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

24 July 2010

Clippings for 24 July 2010

The Case For Elizabeth Warren
Katrina vanden Heuvel comments for The Nation: "Elizabeth Warren should be the top contender to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. After all, it was her brainchild, her baby. But instead of celebrating the leadership and creativity of Harvard law professor and Congressional Oversight Panel chair Elizabeth Warren, reports are that she faces opposition from the bankers' BFF, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Also, Senator Chris Dodd, chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, kicked off the whispering campaign about her appointment with his question, 'Is she confirmable?'" Photo: Asia Kepka.

Taking Financial Reform into Our Own Hands
Stacy Mitchell writes for YES! magazine: "With the passage of the financial reform bill, giant banks see a golden opportunity to finally put the financial crisis, along with their culpability for wrecking our economy, in the rearview mirror.  'We are very pleased to have this certainty and closure,' declared Steve Bartlett when the House-Senate conference committee had finished negotiating. Bartlett is the president of the Financial Services Roundtable, a powerful big bank lobbying group that would like nothing more than to make this legislation the one and only policy response to the banking system's catastrophic failure."

The Path of Unemployment
Dean Baker writes for CounterPunch: "It has been two-and-a-half years since the recession officially began in the United States. While the economy has been growing for more than a year, unemployment remains near the 10.1 percent peak of October 2009. Few economists predict a rapid decline from its June level of 9.5 percent and, with stimulus being phased down over the next year, it is very plausible that the rate will edge higher in coming months."

Unemployment Extension 101: What You Need to Know
Ron Scherer reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "On Wednesday, after weeks of grueling legislative battle, the US Senate has approved a fourth extension of unemployment insurance benefits. It will cost about $34 billion and help 2.5 million people who lost their unemployment benefits on June 2, when the last extension expired. The legislation adds a new wrinkle, allowing temp work without a future reduction of benefits, but it took away an extra $25 that went to the unemployed as part of the stimulus act. The bill still needs to be voted on by the House, expected by midday Thursday. Then, President Obama is expected to sign the legislation. Here are some basics about the legislation."

A Few Facts on the Deficit
Nick Baumann reports for Mother Jones: "The big Friday news dump this week is the Obama administration's projection that the federal budget deficit will reach a record $1.47 trillion this fiscal year. That is, the government will spend $1.47 trillion more than it takes in this fiscal year. There are a few things you should remember when you read about this..."

American Can't Afford It's Empire
William Collins writes for AlterNet: "t's a lot of work being an empire. Expensive, but well worth it. Americans make up only 4 percent of the world's population, but we get to use up 25 percent of its resources. That's pretty high living and you don't get to pull it off by being a wimpy socialist nonentity. We also get to spew 25 percent of the earth's unsustainable pollution. Sure, this all has to come to an end eventually, but no matter; it's been a great ride."

Iraq Withdrawal? Obama and Clinton Expanding US Paramilitary Force in Iraq
Jeremy Scahill reports for The Nation: "As a candidate for president, Senator Hillary Clinton vowed to ban the use of private security contractors, which she referred to as mercenaries. "These private security contractors have been reckless and have compromised our mission in Iraq," Clinton said in February 2008. "The time to show these contractors the door is long past due." Clinton was one of only two senators to sponsor legislation to ban these companies. Fast forward to the present and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is presiding over what is shaping up to be a radical expansion of a private, US-funded paramilitary force that will operate in Iraq for the foreseeable future--the very type of force Clinton once claimed she opposed."

"Our American Heroes": Why It's Wrong to Equate Military Service With Heroism
William J. Astore writes for TomDispatch.com: "When I was a kid in the 1970s, I loved reading accounts of American heroism from World War II. I remember being riveted by a book about the staunch Marine defenders of Wake Island and inspired by John F. Kennedy's exploits saving the sailors he commanded on PT-109. Closer to home, I had an uncle - like so many vets of that war, relatively silent on his own experiences - who had been at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941, and then fought them in a brutal campaign on Guadalcanal, where he earned a Bronze Star. Such men seemed like heroes to me, so it came as something of a shock when, in 1980, I first heard Yoda's summary of war in The Empire Strikes Back. Luke Skywalker, if you remember, tells the wizened Jedi master that he seeks 'a great warrior.' 'Wars not make one great,' Yoda replies." Photo: *Kid*Doc*One* / Flickr.

Hidden Danger: How The GOP Could Kill Health Reform Without Repealing It
Brian Beuthler writes for Talking Points Memo: "For all the GOP chest puffing about reversing the new health care law, a full repeal, to put it generously, is a long-term project. Even if they retake the House in November, they almost certainly won't retake the Senate. Even if they retake both the House and the Senate, they'd still have to contend with the filibuster. And even if the filibuster weren't an issue, they'd still have to contend with a Presidential veto. All of that adds up to long odds, and they know it."

David Edwards and Muriel Kane write for AlterNet: "MSNBC's Rachel Maddow called out Fox News on Thursday for its role in promoting reports about Shirley Sherrod and ACORN that proved to be distorted. She charged that the network 'continually campaigns on flagrantly bogus stories designed to make white Americans fear black Americans.'"

The Real Story of Racism at the USDA
Chris Kromm, Facing South: "'It's an astonishing development given the history of race relations at the USDA, an agency whose own Commission on Small Farms admitted in 1998 that 'the history of discrimination at the US Department of Agriculture ... is well-documented' - not against white farmers, but African-American, Native American and other minorities who were pushed off their land by decades of racially-biased laws and practices."

Racism Reconsidered
Marcia Alesan Dawkins writes for Truthdig.com: "Whether the election and presidency of Barack Obama has brought about lasting political change has yet to be seen. What is visible so far is that by electing Obama our nation has made a major breakthrough by overcoming racial and ethnic prejudice. For some, Obama’s presidency means that we’ve gotten beyond race, and therefore we’ve also gotten beyond racism. After all, we have a president who identified as African-American on the 2010 census. In Obama’s America, negative connotations of race are but a relic of the past. But does this mean that it’s now fair game to play the race card in ways that might have been considered politically incorrect before Obama’s election?"

Mark Williams Quits The Tea Party Express
Evan McMorris-Santoro reports for Talking Points Memo: "One of the most prominent men in the tea party movement, Tea Party Express spokesperson and former chair Mark Williams, is abandoning the group he helped propel into the role of the tea party's public face."

Recommended Audio: Laura Flanders - Rolling Over on Shirley Sherrod 
How many times is the Obama administration going to roll over for Glenn Beck?
That's the question once again, this time as Shirley Sherrod, a Department of Agriculture official, is forced out of her job following the airing of a selectively-edited video of her speech at an NAACP banquet in March. The video, cut to make it appear as if the African-American Sherrod was a “reverse racist,” has since been released in full, clearing Sherrod.

