The Federal Court of Australia -- which sits just under that nation's High Court -- ruled last month that corporations can patent breast cancer genes, on the grounds that isolating genetic material from the human body essentially created something new. Our own Supreme Court ruled quite differently, you may recall -- that corporations can't patent genes, since genes occur in nature, but could patent artificially-manufactured genes. What's the trouble with giving corporations patents over human genes, besides its utter absurdity? Those corporations could monopolize cancer treatments and dictate the terms upon which people live or die, much like the fabled "death panels" the Affordable Care Act did not create. The decision's supporters tout the new business the Court's decision will supposedly bring to Australia, which sure will make all those people affected by cancer feel a lot better. Well, my mom died in horrible pain and suffering, but at least the economy got a little boost! You know what comes next: the big stick of bad PR, which has prompted other Australian corporations to drop their patent applications. Hence Sum of Us helps you tell Myriad Genetics to drop its application for a patent on the BRC1 gene.
Meanwhile, the Texas state Board of Education is, again, considering rewriting all their textbooks so that whiny, cowardly, diaper-loaded right-wingers never suffer an emotional boo-boo from anyone's hard truths ever again. This time they're considering a social studies text that would describe Moses's "direct influence" on the Constitution -- you know, 10 Commandments, 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights? For when have we ever had ten of anything else? The text would also "inform" us that "states' rights," not slavery, caused the Civil War, and would claim that scientists disagree a lot on climate change, which they don't. We might just ignore Texas in these matters and let them go their own disastrous way, except that Texas, as you might expect, buys a lot of textbooks, and thus has far more influence on how textbooks get written than, say, Wyoming -- I mean, why else would the far right make Texas an educational battleground, as they have for more than three decades? Hence People for the American Way help you tell the Texas Board of Education to stop injecting religious ideology into their books. Note well that I said "religious ideology" and not "God" -- God is not nearly as weak as some of His most annoying votaries would have you believe.
Finally, you've surely heard by now that Google has announced it will quit ALEC; you may not have heard that Facebook has announced same, and these corporations would follow in Microsoft's footsteps. But some internet titans still associate with the American Legislative Exchange Council, which has lately abandoned promoting Voter ID and "Stand Your Ground" laws (after getting those laws passed in as many legislatures as they could, naturally) and now traffics in corporate welfare handouts and climate change denialism, which latter item (I'm still sore it's not the former, but I guess I shouldn't expect too much from a big corporation) has prompted much of the recent exodus. So Common Cause helps you tell AOL to cut its ties with ALEC. (Common Cause originally aimed their action tool at both AOL and Yahoo!, but Yahoo! has since cut ties with ALEC as well.) And Public Citizen helps you tell Google to quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well as ALEC. State and local Chambers of Commerce still fulfill important functions in America, but the national organization suffers from some serious Obama Derangement Syndrome, and is now no better than a national ALEC. Climate change denialism is but one of their symptoms.