Even the Washington Post says a Koch brothers-owned Tribune Company "doesn't bode well for the kind of fact-based journalism that most American newspapers strive to practice." The Post surely overestimates its own commitment to any "kind of fact-based journalism," but they're right anyway -- if the Koch brothers had the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times and the Hartford Courant and the Tribune Company's five other newspapers, we'd have another right-wing media mogul getting more "favorable" coverage of corporate corruption and pollution, and they don't need more apologists than they already have. We'll also continue to have less local news, as we have whenever one entity owns more than one newspaper or media outlet. Worse, the bankrupt Tribune Company seems eager to sell to the Kochs. We've already told the FCC to put a stop to this madness, but we can head this off at the pass, too, by telling the Tribune Company not to sell to the Koch brothers.
Closer to home, La Belle, PA, once had a coal mine, but now has a coal ash disposal site, where three corporations dump coal ash without the folks operating the site doing so much as covering it with tarp. That means coal ash dust blows everywhere -- and coal ash, you may recall, contains arsenic, mercury, and lead, among other heavy metals. Thus La Belle's population of around 200 is falling due to a higher-than-normal concentration of eye, mouth, and brain cancers. (Seriously, read that article -- it's bad when people take showers and see all that soot in the bottom of the tub.) The Sierra Club helps you tell PA Gov. Corbett and his Department of Environmental Protection to deny any permits to dump coal ash in La Belle. Nobody should suffer from cancer and respiratory problems anywhere, ever, even if they live in a town no one's heard of. Or, as one La Belle resident puts it, "I am pro-business. I believe in working for a living. But who the hell has the right to make a living making me sick?"
Speaking of nasty stuff getting inside you, Moms Rising still helps you tell major retailers to stop selling products with hazardous chemicals. We still figure that most of these retailers don't really know what's in the products on their shelves, and would be as appalled as we are if they found out -- and might even take corrective action. Of course, some folks tell us that, by demanding that retailers take hazardous products off their shelves, we're interfering with their ability to survive in this economy. But is that really the kind of world we want -- a world where we make money poisoning people, a world where we can change nothing because someone, somewhere, would lose money? (And please understand by "someone, somewhere" I mean "the corporation's CEO.") Flame "retardants" in couches, BPA in plastics and food can linings, formaldehyde in shirts, phthalates in flooring -- if we can dream better, why don't we do better? And why don't we deserve better?
Last but certainly not least, Reps. Scott (D-VA) and Massie (R-KY) have introduced H.R. 1695, the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, in the House of Representatives. Of course, Sens. Leahy (D-VT) and Paul (R-KY) introduced its companion bill, S. 619, not long ago. Both bills would allow judges to give sentences shorter than the mandatory minimums for federal crimes. Imagine that! Letting judges judge! That's better than letting testosterone-addled politicians hamstring judges from judging -- and as the American people are wearying of that sort of posturing, so, too, are politicians from both political parties. Of course, nobody thinks "people shouldn't pay for their crimes"; we think people should get the right sentence for their crimes. No one should spend decades behind bars for nonviolent drug crimes so some politician can beat his chest in public, and not everyone needs to be clobbered over the head to change their ways, either. Families Against Mandatory Minimums helps you tell your House Reps to support H.R. 1695.