Notes and Comment Blog

Our short and pithy observations on the passing scene as it relates to the mission of Butterflies and Wheels. Woolly-headed or razor-sharp comments in the media, anti-rationalist rhetoric in books or magazines or overheard on the bus, it’s all grist to our mill. And sometimes we will hold forth on the basis of no inspiration at all beyond what happens to occur to us.


Clever corvidae

Apr 23rd, 2014 10:35 am | By

A very cool Nova episode about animal minds.

If you want a particular highlight start at 8:50 to watch the New Caledonia crow faced with a novel problem it takes 8 steps to solve. The crow has done each step separately before, but never seen them combined. It’s pretty damn fascinating.

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



Hoping and bobing and singing this sawng

Apr 23rd, 2014 10:00 am | By

The Donald does Twitter.

What does he do when he does Twitter? He says Obama goes down the stairs of the plane wrong. He should be doing it slowly and ponderously so that we will all be overawed and a little abject, instead of running down them because dude they’re stairs, you go down them, you don’t savor them and luxuriate in them.

The Donald is kind of a troll.

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



Feminist art

Apr 23rd, 2014 9:39 am | By

Rebecca does rewards for her Patreon thingy, where people can request items they want. Secular Woman requested a drawing about the current state of the secular movement, so she obliged.

I’ve never done a political cartoon before so this was very exciting. I decided to draw a picture of something that from what I understand actually happened at the recent American Atheist Conference Art Show:http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2014/04/its-more-of-a-guy-thing-in-paintings/

She deserves a reciprocal reward for that!

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



Built on Christian values

Apr 23rd, 2014 9:28 am | By

I guess Labour people are panicking about the Forcible Christianity Gap, and rushing to catch up with David “we are a Christian country” Cameron.

Jack Straw says that the way to deal with Islamist takeovers of state schools is to do a Christianist takeover instead. I take it he’s never heard of secularism?

Muslims must accept that Britain is built on Christian values, a former Home Secretary has said, in the wake of mounting evidence that a group of schools have been taken over in a ‘Trojan Horse’ plot by radical Islamists.

It is “inevitable” that many Muslim communities will not integrate with the rest of British society but it must be made clear that attempts to isolate Muslim pupils from the rest of society are unacceptable, Jack Straw said.

And the obvious way to do that is to shove a rival religion at them. Naturally. Not to tell them that school is neutral ground where children from all religions and none can mix, but to tell them that Our Religion is better than Their Religion. I think I spy a difficulty.

Mr Straw said Muslim parents must accept that their own beliefs cannot supplant the Christian values that underpin British society.

“The parents have to accept… that we also live in the United Kingdom and that alongside values that are religiously based, there has to be a clear understanding that this is the UK, and there are a set of values, that are indeed Christian based, which permeate our sense of citizenship,” Mr Straw told the BBC.

No they’re not. They’re not Christian based. That’s wrong.

Society must “spell it out to them” that it is not acceptable to teach that non-Muslims and women are inferior.

Yes, but not with Christianity. Read any Paul lately?

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



If you close your eyes, you will disappear

Apr 23rd, 2014 8:00 am | By

One quick bit of stupid to smack because I just saw it so it’s fresh in my mind – Dan Fincke has a (public) mini-essay on Facebook making the point that it’s not very humanist or reasonable or compassionate to respond to a woman who says she has PTSD from verbal abuse by assailing her with more verbal abuse. Predictably but annoyingly there’s a guy who keeps saying all she has to do is stay off social media, and problem solved.

It’s not victim blaming if there is a 100% effective way to avoid being a victim. Even doing nothing would prevent becoming a victim in this context. A victim in this instance would have to willfully participate in their victimhood.

Someone responded with “like going to parties or bars.”

No, like not reading what people are saying to you on social media.

Ok stop right there. 100% effective way to avoid being a victim? Just not reading what people are saying to you on social media?

You have got to be kidding.

