Friday, May 20, 2011

Taxpayers Subsidize Big Oil, World's Most Profitable Industry

Rinaldo Brutoco and Madeleine Austin, World Business Academy:
"US oil companies earn about $3 billion in profits every week, yet get $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies every year. In the first quarter of 2011, Big Oil's profits were up 38 percent from the first quarter of 2010.... The industry's outsize profits didn't stop it from squealing like a stuck pig over proposals to trim $2 billion from its annual subsidies and use the revenue to reduce the deficit by about $21 billion over ten years. The oil companies tried to characterize the end of their subsidies as a 'tax hike,' despite growing and widespread recognition across the political spectrum that tax breaks are just another form of government spending."
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The web of one

Moveon.com's Eli Pariser presents an alarming observation of how the internet may be personalizing the information flow in such a way as to create a bubble of tailored output around each and every one of its users. Presented at the TED conference.

His book on the topic, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You, is out this week — help make it a hit here.

If you order the book here, all of Eli’s proceeds from this post will go to MoveOn.org Civic Action.

Here’s what author Bill McKibben has to say about it: “You spend half your life in Internet space, but trust me—you don’t understand how it works. Eli Pariser’s book is a masterpiece of both investigation and interpretation; he exposes the way we’re sent down particular information tunnels, and he explains how we might once again find ourselves in a broad public square of ideas. This couldn’t be a more interesting book; it casts an illuminating light on so many of our daily encounters.”

Friday, May 13, 2011

The revolving door

Republican FCC Commissioner Who Approved NBC Merger Becomes Comcast Lobbyist

Nadia Prupis, Truthout: "Republican FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker will leave her position with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in June to serve as senior vice president of government affairs with Comcast-NBC. The news follows a high-profile, $30 billion merger of Comcast and NBC earlier this year, which gave Comcast 51 percent of the stake in NBCUniversal (NBCU) and ownership over the majority of the network's channels, including CNBC and Bravo, as well as the Universal Pictures movie studio. Baker voted to approve the merger. While reviewing the deal, Baker objected to the FCC's efforts to create conditions for the merger and called for reforms to the commission's review process, stating that it had taken too long and imposed excessive stipulations on Comcast-NBC."


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A stash of pornography was found in the hideout of Osama bin Laden

By Mark Hosenball and Tabassum Zakaria WASHINGTON Fri May 13, 2011 12:22pm EDT

(Reuters) - A stash of pornography was found in the hideout of Osama bin Laden by the U.S. commandos who killed him, current and former U.S. officials said on Friday.The pornography recovered in bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, consists of modern, electronically recorded video and is fairly extensive, according to the officials, who discussed the discovery with Reuters on condition of anonymity.

As Josh Holland of Alternet says: "I don't quite get why people are surprised at this development. I will be shocked when a conservative religious fundamentalist is found who's not a total perv."

The media is spinning this little morsel like there's no tomorrow, no doubt with the complicit approval of our intelligence/propaganda apparatus. Whatever. Ultimately, it is no more bemusing than Newt Gingrich pretending to be about family values.

Koch Brother Buys the Right to Interfere in Faculty Hiring at Florida State University


Kris Hundley, The St. Petersburg Times: "A conservative billionaire who opposes government meddling in business has bought a rare commodity: the right to interfere in faculty hiring at a publicly funded university. A foundation bankrolled by Libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University's economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting 'political economy and free enterprise.'"

The Kochs already have our legislature and our governor. Might as well colonize the ivory tower. These guys must be stopped.