First things first. You may have seen the work of Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, better known as Shawkan, in such outlets as Time and BBC.com, but the Egyptian government has held him in detention for over three years now, torturing him the whole time. Holding a prisoner that long without charges is itself illegal in Egypt, but no matter -- the government finally filed half a dozen charges against him, including possession of a weapon, illegal assembly, murder, and attempted murder, but you could be excused for thinking his real "crime" was documenting the Rabaa massacre, where Egyptian government forces killed at least 800 protestors. Of course, protesting doesn't merit the death penalty, anywhere, at any time -- I wonder how many good Americans will remember that in the coming months and years -- and documenting government oppression doesn't merit criminal charges of any kind, particularly the trumped-up kind. Hence Amnesty International helps you tell the Egyptian government to free Shawkan. Not incidentally, Shawkan has contracted Hepatitis C -- for which he's had a hard time getting medical treatment! -- but the Egyptian government has freed other political prisoners suffering from Hep C. Egypt can't even be consistent in how it oppresses its people! It's hard out there for a pimp.
Meanwhile, closer to home, big telecom corporation AT&T has been selling its analyses of your private call data to law enforcement agencies via its Hemisphere project -- and this is true whether you're an AT&T customer or not! (The chances are pretty good that you call AT&T customers or make calls on AT&T-built infrastructure on occasion.) Naturally AT&T hid what it was doing from, because this is immoral coming and going -- a corporation selling your private data and taxpayer money going to buy it! AT&T adds close to four billion records to its database every day, and no use hoping that law enforcement is taking on much more data than it can handle, because searching for data isn't anywhere near as hard as people might think, and desperate states will go a long way to hurt people (just like Egypt has, above). Hence Access Now helps you tell AT&T to stop selling your private information to law enforcement. No use trying to tell me that we need these kinds of tools to foil terrorists now-more-than-ever. You know what kind of tools foil terrorists? The kind of tools that promote real independence for Americans -- higher-paying jobs, good homes with less debt -- which are exactly the kinds of tools corporations are constantly trying to destroy, because then you'll be less dependent on them.
Finally, Dan McKernan of Chelsea, MI has started a petition on Change.org which helps you tell Michigan state Sen. Joe Hune (R-22) and state Rep. Gretchen Driskell (D-52) to fight the continuing abuse of animals at factory farms by opposing HB 5987. HB 5987 would extend the phase-out of battery cages in Michigan by five years, but this phase-out is already a 10-year process, passed by the state legislature seven years ago, and Michigan is the first state in the nation to mandate that factory farms phase out the kinds of cages that force animals into confined spaces for their entire lives -- not so food prices can be lower, mind you, but so factory farm executives can gild the plumbing in their 19th vacation homes. Of course HB 5987 has a lot of industry support, and as long as big ag corporations can hold the threat of "less food" or "higher prices" over our heads, bills like HB 5987 will have a good chance of passing. The only things we have going for us, I guess, are our voices, and our tradition as civilized people who hate being needlessly cruel to animals for profit. But I'll take that -- big ag corporations are prisoners of their hunger for money, but we're free people.