[sticky entry] Sticky: PSA: Using OpenID

Jan. 8th, 2020 03:36 pm
pseudomonas: (Default)
If you just have a LiveJournal account and want to leave comments on my Dreamwidth journal or (assuming I've authorised you) read locked entries, you can do that without giving Dreamwidth a password or any personal information except an email address. Here's how )
pseudomonas: (harp)
37. It is said that a large and gradually increasing number of Aliens have during the last 20 years arrived in this country with the object of permanently settling here.

38. In respect of many of these Alien Immigrants it is alleged—

(1) That on their arrival they are
   (a) in an impoverished and destitute condition,
   (b) deficient in cleanliness, and practice insanitary habits,
   (c) and being subject to no medical examination on embarkation or arrival, are liable to introduce infectious diseases.

(2) That amongst them are criminals, anarchists, prostitutes, and persons of had character, in number beyond the ordinary percentage of the native population.

(3) That many of these being and becoming paupers and receiving poor law relief, a burden is thereby thrown upon the local rates.

(4) That on their arrival in this country they congregate as dwellers in certain districts, principally in the East End of London, and especially in the Borough of Stepney, and that when they so settle they become a compact, non-assimilating community.

(5) That this influx into limited localities has caused the native dweller to be dispossessed of his house accommodation, has occasioned. overcrowding, has raised the charge for rents, and introduced the abuse known as “key money”; and that in consequence in certain localities much ill-feeling exists against the Alien Immigrants.

(6) That in consequence of these Aliens dealing exclusively with those of their own race and religion the native tradesmen in the localities affected by the immigration have suffered loss of trade, and, in many 1nstances, have been superseded by Aliens.

(7) That, on arrival, many being unskilled in any industrial trade, and in a state of poverty, work for a rate of wages below a standard upon which a native workman can fairly live.

(8) That the unskilled Aliens on their arrival in this country, set themselves to learn the easier portions of different trades, that during such probationary periods they produce work for a very low remuneration, and when by degrees they become skilled workers they are willing to accept a lower rate of wage than that demanded by the native workmen, who have by this cause been driven to some extent out of certain trades.

(9) In addition to these allegations it was complained in respect to immigrants of the Jewish faith
   (a) that they do not assimilate and intermarry with the native race, and so remain a solid and distinct colony; and
   (b) that their existence in large numbers in certain areas gravely interferes with the observance of the Christian Sunday.

39. Into all these allegations and into the replies given to them we have felt it our duty fully to inquire.
pseudomonas: (Default)
I've booked Thursday off work to help with contacting likely Remain voters and encouraging them actually to vote (aka Get Out The Vote). This is absolutely critical, since younger people in particular are likely to place a lower priority on voting, and are more likely to vote Remain. If you have the kind of work* that allows you to take a day or half-day off at this short notice, do consider helping your local Remain campaign on Thursday. Many places will be running 7am-10pm, so if you can offer help before or after work, that might be appreciated too.

If there's no StrongerIn hub near enough you to be feasible, try political parties; in my area, I'll likely be offering help to our local Labour party's operation, despite my being a paid-up Liberal Democrat (the Lib Dems in Harrow being too few to have the necessary infrastructure). Whatever gets the result.

* and state of health, family, &c.; I know many people have constraints that mean they can't do this. That's OK.
pseudomonas: Ostrakon against Themistocles. (ostrakon)
So, this weekend I have mainly been leafletting and talking to shoppers in Harrow for the Remain cause in the EU referendum. It was my first time doing this kind of public-facing campaigning, and while I was very nervous beforehand, it turned out much less scary than I'd thought it might be. No-one was abusive, and a number of people were actively interested in talking about the issue; also several people took information on how to register to vote.

The polls are *very* close - about 1-2% in it at the moment [ETA: latest polls have Leave very slightly ahead]. If you want to see a Remain win, I strongly urge you not just to vote, but (as far as your time, health, and family commitments allow!) to get the message out there, outside your immediate circle of friends, twitter/FB followers, and colleagues, and counter some of the deeply misleading Leave arguments.

http://www.strongerin.co.uk/events will tell you what is going on near you - almost all events will be happy to have volunteers rock up at short notice!

Extra credit: If there are no events near you, or not enough, or none that are at a convenient time - find the nearest event you can (Google for {strongerin.co.uk events TownName} to find events that have already passed), phone or email the organizer, and ask them how to get some campaign materials, and where would be useful for you to distribute them - to pedestrians in the street, to commuters at stations, through letterboxes, whatever. It doesn't need to be organised, it's something you can do when you have a spare half-hour.

