The TikTok hawks: House hearing hysterics obscure broader social media problems

The ubiquitous social video app TikTok did not have a great day as CEO Shou Zi Chew was dragged before Congress to ostensibly testify, but really be berated, by lawmakers out for blood. In more than five hours of testimony, they painted the company as some sort of nefarious Chinese government sleeper agent, plotting against an unsuspecting public.

Bills intended to shame and scare transgender students are despicable

Republican lawmakers across the nation have introduced more than 400 bills to restrict the rights of LGBTQ people in the current legislative cycle, according to Human Rights Watch. One of them is Assembly Bill 1314, an odious proposal by California Assemblymembers Bill Essayli, R-Corona, and James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, to compel teachers, counselors and other school staff to notify parents if their kid is transgender.

Toxic pesticide drift hurts all of us

When I started farming corn and soybeans on our 320-acre family farm in Greene County, Iowa, in 1976, herbicides like dicamba were a go-to to control weeds. Dicamba is quite toxic, but it helped control broadleaf weeds in my corn crop — until it didn’t.

Do we need protection from ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’?

Listen, I don’t want to sound authoritarian, but I hereby announce that the coming week is “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Week” and that everyone 16 or older is required to sing its lyrics in public at least once a day. After all, the oomph of this delightful ditty has been making millions feel bubbly for decades, and now its Disney owners are banning it from their domain.

Aiming for loopholes: Biden background check plan heads in the right direction

With his announcement that the Justice Department will seek to tighten up the definitions of who counts as a gun dealer and must then conduct mandated background checks on potential customers, President Joe Biden is taking another small step in the direction of the broad reimagining of which people get guns and how in the United States.

In Atlanta, violent radicals on the left help feed the radical right’s narrative

The violent protest against the construction of a police training center in Atlanta exemplifies how little the radical left has learned since the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests and the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. Violence and destruction couched as civil disobedience, regardless of the claimed justification, rarely if ever yields the kind of societal or political change the instigators seek.

Eli Lilly comes through for Americans with diabetes

A hearty thank you to Eli Lilly, one of the planet’s top three producers of insulin, for slashing the price of its most widely prescribed form of insulin by 70% while capping related out-of-pocket costs at $35 a month. That means diabetics with private insurance will now pay costs on par with the congressionally mandated rate for Medicare beneficiaries set at the start of the year.

What the NYC mayor got wrong about church and state

New York Mayor Eric Adams declaring “I walk with God” at an interfaith breakfast Tuesday morning is heartening, as God should inspire. The First Amendment safeguards the free exercise of religion, so it’s perfectly fine for an elected official to be animated by his Christian faith — and to talk about it. Indeed, it was church-affiliated activists who motivated Adams as a young man “to go into law enforcement and fight from within.” If he continues to find daily strength and solace and moral guidance from the words of the Bible, well, God bless him. However Adams should be wary of using his bully pulpit to declare that creating children who are “better for our world” demands that “we,” a first-person plural noun that coming from him now means city government, necessitates “instilling in them some level of faith and belief.”

McCarthy’s leadership strategy shows no sign of working

The Republican majority in the House isn’t even two months old, but it’s already clear that Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s attempt to mollify his party’s extremist faction risks hurting the country without guaranteeing the thing he wants most: to keep his job as House leader. There might not be immediate consequences to McCarthy’s maneuvers, but the Republican leader is on the path to a painful government shutdown before the year is through, and he may even be on his way to a disastrous debt default.

Commentary: Teenage mental health crisis: The kids are not OK

Recently, my suicidal 15-year-old grandson ingested and smoked a cocktail of several drugs. His loving parents found him nonresponsive, with a heart rate near 200 beats per minute. The emergency responders and doctors saved his life. Sadly, it was not his first attempt.

Editorial: McCarthy gave Capitol footage to Carlson. Real journalists must have access too

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is supposed to work for the American people first and his party second. Fox News conspiracy-monger Tucker Carlson isn’t supposed to be anywhere on that list. McCarthy’s outrageous decision to give Carlson exclusive access to thousands of hours of Capitol security camera data that is generally shielded for security reasons should settle once and for all any lingering doubts about the unique political cravenness of this so-called leader.

Editorial: When political interests dominate news coverage, it’s the public that suffers

A public radio reporter in West Virginia was sacked after she reported on the abuse of people with disabilities in state-run facilities. Her report posed a political embarrassment for West Virginia’s Republican governor, Jim Justice, whose former senior aide is now the top executive at West Virginia Public Broadcasting. That ex-aide wound up firing the reporter. For the news-consuming public, this case serves as a warning sign of the dangers when news organizations fall under the control of political actors.