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

30 April 2011

April 28 - David Solnit on Social Activitism

David Solnit first became involved in creating change in high school when he joined a campaign to abolish draft registration. Since then, the California-based carpenter, activist, and puppeteer, has been on the frontlines of direct action, protesting the US role in Central America in the 1980s, free trade deals and the WTO in the 1990s, and, more recently, the US intervention in Iraq.

Solnit is a co-founder of Art and Revolution, a loose-knit collective that combines art and theater with direct action. This creativity-with-a-purpose stands in a colorful tradition of theatrical dissent from the Diggers, the Yippies, and the French Situationists of the 1960s. Solnit and his predecessors subvert the system by pointing to alternatives,  using blatant contrast they show how fundamentally flawed the “normal” state of affairs  truly is.

Solnit was in Manhattan earlier this month to conduct a workshop on social action and to speak at the Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice annual meeting. I spoke with him on April 8th here in the KSDB studio.

Related articles:
David Solnit Stands Up For Protest, Yes! Magazine
The Battle for Reality, Yes! Magazine
David Solnit and The Art of Protest, Aid and Abet
David Solnit and The Arts of Change, Journal of Aesthetics and Protest
People Power: An Interview With David Solnit, Mother Jones

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24 April 2011

An Interview with David Bacon

Community Bridge opens with representatives of Morning Star, Inc., a consumer run organization (CRO). CROs are not-for-profit organizations, run by current and former consumers of mental health services. Richard Stitt, Executive Director and Elizabeth Stitt, Community Transition Coordinator at Morning Star, Inc., will join us to discuss this important community service.

Then David Bacon, union activist, journalist, and immigration rights advocate has a conversation with Community Bridge host Christopher Renner. Bacon presented the spring Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice lecture at K-State on February 28th.

Bacon is an associate editor at Pacific News Service, and writes for TruthOut, The Nation, The American Prospect, The Progressive, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. He has been a reporter and documentary photographer for 18 years, shooting for many national publications. He has exhibited his work nationally, and in Mexico, the UK and Germany. Bacon covers issues of labor, immigration and international politics.
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19 April 2011

Public Transportation Implementation Meeting Thursday @ 4:00 pm

As a follow-up to last Thursday show featuring Anne Smith and Commissioner Karen McColluh, I want to remind Community Bridge listeners to attend the Thursday's joint City/County meeting beginning at 4:00 pm in the County Commission Room, 115 North Fourth Street

As Anne Smith announced on the show the topic for this meeting is the Transit Implementation Plan.  Newly elected city commissioners Matta and Bulter need to know there is support in the Manhattan community for the proposed plan.  One way to demonstrate your support is to be in attendance at this meeting. 

As reported in the Monday's Manhattan Mercury, the Flint Hills Area Transportation Agency has received a grant from KDOT to fund two fixed bus routes in Manhattan.  The grant includes $400,000 in federal funds and $144,000 in state funds as well as money to replace a bus and to fund administrative services ($40,000).  The only funding left for aTa to secure is a $54,000 match from the City.  If the City won't provide the match, aTa, and thus all of Manhattan, will lose the grant and the implementation of the fixed routes will be delayed.

The new commissioners - Matta and Bulter (who are Tea Party activists) - have indicated they intend to closely watch the city's finances and cut spending.  However their ideology is likely to blind them to the needs of the working poor in Manhattan as well as university students and anyone else who does want to have to pay $4.00 a gallon for gas to drive their cars and the basic premise that government is to serve the people.

What better way to serve our community than by bringing state and federal tax dollars back into your community?  Especially when these tax dollars that will go to some other community, if we don't find a way to provide the match.  Thus setting our community back at a moment that is critical for the quality of life we have come to expect and enjoy in Manhattan.

Individuals can download the information packet at the following link:  http://www.ci.manhattan.ks.us/DocumentView.asp?DID=1989

15 April 2011

The State of Kansas Media - Part 2

Community Bridge opens this week with our follow up to last month's panel discussion on the state of the media in Kansas.  This week we take up the issue of conservative bias on the op-ed pages have how that affects reporting in general.  We touch on the issue of think tanks and how their talking points help determine what is said on the editorial pages.  Panelists also explore the role of Net Neutrality in providing people with access to diverse opinions and its role in a health democracy. We also hear about the National Conference for Media Reform, which took place this past weekend in Boston.  Joining us for this discussion are Michael Caddell, host of Radio Free Kansas; Tim Hjersted, Co-Founder and Director of Films for Action; and Pam Pohly, editor in chief of the Kansas Free Press.