But instead of even asking Sherrod to explain, the Agriculture Department pressed her to quit. She says that she received several phone calls from undersecretary Cheryl Cook, asking her to resign immediately because the video was "going to be on Glenn Beck tonight."

Of course, now Tom Vilsack, agriculture secretary, is “reconsidering.” The NAACP has reversed its earlier condemnation. But what does it mean for our country when the administration is so terrified of a controversy on a show that courts it, on a network that is a mouthpiece for the opposition, that they shove out people of color at the first goading punch?

It wasn't just progressive indie media that stood up for Sherrod. CNN and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution did the basic reporting required to clear Sherrod's name. You'd think the White House would by now be used to this misleading video stuff.

Imagine, as David Corn noted, any Bush official badgered to quit becasuse of something threatening to be on Rachel Maddow's show. Or on GRITtv, perhaps. As Corn said, “You don't allow ideological enemies -- who want you to fail -- to define the terms.”

But that's been Obama's M.O.  The lesson needs learning and needs learning fast. The party of No and its loud-mouthed cable and blog counterparts are not going to work with you. They are going to try to destroy you.

As Yosi Sargent, another victim of Glenn Beck's red-and-race-baiting, tweeted this morning: “Grow a pair. Stand up for Shirley Sherrod.” We'd add -- a pair of eyes and ears. Fast.

What Happens Next?
Dahr Jamail and Erika Blumenfeld write for Dahr Jamail's Dispatches: "The Gulf Islands are considered a Gulf Coast treasure. These sparkling blue waters, white sand beaches, and fertile coastal marshes were designated a National Seashore in 1971 to protect the wildlife, barrier islands, and archeological sites along the Gulf of Mexico. They are home to fiddler crab, shrimp, flounder, oysters, blue crab, brown pelicans, osprey, great blue heron, raccoon, loggerhead sea turtle, Florida Pompano, shark, and hundreds of species of birds and fish. And now they are being oiled. All this life, along with the humans like Captain Louis who love this area and are deeply rooted to it, are in jeopardy."

Water: Will There Be Enough?
Sandra Postel reports for YES! magazine: "For at least three decades, Americans have had some inkling that we face an uncertain energy future, but we’ve ignored a much more worrisome crisis—water. Cheap and seemingly abundant, water is so common that it’s hard to believe we could ever run out. Ever since the Apollo astronauts photographed Earth from space, we’ve had the image of our home as a strikingly blue planet, a place of great water wealth. But of all the water on Earth, only about 2.5 percent is freshwater—and two-thirds of that is locked up in glaciers and ice caps. Less than one hundredth of one percent of Earth’s water is fresh and renewed each year by the solar-powered hydrologic cycle."

1/3 of Counties Face Water Shortage Due to Climate Change
Josh Harkinson reports for Mother Jones: "A new report from Natural Resources Defense Council predicts that a third of all counties in the Lower 48 will face a higher risk of water shortages in 2050 due to climate change. More than ten percent of counties will face an "extremely high" risk of shortages. "The only way to truly manage the risks exposed in this report is for Congress to pass meaningful legislation that cuts global warming pollution," NRDC climate director Dan Lashof said in a press release. Good luck with that."

The Essential, Undistractable Tom Engelhardt
Dan Froomkin comments for NiemanWatchdog.org: "The mainstream media have always been easily distracted and beguiled - but never more than now, when the next diversion is always just one click away. This makes us particularly fortunate to have a few relentless souls like Tom Engelhardt around, using the Internet not to chase the latest chatter but to tenaciously chronicle, explore and illuminate the unspoken realities that shape our political discourse.... at the heart of Tomdispatch.com is Englehardt's own work and his relentless thesis that America is a modern empire that has become addicted to the wars that are hastening its decline."

20 July 2010

Clippings for 20 July 2010

Note to U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Bush cut taxes but didn’t create jobs
Cynthia Tucker writes for the Atlanta Journal Constitution: "You have to give business executives credit for their gall. They held a 'jobs summit' yesterday demanding that President Obama cut taxes and pare back government regulations. If he does those things, they’ll create more jobs. Led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, they accuse the Obama administration of creating an anti-business climate that has dampened job creation. What sheer and utter nonsense!"  Chart source: thepoliticalcarnival.net.

Drill, Gamble, Loot, Starve: The Chamber of Commerce, the GOP, and the Politics of Plunder
Richard Eskow writes for the Huffington Post: "The United States Chamber of Commerce has released an "open letter" to the President, Congress, and the American people which contains its blueprint for our political future. It lays out the current Republican playbook in stark terms, and it reads like the battle plan for those alien spaceships from Independence Day: Drain the resources, take everything from the population, strip the land to a husk... and then presumably sail away in mile-long spaceships toward the next targeted planet."

The New Finance Bill: A Mountain of Legislative Paper, a Molehill of Reform
Robert Reich writes on his blog: "Thursday, the President pronounced that 'because of this [financial reform] bill the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street's mistakes.' As if to prove him wrong, Goldman Sachs simultaneously announced it had struck a deal with federal prosecutors to pay $550 million to settle federal claims it misled investors, a sum representing a mere 15 days profit for the firm based on its 2009 earnings."

James Kwak writes for The Baseline Scenario: "It's become a commonplace observation by now that the reform bill, instead of making structural changes to the financial sector, instead increases regulators' discretionary powers to constrain - or not constrain - the behavior of the industry. As a result, the success of reform, in the words of its supposed architect, depends on hoping that presidents will appoint good people and that that will be enough to attract people to being regulators."

Taking Financial Reform into Our Own Hands
Stacy Mitchell comments for Yes! Magazine: "With the passage of the financial reform bill, giant banks see a golden opportunity to finally put the financial crisis, along with their culpability for wrecking our economy, in the rearview mirror."

The Myth of the Global Economy
Ian Fletcher, Truthout: "If there's one thing everyone knows these days, whether they're happy about it or not, it's that we live in a 'global' economy. This fact is taken as so obvious that anyone who disputes it is regarded as not so much wrong as simply ignorant - not even worth arguing with. So it may come as a shock to many that, in reality, the cliche that we live in a borderless global economy does not survive serious examination. The key is to ignore the Thomas Friedmanesque rhetoric the media is flooded with and get down to some hard numbers." Photo: Sergio Bonachela / Flickr.