If you're talking to people, you don't have to be a complete expert in everything anyone might ask; it's more important to reassure people that yes, their vote will count; that no, it's not a complicated-arguments-on-both-sides issue, it's mainly about some fringe politicians who want less immigration and don't care if they wreck the country to get it; that yes, there are problems with the UK and with the EU, but almost nothing that running away will make better.

Comments policy: this is to discuss campaigning details for the Remain campaign, not the respective merits of Remain and Leave, of Cameron and Johnson, or of Daddy and Chips.
Sharing policy: this is a public post, please feel free to spread the link, or copy the text; no permission or attribution required
pseudomonas: (libdem)
Any Lib Dem members who are interested in arranging for the party to adopt a stance in favour of Basic Income (aka Citizen's Income, Negative Income Tax, Unconditional Basic Income, Citizen's Dividend…) might be interested in a meeting during the York conference next Saturday (12th March).

This isn't a meeting to discuss the policy, it's to discuss the process of getting something into party policy.

times and agenda )
Anyone who won't be at the meeting but who wants to either a) suggest themselves for drafting or promoting the motion, or b) make any comments for the meeting to consider, please let me know; in comments here is fine.
pseudomonas: (eyebrow)
You've been linked, possibly by me, to this post because you had

a) a non-optional request for title
b) that didn't include my title (or the title of the person that pointed you here it).

Solutions to this include:

a) make "title" optional (you can always address people as Dear Forename Surname!)
b) make title a field which the customer can type in themselves
c) Just don't collect title at all

Frequently Questioned Answers

A: How about you tell us what your title is, and we'll sort it out manually
Q: Is that actually going to solve your problem?

A: Can't we just have a longer list of titles?
Q: How long a list do you want? There are a lot of titles out there!

A: But we don't actually want to know your title, we want to know your gender
Q: Is it any of your business what my gender is? If it really really is then maybe explain why. If it's so you can better stereotype marketing emails, then no, it isn't.
Q2: You know that asking non-binary people if they're male or female is really quite rude, don't you? If you don't, try on for size "Are you Christian or Muslim? Just pick whichever one is a better fit. No, 'Buddhist' isn't an option, so just pick the closest of 'Christian' or 'Muslim'. It doesn't really matter, it's just our system needs to know. Because it does. Surely everyone's *basically* Christian or Muslim? No? Well, try describing your genitalia to me and I'll guess for you". If you want a title that is suitable for non-binary people, use "Mx" — but that still won't
help you with the set of your clientele that are Dr/Revd/Rabbi/Dame/Major/Prof/etc. etc.

More comprehensive reasons why this is bad practice; UK Government advice says this as well.

[This entry is CC0 - anyone may copy it and modify it for any purpose without attribution or permission. Please feel encouraged to paste it into emails or create your own improved version]
pseudomonas: (making)

My first custom MLP modification project! Thanks to LM for introducing me to the idea of pony-modification, and making me a gift of the initial model. It's been great fun to subvert that ridiculous "boy's toys" / "girl's toys" distinction with both ponies and soldiers. Mares can be warhorses too!

It all starts with Lemon Drop...The Making Of... )
I really enjoyed making this over the course of a damp December, and it's also so nice to finish a project properly!
pseudomonas: (Default)
Please, please. It's fine and good for you to promote your cause, and appeal for help. But please don't say1 things like If you're not taking [action] on [insert cause here] then you're [the problem|a terrible person|why we can't have nice things]. (sometimes seen as If you're [demographic group] and not taking action…).

Three reasons:
1) Salience bias. While you're very upset about X injustice, there are (sadly!) many many many problems in the world, and it's not OK to berate people for working on things that aren't the one that has your attention at the moment. It's definitely OK to hope that people are working/donating/campaigning to make the world a better place, but not to slag strangers off because they're focussing on (say) economic inequality rather than (say) antibiotic resistance2.

2) Not everyone is in a position to help. Some people have disabilities, physical and mental. Some people aren't economically placed to give up money or time. Making these people feel bad about it is what is technically known as "a dick move".

3) It's really not a nice look. Yes, this is "the tone argument", aka "concern trolling", well done, you have sussed me out. But it's pretty dispiriting to see people promoting causes I care about by making people feel awful for very little gain. And yes, it's quite likely that the cause is more important than not hurting people's feelings. But one can urge action without gleefully slagging off people who may have very good reasons that they can't get involved

Sadly I've not got a concrete example to hand - but this isn't in reference to a particular thing, but it's something I've seen from time to time and only recently learned not to take as personally as I have in the past.

