All entries by this author

For real?

Apr 1st, 2014 5:54 pm | By

Not part of a sitcom?

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



Lean out

Apr 1st, 2014 5:48 pm | By

The MRAs gather again.

“We’re gathered to celebrate Women’s History Month, but I don’t celebrate Women’s History Month,” announced writer Mona Charen, one of the panelists. “It doesn’t interest me whether a person who happens to share my chromosomes sits in the Oval Office. It doesn’t interest me how many women members of the Senate there are.”

Yes yes yes. We’ve heard it before. Sing a new song.

What interests Charen and the other women on the stage is their belief, as Charen put it, that “feminism has done so much damage to happiness.” And the solution to this damage, it turns out, is matrimony — the same thing that will solve problems such as income inequality and the Republican

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Paying it forward

Apr 1st, 2014 2:51 pm | By

A comrade needs help. [Right-click to open new window if you want to avoid an ad opening.]

As you know, last year Finbar was diagnosed with cancerous growths on his lymph nodes. After months of worry, they were removed and all seemed well. Unfortunately they have reappeared and none of the doctors know what is going on yet. More surgery is some weeks away. This is obviously an incredibly stressful situation for Fin, made worse by the fact that last year due to his inability to study he was kicked off Austudy and left in a financial hole he hasn’t been able to recover from. Because of this, Fin is being evicted from his home.

Part of the reason

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Disgusted with the boys’ club attitude

Apr 1st, 2014 1:02 pm | By

I posted this on Facebook yesterday, so I might as well post it here today.

From former JREF Outreach Coordinator Brian Thompson:

“Let me explain why I’m supporting Karen Stollznow’s legal defense fund. Maybe some of my Facebook friends don’t know who she is or what this is all about. Karen is a linguist, writer, and investigator who looks into claims of the paranormal, the supernatural, and the outrageous with a skeptical eye. Skeptics like her do a lot of good for the world in ways large and small. They’re the ones fighting against the kind of scientific ignorance that keeps people from vaccinating their kids, for example. And if it weren’t for skeptical investigators, I might still be cowered

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She walks and sits in tightly packaged ways

Apr 1st, 2014 12:38 pm | By

What about women and body language and power? Lisa Wade did a post about that awhile ago at Sociological Images.

Philosopher Sandra Lee Bartky once observed that being feminine often means using one’s body to portray powerlessness.  Consider: A feminine person keeps her body small and contained; she makes sure that it doesn’t take up to much space or impose itself.  She walks and sits in tightly packaged ways.  She doesn’t cover the breadth of the sidewalk or expand herself beyond the chair she occupies.

Well I’m not feminine then, but I knew that. Although there’s an exception: I do try to keep my body (and especially my feet) small and contained where space is limited and other people Read the rest

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All dissent is terrorism

Apr 1st, 2014 11:38 am | By

Human Rights Watch reported on March 20 that Saudi Arabia has passed a new “terrorism” law that pretty much equates all forms of dissent with terrorism.

The new regulations come amid a campaign to silence independent activists and peaceful dissidents through intimidation, investigations, arrests, prosecutions, and imprisonment. On March 9, the prominent human rights activists Abdullah al-Hamid and Mohammed al-Qahtani completed their first year in prison, serving 11 and 10-year sentences, respectively, for criticizing the government’s human rights abuses and for membership in an unlicensed political and civil rights organization.

Two other human rights activists, Waleed Abu al-Khair and Mikhlif al-Shammari, recently lost appeals and will probably begin their three-month and five-year respective sentences soon for criticizing Saudi authorities.

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He said there was mould in it

Mar 31st, 2014 5:39 pm | By

A “blood analyst” who claims to cure cancer.

It was a devastating diagnosis. In less than 10 minutes, the Harley Street specialist had taken a pinprick of Wendy Roberts’s blood, examined it under a powerful microscope and concluded that she probably had cancer.

Miss Roberts, 40, was distraught: she had been feeling unwell and Errol Denton’s apparently expert opinion confirmed her worst fears.

