beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
Another congressional action alert for US peeps!

Guys, if you watch John Oliver you know just how screwed Puerto Rico is right now.


Short version: huge numbers of bizarre loopholes in US laws (since PR is a territory and not a state) let the PR government play fast and loose with finances and make some decisions with shitty long-term consequences that are now coming home to roost, with catastrophic consequences for PR, leaving them in HUGE debt.  Basic services like hospitals and schools are being closed left and right.  They need the ability to restructure their debt and get some breathing room for a long-term solution, and need Congressional approval to do it.

Guess what!  YOU TOO can call your congressional representative and urge them to let PR restructure itself!  Jubilee USA has a handy dandy little form that a) gives you your representatives phone number and b) gives you a script to read.

As always, directly calling or emailing your representative has a LOT more impact than signing a petition online.  Using the above form, it is SOOPER EASY.

beatrice_otter: Vader and Leia (Vader and Leia)
War and politics (20878 words) by Deputychairman
Fandom: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Rating: Explicit
Relationships: Poe Dameron/Finn
Characters: Leia Organa, Rey, Luke Skywalker, Hux (Star Wars), Phasma (Star Wars)
Additional Tags: Poe is very brave and would do anything for Leia, here comes the General, Poe Dameron hurts so pretty, Implied/Referenced Torture, Finn has a plan, Rey and Luke have the Force, Leia has everything else, General Hux is not a good person, Poe is a battlefield flirt, First Time
Summary: Poe turns big dark eyes on him and Finn feels something ache in his chest. “Tell me, Finn, how is that gonna look, buddy? You save my life, we take you in and then we throw you back when it suits us? I wouldn’t fight for a Resistance like that and neither would you.”

He wants to say, yes I would, but with Poe looking up at him the words die on his lips.


Reccing this because I love how in-character Leia and Luke both are.
beatrice_otter: All true wealth is biological (Wealth)
Title: The Princess in the Tower
Author: beatrice_otter
Fandom: Vorkosigan series
Characters: Yuri Vorbarra's Sister, Xav Vorbarra, Ezar Vorbarra, Piotr Vorkosigan
Written for: ExtraPenguin's prompt in the 2013 Bujold Ficathon.
Summary: Princess Nadezhda's civil war

On AO3

Nadya stared out the window, embroidery forgotten in her lap. )
beatrice_otter: Han and Leia--Kiss (Han and Leia)
The Slow Progression of Wanting (7658 words) by celeste9
Fandom: Star Wars - All Media Types, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Poe Dameron/Finn/Rey
Characters: Finn (Star Wars), Rey (Star Wars), Poe Dameron, Jessika Pava, BB-8, Temmin "Snap" Wexley
Additional Tags: Asexuality, Threesome - F/M/M, First Kiss, Romance, Asexual Character, Asexual Relationship, Cuddling & Snuggling, Fluff and Angst, Mutual Pining
Summary:

Everyone in the Resistance seems to assume that Finn wants either Rey or Poe, with the only question being which one. Though Finn slowly comes to realize that he does want them, he doesn't want them in the way that people seem to think he should. He thinks there must be something wrong with him. (asexual!Finn)

beatrice_otter: Sam Carter against a blue background. (Sam)
I had a lot of fun with [community profile] femmeremix last time ([tumblr.com profile] femmeremix ), so I'm really glad to hear they're doing it again.  It's a remix ficathon focused on female characters.  ("Women" here is loosely defined to include canonical alien/trans/non-genderbinary characters who identify as female. It does not include Rule 63/"always-a-girl" characters. She-Hulk is in, Brucella Banner is not.)

In each fandom you offer up to be remixed in, you must have completed at least THREE stories of 500 words or more, or FIVE stories of 100 words or more, with at least one female character who is or can be centralized.  So, if you want to participate and you have a fandom that's a little short, now's the time to write a few drabbles!

Rules are here, fandom noms open in a week.

Fandoms I could offer: Stargate SG-1, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate Atlantis, Deep Space 9,

I'd need one more story each for Terminator, the Vorkosiverse, and Star Trek TOS, two more stories each for B5,  Star Trek TNG, Star Trek Reboot, DCU Animated, and Agent Carter.   If you've got plot bunnies or prompts for any of these fandoms, well, I can't guarantee I'll write 'em, but I can't say I wouldn't, either.

