Notes and Comment Blog

Guest post: A cultural resonance that echoes across continents

May 25th, 2015 11:49 am | By

Originally a comment by mudpuddles on Stones.

Sites and symbols of heritage and history are vitally important to the sense of place and identity of any given population. Apart from the aesthetic and visually symbolic totems of “I am in X place right now”, these ruins represent a common heritage and a history – of growth, of community, of development, of art, of learning, of spirituality, of trade and internationalism, of war and struggle, and of peace and prosperity – which people of many nationalities, religions and ethnicities can claim ownership of. These sites represent elements of a shared identity, and have a cultural resonance and relevance that echoes across continents. These psychological and cultural connections between people and place are absolutely fundamental to how people view their place in the world, and how they define themselves. They say “This is where I am from. Not just this place, but this history, this culture, this dimension of humanity.” That is why IS wants to wipe these sites out.

They want to erase any vestige of a prior identity for the places and populations they want to conquer. They want to make it impossible for people who flee the IS advance to return to a psychological and cultural space they knew as home. IS has no true history, no heritage, no learning, no community, no art, no true culture to offer, and that’s how it wants the rest of the world to be. Wiping out someone’s heritage is a key part of robbing them of their identity. It makes people easier to demoralise, alienate and assimilate. It also removes symbols of shared heritage that might serve to bind communities together in resistance. We have already heard tales of some people deciding to join IS because after they lost their homes and neighbours and businesses and felt trapped…. “there is nothing left for me, so I decided why not join IS now, there is nothing else.” Removing potent symbols of sense of place and belonging helps them intensify that impact.

The concern is not simply about stones in a desert. Its about a direct and twisted assault on the psyche of civilians that will have an irreversible and damaging impact, and that will make fundamentalism easier to embed.

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

To watch an old Disney movie

May 25th, 2015 11:36 am | By

How not to run a school event:

One hundred public school students were left upset and crying during school hours as they were ushered into a dark auditorium to watch an old Disney movie as 900 classmates enjoyed popcorn, ice cream, and bouncy castles at a Carnival outside. New York Public School 120 in Queens held their annual Carnival on Friday. However, instead of all of the pre-k through fifth grade students enjoying the fun-filled day, 100 children were left crying in an auditorium after their families were unable to pay for the $10 ticket to the affair.

An auditorium? How luxurious. Couldn’t the school have found a smelly locker-room to put them in?

The New York Post reports that almost all of the 100 children excluded from the event were [children of] Chinese immigrants who are simply struggling to “keep their heads above water.” Teachers charged with monitoring the unfortunate children stuck in the dark auditorium say that some of the children were crying hysterically as they could hear the laughter from the children outside. Some students asked, “are we being punished,” not understanding why the other children were eating candy and enjoying the inflatables while they were stuck inside.

So this is an elementary school run by people who have no idea what children are like and how they feel? People who were placed in medical comas for the duration of their own childhoods?

At least one teacher says she doesn’t feel it was appropriate to have a Carnival on school grounds during school hours if all students were not able to attend. The teacher says that to add insult to injury for the small children unable to pay the $10 fee, the school Principal, Joan Monroe, sent a bag of little stuffed animals to the classroom to pass out to all the students who paid.

Uh oh. I hope Joan Monroe doesn’t have a Twitter account, because if she does, I predict bad things.

Teachers say they were given lists of the students who had paid and who had not, reminding them to take the unpaid students to the auditorium instead of the Carnival. To ensure the rules were followed, Monroe announced that students without a ticket would report to the auditorium over the loudspeakers in the school the morning of the event.

Just not the way to do it. Mean. Don’t be mean to elementary school children.

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

The good Christian family aura

May 25th, 2015 11:15 am | By

From Libby Anne’s first post on the Duggar mess: some important points.

8. The good Christian family aura can hide underlying problems. If I had a dollar for every time someone has praised the Duggars for being a perfect example of a good Christian family, I’d be rich. Sweet smiles and matching clothes can cover up a lot and make people assume that things are more perfect than they are. I know what it’s like to force a smile for family pictures people later ooo and ahh over, even as I’m crying inside. We need to remember that.

I’ve experienced that deception the few times I’ve taken a brief look at that show. On the one hand they make my flesh crawl, but on the other hand I keep thinking: “They do look very cheerful and happy and perky.” The sweet smiles are annoyingly effective.

