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

30 April 2009

Clippings for 30 April 2009 -

Obama's 100 Day Report Card
Vincent Rossmeier, Mark Schone and Gabriel Winant write for Salon.com: "It has been 100 days since Barack Obama became the 44th president of the United States. The 100th day of a presidency is traditionally a time for taking stock of what the new occupant of the White House has achieved -- especially when the nation confronts a crisis, as in 1933 and 2009, or when there has been true ideological regime change -- again, as in 1933 and 2009. Salon asked 21 writers, politicians, activists and economists for their assessment of the Obama presidency so far. The state of the president's report card is (mostly) strong. He earns a high GPA, though there are critics both left and right ready to give him failing grades in a few crucial areas."

Obama's 100 Days of Progress
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ali Frick, and Ryan Powers write for Think Progress: "Today marks 100 days since President Obama took office. Yesterday, The Progress Report examined how conservatives chose to spend their first 100 days. Today, we highlight the accomplishments of the Obama administration. President Barack Obama took the oath of office on Jan. 21, 2009, with two broad mandates bestowed upon him by the American people: repair the mess that President Bush and his administration left behind after eight disastrous years in office, and enact a bold, progressive agenda that includes fixing our nation's health care system and seriously addressing global climate change. Obama went to work right away, pushing the 'biggest, boldest countercyclical fiscal stimulus in American history' through Congress -- a $787 billion dollar measure that not only creates jobs but also provides investments in energy, transportation, education and health care. Obama also announced his intention to shift focus and resources away from Bush's misbegotten adventure in Iraq and refocus on Afghanistan, where the security situation is worse than it has been since the start of the U.S.-led war there in October 2001. Now, a series of recent public opinion polls shows that the American public not only overwhelmingly approves of the job Obama is doing as president, but they also believe the nation is heading in the right direction -- 'the first time in years the nation has held such an optimistic view of its future.' For example, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 50 percent of Americans now say the country is on the right track (48 percent say the wrong track), compared with just 13 percent who had the same feeling last October (85 percent said the U.S. was heading in the wrong direction at that time). Indeed, in his first 100 days in office, Obama has received the support of the American public to implement the progressive agenda he campaigned on."

Obama's First 100 Days:How the President Fared In the Press vs. Clinton and Bush
The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism reports: "As he marks his 100th day in office, President Barack Obama has enjoyed substantially more positive media coverage than either Bill Clinton or George Bush during their first months in the White House, according to a new study of press coverage. Overall, roughly four out of ten stories, editorials and op ed columns about Obama have been clearly positive in tone, compared with 22% for Bush and 27% for Clinton in the same mix of seven national media outlets during the same first two months in office, according to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Democrats' "Battered Wife Syndrome"
Robert Parry reports for Consortium News: "In recent years, the Washington political dynamic has often resembled an abusive marriage, in which the bullying husband (the Republicans) slaps the wife and kids around, and the battered wife (the Democrats) makes excuses and hides the ugly bruises from outsiders to keep the family together. So, when the Republicans are in a position of power, they throw their weight around, break the rules, and taunt: 'Whaddya gonna do 'bout it?' Then, when the Republicans do the political equivalent of passing out on the couch, the Democrats use their time in control, tiptoeing around, tidying up the house and cringing at every angry grunt from the snoring figure on the couch."

Progressives Lack a Limbaugh-Like Voice
George Lakoff writes in the The San Francisco Chronicle: "You turn the AM on and there's Rush, or Savage, or another of the army of right-wing radio talk show hosts. You may not be listening hard, just working, driving, doing busywork or the laundry. Yet if you listen day after day, year after year, your brain will begin to change. Words, even those heard casually and listened to incidentally, activate frames - structures of ideas that are physically realized in the brain. The more the words are heard, the more the frames are activated in the brain, and stronger their synapses get - until the frames are there permanently. All this is normal. It is how words work. And the right-wing message machine has found a way to take advantage of it - activating, as it were, a conservative system of thought."

The Clinton Bubble
Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig: "Has Timothy Geithner ever had lunch with a non-megamillionaire who has lost his job or home because of the banking meltdown? I ask that question after reading the list of the treasury secretary's luncheon dates when he was head of the New York Federal Reserve, a list that the government was forced to provide in response to a lawsuit."

The Crisis Hasn't Hit Everywhere: 10 States Weathering the Economic Storm

Daniel Wood writes for the Christin Science Monitor (on AlterNet): "The economies of 10 states are outperforming the US economy as a whole, according to a just-released study by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, an independent research group in Albany, NY, which analyzes state and local government. The two biggest reasons, say the authors of the report, are that most of these states have economies that benefited through much of 2008 from high and rising oil and natural gas prices, and their real estate markets have not suffered the bust to the extent seen elsewhere." --> Note last paragraph....

Can Economic Development and Social Justice Coexist?
Tom Vander writes for the Huffington Post: "A friend asked, 'Can economic development and social justice be achieved simultaneously?' I think the answer is, 'Yes, they always develop together but are always in tension.' This is the central question of the American experiment. We each contemplate the opportunity-equity dialectic when we vote (e.g., to what extent does a tax cut expand opportunity at the expense of equity?). The two-party system is organized around this American paradox. It's a long standing societal tension dating, in part, to the Judeo-Christian conception of a God that embodies justice and mercy--it's hard to exhibit one universally much less both simultaneously. American certainly doesn't have it right but, arguably, careens slowly in that direction."

