ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . .Tuesday, January 3

Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
Linked articles in bold purple

◆ That story about Russia hacking a Vermont utility . . . well, the investigation now goes in other directions and the Russians don’t seem to be involved. (Washington Post)

Comment: The WaPo deserves praise for openly criticizing its own reporting when the story broke.

◆ House guts its own ethics panel, overriding objections from Speaker Paul Ryan. Previously, the panel had been outside investigators, though they lacked the power to punish. Now the panel will be supervised by the House members themselves. The CNN report is here.

The proposal would bar the panel from reviewing any violation of criminal law by members of Congress, requiring that it turn over any complaint to the House Ethics Committee or refer the matter to an appropriate federal law enforcement agency. The House Ethics Committee would also have the power to stop an investigation at any point and bars the ethics office from making any public statements about any matters or hiring any communications staff. –CNN

Comment: The swamp creatures include legislators, as well as lobbyists.

◆ Experts fear North Korea may be developing dirty bombs that can be delivered by drones, making large areas radioactive. There is considerable uncertainty, however, about this conjecture by a South Korean think tank. (Popular Mechanics)

◆The NY Times goes to Texas to find out why the natives love trucks. It is much like a Victorian explorer mapping the territory of interior Africa. “Dr. Livingstone, I presume. What is this barbecue and local music you speak of?”

William Jacobson’s wonderful Legal Insurrection blog has a lot of fun lacerating the Times and includes some of the best Twitter responses to the article. Here are a few of the choicest.

 

◆ When only one person shows up for services at Portland’s Episcopal cathedral, the seat of the Maine archdiocese, the priest conducts the services as normal. (Story in the Portland Press-Herald) It’s a sad state of affairs, another blow to a denomination in deep turmoil. (From a tweet by Brit Hume of Fox News)

Such a poor turnout for an evening service isn’t surprising given the national trends. Episcopal churches, like those of other mainline Protestant denominations, are far emptier than they used to be. The Episcopal Church in the United States says average Sunday worship attendance at its churches declined 26 percent between 2005 and 2015. The Diocese of Maine says it lost nearly 17 percent of its baptized members in that decade, although some congregations in southern Maine are growing. –Egan Millard (a reporter and the sole attendee) in the Portland, Maine, Press-Herald

◆ When reality is lousy, seek escape at the movies. That’s exactly what Americans did in 2016. Among the top ten movies at the box-office, not one was based on reality. (NYT) 

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zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Tom Elia
 for the wonderful article on Texas trucks

 

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