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

08 January 2009

Clippings for 8 January 2009

Urgent appeal to Stop the Fighting in Gaza

AVAAZ.org is sponsoring a petition to the UN Security Council, the European Union, the Arab League and the US Government, that reads:
We urge you to act immediately to ensure a comprehensive ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, to protect civilians on all sides, and to address the growing humanitarian crisis. Only through robust international action and oversight can the bloodshed be stopped, the Gaza crossings safely re-opened and real progress made toward a wider peace in 2009.

Click on titles to read complete articles.

Bring in the Peacekeepers?
Robert Fisk writes for The Independent UK: "Do I hear the braying of the UN donkey in Gaza? On his Middle East tour, the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, may well be mentioning that well-known Eeyore figure on the East River, always so willing to send its peacekeepers on Mission Impossible. The Palestinians have been trying to internationalise their conflict with the Israelis ever since Yasser Arafat pleaded for UN forces to protect the Palestinians after the failure of the Oslo agreement."

The Ponzi Scheme Presidency: Bush's Legacy of Destruction

Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch.com: "With Bush's 'commander-in-chief' presidency only days from its end, the price tag on his 'war' continues to soar as dollars grow scarce, new investors refuse to pay in, and the scheme crumbles. Unfortunately, the American people, typical suckers in such a con game, will be left with a mile-high stack of IOU's. In any Ponzi scheme comparison with Madoff, however, one difference (other than size) stands out. Sooner or later, Madoff, like Charles Ponzi himself, will end up behind bars, while George, Dick, & Co. will be writing their memoirs and living off the fat of the land."

Stimulus Plan: The Need and the Size
Robert Reich writes: "The core problem we face is not access to capital. The Treasury has already flooded Wall Street and the banking system with money, committing nearly $350 billion; the Federal Reserve Board has exchanged Treasury bills for some $2.2 trillion of troubled assets; other agencies, such as the FDIC, have guaranteed trillions more. But there has been no appreciable result. Banks will not lend because they fear borrowers will not repay; businesses will not borrow because they do not have adequate markets for their goods and services; individuals cannot and will not borrow because they do not have enough reliable income to do so."

Stimulus Time: The Fierce Urgency of Now
Mark Weisbrot writes for The Center for Economic and Policy Research: "Nobody needs to be told that our economy is going down the tubes at a rate unseen for decades. Every week brings new numbers that are setting records. In just the three months ending in November the job loss was 1.26 million, the worst since 1975. We have lost more than 2 million jobs in 2008."

Gates Estimates Another $69.7 Billion Needed in Fiscal 2009 for Wars

Josh Rogin writes in the Congressional Quarterly: "Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has sent a $69.7 billion war cost 'estimate' to congressional leaders and said that the outgoing administration will not formally request more war funding before President-elect Barack Obama takes office. The money would cover military operations related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with activities to battle terrorism around the world, for the remainder of fiscal 2009, which ends Sept. 30. It is not an official request for funding and is subject to change pending new strategic and budgetary decisions by the incoming administration."

Obama's Justice Nominees Signal End of Bush Terror Tactics

Greg Gordon writes for McClatchy Newspapers: "In filling four senior Justice Department positions Monday, President-elect Barack Obama signaled that he intends to roll back Bush administration counter-terrorism policies authorizing harsh interrogation techniques, warrantless spying and indefinite detentions of terrorism suspects. The most startling shift was Obama's pick of Indiana University law professor Dawn Johnsen to take charge of the Office of Legal Counsel, the unit that's churned out the legal opinions that provided a foundation for expanding President George W. Bush's national security powers."

Hey Obama, Don't Let Afghanistan Be Your Quagmire
Robert Dreyfuss writes for The nation: "President-elect Barack Obama says that Afghanistan is 'the right war.' 'It's time to heed the call from General [David] McKiernan and others for more troops,' Obama said in late October, referring to the US commander in Afghanistan. 'That's why I'd send at least two or three additional combat brigades to Afghanistan.' He's coupled that with tough talk about hitting Al Qaeda anywhere, including next door in Pakistan. 'If we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act, and we will take them out,' Obama said in the second of his three debates with John McCain. 'We will kill bin Laden. We will crush Al Qaeda.'"

Government Transparecy Takes a Hit
Jennifer LaFleur writes for ProPublica: "As one of the most secretive presidential administrations in history gets ready to close up shop, it’s closing a few more things—records. Over the past few months, some federal agencies have issued rules that would eliminate public disclosure of information—or, in some cases, make it more difficult for requestors to get information.

A 50-Year Farm Bill

Wes Jackson and Wendell Berry comment in the New York Times: "The extraordinary rainstorms last June caused catastrophic soil erosion in the grain lands of Iowa, where there were gullies 200 feet wide. But even worse damage is done over the long term under normal rainfall — by the little rills and sheets of erosion on incompletely covered or denuded cropland, and by various degradations resulting from industrial procedures and technologies alien to both agriculture and nature."

