Leaked: The Internet must go!

Hey! Are you on the internet right now? Of course you are! Then you should definitely check out this amazing video about what the internet companies are planning. This move could hurt both consumers and content creators--but of course would be a huge windfall for internet providers.

How weathly are Americans?

The disparity in wealth between the richest one percent of Americans and the bottom 80 percent has grown exponentially over the last thirty years — but the video, posted by user politizane and relying on data from a popular Mother Jones post, focuses on the difference between the ideal disparity that Americans would like to see and the reality.

Tax the Rich

So long! It's been fun.

Dear listeners,

In July 2011 I started a new job teaching Italian at Kansas State University. In some ways this was a return to my roots, as I taught English as a Foreign Language for 17 years in Italy. Now I am teaching English speakers Italian. I've come full circle.

This coming full circle also means the end of an attempt on my part to start a new career in my 50s. Sadly, as much as I tried to bring community radio to Manhattan, I was not successful. So I have decided to dedicate my energy and time to my first love, being an educator.

The archive of my shows will remain active - there's a lot of great content in the shows. So I hope you continue to listen and enjoy them.

Once again thank you for your support and encouragement over the five years the show was on the air. I know many feel that my program needs to be on the air and I agree with you that a diversity of voices is sorely lacking in the local media. But alas, it is not I who will bring that diversity. It will have to be someone else.

Christopher E. Renner

07 March 2007

Fear of the Other

Originally read on 8 February 2007
by Christopher E. Renner

Sometimes I wonder just how we make it as a nation. This past week has seen some really great examples of how our education system is apparently failing our nation.

In Boston police mistook a child’s toy as a possible homemade bomb and shut down large sectors of the city. It was later revealed that it was a marketing ploy. Now I ask you, where were the police’s critical thinking skills? It was a blunder that I am not going to allow to be written off as part of the national hysteria about terrorism. The police made a mistake, a very dumb mistake. As tens of thousands of people, if not 100,000s of people had their lives interrupted because of the philosophy of fear which the current administration and those who support it have perpetrated on our nation.

As has been the case with most of our “preparedness” efforts following 9-11, reason has been low on the list of priorities to have. Rather than using rational thought to analyze and determine if something is, in fact, a bomb or a toy, we instantly jump to conclusions which are base on fear and reaction.

To quote Benjamin Franklin: “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

Last week, Boston showed how unsafe we are -- FROM OURSELVES! If anything the whole affair in Boston made me wonder if we can defend ourselves from another 9-11 type attack. If the police can’t tell a bomb from a marketing ploy, are we safe?

Closer to home, Representative Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe - who is considered one of the most conservative members of the Legislature. - introduced House Bill 2299. This bill, should it become law, would prohibit municipalities and counties in the state from establishing Domestic Partner Registries. Rep. Kinzer introduced his bill after the Lawrence City Commission gave an affirmative review to the establishment of such a domestic partner registry in Lawrence.

A domestic partnership is a legal or personal relationship between individuals who live together and share a common domestic life but are not joined in a traditional marriage, a common-law marriage, or a civil union.

Domestic partnership was conceived to help bridge the disparity that exists for same-sex couples and create greater equality. In 1982, the Village Voice became the first private business to offer its employees domestic partnership benefits. In 1984, Berkeley, California enacted a domestic partnership registry, which allows same-sex couples of the municipality to register their relationships. The District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, and California have established state-wide registries. An additional 70 local government units across the nation have do so at the local level.

Domestic partnership policies vary greatly depending on their intended purpose. Most city and county domestic partnership registries are simply registration systems that confer no benefits or responsibilities on either partner but provide couples with a way to officially register their relationship with the municipality. Since the goal of most employer domestic partnership policies is to create greater equality in the workplace, most provide at least some benefits, such as bereavement leave and emergency medical leave. Many provide LGBT couples with the option of obtaining health insurance and pension benefits for their partners.

The Lawrence domestic partnership registry would not automatically grant the legal rights that married couples have to gay or lesbian couples. The registry also would not automatically require the city or private employers to begin offering health care benefits to employees’ domestic partners as granted for spouses.

But Rep. Kinzer doesn’t want any chances. His bill would make it illegal for any municipal or county government to set up domestic partner registries in the state. Now I ask, aren’t conservatives supposed to be against “big government”? Isn’t this “big Government” in action. The state micro-managing municipalities in order that one’s man’s religious ideology can become the law of the land.

IT is wrong! Rep. Kinzer’s proposed bill is outrageous. It is nothing but thinly vailed bigotry being turned into law, just like the Kansas Marriage Amendment was.

Then across the Capitol in the Senate chambers, the Federal and State Affairs Committee held hearings that would add “sexual orientation” to the Kansas Act Against Discrimination which would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Our Senator Roger Reitz serves on that committee and engaged Rep. Janice Pauls, in what was surely one of the more intellectual discussions that chamber has seen. Rep Pauls is something of an abnormality in that she is a right-wing Democrat from Hutchinson,

Rep Pauls said that you can’t tell whether people are homosexual by looking at then and that as such they shouldn’t be included with the other protected groups such as race or religion.

Senator Rietz challenged Rep Pauls asking whether religion should be protected because “you can’t tell if someone is Jewish by looking at them.” Pushed further rep. Pauls said that homosexuals are not a group that has been discriminated against.” Well Rep Pauls, for a women who claims to hold the highest religious morals, apparently she too missed those lessons on critical thinking I mentioned earlier. The committee was presented with numerous examples of discrimination including personal testimony and a recent (2005) study that documented 121 cases of discrimination against gay and lesbian Topekans of which 15 percent reported being fired from their jobs when their sexual orientation became known.

State Sen. Roger Reitz, disagreed with Rep Pauls saying it was wrong for people to be denied work because of their sexual orientation.

“It is incredibly unfair and offends my sense of justice,” he said.

I am so thankful that Manhattan and Junction City is represented by Senator Rietz and commend him for his courage and forthrightness in dealing with such an irrational person.

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