It’s on social media. What does that mean? That it’s public. Other people can see it. What does that mean? It’s trashing your reputation. Can you 100% solve that problem by not reading it?

No.

Of course not.

Jeezis. How obvious does it have to be before people will see it?

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



“Get the hell out of my race”

Apr 22nd, 2014 4:23 pm | By

A story told by “A Mighty Girl” (which is a group) on the eponymous Facebook page.

In celebration of today’s Boston Marathon, we’re sharing the dramatic story of the first woman to officially run the historic race. Kathrine Switzer’s experience is a revealing illustration of the barriers that trailblazing women athletes had to overcome and of how far girls and women in sports have come in only a few decades.

In 1967, Switzer was a 20-year-old college student at Syracuse University when she registered for the race using her initials, K.V. Switzer. Not realizing that she was a woman, who were barred from participating in the Boston Marathon for over 70 years, race officials issued her an entry number.

During the race, marathon official Jock Semple attempted to physically remove Switzer from the marathon after discovering she was female. Other runners, including Switzer’s boyfriend Tom Miller, blocked Semple and she was able to complete the marathon. Pictures of the incident and the story of Switzer’s participation in the marathon made global headlines.

Photo: In celebration of today's Boston Marathon, we're sharing the dramatic story of the first woman to officially run the historic race. Kathrine Switzer's experience is a revealing illustration of the barriers that trailblazing women athletes had to overcome and of how far girls and women in sports have come in only a few decades. </p>
<p>In 1967, Switzer was a 20-year-old college student at Syracuse University when she registered for the race using her initials, K.V. Switzer. Not realizing that she was a woman, who were barred from participating in the Boston Marathon for over 70 years, race officials issued her an entry number.</p>
<p>During the race, marathon official Jock Semple attempted to physically remove Switzer from the marathon after discovering she was female. Other runners, including Switzer’s boyfriend Tom Miller, blocked Semple and she was able to complete the marathon. Pictures of the incident and the story of Switzer’s participation in the marathon made global headlines.</p>
<p>After the marathon, Switzer became deeply engaged in efforts to increase girls’ and women’s access to sports and she and other women runners finally convinced the Boston Athletic Association to drop their discriminatory policies and allow women to participate in 1972. By 2011, nearly 43 percent of Boston Marathon entrants were female. Switzer also helped lead the drive for the inclusion of a women’s marathon in the Olympic Games -- a victory which was achieved at long last with the first women's marathon at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.</p>
<p>To read more about Kathrine Switzer's inspirational story, we recommend her autobiography, "Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports," which you can find at http://amzn.to/1o1607x</p>
<p>To watch a wonderful short Makers interview with Switzer about her experiences breaking barriers in women’s sports, visit http://bit.ly/1jj4pJX</p>
<p>For an excellent resource for teaching tweens and teens about the history of Title IX -- the landmark 1972 U.S. civil rights legislation which opened up many athletic opportunities for girls by prohibiting gender discrimination in educational activities --we highly recommend "Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law That Changed the Future of Girls in America" for ages 11 and up at http://www.amightygirl.com/let-me-play</p>
<p>To inspire your children with the stories of more female sports trailblazers, visit our “Sports / Games” section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/general-interest/sports-games</p>
<p>For more stories of both real-life and fictional girls and women confronting sexism and prejudice in a multitude of forms, visit our "Gender Discrimination" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/social-issues/prejudice-discrimination?cat=69</p>
<p>And, if your Mighty Girl loves sports, check out our collection of girl-empowering t-shirts and select 'sports' from the left menu at http://www.amightygirl.com/clothing

After the marathon, Switzer became deeply engaged in efforts to increase girls’ and women’s access to sports and she and other women runners finally convinced the Boston Athletic Association to drop their discriminatory policies and allow women to participate in 1972. By 2011, nearly 43 percent of Boston Marathon entrants were female. Switzer also helped lead the drive for the inclusion of a women’s marathon in the Olympic Games — a victory which was achieved at long last with the first women’s marathon at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

It seems so outlandish now. It’s not a contact sport, there’s plenty of oxygen for all; why on earth were women kept out?

