Thursday, 26 March 2015 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Speakout

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.

San Francisco— The Center for Biological Diversity today called on the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately shut down hundreds of injection wells that are illegally dumping oil industry wastewater into scores of California aquifers, including some that supply water for drinking and farming irrigation.

Today’s letter urges the EPA to issue an administrative order requiring operators of these disposal wells to cease operations to protect aquifers from further damage and comply with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. “In the midst of an unprecedented drought and when so many Californians lack access to safe, clean drinking water, it is outrageous to allow contamination of drinking and irrigation water to continue. It is never acceptable to allow the contamination of drinking and irrigation water with industrial wastewater,” the letter says. 

Before January 15, my associations with the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center were memories I wish I didn't have. I remember when my sister was locked up there at 15—the sharp weight that hit my stomach when I realized definitively that the "Audy Home," as it was called casually, was really a jail.

Feb 03

Born at War

By David Swanson, War Is a Crime | Book Excerpt

One of the ways in which we commonly handicap our own struggles to reform the bad practices of the U.S. government is by imagining those practices to be degenerative developments taking us away from a purer and nobler past. As Gary Brumback shows in this book, the United States grew out of the idea that (in Thomas Paine's phrase) it was "common sense" to launch a war to settle political differences, a war that in turn set the new nation free to launch a series of wars against the indigenous people of the continent, followed quickly by a ceaseless string of wars waged in near and far-flung corners of the globe.

This deeply moral, highly readable, and urgently necessary book, which provides a wealth of new information even to a reader like myself who writes on similar topics, takes us from the birth of the United States to the Barack Obama presidency. Brumback documents George Washington's role as first warrior in chief and first chief spy, and traces that legacy through some 13,000 to 14,000 U.S. military wars/interventions since, operations that have killed some 20 million to 30 million foreign civilians just in the years after World War II, and that have killed more than two and a half million U.S. soldiers over nearly two and a half centuries.

During the last year or so about half of the states have enacted legislation aimed at protecting student privacy. Meanwhile, President Obama has called for a Student Data Privacy Act, saying "data collected on students in the classroom should only be used for educational purposes — to teach our children, not to market to our children."

Most of the new laws and the President's proposal have omitted the most egregious violation of student privacy in the nation. It is the Department of Defense's administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to more than 650,000 children in 12,000 high schools and the retention of demographic information, social security numbers, and 3 hours of test results for recruiting purposes without parental consent.

Has the 2015 center-right Democratic Party transmuted literally overnight into its old center-left visage of the mid-1960s - the party of Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, poverty programs, voting rights, desegregation and more?

As he begins his seventh year in office, with negligible accomplishments behind him, President Barack Obama suddenly appears to have transformed into the candidate liberal voters thought they had elected in November 2008 - the candidate of "Yes we can!" and "Change we can believe in." The liberal Nation weekly even headlined its editorial in the Feb. 6 edition: "Obama Gets His Mojo Back."

Feb 02

Homeless Children in a Golden City

By David Krause, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

This year, approximately 2,200 homeless children will attend public schools in the City of San Francisco. In an effort to help these children, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has partnered with the Hamilton Family Center to help at least 75 families who are homeless find housing this school year.

SFUSD teachers have been asked to look for signs of homelessness in a student, contact the Hamilton Family Center when a homeless child has been identified, arrange a meeting between the homeless family and the Hamilton Family Center and inform parents and staff of the program. When a homeless student is identified, a Hamilton staff member will go to that school, meet with the family and coordinate with SFUSD staff on how to best assist these families.

Feb 02

Millions March NYC / Black Lives Matter

By Merve Ayparlar, Vimeo | Video

Millions March NYC / Black Lives Matter from Merve Ayparlar on Vimeo.

On November 24th 2014, Ferguson grand jury decided not to indict police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, 18 year old Michael Brown.

On December 3rd 2014, Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man, 43 year old Eric Garner.

Drugs and the drug war touch most families.  Millions of people have a loved one behind bars on drug charges. Many millions more have struggled with drugs themselves – or have a loved one who has dealt with addiction to illegal or legal drugs. By declaring a "war on drugs" we have declared a war on ourselves. We know that prison is not the answer for people who use drugs. So what can be done?

Howard Josepher and Exponents, the organization he founded 20 years ago have some answers.  Howard and Exponents have helped more than 10,000 people with serious drug problems.

Washington, DC – It has been one week since President Obama called for Congress to “give me trade promotion authority” in his State of the Union address so he can finalize the secret negotiations behind the massive 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While it would be normal for Fast Track supporters to enjoy a surge of momentum in the days that followed the reality has been quite different.

Large corporate media have failed America. They specialize in selling Americans trivia and sudden natural outbursts of rain, snow, and drought. They do that because they have convinced themselves Americans are stupid. In addition, hooking millions on entertainment and sports earns the networks unfathomable amounts of money.

Certainly, such practices serve no public purpose.

