All entries by this author

Channel 4 has bought a tent

Sep 13th, 2016 10:17 am | By

Pop culture interlude.

Well phooey. I only just discovered The Great British Bake Off last fall, and now they’re leaving the BBC for Channel 4, plus the two presenters are leaving as a result, and I liked them.

Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc will step down as hosts of The Great British Bake Off when it moves to Channel 4.

The duo have fronted the show since it began on BBC Two in 2010, alongside judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.

They said in a statement: “We made no secret of our desire for the show to remain where it was… we’re not going with the dough.”

The statement continued: “The BBC nurtured the show from its infancy

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Sep 13th, 2016 9:55 am | By

The gall of that man.

With Clinton resting, Trump launched some of his sharpest attacks yet against her. He said in a speech Monday in Baltimore that her “deplorables” comment “disqualifies” her from being president — and that if she does not retract it, “I don’t see how she can credibly campaign any further.”

That disqualifies her – that one word, said one time – but the constant repetition of “Pocahontas” doesn’t disqualify  him? “Mexicans are rapists” doesn’t? “Blood from her wherever” doesn’t? The bankruptcies don’t? The unpaid contractors don’t? The unpaid workers don’t?

Meanwhile, over the weekend the very right-wing governor of Kentucky said some things:

When conservative Christians gathered in Washington, DC, this past weekend for

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Not playing

Sep 13th, 2016 9:29 am | By

A moment at a protest march against same-sex marriage in Ceyela, Mexico.

“At first I thought the child was only playing,” says photographer and journalist Manuel Rodriquez, who captured the exact moment a 12-year-old boy leapt in front of a crowd of 11,000 people protesting the proposed same-sex marriage law in Mexico.

Talking to Regeneración, Rodriquez explains that when he asked the anonymous boy what he was doing, the child responded, “I have an uncle who is gay. And I hate that people hate.”

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Just because it’s going to be a dumpster fire

Sep 12th, 2016 5:09 pm | By

GQ talked to five voters who have somehow managed not to decide which is worse, Trump or Clinton. Anonymous “Politics reporter, 42, Washington, D.C.:

I’ve struggled with this the entire election season. Some days I’m really tortured by it, and some days it’s, like, laughable. But I’ve never really felt this way as an adult human. And it’s really—it’s messing with me.

I cannot stomach Hillary Clinton. I just can’t get with her. Maybe because I know too much. I find so much of her world hypocritical, reprehensible. I think the rest of the country sort of gives her a pass, like, “Oh, she’s always been attacked by Republicans, it’s not that big a deal, email shmemail!” But I’m like,

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Guest post: A very narrow set of options at the end of it

Sep 12th, 2016 4:15 pm | By

Guest post by Maureen Brian, originally a reply to a question I asked on a Facebook post of hers about the fact that “we have set up the [UK] education system so that, essentially, you have to fail and fail visibly at the academic curriculum before you are allowed to do something else.”

I look back nearly seventy years and I remember the early years of school and that most of it seemed to be just fun. I realise, though, that I learned a hell of a lot then and was better taught than at some stages of secondary.

Now they have to learn, say, to read by this age and be taught by this method, currently phonics but fashions … Read the rest

Trump is redefining the concept of a gaffe out of existence

Sep 12th, 2016 4:04 pm | By

Matt Yglesias points out that a non-fascist politician saying the kind of thing Trump says once would be big news, while Trump’s saying it all the time is just normal. He’s made us numb to how horrifying he is.

(Up to a point. Just a few hours ago I thought of the fact that he calls Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” and was appalled all over again.)

Donald Trump went on CNBC this morning, and, over the course of a wide-ranging interview, once again reminded the world of the most fundamental fact about his candidacy — he doesn’t really seem to understand any aspect of American public policy.

