But it ain’t his movement

Damn, there are such good comments on PZ’s post on Dawkins on American women complaining about being groped at work that I have to share a few extracts.

CaitieCat @ 7

How can we make the Deep Rifts wide enough so we don’t have to constantly hear his whining drone note about how muzzled he is, carried in every major media source? He’s like a bagpipe made of living cats at this point – the last thing you want to do is squeeze him or poke him, because then he’ll start playing his only tune, the MRA anthem “Restrainin’ Men”, to the tune of “It’s Rainin’ Men”.

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To use an external fear to silence criticism and efforts to correct inequities at home

Oh look, PZ got to the Dawkins interview before I did. I didn’t see it until now, so it didn’t influence what I wrote. Funny, we said the exact same thing about Dawkins’s claimed “passionate feminism.”

Richard Dawkins is a feminist like Christina Hoff Sommers, who he praises, is a feminist … that is not a feminist at all, scarcely understanding what feminism is, and detesting every feminist cause they encounter. Anti-feminists love Sommers and Dawkins because they create a lovely gray zone in which even misogynists get to claim nominal status as being all for equality, when they aren’t.

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How to rank?

So we’ve been remiss around here. We need to get organized. We need to have a good chart of all the things that are worse than other things, so that we can talk only about the worse things and never about the less worse things.

This might turn out to be a fairly tall order, but never mind, I’m sure if we pull our chairs all the way up to the desk, and comb our hair, and wipe the grease from our chins, we will be able to do it.

Let’s see. Labor. Labor issues. Here in the US there are jobs that are badly paid, and jobs that are hazardous, and jobs that are both. Jobs that are both must be worse, so we can’t talk about jobs that are only one but not the other. [Read more…]

Guest post: Nothing in the report makes sense

Originally a comment by A Masked Avenger on He was backing out of the driveway.

That has got to be the shittiest piece of journalism ever: nothing in the report makes sense, and apparently the reporter had not the slightest interest in asking questions, and passing the answers on to us.

First, why were the charges reduced, especially to the point that no jail time was involved? In Georgia, like the rest of the United States, lethal force is not justifiable in self-defense unless you have reasonable fear of death or grave bodily harm, and a reasonable belief that deadly force is necessary to prevent same. People pulling into your driveway, or knocking on your door, do not represent reasonable fear, in any jurisdiction in the country, so it’s out of the question that this is a justifiable homicide. [Read more…]

Dawkins stands by everything he has said

Kimberly Winston had a conversation with Richard Dawkins the other day. She notes that he declined to be interviewed about his Down syndrome and comparative rape remarks last summer, but now on a Bay Area tour to promote his memoir he agreed to talk to her.

Bottom line: He stands by everything he has said — including comments that one form of rape or pedophilia is “worse” than another, and that a drunken woman who is raped might be responsible for her fate.

Of course he does.

“I don’t take back anything that I’ve said,” Dawkins said from a shady spot in the leafy backyard of one of his Bay Area supporters. “I would not say it again, however, because I am now accustomed to being misunderstood and so I will … ”

He trailed off momentarily, gazing at his hands resting on a patio table.

“I feel muzzled, and a lot of other people do as well,” he continued. “There is a climate of bullying, a climate of intransigent thought police which is highly influential in the sense that it suppresses people like me.”

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He was backing out of the driveway

Another occasion for feeling ashamed of the United States. Such occasions are all too abundant.

In Georgia in January 2013 a guy called Rodrigo Diaz, age 23, went to pick up a friend to go rollerskating. He was using his car’s GPS and he accidentally turned into the driveway across the street from his friend’s house. The guy who lived in that house, the wrong house, came outside and shot him through the head.

The shooter plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh was in the courtroom as Philip Sailors plead to the misdemeanor charge for the January 2013 shooting in Lilburn. [Read more…]

Garden bench for sale

I went to see David Sedaris on stage last night. (Tonight he’s in Missoula, Montana.)

I laughed more than I expected to. I expected to laugh, but not as much (or as raucously) as I did.

There were a few minutes for questions at the end, and someone asked about his “Fitbit” – which now I understand because he wrote about it in the New Yorker last June. It’s like a pedometer but more so.

A few weeks later, I bought a Fitbit of my own, and discovered what she was talking about. Ten thousand steps, I learned, amounts to a little more than four miles for someone my size—five feet five inches. It sounds like a lot, but you can cover that distance in the course of an average day without even trying, especially if you have stairs in your house, and a steady flow of people who regularly knock, wanting you to accept a package or give them directions or just listen patiently as they talk about birds, which happens from time to time when I’m home, in West Sussex, the area of England that Hugh and I live in. [Read more…]

Canals on Mars

How about those canals on Mars?

I was just wondering how widespread the belief in their existence was. A 2011 article by Richard Milner in Astrobiology Magazine gives some background.

About 120 years ago, however, at least one prominent astronomer was convinced that Mars not only supported life, but was home to an advanced civilization. Martians, the theory went, had built an extensive network of canals to draw water down from supposed icecaps at the Red Planet’s poles to irrigate a world that was drying out.

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