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 March 2010

Clippings for 28 March 2010

We Are in the Middle of Transformational Change: It's Time the Debate Matches up with the Huge Challenges Ahead of Us
Frank Joyce writes for ALterNet: "A better world is possible. So is a worse one. Which will we get? Finding the proper focus is itself a challenge. For example, much of the conversation these days among well-meaning people about the state of our economy and what the president (or somebody) ought to do about it centers on jobs. Do we need more jobs? The conventional answer is of course we do, so let’s keep on having the old arguments about tax breaks versus government stimulus, big business versus small business, blah, blah, blah."

The Difference Between Liberalism and Progressivism
David Sirota writes for Truthdig.com: "As a progressive, I’m often asked if there is a real difference between progressivism and liberalism, or if progressivism is merely a nicer-sounding term for the less popular L-word. It’s a fair question, considering that Democratic politicians regularly substitute progressive for liberal in news releases and speeches. Predictably, Republicans call their opponents’ linguistic shift a craven branding maneuver, and, frankly, they’re right: Most Democrats make no distinction between the two words."

Globalization Marches On
Noam Chomsky writes for the New York Times Syndicate (via CommonDreams.org): "Shifts in global power, ongoing or potential, are a lively topic among policy makers and observers. One question is whether (or when) China will displace the United States as the dominant global player, perhaps along with India. Such a shift would return the global system to something like it was before the European conquests. Economic growth in China and India has been rapid, and because they rejected the West's policies of financial deregulation, they survived the recession better than most. Nonetheless, questions arise."

Why the President's Next Big Thing Should Be Jobs
Robert Reich, RobertReich.com: "Few presidents get a second honeymoon of their own making. (George W. got one when terrorists attacked the United States.) Barack Obama's victory on health care reform has breathed new life into his administration, recharged the Democratic base, and given the rest of America a sense of someone who fights for average working people. The question now is: What does he do with his second honeymoon?"

The Most Vital Ingredient in Wall Street Reform Goes Missing
Pam Martens writes for CounterPunch: "Last Fall, it was all about the wall: financial bigwigs like former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker, former Citigroup co-CEO John Reed, Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, all espoused reestablishing the legal barrier between the derivatives casino that masquerades today as Wall Street and commercial banks holding insured deposits."

Derailing Help for Consumers
Bob Herbert comments for the New York Times: "Why should there be any significant opposition to the creation of an independent agency with strong powers of enforcement to protect consumers from exploitation by banks, mortgage companies, auto dealers and other purveyors of credit? The dragons lurking in the fine print of some credit agreements are enough to give you heart failure. Payday loans, for example, typically carry annual interest rates in the vicinity of 400 percent. Or look at the lineup of fees, penalties and interest rates on your credit cards and overdraft privileges. Don't even start on mortgage abuses. That would take too long, and it's too depressing."

Kansas Chamber for Wall Street, Not Main Street
Marty Keenan writes for the Kansas Free Press: "The Kansas Chamber of Commerce scolded 14 local chambers of commerce on Thursday for supporting a tax increase to fix the yawning Kansas budget deficit. The starkly differing constituencies of the KCCI (Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and local chambers of commerce can no longer be papered over."

Coburn Pulls The Trigger: Jobless Benefits Extension Blocked By GOP
Evan McMorris-Santoro reports for Talkign Points Memo: "Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) promised that he'd be the next Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) if he had to be. And last night, he made good on his threat. Coburn is blocking unanimous consent on extension of unemployment benefits, just as Bunning did a few weeks ago. Only this time, Coburn's not alone -- the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other members of the Republican caucus have joined with Coburn, promising to block billions in unemployment benefits just as the Senate is set to leave on a two-week recess."

Counterfactual: A curious history of the C.I.A.’s secret interrogation program.
Jane Mayer writes for The New Yorker: "On September 11, 2006, the fifth anniversary of Al Qaeda's attacks on America, another devastating terrorist plot was meant to unfold. Radical Islamists had set in motion a conspiracy to hijack seven passenger planes departing from Heathrow Airport, in London, and blow them up in midair. Courting Disaster (Regnery; $29.95), by Marc A. Thiessen, a former speechwriter in the Bush Administration, begins by imagining the horror that would have resulted had the plot succeeded. He conjures fifteen hundred dead airline passengers, televised "images of debris floating in the ocean," and gleeful jihadis issuing fresh threats: 'We will rain upon you such terror and destruction that you will never know peace.'"

Pentagon Wants $33 Billion More for War in Afghanistan
Gordon Lubold, The Christian Science Monitor: "The Pentagon wants $33 billion in additional funding to pay for the war in Afghanistan this year and train the Afghan military, but members of Congress want to make sure they're not writing a blank check."

Obama Appoints New Chief for War Court at Guantanamo
Carol Rosenberg reports for the Miami Herald and McClatchy News: "In the clearest sign yet that the Obama administration is re-energizing tribunals for captives at a Guantanamo it wants closed, the Pentagon this week installed a retired three-star admiral with national security and international law experience to run the war court."

