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

28 September 2009

Sept 27 - After the Sunday Morning Talk Shows

On this edition of Community Bridge - After the Sunday Morning Talk Shows, we open by rebroadcasting Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's CounterSpin for September 18 featuring "the most dangerous man in America" - as he was called by Henry Kissinger - whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who famously leaked a top-secret study of the Vietnam War in 1971 to the NY Times and other news outlets. Ellsberg talks about the post-Bush era and the state of American democracy.

Then from Democracy Now! we hear about the other side of the ACORN story featuring ACORN's CEO Bertha Lewis. The anti-poverty group ACORN is coming under a firestorm of criticism after the group’s workers were caught on camera appearing to offer advice to a pimp and prostitute.

Finally from GRIT TV, we hear author Max Blumenthal, popular for his politically satirical videos at prayer meetings, hate rallies, gun shows with the extremist right, talk about his New York Times bestseller, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party. While conservatives rebuke Blumenthal's claims of how the waning Republican party has been held together by its growing ultra-conservative stronghold, the book has received wide-spread praise for its explanation of how the wacky seeming Christian fundamentalist minority has came to control the GOP.

MP3 File

27 September 2009

Clippings for 27 September 2009

G20: Leaders Agree on Reforms, Poor Still "Out in the Cold"
Eli Clifton reports for Inter Press Service: "World leaders at the two-day G20 Summit in the U.S. city of Pittsburgh agreed to work cooperatively to recover from the global economic crisis and create structural reforms with long-term growth as the goal.... 'The G20 is more representative than the G8 but there is still no seat at the table for the poorest countries,' said Oxfam senior policy adviser Max Lawson. 'South Africa is the only African country included in this club. That means when the G20 talks about growth and stability, they are leaving the poorest countries in the cold.'"

Climate Change: Off the G-20 Agenda?
Robert Eshelman writes for The Nation: "Tuesday afternoon, US District Court Judge Gary Lancaster rejected a request by the ACLU of Pennsylvania and the Center for Constitutional Rights for an injunction against the Pittsburgh Police. The lawyers alleged in the suit that local law enforcement has been systematically harassing and carrying out unconstitutional searches and seizures of members of two G-20 protest groups--the Seeds of Peace Collective and the Three Rivers Climate Convergence (3RCC). The judge refused to restrain the police and suggested that if police conduct warrants damages claims, then the ACLU should file suit. The ACLU says it will pursue such claims."

Obama and Nukes: Talking the Talk, Awaiting the Walk
David Krieger reports for Miller-McCune: "The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council possess over 98 percent of the more than 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Today, President Barack Obama led a session of the council focusing on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. We take that opportunity to present a dialogue between David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation - an organization strident in its opposition to nuclear weapons - and Richard Falk, professor emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University and the chair of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Falk and Krieger have written widely on nuclear dangers and are co-editors of the 2008 book At the Nuclear Precipice: Catastrophe or Transformation?"

How to Trap a President in a Losing War
Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch: "Front and center in the debate over the Afghan War these days are General Stanley "Stan" McChrystal, Afghan war commander, whose 'classified, pre-decisional' and devastating report -- almost eight years and at least $220 billion later, the war is a complete disaster -- was conveniently, not to say suspiciously, leaked to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post by we-know-not-who at a particularly embarrassing moment for Barack Obama; Admiral Michael "Mike" Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has been increasingly vocal about a "deteriorating" war and the need for more American boots on the ground; and the president himself, who blitzed every TV show in sight last Sunday and Monday for his health reform program, but spent significant time expressing doubts about sending more American troops to Afghanistan. ('I'm not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan... or sending a message that America is here for the duration.')"

Goldstone's Report: A Different Look
Dr. Elias Akleh writes for Dissident Voices: "Goldstone’s report, incriminating Israel for war crimes, has been optimistically received by many as a sign of dismantling Israel’s impunity from legal actions for her war crimes and violations of international laws. Yet, at the same time, it is full of political booby-traps that Israel could use to indemnify herself and turn the blame onto Palestinians. Besides equating the Palestinian victims with the genocidal Israeli criminals, and denying them of their moral humanitarian right of self-defense, the report also grossly ignores historical events, distorts reality, and legalizes Israeli occupation of Palestine."

Administration Won't Seek New Detention System
Peter Finn reports for The Washington Post: "The Obama administration has decided not to seek legislation to establish a new system of preventive detention to hold terrorism suspects and will instead rely on a 2001 Congressional resolution authorizing military force against al-Qaeda and the Taliban to continue to detain people indefinitely and without charge, according to administration officials."

Where Is the Defund Blackwater Act?
Jeremy Scahill writes for Rebel Reports: "Republican Congressional leaders are continuing their witch-hunt against ACORN, the grassroots community group dedicated to helping poor and working class people. This campaign now unfortunately has gained bipartisan legislative support in the form of the Defund ACORN Act of 2009 which has now passed the House and Senate."

How Green Was My Stimulus?
Michael Garbell reports for ProPublica: "The United States is lagging behind some of its peers in the percentage of economic stimulus money being spent on “green” projects, according to a report released Thursday by the United Nations Environment Program [1]. In all, the U.S. is spending $94 billion, about 12 percent, on programs such as renewable energy, high-speed rail and energy efficiency. But that portion pales in comparison to the 79 percent being spent by South Korea’s “Green New Deal” or the 34 percent that China is spending to address climate change. Of the $3.1 trillion in global stimulus, “the amount allocated to renewable energy falls short of the investment needed to reduce carbon emissions and keep the rise in global average temperature under 2 degrees Celsius,” or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the U.N. agency said."

The Case for Real Aid
Jonathan Glennie writes for The New Internationalist: "I knew this would happen. The intellectual initiative on African development seized by a free-market ideologue, now listed by Time Magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.  It is clear what side of the fence Dambisa Moyo is sitting on. The foreword to her book Dead Aid is written by leading conservative historian Niall Ferguson, and her write-up in Time was written by none other than (ex-President of the World Bank) Paul Wolfowitz. In her eight years with Goldman Sachs, I doubt she was a subscriber to the New Internationalist."

Recommended Audio: Naomi Klein in Conversation with Michael Moore
The Nation writes: "On September 17, fresh from the premiere of Capitalism: A Love Story at the Toronto Film Festival, filmmaker Michael Moore talked with The Nation's Naomi Klein by phone about making Capitalism; the roots of the economic crisis; and the promise and peril of the current political moment. Below, you can listen to the full audio recording of their thirty-minute conversation. How is President Obama handling the economic crisis? Who is taking on Wall Street? And who is letting Wall Street take advantage of us? Find out in this exclusive podcast conversation between The Nation's Naomi Klein and documentarian Michael Moore."

