All entries by this author

Capitalising much?

Apr 16th, 2015 11:58 am | By

One of those times when the jaw drops so hard it hits the desk.

A tweet by Myriam François-Cerrah:

M Francois-Cerrah‏@MFrancoisCerrah
Capitalising much? Charlie Hebdo’s Charb publishes posthumous book on Islam http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-32325884 … #bloodmoney

Blood money? Blood money? Whose blood is she talking about? Charb and his colleagues were murdered by the Kouachi brothers, not the other way around. Charb didn’t kill anyone, or order anyone killed, or incite anyone to kill. What blood money is François-Cerrah talking about?

And “capitalizing”? Charb is capitalizing on his own death, when he is dead? How is he doing that exactly?

He wrote the book before the Kouachi brothers murdered him and all those others. He’s not “capitalizing” on anything – he’s … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



“Sometimes I was sold. Sometimes I was given as a gift.”

Apr 16th, 2015 11:13 am | By

HRW reports on what ISIS/Daesh is doing to Yezidi women and girls in northern Iraq. HRW interviewed 20 women and girls who escaped.

ISIS forces took several thousand Yezidi civilians into custody in northern Iraq’s Nineveh province in August 2014, according to Kurdistan officials and community leaders. Witnesses said that fighters systematically separated young women and adolescent girls from their families and other captives and moved them from one location to another inside Iraq and Syria.

The 11 women and 9 girls Human Rights Watch interviewed had escaped between September 2014 and January 2015. Half, including two 12-year-old girls, said they had been raped – some multiple times and by several ISIS fighters. Nearly all of them said they had

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



What is that, if not discrimination?

Apr 16th, 2015 10:18 am | By

Charb finished a book on the right to ridicule religion two days before he was killed in the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo.

Charb had received numerous death threats following Charlie Hebdo’s publication of cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad in 2006. The magazine’s offices were firebombed in 2012.

Charb’s book – which goes on sale on Thursday – is entitled An Open Letter to the Fraudsters of Islamophobia who Play into Racists’ Hands.

It is both a defence of Charlie Hebdo’s editorial stance and an attack on the paper’s detractors.

“The suggestion that you can laugh at everything, except certain aspects of Islam, because Muslims are much more prickly than the rest of the population – what is that, if not

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



On a boat headed to Sicily

Apr 16th, 2015 9:44 am | By

This is a tiny taste of what climate change is going to look like in the future – mass migrations, which by definition overwhelm the countries or regions people migrate to, because it’s not possible to prepare for them in advance. There will be horrors. There already are horrors, and they’ll get worse.

Italian police say they have arrested 15 Muslim migrants after they allegedly threw 12 Christians overboard following a row on a boat headed to Italy.

The Christian migrants, said to be from Ghana and Nigeria, are all feared dead.

In a separate incident, more than 40 people drowned after another migrant boat sunk between Libya and Italy.

The boats are unsafe and horrifically overloaded. Be sure to … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Don’t mention the Armenian genocide

Apr 15th, 2015 5:25 pm | By

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is mad at the pope for mentioning the Armenian genocide. The what? The Armenian genocide. I can’t quite hear you. THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE. Oh yes, the Armenian genocide.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he condemned the Pope and warned him to “not repeat this mistake”.

Turkey rejects the use of the term genocide to describe the killings, arguing it was a civil war in which both sides died.

It is calling for a joint study by historians of what happened.

As if no historians have studied it.

Turkey recalled its envoy to the Vatican after Pope Francis made the comments on Sunday at a Mass at St Peter’s Basilica, attended by the Armenian president and the head

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



And in that they were exceedingly successful

Apr 15th, 2015 4:57 pm | By

The Washington Post has the whole text of Garry Trudeau’s speech on receiving the George Polk award, so we can do a thorough job of scowling at the wrongness.

I, and most of my colleagues, have spent a lot of time discussing red lines since the tragedy in Paris. As you know, the Muhammad cartoon controversy began [more than] eight years ago in Denmark, as a protest against “self-censorship,” one editor’s call to arms against what he felt was a suffocating political correctness. The idea behind the original drawings was not to entertain or to enlighten or to challenge authority — his charge to the cartoonists was specifically to provoke, and in that they were exceedingly successful.

