I love getting enraged every time I read the news. But that’s the way things go these days. Yup, I head over to Boing Boing, and what do I see? In November, as Congress finalized the legislation authorizing a new Department of Homeland Security, two paragraphs suddenly appeared in the bill giving drug maker Eli Lilly & Company something it desired: a shield from lawsuits by parents who claim the company’s vaccines caused their children’s autism. The provision diverts those suits from state courts to a federal ‘vaccine court’ where damages are capped at $250,000 — small compensation for a child’s lifetime of medical care. And because any damages awarded by the vaccine court are paid by U.S. taxpayers, manufacturers are relieved of liability. It’s a sweet deal for Eli Lilly, a very special interest that, like most mega-donors, gets what it wants in Washington. Since 2000, the company has given $1.6 million to national parties and federal campaigns, 79 percent of it to Republicans. Who inserted the provision? Reporters tried and failed to find out. Lilly’s lobbyists (laughably) claim ignorance. No one on Capitol Hill is proud enough of his handiwork to claim it. Democracy requires accountability, so TomPaine.com is offering a $10,000 reward to the first person who proves the identity of the Eli Lilly Bandit — the member of Congress responsible for inserting the company’s special provision. Full details are here. Normally I do try to avoid the overly political posts, but since allegedly blogging is what got Trent Lott to step down, I’ll do my alleged “part”.