Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Arbitrary and Capricious FAA and its Tyranny Against Newsgathering Efforts. Check out this terrific video!

Mayflower, AK—April 27, 2014, tragedy struck the heartland in the form of springtime tornados.  It was not really safe to send up a helicopter and crew to survey the damage.  Emergency vehicles found roads impassable and were unable to locate victims needing assistance.
One drone video journalist sent up his camera high above the scene.  The stunning video he captured was a real public service.  First responders could see areas where help was needed.  The local residents lucky enough to have escaped the wrath of the storms could see if they still had homes and the extent of damage. 
During these emergencies looting becomes a concern and understandably police limit entry to these areas significantly.  Using the camera drones homeowners can see just how their precious homes survived or did not without waiting for police escorts that can take days. 
The FAA tried to take jurisdiction over these little drones that use the tiny HD GoPro cameras.  They decreed that any commercial use would bring their investigators and $10,000.00 fines would follow.  They went after one newsgathering operator and punitively fined him.  A federal judge in Denver recently struck the FAA’s overreaching regulation reversing the fine.  The FAA appealed and the matter is before the Appellate Court waiting for a resolution.
In any event the FAA will try to exercise some authority over these devices but we must expect and demand some sort of reasonableness.  They don’t have any of the manpower needed to regulate millions of these toys that are being built by hobbyists or sold by hobby shops.  The devices themselves because of their small size are invisible to radar.  
Most importantly when the little drones have mishaps nobody is injured nor is there any property damage to show when that happens. 
When there are earthquakes, wildfires, floods and such the only way to survey the damage or discover people needing rescue is from the air.  There are not enough helicopters and flying during threatening weather like the Mayflower is safe as the video shown below demonstrates.  The camera drones can provide a huge public service. 

Has Political Correctness has Finally Killed America? The Donald Sterling Holocaust

Los Angeles, CA—80 year-old billionaire, lawyer, real estate developer and L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling was really just victimized by felonious unlawful electronic eavesdropping of a private conversation.  He made a bigoted sounding statement on that recording. 
Sterling himself is no stranger to bigotry.  Being Jewish has exposed this man to various forms of discrimination his entire life.   Jews are still considered the most despised group of people that ever walked the face of this earth.  Anti-Semitism is indeed ugly and no less offensive that any other forms of intolerance.
Ironically Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers makes him highly dependent on African-American basketball player’s personal excellence in order to realize a profit from his substantial investment in the team.  Such an investment is a sure sign that despite something said privately in a moment of frustration shows that Sterling actually embraces and values all the African-American players in his team.
Sterling’s offhand and illegally recorded remarks made to this married, old geezer’s much younger former girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano were and are offensive. 
Sterling remarked to Stiviano that he did not want her to bring blacks to the games.  Was Sterling referring to some specific blacks or every African-American?  Nobody seems to care; they just want to see Sterling treated like a War Criminal.
Most of us have said regrettable things at one time or another especially in private.  Did we really mean the things we said?  Thankfully we don’t always believe everything we say when we’re annoyed.  Too many of us don’t always choose our words as carefully as we should in public let alone in private.
The revelation of the audio recording of Sterling exploded within the media and African-American dominated sports world.  Many multi-millionaire African-American sports figures reacted like a bunch of whinny crybabies or sissies.  The media wildly fanned the flames with today’s divisive propaganda machine.
The same can be said of the professional Race-Baiters like Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson that live for TV news face-time condemning any and everything they can.  We seem to forget that that is exactly how they make their living.
We somehow lost sight of simple common sense and allowed this non-event to reach epic proportions of insanity.  So far, Sterling has been banned from the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million.  Some still want to see this fellow forced to sell his team.

Adding more injury to this insult is that the gutless wonders at UCLA refused a $3 million donation from Sterling for much needed kidney research.  How many lives will that cost in the name of political correctness? Somehow I smell Janet Napolitano's involvement here.
In the end this event has done nothing to improve race relations but it has only made things worse.  Whatever happened to simple forgiveness?   I guess that old saying,  “Sticks and stones” has lost all relevance. This is a sad time for a dying nation. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Government Buildings, Security and We The People

