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

28 August 2008

Articles of interest...

Clcik on titles to read complete articles.

The Chinavore's Dilemma
Joshua Kurlantzick writes in Mother Jones: "For a while last year, it seemed the reports of tainted food, drugs, and toys flowing in from China would never cease. First came the pet food scare, in which a toxic additive killed thousands of animals. Summer brought vast recalls of lead-tainted Thomas trains and other name-brand toys, counterfeit Colgate containing antifreeze, salmonella-infected toddler snacks, and DDT-contaminated seafood. Yet the Bush administration, in its eagerness to expand trade, has relegated consumer safety to the backseat."

The Fight for Women's Voting Rights

Ailene Taylor writes for the Marin Independent Journal: "August 26 marks the 88th anniversary of the signing of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, an act that granted women citizens the right to vote in all elections. Very few people understand the scope and complications of the suffrage movement. Yet it was full of drama and replete with incredible women of courage and determination who kept the effort going in the face of relentless opposition."

FCC Commissioner Targets Media Consolidation

Greg Griffin reports in the Denver Post that the FCC is beholden to media conglomerates to the exclusion of minority- and women-owned media companies, FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said at a symposium on media and democracy.

What We Need is a Digital Bill of Rights
Erick Schonfeld for TechCrunch writes that it is time to really think about a comprehensive national technology policy for the Internet Age. Many laws and policies governing the Internet and digital property are inadequate attempts to transplant rules from a different era.

Democracy Burns while the Networks Sleep
Timothy Karr writing for the Huffington Post asks why the "Big Three" television networks are keeping their convention coverage limited to prime time, highlighting the sad reality of a corporate media that prefer laugh tracks and the bottom line to political discourse.

The Christian Right's Got a New Stealth Tactic to Smuggle Creationism into Science Class
Sandhya Bathija writes for Church & State Magazine and republished on Alternet: "In the 21 years Patsye Peebles taught biology in Louisiana public schools, she never received one complaint from parents for teaching evolution. 'The bottom line is that I never questioned their faith,' she said. Whenever she had a student who brought up creationism, she always made it clear that science is science, and religion is religion."

Bush's Deal With Iraq: A Time Bomb Set to Explode
Steve Weissman writes for Truthout: "Back in January, the Bush administration proposed a Status of Forces Agreement to govern relations between American troops and the Iraqis after the UN mandate expires in December 2008. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton accused the White House of trying to tie the hands of a future American president and many Democrats in Congress voiced the same concern. Even at the time, any agreement had to be less than a binding treaty, which would have required confirmation by an impossible two-thirds vote of the US Senate."

Running for War President at Any Cost

Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig.com: Just great! Nuclear-armed Pakistan is falling apart, Iran’s nuclear program is unchecked and congressional legislation on cooperation with the Russians on controlling nuclear proliferation is now dead in the water. Horrid news except for Sen. John McCain, who thrills to a repeat of the danger lines of the Cold War, and now stands a good chance of being our next president.

26 August 2008

Click on titles for complete articles.

Rebuilding Clean Air Policy
Robert Sussman writes for The Center for American Progress: "The US clean air program sustained a severe blow on July 9 when a three-judge court in Washington, DC, overturned a sweeping Environmental Protection Agency rule - the Clean Air Interstate Rule - that was key to meeting air quality standards. CAIR mandated deep cuts in nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions at fossil-fuel power plants in 28 Eastern states and the District of Columbia."

Casting Doubt on a Voting Plan
Errol Louis writes in the New York Daily News: "Seventy-two days from now, when an estimated 122 million Americans will vote for our next president, nearly every crucial part of Election Day machinery - from the operation of the machines to the clarity of the ballot choices - will be, in many places, a confusing mess."

The Smash of Civilizations
Chalmers Johnson writes for TomDispatch.com: "There have been many dispiriting sights on TV since George Bush launched his ill-starred war on Iraq -- the pictures from Abu Ghraib, Fallujah laid waste, American soldiers kicking down the doors of private homes and pointing assault rifles at women and children. But few have reverberated historically like the looting of Baghdad's museum -- or been forgotten more quickly in this country."

That Troubled Terrorism List
The New York Times editorial states: "A half-billion-dollar emergency program to repair the nation’s main and deeply flawed terrorist watch list is 'on the brink of collapse,' according to a Congressional investigation. That means that warning signs of a terrorist attack could again be lost in the chaos. The new program, known as Railhead, is intended to fix the problems with the current outmoded program. That database - begun as an urgent priority after the Sept. 11 attacks - has been bedeviled by an array of problems, including the inability to do basic searches to find suspects’ names."

A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash
Amy Harmon, The New York Times: "In February, the Florida Department of Education modified its standards to explicitly require, for the first time, the state's public schools to teach evolution, calling it "the organizing principle of life science." Spurred in part by legal rulings against school districts seeking to favor religious versions of natural history, over a dozen other states have also given more emphasis in recent years to what has long been the scientific consensus: that all of the diverse life forms on Earth descended from a common ancestor, through a process of mutation and natural selection, over billions of years."