ETA: have written another VK story, The Princess in the Tower.  So now I have five qualifying fandoms.

beatrice_otter: What are we Protesting against? (Protest)
US peeps!  Remember a while back the Supreme Court striking down the Voting Rights Act, and thereby allowing more discrimination into the voting process?  Congress is working on a new version to replace it.  It might be a good idea to contact your Congress reps to vote in favor of the new Voting Rights Advancement Act.  Here is how you find your Representative, here is how you find your Senator.  If you are intimidated by the idea or just wouldn't know what to say, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has a handy-dandy "email your reps" page.  All you gotta do is fill in your address and edit the text provided to fit your ideas, and hit send, and voila!  You have contacted your Congresspeople about an important issue!  (If you are not a Christian, it should be easy enough to edit out the two sentences that reference faith.)
beatrice_otter: Stargate--My fandom has Space Pyramids! (Space Pyramids!)
... when a loved fic author who gafiated years ago with many WIPs posts to their LJ saying they're back and writing fic again!

It's awesome!

In this case, thank you, [livejournal.com profile] sgcbearcub for many hours of fun reading, and hopefully more to come!

(Now, the bad news is that they say they're probably not going to work on any of their Stargate WIPs in the forseeable future, but still.  The others will be nice.)

For those of you who don't know them (because they've been quiet for years and even way back when they weren't exactly a BNF), [livejournal.com profile] sgcbearcub wrote X-Files, SG-1 (Sam/Jack), Harry Potter, Labyrinth, and I think a few others.  Long, plotty stories.  Most notable for me, they wrote my favorite clone!jack (in this case clone!team) stories ever, a trilogy: Monkey Screaming, Mirror Image, and Silk and Chains.  (Actually, going back and rereading it, mostly the snowcamping trip in Mirror Image chapters 8-10 and all the competence!porn that is Silk and Chains.)

You can find their fic at the Pit of Voles [fanfiction.net profile] SGCbearcub, and a few other odds and ends at an old website. (And ISTR that at one point there was also the beginning of a really interesting Tok'ra-fic on some webboard somewhere, but I imagine that's lost in the mists of time--I think it was about creating a new Tok'ra Queen after Egeria died?  And somehow Jack and Sam were ending up as hosts?  And possibly seceding from Earth?  I thought that one was a Bearcub fic, but I could be wrong--and anyway, it's probably lost to the mists of time.)

Thanks for all the great fic, thanks for coming back to finish at least some of it, and best wishes as you try to make the jump to profic!

beatrice_otter: Uhura fights like a girl (Fight like a Girl)
Grace and Frankie, for those who don't know, is a hilarious Netflix show starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda as two women whose husbands (Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen) announce that they are leaving them because they've been having an affair for the last twenty years and want to get married now that it's legal.


I enjoyed season one, and although not particularly fannish about it I was looking forward to season 2, which will be out in May.

I was reminded of this because [community profile] fancake's current theme is "older characters," and as I was choosing fics to rec I thought I should check out the Grace and Frankie fic and see if there might be something there, both for me and to rec.  I wasn't expecting huge amounts of fic, but I thought it was worth checking out.

I found four fics.  Disappointing, but eh, it's a Netflix show about older people with no SF/F elements, so not terribly surprising.

Of those four fics, three are about the main characters' husands.  One is about their kids.  Not a single fic is about the actual main characters of the show.

beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
I've been talking a little bit about the various political/community action mailing lists that I'm on that periodically send me simple stuff to DO beyond just signing a petition.  Typically, this will be either writing a congressman or calling them on the phone, there will be a script to use, and it will tell give you the contact information for the appropriate person so it's really easy to do.

Some of the lists I'm on are religious.  Yes, there ARE Christian political activists who are not evangelical/right wing/Conservative Christians.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has several political advocacy groups that work towards economic justice both at home and abroad.  Several of the other more liberal Christian denominations do, as well, and I believe other religious groups may also.  If you belong to a religious group, it's generally worth checking out.