To read the transcript of the interview, click here

Obama TV: How the President Revived the Health Care Debate
Bill Boyarsky writes for Truthdig.com: "President Barack Obama has been a calming force in the debate over health care reform, bringing a tone of rationality to counter the influence of right-wing talk radio, Fox News and the Republicans’ staged “grass-roots” town hall meetings. He’s not turning the other cheek. Rather, he’s sticking it to his critics with intelligence and wit."

Health Reform Money is Aimed at Red States
Marie Cocco writes for Truthdig: "It is “a stunning assault on liberty” (Sen. Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona). It is “trying to force or foist a one-size-fits-all solution on the states” (Sen. Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah). It is a plan that “taxes too much and grows government too much” (Sen. John Cornyn, Republican of Texas). It is also a massive shift of tax money from constituents of traditionally liberal and Democratic states to constituents of traditionally conservative and Republican states."

The Real Cost of Medical Malpractice
Kevin Drum comments for Mother Jones: In his column today, David Leonhardt makes a point about medical malpractice that doesn't get enough attention:
The fear of lawsuits among doctors does seem to lead to a noticeable amount of wasteful treatment. Amitabh Chandra — a Harvard economist whose research is cited by both the American Medical Association and the trial lawyers’ association — says $60 billion a year, or about 3 percent of overall medical spending, is a reasonable upper-end estimate. If a new policy could eliminate close to that much waste without causing other problems, it would be a no-brainer.

At the same time, though, the current system appears to treat actual malpractice too lightly. Trials may get a lot of attention, but they are the exception. Far more common are errors that never lead to any action.

After reviewing thousands of patient records, medical researchers have estimated that only 2 to 3 percent of cases of medical negligence lead to a malpractice claim.

This deserves more attention. We can argue about the costs of defensive medicine forever. But I'm willing to tentatively accept $60 billion as a conversation starter. It's never going to be possible to get a precise answer anyway since, as Leonhardt says later, virtually every incentive in our medical system is to do more. Trying to isolate and quantify the blame for each particular unnecessary test just isn't possible."

Your Electronic Vote in the 2010 Election Has Just Been Bought
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman write for The Free Press: "Unless US Attorney General Eric Holder intervenes, your electronic vote in 2010 will probably be owned by the Republican-connected ESS Corporation. With 80% ownership of America's electronic voting machines, ESS could have the power to shape America's future with a few proprietary keystrokes."

Teen Birth Rate Higher in States Where Religion is Widespread
US News and World Report states: "Teenage birth rates are higher in states with greater levels of religious belief, possibly due to strong disapproval of contraception, a new U.S. study suggests. In the study, researchers compared U.S. data on teen birth rates with data from the Pew Forum's U.S. Religious Landscapes Survey. A state's level of religious belief was determined by averaging the percentage of respondents who agreed with the eight most conservative opinions in the survey, such as 'Scripture should be taken literally, word for word.'"

Whoops: Anti-ACORN Bill Ropes In Defense Contractors, Others Charged With Fraud
Ryan Grim reports for the Huffington Post: "Going after ACORN may be like shooting fish in a barrel lately -- but jumpy lawmakers used a bazooka to do it last week and may have blown up some of their longtime allies in the process. The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to "any organization" that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things."

Right-Wing Agenda-Driven Journalism Nothing New When It Comes to ACORN
John Santore write for Media Matters: "Media Matters for America recently released a report documenting the obsessive attention Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck have devoted to ACORN -- due, of course, to their self-professed determination to expose taxpayer-funded waste, fraud, and abuse wherever it appears. As such, Media Matters compared the focus each host's television programs have given to the story with their coverage of well-documented political scandals involving Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney, as well as massive corruption scandals engulfing Halliburton, Blackwater, and KBR -- corporations which have received thousands of times more money from the government than ACORN ever has."

Mainstream Media and ACORN-like Video Stings
James Rainey reports for the L.A. Times: "You've got to give James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles credit for abundant chutzpah and guile. The two young political provocateurs decked themselves out as a pimp and prostitute and rocked ACORN with a series of secret videos showing the sketchy behavior of employees of the activist organization that registers voters, organizes communities and advocates for cheap housing for poor people."

What Net Neutrality Is Really All About
Karl Bode writes for Broadband Reports: "If you've paid attention, you know the modern "network neutrality" debate took off in 2005, when then AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre proudly, though dumbly, proclaimed that Google got a "free ride" on his network. According to Ed, this unfairness could only be rectified by charging companies who already pay for bandwidth money to ensure their traffic reaches AT&T consumers quickly. Such a bizarre statement obviously resulted in fear that phone companies planned to act as trolls under the metaphorical Internet bridge, grumpily extorting passers by. That created a desire by content companies and consumers for laws that would prevent this from happening."

The Moguls' New Clothes
Bruce Greenwald, Jonathan Knee and Ava Seave write for The Atlantic: "me Warner announced in May that it plans to spin off its AOL division by year end. The new AOL’s value will likely be barely 1 percent of the market price of the inflated stock that Time Warner accepted in the original $175 billion merger almost a decade ago—despite the inclusion of numerous subsequent expensive add-on acquisitions. While extreme, the Time Warner–AOL combination was no aberration. The deal represents less than half the financial damage done during an unprecedented era of excess in the media business. Since 2000, the largest media conglomerates have collectively written down more than $200 billion in assets, a record that would make even Citigroup blush. These write-downs reflect a broad-based legacy of value destruction from relentlessly overpriced acquisitions, “strategic” investments, and contracts for content and talent."

The Turth about Two Racists - Beck and Limbaugh
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig.com: "With admirable calm, President Obama has sought to deflect the supercharged politics of race by expressing his optimism about American attitudes and ignoring the most extreme statements by his critics. For his own sake, as well as the nation’s, he is wise to give a pass to the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. That is not, however, what they deserve."

Hannity’s And Beck’s Massively Disproportionate Focus On ACORN Vs. Other Scandals
Ellen at News Hounds writes: "Those America lovers, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, seem to have some serious blinders when it comes to scandals involving taxpayer money. Media Matters did a bit of research and surprise! Surprise! Despite the fact that the two self-described patriots claim to be concerned about wasting "taxpayer dollars," they have consistently overlooked or offered minimal coverage of extensive fraud at Halliburton and KBR as well as the scandals involving the private security contractor Blackwater (now Xe), lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Rep. Bob Ney. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that ACORN involves minorities and Democrats while the other scandals implicate Republicans."

Tell The Real Story about Glenn Beck
ColorOfChange.org notes that Glenn Beck is getting a lot of media attention right now (and he'll probably get more now that his latest book has been released). Unfortunately mainstream reporters have failed to confront his extremist, incendiary rhetoric, or his antics which actively stoke the fires of racial paranoia. He repeatedly makes inflammatory claims that simply aren't true. ColorOfChange is asking people familiar with Beck's racial fearmongering to write letters to the editors of their local papers asking them to call out the extremist hate mongering of Glenn Beck. Click here to participate.

