Let’s reform lobbying next

News reports prompt us to declare “Let out your inner curmudgeon day”:

n “Health care groups lobby at record pace.” The drug and insurance industries have dramatically amped up lobbying, spending millions over three months, USA Today reports.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America reported nearly $7 million in lobbying from July through September. One drug company alone, Pfizer, spent more than $17 million in the first nine months of 2009.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, an association of insurance companies, spent $6.3 million on lobbying this year — $1 million more than the same period in 2008, according to reports filed with Congress and data compiled by the nonpartisan CQ MoneyLine.

Gosh, how reassuring. All that lobbying on behalf of the “health care consumer.” Good thing they have all those extra, multiple millions to do that for us. Oh, wait…

n “Jordan’s son’s insistence on Nikes could cost school millions.” Michael Jordan’s son, Marcus, a University of Central Florida freshman, will hurt the school financially by insisting on wearing his father’s brand of Nike Air Jordans, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The school has an exclusive, multimillion dollar deal with adidas that requires coaches and athletes to use adidas shoes and equipment.

While the government worries if Google is too big, no one ever objects to the complete corporate monopolization of college sports by Nike and adidas. And for the love of Mike, if the Jordans want to wear Nikes at an adidas school, they can write a check to cover the difference.

n “Americans’ belief in global warming cools, poll finds.” Meanwhile, “India, China agree to cooperate on climate change.” Not long ago, the United States used China and India as an excuse for not making changes at home. But in China, where they can see the sooty scientific proof before their very eyes, changes are under way, while we take polls to see where people stand, as if it were a matter of opinion. It’s not so crazy that developing countries object to monitoring by industrialized nations.

n “Survey finds D.C. teens reject condom brand offered in free program.” Efforts to combat HIV in high schools are running into difficulty because students reject the brand of condoms distributed free — Lifestyles and Durex — preferring instead Trojan and Magnum.

The young people believe their preferred brands “are of better quality and offer more protection.” Of course they do. It has nothing to do with the more manly brand names. But thank goodness we’re over the problem of teens being embarrassed about buying condoms, or accepting free ones.

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