Chasing Ghosts in Afghanistan
Katrina Vanden Heuvel comments in The Nation: "There were two important hearings regarding Afghanistan on the Hill last week -- in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and at the Congressional Progressive Caucus' (CPC) third forum examining the war. Both raised critical questions about the current strategy of escalation -- questions Congress should take to heart as it considers the $83 billion war supplemental in coming weeks. "

Dick Cheney's Torture Hypocrisy
Joseph C. Wilson IV writes for The Daily Beast: "Former Vice President Dick Cheney's reemergence on the political stage after his ignominious departure on Inauguration Day, eschewing the traditional handshake with his successor and the new president, is nothing if not ironic. The most secretive individual in American politics is now calling for the selective release of documents that remain classified in one of his own files marked 'Detainees.' We have also learned that a principal reason for having tortured senior al-Qaeda detainees was not, in fact, to defend the Homeland, but rather to build the case for war with Iraq based on alleged ties between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden."

Torture Was Used to Try to Link Saddam with 9/ll
Marjorie Cohn reports for Truthdig: "In order to justify George W. Bush's illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq, Bush administration officials put heavy pressure on Pentagon interrogators to get Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah to say there was a link between Iraq and the 9/11 hijackers. That link was never established."

Boehner: I Only Want to Declassify Those Documents That Help My Party and Me Politically
Ryan Powers writes for Think Progress: "Last week, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) asked President Obama to release several classified memos referenced in a recent interview by former Vice President Dick Cheney, claiming that the memos could show that the Bush administration's torture program was effective in gathering intelligence. "

Climate Change Hitting Entire Arctic Ecosystem
John Vidal reports for The Guardian UK: "Levels of summer sea ice in the Arctic have drastically reduced since 2005. Extensive climate change is now affecting every form of life in the Arctic, according to a major new assessment by international polar scientists."

Employee Free Choice Act: Making Green Jobs, Good Jobs
Mike Elk comments for The Campaign for America's Future: "Last December, Republic Windows, maker of energy-efficient windows, gained worldwide attention when members of United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE) Local 1110 occupied the plant after their company refused to provide them with severance pay. After a six-day occupation, in which President Obama declared his support for the occupying workers, the UE members won their struggle for severance pay and established a committee to look for buyers to reopen the Chicago plant."

Reform US Foreign Policy. Pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

Robert Naiman comments for Truthout: "Sometimes an opportunity for reform comes along that is 'strategic' in that it changes the playing field for efforts to win other reforms in the future. Passage of the National Labor Relations Act - establishing the right of American workers to organize unions and bargain collectively - was a strategic reform. It increased the power of people previously excluded from power, and thereby reduced the power of corporate interests. But the right of workers in America to organize has been steadily eroded by unpunished abuses by anti-union employers."

Recommended Audio: Are Women Being Denied Justice?
NOW on PBS reports: "A terrible statistic: one in six women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. But an even more shocking reality: A backlog in processing rape kits - crucial evidence in arresting violent predators - is delaying and sometimes denying justice for tens of thousands of American women."

GOP State Rep. Brenda Landwehr: BEWARE OF GARDASIL!!!
Jason at Kansas Jackass writes: "This was one of those hand-to-forehead smacks that happens to me every once in awhile that actually gives me a headache for the rest of the day. Gardasil is a vaccine against certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus which can cause cervical cancer. Matter of fact, nearly all cervical cancer cases are linked directly to HPV. Because this is a vaccine for a virus that can cause cancer (and that's a frickin' awesome), a number of states have taken action to require every single girl and young women who attends public schools to receive the vaccination as part of their required vaccine regimen. Such requirements will certainly save lives (certainly more lives than the vaccines for measles, mumps, and chicken pox vaccines save, at least)."

Equal Payback for Lilly Ledbetter
Heidi Brown writes for Forbes: "Nothing will stop her. That is the lesson of Lilly Ledbetter on this Equal Pay Day - April 28. For 10 years the 71-year-old former factory worker fought to close the gap between women's and men's wages, sparring with the Supreme Court, lobbying Capitol Hill and campaigning for President Barack Obama along the way."

KS Congressional Republicans Votes Against Matthew Shepard Act
Jason writes for KansasJackass: "Our lone Democrat, Congressman Dennis Moore, voted yes- and I thank him for that. The votes from Congressman Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran aren't surprising. The two men both have zero ratings from the Human Rights Campaign, and are always hostile toward bills that protect LGBT Americans from discrimination. I am surprised and deeply saddened by the vote of my Congresswoman, Lynn Jenkins."

Supreme Court Upholds TV Profanity Crackdown
James Vicini reports for Reuters: "The Supreme Court upheld a US government crackdown on profanity on television, a policy that subjects broadcasters to fines for airing a single expletive blurted out on a live show. In its first ruling on broadcast indecency standards in more than 30 years, the high court handed a victory on Tuesday to the Federal Communications Commission, which adopted the crackdown against the one-time use of profanity on live television when children are likely to be watching."

Bill O'Reilly vs. The Family Guy
Priscilla writes for News Hounds: "Like his fellow culture warrior, minder of other people’s business, determiner of decency, and arbiter of morality Brent Bozell, Bill O’Reilly is upset with the satirical cartoon, The Family Guy. Taking a page from his fellow tight derriered grand inquisitor, Bill used part of his Reality Check ('Where we look out for you by correcting the record') segment, last night (April 27th) to whine about yet another attack on our way of life as we know it. (sexual harassment – not a problem!) But wait, isn’t The Family Guy part of the Murdoch empire? Oh, no, say it ain’t so. Is Rupert Murdoch contributing to the decline of American values? How can America’s Big Daddy stay in the employ of a company that encourages media degeneracy?"

