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

30 November 2008

Clippings for 30 November

Click on titles to read complete articles.

Five Great Progressive Columnists' Advice and Ideas on the Coming Obama Era
AlterNet invites Amy Goodman, Sean Gonsalves, Robert Scheer, David Sirota and Norm Solomon to write on what kind of White House Obama will create.

Obama’s Shrewd Choices

Joe Conason writes for Truthdig.cvom that Barack Obama’s appointees will implement the Obama program, not only because that is what he tells them to do but because that is what they have come to believe is best for the country.

Obama Says Change Is in His Vision - if Not Appointments
Steven Thomma writes for McClatchy Newspapers: "As a presidential candidate, Obama's central theme was that he'd change the way politics and the government work, and suggested that it'd take a fresh, outsider approach to do that. 'Change doesn't come from Washington,' he said. 'Change comes to Washington.'"

Labor Secretary Not on Econ Team
Ben Smith reports for The Politico: "The markets rose on the news of Barack Obama's economic policy team Monday, but some labor spirits fell. Obama's team of treasury secretary and four top economic advisers, introduced as the hands that will steer America's economy, had no particular ties to the labor movement. And Obama's secretary of labor was not introduced as part of that team - a suggestion that that post will retain its second-tier status and quiet voice in matters central to economic policy."

Gates Agrees to Stay on under Obama
Mike Allen writes for The Politico: "Defense Secretary Robert Gates has agreed to stay on under President-elect Barack Obama, according to officials in both parties. Obama plans to announce a national security team early next week that includes Gates at the Pentagon and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York) as secretary of state, officials said. Retired Marine General James Jones, former Marine commandant and commander of US and NATO forces in Europe, will be named national security adviser, the officials said."

The Ideology of No Ideology

Norman Solomon comments for Truthout: "On Monday, hours before Obama's formal announcement of his economic team, USA Today explained that he is forming a Cabinet with 'records that display more pragmatism than ideology.' The ideology of no ideology is nifty. No matter how tilted in favor of powerful interests, it can be a deft way to keep touting policy agendas as common-sense pragmatism - virtuous enough to draw opposition only from ideologues. Meanwhile, the end of ideology among policymakers is about as imminent as the end of history."

Custodians of Empire

Tom Engelhardt writes for The Nation: "The Obama national security 'team' - part of that much-hailed 'team of rivals' - does not yet exist, but it does seem to be heaving into view. And so far, its views seem anything but rivalrous. Mainstream reporters and pundits lovingly refer to them as 'centrist,' but, in a Democratic context, they are distinctly right of center. The next secretary of state looks to be Hillary Clinton, a hawk on the Middle East. During the campaign, she spoke of our ability to 'totally obliterate' Iran, should that country carry out a nuclear strike against Israel. She will evidently be allowed to bring her own (hawkish) subordinates into the State Department with her. Her prospective appointment is now being praised by the likes of Newt Gingrich and Henry Kissinger."

The Rebirth of Keynes, and the Debate to Come
Robert Reich writes on Robert Reich Blog: "The economy has just about come to a standstill - not so much because credit markets are clogged as because there's not enough demand in the economy to keep it going. Consumer spending has fallen off a cliff. Investment is drying up. And exports are dropping because the recession has now spread around the world. So are we about to return to Keynesianism? Hopefully."

US Consumer Loan Aid Will Trickle Only So Far

Ron Lieber and Tara Siegel Bernard write for The New York Times: "If you're buying a home, refinancing a mortgage or seeking an auto or student loan, the new government plans to make borrowing cheaper and easier sound like a gift. One problem, however, is that whole categories of people may be ineligible."

Former UBS CEO's Returned Bonus: An Incomplete Gesture
Frederic Lelievre reports for Geneva's Le Temps: "The street has something to celebrate. It's got hold of its number one culprit, Marcel Ospel. Under popular pressure, the former UBS boss ended up giving back some 22 million Francs, so as to align himself 'with the reality of the present situation.' A lovely formula to describe the ruin of the bank - which owes its survival to public money." For original article in French click here.

The Most Disappointing Gift: Take a Holiday from ... Clothes Shopping

Former Community Bridg guest Stan Cox writes for Counter Punch: "A deep recession — or worse — is in the holiday forecast, but belt-tightening doesn’t have to ruin the festive mood. Here’s one painless way to cut expenses while giving the planet a much-needed break: Resolve not to buy any new clothes — not even a tight new belt! — for anyone for a whole year, starting now."

Rape's Vast Toll in Iraq War Remains Largely Ignored
Anna Badkhen reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "As though recoiling from her own memories, Khalida shrank deeper into her faded armchair with each sentence she told: of how gunmen apparently working for Iraq's Interior Ministry kidnapped her, beat and raped her; of how they discarded her on a Baghdad sidewalk. But her suffering did not end when she fled Iraq and became a refugee in Jordan's capital, Amman. When Khalida's husband learned that she had been raped, he abandoned her and their two young sons."

Overstressed Parents, Kids Need Help
Leonard Pitts Jr. writes for the Miami Herald: "At one level, it sounds like a very bad joke. In September, a safe-haven law took effect in the state of Nebraska allowing parents to leave their children at hospitals without fear of prosecution. This, as a means of saving the lives of unwanted newborns who would otherwise be left in garbage heaps and motel rooms or simply murdered outright. Nebraska was the last state in the union to pass such a law and unlike the other 49 states, it did not limit the ages of children that could be legally abandoned."

Recommended Audio: Buy Nothing Day November 28

More Recommended Audio: Feast of Fools #882 - Rev. Straight Talks About Prop. 8 - 11.18.08
How do you stop the hate in 2008? The recent passing of Proposition 8, a California State ballot aimed to take away the State’s ability to issue same-sex marriage licenses is raising questions on the role of race and sexuality in this last election. It’s also making people highly aware of the differences. Not everyone who voted for Obama was for marriage equality. How could that possibly be?
Although the African American religious vote made a small but significant difference in passing this ordinance, many people are pitting gay rights advocates against the black church.

Did queer folks fail to reach out to black churches or did these Churches fail to see the universal struggle for equality in their own back yard?

Why wasn’t Barack Obama’s rejection of the measure a bigger part of the campaign against the proposition?

On today’s show we have Chicago’s very own, the Rev. Charles Straight- Pastor of Faith United Methodist Church, in Dalton Illinois.

He’s here to help us make sense of what happened and what we can learn from this setback in order to fight against injustice wherever it rears it’s ugly head, even when it means taking a good hard look at ourselves.

26 November 2008

National Food Fight: Bill Moyer's Journal

Programming Note:

Airdate: Friday, November 28, 2008, at 8:00 p.m. EST on KTWU PBS Channel 11, Topeka. (Check local listings.)

