February 25th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

Chances of health care reform with 8 lobbyists for each Congress member?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Lobbyists are one major reason why our government is broken.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/25/art.health.bill.jpg caption="A copy of the Senate's health care reform plan sits between members of Congress as Pres. Obama hosts a bipartisan meeting to discuss health reform legislation."]
And you don't have to look any further than health care reform to see that we have the best government money can buy:

  • Consider this: More than 1,700 companies and organizations hired about 4,500 lobbyists last year to work on health care reform. That translates to eight health care lobbyists for each member of Congress.
  • According to this report by the Center for Public Integrity: The health sector spent more than $540 million on lobbying last year. The health industry has given $45 million dollars in campaign donations for the 2010 election cycle; and it spent more than $200 million on TV ads related to health care reform last year.

You think anyone in Washington hears the voice of the common man? Think again.

The fingerprints of lobbyists are all over this legislation. As one expert put it, "They cut it. they chopped it. they reconstructed it. They didn't bury it. I don't think they wanted to."

Lobbyists apparently succeeded at blocking the public option and softening the effect of cost-cutting measures on health care companies.

The American medical association says it helped kill some fees for doctors and a tax on cosmetic surgery - among other things.

At the end of the day, we're talking about legislation that can be called "reform," while what it really is is a three-card monte game designed to protect all the vested interests in the debate except the taxpayer.

Here’s my question to you: What are the chances of health care reform when there are eight lobbyists for every member of Congress?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Congress • Health care • Lobbyists
February 25th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Should wild animals be used as entertainment?


A killer whale at SeaWorld in San Diego. This is not the same orca involved in yesterday's trainer death at SeaWorld Orlando. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The death of a whale trainer at SeaWorld never had to happen.

The park has canceled whale shows today and is re-evaluating safety procedures - a day after a 12,000 lb. killer whale grabbed the trainer's ponytail, dragged her underwater and killed her.

The 22-ft. long killer whale has been linked to two other deaths, including the drowning of a trainer and some idiot who apparently climbed into the whale's tank one night.

One marine biologist says in yesterday's death, the whale may simply have been trying to play with the trainer or get her attention - because that's how whales play with seals and sea lions in the wild - tossing them in the air.

She says killer whales normally live in groups with their families - and males stay with their mothers their entire lives. They rely on their family for social structure and play - and cover hundreds of miles of ocean. She says situations like this cause stress. Duh.

PETA wants SeaWorld to stop confining these animals to an area that's like the "size of a bathtub" to them... and forcing them to perform silly tricks over and over. That's not what they were meant to do here.

And this isn't just about killer whales. Wild animals are not meant to be kept in places like circuses - where there are many reports of abuse - or small cages in zoos - or forced to perform in places like Las Vegas, where a tiger attacked its handler during a Siegfried and Roy show a few years ago.

And inevitably when someone playing around with these wild animals gets attacked, it's the animal that gets put down. It ought to be the other way around.

Here’s my question to you: Should wild animals be used as entertainment?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Uncategorized
February 25th, 2010
12:16 PM ET
February 25th, 2010
12:14 PM ET