In the wake of the FCC's anti-internet freedom vote last week, Zaid Jilani at The Intercept reminds us that over 180 communities have their own broadband services, and these are (by design and also, apparently, by temperament) far more accountable to the public than the corporate broadband services are. Demand Progress's David Segal says community broadband is no substitute for net neutrality regulations, and while I agree that we should continue to demand net neutrality from big corporate ISPs, it seems a relatively simple matter to get it from municipal governments -- the ones that aren't already thoroughly corrupted by big corporate ISPs, of course.
Federal District Court judge halts, for now, the Trump Administration's order allowing employers with "sincere" "religious" "beliefs" to opt out of paying to insure birth control for their employees. Not only did the order "contradict() the text of the Affordable Care Act," but it also "flouted the Administrative Procedure Act," which governs how the Executive branch can issue and change regulations. Flouting the rule of law seems to be a theme with the Trump Administration, but no doubt Mr. Trump cares less about actually accomplishing the aims of his rage-filled votaries than about merely validating their feelings. Heckuva job!
USDA rolls back regulations making it easier for small farmers to sue big meat-packers, and now the small farmers are suing the USDA. If you were wary of wandering into the weeds of GIPSA, note well that the meat-packers' response to the rollback talks about frivolous lawsuits and trial lawyers and higher costs, which is what all big corporations say when they can't win arguments on the merits. Four big corporations control the vast majority of the meat-packing market, which means small farmers have nowhere to go to get a better deal. You know, just like you and I can't shop for a different internet service provider in the majority of media markets that have only one.
Mother Jones catches the EPA using taxpayer dollars to hire a Republican PR firm to track the EPA's opponents. It's bad enough that they're spending your money on consultants -- money they could spend on enforcing the law against polluters, I might add! -- but this is also corporate welfare of questionable value to the newly-politicized EPA. Can't Scott "Cone of Silence" Pruitt do a simple Google search? Or go to the public library and do a LEXIS/NEXIS search? I would hate to find out that this firm (one used by Sens. McCain and Rubio in the past, of course) is some EPA flunky's crony.
Trump Administration bans the Centers for Disease Control (or CDC) from using seven words in its documentation, including "transgender," "fetus," "evidence-based," and "science-based." Let me guess: because of TEH POLITIKUL CORRECTNIZZIZ!!!!!! But if you're banning federal agencies from using particular words, you're conceding (all together now!) that you can't win arguments on the merits. Also, when you're banning words, you're being politically correct. Why do we tolerate such weakness from right-wingers?
Finally, Fran Korten at Yes! magazine profiles Kimber Lanning, the founder of Local First Arizona, now the largest local business coalition in America with some 3,200 members. You hear politicians talk about how their big corporate tax cuts "help small businesses," but you'll find Ms. Lanning's concerns a lot more realistic, and a lot more similar to your own -- she sees that the biggest threat to the small business is the big corporation (and, along with that, the big corporate welfare big corporations get). Read the whole thing, though; you'll love hearing about her ability to find at least 20 local barbers that weren't SuperCuts, and about her ability to get conservatives to listen by, guess what, speaking their language.