As Americans gather to give thanks this week, food - quality, quantity, cost - remains a national issue. Bill Moyers Journal takes a hard look at how America's food policies - trade rules, farm subsidies and regulation - affect larger issues, including global warming, healthcare and even homeland security. Bill Moyers sits down with Michael Pollan, Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley, to discuss what direction the US should pursue in the often-overlooked question of food policy. Pollan is the author of "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto."

25 November 2008

Clippings for 24 November

Click on titles to read complete stories.

Past and Future: Obama's Treasury Pick has All the Wrong Ideas
William Greider offers the following commit in The Nation: "A year ago, when Barack Obama said it was time to turn the page, his campaign declaration seemed to promise a fresh start for Washington. I, for one, failed to foresee Obama would turn the page backward. The president-elect's lineup for key governing positions has opted for continuity, not change. Virtually all of his leading appointments are restoring the Clinton presidency, only without Mr. Bill. In some important ways, Obama's selections seem designed to sustain the failing policies of George W. Bush. "

As Obama Taps Larry Summers, Recalling Summer's Days as a Regulation Foe
David Corn writes on Mother Jones' blog: "On Monday, President-elect Barack Obama announced his economic team, noting that Lawrence Summers would be the director of his National Economic Council. In touting Summers, Obama praised the former treasury secretary for his work during the Clinton years..."

The Fed's Secret $893 Billion Loan Portfolio
Ben Protess writes for ProPublica: "And you thought the Treasury Department’s $700 billion bailout was massive and secretive. In fact, the Federal Reserve is lending significantly more – $893 billion to a wide range of institutions — in a plan receiving even less public scrutiny, the Washington Post reports."

Zombie Economics: Don't Bail out the System that Gave Us SUVs and Strip Malls.

James Howard Kunstler in this week's The Clusterfuck Nation Chronicle: "Though Citicorp is deemed too big to fail, it's hardly reassuring to know that it's been allowed to sink its fangs into the Mother Zombie that the US Treasury has become and sucked out a multi-billion dollar dose of embalming fluid so it can go on pretending to be a bank for a while longer. I employ this somewhat clunky metaphor to point out that the US Government is no more solvent than the financial zombies it is keeping on walking-dead support. And so this serial mummery of weekend bailout schemes is as much of a fraud and a swindle as the algorithm-derived-securities shenanigans that induced the disease of bank zombification in the first place. The main question it raises is whether, eventually, the creation of evermore zombified US dollars will exceed the amount of previously-created US dollars now vanishing into oblivion through compressive debt deflation." (Note: you'll need to scroll down some on Mr. Kunstler's webpage to find the article; you can also read the commentary on AlterNet.)

"Drop Dead" Conservatism, Part 1
Terrance Heath writes for the Camapign for America's Future: "Drop Dead. That's the best answer that some conservatives have been able to offer to a country in teeth of the worst financial crisis we've faced in a generation. When the Wall Street crisis loomed and the bailout was being debated: let the market fail, and risk another Great Depression, "for the sake of the altar of the free market." Now, the economic downturn having worsened — and in ways that are more deeply felt in parts of the country far from centers of financial or political power — their response to rescuing the largest remnant of our manufacturing sector? "Drop Dead," and devil take the hindmost. "

Fair Trade Victory
Todd Tucker and Lori Wallach write for Foreign Policy In Focus: "As the dust starts to settle from the historic election of our nation's first African-American president and first president who ran on fair trade, we have some time to contemplate other impressive changes voters brought to Congress. At least 41 new fair-traders were elected to House and Senate seats, which represent a net gain of 33 in Congress' overall economic justice contingent. This comes on top of the 37 net fair-trade pick-ups in the 2006 congressional elections."

Gates and the Urge To Surge
Recent Community Bridge guest Ray McGovern writes for Common Dreams: "It may become a biennial ritual. Every two years, if the commander-in-chief (or the commander-in-chief-elect) says he wants to throw more troops into an unwinnable war for no clear reason other than his political advantage, panderer-in-chief Robert Gates will shout 'Outstanding!'"

The Debate over Gates
Chris Bowers writes for the blog Open Left: "The most important appointment decision Obama will make during the transition, bar none, is who becomes, or remains, Secretary of Defense. As I have noted in the past, the Department of Defense oversees the expenditure of 52% of all discretionary spending, rendering it literally impossible for any other cabinet Secretary to oversee as much federal money."

Despite Army's Assurances, Violence at Home
Lizette Alvarez reports for The New York Times: "The Army says that the measures it has taken have been effective in curbing domestic violence. But advocates of victims of domestic violence say that among combat troops the violence has spiked in the past two years and that women are often disinclined to report violence for fear of angering their partners and hurting their careers. These advocates point to the gruesome murders of three female soldiers based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina within the last four months. One woman's body was dismembered and dumped in the woods. Another woman, seven months pregnant, was found dead in a motel bathtub. The third was stabbed to death."

What's Wrong with Discriminating Against Those Who Want to Discriminate?
Michael Russnow writes for the Hufffington Post: "After reading an article in the Los Angeles Times today about whether there should be "boycotts, blacklists, firing or de facto shunning of those who supported Proposition 8," it didn't take more than a moment for me to come up with a response: Why the hell not?"

Waxman Coup Has Loud Echo on K Street
Jeanne Cummings writes for Politico.com: "The overthrow of House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) is reverberating beyond Capitol Hill and shuffling the balance of power on K Street and among advocacy groups. Environmental group leaders are thrilled to see a staunch supporter take the reins of the committee that is expected to draft a major global warming bill in the new Congress."

Police Spy on Climate Activist while Global Warming Goes Unarrested
Michael Tidwell writes for the Guardian UK: "I'm not sure what's more shocking: the news that the Maryland State Police wrongfully spied on me for months as a "suspected terrorist," or that, despite surveillance of me, officers apparently wouldn't recognize me if I walked into their police headquarters tomorrow."

Starving for Change
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig.com: "Elba Figueroa worked as a nurse’s aide until she got Parkinson’s disease. She lost her job. She lost her health care. She receives $703 a month in government assistance. Her rent alone costs $750. And so she borrows money from friends and neighbors every month to stay in her apartment. She laboriously negotiates her wheelchair up and down steps and along the frigid sidewalks of Trenton, N.J., to get to soup kitchens and food pantries to eat. "

When Did Experience Become a Flaw?
Jamison Foser writes for Media Matters: "Midway through Bill Clinton's first year as president, Time magazine reported that among the new president's problems was "a staff that has almost no White House or executive experience," pointing to then-political director Rahm Emanuel as a prime example."

