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

16 February 2008

Homeland Insecurity

By Marie Cocco
To view original click here

WASHINGTON—Grim talk of terrorism is again making headlines. First came the announcement that the United States will try the masterminds of the 9/11 plot, through military commissions—contemporary kangaroo courts. Now comes Senate approval of a vast surveillance bill that gives sanction to the warrantless snooping on Americans that President Bush carried out secretly until the program was exposed in the press.

And by the way, the House’s refusal to go along with giving immunity to telecommunications companies who were complicit in the spying puts the nation’s security at risk, the White House warns.

These set pieces of political discourse in the Bush era inevitably lead to the conclusion that we remain imperiled by terrorism. On this point, there is an undeniable and ugly truth behind the raw rhetoric. But there is also truth in cold, hard numbers—and in them, the White House tells an altogether different tale.

Homeland security funding—for states to try to prevent or prepare for such a disaster, for firefighters who would have to respond, for radios that would actually allow emergency personnel to communicate with one another during a catastrophe, for rail and mass transit security, for inspections and security at ports—all are stepchildren in the latest White House budget.

Grants to states and local governments for homeland security and first responders were cut by half from current funding levels, according to an analysis by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Meanwhile, financing for a special urban security program that is intended to replace pork-barrel jockeying among states, with funds better targeted to those cities—New York, Los Angeles and Washington—known to be at greatest risk of attack, is held just about flat. A project meant to help detect a nuclear or radiological device in densely populated cities—was cut by 25 percent, according to Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Another to train emergency workers to handle an attack involving weapons of mass destruction also was pared.

“The threat to our cities and towns from terrorist attacks and natural disasters has not diminished, and the federal government’s contribution to protecting states and localities should not diminish either,” says Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., who chairs the homeland security panel.

Seven years into the “war on terror,” with conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq still fought in its name, there should be legitimate anger about why, as Lieberman correctly notes, the terrorist threat has “not diminished.” But if this is so—and the administration most definitely agrees—then what plausible reason is there for cutting prevention and preparedness funding, and eliminating some programs altogether?

Since New York City and the Pentagon were struck on 9/11, homeland security funding has become a crude political game. The administration started from the premise that no new money was needed to meet the demand for extraordinary services that only government—state, local or federal—can provide. To admit otherwise would jeopardize the continuation of the Bush tax cuts, and cut the heart of the conservative argument that almost no government function is a valid one.

Congress soon produced a farce, divvying up pots of anti-terrorism money like so many highway projects to the point where a few years ago, Wyoming was getting more funds per capita than was New York. Some, but not all, of these shenanigans ceased when the White House and lawmakers agreed that urban areas facing the greatest risk should get more, and a separate program was set up for them.

Now a new shell game: The White House repeatedly cuts or eliminates homeland security grants, knowing Congress usually restores the money. “I’m sure you’ll find no shortage of politicians on the Hill or in state and local governments who will advocate more spending,” says Russ Knocke, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. “Ultimately there is a limited amount available.”

But there is a limit to patience, too. And a limit to the number of years we have to prepare before what we are told is the inevitable next attack. Homeland security budget fights shouldn’t have the tone of low comedy. But they do, and somewhere, maybe a terrorist is chuckling.

Marie Cocco’s e-mail address is mariecocco(at)washpost.com.

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