Posts Tagged ‘ FTB ’

Number 10 to all: No humanist weddings for you

Dec 14th, 2014 4:11 pm | By

Another poke in the eye for those wicked people who can’t manage to bend the knee to a god.

Thousands of couples planning non-religious humanist weddings could have their hopes dashed after a row between the Tories and Liberal Democrats saw Number 10 veto proposals to give such marriages legal status.

The Lib Dems want people who are agnostic, atheist or simply do not want a religious ceremony to be able to have a secular wedding, outside of a register office. Couples could tailor their own ceremonies, and select venues that are not licensed for civil weddings.

Aaaaaaaand…who could possibly object to that? What is there to object to? People can secular-marry in a register office, so why forbid them … Read the rest

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



Hostages in the window with their hands up

Dec 14th, 2014 3:50 pm | By

Right now at a cafe in Sydney.

The story says the people in the window are staff. Not even privileged rich coffee-sippers, but young people who staff the cafe.*

Picture: Courtesy of Channel 7. Source: Supplied

AN ARMED man is holding several people hostage at a cafe in Martin Place in Sydney.

There are hostages standing with their hands up at the windows in the popular Lindt chocolate shop, which has two or three entrances. There is also a black and white flag being held up in a window. It is believed to be the Black Standard, a jihadist flag.

Staff in shop aprons can be seen with their hands on the windows.

Police officers have guns drawn outside

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



The worst of the worst

Dec 14th, 2014 11:45 am | By

God Dick Cheney is an embarrassment. He was on tv this morning saying how fabulous torture is and how he regrets nothing.

The former vice president showed little remorse for the dozens of prisoners who were found to have been wrongfully detained, for the man who died in the program, or for people like Khaled El-Masri — a German citizen who was shipped off to Afghanistan and sodomized in a case of mistaken identity.

“I’d do it again in a minute,” said Cheney.

He also spoke repeatedly of how the program was justified to get the “bastards” who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.

He’s really that stupid? Or that self-blinded or that warped by his own loyalties? He really thinks … Read the rest

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



Even when you are emotionally invested

Dec 14th, 2014 11:12 am | By

Here’s an interesting issue.

From the context where I found it, I gather it’s one of those right-wing moral panics about creeping PC run amok creepingly amidst us, but setting that aside, it’s still an interesting issue. The issue is something like: can an exam question about a very fraught current event or series of events be so emotionally loaded that it either shouldn’t be on the exam or should have a trigger warning?

Eugene Volokh writes it up for the Washington Post.

Several readers have asked me about the controversy at UCLA Law School related to this exam question in a First Amendment Law class:

Question I (35 minutes)

CNN News reported: On Nov. 24, St. Louis County

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Such a pretty tincture

Dec 13th, 2014 5:55 pm | By

I’ve been remembering the tinctures – the tiny little tinctures that Prince Charles used to sell for £10 the 50 ml bottle. He doesn’t sell them any more because the regulators told him to stop pretending they had medicinal value.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint over the online advertising, for a range of organic products, including Duchy Herbals Echina-Relief Tincture and Duchy Herbals Hyperi-Lift Tincture saying the product had no “scientifically proven benefits for treating colds and low moods”.

The advert for the products, which are sold for £10 for 50ml in some Boots and Waitrose stores, claimed “If you haven’t managed to escape the winter sniffles, look no further than our new Echina-Relief Tincture,

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



Ghomeshi was the way he was

Dec 13th, 2014 4:56 pm | By

In the CBC’s Fifth Estate show on Jian Ghomeshi, there was discussion of the fact that he once told a producer at a meeting who had just yawned that he would like to hate-fuck her to wake her up. (No doubt it stuck in my mind because the US is too puritanical to allow the word “fuck” on broadcast tv.) A few days later the producer wrote about her history with Ghomeshi at the Guardian. It’s an ugly story. Familiar, and ugly.

I used to work as a radio producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. A few months into my job in 2007, I let out a big yawn at a staff meeting and my host told me “I want

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The small school she opened

Dec 13th, 2014 4:12 pm | By

Mukhtar Mai is strong and active these days, which is good to learn. If you’ve been reading B&W for a long time you may remember a lot of posts about her gang rape, ordered by the village elders as punishment for something her younger brother was alleged to have done (he hadn’t).

