C’est normal

Saudi Arabia has tried to order Quebec to back off in its criticism of Saudi’s appalling human rights record. Quebec has said Nope.

The CBC has seen the letter:

Quebec’s premier is not backing down in his opposition to the imprisonment and torture of blogger Raif Badawi, despite the Saudi ambassador’s written caution to Quebec politicians to mind their own business.

“We have made our opinion known. It’s normal that we did so,” Philippe Couillard told reporters as he made his way to a cabinet meeting in Quebec City Wednesday. [Read more…]

How they are now

Since it came up, I’ll just share the 2012 news about how Malala’s classmates recovered from being shot on that little bus going home from school.

“Which one is Malala?” he barked. Terrified, the girls fell silent. Malala Yousafzai was their 15-year-old schoolmate, a well-known children’s rights advocate who frequently challenged the Pakistani Taliban’s stance against girls education. She was sitting to Shazia’s right. “I think we must have looked at her,” admits Shazia. “We didn’t say anything, but we must have looked, because then he shot her. He shot her in the head.” Shazia screamed when she saw Malala slump forward. The gunman turned and shot Shazia twice, just below her left collarbone, and in her left hand when she tried to protect herself. Then he aimed his Chinese-made imitation Colt 45 at Kainat Riaz, the 16-year-old 10th grader sitting to Shazia’s left. He shot her in the shoulder, then dropped off the back of the truck and disappeared.

[Read more…]

No snow at the Phillips Station site

Drought in California. Jerry Brown ordered mandatory restrictions yesterday, standing on a mountaintop that should be snowy but isn’t.

The governor’s emergency order comes after a year of requests for voluntary conservation — and a record-breaking warm and dry spell culminating in the worst April snowpack in recorded history — have failed to alarm many Californians enough to cut back on water.

Do they think it will just be there anyway? Like magic?

Snow surveyors found no snow at the Phillips Station site — the first time that’s happened in 75 years of early-April measurements. In an average year, the site would have 5.5 feet of snow. Across the Sierra, electronic readings indicate the water content of the snowpack is only 5 percent of average.

5 percent!! That’s no good. That’s no good at all. Lots of people, lots of agriculture…not good at all.

That shattered the previous low record of 25 percent of the average April snowpack, set last year and in 1977. The implications are huge for the cities, farms and wildlife that depend on melting snowpack to yield water during the spring, summer and fall.

Snowpack traditionally is at its peak by early April, before it begins to melt. With the state’s historically wettest winter months now gone, the drought is now firmly rooted in its fourth consecutive year.

Not a good portent.

Children frolic in Alabama

What a good idea. No, I mean, what a bone-achingly bad idea. Alabama wants to see children carrying hand guns.

…lawmakers have proposed an amendment to the state’s gun laws that would allow minors to acquire their very own pistols. At the moment, the law is on a bit more even keel, stipulating that “no person shall deliver a pistol to any person under the age of 18.” Lawmakers want that changed to allow minors to have pistols, but only if they get the permission of a “parent, guardian, or spouse who is 18 or older (?)”

So little George age 5 who is married to Tina age 19 will be able to pack heat as long as darling Tina says yes. That’s sweet. [Read more…]

Garissa: 147 killed

The attack is over, the BBC reports, and all the students are accounted for.

The number of people killed in an attack by al-Shabab Islamist militants on a university in north-eastern Kenya has risen to 147, Kenyan government officials say.

The operation to secure the Garissa University College campus was now over, with all four attackers killed, they added.

Officials said 587 students had been evacuated, 79 of whom were injured.

Nine who are critically injured have been airlifted to Nairobi for treatment.

Student Collins Wetangula said when the gunmen entered his hostel he could hear them opening doors and asking if the people inside were Muslims or Christians, the AP news agency reports.

“If you were a Christian you were shot on the spot. With each blast of the gun I thought I was going to die,” he said.

Al-Shabab says it attacked the university because it is at war with Kenya, BBC Africa analyst Mary Harper reports.

Kenyan troops entered Somalia in October 2011 in an effort to stop the Islamists from crossing the long, porous border between the two countries and kidnapping people – but their presence achieved the opposite effect, provoking al-Shabab to increase its activity in Kenya, our correspondent adds.

Because how dare Kenya try to stop al-Shabab kidnapping people in Kenya? Keny must understand that al-Shabab can do whatever it wants to, because Allah.

147 killed. A morning’s work.

Guest post: Signed, confused

Originally a comment by screechymonkey on But it’s terribly important to understand.

Who asked him? What makes him think it needs to be said? Who asked him to pronounce on which abuses of women are worse than other abuses of women?

He’s just trying to be helpful! He’s gearing up to start writing a regular advice column. It’ll be a big success:

Dear Richard Dawkins,
I’m currently unemployed, but have just received two job offers. One of them is in a predominantly Muslim country, and one of the job requirements is having my clitoris cut off. The other job is here in the U.K. and has no such requirement, but the boss is a bit handsy. I can’t decide which job to take — any advice?
Confused [Read more…]

But it’s terribly important to understand

I saw a discussion of a video of Dawkins talking to someone on a stage in front of an audience, which is an extract from the full video posted by the RDF. It’s an event at Kennesaw State University in Georgia last November 21. I watched the first four minutes of the extract because it’s interesting. I transcribed most of it for the purpose of saying what’s wrong with it.

The guy asking the questions, Dr. Michael L. Sanseviro, Dean of Student Success at Kennesaw State, asks about the controversy about feminism and why Dawkins has been comparing degrees of badness when one could say the same thing about atheism. Yes, Dawkins says. “I want to be clear about this.” Then he pauses to think and then proceeds:

When I say something like, “This kind of maltreatment of women in America is bad but the treatment of women in Islam is worse,” I’m not saying treatment of women in America is good. I’m just saying it’s not asbad. I get the feeling there are some people who can’t tell the difference between saying that this is bad but that’s worse. They seem to think I’m saying this must be good because that’s worse and of course I’m not saying that at all.

[Read more…]


This time it’s al-Shabab.

They’ve killed at least 15 people and taken an unknown number hostage at a university in Garissa, Kenya.

Masked gunmen from Somalia’s al-Shabaab movement claim to be holding an unknown number of Kenyan Christians hostage after a dawn raid on a university compound that left at least 15 people dead.

The attackers stormed into the university shortly after 5am in the town of Garissa, about 90 miles from the volatile border with Somalia. Kenya’s national disaster operations centre said 280 of the university’s 815 students were accounted for but did not say how many it believed to be still inside. [Read more…]

Remember Psalms 56

How sweet. Those nice people who own Memories Pizza, the O’Connor family (I said FAMILY, do you hear me? Good god-fearing Christian family, not that made up kind the fagg gay people have), are being given tons and tons of money to reward them for their courageous stand on Not Providing Pizza For Any Damn Gay Wedding. There’s a fundraiser, and the funds are just pouring in, several donations per minute. It’s $108, 630 now but going up as I type, so it will be well over that by the time you look, if you do.

Purpose: To relieve the financial loss endured by the proprietors’ stand for faith.

[Read more…]

Confused of Walkerton

There’s one Indiana pizza company that’s pleased as punch with the state’s new RFRA, and is already making firm plans to not serve gays who go in there and ask for pizzas for their wedding.

WALKERTON, Ind. –A small-town pizza shop is saying they agree with Governor Pence and the signing of the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The O’Connor family, who owns Memories Pizza, says they have a right to believe in their religion and protect those ideals. [Read more…]