9. Sheltering children from the world doesn’t work. For years now, I have seen commenters across the internet praise the Duggars for raising godly children away from the materialism and sexualization of the modern world. Sorry guys, it doesn’t work like that. Please stop promoting the Duggars’ lifestyle by claiming that it has protected these children from the evils of the world! It hasn’t.

Mind you, if you define secular education as an evil, it has protected them from that…

10. Homeschooling can limit children’s ability to report abuse. Children who attend school have contact with teachers, counselors, and other adults they can go to for help, or for advice about problems in their home situations. Both Josh and his victims were homeschooled, which almost certainly limited the number of trusted adults they could go to for help, especially given that their social activities appear to have revolved around their church and other likeminded families who probably also believed in dealing with such problems in-house. According to the police report, some of the victims did try to get help. It’s just that their avenues for obtaining said help were sadly limited.

And their welfare wasn’t a high priority.

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

They cannot teach men

May 25th, 2015 10:38 am | By

Let’s not forget the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They suck too.

A schoolgirl who left the Jehovah’s Witnesses after learning of its alleged failure to protect vulnerable women has blasted the organisation in a powerful speech to her classmates.

Holding back tears, she recalled her personal experiences as a member of the church and how she was taught everyone outside the religion, including her father, would be sent to Armageddon.

Which is false, and a cruel thing to tell anyone, but especially children, since they tend to believe what adults tell them.

She also highlighted women’s lowly position in the hierarchy of the organisation and how they are viewed as inferior to men.

“They cannot teach men. They cannot even speak at a podium in front of men as I am doing now,” she said. “They are not to question any decision made by a men. That is slander.”

Most religions are like that, especially most monotheistic religions. If you’re going to have just one god, you’re not going to waste it on a gurrrul, are you.

The most shocking allegations relate to women the girl spoke to, who were members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and wished to remain anonymous.

One, she called Jane, was allegedly interrogated by the church elders after she was raped, while at work as insurance salesperson.

The elders apparently said she tempted men by the way she dressed and that men were “only human”.

In order to be forgiven and not be excommunicated, or “disfellowshipped,” Jane was forced to dress more conservatively, quit her job and worst of all drop the charges against her attacker.

That’s interesting. A man who rapes a woman is only human, but a woman who is raped is punished for being raped. Heads they win, tails you lose.

The church has battled with previous allegations of silencing victims of sexual abuse, to avoid embarrassing the church, but have always vigorously denied any wrongdoing.

In 2015 a Californian court ordered the Watch Tower Society, the company which runs the Jehovah’s Witnesses, to pay $2.8m in damages after failing to disclosure the past abuse of a congregation member, which led to the sexual abuse of a nine-year-old girl.

Some witnesses.

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

All around us

May 25th, 2015 10:15 am | By


Scientific American:

The kinds of bacteria that can cause food poisoning lurk all around us. These germs can be especially easy to pick up when traveling internationally as well as in places, such as children’s day cares, which are hard to keep clean. The infections usually clear up on their own but sometimes require hospitalizations and hefty doses of antibiotics to expunge. Unfortunately, the bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to treatment.

Oh great: antibiotic-resistant food-poisoning. That’s a joyous prospect.

The latest bad news came in April when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an outbreak of Shigella sonnei that has become resistant to ciprofloxacin—one of the last remaining medications in pill form that can kill the germ. Since then a Scientific American investigation shows the worrisome strain is still circulating in the U.S. a year after it first emerged.

Shigella bacteria typically cause about 500,000 diarrheal illnesses and 40 deaths in the U.S. every year. Children who are malnourished and people with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk of developing severe cases.

The CDC has confirmed 275 cases of ciprofloxacin-resistant shigella across the country from May 2014 to May 2015, according to data obtained exclusively by Scientific American (see chart below). Although these figures appear small, they almost certainly represent but a tiny fraction of the true number of ciprofloxacin-resistant cases. Shigella infections are supposed to be reported to the CDC but a lot of people who get sick do not go to the doctor. And those who do are sometimes not tested for the presence of shigella, let alone drug resistance.

Oh well. We still have HD tv.

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

Why are there little girls rather than nothing?

May 25th, 2015 9:11 am | By

Raw Story reported on May 22:

Four homeschooled brothers pleaded guilty Thursday to molesting their younger sister from the time she was 4 years old until she was almost 15 – and their parents and two other brothers still face charges related to the case.

