Canadian abortion rights doctor Morgentaler dead at 90

Doctor Henlek “Henry” Morgentaler, Polish-born Canadian immigrant, has died of a heart attack on May 29th, 2013. He was a Nazi prison camp survivor, and became a physician and family planning doctor in Montreal in 1955. He presented a brief to the House of Commons in 1967 about illegal abortions, arguing that women had the right to safe, legal ones. He eventually began performing abortions in 1968. He was physically assaulted and jailed in Canada numerous times for his advocacy, but ultimately vindicated by society.
[Read more...]

Solidarity at #wiscfi

You might have seen this FtB solidarity photo from Women In Secularism 2 floating around, where the members who were on-hand after Maryam’s talk got a group photo taken with our signs expressing solidarity with the atheists in Muslim countries who are being persecuted for daring to think freely — whose lives are made miserable, and in some cases made forfeit, because they dare disagree with the majority.

Stephanie Zvan, Ophelia Benson, Brianne Bilyeu, Maryam Namazie, Jason Thibeault, Kate Donovan, Miriam Mogilevski, PZ Myers, Ashley Miller. Photo by Brian D. Engler.

Stephanie Zvan, Ophelia Benson, Brianne Bilyeu, Maryam Namazie, Jason Thibeault, Kate Donovan, Miriam Mogilevski, PZ Myers, Ashley Miller. Photo by Brian D. Engler.

Left to right, signs say:

Free
Happy
Defiant
Ateist
– Stephanie Zvan

WE ARE ATHEIST
WE
ARE
WITH
YOU
– Ophelia Benson

Recognize The
WORTH of
Non Believers –
– Respect The
RIGHTS of
Non Believers
I stand in SOLIDARITY with
ATHEISTS!
– Brianne Bilyeu

THOUGHT
IS
NOT
A CRIME
– Jason Thibeault

We stand
with you
– Kate Donovan

Secularism for
ALL women –
NOT just Western!
– Miriam Mogilevski

ATHEISM
IS A VIRTUE
NOT A CRIME
– PZ Myers

Together
We are
Stronger
– Ashley Miller

(You might also have seen a photoshopped version of this photo stripping it of its important message and making it all about a certain self-promoting asshole. That’s, I’m sure, SLIGHTLY more important than decrying the human rights violations perpetrated on fellow atheists, right?)

But you may not have seen the full scope of this effort.
[Read more...]

Tropes Vs Women in Video Games: Damsel in Distress (part 2)

Anita Sarkeesian’s completely nonexistent series continues with a completely nonexistent part-2 for her completely nonexistent first topic, the Damsel in Distress. In this one, she specifically takes on the trope called Stuffed Into the Fridge. This trope almost always takes the form of a WOMAN stuffed into the fridge. Watch, to find out why.

But that’s not the biggest news about this. Apparently, it went up today, and within the first hour it was up, it was immediately taken down by Youtube because it had been flagged as containing objectionable content.

Think about that for a moment. People are so desperate to attack Sarkeesian and any attempt at injecting feminist commentary into video games, that they’re willing to silence her by marking it as objectionable. Not because the content is incorrect, or because the content is damning of the industry, but because how daaaaaare this mere woman criticize this immature art form that we love so much?

Sigh.

Seeing things from a God’s eye view

I think I might have burned myself out on blogging a bit, doing the live blogging for WiS — I keep finding other things to do instead of writing things that really need to be said. Bah.

The cure for burnout is both time, and whargarbl. Here’s some tasty whargarbl from one of Sinned34’s favorite childhood memories, Fire By Night. Spoilers — it starts with Jesus catching and crushing a bullet. And it continues with a number of things that Christians think God sees and thinks. COMPLETELY SURPRISINGLY, it’s exactly what bigoted Christians think.

I don’t know about you, but I especially loved the blatant racism in the middle, with a fake Gorbachev and some Chinese stereotypes.

This clip, along with a number of others, is part of Everything Is Terrible’s Religion Week.

