Stunning Drone Footage Of Flood Devastation

Today’s filmmakers and video journalists have an amazing array of affordable, powerful tools at their disposal. Nowhere is this more evident than in the explosion of aerial photography made possible by drones, as imagery from the recent tragic flooding in the Midwest United States and United Kingdom shows.

Over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday, thousands were forced to evacuate in the Midwest, and dozens were killed after 10 inches of rain swelled rivers. Some of the most dramatic images of the devastation have come not from the mainstream media, but from aerial video footage shot by citizens using drones.

Capturing this sort of incredible footage would’ve been completely impossible just a few years ago unless you had access to a helicopter and a brave camera operator with hundreds of thousands of dollars of gear. Even then, safety factors would keep a big chopper from floodwaters.

Today’s generation of light and powerful high definition video cameras combined with affordable drone technology has made it possible for ordinary people to capture images themselves.

The potential applications for the use of drones in rough weather affect more than just journalism and filmmaking. During flash flooding in Texas earlier this year, a drone operator was able to assist a stranded family. Popular Science reported in May how operator Garrett Bryl used his DJI Inspire quadcopter that he’s named Valkyrie to help:

Valkyrie carried a rope over to a family trapped in their mobile home, which despite already being on stilts, was surrounded by fast-flowing water. This made the house inaccessible by boat or hovercraft, but the drone could fly over. With the rope attached to the house, rescue workers sent the family life preservers, and then used a helicopter to lift them out of danger. While the drone didn’t assist in the helicopter lift, by getting life preservers to the family it made sure that if the lift went wrong, the family members could still survive in the water.

Drones have also captured stunning footage of the floods that have been ravishing the United Kingdom. This clip shows a 200-year-old pub being washed away the day after Christmas in northern England.

As Breitbart News has reported, recent FAA regulations require that all drones that weigh between .55 and 50 pounds must be registered in a national database with the owners names and addresses.


Lee Stranahan is the lead investigative reporter at Breitbart News, one of the most popular news sites in the United States. He was also a regularly the featured writer at the Huffington Post. Lee is the founder and lead instructor at Citizen Journalism School.
Deport The Dream 9: Lizbeth Mateo Tweets

Deport The Dream 9: Lizbeth Mateo Tweets

Since I’ve been covering the immigration issue for Breitbart News recently, I’ve been struck by the obnoxious arrogance of some of the pro-immigration reform activists, particularly the young radicals known as the ‘Dreamers’; illegal immigrant who engage in leftist street theater in order to gain notice for their cause. I discussed some of this on my Blog Talk Radio show today.

After covering the union led rally last week, I was thinking about the in-your-face tactics that these illegal immigrants are using and I decided to do some activism.

I launched a site called (it’s a pretty slick site, really) and the first thing I posted was a petition to Deport The Dream 9. I outline the background and the reason I think this group needs an expedited hearing; they have abused and insulted the asylum process.

This disgusting misuse of asylum by the Dream 9 is part of what prompted me to write the piece for Breitbart News on the sudden flood of Mexicans at the border claiming ‘credible fear’ that caught fire last week (it was on Drudge all day when it broke and mentioned by talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin) and gave the first national exposure to the overwhelm of the United States asylum system by Mexican nationals.

One of the most vocal members of the Dream 9 is Lizbeth Mateo. I’ve written about Ms. Mateo a few times on Breitbart News; in this article, I point out how Mateo says she worked for an institutional left community organizing group called ROC-DC, for example.

Mateo’s Twitter profile is pretty blunt: flies the Mexican flag covering up the U.S. Capitol and says she’s an illegal immigrant.


And her Tweets are just as blunt, really; she’s an admitted illegal immigrant with absolutely no fear of repercussions for actions. Take a look and if so inclined, please sign the petition to Deport the Dream 9.


Only in America.

Holding Kos Responsible

It wasn’t just ‘old media’ or ‘main stream media’ who ignored the John Edwards story or got it totally wrong. Unfortunately, it was also the left wing blogosphere who overwhelmingly let their readers down. Many sites didn’t cover the story until it burst like a dam on cable news. Only one site censored it, however.

I don’t know Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga, the founder of Daily Kos. I’m still banned over there for discussing the Edwards story and I get letters and tweets asking me if I’m unbanned yet. I wrote Kos days ago to see if he thought banning me was a good idea and I haven’t heard anything.

Up until now, I’ve assumed it wasn’t personal. Then tonight, I remembered that Kos himself actually had written about the Edwards story on DailyKos before I did.

Now I think I know why I’m still banned. It’s not just that I got the Edwards story right. More significantly, Markos got this story totally wrong. I mean, 100% totally wrong. And his wrongness set the tone over at Daily Kos for everyone who attacked me and who continue to attack me to this day. Look what the leader of Kos told his followers.

Seriously, I can’t believe this is even subject to debate, but for the crazies, no source is too disreputable if it validates their warped world view.

Daily Kos: Why won’t the “MSM” cover Edwards love child story????

You nailed it, Kos! It’s telling that Markos quoted Richard Blair from All Spin Zone in that post. However Richard has done something Kos still hasn’t; admitted he was wrong.

