H.R. 1489, the Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2011, would restore Glass-Steagall-era protections for banking consumers. Like prohibiting banks from being owned by investment firms. Or prohibiting officers of banks from serving on boards of investment firms. Or prohibiting investment firms from doing commercial banking. These firewalls between the banking and securities industries existed until 1999, when the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealed them. But we had those protections for a reason -- the more investment firms get involved in commercial banking, and the more banks get involved in the shell-game economics that ruined our economy, the less safe your money is. I'd much prefer that my bank wasn't in the business of selling derivatives; not only could I be reasonably sure that my money'll be there tomorrow, but I could also be reasonably sure that my bank wasn't lying to me so it could make more money off me. If you feel the same, you may want to call your Reps and Senators and ask them to pass H.R. 1489.
You may recall that Congress seemed unable to pass the James Zadroga 9.11 Health and Compensation Act late last year until The Daily Show shamed them into doing it. Well, the Act no longer covers cancer treatments, which leaves a lot of first responders out in the lurch. So The Petition Site helps you tell your Congressfolk to help out these good Americans. I guess the response from Our Lords and Masters will be a) WE'RE BROKE WAAAAAAA! and b) who can really say whether anyone got cancer from 9.11? And my response would be a) change your diaper and tax the rich already and b) after ten years, I think our scientists know enough about the chemicals 9.11 first responders encountered as they were rescuing folks and cleaning things up. We could, you know, just bypass this thorny question entirely by passing H.R. 676, which would establish a single-payer health care system in the United States, which would be much cheaper and more amenable to the people's will than our private health care system. Just sayin'.
I don't know why some people still do what they do, but apparently an Arkansas high school couldn't let a black student be a valedictorian this year, though she finished first in her class. According to the student's mother, the school feared a "big mess" if Kymberly Wimberly was valedictorian, so they named a white co-valedictorian. The school, for its part, claimed that school policy demanded that students who take more course work but get a lower grade (like the other student) not be "penalized," which sounds like the lie folks come up with after they know they've stepped in it. This all reminds me of a story someone once told me about their high school bringing in a phonograph so the kids could dance during their lunch period, then taking it away the day after a black boy and a white girl danced together; now, who told me that story? Oh, I remember: my grandmother. Color of Change helps you tell the school to do the right thing already.
Finally, hard as it may be to believe, I've got two pieces of good news. One, the Danville, Virginia IKEA workers -- the ones who'd been facing pay cuts, scheduling insanity, dangerous working conditions, and racial discrimination -- voted to form a union on Wednesday. No word if IKEA plans to suddenly close the plant, as WalMart did to its Jonquiere, Quebec store in 2005 shortly after workers unionized there -- but, admittedly, IKEA doesn't have as many options as WalMart, given that all their Swedish workers belong to unions. And two, Mr. Boehner's debt "reduction" "plan" vote never happened yesterday, as Republican House leadership apparently couldn't whip enough votes to pass it. They'll try again today, though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is moving his own not-all-that-different bill as we speak. All the anti-Boehner links I posted yesterday are still active, and certainly nothing prevents you from calling your Senators and telling them that the Reid bill doesn't raise revenues, cuts from programs people need, et cetera, and that they shouldn't support it.