“…torture is not an isolated incident. Rather it is an institution, a practice, a collective endeavor that requires planning and organization. Defenders of torture often defend a widespread practice of purely vicious evil by reference to a single imaginary incident in which it would make sense to torture someone. Imagine, they say, that you knew for certain (as of course you would not) that many people were about to be killed unless a particular person revealed something. Imagine you were certain (as of course you would not be) that you had found that person. Imagine that contrary to accumulated wisdom you believed the best way to elicit the information was through torture, and that you were sure (as of course you would not be) that the information would be revealed, that it would be accurate (nobody EVER lies under torture), and that it would prevent the greater tragedy (and not just delay it or move it), with no horrible side-effects or lasting results. Then, in that impossible scenario, wouldn’t you agree to torture the person?”—Torture Is Mainstream Now (via kenyatta)
“Is it political if I tell you that if we burn coal, you’re going to warm the atmosphere? Or is that a statement of fact that you’ve made political? It’s a scientific statement. The fact that there are elements of society that have made it political, that’s a whole other thing.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson (via socio-logic)
I spent the weekend in Portland, visiting my sister and her family. I also saw some friends, and recorded an episode of Livewire Radio. It was a gorgeous weekend, with perfect weather, so we got to walk even more than we usually do when we visit.
We were walking downtown with my sister and her son when I spotted this in the street next to the crosswalk:
“A study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, “Who governs? Who really rules?” in this country, is:
“Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But, …” and then they go on to say, it’s not true, and that, “America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened” by the findings in this, the first-ever comprehensive scientific study of the subject, which shows that there is instead “the nearly total failure of ‘median voter’ and other Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories [of America]. When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
To put it short: The United States is no democracy, but actually an oligarchy.”—
“A bill that would require craft brewers to sell their suds to a beer distributor and make them buy it back to sell at their own breweries has cleared a Senate panel.
The measure (SB 1714) has so infuriated craft brewers and beer enthusiasts that some on Twitter have christened it with the hashtag “#growlergate.” The Community Affairs committee approved the bill Tuesday.
Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, was so incensed at the idea of craft brewers having to pay someone else to sell their own product that he likened it to a mobbed-up racket. Latvala has championed the microbrewery cause.
The requirement is similar to paying “protection to ‘Vinnie’ in New York,” he said.
The bill also is favored by the Big Beer lobby, which is feeling the heat from craft beer’s competition.”—
It was just after midnight, but thanks to the heatwave we’re having, it was still unseasonably warm. I walked comfortably in my T-shirt along a tree-lined street, the scent of orange blossoms filling the air.
A few miles away, cars on the freeway created a sort of white noise that I could pretend was a distant river. I looked into the sky, and saw Mars, red and beautiful above Vega, so bright it…
“Magical Battle Festa, an arena-based fighting game from Fly System, is now available in a regular and fully voiced version on indie-centric digital distribution platform Playism, the company announced today.”—