andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Germany just got a 13% vote for the populist anti-foreigner party. In 2015 Britain also got a 13% vote for their populist anti-foreigner party.

In Germany that will result in them getting some MPs in a separate party, and their centre-right party will do a deal with someone more central (their centre-left party last time, probably the Greens and the liberals this time around). Total influence of the far-right: almost zero.

In Britain this resulted in the Conservatives basically implementing the manifesto commitments of UKIP in order to stop their party fragmenting. Total influence of the far-right: Brexit.

This is _entirely_ down to the voting system. Germany has basically had the equivalent of a Lab+Con coalition for most of the last ten years, and the parties are constantly moderated by having to work with each other. Even France's two-tier presidential elections allowed people to vote for a relative outsider.

In Britain you end up with two main parties which spend all of their time scrambling to keep both wings together. It's a political system which, frankly, encourages extremism by making the more central politicians reliant on the further-out wings of their parties.

The Blood is the Life for 25-09-2017

Sep. 25th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
defrog: (Default)
[personal profile] defrog
Here we go again.

The GOP is giving the Big Repeal another go with the Graham-Cassidy bill, and by most reliable accounts it’s even worse than the last few.

Which is saying something.

As usual, most people are only interested in the hyperpartisan batshit rhetoric that supports their side. For the rest of you, here’s a couple of possibly useful links:

A good summation of what the bill is trying to accomplish (as opposed to what will actually happen if it passes).

Another good summation of why the GOP is desperate to repeal Obamacare.

A fine collection of GOP senators trying to explain why the Graham-Cassidy bill is great, and generally failing.

All I can add is:

1. It’s stunning just how bad the GOP is at this, not least because they don’t seem to have learned anything from their previous experience. It’s as if they think the problem with badly written healthcare bills and rushing them through by any chicanery necessary before anyone has a chance to evaluate or debate them is that they weren’t fast enough.

Little wonder their bills are so unpopular. You’d think the message to Congress was blindingly obvious: “Look, if you really think Obamacare is so awful (and there’s no convincing evidence that it is, but let’s say there is) that you need to get rid of it, okay, but replace it with something as good or better. It’s complicated, so take all the time you need, vet it, debate it, and come up with something solid and workable.”

The fact that they’re doing the OPPOSITE of that suggests strongly to me that they don’t have a better idea for doing what Obamacare does, apart from “leave it to the states and the free market and it’ll be fine”. Which by all accounts it won’t be – not under this bill, anyway.

Not that it matters, since I’m reasonably sure many Republicans want to ditch Obamacare for the same reason Trump does – it’s a product of the Obama admin. They’re made it clear they are far more interested in repealing than replacing.

2. It’s kind of amusing that most of the debate about Graham-Cassidy is being led by late-night talk-show hosts.

Naturally conservatives are trotting out the old “celebrities shouldn’t express political opinions, they should stick to entertainment” meme. Which is disingenuous, considering how many of them voted for the current POTUS. See also: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ted Nugent, Chuck Norris, James Woods, Kid Rock, etc. So I can’t take people who pull the “stay in your lane” argument seriously – let’s admit, they only object to celebrity political opinions when they disagree with them.

Anyway, I don’t have a problem with Jimmy Kimmel making an issue of it. Given his family situation, I don’t blame him.

3. Bernie Sanders is using this as an opportunity to revive his single-payer universal healthcare idea – which of course has zero chance of passing now, but I assume he’s warming it up now in case the Democrats take back Congress in 2018, in which case it still won’t pass because Trump will veto it. Unless Bernie is also banking on Trump getting impeached by then, but I don’t see President Pence being any more willing to sign something I’m sure he feels is probably the only thing worse than Obamacare.

Anyway, you can read the details here, but if you felt the Bern last year, odds are you already know what he has in mind. For me, the chief problem with Berniecare – then and now – is that it’s really difficult and expensive to implement, and Bernie tends to get really vague on the details on just how we would go about funding Berniecare apart from “we’ll tax the rich enough until it’s paid for”. Which personally I don’t find particularly convincing.

Incurable,

This is dF

VNV Nation

Sep. 24th, 2017 09:02 am
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
[personal profile] sabotabby
 Dammmmn I needed something like that, just losing myself in music for a few hours and dancing like an idiot. For reasons, they decided to play the Garrison. Like, on purpose. For reference, I have seen VNV Nation a bunch of times at larger venues, and it's not like they have a problem drawing a crowd. The Garrison is tiny. They drew a crowd. It his 40°C yesterday, and the place doesn't have air conditioning.

So I don't think I've ever evaporated at a concert before. It was like dancing in soup. But anyway I guess that is good for depression 'cause I'm feeling slightly less shit about life this morning.

They played songs from "Empires" and "Automatic" only, which are two of their best albums. Some folks brought glowsticks and were quite generous in handing them out, so it had the ambiance of a 90s rave and Ronan seem very much amused by this.

Interesting Links for 24-09-2017

Sep. 24th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

The Blood is the Life for 24-09-2017

Sep. 24th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I've been paying attention to the many attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)* and what's been really obvious in the last year is that the Republican majority don't actually want to repeal it.

There seem to be three different groups:
1) Republican Senators who can see that Obamacare is actually about as right-wing a way to have universal healthcare as you can get**, and don't actually want to get rid of it.
2) Republican Senators who may or may not be in favour of Obamacare, but can see that their constituents are now attached to their healthcare, will be furious if they lose it, and only have a slim majority which they are terrified of losing at the next election.
3) Republican Senators who really are against Obamacare.

