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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.

Aug 15

US Guns: The Awful, Shocking Truth

By Brave New Foundation, Brave New Films | Video

President Obama has the power to help stop gun smugglers who are fueling violence in Mexico. We're demanding him to:

1) Enforce the existing ban on the importation of military-style assault weapons (because many of them are later illegally smuggled into Mexico);

2) Require gun dealers to report to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) the sale of multiple assault rifles to the same person over a period of five days (GOOD NEWS: the Obama Administration has announced new reporting rules on multiple semiautomatic rifles in border states. A great first step -- let's keep the momentum going!);

3) Strengthen legal enforcement in regions of the U.S. that supply the bulk of the contraband weapons smuggled into Mexico.

Aug 15

Millenials Vs. Libertarianism

By Connor Kilpatrick, The Exiled | Opinion

Calling yourself a libertarian today is a lot like wearing a mullet back in the nineteen eighties. It sends a clear signal: business up front, party in the back.

You know, those guys who call themselves “socially liberal but fiscally conservative”? Yeah. It’s for them.

Today, the ruling class knows that they’ve lost the culture wars. And unlike with our parents, they can’t count on weeping eagles and the stars ‘n bars to get us to fall in line. So libertarianism is their last ditch effort to ensure a succession to the throne.

Republicans freak you out but think the Democrats are wimps? You must be a libertarian! Want to sound smart and thoughtful in front of your boss without alienating your “socially liberal” buds? Just say the L-word, pass the coke and everyone’s happy!

Ottawa–Ten Nobel Peace Laureates today issued an open letter to the Chairman of NBC Entertainment, as well as General Wesley Clark and others involved in the new “reality” show premiering tonight on NBC—“Stars Earn Stripes”—calling on them to walk away from the show immediately.

In the letter, the Laureates—who include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jody Williams and President Oscar Arias Sanchez—note that “war isn’t entertainment” and challenge NBC’s promotional line that that such a television program would be “pay[ing] homage to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and our first-line responder services.”

The Laureates say that the program pays homage to no one and is “a massive disservice to those who live and die in armed conflict and suffer its consequences long after the guns of war fall silent.”

Governor Cuomo, we can't fathom your thinking. There have been 191 visits to emergency rooms because of designer drugs, and you are taking action to ban their use in New York State?

Uh, while that seems like a good thing, in the context of other threats, it's patently absurd.

You protect people from designer drugs, yet you are apparently ready to begin permitting something that will cause a lot more than 191 emergency room visits per year: the filthy, dangerous, chemical- and poison-laden fossil-fuel-extraction process of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Fracking (the entire process from exploration to the kitchen stove pilot light) involves so many toxins it's impossible to list them all, and they include the heavy metals and naturally occurring radioactive materials brought up from deep underground in the process.

Aug 14

Occupy Wall Street: Year One

By Dennis Trainor Jr, Occudoc.org | Video

On Sep. 17, 2011 Occupy Wall Street started a revolution. One year later, the movement is celebrating by hosting three days of education, training, and protest in New York City.

Film created by Dennis Trainor, who also made American Autumn.

Aug 14

Exploding Number of Reading Teachers Reflects Test Prep Obsession sion

By Marion Brady and Susan Ohanian, SpeakOut | News Analysis

In this SpeakOut post, Marion Brady interviews Susan Ohanian on the unintended consequences of the No Child Left Behind Legislation.

MARION: Susan, I taught in four different high schools--one, rural; one, small town; one, urban; and one on a university campus. They all served the general population in their immediate areas, so there were no cherry-picked students. None of the four high schools had even one reading teacher. That was then. This is now. The three high schools here in Florida with which I'm now most familiar have TEN reading teachers. Ten EACH! That's big money. What's going on here?

SUSAN: I was a reading teacher in five different urban schools-elementary, middle, and high school, and I admit to being stunned by the idea of ten reading teachers in a school. Surely this is the triumph of test prep. Since from the get-go the imposition of a national test has been the point of thuggery masquerading as school reform, I guess this is no surprise.

California – This week, in collaboration with Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, the Move to Amend campaign launched a fundraising drive to fund a national tour of the "Amend-O-Matic" to travel the United States as part of the group's "Stampede to Amend" campaign.

The Amend-O-Matic is part art spectacle, part money-stamping machine, part road-worthy vehicle, and will allow participants to insert their dollar bills to be printed with messages calling for an amendment to the US Constitution. Slogans to be printed include, "Corporations are not people," "Money is not speech;" and "Not to be used for bribing politicians."

