Out With the Science
Someone missed the memo. You know, the one about when you accept a cabinet position, you're expected to go to meetings. That's not happening with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. You remember Zinke, the guy who rode on horseback around the areas he intends to open to development or something. Nine of the 12 members of the National Park System Advisory Board quit in frustration because the department "showed no interest in learning about or continuing to use the forward-thinking agenda of science, the effect of climate change, protections of the ecosystems [and] education," according to Alaska Public Radio. The petulant nine had terms that were expiring, but they nonetheless felt a statement was necessary. The terrifying aspect of all this is the possibility that Zinke wanted them out in favor of people not so stuck on science.
Don't Act Surprised
We know what you're going to say: "What the...?" Amazon didn't choose Utah as a finalist for its second headquarters, and there are no doubt a lot of sad faces as the dollar signs fade. But what did you expect? The Wasatch Front is getting close to edging out Beijing for air pollution, climate change is shortening the ski season, mass transit is a twinkle in the eye, liquor—well, liquor—and then there's the whole public lands thing. That was what convinced the Outdoor Retailers convention to move to Colorado, and guess what? Denver happens to be on Amazon's list of 20 possible headquarter locations. The Seattle Times reported that it obtained documents showing Utah pitched its soon-to-be-vacant prison site. Not sure that was as big a deal as the cacuts sent from a Tucson economic development group to CEO Jeff Bezos.
Hope After All
Maybe there's hope for mankind in Utah, even if we can't get CHIP funding or Medicaid expansion. The state is about to see a competitive effort to bring down the cost of drugs, or at least some drugs, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. It's called Project Rx, the brainchild of former legislator Dan Liljenquist. Liljenquist, architect of the state's 2011 Medicaid reform, has joined four U.S. hospital groups and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to start a company to offer economical generic drugs. The idea is to shake up the market—you know, that market that has in the past raised prices by 1,000 percent. Drug prices are high partly because of the government. Medicare, for instance, can't negotiate prices, and if you can't get those economies of scale, then you may as well hope a private consortium like this can.