All entries by this author


Aug 28th, 2018 8:00 am | By

Trump’s distraction for today:

Uh huh, he’s going to force Google to … Read the rest

Third time lucky?

Aug 27th, 2018 5:42 pm | By

Another gerrymander, another no.

A panel of three federal judges held Monday that North Carolina’s congressional districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to aid Republicans over Democrats and said it may require new districts before the November elections, possibly impacting control of the House.

The judges acknowledged that primary elections have already produced candidates for the 2018 elections but said they were reluctant to let elections take place in congressional districts that courts have twice found violate constitutional standards.

Stubborn in North Carolina, aren’t they.

 … Read the rest

Rise and fall

Aug 27th, 2018 12:46 pm | By

The Guardian ran an excited piece about Aimee Challenor back in early June:

Aimee Challenor has raised her sights since she became a Green party member three years ago. She didn’t think she was suited to politics then. “I’d stopped going out because I was worried about how the world saw me. But politics has been a kind of rehabilitation,” she says. “I was a 17-year-old trans girl in Coventry. I thought I’d deliver leaflets at the general election.”

Far from not suiting politics, she is now standing to be deputy leader of the Green party. Voting takes place in August, when members will also select a new leader, after Caroline Lucas, the party’s first and only MP, announced

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At worst a slur and at best derogatory

Aug 27th, 2018 9:45 am | By
At worst a slur and at best derogatory

A guest post at Daily Nous by Dr. Sophie Allen, Dr. Elizabeth Finneron-Burns, Dr. Jane Clare Jones, Dr. Holly Lawford-Smith, Dr. Mary Leng, Dr. Rebecca Reilly-Cooper, and Dr. Rebecca Simpson:

We write to register in public a complaint with a recent issue of Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (PPR). Two papers in this issue, the first by Rachel McKinnon and the second by Jason Stanley, used the term ‘TERF’, which is at worst a slur and at best derogatory. We are extremely concerned about the normalization of this term in academic philosophy, and its effect in reinforcing a hostile climate for debate on an issue of key importance to women…

“TERF” is widely used across online platforms as a way to

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According to this hierarchy

Aug 27th, 2018 8:40 am | By

Jane Clare Jones on trans activism and intersectional feminism:

As many of you know, there was an act of vandalism by trans activists on an historic building where women were meeting to discuss the GRA proposals.

In Plymouth, on Saturday.

One of the posters the TRAs stuck up was this, which got me thinking (again) about the connection between trans activism and intersectional feminism.

When trans ideology first came on the radar (or my radar) around 2011/12, it came in a kind of trans activism/intersectional feminism pincer movement. This wasn’t an accident. So, my question is: what work is intersectional feminism doing to support trans ideology?

So, first off – CAVEAT. Nothing I’m about to say really has much

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Frank says they’re sorry but…

Aug 27th, 2018 8:15 am | By

I wrote my column for The Freethinker yesterday. I wrote it about the pope’s visit to Ireland. The whole subject makes me rather cross.

The sentimental view of religion is that it makes people good, meaning kind and generous and compassionate. If that were true, surely there wouldn’t have been such an enormous gulf between how the Sisters of Mercy (oh the irony of that name) saw their administration at Goldenbridge and how the survivors saw it. Surely, surely, a religion talented at making ordinary people peculiarly kind and loving would not come up with physical and verbal abuse of captive children seized from impoverished mothers as an example of its holy work.

Also, religion is supposed to be timeless

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Guest post: This issue of Trump vs McCain is a hard one

Aug 27th, 2018 7:34 am | By

Originally a comment by Omar on McCain and Palin.

Despite having intelligence that 80% of the Vietnamese people supported Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh army, US Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy favoured the most unheroic and antidemocratic minority side, leading to a war in which there were about 5 million Vietnamese killed overall, and probably about 15 million injured. So this issue of Trump vs McCain is a hard one.

Does one support Trump, the man McCain calls “Captain Bonespurs” for his Vietnam draft-avoidance on somewhat dubious and debateable medical grounds, or does one support McCain: the man who fought heroically for the totally rotten cause of the murderous neo-colonial puppet regime of the Saigon Mafia? You know, … Read the rest

In his torture den attic

Aug 26th, 2018 5:17 pm | By

In UK news:

A man who held a 10-year-old girl captive in his “torture den” attic where he electrocuted her while playing out his sadomasochistic fantasies has been jailed for 22 years.

David Challenor, from Coventry, subjected the child to a campaign of abuse which included tying her from a beam, whipping her and giving her electric shocks.

A court heard how the 50-year-old would dress up as a small girl in adult-sized baby dresses and nappies before carrying out the attacks at his home.

Police searched his property and found bondage gear including sex aids, gaffer tape, dummies, a stun gun and ropes hanging from the beam in his dungeon-style attic.

The Green Party has issued … Read the rest

McCain and Palin

Aug 26th, 2018 3:08 pm | By

My point exactly.

Much has been said about the contrast between the late John McCain – war veteran, bipartisan statesman, noble truth-teller – and a man who seemed way less likely to become president, Donald Trump.

But as the Arizona senator, like Shakespeare’s John of Gaunt, spent his twilight years raging against the coarsening of civic life, he must have been aware that his legacy would include a decision that helped unleash the very forces he came to despise.

Wednesday marks the 10th anniversary of McCain unveiling Sarah Palin, a say-anything, gun-toting political neophyte, as his running mate in the 2008 presidential election. It was an act of political desperation that left Washington aghast. It delivered a short-term boost

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Frank visits Dublin

Aug 26th, 2018 10:42 am | By

So how is the pope’s visit to Ireland going? Not all that swimmingly.