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



More than any other means

Apr 22nd, 2014 3:40 pm | By

Governor Chafee’s declaration of May 1 as Reason Day is really very cool.

Governor Chafee has proclaimed May 1 as “A Day of Reason’’ in Rhode Island.

His proclamation begins: “Whereas, the application of reason, more than any other means, has proven to offer hope for human survival upon Earth by cultivating intelligent, moral and ethical interactions among people and their among people and their environments….’’

“I, Lincoln D. Chafee, governor of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2014 as Day of Reason in Rhode Island and encourage all state residents to join me [in] recognizing the importance of this day.’’

Well yay. How nice to hear that.

The Humanists of RI and The Secular Coalition for RI say Chafee signed the proclamation at their request to help “raise awareness throughout the State of Rhode Island of the importance of Reason as a guiding principle of our secular democracy.’’  Chafee spokeswoman Faye Zuckerman did not dispute this characterization on Monday.

Timed to coincide with the “National Day of Prayer” on the first Thursday in May each year, the two groups say the goal of their own effort “is to celebrate reason—a concept all citizens can support—and to raise public awareness about the persistent threat to religious liberty posed by government intrusion into the private sphere of worship.’’

All right. I’m impressed.

For the record:  Chafee also signed a proclamation declaring May 1 as a “Day of Prayer.”

Baby steps.

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



My favorite cat

Apr 22nd, 2014 3:26 pm | By

black_boy2_profile

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



Pleasantries

Apr 22nd, 2014 3:11 pm | By

God’s fans are up in arms, of course.

godfans

Kenniston Vogel
If you don’t believe in god, that’s fine…burn in hell….but when you start missing with my country and falsifying facts. That’s where I have a problem. You need to get your few thousand followers and get the hell out of my country. I have a few friends that would be more than happy to help you..here let me name a few. The Lacs, Moccasin Creek, the US U.S. Army, The U.S. Marines, NRA. The Jawga Boyz. This is just to name a few fokes that I know would love to help you GET THE HELL OUT OF MY UNITED STATES. Amen

God loves a hater, I guess.

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



Under god

Apr 22nd, 2014 2:58 pm | By

The AHA press release:

Contact:

Merrill Miller, merrillmiller@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 ext. 105
David Niose, dniose@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 ext.119

 

(Washington, DC—April 21, 2014)—A lawsuit was filed against a school district in New Jersey on behalf of a local family that objects to their child’s school conducting regular Pledge of Allegiance recitation with the words “under God.”

The case was filed by the American Humanist Association (AHA) on behalf of a Monmouth County family who wish to remain anonymous. It claims that daily school-sponsored recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance—declaring to students that the nation is “under God”—is discriminatory toward atheist children and their families. The American Humanist Association originally sent a letter of complaint to the superintendent of schools for the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District in Monmouth County on February 19, but the school system responded by saying it would not change the practice.

“Public schools should not engage in an exercise that tells students that patriotism is tied to a belief in God,” said David Niose, attorney for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “Such a daily exercise portrays atheist and humanist children as second-class citizens, and certainly contributes to anti-atheist prejudices.”

The American Humanist Association claims that the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance violates Article 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, which states, “No person shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil or military right, nor be discriminated against in the exercise of any civil or military right, nor be segregated in the militia or in the public schools, because of religious principles, race, color, ancestry or national origin.”  The American Humanist Association points out that the original version of the Pledge did not include “under God” wording. That wording was added in 1954, during the McCarthy era.

“It’s not the place of state governments to take a position on god-belief,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “The current pledge practice marginalizes atheist and humanist kids as something less than ideal patriots, merely because they don’t believe the nation is under God.”

