All entries by this author


Feb 13th, 2016 2:49 pm | By


Scalia is dead.

An outspoken opponent of abortion, affirmative action and what he termed the “so-called homosexual agenda,” Justice Scalia’s intellectual rigor, flamboyant style and eagerness to debate his detractors energized conservative law students, professors and intellectuals who felt outnumbered by liberals in their chosen professions.

Sloppy writing, because it’s not Scalia’s rigor, style and eagerness that were an outspoken opponent of abortion and the rest, but we get the idea.

This is huge.… Read the rest


Feb 13th, 2016 10:54 am | By

Among the things people shouldn’t waste their time doing: fretting about festivals and celebrations that come from other cultures and therefore are not local and Authentic. That’s especially true for government officials, and even more so when their fretting intensifies into forbidding.

The president of Pakistan for instance:

Pakistan’s president has denounced St Valentine’s Day, saying the festival has no connection with Pakistani culture and should be avoided.

President Mamnoon Hussain told students that it was a Western tradition and conflicted with Muslim culture.

So what? We can learn from each other’s cultures. I find over-the-top commercial Valentine stuff rather silly, but that’s just me. Let’s have celebrations of everything. It was Darwin day yesterday; maybe today could be birdwatching … Read the rest

Welcome the tundra swans

Feb 13th, 2016 9:34 am | By

Now that’s how Malheur is supposed to be occupied.

The same day four final holdouts ended the armed occupation of a remote wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon, a new occupation was just getting underway.

According to two decades’ worth of federal data, Feb. 11 is, on average, the earliest date migrating tundra swans begin appearing at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, exiting the Pacific Flyway to rest in the vast wetlands of the high desert oasis.

Northern pintails have probably already arrived. Red-winged blackbirds, too. This weekend, expect snow geese, then killdeer and sandhill cranes. They will keep coming deep into May – fresh wing beats descending unarmed and unintimidated.

And not talking about freedom while stealing public land … Read the rest

The rewards

Feb 12th, 2016 4:03 pm | By

PZ is recruiting new people to join Freethought Blogs.

So if you want to blog here, here’s what you do: send an email to, in which you give us this information:


Contact email

Do you want your email public?

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Link for donations, if any

Links to your current blog, any biographical material, or best examples of your writing in comments or forums or other media

Why do you want to write for us?

It’s that easy. This is a private communication to the bloggers here; none of this information will be made public without your permission.

Good luck, applicants.

Serious applications will be examined for their suitability. Our requirements are simple: we

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The landscape is warming up for literally millions of birds in April

Feb 12th, 2016 3:20 pm | By

Peter Walker is reporting from the no-longer-stolen Malheur NWR. He was allowed in with the journalists today and posted a bunch of photos. This one coupled with his commentary is very striking.

Peter Walker

An example of how things have changed. When I visited the refuge during the occupation, there were always armed militants in this fire tower. They watched everything and had their long guns ready. It was unnerving. Now it’s a fire tower again and getting near it doesn’t give me a sense of deep anxiety. An example of things getting back to some sanity.

Can you imagine? That’s a public facility, and that structure is a fire tower – for spotting wild fires. Armed men who … Read the rest

Until Wednesday night

Feb 12th, 2016 11:13 am | By

Kirk Siegler at NPR did a backgrounder on Cliven Bundy.

Bundy, who inspired the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, was arrested at the airport in Portland, Ore., Wednesday night, apparently on his way to Malheur.

In a 32-page criminal complaint, prosecutors allege Bundy and his co-conspirators led a massive, armed assault against federal officers in April 2014 near the town of Bunkerville, Nev.

Just like a cowboy movie!

“What’s at stake here? Freedom, liberty and statehood, that’s what’s at stake here,” Bundy told me when I visited his ranch in southeastern Nevada shortly after the 2014 standoff.

That hot summer day, Bundy sat between two bodyguards. Photos of his 14 children and framed Mormon scripture hung on the

Read the rest


Feb 11th, 2016 5:35 pm | By

News from Saudi Arabia, where “morality police” tell girls to cover their faces and beat them up if they don’t obey fast enough.

Manama: One of the two girls who had a bitter standoff with the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the religious police, in Riyadh said they had been the victims of “blatant injustice.”

A video clip of a woman being beaten up in front of the Nakheel Mall in Riyadh sparked outrage in Saudi Arabia this week amid contrasting reports about what really took place.

The article has the video but it’s just a note from YouTube:

This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s policy on harassment and bullying.

No, … Read the rest

Sorry you don’t get a veto on everything

Feb 11th, 2016 11:08 am | By

The Guardian posted this video by Julie Bindel yesterday. It’s had 2.5 million views already.

 … Read the rest


Feb 11th, 2016 10:50 am | By

The AP reports Cliven Bundy faces charges over the 2014 “standoff.”

Federal prosecutors in Las Vegas are charging Cliven Bundy with conspiracy, assault on a federal officer, obstruction, weapon and other crimes.

A criminal complaint filed Thursday stems from Bundy’s role at the center of a tense April 2014 armed standoff with federal officials near his ranch in Nevada.

It involved self-styled Bundy militia supporters pointing military-style weapons at federal agents trying to enforce a court order to round up Bundy cattle from federal rangeland near his ranch.

