Leaked: The Internet must go!

Hey! Are you on the internet right now? Of course you are! Then you should definitely check out this amazing video about what the internet companies are planning. This move could hurt both consumers and content creators--but of course would be a huge windfall for internet providers.

How weathly are Americans?

The disparity in wealth between the richest one percent of Americans and the bottom 80 percent has grown exponentially over the last thirty years — but the video, posted by user politizane and relying on data from a popular Mother Jones post, focuses on the difference between the ideal disparity that Americans would like to see and the reality.

Tax the Rich

So long! It's been fun.

Dear listeners,

In July 2011 I started a new job teaching Italian at Kansas State University. In some ways this was a return to my roots, as I taught English as a Foreign Language for 17 years in Italy. Now I am teaching English speakers Italian. I've come full circle.

This coming full circle also means the end of an attempt on my part to start a new career in my 50s. Sadly, as much as I tried to bring community radio to Manhattan, I was not successful. So I have decided to dedicate my energy and time to my first love, being an educator.

The archive of my shows will remain active - there's a lot of great content in the shows. So I hope you continue to listen and enjoy them.

Once again thank you for your support and encouragement over the five years the show was on the air. I know many feel that my program needs to be on the air and I agree with you that a diversity of voices is sorely lacking in the local media. But alas, it is not I who will bring that diversity. It will have to be someone else.

Christopher E. Renner

31 January 2010

Clippings for 31 January 2010

A Memory of Howard
Daniel Ellsberg writes for Truthdig.com: "I just learned that my friend Howard Zinn died today. Earlier this morning, I was being interviewed by the Boston Phoenix, in connection with the February release of a documentary in which he is featured prominently. The interviewer asked me who my own heroes were, and I had no hesitation in answering, first, 'Howard Zinn.'”

Howard Zinn: A Public Intellectual Who Mattered
Henry A. Giroux, Truthout: "In 1977 I took my first job in higher education at Boston University. One reason I went there was because Howard Zinn was teaching there at the time. As a high school teacher, Howard's book, 'Vietnam: the Logic of Withdrawal,' published in 1968, had a profound effect on me."

Bill Moyers comments on Bill Moyers Journal: "Even some of the most hardened reporters I know, old hands at covering famine, disaster, and war, are shaken by the carnage in Haiti. Over my own long life in journalism I've had my share of the sounds and smells that linger in your head long after you have left the scene. But I've found it especially hard this past week to absorb the pictures coming from Haiti."

Haiti’s Tragedy: A Crime of US Imperialism
Bill Van Auken writes for the World Socialist Website: "The immense death and suffering inflicted upon the people of Haiti by the January 12 earthquake has laid bare a massive international crime by US imperialism, which prepared this catastrophe with a century of oppression and is now attempting to exploit the disaster for its own ends."

Randall Amster writes for Waging Nonviolence: "A number of commentators have questioned the accepted logic that disasters bring out the worst in people, directly challenging the pervasive “looters run amok” imagery often perpetuated by the media and held out by lawmakers as a rationale for military occupation. Having done relief work following Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, I have found that people are more likely to work together – even if only out of necessity – when severe hardship strikes. In fact, it is precisely the isolation and individualism of ordinary daily life that tap into our worst instincts, while the removal of these impediments can actually liberate our better qualities." Read more here.

Obama's Secret Prisons: Night Raids, Hidden Detention Centers, the "Black Jail" and the Dogs of War in Afghanistan
Anand Gopal comments for TomDispatch.com: "One quiet, wintry night last year in the eastern Afghan town of Khost, a young government employee named Ismatullah simply vanished. He had last been seen in the town's bazaar with a group of friends. Family members scoured Khost's dust-doused streets for days. Village elders contacted Taliban commanders in the area who were wont to kidnap government workers, but they had never heard of the young man. Even the governor got involved, ordering his police to round up nettlesome criminal gangs that sometimes preyed on young bazaar-goers for ransom."

Obama Ignores Key Afgan Warning
Ray McGovern writes for Consortium News: "No longer is it possible to suggest that Obama was totally deprived of good counsel on Afghanistan; Eikenberry got it largely right. Sadly, the inevitable conclusion is that, although Obama is not as dumb as his predecessor, he is no less willing to sacrifice thousands of lives for political gain."

Regardless of Polls, Afghans Say Mood in Country is Worsening
Jean MacKenzie reports for GlobalPost: "There is a loud sound of head-scratching in Kabul these days as Afghans and foreigners alike ponder the results of a poll conducted jointly by ABC News, the BBC and German television company ARD."

Justice Department Clears Torture Memo Authors John Yoo, Jay Bybee of Misconduct
Jason Leopold, Truthout: "A long-awaited Department of Justice watchdog report that probed whether John Yoo and his former boss Jay Bybee violated professional standards when they provided the Bush White House with legal advice on torture has cleared both men of misconduct, according to Newsweek, citing unnamed sources who have seen the document."

Democracy Inc.
The Nation comments in the following editorial: "The Citizens United campaign finance decision by Chief Justice John Roberts and a Supreme Court majority of conservative judicial activists is a dramatic assault on American democracy, overturning more than a century of precedent in order to give corporations the ultimate authority over elections and governing. This decision tips the balance against active citizenship and the rule of law by making it possible for the nation's most powerful economic interests to manipulate not just individual politicians and electoral contests but political discourse itself. As such, it demands a vigorous response, uniting progressive activists and good-government reformers of every stripe along with those conservatives who are also troubled by the decision. We must now fight for legislative and constitutional remedies to this threat to the American experiment."

The Supreme Coup
Jim Hightower writes for Truthout.org: "Despite 234 years of progress toward the American ideal of equality for all, we still have to battle unfairness. How happy, then, to learn that a handful of our leaders in Washington took bold and forceful action last week to lift another group of downtrodden Americans from the pits of injustice, helping them gain more political and governmental power. I refer, of course, to corporations."

10 Ways to Stop Corporate Dominance of Politics: It's Not Too Late to Limit or Reverse the Impact of the Supreme Court's Disastrous Decision in Citizens United v. FEC
Fran Korten writes for Yes! Magazine: "Pro-democracy groups, business leaders, and elected representatives are proposing mechanisms to prevent or counter the millions of dollars that corporations can now draw from their treasuries to push for government action favorable to their bottom line. The outrage ignited by the Court's ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission extends to President Obama, who has promised that repairing the damage will be a priority for his administration."

Nice Speech. Now What?
Bill Boyarsky writes for Truthdig.com: "If words alone could do the trick, President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech worked. But this time, words were not enough. Words won’t put people to work. Not even Obama’s eloquence—and he did reach that point on occasion—will be enough to inject courage into the gutless Democrats running from a mild heath care reform bill. Nor will words turn Republicans away from the unrelenting opposition they think will bring down the Democrats."

Two Cheers for Obama on Foreign Affairs
Robert Dreyfuss writes for The Nation: "Make no mistake -- to use one of President Obama's favorite phrases -- the United States faces a difficult and daunting foreign policy challenge over the next three years of Obama's first term. Still, it was a pleasure to listen to a State of the Union address, especially after eight years of his predecessor's alarmist warnings and warlike thundering, in which war, terrorism, and 'rogue states' went almost unmentioned."