KARACHI: Mukhtar Mai put up a smiling face throughout the evening – a smile that symbolised courage, defiance and resilience, even when others spoke about how difficult life is for rape survivors.

On Thursday, she was called to address a seminar, titled ‘Rape and Sexual Violence: Legal Reforms,’ organised by War Against Rape (WAR) to celebrate 25 years of its existence.

I remember thinking at the time … Read the rest

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“”But she crossed the line by telling my mom about it”

Dec 13th, 2014 12:57 pm | By

You couldn’t make it up. Update: you could make it up, and someone did. I bit! /end of update.

You know how Alanah Pearce has been getting harassment, and how she’s been reporting some of the harassers to their mothers?

Now some of the reported ones are suing her for doing that. For some reason the judge has apparently failed to throw the case out.

Australia-based video game reviewer Alanah Pearce is set to appear in court after revealing to mothers that their sons threatened her on her Facebook page, according toThe Huffington Post

According to the 21-year-old, the threats were prompted by her game reviews posted on YouTube. Some viewers responded negatively on her reviews by posting

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This reflects cultural conventions, not sexism

Dec 13th, 2014 11:20 am | By

Wait wait wait.

Yet another of the American Enterprise Institute’s anti-feminist “feminists” takes on “the conventional wisdom” about women in science.

It’s the conventional wisdom that women are held back in science because of sexism. A new paper by a research team at Cornell University reports that young women faculty members prosper in math-based fields of science. Statistically, women are less likely to continue on in certain science fields, but there are cultural conventions that need to be taken into account. Visiting Factual Feminist Sally Satel will discuss these factors in this episode.

But there are cultural conventions? Well of course there are – and those cultural conventions are part of what sexism is. Why would the presence of … Read the rest

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



Juxtaposition

Dec 13th, 2014 9:28 am | By

Checking in on Twitter…That photo of the Greenpeacers standing around with their stupid yellow message is at the top of my page, and I stared at it some more, with a new or refreshed feeling of…something…

…something, it occurs to me, very close to a sense of profanation. Of something “sacred” being violated and profaned by a hostile external doesn’t-belong element. Everything in me screams GET OFF as I look at it. GET AWAY FROM THERE.

It’s more aesthetic than sacerdotal, though. The hummingbird is so arresting and stark and beautiful – that cheap yellow clutter is just an outrage next to it.

But it’s not purely or solely aesthetic. There’s added weight because of whatever (unknown) meaning the lines … Read the rest

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Guest post: Why we pay attention

Dec 13th, 2014 9:07 am | By

Originally a comment by SC (Salty Current) on That’s why.

I’ve given this a bit of thought over the past several months, especially when I’ve been inclined to say, “Can we start ignoring him now?” Eventually, I realized that I pay attention to posts about Dawkins in much the same way as I pay attention to Right Wing Watch. As you and Lee said, he’s a rich and influential person and so even his most ludicrous and poisonous statements get media attention and a public hearing. Several years ago, I wouldn’t have thought that I’d ever regard Dawkins in this way.

Second, I have a longstanding interest in the ways governments (the US and UK in particular), corporations, … Read the rest

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



More than all the gold ever mined

Dec 12th, 2014 5:46 pm | By

The garbage in the oceans problem is worse than people thought. Much worse.

More than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are afloat in the world’s oceans, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One.

Ranging in size from a grain of salt to larger than a plastic water bottle, the plastic pollution in the world’s oceans weighs more than 269,000 tons—far more than all the gold ever mined in the world and far more than scientists previously estimated.

And that’s in just a few decades. Good job, humans.

Study author Marcus Eriksen and his team from the 5 Gyres Institute, based in Los Angeles, spent tens of thousands of hours scouring the world’s oceans

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



The damage

Dec 12th, 2014 4:29 pm | By

The damage Greenpeace did is worse than I’d realized. (Thanks to Tsu Dho Nimh for giving us the link to a graphic picture.)

You can see it very clearly in this picture from RT, assuming those naughty Russians haven’t faked it up.

That’s a mess.

