The Blood is the Life for 23-06-2017

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
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Definitely not standing: Jo Swinson, Jamie Stone, Layla Moran, Tom Brake, Tim Farron, Alistair Carmichael, Norman Lamb
Probably not standing: Stephen Lloyd, Wera Hobhouse, Christine Jardine
Probably standing: Ed Davey
Definitely standing: Vince Cable

You'll note that Norman Lamb has moved from probably standing to definitely not standing. He announced this with rather petulant article in the Grauniad, in which (among other things) he proclaimed the Lib Dems' second referendum policy as toxic. Now I agree, it is toxic. "First we'll negotiate brexit, then we'll set up a referendum, then we'll campaign against the deal we ourselves negotiated!" is an utterly ridiculous policy. The problem is, it was only in the sodding manifesto due to the insistence of people on the rump brexity wing of the party, of which Norman Lamb is definitely one. This was as far as the rest of the party, who just wanted "we will stop brexit" to be the manifesto position, could be dragged. Policy making by committee often comes up with soggy centrist compromises, and often that's a good thing and satisfies most people, but sometimes it's patently rubbish. This time was the latter. What I don't get is Captain Brexit blaming the rest of the party for it. Well, I do. He'd like us to embrace brexit. And that is not going to happen.

Anyway, the rest of the article sticks the boot in to members in various other ways, and alludes to, but doesn't actually acknowledge, the problems autistic people have with the idea of Norman as a leader, and frankly, just makes me glad he's not standing. At least he has the self-knowledge to know he's not right to lead the party as it currently is, even if he declares it in a rather Skinnerian way.

Principal Skinner asks a pertinent question

So the only likely runner at this point undeclared is Ed Davey. And there will be siren idiots voices whispering in his ear, saying:
Don't stand, Ed. Leadership elections are expensive, Ed. They are divisive and set party members up against each other, ed. It'd be easier all round just to crown Vince, Ed. You don't want the hassle, Ed. The party doesn't want the hassle, Ed. Lets just have a coronation, Ed.
To which I say, pish, tosh, bunkum, bollocks, and bullshit.

Yes, leadership elections are divisive, and do set members up against each other, and sometimes even cause resentments. Do you know what's even more divisive, and causes even more resentments? Not letting Lib Dems have democracy. Not letting us scrutinise each candidate and come to a decision on merit. Not having hustings at which we can put questions to candidates and examine their views and records and promises. Imposing a leader on us without us having a say. I can guarantee you that while a leadership election might be divisive, it's nowhere near as divisive as a coronation.

Now, Ed Davey told one of the BBC politics correspondents (I think Norman Smith) the other day that he would declare whether or not he was standing "on Thursday or Friday". He didn't declare yesterday. I'm hoping he declares he's standing today.

And if you'd told me last month I'd be crossing my fingers for Ed Davey to run in a leadership election, I'd have thought you insane in the membrane, crazy insane, got no brain. Just goes to show what a funny old world it is...

The Blood is the Life for 22-06-2017

Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Solstice

Jun. 21st, 2017 10:37 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
It's been so hot and my hair's so thick that I shaved most of it off this evening.
A selfie where I try to show off that the sides of my head are shaved. My dark hair is longer on the top and combed off to one side.
Feels much better now. But no doubt this means the heatwave is over. You're welcome.

It's the longest day of the year in this hemisphere, a bittersweet occasion for me because I'm sad to think the days are getting shorter now already. It feels like I haven't had a chance to get used to or appreciate them yet. It's been a real catastrophe curve of a year, so time passes without me noticing it.

Is £70,000 a year rich?

Jun. 21st, 2017 03:35 pm
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Arachnia Janeway)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I think the argument boils down to two things: what you earn, and what you picture in your head as a rich person's lifestyle.

£70,000 is in the 95th percentile for personal income. This means that if you earn £70,000 you earn more than 94% (or thereabouts) of people. If you're earning more than 94% of your fellow countrymen, you ought to be rich, right? Like, if you're better off than the vast, vast majority of people, you should feel well off, or else how must the poor buggers on less than you feel?

The problem is, of course, that £70,000 doesn't actually buy that much these days. Like, it won't get you a mortgage on a decent house anywhere in the home counties. It won't buy you a new car and a couple of holidays every year after housing costs. It won't pay school fees for your little ones to go to private school once you've paid for housing costs either. £70,000 a year doesn't feel rich; and that's what the problem is.

