Irony Alert
January 21, 2018

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) removed Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) from the House Ethics Committee on Saturday in response to a New York Times report that Meehan used tax dollars to settle a case with a former female aide who accused him of sexual misconduct. Ryan also directed Meehan to repay the unknown amount out of his own pocket, and to submit to an ethics investigation.

The Times reported that Meehan, who is married, expressed romantic interest in the aide with a handwritten letter and "grew hostile" when she rebuffed him. After she left her position because of the harassment, the report says, the aide "reached a confidential agreement" with Meehan, including a settlement paid out of his congressional account.

Meehan has denied any inappropriate behavior. His office said in a statement he "has always treated his colleagues, male and female, with the utmost respect and professionalism." Bonnie Kristian

April 12, 2017

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway unintentionally had the crowd cracking up during her interview Wednesday with journalist Michael Wolff at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Conway, who defended demonstrably false claims about President Trump's inauguration crowd size as "alternative facts" during a television interview, aired her grievances Wednesday about the dishonesty she claimed runs rampant in the media. "You can turn on the TV — more than you can read in the paper because I assume editors are still doing their jobs in most places — and people literally say things that just aren't true," Conway said. When the audience laughed out loud, Conway responded with a smile and a nod.

Another moment from the interview that earned a chuckle from the crowd was when Wolff brought up The Washington Post's new tagline, "Democracy Dies in Darkness." "I'm going to tell you, when they say democracy dies in darkness, you're the darkness," Wolff said, to laughs. Conway replied, "I'm not the darkness." Becca Stanek

April 6, 2017

If you seek an aggressively unsubtle encapsulation of the struggles of the American coal industry, look no further: The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum now runs on solar power.

The museum, owned and operated by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, turned to solar when coal-powered energy became too expensive. "We believe that this project will help save at least $8,000 to $10,000, off the energy costs on this building alone, so it's a very worthy effort and it's going to save the college money in the long run," said Brandon Robinson, the school's communications director.

"It is a little ironic," Robinson admitted. "But you know, coal and solar and all the different energy sources work hand-in-hand. And, of course, coal is still king around here." For more on why this aging monarch increasingly has more problems than power, see this breakdown from The Week. Bonnie Kristian

March 7, 2017

As Republicans face a cascade of criticism from fellow conservatives over their new American Health Care Act, a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday suggested a majority of Americans don't want Republicans' ObamaCare replacement plan anyway. The poll, conducted right before Congressional Republicans unveiled their long-awaited health-care proposal Monday night, revealed 58 percent of Americans don't want to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Of that percentage, 51 percent said they want to keep the ACA and "work to improve it," while 7 percent said they "want to keep the ACA entirely intact."

On the other hand, just 39 percent want to see ObamaCare repealed. Thirty-one percent want the ACA repealed provided a replacement act is ready to go, while just 8 percent are comfortable with a repeal without a replacement.

Americans' tepid attitude towards the GOP's repeal and replace plan — coupled with criticism from Republican lawmakers and conservative advocacy groups — could pose problems for the American Health Care Act's passage. "People on opposite sides of this issue are strongly attached to their position on the ACA," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. "Early reviews of the Republican draft plan suggest that it might not do enough to either retain or repeal it, which may leave all sides disappointed."

The poll was conducted by phone from March 2 to 5 among 801 adults. Its margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Becca Stanek

March 4, 2017

A Snapchat image showing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reading a headline about Vice President Mike Pence's use of a private email address for government business has gone viral. The photo was taken by a passenger on Clinton's Boston to New York flight Friday; she can be seen glancing at a newspaper that reads, "Pence used personal email in office" as governor of Indiana.

This is all newsworthy, of course, because Pence was elected as part of a campaign that repeatedly and emphatically condemned Clinton's use of a private email server while at the State Department. Donald Trump "and I commend the FBI for reopening an investigation into Clinton's personal email server because no one is above the law," Pence tweeted in October.

The circumstances surrounding each politician's private email use are not identical. ABC News enumerates five key differences, including Pence's lack of access to classified materials and the apparent greater ease with which his records have been retrieved. One point in Clinton's favor is that there is no evidence her server was hacked, though a Washington Post report Friday evening called into question the charge that Pence's AOL account was compromised, noting that a spam email apparently using his address could have been sent without any breach of Pence's email. Bonnie Kristian

January 9, 2017

Actress Meryl Streep's speech at the Golden Globes has already prompted President-elect Donald Trump to lash out, and now his top advisers are weighing in, too. In a Monday morning interview on Fox & Friends, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway expressed her concerns about how Streep's criticisms of Trump — which ranged from his "performance" on the campaign trail to the time he publicly mocked a reporter with a disability — could make the incoming administration's job of forging unity that much harder. "We have to now form a government," Conway said, "and I'm concerned that now somebody with a platform like Meryl Streep is inciting people's worst instincts."

Streep, without calling Trump out by name, remarked during her Sunday night speech that "the instinct to humiliate, when it's modeled by someone on a public platform, filters down into everybody's life."

"Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence; when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose," Streep said.

Conway suggested that instead, Streep should've gotten up there and said, "'I didn't like it, but let's try to support him and see where we can find some common ground with him.'" Which Trump, Conway added, "has actually done from moment one."

Catch Conway's criticism of Streep's speech below. Becca Stanek

January 7, 2017

A popular snow tubing park in Georgia, Snow Mountain, is closed Saturday because of the harsh winter weather — specifically, a forecast of five inches of snow — blanketing the Southeast.

Snow Mountain will be closed tomorrow, Jan 7, due to snow. Yes, we are aware of the irony.

Posted by Stone Mountain Park on Friday, January 6, 2017

"Yes, we are aware of the irony," the park said in a post announcing the closure on Facebook. Snow Mountain usually relies on a snow-making machine to provide guests with a winter wonderland. Bonnie Kristian

March 8, 2016

Mitt Romney's pleas to Republican voters last Thursday to ditch Donald Trump did more to boost the Republican frontrunner than curtail his rise, a new poll out Tuesday reveals. The poll by Morning Consult finds that, post-Romney speech, 31 percent of Republican voters are more likely to back Trump — despite Romney's urgings that "the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished" by a Trump presidency. Only 20 percent of Republican voters said they're less likely to vote for Trump after Romney's speech.

Among those voters who already supported Trump, Romney's efforts backfired even more. Fifty-six percent of Trump supporters said they are now more likely to vote for Trump, with only 5 percent saying they'd be less likely to vote for him after Romney's speech.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Becca Stanek

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