All entries by this author

They didn’t hold it for long

Sep 12th, 2016 3:42 pm | By

Martin Luther King Jr.’s children called the National Museum of African American History and Culture. They had something they knew the museuem wanted, so they invited curator Rex Ellis to Atlanta to take a look at King’s traveling bible. Geoff Edgers in the Washington Post:

“It was heavier than I thought it would be,” remembers Ellis, the museum’s associate director of curatorial affairs. “Not only was it the weight of the object itself but the weight of what it was. You’re holding it like it’s a baby. I was uncomfortable holding it for long.”

Ellis and his colleagues didn’t hold it for long. The half-hour meeting with Martin III ended without a loan, a gift or any other promises.

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Item 1 should be a deal-breaker all by itself

Sep 12th, 2016 3:24 pm | By

Daniel Dale tweets a list of things Trump said in one interview today.

 … Read the rest

As if we were compelled to march in step

Sep 12th, 2016 11:49 am | By

Paul Braterman doesn’t like being told what he can say. I know the feeling.

(Mind you, there are some things I think people shouldn’t say. I think most people think that, whether they admit it or not. I frown on personal insults. But I also know the feeling when people try to exercise close-up control of what I say.)

I’m an atheist, and I’m feeling insulted

Insulted by Greta Christina’s article, “9 Answers to Common Questions for Atheists – So You Don’t Insult Us By Asking.” Insulted by the condescending and preachy answers offered on my behalf. Insulted that the author presumes to speak on my behalf at all, as if she were the privileged custodian of some kind

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Solely focused on the person with the uterus

Sep 12th, 2016 10:56 am | By

Jesse Singal tweeted:

Singal’s linked article is about pinning down the numbers on how many trans youth need pregnancy services. Within that is the exchange with Saewyc:

During an email exchange with Science of Us, Elizabeth Saewyc, a youth-health researcher at the University of British Columbia and a co-author on the study, said that she was about to head off on a trip and wasn’t able to break down the pregnancy numbers by natal sex for me in time for this post, but pointed out that in the broader survey from which these numbers were drawn, about

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Saint Cruelty

Sep 12th, 2016 10:01 am | By

Annie Laurie Gaylor on Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu:

The pompous and self-congratulatory pageantry over the canonization of Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu), positively wallowing in credulity, has dominated TV news and social media all week. Sainthood is dependent on supposedly proving that Bojaxhiu was involved in posthumous “miracles.” How ironic the Church requires superstitious claims to supposedly be backed up by “scientific evidence” before it will accept their validity.

My primary objection to the fawning adulation Bojaxhiu received during her lifetime and after her death is rooted in her opportunistic use of almost every public occasion — notably including her acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize — to attack women’s rights. She not only went after abortion, but, in

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Call upon the Turkish government

Sep 11th, 2016 4:53 pm | By

Orhan Pamuk, JM Coetzee, Elena Ferrante and others protest the Turkish government’s attack on thinkers and writers:

We the undersigned call upon democrats throughout the world, as well as those who care about the future of Turkey and the region in which it exerts a leading role, to protest the vendetta the government is waging against its brightest thinkers and writers who may not share their point of view.

The background to this letter is the coup attempt on 15 July 2016, which mercifully failed and was quickly subdued. Had the Turkish people themselves not resisted this assault on their institutions, the result would have been years of misery.

In the aftermath of that coup, it is understandable that

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No preconceived views

Sep 11th, 2016 4:37 pm | By

Catherine Bennett on Keith Vaz and that home affairs select committee report:

The first fact mentioned in the new report on prostitution by the home affairs select committee is that “around 11% of British men aged 16–74 have paid for sex on at least one occasion”. The home affairs select committee is composed of eight men and three women. Given the men’s ages, their resources and arguably enhanced opportunities, as MPs, to conclude such transactions, maybe it is not so remarkable that at least one of the parliamentarians deciding on the future legality of prostitution may also have been a sex buyer.