“He told me my blood was dirty; he said it was toxic and said there was mould in it. He said I have markers for diabetes and he had only ever seen blood like mine in a cancer patient,” Miss Roberts said.

So she staggered outside and freaked out, because she thought he was legit.

Last week,

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Plantinga and teapots

Mar 31st, 2014 5:14 pm | By

Gary Gutting talked to Alvin Plantinga for the NY Times blog The Stone awhile ago. They start with talk about evidence and what to conclude from the presence or absence of evidence. They arrive at Russell’s teapot.

A.P.: Russell’s idea, I take it, is we don’t really have any evidence against teapotism, but we don’t need any; the absence of evidence is evidence of absence, and is enough to support a-teapotism. We don’t need any positive evidence against it to be justified in a-teapotism; and perhaps the same is true of theism.

I disagree: Clearly we have a great deal of evidence against teapotism. For example, as far as we know, the only way a teapot could have gotten into

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If something has happened that you don’t have words for

Mar 31st, 2014 4:23 pm | By

The NY Times has a brief interview with Barbara Ehrenreich (who will be at WiS3 in a few weeks ohboy).

She had some mystical-type experiences when she was a teenager, although she didn’t conclude they were from god or anything. She’s written a memoir about it.

You’ve written and spoken extensively about your atheism. Did you ever feel you were being deceitful because you’d had these experiences with a world beyond the rational? 

I realized that whatever I experienced was not anything like a deity that I knew of. It certainly was not a good, caring God of Christianity. On the other hand, I knew it was way out of the reach of science, and I did feel uneasy. My

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News from Bartlesville

Mar 31st, 2014 3:30 pm | By

St. John Health System issued a statement this afternoon. The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports:

Contrary to reports last week that contraceptives could only be prescribed for medical reasons, the statement released Monday appears to indicate that physicians employed by SJHS and practicing at Jane Phillips Medical Center can prescribe contraceptives to be used as birth control, leaving the decision to individual physicians.

“Appears to” is right – it’s very muddy. Very Cover Your Ass; very waffling; very You Can Have Both.

The unsigned document states in full:

“Consistent with Catholic health care organizations, St. John Health System operates in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, and therefore does not approve or support contraceptive practices.

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If Hobby Lobby can do business with China

Mar 31st, 2014 12:51 pm | By

That News Corpse article provides interesting information.

Hobby Lobby pays millions of dollars to stock their shelves with cheap products made in China, a country where abortion is legal and is even provided by the government for free – when they aren’t forcing it on women who want their babies. It is impossible to accept that the company is unconditionally opposed to a voluntary form of preventive health care that obviates the need for an abortion, while supporting a system that encourages abortion outright. If Hobby Lobby can do business with China when the profit motive compels them to, they cannot simultaneously pretend that an American woman having access to an insurance policy that includes coverage for contraception is some

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Christian values

Mar 31st, 2014 12:17 pm | By

Ah yes. Ain’t hypocrisy grand.

Update: the source at News Corpse.… Read the rest

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Under the guise of protecting religious freedom

Mar 31st, 2014 11:58 am | By

The Tennessee ACLU reported that the state dodged a different religious bigotry-enabling bullet last month.

NASHVILLE – A bill that would have made Tennessee the first state in the nation to codify into state law the use of religion to discriminate will not be considered during this year’s legislative session.

The bill was put into General Subcommittee, effectively ending the journey of SB 2566 for this legislative session.

Under the guise of protecting religious freedom, SB 2566 would have allowed individuals, businesses and organizations to use religion to discriminate against LGBT and other unmarried couples by refusing to provide them goods or services.

Religion is really covering itself with glory these days.

 … Read the rest

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To prevent students from being silenced

Mar 31st, 2014 11:32 am | By

In Tennessee…another one of those “Protect Religious Rights to Talk Shit About People God Hates” laws is on the governor’s desk.

