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

01 April 2009

Clippings for 2 April 2009

The Culture Warriors Get Laid Off
Frank Rich comments for the New York Times: "SOMEDAY we’ll learn the whole story of why George W. Bush brushed off that intelligence briefing of Aug. 6, 2001, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” But surely a big distraction was the major speech he was readying for delivery on Aug. 9, his first prime-time address to the nation. The subject — which Bush hyped as “one of the most profound of our time” — was stem cells. For a presidency in thrall to a thriving religious right (and a presidency incapable of multi-tasking), nothing, not even terrorism, could be more urgent."

But FingerLakes Wanderer's Blog on Open Salon thinks Frank Rich has got it wrong: "I spent the entire Bush years pissed off. Too many forces were at work seeking to deprive me, and the people I love, of basic civil rights. I read Frank Rich this morning, a columnist for whom I have enormous respect, and I respectfully disagree with him."

Recommended Audio: Truthdig Podcast - Amy Goodman on "Standing Up to the Madness"
The “Democracy Now!” host talks about her book, the state of activism and why “the media are the most powerful corporations on Earth—more powerful than any bomb, more powerful than any missile.”

In for a Penny, In for $2.98 Trillion
Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig: "The good news on the government’s “No Banker Left Behind” program is that, according to the special inspector general’s report on Tuesday, the total handout to date is still less than 3 trillion dollars. It’s only $2.98 trillion, to be precise, an amount six times greater than will be spent by federal, state and local governments this year on educating the 50 million American children in elementary and secondary schools. "

Debt, Deficits, and Deception
Bernie Horn writes for The Campaign For America's Future: "Here it comes - an avalanche of misleading and mistaken 'facts' about President Obama's budget. Last week, the House and Senate Budget Committees approved versions of the fiscal 2010 budget resolution, working from an extraordinary proposal by Barack Obama. The House version is fairly close to what the president proposed, while the Senate bill is a bit different - but still 98 percent of what the president requested. This week, the budget will come to the floor of the House and Senate, including votes on a series of amendments to slash or weaken progressive programs."

Pay for Play? Tax Credits for Paid Time Off

Dean Baker writes for The Center for Economic and Policy Research: "Economists are increasingly coming to the recognition that the current downturn is likely to be longer and more severe than they had expected at the time the last stimulus package was approved in February. As a result, there is likely to be interest in additional stimulus in order to boost the economy and lower the unemployment rate. This paper briefly outlines a method for Congress to quickly boost demand in the economy, while at the same time promoting important public ends: an employer tax credit for paid time off."

Legislature Reneging on Promise to Kansas Kids
Kansas house Minority Leader Paul Davis writes for Kansas Jackass: "The Kansas House of Representatives voted last week on the FY 2010 budget bill. The proposal, approved at a vote of 70-54, cuts Kansas public schools by $25 million. Because public education is one of Kansas’ most important investments, House Democrats stood in opposition to the bill."

Recommended Audio:The Woman Behind the New Deal
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!: "The current financial crisis is widely described as the nation's worst since the Great Depression. With the comparisons to the 1930's has come a renewed focus on the New Deal, the government initiative of social programs and public service jobs launched by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A new book argues that no voice in the FDR administration was more influential in shaping the New Deal than Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, the first-ever woman cabinet member in the United States. The book is called 'The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life of Frances Perkins, FDR's Secretary of Labor and His Moral Conscience.' We speak with author Kirstin Downey. "

Don't Go There Mr. President

Tom Hayden writes for The Nation: "The Obama plan instead will accelerate any plans Al Qaeda commanders have for attacking targets in the United States or Europe. The alternative for Al Qaeda is to risk complete destruction, an American objective that has not been achieved for eight years. A terrorist attack need not be planned or set in motion from a cave in Waziristan. The cadre could already be underground in Washington or London. The real alternative for President Obama should be to maintain a deterrent posture while immediately accelerating diplomacy to meet legitimate Muslim goals, from a Palestinian state to genuine progress on Kashmir. "

The Great Afghan Bailout: It's Time to Change Names, Switch Analogies
Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch.com: "Let's start by stopping. It's time, as a start, to stop calling our expanding war in Central and South Asia 'the Afghan War' or 'the Afghanistan War.' If Obama's special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke doesn't want to, why should we? Recently, in a BBC interview, he insisted that 'the "number one problem" in stabilizing Afghanistan was Taliban sanctuaries in western Pakistan, including tribal areas along the Afghan border and cities like Quetta' in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan. And isn't he right? After all, the US seems to be in the process of trading in a limited war in a mountainous, poverty-stricken country of 27 million people for one in an advanced nation of 167 million, with a crumbling economy, rising extremism, advancing corruption, and a large military armed with nuclear weapons. Worse yet, the war in Pakistan seems to be expanding inexorably and in tandem with American war planning from the tribal borderlands ever closer to the heart of the country."

