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.


Nothing to do with higher education

Mar 29th, 2015 10:48 am | By

Robert Reich thinks college fraternities should be abolished. I do too.

There are exceptions but for the most part fraternities are elitist, exclusive, and privileged. They have nothing to do with higher education. And they’re periodically mired in scandal involving hazing (such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison frat’s degrading hazing); racism (the video of Sigma Alpha Epsilon members calling for the lynching of African-Americans); sexual assault (the University of Maryland frat brothers’ pro-rape emails, and allegations of drug dealing and sexual assault in a North Carolina State frat); degradation of women (Penn State fraternity’s secret Facebook page for sharing photos of nude passed out women); destructive drunkenness (University of Michigan frat brothers destroying a ski resort in a drunken rage). The list goes on, and this is just in the last few months.

They’re bro-culture systematized and glorified, so naturally they promote brutality and sexism.

Some say “boys will be boys” and if they’re not in a fraternity they’ll do all this somewhere else. Rubbish. A much-cited 2007 study shows fraternity members are 300% more likely to commit rape than non-affiliated students (this was the third study confirming the same data.)

What I’m saying. Boys don’t have to be like that, they’re not inherently like that, but shunt them into an organization built around bro-culture, and you get the expected result.

Some say I’m disregarding freedom of association, and that college students have a right to hang out with whomever they wish. Well, yes, but most fraternities depend on university recognition for direct subsidies such as land or buildings and indirect benefits such as tolerance of underage drinking.

Tssssss. Of course college students have a right to hang out with anyone they want to, but they don’t need designated buildings or screening processes or rituals. Fraternities are way more than a way to hang out with anyone you want to – and also less, since they exclude all but a handful of people.

A pox on them.

 

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



Well he didn’t see that coming

Mar 29th, 2015 10:19 am | By

Indiana is surprised and, frankly, a little hurt by all the hostility that has greeted its friendly new law inviting everyone to treat selected sets of people like pariahs.

Three days after signing legislation widely criticized as a “license to discriminate” against LGBT people, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he didn’t anticipate “the hostility that’s been directed at our state.”

Pence told the Indianapolis Star on Saturday he’s been in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend, and will support legislation to “clarify the intent” of the religious freedom that has created a firestorm of criticism, boycotts and backlash from civic leaders to business leaders, and even the White House.

It’s all a big misunderstanding. Poor Indiana.

The measure, which takes effect in July, prohibits state laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of “person” includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Critics say the catalyst for the measure was to allow businesses, such as florists and bakeries, to refuse services to same-sex couples following the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state.

Pence and other supporters of the law contend discrimination claims are overblown and insist it will keep the government from compelling people to provide services they find objectionable on religious grounds.

That’s a completely different thing. You can see that, right? Keeping the government from compelling people to provide services they find objectionable on religious grounds has nothing to do with allowing businesses, such as florists and bakeries, to refuse services to same-sex couples. Nothing at all. It’s just that, if a florist or a baker wants to refuse services to same sex couples on religious grounds, the government can’t force them to. See? Totally different.

I’m so relieved.

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



From the Tunis march

Mar 29th, 2015 10:02 am | By

Some snaps via Twitter.

And another.

Embedded image permalink

One more.

View this content on BBCWorld's website

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



At the museum

Mar 29th, 2015 9:55 am | By

In Tunis today, thousands of people marched to the Bardo Museum in protest against terrorism and death and culture-murder, and in favor of freedom and art and museums and human flourishing.

Chanting “Tunisia is free! Terrorism out!” they marched to the Bardo Museum, the scene of an attack in which 21 tourists and a Tunisian died.

French President Francois Hollande and other world leaders attended a ceremony at the museum.

Demonstrators waved Tunisian flags and held up slogans of “Not Afraid” and “We Are Bardo” as they marched, surrounded by a heavy security presence.

“We have shown we are a democratic people, Tunisians are moderate, and there is no room for terrorists here,” demonstrator Kamel Saad told Reuters.

It wasn’t all love and roses though. It’s complicated.

Some leftist political groups chose to boycott the rally. They object to the participation of an Islamic party, who they hold accountable for the rise of Islamic extremism in the country.

Well that would trouble me too. An Islamic party is of its nature theocratic, in a way that an Islamic group or a group of Muslims needn’t be.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=01VoMtvIa7Y

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



Sometimes a notpology is a good outcome

Mar 28th, 2015 4:51 pm | By

A friend translated a piece in Svenska Dagbladet for me and gave me permission to share it with y’all. The translation is verbatim rather than idiomatic.