Fear-Mongering and the 'FOX Effect'
Timothy Karr writes for the Huffington Post: "Last week, conservative factions within the Republican National Committee circulated an e-mail urging party leadership to brand as a "socialist" anyone who advocates even moderate changes to the government's role in society. It's clear that the overlords at Fox News Channel already got that memo and decided to ratchet the volume up a notch -- to 11."

26 April 2009

Clippings for 26 April 2009 - World Children's Day

Today marks the 22nd Anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant melt down that release radiation across southern Russia and Eastern Europe.

ACTION ALERT:Send a letter to President Obama and Congress telling them that any investigation must be backed by the full force of law and adequate funding.
If you agree, as I do, that we need a non-partisan, fully-funded independent investigation into the Bush Administration's role in torturing detainees, please read on and follow the links below to send an important letter to President Obama and Congress. -- Christopher Renner, Community Bridge host.

From Amnesty International:
Just as the volume of calls for investigations into the U.S. torture program reached deafening levels this week, another classified report came out Tuesday revealing new details about the military's role in torturing detainees.
The Senate Armed Services Committee report refutes claims by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that the military had nothing to do with the vile activities at Abu Ghraib and other military detention centers.(1) And it exposes the "few bad apples" argument as a complete farce, clearly showing that torture was sanctioned and even encouraged in military detention centers.
The momentum for investigations is snowballing. President Obama said last Friday this was a time for "reflection, not retribution"; less than a week later, the national press reports that the President is now open to an investigation.(2)
There's a growing risk that we may get an investigation that lacks independence, the legal authority and funding necessary to tell the full truth about the illegal, U.S. torture program.
Tell President Obama and Congress that any investigation must be independent, backed by the full force of law and sufficiently funded to uncover the full truth behind the U.S. torture program.
We're getting closer to seeing our government actually do the right thing.

Thanks for standing with us.

Njambi Good
Counter Terror with Justice Campaign Director
Amnesty International USA

1 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/us/politics/22report.html
2 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/21/AR2009042102187.html

Obama Needs to Address Domestic Violence

Laura Finley comments for Truthout: "During his presidential campaign, President Obama pledged to make violence against women a priority. He promised to help expand programs and services for victims of domestic violence in the US and abroad, and to strengthen criminal laws. Although he is still in the early days of his presidency and is dealing with many serious issues, it is imperative that the public holds Obama accountable for these campaign promises."

Warrantless Tracking Of Suspects Using Cell Phone GPS
Lee Fang writes for Think Progress: "While serving as a U.S. attorney during the Bush administration, Christopher Christie, now a Republican candidate for Governor in New Jersey, tracked the whereabouts of citizens through their cell phones without warrants. The ACLU obtained the documents detailing the spying program from the Justice Department in an ongoing lawsuit over cell phone tracking."

Recommended Audio: Daily Show - A Brief History of Torture
John Steward rips apart the media's tortured logic on covering torture.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
A Brief History of Torture
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

CIA Official: No Proof Harsh Techniques Stopped Terror Attacks
Mark Seibel and Warren P. Strobel report for McClatchy Newspapers: "The CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques helped the Bush administration thwart any 'specific imminent attacks,' according to recently declassified Justice Department memos."

Recommended Audio: High Crimes?
April 22: Shedding new light on the birth of torture techniques in America, Rachel Maddow is joined by Ron Suskind, author of "The One Percent Doctrine," as they follow the trail of a carefully constructed interrogation program right to the top.

Killing Civilians: How Safe Do You Actually Want to Be?
Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch.com: "Almost like clockwork, the reports float up to us from thousands of miles away, as if from another universe. Every couple of days they seem to arrive from Afghan villages that few Americans will ever see without weapon in hand. Every few days, they appear from a world almost beyond our imagining, and always they concern death -- so many lives snuffed out so regularly for more than seven years now. Unfortunately, those news stories are so unimportant in our world that they seldom make it onto, no less off of, the inside pages of our papers."

100 Down, 900 to Go
Katrina vanden Heuvel comments for The Nation: "As we mark the first 100 days of his presidency, it is staggering to consider the enormous challenges President Obama inherited from his predecessor, arguably the worst President ever. Can the devastation wrought by an eight-year nightmare be sorted out in 100 Days? Of course it can't. That's why Obama himself talked about needing to measure his accomplishments not by the first 100 days, but by the first 1,000."

Blocking the Progressive Agenda
Think Progress writes: Since January, Congress has expanded access to health care for low-income children through the passage of SCHIP Expansion, laid the ground work for economic recovery with the passage of Obama's Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and passed a budget resolution that demonstrated the Obama administration's intention to push for real progressive changes in the tax code, the health care system, and environmental regulation. On health care in particular, congressional Republicans have worked hard to register their opposition to reform. As the Wonk Room's Igor Volsky explained yesterday, "Key Republicans voted against the popular SCHIP legislation, eight Republican senators (including health care heavy weights Grassley and Hatch) voted [in committee] against Gov. Kathleen Sebelius's nomination to head the Department of Health and Human Services, misrepresented the intent of health information technology...in the stimulus, and have already taken the public option off the table." But both the Senate and House leadership are serious about making health care reform happen this year. Due to obstructionism, however, they may now have to implement health care reform through the budget reconciliation process, which would allow the reform measures to be "protected from filibusters and passed by a simple majority vote." Republicans used reconciliation to pass the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, key provisions of their signature legislative agenda in 1994, the Contract with America, and on many other occasions in the last 30 years. Now, however, the Republicans have developed a bit of "political amnesia" and are calling the use of reconciliation the "Chicago approach to governing" and "a declaration of war." Further, they are plotting retaliatory parliamentary tactics -- including refusing to attend committee hearings and demanding that the text of bills, often hundreds of pages long, be read aloud -- that would "grind the Senate to a virtual halt." Yesterday, however, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) conceded that Democrats have the "right" to pass health care reform using the reconciliation process.

