I Need a Shower

I'm doing some work for EFF-Austin, helping to support the Texas Open Source Software bill, SB1579. Last night, I spent some time on the state Ethics Commission web site, looking over their list of registered lobbyists. I'm trying to determine which tech companies that have an interest in OSS might have a legislative presence, and, therefore, might be helpful.

I found a few, but I'll tell you what I found more of. The healthcare industry, the insurance industry, and--man oh man!--SBC Communications have so many freaking lobbyists, it makes my head spin. There truly is a strong correlation between evil, profiteering industries and size of legislative presence.

I believe lobbyists (or lobsters, as a friend in the HRO calls them), serve a useful purpose. It's important for constituencies--both businesses and interest groups--to help legislators understand how proposed laws and regulations affect them. Some of these industries, however, have amassed such overwhelming armies, it's clear the goal is not to inform but to conquer.

There are 188 people registered with the State of Texas to lobby on behalf of Southwestern Bell, SBC Communications, or one of their subsidiaries.

No wonder homeowners are getting screwed so badly on insurance, patients and doctors are getting the shaft, and Ma Bell gets whatever it wants. I feel sick and I feel dirty, and I want to go take a shower.