As soon as today, the Senate might vote on either (or both) of two lousy budget proposals, and boy have I got contact tools: from the Coalition on Human Needs, the National Women's Law Center, and NETWORK, the national Catholic social justice lobby (for the Ryan budget only). Long story short: both the Ryan budget and the Toomey budget do a terrible job of balancing the budget and a great job of cutting services people need and cutting taxes rich folks need to pay. The Ryan budget turns Medicare into a voucher program, whereby seniors get to spend a boatload more for the services they already get (and which, oddly enough, doesn't cut costs!). The Toomey budget doesn't cut Medicare, but makes even deeper spending cuts than the Ryan budget does, while cutting both high-income and corporate tax rates. Neither budget does what we as Americans must do: raise taxes on the rich, close corporate tax loopholes, and stimulate job creation so tax revenues go up again. Therefore, neither budget should pass.
Meanwhile, the California Supreme Court, in People v. Diaz, ruled that California state law permitted police officers to search any person's cell phone after they're arrested. Their reasoning? Cops get an exception from the Fourth Amendment: they can search the area immediately around the person after their arrest, so they can find and secure weapons and prevent evidence from being destroyed. But the Court ruled that cell phones could be searched, without a warrant, under this exception -- though a cell phone can't blow up in an officer's face or be considered "evidence" merely because it exists. Thus California cops can search your cell phone even if they have no reason to believe they'll find any evidence on it, and thus they can rummage though your calendar, your contact list, your emails, your texts, and your internet history. If that sounds a bit invasive, that's because it is. However, SB 914 would remedy this problem, simply by requiring that police get a warrant before they can search your cell phone, and the Electronic Freedom Foundation helps you support it if you're a California resident.
Finally, the IKEA factory in Danville, Virginia, has been mistreating their workers: accusations include unionbusting, delayed raises, forced overtime, unsafe working conditions, and racial discrimination. So American Rights at Work helps you tell IKEA to do right by its Danville workers. Now this may not be a problem with IKEA, a Swedish corporation that does better by its workers elsewhere, so much as its American factory owner -- or it could be that IKEA chose the Danville location because they knew they could get away with paying their workers less money. Either way, IKEA specifically prohibits its subsidiaries from interfering with their workers' right to join a union and bargain collectively. So it's probably good that the CEO over in Sweden knows about it, then, isn't it? After all, they hate bad PR just as much as American corporations do. If you shop at IKEA, feel free to tell them you'll take your business elsewhere if they don't shape up. Don't laugh -- they want you to believe there's no one else in town, but it's a lie.