I was on my way to do some weekend work today around 13:00, and was surprised to see an unusually heavy amount of traffic. Getting closer to campus, I saw signs referencing some ACLU event. It proved to be impossible to get a spot to park, so I 'm at the 61c for a few hours doing taxes and contract programming until I'm ready to make another pass. I wonder what kind of event it is. I've generally liked the ACLU over the years -- it has at times taken some stances that I abhorred, but my positions have always been in flux, and despite the fact that I've come to value other things to similar levels, autonomies that the ACLU tends to protect are things that have generally been of great import to me. I think it's easier to dislike things that are close enough to oneself because normally we are not inclined to consider things to be candidates for full judgement if they're distant beyond a certain range.
Last night, I had a dream that reminded me of a long series of similar dreams that I don't seem to remember during my waking life. A recurring theme in my dreams is the return of the (dental) retainer I wore when I was a teenager after going through the braces thing. I hated the thing, and didn't wear it, and my teeth partly regressed after getting braces once, so they were put back on, and when removed, I still would not wear it and so my teeth are not as crafted as was the goal. It doesn't bother me at all -- what I hate being left with is this ghost retainer in my dreams. I've always been kind of queasy about things touching my innards in any prolonged fashion (part of a reason I never have and probably never will wear contact lenses), and retainers are part of an unending horror for me. In my previous dreams, I generally crush the retainer and then throw it away, I think because in my dreams I keep remembering the damned thing coming back. I have no idea what actually happened to retainers I had -- it may be that I actually threw it away originally and started the mental pattern. I wish I could remove it from my mind, but I have no idea how I might do so. It would be amusing if I could pay a kind of spirit currency to do so..
France is stepping up to bat with Apple. They're planning to introduce legislation that will mandate open standards and data-interoperability on music devices sold in France. This is good for consumers, although Apple (and other companies) will probably not be happy living without their anticompetitive protections. Free markets, of course, typically are free only in the sense that companies can do what they like, not free in other more important senses. I hope France goes through with it. Credit card companies would be another good thing to look into -- they typically are much more nasty than most other companies, and they're experimenting in realms (currency) where governments normally have a monopoly. The world would be better off if no incentives for excluding competition in credit cards were permitted, and if they were also prohibited from preventing or discouraging by any means vendors from passing costs of the credit card system on to customers. I like that Europe seems to be more interventionist for the public good into economic affairs. I don't think justice can be attained in a market system, but imbalances of power and appropriate staging for more serious changes can be better maintained in an interventionist state than in a more lassiez-faire one.
I take a certain delight in the colliding with reality of extreme multiculturalists in this case of an Afghani man who converted to Christianity and faces death for apostasy. This is a case where a liberal multuralist cannot eat their cake and have it too. I have heard far too many arguments from heretical, liberal Christians where they'll dance with the Bible (in a way that reminds me of the courtroom scene in Chicago) enough to make any sufficiently confusable person think that it doesn't have anything at all to say about homosexuality, witchcraft, or indeed anything at all. I understand that philosophies die when concrete is injected into their veins to attain stability, but they likewise become empty in the most perverse way when any areas where they might disapprove of anything is emptied by an effort to get rid of that very disapproval. When "kill not" becomes "maybe you should be nice", philosophies that hold it are more disgraced than if they had been abandoned. The comprimise that has been reached is something that will not hold.
I have to say that my move to the 61c has gone well -- I no longer really miss the Coffee Tree (although I do miss bumping into some of the people I frequently saw there). The tea is more expensive (but much better) here, the music is not horrible (the Coffee Tree sometimes sounded like a department store, and was unbearable around christmas), and the owner of the 61c, if I am right about who it is, is a cool, laid-back guy. Kathy, a retired schoolteacher and friend, was essentially driven from the Coffee Tree by BillSr's chauvenism, and most of the ex-employees of the CTree have described a deep loathing for the place.