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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 12:47 PM
Number of posts: 11,824

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A surveillance plane owned by a company in Bristow, VA? Not at all new:


Source: Mystery plane in Quincy was following Matanov

Posted May. 31, 2014 at 12:11 PM
Updated May 31, 2014 at 12:15 PM

By Patrick Ronan
The Patriot Ledger

QUINCY – The mysterious plane that made overnight loops around Quincy and perplexed a slew of city residents last spring was being used to surveil Khairullozhon Matanov, the latest man charged in the Boston Marathon bombings investigation, a source with knowledge of the case said Friday.

The source, who spoke to The Patriot Ledger on a condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the case, said the aircraft was being used by investigators to track Matanov, who lives on Common Street in West Quincy.

Last spring, residents from Wollaston to West Quincy called the city and police to complain about an aircraft making wide, repeated loops in the air, between about 7 p.m. and 4 a.m. The residents described a low-pitch humming sound coming from the aircraft, and some said it was reminiscent of a drone, which is an unmanned aircraft operated by remote control

In response, the Federal Aviation Administration said it knew what was up there but it wouldn’t tell the public. “It’s not a drone,” FAA spokesman Jim Peters said at the time. “It’s an authorized flight, and we are aware of it.”...


Photos show mystery aircraft over Quincy is not a drone

...Photos of one of the planes that have been flying over Quincy show that, despite suspicions, the aircraft is not a drone.

The Cessna single-engine airplane, which residents have captured in photos, has been flying overhead for weeks, turning circles around the Quincy and Milton air space...

...FAA spokespeople have said the aircraft is not a drone, but refused to elaborate on the machine's purpose.

The tail number, N906TM, which can be seen in one photo, is registered to a company called RKT Productions. The only information that could be found on the company is a post office box in Bristow, Va.

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed May 6, 2015, 09:54 PM (0 replies)

Police can’t delay traffic stops to investigate crimes absent suspicion, Supreme Court rules


Police can’t delay traffic stops to investigate crimes absent suspicion, Supreme Court rules

By Orin Kerr April 21 at 3:18 PM

The Supreme Court handed down a notable Fourth Amendment ruling this morning in Rodriguez v. United States, holding that the Fourth Amendment does not allow the police to extend the duration of a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion, even for just a “de minimis” amount of time, for reasons unrelated to vehicle and driver safety. The vote was 6-3, with Justice Ginsburg writing for the majority and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito dissenting. I’m pleased with the Court’s opinion. The Court’s holding, and the reasoning, matches up well with the approach I have suggested.

The issue in the case: When the police make a routine traffic stop, can the police delay the duration of the stop, even just for a small amount of time, to wait for drug sniffing dogs, absent any articulable suspicion to believe that there are drugs in the car? The Court has previously held that officers are allowed to use drug-sniffing dogs at a traffic stop so long as the use of the dogs does not delay the stop. This case raises the flip question: What if use of the dogs delays the stop just a little bit. Is that okay? How much leeway do the police have on the duration of the stop, given that a traffic stop is a seizure and its duration would normally determine how reasonable the delay is?

The case may ring a bell for regular readers, as I’ve blogged about it a bunch of times. My prior posts include this post when the lower court ruled; this post when the Court granted cert, this video after the grant, and this post after the Supreme Court’s argument...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Apr 22, 2015, 02:21 PM (2 replies)

'Wellness Guru' Belle Gibson lied about having brain cancer, profited from lying about bogus cancer


'Wellness Guru' Belle Gibson lied about having brain cancer, profited from lying about bogus cancer cures

By Xeni Jardin

After journalists dug into her questionable cancer cure claims, "natural healing" huckster Belle Gibson has admitted she lied to her followers, her friends, her family, and vulnerable cancer patients about having cancer, and curing her cancer with food and woo.

The 23-year-old Australian bullshitted the entire world about having terminal brain cancer, and profited from her completely fictional story via her "natural wellness" app, The Whole Pantry. On her blog, she claims she cured her terminal brain cancer by avoiding gluten and sugar. Shocking, I know, but: this is not how cancer works.

Last month, Gibson failed to donate the $300K she promised from sales of her app to charity. Friends had (jesus, finally?) begun to question whether her cancer story might be made up. Police in Victoria said they would not pursue criminal charges against Gibson, but the internet seems ready to pursue its own version of justice: The Great Moment of Mass Shaming.


In an exclusive interview in the May issue of The Australian Women's Weekly on sale today wellness advocate Belle Gibson admits her cancer diagnosis was not real...

...In a special investigation, The Weekly reveals the reality behind her cancer diagnosis, the current financial state of her business, The Whole Pantry - and her belief that she has been hard done by.

Gibson was asked outright if she has, or has ever had cancer.

“No. None of it’s true,” she confessed...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Apr 22, 2015, 02:13 PM (5 replies)

A gun license surge in Massachusetts


By Catherine Cloutier Globe Staff April 20, 2015

The number of “license to carry” gun permits issued in Massachusetts spiked last year in anticipation of last summer’s passage of a sweeping gun control bill that tightened the state’s already strict firearms laws, according to a Globe analysis of state firearms data.

In the months prior to the law’s signing, many gun owners feared firearm licenses would soon be restricted or even eliminated, so “people wanted to make sure they got the license in case the state did something to limit them,” said Wayne Sampson, executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.

“There was a huge uptick while the Legislature was debating this issue,” he said...

...Overall, the number of active gun licenses of all types grew 5 percent, with a total of 355,272 in the state last year.

I wonder how that last sentence will be explained away by the excessively verbose posters that claim the rise in gun sales is due to previous gun owners adding to their collections...

