The Supreme Court, in yet another 5-4, rules that corporations can force their employees into binding arbitration agreements that deny them the ability to band together in class action lawsuits. So much for my hope that Chief Justice Roberts might see forced arbitration, as a necessary condition of employment, as a violation of a worker's right to forge a good contract with an employer! We could very easily argue, by the way, that the authors of the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925 (which Justice Gorsuch uses like a crutch in his majority opinion) only intended for corporations to use arbitration in disputes with other corporations, but of course right-wingers only beat the "original intent" drum when it agrees with what they already want to do.
Leave it to Will Bunch at the Philadelphia Daily News to notice that our Administration has changed its tune on Qatar -- just last year a "funder of terrorism at a very high level" -- at right around the same time a Qatari-funded firm is about to bail out one of the President's son-in-law's properties. Of course, our Administration turned on Qatar very quickly last year, not too long after Qataris did not put money into the 666 5th Avenue building in question, so Mr. Bunch's comparison to 1984 ("(w)e had always been at war with Qatar") is quite apt. Calling this Administration the most corrupt since President Harding's would also be quite apt.
Dean Baker, writing at TruthOut, reminds us that those who fear Big Gummint intervention in drug pricing are either unaware or hoping you're unaware that Big Gummint has already intervened to create high drug prices. Mr. Baker's more obsessed about the market-distorting effects of long-term patents than I am, but it's also true that our government has funded a lot of drug research and then let big pharma corporations -- rather than the good Americans who paid for all that research -- grab all the benefits. It wouldn't be untoward of you to call that "corporate welfare." (Nor would it be untoward of you, incidentally, to call the President's plan to "make foreigners pay more for drugs" "corporate welfare.")
Kansas Governor signs so-called Adoption Protection Act, which allows adoption agencies to refuse to let gay couples adopt children. You'd think politicians would be more concerned about protecting kids from bad parents, but, alas. Kansas's law differs from other state laws in that it actually allows adoption agencies that get taxpayer funding to discriminate against gay couples -- which, sadly, may eventually give our Supreme Court exactly the reason it needs to appear all Solomonic about the matter (i.e., they might strike down taxpayer-funded agencies' "right" to discriminate on the grounds of "religious" "conscience," but not that of private agencies).
Surprise, surprise, former Blackwater CEO/irredeemable asshole Erik Prince may have arranged a meeting between the Administration's campaign and the UAE in 2016, meaning he may have lied to Congress back in November when he said he had "no...formal communications or contact with the campaign" other than "papers" on foreign policy he sent to Steve Bannon. We also learn that an "unplanned" meeting between Mr. Prince and a Russian bankster might, in retrospect, have been a "planned" meeting. As of this writing, Mr. Prince hasn't threatened any reporters over this matter.
Finally, scientists are more hopeful that they will eventually discover a ninth planet (remember, Pluto got demoted last decade) in our solar system. Admittedly, they haven't observed the planet directly, and there may be other explanations for the clustering of trans-Neptunian objects just beyond the eighth planet, and, well, I hate to be an alarmist, but this could be yet another explanation for the phenomena scientists are observing out that way.