Businesses are seeking to cash in on the emotion generated by the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks by selling 9-11 related swag. The vintner Lieb Cellars released 9-11 commemorative bottles of wine priced at $19.11 per bottle, with "up to 10 percent" of the proceeds going to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Reebok is offering 9/11 commemorative sneakers and gloves, and a website called Ruby Lane is selling 9/11 commemorative cribbage boards with the words "Never Forget" emblazoned on them for $115. An assortment of 9-11 musical snow globes are for sale on EBay, including one that "features a revolving subway on the base of the globe that plays the theme of New York, New York when the globe is cranked." Consumers also need to be on the lookout for rip-offs involving the sale of 9/11 commemorative coins. A website cleverly named Govmint.com is charging a whopping $495 each for $1 Silver Eagle coins dated 2001 that it claims came from a vault that was dug up from under the rubble of the twin towers.
Food and family bloggers across New York received invitations from celebrity TV chef George Duran to attend an exclusive meal at an intimate underground Italian restaurant that had just popped up in the Village called Sotto Terra. The invitation promised "a delicious four-course meal," the Chef's "one-of-a-kind sangria," a discussion about food trends from a food industry analyst and "an unexpected surprise." Upon confirming attendance, bloggers got extra tickets to give away to their readers. But instead of a fresh Italian meal prepared by Duran, diners were quietly served Marie Callender's Three Meat and Four Cheese Lasagna, a frozen food line produced by ConAgra.
At an appearance at Iowa's State Fair on August 15, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry claimed the federal government is stifling job creation.
Embattled Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser is in the spotlight once again, this time for a conflict-of-interest in a pending case involving Koch-funded Tea Party groups.
The case, Wisconsin Prosperity Network v. Myse, involves a challenge by Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity to proposed campaign disclosure rules passed in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision (and subsequently enjoined by the Wisconsin Supreme Court). Attorney Jim Troupis is arguing against the transparency requirements on behalf of Americans for Prosperity and the other Tea Party-affiliated groups. Troupis Law Office was also paid $75,000 by Justice Prosser to represent his campaign during last spring's contentious supreme court election recount.
A couple of years ago, when Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia asked me to testify about little-known health insurance industry practices at a hearing of his Senate Commerce Committee, I initially was reluctant. I knew that if I was completely honest, my life would change forever.
What he was asking me to do was to disclose practices that have contributed to the growing number of Americans without insurance, the even faster growing number of us who are underinsured, and the phenomenal increase in insurance industry profits over the years, even as the ranks of those without coverage swelled.
While on the campaign trail in Iowa, former corporate executive and Republican governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney shot back at hecklers who were challenging his stance that it would be unfair and unwise to raise taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations to reduce the deficit.
"Corporations are people, my friend," Romney said. "Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? People's pockets! Human beings, my friend."
Democrats were quick to pounce.
Through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), corporations pay to bring state legislators to one place, sit them down for a sales pitch on policies that benefit the corporate bottom line, then push "model bills" for legislators to make law in their states. Corporations also vote behind closed doors alongside politicians on this wish-list legislation through ALEC task forces. Notably absent were the real people who would actually be affected by many of those bills and policies.
With legislators concentrated in one city, lobbyists descend on the conference to wine-and-dine elected officials after-hours, a process simplified by legislators' schedules being freed from home and family responsibilities. Multiple Wisconsin lobbyists for Koch Industries, the American Bail Coalition, Competitive Wisconsin, State Farm, Pfizer, and Wal Mart were in New Orleans, as were lobbyists for Milwaukee Charter School Advocates, Alliant Energy, and Johnson & Johnson. Corporations also sponsor invitation-only events like the Reynolds American tobacco company's cigar reception, attended by several Wisconsin legislators including Health & Human Services chair Leah Vukmir.
(By Brad Johnson, reposted from ThinkProgress, August 8, 2011)
The fight against global warming pollution requires the investment of everyone, including the world's multinational corporate giants. Many companies have taken official stances on climate pollution, pledging to reduce their greenhouse footprint in order to reduce the threat of a destabilized climate.
However, a number of these same companies are sponsoring toxic, far-right denial of climate science. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) pushes an extremist denier agenda throughout the United States, funded in secret by corporations. ThinkProgress has acquired a list of the sponsors of ALEC's 2011 annual meeting, held last week in New Orleans, Louisiana.
As they sometimes say in the South, it's all about taking care of bid'ness.
But don't tell that to the group of 100 or so protesters, who on Friday afternoon marched on the Marriott hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA), where corporate lobbyists were voting with state lawmakers on "model" legislation at the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) 38th Annual Meeting.
The protest, organized in part by Louisiana State University's Student Labor Action Project, the Defend Ohio Campaign, and activists from across the country, began at the Hale Boggs Federal Building in downtown NOLA. That same day, members of the local community also gathered to celebrate the conviction of five police officers on charges stemming from the notorious Danziger Bridge case. A federal jury found the officers guilty of civil rights violations in the shootings of unarmed citizens.