All entries by this author

Pictures of themselves splayed out on the ground

Jul 10th, 2014 1:31 pm | By

Amanda Marcotte on the Jada outrage.

Man, does this demonstrate what a double-edged sword social media can be when it comes to issues of assault and bullying. On one hand, social media can be used to pile on someone who is already the victim of abuse. The Houston Press reports that after Jada gave her interview to KHOU, another round of ugliness started when idiots started tweeting pictures of themselves splayed out on the ground, mimicking the pose Jada was in when someone snapped the photo of her passed out.

I’ve seen some more on that hashtag. Callous, brutal – simply horrible.

It’s a shame that anyone would feel like they might as well come forward because they have

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



So raping girls for lolz is a thing now is it?

Jul 10th, 2014 12:58 pm | By

There’s another Steubenville type case in Texas, to provide us with yet more despair about human beings.

In an incident that shares several elements with the infamous Steubenville rape case that made national headlines last year, a 16-year-old girl from Texas says that photos of her unconscious body went viral online after she was drugged and raped at a party with her fellow high schoolers. But the victim isn’t backing down. She’s speaking out about what happened to her, telling her story to local press and asking to be identified as Jada.

After other teens started mocking her online — sharing images of themselves splayed out on the floor in the same pose as Jada’s unconscious body under the

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The god seats

Jul 10th, 2014 12:42 pm | By

Why, why, why.

Obama goes to Texas to chat with Rick Perry about immigration.

Obama delivered remarks after he met in Dallas with local elected officials, faith leaders and nonprofit leaders to discuss how to handle the flood of illegal immigrants, many of them unaccompanied minors from, crossing the southern border.

Why? Why did he meet with “faith leaders”? What have they got to do with anything? Why not limit it to nonprofit leaders, some of whom could well be religious? Why give “faith leaders” a seat at the table? Why can’t the government just stop doing this?

Asking for a friend.… Read the rest

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The mundane and beyond

Jul 10th, 2014 11:57 am | By

My boss (so to speak – the editor of Free Inquiry) Tom Flynn takes on the notion of “transcendence” in his editorial in the current issue.

In a 2013 Guardian blog post bewailing atheism’s poverty as a supporting matrix for secular ceremonies, British writer Suzanne Moore wrote: “We may find the fuzziness of new age thinking with its emphasis on ‘nature’ and ‘spirit’ impure, but to dismiss the human need to express transcendence and connection with others as stupid is itself stupid.”

If you’ve been looking for an elevator speech about the differences between religious and secular humanism, this is a great place to start. Religious humanists may well yearn to “express transcendence and connection with others.” How

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



Combat the demons by taking their pants off!

Jul 9th, 2014 6:16 pm | By

Another from the annals of video game weirdness.

The plot of Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed, a new Japanese adventure game making its way to the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PS Vita this year, is pretty straightforward: As a young man, you’re tasked with identifying and eliminating bloodthirsty demons that have invaded Tokyo. The concept seems harmless, if a bit tired, until you realize that the “demons” in question seem to primarily take the form of young girls, and your best method of combating them is to strip off their clothing and expose them to the sun.

So, instead of battling grotesque enemies like you can in so many games involving demons, you’re stripping what appears to be

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Chillin’

Jul 9th, 2014 6:01 pm | By

Have a red panda.

Have I ever told you about the evening the male red panda somehow went for walkies and ended up lounging in the smaller (and fortunately empty) outdoor gorilla enclosure? Yes I probably did.

Have a red panda.

 … Read the rest

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The Obama administration’s initial, parsimonious exemption

Jul 9th, 2014 5:03 pm | By

This is a depressing story, which I didn’t know about – the role of liberal columnists in stoking the fires of rage about the “religious exemption” from the ACA birth control mandate. Patricia Miller at Religion Dispatches tells that story.

On the left, E.J. Dionne calls for a “broad public consultation with religious groups” on the issue to avoid another firestorm:

After first providing a far-too-narrow exemption from the contraception mandate for explicitly religious nonprofits, President Obama came up with an accommodation that provides birth control coverage through alternative means….

