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

15 December 2008

Clippings for 14 December 2008

Click on titles to read complete stories.

Human Rights and the Economic Crisis
Michael Honey comments for the Seattle Post-Intillegencer: "Sixty years ago this week, the United Nations adopted he Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It codified liberties Americans had long supported: freedom of speech, assembly, association, belief and worship; legal rights and due process; rights to a job at good wages under reasonable conditions, and economic security."

Homelessness, Hunger on Rise in US Cities: Report
Agency France-Presse: "Homelessness and hunger increased in an overwhelming majority of 25 US cities in the past year, driven by the foreclosure crisis and rising unemployment, a survey showed Friday. Out of 25 cities across the United States surveyed by the US Conference of Mayors, 83 percent said homelessness in general had increased over the past year while 16 cities, or nearly two-thirds of those polled, cited a rise in the number of families who had been forced out of their homes."

A Year of Living Dangerously

Richard Swift writes for the New Internationalist: "2008 – what a year! First the price of petroleum doubled, then a global food crisis, now a complete financial meltdown. People can be forgiven for wondering ‘what next?’ The runaway cost of basic foodstuffs hit hard earlier in the year. The Western media played it as an unfortunate, but far away, tragedy. Most people in the industrial world barely noticed as the prices on the supermarket shelves edged up. But for those in the Global South living on $2 or less a day – about one in three of us – it was catastrophic. Figures vary, but most estimates, including that of the Food and Agriculture Organization, hold that the runaway price spiral of basic foodstuffs (rice, grain, corn) pushed another 100 million people into situations of life-threatening malnutrition. This is on top of perhaps 900 million people already in this position. That’s a billion people without the means to survive. How many actually died? Or are dying? No-one really knows."

We Told You So

David Sirota for Truthdig reports that with the release of three new reports, there’s no debate anymore about who was correct and who wasn’t concerning the economic collapse and the Wall Street bailout. The studies prove that progressive critics were right and the Washington ideologues and the pundits were wrong.

Detroit's Problem: It's Health Care not the Union
Christopher Martin writes for CommonDreams.org: "The Senate's failure to pass the bailout of the U.S. auto industry strikes a big blow at one of labor's last stands in manufacturing in the U.S. What's at stake? According to the bill: 355,000 workers in the U.S. directly employed by the automobile industry; 4,500,000 employed in related industries (the auto industry has the highest job creation multiplier effect of any industry); 1,000,000 retirees (with pensions and health care benefits)."

The Nasty Class and Anti-Union Bais of Auto Bailout Opposition
Robert Weissman writes for CommonDreams.org: "What is remarkable about the Senate Republican refusal to agree to a $15 billion loan deal for the auto industry is that they are not serving any corporate interest. A collapse of the U.S. auto industry would be bad not just for the Big Three, and the supplier networks and auto dealers, but pretty much every sector of the economy, including Wall Street. Earlier this week, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue urged that 'Congress must immediately authorize bridge loans to America's carmakers to prevent the collapse of the U.S. auto industry and the devastating impact it would have on the economy, American workers, and national security.'"

Let the Banks Fail: What a Few of the Financial Giants Should Crash
Joshau Holland writes for AlterNet: "So far, much of Washington’s ad hoc, ham-fisted response to the economic crisis has been based on the dictum that the financial institutions must be prevented from taking their losses. That should come as no surprise. Big finance’s lobbyists have been all over the "bailout" (it should be bailouts, plural) from the very start, Wall Street pumped piles of cash into the elections — AIG, recipient of tens of billions in taxpayer largesse, ponied up $750,000 for both the Democratic and Republican conventions — and the whole thing’s been designed by "free-market" ideologues who came to Washington directly from Wall Street."

Fed Refuses to Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion in Bank Loans
Mark Pittam reports for Bloomberg News: "The Federal Reserve refused a request by Bloomberg News to disclose the recipients of more than $2 trillion of emergency loans from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral."

