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

04 June 2009

Clippings for 4 June 2009

Dr. George Tiller Didn't Have to Die
Amy Goodman writes for Truthdig: "George Tiller did not have to die. He was assassinated while in church in Wichita, Kan., on Sunday, targeted for legally performing abortions. His death might have been prevented simply through enforcement of existing laws. His alleged killer was seen vandalizing a Kansas City clinic, Aid for Women, both the week before and the day before the murder, putting glue into its door locks. The manager of that clinic, who calls himself “Jeff Pederson” to protect his identity, told me he called the FBI and local police both times, but the vandal, the alleged killer Scott Roeder, was not arrested. Pederson had Roeder’s first name and his license-plate number. He had images of him on the security video. He recognized him from previous protests."

Recommended Audio: Rachel Maddow - Red Flags Ignored in the Run-up to Tiller Assassination?

O'Rielly's Campaign Against Murdered Doctor
Gabriel Winant writes for Salon: "When his show airs tomorrow (June 1), Bill O'Reilly will most certainly decry the death of Kansas doctor George Tiller, who was killed Sunday while attending church services with his wife. Tiller, O'Reilly will say, was a man who was guilty of barbaric acts, but a civilized society does not resort to lawless murder, even against its worst members. And O'Reilly, we can assume, will genuinely mean this."

Is Bill O'Reilly Spawning Killers?
Nathan Robinson writes for AlterNet: "The killing of Dr. George Tiller is, of course, the second recent politically-motivated church shooting. The first occurred in the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church on July 27th of last year. And although one was targeted at a doctor, and the other at liberals in general, both share a common element: Bill O'Reilly. O'Reilly had targeted Tiller repeatedly on his show, claiming he ran a 'death mill' and quoting a description of him as 'Tiller the Baby Killer.' And as for the Unitarian killing, the shooter infamously had a copy of O'Reilly's book in his home, and wrote a vitriolic screed about his hatred for liberals."

A Brief History of the Radical Right
James Ridgeway writes for Mother Jones: "The revelation that Scott Roeder, the alleged murderer of Dr. George Tiller, belonged to an anti-government, white separatist group called the Montana Freemen might seem like an unlikely twist. After all, such groups are generally thought of as either indifferent to the issue of abortion or actively enthusiastic about its potential for reducing the nonwhite population. As it turns out, however, the journey from radical racialist to anti-abortionist isn't as unusual as you might think."

Color of Law: Plea Bargins and the Criminal McJustice System
David A. Love writes for Black Commentator: "In Philadelphia, it is time for a new district attorney. The current D.A. Lynne Abraham is retiring, and none too soon - after 18 years in the position, she has been called “America’s deadliest D.A.” for her exceptionally voracious appetite in seeking the death penalty. Without question, most of the people sentenced to death were African American."

To Counter Terror, Build Justice
Former Community Bridge guest Kathy Kelly writes for Truthout: "Shortly after arriving in Pakistan, one week ago, we met a weaver and his extended family, numbering 76 in all, who had been forcibly displaced from their homes in Fathepur, a small village in the Swat Valley. Fighting between the Pakistani military and the Taliban had intensified. Terrified by aerial bombing and anxious to leave before a curfew would make flight impossible, the family packed all the belongings they could carry and fled on foot. It was a harrowing four-day journey over snow-covered hills."

There Are Already 355 Terrorists in American Prisons
Fred Kaplan writes in Slate Magazine: "President Obama's remark that some Guantanamo detainees might be transferred to American prisons has prompted an extraordinary, and intellectually feeble, storm of protest. Former Vice President Dick Cheney kicked off the campaign when he said, during his May 21 speech at the American Enterprise Institute, that 'to bring the worst terrorists inside the United States would be a cause for great danger and regret in the years to come.' Sitting lawmakers - especially those from states such as Kansas and Colorado where federal prisons are based - raised the same specter and shouted the ancient cry of principled rebellion: 'Not In My Back Yard!'"

War is Sin
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig: "The crisis faced by combat veterans returning from war is not simply a profound struggle with trauma and alienation. It is often, for those who can slice through the suffering to self-awareness, an existential crisis. War exposes the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves. It rips open the hypocrisy of our religions and secular institutions. Those who return from war have learned something which is often incomprehensible to those who have stayed home. We are not a virtuous nation. God and fate have not blessed us above others. Victory is not assured. War is neither glorious nor noble. And we carry within us the capacity for evil we ascribe to those we fight."

