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

29 August 2010

Clippings for 29 July 2010

Recommended Audio: Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' Speech

Rotten Eggs and Our Broken Democracy
Amy Goodman writes for Truthdig.com: "What do a half-billion eggs have to do with democracy? The massive recall of salmonella-infected eggs, the largest egg recall in U.S. history, opens a window on the power of large corporations over not only our health, but over our government. While scores of brands have been recalled, they all can be traced back to just two egg farms. Our food supply is increasingly in the hands of larger and larger companies, which wield enormous power in our political process. As with the food industry, so, too, is it with oil and with banks: Giant corporations, some with budgets larger than most nations, are controlling our health, our environment, our economy and increasingly, our elections."

Reagan Insider: 'GOP Destroyed U.S. Economy'
David Stockman
Paul B. Farrel writes for MarketWatch.com: "'How my G.O.P. destroyed the U.S. economy.' Yes, that is exactly what David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan's director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, Four Deformations of the Apocalypse. Get it? Not 'destroying.' The GOP has already 'destroyed' the U.S. economy, setting up an 'American Apocalypse.' Yes, Stockman is equally damning of the Democrats' Keynesian policies. But what this indictment by a party insider -- someone so close to the development of the Reaganomics ideology -- says about America, helps all of us better understand how America's toxic partisan-politics 'holy war' is destroying not just the economy and capitalism, but the America dream. And unless this war stops soon, both parties will succeed in their collective death wish."

Banks' Self-Dealing Super-Charged Financial Crisis
Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger report for ProPublica: "Over the last two years of the housing bubble, Wall Street bankers perpetrated one of the greatest episodes of self-dealing in financial history. ... Faced with increasing difficulty in selling the mortgage-backed securities that had been among their most lucrative products, the banks hit on a solution that preserved their quarterly earnings and huge bonuses: They created fake demand."

They Go or Obama Goes
Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig.com: "Barack Obama and the Democrats he led to a stunning victory two years ago are going down hard in the face of an economic crisis that he did nothing to create but which he has failed to solve. That is somewhat unfair because the basic blame belongs to his predecessors, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who let the bulls of Wall Street run wild in the streets where ordinary folks lived. And there was universal Republican support in Congress for the radical deregulation of the financial industry that produced this debacle." Photo: White House / Pete Souza - President Barack Obama, in background, talks on the phone in the Oval Office earlier this month as National Economic Council Director Larry Summers listens in.

Speculation and the New Commodity Price Crisis: Separating the Wheat From the Chaff
Steve Suppan provides the following news analysis for TripleCrisis.com: "Wheat prices had been climbing prior to the August 5 announcement of a Russian wheat export ban. Kansas Board of Trade wheat futures contracts had gone from $4.92 a bushel on June 10 to spike at $7.95 a bushel on August 5, prompting a reporter to ask, 'How could a Russian drought in the age of instant information escape the world's notice until the country's wheat crop was devastated?' This excellent question does not yet have a clear answer."

Treasury Admits: Program for Struggling Homeowners Just a Ploy to Enrich Big Banks
Zach Carter reports for AlterNet: "The Treasury Department's plan to help struggling homeowners has been failing miserably for months. The program is poorly designed, has been poorly implemented and only a tiny percentage of borrowers eligible for help have actually received any meaningful assistance. The initiative lowers monthly payments for borrowers, but fails to reduce their overall debt burden, often increasing that burden, funneling money to banks that borrowers could have saved by simply renting a different home."

Let's Be Honest about Taxes
Ruth Marcus writes for Trughtdig.com: "I was pretty tough on House Minority Leader John Boehner the other day, and I don’t regret a word, but the Ohio Republican made one important suggestion that’s worth highlighting. It’s about the obscure-sounding but increasingly costly subject of tax expenditures."

Hawks Box in Obama on Afghan War
Ray McGovern comments for Consortium News: "Just back from Afghanistan, Marine Commandant, Gen. James Conway held a news conference to add his voice to the Pentagon campaign to disparage the July 2011 date President Barack Obama set for U.S. troops to begin leaving Afghanistan."

50,000 Soldiers, 1 Million Pieces of Equipment, and $3 Trillion: A photographic tally of what America is really leaving behind in Iraq.
Adam Weinstein writes for Mother Jones: "Seven and a half years after the invasion of Iraq, the last American "combat brigade" picked up stakes and left the country in mid-August. Come September 1, Operation Iraqi Freedom will just be another campaign for the history books. In its place: Operation New Dawn. Time to break out the "Mission Accomplished" banner! Not so fast. The United States is keeping nearly 50,000 troops in Iraq—the fewest since the war started in March 2003, but still enough to fill a stadium. What else are we leaving behind? It's more than just Humvees and huge bases. Here's a photographic tally of the human, financial, and political impacts being left in our wake in Iraq." Photo: US Marine Corps photo by Corporal Bobbie A. Harris / Creative Commons

10 Needed Steps for Obama to Start Dismantling America's Gigantic, Destructive Military Empire
Chalmers Johnson writes (via AlterNet): "However ambitious President Barack Obama's domestic plans, one unacknowledged issue has the potential to destroy any reform efforts he might launch. Think of it as the 800-pound gorilla in the American living room: our longstanding reliance on imperialism and militarism in our relations with other countries and the vast, potentially ruinous global empire of bases that goes with it. The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union."

E-Verify vs. a National ID
Kevin Drumm writes for Mother Jones: "MoJo's Suzy Khimm, on sabbatical over at Ezra Klein's place, has a post today that sets out the current state of play on E-Verify, an electronic system designed to prevent employers from hiring illegal aliens. The good news is that the system has gotten better over time: the initial error rate for authorized workers is now only 0.8%, and that error rate drops very close to zero when results are contested. Error rates for foreign-born workers were a bit higher, but this has also improved considerably over the past couple of years. (The full report is here.) Photo: Mother Jones

Are Arizona's Political Leaders Deliberately Blocking Electronic Voting Machine Transparency?
Denis G. Campbell provides the following news analysis for Truthout: "Why did Arizona's two main gubernatorial candidates, Gov. Jan Brewer, former secretary of state/head of elections, who contracted for highly criticized and easily-hacked Diebold and Sequoia ballot scanning systems, and Attorney General (AG) Terry Goddard, with his three-year 'criminal investigation' into a 2006 Pima County (Tucson) local election allegedly hacked, according to a whistleblower, do everything in their power for years to stifle polling accountability while expensively fighting enforcement of Arizona's election laws?"