How to Reform our Financial System
Paul Volcker comments in the New York Times: "PRESIDENT OBAMA 10 days ago set out one important element in the needed structural reform of the financial system. No one can reasonably contest the need for such reform, in the United States and in other countries as well. We have after all a system that broke down in the most serious crisis in 75 years. The cost has been enormous in terms of unemployment and lost production. The repercussions have been international."

Obama Needs to Teach the Public How to Get Out of the Mess We're In
Robert Reich writes on RobertReich.org: "The President wants businesses that hire new employees this year to get $5,000 per hire, in the form of a tax credit. That will come to about $33 billion. It's good step. He's also supporting a cut in the capital gains tax for small businesses. That makes sense; after all, small businesses generate most jobs."

HealthCareFAIL: How The Dems Botched Their Signature Legislation
Brian Buetler writes for Talking Point Memo: "Talk about fits and starts. A year ago Democrats committed to passing comprehensive health care legislation; six months ago, it became clear that their project wouldn't go smoothly; one month ago it was full speed ahead; and a week and a half ago it all fell apart. Health care reform is now on life support. To mix metaphors, it's on life support and the back burner at the same time. How the Democrats' signature agenda item went from a foregone conclusion to a prospect in peril is a tale of missteps and bad luck. No single player or event brought us to where we are today. But if any of the below episodes had gone...more smoothly, this might've been a done deal"

Rep. Grayson: Obama Needs to Push Health Care In Earnest -- With a Public Option
Adele Stan writes for AlterNet: "Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., has a message for Senate Democrats: Pass health care with a public option -- and pass it quickly. On Wednesday, Grayson joined Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Jim Dean of Democracy for America in delivering some 225,000 petitions to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that demand the Senate leadership use a procedure it has avoided so far in the health care fight in order to pass a bill that contains a public health insurance option. CREDO Action also co-sponsored the petition."

Obama Orders Cut in Federal Government's Greenhouse-Gas Emissions
Mark Clayton, The Christian Science Monitor: "President Obama Friday told federal agencies to cut energy use to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 28 percent by 2010. Agencies are taking measures ranging from using more solar energy to switching from gasoline vehicles to hybrid vehicles."

Coalition of Women's Groups Protests Focus on the Family Super Bowl Ad
National Partnership for Women and Families writes: Some national women's groups on Monday told CBS not to broadcast a Super Bowl commercial featuring former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother that is expected to include an antiabortion-rights message, the AP/Washington Post reports. Tebow and his mother, Pam, will appear in the 30-second commercial on behalf of the Christian group Focus on the Family. They are expected to discuss Pam's personal story of falling ill while in the Philippines when she was pregnant with Tim and ignoring doctors' recommendations to have an abortion."

Rise in Teen Pregnancy Rate Invigorates Debate Over Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Programs
National Partnership for Women and Families writes: "The recent release of a new study by the Guttmacher Institute showing a 3% increase in the U.S. teen pregnancy rate from 2005 to 2006 is "likely to intensify the debate over federal financing for abstinence-only sex education," the New York Times reports. The Guttmacher study showed higher pregnancy rates for white, black and Hispanic teens, as well as the first increase in the teen abortion rate in more than a decade."

Recommended Audio: The Nation - Tony Kushner on LGBT Rights and Obama's Agenda 
Clarissa León writes for The Nation: "Eighteen years after Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Angels in America explored the controversial themes of sexuality and religion, Kushner continues to be one of the country's leading voices on gay rights. With President Barack Obama celebrating his first year in office, we asked Kushner to reflect on Obama's tenure so far and his progress in regards to LGBT issues."

The Most Hated Name in News: Will Al Jazeera English Revolutionize America's TV News Landscape?
Deborah Campbell writes for The Walrus: "There are three forces shaping the world, an Arab reporter I met in the Gaza Strip once told me: money, women, and journalism. On the first and third counts, he might have been thinking of Qatar, where I pass by luxury shopping malls, glittering real estate developments, and, in a spirit of reasonableness, traffic signs that advise caution when driving the wrong way down one-way streets. Over the past decade, this tiny desert emirate of a million and a half people -- a bump on the rib cage of Saudi Arabia, directly across the Persian Gulf from Iran -- has asserted itself on the world stage in large measure by pouring money into, of all things, journalism. Since 1996, it has been funding Al Jazeera (Arabic for "the island"), the network that revolutionized the Arab media and is poised to do the same for the English-speaking world."

Not-so-Breitbart and the Story of James O'Keefe
Karl Frisch writes for Media Matters: "Back in September, right-wing activist James O'Keefe told Fox News host Glenn Beck that he was "willing to serve prison time" for his work. That just may happen. According to an affidavit from the FBI, O'Keefe and three others were arrested on Monday in connection with an alleged plot to "interfer[e]" with the phone system in Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office. O'Keefe is perhaps best known for the heavily edited and misleading undercover videos he and Hannah Giles shot of low-level ACORN employees while the right-wing duo were dressed as a pimp and prostitute, an escapade that itself may have violated state criminal statutes."

Report Details Long History of Government Support of Journalism
FreePress reports: "A new report released today examines the history of the U.S. government's role in subsidizing the gathering and distribution of news and information. The report, Public Policy and Funding the News, by David Westphal and Geoffrey Cowan, was published by the University of Southern California's Center on Communication Leadership and Policy."  Download full report.

As Murdoch and Sulzberger Dream of Paywalls, Consider Poor Newsday's Example
David Weir writes for BNET: "Perhaps the only way to figure out what is actually going on in the media industry these days is to not get too mired in the daily, weekly, or even monthly details, because the pace of news has quickened to the extent that even the small army of us here at BNET could never hope to cover everything of interest to the average media exec. Take the issue of paywalls. Everyone knows about Rupert Murdoch’s threats, and the The New York Times’ plans, but while those industry leaders prepare their well-publicized initiatives, what is the actual experience of the publications that are out ahead of the curve on this?"

RESEARCH: "Bolshevik plot": Right-wing media declare Obama a radical who threatens America
Media Matters reposts: "Urging that 'we've got to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and the reality,' President Obama stated during his January 29 question and answer session with House Republicans that 'if you were to listen to the debate' over health care reform 'you'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot.' Throughout Obama's administration thus far, conservative media have embraced such rhetoric, routinely attacking Obama's agenda as socialist, communist or fascist and telling audiences that Obama and health care reform are a threat to America itself."

Why Media and Journalism Scholars Support Network Neutrality
Bill Herman reports for DaveTheInternet.com: "Academic associations tend to be politically conservative.  I don't mean that they revere Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman, though plenty of scholars do. Rather, each group – representing a field's professors and graduate students – tends to evade controversy, rarely taking a public stance on an issue that might divide the membership. Thus, it is remarkable that the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) has declared its support for Network Neutrality."

Why the Opinion Industry Hates 'Most People'
Timothy Karr writes for the Huffington Post: "They've called us pirates, pigs, lunatics and communists. They've funneled their money to PR firms that spin the media about the "evils" of Net Neutrality -- the principle that protects our online freedom. Because nearly two million people have stood up for an open Internet, they're trying to knock us down."

29 January 2010

Jana's Campaign to End Domestic Violence

This week's Community Bridge opens with a conversation on domestic violence with Curt Brungardt, Executive Director at the Center for Civic Leadership, Ft. Hays State University, who along with his wife, Christie, are the co-founders of Jana's Campaign to End Domestic Violence.