And the thing is, even if you aren't a Christian?  The ELCA groups generally have messages where the faith-based parts of it are only a small part of the email, so if you don't mind Christianity and want notifications about political social justice action you can take, they may still be a good resource for you.  (Obviously if you belong to a different religion, or you have had bad experiences with Christianity, or just plain don't like Christianity, this is not for you, but if, say, you're an agnostic who doesn't care about religion but does care about immigration and refugee policies in the US, you could do worse than getting the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee emails.)

Example!  Today I got a message from the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee service about H.R. 4731, “The Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act,” detailing all the many and various ways it hurts refugees and immigrants, and why it is unjust.  In the email there are a grand total of two sentences referencing faith or the Bible.  There is a link to a page with the telephone number of the Speaker of the House (who controls whether or not the bill gets sent to the floor to be voted on), and a short script to say when you call his office.  (Only one vague, short sentence, mentions faith at all.)  It's simple, quick, easy, and a LOT  more effective than signing a petition with very little more effort required on your part.
beatrice_otter: Han and Chewbacca (Han and Chewie)
Okay, so I was on AO3, searching for new Star Wars fic.  Specifically, Force Awakens Star Wars fic.  And so I clicked on the Force Awakens tag, and sorted by number of hits, because that's a pretty good way of getting the best stuff.  Or, at least, the stuff everyone is reading, but whatever.  Most of the real duds get weeded out by this, you know?

And I was shocked by what I found.  In the first three pages, there were at least TWO SEPARATE REALLY LONG SECOND-PERSON FICS.  And not, like ordinary you-as-one-of-the-characters fics.  No.  Both of them were romances between "Kylo Ren/You."

I have not read either one of them.  I am sure, to get up that high into the hit counts in the Force Awakens tag on AO3 (which is a pretty large tag), they must be good fics.

But.  Like.  You guys, I started out reading fanfic in the 90s on the ancient fanfix.net (.com?) Star Wars archive that was lost to the mists of the intarwebs over a decade and a half ago.  And on a few other fanfiction websites of similar age.  And there were a decent number of those Character/You second-person fic.  And they were all terrible.  Pretty much across the board.  Look, I was a bored teen who spent a lot of time reading fanfic, and there was A LOT LESS of it then.  I read everything, even the really bad fic.  There were a few signs that a fic was going to be really bad, and you knew that going in, but it was that or the fic I'd already read a dozen times, I read it anyway.  And Character/You was like a bright flashing neon sign LORD KING BAD FIC HERE.  (Grammar, spelling, plot, characterization, you name it.  Being asexual I can't comment on the hotness of the porn aspect, but everything else was bad.)  And then people just ... stopped writing second-person fic.  And slowly and steadily the fanfic writing world expanded, and the fandoms I'd read expanded, and my time grew more constrained by adulting, and I stopped reading badfic because a) there was a lot more selection available, and b) I had less time to read fanfic in, which together meant I started reading only good quality stuff I liked.

Seeing those two "Kylo Ren and you get it on!!!" fics was a blast from the past in a bad way.  Like I said, given how high they are in the rankings, I'm sure they are decent quality.  But even if I liked Kylo Ren, you could not pay me enough to make me read them.
beatrice_otter: Maria Hill (Maria Hill)
Respect (1226 words) by wizardofahz
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Maria Hill & Natasha Romanov
Characters: Maria Hill, Natasha Romanov
Summary: Natasha’s just joined SHIELD and gets her first glimpse of what the new Division Head of Operations, Maria Hill, is really like.

Short, but both Maria and Natasha are very well-written and in character.
beatrice_otter: Peggy Carter handcuffed to a table (Peggy Carter)
[archiveofourown.org profile] ssr_confidential_2016 is a fanfic exchange for Agent Carter, with fic, vids, and art being exchanged.

DON'T PANIC.

This is a very long letter with lots of stuff, but DO NOT PANIC.  I'm actually fairly easy to please; I am very rarely disappointed with a ficathon story.  I write long and detailed Dear Author letters because I find such things helpful when I'm writing for other people; if you are like me, here you go!  If your style is different and a detailed letter makes you feel hemmed-in, feel free to do what works for you.

