CREDO helps you tell Congressional Republicans to expand, and not to cut, Social Security benefits. As you know, Republicans have already taken a shot at Social Security, by essentially passing a rule preventing them from reallocating funds from the Social Security trust fund to the Social Security disability fund, which may run out of funds next year -- which means that they'll be able to take the disability fund hostage and extract some kind of nasty concession, like benefit cuts for seniors, in exchange for keeping the disability program solvent. They'll tell you they're doing it out of concern for the program, but they had the opportunity to do things that would actually signal that concern, like pass the Harkin/Begich bills from the last Congress that would have raised revenue and benefits, and of course they did nothing. It's well past time for Republicans to learn that nobody elected them to take Social Security hostage so they can do the helicopter dance of victory before their corporate paymasters. But we the people can teach them better -- if we stand up, repeatedly, and be counted.
Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania ACLU helps you tell your state legislators to reform state asset forfeiture laws. Asset forfeiture has received a lot of press lately, because, frankly, it's gone out of control, especially here in Philadelphia, where it has morphed from a way to keep drug dealers from continuing to break the law after they've been arrested into a way to simply beef up police department budgets. Philadelphia, as we mentioned here last week, seizes more assets than Brooklyn and Los Angeles County combined, despite having many fewer residents than either area. But the whole idea has never been constitutional -- the state should only punish folks convicted of crimes, not accused of them; no matter how "tough" on drugs politicians want to seem, rights are rights, and seizing assets pre-emptively has always had the potential to oppress the mass of good citizens. The leader of this reform effort in the legislature is Sen. Mike Folmer, R-48, who defeated the sitting Senate majority leader in the 2006 primary in the wake of the legislative pay hike scandal. I think that bodes well.
Finally, the EPA's had a good week, issuing decent methane emissions standards, and now it's issued a proposal for smog standards, one that could prevent over a million asthma attacks in kids over the next decade -- but the Environmental Defense Fund helps you tell the EPA to enact stronger smog standards. Why? Because clean air, along with clean water, is one of our most precious resources, and because smog puts one out of three Americans at a greater risk for heart disease and asthma, and that's one out of three too many. We should also support stronger standards because cleaner air, just like cleaner water, reduces health care costs (I mean, if folks get sick less from what they breathe, they don't go to the doctor as often, amirite?) and saves businesses money in lost work time due to illness. If you use the above-linked tool, you'll advocate for the same standard (60 ppb of ground-level ozone, rather than the 65-70 ppb level the EPA has proposed) supported by the American Lung Association. I suppose this means right-wingers will accuse the American Lung Association of "liberal bias."