Pennsylvania residents, take note: Watchdog.net helps you tell our Governor and our state legislators to end prison privatization in Pennsylvania. The news hook? The 2013 conviction and 28-year sentence of Mark Ciaverella, Jr., who abused his position as a juvenile court judge to send a lot of folks, including children as young as 10, into a private prison whose owner bribed him to the tune of over $1 million between 2003 and 2008. Sure, it's old news, but private prisons still operate in Pennsylvania, siphoning money from taxpayers (that means you and me) while delivering questionable-at-best results. I don't mean to assert that privatizing our prisons was the sole cause of the Kids for Cash scandal -- the greed of the two convicted judges can't be overlooked -- but the judges would have had a much tougher time sending kids to juvie for mocking their principals on social media if not for the avarice of private prisons. No use asserting that private prisons come about because public prisons can't handle Kids Today, because the answer to that is to make public prisons handle kids more effectively, because that's what civilized people do.
Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans would like very much to enact H.R. 330, the so-called Marine Access and State Transparency Act. Why is it called that? Because it spells MAST! Clever, eh? But what H.R. 330 would really do is make it much harder for the President to designate national monuments -- the President would have to go to Congress for approval before designating any national monuments, and in addition would have to go to state Governors and legislatures for approval before designating any maritime monuments. But Congress has already delegated authority to the President to designate national monuments in the Antiquities Act, and supporters of H.R. 330 really need to explain why they find national monuments so odious that we should have fewer of them -- which ultimately means fewer Grand Canyons and fewer Chimney Rocks. I sure hope they don't say that national monuments are "job-killers," because national monuments tend to attract a lot of tourism, which makes money, just not for corporate CEOs. CREDO helps you tell your Congressfolk to reject the House's anti-national monuments bill.
Finally, Penn Environment helps you tell the EPA to issue the most vigorous smog-prevention standards possible. Specifically, the EPA asks if it should hold the ozone limit (since ozone particles are a major component of smog) down to 60 parts per billion, as most doctors recommend. Imagine that, our government actually consulting with doctors on health issues! It's enough to melt a man's heart. On bad smog days, everyone's asthma gets a lot worse, and kids have a lot more trouble breathing while they're playing outside. And since scientists have observed significant spikes in respiratory-related hospital admissions on the worst smog days, you know higher smog standards will save all of us a boatload of money in health care costs. In short, a vigorous smog rule would complement EPA efforts against coal pollution and tailpipe emissions, giving us the cleaner air we all deserve. Naturally, big corporations will oppose these regulations, since (for example) all the health care savings won't go directly into their pockets. But they don't get all the say around here.