All entries by this author

For crying out loud, there is no controversy

Feb 9th, 2015 4:06 pm | By

On the Media did a great segment on anti-vax this week. You should listen to it to get Bob Garfield’s biting tone, but I want to hit the highlights anyway.

CLIP:  “The measles outbreak spreads to a fifth bay area county. One local pediatrician accuses vaccination opponents of undermining a basic survival concept…

BOB: Yes they did, which is why this outbreak was literally inevitable. The Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine had essentially eradicated those childhood diseases in the United States, but when parents began to stop vaccinating their kids, they were creating not just potential patients, but vectors, spreading the disease to the vulnerable. Such as the babies, pre-vaccination age, infected this week in a Chicago day care center.

And … Read the rest

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So diverse

Feb 9th, 2015 3:30 pm | By

Raquel Saraswati posted some photos from that “shut up” protest in London yesterday, along with some (cough) skeptical comments.

Raquel E Saraswati @RaquelEvita 21 hours ago
That awkward moment when these guys in London used freedom of speech to protest against freedom of speech today.

.@GlobalCivility blocked me after I suggested demos against lashing of #RaifBadawi + against gender based violence.

How…civil.

Alex ‏@Alexdurrant7 21 hours ago
@RaquelEvita Wow, very diverse crowd there…

Raquel E Saraswati @RaquelEvita
@Alexdurrant7 some of the men are shouting and some are merely scowling. So diverse!

Ha! That’s a good one.

Raquel E Saraswati @RaquelEvita 2 hours ago
So the London march was also segregated by gender. #hijabdesk

Global civility indeed.… Read the rest

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Humanism requires feminism

Feb 9th, 2015 3:06 pm | By

More from Greg Epstein on the Harvard Humanist of the Year award to Anita Sarkeesian.

Greg Epstein @gregmepstein 23 hours ago
Loved hosting @femfreq, our @HarvardHumanist of 2014 awardee. Humanism requires feminism; feminism=good f/all genders

So sad for the harassers. Streisand effect. If they hadn’t harassed her…

…well we’ll never know now.

Greg Epstein @gregmepstein 23 hours ago
.@femfreq’s message was so reasonable, so dare-I-say moderate, the controversy is sad. It must be said far, wide: humanism requires feminism

Proud of 100+ men who attended today’s event, joined others in 3 standing ovations. Hope it becomes known: @humanisthub, you meet good guys

As opposed to raging misogynist shits. Yes that does make a difference.

Greg Epstein @gregmepstein 23 hours ago

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Behold the door

Feb 9th, 2015 2:19 pm | By

The ever-useful clarification:

xkcdRead the rest

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Enhancing public safety

Feb 9th, 2015 12:48 pm | By

The Wiltshire police explained that all they were doing was making an assessment of community tensions for the purpose of stamping them out. That’s all. Kindly meant. No harm done. Clear off out of it.

Wiltshire Police has now confirmed that an officer did visit a local shop in Corsham to request the names of those who had purchased the copies of the magazine and issued an apology “to the members of the public who may be affected by this”.

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “Following the terrorism incident in Paris, France on 7 January 2015, Wiltshire Police undertook an assessment of community tensions across the county.

Ah yes, that’ll be the problem. When British Authority undertakes an assessment of … Read the rest

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A member of Her Majesty’s police service visited

Feb 9th, 2015 12:26 pm | By

A letter to the Guardian

Your offer of commemorative badges in support of journalistic freedomhighlighting “Je suis Charlie”, prompts me to suggest a degree of caution following my experience. Tongue in cheek, I asked my helpful newsagents to obtain a copy of the edition of Charlie Hebdo issued after the dreadful massacre in Paris, if indeed a copy was ever available in north Wiltshire. To my surprise, a copy arrived last Wednesday week and although the standard of content in no way matches that of the Guardian I will cherish it. However, two days later a member of Her Majesty’s police service visited said newsagent, requesting the names of the four customers who had purchased Charlie Hebdo. So

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Pursue the blasphemers

Feb 9th, 2015 12:15 pm | By

Ireland has ambitions to become another Pakistan, the Guardian reports.

