AlterNet.org: Kristina Rizga https://img.alternet.org/authors/kristina-rizga/%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%20http%3A/%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%20http%3A/national.unitedway.org/%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%20http%3A/www.cinematical.com/2005/06/26/barrymore-stops-surgery/%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%20http%3A/mediamatters.org/items/%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%20http%3A/www.americanprogress.org/site/c.biJRJ8OVF/b.8473/%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%20http%3A/capwiz.com/mobilize/index_frame.dbq en Fast-Rising Protest Group Challenges the Outrageous Power of the Bankers https://img.alternet.org/story/135390/fast-rising_protest_group_challenges_the_outrageous_power_of_the_bankers <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Why it&#039;s time to nationalize the banks, and enforce tough financial regulations to stop the massive theft from the public purse.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><p><em>Editor's Note:</em> <em><a href="http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/771/t/8404/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1889">Click here to join the protest!</a><br /></em></p><p><strong>The Rip Off Must Be Stopped!</strong></p><blockquote></blockquote><p>Big bankers ruined our economy and now they are gaming the political system so they can profit even more off the crisis they caused. They must be stopped.</p><blockquote></blockquote><p>On April 11th, 2009, the public will come out in cities across the country to express their frustration and disapproval with how our elected officials have handled the economic crisis. No one has been left unscathed; this protest is yours.</p><p><a href="http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/771/t/8404/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1889">Sign <em>AlterNet</em>'s pledge that you aren't going to let this rip-off happen and join New Way Forward's national protest on April 11.</a></p><p>***</p><p>Tiffiniy Cheng, 29, never imagined she'd spark a populist movement influenced by a former IMF banker. Three weeks ago Cheng and her co-founding partners launched <a href="http://anewwayforward.org/demonstrations/" linkindex="48">A New Way Forward</a>, a volunteer-run website that advocates for a new approach to bank bailouts and is organizing a nationwide protest on April 11. Cheng and her friends are not new to online organizing. In 2006, some of them launched <a href="http://www.opencongress.org/" linkindex="49">OpenCongress.org</a>, a nonpartisan website that lets people track the legislation in Congress, and <a href="http://downhillbattle.org/" linkindex="50">Downhill Battle</a>, a music activism website, but they never had a burning desire to study and reform the financial system. Then, as 350 billion of taxpayer money went to the same CEOs who helped bring the global economic system down, Cheng and her friends, as many in America, became angry. Why reward the same people who broke the system, they asked.</p><p>On February 19, the co-founders of A New Way Forward heard Simon Johnson, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF),  <a href="http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/02132009/profile.html" linkindex="51">interviewed</a> on <em>PBS's Bill Moyers Journal</em> argue for an alternative bailout plan. Until recently, Johnson spent 20 years at the IMF working on international bank bailouts, among other things. Dissatisfied with the current bailout process, he decided to show his ex-colleagues at the IMF the balance sheets of some of America's leading banks receiving bailouts (concealing their names). Every one of his former colleagues gave a similar prescription: Recovery will fail unless Americans break up the financial oligarchy. In the short term, that means the failing banks would have to be temporarily taken over by the government, cleaned up, broken up and sold off in the private markets. The board members and CEOs of those banks would have to be fired and replaced. This contradicts the administration's current plan.</p><p>In an appearance on NPR's <em>Fresh Air</em>, host Terry Gross <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101360253" linkindex="52">asked Johnson</a> why the government hadn't fired the current CEOs. He argued that the American government allowed banks become too big and powerful through lax regulation. When banks grow too big and become major financial supporters of politicians, it becomes much harder to fire them Johnson explained.</p><p>Three weeks later, Cheng and her five activist partners launched <a href="http://anewwayforward.org/demonstrations/" linkindex="53">A New Way Forward</a> as both a platform to advocate for the bailout plan offered by Johnson and other independent economists and an online organizing tool to protest the current plan. In the first three weeks, 8,000 people of all ages signed up to participate in protests planned in over 55 cities. WireTap talked to Tiffiniy Cheng to find out why A New Way Forward thinks a different bailout plan is urgent and why these online organizers decided to protest on the streets this time.</p><p><b>WireTap: Let's start with the basics. Why did you and your partners decide to launch a New Way Forward initiative?</b></p><p><b>Tiffiniy Cheng:</b> The [bank] bailouts were just on everybody's minds and on my own. Watching all of the bailouts go to the banks and bankers has been so frustrating, because they are a part of the reason why this system has been broken. Once I saw <a href="http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/02132009/profile.html%20" linkindex="54">Simon Johnson on <em>Bill Moyers Journal</em></a> and heard a clear strategy that had the public interest in mind, we wanted to do something. It seemed that Obama and Congress didn't have enough political independence from the financial industry to actually push forward policies that were in the public interest. It seemed to us that there is a sound policy we can all rally around that had our interest in mind.</p><p><b>Is your agenda mostly informed by Simon Johnson?</b></p><p>Yes, a lot of our thinking comes from what Simon Johnson, but also what <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Kwak" linkindex="55">James Kwak</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Akerlof" linkindex="56">George Akerlof</a>, and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Shiller%20" linkindex="57">Robert Shiller</a> have written about. I think <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Krugman" linkindex="58">Paul Krugman</a> is also pretty influential. And we started working on this campaign when both [Paul] <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Bernanke" linkindex="59">Bernanke</a> and [Nouriel] <a href="http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/%7Enroubini/" linkindex="60">Roubini</a> came out and said that we might need to take a different course. That nationalization [of the banks] would probably be a good thing in their view. We are drawing ideas from expert opinion for sure. We are looking at all of the people who are talking about a way we can get out of this economic crisis in a way that will allow us to build a healthier economy, and a healthier free market where the bottom is allowed to prosper. We are looking at any economist or any leader in Congress who is talking about the policies that will affect the working class people as well.</p><p><b>What is your agenda?</b></p><p>First, nationalize the banks. That means temporary FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that guarantees the safety of deposits in the U.S. banks] intervention. FDIC can help to clear the balance sheets of any bank that is failing and has needed the bail out money.</p><p><b>To clarify, right now, it's still the bank board members and the CEOs who are deciding how the money is going to be spent, right?</b></p><p>They are not only deciding, the current plan allows them to privatize the cost of the bail out, and socialize the cost. We are saying the government should be getting something back.</p><p><b>To clarify, another way to describe this is if the banks fail, taxpayers pay for it. If the banks succeed, they take the profits, correct?</b></p><p>Exactly. We are giving them the money with no strings attached.</p><p><b>The second point on your agenda calls to reorganize the current banking system--what do you mean by that?</b></p><p>We think that the government and any future regulatory agency needs political independence from the current powerful financial industry. We are saying that if the government cleans up their balance sheets, other banks should be able to come in and build a new banking system with new rules in place.</p><p><b>And the final point of your agenda is decentralize--what does that mean?</b></p><p>Regulation. We don't want to see any bank that is allowed to grow so big, again, that they can take down the entire economy ["too big to fail"]. The people in power for the past 20 years have eroded most anti trust laws that would make it so that financial industry aren't allowed to make complex financial instruments that create a web of influence that can take down the country. We don't want to see monopolistic behaviors. We don't think that financial industry should be able to play around with consumers' money in such a frivolous way. We need a healthy free market and the best way to do that is to allow for a new, smaller banking industry grow to a healthy level without creating this web of connections.</p><p><b>One of the key points that Simon Johnson made on the <em>Fresh Air</em> program, I think, was that when a similar banking crisis happened in Sweden, at some point, the government had to "face down the big bankers" and tell them that they screwed up and will be replaced by other CEOs and board members. And he was implying that the American Banks are so big and powerful and contribute so much money to politicians that the elected officials are not standing up to them right now. So, does that relate to your point about why we don't want to let any banks get this big and powerful?</b></p><p>Right. It's what missing from the conversation. There is this also this human factor that is involved. When your friend gives you a $100 as a political contribution to your campaign, you still want to take care of them. And that's what's happening at the highest levels of government right now. We have an <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-01-27-lobbyist_N.htm%20" linkindex="61">ex-lobbyist for Goldman Sachs [Mark Patterson]</a> as chief of staff for Timothy Geithner, and that's actually breaking a restriction that Obama was going to have. He wasn't going to have any lobbyists serve in his cabinet, but they made an exception for the chief of staff of Geithner. The "reorganize part" [of our agenda] is essential to seeing policies that don't favor the banks over the public.</p><p><b>What do you say to some young people, who maybe skeptical about street protesting? Why not just use online organizing instead?</b></p><p>I think there are lots of online organizing tools that are yet to be made, but this is a moment to come out and show that the public can be organized around serious ideas, and show Obama that there is political viability to publicly entrusted policies.... I think that showing up at a protest is one of the strongest forms of our political expression. We are glad that the technology allows us to organize something like that. I'm really sick of just signing a lot of petitions online. I do think that showing up at a protest or anything else is still the most potent way to express our political power.</p><p><b>Do you hope that something will happen immediately after these protests?</b></p><p>I think that because we are so well organized and we are seeing so much public support for serious reform ideas that the government can't do anything but listen to everyone. We are saying, 'We don't get to have private meetings with you Pres. Obama and Congress, but you have to listen to us because we are strong in numbers. We are asking for something concrete--for real structural change that we can believe in.'</p><p> <b>What are some experiences in your life that impacted your work and politicized you?</b></p><p>I see a huge difference between people who are engaged and not engaged. Not just in politics, but in life in general--about their job, or some event, or idea.... And I think the thing that makes a difference is how open the system is and shows an individual that their efforts are effective and create change....</p><p>Seeing my family being less engaged. I was able to enjoy school.... They never had the opportunities that I had. They always had to think about surviving. We were immigrants to this county.... Learning about my own family history and learning about the different political movements that were here before I was even born showed the power of politics. Being political is one of the most powerful ways to live, I think. My parents have always been very poor, but were always impacted by politics.</p><p>My grandparents were the victims of the largest famine in the world, which happened in China. And my father was an orphan. And my mother was very poor too, and her parents just died from overwork. We were also affected by the Vietnam war, and I was born in Macau [China] in a refugee camp. And we were then sponsored to come to this country. So, all of that makes me value being political. Seeing a system like ours that can alleviate some poverty makes me want to do something. But when you have excessive growth at the corporate level, you really see a distortion of our political system, and our economy.</p><p><b>How so?</b></p><p>Then the corporations just have so much money and so many connections to the political system. Then they are allowed to influence some of the most important decisions. There are some people who have a bunch of political power because of the money they are allowed to make. And then there is the public that can never gain that much political power individually.</p><p><b>What is one thing that you are hoping that could happen right away? What does success look like?</b></p><p>Independent regulatory body that enforces antitrust laws. I think we could help create a bill in Congress that revisits some of our strongest regulatory policies that we had in the country twenty years ago and that could prevent the financial industry from going out of control again. Some of these things are sort of happening, but there isn't enough energy around it. Some people are talking about and making a few gestures, but no one is putting enough energy to really push it through. I hope we can push our representatives to make those kinds of policies happen.</p><p>*******</p><p>To learn more about A New Way Forward, visit their <a href="http://anewwayforward.org/demonstrations/" linkindex="62">site</a>.</p><p>Click <a href="http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/02132009/profile.html%20" linkindex="63">here to watch</a> Simon Johnson speak on PBS's <em>Bill Moyers Journal</em>.</p><p>To learn more about the bailout recepients click <a href="http://projects.nytimes.com/creditcrisis/recipients/table%20" linkindex="64">here</a>.</p> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is the executive editor of <a linkindex="20" href="http://www.wiretapmag.org/">WireTap</a>, a political youth magazine, project director of <a linkindex="21" href="http://Future5000.com">Future5000.com</a> and a member of the editorial board of <i>The Nation</i>. </div></div></div> Mon, 06 Apr 2009 21:00:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, WireTap 654780 at https://img.alternet.org Economy Economy banks new way forward tiffiniy cheng Is This Finally the Year of the Youth Vote? https://img.alternet.org/story/76275/is_this_finally_the_year_of_the_youth_vote <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">On Super Tuesday, over 2 million 18- to 29-year-olds participated in the Democratic elections compared to roughly 900,000 in the Republican contests.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->According to <a href="http://www.civicyouth.org/">preliminary data</a> by CIRCLE, youth turn out increased in most states that participated in the Super Tuesday primaries. In the 13 states that CIRCLE has analyzed, the turn out among 18- to 29-year-olds tripled compared with 2000 in three states -- Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, doubled in Massachusetts, and quadrupled in Tennessee.<br /><br />Over 2 million 18- to 29-year-olds participated in the Democratic elections compared to roughly 900,000 in the Republican contests. In the Democratic contests, Obama won the largest share of the youth vote in ten Super Tuesday states. Clinton won the youth vote in MA, CA, and AR. In the Republican contests, youth support varied by state. (For more detailed, state-by-state break down of the youth turn out data, visit <a href="http://www.civicyouth.org/?p=269">CIRCLE</a>.)<br /><br />Our website host had to shut down Wiretap on Super Tuesday, because it allegedly detected a hacker trying to run an attack code and alter the content of our site. Well, hackers, we are flattered that you consider our website a threatening noise machine. And I am sorry to hear that you couldn't outsmart Wiretap's genius web developers.<br /><br />Shutting down Wiretap though can't cause a major blow to the youth vote or youth activism anymore. In the past five years, the field of youth organizing grew to over 600 youth-driven organizations, which means that information and resources are now de-centralized and distributed more democratically. If one of us is down in 2008, we've got a dozen of allies that can fill in.<br /><br />In addition to the growing youth activism and <a href="http://www.future5000.com/">record youth voter turn</a> out we saw so far, 2008 will also go down in history as a year in which youth organizers collaborated more than ever. Last week, I talked to more than a dozen youth organizations that are engaged in various coalitions that convene organizers on the phone, in person, through Facebook and group emails to coordinate Get-Out-the-Vote (GOTV) efforts, share ideas about best practices and practical tools, create "Speaker Bureaus" for the media, and most importantly, build a sense of long-term community that doesn't view young voters as a one night stand. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is a writer for <a href="http://www.wiretapmag.org/blogs">WireTap Magazine</a> </div></div></div> Thu, 07 Feb 2008 03:45:01 -0800 Kristina Rizga, WireTap 644335 at https://img.alternet.org PEEK PEEK Election 2008 Democracy and Elections Old_Blog Type Content democrats youth vote Iowa: Young People Just Made History https://img.alternet.org/story/72661/iowa%3A_young_people_just_made_history <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The youth vote will no longer be dismissed and ignored - and that&#039;s a historic victory for all youth organizers.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) just compiled the youth turnout numbers in Iowa from three sources -- CNN.com, Washington Post and The New York Times - and they are astounding.<br /><br />The Iowa youth turnout rate has almost tripled since 2000. Participation of youth under 30 rose from 3 percent in 2000 to 11 percent in 2008. The turnout rate for those 30 and above was 15 percent. Among 17- to 29-year-old Democrats, 57 percent supported the winner, Barack Obama, and among 17- to 29-year-old Republicans, 40 percent supported the winner, Mike Huckabee, according to <a href="http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/state/#IA">CNN's entrance poll</a>.<br /><br />Young Iowans and young activists working in Iowa made history today. National commentators have consistently ignored <a href="http://www.civicyouth.org/?page_id=241">increases in youth voting since 2000</a>. Like a broken record, the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/10/opinion/10friedman.html?_r=1&amp;oref=slogin">often repeated</a> sentiments about youth apathy are both tiresome and woefully inaccurate. Today's vote will have profound implications on public perceptions about youth engagement.<br /><br />While Iowa is just the beginning of a long race in which youth turnout will continue to be interrogated more skeptically than that of other demographics, the monumental change is that youth participation will be on <i>the national agenda</i>. The youth vote will no longer be dismissed and ignored - and that's a historic victory for all youth organizers.