Why I Teach: Catching Kids Before They Sink
Laura Sofen writes for Teaching Tolerance: "I used to be a bad girl. I was self-destructive, angry and fearless. These traits, coupled with a decent amount of intelligence, took me to all the places bad girls go. For many years, I bounced from bad decisions to bad jobs to bad relationships. My life was a mess for a long time, and all I knew how to do was make it worse. I couldn’t talk to my mother, my father wasn’t around, and my friends were either victims of their own circumstances or they were busy creating better lives for themselves. I was alone for a long time, and it felt like I would drown forever."

MUST READ: Questions About the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’
Factcheck.org provides answers and facts about the proposed cultural center and mosque near New York’s former World Trade Center.

Near Ground Zero, a Shameful Intolerance
Paul Krugman writes for Truthout: "The biggest problem dogging American politics and media isn’t a deficiency of expertise or a lack of good intentions. It’s a lack of courage. But there is courage out there — and it should be honored. Kudos should go to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, who amid fierce criticism publicly defended Muslims who were looking to build a community center in lower Manhattan. Also to Fareed Zakaria, the Newsweek columnist and CNN host, for making a case for tolerance by returning an award given to him five years ago by the Anti-Defamation League. He did so after the Jewish organization released a statement on July 30 maintaining that the planned Islamic center, which includes a mosque, should be relocated because it is too close to the site of the World Trade Center." Photo: David Shankbone

Alan Simpson, Senator Guttermouth, Spews Again
William Greider writes for The Nation: "Retired Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, who inherited a soft-cushion career in politics from his father, is a garrulous old crank who at 79 seems desperate for attention. Simpson likes to pop off provocatively. He cannot resist mocking lesser mortals like Social Security recipients with mean-spirited ridicule. Simpson is an always quotable darling of Washington reporters, who mistake his nastiness for straight talk, who are too lazy to check out his ugly distortions."

Covert Operations: The Billionaire Koch Brothers' War Against Obama
Jane Mayer writes for the New Yorker: "Members of the John Birch Society developed an interest in a school of Austrian economists who promoted free-market ideals. Charles and David Koch were particularly influenced by the work of Friedrich von Hayek, the author of “The Road to Serfdom” (1944), which argued that centralized government planning led, inexorably, to totalitarianism. Hayek’s belief in unfettered capitalism has proved inspirational to many conservatives, and to anti-Soviet dissidents; lately, Tea Party supporters have championed his work. In June, the talk-radio host Glenn Beck, who has supported the Tea Party rebellion, promoted “The Road to Serfdom” on his show; the paperback soon became a No. 1 best-seller on Amazon. (Beck appears to be a fan of the Kochs; in the midst of a recent on-air parody of Al Gore, Beck said, without explanation, “I want to thank Charles Koch for this information.” Beck declined to elaborate on the relationship.)"

In Ken We Trust: Why do Ken Cuccinelli's legal opinions always match his personal ambitions?
Dahlia Lithwick writes for Slate: "It must be Wednesday, because Virginia's hyperactive attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, is back in the news. Of course, he was also in the news on Tuesday, on Monday, and last Friday. Religious displays on public land, abortion, immigration, climate change. Is there a single issue from the culture wars over which Cuccinelli hasn't picked a fight? But that's one of the perils of treating one's elected office like a Fox News show: If Cuccinelli isn't launching five national ideological battles per week, his ratings might slip. And so ever onward he trudges, devoting his every working day to treating the commonwealth like it's the Lord's Disneyland.

Robert Greenwald Discuss Glenn Beck’s August 28th Rally on the Ed Schultz Show

What's Glenn Beck Afraid of?
Stephanie Mencimer writes for Mother Jones: "For a guy who loves chalkboards and slogans, Glenn Beck has issued a peculiar edict to potential attendees of his "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial being held this Saturday. He has repeatedly told people coming to DC not to bring political signs. What? No signs? The hallmark of the last year's worth of tea party rallies that he helped fuel? But it's true. In an info packet on his website about the rally, Beck instructs, 'Please refrain from bringing signs (political or otherwise) as they may deter from the peaceful message we are bringing to Washington.'" Photo: Truthout

Could This Be A Crime? U.S. Climate Bill Is Dead While So Much Life On Our Earth Continues To Perish
Subhankar Banerjee, Climate StoryTellers: "Consider for a moment the top two carbon sinks of our planet. Oceans absorb more than 25 percent of the CO2 humans put in the air, and forests absorb almost the same amount. By doing so, our forests and oceans together make living possible on this earth for life as we know it now. All of that is changing rapidly and for the worse."

Factory Farms Make You Sick. Let's Count the Ways.
Russell Mokhiber reports for Corporate Crime Reporter: "Factory farms makes you sick. Let us count the ways. Just last week, more than half a billion eggs recalled. Why? Salmonella poisoning. More than 1,300 people sick. Just last week, a recall of more than 380,000 pounds of deli meat products distributed nationwide to Wal-Mart stores. Why? Possible contamination with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The bacteria can cause listeriosis – a rare but potentially deadly disease. Move over Animal Farm."

Why Is Obama Siding with Polluters?
Kate Sheppard reports for Mother Jones: "The Obama administration has repeatedly vowed that tackling climate change is among its top priorities. But in a landmark legal case that could force the nation's dirtiest power plants to clean up their acts, the administration this week sided with some of the biggest polluters in the country. This latest development has left a number of environmental advocates wondering whose side the White House is really on when it comes to global warming."

Surprise Surprise! Latest GOPer to Come Out of the Closet Fought Hard Against Gay Rights
Blogger Booman writes on Booman Tribune (via AlterNet): "There is not a single black or openly gay Republican in Congress or in any of the 50 governor’s mansions around the country. Conservatives do not like black people and they actively legislate against gay people. The contempt from the left is for people who are willing to trade their dignity and rights for a paycheck. It’s a strange kind of bigotry that expects people to hold a belief system that isn’t hateful towards themselves."

Facebook Now Believes It Owns the English Language, Too
Tom Scocca writes for Slate: "Facebook, the data-mining and junk-software-marketing Internet behemoth, is suing a startup in Northbrook, Illinois, because the new company plans to use '-book' in its name, according to a Tribune report. The startup, Teachbook.com, is meant to help teachers 'share lesson plans and other resources,' and has 'fewer than 20 users signed up.'"

Verizon: Please, Only We Can Lie About Network Neutrality
Karl Bode writes for DLSReports.com: "We've explored how the Goorizon alliance is the regulatory equivalent of a bobble-head doll: cute and stuffed largely with air, but primarily designed to pre-empt tougher consumer protections. Worse perhaps, Google and Verizon's defense of their proposal has been one distortion after another, the companies insisting the weak-kneed framework is solely about empowering the consumer, and has nothing to do with keeping wireless consumer protections away from their tablet/smartphone Android partnership." Photo: DoomDaily.com

Net Neutrality argument Names the Wrong Villain
The Boston Globe writes in an editorial: "IN HIS Aug. 21 response to your editorial “After Google-Verizon fizzle, FCC should force Net neutrality,’’ Phil Kerpen, a vice president with Americans for Prosperity (Orwell would be proud) would have us believe that the threat of government censorship is reason enough to keep the Internet “unregulated’’ (“FCC should not upend decade of sound Net policy,’’ Letters). Issuing dire predictions of an Internet controlled by the government is a transparent attempt to harness the current mood of the nation. The argument, however, names the wrong villain."