It’s more surprising, really, that no one on the committee, principally its chairman, Keith Vaz, seems to

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Sep 11th, 2016 12:31 pm | By

Do not elect this man to anything ever.

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Not all that peaceful

Sep 11th, 2016 11:25 am | By

Sikh 2 Inspire are posting drivel on their Facebook page to justify their disruption of someone else’s wedding today.

Five hours ago:

Our brothers peacefully protested in the form of a sit down protest chanting vaheguru mantar at leamington spa gurdwara sahib, and are currently being arrested.

What is their crime?

No violence was committed, no one used a Sri Sahib, and no foul language was used.

More information and videos can be found on Sikh youth Birmingham page.

To clarify one key point, the Sikhs protesting were not ‘armed’ with anything other than their kirpans which a Sikh must wear always being amritdhari. This is yet again the police and press twisting facts to suit their headlines and

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No wedding for you

Sep 11th, 2016 10:51 am | By

Today in Leamington Spa:

Armed officers were called to a Sikh temple in Leamington Spa on Sunday morning after more than 50 men, some carrying blades, entered the building to stop an interfaith marriage service.

For around eight hours, the group, described by a trustee of the Gurdwara temple as “fanatical extremists”, occupied the foyer, forcing the postponement of a wedding between a Sikh bride and a Hindu groom that had been scheduled for Sunday.

That’s nice, isn’t it? Interrupting and stopping someone else’s wedding because the couple don’t have the same religion.

Late in the afternoon the police arrested 55 men – 55 men who forcibly halted a wedding that was none of their business. Weapons were seized; … Read the rest

Among the emasculations men most fear

Sep 10th, 2016 5:29 pm | By

Peter Beinart points out in the Atlantic that Hillary Clinton is hated in a way that other recent Democratic candidates haven’t been.

According to the Public Religion Research Institute, 52 percent of white men hold a “very unfavorable” view of Clinton. That’s a whopping 20 points higher than the percentage who viewed Barack Obama very unfavorably in 2012, 32 points higher than the percentage who viewed Obama very unfavorably in 2008, and 28 points higher than the percentage who viewed John Kerry very unfavorably in 2004.

Some of that, it seems to me, could be because people don’t want yet more Clinton. But the way it’s expressed…yeah that’s just good ol’ misogyny.

At the Republican National Convention, this fervent

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She may just be tired of the misogyny

Sep 10th, 2016 4:22 pm | By

Irene Young on Facebook a couple of days ago:

There is criticism this morning that Hillary Clinton did not smile enough last night during the NBC Commander in Chief forum. I have a 2-part comment about this.

First, Trump NEVER smiles and is NEVER personable, yet there is no mention of it.

Secondly, I say this not just in response to this campaign, but because of my 40 years as a pro photographer in the independent music business with over 600 CD covers to my credit. It is just a fact. I have seen and heard it a million times. If men don’t smile in their photographs, it’s considered cool and strong. If women don’t smile, even if the

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What did these geniuses expect?

Sep 10th, 2016 11:35 am | By

Trump’s take on sexual assault in the military is, predictably, that it’s the fault of the damn fools who thought the military shouldn’t exclude women on account of how women are not some weird aberrant species.

Speaking at a candidates’ forum, Mr. Trump defended one of his Twitter posts from 2013 concerning the high number of sexual assaults in the military, and said that he had been “absolutely correct” in posting a message that said, “What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

Right. So by the same token…the military should be all white, because white guys will inevitably get violent if non-white guys are allowed. By the same token, the military should be all … Read the rest


Sep 10th, 2016 11:18 am | By

The Telegraph reports an ugly story out of France.

Two families on a cycle ride in Toulon, southern France, came under violent attack after assailants hurled insults at two female partners for wearing shorts, according to prosecutors.

The attack, carried out by a group of youths from a housing estate in the Mediterranean port town, has sparked claims that parts of France are prey to an Islamist “morality police”.