Benefitting as he often does from a cable news format, he was allowed

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They didn’t hold it for long

Sep 12th, 2016 3:42 pm | By

Martin Luther King Jr.’s children called the National Museum of African American History and Culture. They had something they knew the museuem wanted, so they invited curator Rex Ellis to Atlanta to take a look at King’s traveling bible. Geoff Edgers in the Washington Post:

“It was heavier than I thought it would be,” remembers Ellis, the museum’s associate director of curatorial affairs. “Not only was it the weight of the object itself but the weight of what it was. You’re holding it like it’s a baby. I was uncomfortable holding it for long.”

Ellis and his colleagues didn’t hold it for long. The half-hour meeting with Martin III ended without a loan, a gift or any other promises.

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Item 1 should be a deal-breaker all by itself

Sep 12th, 2016 3:24 pm | By

Daniel Dale tweets a list of things Trump said in one interview today.

 … Read the rest

As if we were compelled to march in step

Sep 12th, 2016 11:49 am | By

Paul Braterman doesn’t like being told what he can say. I know the feeling.

(Mind you, there are some things I think people shouldn’t say. I think most people think that, whether they admit it or not. I frown on personal insults. But I also know the feeling when people try to exercise close-up control of what I say.)

I’m an atheist, and I’m feeling insulted

Insulted by Greta Christina’s article, “9 Answers to Common Questions for Atheists – So You Don’t Insult Us By Asking.” Insulted by the condescending and preachy answers offered on my behalf. Insulted that the author presumes to speak on my behalf at all, as if she were the privileged custodian of some kind

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Solely focused on the person with the uterus

Sep 12th, 2016 10:56 am | By

Jesse Singal tweeted:

Singal’s linked article is about pinning down the numbers on how many trans youth need pregnancy services. Within that is the exchange with Saewyc:

During an email exchange with Science of Us, Elizabeth Saewyc, a youth-health researcher at the University of British Columbia and a co-author on the study, said that she was about to head off on a trip and wasn’t able to break down the pregnancy numbers by natal sex for me in time for this post, but pointed out that in the broader survey from which these numbers were drawn, about

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Saint Cruelty

Sep 12th, 2016 10:01 am | By

Annie Laurie Gaylor on Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu:

The pompous and self-congratulatory pageantry over the canonization of Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu), positively wallowing in credulity, has dominated TV news and social media all week. Sainthood is dependent on supposedly proving that Bojaxhiu was involved in posthumous “miracles.” How ironic the Church requires superstitious claims to supposedly be backed up by “scientific evidence” before it will accept their validity.

My primary objection to the fawning adulation Bojaxhiu received during her lifetime and after her death is rooted in her opportunistic use of almost every public occasion — notably including her acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize — to attack women’s rights. She not only went after abortion, but, in

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Call upon the Turkish government

Sep 11th, 2016 4:53 pm | By

Orhan Pamuk, JM Coetzee, Elena Ferrante and others protest the Turkish government’s attack on thinkers and writers:

We the undersigned call upon democrats throughout the world, as well as those who care about the future of Turkey and the region in which it exerts a leading role, to protest the vendetta the government is waging against its brightest thinkers and writers who may not share their point of view.

The background to this letter is the coup attempt on 15 July 2016, which mercifully failed and was quickly subdued. Had the Turkish people themselves not resisted this assault on their institutions, the result would have been years of misery.

In the aftermath of that coup, it is understandable that

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No preconceived views

Sep 11th, 2016 4:37 pm | By

Catherine Bennett on Keith Vaz and that home affairs select committee report:

The first fact mentioned in the new report on prostitution by the home affairs select committee is that “around 11% of British men aged 16–74 have paid for sex on at least one occasion”. The home affairs select committee is composed of eight men and three women. Given the men’s ages, their resources and arguably enhanced opportunities, as MPs, to conclude such transactions, maybe it is not so remarkable that at least one of the parliamentarians deciding on the future legality of prostitution may also have been a sex buyer.

It’s more surprising, really, that no one on the committee, principally its chairman, Keith Vaz, seems to

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Sep 11th, 2016 12:31 pm | By

Do not elect this man to anything ever.

