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

25 December 2008

Clippings for 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas - Happy Hanukkah - Glorious Yule - Joyous Kawanza to all our readers/listeners and wish for prosperity in the New Year.

Click on titles to read complete articles.

The Battle for Human Rights.
Barbara Cossette writes for The Nation: "There was a lot of self-congratulation in the United States and Europe in the 1990s over a post-Communist new world order marked by a global stampede to democracy and, by implication, a wide embrace of traditional Western concepts of civil and political rights. There is certainly a new world order. But it is not the one many predicted."

The Grinning Skull: The Homicides You Didn't Hear About in Hurricane Katrina
Rebecca Solnit writes for TomDispatch.com: "What do you do when you notice that there seems to have been a killing spree? While the national and international media were working themselves and much of the public into a frenzy about imaginary hordes of murderers, rapists, snipers, marauders, and general rampagers among the stranded crowds of mostly poor, mostly black people in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, a group of white men went on a shooting spree across the river. Their criminal acts were no secret but they never became part of the official story."

Dismantling the Imperial Presidency
Aziz Huq, The Nation: "President-elect Obama's first appointments to the Justice, State and Defense Departments mark no radical change. Rather, they return to a centrist consensus familiar from the Clinton years. But pragmatic incrementalism and studied bipartisanship will do little to undo the centerpiece of the Bush/Cheney era's legacy. At its heart, that regime was intent on forcing the Constitution into a new mold of executive dominance."

Recommended Audio: Democracy Now December 22: Rove's IT Guru Warned of Sabotage
Amy Goodman reports on Democracy Now!: "A top Republican internet strategist who was set to testify in a case alleging election tampering in 2004 in Ohio has died in a plane crash. Mike Connell was the chief IT consultant to Karl Rove and created websites for the Bush and McCain electoral campaigns. He also set up the official Ohio state election website reporting the 2004 presidential election returns. Connell was reportedly an experienced pilot. He died instantly Friday night when his private plane crashed in a residential neighborhood near Akron, Ohio."

US Economy Shrinks as IMF Warns of Great Depression
Agence France-Presse reports: "The US economy shrank in the third quarter, official data confirmed Tuesday, as the IMF's top economist warned of a second Great Depression offering no respite from relentless gloom ahead of Christmas. The abrupt 0.5 percent contraction of gross domestic product (GDP) in the world's largest economy was seen as marking the start of a steep downturn for the United States after GDP growth of 2.8 percent in the second quarter."

Housing Starts Fall Through the Floor
Dean Baker reports for the Center for Economic and Policy Research: "The Census Bureau reported a sharp drop in housing starts in November from a downwardly-revised October rate.... In fact, the start reported for November is lower than any rate reported for the last fifty years."

AP Study Finds $1.6 Billion Went to Bailed-Out Bank Executives
Frank Bass and Rita Beamish report for The Associated Press: "Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals. The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages."

My Battle With the Banks
Dennis Kucinich writes for Truthdig: "Once they were as gods, but the deities of the American banking system are now in ruins, plunged from their pedestals into the maw of taxpayer largesse. Congress voted to give the banks $700 billion, lifting them temporarily out of their sepulcher of debt, while revealing a deep truth about the condition of America’s financial powers: They never had the money they said they had as they constructed their debt-based monetary system which now lies in ruins. Their decisions on behalf of depositors, shareholders and investors were lacking in basic integrity and common sense. Green gods bailing out with their golden parachutes. There was a time when their power was real. Come with me to Cleveland 30 years ago today."

Thinking Forward: Conceptualizing Economic Vision
Michael Albert for Znet. “Thinking Forward” is a compendium of lectures from a course on Conceptualizing Economic Vision given on the Left On Line telecommunications system. The procedures for the course are typical for online courses. Each week there is new lecture. During the week, students react and pose questions. Faculty responds, as do other students. Debate proceeds and there is another lecture at week’s end. This volume, then, is one among many that we hope will emerge from the Ideas on Line University.

Man Is a Cruel Animal
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig.com: "It was Joseph Conrad I thought of when I read an article in The Nation magazine this month about white vigilante groups that rose up out of the chaos of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans to terrorize and murder blacks. It was Conrad I thought of when I saw the ominous statements by authorities, such as International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, warning of potential civil unrest in the United States as we funnel staggering sums of public funds upward to our bankrupt elites and leave our poor and working class destitute, hungry, without health care and locked out of their foreclosed homes. We fool ourselves into believing we are immune to the savagery and chaos of failed states. Take away the rigid social structure, let society continue to break down, and we become, like anyone else, brutes."

