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

02 September 2010

Clippings for 2 September 2010

Seven Key Facts about Social Security and the Federal Budget (pdf file)
Heading into the midterm elections, Social Security has proven to be one of the hot button issues of this cycle. Despite the fact that the program has just begun its 75th year contributing to the retirement security of millions, the relationship between Social Security and the federal budget is unclear to many Americans. A new issue brief from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) addresses seven issues about this relationship and in the process demonstrates that Social Security can continue to be a cornerstone of retirement without posing an undue burden to the budget well into the future. “Seven Key Facts About Social Security and the Federal Budget,” functions as a primer on some of the most important topics in the Social Security debate, topics that are essential for any policymakers, reporters or anyone else concerned about the future of Social Security.

On the 75th Anniversary of Social Security
Senator Russ Feingold writes: "Saturday, August 14th marks the 75th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act into law. Senator Russ Feingold released the following statement to commemorate the anniversary.
“After 75 years, Social Security continues to be one of the most successful programs in our nation’s history. On this anniversary, Wisconsin is especially proud since three of the men who helped to create the program – Arthur Altmeyer, Edwin Witte and Wilbur Cohen – hailed from Wisconsin and were trained at the University of Wisconsin. Created when our nation faced devastating job losses and uncertainty, Social Security has given a measure of economic security to generations of American seniors. Today, 50 million Americans benefit from this landmark program, and retired workers know they can rely on a basic benefit for which they have worked."
On Social Security's 75th Anniversary, Millennials Think 2040 for 75 More
Hilary Dole writes for the Roosevelt Institute: "As the National Director of one of the Nation’s largest student organizations, I am confident that Millennials nationwide have the potential to dramatically reframe the Social Security conversation. There is a misconception that this largest-ever generation of Americans does not care about Social Security and the outcome of potential reforms.  Despite the fact that the Social Security debate revolves around the alleged burden that the national debt places on “the next generation”, young people are rarely asked to contribute to these conversations."

75th Anniversary: Social Security Reshaped Nation
John Davis writes for the Poughkeepsie Journal: "It's been called the most significant social program in the history of the United States. Since it was signed into law in 1935, the Social Security Act has provided old-age pensions, unemployment insurance, guaranteed income for those unable to work due to disabilities and financial aid to families with dependent children."

Democrats Raise Prospect of ‘Tweaking’ Social Security
Sahil Kapur writes for The Raw Story: "Fears about the national debt among Washington insiders have reignited debate about the future of Social Security, and a Democratic spokesman on Monday dismissed calls for privatization but conceded the program may need to be "tweaked" in order to ensure long-term solvency."

A Speech for Endless War
Norman Solomon comments for Truthout: "While now trumpeting the nobility of an Iraq war effort that he'd initially disparaged as 'dumb,' Barack Obama is polishing a halo over the Afghanistan war, which he touts as very smart. In the process, the Oval Office speech declared that every US war - no matter how mendacious or horrific - is worthy of veneration ... With his commitment to war in Afghanistan, President Obama is not only on the wrong side of history. He is also now propagating an exculpatory view of any and all US war efforts - as if the immoral can become the magnificent by virtue of patriotic alchemy." Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: NASA/Paul E. Alers, Spc. Luke Thornberry / U.S. Army

Two Wars Don’t Make a Right
Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig.com: "The carnage is not yet complete, and President Barack Obama’s attempt to put the best face on the ignominious U.S. occupation of Iraq will not hide what he and the rest of the world well know. The lies that empowered George W. Bush to invade Iraq represent an enduring stain on the reputation of American democracy. Our much-vaunted system of checks and balances failed to temper the mendacity of the president who acted like a king and got away with it. "

Wounds of Iraq War: US Struggles with Surge of Returning Veterans
Michael Farrell reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "In the spring of 2005, Marine Lt. Col. Mike Zacchea returned from the Iraq war to his Long Island, N.Y., home both a hero and a shattered man. Zacchea excelled in battle. During Operation Phantom Fury, the all-out assault against Sunni insurgents in Fallujah in late 2004, he earned a Bronze Star for valor. He received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded just feet from him, piercing his shoulder with shrapnel. Doctors said his injuries were aggravated when he refused to be airlifted out – he didn't want to leave the Iraqi Army soldiers whom he trained and fought alongside in the country's infamous Sunni Triangle."

