Notes and Comment Blog


Vaccines undermine “divine providence”

Sep 11th, 2013 5:37 pm | By

At the end of August, epidemiologists in Texas traced a measles outbreak to people who attended a particular megachurch, the pastor of which has preached against vaccinations. The pastor has apparently repented that stupid move.

Fortunately, that outbreak was able to be pretty well-contained — after the disease sickened about 21 people, Texas issued a public health alert and quickly found the source of the issue. The megachurch’s pastor was very cooperative and even agreed to host several free clinics to encourage the congregation to get their shots.

That’s good, but a fundamentalist area of the Netherlands isn’t doing so well.

The Netherlands has been struggling with a measles outbreak since May. So far, more than 1,200 people have been sickened, and 82 of them have ended up in the hospital. It’s the first time in the past 13 years that the country has experienced a rash of measles cases. And as the Irish Times reports, the “outbreak is concentrated in the country’s extensive Bible Belt, where the majority of fundamentalist Protestants do not believe in having their children vaccinated.”

So I look at the Irish Times article, from last June.

For the first time in 13 years, the Netherlands has been hit by a serious outbreak of potentially deadly measles. The outbreak is concentrated in the country’s extensive Bible Belt, where the majority of fundamentalist Protestants do not believe in having their children vaccinated.

More than 30 cases have so far been reported, but the public health institute, RIVM, says that “in view of the low vaccination uptake in the Bible Belt, it is assumed that the illness will spread further among unvaccinated children in the near future”.

In fact, the figure of 30 could already be a significant underestimate, acknowledges the RIVM. Given the reluctance of most of the ultra-conservative population to put their faith in medicine, not everyone who has become ill will have visited the family doctor.

So the Netherlands has its own Texas, only more so. Fewer people but more wrong. I did not know that.

The country’s epidemiologists are having difficulty tracking the outbreak because orthodox Protestants don’t usually seek treatment at the doctor after they become sick. The close-knit religious community believes in faith healing, and opposes medical interventions like vaccines because they undermine “divine providence.” And because they live among other orthodox Protestants, rather than being integrated among the rest of the country’s residents, they don’t benefit from the “herd effect” that helps prevent the spread of diseases — that is, the fact that vaccinating some people can end up protecting the unvaccinated ones around them.

So they believe in a stupid incompetent god that wants them to do stupid incompetent things like not getting vaccinated and not using medical treatment. How miserably pathetic.

And how horrible for the children of that “close-knit religious community.”

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



You may find it a little crowded

Sep 11th, 2013 4:45 pm | By

Bad idea department.

An online nursery based in Raleigh, didn’t like the original name of one of the plants they were selling, so they changed the name to Domestic Violence. You know — because they thought the new name was funny.

What is worse, the reason Plant Delights chose that name is because the plant colors are black and blue.

Yes, bad idea is definitely the department you’re looking for.

 

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



Once the femi-fascists

Sep 11th, 2013 4:18 pm | By

More from #standwithpax, because it’s that funny.

Neil Edmondson @NeilJEdmondson

I #standwithpax because the west cannot compete with China when tech is staffed by man hating feminists and leukophobic race hustlers.

You cannot innovate or disrupt while bound by the chains of political correctness #standwithpax

Chad Daring II @Single_WM

How much smoke is gonna come out of the ears of the uber liberals tweeting me bcuz I #standwithpax when they realize I’m dating a black girl

“Chad Daring”? Hahahahahahahahahaha

Christopher Benton @hyperdeath128k

I #standwithpax, because I’m too ignorant to realise that free speech also includes the rights to complain, and to inform others.

ancalgon @ancalgon

You can have any sort of humour, but once the femi-fascists are on to it, you’re fired. #standwithpax

And then I ran into yesterday’s – it’s not a very popular hashtag, as it turns out. So long, pax.

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



Urgent

Sep 11th, 2013 10:20 am | By

The  Foundation Beyond Belief has launched an urgent fund drive in response to the worsening Syrian refugee crisis.

