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Apr 18 2014

Welcome to oligarchy

The BBC reports on an academic study that finds the US is an oligarchy rather than a democracy. I knew that, but it’s interesting to have a study.

the two professors have conducted exhaustive research to try to present data-driven support for this conclusion. Here’s how they explain it:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 18 2014

The count

The BBC is still reporting on the kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria. Their reporter there, Will Ross, says the government is saying 99 girls are missing but parents are saying it’s 150 to 200.

The attack on the school in Chibok, a remote part of Borno state, happened late on Monday with gunmen reportedly storming the school, stealing food supplies and ordering the students onto lorries. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 18 2014

The missing 200+

Richard Attias at the Huffington Post points out the lack of coverage of the kidnapping of more than 100 schoolgirls in Borno, Nigeria.

The Western media has made barely a mention of this story and appears resigned to ignore this abduction, which is an act of terror and unprecedented barbarism against these students whose only crime was to go to school.

That’s actually not true. It may be true of US media, but it’s not true of for instance the BBC World Service – it was the top story on Wednesday and it got a lot of minutes. He probably had no idea how much coverage there was in French, German, Swedish, Spanish etc etc media. Be careful  not to say “Western” when you mean “US.”

But anyway, if the US media are ignoring it, that stinks.

The World Service said yesterday that Nigeria had had to adjust the number way upward – they were now saying it was over 200 girls.

It’s awful.

Apr 18 2014

See this door?

For refreshment after that – the new xkcd.

Free Speech

Apr 18 2014

“It’s more of a guy thing” in paintings

NSFW

Two more, for the total of three, at the Art Show and Silent Auction at the American Atheists’ Convention in Salt Lake City.

I’m told this one is hanging just below one of Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

This one is sculptural; the hand is part of it. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 18 2014

An affordable price

NSFW

So the American Atheists Convention is going on this weekend – Easter weekend, you know. Tom Flynn has the glory of giving the Easter sermon.

There’s an art show and auction. I loved the one last year. I kept wandering back to it to gaze some more.

But this year…There’s one guy who has a bunch of portraits of The Godmen of Atheism, and along with them – some naked women. The Godmen are all fully dressed, and the women, not so much.

Like this one:

See the oh so witty caption? “What glass ceiling?” Hahaharight, because naked woman among all the Godmen in suits – yeah that’s busting the glass ceiling all right. And the Women’s Rights barcode? Hahaharight because whatever.

I looked up AA’s Code of Conduct again.

American Atheists does not tolerate harassment of or by conference participants in any form. Prohibited conduct may include but is not limited to harassment related to gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, religion, sexual images in public spaces (not related to convention sessions or materials)…

Hmmm.

Apr 17 2014

Using abducted students as cooks, sex slaves and porters

Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 100 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in Borno State.

The government closed all schools in Borno three weeks ago because of frequent attacks in which hundreds of students have been killed in the past year. The girls who were kidnapped had been recalled so they could write their final exams.

The extremists have been using abducted students as cooks, sex slaves and porters.

Boko Haram has been on a rampage this week, blamed for four attacks in three days that started with an explosion at a busy bus station during the Monday morning rush hour in Abuja, the capital, which killed at least 75 people.

Two attacks in northeastern villages killed 20 people Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

People from Chibok are searching the Sambisa Forest for them.

Education is forbidden, but mass murder and kidnapping for enslavement and rape – those are not forbidden. Funny kind of god Boko Haram has.

Apr 17 2014

Gabriel García Márquez

From the Guardian:

Few writers have produced novels that are acknowledged as masterpieces not only in their own countries but all around the world. Fewer still can be said to have written books that have changed the whole course of literature in their language. But the Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, who has died at the age of 87 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease achieved just that, especially thanks to his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 17 2014

Silence empowers the Neo-Nazis

As I’ve been pointing out, Ayaan Hirsi Ali gets misread by people who are convinced she’s a far-right racist, or people who want to convince others that she is. There’s “Loonwatch” for instance. Loonwatch gives a very warped version of the talk in which she mentioned Anders Breivik. The article is titled Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Sympathizes with Terrorist Anders Behring Breivik and it repeats the accusation in the text.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was invited to Germany to receive the Axel Springer Award, to recount her “escape” from Islam.

Sympathy for the Devil

In her acceptance speech, Ali expressed her sympathy for terrorist murderer Anders Behring Breivik. Her writings were included in Breivik’s manifesto and she took the opportunity of the speech to try and distance herself from his actions while squarely putting the blame for Breivik’s massacre on his targets.

That’s a lie. She didn’t express any sympathy for Anders Breivik. Here is her talk (thanks to Anthony K for the link), which is titled The Advocates of Silence. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 17 2014

You check it like you actually give a damn

Another message to men – specifically geek guys – about sexual harassment.

That women are harassed online is not news. That women in comics and the broader fandom cultures are harassed online is not news. That these women are routinely transmitted anonymous messages describing graphic sexual violence perpetrated upon them for transgressions as grave as not liking a thing… that is actually news to me, and it’s probably news to a lot of you guys reading this.

But it’s not news to a lot of women I know, and to women whose work you’ve read here and around the Web.

Nope, it’s not. Read the rest of this entry »

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