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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.

Hillary Clinton once said of abortion that it is a "tragic" decision for women. 40 year after the passage of Roe V. Wade, Sunsara Taylor of the group Stop Patriarchy wrote of Hilary's statement: Bullshit. You know what is tragic? Forced motherhood! You know what else is tragic. Rape is tragic. Pregnancies that result from rape are tragic. Being able to have an abortion to prevent women from being double-penalized by these tragedies, to prevent women from having to foreclose their lives and futures and dreams, to prevent women from being further trapped in poverty or abuse, this is POSITIVE AND LIBERATING!

Jesse Long-Bey, longtime Michigan Citizen editor, was admitted to the hospital in early December after a month-long illness. He had suffered a stroke in December 2009 and was in a coma for 30 days but recovered. Jesse was in Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak when he died Jan. 21, 2013 the day of the first Black President Barack Obama's second inauguration and of the national Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. He was 64.

Jesse was born on Dec. 1, 1948, in Bessemer, Ala., to the late Jesse Long and Elizabeth Lewis Long. He would talk about "coming-up" down south where he believed many of the men and women were role models and most were hardworking.

A son of the segregated south, as well as Detroit, he developed a strong sense of self-awareness, a belief in African pride and community service.

The repercussions of our acts - the constructs we create - endure well past the dissolution of our convictions and desires. Our actions exist as living architecture that surrounds the breathing moment. Future generations will dwell in the world we erect, thought by thought, deed by deed.

And what if we construct an architecture of evasion and deception?

What does such a place look like? If you live in the current day US, take a perusal around you.

"Zero Dark Thirty" director Kathryn Bigelow was invited by the Los Angeles Times to compose a statement defending her film against accusations that it promotes the tolerance of torture and actually endorses torture in certain situations.  The following is what Bigelow presented, with some opposing commentary.  She begins with some description of the difficulties she and screenwriter Mark Boal had to overcome to bring "ZD30" to the screen.

Then came the controversy. Now that "Zero Dark Thirty" has appeared in cinemas nationwide, many people have asked me if I was surprised by the brouhaha that surrounded the film, while it was still in limited release, when many thoughtful people were characterizing it in wildly contradictory ways.

Four years ago, people across the world watched intently as the United States inaugurated its first black president. Thousands of people expressed hope that policies implemented under previous administrations - including wars, torture and detention, and inadequate economic support of developing nations - would change. While many acknowledge some of the progress made, there is also criticism. FSRN reporters in five countries, Canada, Mexico, Haiti, Cameroon and Pakistan, spoke to residents about the legacy of President Obama so far and what they’d like to see in the future.

Florida's discredited 'Tea Party' Republican Gov. Rick Scott — the man who restricted voter registration until blocked by a federal judge; attempted to remove thousands of legal voters from the rolls; presided over 6 hour voting lines after cutting Early Voting days in half and refusing to extend those Early Voting hours despite those completely predictable lines, and even went to federal court to (unsuccessfully) uphold even further restrictions on Early Voting — issued a statement today endorsing election reforms in the Sunshine State.

Jan 28

The Flobots: Reviving the Poetry of Politics

By Brendan Smith, SpeakOut | Opinion

In 2006, Neil Young told the Los Angeles Times that the silence of young songwriters during the Bush era compelled him to retake the stage as a protest singer: "I was waiting for someone to come along, some young singer eighteen-to-twenty-two years old, to write these songs and stand up. I waited a long time. Then I decided that maybe the generation that has to do this is still the '60s generation."

Jan 28

Creating a Culture of Peace

By Len Ellis, SpeakOut | Opinion

We live in a culture of violence.  Violence is so prevalent, like the proverbial fish in the sea, we aren't even aware that it surrounds us, conditions us.  We are so accustomed to violence that we mistakenly believe it is a natural state of being.  Being submerged in violence has dulled and numbed our sensitivity to our own humanity; our concept of what it means to be human has been impaired.  And like any other belief, until it is challenged, until we become aware to another way of being, until we awaken to what is our natural loving, nonviolent state, it continues.

Haiti faces a little-publicized hunger crisis at today's 3-year anniversary of the devastating Earthquake of January 12, 2010. The rhetoric about revitalizing Haitian agriculture by aid groups and governments has not translated into effective support on the ground. International groups partnering directly with family farmer organizations across Haiti are warning of a worsening hunger situation. Most urgently, there is a need for resources to be provided to rural organizations so that they can again purchase and distribute locally-available seeds for planting to those who used up their planting seed during repeated crop failures in 2012.

If you watched the news you probably think that Hostess was bankrupted by greedy union workers. That's incredibly far from the truth. And it's all detailed in an article and short movie by former Hostess employee Mike Hummel.