All entries by this author

Up to 140 million girls and women

Oct 17th, 2014 10:50 am | By

The first official figures on FGM cases seen by UK hospitals have been published. There have been 1,700 since April.

The public health minister, Jane Ellison, who pushed for the data to be collected, hailed the move. “We know FGM devastates lives but understanding the scale of the problem is essential to tackling it effectively,” she said.

“That is why, for the first time ever, hospitals are reporting information on FGM – a major milestone on the road to ending FGM in one generation here in the UK. This data will help us care for women who have had FGM, and prevent more girls from having to suffer this traumatic experience.”

An estimated 137,000 women and girls in

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



Stuck-up prude slut hos

Oct 16th, 2014 6:32 pm | By

From a long piece in the Atlantic by Hana Rosin about high school kids sexting:

Studies on high-school kids’ general attitudes about sexting turn up what you’d expect—that is, the practice inspires a maddening, ancient, crude double standard. Researchers from the University of Michigan recently surveyed a few dozen teenagers in urban areas. Boys reported receiving sexts from girls “I know I can get it from” and said that sexting is “common only for girls with slut reputations.” But the boys also said that girls who don’t sext are “stuck up” or “prude.”

The boys themselves, on the other hand, were largely immune from criticism, whether they sexted or not.

Sometimes in Louisa County, between interviews, I hung out

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A classic

Oct 16th, 2014 5:21 pm | By

Ever seen the movie Lone Star? I did a Facebook post about it this morning by way of noting what a bad thing it is that Elizabeth Peña has died. I said (truthfully) that it’s a great movie, possibly Sayles’s best, and to my surprise a lot of people came along to echo that thought. One said it’s his favorite movie, another said a friend considers it the best American movie of all time.

Wo – I thought it was an obscure favorite peculiar to me, but no. So why isn’t it shown on tv all the time?

Here are a few scenes on Siskel and Ebert:

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCVzzRXc5WsRead the rest

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Women are stealing all the safe spaces

Oct 16th, 2014 5:10 pm | By

David Futrelle shares with us four absurd rationalizations about the threats against Anita Sarkeesian.

One boils down to: “Hey men are fucked up because of feminism so women should THANK US for giving fucked up men a safe space where they won’t be killing women all the time. Gaming is one of those safe spaces – or was, until women started trying to shove their whorey way in. So watch out because if they don’t stop it’s going to get bloody!”

As many commenters pointed out, men actually seem to have an abundance of safe spaces.

Another said that another Marc Lépine would be…a terrible thing for men.

But the best one said it was those god damn … Read the rest

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Guest post: One at least realizes that safety cannot be assumed

Oct 16th, 2014 4:55 pm | By

Originally a comment by A Masked Avenger on Whose freedom?

The inability, or refusal, to provide security measures–including preventing attendees from carrying weapons–is unconscionable. Full stop.

Ms. Sarkeesian, and everyone else for that matter, has an absolute right to do what is necessary to feel safe. Full stop.

I do think that the “privilege of being able to stand up in a crowd and not worry about being murdered” rests on the comforting, but false, notion that making a rule against firearms–or even screening people for firearms–means that everyone you meet is unarmed.

As someone who works in law enforcement, I am armed with some regularity. And I have accidentally entered secure areas in sports venues, theme parks, and even … Read the rest

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



Over a dozen clerics

Oct 16th, 2014 1:45 pm | By

Bad news – the Lahore High Court has upheld the death penalty for Asia Bibi for “blasphemy.”

Asia Bibi, a mother of five, has been on death row since November 2010 after she was found guilty of making derogatory remarks about [the prophet] during an argument with a Muslim woman.

She probably didn’t even do it – anything that even theocrats could call blasphemy. It appears to be just something some people said because they don’t like her.

The blasphemy allegations against Bibi date back to June 2009.

She was working in a field when she was asked to fetch water. Muslim women labourers objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl.

A few

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A present for the judge

Oct 16th, 2014 1:29 pm | By

In Bahrain, a woman can be and is arrested for tearing up a photograph of the king. HRW reports.

A Bahraini rights activist jailed for ripping up a photo of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in court on October 14, 2014, should be released immediately. Bahrain should drop all freedom-of-expression related charges against the activist, Zainab al-Khawaja, who is eight months pregnant and has been charged with insulting the king.

