baratron: (voted)
Am back from telling. Dogs at the Polling Station update: 5 during the hours of 1pm - 3pm.

Yay: I got licked by a very fluffy husky.
Boo: His owner was a very obnoxious Tory.

Here is an interesting video from BBC News: How do you vote when you're blind?

In other news, London's newspaper, the Evening Standard officially Went Too Far last night. It is now edited by George Osborne, who is famous primarily for being Chancellor of the Exchequer (a.k.a. Finance Minister) for David Cameron's government. Obviously, you would expect a bit of Tory bias in his newspaper.

Well, yesterday it was announced that Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home Secretary, is unwell. Shadow Ministers are from the main Opposition party (currently, the Labour Party) and literally "shadow" the jobs of Government ministers. Conservatives have argued that she isn't really unwell at all, this is an excuse to get her out of the limelight because of mistakes she has been making during the Election campaign. Personally, given my chronic illnesses, it seems entirely obvious to me that a person who has previously been very competent and suddenly starts making mistakes could be ill. But hey, I'm biased in a different direction.

The Home Secretary is responsible for immigration, policing, and national security. Theresa May was previously Home Secretary, and during her incumbency the UK Home Office asked LGBT asylum seekers utterly atrocious personal questions, held traumatised people in detention, generally treated them like crap on a stick, and sent legitimate asylum seekers back to their original countries to get tortured and/or killed. The Home Secretary is also responsible for the UK's efforts to Fight the War Against Some Terrorists. It's basically the third most important job in the British Government.

The Evening Standard responded to the news of Diane Abbott's illness by commissioning this absolutely appalling cartoon. It's rude, obnoxious, and dismissive of pretty much everyone with a long-term serious health condition. The rather wonderful Jack Monroe has pointed out everything that Diane Abbott has achieved in her career. It's long, and impressive. Plenty of other politicians never accomplish this much. So why does she get so much abuse? Could it be because she dares to be middle-aged, female, black, and fat?
baratron: (voted)
Today is the British General Election, and I am scared shitless.

On a local level, there is a strong chance that I will once again have the overprivileged twit who didn't know what BSL meant (when given the context of "BSL interpreters for disabled people") as my Member of Parliament. I am absolutely horrified that the local Conservative party chose Zac Goldsmith as their candidate for MP, after he resigned from the party and triggered an entirely unnecessary by-election only a few months ago. He claimed it was about blocking the expansion of Heathrow Airport. Well, guess what? The Conservative Government decided to back the expansion of Heathrow Airport! So how can he stand as a Conservative again? Okay, he never ruled out rejoining the Conservatives 'in the future', but five months later is hardly the sort of 'future' that people were expecting when they asked him.

Basically, the man is a self-serving slimeball*. He believes that the reason he lost the by-election in December was because standing as an Independent, he wasn't allowed access to the Conservative Party database of supporters, and Conservative ministers weren't allowed to help him. (Although some non-minister Conservative MPs helped him, including pro-Heathrow expansion friends.) 1871 votes isn't a big margin, and while people might be willing to vote Lib Dem as a protest against Brexit, people who are scared of Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister aren't going to risk losing a Conservative seat. Urgh.

*[Since we need some humour to break up the unrelenting grimness, I saw this article in one of the local rags the other day: A huge snake paid an uninvited visit to a home in Kew and immediately texted Richard to ask "Was it Zac Goldsmith?". He replied, "It's a popular misconception that snakes are slimy. Actually, only Tories are slimy." My dear friend Stellarwind pointed out "There's a very distinctive difference. One is a predatory cold-blooded reptile that makes some people very nervous... the other is a snake."]

On a national level, the fact is that the Conservatives hate disabled people. I could link to literally hundreds of articles to prove this, but here's one about mental health, and one about physical disability. That second link should be read by EVERYONE I know except for those who are expecting a PIP assessment soon and can't afford to get triggered.

There's also the absolute mess that Brexit is going to make of our country. I have no training in economics and cannot really argue this point, but I do know that the pound was worth US $1.6 only about a year ago. Now it's more like 1.1. And that isn't because the dollar got a lot stronger, it's because the British economy is collapsing.

I was arguing with an idiot this morning who claimed that "u can look at it as people more incentivised to buy local and your economy will benefit". I replied "'Buy local' means giving up every foodstuff which can't grow in your climate. Goodbye, oranges!". The exchange rate matters A LOT for trade. Even on the most basic level of an individual wanting to shop, it matters. I want a $20 nerdy t-shirt from the US? It used to cost me £12.50. Now it costs me £18.18. (The idiot claimed I should "buy a nerdy UK shirt. this is how you rek your own economy gettin evrythin foreign", and I tried to point out that the specific design I want to purchase is sold by an American company, and then I gave up trying to argue.)