If you look at the lifestyles our parents had, well, this is what my parents did in the 80s:
  • owned a home
  • bought a new car every two years
  • didn't go on foreign holidays but DID send me to private school
  • were in the pub three nights a week
etc., etc.

Now, I'm not saying they didn't work for that: they did. My dad had two full time jobs (mild mannered biology teacher by day, superchef by night) and my mum worked 9-5 too. They worked bloody hard. But the same amount of work in the same jobs these days would get you, if you were lucky:
  • a rented house that is one of three poky little Barratt boxes built in the back garden of the kind of house your parents owned
  • a second hand banger that you run till it dies, or a bus/rail pass
  • a cheap holiday for now, but only until brexit happens and then we have to pay visa fees and the exchange rate is knackered and oh look we can only afford Butlins
  • Pre-loading because the pubs are so bloody expensive, thank you alcohol duty escalator
Now most of the people I see arguing about this are either saying "£70k is mega rich, you're in the 95th percentile FFS" or "£70k is not that rich when you consider what you can buy" but not many are following both thoughts through.

How bloody scandalous is it that even if you're in the 95th percentile you are still struggling, and you are well worse off than your parents would have been on an equivalent income adjusted for inflation etc.? If 95% of the country is not getting a good enough income, that's a bloody disgrace and somebody ought to do something about it.

Anybody know any politicians?
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[personal profile] miss_s_b
The relevant part (and the reason why I am posting this) will also be made bigger and bolder for those hard of thinking people. I thought I'd post the whole thing again though, just because it's periodically useful to do so.

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The Blood is the Life for 21-06-2017

Jun. 21st, 2017 11:00 am
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Happy Solstice

Jun. 21st, 2017 10:16 am
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Arachnia Janeway)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... especially to all those of us who fear the filthy day star and can now look forward to inexorably encroaching cool soft darkness for the next 6 whole months :)
miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... and to nobody's surprise it is Vince Cable.

I like Vince, as a person. I like his stance on bees. I like his dancing.

None of those three things makes him suitable to be leader of the party, though. I mean, yes, he's got long service. And he did that one joke when he was acting leader that one time. But I'd really like something more than that to enthuse about in a potential leader.

Plus, there's all the things that make him unsuitable to be leader:
  • He's not a liberal, he's a technocratic centrist. This is fine if you are (shadow) chancellor; commendable, even. It's not acceptable in the leader. The leader needs to inspire. Technocratic centrism is the opposite of inspirational.

  • His stance on brexit is... at odds with the majority of the party's members and voters is probably the kindest way of putting it, and is already bringing out the "but we must appease the racists! We can't tell people they are wrong!" faction. If he wins, and maintains this stance, I predict a halving of our membership in pretty short order.

  • Tuition fees. OK, so he's not entirely to blame for the policy cock up (all those of us who voted for coalition, myself included, must take out share of that blame) but he is the person responsible for the catastrophic mishandling of the implementation and representation of it, and a big part of the reason Labour, why a party which introduced and then trebled tuition fees, can still point at them like an albatross round our necks.

  • The British Press, bless them, are not known for their nuance and balance. His name will be "Sir Vince Cable, the man who privatised the mail" - whether he wins the leadership or not, tbh.

  • Ten years ago he declared that by his own reckoning, he was too old. I do not believe he has got younger in that time.
All that said? I'll give him a fair hearing at hustings. He'll have his chance to impress me. I just don't see him doing it.

So far, to my knowledge, the field looks like this:

Definitely not standing: Jo Swinson, Jamie Stone, Layla Moran, Tom Brake, Tim Farron, Alistair Carmichael
Probably not standing: Stephen Lloyd, Wera Hobhouse, Christine Jardine
Probably standing: Norman Lamb, Ed Davey
Definitely standing: Vince Cable

If anyone else declares that they are definitely standing I shall go into my reasons further, but based on Ds&Ps, and subject to persuasion at hustings, I expect my ballot to look like this:
  1. RON
  2. Davey
  3. Cable
  4. resigning from the party
  5. Lamb
There has been talk that there might be an online ballot this time, rather than a paper one. If that is the case I shall lobby very hard indeed for it to have at least one free text box for write in candidates and/or voting RON. Voters should be able to express their displeasure at the options on the ballot on any and every ballot, this one included.

