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

27 September 2010

Clippings for 27 September 2010

400 Richest Americans Got Richer This Year, As Most Americans' Net Worth Tanked: Forbes
William Alden reports for the Huffington Post: "The richest Americans got even richer this year, according to the new Forbes 400 list, even as the country's total net worth tanked during the second quarter. The top 400, all of whom are worth at least $1 billion, saw their combined wealth increase 8 percent this year, to the dizzying total of $1.37 trillion, according to analysis from CNN.  Meanwhile, according to data released last week by the Federal Reserve, the net worth of American households and non-profits in the second quarter of this year plunged 2.8 percent, or $1.52 trillion, from the previous quarter, to settle at $53.5 trillion."

So How Did the Bush Tax Cuts Work Out for the Economy?
David Cay Johnston writes for Tax.com: "The 2008 income tax data are now in, so we can assess the fulfillment of the Republican promise that tax cuts would produce widespread prosperity by looking at all the years of the George W. Bush presidency.  Just as they did in 2000, the Republicans are running this year on an economic platform of tax cuts, especially making the tax cuts permanent for the richest among us. So how did the tax cuts work out? My analysis of the new data, with all figures in 2008 dollars: Total income was $2.74 trillion less during the eight Bush years than if incomes had stayed at 2000 levels."

Republican Economics as Social Darwinism
Robert Reich writes for the Huffington Post: "John Boehner, the Republican House leader who will become Speaker if Democrats lose control of the House in the upcoming midterms, recently offered his solution to the current economic crisis: 'Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmer, liquidate real estate. It will purge the rottenness out of the system. People will work harder, lead a more moral life.'"

Return of the ‘Contract With America’
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig.com: "The Republicans have announced the forthcoming release of the “Contract From America”—a set of legislative proposals presumably intended to replicate the “Contract With America” used by their leaders in the historic 1994 midterm when they won control of both houses of Congress."

FactChecking ‘The Pledge:' Republicans' "Pledge to America" Falls Short on some of Its Facts
Factcheck.org reports "The Republican “Pledge to America,” released Sept. 23, contains some dubious factual claims:
  • It declares that “the only parts of the economy expanding are government and our national debt.” Not true. So far this year government employment has declined slightly, while private sector employment has increased by 763,000 jobs.
  • It says that “jobless claims continue to soar,” when in fact they are down eight percent from their worst levels.
  • It repeats a bogus assertion that the Internal Revenue Service may need to expand by 16,500 positions, an inflated estimate based on false assumptions and guesswork.
  • It claims the stimulus bill is costing $1 trillion, considerably more than the $814 billion, 10-year price tag currently estimated by nonpartisan congressional budget experts.
  • It says Obama’s tax proposals would raise taxes on “roughly half the small business income in America,” an exaggeration. Much of the income the GOP is counting actually comes from big businesses making over $50 million a year."
Katla McGlynn writes for the Huffington Post: "Jon Stewart lambasted the GOP for their new "Pledge to America," a promise of fresh, new ideas that sound identical to the Republican rhetoric of the last 20 years. Stewart began by remembering two years ago when Republican senators previously pledged to make the GOP a "party of new ideas," trying things like forum website America Speaking Out, and other ideas that ultimately failed. Now, with midterms around the corner, Republicans have are trying to reinvent themselves once more, promising things like reduced spending, smaller government, permanent tax cuts, and other things that sound oddly familiar."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Postcards From the Pledge
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Why the Democrats' Response to the Pledge Has Been Inadequate
George Lakoff writes for the Huffington Post: "The Democratic response to the Republican Pledge to America has been factual about its economics. The September 26, 2010 Sunday New York Times editorial goes through the economic details, and Democrats have been citing the economic facts from the Congressional Budget Office. As Dan Pfeiffer reports on the White House blog, the Republicans are proposing..."

Sikhs Challenge Discrimination in Court
William Fisher reports for Inter Press Service: "A North Carolina man is joining a growing group of Sikhs who are looking to U.S. courts to remedy the 'ignorance and intolerance' faced by practitioners of the religion, especially since the attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, which they say 'unleashed a torrent of discrimination.' Latest to file a legal complaint is Surjit Singh Saund, who charges that M.M. Fowler, Inc., which owns and operates the Family Fare Convenience Store chain, denied him employment because he is a Sikh and wears a turban and beard, as required by the Sikh religion. If proven, this would be a violation of federal and state civil rights laws."

Tea Party Senate Candidate Mike Lee Tried to Dump 1,600 Tons of European Nuclear Waste on Utah
Andrew Belonsky reports for AlterNet: "FreedomWorks' ties to Big Energy run deep, however, and by throwing their weight behind the group's endorsed Utah Senate candidate, Mike Lee, Tea Party adherents are inadvertently backing a candidate who tried to bury 1,600 tons of European nuclear waste in what some call their sovereign state.... In the world of Mike Lee and FreedomWorks, state-based rights, limited federal government and constitutional integrity are valid only to a point, and cease to matter when money's at stake. If Lee comes out on top, so too do energy companies, leaving the rank-and-file to deal with the ramifications."

Public Mobilization for a Nuclear-Free World
Lawrence Wittner writes for Foreign Policy in Focus: "One of the ironies of the current international situation is that, although some government leaders now talk of building a nuclear weapons-free world, there has been limited public mobilization around that goal.... Intensifying the level of popular mobilization can in turn push reluctant governments further down the road toward a nuclear weapons-free world. Indeed, it's the only thing that can do so."

A Proposed Dirty Oil Pipeline Would Put Americans at Risk for Cancer and Asthma -- Why Are Senators Pushing For Its Hasty Approval?
Michael Brune reports for AlterNet: "The tar sands pits in Alberta, Canada that Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) visited last week are so bleak that one UN official, after seeing them for the first time, compared them to Mordor, the hellish wasteland from Lord of the Rings.  But Senator Graham, after meeting with oil industry representatives and tar sands proponents, hailed the toxic mines, the source of the world's dirtiest fuel, as 'an industrial ballet,' adding that the project 'really blends with the natural habitat.'"

Are Genetically Engineered Foods (Including Salmon) More Allergenic?
Kiera Bulter writes for Mother Jones: "You've probably heard that the FDA is considering whether to approve the first-ever genetically-engineered fish. Developed by a Massachusetts-based company called AquaBounty Technologies, this new supersalmon is basically an Atlantic salmon with genes from Chinook salmon and a fish called the ocean pout. In theory, this could be a good thing: The new genes allow the fish, called AquAdvantage, to grow twice as fast as regular salmon, meaning more salmon for everyone, and less stress on wild stocks."

