Browse other personalized gifts from Zazzle.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Provident.

Shame on greatoffers@allaboutsavings.co.uk for this email, which is neither a great offer, nor anything about savings.

The Provy, those bullying, preying-on-the-poor, knocking-on-the-door loan sharks, have offered me possibly the worst terms for a loan ever.



Have a look at the bottom right,
*Example. Cash loan amount £300.
56 weekly repayments of £9
Total amount payable £504

Typical
183.2% APR

183.2% APR typical. So some people presumably get even higher rates!

Let's have a look. CCJs, poor credit history, been turned down before, renting a home, unemployed... yep!

So you're perhaps not in the best financial situation? How can you almost guarantee to make it a million times worse? Oh yes, borrow from the Provy! Borrow £300, pay back £504. And that, of course, is if you make every payment every week. If not... well, higher interest, increasing your 'loan' amount to cover missed payments... add a bit more to the end cost. You're already buggered, why not?

I am furious that this was sent to my email. I *hate* these people.

Now, a good organisation is Church Action Against Poverty. A Church group putting their faith and efforts to the good (unlike some).

Their Debt On Our Doorstep campaign
is a national campaigning organisation made up of local activists and public organisations. We aim to end extortionate lending and ensure universal access to affordable credit and other financial services. To this end our objectives are to:

* Publicise the extent and impact of extortionate lending on low income groups

* Lobby Parliament, assemblies and other decision makers to end extortionate lending

* Research and promote models of affordable credit

* Provide a platform for people on low incomes to comment on the impact of debt

We are part of a growing international movement for responsible lending and have been involved in the planning of a series of national conferences throughout Europe which culminated in the launch of a European Coalition for Responsible Lending in Brussels in 2006.

Debt on our Doorstep was the first organisation in the U.K to call for a 'responsible lending' duty to be placed on lenders, and this has since been introduced into the new Consumer Credit Act. We are expecting a consultation exercise on the requirements for lenders in the near future. Unfortunately, our campaign for interest rate ceilings to be introduced has not been successful, although the Government has pledged to keep this matter under review, and our work to bring about a competition commission inquiry into the Home Credit industry has recently brought about a real possibility for price caps in that market.

We are also working to develop local financial inclusion partnerships, and are calling for requirements to be placed on the banking industry to disclose, and then improve, the level of financial services available in low-income communities. In this respect, our work has been informed by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in the U.S, with whom we are closely involved in our international work.

Debt on our Doorstep is also calling for excessive default charges, made by credit card lenders and banks to be refunded to borrowers - a total of £1.8 billion has been overcharged in the past 6 years for credit cards alone - and is working with the Bank Charges Action Group to recover these..

Good on them.

Also, if you're in financial trouble yourself, I can't recommend National Debtline too highly. They are a source of great advice and support, they don't charge anything (unlike so many of those companies who advertise on TV to help with your debts) and have helped me consistently over a long period.

As for greatoffers@allaboutsavings.co.uk, gmail rightly put their shit into my spam folder, where it will stay.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Chocolate

I just went to my local shop, to find it had displays of Mini Eggs and Cadbury's Creme Eggs.

Happy Easter, folks!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The 90s

I'm watching some old Silent Witness episodes (an Amanda Burton fix was feeling necessary).

Weirdly, one of the things that dates them is the fact that all the women's trousers come up to their waists! Every woman really stands out because she's not wearing hipsters. Damn those things have taken over.

They look cool, but I can't wear them. My tummy is too round and they fall down all the time. It's now virtually impossible to buy jeans that cover tummies.

Let's go back to the days of Amanda Burton on telly, and jeans with tummies. In finding a link for her I discovered that Ms Burton's last two relationships have been with photographers. Admittedly they were male, but there's hope for me yet. Maybe.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Helping Charities with Recycled Used Stamps

Used-stamps.co.uk is in need of an update, so until that happens, still collect all the used stamps off envelopes you receive (particularly at this time of year with Christmas cards and such), and send them off to:

Posted! Stamps for Charities
Education Distribution Service
Freepost FPN 772
Castle Road
SITTINGBOURNE
Kent ME10 3RL


Apparently these will be distributed to charities such as Great Ormond St Children's Hospital, RSPB, Macmillan cancer support and RNIB.

Info from the ever good money saving expert forums.

Go awn, it's an easy good deed to do :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's exactly as we all hoped!

Jodie Foster comes out - at last!
Congratulations, Jodie. But why did it take so long to confirm what we already knew?

It's standard practice for Hollywood stars to thank friends and family when accepting awards. But when Jodie Foster paid tribute to "my beautiful Cydney" during a speech at the Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment breakfast last week, it caused a ripple of excitement.

So now we know. Jodie Foster's partner of at least 15 years is a woman. Just like Jodie. That's right, folks: Jodie Foster is a lesbian. This startling piece of news is akin to the shock revelation that Rudolph the Reindeer has a very shiny nose. In other words, if you didn't already know this, you seriously need to retune your gaydar.

It's a secret as open as the Grand Canyon that Foster has been stepping out with film producer Cydney Bernard for years, and that they are raising Foster's two children together. The surprise is not that Jodie is gay, but that it has taken her so long to say so.

Famously protective of her privacy, Foster has long resisted calls from gay rights advocates to become an out-and-proud role model. Lesbians across the land have long been divided by the Jodie question. Her willingness to take on gutsy, serious, even feminist roles is admired, while her coyness about her sexuality has been met with disappointment. After all, we don't have many role models, and a trip down the red carpet hand in hand with Cydney would have done a lot to raise lesbian visability.

There's a widely held view that being gay is bad for a celebrity career: Ellen DeGeneres - who had a TV series cancelled shortly after both she and her character came out - is a case in point. But surely someone with the prestige and power of Jodie Foster could challenge the squeamishness about homosexuality that still prevails in America.

Perhaps, though, we should cut Jodie some slack. I don't recall Nicole Kidman, say, having to "announce" her heterosexuality. The fact that the grand gesture of "coming out" is still a big deal just shows that most straight people still assume everybody else is heterosexual. The advantage for Jodie is that she only has to come out once. Non-celebrity lesbians and gay men have to do it every time they meet someone new.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Continued 2

We just wanted the life insurance money, and that was more important than letting you grieve your dad for 5 years, believe he's gone forever, and actively hide his existence from you.
I don't think you could ever forgive that.

Continued

Who is thought to have left panama for florida, has been feeding stories to the papers about how, amongst other things, he hid in a tunnel when they had visitors, including their sons.
Now, this is what blows my mind. Life insurance fraud, while maybe unusual, isn't that weird. But pretending to your sons that their dad is dead, when you know he's not, is just horrific.
It was recently the 2 year anniversary of my dad's death. If, in another 3 years, my mum said oh, by the way your dad is fine, we just

Unbelievable

I've been following this news story over the last week or so, of the guy who turned up at a police station saying he had lost his memory. It came out that he had been presumed dead after disappearing when canoeing in the sea 5 years ago.
It then got stranger, when someone told the police that a recent photo of this guy + his wife was on a website about buying property in Panama.
It all began to look like a big life insurance scam. He has indeed now been arrested and charged with fraud, and his wife

Thursday, November 29, 2007

About Bloody Time

Reforms aim to dispel rape myths and increase convictions

Clare Dyer, legal editor
Thursday November 29, 2007

Juries are to be told how rape victims typically respond in an attempt to dispel "rape myths" which ministers believe are contributing to plummeting conviction rates for the crime.

