All entries by this author

The eyes

Apr 6th, 2016 11:40 am | By

It’s great that all the silly old stereotypes have faded away.

Just kidding.

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Spirit truffles contain spirit dust

Apr 6th, 2016 11:28 am | By

Good grief – doesn’t Gwyneth Paltrow have any friends capable of convincing her that she doesn’t know enough to be giving out medical advice? That there really are compelling reasons for not telling the world what to put in or on or up its poor vulnerable body unless one has the relevant knowledge? Which she doesn’t?

Dean Burnett at the Guardian tells us about her dangerous hobby.

For someone of even the slightest scientific inclination, Goop is a veritable cornucopia of What-The-Fuck? There’s “spirit truffles”, which contain “spirit dust” which apparently “feeds harmony and extrasensory perception through pineal gland de-calcification and activation”. In fairness to Goop, those are definitely all real words. They’ve got us

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They prefer to hound fellow activists

Apr 5th, 2016 6:02 pm | By

Peter Tatchell has some sharp words for the purity-enforcing virtue-signaling pseudo-leftists who spend all their time and energy attacking other leftists for making an unauthorized departure from the Dogma Express. Mind you, Tatchell has done some of that himself, even recently, even very recently – distancing himself from Julie Bindel and Germaine Greer, for instance. Nevertheless his counterblast is refreshing.

The future of progressive politics is under threat, again. But this time from the left. Historically, socialists and greens have made gains by building broad alliances around a common goal, such as the campaigns against the poll tax and the bombing of Syria. We united together diverse people who often disagreed on other issues. Through this unity and solidarity, we

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Guest post: The Abortion Act was considered “religiously sensitive”

Apr 5th, 2016 4:49 pm | By

Originally a comment by Bernard Hurley on Too bad for her she lived in Belfast.

While the influence of the Catholic Church needs to be taken into account the situation in Northern Ireland is far more complex than than you suggest. NI is a sort of dual-theocracy. Members of the NI parliament who wish to be part of government must declare themselves to be either Nationalist or Unionist – in practice code for Catholic or Protestant – and the NI cabinet balanced to make it contain equal numbers of each. The NI parliament is about 52% Unionist (Protestant), 40% Nationalist (Catholic) with the other 8% undeclared. But it gets a bit confusing because, for instance, the Progressive Unionist Party … Read the rest



If women aren’t people to you

Apr 5th, 2016 3:10 pm | By

Dr Jen Gunter on Ted Cruz on Fox News:

When asked about abortion, given Trump’s recent flip flops (I think he’s had six or is that seven positions this week?), Ted Cruz said “the people” should decide. And that Roe is so terrible because it took abortion “out of the control of the people”

Not the women people, the other people.

And women should carry their rapists baby to term.

His plan, which he somehow feels is very moderate and filled with empathy, appears to be get rid of Roe and then let the voters decide state by state. Women and doctors? Silly, they don’t know anything.

If the majority decides women shouldn’t be able to decide … Read the rest



Going up

Apr 5th, 2016 2:52 pm | By

A NASA photo of a space shuttle leaving earth’s atmosphere:

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Men complain based on religious beliefs, and women are forced to move

Apr 5th, 2016 11:55 am | By

Nick Little – director of legal affairs and VP at CFI – casts a cold eye on this business of airlines making women change their seats when men afflicted with religious misogyny refuse to sit next to women. He starts with Renee Rabinowitz, and then proceeds to the general.

This isn’t an isolated event. This scene is being played out repeatedly at multiple airports, and on multiple airlines. Men complain based on religious beliefs, and women are forced to move. When men are denied this “accommodation” they have protested, stood in the aisles, and refused to allow the plane to take off. So the airlines have kowtowed to their demands, and the men have gotten their way. The offending and

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Oxymoron in chief

Apr 5th, 2016 11:07 am | By

So this is one of the funnier headlines I’ve seen in some time:

The President of Transparency International Chile Resigns After Being Named in the Panama Papers

Oops.

The head of global corruption watchdog Transparency International’s Chile branch resigned on Monday, after his name appeared in a data leak from a Panamanian law firm detailing thousands of offshore companies — now being dubbed the Panama Papers.

