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

21 June 2010

Clippings for 20 June 2010

Washington Drunk on War
Tom Engelhardt writes for Tom's Dispatch: "Mark it on your calendar.  It seems we’ve finally entered the Soviet era in America.You remember the Soviet Union, now almost 20 years in its grave.  But who gives it a second thought today?  Even in its glory years that “evil empire” was sometimes referred to as “the second superpower.”  In 1991, after seven decades, it suddenly disintegrated and disappeared, leaving the United States -- the “sole superpower,” even the “hyperpower,” on planet Earth -- surprised but triumphant. The USSR had been heading for the exits for quite a while, not that official Washington had a clue.  At the moment it happened, Soviet “experts” like Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (then director of the CIA) still expected the Cold War to go on and on.  In Washington, eyes were trained on the might of the Soviet military, which the Soviet leadership had never stopped feeding, even as its sclerotic bureaucracy was rotting, its economy (which had ceased to grow in the late 1970s) was tanking, budget deficits were soaring, indebtedness to other countries was growing, and social welfare payments were eating into what funds remained.  Not even a vigorous, reformist leader like Mikhail Gorbachev could staunch the rot, especially when, in the late 1980s, the price of Russian oil fell drastically."

First Signs of Strain in Kandahar Offensive
Ben Gilbert reports for GlobalPost: "These are some of the first casualties of an 'offensive' in southern Afghanistan that the military has suddenly grown reluctant to call an 'offensive.' It has begun quietly, with the U.S.-led NATO force here seemingly confused about whether the operation is about bringing 'governance' to Kandahar or clearing areas of insurgents. What is clear is that the slow trickle of wounded and the dead back to America has started. Fifty-three NATO troops have died so far this month if the pace continues, it will be the deadliest month since the Afghan war began."

Pentagon investigators are reportedly still searching for Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, who helped release a classified US military video showing a US helicopter gunship indiscriminately firing on Iraqi civilians. The US military recently arrested Army Specialist Bradley Manning, who may have passed on the video to Wikileaks. Manning’s arrest and the hunt for Assange have put the spotlight on the Obama administration’s campaign against whistleblowers and leakers of classified information. We speak to Daniel Ellsberg, who’s leaking of the Pentagon Papers has made him perhaps the nation’s most famous whistleblower; Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a member of the Icelandic Parliament who has collaborated with Wikileaks and drafted a new Icelandic law protecting investigative journalists; and Glenn Greenwald, political and legal blogger for Salon.com.

G-20 Summit: Financial Reform Is Needed. But How Fast?
Dan Murphy reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "The heads of state for the Group of 20 (G-20) - a body that seeks to coordinate financial regulation and standards across some of the world's largest economies - will hold a two-day summit in Canada starting June 26 at which almost all participants are expected to call for more banking regulation but where some, echoing St. Augustine's famous prayer, are expected to say 'please, not yet.'"

Why Wall Street's Generous to New Democrats in House
David Lightman and Kevin G. Hall report for McClatchy Newspapers: "Members of the powerful New Democrat Coalition in the House of Representatives are among the top Democratic recipients of Wall Street campaign money this election cycle - and also among the most vocal advocates for weakening a plan to regulate complex financial instruments called 'derivatives' that helped fuel the near-collapse of the economy in 2008."

Did Democrats' Deal With the NRA Kill Campaign Finance Reform?
Gail Russell Chaddock reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "At issue is a deal brokered by the House Democratic leadership to exempt the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) and others from disclosure requirements in a new campaign finance law. The legislation aimed to restore campaign finance limits stripped away by a controversial 5-4 US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which scrapped restrictions on when and how much corporations and unions can spend to influence elections."

Report Finds ACORN Did Not Support Voter Fraud; O'Keefe Is the Real Criminal
Mike Ludwig reports for Truthout: "A new government report debunks claims made by right-wing politicians and media that the now defunct community advocacy group ACORN violated elections law and supported voter fraud."

US Social Forum to Target Long-Term Progressive Goals
Yana Kunichoff writes for Truthout: "The picture Chomsky went on to paint, of an America ridden by fear and aggression, called for the creation of 'a different world, one that is not based on violence and subjugation, hate and fear. That is why we are here, and the WSF offers hope that these are not idle dreams.' Under the banner 'Another World is Possible, Another US is Necessary,' the attendees of the United States Social Forum (USSF) plan to do just this - on a more local level."

