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.
In early April the Associated Press announced that it would no longer use the word "illegal" when referring to undocumented immigrants. The decision has been hailed by immigrant rights groups and others, who say the term is a pejorative that dehumanizes large swaths of the U.S. population, immigrant and native-born alike. Below, authors Andrew Lam, Helen Zia and Chitra Divakaruni offer their own views on the term "illegal" through the lens of the immigrant experience.
Nothing is certain except birth and taxes. That's right, I said birth and taxes. We know that babies will be born. We know that we will pay taxes. We know that eventually those babies will pay taxes too. In fact, that's why we pay our taxes, to collectively invest in the future for our children. And they in turn will pay taxes to invest in the next generation. And so it goes.
Then why are we doing such a poor job of allocating our federal tax dollars to make a great world for the next generation? This Tax Day is a grand opportunity to start the pivot to such a future for our children.
Last night, a federal judge rejected the State of California's attempt to dismiss a class action lawsuit challenging prolonged solitary confinement in California's notorious Pelican Bay prison. The case was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and partners on behalf of prisoners in the Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit (SHU) who have spent between 10 and 28 years in solitary confinement and who staged two widely publicized hunger strikes in 2011. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) had asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that the prisoners had failed to adequately allege cruel and unusual punishment and due process violations. CDCR also asked the court to find that the case was moot in light of a two-year pilot program that purports to reform the procedures CDCR uses before indefinitely placing a prisoner in solitary confinement. The Judge disagreed, ruling that the pilot program did not moot claims that California's use of solitary confinement denies the prisoners' right to due process, and finding that the case raised grave Eighth Amendment claims.
A group of Boston area peace activists met today to share what we know about yesterday's bombings and to discern how best to respond to the deadly attack against our community and against people from across the nation and around the world who came to Boston to participate and enjoy the Marathon. Several of us had loved ones or close friends who would have been among the attack's victims, had they not left the finish line area shortly before the bombings or who had yet to arrive there. First and foremost our thoughts and sympathy go out to family and friends of those killed yesterday, to those who injured and maimed, their families and friends.
Retaliation for Guantanamo Hunger Strike Grows; CCR Condemns DOD Raids to Break Strike, Reports; Latest Update from Detained Client; Federal Judge Hears Arguments Related to StrikeBy Staff, Center for Constitutional Rights | Press Release
Today, as a federal judge in Washington heard arguments related to the court's ability to intervene in the growing hunger strike at Guantanamo and, among other requests, order the government to provide clean drinking water to the men, attorneys responded to the violent crack-down at the base over the weekend. Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Senior Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei released the following statement...
Brooklyn College Students for Justice in Palestine Vindicated After 2-Month CUNY Investigation into BDS EventBy Staff, Center for Constitutional Rights | Press Release
After a two-month investigation, the City University of New York (CUNY) General Counsel's office issued a report late Friday vindicating student organizers of a February 7th event at Brooklyn College (BC) from accusations of anti-Semitic discrimination. The students, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Cooperating Attorney Alan Levine, were under intense university and media scrutiny for weeks before the event about the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). This included pressure on Brooklyn College from New York politicians condemning the subject matter of the event, from New York City Council Members threatening to withhold funding from the college, and from others who likened advocacy for BDS as a method for achieving Palestinian rights to anti-Semitic hate speech.
The bitter battle over two stricken southern California reactors has taken a shocking seismic hit.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ignored critical questions from two powerful members of Congress just as the Government Accountability Office has seriously questioned emergency planning at the San Onofre nuclear plant.
At a cost of some $770 million, Southern California Edison and its partners installed faulty steam generators at San Onofre Units 2 and 3 that have failed and leaked.
The late, late snow has finally disappeared from Berlin's streets. Visible once again, here and there, are the "stumble stones" –Stolpersteine in German – with their brief, tragic messages.
Many Berlin tourists will enjoy the night life. They may also look upwards – at the giant TV tower, the Brandenburg Gate, at ancient and less ancient churches. There is a wide assortment of memorial monuments, some impressive, some uninspiring.
But those who look downward, to the pavement where they walk, may glimpse a very different kind of memorial – the stumble stones.
The long 2nd Circuit Court saga between Argentina and hedge funds commonly referred to as "vulture" funds, will likely come to an end soon. Judges in the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals gave holdout funds until April 22, 2013 to respond to Argentina's payment plan. In late March, Argentinaoutlined a payment plan that would give holdout creditors virtually the same deal that 93 percent of creditors took in 2005 and 2010 debt swaps.
"Argentina's payment plan protects the integrity of deals made with other debt holders, but most importantly it ensures that these holdout hedge funds can't take further advantage of the poor in developing countries," said Eric LeCompte, Jubilee USA Network's Executive Director. "We feel thatArgentina's proposal to pay the holdout funds the same percentage as what was restructured in 2010 is a positive step."
Imagine if Facebook, Google and Twitter built a privacy-killing surveillance machine to help the federal government spy on us.
If Congress passes the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) this week (the same CISPA that withered in Congress last year), we'll be one step closer to that nightmare.
We've got to convince Congress to vote "NO" on CISPA. Here's how you can help...