Understanding Obamanomics
Bernie Horn writes for the Campaign for America's Future: "When Barack Obama bails out failing banks but also calls for a restructuring of the banking system—when he proposes hundreds of billions of dollars in deficit spending but promises long-term fiscal responsibility—when the President insists on universal health care now but leaves crucial details in doubt—what is he thinking? How can we understand the Obama economic philosophy?"

Firms Infused With Rescue Cash Find Money to Fund Lobbying
Dan Eggen reports for The Washington Post: "Top recipients of federal bailout money spent more than $10 million on political lobbying in the first three months of this year, including aggressive efforts aimed at blocking executive pay limits and tougher financial regulations, according to newly filed disclosure records."

Education Gaps Create "Permanent Recession" Report Says
Stacy Teicher Khadaroo reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "Educational achievement gaps are typically measured in terms of test scores - across lines of race and income, or even across state and national borders. But what if they were measured in dollars?"

Recommended Audio: Truthdig podcast -U.S. Citizens Detained and Deported by Immigration
In its zeal to crack down on illegal immigration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is detaining and deporting American citizens. The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Andrew Becker talks about his investigation into this disturbing trend.

Why Somalis Seize Ships
Abayomi Azikiwe reports for the San Francisco Bay View: "After the execution of three Somalis and the wounding and capturing of another in the Indian Ocean on April 12, a leader of the so-called pirates vowed to avenge the deaths of these youth who held the U.S. captain of a cargo vessel known as the Maersk Alabama for five days. Capt. Richard Phillips was released while the U.S. military and the corporate media hailed the killings of the Somalis, saying the actions were justified. "

Rep. Shimkus Says Capping CO2 Is a Greater 'Assualt on Democracy' than 9/11:
Think Progress writes: On April 23, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) described President Obama's energy plan as "the largest assault on democracy and freedom in this country that I've ever experienced." Speaking at a hearing for the Waxman-Markey Clean Energy and Security Act -- which if passed, will introduce stricter regulations on greenhouse gas emissions in order to build a clean energy economy -- Shimkus made his intense fear of the legislation clear, saying, "I've lived through some tough times in Congress -- impeachment, two wars, terrorist attacks. I fear this more than all of the above activities that have happened." Shimkus's comments, however, are not the first nonsensical remarks he has made about environmental policy. Earlier this year, the congressman asserted that there is no need for a cap-and-trade system to limit CO2 emissions both because CO2 is "plant food" and because carbon emissions were much lower "in the age of the dinosaurs," therefore yielding a "theological debate that this is a carbon-starved planet, not too much carbon." He has also claimed that global warming is not an issue since "the earth will end only when God declares its time to be over."

Can We Afford to Eat Ethically?
Siobhan Phillips writes for Salon.com: "Last month, a report from England found sales of some organic food had fallen up to 31 percent. Ethical food advocates have been worrying about a similar trend in this country since the recession began: Just as the need for better food choices became more widely accepted, our economy fell apart, and consumers who once considered free-range, $5-a-dozen eggs a necessity may start eyeing the caged-hens carton for half that price. A recent National Review column argued that organic food was, in fact, 'an expensive luxury item, something bought by those who have the resources.'"

Hate Crimes Bill Clears Hurdle
Joshua Lynsen reports for the Washingotn Blade: "Hate crimes legislation cleared a hurdle Thursday, winning approval from the House Judiciary Committee. Committee members backed the bill, 15-12, following a second day of debate. The measure will next go to the House floor for a vote, something that Capitol Hill observers have said could occur as soon as next week."

Can Psychiatrists Really "Cure" Homosexuality?
Thomas Maier reposts in Scientific American: "A British survey published last month found that one in 25 therapists would assist gay and bisexual patients attempting to convert to heterosexuality. That's despite the fact that many medical groups, including the American Medical Association, have for years condemned such practices, saying they don't work and can actually cause harm."

Recommended Audio: NPR Examines Barriers to Contraception, Factors That Contribute to Unintended Pregnancies
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Monday, 20 April, examined various methods of contraception and barriers that can limit their effectiveness. According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than 50% of pregnancies in the U.S. are unintentional. Vanessa Cullins, medical director for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said that although society often portrays unintended pregnancies as the fault of the woman, it "should be a responsibility that society shares." Contraception must be used correctly and consistently to avoid unintended pregnancies and, although there are many methods available, several factors -- including culture, lack of information or barriers to access to care -- can hinder use, according to "Morning Edition." These barriers can be especially challenging for younger women, who might be more likely to face long waits at physician offices, providers who might not be up-to-date on the most modern methods of contraception and insurers who do not always cover birth control or only cover a one-month supply, "Morning Edition" reports.

NYT's Barstow: Pulitzer-Winning 'Generals' Story Has Made a Difference
Joe Strupp writes for Editor and Publisher: "One year after his blockbuster investigation into the links between retired military commentators and the Pentagon -- which won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday -- New York Times scribe David Barstow says the reporting has made a difference even if the television networks targeted in his coverage have not come clean."