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Public Transportation for Manhattan

In our second hour, Riley County Commissioner Karen McCulloh and aTa Bus director Anne Smith join us for a update on the future of public transportation in Manhattan.  aTa has received millions in federal grants to begin a regional and fix route transportation system in Manhattan. Smith and McCulloh provide an update, but could the recent Manhattan City Commission election waste this possibility to improve the quality of life in Manhattan? We also find out what is planned for the 2011 Earth Day celebration at K-State from Students for Environmental Action president Zach Pistora.

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10 April 2011

When We Were Strangers: An Interview with Pamela Schoenewaldt

Community Bridge opens this week with an interview featuring author Pamela Schoenewaldt in a discussion of her new novel, When We Were Strangers. The novel tells the story of Irma Vitale, an Italian immigrant who leaves her Abruzzo mountain village to come to America. Schoenewaldt takes up such current issues as immigration reform and women's reproductive rights in this historical novel that readers of Geraldine Brooks, Nancy Turner, Frances de Pontes Peebles, and Debra Dean will most certainly cherish. When We Were Strangers will live in the mind and the heart long after its last page is turned. Visit Schoenewaldt's webpage for more background information about the story.

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MRFF - Fighting for the Soul of the US Military

In the second hour,  Chris Rodda, author of Liars for Jesus and senior research director for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation joins host Christopher Renner via telephone.  

The MRFF fights unconstitutional religious oppression and tyranny in the U.S. armed forces.  Founded by Michael Weinstein, a 1977 Honor Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and legal counsel for the Reagan administration, MRFF directly battles the far-right militant radical evangelical religious fundamentalists who have infiltrated the US military. This battle is detailed in: With God On Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military released by St. Martin's Press in October 2006. The book is an expose on the systemic problem of religious intolerance throughout the United States armed forces.   

Rodda is a regular contributor at Talk2Action.org, a blogger on the Huffington Post, and maintains the Liars for Jesus website that provides inquiring minds with news and information on the radical extremists Dominionist Christian activities to pervert our constitutional rights and our US history.

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03 April 2011

Fight Plutocracy; Defend Public Services

What’s happening to American Democracy? Why are the two political parties only interested in what the wealthy think? Why does the middle class continue to shrink? Why does it seem corporations are above the law?

Well the answer lies in the growing reality that our democracy is being replaced by plutocracy. In the March/April edition of Mother Jones, Kevin Drum provides insights that every American should understand in preventing our experiment in democracy from becoming and fascist plutocracy. Joining us to discuss the Drum article as well as his own work on the topic is Andy Kroll, a journalist at Mother Jones.  You can find Any's writing at Mother Jones here.

In the second half of our first hour we take up HB 2390.

On March 14th, at the request of the Speaker of the House Mike O'Neal (R-Hutchinson), the chair of the Kansas House Appropriations Committee, Marc Rhodes (R-Newton), introduced HB 2390 that would abolish Kan-Ed and transfer all remaining assets to the state's general fund effective July 1 of this year.

Kan-Ed was created by the Kansas Legislature in 2001 and administered through the Kansas Board of Regents. The purpose of the program is to expand the collaboration capabilities of Kan-Ed's member institutions: K-12 schools, higher education, libraries and hospitals through the use of technology.  As such, it provides services including hospital ER databases, provides libraries, schools and hospitals with affordable and high-speed Internet connectivity, the ELMeR videoconferencing network, research databases (including all K-12 databases and Heritage Quest), Kan-Ed Live Tutor (Homework Kansas), and more.
HB 2390 is another attempt to destroy civilization as we know it and deprive Kansans of basic services.  We take up this issue in our first hour of Community Bridge this week with representatives from those communities served by the Kan-ed program.

Kan-ed is funded through the Kansas Universal Service fee which generates $60 million a year, of which $10 million is used to fund Kan-ed.  The other $50 million goes to telecom companies and since the KUS fee is excepted from the Kansas Open Meeting regulations, taxpayers have no idea where their money goes and why Cox Cable, the driving force behind the legislation, has determined that this public service needs to be doen away with.  The House passed HB 2390 by 69 to 51 on Friday April 1.