Months After West Virginia Mining Disaster, US Issues Emergency Order on Coal Dust
Mark Guarino reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "The emergency order raises the level of rock dust suspended in the mines' expelled air to 80 percent. According to Larry Grayson, a former miner who teaches mineral engineering at Penn State in University Park, Pa., the previously recommended levels of rock dust 'will stop an explosion from spreading' but not stop the initial explosion. The higher level, he says, 'will prevent the explosion.'" Photo: In this April 4 file photo, West Virginia State Police direct traffic at the entrance to Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch Coal Mine in Montcoal, W.Va. Investigators say coal dust likely was a key factor in the April 5 explosion, that killed 29 people, considered the worst US coal-mining disaster in 40 years. Jeff Gentner/AP/File

Judge Reinstates Air Force Major Discharged Under DADT
Rachel Slajda reports for Talking Points Memo: "A federal judge ruled today that an Air Force major discharged in 2003 under Don't Ask, Don't Tell should be reinstated. Judge Ronald Leighton ruled that former Maj. Margaret Witt was discharged unconstitutionally under the policy because the government hadn't shown that her firing benefited the military. Witt, a decorated reservist flight nurse, was suspended from the Air Force in 2004, after 17 years of service, and eventually discharged in October 2007."

Florida Ban on Gay Adoption Unconstitutional, Court Rules
Warren Richey reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "Lawyers for the state of Florida are considering whether to ask the Florida Supreme Court to review a decision by a Miami-based appeals court striking down a 33-year ban on adoption by gay couples. Gov. Charlie Crist (I) said the state would not enforce the ban pending a decision on whether to appeal the 28-page ruling handed down on Wednesday. He said he was pleased by the ruling. The three-judge panel of the Third District Court of Appeal ruled that Florida's ban on gay adoption violates the equal protection clause of the Florida Constitution. The decision upholds an earlier ruling by a state trial judge that state officials have no rational basis to deny a fit foster parent who happens to be gay the right to adopt the two boys he's cared for since 2004."

Internet Trumps TV, Newspapers For News
Drik Sass reports for MediaPost News: "Americans feel they are better-informed than ever, and devote more attention to getting news, according to a new survey by Rasmussen Reports. But that's cold comfort for traditional media like print newspapers and radio, since it mostly reflects the rapid growth of Internet news, including a fair number of Web sites maintained by publishers and broadcasters."

When Technology Makes Headlines: The Media Double Vision about the Digital Age
Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism reports: "The mainstream news media have offered the American public a divided view of how information technology influences society, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Over the past year, messages about the promise of technology making life easier and awe about new gadgets have vied in the news with worries about privacy, child predators, shrinking attention spans and danger behind the wheel. The most prevalent underlying message about technology’s influence has been upbeat—the notion that technology is making life easier and more productive. Nearly a quarter of all technology stories studied from June 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010, conveyed this idea. But that was closely followed by the sense that with that convenience comes risk—to our privacy and particularly to our children—which made up nearly two-in-ten stories, according to the study."

FCC Opens Spectrum to Super WiFi, in Time for Corporations to Control It
David Dayen writes for FireDogLake: "The FCC officially approved the opening of a vast amount of unused spectrum for broadband Internet, potentially creating a fast “super-WiFi” network. [snip] Of course, now that we have the next generation of wireless technologies, Google and the telecoms will do their best to control and monetize them. Not only have they persuaded gullible tea partiers to join the cause, taking advantage of baseless fears about government takeovers of the Internet (strike government and replace with corporate and you’re on to something), but they’re getting help from prominent Democrats as well..."

Happy Anniversary? One Year of Empty Net Neutrality Promises
Josh Silver writes for The Hill: "A year ago today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski delivered a major speech on Network Neutrality — the top issue on President Obama’s technology policy platform.  At the Brookings Institution, Genachowski declared that without Net Neutrality — the fundamental principle that keeps the Internet open and free from discrimination — 'we could see the Internet’s doors shut to entrepreneurs, the spirit of innovation stifled, a full and free flow of information compromised.' He also warned: 'If we wait too long to preserve a free and open Internet, it will be too late.' It’s now been 365 days since Genachowski’s speech, and we’re still waiting for Net Neutrality."

24 September 2010

An interview with Tom Holland and Kelly Kultala

Community Bridge opens with the Democratic candidates for Kansas Governor Tom Holland and his running mate Kelly Kultala live in studio.  Holland and Kultala discuss the issues facing Kansas, their plans to help build strong schools and an even stronger Kansas economy and why they are the better choice for Kansas on November 2.

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FHHRP's Battle for Equality

For our second hour, Dr. Charles Barden, K-State Extension, opens the show with a discussion of two invasive tree killers invading Kansas. Then Jonathan Mertz and Joshua McGinn from the Flint Hills Human Rights Project discuss their efforts to have sexual orientation and gender identity added to the City of Manhattan's Anti-discrimination Ordinance. We close out with a clip from GRITtv featuring David Kirby, author of Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, dairy, and Poultry Farms, who discusses why cheap food is making Americans sick and in some cases killing them.

MP3 File

21 September 2010

Clippings for 21 September 2010

A Sustainable Economic Vision
Tiffany Cheng writes for A New Way Forward: "This fall there are lots of candidates without a sustainable economic vision. We need to make sure they get there – they should decide today to support these 5 policy proposals that address our immediate and future needs. Polling shows that there is wide public support for these proposals – there is no good reason they should not become law."  Photo: csr-news.net

One in Three Americans Lack the Income Needed to "Make Ends Meet"
Shawn Fremstad reports for The Center for Economic and Policy Research: "The Census figures show that in 2009 one out of every three Americans had incomes that fell below the amount (roughly $45,000 for a family of four) that most Americans and various budget estimates show is needed to 'make ends meet' at a basic level. Also, of particular note, the report shows substantial increases in the poverty rate and the rate of people without health insurance, as well as declines in median income for various demographic groups."

The Role of Government and The Foreclosure Crisis
Dean Baker provides the following analysis for Truthout: "The basic story of the foreclosure crisis is that banks made trillions of dollars of bad mortgage loans that were used to buy or refinance houses at bubble-inflated prices. With the collapse of the housing bubble, more than a fifth of all mortgages are underwater. As a result, many homeowners are struggling to pay mortgages on houses in which they have no equity and have no real prospect of ever getting equity. This is where the two competing views of government come in. If the market is allowed to run its course, millions of homeowners will default on mortgages, leaving banks and investors with large losses."