GOP Fairy Tales
Kevin Drum writes for Mother Jones: "Back in the day, one of the key Republican arguments against the estate tax was that it forced hardworking, salt-of-the-earth children of small farmers to sell the family plot in order to pay their taxes after dad died. It was a sad story, but with one problem: no one could find even a single small farmer who had been forced to liquidate in order to satisfy Uncle Sam's voracious maw. Even the American Farm Bureau Federation was eventually forced to admit that it couldn't come up with a single example, and a few years later the Congressional Budget Office estimated that under the now-current exemption level, only a tiny handful of small farms were likely to owe any estate tax to begin with — and of those, only about a dozen lacked the assets to pay their taxes. And even those dozen had 14 years to pay the bill as long as the kids kept running the farm. In other words, the story was a fraud from beginning to end."

The Retirement Nightmare: Half of Americans Have Less Than $2,000 Banked for Their Golden Years
Scott Thill reports for AlterNet: "The days of quietly retiring with a nest egg built up from years of savings from a long career on the verge of disappearing. For tens of millions of Americans, facing rising costs, shrinking incomes and growing debts they already have disappeared."

Obama's Done a Lot, but Gets Little Credit for It; Why?
Steven Thomma reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "Step by step, President Barack Obama is building a record of major legislation that's sure to make a mark on history. The most sweeping financial regulation since the Great Depression. A vast expansion of health care, which Democrats had wanted for more than six decades. An $862 billion stimulus package that locked in long-sought Democratic priorities."

Despite 54 Percent for Afghan Exit, Petraeus Move Could Nix Peace Talks
Robert Naiman comments for Truthout: "The majority of Americans want the Obama administration to establish a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, CBS News reports. Fifty-Four percent think the US should set a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, with 41% opposed. Among Democrats, 73% think the US should set a timetable, with 21% opposed; among independents, 54% support a withdrawal timetable, with 40% opposed; among Republicans, 32% support a withdrawal timetable, with 66% opposed."

Recommended Audio: Rachel Maddow - The Hard Choice in Afghanistan
Maddow explains why wanting Afghanistan to have an independent, secure government is not enough and why asking the U. S. military to preform such a constructive task may be an unreasonable request.

Congress Wants More Scrutiny of US Spending in Afghanistan
Reid Davenport reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "Members of a House subcommittee drilled three US agencies Thursday for not tracking billions in US money invested in the rebuilding of Afghanistan since 2002. After reports of more than $3 billion being smuggled out of Kabul's airport since 2007 and that Afghanistan ranks as the second-most corrupt country in the world, lawmakers demanded to know where their constituents' money is going."

New Orleans Police Charged With Killings After Katrina
Jordan Flaherty reports for ColorLines: "As revelations of police violence and corruption shake New Orleans, the city's new mayor, Mitch Landrieu, has signaled the disturbing direction he plans to take, asking the Department of Justice to help restructure the police department while at the same time appointing a new police chief whose daughter lives with a police officer involved in a racist brawl now under federal investigation."

Racism in the Tea Parties
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Tanya Somanader write The Progress Report for Think Progress: "In passing a resolution condemning the racist elements within the Tea Party this week, the NAACP set off a media firestorm over the merits of its charge against the right-wing movement. As the Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates notes, critics bemoaned the resolution as a silly stunt that "heightened division" and implied that racist extremists define the membership of the Tea Party. Such a wholesale charge would certainly be exaggerated and inaccurate, but that was not the charge the NAACP made. 'The resolution was amended during the debate to specifically ask the Tea Party itself to repudiate the racist elements and activities of the Tea Party.' As NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous said, 'We're simply asking them to repudiate racist acts and bigotry in their ranks or accept responsibility.' But instead of acknowledging and disassociating themselves from the more radical actions of their membership, Tea Party leaders have said that racist elements are non existent. In hurling accusations of racism back at the NAACP, Tea Party leaders have wielded a professed desire for colorblindness as a whitewashing tool. But Tea Party members are employing a defense that only perpetuates the racism they are desperately trying to refute."

Glenn Beck's Golden Advertiser Under Investigation
MATTHEW MOSK, JOSEPH RHEE and BRIAN ROSS report for ABC News: "Authorities in California said today they have opened an investigation into Goldline International, a company that pioneered the practice of weaving its sales pitches into broadcasts by popular conservative political personalities -- including two former presidential candidates and Fox News host Glenn Beck -- to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold every year." Illustration: Dale Stephanos.

BP's Scheme to Swindle the "Small People"
Dahr Jamail, Truthout: "Gulf Coast fishermen and others with lost income claims against British Petroleum (BP) are outraged by a recent announcement that the $20 billion government-administered claim fund will subtract money they earn by working on the cleanup effort from any future damage claims against BP. This move, according to lawyers in Louisiana working on behalf of Louisiana fishermen and others affected by the BP oil disaster, contradicts an earlier BP statement where the company promised it would do no such thing."

Big Oil Makes War on the Earth: The Gulf Coast Joins an Oil-Soiled Planet
Ellen Cantarow writes for TomDispatch: "If you live on the Gulf Coast, welcome to the real world of oil - and just know that you're not alone. In the Niger Delta and the Ecuadorian Amazon, among other places, your emerging hell has been the living hell of local populations for decades."

Biotechnology Food: From the Lab to a Debacle
The following article was reported by Kurt Eichenwald, Gina Kolata and Melody Petersen and was written by Mr. Eichenwald for the New York Times in January 2001: "In late 1986, four executives of the Monsanto Company, the leader in agricultural biotechnology, paid a visit to Vice President George Bush at the White House to make an unusual pitch. Although the Reagan administration had been championing deregulation across multiple industries, Monsanto had a different idea: the company wanted its new technology, genetically modified food, to be governed by rules issued in Washington — and wanted the White House to champion the idea."

Calling All Future-Eaters
Chris Hedges comments for Truthdig: "The human species during its brief time on Earth has exhibited a remarkable capacity to kill itself off. The Cro-Magnons dispatched the gentler Neanderthals. The conquistadors, with the help of smallpox, decimated the native populations in the Americas. Modern industrial warfare in the 20th century took at least 100 million lives, most of them civilians."

USDA Admits Link Between Antibiotic Use by Big Ag and Human Health
Andrew Gunther reports for the Huffignton Post: "At a hearing of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday, July 14, 2010, a representative of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) finally caught up with the rest of the world -- and his peers at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -- and admitted that the use of antibiotics in farm animal feed is contributing to the growing problem of deadly antibiotic resistance in America."
Read the PEW Charitable Trust's report: Antibiotic Resistance and the Industrial Animal Farm (PDF).

