All entries by this author

Under the surface

Oct 30th, 2016 3:31 pm | By

Caroline Criado-Perez reviews a new book about Jane Austen. It’s not about the sweet, quaint, diminutive lady that so many people think Austen was – as illustrated by the new banknote that CCP herself campaigned for but that she calls

yet another representation of Austen that fed the beast that enables presumably intelligent people to describe Austen with a straight face as “the 19th-century version of Barbara Cartland”.

A fluffy pink romance-writer Austen wasn’t.

It is this beast that [Helena] Kelly tackles in a meticulously researched book that is, at its heart, a stern telling-off of us as readers. “We’re perfectly willing to accept that writers like Wordsworth were fully engaged with everything that was happening and to

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SPLC refuses to retract or apologize

Oct 30th, 2016 12:50 pm | By

The Atlantic has a rather tepid piece on the SPLC’s target-placement on Maajid Nawaz.

Nawaz’s work has earned him detractors—critics claim he has embellished or neatened his narrative, some attack him for opportunism, and others question his liberal bona fides—but calling him an “anti-Muslim extremist” is a surprise. Unlike the likes of Gaffney and Geller, he doesn’t espouse the view that Islam itself is a problem; unlike Ali, who now describes herself as an atheist, Nawaz identifies as a Muslim.

That’s what I mean by tepid. Calling him that is more than a surprise, it’s a reckless and untrue calumny.

When I spoke to Nawaz on Thursday, he was both baffled and furious.

“They put a target on

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Highly improper, and an abuse of power

Oct 30th, 2016 11:40 am | By

A lawyer and law professor says the FBI director did a bad and possibly illegal thing.

The F.B.I. is currently investigating the hacking of Americans’ computers by foreign governments. Russia is a prime suspect.

Imagine a possible connection between a candidate for president in the United States and the Russian computer hacking. Imagine the candidate has business dealings in Russia, and has publicly encouraged the Russians to hack the email of his opponent and her associates.

It would not be surprising for the F.B.I. to include this candidate and his campaign staff in its confidential investigation of Russian computer hacking.

But it would be highly improper, and an abuse of power, for the F.B.I. to conduct such an investigation

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Oct 30th, 2016 10:59 am | By

Taslima tweeted this BBC feature:

Purnima Shil was gang-raped in northern Bangladesh at the age of 13 and she has not been allowed to forget it. Twelve years later, because of the stigma that attaches to rape victims in some parts of the country, someone shamed her by creating a pornographic Facebook page in her name – with her photograph and telephone number. This story is part of the BBC’s Shame series, which examines a disturbing new phenomenon – the use of private or sexually explicit images to blackmail and shame young people, mainly girls and women, in some of the world’s most conservatives societies.

The video is only 3 minutes. It’s powerful.… Read the rest

Maajid responds

Oct 29th, 2016 4:10 pm | By

Maajid has written a response to the SPLC, at the Daily Beast. He wants it widely shared.

Through the counter-extremism organisation Quilliam that I founded, I have spent eight years defending my Muslim communities in Europe, Pakistan  and beyond from the diktats of Islamist theocrats. I have also argued for the liberal reform of Islam today, from within. But, in a naively dangerous form of neo-Orientalism, the SPLC just arrogated to itself the decision over which debates we Muslims may have about reforming our own religion, and which are to be deemed beyond the pale.

Let us call it “Islamsplaining.”

In a monumental failure of comprehension, the SPLC have conflated my challenge to Islamist theocracy among my fellow Muslims

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Oct 29th, 2016 11:33 am | By

Ah the priorities of the Catholic church. When it’s about compensation for victims of child-raping priests? Then it’s bankruptcy, or transfer of funds to the protected Cemetery Account, or a quick trip to Vatican City. But when it’s legalization of marijuana? Money is no object!

The Boston Archdiocese is pouring $850,000 into a last-minute effort to defeat a state ballot measure to legalize marijuana, calling increased drug use a threat to the Catholic Church’s health and social-service programs.

