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Speakout

Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

There have been a couple of recent attacks on U.S. Right to Know, so I thought it might be useful to sketch out who is behind them.

A March 9 article in the Guardian criticized us for sending Freedom of Information Act requests to uncover the connections between taxpayer-paid professors and the genetically engineered food industry's PR machine. All three of the article's authors are former presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. But the article failed to disclose their financial ties.

Little Rock, Arkansas - Arkansas House Rep. Mark Lowery has introduced a bill that would protect employers engaged in fraudulent, abusive and illegal practices. HB1774 would make it illegal to record any "oral communications" if the recording party is in an employment relationship with the other party, unless all parties have granted consent.

This would stifle the ability of employees who are victims of harassment or forced to work in unsafe conditions, or those who uncover fraudulent activity that the state of Arkansas has sought to protect with its existing Whistleblower Protection Act. Brought to committee the same day it was introduced, this bill is on the fast track in the Arkansas House.

Thousands of trade unionists and seventy-five local and national unions participated in the Peoples Climate March in New York in September — a quantum leap from any previous labor participation in climate action. Climate protection has become a critical concern for many in organized labor. Conversely, cooperation with organized labor has become a critical need for the climate protection movement. Yet organized labor can be difficult and confusing for climate protection advocates — and even for union members themselves — to navigate.

Having looked in the last two posts at access and affordable costs of care five years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we now examine its impact on quality of care, the third leg of the stool that defines the structure and performance of a health care system.

The ACA took several initiatives to improve quality of care, most importantly by expanding access to care through subsidizing insurance through the exchanges and expanding Medicaid in those states that participated. Other initiatives include providing preventive services without cost-sharing, pay-for-performance (P4P) changes, accountable care organizations, expanded use of electronic health records, and establishing the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Let's look at what each has accomplished.

With the 51 day Israeli attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014 that killed over 2,200, wounded 11,000, destroyed 20,000 homes and displaced 500,000, the closing to humanitarian organizations of the border with Gaza by the Egyptian government, continuing Israeli attacks on fishermen and others, and the lack of international aid through UNWRA for the rebuilding of Gaza, the international Gaza Freedom Flotilla Coalition has decided to again challenge Israel's naval blockade of Gaza in an effort to gain publicity for the critical necessity of ending the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the isolation of the people of Gaza.

UNRWA, the main U.N. aid agency in the Gaza Strip has stated that a lack of international funding forced it to suspend grants to tens of thousands of Palestinians for repairs to homes damaged in last summer's war.

March 12, 1930, Ahmedabad, India. Mahatma Gandhi and a company of nonviolent satyagrahi set out from the Sabarmati ashram and began his march to Dandi where, twenty-four days later, he would take hold in his hands salt made from the ocean water and declare, "Here I ruin the British empire."

It was an audacious faith in the power of nonviolence that carried Gandhi on that walk, and that powered him for another seventeen years before the miracle was realized and India was freed from British colonial rule.

Dangerous worldwide environmental disasters put millions of people at risk every year. Events that can range from floods to tornadoes are known to devastate entire cities and landscapes, and often leave people to fend for themselves for days, or even weeks or longer. In particularly high-risk zones, many people have to cope with loss on a regular basis, and it can be even more difficult to establish long-term solutions for displacements that occur after natural disasters.

To learn more about the displacements due to natural disasters and possible solutions to the issue, checkout this infographic created by Eastern Kentucky University’s Online Master of Science Degree in Safety, Security & Emergency Management degree program.

Mar 16

Questioning the Second Amendment

By Kenneth Roberts, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

I have a few questions for those who, including some members of the Supreme Court, honestly believe that the Second Amendment was written (10 years after the end of the Revolutionary War) to give the people the right to own and carry guns in our neighborhoods, at public events, and in public places. 

  1. Why, if the writers wanted to mean "own," do they use the word "keep" in the amendment?

New York City - Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) today joined New York and New Jersey families who would benefit from the new bipartisan bill to allow patients in states that have legalized medical marijuana to access the treatment without fear of federal prosecution. The Senators also announced the support of the Epilepsy Foundation, which has endorsed the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act that Booker and Gillibrand, along with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced last week. The CARERS Act respects states' ability that set their own medical marijuana programs and prevents federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors and caregivers in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Both New York and New Jersey have legalized use of medical marijuana.

Mar 16

We Need More President Borens

By Michelle Buggs, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Empathy. Understanding. Decisiveness. These are a few of the terms evoked by the leadership of University of Oklahoma President David Boren in his swift action to reject and correct the racist behaviors put on display by that campus' now-former chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

At a time when it is so much easier to stand in the shadows, making excuses for racism or acting as if it isn't as acute as it really is in the United States, as polls show, Boren is appreciated not only for aiming directly at the perpetrators of a racist chant, but also those across the country who are misusing our right of free speech to cause even more damage in an already unstable racial climate.

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Speakout

Speakout is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. Speakout articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.

