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Non-unanimous juries: bad for justice, bad for society

The research suggests that even more important than the chance for one, two, or three voters to block a conviction or acquittal is the ability for one, two, or three jurors to force a more complete discussion of more aspects of the case.

That is, it seems that letting the "lone juror" (or jurors) have veto power on the whole proceeding doesn't usually end in an 11-1 vote with a unanimous requirement, but instead often leads other jurors to question their earlier conclusions.

http://w3.uchastings.edu/plri/spr96tex/juryuna.html

Cutting the word gyp from my vocabulary

Manda mentioned the use of that word as bigoted just the other day, and then I used it (in front of her) yesterday! I had never thought about it's etymology before, but hadn't thought it was a word I used much. It is a short, useful word, but...

gyp 1 |jip| informal
verb ( gypped, gypping) [ trans. ]
cheat or swindle (someone) : that's salesmanship, you have to gyp people into buying stuff they don't like.
noun (also gip)
an act of cheating; a swindle.
ORIGIN late 19th cent.: of unknown origin.

Comcast Crosses the Threshold from Merely Terrible to Evil

Normally, bad service isn't enough to throw a company into the evil category, but when it is in an oligopoly, natural monopoly type of business, and the bad service is from treating different customers and different content differently... yes, Comcast, for their blatant violations of net neutrality, is evil.

Thomas Friedman, ultrawealthy mouthpiece for other ultrawealthy people, much less wealthy now, so maybe he is talking sense

Friedman has never struck me as anything more than a dolt. So it has frightened me that progressive-minded people have been so excited that he has said some things that aren't stupid, like that we need to find non-fossil sources of energy. (Saying that in 2008, rather than 1958, is not what I consider opinion leading.) But maybe he is freed from advocating the narrow, near-sighted, and dangerous world-view of the ultra-rich elite because perhaps he isn't one of them anymore:

http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/002698.html

Thomas, welcome to the masses!

On not having the right to vote: felony disenfranchisement

More than two percent of otherwise eligible-to-vote citizens of the United States of America are denied the right to vote for felony convictions.

In total numbers and in the political tendencies of the disenfranchised, that's about the same as denying Jews the vote in the U.S.

in 1998 "an estimated 3.9 million U.S. citizens are disenfranchised, including over one million who have fully completed their sentences."

http://www.hrw.org/reports98/vote/usvot98o.htm

Two decades in a powerful appointed position? a sign democracy ain't working

Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman from 1987 to 2006 (fearless defender of wealth inequality and chief architect of the global finance meltdown of the late 2000s), is a symbol of plutocracy (rule by the rich).

Presidents are limited to serve eight years, and are (theoretically) elected every four. If chief lackey to billionaires, and economic overlord to the rest of us, can serve for nearly twenty, while the presidency shifts three times between the two (allegedly oppositional) parties, there's a problem with our democracy.

People Who Give a Damn, purpose restated

People have always needed something better than mailing lists— or other communication tools as they exist now. We need something that can reach millions of people (or billions– everyone) and still be open to everyone on an equal basis. Reaching everyone means filtering to reduce quantity and increase quality. Staying open to everyone means that the filtering must not be controlled by any group, must in some true sense belong to everyone.

Should 'C' be a letter? A C.A.T.S.U.P. question for the ages. Also, double-spaces after sentences!

Is the letter C a useless letter? (Bob, arguing that it is useless, and Brian, arguing that it is good and necessary, nearly came to blows and the end of a friendship over this. They are true heroes of the Corporation.) This must be debated endlessly.

The 56-foot deep bottomless pit from FailBlog is pretty good too.

And of course the need to enforce that every sentence must end in with two spaces after the final punctuation (period, question mark, exclamation point, colon) must be a project of C.A.T.S.U.P.

Murder and Profit: Chiquita in Colombia

The massacres allowed them to take apart the systems of social assistance negotiated with the unions.

http://www.colectivodeabogados.org/article.php3?id_article=1364

Corn controls us

[File this under 'why care' and 'what we need to do']

Michael Pollan on the Cornification of Food (AR, Boulder Colorado)

One farmer can feed 129 of us with corn.