Eric Jackson, then 25, told authorities that he and all five of his brothers had sexually abused their younger sister for a decade, and authorities say their parents knew but did nothing to stop the abuse.

An elder at Hope Baptist Church, which Jackson and another brother attended, compared the pattern of abuse to other “horrible” sins such as adultery and homosexuality.

No; dead wrong. “Homosexuality” is neither a “sin” nor a crime nor bad. Adultery may or may not be a wrong done to a spouse; it’s not categorically wrong no matter what the circumstances, which child-molestation is.

The victim in the Jackson case told investigators that she believed she would go to hell if she told anyone about the assaults, which she said took place at least twice a week.

She must have believed that because someone told her that.

The parents, John and Nita Jackson, were charged with child neglect, child abuse, and accessory to sexual abuse and will remain jailed until their next court hearing in August.

The girl told authorities her mother had witnessed at least one assault and walked away.

Tilley, the sheriff, said the family was “bizarre” and the father held “anti-government” and “anti-school” beliefs.

The eldest brother had difficulty writing his own name when he met with investigators.

“The children were home schooled with very limited education,” Tilley said. “They were very private and the whole yard has a fence around it — like a little compound. They’re very different.”

Lots of brotherly love though.

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

The woman was waiting at a bus stop

May 25th, 2015 8:28 am | By

Via Taslima – a horrific gang-rape in a bus in Dhaka.

Police say the woman was waiting at a bus stop for a ride home after work on Thursday night when a minibus stopped in front of her and two men forced her aboard. They and three other men inside the bus took turns raping her for an hour and a half while the bus slowly drove around the Jamuna Future Park area in northeast Dhaka.

Inspired by the Delhi gang rape in 2012, no doubt, the one in which the rapists pulled the victim’s intestines out before they threw her and the guy who was with her off the bus.

The woman’s sister told reporters that the family had to visit three police stations before one agreed to take a report.

They went to the station closest to their home in the Uttara area around 4 a.m. Friday but were told by police that they did not have jurisdiction because the incident took place outside the area. They visited another police station an hour later and got the same reply, she said.

They reached Bhatara Police Station around 6 a.m. but had to wait three hours for a senior officer to arrive and register the case.

Note that this isn’t in a remote village but in Dhaka, the capital and the tenth largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million.

Women’s rights activists say indifference by authorities and a culture of impunity are encouraging such crimes.

Apparently. If rapes can’t even be reported until business hours the next day, that’s indifference by authorities and a culture of impunity.

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

Which god is why there is something rather than nothing?

May 24th, 2015 5:51 pm | By

I saw most of this the other day: Star Talk hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, talking to a Jesuit priest and playing sections from a taped interview he did with Richard Dawkins. (There was also a comedian but he didn’t get to contribute much.) It was pretty entertaining.

One bit was very funny, when Dawkins was explaining something about why he challenges religion or some such thing, and he said he “good-naturedly ridicules” people’s odd beliefs. I burst out laughing at that, and laughed some more when Tyson gently said the people might disagree about the “good-natured” part. Dawkins chuckled amiably, but…you could see that no dent had been made.

So I guess that really is how he sees himself? As good-naturedly ridiculing people’s beliefs, as opposed to waspishly or sharply or harshly or brutally?

The Jesuit priest was predictably frustrating. He pretended to be perfectly reasonable and like a scientist and trying to figure things out just like Tyson and yadda yadda. He said he likes to ask people why there’s something rather than nothing, and Tyson said he answers he doesn’t know, and he’s happy with that – later amended to not happy in the sense of not wanting to try to find out, but in the sense of not letting it force him to answer “god.”

I liked that, but I also wished he had pressed the Jesuit – James Martin, his name is – on why “god” is any kind of answer to that question anyway. I also wished he had pressed him to say exactly what he meant by god, especially when he (Mr Jesuit) kept offering different versions of god, all of them much nicer than the fascist daddy-figure. I wished he had asked how any of that makes sense together.

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

Playing doctor

May 24th, 2015 5:17 pm | By

I heard about this on Facebook this morning via Vyckie; now RawStory is reporting on it.

Responding to criticism of the Christian “Quiverfull” movement, the wife of a Texas pastor who promotes the “be fruitful, and multiply” philosophy, took to Facebook to explain that admitted child-molester Josh Duggar was “playing doctor” as a teen and should be “left alone to live a good life.”

