The Department of Health and Human Services will write regulations governing the conversion of paper health records into electronic records. Sounds absolutely stimulating, doesn't it? Well, here's the thing: the health insurance industry has been lobbying against giving patients control over their medical records. I hope the HHS understands that the health insurance industry is easily the most popular industry in the country by now, and that you, as a patient (and one day you will be a patient) should have the right to see who's viewing your records, block access to people with no need to see your records, and correct false information in those records. So the ACLU helps you communicate your desires to HHS.
The battle over exploited Florida farmworkers now moves to Chipotle -- which, oddly enough, has been sponsoring screenings of Food, Inc., while failing to join other corporations in paying tomato pickers a fairer wage. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers has tried to get Chipotle to agree to the same sort of improved conditions to which McDonald's and Burger King (among others) have agreed, but to no avail. Or, rather, to indifferent avail -- Chipotle has agreed to pay an extra penny a pound for tomatoes, but not to pay farmworkers an extra penny a pound. Maybe this is all just a big misunderstanding -- or maybe it's standard corporate PR spin. Either way, American Rights at Work provides a relatively respectful contact tool.
Sens. Lieberman (I-CT), Collins (R-ME), Voinovich (R-OH), Byrd (D-WV), Feinstein (D-CA) and Ensign (R-NV) have reintroduced legislation to extend the D.C. school voucher program. (I can't get a text for the bill from thomas.loc.gov yet; the bill number is S. 1552.) I remember when the school voucher initiative was just Bush the Better's effort to convince the evangelical right he wasn't their enemy, but since then it's taken on a life of its own, and dadgummit it just doesn't work the way it's supposed to. The way it's supposed to work? It's supposed to provide better results than public schools, which it doesn't. It's supposed to provide a much broader range of private school choices, rather than just be a way of funneling taxpayer funds to religious schools. We have reasons for separating church and state -- you don't want churches beholden to the government for their survival, for one. You don't want some churches becoming more politically powerful than others for reasons other than merit, for another. Need I add that the public school system is ours, and private schools, really, are theirs? Tools for contacting your Senator are in the upper left-hand corner. They'll never see it coming.
Finally, holy moly Jonah Goldberg is dumb to suggest that we have more to fear from an asteroid hitting Earth than from global warming. The source of his fear: that no one but an amateur astronomer saw a big rock hit Jupiter "the other week." Hey, pimp? Jupiter is almost 500 million miles away -- not even the Washington Times has a bureau out that far. In classic Goldbergian fashion, he destroys his own argument within four paragraphs: turns out an asteroid did come within 45,000 miles of hitting Earth in March, and we did spot that one beforehand, and behold! We are all still here. For added flavor, he actually labors at a racist joke, makes fun of Senator Dodd's weight (!), and suggests that you can't blame Mr. Bush for our failure to seek and destroy asteroid invaders four paragraphs before suggesting that, actually, you can (the date stamp of the Easterbrook alarmism Mr. Goldberg cites to support his argument? 2008, of course.). Of course Mr. Goldberg will say it's all just satire. But that won't make it good satire.