As much as I loath 80% of the humans around me, sometimes I really appreciate that IQ is distributed on a bell curve. It would suck if most people were as much of an “observant-know-it-all-asshole” like me. It would be even harder to get anything done.
acosmist - One who believes that nothing exists paralian - A person who lives near the sea aureate - Pertaining to the fancy or flowery words used by poets dwale - To wander about deliriously sabaism - The worship of stars dysphoria - An unwell feeling aubade - A love song which is sung at dawn eumoirous - Happiness due to being honest and wholesome mimp - To speak in a prissy manner, usually with pursed lips
I was up all night roasting marshmallows poolside at the Roosevelt Hotel, my elf, thanks to Jeff’s stupid table, was even more hungover than I was, I’d already died once, and our cleric was AWOL.
This is no condition to be tackling infamous meatgrinder dungeon Rappan Athuk in.
"Are those things for Dungeons & Dragons?" "Yeah"
"Do you play?""No, my dad had a bunch of that stuff in the attic and I always wanted to try but I never did"
"Well I wanna play with you guys""Ok, come play on Thursday!"
"I wanna be her, can I be her?""Yes"
"Ok, so, can I throw my grappling hook and draaaaaag the zombie all the way through the caltrops once they’re on fire""Yes. Roll that die""….20""Half an hour ago you didn’t know what caltrops were.”
"So can we like pull the door off the hinges and use it like a bridge to walk across the black oil?""Stokes you’re really good at this."
“So, Zak, as Gorgut comes around the corner, he...”“Whenever the GM raises his voice and gets all monologuey you know it’s about to be some fucked up thing….”“CONNIE, ARE YOU ROLLING TONIGHT? WE NEED HELP”“Hold on, mom, I gotta go, my friends are about to be killed by zombies”
"Ok, so who do you want me to kill?"
"So there’s a demon and it’s breaking out of the fountain…""I cast Web!""Also that thing with the statue is clearly important I use Unseen Servant to grab it"
"I throw holy water""I hit his tentacle""I cast mending on the fountain as the demon’s breaking out of it""Fuck, this encounter was supposed to be hard""I dip my sword in holy water and chop his tentacles off"
And, just like that…
"When are we playing again?""Thursday""We have to play in the pool""Yes we do"
I don’t think I need to say a single word. Life is come full circle now.
Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It’s Not a Democracy
The news: A new scientific study from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.
An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.
For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.
It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.
That might explain why mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% to 91%of Americans aren’t in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens.
This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. While there are some limitations to their data set, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez constructed income statistics based on IRS data that go back to 1913. They found that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is much bigger than you would think, as mapped by these graphsfrom the Center On Budget and Policy Priorities:
Piketty and Saez also calculated that as of September 2013 the top 1% of earners had captured 95% of all income gains since the Great Recession ended. The other 99% saw a net 12% drop to their income. So not only is oligarchy making the rich richer, it’s driving policy that’s made everyone else poorer.
What kind of oligarchy? As Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan explains, Gilens and Page’s findings provide support for two theories of governance: economic elite domination and biased pluralism. The first is pretty straightforward and states that the ultra-wealthy wield all the power in a given system, though some argue that this system still allows elites in corporations and the government to become powerful as well. Here, power does not necessarily derive from wealth, but those in power almost invariably come from the upper class. Biased pluralism on the other hand argues that the entire system is a mess and interest groups ruled by elites are fighting for dominance of the political process. Also, because of their vast wealth of resources, interest groups of large business tend to dominate a lot of the discourse. America, the findings indicate, tends towards either of these much more than anything close to what we call “democracy.”
In either case, the result is the same: Big corporations, the ultra-wealthy and special interests with a lot of money and power essentially make all of the decisions. Citizens wield little to no political power. America, the findings indicate, tends towards either of these much more than anything close to what we call “democracy” — systems such as majoritarian electoral democracy or majoritarian pluralism, under which the policy choices pursued by the government would reflect the opinions of the governed.
Nothing new: And no, this isn’t a problem that’s the result of any recent Supreme Court cases — at least certainly not the likes FEC v. Citizens United or FEC v. McCutcheon. The data is pretty clear that America has been sliding steadily into oligarchy for decades, mirrored in both the substantive effect on policy and in the distribution of wealth throughout the U.S. But cases like those might indicate the process is accelerating.
"Perhaps economic elites and interest group leaders enjoy greater policy expertise than the average citizen does," Gilens and Page write. "Perhaps they know better which policies will benefit everyone, and perhaps they seek the common good, rather than selfish ends, when deciding which policies to support.
I try to pretend the America is not full of complacent morons, but when other smart people start pointing it out, it become hard to ignore