-The emissary has not presented a Swedish apology, but has presented that there was no intention to insult Saudi Arabia or Islam, the source says to (news agency) TT.

-It has been deplored from the Swedish side if what was said has been perceived as an insult.

According to Al Arabiya, the Swedish King is also to have underscored “the force of the relationship” between Sweden and Saudi Arabia to his Saudi colleague King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. Under which forms this message was presented is not known.

On Friday, the government’s emissary Björn von Sydow was received by the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman.During the conversation Björn von Sydow presented Sweden’s wish to develop the relations between the two countries, according to UD (Foreign Office).

“It is very positive that the government’s emissary has been received”, says Foreign Minister Margot Wallström according to a press release.

It sounds as if they’re both putting up a polite show – Sweden is allowing Saudi to save face, and Saudi is allowing Sweden to leave it at that. Wallström hasn’t actually backed down.

Good.

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



The person remains in grave sin

Mar 28th, 2015 4:35 pm | By

A shining example of how religion can foster a twisted view of morality.

[US Cardinal Raymond Burke] has spoken out again, telling an interviewer that gay couples and divorced and remarried Catholics who are trying to live good and faithful lives are still like “the person who murders someone and yet is kind to other people.”

No, they aren’t. Not at all. You can have reservations about unilateral divorce, especially if it’s done with cruelty or brutality, but it’s still not a close relative of murder.

“If you are living publicly in a state of mortal sin there isn’t any good act that you can perform that justifies that situation: the person remains in grave sin,” Burke said in an interview with LifeSiteNews, a U.S.-based web service focused on battling abortion and promoting other conservative causes.

Nonsense. Burke’s church considers the rape of children not a “mortal” sin. That’s all you need to know about Burke’s church.

“And to give the impression that somehow there’s something good about living in a state of grave sin is simply contrary to what the (Catholic) Church has always and everywhere taught,” said Burke, who spoke to LifeSiteNews in Rome.

Asked if being “kind” and “generous” and “dedicated” is enough, Burke replied: “Of course it’s not. It’s like the person who murders someone and yet is kind to other people.”

He’s a moral monster, but then that’s how the Catholic church is. There are good people in it, but they’re good in spite of the evil shite the Vatican talks, not because of it.

On the surface, Burke’s comments break little theological ground; the church has always taught that sin is sin, and some sins are especially serious. For example, cohabitation, homosexual relations and adultery (which is how the Catholic Church views the relations of a couple who are divorced and remarried without annulling the first marriage) are viewed as mortal sins, as is murder.

But not the rape of children. Not the rape of children by priests they’ve been told to respect and obey and consider close to god.

Burke, 66, has raised eyebrows, and made headlines, with previous comments. Earlier this year, he argued that the church has become too “feminized” and he blamed the introduction of altar girls more than 20 years ago for the decline in vocations to the church’s all-male priesthood.

The cardinal also blamed gay clergy for the church’s sexual abuse crisis, saying priests “who were feminized and confused about their own sexual identity” were the ones who molested children.

Yeah. It’s always the bitches’ fault.

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



A more subtle failure of chemistry

Mar 28th, 2015 3:13 pm | By

Silicon Valley pretends to love mavericky types but really it’s numbingly conformist in some very obvious ways…such as in being ridiculously absent-minded about the existence of women.

Ellen Pao sued a venture capital firm for gender discrimination and lost, but the trial spilled a lot of crappy beans.

Not only have weeks of testimony revealed a collection of boorish, unsavory and at times unwittingly misogynist attitudes at one of the tech industry’s most storied financial institutions, the case has also come to stand for something bigger than itself. It has blown open a conversation about the status of women in an industry that, for all its talk of transparency and progress, has always been buttoned up about its shortcomings.

Thanks to Ms. Pao, and notwithstanding the jury’s verdict, the secrets are suddenly out in the open. In tweets, in text messages and at tech gatherings like TED and South by Southwest, the case has been virtually all that anyone could talk about during the last few weeks.

We keep rediscovering sexism as if it were a brand new thing. “Ohhh will you look at that, we don’t treat women as equals. Who knew??”

After the Pao testimony, former employees of Facebook and of Twitter have filed gender-discrimination suits against those companies, which have denied the accusations.

