Four links to things that might be of interest.
First, just to prove my life has more in it than philosophical musing on the nature of violence and periodic rages at the state of the world, a really good post about cats in art. I like cats. I like their inscrutability, their grace and their arrogance. Actually, this is returning to philosophical musing on the nature of violence. Bollocks.
Second, Europhobia has up a pertinent quote from Locke's Second Treatise. I'm finding it increasingly depressing to comment directly on the series of events that prompted the use of the quote, so I'm going to restrict myself to comment on the quote itself. Quentin Skinner has had this project of attempting to revive parts of an English Republican tradition, and particularly its discourse of freedom, represented well by this article. Locke's claim that to be under arbitrary power is to fall into the state, slavery, which defines what it is to be unfree is taken from that tradition. I find myself increasingly in agreement with Skinner, despite some (practically irrelevant) differences about what it takes for unaccountable power to become a threat to freedom. The absence of oversight of the exercise of power is always a loss of freedom, because it is always the loss of the ability to control one's environment.
Third, the possibility of arbitrary power being checked. I know that writing to MPs about this kind of thing works, because when I was at school, one of my fellow students was going to be deported, quite obviously ridiculously given the murders of much of his family, back to Sierra Leone, still then rather a violent country, and a campaign of writing to local MPs got him the indefinite leave to remain. I think it was indefinite leave to remain: he got to stay.
Finally, waste electricity and thus engage in something of a vast cosmic joke by donating spare computational resources to investigate the extent of climate change over the past century or so here.