Peru This Week points out that it hasn’t been established that the marks were not there before Greenpeace invaded the site.

Photographs taken yesterday at 5:05 p.m. by Captain Juan Carlos Ruiz are timely and demonstrate the current state of the lines. However, at the moment it is still unclear whether or not photographs taken prior to the incident correctly demonstrate the state up to the very moment the activists entered.

On their

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Especially bad decisions

Dec 12th, 2014 3:50 pm | By

Stacey Patton and David J Leonard at the BBC look at why some victims get blamed for being killed by the police.

“You had a 350lb (158.8kg) person who was resisting arrest. The police were trying to bring him down as quickly as possible,” New York Representative Peter King told the press. “If he had not had asthma and a heart condition and was so obese, almost definitely he would not have died.”

This sort of logic sees Garner’s choices as the reasons for his death. Everything is about what he did. He had a petty criminal record with dozens of arrests, he (allegedly) sold untaxed cigarettes, he resisted arrest and disrespected the officers by not complying.

It’s as if … Read the rest

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Ruling: the killing of Tamir Rice was a homicide

Dec 12th, 2014 12:40 pm | By

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s report ruled Rice’s death a homicide.

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Grave violation

Dec 12th, 2014 12:21 pm | By

The Malay Mail Online notes that the IHEU report on freedom of thought singled out Malaysia “for trampling on the rights of non-religious sections of society.”

The International Humanist and Ethical Union’s (IHEU) latest edition of the Freedom of Thought Report 2014 gave Malaysia a“grave violation” rating, specifically citing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s speech in Kuantan on May 14 in which he branded “humanism and secularism as well as liberalism” as “deviant”.

Najib went on to describe these elements as a threat to Islam and the country at a national-level Quran Recital Assembly, the report added.

“This country is found to be declining due to alienating rhetoric against “atheists” and “humanists” voiced in 2014 by the prime minister,

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Greenpeace still doesn’t get it

Dec 12th, 2014 11:53 am | By

Greenpeace has apologized to the people of Peru for stomping on the Nazca lines in order to stick a dopy slogan next to them – but it’s a bad, point-missing apology.

Greenpeace has apologized for the action. “Without reservation Greenpeace apologises to the people of Peru for the offence caused by our recent activity laying a message of hope at the site of the historic Nazca Lines,” the organization said in a statement. “We are deeply sorry for this.

“Rather than relay an urgent message of hope and possibility to the leaders gathering at the Lima UN climate talks, we came across as careless and crass.”

No, you dumb fucks. You damaged the site. It’s not about how … Read the rest

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



That’s why

Dec 12th, 2014 10:46 am | By

Adam Lee has a post on the “suppression” of Richard Dawkins, based on that interview with Kimberly Winston a few weeks ago. There’s a comment on it that is surprisingly oblivious to something that seems completely obvious to me. (Which just goes to show – what’s obvious to me is not obvious to thee. That’s what all this is about, in the end.)

Adam, your points are as always well thought through and equally well written.
What I don’t understand is the obsession that some in the atheist community have in following Richard Dawkins every word and then proceeding to perform an autopsy on the perceived flaws in his character. He is after all human like the rest of

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He could be facing five years in prison for blasphemy

Dec 12th, 2014 9:53 am | By

You know how we keep being told that Indonesia is an example of a country where Islam is the majority religion but is not oppressive?

Oh really?

The Jakarta Post has defended the publication of a cartoon criticising Islamic State (IS) militants, after its editor was named in a defamation case.

The cartoon shows a flag similar to ones used by IS with the words “there is no God but Allah”, and a skull and crossbones.

That is, the IS flag has the words “there is no God but Allah” and a plain oval; the cartoon made the plain oval a skull and crossbones.

Published on 3 July, the cartoon replaces the oval shape on the original flag with a

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The ISS sends a postcard

Dec 12th, 2014 9:39 am | By

The view from up there – Lake Michigan, Chicago, St Louis, Memphis…

Image Credit: NASA/Barry Wilmore

From the International Space Station, Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore took this photograph of the Great Lakes and central U.S. on Dec. 7, 2014, and posted it to social media.

Toronto, Buffalo…Columbus…Atlanta…… Read the rest

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