Low-flying federal surveillance planes popping up over more cities

Big Brother.

Cessna 182 N859JA over McLean, VA in July 2014. (Image: liveandietpie via imgur!, Reddit)
Cessna 182 N859JA over McLean, VA in July 2014. (Image: liveandietpie via imgur!, Reddit)

Just a few weeks after similar activity was reported during the Baltimore riots, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune has a story about unmarked small planes flying low-altitude surveillance patterns, in the middle of the night, over downtown Minneapolis and the Mall of America.

Aviation buff John Zimmerman was at a weekly gathering of neighbors Friday night when he noticed something peculiar: a small plane circling a route overhead that didn’t make sense to him.

It was dark, so a sightseeing flight didn’t make sense, and when Zimmerman pulled up more information on an aviation phone app he routinely checks, he had immediate concerns.

The plane’s flight path, recorded by the website flightradar24.com, would eventually show that it circled downtown Minneapolis, the Mall of America and Southdale Center at low altitude for hours starting at 10:30 p.m., slipping off radar just after 3 a.m.

“I thought, ‘Holy crap,’ ” said Zimmerman.

Bearing the call sign N361DB, the plane is one of three Cessna 182T Skylanes registered to LCB Leasing of Bristow, Va., according to FAA records. The Virginia secretary of state has no record of an LCB Leasing. Virtually no other information could be learned about the company.

Continue reading “Low-flying federal surveillance planes popping up over more cities”

VA abuses American veterans: Denies delivery of Christmas cards

Tidings of discomfort and intolerance.

Children can’t deliver handmade Christmas cards to veterans in a VA hospital in Dallas, if the cards say “Merry Christmas” or include sentiments like “God bless you.”

That’s what the students at Grace Academy in Prosper, Texas discovered the Friday before Christmas.  They had labored over their handmade cards, but when Susan Chapman, a math teacher at the school, called the VA to arrange for the children to deliver their cards, she was told that cards with the prohibited inscriptions could not be distributed. Continue reading “VA abuses American veterans: Denies delivery of Christmas cards”

Intolerance and anti-Semitism: Britain jumps shark

It all comes from the same root.

Perhaps it was one thing – a less alarming thing, if you will – for Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll to be arrested by the London police for walking into a Muslim neighborhood.  Melanie Phillips posted a well-documented criticism of the English Defence League, and of Robinson, in particular, after she was inundated with angry responses when she referred, in a previous post, to their association with thuggish actions and racism.

Robinson and Carroll, and their political group, the English Defence League (EDL), have connections to the racist British National Party (BNP), which was founded as a whites-only organization.  Even Brits who agree with much of the EDL and BNP agendas are at pains to point out that the BNP is an avowedly racist organization.  Calling it racist is not an exaggeration by the Left.  Indeed, the UK Independence Party, the libertarian party which has been making political gains against both Labour and Conservatives, is at equal pains to distance itself from the racism of the BNP. Continue reading “Intolerance and anti-Semitism: Britain jumps shark”

Gun laws and trusting the government

Give ’em an inch.

Reportedly, a pair of U.S. Senators – Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia – have put together a compromise on extending background checks, as a way of keeping some element of President Obama’s gun-restrictions proposal alive in Congress.

Toomey was reassuring about the concern that “universal background checks” would lead to a national gun registry:

Responding to claims by opponents, including the NRA, that more background checks would lead to a national gun registry, Toomey said, “It simply doesn’t happen.”

Not quite clear what that sentence means, but it is being interpreted as indicating that gun owners’ concerns are groundless.

Are they? Continue reading “Gun laws and trusting the government”

Same-sex “marriage”

OK, fine, it’s in the news, we gotta talk about it.

My bottom line on same-sex marriage (SSM) as a political issue is that recognizing it will inevitably be a misuse of government.  It is especially a misuse of national government.  States have more latitude to indulge in governmental malpractice, because the rights of citizens are properly backstopped at the federal level.  If a state has infringed citizens’ rights by doing something misguided, a federal read on the Constitution should adjust the problem.  But the national government must remain limited in its scope for mucking around in the people’s lives, in large part because there is no appeal above it.

The corruption of our thinking

The original intent of the Civil Rights Act was precisely to affirm federal constitutional protection for rights that were being infringed – either outright or in effect – by state law. Continue reading “Same-sex “marriage””