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They were just kidding

Mar 31st, 2015 12:26 pm | By

Lynn Paltrow on the implications of the conviction of Purvi Patel.

The prosecution and verdict in this case demonstrate that, despite their claims to the contrary, the real result of the anti-abortion movement —if not the intended goal—is to punish women for terminating pregnancies.

The anti-choice movement’s long-term strategy goes beyond just limiting access to abortion. It also includes passing feticide laws that recognize fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses as having a separate legal status and creates special penalties for causing them harm.1

As historian and legal scholar Reva B. Siegel has documented, many “pro-life” activists promote anti-abortion measures as “women-protective,” ensuring “women’s informed consent, women’s health, women’s welfare, and women’s freedom.”2 Feticide laws fall into this

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What happened next should frighten everyone

Mar 31st, 2015 11:37 am | By

Dr Jen Gunter discusses the Purvi Patel case from the point of view of an OB who wouldn’t dream of calling the police on a patient and is appalled that some would and do.

For those unfamiliar with the case Ms. Patel received no prenatal care and was an unknown gestational age when she delivered at home. She thought she had delivered very prematurely and that the baby was stillborn. Not knowing what to do, ill from bleeding, and psychologically affected from delivering unassisted in her bathroom she deposited what she thought was a pre-viable stillbirth in the trash.

Ms. Patel continued bleeding and so sought care at the hospital and what happened next should frighten everyone. After determining she

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Guest post: How does a rain soaked island have a drought if there isn’t climate change?

Mar 31st, 2015 10:15 am | By

Originally a comment by left0ver1under in The withdrawing room.

I make it a point to avoid rants, profanities, insults and “aggressive words”, but there are times when some people deserve to be called blankety-blanks and smacked across the face with frying pans.

Today in the news here in Taiwan, it was reported that the main reservoir in Tainan is down to 38% of capacity, and was only that full because of recent rainfall. And the main reservoir in Taipei is low enough that the government has issued severe water restrictions. (Unfortunately, the restrictions are being delayed because of a holiday.) It’s gotten so bad that people – including me – are actively wishing for Supertyphoon Maysak … Read the rest

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Reaping the whirlwind

Mar 31st, 2015 9:53 am | By

Poor Saudi Arabia. The BBC reports it doesn’t want Daesh luring away its people or bursting in to attack the Saud family itself. But how is it to go about resisting it when they have so much in common?

According to the Ministry of Interior, some 2,600 Saudis have joined extremist groups in Syria since 2011, around 600 of whom have returned. Last year alone, 400 were arrested in relation to IS activities inside the Kingdom.

“Extremist groups” – but the government of Saudi Arabia is an extremist group. There’s nothing mild or average about Saudi Arabia.

It is a relatively low number, says Interior Ministry spokesman General Mansour Sultan al-Turki, but still a matter of deep concern.

“Whoever made

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Wisdom literature

Mar 30th, 2015 4:40 pm | By

Hm. Time for some Stupid Posters, because I have seen some and I wouldn’t want them to go to waste.

You can see them yourself if you visit the Facebook page of someone who calls himself David Avocado Wolfe. Yes, he really does. He says he’s a  public figure, too. Well I don’t believe that.

Piffle. Not common sense at all. Think of all the African and Middle Eastern and Indian and Chinese foods the names of which I can’t pronounce properly – that’s hardly a reason not to eat them.

Nope. That’s not true.

“Pushes off the body’s dirty electricity”?

Please.… Read the rest

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Attention must be paid

Mar 30th, 2015 4:17 pm | By

CFI has a statement on the horrific murder of Washiqur Rahman.

Barely a month following the brutal murder of our friend, freethought writer Avijit Roy in Bangladesh, and the near-killing of his wife Rafida Bonya Ahmed, atheist blogger Washiqur Rahman has been killed by a group of Islamic extremists in Dhaka. A young man at age 27, Rahman was far less well-known than Dr. Roy, but his public expressions of admiration for Roy, and his courageous criticism of religion were sufficiently threatening to these extremist thugs that they tried to silence him as they silenced Dr. Roy.

But they will find that just as was the case with the murder of Dr. Roy, the power of the ideals and

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The killers don’t speak for Bangladesh

Mar 30th, 2015 3:50 pm | By

Some people protested

Student associations protested.

