When an impeccably pro-business outfit like Business Week declares victory for the business lobby in shutting the courtroom door to victims of corporate negligence, you know injured consumers and workers have been losing badly. But this week's cover story, How Business Trounced The Trial Lawyers, illustrates how the corporate right leveraged campaign contributions in the last decade to hijack state policy on civil justice.
Since the Bush administration first recognized the genocide in Darfur, over 250,000 men,
women, and children have died. This number does not count the countless
women and children that have been raped or attacked as a result of the
Sudanese government's campaign to kill and drive out Darfur's ethnic
African populations. The violence and genocide is now spilling over
into Chad and the Central African Republic. Yet, even with such
horrifying statistics, the situation deteriorates day by day.
Some conservatives in Colorado appear to think they are above
the laws. In the past several weeks, Colorado's largest rightwing 527
has been caught in the middle of what appears to be a giant money
laundering scheme and the Secretary of State has been called out for
failing to enforce a new law stepping up lobbyist disclosure, even
while trying to create new rules to hamstring unions and other large
The AP picked up an important story out of Texas, where it appears that the good ol' boy community thinks that corruption is a fine method of operating.
The story goes like this: Bill Ceverha, a lobbyist, consultant, and member of the board of the Employees Retirement System of Texas, lobbied for an education privatization front group in 2005. One of his big donors was a man by the name of James Leininger. Leininger is also the founder of Kinetic Concepts.
A number of state leaders have been promoting what seems like a free
lunch. Hand over control of government services to private industry and
those companies promise better service at a lower price. Like most
promises of a free lunch, privatization has mostly ended up being a
deceptive boondoggle, a point the non-partisan news sourceStateline.org emphasized this past week:
The Western Governors Association on Sunday acknowledged an
inconvenient truth. The bipartisan group of Governors from West Coast,
Rocky Mountain, and Great Plains states came together to unanimously
pass a resolution (PDF) that says that global warming is real, at least partially human-caused, and that now is a time for action.
In Indiana, critics are condemning
a rushed $1 billion privatization of the states' social services work
-- despite the fact that the companies bidding on the contract have
mismanaged similar contracts in other states and, more tellingly, no
one even bothered to determine whether the companies could do the job
cheaper than current state employees:
The Dallas Morning News reports this morning on the strength of Texas' tobacco lobby, which is running strong in its efforts to defeat a $1 per pack increase in tobacco taxes. Regardless of the policy, what caught my eye was this paragraph talking about their lobbying team:
Among those working for tobacco giants Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds are the intense and driven Mike Toomey, a former state representative and former chief of staff for Gov.