The Three Dumbest Neocon Predictions since the Disaster in Iraq
John Dolan writes for Alternet: "Now that the Beijing games have wound up, we can get on to a sporting event with real significance: a Neocon Olympics to decide the most grossly wrong, stupid prediction by a Neocon pundit post-Iraq. Of course, it's a very rich field. Being totally wrong about absolutely everything is the Neocons' job, and they've been working overtime on it. Their proudest moment had to be in the lead-up to the Iraq war when Kenneth Adelman assured America that democratizing Iraq would be "a cakewalk." Indeed, early Neocons like Adelman and Richard Perle (who predicted that Iraq would settle down "at the first whiff of gunpowder") set the bar for disastrously wrong predictions so high that some have suggested that the trophy be retired in their honor. But doing that would mean shutting out all the more recent Neocon predictions. Their little mistakes may not have cost as many trillions of dollars and thousands of lives as Adelman and Perle's, but give them time."

Net Neturality: Why You Should Give A Damn
Michael Janover writes in the Rocky Mountain News that if you believe in a true open market and don't want to give your freedom of choice to some corporate Big Brother, if you don't want your Internet experience censored, if you enjoy watching YouTube or visiting Facebook without limitations -- you probably support Net Neutrality without even realizing it.

Key News Audiences now Blend Online and Traditional Sources
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press says that for more than a decade, the audiences for most traditional news sources have steadily declined, as the number of people getting news online has surged. However, today it is not a choice between traditional sources and the Internet for the core elements of today's news audiences.

Pattern of Severe Anti-Gay Violence Nationwide
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) reports a recent rash of at least 13 brutal and violent hate crimes that have occurred throughout the country on the heels of the murder of 15 year-old Lawrence King in Los Angeles and the brutal beating of Duanna Johnson, both in February of 2008. NCAVP reports that these hate crimes may indicate a frightening trend of increases in both the number and severity of anti-LGBT violence. NCAVP continues to be humbled by the strength and the dignity of these victims and survivors, and their loved ones.

23 August 2008

Click on titles to view complete articles.

The Plot Against Liberal America

Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas and The Wrecking Crew, writes for the New Statesman: "The most cherished dream of conservative Washington is that liberalism can somehow be defeated, finally and irreversibly, in the way that armies are beaten and pests are exterminated. Electoral victories by Republicans are just part of the story. The larger vision is of a future in which liberalism is physically barred from the control room - of an "end of history" in which taxes and onerous regulation will never be allowed to threaten the fortunes private individuals make for themselves. This is the longing behind the former White House aide Karl Rove's talk of 'permanent majority' and, 20 years previously, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's declaration to the Republican convention that it's 'the job of all revolutions to make permanent their gains.'"

States Rush to Dump Touchscreen Voting Systems
Julian Sanchez writes for Ars Technica: "It's a good time to pick up an electronic voting machine on the cheap - provided you're not a stickler for things like 'accuracy' or 'security.' States are scrapping tens of thousands of pricey touchscreen systems in response to mounting concerns about the machines' reliability."

Same Old White Guys Run the Debates
Marie Cocco writes for Truthdig: "A presidential campaign in which a prevailing theme is 'change' makes it all the easier to see just how much things remain the same. Take the presidential debates to be broadcast this fall. The Commission on Presidential Debates plans three events, as usual, with one a 'town hall' format featuring questions from voters, a recent custom on its way to becoming routine."

Republicans Jumping Ship
Hans Johnson writes for In These Times: "A wave of GOP state legislators and other officials is defecting from the Republican Party, exposing the role that an increasingly hard line on social issues may be playing in driving out moderates. The departures weaken the GOP as it confronts another challenging election."

Jerome Corsi: How a Racist, Conspiratorial Crank Became a Top GOP Anti-Obama Point Man
Max Blumenthal writes in The Nation: "These are good times for Jerome Corsi. Already notorious for his factually challenged book-length takedown of 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, Unfit For Command, the 61-year-old Corsi has another hit on his hands. His new book, Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, has made Corsi a hot commodity again on the right-wing radio circuit, the bane of the Obama campaign and catapulted to the top slot on the New York Times bestseller list. With his newfound notoriety, Corsi has brought his pathographic anti-Obama narrative to hundreds of thousands of readers--and millions on radio and TV--just as he did with Kerry. Corsi has become the court bard of the conservative movement. 'The goal is to defeat Obama,' Corsi told the New York Times. 'I don't want Obama to be in office.'"

Same Sex Marriage Affects the Whole Country
Suzi Steffen writes for Alternet: "Patchwork, partying, pessimism, politics: That's the state, so to speak, of same-sex marriage around the U.S. since same-sex couples began lining up to get married in California on the afternoon of June 16. News of the California Supreme Court's May 15 decision, which said that denying marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples was unconstitutional, surprised some observers because it came from a Republican-appointed court -- and thrilled couples across the country because California does not have residency requirements for marriage."

When Education is Unequal
Cheryle Jackson writes about the Illinois educational funding in the Chicago Tribute - Kansas should take note: "This week, in a lawsuit brought against the State of Illinois and the State Board of Education, the Chicago Urban League and Quad County Urban League called on the courts to end the discriminatory and unconstitutional way public school education is funded in Illinois. This is not just an educational issue, but a civil rights issue, too, for thousands of African-American and Latino students whose social and economic future is being shortchanged by a flawed state policy."

SPECIAL LIVE COVERAGE: Unconventional: Pacifica's Live 2008 Convention Broadcasts

Loking for an alternative to mass media coverage of the national presidential conventions? Pacifica will provide live coverage of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

DNC: Monday, 8/25/08; Tuesday, 8/26/08; Wednesday 8/27/08; Thursday 8/28/08
RNC: Monday, 9/1/08; Tuesday, 9/2/08; Wednesday 9/3/08; Thursday 9/4/08

TIME: 5:00 PM – 9 PM Pacific / 6:PM – 10 PM Mountain / 7:PM – 11:PM
Central / 8:PM – Midnight Eastern.*
*There is a small chance that the demands of live event coverage will prompt the broadcasts to run over. In that event, notice will go out over PacificaAnnounce, and the broadcast will continue until the top of the following hour.