This case is similar to one awaiting a decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Doe v. Acton-Boxborough Regional School District, based on that state’s constitutional equal rights protections. The Massachusetts case is also being handled by the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

Details of the lawsuit can be viewed here.

# # #

Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, DC, the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other non-religious Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

 

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



For ALL

Apr 22nd, 2014 2:56 pm | By

Hey look at that – via the American Humanist Association -

Photo: Taken from a 1940's Justice Society Of America comic before "Under God" was added to the pledge. </p>
<p>http://hmn.st/1iDx1ft

Notice the huge emphasis on “ALL” – in the 1940s, when racism and sexism and homophobia were barely on anyone’s radar, even the people oppressed by one or all of them.

But also notice the pre-McCarthy absence of that deity guy.

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



Meow mix

Apr 22nd, 2014 12:41 pm | By

Did you notice the shout-out to cat lovers in the ManBoobz post? I’ll replay it for you in case you didn’t.

Men’s Rights blogger The Native Canadian put it this way:

PTSD from being a feminist on the internet? Yeah I bet she wakes up screaming at night because of all the mean words! Must be hard going day to day with flash backs of your friends being called “femnazi’s” right in front of you! How ever do you handle life? Fucking disgraceful b****. Let’s see her tell that to someone who really knows what living with PTSD is like. …

I’m sorry but I am totally shocked, I don’t know what else to say, other than, is there nothing sacred to these cat lovers?

Commenters were surprised by that, but I wasn’t. We’ve seen the “women / feminists = cat people” trope before. Remember? I went back into the archive to refresh my memory. Remember? October 2012? (Gee this has been going on for a long time, hasn’t it?)

Reap Paden is another Mencken, or even Hitchens

I kid, I kid.

But he tries!

He drops in here with his totally cool angry atheist avatar and his rapier wit, and he puts me in my place.

I apologize if someone has already made this point–

Ophelia I think I can speak on behalf of at least a whole hell of a lot of people when I ask “When are you going to deflate your head and come down for a landing?” Some of the incredible things I have seen you post lately make me wonder if you have been eating too much cat food or something.

Feminist cat food.

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



Ours is real, theirs is fake, amen

Apr 22nd, 2014 12:22 pm | By

And speaking of calling women every shitty name you can think of…ManBoobz looks at how Melody puts the bullies to shame.

Futrelle got a piece of hate mail which came from the admin account at mensrightsmelbourne.com, an Australian Men’s Rights site. There he saw yet another stupid hit-piece on Melody.

The post – most of which is plagiarised directly from The Daily Mail, including the title itself – is an attack on Melody Hensley, a feminist and skeptic who is the Executive Director of Center for Inquiry in Washington DC. Hensley, who in the past suffered intense harassment from misogynists in the skeptic movement and other assorted assholes, is now facing a second wave of harassment as a result of saying publicly that the earlier harassment had given her Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

That’s right: she’s being harassed for saying that harassment so fucked up her life that it gave her PTSD.

She’s being harassed for being harassed. It’s strange how that works, isn’t it.

The “argument” of Hensley’s enemies? That she couldn’t possibly have gotten PTSD from “mean words” online. Men’s Rights blogger The Native Canadian put it this way:

PTSD from being a feminist on the internet? Yeah I bet she wakes up screaming at night because of all the mean words! Must be hard going day to day with flash backs of your friends being called “femnazi’s” right in front of you! How ever do you handle life? Fucking disgraceful b****. Let’s see her tell that to someone who really knows what living with PTSD is like. …

I’m sorry but I am totally shocked, I don’t know what else to say, other than, is there nothing sacred to these cat lovers?

And that’s pretty much the argument all of them make: based on nothing but their own vague notion that PTSD is a serious thing that only happens to soldiers, they’ve decided she’s a lying “b****” who is trying to steal the sympathy that rightly belongs to men.

The meta-argument here seems to be that only violent physical harm counts as harm, therefore bullying that stops short of slamming people in the face with slabs of concrete is mere jolly social interaction.

