January 15, 2009

Take Action!

In This Issue:

- Take Action: Tell Obama to improve toy safety

- Spotlight: Public Citizen's Dr. Sidney Wolfe

- The Public Citizen Health Clinic: Potential complications with erectile dysfunction drugs

- A message from Joan Claybrook: Let's get government working again

- The latest posts on our blogs

- Updates from the press room

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By the Numbers

208
The number of inaugural bundlers.

$26.5 million
The amount raised by these bundlers.

- Becoming44.org

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It's time for a Citizens' Agenda! Tell Obama: Deliver on toy safety, fair trade promises!
Our trade agreements have flooded the country with toys made in countries with incredibly lax safety standards, while at the same time imposing limits on the safety standards and inspections we can impose on imported products. As a consequence, kids across the U.S. face dangerous threats from unsafe imported toys. President-elect Obama promised during his campaign to address these problems. Now, it's time for him to make it happen. Sign our petition to protect kids from unsafe imported toys!
Act now.

Spotlight on Dr. Sidney Wolfe

The Wall Street Journal recently profiled Public Citizen's Dr. Sidney Wolfe, highlighting his role as a "drug-safety crusader" and a "pharmaceuticals rebel with a cause." Dr. Wolfe has been at the helm of our Health Reserach Group for more than three decades, during which time he has played a big part in pushing 16 drugs off the market and getting restrictionis placed on multibillion-dollar products. Now, he's been appointed to a four-year term on a Food and Drug Adminsitration (FDA) committee. Among the changes he hopes to see in the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry are limits on direct-to-consumer advertising and "fewer 'copycats' of popular drugs." Read the full article, and check out the video from The Wall Street Journal.

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Public Citizen Health Clinic

If you're on an erectile dysfunction drug, take note

Do you take Viagra, Cialis or Levitra? If so, you should be extremely careful if you also take any of 56 other drugs listed on our site, WorstPills.org. Our research shows that certain common blood pressure drugs, when taken with any of the three erectile dysfunction drugs, can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure, leading to a heart attack or stroke. Other medications prevent the body from eliminating erectile dysfunction drugs, thereby leading to an overdose, while still others speed up the metabolism of the drugs, thereby reducing their effectiveness. Learn more.

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From the President's Office

Americans to the feds: Stop protecting corporations. Start protecting citizens.

Americans want change - in the handling of the war, the running of the economy, the availability of affordable health care and more. These sentiments were made clear in November, when the country elected Barack Obama, who promised to dramatically alter the way Washington responds to the needs of citizens. Now, Americans want their government to start working again. Read more.


Public Interest Law

Win! Court Rules home builder can stay on Internet

Public Citizen represented a Lorain County, Ohio, home builder who fought for more than a year and a half with Powermark Homes over his ability to anonymously run a Web site that criticizes Powermark. The home builder created a site, www.powermarkhomessucks.com, that lists entries to local lawsuits involving Powermark. Public Citizen argued that consumers have a right to know about problems with Powermark and that most material on the site is already public record. Learn more in this article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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Public Citizen Blogs

Obama has chance to reverese deregulation fiasco

The departure of Joseph Kelliher, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, provides President-elect Barack Obama an opportunity to fix an agency with a history of promoting deregulation and power company profits at the expense of fair energy prices. We're urging Obama to appoint a chairman with consumer advocacy experience who will put an end to the disastrous deregulation experiment. Read more at Citizen Vox.

FTAs penalize U.S. exports to the tune of five auto bailouts

Free trade agreements (FTAs) accounted for a $77 billion export penalty in the U.S. in 2008, more than five times the sum demanded in the recent U.S. auto bailout. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce should be calling for a repeal of CAFTA, NAFTA and other FTAs to stimulate the economy. Even better, the U.S. should have a permanent, low-dollar policy and acknowledge that these agreements aren't about export or job creation but really about using the name of trade to lock in deregulation at home and abroad. Learn more at Eyes on Trade.

A consumer and civil justice news update

Still catching up with news you missed during the holidays? Public Citizen's Congress Watch program is here to help, with a brief recap of recent consumer and civil justice news. Read more at the Watchdog Blog.

The Church of Money and Politicians

A common thought about churches is that they're supposed to make bad men good and good men better. Our campaign finance system seems to do the opposite: make good men bad and bad men worse (Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich comes to mind). Outside observers continually notice the corruptive influence of money on public policy, while our public servants grasp for campaign donations. But the fact that we force them to do so by not providing a public financing system begs the question: Are we getting what we deserve? Read more at Texas Vox.

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From the Press Room

Rule That Increases Working Hours for Professional Truck Drivers is Outdated, Dangerous

The federal government should reconsider a seriously flawed regulation that can compel professional truck drivers to work and drive 19th century sweatshop hours. Public Citizen, along with three other major safety organizations, has urged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to reconsider. Learn more and read the petition.


Straus Brings High Expectations for Texas Speaker Job

State Rep. Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) has shown significant leadership on clean energy issues, including supporting renewable energy and unanimously passing the most important energy efficiency bill since deregulation. Learn more.

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