Washington Babylon — June 2, 2008, 11:31 am

The Way Washington Works, Cuban-Style

From the Miami Herald:

A Maryland prosthetics company pushing a new federal bill that would broaden insurance coverage for its products — and boost its bottom line — has enlisted significant political support from two of South Florida’s most prominent members of Congress. Congressmen Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart are among the bill’s key backers. At the same time, the company is backing their reelection bids.

Hanger Orthopedic Group’s political action committee and its executives provided more than $10,000 in campaign contributions to the brothers in the weeks before they co-sponsored the prosthetics parity bill on March 13. The company’s lobbyists, paid $130,000 to push the issue since last summer, went further: They helped raise campaign money for several bill sponsors, including the Republican Diaz-Balarts in March and April as they face Democratic challengers.

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Nobody in academia had ever witnessed or even heard of a performance like this before. In just a few years, in the early 1950s, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student — a student, in his twenties — had taken over an entire field of study, linguistics, and stood it on its head and hardened it from a spongy so-called “social science” into a real science, a hard science, and put his name on it: Noam Chomsky.

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