Saturday, November 07, 2009

I hardly ever use this blog, but I want to post a couple of links.

First, Ewan's liberal musings: Good luck to 500000 turfed off incapacity benefit, and the comments on it.

And second, a new blog on Being on Benefits, addressing the myths the media perpetuates about people on incapacity benefit, especially those with invisible disabilities (like mental illness and chronic pain).

The stigma surrounding being on benefits, and the fear of losing them, contributes a huge amount of unnecessary stress and distress to the lives of people who are already struggling. They - or I should say we, since I suffer from depression and have been on income support for incapacity - find life hard enough as it is, due to our various disabilities, and income support really doesn't provide much to live on. There are many factors that keep us on benefits, from the rather obvious fact that many of us need them because we cannot work, to the fact that employers blatantly discriminate against people with a history of mental health problems, and people with gaps in their work history.

Many of us contribute to society in ways other than through paid employment, like voluntary work, and sometimes as homemakers and caregivers. Yet we are tarred with the brush of being "economically inactive" (even though this is not true, as what little money we have goes straight back into the economy when we spend it), and treated as lazy, good for nothing scroungers.

In the rather unlikely event that anyone is reading this, I hope you'll go and check out the links above.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Autistic person translates from her language

This is truly one of the most beautiful and moving statements I've seen on language and communication. "In My Language" is a video in which a non-verbal person with autism "speaks in her own language" -- a combination of sounds and visual cues and gestures -- and then explains what this all means by means of a text-to-speech program.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

From my LJ, and regarding the LiveJournal Breastfeeding Fiasco:

On the flip side, I also get annoyed at people who get annoyed at people for protesting about something they care about. It doesn't really matter why they care about it, they don't have to justify themselves to you. I've seen this recently in some of the "nipplegate" discussions - LiveJournal is a private company so they can do whatever they want, deal with it. Well, yes, they're a private company. They can't actually do whatever they want as they're still bound by the law, but within those limits they can have whatever TOS they choose. And as users, we can speak out (or shout and scream) if we think that TOS and those rules are wrong, or poorly applied. Using the service of a company does not take away your right or ability to complain when you think something is wrong. Indeed, a company should be listening to its customers harder than it should listen to people who don't utilize it.

It's legal for Wal-Mart to use sweatshops, it's legal for Starbucks to sell "sweatshop" coffee, it's legal for all manner of companies to pollute the environment and screw over their workers. Of course, compared to these things, LiveJournal's TOS or abuse team problems are pretty insignificant. But part of LJ's business model, part of the reason we all use it, is that it builds up that sense of community. Without the community, quite a few of us wouldn't stay. If a company depends on its users and their communities for its popularity and success, it would be wise to listen to them. They may not owe any legal duty to do so, but it's a poor business decision not to.

Also quoted over here.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Why does LiveJournal Abuse hate breasts?

Breastfeeding moms are up in arms over LJ deeming the act of breastfeeding inappropriate for default user icons. LJ Abuse responds to their complaints by altering the wording of the FAQ to support their new anti-breast stance. Shit flies all over LJ, and beyond.

Friday, May 12, 2006

More things I'm sure make us all really trust the wonderful US government.

"The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY."