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

23 May 2010

Clippings for 23 May 2010

Obama Administration on the Verge of Giant Sell-Out to Conservatives -- How to Stop Them
George Lakoff writes for AlterNet: "The Obama Administration’s move to the right is about to give conservatives a victory they could not have anticipated, even under Bush. HUD, under Obama, submitted legislation called PETRA to Congress that would result in the privatization of all public housing in America.  The new owners would charge ten percent above market rates to impoverished tenants, money that would be mostly paid by the US government (you and me, the taxpayers). To maintain the property, the new owners would take out a mortgage for building repair and maintenance (like a home equity loan), with no cap on interest rates."

US Soldiers Face Probe Into Afghan Deaths; Civilian Casualties Still Rising
Dion Nissenbaum reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "The US military is investigating allegations that a small group of American soldiers deliberately killed three Afghan civilians in a series of shootings earlier this year, Western officials familiar with the case said Friday.... If the allegations prove to be true, they could undermine the US military's already shaky credibility in southern Afghanistan as it gears up to target the Taliban's spiritual capital in Kandahar."

Bill for Afghan War Could Run Into the Trillions
Eli Clifton, Inter Press Service: "The U.S. Senate is moving forward with a 59-billion-dollar spending bill, of which 33.5 billion dollars would be allocated for the war in Afghanistan. However, some experts here in Washington are raising concerns that the war may be unwinnable and that the money being spent on military operations in Afghanistan could be better spent."

Putting the Pentagon on a Diet: Will Bad Times and a Bad Economy Finally Discipline the Pentagon?
Christopher Hellman writes for TomDispatch: "Is that the wake-up smell of coffee wafting through the halls of the Pentagon? After a decade and a half of unparalleled budget growth, top Defense Department officials are finally talking about the possible end of their spending spree. And they're not alone.  In recent years, Republicans and Democrats in Congress and successive administrations have not only repeatedly resisted efforts to control Pentagon spending, but regularly pushed for more dollars to go into the defense and national security budgets. And many of them still are."

In April, it was revealed that the Obama Administration has authorized the CIA to target and kill American-born Islamic cleric, and alleged Al Qaeda operative, Anwar al-Awlaki. According to the subsequent testimony of Admiral Dennis Blair, the administration's Director of National Security, the targeted hit on al-Awlaki was not an exception to the rule; it fell within the legal rights granted to the executive. The unrestricted bullseye attached to al-Awlaki has many human rights activists, civil libertarians and legal scholars increasingly concerned about expanding executive authority. If the administration reserves the right to kill US citizens without due process, where does the slippery slope end? To explore the legality of assassination and targeted killings, this week's Breakdown with Christopher Hayes welcomes Vanderbilt law professor Mike Newton.

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Six Key Fights for Wall Street Reform's Next Phase
Zach Carter writes for the Campaign for America's Future: "Thursday night's passage of Wall Street reform by the U.S. Senate is an event to be celebrated, but several key issues remain in play as the House and Senate seek to iron out differences between their respective versions of the legislation. And while the final bill will provide regulators with important new tools to fight financial excess, many of the most critical issues facing our economy will simply not be addressed, leaving the next Congress with plenty of work to do."

Study Shows Blacks Will NEVER Gain Wealth Parity With Whites Under the Current System
Glen Ford report for Black Agenda Report: "The gap between Black and white household [accumulated] wealth quadrupled from 1984 to 2007, totally discrediting the conventional wisdom that the U.S. is slowly and fitfully moving towards racial equality, or some rough economic parity between the races. Like most American myths, it’s the direct opposite of the truth. When measured over decades, Blacks are being propelled economically downward relative to whites at quickening speed, according to a new study by Brandeis University."

How to Think Like a Feminist Economist
Susan Feiner writes for On the Issues: "As a feminist economist I am constantly amazed - though I suppose I should be used to it by now - by the ways conventional analyses of economic matters completely ignore gender asymmetries. Because I am a feminist economist, I am hypersensitive to differences in women's and men's economic circumstances." 

Confronting Blame-the-Worker Safety Programs
Nancy Lessin writes for Labor Notes: "In a Missouri food warehouse, 150 workers load and unload trucks, lift boxes, drive fork trucks, and move endless pallets. Each month that no one reports an injury, all workers receive prizes, such as $50 gift certificates. If someone reports an injury, no prizes are given that month. Last year, management added a new element to this 'safety incentive' program: if a worker reported an injury, not only would co-workers forgo monthly prizes but the injured worker had to wear a fluorescent orange vest for a week.... Blame-the-worker programs like this are flourishing, and they are harmful for workplace health and safety."

Kansas Legislative Winners and Losers
Budett Loomis comments for the Hutchinson News: "Any legislative session leaves in its wake some clear winners and losers, as well some prospective gifts and time bombs for campaigns and policy decisions to come. The historic (and it was) 2010 session did not disappoint in producing all of the above, in abundance."

Has Obama Created a Social Security 'death panel'?
Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson write for Nieman Watchdog: "President Obama and the leadership in Congress have delegated enormous, unaccountable authority to 18 unrepresentative, inordinately wealthy individuals. The 18 individuals are meeting regularly, in secret, behind closed doors, until safely beyond this year’s mid-term election. If they reach agreement, their proposal will be voted on in December by a lame duck Congress, without the benefit of open hearings and deliberations in the pertinent committees and without the opportunity for open debate and amendment on the floors of the House and Senate. Despite the speed and lack of accountability, the legislation will affect, in substantial ways, every man, woman, and child in this nation."

Arizona, Institutional Racism & Assimilation
Solomon Comissiong writes for the Daily Censored: "The Southwestern US state of Arizona has recently garnered a lot of public attention for its blatantly racist legislation. In April (2010) the closet racist governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, signed into law SB-1070. SB-1070 was paraded around by her administration as some sort of law aimed at reducing the number of so-called “illegal immigrants” from coming into Arizona. As if signing into state law a bill that condones the racial profiling of people of color was not xenophobic enough; she helped (along with Arizona education chief: Tom Horne) push through a law that significantly prevents the progressive teaching of “Ethnic Studies” within Arizonan public schools. This ban states that a school will lose state based funding if they offer courses thatpromote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” That particular detail within the so-called “law” should tell us more of what is wrong with the state of Arizona, and America in general, than anything else. The recent trends within Arizona are not particularly surprising to the author; however, for many living in denial about the institutionally racist nature of the US, I can see where this has jolted their illusionary American Dream."

Minding the Education Gap
Emily Badger reports for Miller-McCune: "The minority education gap, if not addressed, will have a huge impact on the U.S. economy in the future as good-paying jobs increasingly require college degrees. Americans aren't exactly making progress in closing the country's deep education gap. Thirty-two percent of Asians and whites held a bachelor's degree in 2008, compared to only 15 percent of blacks and Hispanics - a larger disparity than a decade ago."

Laying Bare the Myth of ‘The Left’
David Sirota writes for Truthdig.com: "I’m always amused by popular references to the allegedly all-powerful American “Left.” The term suggests that progressives today possess the same kind of robust, ideologically driven political apparatus as the Right—a machine putting principles before party affiliation. This notion is hilarious because it is so absurd."

The 'Mad-As-Hell' Party Scores as the Anxious Class Stews
Robert Reich writes for the Huffington Post: "Kentucky Tea Party hero Rand Paul scores a knockout victory over Republican Trey Grayson. Before that, Utah Senator Robert Bennett loses to a Tea Party-fueled Republican insurgent. Is the lesson here the rise once again of the Republican right?"

A Closing of the Conservative Mind?
Allen McDuffee reports for Truthout: "In an election year when Republicans are mounting a comeback, the last thing they need is in-fighting among conservatives. But that's precisely what is happening thanks to a series of exchanges kicked off by a blog post from Cato research fellow Julian Sanchez, who is warning of a closing of the conservative mind. The firestorm that has ensued has become something of a spectator sport, with, among others, Andrew Sullivan writing regular posts called "Epistemic Closure Watch" at the Daily Dish." Photo: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Chuckumentary, Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL), StewBl@ck

Sarah Palin's Sandidate, Vaughn Ward, Calls Puerto Rico a 'Country'
Sean J. Miller writes for The Hill: "Idaho House candidate Vaughn Ward (R) is under a microscope of media attention because of some recent misteps and another that came last night, when he misidentified Puerto Rico in a debate with his primary opponent, Raul Labrador, who was born on the island."

On May 19th's Rachel Maddow show, Maddow pressed GOP Kentucky Senate nominee Rand Paul to clarify remarks suggesting that the Civil Rights Act overreached by forcing private businesses to end discrimination based on race. Paul tried to evade Maddow’s questions, but could not quite explain how he can oppose discrimination, yet believe that a private business should have the right to discriminate.

How Libertarian is Rand Paul?
Josh Harkinson reports for Mother Jones: "In an effort to explain what Rand Paul meant when he suggested that private businesses should be able to discriminate against black people, most writers have assumed that the Tea Party fave is no racist but instead a dogmatic, don't-tread-on-me libertarian. As TPM convincingly points out today, the GOP's Kentucky Senate candidate's (now recanted) statements about the 1964 Civil Rights Act fall well within the libertarian mainstream."

In Texas, Social Studies Textbooks Get a Conservative Make-over
Brad Knickerbocker reports in the Christian Science Monitor: “In a move that has potential national impact, the Texas State Board of Education has approved controversial changes to social studies textbooks – pushing high school teaching in a more conservative direction.  The Dallas Morning news reports that the curriculum standards adopted Friday by a 9-5 vote along party lines on the elected board have 'a definite political and philosophical bent in many areas.'”