Jana's Campaign is a grassroots, community-based advocacy effort developed for the purpose of working in the domestic violence public policy arena. According to a recent United Nations report, one in every three women worldwide will directly experience violence in their lifetime. The overwhelming majority of these women will be physically harmed by their intimate partners. In the United States, domestic violence is recognized as the leading cause of injuries experienced by women. And data from the US Department of Justice says on an average, three women every day are killed by their current or former partners. On July 3, 2008, Jana Lynne Mackey, a University of Kansas law student was one of these fatalities.

MP3 File

Jan. 28, 2010: Part 2 - Is there an Obama doctrine in foreign policy?

The Nation magazine has given Community Bridge permission to broadcast some of the seminar panels which took place on their 12th annual cruise in December, 2009. Community Bridge thanks The Nation for this permission.

In this broadcast we will hear "Is There an Obama Doctrine in Foreign Policy?" The panel discusses foreign policy in the first year of the Obama administration and features: Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation as moderator, with panelists: Robert Scheer, editor Truthdig; Steve Cohen, American scholar of Russian studies and professor of Russian Studies and History at New York University; Gov. Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont and Chair of the Democratic Party; and William Greider, author of numerous books, including Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (And Redeeming Promise) Of Our Country, contributor to The Nation, wrote for Rolling Stone magazine during the 1980s and 1990s, and has worked as an on-air correspondent for Frontline on PBS.

MP3 File

28 January 2010

Clippings for 28 January 2010

Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig.com: "Corporate forces, long before the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, carried out a coup d’état in slow motion. The coup is over. We lost. The ruling is one more judicial effort to streamline mechanisms for corporate control. It exposes the myth of a functioning democracy and the triumph of corporate power. But it does not significantly alter the political landscape. The corporate state is firmly cemented in place."

Recommended Audio: GRIT TV - Citizenship is a Long-term Game
In the wake of what some called the worst week for democracy since Bush v. Gore, with the Democrats seeming to give up after losing one Senate seat and the Supreme Court allowing unlimited corporate influence on elections, GRITtv turns to Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Princeton professor, Nation contributor, and author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought for some clarification–and consolation. Harris-Lacewell offers some thoughts on why it’s lazy and dangerous to refer to political opponents as crazy, on the way the health care reform process has provided a valuable civics lesson, and how political campaigns are beholden to money.

Can Obama Fight?
David Corn writes for Mother Jones: "Two days after Republican Scott Brown's upset win in Massachusetts, the Obama administration proposed two new measures that would limit the ability of big financial institutions to wheel and deal. In announcing these initiatives—one of which would prevent investment banks from playing the market with their own cash—President Barack Obama got rather feisty:"
What we've seen so far, in recent weeks, is an army of industry lobbyists from Wall Street descending on Capitol Hill to try and block basic and common-sense rules of the road that would protect our economy and the American people. So if these folks want a fight, it's a fight I'm ready to have. And my resolve is only strengthened when I see a return to old practices at some of the very firms fighting reform.
Justice Alito's Conduct and the Court's Credibility
Glenn Greenwald writes for Salon.com: "As I wrote at the time, I thought the condemnations of Rep. Joe Wilson's heckling of Barack Obama during his September health care speech were histrionic and excessive. Wilson and Obama are both political actors, it occurred in the middle of a political speech about a highly political dispute, and while the outburst was indecorous and impolite, Obama is not entitled to be treated as royalty. That was all much ado about nothing. By contrast, the behavior of Justice Alito at last night's State of the Union address -- visibly shaking his head and mouthing the words "not true" when Obama warned of the dangers of the Court's Citizens United ruling -- was a serious and substantive breach of protocol that reflects very poorly on Alito and only further undermines the credibility of the Court. It has nothing to do with etiquette and everything to do with the Court's ability to adhere to its intended function."

President Obama delivered his first State of the Union address Wednesday night. A full two-thirds of the President’s seventy-minute address was devoted to the economy, the central theme of which was job creation. We get response from MIT professor Noam Chomsky and journalist and author Naomi Klein.

Blocking Bernanke is Smart Economics, Smart Politics for Dems
John Nichols writes for The Nation: "If the Democratic Party wants to lose – or, to be more precise, wants to lose badly in 2010 and 2012, it need only maintain its current loyalty to the most powerful interests on Wall Street. The United States already has a party of Wall Street. It does not need two."

Geithner Must Go--and the Future of the Fed
William Greider comments for The Nation: "The first casualty of the president's political debacle will likely be Timothy Geithner, the severely over-confident treasury secretary well known as a lapdog of Wall Street. Geithner was effectively repudiated by the president last week when Barack Obama abruptly announced a new, more aggressive approach to financial reform. But the immediate threat to Geithner is the scandal of collusion and possibly illegal behavior gathering around the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for its megabillion-dollar takeover of insurance giant AIG."

Pentagon Time Tick...Tick...Tick...
Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch.com: "Back in 2007, when Gen. David Petraeus was the surge commander of US forces in Iraq, he had a penchant for clock imagery. In an interview in April of that year, he typically said: 'I'm conscious of a couple of things. One is that the Washington clock is moving more rapidly than the Baghdad clock, so we're obviously trying to speed up the Baghdad clock a bit and to produce some progress on the ground that can perhaps give hope to those in the coalition countries, in Washington, and perhaps put a little more time on the Washington clock.'"

PhotobucketPentagon Budget Runs Rampant
Aris DeMarco comments for Truthout: "No matter how one looks at it, the United States has the strongest military in the world. Ever. Period. We have more weapons, more advanced technology, and spend more cash on our troops. Thus, the US military has the greatest ability to make war on other countries, the greatest ability to seek out, target and destroy any enemies of the state."

Corruption in Afghanistan: It's Even Worse Than You Think
Daniel Schulman reports for Mother Jones: "Earlier this month, Afghan President Hamid Karzai fought back against allegations of pervasive graft within his government, telling Al Jazeera that 'the Western media has blown corruption totally out of all proportion in Afghanistan.'  Perhaps Karzai should have a conversation with Antonio Maria Costa, the United Nations' drug and crime czar. His office released a report on Tuesday concluding that in the past year Afghans paid out $2.5 billion in bribes and kickbacks—the equivalent of 23 percent of the country's gross domestic product. The income generated by corruption is exceeded only by the booming opium trade, which brings in an estimated $2.8 billion annually. 'In other words, this is shocking, drugs and bribes are the two largest income generators in Afghanistan,' writes Costa, who heads the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in the preface of the study."

The Antiwar Peace Movement Needs a Restart
Kevin Zeese comments for Truthout: "In his first year President Obama broke several war-making records of President George W. Bush. He passed the largest military budget in US history, the largest one-year war supplementals and fired the most drone attacks on the most countries. He began 2010 asking for another $30 billion war supplemental and with the White House indicating that the next military budget will be $708 billion, breaking Obama's previous record."

Freedom vs. The Public Option
George Lakoff comments for Truthout: "Which would you prefer, consumer choice or freedom? Extended coverage or freedom? Bending the cost curve or freedom?  John Boehner, House minority leader, speaking of health care, said recently, 'This bill is the greatest threat to freedom that I have seen in the 19 years I have been here in Washington.... It's going to lead to a government takeover of our health care system, with tens of thousands of new bureaucrats right down the street, making these decisions [choose your doctor, buy your own health insurance] for you.'"

