Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Opposition to the use of drones in domestic airspace is spreading from the Code Pink left to the Fox News right. While conservatives laud the use of drones against suspected militants overseas, the sudden and vehement criticism of domestic drones this week by three right-wing commentators suggests that Congress’s rush to open up U.S. airspace to unmanned aviation vehicles now faces an unusual left-right chorus of critics.
I don’t want regulations, I don’t want restrictions, I want a ban on this. Drones are instruments of war. The Founders had a great aversion to any instruments of war, the use of the military inside even the United States. It didn’t like standing armies, it has all kinds of statutes of using the army in the country.”
A drone is a high-tech version of an old army and a musket. It ought to be used in Somalia to hunt bad guys but not in America. I don’t want to see it hovering over anybody’s home. Yes, you can say we have satellites, we’ve got Google Street View and London has a camera on every street corner but that’s not an excuse to cave in on everything else and accept a society where you’re always under — being watched by the government. This is not what we want,” Krauthammer said on the panel portion of FOX News’ “Special Report.”
In fact,Krauthammer has outdone the ACLU, which has invoked a “nightmare scenario” of drones without calling for an outright ban. Krauthammer even predicted that some Americans may try to shoot down a surveillance drone, while adding he did not want to encourage the idea.
On Tuesday, Fox News contributor Anthony Napolitano seconded Krauthammer’s prediction, minus his scruples. “The first American patriot that shoots down one of these drones that comes too close to his children in his backyard will be an American hero,” Napolitano said, much to the consternation of anti-vigilantes at Media Matters. Conservative impresario Matt Drudge also wondered about the legality of shooting down drones, tweeting Tuesday, “Question for The New Age: If one shoots down a fed/police drone while it’s invading one’s privacy, does that make one a terrorist?”
Later on Tuesday, CNN’s resident conservative Jack Cafferty worried that, “as more and more of these unmanned aircraft pop up over U.S. soil, they may be used to spy on Americans.”
There is an Air Force document that says if unmanned drones accidentally capture surveillance footage of Americans, they can keep the information for up to 90 days and analyze it. Where is that in the Constitution?
The U.S. military and the government aren’t supposed to conduct surveillance of Americans on U.S. soil without their consent, but if they accidentally capture you on video, that’s OK.
While political unity can be heartwarming, the differences between liberal and conservative critics are not negligible, reflecting very different cultural and ideological impulses. While conservatives fantasize about shooting down drones, liberals dream their moral arguments can control the skies. But it is striking that these conservative critics, while supporting the drone wars overseas, do not see security benefits at home. Like liberals, they see mostly an incipient civil liberties threat.
Whether a coalition of the libertarian left and libertarian right can influence U.S. domestic drone policy remains to be seen. A similar coalition has opposed the Patriot Act for a decade without visible effect.
Jefferson Morley is a staff writer for Salon in Washington and author of the forthcoming book, Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835 (Nan Talese/Doubleday).More Jefferson Morley.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.