"Liberal" media coverage of the Trans-Pacific "Partnership" continues to disappoint. Jim Naureckas at FAIR catches the New York Times not only pulling the same shenanigans as before -- they "report" majorities of Americans supporting "free" trade by playing shell games with the terms "free trade," "trade," and "trade agreements" -- but also cherry-picked the numbers from a cited study in order to make it seem like more Americans like "free" trade. Recall that the only thing threatening the passage of the Trans-Pacific "Partnership" has been public opinion -- most politicians want it, most "liberal" media outlets want it, but the owners of government, the people, generally do not, or we wouldn't be hearing bad arguments from the best of our media outlets (and, of course, racist booga-booga about China from the worst).
The EPA plans to keep allowing offshore oil and gas drilling corporations to dump unlimited amounts of fracking wastewater in the Gulf of Mexico. You may recall that a very widely-covered oil spill occurred in that Gulf just six years ago, and at least one agency says the EPA's draft proposals violates the Clean Water Act. The proposal does mandate that offshore fracking outlets keep an inventory (which regulators may review at any time) of fracking chemicals, which could puncture the cult of secrecy surrounding fracking chemicals as a result of the 2005 energy bill keeping them confidential -- if the EPA enforces it. You think Donald Trump's EPA will enforce it? Of course not -- it's not YUGE or BYOOTIFUL enough.
The Department of Education strips the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (or ACICS) of its authority to accredit for-profit colleges. A welcome development, even if the ACICS showed signs of getting its act together in recent months, but of course I still don't understand why our government doesn't do all the accrediting itself on our behalf. Because Big Gummint is always wrong? What of our government? No use arguing that government doing the work puts bureaucrats between us and our goal, when private accreditation ensures another layer of bureaucrats between us and our goal -- a layer far less accountable to the people, of course, like that was the idea or something.
ProPublica looks at how various early voting regimes encourage (or fail to encourage) turnout. Key findings: in-person absentee voting and same-day registration seem to boost minority turnout the most (no wonder North Carolina tried to do away with them!), and voting by mail tends to boost turnout the first time it's used but not much thereafter (which doesn't discredit it, since a small boost in turnout following a large boost in turnout still represents an improvement). The jury's out on automatic voter registration, obviously, since only five states have it, and none have run it in an election yet.
Finally, Rob Boston at the Wall of Separation blog reminds us that arguing with street preachers doesn't actually violate their First Amendment rights. Which should come as no surprise, of course -- we should know already that the First Amendment doesn't flow in one direction at a time, and that the First Amendment shields you from your government, not other people exercising their First Amendment rights. But we should take every opportunity to smash the notion that criticism equals oppression, a notion I hear mostly from the right these days.