Oct. 22nd, 2010

zeborah: Zebra with stripes shaking (earthquake)
First she jumped up on my bed for scritches, then she jumped down to prowl a bit. She's done this a certain amount over the last few weeks. Then she investigated the wardrobe but decided she wasn't interested in sleeping there tonight. Nor was she interested in the beanbag (which she sometimes finds cozy in winter).

She jumped back on the bed, got more scritches and settled down for about two minutes before jumping down again.

After some more prowling, she jumped back on the bed again and settled down (sans scritches this time because I was closer to sleep) for about one minute before jumping down.

But a bit after I drifted to sleep, she came back, and curled up by my legs, and slept there all night.

And there weren't any aftershocks at all.

So that makes me very happy.

Also she's discovered that, while I'm having my shower, instead of waiting in the hall for me to open the door and give her breakfast, she can wait on the fence for me to open the curtains, at which point we have the following conversation:

Boots: Miaow!
Zeborah: Agh, stalker kitty!
Boots: Miaow?
Zeborah: Oh, it's you. Okay, then.

And I let her in the window and then open the door and give her breakfast.

Leaving chronological order for a while, I would like to mention that I made ginger muesli bars yesterday and they're quite awesome. I looked up recipes online and half of them said "Stir rolled oats and stuff into melted butter and honey, then bake", and the other half said "Bake rolled oats and stuff, then stir into melted butter and honey". I decided on the former.

The precise recipe I followed was 50grams butter with an equal amount honey, stirred to the boil as one does - the original recipes included extra brown sugar and such but that seemed unnecessarily sweet so I didn't. I just threw in rolled oats and roughly chopped peanuts and sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds and dessicated coconut and chopped crystallised ginger. This is the precise recipe I used, okay? I just threw stuff in and mixed it until it looked a) like raw muesli bar and b) like I couldn't fit any more stuff in. Then I baked it until it looked like cooked muesli bar, and cut it while hot and still soft.

Next time I might try baking the stuff first and then stirring into the liquid, just for a point of comparison.
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
For the purposes of this post I shall focus on freedom of speech in the USA, whose First Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press [...]

People abiding in the United States are constitutionally protected from the specter of a law forcing them to say one thing or forbidding them to say another thing. They are likewise constitutionally protected from the specter of a law forcing the press to espouse some point of view or to suppress some other point of view.

This means that people abiding in the United States need never fear being arrested or prosecuted by the government for what they say or don't say, and this is a very good thing indeed. It also means that people can trust that US newspapers and TV stations aren't all just mouthpieces for the government (unless of course those newspapers and TV stations all individually choose to be, which seems unlikely) and this is also a very good thing.

Note however what this amendment doesn't say. It doesn't say that a press may not espouse a point of view or suppress a point of view. (If it did say such a thing, that would be a law abridging freedom of the press, and it's just said that there shall be no such law.)

It doesn't say that a non-governmental organisation may not espouse a point of view or suppress a point of view. It doesn't say that a person may not espouse a point of view or suppress a point of view. (If it did say such a thing, that would be a law abridging freedom of speech.)

It doesn't say that a media channel may not fire someone who has said nasty things. It only says that Congress shall make no law that a media channel must, or contrariwise that it must not, fire such a person.

It doesn't say that a convention may not refuse to honour someone else who has said other nasty things. It only says that Congress shall make no law that a convention must, or contrariwise must not, refuse to honour them.

Even if you count "honouring someone" as a speech act or as enabling a speech act, which I think is stretching things rather a lot.

Because the fact that one person has freedom of speech does not mean that someone else is obliged to pay for or otherwise actively support that speech. It doesn't give anyone the right to demand a column in the newspaper, or a segment on Fox News, or a minute on the radio airwaves, or comment space on someone's blog, or a podium at Wiscon.

Wiscon/SF3's decision to disinvite Elizabeth Moon as Guest of Honour does not abridge her freedom of speech, even if you think that organisations as well as government bear some moral responsibility for upholding that freedom. She can still write books. She can write blog posts. She can call up talkback radio. She can chat with her friends in the coffeeshop. She can speak at any other convention that's willing to have her. She can even, I believe, attend Wiscon and speak with people there; she just won't be officially honoured for it.

So she can still say anything she wants to say, and she will never, in the USA, be arrested for it, because Congress shall make no law abridging her freedom of speech. She just has to find somewhere else to say it than Wiscon's Guest of Honour podium (nor will she find this hard).

And if anyone really thinks that everyone everywhere in the US has the moral obligation to uphold everyone else's freedom of speech by providing them a platform to speak on, then six weeks before Wiscon/SF3 made their decision you should have been protesting Elizabeth Moon's mass deletion of comments from her post. Wiscon/SF3 aren't the ones engaging in censorship here.

(Personally I think she not only has the legal right but also the moral right to censor and otherwise control what's said in her own space. That she chose to exercise this right in this way and this context, however... was not the most constructive way to show respect for the people involved, shall we say.

(--Incidentally, my own personal policy on censorship is that if someone posts a comment to my DW or LJ which I feel I cannot in good conscience allow to remain here - which will generally be because it's hurtful to some third party - then I'll delete it and, where possible, email the text back to them so they can repost it to their own blog if they so choose. People are free to speak, and I'm free to refuse to host that speech.)

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zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
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