It begins: President Trump ends subsidy payments to insurers that offer health insurance plans in the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Though the end result of Mr. Trump's action will be higher insurance premiums for poorer working families -- indeed, higher premiums have already been the result of the mere uncertainty over whether the Trump Administration would continue the subsidies -- I doubt any lawsuit against it will succeed, which testifies mainly to how badly the Affordable Care Act was written. Congress might be amenable to funding the subsidies, but at what cost? At the cost of further raiding Medicare and Medicaid? At the cost of destroying the pre-existing conditions ban, which nobody except health insurance corporations hates? And you know how I hate to pile on, but a single-payer health insurance system would help us avoid these problems -- particularly the appearance of "bailing out insurers," which, really, is a PR bank shot for Mr. Trump.
The Straight Dope explains to us why "video conferencing" between prisoners and their families is a poor substitute for in-person jail visits between prisoners and their families. Surprise, surprise, video phone calls don't help prisoners stay out of jail once they get out as well as, you know, family actually being there for them, plus the service is crappy and expensive, and some jails stop offering in-person visits the minute they get video conferencing, often at the request of the corporation providing the "service"). This state of affairs does not exactly conjure up "the genius of the free market" -- surely video conferencing, if it were so great, could beat in-person visits on the merits. The punchline: Ajit Pai's FCC has lately stopped efforts to cap prices for this service, because you could stuff a burner phone into a dead cat and throw it over a prison wall! (How I wish I were making that up).
Here's a hopeful note: not long after whining that its hands were so tied it just had to offer Equifax a service contract Equifax didn't even win on the merits, the IRS has suspended said contract with Equifax, at least temporarily. Maybe the IRS hopes we'll all forget about it in a few days, particularly since our drama-addicted President will provide us with many distractions in the meantime, but the fact that the IRS backed down so quickly from their main argument (apparently that whenever a corporation sues them they have to do that corporation's will, how full of American can-do is that?) suggests that such arguments may be as transparent to good Americans as they should be. Consider, however, why on Earth the IRS would be outsourcing customer account verification to a private corporation. You'd think if the IRS did it itself, it'd cost the taxpayer less, regardless of the mountains of BS various PR hacks have fed us regarding the absurd notion that "private corporations do everything better."
Finally, because you deserve some edifying reading, Maria Konnikova at The New Yorker discusses "How Norms Change," particularly vis a vis our racist adolescent President. I've long hoped to report in a few years that Donald Trump single-handedly obliterated the bully pulpit, but whether we like it or not, Donald Trump is an "authority figure," and "authority figures have a strong and rapid effect on social norms in part because they change our assumptions about what other people think" -- the Supreme Court's 2015 legalization of gay marriage may not actually have changed very many opinions, for example, but it suggested to folks that other folks' opinions were changing, and so it goes with the President who has everyone thinking there are more racists then we thought, even though he only got 46% of the popular vote. So what do we do about a President who (for example) makes anti-Semitism appear more legitimate? Other authority figures must speak out -- ideally close-at-hand authority figures, like your professor or your pastor. I like to say we're all moral leaders in America, and that means we're all authority figures as well, so go forth and do good works.