The President enacts tariffs on steel and aluminum, and the World's Last Economist, Michael Hudson, tells us why that's such a terrible idea. While it's true that great nations got great through protectionism, not "free" trade -- and have since lied to themselves about it to get other nations to buy into "free" trade! -- generally you don't put tariffs on raw materials, but the finished products that come from them, so if imported steel gets more expensive, steel corporations not only won't invest in new plants or jobs, they'll make less money in profits. (We won't even get into the plan to lift the tariffs on Mexico if they pay for the border wall. I mean, that's just rock stupid. And the President's votaries will love it.)
Good Kansans are challenging their state's show-your-citizenship-papers voting registration law, and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who's both the defendant and the defendant's counsel here, tells the plaintiffs they just aren't trying hard enough to get registered. I couldn't blame you for asking if voting is your right, why do we have to try so hard to get registered? But you also have to remember that folks like Mr. Kobach can pretty much take the day off whenever they like without any consequences, so they don't understand what working families have to go through.
Interior Department reportedly spends almost $140,000 for a "Secretary's door." At that price, that door better open up into a better universe than this one, and, ah, when you call the contractor who did the work and they hang up on you without saying goodbye, that's a bad, bad look! And of course Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke thinks his department's budget should be cut! The pricey door shouldn't surprise you, though: Ryan Zinke, you may recall, is the man who literally rode into his first day on the job. Drama: it's all Republicans have to offer.
The Straight Dope wonders if bacteriophages, or viruses that can infect and change bacteria, will save us from the coming antibiotics crisis -- you know, the crisis that comes from using four out of five antibiotics in healthy feed animals as a way of producing more meat? Initial analysis: they could help, but they're not necessarily a magic bullet, particularly when it's hard to turn them into cash cows for big pharma (and, to be fair, when Western regulatory agencies have no history of handling them). Maybe we spend tax dollars researching phages, and then keeping the results for the public? Maybe we ban antibiotic abuse? Just saying!
Finally, we should absolutely celebrate that the West Virginia teachers' nine-day wildcat strike won them (and other state employees) a 5% pay hike, but we should also recall that the state decided to fund these increases by cutting state health care spending. A truly skilled Democratic consultant would call that an opportunityto run campaign ads against Republican state legislators who chose to cut health care instead of, say, raise taxes on rich folks. But I kid, of course -- Democrat consultants are always too busy polishing their civility trophies to try something like, you know, winning.