US to Join UN Human Rights Council, Reversing Bush Policy
Colum Lynch reports for The Washington Post: "The Obama administration decided Tuesday to seek a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, reversing a decision by the Bush administration to shun the United Nations' premier rights body to protest the influence of repressive states. 'Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy,' Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement. 'With others, we will engage in the work of improving the UN human rights system ... We believe every nation must live by and help shape global rules that ensure people enjoy the right to live freely and participate fully in their societies.' The United States announced it would participate in elections in May for one of three seats on the 47-member council, joining a slate that includes Belgium and Norway."

Chances Improve for Ratification of CEDAW

Peggy Simpson reports for The Women's Media Center: "Just because the Obama administration puts the CEDAW women's rights treaty in the top three UN treaties it wants ratified doesn't mean the Senate will cooperate. It's a step in the right direction, of course. Democrats dominate Congress and hold the White House, and CEDAW also has some Republican support."

No Recovery in Sight -- Unless We Pass Health Reform
Linda Berthold writes for The Huffington Post: "A new study came out today from the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education called "No Recovery in Sight: Health Coverage for Working-Age Adults in the United States and California". The report claims that half a million people in California have lost their health insurance coverage during the recession..."

Insurers Shun Those Take Certain Meds
John Dorschner reports for The Miami Herald: "Trying to buy health insurance on your own and have gallstones? You'll automatically be denied coverage. Rheumatoid arthritis? Automatic denial. Severe acne? Probably denied. Do you take metformin, a popular drug for diabetes? Denied. Use the anti-clotting drug Plavix or Seroquel, prescribed for anti-psychotic or sleep problems? Forget about it. This confidential information on some insurers' practices is available on the Web -- if you know where to look."

Obama Signs Wide-Ranging Conservation Law

Agence France-Presse reports: "President Barack Obama signed legislation on Monday expanding and protecting US public parks and wilderness areas from oil and gas development, billed as the largest US conservation measure in more than 15 years. 'This legislation guarantees that we will not take our forests, rivers, oceans, national parts, monuments, and wilderness areas for granted,' Obama said while signing the Public Land Management Act. The legislation - backed by members of both parties -- is 'among the most important in decades to protect, preserve and pass down our nation's most treasured landscapes to future generations,' Obama added."

Death on the Home Front: Women in the Crosshairs
Ann Jones writes for TomDispatch.com: "Wake up, America. The boys are coming home, and they're not the boys who went away. On New Year's Day, The New York Times welcomed the advent of 2009 by reporting that, since returning from Iraq, nine members of the Fort Carson, Colorado, Fourth Brigade Combat team had been charged with homicide. Five of the murders they were responsible for took place in 2008 when, in addition, 'charges of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault' at the base rose sharply. Some of the murder victims were chosen at random; four were fellow soldiers - all men. Three were wives or girlfriends."

Homophobia Damaging Lives Across Europe EU Report Says
Sylvia Westfall reports for Reuters AlertNet: "Homophobia is damaging people's health and careers across Europe and the problem may be worse than reported because victims are scared to draw attention to themselves for fear of a backlash, an EU study said."

Where Citizens Gather: An Interview with The Future of Public Media's Jessica Clark
Henry Jenkins writes for MediaShift: "Amidst all of the dire talk these days about the fate of the American newspaper, the Center for Social Media at American University has issued an important white paper exploring the future of public media more generally. When most of us think about “public media” these days, we are most likely to be talking about Public Broadcasting, where the Public refers as much to Public Funding as it refers to any conception of the Public Sphere. The report, Public Media 2.0, embraces the affordances and practices of an era of participatory culture and social networks to identify strategies for public media which emphasize its capacity to attract and mobilize publics. This reframing of the issues shows ways that we can expand who produces and who consumes public media, taking advantage of new stakeholders — independent media producers, engaged online communities — who have not always felt well served by the increasingly conservative fair on offer from public broadcasting"

Truth Emergency and Media Reform
Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff write for The Daily Censored: "In the United States today, the rift between reality and reporting has reached its end. There is no longer a mere credibility gap, but rather a literal Truth Emergency. Americans cannot access the truth about the issues that most impact their lives by relying on the mainstream corporate media. A Truth Emergency is a culmination of the failures of the fourth estate to act as a truly free press. This truth emergency exists not only as a result of fraudulent elections, pseudo 9/11 investigations, illegal preemptive wars, torture camps, and doctored intelligence, but also around issues that intimately impact everyday Americans. Yet these issues are rarely reported in corporate media outlets, where a vast majority of the American people continue to turn to for news and information."

Geithner's Plan Drives the Narrative
The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism reports: "With Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner unveiling a financial sector rescue package and calling for stricter regulation, the economic crisis was once again overwhelmingly the top story last week. It filled 41% of the newshole from March 23-29 as measured by the Pew Research Center’s Project in Excellence. While that represented a drop from the previous week’s coverage (53%), it is in line with the overall level of attention to the crisis (43%) in the two months since Barack Obama was inaugurated. The No. 2 story last week, concerns over Mexican drug smuggling, was about one-seventh as big as the economy."

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