“It reflects the fact that the archdiocese holds the matter among its highest priorities,” archdiocese spokesman Terrence Donilon said of the donation. “It’s a recognition that, if passed, the law would have significantly detrimental impacts on our parishes, our ministries.”

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Hilarious genocide joke enlivens football game

Oct 29th, 2016 10:42 am | By

This one made my eyes open wide in shock. A high school football game in Ohio between the Greenfield-McClain Tigers and the Hillsboro “Indians” (can we please retire all those names now?) – the cheerleaders for the not-“Indian” team made a banner saying

Hey Indians Get Ready for A Trail of TEARS Part 2

That’s as if the Greenfield-McClain Tigers were playing the Hillsboro “Jews” and the Tigers cheerleaders made a banner saying Hey Jews, get ready for a holocaust part 2. The Trail of Tears is what happened when Jackson kicked all the Native Americans out of desirable fertile land in the southeast and forced them to walk west until they got to a place nobody wanted. Many of … Read the rest

The Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails

Oct 29th, 2016 10:03 am | By

A tiny history lesson via Kevin Lamarque at Newsweek/Reuters.

Clinton’s email habits look positively transparent when compared with the subpoena-dodging, email-hiding, private-server-using George W. Bush administration. Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.

Like Clinton, the Bush White House used a private email server—its was owned by the Republican National Committee. And the Bush administration failed to

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Find and delete the word “women”

Oct 29th, 2016 9:34 am | By

Now it’s the National Women’s Law Center.

Starting in just 10 minutes we’ll be tweeting with @ABetterBalance to support pregnant people in the workforce! Join us with #PDA38!

The National Women’s Law Center avoiding the word “women.” When talking about pregnancy.

38 years after the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, too many people are still forced to choose between a paycheck & a healthy

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Russia gets the boot

Oct 28th, 2016 5:55 pm | By

Russia has lost its seat on the UN Human Rights Council.

Russia narrowly lost its seat on the main United Nations body devoted to human rights on Friday, signaling international dismay over the military power’s conduct in Syria.

The vote was to select countries to represent Eastern Europe on the United Nations Human Rights Council. Russia lost by two votes to Croatia and by 32 votes to Hungary. All 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly voted, and when the results were announced, there was a “small intake of air” in the large hall, said the New Zealand envoy, Gerard van Bohemen.

He said he believed that Russia’s conduct in the war in Syria, including the aerial

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Oct 28th, 2016 5:37 pm | By

Robert Reich on Facebook:

Yesterday I spoke with a former Republican member of Congress whom I’ve known for years.

Me: What do you think of your party’s nominee for president?

He: Trump is a maniac. He’s a clear and present danger to America.

Me: Have you said publicly that you won’t vote for him?

He (sheepishly): No.

Me: Why not?

He: I’m a coward.

Me: What do you mean?

He: I live in a state with a lot of Trump voters. Most Republican officials do.

Me: But you’re a former official. You’re not running for Congress again. What are you afraid of?

He: I hate to admit it, but I’m afraid of them. Some of those Trumpistas are out

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Withdrawing room 5

Oct 28th, 2016 5:32 pm | By

Silentbob alerted us to a juvenile elephant (not a baby) making sure her favorite human isn’t getting swept down the river.

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Two of the loudest cheerleaders

Oct 28th, 2016 5:08 pm | By

Of course the first thing that everyone said, including me, when the Bundy verdict came out was that it will send a message to all the other “public lands are for us to exploit!!” crowd that they can get away with it. Of course.

The shocking acquittals of Ammon and Ryan Bundy, along with five other militants, in the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife preserve is already emboldening anti-government extremists.

Two of the Bundy militants’ loudest cheerleaders, Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore and blogger Gavin Seim, are already signaling that additional actions may be taken against the federal government.

Let’s secede! And have a civil war! That was so much fun last time, and now the carnage would be … Read the rest

Ignore them, they’re lying again

Oct 28th, 2016 3:40 pm | By

No, the investigation into Clinton’s emails hasn’t “re-opened.” The FBI is trying to fuck with the election.