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Not all that peaceful

Sep 11th, 2016 11:25 am | By

Sikh 2 Inspire are posting drivel on their Facebook page to justify their disruption of someone else’s wedding today.

Five hours ago:

Our brothers peacefully protested in the form of a sit down protest chanting vaheguru mantar at leamington spa gurdwara sahib, and are currently being arrested.

What is their crime?

No violence was committed, no one used a Sri Sahib, and no foul language was used.

More information and videos can be found on Sikh youth Birmingham page.

To clarify one key point, the Sikhs protesting were not ‘armed’ with anything other than their kirpans which a Sikh must wear always being amritdhari. This is yet again the police and press twisting facts to suit their headlines and

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No wedding for you

Sep 11th, 2016 10:51 am | By

Today in Leamington Spa:

Armed officers were called to a Sikh temple in Leamington Spa on Sunday morning after more than 50 men, some carrying blades, entered the building to stop an interfaith marriage service.

For around eight hours, the group, described by a trustee of the Gurdwara temple as “fanatical extremists”, occupied the foyer, forcing the postponement of a wedding between a Sikh bride and a Hindu groom that had been scheduled for Sunday.

That’s nice, isn’t it? Interrupting and stopping someone else’s wedding because the couple don’t have the same religion.

Late in the afternoon the police arrested 55 men – 55 men who forcibly halted a wedding that was none of their business. Weapons were seized; … Read the rest

Among the emasculations men most fear

Sep 10th, 2016 5:29 pm | By

Peter Beinart points out in the Atlantic that Hillary Clinton is hated in a way that other recent Democratic candidates haven’t been.

According to the Public Religion Research Institute, 52 percent of white men hold a “very unfavorable” view of Clinton. That’s a whopping 20 points higher than the percentage who viewed Barack Obama very unfavorably in 2012, 32 points higher than the percentage who viewed Obama very unfavorably in 2008, and 28 points higher than the percentage who viewed John Kerry very unfavorably in 2004.

Some of that, it seems to me, could be because people don’t want yet more Clinton. But the way it’s expressed…yeah that’s just good ol’ misogyny.

At the Republican National Convention, this fervent

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She may just be tired of the misogyny

Sep 10th, 2016 4:22 pm | By

Irene Young on Facebook a couple of days ago:

There is criticism this morning that Hillary Clinton did not smile enough last night during the NBC Commander in Chief forum. I have a 2-part comment about this.

First, Trump NEVER smiles and is NEVER personable, yet there is no mention of it.

Secondly, I say this not just in response to this campaign, but because of my 40 years as a pro photographer in the independent music business with over 600 CD covers to my credit. It is just a fact. I have seen and heard it a million times. If men don’t smile in their photographs, it’s considered cool and strong. If women don’t smile, even if the

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What did these geniuses expect?

Sep 10th, 2016 11:35 am | By

Trump’s take on sexual assault in the military is, predictably, that it’s the fault of the damn fools who thought the military shouldn’t exclude women on account of how women are not some weird aberrant species.

Speaking at a candidates’ forum, Mr. Trump defended one of his Twitter posts from 2013 concerning the high number of sexual assaults in the military, and said that he had been “absolutely correct” in posting a message that said, “What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

Right. So by the same token…the military should be all white, because white guys will inevitably get violent if non-white guys are allowed. By the same token, the military should be all … Read the rest


Sep 10th, 2016 11:18 am | By

The Telegraph reports an ugly story out of France.

Two families on a cycle ride in Toulon, southern France, came under violent attack after assailants hurled insults at two female partners for wearing shorts, according to prosecutors.

The attack, carried out by a group of youths from a housing estate in the Mediterranean port town, has sparked claims that parts of France are prey to an Islamist “morality police”.

There were two couples, three children and a friend, out on bicycles and roller blades.

They were passing near the Cité des Oeillets, an estate in eastern Toulon, when a group of adolescents starting insulting the women of the group because of their shorts, including jibes such as: “Dirty

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