Grading the USA
by Alec Leone
Forming a More Perfect Union
Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, 546 US 320 (2006), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States involving a facial challenge to New Hampshire's parental notification abortion law. The First Circuit had ruled that the law was unconstitutional and an injunction against its enforcement was proper. The Supreme Court vacated this judgment and remanded the case, but avoided a substantive ruling on the challenged law or a reconsideration of prior Supreme Court abortion precedent. Instead, the Court only addressed the issue of remedy, holding that invalidating a statute in its entirety "is not always necessary or justified, for lower courts may be able to render narrower declaratory and injunctive relief." The opinion was delivered by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who had been significantly responsible for developing the Court's recent abortion jurisprudence. This decision was O'Connor's last opinion on the Court before her retirement on January 31, 2006.
Ensuring Domestic Tranquility
Members of the East Central Narcotics Task force made a large drug bust while executing a search warrant Thursday in Manchester. Police arrested 21-year-old Tyler Dube at his Cooper Street apartment after they found psychedelic mushrooms, ecstasy and marijuana. Police also found other drug paraphernalia, a scale and cash. In addition, officers recovered a stolen .38 caliber revolver. Police are still working on determining the location from where the gun was stolen. Dube was arrested on several charges, including operating a drug factory, possession of drugs with intent to sell and possession of drugs within 1,500 feet of a school. He is being held on a $200,000 bond.
Providing for the Common Defense
AeroVironment’s Wasp AE represents the latest evolution in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Wasp has been used by the U.S. military for small unit work ranging from reconnaissance and surveillance to tactical intelligence. Hand-launchable at just 2.8 pounds and 16 inches from wingtip to tip, the new model flies 20 percent longer than its predecessor. Able to land on either land or water, the Wasp is fit for both ground warfare and maritime operations. It can relay encrypted video, and voice, text and data, and a miniaturized Mantis i22 AE sensor package lets it capture both color and infrared imagery. The best part is that the Wasp is interoperable with other unmanned systems -- meaning it is capable of working as a team with other machines to attack the enemy. The coolest tag team is clearly its partnership with the Switchblade. Known popularly as “the kamikaze drone,” the Switchblade works sort of like a grenade and can be guided to a target and set to explode upon impact. Like the Wasp AE, Switchblade can be either autonomous or remotely controlled by an operator. This lethal platform can recognize objects and provide real-time GPS coordinates and video. At 5.5 pounds, it fits in a backpack and lets a soldier unleash munitions against even out of sight targets within minutes.
Two military research labs have been racing to revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first-ever guided bullets – a technology that could potentially give any hunter sniper skills, if made public.
In February tests, a 4-inch-long prototype from Sandia Labs demonstrated it can change direction in flight and hit a target more than a mile away, thanks to an optical sensor in its nose and fins for guidance. The sensor locates a laser trained on a distant target, while the bullet’s brains process the data and steer the fins. This will undoubtedly lead to the quicker finish of engagements and overall preservation of lives.
Promoting the General Wellfare
The largest emergency overnight shelter for the homeless in Los Angeles, housing up to 600 people per night, is struggling to survive because of cuts in federal funding and an increased number of poor in a downturned economy, said the shelter's president.In order to continue providing the existing services, Wilson has begun an online fundraising campaign in hopes of raising enough money to accommodate the overflow of homeless people coming every night seeking a place to sleep. Wilson said the shelter turns away up to 100 women and 40 men each night because of lack of funds. While a Los Angeles city and county program once paid for 600 beds (overnight accommodations), it now pays to shelter 436 (300 men and 136 women) people nightly. That doesn't stop Wilson from taking up to 600 people overnight.