“Gonzalo Delaveau resigned as President of Transparency Chile, which has been accepted by the board of directors,” the agency said on Twitter.

Although Delaveau has not directly been accused of unlawful practices, Reuters reports that he was linked to at least five offshore firms by the leak.

See, “unlawful” is not the only … Read the rest



Agnotology

Apr 5th, 2016 9:54 am | By

Georgina Kenyon at the BBC magazine on Robert Proctor and agnotology.

She starts with the well-known tobacco industry memo that said “Doubt is our product.”

In one of the paper’s most revealing sections, it looks at how to market cigarettes to the mass public: “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

This revelation piqued the interest of Robert Proctor, a science historian from Stanford University, who started delving into the practices of tobacco firms and how they had spread confusion about whether smoking caused cancer.

Proctor had found that the cigarette

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Too bad for her she lived in Belfast

Apr 4th, 2016 5:29 pm | By

Northern Ireland as a little outpost of Catholic woman-hatred, even though it’s officially not Catholic as it’s part of the UK.

A woman bought drugs for a home abortion after failing to raise enough money to travel to England for a termination, a court heard on Monday.

A barrister for the woman told Belfast Crown Court that had his client lived in any other region of the UK, she would “not have found herself before the courts”.

She was in court because she was on trial, because Northern Ireland isn’t as free of Catholic dogma as it might like you to think.

She bought drugs online and then miscarried, in July 2014. She was 19 then.

The male foetus,

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Attacks with acid were also common

Apr 4th, 2016 4:48 pm | By

The BBC says “honor” murders are on the rise in Pakistan.

Nearly 1,100 women were killed in Pakistan last year by relatives who believed they had dishonoured their families, the country’s independent Human Rights Commission says.

In its annual report the commission said 900 more women suffered sexual violence and nearly 800 took, or tried to take, their own lives.

Of course those are the ones they know about. It’s very unlikely that they know about all the ones there are.

“The predominant causes of these killings in 2015 were domestic disputes, alleged illicit relations and exercising the right of choice in marriage,” the report said.

Most of the 1,096 victims were shot, the report said, but attacks with

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“I could only see her eyes but they were full of rage”

Apr 4th, 2016 4:30 pm | By

Meet Hibo Wardere:

Hibo Wardere, 46, who fled Somalia’s civil war at the age of 18 having suffered FGM aged six, has made it her life’s work to educate and speak frankly about the brutal surgery which affects 200 million women in 30 countries.

Mrs Wardere, a teaching assistant who visits [London] schools to educate children about the procedure, has written a book about her one-woman fight to wipe out FGM in her lifetime.

But the Somalian’s outspoken approach and refusal to sugar-coat the  topic with young children has made her the target of attacks.

She said: “I had a scary confrontation on the 257 bus in Walthamstow. A woman with a full niqab recognised me and ran at

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And everyone else is a mixed bag of broken biscuits

Apr 4th, 2016 10:41 am | By

Samantha Rea on why it’s not cool to erase women:

Last week on Twitter, a representative for the Green Party gave a shout-out for the Young Greens Women Twitter account, directing “non-male” members to give them a follow.

I – along with many others – objected to this phrasing, on the grounds that women exist in their own right, not in relation to men. Referring to women as “non-male,” positions men as the defining group, and women as “other.” It’s like saying that men are Coca Cola and women are the supermarket budget brand – or men are filet steak and women are a bargain bag of offal.

Or men are normal and women are some bizarre aberration, or … Read the rest



Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor

Apr 4th, 2016 9:47 am | By

There’s a cardinal at the Vatican who is making a nice little racket out of being a cardinal at the Vatican. Barry Duke at the Freethinker has details:

Funds designated for sick children were allegedly diverted to pay for costly renovations to the apartment of the Vatican’s former Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, 81.

I do like to see a cardinal in shades, don’t you? It’s so Pythonesque, with a dash of Mafioso.