Earth's Upper Atmosphere Collapses. Nobody Knows Why.
Space.com staff reports via the Christian Science Monitor: "An upper layer of Earth's atmosphere recently collapsed in an unexpectedly large contraction, the sheer size of which has scientists scratching their heads, NASA announced Thursday (July 15, 2010).  The layer of gas – called the thermosphere – is now rebounding again. This type of collapse is not rare, but its magnitude shocked scientists.  'This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years,' said John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab, lead author of a paper announcing the finding in the June 19 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. 'It's a Space Age record.'"  Photo: NASA/Reuters/File.

Birth Control by the Numbers
Jen Phillips reports for Mother Jones: "Contraceptives aren't included in the list of preventive services health insurance companies will have to cover copay-free in new plans starting in September. At least, not yet. Insurance plans will also have to cover a range of preventive services just for women. Health and Human Services is expected to release that list by August 2011, and groups like Planned Parenthood are hoping contraception will be included. Personally, I think birth control should absolutely be covered, especially the long-term methods like IUDs and implants. And as this is a list of preventive services, contraception is, by its nature, preventive. But hard-working lobbyists and the common misconception (pardon the pun) that birth control is a "woman problem" are a powerful double-whammy, so much so that I wonder if they'll delay this crucial health care step for years, maybe even administrations."

A Queer Calculation
The Economist provides the following news analysis: "SHORTLY after 4 a.m. on the frigid morning of July 15th, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to permit gay marriages nationwide, and to allow homosexual couples to adopt children. After over 14 hours of debate and fierce legislative arm-twisting, the Senate voted 33 to 27 to approve the bill. The measure both cements Argentina’s reputation as a relatively liberal outlier in a socially conservative region, and delivers a big short-term political victory to the president, Cristina Fernández, and her husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner. Whether it will help or harm their effort to remain in power past 2011, however, remains very much in question." Photo: Associated Press.

Managed News: Inside The US/NATO Military Industrial Media Empire
Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff comment for Truthout: "We face what appears to be a military industrial media empire so powerful and complex that truth is mostly absent or reported in disconnected segments with little historical context. A case in point: The London Times reported on June 5, 2010, that American troops are now operating in 75 countries. Has President Obama secretly sanctioned a huge increase in the number of US Special Forces carrying out search-and-destroy missions against al-Qaeda around the world? If so, this increase is far in excess of special forces operations under the Bush administration, and reflects how aggressively Obama is pursuing al-Qaeda behind his public rhetoric of global engagement and diplomacy. Somehow this information didn't make it into the US media." Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Sgt. Russell Gilchrest / The U.S. Army, liquidx, trevhunter.

Does God Talk to Glenn Beck?
Richard Geldard writes for the Hugginton Post: "Evidently so. Mr Beck has said that God has given him a plan for America and, presumably the rest of the world as well. How, we wonder, did this so-called 'plan' arrive to his attention? In a dream perhaps? On the internet? Through a special messenger in the Vatican? Perhaps he got a call from Roger Ailes. Unlikely sources all, but we'd like to know. It is doubtful, though, that he will share this information.

Broadband Rules Are Crucial to Expand Access and Protect Users
Josh Silver writes for the Sacremento Bee: "Have you heard about the battle over the future of the Internet? It's raging right now in Washington, D.C., where a court recently ruled that the Federal Communications Commission – the government agency that sets communications policy for the country – lacks authority over broadband networks. The agency is now deciding whether to reassert its legal authority over broadband, and it's no exaggeration to say that our online future rests on its decision.

Telco Lobby Loses its Best Stats as the U.S. Falls in Broadband Ranking
Stacey Higginbotham reports for GigaOM: "Sweden has overtaken the U.S. in a survey that measures how well a country uses broadband, primarily because the U.S. has stagnated on the consumer broadband side as compared to other top-performing nations. The Connectivity Scorecard, which is sponsored by Nokia Siemens Networks, measures not only the raw infrastructure used to deploy broadband, but also policies and the way people use it. The U.S. scored a 7.77 on a 10-point scale, while Sweden scored a 7.95."

Recommended Audio: On the Media - Newspaper of the Future
News existed before newsprint. Will it exist after? Of course, according to Yochai Benkler. What we confront, he argues, is a set of practical questions: what do we need in our news? What do we care about? The author of The Wealth of Networks describes our shift from the newspaper we get to the newspaper we seek.

PBS Leads Emmy Nods for News
Matea Gold reports for the Los Angeles Times: "PBS flexed its usual strength when the News and Documentary Emmy nominations were announced Thursday, racking up 37 nods for its coverage of Taliban youth, the death of Iranian protester Neda Agha-Soltan and a community battle over a mosque in West Virginia, among other topics. The public television system was followed closely by CBS, which had a particularly good showing, scoring 31 nominations, including 16 for its long-running Sunday newsmagazine " 60 Minutes." HBO placed third with 20 nominations, one of its largest hauls ever, followed by National Geographic, which earned 19. NBC had 17 and ABC got 9." Photo: Iason Athanasiadis / PBS - Iranians protest Ahmadinejad's UN visit on September 23, 2009, carrying an image of Neda Soltan, who was shot and killed on the streets of Tehran following Iran's controversial presidential election this summer.

BBC Launches U.S. News Site
Multichannel News reports: "BBC.com launched a U.S. edition and new redesign with advertising partner HP today. The edition will be staffed by a new team of online journalists now based in the BBC's Washington, D.C. bureau, led by BBC.com U.S. editor Matthew Davis. Herb Scannell, newly appointed president of BBC Worldwide America, said "BBC.com is a business with a great future and a strong blue chip advertiser base. We're growing fast and this investment underscores our commitment to bringing America some of the best journalism in the world. The talented team behind BBC.com, lead by global director Luke Bradley- Jones, has done an incredible job." Later this summer, BBC.com will launch a travel section, in partnership with sister company Lonely Planet. It will be led by former NYTimes.com travel & style editor David G. Allan, recently appointed editorial director at BBC Travel. The travel section will launch with Emirates as the key sponsor. Enhanced sports, technology, business and entertainment sites will follow. BBC.com, with almost half of its audience under the age of 35, also offers a range of successful apps, including the BBC News and the BBC Sports app. The BBC News app currently ranks #6 among U.S. news applications. BBC.com is now viewed by more than 16 million users a month in the U.S."

Will the White House Sell Out to Big Telecom? Or Will 'Dear Valerie' Jarrett Save the Day?
Art Brodsky writes for the Huffington Post: "Did White House business liaison "Dear Valerie" Jarrett just give the big kiss-off to Verizon Chairman Ivan Seidenberg? Or did she invite more negotiations on some crucial telecommunications issues? A meeting between the two and the subsequent letters followed up Seidenberg's blast at the Obama administration on June 22, in which, speaking as chairman of the Business Roundtable, he said the administration's policies, including telecommunications policy, were creating a hostile environment for investment and job creation."

