Posts Tagged ‘ FTB ’

The honors list

Apr 3rd, 2014 5:41 pm | By

Maryam has been made a Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism, which is a CFI thing full of starry stars. AC Grayling, Taslima Nasrin, Harold Kroto, Leo Igwe, Patricia Churchland, Dan Dennett, Rebecca Goldstein, Susan Jacoby, Wendy Kaminer, Jonathan Miller, Salman Rushdie, Peter Singer, Wole Soyinka, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Keith Thomas…and lots more.

Very cool.

Here’s the whole list.… Read the rest

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The safety of zeroing out

Apr 3rd, 2014 4:44 pm | By

Another state down.

Catholic News Agency “reports”:

The Louisiana House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved new safety regulations requiring that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, rules which could lead most abortion clinics in the state to close.

“We are thrilled that the Louisiana House of Representatives overwhelming passed H.B. 388 to protect the health and safety of women,” Benjamin Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, said March 31.

Ya that’s not safety regulations, you lying shits. That’s making abortion unavailable.

The bill requires that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic.

In addition, it clarifies that informed consent protections also apply to abortions procured with the RU-486 pill.

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The ground shakes

Apr 3rd, 2014 4:23 pm | By

The Onion reports on a disturbing new trend:

Increasing Number Of Men Pressured To Accept Realistic Standards Of Female Beauty

The tragedy!

NEW YORK—Confronted on a regular basis with images of women who represent a diverse array of body types, a growing number of American men are reportedly feeling pressured to accept the increasingly realistic standards of female beauty now depicted in the media, social scientists confirmed this week.

“More and more, men today find themselves bombarded with un-retouched images, and with that comes the considerable mental burden of trying to reconcile what they see in these ads and magazines with their personal perceptions of beauty,” said sociologist Cliff Hillard, who studies attainable ideals of female attractiveness in the media

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He might not like the food

Apr 3rd, 2014 1:36 pm | By

So a guy rapes his 3-year-old daughter, is tried and convicted several years later, and…

gets no jail time.

Robert Richards IV was in 2009 convicted of raping his three-year-old daughter, seven years after she, then five, told relatives that she didn’t want “my daddy touching me anymore.” In an alarming twist, the judge who sentenced the heir to the du Pont fortune let him off with no jail time, arguing that six-foot-four Richards “will not fare well” in prison.

Instead of sentencing him to prison for raping a toddler, Judge Jan Jurden ruled that Richards would benefit from treatment. Critics have since noted that such treatment is usually only offered to drug addicts or those in

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We’ll show you who’s “too controlling”

Apr 3rd, 2014 10:57 am | By

A British woman who went to visit family in Iran has been locked up for five months in Evin prison for saying things on Facebook.

Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, from Stockport, was arrested as she stepped off a plane in the provincial city of Shiraz and accused of being a spy, husband Daryoush Taghipoor told the Manchester Evening News.

Daryoush said his 47-year-old wife has been detained at Evin, an infamous prison in Iranian capital Tehran, on suspicion of plotting to commit crimes against security and insulting Islam.

He claimed her arrest was over comments she made on an internet chat forum and to friends on Facebook about the Iranian government being too controlling and ‘too Islamic’.

Part-time chef Daryoush

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Apr 3rd, 2014 10:35 am | By

Interestingly understated headline in the Independent:

Concern as Brunei brings in system of Islamic law with punishments that include the dismemberment of limbs and stoning to death

Well yes, that would awake some concern.

The Sultan of Brunei, one of the world’s wealthiest rulers and a close ally of Britain, will this week oversee his country’s transition to a system of Islamic law with punishments that include flogging, the dismemberment of limbs and stoning to death.

I hate having close allies like that, don’t you?

The 67-year-old absolute monarch declared last year that he wanted to introduce a full sharia system in his oil-rich nation and warned critics who took to social media sites to complain that they could be

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We were always being exhorted to think for ourselves

Apr 2nd, 2014 5:01 pm | By

A wonderful passage from Louise Antony’s essay in Philosophers Without Gods (a collection she edited):

As I’ve said, the reactions of grownups to my questions about religion were doubly distressing to me because of their dissonance with the principles adults were explicitly promoting in other contexts. In school, a broadly libertarian and individualistic ethos prevailed. We were always being exhorted to “think for ourselves.” In reading, we were urged to “sound out the words instead of just asking,” and in arithmetic to figure out the problems on our own. Science teachers and science books agreed heartily that curiosity is a marvelous thing, the engine of all scientific achievement. One must not take things for granted; one must always ask “why.”

