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Hochul’s pointless unity summit, DeSantis-Book-Ban Baloney and other commentary

Media watch: DeSantis-Book-Ban Baloney

After a parent complaint, a Miami-Dade County school determined the poem Amanda Gorman read at Joe Biden’s inauguration and two other books were more appropriate for middle-school students than elementary-school kids and moved the literature to the middle-school section of its media center, relates Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey. “Yet if you read the story in the national media,” you’d think Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “spent the day dancing around a poetry pyre.” It became a “national story about Ron DeSantis’ Florida and book banning” — yet it involved no more than a school district moving three books “from one shelf to another.” Why did the media lose “its collective mind” over this? Because it was an “opportunity to amplify” accusations of “authoritarianism in Florida and DeSantis.”

Eye on NYC: How Council Can Cut Housing Costs

City Council members who disrupted a Rent Guidelines Board meeting showed just “how little they understand” their own legislative power to make housing more affordable, snarks Martha Stark in City & State NY. Property-tax hikes, for example, are capped at 2% in the rest of the state, but the city uses assessment increases that have led to hikes “of almost 5% per year over the last five years; 21% since 2017.” Such taxes “are the main drivers” for city apartment-building expenses. Yet the council “spends virtually no time exploring ways to reduce operating costs for rental buildings,” costs eventually borne largely by tenants. Instead of “disrupting government meetings,” council members should use their legislative powers “to do everything” they can to “keep rents affordable and the property tax system fair.”

From the right: Gov’s Pointless ‘Unity Summit’

Gov. Hochul’s recent “unity summit,” meant to stand against hate, actually offered little useful “insight” into fighting it, laments Hannah E. Meyers at City Journal. Debbie Altmontaser, who “instructs Department of Education staff,” warned against using terms like “jihadist” to describe terror groups and urged using their actual names instead: “ISIS, white supremacists” — and “neoconservatives.” Neoconservatives? An LGBTQ activist recalled a theater friend who sings to distract attackers. A rabbi spoke of his parents tormented by Nazis. (Meyers imagined a theater kid trying to distract Nazis by singing “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”) Human Rights boss Maria L. Imperial suggested employing youth as “ambassadors of love.” New Yorkers, contends Meyers, “could do with less talk of love or hate” and more tangible steps to “ensure their safety.”

Swamp patrol: Justice Protects Its Own

The Department of Justice’s decision not to charge Massachusetts US Attorney Rachael Rollins “suggests a higher threshold standard applied by prosecutors in charging one of their own,” scoffs law prof Jonathan Turley at his blog. Rollins allegedly gave sensitive DOJ info about a candidate she opposed to the press, then lied to investigators. “This is the same department that pursued figures like [Donald] Trump” and Michael Flynn “for false or misleading comments made to agents.” Attorney General Merrick Garland “has long maintained he is above politics,” yet “the Justice Department often seems to find insurmountable problems when asked to charge a fellow prosecutor or investigator.”

Culture critic: Martin Amis, Our Dickens, RIP

“A friend may ripen over the years into a sibling, and after forty-nine years I’ve lost a brother,” mourns Ian McEwan in The New Yorker of fellow novelist Martin Amis, whose “reputation in the press — as coruscating wit, intellectual cool dude, controversialist — hardly touched the surface.” The Brit, who died this month at 73, “created a unique style, rhythmically and musically compelling, profoundly and often bleakly comic, and rich in social commentary.” His themes “ranged from sexual mayhem to the routine distortions of the tabloid press to the descent into madness and industrialized cruelty of the Holocaust and the deepest depredations of Stalinism.” The “body of work he leaves behind is deeply humane. Like Dickens, he loved and revelled in the wild eccentricities of human nature.” And so “Martin will become over time a brother to all his readers.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board