Bart Stupak Slams FCC
John Eggerton writes for Broadcasting & Cable: "'The way FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has run the commission is not the way it is supposed to be run,' said Bart Stupak in an interview on C-SPAN. Stupak is a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and is chairman of the investigations and oversight subcommittee, which has been investigating the FCC."

Obama, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News: A Look at Media in 2009
Josh Silver writes for the Huffignton Post: "Now that the champagne has been put away, it's time to realize that while the Bush administration is heading toward the exits, the disastrous members of mainstream media remain firmly in place. The work of media policy reform for the Internet, media ownership and public media needs to kick into high gear."

23 November 2008

Human Rights Day - Part 1

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The newly formed United Nations approved the Declaration on December 10, 1948. Since then the United States has failed to ratify not only this original statement on human rights but also every follow-up document produced by the United Nations, including Declarations on the Rights of the Child; Women; Social, Cultural and Political Rights; the elimination of racial discrimination, etc.

Over the next several weeks we will provide some articles of interest as well as resources for all Kansans to learn more about the cause of human rights. To begin, please visit the following sites:

Official 60th Anniversary UN Site

Know Your Rights, website created by the United Nations Regional Informaiton Center for Western Europe, filled with information.

Amnesty International has a special webpage dedicated to education on the UDHR.

Resources for the Classroom:
Lesson Plans for teachers and university instructors on the UDHR. The Center for International Education at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee has additional lesson plans. The Eleanor Roosevelt Historic Site has lesson plans for middle and high school students focusing on the role she playing in developing the UDHR. Youth for Human Rights has a simplified English version of the UDHR and other resources to use in education young people to the importance of human rights.

Readings of Interests:

Human Rights Watch has issued a open letter to President Obama on the topic of fighting terrorism. Over the past seven years, the US government’s consistent disregard for human rights in fighting terrorism has diminished America’s moral authority, set a negative example for other governments, and undermined the goal of reducing anti-American militancy around the world. The use of torture, unlawful rendition, secret prisons, unfair trials, and long-term, arbitrary detention without charge has been both morally wrong and counterproductive. To read the report or download the pdf of the report, click here.

Something to Declare
Conor Gearty writes for the New Humanist: "Critics from all sides seem determined to dismiss the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as either vague posturing or dangerous leftism. So is it now time to send it to the great care home for failed utopias, that quiet place not in the sky but rather at the back of our minds, where Magna Carta, the Communist Manifesto, New Lanark and all the rest are quietly allowed to fade from memory?"

Afghanistan on the Edge

Vanessa Baird writes for The New Internationalist: "Living on the edge is nothing new to Afghanistan. The country and its people are familiar with extremes of most kinds – geographic, political, religious. But today they are well and truly on the brink."

Human Rights -- The Facts
The January 2008 edition of the New internationalist is devoted to the topic of human rights. Human rights refer not just to personal civil and political rights, but collective economic, social and cultural ones too. Worldwide, they are more violated than respected. This article provides soem data o think about.

Human Rights in a Time of Terror
David Ransom writes for the January '08 edition of The New Internationalist: "If the torture of a single person could save the lives of a thousand others, would it be justified? Difficult to say ‘no’. But that must be said all the same, because torture has never saved anyone from anything; not from a single suicide bomb, not from a single act of terrorism or fate worse than torture itself. So why should anyone be asked to suppose that it might? Who can believe that it does?"

A Guide through the Maze
New Internationalist, January 2008. What are your legal rights, simply by virtue of being human? Not many people know; even fewer are encouraging you to find out; fewer still are making sure they apply in practice. So the New Internationalist starts at square one, with an introductory tour around the labyrinth and a sample of what the legal documents say.

Amnesty International's 2008 Report on Human Rights

Amnesty International today challenged world leaders to apologize for six decades of human rights failure and re-commit themselves to deliver concrete improvements.

"The human rights flashpoints in Darfur, Zimbabwe, Gaza, Iraq and Myanmar demand immediate action," said Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International, launching AI Report 2008: State of the World's Human Rights.

"Injustice, inequality and impunity are the hallmarks of our world today. Governments must act now to close the yawning gap between promise and performance."

Amnesty International's Report 2008, shows that sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations, people are still tortured or ill-treated in at least 81 countries, face unfair trials in at least 54 countries and are not allowed to speak freely in at least 77 countries.

22 November 2008

Clippings for 22 November 2008

Click on title to read complete articles.

This Is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Noecons to Watch for in Obama's White House
Jeremy Scahill writes on AlterNet: "U.S. policy is not about one individual, and no matter how much faith people place in President-elect Barack Obama, the policies he enacts will be fruit of a tree with many roots. Among them: his personal politics and views, the disastrous realities his administration will inherit, and, of course, unpredictable future crises. But the best immediate indicator of what an Obama administration might look like can be found in the people he surrounds himself with and who he appoints to his Cabinet. And, frankly, when it comes to foreign policy, it is not looking good."

Recommended Audio: The Changing Media Policy in the Obama Administration
From Chicago Public Radio: President-elect Barack Obama will have a chance to dramatically remake the FCC. Free Press co-founder and communications professor Robert McChesney discusses what's ahead.

Shift Seen in Telecom Regulation
BRODY MULLINS and AMY SCHATZ write for the Wall street Journal: "The telecom industry is bracing for a new era. New congressional leaders as well as policy makers in the Obama administration are expected to press for fresh limits on media consolidation and require phone and cable firms to open their networks to Internet competitors."

Waxman Dethrones Gingell as Chairman
Patrick O'Conner writes for Politico: "California Rep. Henry A. Waxman on Thursday officially dethroned longtime Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell, upending a seniority system that has governed Democratic politics in the House for decades."

Why Obama Can Keep Gates
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig.com: "As Barack Obama makes his way through the transition to power, he is learning the steps of an old dance. Having promised change, he now surrounds himself with experience. Having poured scorn not only on the Bush administration but at times on the Clinton administration as well, he now welcomes those who served his Democratic predecessor, including the former first lady who ran against him. And having roundly denounced current foreign and military policies, he may very well ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates to remain in place. "

Will Tom Daschle Be the Secretary of HHS the Reproductive Rights Community Wants?
Amie Newman writes for RH Reality Check: "According to The Los Angeles Times, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has accepted President-elect Obama's offer to become the new secretary of health and human services. Daschle is currently a fellow with the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank. It was originally reported that he would oversee Obama's health policy working group, but with this appointment, it's unclear what his role will be in that regard."