Sexist?? Facebook and Twitter??? Inconceivable!

Anita Hill’s testimony didn’t keep Clarence Thomas off the bench, tragically, but it did put sexual harassment in the public spotlight. (And that rapidly brought it to an end! Oh wait, no it didn’t.)

The Kleiner-Pao trial has prompted a similar discussion because the series of large and small slights that Ms. Pao contends she suffered at the hands of her male colleagues and bosses at Kleiner has resonated with women across the industry, and it has turned a light on problems that many men around here have long kept under wraps.

Listen. Can you hear it? That murmur in the distance? A billion Dear Muslimas stir and yawn and pull their socks on.

“What usually happens when you have something like this happen to you at work is that you negotiate a settlement with a gag order,” said Melinda Byerley, a marketing consultant who has worked in the tech industry for more than a decade. “They pay you to be quiet. This happens all over Silicon Valley — they will write you a severance agreement outlining X number of months’ salary, X number of shares, and along with that is a gag order.”

She added: “This is how women have been doing this for more than a decade. This is tribal knowledge. It’s shared from one woman to the next.” What made Ms. Pao’s story unusual, Ms. Byerley said, was her refusal to take the quiet settlement, despite the risks to her reputation and her career.

Risks? You surely don’t mean anyone would punish her for speaking up.

Documents in the case showed that one Kleiner partner, Chi-Hua Chien, arranged a ski trip for entrepreneurs from which women were excluded. When he was asked if a female entrepreneur from one of the companies Kleiner had invested in could come along, Mr. Chien responded in an email that because the trip involved shared accommodations, women probably wouldn’t feel comfortable.

“Why don’t we punt on her and find 2 guys who are awesome,” he wrote. “We can add 4-8 women next year.” There was no ski trip the next year.

Jam tomorrow. We can add 4-8 women next year.

To several women in the industry, the most salient note in Ms. Pao’s complaint was her claim that there was a narrow band of behavior she was expected to adhere to at Kleiner. She was criticized both for being too timid and for being too aggressive, for speaking up too much and for not speaking up enough.

Is that a narrow band, or is it a zero band? Was there actually a sweet spot between talking too much and not talking enough, or did the one slam right into the other leaving no space in between? Curious minds want to know.

Worse, criticisms of her performance were vague and unspecific. In written evaluations by her peers and executives at Kleiner’s portfolio companies, Ms. Pao was often given high marks, but Kleiner partners testified that her failings were a more subtle failure of “chemistry.”

Oh, oh, call on me, I know this one! The subtle failure of chemistry was the emanations of estrogen that wafted around when she was present. Her peers and the executives just didn’t like those emanations. They found them oooooky.

“Many men in the Valley genuinely believe that their company is a meritocracy,” said Karen Catlin, a former software engineer and a former vice president of Adobe Systems. “They think that the gender problem is something that happens somewhere else.”

There’s a name for that. It’s “cognitive dissonance.” They know they’re good guys, and their company is a company of good guys, so the gender problem is something that happens somewhere else, where the guys aren’t so good.

I don’t see that changing any time soon.

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



2015 Secularist of the Year

Mar 28th, 2015 12:53 pm | By

And the title goes to

The National Secular Society has awarded the staff ofCharlie Hebdo the annual Secularist of the Year prize, for their courageous response to the terror attack on their Paris office.

Charlie Hebdo staff awarded Secularist of the Year prize for their response to Paris attacks

Just one week after the attack on 7 January 2015, in which 12 people were killed, the remaining staff ofCharlie Hebdo published an edition of the magazine featuring a depiction of Mohammed and an editorial making a passionate defence of secularism and the right to free expression.

NSS president Terry Sanderson said: “Since the events of 7 January in Paris, Charlie Hebdo has become more than a magazine – it has become an ideal, a symbol of democracy, a rallying cry to those who value freedom and openness in public debate.

“The Charlie Hebdo horror has now joined the endless stream of other outrages committed in the name of Islam. The difference is that it prompted a commitment to free speech and secularism on the part of millions of people.

“Looked at objectively, blasphemy is a ridiculous concept, transparently invented to protect eminently arguable ideas from challenge.

“Ridiculous it may be, but it is also lethal.

“From the forty or so nominations that we received, there was one that could not be ignored, that was the obvious and only possible winner.”

