President Obama again said that the Guantánamo Bay detention camp "needs to be closed." Well, that only took a massive hunger strike among detainees. No, really: Mr. Obama said "I don't want these people to die," which would have been rather more poignant if some detainees hadn't already died well after they were supposed to be released. You remember how his last attempt to close Gitmo went down: Mr. Obama declared, in the early days of his term, that he would close Guantánamo within a year, and then Congress -- dominated by Democrats at the time, you may recall -- stamped their feet about housing "terrorists" (though, of course, they were only detainees) in their "backyards," despite the fact that several protesting Senators represented states already housing convicted terrorists in maximum security prisons. Still, when a judge says a detainee can go home, and our government doesn't get him home, whose fault is that? Amnesty International helps you tell our government to end the Gitmo ignominy.
Meanwhile, you no doubt heard about the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh last week, which killed over 360 garment workers. And you no doubt remember the November fire at the Tazreen garment factory, also in Bangladesh, which killed 112 workers. And, of course, you know that both these factories manufacture clothing that shows up in big American stores like WalMart, JC Penney, and Sears. You may even recall that a WalMart safety officer told a meeting of global retailers and government officials that making safety improvements in foreign sweatshops would not be "financial feasible." Not "financially feasible" to have (for example) fire extinguishers that actually work! And they wonder why we hate them! But Tarzeen factory survivor Sumi Abedin helps you tell the big retailers to improve safety everywhere along their supply chain. Nobody who buys clothes wants other folks' blood on them -- and no corporation wants bad PR, either.
Hate to go on about recent tragedies, but 15 folks are now dead (and 200 are injured) thanks to the explosion two weeks ago at West Fertilizers of West, TX. You may remember that West Fertilizers failed to disclose to the Department of Homeland Security (sic) that it housed over 1,300 times the amount of ammonium nitrate the law required them to disclose, but you may not know that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (or OSHA) had last inspected West Fertilizers in 1985. 1985! We still had a 50% tax bracket that year! Hence Public Citizen helps you tell our President and our Congress to ensure OSHA has the tools it needs to do its job. Like more inspectors, you know, and steeper fines for corporations that kill people through their own negligence. But especially more inspectors. Seems like the answer to most of our problems today is to create more jobs. But not "job terrorists," no matter what the punditoids at Fox News tells you.
Finally, the Governor of Tennessee seems poised to sign SB 1248/HB 1191, another "Ag-Gag" bill aiming to prevent activists, journalists, and whistleblowers from taking photos or videos of animal abuse at factory farms. SB 1248/HB 1191 would criminalize anyone who waits more than two full days to turn over photos and videos of animal abuse. Does that sound fairly positive? Not so fast: it's tough to establish a pattern of abuse over months or years when the state forces you to turn over your evidence within 48 hours of discovering it. And if you've witnessed animal abuse in the past, now you wouldn't be able to come forward, lest the state regard you as a criminal for not telling them within 48 hours. And, you know, you don't trust your government to do the right thing -- you make your government do the right thing, by producing the argument your government can't ignore. SB 1248/HB 1191 would prevent good Tennesseans from doing that. So the ACLU helps you tell Governor Haslam to reject the "Ag-Gag" bill.