Move to Amend and Cohen plan to kick off Stampede to Amend tour in Los Angeles in late September to encourage "thousands of people to buy rubber stamps and stamp any currency that comes into their possession," Cohen told Yahoo News. This campaign targets the highly controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate money in elections.

As the "advanced" nations of the world sink deeper into financial, ecological, and moral bankruptcy, a growing contingent of the global population refuses to stand idly by while our collective future is carelessly gambled away by a rapacious few. With the aid of the internet we are tangibly connected across borders and oceans, banding together and supporting one another in droves, pooling resources, knowledge, and skills to build a do-it-ourselves grassroots revolution of a kind the world has never known. This is not a war - the Indignados and the Occupiers are not after blood – we are fighting to have our voices heard, to have our concerns and ideas considered, and to have the freedom to participate in building the kind of society we envision. It is becoming clear that many around the world share a common outrage: we are no longer willing to tolerate systems of governance that represent the wealthiest few at the expense of the many.

Today was a historic date of sorts; the supremacist, Randall Leon Thompson, who threatened me pled guilty today Aug. 7, 2012, for sending threats over the telephone. He will be under managed supervision for a year, after he completes another 18 months of probation from another unrelated case.

Yet, this is not the end of the story. Please read this statement, that I was permitted to read in court. The end will give you a clue as to why this is not over.

(If you would like to read the Aug 8, 2012 story in the Arizona Daily Star, please go to and feel free to leave a message there: Mohave man given probation for death threats vs. UA prof)

Aug 10

Massacre of the Week

By Karl Grossman, SpeakOut | News Analysis

As New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said after the Aurora, Colorado massacre: "this cannot continue." But it is —and gun violence in America will no doubt go on and go on. When—if ever—will there be adequate gun control in this nation? And what about the violence in U.S. society that especially permeates movies?

The issues must be grappled with and no longer avoided, with the National Rifle Association leading the way in blocking action.

Bloomberg's full quote to Piers Morgan on CNN: "Someday there will be a shooting which you would think would trigger in the American psyche this 'I'm not going to take it any more' attitude. Maybe if... you shot a president? But Ronald Reagan, when he got shot, didn't trigger it. Maybe if you shot a congresswoman? No. Maybe if you shot a bunch of students on campus? No. Maybe if you shot a bunch of people in a movie theater? I don't know what it is, we obviously haven't gotten there yet, but we just—this cannot continue."

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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.

Aug 15

US Guns: The Awful, Shocking Truth

By Brave New Foundation, Brave New Films | Video

President Obama has the power to help stop gun smugglers who are fueling violence in Mexico. We're demanding him to:

1) Enforce the existing ban on the importation of military-style assault weapons (because many of them are later illegally smuggled into Mexico);

2) Require gun dealers to report to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) the sale of multiple assault rifles to the same person over a period of five days (GOOD NEWS: the Obama Administration has announced new reporting rules on multiple semiautomatic rifles in border states. A great first step -- let's keep the momentum going!);

3) Strengthen legal enforcement in regions of the U.S. that supply the bulk of the contraband weapons smuggled into Mexico.

Aug 15

Millenials Vs. Libertarianism

By Connor Kilpatrick, The Exiled | Opinion

Calling yourself a libertarian today is a lot like wearing a mullet back in the nineteen eighties. It sends a clear signal: business up front, party in the back.

You know, those guys who call themselves “socially liberal but fiscally conservative”? Yeah. It’s for them.

Today, the ruling class knows that they’ve lost the culture wars. And unlike with our parents, they can’t count on weeping eagles and the stars ‘n bars to get us to fall in line. So libertarianism is their last ditch effort to ensure a succession to the throne.

Republicans freak you out but think the Democrats are wimps? You must be a libertarian! Want to sound smart and thoughtful in front of your boss without alienating your “socially liberal” buds? Just say the L-word, pass the coke and everyone’s happy!

Ottawa–Ten Nobel Peace Laureates today issued an open letter to the Chairman of NBC Entertainment, as well as General Wesley Clark and others involved in the new “reality” show premiering tonight on NBC—“Stars Earn Stripes”—calling on them to walk away from the show immediately.

In the letter, the Laureates—who include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jody Williams and President Oscar Arias Sanchez—note that “war isn’t entertainment” and challenge NBC’s promotional line that that such a television program would be “pay[ing] homage to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and our first-line responder services.”

The Laureates say that the program pays homage to no one and is “a massive disservice to those who live and die in armed conflict and suffer its consequences long after the guns of war fall silent.”

Governor Cuomo, we can't fathom your thinking. There have been 191 visits to emergency rooms because of designer drugs, and you are taking action to ban their use in New York State?