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What philosophers call epistemic peers

Apr 2nd, 2014 4:26 pm | By

After the conversation with Plantinga, Gary Gutting moved on to one with Louise Antony.

Antony is the editor of the wonderful collection of essays Philsophers Without Gods (Oxford University Press 2007). I’ve blogged about it several times. Gutting’s conversation with her is much more interesting than the one he had with Plantinga.

Gutting starts by telling her she’s “taken a strong stand as an atheist” and she replies by saying she doesn’t know what he means by that.

L.A. I don’t consider myself an agnostic; I claim to know that God doesn’t exist, if that’s what you mean.

G.G.: That is what I mean.

L.A.: O.K. So the question is, why do I say that theism is false

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Surplus to requirements

Apr 2nd, 2014 12:02 pm | By

Matt Rowland Hill says why the Law Society’s guidance on sharia-compliant wills was such a shit idea.

British Muslims aren’t a single culture with a monolithic faith, and it’s not up to the Law Society to decide which understanding of “sharia practice” is correct. Instead of producing a neutral description of sharia, it has effectively issued a declamation on behalf of a regressive, reactionary version of Islamic jurisprudence that more liberal-minded Muslims fight bravely against.

For an organisation ostensibly committed to the liberal values enshrined in British law to join the theological fray on the conservative side is a cruel blow to reformist Muslims. (To name just one, Dr Usama Hasan, an astronomer, Islamic scholar and imam, argues there

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Hello corruption our old friend

Apr 2nd, 2014 9:15 am | By

The Supreme Court says oh the hell with it, just buy and sell elections as if they were so much popcorn. Go right ahead.

The Supreme Court struck down limits Wednesday in federal law on the overall campaign contributions the biggest individual donors may make to candidates, political parties and political action committees.

Because what could possibly go wrong? Why shouldn’t elections be a matter of which side has the most cash? Think about it. Rich people are the best people, right? So the more money a candidate gets, the better that candidate is. It’s simple.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced the decision, which split the court’s liberal and conservative justices. Roberts said the aggregate limits do not act

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These depraved infidels

Apr 1st, 2014 6:10 pm | By

He really said it, according to the Daily Kos in October 2012. He is Arkansas State Representative Loy Mauch, Republican. Between 2000 and 2011 he wrote a lot of letters to the Arkansas Times.

One such letter said:

Nowhere in the Holy Bible have I found a word of condemnation for the operation of slavery, Old or New Testament. If slavery was so bad, why didn’t Jesus, Paul or the prophets say something?

This country already lionizes Wehrmacht leaders. They go by the names of Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Custer, etc. These Marxists not only destroyed the Constitution they were sworn to uphold, but apostatized the word of God. Either these depraved infidels or the Constitution and Scriptures are

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For real?

Apr 1st, 2014 5:54 pm | By

Not part of a sitcom?

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Lean out

Apr 1st, 2014 5:48 pm | By

The MRAs gather again.

“We’re gathered to celebrate Women’s History Month, but I don’t celebrate Women’s History Month,” announced writer Mona Charen, one of the panelists. “It doesn’t interest me whether a person who happens to share my chromosomes sits in the Oval Office. It doesn’t interest me how many women members of the Senate there are.”

Yes yes yes. We’ve heard it before. Sing a new song.

What interests Charen and the other women on the stage is their belief, as Charen put it, that “feminism has done so much damage to happiness.” And the solution to this damage, it turns out, is matrimony — the same thing that will solve problems such as income inequality and the Republican

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Paying it forward

Apr 1st, 2014 2:51 pm | By

A comrade needs help. [Right-click to open new window if you want to avoid an ad opening.]

As you know, last year Finbar was diagnosed with cancerous growths on his lymph nodes. After months of worry, they were removed and all seemed well. Unfortunately they have reappeared and none of the doctors know what is going on yet. More surgery is some weeks away. This is obviously an incredibly stressful situation for Fin, made worse by the fact that last year due to his inability to study he was kicked off Austudy and left in a financial hole he hasn’t been able to recover from. Because of this, Fin is being evicted from his home.

