You may have heard of Laporsha Massey, a Philadelphia sixth-grader who died last month after an asthma attack on a school day her school didn't have a nurse on duty. You remember when a nurse was at your school every day? Me too. But Philadelphia's schools are short many, many millions of dollars -- and Gov. Tom Corbett is withholding $45 million in federal funding until the Philadelphia teachers unions take a massive pay and benefits cut. What does one have to do with the other? Well, that $45 million could bring back some of the 110 nurses Philadelphia schools have lost since 2011 -- and a nurse can recognize a life-threatening condition a lot quicker than you or I can. If you're tired of our political class foisting orchestrated drama after orchestrated drama upon us, you're far from alone -- and these dramas always hurt people, people Mr. Corbett serves, I shouldn't need to add. MoveOn helps you tell Gov. Corbett to end the hostage situation -- in which our children are the real hostages -- and release the money.
Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth helps you tell Lowe's and Home Depot to pull plants treated with neonicotinoid pesticides (and the neonicotinoids themselves) from their shelves. You remember that many scientists and governmental bodies have fingered neonics (as the cool kids call them) as a major cause of bee colony collapse. Then a Friends of the Earth/Center for Food Safety study released in August found neonics on "bee-friendly" garden plants in seven of 13 plants purchased in three metropolitan garden areas. Neonics may not be the only reason bees are dying en masse, but (as one scientist remarks in the above article) it is peculiar that these "bee-friendly" plants are all basically ornamental; why would these plants need the neonics, if they're not going to bear fruit? And why shouldn't consumers at least know what they're buying? I do urge you to be civil to the CEOs of Lowe's and Home Depot, as their actions seem to stem from ignorance, not malice. I mean, these aren't Republican Congressfolk we're writing.