Rather than 12, before the munitions factory converted from bombs to fertilizer in 1947.

We're putting away 200 extra calories, to take up 30 to 40 percent of

the way we're feeding the world with corn makes it harder for the world

we can sell it so cheaply because our government subsidizes the cost of production of corn

1.5 million Mexican farmers left the land

Personal democracy is an oxymoron; the next renaissance must be for collective participation, reprogramming our culture

Douglas Rushkoff at the Personal Democracy Forum: Second day invocation speech video.

Some notes. Paraphrasings, not exact quotations, so I'm just putting the whole thing in brackets.

[
Personal democracy is an oxymoron.

I'm on the here comes everybody side of this discussion. But it's the everybody that matters.

It's not the network.

It's the people.

The network is just a tool for people to be people again.

The problem with branding, the problem for top-down communication, all these Renaissance era ideas

Mass Support of Journalism through Funding Stories

Thoughts from David Cohn's Representative Journalism: Funding Beats or Stories (cross-posted from a comment left there, with a couple typos corrected).

Key point, that people don't have to believe in "journalism" to contribute to its practice through spot.us.

This will bring many more people to get involved, which will make the funding of individual stories more independent of pressure from concentrated interests than beat-covering institutions.

Auction module and nonprofit fundraising

It is the general thought that Amazing Things is doing well and - although we are doing pretty well, we're only making it because of your support. Some of you are members - and that helps a lot - even at the lowest level. But it is our membership - especially at the higher levels and our auction that keeps us alive.

— Michael Moran, Amazing Things Arts Center

http://agaricdesign.com/amazing-auction-enhancements
http://agaric.chipin.com/amazing-auction

I don't mind the government listening in, but I wish they'd contribute to the conversation once in a while

Spotted on a discussion thread that turned to questions of government spying (FISA), in a comment by the inimitable Bill Conroy:

(For the record, I assume this communication is now being monitored since it likely crossed international lines over the Internet -- wish the monitors would weigh in, as long as it doesn't show up on my phone bill ... make it more interesting.)

if people have the power to act, in the long run they will, most of the time, reach the right decisions

Saul Alinsky on the radical:

In the end he has one conviction—a belief that if people have the power to act, in the long run they will, most of the time, reach the right decisions. The alternative to this would be rule by the elite—either a dictatorship or some form of political aristocracy.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/4/11/195520/045/275/493981

Nuclear option

I have nothing against the people of the nuclear industry. In fact, I think they've done a very good job not killing many of us, certainly fewer then even natural gas drilling, and despite not building a power plant in well over 30 years, still provides 20 percent of U.S. electricity.

PWGD for journalists

Explaining PWGD in the context of Daniel Pepper's proposed trans-national branded organization of experienced freelance journalists:

Suppose your organization grows from 100 to 1,000 journalists. You want everyone in the network to be able to communicate with everyone else, but now you have ten times the chance that one member may be off topic, unproductively combative, overly enthusiastic, or disruptive in any other way toward the group goals of social justice and journalistic excellence in the public service.

Drunken Carrot and Potato Curry

Old red potatoes, sprouts cut off, cut thin
Baby carrots, cut in thin rounds
Strong onion, more or less diced
One zucchini, quartered and sliced in centimeter or so wedges
One yellow squash (or the thing that's shaped approximately like a zucchini), quartered and sliced in centimeter or so wedges
Tempeh, sliced thinner than usual and then cut in half (destined to be mashed up in the dish anyway)
Nutritional yeast
Turmeric
Curry powder (fenugreek, turmeric, whatever yours puts in)
Soy sauce (Pearl River Bridge)
Light salt (half potassium chloride)
Szechuan pepper
White wine

Sundried Tomato & Roasted Pepper Frittata, Vegan

I left the Dijon mustard, turmeric, and the lemon at G's, so I substituted Nathan's Original Coney Island Deli Style mustard as close enough, Jamaican curry powder (turmeric, foenugreek, coriander, cumin, anise, star anise, pepper, pimento, cloves, garlic), and a little bit of juice squeezed from both halves of a small grapefruit (which I subsequently ate with sugar).