Health Care Industry Has Hired Over 350 Lobbyists (Enough to Make You Sick) – The health care industry, in its attempt to influence the debate over health care reform, has hired at least 350 former government staffers and former members of Congress to lobby on the issue. With the many connections these former government workers have, particularly former members of Congress or congressional chiefs of staff, they will have near saturation coverage of the 535 current members of Congress. They also are operating with seemingly bottomless funding. The industry is currently spending $1.4 million a week on lobbying. Perhaps, the most unparalleled lobbying campaign ever.
John Boehner Makes Up Stuff About the Stimulus – U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that in “Ohio, the infrastructure dollars that were sent there months ago,” as part of the economic recovery package, “there hasn’t been a contract let, to my knowledge.” But, Boehner is wrong. The Ohio Department of Transportation has OK’d 52 stimulus-funded road and bridge projects at a cost of nearly $84 million. Of course, Wallace did not bother to question Boehner’s claim.
Supreme Court May Change Corporate Campaign Spending Law in Favor of Corporations – With a little-noticed order last week, we fear the Supreme Court has set the stage for dismantling the longstanding ban on corporate spending in elections for president and Congress. If those restrictions are overturned, it would be a disaster for democracy. The most troubling part of the court’s action is the brave new world of politics it could usher in. Auto companies that receive multibillion-dollar bailouts could spend vast sums to re-elect the same officials who hand them the money. If Exxon Mobil or Wal-Mart wants something from a member of Congress, it could threaten to spend as much as it takes to defeat him or her in the next election.
Another Ethics Complaint Against Sarah Palin – In the wake of Governor Palin stepping down from her job, new allegations have surfaced today in Alaska charging Palin with additional violations of the Alaska Executive Ethics Act.
Zane Henning — a conservative government watchdog from the governor’s hometown of Wasilla and an oilfield worker on Alaska’s North Slope — asserts in a letter to Alaska Attorney General Daniel S. Sullivan that Palin has “been charging and pocketing per diem to live in her home and has used the process for a personal gain since being elected.”
In February, Palin was required to pay back income taxes on thousands of dollars in expense money she received while living at her home overlooking Lake Lucille in Wasilla. Little more than two weeks ago she was forced to pay back the State of Alaska more than $8,100.00 for nine trips taken by her children that she had improperly charged as being part of official state business.
90,000 Seals To Be Clubbed To Death – Hunters are expected to club over 90,000 seals, including 85,000 pups during a seal hunt in Namibia, Africa. The hunting season started on July 1 and will run until Nov. 15. Namibia is one of only a few remaining countries with a commercial seal harvest. The government argues that the seal population needs to be controlled to protect fish stocks. However, animal rights activists say the practice is inhumane and outdated. Seals are hunted for skins, fur and meat, and seal genitals are sold as traditional medicines and aphrodisiacs in Asia.
Former Goldman Exec Stole Secret Computer Codes According to Charges – A former vice-president for equity strategy at investment bank Goldman Sachs has been arrested by the FBI on federal charges related to the theft of program-trading codes, news reports indicate. Program trading involves the buying and selling of large quantities of stocks based on automatic computer codes that determine which stocks to buy and sell, at which quantities, and at what price
Private Enterprise Fails Again – Amegy Bank took out a life insurance policy on a bank employee in 2001. After brain surgery to partially remove a tumor left him unable to fully function, a lawsuit alleges, Amegy secretly took out a $1.5 million life insurance policy on him. When his work continued to suffer, the suit alleges, the bank gave him poor performance reviews and then asked him to sign off on the policy. Then Amegy fired him. Johnson died in 2008. Now it appears that Amegy had allegedly taken out two policies on the employee. Thus, with the second, alleged $3.1 million policy, the amended suit says Amegy made $4.79 million off a dead employee. The only reason the employee’s wife found out about the policies was because the first check after his death, which was supposed to go straight to Amegy, was accidentally delivered to her home.
Vice Chair of Young Republicans Caught Laughing at Racist ‘Coon’ Joke – The Vice Chair of the Young Republicans is in political hot water after being caught laughing — and seemingly endorsing — a racist “coon” joke on her Facebook page. Audra Shay, Vice Chair of the Young Republicans, replied to a comment on her Facebook page which declared the “need to take this country back from all of these mad coons” with “You tell em Eric! lol.”