Sometimes a notpology is a good outcome

A friend translated a piece in Svenska Dagbladet for me and gave me permission to share it with y’all. The translation is verbatim rather than idiomatic.

-The emissary has not presented a Swedish apology, but has presented that there was no intention to insult Saudi Arabia or Islam, the source says to (news agency) TT.

-It has been deplored from the Swedish side if what was said has been perceived as an insult.

According to Al Arabiya, the Swedish King is also to have underscored “the force of the relationship” between Sweden and Saudi Arabia to his Saudi colleague King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud. Under which forms this message was presented is not known.

On Friday, the government’s emissary Björn von Sydow was received by the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman.During the conversation Björn von Sydow presented Sweden’s wish to develop the relations between the two countries, according to UD (Foreign Office).

“It is very positive that the government’s emissary has been received”, says Foreign Minister Margot Wallström according to a press release.

It sounds as if they’re both putting up a polite show – Sweden is allowing Saudi to save face, and Saudi is allowing Sweden to leave it at that. Wallström hasn’t actually backed down.


The person remains in grave sin

A shining example of how religion can foster a twisted view of morality.

[US Cardinal Raymond Burke] has spoken out again, telling an interviewer that gay couples and divorced and remarried Catholics who are trying to live good and faithful lives are still like “the person who murders someone and yet is kind to other people.”

No, they aren’t. Not at all. You can have reservations about unilateral divorce, especially if it’s done with cruelty or brutality, but it’s still not a close relative of murder.

“If you are living publicly in a state of mortal sin there isn’t any good act that you can perform that justifies that situation: the person remains in grave sin,” Burke said in an interview with LifeSiteNews, a U.S.-based web service focused on battling abortion and promoting other conservative causes.

[Read more…]

A more subtle failure of chemistry

Silicon Valley pretends to love mavericky types but really it’s numbingly conformist in some very obvious ways…such as in being ridiculously absent-minded about the existence of women.

Ellen Pao sued a venture capital firm for gender discrimination and lost, but the trial spilled a lot of crappy beans.

Not only have weeks of testimony revealed a collection of boorish, unsavory and at times unwittingly misogynist attitudes at one of the tech industry’s most storied financial institutions, the case has also come to stand for something bigger than itself. It has blown open a conversation about the status of women in an industry that, for all its talk of transparency and progress, has always been buttoned up about its shortcomings.

Thanks to Ms. Pao, and notwithstanding the jury’s verdict, the secrets are suddenly out in the open. In tweets, in text messages and at tech gatherings like TED and South by Southwest, the case has been virtually all that anyone could talk about during the last few weeks.

[Read more…]

2015 Secularist of the Year

And the title goes to

The National Secular Society has awarded the staff ofCharlie Hebdo the annual Secularist of the Year prize, for their courageous response to the terror attack on their Paris office.

Charlie Hebdo staff awarded Secularist of the Year prize for their response to Paris attacks

Just one week after the attack on 7 January 2015, in which 12 people were killed, the remaining staff ofCharlie Hebdo published an edition of the magazine featuring a depiction of Mohammed and an editorial making a passionate defence of secularism and the right to free expression.

[Read more…]

No connection

Richard Dawkins tweeted yesterday:

changerofbits ‏@changerofbits 21 hours ago
@RichardDawkins Why are trusting anything to Jonathan Monsarrat at RDF/SPI? … Because he’ll sue you if you don’t?

Richard Dawkins ‏@RichardDawkins
@changerofbits If, by RDF, you mean the Richard Dawkins Foundation, Monsarrat has no connection with it.

At the Richard Dawkins Foundation:


[Read more…]

Teach your children well

I was asking if Brendan O’Neill and his clone-allies at the “Institute for Ideas” have become so enamored of their own contrarianism that they’re now actually promoting bullying…or at least I was asking if O’Neill has, and I at least thought about mentioning his clone-allies too. Anyway the answer is yes, they have. Here’s Claire Fox – one of the ally-clones – doing just that a few weeks ago:

Schools should abandon their anti-bullying programmes because they make children more “thin-skinned” and less resilient, according to the head of a thinktank.

Speaking in a debate on “character education” at the London Festival of Education today, Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, said schools should focus on teaching core academic subjects, rather than “grit”.

“I think young people need to be more self-critical and less self aware,” she said.”They should stop worrying about themselves.

“If you want to encourage grit in schools get rid of anti-bullying programmes. We are taking the grit out of kids and we could do with backing off.

“We have a generation of cotton-wool kids afraid to take risks.”

[Read more…]

One door closes while seven thousand open

The BBC provides a suitably barely-literate piece on the subject of the closure of Loaded magazine.

Loaded magazine, one of the so-called “lads’ magazines” of the mid-1990s, is to close down, publisher Simian said.

At its peak, its diet of football, alcohol, and music brought it a six-figure readership. But as it went through several ownership changes, circulation fell.

Loaded and other “lads’ mags” attracted criticism from feminists and others for the number of scantily-clad women in each edition.

Because feminists and others have the daft idea that women shouldn’t be considered consumer items along with alcohol and music. [Read more…]

Ted “Galileo” Cruz

Ted Cruz might first of all want to get his facts straight.

Speaking to the Texas Tribune on Tuesday, Cruz said that contemporary “global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers.”

“You know it used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier,” he said.

Nuh-uh-uh. It was not accepted scientific wisdom that the Earth was flat in Galileo’s day. (Think about it. If it had been, why the hell would Cristoforo Colombo have sailed west in the expectation of reaching China?) It hadn’t been for a long time. [Read more…]

Guest post: To keep the liberal-tweaking going

Originally a comment by Morgan on Brendan O’Neill is broken-hearted over Clarkson.

Just as you or I would be sacked if we walloped a co-worker, especially someone below us in the pecking order, so Clarkson deserves the boot too, says his army of haters in the media and on Twitter.
Please. If this were a simple punishment-for-physicality issue, why has so much of the Clarkson-baiting commentary obsessed over what Clarkson thinks and says?

a) Because the only reason anyone’s arguing Clarkson shouldn’t be fired is because they like what he thinks and says, or enjoy that others don’t.
b) Because “he should have been sacked long ago for being a vile shit, and his employers’ and fans’ reluctance to call him on his bad behaviour is the reason it reached the point where he assaulted a subordinate” is a very obvious yet worthwhile point to make.
c) Even if those calling for his sacking have the most impure of motives, the point in the first paragraph quoted is still completely valid and sufficient.

O’Neill is essentially arguing that Clarkson should have total immunity from any consequences for anything he does, because he annoys people O’Neill dislikes. It’s the BBC’s duty to feed him as many coworkers as he wants to assault, to keep the liberal-tweaking going, it seems.