The sale of the Charlie Hebdo magazine published after the Paris atrocity is threatening to become the first major test of the Irish Republic’s blasphemy law, Muslim representatives and secularists have warned.

Ireland’s Islamic Cultural Centre has said the presence of a depiction of the prophet Muhammad on the front page of the satirical publication, on sale now in Irish shops, is a clear breach of the country’s blasphemy legislation.

The Irish Republic is the only nation in Europe to have introduced a blasphemy law in the 21st century.

What a distinction, eh?

Ahmed Hasain, the executive secretary of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Dublin, said: “In our view,

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Clarence House declined to comment

Feb 9th, 2015 9:22 am | By

Damn. I was all set to take back much of what I’d said about Prince Charles, because newspaper headlines were saying he was going to urge the Saudi king to stop Raif’s flogging. For a few seconds I was elated, because that would surely make a difference – coming from a fellow monarch and an important ally. But then I read the body of the story and it turns out it’s all just claiming.

Headline in the IB Times: Prince Charles to urge Saudi king to halt blogger Raif Badawi’s flogging

Body:

Prince Charles is rumoured to discuss jailed Saudi activist Raif Badawi’s floggings with Saudi Arabia’s new King when he visits the Kingdom this week, reported Reuters.

According

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Ray Moore says No

Feb 9th, 2015 8:48 am | By

Oh goody, it’s Brown v Board all over again – with reactionary officials defying a federal court in a last ditch effort to deny people civil rights. Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court last night told the state’s probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday. George Wallace lives!

“Effective immediately, no probate judge of the State of Alabama nor any agent or employee of any Alabama probate judge shall issue or recognize a marriage license that is inconsistent” with the Alabama Constitution or state law, the chief justice wrote in his order.

The order, coming just hours before the January decisions of United States District Court Judge Callie V. S. Granade

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Luz

Feb 9th, 2015 8:23 am | By

Milène Larsson interviews the Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Luz for VICE.

It’s tough going, but worth it; very worth it.

He’s annoyed at the New York Times for refusing to publish the Je suis Charlie cover.

The Charlie Hebdo survivors are uneasy about the whole “je suis Charlie” thing. They’re uneasy about being symbols because Charlie has always been about making fun of symbols.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebL1oCy6tgYRead the rest

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A relatively sober voice of reason

Feb 8th, 2015 5:09 pm | By

BuzzFeed says Paul Elam and AVFM are the more respectable wing of the MRA movement. That seems surprising. Neither is all that respectable.

A Voice for Men is often portrayed in the media as a relatively sober voice of reason in the abrasive world of men’s rights. “If Men’s Rights Activism has a Gloria Steinem, it is Paul Elam,” Emmett Rensin wrote this week for Vox. “The website is one of the oldest and, if there is such a thing, most respected hubs for MRA activity. Elam and his staff do, at the very least, engage in genuine advocacy on behalf of men.” Rensin didn’t cite any examples of said advocacy. This is not surprising, given that the site’s

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He’s a friend of Paul Elam’s, that’s who

Feb 8th, 2015 4:09 pm | By

Mother Jones sought answers to the burning questions who is Warren Farrell, and why? He’s a former feminist who became a mover and shaker of the men’s rights movement, which in a way is all you need to know. (Other sufficiencies of that type: people who are pillars of the white people’s rights movement, or the movement for straight liberation, or the union of rich people who own the means of production.)

For some, the “manosphere” offers a place to air real grievances about issues such as bias in family courts or sexual abuse suffered by men. But it also has spawned a network of activists and sites that take Farrell’s ideology in a disturbing direction. Men’s rights forums on

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Sharia law, apostasy, and secularism

Feb 8th, 2015 12:58 pm | By

Chris Moos was at the Secular Conference in London yesterday, talking about gender segregation in UK universities.

He tweeted this photo – that’s Gita Sahgal, Chris, Maryam, and Magdulien Abaida.