The award was presented at the annual Secularist of the Year event, hosted by the NSS at a lunch event in central London. The lunch was attended by members, supporters and honorary associates of the National Secular Society, including Professors Richard Dawkins and AC Grayling. Also present were a number of progressive Muslim campaigners and representatives of organisations working to combat Islamic extremism.

My friend Tehmina Kazi was there.

Martin Rowson, the Guardian cartoonist, accepted the award on behalf of the staff of Charlie Hebdo.

Charlie Hebdo said it would donate the £5000 prize money for the award to the fund supporting the families of the murdered cartoonists.

In addition to the main Secularist of the Year award, the NSS also acknowledged a number of others for their work in the past year.

Lord Avebury was recognised with a special award for his invaluable support of the NSS, and for being a tireless advocate for secularism. Lord Avebury recently tabled a Bill to abolish chancel repair liability and has spoken out in Parliament against collective worship in schools and new legislation allowing prayers to be held as part of council meetings.

Maajid Nawaz, who couldn’t attend the event, was recognised for his work at Quilliam, countering Islamic extremism and promoting secularism.

Helen Bailey and Elaine Hession were acknowledged for their efforts in helping the National Secular Society campaign to abolish chancel repair liability.

A number of previous Secularist of the Year winners attended the event, including Peter Tatchell, who was awarded the prize in 2012, and Safak Pavey, the Turkish opposition MP who was named Secularist of the Year in 2014.

Hold your pens up high.

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



No connection

Mar 28th, 2015 12:14 pm | By

Richard Dawkins tweeted yesterday:

changerofbits ‏@changerofbits 21 hours ago
@RichardDawkins Why are trusting anything to Jonathan Monsarrat at RDF/SPI? https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130517/02413623115/bogus-lawsuit-plus-threats-to-those-who-write-about-it-leads-to-epic-response.shtml … Because he’ll sue you if you don’t?

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins
@changerofbits If, by RDF, you mean the Richard Dawkins Foundation, Monsarrat has no connection with it.

At the Richard Dawkins Foundation:

friendly

Here’s another one.

And then there’s this public Facebook announcement in 2013:

Call for Volunteers

Johnny Monsarrat is a volunteer traveling with the Richard Dawkins book tour, which is coming to DC on Sep 29 and 30.

The Richard Dawkins Foundation is about to announce some big new projects and to make an impact with the media and decision-makers, we need numbers. Our goal is to add 100,000 signups to our newsletter by November 1. At each event, we need a dozen volunteers to help us work a table in the lobby, speak with people, and pass around clipboards with sign up forms. Free tickets to the event will be provided to volunteers on the evening of the event IF it is not sold out.

Please contact Johnny directly via email if you can help: johnny@secularconnect.org

And there’s Johnny Monsarrat’s own page at the Secular Policy Institute:

johnny

Click to enlarge.

So, no connection with the Richard Dawkins Foundation? No connection at all?

Really?

H/t Hj Hornbeck

Updating to add: More – lots more – in a new post by Hj Hornbeck.

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



Teach your children well

Mar 28th, 2015 11:54 am | By

I was asking if Brendan O’Neill and his clone-allies at the “Institute for Ideas” have become so enamored of their own contrarianism that they’re now actually promoting bullying…or at least I was asking if O’Neill has, and I at least thought about mentioning his clone-allies too. Anyway the answer is yes, they have. Here’s Claire Fox – one of the ally-clones – doing just that a few weeks ago:

Schools should abandon their anti-bullying programmes because they make children more “thin-skinned” and less resilient, according to the head of a thinktank.

Speaking in a debate on “character education” at the London Festival of Education today, Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, said schools should focus on teaching core academic subjects, rather than “grit”.

“I think young people need to be more self-critical and less self aware,” she said.”They should stop worrying about themselves.

“If you want to encourage grit in schools get rid of anti-bullying programmes. We are taking the grit out of kids and we could do with backing off.

“We have a generation of cotton-wool kids afraid to take risks.”

What a stupid, callous, reckless, irresponsible, brutal thing to say. “Get rid of anti-bullying programmes” – for children. Because bullying is so fabulously good for children, as any fule kno.

udith Suissa, a reader in philosophy of education at the Institute of Education, said to suggest abandonig anti-bullying programmes was “ridiculous”.

Earlier in the debate, she questioned why schools focus on building “grit and resilience” in pupils.

