The People's Email Network helps you tell your Congressfolk to pass H.R. 1010/S. 460, the Fair Minimum Wage Act. The Fair Minimum Wage Act would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25/hour to $10.10/hour -- or a mere 67 cents an hour less than the inflation-adjusted 1968 minimum wage would be. Yes, that means our minimum wage workers have (like most workers!) lost ground since 1968, and we don't measure the success of a society by how many vacation homes our top earners can buy -- we measure the success of a society by how many opportunities we can create for everyone in society to be the best they can be, and giving folks a minimum wage they can live on, raise a family on, and provide opportunities for their family on, is a good start. And the Fair Minimum Wage Act would stimulate the economy without increasing government debt -- give folks just scraping by more money, and they'll put most of it right back into the economy, whether they buy better food, get more schooling for themselves or their children, or even just buy more flat-screen TVs. After all, CEOs don't create jobs; people who buy stuff create jobs.
Meanwhile, the National Women's Law Center helps you support H.R. 3471/S. 1676, the Women's Health Protection Act, which would restrict states' ability to hold abortion clinics to higher standards than those states require of other health care providers. State laws that hold abortion clinics to stricter standards than hospitals and doctor's offices must meet do nothing more and nothing less than cheat -- you might turn away a lot of women seeking abortions in the short term, as state legislators in Texas and Mississippi and Virginia have done, but how many women will you have honestly convinced of the righteousness of your cause? And make no mistake: supporting the Women's Health Protection Act will not magically make you into someone who "doesn't care about the children" or "doesn't care about women's health." No one thinks abortion providers should be held to a lower standard than other health care providers, but I bet even pro-lifers will ultimately find it hypocritical to hold them to a higher one. We're not a society that'll do just anything to achieve a goal, are we? It's about time we fought to reduce abortions without all the grandstanding.
Finally, USPIRG provides its 28th annual "Trouble in Toyland" report, describing the kinds of toys you should avoid buying for children this holiday season. (You can also open their tips page on your cell phone; it might be best to open it from here.) Long story short: though the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 made our consumer product safety laws better, kids still get too many toys with lead in them, too many toys with toxic chemicals in them, too many toys that are really too loud for them, and too many toys that remain choking hazards. And by the way, in each of the above-named instances as well as many others, too many is still "one." No this isn't a whole lot of bellyaching about how everything's a mortal danger and we have to protect our kids from stubbed toes or whatever. Keeping your kids off a busy street during rush hour, for example, you can do, because you've identified at least two dangerous things about that scenario just by reading it. But keeping your kids away from the long-term developmental impairments some toys present is a bit harder, since things like lead and cadmium don't exactly wear a bell.