Should the Government Bail Out Journalism?
Derek Thompson writes for The Atlantic: "Newspapers (that is: news, on paper) might not be essential for democracy, but some form of journalism certainly is. And journalism, as you might have heard, is struggling. Gone are the lucrative classifieds. Stripped are the ad-laden car and real estate sections that helped to cross-subsidize the expensive work of reporting war from an overseas bureau. Local and loyal newspaper readers have scattered across the Internet. Their attention spans have scattered, too, and ad revenue has dwindled. "

16 July 2010

July 15 Pt 2 - An Interview with Michael Ramsdell

For our second hour we welcome director Michael Ramsdell in a discussion of his film Anatomy of Hate; Dialogue of Hope, which screened earlier this spring here in Manhattan. The film reveals the shared narratives found in individual and collective ideologies of hate, and how we as a species can overcome them. The DVD is available for check out from the Manhattan Public Library.

Ramsdell states: "Standing amidst anti-gay picketers and Nazi rallies, dodging stones and rubber bullets in the West Bank, riding combat patrols outside of Baghdad, and working amidst the bodies of dying and deceased soldiers in the CASH, I was provided the opportunity to explore humanity's inclusionary and exclusionary divisions to a significant degree. What I found was, for me, life changing."

MP3 File

July 15 Part 1 - Public Comments on Sunflower Energy's Proposed Coal-fired Power Plant

Community Bridge opens this week with Stephanie Cole, Kansas Sierra Club, and Scott Allegrucci, Great Plains Alliance for Clean Energy, in a discussion of the public hearing process for Sunflower Electric’s proposed 895-MW coal plant in Holcomb. 

While many may think this is a done deal because the governor and the legislature removed even the potential of regulatory and rate oversight over Sunflower by the Kansas Corporation Commission, and stripped the Kansas Department of Health and Environment of any state authority over air quality, the truth is, neither the governor, nor the legislature, nor a single utility has the ability to unilaterally ignore the existing enforcement agreement between the State of Kansas and the Environmental Protection Agency. Making the up-coming public comment time and public hearings worth paying attention to.

Recently, Physicians for Social Responsibility issued a report showing that coal emissions contribute to four of the five leading causes of death in this country. That means that although Sunflower claims this plant will be the “cleanest in the country,” if it is built, Kansans will be at an increased risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke, and lower respiratory diseases, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. So although Colorado is poised to get 80 percent of the energy produced by the plant, Kansas will be stuck with 100 percent of the pollution and 100 percent of the health risks.

The public comment period for Sunflower's Holcomb Station coal plant is open from July 1 - August 15. Public comments can be submitted to KDHE anytime during that period. Public hearing will be held on:
  • August 2 in Overland Park at 2:00 PM Blue Valley Northwest High School (135th and Switzer)
  • August 4 in Salina at 2:00 PM Highway Patrol Training Center Auditorium (2025 East Iron)
  • August 5 in Garden City at 2:00 PM Garden City Community College Joyce Auditorium (801 Campus Drive)
Hearings will break at 5:00 PM and reconvene at 6:30 PM, continuing until all verbal and written comments have been submitted. For more information, visit KDHE's Website.

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11 July 2010

An discussion with Rep. Rom Hawk

This week's Community Bridge opens with Rep. Tom Hawk in a discussion of the 2010 legislative session. At 45 past the hour, Beth Bailey, Assistant Director/Manager of Programs at the K-State Student Union, joins us to provide an overview of the Little Apple Jazz Festival that takes place July 17th in City Park.

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July 8 - Pt 2: Net Neutrality Update & Immigration Special

Our second hour opens with Tim Karr of Free Press for a brief update on the situation with Net Neutrality. (For a complete overview of this issue, please see our March 5th show.)

Then we close the show this week by rebroadcasting two features looking into the issue of immigration from New America Media.

First, America always likes to describe itself as a nation of immigrants, but throughout its history it’s also struggled to keep immigrants out through a patchwork of laws. Now when we talk about our broken immigration system, politicians like to look at the border with Mexico. The flood of immigrants crossing illegally into Arizona and the federal government’s inability to secure the borders was cited by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer when she signed the state’s anti-illegal immigration bill into law. But was that bill so unprecedented in American history? Sandip Roy interviews veteran Sacramento journalist Peter Schrag and San Francisco Chronicle reporter Tyche Hendricks who give us two views of immigration – one up close and personal on the ground, the other the big picture, the historical view. Peter Schraag has written Not Fit For Our Society – Immigration And Nativism In America and Tyche Hendricks has written The Wind Doesn’t Need A Passport – Stories From The US-Mexico Borderlands.

Then Mary Ambrose reports on the US-Mexico boarder with David Danelo, author of The Border - Exploring the US - Mexico Divide, in which Danelo straddles the border in his first hand interviews with both hardened border patrollers and Mexicans searching for the illusive American prosperity. The Economist says: "If you want a feel for the strange, dangerous, and inspiring entity that is both the border and la frontera, this is a pretty good place to start."

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09 July 2010

Clippings for 8 July 2010

Unjust Spoils
Robert Reich writes for The Nation: "Wall Street's banditry was the proximate cause of the Great Recession, not its underlying cause. Even if the Street is better controlled in the future (and I have my doubts), the structural reason for the Great Recession still haunts America. That reason is America's surging inequality."

The Right Prescription for an Ailing Economy
Dean Baker writes for The Nation: "The roots of this economic crisis are very much centered in the growth in inequality over the past three decades. This becomes clear once we recognize that the financial turmoil is a minor aspect of the overall crisis, and that its primary cause is the economic imbalances created by the housing bubble."

Glenn Beck's Golden Fleece
Stephanie Mencimer reports for Mother Jones: "TUNE IN TO GLENN BECK'S Fox News show or his syndicated radio program, and you'll soon learn about the precarious state of the US dollar, a currency on the verge of collapse due to runaway government spending, a ballooning national debt, and imminent Zimbabwe-style hyperinflation. To defend yourself against the coming financial holocaust, Beck explained on his radio show last November, you need to 'think like a German Jew in 1934, maybe 1931.' And that means thinking about buying some gold." Illustration by: Dale Stephanos.

Survey: Homeowners Working with Servicers Often Blindsided by Foreclosures
Paul Kiel reports for ProPublica: "In May, we published a story about how disorganization at the big banks has led to mistaken foreclosures [1]: homeowners were under review for a modification, but were suddenly foreclosed on because of a communication breakdown within the mortgage servicer.  A recent survey of California housing counselors demonstrates that’s a widespread problem, at least in the Golden State."

