All entries by this author

Somebody did something, but we can’t say who

Apr 9th, 2014 3:56 pm | By

Brandeis issued a revoltingly passive-aggressive cowardly evasive statement about its chickenshit surrender to theocrats.

Following a discussion today between President Frederick Lawrence and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ms. Hirsi Ali’s name has been withdrawn as an honorary degree recipient at this year’s commencement.

Weasels. Say it! “We rescinded our honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali scheduled for this year’s commencement.” Say “we,” dammit! Don’t say her “name has been withdrawn” as if it had been a miracle. There’s an agent or agents here; word your statement accordingly. “President Frederick Lawrence talked to Ayaan Hirsi Ali today and told her we’re withdrawing her name as an honorary degree recipient at this year’s commencement.” Own it, say it, use subjects instead of … Read the rest

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Brandeis! You’re on the naughty stool

Apr 9th, 2014 12:43 pm | By

Holy shit. Brandeis has withdrawn an honorary degree for Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Brandeis University said in a statement that Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali would no longer receive the honorary degree, which it had planned to award her at the May 18 commencement.

That is shocking.

Ali, a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006, has been quoted as making comments critical of Islam. That includes a 2007 interview with Reason Magazine in which she said of the religion: “Once it’s defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It’s very difficult to even talk about peace now. They’re not interested in peace. I think that we are at war with Islam. And there’s no middle ground in wars.”

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That’s a progressive sexual politics?

Apr 9th, 2014 12:00 pm | By

Comment is Free has a supremely stupid piece saying that it ought to be fine to make “a direct, unambiguous sexual advance” to a total stranger, and it’s a terrible thing that this pesky feminism shit is saying otherwise.

David Foster, the author of the supremely stupid piece, is worried that the Everyday Sexism project is making the world unfriendly for people who want to make direct sexual advances to strangers.

The campaign against everyday sexism has shown that a deeply unpleasant vein of misogyny still runs through our society. But in highlighting the antisocial, misguided behaviour of some unreconstructed individuals, it is important to be aware that such behaviour is not representative of most men’s attitudes. More worryingly, from

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A virtue

Apr 9th, 2014 10:47 am | By

Charlie Klendjian agrees with those who think the BBC’s The Big Questions is pretty much crap, but he also says it has its virtues, or at least virtue.

First the crap part.

I must be frank. When the email invite appeared in my inbox I hesitated before accepting it. Not only would I have to overcome a discomfort of public speaking (I’m the quiet shy type), but I would also have to swallow a good degree of pride because I’ve always thought the programme is a bit – how can I put this politely – rubbish. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve screamed at my telly whilst watching the programme, or thrown the remote control on

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And going for a pint won’t end global warming, either

Apr 8th, 2014 5:56 pm | By

Sigh. Nick Cohen’s a friend, and normally I like his stuff, but a piece in the Spectator saying words don’t matter so don’t be so politically correct…no, I can’t like that. I can’t and won’t.

Worry about whether you, or more pertinently anyone you wish to boss about, should say ‘person with special needs’ instead of ‘disabled’ or ‘challenged’ instead of ‘mentally handicapped’ and you will enjoy a righteous glow. You will not do anything, however, to provide health care and support to the mentally and physically handicapped, the old or the sick.

Sigh. No kidding. Nobody thinks it will; that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. You know what else will not do anything to provide health care … Read the rest

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A fair share of the blame

Apr 8th, 2014 5:43 pm | By

A guy called Freddy Gray takes to the Spectator to say if you don’t like revenge porn then don’t let anyone take pictures of you porning.

,,,surely the answer is not more laws, which would be hard to define and possibly quite limiting of free speech, but for women (and men) to realise that if you let somebody film you in flagrante then you may be setting yourself up for a future disgrace. In the digital age, especially, you are dicing with danger.

I know I know, I’m being a prude. Filming yourselves having sex is just a really bloody normal and sexy thing for consenting adults to do now, like using dildos or wearing bondage gear. Get real man.

