Wayback: remember when Harper’s government wanted to process dead animals too?

Someone tweeted a link to this story a few days ago. The story happened in May, but it’s chilling in light of current events.

The Conservative government is pitching the change as a way to cut red tape and provide greater flexibility to slaughterhouse operators.

But the New Democrats are raising a red flag saying the move invites possible “contamination” of the food supply.

“Under the present regulations . . . it has to come in alive, be slaughtered on site,” said NDP MP Malcolm Allen (Welland), the party’s agriculture critic.

“Now you can bring in dead stock. It’s okay to bring in that animal into a slaughterhouse, have it cut, wrapped . . . for human consumption.

“The real fear is how did it die, (and) under what circumstances did it die.”

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Free contraception has prophylactic effect against abortions

I’m shocked. Are you shocked? I’m definitely shocked. Shocked is what I am. Find the crayon that most resembles “shocked”, and color me with it.

MotherJones posts about a new study that shows that when women have free access to contraceptives, there are fewer abortions. Meaning, people who don’t want or can’t have kids, for whatever reason, don’t have to use abortion as their last resort as often.

That’s according to a new study published on Thursday by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis. The project gave free birth control to more than 9,000 local women and girls, many of whom were poor or uninsured, and tracked them for two years. There were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study group, compared to the 2010 national rate of 34 per 1,000. As for abortions, there were fewer than eight per 1,000 women in the study, compared with the almost 20 per 1,000 nationally.

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Matt, I really think you owe them an apology.

Hi Matt. Long time fan, first time writer. Never called into your show, given your rule about preferring theists because they’re more interesting call fodder; and the corollary rule about not acting like a Poe.

I’ve listened to a great number of episodes of The Atheist Experience, and while I don’t have the full scope of the four hundred odd shows you’ve put on, I’ve certainly come to understand your frustration when you receive the same questions over and over again. When you hear the third caller on the same show bring up the ontological argument or TAG or Pascal’s Wager, I feel every ounce of your cringe and I fully agree with every time you hang up on a person who simply will not engage in the points honestly.

It’s gotten to the point where some folks have nicknamed that sort of battle fatigue “Matt Dillahunty Syndrome”, where you need to stop repeat arguments dead in their tracks because they’re a waste of everyone’s resources, and your own are worn thin from past battles. This isn’t a new phrase made unique for this occasion — it is one I’ve seen in the wild for at least a year, and a recognition of the psychological damage that long-term trolling can actually take.
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Beef recall expands… again

The ground beef recall I mentioned recently has apparently increased significantly — including more meat products for the sixth time since the original recall.

In all, the recall involves millions of pounds of beef produced from late August to early September and shipped to stores in Canada and the United States. Beef from the plant has been linked to five illnesses and the recall led to one call for Canada’s agriculture minister to resign.
To improve safety, XL said it will use video cameras to audit plant processes, will expand washing the sides of beef with high-pressure hot water to eliminate E. coli contamination, and add staff to each shift to monitor sanitary procedures.
The recall of beef from the plant began September 16, almost two weeks after the CFIA learned of the contamination and began an investigation. CFIA has said it did not recall meat earlier because the products originally flagged had not made it onto store shelves.

Remember, cook your meat thoroughly. E.coli can be killed by thoroughly cooking beef and beef products.

The one way we lost in the battle for the SCA

We pointed out Justin Vacula’s feet of clay, and nearly a thousand signatures were collected on the petition demanding that SCA either address his misdeeds by forcing him out or stand by those misdeeds. Vacula has stepped down from his position after this controversy didn’t go away.

Which naturally means “the terrorists” and “bullies” have won. (According to the real bullies, the anti-feminist and anti-woman contingents of our movement.)
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The SCA’s decision making process

You might be interested in this comment at WWJTD by Michael Gobaud:

JT, you may already know this, but all these phone conferences the SCA has been doing in their national expansion effort have been recorded and put online for anyone to listen to (you can even scan through the recordings to particular speakers, very useful). Anyway, I just listened to the first 2 PA conferences to see exactly how Justin was made co-chair of the PA chapter (this is all very interesting to me because I might become a co-chair of the NV chapter, I don’t really know much about Justin). So you might wanna listen to those recordings to see the process of Justin’s appointment, it was actually very enlightening for me because I wanted to understand your complaint better.

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Secular Woman announces free memberships for atheist students!

There you are! That’s how you do it! Got the press release last night, and was totally excited to post it, but it’s embargoed til right exactly now. Assuming I did my time zones right. Update: I did, but I did my days wrong. Just realized it didn’t go up today, it was scheduled to go up tomorrow. Working overnights has screwed up my sense of what “tomorrow” is. Oops!

For more information, please contact:
Mary Ellen Sikes, Secular Woman VP of Operations: 404.669.6727 E-mail
Kim Rippere, Secular Woman President: 404.669.6727 E-mail
Jesse Galef, Secular Student Alliance Communications Director: 614.441.9588
[E-mail: jesse AT secularstudents DOT org]

Secular Woman Welcomes Atheist Students With Free Memberships

Atlanta, Georgia – October 1, 2012. For two weeks beginning today, student members of the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) and its campus affiliates are eligible for complimentary Secular Woman (SW) memberships. Open to all genders, the memberships entitle students who identify as women to benefits like conference travel grants and participation in the SW speakers bureau. Campus activists will receive the private membership link starting today in a series of e-mail updates from the SSA campus organizing team.

“Secular Woman is very excited about this new strategic partnership with the SSA,” said SW President Kim Rippere. “We are eager to tap into the energy and passion of these secular students as we build programs to increase diversity in the secular movement. We’re also hopeful that cooperation between Secular Woman and the SSA will help campus groups to attract and retain more women members.”

Secular identity organizations, both on- and off-campus, have struggled to expand women’s involvement. The 2009 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey of the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life found women to be more religious than men in an analysis of responses about god-belief, church attendance, and prayer. The American Secular Census, an independent demographic and viewpoint survey of Secular Americans, reports that 41% of its registrants identify as women and that their involvement in secular identity organizations is more limited than men’s.

Secular Woman addresses this imbalance by providing resources and community to women seeking a higher level of engagement in secular activism. Since its launch on June 28th, the group has grown from a four-member board of directors to an organization of more than 650 supporters in nine countries. SW elected to reach out to students in this first membership drive because of SSA’s culture of opportunity for women and other minorities. Women’s participation in the SSA’s 373 campus affiliate groups has risen with the number of women serving as student leaders, according to SSA Director of Campus Organizing Lyz Liddell. Rippere says this finding adds conviction to SW’s vision of women “participat[ing] openly and confidently as respected voices of leadership in the secular community.”

SSA Executive Director August Brunsman agreed. “Students are shaping the future of the secular movement, and they’re shaping it toward gender parity. Can you picture a social movement succeeding without gender parity? Because I can’t. Secular Woman is an organization whose time has very much come.”


Secular Woman is an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women. For more information about Secular Woman visit: www.SecularWoman.org.

The Secular Student Alliance is an educational non-profit organization whose mission is to organize, unite, educate, and serve students and student communities that promote the ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human-based ethics. For more information about the Secular Student Alliance visit:www.SecularStudents.org.

I’m hyped about this. Considering recent missteps (in my eyes — more on this later, when I have more time to expand), this is how you get back on track. This is how you build a community and expand your reach. If I took one lesson from Jesus Camp, it’s that if you win over the youth of the present, you win the future.