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Oct 062010
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Marvin Gaye was on to something. He wrote Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) way back in 1971. And here we are today, fighting to save the planet.  The White House announced yesterday that they’ll be installing a solar water heater and replacing the solar panels on the roof that Jimmy Carter installed in 1979, but Ronald Reagan took down. Bill McKibben and his gang at 350.org have another huge worldwide event planned this Sunday – 10-10-10.

And our friend Howie Klein of DownWithTyranny and the Blue America PAC also had solar panels installed in his home last week…

Today, we’ll talk with Howie about that, and talk elections too.  Plus, Phil Aroneau of 350.org will tell us all about what’s happening on Sunday.

We’ll also delve into another issue of urgency today — Net Neutrality. It’s quite possibly the most important first amendment issue of our time. Tim Karr of FreePress.net and SaveTheInternet.com will be my guest.

Listen live 10-noon ET, and come back later for the podcast.  Radio…or Not!

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Aug 092010
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**Update… today’s podcast is now available. Just click the player above to listen, or go to the video page to watch.  Also, today’s TRNS update came from the wonderful Victoria Jones, who wrote “Sharron Angle — Bill of Rights? On Her Terms Only” for Huffington Post today.  Definitely worth reading!***

Depending on what report you’re reading, Google has gone evil (we already know Verizon is!), or they’ve come to their senses.  Unfortunately, I’m leaning toward the former.

The Daily Beast can try to paint this as nothing to worry about:

Google, Verizon Back Net Neutrality

You can turn off the alarms: Google and Verizon have issued a joint statement declaring that last week’s reports that they were teaming up to throw net neutrality under the bus are “false, misleading, and not correct.” According to Google’s Public Policy blog, the company believes that the internet should remain open and “neutral in terms of content, and traffic should not be discriminated nor blocked. In short: net neutrality should be enforced over existing wired networks.” However, Google believes wireless carriers should be exempt from these rules, as they currently are. Verizon apparently agrees with these statements, but says that future services that are not transmitted over the existing “open internet” should be exempt. Gizmodo says, “It’s clear that the product of Google and Verizon’s talks was not doomsday scenario that was outlined last week.”

But I’m more inclined to believe my friends over at FreePress:

“Google and Verizon can try all they want to disguise this deal as a reasonable path forward, but the simple fact is this framework, if embraced by Congress and the Federal Communications Commission, would transform the free and open Internet into a closed platform like cable television. This is much worse than a business arrangement between two companies. It’s a signed-sealed-and-delivered policy framework with giant loopholes that blesses the carving up of the Internet for a few deep-pocketed Internet companies and carriers.

“If codified, this arrangement will lead to toll booths on the information superhighway. It will lead to outright blocking of applications and content on increasingly popular wireless platforms. It would give companies like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T the right to decide which content will move fast and which should be slowed down. And it will destroy the open Internet as a platform for small business innovation and job creation, cementing companies’, like Google’s, dominant market power online.

“Still worse, this deal proposes to keep the FCC from making rules at all. Instead of an even playing field for everyone, it proposes taking up complaints on a case-by-case basis, or even leaving it up to third-party industry groups to decide what the rules should be. The only good news is that neither of these companies is actually in charge of writing the rules that govern the future of the Internet. That is supposed to be the job of our leaders in Washington.

“Congress and the FCC should reject Verizon and Google’s plans to carve up the Internet for the private benefit of deep-pocketed special interests, and move forward with policies that preserve the open Internet for all. This begins with the FCC reasserting its authority over broadband to ensure it can protect the open Internet and promote universal access to affordable, world-class quality broadband.

“The Internet is one of our nation’s most important resources, and policymakers everywhere should recognize that the future of our innovation economy is far too important to be decided by a backroom deal between industry giants.”

Read the Free Press fact sheet “How the Google-Verizon Deal Threatens to Destroy the Open Internet”: http://www.freepress.net/files/carving_up_the_internet.pdf

To bring us up to date on what’s going on with these two strange bedfellows, FreePress.net‘s Managing Director Craig Aaron, who wrote this excellent piece on the subject for Huffington Post today, will join me in the second hour of tonight’s show.

Don’t forget to visit www.savetheinternet.com to sign the petition to Google and send your comments to the FCC regarding their jurisdiction over broadband services.

