andrewducker: (Evil Pizza)
[personal profile] andrewducker


It's also how local council elections work in Scotland - and why we have almost no councils without a wide range of parties represented.

New Books and ARCs, 10/24/14

Oct. 24th, 2014 07:46 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

A very fine collection of books and ARCs to show off this week. Let me know which ones you wish you had in your hands, down there in the comments.


The Tomb of the Unknown Deserter

Oct. 24th, 2014 07:55 pm
[syndicated profile] crooked_timber_feed

Posted by Henry

Last year, I wrote a post building on James Scott’s argument that we should memorialize deserters. Today, I see a piece at Deutsche Welle saying that Austria is doing just that.

A monument to deserters from the German army during World War II has been unveiled in central Vienna. This follows decades of controversy over recognition and compensation in Austria. The monument on Ballhausplatz in central Vienna, right by the Chancellery, was unveiled on Friday in the presence of Austrian President Heinz Fischer and representatives of the government and victims’ rights groups. … Around 30,000 conscientious objectors and deserters from the German Wehrmacht were sentenced to death by the Nazi military courts from 1939 to 1945. An estimated 20,000 of them were executed, including 1,500 Austrian nationals. It took three years for all sentences to be overturned by the Recognition Act and deserters or their progeny granted compensation payments on a complex individual case basis.But the complete blanket rehabilitation only came into effect in 2009 – amid fierce opposition from Austria’s right wing parties.
[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Edward Davey MP

We’ve done it!  For Liberal Democrats in government, this EU climate deal is our most significant green win so far.  While Liberal Democrats are passionate about tackling climate change, the likes of Owen Paterson and UKIP seem to delight in talking down the threat that it poses, but that should make us even more determined to tell people why this deal is so crucial.

What have we achieved?  An ambitious Europe-wide climate change deal that will see greenhouse gases cut by at least 40% by 2030.  Other countries wanted a lower target, but I argued that the science demanded higher. And I was determined that if in next year’s UN climate talks other countries like the US and China show similar ambition, Europe should be ready to increase its efforts still further – so the words “at least” in the deal are more important than normal.

In the two years I spent working on this, I was also determined the deal was as flexible as possible so we could go green as cost effectively as possible – able to benefit from new technologies as they evolve.  We have built the world’s first ever low carbon,electricity market here in the UK to be technology neutral, and now Europe has copied us.

Effectively what we’ve done is Europeanise the UK’s Climate Change Act – the rest of Europe is levelling up to what the UK has already committed to do.

There’s also an added bonus.  This deal bolsters Europe’s energy security by moving away from imports and towards a mix of home-grown energy.  Mr Putin won’t enjoy reading that this deal will see the EU’s net energy imports reduce by 14%, and EU gas imports by 12% in 2030.

How have we achieved this?  Let’s just say that not everyone in government thought we could get agreement on this.  Some thought it was too ambitious.  But we pushed ahead with it, fought several battles and won cross UK Government agreement.

The key to getting this deal done has been working with like-minded European partners.  It’s been a long process, but working with those partners via the Green Growth Group that I set up has meant that we’ve won the argument and the deal has been done.

Make no mistake, this deal is the most significant environment agreement any UK Government has ever been involved with – and the Liberal Democrats led it in the UK and the EU. We can now say, this is the greenest government ever, thanks to the Liberal Democrats.

What comes next?  Well, my ambition for cutting climate change doesn’t stop here.  We now need to sell this package to the rest of the world.  Next year in Paris I want to see an ambitious global deal signed.  There is a lot of work to be done over the coming months to ensure we continue this momentum and pave the way for that deal.  Rest assured I’ll be leading the charge.

* Edward Davey is Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and MP for Kingston and Surbiton

Working

Oct. 24th, 2014 02:44 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Working working working. Decanting decanting decanting. The cooking tv shows I'm watching in the background are making me hungry.

Read more... )
[syndicated profile] markpack2_feed

Posted by Mark Pack

As you may have guessed from the blizzard of electronic messages today, it was expected that emails for electronic voting in the Liberal Democrat federal committee elections would be going out today.

However the original timetable has been delayed a few days due to other work taking priority, such as sorting out the Presidential candidate nominations. Expect the list of candidates to be published soon with the emails going out a few days later.

Meanwhile – here’s why I’m standing again for the Federal Policy Committee:

Mark Pack - Federal Policy Committee manifesto 2014

[syndicated profile] skepchick_feed

Posted by Mary

Note: The original post can be found over at Grounded Parents, where you can also leave a comment.