<br /><br />"Tonight showed that candidates who court young voters will win elections," said Heather Smith, executive director of Rock the Vote in a press release. "This is the first year the leading Democratic candidates all have a Youth Director and young voter outreach programs," noted Jane Fleming Kleeb, Executive Director of the Young Voter PAC. "The turnout numbers of young people prove if you target young people they vote." <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is a writer for <a href="http://www.wiretapmag.org/blogs">WireTap Magazine</a> </div></div></div> Fri, 04 Jan 2008 02:54:01 -0800 Kristina Rizga, WireTap 643515 at https://img.alternet.org PEEK PEEK Election 2008 Democracy and Elections Old_Blog Type Content youth vote iowa College Kids Get Relief, Congress Passes Cost Reduction Act https://img.alternet.org/story/63876/college_kids_get_relief%2C_congress_passes_cost_reduction_act <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '641726'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=641726" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Kristina Rizga: Here&#039;s a closer look at some key provisions of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. George Miller (D-CA).</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><i>This post, written by Kristina Rizga, originally appeared on <a href="http://www.wiretapmag.org/blogs">WireTap Magazine</a></i><br /><br />Yesterday, Pres. Bush signed H.R. 2669, the <a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-2669">College Cost Reduction and Access Act</a>, the largest increase in student aid since the GI Bill of 1944. Here's a closer look at some key provisions of the bill, sponsored by Rep. George Miller, (D-California), and Sen. Edward Kennedy, (D-Mass.):<br /><br /><b>Increasing Pell Grants:</b><br /><br />The biggest aid increase would raise the maximum annual Pell grant, the nation's main aid program for low-income students, from $4,300 to $5,400 a year by 2012.<br /><br /><b>Making It Easier to Repay Loans:</b><blockquote>* <b>Ensuring you don't retire in student debt.</b> The program cancels most remaining balances (if there any left) after 25 years. This applies to anyone, who took out federal loans as an undergraduate or graduate student, whether they took them out years ago or recently. (The time period for the 10-year public service cancellation begins October 1, 2007. Project on Student Debt has <a href="http://projectonstudentdebt.org/initiative_page_view.php?initiative_idx=&amp;initiative_page_idx=22">more details on that</a>.)</blockquote><blockquote>*<b>Slashing interest rates on Stafford subsidized loans.</b> The bill would reduce the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans by half over four years. Subsidized loans go to students who demonstrate financial need. The rate cut would be phased in starting July 1. It would go from 6.8 percent today to 3.4 percent by 2011.</blockquote> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is an editor and publisher of <a href="http://www.wiretapmag.org/blogs">WiretapMag.org</a>-- a news and culture magazine for socially conscious young people. She's been sending a third of her paycheck to pay for her college debt and at this rate, she has 20 more years to go. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2007 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '641726'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=641726" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 28 Sep 2007 09:00:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 641726 at https://img.alternet.org PEEK PEEK Old_Blog Type Content youth education kennedy college college costs pell grants financial aid Readers Speak: The Results of WireTap Survey Are In https://img.alternet.org/story/39596/readers_speak%3A_the_results_of_wiretap_survey_are_in <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">We thank hundreds of readers who took the time to share their appreciation and suggestions for our new website.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->WireTap readers have spoken. We are deeply grateful to hundreds of our supporters for participating in our survey two weeks ago and suggesting additional features for our new, upcoming site. Your thoughtful ideas, enthusiasm and kind words have inspired us to keep improving WireTap.<br /><br />The results suggest that you like what we're doing already: 60 percent of you rated our "quality of writing and analysis" and "variety of issues covered" as "excellent." Among the issues you're most passionate about, the Iraq war took the lead with 58 percent. Following closely behind, 53 percent of our readers listed race and civil rights as issues they most are most interested in reading about on WireTap. Forty-two percent listed stories about corporate responsibility and a living wage as their top priorities, and 30 percent were most interested in our coverage of youth organizing and activism.<br /><br />When asked to choose the top five issues to add to WireTap's new site, 60 percent of readers said they wanted more stories on environmental issues and 48 percent asked for a sustainable lifestyle section. Forty-five percent would like to see more international and cultural coverage. Some of our readers suggested that we cover a broader range of musical genres to add to our frequent coverage of hip hop and activism. Thirty percent wanted to see more information on media, technology and activist campaign alerts. WireTap readers also said they were interested in seeing more "blog posts by young activists" and short videos.<br /><br />We are especially grateful to a third of those surveyed who took the time to write in their own ideas -- not listed in the survey -- for improving WireTap. Some of the features that our readers suggested repeatedly were more personal stories by people whose lives are affected by the Iraq war, growing rates of youth incarceration and failing public schools. Some readers wanted to see more activist roundtables and debates focused on timely issues and challenges.<br /><br />The vast majority of our readers (65 percent) visit WireTap weekly and stay in touch with us through our weekly email newsletter. When asked to describe themselves, the descriptions that came up more than any other were activists (48 percent), politically independent (42 percent), environmentalists (38 percent), professionals (37 percent) and writers (35 percent). (We were also pleasantly surprised that three of our prizes were mailed to readers living in South Korea, Argentina and Japan.)<br /><br />We thank the many WireTap readers who took the time to tell us how much they like the site and appreciate hearing young people speak for themselves, and that they are looking forward to seeing us grow. We are grateful for all your suggestions and are working hard to implement as many of them as we can. Stay tuned for the new site in September! <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is editor of WireTap — AlterNet’s youth-oriented project. To send your own feedback, story ideas or to request writer's guidelines, email her at <a href="mailto:kristina_rizga@wiretapmag.org">Kristina_Rizga@wiretapmag.org</a>. </div></div></div> Thu, 27 Jul 2006 14:00:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, WireTap 635690 at https://img.alternet.org WireTap WireTap Won't Stop for Nothing https://img.alternet.org/story/35077/won%27t_stop_for_nothing <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">&lt;b&gt;Interview&lt;/b&gt;: Author Jeff Chang talks about hip-hop and politics, lessons learned in youth organizing and why so many still fail to notice how politically engaged today’s youth are.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Jeff Chang is a nationally acclaimed author, but he's also much more than that. When I met him as a board member for a San Francisco-based <a href="http://www.media-alliance.org">association of progressive journalists</a>, he was writing a book and volunteering his time to teach classes and organize fundraisers for several organizations. A year later, when he released <i>Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation</i>, he used many of the book release parties to benefit community-based organizations across the country.<br /><br />Chang will tell you he's not unusual. He sees himself as part of a movement that includes thousands of hip-hop activists, artists and fans for whom hip-hop has grown into both a global lifestyle and a form of political engagement. His work chronicles the diverse history of this movement and aims to show the world that hip-hop is much more than the Sprite, ass, cars, and diamonds you'll see on Viacom-owned MTV and BET.<br /><br />Chang recently returned from a book tour for the paperback edition of <i><a href="http://www.cantstopwontstop.com/book.cfm ">Can't Stop Won't Stop</a></i>. WireTap Magazine caught up with him to talk about hip-hop and national politics, lessons learned in effective youth organizing and why so many still fail to take notice of the <a href="http://www.alternet.org/wiretap/30495/">increasing political engagement among young Americans</a>.<br /><br /><b>WireTap:</b> Now that we have had more than a year to look back on the organizing efforts around the Kerry-Bush battle, what are some of the lessons we learned in organizing young people?<br /><br /><b>Jeff Chang:</b> Well, there are a few. For one, people couldn't focus at all on the candidates themselves. That kind of stuff just drove people crazy. You know, you'd come and tell people to vote and they immediately say, "What can Kerry or Bush do for me?" and what organizers had to do was deflect that and get it back down to local issues that are happening in people's backyards -- "Are you mad about how people have been policing your neighborhood? Are you mad about the way schools have been underfunded and closed? Are you mad about the fact financial aid has been completely wiped out?" You have to really de-center the presidential election in order to get people to go out and vote.<br /><br /><table width="200" align="left" style="padding-right:10px; padding-bottom:5px;"><tr><td><img src="/images/managed/Story+Image_jeff.jpg" alt="Jeff Chang" width="200" height="234" border="1" style="color#000" /></td></tr><tr><td class="small" align="left" style="line-height:normal;">Photo credit: B+</td></tr></table><br /><br />The other surprising thing was that there was a very big desire for people to be able to express their disgust with the way that the country is going. So the other part of it was to talk about voting within the framework of political change, generally. That this is just one other tool to express your disgust with the war or the way that foreign policy is going. Or even the fact that your friends are coming home wounded and scarred or in body bags.<br /><br />One of the things I've been working really hard to put out there is that there were like 4 million new voters between the ages of 18 and 29 in 2004 -- out of the 20 million that came out. In other words, here was a surge of 20 percent. Of the 4 million new voters, over 2 million of them were black and Latino, and we can probably presume urban as well. For me, that was evidence that the hip-hop generation was coming to the polls. People should take that as a major victory, but there was such a rush to judge young people because of Kerry's loss. I suspect that young people will be coming out in even bigger numbers and we'll continue to see large numbers of blacks, Latinos and urban folks getting out to vote.<br /><br /><b>WT:</b> Now that there is more data out there showing increases in political engagement among young people, have you noticed mainstream media talking about it more?<br /><br /><b>JC:</b> Last winter there were a number of articles that came out saying, "Oh! A lot of young people went out and voted after all!" We heard it literally a year after the fact. It was almost like a correction type of article that came out. For a while I was getting an upsurge of calls from papers because I just blogged about it. The few researchers had issued final reports, and that gave people a news peg. Again, they were interviewing people my age and older. They weren't talking to young people about this stuff.<br /><br />I think generally the reporting on young people and voting has been incredibly poor. It's not hard to go walk down the street and find somebody who doesn't want to vote. It's also not hard to find someone who did vote, but there's an established frame of "young people who are politically apathetic" that was put in a place 15 years ago and hasn't been shifted. The mainstream coverage of youth voting really disgusts me. It's completely out of step with what is happening on the ground. So hopefully we will try to change that this year.<br /><br /><b>WT:</b> Can you talk more about this frame? Why did it take root 15 years ago?<br /><br /><b>JC:</b> It has a lot to do with the way Generation X got framed. It has to do with the Baby Boomers, well, narcissistic point of view. And mythologizing of what young people should do and what young people had done in the '60s and '70s. So, Generation X were literally the negative side of what the baby boomer generation was not. One of the frames that got established was that they weren't serious about civic engagement. And despite the fact that these frames get put out to the press, 1992 comes along and you've got the largest number of young people voting in a generation. But the frame of "apathetic people" stuck. You'd hear, "These people are not on the streets, they are not protesting the Gulf War, they are not doing this, they are not doing that. We did it better, we did first." And for whatever reasons, that frame has never been replaced.<br /><br />It's affected even the quality of writing among young people. There is this rush of books written by young people about student debt. And what dismays me about all these books is that all of them take it as a given as well that young people are apathetic. And I just want to say, "God, you've been brainwashed by your parents." It's a shame, but it's still the dominant perception about young people -- that they just don't care. Even though there is all this evidence to the contrary.<br /><br /><b>WT:</b> Which organizations are building on the lessons learned and are building a long-term presence for the hip-hop generation?<br /><br /><b>JC:</b> Well, I am biased, but I think that the <a href="http://www.indyvoter.org">League of Young Voters</a> is doing a lot of that heavy lifting. (Chang serves as a board director with the League.) And the difference between the League and other youth organizations is that they've got a theory about change. They've got a vision of how change gets made. And it's born out by some of the work that they've done on the ground. They've been able to assimilate the lessons of the smartest young organizers that are out there. Whether they are people like <a href="http://youngvoter.org/article.php?list=type&amp;type=5 ">Malia Lazu</a> or <a href="http://www.indyvoter.org/article.php?id=42 ">Khari Mosley</a> or <a href="http://www.indyvoter.org/article.php?id=42 ">Adrienne Maree Brown</a>, who is really one of the top organizers and peer educators in the country of any age. They've been able to process all of that talent and learn what works and what doesn't. And they've made major gains. They forced hearings into what happened in Ohio. They were able to switch folks over in Wisconsin, so that Kerry could win after he stumbled badly there. When you add all of their work up, there isn't really any other organization out there like the League.<br /><br />There were a number of efforts to register voters across the country, and there were a number of efforts at youth and culture to attract young people. Music for America, Rock the Vote, America Votes has a youth section, but after the elections -- <a href="http://www.musicforamerica.org/">Music for America</a> is doing fine -- but many of the other organizations closed up shop. And we all saw what happened to Rock the Vote as well. The same happened with the Hip Hop Summit Action too and Citizen Change, but the League is left standing and that's a beautiful thing -- they're in it for the long run, they are going to take in some really interesting directions in the next year.<br /><br /><b>WT:</b> What issues do you think are going to dominate the agenda of the <a href="http://www.hiphopconvention.org/">National Hip Hop Convention</a> in July in Chicago?<br /><br /><b>JC:</b> The aftermath of Katrina and the war I think are two things that are at the top of every hip-hop activist's agenda.<br /><br /><b>WT:</b> As you have traveled across the country on a book tour, were there any common reactions or concerns at your readings or questions that kept coming up as you were doing readings?<br /><br /><b>JC:</b> I think people are very, very concerned about -- especially up until Katrina -- people were very concerned about hip-hop representations, how hip-hop culture was and is being portrayed. And everywhere I went and still go, what I've noticed is what's changed over the last year is a critique of media consolidation. It has begun to take hold and that's new.<br /><br />I mean at the beginning of last year people were just like, "This isn't our hip-hop. Can you believe what's happening on all these networks and radio stations?" And I think over the year there were a lot of things from the <a href="http://www.asianmediawatch.net/missjones/nypost.html ">Tsunami Song</a> to different controversies over different songs to actually raise the issue and turn it into something that was a national critique. As the year went on, it made it easier for me to make the connection for folks, "Hey this is what's actually happening."And for people to be like, "Oh yeah, that makes total sense. I understand that."<br /><br />And that's been an interesting change that's occurred and maybe the convention would be to take that up because those concerns did reach a critical mass in 2005. 2006 may be the year that folks actually take that and move it to a whole another level of discourse and discussion. Pretty much everywhere you go -- whether people are 15 years old or 45 -- that's on everybody's mind, that's the thing that really comes out now.<br /><br />The interesting thing about it is that it is a part of a critique that has to do with old folks feeling like they don't relate to young folks anymore. I am noticing a gap developing between older hip-hop folks and younger fans of the music, and I am expecting that it is just going to get worse. I was at a conference in April with Joan Morgan -- author of <i>When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost</i> and one of my favorite people in the world -- and who got up and said, "Look, I am just going to put this out there, but the hip-hop that you guys are getting nowadays just isn't as good as the hip-hop we had back in the day." And I am just going to say that -- and I am going to piss people off -- I was like, "Damn, Jim, are you serious about that?" And he was like, "Yeah I am." And I have seen that out there, and that's one of the things I am trying to bridge now to be like, "Look man, it's not any worse that it was back then and if you look at how you are sounding now compared to how you were sounding ten years ago, you should check, check the ironies, check yourself."<br /><br /><b>WT:</b> Do you attribute some of that to media consolidation -- the fact that you don't hear as much underground hip-hop as you used to?<br /><br /><b>JC:</b> I do, absolutely, but I think that the critique goes beyond that. I think there is an element of nostalgia that people aren't willing to give up.<br /><br /><b>WT:</b> That seems to happen with every generation -- unless we see people doing things exactly the same way, we assume they are not doing anything or they are not doing it right.<br /><br /><b>JC:</b> Or that theirs is a corruption of ours. I've begun to see articles saying, "We're the post hip-hop generation and here's our thing. You can have your thing, but this is our thing." I am finding that's a new kind of development, and I saw it at the Hip Hop Convention in little things that took place -- little tensions and the fact of all these books now coming out now including mine saying like Richie Perez said, "You have a short time on that historical stage. What are you going to do with it?" And if our moments passed -- fuck it. Bring the next one on. I just hope we have more open lines of communication than we had with our elders 10, 15 years ago.<br /><br /><b>WT:</b> How much overlap do you see today between the world of hip-hop activism and commercial hip-hop?<br /><br /><b>JC:</b> 2004 was a banner year, because if you take 2004 and compare it with 1992, what I recall is you have people like Madonna. Madonna was probably the most prominent and some other artists, but they were largely rock artists and they were largely white artists doing Rock the Vote at the time. As a result, Rap the Vote actually had to get started as a way of saying, "OK, don't forget there are a lot of folks of color out there."