Rodney Howard-Browne, pastor of The River church in Tampa, Florida, strongly believes that God wants his church to continue holding live services for hundreds of parishioners even in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hillsborough County sheriff Chad Chronister and state attorney Andrew Warren strongly believe that they’re entitled to threaten Howard-Browne with arrest for holding those services, then follow through on that threat.
Howard-Browne is obviously willing to go to jail for his belief. Are Chronister and Warren willing to go to prison for theirs?
Whether Howard-Browne is correct in his assessment of God’s commands isn’t something I’ll pretend to know. But Chronister and Warren are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, incorrect in their claims of authority.
Continue reading “Neither Pandemic nor Panic Supersede the First Amendment”
The US Navy confirms that three online videos showing two military air encounters with what it calls “unexplained aerial phenomena,” and the rest of us call “unidentified flying objects” are authentic, Popular Mechanics reports.
The videos are interesting, and some might find them disturbing. What’s more disturbing to me is that the Navy thinks they’re none of our business 15, or even four, years later (the incidents occurred in 2004 and 2015).
Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough tells The Black Vault website, “[t]he videos were never officially released to the general public by the DoD and should still be withheld.”
The videos aren’t classified. They just haven’t been “cleared for public release.”
Continue reading “The US Navy’s Attitude About Releasing UFO Videos Is More Disturbing Than the UFO Videos”
Camera One, pointed at The Atlantic:
America Scrambles to Catch Up With Chinese and Russian Weapons
Camera Two, pointed at Wikipedia:
The missile gap was the Cold War term used in the US for the perceived superiority of the number and power of the USSR’s missiles in comparison with its own (a lack of military parity). The gap in the ballistic missile arsenals did not exist except in exaggerated estimates, made by the Gaither Committee in 1957 and in United States Air Force (USAF) figures. Even the contradictory CIA figures for the USSR’s weaponry, which showed a clear advantage for the US, were far above the actual count. Like the bomber gap of only a few years earlier, it was soon demonstrated that the gap was entirely fictional.
Unless you live under a rock (and probably even if you do), you’ve noticed the death of George Herbert Walker Bush, 41st President of the United States, on November 30, at age 94.
You’ve probably also suffered through multiple personal remembrances of the man and his presidency – some positive, some negative, some mixed. Mine, which you may read below if you’re not already worn out on the topic, is of the latter variety.
I am grateful for Bush and for his presidency for two major and positive changes in my life for which he deserves at least partial credit (or, if you prefer, bears at least partial responsibility).
First, Bush made it inevitable that I would leave the armed forces rather than serving 20 years and retiring. He did so by kicking off a post-Cold-War round of cuts in military spending that continued into the Clinton era.
Continue reading “Why I am Grateful to George Herbert Walker Bush”
US president Donald Trump should never have nominated Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
When Haspel offered to withdraw her name from consideration, as the Washington Post reports she did during a White House meeting in early May, her offer should have been gratefully accepted.
The US Senate should vote against confirming her appointment – ideally, by a margin of 100-0. Each “yes” vote will darken the stain on America’s honor represented by Haspel’s career thus far.
Gina Haspel doesn’t belong at the head of the CIA. She doesn’t belong in the CIA at all. Nor does she belong in any other position of government authority.
Gina Haspel belongs in prison.
Continue reading “Gina Haspel: Torturers Should be Punished, Not Promoted”
Sure things don’t exist in international relations, but we seem to be witnessing an impending settlement of the nearly 70-year-old Korean War. Kim Jong Un recently became the first ruler of North Korea to officially visit the South, where he conferred with president Moon Jae-In. De-nuclearization and a peace treaty look like real possibilities. Kim is also working out plans for a summit with US president Donald Trump.
Who gets the credit? According to Moon and to 19 Republican members of the US House of Representatives, Trump is the man of the hour and deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing the two Koreas to the negotiating table.
Well, maybe so. There’s a lot to happen yet — the peace process is approaching, as Winston Churchill might say, the end of the beginning rather than the beginning of the end — but the thaw undeniably came immediately after, and therefore can plausibly be attributed to, months of bellicose rhetoric from Trump. If things work out, he should indeed get a good deal of credit.
But frankly I’m not sure why he would want the Nobel Peace Prize, given that trophy’s tarnished history. Four past presidents have won the prize. It’s not obvious that any of them really deserved it.
Continue reading “Trump: For Whom the Nobel Tolls?”