Obama Gives Up: The era of bipartisanship is over, at least until November.
John Dickerson writes for Slate: "President Obama's allies have occasionally been irritated that he won't do away with all his bipartisan talk and treat his opponents as they deserve to be treated. These allies/critics must be happy with his speech today in Iowa City, the same place he unveiled his health care proposal in December 2007 and where today he mocked his opponents with the thoroughgoing enjoyment he displayed during the campaign. 'Leaders of the Republican Party, they called the passage of this bill Armageddon.' Obama told the audience, to laughter. 'End of freedom as we know it.' So after I signed the bill, I looked around to see if there [were] any asteroids falling or some cracks opening up in the Earth. It turned out it was a nice day. Birds were chirping. Folks were strolling down the Mall. People still have their doctors.'"

Last weekend's 200,000-person-strong march on Washington for justice on immigration was spared from too much violence and anger because the press was largely focused on health care reform. But as that bill was signed into law Monday, immigration will again find itself at the top of the list for political action--and the passions that it inspires are certain to flare.  Joining Laura Flanders to talk about whether the Obama administration and this Congress will have the will, vision, and political capital to get anything done on immigration--and whether the legislation being considered at the moment will do more harm than good--are Seth Freed Wessler of the Applied Research Center and ColorLines, and Roberto Lovato of New America Media.


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is now law — but the battle over health care reform is far from over. Already at least 14 state attorneys general have filed lawsuits in state courts charging that the mandate for individuals to buy health insurance is unconstitutional. The Republican Party has vowed to make health care reform the central issue in their bid to gain Democratic seats in the mid-term elections. Stalwart advocates of a single-payer system are also unhappy with the outcome — calling the bill "a false promise of reform" and "wimpy."

On Pop Clarity: Public Intellectuals and the Crisis of Language
Henry Giroux comments for Turhtout: "The presupposition that academics no longer function as critical public intellectuals willing to connect their knowledge and expertise to larger public issues is now pervasive. Many factors have contributed to this alleged withdrawal from speaking to public issues, ranging from the demands of academic professionalism and the suppression of dissent to a simple lack of time to address such work. What is indisputable is that the voices of progressive academics have become increasingly irrelevant when it comes to assuming the role of engaged intellectuals interested in sharing their ideas, research and policy recommendations with a broader public. All the better for those neoliberal and conservative critics, who insist that academics must remain neutral, apolitical and professional, disavowing that politics has a place in the classroom or in the pursuit of research that speaks to broader public concerns. Sadly, the most pronounced voices critical of academics as public intellectuals come from the general public (who may or may not agree with right-wing portrayals of the university as a hotbed of left totalitarianism), who unite in their dismissal of ivory tower elites for speaking and writing in a discourse that is as arcane as it is irrelevant."

The Horrible Prospect of Supreme Court Justice Cass Sunstein
Glenn Greenwald writes for Salon.com: "A media consensus has emerged that the retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the 90-year-old Ford-appointee who became the leader of the Court's so-called "liberal wing," is now imminent.  The New York Times' Peter Baker has an article today on Obama's leading candidates to replace Stevens, in which one finds this strange passage:

The president’s base hopes he will name a full-throated champion to counter Justice Antonin Scalia, the most forceful conservative on the bench. . . . The candidates who would most excite the left include the constitutional scholars Harold Hongju Koh, Cass R. Sunstein and Pamela S. Karlan."

The Mad Tea Party
Richard Kim writes for The Nation: " Leftists like to say that another world is possible, but I was never quite sure of that until I started reading tea party websites. There, a government of leftists is not only possible, it's on the cusp of seizing permanent power, having broken American capitalism and replaced it with a socialist state. Down that rabbit hole, Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel are communists, and 'The Left'--which encompasses everyone from the Democratic Leadership Council to Maoist sectarians--is a disciplined and near omnipotent army marching in lockstep to a decades-old master plan for domination called the 'Cloward-Piven strategy' or, as of January 20, 2009, 'Cloward-Piven government.'" Graphic by DREW FRIEDMAN.

Nooses And Broken Windows: A Week Of Threats And Vandalism
Rachel Slajda reports for Talking Points Memo: "As the health care debate came to its conclusion this week, the high-running emotions of many finally crested, taking the form of threats and acts of vandalism at the offices of several lawmakers, most of them Democrats. Here, a roundup: The FBI is investigating a severed gas line at the home of Rep. Tom Perriello's (D-VA) brother. A local tea party group had posted the brother's address online, thinking it was Perriello's and calling for a protest there." Photo: Clockwise, from top left: Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC), a broken window, the stage prop coffin used in the demonstration on Rep. Russ Carnahan's lawn, and Rep. Louise Slaughter.

Secrets of the Tea Party: The Troubling History of Tea Party Leader Dick Armey
Beau Hodai, In These Times: "As the Tea Party movement has gained momentum during the last 12 months, it seems few Tea Partiers have caught on to the troubling past of the man at the center of their movement: FreedomWorks chairman, former House Majority Leader and recently-retired lobbyist extraordinaire, Dick Armey."

Inside David Frum's Bitter Exit
Tunku Varadarajan writes for The Daily Beast: "David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, no longer works for the American Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank in Washington. We know this because Frum has said so and the AEI has confirmed it. All narrative similarities end there, however."

