The Long Island Press Drone

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York I need my own drone. Not me personally as a citizen (that would be ridiculous) but as a publisher.A Long Island Press drone (available for sponsorship) would enable us to give timely traffic reports, provide up-to-the-minute surf conditions, look for fugitives and measure the size of the daily sewage leaks from our ever-failing sewer and storm water infrastructure.The possibilities are endless. Aerial views of town employees driving official vehicles home after work. Spotting sharks too close to shore. You get the idea.If the American public has little problem with police departments and the FBI using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology and seems indifferent to disclosures that the National Security Agency (NSA) is harvesting massive amounts of its personal data, then it shouldn’t have a problem with journalistic enterprises enhancing their capabilities with drones. Seems logical to me. Though, admittedly, I’m having troubling locating the drone application form on the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.Recently, my wife and I joined three members of the Long Island Press staff at the premiere of Jeremy Scahill’s documentary film, Dirty Wars—the companion piece to his new book of the same name. The film has been opening to packed houses around the country so I made certain to procure tickets in advance, for fear of being locked out of its debut. When the lights dimmed the five of us comprised exactly 50 percent of the audience.Well done, Long Island.Instead of being chagrined by this lack of intellectual curiosity among my fellow Islanders, I chose to view this remarkable display of apathy in a positive light.Since many of you missed it, I’ll give you the upshot of the film. Dirty Wars shines a light on the secret, corrupt and illegal wars being conducted against nations we are not at war with. Scahill’s meticulously researched, first-hand accounts of the devastation being wrought by the excessive utilization of drones have put the Obama administration in an awkward position. The recent NSA spying revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden in The Guardian further compound the administration’s problem with respect to human rights and civil liberties. The fact that the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama has brought more charges of espionage (a charge that potentially carries the death penalty) against Americans than all other presidents combined speaks volumes about Obama’s desire to silence critics and whistleblowers alike.Further, the fact that the administration was forced to admit to killing four U.S. citizens (that we know of) with drone strikes abroad doesn’t seem to have rankled too many of my fellow Long Islanders that much, either. So, like I said, I’m taking this as a tacit show of support for the Press acquiring its very own drone for “surveillance” purposes.There is one more thing. Because I am licensed by Nassau County to carry a weapon and am the owner of the Press, it’s only logical that my drone should be treated as an extension of me and should also be armed. You know, just in case. Rest assured that I would only use it to strike “high-value targets” who threaten our way of life here on Long Island. And, of course, before using my drone for surveillance purposes or (insert flowery euphemism for assassination here) I would seek approval from my secret hand-picked cadre of advisors from the Press.That’s how the government programs work. And everyone is cool with that, right? CIA Director John Brennan comes up with a targeted kill list; runs it by a whole bunch of people in the executive branch, then asks the POTUS for permission to pull the trigger. That’s, like, so many people (from one branch of government) who have to determine (rubber stamp) who gets killed remotely in countries that we’re not at war with (except as designated by the executive branch under a perverted interpretation of authority granted under the AUMF law—look it up.) Surveillance in this country goes through just as arduous a process. The NSA has to ask the secret FISA court for permission in secret to secretly wiretap anyone so long as everyone involved keeps it a secret. Just in case, as Edward Snowden confirmed for us, the NSA has been secretly listening to everything we’ve been saying for quite some time now. They even made secret agreements with outside contractors to build secret facilities to store any and every piece of data secretly collected from around the world.Arduous indeed! This is the process the president recently called “transparent.”Because commercial licenses for drones have been suspended until the FAA issues new guidelines for their use, I’m invoking my privilege under the First Amendment to procure and operate my drone. How so? My drone is essentially like having a super-reporter on staff. Therefore its actions and the data it collects should be protected as free speech. (If unlimited campaign contributions are protected as free speech, this argument can’t be too far off-base.)We are numb. Since 9/11 we have stood by passively during the greatest erosion of domestic civil liberties since the Alien and Sedition Acts and allowed our government to commit atrocities in faraway nations that have succeeded more in fostering antipathy toward our country than the purported purpose of protecting the homeland. Corporate media have furthered the government narrative instead of being a bulwark against it, thus normalizing egregious and unconstitutional behavior in the name of national security. Trusting me with a drone is no more ridiculous than allowing the executive branch to unilaterally determine which civil liberties and human rights to recognize, as if an option exists.The overarching point that must be understood is that the Obama administration has amplified the assault on our rights in a way that would make Richard Nixon blush and Dick Cheney chortle villainously. The president has discarded every protection granted to the citizenry of the United States—and by proxy the world—that he is sworn to cherish and uphold.Unfortunately, my ridiculous example of purchasing a drone is about as serious as the discourse taking place in the media regarding Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning. These two men understand what is at stake right now more than every corporate shill actor hired to read news that has been vetted and approved by the government and corporate masters they serve.last_img read more

Forget the elevator speech and tweet!

first_imgFor a while we’ve heard about the importance of developing an “elevator speech” for your bank or credit union. The thinking here is that, as a brand ambassador for your financial institution, you should be able at all times to describe who you are and what you do in a few brief moments to anyone. In other words, you should be able to give an eloquent brand statement to a stranger in the amount of time it takes to get between floors in a high-rise elevator.While there’s nothing wrong with elevator speeches, maybe it’s time to update our thinking. As an avid Twitter user, I can tell you that it is sometimes difficult to condense your thinking into a 140 – character tweet. The beauty of it is, though, the strict size limitation really requires you to pare-down your thinking to the essentials.Therefore, it’s time to ditch the elevator speech and think more in terms of Twitter when it comes to your financial institution brand.Using that 140 – character limit, how would you describe your bank or credit union to a complete stranger? With every character precious (including commas, spaces and punctuation) how would you choose to invest your space and words?When writing your financial institution Twitter manifesto, consider the following: continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Local teams compete at indoor track regionals

first_imgORONO — Hancock County’s five indoor track teams participated in the penultimate meet of the 2018 season Saturday at the Eastern Maine Indoor Track League championships at the University of Maine.Mount Desert Island finished a county-best seventh in the boys’ meet with 20 points. Ellsworth finished eighth with 18 points, George Stevens Academy took 11th with four points and Bucksport claimed 14th with one point. Sumner did not receive a team score.The MDI girls’ team placed fourth behind Brewer, Hampden Academy and Bangor with a total of 40 points on the day. GSA finished in seventh place with 32 points, Ellsworth claimed 10th place with nine points and Bucksport finished 11th with one point. Emma McKechnie of Ellsworth cleared 5 feet to finish second in the high jump behind Hampden’s Christie Woodside, who cleared 5 feet, 2 inches.The teams will be back in action for the season’s final meet when they participate in the Class B state championships at noon Saturday, Feb. 17. The championship meet, which will be held at Bates College, will mark the first event held outside of Orono this season.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textlast_img read more