Oil Rules
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig.com: "The more we learn about the BP oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, the more we ought to question the basic assumptions that led us here. Like the explosion of the housing bubble that ruptured the world economy, this human and environmental tragedy resulted from a system that encourages reckless profiteering without effective regulation." Photo: Deep Water Horizon Response

EPA Scolds BP in Gulf Oil Spill: Dispersant Is Too Toxic, Change It
Mark Guarino, The Christian Science Monitor: "After saying last week that it had no authority to tell BP which dispersant to use for the Gulf oil spill, the EPA on Thursday told BP to switch dispersants to one that is less toxic. The US Environmental Protection Agency reversed course in the Gulf oil spill cleanup effort Thursday, telling BP that had three days to stop using a chemical dispersant that the EPA's own data suggests is unnecessarily toxic."

How Bush's DOJ Killed a Criminal Probe Into BP That Threatened to Net Top Officials
Jason Leopold reports for Truthout: "Mention the name of the corporation BP to Scott West and two words immediately come to mind: Beyond Prosecution. West was the special agent in charge with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) criminal division who had been probing alleged crimes committed by BP and the company's senior officials in connection with a March 2006 pipeline rupture at the company's Prudhoe Bay operations in Alaska's North Slope that spilled 267,000 gallons of crude oil across two acres of frozen tundra - the second largest spill in Alaska's history - which went undetected for nearly a week."

Trucking Toward Climate Change
Dahr Jamail, Truthout: "The tar sands mining project in Alberta, Canada, is possibly the largest industrial project in human history and critics claim it could also be the most destructive. The mining procedure for extracting oil from a region referred to as the 'tar sands,' located north of Edmonton, releases at least three times the CO2 emissions as regular oil production procedures and will likely become North America's single largest industrial contributor to climate change. Most of the oil produced by the project will likely be consumed by the United States, a country that, along with Canada, is already heavily invested, on many levels, in the project."

The Graph That Should Be on the Front Page of Every Newspaper: The Unambiguous Warming of the Planet
Peter H. Gleick writes for the Huffington Post: "The following graph should be on the front page of every single newspaper in the country. It shows, clearly and unambiguously, that the Earth has been heating up over the past 130 years (through the end of 2009), and especially over the past 30 years. And it's getting worse: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just announced that the first four months of 2010 were the hottest in the entire 130-year record for the planet. 

Climate change deniers have been trying hard to confuse the public and policy makers about climate change. But their claims about climate science and what we see in the world around us are based on ideology and bad science, not reality. The graph below is reality."

Co-authors of Beyond the Echo Chamber: Reshaping Politics Through Networked Progressive Media, Jessica Clark (Director of the Future of Public Media project at American University's Center for Social Media) and Tracy van Slyke (Director of The Media Consortium) talk about the hijacking of the media by the right wing and how progressive media organizations have reclaimed their stories by using the internet as a distribution tool. The important lesson for progressive media organizations is highlighted in their chapter: Beyond Pale, Male and Stale. Progressive organizations have to work to keep their message diverse and keep their audience engaged.

The Master of Debunk: W. Joseph Campbell corrects the record on 10 important misreported stories
Jack Schafer writes for Slate: "Despite what you might read in my cranky press columns, most reporters—make that practically all reporters—strive to get the story right. And when they get it wrong, most (but, alas, not all) reporters do their best to correct the record they've botched."

Comcast: Too Crapy to Fail?
Tim Karr writes for FireDogLake: "I don’t subscribe to Comcast, but my mom does. And the mere mention of the company’s name sets this peace-loving vegetable gardener into a rage. And it’s not just the nine-hour repair window that keeps her home waiting for the cable van that never arrives. Nor is it the customer service line that leaves her stranded for 45 minutes at the dead end of an automated service. It’s the costs that have doubled since she and Dad first signed up for Comcast’s crappy "Triple Play" –- television, Internet and phone. And it’s about to get a whole lot worse."

Public Media Discussion Heating Up
Megan Tady writes for NewPublicMedia.org: "The public broadcasting community converges in Austin this week for PBS’ annual meeting to talk a little shop, see sneak peeks of the newest programming and well…face a bit of the inevitable discussion: What is the future of public media? In the midst of panels and the workshops, the president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting honored David Fanning, executive producer of FRONTLINE, as this year’s recipient of the Ralph Lowell medal – the most prestigious award in public television. And as he thanked the public media community for the honor, he delivered an impassioned speech about the importance of journalism..."

The Future of the Internet Depends on Good Public Policy
Jessica Newman writes for CampusProgress: "Free Press is a nonprofit organization that believes in reforming media policy to transform democracy. Misty Perez Truedson conducts strategic communications and outreach activities to advance Free Press’ legislative and movement building initiatives. She works with community-based organizations, public interest groups, academics, and other allies to encourage participation in Free Press campaigns and events, with a particular focus on the Save the Internet campaign. Prior to joining Free Press, Misty was the statewide grassroots organizing coordinator for Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. She holds a master’s degree in community development and planning from Clark University in Worcester, Mass."

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