Profits in Hungry Times
GRAIN - a small international NGO which promotes the sustainable management and use of agricultural biodiversity based on people’s control over genetic resources and local knowledge - reports in the New Internationalist: "The current hunger crisis is forcing millions of the world’s most vulnerable people to the edge. The most recent headlines come from Ethiopia but it was Haiti earlier this year that provided a quick snapshot of the dynamics of starvation. Runaway prices for basic staples like rice have driven its people to desperate measures. Some have even tried to stave off hunger by eating mud patties mixed with oil and sugar. Others have turned to protest. When commodity prices peaked earlier this year, food riots broke out across the country. They drew the world’s attention and even forced the Prime Minister to resign, but this has made little difference to government policy. Several months later, the riots are starting again."

Will Environmental Justice Finally Get Its Due?

Brentin Mock, The American Prospect: "If President-Elect Barack Obama's recent cabinet choices are any indication, the decades-old environmental justice movement may finally see many of its top policy goals fulfilled. The Obama administration is poised to finally deliver on White House promises made in the early 1990s to protect minorities from toxic waste, and with the addition of an Office of Urban Policy, it may go even further toward correcting historical racial disparities when it comes to environmental hazards. On Feb. 11, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order #12898, the Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations. It was a huge milestone for the environmental justice movement, which began in the early 1980s when multi-racial coalitions of activists fought against pollution and dumpings near African-American communities in Warren County, North Carolina, and Dickson County, Tennessee."

Coalition Sues Over Mining Ruling
James Bruggers writes for The Louisville Courier Journal: "A coalition of environmental groups including Kentucky Waterways Alliance has sued the Interior Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeking to overturn a new rule that will make it easier for mining companies to dump waste rock into streams. The revisions, made final December 12, will let mining companies disregard a 100-foot stream buffer zone if they are able to convince regulators that no other option was available and that they had taken steps to minimize harm to the environment."

US: Soaring Rates of Rape and Violence Against Women

Human Rights Watch reports: "A new government report showing huge increases in the incidences of domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault over a two-year period in the United States deserves immediate attention from lawmakers and the incoming administration, Human Rights Watch said December 18. The statistics show a 42 percent increase in reported domestic violence and a 25 percent increase in the reported incidence of rape and sexual assault."

Planned Parenthood Says Midnight Regulation Jeopardizes Women's Health
Salem-News.com reports: "The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) sharply criticized a last-minute regulation by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that poses a serious threat to patients' rights to receive complete and accurate health care information and services."

Brown's Stand on Prop. 8 Raises New Questions
Victoria Kim and Jack Leonard report for The Los Angeles Times: "California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown's decision to throw the weight of his office behind same-sex marriage has sparked debate over whether his arguments will actually do more harm than good for those hoping to overturn the initiative. Brown's request that the California Supreme Court overturn the state's ban on same-sex marriage - arguing that it undermines fundamental liberties - has been widely hailed as a victory in the fight for gay rights. But far less attention has been paid to Brown's long written rejection of some of the principal legal theories put forth by same-sex marriage advocates in their bid to roll back Proposition 8."

Recommended Audio: Feast of Fools Interview of Cleve Jones.
Fausto Fernós interviews the real-life Cleve Jones, Harvey Milk’s protegee and friend portrayed by the hunky actor Emile Hirsch in Gus Van Sant’s new biographic film MILK brings forth a chilling timeliness with parallels to the anti-gay measures passed in the last election. Since the 1970s, Jones has been working tirelessly for gay rights and union organization. Have we come a long way baby, or have we only just begun?

One Leg Raised on the Bush-Cheney Legacy: Deconstructing the Spin and Propaganda
In an incisive 2,500 word analysis, award-winning journalist and university professor Walter Brasch reviews eight years of Republican spin and propaganda, all wrapped up in a letter sent by the Republican National Committee.

Statement of Public Interest Groups on Proposed Broadband Principles in Upcoming Economic Stimulus Package
Public interest groups in the Media and Democracy Coalition are urging the Obama-Biden administration and Congress to focus on accountability, local approaches, access and adoption, Internet freedom and a coherent national broadband policy.

Broadband Bailout Needs Accountability
Jon Bartholomew writes for Common Cause Blog: "The time is critical for broadband expansion, and the Obama administration's broadband plan in needed. But we have to do it right. We need accountability to make sure this is money well spent. The last thing we should do is give it to the big incumbent carriers for projects they are already planning on doing."

Recommended Audio: NPR's On the Media - The Stories they Carried.
The Federal Writers' Project put thousands of people to work including Zora Neale Hurston, Stetson Kennedy, and John Steinbeck. They recorded oral histories, folkways, music and wrote everything from state guides to children's books. Along the way, the program upended the American story. (Audio 6:35)

Recommended Audio:Lawrence Lessig's 'Remix' For The Hybrid Economy
Fresh Air from WHYY, December 22, 2008: In his new book Remix, law professor Lawrence Lessig explores the changing landscape of intellectual property in the digital age — and argues that antiquated copyright laws should be updated.

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