Wait. I disagree … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Well, voilà

Apr 15th, 2015 4:20 pm | By

I started to say I hate to agree with David Frum, but then I paused and decided I don’t, really – I’ve seen or heard him say reasonable things more than once, so it’s fatuous to hate to agree with him just because he’s a conservative.

He wrote about Garry Trudeau v Charlie Hebdo a couple of days ago, starting with a compliment to the Anglo-American liberal instinct to sympathize with the underdog.

This is not a universal human norm. Across much of the modern world, human beings still follow the ancient Roman rule,vae victis—woe to the loser. But the liberal tradition appealingly sees its core task as standing up for the weak against the powerful.

“Hold off,

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Their imperishable creations live on

Apr 15th, 2015 2:50 pm | By

Garry Trudeau’s awful bilge about Charlie Hebdo is all the more gobsmacking, as brucegee points out, given this beautiful strip in the Washington Post:

So why, why, why?… Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



And I’ll get to Scotland afore ye

Apr 15th, 2015 11:52 am | By

The Melby Foundation announces its disassociation from some things.

The Melby Foundation publicly dissociates itself from the harmful and hateful rhetoric of Nugent’s comments section.

The Melby Foundation is publicly dissociating itself from the hurtful and dehumanizing, hateful and violent, unjust and defamatory rhetoric of Nugent’s comments section. The final of many, many straws was its latest smear that if PZ Myers and Alex Gabriel were given power that they would send people to “re-education gulags”, and its subsequent description of the out-group as “a community of personality disordered individuals with high degrees of narcissism”. We are also asking all ethical organizations and individuals to consider how you can help to reverse Nugent’s comments section’s harmful impact on the individuals

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



The useful idiots of the brutal and the powerful

Apr 15th, 2015 10:19 am | By

Ken White also takes on Garry Trudeau, at Popehat.

Last week cartoonist Garry Trudeau received the George Polk award for journalism. It’s an award named in memory of a journalist murdered while covering a war. Trudeau used the opportunity to say that while murdering journalists is sub-optimal, journalists need to rethink offending people:

What free speech absolutists have failed to acknowledge is that because one has the right to offend a group does not mean that one must. Or that that group gives up the right to be outraged. They’re allowed to feel pain. Freedom should always be discussed within the context of responsibility. At some point free expression absolutism becomes childish and unserious. It becomes its own kind

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Punching inwards

Apr 15th, 2015 9:35 am | By

Padraig Reidy has some things to say to Garry Trudeau about his ignorant and illiberal comments about Charlie Hebdo last week.

I thought we’d got somewhere closer to clarity on the Paris massacres by now. But comments made by Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury[,] last week suggest we might have to go through this again. Speaking at Long Island University on 10 April, the veteran cartoonist sought to spread his wisdom on “the tragedy in Paris” (note the oddly neutral word “tragedy”: not “murders”, say).

“As you know,” Trudeau commented, “the Muhammad cartoon controversy began eight years ago in Denmark, as a protest against ‘self-censorship,’ one editor’s call to arms against what she [sic] felt was a suffocating political correctness.”

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Maajid replies

Apr 14th, 2015 5:43 pm | By

Maajid Nawaz has a public statement on that Daily Mail nonsense.

A planned and sustained attack campaign against reform-minded Muslims. My reply to recent allegations.

“It doesn’t matter if you are in the right. It doesn’t matter if lots of ‘ordinary people’ do the same. In times such as these, the public wants a hero. They do not want an ‘ordinary’ person”. These words were uttered to me by my ever wise wife Rachel, after footage of my stag night in London was vindictively leaked to the press.

I have already mentioned that this was a stag night before my marriage. However, even if it were after my marriage, Rachel had already known about it. As a liberal, what

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



The lesser of two who cares

Apr 14th, 2015 4:35 pm | By

The whole scene is great, but the reason I went looking for it starts at 3:30 minutes in.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNsbssYc8gcRead the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Then the baked apples came home

Apr 14th, 2015 3:44 pm | By

And then there’s Hetty Bates, by her own admission a talker. For instance in chapter IX of Emma, via Project Gutenberg:

Voices approached the shop—or rather one voice and two ladies: Mrs. Weston and Miss Bates met them at the door.