I’m sad about this, because I was and am a very firm believer in the issues on which John and Elizabeth Edwards have led, especially since his first run for the presidency in 2004. I’m further saddened because no doubt their voices will now become silent. They have more important things to attend to.

I’m disappointed – no, hopping damn mad – about this, because I’ve been a supporter since 2004. He’s received my very vocal support, as well as financial contributions. I

All Spin Zone

No such reality from Markos. While mainstream news outlets like The New York Times are doing a bit of hand wringing about the case, Markos published a new diary actually congratulating himself and the whole community for being so darn swell to Elizabeth Edwards. It’s stunning that the Kossacks are so happy their echo chamber got the story so wrong but boy are they happy.

No wonder the Edwardses chose the Daily Kos as the place to launch her homespun manipulative PR deception piece, which helped push the falsehood of the 2006 ‘no affair anymore’ date four times in three short paragraphs. She knew she’d have a receptive audience of Kossacks whose critical thinking skills have atrophied.

In the middle of the Kos groupthink hug, someone brought up unbanning me. That didn’t go over well.

Here’s the comment.

Stranahan is the worst kind of so-called journalist. He only wanted to be right, and to “break” the story. Markos has a great site here, inspiring thought-provoking, reality based discussions. The community banned Stranahan because he was an idiot opportunistic jerk. This site has made such a difference and serves as a community townhall, and we (the community) need to keep it humming.

When Markos brought up the Edwards scandal he wasn’t an idiot opportunistic jerk, right? Even though he mentioned the story first he wasn’t trying to “break” it, correct?

The commenter is right. I don’t belong in the Daily Kos community. I only wanted to be right. Guilty as charged. That’s exactly what I wanted. Now if only we can figure out what Daily Kos wants to be.

I’ve Been Banned At DailyKos Because Of John Edwards

Cool picture from florian.b who also features this quote…

“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.” — Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

Please DIGG my new john Edwards piece right now

BREAKING UPDATE: I made a new name to comment on a thread someone started about me getting banned….I used my own name. 3 hours later, banned again!

Update. We’re getting a lot of traffic, so I should mention one thing – a few reports have said I was a longtime blogger at DailyKos but it’s more than that, really — if you visit my YouTube page you’ll see that DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas called one of my videos ‘the best YouTube parody’ of 2007. So this whole thing is really a pretty big turnaround.

Someone on Kos noticed I was banned and they discuss it. Short version – I had it coming! This completely get wrong what my posts were about, but it’s nice for them to be able to do that where I can’t comment. Any of you Kowards care for an actual discussion, I’m here.

Also, the Gawker wrote about my banishment and turned up the ultimate answer to the idea that I was banned for citing a tabloid — a 2005 diary someone wrote with Kos commenters praising the National Enquirer when they ran a story about George Bush. (A story that wasn’t sourced with first person accounts the way the Edwards hotel story was.) The Kos Community banned me because of the subject matter, period.

If you want the best roundup of posts, facts, and reporting about this story the gossip site Deceiver has gone above and beyond the pale in covering this.

About a week ago, I posted a piece on the Huffington Post called Say It Ain’t So, John. I didn’t think it would have much more impact than my usual posts…maybe a dozen comments or so, a couple of people linking to it. To my surprise, it became the most read blog the Huffington Post for a few days.

I cross posted on DailyKos, which is probably the best known and biggest progressive blog. I’ve been posting at Kos for a long time. As more news about Edwards has come out, I followed up with more posts which were also the subject of a large number of comments. All of them looked at the Edwards situation from my point of view; that is, a liberal who is concerned about the implications this story may have in November.

Now I’m banned. I can’t write about ANYTHING at Kos. Can’t comment, can’t post a non-Edwards piece. Nothing.

And I stand by my title – it’s largely John Edward’s fault that I’m banned. I’m now personally a small piece of fallout from the scandal. That’s because Edward’s defense is shoot the messenger, not answer the questions. The rabid response of the people on Kos is directly related to Edwards and his own response. That’s exactly why I’m saying this has the potential to hurt the Democratic brand.

So answer the effin’ questions already, John. For everyone’s sake.

I’m not sure if the DailyKos is going to take down my writing and make me a complete un-person there. Of course, real progressives are against censorship so Maryscott O’Connor’s blog MyLeftWing is my new community home. (Maryscott was the lead actress in my film Breathing Room about 13 years ago, by the way.)

Here are the pieces I wrote on Kos that caused the problems…if you look, I’m not writing about anything that isn’t being written about already.

Say It Ain’t So, DailyKos

Dissent, Disloyalty, And Disappointment

Irrefutable Proof Of The John Edwards Scandal

Erin Kotecki Vest also wrote this piece about me getting banned. Editors from Kos contacted her. I haven’t heard a thing.

Cecsa’s Snark Break Video: The Tide Is Turning

Well done mashup – it’s like the Yes, We Can video for semi-middle-aged rock fans! Cesca says…

The song and the speech compelled me to take a break from the snark to assemble this mash-up as a tribute to everyone who has endured this seven-year-long dark ride; and to everyone who hopes that America can and will change for the better

Until recently, I honestly didn’t think it was possible. And even though it’s only the beginning, Senator Obama’s campaign is clearly our best shot to, at the very least, turn the tide against this seemingly interminable darkness.