In Minnesota, Hundreds Urge FCC to Protect Net Neutrality
Jenn Ettinger reports for SavetheInternet.com: "It was standing room only at South High in Minneapolis on Thursday night as more than 750 people turned out to show their support for Net Neutrality and free speech online. FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn listened to hours of impassioned public testimony about the future of the Internet."

Franken Goes Ballistic on Verizon, Google, Comcast, and NBCU
Matthew Lasar writes for Ars Technica: "'I believe that net neutrality is the First Amendment issue of our time,' declared Democratic Senator Al Franken at Thursday's public hearing on the Internet, held in his home state of Minnesota. 'Unless it's freedom of religion,' he added, 'which, until last week, I thought we had kind of worked out.' The audience at Minneapolis' South High School cracked up over Franken's reference to the Ground Zero Mosque slugfest. But this was a warm-up rally for their own cause—getting the Federal Communications Commission to pass rules that would partially reclassify ISPs as common carriers and apply various neutrality provision to their activities. Two Democratic members of the FCC also attended the event: Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn." Photo: Ars Technica

28 August 2010

Movies on the Grass 2010

Community Bridges opens with Donna Schenck-Hamlin who fills us in on this year’s Movies on the Grass schedule. Then, Roy Crenshaw from Big Brothers – Big Sisters of Riley County joins us to talk about volunteering for their organization. Brandon Haddock then tells us about K-State's new LGBTQ Resource Center and we close out with this week's edition of The Breakdown with Chris Hayse.

MP3 File

A. Q. Miller School of Jounalism Turns 100

Our second hour opens with Gloria Freeland and Steve Smethers in a discussion of K-State's A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications Centennial. We close out this week by rebroadcasting a clip from the Tavis Smiley Show featuring author Tim Wise, author of Colorblind and White Like Me, discussing the ideals about a post-racial American and the way to solve racial tensions is by not talking about them.

MP3 File

22 August 2010

Clippings for 22 August 2010

Recommended Audio - Obama: No Corporate Takeover of Our Democracy
In his weekly address the President calls out Republicans for blocking campaign finance reforms that would address the Supreme Court decision opening the floodgates of corporate money into elections.

Transcript available at Truthout.org.

What Will Become of Us, of America, If We Continue on this Path?
Lorraine Berry writes for Common Dreams: "In 2006, David Grossman addressed a crowd that had gathered on November 4. November 4 is the date that Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. It is important to note, if you read through the entire speech (and please, please do so), that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in the crowd."

Housing Crisis a Symptom of Capitalism's Failure
Rick Wolff comments for Truthout: "This capitalist crisis resembles a certain kind of serious disease. Different symptoms keep flaring up at different locations. It began with subprime mortgages in residential housing. Then, sequential flare-ups hit the private banking system, forced millions out of their jobs and homes, drastically cut world trade, and undermined the public services and national debts of several European countries. Meanwhile, another symptom festered in the credit freeze crippling so much private borrowing. Now, yet another symptom matures, as government subsidies and supports to our crisis-ridden private housing industry add rising billions to the deficit." Photo: woodley wonderworks / Flickr

10 Common Sense Principles for a New Economy
David Korten writes for Yes! magazine: "I find hope in the fact that millions of people the world over are seeing through the moral and practical fallacies underlying the Wall Street economy and—by contributing to the creation of a New Economy—are taking charge of their economic lives."

Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty Inc. - How the Working Poor Became Big Business
Brittany Shoot reviews Gary Rivlin's book for Truthout: "If you're familiar with the Midwest, you'll likely recognize these names: Check Into Cash, Check 'n' Go, Advance America, National Cash Advance. Organizations less familiar to you may be the Home Defense Program and Center for Community Self-Help, two organizations dedicated to fighting predatory loans and high-interest subprime mortgages."

Five Years Later: How Katrina changed New Orleans and the way I think about my hometown.
Josh Levin writes for Slate.com: "It's been a long time since I thought about Katrina every day. As part of the New Orleans diaspora, I'm never confronted by visible reminders of the destruction—the abandoned buildings and the empty lots and the houses that still have death tolls spray painted across their front doors. When I put on my gold Saints cap, I think about the Super Bowl, not the team's near-departure for Los Angeles or San Antonio the year after the storm. But a fleur-de-lis isn't just a fleur-de-lis. A week ago, a man sitting by himself on the bus spotted my hat, took off his headphones, and told me he left New Orleans as the hurricane tore through—that he's desperate to move back but hasn't been able to make it happen. He thinks about Katrina every day."

Obama's Healthcare Achievements
Theda Skocpol comments for The Nation: "Eric Alterman is thoughtful and eloquent as he describes progressive disappointments with Obama's first eighteen months in the presidency and probes the huge obstacles to progressive change built into our divided and institutionally cumbersome system of governance. I don't disagree with many specific points he makes. But the bottom line he draws could not be more wrongheaded. Against huge counterwinds, President Obama and his unwieldy party have managed to enact major reforms: they took higher education loans away from bankers and enhanced funding for lower- and middle-income students; they created a regulatory framework that will start to rein in Wall Street financial shenanigans; they have used regulations where legislation was impossible to further workers' rights and prod environmental improvements; and they achieved comprehensive healthcare reforms that are the most far-reaching and economically redistributive social accomplishments since the New Deal."

Ground Zero Mosque Iman
Brad Gooch writes for The Daily Beast: "Over the last decade, I occasionally experienced the trompe l’oeil kick of watching a familiar face (and voice) on TV. “I know that guy,” I’d think, catching Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf on Sunday morning talk shows. The tickle of recognition began to turn to shock, though, about a month ago, when Rauf, as imam of the proposed Cordoba House (also called the “ground zero mosque”), morphed from talking head to the hot topic itself. As the story popped from a page 3 item on a Community Board 1 meeting in The New York Times to the cover of the New York Post to the cover of Time, from Bloomberg’s comments to Obama’s (three times, and counting), Feisal Rauf is suddenly a household name. For once, everyone was debating about something I knew firsthand. But I have been having trouble connecting their dots with the dots I know." Photo: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf delivers a Friday sermon at the Al-Farah Mosque in New York City. (Christian Science Monitor / Getty Images)

Fallout of Hate Is Spreading Across America from "Ground Zero"
Joshua Holland writes for AlterNet: "Scientists building the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos referred to the coordinates where a test device was detonated as “point zero.” When the horror of nuclear warfare was unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the term “Ground Zero” entered our lexicon. The expression has come to mean the epicenter of a catastrophic event, be it a nuclear detonation, a disease epidemic or an earthquake. It is the point from which damage spreads, whether it’s radioactive fallout or a deadly contagion."

