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Navy Confirms UFO Videos Are Real and Show Unidentified Aerial Phenomena

September 19, 2019 in History

By Becky Little

It was in HISTORY’s series ‘Unidentified’ that the active-duty Navy pilots who encountered the crafts first came forward to share their stories.

The U.S. Navy has confirmed that three F-18 gun-camera videos first released by The New York Times and a UFO research organization show “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or UAPs—a more formal term for UFOs that doesn’t have all the little-green-men baggage.

The Times originally released two of the videos in

To see the first interviews given by the active-duty U.S. Navy personnel who saw the UFOs in the videos—in which they talk about the full context of their sightings—go to 1:02:57 in this episode of ‘Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation.’ [NOTE: Paywall content]

The history of U.S. government interest in UFOs

The U.S. military has actually been interested in UFOs for a long time, going back to 1948 with the U.S. Air Force’s Project Sign. The year before, a businessman named Kenneth Arnold had claimed that, while flying a plane near Mount Rainier in Washington state, he’d spied nine crescent-shaped objects speeding along “like saucers skipping on water.” Newspaper accounts that mixed up his words helped popularize the term “flying saucer.” Reports of this sighting led more people to claim they’d seen UFOs, and the Air Force decided to study these claims. In the Cold War context, the military was eager to know whether the growing numbers of reports about supposed “flying saucers” might actually be some kind of advanced Soviet spy crafts.

READ MORE: Why Have There Been So Many UFO Sightings Near Nuclear Facilities?

Project Sign was succeeded by another Air Force program called Project Grudge, which started and ended in 1949. The people who worked on Project Grudge concluded that UFO sightings were the result of hysteria, hoaxes, mental illness or the misidentification of known objects. Even so, in 1952 the Air Force established another program called Project Blue Book, the longest-running official government inquiry into UFOs. By the time Project Blue Book ended in 1969, the Air Force had investigated more than 12,000 UFO sightings, 701 of which remained unexplained.

Unlike the Navy’s current system for its pilots and personnel to report UAP sightings, Project Blue Book documented and investigated accounts from anyone, military or civilian. At one point, it even had a questionnaire that allowed people to document their UFO sighting. “Draw a picture that will show the shape of …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Why Royal Guests Have Always Been a Royal Pain

September 19, 2019 in History

By Hadley Meares

Every summer, Queen Elizabeth I and her massive court set out on a months’ long progress, with a mile-long train of dozens of carriages, carts and over a thousand horses. For this elaborate summer vacation, no regular inn would suit the Virgin Queen. Instead, Elizabeth stayed at her monied and titled subjects’ country estates—a great honor for them, but also her right as absolute monarch of the British Isle. “Every nobleman’s house is her palace, where she continueth during pleasure and till she return to some of her own,” , “yet it is significant that mention was made of it in diplomatic reports within two months, and it may well be that the traditional assumption that it began at Wulfhall is the correct one.”

While her father’s hosts made sure to supply the King with copious hunting, jousting and other entertainments, nothing could match the lengths that Queen Elizabeth’s subjects went to entertain their illustrious visitor. Wealthy courtiers attempted to outdo each other as hosts to the Virgin Queen, and they had ample opportunity. On her first summer progress in 1575 alone, Elizabeth visited with 41 of her subjects.

The bar was set high by her childhood love and lifelong advisor Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester. As Elizabeth arrived at Kenilworth Castle in 1575, she was welcomed with a dramatic pageant featuring some very advanced special effects. Tinniswood writes:

She was greeted by a fanfare from trumpeters stationed on the wall of the castle gatehouse. Then a figure dressed as the Lady of the Lake floated across the waters of the moat on a movable island to welcome her in verse, ending, “Pass on Madam, you need no longer stand, / The lake, the Lodge, the Lord, are yours for to command.”

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, welcoming Queen Elizabeth I to Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, July 1575.

During the Queen’s days-long stay, the Earl’s household offered firework displays, deer hunting and bear-baiting; and “feats of agility put on by an exceptionally nimble Italian acrobat,” notes Tinniswood.

Sometimes hosts’ attempts to please their royal guests could go horribly wrong. One mock battle put on by the Earl of Warwick during the Queen’s stay at Warwick Castle ended with cannonballs used in the show raining down on a nearby village, setting fire to multiple houses.

Not only were Elizabeth’s hosts expected to spend lavishly on her court accommodations and entertainment, …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Johnny Cash performs at Folsom Prison

September 19, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

In the midst of depression and a steep decline in his musical career, legendary country singer Johnny Cash arrives to play for inmates at California’s Folsom Prison on January 13, 1968. The concert and the subsequent live album launched him back into the charts and re-defined his career.