Let the Uninsured Die
Garrison Keillor writes for Salon.com: "There they all were on the Sunday-morning chatfests, droning on about the anger of the American people as shown by the election in Massachusetts of a pickup truck to the U.S. Senate -- ever ready, as pundits are, to take one good story and extrude it into a national trend portentous with meaning. One could draw other conclusions from that election -- the importance of actually campaigning, for one, and not vacationing in the Caribbean -- but OK, maybe anger was a factor. Nobody looks on the marathon healthcare debate as a noble chapter in political science. No legislator is going to have a hospital named for him in honor of his heroic work. (Maybe a parking ramp.)"

James Bond Wannabe Part of Right-Wing Plot to Bug Senator's Phones
Lindsay Beyerstein writes for AlterNet: "Earlier this week, four young men were arrested for allegedly scamming their way into the New Orleans offices of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and trying to tamper with the office telephones. All four were criminally charged with entering a federal building under false pretenses to commit a felony."

Amateur Filmmaker Accused of Entrapping ACORN Employees Arrested by Federal Agents
Jason Leopold and Mary Susan Littlepage report for Truthout: "Federal law enforcement officials on Monday arrested conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe and three other men for allegedly trying to wiretap the phone system in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office."

Howard Zinn: The Historian Who Made History
David Zirin writes for the Huffington Post: "Howard Zinn, my hero, teacher, and friend died of a heart attack on Wednesday at the age of 87. With his death, we lose a man who did nothing less than rewrite the narrative of the United States. We lose a historian who also made history."

Recommended Audio: The Progressive Radio Show for 18 January
Matther Rothschild interviews John Nichols and Robert McChesney as they discuss their new book, “The Death and Life of American Journalism.”

How will SCOTUS Decision Affect Corporate Media?
Karl Frisch writes for Media Matters: "In 2004, the United Church of Christ produced a television commercial promoting its inclusive approach to organized faith. The ad showed two nightclub-style bouncers guarding the rope line of a church as they denied entry to a gay male couple, several people of color, and a man in a wheelchair. By contrast, a white family of four had no problems getting through."

New FCC Commish Challenges Minority Groups on Net Neutrality
Mathew Lasar writes for Ars Technica: "The Federal Communications Commission's newest Democrat, Mignon Clyburn, had some interesting comments to make about net neutrality on Friday at the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council's Social Justice summit. They came as the rush to stop the FCC from implementing its proposed Internet non-discrimination rules is in full force. And leading the charge are groups that, ironically, say they're opposed to discrimination, among them the MMTC."

Institutions or Infrastructure? The Real Opportunity for Online Journalism and Democracy
Josh Wilson writes for SavetheNews.org: "Want to save the news? Stop worrying about journalism institutions, and start worrying about journalists. Much of the discussion about media and journalism is about institutions and their relationships with citizens. The issues — that journalism institutions must be transparent, accountable, and provide real value and relevance to the community — are clear enough."

Does Fox News Coverage = GOP Campaign Contribution?
Eric Boehlert writes for Media Matters: "With its open and aggressive cheerleading -- not to mention on-air fundraising -- for Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown last week, Fox News crossed yet another threshold in its unabashed transformation into a purely political entity. Now completely turning its back on producing any semblance of independent journalism, Fox News eagerly flaunts its role as GOP kingmaker."

'Net Neutrality' Key to Free and Open Internet
Josh Silver and Craig Aaron write for The Hill: "When it comes to Internet freedom, the United States of America can be a beacon to the rest of the world. But we must start at home. On Friday, The Hill published an attack on our organization Free Press from an industry-funded hit man trying to distract policymakers with hyperbole, character assassination and fear-mongering. This screed didn’t say much about the crucial issue of Network Neutrality, but it used a lot of scary words like 'bloodthirsty,' 'radical,' 'neo-Marxist' and 'fringe' designed to scare policymakers."

24 January 2010

January 21, 2010: Part 2

For our extended programming this week, we open with a clip from Tavis Smiley interviewing Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman about her new book, the role of the press in a democracy, and if progressives are "finding their legs."

Next we hear from Laura Flanders and GRIT TV. January 22nd is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that finally recognized a woman’s right to her own reproductive choices. With the election of a prochoice Democrat last November, many assumed that we might finally have some breathing room around the issue of abortion. To fill our listeners in on the abortion wars, Flanders spoke to Silvia Henriquez, Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Carole Joffe, author of Dispatches from the Abortion Wars, and Lynn Paltrow, Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

We close out the show with a clip of Democracy Now! from January 8th looking at the notorious mercenary corporation- Blackwater featuring journalist Jeremy Scahill and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who is launching an investigation into why two Blackwater contractors were among the dead in the December 30 suicide bombing at the CIA station at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan.

MP3 File

Clippings for 24 January 2010

Who's Activist Now? The Roberts Court
Michael Doyle reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "During his 2005 Senate confirmation hearing, Roberts assured lawmakers that he would strive to achieve more unified court decisions. He further insisted that 'judges have to have the humility to recognize that they operate within a system of precedent' that binds the court."

The Supremes Have Opened the Floodgates
Senator Russel Feingold writes for CounterPunch: "he Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC has opened the floodgates to corporate money in federal campaigns in ways we haven’t seen for nearly a century. While for decades corporations have been able to set up special accounts, called PACs, to accept contributions and spend them on political activities, they have not been allowed to spend money from their vast corporate treasuries in connection with federal elections. Citizens United v. FEC has changed all that."

Grayson: Fight Now or ‘Kiss Your Country Goodbye’ to Exxon, Wal-Mart
Sahil Kapur writes for The Raw Story: "Responding to the Supreme Court's ruling Thursday to overturn corporate spending limits in federal elections, progressive firebrand Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) immediately highlighted a series of moves to 'avoid the terrible consequences of the decision.'"

US Government for Sale
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, Matt Duss, and Alex Seitz-Wald write The Progress Report for Think Progress: "Yesterday, in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court held that 'the constitutional guarantee of free speech means that corporations can spend unlimited sums to help elect favored candidates or defeat those they oppose.' The activist 5-4 decision struck down a 63-year-old ban that ensured corporations may not use their enormous profits to support or oppose candidates. The ruling 'declared unconstitutional a large portion of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act passed in 2002.' Ian Millhiser of the Center for American Progress Action Fund observed, 'Today's decision does far more than simply provide Fortune 500 companies with a massive megaphone to blast their political views to the masses; it also empowers them to drown out any voices that disagree with them.' Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), who is already pushing legislation to rectify the Court's decision, warned, 'The law itself will be bought and sold. It would be political bribery on the largest scale imaginable.' 'The Supreme Court has thrust politics back to the robber-baron era of the 19th century,' the New York Times writes today."

Haiti and Toxic Waste
Mitchel Cohen writes for CoutnerPunch: "Two decades ago, the garbage barge, the Khian Sea, with no place in the U.S. willing to accept its garbage, left the territorial waters of the United States and began circling the oceans in search of a country willing to accept its cargo: 14,000 tons of toxic incinerator ash. First it went to the Bahamas, then to the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Bermuda, Guinea Bissau and the Netherlands Antilles. Wherever it went, people gathered to protest its arrival. No one wanted the millions of pounds of Philadelphia municipal incinerator ash dumped in their country."

