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When Top Gun Pilots Tangled With a Baffling Tic-Tac-Shaped UFO

May 16, 2019 in History

By Greg Daugherty

Fighter pilots and radar operators from the USS Nimitz describe their terrifying—and still inexplicable—2004 encounter.

It began as a routine naval training exercise. But it would soon become one of the best-documented—and most baffling—UFO sightings of the 21st century.

Witnesses included highly trained military personnel—including several deeply experienced radar operators and fighter pilots—who at the time of the sightings were at the controls of arguably the most advanced flight technology ever created. And yet none can explain what they saw.

The date was November 14, 2004, and the location was the Pacific Ocean, about 100 miles southwest of San Diego, California. The USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, which included the nuclear-powered carrier and the missile cruiser USS Princeton, were conducting a series of drills prior to deployment in the Persian Gulf.

At about 2 p.m., two F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jets from the Nimitz received an unusual order from an operations officer aboard the Princeton. Already airborne, the pilots were told to stop their training maneuvers and proceed to new coordinates for a “real-world” task.

More ominously, the officer asked if they were carrying live weapons. They replied that they were not.

READ MORE: Interactive Map: UFO Sightings Taken Seriously by the U.S. Government.

An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter above the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, 2013.

A puzzling presence at 80,000 feet

The Princeton’s highly advanced radar had been picking up mysterious objects for several days by then. The Navy called them “anomalous aerial vehicles,” or AAVs—a term the military preferred to unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, which had been tainted by its association with flying saucers, little green men and countless crackpots.

According to Kevin Day, the Princeton’s senior radar operator at the time, his screen showed well over 100 AAVs over the course of the week. “Watching them on the display was like watching snow fall from the sky,” he says in his first-ever on-camera interview, for HISTORY’s “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation.”

According to Day, the AAVs appeared at an altitude greater than 80,000 feet, far higher than commercial or military jets typically fly. Initially, the Princeton’s radar team didn’t believe what they were seeing, chalking up the anomalies to an equipment malfunction. But after they determined that everything was operating as it should and they began detecting instances in which the AAVs dropped with astounding speed to lower, busier airspace, Day approached the Princeton’s commander …read more


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One of the Last Navajo Code Talkers, Whose Native Tongue Stumped WWII Enemies, Has Died

May 16, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

Fleming Begaye Sr., a Navajo code talker who helped the Allies gain victory in the Pacific Theater in World War II, died on May 10, 2019 at the age of 97. He was one of the last remaining members of an elite group of Navajo people who used their language to help transmit top-secret military information during the war.

Born in 1921 in Red Valley, Arizona, Begaye attended a Native American boarding school—part of a United States policy that forced Native American children into schools that focused on English-only education. But the language of Begaye’s people, the Navajo (Diné in Navajo) would end up playing a major role in Begaye’s life. When World War II started, Begaye’s daughter tells The New York Times, Begaye heard the Marines were searching for people who could speak Navajo.

He answered the call and became part of history. During World War I, Choctaw code talkers had proven that Native American languages—which had few speakers due to U.S. policies that forced assimilation and drove Native Americans out of their traditional lands—could be used as an uncrackable code.

READ MORE: World War I’s Native American Code Talkers

In World War II, the Marines used that tactic again, recruiting speakers of Navajo and other languages to send and receive messages on the battlefield. Navajo is unwritten and complex, and tests revealed that it was a quick and effective way to transmit vital information in the field.

A bronze statue of a Navajo code talker stands at Window Rock, Arizona.

Begaye was one of up to 420 Navajo men who served as code talkers. They were deployed to the Pacific Theater. There, Begaye fought in the Battle of Tarawa, a 76-hour battle to seize a Japanese-held island that left more than 3,000 U.S. troops dead or wounded. During the 1943 battle, the landing craft that was taking Begaye to shore was destroyed by a Japanese bomb. Begaye survived by swimming for his life.

The next year, Begaye almost died when he was shot while landing on Tinian in the Mariana Islands. The tiny island was home to a Japanese fortress, and Allied troops eventually turned it into an Air Force base. Begaye was in the hospital for nearly a year as he recuperated from the shooting.

After the war, the code talker returned to the Navajo Nation in Arizona, where he farmed and …read more


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School Choice Works — for a Third of the Cost

May 16, 2019 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis

Corey A. DeAngelis

School choice opponents frequently claim the Washington, D.C., school voucher
program is a failure. But I have a hunch that’s going to change
pretty soon.