Fox is the Most - and Least - Trusted
Marla Jean Tenore reports for Poynter Online: "Results from a national Sacred Heart University survey released today reveal that many news consumers believe the media played a significant role in electing President Barack Obama and that the media continue to promote his presidency.  Titled "Trust and Satisfaction with the National News Media," the national survey of 800 Americans renews attention to the issue of liberal media bias and its effect on political coverage."

26 September 2009

The Effects of Globalization with David Bacon

On this week's edition of Community Bridge we broadcast a lecture given by award-winning photographer and union activist, David Bacon at the Kansas City (MO) Public Library on September 18. Bacon analyzes NAFTA's corporate tilt as a cause of displacement and migration from Mexico and shows how criminalizing immigrant labor benefits employers. The event was sponsored by the The Cross Border Network, The ACLU of Kansas and western Missouri Immigration Task Force, the Institute for Labor Studies at UMKC and the Kansas City Public Library. Bacon discusses issues of issues of labor, immigration, and international politics.

MP3 File

24 September 2009

Clippings for 24 September 2009

Top 25 Censored Stories for 2010.
From Project Censored:

The Politics of Lying and the Culture of Deceit in Obama's America: The Rule of Damaged Politics
Henry A. Giroux comments for Truthout: "In the current American political landscape, truth is not merely misrepresented or falsified; it is overtly mocked. As is well known, the Bush administration repeatedly lied to the American public, furthering a legacy of government mistrust while carrying the practice of distortion to new and almost unimaginable heights. Even now, almost a year after Bush left office, it is difficult to forgot the lies and government-sponsored deceits in which it was claimed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, Iraq was making deals with al-Qaeda and, perhaps the most infamous of all, the United States did not engage in torture."

Saving the Obama Revolution
Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig.com: "The Obama revolution, and there was the hope of one, might still succeed. But only if Barack Obama follows the model of the incredibly successful Reagan revolution and heeds the political base that made his presidency possible. Love him or not, Ronald Reagan had at least one outstanding political virtue—his respect for the concerns of those who placed their trust in him. And whenever the political vultures that feast on power tried to lead him astray, they were fired at the insistence of Reagan or his remarkably savvy wife, Nancy. Hopefully Obama and his no-less-impressive mate, Michelle, will do the same."

I'm Not a Racist -- I'm a Democrat
Melissa Harris-Lacewell writes for The Nation: "For weeks the media have been covering "racism in health care reform opposition." For the most part I've found this political moment to be an interesting opportunity to discuss the meanings of race, the history of racial exclusion and violence, and the ongoing realities of racial inequality in America."

Will McChrystal Quit?
Robert Dreyfuss writes for The Nation: "Yesterday morning, at a meeting of the neoconservative Foreign Policy Initiative, a former top US military officer suggested that General Stanley McChrystal might resign from his post if President Obama doesn't go along with his pending request for more troops for Afghanistan."

Meet the Afghan Army: Is It a Figment of Washington's Imagination?
Ann Jones writes for TomDispatch.com: "In Washington, calls are increasing, especially among anxious Democrats, for the president to commit to training ever more Afghan troops and police rather than sending in more American troops. Huge numbers for imagined future Afghan army and police forces are now bandied about in Congress and the media - though no one stops to wonder what Afghanistan, the fourth poorest country on the planet, might actually be like with a combined security force of 400,000. Not a 'democracy,' you can put your top dollar on that." 

Authors of Iraq War Push Obama on Afghanistan
Sam Stein writes for the Huffington Post: "The neoconservatives who provided the intellectual foundation for the war in Iraq convened on Monday to make a renewed push for the current administration to pursue greater military engagement in Afghanistan.  Hours after it was reported that military officials are advising President Obama to send up to 40,000 more American troops to the eight-year-long war, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney joined the intellectuals at the Foreign Policy Initiative forum to declare any future policy debate moot."

Why Not Look Backwards, with Clarity
Dennis Loo writes for Consortium News: "In the Sept. 19 Washington Post, we learn that the Justice Department’s investigation of torture by U.S. personnel will be even narrower than originally proposed by Attorney General Eric Holder.
The Justice Department's review of detainee abuse by the CIA will focus on a very small number of cases, including at least one in which an Afghan prisoner died at a secret facility [in Kabul at a CIA black site called the Salt Pit in November 2002], according to two sources briefed on the matter.

Neocon Judge's History of Cover-ups
Robert Parry writes for Consortium News: "Laurence Silberman, a U.S. Appeals Court judge and a longtime neoconservative operative – part of what the Iran-Contra special prosecutor called “the strategic reserves” for convicted Reagan administration operatives in the 1980s – is back playing a similar role for the Bush administration.  On Sept. 11, the eighth anniversary of the terror attacks on New York and Washington, Silberman issued a 2-to-1 opinion dismissing a lawsuit against the private security firm, CACI International, brought by Iraqi victims of torture and other abuse at Abu Ghraib prison."

A United Nations fact-finding mission has found Israel “punished and terrorized” civilians in its three-week assault on Gaza earlier this year and cited strong evidence that Israeli forces committed “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions. More than 1,400 Palestinians—about a third of them women and children—were killed in the assault. We get analysis from author and Israel-Palestine scholar Norman Finkelstein.

Values Voters Summit Promotes "New Masculinity" of Ignorance and Fury
Wendy Norris writes for RH Reality Check: "The Family Research Council wants you to be manly. So the Values Voter Summit, the annual confab of ultra-conservative political and religious leaders that took place this weekend in Washington tried to be hip with a fundamentalist-inspired reenactment of 'Mad Men,' the popular American television drama that harkens back to the good ol' days when men were in charge and women knew their place."

Roots of Right-Wing Populist Rage -- Christian Right
Chip Berlet writes for Talk to Action: "Listening to the rhetoric and reading the placards at recent right-wing events has led many progressive observers to conclude that "these folks are nuts!" Well, they are no more crazy or ignorant than most Americans (stifle that giggle), but they do live inside a bubble."

10 Way the US Military has Shoved Christianity Down Muslim's Throats
Chris Rodda writes for Talk to Action: "The Military Religious Freedom Foundation was founded in 2005 by Mikey Weinstein, a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate and Reagan administration White House counsel, after the harassment his own sons faced as Jewish cadets at the academy led him to discover that the fundamentalist Christian takeover of the Air Force Academy was far from an isolated problem."

