Leaked: The Internet must go!

Hey! Are you on the internet right now? Of course you are! Then you should definitely check out this amazing video about what the internet companies are planning. This move could hurt both consumers and content creators--but of course would be a huge windfall for internet providers.

How weathly are Americans?

The disparity in wealth between the richest one percent of Americans and the bottom 80 percent has grown exponentially over the last thirty years — but the video, posted by user politizane and relying on data from a popular Mother Jones post, focuses on the difference between the ideal disparity that Americans would like to see and the reality.

Tax the Rich

So long! It's been fun.

Dear listeners,

In July 2011 I started a new job teaching Italian at Kansas State University. In some ways this was a return to my roots, as I taught English as a Foreign Language for 17 years in Italy. Now I am teaching English speakers Italian. I've come full circle.

This coming full circle also means the end of an attempt on my part to start a new career in my 50s. Sadly, as much as I tried to bring community radio to Manhattan, I was not successful. So I have decided to dedicate my energy and time to my first love, being an educator.

The archive of my shows will remain active - there's a lot of great content in the shows. So I hope you continue to listen and enjoy them.

Once again thank you for your support and encouragement over the five years the show was on the air. I know many feel that my program needs to be on the air and I agree with you that a diversity of voices is sorely lacking in the local media. But alas, it is not I who will bring that diversity. It will have to be someone else.

Christopher E. Renner

21 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."

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