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 March 2010

Clippings for 31 March 2010

Recommended Audio: Democracy Now! - Banks Could Be Big Winners of President Obama's Foreclosure Prevention Program
Amy Goodman reports for Democracy NOW!: "The Obama administration has announced changes to its signature foreclosure prevention program, Making Home Affordable. The initial foreclosure relief program unveiled one year ago was supposed to help up to four million struggling homeowners. So far fewer than 200,000 borrowers have been granted permanent loan modifications. Meanwhile, a record 2.8 million properties with mortgages received foreclosure notices last year, according to the real estate data company RealtyTrac."

Obama and Dems Put a Stop to the Republicans' Kickback Cash Cow in the College Loan Industry
Alexander Zaitchik writes for AlterNet: "Reining in insurers and expanding health coverage for Americans aren't the only reforms achieved last week by the White House and Congress. The passage of the health care bill also accomplishes a much-needed if less-noticed goal that, like health care, was last seriously pursued during the early days of grunge rock: The termination of federal subsidies to the scandal-plagued private student loan industry." Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

The 'Long War' Quagmire
Tom Hayden comments for the Los Angeles Times: "Without public debate and without congressional hearings, a segment of the Pentagon and fellow travelers have embraced a doctrine known as the Long War, which projects an 'arc of instability' caused by insurgent groups from Europe to South Asia that will last between 50 and 80 years. According to one of its architects, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are just 'small wars in the midst of a big one.'"

Pacified
Kathy Kelly comments for Truthout: "If the US public looked long and hard into a mirror reflecting the civilian atrocities that have occurred in Afghanistan over the past ten months, we would see ourselves as people who have collaborated with and paid for war crimes committed against innocent civilians who meant us no harm."

Obama’s Rhetoric in Afghanistan Prolongs U.S. Role in Civil War There
Matthew Rothschild writes for The Progressive: "President Obama showed courage in going to Afghanistan to talk to the troops, but he’s just getting the U.S. in deeper over there. The rhetoric he used on Sunday was at times distorting, and the thrust was distressing. Like Bush, he summoned the 9/11 attack, saying, 'We did not choose this war.' And he added: 'This is the region where the perpetrators of that crime, al Qaeda, still base their leadership.'”

The Obscenity of War
Amy Goodman writes for Truthdig.com: "President Barack Obama has just returned from his first trip as commander in chief to Afghanistan. The U.S.-led invasion and occupation of that country are now in their ninth year, amid increasing comparisons to Vietnam. Daniel Ellsberg, whom Henry Kissinger once called “the most dangerous man in America,” leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Ellsberg, who was a top Pentagon analyst, photocopied this secret, 7,000-page history of the U.S. role in Vietnam and released it to the press, helping to end the Vietnam War.



Citizens United Against Citizens United
David Swanson comments for Truthout: "Eighty-five percent of Democrats and 76 percent of Republicans tell pollsters when asked that they oppose the Supreme Court's decision in 'Citizens United,' which lifted limits on corporate political spending."

Federal Appeals Court Rules Finance Law Contributions Are Unconstitutional
John Eggerton reports for Multichannel News: "The Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Friday, saying that the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United had resolved the appeal, ruled that the campaign finance law, limiting contributions by individuals to SpeechNow, a 527 group advocating the election of federal candidates, is unconstitutional."

PR Firm Behind Propaganda Videos Wins Stimulus Contract
Sebastian Jones and Michael Grabell report for ProPublica: "President Obama's push for electronic medical records has faced resistance from those who question whether health information technology systems can protect patient privacy. So last week, the US Department of Health and Human Services hired a public relations firm to try to win consumer trust."

Who's Afraid of Health Care Reform?
Marcia Alesan Dawkins writes for Truthdig.com: "After days of protests over reform, the Obama administration has, in fact, created a change that many Americans can now see and feel. The new law, though imperfect, represents progress in a new direction. However, it seems that for this step forward some Americans have taken two steps back."