A long-awaited healthcare bill from Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus includes no public option and would require almost all Americans to buy insurance or pay a penalty. This comes as a new study finds that nearly 45,000 Americans die every year due to lack of health insurance. We speak with the study’s co-author, Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a professor of medicine at Harvard University, primary care physician, and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Death Pays
Christopher Brauchli writes for Counter Punch: "The fun has not gone out of banking after all. Following the disastrous fall of 2008, conventional wisdom had it that many of the things that made banking fun, like amazing bonuses and fascinating (if not understood) financial instruments were going to follow the dinosaur into extinction. That, of course, did not happen. Bonuses are as big as ever and a recent announcement discloses that a new financial instrument that is far more interesting than a bundle of mortgages is about to hit the market. It involves life insurance."

The Numbers and Health Care Reform
The New York Times editoralizes: "Two authoritative surveys in recent days have underscored why all Americans have a stake in successful health care reform. Too many people are being hit with relentlessly rising premiums or are at serious risk of losing their coverage to allow the status quo to continue. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that, once again, health insurance premiums rose faster last year than either wages or general inflation. A study by the Treasury Department found that almost half of all Americans below Medicare age have gone without insurance at some point over the last decade."

We Made Them Millions, and They Complain About Insurance
This week's Community Bridge guest, David Bacon, writes about Lupe Chavez, a housekeeper at the San Francisco Hilton, and tells her story to Turthout.com: "My hands tingle and ache, and my fingers go numb. Sometimes, my arms start to hurt during the night and I can't sleep. The pain starts about 3 AM and I can't stand it. The doctor said I have carpal tunnel syndrome and gave me two braces, one for each hand. My hands now feel better, but I still use them during the day. I take a Motrin pill before leaving for work in the morning and another one in the afternoon and before going to bed. I don't want to be dependent on them, but it's hard. My doctor told me many housekeepers have the same problem. It's very difficult to work in pain. It's something I cannot get used to. I have to continue working because I need the insurance."

Senator Roberts: We Need to Give Health Insurance Lobbyists 'At Least 72 Hours' to Read the Bill
Faiz Shakir writes for Think Progress: "During the Senate Finance Committee’s mark-up session of the health care reform bill today, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) — who has had a hard time staying awake during these meetings — offered an amendment that would have delayed 'a committee vote for two weeks.' Bunning requested that the Committee put-off a vote on the health care bill until the final legislative language of the bill is made available on the Committee’s website for at least 72 hours. The amendment failed, with all of the Democrats except Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) voting against it. But had the amendment passed, it could potentially have halted the health care debate for weeks. Before the vote took place, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) offered a defense of Bunning’s amendment by arguing that the 72-hour provision was critical because it provides time for senators to consult with health insurance lobbyists..."

Act Now or Lose Forever, Climate Summit Told
Thalif Deen reports for Inter Press Service: "The world's small island developing nations, most of which are threatened with environmental devastation, put the international community on dire notice: either accept ambitious and binding emission reduction targets, or humanity is doomed. The one-day UN summit meeting of world leaders Tuesday came out with a clear message demanding urgent action against the growing threats from climate change. Maldives, one of the world's smallest nation states facing extinction, exposed the political hypocrisy of world leaders pontificating on the dangers of global warming but doing little or nothing towards a resolution of the ecological crisis at hand."

The Era of Xtreme Energy
Michael T. Klare writes for Tomdispatch.com: "The debate rages over whether we have already reached the point of peak world oil output or will not do so until at least the next decade. There can, however, be little doubt of one thing: we are moving from an era in which oil was the world's principal energy source to one in which petroleum alternatives -- especially renewable supplies derived from the sun, wind, and waves -- will provide an ever larger share of our total supply. But buckle your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride under Xtreme conditions."

Gay Boys in Oil City
Gary Barlow writes for In These Times about the struggle for LGBT rights in rural America: "Forty years ago, the Stonewall Riots sparked a revolution in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) rights in the United States. Since then, gays and lesbians have seen laws passed across the country protecting their right to work, to associate freely and live where they want, and even, in some places, to marry. Coinciding with those transformations, gays created huge urban communities to openly celebrate their lives, with New York’s Greenwich Village, Chicago’s Boystown, San Francisco’s Castro and similar neighborhoods around the country becoming meccas of queer culture."
Uncle Sam Should Respect All Marriages
Deb Price comments for Turthout: "Listen to the voices crying out for Congress to end the federal government's mistreatment of legally married gay couples. Listen to McKinley BarbouRoske of Iowa. She displayed a confidence well beyond her 11 years when she spoke up for her moms at a recent news conference in front of the US Capitol. McKinley's parents were finally able to wed in their home state two months ago - after nearly two decades as a couple. Now they quite rightly want Uncle Sam to recognize their marriage."

Recommended Audio: Bob Beckel Exposes Hannity Panel's Hyprocrisy on ACORN
Ellen writes for News Hounds: "On last night’s (Sept. 21) Hannity, Bob Beckel repeatedly threw the imbalanced panel, stacked against him with two conservatives plus Sean Hannity, off their anti-ACORN talking points. First, nobody could explain what the supposedly billions of dollars going to ACORN was for. Then nobody, including the former Bush administration official, could explain why they had not made an issue of the greater waste and abuse from Halliburton. Beckel polished it off by throwing Hannity on the defensive by asking whether he had ever hired anyone who turned out to be a “fruitcake.” Go Bob! Video after the jump."

In a speech given at the Brookings Institution, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed two additional Net Neutrality rules that will ensure the Internet's continued openness. Read the complete speech at the above link.

Cecilia Kang reports for the Washington Post: "The government would play a far more aggressive role in policing the public's unfettered access to Internet services and content under a proposal offered Monday by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski. The agency would be the "smart cop on the beat," Genachowski said in a speech, outlining a plan to prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or slowing certain technologies and content on their networks. The chairman proposed that firms be required to make public the steps they are taking to control Web traffic."

Daniel Weinberger writes for NPR: "The "net neutrality" rules proposed Monday by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will go a long way toward keeping the Internet the greatest site of innovation in human history. The rules forbid access providers from making some Internet services and content work better than others. "Thou shalt not discriminate among bits based on who made them or what they're doing" is a wise and necessary commandment."

Daniel Tencer writes for The Raw Story: "Six Republican senators have introduced an amendment that would block the Federal Communications Commission from implementing its recently announced Net neutrality policy. Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced the amendment to an appropriations bill. It would prevent the FCC from getting funding for any initiative to uphold Net neutrality. According to The Hill, the co-sponsors are Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)."

Amber Sands writes for the Prometheus Radio Project: "For once, media activists are not the only ones paying attention to the FCC! Led by conservative talk show host Glenn Beck, right-wing media personalities have been drumming up controversy about new FCC Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd. Their fabricated claims about Lloyd’s policy positions—spurred by a genuine fear that a diverse and locally accountable media system would cut into their profits—demonstrate why media reform is such a critical fight."

Candace Clement writes for New Public Media: "It is worth celebrating that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting recently elected a new chairman – Ernest Wilson III, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California – who is ready to move public media into the digital age.  Wilson’s election is an indication of change underway at the CPB. In an interview last week, he showed some encouraging signs that the corporation may in fact be ready to commit to a vision for new public media."