“My dear Miss Woodhouse,” said the latter, “I am just run across to entreat the favour of you to come and sit down with us a little while, and give us your opinion of our new instrument; you and Miss Smith. How do you do, Miss Smith?—Very well I thank you.—And I begged Mrs. Weston to come with me, that I might be sure of succeeding.”

“I hope Mrs. Bates and Miss Fairfax are—”

“Very well, I am … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Guest post: My vote is just that: my vote

Apr 14th, 2015 3:08 pm | By

Originally a comment by Captaintripps on “But you’re wrong that you’re free to vote third party.”

This line of reasoning is so screwy, though I understand where it comes from. My vote is just that: my vote. It wasn’t Al Gore’s and it wasn’t the string of third party candidates I voted for, nor was it Obama’s. It was my vote. When I voted third party I didn’t screw you over.

I think getting screwed over is beside the point, but if we’re going to put that terminology to use, people voting first party and second party are the ones doing the screwing for the rest of us. After Obama broke most of his campaign promises around civil liberties and … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Tolerance is only good for solving little problems

Apr 14th, 2015 11:59 am | By

There’s an excellent comment on Greta’s post about the Secular Policy Club yesterday that I got permission to quote. The author is Llewelly.

Some of us still have quite vivid memories of how once there was quite a bit of agreement between PZ and most of these folks about the need to generate controversy together. We didn’t end up on different sides because some people sought to create artificial infighting. We ended up on different sides, because, a very serious problem was discovered, and some people suffer from it, while others benefit.

There’s anger and controversy because the issue at hand is a problem that causes a fair amount of harm, and so there’s no way to talk about it

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



“But you’re wrong that you’re free to vote third party”

Apr 14th, 2015 11:30 am | By

Another source of this “You have to vote for Hillary Clinton” bullshit is William Hamby in a string of public posts on Facebook. You’d think he was James Carville on speed.

A comment on one of his own posts a couple of hours ago for instance:

William Hamby In 2000, 3% of American voters took a vote from Al Gore and gave it to Ralph Nader. Because Al Gore, who would have solar panels on the White House and carbon emissions cut by a third, wasn’t progressive enough.

George W. Bush was “appointed” based on a difference of several hundred votes. Those left defectors elected George Bush. End of story. Noble goals mean shit in politics. Voters must think long

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



In the minds of ideologues and children

Apr 14th, 2015 10:34 am | By

Oy, it’s starting already, the angry shouting from people outraged by the scandalous fact that some people are not excited about Hillary Clinton as a candidate for president and are talking about not voting for her when and if the time comes. It’s the 2000 campaign all over again.

The shout goes like this: the Democratic Party candidate is all there is. You can’t vote for someone to the left of that candidate, because that is taking your vote from the Democratic Party candidate and giving it to that outsider person. That’s reality. You have to submit to it.

There’s one example at Addicting Info:

Unsurprisingly, Hillary Clinton’s announcement on Sunday was met with laments from the left

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



Guest post: Does this multi-faceted rabble want a formal leadership?

Apr 14th, 2015 9:41 am | By

Originally a comment by Maureen Brian on Be ever tranquil and mild.

What Dawkins et al do, which by my standards – yes, folks, I’m a socialist feminist atheist who uses “rude words” and I have standards! – is worse is that they demand to be treated as leaders because they say they are leaders. A useless project anyway but more damaging than any amount of boisterous argument among intelligent people who are trying to thrash out a number of important questions.

Among the matters they refuse to address are – does this multi-faceted rabble want a formal leadership? does it need one? if it does then is the market driven hierarchical one best suited to the task? have … Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)



All sides

Apr 13th, 2015 6:36 pm | By

Sarah Khan has an excellent public post on Facebook saying it comes from all sides.

Misogyny, objectification & hypocrisy about women on ALL sides. Maajid Nawaz by going to a strip club is happy to pay for women’s objectification for his sexual purposes. If you believe in women’s dignity and rights, you don’t just challenge Islamists’ abuse of women; you challenge all those capitalist corporations and services which seek to make huge profits on the exploitation of women’s bodies and for sex. (I believe in the rights and dignity of sex workers by the way who are regularly abused and denigrated.) You challenge unequal pay. You challenge all the inequalities that continue to exist between men and women in our

Read the rest

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)