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 January 2009

Clippings for 25 January 2009

Power of the Pen
Mike Madden writes for Salon.com: "It turns out that the good thing about setting up a classified detention system in Cuba that's entirely run by the Pentagon, or a secret network of CIA torture chambers around the world, is that the White House can pretty much do whatever it wants with them by executive fiat -- including, as of Thursday, order them all shut down, as quickly as possible. (Of course, that power to rule Guantánamo and the secret prisons without any oversight is also one of the main reasons human rights advocates have been clamoring for them to be closed.)"

Day One: New FOIA Rules
Clint Hendler writes for the Columbia Journalism Review: "Addressing his new White House staff in a ceremony this afternoon, President Barack Obama spoke repeatedly of the importance of open government to his new administration. 'Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones,' he promised, shortly before signing several new executive orders, two of which were specifically designed to increase access to government information. One will require Obama and past presidents to consult with the solicitor general and the attorney general before they claim privilege over information. I’ll be interested to learn the details on that one, once the White House updates its online listing of executive orders."

Remaking America
Carol Jenkins writes for the Women's Media Project: "In the darkness of predawn, we walked silently through the streets of Washington to take our places on the mall. As the day began, there was no noisy jubilation, only the sound of forward movement, a determination to secure a spot to witness history. Mine was about midpoint among, we believe now, a million and a half witnesses. I stood next to a middle-aged man wiping tears from his face as his wife leaned into him; behind a mixed group of young men—black, Asian, white—in awe of the spectacle; in front of a group of older black women, quietly insisting the younger, taller ones stoop down so they could see. They responded quickly with a smile. I’ve never been in a more congenial, optimistic, unified throng."

Foreclosure Fightback: Resistance to Housing Foreclosures Spread Across the Land
Ben Ehrenreich writes for The Nation: "'This is a crowd that won't scatter,' James Steele wrote in the pages of The Nation some seventy-five years ago. Early one morning in July 1933, the police had evicted John Sparanga and his family from a home on Cleveland's east side. Sparanga had lost his job and fallen behind on mortgage payments. The bank had foreclosed. A grassroots 'home defense' organization, which had managed to forestall the eviction on three occasions, put out the call, and 10,000 people - mainly working-class immigrants from Southern and Central Europe - soon gathered, withstanding wave after wave of police tear gas, clubbings and bullets, 'vowing not to leave until John Sparanga [was] back in his home.'... The crowds appear to be gathering again - far more quietly this time but hardly tentatively. Community-based movements to halt the flood of foreclosures have been building across the country."

MUST READING for Every Manhattanite: Another Real Estate Crisis is about to Hit
Former Community Bridge guest Craig Paul Roberts writes for CounterPunch: "For a picture of the US real estate crisis, imagine New Orleans wrecked by Hurricane Katrina, and before the waters even begin to recede, a second Katrina hits. The 1,120,000 lost US retail jobs in 2008 are a signal that the second stage of the real estate bust is about to hit the economy. This time it will be commercial real estate--shopping malls, strip malls, warehouses, and office buildings. As businesses close and rents decline, the ability to service the mortgages on the over-built commercial real estate disappears."
Comment by Christopher: Two years ago I question Commissioner Tom Phillips on one of our first shows about this issue - real estate in an economic downturn - and he said we should not think about such things. When do we think about such issues Commissioner Phillips? It is obvious that you consistently fail to understand the complexity of the issues before our community. We are building a "redevelopment" project that is going to be a 1,000 lb yoke around our necks as a majority of the City Commissioners - our "gangsters" - show no fortitude to contribute to a better community for all. It's all about maintaining the status quo by enriching the rich and to hell with everyone else.

How America Embrased Lemon Socialism
Robert Reich writes on Robert Reich's Blog: "America has embraced Lemon Socialism. The federal government -- that is, you and I and every other taxpayer -- has taken ownership of giant home mortgagors Fannie and Freddie, which are by now basket cases. We've also put hundreds of millions into Wall Street banks, which are still flowing red ink and seem everyday to be in worse shape. We've bailed out the giant insurer AIG, which is failing. We've given GM and Chrysler the first installments of what are likely to turn into big bailouts. It's hard to find anyone who will place a big bet on the future of these two."

More Mea Culpas from Geithner as Regulator
Jeff Gerth reports for ProPublica: "As Timothy Geithner inched closer to becoming Treasury Secretary, document hounds got a treat: 100 pages of Geithner's answers (PDF) to pointed written questions from Senate Finance Committee members, who today voted 18-5 in favor of his confirmation."