The Conservative government is violently pro hard-Brexit (i.e. a complete split from the EU, removing the right to free movement, withdrawing from the European Court of Human Rights, withdrawing from the European Medicines Agency, etc). I'm a scientist and I'm worried sick about the effect of Brexit on science. I'm also a person with Northern Irish ancestry, and I'm worried sick about the effect of Brexit on the Irish border. These things matter, and it's like a load of little Englander UKIP-voting Brexiteers haven't even thought about them.

And I just can't cope. My mental health has been collapsing ever since this election was called, along with many of my friends'. Richard is kicking himself for not taking up Belgian citizenship when he was still entitled to it. I'm going to be out today working for the Liberal Democrats, trying to make sure that we keep our Sarah and don't let that awful Zac back, but a General Election really isn't the same as a local by-election. And I've been too ill and stressed lately to do more than cheer Richard on as he's delivered leaflets. If we lose by a narrow margin, it's going to feel very personal.

[Leaving this public for now. If any anonymous trolls decide to have a go at me, then I'll close it down. Not in the mood to argue.]
baratron: (boots)
I am alive. Coping with the hiatus hernia. Perhaps in a one damned thing after another sort of way. Still, the symptoms have all improved dramatically since I started eating much smaller meals and stopping before I feel full.

Now if my chronic fatigue and pain would kindly sod off, I'd be a lot happier. My legs have been useless for weeks now and I need to talk to my doctor about medication. My left knee in particular hurts if I rest, hurts if I walk, hurts if I stretch, hurts if I sit. Frankly, I can't figure out what doesn't aggravate the bloody thing.

It has been a dreadful year all round. Not least of all politically - as Richard pointed out today, when did the language of the far right become the ordinary way to describe things? And that's even without all the normal stresses of being a queer disabled woman that were already present before politics veered horrendously over to Farageland and Trumpsville.

Most of the good things that have happened this year have involved music, travel, or my partners. Sometimes at the same time. I haven't been well enough to travel much, but Grant came here in February, all 3 of us went to Boston in May to see Freezepop, Richard & I went to the Download Festival in June (and got thoroughly rained on), and I went to see Grant at his new home in Rochester, NY in September. We also saw [livejournal.com profile] ext_890197 and [livejournal.com profile] veryfineredwine, for the first time since I went to Boston to pick up wedding rings. I haven't written anything in livejournal about visiting Grant because it was quite honestly the only week in the past six months that I was not completely exhausted and ill. (Also, it was a 12-day trip including travel, so that gives you some idea of the health).

Richard is now in several bands, including one called Amps at Eleven. (There is a heavy metal umlaut on one of the Es, but I can't remember which one). They have actually done gigs recently, which is more than his other two bands are likely to ever accomplish. I sent text messages to everyone who I thought might like a classic rock covers band and be conceivably able to get to Raynes Park on a Tuesday night, but in the end only [livejournal.com profile] pilot_moondog came. Still, it was good to see Shaun.

I need to make a list of all the gigs I have been to this year. It seems like the only time I ever leave the house is for (a) a medical appointment, (b) to buy cake, (c) to see a band. It's crazy how many people who live in London I haven't seen in 3+ years. I miss having a fuller life. Doing something other than sitting up at night playing Elder Scrolls Online.

Don't get me wrong. I love my ESO Guild and my friends from our Teamspeak. But I'd like it to be A thing that I do rather than THE thing that I do. One of several ways that I hang out with friends, rather than the only one.

Who's still on livejournal? Am I going to be forced to start a Facebook account just so that I can still talk to people?
baratron: (Buttercup)
UK Government and Parliament Petitions: EU Referendum Rules triggering a 2nd EU Referendum. To be fair, this doesn't have a hope in hell of succeeding. But I had to do something. Apparently, Nigel Farage said "In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way". Apparently, if it's 51.9:48.1 in the direction he wanted, it doesn't count as unfinished.

Remember, as Rami Ismail @tha_rami wrote on Twitter:
Just in case somebody argued the majority of the UK voted leave: they didn't.

37.5% voted Leave,
34.7% voted Remain.
27.8% did not vote.

In other news regarding that odious individual, Nigel Farage, he said ‘we won it without a bullet being fired’. Given the tragic death of Jo Cox MP last week, that was a terrible thing to say and he needs to be held accountable for this. 38 Degrees: Nigel Farage: Say sorry for that shocking comment regarding bullets.