The conservative fundamentalist Quiverfull movement sees children as a blessing from God and promotes constant procreation, eschewing all forms of birth control.

In her rant on Facebook, Carrie Hurd, wife of Heritage Covenant Church Pastor Patrick Hurd, blasted Quiverfull critic Vyckie Garrison for being critical of Duggar, and Christians in general.

She defends Josh Duggar and blasts Vyckie Garrison. Strange priorities.

Despite having her own Facebook account, Hurd used her husband’s account to address Garrison and defend Duggar who stepped down from his position with the Family Research Council after it was revealed that he molested five young girls — including his sisters — when he was in his teens.

“Vyckie, this is actually Pat’s wife, Carrie. You women want parity in the board room and you want equal wages all the way up the ladder, but when it comes to taking responsibility and being equal in other areas, it is always the man’s fault or responsibility. How many women bait, hit first, but are seldom arrested for abuse………….?” she wrote.

Say what? A woman should be taking responsibility for Josh Duggar’s having groped his younger sisters?

Michelle Duggar certainly bears some of the responsibility, but given the patriarchal rules she promotes and follows, she doesn’t bear as much as The Man of the family, Jimbob.

Hurd then criticized Garrison for “trolling” the news for stories critical of Christianity, and suggested she go to Iraq to “fight ISIS.”

“You troll the news for any little Christian misbehavior. Get a life! Go to Iraq and fight ISIS if you are seriously worried about women being treated well by men and society.”

Additional information on the Quiverfull movement can be found at No Longer Quivering, written by former member Garrison who was recently named “Atheist of the Year” by the American Atheist Association.

Yes she was, so ha, Carrie Hurd.

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

Why anyone should care

May 24th, 2015 12:02 pm | By

I’m seeing people asking a lot of very strange questions about why anyone should care that Josh Duggar groped his younger sisters and his family covered it up and did nothing about it.

Are they serious? We should care because the Duggars think and say they are better than everyone who doesn’t think like them, and they have a very large public megaphone – and may still have it if TLC’s cancellation of their show turns out to be temporary. We should care because Josh Duggar was a higher-up in the reactionary homophobic Family Research Council until he resigned two days ago because the truth about his past came to light.

We should care because the Duggars are reactionary theocratic homophobic antifeminist Christian activists who pose as Nice and Smiley and Good. They do harm, so of course we should care that they covered up a crime against their own god damn daughters.

Libby Anne of course has a lot to say on this, and we should all be camping out on her blog for the foreseeable future. Yesterday she and a guest poster talked about the silencing power of forgiveness.

I’ve seen defenders argue that we shouldn’t be airing the family’s private affairs publicly, and that this is over and done with and water under the bridge, and so forth. The problem with these statements is that they ignore the role specific beliefs and doctrines played in the mishandling of Josh Duggar’s abuse. As I pointed out yesterday in my blog post exploring the sort of counseling Josh and his victims likely received, the story here is about problems with the Duggar’s worldview and subculture—a worldview and subculture many Duggar fans have praised as wholesome or quaint for years now, without understanding the deep underlying problems inherent to it (problems I have addressed previously here and here).

And now, without further ado, I give you the following excellent commentary by my friend Carmen Green, who like me, like Samantha, and like Kathryn Elizabeth, grew up in a Christian homeschool family and has personal experience with the Duggar’s worldview and subculture. (I even have mutual friends with the Duggars—the Christian homeschool world can be very small indeed.)

Now, Carmen on Anna Duggar, wife of Josh – homeschooled, married young and inexperienced, raised on “Biblical” ideas about sex, women, marriage…

They can’t use birth control (because sinful) so they start having children right away.

Anna now has three, with a fourth on the way. She is 26 years old. She was homeschooled her whole life and never went to college. She now claims that she knew when the courtship began that Josh was a child molester. But I very much doubt that Josh used those words — it is far more likely that he said he had “temptations” to which he “succumbed” but “God is good” and he has “asked for forgiveness.” And, in that culture, she would have had no choice but to accept that for face value, because to do otherwise would be to call Josh a liar and to doubt God’s ability to save. Now she’s found out the truth, she has a few more years of experience, and she’s more trapped than she’s ever been.