Today marks the 65th anniversary of the US dropping a nuclear bomb on Nagasaki.  On Friday, it was the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.  I recently read a book I hope everyone will pick up.  It’s Howard Zinn’s final missive, simply entitled The Bomb. I’ll share a bit of it with you, then talk with Peace Action Organizing, Political and PAC Director Paul Kawika-Martin, who’s in Nagasaki today for this unfortunate anniversary.

This might be a good time to revisit my interview from July 20 with Lawrence Bender- the producer of the new film, Countdown to Zero.  At the very least, watch the trailer and imagine a world without nuclear weapons. Please.

And finally, she’s ba-ak.  Ok, I know Sarah Palin, unfortunately,  never left. But she’s back in Alaska, filming a new TV series for the Discovery channel-owned “TLC” (which used to stand for The Learning Channel, which is quite ironic considering her reaction to the mention of the teaching profession in the following video).  She had the temerity to show up to tape a segment in Shannyn Moore‘s hometown of Homer, Alaska, where she was met with more disdain than enthusiasm.  Read Shannyn’s account of the encounter, and watch the cell phone video… and listen, as Shannyn joins me at the top of tonight’s show!  *** Note: Shannyn and I also spoke about an issue about which she is passionate… that of the Pebble Mine.  She’s happy to share information with you, and send you a No Pebble Mine sticker if you send her an email!***

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May 042010
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Those were the topics we covered on tonight’s show.

We started with the sad news that the Obama administration is, once again, letting us down. During the campaign and throughout the first year of the Obama presidency, Net Neutrality was the signature communications/technology issue. When an appeals court last month said that the FCC didn’t have jurisdiction over broadband, the response was swift and certain that they’d take care of that. Now, not so much!

The Washington Post reported that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is “leaning toward” a decision not to “reclassify” broadband to re-establish FCC authority over the nation’s Internet service providers. Seriously?!?

Free Press Executive Director Josh Silver made the following statement:

“We simply cannot believe that Julius Genachowski would consider going down this path. Failing to reclassify broadband means the FCC is abandoning the signature communications and technology issues of the Obama administration. Such a decision would destroy Net Neutrality. It would deeply undermine the FCC’s ability to ensure universal Internet access for rural, low-income and disabled Americans. It will undermine the FCC’s ability to protect consumers from price-gouging and invasions of privacy.

”If Chairman Genachowski fails to re-establish the FCC authority to protect Internet users, he will be allowing companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to slow down, block or censor content at will. They can block any website, any blog post, any tweet, any outreach by a political campaign — and the FCC would be powerless to stop them. Without reclassification, nearly every broadband-related decision the agency makes from here forward will be aggressively challenged in court, and the FCC will likely lose.

“The phone and cable companies know this, which is why they’re going all out to keep the FCC from doing so. Genachowski should not buckle to phone and cable industry pressure, but it will take courage to stand up to one of the biggest lobbying juggernauts in Washington. It’s not too late — and the public is watching.”

“This decision facing the FCC chairman is about more than one single issue, or even a broken promise to the American people. If the FCC fails to stand with the public, it will be the end of the Internet as we know it.”

Tim Karr, campaign director of Free Press and SaveTheInternet.com joined me to talk about the issue. Listen to our interview by clicking the player at the top of the page, and read his thoughts from Huffington Post–Netroots to Obama FCC: Inaction is Not an Option.

Viewers of the show on the ustream feed were able to see this video, which does a surprisingly good job of explaining the importance of Net Neutrality. Enjoy:

Next up was Congressman Kendrick Meek, who is a candidate for US Senate from Florida. He’s the third of the Florida three-way whose name most Americans (or Floridians, for that matter) don’t know! He happens to be my congressman here in Florida…  We only had a few minutes, as he was heading into the Capital for a vote, but did promise that he’d come back and try to answer more of my questions another time.

We got a news update from Ellen Ratner at the Talk Radio News Service.

And we wrapped up the show with Jason Leopold of truthout.org, who’s written a couple of must-read pieces on BP in recent days: Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in Gulf, and OSHA: Ongoing Safety Violations at BP’s US Refineries Endanger Employees’ Lives.