The most important thing for me in a fic is that the characters are well-written and recognizably themselves.  Even when I don't like a character, I don't go in for character-bashing.  If nothing else, if the rest of this letter is too much or my kinks just don't fit yours, just concentrate on writing a good story with everyone in character and good spelling and grammar and I will almost certainly love what you come up with.

One thing: I do have an embarrassment squick, which makes humor kind of hit-or-miss sometimes.  The kind of humor where someone does something embarrassing and the audience is laughing at them makes me uncomfortable because I identify too much with the person getting laughed at, so instead of being funny it is squicky.  On the other hand, the kind of humor where the audience is laughing with the characters I really enjoy.

If you want to make me the happiest recipient ever, here are some other things to keep in mind (not all of which will apply to all fandoms):
Specifics!
Dottie Underwood.  I am really interested in Dottie. What was the Red Room training like and how does it still affect her?  What was she doing between seasons 1 & 2? Are there other current Black Widows, and what happened to the other girls she was training with?  Is she still a Red Room agent or on her own now, and what's the larger backing to the Red Room (KGB, HYDRA, general Soviet villainy)?  How does all this fits into the larger MCU framework?  Does she ever join up with the nascent HYDRA in the SSR?  Does her fascination with Peggy ever wax and wane?  Does she ever work with the Winter Soldier?

Howard Stark/Whitney Frost.  Howard Stark/Whitney Frost: what changes, what stays the same?  If she no longer has to kill people to get to do the science she *really* wants to do, how does that change her?  (I would think that depends on when they meet, how much sexism/creepy guys she's had to put up with to get where she is.  Like, young!Whitney just starting out wants nothing more than to do science, whereas post!season2!Whitney.  The ep with her backstory made me wonder if she was a victim of some sort of sexual abuse, both with her "uncle" and later that first agent, but I don't insist on that interpretation.  (Goes cold and still around him, "I don't like him" but won't say why--could easily be a child testing the waters, what is acceptable to say about the abuse she's experienced.)  Howard's a dick, but his reaction to competent women seems to be "awesome, let's work together, can we create something," which Whitney desperately needs.  If you do something post!season2, though, it shouldn't be an easy relationship or redemption.  If you do a fanvid for Whitney, The Rules of the Road by Cy Coleman would be a great song for her.  (I like Rosemary Clooney's version best, but I couldn't find it on Youtube--it's a little more upbeat than the version linked.  Lena Horne also did an awesome recording of it.)

Peggy Carter/Gabe Jones.
  This is the comics pairing, and I read a couple of AWESOME Peggy/Gabe fics early on, and really imprinted on the pairing.  I have been very "meh" about both the pairing options we were offered in season 2.  Where was Gabe during all this?  What is he doing, post War?  Does meeting up with Wilkes give Carter a nudge to go look him up again, or do they meet again on a case, or have they been corresponding this whole time?  What are some of the racial/sexist issues they're going to face as a couple in the late 40s?

Rose Roberts.  She loves California!  She loves her job!  She's such a cheerfully competent character!  I WANT LOTS OF GREAT FIC ABOUT HER SAVING THE DAY THROUGH STEREOTYPICAL MIDDLE-AGED FAT WOMEN SKILLS.  Like, she ALWAYS has just what you need in her large purse, and it serves as a great blunt object in a fight because it is SO HEAVY AND FULL OF STUFF that when she whacks you with it, you go DOWN.  I don't want anything depressing.  I want her to be happy and fulfilled and to have FUN.

Peggy Carter.  Peggy is so much fun, and I love every aspect of her.  I particularly would enjoy casefic, but I would also enjoy her hanging out with friends (Angie, Edwin and Ana, Rose, any of the Howling Commandoes are the ones I'd be most happy about.  Howard, Daniel, and Dr. Wilkes I wouldn't mind.  Jack Thompson I don't like.)  And I would also welcome Peggy/Steve, set during the war, flashbacks, AU where he gets rescued, whatever.  If you were going to do a fanvid of her, Pistol Packin' Mama by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters would be AWESOME.  For Peggy/Steve, the obvious song for a fanvid would be It's Been A Long, Long Time (the song that Nick Fury put on in Steve's apartment in Cap2, it would also be a perfect Steve/Bucky fanvid) (My favorite cover of that song is the one linked, Harold Arlen's orchestra with Kitty Kalen on vocals).