Al-Khawaja was in court to face charges relating to two previous incidents in which she also tore up photographs of the king as a form of protest. She was arrested again in the courtroom and, on October 15, the public prosecutor charged her with insulting the king and

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



Allowed in spite of the threats

Oct 16th, 2014 1:03 pm | By

Anita Sarkeesian explained to the Salt Lake Tribune what she has already explained to everyone else: that she decided not to give the talk at Utah State not because of the threats but because the response was inadequate.

In a phone interview from San Francisco, Anita Sarkeesian said she canceled Wednesday’s lecture not because of three death threats — one of which promised “the deadliest school shooting in American history” — but because firearms would be allowed in spite of the threats.

“That was it for me,” said Sarkeesian, who has kept multiple speaking engagements in the face of death threats, including one last week at Geek Girl Con in Seattle. “If they allowed weapons into the auditorium, that was

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



Whose freedom?

Oct 16th, 2014 11:16 am | By

Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon ponders the fact that gun rights are allowed to trump public safety.

It’s about living in a country in which the right to carry around a weapon takes priority over the privilege of being able to stand up in a crowd and not worry about being murdered.

That’s the United States – where public speaking is dangerous but carrying a gun is cherished and protected.

On Tuesday, the University announced that it intended to still hold the event, despite the warning that “feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all the others they’ve wronged.” University spokesman Tim Vitale told the Standard Examiner

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



Utah State University didn’t even tell her

Oct 16th, 2014 9:28 am | By

Good grief. I didn’t know this part: Anita Sarkeesian tweeted 16 hours ago:

Feminist Frequency @femfreq · 16h
USU acted irresponsibly. They did not even inform me of the threat. I learned about it via news stories on Twitter after I landed in Utah.

Holy shit. They can’t ban guns at her event, and they didn’t inform her of the threat.

I’m reeling.… Read the rest

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



Starkly one-sided

Oct 15th, 2014 5:04 pm | By

Some Harvard Law School professors don’t like Harvard’s recently installed sexual harassment policy. The Harvard Crimson reports:

“Harvard has adopted procedures for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused, and are in no way required by Title IX law or regulation,” the professors—21 men and seven women—wrote.

Hmm. 21 men and 7 women. Hmm.

Hmmmmm.

The authors also attacked the University for language in the policy stipulating that any instance of sexual conduct that occurs “when a person is so impaired or incapacitated as to be incapable of requesting or inviting the conduct” will be deemed “unwelcome.” The professors characterized this procedure as

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Pride, anger and a domineering spirit

Oct 15th, 2014 4:45 pm | By

Mark Driscoll has resigned as pastor and elder and grand poobah of Mars Hill Church.

Religion News Service has his resignation letter.

I readily acknowledge I am an imperfect messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many things I have confessed and repented of, privately and publicly, as you are well aware. Specifically, I have confessed to past pride, anger and a domineering spirit.

As I shared with our church in August, “God has broken me many times in recent years by showing me where I have fallen short, and while my journey, at age 43, is far from over, I believe He has brought me a long way from some days I am not very proud

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



Yes, Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz writing a book

Oct 15th, 2014 4:14 pm | By

Yup, that’s what he says, at 5:45:

That’s why I’m writing a book with Maajid Nawaz, that’s why I give money to his organization.

Well all right then. That could do some good. It will boost Maajid’s visibility, and it will probably inform Sam Harris.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0BH6yQXNHoRead the rest

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



Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz

Oct 15th, 2014 4:09 pm | By

Well this is a new angle – although so far I’ve found only angry Islamist sources for it, but they say it’s in a segment on CNN. The claim is that Sam Harris is writing a book with Maajid Nawaz, and that he gives money to the Quilliam Foundation. If that’s true, well, that’s good news.

Here’s the awful 5pillarz on the subject:

The prominent Islamophobe Sam Harris has revealed that he is writing a book with Maajid Nawaz and that he’s giving money to the Quilliam Foundation.

