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

19 May 2010

Clippings for 19 May 2010

Recommended Audio: 1,000 Dead in Afghanistan
David Corn writes for Mother Jones: "It shouldn't matter. Not at all. But the Afghanistan war hit a milestone on Tuesday: 1,000 dead American soldiers. The $100-billion-per-year war itself—and the daily losses in lives—should be front-and-center in the media most days, but that often is not the case. Consequently, when the number of lives lost reaches an odometer-tripping moment, attention is paid, if only briefly.  Brave New Films, the Robert Greenwald outfit that released the anti-war film Rethink Afghanistan, has put out a video marking the 1,000-lives mark:"

Aiding the Insurgency
Luke Mogelson writes for The Nation: "Last summer the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) closed one of its largest projects in Iraq, declaring that it had been a virtually unqualified success. The Community Stabilization Program (CSP), which cost $675 million over its three years of operation, has been lauded as one of the war's most effective counterinsurgency operations. Launched in May 2006, it was USAID's chief contribution to the Bush plan of rescuing a tailspinning military adventure with a civilian surge and increased focus on economic development. "Bottom line: it worked," said Jeanne Pryor, USAID's deputy director for Iraq reconstruction, during a recent colloquy on the CSP at the United States Institute of Peace. An evaluator contracted by USAID recommended that the CSP be replicated elsewhere, and in Afghanistan recent cash-for-work projects have emerged that appear to be based on the model it pioneered."

Holder Gambles With Terrorism Suspects' Miranda Rights
Aziz Huq writes for The Nation: "Lost against the predictable hubbub about the predictable Kagan nomination, Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week that he will ask Congress to cut back on a decades-old constitutional protection for criminal suspects. He wants Congress to legislate an emergency “public safety” exception to the Miranda warnings that are given by police to suspects upon arrest to inform them of their constitutional rights. With some sharp liberal commentators endorsing the proposal, should progressives tone down their usual opposition to limits on criminal suspects’ rights?"

Nouriel Roubini: How to Break Up the Banks, Stop Massive Bonuses and Rein in Wall Street Greed
Zach Carter writes for AlterNet: "New York University economist Nouriel Roubini is the author of, most recently, 'Crisis Economics: A Crash Course In The Future Of Finance.' He is considered one of the most prominent and respected economists in the world. When both Wall Street bankers and Bush administration policymakers were insisting that everything was just fine, Roubini was warning about the most dire financial crisis since the Great Depression. In 2007, the financial elite laughed him off, but Roubini was vindicated by the crash of 2008."

Goldman Sachs Publicly Backs Financial Reform - While Dispatching Army of Lobbyists
Adele Hampton reports for The Huffington Post Investigative Fund: "Amid attempts to rein in Wall Street, persuaders safeguard bank's interests. For all of Goldman Sachs' professed support for an overhaul of financial regulations, the megabank hasn't exactly withdrawn its army of lobbyists. Far from wearing out its welcome, the firm is busier than ever safeguarding its interests while a Wall Street crackdown takes shape in Washington."

Happy Days Aren't Here Again
Moshe Adler writes for Truthdig.com: "The torrent of good news started before the first bailout dollars had even been paid. First, we were told that the bailout would prevent a significant increase in unemployment, and President George W. Bush even balked at extending unemployment benefits. Then we were told that without the bailout, the unemployment rate would reach 25 percent. Less talk about the unemployment rate followed when the story changed and we were told that the recession was actually over, since “the economy” was growing. Next we were told that we had turned the corner because the rate of unemployment was already decreasing. And finally, when the April unemployment figures were released on May 7 and showed that the rate of unemployment increased from 9.7 percent to 9.9 percent, the bad news appeared beneath headlines that announced the arrival of what was apparently the best news yet. Economy Gains Impetus as U.S. Adds 290,000 Jobs, read the headline in The New York Times. In the Los Angeles Times, the headline was April Hiring Surge Largest in Four Years."

White Wealth and Black Debt Shot Up in "Growth" Years
Kai Wright reports for ColorLines: "The wealth gap between Blacks and Whites has grown by fourfold over the course of Generation X's lifetime, exploding to $95,000, a study released today found. And the debt burden among African American families has nearly doubled.  The study comes from Brandeis University’s Tom Shapiro, who’s among the pioneers in measuring economic equality by considering overall household wealth—your assets minus your debts—rather than just income. Shapiro’s research team looked at data from a decades-long, national survey of family economics and discovered that, between 1984 and 2007, the wealth gap saw unprecedented growth, as assets among high-income White households shot up while debt among all Black households did the same. "

Will the Senate Give Predatory Student Loans a Pass?
Andy Kroll writes for Mother Jones: "You've heard of subprime mortgages—the risky, high-interest-rate, often toxic home loans doled out like candy to borrowers who lacked the ability to repay them. In the Senate's financial reform overhaul, a new consumer protection bureau would crack down on these shady loans and the predatory brokers who peddled them. But the Senate is poised to give a big pass to another form of subprime lending on the rise—high-risk student loans, a corner of the financial industry New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo branded the "Wild West" of lending." Photo: Flickr /Bernal KC

Getting to Know Elena Kagan
Ralph Nader writes fro CounterPunch: "Given the Niagara of commentary on the nomination of Elena Kagan to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, we know very little about the nominee. For friend and critic alike, the predominant view of Ms. Kagan is that she has publically uttered or written remarkably little of her own views on any subject that directly or remotely relates to her forthcoming position."