That meta-argument is wrong. Physical harm is not the only harm.

 

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



John DePetro is still on the air

Apr 22nd, 2014 12:04 pm | By

The Providence Journal on “unapologetic” John DePetro:

The WPRO personality returned to the air Monday morning, sounding unapologetic and characterizing the criticism against him as an attempt by politicians and unions to stifle free speech.

“It’s very simple,” DePetro said. “Politicians and unions should not interfere and try to silence public opinion. Period. That’s it. … The last time I checked, this is still America.”

The “opinion” of one cynical talk radio epithet-flinger is not public opinion. Public opinion is the opinion of many; of the public; of everyone; it’s not the opinion of one opportunistic shit.

DePetro came under fire in November for his language in criticizing female protesters outside a fundraiser for General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo. The Providence Democrat and gubernatorial candidate has drawn the ire of organized labor for authoring the 2011 state pension overhaul that unions are challenging in court.

Talking about the protesters on his show, DePetro said: “What a disgrace. You are an embarrassment. …You are parasites. You are cockroaches. You lie. You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use … it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S. See if they can spell that.”

He has a legal right to say that; saying that is not a crime. It does not follow that he has a right to say it on a particular radio station.

Following his comments, a union-backed group called For Our Daughters RI created a petition on Change.org asking that local jewelry maker Alex and Ani pull its advertising from the radio station until DePetro was fired. The company declined, though at last count almost 6,700 people have signed the online petition.

I just signed it. It’s here.

In addition, political leaders from both parties said they would not appear on any WPRO show unless DePetro were removed. Some others, including Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, said they would not appear on DePetro’s show, but would appear on others on the station.

The drive to remove DePetro will continue in earnest, with more advertisers being asked to boycott the station until he is removed, said Maureen Martin, chairwoman of For Our Daughters RI, who is also political activities director of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals.

“We’re rolling it out,” said Martin, “as long as this misogynist is on the air.”

The station “made some sort of business decision, I presume” to keep him, she said, “but I think he’s bad for business, and he’s going to be worse for business.”

Martin said For Our Daughters will also mount a campaign to get political candidates not to advertise on the radio station.

Noting that DePetro’s contract is set to expire in March, “clearly the timing couldn’t be better,” Martin said. “Maybe it gives a time span to work with.”

It’s late April and he’s still there, so that means his contract was renewed. That’s disgusting.

 

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



He called women union protesters “Whores”

Apr 22nd, 2014 11:32 am | By

Steve Ahlquist has a great post about being invited to be on a right-wing talk radio show and why he said no and why it’s not true that all publicity is good publicity because it’s publicity.

WPRO’s Tara Granahan called me at 5:45pm Monday night to ask me if I would come on and do an interview with her about the May 1st Day of Reason proclamation Governor Chafee was kind enough to sign on behalf of the Humanists of Rhode Island and the Secular Coalition of Rhode Island. I asked her if this was for the “talk side” of WPRO or for the “news side.” Granahan told me that she was covering for Matt Allen’s talk show and that she would like to have me on to discuss the proclamation, but she also knew where I was going with my question. She knows that as long as John DePetro is employed at WPRO, I will be honoring the “For Our Daughters” campaign and not appearing on any WPRO talk radio programs.

For those of you who don’t know, For Our Daughters was formed in the wake of comments made by John DePetro last year in which he called women union protesters “Whores.” DePetro was suspended for a while, but the station ultimately brought him back on the air, where he remains to this day. For Our Daughters has asked people who support women to avoid going on any WPRO Talk shows until DePetro is removed from the station.

Pause to let that sink in.

He WHAT? They WHAT?

He called women union protesters “Whores.”

The station suspended him for awhile but ultimately brought him back on the air.

Unfuckingbelievable.

Read Steve’s post; he intersperses rude tweets from DePetro – tweets dated yesterday – throughout. DePetro is a classic Twitter bully.

