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.

Two of the most compelling aspects of the AMC series are that zombies are omnipresent and that every human is a walking potential for becoming a zombie. Now that the main characters have positioned themselves in a prison behind two layers of fences, viewers watch as the characters go about their reduced lives (sometimes casually hoeing the garden) with zombies always moaning and clawing at the fence.

There is only one world for these characters—a world saturated with zombies. And a world defined by zombies is a world that has redefined the nature of human free will and choice.

WASHINGON, DC—Today, Reps. Raul Labrador (R-ID) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the Smarter Sentencing Act, which would significantly reform mandatory minimum drug sentencing policies. The bill, which was introduced as S.1410 in the Senate by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) in July, would cut the length of some mandatory minimum drug sentences by half and expand access to the existing safety valve for federal drug offenders. It would also afford retroactivity for the Fair Sentencing Act, which was signed into law in 2010 to reduce the disparity in crack and powder cocaine sentences.

TEMECULA, CA – The parents of a 17-year-old special needs student arrested in an undercover police operation announced today they are suing the school district that authorized the operation. The student, who suffers from a range of disabilities, was falsely befriended by a police officer who repeatedly asked the boy to provide him drugs. After more than three weeks, 60 text messages and repeated hounding by the officer, the student was able to buy half a joint from a homeless man he then gave to his new – and only – “friend,” who had given him twenty dollars weeks before. He did it once again before refusing to accommodate the officer, at which point the officer broke off all ties with the child. Shortly thereafter, the student was arrested in school in front of his classmates as part of a sting that nabbed 22 students in all, many of them children with special needs.

Several years ago, the city of Durham, NC announced that it had developed a ten-year program to eradicate local homelessness. Several years ago, city officials stated that additional housing for the poor and underprivileged was one of the city’s most sincere concerns. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like city officials have made due on their promises.
Instead, low income residents are being pushed out of their homes all over the city, especially in the communities surrounding Durham’s burgeoning downtown district. In the same manner the Durham Freeway was constructed through Durham’s historic Black community, eminent domain is once again uprooting mostly poor Black residents. Profit motives are replacing history and people with upscale restaurants and designer strip malls. 
Nov 01

School Killings Put US Culture in Spotlight

By Dennis Boatwright, NoFrillNews | Op-Ed

On Oct. 21, a 13-year-old gunman casually entered a Sparks, Nevada middle school classroom and opened-fire, killing beloved school teacher Michael Landsberry and wounding two classmates. Just two days later a lanky 14-year-old Danvers, Massachusetts student sliced to death his math teacher with a box cutter, and thereafter dumped her body in a recycling bin. What’s troubling about these two murders is that the killers closest friends and classmates regards them as “quiet and fun-loving,” and the “nicest friend a person can ever have.”

My seven-year-old daughter’s new favorite song is, no joke, “Banks of Marble,” sung by Pete Seeger. I swear I had nothing to do with it. She found a Pete Seeger CD one day, which I didn’t even know we had, and put it into our old boombox/CD player when my wife and I were out. (There was a babysitter over, but she was mainly taking care of my toddler son.) When we came home later that afternoon, she announced that it was her favorite song, and that her favorite part was the last verse.

In Washington today, 13 year old Zubair Rehmen along with his 9 year old Nabeela, spoke with members of Congress in a briefing organized by Alan Grayson, to send a message to our elected representatives who authorize our blowback inducing bull in a geo-political china shop of military budget what the rest of the world can see as plain as day: Drone attacks in countries that have not declared war on us and pose no threat to us are illegal, immoral, and create more enemies than they kill.

Oct 31

Lawsuit: NSA Can't Detect Satire

By Public Citizen, Public Citizen | Report

BALTIMORE, Md. – A Minnesota activist who uses images and names of government agencies on satirical merchandise is entitled to do so under the First Amendment, Public Citizen argued in a lawsuit filed today against the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on behalf of the merchant.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, targets cease-and-desist letters sent to the merchant’s producer by the NSA and DHS.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new poll commissioned by the Brennan Center for Justice and Justice at Stake finds that an overwhelming number of voters believe campaign donations and other special interest spending on judicial elections have an influence on a judge’s decision on the bench.  The findings were released today at a National Press Club event highlighting a new report by the groups, The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2011-12: How New Waves of Special Interest Spending Raised the Stakes for Fair Courts.

Despite the common misconception that science fiction (SF) is aimed at predicting the future—Orwell writing in 1948 to predict the world of 1984—SF often seeks to criticize the contemporary conditions of the writer’s time as well as to capture the enduring truths confronting humanity. To that second end, Orwell in 1984 dramatizes the political use of language to mislead, not to inform.

And it is with Orwellian grace that we now have President Barack Obama calling for “political courage” related to funding education...