(March 2, 2019) — While the youngest member of the US House, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was getting tons of criticism for her comments even before she took office, the youngest member of the US Senate stayed largely under the radar, at least until last week. Senator Josh Hawley — yes, the senator from our own state of Missouri who had been elected just two years earlier as Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley — was best-known before his campaigns for office as the lawyer who successfully defended the Hobby Lobby lawsuit in which the US Supreme Court carved out a very narrow legal precedent recognizing that closely-held corporations whose stock is not traded publicly but held by a small group of owners, most of which are small family corporations but a few of which have grown to the size of Hobby Lobby, can exercise the religious values of their owners as an extension of the freedom of religion their owners have as individuals. With that background, it should surprise nobody that Hawley is raising concerns about Neomi Rao, who President Donald J. Trump has nominated to succeed Brett Kavanaugh on the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
(March 1, 2019) — Univision anchor Jorge Ramos and his spats with President Donald J. Trump are well-known. In fact, the animosity between Ramos and Donald J. Trump is probably a big part of why Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro agreed to sit down with Ramos for an interview. From articles by Elizabeth Vaughn and Brad Slager in RedState, it looks like Ramos learned an important lesson about what real dictatorship looks like -- and it's not Trump. Quoting Ramos in an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News: "The experiment in Venezuela has failed completely and you know something, I really appreciate the freedom and the liberties that we have here in the United States. You know that I have my differences with President Trump, but this is the difference. You can criticize the president of the United States and I can go home and nothing happens to me. But, if I criticize the dictator of Venezuela, they confiscate my cameras, they take my interviews, they detain me and then they expel me from the country. Those are two big, big differences."
(March 1, 2019) — I'm well aware that many of those who point out incidents of racist organizations in the military have an agenda that's not supportive of the Armed Forces. Incidents such as the recently-caught Coast Guard lieutenant planning attacks while using his work computer are, fortunately, very rare. However, even if it's true that the number of servicemembers belonging to racist organizations is larger than reported because most servicemembers who are members of racist organizations hide their affiliations -- and that probably is true -- it is also true that even a small number of such people can create major problems. A racist boss can create problems for minority employees, but they're free to leave. A racist NCO creates far more problems for minority servicemembers who don't have a choice about their duty station or the unit to which they are assigned.