All entries by this author

Barely a peep from her more traditional colleagues on the Tory back benches

Jan 24th, 2016 12:54 pm | By

Tom McTague at the Independent joins the popular chorus of contempt for feminists.

When the Women and Equalities Committee published a report calling for a sea-change in attitudes to transgender people, Maria Miller, the chair of the committee, might have expected to be attacked by right-wingers within her own party.

But, while they were largely silent on the issue, the former Culture secretary said she was taken aback by the “extraordinary” hostility from a minority of women “purporting to be feminists”.

Speaking to The Independent on Sunday from her office in Westminster, Ms Miller insisted that the “overwhelming” reaction to her report has been positive. Despite controversial calls for “gender neutral” passports and for 16-year-olds to be given the

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Worth every penny of half

Jan 23rd, 2016 5:38 pm | By

The X-Files is back for a short run. Guess which star was offered half of what the other star was getting.

Hahaha just kidding, nobody can “guess” that because it’s stone-cold obvious. Carolyn Cox at The Mary Sue reports:

When I first saw this story last night, I assumed it had to be fake. Gillian Anderson was already notoriously offered far less than David Duchovny when the X-Files first premiered in 1993, and Anderson has rightfully not been shy about calling Fox out for that wage gap, and for some of the early requirements they had for her character, Dana Scully (that she constantly stand a few feet behind Mulder, for instance).

Oh really? She was supposed to stand … Read the rest


Jan 23rd, 2016 1:20 pm | By

Amanda Peacher at Oregon Public Broadcasting on some of what the Bundy gang accomplished this week:

The armed occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge continue to use government equipment inside the complex.

One militant, who refused to give his name, again plowed dirt with a refuge bulldozer Wednesday. He wouldn’t say why he was operating the machinery, but in several places, sagebrush and vegetation had been newly removed, leaving wide patches of bare mud within the complex.

He said the road was already there, and the Bundy gang had just been removing snow from it. That was a big fat lie.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed Thursday that not only is the road built last week

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The feds send a message

Jan 23rd, 2016 1:06 pm | By

More news from the Malheur invasion:

On Friday, Ammon Bundy met briefly with a federal agent as authorities attempt to resolve the three-week old standoff over federal land policies, but Bundy left because the agent wouldn’t talk with him in front of the media.

The short meeting occurred as Oregon officials are putting increased pressure on federal authorities to take action against Bundy’s group.

On Thursday, Bundy went to the airport in Burns, where the FBI has set up a staging area, and spoke to an FBI negotiator over the phone. They agreed to speak again Friday, but Bundy left the airport shortly after he arrived because the FBI agent he spoke with said federal authorities wanted any conversation

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While the law sits on a shelf

Jan 23rd, 2016 12:26 pm | By

A dispatch from Heather Barr at Human Rights Watch:

The photo is shocking. A young woman – 20 years old – lies in a hospital bed, cradling her infant. Where her nose should be is instead a ragged bandage. Her eyes gaze out from over the bandage, looking far away and numb.


This is Raiza Gul. She married at age 15, in Afghanistan’s north, to a man named Muhammad Khan, the same man who Raiza Gul said tied her hands and cut off her nose with a pocket knife.

This horrific act, only the latest in a series of abuses throughout the couple’s marriage, was reportedly prompted by arguments over Khan’s recent engagement to

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Flash mob

Jan 22nd, 2016 5:12 pm | By

Best thing ever.

H/t Josh Spokes

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Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

Jan 22nd, 2016 4:57 pm | By

Have some Bach for a Friday afternoon.

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In addition to opening the door wide for trans men

Jan 22nd, 2016 4:31 pm | By

Outsports has a scoop on the transgender guidelines the International Olympic Committee is expected to adopt before the Summer Olympics later this year.

The guidelines stem from an unpublicized “Consensus Meeting on Sex Reassignment and Hyperandrogenism” the IOC held last November. The guidelines have not yet been distributed by the IOC, but Outsports received the new policy via a trusted source.

