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Ha, ha! “Privacy”? What’s that?

With little public attention, dozens of universities and law-enforcement agencies have been given approval by federal aviation regulators to use unmanned aircraft known as drones, according to documents obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests by an advocacy group.

The more than 50 institutions that received approvals to operate remotely piloted aircraft are more varied than many outsiders and privacy experts previously knew. They include not only agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security but also smaller ones such as the police departments in North Little Rock, Ark., and Ogden, Utah, as well the University of North Dakota and Nicholls State University in Louisiana.

The information, released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, came to light as the Federal Aviation Administration gears up to advance the widespread use of the drones. By the fall of 2015, Congress wants the agency to integrate remotely piloted aircraft throughout U.S. airspace.

In February, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department in Colorado tested a drone with an infrared camera. It measures about 36 inch wide.

Although the documents don’t indicate how the aircraft will be used, the disclosures likely will fuel privacy concerns involving drones.

On Thursday, Democratic Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas asked the acting administrator of the FAA to answer questions about the privacy implications of increased drone use.

“Many drones are designed to carry surveillance equipment, including video cameras, infrared thermal imagers, radar and wireless network ‘sniffers,’ “ the representatives wrote in their letter to Michael Huerta. Now that the FAA, under pressure from lawmakers and businesses, is pushing to increase the use of drones, it has “the responsibility to ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected and that the public is fully informed about who is using drones in public airspace and why,” they wrote.

The FAA declined to comment.


I’m doing some spring cleaning, and came across a secret stash of clothes I put away a couple of years ago because I outgrew them (and not in that good “Look how big you’re getting!” way a two-year-old does).

They all fit me now. They’re even a little loose. So I’m really motivated to keep going, because I love clothes and it’s been a while since I got to pick things out by my aesthetic, and not by fit.

And I have another secret stash waiting for me. Woo hoo!

The lady is a tramp

Lena Horne:


It’s allegedly Karl Rove training wingnuts to be attack dogs on liberal blogs. Not sure if it’s true, but it’s a good description of the dynamic. The thing is, any liberal blogger or reader who’s been around just doesn’t talk to trolls, so it’s unlikely to work.

I don’t care what they think. I rarely respond to posts anyway, since we all have Mr. Google at our disposal and I figure if someone really wanted to know, they’d ask him.

Earth Day

Discussing the coming climate crisis with Heidi Cullen.

Remind me again

You got my attention
Go ahead, speak
What was it you wanted
When you were kissin’ my cheek?

From Oh Mercy! (1989), produced by Daniel Lanoir, who arguably helped pull Bob Dylan out of a long artistic slump. In his Chronicles, Volume One, Dylan wrote of his difficulties and pleasant surprises in making the album, and praised Lanoir for the distinctively spooky sound of “What Was It You Wanted…” More here.


More Cheryl:

I wish I were in love again

Carmen McRae:

Happy Earth Day!

Try me again

Linda Ronstadt:

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