The ACLU helps you tell the Department of Defense to free Mohamedou Slahi from Guantánamo Bay. Mr. Slahi fought with mujahideen in the early '90s against the then-Communist government of Afghanistan, but claims that after that government fell and mujahideen started shooting each other, he severed his ties with al-Qaeda -- which seems likely (despite his family ties to a bin Laden "spiritual adviser" who went on to denounce the 9.11 attacks), since our government has detained Mr. Slahi at Guantánamo for over a dozen years and hasn't charged him with a crime. It gets worse: a military commission wouldn't prosecute him in 2003, finding that Mr. Slahi's "incriminating statements -- the core of the government's case -- had been taken through torture," and a federal judge ordered his release nearly five years ago for similar raeasons. Yet he remains in Guantánamo, because TEH TERRORISTZ KILLZ TEH BABIEZ!!!!! Mr. Slahi has also written a nearly 500-page memoir, by hand, about his detainment; if you have a few hours, you can read it (in somewhat redacted form) here.
Meanwhile, closer to home, both Pennsylvania Senators have been pushing to exclude waste-coal burning plants from mercury limits. Waste coal is actually the waste product of regular coal-burning, which means it's much, much higher in toxins like mercury, sulfur, and lead than ordinary coal. The coal industry's solution to having piles of waste coal sitting around has been to burn it, even though doing so produces much less electricity than burning regular coal and, naturally, pumps a lot of those toxins right back out. Sen. Toomey says strong mercury regulations would force waste coal plants to shut down, which would leave the waste coal sitting around. But he doesn't say burning waste coal doesn't even get rid of it -- most of it becomes waste coal ash after that! Also, waste-coal burning is not the only way to deal with waste coal -- planting beach grass on top of waste coal piles actually keeps toxins out of our air and water quite well. The Toomey-Casey legislation failed in the Senate last week, but it'll be back, so Penn Environment helps you oppose excluding waste-coal plants from clean air and clean water protections.
Finally, CREDO helps you tell General Mills to stop claiming their high-fructose corn syrup-laden products have no high-fructose corn syrup. How does that happen? Well, General Mills claims that products containing HFCS-90 are free of high-fructose corn syrup. Now look at those initials again. And look at the words "high-fructose corn syrup" again. Beginning to see the problem? Of course General Mills isn't dumb enough to put "HFCS-90" on the label; they just call it "fructose" instead. But HFCS-90 is a very concentrated form of high-fructose corn syrup, whereas fructose is the sugar you get from apples, blueberries, strawberries, and the like. The good news? High-fructose corn syrup has suffered so many richly-deserved PR hits over the years (namely for its role in keeping junk food cheap and, therefore, helping our children become obese -- and also for our government's role in subsidizing its production so it remains cheap) that food corporations not only have to hide it, they have to tell really dumb lies in order to hide it. I call that progress. But that doesn't mean we stop demanding more progress.