In Afghanistan, Supplying US Military Is Big Business
Ben Gilbert reports for GlobalPost: "Moving all the things 100,000 troops need to fight and survive in a hostile foreign land is never an easy task. In a landlocked, mountainous country the size of Texas, with few paved roads, it is even harder. 'I don't think anyone has ever brought in this much equipment to a landlocked country that has only two major airports,' said Col. Gary Sheffer, acting commanding general of the U.S. Military's Joint Sustainment Command in Afghanistan." Photo: Ben Gilbert/GlobalPost

A Closer Look at Our Basic Needs in a Time of Crisis
Jon Letman writes for The Hawaii Independent: "Ours is a nation obsessed with security. Two months after the bitter sting of the 9/11 attacks, the federal government formed the Transportation Security Administration and, one year later, the Department of Homeland Security ... Yet as we approach our ninth year of war and occupation in Afghanistan and our eighth in Iraq, Americans have seen security at home eroded by financial collapse, a neglected infrastructure, a hemorrhaging job market, anemic social services and public health care crisis, volatile energy and food markets, and the complex realities of climate change."

After Saddam, America's Next Fake Enemy: Deficits
Paul Krugman, Krugman and Co.: "Lately, the hysteria over deficits in the United States has definitely brought back memories of that march to war [in Iraq].... If the Iraq parallel is any guide, and deficits become intolerable for everyone, years from now, when the American economy is mired in a deflationary trap - long after most people will have conceded that austerity was a mistake - only those who went along with the mistake will be considered 'serious,' while those who argued strenuously against a disastrous course of action will still be considered flaky and unreliable."

One of Obama's Social Security Slasher Wannabes Threatens Small Town with Nuclear Annihilation
Mike Elk writes for AlterNet: "A lot of attention has recently been focused on one of President Barack Obama's top advisers on the Federal Debt Commission -- Former Senator Alan Simpson, R-WY. Simpson has generated justifiable outrage for describing Social Security as "a milk cow with 310 million tits." But Simpson isn't the only unhinged fanatic on Obama's Debt Commission. One man, in particular, stands out as far more sinister, and he was hand-picked for the Commission post by Obama himself."

The Awful Price for Teaching Less Than We Know
Michael Winship writes for Truthout: "In its despair and confusion, a large segment of the American populace is prepared to believe anything it's told, in part because we are a country less and less educated, increasingly unable to tell fact from fiction because we are so unschooled in basic essential knowledge about America and the world ... So, is it any wonder that many Tea Partiers are equally unknowing of the fact that much of their grassroots movement is bankrolled by fat cats with ulterior motives like billionaire libertarians David Koch and his brother Charles ...?" Photo: Microsoft stock photo

Feds File New Arizona Immigration Lawsuit, This Time to Protect Workers
Daniel B. Wood reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "Less than two months after the US Department of Justice sued Arizona over the state's controversial immigration law, it has filed another lawsuit targeting immigration practices by Arizona authorities ... In the new suit, filed Monday, the Justice Department says Phoenix-area Maricopa Community Colleges (MCC) discriminated against almost 250 noncitizen job applicants by requiring them to fill out more documents than the law requires to prove their eligibility to work."

Florida Voters Can’t Strip Down Obama Health-Care Bill, Judge Rules
Warren Richey reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a ballot initiative that sought to amend the state’s constitution to establish that Florida residents have a right to refuse to purchase mandatory health insurance – including under President Obama’s reform effort." Photo: Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post/Newscom/File

This Side of Democracy
Stuart Whatley writes for the Huffington Post: "As it is an election year amidst the Great Recession, talk of the American plutocracy is very much in vogue. But to label the situation as unique belies centuries of history. A politico-economic class structure has long been an operative distorting force in American government; and long has the value of civic expression and democratic agency for the many been seen as dwarfed by the clout and privilege of a wealthy few."

