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

18 December 2008

Clippings for 18 December 2008

Click on the title to read complete articles.

Obama's Betrayal of Public Education? Arne Duncan and the Corporate Model of Schooling

Henry A. Giroux and Kenneth Saltman comment for Truthout: "Barack Obama's selection of Arne Duncan for secretary of education does not bode well either for the political direction of his administration nor for the future of public education. Obama's call for change falls flat with this appointment, not only because Duncan largely defines schools within a market-based and penal model of pedagogy, but also because he does not have the slightest understanding of schools as something other than adjuncts of the corporation at best or the prison at worse."

Beware School "Reformers"
Alfie Kohn writes in The Nation: "Progressives are in short supply on the president-elect's list of cabinet nominees. When he turns his attention to the Education Department, what are the chances he'll choose someone who is educationally progressive?"

Gay Leaders Furious with Obama
Ben Smith and Nia-Malika Henderson write for Politico.com: "Barack Obama’s choice of a prominent evangelical minister to deliver the invocation at his inauguration is a conciliatory gesture toward social conservatives who opposed him in November, but it is drawing fierce challenges from a gay rights movement that – in the wake of a gay marriage ban in California – is looking for a fight."

What's the Matter with Rick Warren?
Sarah Posner writes for TheNation.com: "Now it has officially gone too far: Democrats, in their zeal to appear friendly to evangelical voters, have chosen celebrity preacher and best-selling author Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration. There was no doubt that Obama, like every president before him, would pick a Christian minister to perform this sacred duty. But Obama had thousands of clergy to choose from, and the choice of Warren is not only a slap in the face to progressive ministers toiling on the front lines of advocacy and service but a bow to the continuing influence of the religious right in American politics. Warren vocally opposes gay marriage, does not believe in evolution, has compared abortion to the Holocaust and backed the assassination of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."

Senate Panel's Report on U.S. Torture Abuse
Read the devastating bipartisan report from the Senate Armed Services Committee that indicts high-level Bush administration officials—including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld—as bearing major responsibility for the torture at Abu Gharib, Guantanamo, and other detention facilities. To download a PDF version, click here.

Time to Cut the Military Pork
Titus Levi writes for Truthdig.com: "The U.S. budget is bleeding red ink by the buckets. Given the rate of the economic slowdown and the potential economic pain that Americans are likely to experience during a steep and protracted economic slump, substantial deficit spending makes sense as a way of stimulating economic activity. Still, deficits create economic problems; they drive up the cost of capital in the short run while locking in spending on debt servicing for years. So even as we take on deficits and debts, we should look for places to trim the budget. The incoming administration should start by rolling back the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year and by putting the ax to the most sacred of sacred cows in the federal budget: the Department of Defense."

Mr. Obama, Weigh the Price of War
Douglas MacGregor writes for Defense News: "Today's world is different from the world of 1991 or 2001. Outside of the United States and Western Europe, nation-building with US military power is a euphemism for imperialism. American financial hegemony has collapsed. As seen in Iraq, the 'total victory' construct as it equates to the imposition of Western-style government and a free-market economy subservient to the US is in full retreat. In the broader Middle East, as well as in most of Africa, Latin America and Asia, 'damage control,' not 'total victory,' is the most realistic goal for US national security strategy."

War Talk, the Death of the Social, and Disappearing Children: A Lesson for Obama
Henry Giroux writes for Truthout: "Under the Bush administration, the language of war has taken on a distinctly new register, more expansive in both its meaning and its consequences. War no longer needs to be ratified by Congress since it is now waged by various government agencies that escape the need for official approval. War has become a permanent condition adopted by a nation state that is largely defined by its repressive functions in response to its powerlessness to regulate corporate power, provide social investments for the populace and guarantee a measure of social freedom."

Report: Iraq's Reconstruction a $100 Billion Failure
Agence France-Presse reports: "An unpublished US government report says US-led efforts to rebuild Iraq were crippled by bureaucratic turf wars, violence and ignorance of the basic elements of Iraqi society, resulting in a 100-billion-dollar failure, The New York Times reported on its website."

Ten Tips for Greener Holiday Gifts
The Center for American Progress writes: "The holidays are approaching quickly, and if you’re like many Americans, you’re dreading long lines at department stores and spending wads of cash on stuff you’re not even sure will be as much as glanced at after Christmas morning. With a recession in full swing and another year of inaction on climate change behind us, employing practical, environmentally conscious shopping techniques can keep more money in your wallet while also taking action on a serious problem—and it’ll be good for your blood pressure, too."

How to Be an Ethical Consumer without Breaking the Bank
Suyeon Khim writes for Campus Progress: "During most of my time as a student at the University of Chicago, I rarely thought about the wider social impact of the vote in my pocket. My prevailing argument against my ethically minded, upper-middle-class friends who always have "disposable income" was that the ethics of consumer choices are relative. If the cost of buying fair- trade coffee over regular coffee means that I had to forgo buying toothpaste that month, then my decision to pass on the "ethical" product could not be branded as socially irresponsible."

The Logic of Keynes in Today's World
Robert Reich writes on Robert Reich's Blog: "Not long ago I was talking to someone who once had been a deficit hawk but the current recession had turned into a full-blooded Keynesian. He wanted a stimulus package in the range of $500 to $700 billion. 'Consumers are dead in the water,' he said, fervently, 'so government has to step in.' I agreed. But I didn't tell him his traditional Keynesianism is based on two highly-questionable assumptions in today's world, and the underlying logic of Keynes leads us toward something bigger and more permanent than he has in mind."

Is GOP Risking the Economy to Win the PR War Against Unions?