“Temptations” ffs – that could be anything – it could be masturbation, it could be wet dreams, it could just be erections. It could be, in short, victimless and harmless. It seems to be one of the worst blind spots (to put it no more harshly) of reactionary theocrats that they don’t even notice the difference actual harm done to actual people makes. Not surprising, I guess, when they think the 10 commandments=the summit of morality.

And then she gets to the forgiveness thing, which never fails to turn my stomach.

Forgiveness is a warped topic in fundamentalist Christian circles where abuse is concerned. Jim Bob, Michelle, and Josh are using that language purposefully. They are tapping into the belief that no sin is too terrible for God to forgive and the mandate that we must forgive our trespassers as God has forgiven us. Together, these beliefs force victims in this subculture to shut up, sit down, and “make peace” with the people who have wronged them.

This results in victims having to act as if nothing ever happened. They still have to live with the perpetrator. They still have to speak to the perpetrator and show affection to them. They have to smile and pretend for years and years. No one gets real counseling. And the perpetrator is never punished.

My friend, Kathryn, wrote an excellent piece on why we shouldn’t let Jim Bob, Michelle, and Josh dictate the tone of the discussion. I don’t care if Josh thinks the victims forgave him (what choice did they have?). I don’t care if Josh says he’s sorry. He’s a child molester who escaped punishment because mommy and daddy covered for him. Children in two different families (that we know of) were victimized. No other families were ever told about Josh’s behavior so that they could take protective measures for their own children.

This story is NOT about the power of forgiveness. It’s about a cover-up, a blatant disregard for children’s safety, and the appalling selfishness of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.

Who are, don’t forget, held up to us as model humans via a popular tv show.

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

High anxiety

May 24th, 2015 11:09 am | By


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

“We captured the kāfirah women, and drove them like sheep by the edge of the sword”

May 24th, 2015 10:47 am | By

Lizzie Dearden at the Independent has been reading IS propaganda so that you don’t have to.

A jihadi bride whose husband took a Yazidi girl as a slave has claimed sex with kidnapped women is never rape because it is an Islamic practice inspired by the Prophet himself.

Well that’s where she’s wrong. The prophet himself was not incapable of rape just because he was “the prophet” after all. If the prophet told men they could rape women captured in battle then he was telling them they could rape, end of story. It doesn’t magically become not-rape just because this one super-special guy endorsed it.

The article, by “Umm Sumayyah al-Muhajirah”, appears in the latest issue of Isis propaganda magazine Dabiq under the headline: “Slave-girls or prostitutes?”

In it, the writer claims that taking slaves like the Yazidi women through war (“saby”) is a “great prophetic Sunnah [teachings of Mohamed] containing many divine wisdoms and religious benefits”.

Nope. That’s what’s so wrong with your whole line of thinking. You’re starting with the idea that it’s all Holy and Divine and Inspired and yadda yadda, therefore whatever it is, it is good. That’s back to front, and wrong.

Umm Sumayyah puts reports of horrific abuse at the hands of Isis fighters down to “devious and wicked slave girls” who “made up lies and wrote false stories”.

Oh yes, those devious and wicked victims of war crimes who report how they were treated. How dare they.

A UN envoy who interviewed dozens of sexual abuse victims in the region reported earlier this month that Isis is using widespread and systematic sexual violence as a “terrorist” tactic to spread fear.

Zainab Bangura described how fighters would strip the victims naked and categorise them before trading them in “slave bazaars” and shipping them to other provinces.

And that doesn’t become acceptable simply because someone claims it’s inspired by a prophet.

Citing select Koran passages and hadiths, Umm Sumayyah wrote that slavery only befalls a people that have “left Allah’s favour” when he “has no need for them”.

She lashed out at the vast majority of Muslims around the world who have condemned Isis’ interpretation of Sharia law, massacres and violence.

“(A Yazidi woman’s) enslavement is in opposition to human rights and copulation with her is rape?!?” she writes dismissively.

“We indeed raided and captured the kāfirah (infidel) women, and drove them like sheep by the edge of the sword. And glory belongs to Allah, to His Messenger, and the believers.”

Nope. Your Allah and his messenger and his believers are all fascist bullies.

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


May 24th, 2015 10:14 am | By

IS has taken Palmyra.

Islamic State militants have locked Palmyra’s museum and placed guards outside its doors, days after seizing the ancient city, Iraqi officials say.

Antiquities director Maamoun Abdulkarim said they had destroyed some modern plaster statues and also raised their flag on the ancient castle overlooking the Roman ruins.