It’s unfortunate that the Obama administration’s initial, parsimonious exemption for religious groups helped ignite the firestorm that led to Hobby Lobby. It might consider this lesson as it moves,

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Surely goodness and mercy

Jul 9th, 2014 4:26 pm | By

The pastor of a California church and a couple of other guys pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of beating and threatening the life of a 13-year-old boy.

Some unpleasant details ahead.

Lonny Lee Remmers, 56, Nicholas James Craig, 24, and Darryll Duane Jeter Jr., 30, tortured the boy in the church-run group home where he lived, according to a witness report in affidavits for search warrants.

The March 2012 incidents included Craig and Jeter driving the victim to the desert and forcing him to dig his own grave. They then made him get in and threw dirt on him. They were responding to Remmers’ instruction to “scare” the boy, according to the affidavits.

While the boy was

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



Balance, baaaaaalance

Jul 9th, 2014 3:48 pm | By

I’ve spent one half of today arguing with people who think I’m too ideologically pure and the other half arguing with people who think I’m not ideologically pure enough.

I can’t decide if that’s hilarious or annoying.

 

 … Read the rest

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



Can I sidewalk counsel people on their way to…?

Jul 9th, 2014 11:49 am | By

I got an idea from Katha Pollitt on Twitter – she’s making suggestions for sidewalk counseling. Like:

Can i sidewalk counsel women on their way to Mormon temple? Stay away from that sexist place where 12 year old boys have more power than you.

Let’s play.

Can I sidewalk counsel people on their way to a yoga place? Hey, don’t go in there, you can’t twist yourself into a pretzel like that!

Can I sidewalk counsel people on their way to a rock concert? Stay away from that place, you’ll damage your hearing!

Can I sidewalk counsel people on their way to get a haircut? Don’t waste your money in there, get a friend to cut it for you!Read the rest

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



Canya fixit?

Jul 9th, 2014 11:39 am | By

CFI urges:

Help Fix What Hobby Lobby Broke: Tell Your U.S. Senators to Protect Women’s Access to Birth Control

Yes do that, even if you think this is just window-dressing by the Democrats.

Trying to repair the damage done by the Court, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) today introduced the “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014.” The bill states that employers cannot refuse to cover any health coverage – including contraceptive coverage – promised to employees and their dependents under federal law. It includes the exemption for houses of worship and the accommodation for religious non-profits already put into place by the Obama administration.

We at the Center for Inquiry

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



No longer tenable

Jul 9th, 2014 11:03 am | By

The Advocate has more on the organizations dropping their support for the current version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Following the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s announcement this morning that it would no longer support the current version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the American Civil Liberties Union announced this afternoon that it would also drop its support for the bill.

The announcement was also cosigned by Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Transgender Law Center. A joint statement from the groups says that the current version of the bill, allowing religiously affiliated employers the ability to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity, has “long been a

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



ACLU Withdraws Support for ENDA

Jul 9th, 2014 10:34 am | By

In a press release today:

WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today announced that it is withdrawing its support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in a statement also signed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Transgender Law Center. The ACLU objects to a provision in the bill that would allow religiously affiliated employers to continue to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Federal legislation to protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination is way beyond overdue, but Congress has no place giving religiously affiliated employers a license to discriminate against LGBT workers,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. “We can no longer

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Even if they worked for businesses that had religious objections

Jul 8th, 2014 5:51 pm | By

The NY Times reports on this new bill, which (of course) preserves all the exemptions Obama already gave away to the god-botherers.

Democrats in Congress said Tuesday that they had developed legislation to override the Supreme Court decision on contraceptives. The bill would ensure that women had access to insurance coverage for birth control even if they worked for businesses that had religious objections.

The bill, put together in consultation with the Obama administration, would require for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby Stores to provide and pay for contraceptive coverage, along with other preventive health services, under the Affordable Care Act.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said the legislation was high on his agenda.

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



Oh dear, did you hurt your hand?