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Speakout

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.

San Francisco— The Center for Biological Diversity today called on the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately shut down hundreds of injection wells that are illegally dumping oil industry wastewater into scores of California aquifers, including some that supply water for drinking and farming irrigation.

Today’s letter urges the EPA to issue an administrative order requiring operators of these disposal wells to cease operations to protect aquifers from further damage and comply with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. “In the midst of an unprecedented drought and when so many Californians lack access to safe, clean drinking water, it is outrageous to allow contamination of drinking and irrigation water to continue. It is never acceptable to allow the contamination of drinking and irrigation water with industrial wastewater,” the letter says. 

Before January 15, my associations with the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center were memories I wish I didn't have. I remember when my sister was locked up there at 15—the sharp weight that hit my stomach when I realized definitively that the "Audy Home," as it was called casually, was really a jail.

Feb 03

Born at War

By David Swanson, War Is a Crime | Book Excerpt

One of the ways in which we commonly handicap our own struggles to reform the bad practices of the U.S. government is by imagining those practices to be degenerative developments taking us away from a purer and nobler past. As Gary Brumback shows in this book, the United States grew out of the idea that (in Thomas Paine's phrase) it was "common sense" to launch a war to settle political differences, a war that in turn set the new nation free to launch a series of wars against the indigenous people of the continent, followed quickly by a ceaseless string of wars waged in near and far-flung corners of the globe.

This deeply moral, highly readable, and urgently necessary book, which provides a wealth of new information even to a reader like myself who writes on similar topics, takes us from the birth of the United States to the Barack Obama presidency. Brumback documents George Washington's role as first warrior in chief and first chief spy, and traces that legacy through some 13,000 to 14,000 U.S. military wars/interventions since, operations that have killed some 20 million to 30 million foreign civilians just in the years after World War II, and that have killed more than two and a half million U.S. soldiers over nearly two and a half centuries.

During the last year or so about half of the states have enacted legislation aimed at protecting student privacy. Meanwhile, President Obama has called for a Student Data Privacy Act, saying "data collected on students in the classroom should only be used for educational purposes — to teach our children, not to market to our children."

Most of the new laws and the President's proposal have omitted the most egregious violation of student privacy in the nation. It is the Department of Defense's administration of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to more than 650,000 children in 12,000 high schools and the retention of demographic information, social security numbers, and 3 hours of test results for recruiting purposes without parental consent.

Has the 2015 center-right Democratic Party transmuted literally overnight into its old center-left visage of the mid-1960s - the party of Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, poverty programs, voting rights, desegregation and more?

As he begins his seventh year in office, with negligible accomplishments behind him, President Barack Obama suddenly appears to have transformed into the candidate liberal voters thought they had elected in November 2008 - the candidate of "Yes we can!" and "Change we can believe in." The liberal Nation weekly even headlined its editorial in the Feb. 6 edition: "Obama Gets His Mojo Back."

Feb 02

Homeless Children in a Golden City

By David Krause, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

This year, approximately 2,200 homeless children will attend public schools in the City of San Francisco. In an effort to help these children, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has partnered with the Hamilton Family Center to help at least 75 families who are homeless find housing this school year.

SFUSD teachers have been asked to look for signs of homelessness in a student, contact the Hamilton Family Center when a homeless child has been identified, arrange a meeting between the homeless family and the Hamilton Family Center and inform parents and staff of the program. When a homeless student is identified, a Hamilton staff member will go to that school, meet with the family and coordinate with SFUSD staff on how to best assist these families.

Feb 02

Millions March NYC / Black Lives Matter

By Merve Ayparlar, Vimeo | Video

Millions March NYC / Black Lives Matter from Merve Ayparlar on Vimeo.

On November 24th 2014, Ferguson grand jury decided not to indict police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, 18 year old Michael Brown.

On December 3rd 2014, Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man, 43 year old Eric Garner.

Drugs and the drug war touch most families.  Millions of people have a loved one behind bars on drug charges. Many millions more have struggled with drugs themselves – or have a loved one who has dealt with addiction to illegal or legal drugs. By declaring a "war on drugs" we have declared a war on ourselves. We know that prison is not the answer for people who use drugs. So what can be done?

Howard Josepher and Exponents, the organization he founded 20 years ago have some answers.  Howard and Exponents have helped more than 10,000 people with serious drug problems.

Washington, DC – It has been one week since President Obama called for Congress to “give me trade promotion authority” in his State of the Union address so he can finalize the secret negotiations behind the massive 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While it would be normal for Fast Track supporters to enjoy a surge of momentum in the days that followed the reality has been quite different.

Large corporate media have failed America. They specialize in selling Americans trivia and sudden natural outbursts of rain, snow, and drought. They do that because they have convinced themselves Americans are stupid. In addition, hooking millions on entertainment and sports earns the networks unfathomable amounts of money.

Certainly, such practices serve no public purpose.