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

03 September 2009

Clippings for 3 September 2009

Henry A. Giroux writes for Truthout: "Under the Bush administration, a seeping, sometimes galloping, authoritarianism began to reach into every vestige of the culture, giving free rein to those anti-democratic forces in which religious, market, military and political fundamentalism thrived, casting an ominous shadow over the fate of United States democracy. During the Bush-Cheney regime, power became an instrument of retribution and punishment connected to and fueled by a repressive state, a bullying rhetoric of war, a ruthless consolidation of economic forces and an all-embracing free-market apparatus and media-driven pedagogy of fear that supported and sustained a distinct culture of cruelty and inequality in the United States."
David Swanson writes for TomDispatch.com: "It sounds like the plot for the latest summer horror movie. Imagine, for a moment, that George W. Bush had been allowed a third term as president, had run and had won or stolen it, and that we were all now living (and dying) through it. With the Democrats in control of Congress but Bush still in the Oval Office, the media would certainly be talking endlessly about a mandate for bipartisanship and the importance of taking into account the concerns of Republicans. Can't you just picture it?"
Alexandra Andrews, ProPublica: "Among the servicers participating in the government's mortgage modification program is a new recruit that's not like the others. PennyMac, a firm founded by the former president and chief operating officer of Countrywide, buys distressed home loans on the cheap with the goal of modifying them and later selling them for a profit. The company, whose top management consists mostly of former Countrywide executives, now stands to receive up to $6.2 million in taxpayer money to modify those loans, through the Making Home Affordable program. The government's incentive payments go primarily to the participating servicer, but some of the money could also go to borrowers and investors."
Turthdig interviews John Dunbar of the Center for Public Integrity who has analyzed the Obama administration’s home loan modification program, which aims to keep troubled borrowers in their homes, and finds it “highly problematic.”
Juan Cole writes for Salon.com: " One of the major headlines out of Iraq today is the release of non-insurgent casualty figures for August, which are 456, as Agence France Presse reports. This was the highest monthly toll since July of 2008. I commend AFP on how it reported this story. Unlike a lot of other pieces, this one does not exaggerate the significance of August's figures and points out that there was also a surge of violence in June, when the U.S. military was still largely in charge of security, and when 367 Iraqi civilians and members of security forces were killed."
Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig.com: "True, he doesn’t seem a bit like Lyndon Johnson, but the way he’s headed on Afghanistan, Barack Obama is threatened with a quagmire that could bog down his presidency. LBJ also had a progressive agenda in mind, beginning with his war on poverty, but it was soon overwhelmed by the cost and divisiveness engendered by a meaningless, and seemingly endless, war in Vietnam."
Daniel Schulman writes for Mother Jones: "Drunken brawls, prostitutes, hazing and humiliation, taking vodka shots out of buttcracks— no, the perpetrators of these Animal House-like antics aren't some depraved frat brothers. They are the private security contractors guarding the US embassy compound in Kabul." UPDATE: Here are the jaw-dropping photos.
Joe Coscarelliwrites for Mediaite: "When a high-ranking government official meets an establishment journalist, the ensuing fawning at the feet of power can sometimes be too much to bear. Just last weekend, blogger Andrew Sullivan compared Fox New Sunday’s Chris Wallace to a “teenage girl interviewing the Jonas Brothers” for his lack of incision in a televised segment with former Vice President Dick Cheney. And then there’s Rachel Maddow, who on last night’s episode of her MSNBC show was the most well-prepared “teenage girl” on TV, calmly dismantling every argument put forth by former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge."
Mark Mazzetti reports for the New York Times: "The Central Intelligence Agency is refusing to make public hundreds of pages of internal documents about the agency’s defunct detention and interrogation program, saying such disclosures would jeopardize national security by revealing classified intelligence sources and operations."
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Nate Carlile, Zaid Jilani, and Ian Milhiser write for The Progress Report at Think Progress: "In a recent Fox News interview, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) accused health care reform supporters of "forg[etting] what the Constitution says." Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who once called for his Party to defeat health reform because it will "break" President Obama, claimed that health reform violates the Tenth Amendment and urged state legislators and governors to "champion individual freedom" by resisting the bill. Numerous state lawmakers -- including secessionist Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) -- have struck a similar tone, endorsing "state sovereignty resolutions" that demand the federal government "cease and desist" enforcing many laws with which conservatives disagree. (Emboldened by Perry's hardline stance, Texas "tenthers" held a pro-secession rally at the state capital yesterday, demanding that their political opponents "go back to the U.S. where you belong.") Indeed, while "birther" conspiracy theorists make increasingly outlandish attempts to dismantle President Obama's legitimacy, "tenther" constitutionalists like Bachmann, DeMint, and Perry hope to dismantle an entire century's worth of progressive legislation."
Chris Walters writes for The Consumerist: "Everyone likes to hate on spammers, but they're basically the houseflies of the Internet. Far more insidious and damaging are astroturfers and front groups—those corporate-funded, agenda-pushing people who don't disclose who they're really working for while they participate in online culture and the media. The Center for Media and Democracy has put together a list of tips to help you identify them from real grassroots movements, while Free Press has created a widget that reveals front groups for five large companies you frequently see on Consumerist."
Joe Garofoli reports for The San Francisco Chronicle: "People relying on TV advertising or partisan sources for information about health care legislation in Congress have heard that it will 'ration' care to the nation's oldest citizens and hike premiums '95 percent.' Or that Republican voters 'might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed health care rationing system.' President Obama, meanwhile, has said don't worry, the plan 'will be paid for.' Such statements, made in what analysts say is likely to be one of the most expensive issue-oriented campaigns ever, are misleading - if not flat-out wrong."