SC's "You Lie" Wilson Under Ethics Investigation
James Rosen reports for McClatvhy News (via The State): "U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson acknowledged Tuesday that he’s under investigation by the House ethics committee for his use of travel funds while on at least one congressional trip to Afghanistan. Wilson, a Lexington County Republican in a tough re-election fight with Democrat Rob Miller, said the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct — the official name of the ethics panel — is looking into his purchase of six goblets for $12 while in Afghanistan in August 2009."

Glenn Beck's Great Whiteout
Andy Kroll writes for Mother Jones: "As we passed the Washington Monument this morning and waded into the growing crowd of thousands at today's "Restoring Honor" rally, my friend, Chris, surveyed the turnout and then leaned in toward me. 'Other than that guy back back there selling flags,' he said somewhat discreetly, 'I've got to be the only black person out here today.'"

The Hate Turns Violent
Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Tanya Somanader, and George Zornick write the progress report for Think Progress: "For months, the right wing has been leading a hateful campaign against the proposed Park 51 Islamic community center that will be built two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City. Many prominent conservatives like disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have even gone as far as to claim that Park 51 will act as a launching pad for the introduction of "Sharia law" to America. These top conservatives have claimed that they aren't opposed to all mosques, but rather just one near Ground Zero. Gingrich, for example, said he would not be offended by a mosque near Central Park or Columbia University. However, the culture of hate these right wingers are fomenting against Muslims is spreading all over the country. Mosques in locations as far apart as Madera, CA, and Murfreesboro, TN have faced hateful protests and angry threats. And unfortunately, in recent weeks, the hate has turned violent. Between a violent attack on a Muslim cab driver in New York City and an arson attempt against a mosque in the heart of the American South, the far right's toxic rhetoric is starting to have very real, very dangerous consequences."  Photo: DETROIT FREE PRESS

12 Most Deadly Fish (For Humans and the Planet)
Kiera Butler writes for Mother Jones: "Food & Water Watch just released its 2010 Smart Seafood Guide to the safety and sustainability of more than 100 kinds of fish and shellfish. Now I still love the Monterey Bay Aquarium's pocket guides and searchable Seafood Watch site (the only place where you can geek out with a trawling fact card, as far as I know), but the Smart Seafood Guide has a few unique features worth pointing out."

Our Enabling Media Is Worse Than Ever
Stanely Kutker writes for Truthdig.com: "Thomas Jefferson periodically expressed support for a free press as essential to an 'enlightened citizenry,' but when the reality of political life settled on him during his presidency and beyond, Jefferson had harsh words for it. The newspapers, he complained in 1803, 'present only the caricatures of disaffected minds.'  In his 'retirement' a decade later, Jefferson deplored the 'putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them.' The press’ capacity for mischief was ravenous, Jefferson complained. The media of the day, he said, were 'like the clergy, [who] live by the zeal they can kindle and the schisms they can create.'"

Public Interest Groups Growing Impatient With FCC
Juliana Gruenwald writes for the National Journal: "Saying the issue has been studied long enough, public interest groups Wednesday called on the FCC to proceed with action on network neutrality rules that would bar broadband providers from discriminating against or prioritizing Internet content. The groups made the call in response to the public notice issued Wednesday by the commission related to its open Internet proceeding. It has called for additional public comment on whether open Internet rules should be applied to wireless broadband and "specialized" services. It comes less than a month after Google and Verizon released a proposal that called for exempting such services from net neutrality rules, while applying them to wireline broadband.

There Is Some Leadership at the FCC
Art Brodsky writes for the Huffington Post: "Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps has managed the art of saying much in a few words. His latest salvo came in a 245-word letter to the editor in the Washington Post, in which he not only savaged yet another misbegotten Washington Post editorial about Internet policy, but also took on the Verizon-Google joint policy "recommendation" and then noted the cruel reality of the agency to which he has devoted almost nine years of his professional career."

AT and T Misleads FCC about ‘Paid Prioritization’ on the Internet
Free Press writes: "AT andT has filed a confusing and misleading letter with the FCC in an attempt to justify charging content companies for priority access to its Internet subscribers. In the letter, AT&T conflates “paid prioritization” – the anti-consumer practice of speeding up and slowing down Internet traffic according to which service provider pays more – with far more accepted business network management practices. Free Press and other Net Neutrality proponents oppose discriminatory “paid prioritization,” not these other arrangements."

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