Mock The Movie: Expect No Mercy transcript

Again, I managed to forget to start my scrape bot to pull tweets from Mentions directly. CA7746 bailed me out of a bit of a jam by reparsing the raw HTML of Twitter, a trick I’ve done once already but have evidently lost the code for. I was going to rewrite that parser tonight, but CA7746 has evidently spared me the difficulty.

My usual scrape bot, which pulls from @-mentions from the account proper, could only grab the last 200 statuses — a limitation of the API, it seems. Either I haven’t figured out how to paginate through the results properly, or it simply won’t let me do so the same way as paginating through a direct search for @MockTM would. I might rebuild the engine to grab transcripts from @MockTM searches, though that would mean we wouldn’t be able to limit the tweets pulled to only those people @MockTM has followed. That would mean letting potential spam in.

In case there’s anything spammy above the double-dash (haven’t had time to reread it all), let me know and I’ll pull it out.

[Read more...]

Listen more, be more charitable, moderate blogs and forums

I pity the poor sod who has to wade through and moderate all the comments over at CFI’s blog. Frankly, they’ve got possibly the worst job in the world right now. However, I’m going to push that fact aside for a moment, mute that in-built empathy for my fellow human being for just long enough to complain that they’re not actually doing that job to any degree one can call reasonable.

I’m not necessarily going to BLAME them, per se, though. The tone has been set in Ron Lindsay’s three blog posts that are about his experience at Women In Secularism 2.

Note that these blog posts are not ABOUT Women In Secularism 2, which was a tightly organized and implemented CFI conference, and which by my understanding, through the rumour mill, is the CFI conference closest to breaking even this year (can we get independent verification of this?). It was by all accounts a success, but by no accounts an unmitigated one. It was bookended by tone-deaf missives about how terrible feminists have been to certain clueless, privileged dudebros in our community. In fact, the first one, by Ron Lindsay, carried with it a heavy dose of shame for daring to invoke the sociological concept of privilege, showing a blatant misunderstanding of the word.

But that’s not what I’m talking about today. I’ll be fisking his post another day — and on that day I’m sure I’ll be called irrational and compared disfavourably to some despotic country. Today, instead, I’m talking about the CFI Open Letter, and how it reflects upon the community what’s being left up in the comments on those blog posts.
[Read more...]

Asking the Wrong Question about Ingersoll #wiscfi

I ended up missing the last two talks of the Women In Secularism conference because I had to catch a stupid plane that was stupid ten hours earlier than I would have stupid liked. Stupid. Blah.

Okay, I’m happy that I’m home, and completely bloody spent, but in a good way. A mostly good way. There were a few nasty objectionable ragey bits, but that’s okay, we can all disagree here on the internet. And it’s not like disagreement with those nasty bits weren’t put front and centre on the stage through the entire conference.

Those ragey bits had a minor trend among them — several of them were expressly about how uninviting such a conference or such a social justice movement in general might be to men. In the one case, you have CFI CEO Ron A Lindsay’s opening speech claiming that feminists are using the word privilege to shut down civil disagreements or as a club to end arguments (without providing examples), and “cautioning” the feminists in the audience that men should not be told to “shut up and listen”. (As though only men did that.) We won’t talk about this poorly thought-out exercise in well-poisoning, this abuse of Lindsay’s bully pulpit, because many people have already expended far too many words (though here’s some excellent ones) about a man’s point of view during a conference attempting to expand women’s input in the secular movement. Suffice it to say, I strongly disagree with Ron, but making this conference even more about him undercuts all the worthy content from the women who spoke this weekend.

Sadly, I didn’t get to see one of the other ragey bits in person. During the second-last slot of the day today, R Elisabeth Cornwell of the Richard Dawkins Foundation presented a talk titled Who Speaks for Feminism. Kate Donovan was on hand to live-blog it. There were a few sticking points in it, but I’m most interested in this brief post (well, brief compared to all the other transcription I’ve done this weekend!), in challenging only one part.
[Read more...]