Is Sean Hannity Hoping For Another Terrorist Attack?
Ellena at New Hounds writes: "As I recently wrote, you have to wonder about Sean Hannity's motives for screeching on national television, night after night, that our country is more vulnerable to attack now. I mean, if you really believe that the release of the torture documents has made us more vulnerable to attack, as Hannity claims, because it lets them know they won't be tortured if they're caught, then why would you further help the enemy by letting them know this is a good time to attack? After watching last night's (4/24/09) edition of Hannity, you now have to wonder whether Hannity isn't actively trying to make that happen. Hannity reiterated many times that our national defenses have been weakened, that President Obama doesn't like America, added that he couldn't believe Obama 'made it' to 100 days in office, then “sincerely” hoped the 9/11 Commission was wrong when they said another attack was inevitable – but if so, would Obama be responsible? Hannity was aided in his efforts by Mike Huckabee, a guest with absolutely no professional experience in this area, but who nonetheless opined that waterboarding is 'like a carnival ride.' Then, with tortured logic, the two agreed that banning those harsh interrogiations carnival rides would embolden our enemies."

US Lawmakers Target Deep Packet Inspection in Privacy Bill
Tom Gross, IDG News Services writes in PC World: "U.S. lawmakers plan to introduce privacy legislation that would limit how Internet service providers can track their users, despite reports that no U.S. ISPs are using such technologies except for legitimate security reasons. Representative Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat, and three privacy experts urged lawmakers Thursday at a hearing before the House Energy Commerce subcommittee to pass comprehensive online privacy legislation in the coming months. Advocates of new legislation focused mainly on so-called deep packet inspection (DPI), a form of filtering that network operators can use to examine the content of packets as they travel across the Internet."

Ruling Boost to Press Freedom, Reporters Rights Groups Claim
JOE SWICKARD, BEN SCHMITT, M.L. ELRICK and JIM SCHAEFER report for the Detroit Free Press: "Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter -- whose legal travails became a rallying cry for media groups seeking to create a federal shield law to protect journalists -- learned Tuesday he will not have to go to jail for refusing to reveal confidential sources. In a decision hailed by reporters rights groups, U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland said Ashenfelter could keep his silence by invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a civil lawsuit brought by former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino."

25 April 2009

April 23 09 - Child Abuse Awareness

April is both Child Abuse Awareness and Sexual Assault Awareness month. For this week's edition of Community Bridge, we welcome Jayme Morris-Hardemen, Executive Director of Sunflower CASA, and Stephanie Reich, SANE/SART Coordinator, Mercy Regional Health Center, to the KSDB studio to discuss child abuse in the Manhattan area and what people need to know about this often not discussed issue.
During the third half of the show, Community Bridge welcomes Melissa Streeter-Prescott and Emily Santacroce-Kennedy to the show to discuss next week's Take Back the Night Rally. The annual rally will take place on Thursday April 29th.

MP3 File

23 April 2009

Clippings for 23 April 2009

Building the American Clean Energy Economy
Steven Chu and Hilda Solis comment for Turthout: "On April 22, people across the country and around the world will celebrate Earth Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of our natural resources and taking real action to make a difference. For decades, while Americans in towns and cities across the country have worked to make a difference in their communities, politicians in both parties in Washington have ignored the energy crisis, imperiling our economy, our security and our planet. Now, we have a unique and critical opportunity to attack the energy crisis head on and create a comprehensive energy policy that will bolster our economy, end our dependence on foreign oil and reduce the threat of deadly pollution that is devastating our planet."

Too Big to Fail: Ecological Ignorance and Economic Collapse
Chip Ward writes for TomDispatch.com: "'Too big to fail.' It's been the mantra of our economic meltdown. Although meant to emphasize the overwhelming importance of this bank or that corporation, the phrase also unwittingly expresses a shared delusion that may be at the root of our current crises - both economic and ecological."

The Lexicon of Disappointment
Naomi Klein writes for The Nation: "All is not well in Obamafanland. It's not clear exactly what accounts for the change of mood. Maybe it was the rancid smell emanating from Treasury's latest bank bailout. Or the news that the president's chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, earned millions from the very Wall Street banks and hedge funds he is protecting from reregulation now. Or perhaps it began earlier, with Obama's silence during Israel's Gaza attack. "

The Crisis That Could Bring Down Obama
Ruth Conniff writes for The Progressive: "Goldman Sachs reports better-than-expected profits this quarter. Wells Fargo cleared record profits last week. The President, understandably, points to signs of hope and encourages Americans to be optimistic about the economy. But when do we move from healthy confidence to a confidence game? The banks are reporting profits thanks to massive infusions of taxpayer bailout funds. It's simply silly to be lulled by cheery-sounding reports when the institutions are actually insolvent. At some point we have to take a clear-eyed look at the massive failure of our financial system. Ignoring it won't make it go away."

Thievery Under the TARP
Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig: "We are being robbed big-time, but you can't say we haven't been warned. Not after the release Tuesday of a scathing report by the Treasury Department's special inspector general, who charged that the aptly named Troubled Asset Relief Fund bailout program is rife with mismanagement and potential for fraud. The IG's office already has opened 20 criminal fraud investigations into the $700 billion program, which is now well on its way to a $3 trillion obligation, and the IG predicts many more are coming. Special Inspector General Neil M. Barofsky charged that the TARP program from its inception was designed to trust the Wall Street recipients of the bailout funds to act responsibly on their own, without accountability to the government that gave them the money."