The Leave campaigners have blatantly lied. The Guardian: There are liars and then there’s Boris Johnson and Michael Gove - by Nick Cohen. So I signed two petitions about this:

Change.org: Petitioning Home Secretary and Member of Parliament for Maidenhead Rt Hon Theresa May MP. Make it a criminal offence to knowingly mislead the public to achieve electoral gain.

38 Degrees: Expand the powers of the Electoral Commission against misinformation.

and also, related to a referendum promise which now looks unlikely to be kept:
38 Degrees: Keep the promise of £350 million for our NHS. I don't actually believe we do pay £350 million a week to the EU, let alone that all of this money will be freed up if we leave (for one thing, the various regions which currently claim EU funding will need to be given that money. Sadly, the Leave vote was strongest in areas most dependent on the EU).

And some things that I feel strongly about:
Change.org: Mandatory teaching of Politics in British High Schools. Because it seems that a lot of people didn't understand what they were voting for or what leaving the EU would mean. There are still a lot of people in this country who seem to believe that we directly elect our Prime Minister!

38 Degrees: Guarantee no change in the status of E.U citizens currently living in the U.K.

Change.org: Petitioning Boris Johnson MP and David Cameron MP. Government to ensure LGBTQ+ rights do not suffer as a result of the referendum.

And I don't care if you think this is a joke. I am very serious. Change.org: Petitioning Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Declare London independent from the UK and apply to join the EU.

Still living in the hope that if Scotland leaves the UK and (re)joins the EU, that I'll be eligible for a Scottish passport.
baratron: (boris)
I am very stressed, anxious, angry, and upset right now. I literally cannot believe what has happened. I honestly don't know anyone who voted to Leave.

My friends - well yes, they tend to be left-wing, liberal, anti-racist Europeans. Of course they all voted Remain. But even my family voted Remain! My dad's family suddenly remembered that they are immigrants, and that they are in favour of a free market. My 89-year old grandmother who is horribly racist despite having black grandchildren and great-grandchildren - even she voted Remain! Apparently because she doesn't like Boris Johnson and doesn't want him in charge of anything, but that's still a better reason than a lot of people who voted Leave.

According to the front page of the BBC News site, 17,410,742 people, being 51.9% of those who voted, chose to Leave. Meanwhile 16,141,241 people, being 48.1% of those who voted, chose to Remain. That isn't a clear mandate for anything! Even if the figures were reversed, even if Remain had narrowly squeaked through... I would still be saying that the country is divided, that it isn't a clear mandate either way.

What bothers me is this. My mum manages a block of flats for retired people. In order to make changes to services offered, she needs to follow a Code of Practice which states that to make changes to the status quo, all of the following criteria must be met:
1. 66% of the votes received must support the proposal,
2. 51% of the total number of leaseholders must support the proposal, and
3. not more than 25% of the total number of leaseholders are against the proposal.

Leaving the European Union is many, many orders of magnitude more important for the country than any change to services provided by a block of retirement flats, and yet a 3.8% majority is apparently enough to make the change!

I just can't take this in.
baratron: (i agree with nick)
Richard and I just did the quiz at http://uk.isidewith.com to find out who we should vote for.

Huge image! )
That image is crap though because it only shows the top 5, whereas I think my 53% for the Conservatives, 21% for UKIP and 3% for the BNP (!) are important :) Honestly, I'm amazed that I have as much as 3% in common with the BNP... Apparently I agree with them about nuclear energy and tracking.

Don't forget to vote!
baratron: (endurance)
Issues:
xoJane: Fat kids and formerly fat kids are at significant risk of eating disorders, yet are more likely to go undiagnosed and untreated. Something that I only really thought about based on the experience of a friend, but it should seem obvious once you think about it.

Slate.com: How would American media report on the Government shutdown if it were happening in another country?. A bit out-of-date now, but certainly interesting.

Society's New Rules (According to the Internet)

Adorable:
Not Always Romantic: Three is a Crowd, but also Allowed. The last line just makes it.

Amusement:
The 50 Most Perfectly Timed Photos Ever.

IKEA or Death? Does that shouty Scandinavian name belong to an IKEA product or a death metal band?

Knitted nautilidae!

Snakes Wearing Tiny Hats.

Pet snake playing Pokemon X/Y.
baratron: (gaming)
It's Wednesday, and I have actually READ BOOKS THIS WEEK (!). So I should do that Wednesday reading meme thing. Unfortunately I'm exhausted and have lost coherence, AND still have another 2 hours before I can go to bed. Gods damnit.

