All entries by this author

The smugglers are capitalizing on the migrants’ desperation

Apr 19th, 2015 3:53 pm | By

More on that mass drowning in the Mediterranean last night, from the CBC.

Italian prosecutors said a Bangladeshi survivor flown to Sicily for treatment told them 950 people were aboard, including hundreds who had been locked in the hold by smugglers. Earlier, authorities said a survivor told them 700 migrants were on board.

It wasn’t immediately clear if they were referring to the same survivor, and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi said authorities were “not in a position to confirm or verify” the death toll.

Locked in the hold. [shudder]

By nightfall Sunday, rescuers on 18 ships had found 28 survivors and “alas, 24 dead,” he said.

The premier of Malta, whose island nation participated in the search and rescue

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A battle between faith and blasphemy, between truth and falsehood

Apr 19th, 2015 3:35 pm | By

Daesh is at it again, apparently. (I wouldn’t want Daesh suing me for defamation, now would I.) The Washington Post reports that they claim to have killed two groups of Christians.

Islamic State militants in Libya shot and beheaded two groups of Ethiopian Christians, a video purportedly from the extremists showed Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

The new 29-minute video showing captured Ethiopian Christians starts with what it called a history of Christian-Muslim relations and includes scenes of militants destroying churches, graves and icons.

“Despite the cross, we have returned,” the narrator says.

The video shows Islamic State militants marching their victims, in orange jumpsuits, along a coastline. The second group, dressed in black jumpsuits, is executed in

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At sea

Apr 19th, 2015 12:07 pm | By

One of those pictures that says more than a lot of words.

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As a cultural awareness activity

Apr 19th, 2015 12:00 pm | By

Maajid Nawaz pointed to an article about

Ohio school students asked to “cover” for a day in “solidarity” with “Muslims”. Thankfully cancelled. Where do I even begin?

The article, in the Washington Post, explains the idea:

A public high school in Mason, Ohio, has apologized for an event called the “Covered For a Day” that encouraged all girls to wear a hijab — a head scarf worn by Islamic women — as a cultural awareness activity.

The event was supposed to take place at the 830-student, high-performing school on Thursday, but has been canceled. It was sponsored by the Mason High School Muslim Student Association…

I have an idea. How about the Mason High School Haredi Student Association encourages … Read the rest

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Though not proven

Apr 19th, 2015 11:30 am | By

In one Irish diocese there were more than 100 accusations that priests had sexually abused children over a 40 year period, the Irish Examiner reported last year.

The review of the Dublin Archdiocese by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church found that allegations were made against three more priests in the last year, bringing to 101 the total of diocesan priests accused of abuse since 1975.

Concerns about 40 of them arose in the past 10 years. Of those, four were convicted in the criminal courts and 23 were found to involve concerns that were credible, although not proven. In those 27 cases, the diocese substantially restricted or terminated their ministries.

The diocese acted on … Read the rest

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Nobody should be allowed to die this way

Apr 19th, 2015 9:38 am | By

A fishing boat packed with an estimated 700 people capsized in the Mediterranean last night.

Bloomberg reports:

Italy and Malta immediately deployed navy and coast guard ships in an effort to rescue survivors. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Sunday that 28 bodies had been recovered and that the number is “bound to increase.” Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said 49 people had been rescued.

“If confirmed, this would be the largest tragedy ever in the Mediterranean involving migrants,” Muscat said in a telephone interview. “Nobody should be allowed to die this way.”

A Maltese military official, who asked not be identified, confirmed Italian news reports that about 700 migrants were on board when the boat left the

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Are we the baddies?

Apr 19th, 2015 9:21 am | By

Just saw this, which I hadn’t seen before. I’m glad to have seen it.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToKcmnrE5oYRead the rest

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That was 1987

Apr 18th, 2015 4:16 pm | By

Capitalism at its finest. Ian James of the Desert Sun did an investigative report in March:

In a rocky canyon in the San Bernardino National Forest, pipes carry water from springs high on the mountainside down to a roadside tank and from there to tanker trucks which haul it to a bottling plant to be sold as Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water to the profit of Nestle. How sweet and bucolic, except for a few tiny things – there’s a drought; the Forest Service hasn’t been monitoring the environmental impacts, and oh yes Nestle’s permit expired 28 years ago.