In person, radio show shock jocks like DePetro want to give the impression that they are better than the audience they are catering to. The big secret is that it’s all a big game, a way to make money and news radio hosts don’t really believe that what they are doing is worth anything, or that any of the issues they drone on about are truly important. It’s all about raising the emotional blood pressure of the audience, and selling commercials.

That makes it even more disgusting.

I first met Tara Granahan during the Cranston prayer banner kerfuffle my niece, Jessica Ahlquist, was involved in. Granahan asked me if I would do a quick interview. I told her that I didn’t like the way her station treated my family, and she quickly went into her standard line about how the news side and the talk side of WPRO were separate, and that she would treat me fairly. As it turns out, she didn’t treat me fairly, in my opinion. Going on her morning news program once or twice on different issues over the following years didn’t endear her to me either. She asked leading questions, and she seemed more interested in getting me flustered so that I would say something stupid than really asking for my views.

So he’s not doing the show.

The idea that one should go on any show and access any media that will have you is flawed. We can pick and choose who we deal with, and it does not hurt our causes to avoid appearing on a station that supports misogynist bigots.

Indeed it does not. It’s the other way around. It hurts our causes to link them to misogynist bigots. You can’t have everything. You can’t have the highest possible numbers and decent colleagues. Pure numbers are necessary for some things, but for an effective and durable movement, you need people who aren’t malevolent shits.

 

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



Neither the expertise nor the legitimacy

Apr 21st, 2014 4:56 pm | By

Chris Moos looks at the sources the Law Society cited for its guidance on sharia.

…the Law Society has readily admitted that it does neither have the expertise, nor the legitimacy to make verdicts on sharia law. On what expertise is the Law Society then drawing for its practice note?

The answer to this can be found at the very end of the practice note in the ‘further information‘ section, where the Law Society references its sources. There, you will find links to such website as the Islam Channel, which has been fined repeatedly by Ofcom forbreaking the broadcasting code for airing programmes that advocate marital rape and call for the killing of those who ‘insult the prophet’. Ofcom specifically stated the Islam Channel’s programme “was likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime“.

Wow…really? For their expert “guidance” they turned to the Islam Channel? Surely their clients can use Google as well as they can; I don’t see why professional “guidance” is needed for that.

Of course, the matter of Islamic inheritance is complex, and it would not be fair to suggest that practice note is solely based on one website. Yet, the Law Society is clear about the intellectual basis of its guidance. One of its main references is a book on Islamic inheritance rules by Dr. Muhammad al-Jibaly, a hardline salafi and former President of the notorious Qur’an and Sunnah Society of North America. If you are in any doubt where the pathological hatred of women that is so central to the Law Society’s practice note stems from, you should read Dr. Al-Jibaly, whose views are as clear as they are extreme: “A willful fornicator deserves to be whipped one hundred lashes, and a willful adulterer deserves stoning to death.”

Unsurprisingly, his views are not limited to the crime of ‘fornication’, but finds reflection in his work on inheritance, where he specifies his stance not only on non-Muslims and ‘illegitimate children’ (“children of zina”), but also – incredibly – “slave women“. Now, if you think that Al-Jibaly restricts his expertise to the interpretation of Islamic law, you should listen to his advice on children and non-Muslims, the latter of which he simply refers to derogatorily as kuffar:

“What is sad to see, for many parents they send their children to the kuffar school, they allow them to mix with the kuffar, play with them [...] so that the lifestyle and the beliefs of the kuffar become deep-rooted in the hearts of the kids. [...] Command your children to pray when they are seven years old and hit them if they do not pray, or they don’t pray right. [...] A girl she should start hijab from the age of seven. By the age of ten it becomes an obligation on us to force her to wear hijab. And if she doesn’t wear hijab we hit her.” [Parents should encourage] their children from mixing with the Muslims, staying away from the kuffar, having only Muslims as his friends, feeling the uniqueness and the pride of being Muslim [...]“.

Why would the Law Society take a book by that guy as a source?