Obama Names 7 Gays to Transition Team

Lou Chibbaro writes for the Washington Blade: "Officials with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team this week named at least seven openly gay people to transition panels assigned to review federal departments and agencies. Three of the seven gays named to the transition panels — businessman Fred P. Hochberg, former San Francisco Supervisor Roberta Achtenberg, and labor attorney Elaine Kaplan — held high-level positions in the Clinton administration."

A Media Parable for "the Center"
Norman Solomon writes for Truthout: "It's been 16 years since a Democrat moved into the White House. Now, the fog of memory and the spin of media are teaming up to explain that Barack Obama must hew to 'the center' if he knows what's good for his presidency. 'Many political observers,' The San Francisco Chronicle reported days ago, say that Obama 'must tack toward the political mainstream to avoid miscalculations made by President Bill Clinton, who veered left and fired up the 1994 Republican backlash.' This storyline provides a kind of political morality play: The new president tried to govern from the left, and Democrats lost control of Congress just two years later. But, if facts matter, the narrative is a real head-scratcher."

Big Media: Screw the Auto Workers
Jonathan Tasini writes for the Huffington Post: "Memo to the traditional media: You want to see the auto industry go down? Fine. But, at least try to give the facts about what workers have undergone in the industry -- an assignment that most of the traditional media could not live up to in its coverage of hearings on the proposed bailout."

Employee Free Choice Act Would Restore Worker Protections
Aaron T. Knapp writes in The San Francisco Chronicle: "Legislation that makes it easier for workers to form unions died in the Senate last year but union advocates are hoping Barack Obama can perform some CPR. Obama has said that if the Employee Free Choice Act comes across his desk, then he will sign it into law. Still, union interests probably shouldn't count their chickens. The filibuster remains, as does a powerful anti-union lobby, to derail this legislation."

Time for a Bank Holiday
William Greider writes for The Nation: "Henry Paulson's $700 billion plan to save the world is dead or dying, but the bailout was not killed by his arrogance or his grossly misleading claims about what the public's money would buy. The plan collapsed because it didn't work. The Treasury secretary has launched a PR offensive to revive his falling influence. Too late. The Democrats should be equally embarrassed. In September their leaders in Congress rushed to embrace the Paulson solution, no hard questions asked. They now claim they were duped."

Buried Secrets: Is Natural Gas Drilling Endangering US Water Supplies?
Abrahm Lustgarten reports for ProPublica: "In July, a hydrologist dropped a plastic sampling pipe 300 feet down a water well in rural Sublette County, Wyoming, and pulled up a load of brown oily water with a foul smell. Tests showed it contained benzene, a chemical believed to cause aplastic anemia and leukemia, in a concentration 1,500 times the level safe for people."

President for 60 Days More: Bush Tearing Apart Protection for America's Wilderness
Suzanne Goldenberg writes for The Guardian UK: "George Bush is working at a breakneck pace to dismantle at least 10 major environmental safeguards protecting America's wildlife, national parks and rivers before he leaves office in January."

How the Rich are Destroying the Planet
Herve Kempf's new book: "There is an emergency. In less than a decade we will have to change course -- assuming the collapse of the U.S. economy or the explosion of the Middle East does not impose a change through chaos. To confront the emergency, we must understand the objective: to achieve a sober society; to plot out the way there; to accomplish this transformation equitably, by first making those with the most carry the burden within and between societies; to take inspiration from collective values ascribed to here in France by our nation's motto: "Liberty, ecology, fraternity."

Stuff Happens: The Pentagon's Argument of Last Resort on Iraq
Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch.com: "It's the ultimate argument, the final bastion against withdrawal, and over these last years, the Bush administration has made sure it would have plenty of heft. Ironically, its strength lies in the fact that it has nothing to do with the vicissitudes of Iraqi politics, the relative power of Shiites or Sunnis, the influence of Iran, or even the riptides of war. It really doesn't matter what Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki or oppositional cleric Muqtada al-Sadr think about it. In fact, it's an argument that has nothing to do with Iraq and everything to do with us, with the American way of war (and life), which makes it almost unassailable."

US Right Stymies Sensitive Medical Research
Andrew Jack reports for The Financial Times UK: "Important US research to reduce HIV infection may have been prevented in recent years because scientists have censored their funding requests in response to political controversy, according to a study published on Tuesday."

The Wrong Place to Be Chronically Ill

The New York Times writes in an opt-ed: "Chronically ill Americans suffer far worse care than their counterparts in seven other industrial nations, according to a new study by the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based foundation that has pioneered in international comparisons. It is the latest telling evidence that the dysfunctional American health care system badly needs reform."

FCC Stuck in the Netscape Era
Matthew Lasar writes for ars technica: "Something has got to be done about the FCC Web site, which still looks like it was thrown together 10 years ago. The only people who can really access it are telecom lawyers, public interest groups, and wonks who have dedicated years to exploring its mysteries."

More Groups Call for National Broadband Strategy

Grant Gross writes for IDG News Service: "Iraq War veteran Randy Hickman had a better Internet connection while deployed than he does at his home in rural Alabama. Hickman, a member of the Alabama National Guard, said many soldiers were able to communicate with their families through video conferencing while deployed in Iraq, but his family had only dial-up Internet service not capable of transmitting video."

The Morning After, Voting Problems Remain
David Herbert writes in the National Journal: "Anyone walking through Election Protection's headquarters on Nov. 4 could have been forgiven for thinking the invasion of a small country was under way rather than an election. Dozens of volunteers fielded calls from harassed or confused voters in a command center complete with a 20-foot-high wall of digital maps and statistics. Upstairs, teams of lawyers hunched around conference tables littered with soda cans and cups of cold coffee, working the phones and dispatching legal teams to troubled polling stations ..."

20 November 2008

The Bailout Profiteers

Naomi Klein writes for Rolling Stone: "On October 13th, when the U.S. Treasury Department announced the team of "seasoned financial veterans" that will be handling the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street, one name jumped out: Reuben Jeffery III, who was initially tapped to serve as chief investment officer for the massive new program."
Editor's note: The online version of this story has been amended to reflect developments since the publication of the print edition.

19 November 2008

Clippings for November 20, 2008.

Click on title to read complete articles.

America's Wars of Self-Destruction
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig.com: "War is a poison. It is a poison that nations and groups must at times ingest to ensure their survival. But, like any poison, it can kill you just as surely as the disease it is meant to eradicate. The poison of war courses unchecked through the body politic of the United States. We believe that because we have the capacity to wage war we have the right to wage war. We embrace the dangerous self-delusion that we are on a providential mission to save the rest of the world from itself, to implant our virtues-which we see as superior to all other virtues-on others, and that we have a right to do this by force. This belief has corrupted Republicans and Democrats alike. And if Barack Obama drinks, as it appears he will, the dark elixir of war and imperial power offered to him by the national security state, he will accelerate the downward spiral of the American empire."