Joining us to discuss what Kan-ed is and how it benefits Kansans are Carol Barta from the North Central Kansas Libraries System; Jennifer Findley, Senior Director of Education at the Kansas Hospital Association; and Carol Woolbright who is the director Interactive Distance Learning Network at Greenbush Regional Education Service Center in southeastern Kansas.

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Brownback's War on the Mental Health Services

 A new report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, entitled, "State Mental Health Cuts: A National Crisis," reports that Kansas ranks seventh in the nation when it comes to cutting state funding for mental health programs.

Kansas spending on mental health services went from $115 million in 2009 to $97 million in 2011, a 16-percent decrease.
Kansas is among 34 states that have cut a total $1.8 billion, despite the need for mental health services increasing because of economic distress and troops returning home from war.

“Budget cuts mean people don’t get the right help in the right place at the right time,” said former Community Bridge guest Rick Cagan, executive director of NAMI Kansas to the Kansas City Star. “Local communities suffer and families break under the strain.”

Community Bridge takes up this issue in our second hour with Robbin Cole, Executive Director of Pawnee Mental Health on how Brownback's budget cuts to mental health services are hurting Kansans in need of mental health services in Manhattan and across the state.

At half past the hour, we are joined by Rev. Tobais Schlingensiepen, paster of First Congregational Church in Topeka, and Rev. Trudy Cretsinger, former pastor of Trinity Luthern Church in Topeka, representing Kansas families served by the Kansas Neurological Institute, another service Sam Brownback has deemed too costly for the state to continued to support. For fiscal year 2010, KNI's operational budget was $29 million, of which $16.5 million came from the federal government through Medicaid funds. State appropriations amounted to $10 million. KNI serves around 160 Kansans, the majority (83%) are aged between 30 and 59; 88 percent have a profound intellectual disability; 83 percent are unable to speak and the remainder have very limited speech abilities; 68 percent are unable to walk; and, 94 percent have lived at KNI for 10 years or more. But for Sam Brownback these people do not deserve to be care for by the state.

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Clippings for 3 April 2011

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%
Joseph Stiglitz writes in Vanity Fair: "It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow." Illustration: Mother Jones

The superrich have grabbed the bulk of the past three decades' gains.

Debt, Austerity and How to Fight Back
Frances Fox Piven and Cornel West comment in The Nation: "Wall Street Banks, American corporations and their political allies have declared a one-sided war on the American people. This war is being waged at our schools and colleges, the workplace and in our communities. Today, Americans are working harder and earning less while corporate profits soar. As homeowners, consumers and students we see our wealth being stripped away by banks."

Return to Wisconsin: The Beginning or the End?
Community Bridge guest Andy Kroll writes for TomDispatch: "In the February weeks I spent in snowy Madison, Wisconsin, that line of Didion's, the opening of her 1967 essay "Goodbye to All That," ricocheted through my mind as I tried to make sense of the massive protests unfolding around me. What was I witnessing? The beginning of a new movement in this country -- or the end of an existing one, the last stand of organized labor? Or could it have been both?"

Extensive Outsourcing Leads to Trouble
Paul Krugman, Krugman and Co.: "There's a new article in the March/April edition of the Washington Monthly making the point that the United States needs federal bureaucrats to manage spending, including spending on private contractors, and that understaffing the government - which we're doing already, and will do more of if the right gets its way - actually increases the deficit. I agree. 'In practice, cutting civil servants often means either adding private contractors or ... resorting to the belief that industries have a deep capacity to police themselves,' John Gravois writes."

Behind Michigan's "Financial Martial Law": Corporations and Right-Wing Billionaires
Andy Kroll writes for Mother Jones: "Last week, Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a fiercely contested bill giving unelected "emergency financial managers" unprecedented power to shred union contracts, privatize city services, and consolidate or dissolve local governments, all in the name of saving struggling cities and school districts. Dubbed "financial martial law" by one approving state GOP lawmaker and "disaster capitalism" by critics, Snyder and his bill have become a target for Wisconsin-like protests. Several thousand demonstrators marched on the Michigan Capitol in the days before Snyder signed the bill. But gone unmentioned is a little-known Michigan think tank that for years has been pushing for the most controversial provisions in Snyder's bill—and that's bankrolled by some of the same right-wing millionaires and billionaires that backed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his anti-union legislation."