Witness: US Agent Aimed at Mexican
Dennis Bernstein and Jesse Strauss report for Consortium News: "An eyewitness to the June 7 shooting death of a 14-year-old Mexican youth said a U.S. Border Patrol agent took aim at the boy for several seconds after the boy emerged from behind a pillar of a bridge on the Juarez side of the border near El Paso, Texas."

A Green 'New Deal' Now
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig.com: "If the right-wing chorus insists that the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico is “Obama’s Katrina,” then let us hope the president will make the most of that slogan. The comparison between the utter failure of the Bush administration and the missteps and errors of the Obama White House is fundamentally false. Yet there is nevertheless a crucial parallel to be drawn as the fifth anniversary of the hurricane approaches."

No Energy in Obama's Energy Plan
Alexander Cockburn comments for Truthout: "Every president since Nixon has tried to sell an energy plan, and the only one to yield any tangible results was Reagan's consummated pledge to rip the Carter-installed solar system off the roof of the White House. Carter wore his cardigan and America laughed and turned up the heaters in their SUVs."

Fixing Global Warming For 40 Cents a Day
Kevin Drum writes for Mother Jones: "I was pretty hard on President Obama's oil spill speech on Tuesday, and one reason was his unwillingness to use the occasion to press for a serious climate policy. It's true, as Dave Roberts points out, that Obama talked about raising efficiency standards, investing in clean energy tech, and setting renewable energy standards, all of which are important things. But he very deliberately didn't mention climate change, didn't mention cap-and-trade, and didn't mention carbon pricing even in passing. He just punted."

Life Aboard the Drilling Rig That's the Gulf's Last Hope
Jennifer Lebovich reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "Here, the Development Driller II and another drilling rig, the DD III, about half a mile away are the last hope for finally plugging the gushing underwater well. Both rigs are drilling relief wells that, deep under the ocean bottom, will aim to tap into the pipe gushing oil, pour cement into it and hopefully stop the oil permanently." Photo: Ann Marie Gorden / US Coast Guard

Gulf Oil Spill: A Hole in the World
Naomi Kline writes for The Guardian UK: "Everyone gathered for the town hall meeting had been repeatedly instructed to show civility to the gentlemen from BP and the federal government. These fine folks had made time in their busy schedules to come to a high school gymnasium on a Tuesday night in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, one of many coastal communities where brown poison was slithering through the marshes, part of what has come to be described as the largest environmental disaster in US history."

Exclusive: New Documents, Employees Reveal BP's Alaska Oilfield Plagued by Major Safety Issues
Jason Leopold reports for Truthout: "Nearly 5,000 miles from the oil-spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, BP and its culture of cost-cutting are contributing to another environmental mess. According to internal BP documents obtained by Truthout, and after interviewing more than a dozen employees over the past month, the Prudhoe Bay oil field, in a remote corner of North America on Alaska's north shore, is in danger." Photo: abmatic

The People Versus the Powerful
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Tanya Somanader write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "As BP CEO Tony Hayward testified before Congress yesterday, oil continued to gush into the Gulf of Mexico for the 58th day after the oil rig his company operated exploded and initiated the largest oil spill in U.S. history. While many lawmakers used this opportunity to press Hayward on his company's incompetence and malfeasance, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) apologized to BP for the White House's efforts to make sure the oil giant compensates the victims. Barton's stunning apology to a giant foreign oil corporation that has devastated the Gulf Coast economy is emblematic of a larger philosophical divide in U.S. politics. On issue after issue, progressives have fought to hold big corporations accountable, stand by everyday Americans struggling to create a better life for themselves, and create a more just America for all. Conservatives, on the other hand, have aligned themselves with the nation's most powerful interests -- Big Oil, Wall Street, insurance companies, labor rights violators, and others whose mantra may as well be "greed is good." At stake in the battle between these two sides is the very idea of the American Dream -- that anyone who plays by the rules and works hard will succeed. The question Americans must ask of their politicians is clear: Which side are you on -- the people or the powerful?"