To listen, click on the title of this announcement - you will be taken to the Pacifica homepage - and then choose a Pacifica station from the list in the upper right hand corner.

22 August 2008

PBS Re-launches “PBS Parents” Web Site With New Features, New Content — And Triple The Blog Power

PBS has re-launched its PBS Parents site (www.pbsparents.org), with an extensive guide to “Understanding and Raising Girls” and the “Supersisters” blog among the biggest additions.

PBS Parents - Find information about your child's development from birth through the early school years. And you'll find lots of fun educational activities for your children to help get them ready for school.

A press release detailing what's new at PBS Parents is online at http://www.pbs.org/aboutpbs/news/20080821_pbsparentsrelaunch.html

20 August 2008

Click on title for complete articles.

Feeding the Beast: Federal Agencies in Shambles

Christopher Moraff, In These Times, writes: "When President Bush exits the White House in January, he will leave behind a federal government in shambles. Since his first term, Bush has pressed forward with a radical view of the executive branch. Beyond adopting autocratic positions on foreign policy and taking broad liberties to subvert the Bill of Rights, Bush has waged a quieter - and perhaps more damaging - war at home against the very agencies under his charge."

McCain: Senator, Grow Up!
Keith Olbermann MSNBC pundit says: "Senator McCain - on the 22nd of May, 2003 ... you said, of Iraq, on the Senate floor, quote: 'We won a massive victory in a few weeks, and we did so with very limited loss of American and allied lives. We were able to end aggression with minimum overall loss of life, and we were even able to greatly reduce the civilian casualties of Afghani and Iraqi citizens.' Senator - you declared victory in Iraq, five years and nearly three months ago. Today you say: 'victory in Iraq is finally in sight?' The victory you already proclaimed five years ago?"

How to Burn the Speculators
James K. Galbraith writes in Mother Jones: "Whenever economies sour, politicians blame speculators. But on occasion, they are right to do so. Speculators did wreak havoc in 1630s Holland, 1720s France, and in the American stock market in 1929. That crash led to the Great Depression and 60 years of tight controls on speculation. Now, thanks to our 30-year infatuation with free markets, the controls are off, and the mad gamblers are at it again. Yesterday's burst bubble was housing; today's expanding ones are energy and food. True, we have major long-term energy problems that cannot be laid at the feet of speculators.... But do supply and demand explain oil prices at $140 per barrel, with voices from Goldman Sachs projecting $200 for next year (a figure that would push gas prices above $5 per gallon) and Russia's Gazprom saying $250, despite a likely US recession? Do they explain the historic price hikes in rice, corn, and wheat, leading to hunger in the developing world? Do they explain the absolutely stratospheric price of copper? No they do not."

Swift Boat Economics
Dean Baker, writes for Truthout: "Tarred with the most dismal record of job creation and income growth of any president since the Great Depression, it would be reasonable to expect that Senator McCain would be defensive on the economy; but not in Swift boat America. Instead Senator McCain is filling the airwaves with commercials telling the public that Obama's tax increases will slow growth and cost the economy jobs. It's pretty scary stuff to anyone who takes it seriously."

Ohio's Election Stolen Again?

Advancement Project and Project Vote: "Based on publicly available information nearly 600,000 eligible voters could be placed on a caging list and challenged on Election Day, which could then result in their removal from the voter rolls without due process, in accordance with Ohio law. Ohio counties with largest numbers of returned notices prior to March 2008 Presidential Primary are Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas and Summit. In 2005, Ohio's General Assembly introduced legislation, House Bill 3 (H.B.3) that overhauled Ohio's election system. H.B. 3, in part, requires voter information mailings and amends Ohio's challenge statute(s). In particular, it requires that 88 county boards of election mail all Ohio registered voters a non-forwardable notice 60 days before the election. Each board must compile into a list any notices that are returned as undeliverable. These lists, in turn, are available as public records to any individual or group seeking to use the list as a 'caging list' to challenge voters."

FCC Orders Comcast to End Discriminatory Network Management Practices
The FCC has ruled that Comcast's broadband Internet management is in violation of federal policies that protect "the vibrant and open nature of the Internet." The order demands that Comcast disclose it's current practices, submit a compliance plan and disclose future practices to its customers.

Resources on the topic of water...

Brief History of Kansas Water Planning
The Kansas Water Commission was created by the 1917 Legislature to “ . . . work out a systematic general plan for the complete development of each watershed in the state . . .” However, no planning funds were provided. In 1927, the Kansas Water Commission was abolished and its planning functions were assigned to the Division of Water Resources, State Board of Agriculture. In 1947, a plan was officially adopted for the Neosho River Basin.

In 1955, the newly created Kansas Water Resources Board was directed to “. . . work out a state plan of water resources development for each watershed in the state. . .” In 1958, an amendment to the Kansas Constitution removed the prohibition against state financial involvement in water projects. Also in 1958 the Federal Water Supply Act authorized a portion of the costs of a federal multipurpose reservoir project to be allocated to future municipal and industrial water supply.