Obama: "Tea Party" Wrong on "Culprits" of Economic Woes
Dave Cook report for the Christian Science Monitor: "On a day when the nation's official economic umpires said the recession ended over a year ago, President Obama spent an hour on TV Monday defending his handling of the economy and charging critics from the 'Tea Party' with 'misidentifying who the culprits' are behind economic tough times."

The Angry Rich
Paul Krugman writes in the New York Post: "Anger is sweeping America. True, this white-hot rage is a minority phenomenon, not something that characterizes most of our fellow citizens. But the angry minority is angry indeed, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they’re out for revenge."

Intolerable Poverty In A Rich Nation
Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, and Tanya Somanader write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released its Current Population Survey, documenting the American population's access to health insurance and family economic well-being. One stunning fact revealed by the new Census data was that "the ranks of the American poor soared to their highest level in a half a century" and that nearly "44 million Americans -- one in seven -- lived last year in homes in which the income was below the poverty level, which is about $22,000 for a family of four. While this is the largest number of people since the Census began tracking poverty 51 years ago," this figure would have been much larger without the economic policies pursued by Congress and the administration. The data is sobering to a national discourse that often omits the poor. Yet, it also points towards continued action to bring the unemployment rate down and boost demand. The country must continue successful policy initiatives that have kept millions out of poverty thus far, such as the Recovery Act, and pursue additional policies aimed at addressing the alarming fact that the world's richest country now has more people in poverty than ever before."

US Contractor Accused of Fraud Still Winning Big Afghan Projects
Marisa Taylor and Warren P. Strobel report for McClatchy Newspapers: "On July 31, 2006, an employee of the Louis Berger Group, a contractor handling some of the most important US rebuilding projects in Afghanistan, handed federal investigators explosive evidence that the company was intentionally and systematically overbilling American taxpayers. Neither the whistleblower's computer disk full of incriminating documents nor a trail of allegations of waste, fraud and shoddy construction, however, prevented Louis Berger from continuing to reap hundreds of millions of dollars in federal contracts."

Blackwater's Black Ops
Jeremy Scahill reports for The Nation: "Over the past several years, entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation. Blackwater's work for corporations and government agencies was contracted using two companies owned by Blackwater's owner and founder, Erik Prince: Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Center (TRC). Prince is listed as the chairman of both companies in internal company documents, which show how the web of companies functions as a highly coordinated operation. Officials from Total Intelligence, TRC and Blackwater (which now calls itself Xe Services) did not respond to numerous requests for comment for this article."

Holt: FBI Anthrax Investigation Is Itself Subject of Probe
Matt Fair reports for NJ.com: "After years of questioning the conclusion and methods of an FBI investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened dozens of others, Rep. Rush Holt (D-Hopewell) announced yesterday that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is opening an inquiry into the matter.  Holt, along with a handful of other legislators, had sent a letter to the GAO in May requesting an investigation into the FBI’s handling of the case. The FBI officially closed the case in February after concluding in 2008 that Dr. Bruce Ivins, a former biodefense scientist, was the sole culprit in the attacks."

Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, and Tanya Somanader write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that he will move a defense authorization bill next week that includes the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, along with a measure that begins the process of repealing the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) policy. The DREAM Act is an immigration bill that would put undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children on a path to citizenship through completion of higher education or military service. While the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to include the DADT measure earlier this year, Reid has promised to attach the DREAM Act provisions to the defense measure and has scheduled a vote on proceeding to the bill for next week. Meanwhile, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) -- which, while consistently supportive of the DREAM Act, has long argued that it must be part of a comprehensive immigration bill -- announced its support. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who plans on introducing comprehensive legislation in October, stated on Wednesday that he backs a vote on the DREAM act without amendments "so we can know who stands with those students." That night, at the gala dinner for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, President Obama promised to help win passage of the DREAM Act and assured Latinos that he was not walking away from immigration reform."

America's Decoupling From Reality
Robert Parry comments for Consortium News: "As Election Day 2010 approaches - as the United States wallows in the swamps of war, recession and environmental degradation - the consequences of the nation's three-decade-old decoupling from reality are becoming painfully obvious. Yet, despite the danger, the nation can't seem to move in a positive direction."

Huge Voter Suppression Plot Exposed in Wisconsin
Xofferson writes on Daily Kos: "A massive, coordinated and illegal plan to suppress Wisconsin voter turnout in November was exposed today by One Wisconsin Now (OWN). The plan, targeting minority voters and students, is a joint effort of the Republican Party, Americans for Prosperity, and Tea Party groups. OWN has somehow obtained both copies of the plan and a recording of a meeting at which it was discussed, both available on a new website, SaveWisconsinVote2010.org."

Democrats Fear Donor Could Buy Clout if Brownback becomes Kansas Governor
Dave Helling and David Klepper report for the The Kansas City Star: "Facing an uphill battle with voters in the fall election, Democrats are stepping up their criticism of Kansas gubernatorial candidate Sam Brownback’s ties to a low-profile corporation. It is called Koch Industries, a Wichita-based energy and consumer products conglomerate and one of the largest private companies in the world. Two of the richest people in America run it: Charles and David Koch."

Scaremongering Report About Islam Reveals Political Posturing
Yana Kunichoff and Mike Ludwig report for Truthout: "The conspiracy-minded conservatives with the Center for Security Policy lashed out at the global Islamic community on Wednesday with the release of a report that uses a narrow and radical definition of Islamic law to argue that the United States is threatened by a global Islamic 'mafia' that is waging a 'stealth jihad' through American organizations like the Muslim Student Association and the Islamic Medical Association. The authors liken their mission to a team of Cold Warriors who re-evaluated the threat of global Soviet Communism under then Director of Intelligence George Bush Sr. in the late 1970s, and the right wing is eating it up as controversies involving Muslim Americans continue to make headlines."

Ten Ways the Feds Are Leading the Green Charge
Emily Badger reports for Miller-McCune: "President Obama issued an executive order last October requiring every government agency to spell out how it plans to 'lead by example' in environmental sustainability.... The Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans were finally due last week, and embedded in the dense documents ... are hundreds of small ideas." Photo: stockxpert.com

Wyoming Fracking Rules Would Disclose Drilling Chemicals
Nicholas Kusnetz reports for ProPublica: "New rules going into effect Wednesday will place Wyoming at the forefront of the national push to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technique that's been suspected of polluting groundwater in parts of the country with vast reservoirs of untapped natural gas. If the rules work as promised, they should provide the most comprehensive accounting yet of exactly what substances drilling companies are injecting into particular wells, a level of specificity that goes beyond disclosures in Pennsylvania and New York, two states where drilling has been controversial."

