You may recall the horrible Rana Plaza sweatshop building collapse in Bangladesh that killed over a thousand people. The U.N. has since helped set up a corporate accountability and victim compensation plan known as "the Arrangement," which helps victims and their families get justice through a claims process and a trust fund to which anyone can donate, and "anyone" certainly includes the clothing corporations who used Rana Plaza to manufacture their wares. At least five such corporations have donated to the fund, but Italian clothing corporation Benetton has not. And there's a major PR hook to be exploited here: Milan fashion week starts in less than two weeks, and if enough of us sign this petition from Avaaz, demanding that Benetton help compensate those who suffered and died in a sweatshop in their supply chain, they could be mighty embarrassed during Milan fashion week, as they should be right now for failing to step up. Benetton tells us their duty is over, because they made a charitable donation. But compensation isn't charity.
Meanwhile, the Drug Policy Alliance helps you tell Congress to support H.R. 667, the Veterans Equal Access Act, which would ensure that those soldiers who need medical marijuana could get it, at least in states where it's already legal. Note well the phrase "in states where it's already legal," lest right-wingers get their shorts in a bunch over ZOMG OBAMA TEH DIKTATUR MAKEZ TEH TROOPS ALL ADDICTEDZ!!!!! Citing marijuana's status as a super-awful-dangerous Schedule I drug is equally irrelevant, as, again, some states have determined that's just not true in some cases (or, in Colorado, in all cases), and our federal government has not successfully overriden these determinations. Certainly if pot helps soldiers with PTSD manage their conditions to the point where they can function in and contribute to our society again, there's no good reason to deny them what could help them. And as in yesterday's birth control action alert, there's certainly no reason to deny our troops what we wouldn't deny to ourselves.
Finally, H.R. 706/S. 353, the Justice Safety Valve Act, is back, thanks to House co-sponsors Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Bobby Scott (D-VA), as well as Senate co-sponsors Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rand Paul (R-KY). The bill would allow judges to give sentences shorter than mandatory minimum sentences "to prevent an unjust sentence" and to avoid conflicting with other laws governing imposition of sentences. The bill would also require judges to submit their reasoning for the shorter sentence in writing and would allow both parties involved in the original criminal proceeding a chance to respond to the judge's intent. So the bill blows a hole in the mandatory minimum regime, but allows all concerned parties to have a say in the process. Mandatory minimum sentencing has caught too many nonviolent criminals in its web, and has kept them in jail not just at great cost to the taxpayer, but also at great cost to those who could have rehabilitated themselves and rejoined free society sooner. So Families Against Mandatory Minimums helps you tell your Congressfolk to support the Justice Safety Valve Act.