susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
ISDS: Invester State Dispute Settlement mechanism, a system of courts run by corporate lawyers in which companies can sue governments, outside of the normal judicial process, when they claim to have been discriminated against. Apologists for the mechanism say its purpose is to protect firms when government unfairly favour domestic firms over foreign ones, or expropriate their property. That's not how it's actually used.

TTIP: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a big trade deal currently being negotiated between the US and the EU (see also TPP (US and Pacific countries), CETA (Canada and EU)). Includes ISDS mechanism.

Promoters say TTIP will be good for the economy and create jobs, but of course it will destroy jobs and only be good for some big firms that are doing well in the economy already, because that's how these trade deals work, from NAFTA onwards (and maybe before that, before my time). But if ISDS stays in it'll be even worse: a danger to all our public services and a benefit to no-one except evil multinationals.

A case in point: Canadian-Australian company OceanaGold wants to open a gold mine in El Salvador, which would pollute the country's remaining clean water (90% of their water is already contaminated). El Salvador rejected the mine, so the company is suing them at ICSID (International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes), a World Bank tribunal. This is the sort of thing ISDS will be used for if we don't stop it. More detail from The Guardian.

There's a petition to the World Bank to drop the case against El Salvador at Sum of Us, and you can join the fight against TTIP in the UK at noTTIP.
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
Today is Blogging Against Disablism Day.

I don't think I can write anything coherent for it. I had my first SALT (Speech & Language Therapy) appointment today, and maybe I used up all the words? ... no, actually I've been lurking for weeks if not longer and it's not because of that (my speech problem is intermittent and physical, except for where I get anxious about it) ... it's more Living With Pain (, Dammit), Too Many Distractions and possibly some lack of cope. I'm sure I'll start "talking" online again sometime!

So: BADD links:
Master roundup post at Diary of a Goldfish - more links than you can shake a stick at, and probably more to come;
The Exploitation of Home Health Workers at This Ain't Livin', because May 1st is also Labour Day.
susanreads: Dreamsheep with UK flag (UK sheep)
I doubt anyone reads me who doesn't already know about the Tories' plans, in the Health and Social Care Bill, to destroy the NHS. 38 Degrees have put up billboards to publicise the danger, and you can download posters and leaflets at their blog. It appears that the govt. will try to push the Bill through the Lords tomorrow (19th March), then back to the Commons for the last time. A lot of Lib.Dem. and cross-bench Peers, and Lib.Dem. MPs, seem to have been bought off with minor changes that don't affect the crucial elements of the Bill: privatisation, postcode lotteries and even more red tape getting in the way of staff doing their jobs. The TUC's Going to Work campaign has a tool for you to "adopt" a member of the House of Lords, to ask for their support for an amendment delaying the Bill, as well as the usual write-to-your-MP mechanisms.
susanreads: Dreamsheep with UK flag (UK sheep)
I know, I've been quiet for a while. I've mainly been preoccupied with a couple of things in my off-line life, but here are some things I've been pointed at online.

Part of Oxfam's food security campaign: Help farmers in Gutu end the hunger months

rally banner
Save the NHS: the TUC are organising a rally against the Government's plans to destroy the NHS, on 7th March at 18:00-19:30, at Central Hall Westminster and live online. You can book a place for the rally, if it's not full yet, or pledge to attend online, at Save Our NHS.

Protect refugees: sign the Refugee Council's pledge, to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention, calling on the UK government to make the asylum system fair, humane and effective.

Protect people-with-uteri's right to choose: I might post about this again, but not every day for 40 days! Apparently some people are, though. 40 Days of Choice is an online campaign offering positive ways for pro-choice supporters to counter anti-abortion activity and clinic protests during Lent.

WWF's Earth Hour this year starts at 8:30pm (in all time zones, so it moves round the world) on 31st March. Earth Hour is not about saving an hour’s electricity, it’s much bigger than that. It’s about realising that the actions we take, from the energy we use, to the food we buy and water we drink, has an effect on the world.
susanreads: food: assorted fresh vegetables (food)
October 16th is the UN's World Food Day. It's objectives include heightening public awareness of the problem of hunger and strengthening international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. This year's theme is "Food prices - from crisis to stability". Apparently world food prices rose 25% last year. This isn't just a result of the economic crisis, where even more than the 99% in "first world" countries, people in the poorest parts of the world are being made to bail out the bankers; the current world economic order is set up to treat everything, including the most basic necessities, as a market to make profit in, and this is the result. It's also part of the Happening Right Now impact of climate change, and made worse by the appropriation of land that could be used to grow food for biofuels and other cash crops.