Do 'Hypoallergenic' Products Really Cause Fewer Allergies?
Kiera Bulter writes for Mother Jones: "Since I have lots of allergies, and my skin is prone to bouts of itchiness, I've always chosen soaps and lotions labeled "hypoallergenic." That label means they won't cause me to have an allergic reaction, right? Wrong! Siobhan O'Connor, author of the new book No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics, recently clued me in that the label 'hypoallergenic' is virtually meaningless. "Unless the product makes a medical claim, the definition of 'hypoallergenic' is entirely up to the company that makes the product," she says. But allergies are a medical problem, so isn't the term "hypoallergenic" a medical claim?"

Time for FCC Chair to Man Up
Mark Gibbs writes for Computerworld: "It's time for the chairman of the FCC to stand up and do the right thing on net neutrality, do the thing he set out to do to, even as Big Comms spend oodles to hobble neutrality.  Indeed, it has become glaringly obvious Big Comms (i.e. Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, etc.) are putting a huge amount of pressure on those who animate the U.S. political machine by funneling tons of cash into lobbying." Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America

Why Net Neutrality Needs to Be Extended to Mobile Platforms
Scott Jones writes for TechCrunch: "While the Federal Communications Commission fiddles with the issue of Net Neutrality, and by extension mobile broadband regulation, Rome has begun to burn. While the fires now are relatively small, they threaten to combust into an uncontrollable conflagration that will leave customers wondering why they don’t have access anymore to their favorite websites or mobile applications."

Berners-Lee Defends Net Neutrality, Promotes Global Net Access
Lauran O'Brain reports for the Silicon Republic: "Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who wrote the first web client and server in 1990, has called for everyone to be given access to the web for free. He also attacked companies for threatening net neutrality and urged them to rethink how they handle private data.  During his keynote speech at Nokia World in London, Berners-Lee stated he wants to see everyone given a low-bandwidth connection "by default," as it could be vital in giving people access to critical services." Photo: Getty New Service

On the Media: Fake News Flourishes under the Feds' Noses
James Rainy reports for the LA Times: "An old actor I know would watch a plodding drama and growl, "If you watch closely, it almost moves." That's the feeling I'm getting, taking a look at the federal government's flimsy and fitful crackdown on news outlets and experts that fob off public relations drivel as news. I raised the subject earlier this week in a column about Elizabeth Werner, the perky spokesmom who pitches toys during news broadcasts on local stations around the country. She is just one of a pack of paid touts presented to viewers as if they were independent experts."

Copyright Enragement
Megan Tady writes for In These Times: "Bloggers beware: a company is scouring the Internet for copyright infringement, and then filing lawsuits against virtually any website that hosts Las Vegas Review-Journal articles. The company, called Righthaven, has filed more than 120 lawsuits since March against bloggers, nonprofits, and political and community organizations for purportedly violating copyright law. While other news organizations, like the Associated Press, have attempted to crack down on blogs and other websites that re-post their content, Righthaven’s actions mark an unprecedented and chilling copyright effort by the newspaper industry."

17 September 2010

What Every Kansan Needs to Know about Kris Kobach

The Republican's nominee for the job of Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, is a well know nativist extremist who makes a living by drafting anti-immigrant laws and, after they are adopted, trains officers to enforce them. If the laws are challenged, he goes to court to defend them. Quite the racket since the laws are always rule unconstitutional and in the mean time he lines his pockets with tax-payer dollars from the legal fees he racks up.

Immigration lawyer Angie Williams and UMKC law student Raymond Rico join us for a frank discussion of Kobach and his anti-immigrant crusade.

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Bill Press on Toxic Talk

For our second hour, talk show host and author Bill Press joins us to discuss his new book Toxic Talk: How the Radical Right Has Poisoned America's Airwaves.

Susan Gardner on Daily Kos has this to say about Toxic Talk: " ...the most value found in Toxic Talk from Press's keen eye and long history in the business, which allow him to describe the fine shades of rhetoric and attitude on the conservative talk spectrum, from Rush Limbaugh to Glenn Beck, from tow-the-party-line guy Sean Hannity to paranoid loon Michael Savage. For those of us who can't handle listening to these guys, the author's serious delineation of defining the personalities and their trademark rhetoric is invaluable as a resource. He also knows the syndication biz inside and out, and his perspective on how the game has changed over the years and how it all fits together now is instructive."

Community Bridge closes out with Penny Senften, Executive Director of the Manhattan Arts Center, in a discussion of the events planned for the fall season.

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15 September 2010

Special: What Every Kansan Needs to Know about Kris Kobach

Why Kris Kobach Is Wrong About The Arizona Law He Takes Credit For Drafting
David Leopold, President-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and immigration lawyer at David Wolfe Leopold and Associates writes for the Wronk Room at Think Progress: "In an Op-Ed piece published in today’s New York Times, Kris W. Kobach, who claims that he “helped draft” Arizona’s notorious anti-immigrant S.B. 1070, sets out to “rebut the major criticisms” of the new law individually. However, Kobach offers little more than a recital of the fallacious propaganda espoused by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)—a group which has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League as a hate group—and its legal arm the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), to which Kobach serves as counsel. Let’s look at Kobach’s central claims..."

Racial Profiling 101: Kris Kobach Teaches Reasonable Suspicion
Prerna Lal writes for Change.org: "The architect of SB 1070 is now training police officers in Arizona on how to conduct racial profiling, using the pretext of 'reasonable suspicion.' Unlike probable cause, "reasonable suspicion" is a legal term that permits police misconduct based on a "totality of circumstances." In the following video, Kris Kobach launches into some of the factors local law enforcement can use to identify undocumented immigrants, which he says are mostly common sense."

Meet Kris Kobach: Lawyer For The Anti-Immigrant Movement
Melinda Warner writes for Media Matters for America: "As the debate over immigration reform continues, anti-immigrant forces have offered some downright heinous solutions on how to deal with the issue and policymakers around the country are starting to dance to the nativist beat.  It's an old pattern, and it's not limited to Arizona's notorious show-me-your-papers law."

