I've slacked off a bit on maintaining my spam blacklist, and have seen some spam recently. Some of these messages show up many times over the course of a week, and I've been wondering if they might have any effect on people like subliminal advertisements presumably do. One phrase, "Can you believe you are healthy?" popped into my head on last night's walk.. Even those who live off the (television) grid still have things to watch out for, I guess...
Recently I've been listening to Iris's "Everybody is Life" a lot (the seaside mix in particular) - it's almost meditative. I've also been enjoying the Leningrad Cowboys..
Amusement: Rushdie, in "The Satanic Verses", seems to comment on the storm the work made..
I find the arguments against Rushdie's honour sound kind of familiar to a recent Ynet article on a gay march in Jerusalem. Picking apart how tolerance/respect should work in a society isn't a simple task though - we can try to understand it by shifting issues a bit (e.g. an argument that blacks shouldn't marry whites while in Nashville because that's just "asking for trouble"), but is that the same? There is a difference between simply living in ways that others find problematic and flaunting it, but not all differences are worth drawing lines of law or "should" on. I value autonomy and expression on these matters enough (and care little for tradition or faith) that both the gay pride march and encouraging Rushdie's works seem positive to me, but I don't expect to be able to convince people with radically different ideas on these matters. Blasphemy in word, likewise, is something that I encourage in the general sense, not because it degrades meaning, but because it is a creative and possibly philosophical act and because having it be legal lifts a tremendous burden from people in their general ability to reason about matters. If we still lived under an absolute monarchy, avoiding accidental insult to the monarch (Lèse majesté) like people in Thailand must would be a serious burden on intellectuals.
- Students at Laj Masjid released some brothel employees they were holding in Pakistan after the government promised to close such things. I think this is disappointing - permitting the mosque to get its way through kidnapping, especially given that they have kidnapped police in the past, seems like a threat to the stability/integrity of the state. It seems like it would be more prudent to destroy the mosque and arrange for those involved with it to spend considerable time in prison...
- History's repeating itself a bit - Chavez is nationalising oil fields in Venezuela, insisting that the internationals that run the fields yield 51% control or they'll be asked to leave. So far, Exxon and Conoco have refused, while some others have agreed. Chavez, who presumably knows about what Americans and Brits have done in the past when their profits are threatened, is presently on a trip to Russia and Iran to buy arms and establish engineering exchanges. I imagine Iran is particularly sympathetic to Venezuela's position given its history...
- I am disgusted to read about the growth of stock markets in China. The Communist party of China does not merit its name.
- People who would convert from Islam in Malaysia face tougher anti-apostasy laws.
- Tony Blair is just another MP again now. Unfortunately, it looks like he's stepping into another position of power - the envoy of the Quartet. At the same time, he's rumoured to have been preparing to convert to Catholicism.
- Europeans are making progress towards a new constitution (although this incarnation probably won't use that word)
- A crazy judge(Roy Pearson)'s attempt to milk 54 million dollars over lost pants failed.
- Bad ruling in the United States: corporations can broadcast campaign adverts again (sort of). Corporate personhood.. sigh.
- A few more developments on the Hamas-Fatah struggle...
- In the news: Doctors are not robots yet, and still have the distressing tendency to act like humans. How horrible.
In theory I'm going climbing today. We'll see how well that works on the day after soccer.