In 1963, the Legislature enacted the State Water Plan Act, which directed the Board to present to the Legislature a comprehensive state water plan. In 1965, the Board submitted a draft of proposed legislation which was enacted as the State Water Plan

In 1966, the Board prepared reports on special water districts, groundwater, water quality control needs, irrigation, water law, and water demands for industrial, municipal and rural domestic uses. In 1968, the Board, and the Bureau of Reclamation, began studies to analyze the land and water resources of Kansas. Included in these studies were projections of the economy, population and water needs for the years 1985 and 2000.

The Board concentrated n studies of mineral intrusion areas and modifications to the 1968 Groundwater Management District Act. Two significant pieces of legislation were enacted during this period: the 1972 Groundwater Management District Act and the 1974 State Water Plan Storage Act.

In 1978, the final report of a two-year study by a governor’s task force on water resources contained 39 recommendations regarding the state’s legal, policy and administrative water issues. In 1979, the Board began to revise the State Water Plan, placing increased emphasis on conservation and management. In 1981, the revised plan was passed by the Legislature. On July 1, 1981, the Kansas Water Resources Board was abolished and renamed the Kansas Water Office. A 16-member Kansas Water Authority was created and assumed many of the duties and responsibilities of the former Board.

In 1983, legislation addressing interbasin transfers of water, minimum desirable streamflows and amendments to the State Water Plan Storage Act was enacted.
In the fall of 1983, the Office presented a proposed State Water Plan to the Authority and discussed the plan at public meetings throughout the state.
In November 1984, the Kansas Water Plan was approved by the Kansas Water Authority and submitted to the Governor and Legislature. On February 18, 1985, HCR 5010 officially endorsed the planning process of the Kansas Water Office and requested the state’s water agencies to submit legislation to implement the plan’s proposals.
In 1985, an 11-member basin advisory committee was established in each of the state’s 12 major river basins.

Based on legislation passed in 1985, the nation’s first water assurance district (the Kansas River Water Assurance District) came “on line” during the drought of 1991.
Creation of the State Water Plan Fund in 1989 provided a dedicated source of revenue for implementation of the Kansas Water Plan. This fund provides around $18 million annually and is comprised of a combination of state general revenues, economic development initiative funds (lottery), and various water use fees on municipal, industrial and stock water uses, and fees on pesticide and fertilizer use. Pollution fines, penalties and sand royalties also contribute to the fund.
Major additions to the Kansas Water Plan during this period were “Public Education: A Natural Resources Curriculum for Kansas Schools” (1990), “On-Site Assistance to Public Water Supply System Personnel: (1990), “Water Use Conservation” (1990) and “Coordination of Geographic Based Planning and Implementation Process” (1991).

The Kansas Water Office initiated a sub-basin planning effort in 1992 designed to focus planning on specific priority issues that were not identified in the existing basin plans. One such example is the “Upper Arkansas River Corridor Sub-basin Plan.”
The Governor’s Water Quality Initiative was launched in 1995. It was a multi-agency investigation of surface water contamination from nonpoint source pollution in the Kansas-Lower Republican Basin.

The Kansas Water Office and Governor’s Office sponsored a vision summit in November 1997, attended by over 200 representatives of the water community that participated in drafting long-range goals for the Kansas Water Plan.
In 1998, after extensive discussions, the Kansas Water Authority approved the draft goals developed from the 1997 vision summit as Kansas Water Plan objectives for the year 2010.
The 2010 objectives provide the basis for a revised Kansas Water Plan approved by the Kansas Water Authority in 1999.

Other Articles of Interest:

Got Water? An update on our national water policy. Oh wait, other than sandbags and firehoses, we don't have one.
By Elizabeth de la Vega, Mother Jones, July 2008.
On June 24, 2008, Louie and I curled up on the couch to watch seven of the nation's foremost water resources experts testify before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

Energy, water demands are on a collision course
by Robert Byrd, McClatchy News Service
Like the old song, ``Love and marriage, love and marriage . . . you can't have one without the other,'' so it goes with energy and water.

Water for Profit.
By John Luomo, Mother Jones, November/December 2002.
Even before the water turned brown, Gordon Certain had plenty to worry about. With his north Atlanta neighborhood in the middle of a growth boom, the president of the North Buckhead Civic Association had been busy fielding complaints about traffic, a sewer tunnel being built near a nature preserve, and developers razing tidy postwar ranch homes to make room for mansions. But nothing compared to the volume of calls and emails that flooded Certain's home office in May, when Georgia's environmental protection agency issued an alert to North Buckhead residents: Their tap water, the agency warned, wasn't safe to drink unless they boiled it first.

Water Privatizers on the Defensive,
New Internationalist, June 2003.
Between 16 and 23 March in Kyoto, Japan, the Third World Water Forum took place in a growing climate of controversy – and the middle of a full-scale war in Iraq. However, resource wars are not just about oil, as the battles over water privatization show. Olivier Hoedeman reports…

Changing Climate Requires Changing Water Policy
Julia Whitty, The BlueMarble Blog, February 2008
Guess what? The past is no longer a reliable base on which to plan the future of water management. So says a prominent group of hydrologists and climatologists writing in Science. The group calls for fundamental changes to the science behind water planning and policy.

The Damn Water Is Ours,
New Internationalist, September 2001.
In a defining struggle against globalization, the people of Cochabamba, Bolivia took back their water from the hands of a corporate conglomerate. Marcela López Levy talked to the water warriors.

Blue Gold: An Interview with Maude Barlow
By Jeff Fleisher, Mother Jones, January 2005.
In this recent interview with Mother Jones, water activist Maude Barlow describes how, more and more, developing countries are pressured into ceding control over their dwindling water supplies to private firms.