A panel of judges, doctors and academics will start work next month on the project, which will attempt to put together a package to inform the jury without interfering with the fairness of a trial.

The move is part of reforms announced yesterday by the solicitor general, Vera Baird, aimed at boosting a conviction rate which has dropped from 33% of reported rapes in 1977 to just 5.4% in 2005, rising slightly to 5.7% last year. A US study in 1989 found that myths affected the outcome of rape trials more than any evidence.

Jurors are expected to be told that victims may be slow to report the attack and that they may appear unemotional in the witness box, contrary to expectations.

"Juries sometimes find it difficult to understand why a rape has not been reported to police immediately when, in fact, it can take victims some time to decide to make a complaint," said Baird.

"Juries can think that she [the victim] will be upset and very emotionally raw when she relives the episode for the court when, in fact, post-traumatic stress makes people seem unemotional and almost matter-of-fact."

Ministers initially proposed allowing expert witnesses to give evidence to the jury on how rape victims behave. But that idea, which circuit judges described as a "minefield", has been shelved. The panel is expected to recommend an information booklet, a video or directions from the judge. A proposal for a statutory definition of "capacity to consent" - to deal with situations where a woman was so drunk it was questionable whether she had the power to say yes or no - has also been scrapped.

Baird said legislation was unnecessary since the court of appeal had set out in a case last March how juries should approach the issue when it quashed the conviction of Benjamin Bree, a 25-year-old software engineer found guilty of raping a 19-year-old student after a night of binge drinking.

The reforms include proposals to allow victims to substitute a videotaped interview with police for their initial evidence in court. Restrictions on the admissibility of "hearsay" evidence - occasions when the woman confided in friends or relatives - about the rape will also be removed.

Katherine Rake, director of the Fawcett Society, welcomed the proposed changes but added: "These changes will not by themselves lead to a significant improvement in the conviction rate as most cases fail long before they get to court.

"Responses to allegations of rape need to improve across the whole criminal justice system and wholesale reform is needed to tackle the failures in the investigation and prosecution of rape cases."

Friday, November 23, 2007

China and the Lamas.

The Chinese government has brought in a law making it illegal to reincarnate without their permission. It's all because the Dalai Lama is now 72 and they want some control over the next one.

As well as imprisoning the Panchen Lama chosen by the current Dalai Lama, they have nominated their own Panchen Lama which could potentially lead to *two* Dalai Lamas being appointed on the current one's death - one officially sanctioned by the Chinese government, the other by the Tibetan and other Buddhists.

The current Dalai Lama has said that he will reincarnate, and that he won't reincarnate as a Tibetan, leaving the interesting position of the Chinese Government having to sanction a Tibetan person in the position.

Interesting stuff!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

TJ Hughes sends you a hug

with their faulty lighting, in Sheffield city centre tonight.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Anti-Glurge

(What is glurge? Glurge is best described as the cloyingly sentimental stories, testimonials and object lessons frequently sent as email or chain letters. Glurge can also be experienced at the end of religious services or motivational speeches, usually in the form of a 'true' example of perseverance against seemingly impossible odds. read more...




Emma's Story

Many years ago, a new family moved into our neighborhood, little six-year-old Emma and her mom and dad. They were a fine and upstanding Christian family. The first Christmas they were there, her parents bought Emma a fluffy white little bunny which she called Buster. Emma loved Buster with all her heart, and it brought such joy to me to watch Buster and Emma playing happily in their garden.

One day, Buster fell ill, and Emma and her parents carefully carried him to the car and drove off to the vet's. But on the way, a drunk driver drove through a red light and crashed into Emma's car. Her dad and the bunny died instantly, and Emma's mom died three days later in the hospital, never having come out of a coma.

Emma was alone in the world, a scared, sad little girl. Looking at her, I could hardly believe it was the same child who'd played with with such delight with Buster in their garden. I learned from the police that they couldn't find any other members of Emma's family, and that she was indeed alone in the world. Emma would in all likelihood go to an orphanage.

I prayed to Jesus to help me find a way to help little Emma. And He spoke to me deep in my heart and told me what to do. Jesus told her that my husband and I--who had not been blessed with a child of our own--must adopt her. He said it would be a hard road, I would have to fight for her, but that little Emma needed a new mommy and that I had been chosen. Suddenly, my spirit filled with His love and goodness, and weeping, I knew He was right.

On Christmas Eve, the final adoption approval was given, and Emma moved into our home.

Slowly, with help from the Lord, Emma came to love us as her own parents. Every night, I'd pray with her, thanking Jesus for His love and for all our blessings and our happy family. Once again, Emma became the contented little girl I'd known before tragedy had descended on her.

But then, one night as we were praying, she asked the question I'd been half-expecting, half-dreading. She looked up at me with her big, blue, innocent eyes, and said, "Mommy, if God loves us all, why does He let bad things happen? Why did He let my first mommy and daddy and Buster die?"

I smiled sadly and prayed silently for a moment to Jesus to help me find the words. But just as I was about to answer, Emma interrupted me.

"See, if God is omnipotent, then he cannot be omnibenevolent given that evil exists in the world. It's not logically consistent. And don't give me that crap about 'free will' because that's not compatible with God's omniscience, which must surely extend into the future."

Taken aback, I prayed silently again to Jesus to help me find the words. And He gave them to me. But before I could speak, Emma, seeming to read my mind, smiled softly and shook her head.

"And no, that garbage about 'God moves in mysterious ways' won't cut it either. Don't you think it's incredibly convenient that Christians have no problem giving credit to God for the good stuff, but anything bad that happens is just pushed into the too-hard basket? And you've got to admit, it's strangely self-serving to believe that the entire, majestic cosmos was made just to be wallpaper for a single species of primate on an insignificant planet on a spiral of a rather average galaxy, isn't it?"

As those questioning eyes gazed up at me, I realized she was right. And that night, I became an atheist. What a relief.

If you love cute, fluffy, white bunnies and little girls with big blue eyes, and really hate drunk drivers, please pass this email on. Jesus wants you to.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Blog Updates 13/10.

Newly Added Blogs

LonerGrrl
Anti-Pornography Activist
Daily Dose of Imagery
Javajive - Photography from Indonesia
3 a.m. from Kyoto
Spice of Life
Newly Added Sites

The Feminist E-Zine
Free Sewing Book

Of Interest

In June, I wrote about my city flooding - not something that ever happens here, and a shock to everyone. According to Environmental Defense in America, global warming will cause more and more flooding. The Spicy Cauldron eloquently discusses the same issue. Will we ever listen??

Trying to reduce your plastic carrier bag usage? Well, don't shop at Primark! Refusing a carrier bag just isn't allowed for security reasons. Ridiculous! Complain, quick!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Women and Pensions (UK)

Because women often need to take breaks from our careers, to have children or because of caring responsibilities, it's quite common for us to lose out on a state pension due to lack of National Insurance contributions.

So, as a service to the women of Britain aged over 60, I'm sharing this article from the fab Money Saving Expert site.

Are you a woman over 60 who doesn't get a state pension?
Are you a woman over 60 who doesn’t get a state pension? Get £1000s back
What's this about?

