Hot on the heels of a truly Grimm whistleblower "protection" bill, we learn this: a half-dozen former and current FDA staffers claim, in a lawsuit, that the FDA monitored their email. Perhaps not coincidentally, the staffers were warning Congress that about a dozen approved medical devices were unsafe -- they malfunctioned, missed cancers, made false diagnoses, even put patients at risk of getting cancer. Also perhaps not coincidentally, two of the six staffers were fired, two others didn't have their contracts renewed, and two others were passed over for promotions. The complaints began in 2007, but lest you sniff that faint Bush Mobb odor, the harassment alleged by the suit began in January 2009. Note, also, that we are not exactly looking at a well-running medical device-approval process to begin with. The National Whistleblowers Center helps you tell our government to stop harassing FDA whistleblowers.
If you missed any alerts about extending federal unemployment insurance so that it doesn't cause massive pain to great numbers of Americans, then the National Employment Law Project still helps you tell your Congressfolk to demand a clean extension of unemployment benefits. The House of Representatives (sic) tried to use the December 31 expiration as a lever to force through unconscionable changes in unemployment insurance, like drastic cuts, mandatory drug testing, and letting states use federal umemployment money for purposes other than actually paying unemployed people. But then they overplayed their hand in early December, as the are-they-stupid-or-are-they-evil crowd occasionally does, and so they had to agree to a two-month extension. That extension ends February 29, so the time to put the pressure on your Representatives is now. It is not the kind of pressure a nominally liberal President could deliver. It is the kind of pressure only the American people can deliver. So let's deliver it.
If you missed the oppressed Apple worker alert from yesterday, I've got another one, this one from Sum of Us. I must confess that I've shortchanged "liberal" media coverage of this issue somewhat -- the New York Times has been reporting on it for a while, and NPR's This American Life covered it earlier this month. And from such reports we learn that long hours for low pay ain't even the end of it -- repetitive motion injuries get workers fired after a few years, and many are also exposed to a neurotoxin that cleans iPhone screens. But wait, you say, aren't we exposed to that neurotoxin, too? Well, you might swipe your screen a few times a day to turn it on, but an Apple worker will swipe tens of thousands of screens over the course of a day. N-hexane, the neurotoxin in question, dries a few seconds faster than rubbing alcohol. But Apple's profit margin exceeded 40% last quarter. They're sitting on $100 billion in cash. So they can change their ways.