All entries by this author

Bullies march

Jan 30th, 2016 10:55 am | By

Racist bullies went on a rampage in Stockholm last night.

Hundreds of masked men marched through Stockholm’s main train station on Friday evening, reportedly beating up refugees and anyone who didn’t appear to be ethnically Swedish.

Wearing all-black balaclavas and armbands, the men “gathered with the purpose of attacking refugee children,” Stockholm police spokesperson Towe Hagg said.

Attacking children – that’s a nice touch. Hundreds of men getting together to attack children; what courage.

Before the attacks, the mob handed out leaflets with the slogan “It is enough now!” which threatened to give “the North African street children who are roaming around” the “punishment they deserve”.

The leaflet refers to the death of social worker Alexandra Mezher, who

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Interview with Meera Nanda

Jan 29th, 2016 | By Stefano Bigliardi

Stefano Bigliardi interviewed Meera Nanda, who has just published Science in Saffron, for the Italian rationalist magazine L’Ateo. Meera and Stefano invited me to publish this translation here.

SB: Which points do you prefer to be mentioned in my general presentation of your studies and career? If I describe you as atheist, can we expand a little on the roots and reasons of your atheism?

MN: My intellectual/career trajectory and my “faith” trajectory are completely intertwined, each acting upon the other.

I grew up amid multiple pulls-and-pushes between tradition and new ways of thinking,  between patriarchy and a faint glimmer of my own potential as a person, between an intense nationalism (my father had spent his youth fighting … Read the rest


Jan 29th, 2016 3:52 pm | By

In squalid news from the UK:

The former Dragon’s Den judge Douglas Richard has been found not guilty of child sex charges.

The 57-year-old, who once advised Prime Minister David Cameron, engaged in “sexy chat” with a 13-year-old after meeting her on a ‘sugar daddy’ website and went on to act out his fantasies when she travelled from her home in Norwich to meet him in London.

However, the American millionaire claimed he believed she was an experienced 17-year-old and told jurors he would never “knowingly” have sex with a child.

Those goddam 13-year-old girls are so deceptive.… Read the rest

Image management

Jan 29th, 2016 3:21 pm | By

The Independent reports:

A government minister has urged Saudi Arabia to do a “better job” of trumpeting its human rights successes during an official visit to the country, less than a month after it carried out the mass execution of 47 people.

Tobias Ellwood, the Foreign Office minister for the Middle East, made the comments on Monday as he and other British delegates addressed Saudi Arabia’s National Society for Human Rights in the capital Riyadh, The Independent understands.

Its what? Trumpeting its what? Trumpeting its what successes? Trumping its human rights what?

Saudi Arabia doesn’t have any fucking human rights “successes.” Saudi Arabia doesn’t believe in human rights, because it thinks human beings are slaves before Allah and Mohammed. … Read the rest

Great publicity

Jan 29th, 2016 12:11 pm | By

The Independent has reported on Dawkins’s latest excellent adventure.

The evolutionary biologist is a controversial figure. He has been criticised for Islamophobia – a term he has described as a ‘non-word’ – on several occasions and last year sparked outrage by comparing who he described as “clock boy” Ahmed Mohamed with a child soldier forced by Isis to behead victims.

The Independent has approached Dawkins for comment.

He also – often – called Ahmed Mohamed “Hoax Boy” – which is even less friendly than “clock boy.”

The International Business Times also reported.

The atheist movement has been accused of being dominated by men often insensitive to women’s concerns. The NECSS decision to disinvite Dawkins as the keynote speaker

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Jan 29th, 2016 11:52 am | By

This sums it up:

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The more the merrier

Jan 28th, 2016 5:25 pm | By

David Futrelle covers the story of Dawkins’s passionate defense of relentlessly mocking people we dislike; he covers it with great thoroughness. I read through Dawkins’s numbingly horrible tweets earlier today and didn’t have the stomach to blog about them.