A parliamentary question by a Lib Dem MP has shown that many women in their 60s are unnecessarily missing out on the state pension. To get a pension you need to have paid national insurance for 10 years of your working life; around 750,000 women are believed to be very near, but just under, this threshold.

By offering to pay a few £100, if you're near the threshold you can start to get the basic pension of £87 a week, and get a backdated payout from your 60th birthday, which is likely to be £1000s.

The reason I write 'offering' is actually you won't need to pay them money - it can just be taken from your payout. E.g you need to pay £340 of National Insurance to get your entitlement; and then you're owed £2000 back pay. The £340 then just comes out of the back pay.

Who's affected?

Women most likely to be affected are those that have paid some national insurance contributions but may have taken a break to have children, and not quite met the 10 year contribution quota to get a pension. But if you're a woman over 60 and aren't withdrawing a state pension, check now.

How to check

The quickest way to check is to call the National Insurance Deficiency Helpline on 0845 915 5996.

Explain your situation and ask how far off the required national insurance contributions you are to get a pension. You won't actually need to part with any money; the top-up contributions will simply be deducted from the backdated pension you are owed.

What you need to find out is

A. How much more national insurance must I pay to get a pension?
B. How much will the pension be each week?
C. How much will I get backdated?

Assuming the benefit of B and C outweigh A.... go for it!

Will I lose benefits elsewhere if I draw a pension?

Drawing a pension may affect other means-tested benefits, but this differs case by case. The best thing to do is follow the steps above to check whether you may be eligible and if it's worth it.

Also if you are married, have a husband more than 5 years older than you and are drawing a pension on his contributions you're unlikely to benefit.

More information

This was first reported on BBC Radio 4 by the Moneybox team... if you're looking at this it's well worth reading the article and listening to the audio.


Read the BBC article: Pension Boost For Older Women
Listen to Radio 4: MoneyBox Item on this pension boost

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Snippets

Great news, via the Indie and the f-word, Major airline refuses to help with forcible removal of immigrants.
By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
Published: 08 October 2007

An important part of the Government's immigration policy has suffered a serious blow after a leading airline announced it would no longer carry failed asylum-seekers who were being forcibly removed from the United Kingdom.

XL Airways, which has a fleet of 24 aircraft, said it was opposed to the policy because it had "sympathy for all dispossessed people in the world".

Last week, The Independent revealed that hundreds of failed asylum-seekers have claimed they have suffered physical and racial abuse during the removal process at the hands of private security guards.

The Government relies on airlines using chartered and scheduled aircraft to deport asylum-seekers who have failed to win a right to remain in the UK.

In an email to a campaign group which supports failed asylum seekers, XL said its chief executive had told the Government it had not "fully understood" the political dimensions of these flights. In February, one of its aircraft was used to deport 40 failed asylum-seekers to the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of the Government's "operation castor".

Now it has emerged that the airline has written to the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns confirming its decision to pull out of any further flights. The XL email, sent on 12 September, said: "We had a contract with the Government along with other carriers, for a range of flying. Under this contract we operated one flight in February to DR Congo as part of this contract, without full understanding of the political dimensions involved.

"Our chief executive [Phillip Wyatt] had made it quite clear to all concerned that we will not be operating any further flights of this nature ... We are not neutral on the issue and have sympathy for all dispossessed persons in the world, hence our stance."

A spokesman for the airline told The Independent the Government had been informed of its decision. Other airlines are now expected to make their own objections public.

It is not known how many airlines have contracted to carry failed asylum-seekers but it is estimated that the Government pays out several million pounds each year. Emma Ginn, of the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, said last night: "It's time airlines rethink what they are doing. Shareholders and customers will be horrified by the reality of what happens to deportees taken for these flights."

The Borders and Immigration Agency, the government body that has responsibility for forced removals, has refused to disclose details, requested under the Freedom of Information Act, about deportation flights. The agency said: "If we were to disclose the information you have requested, this would prejudice the number of airlines willing to contract with the agency on charter operations and could drive up the cost of such operations. In addition, the release of information could damage commercially those airlines who offer this service."

British Airways and Virgin, who were contacted by The Independent, said their aircraft had been used for the purposes of escorted deportations as they were under a legal obligation to return failed asylum-seekers. A Virgin spokesperson said: "That is a matter for the Home Office, who makes immigration policy. We are simply not qualified to make those decisions."

British Airways refused to say how many removals it carried out each year, but said it adopted a policy of permitting one escorted or two unescorted removals per flight : "It is UK law and we comply with it – it's like asking whether we are happy paying income tax."

But a Home Office spokesman said the Borders and Immigration Agency only contracted with airlines willing to operate removal flights. He added: "The agency uses agents/brokers to arrange both charter and scheduled removals. Airline captains have the right to refuse carriage of a passenger





Helen Mirren is Impossibly Beautiful. But she looks so much better without!

Be proud to make a difference - Subvert an Army Ad

Market Forces, Many men consider buying sex as just another form of shopping, but their attitude is fuelling the trafficking of women to work in the trade
from The Guardian.

Let the Brailleway take the strain - very funny article about Braille signs in train toilets from BBC Ouch.

Coolest search results on the hippie blog referrer list:
average penis size - ringsurf

self inflicted supermarket injuries

old hairy women smokers

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dreams and What They Mean.

A few nights ago I dreamt that I bought a pack of 3 rolls of sellotape. I needed to sellotape up an envelope so I got one roll out and cut off a long piece. It was only when I stuck it to the envelope that I realised that the tape was made up of a long row of photos of Tony Blair.

I looked at the second roll, to find that that was made up of photos of Cherie Booth. I decided this was preferable and so cut some off to cover up the Bliar pics, which I would be too embarrassed to put anywhere!

I didn't look at the third roll.

My questions to you:
1) Whose photos were covering the third roll of sellotape?
2) What the hell was the whole thing about anyway?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Burma Solidarity Demo in Sheffield this Monday.

Dear Friends,

I'm sure all of you will be aware of what's happening
at the moment in Burma. You might also be aware that
Sheffield has the most Karen (ethnic minority from
Burma) refugees of any town in the UK.

The Karen community have organised a solidarity demo
this Monday 1st October, meeting at 4:30 outside the
town Hall / Peace Gardens.

These are incredibly exciting times, the closest the
grassroots Burmese have come to overthrowing the
military junta in 20 years. Every day they're risking
their lives to challenge a brutal regime. It would be
nice to let them know that people in other countries
support what they're doing.

If any of you can come, please do so.

Hope to see you there,

Hugh.


https://lists.aktivix.org/mailman/listinfo/sheffield-noborders

Burmese More Isolated.

Internet access and mobile phone networks in Burma have been disrupted, to prevent the dissemination of information about the uprising. Soldiers are searching people for mobile phones and cameras.

We need to follow and support all the information we can find from the people in this situation.

Accounts from Inside Burma

Photos from Inside Burma

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Free Burma


Free Burma, originally uploaded by incurable_hippie.

Burma



There are amazing people in Burma risking their lives to take, and spread, word, photographs and film of what is really happening there at the moment.

Two of these people are gmhembree and NaingKo on flickr.