Arm the COP on the Bank Beat

Robert Borosage comments for the Huffington Post: "'The decisions that are made in the next six months or so are likely to set the economic course of this country for the next 50 years,' says Elizabeth Warren, who chairs the COP, the Congressional Oversight Panel charged with reviewing the banking bailout. 'That’s what happened coming out of the Great Depression, and I think that will happen now.' So Warren is pushing for Treasury to show us the money. What has been done with the $4 trillion the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporations have poured into the financial houses to date? In February, Warren’s committee revealed that Treasury provided the top ten TARP recipients with a subsidy of $78 billion over the market value of the preferred shares purchased for taxpayers, even while stating publicly that the purchases were made 'at par.'"

Declassified Report: Bush Admin Solicited Torture 'Wish List,' Ordered 'Communist' Tactics
Stephen Webster and Diane Sweet write for The Raw Story and published on AlterNet: "A report by the Senate Armed Services Committee released Tuesday night says that torture techniques used at Abu Ghraib prison and approved by officials in the George W. Bush administration were applied only after soliciting a "wish list" from interrogators."

The Shaming of America
Gene Lyons writes for SAlon.com "Anybody with an active conscience can understand why President Barack Obama ordered the Bush administration's 'terror memos' released, overruling his own CIA director. No intelligence secrets were revealed. Much of the information in the documents had previously been widely reported. They weren't classified "Top Secret" to protect national security, but the craven careerists who wrote them, and the White House officials who ordered it done."

Dozens of Prisoners Held by CIA Still Missing, Fates Unknown
Dafna Linzer reports for ProPublica: "Last week, we pointed out that one of the newly released Bush-era memos inadvertently confirmed that the CIA held an al-Qaeda suspect named Hassan Ghul in a secret prison and subjected him to what Bush administration lawyers called 'enhanced interrogation techniques.' The CIA has never acknowledged holding Ghul, and his whereabouts today are secret."

Conyers to Hold Hearings on 'Torture' Memos
Jared Allen reports for The Hill: "House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) on Tuesday announced that he will soon hold hearings on the Bush administration's legal memos justifying the use of numerous enhanced interrogation techniques. Conyers and other Democrats have labeled as torture the techniques explained in the memos, which provide a legal framework for the use of controversial interrogation practices such as waterboarding. President Obama recently declassified the memos written by Bush administration lawyers, which also detail for the first time a number of additional interrogation techniques approved for use by the Central Intelligence Agency."

Bush-Era Rule Grants FBI Unprecedented Investigative Powers

Daphne Eviatar reports in The Washington Independent: "Veterans groups and conservatives roared last week when news broke that the FBI was targeting veterans in a broad probe of extremist groups. But little noise was made in December, when the Bush administration quietly granted the FBI wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity. The Attorney General Guidelines, proposed last summer and adopted by Attorney General Michael Mukasey, appear to be particularly problematic."

Why It's Necessary to Fast-Track Universal Health Care
Robert Reich writes on Robert Reich's Blog: "Obama should fast-track health care and stop trying to court Republicans. Every House Republican and all but three Senate Republicans voted against the stimulus; all Republicans in both houses voted against the budget. During the recess they hosted 'tea parties' claiming that Americans are over-taxed. Over the weekend, House minority leader John Boehner called the idea of carbon-induced climate change 'almost comical.' Republicans are already off and running toward the midterm elections of 2010, even starting to run ads against House Democrats in close districts. They seem hell bent on becoming a tiny, whacky minority - the party that denies evolution, denies global warming, denies Americans need a major overhaul of health care, and denies the economy needs anything more than a major tax cut to get it moving again."

The Piracy Problem: Monsters vs. Aliens
John Feffer writes for TomDispatch.com: "In the comic books, bad guys often team up to fight the forces of good. The Masters of Evil battle the Avengers superhero team. The Joker and Scarecrow ally against Batman. Lex Luthor and Brainiac take on Superman. And the Somali pirates, who have dominated recent headlines with their hijacking and hostage-taking, join hands with al-Qaeda to form a dynamic evil duo against the United States and our allies. We're the friendly monsters - a big, hulking superpower with a heart of gold - and they're the aliens from Planet Amok."

Businesses Get Carded
Rob Larson writes for Dissident Voice: "The business world is up in arms about the Employee Free Choice Act. EFCA would make it easier for workers to unionize, by obliging companies to recognize a union once a majority of workers sign verified union cards. This would replace the more common practice of voting in union representation elections, which take several months and are conducted by secret ballot. The Wall Street Journal calls this 'antidemocratic,' but it’s the employers, not union organizers, who flex the muscle in union elections. The reality lies in two words: 'You’re fired.'"

Inhofe Will Filibuster Judicial Nominee For Ruling Against Sectarian Prayers In Indiana Legislature
Think Progress Reports: "Yesterday on the Senate floor, Sen. James Inhofe announced that he intended to filibuster Obama's nomination of U.S. District Judge David Hamilton to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Inhofe's announcement comes nearly three weeks after the Republican membership of the Senate Judiciary Committee boycotted Hamilton's hearing claiming that 'they had not been given sufficient time to prepare for the hearing.' Inhofe's filibuster is surprising given the fact that Hamilton is generally viewed as representing 'some of [Indiana's] traditionally moderate strain.'"