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Not a religion of peace??

Mar 30th, 2015 3:27 pm | By

The Huffington Post has a video from a few days ago on “Muslim women” saying why Ayaan Hirsi Ali is all wrong about Islam. Quel shock. From the abstract:

Activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been extremely vocal in her critique of Islam. In her new book, Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, she details her issues with its teachings and even declares “Islam is not a religion of peace.”

*gasp* You don’t mean it! She even says Islam is not a religion of peace???! How can she possibly think such a thing, given all the peace spread by Islam right now? Think of those three peace-loving men who chopped Washiqur Rahman to death a few hours ago.… Read the rest

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He pays the rent, it’s his place, he can do whatever he wants to

Mar 30th, 2015 2:57 pm | By

An Indiana business owner went on the radio to say he’d gotten an early start on the discriminating against people even before the governor signed Indiana’s RFRA into law.

The business owner, who would not give his name or the name of his business, said he had told some LGBT “people” that equipment was broken in his restaurant and he couldn’t serve them even though it wasn’t and other people were already eating at the tables. “So, yes, I have discriminated,” he told RadioNOW 100.9 hosts. The hosts were surprised the owner said he was okay with discriminating.

“Well, I feel okay with it because it’s my place of business, I pay the rent, I’ve built it with all my

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Guest post: Give me a scenario

Mar 30th, 2015 2:12 pm | By

Originally a comment by themadtapper on As when you find a trout in the milk.

“It’s not about discriminating against gay customers, it’s about protecting religious liberty!”

Ok, so give me an example of what kind of scenario this law is supposed to help in.

“Well, maybe a florist doesn’t want to provide flowers for a gay wedding.”

So, the scenario in which this law, which totally isn’t about discrimination, is supposed to help in is a scenario where someone wants to turn away a gay customer?

“No! The florist just doesn’t want to participate in something that’s against their religion!”

So the scenario isn’t about discrimination or turning away gay customers, it’s about not having to participate in … Read the rest

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Purvi Patel

Mar 30th, 2015 12:25 pm | By

Still in Indiana – Purvi Patel was sentenced today. Think Progress has details.

Purvi Patel was arrested in 2013 after she went to the emergency room to seek medical treatment for heavy bleeding. After initially denying that she had been pregnant, she eventually told the staff that she had a premature delivery at home, believed the fetus was not alive, and placed it in a bag in a dumpster on her way to the hospital. Her doctors called the cops, who questioned Patel while she was still in the hospital, searched her cell phone records, and recovered the fetus.

Patel maintains that she did not abandon a living baby. “I assumed because the baby was dead there was nothing

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As when you find a trout in the milk

Mar 30th, 2015 11:48 am | By

Garrett Epps at the Atlantic explains how the Indiana RFRA is different from (and worse than) the Federal one and all but two state ones.

[T]he Indiana statute has two features the federal RFRA—and most state RFRAs—do not. First, the Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.” The federal RFRA doesn’t contain such language, and neither does any of the state RFRAs except South Carolina’s; in fact, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, explicitly exclude for-profit businesses from the protection of their RFRAs.

The new Indiana statute also contains this odd language: “A person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a violation

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Dear aspiring men

Mar 30th, 2015 11:14 am | By

Hamza Tzortzis of 5pillars and gender segregation at university events fame tells men to “man up” and be Chivalrous toward the Ladies.

Dear aspiring men,

Whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever you believe in, it is time we used that one gender difference that has not yet been disputed amongst our “feminist” and “liberal” sisters – your strength and physical appearance.

Nice start, isn’t it, expressing contempt for feminist and liberal women. I feel so much safer now.

The picture helps too.

Oh right – that’s unmistakably a woman being protected and not a woman being held captive. No question. It’s obvious.

It has come to my attention that women in the UK are feeling less safe

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In the latest of a series

Mar 30th, 2015 10:34 am | By

The Guardian on the slaughter of Washiqur Rahman.

A blogger known for his atheist views has been stabbed to death in Bangladesh, in the latest of a series of attacks on independent writers in the developing south Asian nation.

Not stabbed, no. That sounds comparatively gentle – compared to what they actually did to him. He was chopped, not stabbed. He was chopped in the eyes, and the chin, and the neck.

