October 1, 2008
Sign the Citizens' Whistleblower Petition Today!
When scientific research is altered or suppressed, or if government contractors waste millions of taxpayer dollars, or when national security documents are falsified, witnesses need to know that they can blow the whistle without reprisal. You can help - but time is running short! Tell Congress: Protect dedicated government servants who expose waste and fraud!
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Spotlight On the Financial Bailout
Public Citizen Staying Vigilant on Financial Bailout
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and President Bush did their best to push through Congress a Wall Street bailout worth $700 billion -- with no questions, no oversight, no regulation and no aid to anyone but the corporate fat cats who contributed to the country's economic woes. Public Citizen went straight to Capitol Hill, where we talked with media and lawmakers, and unveiled our five principles for a bailout package. We also launched a petition, mobilizing thousands of taxpayers. Learn more by checking out our posts on Citizen Vox here and here, and see photos of our participation in a protest in front of the White House on our Flickr page.
From the President's Office
Public Citizen to Government, Auto Industry: Quit Dragging Feet on Critical Roof Crush Standard
Detroit automakers have a long history of short-term thinking, fighting tooth and nail against improving their vehicles to make another buck today. All the while, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been complicit in allowing up to 250,000 deaths and far more injuries in rollover crashes by not issuing an effective roof strength standard. Although engineers have created an effective rollover crash test that simulates real-world conditions, federal regulators have proposed only slight modifications to the current test, which doesn't even set the vehicle in motion.
Learn more | See photos from the press conference
Public Interest Law
Win! Consumers Will See Long-Awaited Vehicle Background-Checking Tool
The national auto database should have been old enough to drive. But 16 years after the federal government was ordered to release public information about the histories of vehicles (like whether they had been stolen or junked), the Department of Justice still had failed to do so. So Public Citizen, along with Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, and Consumer Action, sued the government - and recently won. Expect the database to be unveiled by January 2009.
Learn More | Read the Court Documents
Public Citizen Says, "Reject Worthless Spam Settlement"
After the online stock trading giant TD Ameritrade suffered a tremendous security breach, users noticed an avalanche of spam jamming up their e-mail inboxes. Chances are, this minor inconvenience pales in comparison to the damage hackers could wreak with other information (like Social Security numbers) that was available to them from the company's database of 6 million customers. Yet a court settlement doesn't even force Ameritrade to implement new security measures. Public Citizen, which represents an Ameritrade client, is demanding that Ameritrade do more to protect its customers from identity theft and other forms of fraud.
Learn more | Read the blog post
Public Citizen Blogs
Public Citizen Goes on "The Colbert Report"
Have you heard about the - ahem - unscrupulous goings-on at the Department of the Interior recently? Let's just say that some federal employees were caught in bed with Big Oil - literally. Public Citizen's energy expert Tyson Slocum appeared on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" to discuss the scandal, as well as other energy issues. Read all about it at Citizen Vox here, and see a previous appearance by Slocum on Colbert's show here.
A New Era for the Consumer Product Safety Commission
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is undergoing a serious overhaul. With expanded resources and authority, the federal regulatory agency is better equipped now more than ever for testing children's toys for lead and other toxins, following up on whistleblowers' tips, and creating a publicly accessible consumer complaint database. Find out more at Public Citizen's Watchdog Blog.
No FTA! No Way
While Colombian President Alvaro Uribe took the podium at the National Press Club to peddle more lies about his country's proposed free trade agreement (FTA) with the U.S., Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch team and more than a hundred human rights, labor rights and environmental advocates picketed the entrance. We made it clear: The only ones to benefit from the U.S.-Colombia FTA will be the corporate elite and their paramilitary proxies who terrorize already impoverished people for their own profit. Read more at Eyes on Trade.
The Wheels on the Bus
Read more at Texas Vox.
Seeing a big yellow school bus on the road can evoke nostalgic feelings about school. Too bad these buses emit toxic soot, which can lead to asthma, bronchitis, headaches and, over time, cancer, heart disease and premature death for those exposed to it. The good news? The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality received $8.8 million from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to provide grants to Texas' school districts to upgrade buses to filter pollutants.
Reform Groups Ask McCain, Obama to Promise to Reject Soft Money if Elected. A coalition of government watchdog organizations sent letters to Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama urging each presidential candidate to promise that, if elected, he will take steps to limit the influence of special interests in his administration. Learn more.
Nursing Home Industry Launches Campaign of Deception to Derail Protections for Elderly Residents. More than 100 public interest organizations showed their support for legislation that would protect residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities from abuse and neglect. The bill would make pre-dispute binding mandatory arbitration provisions unenforceable in nursing home contracts. The arbitration clauses strip elderly residents and their families of the right to take nursing homes to court in cases of abuse or neglect. Learn more.
Federal Government's Release of Early Warning Data on Autos Is Victory for Consumers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made its Early Warning Reporting data available on its www.safercar.gov Web site in response to Public Citizen's successful lawsuits and Freedom of Information Act requests. Auto manufacturers have been submitting this important data on deaths, injuries, damage claims and possible defects since 2003, but NHTSA kept it secret in violation of the law. Learn more.
Public Citizen Health Clinic
Thyroid Medications Can Have Harmful Interactions With Other Drugs
Thyroid medications, which are among the most frequently prescribed medications in America, may adversely react with some common over-the-counter and prescription drugs. The effects of these interactions can include diminished effectiveness of the thyroid medication, diminished effectiveness of the other drugs and life-threatening effects on the blood's ability to clot. Learn more.
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