Double Standard: Missing Black Women Still Get Less Media Attention Than Whites
Jan Ransom reports for The National Newspaper Publishers Association: "Average looking men, women and children from a variety of economic, social and ethnic backgrounds made up the more than 105,000 active missing persons in America last year, according to the National Crime Information Center. However, national media operations often fail to present what is in fact a very diverse missing persons population - African-Americans. And some observers believe race is the factor."

New Feminist Network for "Glocal" Activism
Jiyoung LeeAn reports for Inter Press Service: "Feminist activists have adopted 'glocal‚' a relatively new geolexical construct, to bridge activism from across Asia, Latin America and Africa. About 30 participants from three continents came together for a two-day intensive workshop in Seoul that was followed by a public forum on April 18 to announce the establishment of the Network of GloCal Activism (NGA) and School of Feminism (SF)."

Report: Iraqi militia kill gays with anal glue torture
The Raw Story bloggs: "Even John Yoo would never go this far. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is circulating a foreign report which claims that gay Iraqis are being murdered using a monstrous torture tactic."

Less Than Kudlow: Is CNBC Host Suffering Another Cocaine Relapse? (Radio)
Mark Ames writes for The Exiled: "Why does CNBC host Lawrence Kudlow still have a job? Not only is Kudlow a corrupt goon who has called everything 180 degrees wrong over and over, but he pretty much set the standard for Wall Street’s “most humiliating failure” back in the mid-1990s when he was fired from Bear Stears–the last smart move Bear Stearns ever made. Why was Kudlow fired, you axe? Well, it wasn’t because he called the economy wrong at every turn–hell no! Being wrong is a basic requirement for pundits and Wall Street analysts, you just have to be aggressively wrong and not worry about it, something Kudlow excels at. No, Lawrence Kudlow’s career problems in the 1990s stemmed from the fact that he couldn’t handle his drugs. Cocaine, to be exact."

Consolidation Won't Save the Media
Graig Aaron and Joseph Torres write the for Guardian UK: "Last week, House speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose hometown San Francisco Chronicle is in trouble, asked attorney general Eric Holder to consider loosening antitrust laws to help out struggling newspapers by allowing more media mergers. Holder responded by saying he is open to revisiting the rules."

19 April 2009

Clippings for 19 April 2009

Congressional Budget Office: Income Inequality Gap Hit Record High in 2006
Matt Corley writes for Think Progress: "Arloc Sherman of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities writes today that 'new data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) show that in 2006, the top 1 percent of households had a larger share of the nation’s after-tax income, and the middle and bottom fifths of households had smaller shares, than in any year since 1979, the first year the CBO data cover.' According to Sherman, this means that 'the gaps in after-tax incomes between households in the top 1 percent and those in the middle and bottom fifths were the widest on record...'"

The Need to Tax the Wealthy
Dean Baker comments in The Economist UK: "The quest to increase taxes on the wealthy is not a gratuitous attack on upper income households; it is driven by the need to raise more revenue to run the government. While many deficit hawks been irresponsible in raising fears of an impending collapse of the American government, the projected deficits for years following the recovery are in fact larger than is desirable. There are areas of American spending at the federal government level that could be reasonably cut, but even after we have zeroed out the 'waste, fraud, and abuse' category of federal spending we will still likely need additional revenue of between 1-2% of GDP to keep budget deficits in an acceptable range. That leaves a choice between increasing taxes on the wealthy or imposing more taxes on the middle class."

Armey's Tea Party Army
Jason Conason writes for Truthdig: "If conservative leaders no longer even try to offer serious solutions to national problems, nobody should underestimate their capacity or their will to mobilize angry Americans. Behind the April 15 “tea parties” rallying against President Barack Obama’s economic program—promoted as a new phenomenon by Fox News Channel and right-wing bloggers—stands a phalanx of Republicans whose ideology is all too familiar."

The Geithner Bubble
Jacques Attali reports in L'Express: "In some people's eyes, a miraculous emergence from the crisis is brewing: Through the combined play of the Geithner plan, (which allows investment funds and banks to buy other banks' toxic assets, borrowing most of what they need to do so from the Federal budget) and accounting changes (which allow banks to carry those assets at an inflated value), we see a derivatives market take hold in which some will sell these assets at a very high price to others in order to buy more of those assets at a still higher price: so that an asset value bubble will form, entirely financed by the taxpayer." For original French article, click here.

Iraq Study: Executions Are Leading Cause of Death

Kim Gamel reports for The Associated Press: "Execution-style killings, not headline-grabbing bombings, have been the leading cause of death among civilians in the Iraq war, a study released Wednesday shows. The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, point to the brutal sectarian nature of the conflict, where death squads once roamed the streets hunting down members of the rival Muslim sect. Estimates of the number of civilians killed in Iraq vary widely. The study was based on the database maintained by Iraq Body Count, a private group that among other sources uses media reports including those of The Associated Press. The authors concede the data is not comprehensive but maintain that the study provides a reliable gauge of how Iraqis have died in the six-year conflict."

Report: Iraq Air Raids Hit Mostly Women and Children
Kim Sengupta reports for The Independent UK: "Air strikes and artillery barrages have taken a heavy toll among the most vulnerable of the Iraqi people, with children and women forming a disproportionate number of the dead. Analysis carried out for the research group Iraq Body Count (IBC) found that 39 per cent of those killed in air raids by the US-led coalition were children and 46 per cent were women. Fatalities caused by mortars, used by American and Iraqi government forces as well as insurgents, were 42 percent children and 44 percent women. Twelve percent of those killed by suicide bombings, mainly the tool of militant Sunni groups, were children and 16 percent were females."