Los Angeles, CA—The L.A. City Council is considering massive security changes at all LAPD facilities.
This follows an April 7, 2014 shooting inside the lobby of LAPD's West Traffic Division.  Daniel Yealu, 29, who was rejected as a police recruit entered the station with a handgun opening fire on two officers assigned to desk duty.  The officers returned fire, striking Yealu critically injuring him. 
One officer was shot seven times but survived and was quickly discharged from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
Now it’s a sure thing what changes will be made.  Expensive redesign and reconstruction of police facilities further separating citizens from government are the only things politicians will consider.
Of course those seeking to harm cops do so on our streets every day.  Unfortunately those attacks will continue as long as the human race exists. 
The L.A. City Council members are themselves a bunch of candy asses.  They set up a frisk, demean and humiliate system for we the people doing simple business with the city.   Apparently these pathetic politicians feel that they are at risk and deserve more than the armed police officers that were already in place protecting them. 
These very same politicians demand that convenience store clerks, taxi drivers and pizza delivery people stay unarmed and helpless.
Our Constitution does not and cannot provide absolute safety for anybody.  Despite every possible precaution there are deadly weapons and murders in every maximum-security prison in the world.  Life has risks that we all must accept. 
Politicians, appointed bureaucrats and government agents deserve no more security than anyone else.  Of course they don’t see it that way.
I guess our politicians think they deserve the royal treatment.  It’s only a matter of time before we have food tasters to screen whatever these pompous jerks eat for poison.
This frisk, demean and humiliate system began in the 1970’s in response to a few violent incidents in the 1960’s.  Many of the ringleaders behind those violent and deadly acts are today revered icons of America’s political Left Wing like Angelia Davis and Bill Ayers. 
We survived a Civil War, World War I and World War II without suspending the Fourth Amendment to our Bill of Rights.  Nothing has changed except non-stop, escalating government tyranny and extortionate taxation.
We cannot apply for Social Security benefits, a passport, serve on jury duty or contest a parking ticket without the frisk, demean and humiliate treatment from government tyrants. 
Why do our politicians deserve more protection than convenience store clerks?  Today politicians envision themselves as Hollywood A-List members needing bodyguards, an entourage complete with paparazzi photographers. 
The adoring major media players and star-struck reporters sensationalize our politician’s political profiles as personal PR agents rather than providing legitimate news.  
We’ve become a very sorry state of, Us and Them.  Our politicians have removed themselves from we the people.  This was the beginning of the fall of the United States of America and the Freedom and Liberty that this nation used to represent.  
We’ve become a surveillance society and police state that George Orwell so accurately predicted.   I see no hope for our children. 
Our politicians are completely saturated with a culture of corruption and entitlement. It's our fault since they have the absolute power we gave them. 
Our politicians will never scale back their massive control voluntarily.  A violent revolution to return the United States back to its Constitution and Bill of Rights is the only solution. 
Either productive Americans can violently fight for freedom or pack their refugee bags and head to liberty somewhere else.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Death Penalty Activist Ruben “Hurricane” Carter is Dead

Ruben "Hurricane" Carter dead at 76
Toronto, Canada— He was one of seven siblings raised in poverty.   Ruben “Hurricane” Carter had a troubled youth filled with police, jail, courts and prison.  He somehow found salvation and money as a champion boxer until his new life came crashing down.
Carter’s troubled past kept him on the police radar as a “usual suspect” and he was arrested and twice convicted for a New Jersey triple murder.  Finally in 1985 after some 20 years in prison Carter finally won his freedom from the wrongful conviction.
Carter left the nation that failed him in seeking justice for Canada.  He spent the rest of his life speaking, advocating and investigating on behalf of Death Row inmates.  Carter created and chaired a foundation for the wrongly convicted. 

Carter and Willoughby courtesy New Times
I met and chatted extensively with Carter in Phoenix when he came there on behalf of former Death Row inmate 
Dan Willoughby during his second trial.   Willoughby asked me to do his defense investigation but the court appointed rotation list did not allow for that to happen.  He had insufficient resources to hire me.  Instead I covered the case for TV news.  

Carter was a friendly and determined fellow.  Just like the actor that played him in the movie Hurricane, Denzel Washington, Carter was a very sharp dresser.    

Dan Willoughby
Dan Willoughby had a somewhat sordid adulterous affair with a Mexican transsexual named Yesenia Patino.  In 1991, Patino murdered Willoughby’s then wife Trish in Rocky Point, Mexico. 
Arizona authorities felt that Willoughby was involved in a murder conspiracy that began there and claimed jurisdiction of the murder that was committed in a foreign land.