Water Resources

A webpage with resources that show easy ways to conserve water and learn how you can cake a difference.

Kansas Water Office
Website of the Kansas Water Office. The Water Office coordinates the Kansas water planning process in concert with the Kansas Water Authority.

Kansas Food Policy Council
The primary objective of the KFPC is to bring together a diverse group of public and private sector stakeholders to examine food systems in the state.

18 August 2008

How Anti-Intellectualism is Destroying America
Terrence McNally writes for AlterNet: "'It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant.' Barack Obama finally said it. Though a successful political and electoral strategy, the Right's stand against intelligence has steered them far off course, leaving them - and us - unable to deal successfully with the complex and dynamic circumstances we face as a nation and a society."

The Mukasey Doctrine
Scott Horton writes for Harper's Magazine: "Prior to his confirmation, Michael Mukasey fessed up, in a written response to Senator Dick Durbin, to a meeting the White House arranged with a group of movement conservatives. The team he met with had a simple agenda: They wanted his assurance that he would not appoint special prosecutors to go after administration figures involved in serious scandals at the Justice Department, including the U.S. attorneys scandal and the introduction of torture with formal Justice Department cover, and they wanted his assurance that Justice would continue to provide legal cover to 'the Program.'"

Learning the Wrong Lessons From the Bush Era

Andrew Bacevich writes on TomDispatch.com: "To appreciate the full extent of the military crisis into which the United States has been plunged requires understanding what the Iraq War and, to a lesser extent, the Afghan War have to teach. These two conflicts, along with the attacks of September 11, 2001, will form the centerpiece of George W. Bush's legacy. Their lessons ought to constitute the basis of a new, more realistic military policy."

Georgia War a Neocon Election Ploy?

Robert Scheer, Editor of Truthdig, writes: "Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the US presidential election?"

Don't Cage Dissent
Amy Goodman writes for Truthdig.com on the threat to free speech. Open opposition, the right to challenge those in power, is a mainstay of any healthy democracy. The Democratic and Republican conventions will test the commitment of the two dominant U.S. political parties to the cherished tradition of dissent. Things are not looking good.

Why Soldiers Rape
Helen Benedict writes for In These Times: "An alarming number of women soldiers are being sexually abused by their comrades-in-arms, both at war and at home. This fact has received a fair amount of attention lately from researchers and the press - and deservedly so. But the attention always focuses on the women: where they were when assaulted, their relations with the assailant, the effects on their mental health and careers, whether they are being adequately helped, and so on. That discussion, as valuable as it is, misses a fundamental point. To understand military sexual assault, let alone know how to stop it, we must focus on the perpetrators. We need to ask: Why do soldiers rape?"

Groups File Elections Complaint Against Wal-Mart
The Associated Press reports: "The AFL-CIO and three other labor-rights groups have asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether Wal-Mart Stores Inc. unlawfully pressured employees to vote against Democrats in November because their party would help workers to unionize. The groups - which include Change to Win, American Rights at Work and WakeUpWalMart.com - say in a complaint processed on Friday with the FEC that 'there is reason to believe' Wal-Mart broke federal election rules by advocating against Democratic candidate Barack Obama in meetings with employees."

14 August 2008

Some NBAF links...

NBAF Insanity: Was Site selection ever about Safety?
Butner Blogspot entry worth reading.

Boosting our own bio risks
New York Times article.

The Bush Administration’s Secret Biowarfare Agenda

Another Butner Blogspot entry, includes a brief history of biowarfare.

38 Questions for Homeland Security
By Lisa Sorg in the Indy Weekly. These question are what people in Manhattan should be asking every government official about the NBAF.

Foot and Mouth Disease Information/NBAF Position Paper
Position paper prepared by The National Grange.

Homeland Security disregards experts in naming biolab site
By Larry Margasak, Associated Press, August 11, 2008

No NBAF in Kansas
Webpage of local group working in opposition to locating the NBAF facility in Manhattan.

13 August 2008

Click on titles for complete articles.

What’s Sex Got to Do With It?

Chris Hedges, a guest previously on Community Bridge, writes for Truthdig.com: "If I had to choose between George W. Bush, naked and neighing on all fours while being ridden around the Oval Office by a spurred cowgirl Condoleezza Rice, or enduring his shredding of domestic and international law to wage an illegal war and bilking of the country on behalf of his corporate backers, I could learn to stomach a wide array of sexual escapades."

Most Corporations Don't Pay Income Taxes
Richard Rubin writes for Congressional Quarterly: "Most corporations, including the vast majority of foreign companies doing business in the United States, pay no income taxes, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday."

Warrior John McCain: More Dangerous Than Bush
Steve Weissman writes for Truthout: "During the hottest days of the Cold War, Gen. Thomas Power headed the Strategic Air Command, whose nuclear-armed B-52s were meant to deter the Soviet Union. General Power, like many of the Air Force brass at the time, believed that nuclear war with the Soviets was inevitable. He thought the United States would do better to fight that war sooner rather than later and believed we could emerge victorious. 'At the end of the war,' he argued in 1960, 'if there are two Americans and one Russian, we win!' Listening to John McCain talk about Iraq and Iran, I keep thinking of Power. Counter-insurgency and nuclear obliteration are poles apart, I know. But McCain's insistence on 'winning in Iraq,' remaining there 'until Iraq is secure,' and 'bomb-bomb-bombing Iran' reveal the same mindset that made General Power so dangerous."