General songs that would make good fanvids for the show that I would love to receive even if they don't fit the characters/pairings I requested:
It Takes a Woman from Hello, Dolly
Hot Rod Mama by Ramblin Jimmy Dolan
A vid about jingoism, patriotism, and obfuscation could be set to "Motherhood" from Hello, Dolly
I'm not enough into Jarvis to want a fic about him, but I would LOVE a Jarvis vid to Stiff Upper Lip by the Gershwins (recorded by so many artists, you have a lot of selection.)
Imagine My Frustration is Ella Fitzgerald belting out her frustrations about being overlooked.  Could work for Peggy, Dottie, Whitney, Wilkes, any or all of them.
beatrice_otter: Enterprise-D and the TARDIS (Crossover)
I have signed up for the [livejournal.com profile] wipbigbang, tentatively focusing on the Criminal Minds/SG-1 Derek Morgan fic.

Also considering signing up for:

[community profile] nightonficmountain, a small-fandom fic and art exchange similar to but much smaller than Yuletide (not sure what fandoms).
[archiveofourown.org profile] SSR_Confidential_2016, an Agent Carter ficathon, and requesting Peggy/Gabe Jones.


beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
1. Your 3 fanfics with the most comments:
Lieutenant Bennet's Visit, A Change in the Wind, To The Stars

2. Your 3 fanfics with the most kudos:
Lieutenant Bennet's Visit, A Change in the Wind, Darcy's Surprise

3. Your oldest fanfic:
Consequences, an SG-1 kidfic I wrote because I was sick of all the Sam/Jack kidfics where magically everything was happy fluffy bunny without taking into account fraternization regs, the personalities involved, etc.  FF.net tells me that fifty different people have read it in the last month, which, wow, who woulda thunk it?

5. Your proudest fanfic:
I ... have no clue what this even means.  Like, are they asking for a fic that took me years to write before actually getting finished?  That would be A Space For Faith (DS9) and A Family Story (Superman Returns).  Then there's The Desert Between, which I love the worldbuilding in, but being proud of the worldbuilding isn't necessarily the same thing as being proud of the story--the worldbuilding was completely separate and came first, and the story came about because people were Writing Reboot Vulcans Wrong.

6. Your longest fanfic:
Consequences, followed by Family Matters (The Things Inside Remix)

7. Your 3 fanfics with the most bookmarks:
Lieutenant Bennet's Visit, A Change in the Wind, To The Stars

8. Your favorite character to write in fanfic:
I don't really have a favorite?  I mean, whatever I happen to be writing at the moment?  Which mostly depends on the fandom.  And within each fandom, the ones I write most these days tend to be either the ones I feel need more love or the ones that get requested in a ficathon.

9. 3 fanfics you love that aren’t already listed:
Orphaned Days, hey good looking what's cooking, Intuition and Ingenuity, I could go on for hours about different fics I love.  These aren't necessarily my favorites, just the first ones that came to mind.

Bonus Round: Your 3 favorite fanfics not posted yet.
The Cyd Charise was a Vulcan one, the CSI/Stargate crossover, and the one where Anakin and Padme get couples therapy.

Tagging [personal profile] sixbeforelunch, [personal profile] staranise, and [personal profile] anghraine 
beatrice_otter: What are we Protesting against? (Protest)
Remember how in my post on paying attention to politics, I mentioned that I am on the mailing list for a couple of websites that send out things to do to get involved politically (in a more concrete way than just signing petitions)?

Well!  One of them, MoveOn.org, just sent me an action item.  As you know if you've been paying attention to American politics, Republicans in the Senate are trying to refuse to even hold hearings on whether or not Obama's Supreme Court nominee should be confirmed--they're trying to delay the process for a whole YEAR in the hopes that a Republican will win the Presidency and they can put a conservative on the Court.  This is completely unprecedented in American history.