FBB explains:

Our staff evaluated several charities working to aid Syrian refugees and selected International Rescue Committee as the beneficiary of our crisis response drive. The IRC is working in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq to provide the following assistance:

  • In Syria, more than 700,000 vulnerable people have been served to date with medical and emergency supplies. The IRC’s Emergency Response Team is at work in camps for the displaced, providing clean water and sanitation, education to primary students, and emergency supplies to families.  
  • In Jordan, the IRC provides reproductive health care, cash assistance, and social services to refugee families, as well as counseling and other support for survivors of sexual violence. In Jordan’s refugee camps, the IRC is providing technical support for refugee women and girls and helping to reunite children with their families.
  • In Lebanon, the IRC operates four Women’s Centers for refugees and medical consultations. They are also helping hundreds of refugee families with cash assistance, enabling them to pay for rent, food, utilities, and other essentials.
  • In Iraq, at the Domiz camp in the north, the IRC provides camp management and a safe space for women. They are also building a secondary school for refugee children. At Al Qaim camp, near the border with Syria, the IRC is providing free legal assistance, mobilizing community groups, and helping survivors of sexual violence.

A unique aspect of the IRC’s work is its emphasis on protecting women and preventing gender-based violence in situations of mass displacement. Click here for the IRC’s latest Syrian crisis updates.

A unique aspect of the IRC’s work is its emphasis on protecting women and preventing gender-based violence in situations of mass displacement. Click here for the IRC’s latest Syrian crisis updates.

“No matter what the military or political situation is, the human  situation is catastrophic. The relief organizations on the ground are  doing heroic work, and the humanist community is stepping up to help,”  said Dale McGowan, FBB’s executive director.

What you need to know about the Syrian refugee crisis:

  • More than 2 million people are now externally displaced and 4.5 million internally displaced by the violence, a total displacement of one-third of the population of Syria. Half are children.
  • More than 3,500 children currently in Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq crossed Syria’s borders unaccompanied or became separated from their families, according to UNICEF.
  • Half of all Syrians are now in need of humanitarian aid.
  • 35% of Syrian hospitals are now non-functioning; 70% of medical professionals have fled, according to the WHO.
  • The scale of this humanitarian disaster is “unparalleled in recent history,” according to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

Donations to this crisis response drive will be forwarded continuously to the IRC. FBB retains no portion of donations. All donations to and through Foundation Beyond Belief are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Click here to make a donation.

 

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



He prefers to light a candle

Sep 10th, 2013 6:19 pm | By

A couple of days ago Dan Fincke posted a cartoon on his Facebook page, and a lively discussion followed. The cartoon was about the bind women are in: no matter what we do, we get shit for it. Be more feminine/you’re a slut type of thing. I have Dan’s permission to quote from the discussion (and his posts are public, so you can see it for yourself). Part of what made it extra interesting is that Ben Radford participated. Yes that Ben Radford.

Ben Radford I agree with the premise, but unfortunately the piece ignores important distinctions between WHO is saying these things: A respected parent, or an anonymous Internet troll? Just because someone hears a criticism (or compliment) doesn’t mean they pay attention to it or influences them.

That’s convenient, isn’t it. No worries. Internet trolls don’t matter, and people at work don’t matter, and shouts on the street don’t matter – we can all just go back to sleep.

Dan and Heina make the same point. Radford goes on pushing his, though, insisting that not all comments are equally significant (when no one had said they were) and pretending that brought no implied message (“so calm down already, it’s not a big deal”) at the same time. Later he thought of another point.

Dan, another reason why I find this piece superficial, since you asked, is that it suggests a problem without providing, or even hinting at, a solution. The only way to prevent people from using sexist slurs or expressing their opinions is censorship. Unless the comic creators (or anyone else here) thinks curbing free speech is a good idea, I’m not sure what the proposed solution is.

Now that’s some hard thinking he did there. Nothing to be done other than censorship! No social pressure, no social consequences, no argument (despite the argument going on around that very comment) – just censorship, or nothing.

…pointing out social problems is easy. Racism exists, sexism exists, poverty is a problem, etc. No one denies that, and yes, I would say that without offering at least some hint of a way to solve the problem, simply stating that it is a problem is, as Dan would say, a truism. Carl Sagan noted, “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

And

As I noted, I agree with the cartoon’s message… I’m pointing out that the issue of this sexist language is a legitimate and serious problem, and that it is much more complex and nuanced than can be shown in this cartoon. Apparently we can’t even agree on the message of the cartoon, so perhaps that’s part of the problem… I just wish it offered solutions to the problem instead of simply stating that it exists, which we all know. I’m not saying the cartoon is wrong, I’m saying it doesn’t go far enough toward clarifying the issue or offering a way to address it.