*****

If you’re still scrambling for costume ideas, fret no more! This Halloween, your kid can be the spoOoOoOOOkiest kid on the block, with these unique, DIY costumes! I’ve done some digging, using mostly “natural” parenting blogs as inspiration, to come up with these truly scary costumes for children (or adults, if you can handle it). These costumes represent some of the scariest things about modern times and science. Your kid may not believe in monsters now, but they will truly know the face of evil once they gaze upon these outfits.

kid wearing a can of formula, with an evil frowny face on it

(Evil) Infant Formula

You just became a new parent–congrats! You’re planning on exclusively breastfeeding, right? Wait, you’re using FORMULA for whatever valid reason? WHY DO YOU HATE BABIES??

In fact, I heard that once, there was a genius baby, but her mom totally didn’t like breastfeeding and chose to feed her formula, and instead of being smart, SHE WAS DAMAGED FOREVER AND HER IQ NEVER RECOVERED!! Aaahhhh!!

This costume will scare: hardcore lactivists; mothers who never had breastfeeding issues and therefore judge others who need to use formula; people who are more concerned with breastfeeding than trying to give an infant the nutrition they need (if that nutrition happens to come from formula).

child dressed as GMO corn, with an evil frowny face

(Evil) GMO Corn

I was on Facebook the other day and I totally saw that picture. You know the one, where the squirrel ate all the organic corn but didn’t touch the GMO corn? That PROVES that GMOs are EEEEVIL and must not be trusted! If that’s not a valid argument against GMOs, then I don’t know what logical arguments and evidence-based reasoning are.

If you really want to scare people, dress up like this GMO corn. It looks like regular corn, but it’s evil, because someone in a science lab made the corn seeds with CHEMICALS and ARTIFICIALNESS. OOOoooOOOOooo!

In fact, you could go further and be a corn SUPERVILLIAN. And your origin story would be that one day, you ate some GMOs, and you gained super-powers. (Evil ones, of course.) Just like Spiderman except with corn-themed powers!

This costume will scare: anyone in favor of GMO-labeling; people who don’t understand science; anyone who says “Monsanto” in casual conversation.

vaccine

(Evil) Syringe full of (Evil) Vaccines

Regardless of what countless numbers of peer-reviewed, scientific articles have to say, it’s a proven fact that Vaccines Cause Autism. And I know this, because that one scientist published one study full of data (“bad data,” as “they” would have you believe) that has since been retracted and disproved. I spent literally days researching this and therefore have an expert opinion.

This costume will scare: “Natural Medicine” advocates; people who throw “chicken-pox parties”; people who don’t have an understanding of immunology and don’t trust scientific consensus; people who think that autism is the worst “disease” ever; people who put their kids on “delayed vaccine schedules” for no intelligible medical reason; well-educated, rich, white liberals who don’t have appropriate scientific degrees but who are “experts” on science.

Click here to read the rest of the post and leave a comment at Grounded Parents

[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by MikeSmithson

betsPP (1)

To whoever suggested this my thanks

I’ve just been reviewing my current open political bets and one, which I’d completely forgotten about, was UKIP to win Cambourne & Redruth at an amazing 40/1. It was placed with PaddyPower a week before Christmas.

My recall is that this came out of a discussion one evening and I think Peter the Punter was involved. If I’ve named the wrong person then my apologies.

Five months after that bet an Ashcroft poll of the seat had CON 29%, UKIP 26%, LAB 24%, LD 14%. Currently UKIP are second favourites at 7/2.

Given what’s happening and the possible consequences of a Tory defeat in Rochester then UKIP in seats like this become great value bets.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Catherine Bearder MEP

Green wind farmThis week, European leaders including David Cameron thrashed out an agreement on the EU’s climate change targets up until 2030.

The EU has been a world leader in the fight against climate change, becoming the first region to set binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But in the face of the financial crisis, leaders have become more nervous and the momentum behind the drive towards a greener economy has started to wane.

That is why we need to be shouting about what the Lib Dems in Government, particularly our energy secretary Ed Davey, have done to make sure this deal happened. In recent months, Ed has been busy touring Europe’s capitals, building up support for an ambitious EU-wide approach to tackling climate change. He has ensured that the UK is one of the strongest advocates in the EU for cutting emissions and leading the drive towards a low-carbon economy, and has led the formation of the Green Growth Group made up of 13 European governments including Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

This grouping of like-minded countries led the calls for EU targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 and to drive innovation and investment in the renewables and energy efficiency sectors.

