All entries by this author

45 years ago today

Aug 27th, 2015 12:15 pm | By

From a public post by Mary Scully on Facebook:

The Women’s Strike for Equality on August 26, 1970 in NYC was the first protest of the women’s liberation movement, now called the second wave of feminism. It was called on the day which marked the 50th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US Bill of Rights giving women the right to vote. The demands of the march were: Equal pay for equal work; Free 24-hour childcare; & Free abortion on demand, No forced sterilization. There had been many abortion actions for a few years but this was the first protest that proclaimed all of our demands.

There have been for a long while serious attacks on the women’s

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Shelby County v. Holder

Aug 27th, 2015 10:59 am | By

The Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU law school has a resource page on the Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 to ensure state and local governments do not pass laws or policies that deny American citizens the equal right to vote based on race. As the leading democracy of the world, the U.S. should work to keep voting free, fair, and accessible. That’s why the Voting Rights Act is so important. It makes sure every citizen, regardless of their race, has an equal opportunity to have a say and participate in our great democracy.

On June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, removing

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It’s only a 200 mile drive

Aug 27th, 2015 10:36 am | By

A horrendous situation could be shaping up in Alabama. Note I say could be, because this is a situation that could happen if the legislature does X, with X being something it’s discussing but hasn’t yet enacted into law. The Huffington Post reports:

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said Monday that proposed budget cuts would force it to close all but four driver’s license offices, even though the state requires government-issued photo identification, like a driver’s license, to vote in elections.

The 45 other locations would be closed in phases, the agency said, if the Republican-controlled state legislature were to pass the kind of “drastic” budget cuts it’s now considering. Lawmakers have proposed $40 million for the

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It was just not something you expect

Aug 27th, 2015 9:41 am | By

We know humans tend to see faces everywhere, and that Jesus-loving humans see Jesus faces everywhere, but some are so tenuous they bend the mind a little.

Like this one. It takes a lot of good will to see a face at all, and if you do consent to see it as a face…it looks like a very grumpy scowling face of someone advanced in years, which isn’t the usual idea of Jesus. (Also of course there are no actual images of Jesus taken from the life, so nobody knows what actual Jesus actually looked like. Maybe he looked like Yasser Arafat.)

It’s nice of the guy in the blue check shirt to hold up a little image of Jesus … Read the rest

When we slot everyone into boxes

Aug 26th, 2015 4:44 pm | By

This is quite funny, in a sad sort of way – a piece by Greta C. in Free Inquiry and republished on her blog.

“Fundamentalist believers want everything to be simple. They want their moral choices to be straightforward: they want a clear rulebook that outlines their choices, written for them by a perfect god. They want the world divided up into clearly labeled categories, with good people in one box and evil people in another. It’s so childish. The world isn’t like that. And the world shouldn’t be like that. It would be horrible. Why would they even want that?”

Lots of atheists I know say stuff like this. I say it myself.

See what I mean? Funny.… Read the rest

A humanist statement

Aug 26th, 2015 4:19 pm | By

The IHEU has an Amsterdam Declaration that is a statement of the fundamental principles of modern Humanism. The first one was in 1952, and it was updated in 2002. They tweeted about it, so I had a look.

Humanism is the outcome of a long tradition of free thought that has inspired many of the world’s great thinkers and creative artists and gave rise to science itself.

The fundamentals of modern Humanism are as follows:

1. Humanism is ethical. It affirms the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others. Humanists have a duty of care to all of humanity including

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That “you” again

Aug 26th, 2015 3:55 pm | By

Waiting for a bus. A truck went by – a St Pauli Beer truck. There was a slogan on the side, under the logo of the “St Pauli girl” and her armful of beers.

You never forget your first girl.

Hmmm.… Read the rest

Take that, ERD

Aug 26th, 2015 3:33 pm | By

The ACLU tweeted a graphic:

 … Read the rest

Guest post:

Aug 26th, 2015 3:28 pm | By

Originally a comment by iknlast on When the bishops say No.

often the first they hear of it is when they are refused a procedure the way Rachel Miller was

As my mother heard of it when she was refused the same service in 1967, though not at a Catholic hospital. The hospital was a Navy hospital, which routinely performed the procedure. The DOCTOR was Catholic, and refused to do his duty because he didn’t believe my mother should be entitled to make her own decisions.

For the record: my mother was not Catholic. My mother was a fully grown woman of 31, and had 5 children. My mother was intelligent enough and capable enough to understand the implications … Read the rest

It’s only going to cost you everything you have and everything you are

Aug 26th, 2015 11:31 am | By

Vyckie Garrison said something very important and clarifying in a public Facebook post just now:

Quiverfull is not a cult. People like the Duggars who embrace the worldview and practice the lifestyle are not adhering to some unique, anomalous form of Christianity. Quiverfull IS regular Christian “family values” teaching writ large and lived out to its logical conclusion.
True Believers™ are not the primary problem here … the only thing “extreme” about Quiverfull families is the degree to which they put Christian ideals into practice.

Being in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is a set up for dysfunctional game-playing and crazy-making head trips. According to Christianity, Jesus subjected himself to torture and death, so that we could have the

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When the bishops say No

Aug 26th, 2015 11:22 am | By

The good news is, the ACLU succeeded in convincing a Catholic hospital to provide a standard of care procedure despite its religious objections. The bad news is, it took the ACLU to get a Catholic hospital to provide a standard of care procedure despite its religious objections. All hospitals should be providing standard of care, and religion should have nothing to do with it. Hospitals are for medical treatment and care; they are not for religious observances. The function and purpose of hospitals is to provide treatment and care; it’s not to force patients to obey dogmatic harmful religious taboos. The religious beliefs or unbeliefs of the patients are none of the hospital’s business.

