Friday, March 28, 2008

Miami Police Decide 'US Citizen' = 'Terrorist'

Palm Beach Post: "Dorr said Miami-Dade police may get a permit to test a drone over an uninhabited area, such as the Everglades. But to use the drone in police work over an urban area - especially a busy air corridor such as Miami-Dade - it would need a permit, which will be hard to come by.

"We have a responsibility to protect the public, both people on the ground and other aircraft," Dorr said.

The drone that interests the Miami-Dade police is called the MAV - Micro-Air Vehicle - and it is made by Honeywell International. The radio-controlled unit weighs 14 pounds without fuel aboard and operates in the air like a helicopter.

"It can hover and go straight down or up, for example," police spokesman Villalba said.

According to Honeywell, the MAV can operate at a maximum of 10,500 feet and at a top speed of 50 knots per hour. It can be carried in a large backpack and be deployed in five minutes.

In September, a Honeywell official estimated that the MAV - including the aircraft and its ground control system - would cost about $250,000."

Terrific. So camera's on Red Lights aren't enough (besides for making money). Camera's on street corners aren't enough. Camera's in apartments are useless. So what else? Camera's in the air, of course!
So simple, I could have thought of it myself.

I've been tolerant of these things so far, figuring that as long as it's on public property, then it may be beneficial. But flying cameras? That's ridiculous. We use these things to fight terrorists, and to inefficiently watch the border criminals cross back and forth.

One side of my mine rationalizes this as analogous to a Helicopter used in high speed car chases and manhunts.
I think economics is certainly a factor it this, as it always is. The incentive for a police force to use a helicopter in those situations is obvious. Few, if any criminals are going to outrun a skillfully piloted helicopter, and the view from the top can be helpful in directing officers on the ground, and training/reviews later on.
But it's expensive to own and operate a
rotary wing aircraft. In fact, the Kansas City PD spent $1,004,256 in 2006 on running a helicopter unit. So while it may be fun to police traffic with a helicopter, the incentive is no where near large enough to outweigh the vast cost and dedication of resources that would take. As such, we have never had to deal with active monitoring from the air by Police Departments. (Satellites excluded, but that's a different set of circumstances)

Not so with a drone. Requiring only 1 or 2 people to operate, and with a far lower cost, both on purchasing, training, fuel, and maintenance, it is now financially and technically feasible for active monitoring from the sky to take place on a regular basis.

Sure, right now it's only for Swat Operations.
2 years from now?
As the incentive to actively monitor from the sky grows in comparison with the cost, more and more departments will begin using aerial cameras to monitor us mortals, who deign to carry out lives while wishing for privacy.

Big Brother, eat your stale, crusty heart out.

"'Oranges and lemons,' say the bells of St. Clement's,
'You owe me three farthings,' say the bells of St. Martin's..

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hilary in Bosnia

Some quality journalism coming from CBS news, of all places.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Where and who?

Where is this:
And Who said this:
""If freedom loving people don't speak out against China's oppression of people in Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak out against any oppressed people.""

Friday, March 21, 2008

Oh, there you are John

Politico: "John Edwards is unlikely to endorse either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton before the nomination is decided, according to interviews with several members of the former candidate's inner circle.

At least three individuals who have recently spoken to Edwards expect that he will choose to stay out of the fight, though they warn that no one other than his wife, Elizabeth, can be certain of his thinking.

“My gut instinct, at this point: He’s probably going to remain neutral and sort of try to play on that Al Gore status as party elder,” said a former Edwards operative who is in regular contact with the former North Carolina senator and who asked that his name be withheld.

Fascinating how a candidate who has twice in a row been deemed as not the best contender can claim the mantle of 'elder statesman' in a party.

At least Al Gore has 'Former Vice President' and 'Inventor of the internet' to stand upon.
Edwards? He's good at chasing ambulances.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How did it come to this?

Where did the Democrat's primary season turn so sour?
How did the dream race of 2008 become so divisive and vindictive for the left wing party?

It started out great. A party united in it's hatred of Bush and the republican establishment, a virulent dislike of the ongoing war, a unified front on increasing spending, and a strong set of candidates for president.