Revisiting The Shock Doctrine in the Wake of Haiti Disaster
Naomi Klein writes for Common Dreams: "Despite all the successful attempts to exploit the 2004 tsunami, memory also proved to be an effective tool of resistance in some areas where it struck, particularly in Thailand. Dozens of coastal villages were flattened by the wave, but unlike in Sri Lanka, many Thai settlements were successfully rebuilt within months. The difference did not come from the government. Thailand's politicians were just as eager as those elsewhere to use the storm as an excuse to evict fishing people and hand over land tenure to large resorts. Yet what set Thailand apart was that villagers approached all government promises with intense skepticism and refused to wait patiently in camps for an official reconstruction plan. Instead, within weeks, hundreds of villagers engaged in what they called land 'reinvasions.'"

The comparisons between the earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans have come fast and furious, but often from people who’ve watched both disasters through the clean-cut white lens of Anderson Cooper broadcasts. Meanwhile, people in Haiti–and those in the Gulf Coast still struggling four years later–need more than blame and comparisons. They need real solutions.

To offer some, Laura Flanders of GRIT TV asks Monika Kalra Varma, director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Princeton professor, Nation contributor, and author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought and James Perry, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and candidate for mayor of New Orleans.

Why Obama Is Now (Finally) Getting Tough on Wall Street
Robert Reich writes on RobertReich.org: "Obama is now, finally, getting tough on Wall Street. Today he's giving his support to two measures critically important for making sure the Street doesn't relapse into another financial crisis: (1) separating the functions of investment banking from commercial banking (basically, resurrecting the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act) so investment banks can't gamble with insured commercial deposits, and (2) giving regulatory authorities power to limit the size of big banks so they don't become 'too big to fail,' as antitrust laws do with every other capitalist entity."

The Bernanke Conundrum
Paul Krugman comments for the New York Times: "A funny thing happened on the way to the Bernanke confirmation: the vote in Massachusetts turned an easy coronation into a tough fight. And this isn’t one of those cases where everyone who knows something is on one side. Look at two of my favorite econobloggers: the very judicious Calculated Risk says “We can do better”, while Brad DeLong says, 'Don’t block Ben.'”

Bernanke Wants Even More God-Like Powers for the Federal Reserve
Jim Hightower writes for AlterNet.org: "Here's a story that reads like the script of an old B-grade monster movie -- and it would be comic, were it not so serious. The monster is named "The Fed," a hydra-headed creature with enormous and destructive power, which it exercises from within the misty confines of a marble cavern that is unapproachable by commoners."

Losing the Health Care Battle Is Not an Option
Bill Boyarsky writes for Truthdig.com: "Just pass the damn thing. If the health care bill fails, President Barack Obama’s legacy could be limited to the failing war in Afghanistan. Worse yet, many thousands more Americans will die because they don’t have adequate medical care."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates Confirms Blackwater in Pakistan
Jeremy Scahill reports for The Rebel Report: "In an interview with the Pakistani TV station Express TV, Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirmed that the private security firms Blackwater and DynCorp are operating inside Pakistan. “They’re operating as individual companies here in Pakistan,” Gates said, according to a DoD transcript of the interview. 'There are rules concerning the contracting companies.  If they’re contracting with us or with the State Department here in Pakistan, then there are very clear rules set forth by the State Department and by ourselves.'”

CIA and Intelligence Community Mythologies
Melvin A. Goodman comments for Truthout: "It is time for serious soul-searching regarding the role of the CIA and the intelligence community. Last month's operational and intelligence failures led to the deaths of seven CIA officers in Afghanistan and might have resulted in nearly 300 deaths on a Northwest Airlines plane headed for Detroit."

After Massachusetts: Will Democrats Heed Call From Left, Unions for Populist Agenda?
Art Levine writes for In These Times: "From union leaders like the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka to progressive advocates at the Campaign for America's Future, the lessons from the Massachusetts shellacking are crystal clear: the need to push ahead with a strong populist agenda, including healthcare reform and jobs creation, instead of kow-towing to corporate interests and center-right Democrats with weak proposals that only fuel voter anger."

Paul Krugman Leads Liberal Revolt
Andy Barr writes for Politico.com: "Paul Krugman’s announcement that he is near to 'giving up' on President Barack Obama is fueling a new round of liberal revolt. Like many influential voices on the left, The New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist has not been shy to voice his disapproval with some of the president’s specific policy initiatives over the past year. But in the wake of a devastating surprise loss in the Massachusetts Senate special election, and with prospects of health care reform growing dimmer by the hour, Krugman and others liberals are charging Obama with failing to lead."

Parkinson's Tax Proposals Move Forward
Christopher Renner reports in the Kansas Free Press: "After giving Secretary of Revenue Joan Wagnon and Governor Parkinson the cold shoulder last week, the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee appear to have had a change of heart on Wednesday and introduced the tax bills they had declined to introduce last week: Governor Parkinson's 1% sales tax increase and increasing the cigarette and tobacco tax to national levels."

Tiller Stalker: Ex-AG's Crusade Against Kansas Abortion Doctor Revealed In New Complaint
Justin Elliott reports for Talking Points Memo: "In a new ethics complaint that alleges large-scale abuse of office, the former attorney general of Kansas is accused of dispatching staff to record license plates of women entering George Tiller's abortion clinic, getting records from a motel where patients stayed, and obtaining state medical files under false pretenses, then retaining them after his term as AG was over and repeatedly lying about it in court."

Recommended Audio: The Science on "Fetal Personhood" Hasn't Changed
Lynn Paltrow writes RH Reality Check: "According to PersonhoodUSA, one of the reasons Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided is that the Court did not have available to it the 'well-known facts of fetal development.' ... Today, on the thirty-seventh anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we thought it would be valuable to fact check that claim."

Chairmen Sending Mixed Signals on ‘Don’t Ask’
Chris Johnson reports for the DC Agenda: "Even if President Obama includes a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal as part of his upcoming defense budget request, the language could be yanked by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.). President Obama is being pressured to include a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal as part of his upcoming defense budget request to Congress, but the response from two key Democrats to such a proposal could hinder any change in the law."

Children Speak for Same Sex Marriage
Sarah Wildman writes for the New York Times: "LAST month, advocates and opponents of same-sex marriage packed the New Jersey State House in Trenton, supporters in blue, opponents in red. Near the end of the day, Kasey Nicholson-McFadden took the microphone. 'It doesn’t bother me to tell kids my parents are gay,' he said in a clear voice. 'It does bother me to say they aren’t married. It makes me feel that our family is less than their family.'”

The (In)dispensable Public: Public Opinion Mainly a Prop for Corporate Press
Janine Jackson writes for Extra!: "Opinion poll reporting can be misleading, in this case by presenting a narrow range of options that sidesteps what evidence suggests is the majority view-that U.S. troops should withdraw from Afghanistan. But reporting of opinion polls is misleading in a more fundamental way, in its implication that elite media give a principled hoot about what the public wants.In practice, corporate media's regard for the public and its opinions is wholly rhetorical and instrumental; even the definition of who constitutes the public seems endlessly fungible."