Naomi Klein: The Borderline Illegal Deal Behind the $700 Billion Bailout
Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! summaries her interview with Klein. The bailout is a parting gift to the people that George Bush once referred to jokingly as "my base."

Stripping Paulson of His Remaining Power and Money

David Sirota writes for The Campaign for America's Future: "US Senator Jim Inhofe said Saturday that Congress was not told the truth about the bailout of the nation's financial system and should take back what is left of the $700 billion 'blank check'' it gave the Bush administration. 'It is just outrageous that the American people don't know that Congress doesn't know how much money he (Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson) has given away to anyone,' the Oklahoma Republican told the Tulsa World."

It's Going to Be a Wal-Mart Christmas
Marie Cocco, Washington Post Writers Group, writes:Wal-Mart is the only store where hard-squeezed consumers can afford anything, and so it keeps posting big profits amid the retail bloodbath.

Texas Jury Indicts Cheney, Gonzales in Prison Abuse Case
Reuters: "A grand jury in South Texas indicted U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and former attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Tuesday for 'organized criminal activity' related to alleged abuse of inmates in private prisons."

Taxpayers Will Pay for Gonzales's Private Attorney
Marisa Taylor writes for McClatchy Newspapers: "The Justice Department has agreed to pay for a private lawyer to defend former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales against allegations that he encouraged officials to inject partisan politics into the department's hiring and firing practices. Lawyers from the Justice Department's civil division often represent department employees who're sued in connection with their official actions. However, Gonzales' attorney recently revealed in court papers that the Justice Department had approved his request to pay private attorney's fees arising from the federal lawsuit."

Bush Administration Moves to Protect Key Appointees
Juliet Eilperin and Carol D. Leonnig, The Washington Post: "Just weeks before leaving office, the Interior Department's top lawyer has shifted half a dozen key deputies - including two former political appointees who have been involved in controversial environmental decisions - into senior civil service posts. The transfer of political appointees into permanent federal positions, called 'burrowing' by career officials, creates security for those employees, and at least initially will deprive the incoming Obama administration of the chance to install its preferred appointees in some key jobs."

Obama and the Promise of Education
Henry Giroux writes for Truthout: "Needless to say, like many Americans, I am both delighted and cautious about Barack Obama's election. Symbolically, this is an unprecedented moment in the fight against the legacy of racism while at the same time offering new possibilities for addressing how racism works in a post-Bush period."

After the Torture Era

Eugene Robinson writes in an op-ed for The Washington Post: "'I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that. I have said repeatedly that America doesn't torture, and I'm going to make sure that we don't torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America's moral stature in the world.' That unequivocal passage from President-elect Barack Obama's first extended interview since the election, broadcast on '60 Minutes' Sunday night, was a big step toward healing the damage that the Bush administration has done not just to our nation's image but to its soul."

Panel: Gulf War Illness Confirmed
Thomas D. Williams writes for Truthout: "A federal health panel released conclusions Monday that evidence strongly and consistently indicates hundreds of thousands of US troops in the first Gulf War contracted long-term illnesses from use of pills, given by their own military to protect them from effects of chemical weaponized nerve agents, and from their military's pesticide use during deployment."

What How for Broadband and the Telecoms
Bruce Kushnick of Nieman Watchdog blog writes: "Will Obama and Congress be satisfied to leave the U.S. as 15th among developed nations in broadband use? Will the FCC under Democratic control be less of a tool for large corporations?"

Secrets of Talk Radio

Dan Shelley writes for Milwaukee Magazine: "To succeed, a talk show host must perpetuate the notion that his or her listeners are victims, and the host is the vehicle by which they can become empowered. The host frames virtually every issue in us-versus-them terms. There has to be a bad guy against whom the host will emphatically defend those loyal listeners."

Rather's Lawsuit Shows Role of GOP in Inquiry

Jacques Steinberg reports for The New York Times: "When Dan Rather filed suit against CBS 14 months ago - claiming, among other things, that his former employer had commissioned a politically biased investigation into his work on a '60 Minutes' segment about President Bush's National Guard service - the network predicted the quick and favorable dismissal of the case, which it derided as 'old news.' So far, Mr. Rather has spent more than $2 million of his own money on the suit. And according to documents filed recently in court, he may be getting something for his money."

Post-Election Narrative: Tale of Two Women
Pew Reseazrch Center for Excellence in Journalism: "President-elect Barack Obama may have toured his new home with President George W. Bush, but much of last week's media coverage also focused on two women who ran losing campaigns for the Executive Branch. "

The Media's Minnesota Debacle
Jamison Foser writes for Media Matters: "With only about 200 votes out of nearly 3 million cast separating Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman and his Democratic challenger, Al Franken, the race is headed to a recount. Naturally, conservative radio hosts are working themselves into a lather, baselessly accusing Democrats of trying to 'steal' the election. That shouldn't surprise anyone. But NBC and The New York Times have also pushed the dubious notion that the Minnesota recount has been plagued by chaos and impropriety."

Recommended Multimedia: Anti Prop. 8 Protests Around the Country
On Saturday, people took to the streets all around the U.S. to protest the passage of California’s Proposition 8 and to show their support for same-sex marriage. We’ve compiled 40 of our favorite photos from Spokane to Houston to New York City.

For more information on the protests, visit Citizen Crain: Stonewall 2.0 news round up.

Admirals, Generals: Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
Brian Witte writes for the Associate Press: "More than 100 retired generals and admirals called Monday for repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays so they can serve openly, according to a statement obtained by The Associated Press."

A My Lai a Month
Nick Turse writes for The Nation: "In late 1969 Seymour Hersh broke the story of the 1968 My Lai massacre, during which US troops slaughtered more than 500 civilians in Quang Ngai Province, far north of the Delta. Some months later, in May 1970, a self-described 'grunt' who participated in Speedy Express wrote a confidential letter to William Westmoreland, then Army chief of staff, saying that the Ninth Division's atrocities amounted to 'a My Lay each month for over a year.'"

Profligate Water Use in the U.S. Is Fueling the Flight of Mexicans Across the Border
Yang writes for AlterNet: "On October 21, 2008, the US Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne inaugurated the ground breaking of the new Imperial Valley water reservoir near the US-Mexico border. The 500-acre $172.2 million reservoir, to be completed in August 2010, will store surplus Colorado River water for use by coastal Southern California, Southern Nevada, and Central Arizona; previously this water had been flowing to Mexico and used by its cities and thousands of Mexican farmers."

16 November 2008

Clippings for 15 November 2008...