On the second day of a difficult mission to win back the confidence of Irish Roman Catholics, Pope Francis awoke on Sunday to a bombshell accusation from within his own citadel.

A former top-ranking Vatican official released a 7,000-word letter asserting that the pontiff had known about the abuses of a now-disgraced American prelate, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, years before they became public.

The official, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a conservative critic of Francis and a former apostolic nuncio to the United States, claimed that the pope had failed to punish Cardinal McCarrick, who was suspendedin June after allegations that he had coerced seminarians

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We see what he did there

Aug 26th, 2018 9:29 am | By

Ok I’m not going to join the rush to idolize John McCain, but this is a nice move:

John McCain requested that former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush deliver eulogies at his funeral, CBS News has confirmed. McCain, who had been suffering from an aggressive form of brain cancer, died Saturday at the age of 81 at home in Arizona. Both Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush will deliver their remarks during a service at the National Cathedral.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will speak at a separate service honoring the senator in Arizona.

Zing. Very good.… Read the rest

Fundamental needs

Aug 25th, 2018 5:44 pm | By

I saw this again in a tweet and was reminded of how awful it is.

As noted within Amnesty International’s policy on sex work, the organization is opposed to criminalization of all activities related to the purchase and sale of sex. Sexual desire and activity are a fundamental human need. To criminalize those who are unable or unwilling to fulfill that need through more traditionally recognized means and thus purchase sex, may amount to a violation of the right to privacy and undermine the rights to free expression and health.

I wrote about it back in August 2015 – it must have been just a day or two after I moved back here – but it’s amazing me all over … Read the rest


Aug 25th, 2018 4:23 pm | By

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And what thanks does he get?!

Aug 25th, 2018 3:59 pm | By

People are laughing because Milo Yiannopoulos is complaining about being…neglected.

Let’s see what it’s about.

Oh noes – he’s been deplatformed.

When Politicon announced its 2018 lineup Wednesday, even the most casual observers noted a particularly strange booking: Milo Yiannopoulos.

The alt-right troll, who last year lost his job and his book deal after appearing to defend pedophilia in a YouTube video,

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Summer break in Kasese

Aug 25th, 2018 3:28 pm | By

Something nice for a change. Bwambale Robert reporting from Kwasese Humanist School in Uganda:

Term two officially closes today 24th August 2018 and the school will reopen for term three on 17th September 2018.

Vocational skills training programs will go on at the Bizoha Humanist Center and at the Rukoki campus for tailoring, carpentry and welding classes.

I salute our dear parents, guardians, friends of the school in secular communities worldwide, the school staff and the students for making Kasese Humanist School what it is.

We are steadily moving forward.

Attached is an array of images at the Muhokya school and Rukoki campus.

With Science, we can progress.

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One of the very few philosopher-stars of this world

Aug 25th, 2018 12:52 pm | By

There’s this Avital Ronell thing – literature professor accused of sexually harassing a student. The Times has the newspaper version:

The case seems like a familiar story turned on its head: Avital Ronell, a world-renowned female professor of German and Comparative Literature at New York University, was found responsible for sexually harassing a male former graduate student, Nimrod Reitman.

I’d like to pause for just a second to ask how “world-renowned” a literature professor can actually be. I think the honest answer is “not very,” and I think academics in literature departments have an embarrassing way of thinking otherwise. Very few academics of any kind are world-renowned, and those that are are very unlikely to be in the … Read the rest

A huge victory for South Africa’s far-right

Aug 25th, 2018 11:41 am | By

Steve Russell’s post linked to the SPLC’s The dangerous myth of ‘white genocide’ in South Africa. I’m more wary of the SPLC than I used to be, in the wake of their terrible mistake about Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but this stuff is in their wheelhouse.

On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted that he was instructing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to look into “the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers.”

This is a huge victory for South Africa’s far-right, which has been lobbying foreign governments intensively over the past year. So far, they have managed to find a few sympathetic legislators in Western countries, but Trump is

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The Nazis who fled to South Africa

Aug 25th, 2018 11:19 am | By

Stewart alerted us to this Facebook post by Steve Russell:

Mr. Trump is innocent of history, but I don’t know if he would care. My attention was gotten back when the UT Main Library was closed stack and I requested a very old book titled “The Race Problem in South Africa.” It turned out to be a book about the relations between Brits and Boers. The Boer War did not not settle it. The Brits would go so far as to intermarry with the indigenous Africans and that’s why when the Boers had their day, they had to create a special classification for “coloreds.” The Asian population was mostly Indian with a few Chinese, but for reasons too complicated

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Capone, like Trump, was a victim of the deep state

Aug 25th, 2018 3:58 am | By

Jonathan Chait on Dana Loesch on Trump as The Martyr Al Capone:

NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch informs her audience that the FBI is trying to pull the same tricks on Trump that they used to entrap the beloved Prohibition-era Chicago gang leader:

They’re trying to Al Capone the president. I mean, you remember. Capone didn’t go down for murder. Elliot Ness didn’t put him in for murder. He went in for tax fraud. Prosecutors didn’t care how he went down as long as he went down.

You might wonder why Trump’s supporters believe his legal defense is aided by analogizing him to a murderous criminal. Perhaps the answer is that Capone had several qualities that recommend him to the

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Another resignation

Aug 24th, 2018 5:35 pm | By

This seems unfortunate:

From his statement:

In light of recent events, I have taken the difficult decision to resign from the position of President-Elect of Humanist Students.

These events involved a retweet of mine saying ‘RT if women don’t have penises’, and certain other criticisms of the transgender movement, as well as suggestions to improve the movement’s actions. Sadly, these views were taken to be ‘transphobic’ by individuals who cannot tolerate any criticism, either of their movement or their ideas, and are unable to engage

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