Back on the streets

Here’s an uncomfortable subject to think about – police unions, and the part they play in keeping abusive cops from being fired.

There are, of course, police officers who are fired for egregious misbehavior by commanding officers who decide that a given abuse makes them unfit for a badge and gun. Yet all over the U.S., police unions help many of those cops to get their jobs back, often via secretive appeals geared to protect labor rights rather than public safety. Cops deemed unqualified by their own bosses are put back on the streets. Their colleagues get the message that police [are] all but impervious to termination.

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Killing of children and women is according to the teachings

Ahmar Mustikhan reports in the Examiner on the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s explanation for why the slaughter in Peshawar was right-on according to the prophet. It’s enough to make you vomit.

The Islamic terrorist outfit that carried out the bloodiest school massacre in world history Wednesday defended its action as being in line with what Prophet Mohammed, who Muslims believe was the last messenger of God, did with his enemies 1400 years ago. [Read more…]

Dalit women and rape statistics

From Rahila Gupta in the New Statesman, here’s a shocking fact I didn’t know:

…the conviction rate for rape cases brought by Dalit women stands at an appallingly low 2 per cent as compared to 24 per cent for women in general.

I shudder to think how that plays out in court. I also wonder why the higher number is so much higher than the US rate, which is from 2 to 9 percent according to the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender. (If people wonder why rape victims don’t rush to tell the cops, that conviction rate has to be one reason. Go through that just to see an acquittal? Doesn’t sound like much fun.) [Read more…]

Subway manspreaders told to close their legs

No really, they’re told that. The Guardian says so.

  • Poster campaign will attempt to stop antisocial practice
  • Doctors say crossing legs will not affect reproductive powers

Are they sure? Not in any way? Not even shrinking things just a little? Or enfeebling them ever so slightly? Or delaying appropriate responses? Or making them look like lace or flowers or scented soap? [Read more…]


A team of researchers led by Christina Korownyk of the University of Alberta’s Department of Family Medicine took a look at the medical information on two tv doctor shows, “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The Doctors,” which have average daily audiences of 2.9 million and 2.3 million respectively. The paper was published in the BMJ.

When looking at the shows individually, there was evidence to support 46% of the claims made on the “Dr. Oz Show.” Approximately 15% of the claims made on the show were contrary to what has been reported in scientific literature. There was no evidence to support or reject 49% of the claims made on the show. “The Doctors” had slightly better results, with 63% of the claims supported by scientific evidence. About 14% of the claims on the show are contradicted by evidence, and there is no evidence for or against 24% of the show’s claims.

I think 63% is quite a lot better than 46%.

Anyway – I recommend using the internet instead.



Not the Girl Scouts

So the Vatican has issued its final report on the rebellious nuns in the US. It dresses it up in cuddly language but Mary Hunt at Religion Dispatches is wholly unpersuaded of its cuddliness.

Despite herculean efforts to make nice, the 12-page report and its presentation reinforce the Roman Catholic Church’s patriarchal power paradigm. And although many have hailed the report as a sign of the Vatican’s warming toward women, I am not convinced.

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Provocative or offensive?

Massimo Pigliucci has a post about the American Atheists billboard campaign and the utility of what Dave Silverman calls the “firebrand” approach to fighting religion.

In this essay I will first explain why I object to “firebrand” atheism and on what principled (i.e., before evidence) grounds. I will then look at David’s data and argue that it doesn’t show what he thinks it does, and why even if it did this would still not settle the matter. I will then end with some constructive suggestions for atheist activism more generally. [Read more…]