There have been a couple of recent attacks on U.S. Right to Know, so I thought it might be useful to sketch out who is behind them.

A March 9 article in the Guardian criticized us for sending Freedom of Information Act requests to uncover the connections between taxpayer-paid professors and the genetically engineered food industry's PR machine. All three of the article's authors are former presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. But the article failed to disclose their financial ties.

Little Rock, Arkansas - Arkansas House Rep. Mark Lowery has introduced a bill that would protect employers engaged in fraudulent, abusive and illegal practices. HB1774 would make it illegal to record any "oral communications" if the recording party is in an employment relationship with the other party, unless all parties have granted consent.

This would stifle the ability of employees who are victims of harassment or forced to work in unsafe conditions, or those who uncover fraudulent activity that the state of Arkansas has sought to protect with its existing Whistleblower Protection Act. Brought to committee the same day it was introduced, this bill is on the fast track in the Arkansas House.

Thousands of trade unionists and seventy-five local and national unions participated in the Peoples Climate March in New York in September — a quantum leap from any previous labor participation in climate action. Climate protection has become a critical concern for many in organized labor. Conversely, cooperation with organized labor has become a critical need for the climate protection movement. Yet organized labor can be difficult and confusing for climate protection advocates — and even for union members themselves — to navigate.

Having looked in the last two posts at access and affordable costs of care five years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we now examine its impact on quality of care, the third leg of the stool that defines the structure and performance of a health care system.

The ACA took several initiatives to improve quality of care, most importantly by expanding access to care through subsidizing insurance through the exchanges and expanding Medicaid in those states that participated. Other initiatives include providing preventive services without cost-sharing, pay-for-performance (P4P) changes, accountable care organizations, expanded use of electronic health records, and establishing the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Let's look at what each has accomplished.

With the 51 day Israeli attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014 that killed over 2,200, wounded 11,000, destroyed 20,000 homes and displaced 500,000, the closing to humanitarian organizations of the border with Gaza by the Egyptian government, continuing Israeli attacks on fishermen and others, and the lack of international aid through UNWRA for the rebuilding of Gaza, the international Gaza Freedom Flotilla Coalition has decided to again challenge Israel's naval blockade of Gaza in an effort to gain publicity for the critical necessity of ending the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the isolation of the people of Gaza.

UNRWA, the main U.N. aid agency in the Gaza Strip has stated that a lack of international funding forced it to suspend grants to tens of thousands of Palestinians for repairs to homes damaged in last summer's war.

March 12, 1930, Ahmedabad, India. Mahatma Gandhi and a company of nonviolent satyagrahi set out from the Sabarmati ashram and began his march to Dandi where, twenty-four days later, he would take hold in his hands salt made from the ocean water and declare, "Here I ruin the British empire."

It was an audacious faith in the power of nonviolence that carried Gandhi on that walk, and that powered him for another seventeen years before the miracle was realized and India was freed from British colonial rule.

Dangerous worldwide environmental disasters put millions of people at risk every year. Events that can range from floods to tornadoes are known to devastate entire cities and landscapes, and often leave people to fend for themselves for days, or even weeks or longer. In particularly high-risk zones, many people have to cope with loss on a regular basis, and it can be even more difficult to establish long-term solutions for displacements that occur after natural disasters.

To learn more about the displacements due to natural disasters and possible solutions to the issue, checkout this infographic created by Eastern Kentucky University’s Online Master of Science Degree in Safety, Security & Emergency Management degree program.

Mar 16

Questioning the Second Amendment

By Kenneth Roberts, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

I have a few questions for those who, including some members of the Supreme Court, honestly believe that the Second Amendment was written (10 years after the end of the Revolutionary War) to give the people the right to own and carry guns in our neighborhoods, at public events, and in public places. 

  1. Why, if the writers wanted to mean "own," do they use the word "keep" in the amendment?

New York City - Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) today joined New York and New Jersey families who would benefit from the new bipartisan bill to allow patients in states that have legalized medical marijuana to access the treatment without fear of federal prosecution. The Senators also announced the support of the Epilepsy Foundation, which has endorsed the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act that Booker and Gillibrand, along with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced last week. The CARERS Act respects states' ability that set their own medical marijuana programs and prevents federal law enforcement from prosecuting patients, doctors and caregivers in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Both New York and New Jersey have legalized use of medical marijuana.

Mar 16

We Need More President Borens

By Michelle Buggs, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Empathy. Understanding. Decisiveness. These are a few of the terms evoked by the leadership of University of Oklahoma President David Boren in his swift action to reject and correct the racist behaviors put on display by that campus' now-former chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

At a time when it is so much easier to stand in the shadows, making excuses for racism or acting as if it isn't as acute as it really is in the United States, as polls show, Boren is appreciated not only for aiming directly at the perpetrators of a racist chant, but also those across the country who are misusing our right of free speech to cause even more damage in an already unstable racial climate.