Nestle Waters North America holds a longstanding right to use this water from the national forest near San Bernardino. But

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He was restrained by a coach

Apr 18th, 2015 12:47 pm | By

Gee, it’s all rape and harassment and more harassment day. Here’s a shocker:

Jeremiah True, the Reed College student who made headlines in March for protesting his professor’s decision to remove him from class, was arrested on Thursday by the Portland, Oregon police for alleged sex abuse, harassment, and disorderly conduct.

According to an employee at Rugby Oregon, a youth rugby organization based in Portland, True was arrested for disrupting a high school girls’ rugby practice. He was restrained by a coach who called the police, the employee said.

In March, True drew national attention after he started an online petition claiming he was unfairly removed from the seminar portion of his humanities class for questioning statistics on

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Guest post: Except that’s not their message

Apr 18th, 2015 12:40 pm | By

Originally a comment by M can help you with that on Cunningly disguised as their own.

Once there we will start distributing the totalitarian message that nerd and gamer culture is… perfectly wonderful just as it is and should be left alone to go it’s [sic] own way.

…except that’s not their message. Their message is that only the reactionary parts of nerd and gamer culture are “perfectly wonderful.” We know this from their positions: when one part of nerd or gamer culture (a more feminist, less racist, less cis-centric and/or heterocentric part) tries to influence what it means for the culture of which they are a part to “go its own way”…then that part, the honey … Read the rest

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Cunningly disguised as their own

Apr 18th, 2015 11:59 am | By

The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo is happening this weekend. Jill Pantozzi at the MarySue fills us in on some doings there.

First, she tells us they have an excellent anti-harassment policy.

They also have a campaign going called #ExpoEquality, in cooperation with Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse.

Yay. For equality, against harassment and abuse.

So, naturally, we can’t have that.

A Gamergate affiliated group known as Honey Badger Radio procured a booth for Calgary Expo through a crowdfundng campaign specifically geared toward gaining attendance under false pretenses. The people representing them are Karen Straughan, Mike Stephenson, Alison Tieman, and Sage Gerard, and of their campaign they wrote:

In April of this year, the Honey Badgers plan to

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“It is our conclusion that CBC management condoned this behaviour”​​

Apr 18th, 2015 11:14 am | By

The CBC tells us there’s a report saying the CBC did a bad job of dealing with Jian Ghomeshi.

CBC failed to provide its staff a workplace “free from disrespectful and abusive behaviour,” says the report of an independent investigator hired to examine the corporation’s handling of the behaviour of former radio and television host Jian Ghomeshi.

Janice Rubin, a Toronto employment lawyer with expertise in the field of workplace harassment, says in the report that Ghomeshi’s behaviour violated CBC standards, and that his behaviour was “considered to create an intimidating, humiliating, hostile or offensive work environment.”

The report says that as information was shared “upwards,” it had a tendency to become “diluted.”

“Less prevalent, but also present in a

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The Don’t Vote campaign

Apr 18th, 2015 10:21 am | By

WalesOnline reports on theocratic efforts to discourage people from voting:

Stickers encouraging people not to vote because “none have the right to vote but Allah” have appeared in Cardiff.

The stickers have been put up on lampposts around the Corporation Road area of Grangetown.

 

Via Twitter

The yellow warning sticker reads: “Democracy is a system whereby man violates the right of Allah.

“Islam is the only real workable solution for the UK”.

They carry the hashtag #Dontvoteformanmadelaw.

It also says “None have the right to legislate except Allah.”

Oh really. How does that work then? What’s the line of transmission? How does Allah tell us what legislation Allah has passed?