Hazleton, PA Anti-Immigrant Law Is Unconstitutional, Federal Appeals Court Rules
The American Civil Liberties Union reports: "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit today issued a sweeping decision striking down as unconstitutional the city of Hazleton's law that would punish landlords and employers who are accused of renting to or hiring anyone the city classifies as an "illegal alien." The case, Lozano v. Hazleton, has been closely watched across the country because the Hazleton ordinance has served as a model for similar laws nationwide and was challenged by civil rights groups in a lengthy trial. The suit has been underway for more than four years in the federal district and circuit courts. Today's unanimous appeals court decision is the latest legal victory against discriminatory state and local laws that target immigrants and invite racial profiling against Latinos and others who appear "foreign." Many cities like Fremont, Nebraska and Summerville, South Carolina have voluntarily tabled or blocked these laws under legal pressure and local opposition."

The Man Behind Arizona’s Immigration Law
Suzy Khimm reports for Mother Jones: "When Arizona passed a law that handed local police unprecedented authority to investigate and arrest suspected illegal immigrants, the state ignited a firestorm in a midterm election year. And for Kris Kobach, the former Bush administration lawyer who helped draft the legislation, the crackdown in Arizona is just the beginning."

Kris Kobach, Architect Of Arizona Immigration Law SB1070, Is Behind Other Controversial Laws
John Hanna reports for the Huffington Post: "When politicians and police across the country want to crack down on illegal immigration, they often reach out to the same man: a little-known Kansas attorney with an Ivy League education who is the architect behind many of the nation's most controversial immigration laws.  Kris Kobach could not attend West Point because of diabetes, but he regards his efforts on immigration as a substitute for military service."

Campaign Notebook: Kobach working on “birthright citizenship” issue
Scott Rothschild reports for the Lawrence Journal World: "Kris Kobach, the Republican candidate for Kansas secretary of state who helped Arizona legislators approve a controversial immigration law, said Wednesday he is working with those legislators on a proposal aimed at denying automatic citizenship to children born in the country to parents who are illegal immigrants."

Excess Is the Way to Oblivion
Mike Hendricks reports for the Kansas City Star: " Is Kris Kobach the reincarnation of Phill Kline? And if so, should Kansans be worried? KU political science professor Burdett Loomis thinks so as Kobach vies to become secretary of state. Like Kline, Loomis says, Kobach is an ambitious crusader bent on using his office to focus on wedge issues that are more important to his political career than to you and me. “Phill Kline grabbed one issue — late-term abortions — and turned it into witch hunts that threatened the privacy of many Kansas women,” Loomis wrote in a recent commentary."

Architect Of Arizona Immigration Law Kris Kobach Faces FEC Criticism
Andrea Nill reports for Think Progress: “Local Kansas newspapers are reporting that Kris Kobach, the architect of the Arizona immigration law and candidate for Kansas Secretary of State, is being criticized by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) for the financial management of the Kansas Republican Party during his tenure as chairman. According to reports, when Kobach left the group in 2009, it had less than $5,000 in its treasury. A recent audit reveals he and then executive director Christian Morgan spent $788,000 during their two years in charge, nearly $10,000 more than was contributed. The audit also shows that, under Kobach and Morgan’s watch, 'state and federal taxes weren’t paid, illegal contributions were accepted and questionable expenditures were made.'”

Audit Links to Past KS GOP Miscues
Tim Carpenter reports for the Topeka Capitol Journal: "Two former administrators of the Kansas Republican Party were implicated Monday in a case of financial mismanagement that ranged from failure to pay state and federal taxes, acceptance of illegal contributions and approval of questionable expenditures over a two-year period."

Kris Kobach Relies Heavily On Voter Fraud Scare Tactics For His Kansas Seat Bid
Media Matters for American has provided an extensive listing of Kobach's "voter fraud" arguments and checks his "facts."  MMA writes: "Known nationally as a key proponent of anti-illegal immigrant legislation, Kris Kobach has also set his sights on becoming the Kansas Secretary of State.  A large part of his push for the seat rests on his assertion that Kansas elections are rife with fraud.  In truth, instances of voter fraud are rare in Kansas.  That fact and Kobach's moves to enact laws that prevent the elderly and the poor from voting probably won't endear him to Kansans."

13 September 2010

Clippings for 12 September 2010

September 11 Happened to All of Us
Marcia Alesan Dawkins writes for Truthdig.com: "Tensions are high in Tennessee, as they have been all over our nation, in anticipation of the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Controversies abound. Mosque-building, book burning and threats of violence are making it increasingly difficult to separate what pastor/author Rick Warren is calling 'church and hate.'"

The Self-Inflicted Wounds of 9/11
Melvin A. Goodman, Truthout: "Nearly twice as many Americans have died fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than were lost in the 9/11 attacks. The total cost of these long wars will be in the trillions of dollars. When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, the cost of oil was less than $25 a barrel; the price reached $140 a barrel in 2008 and, currently, the price is still three times the 2001 levels. The entire national security system has suffered as a result of the wrong-headed actions of the Bush administration in Iraq and the Obama administration in Afghanistan."

Hate Takes Center Stage
Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Tanya Somanader, and Max Bergmann write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "Hate pastor Terry Jones and his small Dove World congregation are planning an event to burn the Quran in Gainesville, FL on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. His plan -- dubbed "International Burn a Quran Day" -- has now become a global story that, according to top American commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus, could endanger the lives of American forces and American foreign policy goals. While similar acts from Jones and others went widely ignored in the past -- in 2008 the incendiary Kansas-based Westboro church burned a Quran on a Washington D.C. street --  today they are front-page news. So what changed? Jones' event comes at the end of a hate-filled summer in which the right wing fostered anti-Muslim vitriol has risen to unprecedented levels. This has led to a growing sense both in the U.S. and around the world that perhaps Jones' hateful plan is not just an isolated incident, but is reflective of an increasingly intolerant America. If  Jones follows through, it will inevitably further endanger our troops and increase animosity toward the United States. But this act of hate -- just like the burning of a cross, or painting of a swastika -- is also about the response it elicits. The response in the form of public statements and counterprotests will likely demonstrate the strengths, not the weaknesses, of American values: a country that not just protects the freedom to demonstrate, while showing that hate-filled individuals such as Jones in no way represent America."

How Much "Success" Can Afghans Stand?
Nick Turse provides the following analysis for TomDispatch: "Almost a decade after the US invasion, life for Afghan civilians is not a subject Americans care much about and so, not surprisingly, it plays little role in Washington's discussions of 'success.' Have a significant number of Afghans found the years of occupation and war 'successful'? Has there been a payoff in everyday life for the indignities of the American years - the cars stopped or sometimes shot up at road checkpoints, the American patrols trooping through fields and searching homes, the terrifying night raids, the imprisonments without trial, or the way so many Afghans continue to be treated like foreigners, if not criminal suspects, in their own country? For years, American leaders have hailed the way Afghans are supposedly benefiting from the US role in their country. But are they?"