Labor Leaders See Chance for Rebirth
Jeanne Cummings writes for Politico.com: "Could the Inauguration of Barack Obama launch a renewal of the labor movement? That’s the hope of labor leaders who have been monitoring Cabinet appointments and delivering legislative and regulatory wish lists to the Obama transition teams."

Wanted: More Science and Math Teachers in the US
Stacy Teicher Khadaroo writes for The Christian Science Monitor: "Jeremy Kennefick and Geoffrey Gailey are both new science teachers, one a career-changer, the other fresh out of graduate school. Both are teaching in high-poverty districts, where the needs are greatest. And both are surrounded by a rare level of support - financial incentives, mentors, and groups of other new teachers to consult with as they grow in the profession."

Black Middle Class in Crisis
Zenitha Prince writes for the Washington Afro and reportign by New America Media: "The current economic crisis has waged a particularly severe attack on the Black middle-class in the United States, experts say. For African Americans, '2008 was not a good year,' said Algernon Austin, director of Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy at the Economic Policy Institute, 'and unfortunately, it looks like things will get worse.' The adage that when America sneezes, Black America catches a cold has held true, making it almost inevitable that African Americans would bear the brunt of the country’s financial woes, economists say."

Alternet has published a series of articles on religion, or the lack there of, which are well worth the time to read:

We're Witnessing the Return of Religion as a Principle Cause of Warfare
Why did faith re-emerge as the driving force in America and in the politics of many Islamic countries?

Why Atheism May Be the Best Way to Understand God
Only a lack of belief in God offers the possibility of increasing our understanding of him or her.

Why Belief Isn't That Different for Atheists or Religious People
We never know 100 percent about anything. There's always an information gap between ourselves and certainty.

Part I: A Health Care System Badly Out of Balance
Scott Allen and Marcella Bombardieri report for The Boston Globe: "Call it the best-kept secret in Massachusetts medicine: Health insurance companies pay a handful of hospitals far more for the same work even when there is no evidence that the higher-priced care produces healthier patients."

Part II: Fueled by Profits, a Healthcare Giant Takes Aim at Suburbs
Scott Allen, Marcella Bombardieri, Michael Rezendes, editor Thomas Farragher, Liz Kowalczyk and Jeffrey Krasner report for The Boston Globe: "It was a gala affair with fancy finger food, festive balloons, and 150 guests mingling beneath a tent on a construction site where heavy machines had already begun to carve the earth. When Partners HealthCare Inc. broke ground on its enormous $144 million outpatient center in Danvers in September 2007, guests were invited to sign a steel I-beam that would help form the clinic's sturdy frame. Company officials talked about transforming medical care on the North Shore. There was warm applause and congratulations."

Condom Burnings and Anti-Gay Witch Hunts: How Rick Warren is Undermining AIDS Prevention in Africa

Max Blumenthal writes for the Daily Beast: "Once hailed by Time magazine as “America’s Pastor,” California mega-church leader and bestselling author of The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren now finds himself on the defensive. President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of Warren to deliver the inaugural prayer has generated intense scrutiny of the pastor’s beliefs on social issues, from his vocal support for Prop 8, a ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage in California, to his comparison of homosexuality to pedophilia, incest and bestiality. Many of Obama’s supporters have demanded that he withdraw the invitation."

No Defending the Defense of Marraige Act

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, the author of the Defense of Marriage Act, writes in the Los Angeles Times that the measure is being used as a "de facto club" to prevent the recognition by states of same-sex unions. Barr, who ran for president on the Libertarian ticket in 2008, is calling for the repeal of the federal law.

Recommended Audio: Michael Wolf Interview on the Daily Show
Michael Wolff explains that if you want to start a rumor, just tell Rupert Murdoch.

Internet Overtakes Newspapers As News Outlet
The Pew Research Center for People and the Press reports: "The internet, which emerged this year as a leading source for campaign news, has now surpassed all other media except television as an outlet for national and international news. Currently, 40% say they get most of their news about national and international issues from the internet, up from just 24% in September 2007. For the first time in a Pew survey, more people say they rely mostly on the internet for news than cite newspapers (35%). Television continues to be cited most frequently as a main source for national and international news, at 70%."

US Networks' International News Coverage at Record Low in 2008
Jim Lobe reports for Inter Press Service: "Despite two wars involving more than 200,000 US troops and a global economic crisis, foreign-related news coverage by the three major US television networks fell to a record low during 2008, according to the latest annual review of network news coverage by the authoritative Tyndall Report."

Change Comes at Last -- Even to the FCC
Martyn Warwick writes for TelecomRV: "And, as a new president waits in the wings, political appointees from the old regime are watching as their meal tickets wither, curl-up and blow away. One of the first agencies to undergo change is the FCC, as Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate announced her resignation."

Six Steps Toward a Stronger, More Transparent, More Accountable FCC in the Obama Era
The Social Science Research Council writes: "Public policy should be made with robust, publicly-available data. Few would disagree. Yet in the last decade, federal policymaking in the communications arena has repeatedly failed to meet these two basic conditions: quality of data and access to data."

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