FBI Director James Comey alerted Republican members of Congress on Friday that bureau investigators would review some additional emails that might relate to Hillary Clinton’s email server. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee who has already vowed to spend the next several years investigating Clinton should she be elected president, quickly rushed to announce the news, falsely claiming that the case had been “reopened.”

And other Republicans followed suit, and news outlets took the bait, and Trump  gloated, and yadda yadda.

Though nothing in Comey’s letter said the case was being reopened, an array of news

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Mother Russia

Oct 28th, 2016 2:46 pm | By

Via Pink News on Twitter:

Gay pigs in a concentration camp, at that – and cowering before a huge, biceps-displaying Russian bear.… Read the rest

Because they would have been arrested immediately otherwise

Oct 28th, 2016 11:36 am | By

More Bundy trial.

Federal prosecutors took two weeks to present their case, finishing with a display of more than 30 guns seized after the standoff. An FBI agent testified that 16,636 live rounds and nearly 1,700 spent casings were found.

During trial, Bundy testified that the plan was to take ownership of the refuge by occupying it for a period of time and then turn it over to local officials to use as they saw fit.

Bundy also testified that the occupiers carried guns because they would have been arrested immediately otherwise and to protect themselves against possible government attack.

Quite. Just what I said. They would have been arrested immediately otherwise because they had broken into a closed … Read the rest

Just a protest, folks

Oct 28th, 2016 11:28 am | By

The Washington Post has more on the Bundy gang verdict.

While a jury acquitted the Bundy brothers, most of the people charged with the Oregon takeover already pleaded guilty or still have to stand trial on federal charges — a group that includes both Bundys, who are still in custody because they are facing another federal trial in Nevada stemming from a different standoff between the family and the government.

During the trial, prosecutors described the takeover as a long-plotted occupation, while attorneys for the occupiers — who did not deny they were there — insisted they were not trying to prevent people from doing their jobs, but were instead protesting government actions.

More than two dozen

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The narrative must not be disturbed

Oct 28th, 2016 10:26 am | By

Sarah Haider on the SPLC and that list.

Nuance is lost where the religion of peace is concerned, and the SPLC paints its targets with a broad, clumsy brush.  Those profiled range from pundits who believe that radicals have “infiltrated the CIA, FBI, Pentagon, and State Department” to activists who offer compassionate, empathetic, and exceedingly balanced views on the faith. The latter is exemplified by the Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz, who spent his formative years in the service of an Islamist organization working to re-establish a global caliphate. After disavowing his former associates, he has spent the past decade working to encourage reform and secularization in Muslim countries and communities.

Nearly every charge against him in the report is

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A supply problem

Oct 28th, 2016 9:29 am | By

Amjad Khan at Sedaa suggests that the SPLC’s grotesque claims about Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are rooted in an inadequate supply of racists at a time when the demand is higher than ever before.

Without the demand left-wing activists that organise themselves as anti-bigotry activists can’t justify their work and, more importantly, request for donations. Hence, the definition of bigotry needs to be stretched, new sources of bigotry need to be found and, eventually, critics of the regressive left find themselves being accused of bigotry.

I think the first three words should read “Without the supply” but we get the idea – there aren’t enough racists to keep anti-racism organizations busy and well funded. I don’t actually … Read the rest


Oct 28th, 2016 8:07 am | By

Nicholas Kristof:

I’m staggered that a bunch of armed men can take over federal property, maintain their siege–and then get off scott free. Does anybody think the outcome would be the same if armed Muslims, black men, or Native Americans tried this? And I fear it may encourage others to try similar stunts. Thoughts?

My thoughts: yes, no, yes. I too am staggered and horrified that they got off. I don’t for a second think the outcome would be the same if armed Muslims, African Americans, or Native Americans tried this. I fear that it’s overwhelmingly likely that this idiotic verdict will encourage others to try similar and worse violent crimes against our national parks and refuges. The assault … Read the rest