Bush Memos Suggest Abuse Isn’t Torture If a Doctor Is There
Sheri Fink writes for ProPublica: "Former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden was fond of saying [1] that when it came to handling high-value terror suspects, he would play in fair territory, but with “chalk dust on my cleats.” Four legal memos [2] released yesterday by the Obama administration make it clear that the referee role in CIA interrogations was played by its medical and psychological personnel."

General Taguba: Accountability for Torture Does Not Stop at White House Door
Andrew Kalloch writes in the Harvard Law Record: "Major General Antonio Taguba called for an independent commission to investigate war crimes committed by senior members of the Bush Administration in remarks in Ames Courtroom on Tuesday, April 14. The event was sponsored by Physicians for Human Rights and the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School."

Limbaugh’s Proof That Torture Works: McCain Was ‘Broken By The North Vietnamese’
Ryan Powers at Think Progress writes: "On his radio show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh responded to the Obama administration’s release of four of the OLC torture memos with a full-throated defense of of torture and its effectiveness for gathering useful intelligence. As evidence of the effectiveness of torture, Limbaugh noted that — in his speech to the Republican National Convention last summer — Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said the North Vietnamese “broke” him while he was a POW. Limbaugh suggested that in saying the North Vietnamese “broke” him, McCain was saying that torture worked:"

Recommended Audio: U.S. Future Depends on Torture Accountability

Keith Olbermann states: "As promised, a Special Comment now on the president's revelation of the remainder of this nightmare of Bush Administration torture memos. This President has gone where few before him, dared. The dirty laundry — illegal, un-American, self-defeating, self-destroying — is out for all to see." For a complete trnscript, click here.

Obama Outlines Vision for High-Speed Rail Network
Jim Abrams reports for The Associated Press: "President Barack Obama on Thursday outlined plans for a high-speed rail network he said would change the way Americans travel, drawing comparisons to the 1950s creation of the interstate highway system."

Global Warming Study: Nations Need to Cut Emissions by 70 Percent
Environmental Leader reports: "The threat of global warming can be significantly lessened if nations cut emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases by 70 percent this century, according to a new study. This would help reduce the most dangerous aspects of climate change including massive losses of Arctic sea ice and permafrost and significant sea level rise, although global temperatures will still rise."

New EPA Regulations Might Quash New Coal-Fired Plant Regardless
Jason Crouvher writes for Kansas Jackass: "When the Kansas Legislature comes back into session April 29, one of the first items of business will be attempting to over ride Governor Kathleen Sebelius's veto a bill that would pave the way for the construction of two massive coal-fired power plants in western Kansas."

Recommended Podcast: Racial Justice Communications in Obama’s America
Have a listen to this new audio from a forum called "Talking about Racial and Economic Justice in Obama's America" with Amaad Rivera (United for a Fair Economy), Tasaro Luis Ramos (Political Research Associates), and Doyle Canning (smartMeme).

Book Tells of Female US Soldiers Raped by Comrades
Christine Kearney reports for Reuters: "Female US soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have more to fear than roadside bombs or enemy ambushes. They also are at risk of being raped or sexually assaulted by fellow soldiers. 'The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq,' a book based on 40 in-depth interviews, recounts the stories of female veterans who served in combat zones and tells of rape, sexual assault and harassment by male counterparts."

April Is Sexual Assault Awareness Month visit http://www.nsvrc.org/saam for more details.

Columbine Questions We Still Don't Ponder
Davis Sirota writes for Truthdig: "As Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold’s posthumous infamy turns 10 on April 20, I wish I were surprised that Columbine-like shootings are still happening, or even that our national discussion about violence hasn’t yet matured past gun control and video games."

Abstinence-Only Not Worth the Rate
Texas state Rep. Joaquin Castro (D), vice chair of the Texas House Committee on Higher Education, writes in a San Antonio Express-News that Texas has the third highest teen birth rate in the nation -- 50% higher than the national average -- he notes, adding that increases across all "races and ethnicities ... demonstrate that the current lack of sexual health curriculum in our schools is seriously harming all of our children." Texas taxpayers spent $1 billion on teenage pregnancies and an estimated $15.1 billion over a 13-year period, according to a 2004 study by the National Campaign To Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

'Getting Real' about Bullying-Related Suicides
Debra Chasnoff writes for the Huffington Post: "This week another young life was silently lost in our nation's schools. Eleven year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover killed himself after enduring months of anti-gay bullying at his school in Springfield, Massachusetts. Carl's shocking suicide is the latest in a growing trend. Just last week, parents in Ohio filed a lawsuit against the school district where their son, Eric Mohat, was also subjected to ongoing anti-gay harassment before, he too, committed suicide. The pervasiveness of bullying, and more specifically bullying targeted at boys who do not fit into the narrow box of masculinity proscribed for them, has raised alarms among educators and mental health professionals for over a decade"

Journalism's Confession: Playing Twister ... to the Right

Will Bunch writes for The Philadelphia Daily News: "It's so true that freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose -- and so our brush here with terminal illness is occasionally truly liberating for America's newsrooms. This week, in fact, it seems that journalists are rushing to admit something -- openly in one case, tacitly in another -- something that's been true ever since the Nixon-Agnew era, but was rarely talked about. This uncomfortable truth? That to accommodate the perceived notion that the news media warps things so far to the left, journalists have been playing Twister to bend over backwards to accommodate conservatives -- and tying ourselves in knots."