Harris made the admission during an interview with CNN which can be seen HERE after 5 mins 45 secs

It’s not an “admission” because it’s not a bad thing to do. … Read the rest

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



We recognize no such thing

Oct 15th, 2014 11:36 am | By

The UK’s National Union of Students recently refused to condemn IS because to do so would be Islamophobic. Or rather, “””Islamophobic””” – one set of scare quotes isn’t sarcastic enough.

Hand-wringing delegates at the NUS blocked a vote to show solidarity with Iraqi Kurds and condemn Islamic State militants because they say it’s “Islamophobic”.

The bill called for the Union – which claims to represent UK students – to support unity between Muslims, condemn the bloody terror of ISIS (also known as the Islamic State), and support a boycott on people who fund the militants.

But the motion offended Black Students Officer Malia Bouattia, who said: “We recognise that condemnation of ISIS appears to have become a justification for war

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A massive job that will have no end

Oct 15th, 2014 10:55 am | By

Terry Sanderson has an enthusiastic, inspired post on Maryam’s conference on Secularism last weekend. He says it wasn’t like any other conference on secularism he’s ever been to.

It was a truly international event that made everyone there feel that they were engaged in a momentous worldwide call for change. It was just a start, but the passion generated was the kind that can move mountains.

To start with, there was a majority of women among the 250 delegates. They had come from all over the world, bringing with them some horrific stories of suffering at the hands of religion.

Many speakers from Muslim backgrounds told of the persecution and discrimination and the sometimes heroic resistance to it. Wherever there

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



Just one side

Oct 15th, 2014 10:27 am | By

Soraya Nadia McDonald at the Washington Post reports on the threatening of Anita Sarkeesian.

As escalating threats of death and rape marked Sarkeesian’s tenure as a video game vlogger, she’s been adamant about not allowing them to silence her.

The Utah State threat is just the latest one in the ongoing saga of Gamergate, an increasingly nasty culture war between video-game critics like Sarkeesian and a mob of gamers.

I really wish she hadn’t put it that way. It’s not true. Sarkeesian isn’t “increasingly nasty” and she isn’t engaging in any kind of war. It’s not a war, it’s a terror campaign. It’s not “both sides,” it’s one side. Talking about trope in video games is not waging war, … Read the rest

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



Stay out of Utah

Oct 15th, 2014 9:43 am | By

CFI’s legal honcho Nick Little gave me the link to Utah’s gun law.

(5) Unless specifically authorized by the Legislature by statute, a local authority or state entity may not enact, establish, or enforce any ordinance, regulation, rule, or policy pertaining to firearms that in any way inhibits or restricts the possession or use of firearms on either public or private property.

(6) As used in this section:

(a) “firearm” has the same meaning as defined in Section 76-10-501; and

(b) “local authority or state entity” includes public school districts, public schools, and state institutions of higher education.

See that there? PUBLIC SCHOOLS and STATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES are forbidden to restrict the possession or use of firearms on … Read the rest

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



Well obviously people can bring guns to Sarkeesian’s talk

Oct 15th, 2014 9:01 am | By

As you probably already know, yesterday evening Utah State made a statement saying that Anita Sarkeesian had canceled her talk scheduled today October 15. Here’s why:

Oct. 14, 7 p.m.
Anita Sarkeesian has canceled her scheduled speech for tomorrow following a discussion with Utah State University police regarding an email threat that was sent to Utah State University. During the discussion, Sarkeesian asked if weapons will be permitted at the speaking venue. Sarkeesian was informed that, in accordance with the State of Utah law regarding the carrying of firearms, if a person has a valid concealed firearm permit and is carrying a weapon, they are permitted to have it at the venue.

I’m just fucking stunned.

So that’s it – … Read the rest

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



Relief for Texas

Oct 14th, 2014 6:26 pm | By

But one piece of good news – that is (as so often) one undoing of a piece of bad news. The Supreme Court blocked Texas’s horrible admitting privileges law, allowing 13 clinics to re-open.

The court’s order, staying a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit that the law could go into effect, will allow more than a dozen of the clinics to resume operation, according to the group that challenged the law, the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The action will allow 13 abortion clinics that closed after the appeals court decision to reopen, said Nancy Northup, president of the center. “We’re absolutely thrilled.”

The group told the justices that “if the stay entered

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