<br /><br />In 2004, it was the other way around really. Rock the Vote was seen as an auxiliary network compared to what Citizen Change and the Hop Hop Summit Action network were doing on a major scale, and that was a major change. But what must be noted is that both of them worked. For all of the cynicism that people had about those efforts like "Oh, Vote or Die? What a stupid slogan" or "Man, you think all these people are going to run to the polls because Madonna wraps herself in an American flag?" There was a lot of skepticism that greeted those efforts as there always is. It's actually part of a larger conservative effort to de-legitimize voices other than so-called "authorities" around particular subjects. Even though you have a lot of self-proclaimed liberals making these arguments, I really think it's coming from a conservative ideological mind state. It's a conservative mind frame to want to limit the number of voices in a discourse. So whenever these efforts occur, there is a lot of cynicism around it, but the fact is that it works.<br /><br />CNN is just another signifier in this huge world of noise that people are bombarded with every day. I think just the mere function of the message being out there is key to the whole thing, and what you have is that being echoed on the ground by all these organizations that are registering people to vote -- whether it be on the campuses or in the clubs. 2004 was a moment where all of these things converged. People didn't plan for it to converge but it converged, and that's why you had 4 million new voters and 2-plus million voters that were young people of color, and that's big and that's really important. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><a href="http://www.cantstopwontstop.com">Jeff Chang</a> is currently working on a book on the aesthetics of hip-hop. <a href="mailto:K.Rizga@alternet.org">Kristina Rizga</a> edits <a href="http://www.WireTapMag.org">WireTap</a> — AlterNet’s youth-oriented project. </div></div></div> Thu, 20 Apr 2006 21:00:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, WireTap 634379 at https://img.alternet.org WireTap WireTap Celebrating Politics through music https://img.alternet.org/story/33298/celebrating_politics_through_music <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '633534'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=633534" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">For something more inspiring in today&#039;s dark political realities, try Music for America.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->When was the last time you thought of politics as something fun, engaging, and inspiring? Let's face it -- daily headlines about mounting deaths in Iraq, domestic spying, broken health care system and sinking economy are overwhelming and depressing and that's not a good state of mind for fighting long-term battles. Where do we find strength and inspiration in these dark days? Try <a href="http://www.musicforamerica.org/">Music for America</a>.<br /><br />The San Francisco-based group was started by three pissed off, young guys, who were tired of formulaic and boring ways that dominate political discussions and meet-ups. They wanted to leave more inspired, talk about what <i>can</i> be done, have some fun while at it and see other young faces engaged. So, they started throwing their own kind of meet-ups with a little bit more music, positive messages, and discussions that relate distant D.C. Politics to the lives of students, punks, hipsters, hip-hop, or reggae fans. Online, they now have 60,000 members. Offline, they've paired up with over 200 bands and went on 2000 music concerts across the country to register voters and to talk about things young people can relate to and do to make a difference.<br /><br />This Thursday, March 9, Music for America will throw <a href="http://www.musicforamerica.org/">their biggest party of the year</a> to celebrate <a href="http://www.musicforamerica.org/">2006 Icon Award winners</a>, such as the outspoken bands Green Day and Death Cab and Cutie among others. If you live in the Bay Area, check out their <a href="http://www.musicforamerica.org/afterparty">After Party</a>. Green Day, Moon Zappa, Nate Query from the Decemberists, Boots Riley from the Coup, MFA staff and hundreds of their members and fans will be there to talk about some positive things in politics and listen to some of the most edgy and inspiring music to recharge our spirits.<br /><br />If you don't live near San Francisco, you can be there online at <a href="http://www.musicforamerica.org/">Musicforamerica.org</a> from 7-10 p.m. PST, as Bob Bringham blogs live from the event. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits <a href="http://www.WireTapMag.org">WireTap</a>, AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2006 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '633534'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=633534" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 08 Mar 2006 13:06:01 -0800 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 633534 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Hip hop orgs say, 'Shut 'em down!' https://img.alternet.org/story/33033/hip_hop_orgs_say%2C_%27shut_%27em_down%21%27 <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '633437'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=633437" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Momentum is building across the country to fire President Bush for his failures to respond to Katrina.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->In light of Associate Press' <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/01/AR2006030101996.html">breaking story</a> and <a href="http://www.colorofchange.org/bush/video.html ">videos</a> revealing that President Bush was warned repeatedly about the possible breach of the levees in New Orleans and didn't act to provide emergency response, dozens of groups across the country are calling for Congress to censure the President (pass a bill expressing strong disapproval and request impeachment investigations).<br /><br />Within hours of the news, the National Organizing Committee of the <a href="http://www.hiphopconvention.org/">National Hip Hop Political Convention</a>, the <a href="http://www.indyvoter.org">League of Pissed Off Voters</a>, <a href="http://www.colorofchange.org">ColorofChange.org</a>, the <a href="http://www.hiphopcaucus.org/h2c/">Hip-Hop Caucus</a>, the Finding Our Folk Tour and others drafted a petition demanding the Congressional Censure. More on the petition <a href="http://www.colorofchange.org/bush/?org=l">here</a>.<br /><br />While the implications of these clear and simple facts about our President's inability to govern will not immediately result in impeachment hearings, for folks who are still on the fence, those <a href="http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1141196245299040.xml&amp;coll=1 ">34%</a> that still approve of his job, this might be the straw that will break the camel's back. The image of a liar will stick permanently now. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits <a href="http://www.Wiretapmag.org">WireTap</a>, AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2006 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '633437'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=633437" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 02 Mar 2006 12:51:01 -0800 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 633437 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Autistic teen basketball star creates mayhem... https://img.alternet.org/story/32908/autistic_teen_basketball_star_creates_mayhem... <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '633383'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=633383" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">This story is more inspiring than any Hollywood film I&#039;ve ever seen.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->If someone told me this story without the film footage to back it up, I would dismiss it as one of those highly exaggerated, only-happens-in-fairy-tales-and-Hollywood-movies type cases. But this true story is more inspiring than any Hollywood film I've ever seen.<br /><br />CBS recently ran a story about Jason McElwain from Greece Athena High School in Rochester, N.Y. Jason, who is autistic, had been the manager of the varsity basketball team for years fetching towels and water for his teammates. But when his coach gave him a chance to play in the last five minutes of the game, he scored 20 points in four minutes and created the biggest party in the history of basketball.<br /><br />You can watch the video <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/23/earlyshow/main1339324.shtml ">here</a>.<br /><br />Dream on…<br /><br />[Thanks, <a href="http://fifthframe.com/">Akim</a>!] <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits <a href="http://www.WireTapMag.org">WireTap</a>, AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2006 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '633383'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=633383" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 28 Feb 2006 08:26:01 -0800 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 633383 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Remembering New Orleans https://img.alternet.org/story/32636/remembering_new_orleans <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Six months after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, some resident-writers look back on the good, the bad and everything in between.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Two days before Hurricane Katrina blew ashore New Orleans on Aug. 29, Ebony Bolding and her mother Henrietta were cooking food all night in preparation for a block party in the Sixth Ward.<br /><br />They planned to celebrate the release of Ebony's first book, <i><a href="http://bookswelike.net/isbn/1933368314">Before and After North Dorgenois</a></i>. Through interviews, photography and personal reflections, the book documented the good, the bad and everything in between in Ebony's block of this vibrant New Orleans neighborhood. Ebony's book, and four others written by her classmates, were the #2 best sellers (trailing Harry Potter) in New Orleans.<br /><br />On the same day, four blocks down the street, Ebony's high school teacher Abram Himelstein -- who had encouraged her to write the book -- was monitoring the approaching hurricane online. Abram and his wife Shana had never left the city for storms before, and they didn't want to cancel this block party. It had taken a lot of courage for Ebony -- a shy teen from a troubled family -- to make her innermost views public. But as the day progressed and the eye of the hurricane moved right over New Orleans, Himelstein and the Boldings canceled the party, packed their cars, and left New Orleans for Houston.<br /><br />Hours later Ebony's home, filled with freshly cooked food and party drinks, was submerged in water. The cars left behind on the block ended up on neighbors' rooftops. In just a few hours, the daily life that most of us take for granted -- neighbors lounging on porches, children playing in the streets, women calling kids for dinner -- was swept away by wind and water.<br /><br />But thanks to Ebony and her classmates, some of the most inspiring stories from New Orleans' oldest public housing neighborhoods -- neighborhoods that rarely got attention from the media unless there was a shooting -- continue to live on inside the pages of five books published by <a href="http://www.neighborhoodstoryproject.org/">The Neighborhood Story Project</a>.<br /><br />The Neighborhood Story Project was founded in 2004 by Abram Himelstein and Rachel Breunlin, teachers from John McDonough Senior High School in New Orleans. They felt that media representations of their students and their neighborhoods were usually one-sided, focused almost exclusively on the weaknesses of these largely low-income black communities. Himelstein and Breunlin knew their students had the aptitude and skills to write more complete, honest stories -- ones that people in predominantly white, middle-class America would otherwise miss.<br /><br />Most of the books' original prints didn't survive the hurricane, but fellow teen author Ashley Nelson managed to save a disk containing the files, and the Brooklyn-based publisher <a href="http://softskull.com">Soft Skull Press</a> recently reprinted all five volumes, with all book sale proceeds benefiting the project and its writers.<br /><br />As the Gulf region recovers from the flood damage and governmental inaction, the stories from the Neighborhood Story Project live on as a testament to the endurance of the people of New Orleans. We kick off this commemorative series by talking with Abram Himelstein, cofounder of the Neighborhood Story Project, who recently returned to New Orleans. Abram spoke to AlterNet from his temporary home in the city's Seventh Ward.<br /><br /><b>Kristina Rizga:</b> Could you tell me how the Neighborhood Story Project got started? What motivated you to do it?<br /><br /><b>Abram Himelstein:</b> Rachel and I were teachers at the John McDonough Senior High School [in New Orleans], and we were frustrated with the stories that the media told about our school and our students' lives and our neighborhoods. We knew that there were much richer and more truthful ways of telling the stories. So, we thought of the idea of having our students tell these stories of their neighborhoods, and we thought about what would work and how to motivate them.<br /><br /><table width="200" align="left" style="padding-right:10px; padding-bottom:5px;"><tr><td><img src="/images/managed/Story+Image_social.jpg" alt="Social Aid and Pleasure Club Parade in New Orleans, December 2005" width="200" height="266" border="1" style="color#000" /></td></tr><tr><td class="small" align="left" style="line-height:normal;">Social Aid and Pleasure Club Parade in New Orleans, December 2005</td></tr></table><br /><br />We got an office across from the high school, and the students started coming to us every afternoon for their last period of the day and then staying all afternoon. An important part of it for us was also that we were paying students. We weren't paying until the books were finished, but that students could envision this as their afterschool job. One of the things that happens differently for wealthy kids in America is that they have afterschool internships, and they get to do intellectual work after school and I really believe strongly that intellectual work should be a part of our lives, not just the domain of the wealthy.<br /><br /><b>KR:</b> What were some highlights of the process of writing these books?<br /><br /><b>AH:</b> I think with each book there was a turning point. We read this book, called <i><a href="http://alternet.bookswelike.net/isbn/0684870444">Our America: Life and Death on the South Sides of Chicago</a></i>, that was written by two Chicago teens. That book began the process of students being able to envision themselves as authors of these books. They thought, "Oh right, these teenagers did it and we also can do this." And that's a pretty large intellectual leap to move from being a reader to being an author, for all of us.<br /><br />We had excerpts published in the weekly newspaper here and I think having that moment was huge. And when they saw their work announced on a poster that looked professional I think there was this kind of gathering moment, and they began to believe in the process. I know Ashley [Nelson] -- she wrote <i><a href="http://alternet.bookswelike.net/isbn/1933368284">The Combination</a></i> -- had a lot of trepidation about being a writer in her community and coming in with a microphone and a camera and release forms. So that moment -- where the community began to get excited about this book -- was the moment that book came to be what it was going to grow up to be.<br /><br />It happened kind of differently and kind of organically with each book. With Waukesha [Jackson], she writes about how she began to talk with her mom about her mom's struggle, which in a way were her own struggles. And there's that really powerful interview where the two of them go over their relationship and the role that her mom's struggle with drugs has played in her life, and after that you know there was no stopping that book.<br /><br /><b>KR:</b> And then you sold them around the neighborhood?<br /><br /><b>AH:</b> We sold about two thousand a month. Almost all of them in New Orleans. It was incredible! We had the whole city book release party, which was phenomenal, and then each student had their own block party. It was just the greatest time of my life. Waukesha and her mom danced together, and it was like you had a feeling -- things are becoming right again. That people had been through some stuff, but are becoming right again. These were the best parties I'd ever been to.<br /><br /><b>KR:</b> Where were you when hurricane Katrina hit, and what happened to you?<br /><br /><b>AH:</b> Ebony Bolding's block party was scheduled for Saturday. My mom had evacuated on Thursday. I had seen what the hurricane had done, and that it was going westward, and it hit me that we were now in the Bull's Eye. As the hurricane became stronger, we started boarding up. Rachel [Breunlin] and her boyfriend and me and Shana left for Houston.<br /><br /><table width="200" align="left" style="padding-right:10px; padding-bottom:5px;"><tr><td><img src="/images/managed/Story+Image_protest.jpg" alt="The People's Hurricane Fund hosting a march for the Right of Return, December 2005" width="200" height="207" border="1" style="color#000" /></td></tr><tr><td class="small" align="left" style="line-height:normal;">The People's Hurricane Fund hosting a march for the Right of Return, December 2005</td></tr></table><br /><br />Ebony told us she was leaving town. Ashley [Nelson, another author] stayed and Waukesha [Jackson] left. And Kesha's grandfather -- who she lived with -- stayed, and that's an amazing story. He is OK, but he busted out of his attic, got on a boat and was eventually airlifted. Ashley had been Rachel's student for the past five years and we called her every day. We know mostly everyone had left.<br /><br />After five days our phone rang, and Ashley was in Baton Rouge in a shelter. And it was not a good situation. She had driven out in a car that I had just taught her to drive -- so it was kind of frightening that she had driven out a in car. My mother-in-law had an empty apartment in Houston where we were staying and phones didn't work at all. But when the text message came through... She was the last person that I knew and I was really worried about.<br /><br />Ashley's family is still in Houston, but she is back living in her father's house on the West Bank and going to high school. She is the only one who is back in New Orleans.<br /><br />We are in regular contact with all of the writers. Kesha and her mom are actually happily in Austin, Tex. And she is thriving. Her church booked them up. Her mom was in the drug rehab program, and I think it was facilitated by that. But both of them are doing really well. They are not planning to come back.<br /><br />Sam and Arlet are in Shreveport. And Ebony and her mom are living in Houston in an apartment complex. Jana and her mom just bought a house in Lafayette. Jana is planning to come back to go to university, but her mom has moved there. And Ashley is working for the Neighborhood Story Project. And she is thriving. She is doing really well.<br /><br /><b>KR:</b> What is Ashley doing for the Project right now?<br /><br /><b>AH:</b> Research, interviews, learning how to edit, and teaching two classes in two middle schools.<br /><br /><b>KR:</b> Where are you staying now, and what's happening around you?<br /><br /><b>AH:</b> I've been staying in Rachel's house, which is totally intact. The roof failed a little bit, but they've done a good job of repairing it. It didn't flood, and it's beautiful and tranquil. This is in the Seventh Ward, and I lived in the Fifth Ward. My house didn't flood, but there is no roof really.<br /><br />In our neighborhoods there is a lot of work, because the houses here are mostly not flooded. We are talking just hurricane damage, which is totally different than flood damage. These neighborhoods are going to be back.<br /><br />With the neighborhoods that have been flooded, it's been on and off. There's been a real lack of leadership, starting with the president, and unfortunately not mitigated much by the lower levels of government. The abdication of responsibility went all the way to the top. And whether there will be a New Orleans still remains largely in question.