Another take:


Mass. Sees Surge in Gun Licenses Last Year

...A Boston Globe analysis of state data found that the number of active Class A licenses - the license to carry category that includes the right to carry a concealed weapon - grew nearly 12 percent from 2013 and 2014. That was a significantly greater jump than in past years...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Apr 20, 2015, 03:23 PM (21 replies)

NY Civil Liberties Union: Erie County Sheriff Records Reveal Invasive Use of “Stingray” Technology


Erie County Sheriff Records Reveal Invasive Use of “Stingray” Technology

April 7, 2015 — The New York Civil Liberties Union released today records it received from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office on its use of ”stingrays,” devices that can track and record New Yorkers’ locations via their cell phones. The records showed that of the 47 times the Sheriff’s Office used stingrays in the past four years, it apparently only once obtained a court order, contradicting the sheriff’s own remarks.

“These records confirm some of the very worst fears about local law enforcement’s use of this expensive and intrusive surveillance equipment,” said NYCLU Staff Attorney Mariko Hirose. “Not only did the Sheriff’s Office promise the FBI breathtaking secrecy to keep information about stingrays as hidden as possible, it implemented almost no privacy protections for the Erie County residents it is sworn to protect and serve.”

Stingrays can collect information on all cell phones in a given area as well as precisely track particular phones, locating people within their own home, at a doctor’s office, at a political protest or in a church.

In March, a Supreme Court Justice ruled that the Sheriff’s Office must disclose information about stingrays after the NYCLU sued the office for failing to follow the law and respond to public information requests about how it uses the devices.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Apr 8, 2015, 09:56 PM (1 replies)

The FBI Lets Criminals Walk in Order to Keep This Device a Secret


The FBI Lets Criminals Walk in Order to Keep This Device a Secret

Kate Knibbs
Filed to: Stingrays

4/08/15 1:20pm

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is notoriously secretive about its cell phone tracking tools known as Stingrays. Now, new documents obtained by the ACLU show how the Feds keep their surveillance gadgets shrouded in mystery: the FBI makes cops dismiss criminal cases if they threaten to reveal secrets about Stingrays.

The American Civil Liberties Union received an unredacted copy of a six-page non-disclosure agreement between the FBI and the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, once a court ordered that the ACLU had a right to request the information.

The agreement explicitly outlines the many steps local law enforcement needs to take in order to have permission to use the Stingrays, which are made by the Harris Corporation. Here’s the directive to stop prosecuting to protect the technology:

“In addition, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office will, at the request of the FBI, seek dismissal of the case in lieu of using or providing or allowing others to use or provide any information concerning the Harris Corporation wireless collection equipment/technology, its associated software, operating manuals, and any related documentation”

Here's the NYCLU's page discussing this, with links to the relevant documents:

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Apr 8, 2015, 09:52 PM (1 replies)

The GOP Senators seem to have left a sentence out of their letter to Iran

"No family members of the undersigned will be taking part in any combat operations against you."
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Mar 11, 2015, 01:05 AM (7 replies)

They may be correct, but definitely *not* for this reason:

FWIW, I believe Massachusetts has every right to ban stun guns, but not because of
one of the reasons given...


SJC rules against woman in Ashland stun gun case

By Anamika Roy
Daily News Staff
Posted Mar. 2, 2015 at 6:48 PM

BOSTON - What started as a call to the Ashland Police for a possible shoplifting case may end up in the hands of the highest court in the country.

On Monday, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled in a unanimous decision that the state’s ban on the possession of stun guns does not violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That ruling upheld a conviction in which a woman was arrested outside an Ashland supermarket four years ago and charged with having a stun gun - which she claimed was for self defense - in her purse...

...In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment guaranteed the right to possess a handgun for self-defense in the home. However, the SJC says in its opinion that ruling does not cover stun guns.

The court goes on to say that Caetano’s case falls outside the “core” of the Second Amendment in that Caetano was not using the stun gun to defend herself in her home. It calls stun guns a "dangerous and unusual weapon" that was not "in common use at the time of enactment” of the Second Amendment.

Anyone else see the problem here? Bueller?
(Please try to keep the special pleading to a minimum)

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Mar 4, 2015, 02:39 PM (9 replies)

Audio of Bloomberg's remarks at the Aspen Institute about minorities and guns

After you've listened to this, I'd urge you to recall the recent words of a prominent DUer:

"When you support right wing causes, it makes you a right winger too.


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Feb 25, 2015, 06:59 PM (26 replies)

Yet another gun control advocate caught in a lie, this time on camera

More pious fraud, via YouTube:

For those that can't view the video, here's the description:

During testimony in front of the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee on Feb 12, 2015, Kelly Burke -- president of the Texas chapter of anti-civil rights group Moms Demand Action -- claimed that Texas CHL crime stats are "completely locked down" and not available to the public. That is a bold-faced lie, as the stats are available from the Texas DPS website:


She then proceeded to label claims that CHL holders are responsible and law-abiding as "anecdotal and conjecture". That is another lie, as the publicly available DPS stats show that Texas CHL holders are even less likely to commit crimes than Texas peace officers (let alone the general population).

From the very website that puts the lie to Burke's words:


Conviction Rates

The following reports represent the number of Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders with convictions versus the entire Texas population with convictions. The criminal history conviction data is not considered “final” until a year after the conviction. Each report is generated for the current year minus two years (for example, the 2006 Conviction Rates Report was run in mid-2008 to allow for “final” conviction status on the 2006 Criminal History records). Each report contains descriptive text regarding the data content

It must be said in Burke's defense that she's no less honest than MDA's head and chief financier...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Feb 19, 2015, 06:38 PM (4 replies)
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