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Guest post by Leo Igwe: Kpatinga: Another ‘Witch’ Village in Ghana

Apr 8th, 2014 5:01 pm | By

I just returned from Kpatinga, another village in northern Ghana where alleged witches take refuge. One unique thing about witchcraft belief in Northern Ghana is that there are safe spaces for ‘witches’. A ‘witch’ must not be suffered to die as the scripture says. There are villages that welcome and rehabilitate victims of witchcraft accusations. Kpatinga is one of them. It is around 75 miles from the regional capital, Tamale. The major challenge to anyone visiting the ‘witch’ camp is access. Kpatinga is remotely located. To visit the village from Tamale one must stop over at Gushegu town. The journey from Tamale to Gushegu town is about 3 hours. Apart from the Metro Mass Buses, other commercial buses ply this… Read the rest

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Kpatinga: Another ‘Witch’ Village in Ghana

Apr 8th, 2014 | By Leo Igwe
Kpatinga: Another ‘Witch’ Village in Ghana

I just returned from Kpatinga, another village in northern Ghana where alleged witches take refuge. One unique thing about witchcraft belief in Northern Ghana is that there are safe spaces for ‘witches’. A ‘witch’ must not be suffered to die as the scripture says. There are villages that welcome and rehabilitate victims of witchcraft accusations. Kpatinga is one of them. It is around 75 miles from the regional capital, Tamale. The major challenge to anyone visiting the ‘witch’ camp is access. Kpatinga is remotely located. To visit the village from Tamale one must stop over at Gushegu town. The journey from Tamale to Gushegu town is about 3 hours. Apart from the Metro Mass Buses, other commercial buses ply this … Read the rest



We want formula

Apr 8th, 2014 4:24 pm | By

Speaking of privilege and white middle-class feminism and all that – remember the women of the miners’ strike.

Within weeks, the national Women Against Pit Closures campaign was launched. It propelled miners’ wives, sisters and daughters into the heart of the epic struggle against the Thatcher government, challenged miners’ and other trade unionists’ assumptions about gender roles, and galvanised a feminist movement that had been dominated by middle-class, educated women. The ideals of feminism – political, economic and social equality and independence – channelled back into the mining communities. The profound impact on the daily lives of women is still being felt 30 years later.

In May 1984, 5,000 women from pit villages across the country attended a rally in

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The charging of toddlers is relatively rare

Apr 8th, 2014 3:54 pm | By

News from Pakistan’s shambolic legal system – the police charged a nine-month-old baby with attempted murder.

Musa was among five people identified in a police document known as a first information report (FIR) following disturbances in February in a slum area of Lahore when workers for a gas company came to try to disconnect houses that had not paid their bills.

According to the FIR, written by a now suspended assistant sub-inspector, Musa and his co-accused tried to kill the gas company workers and the policemen accompanying them by throwing stones.

The people living in the area maintain there was only ever a peaceful protest. “There were only women in the houses at daytime and they resisted this discontinuing

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Nostalgia

Apr 8th, 2014 3:35 pm | By

Ahhhhhhh sweet.

Via Facebook.… Read the rest

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Sockfashionista

Apr 8th, 2014 3:22 pm | By

Baby’s got a new pair of shoooooes I mean socks. Or rather two.

They’re a present from Jen Phillips.… Read the rest

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Geocentric dalliance

Apr 8th, 2014 12:22 pm | By

Phil Plait watches a silly documentary so that you don’t have to. All right not the documentary itself but the trailer for it. This one is about geocentrism, the idea that the earth is the center of the universe. (That really is silly. I’m the center of the universe.)

The trailer does seem to be making a case for Geocentrism (it’s mentioned specifically), but given the title, I would guess they’re going to try to make a broader point that the Universe itself was made—created, if you will—purposely for us. This idea (broadly speaking) is called the strong anthropic principle (hence the doco title), and as a philosophy it’s not terribly informative. It’s fun to think about in a

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More circuses

Apr 8th, 2014 11:39 am | By

The Tories want to introduce interest-free loans for students!

Oh no wait, it’s not for all students.

A new system of “Sharia-compliant” student loans is to be launched to allow more Muslim students to go to university, it has been announced.

David Willetts, the Universities Minister, said an alternative financial model was being created to satisfy Islamic law that forbids Muslims taking out loans that make interest.