Stage-Managing the War on Terror
Stephan Salisbury writes for TomDispatch: "Informers have by now become our first line of defense in our battles with the evildoers, the go-to guys in the never-ending domestic war on terror. They regularly do the dirty work - suggesting and encouraging the plots, laboring as bag men to move the money, fashioning the bombs, and eliciting the flamboyant dialogue, even while following the scripts of their handlers to the letter. They have attended to all the little details that make for the successful and now familiar arrests, criminal complaints, trials, and (for the most part) convictions in the ever-distracting war against ... what? Al-Qaeda? Terror? Muslims? The inept? The poor?"

Losing in Afghanistan
Marjorie Cohn provides the following analysis for Truthout: "Last week, the House of Representatives voted 215-210 for $33 billion to fund Barack Obama's troop increase in Afghanistan. But there was considerable opposition to giving the president a blank check. One hundred sixty-two House members supported an amendment that would have tied the funding to a withdrawal timetable. One hundred members voted for another amendment that would have rejected the $33 billion for the 30,000 new troops already on their way to Afghanistan; that amendment would have required that the money be spent to redeploy our troops out of Afghanistan."

What Eisenhower Could Teach Obama, Part I
Melvin A. Goodman writes for Consortium News: "Fifty years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower told his senior advisers in the Oval Office of the White House, 'God help this country when someone sits in this chair who doesn't know the military as well as I do.' Several months later, he issued his famous warning about the military-industrial complex."

The Right Wing's Addiction to War
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Tanya Somanader write The Progress Report for Think Progress: "On Friday, a video surfaced of Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele speaking at a fundraiser in Connecticut about the war in Afghanistan. While some of Steele's comments about the war were clearly inaccurate -- such as his claim that the war was of "Obama's choosing," even though President Bush started it nine years ago -- he also made reasonable, debate-worthy arguments about the wisdom of engaging in a prolonged land war in Afghanistan. Yet conservatives -- from neoconservative thought leader Bill Kristol to former GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) -- lashed out at Steele, choosing not just to refute the historical inaccuracies in his statements but to lambaste him for daring to voice skepticism about the war. The controversy over Steele's comments sheds light on a wider truth about the modern conservative movement: With few exceptions, escalating wars has become their favorite foreign policy, and they tolerate little dissent from those in their ranks who believe in other ways to conduct our international affairs."

Justice Department to File Suit Against Arizona Law
Yana Kunichoff reports for Truthout: "The Justice Department will file suit against Arizona on the basis that the state's recent anti-immigrant legislation intrudes on the role of the federal government in immigration enforcement, according to anonymous sources contacted by the Washington Post."

Disaster Capitalism
Clive Thompson reports for Mother Jones: "LAST YEAR, Beluga Shipping discovered that there's money in global warming. Beluga is a German firm that specializes in "super-heavy lift" transport. Its vessels are equipped with massive cranes, allowing it to load and unload massive objects, like multiton propeller blades for wind turbines. It is an enormously expensive business, but last summer, Beluga executives hit upon an interesting way to save money: Shipping freight over a melting Arctic." Illustration: Christoph Hitz.

Gulf Oil Spill: Containment Cap Could Stop Leak Within 3 Days
Associate Press reports (via Huffington Post): "The federal official leading the Gulf oil spill cleanup said Friday a new containment cap and an additional ship collecting oil could effectively contain the spill in the next three days. The work to replace a leaky containment cap on the well head with a tighter one will begin Saturday, National Incident Commander Thad Allen said. At the same time, a ship connecting to a different part of the leak is expected to come online Sunday."

CEO of Alaska Pipeline, a Former BP Exec, Steps Down
Marian Wang reports for ProPublica: "As we’ve reported, BP’s company safety record in Alaska has been marked cost cuts, alleged intimidation from workers, and a "run-to-failure" mentality when it comes to equipment maintenance. This week, Kevin Hostler, CEO of the company that operates the pipeline—a company called Alyeska, and largely controlled by BP thanks to its 47 percent ownership of the pipeline—announced he was retiring, reported the Los Angeles Times. The announcement comes as Congressional panels investigate some of the safety complaints about Alyeska and BP."  Photo: BP's Prudhoe Bay oil field facility in Alaska (Photo handout from BP).

Recommended Audio: GRITtv - BP Exploiting Workers in the Gulf
Hundreds of workers in the Gulf Coast cleaning up BP’s oil disaster have reported symptoms of nausea, vomiting, nose bleeds, and headaches, but those “almost all have been heat related,” according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab.
So reported Michael Whitney for FireDogLake, who has been following the struggle of workers and Gulf Coast natives affected by the disaster. Whitney joins Laura Flanders along with Jordan Flaherty, via Skype from Louisiana, to discuss the ongoing struggle of fishermen and the other local communities that make their living and run their lives around the water in the Gulf.

BP Shows US It's Time for a New Energy Policy Like Europe's
Steven Hill provides an analysis for Truthout: "With toxic black ooze spreading throughout the Gulf of Mexico, it is time for the Obama administration to think seriously about national energy policy. They could learn plenty by looking across the Atlantic to Europe. By forging ahead with widespread implementation of innovative conservation practices, renewable energy technologies and fuel efficient transportation, Europe has managed to reduce its 'ecological footprint' to half that of the United States for the same standard of living."

Disaster Messaging
George Lakoff writes for Truthout: "Democrats are constantly resorting to disaster messaging. Here's a description of the typical situation: The Republicans out-message the Democrats. The Democrats, having no effective response, face disaster: They lose politically, either in electoral support or failure on crucial legislation. The Democrats then take polls and do focus groups. The pollsters discover that extremist Republicans control the most common ('mainstream') way of thinking and talking about the given issue." Photo Credit: Hyokano

Meet the 'Patriots'
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports: "In the last year and a half, militias and the larger antigovernment "Patriot" movement have exploded, accompanied by the rapid expansion of other sectors of the radical right. This spectacular growth (see timeline) is the result of several factors, including anger over major political, demographic and economic changes in America, along with the popularization of radical ideas and conspiracy theories by ostensibly mainstream politicians and media commentators."

Unsweet Tea: Exploring the Ideas of the Antigovernment Movement
Mark Potok writes for the Southern Poverty Law Center: "Martial law is around the corner. The federal government is storing 30,000 guillotines to use on dissident Americans. High officials plotted the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building and the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, too. Secret concentration camps have been set up on military bases around the country. The Federal Reserve is part of a plot to strip us of our riches."