Most of the museum’s antiquities had been transferred to Damascus, he said.

Dr David Roberts of King’s College, London has thoughts on the destruction of ancient sites and their treasures.

In Syria alone, the Great Mosque and the Citadel in Aleppo, the castle of every child’s imagination at Crac des Chevaliers, and the ancient city of Bosra have been damaged or destroyed.

Arguably Syria’s most impressive and arresting site, the sprawling ruins at Palmyra (Tadmur to Syrians), is now under Islamic State control and many fear the worst.

Having visited Palmyra and these other sites while studying Arabic at Damascus University back in 2007, I am far from alone in feeling that something truly terrible is happening.

That these symbols from a bygone era might be destroyed by modern-day barbarian forces when they have survived for hundreds or even thousands of years seems somehow deeply offensive and wrong.

He also talks about the fact that stones are not people and it may seem grotesque to pay attention to stones when so many people are being killed or enslaved or otherwise damaged. He suggests reasons why the stones matter anyway.

Some reasons in addition to the ones he mentions – they’re our common heritage, they are a way of introducing us to each other. They’re a sign of human creativity and sense of beauty or wonder or adventure or many other things beyond survival or a full stomach. They could well outlast us.

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


May 24th, 2015 9:52 am | By

The day that was in it.



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


May 24th, 2015 9:34 am | By

Channel 4 on the yes vote.



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

It feels brilliant

May 23rd, 2015 5:26 pm | By

NBC News reports on the Irish vote, with scenes of people rejoicing outside Dublin Castle, which I was waiting for all morning.

At final count, 62 percent voted in favor of legalizing gay marriage in the country, while 38 percent voted against it. Nearly 2 million people voted, with more than 1.2 million voting “yes” and 734,300 voting “no.”

A celebratory mood had come over Dublin even before the official results were announced around 7 p.m. local time, with tallies for each constituency displayed on big screens to thousands watching from Dublin Castle’s sun-soaked central square.

Sisters Rebecca and Rachel Doyle from Enniscorthy, County Wexford, were among 2,000 members of the public allowed to view the counting process at Dublin Castle.

“It feels brilliant, especially since we thought it was going to be so close and now it looks like such a definite ‘Yes’,” Rebecca told NBC News, adding that the experience was “emotional.”

It was emotional even for me, thousands of miles away.

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

Free Raif!

May 23rd, 2015 4:57 pm | By

Ensaf Haidar posted a photo.

That’s Joan Baez!

How perfect is that?!

Ensaf’s caption:

with Joan Baez singing “I shall be released” #FreeRaif!!

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


May 23rd, 2015 11:36 am | By

Now for a downer; sorry.

Heather Hironimus has been forced (by a threat of prison) to sign the permission slip for her four-year-old son to get his penis snipped against his will.

With handcuffs on her wrists and tears rolling down her cheeks, Heather Hironimus looked up to the courtroom ceiling, briefly clasped her hands together in prayer, and finally picked up her attorney’s pen.

The 31-year-old West Boynton [mother] — jailed since May 14 for defying a judge’s custody order and refusing to let her 4 1/2-year-old son be circumcised — gave her consent to the procedure wanted by the boy’s [father], Dennis Nebus, of Boca Raton.

Because of the boy’s age, the snipping requires general anesthesia – which is itself risky.

What a horrific thing to do.

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

Dublin castle erupts

May 23rd, 2015 11:18 am | By

The Recorder reads the result.

RTÉ News retweeted
Conor Barrins @ConorBarrins 18 minutes ago
#MarRef passes

Embedded image permalink

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RTÉ News retweeted
Martina Fitzgerald @MartinaFitzg 18 minutes ago
Dublin castle erupts with the national anthem #rtenews #marref

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

Ireland has passed the same-sex marriage referendum by 1,201,607 votes

May 23rd, 2015 11:01 am | By

And it’s official official at last – they had to wait for Cork to finish counting, while all of Twitter yelled at Cork to hurry up.

  • 18:55 Ireland becomes the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote.
  • 18:51 Returning Officer Ríona Ní Fhlanghaile declares that Ireland has passed the same-sex marriage referendum by 1,201,607 votes (62.1%) to 734,300 (37.9%).
  • 18:35 The end is nigh! The returning officer for Cork North West/South West/East says two of three results are with Dublin Castle and the third is on the way in minutes.

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