“To me, the emphasis on grit and resilience is sending the message to teachers that their main role as educators is not to challenge society but to prepare children to compete in this sytem; not to get children to think about what’s wrong with society but to give children grit and resilience to cope with poverty. It’s deeply troubling.”

Really. Never mind teaching children how to put up with bullying; get rid of bullying. Don’t teach people how to accept bullying, teach them that bullying is unacceptable. Don’t teach underlings how to keep quiet when the boss punches them in the face; fire the boss who punches underlings in the face. As Bertrand Russell’s grandmama liked to quote, do not follow a multitude to do evil.

In December, education secretary Nicky Morgan said England was to become a “global leader” in teaching character, resilience and grit to students.

Oh dear god. How very Tory.

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



You’re the guy who yells at waiters

Mar 28th, 2015 10:27 am | By

An ad aimed at Brendan O’Neill and people who admire him.

It’s not fake. It’s from a campaign for Basics, a clothing company in Chennai. Here’s the ad with the man in question.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Source

It’s the Clarkson-O’Neill version of “manhood” – be the biggest bully you can possibly be, and congratulate yourself on being it.

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



One door closes while seven thousand open

Mar 28th, 2015 10:05 am | By

The BBC provides a suitably barely-literate piece on the subject of the closure of Loaded magazine.

Loaded magazine, one of the so-called “lads’ magazines” of the mid-1990s, is to close down, publisher Simian said.

At its peak, its diet of football, alcohol, and music brought it a six-figure readership. But as it went through several ownership changes, circulation fell.

Loaded and other “lads’ mags” attracted criticism from feminists and others for the number of scantily-clad women in each edition.

Because feminists and others have the daft idea that women shouldn’t be considered consumer items along with alcohol and music.

Analysis: David Sillito, media and arts correspondent

Drinking, football, drugs, music and pictures of girls usually wearing only underwear or less, Loaded defined the “lad” culture of the 1990s. But things have moved on. Sales have in 15 years fallen from 350, 000 to around 30, 000. Its weekly rival Nuts has already gone under.

However, that does not mean the market for girls, games, gadgets and a visual mixture – of funny, revolting and humiliating pictures has died – it’s just migrated to Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and hundreds of other websites.

See what I mean about barely-literate? Yeesh.

The Lad Bible, for instance, is only three years old but is in Britain receiving (according to Alexa web analytics) more web traffic than the two leading online papers – the Daily Mail and The Guardian.

Magazine culture is dying not “Lad Culture” and you can see it every time you log on.

Was the copy editor home with a cold that day or what?

Anyway, Loaded is leaving but “Lad Culture” lives on, to cheers and confetti from Brendan O’Neill.

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



Ted “Galileo” Cruz

Mar 28th, 2015 9:49 am | By

Ted Cruz might first of all want to get his facts straight.

Speaking to the Texas Tribune on Tuesday, Cruz said that contemporary “global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers.”

“You know it used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,” he said.

Nuh-uh-uh. It was not accepted scientific wisdom that the Earth was flat in Galileo’s day. (Think about it. If it had been, why the hell would Cristoforo Colombo have sailed west in the expectation of reaching China?) It hadn’t been for a long time.

In Cruz’s opinion, when it comes to climate change, his denier position places him alongside 17th Century scientist Galileo Galilei, who was also considered to be denying the mainstream knowledge of his day. According to Cruz’s logic, he is taking the minority view that human-caused climate change is not happening, just as Galileo took the minority view that the scientific method should be trusted over the Catholic Church.

Yeah well, that’s related to the old “they laughed when I sat down at the piano” fallacy, aka the “they laughed at Beethoven” fallacy. In the demotic: just because they laugh at you doesn’t mean you’re Beethoven. A minority view isn’t automatically true by virtue of being a minority view. Also, of course, it’s highly debatable how “mainstream” the idea of climate change is.

As the website Skeptical Science points out, “the comparison is exactly backwards.”

“Modern scientists follow the evidence-based scientific method that Galileo pioneered,” the website reads. “Skeptics who oppose scientific findings that threaten their world view are far closer to Galileo’s belief-based critics in the Catholic Church.”

President Obama seems to have gotten the analogy correct when he said in 2013 that “we don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-Earth society” when it comes to doing something about climate change.

It’s more amusing, too.

 

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



Guest post: To keep the liberal-tweaking going

Mar 28th, 2015 9:30 am | By

Originally a comment by Morgan on Brendan O’Neill is broken-hearted over Clarkson.