This is not just about “green crap” as David Cameron might say. Hard economic interests are also at stake. Europe’s future competitiveness depends on being a world leader in sectors such as renewables and energy efficiency.

All over the world, major economies such as the US, China and India are waking up to the fact that future growth will have to be clean and sustainable. Over the next 15 years, an estimated 90 trillion dollars will be spent on building modern and low-carbon infrastructure in the developing world. A whole new generation of high-tech firms and entrepreneurs are sprouting up to seize on the huge opportunities this presents to attract investment and create jobs in the green economy.

Traditionally, Europe has had the cutting edge in these sectors. We are well placed to lead the global shift towards sustainability, creating up to 20 million jobs in the process.

Many countries, predominantly from Eastern Europe were set against this deal so getting this ambitious agreement is an important achievement. The deal also puts the EU in a strong position to continue taking the lead in global talks in Paris next year.

I, like many of you, would have preferred to see even more ambitious targets on renewables and energy efficiency, but, we should all remember that without the Lib Dems in government, the UK would not have been fighting for an ambitious CO2 target at all. Well done Ed.

* Catherine Bearder is the Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East

[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

And here’s what I think of politics here in 2014: Nnnnnnnnggggggggghhh. Or, to put in perhaps more contemporary terms, 2014: The Year I Literally Just Could Not Even.

Which is not to say that I’m not voting. I am voting. What I mean to say is that this year I don’t really feel anything other than complete fatigue at the whole political process. Broadly speaking, the Republicans are frothing ideologues, the Democrats are incompetent, and it appears that in general the relevant voting public will prefer frothing to incompetent, since FiveThirtyEight thinks there’s a better than 60% chance the Senate majority will go to the GOP in the election — although not by a lot, so, yay, I guess?

What that will mean in real-world terms is a lot of parliamentary blockage and/or presidential vetoes of Republican legislative initiatives for the next two years, which I’m fine with (see my opinion of the general state of the GOP above), but which means another two years of high-level stupid on the federal level. But inasmuch as we will get that even if the Democrats do, in fact, barely manage to keep the Senate: Meh. And, yes, I know it’s rather more complicated than that, but I’m telling you how I feel about it all. This is how I feel.

(Mind you, if the GOP takes the Senate, I think there’s a reasonable chance of the GOP in the House finally voting to impeach Obama for the heinous crime of being Obama, although I’m sure they’ll find something else to pretend it will be about. And then Obama will be acquitted in the Senate trial and we’ll establish the hard fact that the modern GOP, when given the opportunity, will try to oust sitting Democratic presidents via the impeachment process just because. Also, I think Obama would love for the GOP to impeach him. There is pretty much no downside for him if a bunch of a white male GOPers impeach a sitting black president on what will amount to complete bullshit charges. Dear House GOP: Don’t be giving Obama one more rope-a-dope.)

I should note that the federal elections are largely outside of my purview this time around. The only federal-level election I need to vote on is for my House representative, who is now and will continue to be John Boehner, who in his entire OH-8 electoral history has never gotten less than 61% of the vote, and isn’t about to blow that streak this year. I’m not voting for Boehner, but doesn’t mean he won’t win. I am as always comfortably resigned to the fact. There are no Senate races in Ohio this year.

On the state level, it’s almost certain sitting Ohio Governor John Kasich is going to win in a walk, not because the people of Ohio love him (general feeling: meh), but because his opponent Edward FitzGerald is better known for parking with a woman who was not his wife than for any of his policy points. I’m not voting for Kasich, but as I don’t like to reward abject incompetence, I don’t think I’m voting for FitzGerald either. I might vote for the Green Party candidate, just to see what it feels like. To be honest, the only state office race I’m really worked up for is Secretary of State, because incumbent John Husted is a tool who went out of his way to make it harder to vote in Ohio. Fuck you, Husted. I’m voting for your Democratic opponent, Nina Turner (although, again, Husted sits on a comfortable margin and will likely win).

Indeed, because of where I live in Ohio, and because of the general trends in the state and in the national races, it looks like a good(ish) year for GOP in general. I’m not a fan of the current iteration of the GOP, which is putting it mildly, so this does not please me intellectually. But speaking as a straight white man of comfortable income, the GOP isn’t going to do me any harm, personally. It’s everyone else who might eventually feel the pinch. This is where I remind all y’all that folks like me already get a ton of advantages; you don’t have to keep giving us more through the political process.