The problem here is that all three groups need to pretend that they're in category (3), because they've spent the last decade telling their supporters how terrible Obamacare is, to the point where there are voters who support all of the individual parts of the bill, and even the "Affordable Care Act" but will be will be against Obamacare.

And the longer the ACA exists, and the more that voters understand about it (as is happening the more Republicans talk about it) the more popular it gets. To the point where a majority of the public are now in favour of it***. But the Republican Party now has a central point of belief that "Obamacare is bad".

Which means that in order to be against it, but not actually remove it, we're left with a few Republican Senators taking it in turns to vote against repeal, on various largely spurious grounds. Being very careful to say "Oh no, I hate Obamacare as much as the next person. But I can't vote to repeal it this time, because of a minor provision. Maybe next time." - and then the next time a _different_ Republican Senator can do exactly the same thing.

None of which means that Obamacare is safe. It's balanced on a bunch of senators believing that if they repeal it they'll lose their jobs. So every time a repeal bill is put forward they have to be persuaded _again_ that the public still cares. And I am very grateful for my US friends who are involved in getting people to phone their representatives every time it comes up.

But I am moderately hopeful that we'll make it through to the mid-terms without it being repealed. Because I don't think that a majority of the senate actually wants it to be.****


*There were over 50 of these between 2011 and 2014, goodness knows how many we're up to now
**Not surprising, as it's very similar to RomneyCare.
***But only 17% of registered Republicans. It's the swing voters who have moved.
****But don't trust me. This is just my impression from what I've read from, frankly, a long way away.

I Have Discovered Fashion

Sep. 23rd, 2017 01:28 pm
elf: Emily the Strange: Misery loves company (Misery Loves Company)
[personal profile] elf
I went looking for costume pieces. I'm aware that my chances of finding the kind of costume pieces I want are low, and it's likely to take more than a casual search to find the kind of things I want within my budget. But I wanted to at least get a sense of what's available.

One of the things I want, is a Victorian-esque high-neck long-sleeves full length dress. Doesn't need to be period-accurate at all; just needs to have roughly the right silhouette. So I went to Amazon and searched for a few things; "maxi" is the current term for long dresses, but that gets me a bunch of sleeveless evening gowns. I searched for "long sleeves," which got me a number of pajama-esque looking shirt dresses, which warned me that searching for anything with extra coverage on top was likely to mean they removed an equal amount of fabric from the bottom. And sure enough, searching for high-neck dresses gets a bunch of sheaths that stop at the garter belt line.

And this monstrosity, which I am inflicting on you, dear readers, because otherwise I will have to bear the pain of having seen it alone. I think the... shoes? leggings? tights? ... are a separate article of clothing, and apparently so is the collar. But the full ensemble is stunning.

The Blood is the Life for 23-09-2017

Sep. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

Temple pain

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:29 pm
fayanora: Steph angry (Steph angry)
[personal profile] fayanora
Sometimes the muscles in my temple get hard and painful after chewing. Usually it passes after an hour or two. But it's now been doing it since around 8 am today and won't go away. It's not as bad as it was; earlier, it was bad enough I had to take pain relievers to get to sleep. But they're still not back to normal, and they still hurt.

It's especially vexing because I don't think I ate anything especially chewy yesterday.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
[personal profile] quirkytizzy
Hmmm, I want to watch something fun and comforting. Let's hit up what's on Netflix Kid's.

*scroll*

I haven't watched Anastasia in forever. That might be nice. Oh hey, I've never seen Disney's Hercules, and the Nostalgia Chick loves it, so maybe I'll watch that.

*scroll*

Hey, they even have Nightmare Before OMFG GREMLINS IS ON THERE WHY IS GREMLINS ON THE KID LIST HOLY FUCK I AM GONNA HAVE NIGHTMARES JUST FROM THE THUMBNAIL FUUUCK!!!!

*decide on Hercules*

I seriously need some James Wood's voice acting to wipe away the horror of fucking Stripe Gremlin popping up on my screen. WHY IS IT ON THE KIDS LIST?!!!
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Jane and I went up to Nethy Bridge, near Aviemore, and stayed at the Lazy Duck in one of their Eco-Lodges. Which is a cabin built for two, with electricity, gas cooking, and (distant, wobbly) wifi, right next to a large duck pond full of a variety of different species of ducks.
Loads of photos and four videos )

Interesting Links for 22-09-2017

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

The Blood is the Life for 22-09-2017

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

Defenders drive-by review

Sep. 21st, 2017 07:22 pm
sabotabby: tulip pointing a gun (preacher)
[personal profile] sabotabby
On a more trivial note (yes, yes, the world is ending, and I'm blogging about telly), I really enjoyed hate-watching Defenders. Which is to say that it was nearly all shit except for the scene where Luke Cage teaches Iron Fist about white privilege. I mean, I can't believe I wasted like 8 hours of my life but in the same way, it made me feel like a better writer because I didn't write it.

spoilers )
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

In case you forgot, I’ll be at Borderlands Books (my favorite place in SF) at 3:00 pm this Saturday to read to you from my new book The Uploaded, sign whatever you put in front of me, and to, as usual, go out for hamburgers afterwards.

(And if you’re extra-special-good, I may do a super-secret advance MEGA-preview reading of The Book That Does Not Yet Have A Name. Not that, you know, you shouldn’t be rushing out to your stores to buy The Uploaded right now.)

I will, of course, bring donuts after my massive DONUT FAIL in Massachusetts, which I still wake up in cold sweats about. I will bring you donuts or die.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

The Blood is the Life for 21-09-2017

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

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