Despite being a representative body bound by its own Equality Policy, the Law Society has chosen not to base its practice note on the work of those many British Muslims who are managing to reconcile their faith with considerations of equality and human rights. Instead, the Law Society has elected to ignore the existing progressive voices within British Islam, and enshrined the ideology of a man who so clearly loathes women, non-Muslims and children as a model to emulate.

And this is merely the beginning. The Law Society has already announced a “planned future seminar series on Islamic law [with] expert and authoritative speakers highlighting some basic concepts and requirements of the Islamic Shari’a”. It remains to be seen whether it will be left to men of the ilk of al-Jibaly to run these sessions.

What the hell? Why would the Law Society do that? Why on earth? Islamic “law” is not a real thing in their terms; it’s not about “law” in UK terms; it’s a branch of a religion. It really has nothing to do with the actual law. They don’t have to give seminars in it just because it borrows the word “law” to make itself seem important and mandatory.

It’s just getting more ridiculous.

 

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



What doesn’t kill us can still break our bones

Apr 21st, 2014 3:50 pm | By

NPR had a piece on bullying a couple of days ago, starting from a British study published this week in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The unsurprising finding? Bullying is not beneficial.

What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger, right? Well, not when it comes to bullying.

Some may still consider bullying a harmless part of growing up, but mounting evidence suggests that the adverse effects of being bullied aren’t something kids can just shake off.

I can’t say I’ve ever considered bullying a harmless part of growing up. I didn’t have to think about it very hard when I was growing up, because there wasn’t any to speak of in my school. It was a tiny school, so it just wasn’t the kind of setting where bullying could go unnoticed. But I can’t recall ever thinking of it as some little thing that doesn’t matter, or is even healthy. It’s strange that anyone thinks of it that way. Bad things are bad.

People need to shift their thinking on bullying, Copeland says, from considering it a “harmless rite of passage” to “this kind of critical childhood experience that can really change one’s trajectory for decades and decades.”

Who thinks of it as a harmless rite of passage? What a callous idea.

Bullying is somewhat different today from what it was in the ’60s — cyberbullying on the Internet has extended its reach. Copeland says the concept remains the same: singling out a weaker person as the target for repeated intentional harm. It’s just that the abuse is no longer confined to schools and playgrounds, he says. It can happen in the no-longer-safe haven of a child’s home.

Or an adult’s.

Victims need some place where they can get away from the abuse and feel safe, Copeland tells Shots. “As you lose that, as you’re getting teased constantly, that can lead people to have much worse outcomes, and to feel like there’s really no way they can escape.

“As we see more and more studies like this,” Copeland says, “I think people are going to be more and more comfortable thinking of bullying in the same way we think of [other sorts of] maltreatment in childhood — as something that’s just not tolerated.”

Can we think of it that way for adults too? Starting right now?

 

 

 

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



Billionaire little guys fight back

Apr 21st, 2014 3:10 pm | By

Also, Cliven Bundy? He doesn’t have some kind of ancestral claim to that land.

Bundy, a multi-millionaire farmer who hasn’t paid for grazing rights on public lands for more than 20 years, also stands to garner substantial support from some very wealthy enemies of President Obama. Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch (which spent $122 million trying to defeat Obama and other Democrats in 2012), is already instigating a campaign against the Bureau of Land Management on Bundy’s behalf. It began a social media campaign, using the hashtag #BundyBattle, and is taking to the Internet to mock the time and money the bureau has wasted (some $1 million according to its poster) fighting the “little guy.”

Oh please. Multi-millionaires are not the little guy.

Unlike Bundy, who claims his ancestors were homesteaders on his ranch in 1877 and never ceded it to the federal government, the Danns, two Western Shoshone sisters, were not trampling over land set aside for sensitive plants and animals. Nor were they getting rich off the land while, in essence, robbing the taxpayers of grazing fees.