1 Or, preferably, share/retweet/reblog/promulgate
2 Or vice versa, naturally. I think both of these are pressing concerns for the world.
pseudomonas: (Default)
O people who say "we must stop letting foreigners in because some of them might be terrorists" - you do realise that this will have to apply to tourists as well as to immigrants? It's not like someone who wants to blow themselves up needs a very long-term visa to do it.
pseudomonas: Ostrakon against Themistocles. (ostrakon)
So, I think there is a bit of discussion at cross-purposes going on in the UK. I have seen a lot of discussions that consist of one person saying "Labour led by an extreme left-winger might not be ideal" and another saying "but his policies are by and large pretty sensible and hard to disagree with"*. This can go on for a long time because they're both right.

Jeremy Corbyn is no fool. He sensibly has played the game as intended - the policies that he has proposed during the leadership contest place him enough to the left of the other contenders to make it clear that he's more socialist than them, but not really much more than that - why would he want to? I am not faulting him for this, it's what I would have done in his situation too.

The question remains though - over the past four decades of his political career, he's espoused positions far to the left (or more extreme/radical for those that aren't strictly left/right issues) of those that he's proposed so far in the leadership campaign and subsequently. There are three possibilities.

■ He has moved with the times and is now more moderate than he once was.

■ He still believes in these positions, but does not intend to pursue them in the foreseeable future (possibly for pragmatic reasons such as desire to win votes)

■ He still believes in these positions, and once his role is more secure (or once Labour is in power) he is intending to install them as official Labour policy.

So, it's clear that the discussion I caricatured at the top is between someone who believes (c) and someone who believes (a) or (b). Me? I don't know what to think. I don't think he's so incredibly guileless that he's incapable of holding a belief without mentioning it; time will tell. I think it's good to note that this uncertainty applies to those who approve of the more extreme positions as well as those who disapprove — even if he's (a) or (b), some of his support will rely on not disillusioning people fervently hoping for (c). And it's important to recognize that not all his critics are necessarily assuming (a).

*I disagree with some bits that I shan't discuss in this post, but it's mostly a fairly standard centre-left programme.
pseudomonas: (beer)
Yay! A non-political post for once!

People who don't drink alcohol: what do you have in pubs? Do you all have sweet teeth? I'm an alcohol drinker, but a) I have friends that aren't b) I worry about a culture that stigmatizes non-drinkers c) I'm a lightweight so I will often want to be drinking something other than booze.

I'd kind of like to see drinks that roughly sit in the "beer" niche:

■ non-alcoholic
■ non-sweet-tasting* (at least less sweet than Coke or J2O)
■ "long" drinks, quaffable over an evening, ideally not hot.
■ moderately Exciting, more so than a cup of tea or a soda water
■ profitable enough for a pub to be happy selling it

At home I'm mostly drinking tea (black tea with milk, or fennel, or nettle) or water. I prefer sour/salty/umami/bitter flavours to sweet, on the whole; I see astringency (that mouth-drying property that you get from tannins in tea) as a good property for a drink to have. Spicy is good. Fizzy is OK too.

Some thoughts: Virgin Mary is a savoury-ish drink depending on its condiments; iced teas tend to be fairly sweet but needn't be so in principle; milkshakes likewise. If you go too far in the umami direction you end up with stock or soup, which is lovely but not very pub-ish. V8 I should probably try next time I'm somewhere that sells it, maybe that's what I'm after, but it's only one product. De-alcoholized beers ISTR as being fairly insipid, but it's been a while.

* (it's about the flavour, not the biochemistry, so I count Diet Coke as being just as sweet as Coke). I don't ask that such a drink be "healthy", just that it not be syruppy, although I'd prefer something that doesn't rot my teeth too much
pseudomonas: Angry dragon destroys with flame! (flame)
Racism has a bad image, and quite right too. It's not that it's been eliminated, but that its social acceptability is such that even the BNP pays lip service to Not Being Racist. The very existence of the phrase "I'm not racist but…" is testament to how widely everyone, even massive racists realise that racism is probably not the ideal policy to cling to in life.

But. It seems to me1 that the lines of acceptable discrimination have been drawn such that it just so happens there's no problem at all with discriminating based on place of birth. The UK does it, just about every other country does it; the idea that it's legitimate to say "if you were born here (and/or if your parents were) you are One Of Us and you have these rights and entitlements and may come and go freely, otherwise you are a Foreigner and Not Our Problem" is fully normalised in mainstream political thought.2 We happily abridge the freedoms of myriads of people because they weren't born here. This cannot be right.