Firefighters, Cops Warn Republicans Anti-Union Stance Has Consequences
Andrea Stone writes for the Huffington Post: "Leaders from two unions known to support the Republican Party warned of serious repercussions for GOP candidates in the 2012 elections, saying the onslaught of anti-labor bills in state capitals has shifted their political allegiances. 'Our political principles are pretty straightforward. We’ll support those that support us,' Harold Schaitberger, general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, told HuffPost. 'We tend to stick with those who stick with us.'  'There is a distinct possibility that the pro-labor candidate in the next election will be looked at much more favorably than their overall record,' Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, told HuffPost. 'The vast majority of our membership will put other issues aside.'”

American Workers Got What They Deserve
Ray Buursma comments for the Holland (MI) Sentinel: "Are you an American employee? If so, today’s column will likely offend you. If you’d rather not be offended, read no further. If you continue and then complain, I’m sorry, but that simply proves you’re, well, stupid. But then again, stupidity plays a large role in today’s topic. Still reading? OK. You’ve had fair warning.  So you’re an American employee. Maybe you make car parts. Maybe you’re an engineer or designer. Maybe you’re an accountant, store clerk or tradesman. Whatever you do, you’re probably stupid or lazy. Yes, I wrote it, and I mean it. You are either stupid or lazy. Maybe both."

The War on Child Labor Laws
Ian Millhiser reports for ThinkProgress: "Maine State Rep. David Burns is the latest of many Republican lawmakers concerned that employers aren't allowed to do enough to exploit child workers.... Rep. David Burns, R-Whiting, is sponsoring the bill, which also would eliminate the maximum number of hours a minor over 16 can work during school days. Burns' bill is particularly insidious, because it directly encourages employers to hire children or teenagers instead of adult workers. Because workers under 20 could be paid less than adults under this GOP proposal, minimum wage workers throughout Maine would likely receive a pink slip as their twentieth birthday present so that their boss could replace them with someone younger and cheaper."

The Collapse of Globalization
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig: "The uprisings in the Middle East, the unrest that is tearing apart nations such as the Ivory Coast, the bubbling discontent in Greece, Ireland and Britain and the labor disputes in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio presage the collapse of globalization. They presage a world where vital resources, including food and water, jobs and security, are becoming scarcer and harder to obtain. They presage growing misery for hundreds of millions of people who find themselves trapped in failed states, suffering escalating violence and crippling poverty. They presage increasingly draconian controls and force - take a look at what is being done to Pfc. Bradley Manning - used to protect the corporate elite who are orchestrating our demise."

Open Letter to the New Governor of Kansas: Looking for Economic Opportunities
Paul Johnson writes for the Kansas Rural Center: "Congratulations Governor Brownback on your election as the 46th Governor of the great state of Kansas. In the midst of a very serious economic recession and the highest unemploy-ment in decades, Kansas should use this situation to reassess certain fundamental infrastructures in our state – food, energy and affordable housing. In remembrance of our 150 years of pioneering self-reliance, Kansas can rediscover an economic independence that will boost our economy, create more local employment and leave us less vulnerable to future food and fuel price hikes. The State of Kansas has developed and funded several 10-year transportation plans but that model has not been applied to our systems of food, energy and affordable housing. You could provide such guidance."

Why I Called Bradley Manning's Treatment 'Stupid'
PJ Crowley writes for The Guardian UK: "Earlier this month, I was asked by an MIT graduate student why the United States government was "torturing" Private First Class Bradley Manning, who is accused of being the source of the WikiLeaks cables that have been reported by the Guardian and other news outlets and posted online. The fact is the government is doing no such thing. But questions about his treatment have led to a review by the UN special rapporteur on torture, and challenged the legitimacy of his pending prosecution.  As a public diplomat and (until recently) spokesman of the department of state, I was responsible for explaining the national security policy of the United States to the American people and populations abroad. I am also a retired military officer who has long believed that our civilian power must balance our military power. Part of our strength comes from international recognition that the United States practises what we preach. Most of the time, we do. This strategic narrative has made us, broadly speaking, the most admired country in the world."