Defending Arizona: Pundits scramble to justify anti-immigrant law
Jim Naureckas writes for EXTRA!: "When Arizona passed a patently unconstitutional law, SB 1070, requiring residents to prove their citizenship to any suspicious police officer, the state did not lack for defenders in the corporate press.  One of the first out of the box was George Will, who concluded his April 28 Washington Post column with this observation: Arizonans should not be judged disdainfully and from a distance by people whose closest contacts with Hispanics are with fine men and women who trim their lawns and put plates in front of them at restaurants, not with illegal immigrants passing through their back yards at 3 a.m.  Given that there are 47 million Latinos in the United States, Will’s assumption that his readers will likely only know them as waiters or gardeners was rather bizarre. Perhaps the state needed another champion."

Glenn Beck's Disturbing Plans to Co-opt MLK's 'I Have a Dream' Speech
Alexander Zaitchik writes for AlterNet: "Glenn Beck deserves every shell of heavy fire he's getting for his "Restoring Honor" rally scheduled for August 28 on the National Mall. His critics are right about the absurd audacity of his loud claims on the legacy of Martin Luther King, who delivered his "I Have a Dream speech" 47 years to the day before Beck's own planned (and long coveted) spotlight on the Mall."

Corporate Media Buys Into Right-Wing-Backed Fake Scandal at Justice Department
Devona Walker reports for AlterNet: "Ripping a page right out of the white supremacist training book, conservative bloggers are crying about the blatant “trampling of white rights” by the Department of Justice simply because it chose not to take up a case where the New Black Panther party was alleged to have insulted white voters. Check them out here, here and here."

04 July 2010

KONZ - Flint Hills Community Radio

We open our show with a discussion of the northern Flint Hills new radio station, KONZ - Flint Hills Community Radio with Linda Teener, Debbie Nuss, and Jon Tveite.  They discuss how this possiblity came about, what programming will look like, and what you can do to be part of this exciting effort. Then we hear this week's installment of "The Breakdown" with Chris Hayse.

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Clippings for 4 July 2010

Put Away the Flags: Remembering Howard Zinn on July 4th
The Progressive republishes the word of Howard Zinn: "On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed. Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?"

Restoring the Fourth Amendment: How We, the People, Can Win Over Washington
Shahid Buttar comments for Truthout: "Despite promises of change, the Obama administration has proven itself either unwilling - or unable - to shift the paradigm driving increasingly invasive surveillance or increasingly pervasive profiling according to race, religion and national origin. Nearly halfway through the Obama administration's term, the battle to banish the Bush administration's policy legacy remains largely unfought, let alone won." Photo: Jonathan McIntosh / Flickr.

7 Outrageous Examples of Police Spying and Harrassment Toward Peaceful Activists
Joshua Holland writes for AlterNet: "According to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), law enforcement agencies around the country have acted as diligent Thought Police, relying on dubious justifications to spy on Americans based on little more than their political beliefs (PDF)."

The Erosion of Individual Liberties: When Justice and Politics Become One
Lt. Col. Barry Wingard writes for Truthout: "In the "War on Terror," I am amazed how every time our enemy takes action, it sets into motion a scramble by our government to take away the individual rights of Americans. Will we reach a point at which we will be completely stripped of our civil liberties in the name of eliminating danger from external threats?"

Supreme Court Rules for President in Separation of Powers Case
Warren Richey reports for the Christian Science Monitor: "Congress overstepped its authority when it sought to create an independent watchdog agency deliberately insulated from direct presidential control and political accountability. In a 5-to-4 decision, the US Supreme Court struck down a portion of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which authorized the creation of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB)."

How Washington Blew Its Chance to Bring Real Change to Wall Street
Eliot Spitzer writes for Slate magazine: "Even acknowledging the truism that making laws is like making sausage, often leading any observer toward becoming a vegetarian, if not a vegan, some legislation stands out as especially unpleasant. With that in mind, what conclusions can we draw about the financial reregulation bill now making its way through Congress?

Decline in Labor Force Leads to Drop in Unemployment
Dean Baker reports for the Center for Economic and Policy Research: "The June drop in hours suggests that hiring will slow further. The Labor Department reported that 652,000 people left the labor force in June, causing the unemployment rate to edge down to 9.5 percent, even as the number of employed reportedly dropped by 301,000. The establishment survey showed a gain of 100,000 jobs, excluding the 225,000 Census workers who lost their jobs in June." Photo: Surat Lozowick / Flickr.
Move the Money, Starve the Empire
Christine Ahn writes for Foreign Policy in Focus: "June 26 may have been the last day of the U.S. Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit, but it might very well be the emergence of a more powerful antiwar movement in this country.The U.S. Social Forum is a meeting place for progressive social justice organizations to discuss issues, strategies, and ideas for building a social movement in this country. The sessions on the antiwar and anti-militarism track made several linkages: between the domestic economic crisis and the bloated military budget, the expansion of U.S. bases and the displacement of farmers and indigenous peoples from their land and livelihoods, and the rise of militarism and violence against women."

Goldman Can't Say How Much It Made From Housing Crash
Greg Gordon reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "A congressional commission pressed Goldman Sachs executives Wednesday to spell out how much their company has earned from its exotic bets against the housing market, including $20 billion in wagers that helped force a $162 billion taxpayer bailout of the American International Group."

No Age of Austerity for the Rich
Sasha Abramsky writes for The Guardian UK: "We are, pundits frequently inform us, living through an "age of austerity". True, perhaps; but what that means, and what community responses it mandates, vary widely from country to country. UK chancellor George Osborne's emergency budget was stark in the cuts that it laid out - and there's obviously a good case to be made that the notion of an impending debt crisis was largely used as a foil for an ideologically motivated attack on the public sector. But, to sell the cuts, the government couldn't resort to a simplistic "government-is-bad, welfare-is-awful" rhetoric. It wouldn't have worked with an electorate that still retains some affection for the redistributive, protective functions of government vis-à-vis the nation's poor; that still believes in a societal obligation to smooth out the roughest edges of a market system."

A Defining Vote on Afghanistan
Katrina vanden Heuvel comments for The Nation: "More than six months after the implementation of the Obama/McChrystal strategy, and with one year to go before the beginning withdrawal of US forces, it's clear that the strategy in Afghanistan is failing on nearly all fronts. It’s critical that we now turn to a more fundamental exit debate: How do we change course and craft a responsible strategy to end the war?"

When Rolling Stone Calls the Shots, It’s Time to Negotiate
Fred Branfman writes for Truthdig.com: "It is amazing how little commentary there has been on the key issue raised by the McChrystal Affair: Should U.S. war policy be made by Rolling Stone? The very fact that it took a magazine article for President Barack Obama to remove Gen. Stanley McChrystal provides the strongest possible reason for allowing Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan to negotiate a settlement with the Taliban."

