Monday, April 28, 2008

For Shame

I suppose I shouldn't be too astonished at the lengths members of the anti-abortion brigade will go to in support of their cause, but sometimes something is done that will astonish me.

In Afghanistan yesterday, Lance Corporal Jason Marks was killed during an attack on Taliban militants. He is the fifth Australian soldier to die in the war in Afghanistan. LCPL Marks died working for Australia's national interest, and in defence of the liberated people of Afghanistan. Whatever one may think of Australia's involvement in the war in Afghanistan (for the record, it is an involvement I support), one would certainly think it crass to use the death of LCPL Marks for political ends.

However, Ron, author of the Tell the 'Truth' blog, has done just that. In his consciousness raising efforts to expose what he views as the evil of abortion to the people of Australia, Ron has published a post entitled Australian Commando Killed in Afghanistan. It consists of a photo LCPL Marks with his two children followed by the question, "Did this man die for the right of Australian parent's to kill their own children?" Ron then answers his own question in the negative. And that's it, no more is written.

I am astonished at the unmitigated gall that Ron has displayed in exploiting the death of LCPL Marks to his own political ends. How does one respond to such callous disregard to another person? He doesn't even have the decency to use the name of the person whose death he would exploit. I will not answer the question that Ron poses, for it can not be answered with any shred of dignity. All I can say is that LCPL Justin Marks died defending the freedom of the people of Afghanistan from a totalitarian theocracy.

Well, maybe I shouldn't be so astonished after all, for it is people like Ron who would foist their theocratic ideals on others.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Community Complaints re: Tell the Truth Coalition

The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) received a many complaints about the flyer distributed by Tell the 'Truth' Coalition. Last week, the ASB issued a press release wherein the ASB disclosed that it upheld those complaints on the basis of Community Standards.

The Case Report (available by searing for 93/08 under Case Reports on the ASB home page) states at The Determination:
The Board considered that the content of the advertisement had the potential to affect the mental health
of women who have had an abortion or women who are pregnant and not happy with their situation.
The images could also impact negatively on the mental health of women who have experienced a
miscarriage.

The Board further noted the possibility that the images could be viewed by young people or children
and that this would cause alarm and distress to these viewers.

The Board considered the advertiser's right to free speech and their right to share their views.
However the Board considered on balance that the images depicted were contrary to prevailing
community standards on health and safety.

Finding that the advertisement breached Section 2.6 of Code, the Board upheld the complaint.

(Nota Bene: The Code referred to is the AANA Code of Ethics)

Tell the 'Truth' Coalition had not responded to the Determination of the ASB at the time the Report was published. There has also been no mention of the Determination on the blog Tell the 'Truth'. Will they hold to their name and write about this Determination and of the offense they have caused in the community?

I rather doubt it.

Via Emervents

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The lives of girls

A disturbing, yet courageous, story is circulating the blogosphere. It is the story of Nojoud Muhammed Nasser.

Two months ago Nojoud's father, Muhammed Nasser, forced her to marry, against her consent, Faez Ali Thamer. Muhammed had beaten and threatened his daughter with rape if she did not comply with the marriage. Despite her pleas, her family would not help her. They told her she could go to court herself. On 2 April, Nojoud walked into the the Sana'a West Court seeking a divorce from her husand, citing sexual and domestic abuse.

Nojoud says,

“He used to do bad things to me, and I had no idea as to what a marriage is. I would run from one room to another in order to escape, but in the end he would catch me and beat me and then continued to do what he wanted. I cried so much but no one listened to me. One day I ran away from him and came to the court and talked to them.

“Whenever I wanted to play in the yard he beat me and asked me to go to the bedroom with him. This lasted for two months. He was too tough with me, and whenever I asked him for mercy, he beat me and slapped me and then used me. I just want to have a respectful life and divorce him.”

Nojoud's husband is 30 years old. Nojoud is eight years old.


Nojoud Muhammed Nasser

Unable to bring an action before the Court as she is underage according to Yemeni law, her uncle has begun to act as her guardian. She will also be sent to Dar Al-Rahama, a NGO that works with children, where she will be able to receive an education.

Islam has been given a bad rap in the West, in part because of stories such as the above. But the West is not so innocent.

There is a disturbing and growing trend in the West with the sexualisation of children, particularly of girls. Young girls are being encouraged to adopt the ways of women, especially in fashion and beauty standards. The reader may be aware of the recent story about Monika Jagaciak, the 14 year old Polish girl who was to model at Australian Fashion Week, before the organisers had a change of heart and decided not to employ her. However, the reader may not be aware of a trend in the United States of pre-pubescent girls being taken by their mothers to beauty salons and spas for treatment. Girls as young as eight are having their eyebrows waxed and plucked so they look like supermodels. More disturbing is the trend for Brazilian waxes for pre-pubescent and pubescent girls.

Yes, you read correct: girls too young to even have pubic hair are having their genitalia waxed.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Are the Creationists right after all?

Creationists believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. They believe that the Book of Genesis provides a true and accurate account of the beginning of the world. They believe that the Earth is 6000 years old, that we are all descended from Adam and Eve, and that we are all sinners because Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation by the snake to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, in defiance of the command by God not to eat thereof. As an atheist, I believe it is poppy-cock. A quaint story, to be sure, and a far more interesting story if viewed as allegory, as liberal minded Believers are inclined to do.

