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.
Teachers across America show up to their classrooms every morning to make a difference in the lives of millions of children. Despite amazing challenges, they remain committed to realizing positive impact tapping into their students' learning potential, guiding them to explore, to dream, and to reach their goals of becoming doctors, scientists, and even teachers. According to a study conducted by the Center for Teaching Quality on Teachers' Workdays, educators spend on average 12 hours daily to ensure adequate time for lesson planning, instruction, after school tutoring, checking papers, parent outreach, and staff meetings. Coupled with their individual family commitments, this leaves little time or interest for being directly engaged in understanding the constant changes on America's educational landscape.
ANYBODY STILL hoping for a sensitive and serious national debate in the wake of the Newtown elementary school shootings probably hasn't heard that January 19 is Gun Appreciation Day.
Is it just me, or does it seem early this year? I've barely recovered from New Year's, and it's already time for making homemade, hollow-tipped ammo and gathering around the family firearm for carols (my personal favorite is "There's Nothing Semi-Automatic About Our Love").
Actually, Gun Appreciation Day is a right-wing media stunt to protest the new momentum for gun control laws that has followed Adam Lanza's massacre in Newtown with a semiautomatic Bushmaster XM-15 rifle.
In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, President Obama called on Vice President Biden to come up with a 'comprehensive' plan to address gun violence and school safety. Putting aside the gun control recommendations as that would require a separate rant, the school safety portion of the plan mirrors other 'comprehensive' plans supported by the president. These plans have helped keep the president in office but worked out less well for everyday people.
Dear Mr. President,
As you begin your second term in office this week, we hope you will let the US public in on one of Washington's best-kept open secrets: We're not broke.
Of course, you – along with many on Capitol Hill – know full well that the dire warnings of disaster if we do not drastically cut safety net programs, enforcement of environmental protections, or job creation and training initiatives are patently false. We are a wealthy nation with the means to secure the common good for generations to come. But like a family blowing our money on luxury vehicles – such as the $610 million-per-plane F-35 – while failing to feed our children, we urgently need to reexamine our priorities.
This. Is. Awesome.
In a public ceremony yesterday at the Wisconsin Capitol, Dr. Margaret Rozga accepted the MLK 2013 Heritage Award for her husband, the late Father James Groppi. She used her acceptance speech to deliver a pointed attack on Governor Scott Walker as he sat just feet from her
While the US celebrates the re-election of its first African American President and the successes of numerous African Americans in all walks of life, there remain troubling challenges.
While remembering how far this nation has come since Dr. King was alive, we cannot forget how far we have still to go to combat the oppressions of racism, materialism and militarism.
Regarding Lance Armstrong's admission to Oprah Winfrey that he used illegal drugs to win as a cyclist, the L.A. Times (and others) reported:
...surprisingly, he attributed it to his battle with testicular cancer that changed his attitude.
"I was always a fighter," Armstrong said in the first of the two-part interview that aired Thursday night. "Before my diagnosis, I was a competitor, but not a fierce competitor. Then I said I will do anything I need to do to survive. Then I brought that ruthless, win-at-all-costs attitude into cycling."
If MLK Day 2013 taught us anything, it is that after the Internet, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has become one of the most contested of all American legacies. While relevant examples abound, one viral YouTube clip from the day was sufficient in itself: Cornel West Explains Why it Bothers Him That Obama Will be Taking the Oath With MLK's Bible
Reshared by thousands of MLK-memorializing Twitter and Facebook users, as well as dozens of media venues ranging from The Huffington Post to the The National Review, the West clip asserts that the POTUS's swearing-in on MLK's Bible devalues MLK's radical critique of racism as fused with the militarism and capitalism that Obama's position facilitates.
2012 made the record books for mass shootings in the United States, with seven incidents involving lone gunmen each murdering at least five people per spree.
The grotesque Sandy Hook elementary school shootings and the melee at a Colorado movie theater got our attention. Flying under the radar, however, is the fact that Sandy Hook's 28 fatalities amount to only one third of the death toll bullets take on an average day in the US. Guns are now on track to soon claim more American lives than automobiles. The reason is simple.
It has been 200 episodes of Moment of Clarity, and what have we learned?