FBI Spied on Little Kids for Days at a Time, Documents Reveal
Eric Doaln writes for the Raw Story: "The digital rights advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced Thursday it had discovered violations stemming from the FBI's use of expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. Documents obtained by the group as the result of pending Freedom of Information Act litigation suggest that abuses of surveillance powers granted by the PATRIOT Act had been flagged by the FBI...Among the heavily-redacted documents obtained by the EFF is a report [PDF] showing that the FBI monitored young children for five days, despite the fact that none of the voices being monitored matched the language of the target. The report concluded that the roving wiretap violation occurred as a result of an inadequate review of the wiretap renewal application."

Koch Operative May Have Deceived Officials to Take $2.7 Million in Taxpayer Money for Governor's Race
Steve Lebowitz and Lee Fang report for ThinkProgress: "In 2008, Steve Lonegan, the New Jersey state director for David Koch's Americans for Prosperity group, announced a campaign to run for governor. Running as a Republican, Lonegan lost to Chris Christie (R-NJ) in the Republican primary, and Christie went on to win the general election later in 2009. But recent tax disclosures examined by ThinkProgress reveal that Lonegan, who used $2.7 million in taxpayer matching funds for his gubernatorial campaign, may have deceived public officials in order to collect the public money used for his campaign."

Representative McDermott: GOP Cuts to Anti-Poverty Programs Are "Morally Wrong" and "Fiscally Stupid"
Pat Garofalo reports for ThinkProgress: "The current continuing resolution under which the federal government is operating expires on April 8, and at the moment, it seems that budget talks between House Republican leadership and Senate Democrats have broken down. Republicans want their spending bill - H.R. 1 - to 'serve as a starting point for all negotiations' (even though Democrats have now upped the amount of spending cuts they're willing to pass, alongside zero concessions from Republicans)."

Recommended Audio: Rachel Maddow - Maddow Gets Radio Silence On Michigan FOIA Questions
Evan McMorris-Santoro writes for Talking Points Memo: "On her show last night (March 28), MSNBC's Rachel Maddow followed up on our story about the labor studies professor FOIAs in Michigan. She found the conservative donors who fund the think tank asking for emails from Michigan professors about, among other things, Maddow herself, less than willing to talk about where they sent their money. Quick refresher: the Mackinac Center, a Michigan think tank funded by big names in the conservative movement ranging from the Kochs to the Wal-Mart Waltons to the family that founded Blackwater, used the Freedom Of Information Act to request copies of every email sent or received by labor studies professors at state universities that mentioned Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), the city of Madison and Maddow. The universities have not decided how to respond, but the professors say the FOIAs suggest Mackinac is trying to catch them in illegal political advocacy. Mackinac has declined to speak on the record about the requests."

Poll: Unfavorable View Of Tea Party Hits Record High
John Turnbush writes for Talking Point Memo: "The percentage of Americans who hold an unfavorable opinion of the Tea Party movement rose to an all-time in a new CNN poll released today. CNN found the Tea Party ranked nearly as unpopular as both the Republican and Democratic parties. In the poll, 47% of adult Americans said they viewed the Tea Party unfavorably, compared to 32% who said they viewed it favorably. The latest finding continues a trend of the Tea Party losing popularity as it has became more well known."

The Chambers Genie
Faiz Shakir, Benjamin Armbruster, George Zornick, Zaid Jilani, Alex Seitz-Wald, Tanya Somanader, and Ian Millhiser write the Progress Report for Think Progress: "Ever since Chief Justice Roberts joined the Supreme Court, corporate America has treated his Court as its personal genie, and Roberts has been eager to  grant even many of their most outlandish wishes. As soon as Roberts and his fellow conservative Justice Alito joined the high Court, the Chamber of Commerce's win rate before the justices spiked eight percentage points above its already very high levels under his conservative predecessor William Rehnquist. Nor is Roberts alone in his willingness to go the extra mile for wealthy corporations. A recent study found that every single justice is more likely to side with the Chamber than the just ice who held the seat 25 years ago. As one of the Chamber's top Supreme Court litigators bragged, "except for the solicitor general representing the United States,  no single entity has more influence on what cases the Supreme Court decides and how it decides them than the National Chamber Litigation Center." This week, corporate America made three especially large wishes to the justices, and the Court's conservatives once again appear eager to grant them."

