Just another ghost in the machine.
This tumblr is science, world affairs, video games, technology, cinema, rock music, art, nature, language, and introspection. Summary: the profound to the absurd.
Kredu tiujn, kiuj serĉas la veron. Dubu tiujn, kiuj trovas ĝin. -André Gide
Mass incarceration, perhaps the greatest social crisis in modern American history, is without parallel on a global scale
"Although our level of crime is comparable to those of other stable, internally secure, industrialized nations,"the report says, "the United States has an incarceration rate far higher than any other country."
Some individual states like Louisiana contribute disproportionately, but no state is free from mass incarceration. Disturbingly, many states’ prison populations outrank even those of dictatorships and illiberal democracies around the world. New York jails more people per capita than Rwanda, where tens of thousands await trial for their roles in the 1994 genocide. California, Illinois, and Ohio each have a higher incarceration rate than Cuba and Russia. Even Maine and Vermont imprison a greater share of people than Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, or Egypt.
"Moral outrage is exhausting. And dangerous. The whole country has gotten a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome from the newest popular sport of Extreme Finger Wagging. Not to mention the neck strain from Olympic tryouts for Morally Superior Head Shaking. All over the latest in a long line of rich white celebrities to come out of the racist closet. (Was it only a couple days ago that Cliven Bundy said blacks would be better off picking cotton as slaves? And only last June Paula Deen admitted using the “N” word?) …
What bothers me about this whole Donald Sterling affair isn’t just his racism. I’m bothered that everyone acts as if it’s a huge surprise. …
He was discriminating against black and Hispanic families for years, preventing them from getting housing. It was public record. We did nothing. Suddenly he says he doesn’t want his girlfriend posing with Magic Johnson on Instagram and we bring out the torches and rope. Shouldn’t we have all called for his resignation back then?
Shouldn’t we be equally angered by the fact that his private, intimate conversation was taped and then leaked to the media? Didn’t we just call to task the NSA for intruding into American citizen’s privacy in such an un-American way? Although the impact is similar to Mitt Romney’s comments that were secretly taped, the difference is that Romney was giving a public speech. The making and release of this tape is so sleazy that just listening to it makes me feel like an accomplice to the crime. We didn’t steal the cake but we’re all gorging ourselves on it.
Make no mistake: Donald Sterling is the villain of this story. But he’s just a handmaiden to the bigger evil. In our quest for social justice, we shouldn’t lose sight that racism is the true enemy. He’s just another jerk with more money than brains.
So, if we’re all going to be outraged, let’s be outraged that we weren’t more outraged when his racism was first evident. Let’s be outraged that private conversations between people in an intimate relationship are recorded and publicly played. Let’s be outraged that whoever did the betraying will probably get a book deal, a sitcom, trade recipes with Hoda and Kathie Lee, and soon appear on Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars.
The big question is “What should be done next?” I hope Sterling loses his franchise. I hope whoever made this illegal tape is sent to prison. I hope the Clippers continue to be unconditionally supported by their fans. I hope the Clippers realize that the ramblings of an 80-year-old man jealous of his young girlfriend don’t define who they are as individual players or as a team. They aren’t playing for Sterling—they’re playing for themselves, for the fans, for showing the world that neither basketball, nor our American ideals, are defined by a few pathetic men or women.
Let’s use this tawdry incident to remind ourselves of the old saying: “Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.” Instead of being content to punish Sterling and go back to sleep, we need to be inspired to vigilantly seek out, expose, and eliminate racism at its first signs.”
Oklahoma inmate dies of heart attack after execution botched
AP: An Oklahoma inmate died of a heart attack Tuesday evening after his execution was halted when the delivery of a new drug combination was botched.
The state Department of Corrections said Clayton Lockett died after all three drugs were administered. His execution was halted approximately 20 minutes after the first drug was administered. The director said the problem was a vein failure.
A second execution which was planned for later Tuesday was postponed. Both executions had previously been delayed after the inmates challenged the secrecy behind the state’s lethal drug protocol.
Photo:This photo combo of images provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Clayton Lockett, left, and Charles Warner. (AP Photo/Oklahoma Department of Corrections)
Slavery, women’s suffrage and general oppression, Jim Crow laws/segregation, discrimination against LGBT people and the banning of same-sex marriage. Those came before, and those have shifted or are shifting because there was an undeniable and widespread-enough belief that they were fundamentally wrong. Now this, the issue of the death penalty and inmates’ rights. I believe it’s on the same plane as those. They can hardly execute anyone these days, due to an astounding ethical refusal of drug makers selling the component drugs to American states, without the very real possibility of causing an agonizing death to the condemned (which seems to have actually happened in this instance). And the secrecy some states engage in to hide the details of the drugs and suppliers they are now using because of that cannot be emphasized enough.
This is to me a concrete, wrong-side-of-history issue—if you’re in favor of the death penalty. Some future humans will believe they—those who argued in favor of the death penalty and especially those who were part of the system that carried it out—were barbaric, monsters. Others will look back with incredulity, kind of like we do when we look back at the stupid shit people did 200-500 years ago.
Researchers from Princeton University and Northwestern University have concluded, after extensive analysis of 1,779 policy issues, that the U.S. is in fact an oligarchy and not a democracy. What this means is that, although ‘Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance,’ ‘majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts.’ Their study (PDF), to be published in Perspectives on Politics, found that ‘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.’” [Slashdot]
In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’, since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.
To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, an artist collective installed a massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face.
The child featured in the poster is nameless, but according to [Reprieve/Foundation for Fundamental Rights], lost both her parents and two young siblings in a drone attack.
I clicked on this prepared to be upset about our country’s disappearing virgin forest. Imagine my dismay when I learned that according to these people, not only do we not have any virgin forest left in the UP, but since 1926 it’s become full of Lake Superior and the Yoopers have apparently decamped to the lake bottom to join Minnesota. (I know Minnesota’s north shore is supposed to be amazing, but this is ridiculous).
Usa Animated GIF - Giphy
Not sure about the source of this. But anecdotally, I only know of one virgin hardwood forest near me, and it’s not open to the public.
— Ben Collins, referencing the small-minded political climate in the US, in contrast to Edward Snowden’s tangible leadership.