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A New Progressive Direction
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ali Frick, Ryan Powers and Matt Duss write for The Center for American Progress: "The disastrous foreign policies of the Bush years have created an opening for the new administration to show that progressive ideas are better able to secure and protect America in the 21st Century.... Developing and implementing these new policies will require repairing America's image in the world, reestablishing American leadership seven years after President Bush arrogantly declared 'either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists.'"

Reorganizing Government for the 21st Century
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ali Frick and Ryan Powers, write for The Center for American Progress: "In 1997, President Bill Clinton vowed to start building 'a bridge' to the 21st century. President Bush's White House, however, has moved backwards in time, operating on a 20th century model. Yesterday, the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF), with the New Democracy Project, released a new book called Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President. The book outlines new ideas for governing in the 21st century, updating the White House to reflect this century's priorities."

A Pro-Growth, Progressive Economic Agenda
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ali Frick, Ryan Powers and Matt Duss from The Center for American Progress write: "On election day, 60 percent of voters said that the state of the economy is 'the most important issue facing the nation.' With a resounding progressive victory, the new administration has the opportunity to implement pro-growth, progressive economic policies to get the economy back on track."

Hard Labor at a Tender Age
Franco Ordonez and Ames Alexander report for The Charlotte Observer: "Four months after turning 15, Lucero Gayton began work on the night shift at a House of Raeford Farms chicken plant. Starting at 11 each night, when most girls her age were asleep, the shy teenager with brown eyes was working 10-hour shifts, wielding a sharp knife, cutting muscles from thousands of freshly killed chickens."

Ditch the Smooth Transition. The People Voted for Change.
Naomi Klein writes for The Guardian UK: "The more details emerge, the clearer it becomes that Washington's handling of the Wall Street bail-out is not merely incompetent: it is borderline criminal. In a moment of high panic in September, the US treasury pushed through a radical change in how bank mergers are taxed - a change long sought by the industry."

The Danger of Keeping Robert Gates
Robert Parry writes for Consortium News: "Press reports say Barack Obama may retain George W. Bush's Defense Secretary Robert Gates as a gesture to war-time continuity, bipartisanship and respect for the Washington insider community, which has embraced Gates as something of a new Wise Man. However, if Obama does keep Gates on, the new President will be employing someone who embodies many of the worst elements of U.S. national security policy over the past three decades, including responsibility for what Obama himself has fingered as a chief concern, 'politicized intelligence.'"

Bloomberg Sues the Fed for Bailout Disclosure
Charley James reports for The LA Progressive: "Lost in the wake of Henry Paulson's announcement Wednesday that Treasury is 'changing direction' in how it doles out money in the bank rescue plan is a little-noticed lawsuit filed last Friday by Bloomberg LP, the business news wire service. It is suing the Federal Reserve Board's governors for public records that would answer two simple questions: Who is receiving $2 trillion in Fed loans and what collateral are taxpayers getting to support them? That's trillion, with a 't.' And, yes, as hard as it is to believe, taxpayers don't know the identity of the borrowers to whom they are lending. They also don't know what kind of junk - Stocks? Bonds? Three milk cows and a '69 Camaro? - they are getting to collateralize the federal loans."

Bush Sells Free Market as a Cure-All, Despite Crash.
Matthew Rothschild writes for the Progressive: "On Thursday, Bush gave a speech in New York about the financial crisis, and it was a laughable ode to the free market. It sure was an odd time for such an ode, since the free market is crashing down upon us. Ever incoherent, Bush himself admitted as much. 'I’m a market-oriented guy, but not when I’m faced with the prospect of a global meltdown,' he said. And so he enumerated the market interventions that his administration has already taken. He talked about the need to 'make our financial markets more transparent'— though his bailout is anything but. And he even called for more regulation. "

Exposed: Federal Air Marshals Too Busy Smuggling Coke and Molesting Kids to Protect You
Michael Garbell writes for Pro Publica: "Shawn Nguyen bragged that he could sneak anything past airport security using his top-secret clearance as a federal air marshal. And for months, he smuggled cocaine and drug money onto flights across the country, boasting to an FBI informant that he was 'the man with the golden badge.'"

New Blackwater Iraq Scandal: Guns, Silencers and Dog Food

Brian Ross and Jason Ryan report for ABC News: "A federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating allegations the controversial private security firm Blackwater illegally shipped assault weapons and silencers to Iraq, hidden in large sacks of dog food, ABCNews.com has learned."

We Won! We Lost!Barack Obama is headed to the White House, but California and other states turned back gay equality. What's next for the GLBT community?
Sean Bugg, writing for Metro Weekly, asked the leaders of a number of national LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations their thoughts on the new administration, what the community can achieve, and what the victory of anti-gay campaigns across the country means for the LGBT movement.

Letter to Obama: Change Agenda Shoudl Include LGBT Americas too.
Author Marc Acito, from National Public Radio, in an open letter to President-elect Barack Obama, notes the irony of the LGBT community suffering major setbacks through four state ballot measures at a time when the nation was embracing Obama's message of change. "I hope you'll set a tone for the rest of the country, showing them that you understand that the rights that straight couples automatically enjoy -- like inheritance of property, adoption, health benefits and hospital visitation -- are civil rights all Americans deserve," Acito writes.

Prop. 8 Protests Could Become National Movement

Wyatt Buchanan writes for the San Francisco Chronilce: "
Outrage and anguish over the passage of Proposition 8 has spurred massive street protests throughout California, and leaders of the gay and lesbian community believe the backlash could spark an unprecedented nationwide push for gay rights."

Recommended Audio: Charles McVey on Feast of Fools
Former Community Bridge guest, Charles McVey, recently appeared on the Feast of Fools Podcast. NOTE: Podcast contains EXPLICIT LANGUAGE.
Charles wants to call you “Sir.” On today’s show we have queer indie rocker Charles S McVey to play for us. Listen as Charles seduces you in his distinctively gravely voice. We’re sure you’ll appreciate his open and honest lyrics."

Anti-Abortion Terror Tactics Take a Toll

Eleanor J. Bader writes for On the Issues Magazine: "To the anti-abortion movement, standing outside clinic doors and bellowing at patients and staff that they are murderers and whores is simply an effort to 'stop the war against America's children.' Like most wars, this one has included a host of tactics, from picket lines to blockades, and has gone so far as to include arson, property damage, kidnapping and the murder of providers. The antis call it collateral damage, the end product of a campaign that has for 36 years worked doggedly to undo Roe v. Wade."

Abortion Is the Issue for Starting the Healing
E. J. Dionne write for Truthdig.com: "
Of course, President-elect Barack Obama’s most urgent task is to repair an ailing economy. But one of his most important promises was to end the cultural and religious wars that have disfigured politics for four decades."

