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Up in the air

Lead Summary
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

It looks like our esteemed military may have used a $400,000 missile to shoot down a $12 hobby club’s balloon over the Yukon last week. At least that is what news sources are reporting this week.

The “Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade” suggests the Yukon balloon may have been theirs. This might be excused as the pressure was exerted on our government to knock unidentified objects out of the sky. Really, though, is our intelligence so poor that we can’t distinguish such an object from a real threat? Very disturbing.

However, this has now been eclipsed by President Biden making a surprise visit to Kyiv on Feb. 20.

In two-plus years in office, this is the first thing Biden has done that I can support. There is a bit of national pride in these surprise trips which show we can put Air Force One any place we want to on the planet.

Although enthusiasm for the Ukraine War seems to be diminishing in the U.S., this ought to reinforce that we still have the ability to project US influence anywhere we choose.

Admittedly, it would be cleaner if there was not that pesky Hunter Biden deal as a board member of Burisma Holdings Limited which started in 2014. Such are the problems we can have with our children.

While I support Ukraine against the clearly evil Putin, I am still not convinced that all is what it seems to be in Ukraine. I hold out hope that we are dealing with an honest government there but prepare to be disappointed if not.

Other news on other subjects in other places is just as unsettled as these stories are.

Take COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. My doctor asked me on Friday if I wanted a booster. I said no.

She asked what it would take to convince me otherwise. I told her a 10-year, double-blind, peer-reviewed study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

I must not be far off, I see where the Idaho Statehouse is working on passing a bill to make administering the COVID-19 vaccines a criminal offense.

It is not going to get any better, folks, when it comes to gathering reliable information. The new AI software – already discussed in these pages – will cast further doubt on the veracity of publicly available information.

Conflicting and confusing information seems to be in abundance in 2023.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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