Calls for Change of US Strategy in Afghanistan Grow Loude
Jim Lobe reports for Inter Press Service: "In a new report released here Wednesday, a bipartisan group of some three dozen former senior officials, academics, and policy analysts argued that the administration's ambitious 'nation-building' efforts in Afghanistan are costing too much in U.S. blood and treasure and that, in any event, '(p)rospects for success are dim.'"

Soldiers With Brain Trauma Denied Purple Hearts, Adding Insult to Injury
T. Christian Miller, ProPublica and Daniel Zwerdling, NPR, report: "The U.S. Army honors soldiers wounded or killed in combat with the Purple Heart, a powerful symbol designed to recognize their sacrifice and service. Yet Army commanders have routinely denied Purple Hearts to soldiers who have sustained concussions in Iraq, despite regulations that make such wounds eligible for the medal, an investigation by NPR and ProPublica has found." Photo: Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty Images - A U.S. Marine runs to safety moments after an IED blast in Garmsir district of Helmand Province in Afghanistan on July 13, 2009.

Why Peaceniks Should Care About the Afghanistan Study Group Report
Robert Naiman, The Huffington Post: "Peace activists can't be satisfied with being right; they also are morally compelled to try to be effective. And part of being effective is giving consideration to, and seeking to publicize, arguments are likely to end the war sooner rather than later. This is why it is important for as many people as possible to read and digest the short and accessible report of the 'Afghanistan Study Group' which has been publicly unveiled this week. The assumptions and conclusions of the ASG report should be the subject of a thousand debates. But there are a few things about it that one can say without fear of reasonable contradiction. The authors of the report oppose the war and want to end it."

Racialized Memories and Class Identities - Thinking About Glenn Beck's and Rush Limbaugh's America
Henry A. Giroux, Truthout: "Echoes of racism now present themselves in multiple forms and are spreading across the country like a highly contagious virus. This is obvious in terms of a racist cultural pedagogy spread largely through a right-wing cultural apparatus. But its traces and effects can also be found in acts of real violence that now run like a highly charged electric current through the mainstream media, which both reproduces representations of racist violence while failing to comment on it critically." Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Gage Skidmore, Karl Schmeck 1, 2

The Tortoise Economy
Robert Reich comments for Robert Reich's Blog: "Word from the twelve Federal Reserve Banks, summarized in the Fed's so-called 'Beige Book,' shows the economy slowing in July and August. Duh. But the Fed is quick to point out the economy overall is still growing - even though it's growing more slowly than in the spring. Can we have a moment of realism here, please? In 2008 and 2009 the economy fell into the deepest hole it's been in since the Great Depression. Since then we've been struggling to get out. We're failing big time."

The United States of Inequality - The Great Divergence 2010: What's causing America's growing income inequality?
Timothy Noah writes the first in a six-part series for Slate: "In 1915, a statistician at the University of Wisconsin named Willford I. King published The Wealth and Income of the People of the United States, the most comprehensive study of its kind to date. The United States was displacing Great Britain as the world's wealthiest nation, but detailed information about its economy was not yet readily available; the federal government wouldn't start collecting such data in any systematic way until the 1930s. One of King's purposes was to reassure the public that all Americans were sharing in the country's newfound wealth."

Other titles is this series:
Here's What's the Matter With Kansas
Kevin Drumm writes for Mother Jones: "Why has income inequality grown so explosively over the past 30 years? Why do so many working and middle class voters cast their ballots for a party that's so obviously a captive of corporations and the rich? Why is there no longer any real sustained effort to improve the lot of the middle class?"

It's the Mortgages, Stupid
Robert Scheer comments for Truthdig: "This week's proposals by the Obama administration to deal with the persistent economic crisis will be, as with previous plans that involved trillions of taxpayer dollars, little more than salt in the wounds. Once again the strategy is to stimulate the economy by funding projects and tax cuts while ignoring the root cause of the problem: a housing foreclosure meltdown that has chilled the spending of a majority of American consumers."

Illegal immigration: What's the real cost to taxpayers?
Edward Schumacher-Matos comments for the Washington Post: "In 1909, at the height of the last great immigration wave, when immigrants reached a peak of almost 15 percent of the U.S. population, they made up about half of all public welfare recipients. They were two-thirds of welfare recipients in Chicago. In the country's 30 largest cities, meanwhile, more than half of all public school students were the children of immigrants. They were three-fourths in New York."

A Chance for Supreme Court Damage Control
E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes for Truthdig: "Imagine that your neighbors started getting letters describing all sorts of horrific deeds you had allegedly performed. Wouldn’t you feel you had the right to know who was spreading this sleaze—especially if the charges were untrue?"

The Neoliberal Bait and Switch
David Sirota writes for Truthdig.com: "In simplistic, Lexus-and-Olive-Tree terms, the neoliberal economic argument goes like this: Tariff-free trade policies are great because they increase commerce, and we can mitigate those policies’ negative effects on the blue-collar job market by upgrading our education system to cultivate more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) specialists for the white-collar sector."

Why Is College So Expensive? The War on Public Universities
Amy DePaul writes for AlterNet: "With 220,000 students, 10 campuses strung across America’s most populous state, five medical centers, three national science laboratories and groundbreaking academic research, the University of California (U.C.) has long symbolized excellence in public higher education. But all that may be changing as a result of budget cuts, reduced access and tuition hikes plaguing public colleges in California and across the country."

Tea Party vs. U.S. Social Forum: Mass movements that matter for media—Round 2
Julie Hollar writes for Extra!: "When it comes to covering activist gatherings, corporate media have established clear standards: Numbers don’t count nearly as much as politics do. Last fall, when tens of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists and their allies marched on Washington in a grassroots rally for equality, media gave it far less coverage than the similarly sized, largely corporate-funded Tea Party protest in Washington just a month earlier (Extra!, 12/09). So it came as little surprise that the Tea Party Convention this February would get more coverage than the June U.S. Social Forum, five days of strategizing, organizing and activism inspired by the World Social Forum launched in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2001. What was a little shocking, though, was just how stark the difference was."

