For science (and NOT the election)

Union of Concerned Scientists

Congress: Keep Independent Federal Agencies Independent

After the election, the Senate will likely take up misguided legislation that would give the White House more control over certain federal agencies that protect our health and safety—such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The bill would make it more difficult for these agencies to use the latest science to protect the public from emerging threats—and make it easier for the White House to interfere in the work of these critical independent agencies. As a result, special interests with deep pockets would have even more influence in Washington.

Don’t let the lame duck Congress pass this terrible legislation.

Urge your senators today to strongly oppose the so-called Independent Agency Regulatory Analysis Act.

Take Action Today!

Michael Halpern
National Field Organizer
Center for Science and Democracy
Union of Concerned Scientists

So Who Were Those 14 People Standing Behind the President?

The White House

On Friday, President Obama laid out his strategy for moving our country forward and reducing our deficit in a balanced way. Speaking from the East Room of the White House, the President was joined by Vice President Joe Biden – and 14 others stood behind him at the podium.

So who were those 14 people anyway? One was Pam, a school administrator. Another, Sara, is a veteran recovering from open-heart surgery. Barry has six children and Steve is an orthopedic assistant. Estela recently became an American citizen and voted in a U.S. election for the first time on Tuesday.

What they all have in common, however, is an interest in helping find answers to some of the big questions we face as a nation.

Find out more about the 14 people who stood behind the President.

President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press on the economy, in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press on the economy, in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

In Case You Missed It
Here are some of the top stories from the White House blog:President Obama Marks Diwali
Yesterday, President Obama wished a Happy Diwali to the Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists celebrating the holiday here at home and around the world.

Veterans Helping Survivors on the Road to Recovery
Facing the task of cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy, a group of former veterans known as Team Rubicon use skills acquired in the military to assist people affected by the storm. Team Rubicon was formed by two former Marines following the Haitian earthquake in 2010.

Saying Thanks to our Troops on Veterans Day
Honoring Veterans Day, Captain Todd Veazie introduces himself as the new Executive Director of Joining Forces. As an active duty Naval Special Warfare officer with 26 years of service, Captain Veazie will join First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden in this national initiative to provide support to service members and their families

People Power vs Big Oil

Pascal V –
In days, Nigeria’s Parliament could approve a $5 billion fine against giant oil polluter Shell and set in motion a law that would hold oil companies to account for the first time ever. The President endorses the penalty, but Big Oil are lobbying MPs like crazy to vote against reform. Our voices can drown them out to win justice for Nigeria’s people. Join the urgent call now!

Sign the petition

In days, Nigeria’s Parliament could approve a $5 billion fine against giant oil polluter Shell for a spill that devastated the lives of millions of people, and pass a law to hold all oil companies to account for polluting and plundering. This is a watershed moment, but unless we all speak out, oil giants will crush it.

Finally, Big Oil is having to pay for the wasteland and violence that they’ve created. President Jonathan supports the Shell fine, and progressive Senators are pushing for strong regulations, but oil companies are slick, and without huge international support MPs could buckle under the pressure.

Politicians are deciding their positions right now — sign the urgent petition for the Nigerian Parliament to fine Shell and support the bill, and then forward this to everyone — when we hit a million signers we’ll bring our unprecedented global call to the steps of Nigeria’s Parliament:

Experts say that every year Big Oil spills as much crude into the Niger Delta as an Exxon Valdez, but as it is Africa, it gets little media play. After a leak occurred at Shell’s Bonga oil facility last December, millions of gallons poured into the ocean and washed up on the densely populated coast — resulting in one of the largest African oil spills ever. The fine and bill on the table are a once in a lifetime chance to stand up to Big Oil.

Oil companies have made $600 billion in the last 50 years in Nigeria, but locals don’t see the benefits. Their land, drinking water and fishing grounds are ruined. And Shell has spent hundreds of millions of dollars a year on security forces, repressing protest against its harmful practices.

The oil industry is crucial to the economy, but companies have never been held to account for the devastation of drilling. Now, the Nigerian President and a few brave MPs are speaking out and they could finally slam the oil giants with tough fines and give fair pay outs to the victims. If we show MPs that the world supports these crucial steps, we can literally change the lives of millions. Click below to sign the urgent petition:

Avaazers have stood up to Big Oil all over the world, from Chevron in Ecuador, to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, to ending fossil fuel subsidies at the Rio Summit. Now let’s do it for Nigeria too. Make sure the politicians send a message to Big Oil: your days of impunity are over.

With hope and determination,

Pascal, Patricia, Alex, Ricken, David, Rewan, and the Avaaz team

Shell Faces $5 Billion Nigeria Fine (Wall Street Journal)

Shell urged to pay Nigeria $5bn over Bonga oil spill (BBC)

Shell’s grip on Nigerian state revealed (The Guardian)

U.N. slams Shell as Nigeria needs biggest ever oil clean-up (Reuters)

Nigeria: Oil spill investigations ‘a fiasco’ in the Niger Delta (Amnesty International)

End the Insurance Coverage Ban On Abortion for Servicewom​en Who Have Been Raped


National Women's Law Center
  Our Military Women Deserve Better  
  Tell your Members of Congress to end the outrageous abortion coverage ban for military women who have been raped.  
  Take Action  

How would you feel if I told you that our military women are banned from having abortion coverage in cases of rape and incest?

You should be outraged.

Tell your Members of Congress to end the outrageous abortion coverage ban for servicewomen and military dependents who have been raped or experienced incest.

Currently, an extreme policy prevents servicewomen and military dependents from having coverage for abortion services if they become pregnant as the result of rape or incest. This unfair policy forces them to pay for the abortion care they need, unlike their civilian counterparts who also depend on the federal government for their health insurance.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Last spring, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would remove this abhorrent ban. It passed the Senate Armed Services Committee with a bi-partisan vote, even gaining support from Senators Carl Levin and John McCain (the Chairman and Senior Republican on the Committee). Congress will finalize the NDAA soon — they may even begin this week. The only thing in the way of ending this unjust ban is some anti-choice Members of Congress who are willing to play politics with the women that serve this nation.

We can’t allow that to happen. As millions of Americans observe Veterans Day, we’re reminded of the sacrifices our military women make every day for us — now it’s our duty to stand up for them: tell your Members of Congress to end the abortion coverage ban for servicewomen and military dependents who become pregnant due to rape or incest.

Thank you for continuing to protect women’s reproductive health.


Judy Waxman   Judy Waxman
Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights
National Women’s Law Center

P.S. Your support allows us to continue to fight for women’s reproductive health, as well as work on many other critical issues. Please consider making a generous donation today.