Insufficient for joy

I spent too many minutes today arguing with a very “spiritual” person who is a vocal supporter of Raif Badawi on Facebook but who keeps putting her support in inappropriately “spiritual” terms. Since it’s one version of “spirituality” that is so determined to keep torturing him, I think that’s inappropriate at best.

I especially think it’s inappropriate to talk about “joy” in response to another Friday with no flogging, as she does every week. That’s not joyful. It’s a brief partial respite for Ensaf and their children, I hope, but it can’t very well be joyful when he could still be flogged next Friday and every Friday after that until all the remaining 950 lashes have been dealt out. It’s not an occasion for a party, not when things are this grim.

But I wish I hadn’t said anything to her, because her response was to ask Ensaf about it. Sigh. Because Ensaf has nothing better to worry about than this person on Facebook.

Joy is for when he gets out of prison and gets on the plane.

If they can, why can’t we??!

Get special rules, that is.

In Tennessee:

In an effort to get around recently passed zoning laws the owners of [a] Tennessee swingers club are rebranding their proposed establishment as a church, according to WSMV.

Previously the owners of the proposed club in Madison had submitted plans to convert a former medical building, situated next to a Christian school, into a sex club only to meet with stiff public resistance.

Following a packed and contentious meeting last month — with one audience member shouting “we don’t want this darkness to extinguish this beacon of light that has been here for years and years” –  the Metro Council amended the zoning laws to prevent the club from being developed.

Well you know…they would sort of have to amend the zoning laws for the whole entire town, wouldn’t they? I mean I hate to break it to them but I think there are probably people doing sex in many many places in Madison, Tennessee. I know it’s shocking and filthy, but there you go – people are like that. Sex!! In all the houses!!!

Relying upon federal laws that protect churches, the owners reapplied as a church. A room that was once labeled “the dungeon” is now the “choir room.” The former “game room” will now be known as a “fellowship hall.”

Ricky Perry, president of Goodpasture Christian School located next to the development, called changes and owners of the club “irreverent.”

“It just seems like there’s nothing you wouldn’t stoop to try to accomplish what you’re trying to do,” he said. “It’s obvious to me that all they’re trying to do is find another way to legally, or through some loophole, accomplish what they want to do.”

Or maybe it’s the Council that amended the zoning laws to stop them, hmmmm? Maybe they’re the ones trying to find another way to legally, or through some loophole, stop people from doing something because they think it’s ooky.

God bless.

Climate Change, Migration, and Conflict

We’ve been talking about this idea that climate change is going to cause a lot of mass migration, and the claim that it won’t be a problem if we just have open borders everywhere. I find that claim not at all credible, so I thought I would gesture toward a source or two.

The Center for American Progress has a report.

From the summary:

Recent intelligence reports and war games, including some conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense, conclude that over the next two or three decades, vulnerable regions (particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia) will face the prospect of food shortages, water crises, and catastrophic flooding driven by climate change. These developments could demand U.S., European, and international humanitarian relief or military responses, often the delivery vehicle for aid in crisis situations.

[Read more…]

Slavery has no place full stop

Amnesty International shares a letter from Samar Badawi to her husband Waleed Abu al-Khair. Samar Badawi is Raif Badawi’s sister.

He taught me that a person is born free and that it is up to him or her to live in freedom or die trying to achieve it. Slavery has no place in his life except when it comes to serving God, the one and only. Now, he lives in freedom even though he is behind bars with his colleagues Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammad al-Qahtani and many other activists imprisoned purely for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

That’s a very odd exception, I have to say. Slavery is bad except when it’s slavery to god? I couldn’t disagree more. Slavery to god is the worst, because there is no avenue of appeal.

But, that apart…

Know then, dear husband, that it is tyranny and oppression that have put you behind bars. [Read more…]

An own goal

I’m late catching up with the Hugo awards – Vox Day – Sad Puppies – Rabid Puppies – Connie Willis stories. It’s pretty pathetic, and sad.

One recent summary:

The Hugo Awards have long honored authors, illustrators, and even fans, for their contributions to the field of sci-fi and fantasy. Past recipients have included Isaac Asimov, Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson, and J.K. Rowling, to name just a few. Like any prestigious award in a highly competitive industry, the Hugos are no stranger to controversy. This year, however, the Hugo nomination process was marred when a small cadre of science fiction writers and their fans systematically set out to manipulate the entire awards roster away from a diverse group of authors writing about diverse issues, and towards stories about big explosions and shiny lasers. And thanks to the Hugo’s relatively open nomination process (for $40, anyone can become a “supporting” and voting member of the awards’ parent organization, The World Science Fiction Society) it’s all perfectly legal. Not a single rule broken.

Making speculative fiction more conservative! What a great idea! Obviously it’s the ideal genre for conservatism and let’s keep doing things the way they were done when I was six-ism. [Read more…]

Stacey Eden is a mensch

The so-called “white savior,” Stacey Eden, posted a bit of video on Facebook of the verbal abuse of the Muslim couple on a train. It seems pretty clear that she didn’t take it or post it to show off, but to document the abuse and say “people, don’t do that.” She did a damn good job of telling the abuser “don’t do that.”

Here’s her caption:

So i sat there for a good 10 minutes before i started recording this, while i listened to this woman bad mouth muslims and call the lady sitting opposite me an ISIS supporter because she wore a scarf, then she told me to go join ISIS because i was sticking up for her. People like this make me sick. People who are so ignorant and disrespectful to other people who were clearly sitting there minding their own business.
She was saying some pretty horrible and hurtful things before i spoke up then as soon as i started defending them she stopped.
[Read more…]

Oh no, not a “white saviour”

Hey, it turns out it actually is the right thing to do to sit still when people are being verbally abused and do nothing to intervene. I know, I’m surprised too! I thought it wasn’t! I thought it was pretty assholish to sit like a lump and stare while people are given shit by a stranger in a public place. But nope! Nope nope nope! That’s the correct, non-white-savior thing to do. If you speak up you’re denying agency to the people being abused. Leave them alone, you colonialist!

It’s Ashitha Nagesh who sets us straight about this, in the Independent.

You may have already seen the video from Australia that has gone viral today. It shows a middle-aged racist in a train ranting at a young Muslim couple, making some confusing links between the woman’s hijab and the Islamic State, Al-Shabaab’s attack in Garissa, and Muhammad “marrying a six-year-old” or something. She made no sense, as hardline racists never do.

But cue superwoman Stacey Eden! A white knight in shining armour swoops in to save the day, protecting the couple from the onslaught of abuse being hurled at them from across the carriage. [Read more…]