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.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, has been universally hailed as a major breakthrough in the fight against HIV/AIDS, yet many argue that this medication is far from a panacea, considering that in the US, one in every two Black men who engage in sex with men will become HIV positive. The reasons so many Black men are affected are manifold, and include economic challenges, a lack of access to health care and the stigma which is often associated with a HIV diagnosis.
The early weeks of the Trump administration have shown a leadership style based on confrontation, intimidation and authoritarian decision-making. Donald Trump as president has made no attempt to temper his impulsive, self-centered and bombastic character traits. He has made no attempt to promote national unity, choosing instead to promote Islamophobia, coddle white supremacists and ignore growing anti-Semitism.
In a series of ill-executed maneuvers, Donald Trump began his presidency by opening fire on the innocenti. Among the president's unprecedented flurry of executive orders is one that alarmed the international community, titled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States." Known as the "Muslim ban," the executive order targeted Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen -- seven majority-Muslim countries.
On January 17, Betsy DeVos, nominee for US secretary of education, went to Washington, DC, to face senators in a congressional hearing. What occurred during that hearing has left many Americans in total shock. Throughout the hearing, DeVos proved herself not only riddled with conflicts of interest and a lack of basic knowledge in education, but also a mindset that was hostile towards the public school system she was nominated to head. After her floundering on the Senate floor, DeVos was confirmed with a historic tie-breaker from Vice President Mike Pence and is now the secretary of education.
Hidden Figures, an inspirational film based on the true story of three Black women mathematicians and computers at NASA, has been nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture. But is its box-office success due, in large measure, to the way it positions racism and sexism as things of the past? The depiction of these women overcoming segregation-era odds to serve their country in winning the space race seems to offer something compelling for all audiences, especially at a time when many throughout the country feel divided.
It was on day one of his presidency that Donald Trump told his first spectacular lie. Basking in the glow of his inaugural ceremony, he humbly speculated that the event was attended by "a million, million and a half people." When the sheer ridiculousness of this assertion was called out by the media, President Trump's new Press Secretary Sean Spicer doubled down: "This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period!" -- as if the word "period" had the power to transform the facts, and make it so.
European nations have significantly seen a rise of populist parties. Along with a common stance on protectionism and immigration, these parties hold a collective admiration for President Donald Trump. Amidst a political mayhem, France, Germany and Netherlands hold elections this year, and since they represent 56 percent of the Eurozone economy, any political shifts could significantly impact the integration of the union.
The Republicans' campaign promises are coming back to haunt them as they confront the reality of dealing with a law that is supported by at least half of the population. The debate among Republicans in Congress over how to deal with the GOP's promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is splitting the party. While there is consensus to repeal it at the earliest possible time, there is great concern that the political fallout of doing so without an acceptable replacement plan will lead to dire political consequences.
Given the mainstream media's focus on human affairs, it is easy to forget just how many non-humans we victimize every day. And now that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has removed animal welfare inspection reports and enforcement records from its website, the few who have not forgotten will no longer be able to monitor whether even the most minimal standards of humane treatment are satisfied. The USDA's move is disgraceful but not at all surprising.
Relationship is the foundation for healthy development. It continues to be crucial long after early childhood, and plays a critical role during the school years in shaping the architecture and functioning of our brains. The quality of our relationships determines the depth of our verbal, social and mathematical skills, as well as the maturity of our executive functions -- our working memory, attention span and ability to self-regulate our emotions. Children learn enthusiastically from adults they trust.