Portugal’s Yes

by bicyclemark

I was on the phone with mom earlier this evening and I asked if she’d heard about the results of the referendum. “NO I haven’t!” she said.

Portugal held a referendum yesterday on the question of abortion. While I was there in December I did see a scattered few billboards in Lisbon urging either a YES to legalize abortion or NO to keep abortion illegal. While I did get to ask a few people about it, i don’t remember much conversation on the topic, but I was definitely watching the results come in last night as Im sure many of my Portuguese friends were.

The result is that the Yes vote got 59% of the vote. A very loud statement that the voting citizenry of the nation were tired of seeing women being incarcerated for seeking abortions or fleeing to other countries in order to get one. Unfortunately less than 50 percent of elligible voters actually turned out, which I believe doesn’t make the referendum fully binding… but it looks like this will provide the necessary push for lawmakers to change the law.

I watched the annoying coverage on CNN last night; its Portugal so you can’t expect more than 2 minutes with 30 seconds of video… cut to commercial for Dubai or some other wealthy play ground apparently Im supposed to consider visiting based on their ads.

The graphic under the brief video read “most of Portugal is catholic.” I read the graphic and kept thinking… GREAT. They should have added a graphic, “Portugal may have citizens who think for themselves and don’t look to the vatican for instructions on how to run a country.” I realize many do look to the vatican, but I still think the graphic and the image that Portuguese are so completely tethered to religion is a somewhat out-dated assumption. Somebody get me the church attendance numbers.

All in all, an interesting milestone in the history of Portugal as the nation evolves and democracy matures. If you accept that this is how a democracy matures; declining voter turn out, struggle with religious traditions… sounds fairly typical.

Stay tuned for a podcast related to this topic in the coming week, as I just realized Women on Waves is in my neck of the woods.

bm170 Venice and the Crusades

by bicyclemark

The idea behind this podcast begins in the alleyways of Venice, only a few days ago. When observing the buildings and reading the history, one particular period stood out for me as significant to everything happening today. Listen to my amateur-armchair history summary and hear the shocking list of parallels between the Venice of 1200 and the Venices of today.

Univ of Wisconsin archive on the Crusades
Wikipedia, if you can stand it

Some Opium with your Masses

by bicyclemark

Working on many things and yet… not doing enough, thats how I feel these days. Unemployed yet still going to work, it seems. Oh and I had a lovely visit from Max and Stacy of Karmabanque and even managed to take them out on the Red August despite the rain. Nothing funnier than as Im coming home, and it starts pouring rain – I simply open my umbrella, kick the engine into high gear, and wave to all the cozy party boats as I pass them with reckless abandon.

More importantly today I have a recommendation, as I do occasionally try and point ye my dear readers, to interesting things in this world.

My roomate has been thoroughly wrapped up in a BBC4 documentary that I’ve now become very interested in, entitled: A Brief History of Disbelief. In some ways it reminds us of The Power of Nightmares or the Century of the Self, together the two most important documentaries EVER… period.

The series looks at the history of atheism, nontheism, and belief in general. It makes use of several interesting philosophers, alive and dead. It also uses archeology and economics to put things into context in terms of when people believed what and why those beliefs changed.

Though there are several aspects I could point to and say — this is interesting. What really comes to mind while watching it is the still powerful role and influence of religion in this world, even after so much experience.. so many world events… that would make one assume religion would not be as powerful as it was “back then”.

Thats all… the rest is for you to go and watch. If you can’t find them on bittorent, I will post them on archive.org within the week.

bmtv23 Revisiting the Story of Asbury Park

by bicyclemark

In order to further explore the theme of how cities thrive and decay, specifically the case of Asbury Park, the following is part 1 of a vlogged history. The last minute has a audio-video timing problem, fixing it would give me an ulcer. Please Note: Im just an amateur armchair historian, I don’t claim to know everything about the place, but I have been doing endless hours of research.