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.

Jan 14

Delta Fish Survey Reveals an Ecosystem In Collapse

By Dan Bacher, SpeakOut | Report

A Delta fish survey released by the California Department of Wildlife this month confirms the continuing collapse of the ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.

The survey's release takes place at a crucial time for the survival of salmon, steelhead, Delta smelt and other fish populations in California and the West. 2013 was the driest year on record in California and no relief from the drought is in sight.

It's a probability of less than one in seven billion that you are here, alive on Earth.

The probability of being alive in the Universe in any form is one out of .00000000000...1 -- absolutely unknown, teeny-tiny.

So, don't blow it! While you have life, it can be about enjoying good health while appreciating all life and humanity. If not, it is to diminish yourself and waste the full cosmic experience you are receiving.

Jan 14

What 'Right' to Vote in Iowa?

By Brad Friedman, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa is moving to revise its voter registration application to help clear up widespread confusion over felons' voting rights, according to an administrative rule published Tuesday.

The change, adopted by a bipartisan commission, would remove a question that some voters have erroneously marked indicating they are felons without the right to vote. Another revision would explain that convicted felons aren't qualified to vote until they have their rights restored by Gov. Terry Branstad. Prospective voters still would have to attest that they are not felons without voting right when signing the application.

Sometimes defending freedom does not require the use of bombs, rockets, or jet planes. Sometimes defending freedom just requires the Air Force to follow the orders issued by the Secretary of the Air Force and release non-classified publicly-owned information in its possession. Somehow, when it comes to this kind of freedom, the Air Force is missing in action.

Jan 13

"Fast Track" Trade Authority Already In Trouble on Capitol Hill

By Staff, International Brotherhood of Teamsters | Report

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Senator Max Baucus, Senator Orrin Hatch and Congressman Dave Camp introduced the long-awaited fast-track trade promotion authority legislation on Capitol Hill. Maybe it was the big press conference in New Jersey, the late in the day introduction or the minor attention paid to it by even the White House, but the introduction came and went in the news cycle so fast that you may have easily missed it.

Jan 13

The Living Hell of the Japanese-American War

By Evaggelos Vallianatos, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

In a 1986 visit to Hawaii, my wife and I were having dinner with my brother-in-law married to a Japanese-American woman whose mother, it turned out, was from Hiroshima. I asked the Hiroshima survivor to recount her experience. Instead, she burst into tears and wailing.

This explosive residue of America's atomic bombing of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 dominates relations between Japan and the United States.

On Wednesday afternoon January 8, I received an email from FOX NEWS' show, Hannity, about the possibility of an interview with me on Mumia Abu-Jamal's case. The heat was turned up at FOX in response to the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing where Debo Adegbile was being confirmed as President Barack Obama's nominee for assistant attorney general of civil rights at the US Department of Justice.

Before long, I was on the phone with one of the producers, who grilled me on my take on Adegbile's appointment and his connection to Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Hybrid cars are obviously more efficient and more eco-friendly than conventional vehicles powered by gasoline, as they are powered by an electric motor, in addition to an internal combustion engine. The electric powertrain helps improve the car's fuel economy, and reduce emission levels. This is why hybrids are considered to be a better option than conventional cars for those who want to save money on gas and help reduce air pollution. But, as with all other vehicles, hybrid vehicles' fuel economy is not the same when driving in the city and on the highway. While gasoline-powered cars are more efficient on the highway, hybrids get better mileage and emit less harmful gases when driving in the city.

Jan 13

Are You Holy Enough To Be a Republican?

By James and Jean Anton, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Are you holy enough to be a Republican?  We’ve developed a checklist to simplify the process of finding out.  Check each of the following items with which you agree.  By tallying the checks and using the guide at the end of the essay, you will find out if you qualify.

Jan 11

CWA: Fast Track is the Wrong Track

By Larry Cohen, SpeakOut | Press Release

WASHINGTON D.C.  – Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen today made the following statement in response to the bill introduced by Sen. Max Baucus and Rep. Dave Camp calling for “fast track” authorization for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP):

“Fast track is the wrong track when it comes to a trade deal like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that will affect our laws, our jobs, our food and our environment. Fast track, also known as Trade Promotion Authority, forces Congress to give up its Constitutional right to amend and improve this trade deal, which now is reportedly more than 1,000 pages long.