Part of the reason

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Disgusted with the boys’ club attitude

Apr 1st, 2014 1:02 pm | By

I posted this on Facebook yesterday, so I might as well post it here today.

From former JREF Outreach Coordinator Brian Thompson:

“Let me explain why I’m supporting Karen Stollznow’s legal defense fund. Maybe some of my Facebook friends don’t know who she is or what this is all about. Karen is a linguist, writer, and investigator who looks into claims of the paranormal, the supernatural, and the outrageous with a skeptical eye. Skeptics like her do a lot of good for the world in ways large and small. They’re the ones fighting against the kind of scientific ignorance that keeps people from vaccinating their kids, for example. And if it weren’t for skeptical investigators, I might still be cowered

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She walks and sits in tightly packaged ways

Apr 1st, 2014 12:38 pm | By

What about women and body language and power? Lisa Wade did a post about that awhile ago at Sociological Images.

Philosopher Sandra Lee Bartky once observed that being feminine often means using one’s body to portray powerlessness.  Consider: A feminine person keeps her body small and contained; she makes sure that it doesn’t take up to much space or impose itself.  She walks and sits in tightly packaged ways.  She doesn’t cover the breadth of the sidewalk or expand herself beyond the chair she occupies.

Well I’m not feminine then, but I knew that. Although there’s an exception: I do try to keep my body (and especially my feet) small and contained where space is limited and other people Read the rest

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All dissent is terrorism

Apr 1st, 2014 11:38 am | By

Human Rights Watch reported on March 20 that Saudi Arabia has passed a new “terrorism” law that pretty much equates all forms of dissent with terrorism.

The new regulations come amid a campaign to silence independent activists and peaceful dissidents through intimidation, investigations, arrests, prosecutions, and imprisonment. On March 9, the prominent human rights activists Abdullah al-Hamid and Mohammed al-Qahtani completed their first year in prison, serving 11 and 10-year sentences, respectively, for criticizing the government’s human rights abuses and for membership in an unlicensed political and civil rights organization.

Two other human rights activists, Waleed Abu al-Khair and Mikhlif al-Shammari, recently lost appeals and will probably begin their three-month and five-year respective sentences soon for criticizing Saudi authorities.

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He said there was mould in it

Mar 31st, 2014 5:39 pm | By

A “blood analyst” who claims to cure cancer.

It was a devastating diagnosis. In less than 10 minutes, the Harley Street specialist had taken a pinprick of Wendy Roberts’s blood, examined it under a powerful microscope and concluded that she probably had cancer.

Miss Roberts, 40, was distraught: she had been feeling unwell and Errol Denton’s apparently expert opinion confirmed her worst fears.

“He told me my blood was dirty; he said it was toxic and said there was mould in it. He said I have markers for diabetes and he had only ever seen blood like mine in a cancer patient,” Miss Roberts said.

So she staggered outside and freaked out, because she thought he was legit.

Last week,

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Plantinga and teapots

Mar 31st, 2014 5:14 pm | By

Gary Gutting talked to Alvin Plantinga for the NY Times blog The Stone awhile ago. They start with talk about evidence and what to conclude from the presence or absence of evidence. They arrive at Russell’s teapot.

A.P.: Russell’s idea, I take it, is we don’t really have any evidence against teapotism, but we don’t need any; the absence of evidence is evidence of absence, and is enough to support a-teapotism. We don’t need any positive evidence against it to be justified in a-teapotism; and perhaps the same is true of theism.

I disagree: Clearly we have a great deal of evidence against teapotism. For example, as far as we know, the only way a teapot could have gotten into

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If something has happened that you don’t have words for

Mar 31st, 2014 4:23 pm | By

The NY Times has a brief interview with Barbara Ehrenreich (who will be at WiS3 in a few weeks ohboy).

She had some mystical-type experiences when she was a teenager, although she didn’t conclude they were from god or anything. She’s written a memoir about it.

You’ve written and spoken extensively about your atheism. Did you ever feel you were being deceitful because you’d had these experiences with a world beyond the rational? 

I realized that whatever I experienced was not anything like a deity that I knew of. It certainly was not a good, caring God of Christianity. On the other hand, I knew it was way out of the reach of science, and I did feel uneasy. My

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