I love the future, where even lights have an API.
I love the future, where even lights have an API.
Pretend for a moment that you are president of the United States, responsible for the safety of the entire nation. Do you really want to rule out any means of preventing terrorist attacks?
Rand Paul’s drone filibuster, while admirable as an expression of principle, took place in a theoretical world of civil liberties. Presidents operate in the real world of Americans under continuing threat – just ask President Obama or George W. Bush – and their top priority is to avoid terrorist killings on their watch.
For as much heat as Obama is taking for his administration’s view that in an extraordinary circumstance, a drone could be used against an American inside the United States, imagine what would happen if he didn’t have the tool he needed to avert a nightmarish attack involving an American member of al-Qaida.
Just to be clear, the option Lawrence wants to keep in the executive’s hands is to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil that pose no imminent threat with a drone strike. Just to be clear.
The president’s top priority should not be to “avoid terrorist killings on their watch.” If that’s the case, why have impediments like due process and “unreasonable” search and seizure? Requiring police to have probable cause and a warrant to conduct searches absolutely impinges on the president’s ability to fulfill his top priority, avoiding terrorist killings—so why have them?
It’s something obvious to most people: because there are contravening priorities, like individual freedom, that we all find more important than safety. Safety is not our top priority—it is a priority that must be pursued without harming others. Lawrence dismisses Paul’s “expression of principle” as living in a “theoretical world,” but there’s nothing theoretical about it when there are people literally proposing that the president should have arbitrary and complete power to provide for the country’s internal and external security.
Is it absurd to fear, as some of Paul’s colleagues charged, that the president will begin launching drone strikes on American soil? Probably. But the point is precisely that we live under an administration is so unwilling to acknowledge meaningful limits on what they may do in the name of national security that it was an exercise in tooth-pulling just to get a public disavowal of an absurd scenario that the government’s anemic targeted killing “standards,” taken to their logical extreme, would not appear to foreclose. The crucial message we should take from Paul’s marathon oration, then, may be this: If it’s absurd to pose the question that inspired his filibuster, surely it’s far more absurd that we’ve arrived, after a decade of complacency about government secrecy and unfettered executive discretion in the sphere of counterterrorism, at a point where the question would need to be posed.
The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.
Good thing Libya was just kinetic military action, rather than an attack.
The Big Lebowski was released 15 years ago today. Ashley Fetters has an… interesting take on its legacy:
Over the last 15 years, the Coen brothers’ oddball noir-Western-surrealist comedy about one man’s complicated quest to get his rug replaced after a mistaken hitman pees on it hasn’t just become a cult classic—it’s become something closer to an actual cult. Not only has it launched at least one known, priest-ordaining faith; it’s also become a field of study for religion and mythology scholars, too. In other words, some seek meaning in the movie, while others find meaning, and meaningful fellowship, because of it.
That’s just, like, your opinion, man.
The composition of Europa’s ocean may thus be similar to that of Earth’s seas, researchers said.
“If you could go swim down in the ocean of Europa and taste it, it would just taste like normal old salt,” Brown said.
I can’t wait for the day we send a probe to test Europa’s ocean directly.
I’d like to propose that we can look at the ‘sweet spot’ for each type of device along two axes: task complexity and task duration. Task duration is the more obvious of the two: how long of a continuous period will you be using your device for the task.
It really is an excellent way to think about it in a way that’s much more systematic (and accurate) than “smartphones and tablets are for consumption, PCs are for work.” He argues, based on this explanation, that a larger iPad could allow iOS to encroach further into the PC’s territory. He’s absolutely right, but it wouldn’t be easy; to take full advantage of the screen size, applications would have to be designed specifically for the larger screen—which could result in fragmentation among “iPad” applications. That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, of course, but would complicate the ecosystem.
That was four years ago. Today we have an opportunity to do more: conservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry. I’ve been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love.
All Americans should be treated equally by the law, whether they marry in a church, another religious institution, or a town hall. This does not mean that any religious group would be forced by the state to recognize relationships that run counter to their conscience. Civil equality is compatible with, and indeed promotes, freedom of conscience.
I love this guy. I recommend reading his piece; it’s short, but outlines what I’ve written about how the GOP needs to change quite nicely.