Earlier this month, antifeminist YouTuber Sargon of Akkad — who makes his living pandering to some of the internet’s worst lady haters — posted an animated videoby another antifeminist YouTuber in which an angry Islamist and an angry feminist sing a song explaining that they pretty much believe all the same things. (For some reason, this nonsensical theory is something that a lot of antifeminists have convinced themselves is true.)

The angry Islamist in the video is a familiar

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The group fears arrest

Jan 28th, 2016 1:38 pm | By

Hm. I guess some people aren’t very good at predicting highly predictable consequences of actions.

The holdouts at Malheur, for instance.

David Fry said he spoke to an FBI negotiator three times in the last 24 hours. He said the group is prepared to leave peacefully, but fears arrest.

Ah, the group fears arrest. Did they think arrest was an impossible outcome? Did they think they were there legally? Did they not realize that the wildlife refuge was not theirs to grab and take over?

One man, Sean Anderson, had been told there was a federal warrant for his arrest on charges of interfering with federal employees. Fry said FBI negotiators told him the others would be allowed to

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It sounds so familiar

Jan 28th, 2016 1:14 pm | By

Aatish Taseer tells us via the NY Times that the right-wingers currently calling the shots in India are going after the universities.

The R.S.S., a Hindu nationalist organization, was founded in 1925 as a muscular alternative to Mahatma Gandhi’s freedom movement. Its founder admired Adolf Hitler, and in 1948 the organization was blamed for indirectly inspiring Gandhi’s assassination. The B.J.P. has not always had an easy relationship with the R.S.S. With its fanciful ideas of Hindu purity and its sweeping range of prejudices, the organization is dangerously out of step with the realities of India’s political landscape. When the B.J.P. wants to win an election, it usually distances itself from the R.S.S.’s cultural agenda.

Mr. Modi’s 2014 election had very

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A dirty trick

Jan 28th, 2016 12:21 pm | By

The FBI arrested three more of the trespassers yesterday.

The FBI set up a perimeter around theMalheur Wildlife Refuge and established a series of checkpoints earlier in the day, as militia members continued their occupation.

In a statement, the FBI said the containment was to “better ensure the safety of community members.” Only Harney County ranchers who own property in specific areas were allowed to pass after showing IDs.

Since Wednesday morning, a total of 8 people left the refuge, the FBI said. Five of them were released and 3 were arrested.

Duane Ehmer, 45, of Irrigon, Oregon and Dylan Anderson, 34, of Provo, Utah were arrested at 3:30 p.m. Jason Patrick, 43, of Bonaire,

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If only there had been a friendly conversation

Jan 28th, 2016 11:10 am | By

So, this is the fruit of the merger between CFI and Dawkins’s foundation: Dawkins gets to use CFI to add a bit of respectability to his statement on NECSS.

That’s good for him, not so good for them. (Remember the good old days when he used to say that his debating William Lane Craig would look good on WLC’s resumé, not so good on his? This is that.) This ties his Twitter persona to CFI. It ties his ridiculous statement to CFI.

I woke up this morning to see a public announcement that my invitation to speak at NECSS 2016 had been withdrawn by the executive committee. I do not write this out of concern about my appearance or

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Prepare to be surprised

Jan 27th, 2016 6:15 pm | By

Holy shit. For once someone actually did the right thing. NECSS has disinvited Dawkins from its upcoming conference because of that horrific video.

A Statement Concerning Richard Dawkins

The Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism has withdrawn its invitation to Richard Dawkins to participate at NECSS 2016. We have taken this action in response to Dr. Dawkins’ approving re-tweet of a highly offensive video.

We believe strongly in freedom of speech and freedom to express unpopular, and even offensive, views. However, unnecessarily divisive, counterproductive, and even hateful speech runs contrary to our mission and the environment we wish to foster at NECSS. The sentiments expressed in the video do not represent the values of NECSS or its sponsoring organizations.

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“This is a free-for-all Armageddon!”

Jan 27th, 2016 5:10 pm | By

The remaining criminals at Malheur are issuing new threats, which will no doubt be added to the charges once they’re arrested.

As law enforcement surrounded the remaining protesters at an Oregon wildlife refuge Wednesday, an armed occupier urged supporters to join them and to kill any law enforcement officer who tried prevent their entry, according to a livestream that has been broadcasting from the site.

