You remember how the House's Financial Services/General Government Appropriations bill contained a rider defunding FCC efforts to enforce its new net neutrality regulations until three lawsuits could be settled? Well, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a companion bill apparently doing somewhat less damage than the House bill on net neutrality, but the Senate doesn't get a damn cookie for that. So Demand Progress helps you call your Senators to reject any anti-net neutrality riders in appropriations bills. Feel free to remind them that riders defunding FCC net neutrality efforts are a crappy way of doing something about "rate regulation," just as using a sledgehammer is a bad way to kill an ant. With over four out of five Americans supporting net neutrality -- a number including a higher proportion of Republicans than Democrats -- I think the people have made their will clear. Now our Senators should do their job and listen to the people, instead of holding our will hostage to government shutdowns. The good news? President Obama has noticed these shenanigans, though he hasn't threatened a veto. I presume that'll be our next task.
The Pew Charitable Trusts helps you tell your Congressfolk to support H.R. 2567/S. 1516, the Power Efficiency and Resiliency (or POWER) Act. What would the POWER Act do? The POWER Act would expand tax credits for developing combined heat-and-power (or CHP) and waste heat-to-power (WHP) systems, which capture wasted heat from various industrial processes (including paper and chemical manufacturing) and use it to heat buildings or create more electricity. Wasted heat makes up half of the energy many industrial processes use, so we might as well put it to use if we can. And who would oppose such a thing? Big fossil fuel energy corporation CEOs, that's who -- the people who say things like how can I make money off of that? when they actually mean how can I gild the plumbing on my 19th vacation home off of that? I'm old enough to remember when you could make money by making better products and designing better processes, rather than just funneling campaign contributions to Congressfolk until you got your way. But big fossil fuel CEOs don't get all the say around here.
Meanwhile, on the heels of President Obama's historic visit to a federal prison in Oklahoma last week -- he was the first sitting President ever to see the inside of a federal prison, prompting historian Rick Perlstein to comment, "damn you, Gerald Ford!" -- the ACLU helps you tell Mr. Obama to mandate that federal agencies and federal contractors to get rid of the "criminal record" box on job applications. Mr. Obama did just call for private corporations to do just that, so he might as well put his money where his mouth is. The "criminal record" box on job applications doesn't have very much to do with how well someone does a job -- I suspect that mainly the box helps job screeners make difficult decisions about whom to hire, but I don't believe in using arbitrary criteria to make decisions less difficult than they should be. I also don't believe in making it harder for folks coming out of jail to get work -- if they can't get work because no one will hire them, they're more likely to wind up back in jail. Private prison corporations might celebrate that cycle, but I don't, and they, too, don't get all the say around here.