21 September 2009

Death by Design - A history of Funeral Homes in Kansas

The annual membership meeting of the Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance was held September 10th. The keynote for the evening was given by Christy Davis.

Ms. Davis is a fifth-generation Kansan who has dedicated her career to helping communities identify and preserve their architectural heritage. For much of the past decade, Davis worked in the public sector as a preservation planner and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer.   In 2006, she founded her own historic preservation consulting firm, which specializes in assisting property owners in designating their properties and funding their preservation projects. Davis has served on the boards of Preservation Action, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, the Kansas Preservation Alliance, and is currently the chair of the Topeka Landmarks Commission. For more information about the Preservation Alliance, you can visit their website at: http://www.preservemanhattan.org

MP3 File

20 September 2009

Clippings for 20 September 2009

Can We? A Brief History of American Racism
Melissa Harris-Lacewell writes for The Nation: "Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. These four acts of Congress were meant to protect the new nation from French immigrants. They reflected a broad paranoia that French newcomers would poison American minds and weaken the new American government."

Joe Wilson's Dixie Partisans
Joe Conason comments for Truthout: "The stupid misconduct of entertainer Kanye West and politician Joe Wilson demonstrated, if any fresh proof is necessary, that thoughtless rudeness isn't confined by ethnicity, ideology or background. With their highly public episodes of misconduct, both earned sharp public censure. Yet while West has expressed real remorse for his misbehavior at the MTV Music Awards, Wilson has swiftly left behind a quick apology to cash in on his historic insult to the president of the United States. The South Carolina conservative's political consultants have raised upward of a million dollars from donors across the country who want to express solidarity with him for blurting, 'You lie!' on the House floor."

Stand with Van Jones
Starhawk writes on her blog "Dirt Worship": "Okay, now, I’m really mad!  The right wing bullies at Fox News—Glenn Beck and his ilk, are going after a man who I know personally from years of progressive work in the Bay Area—Van Jones.  Jones is a grass roots organizer who started the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, as well as the program Green For All.  He wrote a best-selling book, one of the few books on environmental action written by an African American:  The Green Collar Economy."

Recommended Audio: Truthdig podcast - Where Did All These Marchers Come From?
Josh Silver from FreePress.net joins Turthdig's James Harris and Josh Scheer to discuss the Glenn Beck phenomenon, Obama’s health care plan and our country’s dependence on for-profit media.

The Right Wing's Values
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, and Zaid Jilani write for the Progress Report at Think Progress: "On Saturday, roughly 60,000 aggrieved conservatives converged on Washington, DC to participate in the Glenn Beck-inspired 9/12 anti-Obama rally. The event, organized by FreedomWorks, a corporate-funded right-wing advocacy group headed by former Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), was promoted as a grassroots manifestation of anger at the direction of America under President Obama. But at the same time, 'Washington's institutional conservative leaders and groups' jumped at the opportunity to hitch themselves to the 'angry, anti-government fit.' Top conservative lawmakers, such as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) addressed the crowd on Saturday. While promoting his organization's upcoming Values Voter Summit, Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, praised the 'outpouring of concerns' at the rally. 'I don't think it's something that can be directed or controlled. This is not the work of organizations,' said Perkins. "I think organizations can fan it and channel it but they can't build it and direct it. I think this is coming genuinely -- this is not astroturf. This is coming from the soil of America." Indeed, Perkins will try to 'fan' and 'channel' the conservative enthusiasm on display at the 9/12 rally and August's town halls at his group's conference, which starts on Friday. The event will feature a who's who of the conservative movement, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Fox News' Bill O'Reilly."

In Defense of ACORN
Joe Conason writes for Salon.com: "For many years the combined forces of the far right and the Republican Party have sought to ruin ACORN, the largest organization of poor and working families in America. Owing to the idiocy of a few ACORN employees, notoriously caught in a videotape "sting" sponsored by a conservative Web site and publicized by Fox News, that campaign has scored significant victories on Capitol Hill and in the media."

Fox News' Incomplete, Misleading ACORN Coverage Is Just Nuts
Karl Frisch writes for Media Matters: " If you get your news from right-wing talk radio and Fox News, you probably think America is being overrun by a hyper-corrupt organized prostitution ring headquartered in the White House.  In case you missed this story: Two conservative activists, Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe, visited a host of ACORN offices around the country posing as a pimp and prostitute. They asked for help establishing a brothel, and even stated that underage girls would be working for them. They had a surveillance camera and recorded at least four interactions with ACORN employees and claimed these employees provided them with assistance. All of the employees implicated have now been fired, and federal aid to ACORN has been cut off."

Is America Hooked on War?
Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch: "What a world might be like in which we began not just to withdraw our troops from one war to fight another, but to seriously scale down the American global mission, close those hundreds of bases - recently, there were almost 300 of them, macro to micro, in Iraq alone - and bring our military home is beyond imagining. To discuss such obviously absurd possibilities makes you an apostate to America's true religion and addiction, which is force."

CIA Directors Conclude CIA Shouldn't Be Investigated for Murder
Glenn Breenwald comments for Salon.com: "In a truly shocking development being treated as major news, seven former CIA Directors -- including all three who served under George W. Bush -- jointly concluded that the CIA should not be criminally investigated for torture deaths, and they have written a letter to President Obama (.pdf) expressing that view.  Do leaders of organizations in general ever believe that their organizations and its members should be criminally investigated and possibly prosecuted for acts carried out on behalf of that organization, and do CIA Directors specifically ever believe that about the CIA?  Has a CIA Director ever advocated that CIA agents be criminally investigated for illegal intelligence activities?"

Pressure Builds On Pentagon to Investigate Electrocution Death in Iraq
Jeremy Scahill reports for RebelReports: "Congressional pressure is increasing on the Department of Defense to investigate the apparent electrocution death of Adam Hermanson, a 25 year old DoD contractor who died September 1 in a shower at Camp Olympia inside the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq."

All US Presidents Need a War to Call Their Own --and Obama Has His
William Pfaff writes for Truthdig: "The more one hears the discussion among Democrats about the war in Afghanistan, the more one feels that it is a serious handicap that Barack Obama has no personal experience of international relations or of foreign policy or military service, beyond such experience as one gains as a first-term U.S. senator."

Questions That Need to Be Asked about Afghanistan
George Wilson writes for Neiman Watchdog: "Neither Congress nor the press asked the president, the secretary of Defense, the secretary of State and military leaders the kind of tough questions that might have kept our commander-in-chief from sending thousands of young American men and women to die in the quagmires of Vietnam, Iraq and now Afghanistan."