Don't want the Republicans to get away with this sort of blatant partisanship?  If your senator is a Republican, call them and tell them to stop stonewalling and do their job.  MoveOn.org. has a handy-dandy little thing that will give you your Senator's name, telephone number, and a little script to read.  You tell MoveOn.org your street address, and they give you the right phone number to call.  All you have to do is dial the phone number, read the little script, and you have participated in the political process!  In a way that politicians are actually likely to listen to!

beatrice_otter: Luna Lovegood, Hermione Granger, Cho Chang (Girls of Potter)
I imagine you all have heard by now that Jo Rowling has been releasing stuff about American wizarding history over on Pottermore, and that it shows a lack of interest in anything but the pablum white-washed Pro-US Hollywoodized stuff, with bonus appropriation of Native American culture/mythology for a does of the exotic.

NK Jemison has a short post about it.

Native Appropriations does a more in-depth look at it, which I appreciate.

Now, Rowling has never been very culturally sensitive, shall we say, but when she was mostly just layering Beauxbatons and Fleru with every French stereotype she could muster, well, it's not like the French are an oppressed minority.  And the general lack of diversity at Hogwarts and other problematic issues was bad, but at least they were tangential to the core of the story.  This is, well, the appropriative caricatures are pretty central to the pieces she's releasing now.

As a palate-cleanser, here's A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction.  Would've been more appropriate to link to a crash course in Native American Science Fiction, but I couldn't find one.  I found general Native American book lists, and lists of speculative fiction by authors of color, and SF/F stories "with Native American flavor" (?!?) but the best I could find was Wikipedia's list of Native American Speculative Fiction Authors of Note.  And the University of Arizona recently published an anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction, of which some of the authors are native American.

beatrice_otter: Vader and Leia (Vader and Leia)
Here is a Star Wars question for you guys!  And I hope someone who's been reading the new comics can tell me if there is a canon answer for this. When Darth Vader learned about Luke, how much did he find out?  Like, did he think that Obi-Wan had been raising him as an apprentice, or did his agents go to Tatooine and dig up that Luke had been raised by his aunt and uncle on their moisture farm?
beatrice_otter: What are we Protesting against? (Protest)
Presidential elections always bemuse me. You know, I get it; it's the highest political office in the nation, and very symbolic, and the President of the United States does have a lot of power both within and outside of the US. But the thing is, he is only one cog in the governmental machine. A very important cog, true, but just one of them. He cannot do his job without the rest of the machine, and the rest of that machine is made up of a) elected officials, on a federal, state, and local level, and b) bureaucrats appointed by those elected officials. Which means that it's pointless to get the guy on top elected--if you don't also elect people to Congress and your state legislature who support the President's policies, he's not going to be able to actually accomplish any of them.

(DISCLAIMER: this post is not aimed at people who want to get involved but can't because of health issues physical or mental, disability, discrimination at the polls, etc. It's aimed at the people who could but don't, or only do some of the time.)

Case in point, Obama's eight years. He has accomplished a great deal, but most of the things he would like to do--including many things he campaigned on the strength of--were not done. Why? Because he had to deal with a Republican majority in Congress that was dedicated to blocking his every move. You may be disappointed in Obama for not accomplishing as much as you hoped, but in order to do those things, he would have needed a Democratic majority in Congress. And why was there not a Democratic majority in Congress? When we elected a Democrat President twice in a row? The answer is simple, my friends. Midterm elections. Those elections in-between Presidential elections for US Representatives and Senators. Very few people vote in those elections, and most of the people who do are middle-aged, middle-class, white people. Who mostly vote Republican. And because all those young hopeful Democrats who voted for Obama (twice!) didn't show up to vote in years when the President wasn't up for grabs, the President they elected wasn't able to accomplish much because we the people who elected him didn't give him the support he needed to do it. And so we bitch and moan about politics and how they don't listen to us and politicians on both sides of the aisle cater to middle-aged, middle-class white men. But you know why they do it? Those guys can be counted on to show up and vote. Every time. They vote consistently, they get heard by politicians. Now, there are a lot of other complicating factors, but that's the absolute bottom line right there.