There were two couples, three children and a friend, out on bicycles and roller blades.

They were passing near the Cité des Oeillets, an estate in eastern Toulon, when a group of adolescents starting insulting the women of the group because of their shorts, including jibes such as: “Dirty

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Ruby Bridges

Sep 10th, 2016 10:49 am | By

From A Mighty Girl:

Happy 62nd birthday to Ruby Bridges! As a six-year-old, Ruby Bridges famously became the first African American child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in the South. When the 1st grader walked to William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans on November 14, 1960 surrounded by a team of U.S. Marshals, she was met by a vicious mob shouting and throwing objects at her.

One of the federal marshals, Charles Burks, who served on her escort team, recalls Bridges’ courage in the face of such hatred: “For a little girl six years old going into a strange school with four strange deputy marshals, a place she had never been before, she showed a lot

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It’s hard to think of a more regressive policy

Sep 10th, 2016 9:45 am | By

The BHA’s Stephen Evans on the “faith” schools issue.

Theresa May confirmed today that the government plans to capitulate to the demands of religious groups by relaxing admissions rules for faith-based academies, allowing them to select all of their pupils along religious lines.

It’s hard to think of a more regressive policy than the facilitation of greater religious segregation of children and young people in our education system.

And what are we to make of the government’s warnings about schoolchildren having little or no understanding of others, when their policies seem destined to exacerbate exactly that? Only last year the schools minister Lord Nash said the government had “no plans to review the 50% limit for faith-based admissions to

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School theocracy

Sep 10th, 2016 9:23 am | By

The British Humanist Association:

New Government plans announced today are very serious – and we need to mobilise against them.

Theresa May’s plans entail removing the current cap on religious discrimination in English schools so that new schools can discriminate by religion in 100% of places.

This is a direct result of lobbying from the Catholic Church, whose policy has been against any requirement for Catholic pupils to mix with those of other faiths and no faith.

But the evidence is crystal clear that discrimination by religion compounds social selection and leads to segregation by class, race, and even gender in schools across the country. More discrimination of this sort serves no one’s agenda but those of religious leaders

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Wait up

Sep 9th, 2016 5:07 pm | By

Well I’ll be damned – the Obama admin has paused the construction of the Lake Oahe section of that North Dakota pipeline.

The Obama administration said it would not authorize construction on a critical stretch of the Dakota Access pipeline, handing a significant victory to the Indian tribe fighting the project the same day the group lost a court battle.

The administration said construction would halt until it can do more environmental assessments.

The Department of Justice, the Army and the Interior Department jointly announced that construction would pause on the pipeline near North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, a major water source on the Missouri River for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The agencies will now decide whether they need

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Her name was Clodagh

Sep 9th, 2016 4:09 pm | By

I’ve been watching the reactions to the reporting of the murder of Clodagh Hawe and her three children for the past few days. Allison Morris at The Irish News sums it up.

THE backlash following some of the fairly appalling early reporting of the murder of a mother and her three children in Cavan by a knife wielding maniac has by now – I hope – stimulated some real debate about domestic violence and the kind of men who beat and murder their partners.

An outpouring of sympathy for a man who acted savagely but was eulogised as a ‘pillar of the community’ was quite frankly sickening.

Clodagh Hawe and her three sons Liam, Niall and Ryan were initially

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Facebook says never mind

Sep 9th, 2016 11:08 am | By

And now Facebook has admitted it was being ridiculous.

On Friday, following widespread criticisms from news organizations and media experts across the globe, Facebook reversed its decision, saying in a statement to the Guardian: “After hearing from our community, we looked again at how our Community Standards were applied in this case. An image of a naked child would normally be presumed to violate our Community Standards, and in some countries might even qualify as child pornography. In this case, we recognize the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time.”

The statement continued: “Because of its status as an iconic image of historical importance, the value of permitting sharing outweighs the value

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