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Semiformalishmaybe

Camp Boots

More on Occupy..

Oakland's Occupy movement has had a fairly bumpy-but-interesting road, from the much-publicised nasty confrontation with the police that badly injured an Iraq War veteran (the story is not as one-sided as you might've heard; protestors were throwing rocks and bottles) and a handful of other people, to visits by Michael Moore and the formerly-detained-in-Iran hikers.

Yesterday was also eventful, in two ways:
*They shut down Oakland's port facilities (these are apparently quite large; one of the larger ports in the United States)
*A bunch of extremists split from the crowd and used explosives and pipes to wreck parts of the downtown area, provoking violent conflict with police

The latter is a movement that needs to be condemned; there may be people whose values are inimical to civilisation, and who want to tear down every institution and fight any instance of police, and they will attempt to join and dominate any movement that makes even the careful and measured responses the situation calls for. I am glad to see that the Occupy movement there is willing to condemn such people.

On a similar note, Occupy Worcester has the support of their Mayor, who has offered city buildings for workshops and general assemblies and plans to attend some meetings.


Penn Jillette (from Penn and Teller, I think) put forth a list of 10 Atheist commandments. I generally like what I see there, with the following added nuances:
*I would not commit to number two entirely. Ideas, meaning, and stories are a big part of how individuals and societies work, and it can be worthwhile to struggle over ideas.
*There are circumstances where number 6 may, should, or must be ignored even as it's a generally good intuition.
*I would generally agree to number 7/9, except I believe there are times when it is appropriate to lie to protect greater social interests. Not about love, but if your best friend confesses to be a serial murderer, or your employer announces some plan to do something nasty and you're bound by nondisclosure, you probably should break your word and make these things public.
*On number 8, there are various situations of necessity or other social interest that should permit legal or extralegal confiscation of property. This should not be for the personal gain of people who are doing ok, but it may be for other situations. Depending on what people mean by "steal", this may or may not qualify.

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