Recommended Radio: TruthdigRadio - Helen Caldicott, Mr. Fish on Ice
Truthdig Radio airs every Wednesday at 2:00 PM in Los Angeles on 90.7 KPFK. If you can’t listen live, look for the podcast and transcript of each week’s show Wednesday nights  on Truthdig. On this week’s show Helen Caldicott says “the French are ignorant” and “the English are nuts,” Dr. Alan Lockwood discusses Japan, Loretta Napoleoni calculates the terror economy, Marcia Dawkins measures misogyny and Mr. Fish finds his inner princess. Click to listen to the show, or continue reading the full transcript below.
Listen Now.

The Lessons of Fukushima
Hugh Gusterson writes in The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: "More to the point, what lessons will we learn from the nuclear accident at Fukushima, an accident thought to be impossible just two weeks ago?.. We now have a government captured by special interests, paralyzed by partisanship, and confused by astroturfing political groups and phony scientific experts for sale to the highest bidder. Our democracy and our regulatory agencies are husks of what they once were. It is unclear that such a system is capable of learning any lessons or indeed of doing anything much beyond generating speeches and passing the responsibility for failure back and forth like a Ping-Pong ball between our two yapping political parties." Image: DigitalGlobe

The crisis in Japan has refueled the rigorous global debate about the viability of nuclear power. Japan remains in a "state of maximum alert" as the experts scramble to contain radiation that is leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. Nuclear energy remains a controversial topic in climate change discourse, as environmental activists argue how to best reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere—often the debate pits one non-renewable energy against another as renewable energy technology and research remains underfunded. Democracy Now! hosts a debate today about the future of nuclear energy between British journalist George Monbiot and Dr. Helen Caldicott. Monbiot has written extensively about the environmental and health dangers caused by burning coal for energy, and despite the Fukushima catastrophe, stands behind nuclear power. Caldicott is a world-renowned anti-nuclear advocate who has spent decades warning of the medical hazards posed by nuclear technologies, and while agreeing about the dangers of burning coal, insists the best option is to ban nuclear power.

Casino of Hunger - Wall Street Speculators and the 2008 Food Crisis
Food and Water Watch has published a new report that examines how speculation on the commodity markets – which include agriculture – drove up prices. In the spring of 2008, huge jumps in food prices – up nearly double in the previous two years – triggered food riots around the world. Was that caused by a bidding war that pitted food processors and agricultural companies against investment firms that had no intention of ever taking delivery of a load of corn, beans or wheat? The global food crisis is an overlooked symptom of the broader global economic crisis. The food crisis shares many characteristics of the financial meltdown ‚ it was exacerbated by the deregulation of the commodity markets (including agriculture) that encouraged a tidal wave of Wall Street speculation‚ leading to further increases in already rising food and energy prices.

House to Vote on Overturning Net Neutrality Laws
Nadia Prupis, Truthout: "Armed with an ideological agenda, House Republicans took aim at net neutrality again this month, quietly introducing a Congressional 'resolution of disapproval' to overturn recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) laws prohibiting anti-competitive behavior among Internet providers. H.J. Res. 37 passed 30-23 on March 15, and will now go to the House of Representatives for a vote, which House Speaker John Boehner said in late February could happen 'as early as next month.'"

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps Knocks ATandT/T-Mobile Deal
Kim Hart reports for Politico: "Michael Copps, the senior Democrat at the FCC, has some serious concerns about ATandT’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile. In an interview on C-Span’s “The Communicators” series, which will air Friday, Copps says the transaction is an even steeper climb for him than Comcast’s merger with NBC Universal. He also said the deal could negatively impact other proceedings at the agency."

On NBC, the Missing Story about Parent Company General Electric
Paul Farhi reports for the Wshington Post: "It’s the kind of accountability journalism that makes readers raise an eyebrow, if it doesn’t raise their blood pressure first. General Electric Co., reported the New York Times last week, earned $14.2 billion in worldwide profits last year, including $5.1 billion in the United States — and paid exactly zero dollars in federal taxes.

Censorship Made in America
Tim Karr writes for Free Press: "March has been a stormy month across the Arab world as the hope for new democracy faces the harsh reality of despots armed with guns, tanks and the tools of censorship. In Libya, the Gaddafi regime plunged the nation into digital darkness during the first week of March, turning off Internet access to keep Libyans from organizing one another and documenting Gaddafi's crimes for the world to see. In Bahrain, the kingdom reacted to democracy demonstrators by blacking out websites where locals shared cell phone videos, blocking YouTube pages containing videos of street protests, and taking down a large Facebook group that called for more demonstrations. It doesn't end there."