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Apr 082010
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Ahh Thursday nights. I love them, as they start my weekend.

Since having the employment ax fall on me in late January with the demise of Air America radio, I’ve been working harder than ever. Moving my show earlier in the evening has allowed me to get to bed earlier… but it’s made my life more hectic. And since I have no regular paycheck coming in, let’s just say the stress level is higher than usual. So, I take Fridays off! (Although I usually use the day to do all the stuff I need to do but didn’t have time to get to during the week…)

Anyway, we finish up most Thursday nights with some laughter, courtesy of John Fugelsang. He joins me in the second hour on Thursday nights when he can, and he makes us laugh about things that wouldn’t elicit laughter when other people discuss!  So, as always, I thank Fugelsang for getting my weekend started on an up note!

Tonight’s show began with a conversation with a pretty amazing woman.  Regina Thomas spent many years representing the people of Georgia in the state assembly, House and Senate before challenging incumbent Blue Dog Congressman John Barrow in 2008. Unfortunately he won that time.. but with our help, she’ll unseat him this time.  Regina has been endorsed and embraced by the Blue America PAC, which is run by Crooks & Liars, DownWithTyranny, and Digby’s Hulabaloo.  If you want to find out why you should help Regina, listen to our interview (click the player at the top of the post), and read this piece from DWT’s Howie Klein.

All week, we’ve been talking about the DC appeals court ruling on Net Neutrality. Tonight, I spoke with Tim Karr, campaign director of FreePress.net and SavetheInternet.com. Again, listen to the interview, and visit the sites and take action…

And with that, I’m ready for the weekend. Talk to you Monday!

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Apr 062010
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I couldn’t fall  asleep last night, and I couldn’t figure out why until I started talking on tonight’s show. That’s when I mentioned that last night, upon learning of the “Collateral Murder” video, I couldn’t watch it.  I said that I didn’t want to see the killing. But after the show, while uploading the podcast and doing my usual after-show work, I realized that I couldn’t not watch it…

So, I braced myself and watched the horrors of war. I talked a bit about it tonight, but the guests I had hoped to have on to discuss what went down weren’t available tonight. So be sure to tune in tomorrow night, as I’ll be joined by Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist who went to Iraq in 2003 to cover the war, unembedded. He has since become world renowned for documenting the human cost of the Iraq war.

But there was no lack of topics to discuss tonight.

For years now, I’ve been talking about the issue of net neutrality, and how important it is to keep the internet open. Well, today, a federal appeals court in Washington DC ruled that the FCC “lacked the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks”.  Uh, yeah. The court said that the FCC doesn’t have the power to regulate the internet.

My friend Dan Patterson happens to be the guy in charge of digital platform development for ABC News Radio. I called on him to talk about why this is so important.  While I had him on the phone (he was outside of the Apple Store, going in to buy a keyboard for his new iPad), I asked him to explain what was so great about that new gadget too…

If you want to learn more about net neutrality and get involved to help keep the internet open to all of us, please check out www.savetheinternet.org and www.publicknowledge.org.

After a news update from Ellen Ratner of the Talk Radio News Service, we moved on to the big story of the day– the mine explosion in West Virgina.

Although all the major media outlets are covering the sad story of the 25 dead miners and the 4 whose fates are still unknown, the real story is the Massey Energy – parent company of Performance Coal Co. – and its owner, Don Blankenship.  Blankenship is not only one of the more heinous owners who doesn’t give a damn about his employees and their safety, the community in which his mines are located or the effect of his company’s operations on the environment, but he also uses his massive fortune to buy judges and politicians.

Blogger Karoli who’s done such great work on health care reform, has a new blog up at Crooks & Liars, and she gave us a good look at Blankenship and why we shouldn’t be surprised there was such a disaster at one of his mines.

We also spoke about her newest piece on a guy named Mark Jacoby, a GOP operative who is actually the only person in recent years ever convicted of voter registration fraud (eventhough his peeps tried to assert those charges on the innocent folks at ACORN).  He’s apparently up to his old tricks…

Tomorrow, as mentioned earlier, I’ll be joined by journalist Dahr Jamail, and we’ll have our regular Wednesday visit from Christy Harvey of the Center for American Progress… Talk to you then!

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