I can see absolutely no principled reason for this that wouldn't also amount to an extremely racist justification. I can see many pragmatic reasons for allowing this state of affairs to continue; but working backwards from pragmatic reasoning to a principle is exactly as bad as saying "our economy would collapse without slavery, therefore let us posit that the group we are enslaving are subhuman" (if you think that's too extreme then I would argue that this is merely the most graphic and most recent example of the injustices perpetrated by the mindset).

In the short term I would prefer we accept the cognitive dissonance of saying "this policy is immoral but we will stick to it for pragmatic reasons except in cases where people absolutely require refuge" than maintain the current pretence that there is anything morally acceptable about it. In the longer term, we should work towards (minimally) fully open borders and citizenship on demand for residents of any state3. I would argue that there are pragmatic advantages to that situation too - in particular in terms of increasing economic parity between regions. But even if there were no such advantages we should pursue this goal anyway, on purely principled grounds, just as abolitionists believed in their cause regardless of its undoubted economic impact.

[I considered giving here lots of examples of how the implementations of immigration controls are evil in practice, but actually the point I'm trying to make is that the very concept is evil in principle]

1Yes, I know I'm not anything like the first person to realise this.

2I don't even know of a word or short phrase that means "discriminating against someone based on their place of birth"; there's a lot of pernicious nitpicking by people who hold to this that "oh, it's not really racism because 'people from X' aren't a race", and yeah, OK, it's not exactly racism, but it's ALSO BAD so your argument is crap. [ETA: [twitter.com profile] abigailb suggests "Nativism" which is pretty close, but I would like a word describing the phenomenon of discrimination, not its political application, so as to be able to say e.g. "Nativism is a political doctrine based on _____". ETA2: "Xenophobia" is pretty damn close and well known, so maybe we should leave it at that for now. ]

3I have no major problem with the existence of national governments - just as Leicestershire and Lincolnshire have different local governments but there is no suggestion that people born in one shouldn't be permitted to travel, reside, or work in the other.
pseudomonas: (human)
New term, courtesy of [personal profile] kht: shark brain

The bit of the brain that doesn't understand probabilities and goes "ARGH IM GOING TO BE EATEN BY SHARKS" on the basis that it's not a physical impossibility that one can be eaten by a shark, to which one needs to (politely and respectfully) say "Dear brain, while I might get eaten by sharks if I went swimming off Cape Town wearing a bacon bikini, it's not actually very likely when I live in a landlocked county and have a sharkproof lock on my front door; also the last fifty times you said ARGH IM GOING TO BE EATEN BY SHARKS it did not come to pass, and so my estimate of the probability on that basis is low".
pseudomonas: (libdem)
The Liberal Democrats have a leadership election going on. Anyone who's joined by the close of nominations - 4pm on the 3rd of June (tomorrow) is entitled to vote.1 Since the election, over 15,000 members have already joined.2

Whenever you join, you can help make Liberal Democrat policy in a number of ways - through your local parties, you can propose policy motions to national and regional conference; you can vote on policy at conference — this is how policy gets decided; and there are many settings, formal and informal, in which you have a chance to persuade others in the party of your point of view. New members with no formal role in the party can and do address the conference in debates.

This post might be aimed at you if:

■ You think that the party is the closest aligned to your political outlook
■ You think the party is good, but not perfect on all things, and would like to move it closer to your ideal. Internal disagreement is a feature, not a bug, and it makes internal democracy more robust.
or especially
■ You think the party was good up until 2010 and then lost its way in coalition — this is my view and, as far as I can tell subjectively, the majority view within the party too. Change is now inevitable. As a member, you can help shape that change.

■ You feel the statement of values that forms the preamble to the constitution is something worth signing up to.

■ You'd like to help campaign for keeping the Human Rights Act, for staying in the EU, against the Snooper's Charter and other security overintrusion, and for constitutional, economic, and political reform.

If you already have decided that there's another political party that you'd rather work within - good luck, and fight the good fight there, this isn't where I'm going to try and convince you to quit.

If you think that the party is nowhere near your views or unredeemable after coalition: consider this post not to be addressed to you. TL;DR: the post is "if you support the Lib Dems, this is where I tell you why you should consider joining", not "this is where I tell you why you should support the Lib Dems"

If you are interested in joining the party, you can do so at http://www.libdems.org.uk/join

1 So far it's a choice between Tim Farron and Norman Lamb, both of whom I think are people of integrity, and both of whom I trust to take the party to a position much more representative of its ideological and historical roots than the last five years of coalition.