Gene Lyons writes for Salon.com: "If President Obama expects Congress to pass a healthcare reform bill worth signing, he'd better grasp that "bipartisanship" is a means, not an end. After eight years of cheering themselves hoarse over one catastrophic Bush blunder after another, Republicans will start dealing with reality only when they're afraid not to. Right now, it's their talk-radio/Fox News-hypnotized base that's got GOP congressmen running scared."
Wendell Potter writes for Common Dreams: "I would like to begin by apologizing to all of you for the role I played 15 years ago in cheating you out of a reformed health care system. Had it not been for greedy insurance companies and other special interests, and their army of lobbyists and spin-doctors like I used to be, we wouldn't be here today." 
Jared Allen reports for The Hill: "Two House committees asked six large health insurance companies for information about the 'purging' of small businesses from their plans. Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who chairs the Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, asked the companies for data regarding the purging of small businesses when the employees of those businesses become ill and the companies' health insurance claims increase."
Stephanie Mencimer writes for Mother Jones: "What kind of health care coverage does the nation's top health insurance lobbyist have? Her trade group refuses to say.  Karen Ignagni is the health insurance industry's main defender in Washington. As the president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the industry's lobby, she represents all the big insurance companies: WellPoint, Aetna, UnitedHealth, and CIGNA, among others. As such, she's one of the leading opponents of the so-called public option—a proposed government-run health care plan that would compete with private plans as a way of lowering costs. AHIP recently organized 50,000 insurance company employees to fan out to congressional town hall meetings to fight the public option, which the industry views as a major threat to its bottom line. They recognize that without having to pay enormous executive salaries or hire corporate jets, the government-run plan might be cheap enough to steal away a big chunk of their business."
Stephen Leary reports for Inter Press Service: "Climate change is here. The challenge in Geneva this week is to find ways to help the world cope with a climate that will have more and worse extremes in terms of temperatures, floods, and storms.  More than 2,500 experts and policy-makers from 150 countries are attending the Aug. 31-Sep. 4 World Climate Conference to discuss how to improve weather forecasting and long-range seasonal weather projections, especially to help poor nations in areas such as agriculture."
Amy Goodman writes for Truthdig.com: "On Sept. 1, the European Union stopped manufacturing and importing incandescent light bulbs. Europeans will now turn to the much more efficient compact fluorescent, halogen and LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs. Incandescents, critics argue, waste up to 95 percent of energy as heat, using only 5 percent for light. The EU hopes to save the equivalent of 11 million households’ energy usage through the year 2020, worth $7.33 billion per year to the European economy."
Dahr Jamail writes for Truthout: "Homophobia arguably manifests itself in the worst form of discrimination in the military, surpassing even racism. Instead of enabling recruits to vanquish their prejudices and strengthening the individual and the collective spirit, all military training seems to be geared toward invoking the darkest elements in human nature - fear, hatred, pettiness, insecurity and similar aberrations. Under normal conditions, such an orientation legitimizes unacceptable behavior; under harsh and hostile conditions, it makes beasts of men. It is immaterial whether one is at the perpetrating end or the receiving end of unjust behavior."
John Eggerton reports in Broadcasting and Cable: "Consolidation critic Free Press has called on the FCC to open a broad inquiry into competition in the cable marketplace, similar to the FCC's just-announced inquiry into wireless phone/broadband competition, citing a D.C. federal appeal's court's scrapping of the 30% ownership cap as making that inquiry more necessary."
Priscilla writes for News Hounds: "No, they’re not playing Santa; but rather channeling that McCarthy era sport of drawing up lists – as in “black lists.” Taking a cue from their favorite political era, the good old days of publicly denouncing anyone deemed “commie,” young college Republicans are now drawing up lists of today’s “commies” – college professors deemed too liberal. In the spirit of “what’s old is new again,” today’s “conservatives” are doing a reprise of John Birch days of bobby sox and black lists in an attempt to bring back the “good old” and “happy” days of paranoia about those who are attempting to destroy the world as we know it. So it’s not surprising that Fox&Friends, a show that yearns to bring us back to the halcyon days of father knows best, is giving some face time to a young Republican who isn’t going to take it anymore so he’s making a list. Liberal college professor baiting – it’s so retro chic. Joe McCarthy would be so proud."
Richard Lardner reports for The Associated Press: "US military authorities in Afghanistan have terminated a contract with a company that was producing profiles of reporters seeking to cover a war that's becoming increasingly unpopular with the American public. The media analysis work being done by The Rendon Group had become a 'distraction to our main mission here,' Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, director of communications for US Forces Afghanistan, said Monday in an emailed statement."
Eric Boehlert writes for Media Matters for America: "Have so many blue-chip advertisers ever fled a program as quickly as the who's who of corporate America that's sprinted away from Glenn Beck in recent weeks? I certainly cannot recall ever seeing a mass exodus of this scale. The A-list collection of disgruntled Beck advertisers is staggering: Applebee's, AT&T, Bank of America, Best Buy, Campbell Soup, Clorox, ConAgra, CVS, Ditech, Farmers Insurance Group, GEICO, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Lowe's, Nutrisystem, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, RadioShack, Sprint, State Farm Insurance, The UPS Store, Travelers Insurance, Verizon Wireless, Vonage, and Wal-Mart, among others."
Andrew Sullivan writes for The Atlantic: "Here are the tough and penetrating questions asked by Chris Wallace of a man whose critics accuse of war crimes, and whose administration presided over the death of over a hundred prisoners in interrogation, who authorized torture techniques once trade-marked by the Khmer Rouge:"

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