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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.

US presidential candidate Mitt Romney ended a three-country world tour of Britain, Israel and Poland without appearing to have learned much from his overseas trip. Even in his attempts to water-down the impact of some of his gaffs, following an influx of negative press, he seems to have stuck to the flawed logic behind them, especially when it comes to economics.

It all started with what he thought was a simple remark regarding Britain's hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games, when he said of the event- almost on the eve of its opening ceremony - that "there are a few things that were disconcerting." The event has been 15 years in the planning with an expected cost of £9 billion (almost $14 billion). The timing couldn't have been more distasteful, prompting one commentator to note that the Republican challenger "is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive."

Aug 07

Village of Wilson New York Bans Fracking

By Food & Water Watch, SpeakOut | Press Release

Buffalo, New York – At the July 2012 Village of Wilson board meeting, the village passed a resolution to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking), a highly controversial natural gas drilling technique currently under review by Governor Cuomo's administration. The resolution also prevents the importation and treatment of toxic wastewater that is produced as a result of the fracking process. Over 100 municipalities across New York State have enacted bans or moratoria on fracking, with the City of Buffalo having led the way last year.

"This measure was taken as a precaution to protect the natural resources of the Wilson community. Wilson has always been a farming, fishing and boating community set on the shores of Lake Ontario, a natural resource worthy of our protection. The Village Board is strongly against any fracking in our community and in any community in New York or the surrounding states," said Wilson Village Trustee Bernie Leiker.

Ruth Coleman, the controversial State Parks Director, resigned this morning as a preliminary investigation into Department of Parks and Recreation finances revealed that the agency was sitting on $54 million in surplus funds at a time when state parks were faced with closure.

For at least 12 years, the Department underreported tens of millions of dollars to the state Department of Finance, according to a statement from the Natural Resources Agency.

"As a result, the Department of Finance was not aware that the State Parks and Recreation Fund and the Off Highway Vehicle Fund held $20,378,000 and $33,492,000 respectively above their official, most recently reported balances. The underreporting occurred over the course of two prior gubernatorial administrations," the agency stated.

Aug 06

The Temptations of Drone Warfare

By William J. Astore, SpeakOut | Opinion

A famous utterance attributed to General Robert E. Lee during the U.S. Civil War is, "It is well that war is so terrible – lest we should grow too fond of it." His words capture the idea that war is an elemental thing – and also a seductive one. Much like a storm-tossed ocean, war is relentless, implacable, and unsparing. It is chaotic, arbitrary, and deadly. It is not to be bargained with; only to be endured.

Given its ferocity, its rapacity, the enormity of its waste and devastation, war is best to be avoided, especially since war itself has its appeals, especially since war itself can be intoxicating, as the quotation from Lee suggests, and as the title of Anthony Loyd's fine book on the war in Bosnia, My War Gone By, I Miss It So (1999), indicates.

What happens when we decouple war's terrible nature from its intoxicating force? What happens when one side can kill with impunity in complete safety? Lee's words suggest that a nation that decouples war from its terrors will likely grow too fond of it. The temptation to use deadly force will no longer be restrained by knowledge of the horrors unleashed by the same.

Charles Murray believes that the wealthiest person should be made President of the United States. "Who better to be president of the greatest of all capitalist nations than a man who got rich by being a brilliant capitalist?"

If the standard is wealth makes right, then the wealthier the person, the more appropriate that he should be made President. There is no need for elections or fixed terms of office under this standard of political governance. Whoever tops the Forbes list becomes President – that will create the appropriate competitive incentives. Wealth being the full measure of a man there is no need for that the wealthiest person to be a U.S. citizen. Under the Murray governance standard Mitt Romney's problem is that he is not wealthy enough to be our ruler. Carlos Slim can run all of North America south of Canada.

Alternatively, if we limit the eligible list of our rulers to U.S. citizens, Bill Gates will be our President with Vice President Buffett. Larry Ellison will be waiting in the wings. If Charles and David Koch agree to combine their fortunes in a single corporation wholly owned by them ("corporations are people") their corporation will be Gate's Vice President.


Are the Jews a nation? Can they hit a curveball breaking low and away? Major League Baseball (MLB) says yes to both. And Commissioner Bud Selig will prove it by allowing a team comprised solely of Jewish ballplayers to compete in the 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC).

The plan is to recruit Jewish minor leaguers, college players, and recently retired and current major leaguers, to join a few token Israelis in order to enter the tournament as the Israeli national team. This is, of course, a bizarre circumvention of the rules of international sports competition. The stated goal of Major League Baseball, which produces the WBC, is to promote the sport in Israel, where it has had little popularity despite the glove dreams of various groups of American immigrants and a few quixotic Jewish-American promoters.

The Israelis already have recruited former major league star, Brad Ausmus, to coach the team.  Shawn Green, arguably the most accomplished Jewish player since Sandy Koufax, is ready to suit up.  Although he has retired from active competition, at 39 years-old, Green is still fit enough to pack the wallop of a Merkava tank at this level of competition.  Another recently retired major league Jew who has expressed interest in joining the "Israeli" team is Gabe "The Hebrew Hammer" Kapler.

Aug 02

Health Scare with Bo Muller-Moore (Video)

By Bo Muller-Moore, Speakout | Video

What happens when companies focus on money instead of people? T-shirt artist Bo Muller-Moore, "the Eat More Kale Guy," discusses the US health scare in light of 50 million Americans now uninsured.

"Hosted by a series of personalities—from the worlds of politics, popular culture, science and technology, and the arts—burzt tv provides short, sharp bursts of news, information and insight designed to help you cut through partisan distortion to make informed, intelligent decisions."