Just as you or I would be sacked if we walloped a co-worker, especially someone below us in the pecking order, so Clarkson deserves the boot too, says his army of haters in the media and on Twitter.
Please. If this were a simple punishment-for-physicality issue, why has so much of the Clarkson-baiting commentary obsessed over what Clarkson thinks and says?

Well..
a) Because the only reason anyone’s arguing Clarkson shouldn’t be fired is because they like what he thinks and says, or enjoy that others don’t.
b) Because “he should have been sacked long ago for being a vile shit, and his employers’ and fans’ reluctance to call him on his bad behaviour is the reason it reached the point where he assaulted a subordinate” is a very obvious yet worthwhile point to make.
c) Even if those calling for his sacking have the most impure of motives, the point in the first paragraph quoted is still completely valid and sufficient.

O’Neill is essentially arguing that Clarkson should have total immunity from any consequences for anything he does, because he annoys people O’Neill dislikes. It’s the BBC’s duty to feed him as many coworkers as he wants to assault, to keep the liberal-tweaking going, it seems.

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



Funny man with great expertise and huge following

Mar 27th, 2015 5:12 pm | By

There’s a list of people who defended Jeremy Clarkson because hey who doesn’t punch an underling in the face now and then?

David Cameron is one. His kids like the show. That’s the important thing.

Rupert Murdoch is one. On Twitter he shyly offered his support:

How stupid can BBC be in firing Jeremy Clarkson? Funny man with great expertise and huge following.

That’s the formula then? If you’re

  • a man
  • funny
  • expert
  • hugely popular

you’re allowed to punch people in the face at work? Well all right then. Rules are rules.

Snoop Dogg is one.

Snoop Dogg told the Sun earlier this week: “He isn’t part of Top Gear – he IS Top Gear.

“If they even think about firing him, Britain needs to boycott the BBC until he is reinstated.”

More than a million other people are that many more.

More than 1million people have signed political blogger Guido Fawkes’ Change.org petition calling on the BBC to reinstate Clarkson. Reasons for signing include “Jeremy is a bastion of light in a dark PC world” and “I hate the BBC lefties”.

Yeah. It’s such a lefty PC bullshit thing to say tv stars can’t punch their underlings. Where did all the balls go? Huh? Is everybody emasculated around here? Whither the cojones? Is it just pussies running everything now? Where’s my trigger warning? This may be politically incorrect but I say hit everybody in the face! Hitting people in the face is what made this country great! God bless you and God bless America.

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



Brendan O’Neill is broken-hearted over Clarkson

Mar 27th, 2015 4:35 pm | By

Yet again Brendan O’Neill says something more disgusting than I would have thought possible. Yet again!!

I’m gutted to hear that the BBC has given Clarkson the big heave-ho over his fracas with that producer who didn’t have his dinner ready on time.

Why? Because it’s further evidence of the Beeb’s self-emasculation, its sheepish, apologetic jettisoning of anything that might rile right-thinking viewers or make Hampstead-dwelling licence fee-payers choke on their Ovaltine.

What?????

Clarkson punched his underling in the face. He split his lip. He assaulted him. In what universe does that have anything to do with “right-thinking” or Hampstead? Since when is it “politically correct” to have rules that bosses aren’t allowed to punch their underlings? What the hell is this, Henry 8’s court after nine straight hours of boozing? How is it in any way “sheepish” for the BBC to fire Clarkson for punching an employee? Is the BBC supposed to allow its stars to punch employees? How is this decision the BBC “emasculating” itself? Is that what “masculine” means to Brendan O’Neill – top people being allowed to punch their subordinates in the face with impunity?

Notice also that he too calls it a “fracas.” What bullshit. Call it what it is, not something nicer because you approve of it.

With the elbowing aside of JC, we are witnessing not simply the sacking of an employee over a scuffle, but the willingness of a scandal-stung, crisis-ridden BBC to ditch anything that has the whiff of controversy and to bend its knee to the bland, larks-free worldview of the right-on.

“Controversy”? “Larks”? What is the matter with him? What will he write next – “Hooray for Bullying, Bullying is Fun”? And again, why is he making it about political correctness? Is it only liberals who think the workplace should not be a boxing ring?

In the oceans of ink that have been spilt over Clarksongate, or Punchgate, or whatever gate this is, the least convincing commentary has been that which tries to convince us this is just a workplace disciplinary matter.

