My word, this is a surprise

Oct. 13th, 2015 06:15 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

The proportion of typical social housing in England being let to Eastern Europeans has trebled over the last eight years, provisional figures have found.

You’ve got to be resident for a certain amount of time in order to be eligible, and adding that takes us back to about the time when the East European population of the country trebled and more.

So it’s hardly a surprise, is it?

[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by Mike Smithson

This is what happens when a leader has so little support from his MPs

By all accounts last night’s meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party was one of the most fractious and bad tempered in living memory. The division between the leadership and the rest couldn’t be greater. The problem, of course, is that Jeremy Corbyn is the second leader in succession who wasn’t the choice of his party’s MPs. This was all so predictable.

A week before the leadership results were announced Declan McHugh and Will Sherlock wrote in New Statesman of the rumblings about how the Parliamentary Labour Party and other internal structures might be used to constrain him.

“..Labour’s new figurehead will face a PLP overwhelmingly opposed to him. Many will question the legitimacy of his election and some will reject his authority. From day one, he will face a significant number of Labour MPs not merely against him but actively out to get him. There has probably never been a situation where a leader of the Labour Party has been so far removed from the parliamentary party which he supposedly commands..

..Corbyn’s lack of authority and support within the wider parliamentary party puts a major question mark over his long term prospects as Labour leader. He would certainly lose any direct trial of strength against the PLP.”

Like many I’d taken the view that a key figure was going to be the newly elected deputy leader, Tom Watson, who has repeatedly reminded people that he has his own separate mandate being elected at the same time as Corbyn. The only problem now is that Watson is facing his own storm over the sex abuse allegations. For the time being at least he might not be the force in the party that he might have been.

On top of all of this Corbyn and McDonnell have not handled themselves well. To take one instance it should have been blindingly obvious to Corbyn when he put himself forward that in the event of victory he would become a member of the Privy Council. If that was going to be an issue then he shouldn’t have sought the leadership.

This one is going to run.

Mike Smithson

As near as I can tell,

Oct. 13th, 2015 12:08 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The image of KW the Great Canadian Cookbook has decided to present is a handful of farms separated by snowblown fields. And there is absolutely no hint of Kitchener-Waterloo's diversity because apparently we are all Mennonites. Feels like bad research by a Torontonian.
[syndicated profile] crooked_timber_feed

Posted by Corey Robin

This Thursday night, the Society for U.S. Intellectual History is convening its annual conference in Washington, DC. I’ll be delivering the keynote address, which I’m really excited about. I’ll be talking about public intellectuals, a topic I’ve explored here before, as have many others on this blog. The full conference schedule is here; my talk is scheduled for Friday, October 16, at 2 pm, in the Hamilton Ballroom of the Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel. If you’re in DC, stop by and say hello. The title of my talk is: “Publics That Don’t Exist and the Intellectuals Who Write For Them.” Here’s a preview:

The problem with our public intellectuals today—and here I’m going to address the work of two exemplary though quite different public intellectuals: Cass Sunstein and Ta-Nehisi Coates—has little to do with their style. It has little to do with their professional location, whether they write from academia or for the little magazines. It has little to do with the suburbs, bohemia, or tenure. The problem with our public intellectuals today is that they are writing for readers who already exist, as they exist.

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Posted by Richard Chirgwin

Your next train is due in ... HOT VIDEO HERE!

Android apps that should be innocuous are pimping smut by way of slack supervision of their advertising networks, with two app authors complaining to The Register that the root of the problem lies with The Chocolate Factory.

yhlee: Avatar: The Last Airbender: "fight like a girl" (A:tLA fight like a girl)
[personal profile] yhlee
(Sorry, no food pics, too annoyed at life to deal with the hassle of resizing/uploading/etc. right now because I lost my Wacom stylus.)

Sirens. The short version is that this is a fabulous con and I want to make it something I regularly go to from now on, and it's not just because I was a guest of honor. It was a genuinely great experience all around. :) cut for length )

Notes (not comprehensive) on Kate Elliott's Two-Hour Talk on Worldbuilding cut for length )

This fascinates me because it is so clearly thought out and deliberate, and doing a world this way would kill me flat dead because I am not systematic at all. But you know how I worldbuild? I make shit up as I go and then I shove it all together. Which is why my one-hour worldbuilding workshop was not in lecture format; this is pretty much a useless thing to say to people and also takes under a minute to tell them, after which point there are 59 minutes of awkward silence.
commodorified: very worried stuffed crocodile clutching a pillow (not coping)
[personal profile] commodorified
So, to recap:

Am in Rossland spending time with my physically and mentally fragile mother.
Have developed vicious cold.