And I think this is why I find it very difficult to get worked up about this particular election one way or another. It’s basically a status quo election. Things might change, but not by much, and at the end of the day the essential problems of our political classes will not be fixed to any degree. This isn’t an epochal election, it’s just killing time until 2016.

Now, I could be wrong: I’m the first to say that my personal political crystal ball has been notably cloudy in the past. But this election doesn’t feel like there’s much there there. I’ll be voting. But this the least enthusiastic I’ve felt about it since I’ve been able to vote. Maybe that means something. We’ll see.


A Scammer Tries to Buy My Couch

Oct. 24th, 2014 03:45 pm
[syndicated profile] skepchick_feed

Posted by Rebecca Watson

On October 1, I listed my sofa on Craigslist. I immediately received a text message asking me to email the person back if the sofa was still available. I did. As soon as she responded I knew that this was the scam where a “buyer” sends a bad check for more than the cost of the item they’re buying. They ask you to deposit the check and then wire them (or in this case a mover) the extra cash. They get the cash by the time you realize their check bounced. So, I didn’t actually bother even checking my PO Box, let alone depositing the check. I just moved away, but every now and again decided to poke “Linda,” thinking that every minute “she” wastes with me is one less minute to spend on someone more gullible. Here is our conversation:

+++

Rebecca Watson
Oct 1
to Lindapickard282

Hi Linda,

Yes, the sofa is still available. Let me know if you’d like to come check it out!

+++

Linda Pickard
Oct 1
to me

Thanks for the prompt response to my mail. I will be buying this from you, so please kindly withdraw the advert from C.LIST. My husband will be overnighting the payment asap but he will be paying with a certified check from his Bank and it will deliver to you via United Parcel Service (UPS), so I’ll need you to provide me with the following information to facilitate the mailing of the check… And am offering additional $50 with the original price to have this asap.

Name to be on the payment………..
Address to mail the check to………….
Last price……………….
Cell phone # to contact you …………….

I will make arrangements for the pick up as soon as you have your check clear, due to my work frame and my Kids, I will not be able to come with the cash and pick it up so my husband will mail the check and have someone pick up the item after the check clear., Reference to your CL post am completely satisfied with it and the payment will be deliver within 24hours.. God Bless

+++

Rebecca Watson
Oct 1
to Linda

Great! Here’s all the info:

Name: Rebecca Watson
Address:
(my now-defunct PO Box)
Price: $400
Cell phone: (my Google voice number)

+++

Linda Pickard
Oct 1
to me

I got the Details to mail the check and the payment will be sent out asap and get back to you when it is mailed, Please keep the other buyer off and the item will be pick up from you after you have the payment.
Thanks and God bless

+++

Rebecca Watson
Oct 1
to Linda

Great. I can’t wait to get this absolutely real check and cash it and spend the money!

+++

Linda Pickard
Oct 9
to me

Good Morning,
I just contact USPS now and they said you should be getting the check this Morning and Like I said my husband sent the check to you including the (freight and hand ling’s fees) to pick up the item from you and some other items around your location

You are to get the check, have it deposited into your Account or through ATM asap. Deduct your $450 as agreed for yourself and have the rest balance send via Western Union Minutes Transfer as requested by the mover so that they can contact you for the pick up arrangement and then be at your location to pick up the item from you .

You can locate any Western Union location around you and have the rest balance transfer to the below mover agent information via Western Union Minutes Transfer: Deduct the minutes transfer fees from the rest money you are sending to the mover

Name: Jamaal Griffin
Address: 300 East Blvd
City: Charlotte
State: NC
Zip Code: 2820

Please do take care of everything asap so that the mover can contact you for the pick up arrangement . And as soon as you are done with the transfer, You will be given a receipt so get back to me with the MTCN #, Sender name and the Exact Amount transfer after deducting the minutes transfer fees from the rest money you are sending to Jamaal Griffin

Thanks and God bless

+++

Linda Pickard
Oct 13 (11 days ago)
to me

Hello
Am wondering why you have not get back to me as you promise since you have the payment already, Kindly give me an update about the status of the remaining money meat for the mover because this is my first time on the CL and am kinda worried, Pls i need to know if you have deposited the check and sent the movers funds to them as requested so as for the shipping agent to make the trip down to your place for the pick-up ASAP.
Regards.