The Blood is the Life for 18-06-2017

Jun. 18th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Yoga

Jun. 18th, 2017 08:35 am
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
Think I've actually managed to book for a yoga class this morning online?! That never used to work. Living right across from the gym, it wasn't a big deal: I just had to go over there with my card and scan it, but this is even better because I can do it before they open this morning.

When I went to the website I was asked to do a little survey, so I got to vent a bit there about how ableist they've been.

Went to yoga on Wednesday for the first time in a while and it was great as usual but, having started this at New Year, I'm not used to being sweaty while I'm doing it! It makes my hands slippery which is no good when the likes of Three-Legged Dog is hard enough for me anyway. I suppose I can be grateful that this isn't a problem I'm going to have most of the year.

(Man, this morning I've already washed all the dishes and tried to clean the coffee off the kitchen floor (I always miss some, because everything in our kitchen is black!), did laundry and hung it out in the sunshine, and went to yoga. And it's only 10:30. I feel far too virtuous a person and am glad I had crisps for breakfast so I have some evidence that I'm not.)

The Blood is the Life for 17-06-2017

Jun. 17th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Weekly Update 17 JUN 2017

Jun. 17th, 2017 11:03 am
megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
[personal profile] megpie71
This week the weather has been playing merry hob with my temperature sense at night. Early in the week I was throwing off the quilt in the middle of the night because I was overheating, and I wound up pulling the crocheted rug off the bed because it was just making the overheating worse. Then from Thursday onwards, I've been cold enough at night that I suspect I'm sleeping in the one position all night rather than lose heat (and consequently winding up with a strained shoulder and neck) - the crocheted rug is back on the bed, and I'm starting to consider whether bringing out the summer-weight quilt as well would be a useful move. Or I can give this a week and see whether our weather decides to flip back to comparatively warm nights.

A quick look at the weather forecast says it's possible we might get double-digit night time temperatures around Wednesday and Thursday next week, but single digits for the rest of the week (7 - 10C range for minima). Which, I think, means pretty much more of the same.

The house is cleaner than it was, and probably cleaner than it has been since about mid-March, really. I have free time, and lots of it, and I can now schedule things like cleaning the house as part of my daily routine without running out of spoons for other things. The dust doesn't know what hit it!

Aside from that, most of what I've been doing this week is noodling around on the internet reading things. I haven't even been playing games all that much, which is generally an indicator for me that I'm going through a bit of a depressive slump (which, yes, I am - reaction to not having the week full of uni stuff to deal with). I'm starting to get a bit better at dealing with things. I'm pulling out some old self-care habits, like alternating internet activity for thirty minutes with getting up and doing chores; something which made me more productive yesterday than I had been for most of the week. But it's all a work in progress.

[domesticity, MA] Renting a Bed?

Jun. 16th, 2017 01:06 am
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[personal profile] siderea
I keep having bright ideas that seem very plausible, but which then seem to not work in reality. I'm wondering if any of you can advise me about the following.

D, who will be moving into an assisted living facility shortly, is undecided about what size of bed she wants. The room she will have is quite small, so on one hand, she wants to maximize floor space. On the other hand, she's used to sleeping in a full size bed, and not sure she can handle downsizing to a twin.

So I had the brainwave that maybe we could use one of the rent-to-buy furniture places to rent a twin bed for her to try out. While we'd pay a premium for doing this, it would allow her to change her mind and have her full bed moved in if she didn't like the twin, without having to pay the full price for the twin if she didn't like it.

Now, I thought my question would be whether rent-to-own furniture places would even rent mattresses in MA given our laws about reusing mattresses – it turns out they do – or whether rent-to-own furniture places, having the reputation they do of being skeezy, are too disreputable to contract with or would have terms unfavorable to doing what I want – it turns out their model and rules seems ideal to our purpose.

But no. The problem seems to be whether rent-to-own furniture places on the North Shore will rent an entire twin bed.

