All entries by this author

Suchitra Bhattacharya

May 14th, 2015 10:56 am | By

An important Bengali writer died (of natural causes) on Tuesday. The Times of India reports:

Famed Bengali writer Suchitra Bhattacharya died at her south Kolkata residence late on Tuesday night following a cardiac arrest, family members and the attending doctor said. Bhattacharya, 65, left behind a daughter.

One of the most popular and powerful novelists of contemporary Bengali literature, Bhattacharya dwelt on contemporary social issues mainly affecting the urban middle class which she analysed with an open mind, almost putting the reader before a mirror.

Her pen also highlighted the pains and sufferings of women in contemporary society, and brought out the decadence in the moral fibre in an era of globalisation and crass commercialism.

Her novel

Read the rest

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



Torturing animals, for instance, was just good clean fun

May 14th, 2015 10:21 am | By

How does cruelty and sadism get normalized?

Another passage from the “Humanitarian Revolution” chapter of Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature

Warning: torture, again

But the practical function of cruel punishments was just a part of their appeal. Spectators enjoyed cruelty, even when it served no judicial purpose. Torturing animals, for instance, was just good clean fun.

In 16th-century Paris, a popular form of entertainment was cat-burning,

warning

in which a cat was hoisted in a sling on a stage and slowly lowered into a fire. [p 145]

He goes on, but I yanked my eyes away after the first words; no way I’m going to type them.

Yet people watched it for amusement.

How does this … Read the rest

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



Normalization

May 13th, 2015 5:48 pm | By

City News put together a collection of tv reporters talking about the “Fuck her right in the pussy” harassment they get. There are several women and even one man.

It’s such a peculiar phrase. It sounds like “punch her right in the mouth,” not like anything erotic. I guess that’s the point – it combines punch her right in the mouth with the sexual (but definitely not erotic) note. It does make you think…because it’s so hostile, and so obviously hostile, yet these shits say they think it’s funny. Why is hostility to women so normalized? Why is it so normalized that twisted fucks actually think it’s funny? Why would it be funny? If people kept shouting “kick him right … Read the rest

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



Guest post: The way women are socialized to put up with endless crap

May 13th, 2015 3:03 pm | By

Originally a comment on Oh but it’s so hilarious.

Shawn Simoe, the now ex-Hydro One assistant network engineer (he was paid $106,510 last year; hardly the wage of a peon, stevewatson), is perfectly free to engage in whatever manner of behaviour, public or otherwise, that he wishes, but cannot reasonably expect to do so without risk of negative consequence.

The fact that this apparently didn’t occur to him or his buddies before engaging in on-air sexual harrassment apologetics speaks volumes about the way women are socialized to put up with endless crap in the interest of “getting along” or “being nice” or “having a sense of humour”.

No one, not Hydro One or any other employer, is obligated to employ … Read the rest

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



How to talk to women

May 13th, 2015 11:28 am | By

Say what?

A blog post by Lilly Rockwell at the Austin Statesman (Austin, Texas, this is).

The newly-elected 10-member City Council, plus the mayor, is the first majority female City Council in Austin’s history, with seven women and four men.

But apparently this represented such a huge change in governance that the city manager’s office thought the city staff who regularly interact with the City Council needed extra training – in the form of a two-hour training session in March with two speakers from Florida – on how to talk to a female-dominated City Council after decades of rule by men.

How…to…talk? Because what, they would all probably burst into tears? Give birth? Pass out Tampax samples?

The first speaker

Read the rest

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



Guest post: She’s over-reacting to being a pissing post for strangers

May 13th, 2015 11:07 am | By

Originally a comment by cuervocuervo on Oh but it’s so hilarious.

Yelling ‘fire’ in a theater is freeze peach innit?

What the men were caught on video doing and being unrepentant about is also up for legal review by the police. Whatever their drunken intent, it’s being seen as a public safety issue. I can’t imagine why, when men’s hilarity results from exploiting a woman’s objectified presence for media infamy; after all, it wasn’t about her at all, it was about their own amusement and team bonding after enjoying a sporting event. Because when a lone woman is zoomed and yelled at by strange men, who might also physically grab at her and her equipment, that’s just a joke. … Read the rest

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



Guest post: Criticizing Islam Should Not be A Death Sentence

May 13th, 2015 10:09 am | By

Guest post by Leo Igwe.