I don't have anything original to say about it: have some more links.
Oxfam's GROW campaign;
Fix the Food Chain, Friends of the Earth's campaign on how the way we do farming in the UK damages the environment;
La Via Campesina has today down as World Food Sovereignty Day, with a lot of recent posts on price volatility and land grabbing.
susanreads: stack of books, "so many books" (books)
People with a lot more readers than me have linked this already, but hey:

Say Yes To Gay YA:
The agent offered to sign us on the condition that we make the gay character straight, or else remove his viewpoint and all references to his sexual orientation.

Post contains suggestions for what people can do about This Sort Of Thing.
susanreads: stack of books, "so many books" (books)
Just over a week after having an eye test, I got my new (free from the NHS, single vision) glasses. I guess they're easier to make than varifocals. I got reading glasses and a distance-only pair, which look similar enough that I keep getting confused; also, the fit feels very odd. I guess I'll get used to them, though.

I don't think I'll use the distance-only pair much, because that part of the prescription hasn't changed a lot from my varifocals, which have the advantages of (i) going darker in sunlight, and (ii) still being able to read with them well enough to program the digital recorder. (With the reading glasses, I can read the Radio Times; with the others, I can see the menu on the TV screen.)

But next time I get a new prescription, I definitely want new varifocals if I can in any way afford it. I'm spending so much time taking one pair off and putting another pair on. At least I now have 2 pairs of reading glasses: one for the living room, one for the computer.

In response to the latest "Top 100 SF list" apparently compiled by people who stopped reading it some time last century, [personal profile] eruthros and collaborators are creating a list of recommendations by people who still read and/or watch speculative fiction. All media, all related genres. Go here to nominate.
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
I've written before about the Alberta Tar Sands (Stop the Oil Sands and some other posts with the same tag). Now tells me about the Keystone XL pipeline, a dangerous and destructive project that would pump over one million barrels of dirty "tar sands" oil from Canada to the USA every day. The oil in the Keystone pipeline could poison drinking water, threaten the communities it runs through, and wreck the climate. The building of the pipeline depends on a presidential permit, and are petitioning President Obama to reject it. The petition page also has a link for people who can get to Washington DC this summer to do something more practical than signing petitions.

Via Amnesty International: On 28 September 2011 women's organisations and Nicaraguan men, women and children will be marching to demand the repeal of the country's total abortion ban and an end to widespread violence against women and girls. Amnesty is organising to send thousands of symbolic butterflies for a display of solidarity. La Mariposa: Send a butterfly to Nicaragua has more and a link to create butterfiles online. (Access notes: page auto-plays video. Further down there are details about the background to the campaign which could be triggering. The butterfly creator depends on mouse interaction.)

A petition

Jan. 31st, 2011 07:57 pm
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
I know a lot of other things are going on now, which other people on my reading list are covering, and I don't usually "share" petitions I find online, but I'll make an exception for this one, which I found via the F Word's weekly round-up.

cut for talk about rape )
susanreads: Dreamsheep with UK flag (UK sheep)
English libel laws are notorious. Big companies with inconvenient critics that they want to silence use the English law of defamation to do so, even if neither party is British. Bloggers whose host is in the UK have to warn their commenters against mentioning certain litigious organisations. Scientists, doctors and journalists who want to follow the evidence risk time-consuming and expensive court cases. Latest news: big internet players complain about the definition of "publication".

Representatives of Facebook, Yahoo, AOL (UK), the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA), and Mumsnet have written to David Cameron calling for the forthcoming Defamation Bill to protect discussion on the internet. Yahoo!, Facebook, AOL, Mumsnet and ISPA write to the Prime Minister to call for libel law reform has the text of the letter and links to other coverage.

You can read and sign the Libel Reform Campaign's petition (key paragraph: "We the undersigned, in England and beyond, urge politicians to support a bill for major reforms of the English libel laws now, in the interests of fairness, the public interest and free speech.") at the signup page.
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
You know how the oil industry's determination to get at every last barrel leads to disaster? No, not that one; I'm thinking of a situation that's been going for some time with less mainstream publicity, and where the "developers" have no intention of stopping, and with environmental racism written all over it - oh wait, that would be the Niger Delta.

The one I'm thinking of is in Canada, encroaching on indigenous land, and an "unconventional" source of such diffuseness that it wasn't worth exploiting until comparatively recently. We seem to be approaching Peak Oil, and unfortunately, the companies' reaction is not to diversify into less harmful technologies, but to exploit sources that are even more damaging.