+++

Rebecca Watson
Oct 20 (4 days ago)
to Linda

Hi Linda! Sorry for the delay….we have been moving, so things have been a bit crazy here! I went ahead and sent you the money. Let me know if you get it!

+++

Linda Pickard
Oct 20 (4 days ago)
to me

Ok thanks and What is the Western Union Transfer details…MTCN # and the Exact amount transfer after deducting the Western Union minutes transfer fees from the rest money sending. The Mover will contact you as soon as they confirm the money from the Western Union Transfer location before showing up at your location… God bless

+++

Linda Pickard
Oct 21 (3 days ago)
to me

Kindly get back to me with the Details, Asap

+++

(sent to my Google voice number)

+12146122533 Add – Red Oak, TX
10/21/14 6:16 AM 3 days ago

+12146122533: Hello 6:16 AM
+12146122533: Good morning 6:16 AM
+12146122533: Are you there with me?? 6:16 AM

+++

+14124236188 Add – Oakmont, PA
10/21/14 10:17 AM 3 days ago

+14124236188: Hello, Are you there with me Rebecca ?? 2:35 AM
+14124236188: Good morning, Are you there? 7:54 AM
+14124236188: Hello, Are you there Rebecca? 10:17 AM

+++

+16102008209 Add – Philadelphia, PA
10/22/14 12:44 AM 2 days ago

+16102008209: Hello 12:44 AM

+++

+16108807881 Add – Avondale, PA
10/22/14 12:45 AM 2 days ago

+16108807881: HEllo 12:45 AM

+++

+16108946320 Add – Kutztown, PA
10/22/14 12:47 AM 2 days ago

+16108946320: Hello 12:47 AM

+++

+14124236188 Add – Oakmont, PA
10/22/14 12:49 AM 2 days ago

+14124236188: Hello Rebecca, is me Linda Pickard Kindly get back to me with the transfer details, MTCN# and the exact amout you send to him… hope to ead back from you ASAP 12:49 AM

+++

+12106606072 Add – San Antonio, TX
10/22/14 4:27 PM 42 hours ago

+12106606072: Hello 4:22 PM
+12106606072: You there with me?? 4:22 PM
+12106606072: Let me know if you are there with me 4:27 PM

+++

Rebecca Watson
Oct 22 (2 days ago)
to Linda

Hi Linda, sorry for the delay! I’ve been traveling. I sorted through my receipts and I think the MTCN is 0009523 and the amount is $40.

Best,
Rebecca

+++

Linda Pickard
Oct 22 (2 days ago)
to me

This now seems to me that you want to run away with my hard earned money..My will have to involve the FBI and the local CIA on this because it seems you want to screw me.and you have refused complete the transaction as we agreed .. Note that all our conversation chain is been watched by the federal bureau..and besides,i have a cousin that works as a fraud investigator for FBI..I will be giving you 24hrs to get back with the status of the money because the check has been presented for collection here and you want to run away no way because it is dangerous and you will be arrested for trying to scam me.

Your information will be forwarded to the below office for further investigation.

Federal Bureau of Investigation – St. Louis
Attn: Internet Fraud Division
2222 Market Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63103-2516

+++

Linda Pickard
Oct 22 (2 days ago)
to me

What is the MTCN # and the Exact amount transfer after deducting the Western Union minutes transfer fees from the rest money sending.??

+++

Rebecca Watson
Oct 22 (2 days ago)
to Linda

Oh no! Linda, I’m so sorry. I gave you the MTCN and the amount! What else do you need?

+++

Linda Pickard
Oct 22 (2 days ago)
to me

Do you have the receipt with you? i mean the receipt you receive from western union
Kindly send me the picture of it

+++

Linda Pickard
Oct 22 (2 days ago)
to me

So that i can verify it

+++

Rebecca Watson
Oct 22 (2 days ago)
to Linda

I think I left it in my pocket and it went through the washer!!!

+++

Linda Pickard
Oct 23 (1 day ago)
to me

I dint get the money

+++

Rebecca Watson
11:37 AM (20 hours ago)
to Linda

Are you sure???

+++

Linda Pickard
12:07 PM (19 hours ago)
to me

Yes am here

+++

Rebecca Watson
12:11 PM (19 hours ago)
to Linda

Did you ask the FBI to look into the Western Union person? Perhaps they stole it!!