Art Levine writes for The Huffington Post: "Even as the auto industry teeters on collapse, union-bashing continues as the mainstay of a GOP propaganda war against organized labor. With three million jobs at stake, potentially costing taxpayers $150 billion in unemployment insurance, Medicaid, other aid and lost tax revenues, unions remain the primary targets of the GOP blame game for the troubled auto industry and the failed bailout deal. The Bush Administration, while dithering over the scope of any bailout with federal funds, has faced mounting pressure from Republicans to impose the same sort of union-wrecking conditions that scuttled a deal in the Senate last week."

Down on Upward Mobility

Dan Carpenter comments in The Indianapolis Star: The labor movement, which made teachers into empowered professionals and factory workers into middle-class taxpayers, has been under attack for a generation from the forces of phony simplicity. The idea that collective bargaining has achieved a standard of living that is unfair and unsustainable, rather than one that society as a whole should pursue, is one of our most powerful national myths. Like the glory of war and the frivolousness of environmental protection, union bashing is a bill of goods sold by the most myopic of special interests and bought by ordinary folks against their own interests."

Foreclosure ‘Hope for Homeowners’ Program Still Hopeless
Alexandra Andrews reports for ProPublica: "Early in November, we wrote that HUD’s "Hope for Homeowners" program was struggling to dole out the hope. In its first two weeks, only 42 people applied to the program meant to help as many as 400,000 avoid foreclosure. Two weeks later, the government made some fixes, but we couldn’t figure out how they’ve been working out. Until today."

Executive Pay Limits May Prove Toothless
Amit R. Paley reports in The Washington Post: "Congress wanted to guarantee that the $700 billion financial bailout would limit the eye-popping pay of Wall Street executives, so lawmakers included a mechanism for reviewing executive compensation and penalizing firms that break the rules. But at the last minute, the Bush administration insisted on a one-sentence change to the provision, congressional aides said. The change stipulated that the penalty would apply only to firms that received bailout funds by selling troubled assets to the government in an auction, which was the way the Treasury Department had said it planned to use the money."

Obama Eyes 'Provide Conscience' Rule

Jesse Nankin writes for ProPublica: "Yesterday we reported on the White House's approval of a regulation that would allow health care workers at federally-funded institutions to deny treatment they find morally objectionable. It's commonly known as the 'provider conscience' rule, and if finalized this week will go into effect before the end of the Bush administration."

Climate Change: Chasm Widens Between Science and Policy
Stephen Leahy reports for Inter Press Service: "The roof of our house is on fire while the leaders of our family sit comfortably in the living room below preoccupied with 'political realities' - that was essentially the message from 1,000 scientists from around the world along with northern indigenous leaders gathered in Quebec City for the International Arctic Change conference that concluded last weekend. Presenting data from hundreds of studies and research projects detailing the Arctic region's rapid meltdown and cascading ecological impacts, participants urged governments to take 'immediate measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.'"

Probe Finds Politics Drove Endangered Species Decisions
Michael Doyle reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "Politics corroded Bush administration decisions on protecting endangered species nationwide, federal investigators have concluded in a sweeping new report. Former Interior Department official Julie MacDonald frequently bullied career scientists to reduce species protections, the Interior Department investigators found. Species from the California tiger salamander to plants and crustaceans found in vernal pools were rendered potentially more vulnerable as a result, environmentalists believe."

The Crisis: An Opportunity to Save the Planet
Antoine Reverchon, of Le Monde, interviews Lord Nicholas Stern, professor at the London School of Economics and author of the Stern Report on the costs of global warming, about the nexus between the global economic crisis and what Sir Nicholas calls "the planetary crisis." For original French, click here.

The Year in Media Errors and Corrections 2008: Trend of the Year: Epic Organizational Failure
Craig Silverman writes for Regret the Error: "It’s rare to look back over a year of corrections and errors and see so many examples of organizational failure. Years past have seen plenty of malfeasance by individuals, but 2008 is remarkable for news organizations that pursued completely outrageous behavior."

Sean Hannity: Media Matters' 2008 Misinformer of the Year
Media Matters for America: "As Media Matters for America has demonstrated time and again, Fox News' Sean Hannity has been a prolific and influential purveyor of conservative misinformation. But never has he so enthusiastically applied his talents for spreading misinformation as he did to the 2008 presidential race, focusing his energies primarily on President-elect Barack Obama. Day after day, Hannity devoted his two Fox News shows and his three-hour ABC Radio Networks program to 'demonizing' the Democratic presidential candidates, starkly explaining in August: 'That's my job. ... I led the 'Stop Hillary Express.' By the way, now it's the 'Stop Obama Express.'' Hannity's 'Stop Obama Express' promoted and embellished a vast array of misleading attacks and false claims about Obama. Along the way, he uncritically adopted and promoted countless Republican talking points and played host to numerous credibility-challenged smear artists who painted Obama as a dangerous radical. When he was not going after Obama, Hannity attacked members of Obama's family, as well as Sen. Hillary Clinton and other progressives, and denied all the while that he had unfairly attacked anyone."

Daily Banter Exclusive: Meet the Man Trying To Change The Face of The American Media
Ben Cohen writes for the Daily Banter: "Head of ‘The Real News’ network Paul Jay is trying to save the news media, one viewer at a time. Horrified at the corporate media’s acquiescence to the White House during 9/11 and the run up to the war in Iraq, Jay decided to set up his own organization to provide the public with real, unadulterated journalism that would effectively challenge power regardless of the political environment." Real News RSS feeds are available on the Community Bridge webpage.

Future of the Internet III

Pew Internet and American Life Project reports: "A survey of internet leaders, activists and analysts shows they expect major tech advances as the phone becomes a primary device for online access, voice-recognition improves, artificial and virtual reality become more embedded in everyday life, and the architecture of the internet itself improves."

Recommended Audio: Obama on the FCC, Media and Internet Policy

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