Video and transcript below cut )

Further reading ...
More about tar sands:
No Tar Sands
Support for BP tar sands resolution at Ethical Consumer blog: 15% of shareholders either supported the resolution or abstained (strong for a resolution of this type) on a resolution asking BP to report on the financial, social and environmental risks associated with tar sands extraction.
Tar Sands threaten caribou extinction at Ethical Consumer blog

BP, the Deepwater Horizon spill and environmental racism:
Crude Violations by s.e. smith at FWD/Forward

More about RBS' funding of the oil industry, and action against them by Climate Camp:
How RBS funds ‘dirty oil’ at The Herald Scotland, via Liberal Conspiracy

(I meant to post this yesterday but had problems with my computer. I'm sure there was something relevant happening then that I meant to link to, but if I don't post this now it might never get done.)
susanreads: cake with "WTF" written in icing (wtf cake)
links refer to rape culture, contain rage:
Polanski freed at the F Word;
C.L.Minou on the same case at Tiger Beatdown

on domestic violence, murder and victim-blaming:
A few thoughts on the gendered coverage of the Raoul Moat story at the F Word

BADD links

May. 4th, 2010 06:22 pm
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
Blog Against Disablism Day was several days ago, but as usual, it's taken me a while to catch up. I don't feel qualified to write anything original, so here are some links to posts I particularly appreciated (all the posts submitted for the blogswarm are indexed at Diary of a Goldfish).

Blogging Against Disablism Day: on being a disabled blogger by Amy Clare, guest blogging at The F-Word (one of my regular haunts).
Do You Need Assistance? by s.e. smith at FWD/Forward: great advice for currently abled (or less-physically-impaired) people on how to offer help and how not to.
Fictional Heroes with Disabilities by Beppie at Hoyden About Town: antidotes to whichever show is making you headdesk today.
Addressing Ableist Language by Cara at Feministe, where she's trying to make the comment threads less unsafe for readers with disabilities.
Voluntary Accommodations by [personal profile] angelikitten: if only paying workplaces had such a responsive attitude.
Of privilege and auditory processing by codeman38 at Normal Is Overrated: wow, some of those are really familiar to me although I don't have the same conditions. How do people tell which phone is ringing?
I live in a marginal constituency by Katie at Everyone Else Has a Blog - it's election time, but her local parliamentary candidates don't reply to her emails. Don't they want disabled people's votes?

Note: disablism and ableism are the same thing, it's two countries divided by a common language again. Like whether to say "disabled people" or PWD, I see both online and sometimes forget which is which.
susanreads: Dreamsheep with UK flag (UK sheep)
BP’s Annual General Meeting in London today (15th April) is set to be the focus of debate on the company’s controversial plans for Canadian tar sands projects. Special Resolution 25, filed by over 140 investors from around the world including major global institutional investors, calls on BP to report on the financial, environmental and human rights risks of tar sands. - Ethical Consumer blog

Tar Sands video: Hey BP, leave those sands alone! video on YouTube which I might at some point do a transcript of - it'd take a lot of pausing and typing, but it's one of the few things where I can make out most of the words (not at the same time as reading the words on the screen, which are like footnotes/documentation/further commentary; which is why I think it particularly needs a transcript). It begins with people filking Another Brick in the Wall, which you get more of at the end:
We don't need no devastation
We don't need no dirty oil
No hydrocarbons in Alberta
BP leave tar sands alone
Hey! BP! Leave tar sands alone!
All in all you're just a...nother brick in the wall

No Tar Sands campaign site
(the "More details" on the YouTube page also has info on the issues)
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
Starting at the fun end of the spectrum:

I don't remember where I first saw this: Avatar - The Metacontextual Edition, hilarious takedown

Via Hoyden About Town: All the King's Men, about the first female ruler of Otuam, Ghana

From the Science in My Fiction blog: a short story contest for SF responding to a recent scientific discovery (open for entries from April 1 through June 30)

Good news reported at the F Word: Council of Europe adopts recommendation on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity; Helen G writes that this is the first intergovernmental agreement of this nature.

Gosh, is that the time? I think I'll leave the No Fun at All part for another day.
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
I'm still hella behind on, approximately, everything, and I don't even have the excuse of a job to go to. But I'm getting a bit closer to the surface of the heap-of-urgent-stuff, and couldn't help noticing the date.

The F Word has a lot of posts up today:
Million Women Rise 2010 - a report on the march in London, with photos; and a link to their previous post about the failure of MWR to get off the fence about trans inclusion
Turkey: IWD for those on the margins of society
International Women’s Day 2010: Supporting women’s organisations and services
Women, a review of the BBC series which starts tonight
Charter of Rights of Women Seeking Asylum with links to Asylum Aid
Three rape crisis centres to open in London this year! = success for the "Boris Keep Your Promise" campaign.
International Women’s Day 2010: Women’s rights abroad are not a UK priority - the Government's actions don't match their rhetoric [the field of women's rights isn't unique in that!]. "Selling the invasion of Afghanistan as a mission to liberate women was a terrible blunder which may well have done more harm than good to efforts to promote women’s rights abroad, confirming for many their suspicions that gender equality is a concept used for advancing an imperialist agenda."
International Women’s Day 2010: celebrate the women in your life where Laura starts us off by celebrating her sister.