Replace Petraeus
Fred Branfman writes for Truthdig: "Gen. David Petraeus’ aura of success resulting from reduced violence in Iraq has blinded normally sensible observers to his far greater failure in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His ill-conceived effort to deny al-Qaida and the Taliban “safe havens” in Pakistan—through drone aircraft bombing, special-forces assassination and perhaps torture (by way of association with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, his new Afghanistan military commander)—has backfired, driving the Taliban east into Pakistan, where they have joined local allies to weaken the Pakistani government. It has also strengthened, not weakened, al-Qaida and alienated growing numbers of Pakistanis. The Petraeus strategy has thus dramatically strengthened America’s enemies and helped destabilize a nuclear-armed nation of 170 million whose importance dwarfs Iraq and Afghanistan combined. More alarmingly, he now intends to escalate his failed strategy, which could cause unimaginable catastrophes in coming months and years."

Military Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan Increase
Jeremy Scahill writes for Rebel Reports: "A couple of years ago, Blackwater executive Joseph Schmitz seemed to see a silver lining for mercenary companies with the prospect of US forces being withdrawn or reduced in Iraq. 'There is a scenario where we could as a government, the United States, could pull back the military footprint,' Schmitz said. 'And there would then be more of a need for private contractors to go in.' When it comes to armed contractors, it seems that Schmitz was right.

Former Interrogator Presses for McChrystal's Stance on Torture
Spencer Ackerman reports for The Washington Independent: "A former military interrogator who contributed to the manhunt for a senior Iraqi terrorist has urged the Senate Armed Services Committee staff to press Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the Obama administration's nominee to lead US troops in the Afghanistan war, on what he knew about detainee abuse committed by troops in Iraq under his command when McChrystal goes before the panel Tuesday morning for his confirmation hearing. 'Gen. McChrystal, he was there in Iraq often, and he may have been separated from these things by couple layers [of subordinates] but it would've been his responsibility to know what was going on,' said Matthew Alexander, the pseudonym of a former Air Force interrogator whose non-coercive interrogations in 2006 helped identify and kill Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, then the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq."

Union Backers Target Starbucks With New-Media Campaign
Patrick McDonnell reports for The Los Angeles Times: "Starbucks a hub of union-busting and worker exploitation? Say it ain't so, Howard Schultz! The Starbucks chief executive, who actively cultivates a socially progressive image, is in the cross hairs of a new-media campaign designed to bolster union representation at the retail giant and beyond. For five years, Starbucks has been the target of a limited but sometimes nasty unionization drive that has tarnished its reputation for high-minded benevolence."

Progressive Groups Push Public Plan
Chris Frates reports for Politico: "Billing it as their largest health reform campaign ever, progressive leaders are planning to spend at least $82 million to push reforms that include a public health insurance plan option. The campaign, expected to be announced Monday, is designed to put public plan opponents on notice that supporters are ready for a fight."

Swiftboating Health Care Reform
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Satyam Khanna, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Ali Frick, and Ryan Powers report for The Progress Reprot: "Yesterday, immediately following NBC's Meet the Press, the right-wing group Conservatives for Patients' Rights (CPR) aired a 30-minute paid advertisement titled 'The End of Patients' Rights: The Human Consequences of Government Run Health Care.' Hosted by former CNN reporter Gene Randall, the program featured 'horror stories' aimed at chipping away public support for reforming the U.S. health care system. As Fox News explained, 'the new infomercial, despite the "paid programming" label in the upper-left hand corner of the screen, had the appearance of a '60 Minutes' special' -- without the credibility, of course. The disgraced former CEO of Columbia/HCA Healthcare and now chairman of CPR, Rick Scott, appeared multiple times in the program warning that health care reform would result in the rationing of care, long waiting lists, and diminished quality. CPR's ad was premised on the false notion that "certain nefarious Democrats want to import British and Canadian health care into the United States." But as Wonk Room health care blogger Igor Volsky has noted, 'CPR conflates deficiencies of the foreign health care systems with American reform efforts, but fails to cite a single Democrat who would want to copy-and-paste the British or Canadian examples.' CPR's infomercial 'presents the Democrats' reforms not as they are, but as conservatives wish for them to be,' and as such, spends time warning Americans about the so-called 'horror stories' of foreign health care system on which they will never have to rely."