“Which we all know?” Oh really – then what’s all this been about, lately?

His final contribution:

Curious that people are touting how important and socially relevant this cartoon is, while at the same time diminishing its importance as “just a cartoon.” (And we can’t even agree on what its message is!) I make no apologies for wishing that it had suggested a solution to the sexism it highlights, instead of merely pointing out that it exists. If others are okay with cursing the darkness that’s fine, but I prefer to light a candle.

And which candle would that be, exactly?

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



Stand with tacks

Sep 10th, 2013 4:56 pm | By

It’s fun to read the tweets under #standwithpax. A few are serious and a lot more are sarcastic. Both sets are funny.

Mike Booth @somegreybloke

I’m going to go #standwithpax and play the world’s tiniest violin whilst laughing.

barefootwriter @bfwriter

if by unpopular you mean ignorant, incorrect, and harmful, then yes, we’re all mad at Pax for expressing unpopular opinions. #standwithpax

The New Bard @The NewBard

#standwithpax I don’t want to live in a country where free speech is punished and a man isn’t entitled to an opinion unless it’s popular.

#standwithpax because if you can’t exercise freedom of speech without a lynch mob coming after you, then freedom of speech does not exist.

Lynch mob!

Matthew Forney @realmattforney

#standwithpax because you shouldn’t lose your job because of your completely unrelated political views.

Not completely unrelated at all. Completely related is more like it. Toward the end of his post Ken White quotes one I hadn’t seen:

Pax Dickinson @paxdickinson

Tech managers spend as much time worrying about how to hire talented female developers as they do worrying about how to hire a unicorn.

Yeah. It’s related. Ken glosses it:

Pax Dickinson is apparently an officer within Business Insider, someone who supervises employees, and someone who interviews applicants to jobs at Business Insider.  If anyone ever accused Business Insider and Pax Dickinson of sex discrimination in hiring or firing, or of workplace harassment or discrimination, that tweet would be useful evidence for the plaintiff, and might convince the jury of discriminatory intent on the part of a Business Insider officer whose actions are attributable to his employer.  He has a First Amendment right to tweet that and cannot be prosecuted for it.  Nor is the tweet, itself, a civil violation.  But it’s potentially powerful evidence of how Business Insider is run, and it’s a freakishly reckless thing for an officer of a business to say in public.

And now he’s not an officer of that business any more.

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



They spread malice against all religions

Sep 10th, 2013 4:11 pm | By

Four of the Bangladeshi atheist bloggers have been charged with “defaming Islam” and other bullshit, and could get seven years in prison if they’re convicted, AFP reports.

Judge Zahirul Haque, sitting in a court in the capital Dhaka, said the bloggers were being charged under the country’s Internet laws, senior public prosecutor Shah Alam Talukdar told AFP.

“They have been indicted… with defaming Islam, the Prophet Mohammed and other religions through their Internet writings. They spread malice against all religions,” he said.

What can one say? That should never be a crime. It was normal to treat it as a crime all over Europe a few centuries ago, but we should have learned better by now. Learning better is a ratchet, and it’s shareable and universalizable, so “defaming” religions should never be treated as a crime. Religion should be voluntary.

The government has said it is determined to ensure communal harmony in the deeply conservative country where 90 percent people are Muslims.

Oh yes, “communal harmony,” meaning, everyone does what the majority demands.

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



Speech has consequences

Sep 10th, 2013 3:50 pm | By

Ken White has a post about Pax Dickinson at Popehat.

He starts by pointing out that free speech does not mean that speech will and must be free of consequences.

Speech has consequences.  It ought to.

In America, we have an elaborate set of laws strictly limiting the government’s ability to inflict those consequences.  That is right and fit; the First Amendment prevents the government from punishing us for most speech.

Private consequences are something else. Speech is designed to invoke private and social consequences, whether the speech is “venti mocha no whip, please,” or “I love you,” or “fuck off.”1 The private and social consequences of your speech — whether they come from a barista, or your spouse, or people online, or people at whom you shout on the street — represent the free speech and freedom of association of others.