According to estimates published in the Italian press, each of the bedrooms has its own private bathroom, and the kitchen facilities are befitting a banquet hall. Bertone spent $22,000 on eight independent sharable audio programmes and audio controls with LCD display for each environment.

Let … Read the rest



It’s empowering to brush your teeth

Apr 3rd, 2016 5:57 pm | By

No, it’s not “empowering” in the 21st century US for women to post selfies of themselves. The default situation isn’t that women aren’t allowed to post selfies of themselves. The default situation isn’t that they’re locked up in harems with no phones to take selfies with and no internet to share the selfies with. Women aren’t lying on their backs thrashing their arms and legs helplessly like June bugs.

The “power” to post selfies on the internet isn’t in and of itself a power that will get women anywhere. Women in the US aren’t in such a helpless, restricted, spied on, imprisoned state that the ability to post a selfie is a triumphant access to power and freedom. It’s ludicrous … Read the rest



The Panama Papers

Apr 3rd, 2016 5:10 pm | By

We’ll be learning some details of how rich people avoid taxes by using offshore tax havens, via the Panama Papers. The Guardian is one of a group of news outlets that have access to the papers.

The hidden wealth of some of the world’s most prominent leaders, politicians and celebrities has been revealed by an unprecedented leak of millions of documents that show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes.

The Guardian, working with global partners, will set out details from the first tranche of what are being called “the Panama Papers”. Journalists from more than 80 countries have been reviewing 11.5m files leaked from the database of Mossack Fonseca, the world’s

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Can Atheism Reduce Maternal Mortality in Nigeria?

Apr 3rd, 2016 | By Leo Igwe
If you are one of those who think that atheism is of no benefit to Africa and Africans, that disbelieving in god has no social value or significance for this people then you may rethink your position after reading this. You may be aware that the government of Cross River State in Southern Nigeria is waging a fierce campaign against the practice of ‘church birth’ and this practice highlights the dangers of theism particularly when it is applied to maternal health issues. You may ask : What is church birth? Church birth is a practice where pregnant women go to  churches or faith clinics, instead of hospitals, to deliver their babies. A BBC report on one such church, The Land Read the rest


You can hear people screaming

Apr 3rd, 2016 4:08 pm | By

A horror in Molenbeek yesterday:

Shocking footage has emerged of a woman being mown down by a car in the Brussels district of Molenbeek during a far-right rally. Police later arrested the driver, who is said to be a local man.

In the footage, a white Audi A1 that had broken through a police roadblock hits the woman, who appears to be wearing a black Muslim headscarf, while she is crossing the road. She rolls across the bonnet of the vehicle and falls onto the floor, while the vehicle speeds down the street.

The woman suffered multiple fractures and head injuries.

Police arrested two suspected far-right activists carrying Molotov cocktails and weapons in the district of Saturday, as they

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Threats from fanatics

Apr 3rd, 2016 3:34 pm | By

In the no good deed goes unpunished department

A prominent human rights lawyer has said he received death threats after calling for unity within Scotland’s Muslim community. Aamer Anwar said he was taking the threats from “fanatics” extremely seriously and that police were investigating.

Anwar chaired an event at Glasgow central mosque last week calling for unity and condemning violence and extremism after the killing of the shopkeeper Asad Shah and the terrorist attacks in Brussels and Lahore.

So naturally he got death threats, because what could be more horrifying and terrible than condemning violence and saying let’s not kill each other?

Anwar said: “Having been a campaigner for human rights for over 25 years, I have grown used

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They are not about female inclusion. They are about female exclusion.

Apr 3rd, 2016 12:15 pm | By

A friend brought my attention to an article at Mamamia about Kim Kardashian and “empowerment.”

Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski posted a joint topless nude selfie on Instagram this morning and we’re all meant to sit back, have a look at the black stripe over their boobs, their middle fingers in the air and that omnipresent bathroom mirror and say, “Oh, Thank God for female empowerment. How empowering. Just look at those two women empower. I need to get me some of these empowerment black strip things. Thank you Kimmy, you have made me see the empowerment light.”

Last time Kim K did this she tweeted that, “It’s so important that we let women express their sexuality and share their

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