+++

Linda Pickard
12:14 PM (19 hours ago)
to me

I dint know anything about that, YOU ARE THE ONE TO FIND MY MONEY FOR ME

+++

Rebecca Watson
12:15 PM (19 hours ago)
to Linda

You’re absolutely right, I’m so sorry! I will call the FBI and let them know about the Western Union thief. Which Western Union office did you go to?

+++

Linda Pickard
12:18 PM (19 hours ago)
to me

YOU GIVE ME THE WRONG MTCN# AND MTCN IS TEN NUMBER NOT SIX

+++

Rebecca Watson
12:22 PM (19 hours ago)
to Linda

Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry! I must have mistyped. The MTCN is 0009523BS4U

+++

Linda Pickard
12:23 PM (19 hours ago)
to me

KINDLY GO BACK TO WHERE YOU SEND IT FROM AND REFUND THE MONEY AND GO TO ANOTHER WESTERN UNION STORE AND GET IT SEND THERE

+++

Linda Pickard
12:25 PM (19 hours ago)
to me

WHERE DO YOU GET THIS, THERE IS NO LETTER IN MTCN# IS NOW SEEM TO ME THAT YOU WANT TO SCAM ME

+++

Rebecca Watson
12:32 PM (19 hours ago)
to Linda

I’m so sorry! The numbers are all smudged from the receipt going through the wash. It must be this: 00095238540

+++

Linda Pickard
12:35 PM (19 hours ago)
to me

HOW MUCH DO YOU SEND TO HIM??

+++

Rebecca Watson
12:40 PM (19 hours ago)
to Linda

I think it was $40? Is that right?

+++

Linda Pickard
1:00 PM (19 hours ago)
to me

i SEND YOU $1956 AND YOU ARE TO DEDUCT YOUR $400 AND THE TRANSFER FEE OUT OF IT AND SEND THE REST TO THE PICKER SO I DING KNOW WHERE YOU SEE $40

+++

Rebecca Watson
2:41 PM (17 hours ago)
to Linda

Oh right I mean $400 not $40, sorry! LOL

+++

Rebecca Watson
8:05 AM (2 minutes ago)
to Linda

Linda, I haven’t heard back from you so I forwarded your information and Jamaal Griffin’s to the FBI so that they can investigate this further and find your money! I’m so sorry for the hassle!

GamerGate and Ethics in Journalism

Oct. 24th, 2014 11:17 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

For anyone who doesn’t know, the seeds of the GamerGate movement began when game developer Zoe Quinn’s former boyfriend wrote a blog post accusing her of cheating on him, and of generally being “an unbelievable jerk,” which led to a campaign of harassment against Quinn. Quinn’s ex- alleged that one of the people Quinn had slept with was journalist Nathan Grayson, and that this led to a brief mention of one of Quinn’s games in an article that was published before the alleged relationship ever started.

Because GamerGate is all is about ethics in journalism. And also time travel, apparently.

The movement began its crusade for stronger ethics in journalism with such rallying cries as, “Next time she shows up at a conference we … give her a crippling injury that’s never going to fully heal … a good solid injury to the knees. I’d say a brain damage, but we don’t want to make it so she ends up too retarded to fear us.” People who spoke out in support of Quinn were attacked as well, and their personal information published online.

All right, fine. So this all started with a whiny man-child’s temper tantrum about his failed relationship. But then it evolved into a Very Serious Conversation about ethics in journal–

Actually, what happened next were death threats and other harassment against Anita Sarkeesian.

But that was all before Adam Baldwin coined the term “GamerGate”! Just because the not-yet-officially-named movement was born in the muck and slime doesn’t mean Baldwin couldn’t turn things around and lead the newly-baptized group into a more Productive and Important Discussion of ethics in–

Wait, no. Baldwin coined the term in order to spread the attack on Zoe Quinn. Sorry, my bad.

But soon women and minorities joined the #GamerGate boat, coining the new hash tag #NotYourShield to protest those who were focusing on harassment instead of ethics in journalism. Apparently a small minority of Angry Feminists™ and Social Justice Warriors were using GamerGate as an excuse to push their own agenda. But ethics affect everyone, and #NotYourShield clearly showed that most women and minorities weren’t upset about–

Whoops. Turns out #NotYourShield was born and raised over in 4chan, using sockpuppet accounts and such.

Well, I’m sure GamerGate soon turned their attentions fully to the issues of ethics–

I mean, after they got done sending death threats to game developer Brianna Wu, driving her and her husband from their home, presumably as ethical punishment for the crimes of Mocking GamerGate and Gaming While Female.

