Koch lobbied on consumer protection database recently defunded in the House

In mid-February, freshman Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, whose top campaign donor is  Koch Industries, proposed a successful amendment in an appropriations bill to defund a new public product safety database recently soft-launched by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)....more

I'm not really sure what companies are afraid of here. If you make a quality toy and are ...more

The Politics of Mother's Milk

You may have heard the old adage that “money is the mother’s milk of politics,” but money also has a lot to do with the politics of mother’s milk. Last week Rep. Michele Bachmann, R., Minn., criticized Michelle Obama for announcing that she would work to encourage breastfeeding as part of her campaign against childhood obesity, accusing the First Lady of encouraging a “new definition” of a “nanny state.”...more

Ahhh, I wondered what in the world would make those two come out against breastfeeding, when ...more

NRA uses money to build political clout

With details emerging of how accused shooter Jared Lee Loughner bought his semiautomatic Glock 19 at a sporting shop and ammunition at a Walmart, some in Congress are now calling for stronger gun control laws. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D., N.J. and Rep. Caroyln McCarthy, D., N.Y., both long-time gun control advocates, say they plan to introduce legislation prohibiting the manufacture and sale of high-capacity ammunition feeding devices....more

Similac recall: new FDA data on beetle-infested formula, other recalls too

A few days ago I received a plain white envelope in the mail from Abbott, the infant formula manufacturer. Inside was a form letter, telling me that the company was voluntarily recalling some of its cans of Similac powdered formula because they may contain beetle parts. The news was jarring; while I had just started my six-month-old son on solids, I wasn’t planning on including beetle bits on the menu....more

Lobby On, Financial Interests!

In the wee hours Friday morning, Congress finally agreed upon a final version of the massive financial services reform bill, the biggest rewrite of rules for the country's finance industry since the Great Depression. In the wake of the financial implosion two years ago, the legislation is meant to provide consumers with more protection from risky investing by banks. ...more

What's so disturbing about all of this is that the lobbying itself is a Pyrrhic victory. The ...more

Obama Calls For Greater Transparency

State of the Union addresses is are kind of like that story of the blind men and the elephant, where you are more likely to remember the part right in front of you. If you listened to President Barack Obama’s speech last night, maybe the line that stuck out most for you was about equal pay for equal work for women, or his vow to push health care reform forward, or to take the financial crisis in hand. ...more

When I stop to think about how much I *don't* know about my government, it gives me the ...more

Tsunami Coming of Corporate Political Ads

Today the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, overuled major campaign finance laws to allow unlimited corporate spending on political advertising near elections....more

I don't mean that really. It is just disheartening to have this kind of ruling. In the eyes ...more

Demand Real Transparency in Health Care Reform

C-Span CEO Brian Lamb sparked huge debate in the media and blogosphere when he asked Congressional leaders to let his cameras into lawmakers’ final negotiations on health care reform....more

Are You Ready to See What the Government Knows?

Today the Obama Administration announced its new Open Government Directive, the product of months of deliberation, which orders agencies to take concrete steps to make public information available on-line in machine-readable open formats.Before your eyes glaze over, think about what government data actually can tell us....more

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. You are absolutely right to point out that data ...more

How Transparent is Your Turkey?

When you’re standing in the aisle of the supermarket, trying to decide between this and that brand of fried onions for your famous green bean casserole for the Thanksgiving feast, wouldn’t you like to know—without a lot of bother--all that the government knows about it? Such as whether that brand has been subject to recalls because of bacterial infections, or whether the claims the company makes on the label are trustworthy? ...more

Have you seen Food, Inc?  I'm not buying a supermarket turkey this year... our ...more