Rising Threat to Aid Agencies in Afghanistan
William Dowell reports for GlobalPost: "International aid and humanitarian organizations are increasingly under the threat of attack in Afghanistan and are struggling to find ways to operate safely in areas where the U.S. and the Taliban are at war."

Selective Deficit Disorder
David Sirota writes for Truthout: "Watching the health care debate unfold these days is a little like watching scenes from 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' - the ones showing a collage of strung-out, deranged or otherwise incapacitated patients rotting away in a squalid psychiatric ward.... Clearly, the inmates in America's political sanitarium are each struggling with different maladies. However, they are all suffering from Selective Deficit Disorder - an illness, the symptoms of which can be particularly difficult to detect."

Rep. Capps Says Disinformation, 'Outright Fabrications' Surround Abortion Amendment in Health Reform
National Partnership for Women and Families writes: "There is "a lot of misinformation" about an amendment adopted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee regarding coverage of abortion services under the House health reform bill (HR 3200), Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) writes in The Hill's "Congress Blog." Capps writes that she offered the amendment as "an attempt to try to find a compromise for dealing with abortion services in legislation," adding that the proposal received support from Energy and Commerce Committee members "whose records span the pro-life and pro-choice spectrum." The amendment "would essentially continue" the federal abortion restriction in Medicaid known as the Hyde Amendment, which prevents the use of federal Medicaid funds for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman. In other words, under the Capps amendment, for public and private plans in the newly created health insurance exchange, "no federal funds may be used to pay for abortions that are not allowed by current law," Capps says. The committee's "hope was that we could continue the current ban on federal funding for abortion so the issue wouldn't bog down the overall health reform legislation," according to Capps."

Fact Check: Health Care and Undocumented Immigrants
Marshall Fitz writes for The Center for American Progress: "The health care town hall circus this August had a recurrent sideshow: the illegal immigration paper tiger. The well-scripted disruption tactics by antireform activists played up one patently false claim after another. One of the most prevalent was the ungrounded assertion that undocumented immigrants will receive health care benefits in the legislative proposals before Congress." 

A $1,761 Postage Stamp: How The Glenn Beck Machine Constructed An Attack On Clean Energy Reform
Brad Johnson writes for Think Progress: "Fox News host Glenn Beck, the new darling of the radical right, is part of a well-coordinated machine to block progressive reform. Yesterday, Beck fanned himself with a giant $1,761 postage stamp, claiming he had uncovered 'outright lies' by a 'spooky' White House. According to Beck, 'buried' Treasury documents reveal that President Obama’s clean energy agenda “is going to cost a lot of money.” He thanked “our friend Chris Horner at CEI” for revealing the “facts” about the cap and trade energy bill..."

Legislation Watch: Fighting Hunger in Our Schools
Greg Kaufmann writes for The Nation: "In 2008 the nation suffered its largest one-year decline in median income since 1967, and the largest one-year increase in poverty since 1991, a US Census report announced last week. The Economic Policy Institute called these statistics just the tip of the iceberg--since the economy continues to hemorrhage jobs and the report takes into account less than one-quarter of the total rise in unemployment through August 2009. The report from the Census Bureau didn't reveal anything anti-hunger advocates don't already know. Families who never struggled with hunger now need help for the first time, and families who rarely used food shelves in the past are visiting on a monthly basis, just to get by."

Unhealthy US Diets Prompt more Calls for Reform
Russell Blinch reports for Reuters: "The American way of eating is under attack, which could expose the food industry to new junk food taxes, but it's unlikely major reforms are in the offing to quickly alter U.S. food policies."

Health Ills Abound as Farm Runoff Fouls Wells
Charles Duhigg reports for The New York Times: "All it took was an early thaw for the drinking water here to become unsafe.  There are 41,000 dairy cows in Brown County, which includes Morrison, and they produce more than 260 million gallons of manure each year, much of which is spread on nearby grain fields. Other farmers receive fees to cover their land with slaughterhouse waste and treated sewage."

Planned Parenthood President Richards Links Abstinence-Only Sex Education, High Teen Birth, STI Rates in Texas
Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje reports for the San Antonio Express-News: "In a packed sanctuary at Temple Beth-El on Monday night, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, issued a ringing call to action to a warm and friendly audience.  'The country is changing, but (President Barack Obama) can only do so much,' she said. 'Grass-roots action is what makes the difference. We've got to be agents of change in America.'  Richards, who is the daughter of the late Gov. Ann Richards, was in San Antonio as part of the Faith & Freedom Speakers series co-sponsored by the Texas Freedom Network and Planned Parenthood of San Antonio and South Central Texas."

Murphy Expects House Hearings on DADT Repeal in Early 2010
Kevin Naff writes in the Washington Blade: "Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) said he expects the House to hold hearings on a bill to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in winter or spring of 2010.  Murphy, speaking to the Blade at a Wednesday event sponsored by the Raben Group, a D.C.-based public affairs firm, also said he has 166 co-sponsors lined up for the measure and commitments from another 10 lawmakers to vote for the bill but not sponsor it.  Murphy took over as lead sponsor of the repeal effort in the House after Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) resigned her seat to take the job of undersecretary for Arms Control & International Security at the State Department."

A President Was Killed the Last Time Right-Wing Hatred Ran Wild Like This
Eric Boehlert writes for Media Matters for America: "I've been thinking a lot of Kennedy and Dallas as I've watched the increasingly violent rhetorical attacks on Obama be unfurled. As Americans yank their kids of class in order to save them from being exposed to the President of the United States who only wanted to urge them to excel in the classroom. And as unvarnished hate and name-calling passed for health care 'debate' this summer."

Coalition Organizes Support of Mark Lloyd
Alexi Mostrous reports for the Washington Post: "More than 50 public interest groups wrote Wednesday to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging the agency to speak out in support of its chief diversity officer, Mark Lloyd, who has suffered a recent barrage of criticism from right-wing commentators. Glenn Beck, the conservative host of Fox News, has headed the attacks on Lloyd, who has called for public broadcasting outlets to receive greater funding from private broadcasters. Beck said that Lloyd's proposals, which were outlined in a 2006 book written before he joined the FCC in July, would hamper free speech and put "voices like mine" out of business."

FCC chief gets new net neutrality support in House from Waxman
Kim Hart writes for The Hill: "The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that he supports legislation that would prohibit Internet companies from giving preferential treatment to certain services and content on the Web.  Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said he signed on to a bill introduced by Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) to codify the principal of net neutrality, which would force Internet service providers to treat all traffic the same."

With Science Journalism in Retreat, Universities Try New Strategy for Informing the Public
Paul Rogers reports for the San Jose Mercury News: "Concerned that journalism's economic problems are reducing Americans' understanding of science, medicine and other research, 35 of the nation's top universities — including Stanford and UC-Berkeley — on Tuesday announced they will feed their own accounts of their discoveries directly to top news sites on the Internet. Under the plan, the universities have formed what is essentially their own nonprofit wire service, called Futurity, to provide articles to popular Web sites such as Yahoo News and Google News, along with MySpace and Twitter."