Putting Aid and Trade to Work: Fostering Development for Sustainable Security

Sabina Dewan and Reuben Brigety write for The Center for American Progress: "The United States is facing a period of unprecedented challenges, from overcoming a severe economic recession to battling terrorism and climate change. On the one hand, each of these challenges reaffirms America's interconnectedness with its global community. But on the other, each also points to its faltering leadership. This unique juncture for the United States requires a new model for sustainable security that takes into account the dynamism, interdependence, and mutual vulnerabilities of an integrated world."

Mumbai Wake-up Call
Frida Berrigan writes for Foreign Policy In Focus: "A few months ago, trucks loaded with goods crossed a border. All over the world, this kind of thing happens every day, but not here. October marked the first time in 60 years that Indian trucks loaded with apples and walnuts traveled to Pakistan. The trucks returned carrying a shipment of Pakistani rice and raisins. Around the same time, India and Pakistan increased the number of goods the two nations could trade from just 13 to nearly 2,000. They opened new freight train lines and refurbished custom houses in anticipation of vigorous cross border trade. All of this goodwill is now frozen, stopped by a hail of bullets and the deafening crash of bombs in Mumbai."

9 Is Not 11 (and November Isn't September)
Arundhati Roy writes for TomDispatch.com: "We've forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching 'India's 9/11.' And like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we're expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it's all been said and done before. As tension in the region builds, US Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that, if it didn't act fast to arrest the 'bad guys,' he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on 'terrorist camps' in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India's 9/11."

A Legal Time Bomb in Iraq
Bruce Ackerman and Oona Hathaway report for The Guardian UK: "Hillary Clinton's first task as US secretary of state will be to defuse the legal time-bomb that the Bush administration has set up in Iraq. Up to now, the military occupation has been authorised annually by the UN. But now the administration plans to let the UN mandate expire on December 31, and replace it with a new 'status of forces agreement' recently approved by the Iraqi parliament."

Senate Report Ties Rumsfeld to Abu Ghraib Torture

David Morgan reports for Reuters: "Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior US officials share much of the blame for detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to portions of a report released on Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee. The report's executive summary, made public by the committee's Democratic chairman Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan and its top Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, said Rumsfeld contributed to the abuse by authorizing aggressive interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay on December 2, 2002."

Exclusive: Pentagon Pro-Troop Group Misspent Millions, Report Says
Noah Shachtman comments in Wired: "While the Pentagon preps for a new administration, a scandal from an earlier era is rearing its head. A Defense Department project, supposedly designed to support US troops, was used instead to channel millions of dollars to personal friends and allies of its chief. The 'America Supports You,' or ASY, program was led in a 'questionable and unregulated manner,' according to a Department of Defense Inspector General report, obtained by Danger Room. At least $9.2 million was 'inappropriately transferred' by the project's managers. Much of that money served only to further promote ASY, instead of assisting servicemembers."

NBAF: Why There Are No Winners

Butner Blogsport writes: After almost three years of waiting, we now know the preferred location of the much sought after federal biotech prize the NBAF. On Friday the Department of Homeland Security confirmed what the Associated Press leaked on Wednesday. Manhattan, Kansas was chosen as the 'Preferred Alternative' to host the world’s largest BSL4 Agricultural facility. With the facility comes the claims of an economic boom with the influx of construction jobs, state and federal taxes, federal grants and last but not least research prestige. The official announcement was made as a delegation of Kansas Politicos waltzed one by one toward the mic to express their glee on the 'historic opportunity.'"

'Killing a Brown': New Evidence of Exremists in the Military
David Holthaus writes for the Intelligence Reporter: "The racist skinhead logged on with exciting news: He'd just enlisted in the United States Army. 'Sieg Heil, I will do us proud,' he wrote. It was a June 3 post to AryanWear Forum 14, a neo-Nazi online forum to which 'Sobibor's SS,' who identified himself as a skinhead living in Plantersville, Ala., had belonged since early 2004. (Sobibor was a Nazi death camp in Poland during World War II)."