Fire Department Blocks Florida Church's Plan To Burn Korans
Evan McMorris-Santoro reports for Talking Points Memo: "Remember that Florida 'church' with the plan to torch a pile of Korans in commemoration of 9/11? Turns out there's one thing they weren't counting on: a local Fire Department that's stingy with outdoor fire permits. According to the Gainesville Sun, fire chief Gene Prince told the church 'that under the city's fire prevention ordinance, an open burning of books is not allowed.' Turns out town code 10-63, a 'General prohibition on outdoor burning and open burning,' specifically outlaws the burning of (section 6) 'Newspaper' and (7) 'Corrugated cardboard, container board, office paper.'" Photo: Nazi officials burning books in 1933; Illinois Holocaust Museum.

Troops Punished After Refusing to Attend Evangelical Concert
Mike Ludwig reports for Truthout.org: "Pvt. Anthony Smith is the type of guy who stands up for what he believes in. That's why he decided to hold his commanding officers accountable for punishing him and fellow soldiers after they refused to attend an evangelical Christian rock concert at the Fort Eustis military post in Virginia."

The Far Edge
The New York Times writes in an editorial: "For months, it has been clear that Republican Congressional candidates would benefit from independent voters’ dissatisfaction with President Obama. With the Republican field now largely in place, all voters might want to take a close look at who those candidates are."

History Does Not Lie - Unless It Is Being Invented by Republicans
Paul Krugman writes for Truthout.org: "When you consistently irritate the hard right in the United States as I do, you quickly get used to the steady stream of accusations that you’re lying, simply because you didn’t present the facts in a way that suits the commenter. If I write, 'The economy added 236,000 jobs a month under Bill Clinton,' the responses from conservatives will range from 'That’s a lie! Krugman doesn’t mention the dot-com bubble!' to 'That’s cherry-picking! What about Jimmy Carter?'"

How Kids Really Learn
Kevin Drum writes for Mother Jones: "Several years ago I was visiting with some friends and happened to get into a conversation with their four-year-old daughter. I don't remember why, but we got to talking about numbers, and as adults will do, I started quizzing her. Do you know what two plus two is? She did. How about four plus three. No problem. Six plus five? Nine plus four? Eight plus seven? Yes, yes, and yes. That was about as far as she could go, but I was pretty impressed. That's not bad for a four-year-old, is it?" Photo: Tom Gill/Flickr

Three Pillars of a Food Revolution
Anna Lappé writes for YES! Magazine: "A few years ago, I stumbled on a United Nations study that transformed how I think about the climate crisis. In the report, researchers pegged greenhouse gases from the livestock sector at 18 percent of total global emissions. Combine this with other aspects of our food chain-from agricultural chemical production to agribusiness driven deforestation to food waste rotting in landfills-and food and agriculture sector is responsible for nearly one third of the planet's manmade emissions. Move over Hummer; it's time to say hello to the hamburger."

Study Links Pesticide to ADHD in Children
Thomas H. Maugh II reports for the Los Angeles Times: "Children with higher levels of the pesticide malathion in their urine seem to be at an increased risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, researchers reported Monday. Several previous studies have linked neurodevelopmental and behavioral disorders such as ADHD to exposure to pesticides, but generally in children of farmworkers and others exposed to abnormally high levels of the chemicals."

Egg Recall: Supplier Austin 'Jack' DeCoster Has History Of Health, Safety Violations
MARY CLARE JALONICK writes for the Associated Press via the Huffington Post: "Two Iowa farms that recalled more than a half-billion eggs linked to as many as 1,300 cases of salmonella poisoning share suppliers of chickens and feed as well as ties to an Iowa business routinely cited for violating state and federal law. Food and Drug Administration investigators have yet to determine the cause of the salmonella outbreaks at Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms. The FDA investigation could take months, and sources of contamination are often difficult to find." Photo: Associated Press

Gulf Oil Spill Plume Stretches 21 Miles, Not Breaking Down Much
Pete Spotts reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "A plume of oil some 700 feet thick and at least 21 miles long has been detected deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico. It originated at the Deepwater Horizon blowout and consists of hydrocarbons from the well, according to measurements released Thursday. The survey, conducted by US and Australian scientists during a 10-day research cruise in late June, represents the most detailed picture yet of undersea plumes of oil and methane from the Gulf oil spill. The researchers were surprised by the plume's relative stability as well as by an apparent lack of activity on the part of microbes to break down the oil."

Gov't Admits There's A Lot More Oil Left In The Gulf Than They Initially Said
Rachel Slajda reports for Talking Points Memo: "Earlier this month, as BP pumped cement into the ruined blowout preventer on the bottom of the Gulf, the government released a four-page, scant-on-details report that claimed that only a quarter of the 4.9 millions of barrels of oil was left in the Gulf. The rest, they said, had been cleaned up, evaporated or dispersed into nonexistence. And so the government essentially declared 'Mission Accomplished!' in the Gulf."

Shifting Attitudes Take Gay Rights Fight Across Globe, Experts Say
Eliott C. McLaughlin writes for CNN: "In signing Argentina's same-sex marriage law, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said debate over the issue would be 'absolutely anachronistic' -- archaic, out of date -- within a few years. Striking down California's Proposition 8 two weeks later, Judge Vaughn Walker was more specific, saying there was no evidence for old-fashioned stereotypes that painted gays 'as disease vectors or as child molesters who recruit young children into homosexuality.' Banning people from marrying based on sexual orientation, the President Reagan appointee explained, is 'irrational.'" Photo: Agency French Press

Verizon and Google Want to Kill the Open Internet -- Media Mogul Confirms Their Bad Intentions
Rep. Alan Grayson writes for AlterNet: "The Verizon-Google Net Neutrality Proposal begins by stating that "Google and Verizon have been working together to find ways to preserve the open Internet." Well, that's nice. Imagine what they would have come up with if they had been trying to kill off the open Internet. Actually, you don't have to imagine it. Because that's what this is. An effort to kill off the open Internet."

An Open Internet for All
MIGNON CLYBURN and MICHAEL J. COPPS write for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune: "The Internet was born on openness, has flourished on openness and depends on openness for its future potential. This incredible technology intersects with just about every great challenge confronting our nation -- jobs, education, energy, the environment, news, international competitiveness, health care, equal opportunity."