The murder of a secular blogger in Bangladesh, Ananta Bijoy Das, is yet another demonstration of the growing threat of Islam-based phobia in the contemporary world. This is a stark reminder of the dangers which freethinking, atheist, secular writers and critics of religion face not only in Bangladesh, but in many countries around the globe.

Ananta is the third blogger linked to a freethought blog site Mukto Mona to be killed in Bangladesh in the past four months. Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi born US writer, was murdered in February. He was attacked along with his wife who sustained serious injuries.

Washiqur Rahman was murdered in March. Islamic militants are suspected to be behind these horrific … Read the rest

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



The glorious future

May 13th, 2015 9:52 am | By

An exciting conference this weekend in Melbourne.

13 human beings, and 3 crude dolls.… Read the rest

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



Oh but it’s so hilarious

May 13th, 2015 8:54 am | By

Wow. I did not know this was a thing. Now thanks to screechymonkey I do. Men hang around where women are reporting a story for tv news so that they can shout into the camera “fuck her in the pussy!” Because hey, if a woman has the brass-plated nerve to try to do an actual job and be out in public and everything, what is there to do but remind her she’s just a gash?

The tv journalist Shauna Hunt made an issue of it when she was reporting on fans at a recent Toronto FC game.

Watch and be amazed. They’re so pleased with themselves, so brimming with confidence, so contemptuous of Shauna Hunt, so scornful of the idea … Read the rest

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



In the image of god

May 12th, 2015 5:41 pm | By

One of the people on Sunday’s The Big Question was an Anglican vicar, Lynda Rose, who erupted in fury when Peter Tatchell answered the question (have human rights laws achieved more for mankind than religion?) by saying that religions are mostly opposed to human rights. Rose said the familiar bullshit about how the very idea of human rights rests entirely on “the Judaeo-Christian” whatever and without that we wouldn’t have shit for human rights. It’s because with the Bible we get humans in the image of god, you see.

I was thinking she was a liberal vicar, I suppose because she’s a woman and we know conservative Anglicans don’t like no stinkin’ women vicars – but also because she comes … Read the rest

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



You belong to a category of applicants where there is always a risk

May 12th, 2015 3:41 pm | By

Swedish PEN has demanded an explanation from the Swedish embassy in Dhaka.

Swedish PEN demands a response from the Swedish Embassy in Dhaka following Tuesday’s murder of the author and blogger Ananta Bijoy Dash

“You belong to a category of applicants where there is always a risk involved when granting a visa that you will not leave Schengen area after the visit. Furthermore, the purpose of your trip is not urgent enough to grant you visa.” (From the visa refusal of the Swedish Embassy in Dhaka)

More than a month ago Swedish PEN invited the Bangladeshi author and blogger Ananta Bijoy Dash to Stockholm to speak about the deteriorating situation in Bangladesh for journalists and writers, a topic that has

Read the rest

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



He knew he was one of the targets

May 12th, 2015 3:36 pm | By

The IHEU tells the terrible story of the refusal by the Swedish embassy in Dhaka to give Ananta Bijoy Das a visa to travel to Sweden for a conference.

Ananta had been on a list of atheist bloggers produced by Islamist political parties in 2013. They demanded a death penalty for ‘blasphemy’, and since then several writers on the list have been murdered, always by machete attack. Ananta was also named on a new hit list in March [Bangla] in connection with a group called Ansarullah Bangla Team.

Ananta wrote to IHEU at the time:

“It seems to me I am one of the targets . I am not sure how long I will hide myself. But I am sure

Read the rest

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



Blue

May 12th, 2015 3:25 pm | By

I need relief from the misery of today, and so perhaps do you.

Curiosity Rover sent back pictures of a sunset. Yes sunset as seen from another planet. Sunset as seen from Mars.

Do admit.

 … Read the rest

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



The political situation in Bangladesh is too volatile for her to comment publicly

May 12th, 2015 2:40 pm | By

Rafida Ahmed Bonya talks to Reuters about the murder of her husband Avijit Roy and the non-response of Bangladesh.