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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.

US presidential candidate Mitt Romney ended a three-country world tour of Britain, Israel and Poland without appearing to have learned much from his overseas trip. Even in his attempts to water-down the impact of some of his gaffs, following an influx of negative press, he seems to have stuck to the flawed logic behind them, especially when it comes to economics.

It all started with what he thought was a simple remark regarding Britain's hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games, when he said of the event- almost on the eve of its opening ceremony - that "there are a few things that were disconcerting." The event has been 15 years in the planning with an expected cost of £9 billion (almost $14 billion). The timing couldn't have been more distasteful, prompting one commentator to note that the Republican challenger "is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive."

Aug 07

Village of Wilson New York Bans Fracking

By Food & Water Watch, SpeakOut | Press Release

Buffalo, New York – At the July 2012 Village of Wilson board meeting, the village passed a resolution to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking), a highly controversial natural gas drilling technique currently under review by Governor Cuomo's administration. The resolution also prevents the importation and treatment of toxic wastewater that is produced as a result of the fracking process. Over 100 municipalities across New York State have enacted bans or moratoria on fracking, with the City of Buffalo having led the way last year.

"This measure was taken as a precaution to protect the natural resources of the Wilson community. Wilson has always been a farming, fishing and boating community set on the shores of Lake Ontario, a natural resource worthy of our protection. The Village Board is strongly against any fracking in our community and in any community in New York or the surrounding states," said Wilson Village Trustee Bernie Leiker.

Ruth Coleman, the controversial State Parks Director, resigned this morning as a preliminary investigation into Department of Parks and Recreation finances revealed that the agency was sitting on $54 million in surplus funds at a time when state parks were faced with closure.

For at least 12 years, the Department underreported tens of millions of dollars to the state Department of Finance, according to a statement from the Natural Resources Agency.

"As a result, the Department of Finance was not aware that the State Parks and Recreation Fund and the Off Highway Vehicle Fund held $20,378,000 and $33,492,000 respectively above their official, most recently reported balances. The underreporting occurred over the course of two prior gubernatorial administrations," the agency stated.

Aug 06

The Temptations of Drone Warfare

By William J. Astore, SpeakOut | Opinion

A famous utterance attributed to General Robert E. Lee during the U.S. Civil War is, "It is well that war is so terrible – lest we should grow too fond of it." His words capture the idea that war is an elemental thing – and also a seductive one. Much like a storm-tossed ocean, war is relentless, implacable, and unsparing. It is chaotic, arbitrary, and deadly. It is not to be bargained with; only to be endured.

Given its ferocity, its rapacity, the enormity of its waste and devastation, war is best to be avoided, especially since war itself has its appeals, especially since war itself can be intoxicating, as the quotation from Lee suggests, and as the title of Anthony Loyd's fine book on the war in Bosnia, My War Gone By, I Miss It So (1999), indicates.

What happens when we decouple war's terrible nature from its intoxicating force? What happens when one side can kill with impunity in complete safety? Lee's words suggest that a nation that decouples war from its terrors will likely grow too fond of it. The temptation to use deadly force will no longer be restrained by knowledge of the horrors unleashed by the same.

Charles Murray believes that the wealthiest person should be made President of the United States. "Who better to be president of the greatest of all capitalist nations than a man who got rich by being a brilliant capitalist?"

If the standard is wealth makes right, then the wealthier the person, the more appropriate that he should be made President. There is no need for elections or fixed terms of office under this standard of political governance. Whoever tops the Forbes list becomes President – that will create the appropriate competitive incentives. Wealth being the full measure of a man there is no need for that the wealthiest person to be a U.S. citizen. Under the Murray governance standard Mitt Romney's problem is that he is not wealthy enough to be our ruler. Carlos Slim can run all of North America south of Canada.

Alternatively, if we limit the eligible list of our rulers to U.S. citizens, Bill Gates will be our President with Vice President Buffett. Larry Ellison will be waiting in the wings. If Charles and David Koch agree to combine their fortunes in a single corporation wholly owned by them ("corporations are people") their corporation will be Gate's Vice President.


Are the Jews a nation? Can they hit a curveball breaking low and away? Major League Baseball (MLB) says yes to both. And Commissioner Bud Selig will prove it by allowing a team comprised solely of Jewish ballplayers to compete in the 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC).

The plan is to recruit Jewish minor leaguers, college players, and recently retired and current major leaguers, to join a few token Israelis in order to enter the tournament as the Israeli national team. This is, of course, a bizarre circumvention of the rules of international sports competition. The stated goal of Major League Baseball, which produces the WBC, is to promote the sport in Israel, where it has had little popularity despite the glove dreams of various groups of American immigrants and a few quixotic Jewish-American promoters.

The Israelis already have recruited former major league star, Brad Ausmus, to coach the team.  Shawn Green, arguably the most accomplished Jewish player since Sandy Koufax, is ready to suit up.  Although he has retired from active competition, at 39 years-old, Green is still fit enough to pack the wallop of a Merkava tank at this level of competition.  Another recently retired major league Jew who has expressed interest in joining the "Israeli" team is Gabe "The Hebrew Hammer" Kapler.

Aug 02

Health Scare with Bo Muller-Moore (Video)

By Bo Muller-Moore, Speakout | Video

What happens when companies focus on money instead of people? T-shirt artist Bo Muller-Moore, "the Eat More Kale Guy," discusses the US health scare in light of 50 million Americans now uninsured.

"Hosted by a series of personalities—from the worlds of politics, popular culture, science and technology, and the arts—burzt tv provides short, sharp bursts of news, information and insight designed to help you cut through partisan distortion to make informed, intelligent decisions."