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.
Support the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers in a Historic Contract Battle Against Standardized Testing and in Defense of the Public SchoolsBy Jesse Hagopian, I AM AN EDUCATOR | Video Report
The Saint Paul Federation of Teachers is in one of the most important struggles to defend public education and have taken one of the boldest stances against standardized testing in the country. While the state mandates that students take the MCA standardized test, the SPFT—with the support of their many parent and community allies—know that it is a waste of time and resources and are attempting to bargain it out of their contract.
In response to an appeal filed today by former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr, seeking to overturn his conviction before a military commission, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement. Khadr's appeal comes on the heels of an appeal filed this week by CCR client David Hicks, who, like Khadr, was convicted in the military commissions of a crime not recognized under international law: "material support for terrorism"
On Friday, November 8, Typhoon Haiyan smashed into the island of Samar, on the eastern central part of the archipelago, completely destroying many towns and villages on the sea shore. so far reports estimate over 1,200 deaths but that number is expected to rise. Many were evacuated to higher ground prior to Haiyan's arrival as meteorologists had been tracking it and put out warnings. The Philippines is along the Ring of Fire and is prone to earth quakes and typhoons. Many of the Philippines poorest live on the sea shore. I believe The Philippines,with a population of 98 million, consisting of 7,107 islands,of which only 2,000 are inhabited, should have a public works program to assist the newly homeless poor with housing and with aid organization and/or other funding rebuilding homes etcetera on higher ground poor to higher ground, particularly after this.
The slightest threat of its use will influence the behavior of others. If you had a .44 Magnum pointed at you, or even if you just glimpsed it sitting on your neighbor's kitchen table, your behavior would be influenced big time!
Contrary to what we have always been told by the bosses, their government and press, as well as by many liberal and conservative commentators, the American working class and their unions are not weak and irrelevant. In fact, they are powerful, as full of power as a 9.5 earthquake. That workers still believe this weakness fiction is the principle obstacle standing in the way of their liberation from poverty and repression.
For those of us who've worked with Dearborn Michigan's Arab American community during the past three decades, victories in this past week's municipal elections were more than just big news. They represent vindication and confirmation of our belief in the strength and vitality of the Arab American community. After this election, the president of Dearborn's City Council will be Arab American, Susan Dabaja, and, overall, four of the city's eleven member City Council are now of Arab descent.
When you are a student of history, you recognize the connection between the shooting of Renisha McBride and the shootings on E. 7 mile at the barbershop and everywhere else in the city. When you are a student of history, you recognize that the same system of oppression creates both the Theodore Paul Wafer and George Zimmerman's of the world who cower in fear of Black people and aim first before asking questions and that this same system of oppression also creates the massacre of Blacks by Blacks in the urban communities.
At the United Nations this month, Brazil, China, Venezuela and other nations denounced U.S. drone wars as illegal.
In the countries where the drones strike, popular and elite opinion condemns the entire program as criminal. This is the view of Pakistan's courts, Yemen's National Dialogue, Yemen's Human Rights Ministry and large numbers of well-known figures in Yemen. Popular movements in both Pakistan and Yemen continue to protest against the killing.
The Geneva-based human rights group Alkarama agrees: "Whether they hit civilians and/or alleged al-Qaeda combatants and associates, the U.S. targeted killings policy in Yemen constitutes a blatant violation of international human rights law."
In what will come as a surprise to almost no one, 2012 was another record year for the volume of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Breaking records every year for the greenhouse gases that cause climate change make it less likely than we humans can slow or reverse the effects of human caused climate change and keep global warming within the 2 degree Celsius target, set at a Copenhagen summit in 2009. WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud, speaking at a press conference ahead of next weeks UN conference to work on emissions cuts said: "The increase in CO2 is mostly due to human activities. The actions we take now or don't take now will have consequences for a very, very long period. Even if we were able to stop today - we know it's not possible - the ocean would continue to warm and to expand and the sea level would continue to rise for hundreds of years."
First of all, as a veteran, I want to thank you wholeheartedly for your service, for putting yourself in harm’s way without questioning your orders; for taking on the responsibility of protecting and helping your own comrades in situations that most citizens never experience. I offer prayers for you and your families – actually sleep in your memory – every night.
This same week in which we celebrate our 2013 Vetarans’ Day, I will turn seventy years old. It’s a long way from Vietnam, where I first learned the intimate and global facts of war. It’s a long way from the time I first heard the constantly-repeated platitude that military sacrifices are what “keep us free,” what “guarantees our freedoms.” Of course, back in the sixties, Nam Vets did not experience the grateful welcomes home that some of you have experienced. I was decorated enough times to have made a difference in an Air Force career should I have stayed active. But unfortunately, my “war” experiences only gave me a hunger for the truths behind the death and destruction we had witnessed.
On November 7, in Paris I walked right into a large student protest in support of undocumented students and their families. Hundreds of high school students were marching up a major street when I ran over to join them. They chanted, "We are all children of immigrants! 1st, 2nd, 3rd generation!" "What do we want? Papers! For who? Everyone! When? Now!"
A couple of undocumented students, Leonarda Dibrani and Khatchik Kachatryan, were recently expelled from school and deported with their families over their immigration status. In response, over the last several weeks thousands of students have shut down and walked out of dozens of schools in solidarity with undocumented students. They're demanding an end to expulsions and deportations, and for the Interior Minister, Manuel Valls, to resign. I'm visiting family here for a month, and had been hoping to document one of these protests since it's a big issue in the local news. Fortunately, I bumped right into one of the protests, but sadly I had no battery left to take pics or video!