1) cannot go near Mom until no longer contagious.
2) spent 7 hours with her yesterday, developed symptoms overnight.
3) miserable and panicked.

Have notified RA so they can keep an eye on her and on the lovely woman - also on oxygen - she shares a table with at meals (I sat next to her last night).

Next step, tea and a small orgy of self-pity.

Have established contact with local NDP, will be scrutineering Monday.
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Posted by John Scalzi

Where will this conversation go next? I’m sure you’re just quivering with antici –

Gratuitous photo post

Oct. 12th, 2015 10:30 pm
rmc28: Charles facepalming eloquently (facepalm)
[personal profile] rmc28
First, a picture of me, showing off my new SHAWL (made to order for me by [personal profile] killing_rose / RavenYarnworks - it is the cookie monster shawl on the Etsy page, only with different yarn):

Showing off new shawl

Some closeups of the knitting (click through for bigger photos if you are keen on this kind of thing):

Shawl detailShawl detailShawl detail

And finally, two lovely photos from my dad's visit on Saturday. The children were persuaded to pose together to update the background photo on my dad's tablet from one of Charles holding a baby Nico:

Happy siblings posing together

My dad spent some time helping Nico paint, to both their apparent satisfaction:

Painting together

Charles was also kind enough to supply me with a new icon. I seem to be quite good at provoking his facepalm lately; we are clearly reaching "MUM, you're so EMBARRASSING" territory.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

Oct. 12th, 2015 05:09 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Did not explode from overeating.


Oct. 12th, 2015 03:59 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I am routinely informed about bundles like this one for the Strange RPG. Would people like me to post links when I get them?
[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by Mike Smithson

This could calm the nerves of those worried about the new leader

As the above panel shows there have been precious few voting polls since the general election. Many of the pollsters and those who commissioned them have cut back on their efforts pending the review a what went wrong on May 7th.

But some have carried on notably the major phone poles of ICM, Ipsos, and ComRes. There is, of course, no YouGov daily poll which was the focus of so much attention in the 4½ years leading to the last general election.

The worst fears of many within LAB was that the election of Corbyn could have caused it problems. Maybe that will happen but so far there is nothing to suggest that the party is being perceived much differently from what it was before he became leader.

The October surveys are generally regarded as being important indicators because they are the tests of opinion following the end of the conference season.

Mike Smithson

Writing meme

Oct. 12th, 2015 06:58 pm
naraht: (Default)
[personal profile] naraht
Via [personal profile] lilliburlero:

1. Your favorite fic you've written: Asking a writer this is like asking a mother to pick her favourite child...

2. Your least favorite fic you've written: There are a few that I've deaccessioned from the collection. In terms of fics that are still up, The Schizophrenic Critique of Pure Reason in Beckett's Early Novels is something that didn't quite hit whatever mark I thought it was aiming for. I took it off AO3, but then of course when the old Yuletide collections were imported, it appeared again. Oh well, it was interesting to stir controversy for a change.

3. Your most popular fic: Judging by kudos that would be I am become death, which of course I wrote in one evening. No end of adventures got recced quite a bit in Yuletide 2006, though it's hard to compare. And Those voices that will not be drowned made a decent splash as my first Charioteer fic.

4. The fic you wish more people would read: In terms of recent work, With Lisa in wartime had very warm comments but a very low hit count (it's femslash, what else can you expect). More historically, I think The trees they grow so high might appeal to some Renault readers, if they tried it, although possibly it's a tad sentimental for my tastes at the moment.

5. The fic you most enjoyed writing: There are a few that I wrote in one uninterrupted spurt of creativity. Yet certain am I of the spot in particular emerged from some sort of fugue state. Each coming night took a lot longer to write - and much longer than it should have, mostly because I kept going back over what I'd just written and re-reading it with indecent relish. That's what happens when you write the first fic in a fandom.

6. Your funniest fic: I personally have an enormous soft spot for ...Must Die. Others would probably vote for Skinner and Browne Investigate, though the funny stuff only really gets going with the third installment. I really should write more humour.

7. Your hottest fic: Well, I've written one whole example of actual PWP, though I'm not certain whether hotness was the main goal. There are probably hotter moments in How pleased along thy willowed edge, though I always feel that I chickened out on the al fresco sex.

8. The fic you'd like to be remembered for: [personal profile] lilliburlero put their finger on it in saying "I very sincerely hope I haven't yet written the fic I'll be remembered for!" But if I had to pick something, A brisk young sailor wouldn't be too bad. Or I might just want to be remembered for having turned Return to Night into a proper fandom.