Yet people often confuse these categories. It’s one of the fundamental errors of free speech analysis that I like to write about the most.

I think Jason Walsh was doing that on Twitter a few hours ago, but I can’t be sure, because he never did answer my question asking what he meant by “off colour.” But I digress. Ken goes on to say criticism of Pax Dickinson led to the creation of a hashtag #StandWithPax, and to quote a tweet -

I #standwithpax because being offended is not grounds to start a witch hunt.

Paging Russell Blackford, paging Michael Shermer, paging paging paging.

The foundation of “witch hunt” rhetoric is the notion that some free speech (say, Pax’s) is acceptable, and other free speech (say, the speech of people criticizing and ridiculing Pax and his employer) is not. You can try to find a coherent or principled way to reconcile that, but you will fail. Pax Dickinson is not stupid. He tweeted provocative things, which have a natural and probable tendency to cause social consequences, seeking the social consequences he wanted:  the admiration of the like-minded, the anger of people he could laugh at, and general attention.

But not too much attention; not the wrong kind of attention; not the attention of his boss, for instance.

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



Pax Dickinson’s finger

Sep 10th, 2013 11:12 am | By

There’s this guy Pax Dickinson, who likes to be provocative on Twitter. For “provocative” you could substitute various other words, but let’s go with the more neutral word for now. Nitasha Tiku wrote about him yesterday.

What has two thumbs and a homophobic, racist, misogynistic, classist worldview? Pax Dickinson. We just noticed this vile Twitter account from Business Insider’s chief technology officer today. But he’s been at it for awhile.

She includes a lot of screen-capped tweets.

In The Passion Of The Christ 2, Jesus gets raped by a pack of niggers.  It’s his own fault for dressing like a whore though.

feminism in tech remains the champion topic for my block list. my finger is getting tired.

That second one – that’s not a great thing for a tech honcho at Business Insider to say. It doesn’t make Business Insider look good. It makes Business Insider look as if it might be actively opposed to recruiting women, or possibly even to hiring women.
Business Insider fired Pax Dickinson today.

“Unprofessional opinions are not endorsed by anyone respectable” reads the Twitter bio of Pax Dickinson, chief technology officer of Business Insider.

They’re sure not endorsed by his bosses, CEO Henry Blodget and chairman Kevin Ryan, the site’s co-founders. A day after Valleywag raised a stink over Dickinson’s habit of using Twitter to share his views on feminism, poverty and race relations, he is out of the company. “Forced to resign” is how Daily Intel characterizes it; I’m told he was simply “fired.”

There’s probably never a good time to get called out for using racial slurs and making rape jokes, but Dickinson’s contretemps came at a particularly unfortunate moment, with allegations that the tech industry is a hostile environment for women once again front and center thanks to a boorish presentation at TechCrunch’s massive Disrupt conference in San Francisco. TechCrunch quickly apologized for the presentation, for an app called Titstare that purported to capture images of men ogling breasts.

Blodget, who didn’t immediately have a comment when I contacted him, has weathered his share of controversy, coming in for a heavy dose after he wrote a post headlined “Why Do People Hate Jews?” But Blodget quickly quieted critics with his conciliatory manner, whereas Dickinson’s response was to threaten a physical confrontation.

A credit to the company, right? No.

I saw this because the Irish journalist Jason Walsh was expressing concern about the firing on Twitter, so I looked to see what he was talking about. Should we be concerned? I don’t think so. I think people high up in organizations do need to avoid displays of contempt for outsiders and underlings. I think organizations need to seek out people who do that well.

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



More than five times her age

Sep 9th, 2013 4:40 pm | By

HRW reports that an eight-year-old girl died on her “wedding night” after her “husband” used her for sex.

Kuwaitis have called for stringent action against a family in Yemen after their eight-year-old daughter died of internal injuries on the first night of her arranged marriage to a man more than five times her age.

Rawan died in city of Hardh in the Governorate of Hajjah in northwestern Yemen, Kuwaiti daily Al Watan reported on Sunday, quoting Yemeni media.

She is believed to have suffered a tear to her genitals and severe bleeding.