Patino said she beat Trish Willoughby’s head in with a medieval mace and stabbed her with two knives and strangled her with a rope.  Patino was sent to a Mexican prison for 35 years but was brought to Arizona twice to testify against Willoughby.   Patino first claimed that Willoughby was present and participated in the murder. 
After the first trial Patino recanted, saying she carried out the murder alone and that led to the second trial.   
Even thought the crime occurred in Mexico where there is no death penalty Willoughby wound up on Arizona’s Death Row.  The resources and expertise of Mexican police to examine the crime scene was nothing less than what we’d call today, a CSI nightmare.
Getting an Arizona jury to believe Willoughby considering his peculiar adultery paramour and issues surrounding his dead wife’s wealth and a $1 million life insurance policy proved impossible. 
The jury viewed Willoughby as being a philandering, gold digging, perverted and unsympathetic character.  He was convicted again at his second trial.  This time Willoughby was spared the death penalty and re-sentenced to life in Prison.  
Carter passed away at age 76 in Toronto.  His funeral arrangements are pending.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Camera Armed Quadcopters, Public Safety and Privacy Examination.

Los Angeles, CA—When the topics of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or drones are brought up so are the issues of fear, loathing and regulation.  Ignorance of the unknown is always a source of difficulty.  However take a look at the issues with an open mind. 
Aerial photography is not new, but until now it was just expensive.  We’ve co-existed with fixed wing airplanes and helicopters, all of our lives.  It’s settled law that we have no reasonable expiation of privacy outside of our homes and the other shelters we inhabit.
For nearly two decades we’ve been under observation from high-resolution cameras mounted on satellites.  We’ve all seen those incredible Google Earth views.  All of those privacy issues have been addressed and settled in the courts redundantly.
Suddenly we have great diminutive cameras and UAV’s to take them to the skies.  The privacy laws remain exactly the same.
There are huge advantages for these new UAV’s such as search and rescue, looking for lost pets, newsgathering video and filmmaking.   Safety inspection of roofs, transformers, power lines and elevated structures can be accomplished now with ease and without risk of injury.  
Additionally UAV’s have proven to help both sales people and buyers of real estate see a better view of those properties.
Aside from all of this, there is a long established hobby involved with remote controlled aircraft.  Millions of teens and adults have been enjoying this great hobby.
We’ve all seen videos and pictures of catastrophic helicopter crashes in our cities.  Death, destruction and horrible injuries occur when these things happen.  Those terrible accidents are somewhat rare but by no means isolated.  I lost two friends over the years in news helicopter crashes.
Now we have the small, light UAV’s and they're a game changer for the better.  Mishaps are not uncommon with the new UAV’s mostly due to pilot error.  The difference here is the UAV’s almost always escape damage!  Injuries are beyond rare and very minor if they happen at all.  UAV damage is proving to be somewhat less than that what would be caused by a thrown common tennis ball.
We all know about the large, heavy military UAV drones usually armed with weapons that governments use.  They cost as much or more than conventional aircraft and are simply not part of this discussion. 
The proliferation of these new small UAV drones like the one involved in the photo above and the video below will save millions of dollars for news organizations, businesses and government agencies as they reduce tragic accidents.
The video below shows what happens when a pilot loses control of a UAV in a populated area.  This should not have happened and it resulted from simple inexperience.  However you will see first hand the worst-case scenario of my own UAV mishap.  No damage or injuries whatsoever. 
My UAV was lost for nearly three months. The UAV and its little GoPro camera survived without single a scratch! They are both back in service today.  Nobody was injured nor was there even a hint of property damage. 
Should the battery die in an airborne UAV, they automatically go into a lower power mode and gently float to the ground. 
Watch the disappearance and crash landing of my UAV over the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles last January.  The little 64 Gigabyte SD ram card onboard saved and objectively documented the entire event.  

The Netherlands by a camera Armed Drone---Wow!

'Okay I'm hooked on Drones for newsgathering, filmmaking and just plain fun.  I love Germany and the Netherlands and hope to retire there someday.  Here is some great video from yet another high-end offering into this new technology explosion!

Cloudshots.NL | videoshowreel jan. 2014 from Cloudshots.NL on Vimeo.

Cloudshots.NL | bevrijdingsfestival overijssel 2013 from Cloudshots.NL on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Michael Bloomberg is Spending $50 Million to Help Gun Owners!

New York, NY—Billionaire and former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he’s investing $50 million of his own money to castigate firearms owners and the NRA
Apparently Bloomberg has failed to notice that the more discussion about firearms to more popular gun rights becomes.  Each political push after mass shootings has backfired greater than the last!  These days each poll on gun control is better than the last! 
Nearly every public relations experts understands what the late, P.T. Barnum said, “I don't care what they say about me, just make sure they spell my name right!”  Even bad publicity can be good! 
With each discussion of gun control comes research and lots of thought.  In the end the lies, half-truths and deception about guns fails.  What people discover is guns can save lives, especially their own! 
Bloomberg couldn’t help gun owners any better even if he gave the cash to the NRA! 
Bloomberg’s planned mission is as defective as his entire thought process on guns.  In the end I expect we will have much better educated population when it guns and gun rights.  Thanks Mike!