Heads Knocking On Net Neutrality
Mike Magner writes for the National Journal: "While telecom lobbyists are brainstorming in Washington on strategies for preserving Internet openness, two members of the FCC are headed to Minnesota today to get some public input on the mushrooming issue of net neutrality. Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn were invited by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., to attend a public forum in Minneapolis this evening on the future of the Internet. Franken's office pointedly noted that the hearing "comes in the wake of Google's pact with Verizon to build toll lanes on the Internet," a reference to a legislative proposal floated by the two companies last week offering an alternative to stronger FCC regulation of the Internet.

New Facebook Location Feature Sparks Privacy Concerns
Jenna Worthman writes for the New York Times: "Moments after Facebook introduced a new feature called Facebook Places on Wednesday that allows its users to share their location and find their friends, advocates raised flags over online privacy. The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California cited concerns over the new product, saying Facebook neglected to include several crucial privacy features."

Bianca Boske writes for the Huffington Post: "President Obama campaigned on net neutrality, and yet the White House has been surprisingly quiet on the issue since the breakdown of FCC negotiations and in the wake of Google and Verizon's joint policy proposal. By contrast, as the video below highlights, we heard a great deal about net neutrality from Senator Obama while he was on the campaign trail. Both before and after taking office, Obama repeatedly expressed his unwavering commitment to maintaining an open Internet."

Tea Partiers Say Net Neutrality Hurts Freedom
Evan McMorris-Santoro writes for Talking Points Memo: "The tea party, a movement whose success on the grassroots level is in many ways attributable to the power of free and open Internet communications, is joining the growing conservative crusade against the FCC's plan to enforce net neutrality on internet service providers. According to one tea partier involved in the effort, the movement is opposing net neutrality because 'it's an affront to free speech and free markets.'"

19 August 2010

Clippings for 19 August 2010

Shorting Economists: The ‘Experts’ Keep Getting it Wrong
Steven Hill writes for Truthdig.com: "That modern-day guild known as “economists” has been on a self-righteous rampage lately. This latest rash of finger-wagging was kicked off by the Greek debt crisis. Looking at tiny Greece, these economic Cassandras foresee a menacing future for the entire global economy if President Barack Obama and Europe don’t rein in their budget deficits." Photo: AP / Mark Lennihan

Funding Public Services Is the Best Route to Prosperity
Political Economy Research Institute reports (via Truthout): "The New England states, can no longer afford to spend scarce resources on tax credits and other business giveaways. Instead, the region needs to focus its economic development efforts on rebuilding neglected infrastructure and improving education for people at all levels, from pre-school youngsters to older adult workers. Those are the conclusions of a new study released today by economist Jeffrey Thompson of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Thompson's paper is based on his extensive analysis of research on what works and doesn't work to create jobs and strengthen state and regional economies. It suggests a better approach to economic development, one that the New England states should pursue as they slowly dig out from the Great Recession that began in late 2007."

New Study Identifies Revenues for Doubling of Social Security Payout: Guaranteeing the American Dream with Expanded Social Security
Steven Hill reports for CommonDreams.org: "For millions of Americans, the dream of a secure retirement has been threatened by the Great Recession. Since WWII, retirement has been conceived as a "three-legged stool," with the three legs being Social Security, pensions, and personal savings centered around homeownership. But today most private sector employers have quit providing pensions, and state and local government’s public pensions are drastically underfunded. In addition, a collapsed housing and stock market, combined with increased inequality even before the Great Recession, have drastically reduced Americans’ personal savings."

Attacking Social Security
Paul Krugman writes for the New York Times: "Social Security turned 75 last week. It should have been a joyous occasion, a time to celebrate a program that has brought dignity and decency to the lives of older Americans. But the program is under attack, with some Democrats as well as nearly all Republicans joining the assault. Rumor has it that President Obama’s deficit commission may call for deep benefit cuts, in particular a sharp rise in the retirement age."

Raj Goyle Social Security Pledge and Why It Matters
Stuart Elliot writes for the Kansas Free Press: "Saturday at the Wichita Hyatt, in front of a crowd of nearly 200 people at Demofest, State Rep. Raj Goyle, candidate for Congress representing the 4th District, signed a pledge promising to work to strengthen and protect Social Security. The event came on the 75th Anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signing the bill into law. "

There's Nothing Wrong With Social Security That Taxing the Rich Fairly Wouldn't Fix
Dave Lindorff comments for This Can't Be Happening: "New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman, in his column today, is right to expose the attacks on Social Security as being the work of right-wing ideologues eager to destroy a government program that works, backed by cowardly Democrats who want to show their fiscal 'responsibility' by getting tough with future pensioners."

States of Paralysis: America's Surrender to the Spectacle of Terror
Henry A. Giroux writes for Truthout: "As the link between the media and corporate power becomes more integrated, the visual theater of terror mimics the politics of the 'official' war on terror. Echoing the discourse of the 'official' war on terror, the violence of extremist groups as well as state-sanctioned and corporate violence are understood almost exclusively within the discourse of moral absolutes pitting good against evil."

The Guns of August
Chalmers Johnson writes for TomDispatch: "In 1962, the historian Barbara Tuchman published a book about the start of World War I and called it The Guns of August. It went on to win a Pulitzer Prize.  She was, of course, looking back at events that had occurred almost 50 years earlier and had at her disposal documents and information not available to participants. They were acting, as Vietnam-era Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara put it, in the fog of war."

Last U.S. Combat Brigade Pulls Out Of Iraq
Associated Press reports via The Huffington Post: "As their convoy reached the barbed wire at the border crossing out of Iraq on Wednesday, the soldiers whooped and cheered. Then they scrambled out of their stifling hot armored vehicles, unfurled an American flag and posed for group photos. For these troops of the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, it was a moment of relief fraught with symbolism. Seven years and five months after the U.S.-led invasion, the last American combat brigade was leaving Iraq, well ahead of President Barack Obama's Aug. 31 deadline for ending U.S. combat operations there."

How Truth Can Save Lives
Ray McGovern comments for ConsortiumNews.com: "I need to speak out now because I have been sickened watching the Herculean effort by Official Washington and our Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) to divert attention from the violence and deceit in Afghanistan, reflected in thousands of U.S. Army documents, by shooting the messenger(s) - WikiLeaks and Pvt. Bradley Manning." Photo: Jeff Kubina

Other Countries Probing Bush-era Torture — Why Aren't We?
Shashank Bengali reports for McClatchy News: "In June, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case of a Canadian man who contends that U.S. authorities mistook him for an al Qaida operative in 2002 and shipped him to a secret prison in Syria, where he was beaten with electrical cables and held in a grave-like cell for 10 months. Four years earlier, however, the Canadian government had concluded an exhaustive inquiry and found that the former prisoner, Maher Arar, was telling the truth. Canada cleared Arar of all ties to terrorism and paid him $10 million in damages, and his lawyers say he's cooperating with an investigation into the role of U.S. and Syrian officials in his imprisonment and reported torture."

