Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Virginia Politics - #3963 - The Rutherford Institute Warns Gov. McDonnell Against Using Drones in Virginia, Cites Threats to Safety, Privacy & Civil Liberties - Rutherford Institute (2) Homeland Security Dept. Orders So Many Drones it Can't Keep Them All Flying - Washington Times (3) Virginia Legislature: Why were 'Liberal Code Words' Omitted From Proposed State Climate Change Study? - The Blaze



In a letter to Bob McDonnell, John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, is warning the Virginia Governor against rushing to sanction the use of drones—unmanned aerial vehicles—in the Commonwealth. Whitehead’s letter comes in response to remarks made by McDonnell in a recent radio interview in which he observed that the domestic use of drones is “great” and “the right thing to do” for the same reasons they are so effective in a “battlefield” environment, because they are economical, efficient, and could keep police officers safe. Pointing out that economy, efficiency, and the security of law enforcement officials do not trump the rights of American citizens, Whitehead is calling on the governor to establish a commission to study the use of drones domestically and their impact on the safety and privacy of Virginians. The Rutherford Institute’s letter to Governor McDonnell is available here.America is not a battlefield, and the citizens of this nation are not insurgents in need of vanquishing,” said Whitehead. “What this Commonwealth needs are government leaders who understand that their primary duty is protecting the constitutional rights of its citizens.  Without robust safeguards for the privacy and security of citizens, especially to protect against emerging technologies such as drones, Americans will find themselves operating under a new paradigm marked by round-the-clock surveillance and with little hope of real privacy.”  Read more.........

Border Agency Overextended on Drone Program - Washington Times - The Homeland Security Department ordered so many drones it can’t keep them all flying and doesn’t have a good plan for how to use them, according to a new audit that the department’s inspector general released Monday. In a blunt assessment, investigators said Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine has a fleet of nine “unmanned aircraft systems” and is awaiting a 10th — though it doesn’t have enough ground support and doesn’t have a good plan for prioritizing missions. “CBP procured unmanned aircraft before implementing adequate plans,” the investigators said. Read more..........

Virginia Legislature: Why Were 'Liberal Code Words' Omitted from Proposed State Climate Change Study? - The Blaze Earlier this year, some Virginia lawmakers wanted to conduct a study on how climate change could affect the state’s shorelines. Before passing the proposed study though in the General Assembly, a few minor tweaks had to be made to the language. What were the textual modifications? Instead of using the words “climate change” and “sea level rise,” the proposed study used words like “recurrent flooding.” The Virginian-Pilot reports fear of rejection and outspokeness by conservative groups as the reason for the omission of these “liberal code words. With a more “politically neutral” tone, the proposed study “sailed” through the Republican dominated General Assembly and was signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell. The Pilot describes this as evidence that “climate skeptics” are “forcing state and local government to stay clear of certain buzzwords [...].” Read more.........

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