Recommended Audio: Al Jeezera - The Role of Media in the USA
Al Jezeera English's host Riz Khan asks: has the mainstream media in the US replaced serious coverage with "junk news" and tabloidism? Khan interviews Amy Goodman, executive producer of Democracy Now!, and John Maxwell Hamilton, author of "Journalism's Roving Eye: A History of American Foreign Reporting."

When the Media Is the Disaster: Covering Haiti
Rebecca Solnit writes for TomDispatch.com: "Soon after almost every disaster the crimes begin: ruthless, selfish, indifferent to human suffering, and generating far more suffering. The perpetrators go unpunished and live to commit further crimes against humanity. They care less for human life than for property. They act without regard for consequences."

FCC Takes on the Future of Journalism
Josh Stearns writes for SavetheNews.org: "Today the Federal Communications Commission announced a new national initiative to examine the 'future of media and the information needs of communities in a digital age.' Word of this new project leaked last fall when the FCC hired Steve Waldman, the co-founder, president and editor-in-chief of Beliefnet.com, the largest multi-faith Web site for religion and inspiration. However, it was unclear at the time what shape the FCC-backed project would take."

23 January 2010

Kansans For Quality Communities

Community Bridge takes up the issue of the Kansas state budget crisis with representatives from Kansans for Quality Communities. KQC is a new coalition of organizations representing education, health care, the disabled and state workers. KQC will provide a united front in reforming tax policy that has been inspired by the now discredited "starve the beast" mentality of the conservatives.  Joining us to discuss KQC and it's goals are Mark Desetti, Director of Legislative Advocacy for KNEA, and Matt Fletcher, Associate Executive Director, InterHab.

MP3 File

21 January 2010

Clippings for 21 January 2009

Critics: ‘Destructive’ Supreme Court Decision ‘Empowers Corruption’
Dianna Sweet writes for The Raw Story: "The US Supreme Court on Thursday lifted a 20-year ruling which had set limits on campaign financing by US businesses, and critics, including nonpartisan watchdogs and Congressional Democrats, are up in arms about the decision, which most had feared for a long time. Meanwhile, aside from Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Republicans appear to be gleeful about their second apparent victory of the week."

Corporate Personhood Should Be Banned, Once and For All: Outrageous SCOTUS Decision Should Reignite Most Necessary of Debates
Ralph Nader writes for Common Dreams: "Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission shreds the fabric of our already weakened democracy by allowing corporations to more completely dominate our corrupted electoral process. It is outrageous that corporations already attempt to influence or bribe our political candidates through their political action committees (PACs), which solicit employees and shareholders for donations. With this decision, corporations can now also draw on their corporate treasuries and pour vast amounts of corporate money, through independent expenditures, into the electoral swamp already flooded with corporate campaign PAC contribution dollars."

Language and the Politics of the Living Dead
Henry Giroux comments for Truthout: "In a robust aspiring democratic society, language along with critical thought have a liberating function. At best, they work together to shatter illusions, strengthen the power of reason and critical judgment and provide the codes and framing mechanisms for human beings to exercise a degree of self-determination, while holding the throne of raw governmental, military and economic power accountable." 

Turning King's Dream into a Nightmare
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig.com: "Martin Luther King Day has become a yearly ritual to turn a black radical into a red-white-and-blue icon. It has become a day to celebrate ourselves for “overcoming” racism and “fulfilling” King’s dream. It is a day filled with old sound bites about little black children and little white children that, given the state of America, would enrage King. Most of our great social reformers, once they are dead, are kidnapped by the power elite and turned into harmless props of American glory. King, after all, was not only a socialist but fiercely opposed to American militarism and acutely aware, especially at the end of his life, that racial justice without economic justice was a farce. "

US Security Company Offers to Perform "High Threat Terminations" and to Confront "Worker Unrest" in Haiti
Jeremy Scahill writes for Rebel Reports: "We saw this type of Iraq-style disaster profiteering in New Orleans and you can expect to see a lot more of this in Haiti over the coming days, weeks and months. Private security companies are seeing big dollar signs in Haiti thanks in no small part to the media hype about “looters.” After Katrina, the number of private security companies registered (and unregistered) multiplied overnight. Banks, wealthy individuals, the US government all hired private security. I even encountered Israeli mercenaries operating an armed check-point outside of an elite gated community in New Orleans. They worked for a company called Instinctive Shooting International. (That is not a joke)."

Profiting From Haiti's Crisis: Disaster Capitalism in Washington's Backyard
Benjamin Dangl writes for Toward Freedom: "US corporations, private mercenaries, Washington and the International Monetary fund are using the crisis in Haiti to make a profit, promote unpopular neoliberal policies, and extend military and economic control over the Haitian people."

Journalist and author Naomi Klein spoke in New York last night and addressed the crisis in Haiti: “We have to be absolutely clear that this tragedy—which is part natural, part unnatural—must, under no circumstances, be used to, one, further indebt Haiti and, two, to push through unpopular corporatist policies in the interest of our corporations. This is not conspiracy theory. They have done it again and again.”

Massachusetts Senate Race Results: Obama's Signal That All Is Changed
Peter Grier reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "Republican Scott Brown's upset victory in the Massachusetts Senate race results portends huge challenges ahead for President Obama and majority Democrats. National health care reform may well stall, and new carbon-emissions rules are now unlikely. What will be the revised agenda?"

Coakley's Loss: Pie in the President's Face
William Greider writes for The Nation: "Barack Obama went to Boston to rally voters and got a pie in the face. He lost his innocence as the valiant young president and also lost his sixty-vote majority in the Senate. Now we will find out what the man is made of--either a true political leader or just another show horse. Dozens of explanations are being offered for why the Dems were humiliated in Massachusetts. Democrats incline to grab easy answers. The president, if he is tough enough, will instead face the hard message of this political fiasco."

Obama Needs to Put His Dukes Up
Marty Keenan writes for the Kansas Free Press: "Life is a lot like boxing. And boxing is the best metaphor for politics I know. If a boxing match is so one-sided that one of the boxers is in danger of being permanently injured or killed, the referee stops the fight."

Unsurprising Poll Results from Massachusetts: Voters Think Obama Sides With the Banks
Michael Collins writes for the Daily Censored: "An interesting observation was made today by the pollster for Martha Coakley, the hapless Democratic candidate for the Massachusetts senate seat held almost forever by Ted Kennedy. It appears polls are showing that the voters, especially independents who would normally vote Democratic in a liberal blue state like Massachusetts, have instead run to support the Republican candidate as the agent of change. Wasn’t that supposed to be Barack Obama’s signature tune?"

Afghanistan: Women Dying and Torture Run Amuck
Jeffrey Kaye comments for Truthout: "Two reports coming out of Afghanistan illustrate the depth of hypocrisy and subterfuge characterizing the US/NATO intervention in that country. One could cite a myriad of such examples, so immoral and wrong is the US war there." 

A Very American Coup: Coming Soon to a Hometown Near You
William J. Astore writes for TomDispatch.com: "The wars in distant lands were always going to come home, but not this way. It's September 2016, year 15 of America's 'Long War' against terror. As weary troops return to the homeland, a bitter reality assails them: despite their sacrifices, America is losing."

