All entries by this author

Did she think vaccines were harmful?

Jul 29th, 2016 10:48 am | By

I’m glad I was never tempted by Jill Stein. The Washington Post reports (uncritically) her woo-based ideas:

Did she think vaccines were harmful?

“I think there’s no question that vaccines have been absolutely critical in ridding us of the scourge of many diseases — smallpox, polio, etc. So vaccines are an invaluable medication,” Stein said. “Like any medication, they also should be — what shall we say? — approved by a regulatory board that people can trust. And I think right now, that is the problem. That people do not trust a Food and Drug Administration, or even the CDC for that matter, where corporate influence and the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of influence.”

But a lot of people … Read the rest

Mahasweta Devi

Jul 29th, 2016 10:24 am | By

The Indian writer and activist Mahasweta Devi has died.

Devi was an outspoken proponent of equal rights.

She famously made a speech at India’s prestigious Jaipur literary festival where she said all humans had the fundamental “right to dream”.

“I would remember her as one of the most important writers in India because of the subjects she chose and remained faithful to them,” publisher Urvashi Bhutalia told the BBC.

“Her writing was a political battle for the downtrodden and she never compromised on her ideas. She was a very kind human being.”

A number of her works, including the best-selling Breast Stories, have been translated into English from Bengali, and are also studied in universities across India.

She was … Read the rest

15 rupees

Jul 29th, 2016 9:54 am | By

In Uttar Pradesh yesterday a shopkeeper murdered a Dalit couple because they owed him 15 rupees – 22 cents.

Police told the Press Trust of India news agency the incident took place in Mainpuri district early on Thursday as the couple were on their way to work.

They were stopped by Ashok Mishra, the owner of a village grocery, who demanded that the couple pay the money for three packets of biscuits that they had bought for their three children a few days ago, reports say.

The couple reportedly told him they would pay after they received their daily wages later in the evening.

“While Mishra kept shouting for the money, the couple started walking towards the fields. Mishra then

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Not just beautiful

Jul 28th, 2016 5:37 pm | By

Trump is such a sleaze. The racism is worse, the lack of inhibition is more terrifying, but the sleaze is more shaming and disgusting.

They tripped in the dark and accidentally deleted Melania Trump’s website and biography.

The disappearance of Trump’s elaborate website comes just days after news outlets, including The Huffington Post, raised serious questions about whether she actually earned an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Ljubljana, which is in Trump’s native Slovenia. Her online biography claimed she had, but a book about her life published earlier this year says she left the university after one year so she could pursue a modeling career.

Well maybe it was a one-year degree. Architecture is pretty simple, … Read the rest

Sick of being told to suck it up

Jul 28th, 2016 12:12 pm | By

Speaking of misogyny, and threats against women – Jessica Valenti has felt compelled to leave social media because of threats to her daughter age 5. Valenti is a writer, remember – social media are part of writers’ equipment now. Being forced off social media is crippling. It’s a figurative form of kneecapping.

On Twitter, popular writer Jessica Valenti wrote: “This morning I woke up to a rape and death threat directed at my 5 year old daughter. That this is part of my work life is unacceptable.”

Valenti, author of 2007’s Full Frontal Feminism and co-author of Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape in 2008, becomes the latest in an increasingly

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No visible injuries or signs of violence

Jul 28th, 2016 11:59 am | By

Naz Shah is accusing the Pakistani authorities of trying to cover up the murder of Samia Shahid.

Pakistani police investigating the death told the Guardian on Sunday that there were “no visible injuries or signs of violence” on Shahid’s body when it was found last Wednesday in the family home in Pandori, Jhelum, 50 miles (80km) south of Islamabad.

A postmortem report released on Thursday shows that her body did in fact have a “reddish brown linear horizontal bruise measuring about 19cm extending from just below [the] right ear and around the neck”.

The Guardian has seen photographs of Shahid’s body, which appear to confirm the finding. There also appear to be two purple welts around her neck. Naz Shah,

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Haven’t you got a sense of humour, love?

Jul 28th, 2016 11:02 am | By

Joan Smith on the resurgence of misogyny.

The murder of Jo Cox rightly caused an outpouring of emotion, from shocked disbelief to calls for more civility in public discourse. But memories are short, especially in the feverish atmosphere of a Labour leadership contest. I could hardly believe my ears when Owen Smith, in a campaign speech about equality, said he was upset that Labour did not have the power to “smash” Theresa May “back on her heels”.