Just as you or I would be sacked if we walloped a co-worker, especially someone below us in the pecking order, so Clarkson deserves the boot too, says his army of haters in the media and on Twitter.

Please.

Please, Telegraph, stop paying this loathsome man to write this shit.

And now, cravenly, like a hostage reading from a script written by his captors, the BBC has capitulated and got rid of one of the jewels in its crown, the man who made it millions of pounds and won it millions of viewers around the world.

What gobsmacking idiocy. The BBC had already, in recent years, offered up its cojones for a public kicking, becoming an increasingly wimpish, risk-dodging sorry excuse for a public broadcaster.

He forgot to say the BBC is pussy-whipped. What are you if you offer up your cojones? Pussy-whipped, definitely.

Well done, liberal elite. You’ve won. You’ve made the Beeb as bland as you are.

I won’t miss Clarkson on Top Gear, because I didn’t watch him on it. But millions and millions of people, here and abroad, will miss him. And all of us, Clarkson fans or not, should be worried that the BBC has finally been completely colonised by the dead, dogmatic, fun-free outlook of a minuscule, if hugely influential, section of British society.

It’s a bullies’ charter. He gets more loathsome every time I read him. Next week I suppose he’ll be giving advice on how to burn children with cigarettes when no one is looking.

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



Oh, so that’s who’s running Indiana

Mar 27th, 2015 3:55 pm | By

Via Reba Boyd Wooden of CFI-Indiana, the IndyStar shared a photo of the governor signing Indiana’s new RFRA.

Here’s a photo of Governor Mike Pence signing the controversial “religious freedom” bill this morning in a private ceremony in his Statehouse office, tweeted by official Twitter account.

We’re updating this story as fast as we’re learning more information: http://indy.st/19nosUu

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck

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



Surrounded by a cheering crowd

Mar 27th, 2015 3:40 pm | By

Der Spiegel is running a letter from Raif Badawi tomorrow, the Guardian reports today.

Jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has written in his first letter from prison of how he “miraculously survived 50 lashes”, part of his sentence for “insulting Islam”, a German news weekly has said.

Badawi, 31, recalled that he was “surrounded by a cheering crowd who cried incessantly ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is greatest)” during the whipping, according to a pre-released article from Der Spiegel’s edition to be published on Saturday.

That’s so disgusting. The cheering is disgusting, the praise of the celestial bully is disgusting, the apparent belief that the celestial bully fully approves of the sadistic unmerited punishment is disgusting. It’s all disgusting.

It’s foul. “Our god hates you! We’re thrilled that you’re being whipped! We love each one of the fifty blows on your naked back! Yay! We love that one! And that one! And that one! God hates you, we hate you, we’re ecstatic that you’re being given pain and that we get to watch it! Hooray hooray hooray! God is lovely! And merciful!”

“All this cruel suffering happened to me because I expressed my opinion,” Badawi is quoted as writing in what Der Spiegel said was his first letter from prison since he was jailed in 2012.

“He’s in a poor condition,” his wife Ensaf Haidar was quoted as saying. “He suffers from high blood pressure but above all he is mentally very stressed.”

Saudi Arabia in early March dismissed criticism of its flogging of Badawi and “strongly denounced the media campaign around the case”.

Saudi Arabia is a rotten stinking carcass.

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



Saudi Arabia makes up with Sweden

Mar 27th, 2015 3:19 pm | By

Reuters reports:

Saudi Arabia has decided to send its envoy back to Sweden, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said on Friday, in a move that will ease a diplomatic row over the Arab country’s human rights record.

I hope that doesn’t mean Sweden has crawled or begged or, especially, withdrawn anything Margot Wallström said.

Saudi Arabia withdrew its envoy earlier this month over Swedish criticism of the monarchy’s treatment of women and dissidents.

In January, Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom tweeted criticism of Saudi Arabia’s flogging of human rights activist blogger Raif Badawi, calling it a “cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression”.

She has also criticized policies affecting women, who cannot drive cars and need permission from a male guardian for many decisions.

Riyadh then canceled a speech Wallstrom had been due to give to the League of Arab States, and Stockholm later ended a long-standing defense cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Wallström said true things about Saudi Arabia. I hope she hasn’t been forced to take any of them back.

 

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



Dancing for Raif

Mar 27th, 2015 12:28 pm | By

At Place des Arts, Montréal.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3KzyCZyYvI

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