Few Will Miss the Following Campaign News
The Media Channel summarizes data from the Pew Research Center on how the media did in the 2008 election.

Educational Television Falls Short
Ira Teinowitz, writes for TV Week: "How educational are children's educational TV shows on commercial channels? Not very, suggests a new study by Children's Now, which finds that only 1 in 8 programs listed by TV stations as "educational/informational" in fact offer education of 'high quality.'"

13 November 2008

Clippings for 13 November 2008

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Goodbye and Good Riddance
Paul Waldman writes for The American Prospect: "After eight years of President Bush, we almost don't know how to function without him - almost. But before we move on, we should pause to remember just what we're leaving behind. Goodbye, we can say at last, to the most powerful man in the world being such a ridiculous buffoon, incapable of stringing together two coherent sentences. Goodbye to cringing with dread every time our president steps onto the world stage, sure he'll say or do something to embarrass us all. Goodbye to being represented by a man who embodies everything our enemies want the people of the world to believe about America - that we are ignorant, cruel, and only care about foreign countries when we decide to stomp on them."

A Closer Look at Obama's Energy Plan
Mark Clayton writes for The Christian Science Monitor: "If President-elect Barack Obama enacts the energy plan he laid out during his campaign, American taxpayers will each get a $500 rebate check - funded by a windfall profits taxes on big oil companies. But that's just for starters. Besides taxing oil giants more, Senator Obama's detailed 30-point energy agenda calls for big changes to address carbon emissions, fuel efficiency for vehicles, and domestic and renewable power and efficiency."

Cold War Hawks Nesting With Obama
Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig: "So, Vladimir Putin was right: It was Georgia that started the war with Russia, and once again it was President Bush who got caught in a lie. As The New York Times reported last week, 'Newly available accounts by independent military observers of the beginning of the war between Georgia and Russia this summer call into question the long-standing Georgian assertion that it was acting defensively against separatist and Russian aggression.'"

Obama's Toughest Challenge: America's Energy Crunch Comes Home
Michael T. Klare writes for TomDispatch: "Of all the challenges facing President Barack Obama next January, none is likely to prove as daunting, or important to the future of this nation, as that of energy. After all, energy policy -- so totally mishandled by the outgoing Bush-Cheney administration -- figures in each of the other major challenges facing the new president, including the economy, the environment, foreign policy, and our Middle Eastern wars. Most of all, it will prove a monumental challenge because the United States faces an energy crisis of unprecedented magnitude that is getting worse by the day."

Guantanamo Closure Called Obama Priority
Peter Finn reports for The Washington Post: "The Obama administration will launch a review of the classified files of the approximately 250 detainees at Guantanamo Bay immediately after taking office, as part of an intensive effort to close the U.S. prison in Cuba, according to people who advised the campaign on detainee issues. Announcing the closure of the controversial detention facility would be among the most potent signals the incoming administration could send of its sharp break with the Bush era, according to the advisers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak for the president-elect."

The New Liberalism: How the Economic Crisis Can Help Obama Redefine the Democrats
George Packer reports in The New Yorker: "Barack Obama's decisive defeat of John McCain is the most important victory of a Democratic candidate since 1932. It brings to a close another conservative era, one that rose amid the ashes of the New Deal coalition in the late sixties, consolidated its power with the election of Ronald Reagan, in 1980. Obama will enter the White House at a moment of economic crisis worse than anything the nation has seen since the Great Depression; the old assumptions of free-market fundamentalism have, like a charlatan's incantations, failed to work, and the need for some 'new machinery' is painfully obvious. But what philosophy of government will characterize it?"

America the Illiterate
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig.com: "We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clich├ęs. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities. "

College Loan Slavery: Student Debt Is Getting Way Out of Hand
Nan Mooney writes for AlterNet: "Raya Golden thought she was handling college in a responsible way. She didn't apply until she felt ready to dedicate herself to her studies. She spread her schooling across five years so she could work part-time throughout. She checked that her school, the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, had a high post-graduate employment rate. But there were two things she hadn't counted on. The first was the $75,000 in nonsubsidized federal student loans she'd have to take out for tuition and those living expenses her part-time jobs selling hotdogs and making lattes couldn't cover. The second was that she'd graduate into a workforce teetering on the edge of the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression."

The Midnight Deregulation Express
Matthew Blake writes for The Washington Independent: "It's something of a tradition - administrations using their final weeks in power to ram through a slew of federal regulations. With the election grabbing the headlines, outgoing federal bureaucrats quietly propose and finalize rules that can affect the health and safety of millions."

In Final Days, Bush Pushes for Iraq's Oil
Maya Schenwar writes for Truthout: "As the Bush administration rumbles to an end, it is pushing with increasing urgency for a commitment to a long-term US presence in Iraq. Though the military aspect of this 'commitment' has garnered substantial publicity, the administration is equally invested in the economic aspect: securing US control over Iraqi oil before Bush leaves office, according to experts in the field."

Probe Sought of Bush Handling of Alaska Oil-Spill Case
Renee Schoof reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "An environmental watchdog group asked the Department of Justice's inspector general on Monday to investigate whether the department had prematurely halted a criminal prosecution of BP for a 2006 oil spill in Alaska. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed the complaint on behalf of Scott West, who as the special agent in charge for the Environmental Protection Agency participated in the federal and state investigation of the spill."

Prescription Drugs Kill Three Times as Many Americans as Illegal Drugs
David Gutierrez, Natural News: "A report by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission has concluded that prescription drugs have outstripped illegal drugs as a cause of death. An analysis of 168,900 autopsies conducted in Florida in 2007 found that three times as many people were killed by legal drugs as by cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines put together. According to state law enforcement officials, this is a sign of a burgeoning prescription drug abuse problem."

Is Our Internet Future in Danger?
Galen Gruman and Tome KAneshige write for InfoWorld: "The digital Disneyland of the future -- where we freely work and play online -- may be at risk. Why? Because, some argue, broadband carriers can't support it. The Internet's "free ride" culture has led to more people downloading gigabytes of data at practically no cost. "

Obama Media Policy: Broadband and Breaking up Telecom/Cable/Broadcast Monopolies
Matt Stoller blogs for Open Left: "I've been blogging about media policy for a few years, so I have pretty good sources on net neutrality, the FCC and media policy. Whenever I have a really tough question, I'm usually referred to Harold Feld, a brilliant lawyer at the Media Access Project who blogs about communications policy and politics at his incomparably great site, Wetmachine. His work and knowledge has been essentially to the media reform movement that has successfully placed openness and the protection of the internet in an important position in the Obama administration's priority list."

