You may have heard that Sen. Coburn (R-OK) has left the "Gang of Six" Senators who are ostensibly negotiating raising the U.S. debt ceiling. You may not have cared, since you didn't elect him to the Gang of Six. But note well: Mr. Coburn left after demanding $150 billion more in Medicare cuts. But wait, you might well be saying: what do you mean, "more"? This: Democratic Senators in the "Gang of Six" had already agreed to $400 billion in Medicare cuts. As you may know, I've resolved the stupid/evil debate in re Democrats pretty firmly in favor of "evil," but, again, it doesn't matter what they want; it matters what we want. I think it would be appropriate to call your Senators and oppose $400 billion in Medicare cuts; tools for contacting your Senators are, as always, in the upper left-hand corner of this page. There'd be no harm in reminding your Senators that plenty of revenue-raising tools exist for handling the deficit. They may not want to hear about them, but tough.
Meanwhile, closer to home, a pair of nefarious bills are winding their way through the Republican-dominated Pennsylvania state legislature. One, HB 916, would drastically cut Unemployment Compensation benefits and eligibility to the tune of over $500 million annually. It gets worse: HB 916 would deny benefits to folks who had to leave their jobs for family/medical reasons -- like, you know, sick kids or grandparents, or fleeing domestic violence. And in a truly inspired burst of absurdity, HB 916 would expand its definition of "willful misconduct" to include unintentional mistakes, so that "willful misconduct" would now include unwillful misconduct. That all seems quite cruel to me, and in your email to your state Rep you may certainly include the word "cruel." Meanwhile, SB 3 would bar insurance companies taking part in the new national health care exchanges from offering any abortion-related coverage, even if women pay for the coverage themselves. Abortion is still a legal medical procedure, right? The ACLU helps you fight SB 3. (You can also call your state legislator about these matters after you find his/her contact info here.)
Finally, Sen. Durbin (D-IL) has reintroduced S. 952, the DREAM Act, which would offer a better future for certain immigrants. Basically, the DREAM Act would remove the threat of deportation for folks who entered the U.S. as children, if they meet certain requirements: getting here before the age of 16, spending five consecutive years here, being between 12 and 35 years old, having a GED or gaining acceptance to college, and being of "sound moral character" (which I presume would be determined by grades and/or references). Said immigrants would then have to complete military service or at least two years of college. I find it hard to imagine that any of this would be such a big chore for the rest of us, but I know many politicians will oppose it because ILLEGUL IMMIGRANTZ BROWN HORDE NAFTA SUPERHIGHWAY or something. NETWORK, the national Catholic social justice lobby, helps you support the DREAM Act.