Posts Tagged ‘ FTB ’

“We meant you no harm”

Mar 3rd, 2014 6:17 pm | By

The CBC reports a student union leader at the University of Ottawa, Anne-Marie Roy, was anonymously sent screenshots of a Facebook conversation about her among five male students who are also student leaders. It was an unpleasant conversation from her point of view.

The online conversation — a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press — included references to sexual activities some of the five individuals wrote they would like to engage in with Roy, including oral and anal sex, as well as suggestions that she suffered from sexually transmitted diseases.

“Someone punish her with their shaft,” wrote one of the individuals at one point. “I do believe that with my reputation I would destroy her,” wrote another.

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How different history would have been if

Mar 3rd, 2014 5:37 pm | By

Another great who will be at Women in Secularism 3 in a few weeks:

Katha Pollitt.

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Attribution

Mar 3rd, 2014 5:20 pm | By

It’s annoying when someone you’re arguing with (yes, on social media, not in actual [shudder] real life) says “I’m just being pedantic.”

No, you’re not being pedantic, you’re being wrong. I’m being pedantic, not you.

Sheesh.… Read the rest

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Exam questions redacted

Mar 3rd, 2014 4:58 pm | By

News from the British Humanist Association:

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has expressed alarm after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that Ofqual, OCR and other exam boards have been reaching agreements with at least one and seemingly several state funded ‘faith’ schools to allow them to black out exam questions on evolution, where such questions are deemed incompatible with the schools’ religious ethos.

If a “school” has a “religious ethos” that is incompatible with teaching about evolution then it’s not a “school”; it’s a religious institution of some kind. It’s not education, it’s not teaching, it’s not a school, if there is a religious filter on the content.

The information came to light after Yesoday Hatorah

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Allowed to resign

Mar 3rd, 2014 12:20 pm | By

Via Marcus Ranum: Pro Publica reports that guards may be responsible for half of prison sexual assaults.

new Justice Department study shows that allegations of sex abuse in the nation’s prisons and jails are increasing — with correctional officers responsible for half of it  — but prosecution is still extremely rare.

The survey also shows a growing proportion of the allegations have been dismissed by prison officials as “unfounded” or “unsubstantiated.” Only about 10 percent are substantiated by an investigation.

But even in the rare cases where there is enough evidence to prove that sexual abuse occurred, and that a correctional officer is responsible for it, the perpetrator rarely faces prosecution. While most prison staff shown to be

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Livin’ the scandal

Mar 3rd, 2014 11:52 am | By

Speaking of our grotesque rates of incarceration in the US – here’s a guy in California who was legally growing legal marijuana for a collective of medical marijuana dispensaries, who has been sentenced to two years in the slammer.

Robert Duncan moved from Los Angeles to Northern California in 2010 to manage marijuana growing operations for a collective of medical marijuana dispensaries. Although California voters legalized medical cannabis more than 17 years ago, the plant remains illegal under federal law, and the Obama administration launched a renewed crackdown on marijuana in California in 2011.

That October, Duncan’s grow house was raided. A few months later, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner indicted him and others involved in the dispensary business on

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People take literature seriously, especially in moral philosophy

Mar 2nd, 2014 6:41 pm | By

There’s an interview with Rebecca Goldstein in the Atlantic. She’s a speaker at Women in Secularism 3.

[pause for inward tap dance; inward so as not to alarm Cooper who is asleep]\

From the intro:

At a time when advances in science and technology have changed our understanding of our mental and physical selves, it is easy for some to dismiss the discipline of philosophy as obsolete. Stephen Hawking, boldly, argues that philosophy is dead.

Yes, and Richard Dawkins, absurdly, demands why philosophy didn’t think of natural selection before Darwin.

How early do you think children can, or should, start learning about philosophy?

I started really early with my daughters. They said the most interesting things that if

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Blog Baedeker

Mar 2nd, 2014 5:31 pm | By

A tour around FTB…

From the newest blog, On the Margin of Error, Kaveh talks about the fetish for uncertainty.

…we are not certain if there is an alien species or not. But if someone says that he knows aliens have their asses on their heads and every time they fart their eyes pop out, then we can be certain that person is wrong, and our certainty is not dogmatic, but only rational.