Under the system, students would apply for taxpayer-backed loans but repay them into a mutual-style fund that would be ring-fenced to provide future finance to other students with the same religious beliefs.

The move will raise concerns over a two-tier system in which Muslim students pay less than other undergraduates.

But the

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You don’t like it? Go back to Atheostan

Apr 7th, 2014 4:32 pm | By

More of the comedy of “politically correct persecution of Christians” from the UK:

Militant atheists should “get over it” and accept that Britain is a Christian country, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said.

That’s what a “Communities Secretary” is for is it? I wouldn’t know, because we don’t have one in the US, not at the federal level at least. We don’t have one for sport, either, or one for faith. How impoverished we are. Anyway so the job of the Communities Secretary is to piss on people who are part of the wrong kind of “communities”?

“I’ve stopped an attempt by militant atheists to ban councils having prayers at the start of meetings if they wish,” said Mr Pickles.

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What kind of man actually takes parental leave?

Apr 7th, 2014 3:59 pm | By

The earth shakes as the dinosaurs come trudging into view. Wham, wham, wham.

Dave Zirin at The Nation peers at the enormous footprints.

This is not another shooting-fish-in-a-barrel commentary about the antediluvian swinishness of Boomer Esiason and Mike Francesa. This is not another swipe at their comments criticizing the efforts of Mets second basemen Daniel Murphy for missing opening day to be with his wife for the birth of their child. For those who missed it, Esiason opined, “I would have said, ‘C-section before the season starts. I need to be at Opening Day. I’m sorry, this is what makes our money. This is how we’re going to live our life. This is going to give my child every opportunity

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Guest post on why Scalia really should recuse himself

Apr 7th, 2014 3:25 pm | By

Originally a comment by Pteryxx on Why Justice Scalia should recuse himself from abortion cases.

A spouse’s political views, even views they actively promote and work on, don’t rise to the level of conflict-of-interest that Supreme Court justices have traditionally employed in deciding on recusal.

That’s only because the Supreme Court, specifically, has given itself narrower standards for recusal than federal law applies. That’s all the more reason to challenge them to defend their decisions not to recuse themselves – and recusal motions do get filed.

This article quotes the text of 28 U.S. Code § 455 – Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate judge (Link to code)

“Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall

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Compartmentalization

Apr 7th, 2014 2:49 pm | By

We need more of it. The whole Caesar/God division – we need to apply that more broadly.

It’s not difficult. We already know the basic principle – we won’t come into your churches and mosques and tell you how to do the god thing, and you won’t take over hospitals and government and engineering. Ok?

Here’s why. The god thing isn’t relevant to anything except itself. It’s often harmful to things that aren’t itself. Bridges aren’t designed according to faith. Bridges have to be designed according to this world properties of steel and concrete, not according to other world notions of miracles and faith. There has to be a strict division between the two. Otherwise you get a mess.

Geology, … Read the rest

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Another archbishop heard from

Apr 7th, 2014 11:09 am | By

The archbishop of Canterbury claims Christians in Africa are being massacred because of growing acceptance of gay unions in the West.

From Barry Duke at the Freethinker:

Justin Welby said he had stood by a mass grave in Nigeria of 330 Christians who had been massacred by neighbours who had justified the atrocity by saying:

If we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we will kill all the Christians.

Who are these “neighbours”? Welby didn’t elaborate, simply saying:

I have stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened in America. We have to listen to that. We have

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Firmly prohibited in Catholic hospitals

Apr 7th, 2014 10:33 am | By

This again. The Savita Halappanavar scenario, in the US, in a Catholic hospital. It happens a lot but it seldom gets reported on. This one got reported on because the woman is a nurse. Most women this happens to aren’t nurses or doctors.

Jennifer had been experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding for over a week when she went to her physician’s office. He told her she was miscarrying and discussed her need for a dilation and curettage (D&C) to stop the bleeding and protect her health. A D&C is a procedure to empty the uterus; the same technique is used for both miscarriage management and abortion.

Abortion, unsurprisingly, is firmly prohibited in Catholic hospitals (along with contraception, sterilization, most fertility

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