Immigration and Drugs Along the Mexico/Guatemala Frontier
Andrew Eller, Council on Hemispheric Affairs: "Americans' demand for drugs affects the daily lives of local residents living far south of Mexico. Huge quantities of drugs pass through the Central American land bridge on their trip to consumers in North America. The three northernmost countries of Central America, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, have the highest murder rates in the region, much higher than those in adjacent Mexico."

Feds Threaten to Sue Sheriff Arpaio
Suzy Khimm reports for Mother Jones: "The Justice Department is threatening to sue the infamous Joe Arpaio—the Arizona sheriff who's vowed to persecute any illegal immigrants who've crossed his path—for failing to cooperate with federal investigators. As the Washington Post explains, the feds want to determine whether Arpaio is responsible for "discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures," and discriminating against Hispanic inmates in jail."

Ground Zero for Tolerance
Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig.com: "Are the Republicans terminally stupid or are they just playing the dangerous fool? In either case, the irrational attack on Muslims everywhere by the GOP’s leadership is not only deeply subversive with regard to the American ideal of religious tolerance but also poses a profound threat to our national security. Nor does it help that some top Democrats like Harry Reid are willing to demean Muslims even as we fight two wars in which victory depends on our ability to convey a respect for their religion."

Who will stand up to the GOP's war on Islam?
Gene Lyons writes for Salon.com: "Maybe Republican savants who want to repeal the 14th Amendment should refudiate the First Amendment while they’re at it. That would simplify things enormously. No more of this foolishness about due process and equal protection of the law. A citizen would be anybody Sen. Lindsey Graham and Newt Gingrich deem worthy.  Wetback children and Muslims need not apply."

Tipping Points, Are We Headed Toward Theocratic Fascism?
Steven Jonas writes for BuzzFlash: "Back on March 21, 2007, in a column on The Political Junkies.net, the predecessor webmagazine to TPJmagazine.us, I speculated that perhaps the primary objective of the Iraq Invasion from the beginning was not "oil and bases" which so many of us figured it was when the war was commenced. Rather, I then surmised, it was to establish the basis for Permanent War. At that time I thought that the reason for doing this was political, to establish the basis for Karl Rove's dream of a Permanent Republican Majority. The real purpose of the so-called "Surge" in my view, an action that was strongly opposed by none other than James Baker et al and Bob Gates (see the article referenced above), was to establish the on-the-ground implementation of that strategy."

Recommended Audio:Dr. Laura Goes Down
The Young Turks is the country's pre-eminent new media talk show, covering news, politics, pop culture and lifestyle. They comment on Dr. Laura's resignation from her radio show.

Why Dr. Laura Can't Say Whatever She Wants
Elon James White writes for Salon.com: "White people saying "nigger." That's always pleasant, right? White people saying "nigger" while minimalizing the feelings of racism? Even more pleasant. Like a massage. A really racist massage. The drama that has been this past week's news cycle due to someone simply expressing her right to free speech (if you go by Dr. Laura's resignation interview on CNN) has once again brought race to the forefront of American media. The popular memes of "blacks can say it, why can't whites?" and "No one should use the word!" are running rampant throughout the blogosphere. The underlying uncomfortableness of the discussion of "nigger" being in the everyday American vernacular comes from the underlying uncomfortableness of blacks being in everyday America."

Regulatory Agencies' Attempts to Sweep Oil Under the Rug Raise Questions
Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch: "'A recent report by the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center (a collaboration between the federal government and BP) claiming that only 25 percent of spilled oil remains in the Gulf has been refuted by researchers with the Georgia Sea Grant and University of Georgia, who released a report yesterday concluding that in fact nearly 80 percent of the oil remains in the Gulf. The report confirms the fact that the federal government should have taken a more cautious and responsible approach to testing marine life before opening the Gulf for fishing.'"

Where's the Math on Gov't Oil Spill Report?
Kate Sheppard reports for Mother Jones: "When the federal government released its report claiming that the vast majority of the oil in the Gulf has disappeared on August 4, I noted that the official report "doesn't include much in the way of specifics on the supporting data used to reach these conclusions." I've repeatedly asked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which took the lead on the report, for more of the supporting data. Those requests have not been fulfilled. Heck, I can barely even get anyone to return a call over there. A spokesperson finally told me today that she would look into whether the supporting information on the report would be made public." Photo by d3 Dan, via Flickr.

The 19th Amendment Turns 90 Despite the Haters
Christine Mathias writes for Salon.com: "Today we herald the 90th anniversary of our right to vote, ladies, and with that comes a modicum of responsibility. With great power, yadda yadda yadda. American women tend to take a great deal for granted: We can work, own land, drive our own cars (alone), walk the streets with our arms and legs on display and get pregnant without relying on the presence of a penis (sorry, Bill O'Reilly). All of these inalienable rights have set us apart from present-day women in hundreds of countries. We can cheat on our spouses without being stoned to death. We can express heteroflexibility more readily than men. We can lie, cheat, steal and maim our way to the top of the corporate ladder. Just like boys!"

US Chamber: Equal Pay “a Fetish for Money,” Women Should “Choose the Right Partner at Home”
Michael Whitney writes for FireDogLake: "The US Chamber of Commerce has apparently spent too much time watching Mad Men: in a blog post this morning, Chamber blogger Brad Peck called women’s fight for pay equity to be nothing more than a 'fetish for money,' and said women complaining about their pay should focus instead on 'choosing the right partner at home.' The Chamber’s Peck also approvingly quoted a post that asked, 'Should government force gym-man to share his beautiful babes with couch-potato man?' This is all in a post on the Chamber’s blog called: “Equality, Suffrage, and a Fetish for Money.” You can’t make it up.

Your Fears Confirmed: "Up to" Broadband Speeds Are Bogus
Nate Anderson reports for Ars Technica: "Broadband providers in the US have long hawked their wares in "up to" terms. You know—"up to" 10Mbps, where "up to" sits like a tiny pebble beside the huge font size of the raw number. In reality, no one gets these speeds. That's not news to the techno-literate, of course, but a new Federal Communications Commission report (PDF) shines a probing flashlight on the issue and makes a sharp conclusion: broadband users get, on average, a mere 50 percent of that "up to" speed they had hoped to achieve."