Taking on Tarmageddon
Jess Worth reports for the New Internationalist: "‘If local indigenous communities tell us they don’t want the Sunrise Project, then of course we won’t do it,’ Peter Mather, boss of BP UK, said to me earnestly. I could barely believe my ears. Was the oil giant, poised to enter the tar sands for the first time, really claiming it would be prepared to back down in the face of local opposition? My strange evening had just got stranger. I was in Oxford’s swanky Randolph Hotel. It was last October, and I’d gone with a group of student activists to BP’s flagship graduate recruitment event. The company had really pulled the stops out, lavishing free wine and canapés on around 100 engineering and geology students, perhaps in the hope of giving them a taste of what life could be like if they worked for the transnational." Photo by: Thomas Ball

Coming to Terms With Equality and Diversity in America's Ongoing Culture Wars
Cary Fraser writes for Truthout: "The recent decision by the Texas School Board of Education to revise the curriculum in the state to reflect a more 'conservative' approach to social studies and history has highlighted the ongoing debate about the role of education in American society and culture."  Photo: Associated Press

Jennifer Ludden writes for National Public Radio: "There's no federal law that bans workplace discrimination against parents or people who care for elderly or disabled family members, but that hasn't stopped a surge of lawsuits by such workers alleging unfair treatment by their employers. In the past 10 years, the number of such suits has quadrupled and many have been successful, according to the Center for WorkLife Law."

Mama Grizzlies to Working Moms: Drop Dead
Betsy Reed writes for The Nation: "First, let's swallow hard and be fair. There is something to cheer in the so-called Year of the Woman. You don't have to credit the Republican Party, which did next to nothing to bring on the wave that swept Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman, Sharron Angle and Nikki Haley to victory in June's primary elections. Indeed, before the RNC began heralding its Mama Grizzlies, in Sarah Palin's typically catchy but grating phrase, it was brushing off complaints about how its roster of 104 rising "Young Guns," lavished with party attention and resources, included only seven women. Fiorina and Whitman bought their gleaming California wins with their own money, while Angle charged to victory in Nevada on sheer Tea Party adrenaline. There's certainly nothing progressive about these women, but their brash, unapologetic and largely unsolicited emergence in Republican politics—in American politics—does represent progress, of a sort."

McDonalds Chief: 'I'm Christian - no gay ads for USA' 
Micha J. Stone writes for the Portland Humanist Examiner: "McDonalds President and Chief of Operations Don Thompson is under fire for making disparaging remarks about the gay and lesbian community in a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune. Thomas claimed that since he was Christian, McDonalds would not run any gay positive ads in the USA."  Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

Joe Barton Apology-Fest Continues: First BP, Now AT&T, Comcast ... [Your Company Here]
Craig Aarom writes for the Huffington Post: "Joe Barton is really, really sorry. The Texas congressman made headlines today for publicly apologizing to oil giant BP for what he called a government "shakedown" against the company; the government is asking BP to pay into a fund for those harmed by the disastrous Gulf oil spill. "I'm not speaking for anyone else, but I apologize," he said."

The Uncommon Courage of the FCC
Art Brodsky writes for Public Knowledge: "One of Ernest Hemingway’s more enduring quotes is the one defining courage as “grace under pressure.”  For the past couple of months, no officials in Washington have been under such sustained pressure as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski and his Democratic colleagues, Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn.  Today, they demonstrated the essence of Hemingway’s courage."

FCC to Consider First Step Toward Broadband Regulation
Grant Gross writes for PC World: "The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote on the first step toward reclassifying broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service, despite objections from many U.S. lawmakers and broadband providers. The FCC, in a Thursday morning meeting, is scheduled to vote on a notice of inquiry on new legal frameworks for enforcing network neutrality rules, redirecting telephone subsidies to broadband and implementing other parts of the agency's national broadband plan. In a notice of inquiry, or NOI, the FCC seeks public comment on a topic. NOIs often lead to FCC rulemaking proceedings."

AT&T: Drop Net Neutrality or U-Verse Gets It
Matthew Lasar reports for Ars Technica: "Back when Google announced it was looking for cities to test its fiber-to-the-home trial network, we profiled a host of municipalities that tried every possible publicity stunt in the book to get the search engine giant's attention. These included a North Carolina city council member who promised to name his offspring after Google's co-founders, along with the mayor of Topeka... who tried to rename his town 'Google, Kansas.'"

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