So have some links that have been sitting in my browser for weeks:

people say I'm gonna regret this, I say fuck you. A Reddit thread in which a user boasts about his tattoo of an illegal drug... which turns out to be so not the molecule he thought it was that it would make anyone with A-level chemistry laugh their arses off. Mmm. Yeah. Benzene rings are tricky little buggers, aren't they?

On similar lines (perhaps), A Simple and Convenient Synthesis of Pseudoephedrine From N-Methylamphetamine. "In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to obtain psuedoephedrine in many states because of its use as a precursor for the illegal drug N-methylamphetamine (also known under various names including crystal meth, meth, ice, etc.)" "A quick search of several neighborhoods of the United States revealed that while pseudoephedrine is difficult to obtain, N-methylamphetamine can be procured at almost any time on short notice and in quantities sufficient for synthesis of useful amounts of the desired material." Given that it's published in the Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry, somehow I doubt this is real... But any organic synthesis route can be reversed, so... I dunno. I laughed anyway.

Groovy glasses. "Ok let's see if that thing with glasses chicks suddenly becoming super weird feminine when they whip off their glasses works". You kinda have to go all the way to the end to find the really funny pictures.

Introducing 'SheZow,' The 'Transgender' Superhero Cartoon That Will Destroy America And/Or Entertain Some Children. I liked this review. Haven't bothered watching any of the cartoon clips though.

How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement. I have a vague feeling I may have linked to this before, but it's worth reading if you have enough spare time to read the whole, very long, article, and are not already in a stabby mood.
baratron: (bi_pride)
Hooray (so far). Still got the Lords to go. Actually, still got A LONG WAY to go: we're at the first 2 on this diagram.

David Lammy ♥. You may need tissues.
baratron: (wolfy)
Pink Science, '50s-Style. Interesting comparison of a "Lab Technician Set For Girls" to the hideously gendered "Chemistry" kits of today.

What Milgram’s Shock Experiments Really Mean: Replicating Milgram's shock experiments reveals not blind obedience but deep moral conflict, from Scientific American.

Maps of the 2012 US presidential election results, organised in a number of ways. Interesting but slightly freaky.

Positive pregnancy test diagnoses man's cancer. From Reddit, apparently.

BEST VIDEO OF THE ENTIRE YEAR!!! Two very good dogs teach you chemistry. This is beyond amazing. If you have ANY interest in chemistry or dogs, or even if you don't but you don't actively dislike dogs, WATCH THIS VIDEO.
baratron: (bi_pride)
On electing the better of your two options for President :) Given how the Electoral Colleges work in most states, with winner takes all, I was genuinely very worried about the state of the world today. But it's Going To Be Okay.

Also congratulations to Maine, Maryland, and Washington for voting to allow same-sex marriage. The gap between "red" and "blue" states grows ever stronger.

In other news, this is relevant to our interests. Veteran British actors Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi are teaming up to play a bickering gay couple in a new ITV1 sitcom. Vicious has been created by Will and Grace writer Gary Janetti and award-winning playwright Mark Ravenhill. Sounds rather interesting!

Scary.

May. 2nd, 2012 02:44 pm
baratron: (corrosive)
Holy crap, police with guns at Waterloo. And I don't mean little handguns like American police carry in holsters. These were big, fuck-off, two-handed RIFLES carried IN THEIR HANDS. Edit: I've been informed they were sub-machine guns. This is not an improvement.

Do Not Want. Especially Do Not Want every day between now & the end of the Olympics. I don't understand how people can feel safe when there are guns waving around.

...and this is even, or ESPECIALLY, after visiting a gun range in Florida last October & learning how to shoot. I was taught in my gun training to never point a gun at someone unless I intended to shoot them. But these policemen were standing at the top of an escalator. They were pointing the guns towards the floor at a 45 degree angle... so "unintentionally" aiming them at the people on the escalator.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

baratron: (goggles)
And I'm stuck on question 13 of the Individual Questionnaire. How is my health in general? Very good, Good, Fair, Bad or Very bad? I HAVE NO IDEA!

Compared to what? A typical person of my age? Or humans in general, including the very old? I'm working on the basis that "Very bad" is actively dying of cancer, but where are the limits drawn? If you have nothing life-threatening but several conditions that are life-limiting (in other words, your health stops you from doing things that you want to do, and sometimes stops you from doing things that you need to do), what does that come under?

