In the Maldives, an island nation located some 250 miles southwest of India, a 15-year-old girl faces 100 lashes in public for the crime of having sex with an adult male. She's not actually in trouble for having sex with her stepfather -- who also faces charges for raping her and murdering her child -- but for having sex with another adult male. Anyone else think the Maldives has got it exactly wrong? We have "age of consent" laws in this country for good reason -- we don't believe children can consent to sex without being manipulated by adults. And we punish the adults for that, because the adults are supposed to know better. And we certainly don't give children a hundred lashes in public -- and the fact that she won't get the hundred lashes until she's 18 tells me they know, deep down, that they're wrong. I know, their laws aren't our laws -- but what prevents us from criticizing their laws, or shaming them for their laws? Both Avaaz and Amnesty International help you tell Maldives to stop whipping children in public.
Meanwhile, the EPA plans to revisit toxic wastewater limits for coal power plants for the first time in 30 years. These power plants leak out arsenic, lead, mercury, boron and other toxic chemicals into our waterways, and as these plants get older, that'll only get worse. We can filter out most of that crap before it gets into our drinking water -- but what of wildlife that don't enjoy the benefits of fine filtration systems? Surely they count for something, even if they don't vote. And all that crap gets into the ground, too, which means it gets into anything that grows in the ground -- or anything we might grow in the ground. I eagerly await Republican complaints that stronger toxic wastewater standards will kill jobs (for people who refit power plants?) and make us all Socialists. You have to ask: are they in favor of dirty water? And you have to answer: they are, as long as it makes some crony of theirs rich. The Sierra Club helps you tell the EPA to issue the strongest possible regulations on toxic wastewater.