ACTION ALERT: Stop an Internet Hijacking
Jay Inslee writes for Daily Kos: "Massive corporations are cooking up backroom deals right now that could end this era of online innovation and fundamentally alter how we use the Internet. And there is little to stop them -- unless we act now.  I firmly believe that Congressional action is the only way to truly protect our online rights. For years, I've done everything I can in the halls of Congress to find the support for legislation that will protect the open Internet, and unfortunately the will is just not there -- the telecoms hold too much sway."
Sign on to our letter today demanding FCC action now– Democrats, Republicans, Independents, political or non-political -- anyone you know who uses the Internet. This affects us all, and we all need to join together to stop it. We need everyone involved if we're going to stand up to corporations the size of Verizon and Google.

17 August 2010

Clippings for 15 August 2010

Forget A Double Dip, We're Still In One Long Fall
Robert Reich writes for Business Insider: "It’s nonsense to think of the economy heading downward again into a double dip when most Americans never emerged from the first dip. We’re still in one long Big Dipper. More people are out of work today than they were last year, counting everyone too discouraged even to look for work. The number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week to highest level since February. Not counting temporary census workers, a total of only 12,000 net new private and public jobs were created in July — when 125,000 are needed each month just to keep up with growth in the population of people who want and need to work."

Are You Ready For How Bad It Will Get?
Graham Summers writes for iStockAnalysis: "For months now I have averred that the US economy was not in recovery and that in point of fact all talk of "recovery" was a load of BS. I realize this view is far from the consensus. Even those who are in the bear camp aver that the Stimulus did in fact bring us out of recession at least temporarily. However, I would strongly contend that the recovery was in fact non-existent for the following reasons..."

Study: Extending Bush Tax Cuts Would Be Boon for Wealthy Individuals
Jay Heflin reports for The Hill: "An analysis released this week by the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) shows millionaires will receive, on average, a $103,834 tax cut next year if Congress extends the breaks enacted by former President George W. Bush. The sizable refund would affect 315,000 returns out of the 161 million taxpayers who file, according to the JCT. Results from the committee prompted House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Thursday to renew the vow by Democratic leaders only to extend the breaks benefiting individuals earning less than $200,000 per year and couples making less than $250,000."

The Bush Tax Plan vs. the Obama Tax Plan in One Chart
Erza Klein illustrates the proposed tax cuts for the Washington Post.  A Republican plan to extend tax cuts for the rich would add more than $36 billion to the federal deficit next year -- and transfer the bulk of that cash into the pockets of the nation's millionaires, according to a [nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation] analysis released Wednesday.

The Job Crisis: What Hit Us?
Bob Bennett writes for the Huntington Post: "The US is stuck in an economic quagmire featuring near ten percent unemployment. As politicians argue about the solution -- massive tax cuts or increases in Federal spending -- what's missing is a succinct analysis of the problem. Why has America lost 8 million jobs?"

Mass Delusion – America Style
JimQ writes for The Burning Platform: "The American public thinks they are rugged individualists, who come to conclusions based upon sound reason and a rational thought process. The truth is that the vast majority of Americans act like a herd of cattle or a horde of lemmings. Throughout history there have been many instances of mass delusion. They include the South Sea Company bubble, Mississippi Company bubble, Dutch Tulip bubble, and Salem witch trials. It appears that mass delusion has replaced baseball as the national past-time in America. In the space of the last 15 years the American public have fallen for the three whopper delusions..."

America's Biggest Jobs Program Is the US Military
Robert Reich writes on the Robert Reich's Blog: "America's biggest - and only major - jobs program is the U.S. military. Over 1,400,000 Americans are now on active duty; another 833,000 are in the reserves, many full time. Another 1,600,000 Americans work in companies that supply the military with everything from weapons to utensils.... If we didn't have this giant military jobs program, the U.S. unemployment rate would be over 11.5 percent today instead of 9.5 percent." Photo: Ed Yourdon / Flickr

Recommended Audio - American Soldiers Are Waking Up

What Social Security Can Teach Us About the Future of Health Care
Richard Kirsch writes for New Deal 2.0: "At the heart of the right-wing attack on the new health care law's individual mandate is the fact that law has the potential to become like Social Security, a popular entitlement that is an integral part of the American social fabric. Whether that promise is realized depends on no small measure on whether Congress will make improvements over time in the health care law to assure that health coverage is affordable."

Social Security Keeps 20 Million Americans Out of Poverty: A State-By-State Analysis
Paul N. Van de Water and Arloc Sherman report for the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: "Social Security benefits play a vital role in reducing poverty. Without Social Security, according to the latest available Census data (for 2008), 19.8 million more Americans would be poor. Although most of those kept out of poverty by Social Security are elderly, nearly a third are under age 65, including 1.1 million children. (See Table 1.) Depending on their design, reductions in Social Security benefits could significantly increase poverty, particularly among the elderly."

In Florida, Slavery Still Haunts the Fields
Mischa Gaus reports for Labor Notes: "The trailer, 24 feet deep by 8 feet wide, is muggy this early August afternoon in Manhattan. Eight of us - church ladies, iPhone-wielding denizens, curious tourists - mop our brows as we clamber inside for a look at one the most shameful secrets of the American system of food production: modern-day slavery among farmworkers."

Noncooperation With Evil in the Streets of Arizona
Randall Amster comments for Waging Nonviolence: "The history of nonviolent social change is filled with injunctions to refuse compliance with unjust laws and policies. As Gandhi once famously said, 'non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.' Reflecting on the Montgomery bus boycott, Martin Luther King, Jr. observed that 'what we were really doing was withdrawing our cooperation from an evil system.... We were simply saying to the white community: We can no longer lend our cooperation to an evil system....' These teachings were alive and well during the demonstrations in Arizona against SB 1070."

Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia are (RATS) Protecting the Oligarchy and Rewriting the Constitution
Richard Stitt writes for Buzzflash: "Both Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas describe themselves as "originalists," meaning that they believe they possess the innate knowledge of exactly what the Founding Fathers intended when they penned the U.S. Constitution. Given such an almost reverent standard it is fair to ask a few questions regarding the Judiciary branch of government which, in my opinion, no longer represents the people of our country. It has become so deeply immersed in right-wing ideology that there is little resemblance to the this branch of government today and when the Founding Fathers established it."

Far-Right, Lawless "Sovereign Citizen" Movement Growing
J. J. MacNab reports for The Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report: "Jerry Kane and his young son were active participants in the sprawling subculture of 'sovereign citizens' in America: hundreds of thousands of far-right extremists who believe that they - not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials - get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore, and who don't think they should have to pay taxes. While law enforcement officers may disagree on how to deal with or even label this extremist subculture, one thing is certain: it's trouble."

