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US: New Drug Tests Target the Poor

Source: In These Times

The growing number of poor Americans now face a new indignity, thanks to a legislative trend sweeping through state capitols: mandatory drug tests for needy citizens. This year alone, at least 30 state legislatures (including Louisiana, Massachusetts and Illinois) have considered bills that would require people to pass a drug test to become eligible to receive welfare benefits. Some states—including New Mexico, Maine and Kentucky—have proposed extending the practice to those collecting unemployment, Medicaid and food stamps. read more

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Philadelphia’s Declaration of War on Black Youth

Source: Counterpunch

The character of our present moment is undeniable, and the tangled web of causes and consequences is the same from London to Cairo to Santiago: budget cuts in the name of “austerity,” rising unemployment, increasing popular resistance, and an upsurge in racist violence and policing measures like “stop-and-frisk.” The failure of an economic system in the short and long term has generated an entire class of undesirables, living proof of that failure who must be contained, controlled, and silenced. read more

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Cuba: Women Rappers a Vocal Minority

Source: IPS News

Women are still a small minority on Cuba’s hip hop scene. “If the situation is hard for us nationwide, imagine what it’s like in the eastern region, where this genre has very little recognition,” says Yaneidys Tamayo, leader of the group Las Positivas.

Tamayo, Irina Rodríguez and Orielis Mayet, who have the only all-woman rap group in Cuba, swim against the tide in Santiago de Cuba, a province at the eastern tip of the island marked by musical preferences that range from reggaeton to rumba and are directed at a public that is more interested in dancing than in hearing the messages these women want to send from the stage. read more