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.

The political winds are changing when it comes to legalizing marijuana in America.

Now that voters in Colorado and Washington have decided to legalize marijuana, it's clear the political winds are changing in the War on Drugs. Politicians have traditionally run scared of anything that could label them "soft on crime." But Americans are catching onto the fact that criminalizing people is neither a humane nor a cost-effective response to drug use.

Nov 16

Will an Artist Please Render That Scientific Fact?

By Jill S Schneiderman, SpeakOut | Op-Ed
As a follow-up to my op-ed yesterday, "Science Fiction Science Fact," I'd like to call to readers' attention the Op-Ed in today's New York Times by Orrin Pilkey. Orrin of course hits all the salient points. Blessings to him for never tiring of trying to get people to face the reality of beach erosion.
Nov 16

Three Strikes and It's Out!

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Occupy Washington DC | Press Release

While there has been suspicion that the 'Grand Bargain' being put forth by the White House to Congress was instead a 'Grand Betrayal,' nobody had the details until they were leaked.

Now we see that huge cuts are intended to all of our important social programs: Social Security, Medicare, TriCare, unemployment benefits, the Post Office, education and more, while there are hints at cutting corporate taxes further. And all of these cuts will be marketed to the American public by the "Fix the Debt" campaign created by Bowles and Simpson with their 80 CEO friends and a starting budget of $60 million for lobbying and public relations

Nov 16

The People’s Bailout of The People

By Dennis Trainor Jr, Acronym TV | Video

It is no surprise that in the Hypercapitalist world we live there exists a market for everything. Right now, somewhere in cyberspace, a debt collector is bidding on medical debt, student debt, mortgage debt, you name it. They buy this bundled debt for pennies on the dollar, then your phone starts ringing and you get harassed while you take on the midnight shift and play the pay Paul and borrow from Peter game all the way to the grave join and the growing ranks of the overworked under paid stressed out workers shouldering increasing debt or filing for bankruptcy.

Did you know there is a soon-to-be-passed trade deal that's being called "NAFTA on steroids"? Did you know over 600 corporate lobbyists are being giving the keys to a backdoor around our laws? You probably didn't know about it because it's being kept top secret.

So much has been lost to the hubris and cupidity inherent to the hyper-industrialization and commercial hustler that defines the Anthropocene Epoch. To take it all in, to allow oneself to feel the full implications of the dire situation, of the ecocide and humanity lost to endless war and economic exploitation, one would be knocked to one's knees with sorrow or compelled to give voice to bursts of full-throated rage.

Therefore, as the grid-decimating tide of Sandy recedes and the power and lights have been restored to our East Village, fifth floor walk-up flat, I sit at my writing desk, and I am staring down the scope of my cerebral cortex, desiring to unload both barrels into the delusional asses of climate change deniers.

Currently, in Turkey 10.000 Kurdish political prisoners are in hunger strike. 64 of them have entered their 65th day while 79 more have passed their 54th day. Also, 5 days ago 7 Peace and Democracy Party parliamentarians and the mayor of Diyarbakır have started hunger strike once it became clear that the Turkish prime minister has no intention to negotiate with the prisoners.

Many people in Turkey are deeply concerned that death due to this hunger strike will cause irreparable damage in the country leading to an ethnic strife. Such a result will have far reaching consequences in the Middle Eastern region where Kurds live in four different countries including Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

As Congress reconvened Tuesday for its lame duck session, small business leaders from the Main Street Alliance network sent a letter to President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and other congressional leaders outlining a small business agenda for the fiscal showdown coming in the lame duck session of the 112thCongress. Main Street business owners called for an end to the top-bracket Bush tax cuts, urged Congress to protect middle class programs that strengthen the small business customer base, and pushed for additional revenue options.

Nov 14

Science Fiction and Science Fact

By Jill S Schneiderman, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Long before teenagers were imbibing dystopian fiction with unquenchable gusto, my teenage cohort was captivated by Planet of the Apes, the 1968 sci-fi film in which a crew of astronauts crash-lands on an unknown planet in the distant future. More recently, a photograph of a person walking by the remains of a roller coaster in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, demolished by Hurricane Sandy reminded me of the final scene of the film; two human beings along the shore in the "Forbidden Zone"—a region outside of "Ape City" that has remained quarantined for centuries subject to an ancient taboo—stumble upon the charred and buried remains of the Statue of Liberty.

The most important aspect of the proposed plan for the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) – to get out of its desegregation order – is that beyond individuals, the community is coming together to respond, both as a local and national community.

Perhaps soon, we will hear of El Plan de Tlamanalco (Tucson) or something similar that our community is putting together. And why Tlamanalco? Because the fire and the drum have been there at every step of the way.