London Black Atheists tweeted this one

I wish I could have been there.… Read the rest

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You want cartoons? We got cartoons

Feb 8th, 2015 12:33 pm | By

Via Gnu Atheism

And more -

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Being Charlie

Feb 8th, 2015 12:21 pm | By

Brilliant idea.

In a poignant and powerful response to the horrific attacks on their colleagues in Paris, the world’s top cartoonists have teamed up to produce I am Charlie, a book featuring the top Charlie Hebdo cartoons published around the globe.

All proceeds will go to The Committee to Protect Journalists, the worldwide organization devoted to promoting freedom of the press.

The book, features 86 Charlie Hebdo editorial cartoons created by artists in Europe, the Middle East, The Americas, Australia, and Asia.

Cartoonists represented include Osama and Emad Haljaj from Jordan, Pang Li from China, and Pulitzer prize winning cartoonist Steve Sack from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The book features an introduction from Daryl Cagle, cartoonist and founder

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He’s a genius, she’s abrasive

Feb 8th, 2015 11:17 am | By

Don’t forget, girls and boys, we achieved gender equality in 1972, so ever since then feminism has been nothing but an extremist attempt to monopolize all the good things for women only.

But then how do you explain a discouraging pattern in how women and men are seen and evaluated?

Aviva Shen at Think Progress:

Students tend to think their male professors are “geniuses,” while their female professors are “bossy,” a new interactive chart reveals. Using data from RateMyProfessors.com, a popular forum for griping or raving about classes, Benjamin Schmidt, a Northeastern University professor, was able to clearly map out students’ biases.

The chart breaks down reviews to sort which words are affiliated with each gender and discipline.

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Guest post on the replacement law and the current government

Feb 8th, 2015 10:45 am | By

Originally a comment by Jenora Feuer on Canada gets the right to die.

The government has to write a new law within a year or the law will be struck down.

Of course, that’s part of the problem right there. The same thing happened with some of the prostitution laws a year or so ago… the replacement law pushed through by the current government is pretty much as bad as the old law in all the ways that are important, and the general consensus of the legal community I’ve heard is that it will get knocked over the moment it gets to a Supreme Court challenge. The current group of legislators aren’t the sorts of people I would want … Read the rest

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“Be careful with Muhammad”

Feb 8th, 2015 10:10 am | By

The Telegraph also reports on the Muslim Action Forum protest – calling it “huge” in the headline but saying it was about a thousand people in the first sentence. A thousand people is a huge protest? In London?

At least 1,000 Muslim protesters gathered outside the gates of Downing Street to protest against the depictions of the Prophet Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine.

The protestors, many of whom were divided into groups of men and women, gathered just yards from the Cenotaph which remembers Britain’s war dead, and blocked half of Whitehall as they demonstated.

It comes weeks after two terrorists attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the Paris-based satirical magazine which had published images of the

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They denounce Charlie Hebdo and everyone connected

Feb 8th, 2015 9:49 am | By

The protest organized by the Muslim Action Forum took place, ITV reports.

Hundreds of Muslims have gathered in Whitehall as part of a demonstration against the recent publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The protest was organised by the Muslim Action Forum. Participants said they were campaigning for global civility and wanted to encourage people to live together harmoniously.

Bullshit. That’s not what they’re campaigning for and it’s not what they want. They’re campaigning for everyone to shut up about the prophet and about Islam. They want to make Islam and everything to do with it a special fenced-off Protected Zone.

ITV quotes their ridiculous petition, which starts off with pleasant noises … Read the rest

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Children and Islamic State

Feb 7th, 2015 4:37 pm | By

The “militants” of Islamic State are covering themselves with glory as usual. The New York Times reports that among their current hobbies they like to bury children alive.

Islamic State militants are selling abducted Iraqi children at markets as sex slaves, and killing other youth, including by crucifixion or burying them alive, a United Nations watchdog said on Wednesday.

Iraqi boys aged under 18 are increasingly being used by the militant group as suicide bombers, bomb makers, informants or human shields to protect facilities against U.S.-led air strikes, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said.

In other words they’re being used as tools, machines, insensate objects. That’s what Allah wants, is it?

“We are really deeply

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