The House passed the Innovation Act back in December, but the Senate plans to bring its own patent-reform bill to the floor -- S. 1720, the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act. It has a wordier title than the House bill, and it's also not as good as than House bill -- as the Electronic Frontier Foundation reports, the Senate bill would do a few things the Innovation Act does, but wouldn't reform the patent-issuing process, wouldn't force patent trolls to pay your attorney fees when they lose a frivolous lawsuit against you, wouldn't make patent trolls specify exactly what part of their vague patent they claim you've violated, and wouldn't prevent patent trolls from bankrupting you by forcing you to present reams of unnecessary and irrelevant documents. Thankfully, the EFF also helps you tell the Senate to pass a better patent transparency bill, so that our laws do not permit no-work-doing leeches to destroy real innovators. Hopefully our champions of tort "reform" will embrace legislation that would actually stop frivolous lawsuits.
Meanwhile, Creswell, OR activist James Dubick joins with CREDO to help you tell Safeway's CEO to label food products that contain genetically-modified organisms. Why? Because Safeway is the second-biggest supermarket chain in America, and could induce other supermarkets to do the right thing. If your friends complain to you that telling Safeway's CEO to label GMO foods is somehow fear-mongering, remind them that if GMO foods are safe, then GMO manufacturers have nothing to fear from their labeling. They're constantly telling us they're safe, right? While scientists do not all necessarily agree that GMO foods cause health problems, GMO foods spur big ag to use more dangerous pesticides and herbicides, which makes GMO foods de facto more dangerous. And, er, doesn't Newt Gingrich say that when 70 percent of Americans want something, they should get it? Polls consistently show over 90 percent of Americans want GMO food-labeling. So what's the problem?
Finally, the EPA has lately lifted British Petroleum's suspension from receiving federal contracts, but you might wonder whether BP has really done anything to deserve such lenient treatment from our government. You do not need to contemplate the 2010 Spillageddon in the Gulf any further to wonder -- you need only consider that BP's Whiting, IN refinery spilled over 1,600 gallons of crude into Lake Michigan late last month, or that the same refinery has been polluting Chicago's South Side neighborhood for years, or that BP violated Oregon state law by slapping fees on customers who paid for gas with their debit cards without telling them. Does that sound like a good corporate citizen to you? Public Citizen helps you tell the EPA to keep BP from feeding at the federal trough until it conducts itself better. Don't believe the hype that keeping BP from getting federal contracts kills jobs. Is there really no other oil corporation deserving of federal contracts?