What do "White Spaces" Mean for Public Media?
Jessica Clark writes for the Center for Social Media: "The FCC decision on white spaces could mean more than just broadband access for millions of Americans. It could hold the key to more evenly distributed access to the public airwaves. And the public won't just be consuming media on open networks, they'll be producing it, too. "

10 November 2008

Clippings for November 9, 2008

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The Climate for Change
Al Gore writes for The New York Times: "The inspiring and transformative choice by the American people to elect Barack Obama as our 44th president lays the foundation for another fateful choice that he - and we - must make this January to begin an emergency rescue of human civilization from the imminent and rapidly growing threat posed by the climate crisis. The electrifying redemption of America's revolutionary declaration that all human beings are born equal sets the stage for the renewal of United States leadership in a world that desperately needs to protect its primary endowment: the integrity and livability of the planet."

America is a Center-Left Country No Matter How Much the Corporate Media Says Otherwise
Joshua Holland writes for AlterNet: "The American people are center-left (or at least firmly in the center) on the primary matters over which government presides: taxation and debt, public services, the regulation of the economy and America's role in the world."

All Over But the Lying
Jamison Foser writes for Media Matters: "On Tuesday, Americans chose as their next president an African-American named Barack Obama who campaigned on a near-universal health-care plan, allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire, and a move away from the belligerent foreign policy of the past eight years. Republicans, and some journalists, had spent months (falsely) saying Obama is the single most liberal member of the U.S. Senate -- and maybe even a socialist. The American people responded by electing him in a landslide."

Health Care Can't Wait
Edward M. Kennedy writes for The Washington Post: "President-elect Barack Obama has issued a clarion call for action on health care. His practical and thoughtful proposals draw from our Massachusetts experience and add important measures to improve quality and reduce costs. His plan includes crucial investments in modernizing the use of information technology in health care. He calls for a new emphasis on prevention and wellness, because the best way to treat a disease is to prevent it from striking. I'm sure opponents will dust off the same old slogans they have used to try to block every major advance in health care."

Will Obama Administration Signal Return to Rule of Law?
Brian Baxter writes for Law.com: "Foremost among the pressing issues he faces: rebuilding America's reputation in the international arena, says Philippe Sands, author of 'Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values.' The book, excerpts of which appeared in a May 2008 Vanity Fair feature story, examines how U.S. lawyers abandoned the Geneva Conventions and other international protocols after the 9/11 attacks."

Palin Blamed for Death Threats Against Obama
Tim Shipman writes for The Telegraph UK: "Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign. The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of 'palling around with terrorists', citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers. The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling 'terrorist' and 'kill him.' until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric."

Letter to President Obama on Human Rights
Julie Mertus writes for Foreign Policy In Focus: "Dear President Obama: The Bush administration had eight years to run our country's reputation on human rights into the ground. It succeeded not only in tarnishing America's image, but also in derailing the entire international human rights movement. As a professor of human rights who has studied the opportunities and challenges for the White House in transition periods, I know that the window of opportunity for distinguishing yourself from your predecessor is open now, but you must act quickly and decisively if you are to get human rights back on track."

Bush Administration Once Again Attempts To Block Release Of Prisoner Abuse Photos In ACLU Lawsuit
The ACLU states in a press release: "The Bush administration petitioned a full appeals court late Thursday to reconsider a decision ordering the Defense Department to release photographs showing detainee abuse by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In September, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordered the government to release the photos as part of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit seeking information on the abuse of prisoners held in U.S. custody overseas."

President-Elect Obama Must Appoint Officials Who Will Restore Scientific Integrity to Government
Francesca Grifo of the Unionof Cencerned Scientists states: "The new head of any science agency must be committed to fundamental change in the agency's conduct and communication of science. President-elect Obama should choose agency leaders who will make five commitments to reform."

We're still Aren't in a Post-Racial Society
Fred McKissack writes for the Progressive: "Moments after CNN declared Sen. Barack Obama the next president of the United States, I called my parents. I could tell my father was beaming. Through Obama, he could see the future for his grandsons and their peers — a collective sense of inclusion that has eluded the race for so long."

Looking Back and Moving Forward
Bill Boyarsky writes for Truthdig.com: "Barack Obama’s huge victory sent me down memory lane to the segregated America of a half-century ago, when a black person couldn’t crack the news columns of my Northern California hometown newspaper, much less get a job there. "

Top Ten Power Brokers of the Religious Right

In an AlterNet version of an article that originally appeared in Church and State Magazine, Bob Boston writes: "A recent Americans United study of the finances and influence of the Religious Right shows a movement that is very much alive and kicking. Indeed, our research shows that the nation's leading Religious Right organizations took in more than half a billion dollars over a recent 12-month period. Several of the organizations reported dramatic increases in their budgets; only a few showed a drop."

Neocons Plot to Co-Opt Obama
William Pfaff writes for Truthdig.com that the newly elected president is a foreign policy novice and will find himself under great pressure to follow Middle Eastern and China and Russia policies inherited from George Bush, even though these are what Barack Obama was elected to change or terminate.

Palin in Spotlight as Republicans Turn on Each Other
Oliver Burkeman writes for The Guardian UK: "As the implosion of the defeated Republican campaign continued yesterday, the landscape of American conservatism was dotted with signs that these were very strange times indeed. Rush Limbaugh, behemoth of rightwing radio, took to the airwaves to declare war on two enemies: Barack Obama and the Republican party. Bloggers at FreeRepublic.com, an internet hub for conservatives, announced a boycott of Fox News and John McCain's aides fell over one another to leak embarrassing details about the campaign to the press."

House Races Push Women's Numbers to New High
Alison Bowen, Women's eNews: "The number of women in the U.S. House of Representatives will reach a high of 74 when the victors of Tuesday's elections take office in January. While marking a gain of three legislators, the results failed to push women's stake into the 20 percent territory considered minimal for exerting significant voting-bloc pressure."

FCC White Spaces Decisions Kicks Off the Next Wireless Revolution

Priya Ganapati writes for Wired: "Like Wi-Fi, the availability of free, unregulated spectrum could create new technologies and new markets, bringing superfast wireless connectivity to the masses. Unlike Wi-Fi, it could also put pressure on wireless carriers."

FOX Stations Pull Down News Corp. Profits
Danny King writes for TV Week: "Fox Broadcasting parent News Corp. said today that its fiscal first-quarter earnings fell 30% as a drop in profit from its local television operations more than offset a boost in earnings from cable network programming. The company, factoring in the U.S. economic downturn’s effect on local advertising revenue, also cut its profit forecast for fiscal 2009."