Will Obama End "War on Drugs"?
Sherwood Ross writes for Consortium News: "Efforts by President Obama to put an end to the nation's failed 'War on Drugs' can't come an hour too soon - if that's his intent. From his actions, it's hard to know. Drug offenses account for about half the 200,000 Federal prison inmates behind bars, compared to just 15 percent of prisoners convicted of violent crimes involving weapons, explosives, or arson. If America leads the world with 2.3 million prisoners in all its prisons, jails, and assorted lock-ups, it is largely because we have criminalized drug addiction, not treated it."

Congresswoman Barbara Lee - a Rebel Inside the House
Emily Wilson reports for The Women's Media Center: "Now in her sixth full term in the House of Representatives, the congresswoman holds to her radical roots, explaining in her new book just how mainstream those revolutionary programs have become. Currently chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, she spoke to author Emily Wilson of her need to define herself. Barbara Lee, the Democratic congresswoman who represents California's 9th district, which includes Oakland and Berkeley, gained national attention when she cast the only opposing vote to a resolution authorizing then-President Bush to use 'all necessary and appropriate force' against anyone associated with the terrorist attacks of September 11. This vote won her both praise and death threats."

World's Next Big Climate Pact Begins to Take Shape

Peter N. Spotts reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "A two-year march toward a new treaty to combat global warming is pausing briefly in Bonn to give negotiators from 182 countries their first crack at tackling a rough draft of an agreement. Despite differences over some difficult issues, there is cautious optimism that negotiators could make progress, especially now that the US is playing what many see as a more constructive role than it did under the Bush administration."

Recommended Audio: Cleaning UP Coal
Is there such a thing as clean coal? The industry wants you to think so. But clean doesn't mean non-polluting. The questions around coal's future as an energy source are part of a bigger debate over the earth's environmental future.

Obama Reiterates Promise to 'End' 'Don't Ask'
Ben Smith writes for Politico: "The President signed a gay pride proclamation today, reiterating deferred campaign pledges, including ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' but making no mention of same-sex marriage."

What a non-neutral 'Net looks like, UK-style
Nate Anderson writes for Ars Technica: "The UK government is in the final stages of creation for its "Digital Britain" report, which will lay out positions on everything from file sharing to broadband. Tucked into the report's interim conclusions are a few nuggets about network neutrality, which has never generated the same heat and light in Europe as it has in the US. The interim report says that 'the Government has yet to see a case for legislation in favour of net neutrality. In consequence, unless Ofcom find network operators or ISPs to have Significant Market Power and justify intervention on competition grounds, traffic management will not be prevented.'"

Julius Genachowski to Ramp Up Efforts to Ensure Equal Access on the Internet
Jean Cummings writes for Politico: "The political sea change brought by Democratic dominance that’s already affecting the energy and health care sectors is about to wash over a new one: technology. President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski, is expected to be confirmed by the Senate later this month — and activists expect him to ramp up efforts to ensure equal access on the Internet.

Capitol Improvement
Megan Tady writes for In These Times: "Many players in the journalism world hope that one short string of letters and numbers can save our crumbling media system: 501(c)(3). And no, it’s not a lottery number. It’s the IRS code for nonprofit status, and veteran journalists are eyeing it hungrily. As newspapers crumble, leaving thousands of journalists unemployed, nonprofit news models are emerging as possible replacements for failing commercial media."

Sotomayor, Gingrich, and the Demise of Our Press Corps
Eric Boehlert writes for Media Matters: "
Last week's press coverage of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court was gruesome in so many ways, as reporters routinely fell down and failed to reflect even the most basic tenets of journalism. One of the most disturbing examples of how fundamentals were ignored involved Sotomayor's now-infamous quote from eight years ago about a "Latina woman" judge reaching a "better conclusion" on the bench than her white male counterparts. Sotomayor made the comment as part of a speech she gave at University of California, Berkeley, in 2001 in which she explored what it would mean to have more women and minorities on the bench."

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