Hilary Rodam Clinton: First serious woman contender, political heavyweight, and US Senator. A razor-sharp woman with experience on a wide variety of levels.
Barack Hussein Obama: First serious black contender, political idealist, and US Senator. A black man with a fresh face, charisma, and a European socialist agenda.
John Edwards: ...?

So after both the man and the woman beat down the old has been White Man from the South, the sky should have been the limit.
So what happened?

Obama and Clinton have similar policies, particularly on the domestic front. There are subtle differences, but by and large, they both sit well in the left field bleachers.

Where they do differ is on Forign Policy, particularly Iraq. As the surge works successfully in Iraq, it has faded as a news item, and a point of contention amongst the contenders. Thus, we are left with only one real difference, and it's a style of politics the dems are well practiced at.
Personal Politics, where the identity of the candidate matters more then the policies.

Obama is a rockstar, and carries himself like a president should, with dignity and honor fitting years of proud service. He's also a fresh face on the national stage. At this point, much of the national media seems to have joined his camp, which only adds to his image.
Hilary is beacon of hope flashing from the distant past of the 1990's, a reminder of the most recent glory days of the Democrat party. That, and the war machine of the Clinton's has some pretty deep roots, and has managed to salvage a poor campaign twice now.

So what's going to happen?
A convention battle for the ages. The 2 dream candidates of the past century, and the body blows will fall fast and furious in a desperate attempt to garner the super delegates.
I think Clinton wins it at the convention.

Lost in this shuffle is Edwards. Where did he mosey off to anyways?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Florida Voters: What is wrong with them?

AP: "Every vote counts. But what happens when there are no votes at all? That's the situation city officials in Tamarac are facing. No voters showed up Wednesday night to cast a ballot in an annexation referendum for an unincorporated Broward County community.

There are 68 registered voters in the 200-person Prospect Bend neighborhood. Tamarac officials have proposed annexing the neighborhood.

Details were mailed to registered voters. If just one voter had shown up, that one vote would have decided the neighborhood's fate.

The cost of keeping a polling site open for 12 hours with no voters: $2,500."

Whatever happens to that area, they get what they deserve. Not one person goes to vote... my, how the west has fallen.

Or, from another perspective: This didn't really matter, why were they voting on it?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A modicum of sanity remains

WNBC.Com ""I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong," Spitzer said.
"I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better."
"I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals; it is about ideas, the public good and doing what is best for the state of New York," Spitzer said.

"Spitzer's involvement in the ring was caught on a federal wiretap as part of an investigation opened in recent months, according to a law enforcement official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing inquiry.

The New York Democrat, identified in legal papers as "Client 9," met last month with at least one woman in a Washington hotel, the law enforcement official said. The prostitution ring, identified in court papers as the Emperors Club VIP, arranged connections between wealthy men and more than 50 prostitutes in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, London and Paris, prosecutors said. Four people allegedly connected to the high-end ring were arrested last week.

When I read the pre-cursor to this story yesterday, I pretty much gave a mental shrug and moved to some economic news I found more interesting. I assumed no one would care. It's New York and he's a democrat, who cares?
Well, apparently there is far more sanity in the hearts and minds of my yankee brethren then I originally assumed.

The worst part about this story has got to be what is going on behind the scenes, the family matters we're not privy to. I point to three reasons:
1. His wife, Silda Spitzer and her reaction at the press conference. The pain she must be going through is understandable, and unlike Kobe's wife, it doesn't look like she'll be bought off by some fancy jewelry. Good for her.
2. The timing of this incident is ridiculous. The date mentioned for the hiring of the prostitute? February 13. One bloody night before valentines day. Simply despicable at any time, but the middle of February? Come on!
3. Spitzer made a campaign issue out of reforming the ethics of the government, and pointed to his record as a State Attorney, and several high-profile corporate cases as his record.
Well, how clean are we now?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

My calls today

Hilary takes Ohio and the majority of Texas, I think this Obama momentum is over rated, as it was in New Hampshire.

McCain, sadly, wraps up his nomination today. Huckabee's put up a good fight, but I don't think it will be enough.