The Racists Return
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig.com: "Among the most revealing aspects of life during the Obama presidency is the panoply of responses to a black family in the White House. What made so many of us proud of our country on Jan. 20, 2009, has increasingly provoked expressions of hatred from the far right. That is troubling, but not nearly as troubling as the behavior of conservatives who excuse, embolden or simply pretend to ignore the bigots surrounding them." Photo: White House/Pete Souza

Americans Are Losing Their Civility
Leonard Pitts Jr. comments in the Lawrence Journal World: "Can we be candid here? Can we just say this plainly? The public is a bunch of rude, obnoxious jerks.  OK, so I overstate. A little. Yes, there are exceptions. I’m not such a bad guy and you, of course, are a paragon of civility. But the rest of them? A cavalcade of boors, boobs, bums, bozos and troglodytes.  So it is small wonder the tale of Steven Slater has hit a nerve. The precise sequence of events is still being sorted out at this writing. The initial story was that Slater, a flight attendant for JetBlue, got into it with a woman who cursed him when he asked her not to stand up to retrieve her bags while the plane was still taxiing. At some point, Slater was apparently hit in the head; his attorney says the woman slammed the storage bin on him.

Kansas Voter Initiative Plan Draws Agriculture Groups' Ire
John Hanna writes for The Kansas City Star: "A Kansas politician's plan to allow voters to enact laws without going through the Legislature is drawing criticism from major farm groups, and a fellow Republican leader said Friday that the idea worries agriculture leaders. Kris Kobach, the Republican nominee for secretary of state, said he's not surprised interest groups oppose his voter initiative plan. As residents of other states can, Kansas residents could put proposed laws and state constitutional changes on the ballot for voters' approval."

Americas Social Forum Calls for Agriculture Based on Solidarity
Natalia Ruiz Diaz reports for Inter Press Service: "Small-scale agriculture based on the principles of solidarity and cooperation is the only way to guarantee food sovereignty in Latin America, said peasant and indigenous activists meeting in the Paraguayan capital this week."

Cafeteria Kickbacks: How food-service providers like Sodexo bilk millions from taxpayers
Lucy Komisar reports for In These Times: "At the end of the 2006 school year, children’s nutrition advocate Dorothy Brayley had a disturbing conversation with a local dairy representative. He had come to her office to discuss participation in the summer trade show of food providers she runs as director of Kids First Rhode Island. At the time, the state’s schools were buying 100,000 containers of milk each week. The salesman for Garelick Farms, New England’s largest dairy, told Brayley that Sodexo—a food and facility management corporation that managed most of the state’s school lunch programs—was paying Garelick more than competitors in order to get a bigger rebate."

Trader Joe's is one of a batch of new corporations wrapping their push for profits in feel-good green slogans and promises of fair labor practices. But at least a few of their products aren't coming from fair labor at all.  The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a community organization of farmworkers in Florida, have gotten other corporations like Whole Foods and Subway to sign a pledge to buy tomatoes from growers that have good labor practices--after workers in Florida have been rescued from conditions that have been legally deemed slavery.

Trader Joe's still refuses to sign. GRITtv's Laura Flanders spoke to Kate Caldwell, Human Right to Work with Dignity Director at the National Economic Social Rights Initiative, and Nancy Romer, General Coordinator with the Brooklyn Food Coalition, about the reasons behind the protest.

The Unique Quality Of "Lifelong Heterosexual Monogamy"
Andrew Sullivan writes the Daily Dish for The Atlantic: "Ross is at his most Catholic today in his column on marriage equality, and I'd like to start a response by saying that he has conceded many secular points: that the life-long, monogamous heterosexual nuclear family is not natural and it is not the default definition of marriage in world history. Abandoning these defunct arguments - defunct because they are transparently untrue - is a helpful throat-clearing for which I'm most grateful."

USPS to Struggling Publications: Take a Hike
Mega Tandy writes for In These Times: "A familiar foe is once again threatening the future of many U.S. magazines and newspapers—and it’s not the Internet. The U.S. Postal Service’s recent proposal to hike postal rates has print publications even more worried about their future."

Google-Verizon Should Prompt FCC to Demand Net Neutrality
Susan Crawford and Lawrence Lessig comment for the San Jose Mercury News: "Candidate Barack Obama told America that he believed in an open and "neutral" Internet -- one where the owners of the wires didn't get to pick and choose which applications would run on the network. Soon after Julius Genachowski was appointed as President Barack Obama's choice to head the Federal Communications Commission, he outlined a clear and ambitious plan to turn that commitment into a reality."

A Paper Trail of Betrayal: Google's Net Neutrality Collapse
Matthew Lasar writes for Ars Technica: "Like the rest of the technology world, we're wondering why Google has chosen to ally itself with Verizon, issuing a set of joint net neutrality recommendations that critics charge would significantly weaken the Federal Communications Commission's ability to protect the open Internet.  The whole approach just seemed so at odds with Google's past fiery statements on the issue. Maybe we misread the search engine giant's previous statements, we worried. Until this month, wasn't Google one of net neutrality's biggest advocates? So this morning we re-read three Google documents again—filings with the FCC going back to 2007, shortly after Google's Eric Schmidt first asked the public to 'take action to protect Internet freedom.'"

For Better or Worse, Google Is a Nation-State
Mathew Ingram writes for GigaOm: "It’s no secret that Google isn’t the plucky young startup it was just a few years ago; it’s a colossus now, with more than $20 billion in annual revenues, over 21,000 employees, and business operations that reach into hundreds of countries. But Google’s problems go far beyond those that stem just from being a large company. The combination of its size, its far-reaching ambitions and global expansion, and its impact on so many aspects of our lives has given it a whole new class of problems. In many ways, Google might as well be a nation-state, and it continues to struggle with all the issues that come along with that status. Photo: Flickr/ Stu Spivack

The FCC Needs to Do the Right (and the Hard) Thing
Susan Crawford writes for GigaOm: "Back in November 2007, I remember sitting in my office one evening and reading then-Senator Obama’s Technology and Innovation Platform for the first time. I was genuinely excited about this PDF. I was particularly taken by a paragraph that appeared right up front:
. . . Because most Americans only have a choice of only one or two broadband carriers, carriers are tempted to impose a toll charge on content and services, discriminating against websites that are unwilling to pay for equal treatment. This could create a two-tier Internet in which websites with the best relationships with network providers can get the fastest access to consumers, while all competing websites remain in a slower lane. Such a result would threaten innovation, the open tradition and architecture of the Internet, and competition among content and backbone providers. It would also threaten the equality of speech through which the Internet has begun to transform American political and cultural discourse. Barack Obama supports the basic principle that network providers should not be allowed to charge fees to privilege the content or applications of some web sites and Internet applications over others. . . .