As you know, Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday -- and this holiday has, in recent years, become a time when big corporations try to capture holiday shopping sales early, and thus force their employees to work, instead of spend time with family like most people. I'm old enough to remember when working Labor Day was verboten in America, let alone Thanksgiving -- hell, I'm old enough to remember when retailers paid their workers time-and-a-half for working Sundays. But, in the face of mammon, nothing is sacred anymore, hence CREDO helps you tell big box stores Target, KMart, and Best Buy to close their doors on Thanksgiving Day and allow their workers to spend time with their families. People work too damn much as it is -- not because they want to, but because they have to, as corporate bosses squeeze wages and redistribute ever more worker-earned wealth upward to themselves -- but at least our massive PR campaign against stores being open on Thanksgiving has prompted a dozen large retail chains, including Costco, to close their doors. Many of these retailers have noticed that staying open on Thanksgiving doesn't make them extra money, either.
Meanwhile, Atlantic City resident Charlie Birnbaum has been fighting the state of New Jersey's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (or CRDA) from taking his house on Oriental Avenue, in the shadow of the now-shuttered casino Revel. Birnbaums have owned the house for 45 years; Mr. Birnbaum now uses it to run his piano-tuning business and provide low-cost housing to seniors. The CRDA wants to take the Birnbaum home for some unrevealed purpose, possibly relating to tourism, and N.J. Superior Court judge Julio Mendez ruled just last week that the CRDA acted within its authority in taking the house. The ruling doesn't allow the CRDA to take the house for at least another month, presumably so Mr. Birnbaum can appeal; in the meantime, nothing stops us from wielding the big stick of bad PR at the CRDA. Hence change.org helps you tell the CRDA to drop its attempt to take the Birnbaum house. Historically, we've used eminent domain to secure lands for public use; court rulings have expanded the definition of "public use" to include private profit, but that doesn't make it right.
Finally, I have a number of Arctic drilling-related action alerts. Sum of Us helps you tell the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement not to extend Shell Oil's leases in the Arctic beyond their current 2017 expiration date, which extension would seem, in the light of Shell's many problems drilling in the Arctic (including a rig running aground in 2012), a bit presumptuous, to say the least. Also, the Alaska Wilderness League helps you tell our Department of the Interior to abandon its plan to sell new drilling leases in the Arctic region entirely, which a conservative-minded individual would find wise, I would think, since we understand so little about the ecosystem around the Arctic Ocean and would find cleaning up a massive oil spill -- which Interior says has about a 3 in 4 chance of happening there -- almost prohibitively difficult. Finally, Roots Action helps you tell the Obama Administration to designate the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (or ANWR) as a wilderness area, which would protect it from oil drilling for all time. There is no upside to allowing oil drilling in ANWR, when drilling supporters could never promise either a significant motherlode of oil in ANWR or a significant drop in oil prices if we drilled there.