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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.

Another Durham resident has now died in a controversial encounter with the Durham Police Department. This time it was teenager and local Riverside High School student, Jesus Huerta. An official response from Durham police chief, Jose Lopez states that 17-year- old Jesus Huerta died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound while placed under arrest in the back seat of a police squad car. After Durham police officer Samuel Duncan arrested Huerta, reports state that Officer Duncan heard a loud noise from the vehicle's rear seat and jumped out of his moving patrol cruiser. Duncan's squad car then slammed into a parked van, leaving Huerta shot and killed in the process. This incident occurred right outside of the Durham Police Department's headquarters parking lot.

At 5 pm on November 23rd, 2013, the Warsaw stadium hosting this year’s UN Climate Conference, COP19,  erupted in applause. The room, packed with party delegates and observers who had already worked through the final night and into the next evening showed enormous relief that some progress had been made. The progress in question? To adopt a future mitigation agenda “inviting” parties to initiate “preparations” for intended nationally determined contributions. In other words, No emissions targets, no pledge and review process, not even commitments. At the podium, two chairmen high-fived. Meanwhile, frustration erupted at the back of the hall by all who recognized that this was just a formal way of saying we’re still headed for a devastating global rise in temperatures.

The Warsaw Climate Change Conference began discouragingly just days after Typhoon Haiyan thrashed the Philippine islands of Samar, Leyte and Negros. The storm has since killed over 4,000 people and displaced millions, while the rest of the world scrambles to provide aid and an explanation for the unprecedented frequency of oceanic disasters affecting South East Asia in the last decade.

Yeb Sano, head of that country’s delegation to COP19 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Poland, urged the 190 attending states to thrust open a closing window of opportunity to save Earth’s ecosphere from impending temperature increases. The conference ended Friday November 22.

A diverse array of organizations today launched a campaign to enact major cuts in wasteful military spending, as part of the December 13 federal budget resolution. The groups include peace, human service, economic and environmental justice organizations, food sovereignty and green energy groups, and grassroots community organizations. They are calling for long overdue reductions in military spending in order to meet dire needs at home and reinvest in our future.

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) on November 19 sent a memo to the State Water Contractors stating that their initial allocation is going to be just 5% of their requests for water, just 208,628 acre-feet of the 4,172,536 acre-feet of "Table A" water that they requested.

"This allocation is made consistent with the long-term water supply contracts and public policy," said Carl A. Torgerson of the Department of Water Resources. "DWR considered several factors, including existing storage in SWP (State Water Project) conservation reservoirs, SWP operational constraints such as the conditions of the recent Biological Opinions for Delta smelt and salmonids and the longfin smelt incidental take permit, and 2014 contractor demands."

Nov 23

The US is Not a Democracy and Never Was

By E. Douglas Kihn, SpeakOut | News Analysis

Democracy is one of thosedoublespeak words that is thrown around willy-nilly by just about everyone, without a thought or a care as to what it really means.Democracy is one of the five most misunderstood political terms today, and might even be the most usefully confusing from the point of view of the democracy-hating billionaires and millionaires who own the United States – useful for maintaining their power over the rest of us.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) urges the media to cover domestic violence accurately.

With high profile cases of domestic violence in the news, such as George Zimmerman's most recent arrest November 18, 2013 on aggravated assault and battery-domestic violence charges, the media has the opportunity to debunk myths and set the record straight on the realities of domestic violence.

He was always there at every activist meeting.  A quiet, rather quirky, middle-aged man who rarely spoke, but was eager to assist with hooking up the projector or making sure the microphones didn’t squeal.

Periodically, group members would get a nightly phone call as Peter urged us to watch a particular informative program, or told us he was battling a computer virus that invaded our group’s list serve.  In fact, he would spend every Saturday night – all night! – perusing through radio and television schedules, then assemble and send out an email titled “Shows for Thinkers”. 

Most people did not really know Peter – he was just always there.  And suddenly he wasn’t.

(Albuquerque, NM) – New Mexico’s largest county is bucking the state’s medical marijuana law by prohibiting any use of marijuana by county employees, following a new policy issued on November 12 by Bernalillo County Manager Tom Zdunek. The county memorandum cites federal prohibition and county policy as the reason for prohibiting the use of marijuana.

More than 10,000 New Mexican residents are actively enrolled in our state’s Medical Cannabis Program and nearly 4,000 of them live in Bernalillo County. Many are military veterans, patients living with disabilities, and victims of serious trauma and violent crime. New Mexico’s medical marijuana program is considered a nationwide model – in 2007 New Mexico became the first state to develop and implement a state-licensed medical marijuana production and distribution system.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “the world’s most influential Jew,” Bernard Henri Levy is number 45, according to an article published in the Israeli rightwing newspaper the Jerusalem Post, on May 21, 2010.

Levy, per the Post’s standards, came only two spots behind Irving Moskowitz, a “Florida-based tycoon (who) is considered the leading supporter of Jewish construction in east Jerusalem and hands out a prize for Zionism to settler leaders.”