All that aside though, the core of the movement is to reduce the nepotism in gaming journalism, which game designer David Hill notes “was essentially coopted as a marketing arm for certain AAA publishers.” Aha! And now we see GamerGate finally focusing on its core mission to fix ethics in–

Oh … Hill goes on to note that GamerGate looks like “some strange bizarro world” where the people being targeted and attacked have nothing to do with the larger problem of ethics in journalism.

But the people making threats aren’t really with GamerGate. They’re all sockpuppets, and also, Wu and Quinn and everyone else have been posting threats against themselves to discredit the movement. Because we all know women lie, right? And the best way to criticize a group you don’t like is … um … by posting your own home address on the internet? I guess? So where were we. Ah yes, ethics in–

And now Felicia Day gets harassed and doxxed for expressing her concerns about GamerGate.

But the sidebar in the Reddit GamerGate group clearly says “No doxxing,” so it couldn’t have been anyone from GamerGate. Lots of GamerGate people are speaking out about how the harassment and doxxing has to stop because it’s awful, unacceptable, hateful behavior it makes GG look bad.

And maybe it wasn’t an official GamerGater. Because at this point, the top Reddit post in the GamerGate discussion also says, “Stop identifying as ‘#GamerGaters.’ You’re Gamers first, Consumers second.”

Problem solved! If nobody is identifying as GamerGaters, then obviously GamerGate isn’t harassing anyone.

Look, from reading through some of the boards, it’s clear there are people involved with GamerGate because they genuinely care about the problems in gaming journalism. And it sounds like there are legitimate concerns there, and things that need to be challenged and addressed. But there are an awful lot of people who jumped on the GamerGate bandwagon because it was an opportunity to troll and harass and attack women in gaming. Who view “Ethics in Journalism” as synonymous with “The Evil Social Justice Warriors are coming to Ruin All the Things!!!”

Sexism and harassment in gaming? That’s a legitimate and real concern too. And the GamerGate movement was born from it. Maybe it’s grown into a hydra with one head that truly just cares about ethics while another head is all about harassing women, and a third head is just mad at social justice warriors, but no matter how many heads GamerGate has sprouted, it only has one ass, and it’s been dropping an awful lot of particularly noxious crap for months now.

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

[syndicated profile] skepchick_feed

Posted by Mary

Editor’s Note: Today’s Guest Post is by Kavin Senapathy, who also blogs over at Grounded Parents. This is a great example of how speaking out about an issue can end up in real change. Good job, Kavin! 

******

If you read Grounded Parents, you may have shared in my aversion to a recent mailer sent by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (read the post and view the mailer here.) To recap, I received a flyer in the mail from PPAWI as a reminder to vote on November 4th. The front depicted a comical caricature of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, turning the hands of a clock back to the 1950s. The image induced a chuckle; I was reminded why I’ve always supported Planned Parenthood.

The reason for my aversion was the image on the back of the flyer. The flyer stated “You’ve got a million things to get done. Make sure voting is one of them.” Plastered around the cartoon image of a thoughtful woman were thought bubbles limited to these six duties:  “Take the kids to soccer practice,” “pick up groceries,” “pay bills,” “help kids with homework,” “pick up Grandma’s prescriptions,” and “VOTE.”

As a feminist, I was offended by this image. The flyer made assumptions about women and mothers, neglecting our complex identities as far more than caretakers. I was conflicted about disagreeing so heartily with a message from a commendable and leading women’s rights organization like Planned Parenthood.

Accordingly, I was happy to receive an email from PPAWI with a request to discuss the matter. I came away with renewed confidence in Planned Parenthood after speaking with the Wisconsin VP of Development and Communication.

She explained that the thought bubble image was finalized after extensive conversation based on the target audience of “drop-off women voters.” These are women that primarily vote during a presidential election but not during midterms. Still, because the target is based on imperfect data, non drop-off voters will receive the flyer as well. (This makes sense, because I received the mailer, and I vote in midterms!)

She went on to explain that many of these women are single-parents, often juggling caring for multiple family members on a tight schedule. Nevertheless, she agreed that the image was an oversimplified stereotype and that it missed the mark.

For that reason, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin came up with a far more well-rounded image on their Facebook page here, taking several of my suggestions for additional thought bubbles. I look forward to engaging in an ongoing discussion with PPAWI, voters, and feminists about the crucial issues of women’s health care this election.