Dark Revelations in the Bagram Prisoner List
Andy Worthington provides the following analysis for Truthout: "On Friday, the ACLU secured a significant victory in its campaign to gain information about the prisoners held in the US prison at Bagram airbase, Afghanistan (known as the Bagram Theater Internment Facility), when the Pentagon released a list of the names of the 645 prisoners who were held on September 22, 2009."

Recommended Audio: GRIT TV - Whistleblower Wendell Potter on Current State of Health Reform
Wendell Potter worked for CIGNA health insurers for over 15 years, including a position as head of communications. He left that job, in a 180-degree switch, to fight for the rights of all Americans to affordable health care. He now serves as Senior Fellow on Health Care at the Center for Media and Democracy, and he joined Laura in studio today to give us a quick update on the health care reform process, explain the so-called "Cadillac tax," and remind us all that the battle isn’t over yet–there’s still time to fight.

Anti-Arpaio March Reignites Pro-Immigrant Movement
Valeria Fernández reports for Inter Press Service: "Over 20,000 people marched in the streets of Phoenix Saturday in the first mass mobilisation of the year, calling for an end to the criminalisation of undocumented immigrants and the passage of immigration reform legislation. Arizona is considered ground zero for the immigration debate due to its severe anti-immigrant policies and the controversial figure of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose deputies conduct frequent immigration sweeps in Latino neighbourhoods."

The Dirty Air Act
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, Brad Johnson, and Alex Seitz-Wald write The Progress Report for Think Progress: "Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) plans to introduce a Congressional Disapproval Resolution that would block enforcement of the Clean Air Act for greenhouse gases. Her "Dirty Air Act" resolution would "retroactively veto" the Environmental Protection Agency's finding released in December "that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare," threatening the hopes for a clean energy economic recovery for the nation. The U.S. Global Change Research Program has determined that 'climate change impacts are much more pronounced' in Alaska 'than in other regions of the United States.' Villages are being relocated as land slips into the sea, roads are melting, forests are burning, and the Iron Dog snowmobile race is being cancelled by rain. On Monday, Murkowski welcomed the Obama administration's decision to declare a 'commercial fishery failure for the Yukon River Chinook salmon run' -- a collapse caused by global warming. These damages are threatening billions of dollars of losses to the Alaska economy, as Murkowski herself recognized in 2006. But now, she claims she is trying to block limits on global warming pollution to avoid 'devastating unintended consequences on the economy.' Unsurprisingly, Murkowski's push to stymie the EPA is being orchestrated by former Bush EPA officials who now lobby for electric utilities and other polluters."

A Decade of Feminism, continued...
Katha Pollitt writes for The Nation: "Surveying a decade of feminism in 1000 words was clearly beyond my powers of compression even after I'd jettisoned the whole world outside the United States. Several people wrote to remind me of things I'd cut or forgotten. More highlights--good, bad, odd -- of the no-name decade..."

Skelton Opposes repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
Roxana Tiron reports for The Hill: "The leading House Democrat on military policy said Friday that he opposes repealing the law that bans openly gay people from serving in the military. Seventeen years ago, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) played a major role in crafting the controversial law known as "Don't ask, don't tell." When President Bill Clinton wanted to lift the ban preventing gay people from joining the military, Skelton opposed the move. The end result was a compromise under which gay service members would conceal their sexual orientation."

Uganda Imports Anti-Gay Bigotry from US
Jesse Singal reports for the Boston Globe: "IT’S NOT an export to be proud of. Even as top officials in Uganda have slowly backed away from a bill to impose the death penalty on homosexuals, it’s become clear that three American evangelical Christians helped inspire the measure during their travels there in March."

A Nondiscriminatory Net: The Right Approach
Chris Riley writes for SavetheInternet.com: "The FCC is in the process of creating a Net Neutrality rule, and front and center in the proceeding is the proposed rule of nondiscrimination – the idea that network gatekeepers should not abuse their control over the pipe by discriminating in favor of or against any online communications. The first of the existing FCC principles defends the right of Internet users to have access to content, applications and services – but it says nothing about the quality of that access."

Public Comments Remind Us Why 'Net Neutrality' Matters
Chris O'Brien reports for the Silicon Valley Mercury News: "Sean Sowell knew something was funky with his broadband service, but the Pleasanton resident just couldn't figure out why. The file-sharing program he had used legally for years to download software updates suddenly started conking out in 2007. Then Sowell, now 44, heard reports about how Comcast was limiting users' access to such services because the company felt they clogged up its networks. While that practice has stopped, Sowell's frustration hasn't subsided."

17 January 2010

Clippings for 17 January 2009

Too Little Too Late for Haiti? Six Sobering Points
Bill Quigley, Truthout: "Point One. $100 Million - Are You Kidding Me? President Obama promised $100 million in aid to Haiti on January 14, 2010. A Kentucky couple won $128 million in a Powerball lottery on December 24, 2010. The richest nation in the history of the world is giving Powerball money to a neighbor already suffering tens of thousands of deaths?"

Special Report: Haiti After the Quake and How to Help
Alison Hamm reports for The Media Consortium: "Over 100,000 people are believed dead after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck near the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, Tuesday afternoon. The quake buried countless buildings, from shantytowns to the presidential palace. All hospitals in Port-au-Prince have been leveled or abandoned. The United Nations headquarters and the city's main prison have collapsed as well. Thousands of residents are homeless and without food, water or electricity."

What You're Not Hearing about Haiti, but Should Be
Carl Lindskoog writes for CommonDreams: "In the hours following Haiti's devastating earthquake, CNN, the New York Times and other major news sources adopted a common interpretation for the severe destruction: the 7.0 earthquake was so devastating because it struck an urban area that was extremely over-populated and extremely poor.  Houses "built on top of each other" and constructed by the poor people themselves made for a fragile city.  And the country's many years of underdevelopment and political turmoil made the Haitian government ill-prepared to respond to such a disaster. "

If MLK Were Around, He Wouldn't Care About Racial Brushfires in the Media -- He'd Be Talking About Poverty
Rich Benjamin writes for AlterNet: "What a tangle of racial controversies to embroil politicians, the media, and the public in recent days: Glenn Beck insisted that African-American is a "bogus, PC-term," the Census bureau insisted on keeping "Negro" among its list of racial categories, and Senator Harry Reid confessed to saying the President's appeal derives from his (relatively) fair skin and Negro-free dialect."

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting reports: "The Washington Post has been on the deficit hawk beat for some time, so readers might've thought a recent article "Support Grows for Tackling Nation's Debt" was just par for the course. The paper didn't let on that there was more to this particular piece than met the eye, and when you hear the background, you'll understand why. We'll hear from economist Dean Baker about the story behind that story." Note: To listen click on the MP3 button above the show's descriptor.

Homeowners Say Banks Not Following Rules for Loan Modifications
Paul Keil reports for ProPublica: "Nathan Reynolds is something of an expert on the government’s foreclosure prevention program. A mortgage broker who’s worked in the Chicago area since 1998, he’s seen both his business and his home’s value plummet in the past few years. After receiving his own trial loan modification from JPMorgan Chase, he’s helped others apply for modifications through the program on his own time."

Naomi Klein on How Corporate Branding Has Taken Over America
Naomi Klein writes in The Guardian: " In May 2009, Absolut Vodka launched a limited edition line called "Absolut No ­Label". The company's global public relations manager, Kristina Hagbard, explained that 'For the first time we dare to face the world completely naked. We launch a bottle with no label and no logo, to manifest the idea that no matter what's on the outside, it's the inside that really matters.'"