There only seem to be two furniture rental places that serve the North Shore, Rent-a-Center and Aaron's. Both seem to be convinced that only children use twin beds. Aarons, at least, will allegedly (per website) rent a twin mattress and boxspring set, but none of their bedsets or electric adjustable bed bases are compatable. Rent-a-Center has no twin mattress sets at all; all their twin beds are for children, and either bunk beds, or platform beds (no place for boxspring), all of which are strangely inaccessible with things like elaborate superstructures (e.g. to make the bed look like a car, or a Cindarella coach) or higher than usual bed surfaces for under-bed storage (Captain's beds).

Does anybody have any suggestions about this? I can call the stores and ask if they have things available not on the website, but I figured I should stop and ask if there's things I should know that I don't. Like does anybody know of a local alternative? Has anybody done this?

The Ballad of Lucy Jordan

Jun. 16th, 2017 11:43 am
megpie71: Simplified bishie Edward Elric is Scarred For Life (scarred for life)
[personal profile] megpie71
I've been having this run through my head lately as a bit of an earworm - I blame an article from the Guardian which linked me to a video clip for it (a very early seventies video clip, it must be said - be warned). But in a way, this song has been haunting me on and off since I first heard it when I was about five or six, on the radio. It's such a frightening song.

Why is it frightening? Well, go have a look at the lyrics. Think about the sort of life they're describing - when a person's daily options are limited to "cleaning the house for hours, or rearrange the flowers, or run naked through the shady streets screaming all the way" there's not much in there. It almost makes remaining in bed dreaming about fantasy lovers and singing nursery-rhymes sound like a reasonable alternative. And then of course, there's the final verse and chorus.

You know, I'm not quite sure what becomes of Lucy Jordan, but I don't really feel the options are particularly positive either way. I mean, as far as I can tell, the options are she either walks off the roof and dies; or she escapes completely into psychosis and hallucination, and gets carted off by the nice men with the hug-me jackets.

(I love that the lyrics were written by Shel Silverstein - the man behind things like "Cover of the Rolling Stone" and "A Boy Named Sue". A prolific lyricist and a man with a very sharp and satirical pen).

I suspect part of the reason it's been haunting me lately is because I'm feeling in a sort of "Lucy Jordan" situation at present - it's the inter-semester break for me, so there's no real reason to visit campus. Instead, I'm sort of trapped in the pseudo-agoraphobia I wind up in sometimes, where I want to leave the house and Do Things, but I can't think of an adequate justification for doing so. This is part of why I'm always an on-campus student at universities - having the routine of lectures and tutorials means I have a reason to get out of the house, and something to kick me out the door on a regular basis. But without a Good Reason, I tend to remain in the house, in front of the computer, noodling around the internet. So, if there's anyone in my reading list living in Perth, Western Australia, who would like to meet up for coffee/tea or similar, just let me know and we'll set a date. (Semester 2 starts on 31 July. Any time before then is my own - and I'd really appreciate any help people can give in filling it up with at least a few reasons to leave the house around once a week!)

(For those who have already been in touch, don't worry, I'm keeping you in mind!)

[tech, soc] if \t then --$salary

Jun. 15th, 2017 05:01 pm
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[personal profile] siderea
Via Metafilter: Developers Who Use Spaces Make More Money Than Developers Who Use Tabs

Apparently, a suprisingly robust finding, even after controlling for absolutely everything obvious, and a lot of clever non-obvious things, too.

While correlation does not imply causation, in case you were wondering: 8.6% higher, on average.

New on AO3

Jun. 15th, 2017 10:23 pm
megpie71: Simplified Bishie Sephiroth says "Neat!" (Enthuse)
[personal profile] megpie71
I've just put up a consolidated post of various bits of Final Fantasy VII meta-fic and so on.

Available here: Various FFVII Meta Pieces

The Blood is the Life for 15-06-2017

Jun. 15th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Coping mechanisms

Jun. 15th, 2017 10:11 am
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[personal profile] hollymath
What a day. Usually I say "when Lib Dems get annoyed about something we write policy motions" but tonight I'm setting up a whole SAO to represent a raft of policy.

The party leader stepped down quite suddenly yesterday. Among other things I like him because he really "gets" immigration and has always said it's an actually good thing and not just something we have to hold our nose and put up with for the good of the economy, which is the best you'll hear from most politicians, if you're lucky.

Since some friends and I had been talking about setting up a group within the party (that's what SAO means) to advocate for and support good policy for immigrants, we're doing it hopefully quickly now so ideally we can make sure whoever the new leader is, is at least as good on stuff that affects immigrants.
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