Woman remembering to do a million different things, but especially to vote

Source: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin

I definitely approve of the new and improved image. Whether or not you agree, I hope we’re all on the same page about this vital message:  Make sure to vote in the midterm elections; there is far too much at stake. If you’re able, help get a friend or family member to the polls as well.

Featured Image

 

[syndicated profile] markpack2_feed

Posted by Mark Pack

Mark Pack - Federal Policy Committee manifesto 2014

If you’ve got any questions, please do ask – and if you’d like to support me please share this page or head over to my Facebook page and hit Like.

You can also see my previous posts about the party’s policies on that page, which should give a good idea of my attitude on lots of the key questions coming up for the FPC, or again – by all means ask away.

[syndicated profile] skepchick_feed

Posted by Amanda







The problem I have with Russell Brand

Oct. 24th, 2014 02:28 pm
[syndicated profile] liberal_conspiracy_feed

Posted by Sunny Hundal

The comedian Russell Brand was interviewed on Newsnight last night about his book, which you can watch above.

One headline is that Brand casually implies 9/11 was an inside job because George Bush had links to the Saudis, before half-heartedly back-tracking.

But I was more depressed by the first 10 minutes of conversation, and I want to explain why because I think this matters in a wider context.

In the debate Evan Davis wants to ask Brand a simple question: what is the alternative you propose? The comedian, who has apparently written an entire book calling for a revolution, doesn’t have a straight answer. Brand says the current system isn’t working (partly true) and points to activism by others challenging the consensus.

Brand says he is merely a high-profile voice and his job is to amplify the work of others. I think that’s fair enough.

But Davis has a more profound question that Brand clearly doesn’t want to answer. My version of that question goes like this: If you want to replace the current system of capitalism with something else, who is going to make your jeans, iPhones and run Twitter?

I.e. capitalism clearly has downsides, but it also leads to products that people really want to use. The desire for profit has led companies like Apple, Levi’s and Twitter to create popular products that – especially in the case of social media – we can sometimes even use for free (in return for being forced to watch advertising, of course).

In the debate, Evan Davis asks Brand about the fact that wages have historically gone up: making billions of people richer and allowing them to afford products like fridge freezers, TVs and iPhones. Brand’s response is: “Mate, I ain’t got time for a bloody graph“.

And then there are other responses that suggest he is blindly oblivious to his own privilege.

The problem I have with Russell Brand is that his style of politics is anti-intellectualism on an epic scale. He isn’t just leaving the heavy lifting to others, he casually dismisses facts like they are irrelevant.

Yes, our capitalist system is breaking down and our democracy has many flaws with it. But any discussion that starts with the premise that we need a revolution to over-throw the system must at least have a response to the inevitable: “and replace it with what?”

This isn’t to say I’m in favour of unadulterated capitalism or that I think cooperatives, mutuals, non-profit groups or social enterprises have no place. In fact we need far more of them. But, in effect, the Russell Brand critique is mild because all it really wants is a bit less of what is currently on offer a bit more of… some nice things that other people are asking for. To dress that up as a ‘revolution’ is plainly fatuous.

The establishment humours Russell Brand because he poses little threat to the system. Newsnight has him on because he’s good for their ratings, not because they want to bring down the system too. The lack of an effective critique means that people will listen to him, glaringly see the obvious contradictions and unanswered questions, and dismiss the Left as over-privileged white guys who don’t want to work but want their iPhones anyway.

A few years ago, I was going past the occupation of Parliament Square. I was quite defensive of the activists in the media and wanted to spend a bit of time just getting to know them. Bad idea. I came in being quite sympathetic, but soon realised that some of the people there only spoke in cliches and hadn’t actually looked into the nuances of what they were saying. The woman I was talking to seemed to think everything was a conspiracy. Soon she was joined by some people who firmly believed 9/11 was an inside job. I made an hasty exit. Of course, every group has its share of cranks but it was a very sobering experience.

If Brand gets more apolitical people to question the world they’re in, then great. But I worry about something else: that there’s a broader slide towards anti-intellectualism among lefties where facts don’t matter and smart critiques are junked in favour of cliches. The world is a messy place and our politicians are very flawed people. But we have to work (sometimes within the system) to continually reform it and improve it, not wait around for some vague revolution that will never come. If the end result is the UKIP-isation of the Left then I don’t want any part of that revolution.


Also worth reading: Why Owen Jones is wrong to suggest that criticism of Russell Brand is merely ‘snottiness’ — by Abi Wilks

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Mat Bowles

August 2014

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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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