Right-Wing Republicans vs. Corporate Democrats vs. Progressive Populists
Norman Solomon comments for Truthout: "Progressives need to fight back - today, tomorrow and every day. The electoral struggle is just one part of what's needed to build effective social movements, but it's an important part. And that effort should include primary battles to elect real progressives to Congress. One such election is coming up Tuesday in Rhode Island, where progressive populist David Segal is running against corporate Democratic insiders to fill the seat of retiring Congressman Patrick Kennedy."

Koran-Burning Pastor Was Once The GOP's Poster Child For German Intolerance Of Christians
Megan Carpentier writes for Talking Points Memo: "Terry Jones, the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center who plans to burn Korans on Saturday to the chagrin of many anti-Islam and anti-mosque advocates, has a long history of claiming that he is the one subjected to discrimination. Before he moved to Florida in 2008 to take the helm of the DWOC, he had a small church in Cologne with some pretty big problems -- and plenty of prominent Republicans had his back."

Two Multibillionaire Brothers Are Remaking America for Their Own Benefit
Jim Hightower comments for Truthout: "Do you buy Northern tissue, Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups or Vanity Fair napkins? These well-known brands are owned and produced by Koch Industries (pronounced 'coke') in Wichita, Kan. Koch is also a major producer of oil, gas, timber, coal, cattle, refined petroleum, asphalt, polyethylene plastic ... and much, much more.... Charles and David Koch, who control this family-owned empire, have a net worth of $14 billion each, ranking both in a tie for the 19th richest person on the planet.... Charles and David have used the wealth they draw from Koch Industries to fuel a network of three Koch Family Foundations, which have set up and financed a secretive army of political operatives dedicated to achieving the brothers' antigovernment, corporate-controlled vision for America."

Fox Calls for Repeal of the 20th Century
Matthew Gertz provides the follow news analysis for Media Matters: "Since President Obama's election, Fox personalities have expressed opposition to or called for the repeal of virtually every progressive achievement of the 20th century, including Social Security, Medicare, the Americans with Disabilities Act, portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution."

GOP Recruits Homeless People to Run as Green Party Candidates
Marc Lacey reports for the New York Times: "Benjamin Pearcy, a candidate for statewide office in Arizona, lists his campaign office as a Starbucks. The small business he refers to in his campaign statement is him strumming his guitar on the street. The internal debate he is having in advance of his coming televised debate is whether he ought to gel his hair into his trademark faux Mohawk." Photo: Joshua Lott for The New York Times - Steve May, right, a Republican, recruited three street people, from left, Thomas Meadows, Anthony Goshorn and Benjamin Pearcy, to run as Green Party candidates in Arizona.

Right-Wing Tilt on Sunday Morning: The conservative records of talking-head lawmakers
Jim Naureckas and Alyssa Figueroa write for Extra! : "Lawmakers talking about U.S. policy issues are the bread and butter of the Sunday morning news shows—NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, CBS’s Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday. An Extra! study of the lawmakers who appear on these shows finds they have voting records that tilt to the right. Extra! studied the guests on these four programs from January 25, 2009—the first show after Obama’s inauguration—until April 25, 2010, more than a year into his administration. Guests who were current members of the Senate or House of Representatives, or former members since 2001, were tallied by voting record (in the 111th Congress or, for former lawmakers, the most recent available) according to the VoteView system."

The Military's Media Megaphone and the US Global Military Presence
Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch: "To grasp the changing nature of military influence domestically, consider the military's relationship to the media.... Generals and admirals now mouth off regularly on a wide range of policy issues, appealing to the American public both directly and via deferential (sometimes fawning) reporters, pundits, and commentators. They and their underlings clearly leak news repeatedly for tactical advantage in policy-making situations. They organize what are essentially political-style barnstorming campaigns for what once would have been 'foreign policy' positions, and increasingly this is just the way the game is played."

11 September 2010

Community Cultural Harmony Week 2010

Community Bridge opens this week with Scott Jones in a discussion of the activities planned for Community Cultural Harmony Week 2010 that takes place the seek of September 20th. Then Breanna Clary, Ecumenical Campus Ministry, joins us in studio for a discussion of Real Food Lunch. served each Thursday between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m and provides a healthy lunch to students from K-State.

We close out this week's show first with a clip featuring Phyllis Bennis in a discussion of the "end to the Iraq war" from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting and then hear Katrina vanden Heuvel on fighting the class war from GRITtv.

MP3 File

McCain Auditorium's 40th Anniversary

In our second hour this week, host Dusty Garner takes the mic as we open with this week's Media Minutes. Then we welcome Todd Holmberg, executive director of the McCain Auditorium, to discuss its 40th anniversary celebration in a previously taped interview.

We close out with the first of a series of interviews featuring candidates for elected office this November with our own writer/producer Christopher Renner discussing his vision for Riley County and why he is running for county commissioner.  For more information visit: http://www.christopherrenner.com.

MP3 File

07 September 2010

Clippings for 7 September 2010

A Labor Day Commitment to the Common Good
Jim Hightower, Truthout: "America's corporate chieftains must love poor people, for they're doing all they can to create millions more of them. ... This Labor Day, we see corporate executives and their politicians relentlessly dismantling that framework, piece by piece - and we see the middle class disappearing and poverty rising with each dismantled piece. But as labor icon Joe Hill said just before he was executed by Utah authorities for his unionizing activities, 'Don't mourn, organize.' It's time for working families to organize again for the revitalization of the middle class."

1938 in 2010
Paul Krugman writes for the New York Times: "Here’s the situation: The U.S. economy has been crippled by a financial crisis. The president’s policies have limited the damage, but they were too cautious, and unemployment remains disastrously high. More action is clearly needed. Yet the public has soured on government activism, and seems poised to deal Democrats a severe defeat in the midterm elections."

Why 100,000 Jobs a Month Won't Lower Unemployment Rate
Mark Trumbull writes for the Christian Science Monitor: "Stock investors cheered Friday because the latest monthly jobs report wasn't terrible. But the big issue remains: Even if you set aside the temporary impact of downsizing at the Census Bureau, the economy isn't generating nearly enough new jobs to bring down the US unemployment rate.  Here's the problem. August marked the eighth straight month of job gains in the the private sector – a welcome pattern that President Obama was quick to highlight. Yet those gains average less than 100,000 per month. That's not enough to improve the job market, economists say."

