far more infuriated by the Hopkins haters, especially those who want

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Actual dehumanization

Apr 24th, 2015 2:49 pm | By

I didn’t know who Katie Hopkins was until just now. I’m catching up. She was once on The Apprentice, therefore she’s a “media personality.” She wrote a column for the Sun in which she called migrants such as the ones who drowned in the Mediterranean on Sunday “cockroaches.”

Now the UN High Commission for Human Rights has compared that to propaganda for genocide.

Well, yes. It is comparable. That’s what genocide propaganda sounds like. That’s how it works. It persuades people that certain kinds of humans are not human.

A column in which media personality Katie Hopkins described migrants as “cockroaches” and “feral humans” resembled pro-genocide propaganda, the United Nations has said.

In a strongly worded statement issued on

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