Woman-hating has come roaring back, borne on a tide of recession, economic uncertainty and religious extremism. In this country, we have just witnessed misogyny in its “jokey” form, prompted by May’s arrival at No 10 Downing Street. “Heel, Boys” declared

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Oh that? On her neck?

Jul 28th, 2016 9:35 am | By

Oh hey gee what do you know – there’s a huge bruise on Samia Shahid’s neck. Maybe she grabbed herself by the neck when she had her “heart attack” or was it her “asthma” attack.

Police in Pakistan investigating the death of a 28-year-old British woman have confirmed a bruise was found on her neck after her death.

Samia Shahid’s husband claims she was murdered in a so-called honour killing.

There was a 7.5in (19cm)-long mark around her neck below her right ear, police said.

Meanwhile, her first husband has been granted “pre-arrest bail” and is expected to offer himself for interview, according to police.

The move means he cannot be arrested in connection with her death, for an

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There was no subtext

Jul 27th, 2016 5:14 pm | By

On Fresh Air yesterday, a guy who wrote a book about Roger Ailes. Roger Ailes resigned last week as CEO of Fox News on account of a flood of accusations of sexual harassment. It turns out it was all very open – women had to say Yes to the Harassment if they wanted to get anywhere at Fox.

GROSS: So sum up where we are now in terms of how many women have come forward alleging that they were sexually harassed by Ailes or by somebody else at Fox News. And I should say, we’re recording this at 9:00 in the morning. And I’m not sure if that number is going to change by the end of the day.

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WikiLeaks doxxed millions of women

Jul 27th, 2016 4:08 pm | By

Zeynep Tufecsi says that WikiLeaks put women in Turkey in danger with its latest dump of stolen information.

Just days after a bloody coup attempt shook Turkey, WikiLeaks dumped some 300,000 emails they chose to call “Erdogan emails.” In response, Turkey’s internet governance body swiftly blocked access to WikiLeaks.

Turkey’s response was widely reported as “censorship.” Wrong, says Tufecsi.

Journalists and anti-censorship activists who I am in touch with in Turkey have been combing through the leaked documents, and I am not aware of anything “newsworthy” being uncovered. According to the collective searching capacity of long-term activists and journalists in Turkey, none of the “Erdogan emails” appear to be emails actually from Erdogan or his inner circle. Nobody seems to

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Trump to citizens: none of your business

Jul 27th, 2016 11:49 am | By

Trump won’t be releasing his tax records, because he’s better than you.

A top aide to Donald Trump said Wednesday that the Republican presidential nominee “will not be releasing” his taxes. “Mr. Trump has said that his taxes are under audit and he will not be releasing them,” Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort told “CBS This Morning.”

That “auditing” nonsense has nothing to do with it; it’s just code for he doesn’t want to plus fuck you.

Trump has pushed back in recent months on calls from Democrats and some Republicans, namely former GOP nominee Mitt Romney, to release his tax returns.

Conservative columnist George Will this week argued Trump doesn’t want to release his taxes because

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Which is the true sham marriage?

Jul 27th, 2016 11:18 am | By

West Yorkshire police are looking into the suspicious death of Samia Shahid in Pakistan.

Samia Shahid had previously been harassed by a family member in Bradford last September, the West Yorkshire force has confirmed.

Bradford West MP Naz Shah is also investigating Ms Shahid’s death.

“I’m not going to rest until I’m satisfied I know the cause of her death – we need to investigate it fully,” said Ms Shah, who has written to the prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, calling for Ms Shahid’s body to be exhumed.

“It’s very suspicious circumstances,” she added.

The fact that she was young and healthy. The fact that her family disapproved of her divorce and re-marriage. The fact that her family … Read the rest

Her harder edges

Jul 27th, 2016 10:22 am | By

It’s time to “soften” Hillary Clinton’s image. Gotta soften that baby right up. Can’t have any hardness around.

At a time when many voters say they don’t trust Hillary Clinton, her husband sought to soften her harder edges.

I have an idea. How about she just transitions, instead? Wouldn’t that be a lot easier?