2 Most are new to the party; about 20% have been members before and are re-joining.

Comments: this is basically a post for people who are more-or-less aligned with the party who may want to discuss reasons to join or not to join, the way the party works internally, and maybe the leadership election. It's not the space to argue that the party is terrible, that the coalition was terrible, that another party is terrible, that the UK's electoral system is terrible, or that I am terrible. Really.
pseudomonas: (troll)
It seems I ought to do this since he's now plagued about a dozen of my friends' LJs/DWs and it's only a matter of time until he picks on my comments: Steven Kitson is not welcome to comment on any posts on this blog, and should consider himself asked to refrain from doing so.

(For those of you for whom this makes no sense: lucky you.)
pseudomonas: (libdem)
The Conservative party have some nasty policies, and have made some nasty promises, and a lot of changes could happen in the next parliament that are pretty grim — and certainly there are a lot of positive changes that are much needed and will not happen.

But we should remember that they have a majority (even before a single by-election) that makes Major's in 1992 look generous1. And this is a party that still contains David Davis, Ken Clarke, Sarah Wollaston, Nadine Dorries, Peter Bone — all flavours of awkward squad, left and right (relatively speaking, anyway), authoritarian and libertarian, europhile and europhobe. A lot of the policies are going to end up watered down, or defeated, or quietly swept into a disused filing-cabinet. Putting the right pressure2 on the right MPs to convince them might well help. Campaigning in whatever opposition party you're a member of3 to help the Conservatives see they can't count on their majority next time will certainly help. Joining organised pressure groups like the Open Rights Group, Shelter, and Liberty will certainly help.


1 There's a chance that on some issues the DUP / UUP / UKIP might come to their aid, yes. But all these parties are small, UKIP sees them as the enemy on a lot of things, and having to rely on the DUP may well require of them some unpalatable quid-pro-quos. There's also a chance that on some things - the Snooper's Charter, for instance, some Labour MPs will support them. This just means that there's a broader target that needs pressure (from within and without that party).

2 I personally believe that the right pressure is often more "I'd be more likely to vote for you if you do X than if you do Y" rather than "OMG all Tories are evil scum" even if the latter fits the facts better. But y'know, maybe there's a good-cop-bad-cop routine in there or something.

3 As I've said in a previous post, I'm in the Lib Dems and I think you should consider joining and making the party better and stronger — but if you're better suited to another party, please help make that party better and more effective instead.

ETA: and there's always the House of Lords there as well…
pseudomonas: (libdem)
Everyone else, as Andy Hinton says, is doing a Where Do We Go From Here post, and there's something that I need to get off my chest, so here's mine.

[personal profile] miss_s_b points out that (among many other things that the leadership got hideously wrong during coalition) the policy of applying to be the Rizla you can't slip between the Labservative parties is a horrible one. I think this is for three reasons:

■ Pragmatically, the Hotelling Model predicts that there's absolutely no votes in being stuck between two parties playing that game.

■ Politically, it's stupid to define yourself in terms of other people's policies. What's the point in looking like some kind of me-too triangulator?

■ But most of all, ideologically, that's not where we belong. I've seen a few people say "we're not left-wing, we're not right-wing, we're not centrist, we're Liberals", appealing to the two-axis model, and suggesting that the liberal-authoritarian axis is the only one where we need to take a position. While I acknowledge that the left-right axis isn't a perfect model and certainly isn't the only axis that matters, I think this is a mistake.

Among our statement of principles is: "The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity".

How left-wing should we be? As left-wing as we need to be to make no-one enslaved by poverty.

I don't think the answer is a socialist "as left-wing as we can possibly be", but a pragmatic "enough to achieve this goal", (which surely is much more redistributive than we are now1). I think that we should see taxation and state intervention as very necessary evils to address the bigger evils of poverty and inequality. All things being equal we should not have the state intervening; but all things are not equal.

If the Labour Party is to the left of us, fine. And if the Labour Party is to the right of us, fine. Neither of those should let us be deterred from taking a pragmatic attitude, that enslavement-by-poverty is something that we can and should eradicate2, and the right policies are those that will get us there.

1 If you think that currently there's not significant levels of poverty, or that the solution is to starve the poor harder until they're more motivated to work harder, please just go away. If you have a convincing argument that there are other measures that government can take that will have a similar effect on relieving poverty, then yes, that's something to consider subject to evidence.

2 I know there's going to be argument as to which definition of poverty to consider; I'm prepared to have that argument at some later point; it surely needs to be had. Also I know that there's more to left-right than just redistribution-to-relieve-poverty — but I trust you will forgive me for not tackling all of politics while standing on one leg.

PS: If you're not currently a member, but feel that you would like to play a part in helping ensure that the party takes a position that you approve of, joining before the end of May will enable you to vote on the next leader, as well as help make party policy through its internal democracy: http://www.libdems.org.uk/join


pseudomonas: (Default)

July 2016

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