So what the hell happened on Friday? Here's the best summary I've seen yet: the House did pass a "free" trade "fast-track" bill on Friday -- but their bill didn't include the "trade adjustment assistance" (i.e., for folks whose jobs get taken away by "free" trade agreements) the Senate bill had in order to gain more Democratic support and evade a Democratic-led filibuster. Now one of two things could happen: the House and Senate could go to conference over the "free" trade "fast-track" bill (not terribly likely), or the House could hold another vote on a "trade adjustment assistance" bill, either the same bill or a similar bill with more sweeteners for Democrats (more likely). I did worry that House Democrats might actually vote for a bill that cuts Medicare benefits just to hang onto trade adjustment assistance, but they didn't. Still, they're Democrats; they could fold at any moment. So the People's Email Network helps you tell your House Reps to vote against any "trade adjustment assistance" bill that would enable the "free" trade "fast-track" bill to become law.
Meanwhile, the House passed H.R. 36, which would enact a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, last month, and Sen. Graham (R-SC) has introduced S. 1553, which would presumably do the same; H.R. 36 would, as you know, prevent virtually no abortions, since almost all abortions happen before the 20-week mark. H.R. 36 does provide exemptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother (possibly because some House Republicans revolted against the bill earlier this year), but it also carves out exemptions to the exemptions. I think the 20-week abortion ban is mere grandstanding, which I despise, and if we really want to reduce abortions, and we do, we need to support birth control, since we're not going to reduce the amount of ill-considered sex people have (and have had for thousands of years) by shouting at them or making them jump through endless hoops. And this seems to me a conservative viewpoint, since it's about dealing with people as they really are. Planned Parenthood helps you tell your Senators to oppose the 20-week abortion ban.
Finally, Sara Kruzan provides a petition on Change.org which helps you tell the Senate to pass H.R. 469, the Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2015, so that foster care workers can better identify and help children who are caught in sex trafficking rings. The foster care system is where predators often go to get the kids they force into prostitution, and not everyone who works in the foster care system has been trained to spot the warning signs. Ms. Kruzan herself, born to a man who spent long stretches in prison and a woman who suffered severe depression, got trapped in a child trafficking ring when she was 11 -- and shot and killed the man who put her there when she was 16. Naturally, since this happened in the get-tough-on-crime mid-1990s, Ms. Kruzan got tried as an adult and got life without parole. Amazing logic, that children who can't consent to sex because they're not adults can go to jail for murder even though they're not adults. Ms. Kruzan kept fighting until she got paroled after 19 years, but not everyone in a child sex ring is even as lucky as that. And we can, and must, do better.