 … Read the rest

Russia, if you’re listening

Jul 27th, 2016 9:53 am | By

The New York Times reports, aghast –

DORAL, Fla. — Donald J. Trump said Wednesday that he hoped Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially encouraging a foreign power’s cyberspying of a secretary of state’s correspondence.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, staring directly into the cameras. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Mr. Trump’s call was an extraordinary moment at a time when Russia is being accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election. His comments came amid questions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, which researchers have concluded was likely the work of two

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John Nimmo

Jul 27th, 2016 9:34 am | By

An internet threat-maker faces jail for making threats. Again.

John Nimmo, 28, from South Shields, sent two emails to [Labour MP] Luciana Berger where he told her to “watch your back Jewish scum”. The second message to the 35-year-old MP for Wavertree, who is running to become mayor of Liverpool, also included a picture of a large knife.

Nimmo was previously jailed in 2014 for eight weeks for sending abusive messages on Twitter to feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez and MP Stella Creasy.

Just banter. Just his opinion. Free speech. If women don’t like it they should shut up get offline.

Along with Isabella Sorley, Nimmo previously pleaded guilty at Westminster magistrates court in 2014 to abusing Criado-Perez and

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People shocked, shocked to learn there was slavery in DC

Jul 26th, 2016 6:45 pm | By

Some people saw fit to get huffy about Michelle Obama’s saying that slaves built the White House. Jeezus, folks, where have you been? You do realize Washington was in the South, right? You know there were slave markets in DC? You know the White House wasn’t built from a kit? Why wouldn’t slaves have built it?

There is little dispute among historians that slaves had a role in the building of the White House. According to the White House Historical Association’s website, planners had initially intended to import workers from Europe but had trouble recruiting any, so they “turned to African-American — enslaved and free — to provide the bulk of labor that built the White House,

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Guest post: The influence of Revenge of the Nerds

Jul 26th, 2016 6:25 pm | By

Originally a comment by Freemage on Where it gets complicated.

In addition to Cressida’s point, there’s also the difference, highlighted in Ophelia’s original post, even, between ‘having a fantasy’, ‘acting out a fantasy’ and ‘depicting that fantasy for others to consume’ (and then, on that last one, depicting a fantasy for money, which usually means it’s probably not your fantasy to begin with). Each step in that chain is a different beast, entirely, and conflating it all as one big happy ball of sex positivity is a deliberate attempt by porn producers to add legitimacy to their activities.

Having a fantasy is fine. Acting out that fantasy, in a safe fashion with a trusted and consenting partner, is fine.… Read the rest


Jul 26th, 2016 4:33 pm | By

You cannot be serious.

The British Council has said it will investigate comments allegedly made by one of its senior employees on Facebook that criticise Prince George for living “on public money”.

Angela Gibbins, head of global estates at the charity, was reported to have commented on a picture of the young prince, which someone had captioned: “I know he’s only two years old, but Prince George already looks like a f****** d***head.”

A spokeswoman said: “This comment was made on a private social media account. It has absolutely no connection to the British Council and does not represent the views of the British Council.

“That said, we expect the highest standards of our staff and we will

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Simply an administrative matter

Jul 26th, 2016 4:26 pm | By

You can just never hate women enough, can you. The dosage always has to be increased. El Salvador’s law banning all abortions without exception no matter what has been found to be not harsh enough.

Abortion has been illegal under all circumstances in El Salvador since 1997, with a penalty of two to eight years in prison. Now, the right-wing ARENA Party has introduced a bill that would increase that penalty to a prison sentence of 30 to 50 years—the same as aggravated homicide.

That’s some heavy-duty hatred of women there.

The bill’s major sponsor, Rep. Ricardo Andrés Velásquez Parker, explained in a television interview on July 11 that this was simply an administrative matter and “shouldn’t need

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How would it be possible to libel Andrew Wakefield?

Jul 26th, 2016 12:26 pm | By

The Irish Examiner:

A US film studio has threatened to sue an Irish autism-rights advocate if she continues to speak out against its controversial anti-vaccine documentary, Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe.

West Cork-based mother, Fiona O’Leary, who wants to block the film’s release in Ireland and Britain, said she was outraged to receive a legal letter from California-based Cinema Libre Studios over the weekend.

The letter claimed that her public comments about the 90-minute film were defamatory and that her comments about the filmmaker were libellous.

They demand that she immediately shut up, or else.

“In the event that you do not comply with this demand, we intend to file an action against you. We will ask for punitive

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