Our Terrorists
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed reports for the New Internationalist: "Once upon a time, the CIA trained, financed and supported Osama bin Laden and his mujahidin networks in Afghanistan to repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. After the end of the Cold War, bin Laden turned against the West and we no longer had any use for him. His persistent terrorist attacks against us for more than a decade, culminating in 9/11, provoked our own response, in the form of the ‘war on terror.’ This is the official narrative. And it’s false. Not only did Western intelligence services continue to foster Islamist extremist and terrorist groups connected to al-Qaeda after the Cold War; they continued to do so even after 9/11."

Army Files Charges Against Single Mother
Dahr Jamail reports for Truthout: "The Army has filed charges for a special court-martial against Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, a single mother of a one-year-old baby. Hutchinson missed her deployment to Afghanistan late last year when her child-care plans for her son, Kamani, fell through at the last minute."

FBI Issues Results of Its Review Into The Fort Hood Investigation
The Public Record reports: "The FBI continues to work closely with the Department of the Army and others in the ongoing investigation into the November 5, 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas. Given the pending nature of the case, we must continue to protect the ongoing investigation and the integrity of the prosecution."

Despite Prevention Efforts, US Military Suicides Rise
Halimah Abdullah reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "Eight years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq have etched indelible scars on the psyches of many of the nation's servicemen and women, and the U.S. military is losing a battle to stem an epidemic of suicides in its ranks."

Vietnam-era veteran Vic Montgomery III, author of "Healing Suicidal Veterans," spoke with Truthout's Robert Corsini about the growing tsunami of veterans' mental health needs. A specialist in crisis intervention and addiction therapy, Montgomery outlined the urgent need to address this crisis that he witnesses as a counselor first hand.  The stress of multiple deployments and overall combat have led to a 26 percent increase in suicides, mostly among veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, a new report from the Department of Veterans Affairs revealed this week. Montgomery emphasized, that in addition to Veterans affected by recent wars, delayed onset of mental illness is common among veterans of past wars who are now seeking help sometimes for the first time. Montgomery's emphasis on the need for more clinical support for veterans is being discussed today on Capitol Hill as the 2010 DoD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference finishes up.

Lawmakers Agree to Scale Back Tax on Health Plans
David Lightman and Margaret Talev report for McClatchy Newspapers: "The White House, Congressional leaders and union officials on Thursday announced a tentative agreement in their health care negotiations, to pare back a proposed excise tax on high-end insurance policies for middle-class workers."

Senate, House Health Reform Bills Change Abortion Status Quo
Jessica Arons writes for RH Reality Check: "Opponents and supporters of abortion rights agreed early on, in theory, to maintain the 'status quo' with 'abortion neutral' health care legislation. The idea was that health care reform is not the appropriate place to continue the fight over abortion and neither side should attempt to use health care reform as a vehicle to further expand or restrict access to abortion."

Hoping for a Brighter Future: Kansans Join to Fight for Responsible Tax Policy
Christopher Renner writes for the Kansas Free Press: "The conservatives in the Kansas Legislature are going to face a new kid on the playground this year. Kansans for Quality Communities has come out to play and they intend to change who gets to play on the swing set.Bringing together organizations representing education, health care, the disabled and state workers, Kansas for Quality Communities will provide a united front in reforming tax policy that has been inspired by the now discredited "starve the beast" mentality of the conservatives."

A Candidate I Can Support
Eric Doughty writes for Forward Kansas: "Much was made of the Wiggans fiasco recently.  There was good reason behind it – we can’t win as Democrats, and uphold Democratic principles with those who have been imported and aren’t necessarily very strong D’s.  Much stir has also been created lately in the search for candidates to fill the Democratic ticket for November.   Monday afternoon I had the chance to meet with Cheryl Hudspeth, who is running in the second district – and I have to tell you, this is a candidate I can support."

Why Are They Dying?
Wayne Ellwood reports in the New Internationalist about the disappearance of bees: "It’s safe to say that the late John Muir would not recognize California’s vast Central Valley were he to visit today. When the intrepid Scots-American naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club travelled by foot through the region in the 1860s and 1870s he was astounded by the richness and diversity of the plants and flowers which carpeted the valley bottom and surged up the mountain slopes. In rapturous prose he described what he called the ‘bee pastures’:"

Keeping Same-Sex Marriage in the Dark
Marjorie Cohn writes in the Jurist: "On Wednesday, a conservative majority of the Supreme Court overturned a ruling made by a federal trial judge that would have allowed limited television coverage of a trial that will decide the fate of California’s Proposition 8. The trial, which is currently proceeding in San Francisco, is one of the most significant civil rights cases of our time. The plaintiffs are seeking to overturn a ballot initiative that makes same-sex marriage illegal in California."

Great Expectations as Congress Returns from Recess
Chris Johnson writes for DC Agenda: "As lawmakers hash out the 2010 legislative schedule for Congress, LGBT rights supporters are anticipating a House markup for the long-sought Employment Non-Discrimination Act within the next month. Sources familiar with Capitol Hill said the House Education & Labor Committee will take up ENDA, which would bar job bias against LGBT people in the public and private workforce, shortly after lawmakers return from holiday break."

Obama Confidant's Spine-Chilling Proposal
Glenn Greenwald writes for Salon.com: "Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama's closest confidants.  Often mentioned as a likely Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, Sunstein is currently Obama's head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for "overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs."  In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-"independent"  advocates to "cognitively infiltrate" online groups and websites -- as well as other activist groups -- which advocate views that Sunstein deems "false conspiracy theories" about the Government.  This would be designed to increase citizens' faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists.  The paper's abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here. "

Why the Right Is Wrong about Net Neutrality
Craig Aaron writes for the Huffington Post: "erhaps you've heard about this issue of "Net Neutrality." Doesn't ring a bell? Maybe you know it as "Internet socialism," "the Fairness Doctrine for the Internet," or simply the cornerstone of the Obama administration's frightening "vision of government ownership and control" over all communications and aspects of our lives. Or so you might think if you've caught any of the right-wing's sudden interest in telecommunications policy."

Newsflash: Right Is Not Center
David Sirota writes for Truthdig.com: "'War is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength'—more than a quarter-century after those oxymorons were supposed to pervade an Orwellian 1984, today’s media make such newspeak even more preposterous: On economic issues, we are often told that right is center, center is left, and left is fringe."

Tea Party Nation Convention Only Has Room for Friendly Press
Daniel Tencer reports for The Raw Story: "After taking some heat for barring the press altogether from their upcoming convention in Nashville, the organizers of the Nationwide Tea Party Convention say they will open the doors to the media -- but not all the media."

Is Sarah Palin a Natural Fox?
Leslie Savan comments in The Nation: "Only after Fox News announced that it had hired Sarah Palin as an "news analyst" did I realize that I've been subconsciously calling her Sarah Fox, Fox Palin, or Sarah Palin-Fox for a while now. She seems to be both the face that Fox wants to project and the audience it wants to capture: Palin represents the natural next stage in Fox's evolution from talking heads who pretend to know things that aren't true to those who sincerely believe things that aren't true."