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

31 May 2009

Clippings for 31 May 2009

Stimulus: The First 100 Days
Michael Garbell reports for ProPublica: "The White House just released its report on the stimulus plan’s first 100 days. President Obama will appear at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada this afternoon to mark the stimulus package's first 100 days. So how is the stimulus working? A few measures:"

Accounting Error Rolls Back Stimulus Spending Numbers
David Epstein reports for ProPublica: "Remember how we said [1] that, judging by Vice President Joe Biden’s first quarterly stimulus report [2] (PDF), the government was going to have to seriously pick up the spending pace to meet the Congressional Budget Office’s projection [3] that $91.5 billion would be spent in the first year? Well, thanks to an accounting error by the Labor Department, it looks like it might be time to redouble the redoubled efforts."

Who Shredded Our Safety Net?
Jame Ridgeway writes for Mother Jones: "LIKE MOST PEOPLE whose quality of life depends upon the fluctuations of an IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or other acronym-soup retirement account, I was born long before such things existed. It's easy to forget, now that more than half of us have been made shareholders, that until well past the middle of the 20th century, most people had nothing to do with the stock market: Wall Street was for the wealthy and the reckless. It was a world most Americans didn't understand and, after 1929, didn't trust. Some lucky people had pensions, but few had the privilege of even thinking about retirement. They were too busy trying to survive the present—which in my childhood meant the Great Depression and then World War II."

Government Taps Bailout Contractors With Conflicts of Interest
Elana Schor reports for The Washington Independent: "As the Wall Street bailout nears its first anniversary, the controversy over giving public money to private banks has become public knowledge. But an equally risky aspect of the financial rescue has flown largely under the radar: the government's reliance on private contractors - many with potentially significant conflicts of interest - to help revive the stalled economy."

Recommended Audio: Truthdig Podcast - Breadline USA
Sasha Abramsky discusses his new solution-oriented book about the millions of Americans who work 40 hours a week and still go hungry, “these forgotten communities and these forgotten families who are doing everything they’ve been told they need to do to survive and ... they’re still being pushed backward by economic forces that they really don’t control.”

Everyone Should See "Torturing Democracy"
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship write for Truthout: "No political party would dare make torture a cornerstone of its rejuvenation if people really understood what it is. And lest we forget, we're not just talking about waterboarding, itself a trivializing euphemism for drowning. If we want to know what torture is, and what it does to human beings, we have to look at it squarely, without flinching. That's just what a powerful and important film, seen by far too few Americans, does."
RECOMMENDED AUDIO: to view "Torturing Democracy," visit: http://torturingdemocracy.org/

Petraeus Criticizes Gitmo And Torture: ‘I Don’t Think We Should Be Afraid To Live Our Values’
Ben Armbruster writes for Think Progress: "Last week, Gen. David Petraeus told Radio Free Europe that he supports President Obama’s decision to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and that he opposes the use of so-called “enhance interrogation techniques.” “I have long been on record as having testified and also in helping write doctrine for interrogation techniques that are completely in line with the Geneva Convention,” Petraeus said."

Torture and Truth

Jonathan Schell writes for The Nation: "It has fallen to President Obama to deal with the policies and practices of torture inaugurated by the Bush administration. He started boldly, ordering an end to the abuses, announcing the closing in one year of the detention camp at Guantanamo and releasing the Bush-era Justice Department memos authorizing torture. Subsequently, he seemed to grow cautious. He discouraged formation of an independent commission to investigate the torture and reversed a previous position in favor of releasing Pentagon photos of abuses and instead opposed release."

Recommended Audio: Former Interrogator Rebukes Cheney for Torture Speech

The Silence of MoveOn
Tom Hayden writes for The Nation: "Last December 17, 48.3 percent of MoveOn members listed "end the war in Iraq" as a 2009 goal, after healthcare (64.9 percent), economic recovery and job creation (62.1 percent) and building a green economy/stopping climate change (49.6 percent--only 1.5 percent above Iraq.) This was at a moment when most Americans believed the Iraq War was ending. Afghanistan and Pakistan were not listed among top goals which members could vote on."

Cheney's Bunker Mentality

James Ridgeway writes for Mother Jones: "Say what you will about Dick Cheney, at least he's consistent. While he was in office, the Vice President made a practice of exploiting the fear and loss wrought by the 9/11 attacks to advance his own political agenda—and he's still doing it now. During his speech at the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday, according to Dana Milbank's calculations in the Washington Post, "Cheney used the word 'attack' 19 times, 'danger' and 'threat' six times apiece, and 9/11 an impressive 27 times.""

Think Again: Dick Cheney's Post Presidency
Eric Alterman and Danielle Ivory write for The Center for American Progress: "Former President George W. Bush recently mused with the press about scooping up his dog's droppings. Meanwhile, former Vice President Dick Cheney has taken on the role of attack dog. Some conservatives have suggested that President Barack Obama somehow goaded Cheney into this role when he attacked the VP during the campaign

Empathy, Sotomayor, and Democracy: The Conservative Stealth Strategy
George Lakoff writes for CommonDreams.org: "The Sotomayor nomination has given radical conservatives new life. They have launched an attack that is nominally aimed at Judge Sotomayor. But it is really a coordinated stealth attack - on President Obama's central vision, on progressive thought itself, and on Republicans who might stray from the conservative hard line."