Just for a laugh, tell me how you think I should answer this question. (Obviously, only fill in the poll if you actually know me, otherwise it's a bit pointless).
[Poll #1723015]

There is a separate question about disability: "Are your day-to-day activities limited because of a health problem or disability which has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months?". That was easy enough - Yes, limited a lot - because not only are there lots of things I'm not able to do, there are lots of things that Richard has to do for me, or things that he wants to be able to do and can't because he's looking after me. Hmm.
baratron: (goggles)
So why wasn't this all over my friends list: Pope condones condom use in exceptional cases? His actual comments are given here. The Vatican is trying to play down his remarks, but they are, quite frankly, amazing. Especially when viewed in light of some of the misinformation that has been believed? - well, certainly spread - by other Catholic bishops. In 2003, Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo of Columbia claimed that the HIV virus which causes Aids could actually pass through tiny holes in the rubber of condoms. And in 2007, Archbishop Francisco Chimoio, the head of the Catholic Church in Mozambique told the BBC he believes some European-made condoms are infected with HIV deliberately. There have been others - these are the two which I could find references to easily, courtesy of Bad Science.

Here is the Pope, after all these years, mentioning the ABC theory: A - Abstinence, B - Be Faithful, C - Use a Condom, with the obvious assumption that he believes that condoms can prevent the spread of HIV. Not that they are the way to prevent it, or the only way to prevent it, but that they do work. Moreover, "There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants." Okay, there is a lot of waffle in that statement - but in comparison to the misinformation that has been spread by Catholic bishops in the past, it is totally new.

I am really quite surprised - amazed - and pleased. The world can change. Yes, the Pope still thinks that condoms are not "a real or moral solution" but "there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality." Gosh.

I hope this means that - even if it does not itself distribute condoms - the Catholic Church will no longer block their distribution.
baratron: (hey nicky)
Also, I'm sure you want reports of all the political fangirling I've been doing recently (viz. Peter Mandelson and Nick Clegg), but I'm too flippin' tired to think. There is a spectacular report of the Mandelson event here and of the Clegg event here, but they're locked to the community and you'd have to join it to read them.

This is possibly the cutest thing in the world ever, though (photo taken by [livejournal.com profile] misdemeanor79, other person in the photo is [livejournal.com profile] pudupudu):


That man is soooooo lovely :)

Coherent comment to follow when coherence exists, yes.
baratron: (keep Clegg & carry on)
Tomorrow, I am going to Abingdon to see the beautiful and lovely Nick Clegg. There is every possibility that I may melt into a little puddle from his wonderfulness, so if you never see me again, that'll be why.

Still, I guess the DPM's Office will have some buckets on hand to decant overenthusiastic fangirls into... right?
baratron: (boris)
What Boris Johnson Did At London Pride:
Real life (from PinkNews).

Photos: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven.

Note also that Boris now has his own unique sexuality. And the Is Fatboy Slim a DJ? song is now available for download - 79p from amazon if you just want the main track, and the proceeds are going to Macmillan.

Fiction. Hilarious, assuming a basic familiarity with the wonders of Boris.

Auto-tune the News
V. disturbing. Apparently some people in the US put news programmes through a Vocoder-like software plugin, so the presenters and politicians sound like they're singing, then sing along, adding extra detail to the song.*brain explodes*

They're reasonably well-subtitled for something where music is essential to understanding. Read more... )

Dan and Dan:
This guy makes videos with himself. They aren't subtitled, but should be lip-readable. Also, in the Daily Mail song he holds up headlines to go with the lyrics. And again )

VINCE!

Jun. 4th, 2010 02:55 am
baratron: (i agree with nick)
Vince Cable, Action Hero!

Look! That is me hugging The Right Honourable Dr Vincent Cable MP! Are you impressed? ARE YOU IMPRESSED?!

Read more... )
baratron: (hey nicky)
This is a few weeks old now but still funny. While the LibDems were busy talking to Labour and the Conservatives to figure out which Party they'd be able to do a deal with, someone put Nick Clegg up for auction on eBay. From [livejournal.com profile] tickthatbox:

Profile
Questions 1
Questions 2

Also, the Nick Clegg action figure. Amazingly nice!

How many of you are now earwormed to death by this userpic? ;)
baratron: (black)
I have spent way too long yesterday/today reading what I can only describe as British politician fanfic. Especially bizarre as most of the writers don't actually like at least one of the politicians in their story in real life.

Many of them feature teh sexytiems, but not all. Some of them feature zombie apocalypses, with HM the Queen as the gunslinging saviour of our country. One of them features the Conservative Party as a variety of undead creatures.

The following stories are all sex-free (at least at the point I write this), so you can read them even if you're squicked by the thought of real person slash or just generally aren't into hawt boy-on-boy action:

In the style of Good Omens. Angels and demons having to work together for the good of the country.

David Cameron meets the Minister for Magic. Brilliant.

Which Pokemon would Gordon Brown, Dave Cameron and Nick Clegg have?. I laughed so hard that I almost had an asthma attack.

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