The previous federal evaluation of the D.C. Opportunity
Scholarship Program found negative effects on math test scores and
no effects on reading test scores after two years. But the most recent evaluation, just released Wednesday, found
that winning a lottery to use a voucher to attend a private school
in D.C. had no effects on math or reading test scores after three

Though seemingly lackluster, these results are actually great
news for school choice.

The most recent federal
evaluation of the D.C. voucher program finds that it increases
student satisfaction and safety, and decreases absenteeism, at a
third of the cost of public schools.

Public schools in D.C. spend around
per student each year, while the average private school
voucher amount is only around $9,600 per student each year in D.C..
That means a K-12 education costs around $364,000 for each child in
D.C. public schools, but only about $125,000 for each voucher

That’s right — the federal evaluation reveals that private
schools produce the same academic outcomes for only a third of the
cost of the public schools. In other words, school choice is a
great investment.

But that’s not all.

This study adds to the mounting evidence that school vouchers are tickets to safer schools. Students
that won the voucher lottery to attend a private school were 34%
more likely to report being in a very safe school than their peers
in public schools. While students using vouchers took three years
to catch up to their public school peers on math test scores, the
federal evaluation found positive safety effects every year.
Two other experimental evaluations have
similarly found that school vouchers improve school safety.

The D.C. voucher program also increased students’ satisfaction
with their schools by 18% and decreased chronic absenteeism by 27%
after three years. Imagine that: When a student is satisfied with
their school, and they feel safe while they’re there, they are more
likely to show up to class each day.

But how do private schools compete with D.C. public schools with
a third of the funding per student?

It’s pretty simple. Basic economic theory suggests we shouldn’t
be surprised that private schools do more with less. Private
schools must cater to the needs of their customers (families) if
they want to keep their doors open. Public schools, on the other
hand, hold strong monopoly power because …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Iran Says 'Hell No!' to Trump's Aggression

May 16, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

President Donald Trump says he wishes Iran would call him. All
he wants, he insists, is “a deal, a fair deal.”
Apparently, he’s realized he was wrong to believe that the
regime he’s attempting to overthrow would grovel before him.
So now the White House has announced that it’s given the
Swiss government his phone number to pass along to Tehran.

They’re doing exactly
what we would do in their situation and we should change course
before it gets worse.

Of course, Switzerland probably feels whiplash. In 2003, Tehran
offered to negotiate with George W. Bush through a Swiss emissary.
The neocon-heavy, war-happy Bush administration dismissed the
proposal out of hand.

The Trump administration is also unsuccessfully pushing Europe
to stop resisting U.S. sanctions. Washington’s tone has
alternated between imperious and whiny, neither of which has
attracted much support. The usual warrior wannabe pundits,
meanwhile, have made a similar suggestion: the Europeans should be
as faithless as America and offer to join in receiving Iran’s

Tehran unsurprisingly disdains contact with Washington. Barely a
year ago, the president cavalierly took the U.S. out of the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the multilateral nuclear
agreement and product of a highly complex international negotiation
and difficult give-and-take within as well as between nations. At
159 pages, the JCPOA was the most detailed nuclear inspections
regime ever created. (A month later, President Trump cheerfully
accepted the substantively meaningless two-page Singapore summit
statement as a definitive commitment by North Korea to disarm.)

Trump might enjoy posturing as negotiator-in-chief, but he has
made it almost impossible for the Iranian government to engage him,
let alone accept his demands. In truth, the administration’s
confrontational approach has been a failure for America and a
disaster for the Iranian people. The president’s policy has
guaranteed continued tensions. His coterie of warmongering
appointees are determined for regime change. The administration’s
hypocrisy is also staggering: they accuse Iran of meddling in the
Mideast—while Washington invaded Iraq, attacked Libya, and
sought to oust the Syrian government—and of committing human
rights violations—while the U.S. allied with autocratic
Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The Trump administration has discouraged peaceful engagement in
multiple ways.

  • Tossing out the JCPOA and insisting on massive and
    unilateral concessions.
    This demand would be dismissed by
    any other country, including America. What government, absent total
    military defeat, would accept a public call for de facto diplomatic
    surrender and national humiliation? Real estate developer Donald
    Trump certainly would not react well if someone demanded the same
    of him.
  • Misjudging the reason Tehran entered into negotiations
    with the Obama administration.
    Iran desired sanctions
    relief, but even more important was U.S. acceptance of the …read more

    Source: OP-EDS