1. Looking for biased but reliable progressive news aggregators! I have a long secret list of story sources, but my online leftist news aggregator supply is drying up. That’s where I can find the stories that reflect badly on the Right but that the conservative news sources choose to ignore. The key problem is “reliable.” Sites like Raw Story, ThinkProgress, the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos have all violated Ethics Alarms standards of basic honesty, fairness and trustworthiness—much like Breitbart, Red State and the Gateway Pundit, none of which I will read or cite unless directed to a particular post, from the other side of the spectrum. The Daily Beast was long my favorite online leftist source, but now it requires a subscription, and I’m certainly not going to pay for biased analysis—beyond what I already get from the Washington Post and New York Times.
Memeorandum remains the most balanced and non-partisan online news aggregator, by far.
2. Retire, Pat. It isn’t just Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein who try to hold on to power long after their advancing age makes it unethical to do so. The GOP has its irresponsible geezers too. Today Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Ks) will announce whether he plans to end his political career or run for another term in 2020, which would take him to his 90th year if he survived it. The man is 82: he should not have run for his current term.
Of course, it doesn’t help that 85-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is providing an unethical role model for all elected officials and judges by ostentatiously refusing to retire and obviously resolving to leave the Supreme Court feet first.
3. Slapping down Big Brother in Oregon.U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman issued a permanent injunction against the Oregon Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying that tried to fine Mats Järlström, who has a degree in engineering and years of experience in the field, $500 for describing himself as “an engineer.”
The judge ruled that this was a violation of the First Amendment, which it clearly was. This wasn’t a case where the First Amendment right to lie came into play, because Järlström wasn’t lying. He was fined for going on television to talk about public policy issues while describing himself as an “electronics engineer” and writing the phrase “I am an engineer” in a letter. The Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying claimed he was practicing engineering without a license.
As government regulations proliferate without end, they inevitably strangle individual liberty, expression and enterprise.
4. Speaking of which...Perhaps this is a propitious time to note that the Trump Administration has issued the fewest new regulations in a comparable period of any Executive Branch in decades, autocratic monster that President Trump is. This is still not enough for the libertarians, and is affirmatively bad in the eyes of the Left. Here is an amusing New York Times article from last year, in which the paper focuses on Trump’s “lie” that “No President has ever cut so many regulations in their entire term, O.K., as we have cut in less than a year,” a fairly typical example of the President’s addiction to puffery. The article goes to great lengths to minimize and spin the undeniable fact that Trump’s Administration has reduced the amount of regulation, reversing a long-standing trend. But that doesn’t matter—what matters is that he isn’t accurate when he describes the achievement.
5. Gotta finish that article on life competence before someone dies…In St. Paul, Minnesota, a 34-year-old man sank to the bottom of an indoor pool at an apartment complex. He was about eight feet under water, “floating with his hands stretched out and his mouth and eyes wide open.” Lalitha Mareddy saw the developing tragedy and called for help, but none of the nine men standing around the pool could swim. So she told her son, Advaik Nandikotkur, who can swim thanks to having taken swimming lessons, to rescue the man.
Advaik is 11 years old and weighs 80 pounds.
Nonetheless, the fifth-grader jumped into the pool, swam down, grabbed the man’s wrist and pulled him to the surface. Advaik’s father and others on the scene helped pull him from the pool, where Advaik’s uncle, Suseel Kumar Nandikotkur, pushed down on the unconscious man’s chest and breathed into his mouth. After about three minutes, the man showed signs of regaining consciousness. Paramedics rushed him to a hospital, and he made a full recovery.
For heaven’s sake, everybody: learn to swim, and teach your kids to swim too! It is a basic life competence skill.
The next day, the drowning man visited the Nandikotkur family to thank them, and gave Advaik a $50 Macy’s gift card.
6. Fake news, and signs of the unethical madness to come: As the Democrats took over the House majority yesterday, they grandstanded a bill described by ABC News and others as “House votes to end shutdown despite White House veto threat.” The House can’t end the shutdown by any means other than passing a spending bill that funds a border wall. The House unilaterally voting to “end the shutdown” is like the House voting to change the name of the United States to “Mike.” It’s meaningless. Those headlines like ABC’s just make the public stupid.
Naturally, the new majority also had an impeachment bill introduced.
More grandstanding on the first day: Representative. Steve Cohen (D-Tn.) a bill to eliminate the electoral college—if you lose, change the rules–and another to prevent Presidents from pardoning themselves or their family members. Both bills are unconstitutional without Constitutional amendments that are as likely as the odds that the new “woke” House won’t embarrass itself and all of us before it’s through. Cohen, not for the first time, is just virtue-signaling his Trump-hate as the “resistance” slobbers with joy. Then there was Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D, Mich.), who told supporters last night that Democrats would “impeach the motherfucker,” meaning, of course, the President.
You may recall that Democrats demanded that a GOP Congressman be censured for calling Barack Obama a liar during a State of the Union address. Trump, of course, has weakened our institutions by violating “norms.”
Meanwhile, the old hands in the House appear to be emboldened by the new blood. Rep. Hank Johnson, the sage veteran Democratic Congressman who once asked a general whether Guam might “tip over” because so many troops were there, began the year by telling a church group,
“Americans elected an authoritarian, anti-immigrant, racist strongman to the nation’s highest office…Donald Trump and his Make America Great Again followers…want to return America back to a time when white men and white privilege were unchallenged and where minorities and women were in their place … [they]are older, less educated, less prosperous, and they are dying early. Their lifespans are decreasing, and many are dying from alcoholism, drug overdoses, liver disease, or simply a broken heart caused by economic despair…right-wing ideologues gain power by playing on people’s economic despair, pitting working people against each other, inflaming racial tensions by blaming economic hardship on people of color…The Jewish people understand tyranny. Charismatic and a good public speaker, deceptive and cunning, Adolf Hitler rose to power to lead Germany in 1932 after democratic elections. He rode a wave of nationalism and antisemitism to power. Replace antisemitism with all the Latinos crossing our borders are rapists, drug dealers and murderers. Does that sound familiar?”
It’s good to see, though, that Democrats aren’t inflaming racial tensions.