First things first: Uzbekistan, under the notorious President-for-however-long-he-wants-it Islam Karimov, has become a human rights nightmare, with "forced sterilization" quotas (i.e., when a woman goes to give birth and instead has her uterus removed) being only Mr. Karimov's most recent offense against civilization. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned Mr. Karimov's human rights record, yet U.S. military assistance has been flowing to his state since early this year (after an eight-year ban). So Avaaz.org helps you demand that Ms. Clinton back her words with actual deeds. Of course we have an ambivalent relationship with Uzbekistan -- according to former U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray, the U.S. sent detainees there to be tortured under questioning as late as 2004. But no force should prevent us from doing the right thing.
Meanwhile, Rebuild the Dream helps you petition the Obama Administration to direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide relief for underwater homeowners. Specifically, you'll ask Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide principal reduction for homeowners whose houses are now worth less than their mortgages. Right-wingers love to talk about the "moral hazard" of doing such a thing, but our government is perfectly capable of giving assistance without fomenting fraud, and anyway, what about the moral hazard of bailing out the banksters who consciously caused this whole mess and still benefit from it? Reducing principal is not only the courageous and kind thing to do, it's the practical thing to do -- as Paul Craig Roberts pointed out long ago, it'll make all those toxic assets a lot less toxic. (Remember that you'll have to create an account at whitehouse.gov in order to petition the Obama Administration.)