<br /><br /><b>KR:</b> So, you don't really feel like there is a clear presence of government there trying to repair and rebuild?<br /><br /><b>AH:</b> No, there is really no plan right now. I'll put it this way: the government works for those it has traditionally worked for. And unfortunately it works [the least] for those who need it. Like, places of ground that were the most intact during the hurricane have received the most assistance. People's access to government hasn't changed because of the hurricane and the flood. Those of us who had problems accessing governmental help continue to have that problem.<br /><br />It's a lot about having the skills to navigate the bureaucracy. And insurance companies are only interested in their bottom line. And I say that being one of the fortunate few. I feel like my finances will somehow work out. But it was an incredible fight for me. And what other people are going through is really indescribable. It does not feel like the system is working at all.<br /><br /><b>KR:</b> Can you give me some personal examples?<br /><br /><b>AH:</b> The insurance company told me three different stories, and after a while they claimed I only had a dwelling policy. My house was pretty much destroyed, and they tried to settle for $17,000. And it was actually Kafkaesque, completely surreal, to be going through that. And I have been turned down for all of the loans that would have paid for a staff to help me get started earlier, like, working on my house. But there were four months where it just sat there.<br /><br />My brother-in-law said it best. He said, "Everybody got knocked three rungs down the ladder and for some it meant being knocked completely off the ladder." And that's really the most accurate way I could put it. It's a mess and it's hard to explain.<br /><br />There is a whole group of people uptown whose lives are not fundamentally different at all except that they had to get new refrigerators.<br /><br />I ran into this woman last night, who worked at the alternative weekly newspaper. And I hadn't seen her since the hurricane, and I was so glad to see her. And I asked, "How are you doing?" And she said, "I'm doing good, and I'm very lucky." She had just bought a house, and it had been destroyed. I asked her if she had insurance. And she said it turns out to have been deeply underinsured. And she lost her job too.<br /><br />I asked her, "What makes you say you're lucky?" And she said, "It's recalibrated my sense of what's important." And no one except for people who lost loved ones will tell you that they are suffering the worst of it. I feel really lucky, and it's been the struggle of my life so far.<br /><br /><b>KR:</b> What about the most basic things, like food and shelter and health care? Where is that coming from when you there's no income and no economy?<br /><br /><b>AH:</b> There is a lot of economy now, actually, because of reconstruction. And it's boom times for some people now. But there are no places to stay, and they just kicked 20,000 people out of hotels.<br /><br /><b>KR:</b> Where will they go?<br /><br /><b>AH:</b> I don't know. I'm so overwhelmed right now. We are all so overwhelmed right now. Normally, when your house gets burned down, you go to your neighbor. But right now, your neighbor got nothin' and his neighbor got nothin', and it's like that for miles and miles. And it's the kind of stuff that pictures can't help you understand.<br /><br />Imagine 80 percent of your town is gone. And from that 20 percent, which is incredibly overcongested and overpriced, we are trying to rebuild. That 20 percent also got a lot of damage, but they are bearing the rest of the city. And those 20 percent are experiencing boom times. If you want to get groceries, you gotta go to that 20 percent. If you want to go to a restaurant, you go to that 20 percent. Nothing is working. It's slowing everything down. And then you are spending a lot of time dealing with the ill effects of government.<br /><br /><b>KR:</b> What are some things that you and your neighbors need the most right now?<br /><br /><b>AH:</b> Honestly, we need levees. We need people to commit to levees. That's what we need. We need Americans to say with one voice that these people have the right to live where they want to live. If America gave us that -- there are other things that would be helpful -- but if America gave us levees, this would work. It might not work perfectly, but we need to finish them as quickly as possible and as well as we possibly can.<br /><br /><b>KR:</b> Any other things that would be helpful right now?<br /><br /><b>AH:</b> You know, [rebuilding is] a marathon. This will be happening for the next 10 years, conservatively speaking. So, we can't really be yesterday's news.<br /><br />My wife Shana says, "The catastrophe is still going on." And we have 20,000 people that are being put out of their hotel rooms in the middle of it. These are people who have lost everything. And they are probably here because they are trying to work here and maintain their presence here. The businesses need them here. And they need to be here, so they can start getting their lives back in the order. And that's a huge thing.<br /><br />Do we have the right to live here? If you are not going build the levees properly, tell us now. And just be honest that, "You are on our own. This country is not rich enough to maintain this city."<br /><br />And there are other things. We need to be a part of people's consciousness. It's a hard struggle. And it's hard to tell people who are here how to get involved in that. But there are days here when I feel like this will be a city. And then there are days when I feel this is like a removal of Indians from their land.<br /><br />The question is: for whom and by whom is New Orleans being rebuilt? And this is going to be a serious fight. My friend Kalamu says that "this is the only African city in America." And people can get distracted by [Mayor Ray] Nagins, but the real question is -- what would justice look like here? Anybody who wants to come home, can come home. And all you need to do is show up and say, "I want to go to my home."<br /><br />And the government should work from this point to make a realistic plan to repatriate that person. We need that level of service. We need housing while we work on our houses. But the main thing we need is levees. This is some serious trauma that people have been through.<br /><br />If Bush actually comes around one day, we want America to say with one voice, "We need levees -- the strongest levees that can be made." It's been such a stall. What we are talking about spending on levees is a fraction of what we are spending on homeland security. But this is what levees mean. This is my homeland, and I want security. And if it can't happen, just be honest with us. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Visit the <a href="http://www.katrinaaction.org/">Katrina Information Network</a> for the latest on grassroots efforts to rebuild the Gulf Coast. <a href="mailto:K.rizga@alternet.org">Kristina Rizga</a> is the editor of <a href="http://www.WireTapMag.org">WireTap</a>, AlterNet's youth-oriented section. </div></div></div> Sun, 26 Feb 2006 21:00:01 -0800 Kristina Rizga, WireTap 633348 at https://img.alternet.org WireTap Hurricane Katrina WireTap Confessions of a Howard Stern Censor https://img.alternet.org/story/32095/confessions_of_a_howard_stern_censor <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '633122'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=633122" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">How Janet Jackson&#039;s nipple changed the history of radio.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Did you notice censored words during this year's Rolling Stone's performance for NFL's halftime show? Lyrics that haven't been bleeped out for half a century. Ever wonder who's pushing those buttons? And who makes those decisions?<br /><br />Dead Air Dave has been hitting the omnipotent button of the dump machine since 2002. He was in charge of removing all those mischievous words from <i>The Howard Stern Show</i>, as dictated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In this recently published, fascinating interview with him on <a href="http://www.fmqb.com/Article.asp?id=173131 ">FMQB.com</a>, he talks about the changes in the censorship of commercial radio in the post-Janet era.<br /><br />The most absurd outcome seems to be the banning of words like 'piss' while racial slurs continue unabated. On the brighter side, Dear Air seems inspired by the rise of Sattelite Radio.<br /><br />Dead Air Dave also produced a short <a href="http://www.deadairdave.net/">documentary</a> about his experiences as the supreme bleeper.<br /><br />[via <a href="http://www.rockrap.com">Rockrap.com</a>] <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits <a href="http://www.WireTapMag.org">WireTap</a>, AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2006 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '633122'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=633122" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 10 Feb 2006 14:56:01 -0800 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 633122 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Last Day to Save Student Aid https://img.alternet.org/story/31619/last_day_to_save_student_aid <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '632874'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=632874" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Today is the National Day of Action to stop a bill in congress that will cut $12.7 billion from student loan programs.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Tomorrow, February 1st, Congress will take a final vote on the Budget Reconciliation Bill. If passed, this bill will cut $12.7 billion dollars from student loan programs. This will be the largest cut to student aid in history. It will add on average of $2,000 to each student's debt each year.<br /><br />American students already graduate with more debt than students in any other industrialized country. Two-thirds of college students now graduate with loans, and their average college debt is nearly $20,000 -- an increase of more than 50 percent since the early 1990s.<br /><br />These cuts affect everyone -- dems, republicans, greens, independents -- especially low-income students and anyone who wants to go into lower-paying positions after school, such as teaching, social work, or public sector.<br /><br />The United States Student Association, the League of Young Voters, Campaign for Our Future and hundreds of other organizations across the country are calling for a National Day of Action today.<br /><br />For more information on how to stop this bill, please visit <a href="http://www.ourfuture.org ">Ourfuture.org</a> or <a href="http://www.usstudents.org ">Usstudents.org</a>.<br /><br />Here's your chance to show how to filibuster! <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap, AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2006 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '632874'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=632874" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 31 Jan 2006 08:18:01 -0800 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 632874 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content "Operation Offset" https://img.alternet.org/story/26207/%22operation_offset%22 <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631810'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631810" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">... is the name of new budget cuts that will pay for Hurricane Katrina at the expense of the elderly and the poor.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><a href=" http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:CrIBQebchh0J:johnshadegg.house.gov/rsc/RSC_Budget_Options_2005.pdf+RSC_Budget_Options_2005&amp;hl=en&amp;client=googlet">"Operation Offset"</a> is what the Republicans are calling their new budget cut plan to pay for Hurricane Katrina. [<a href="http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:CrIBQebchh0J:johnshadegg.house.gov/rsc/RSC_Budget_Options_2005.pdf+RSC_Budget_Options_2005&amp;hl=en&amp;client=googlet">LINK</a>]<br /><br />Most of the proposed cuts target the elderly and the poor, heavily targeting Medicare. <a href=" http://www.seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Politics/5-09-22SeniorsPay4Katrina.htm">Senior Journal.com</a> reports:<blockquote>"In a stunning announcement yesterday, the Republican Study Committee recommended shifting a big portion of the cost of Hurricane Katrina to the backs of America's senior citizens. Recommended program cuts impacting seniors include delaying the Medicare Prescription Drug Program, increase Medicare Part B Premium from 25% to 30%, impose a home health co-payment of 10%, reduce Medicaid administrative spending, increase allowable co-pays in Medicaid, block grant Medicaid acute services."</blockquote>The new plan also eliminates all federal funding for energy conservation, <a href=" http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=about.ab_index">the "Energy Star" program</a>, energy efficient vehicles, hydrogen vehicles, high-speed rail, and light rail.<br /><br />No more federal money for PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. Nothing at all. Here's why:<blockquote>"Eliminate Federal Funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting CPB. ... CPB and PBS continue to use federal funding to pay for questionable programming, such as a documentary on sex education funded by the Playboy Foundation. Additionally, much of the programming on PBS, such as Sesame Street, could bring in enough annual revenues to cover the loss of federal funding. Savings: $5.6 billion over ten years ($2.2 billion over five years)"[<a href="http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:CrIBQebchh0J:johnshadegg.house.gov/rsc/RSC_Budget_Options_2005.pdf+RSC_Budget_Options_2005&amp;hl=en&amp;client=googlet">LINK</a>]</blockquote><br />Also facing cuts are AmeriCorps, <a href=" http://www.evenstart.org/news/himelstein_testifies.shtml">the "Even Start" program</a>, security and anti-drug funding for inner-city schools, all federal loans to graduate students, the Global AIDS Initiative, the EPA, the Center for Disease Control, pensions and healthcare plans for retired federal workers, job programs and revitalization funds for poor neighborhoods, the school lunch program, and community health centers.<br /><br />As American philosopher Lily Tomlin says, "No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up!" <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet's youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631810'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631810" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 29 Sep 2005 12:32:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631810 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Saudis warn Iraq may face civil war https://img.alternet.org/story/25921/saudis_warn_iraq_may_face_civil_war <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631809'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631809" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">It&#039;s not every day that you see a Saudi foreign minister going against the Bush administration&#039;s assessment of Iraq.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->It's not every day that you see a Saudi foreign minister going against the Bush administration's assessment of Iraq.<br /><br />While the White House continues to offer a generally upbeat assessment of Iraq, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/23/politics/23diplo.html?ex=1128139200&amp;en=6478ceb678241c37&amp;ei=5070&amp;emc=etal"><i>The New York Times</i> reported</a> this morning that "Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said Thursday that he had been warning the Bush administration in recent days that Iraq was hurtling toward disintegration, a development that he said could drag the region into war."<br /><br />"Prince Saud's statements, some of the most pessimistic public comments on Iraq by a Middle Eastern leader in recent months, were in stark contrast to the generally upbeat assessments that the White House and the Pentagon have been offering."<br /><br />"There is no dynamic now pulling the nation together," he said in a meeting with reporters at the Saudi Embassy here. "All the dynamics are pulling the country apart." He said he was so concerned that he was carrying this message "to everyone who will listen" in the Bush administration."<br /><br />(Thanks for the lead Gerry.) <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631809'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631809" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 23 Sep 2005 10:08:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631809 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content More tax cuts -- what? https://img.alternet.org/story/25751/more_tax_cuts_--_what <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631808'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631808" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">On the rainiest day of them all, we don&#039;t have any rainy day funds. How on earth will more tax cuts for the wealthy solve this?</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->One of the biggest strengths of the Conservatives -- something I often envy -- is their ability to stay on the message and repeat it over and over and over again in the media. (Progressive media must do that more often -- we spend limited resources on stellar investigative reports that rarely get reprinted or discussed for greater critical mass and social impact.)<br /><br />Staying on message works brilliantly most of the time, except in emergency situations like Katrina. And this is the weakness of Conservatives. They are not good at adjusting their messages in crisis situations.<br /><br />On September 16th, President Bush again <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050916/pl_nm/katrina_bush_budget_dc">rejected Democratic pleas</a> to reconsider his proposal to extend tax cuts. Bush's position is that to reverse the tax cuts would amount to a tax increase.<br /><br />Maybe I'm too optimistic, but I don't see how on earth President Bush is going to be able to make a continued case for permanent tax cuts without seriously hurting his party in the 2006 congressional elections. And it's a shame that it's taking Dems so long to bring this issue to the forefront of the public consciousness. President Clinton -- a fiscally conservative Democrat -- already made a case against tax cuts in the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/09/19/katrina.clinton/">mainstream media for them</a>. All they need to do is repeat, repeat, repeat ...<br /><br />This is a great issue to illustrate the weaknesses of conservative ideologies when it comes to governing. If we don't have a rainy day fund during Katrina -- the rainiest day of them all -- further tax cuts are irresponsible, even criminal. Our top decision-makers are not fit to govern. It's a simple message that should be repeated over and over and over again.<br /><br />A quick refresher: President Bush has enacted tax cuts for the past four years, including a $1.35 trillion cut over 10 years signed in 2001. <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/09/AR2005080900123.html">He wants Congress to make this cut permanent</a>. For the majority of Americans, the tax cuts meant very little. <a href="http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&amp;b=34039">The Center for American Progress reports</a> that "By next year, for instance, 88% of all Americans will receive $100 or less from the Administration's latest tax cuts." Meanwhile, next year's budget deficit will be around whopping $567 billion. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631808'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631808" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 20 Sep 2005 10:37:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631808 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Growing health care crisis https://img.alternet.org/story/25511/growing_health_care_crisis <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631807'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631807" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">There were 800,000 more Americans without health insurance last year than there were in 2003.