First things first. A Pakistan high court recently upheld a death sentence for Aasiya Noreen, a.k.a. Asia Bibi, for blasphemy. For what? For allegedly insulting Mohammed, a charge made by a group of women with whom Ms. Bibi had been harvesting berries, a group of women apparently upset that she was drinking the same water as them, and also, one suspects, that she was a Christian. Two Pakistani politicians have actually died after advocating for her and opposing the state's blasphemy laws -- and the Taliban took credit for shooting one of them. A state that needs to outlaw blasphemy, let alone put people to death for blasphemy, is not only a state that's very insecure about its power, but a state that's also very insecure about religion. And, needless to say, it's a state that doesn't derive its power from its people. Change.org helps you tell our government to oppose Ms. Bibi's impending execution. The Big Stick of Bad PR has lately saved Meriam Ibrahim from a similar fate, but let's not get complacent: we must act to make it happen again.
Meanwhile, the National Organic Standards Board (or NOSB) -- that branch of the USDA that, as you might expect, determines organic food labeling standards -- meets at the end of the month, and will supposedly review the list of non-organic ingredients that they've allowed in organic food in the past. But, as you may remember, the NOSB's Director also made that task considerably more difficult by changing the voting process -- previously an approved non-organic material automatically needed a two-thirds majority of the NOSB to keep it on the approved list, but now such a material needs a two-thirds majority to remove it, which means a mere six of 15 board members, rather than 10, can keep non-organic materials in organic food. And you know how much easier a big ag corporation can get to six board members than it can get to 10. But this is par for the course for the Obama USDA; all we can rely on is ourselves. So the Organic Consumers Association helps you tell the NOSB to do whatever it can to keep non-organic materials out of USDA-certified organic food.
Finally, the FCC still hasn't decided what to do about the proposed Comcast/Time-Warner merger, a merger that would leave Comcast in complete control of more media markets than ever before -- in a majority of American media markets, Comcast would have no competitors, and you know what no competitors means: it means, no, not "creating jobs" but cutting jobs, and not "lower prices" but higher prices, and if it means "better service," that's only because Time-Warner's customer service is even more notorious than Comcast's, and that's a hell of a thing to trumpet from the rooftops. Huzzah! We are marginally less crappy than the other guy! And though Comcast says it will protect vigorous net neutrality provisions, that "promise" only lasts until 2018; after that, absent more vigorous federal action from the FCC headed up by the former corporate lobbyist, Comcast is just as likely to force you to watch Miley Cyrus videos on the internet as anyone else. Hence Sum of Us helps you tell the FCC to stop the Comcast/Time-Warner merger.