Baby Steps -- and Big Questions -- for General Colin Powell
Steve Ralls for Huffington Post discusses comments by retired Gen. Colin Powell that the military gay ban "should" be reviewed are encouraging to hear, but will do little to advance the debate since the former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff remains mum on what actions Congress should take to change the policy, according to Steve Ralls, a former spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Ralls writes: "While no one doubts that Powell could answer with specifics about what he believes, the question is: does he understand why now is the time that he should?"

Anti-Immigrant Fervor Translates to Terror for Women
Melissa Nalani Ross writes for On the Issues Magazine: "In my work on civil and human rights, especially with immigrant populations, I was contacted recently about a woman without documentation who worked at a fruit stand in the northeast. A male customer approached her and asked if she had any waitressing experience, as he needed servers at his restaurant. Seeing this as an opportunity to make a little more money to support herself and her family, the woman agreed to stop by the establishment for an interview. When she arrived, instead of sitting down and discussing a job opportunity, the woman was met by a group of men who took turns raping her. They then told her that if she went to the authorities, they would have her deported."

Hard Times Without Studs
Tom Engelhardt blogs for The Nation: "On Sunday, I went to a memorial for Studs Terkel, that human dynamo, our nation's greatest listener and talker, the one person I just couldn't imagine dying. After all, the man wrote his classic oral history of death, 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken?' at 89, and only then did he do his oral history of hope, 'Hope Dies Last.' The celebration of his life went on for almost two and a half hours. Everyone on stage had a classic story about the guy, one better than the next, and Studs would have been thrilled that so many people talked at such length about him. But he wouldn't have stayed. Half an hour into the event, he would have been out the door, across the street, and into the nearest bar, asking people about their lives."

Most Outrageous Media Comments of 2008

Julie Millican reports for Media Matters: "With attacks on autistic children, the poor, and HIV-positive basketball star Magic Johnson, talking heads showed that nobody was safe in 2008, no matter how unfounded and unseemly the smear. Progressive politicians, particularly Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton and President-elect Barack Obama, were also targets. Obama was called everything from a 'pussy' (Don Imus), to a 'steamy crap sandwich' (Chris Krok). One commentator said Obama 'fits the stereotype blacks once labeled as an Oreo -- a black on the outside, a white on the inside' (John McLaughlin), while others associated him with the Antichrist (Bill Cunningham, Chris Baker, Brian Sussman, others). Michelle Obama was also targeted, being described, among other things, as 'Kim Jong-Il dressed up with a bit of Oprah Winfrey dressing' (Mark Steyn). MSNBC's Chris Matthews said Clinton's success is attributable not to her merit, but to the fact that 'her husband messed around.'"

Black Journalist, Bloggers Discuss the Future of News
Talla Whyte writes for the Bay State Banner that with newspapers across the nation watching their circulations decline, many black journalists find themselves re-evaluating the next steps in their own careers. The drop in print readership has also affected the nation’s approximately 200 black newspapers, leading many to reconsider how to stay competitive.

The FCC and the KGB -- No Long a Laughing Matter
Art Brodsky writes for Public Knowledge: "Over the past couple of years, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin got a lot of mileage out of making jokes about his 'KGB-style management' at the Commission. In 2006 and last year, he used his designated humor speech at the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) dinners to poke fun at himself, including drawing up a “top 7 list” of how the FCC isn’t like the KGB. Number 3 on the list: 'The KGB is run efficiently.' Nobody’s laughing today. That’s because the Democratic staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a report, entitled 'Deception and Distrust: The Federal Communications Commission Under Chairman Kevin J. Martin.' The report reads like a 110-page indictment, complete with exhibits. And, according to Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), the chairman of the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee, there will be more to come."


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  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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