Uh, while that seems like a good thing, in the context of other threats, it's patently absurd.

You protect people from designer drugs, yet you are apparently ready to begin permitting something that will cause a lot more than 191 emergency room visits per year: the filthy, dangerous, chemical- and poison-laden fossil-fuel-extraction process of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Fracking (the entire process from exploration to the kitchen stove pilot light) involves so many toxins it's impossible to list them all, and they include the heavy metals and naturally occurring radioactive materials brought up from deep underground in the process.

Aug 14

Occupy Wall Street: Year One

By Dennis Trainor Jr, Occudoc.org | Video

On Sep. 17, 2011 Occupy Wall Street started a revolution. One year later, the movement is celebrating by hosting three days of education, training, and protest in New York City.

Film created by Dennis Trainor, who also made American Autumn.

Aug 14

Exploding Number of Reading Teachers Reflects Test Prep Obsession sion

By Marion Brady and Susan Ohanian, SpeakOut | News Analysis

In this SpeakOut post, Marion Brady interviews Susan Ohanian on the unintended consequences of the No Child Left Behind Legislation.

MARION: Susan, I taught in four different high schools--one, rural; one, small town; one, urban; and one on a university campus. They all served the general population in their immediate areas, so there were no cherry-picked students. None of the four high schools had even one reading teacher. That was then. This is now. The three high schools here in Florida with which I'm now most familiar have TEN reading teachers. Ten EACH! That's big money. What's going on here?

SUSAN: I was a reading teacher in five different urban schools-elementary, middle, and high school, and I admit to being stunned by the idea of ten reading teachers in a school. Surely this is the triumph of test prep. Since from the get-go the imposition of a national test has been the point of thuggery masquerading as school reform, I guess this is no surprise.

California – This week, in collaboration with Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, the Move to Amend campaign launched a fundraising drive to fund a national tour of the "Amend-O-Matic" to travel the United States as part of the group's "Stampede to Amend" campaign.

The Amend-O-Matic is part art spectacle, part money-stamping machine, part road-worthy vehicle, and will allow participants to insert their dollar bills to be printed with messages calling for an amendment to the US Constitution. Slogans to be printed include, "Corporations are not people," "Money is not speech;" and "Not to be used for bribing politicians."

Move to Amend and Cohen plan to kick off Stampede to Amend tour in Los Angeles in late September to encourage "thousands of people to buy rubber stamps and stamp any currency that comes into their possession," Cohen told Yahoo News. This campaign targets the highly controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate money in elections.

As the "advanced" nations of the world sink deeper into financial, ecological, and moral bankruptcy, a growing contingent of the global population refuses to stand idly by while our collective future is carelessly gambled away by a rapacious few. With the aid of the internet we are tangibly connected across borders and oceans, banding together and supporting one another in droves, pooling resources, knowledge, and skills to build a do-it-ourselves grassroots revolution of a kind the world has never known. This is not a war - the Indignados and the Occupiers are not after blood – we are fighting to have our voices heard, to have our concerns and ideas considered, and to have the freedom to participate in building the kind of society we envision. It is becoming clear that many around the world share a common outrage: we are no longer willing to tolerate systems of governance that represent the wealthiest few at the expense of the many.

Today was a historic date of sorts; the supremacist, Randall Leon Thompson, who threatened me pled guilty today Aug. 7, 2012, for sending threats over the telephone. He will be under managed supervision for a year, after he completes another 18 months of probation from another unrelated case.

Yet, this is not the end of the story. Please read this statement, that I was permitted to read in court. The end will give you a clue as to why this is not over.

(If you would like to read the Aug 8, 2012 story in the Arizona Daily Star, please go to and feel free to leave a message there: Mohave man given probation for death threats vs. UA prof)

Aug 10

Massacre of the Week

By Karl Grossman, SpeakOut | News Analysis

As New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said after the Aurora, Colorado massacre: "this cannot continue." But it is —and gun violence in America will no doubt go on and go on. When—if ever—will there be adequate gun control in this nation? And what about the violence in U.S. society that especially permeates movies?

The issues must be grappled with and no longer avoided, with the National Rifle Association leading the way in blocking action.

Bloomberg's full quote to Piers Morgan on CNN: "Someday there will be a shooting which you would think would trigger in the American psyche this 'I'm not going to take it any more' attitude. Maybe if... you shot a president? But Ronald Reagan, when he got shot, didn't trigger it. Maybe if you shot a congresswoman? No. Maybe if you shot a bunch of students on campus? No. Maybe if you shot a bunch of people in a movie theater? I don't know what it is, we obviously haven't gotten there yet, but we just—this cannot continue."