“There are no laws in this United States now! This is a free-for-all Armageddon!” a heavyset man holding a rifle yelled into a camera that was broadcasting a livestream from the refuge Wednesday morning, adding that if “they stop you from getting here, kill them!”

A second man cooed to the camera in a

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No guns, no cattle

Jan 27th, 2016 4:49 pm | By

From Facebook:

Blitzen River at Malheur:

Marilyn Miller… Read the rest

Nice timing

Jan 27th, 2016 11:52 am | By

And, speaking of the 71st anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz – Iran is holding another “Holocaust cartoons” contest.

Just in time for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Iranian government has announced that it will be holding another “Holocaust Cartoons Contest,” in which the cartoonist who most viciously mocks the Nazi genocide will be awarded $50,000.

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January 27 1945

Jan 27th, 2016 11:07 am | By

71 years ago today, Soviet troops arrived at Auschwitz. Survivors commemorated the date.

Survivors arrived with wreaths at a former execution site on the grounds of what now is the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum.

Flowers and candles were laid at the site where thousands were executed by firing squad, under the windows of prisoners’ living quarters, before methods of mass murder in gas chambers were introduced by the camp’s German administrators.

Around 1.5 million people were killed in Auschwitz alone, mostly Jews, but also Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, homosexuals and other minorities. The camp has since become a symbol of the horrors of the Holocaust.

Beware of inciting hatred. It’s so easy to do, … Read the rest

Reading a book also not advised

Jan 27th, 2016 10:36 am | By

High on the list of things not to do while driving. The Detroit Free Press:

Police say a man who was watching a movie on his phone has died in a car crash on a Detroit highway.

Clifford Ray Jones of Detroit was partially ejected through the sunroof when his 1996 Toyota rolled in the wee hours Sunday.

Fox 2 News reported that Michigan State Police said the man had been watching pornography and masturbating while driving. MSP also said he was not wearing pants at the time of the crash.

Driving is one of those activities that really does demand full attention.

 … Read the rest

Killing children

Jan 27th, 2016 10:25 am | By

Amnesty International calls Iran on its bullshit.

Scores of youths in Iran are languishing on death row for crimes committed under the age of 18, said Amnesty International in a damning new report published today. The report debunks recent attempts by Iran’s authorities to whitewash their continuing violations of children’s rights and deflect criticism of their appalling record as one of the world’s last executioners of juvenile offenders.

Growing up on death row: The death penalty and juvenile offenders in Iran reveals that Iran has continued to consign juvenile offenders to the gallows, while trumpeting as major advances, piecemeal reforms that fail to abolish the death penalty against juvenile offenders.

“This report sheds light on Iran’s shameful disregard for

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A total of eight people were arrested

Jan 27th, 2016 8:52 am | By

The Washington Post on the news from Harney County, Oregon:

Federal agents moved early Wednesday morning to seal off a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon, hours after authorities arrested several leaders of the armed activists who had seized the land in a shootout that killed one of the group’s most prominent members.

In the weeks since the group began its occupation, local and federal law enforcement officials had called for the occupation to end peacefully. On Tuesday, after these calls and attempts at negotiations went nowhere, authorities moved to arrest several group members while they were away from the compound. A total of eight people were arrested, at the shootout and other locations.


After the exchange of gunfire

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Lesser charge

Jan 26th, 2016 5:56 pm | By

So if a guy gets really mad at his wife because she says she’s leaving him for another man, then it’s not murder when he kills her, it’s manslaughter. He was really pissed off, you see.

Jonathon Cudworth, 36, of Northbourne, near Deal in Kent, was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter at Canterbury Crown Court.

During the trial, jurors heard Cudworth killed Polish-born Mariola, known as Mijka, because he feared she was going to leave him for another man.

Judge Adele Williams told Cudworth it was a “brutal, callous killing”.

When Cudworth gave evidence, he told jurors the couple had argued after she was late home from work, he grabbed her by the neck to stop

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