The Duncan Doctrine: The Military-Corporate Legacy of the New Secretary of Education
Andy Koll writes for Tomdispatch: "On December 16th, a friendship forged nearly two decades ago on the hardwood of the basketball court culminated in a press conference at the Dodge Renaissance Academy, an elementary school located on the west side of Chicago. In a glowing introduction to the media, President-elect Barack Obama named Arne Duncan, the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools system (CPS), as his nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education. 'When it comes to school reform,' the President-elect said, 'Arne is the most hands-on of hands-on practitioners. For Arne, school reform isn't just a theory in a book -- it's the cause of his life. And the results aren't just about test scores or statistics, but about whether our children are developing the skills they need to compete with any worker in the world for any job.'"

The Audacity of Educated Hope: The Promise of an Educated Citizenry

Henry Giroux writes for CoutnerPunch: "Most recently a number of progressive pundits have argued that with the election of Barack Obama to the presidency, intelligence and hope are once again not only embraced but promoted as part of an essential element of American culture. At work in this discourse is a qualified endorsement of Obama’s emphasis on hope, one that is audacious in its reach and courageous in its ability to see beyond the wretched cynicism and inflated self-interest that accompanied the embrace of an unchecked and unprincipled market fundamentalism celebrated with great fervor since the Reagan revolution of the 1980s. But the country needs more than a notion of hope that is audacious; it needs a conception of educated hope, one that is both bold in its vision and keen in its understanding that only by supporting those institutions that provide the conditions for an educated citizenry can reform actually work in the interest of sustaining a substantive democracy in which hope as a precondition for politics itself."

Getting Rid of the "War on Terror" Mindset
Matthew Yglesias writes for The American Prospect: "The notion of a 'war on terror' is a controversial one - British Foreign Secretary David Miliband recently critiqued it for giving the impression of a 'unified, transnational enemy.' Will Obama discard the phrase? The inauguration of Barack Obama clearly augurs the beginning of the end of America's disastrous war in Iraq. Less clear is what it means for the larger conceptual framework in which the war is embedded, the so-called 'war on terror' of which the Iraq war, in the Bush administration's formulation, is but one 'battle.'"

The People vs. Dick Cheney

Karen Greenberg writes for Mother Jones: "Just weeks before the 2004 presidential election, Donald Rumsfeld, then secretary of defense, appeared at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. After the secretary finished, with customary panache, assessing the state of the war on terrorism ("Have there been setbacks in Afghanistan and Iraq? You bet"), a young man in a business suit asked politely, 'Mr. Secretary, you have a very impressive career both within...and outside the government sector. As such a credible leader, could you please explain to us what your definition of the word 'accountability' is?'"

NSA Whistleblower: Wiretaps Were Combined With Credit Card Records of US Citizens
Kim Zetter writes for Wired: "NSA whistleblower Russell Tice was back on Keith Olbermann's MSNBC program Thursday evening to expand on his Wednesday revelations that the National Security Agency spied on individual US journalists, entire US news agencies as well as 'tens of thousands' of other Americans."

Immigration Reform Must Regain a Moral Compass
Roberto Lovato comments for New America Media: "The buzz filling Blackberrys, busy halls and spacious deal-making rooms in Washington appears to signal that spring arrived early this year for immigrants. In the last week alone, several prominent figures—outgoing President Bush, incoming President Obama, Mexican President Calderón, Los Angeles Cardinal Mahoney, to name a few—have discussed the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform. And, as in the previous failed attempts at reform in 2006 and 2007, legalization for the more than 12 million undocumented among us occupies the center of forums, speeches and other public statements of Democratic and civic leaders in the beltway."

Obama Frees Bush Historical Records
Robert Parry reports for Consortium News: "When authoritarian forces seize control of a government, they typically move first against the public's access to information, under the theory that a confused populace can be more easily manipulated. They take aim at the radio stations, TV and newspapers. In the case of George W. Bush in 2001, he also took aim at historical records, giving himself and his family indefinite control over documents covering the 12 years of his father's terms as President and Vice President. It was, therefore, significant that one of Barack Obama's first acts as President was to revoke the Bush Family's power over that history and to replace it with an easier set of regulations for accessing the records."