9. The thing(s) your fic contributed to fandom headcanon: Uh, Hilary being an Alpha? I don't know. Help me out here?

10. First fic you wrote/published: I was writing Riker/Troi fic for Star Trek: TNG by the time I was seven or so...

11. Latest fic you wrote/published: To Hilary, From Prison

12. What are you working on now?: A sequel to Each coming night, plus something that will probably end up being a Yuletide gift.

Hating on Renoir

Oct. 12th, 2015 05:21 pm
[syndicated profile] skepchick_feed

Posted by Amy Roth

This post originally appeared on Mad Art Lab and is written by the fabulous, Celia Yost.

There’s this guy called Max Geller who really has it out for Renoir. Like, to the point of protesting in the streets over Renoir’s inclusion in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Which, I’ve got to admit that’s pretty entertaining, and I love that he got people like this Boston Globe reporter to feel like they needed to seriously defend Renoir against him. I mean, Renoir is one of the big names in Impressionism which is arguably the most well known art movement of the 19th century, when was the last time someone questioned his right to be in a museum?

I don’t know what Geller’s motivations are (my initial guess was an MFA project, because RIGHT? but it looks like he’s a law student?), but I do think the point he’s bringing up is a good one. Why do we include the artists that we do in art museums? I mean, right because they’re famous, but why are THESE artists famous and not others that are, oh, say, not so white and male? Perhaps even re-think the way we organize art history itself, and stop pretending there’s this grand sweeping narrative of visual from Ancient Egypt to Postmodernism that for some reason only Western Europeans were participating in, and then maybe we can stop trying to explain Postmodernism because everyone is awful at it.

So yeah, asking those questions? We need to do that more often, 100% agree, sign me up.

On the other hand, there’s the quality issue. There are plenty of famous artists that whose work I don’t like who I will defend, because my personal taste is not the end-all be-all arbitaire of What Is Worthy and neither is anyone else’s. Also, there’s a difference between saying something is bad and saying you don’t like it. I love art in general, but there’s plenty in particular that I don’t care for–just about everything done by Picasso for example–but I respect that he was doing something very intellectually interesting with how he was using form and shape and space in his paintings. Still don’t like the way the art looks though, and the guy was a jerk. On the other hand, Mark Rothko’s paintings are very easy to dismiss as just blocks of color, but in person (they need the scale) I find them mesmerizing and lovely.

And, this is a point that bugs me, it’s not very useful to debate whether a piece of art is “good” or “bad”. I mean ok, it’s useful if you want to get a group of people really angry at each other (or maybe that was just art school), especially if you have someone who’s insisting that anything that’s not photorealism sucks (there’s always one).


A better metric for judging art is whether or not it is SUCCESSFUL. What is the goal of the piece of art? A painting might do a really good job of illustrating the final moments of the Titanic but clash horribly with your sofa cushions, or be fantastic at exploring color theory while saying nothing about the socio-economic inequality in today’s society and that’s FINE. No single piece of art is going to be all things to all people.

Hauling this back to Renoir, maybe he shouldn’t be automatically prioritized just because he’s well known, but it’s not because he’s a crappy painter. It’s to give wallspace to other artists who’ve been historically overlooked and deserve some attention. Renoir has had plenty.

The Theater Box, 1874

The Theater Box, 1874

Featured image from the Renoir Sucks At Painting public Instagram feed.

[syndicated profile] lib_dem_voice_feed

Posted by Helen Flynn


No one can deny that the Tories ran a stunning campaign to get back into power in May.  It wasn’t a nice campaign.  It wasn’t the kind of campaign that we would ever want to run, based – as it was – on the politics of fear and division.  But, my God, it worked.  We must learn from it.  Not to repeat similar messages, but to replicate the style and method.

What absolutely clinched it was that the messages had a hard edge, were simple, and were delivered multiple times on a variety of platforms.  You would have had to have been living underneath a stone on a far flung Hebridean island not to have picked up the messages that Tory HQ were pumping out.  How much that then influenced the undecided (of which there are increasingly a large number) can now be clearly gauged by the fact that the Tories now reign unhindered for the next five years.  And then they will employ a similar style of campaigning to quite possibly be in charge again.  They need proper competition.

Time for us to wake up.

The times of triangulation messages are over.  Our main messages cannot pitch us as being lesser versions of the two main parties, one of two horses in a two-horse race, or the ones that kept the Tories on the straight and narrow in the coalition.  We must develop our hard edge.  We must devise simple repetitive messages. And we must innovate in how those messages are delivered.   We can’t advance from our diminished position at all without professional marketing input and a brand that people ‘get’.

I am pleased that Tim is focusing on describing what ‘liberal’ is, but it is going to be a long slog, especially when most people are not listening any more.