Where Are the Weapons of Mass Destruction?
Scott Ritter writes on Bush's crimes against American for Truthdig.com: "Dave continued pacing back and forth in front of Mohammed. 'My president,' he said, 'is in trouble. Can you help him?' Mohammed was taken aback by the question. 'Excuse me?' he asked. 'Could you repeat yourself?' Dave sat down next to the Iraqi. 'George Bush is in trouble. Our people did not find any WMD in Iraq. Can you help us?'"

Web Firms Tell Congress They Track Behavior Without Consent
Ellen Nakashima writes for The Washington Post: "Several Internet and broadband companies have acknowledged using targeted-advertising technology without explicitly informing customers, according to letters released yesterday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. And Google, the leading online advertiser, stated that it has begun using Internet tracking technology that enables it to more precisely follow Web-surfing behavior across affiliated sites. The revelations came in response to a bipartisan inquiry of how more than 30 Internet companies might have gathered data to target customers."

Neocons Now Love International Law
Robert Parry, of Consortium News, writes: "It's touching how American neoconservatives who have no regard for international law when they want to invade some troublesome country have developed a sudden reverence for national sovereignty. Apparently, context is everything. So, the United States attacking Grenada or Nicaragua or Panama or Iraq or Serbia is justified even if the reasons sometimes don't hold water or don't hold up before the United Nations, The Hague or other institutions of international law."

Students Teach Important Lessons on LGBT Rights
Columnist Deb Price writes in the Detroit News about the courageous efforts of high-school students such as Heather Gillman who are lobbying their schools -- and where necessary turning to the courts -- to gain the right to have gay-straight clubs on their campuses. "I really believe everyone is equal -- no matter what," Gillman told Price, who writes, "That's the Gillman Rule: School officials everywhere should memorize it."

Report: Metered Broadband Bad for Consumers, Businesses

Martin Bosworth writes for Consumer Affairs about a new report from Free Press that debunks the notion that it's necessary to introduce metered broadband plans in order to better control congestion of the network.

F.B.I.'s Use of Phone Records Shows Need to Protect the Press, Senators Say
Eric Lichtblau writes for the New York Times that the top-ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee say the FBI’s collection of phone records of reporters at the New York Times and Washington Post underscores a need for a federal shield law.

Real World Sexuality Education

Since the Bush administration has come into power, it has spent over $1.5 billion in taxpayer money on abstinence-only sex-education programs that studies have shown are not only ineffective but counterproductive. Planned Parenthood is an advocate for and provider of real-world sex education and reproductive healthcare. Congress recently denied President Bush's request to increase funding for abstinence-only education programs - the first time since he came to office. To read more about the failure of abstinence -only programs, visit the Planned Parenthood webpage and download the 2007 report.

10 August 2008

City Commission Meeting on August 12

The City Commission is holding a Work Session and Special Legislative Meeting beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 12.

Of interest to Manhattanites is one of the items on the agenda for the special legislative session; that being a proposed amendment to the North and South End Final Development Agreements. In the copy of the staff report/recommendation, you will read that Dial is blaming the lawsuit brought by Manhattan citizens for their inability to secure agreements with tenants for the north end development. You can down load it on the City's Website at http://www.ci.manhattan.ks.us/Archive.asp?AMID=31&Type=Recent, click on the link for "North and South Final Development Agreements"

The fallacy with Dial's claim is that originally the deadline for Dial to reach the agreed upon 70% occupancy was June 2007. The City gave Dial a six-month extension, which meant they had until December 2007. The lawsuit wasn't filed until February 14, 2008. Dial is conveniently re-writing history to suit their purposes rather than acknowledging that they failed to meet the terms of the agreement.

In addition, rather than re-negotiate the agreement to better serve the community's interests, City staff has brought forward an amendment and recommendation that benefits the developer over the community. Please read the report/recommendation and plan to attend Tuesday's meeting.

The City Commission should be urged to table this amendment and take it up again at a second meeting in order to give the community ample time to consider the implications. In addition, the City Commission should see this as an opportunity to re-negotiate other aspects of the agreement thereby wresting back control of the development.

It might also be the time to send Dial packing and then doing as has been suggested previously -- establishing a separate nonprofit development corporation (separate from the Chamber of Commerce and DMI) to manage and oversee both the north and south end developments so that the community's interests and vision for the developments are realized.

09 August 2008

For complete stories, click on titles.

Why TV News in the US Is Utter Rubbish
Kieren McCarthy writes for the Guardian: "Well, the truth is that it's far, far worse than that. There are a multitude of news channels - CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox. But after an hour of flipping between them during lunchtime last week, this was the sum total of information gleaned: there are two US presidential candidates; they have produced campaign ads; people have made video parodies and posted them on the internet; a US TV news host appeared on a US TV chatshow last night; and someone said something controversial (read ignorant) on a different TV show the day before."

One Year after the Jena Tree Was Cut, Little Progress Has Been Made
David A. Love writes for The Progressive Media Project: "We have made some progress since the ugly incidents in Jena, La. But we still have a long way to go to make the noose a thing of the past. On August 31, 2006, a black student at Jena High School asked the principal if he could have permission to sit under the 'white tree,' the tree where white students typically congregated. The principal told the student to sit wherever he liked. The student and his friends decided to sit under the white tree. The next day, three nooses - a potent symbol of racial hate - were found hanging from the tree, the act of three white students at the high school."

