Word on the street is that the U.S. Senate will vote on S. 754, the Cybersecurity Information Security Act, today, so Stopcyberspying.com helps you call your Senators and tell them to reject S. 754. You no doubt know why they should reject this bill -- it would make it much, much easier for big telecom corporations to hand over all your private data to the NSA, the FBI, and the CIA, regardless of whether you've actually done anything wrong or are the actual target of an actual investigation, and would also do nothing to address real cybersecurity issues, like encryption, malware, and bad network management. And the bill would also -- because big telecom corporations are so vital to American civilization that they must be protected from the consequences of their bad actions! -- grant broad immunity to those corporations that violate your rights in sharing your data. Even worse, though, the bill's own main sponsor, Richard Burr of North Carolina, has actually admitted that S. 754 won't actually prevent cyberattacks, but merely "limit the damage" afterward. That's not security, folks. This anti-freedom bill must die.
Pennsylvania residents, take note: the state Senate plans to vote, as early as today, on SB 805, which would slash funding to Act 129 energy efficiency programs. How? By allowing the Commonwealth's biggest energy gobblers to opt out of funding the program. Why, that's like allowing the country's biggest income earners to pay less in taxes than everyone else! Everyone who pays an electric bill in Pennsylvania has to pay a fee dedicated to Act 129 energy efficiency programs, so under SB 805, most good Pennsylvanians will still have to pay the fee, but the fattest cats won't. It must be because state politics aren't all that sexy, or "fees" aren't all that sexy, that politicians get away with such mess, because pretty much everyone favors more efficient energy production. And note to the "sun tax" crowd: letting the biggest energy users off the hook for paying into a system that benefits all of us is the very definition of a "free rider." The Sierra Club helps you tell your Pennsylvania state Senator to reject the anti-energy efficiency, anti-civilization, pro-fat cat bill SB 805.
In other news, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell the EPA to enact the most vigorous methane pollution regulations possible, then the League of Conservation Voters still helps you do that. What's the trouble with methane? Methane is a far more efficient carrier of global warming emissions than coal emissions, and we're doing more and more fracking in America, and fracking isn't just a source of the chemical pollutants that get in our water tables and make our water unsafe to drink, wash with, or bathe in -- it's also a source of methane emissions, and the methane emissions problem with gas drilling is bad enough that a whole industry (the methane mitigation industry) now exists to deal with it. Right-wingers might call that job creation, but we don't need to cause (or enable) screw-ups just to create jobs. In fact, if folks are free from the kinds of pollution that makes them less healthy, they'll be free to create the kinds of jobs a truly sane, moral, and healthy civilization creates. Why not bring about that better world? Because fossil fuel corporations don't like it?
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell President Obama to issue an executive order mandating that federal employers and contractors stop asking job applicants about their criminal records, then Color of Change still helps you do that. This is better known as the "Ban the Box" campaign, because often in job applications you have to check a box if you've been convicted of a crime; banning the box doesn't prevent employers from doing background checks later, but it does give the applicant more of an opportunity to put forward their qualifications and aptitudes. See, that's what it's about -- giving folks trying to put their past behind them more opportunity. It's pointedly not about hamstringing employers' ability to find the people they want to hire, but it would help both sides if folks previously convicted of crimes can put their best foot forward. And folks who can't get work after they get out of jail often land right back in jail, which does not speak well of a society that aims to rehabilitate prisoners. Getting our government to "ban the box" is a step toward that goal.