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->My boyfriend and I were visiting my family in Latvia this summer where he got sick right away with a hardy European flu his American immune system couldn't handle. We didn't have health insurance, but as symptoms got worse I dared to call the doctor. To my surprise, the cost of a visit at home was $30. The cost of Lithuanian antibiotics that cured him? $3. Similar antibiotics at Walgreens? $50.<br /><br />It makes sense then why the average American paid $5,267 on health care in 2002, compared with an average $1,821 in other industrialized nations. And it's not because our medical lawsuits are out of hand, as many Republicans like to argue. As AlterNet reported, <a href="http://www.alternet.org/story/23549">recent research</a> shows that health care increases come from high prices not costs. In other words, pharmaceutical companies charge more for the same drugs and health care companies charge more for the same services.<br /><br />These rising prices contributed to the fact that even more Americans went without health insurance last year. And it means that more folks lack routine preventative care, resulting in expensive hospital visits for more serious problems.<br /><br />According to a recent data by the <a href="http://www.cbpp.org/8-30-05health.htm ">Census Bureau</a> released on August 30, there are 800,000 more Americans without health insurance this year than there were in 2003. Lack of insurance was much more common among those with low incomes.  Some 24.3 percent of people with incomes below $25,000 were uninsured, almost triple the rate of 8.4 percent for people with incomes over $75,000. And more depressing findings -- African-Americans (19.7 percent uninsured) and Hispanics (32.7 percent) were much more likely to be uninsured than white, non-Hispanic people (11.3 percent).<br /><br />Luckily, the number of uninsured children didn't grow. The government health insurance programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP enrolled more children in 2004 and offset the reduction of private insurance plans for children.<br /><br />There is no simple solution to this problem, but I am planning to channel some of my rage into next congressional elections coming up in November 2006. And I asked my dad to mail me some Lithuanian antibiotics. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631807'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631807" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 14 Sep 2005 14:00:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631807 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content If you are in college or are planning to enroll https://img.alternet.org/story/25380/if_you_are_in_college_or_are_planning_to_enroll <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631806'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631806" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">... help defeat a bill that will be the largest cut to student aid in history.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->The <a href="http://www.studentaidaction.com">Student Aid Action</a> just reminded me that on September 26th, the Congress is considering a proposal to cut federal financial aid programs by nearly $9 billion dollars. If this cut passes, it will be the largest cut to student aid in history, forcing the typical student borrower to pay an additional $5,800 for his or her student loans and further closing the door on affordable college opportunities.<br /><br />When the U.S. government can spend $1 billion on military operations in Iraq every day, we should be able to find a fraction of it for helping low-income students.<br /><br />As I've mentioned in previous entries, student debt in the U.S. has risen dramatically in the last decade. Two-thirds of college students now graduate with loans, and their average college debt is nearly $20,000 -- an increase of more than 50 percent since the early 1990s.<br /><br />American students already graduate with more debt than students in any other industrialized country. Financial Aid cuts affect low-income students and growing debt overall closes opportunities for graduates that want to go into lower paying positions, such as teaching and social work.<br /><br />Take Action -- make a quick phone call <b>before September 26th</b> and urge your representative to oppose this proposal. Visit <a href="http://www.studentaidaction.com/aid.asp?id=1157">Student Aid Action website</a> for instructions. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631806'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631806" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 12 Sep 2005 13:19:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631806 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Ways to Help Children https://img.alternet.org/story/25218/ways_to_help_children <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631805'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631805" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Among the displaced Katrina survivors, there are now thousands of homeless children who need your help.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Among the millions of displaced Katrina survivors, there are now thousands of homeless children with emotional and physical scars that need immediate care and attention.<br /><br />The total number of displaced kids appears well above 200,000 according to <a href=" http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/07/national/nationalspecial/07child.html?adxnnl=1&amp;oref=login&amp;adxnnlx=1126201301-vDf623uvOazel/ZaXrZiCA"><i>the New York Times</i> estimate</a> from September 7. In addition to basic needs for food and shelter, children need to find new schools where the classroom routine will provide a welcome relief from the chaos and trauma they experienced in the past week. Many schools can also provide much-needed counselors and immunization.<br /><br />The resettlement of both K-12 and college students began last week and the Department of Education needs your help. Some historians argue that the Department is experiencing its worst crisis since its creation after the Civil War.<br /><br />Here are a few ways you can support displaced children:<br /><br /><ul><li>If you or your school can donate text books, school supplies and clothes, you can post that information on the Department of Education's <a href="http://www.ed.gov/news/hurricane/index.html">online bulletin board</a>.</li><li><a href="http://www.savethechildren.org/news/releases/release_090205.asp?stationpub=i_hpln_090205&amp;ArticleID=&amp;NewsID">Save the Children</a> provides places to gather, play and learn for children awaiting resettlement, and also facilitates the search for missing parents.</li><li><a href="”http://national.unitedway.org/”">The United Way of America</a> will try to buy school supplies for every displaced student.</li><li><a href="http://www.connectforkids.org">Connect for Kids</a> -- a Washington D.C.-based non-profit youth resource center <a href="http://www.connectforkids.org/node/3372?tn=hp/1b">complied a helpful list of the various benefits</a> that are available for homeless students, such as free meals, financial aid, transportation and more. Some of those groups need your assistance.</li></ul><br /><br />If you know of any additional resources that assist displaced children, please let us know. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap -- AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631805'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631805" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 08 Sep 2005 09:11:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631805 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content The revolution will be televised https://img.alternet.org/story/24226/the_revolution_will_be_televised <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631804'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631804" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">You can now build your own TV on the computer.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->The Worcester-based <a href="”http://participatoryculture.org/”">Participatory Culture Foundation</a> just released free, open-source software for video -- DTV -- that allows individuals to create their own alternative TVs on their computers. DTV also allows millions of independent video bloggers and makers to bypass mainstream distributors and reach their viewers for free.<br /><br />In a world where a new blog is created every three seconds, it’s hard to keep up with and filter such massive amount of information. DTV helps to view our favorite video content or ‘channels’ -- without visiting their website every day -- and learn about the new comers to the open source community.<br /><br />This type of software might be covered in the “10 Things that Changed the World” specials in the next decade. The distribution barriers have been higher for video than for other mediums. Even short video files, lasting just a few minutes, can be many times larger than an average MP3 music file. With the inclusion of RSS feeds, it is now easy to share and view video content.<br /><br />DTV turns into a DIY TV hub or aggregator on your computer with easy archiving and viewing tools. It takes no more than five minutes to <a href="http://participatoryculture.org/download.php ">download the software</a>. DTV has an intuitive interface and flexible folders for ‘channel’ management. And it already comes with a few independent news channels that you can subscribe to, like the <a href="”http://mediamatters.org/”">Media Matters’ daily updates</a> of the right-wing, well ... nonsense. Like when Jim Dobson <a href="”http://mediamatters.org/items/200508030007">compared embryonic stem cell research to Nazi experiments</a>. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631804'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631804" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 17 Aug 2005 09:48:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631804 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Art in Action https://img.alternet.org/story/24062/art_in_action <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631803'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631803" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Some of the world&#039;s best musicians are planning a massive anti-war concert in D.C. on Sept. 24.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Every serious movement needs a band.<br /><br />Social change takes years, often without an end in sight. Luckily, there are socially conscious musicians who help keep that hope and perseverence alive. Both the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war protests became more visible, personal and bigger with the help of Bob Dylan, the Beatles, a "We Shall Overcome" song created by African American textile workers, and Harry Belafonte, among many others, who often accompanied Martin Luther King, Jr.<br /><br />"<a href="http://www.opceasefire.org">Operation Ceasefire</a>" is a new coalition of concerned musicians determined to drum up the fight against what they believe is a misguided and immoral occupation of Iraq. Representing the breadth and diversity of the anti-war movement, "Operation Ceasefile" will bring some of the world's best punk, hip-hop, electronic and indie musicians to D.C. for a free, day-long concert on September 24. The concert will feature Thievery Corporation, Le Tigre, The Pharmacists, The Coup, Head-Roc, Ted Leo and many more. Activists Wayne Kramer, MC5, and Greg Palast will speak. The concert is a part of the larger four-day rally in Washington D.C.<br /><br />For more information on the concert and rallies, <a href="http://www.opceasefire.org">click here</a>. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631803'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631803" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 15 Aug 2005 09:50:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631803 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content We are mad as hell https://img.alternet.org/story/24041/we_are_mad_as_hell <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631802'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631802" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">...and we are not taking it anymore,” says &lt;a href=&quot;http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/cindy-sheehan/camp-casey-day-6_5524.html&quot;&gt;Cindy Sheehan&lt;/a&gt; today on &lt;a href=&quot;http://www.huffingtonpost.com&quot;&gt;Huffington Post&lt;/a&gt;.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->...and we are not taking it anymore,” says <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/cindy-sheehan/camp-casey-day-6_5524.html">Cindy Sheehan</a> on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com">Huffington Post</a>:<blockquote>"Over 700 people showed up at the Camp yesterday. There were more people, flowers, cards, mail, interviews, laughter, heartache, camaraderie, excitement, and just sheer work."</blockquote>Cindy Sheehan is still the biggest story in the blogworld. The tide is turning and it's swelling with some conservative supporters. <a href="http://www.dailykos.com">Daily Kos</a> finds a post from a life-long conservative (<a href="http://cunningrealist.blogspot.com/2005/08/decency-is-not-in-them.html">Cunning Realist</a>), who is outraged by the right wing smear campaign:<blockquote>“There are so many side issues of shamelessness and crass opportunism in this story it makes my head spin. Think about the gall of a political and media machine "accusing" a private citizen of changing her mind (imagine that!) about an elected and supposedly accountable public official."</blockquote>Alex Keyssar via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/theblog/archive/alex-keyssar/cindy-sheehan-american-p_5536.html">Huffington Post</a> reminds us:<blockquote>"For those of us of a certain age, it's hard not to be reminded of the mother's marches against the Vietnam war in the 1960s; busloads of middle-aged women were a lot harder to dismiss than shaggy haired radical protestors ... But those mothers marches made a difference, contributing to the swelling of popular opposition to the war. ... If there were a military draft now, I suspect that President Bush would be encountering protesting mothers every time he appeared in public."</blockquote>I think Bush has cornered himself by now; it’s a no win situation for him. If he meets with Cindy Sheehan after such an extended, callous refusal, he appears weak and will potentially invite even more protesters. Besides, nothing will sound heartfelt at this point. If he doesn’t meet with Cindy, his polls will continue to plunge. Thank you, Cindy. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631802'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631802" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 12 Aug 2005 09:04:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631802 at https://img.alternet.org PEEK PEEK Old_Blog Type Content Bush's ego and his reputation https://img.alternet.org/story/24004/bush%27s_ego_and_his_reputation <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631801'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631801" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">… is killing people for no reason,&quot; says Iraq vet Terry Rodgers. And unlike Cindy Sheehan, he doesn&#039;t want to talk to President Bush ever again.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->"My belief is that his ego is getting people killed and mutilated for no reason -- just his ego and his reputation," says Iraq veteran Terry Rodgers in a <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/09/AR2005080901441_pf.html"><i>Washington Post</i> story today</a>. "If we really wanted to, we could pull out of Iraq. Maybe not completely, but enough that we wouldn't be losing people -- at least not at this rate. So I think he himself is responsible for quite a few American deaths."<br /><br />Unlike <a href="”http://www.meetwithcindy.org/”">Cindy Sheehan</a>, who demands an explanation from Bush for her son's death, Iraq combat veteran Terry Rodgers doesn't want anything to do with him ever again.<br /><br />Terry Rodgers, 21, like many, joined the army out of boredom with his menial, low-wage job. And back then, like many, he didn't know or think about the politics of it all.<br /><br />Terry recently came back with emotional and physical scars that no one will ever fully comprehend. A car bomb explosion broke his femur, jaw, cheekbone. His right calf was blown away. His can't hear with his right ear and or see with his right eye. His memory filled with people next to him loosing arms and legs and their lives.<br /><br />As he was going through recovery in a hospital, he took on a political stance that he expressed in a quiet protest -- while he accepted visits from military generals and the Dave Matthew Band, he declined to meet President Bush, Dick Cheney or Condoleeza Rice. He had lost faith in his leaders and their assurances of victory. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631801'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631801" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 10 Aug 2005 11:38:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631801 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Talk Back to Your Radio https://img.alternet.org/story/23961/talk_back_to_your_radio <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631800'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631800" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Hundreds of groups are mobilizing to shut down abusive Clear Channel radio stations.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Young people in Oakland and Fruitvale are fed up with Clear Channel. They are going door to door to explain to local communities how to shut them down.<br /><br />In an article called “<a href="”http://www.alternet.org/story/21584/”">How to Turn Your Red State Blue</a>,” Christopher Hayes found that religious groups that actively proselytize door to door -- Mormons, Evangelical Protestants, Islam -- are experiencing the highest membership growth. Political science studies Hayes cited also show that “Roughly one out of every 15 voters approached at the door will add their vote to your tally.”<br /><br />And even though most Americans remain progressive in their support for taxation, health care, education spending, Social Security, and a safe environment, more call themselves ‘conservative’ today and vote seemingly against their own interests.<br /><br />One popular explanation for this puzzling disconnect between the values of most Americans and the actual conservative voting record is the rise of right-wing and Christian radio. Ever since the Federal Communications Commission relaxed the radio ownership rules from in 1996, the hateful views and frequent lies of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage have gone from 50 stations onto 1200.<br /><br />Clear Channel -- who sponsored pro-war rallies throughout the country and hired Michael Savage after he was fired by MSNBC for labeling a caller “a sodomite” and telling him to “get AIDS and die” -- is now the world’s largest radio broadcaster, concert promoter and billboard owner. Clear Channel’s cookie-cutter stations shut out independent musicians, replace DJs with computer-assisted voice segments, and ignore local community issues.<br /><br />California youth are finally getting fed up and are taking matters in their hands. Last week, Oakland-based <a href="”http://action.youthmediacouncil.org”">Youth Media Council</a> kicked off their campaign “Talking Back to Radio” in which they are demanding that Clear Channel increase community-based programming to 50 percent. If not, they're asking the FCC to revoke the broadcast licenses of three stations: 106.1 KMEL, Wild 94.8AM 910AM KNEW.<br /><br />Youth Media Council and allies went door to door to talk to people about how local media affects their lives and collected complaint cards for a mailing to the FCC. At the end of this year, many radio station licenses are coming up for renewals and it is your chance to talk back to your radio.<br /><br />Check out <a href="”http://action.youthmediacouncil.org”">Youth Media Council’s</a> and <a href="”http://www.freepress.net”">Free Press</a>’ websites for more information about a variety of national radio license renewal campaigns this year.<br /><br />Are you fed up with radio in your community? Which stations and why? <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631800'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631800" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 08 Aug 2005 14:31:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631800 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Generation Wired https://img.alternet.org/story/23905/generation_wired <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631719'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631719" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Nine out of 10 American teens use the internet, but they still prefer face-to-face communication.