Yemeni activists urged the local police to arrest the “beastly groom” and the girl’s family and transfer them to a court where justice would be served and the case would be used to help put an end to the practice of marrying very young girls in the impoverished country, the daily said.

Good luck.

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



Good bye Sunila Abeysekera

Sep 9th, 2013 4:10 pm | By

Human Rights Watch reports:

Human Rights Watch mourns the death of Sunila Abeysekera, a prominent and highly respected Sri Lankan activist who spent more than two decades documenting human rights violations in Sri Lanka. Abeysekera passed away in Colombo on September 9, 2013, following a long illness.

With a rare ability to act as researcher, advocate, and spokesperson within Sri Lanka and abroad, Abeysekera was internationally recognized as one of South Asia’s preeminent human rights activists.

During Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, Abeysekera refused to take sides, denouncing abuses by both the government and the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Her fierce commitment for the rights of all civilians regardless of ethnicity won her broad-based respect. She faced death threats for her work in an environment which both during and after the war was dangerous for human rights defenders. In spite of these threats, she frequently took her message to the United Nations and other international venues, where she was a combative defender for justice.

Abeysekera was a leading activist on behalf of the human rights of women in Sri Lanka and globally. She recognized that Sri Lanka’s civil war had a terrible impact on the lives of countless women and children. “Women and children are the first victims of any kind of conflict,” Abeysekera said.

Abeysekera started her first career as a drama critic but Sri Lanka’s internal conflicts quickly pulled her from the stage. She entered the human rights field, and became the executive director of INFORM, a nongovernmental organization that exposed serious abuses and sought to bring institutional change in the country. Abeysekera struggled against the entrenched culture of impunity to hold perpetrators accountable for enforced disappearances, killings of civilians of all ethnicities, and the protection of those displaced by Sri Lanka’s armed conflict.

HRW has more.

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



At least one

Sep 9th, 2013 12:19 pm | By

So Elysium is a movie about social inequality, yet it’s almost all-male. Oops. Funny how they just can’t get that right, isn’t it. Well no not funny. That’s not the word.

Just one question then, isn’t it ironic that a film about segregation contains only one fully-rounded female character, and even that role was originally written as male?

Ironic? No, not really, not at this point. By now it’s just abjectly contemptible. Catch the fuck on, will you?

Blomkamp set out to write a film with “at least one central female character”, not an overly revolutionary aspiration in a film about equality. Elysium has a central unromanticised female character, but one that was only switched to female when “it suddenly occurred to him the character could be a woman”. Like the heroines of Salt and Flightplan, this role is strong partly because it was written to be a character before it was rewritten to be female.

Ripley in Alien is another (and then she was made more womany, that is more conventional, in the sequels). If they write them as women they seem to think they have to make them specifically woman-like, whereas men are just people. This drives me batty.

This is a film that sets out to teach an anti-segregation message and still failed the Bechdel test, which checks that at least two women in a film talk to each other about anything other than a man. We’re used to seeing films with only token female characters, and tests like the Bechdel help alert us to what we’ve stopped noticing, if not when we stopped noticing them.

Notice. Notice notice notice. It’s so fatally easy not to.

Whether it is done as intentionally as in Elysium or not, films and TV series form part of a lens that shows us distorted refractions of our world, that shapes the way we think, that reinforces and ideally challenges our values. If I’m shown a world with one central woman in it, I should notice. I should be surprised. I should not be impressed, I should be disappointed. As Pryor said, perhaps it is time we got on with making our own movies. Then we’d be in them.

And we’d be people. Just people. Like anyone.

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



Well good morning to you too

Sep 9th, 2013 11:58 am | By

I go to Twitter and what greets me?

aa2

Phalacrocoracidae@CommonCormorant

Loser, hypocrite, bitch, #cuntbucket AND #douchecanoe: @OpheliaBenson < fuck you ruiner of things. >> look: http://www.atheistrev.com/2012/12/michael-shermer-is-latest-to-be.html … think!!

.@OpheliaBenson is a horrible person.