There are lots of posts on other sites too, but that's enough to be going on with! Anyone want to recommend your favourite round-ups?
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
The F Word has an article on trans issues by Laurie Penny, Moving towards solidarity. Feminists - even prominent ones with big platforms to shout from - do not get to be the gatekeepers of what is and is not female, what is and is not feminine, any more than patriarchal apologists do.

Roz Kaveney has details of a masterclass next year provided by the SFF, at Science Fiction Foundation: SF Criticism Masterclass for 2010.

There's a new blog reviewing new-reader-friendly comics at New readers...start here! This blog will avoid comics with sexist, racist, homophobic or ableist overtones or intent.

I was watching last week's episode of Life (available on the BBC iPlayer if they think your location is acceptable), there was this crowd of jellyfish, and the narration mentioned a predator. Here comes this huge jellyfish (though I couldn't tell how huge from that shot, maybe the others were tiny), and I'm just thinking "Wow, that looks just like a fried egg" when David Attenborough introduced it. The fried egg jellyfish - the second picture shows the bright yellow effect from the camera lights, and more of an impression of the size. Sometimes critter names are unexpectedly obvious!
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
In the UK
Amnesty International is organising a mass lobby of Parliament to end violence against women, next Wednesday - particularly against the No Recourse to Public Funds rule which prevents women with insecure immigration status from escaping abuse.

Friday 30th October is Equal Pay Day: the average pay gap between men and women in the UK is 17.1%, meaning that while men in work will be paid for the full year, women in work are effectively working for free from today until 2010.

From the Dreamwidth Herald
Yesterday, [site community profile] dw_codesharing was changed to allow open posting. if you have spare invite codes, post to the community using the tag "codes available".

Also, free accounts now get 15 userpics instead of 6. Go out and proselytise!

Follow Friday
I don't do memes, but this meme seems like a good idea for making Dreamwidth more awesome. Here's the plan: every Friday, let's recommend some people and/or communities to follow on Dreamwidth. That's it. No complicated rules, no "pass this on to 7.328 friends or your cat will die." Just introduce us to some new things to read.

With recent linkspams in mind, some communities to follow relating to access issues:
[site community profile] dw_accessibility (about making the site accessible), [community profile] accessibility_fail (in RL, also features occasional accessibility win), [community profile] access_fandom (canonically about making fandom more accessible; hosted the Feministing-fail linkspams). You can also follow the excellent new blog FWD/Forward via their Dwth feed, [syndicated profile] disabledfeminists_feed.

susanreads: stack of books, "so many books" (books)
It's just like the Everready bunny, isn't it? Now we come back to cultural appropriation, from a different direction.

I've got a rotten cold and don't feel up to a detailed argument, so have an outline:

1: Oh, for crying out loud.

2: Original slash is, to a first approximation, written by and for women. Many - the majority, I believe - of the authors are het cis women. The stories are romance, erotica, or both.

Slash has the potential to be subversive, but my mostly-secondhand impression is that it usually isn't.

3: Gay fiction, as it was called in my day (LGBT is what the Lambda Literary Foundation are calling it; other acronyms are available), can be any genre. Its defining characteristic is featuring characters of minority sexuality and/or minority gender, from the viewpoint of someone who knows what they're talking about, unlike the stereotypes we're usually confronted with in the mainstream media.

LGBT fiction might just be written as a romance, detective story, western, SF story etc. with a protagonist the author can relate to, but promoting it as LGBT fiction is inherently political.

4: 2 and 3 are not the same thing.

If slash writers want to win awards, they should roll their own.

In the first post I read about this, Willow disproved a well-meaning but unfounded argument.

[ profile] likespring calls out some of the nasty things being said (includes quotations of racism and general cluelessness; I'm using it as a guide to what not to read in the linkspam)

linkspam masterpost
susanreads: stack of books, "so many books" (books)
Remember that anthology of "Mindblowing SF" by white guys? Via Graham Sleight's review at Strange Horizons, I've found an excellent essay on this and two other recent instances of white boys' clubs: Is It Something in the Water? by Athena Andreadis in Astrogator's Logs.
In the vast majority of cases, non-male non-whites are overqualified for whatever position or role they are chosen to fill.  The tokenism excuse has been obliterated countless times ... I think that true equality will come when non-white non-males can be as mediocre as white men.  And when that time comes, I guarantee you that the quality of mindblowing anthologies won’t budge.
So, I have a new blog to read! Athena writes about science, science fiction and culture.

Also in ongoing discussions: unusualmusic has a roundup of reactions to the leaked results of the sex testing of Caster Semenya. There's a lot of links I don't want to follow there.


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