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Pew Internet and American Life project just released a fascinating study on our technology habits. AlterNet readers have of course known for years that getting news and analysis online is often more efficient, environmentally-friendly, cheaper -- sometimes free (thanks to hard-working fundraisers at AlterNet) -- and allows for a variety of views that the conveyor-belt of mainstream media misses.<br /><br />Turns out the next generation is geared up to amplify this trend.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-teen28.html">A survey released on July 28</a>, by the Pew Project found that nearly nine in 10 teens (87 percent) are Internet users. By comparison, only about 66 percent of adults use the Internet.<br /><br />Eighty-four percent of teens reported owning at least one communication device, either a desktop or laptop computer, a cell phone or a personal digital assistant.<br /><br />They are likely to share links, photos, music and video files by instant message. Between IMs, they play games online.<br /><br />It showed a surge in the size of the wired teen population at seventh grade.<br /><br /><b>The study also summarized what teens do online: (the percentage of U.S. Internet users, ages 12-17)</b><br /><br />84% - Go to Web sites about movies, TV shows, music groups, sports<br />76% - Go online to get news or information about current events<br />75% - Send or receive instant messages<br />57% - Go online to get information about college<br />22% - Look for information about a health topic that's hard to talk about<br /><br />And while adults increasingly use e-mail for impersonal communication, which according to the <a href="http://www.forbes.com/home/technology/2005/07/28/technology-rudeness-wireless-cx_fr_0728rude.html">recent Forbes analysis</a> is getting more confrontational and rude every day, teens prefer cell phones, instant messaging and inter-personal communication to connect with their peers. Nearly half have cell phones to keep in touch with home and friends. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631719'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631719" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Thu, 04 Aug 2005 10:33:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631719 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Speaking of the Future Establishment https://img.alternet.org/story/23760/speaking_of_the_future_establishment <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '629666'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=629666" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The current model of progressive activism on college campuses is a huge number of small organizations focusing on their own issues. How can they unite to affect bigger national agendas?</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->On July 13, a large auditorium at the Washington Convention Center lit by 19th-century chandeliers wasn't hosting the usual crowd of elderly men in gray suits. For the first time in 30 years of liberal organizing, <a href="http://www.campusprogress.org">Campus Progress</a> brought together over 600 progressive twenty-something activists to the capital of political establishment.<br /><br />Recovering from the steady stream of recent defeats, liberals argue over the future of the Democratic Party. And as with <a href="http://www.alternet.org/story/23734">the recent AFL-CIO split</a>, there is no agreement on winning strategy in sight. Progressives blame the centrist '90s and want to move away from corporate sponsors to pulling together a new, lower- and middle-class majority of Americans. But beltway moderates can't seem to abandon conservative-leaning elites.<br /><br />Political differences aside, progressive grassroots organizers seem to agree on one point. While the left has been more effective in local activism, including college campuses, when it comes to national politics the right dominates the agenda more than ever.<br /><br />Over the past 30 years, right-wing groups poured over $35 million annually to college campuses. Even though a vast majority of students identify themselves as being closer to the left, for every progressive publication on college campus, there are two conservative ones. When it comes to affecting national agenda, conservative groups have been more effective at organizing students, in large part, through campus publications.<br /><br />But it looks like this trend could be changing. <a href="http://www.campusprogress.org">Campus Progress</a>--a division of the <a href="http://www.americanprogress.org">Center for American Progress</a>--is the only group in the U.S. today that financially supports progressive publications on college campuses. It currently sponsors 14 progressive publications, with plans to hit 50 next year, helps students bring progressive speakers to their schools and organizes national editorial conference calls. Student publishers receive money for printing, training and mentorship, says Elana Berkowitz, editor of the Campus Progress online magazine.<br /><br />Their first annual conference was an attempt to gather hundreds of small student groups to kick off a national debate about progressive agenda.<br /><br />In a day-long, free conference, students heard from Democratic moderates like President Bill Clinton and the first female White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers. There were also more-progressive writers and organizers, such as author <a href="http://www.tcfrank.com">Thomas Frank</a>, Katrina vanden Heuvel of <a href="http://www.thenation.com">the Nation</a> and Stephanie Nyombayire -- a young activist from Rwanda working to bring <a href="http://www.genocideinterventionfund.org">more visibility to the ongoing atrocities in Darfur, Sudan</a>. Morning panels attempted to define progressive values while afternoon workshops focused on strategic training shared by veteran organizers.<br /><br />A young woman in her early twenties in a flamboyant dress and pink high heels confidently introduces herself to everyone at the table. She is an intern from <a href="http://www.peacenow.org">Americans for Peace Now</a>. Her head shook violently as she laid out her carefully crafted talking points with a confident, at times deafening voice. I put a finger on my ear to hear my soft-spoken neighbor. Rob Cobbs is a full-time student at Amherst College and a board chair for Massachussets Student PIRG (Public Interest Research Group). He spends more than 30 hours a week on political organizing. Jamia Wilson, a veteran pro-choice activist with maturity well beyond her 24 years, has thoughtful insight on any topic that comes up. This group of students is every college professor's dream -- motivated, smart and articulate.<br /><br />With 4.7 million more 18 to 24 year-old votes cast in 2004 than 2000, these young leaders are also becoming every progressive politician's dream--from Democrats to Greens.<br /><br /><b>Tom Friedman vs. Naomi Klein?</b><br /><br />The week after the conference, Campus Progress heard a few loud boo's on its <a href="http://www.campusprogress.org/page/community/group/main">blog</a> inspired by Sam Graham-Felsen's article<a href="http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml%3Fi=20050801&amp;s=graham-felsen">in the Nation</a>. Critiquing the conference for its lack of more radical viewpoints from the progressive circles, he pointed out that no one challenged President Bill Clinton on the war in Iraq or his welfare policies.<br /><br />Most Campus Progress bloggers debated the merits of a national conference that brings together more centrist students, who typically vote for the Democrats, and more radical participants, who vote for the Greens or even start their own parties. Do they have enough in common, or is this a waste of time, a project doomed to failure once they get down to policy?<br /><br />Activist Jamia Wilson thinks the conference was a good idea and was impressed by the diversity of students, but she doesn't see much future<table width="160" align="right" style="padding-left:10px; padding-bottom:5px;"><tr><td><img src="/images/managed/Story+Image_23760_3.jpg" alt="Jamia Wilson and Emily Goodstein" width="160" height="120" border="1" style="color#000" /></td></tr><tr><td class="small" align="left" style="line-height:11px;">Jamia Wilson and Emily Goodstein.</td></tr></table> in compromising with the more centrist views. "I'm sick of the appeasement sentiment. Even though I truly appreciate Campus Progress, there is definitely this lean toward moderate, centrist propaganda. The Republican Party is winning and they never appeased us, ever," she argued. For Wilson, the issues discussed were too safe -- poverty, social security, sex education -- compared to tougher turf like gay rights, a woman's right to choose, or affirmative action.<br /><br />Gilowen Jenkins, 21, a senior at the University of Massachusetts, recently changed his more radical stance and moved to the center for strategic purposes. "I feel that to get some positive progressive change we need to get the seats of power back. It's okay to dream -- we need visionaries -- but you have to be realistic about the nature of power in this country and how to get it," he explained.<br /><br />Berkowitz, editor of Campus Progress, views these disagreements as an asset of the progressive movement, "At the core, Campus Progress students share a number of values -- a commitment to economic opportunity and justice, maintaining civil liberties and reproductive freedoms, pursuing a thoughtful, effective and humane foreign policy." She views finding common ground as key to effective progressive activism. "Students who don't always see eye to eye on every political issue will have to work together to create a movement and to make change on their campuses and in their communities."<br /><br /><b>Don't Just Organize, Mobilize</b><br /><br />Most students spoke with conviction and clarity about their values and goals. There were savvy strategists, organizers, and promoters. But as with the rest of progressive community, student organizers often fail to mobilize larger groups of people beyond their immediate activist circles.<br /><br />This is where Campus Progress comes in. The group helps some of the most effective progressive student activists <table width="200" align="right" style="padding-left:10px; padding-bottom:5px;"><tr><td><img src="/images/managed/Story+Image_23760_2.jpg" alt="Silvia Henriquez" width="200" height="230" border="1" style="color#000" /></td></tr><tr><td class="small" align="left" style="line-height:11px;">Silvia Henriquez, executive director, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health/CP Image.</td></tr></table>go beyond short-term mobilization on one issue -- voting once a year, getting their schools to divest from Wal-Mart, or stopping a polluting plant -- to becoming long-term, strategic organizers who stay in touch with non-activists in their communities on a day-to-day basis.<br /><br />Through campus publications, these organizers can connect big political issues -- like global warming -- to the personal lives of people who are working too many jobs, taking too many classes or watching too much TV. The success of long-term organizing that can shape national agenda requires engagement of our less politically-active neighbors.<br /><br />John Wilson of the <a href="http://www.indypress.org/cjp/index.html">Independent Press Association</a>, which that also supports college publications, comments, "If you look at any category of activism -- the number of student organizations, the number of campus protests and events, the number of students actively organizing -- progressives far outnumber conservatives. But the current model of progressive activism on campuses is a huge number of disparate organizations focusing on their own issues."<br /><br /><a href="http://www.campusprogress.org">Campus Progress</a> can be that missing tool for all progressive students -- radical or centrist -- to effectively communicate with their base, build broader coalitions and win bigger battles. David Halperin, director of Campus Progress adds, "Trying to force conformity is doomed to failure. But we can get smarter about presenting our case and figuring out when it's best to come together."<br /><br />For one day, for the first time in 30 years of progressive organizing, there were students from Ivy League schools and community colleges, students from Tennessee and Florida -- all seeing each other as part of a cohesive whole. Public service seemed like a hip thing to do. And most participants were challenged to focus on what the progressive movement agrees on and stands <i>for</i>, rather than what it is that divides the various factions. For a movement that prides itself for its inclusion and diversity, I say it's a good thing. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits <a href="http://www.alternet.org/wiretap">WireTap</a> -- AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '629666'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=629666" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Sun, 31 Jul 2005 21:00:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 629666 at https://img.alternet.org WireTap WireTap Speaking of Future https://img.alternet.org/story/23768/speaking_of_future <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631720'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631720" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Average college debt has increased more than 50 percent since the early &#039;90s and looks like this trend is here to stay.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Every month I painfully send away a quarter of my paycheck to pay for my student loans. Since I and millions of other students have to do it for the next 20 years, how are we ever going to be able to save for anything?<br /><br />Last week, the GOP-dominated House Education Committee had a chance to help students out by changing financial aid laws, but they didn't. Earl Hadley, the education coordinator of TomPaine.com <a href="”http://www.tompaine.com/articles/20050727/putting_students_last.php”">just reported</a> that the new Higher Education bill favors lenders over students. The new bill raises maximum interest rate from 6.8 to 8.25 percent and it rejected a bipartisan amendment that would allow schools to provide more aid to students.<br /><br />GOP claims that the bill has good things in it, such as an increase in the amount you can borrow. But no provision alleviates the fact that our college students graduate with more debt than students in any other industrialized country.<br /><br />According to <a href="http://ticas.org">Student Loan Watch</a>, student debt in the U.S. has risen dramatically in the last decade. Two thirds of college students now graduate with loans, and their average college debt is nearly $20,000 -- an increase of more than 50% since the early 1990s.<br /><br />Our growing reliance on loans to pay for college has serious implications:<br /><br />- Low-income students are extremely reluctant to take out loans. They either skip college, attend it part-time and usually in lower-quality schools, or work excessively, or they join the military.<br />- Recent graduates who hoped to go into public service -- teaching, social work, non-profits -- find that their college debt pushes them in other directions, usually toward corporate jobs.<br />- Increasingly, students are extending loan repayment to 30 years, which makes home ownership impossible and retirement saving difficult.<br />- Unpaid internships, which constitute majority of opportunities out there are not an option for low- and middle-class folks.<br /><br />The House and Senate will review this bill in September.<br /><br />If you'd like to stay informed about the ways you can affect national policy related to student debt, sign up on <a href="”http://ticas.org/debt_signup.htm”">TICAS e-mail list</a>. This non-profit is one of the few groups in the U.S. building an alternative national initiative to reduce student debt. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631720'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631720" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 27 Jul 2005 14:14:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631720 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Wal-Mart’s Persona in Trouble https://img.alternet.org/story/23626/wal-mart%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s_persona_in_trouble <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '629466'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=629466" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Wal-Mart ads increasingly sound like Soviet propaganda, right before the empire&#039;s fall.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->I grew up in the Soviet Union. I know what propaganda looks like.<br /><br />It’s no secret that the style and format of National Public Radio (NPR) doesn’t really get our blood boiling. Despite the BBC-like, at times superb journalism, that I rely on more than any other station, everything about NPR -- their style of reporting, their editorial judgment, their music -- is very safe, predictable, bland, and too often nauseatingly boring.<br /><br />But lately, NPR has been disturbing me, getting my blood boiling, making me talk to my friends about it.<br /><br />Like thousands of other listeners, I still can’t get used to hearing Wal-Mart ads on NPR.<br /><br /><i>"Wal-Mart, committed to providing its associates a variety of career paths, training resources and advancement opportunities."</i><br /><br />Is that right? When the world's largest retailer is paying most of its workers less than $19,000 a year, forcing them to resort to taxpayer-funded food stamps and Medicaid, it just doesn’t add up.<br /><br />Wal-Mart has been too arrogant to care about its public image and it shows. Their PR folks are stale, writing an ad for NPR as if it’s a business trade publication.<br /><br />I never thought that American radio would ever remind me of the Soviet Union. But when I hear Wal-Mart ads all I can see is the ultimate symbol of Soviet propaganda -- Leonid Brezhnev.<br /><br />This self-aggrandizing, former Soviet president awarded himself several medals for what he believed was a community service. Just like Wal-Mart, he surrounded himself with loyal advisors, refused interviews, didn’t engage with the public and thought of his economic policies as superior.<br /><br />When people listened to his speeches, the responses varied from rage to laughter. Most of us laughed at how disconnected these friendly talks were from our lives. And just like me today, my parents seemed amused every time they heard Brezhnev. They’d raise their hands, smile, shake their head and proclaim for the hundredth time: “Circus!”<br /><br />I’ll also never forget the collective disillusionment and complacency. I didn’t think back then that change was possible. But I saw these loosely-connected people around me that passed around illegal tapes and brochures and talked to other people every day about what they could do to help bring about change. In 1989, the Soviet dictatorship collapsed.<br /><br />Last week, I met students that were working on a campaign to get their schools and universities to <a href="http://www.wakeupwalmart.com">stop buying supplies from Wal-Mart</a>. Their determination, energy and hope reminded me of those starry-eyed Russian friends working for change in the Soviet Union. And it gives me hope.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.wakeupwalmart.com">Wake Up Wal-Mart</a> is looking for volunteers. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is an associate editor at AlterNet. She edits WireTap -- AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '629466'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=629466" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 19 Jul 2005 10:58:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 629466 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Progressive Students are Mobilizing! https://img.alternet.org/story/23572/progressive_students_are_mobilizing%21 <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631721'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631721" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Are you tired of reading endless post-election stories about a seemingly invincible, 30-year-old campaign by conservatives to take over this country? If you are, I&#039;ve got good news for you.