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

02 April 2007

In ten years, what kind of Manhattan do you want?

by Christopher E. Renner

I began reading a book this week that stuck my interest for the title alone: American Fascists; The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris hedges, the author of Losing Moses on the Freeway. In this book, Hedges challenges the Christian Rights’ religious legitimacy and argues that at it core it is a mass movement fueled by unbridled nationalism and a hatred for an open society. I you enjoy programs like “Evolutionary Faith” which is what won us our Kansas Broadcasters award, you will enjoy reading this book.

According to Hedges, all it is going to take is another national crisis like the attack on the World Trade Towers for the Christian Right to make a concerted effort to destroy American democracy. Much as they did in supporting the passage of the Patriot Act, which has grossly curtained our civil rights and recourse to judicial remedies for the invasions of privacy and the right to habeas corpus.

As we have seen in this year’s Kansas legislative session, the right has done everything they can from attacking academic freedom to denying people access to health insurance because of the individuals they love, the Right’s anti-democratic agenda is clear.

On April 3 Manhattanites have some serious decisions to make that will affect the long-term livability of our community. After suffering through four years of a theocratic-laden city government that carried out policies threatening the very nature of civic government, much as Hedges discusses in his book, we have had two years of “don’t rock the boat,” just when we needed real dynamic leadership to ensure that our redevelopment as a community was structured in a way that was beneficial to all residents. Unfortunately, positive vision-driven leadership has been lacking on the issues of redevelopment, public health and safety.

I have read letters in the Mercury exalting the more extreme candidates to the City Commission who will address the “tax issue.” What these letters do not do is explain is why we have a “tax issue” to begin with. Because of the theocratic vision of our former City Commission, that held unrestricted capitalism as next to Godliness - a theological dictum that has little, if any, support in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth - at a moment when the City should have intervened to protect property owners from the unbridled speculation of a few developers, no action was taken. Homeowners like myself are now paying for artificially high property values caused by the “hands off” approach of the past.

I am very concerned with the mantra of “lowering the mil level” as the Golden Fleece of the current property tax concerns. Lowering the mil level will most help those whose homes have the most value, who SHOULD be paying more taxes than those of us who earn less than $30,000 a year and have seen our home values increase by 150%. It will do nothing to correct the mistakes of the past. That requires much more effort than what I have seen in the superficial rhetoric of several ill-informed candidates.

Moreover, we have real quality of life issues to be concerned about. I think the redevelopment in the North and South end of downtown Manhattan is missing the boat. We do not need more big box stores. We need commercial space that will allow small business owners to thrive and provide opportunities for the diversity of our community to be reflected in commercial establishments. We do not need to look like Johnson County. We need more public space, not more privately controlled space. Dial Reality is not going to be challenged to change their course of action by the social conservatives running for City Commission. If anything, these politicians will only further contribute to suburban-sprawl feel of the development and will force even more average-income families and individuals to leave our community.

But my real concerns have to do with how, as a municipality, we respond to the social service needs of those who are returning to our community after having served in the War in Iraq. Ft. Riley is our largest employer and as a community we will have to respond to issues we prefer not to talk about. First, we have priced the enlisted troops out of the home-ownership market, a grave mistake. Then we have issues like: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is suffered by at least 18 percent in the returning enlisted personnel, 30 percent among National Guard and Reservists troops. Sexual assault in the military is up 24% over last year. Many children have one or both parents stationed in Iraq. Needs for programs like the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers and Big Sisters cannot keep up with the increased demand for services. Childcare is approaching crisis proportions.

I have heard nothing coming from the mouths of those speaking loudest on the “tax issue” as to how our community will respond to these pressing issues. This not only concerns me, but makes me ask why are these people running for office? We do not need more religious zealots who intend to impose their religious views as public policy and political carpetbaggers who will support the developers sitting in City Commission seats. We need individuals who have the knowledge, skills and vision to make Manhattan a better community for everyone who lives here.

I want to encourage people to get out and vote in this April’s election. The Manhattan we have in 10 years will depend in large part on the decisions of this election. Moreover, I hope when we go the polls, we will consider the human needs of our community and make responsible decisions rather than decisions that are based on short-term fixes and self-serving rhetoric.

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