See that’s no good. You don’t want that, not even if you think the resisters have a valid cause. (If you’re living in a state where law enforcement just quietly kills people … Read the rest

In the Multnomah County jail

Feb 11th, 2016 10:36 am | By

Les Zaitz reporting at The Oregonian/Oregon Live:

Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who touched off one armed showdown with federal authorities and applauded another started in Oregon by his sons, was arrested late Wednesday at Portland International Airport and faces federal charges related to the 2014 standoff at his ranch.

Bundy, 74, was booked into the downtown Multnomah County jail at 10:54 p.m.

He faces a conspiracy charge to interfere with a federal officer — the same charge lodged against two of his sons, Ammon and Ryan, for their role in the Jan. 2 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns. He also faces weapons charges.


The Bundy Ranch Facebook page reported Cliven Bundy was surrounded

Read the rest

Booking Information

Feb 11th, 2016 10:23 am | By
Booking Information

Cliven Bundy

Last night at 22:54

Arresting agency Portland FBI

 … Read the rest

The Gallery of Tilted Cats

Feb 10th, 2016 4:46 pm | By
The Gallery of Tilted Cats

It’s a specialty gallery.

Oenotrian’s Virginia:

David Richards’s Merlyn:

If you have any tilted cats you would like to add to the gallery, send them.

New: Peter Nothnagle’s Gus sharpening his claws:

latsot’s Fortran:

Rich Roberts’s Sugar:

iknklast’s Sir Winston and Mr Murphy:

Minnie The Finn’s Shiftie:

Josh Spokes’s Shredder:

Read the rest

Assuming they are all true

Feb 10th, 2016 11:34 am | By

One of those items that could be true or could just be something someone claimed. David Bernstein has an “o tempora o mores” piece at The Volokh Conspiracy at the Washington Post (too many levels already and I’m not even finished yet) which refers back to an earlier piece at the same place, both describing a thing that seems to be just a “she said” thing.

From the first one, the January 26 one:

Consider the following incidents described below that have reached my inbox or social media accounts over the past two weeks or so:

2. Anti-Israel sentiment at that most progressive of colleges, Oberlin, is bleeding into anti-Semitism (or maybe anti-Israel sentiment is simply providing a

Read the rest

The big shave

Feb 10th, 2016 9:57 am | By

Today’s Jesus and Mo (from the archive):


The Patreon.


 … Read the rest

The epithet question again

Feb 10th, 2016 9:34 am | By

I wrote a whole post about the word “pussy” back in 2009 – a couple of years before it became routine for people to call me a cunt along with every other misogynist epithet in the arsenal. It generated a lot of interesting comments.

Here’s the post again:

I’m curious about something. To the best of my knowledge, a sexist epithet is a sexist epithet. There’s not generally a lot of ambiguity about it, although there’s always room for ironic uses in private conversation and so on. In public discourse, a sexist epithet is what it is. Yet – I keep encountering people who dispute that, in places where I wouldn’t expect to, such as comments on Jesus and MoRead the rest

Kitty kitty kitty

Feb 10th, 2016 9:14 am | By

So Donald Trump called Ted Cruz a pussy at a New Hampshire rally Monday night.

Oh but he didn’t really call him that, he just quoted someone else calling him that. Heeheehawhaw.

A pussy for what? For not shouting “Fuck yes!” when asked if he thought waterboarding was the best thing ever.

Read the rest

A van, a few bearded men and one or two women in black chadors

Feb 9th, 2016 4:09 pm | By

The BBC reports on a new app in Iran that warns people of the location of the “morality police” aka Ershad.

Ershad’s mobile checkpoints which usually consist of a van, a few bearded men and one or two women in black chadors, are deployed in towns across Iran and appear with no notice.

Women?! But isn’t that immoral? Unless they’re related to all the men.

Ershad personnel have a very extensive list of powers ranging from issuing warnings and forcing those they accuse of violating Iran’s Islamic code of conduct, to make a written statement pledging to never do so again, to fines or even prosecuting offenders.

It’s such a horrendous way to live I can’t even really imagine it. … Read the rest

Guest post: But who is the one actually taking “offense”?

Feb 9th, 2016 3:51 pm | By

Originally a comment by iknklast on He’s just another dude on the planet.

Oh, yes, it’s all just offense. But who is the one actually taking “offense”, if we look at it from the big picture? Dawkins took offense that Rebecca Watson didn’t want guys hitting on her in the elevator. He took offense that people thought a young boy should not have been arrested for bringing a clock to school, because “he didn’t really make a clock”. Language purity. He took offense because feminists protested an inappropriate shirt. Dawkins seems to be just one big ball of quivering offense right now, and we’re being told by everyone to lay off being offended because it’s so not freethinking, etc.… Read the rest


Feb 9th, 2016 12:48 pm | By

From the Columbia Tower observation deck:

Karlo G

That’s a ferry departing at the bottom left. You can just barely see one approaching or leaving Winslow at the top – the tiny speck between two points of land.… Read the rest

He’s just another dude on the planet

Feb 9th, 2016 12:18 pm | By

Brian Dalton has a terrible short video raging at people who object to Richard Dawkins’s stream of anti-feminist tweets.

He starts out with outrage about the idea of “breaking up with” the great man. He’s not a god, Dalton tells us patronizingly, he didn’t run for president of United Atheists, and he’s not your freakin’ boyfriend.

He’s just another dude on the planet with opinions of his own, some of which you will agree with and some of which you will clearly not. But when he or Sam or Bill or whomever [sic] says something you disagree with, don’t take it as a personal betrayal. Richard never agreed to be your personal spokesman, let alone boyfriend.

And more of the … Read the rest