.@OpheliaBenson makes me think I should avoid Seattle. (Even though I was born in Tacoma.)
#douchecanoe
#cuntbucket

Total stranger to me, that person. I thought I would RT the first one, but got the “you can’t” message – so that person tweeted that shit at me and then blocked me. I don’t do this “that feminazi blocked me just because I called her a cunt!!” routine, I don’t do the “you may not block anyone” routine at all – but I do think that throwing a bunch of shit at a stranger and then blocking is chickenshit.

Anyway. That was my Twitter “good morning.”

Update: A couple of hours on -

aa3

Phalacrocoracidae@CommonCormorant

Not sure I understand how “oh no someone called me the c-word on twitter” is even something adults talk about.

That’s great, isn’t it? Calling a total stranger a cunt is perfectly adult, but talking about the fact that some random thug called me a cunt – that’s not something adults talk about.

Let’s take lessons in ethics from that guy!

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



Be careful with the self-portrait

Sep 8th, 2013 5:43 pm | By

A new installment in a recurring series, What Not to Have in Your Twitter Profile.

(Is that really a series? No, probably not. But it might be. It could be. I’m preparing for contingencies.)

 Everything I believe is evidence based. No exceptions.

That. In fact forget Twitter profiles; don’t describe yourself that way and don’t think of yourself that way. Really, don’t; it’s a recipe for disaster. It might as well be the slogan of our dear friend Dunning Kruger.

And even if it weren’t – it’s still gross. It’s also deeply ironic, since it’s only people who think careful thought is a good thing who describe themselves that way, yet if they actually were careful thinkers, they would never describe themselves that way. Yknow? Careful thinkers know better than that. Careful thinkers have taken some trouble to inform themselves about human cognition (because how could they be careful thinkers if they hadn’t?), and that means they’re aware that we’re all subject to biases and blind spots and implicit associations and answering the easier question instead of the question that was asked – and so on. They know we’re mistake-prone, to put it simply. Even experts in the ways we’re mistake prone are mistake-prone.

So it’s just asinine, as well as conceited and boastful, to announce that you do Reason flawlessly. You don’t, because nobody does.

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



Be suspicious

Sep 8th, 2013 4:16 pm | By

aa

Hahahaha yeah tell that to Dave Silverman and Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker and Greg Epstein and JT Eberhard and Teresa MacBain and the staff of the SSA and -

oh you meant just the ones you don’t like. Ohhhhhh.

Of course, almost none of them actually do have a “career” in atheism or make a primary income from atheism. So that makes your advice kind of pointless.  But never mind, the spirit of it is clear enough.

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



One down

Sep 8th, 2013 11:49 am | By

So the bullies won at least part of their war with Caroline Criado-Perez – she got a new wave of hahaha rape-threats, so she deleted her Twitter account.

Caroline Criado-Perez, who led the campaign to reinstate a woman on an English banknote, took to Twitter on Thursday to vent frustration at the police’s apparent loss of information related to previous death and rape threats, which Scotland Yard has since denied.

The journalist deleted her account after receiving further threats on the site in recent days.

Bullies win, everyone else loses.

 

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



No no, this is a tobacconist

Sep 8th, 2013 11:25 am | By

Maybe it wasn’t the Wild and Crazy Guys, maybe it was the compilers of the Hungarian Phrasebook.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6D1YI-41ao

 

Thanks to resident alien for the reminder.

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



If she says her drink is big, you can say “so’s my dick”

Sep 8th, 2013 10:44 am | By

You know, MRAs and their fans think (or pretend to think) feminists hate men and say outrageous things about men, but take a look at “Ask Men,” which bills itself an advice site for men. Just the front page is insulting – it’s insulting the way things aimed at women are insulting to me. Sports grunt grunt. Cars grunt grunt. And then there’s “how to get a woman to put out” sorry I mean “top ten ways to flirt with a woman sexually.”

1 Find the double meanings

The English language is literally packed with words you can twist around to create sexual meanings. Wet, juicy, hard, fast, hot — the possibilities are endless. For example, if she says her drink is big, you can reply with something like: “Big can be a good thing, don’t you think?” You’ll be surprised how easy it is to add a bit of sexuality to everyday conversations once you start looking for opportunities.

Oh jeezis – this must be where Colin McGinn gets his ideas. “Hey baby – wanna pretend we’re glass-blowers so we can talk about hand jobs and blow jobs? wink wink nudge nudge know what I mean?”

