Man, we had us a goofy weekend to cap off an incredible goofy week. NASA released UFO photos, Justice Sam Alito basically telling us to screw off, and a temper-tantrum throwing Most Powerful Man in the World who spent the weekend rage tweeting about everything but the coronavirus as the death toll from that topped 50,000. Hey, at least the New Normal is never boring, right? Let’s start a new week.
How about we leave the bad news for last and start with something interesting. Well, I suppose this could be bad depending on where you fall, but anyhow. This morning the Pentagon formally recognized that the unidentified flying objects in videos bouncing around the internet for years were indeed objects they couldn’t identify but were, in fact, flying. One was shot in 2004 and another in 2015, and both were leaked out to make the basis of a 2017 New York Times story. Way the Pentagon put it:
“After a thorough review, the department has determined that the authorized release of these unclassified videos does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems,” said [Pentagon spokesperson Sue] Gough in a statement, “and does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena.”
In other words, “yeah we can’t tell you what they were because we don’t know not because we’re hiding something, but we don’t think it’s that big a deal“. This is basically how the Pentagon has dealt with UFO’s – or as they prefer it, UAP – since finishing up Project Blue Book, their 18-year study on the UFO phenomenon that was the Q/Satanic Panic of the ’50s, basically saying “yeah we can’t tell you, etc.” they said about this most recent to do.
This is all a part of the military wanting to make it more comfortable for service people to report stuff they see in the sky that looks weird, a rather nice bit of transparency from the Pentagon. After the Times story in 2017, the Navy released the videos to the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences from December 2017 to March 2018, acknowledging they were, indeed, unidentified flying objects and they wanted all the fruit loops to settle down and maybe do something useful. The truth may be out there, but it’s probably isn’t all that interesting.
Moving on, the United States Supreme Court sided with insurers against Obamacare and punted on a case involving gun regulation in New York City. Nice. Okay, so in order, the Court decided 8-1 that the government was on the hook for $12 billion to insurers who lost money because of the risk they took working with the Affordable Care Act. Basically, the court was telling the court to pay its damn bills like everyone else.
The case, Maine Community Health Organization vs. The United States was the end result of Republicans’ repeated attempts to crater the ACA as the MCHO never received the promised money to help folks get affordable medical care, pushed predominately by sleazy peckerwood Marco Rubio of Florida introducing legislation to block payments. The only vote against it was from right-wing zealot Samuel Alito because he’s an asshole.
As for the gun case, basically the court returned a case they’d been working on back in December to lower courts. Essentially, New York City has some of the strictest gun regulations in the country because of obvious reasons. A bunch called the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association considered thought that rubbed up wrong against the Second Amendment. Long story short, gun owners were being prevented from transporting their guns to shooting ranges and whatnot because of regulations.
However, after the Court agreed to hear the case, New York state and New York City changed its laws to basically getting rid of the problem causing the case. So much like the ACA case, it was a procedural issue more than anything else. “You are asking us to take a case where the other side has thrown in the towel, ” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Alito, however, pitched a fit regardless, saying the “other side” got all the positive stuff even though the case was now superfluous. That is how he rolls.
Interestingly, the Supreme Court has refused to hear any case involving gun rights or gun regulation since 2008. That case, the landmark D.C. vs Heller, ruled that the Second Amendment said the right to bear arms was an individual right and not associated with being a militia, the Court’s previous stance. Guns have become the country’s third rail, and if nothing else, D.C. v Heller made sure no one was going to seriously mess with the Status Quo for a long, long time, no matter how many school kids or country music fans were killed.
As for Trump, well… after showing how dumb he was Thursday and then how petulant he was Friday, the big baby spent all weekend – including his wife’s 50th birthday – rage tweeting about the media being mean to him and the Democrats not kissing his ass as the rest of the country girded its loins to reopen itself so folks can go back to work while we still don’t know much of nothing about COVID-19.
First, the White House announced they weren’t going to let Trump give his daily rallies but once they realized the states were actually doing things – and Rep. Nancy Pelosi was giving a speech – scheduled a briefing. Then they cancelled it. Then they rescheduled. Apparently he wound up giving one, but who gives a damn. He wouldn’t be worth paying attention to if it were for the fact he’s the President of the United States of America, god help us all.
We’ve got over one million confirmed cases in the states, a full third of cases worldwide, and over 56,000 deaths out of 208,000 overall. Here in Mississippi, which loosened the “stay-at-home” rules today, we’ve topped 6,000 cases with 229 deaths. Matter of fact, the most cases in Northeast Mississippi are in Monroe County, just 14 minutes south of where I’m sitting, with a staggering 144 cases.