Ten Things You Didn't Know Were in the Health Bill
Emily Badger reports for Miller-McCune: "The 2,000-page health care bill that became law last week is packed with major reforms probably well-known (in concept if not in detail) by anyone who has channel-surfed through the nightly news over the past year. There's an individual mandate, a system of exchanges, new government subsidies and a ban on some of the worst practices of the insurance industry."

Recommended Audio: The Breakdown: An Unconstitutional Mandate?
Christopher Hayes writes for The Nation: "Late Sunday night, after a full day of raucous floor debate, the House of Representatives voted to pass a (nearly) finalized version of healthcare reform. On Tuesday, President Obama signed the legislation amidst fanfare, relief and a pitch-perfect obscenity, compliments of the vice president. Since its passage, opponents have been finding all possible avenues to obstruct, delay and derail the newly instated law. Many of these attempts are farcical, but one in particular seems to be gaining traction amongst conservative scholars and lawmakers. As of Thursday, attorneys general from fourteen states have filed suit challenging the healthcare overhaul, particularly the provision known as the individual mandate, as unconstitutional. While the argument has certainly stirred rhetorical fervor, the question remains, does it hold up legally? To answer, this week's The Breakdown With Chris Hayes invites Columbia law professor Gillian Metzger to examine the validity of the constitutionality argument."


Is America ‘Yearning for Fascism’?
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig.com: "The language of violence always presages violence. I watched it in war after war from Latin America to the Balkans. The impoverishment of a working class and the snuffing out of hope and opportunity always produce angry mobs ready to kill and be killed. A bankrupt, liberal elite, which proves ineffectual against the rich and the criminal, always gets swept aside, in times of economic collapse, before thugs and demagogues emerge to play to the passions of the crowd. I have seen this drama. I know each act. I know how it ends. I have heard it in other tongues in other lands. I recognize the same stock characters, the buffoons, charlatans and fools, the same confused crowds and the same impotent and despised liberal class that deserves the hatred it engenders."

Welcome to Glennbeckistan
Chip Ward writes for TomDispatch.com: "What if the Tea Party ruled? Imagine a land, let's call it Glennbeckistan, where white, patriarchal, religiously zealous, Tea Party-type patriots hold a super-majority in both houses of the legislature, sit in the governor's mansion, and control most local governments. It's a place so out of sync with the rest of the nation that states' rights and even secession are always on the agenda. It's a place where gun ownership trumps all other rights, climate change is considered an insidious socialist conspiracy, and a miscarriage can be investigated as a potential crime. Welcome to Utah."
(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Jettpakk1, Gage Skidmore)

So Much for a 'Post-Racial' America
Stanley Kutler writes for Truthdig.com: "Thanks to Newt Gingrich’s loose lips, the cat is out of the bag: The Republican Party, answering the call of a large part of its following, will continue its subtle and not-so-subtle uses of the “race card.” Gingrich said during the health care debate that “much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” when Congress enacted civil rights legislation, President Barack Obama’s health care reform will prove as destructive. His audience needs no reminder of Republican divisiveness, but Gingrich, no stranger to distorting history, demands correction."

Hannity's Charity Under Fire
Kate Sheppard writes for Mother Jones: "Sean Hannity is proud of noting that "every penny" from his Freedom Concerts goes to scholarships for the children of killed or injured veterans. But in a legal complaint filed today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and VoteVets dispute that claim." Photo credit: — Flickr/josejose (Creative Commons).

Recycle Plant-Based Plastics?
Kiera Bulter writes for Mother Jones: "A café in my neighborhood sells salads in supposedly compostable corn-based containers. Since I live in one of only a handful cities in the US with a curbside composting program, I can just chuck my empty salad container into my curbside green bin. But I always wondered what might become of it in a backyard compost pile. Luckily, MoJo senior editor Dave Gilson answered my question last year in an article on the subject: Ramani Narayan, a Michigan State professor of chemical and biochemical engineering who helped develop biodegradable corn-based plastic, told Gilson that most plant-based plastics need to go to a commercial composting facility, not just your yard."

Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine
Greenpeace reports: "Billionaire oilman David Koch likes to joke that Koch Industries is “the biggest company you've never heard of.” But the nearly $50 million that David Koch and his brother Charles have quietly funneled to climate-denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming is no joking matter. Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch have a vested interest in delaying climate action: they’ve made billions from their ownership and control of Koch Industries, an oil corporation that is the second largest privately-held company in America (which also happens to have an especially poor environmental record). It’s time more people were aware of Charles and David Koch and just what they’re up to.
Download the report as a PDF

Salazar: 'Cap And Trade' Not In The Lexicon Anymore
Rachel Saljda write for Talking Point memo: "Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, on CNBC this morning, suggested the administration will no longer use the term "cap and trade" to describe climate change legislation."



She's Really Saying Something

Jeff Glass writes for Jazz Times: "What distinguishes a singer who 'has something to say' from one who is simply pleasant to listen to? Lisa Engelken's new CD Caravan has helped me answer this question. It abundantly delivers on the promise of her riveting live shows (the CD release concert happens May 7 at the Jazzschool in Berkeley), and it raises the bar of what to expect from a vocal jazz outing."

Google Goes Evil? Gets in Bed With Verizon
Josh Silver writes for the Huffington Post: "Tuesday's Wall Street Journal features an Op-ed by the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, and the CEO of Verizon, Ivan Seidenberg, about the importance of high-speed Internet access.  It is mostly boring; until it gets to the punchline and tells us that government should have as little role as possible in delivering broadband to America. Just like government should stay out of banking regulation, I take it?"

A (Neglected) Duty to Inform
Elise Crane writes for SaveTheNews.org: "With the widespread closure of international bureaus, and serious underfunding of those that remain open, American coverage of world affairs nears an all-time low. Today, the mainstream U.S. media often seems precariously close to preaching an official reality and severely restricting the average media consumer’s view of the world."

Chicago Public Radio reports: "With wireless Internet access at coffee shops, at home and even in parks, it seems we’re always connected. We can email, update Facebook, and send a tweet, in a matter of seconds. But this kind of high speed access is not available everywhere. So the Federal Communications Commission has launched a new initiative to bring broadband access to more Americans. Chairman Julius Genachowski discussed the ambitious National Broadband Plan in a Congressional hearing last week. To find out what increased access will mean, and how it will affect us here in Illinois, we turn to Dr. Joe Mambretti. He’s the director of the International Center for Advanced Internet Research at Northwestern University."

Memo To News Sites: There Is No Future In ‘Digital Razzle Dazzle’
John Yemma writes for paidcontent.org: "Let’s agree that Rupert Murdoch is right: Content is king. You’ll get nothing but applause from a journalist of four decades like me. Saying it and believing it, however, doesn’t solve the problem of content racing to zero value on the internet. Paywalls such as the ones News Corp (NYSE: NWS). and the New York Times are moving to may seem like the next step, in the same way that sandbagging the tops of levies on the Mississippi are the next step during spring flooding. The problem is that the internet flood never recedes. It is the Great Deluge that grows more powerful every day. Paywalls for general interest publications cannot hold it back.

The Digital Divide Will Ensure a Broadband Ghetto
Stacey Higginbotham writes for GigaOm: "If you live in New York City or in any of the heavily populated and wealthy areas of the Northeast, you likely have access to some of the fastest broadband speeds available in the country. If you live in a suburb of Austin, Texas, however, you’re offered speeds some six times slower for about half the price. And as the technologies race ahead for network access, ISPs with fiber to the home and cable-provided Docsis 3.0 service are going to surpass the speeds that providers using old-school copper and even wireless can offer."

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