2 Want to know a secret about female sexuality that 99% of men don’t know? Here it is: Many women feel compelled to vacuum their house when they’re ovulating. Some experts believe it has something to do with wanting to “clean the nest” before laying her “egg.” So, when a woman tells you she is vacuuming, say: “Vacuuming? Are you ovulating or something?” She’ll be stunned that you know this and wonder what else you know about female sexuality. Of course, if she doesn’t know what you mean, fill her in. Women love it when you teach them something new — especially about themselves.

That has got to be parody, right? But, no, it’s not. Which is worse – the ludicrous idea that it’s clever to say “Vacuuming? Are you ovulating or something?” or the even more ludicrous claim that women love it when Mr Horndog passes on some bullshit claim about women.

The advice is insulting to men (as well as women), and it’s also just bad advice. Maybe if they added a warning label saying this is advice strictly for avowedly pickup-oriented social occasions and no others, it would be ok, but it appears to be just general advice for talking to women to get them to fuck you. You know why that’s bad advice? Because what they’re advising is sexual harassment. It’s not like sexual harassment, it is sexual harassment. Note that “You’ll be surprised how easy it is to add a bit of sexuality to everyday conversations once you start looking for opportunities.” That is sexual harassment you’re talking about there!

It’s as if the advice had been written by the Two Wild and Crazy Guys, now that their English has improved.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPy1D-bsFDE

 

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



One tent and a stack of Bibles

Sep 8th, 2013 9:51 am | By

There’s a new documentary, Mission Congo by Lara Zizic and David Turner, that alleges some very dubious activities by Pat Robertson. Charity bait-and-switch fraud allegations.

Robertson has a non-profit organization, Operation Blessing International (OBI). He’s in a position to raise a lot of money for it, given the 700 Club and the Christian Broadcasting Network and all. He can just say send money, and people send money. He said send money specifically to aid refugees from the Rwandan genocide who fled to camps in DR Congo.

Chris McGreal, a journalist for The Guardian who was stationed at the refugee camp in Goma, recalled a strange sight. The camp was plagued by a cholera epidemic, which claimed over 40,000 lives. As victims were rushed to medical tents on stretchers, he witnessed a preacher running alongside the stretcher clenching a Bible and preaching to the victim. The Bible-thumper was a member of OBI.

“They had one tent and a stack of Bibles,” said a member of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which provided actual aid to the refugree camp in Goma, in the film.

“People began to refuse the Bibles,” added a local. “‘What we need is food and medicine,’ they said. Operation Blessing would say, ‘That’s not our mission.’”

Bibles. They brought bibles. They brought bibles, and nothing else.

According to Jessie Potts, who served as Operations Manager for OBI in 1994, the charity stopped sending medical teams to Goma several weeks into the operation. Instead, the film alleges that these resources—the donations, the cargo planes, etc.—were used for the for-profit African Development Company Ltd., a diamond mining operation that was headquartered in Kinshasa, while the mining site itself was located in the remote village of Kamonia. Robertson was the sole shareholder and president of ADC.

There are many details, including named people who go on the record.

OBI’s Chief Pilot Hinkle claims in the film that the cargo planes, which bore the logo “Operation Blessing” on the tail, were barely used for any sort of charitable work. Instead, he was shipping 8-inch and 6-inch dredges, 55-gallon drums of fuel, food supplies, four-wheelers, and Jeeps out to the diamond dredging operation in Kamonia. Of the 40 flights he flew, the film alleges that 43.9 hours were spent on humanitarian aid, while 271.9 hours were spent on transporting dredges around Zaire. At one point, Hinkle says he became so disgusted that he had the “Operation Blessing” logo removed from the aircraft. The film also claims that the 3,000-foot airstrip Robertson touted on his program was not used for the transport of medical supplies, but for the mining operation.

You know…if the allegations are true, that’s fraud. It’s my understanding that fraud is a crime. Are prosecutors afraid to go after Pat Robertson because he’s on TeamGod?

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



Only 9 countries

Sep 8th, 2013 8:23 am | By

UNESCO has a new finding: 54 million of the world’s 76 million illiterate young women live in just 9 countries.

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Notice that Bangladesh is the one place on the list where there are more illiterate young men. I wonder why that is.

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