Archive for May, 2010

While we expected lobbyists for opponents of strong derivatives reform to have something to say about the legislation to reform the industry, maybe we didn’t expect them to come out with such fervor. Turns out they outnumber the pro-reform lobbyists by 11-1, a Public Citizen report found. That’s right, when it comes to financial reform, Wall Street has thrown 903 lobbyists against our 79. This means we have to work 11 times as hard to make sure We, the People are protected in this legislation. We could use your help. Take action.

From the press release:

“Wall Street is fighting hard to keep its casino open for business,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “They want to keep making risky bets, awarding themselves billions in bonuses and running to Uncle Sam for handouts when they lose. Their position is ridiculous and discredited, so it’s not surprising that they would hire nearly a thousand lobbyists to drown out reform advocates.”

Want to make sure your voice is heard when the Senate tries to rein in Wall Street? Sign the petition. Call your senators. Tell a friend. We can’t let Wall Street’s sheer man power overtake this much-needed overhaul of the abusive financial sector.

As government officials try to get to the bottom of who is to blame for the massive BP oil spill, Public Citizen has been featured in top media coverage of the catastrophe. Tyson Slocum, Public Citizen’s Energy Program director, has become a go-to guy on the issue, being interviewed on radio and television networks across the country. Slocum was featured on Bloomberg TV’s “Inside Track,” SiriusXM/POTUS radio talking about the government’s reaction to the spill and CBS Radio’s “The John Carney” show about BP’s history of safety records. He noted that BP has “one of the worst safety records of any oil company operating in America.”

Slocum made headlines in Canada and Cuba, as well. Slocum has been featured in a variety of articles from coast to coast including The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. Public Citizen also has been quoted on the issue by Reuters, Albany Times Union, Politico, The Washington Independent, The NACS, “The People’s Voice,” and The Palestine Telegraph.

Also making headlines is Public Citizen calling on the Food and Drug Administration to stop the risky trail of GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug, Avandia. The drug is believed to put patients at risk for heart attack and chest pain.

As Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, wrote in a letter to the FDA, which was quoted in a Reuters article:

The Avandia trial is “exposing thousands of high-risk patients with diabetes to a drug with an unfavorable safety profile and no clinical advantage over its comparator.”

Public Citizen’s efforts to stop the trial have gained international attention. Sidney Wolfe was quoted on CBC across Canada as well as in a Metro Canada Toronto story on the trial. The story gained attention in parts of Europe and was featured on Pharmacy Europe, a website for European hospitals and clinical pharmacists. Back in the States, Public Citizen was quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Post Chronicle, National Post, Business Spectator, and

Public Citizen has also made headlines with many other issues including, the climate bill, Capitol Hill’s limits on lobbying and Florida’s doctor discipline system. Keep checking back for more!

It doesn’t stop.  The oil from the spill, the stories about the environmental effects and BP’s blatant disregard for safety — it all keeps pouring out.

The Boston Globe‘s “The Big Picture” put out breath-taking, absolutely horrifying photos of what’s happening in the Gulf, including the one featured above. It’s really worth taking the time to scroll through them. And just think — those pictures were taken nearly a week ago. How bad is it now?

What else is happening down there?

  • “Scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots,” reports The New York Times. “The plumes are depleting the oxygen dissolved in the gulf, worrying scientists, who fear that the oxygen level could eventually fall so low as to kill off much of the sea life near the plumes.”
  • “Two refineries owned by oil giant BP account for 97 percent of all flagrant violations found in the refining industry by government safety inspectors over the past three years,” according to the Center for Public Integrity. OSHA classified most of the violations as “egregious willful.”
  • “It’s no longer mere speculation – the spill is far worse than the 1989 Exxon Valdez incident in Alaska,” wrote the Troy Media Corporation.

What can we do? We can hold BP accountable. Join Public Citizen in boycotting BP for three months. Sign the petition. Join the Facebook group. Make a difference.

On Friday, May 14, Public Citizen published an open letter to Congress in CQ Today, an “insider” newspaper hand-delivered to every senator and representative. The letter calls for strong financial reform legislation and includes the names of well over 500 Public Citizen supporters who signed on by making a contribution to help us continue fighting corporate power. The letter was published as critical financial reform legislation is being hotly debated in the Senate.

You can still sign on! Although it’s too late to be listed in CQ Today, support Public Citizen today and we’ll add your name to the letter on our home page, where everyone who visits our website can see it.

See the letter as it appeared in CQ Today.


Nobody can say it quite like Jon Stewart. The man has a gift for pointing out the absurd and capitalizing on it, granted, sometimes for a cheap laugh.

The absurdity he highlighted in last night’s episode focused on the oil spill in the Gulf — discussing plans to stop the oil from pouring into the water, and trying to pinpoint who is responsible for the spill and the aftermath. (WARNING: Stewart’s humor is a bit risque in this clip.)

Here are the plans to stop the oil geyser: Top hat. Hot tap. Are these solutions or anagrams, Stewart asked. Next up, the junk shot. (You can use your imagination on Stewart’s take of the solution.) But yeah, let’s throw golf balls, debris and other waste at the well, hoping to clog it up. Seriously.

As for accountability, was it BP? No, they only leased the rig. Was it Transocean? No, concrete blocks failed, not them. Who made the concrete blocks? Halliburton. The list goes on and on.

Now, it’s We, the People’s turn to hold BP accountable. Public Citizen urges drivers to boycott BP and fill up elsewhere. Join the Facebook group, sign the petition and tell your friends!

(Full disclosure: Joe Newman promised me a penny for every person who joins the Facebook group, 1,000,000 Strong to Boycott BP. That means if a million people join, I get $10,000. If you don’t do it for the environment, do it for me!)

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