I have that thought often. There could be a First Cause, or a Whatever, or another cosmos in which this cosmos is just an atom, along with a cosmos in every atom of this cosmos…But none of that has anything to do with all the nonsensical … Read the rest

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Many surviving women have been excluded from the redress scheme

Mar 2nd, 2014 12:46 pm | By

The Sinn Féin website reports what its Deputy Leader said at the Glasnevin Flowers for Magdalene event. (Sinn Féin is, as I understand it, quite pro-church itself, so much of this may be political. That doesn’t make it untrue though.)

One year after Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s apology to the Magdalene survivors, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has called on the government to introduce the long awaited Restorative Justice Bill.

Speaking after the annual Flowers for Magdalene event in Glasnevin today, Deputy McDonald said:

“A year ago Taoiseach Enda Kenny made an emotional address to survivors from the Magdalene laundries in Ireland.

“The apology was a historic recognition to the women survivors of the abusive Magdalene Laundry regime.

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To honor the memories of those women and girls

Mar 2nd, 2014 12:35 pm | By

And just today, a few hours ago, at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, the third annual Flowers for Magdalenes event, to remember the women who died in the Magdalene Laundries.

Speakers included Mary Lou McDonald TD (Sinn Féin), Claire McGettrick (Justice for Magdalenes), Lynn Boylan (Sinn Féin) and Martina Keogh (Survivor of the Magdalene laundries).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwcXTlWEx1k

 … Read the rest

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The deceitful tale it told itself of a kindly and compassionate social order

Mar 2nd, 2014 12:30 pm | By

Meet Mari Steed.

Mari Steed was two-years-old when she was adopted from Ireland by a family from Flourtown, PA. Years later, her search for her birth mother turned up the Magdalene Laundries’ terrifying legacy, and Steed is widely credited for her campaign for justice and the Irish Government’s apology to the Magdalene survivors.

Mari is the daughter of a Magdalene survivor. She was taken from her mother and sent for adoption in America at eighteen months old.

She might never have gone looking for the woman who relinquished her had fate not brought her a great empathy for her mother’s experience. In her senior year of high school, Steed became pregnant by her boyfriend. Her parents sent her

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Farewell to Mainok

Mar 2nd, 2014 11:53 am | By

Boko Haram struck again yesterday.

The attackers – believed to be from the Boko Haram group – destroyed the entire village of Mainok, about 50km (30 miles) west of the city of Maiduguri.

The incident took place late on Saturday, hours after two bomb blasts killed at least 50 people in Maiduguri.

Boko Haram has been conducting a four-year violent campaign to demand Islamic rule in northern Nigeria.

The morning after the latest attack, bodies were lying in front of the mosque waiting to be buried and buildings in Mainok were still on fire, the BBC’s Will Ross reports from Lagos.

An eyewitness described how the attack unfolded: “They started shooting everywhere, they started burning all the houses in

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Watch that “all”

Mar 2nd, 2014 10:50 am | By

Oh lordy. Again. I should just add a little sub-blog or something: Dawkinswatch.

This time he’s trying his hand at making authoritative pronouncements about religion versus atheism on Twitter, and…well, I cringed.

Some good people are religious. Some good people are atheists. All who fight stem cell research & evolution teaching are religious.

Some good people are religious. Some good people are atheists. All who bomb abortion clinics & all who mutilate clitorises are religious.

Some atheists are bad. But all stoners, hand-choppers, abortion clinic bombers, evolution deniers, gay-persecutors are religious.

Some atheists do good, some bad. But atheism drives nobody to do bad. Raligion drives some people to do bad because they think it’s good.

Oh gawd. Somebody … Read the rest

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Some of the students’ bodies were burned to ashes

Mar 1st, 2014 5:57 pm | By

Boko Haram is still slaughtering people as if they were fleas or bedbugs. On Tuesday they murdered FIFTY NINE CHILDREN at a boarding school in Yobe state.

Gunmen from Islamist group Boko Haram shot or burned to death 59 pupils in a boarding school in north-east Nigeria overnight, a hospital official and security forces said on Tuesday.

“Some of the students’ bodies were burned to ashes,” police commissioner Sanusi Rufai said of the attack on the federal government college of Buni Yadi, a secondary school in Yobe state, near the state’s capital city of Damaturu.