The Appalling Cowardice of the NY Times and the Rest of America's Big Newspapers -- Too Scared to Say 'Torture'
Will Bunch writes for Media Matters for America via AlterNet: "On the one hand, waterboarding is torture. On the other hand....  I'm sorry -- there is no other hand. Waterboarding is torture, period. It's been that way for decades -- it was torture when we went after Japanese war criminals who used the ancient and inhumane interrogation tactic, it was torture when Pol Pot and some of the worst dictators known to mankind used it against their own people, and it was torture to the U.S. military which once punished soldiers who adopted the grim practice."  Illustration by: Matt Mahurin.

What Kind of Supreme Court?
Stanley Kutler writes for Truthdig.com: "The follies that are the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Supreme Court nominations returned with Solicitor General Elena Kagan in the hot seat, but with a new twist. Kagan had famously written that the lack of “meaningful discussion of legal issues” has given the confirmation process “an air of vacuity and farce,” resulting in a failure to properly evaluate nominees or educate the public on the court’s role."

Mexico’s July 4 Election – Has the Narco State Arrived?
Michael Collins reports for the Daily Censored: "Nearly 50 candidates and public figures have been assassinated in the run up to Mexico’s 2010 state elections. Former presidential candidate Diego Fernández de Cevallos, major leader of the ruling PAN party, was kidnapped on May 16 and has not been heard from since. Three days ago, Rodolfo Torre, the odds on winner for governor in the state of Tamaulipas, was murdered in a highway ambush. Torre’s murder represents the highest ranking politician of the 50 assassinations this election cycle."

Another Immigration Policy Is Possible!
David Bacon writes for Truthout: "Thousands of left-wing activists just spent a week at the US Social Forum in Detroit, gathered again under the banner 'Another World is Possible.' Among them hundreds added a new subtext: 'Another Immigration Policy is Possible!'"
David Bacon was a guest on Community Bridge in 2009.  Listen to his speech broadcast on Community Bridge here.

'9500 Liberty:' Documenting the Immigration Debate
Emily Wilson writes for Truthdig.com: "The new documentary “9500 Liberty” is about the struggle over a law requiring police to question anyone they have probable cause to believe is undocumented. This premise may sound awfully familiar, but the film isn’t about SB 1070, the controversial immigration law recently adopted in Arizona; rather, it’s about a 2007 resolution in Prince William County, Va."

Is BP Rejecting Skimmers to Save Money on Gulf Oil Cleanup?
Anita Lee reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "A report released Thursday by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform included a photo depicting 'a massive swath of oil' in the Gulf with no skimming equipment in sight. The report concluded: 'The lack of equipment at the scene of the spill is shocking, and appears to reflect what some describe as a strategy of cleaning up oil once it comes ashore versus containing the spill and cleaning it up in the ocean.'"

A Hole in the World
Naomi Klein writes for The Nation: "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 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."

BP Is Only the Latest Killer of the Gulf
Max Ajl reports for Truthout: "The news from the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe keeps on worsening. [But] the marine ecosystems of the Gulf have been literally dying for decades. Most summers, an immense zone of oxygen-depleted seawater runs from the Louisiana continental shelf to the Texas coast."

Recommended Audio: BP Spills Coffee
This is what happens when BP spills coffee.  Director: Peter Schultz & Brandon Bassham; Writers: Gavin Speiller, Eric Scott, Erik Tanouye, & John Frusciante; Editor: Peter Schultz, Starring: Eric Scott, Nat Freedberg, Kevin Cragg, Gavin Speiller, Kate McKinnon, John Frusciante, Zhubin Parang, Devlyn Corrigan, Erik Tanouye, Rob Lathan; Producer: Todd Bieber.

Delegation From Oil-Afflicted Amazon Visits Louisiana Tribes Hit by BP Disaster
Sue Sturgis reports for Facing South: "From 1964 until it pulled out in 1992, Texaco - which merged with Chevron a decade ago - dumped some 17 million gallons of crude oil and 20 billion gallons of drilling waste water into waterways and pits in the Ecuadorean Amazon. The contamination has seeped into water supplies, where it's killed fish and is blamed for health problems among local residents, who suffer from elevated rates of cancers, reproductive disorders and respiratory ailments."

A New Deregulatory Push in the Energy Heartland
David Sirota writes for Salon.com: "In recent weeks, Washington has provided ample evidence that the fossil fuel industry remains as powerful as ever in the wake of the Gulf Coast apocalypse. Whether it's Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu demanding more offshore drilling as her state gets covered in sludge, or Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton criticizing the government for forcing BP to finance a spill relief fund, major political players in D.C. still do energy firms' bidding, leaving both national parties disinclined to champion stronger environmental statutes." Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson.

Obama Needs to Hit GOP Harder
Eric Alterman writes for The Daily Beast: "The market is tanking. Consumer confidence is collapsing, car sales are falling, and now the pumped-up housing market is also losing steam despite mortgage rates hitting their lowest point in five years. Meanwhile, jobless claims are also rising but Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson, he of the big pain in the ass on health care, won’t allow his party to extend benefits about to expire. Is it any wonder that, finally, Barack Obama can (finally) be found out on the hustings handing out a little red meat? Obama complained that his opponents 'think that our economy will do better if we just let the banks or the oil companies or the insurance industry make their own rules… They still believe that even after the Wall Street crash, even after the BP oil well blew, that we should keep a hands-off attitude.' The president paid particular attention to the remarks of House Republican leader John Boehner, who likened the rather mild fin/reg legislation to 'killing an ant with a nuclear weapon,' something, hardly coincidentally, that could also be found on DNC ads running on the Web. 'He compared the financial crisis to an ant,' Mr. Obama said. 'That is the same financial crisis that led to the loss of nearly 8 million jobs. Same crisis that cost people their homes, their life savings. He can’t be that out of touch with the struggles of American families. And if he is, then he’s got to come here to Racine and ask people what they think.'"

The Tea Party Is Dangerous: Dispelling 7 Myths That Help Us Avoid Reality About the New Right-Wing Politics
Adele Stan writes for AlterNet: "Few things are more confounding to liberals and progressives than the rise of the Tea Party movement, and the media’s infatuation with it. Just as we breathed a sigh of relief with the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th president, after eight disastrous years under the reign of Bush the Younger, in swept a furious wave of misanthropic pique." Photo: ajagendorf25.

How the TeleCom Industry Plans to Take Over the Internet in Four Easy Steps
Tim Karr writes for Common Dreams: "Have you heard about the battle over the Internet? It's a power grab that involves lawyers, lobbyists, unscrupulous legislators, phony front groups and the most powerful telecommunications companies in the world. They've aligned themselves against the rest of us -- the millions of Americans who use the Internet every day, in increasingly inventive ways."