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Are you tired of reading endless post-election stories about a seemingly invincible, 30-year-old campaign by conservatives to build an effective political and media-messaging machine for taking over this country? If you are, I've got good news for you.<br /><br />I just returned from one of the most inspiring and effective conferences in which <a href="”http://www.campusprogress.org”">Campus Progress</a> kicked off a long-term campaign to build infrastructure for cultivating young <i>progressive</i> leaders.<br /><br />Seven hundred progressive students from universities around the country gathered on July 13 at the <a href="”http://www.campusprogress.org/common/247/campus-progress---national-student-conference”">Campus Progress' first National Student Conference</a> in Washington, D.C. The conference, organized by the <a href="”http://www.americanprogress.org/site/c.biJRJ8OVF/b.8473/”">Center for American Progress</a>, brought together dedicated student organizers to build leadership skills, strengthen a progressive vision, and cultivate media stars -- both journalists and spokespeople -- much like the right has done with Ann Coulter and Dinesh D'Souza.<br /><br />Even though most professors and students on American campuses identify themselves as liberal, the right has been doing a much more effective job at organizing students for their conservative agenda. It is estimated that the right funnels over $30 million a year to conservative groups at universities, such as Young America's Foundation and Leadership Institute. To counter that the Center for American Progress will give $750,000 to nine liberal campus publications, for example.<br /><br />The conference rooms felt like any professors dream. Imagine a large classroom filled with over-achievers: driven, dedicated, smart, passionate and hard-working -- often volunteering full-time for various causes on their campuses. I met students who are working to get their universities to <a href="”http://www.wakeupwalmart.com”">stop buying school supplies from Wal-Mart</a>, bringing Darfur's ongoing massacre more media and public attention, campaigning against global warming, working on juvenile justice activists issues, organizing the <a href="”http://rooseveltinstitution.org/”">first liberal student Think Tank</a> and many, many more.<br /><br />President Bill Clinton, Dee Dee Myers, Thomas Frank, Paul Begala, Representative John Lewis and countless other politicians, journalists and activists talked to young organizers about progressive values, vision and tactics.<br /><br />Your first toast at the Happy Hour today should be: "To Progressives -- starting to develop a long-term strategy for change!"<br /><br />You can hear a complete podcast of Bill Clinton's speech <a href="”http://www.alternet.org/multimedia/23560/”">here</a>.<br /><br />AlterNet will be publishing a more in-depth report back from the conference early next week. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is an associate editor at AlterNet. She edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631721'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631721" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 15 Jul 2005 08:28:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631721 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Let them go to school https://img.alternet.org/story/23388/let_them_go_to_school <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631722'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631722" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Denying college financial aid to low income students -- who made mistakes and are already struggling -- does nothing to keep them away from drugs and prisons.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->The U.S. Department of Education only recently removed false statements from its website regarding the financial aid eligibility of students with drug convictions after the organization <a href="”http://www.ssdp.org/”">Students for Sensible Drug Policy</a> raised objections. While SSDP requested the changes in early June, the change took place after this year’s aid application deadline, denying help to thousands of students.<br /><br />For those of you who read a <a href="”http://www.alternet.org/wiretap/23264/”">personal essay by Marissa Garcia, 24</a> on AlterNet, you already know that since 1998 more than 160,000 students have been denied financial aid because of prior drug convictions. Garcia was caught with a pipe containing marijuana residue. And even though she pleaded guilty and paid her dues, the government in essence told her that there was nothing she could do to redeem herself. Garcia was not encouraged to get her life back on track by going to school.<br /><br />This provision was slipped into the Higher Education Act (HEA) without debate or a recorded vote in 1998 by Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN, 3rd District). Since then, more than 180 organizations have risen in opposition to Souder's HEA Drug Provision, such as the National Education Association, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the Association for Addiction Professionals, the NAACP, and the United States Student Association.<br /><br />In response to this outrage, Souder has backtracked, but his new proposal still denies aid to students that are convicted while enrolled in college.<br /><br />There is nothing wrong with a slap on the wrist or a warning (which is already accomplished by a drug conviction), but taking students out of college does not keep them away from drugs and prisons. What’s more, this law punishes only students from low- and middle-income backgrounds. Those from wealthier backgrounds who do not rely on aid are not affected. This law stifles social mobility and undermines meritocracy.<br /><br />As Students for Sensible Drug Policy states, “It simply doesn’t make sense to push less fortunate and at-risk students out of school for their mistakes. Judges already have the authority to revoke student aid from drug convicts, and universities can expel problem students.”<br /><br />The House and the Senate are currently considering revisions to the Higher Education Act, including the Drug Provision. Contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to fully repeal the Drug Provision and help young people get the education they need to live productive lives and be responsible citizens.<br /><br />Take Action: Contact your Representatives in Congress <a href="”http://capwiz.com/mobilize/index_frame.dbq?url=http://capwiz.com/mobilize/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid=7437131“">here</a>.<br /><br />If you’ve been denied financial aid as a result of this policy, <a href="”http://www.raiseyourvoice.com/Perry-index.html”">the Perry Fund</a> has scholarships for you. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is an associate editor at AlterNet. She edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631722'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631722" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 06 Jul 2005 08:45:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631722 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Making a Difference, Joyfully https://img.alternet.org/story/23352/making_a_difference%2C_joyfully <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '629279'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=629279" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The world&#039;s leading peace advocate, the Dalai Lama, turned 70 on the 6th of July. Author and activist Isabel Losada asked the Tibetan leader what people can do to make the world a better place.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->London-based activist and author <a href="http://www.isabellosada.com">Isabel Losada</a> is convinced that one person can change the world -- and she maps out a ten-step plan in her new book <i>A Beginner's Guide to Changing the World</i> (HarperSanFrancisco).<br /><br /><i>A Beginner's Guide</i> describes Losada's journey from a casual observer of world affairs to an international human rights activist working in Tibet. Her fast-moving narrative takes us from street protests in London to Losada's meeting with Chinese ambassadors to stunning PR coups that place Tibet in international headlines. The final chapters describe Losada's meeting with the Dalai Lama and their conversation about how individuals can make a difference.<br /><br /><i>A Beginner's Guide</i> is part-autobiography, part-manifesto that avoids self-indulgent confessions or a preachy tone. It's an entertaining page-turner full of history, travel and romance, comprised of lively interviews with Tibetans, activists, and Chinese officials.<br /><br />Helping Tibet gain religious autonomy in communist China can be viewed as a hopeless cause. But Losada maps out a realistic plan with small, achievable targets, and through trial-and-error she continues her work against all odds. Despite frequent obstacles and mistakes, she sustains an infectious sense of joy and optimism rarely found in the world of activism.<br /><br />Losada's book is a great gift for your "questioning" activist-friends -- those types who vent their angry talk, but never walk the walk. It's also an inspiration for wannabe activists who can't afford to fight causes for a living. Losada is a single mom next door, who shops at Safeway, reads Harry Potter, and turns into a committed, part-time activist. "A Beginners Guide" is a courageous journey from hopeless anger to positive action.<br /><br />Losada talked to AlterNet about her recent meeting with the Dalai Lama, her tips on being an effective activist, and her secrets to staying joyful while fighting injustices.<br /><br /><b>Could you tell us why you chose Tibet as your cause?</b><br /><br />I've always been interested in the spiritual and alternative worlds. My first book was about why women become nuns today in the Church of England. And then my second book was about happiness and changing of self. And then having done that, I wanted to look at making a difference in the world, to explore the question of what can one person do to make a difference. And while we're in the middle of fighting terrorism in the world, the person who most people perceive as the world's leading proponent of non-violence and peace, is His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I thought, rather than fighting something we don't want, why aren't we rewarding and supporting what we do want. Which is a voice saying that we must be actively non-violent. We must fight causes. We must fight, but without violence. We must promote negotiated settlements, people talking to each other. Obviously, if world governments solved disputes by negotiations, then American soldiers wouldn't need to be dying in Iraq and Afghanistan today.<table width="200" align="right" style="padding-left:10px; padding-bottom:5px;"><tr><td><img src="/images/managed/Story+Image_losada_2.jpg" alt="A Beginner's Guid to Changing the World" width="200" height="301" border="1" style="color#000" /></td></tr><tr><td class="small" align="left"> </td></tr></table><br /><br /><b>You mentioned that non-violence isn't much respected today. It's seen as weak not to fight back. Why do you think that is?</b><br /><br />Yes, it's seen as weak not to fight back because pacifism and non-violence is misunderstood. It's understood to mean not doing anything. But if you have watched the amazing film by Richard Attenborough, Gandhi, there is a scene that demonstrates wonderfully what <i> active </i> resistance means, which is taking action, always taking action, always resisting an evil system, but not violently. So there's a scene when the Indians are wanting to resist the rule of the British in India, and Gandhi encourages them to strike. The British go in there and they're hitting the Indians over the head with truncheons, and being very violent. But Gandhi said, "Whatever they do to you, don't hit back." Because then you're showing great courage because you have the moral high ground. So you're taking action but you're not hitting back. And that in fact is the action which all the great spiritual leaders in the world talk about, be it Buddah, be it Christ. You resist but you don't shoot somebody. ... The message that is currently going into our grandchildrens' history books is if you follow the non-violent path you get ignored; if you plant a bomb and kill people then you make the front page of the newspaper.<br /><br /><b>I think one of the most powerful parts of the book is your conversation with the Dalai Lama, when he actually explains how to apply the meaning of the serenity prayer in your life, how to know what one person can and can't do to make a difference in the world. Can you talk about that?</b><br /><br />Well, I have a map to this question of what can one person do to make a difference in the world, or to a problem that may seem insoluble. I take the old serenity prayer: 'Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.' So having been working my way through making a difference to this cause, I finally write at the end of the book, about wisdom, and how we can have the wisdom to know the difference between what we can change and what we can't.<br /><br />I arrived to meet with the Dalai Lama very nervous, reduced into a stammering wreck, worrying about whether I'm wearing the right jacket or not or whether my tape recorder is working or not. And in a very long, rambling way, I say "So, your holiness, um ... so how can we begin to know the difference between, um ... what we need to find serenity to accept and what we could possibly begin to change and what is wisdom ... and how can we have wisdom to know the difference." So I gave him this very long question that went on and on and on. And he finally leaned over and he said to me, "Experiment." So on the face of it, that's it. You experiment, you take action, and you see what works and what doesn't work. You find out by taking action. And then for wisdom, what is wisdom, and how do we have wisdom to know the best course of action, he said, "think deeper."<br /><br /><b>There are so many causes, and we all have rent or a mortgage to pay. How do we know which causes to choose?</b><br /><br />Yes, we all have our mortgages to pay. And I don't think it's that people don't want to make a difference in the world. I think that they do want to make a difference in the world, but they don't know where to begin. So here, exclusively on the AlterNet's website, without a $50,000 cost on how to change your life, is Isabel Losada's exclusive tip on how to make a difference in the world:<br /><br />Either find in your home or purchase a large storage cupboard. In that space, put away your television set. And only take out your television set for very special occasions, events of international importance. That's it.<br /><br />Step two is to find a cause that you feel passionate about and that will give you joy to be involved in. Joy is the most important thing. Because if it doesn't give you joy, then A) you're not going to stick at it, B) you're not going to be fun to work with, and C) you're not really likely to be effective. It has to give you joy to make a difference in this world even if it's very, very difficult. And the more agonizing the cause, the more that needs to be true. If you're dealing with torture victims, if you're dealing with children with AIDS in your community, the more terrible the cause, the more you need to be a source of joy within it.<br /><br />The third tip is you need to find a way of linking what you do in your life with what you might want to make a difference to. Otherwise you will be pulled in two directions. And you can't have the things you're trying to make a difference to pulling you away from paying your rent. You have to bring the two together. Three simple examples: A nurse I know who was traveling in Africa and found a very run down hospital went in to visit it and decided to make a difference to that hospital and managed to make a twinning between her hospital in Britain and this hospital in Africa. So she was able to raise funds, buy equipment, bring staff from the African hospital to train in Britain. Relationships were formed.<br /><br />Another friend who's a builder wanted to build his first ever ecologically sound house. But he couldn't afford to do it in Britain, because it's a big spend. He was able to do it in Romania, and then give it to a local playgroup.<br /><br />And then I've done it as a writer. I've been working on a book for a year ... and have been working as an advocate for the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan cause. So that's how I've brought the two together. So whatever it is that you specialize in, you need to bring that alongside whatever it is that you want to support. Throw in joy, and then it works.<br /><br /><b>The unique side of your book is that it's one of the first activist autobiographies that I've read where there's a lot of joy, humor, and hope. Can you talk about how you keep that alive when you come across challenging obstacles and when often times the results of your work are not very tangible and there are not that many rewards. How do you keep that joy and positive attitude alive?</b><br /><br />When I give a live talk to an audience, I say to them, "this is a genuine sentence that the Dalai Lama has said.” Many things are reported to be the Dalai Lama and are not him, but this is, I've checked. He says, "The purpose of life is ... " The answer is one word and I have the audience guess what the word is. It's very interesting. They say, "kindness," they say "compassion," they say "love," some say "enlightenment," some say "learning," some say "life itself," one person said "death," which is a very Buddhist kind of a profound answer. The answer is <i>happiness</i>. The purpose of life is happiness. My previous book was about happiness, and I think that has to be our starting point. It's the most joyful way to live life, it's the most effective way to live life, and I think it's the best reward.<br /><br /><b>And is it up to us to find what makes us happy?</b><br /><br />Yes. This is why in a sense "A Beginner's Guide to Changing the World" is book two, because it's about making a difference in the world. But basically, in two short lines, when I give my talk I say you have to forgive everybody. Basically, your parents, because they didn't do the perfect job, and you have to have unconditional love for everybody, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And the Buddhists add that the people who cause us the most difficulty are our precious pearls, because they give us the most opportunity to learn compassion. So once you have that, a philosophy of unconditional love for everybody, 24/7, and joy, then you can move forward.<br /><br />Now it seems to me that your question has a second part, which is how do you avoid becoming discouraged when your efforts appear to not be producing tangible results. The way you do that is that you have the old-fashioned achievable targets, which may be small ones, but things that you know that can be achieved.<br /><br />I could say to myself, well I've failed, because the Dalai Lama is not back in Tibet yet. Or I could say I know because I'm fortunate enough to get replies from the readers of my book that they've decided to sponsor the education of Tibetan children, they've decided to go to Tibet as volunteers, they've decided to teach in India and as volunteers, there has just been a fantastically diverse selection of actions that have been taken. And those things all make a difference. So, in the world of making a positive difference, it's a bit like learning a language: You can either look at the enormous difficulty of the problem, and you can say, "I'm never going to learn it because it's going to take 10 years to speak this language properly." Or you can look all the time at what you're learning, and put your focus on what you've already achieved.<br /><br /><b>What advice do you have for Western organizations and activists, who want to support international causes?</b><br /><br />My current preference for any form of campaigning organization, which is based on Buddhist principals, is positive action. Take positive action. And wherever possible, be for things rather than against things. So I think the old activist model is complaining that this company is exploiting this, or complaining that these people are doing this badly, demonstrating, being angry. And personally, that's not the way that I like to work. I like to be "for" things. So I don't consider myself anti-China at all. On the contrary, I think it would be in China's best interest to give to Tibet genuine autonomy, and to encourage the Dalai Lama to come back into Tibet. Hundreds of thousands of Tibetans would follow him, and China would hold parties and celebrate the reunification of the motherland as they see it. And China's position in the world would be greatly improved in terms of the way that China is perceived. So I believe that I'm pro-China. It's not anti-anything.