Local police chief Wahidul Islam told Agence France-Presse the victim had been “brutally hacked to death this morning with big knives just 500 yards [460 metres] from his home at Dhaka’s Begunbari area”.

That’s the word: hacked. Not stabbed.

The suspects have so far been identified

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A humanist and a true wit

Mar 30th, 2015 10:00 am | By

The IHEU on the brutal murder of Washiqur Rahman in Dhaka a few hours ago.

Washiqur Rahman’s Facebook banner declares “#IamAvijit”, after the leading secular and humanist blogger, Avijit Roy, who was murdered a month ago in Bangladesh.

This morning Washiqur Rahman himself was killedin similar circumstances: a machete attack by assailants on the streets of Dhaka. The brutal attack took place close to Rahman’s home. Police have reportedly taken two men into custody who were detained at the scene.

Bob Churchill, Director of Communications at the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) comments: “We are deeply saddened that yet another rationalist voice has been so brutally silenced in this vile backlash against atheist bloggers. Our thoughts are with

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He had criticised irrational religious beliefs

Mar 30th, 2015 9:36 am | By

The BBC reports on the brutal murder of Washiqur Rahman.

Two students at an Islamic seminary have reportedly been arrested.

Last month, Avijit Roy, a US-based writer who had criticised religious intolerance, was killed in a machete attack while he was visiting Dhaka.

His death sparked fresh concerns for freedom of speech in Bangladesh, where several secular-minded writers have been targeted by militants.

Bangladesh is a death-trap for writers who promote religious tolerance and freethinking.

Mr Rahman was killed on a busy street in Dhaka. Two of the suspected attackers, armed with meat cleavers, were caught near the scene.

The suspects told police they had targeted Mr Rahman because of his anti-Islamic writing, a police official told the Associated Press

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They said it’s their duty

Mar 30th, 2015 9:17 am | By

Taslima tweeted this photo.

Madrasa students Zikrulla & Arif killed Washikur Babu today. Killers said it’s their duty as muslims to kill freethinkers.

She also shared photos of Washikur Rahman’s hacked corpse. She wants everyone to know what that murderous violence looks like, so that we can imagine what it feels like.… Read the rest

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Washikur Rahman

Mar 30th, 2015 9:03 am | By

Oh god no not again – another atheist blogger hacked to death by men with machetes in Dhaka.

Washikur Rahman, an atheist blogger, was hacked to death on a busy street in the centre of Dhaka on Monday morning, a police official said.

“Police on duty near the spot caught two attackers red-handed with three machetes as they were fleeing the scene after the incident,” police official Humayan Kabir told Reuters.

A fellow writer said Rahman wrote against religious fundamentalism on Facebook and across other social media sites using a pen name, although this could not be confirmed by police. The alias used by Rahman is said to be “Babu” (ugly duckling).

“He is a friend of mine

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A lesson

Mar 29th, 2015 6:05 pm | By

This is horrifying. Nushin Arbabzadah says religious violence has become normalized in Afghanistan.

The brutal lynching of Farkhunda, has revealed a number of significant issues regarding the state of Islam in Afghanistan.

The most crucial is that a fanatic strand of Islamic has become normalized, and accepted by a mainstream audience. The imam who incited the violence, the mob who lynched Farkhunda, the bystanders who filmed it — they were not the disenfranchised. They were ordinary Afghans, members of the middle class, including shop keepers. The initial public reaction was approval, expressed by public figures representing the spheres of culture and education.

They included a female deputy culture minister, who said, in reference to the murder, that nothing can

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As if we’re all ticking discrimination lawsuit timebombs

Mar 29th, 2015 5:20 pm | By

Mandy Brown comments on the ruling in Ellen Pao’s suit against Kleiner Perkins.

The law has been constructed in such a way that only extremely blatant discrimination counts. More subtle sexism (and racism) can hide behind all kinds of gender- or race-neutral justifications which can never be wholly dismissed. So Pao wasn’t passed up because she was a woman, but because she wasn’t likeable. She wasn’t fired because of her lawsuit, but because she didn’t have what it takes. She was both too pushy and not pushy enough. She wasn’t a “thought leader.”

The message here is you can discriminate all you want so long as you aren’t completely stupid about it.

“Thought leader”? That made me jump. I didn’t … Read the rest

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