Right-wing Hate Raises It's Ugly Head
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ali Frick, Ryan Powers, and Brad Johnson write for Progress Report: "The radical right wing has launched a vicious campaign of racist and sexist attacks against Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's selection to replace the retiring Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. Sotomayor's 'compelling life story' involves a brilliant legal career after being raised in a South Bronx public housing project by parents who moved from Puerto Rico. Sotomayor graduated from Princeton University summa cum laude, edited the Yale Law Journal, then served as a 'fearless and effective' New York City prosecutor and corporate lawyer before being appointed to the bench by President George H. W. Bush in 1992. 'Since joining the Second Circuit in 1998, Sotomayor has authored over 150 opinions,' only three of which have been overturned by the Supreme Court's conservative majority. During her time as an appeals judge, 'her influence has grown significantly.' Public reaction to the nomination of the first Latina and third woman to the nation's highest court is 'decidedly more positive than negative.' Former Bush adviser Mark McKinnon remarked, 'If Republicans make a big deal of opposing Sotomayor, we will be hurling ourselves off a cliff.' However, 'the same right-wing extremists who drove the country into the ground,' Salon's Glenn Greenwald writes, 'continue to attack Sonia Sotomayor with blatant and ugly stereotypes.' Right-wing pundit Pat Buchanan called Sotomayor an 'affirmative action candidate,' and Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes claimed she 'has benefited from affirmative action over the years tremendously.' As hate-radio extremist Glenn Beck described the nomination: 'Hey, Hispanic chick lady! You're empathetic ... you're in!'"

Documentary on Intensive Pig Farming Faces Legal Threat
Judith Soal writes for CommonDreams.org: "A documentary about intensive pig farming due to be screened at the Guardian Hay festival on Sunday is facing a legal threat from one of the companies it investigates. Pig Business criticises the practices of the world's largest pork processor, Smithfield Foods, claiming it is responsible for environmental pollution and health problems among residents near its factories."

Report: Global Warming Causes 300,000 Deaths a Year

John Vidal reports in The Guardian UK: "Climate change is already responsible for 300,000 deaths a year and is affecting 300 million people, according to the first comprehensive study of the human impact of global warming."

Finally, a UN Agency for Women
Lesley Abdela reports for The Guardian UK: "This autumn the UN General Assembly will vote yes or no to a new 'super-agency for women'; $1 billion is being discussed as the starter annual budget. Just like the House of Commons, the UN has finally been shamed into reforming itself. The UN sets global standards for human rights, but has no single agency with the resources and clout to work globally to improve the lives of women. As a result, the UN system has badly and unforgivably let down the world's 3 billion-plus women. In 2006 a UN high-level panel set up to recommend reforms in the wake of the 2005 world summit gave the UN null points for services to women. The panel found the way the UN system works for women 'incoherent, fragmented, and under-resourced'. Many of us have been saying for years the UN system is a son of the 1950s, patriarchal and hierarchical, so it is good to see it's official."

Where's the Equal Justice for Gays?
Joan Vennochi comments for The Boston Globe: "President Obama had much to say about the glass ceiling he is smashing on behalf of Hispanics and nothing to say about the glass ceiling the California Supreme Court is reimposing on gays.... On gay rights, as with other controversial issues, Obama stands where it's politically smart to stand. He finds the political sweet spot that placates the left and doesn't alienate the middle."

Recommended Audio: Dan Choi Protests at President Obama's Hotel in Los Angeles
Lt. Dan Choi speaks out against the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy at a protest at President Obama's hotel in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.

Lieutenant Dan Choi Takes “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Directly To Obama
Linda Milazzo writes for the LA PRogressive: "Wednesday evening, in an act of daring befitting a West Point graduate and veteran of Iraq, recently discharged New York National Guard Lieutenant Daniel Choi defied the orders of dozens of crowd control police and stepped into the ‘no protest zone’ street to ceremoniously salute his Commander in Chief, Barack Obama, out of site at a star-studded fundraiser at the posh Beverly Hilton Hotel."

On Becoming a Civil Rights Movement
David Mixner writes for his blog: "For decades the leadership of the LGBT civil rights movement has come from inside of the Beltway. The leadership was often powerful and insightful and it still continues to serve our community well. There were clearly defined 'turfs' by each organization - one for politics, one for grassroots, one for gay elected officials and several on the legal front. If one became too aggressive and spilled over into the other's turf often there would be a little turf war which was quickly settled by the powers that be in DC. It worked for years and years."

Special Report: The Need for Speed
Nicholas Thompson writes for the Washington Monthly: "roadband Internet in the United States is a disaster. It’s appalling. It’s embarrassing. It’s preposterous. Compared to the rest of the world, our connections are slow, balky, and expensive. If you divide speed by cost, Australia’s Internet access is three times better than ours; France’s is nine times better; and Japan’s thumps us twenty-one times over. We’re catching fish with our hands, while they are out in trawlers. And the reason doesn’t have to do with anything intrinsically American. It’s not, for example, that the country is too rural. Broadband stinks even in Chicago. The problem is almost entirely a failure of policy and of imagination."

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