Libraries Step Up to the Age of the I-Pod.
Paul Thomasch writes for Reuters: " It may be about time to dig out that old library card. Hoping to draw back readers, libraries have vastly expanded their lists of digital books, music, and movies that can be downloaded by their patrons to a computer or MP3 player -- and it doesn't cost a cent, unlike, say, media from Apple Inc'siTunes or Amazon.com Inc."

Greed Above, Death Below
The New York Times comments: "The need for a criminal inquiry into the Crandall Canyon mine disaster is shockingly clear now that investigators have detailed how greedy mine operators concealed danger warnings and literally chiseled underground pillar supports to the breaking point. The roof of the Utah mine collapsed last summer, killing six miners and leading three would-be rescuers to their deaths."

Net Neutrality Is Important for Open Internet Access for Users, Innovators and Content Providers
Free Press Communications Director Craig Aaron talks with Air America's Jon Elliot about the continued importance of creating a good Net Neutrality policy that keeps the Internet open to everyone -- users, innovators and content providers. (Audio 15:48)

Open-Source E-Voting: A Fix for the Nation's Voting Problems?
Todd R. Weiss writes in Computerworld: "Computer engineer Alan Dechert didn't like what he saw during the controversial vote tallying in Florida in 2000's presidential election. That was when he decided that there had to be a better way for US citizens to safely and accurately cast their ballots. More than seven years later, Dechert is here at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo, publicly displaying the open-source e-voting system he helped develop that fixes some of the problems that he and other critics found in the nation's voting systems almost a decade ago."

Threats, Lies and Audiotape
Amy Goodman discusses with no end in sight in Afghanistan and Iraq, military recruiters must be prevented from using desperate and aggressive measures to lure our nation’s young people—the poorest and most vulnerable—into the line of fire in this Truthdig.com commentary.

07 August 2008

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Understanding How Policy Changes Affect Women in Poverty
Phyllis Caldwell writes: "The vast majority of people in poverty in this country are women and children. Yet far too often policy makers and even anti-poverty advocates overlook the day-to-day realities that make it especially challenging for women living in poverty to follow a traditional path to economic security. Consider the young single mom who is desperately trying to pull herself out of a cycle of minimum wage jobs, inadequate housing and health care, and limited prospects for a better future. A well-meaning advocate suggests she enroll in a job-training program that meets several evenings a week. The young woman enrolls, only to discover that there is no child care available and that the classes are being held in a high-crime neighborhood with limited access to public transportation. After struggling to make it to the first few classes, the woman drops out."

One in Four Americans Fear Hunger as Food Prices Soar
Max Finberg and Ann Steensland of the Alliance to End Hunger write: "The rapidly increasing cost of food does not just mean higher grocery bills; it means more hungry people. This month, the Alliance to End Hunger released a startling new poll revealing that one in four American voters (28 percent) fear that they or someone they know will go hungry. In some regions of the country, that number is one in three. Another 37 percent of voters said they have cut back on the amount of food they buy."

Follow This Dime
Thomas Frank writes for TomDispatch.com: "Washington is the city where the scandals happen. Every American knows this, but we also believe, if only vaguely, that the really monumental scandals are a thing of the past, that the golden age of misgovernment-for-profit ended with the cavalry charge and the robber barons, at about the same time presidents stopped wearing beards. I moved to Washington in 2003, just in time for the comeback, for the hundred-year flood. At first it was only a trickle in the basement, a little stream released accidentally by the president's friends at Enron. Before long, though, the levees were failing all over town, and the city was inundated with a muddy torrent of graft. How are we to dissect a deluge like this one? We might begin by categorizing the earmarks handed out by Congress, sorting the foolish earmarks from the costly earmarks from the earmarks made strictly on a cash basis."

The Food Crisis and Global Institutions
Alexandra Spieldoch writes in Foreign Policy In Focus: "In July, World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy organized a mini-Ministerial to complete the Doha Development Round, and couched it as a necessary means to address the food crisis. Not surprisingly, negotiations collapsed over ongoing disagreements about whether WTO members have the right to protect their food security and 'livelihoods' (jobs) from import surges. The failed talks signal a growing understanding that trade liberalization has destabilized local food systems and hurt farmers, contributing to both the long-term and short-causes of today’s food crisis. This marks a shift from the earlier globalization debates and deserves our attention."

Nike's Critics: Keeping Costs Low Causes Poor Working Conditions
Richard Read write in The Oregonian: "Nike contract factories will abuse workers, critics say, as long as the company forces the plants to make shoes and apparel for ever-lower prices."

05 August 2008

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FCC Rules Against Comcast in Net Traffic Case
Wendy Davis writes on MediaPost that in a decision hailed as a precedent-setting move, a divided FCC ruled that Comcast's methods for managing Web traffic are unlawful.

Voting Rights Destruction (Part 2): Lack of Transparency
Heidi Stevenson, writes for Truthout: "It is not enough to have the right to vote. The people also need to know that their votes are counted in an open and fair manner. Without that transparency, there is no way to be sure that an election was fair or that one's vote mattered. The result of that lack is a people who have no faith in their government, who cannot trust that members of the legislature or any administration position truly respond to them. There can be no assumption that the government is supported by its citizens."

Internet Eclipses Print Media, Radio as a Source for News
BigNews writes: "The Internet is rivalling and even eclipsing traditional media, particularly television, with users spending less time watching TV, listening to the radio and reading newspapers than non-users, according to a new study here."