Despite his outlaw image, Cash never went to prison, save for a few nights drying out in various jails. It was not his own experience but rather the crime film Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison that inspired him to pen “Folsom Prison Blues,” which was a modest hit for Cash in 1956. The song, characteristically mournful, is written from the point of view of an inmate “stuck in Folsom Prison” after shooting a man in Reno “just to watch him die” – Cash explained that he wanted to come up with the most senseless reason imaginable for the speaker to have committed murder. A decade later, Cash’s alcoholism and addiction to pills had taken a marked toll on his health. Cash was popular in prisons across America and was known to correspond with imprisoned fans, and first played at Folsom in 1966 on the suggestion of a local preacher. Two years later, needing something to jump-start his career, he convinced his record company to let him record a live album there.

Cash felt a personal responsibility to put on a good show at Folsom. He rehearsed feverishly in the days leading up to the concert and taught himself “Greystone Chapel,” a song written by Folsom inmate Glen Sherley. Despite the presence of armed guards on the walkways above them, and the warden’s prohibition against standing during the show, Cash’s audience was raucous, invigorating the performers and lending a unique verve to the live recording. Cash tailored the setlist to prisoners, including the namesake song and ending with “Greystone Chapel.” The album went to No. 1, as did a subsequent album recorded at San Quentin, and suddenly Cash was a household name again.

The iconic performance linked Cash permanently with prisoners in the American imagination. In his 1971 song “Man in Black,” Cash explains that he adopted his trademark dark clothing in solidarity with “the poor and the beaten down” as well as “the prisoner who has long paid for his crime.” Cash testified before Congress and met with President Richard Nixon to discuss prison reform in 1972, and continued to crusade …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Douglas Wilder of Virginia becomes the nation's first African American governor

September 19, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Douglas Wilder, the first African American to be elected governor of an American state, takes office as Governor of Virginia on January 13, 1990. Wilder broke a number of color barriers in Virginia politics and remains an enduring and controversial figure in the state’s political scene.

Born in 1931 in Church Hill, a poor and segregated neighborhood of Richmond, Wilder is the grandson of slaves and is named for Frederick Douglass. He grew up in the Jim Crow era, graduating from Richmond’s Virginia Union University in 1951. Wilder fought in the Korean War, earning the Bronze Star, before studying law at Howard University and returning to Richmond to practice.

Wilder entered politics by way of a special election to the State Senate in 1969, becoming the state’s first African American state senator since Reconstruction. A Democrat, he developed a reputation for taking on other members of his party. In 1982, he threatened to run for Senate as an independent after the presumptive Democratic nominee gave a speech praising the Byrd Organization, the powerful and formerly pro-segregation political machine that had long dominated the Virginia Democratic Party. In 1986, Wilder became the first African American to win a statewide election in Virginia when he was elected Lieutenant Governor. Four years later, in an extremely narrow race that triggered an automatic recount, he was elected Governor.

Some political scientists have speculated that the race was unexpectedly close due to the “Bradley Effect,” the effect on polls of racist voters lying about their willingness to vote for non-white candidates. Though Republicans had painted him as a liberal due to his pro-choice stance on abortion, Wilder governed as a “tough on crime” centrist. Bills aimed at reducing crime and gun violence, as well as infrastructure spending in the rapidly expanding suburbs of Northern Virginia, were hallmarks of his tenure. Wilder also divested all state institutions from the apartheid government of South Africa, making it the first Southern state to do so.

Virginia law prohibits governors from running for re-election, but Wilder remained active in state politics. In the 2000s, he was one of the leaders of a movement to directly elect the Mayor of Richmond—at the time, the City Council chose one of its members to serve as mayor. In 2003, an overwhelming majority of Richmonders approved the direct-election measure, and Wilder was elected mayor the following year with 79 percent …read more

Source: HISTORY

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The West Fails to Social Engineer South Sudan

September 19, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN — The purpose of capital cities is usually to showcase their nations. By this standard, undeveloped Juba, in South Sudan, illustrates the daunting challenges that face the world’s newest and poorest nation.

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Gaining independence in July 2011, South Sudan’s birth was not auspicious. Sudan was the largest country geographically in Africa, with significant ethnic, tribal, and religious differences between north to south. Hopes for a liberal, prosperous future died in 1989 when General Omar al-Bashir seized power from the democratically elected government, which had begun negotiating with rebels in the south. His rule, only recently ended, was marked by decades of repression and war.

Fighting was particularly bitter in the south. Estimates of the dead and displaced stand at two million and four million, respectively. (Separate conflicts in Darfur, the Blue Nile, and the Nuba Mountains also resulted in significant casualties.)

Under international pressure and in expectation of sanctions relief from the United States, al-Bashir negotiated an end to the civil war in the south in 2005. Secession won overwhelming support in the referendum that followed, leading to independence for South Sudan in 2011.