And it's not just the United States Congressional elections, either. Did you know that your state and local elections also have a LOT to do with the local quality of life, economy, and other services? They do! And your vote counts more in local elections, because the population of your local district is a lot smaller. That's another reason why a lot of Obama's policies got hamstrung (the Affordable Care Act among them): states rejected them. And why did so many states reject them? Because too few of the people who elected Obama paid much attention to the state and local elections, and white middle-class middle-age Republicans did.

Folks, the President is important. We all know that. But if you want things to change in America, you can't just pay attention to the Presidential race once every four years and ignore it the rest of the time, and expect someone else to make sure all the boring bits get done. Because we all know who's paying attention to the boring bits, and we all know what kind of a job they've done. So what can we, as ordinary citizens, do?
  1. VOTE IN EVERY ELECTION, ESPECIALLY THE MIDTERMS. This is key. This is the biggie. If you can do nothing else, DO THIS. And take the time to educate yourself about the issues and people--not just the biggies, but the others.  It takes less time than you think, really.  There are a LOT of resources out there to help you learn what the issues are and who is who. The League of Women Voters has an EXCELLENT website that will a) tell you where your polling place is and how to get there, b) who is on the ballot and what their positions are, and c) what ballot measures are on the ballot and what is at stake. It's all non-partisan, purely informational, and it should cover pretty much everything you need to know, and if it doesn't it will give you enough information to google more.  Also, there will be a Voters Pamphlet available at most government offices (including libraries) a few weeks before the elections which has much of the same stuff; if you can't find one in person, you can usually find an online copy on your state's Secretary of State website--googling "[your state name] voters pamphlet" should bring it up.  Usually, a half-hour to an hour of poking around the League of Women Voters site and reading through my Voter's Pamphlet will tell me everything I need to know and more to make an informed choices on everyone and everything up for election.  I write down my votes on a piece of paper which I carry with me to make sure I remember who and what I was going to vote for.
  2. CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS ON ISSUES THAT MATTER TO YOU. Even if (especially if!) they're not from your party. And, folks, this is the age of the Internet, which makes it SO MUCH EASIER. Find a political or lobbying group that matches your goals/interests and get on their email list. Most of them will send you action alerts when something is up, complete with handy form letters to email to your legislators. They do all the work for you, you just enter your name and address and email and tweak the thing however you want. I'm on several mailing lists, including my church denomination's advocacy office and several secular ones. Do I email every time there's an alert? Nope. But I do email on the ones that I think are particularly important, and sometimes even call. (And, again, the advocacy groups give you the phone numbers to call and a script to follow, making it as easy as possible.) This is important, because if your legislator shares your views, they know that at least some of their constituents support them in it, which makes them more likely to vote their principles. And if your legislator doesn't share your views, it reminds them that not all of their constituents agree with them, so they should at least consider compromising on the issue.
  3. IF YOU CAN, MAKE YOUR POLITICAL BELIEFS KNOWN TO THOSE AROUND YOU, ESPECIALLY IF THEY AREN'T MAINSTREAM IN YOUR AREA. I realize that this is not safe or possible for a lot of people, but if you can, it's important. Many people just go along with what the majority of the people around them do, and accept the caricatures of people on the other side of the debate. Realizing that real, actual, people they know may disagree with the common accepted wisdom may cause them to stop and think about their beliefs. And that may lead them to re-think things. It's no guarantee, but it's a lot more likely than silence. But, again, not everybody can do this for a variety of reasons.
And yes, do vote in the Presidential elections; Presidents are important. But they can't do their job without all the other pieces in place, and we-the-people are the ones who elect the other pieces, too.

This post was largely inspired by [personal profile] hth's excellent post what people mean when they say Bernie Sanders can't get things done. You should read it, there are many excellent points about the role of parties in the general political process and how meaningful, lasting change actually happens.
So right now, with the Congress we have, with the state governments we have, he's useless.  You don't start a fucking political movement from the top!  Come on!  That's not how this happens.  I get the Bernie hard-sell a lot in my very liberal urban enclave of North Carolina.  I admire the passion, but guess what, there's also a Senate race happening on that same primary ballot!  And not a goddamn one of the kids who want to proselytize to me about the Bernie Revolution and how "excitement" for him is going to get young people to the polls can tell me which of the four Democratic candidates for the Senate they support. 