The guidelines leave no restriction for a trans man, like triathlete Chris Mosier, to compete against men. Mosier’s participation in the World Duathlon Championshipsfor which he has qualified, has been in doubt.

In addition to opening the door wide for trans men, the new policy removes the need for women to undergo gender-reassignment surgery

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No dressing up as zombies, either

Jan 22nd, 2016 3:41 pm | By

A Kansas state senator issues some Rules for Sluts.

A dress code imposed by a Kansas Senate committee chairman that prohibits women testifying on bills from wearing low-cut necklines and miniskirts is drawing bipartisan ridicule from female legislators.

Sen. Mitch Holmes’ 11-point code of conduct does not include any restrictions on men, who he said needed no instruction on how to look professional, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Sounds kind of like that imam in Cologne, doesn’t he. No half-naked women testifying on bills! Wear an abaya or stay home!

I hope some men show up in bikini underpants and neckties.

Holmes said he considered requiring men to wear suits and ties during testimony but decided males didn’t need any

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The Bundy brothers left as quietly as they had entered

Jan 22nd, 2016 12:37 pm | By

There was a community meeting in the Burns High School gym on Tuesday.

In sometimes highly personal remarks, speaker after speaker vented anger – at public officials, at the federal government and at the man in the brown cowboy hat sitting high in the bleachers to take it all in – Ammon Bundy.

So Ammon Bundy left Malheur and went to Bundy and sat in on a meeting, and wasn’t arrested. Why is that exactly? He’s committed multiple crimes and is continuing to commit them on an ongoing basis – why is he allowed to keep doing that, using guns, with impunity?

He sat on the second row from the top as County Judge Steve Grasty, microphone in hand, strode

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If they’re half-naked and wearing perfume

Jan 22nd, 2016 11:33 am | By

Deutsche Welle reports:

A Salafist imam in Cologne has said victims of the New Year’s Eve sexual assaults were partly responsible for the attacks…

In an interview with Russian television channel REN TV, the Cologne imam said the attacks must be discussed “openly.”

“We mustn’t attack each other,” he said, warning that this would only “add fuel to the fire.”

Sami Abu-Yusuf also said one of the reasons why the men raped or assaulted the women was “due to the way they dressed.”

“If they’re half-naked and wearing perfume, it’s not surprising that such things would happen,” Abu-Yusuf said.

Oh I see. It’s as if they were drenched in pepper, and people around them burst into sneezes. It’s not … Read the rest

And Riyadh is an influential regional power

Jan 21st, 2016 5:40 pm | By

Canada has declined to give Raif Badawi Canadian citizenship (and the Canadian passport it would make possible).

The Trudeau government says it won’t grant imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi Canadian citizenship, arguing this would not help the case of a man sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for blasphemy.

Mr. Badawi’s spouse and their three children were granted sanctuary in Canada last year and now live in Sherbrooke, Que. Ensaf Haidar, speaking to The Globe and Mail last week, said Canada must do more to help her husband and said “the first thing” it could do now is give Mr. Badawi a Canadian passport.

She argued Canadian citizenship would give Ottawa more standing to push for his

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Concerns about the presence of female characters in the Star Wars products

Jan 21st, 2016 1:04 pm | By

This is unsurprising, but it makes me sick. An example of women being deliberately deleted from a cultural product on the grounds that boys hate girls.

According to an industry insider, the dearth of Rey merchandise for The Force Awakens was no accident — it was an intentional decision.

The inside source shared their story with Michael Boehm at Sweatpants and Coffee, speaking on the condition of anonymity…

The source alleges that, during toy pitches held last January for executives, “initial versions of many of the products presented to Lucasfilm featured Rey prominently.” But under the direction of the executives, Rey’s presence was deliberately minimized in the planned merchandise.

“One or more individuals raised concerns about the presence of

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A merger

Jan 21st, 2016 11:26 am | By

CFI sent out a press release today:

Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science to Merge with Center for Inquiry

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science and the Center for Inquiry, two of the world’s most respected freethought institutions, have announced their intent to merge. The new organization, which will be the largest secularist organization in the United States, will bear the name of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science (RDFRS) becoming a division of CFI.