Obama Leads Two to One With Low-Wage Workers
Michael D. Shear and Jon Cohen write for The Washington Post: "Democratic Sen. Barack Obama holds a 2 to 1 edge over Republican Sen. John McCain among the nation's low-wage workers, but many are unconvinced that either presidential candidate would be better than the other at fixing the ailing economy or improving the health-care system, according to a new national poll."

"Da Nile:" Why Are So Many Progressives in Denial about the Economic Crisis?
Danny Schechter writes: "New York, August 4: We have all heard the line, ‘DA NILE is not just a river in Egypt.’ Denial can be a pervasive social and political phenomenon. Some of us just don’t want to know the truth or face its consequences. Maybe that’s why we envelop ourselves in national myths to survive. We want them to be true. Remember the slogan, “What, me worry?”

Hersh: Cheney Plan for Creating False Flag Attack
Faiz Shakir, reporting for ThinkProgress.org, writes: "Speaking at the Campus Progress journalism conference earlier this month, Seymour Hersh - a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist for The New Yorker - revealed that Bush administration officials held a meeting recently in the Vice President’s office to discuss ways to provoke a war with Iran."

Running While Black

Bob Herbert, writing for The New York Times, says: "Spare me any more drivel about the high-mindedness of John McCain. You knew something was up back in March when, in his first ad of the general campaign, Mr. McCain had himself touted as 'the American president Americans have been waiting for.'"

Despite Overwhelming Evidence, Creationists Cling to Unreality
Nathan Schneider writes for AlterNet: "The great Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin once wrote -- or, rather, sighed -- that "creationism is an American institution." As an institution, creationism has crossed social strata as easily as it crosses decades. Despite all that science and secularism can do to explain it away, the crusade against evolution -- the foundation of modern biology -- is as intransigent, and strangely modern in its anti-modernism, as ever. The actor-author-documentarian-presidential speechwriter Ben Stein, with his movie Expelled, has become only the latest in the long line of its media-savvy critics. Today, around half of all Americans prefer creationism, in some form, to the scientific consensus."

03 August 2008

The Wave of "Capitol Crimes" Continues
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship write for Truthout: "Like the largesse he spread so bountifully to members of Congress and the White House staff - countless fancy meals, skybox tickets to basketball games and U2 concerts, golfing sprees in Scotland - Jack Abramoff is the gift that keeps on giving. The notorious lobbyist and his cohorts (including conservatives Tom DeLay, Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed) shook down Native American tribal councils and other clients for tens of millions of dollars, buying influence via a coalition of equally corrupt government officials and cronies dedicated to dismantling government by selling it off, making massive profits as they tore the principles of a representative democracy to shreds. A report earlier this summer from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform builds on an earlier committee investigation that detailed some 485 contacts between Abramoff and the Bush administration. According to the new report, 'Senior White House officials told the Committee that White House officials held Mr. Abramoff and members of his lobbying team in high regard and solicited recommendations from Mr. Abramoff and his colleagues on policy matters.'"

For the complete column, click here.

Senators Urge EPA Chief to Resign
Zachary Coile writes for the The San Francisco Chronicle: "Four Senate Democrats called on EPA chief Stephen Johnson to resign Tuesday, alleging that he gave misleading testimony to Congress and repeatedly bowed to pressure from the White House to avoid regulating greenhouse gases."

For complete article, click here.

Aid Bill for Paralyzed Vets Blocked by GOP Senator
For The Air Force Times, Christian Hernandez reports: "A bill promising more money for programs that help paralyzed veterans is part of a bundle of legislation tied up in partisan bickering in the Senate. The Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve Act, which includes money for research into spinal cord injuries, is one of about 36 bills combined by Senate Democrats into what they are calling the Advancing America's Priorities Act."

For the complete report, click here.

Every Human Has Rights Media Awards
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so Internews is asking journalists from around the world to participate in its Every Human Has Rights Media Awards.

For the complete story, click here.

Acts of War
Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector, writes for Truthdig: "The war between the United States and Iran is on. American taxpayer dollars are being used, with the permission of Congress, to fund activities that result in Iranians being killed and wounded, and Iranian property destroyed. This wanton violation of a nation's sovereignty would not be tolerated if the tables were turned and Americans were being subjected to Iranian-funded covert actions that took the lives of Americans, on American soil, and destroyed American property and livelihood. Many Americans remain unaware of what is transpiring abroad in their name. Many of those who are cognizant of these activities are supportive of them, an outgrowth of misguided sentiment which holds Iran accountable for a list of grievances used by the US government to justify the ongoing global war on terror."

For the complete article, click here.

Wal-Mart Warns of Democratic Win
Ann Zimmerman and Kris Maher, The Wall Street Journal: "Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they'll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies -- including Wal-Mart. In recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized."

For the complete article, click here.

Military Injustice
Although the military is likely to undergo a period of adjustment if the gay ban is lifted, writer and Army veteran Rafael Enrique Valero believes the rank-and-file, with the guidance of their superiors, would be able to handle having out soldiers in their units. "If gay soldiers were to openly serve beginning tomorrow, for a time the military would be unsettled, undoubtedly," he writes. "But they are, after all, soldiers. They can tough it out."

For the complete column, click here.

FCC Rules Comcast Violated Internet Access Policy
John Dunbar, writes for The Associated Press: "A divided Federal Communications Commission has ruled that Comcast Corporation violated federal policy when it blocked Internet traffic for some subscribers and has ordered the cable giant to change the way it manages its network."

For the complete story, click here.