It's a simple question.  When all these excited young people come out in 5 weeks, which of these four candidates is going to help Bernie enact his revolutionary agenda?  Because I'd think you'd want to punch a card for that person, too, but nobody seems to know who they support for that.  I guess they're not "excited" about the Senate race.  Christ, we have a disastrous Republican governor in this state, and no one from the Bernie Generation seems too "excited" about the gubernatorial primary, either.  That should matter a fucking lot!  Remember that Medicaid expansion that wasn't, because it got scotched on the state level for political reasons?  The federal government can't operate effectively without state buy-in, so we can't just flip the Senate and ignore our reactionary state governments.
In other political news, Slate.com reported on what Scalia's death has done to the balance of power on the Supreme Court before he's even been replaced.  And it's inspiring.  This is, actually, in my opinion, the single most important thing the President does: nominate Supreme Court justices.  God willing, Obama will get Scalia's replacement confirmed by Congress before he leaves office, but the next President will probably also have to fill a vacancy or two caused by death or retirement.  For all those of you out there who are passionate about Bernie and hate Hillary, and might not vote for Hillary if she gets the ticket, I beg you: consider the kind of disaster that any of the Republican front-runners would try to get on the Court.

And please go read [personal profile] nicki's post on Hillary's public life over the last 25 years.  You don't have to agree with her politics, but I think most people (even most women) really aren't aware of the deep-seated misogynistic basis for much of the hatred against her that you find on both the left and the right, and they aren't aware of the way she's handled that with grace and strength.
beatrice_otter: Are you challenging my ingenuity? (Ingenuity)
While I was in college, I ripped all my CDs to my computer and, using Windows Media Player, put them into playlists.  I like these playlists.  I have kept them curated and organized and constantly expanding for the last decade and a half.  Every music I have acquired since then has been added to these playlists.  Whatever devices I use to listen to music must be compatible with these playlists.  Up until now this was easy, because all I had to do was sync my mp3 player, and it worked.  (Yes, I still use my separate, dedicated mp3 player.  Yes, it's another device to carry.  But it has a very long battery life, so by using it I'm not draining my cellphone battery, which doesn't last as long.)  And when I finally got around to syncing my playlists to my phone, it just worked there too, in the default music app that was preloaded, unhelpfully called "Music," which I have not been able to find on the app store.

So I thought that syncing my playlists to my new tablet, it, too, would be no problem.  Ahahahaha.  No.  I have tried syncing multiple times.  I have tried many different apps.  I converted all my playlists from the default WMP format to the more-common m3u format.  I have tried both copying and pasting the files, and using Windows Media Player's sync feature.  But no matter what I try, the playlists either a) don't read the playlists, only the songs and albums, b) read the playlists, but can only seem to play one or two of them, or c) reads the playlists, can play one or two, and says it's playing the rest even when there is no sound coming out of the device.  I've checked forums, googled, nothing.

In the grand scheme of things this is not a huge deal, as I have both my mp3 player and my phone with all my music on them.  But it is FRUSTRATING.

For reference, in case it helps: the phone is a Samsung Galaxy S5, and the tablet is a Lenovo Tab A-10, and both are Android devices.  I have tried many players and can't remember them all, but I know I have tried both Google's Play Music and the other Music app that was preloaded on the device.

(By the way googling for apps with good playlist ability is useless, because what the reviewers gush about is the ability of the app to make playlists for you.  Which, okay, fine, if you trust the computer to make the right matches, no problem.  But there is no way the computer would be able to do anything half as good--for my personal tastes--as what I already have.  For example, one of my playlists is called "Folksy."  It contains some twangy country, some rockabilly old rock, some folk songs, some Gospel hymns, and a few other odds and ends including Rosemary Clooney's recording of This Ole House.  Now, a computer algorithm might get the rest of those ... but would it also pull in the Rosemary Clooney without also pulling in the rest of her songs which would be totally unsuitable for the "folksy" playlist?  I think not.)

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