If the answer is the Koran, that won’t do, … Read the rest

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Insufficient for joy

Apr 17th, 2015 4:27 pm | By

I spent too many minutes today arguing with a very “spiritual” person who is a vocal supporter of Raif Badawi on Facebook but who keeps putting her support in inappropriately “spiritual” terms. Since it’s one version of “spirituality” that is so determined to keep torturing him, I think that’s inappropriate at best.

I especially think it’s inappropriate to talk about “joy” in response to another Friday with no flogging, as she does every week. That’s not joyful. It’s a brief partial respite for Ensaf and their children, I hope, but it can’t very well be joyful when he could still be flogged next Friday and every Friday after that until all the remaining 950 lashes have been dealt out. It’s … Read the rest

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If they can, why can’t we??!

Apr 17th, 2015 3:54 pm | By

Get special rules, that is.

In Tennessee:

In an effort to get around recently passed zoning laws the owners of [a] Tennessee swingers club are rebranding their proposed establishment as a church, according to WSMV.

Previously the owners of the proposed club in Madison had submitted plans to convert a former medical building, situated next to a Christian school, into a sex club only to meet with stiff public resistance.

Following a packed and contentious meeting last month — with one audience member shouting “we don’t want this darkness to extinguish this beacon of light that has been here for years and years” –  the Metro Council amended the zoning laws to prevent the club from being developed.

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Climate Change, Migration, and Conflict

Apr 17th, 2015 12:57 pm | By

We’ve been talking about this idea that climate change is going to cause a lot of mass migration, and the claim that it won’t be a problem if we just have open borders everywhere. I find that claim not at all credible, so I thought I would gesture toward a source or two.

The Center for American Progress has a report.

From the summary:

Recent intelligence reports and war games, including some conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense, conclude that over the next two or three decades, vulnerable regions (particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia) will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises, and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change. These developments could

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On the Town Hall to Sydney Airport service

Apr 17th, 2015 12:25 pm | By

The SMH tells us what Hafeez Ahmed Bhatti says about how Stacey Eden acted on that train. Spoiler: he doesn’t call her a white savior.

A man at the receiving end of an anti-Islamic tirade on a Sydney train has thanked the woman who stood up for his family and is meeting police on Friday to report the incident.

Hafeez Ahmed Bhatti, his wife and their four-month-old son were catching the train to Sydney Airport on Wednesday afternoon, after a one-day visit from Brisbane, when they were subjected to a torrent of abuse from a woman sitting opposite them.

Fellow passenger Stacey Eden was hailed a ‘legend’ for pulling out her camera phone and standing up to the woman

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Slavery has no place full stop

Apr 17th, 2015 11:28 am | By

Amnesty International shares a letter from Samar Badawi to her husband Waleed Abu al-Khair. Samar Badawi is Raif Badawi’s sister.

He taught me that a person is born free and that it is up to him or her to live in freedom or die trying to achieve it. Slavery has no place in his life except when it comes to serving God, the one and only. Now, he lives in freedom even though he is behind bars with his colleagues Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammad al-Qahtani and many other activists imprisoned purely for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

That’s a very odd exception, I have to say. Slavery is bad except when it’s slavery to god? I couldn’t disagree … Read the rest

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Omøgade 8, Østerbro i København

Apr 17th, 2015 10:26 am | By

It’s Friday, so.

Raif was not flogged today.

Via Ensaf Haidar via Dansk PEN – protests in Copenhagen over the past many weeks:

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An own goal

Apr 16th, 2015 6:28 pm | By

I’m late catching up with the Hugo awards – Vox Day – Sad Puppies – Rabid Puppies – Connie Willis stories. It’s pretty pathetic, and sad.

One recent summary:

The Hugo Awards have long honored authors, illustrators, and even fans, for their contributions to the field of sci-fi and fantasy. Past recipients have included Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson, and J.K. Rowling, to name just a few. Like any prestigious award in a highly competitive industry, the Hugos are no stranger to controversy. This year, however, the Hugo nomination process was marred when a small cadre of science fiction writers and their fans systematically set out to manipulate the entire awards roster away from a diverse

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