Perhaps incongruously, I've decided to share nothing but good news today, some of it pertaining to things we've worked on in this space.
First up: President Obama proposed an increased automobile fuel efficiency standard covering the years 2016 through 2025. The standard, 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, falls a bit short of the standard we were fighting for (60 mpg), but considering that CAFE standards aim to get us only to 35.5 mpg by 2016, 54.5 is a pretty good number. Of course, this standard isn't final yet, nor is it perfect -- environmentalists point to a 2018 "review," ostensibly to assess whether the 54.5 mpg standard can still be met, which could quickly turn into an out, and I have some reservations about whether the standard can stop automakers from making outrageously fuel-efficient cars they don't actually intend to sell, but intend only to boost the "fleet" average. So, toward that end, the Sierra Club helps you tell our President to keep loopholes out of the standard.
Also, in an illustration of the maxim that there is-so such a thing as bad PR, Scholastic has cut back its InSchool Marketing division by 40%, and mostly by cutting corporate-sponsored materials. You may recall that Scholastic had soiled its good name by passing off corporate-written claptrap in public schools as "educational materials" -- stuff written by coal companies extolling the greatness of coal without mentioning little things like pollution, or stuff written by SunnyD that gets kids to drink more of their not-terribly-fruity-but-awfully-sugary product. Well, Scholastic has cut that back, and though we'd like them to cut it out, it's a start, and we'll keep an eye on it. Admittedly I've become a bit rigid about public schools -- they belong to us, hence the word "public," and since they belong to us, they ought to be strong, too, so that they don't get tempted to take corporate money to pay for band uniforms and the like. Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood helps you thank Scholastic for their deeds.
Finally, Health and Human Services has announced that it will require all new health insurance plans to cover birth control without co-pays. Personally I wouldn't be terribly upset if birth control were subject to fair co-pays (though $50 a month is a lot, frankly), but it's been like pulling teeth to get health insurance corporations to cover birth control pills when they jump at the chance to cover Viagra, so I'll take it. I'll admit I'm not looking forward to hearing right-wingers whine about how birth control pills cause abortions (they don't) or how pregnancy isn't a "condition" (it is) or how the rule interferes with folks practicing their religion (nope, doesn't do that, either). But such is the price we pay for progress. Planned Parenthood helps you tell HHS that you support their decision.