Fox News, Health Care, and the Right-Wing Nervous Breakdown
Eric Boehlert writes for Media Matters for America: "Watching Fox News personalities recently come unglued as the realization set in that (surprise!) Democrats might actually have the votes to pass health care reform -- and noting how extraordinarily loopy and dire both the attacks on the White House, and the proclamations for pending, apocalyptic doom were becoming -- I was getting nervous that one of Fox News' more unhinged hosts might finally just snap and pull a Rev. Jim Jones, beseeching viewers to make the ultimate sacrifice."

The Oxymoron of "Texas Education"
Jim Hightower writes for his blog: "love nuts. Pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios – I love them all. But my favorite nuts by far are those homegrown natives on the Texas Board of Education. You just can't get any nuttier than this bunch!"

Nuclear Waste Piles Up, and It's Costing Taxpayers Billions
Mark Clayton reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "In the waning days of the Bush administration, the US Department of Energy signed contracts with more than a dozen utilities promising to permanently store nuclear waste from 21 not-yet-built reactors, nuclear watchdog groups reported Wednesday. But that "below the radar" DOE commitment was an unreasonable and unnecessary risk to taxpayers given the $1 billion dollars in contractual penalties the agency faced at the time – and the agency's 35-year failure to develop a permanent radioactive waste storage site, the groups said, citing federal contract documents they had obtained."

Kansas's Got Talent: Lisa Engelken's "Caravan"
Christopher E. Renner writes for the Kansas Free Press: "What now seems like a lifetime ago, I taught English as a Foreign Language in Naples, Italy. A young lady came into my life for the academic year 87-88. She was the younger sister of a friend, and the last child of huge German Catholic family. She was a student at the University of Kansas and had come to Naples to study the great 20th Century Neapolitan playwright, Eduardo De Fillippo."
Engelken will be our guest on the April 1st edition of Community Bridge. 

New Millennium, Same Old Backlash?
Maya Schenwar comments for Ms. Magazine: "From the climate of angry machismo that accompanied the drive toward the Iraq war, to the Bush-led campaign against contraception and abortion that has overflowed into the current Congress, this past decade has seen a host of reactionary shifts in attitudes towards women. Barbara J. Berg chronicles this current backlash in Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future (Chicago Review Press)."

Cheat Sheet: Sticking Points In Broadband Plan
Sara Jerome writes for The National Journal: "Every American should have broadband access -- that's an idea every faction in the telecom world seems to endorse. Making it so is another thing altogether. While not everyone has shown their cards yet, major telecom players are sure to air grievances soon over Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski's decade-long plan to get more Americans online. Hearings scheduled on the Hill this week and panels featuring industry lobbyists will provide forums for venting. In fact, with its aims to spark action from Congress and in the agencies, including heavy lifting at the FCC, the blueprint may also inadvertently pay many telecom lobbyists' salaries over the next few years in a sector that already spends exorbitantly on sway.

Newspaper Ads Tumbled to 1963 Levels Last Year
Ryan Chittum writes for the Columbia Journalism Review: "The New York Times reports that newspaper advertising tanked by more than 27 percent last year, shedding $10 billion from 2008. Online advertising swooned more than 11 percent, which would largely be, I suspect, because it’s so tied to print sales via upsells."

"We're At a Ground Zero Moment to Save Real Journalism"
Byard Duncan writes for AlterNet: "On March 24, 2010, the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, in Ithaca, NY announced that award-winning independent journalist Jeremy Scahill would receive the second annual 'Izzy Award.' The Izzy, which is named after the legendary muckraker I.F. Stone, celebrates outstanding achievement in independent media. Last year's winners were Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! and Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com." Photo Credit: Troy Page / t r u t h o u t

Public Knowledge and Free Press: Sprint Shutdown of Haiti Relief Effort Shows FCC Needs to Protect Text Messaging
Liz Rose writes for Free Press: "Public Knowledge and Free Press said this new incident provided fresh evidence that the FCC needs to act to prevent telephone companies from having unlimited power to shut down text-messaging campaigns they may not like for whatever reason. A petition filed by those two groups and others asking the FCC to protect text messaging from the whims of big telephone companies has been pending at the FCC since Dec. 11, 2007, after Verizon arbitrarily denied NARAL Pro-Choice America a short code for text messages to be sent to that group’s members."

Court OKs Local Media Consolidation
Ira Teinowitz reports for The Wrap: "An appellate court panel Tuesday removed its hold on a 2007 Federal Communications Commission rule that let newspapers and broadcasters buy each other in a market. But while lifting the hold, the three-judge panel of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals said it would continue to look at the rule’s legality. The move appears to let Tribune Company and some other media companies keep their TV stations -- and could further consolidate local media."

Recommended Audio: Democracy Now! - Court Strikes Down Restrictions on Media Ownership
A federal court has lifted a key set of government rules aimed at curbing media consolidation in the United States. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit struck down the FCC's ban on ownership by a single company of both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same market. The media reform group Free Press urged the FCC to respond to the ruling.

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