Tennesee’s Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act, or SB1793/HB 1547, purports to prevent students from being silenced when expressing their religious beliefs in the classroom, when turning in written assignments, and at official school functions, including graduation and mandatory assemblies. In addition to specifying “that a student may express beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions,” the bill also requires that students will “not be penalized or rewarded on account of the religious content of the student’s work.” Further, the bill appears to establish special

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Please can you explain?

Mar 31st, 2014 11:11 am | By

The Lawyers’ Secular Society has an open letter to the Law Society.

Dear Sir,

Law Society’s practice note on “Sharia succession rules”

This is an open letter which we have published on our website this morning.

We refer to the above practice note dated 13 March 2014.

(www.lawsociety.org.uk/advice/practice-notes/sharia-succession-rules/)

Please can you explain why and how the Law Society has adopted guidance to assist in drafting wills which treat women far worse than men, and non-Muslims far worse than Muslims? How is this consistent with the Law Society’s claimed commitments to equality?

For your information, you may be interested to know:

  1. We have launched an online petition calling for withdrawal of this practice note (approaching 2,000 signatures at

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Not one woman

Mar 30th, 2014 5:31 pm | By

Brigitte Amiri of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project was at the Supreme Court for the Hobby Lobby arguments and blogs about it for the ACLU.

…my heart fell as I watched the attorneys for the parties take their seats. There wasn’t a single woman. Not a single person of color. Although it was great that the government sent their top lawyer to defend the case, it was disheartening to see no women at counsel’s table for either party, especially because the case involves women’s access to contraception. How can that be in 2014?

How indeed. The case involves women’s access to contraception.

But then she cheered up.

Right out of the box, the female justices asked question after

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Mehdi Hasan tells other people to stay classy

Mar 30th, 2014 4:17 pm | By

Mehdi Hasan has really gone into overdrive lately in his public jeering and sniping at people he dislikes – or maybe he’s always like this, I ignore him most of the time so I don’t know. Anyway he’s doing a lot of it. It’s very reactionary right-wing stuff, which for some reason finds a home in more or less left-wing outlets. Why is that? Why do people on the left persist in thinking that the most reactionary Muslims or even Islamists are the ones they should be giving a megaphone?

Mehdi Hasan @mehdirhasan

“Baroness Warsi, Faith Minister, Dismisses Richard Dawkins As A ‘Secular Fundamentalist”

(The quotation marks are a nice touch; he probably wrote that himself, since he’s an editor … Read the rest

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Imagine a world

Mar 30th, 2014 3:39 pm | By

Exactly. I keep thinking this. If being pro-life is your central goal, saving fetuses should be way way way down on your list of priorities. Or, in my view, not on it at all, but even (for the sake of argument) if you think it is a way to save lives, it should still be near the bottom of the list.

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300 out of 26,000

Mar 30th, 2014 3:29 pm | By

Uh oh, Jimmy Carter is going to be in big trouble with the MRAs.

Sexual assaults, honour killings, prostitution, physical abuse – No matter where you look in our world, you will find women and girls being abused. It’s why the 39th President of the United States calls it THE biggest challenge of our times. Today, we hear from Jimmy Carter with his Call to Action and his new book in his only Canadian interview.

In the US military alone 26,000 sexual assaults took place and only about 300 actually resulted in anybody being punished. There’s an aversion to admit what goes on even in our most cherished institutions.

Well that’s because there were 25,700 false accusations of men … Read the rest

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She did not have enough money to travel north

Mar 30th, 2014 3:02 pm | By

So let’s check in with the ACLU on the subject of religious interference with access to birth control. There’s Texas for instance…

Yesterday a federal appeals court upheld a Texas law that has left large parts of the state without an abortion provider. Women who already are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table for their families must now travel hundreds of miles to obtain abortion care. For many, the obstacles will be too burdensome to overcome.

For example, one woman in the Rio Grande Valley who showed up to her appointment the day the law took effect was devastated to learn that she could not have an abortion in her area. She was happily married with

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