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

11 June 2007

Saving the lives of our children

8 June 2007.
by Christopher E. Renner

Today we have discussed in detail the issue of HIV/AIDS. After 25 years this disease is still treated as a taboo subject in general US culture with nearly 40,000 new HIV infections occurring each year in the US. No one needs to be infected with HIV in 2007 and yet it is still happening. People still believe you can get it from toilet seats or by touching a HIV+ human. Why do these beliefs continue to persist in the information age?

The answer is simple: as a nation we fail our children and young adults daily because instead of providing scientific and medically valid information, we have political leaders toeing the ideological line of religious fanatics. As a result, young people today are more at risk of infection not only of HIV, but a broad spectrum of antibiotic resistant sexuality transmitted infections (STIs) because of sexphobic religious leaders and their followers.

Sex education is critical in providing young people with the information and skills they need to make responsible, informed choices about their sexual and reproductive lives. While parents are and should be the foremost sexuality educators of their children, many would like help from schools and community-based organizations. Currently no federal program is dedicated to supporting age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education that emphasizes the benefits of abstinence and educates young people about contraception and prevention of sexually transmitted infections, despite the proven effectiveness of such programs. The lack of a federal program leaves many sex education decisions in the hands of state governments.

Across the country, state legislatures continue to offer sex education legislation. Last year, 28 states, spurred on in large part by religious reactionaries, have introduced 115 bills that attempt to determine what students will or won’t learn about human sexuality. While several states introduced positive measures that will enforce responsible and comprehensive sex education programs, many states introduced bills that would prevent abortion-providing agencies from teaching sex education in schools and would prioritized funding to agencies that did not provide abortions or contraception.(1)

But the vilest treat of all is how the media has ignored the Waxman Report. In 2004, Rep. Henry Waxman (D — CA), released a report about the state of abstinence-only sexuality education which the Bush administration and the fanatics in the Religious Right has force upon not only the US public education system but tied to development aid across the world.

The report examined school-based sex education curricula used by programs funded under Special Projects of Regional and National Significance Community-Based Abstinence Education (SPRANS), the fastest-growing source of federally funded abstinence education. Since 1996, nearly $1 billion in state and federal funding, under three funding streams, has been spent on abstinence-only education that denies young people information about contraception beyond failure rates. Another $170 million in federal funds was spent in FY 2005, despite a lack of evidence supporting the effectiveness of this approach.(2)

The report found that the curricula used by more than two-thirds of government-funded abstinence-only programs contain misleading or inaccurate information about abortion, contraception, genetics, and sexually transmitted infections:

• The abstinence-only program “Me, My World, My Future” states, "Tubal and cervical pregnancies are increased following abortions." According to obstetric textbooks, previous abortions are not correlated with ectopic pregnancies.
• “Choosing the Best, The Big Talk Book” states, "[R]esearch confirms that 14 percent of the women who use condoms scrupulously for birth control become pregnant within a year." In fact, when used correctly and consistently, only two percent of couples who rely on the latex condom as their primary form of contraception will experience an unintended pregnancy.
• “Why kNOw” states, "Twenty-four chromosomes from the mother and 24 from the father join to create [a fetus]." Human cells are actually comprised of 46 chromosomes; 23 from each parent.
• “WAIT” Training incorrectly states that HIV can be transmitted through tears and sweat. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV is only transmissible through blood, semen, and vaginal secretions.(1)

The Waxman report also found that many abstinence-only curricula even go so far as to blur the line between religion and science, and treat gender stereotypes as scientific fact. It found that these curriculums:

• grossly underestimate the effectiveness of condoms and other contraceptives in preventing pregnancy and STIs;
• make false claims about the physical and psychological risks of abortion;
• offer misinformation on the incidence and transmission of STIs;
• replace scientific facts with religious views and moral judgments; and
• distort medical evidence and basic scientific facts.(2)

In the past 10 years, Congress has wasted more than $1 billion on dangerous abstinence-only programs that deny teenagers vital information about birth control and responsible decision-making — while approximately 750,000 U.S. teens become pregnant and four million get a sexually transmitted infection each year. And right now, our federal government is spending another $176 million on these dangerous programs. Programs that do not work!

It's time to stop wasting money. The vast majority of parents support responsible, comprehensive sex education, and that's what the Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act is all about. The REAL Act will provide funds for medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education in schools. H.R. 1653/S. 972 legislation introduced by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chris Shays (R-CT), and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), will appropriate funds for programs that provide age-appropriate, medically accurate information on the values of abstinence and the health benefits and side effects of all contraceptives and barrier methods as a means to prevent pregnancy and reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS.

The vast majority of parents in the United States support responsible sex education. A study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2004 reveals that parents want schools to do more in the way of preparing their children for real life. In addition to the basics of reproduction, information about HIV/AIDS and other STIs, and messages about abstinence, all of which are standard in comprehensive sex education classes, parents want the following topics to be covered by sex educators: correct use of condoms, other forms of birth control, how to get tested for STIs, and the emotional consequences of becoming sexually active.(3)

In a 2001 poll of 1,750 registered voters, 85 percent agreed that all students should receive age-appropriate information about contraception and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Seventy percent of these voters strongly agreed (Lake, Snell, Perry & Associates, 2001).(4)

America's leading medical and public health experts support responsible sex education, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Nurses Association, and the Society for Adolescent Medicine, as well as leading public health experts and educators like the American Public Health Association.

You can join this effort by telling Congresswoman Nancy Boyda and Senators Brownback and Roberts to support the REAL Act. You can also sign an on-line petition at:

http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/rrr/petition.asp

We need responsible people to speak out against the culture of fear and dis-information of the Religious Right for the lives of our youth and the future health of our nation. HIV/AIDS can be prevented. We can dramatically reduce the health risk to all young people by provide accurate, medically sound education. It is time we threw off the yoke of religious fanaticism and became the a nation whose health policy is founded on fact, not fiction.

Sources:
1. Planned Parenthood, http://www.saveroe.com/issues/sex-education/misinformation-abstinence-only, accessed June 7, 2007.
2. Guttmacher Institute http://www.guttmacher.org/media/inthenews/2004/12/03/index.html, accessed June 7, 2007.
3. National Public Radio /Kaiser Family Foundation /Harvard University Kennedy School of Government 2004 Poll "Sex Education in America
4. Lake, Snell, Perry & Associates and Deardouff & Associates/The Media Company Nationwide. (July 2001) Survey of 1750 Registered Voters Nationwide. Presentation for Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

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