Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on S. 1945, the Voting Rights Amendment Act, began this week; as you recall, the Voting Rights Amendment Act would strengthen the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court weakened in Shelby County v. Holder last year, by creating a new preclearance formula for states and municipalities that routinely violate their citizens' voting rights (rather than use a preclearance formula for the same Southern states in apparent perpetuity, which was the Court's objection to the Voting Rights Act). The Court may have dealt the Voting Rights Act a blow, but the Voting Rights Amendment Act stands to make the Voting Rights Act stronger, if anything -- when any state or municipality could be subject to having its voting laws "pre-cleared" by the Department of Justice, then every state and municipality, in theory, will be on their toes, where they should be. Congress has, frankly, moved pretty slowly on this very important issue -- much slower than the Republican-dominated Congress of 2006 did when they reauthorized the Voting Rights Act by fairly substantial margins -- but we can do something about that, of course, and thus People for the American Way helps you tell your Congressfolk to support the Voting Rights Amendment Act.
Earlier this month the Guardian found that Costco, Carrefour, and WalMart all sold shrimp produced by actual slave labor. Specifically, the corporation that sells shrimp to these and other major retailers, Thai corporation Charoen Pokphand (CP) Foods, buys feed for its shrimp from suppliers using slave labor on boats. Laborers who've managed to escape from these suppliers testify to torture, beatings, and executions, as well as 20-hour work days and forced ingestion of methamphetamines to keep going. You've heard of "the high cost of low prices"? Well, this is about as good an example of it as you're going to get. Slavery is unfortunately a-feature-not-a-bug of Thailand's seafood industry, to the point where some observers think the industry would collapse without it. But Anti-Slavery International's Project Issara promises to eradicate slavery within Thai export industries, by prodding the big name brands that buy slave-made products to root out the rot in their supply chains. Don't get the idea you'll be hurting Thai workers by helping that push -- from slavery, there ain't nowhere to go but up. Sum of Us helps you pressure Costco, Carrefour, and WalMart to do more to get rid of slave-made shrimp.