So, what to do?  Arguably the team that delivered the string of recent unsuccessful elections will struggle to do the work required to change the way we campaign.  There needs to be a bit of creative destruction if we are going to change tack and create an impact.  Campaigning that is truly fit for 21st century politics is what we need.

How we campaign is now our most important issue – possibly existential in its overall significance.  The aims, philosophy and principles that we stand for are too important to lie un-promoted.  I am terrified that similar messages will be trotted out as in the Euro Elections when it comes to the EU Referendum.  The clumsiness of the casino-branding for men and ‘Hello’ magazine-style branding for women cannot be repeated.  The awful head and heart messaging of the General Election cannot have a chance of being replicated.  It’s the kind of messaging and style that actually leaves you embarrassed and in despair, especially when you are working so hard on the ground.

More than anything it has been the soft tone and lack of impact of these messages that has cast us into possible irrelevance.  We have to communicate in immediate ways that people can absorb in the brief seconds they have to assimilate information in their busy schedules.  Whether that is: quasi-subliminal blind networking on social media and the internet, massive posters on advertising hoardings and buses etc,  or promoting our more radical policies that will gain us air-time in the media, etc, etc.

It is the launch of the EU referendum campaigns that has prompted this.  Please don’t make the same campaign mistakes again.  It really is way too important, and as the only party 100% signed up to staying in the EU, we have to get it right.

* Helen Flynn is a Harrogate Borough Councillor and is the Parliamentary Spokesperson for Harrogate & Knaresborough. She is an elected Council member of the Social Liberal Forum, and Vice Chair of the Lib Dem Education Association.

[syndicated profile] uk_polling_report_feed

Posted by Anthony Wells

The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian is out today and has topline figures of CON 38%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 11%, GRN 3%. The four point Conservative lead is the smallest since the election – while Jeremy Corbyn maybe getting some mediocre personal poll ratings, it does not yet appear to be doing Labour’s voting intention figures any harm. Full tabs are here.

Edinburgh the beautiful

Oct. 12th, 2015 06:50 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Julie went out today and took some photos. They were gorgeous, and her post is friends locked, so I'm stealing them for public consumption...

I love that this is a five minute walk from our flat.

More under the cut...
More )
[syndicated profile] jon_worth_feed

Posted by Jon

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 16.53.03So, all hail the ‘Remain’ side in the referendum campaign! Place your trust in “Britain Stronger in Europe“, the Will Straw and Stuart Rose campaign. It’s like the late-1990s “Britain in Europe“, only with more muscle, more fight, and more nationalist fervour!

Gone are the solitary star and the yellow line in the 1990s logo, and here are the reds and blues of the UK Union Flag. As Bloomberg pointed out, the European Union itself was not even mentioned at the launch, and – at the time of writing – the words “European Union” and “EU” are not mentioned anywhere at all in the Stronger In website.

That’s not being clever; that’s actually disingenuous, and you can’t possibly expect people to not see through that.

Sorry, Remain campaigners, but all of this is no good. You cannot out-nationalist, out-patriotise, out-flag-wave the antis. So don’t actually try. By campaigning this way you concede the turf to them. OK, I am sure someone somewhere in a focus group told you that nationalism and patriotism pushes voters’ buttons, but sounding like a nationalist to be pro-EU, oops, sorry, pro Britain Stronger in Europe, is like going backwards to go forwards.

That you keep on putting “Stronger” in every sentence sounds rather macho and this is wrong too. Too much of the vocabulary around Britain’s relationship with the EU is about fighting, winning, and masculine shows of strength. As I’ve argued before, being seen to want to “win” is a problem for Cameron’s renegotiation. Yet here we go putting strong or stronger in every sentence.

The Leave folks must be rubbing their hands with glee about this. An establishment-led (see its board here – FT (€)), poorly framed and poorly communicated Remain campaign, whose chair says people “will make a hard-headed, practical calculation in the coming referendum”. No they won’t. Have these people learned nothing from the fiascos of Yes to Fairer Votes and Better Together?

(no subject)

Oct. 12th, 2015 11:57 am
yhlee: Flight Rising Spiral dragon, black-red-gold (Flight Rising Jedao baby Spiral)
[personal profile] yhlee
I should probably tell the dragon at some point, but it is totally obvious every time she gets stuck in her story because her protagonist falls asleep or "looked around, bored." It's so adorable though!

(She did finish it. 30 handwritten pages. Wow! I wish I were that productive. :p)

(What. I got back at like midnight yesterday. And the dragon has no school today. And I have a stomachache. I declare today Recuperation Day and tomorrow I will resume coding.)


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Mat Bowles

October 2015


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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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