Airlines Against Democracy
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, Pat Garofalo, and Alex Seitz-Wald write The Progress Report for Think Progress: "Last week, the National Mediation Board (NMB) -- which is tasked with overseeing labor-management relations under the Railway Labor Act (RLA) -- issued a ruling making elections for union representation more democratic. Previously, under the RLA (which governs railroads and airlines), workers who did not cast votes in an election were counted as having voted against unionization. Now, however, they will simply not be counted at all, like non-voters in any election for political office. The change brings the RLA's process into line with elections held under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which covers most workplaces. The NMB said that the change "will provide a more reliable measure/indicator of employee sentiment in representation disputes and provide employees with clear choices in representation matters." "The board will no longer presume that the failure or refusal of an eligible employee to vote is a vote against representation," it added. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said that the NMB's ruling represents "a new era of democracy." "For far too long, flight attendants and other aviation and railway employees have faced significant obstacles in their quest for collective bargaining rights," it said. However, since the ruling came down, the affected companies and their pro-corporate allies have been in an uproar, defending the antiquated previous rule, which unfairly tilted the playing field against workers trying to organize."

Billions of Dollars Leaving State Economies Annually to Import Coal, Report Finds
The Union of Concerned Scientists report: "Economies in three dozen states are collectively hemorrhaging tens of billions of dollars annually on imported coal to generate electricity, according to a report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Residents in those states would be better served, the report concludes, if more money were spent in-state on local renewable energy technology and energy efficiency programs. The first-of-its-kind report, which ranks the 38 states that are net importers of domestic and foreign coal based on the most recent available data, found that 11 of them each spent more than $1 billion annually on imported coal in 2008. Sixty-three percent of domestic coal comes from just three states: Wyoming, West Virginia and Kentucky. Foreign coal burned in U.S. coal plants mainly comes from Colombia." Photo: Codrington, Stephen. Planet Geography 3rd Edition (2005).

How Long Will the Oil Spill Last?
David Biello writes for the Scientific American: "More than 20 years after the Exxon Valdez foundered off the coast of Alaska, puddles of oil can still be found in Prince William Sound. Nearly 25 years after a storage tank ruptured, spilling oil into the mangrove swamps and coral reefs of Bahia Las Minas in Panama, oil slicks can still be found on the water. And more than 40 years after the barge Florida grounded off Cape Cod, dumping fuel oil, the muck beneath the marsh grasses still smells like a gas station."

BP and the ‘Little Eichmanns’
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig.com: "Cultures that do not recognize that human life and the natural world have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic value beyond monetary value, cannibalize themselves until they die. They ruthlessly exploit the natural world and the members of their society in the name of progress until exhaustion or collapse, blind to the fury of their own self-destruction. The oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, estimated to be perhaps as much as 100,000 barrels a day, is part of our foolish death march. It is one more blow delivered by the corporate state, the trade of life for gold. But this time collapse, when it comes, will not be confined to the geography of a decayed civilization. It will be global."

Which Household Cleaners Contain Secret Toxic Ingredients?
Kiera Bulter reports for Mother Jones: "The label on my shower spray cleaner claims it's supposed to smell like ylang ylang. To me it smells like, well, chemicals. I was curious to see whether any real ylang ylang actually made its way into my cleaner, so I looked up the ingredients online. No ylang ylang (or any other plant for that matter) in sight. Near the end of a long list of ingredients were the words "fragrance oil." Mysterious. Is my shower spray hiding something?"

Rage Against the Machine
Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., comments for Truthout: "It's morning in America, and the nativists are getting restless. Often cited amidst the moderate chagrin over rightwing rampaging in recent weeks is the dubious proposition that these factions are openly rebelling against 'business as usual' in US politics. While social movement activities in general are worthwhile, we ought to distinguish between those that actually challenge power and those that are supported by it. In the case of the Tea Party and their ilk, we are witnessing a unique posture whereby people are raging against the system even as they epitomize it."  Photo:  Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Video4net, City On Fire, .sandhu

Kansas House Proposes 50% Cut In Public Broadcasting Allocation
AllAccess.com reports: "The KANSAS House has proposed a $903,161 cut in the annual budget allocation for public radio and television. The 50% cut affects stations statewide but has particular impact on stations in the western portion of the state, where the state funding represents a larger portion of the budget.

HIGH PLAINS PUBLIC RADIO in GARDEN CITY, KS told listeners, "For HPPR, that amounts to a cut of more than $120,000 -- money that HPPR was budgeted to receive this fiscal year. These cuts are drastic, without precedent, and threaten each public broadcasting station's ability to bring high-quality, independent, informative programs to KANSAS.  With only five months left in our fiscal year, it will be nearly impossible to raise that kind shortage from membership and underwriting."  The station said that the cuts are equivalent to the budget for NPR programming ($65,000) plus two of the station's 10 full-time staff positions ($60,000).

The station is urging listeners to tell Gov. MARK PARKINSON to line-item-veto the cut, which is reallocating the funds to the KANSAS COMMISSION ON VETERANS AFFAIRS.  If PARKINSON signs the bill as-is, the cuts will be effective on JULY 1st.

Delete Your Facebook Account: 'Quit Facebook Day' Wants Users To Leave
Catharine Smith reports for the Huffington Post: "As controversy swells around Facebook's latest changes to its privacy policy--which is now longer than the Constitution and offers some 50 settings and over 170 options--users' interest in deleting their Facebook accounts has soared.  A group of dissatisfied Facebook users have teamed up in an effort to organize a mass, coordinated exodus from Facebook--and they're using social networks to do it."

Rep. Weiner Goes After Beck's House Of Gold
Will Bunch reports for Media Matters for America: "Throughout Glenn Beck's meteoric rise to become king of all right-wing media, a once-obscure Santa Monica peddler of gold coins called Goldline International has been along for the ride. The support of Beck and other radio hosts -- mainly conservatives like Mark Levin and Fred Thompson -- who spend 55 minutes creating fear of an economic collapse and then five minutes telling you why coins from a company like Goldline are the only safe haven has helped Goldline become a $500 million company."

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