Bala Ajiya, an official at the Specialist Hospital Damaturu, said the death toll had risen to 59. “Fresh bodies have been brought in. More bodies

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A question answered

Mar 1st, 2014 12:22 pm | By

That question the CBC asked in The Fifth Estate yesterday? “When does a group’s right to religious freedom get trumped by society’s obligation to protect children?” Republican legislators in Idaho have answered it with “not when it’s a matter of life and death.”

Republican legislators in Idaho struck down a proposed law aimed at preventing the deaths of children whose parents eschew medical treatment in favor of prayer.

Boise’s KBOI reported on announcement by state House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rich Wills (R), who said that House Speaker Scott Bedke (R) said there is no room on the legislative agenda to debate the bill. Bedke declined to comment, however, as to why the measure is being left off of the

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Why didn’t a microbiologist perform Swan Lake?

Mar 1st, 2014 12:02 pm | By

Oh the hell with it. I was going to confine my kvetching on this one to Facebook, but the hell with it – it’s too annoying to leave.

Richard Dawkins @RichardDawkins Feb 28

Superb lecture in Oxford last pm by @sapinker Why didn’t a historian write The Better Angels of Our Nature? Why did it take a scientist?

Michael Shermer @michaelshermer Feb 28

@RichardDawkins @sapinker Same reason it was a scientist-Jared Diamond-who finally explained why civilizations developed as they did.

Oh yeah? Well why didn’t a scientist write Hamlet? Why didn’t a physicist write the “Ode to a Nightingale”? Why didn’t a chemist paint Las Meninas? Why didn’t a biologist compose The Trout Quintet?

Just stop asking … Read the rest

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Yet another pool of underage girls for The Boss

Mar 1st, 2014 11:22 am | By

You’re wondering who Shlomo Helbrans is, unless you followed the link. The link was to last night’s episode of The Fifth Estate, which was about yet another of these pretend religions that are really just games of “let’s go back to the far far past and play at being old-fashioned people with old-fashioned customs” combined with an excellent system for giving one man lots of nooky. This one is sort of kind of hyper-Orthodox Jewish, but only sort of kind of, and the more official hyper-Orthodox Jewish authorities frown on it with disdain. But meh – I don’t see how theirs is any better just because it’s not new. But still, the cult in question is the personal creation … Read the rest

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The best wheeze ever

Mar 1st, 2014 11:06 am | By

Micah J Murray tells us what it was like growing up in Bill Gothard’s homeschool cult.

I remember saying, more seriously than joking, “If this is brainwashing, it feels good to be brain clean.”

But as I spiraled closer and closer to to the center, the realization began to sink in. The jokes became real.

“Cult-like”, sure. I’d call it that. Authoritarian, legalistic, overbearing. But not a real cult.

The worst thing about brainwashing is that you can’t see it for what it is. You never think you’re in a cult when you’re in a cult.

Now Gothard is in the news because – surprise surprise – there are allegations of abuse. What a coincidence: it turns out that an … Read the rest

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Ag gag

Mar 1st, 2014 10:29 am | By

Mother Jones has a long and informative piece on whistle-blowing in the agriculture industry, and a campaign to pass laws criminalizing it.

PETA was urging prosecutors to go beyond plea agreements for farmworkers; they wanted charges against farm owners and their corporate backers, to hold them responsible for crimes committed by undertrained, overburdened employees.

This prospect scared industrial-scale meat producers into organizing a coordinated pushback. Recognizing that, in the era of smartphones and social media, any worker could easily shoot and distribute damning video, meat producers began pressing for legislation that would outlaw this kind of whistleblowing. Publicly, MowMar pledged to institute a zero-tolerance policy against abuse and even to look into installing video monitoring in its barns. And

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Mr Yousaf has urged Mr Hague to offer asylum

Mar 1st, 2014 9:39 am | By

Via Kausik – the Scottish Government wants to offer asylum to Ugandans facing persecution under the country’s vile new anti-gay law. The Herald Scotland reports:

Humza Yousaf, Minister For External Affairs, has written to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague detailing the Scottish Government’s gesture to welcome “any Ugandan” persecuted by the new laws.

A day after President Museveni enacted the law a Ugandan newspaper published a list of what it called the country’s 200 top homosexuals, including some who previously had not identified themselves as gay.

In his letter Mr Yousaf has urged Mr Hague “to offer asylum to any Ugandans who feels threatened or persecuted by the legis­lation”, adding that “Scotland will play her part in providing asylum

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