Looking at these photos, direct from the people witnessing these events is powerful, and brings to mind the huge risks being taken for truth and democracy.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Evans

I saw a TV ad for Evans earlier, and none of the models could have been more than a size 14, I'm sure. Given that this is a clothes shop for women of sizes 16 upwards, going up to size 28 or 30 I think, that is crap!

I wasn't represented. It didn't make me want to shop there because they have clothes for bigger women.

It made me feel like 'there's yet another shop who designs their clothes for thin people' when they are the only high street shop who supposedly don't!

Who are they supposed to be selling to? Big women? Why not use them in their bloody ads then?

Grrr.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

How to Lose on Ebay...

From an email from a lovely person who doesn't have a blog I can link to...

You may have seen this in the paper (or elsewhere)
This guy listed it, with a spelling mistake in the subject line.




This guy bought it and re-listed it *without* the spelling mistake...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Post Secret favourite of the week.



Sorry I've been so quiet lately. I had a short holiday, I'm busy creating my first zine, and I'm not feeling very vocal in general.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Virtual Violence. Real Threats.

Do men feel threatened by radical feminists? By women getting together and talking, taking action, analysing and getting angry? By women making connections and vowing to be pro-women and anti-rape?

Or are these men just having some kind of fucked-up fun by threatening and hurting women and disrupting their lives?

Or are they both the same thing?

The Way Men Hate Us

Blogging While Female. Warning may trigger.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Misheard

on tonight's PM.

What they said:
Gloucester councillor, Julie Gurring

What I heard:
Gloucester council are duly grrr-ing.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Last night I heard

"Breaking news, Tony Blair is not going to be charged with..."

and I was devastated. How could they have ruled out war crimes charges so early on? When there is clearly so much we will not know for a long time. You can't rule it out already.

"...any offences over the Cash for Peerages row"

and I was actually relieved! Not that he's got away with anything over Cash for Peerages, but that maybe, just maybe, one day he and Dubya will share a grotty cell for many, many years.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

So, Tony Blair is gone.

I was rather joyous at that, but somebody else clearly wasn't...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bastard of the Day

Phone rape sadist is jailed

A sadistic sex monster from Wigan who sexually assaulted and tortured a woman with a hot iron while filming it on his mobile has been jailed indefinitely.
Matthew John Oldham, 33, must serve at least five years behind bars for his vicious crimes.
He was convicted of wounding with intent and sexual assault following an eight-day trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

On April 19 2006, Oldham met his victim at the Mountain Ash pub, Portway, Wythenshawe. Oldham and the woman, who was 29 at the time, were standing at the back of the pub waiting for a lift to a friend's house when they began to argue.

Oldham then punched and kicked the woman, knocking her to the floor. Once she was on the floor, Oldham began to bite her left eye, leaving her in agony.

The pair were then given a lift to a flat on Kermishaw Nook, Astley, which belonged to another friend where they immediately began to argue again. The court heard that this time Oldham plugged a nearby iron into the mains, saying he was going to burn her.

He then ordered her to strip naked and told her to sit on the floor, which the woman did out of fear. Oldham then picked up the iron and burned the woman's genitals and inner thigh. He then urinated on her, before assaulting her with a sex toy.

During the attack Oldham was also taking photographs of his victim with his mobile phone and continued to punch and kick her.

Over the next few nights Oldham, who used to live in Astley but now has no home address, did not let the victim out of his sight, would not allow her to leave alone and always accompanied her.

On the following Tuesday, Oldham got up early in the morning and left the flat, taking all his belongings. Later that day the victim called an ambulance and she was taken to Hope Hospital.

In August 2006, police were told that Oldham was in hospital in Hull after receiving injuries unconnected to this case. He was then arrested, but denied all allegations.

Det Cons Jackie Hulme, of Leigh CID, said: "This was a sadistic attack which was also extremely degrading and humiliating for the victim.

"Not only did he savagely assault her, but he kept her a virtual prisoner for a number of days. This could only have added to her ordeal.

"I can only applaud the bravery of the victim because it is largely due to her evidence that this extremely dangerous man is now off the streets."

Smokers Welcome!

So, we can no longer smoke in pubs, cafes, *phone boxes* (?!), and numerous other places.

If you want to know those places where we *can* still smoke, check this rather handy site out: www.smokerswelcome.co.uk.

That's my tip of the day.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Blair Charge Sheet

BLAIR CHARGE SHEET from SchNEWS

Name of accused: BLAIR, ANTHONY CHARLES LYNTON
D.O.B: 06/05/1953
Address: 10 Downing St, London N.F.A
Occupation: Professional Liar
Religion: Church Of England Catholic
Ethnic Grouping: X1 Lizard

The above named person is hereby charged with the following offence/s:

DATE OF OFFENCE/S: From 2nd May 1997 to 26th June 2007

MURDER: On MARCH 21st 2003 You did conspire with others to murder civilians of Iraq contrary to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

KIDNAPPING: From September 11th 2001 you participated in a scheme of abduction and torture known as 'extraordinary rendition' contrary to Common Law.

TERRORISM: (i) It is charged that you were an active member of proscribed terrorist group, namely THE COALITION (ii) that you created fear or 'terror' for ideological goals, attempting to force political change with violence, or the threat of violence, and deliberately targetting non-combatants, contrary to the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2000.

FALSE IMPRISONMENT: You knowingly oversaw the construction of 30,000 new prison places and six new detention facilities for refugees, contravening Section 5 of the The Human Rights Act 1998.

CHILD ABUSE: You are charged with incarcerating 3000 children in prison contrary to Section 5 (iv) of the Guardianship of Minors Act 1971.

FRAUD: You are charged that you willfully and knowingly led the country to war on false representation with malice of forethought contrary to Section 2(ii) of the Fraud Act 2006.

THEFT/ATTEMPTED THEFT: Namely that you introduced laws which robbed U.K citizens of basic civil liberties. Furthermore you conspired to introduce a National Identity Register with the intent to permanently deprive all U.K residents of the last shreds of their privacy contrary to Section 2(iii) of the Theft Act 1968.

DAYLIGHT ROBBERY: Namely that you orchestrated the sale of the last remaining public industries contrary to Section 1(i) of the Theft Act 1968.

CONSPIRING TO PERVERT THE COURSE OF JUSTICE: Namely that you intervened in the investigation of the British Aerospace-Saudi Arabia arms deal to enable the destruction of evidence.

CRIMINAL DAMAGE: You authorised the use of incendiary devices (i.e. white phosphorus), in Fallujah, Iraq, contrary to the Criminal Damage Act 1971.

ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR: In July 1997 you killed Brit-Pop by schmoozing with Noel Gallagher at Downing Street, contrary to Section 4 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.

BAIL CONDITIONS
The defendant is required to immediately surrender
himself to the custody of the SchNEWS Kangaroo Court.

............................
Signature of Proscecuting Custody Officer
Jo Makepeace

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sheffield Floods


I'm ok. I'm dry, I have electricity (at the moment) and a mobile phone signal (sometimes), and I live on top of a hill.

Many weren't so lucky. RAF Rescue helicopters came from Scotland (a long way away, for non-Brits) and Suffolk (also a long way away) and were lifting people from buildings. Many roads became fast-flowing rivers and two people died. Z has had no power for over 24 hours, C lives in a building which had 3 feet of water outside, trapping her and others in. People in a housing estate in Middlewood have been evacuated and their homes are completely wrecked.