An Interview with Eric Nadler

Community Bridge welcomes film director Eric Nadler to the show. Nadler was in Manhattan on Sept. 8 & 9 for the screening of his film - Anthrax War. Nadler discusses the bio-defense industry, why placing the National Bio and Agri-defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan is a bad idea, about making film and reflects on the corporate media. Following Nadler's interview we rebroadcast a interview conducted by Paul Jay, Real News Network with Drummond Pike, founder and COE of the Tides Foundation on the state of progressive politics.

MP3 File

17 September 2009

Clippings for 17 September 2009

The New Illiteracy in American Life: Democracy and Politics in the Age of the Spectacle
Henry A. Giroux writes for Truthout: "C. Wright Mills argued 50 years ago that one important measure of the demise of vibrant democracy and the corresponding impoverishment of political life can be found in the increasing inability of a society to translate private troubles to broader public issues. This is an issue that both characterizes and threatens any viable notion of democracy in the United States in the current historical moment."

Stop Begging Obama and Get Mad
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig: "The right-wing accusations against Barack Obama are true. He is a socialist, although he practices socialism for corporations. He is squandering the country’s future with deficits that can never be repaid. He has retained and even bolstered our surveillance state to spy on Americans. He is forcing us to buy into a health care system that will enrich corporations and expand the abuse of our for-profit medical care. He will not stanch unemployment. He will not end our wars. He will not rebuild the nation. He is a tool of the corporate state."

Ku Klux Klowns
William Rivers Pitt writes for Truthout: "How many white, middle-aged, overweight, pissed-off right-wingers does it take to unscrew a light bulb? Depends on who you ask. Organizers for this past weekend's anti-Obama protest in Washington, DC, were slinging around crowd-size estimates of two million people before the curtain was thankfully drawn on the thing, despite the fact that the number was actually in the vicinity of 30,000."

Shots from the Tea Party
Stephanie Mencimer writes for Mother Jones: "The problem with people who march in protest of big government and taxes is that they never seem to acknowledge just how much they depend on the very government those tax dollars support. Case in point: I spent several hours Saturday attending the big “9/12” march in DC, brought to you by the same people who organized the Tax Day “tea parties” and rowdy health care town hall meetings. Tens of thousands of conservatives and libertarians fanned out across Pennsylvania Avenue and the Capitol lawn, decrying the federal stimulus package, the bailout of Wall Street, and the “czaring” or America."

Colbert Goes There - The Only Media Figure In America To Call Out Corporate Control Of Government
dday writes on Crooks and Liars: " The Colbert Report last night (Tuesday 15 September) featured one of the most subversive and brutally honest half-hours of television in recent memory. It's a sad commentary that it takes a comedy program to provide more news and information on one of the most critical subjects in American politics that anywhere else in our broken media and political landscape, but I'll take this argument wherever I can get it. Colbert spent two full segments of his show focusing on the Citizens United Supreme Court case, which could - and probably will - lead to deregulating the entire campaign finance process, allowing corporations to give unlimited money to any candidate of their choosing. This severe step backwards with enormous implications has been barely discussed in any traditional media setting, but Colbert went after it vigorously, discussing the consequences and even the flawed legal rationale, a true third rail of American politics, corporate personhood."

Obama vs. the Lobbyists
Andy Kroll writes for TomDispatch.com: "At the end of this summer of discontent, of death panels and unplugging poor Grandma, of birthers and astroturfers and rifle-toting picketers, the halcyon early days of the Obama administration feel increasingly like hazy, gilt-edged memories. The president's sprawling legislative agenda - a health-care overhaul, financial regulation reform, slashing wasteful military spending, and climate change legislation legislation - is slowly grinding its way through the halls of Congress. Barack Obama's sheen, his administration's unflagging confidence, and all the bipartisan, post-racial aspirations have been replaced by the hard realities of Washington politicking. And with the media's lens more tightly focused than ever on Washington's every move and utterance 24/7, anything said a few months back feels like a lifetime ago."

Cheney and Rumsfeld's "Close Friend" Throws Out Suit Against Alleged Abu Ghraib Torturers
Jeremy Scahill reports on the Rebel Reports: "On September 11, the US appeals court for the District of Columbia announced in a 2-1 decision that it was throwing out a lawsuit against CACI International and L-3 Communications Titan unit, which are being sued by Iraqi civilians for their alleged role in the torture and abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison. The companies provided interrogators at the prison at the height of the abuses there. The suit alleges that employees of the companies conspired with US. Army reservist Charles Graner, who was convicted of prisoner abuse on January 14, 2005 and is currently serving 10 years at Fort Leavenworth, and others to torture prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Several of the plaintiffs are Iraqis whose torture was depicted in graphic photos revealed over the past several years."

US Justice Department Wants Surveillance Methods Extended
Jeremy Pelofsky reports for Reuters: "The Obama administration has asked the U.S. Congress to extend three surveillance techniques for intelligence agencies tracking suspected militants that expire this year, according to a letter to lawmakers. Approved after the September 11 attacks in 2001 at the request of the Bush administration, techniques such as roving wiretaps and accessing all kinds of personal records drew criticism from civil liberties groups and some lawmakers who said they were unconstitutional and violated privacy rights."

One Year of Bankster Bailouts and Meltdown Madness
John Nichols writes for The Nation: "But this is the anniversary of the collapse of the house of cards that was Lehman Brothers. One year ago today, the economic time bomb that George Bush and Dick Cheney had spent two terms constructing – on a platform of deregulations furnished by Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich – blew up. The explosion created the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. And it sent unemployment rates soaring to the highest levels in a quarter century"

A Factory Like a City
David Bacon writes for Truthout: "Last month, Toyota announced it would close the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) plant in Fremont, California, after General Motors announced it was withdrawing from the partnership under which the plant has operated for over two decades. The plant employs 4,500 workers directly, and the jobs of another 30,000 throughout Northern California are dependent on its continued operation. Taking families into account, the threatened closure will eliminate the income of over 100,000 people."

Michael Moore's Smash and Grab
Mark Weisbrot writes for Guardian UK: "When I first met Michael Moore more than 20 years ago he was showing a half-finished documentary to a few dozen people in a classroom in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was funny and poignant and had a powerful message. He had taken a second mortgage on his house – equipment for filmmaking was a lot more expensive back then – and raised some money from like-minded locals for a long-shot venture. We all loved what he showed us but thought he would be lucky if a few thousand people got to see it."