In the account, God punishes Adam and Eve by expelling them both from the Garden of Eden, Adam (man) is to work the fields by the sweat of his brow, Eve (woman) to be subordinate to Adam and to experience pain during childbirth. The snake is also punished, cursed to go upon his belly. The implication is that the snake was, before then, able to walk. To walk, one must have legs.

In 2000, a fossil of a snake was discovered in Lebanon. New research has revealed something interesting. It is a fossil of a snake with two hind limbs. A snake with legs! So, maybe the Creationists have been right all along, and we unbelievers simply misguided fools? Unfortunately, for the Creationists, no. This fossil is somewhat older than 6000 years; it dates from the Late Cretaceous, about 92 Million years ago. This means it also predates Homo sapiens by about 91.75 Million years. Not so close, and definitely no cigar.

Yay! for science.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Safari

I recently downloaded the Safari web browser for Windows as part of an update to iTunes. I've been rather happy using Firefox, but thought I've give Safari a go, if only to see what it was like.

I do say, I like. The layout is clean and uncluttered. The bookmark bar convenient and simple to use. Automatic RSS updating so good. Quicker page downloads is noticeable. Automatic bookmark importing a pleasant surprise when I noticed it had occurred. There's really not much I can fault it, but there are two things I do miss. One is the range of search engines allowed in the Firefox search bar, for only Google and Yahoo! are available, both returning results for the US engines. I've not investigated the issue in depth, but it would be nice to have the option of having them search the Australian engines. It would also be nice if I could add other search engines. On Mozilla, I have available Google au, Yahoo! au, Wikipedia, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, YouTube, eBay au, YellowPages au, IMDb, EzyDVD, Amazon us, and Amazon uk. All that I need in my various searchings, even if only on the odd occasion with some of them.

The second thing I miss is automatic address searching. In Firefox, if I type, for example, Firefox in the address bar, the browser will automatically do a google search and take me to the Firefox web page. Safari does not do this, and so thinks that Firefox is the web address, search for that as the address, and of course return a "server not found" page. I can from there do a google search for Firefox, which will lead me, eventually, to the page that I want. And the browser will remember this, and take me there next time I enter Firefox in the address bar. But it would be nicer if the functionality were the same as Firefox in this regard.

Convenience is so easy to get used to, that it is missed when not available. But, recognising that it is merely convenience slaves the pain of its absence. And, just as convenience is easy to get used to, it is as easy to forget about once one has adjusted to its absence.

For those people still silly enough to be using Internet Explorer, I suggest moving over to either Firefox or Safari. For those using Firefox, I recommend at least giving Safari a go.

I did, and it's now the browser I use.

Monday, April 7, 2008

J'Accuse

(With apologies to Zola)

Ron, of Tell the "Truth", has posted a video of an interview by Bill O'Reilly of a young woman named Kelly. In this video, Kelly describes an abortion that she had at the age of 14.

Kelly was 20-weeks pregnant when she informed her parents. The state of Maryland, where she resided at the time, did not allow for abortions at this stage of pregnancy. O'Reilly says, "you're father and mother, I guess, decided to take you to Kansas, where [the abortion provider] Tiller advertises on the net, he, ah, everybody knows who he is, ah, he'll abort babies at any time." Kelly does not refute this.

Kelly goes on to describe the procedure she underwent, which took place over the course of five days. She also explained what happened to her in the years after the abortion. In her words, "I was traumatised, so I had lots of symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I had very low self-esteem, I was promiscuous, I used drugs, I had eating disorders. Lots of horrible things."

In his post, Ron writes the following:

Don't beat yourself up, Kelly. You were only 13... but you might like to beat some others up. You might even find some of them on this blog. They would have supported your "choice".

I was not pleased with Ron's assertion. Indeed, I was pissed off. I have been patient with him in the past, explaining my position with some level of civility. But try as I might, he will not listen. I have in the past explained that I support choice, not compulsion. I have agreed with him that compelling a woman to obtain an abortion is evil.

But, still, he writes what I have quoted above. He claims to present the truth about abortion, but he willfully lies and deceives. He presents himself as a Christian, but his words are more like those of Satan, the Great Deceiver. He has accused Emervents of libel; let him now accuse me.

My comment on his blog, awaiting moderation, follows:

lie:
(noun)
1.a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.
2. something intended or serving to convey a false impression.
3.an inaccurate or false statement.
(verb)
5. to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive.
6. to express what is false; convey a false impression.
source

As has been stated on this blog by myself and others of my position, we believe in choice, not compulsion. It is clear from the video that Kelly did not choose to have an abortion, but was compelled by her parents.

By your words, Ron, and I quote, "They would have supported your "choice"", I accuse you of presenting a lie.

I ask only that you live by the title of your blog: Tell the truth.

Or do I ask too much?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Bastard Fairies

I'm a regular reader of the blog Pharyngula. Recently, a video was posted. Following be that video.



I did like very much, so I sought more. And so at The Bastard Fairies website did I find myself being. Wandering around the site I did continue to like. And then I saw it: Free Music! I do like free music. I did then download the advertised free music. And listen to it. And I did like much, much more.

I do highly recommend.

Check out their YouTube page. Go download their free music.

Your life will be better for it. I guarantee it.*

* No warranty is provided that your life will indeed be better. Guarantee offered only as an opinion of the awesomeness of The Bastard Fairies . Should you find that your life is not better, go develop a better taste in music.