This Week in Scandals: Bank of America, Goodbye Gitmo, and More...
Alexandra Andrews compiles ProPublica's weekly report on what's rally happening: "Last Friday, Bank of America admitted a secret deal with the U.S. government [4] that helped oil its purchase of Merrill Lynch, prompting angry shareholders to ask why they were left in the dark [5]. The news came on the heels of BofA’s disclosure that Merrill had lost $15.3 billion [6] in the fourth quarter. BofA claims it didn’t know about the massive loss before shareholders agreed to buy Merrill on Dec. 5, but one investor isn’t so sure [7]. At any rate, BofA told the government about the losses about a month before shareholders were clued in [8]."

Food Crisis - The Facts
The New Internationalist reports: "The increase in global food prices may have temporarily stalled but food is expected to remain at record price levels for the foreseeable future. Industrial agriculture’s chickens have come home to roost. But the price is being paid not by agribusiness and food retailers but by small farmers whose income remains low, and by the millions being pushed into malnutrition."

Equal Pay for Breadwinners: More Men Are Jobless While Women Earn Less for Equal Work
Heather Boushey writes for The Center for American Progress: "With so many men out of work, it is clear that more families are relying on women workers to make ends meet. As women increasingly take on the role of breadwinner, ensuring that they get a fair wage is taking on more urgency than ever before. Nearly half a century after passage of the Equal Pay Act, women continue to earn less than men, even if they have similar educational levels and work in similar kinds of jobs as their male co-workers."

Biggest Jackass in Kansas Politics
Our friends at KansasJackass deliver another stinging evaluation of Kansas' Republican National Senator and Representatives who voted against paying women equal pay for equal work.

Far-right Obama Critics Get a Reply
Leonard Pitts Jr. comments for the Maimi Hearld: "'I hope he fails.' -- Limbaugh It is, of course, a calculated outrage. Meaning, it was spewed by a clown in the media circus to kick a familiar sequence into motion: angry denunciation by bloggers, pundits and supporters of President Barack Obama (the ''he'' whose failure is hoped), followed by Rush Limbaugh refusing to retract a word, a courageous truth teller who will not be moved. And, trailing behind, like the folks with brooms trail the elephants in the circus parade, Limbaugh's devotees, complaining that their hero has been misquoted, misunderstood or otherwise mistreated. `What Rush meant was . . . yadda yadda yadda.'''

Recommended Audio: Limbaugh's desire for Obama to 'fail' is 'arguably treasonous': Stewart
David Edwards and Ron Brynaert comment for TheRawStory.com: "After only a few days, Fox News does its "duty," and, of course, all the while, remaining "fair and balanced," finds reasons Americans should fear the Obama administration." You can view John Stewart's comeback at this site.

Ecologists Warn the Planet Is Running Short of Water
Leo Lewis, The Times Online UK: "A swelling global population, changing diets and mankind's expanding “water footprint” could be bringing an end to the era of cheap water. The warnings, in an annual report by the Pacific Institute in California, come as ecologists have begun adopting the term 'peak ecological water' — the point where, like the concept of 'peak oil,' the world has to confront a natural limit on something once considered virtually infinite. "

Global Warming Increasing Death Rate of US Trees, Scientists Warn
Alok Jha reports for The Guardian UK: "Trees in the western United States are dying twice as quickly as they did three decades ago and scientists think global warming is to blame. In their surveys, ecologists found that a wide range of tree species were dying including pines, firs and hemlocks and at a variety of altitudes. The changes can have serious long-term effects including reducing biodiversity and turning western forests into a source of carbon dioxide as they die and decompose. That could lead to a runaway effect that speeds up climate change."

FCC Slaps Comcast, Fuels Network Neutrality Hopes
Kim Dixon reports for Reuters: "A last-minute bid by outgoing FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to deepen a probe of Comcast is fueling the hopes of those pushing for unfettered access to the Internet. The FCC said that Comcast's attempt to revise the practices it uses to manage Internet traffic unfairly favors its own VoIP service."

Staff Finds White House in Technological Dark Ages
Anne Kornbult reports for the Washington Post: "If the Obama campaign represented a sleek, new iPhone kind of future, the first day of the Obama administration looked more like the rotary-dial past. Two years after launching the most technologically savvy presidential campaign in history, Obama officials ran smack into the constraints of the federal bureaucracy yesterday, encountering a jumble of disconnected phone lines, old computer software, and security regulations forbidding outside e-mail accounts."

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