The tide is changing in the Republican party on gay marriage. Not only does Jon Hunstman feel that he should speak out and push his party to change, but other conservatives do, too:
Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.
The Proposition 8 case already has a powerful conservative supporter: Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under Mr. Bush and one of the suit’s two lead lawyers. The amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief is being filed with Mr. Olson’s blessing. It argues, as he does, that same-sex marriage promotes family values by allowing children of gay couples to grow up in two-parent homes, and that it advances conservative values of “limited government and maximizing individual freedom.”
Yes, yes, yes.
Peter Suderman points out a, uh, tension in the Obama administration’s position on Medicare:
You can see a related tension in the administration’s approach to Medicare, the federal health program for seniors. Unlike Medicaid, Medicare is not exempt from sequestration; it’ll face a 2 percent reduction, which will amount to about $11 billion next year. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, noting that the cuts will hit health and drug plans as well as other providers, has warned that this will “result in billions of dollars in lost revenues to Medicare doctors, hospitals, and other providers, who will only be reimbursed at 98 cents on the dollar for their services to Medicare beneficiaries.” And the White House doesn’t seem too pleased either: The Office of Management and Budget’s report on sequestration complains that GOP alternatives to the spending reductions are wrong partly because they “fail to address Medicare sequestration.”
Yet the White House’s whole theory of Medicare reform is built around cutting reimbursements to health providers: When President Obama talks about modestly reforming Medicare without cutting benefits, that’s exactly what he means. Obama has repeatedly called for cutting payments to drug manufacturers, and ObamaCare includes more than $700 billion in cuts to Medicare, which are distributed amongst the various big players in the health industry. The Medicare cost-control board that ObamaCare sets up is expected to focus heavily on reimbursement cuts.
Thanks to Igloo Software for sponsoring this week’s RSS feed. They’ve been a huge supporter of the Syndicate, and their intranet looks awesome, so if you need a tool for team collaboration, give them a look.
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Some great ideas come from other people who don’t have the time to expertise to build them.
Which is also why the initial idea isn’t worth very much on its own. It’s only worth something when it finds its way into the right person’s head—who knows how to cultivate it, develop it, iterate on it, build it—and has enough patience and drive to follow through.
(Via Marcelo Somers.)
One of my favorite iPhone applications, Groceries, just received a pretty big update.
Groceries is a terrific—what else—grocery list that makes it really quick to add items and create different lists. And it’s beautiful.
The new version makes it even faster. As you type out an item to add, Groceries figures out the item, quantity and unit. So if you type “wat 5bo,” it parses it to “water,” “5,” and “bottles.” It’s really, really cool.
She wants to stop by her aunt’s house on the way to drop off some Girl Scout cookies. In my head I’m calculating and recalculating that “1 hour” drive time to Geja’s.
While we’re visiting with her aunt I try not to look at the clock so much. That’s rude. But I wonder: how’s the traffic? How can we get there on time?
Then I get a notification on my Android phone.
That notification let him know that it was time to leave to make it to dinner on time. This sort of thing is another area iOS is behind.
On the way home, giddy from the effervescent freedom of disconnection, I blasted Ryan Adams on the stereo and watched a bleached winter sun sink down the pewter sky. I suddenly wanted to share everything I was seeing and feeling with Dan — so as soon as my iPhone showed I was able, I called him. He answered groggily and slightly grumpily (my mother had given him a respite from taking care of our three-year-old son, and he’d fallen asleep on the couch). In a haze, he didn’t remember my plan to stop and exchange my new running shoes in town; he wasn’t sure if he wanted me to pick up a loaf of bread or if we should make biscuits to go with dinner; he didn’t know offhand if we needed baby wipes. As Dan tried to catch up, I became irritated. In fact, I was incensed. The feeling of buoyant excitement I’d had only moments earlier had gone flat. Why wasn’t he standing at the ready, holding his smartphone like it was a walkie-talkie and we were under enemy fire?
Do read the story. I think stuff like this is more important than how we typically talk about it—technology ruining analog life, etc—gives it credit for.
(Via Rian van der Merwe.)
Thanks to the folks behind Almond+ for sponsoring this week’s RSS feed.
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