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But in December 2013, President Salva Kiir Mayardit claimed that Vice President Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon had attempted a coup. Machar denied the charge and fled; soon fighting erupted between competing factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. The combat lines are heavily, but not completely, ethnic. Several abortive ceasefires followed, with a power-sharing agreement signed in August 2015. Unfortunately, it quickly broke down, and was followed by renewed fighting and a split in Machar’s faction. A fresh peace accord was agreed to last year and suffered the usual delays. Now a new coalition is supposed to take power in November.

The consequences of all this have been catastrophic: in a nation of 12 million, perhaps 400,000 have been killed, 4.3 million have been displaced, and even more face famine. Incomes and living standards have collapsed. Civil war typically does not …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Vaping Panic Is out of Hand

September 19, 2019 in Economics

By Jeffrey A. Singer

Jeffrey A. Singer

This week, Gov. Cuomo issued an emergency order banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. Residents of Michigan will feel the effects of a similar ban in two weeks. These impulsive and unscientific acts are in response to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that 530 people scattered across 36 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands, with a median age of 19, have been hospitalized with Vaping Associated Pulmonary Illness (VAPI). Sadly, seven deaths were reported among six states.

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These overreactions would seem laughable if they didn’t have such a great potential to inflict harm — both on tobacco smokers trying to quit and teen vapers who are more likely to use dangerous bootleg products.

There were an estimated 11 million vapers in the U.S. in 2018. If the CDC’s reports are comprehensive, that translates into a VAPI rate of 0.005%, with a mortality rate of 0.00006%. For perspective, the CDC reports tobacco cigarettes account for 480,000 deaths per year and are responsible for one in five deaths annually. To be sure, harmful effects from long term vaping may one day become evident, but these 530 reported cases have come to the public’s attention after vaping has been in use for more than 10 years in this country.

The evidence so far is that all or most of the deaths and cases of VAPI were the result of vaping with substances obtained on the black market, generally containing THC or cannabis, cannabis wax and oils, or bootlegged flavored cartridges that used vitamin E oil as a solvent. Vitamin E and other oils can cause severe chemical pneumonitis. Some of the decedents had other serious coexisting medical problems.

E-cigarettes have been shown in scientific studies to be an effective means of getting tobacco smokers to quit. It’s the nicotine in tobacco smoke that makes smoking addictive, but it is the other components of the smoke that cause cancer, lung disease and cardiovascular disease. Nicotine, while potentially addictive, is relatively harmless. It has properties similar to caffeine: a stimulant that can affect pulse and blood pressure and increase alertness. Over the long term, it may have some harmful cardiovascular effects but, according to Britain’s Royal Society of Public Health, “nicotine by itself is fairly harmless.”

Because of its effectiveness …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Tories Should Appoint a Bank Governor to Box in Jeremy Corbyn

September 19, 2019 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

If President Donald Trump had the opportunity to fill a Supreme Court or Federal Reserve vacancy just before an election, do you think he’d pass it up? The answer, of course, is “absolutely not”.

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Distasteful though it might seem, Washington Republicans are not shy in discussing how speedily they’d replace Democratic-appointed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the event of her near-term death or retirement.

And that’s because they understand something important: the executive power of appointment to high-powered institutions is an important tool in conserving your agenda or constraining your opponents’ impulses, even after you’ve left office. 

Do Conservatives understand this?

With Remainers in Parliament seeking to block, delay, and frustrate its every move on Brexit, one would hope Boris Johnson’s government had learnt a thing or two about constraints. But reports suggest the Chancellor Sajid Javid will actually delay appointing a replacement for Bank of England Governor Mark Carney until after an election, in part because another government might not like the appointee.

The Tories, it seems, are playing by Queensbury Rules in a hostile world of “anything goes”.

This would be a missed opportunity in ordinary times. But the whole justification for an independent Bank of England is to insulate monetary policy from clear political risks, the biggest of which is surely giving Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell the power of appointing a radical new Governor.

That’s what makes the reasoning for the Governor appointment delay so baffling.

Kate Barker, a member of the independent appointment panel, has said that, given ongoing events and the eight-year term, any appointment must be “politically sensitive” – i.e. robust to a change in administration. Other journalists have claimed that Javid hurriedly replacing Mark Carney would “risk” a new Corbyn government firing the appointee.

That risk, though, is a trivial one in the grand scheme of things. Economic policy is the area of Government activity where politicians frequently mess up with disastrous consequences.

Corbyn and McDonnell’s long-desired socialist agenda has an economic record of failure so obvious and so blatant that their views are seemingly impervious to facts, experience or reasoning. And the institution with arguably the greatest impact on the economy of the UK is the Bank of England. Far from being a “risk” to political decency or the institutional credibility of the Bank of England to appoint a …read more

Source: OP-EDS