We are under an Environment Agency 'Severe Flood Warning' and homes up the hill from me had no power, while my local supermarket had to keep staff and customers overnight as noone could get in or out of the flooded carpark.

'They' are waiting for a dam to burst between Sheffield and Rotherham, and have closed the motorway because if it does burst, it would not only flood the motorway but would clash with 270,000 volts of electricity in the form of pylons. A million litres of water an hour are being pumped out of the reservoir by firefighters.



More rain is expected tomorrow - who knows what will happen. It's all anyone can talk about.

BBC Pictures of South Yorkshire floods here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

BBC Britain in Pictures

The following of my photos are on the BBC Britain in Pictures website. How excited am I?! (I can't view that page with firefox btw).



Park Hill flats, Sheffield.
100_0052

100_0053

100_0398

Jessop Hospital for Women, Sheffield
100_0312

Claywood Flats, Sheffield - Demolition by Nibbler
100_0077

Weston Park Museum, Sheffield
DSC_0384

Passing Traffic

Firth Court, University of Sheffield
Firth Court (submitted)

Sheffield Town Hall
DSC_1121

Winter Gardens, Sheffield
DSC_1164_edited-1


Also on PhilippaPhotography blog.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gosh, it's been a while. I've been to two weddings, the pigeons have progressed hugely, and can now fly! Briefly...

And today I ventured out to do some charity shopping and everyone was talking about a car randomly exploding in the street. However, that didn't prepare me... it was a shocking sight. Thankfully noone was in it.



It was on Ecclesall Road, for any Sheffielders wondering...

The main charity shop excitement was that I bought a barometer. I have wanted one for years and only once saw one on sale, also in a charity shop, which I have always bitterly regretted not buying. I was extra pleased that this one was only £2.50. It made me daftly happy!

There is so much to update, and so little energy to do it. I'll get there.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals...

Thanks to Positive Atheism, I can bring you this pile of shite touching homage to the recently deceased Jerry Falwell.

If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell (attributed: source unknown)

This is probably as bad a day as the court has had on social issues since "Roe v Wade."
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, reacting to the Supreme Court's ruling in the Texas sodomy case, "Lawrence v. Texas," wherein the high court upheld an individual's (or a couple's) right to privacy; "It is a promise of the Constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty which the government may not enter," said Justice Anthony M Kennedy, for the majority in an opinion "as broad in its constitutional vision as any ever issued by the court," wrote Charles Lane for The Washington Post; in his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia, an extremist Evangelical Christian, complained that the justices voting to uphold the right to privacy were creating a new constitutional right, that they were not upholding the Constitution, quoted from "Planned Parenthood Federal Action Report" (July, 2003) ††

I had a student ask me, "Could the savior you believe in save Osama bin Laden?" Of course, we know the blood of Jesus Christ can save him, and then he must be executed.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, cited in Cary McMullen, "Falwell: Now Is the Time for Gospel," in the Lakeland (Florida) Ledger (November 12, 2001), quoted from Randy Cassingham, This is True (18 November 2001). Falwell added: "We visit prisoners on death row, and some of them are saved, but we believe their sentences should be carried out because they have a debt to society."

God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, blaming civil libertarians, feminists, homosexuals, and abortion rights supporters for the terrorist attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, to which Rev Pat Robertson agreed, quoted from John F Harris, "God Gave US 'What We Deserve,' Falwell Says," The Washington Post (September 14, 2001)

The ACLU's got to take a lot of blame for this.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, blaming civil libertarians for the terrorist attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, to which Rev Pat Robertson again agreed, quoted from AANEWS #958 by American Atheists (September 14, 2001)

And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, "You helped this happen."
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, blaming civil libertarians, feminists, homosexuals, and abortion rights supporters for the terrorist attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, quoted from John F Harris, "God Gave US 'What We Deserve,' Falwell Says," The Washington Post (September 14, 2001)

I sincerely believe that the collective efforts of many secularists during the past generation, resulting in the expulsion from our schools and from the public square, has left us vulnerable.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, after the 700 Club broadcast wherein he had blamed civil libertarians, feminists, homosexuals, and abortion rights supporters for the terrorist attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, speaking to The New York Times, quoted from Dick Meyer, "Holy Smoke," CBS News (September 15, 2001)

I put all the blame legally and morally on the actions of the terrorist, [but America's] secular and anti-Christian environment left us open to our Lord's [decision] not to protect. When a nation deserts God and expels God from the culture ... the result is not good.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, backpedaling amidst criticism of his statement blaming civil libertarians, feminists, homosexuals, and abortion rights supporters for the terrorist attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, quoted from John F Harris, "God Gave US 'What We Deserve,' Falwell Says," The Washington Post (September 14, 2001)

Pat, did you notice yesterday the ACLU, and all the Christ-haters, People For the American Way, NOW, etc. were totally disregarded by the Democrats and the Republicans in both houses of Congress as they went out on the steps and called out on to God in prayer and sang "God Bless America" and said "let the ACLU be hanged"? In other words, when the nation is on its knees, the only normal and natural and spiritual thing to do is what we ought to be doing all the time -- calling upon God.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, justifying the breech of Constitutional Separation of Religion from Government while blaming civil libertarians for the terrorist attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, to which Rev Pat Robertson again agreed, quoted from AANEWS #958 by American Atheists (September 14, 2001)

I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, America Can Be Saved, 1979 pp. 52-53, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.
-- Jerry Falwell (attributed: source unknown)

The idea that religion and politics don't mix was invented by the Devil to keep Christians from running their own country.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, Sermon, July 4, 1976

If we are going to save America and evangelize the world, we cannot accommodate secular philosophies that are diametrically opposed to Christian truth ... We need to pull out all the stops to recruit and train 25 million Americans to become informed pro-moral activists whose voices can be heard in the halls of Congress.
I am convinced that America can be turned around if we will all get serious about the Master's business. It may be late, but it is never too late to do what is right. We need an old-fashioned, God-honoring, Christ-exalting revival to turn American back to God. America can be saved!

-- Jerry Falwell, "Moral Majority Report" for September, 1984

It appears that America's anti-Biblical feminist movement is at last dying, thank God, and is possibly being replaced by a Christ-centered men's movement which may become the foundation for a desperately needed national spiritual awakening.
-- Jerry Falwell (attributed: source unknown)

There is no separation of church and state. Modern US Supreme Courts have raped the Constitution and raped the Christian faith and raped the churches by misinterpreting what the Founders had in mind in the First Amendment to the Constitution.
-- Jerry Falwell (attributed: source unknown)

The Bible is the inerrant ... word of the living God. It is absolutely infallible,without error in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as well as in areas such as geography, science, history, etc.
-- Jerry Falwell, Finding Inner Peace and Strength

But these things speak evil of those things, verse 10 [reading from Jude] which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Look at the Metropolitan Community Church today, the gay church, almost accepted into the World Council of Churches. Almost, the vote was against them. But they will try again and again until they get in, and the tragedy is that they would get one vote. Because they are spoken of here in Jude as being brute beasts, that is going to the baser lust of the flesh to live immorally, and so Jude describes this as apostasy. But thank God this vile and satanic system will one day be utterly annihilated and there'll be a celebration in heaven.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, "Old Time Gospel Hour" broadcast, March 11, 1984, quoted by Rev Jerry Sloan, "Is Jerry Falwell a liar?" Freedom Writer, September, 1994

The Jews are returning to their land of unbelief. They are spiritually blind and desperately in need of their Messiah and Savior.
-- Jerry Falwell, Listen, America!