Robyn Blumner, currently president & CEO of RDFRS, will become CEO of the combined entity on January 25. Ronald A. Lindsay, currently president & CEO of CFI, will retain the title of president until

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Liberty for the sexual harassers

Jan 20th, 2016 3:41 pm | By

A pretty story from Inside Higher Ed:

Is there a backlash to the backlash against sexual harassment in astronomy? A group calling itself the Astronomy Underground sent an open letter to leaders of the American Astronomical Society on Tuesday alleging inappropriate, vigilante-style attempts to root out harassers in the discipline.

“We ask [the American Astronomical Society] Council and the [society’s Astronomy Education Board] to publicly explain how these actions have been allowed to occur for so long, and with what license [the society] has acted to investigate its members, damaging their careers, their personal lives and the health of the society in the process,” reads the letter.

The Astronomy Underground alleges that the society is somehow involved in such

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The hand that commits blasphemy should be chopped off

Jan 20th, 2016 12:09 pm | By

In further news from Pakistan

After a Pakistani boy cut off his own hand following a public accusation of blasphemy, BBC Urdu’s Iram Abbasi travelled to his village in Punjab province to find out what happened. She is the first international broadcaster to speak to him. Some readers may find the details that follow disturbing.

“Why should I feel any pain or trouble in cutting off the hand that was raised against the Holy Prophet?”

Those are the words of 15-year-old Qaiser (not his real name) who chopped off his right hand just a few days ago believing he had committed blasphemy.

Why? Because he was at a birthday party for the prophet at his local mosque, and a … Read the rest

20 isn’t just a figure

Jan 20th, 2016 11:46 am | By

Gulalai Ismail on Facebook:

Looking at this young guy Sajjad Anjum who lost his life in today’s terrorist attack in Bacha Khan University, I wonder how come our media and state institutes were calling it “a successful operation” and “enemy couldn’t achieve its objectives”. 20 other such lives were lost today, and 20 isn’t just a figure. It’s 20 lives like him, it’s 20 families. They didn’t deserve to die at this young age.

Sajjad Anjum

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19 killed, 17 injured

Jan 20th, 2016 11:37 am | By

The BBC:

Security forces have ended a gun and bomb attack on a university in north-west Pakistan in which 19 people were killed and 17 injured.

Four suspected attackers also died in a battle that lasted nearly three hours at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda.

One Pakistani Taliban commander said the group had carried out the assault, but its main spokesman denied this.

Someone should claim it. If people don’t know who did it, how can they submit to the demands?

One student told television reporters he was in class when he heard gunshots: “We saw three terrorists shouting, ‘God is great!’ and rushing towards the stairs of our department.

“One student jumped out of the classroom through the

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Parthenogenesis wins

Jan 20th, 2016 9:55 am | By


Pink News:

A proposal to add mothers’ names to marriage certificates has been rejected for excluding gay couples.

The proposal had intended to include mothers’ names on marriage certificates, in a bid to “reflect modern Britain”.

The certificates currently only ask for the name of each spouse’s father. The new proposals are intended to include mothers on equal footing to fathers.

However the Home Office has rejected the plans, saying it could not agree to them as assuming that couples have opposite-sex parents is exclusionary.

So…it’s fine to name only fathers, but it’s impermissible to mention mothers. Well what if the parents are a lesbian couple?

Then you put the father’s name, just as it is now. Everybody … Read the rest

Leila Alaoui

Jan 19th, 2016 4:33 pm | By

Damn it to hell.

Leila Alaoui, a French-Moroccan photographer whose hauntingly beautiful photographs explored themes of migration, cultural identity and displacement, died on Monday night from injuries sustained during a terrorist attack in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. She was 33.

The French culture minister, Fleur Pellerin, confirmed her death on Twitter.

Ms. Alaoui, whose work has been displayed around the world, was described as one of the most promising photographers of her generation by Jean-Luc Monterosso, director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.

God-lovers who hate humans destroy as many good people and things as they can reach.

The North African affiliate of Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility forthe rampage, which killed at

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