The Big Story
"With no warning, House Republicans vote to hobble independent ethics office," reported the New York Times' Eric Lipton (49,000 shares), prompting his colleague Paul Krugman to say this on the matter: "As I said, we are entering an era of epic corruption."
Now, under pressure from president-elect Trump and others (like former lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff, reports Politico's Shane Goldmacher), the House has reversed course, according to another New York Times report by Lipton and Matt Flegenheimer. "Well that was a quick reversal," tweets Jordan Malter of CNN Money. "Power to the critics!"
Longtime contributor to Jezebel, New York Times, and BUST Magazine, and one of the leading feminist voices of the 21st century Lindy West is leaving Twitter, writing at the Guardian that the microblogging network once beloved with few reservations by journalists has become "unusable for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators." Here's more from West:
"I hate to disappoint anyone, but the breaking point for me wasn’t the trolls themselves (if I have learned anything from the dark side of Twitter, it is how to feel nothing when a frog calls you a cunt) – it was the global repercussions of Twitter’s refusal to stop them. The white supremacist, anti-feminist, isolationist, transphobic 'alt-right' movement has been beta-testing its propaganda and intimidation machine on marginalised Twitter communities for years now – how much hate speech will bystanders ignore? When will Twitter intervene and start protecting its users? – and discovered, to its leering delight, that the limit did not exist. No one cared. Twitter abuse was a grand-scale normalisation project, disseminating libel and disinformation, muddying long-held cultural givens such as 'racism is bad' and 'sexual assault is bad' and 'lying is bad' and 'authoritarianism is bad', and ultimately greasing the wheels for Donald Trump’s ascendance to the US presidency. Twitter executives did nothing."
Might West lead a mass Twitter exodus among journalists? At least a few reporters are considering following her lead:
"Is 2017 the year I quit Twitter?" wonders the Guardian's Matt Navarra.
"#shutdowntwitterin2017," tweets The Establishment's Jess Zimmerman.
"Twitter is a worse place without Lindy West, but I get it. Oh man, do I get it," says Jessica Valenti of the Guardian.
And finally, Andrew Cunningham of Ars Technica doesn't mince words when it comes to his opinion of Twitter: "Good argument from Lindy West in favor of getting off @twitter because it’s an out of control cesspit."
New York Magazine's Yashar Ali has a nice scoop today, reporting that Bill and Hillary Clinton will in fact attend the Trump inauguration (6,000 shares). But as NBC's Josh Sternberg points out, this shouldn't be terribly surprising: "Former Presidents attend the last inauguration of an elected president."
NAACP head Cornel Wm. Brooks tweets: "The @NAACP & @AlabamaNAACP are occupying the Mobile office of @jeffsessions--untill he withdraws as a AG nominee or we're arrested."
CNN Money's Heather Long and Poppy Harlow report that Ford is cancelling a Mexico plant and creating 700 American jobs as a "vote of confidence" in Donald Trump. But Columbia journalism professor Bill Grueskin isn't impressed, tweeting, "It's astonishing - and says a lot about automation - that @Ford's $700 million auto plant creates only 700 jobs."
The New York Times' Jesse McKinley reports that NY Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing free college tuition for hundreds of thousands of low- and middle-income in-state residents. But Rebecca Baird-Remba of New York YIMBY had this to say on the Grey Lady's Albany reporting: "NYT writes about Cuomo's free tuition plan but hasn't covered his controversial end-of-year vetos or policy failures."
David Dayen of The Intercept reports that Steven Mnuchin, Trump's pick for Treasury Secretary, ran a bank called OneWest between 2009 and 2015 that's been accused of "widespread misconduct." "I suspect @SenWarren will be very interested in reading this," tweets Politico's Blake Hounshell.
And finally here's Russell Adams of The Wall Street Journal with some rather mystifying news from the Fast Food front: "Americans eat 554 million Jack In The Box tacos a year and no one knows why." As Adams explains in a tweet, "1,000+ times a minute, someone bites into a 'wet envelope of cat food'--and keeps eating."