Tag Archives: London 2012

Prolifers in the UK become more American every day

Yesterday, two members of Abort67 won the right to continue to harass and intimdate women entering in a clinic in Wales. In the US this is called “sidewalk picketing” – harass enough women going into the clinic, the thinking of the prolifers is, and maybe one of the women will be scared or shocked or horrified out of deciding to have an abortion. Most women will of course just find these prolifers making a bad day even worse, but if you’re virulently prolife, that’s a win too.

If this catches on in Edinburgh, we may need clinic escorts.

Today, a group of people have written a letter to the Telegraph demanding that the legacy of the Paralympics should be – guess?

More funding for organisations that help disabled children to enjoy sport?
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Filed under American, Benefits, Disability, Politics, Women

The IOC owns Boris and Google is on their side

“International Olympic Committee has reviewed your dispute and reinstated its copyright claim on your video, “Boris dancing to the Spice Girls”. – LatentExistence

It’s a remarkable best of times, worst of times situation in terms of information and media. On one level you have this unbelievable democratization of platforms that’s happened. Thought experiment: Say I’m a tenured professor at Princeton in 1980. I’m in humanities, so I’m not yet on email. And I want to tell 500 people about something. It’s a massive logistical problem, even for someone with a lot of social capital. You put up a sign in the faculty break room? You knock on doors? You flyer cars? Every teenager in Harlem now has that reach. Instantaneously. – Chris Hayes

The founders of the Internet and the World Wide Web created a platform that potentially, anyone can use. Quite deliberately, I don’t use GooglePlus. I do use Gmail (who doesn’t?) but if WordPress is ever bought by Google I will switch to some other blogging platform extremely fast.
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Filed under Blog Housekeeping, In The Media, Internet, Olympics

And to think we worried that the Olympics would create a police state

Mark Worsfold, 54, a former soldier and martial arts instructor, was arrested on 28 July for a breach of the peace shortly before the cyclists arrived in Redhouse Park, Leatherhead, where he had sat down on a wall to watch the race. Officers from Surrey police restrained and handcuffed him and took him to Reigate police station, saying his behaviour had “caused concern”.

What did he do?

“The man was positioned close to a small group of protesters and based on his manner, his state of dress and his proximity to the course, officers made an arrest to prevent a possible breach of the peace,” Surrey police said in a statement.

Worsfold, whose experience was first reported by Private Eye, claims police questioned him about his demeanour and why he had not been seen to be visibly enjoying the event. Worsfold, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2010, suffers from muscle rigidity that affects his face. He was released after two hours without charge or caution.

Yeah, that’s right.

He was arrested because he wasn’t visibly enjoying himself.
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Stamps and gold pillar boxes

Royal Mail offered to do a commemorative stamp for every TeamGB gold medallist, and to paint a pillar box in their home town gold.

So far – there are five days of the Olympics left to run – TeamGB has 22 gold medals. According to BBC Sport:

Great Britain have also bettered their overall Beijing medal haul of 47 following high jumper Robbie Grabarz’s bronze – Team GB’s 48th of the Games. They also look certain to add to that tally in the coming days – UK Sport had set a target of a minimum 48 medals at London 2012.

That is gold, silver, and bronze medals (as of today, TeamGB had already won that many) – not a target for gold medals alone.

Royal Mail will paint a red pillar box gold in every Paralympic gold medallist’s home town. But it will not issue a next day stamp in honour of every Paralympian.
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Filed under Disability, Olympics

Sporty kids aren’t bullied

Between twelve and sixteen I was a junior member of the British Sub-Aqua Club. We met at Portobello swimming pool – back when there was a salt-water pool. For years, every Monday night, I spent a couple of hours learning how to swim underwater with a snorkel and mask and fins. I played underwater hockey. We did a week up on Skye where we learned how to dive off a boat, and wear wetsuits, and knife discipline.

All divers carry knives, because you may get tangled in seaweed or a net: knife discipline was the senior instructor informing us, in a tone that made clear he meant what he said, that we were each being issued with a knife, that this knife was to stay in its sheath, that if any of us ever EVER took the knife out of its sheath without a good reason or above water AT ALL or were seen messing about with it, that was IT, the kid who did it was never going back in the water again. A dozen teenage boys and two girls listened with awed attention and you better believe that we never did. (That I still remember that lecture thirty years later – he was memorable.)

I loved it, and I was good at it. Women have a slight genetic edge over men in learning how to dive and to swim in cold water, but I mention this just for the sake of smugness: most of it is training. I loved being able to use my fins to zip through the water like a fish. I loved being able to see underwater. Snorkelling was great. I had huge confidence in the water and would have liked to learn how to use an aqualung. It was an entirely new experience for me when the other kids started demanding to be on my team when we played underwater hockey, because my team usually won.
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Filed under Childhood, Education, Jane Austen, Olympics, Other stuff on the Internet I like, Women

Those empty seats

Who’s paying?

We are.

Olympic Village London 2012
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Filed under Olympics, Tax Avoidance

Waked after long sleep

Article 22: Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

I have the Opening Ceremony, Isles of Wonder, open in the corner of my screen at this moment – the industrialists have just arrived on Glastonbury Tor, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel is about to speak Caliban’s speech from The Tempest. Thanks to BBC iPlayer and the licence fee, I can watch any part of it I wish, from now til 12th January 2013. And I would never have thought that this would actually be something I would want to do.

As SharedPast summarises it

My expectations of the London Olympics’ opening ceremony were so low that, I suppose, I would have been impressed if it had featured Boris as Boudicca, driving a chariot over the prostate figures of the Locog committee. (Actually, now that I think about it, that would have been fairly entertaining.)

I haven’t changed my mind about the Olympics or Dow Chemical, but Isles of Wonder is a magnificent piece of performance art. The whole Olympic ceremony impressed and delighted me – to say “beyond expectations” is meiosis: I had sat down to watch it in a negative mood about the Olympics, cross about the money, and fully expecting to spend Friday evening making bread, doing laundry, only a quarter of my attention on the TV.

Ms Mongrel wrote in Bring me my chariot of fire:

Despite my cynicism, I do want things to go well. I want the Olympics to be a success for example, and I was really pleased at the spectacle of the Opening Ceremony. Continue reading

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Filed under Benefits, Education, Human Rights, Olympics