Grown men should not be having sex with prostitutes unless they are married to them.
-- Jerry Falwell, on CNN's Crossfire, May 17, 1997

I do not believe the homosexual community deserves minority status. One's misbehavior does not qualify him or her for minority status. Blacks, Hispanics, women, etc., are God-ordained minorities who do indeed deserve minority status.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, USA Today Chat, quoted from The Religious Freedom Coalition, "The Two faces of Jerry Falwell"

Dan Moldea, the lead investigator for Larry Flynt's ongoing quest to uncover sexual indiscretions of Republican congressional members, has now admitted he was hired by the law firm defending President Clinton.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, from "The Bizarre Flynt-Clinton Connection," in the January 15, 1999, "Falwell Confidential" fax report to 162,000 members, referring to the firm Williams & Connolly. Dan Moldea responded, "This entire statement is false and misleading, reckless and malicious. It is a complete fabrication." However, the San Diego Union-Tribune picked up the fabrication and ran it as fact. Quoted from The Religious Freedom Coalition, "The Two faces of Jerry Falwell."

Jerry FalwellWe're fighting against humanism, we're fighting against liberalism ... we are fighting against all the systems of Satan that are destroying our nation today ... our battle is with Satan himself.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell (attributed: source unknown)

Billy Graham is the chief servant of Satan.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell (attributed: source unknown)

The ACLU is to Christians what the American Nazi party is to Jews.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell (attributed: source unknown)

AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharoah's chariotters.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell (attributed: source unknown)

You'll be riding along in an automobile. You'll be the driver perhaps. You're a Christian. There'll be several people in the automobile with you, maybe someone who is not a Christian. When the trumpet sounds you and the other born-again believers in that automobile will be instantly caught away -- you will disappear, leaving behind only your clothes and physical things that cannot inherit eternal life. That unsaved person or persons in the automobile will suddenly be startled to find the car suddenly somewhere crashes.... Other cars on the highway driven by believers will suddenly be out of control and stark pandemonium will occur on ... every highway in the world where Christians are caught away from the drivers wheel.
-- Rev Jerry Falwell, in his pamphlet, "Nuclear War and the Second Coming of Christ," quoted from Ronnie Dugger,"Does Reagan Expect a Nuclear Armageddon?" in Washington Post Outlook (April 8, 1984)

Friday, May 18, 2007

IDAHOmophobia

Yesterday I went to the Sheffield event for the International Day Against Homophobia - IDAHO. There were speakers, a one-minute noise, and an LGB choir. It was good actually, with a reasonable turnout.

The speakers consisted of Jan Wilson, leader of Sheffield Council; Steve Slack, Director of the Centre for HIV and Sexual Health; Paul Broadbent, Assistant Chief Constable, South Yorkshire Police; Clive Skelton, Liberal Democrat Councillor; Alan Jones, Chair of the Area Child Protection Committee; Jackie Drayton, the former Lord Mayor of Sheffield; Graham Jones, Amnesty International; and the fantastically fabulous Claire Donnelly, of the Sheffield City Council LGBT Council Officer Group.

My photographs of the demo are available to view here, and the Sheffield Star's report on it is here.

Now, we just need to end homophobia! Let's all get on the case.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Eurovision and Pigeon-vision.

So, it's that single night of the year when Terry Wogan is actually funny. I usually get really annoyed at the point of the results when I can't remember which act was which, so for the first time, this year I actually made notes... Tragic, I know.



I suspect I am the only person in Europe to have actually liked the French entry...

In terms of pigeons, they are getting notably bigger, and the feathers are beginning to look like proper feathers. Enjoy!

Day 7:
100_3852

Day 8:
100_3860

Day 9:


Day 10:
2007 05 11 pigeonsday10 008

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Amazon Continues to Promote Normalisation of Sexual Violence.

Mr Nongkynrih,

I find it difficult to believe that you 'value the feedback of your customers', as you state, when you are clearly hiding from the obvious truth that you are offending and upsetting many, many people by stocking this 'toy'. You are doing the wrong thing.

And stating that you require a parent's consent for a child to shop at your store hardly makes everything ok. I find it offensive and disturbing that a Rapist doll is being sold at all, I am as concerned by adults buying this product as well as children.

In a society where one in four women have been raped, or have experienced attempted rape, your profiting from selling a RAPIST TOY is disgusting.

Have you no ethics or conscience about promoting sexual violence and its normalisation in society?

Having dolls called 'Rapist Number 1' on sale is distasteful, immoral, offensive, unethical and irresponsible. Your company is trivialising rape, and this is unforgiveable.

I again demand that you withdraw this item from sale immediately.

hippie

Thank you for writing to Amazon.co.uk with your concerns.

I am sorry to hear that you are upset by this item's "Rapist Number
1 from Planet Terror" inclusion in our Toys & Games store on
Amazon.co.uk.

Our goal as a retailer is to provide customers with the broadest
selection possible so they can find, discover and buy any item they
might be seeking. Such a broad selection will inevitably include
some items which some people may find distasteful or otherwise
objectionable.

As stated in Amazon.co.uk's Conditions of Use, as posted on their
website (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html/202-
2896130-4273436?ie=UTF8&nodeId=1040616), "If you are under 18, you
may use Amazon.com only with involvement of a parent or guardian."
We expect the customers shopping on our site to be adults who may
make their own decisions about which products they choose to browse
or purchase.

However, I have passed your comments along to the appropriate
department in our company for consideration. We value all feedback
from our customers, and I thank you again for taking the time to
send us your comments about this issue.

If you have any other suggestions for us or would like to make a
comment at another time, please don't hesitate to send us an
e-mail. To do this, please visit our Help Desk at the following URL:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/contact-us

Thanks you so much for contacting us at Amazon.co.uk.

Warmest regards

Aaron Nongkynrih
Customer Service
Amazon.co.uk


see post Rapist for Sale for background information.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Pigeon Progress.

The squabs are growing at quite a rapid rate. They are also getting more spiky grey hairs (beginnings of their feathers, I think) and the yellow hairy stuff is reducing.

Intriguing process!!

Day 4:
100_3764

Day5:
100_3809

Day 6:
100_3845


See: Pigeon Progress set on flickr.

Now, when's the snooker back on?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Rapist For Sale.

Oh - where is your sense of humour - it's only a toy!

Amazon is selling a rapist.


Rapist Number One is a character from Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse. The toy demonstrates the extent to which rape is taken seriously in our society. Sexual violence is a subject of play and entertainment. Amazon is obviously on the quest for rape-profits through this surrender to male porn culture. No doubt they will accrue much male approval, particularly from the little tikes who want to play at rape with their Barbies on the lounge carpet, giving them the enormous relief of being to act out in play, the vulgar and brutal little fantasies that roam around their peanut-sized brains.