The Danns have lived without running water or electricity their entire lives. Their tribe, the Western Shoshone, have lived in Nevada and parts west since time immemorial. The land was Shoshone land, and the U.S. formally agreed that was the case when it signed the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley, which explicitly stated that the Shoshone would never have to give up their land. That is, until the U.S. began encroaching on the land, claiming it for its own without the tribe’s consent or knowledge.

The Danns resisted, and got walloped by the feds; the Shoshone resisted, and got walloped by the feds.

A now-defunct U.S. department, the Indian Claims Court, ruled against the Western Shoshone’s claims that the U.S. had stolen their land on the grounds that the U.S. had already encroached on it for decades. In other words, the Western Shoshone couldn’t reclaim the land because the U.S. had already taken it.

The Shoshone still resisted, so the feds gave them some money for the land, which the Shoshone refused – but when the Danns sued, the Supreme Court ruled against them, because hey, the feds had paid for the land.

Desperate for relief, the Danns finally asked the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination for help to recover the millions of acres of land in Nevada and bordering states that belonged to the Western Shoshone. The U.N. ordered the U.S. to stop its actions against the Western Shoshone, and agreed with all the tribe’s grievances. This victory on paper did nothing; the U.S. government ignored it.

Cliven Bundy’s ancestors were interlopers too.

H/t Jadehawk

 

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



A conservative champion

Apr 21st, 2014 2:32 pm | By

What?

Media Matters on Cliven Bundy:

Bundy has been in conflict with the federal government for decades over his refusal to pay grazing fees for his cattle herd’s use of public lands. A recent attempt by the Bureau of Land Management to enforce court orders allowing the confiscation of Bundy’s cattle to settle unpaid fees and fines was suspended due tosafety concerns after armed militias rallied to Bundy’s cause and some militia members pointed guns at BLM law enforcement.

Despite threats of violence from Bundy and his supporters — and the fact his legal claim against paying grazing fees is incredibly weak – right-wing media have praised Bundy as a conservative champion standing against an outsized federal government.

What???

How is that any kind of “conservative” position? Conservatives go ballistic over any kind of waste or misuse of public funds; how is it a “conservative” cause to get behind a guy who helps himself to federal grazing land and refuses to pay for it? Conservatives go ballistic over the possibility that some poor person might be buying ice cream with food stamps; how is it a “conservative” cause to get behind a guy who uses public land without paying for it at all? Conservatives like law and order; a “conservative” cause to get behind a guy who refuses to pay money he owes and then threatens to shoot people who try to enforce his debt?

Why doesn’t the Mail on Sunday or the Daily Mail do an exposé on that?

 

 

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



Horrors, women protesting

Apr 21st, 2014 12:40 pm | By

There was a protest in Kolkata of what appears to be the protest Maryam was recently part of.

Kolkata: Several Muslim groups led a protest in Kolkata angered by photographs published in a Bengali Daily of women protesting in nude, with Arabic texts, including names of Allah and Prophet Muhammad.

The tabloid supplement of the Bengali Daily `Khabor 365 Din’ published photographs of women protesting in nude that irked some Muslims groups calling for a protest on March 11 from morning. Angry protesters set ablaze few copies of the newspaper `Khabor 365 Din’ and blocked the road at the Park Street Junction in Park Circus Area for what they termed as an attempt at “hurting the sentiments” of Muslims.

They termed wrong.

Protesters carried in their hands the copy of the picture printed in that newspaper at Park Street Mallickbazar Junction and surrounding area. Protesters sat on dharna outside the office of the newspaper.

`Khabor 365 Din’ carried their cover page of the tabloid entertainment supplement `Bibi’ with the lead heading `Nari Nirjataner Pratibade’ ( In protest against women torturing) with the sub heading `Bari Dibase Biswa jure Pratibad’ (Protest worldwide) and also published the caption `Pariser Luvor piramider samne femener pratibad’ (In front of Louvre Pyramid).

Maryam’s protest was in Paris, so that’s probably the same one.

Good job, Maryam!

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