An Ontological Political Question

If there are negative numbers- which there are, even though it makes no sense- can there be negative weight?  As near as I can tell, negative mass is hypothetical, and basically impossible. But suppose it could exist- there are more things, etc.  Can something that is weightless still somehow weigh less than something else weightless? After all, a negative number- a number less than zero- can be lower than another negative number, even though they seem like they shouldn’t exist at all. It’s a quandary: are all items lower than absolute zero equal, or is it possible to be even less than something that is nothing?

This line of questioning has nothing to do with trying to figure out if Carly Fiorina’s endorsement of Ted Cruz is more or less important than Johnny Damon endorsing Donal Trump.

(h/t BMK)

Obama’s Drone Legacy


An outstanding editorial in the New York Times today about President Obama’s drone legacy by the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer and Brett Max Kaufman. The gist of the editorial is that Obama has greatly expanded the use of drones while creating a sketchy and mostly-hidden legal regime that justifies their use. Jaffer and Kaufman argue that the President should publish the Presidential Policy Guidance, release the justifying legal memos, acknowledge the all drone strikes “not just those carried out on conventional battlefields”, and “establish a policy of investigating and publicly explaining strikes that kill innocent civilians, and of compensating those victims’ families.”  All of these seem to me to be reasonable, and entirely compatible with living in a democracy.

(Disclosure? Brett is one of my best friends, the kind of stand-up fellow that everyone should know. That’s not why I like this article of course, but it’s goddamn exciting to see your friend’s name in the Times.)

The heart of the article is a stark reminder of what Presidential power does, and how it is nearly impossible to restrain once unleashed. Even if you think that Obama is justified to use drones (in which a case can be strongly made) or he has used them judiciously and wisely (a much harder case to make overall), anyone should be scared of what happens when someone neither as wise nor judicious takes over.

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