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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.

When Jose Vilson posts a blog, I read carefully, and I don't multitask.

Why?

I am a privileged, white male who has lived his entire 52 years in the South where racism clings to our region like the stench of a house razed by fire. And as a result, I walk freely among racism because I am white.

So when Jose posted "An Open Letter From The Trenches [To Education Activists, Friends, and Haters]," I listened, and I recognized...

A delegation of Lakota elders has travelled to the United Nations in New York City to deliver an official complaint of ongoing genocide against the United States government. The delegation is currently being rebuffed by The Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and high officials within the United Nations. The delegation and a group of supporters are currently waiting at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza directly across from the UN.

Today, a coalition of over 175 artists, actors, athletes, elected officials and advocates, brought together by hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons and Dr. Boyce Watkins, presented an open letter to President Obama, urging him to double down on his efforts to change the United States' criminal justice policy from that of a punitive, suppression-based model to one that favors evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation. According to Department of Justice data, the U.S. leads the world in the incarceration of its own citizens, both on a per capita basis and in terms of total prison population. More than 500,000 of the 2.3 million people behind bars in the U.S. are incarcerated for nothing more than a nonviolent drug offense.

The opening day of the major league baseball season is when I start to live again until October when pro basketball and NFL football take over and the fan in me goes into a long winter sleep. I'm not a full-time fan of anything I haven't tried to play. (Hence no ice hockey or lacrosse.) Traumatically, when it dawned on me as a kid that I wasn't going to be the next Chicago Cubs pitching whiz – yes, the all-time loser Cubs! – I beamed myself down to being a mere avid spectator, first at live games at Wrigley, Ebbets and Chavez Ravine's Dodger field, now couch-potatoing on TV.

Today, attorneys for activist Daniel McGowan at the Center for Constitutional Rights released the following update on his situation: 

Daniel McGowan is back at the halfway house where he has been residing after a week that was by turns difficult, disturbing and ridiculous. To recap: on Monday, April 1, Daniel published an opinion piece on the Huffington Post titled “Court Documents Prove I Was Sent to Communication Management Units (CMU) for My Political Speech.” On Thursday, April 4, Daniel was picked up by U.S. Marshals from the halfway house and taken into custody at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. He was issued an “incident report” indicating that his Huffington Post blog post violated a BOP regulation prohibiting inmates from “publishing under a byline.”  The BOP regulation in question was declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2007, and eliminated by the BOP in 2010. On Friday, April 5, after we brought Daniel’s unjust detention to the BOP’s attention, he was released from MDC, and the incident report was expunged. 

On Sunday, April 14 (just a few days away) the people of Venezuela will vote for a new president to succeed the late Hugo Chavez.

This election will be enormously significant, not just for Venezuela, but also for the entire Latin American and Caribbean region; indeed, in many respects, crucial to the destinies of many countries in the developing world.

There are reports circulating today that Washington is busy interfering in the election campaign with the objective of determining an outcome that will serve its imperial interests in the Americas.

With President Obama's new spending blueprint delivered to congress, there can be no more question about it: the Wall street wing of the democratic party has completely taken over and won. How decisive is the victory? The wall street wing of the democratic party, has given the "we-are all in this together-lets look out for our neighbor- America is capable of a grand new deal " wing of the democratic party" a rooffie and dragged it around from house party to house party, raping it- handing off to friends so the rape can be repeated and then posting the pictures of the rape to twitter. That is how brutal Obama's grand betrayal is.

Shih-Wei Su was jailed for 12 years on attempted murder charges before a federal appeals court overturned his conviction, finding that a Queens prosecutor had "knowingly elicited false testimony" in sending him to prison. The city eventually paid Su $3.5 million.

The prosecutor received a private reprimand.

Jabbar Collins served 15 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit before his conviction was thrown out in 2010. Michael Vecchione, a senior Brooklyn prosecutor, had withheld critical evidence during trial, a federal judge determined. Collins has filed a $150 million lawsuit against the city.

Across the U.S. on Thursday, street protests will support prisoners detained at the U.S. prison in Guantánamo who are engaged in a large-scale hunger strike, which began in early February. Some are now in critical condition.

"The vast majority of the 166 men have been held for more than eleven years without any charge or fair trial, with no end to their detention in sight. The Obama administration must take swift measures to humanely address the immediate causes of the hunger strike and fulfill its promise to close the Guantanamo" says a statement from World Can't Wait andWitness Against Torture.

Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced legislation today to break up banks that have grown so large that the Justice Department fears the financial system would be at risk if criminal charges were filed against them.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said the Justice Department may not pursue criminal cases against big banks because filing charges could "have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."