Jul 8th, 2014 4:38 pm | By

The National Women’s Law Center has a great, fierce analysis of the biases of the Evil Five in the Hobby Lobby ruling on its blog. Summary: Y U ignore women, Evil Five?

The majority opinion in Hobby Lobby erases women from the picture altogether. In a decision that is squarely about women’s health and equality, the male justices in the majority refuse to acknowledge the centrality of women. And in evidencing greater concern for protecting corporations from discrimination than in protecting women from discrimination, the majority opinion creates a hierarchy of discrimination where women are at the bottom (if they even merit consideration at all).

To begin with, Justice Alito’s opinion for the majority barely mentions women. As the Washington

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S.1696, The Women’s Health Protection Act

Jul 8th, 2014 3:25 pm | By

All right! Let’s do this thing.

There’s a hearing in Washington next week:

S.1696, The Women’s Health Protection Act: Removing Barriers to Constitutionally Protected Reproductive Rights

Full CommitteeDate: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 Add to my Calendar  

Time: 10:00 AM

Location: Dirksen 226 

Presiding: Senator Blumenthal

We need this.

There’s a petition. Sign and share. Tell your Representative and Senators (if you’re in the US).… Read the rest

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



Gandhi! That’s Gandhi!

Jul 8th, 2014 2:44 pm | By

Yet more reason to loathe Penn Jillette.

Penn Jillette says that people are “burying the lede” in the alleged incident that led to SiriusXM’s decision to fire “Opie and Anthony” host Anthony Cumia. He also argued that he’s never seen any evidence that suggests Cumia is racist as many of his critics have alleged.

“We are burying the lede of this story, which is that Anthony, who has a reputation for being a bit of a hot head, is carrying, comes up gets hit in the face and does not hurt the person back,” Jillette said during his “Penn’s Sunday School” podcast this weekend.

“That is incredible. If I am in the position where I cross somebody who

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Women need more time

Jul 8th, 2014 12:00 pm | By

Missouri governor Jay Nixon has vetoed a stupid malevolent control-the-women anti-abortion bill.

Setting up an election-year showdown with the Legislature, Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed on Wednesday a bill that would have required a 72-hour waiting period for abortions in Missouri.

Nixon said the bill’s lack of an exception for victims of rape and incest was a “glaring omission” that was “wholly insensitive to women who find themselves in horrific circumstances.”

But even if the bill had contained such an exception, he would have vetoed it, Nixon said in unusually sharp criticism of an abortion bill.

Tripling the current 24-hour waiting period “serves no demonstrable purpose other than to create emotional and financial hardships for women who have undoubtedly already

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They should not think that they are exempted from this because they are followers of other faiths

Jul 8th, 2014 11:37 am | By

Saudi Arabia is also (surprise surprise) harsh and bossy about Ramadan even for people who have the bad taste to be not Muslim.

The Interior Ministry has warned that it would deport non-Muslim expatriates found eating and drinking in public during Ramadan.

“Non-Muslim expatriates should respect the feelings of Muslims by not eating, drinking or smoking in public places such as streets and workplaces. They should not think that they are exempted from this because they are followers of other faiths,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry reminded workers that their contracts stipulate that they should respect Islam’s rituals and practices, including the month of fasting.

The ministry warned that it would deport those who break the

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



Zia’s toxic traditions plague Pakistan to this day

Jul 8th, 2014 10:46 am | By

Travel tip – never visit Pakistan during Ramadan. Sahar Majid explains why.
.

In 1981, Zia issued an ordinance officially prohibiting public eating and drinking during Ramadan’s fasting hours. The dictate also forced public restaurants and eateries to close. Anyone breaking this rule could face three months in jail and a fine of about $5. (Luckily, the ordinance exempts food service in hospitals, schools, airports, and train and bus stations.)

Eating and drinking – so if you’re visiting Pakistan during Ramadan you can’t even walk around with a bottle of water and drink from it when you get thirsty.

Zia’s toxic traditions plague Pakistan to this day. His Ehtram-e-Ramzan (“reverence for Ramadan”) ordinance remains in effect because no subsequent government

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