Of course the arguments will be that it is just a toy and that even graphical depictions of rape and violence do not lead to actual violence. We don't accept the premise of such 'WeirdWorld' justifications because EVEN if that were true, it still ignores the fact that rape and sexual violence are being used as something to enjoy. Their arguments do not acknowledge the pure weirdness of someone who wants to think about rape and contempt of women as a way of enjoying themselves - HELLO, WAKE UP, THIS IS WRONG WRONG WRONG.

Living in a world filled with images and products which are all aimed at the titillation of the lowest, most base, males in society tends to grind us all down. Toys like 'Rapist Number One' operate below the level of language and act to normalise the sexual domination of women. Come on Amazon, you really don't need the profits from this rape-doll, so do humanity a favour and stop selling it.

"Grindhouse - designed as a tribute to the ultra-violent B-movie programmes of old - the trend officially reaches the mainstream. Made up of two films plus a clutch of trailers for non-existent movies, Grindhouse bombed when it was released in the US last month. American audiences were said to have been put off by the three-hour running time, and last week it was announced that Grindhouse will be released in a different format in the UK, the two films sold as separate features. Whether either film is any good is still up for debate - I, for one, found them both suicidally boring. What isn't in question is the disturbing attitude towards women in these films". (See full article The Guardian, 1st May 2007)

from Truth About Rape.


Contact Amazon.co.uk here. Now.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Pigeon Chicks Day 2.


100_3755, originally uploaded by incurable_hippie.

People keep telling me they're cute...

I still think they're really ugly. I do, however, wish them no harm and am quite interested to witness their growing-up progress.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Pigeon Chicks.



Baby pigeons are really, really ugly.

And there are two on my balcony.

The eggs were small and white and perfect, and I was kinda hoping for cute little things. But no. REALLY ugly.

Ah well, you live and learn.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Blog Against Disablism Day 2007.

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2007

This post is mainly a republishing of an earlier post, to mark Blogging Against Disablism Day. Unfortunately, things haven't changed since February 2006 when I posted it originally, and some areas seem to be getting worse.

I wish this post could be celebrating the reduction in disablism when it comes to mental health treatment, stigma and support, but with the Incapacity Benefit fiasco, and mental health care services being slashed (no pun intended, maybe) this government's so called 'priority' of mental health care is clearly either a huge lie, or they have really fuckin weird ways of prioritising things.



Self-Harm and Medical Treatment
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), in 2004 issued some guidelines on

The short-term physical and psychological management and secondary prevention of self-harm in primary and secondary care


These include instructions such as,

People who have self-harmed should be treated with the
same care, respect and privacy as any patient. In addition,
healthcare professionals should take full account of the
likely distress associated with self-harm.
[...]

If a person who has self-harmed has to wait for treatment,
he or she should be offered an environment that is safe,
supportive and minimises any distress. For many patients,
this may be a separate, quiet room with supervision and
regular contact with a named member of staff to ensure
safety.
[...]

Always treat people with care and respect.
[...]

Take full account of the likely distress associated with
self-harm.

Offer the choice of male or female staff for assessment and
treatment. If it is not possible to give people a choice, explain
why and write it in their notes.

Always ask the service user to explain in their own words why
they have self-harmed. Remember, when people
self-harm often, the reason for each act may be different on
each occasion; don’t assume it’s done for the same reasons.

Involve the service user in clinical decision-making and provide
information about treatment options.
[...]

Always offer necessary physical treatments even if the person
doesn’t want psychosocial or psychiatric assessment.

Always use proper anaesthesia and/or analgesia if treatment
for self-injury is painful.

Offer sedation if treatment may evoke distressing memories
of previous sexual abuse, such as when repairing harm to the
genital area.
[...]
• Don’t delay treatment because it is self-inflicted.


There is an awful lot of info in the report, but some of the pertinent points I have listed above.

I have heard endless stories of people in A&E being refused stitches to a self-injury cut, on the basis that 'You've got so many scars already, one more won't make a difference', or 'There's no point - you'll only do it again'. Similarly with people who have been refused anaesthetic before being stitched or having other painful treatments.

These situations appall me. People who have caused their own injuries deserve just as good (physical and psychological) care as those whose injuries were accidental or caused by others. People do not self-harm for no reason - it almost always occurs within a context of intense distress and desperation, and can frequently prevent the person from further harm (for example, suicide attempts) by releasing some of the pressure before it boils over.

People who need treatment for self-harm injuries are likely to be feeling dreadful, full of their own inner guilt for needing treatment, and very possibly feeling quite vulnerable. They do not need doctors or nurses or ambulance staff to reinforce their own feelings of self-hatred or to imply that they are wasting people's time.

I cannot talk for everyone who self-harms, and I also do not want to downplay the incredible sensitive and appropriate treatment offered by many medical staff. There are people who self-harm who won't relate at all to what I say, and there are doctors, nurses and ambulance staff who do brilliant work. There's no doubt about that.

However some people are treated appallingly, and this only leads to the person who has self-harmed to feel even worse about themselves, and further self-harm feels more appealing because they have had all their worst fears and feelings confirmed.

So, where am I going with this?

Well, there are cases of blatantly bad treatment (being refused stitches when they are needed, not using local anaesthetic where it normally would be used, derogatory comments by staff etc.), and these are easy to criticise. But there are also many, many occasions when someone who has self-harmed gets bad-mediocre treatment, but it is hard to know what the motivation behind the not-really-caring is.

I needed treatment the last couple of weeks for a burn. I went to a GP, who asked the Practice Nurse to dress it. The nurse's treatment was, well, lukewarm to say the least. She dressed the burn very badly - using inadequate dressings and suggested no follow-up at all. I needed to go back 2 days later because of the state of the dressing and the injury and although she dressed the injury better than the first time, it was still very careless, unnecessarily painful and there was no plan for follow-up again.

I came out of both of these encounters very upset, especially the second one. I was spinning between 'I deserve better treatment than this' and 'Why on earth should I expect decent treatment? It's my own stupid fault anyway'. On top of that, I really didn't know whether the nurse didn't treat me well because my injury was self-inflicted, or whether she was actually just quite incompetent and not very interested in general.

I still don't know the answer to that, but the following week I saw a different nurse at the practice, who dealt with my injury competently, and was actually nice to me. It made a huge difference to how I felt when I left the surgery. I didn't feel full of self-hatred, full of self-loathing, full of self-directed anger.

I have that age-old double standard. I believe, without a doubt, that people who have self-harmed deserve and require treatment which is as good as people who have injuries which were accidental or caused by someone else. However, when it's *me*, I of course don't deserve a single nice word or a dressing which actually deals adequately with the wound. I am stupid and a waste of time, though noone else is!

I really don't know if I got sub-standard treatment because the nurse wasn't up to speed on burn dressings, or on 'bedside' manner, or whether it was because she didn't want to deal with a self-inflicted injury, or didn't think it deserved time and treatment, or indeed deal with someone who could self-injure.

All I know is that I came out of the appointment with the second nurse feeling much more positive and capable and listened to. I'm no expert on dressings, but even I knew that the first two were inadequate. I came out of those appointments feeling disgusting and loathsome.

I do believe that in terms of avoiding future self-harm, feeling positive and capable and listened to is certainly a better place to start!