Recommended Audio: As Obama Escalates War in Afghanistan, US Peace Activists Call for Near-Term Withdrawal of Foreign Troops
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!: "The coming weeks hold critical significance for the US occupation of Afghanistan. The Senate is expected to vote on the Obama administration's $128 billion request to fund war operations in Afghanistan and Iraq for the coming fiscal year. Next week, the Obama administration will unveil a report on whether US benchmarks for success in Afghanistan are being achieved. It's widely believed President Obama will receive a military request to escalate the Afghan war with thousands of additional troops. The apparent congressional unease over a troop escalation comes near Friday's eight-year anniversary of the vote authorizing the attack on Afghanistan. We speak to Norman Solomon of the Institute for Public Accuracy on his recent trip to Afghanistan and CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin."

Democracy and Action in Afghanistan
James Foley writes for In These Times: "As gunshots rang out from the mountain tops of the Dewegal Valley in eastern Afghanistan, men voted under the shade of trees next to their village's mosque. Heads turned upward whenever a heavy shell or particularly loud burst echoed, but the voters appeared in no hurry to leave. This was supposed to be their election, after all."

Homeland Security Marked by Waste, Lack of Oversight
G. W. Schultz reports for the Center for Investigative Reporting: "
Soon after hijackers obliterated the World Trade Center towers eight years ago, Marin County received more than $100,000 in surveillance equipment to keep its water treatment system safe from a terrorist attack. But four years after the funds were awarded, state authorities found more than $67,000 worth of the gear still boxed in its original packaging. It had never been used."

The F-22 Lives On
Andy Kroll writes for Mother Jones: "You've got to hand it to defense contractor Lockheed Martin and its F-22 Raptor fighter jet: The much maligned, headline-grabbing plane will not go away.  The latest news on the F-22 beat is that the Senate is trying to sidestep a decade-old law to allow Lockheed to develop and export a version of the F-22 to be sold outside the US. On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to insert language in its 2010 defense spending bill allowing the DOD to "conduct or participate in studies, research, design and other activities to define and develop an export version of the F-22A." Earlier last week, the same committee agreed to end F-22 production for domestic use at 187 planes after a protracted battle between the Obama administration and lawmakers in Congress on whether to extend the production run of F-22s or not. Lockheed also lobbied hard for continuing F-22 production by citing the number of jobs the plane created nationwide."

Jimmy Carter Tackles anti-Obama Racism
Devona Walker writes for The Loop: "Former President Jimmy Carter recently called America out for its current race-driven insanity. The far right has, as expected, been crying bloody murder."
"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American," Carter told NBC Nightly News. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shares the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans."

Why is Glenn Beck Collecting Black Scalps?
Devona Walker writes for The Loop: "After a full-on assault, for more than a year now, Glenn Beck has finally gotten the goods on the community organizing group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.) Conservative activist James O’Keepe walked into ACORN’s Baltimore office posing as a pimp with a prostitute in tow and got some tax-evading advice from an ACORN staff member. In the video below, O’Keefe claimed he wanted to buy a house and was trying to figure out a way of accounting for his 'ho’s' income. The employee told the woman to list her occupation as 'performance artist.'”

Druge Has Lost His Touch
Ethan Poter writes for the Columbia Journalism Review: "If you visited the Drudge Report on July 1, you’d be forgiven for thinking that nothing had changed. A BILLION THANKS FOR MAKING JUNE 2009—TOP JUNE IN DRUDGE REPORT’S 14 YEAR HISTORY!? PAGE HIT 675,406,735 VIEWS FROM 129,922,878 VISITS … TRAFFIC ROSE 21% FOR MONTH OVER YEAR AGO blared the headline on the right of the home page. Matt Drudge’s Web site appeared to be chugging along, sinking its teeth into the news cycle just like it used to."

We Can't Afford Health Care? You Lie!
Tom H. Hastings comments for Truthout: "We see the spectacle of the US Congress unable to manage decent health care reform that will actually enable the American citizenry to join the rest of the industrialized world in having health care for all. The problems, it is clear, come from those who are lying."

Baucus Releases Health Care Blueprint With No Public Option
David Lightman reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus unveiled on Wednesday an $856 billion plan to overhaul the nation's health care system that includes taxes on high-end insurance policies and incentives to create health care co-ops around the nation, but not the public option that President Barack Obama has sought."

Conrad Praises Baucus Bill which Contains Co-ops He Proposed after Meeting with UnitedHealth Group
Zaid Jilani writes for Think Progress: "After months of legislative deliberation aimed at forging a bipartisan health care bill that began by ejecting single-payer advocates from his hearing room, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) unveiled his committee’s health care bill today with zero Republican support. Baucus’s bill — which former Cigna executive Wendell Potter has referred to as “an absolute gift” to the health insurance industry — includes no public option, an individual insurance mandate, and the creation of health care co-ops."

CBO: Public Option Would Reduce Premiums Across the Board
Jonathan Walker writes for The Campaign For America's Future: "The CBO recently published a new letter on health care reform. They were asked to evaluate the impact of the weak (level playing field) public option in the Senate HELP committee's bill. Their conclusion was that the competitive pressure from the public option 'would probably lower private premiums in the insurance exchanges to a small degree,' and with a public plan in the exchange, 'the costs and premiums of competing private plans would, on average, be slightly lower than if no public plan was available.' By reducing the cost of buying private insurance on the exchange, a public plan 'would tend to lower federal subsidy payments through the exchanges.'"

Pentagon Study Proposes Overhaul of Defense Base Act to Cover Care for Injured Contractors
T. Christian Miller reports for ProPublica: "Congress could save as much as $250 million a year through a sweeping overhaul of the controversial US system to care for civilian contractors injured in war zones, according to a new Pentagon study."

Doctors Warm of Global Health Catastrophe Unless Climate Change is Fixed
The Telegraph (UK) reports: "But taking steps to cut the world's carbon emissions, such as eating less meat and switching to cleaner energy, will have benefits for people's health, an editorial published in both the Lancet and British Medical Journal (BMJ) said."

Census Count of Same-Sex Couples to Stir Policy Fights
Carol Morello reports for the Washington Post: "When the U.S. Census Bureau counts same-sex married couples next year, demographers expect hundreds of thousands to report they are spouses -- even though legal same-sex weddings in the United States number in the tens of thousands. Gay advocates say they plan to use A Census that Reflects America's Population, as the Census Bureau calls its plan to report same-sex marriage statistics, to push for legislative and policy initiatives, while groups opposed to same-sex marriage weigh a counteroffensive."

Mainstream Media Missing the Point of Participatory Journalism
Alfred Hermida writes for MediaShift (PBS):"The ability of anyone to play an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and sharing news and information is seen as one of the big shifts in journalism over the past 10 years. But a growing body of research suggests that the advent of participatory journalism, or user-generated content (UGC), has done little to change the way the media works. At the recent Future of Journalism conference at Cardiff University, academics presented a series of studies that further illustrated how the mainstream media is trying to tame the phenomenon.