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.

Sometimes defending freedom does not require the use of bombs, rockets, or jet planes. Sometimes defending freedom just requires the Air Force to follow the orders issued by the Secretary of the Air Force and release non-classified publicly-owned information in its possession. Somehow, when it comes to this kind of freedom, the Air Force is missing in action.

Jan 13

"Fast Track" Trade Authority Already In Trouble on Capitol Hill

By Staff, International Brotherhood of Teamsters | Report

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Senator Max Baucus, Senator Orrin Hatch and Congressman Dave Camp introduced the long-awaited fast-track trade promotion authority legislation on Capitol Hill. Maybe it was the big press conference in New Jersey, the late in the day introduction or the minor attention paid to it by even the White House, but the introduction came and went in the news cycle so fast that you may have easily missed it.

Jan 13

The Living Hell of the Japanese-American War

By Evaggelos Vallianatos, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

In a 1986 visit to Hawaii, my wife and I were having dinner with my brother-in-law married to a Japanese-American woman whose mother, it turned out, was from Hiroshima. I asked the Hiroshima survivor to recount her experience. Instead, she burst into tears and wailing.

This explosive residue of America's atomic bombing of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 dominates relations between Japan and the United States.

On Wednesday afternoon January 8, I received an email from FOX NEWS' show, Hannity, about the possibility of an interview with me on Mumia Abu-Jamal's case. The heat was turned up at FOX in response to the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing where Debo Adegbile was being confirmed as President Barack Obama's nominee for assistant attorney general of civil rights at the US Department of Justice.

Before long, I was on the phone with one of the producers, who grilled me on my take on Adegbile's appointment and his connection to Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Hybrid cars are obviously more efficient and more eco-friendly than conventional vehicles powered by gasoline, as they are powered by an electric motor, in addition to an internal combustion engine. The electric powertrain helps improve the car's fuel economy, and reduce emission levels. This is why hybrids are considered to be a better option than conventional cars for those who want to save money on gas and help reduce air pollution. But, as with all other vehicles, hybrid vehicles' fuel economy is not the same when driving in the city and on the highway. While gasoline-powered cars are more efficient on the highway, hybrids get better mileage and emit less harmful gases when driving in the city.

Jan 13

Are You Holy Enough To Be a Republican?

By James and Jean Anton, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Are you holy enough to be a Republican?  We’ve developed a checklist to simplify the process of finding out.  Check each of the following items with which you agree.  By tallying the checks and using the guide at the end of the essay, you will find out if you qualify.

Jan 11

CWA: Fast Track is the Wrong Track

By Larry Cohen, SpeakOut | Press Release

WASHINGTON D.C.  – Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen today made the following statement in response to the bill introduced by Sen. Max Baucus and Rep. Dave Camp calling for “fast track” authorization for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP):

“Fast track is the wrong track when it comes to a trade deal like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that will affect our laws, our jobs, our food and our environment. Fast track, also known as Trade Promotion Authority, forces Congress to give up its Constitutional right to amend and improve this trade deal, which now is reportedly more than 1,000 pages long.

Jan 11

Call for Immediate Aid to Syrians Dying of Starvation Due to Siege

By Staff, Syrian Nonviolence Movement | Press Release

TOMORROW -- Friday, January 10, at 10:00 a.m. -- a working group of leaders representing the Syrian American Medical Society, the Syrian Nonviolence Movement and the Minnesota-based Friends for a NonViolent World will hold a press conference in the United Nations Plaza to announce an International Solidarity Hunger Strike for Syria, a major global campaign, and to demand the lifting of the starvation sieges of dozens of Syrian towns that are preventing hundreds of thousands of Syrians from eating or getting medical treatment.

Jan 11

Corporate Political Disclosure Rule Effort Applauded

By Staff, Corporate Reform Coalition | Press Release

The Corporate Reform Coalition applauds the 79 members of Congress, led by U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), who today sent letters from their respective chambers urging Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Mary Jo White to reinstate the corporate political spending rule on the agency’s agenda. The agency also should do significant work in the interim by doing such things as holding roundtables on the topic.

New York - After making national headlines for his support of medical marijuana, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State only briefly mentioned his medical marijuana plan. Cuomo administration officials said that the program would involve distributing medical marijuana through 20 hospitals statewide, and the Department of Health would be charged with promulgating regulations.