Under the threat of a

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Actually quite a mild person

Aug 26th, 2015 10:49 am | By

Steven Shapin reviews the second installment of Richard Dawkins’s memoirs in the Guardian.

I get a sense that he’s not wholly admiring.

The enemies Dawkins has made are, in the main, the enemies he anticipated. As an atheist, he is a vigorous critic of the creationists, their religious fellow-travellers, the postmodernists, relativists and assorted “enemies of reason”. And as a participant in the scientific cage-fighting that is modern evolutionary theory, Dawkins has one of the sharpest tongues in modern culture.

Yes, but also as a participant in various other kinds of cage-fighting, especially the kind conducted via Twitter. In that avocation he’s made some enemies he didn’t anticipate, such as fellow atheists, scientists, humanists and the like who think he … Read the rest

For all artists who have suffered at the hands of ignorance, violence and gagging

Aug 26th, 2015 9:54 am | By

At PEN South Africa, ZP Dala has written a gut-wrenching account of her persecution for the horrific crime of saying she admires the work of Salman Rushdie.

The week beginning 15 March 2015 was supposed to have been the highlight of my literary career. I was due to launch my debut novel What About Meera in a prestigious function on Saturday, 21 March and preceding this I was the featured author at one of South Africa’s most sought after literary festivals, The Time of the Writer. The theme of the 2015 Festival was “Writing For Our Lives” and in the wake of the atrocious Charlie Hebdo tragedy as well as the gagging of Bangladeshi writer, Tasleema Nasreen who

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Aug 25th, 2015 5:21 pm | By

A teenager gets space in the Washington Post to explain why he refused to read Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home because it has drawings of naked laydeez.

Brian Grasso is a freshman.

As a Christian, I knew that my beliefs and identity would be challenged at a progressive university like Duke.

My first challenge came well before I arrived on campus, when I learned that all first years were assigned “Fun Home,” a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. The book includes cartoon drawings of a woman masturbating and multiple women engaging in oral sex.

After researching the book’s content and reading a portion of it, I chose to opt out of the assignment. My choice had nothing to do with

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Bit of a mix-up

Aug 25th, 2015 2:45 pm | By

The Guardian, August 16:

Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of the recently closed Kids Company charity, reportedly has plans to open a food bank for up to 3,000 children and young people.

Less than two weeks after the charity’s collapse, its former chief executive is set to open Kids Dining Room beneath a railway arch in Lambeth, south London, this week, the Sunday Times reported.

Why did it collapse? Well…

Kids Company shut down at the start of August after the government pulled an annual grant of £3m following allegations of financial mismanagement at the charity, which had no funding reserves. The government has had to find alternative support for 6,000 vulnerable children as a result of its closure.


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Massive, I tells ya

Aug 25th, 2015 12:43 pm | By

Editing to add: It appears this is an Onion-type joke. Never mind.

Cardiff Store Apologises For Offensive Shop Banner

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Pissing off the herd

Aug 25th, 2015 12:30 pm | By

One reason we’re given to back up the claim that concerns about trans people should trump other concerns (such as lesbian and gay rights and feminism) is the high suicide rate among trans people. Kevin K on the Dames on the run thread for instance –

On that note, in light of a suicide rates of transgender kids being 10 to 20 times higher than their peers, I think “thinking of the children” is entirely merited.

But wait a minute. Who are “their peers”? There’s more than one way to slice and dice kinds of kids; trans kids on the one hand and their peers on the other isn’t a very careful way to compare.

What about lesbian and gay … Read the rest

Not like Mr Darcy

Aug 25th, 2015 11:04 am | By

Greta C has a piece in The Humanist about starting with the assumption that one is wrong as a way to test out a new idea.

A more recent example is the “Ableism Challenge.” On the blog Alex and Ania ‘Splain You a Thing, Ania Onion Cebulla asks people to go for one month without using ableist language, which for those not aware, are words for physical or mental disabilities used as insults—including “lame,” “dumb,” “crazy,” “retard,” and more. The problem with a lot of this language is very clear to me; it’s obvious that using “lame” to suggest something is ineffectual or unenjoyable stigmatizes disability, and using “crazy” in place of, say, “preposterous” stigmatizes mental illness.

Making changes is … Read the rest

The biggest jerk maneuver of all

Aug 25th, 2015 9:49 am | By

The Sad Puppies adventure didn’t work out well for the Sad Puppies. John Scalzi tells the story.

As most of you know, at last Saturday’s Hugo Awards ceremony, the voters, of which there were a record number, chose not to offer awards in five categories rather than to give the award to nominees who got on the ballot because of the Sad/Rabid Puppy slating campaign. In the categories in which awards were given, in nearly all cases the Puppy nominees in the category finished below “No Award.”

Why is that, do you suppose? Scalzi explains that it’s because they acted like jerks, and performed a series of jerk maneuvers.

2. They gloated about the slates getting on the ballot,

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Drop off

Aug 24th, 2015 5:34 pm | By

Haha good old fun-loving college boy rape culture haha it’s alive and well at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, the Huffington Post tells us.

Three banners were displayed at a private, off-campus house in Norfolk, Virginia, reading “Freshman Daughter Drop Off,” with an arrow pointing at the front door, “Go Ahead And Drop Off Mom Too …” and “Rowdy And Fun, Hope Your Baby Girl Is Ready For A Good Time …” The students removed the banners after the university contacted them, school officials said.

Haha get it? “Drop Off” so that we can fuck them haha we like to fuck haha that’s what girls are for haha that’s what a university is for haha.

A Virginia man

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