Some other relevant past posts:
Blogging Against Disablism 2006
Who Are The Mad Ones?
Information Release: Sheffield Welfare Action Network
The Difference Between Self-Harm and Suicide
Self Injury Awareness Day
Amitryptyline
National Inquiry into Self-Harm Report
Trial and Error
Time For More Health Awareness
Psycho Babble or Psychic Healing?
Alcohol, Coke and Oil
Volunteering Lunch Expenses Campaign
Lunatic Enters Number 10
Things You Need To See
I'm Not Ok
Bastard
Quietness
and plenty more!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Funerals and Words.

Where's my banner gone?!

Z and I went to Helen's funeral this morning. It was pretty harrowing, and the minister talking of new hope in God, and of Helen's demons was really not, NOT, appropriate for me. I actually wanted to shout at him several times, but of course didn't.

It wasn't just him, of course, that made it awful. The fact that we were at the funeral of such a good friend was the worst thing. She was too young, too kind, too funny, too... And she's gone. There's nothing like a coffin to bring that home with a punch to the stomach.

A few cans of Stella, too many cigarettes and a film have helped me through the evening. I just want the day to end now really.

In other news, according to Gender Genie, my Le Pen blog entry is female, my entry about Helen is female, my entry about Charliegrrl and bullying is male, and my sexual violence is terrorism entry is male. My entry about the Park Hill murder is male, my letter to John O is male, Sheffield women, avoid this man! is female, and Visit from Auntie Flo was male (obviously! Complaining about his period pain!).

It's all about the words you use in your writing, and whether those words are more likely to be written by men or women. My results are clearly ambiguous, to say the least!

I think what this tells us is that their algorithm isn't quite up to scratch, that longer entries tend to be written by men, and that women aren't allowed to be angry. I'm so often angry! And I'm most certainly a woman.

Potentially interesting experiment there at gender genie, just a bit flawed in practice.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dieu Merci!

Le Pen came in fourth. There were worries he'd be in the top two, but Sarkozy got 30%, Segolene Royal 25%, and Le Pen dragging with 11.5%. While it is horrifying that 11% of French people voted for him (and on the news earlier this week, it was said that 8% of Muslims were going to vote for him! Argh!), it is very very good that he's nowhere near the top two who will be going to the next stage.

Incredibly high turnout too, which I hope was because people realised Le Pen might have a chance if they didn't turn out.

I do see that voting sometimes doesn't result in a hugely democratic process, but I do think that with evil bastards like him standing, sometimes it's vital to be tactical.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You Know It's Not Good When...

your GP gives you antibiotics for sinusitis, and the instructions say,
Take two on the first day, then OD.

Friday, April 13, 2007



One of my best friends has died. She was found on Monday and probably killed herself some time last week or at the weekend.

I am devastated and stunned. Don't know what to do with myself.

I found out on Wednesday, after much detective work by me and others, when we were really worried at not having been able to contact her for a while.

Rest in peace, Helen. I hope where you are now is better than where you were then.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Bullies Defending the Patriarchy.

Charliegrrl has been getting a lot of abuse online after voicing her opposition to a workshop at the upcoming Ladyfest Leeds, which is to be based around
criticising the recent legislation to criminalise the possession of extreme violent porn, and considering if this contributes towards women’s liberation or women’s repression..?


A thread at a pro-BDSM forum has been set up to 'encourage' people to respond to Charliegrrl's views and actions, and I read most of the posts on this thread. It's nothing new, it's nothing we haven't heard a million times before, and it made my eyes glaze over.

I *know* the pro-BDSM arguments and they are very loaded, and are packaged in a way to make it look really bad to oppose them. If you oppose them you are censoring people, or oppressing valid alternative sexualities, or anti-sex (that good old!), or anti-free will! There is also lots of talk about allowing women to choose to work in the empowering sex industry.

This informed consent message board thread also serves another purpose which is blatantly a personalised attack against Charliegrrl. In fact, in one of Verte's posts, she writes,
I have changed the title of the thread so it's the first item that comes up in google when you type 'charliegrrl'.


Charliegrrl has been widely criticised on these forums for 'censorship', in that she is refusing to allow pro-SM / pro-BDSM / pro-porn / anti-Charliegrrl comments to be published on her blog. Charliegrrl is more than entitled to choose what does and doesn't go on her website!

She is absolutely within her rights to keep her blog as a safe space for radical feminist women, and women survivors. Why should the pro-BDSM peeps be able to hijack her own safe space on the web with their arguments and criticisms of her, personally?

Charliegrrl is being blatantly bullied, singled out and humiliated in a way which is entirely unacceptable. I hate to see women doing this to women, yet I guess it fits the pattern, in some ways. If it's ok to hurt women if it turns them on, then is it ok just to hurt women? If it turns you on perhaps?

There are many arguments and statements on amazing feminist blogs, around this discussion. See my 'GRRRLS' section in my 'Blogs I Like' section to the right for some amazingly good feminist reading. I am not currently up for writing these arguments out myself, because I know what I'd say, I know what pro-porners would say in response, and I'm sick and tired of having the same discussions and rows, which lead nowhere and frustrate me intensely. My energy is needed elsewhere!

However, as a brilliant sum-up of a lot of the issues involved in BDSM sex, 'rape play', pornography, prostitution, lesbian S&M and abusive sex, I must send you on to read, How Orgasm Politics has Hijacked the Women's Movement" by Sheila Jeffreys.

Summary:
Just because it makes you have an orgasm, doesn't make it ok.
Think about *why* you might have an orgasm that way.
Put it in a political and gendered context. Think.

Go read it now.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sexual Violence is Terrorism.

Blog Against Sexual Violence logo

2 women a week are murdered in Britain by their male partner, or ex-partner. The most dangerous time for a woman who has experienced domestic violence is when she leaves, or tries to leave.

The police in Britain receive 500,000 calls a year from women who suffer domestic violence.

Domestic violence is the major cause of death for women under the age of 44 - more than cancer.

Women are assaulted an average of 35 times by their partner before calling the police, according to the Home Office.

On average, the police in Britain receive a call every minute of every day regarding domestic violence.

And what are we doing with this information? This is a national crisis! An international crisis indeed, because it's not like this doesn't happen outside the UK.

You want to talk about terrorism? THIS is terrorism. The terror that millions of women are facing in their homes, from men they live with who control and bully and batter and rape and kill them.

Being raped in your home by the man who will do it again the next night, and the next night, and the next night, along with being punched, kicked, scratched, abused and humiliated, is the situation for too, too many women. Think about it, the most conservative statistics state that 1 in 7 women experience domestic violence in their lives. One out of every SEVEN women forced to live with this. Why isn't there an outcry? Where are the banners, the protests, the emergency legislation, the national and international committees resolving to sort this problem by the end of the year?

Why is this not being taken as seriously as it needs to be? It couldn't be anything to do with the victims being women, could it?

Read those statistics at the start of the post again. And again. Until you have begun to really absorb them.

You might wish you hadn't, or that you could bury your head in the sand because the reality is terrifying. You might have nightmares. You might realise you can't pretend you don't hear what goes on in your neighbour's house any more. Or that ignoring those bruises on your sister's arms is no longer an option.

Or that you can't see a way out of your own situation. If that is the case, call 0808 2000 247, which is a 24 hour helpline from women's aid. They can actually help. If you're in Yorkshire, here is a list of organisations that can help.

Violence against women is terrorism, do all you can to make it stop.

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Blog against sexual violence day.