Unemployment Edges Up to 9.6 Percent as Weak Job Growth Continues
Dean Baker writes for The Center for Economic and Policy Research: "The unemployment rate edged up to 9.6 percent in August as the economy shed 54,000 jobs. The decline was entirely attributable to the loss of 114,000 temporary Census jobs. Excluding these jobs, the economy created 60,000 jobs. With job growth for the prior two months revised up by 123,000, excluding the Census jobs, the August pace is roughly even with June and July."

10 Ways to Solve the Jobs Problem
Fran Korten writes for YES! Magazine: "As the midterm political season heats up, one word on every politician's lips is 'jobs.' And for good reason. People are hurting - they can't pay their mortgages, send their kids to college, pay their dental bills. Young people are wondering if they have a place in the work world … So - imagine a no-holds-barred 'summit' that comes up with ideas to solve both our job and environmental problems. What might it come up with?"

How Ruthless Banks Gutted the Black Middle Class and Got Away With It
Devona Walker reports for AlterNet: "The American middle class has been hammered over the last several decades. The black middle class has suffered to an even greater degree. But the single most crippling blow has been the real estate and foreclosure crisis. It has stripped black families of more wealth than any single event in U.S. history. Due entirely to subprime loans, black borrowers are expected to lose between $71 billion and $92 billion."

The Great Jobs Depression Worsens, and the Choice Ahead Grows Starker
Robert Reich comments on Robert Reich's Blog: "The number of Americans willing and able to work but who cannot find a job hasn't stopped growing since the start of 2008. All told, about 22 million Americans are now jobless. Add in those who are working part-time who'd rather be working full time, and we're up to 25 million … It is not that America is out of ideas. We know what to do…The problem is lack of political will to do it."

We're Being Conned on Social Security
Joshua Holland writes for AlterNet: "Allow me to take a moment to fix that whole 'Social Security crisis' that has everyone in Washington gnashing their teeth. When you see how easily it's done, you may begin to realize that whenever our elites start chattering about 'tax-gaps,' they're almost certainly trying to rip you off - making a slick grab for something to which you are, ultimately, 'entitled.' But why stop there? Why play defense? After we fix the program, why don't we increase Social Security benefits?"

Social Security Under Attack
Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Tanya Somanader, Pat Garofalo, and George Zornick write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Social Security Act, and despite its standing as arguably the most successful social program in the country's history, Social Security has come under assault from a variety of Republican lawmakers and candidates. In his 'Roadmap for America's Future,' Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the ranking member on the House Budget Committee, suggested privatizing the program, along the lines of the plan proposed by former President Bush in 2005. Florida's Republican Senate nominee Marco Rubio has said 'proposals that have to be talked about' include raising the retirement age and cutting benefits for younger workers. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said she simply wants to 'wean everybody off' Social Security, while Nevada's Republican senate nominee Sharron Angle has called for it to be 'phased out.' Those launching the assault on Social Security are attempting to use the nation's budget deficit as an excuse to justify their desire to cut it. In fact, Alan Simpson, the Republican co-chair of President Obama's deficit commission, likened the program to 'a milk cow with 310 million tits.' But the arguments conservatives put forth for radically remaking a program that millions of Americans depend on are incredibly thin, especially given Social Security's relatively sound fiscal condition, which ensures its availability for decades. Here is a rundown of the three conservative views for reforming Social Security and why they all fail to pass the laugh test."

The Cry for Democratic Moral Leadership and Effective Communication
George Lakoff comments for Truthout: "If you have not read Drew Westin's outstanding piece "What Created the Populist Explosion and How Democrats Can Avoid the Shrapnel in November" on The Huffington Post, AlterNet, and other venues, read it immediately. Westin states as eloquently and forcefully as anyone what he, I, and other progressives have been saying from the beginning of the Obama administration. I agree fully with everything he says. But ... Westin's piece is incomplete in crucial ways. His piece can be read as saying that this election is about kitchen table economics (right) and only kitchen table economics (wrong)."

Anti-intellectualism in America
Dan Weil writes for The Daily Censored: "George W. Bush liked to spout off and boast about how he did not like to read the newspaper or even read at all.  Sarah Palin could not tell a piece of literature from a Facebook blog.   Yet they all pretend that they somehow have received or earned some intellectual status as they banter about regarding race, culture, economics, war, and society.  Glenn Beck, for example, tells his audiences how well read he is when it comes to the ‘founding fathers’ of which he picks and chooses the sections that will help him distort historical reality.  Well, the news is these anti-intellectual, check-out at the register magazine frauds are not alone in both their disdain for intellectualism and their own heightened embrace of ant-intellectualism under the guise of wisdom and sagacious policy proposals."

Glenn Beck's George Washington Wopper
Stephanie Mencimer writes for Mother Jones: "During his much-ballyhooed "Restoring Honor" rally on Saturday, Glenn Beck told a whopper involving the founding father who was supposedly unable to tell a lie: George Washington. Speechifying at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, the controversial Fox News host highlighted the legacy of the nation's first president to drive home his claim that encouraging honesty and integrity was a main aim of the event. Beck even told attendees that 'the next George Washington' was 'in this crowd. He may be 8 years old, but this is the moment. This is the moment that he dedicates his life, that he sees giants around him. And 25 years from now, he will come not to this stair, but to those stairs. And he can proclaim, 'I have a new dream.''"  Photoillustration by Mario Piperni

Is BP Blackmailing the Feds?
Kate Sheppard writes for Mother Jones: "When the details on the deal between the federal government and BP to set up a $20 billion fund to compensate spill victims were released last month, I reported on concerns that the design of the fund might compromise its long-term viability and create a conflict of interest in cracking down on BP's misdeeds. The fund was designed in such a way that it basically hinges on keeping BP's Gulf-drilling subsidiary in production and turning a profit."

Gulf Oil Spill Puzzle: A Giant Piece Begins Long Rise to Surface
Patrik Jonsson reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "The mystery of why the massive blowout preventer at the heart of the Deepwater Horizon accident failed and caused the enormous Gulf oil spill is a step closer to being solved.... The blowout preventer is expected to become a key piece of evidence in several federal probes, including criminal investigations, to find out the cause of the spill."

Why Al Franken Was Right about Net Neutrality
Leslie Harris writes for the Huffington Post: "Last week Senator Al Franken made an important speech, calling Internet neutrality 'the First Amendment issue of our time.' If I had heard that claim a few years ago, I would have thought it verged on political hyperbole. But after reading the comments filed by major ISPs in the FCC's net neutrality proceeding, I think Franken is right. For many members of Congress net neutrality isn't a polling point heading into the November elections, but few other issues hold significance for the future of speech and the democratic exchange of ideas in this country."