On May 3, the Indian-born head of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent claimed responsibility for a string attacks in Bangladesh and Pakistan, including Roy’s.

The murder of Roy, an atheist who published a popular and provocative blog, marks an escalation by Islamist militants for control of Bangladesh.

Religious fundamentalists are competing daily with secular government officials for power in the majority-Muslim country, one of the world’s largest and poorest democracies.

In her first extensive interview since the attack, Bonya criticised the Bangladeshi government for not responding more aggressively to her husband’s slaying.

“This was well planned, choreographed – a global act

Read the rest

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



Guest post: An immigration lawyer on the Human Rights Act

May 12th, 2015 2:12 pm | By

Guest post by Walton, originally a comment on a post by Helen Dale (commenting on an article in the Spectator) on my Facebook wall yesterday on the Human Rights Act. Published with permission.

My view on this as an immigration lawyer:

A large part of the Tories’ explicit motivation for getting rid of the HRA is to curtail the scope of protections in immigration cases. They particularly hate the right to private and family life (Article 8), especially, but not exclusively, in criminal deportation cases. This has featured heavily in Tory rhetoric and tabloid press reporting for several years.

What they don’t tell you is why these protections are worthwhile.

Many of the people that the Home Office labels … Read the rest

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



Bush goes with little sisters

May 12th, 2015 12:41 pm | By

A more local fan of theocracy – Jeb Bush said some words at Liberty “University” on Saturday. He said the Catholic church knows better than the elected government.

Delivering the commencement address at the booming evangelical universitylaunched by Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell, Bush referred to a group of nuns who fought a birth control mandate under the Affordable Care Act.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m betting that when it comes to doing the right and good thing, the Little Sisters of the Poor know better than the regulators at the Department of Health and Human Services,” Bush said. “From the standpoint of religious freedom, you might even say it’s a choice between the Little Sisters and

Read the rest

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



Ananta and Avijit

May 12th, 2015 12:27 pm | By

Via IHEU on Twitter

IHEU‏@IHEU
#AnantaBijoy and #AvijitRoy pictured together; they and 4 others all now killed by machete

Read the rest

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



A god of sulfur

May 12th, 2015 12:22 pm | By

Taslima shared a poem that Ananta Bijoy Das wrote about her.

A painfully apposite extract –

Alexandria to Nalanda being rampaged and raped by them,
The “elders” are breathing in hatred and violence in their pens,
Blood of the innocent dripping off the shameless swords everywhere.

If you violate their fatwa, their red eyes and edicts
You get beheaded in the east west north south wherever you are.

Human beings worship a loathsome god. They prostrate themselves to a foul, jealous, cruel demon who hates curiosity and learning and freedom of mind. Their god is a nightmare, a monster, the source of everything bad. Their god is evil and wicked and hateful. Their god murders people who want to free … Read the rest

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



Equality for some

May 12th, 2015 12:01 pm | By

It’s one of those taunting rub-their-noses-in-it actions that Tories and Republicans love to do – Cameron appointed an anti-gay marriage MP to be minister for equalities. Hahaha get it? So funny. Hahaha those politically correct fools who think same-sex couples should be able to get married, we showed them, hahahaha.

Caroline Dinenage, the MP for Gosport, was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron today as the Parliamentary under secretary of state at the Ministry of Justice and the minister for equalities at the Department for Education.

In 2013, she told a PinkNews reader that the “state has no right” to redefine its meaning of marriage and that “preventing same-sex couples from being allowed to marry takes nothing away from

Read the rest

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



She wondered what Kate would say

May 12th, 2015 11:36 am | By

Anne Widdecombe wrote a column in the Daily Express the other day. In part of it she said this:

Sofia Vergara of the US TV show Modern Family and Nick Loeb, her ex-fiancé, are locked in battle over his wish to use the embryos they created through IVF and hers to keep them frozen indefinitely.

Among those who have commented is women’s campaigner Kate Smurthwaite, who says: “If you have had a part in the creation of that embryo then you should have a say in its future but if the parties are not 100 per cent committed then maybe there is a better way.

“This guy can adopt, he can foster, he has got lots and lots of other

Read the rest

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