<br /><br /><b>Do you see any hope for Tibet gaining autonomy?</b><br /><br />What has been going on has not been negotiations but what has been called talks about talks. ... But I'm not really in the loop about what's going on. My position is always to look at what individuals can do.<br /><br />So I tend not to worry too much about things that are outside my range. I would focus on where I can make a difference and where anybody I'm talking to can make a difference. In that respect, I do believe that we'll have genuine autonomy. I very much hope and pray that the Dalai Lama will be back in Tibet in his lifetime.<br /><br /><b>Why would that be a good thing for China to do?</b><br /><br />At the very time when America and Britain are perceived as aggressors by many countries, China would be the country that would be rewarding the non-violent path. It would be enormously beneficial to China's international standing if they had the Dalai Lama back in their country. And the Dalai Lama is happy for Tibet to be a part of China. He stopped asking for total independence many years ago. But he does want genuine religious, spiritual freedom for his people. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is an associate editor at AlterNet. She edits WireTap, AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '629279'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=629279" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 05 Jul 2005 21:00:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 629279 at https://img.alternet.org News & Politics Practical and militantly skeptical https://img.alternet.org/story/23298/practical_and_militantly_skeptical <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631718'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631718" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">As Boomers are aging, Practivists – a new generation of pragmatic, visionary and entrepreneurial activists – are forging a new progressive movement for change.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->I love coming across new words. Just when something seems clichéd, overused, misunderstood, loaded with contradictory meaning – like the words ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ -- someone has a gift of being more precise, more thoughtful or just dead witty in defining a new reality.<br /><br />Jessica Clark, the managing editor of <a href="http://www.inthesetimes.com/">In These Times</a>, recently surprised me with an excellent new term “practivists,” which essentially means practical or pragmatic activists. What’s more, in her insightful essay <i><a href="”http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2170/“">Move Over, Boomers</a></i>, Clark does what great writers are supposed to do -- they describe things that you see around you, but don’t have the time, skills, or talent to define in a way that makes perfect sense of it all.<br /><br />Clark separates practivists from boomer-activists, and defines them as 30-somethings, who “prefer to emphasize similarities rather than dwell in the 'silos' of various '-isms.' Pragmatic, visionary and entrepreneurial, these "practivists," molded by the social and political trends of the last 15 years, are reshaping progressive politics. ... Like other, less-politicized members of their cohort, practivists are also savvy consumers and media critics. ... Their political and cultural mobility allows them to imagine alliances that confound older activists trained in identity politics or issue-based organizing.”<br /><br />Clark points our their strengths, “Many are women, as educated, technically skilled and ambitious as their male counterparts, but less interested in inter-organizational competition and high-profile ideological sparring.”<br /><br />But she also points out their weaknesses, “Taught that identifying with or romanticizing the oppressed is akin to colonizing them, many of these bloggers, culture jammers and radical consultants operate from a place of privilege not rooted in working America.”<br /><br />To sum it up, contrary to boomers, practivists will help forge necessary alliances and build infrastructure for our fragmented progressive movement. But they are largely white and middle class.<br /><br />Fortunately, there are groups like the National Hip Hop convention, the Independent League of Voters, Project Underground, Youth Media Council, Justice Now and many, many more that provide a missing link. These young activists go where practivists won’t go. And they keep doing that thankless, most crucial job of building direct relationships with their home backyards. They are organizing and moblizing -- to use <a href="www.cantstopwontstop.com">Jeff Chang’s</a> term -- a “militantly skeptical” generation that --thanks in huge part to these groups -- voted in record numbers in the last election.<br /><br />If I ever leave my favorite job of editing and writing, I’ll be knocking on their door for a fundraiser’s position. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is an associate editor at AlterNet. She edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631718'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631718" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Fri, 01 Jul 2005 04:20:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631718 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Jesus and Romance https://img.alternet.org/story/23255/jesus_and_romance <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631717'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631717" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">The modern world is “pulsing with sex.” But Christians see a different reality. “Like, The Matrix,” a young Christian adds.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->The modern world is “pulsing with sex.” But Christians see a different reality. “Like, The Matrix,” a young Christian says.<br /><br />Feminists! According to the growing abstinence movement among young Christians, your "sexual revolution" has contributed to the booming pornography industry. Luckily, the religious right is fighting hard to stop it.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.ypulse.com">Y Pulse</a> -- an excellent daily commentary website by Anastasia Goodstein about Generation Y -- pointed out a fascinating article in <i>Rolling Stone</i> called <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/_/id/7418688/?pageid=rs.News&amp;pageregion=single1&amp;rnd=1119561057312&amp;has-player=false">"The Young and the Sexless."</a><br /><br />These young Christians virgins may look like typical hipsters -- many wear hot, revealing clothes, talk about sex incessantly in church, among friends and during book discussions, but for them sex is a "communion" meant to happen strictly in a marriage.<br /><br />Through rare portraits, interviews and political context, author Jeff Sharlet builds yet another example of how conservatives and the Christian right have steadily reinvented themselves by co-opting the language of the left -- in this case, the sexual revolution.<br /><br />They succeeded in framing abstinence as countercultural, a kind of rebellion against materialism, consumerism and the idea that anything can be bought and sold.<br /><br />Feminists are seen as the root cause for this growing "backlash" movement. Feminists even get credited for transforming the churches of America by assaulting Christian man.<br /><br />"Christianity, as it currently exists, has done some terrible things to men," writes John Eldredge, the author of a best-selling manhood guide called Wild at Heart. He thinks that church life in America has pacified Christian men and made them weak. Women who are frustrated with their girlie-man husbands and boyfriends seize power, and the men retreat to the safe haven of porn instead of whipping the ladies back into line. What women really want, he says, "is to be fought for." And men, he claims, are "hard-wired" by God for battle; Jesus wants them to be warriors in the vein of <i>Braveheart</i> and <i>Gladiator</i>.” <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is an associate editor at AlterNet. She edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631717'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631717" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Wed, 29 Jun 2005 08:20:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631717 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content The Final Taboo Frontiers https://img.alternet.org/story/23203/the_final_taboo_frontiers <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631716'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631716" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">What happens when you mix profit-driven media with celebrity culture on teen TV? MTV’s &lt;i&gt;I Want A Famous Face Show&lt;/i&gt; and it’s not pretty.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->As I flip through the TV dial, I have to wonder if there are any moral taboos left at all on Reality TV. Are there still any frontiers of shock that can be crossed in the name of TV ratings?<br /><br />For over a year now, MTV’s <i>I Want a Famous Face Show</i> is breaking down yet another moral barrier of what is acceptable and encouraged. The show selects obsessed fans and gets them a plastic surgery to make them look like the stars they admire. So far, the only celebrity that seems to be bothered by it is actress <a href="&lt;br&gt;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drew_Barrymore">Drew Barrymore</a>.<br /><br />A few days ago <a href="”http://www.cinematical.com/2005/06/26/barrymore-stops-surgery/”">Barrymore convinced a teenager</a> not to undergo a plastic surgery that would make her look like Drew. Apparently, when Barrymore discovered MTV was set to film an episode about one of her fans, she tracked the girl down, and by phone informed her, "You're beautiful just as you are." The woman canceled the surgery and pulled out of the MTV series. Hopefully, it will inspire others to do the same. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is an associate editor at AlterNet. She edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631716'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631716" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Tue, 28 Jun 2005 08:00:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631716 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content What does the next generation of conservatives look like? https://img.alternet.org/story/23198/what_does_the_next_generation_of_conservatives_look_like <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631715'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631715" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">They are young, smart and ardently right. Welcome to the College Republican National Convention.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter--><a href="http://www.campusprogress.org">Campus Progress</a> -- a project of the <a href="http://www.americanprogress.org/site/c.biJRJ8OVF/b.8473/">Center for American Progress</a> that trains the next generation of progressives -- sent two young undercover reporters to the <a href="http://www.crnc.org/convention.htm">College Republican National Convention</a> that took place this weekend in Arlington, Va. (June 24-26). Campus Progress’ secret Conventioneer and Conventionette <a href="http://www.campusprogress.org/page/community/group/collegegopundercover">blogged their daily experiences</a> and you might be surprised at what they found. Young conservatives are a mixed bunch. In the midst of what we’d normally expect to see -- a high ratio of blondes, mismatched outfits, cowboy boots and cigars -- there were students wearing pro-U.N. t-shirts, sharp critics of the current direction by the Republican party, and experts on Cuban literature. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is an associate editor at AlterNet. She edits WireTap—AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631715'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631715" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 27 Jun 2005 13:08:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631715 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content Dispatches from the World Tribunal https://img.alternet.org/story/23162/dispatches_from_the_world_tribunal <!-- iCopyright Horizontal Tag --> <div class="icopyright-article-tools-horizontal icopyright-article-tools-right"> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_content_id = '631714'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/horz-toolbar.js"></script> <noscript> <a class="icopyright-article-tools-noscript" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631714" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/> Click here for reuse options! </a> </noscript> </div> <div style="clear:both;"></div><!-- iCopyright Tag --> <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">Two years of investigations into the actions of the United States and its allies is no simple task.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->At the start of the third year of the occupation of Iraq, the final session of the <a href="http://" www.worldtribunal.org="">World Tribunal in Iraq</a> (WTI) took place June 23-27 in Istanbul, Turkey. The culminating hearings are the result of two years of investigations into violations of international law and human rights by the United States and its allies.<br /><br />The WTI's international testimonies and verdicts come on the heels of mounting evidence that the Bush administration might have been cooking its books to justify invasion. Nearly six in 10 Americans now say the U.S. should withdraw some or all of its troops from Iraq, and the House of Representatives just announced a formation of the Out of Iraq caucus with 61 founding members.<br /><br />The Tribunal investigated various issues related to the war on Iraq: the legality of the war, the role of the United Nations, war crimes and the role of the media, as well as the destruction of cultural sites and the environment. WTI participants came from around the world and included Iraqi witnesses and experts as well as distinguished international figures. In his opening remarks, UNESCO Peace Prize holder Richard Falk said the Tribunal was "primarily an expression of popular democracy, of ethical conscience about what is right and wrong in world politics, and an expression of resistance to what is understood around the world as an American project to achieve world domination."<br /><br />Deep Dish Television, the first national grassroots satellite network, has produced a 13-part, award-winning series called "Shocking &amp; Awful," about the war and occupation of Iraq. The newest segment, just released, is on the World Tribunal on Iraq. <a href=" http://www.deepdishtv.org/shocking/shockingschedule.htm">Check this schedule</a> for locations. Deep Dish is also selling DVDs with excerpts from the hearings. Contact them at (212 473 8933) or <a href="mailto:deepdish@igc.org">deepdish@igc.org</a>. <a href="http://www.worldtribunal.org/main/?">Watch excerpts from WTI proceedings</a>. <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is an associate editor at AlterNet. She edits WireTap-AlterNet's youth-oriented section. </div></div></div><!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> <script type="text/javascript"> var icx_publication_id = 18566; var icx_copyright_notice = '2005 Alternet'; var icx_content_id = '631714'; </script> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://license.icopyright.net/rights/js/copyright-notice.js"></script> <noscript> <a style="color: #336699; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;" href="http://license.icopyright.net/3.18566?icx_id=631714" target="_blank" title="Main menu of all reuse options"> <img height="25" width="27" border="0" align="bottom" alt="[Reuse options]" src="http://http://license.icopyright.net/images/icopy-w.png"/>Click here for reuse options!</a> </noscript> <!-- iCopyright Interactive Copyright Notice --> Mon, 27 Jun 2005 00:29:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, AlterNet 631714 at https://img.alternet.org The Mix The Mix Old_Blog Type Content How Old School Could Meet New School https://img.alternet.org/story/22095/how_old_school_could_meet_new_school <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-teaser field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even">As with most progressive movements, the average age of media activists is over 40. Younger activists are trying hard to change that.</div></div></div><!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-story-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"><img typeof="foaf:Image" src="https://img.alternet.org/sites/default/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/default.jpg?itok=wQcwl0WS" alt="" /></div></div></div><!-- BODY --> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->"Could people below thirty raise their hands?" asked Mark Lloyd at the national <a href="http://www.freepress.net/conference/">Media Reform Conference</a> in St. Louis. In a crowded room of about 50, eight hands slowly rose.<br /><br />"People, this is your movement!" Lloyd, a senior fellow at the <a href="http://www.americanprogress.org/site/c.biJRJ8OVF/b.8473/">Center for American Progress</a>, charged.<br /><br />The recent conference -- held May 13-15 and organized by <a href="http://www.freepress.net/">Free Press</a> -- was both a milestone in grassroots organizing and a tribute to populism. More than 2,500 people from 50 states and eight countries came together, barely fitting into over 50 panels. There were community media producers, low-power radio station builders, city-owned internet advocates, hip-hop activists, lawyers, countless concerned citizens and some of the best-known voices in progressive media, including Bill Moyers, Naomi Klein, Al Franken, <a href="http://www.daveyd.com/">Davey D</a>, and <a href="http://www.jimhightower.com/">Jim Hightower</a>.<br /><br />Free Press, a national, media reform non-profit and conference organizer, cited increasing the diversity of participants as "one of the top priorities." The group put together an Outreach Committee including <a href="http://www.youthmediacouncil.org/">Youth Media Council</a>, <a href="http://www.clamormagazine.org/">Clamor Magazine</a>, and <a href="http://www.mediatank.org/">Media Tank</a> to bring in younger faces and interests to this year's gathering. The Outreach Committee awarded $50,000 in scholarships and fee-waivers to youth and low-income activists.<br /><br />But similar to most progressive movements, young people under 30 -- especially young people of color -- were an obvious minority. The median age of most participants hung stubbornly above 40.<br /><br />Getting young people to give up their school breaks for a policy conference is not an easy task, though Free Press should be commended for attracting as broad a range as it did. The Youth Caucus that gathered about 40 partakers, revealed a broad cross-section from different sides of the map. There were 14-year-old high school students who in some cases heard about media reform for the first time, as well as 30-year-old veteran student organizers.<br /><br />"Josh Breitbart from Clamor magazine invited me and got me a scholarship," explained Gavin Leonard, 24. Gavin heads <a href="http://www.natiyouthcenter.org/">Elementz</a>, a Cincinnati-based hip hop arts center for low-income youth aged 14-24. Located in the city's Over-the-Rhine district, Elementz provides a free arts after-school program in a neighborhood where over 70 percent of residents are African-American and close to 90 percent of them live below the poverty level.<br /><br />Jeanne Frith, 21, is majoring in Theater and Peace and Conflict studies at Cornell College. Jeanne belongs to a progressive student group of about 500. "I really enjoyed the conference. My friend told me about this," Frith said.<br /><br />Colin Rhinesmith, 31, co-founded one of the first student-led media reform groups, called SCAMM (Students Concerned About Mass Media), at Emerson College this year. He got an invitation from Earl Dax, who heads student organizing efforts at Media Tank. "I wanted to see how people were talking about media reform ... in a clear and simple language. Students and youth have no idea what reform and policy means," says Colin.<br /><br />Cynthia Blancaflor, 27, heard about the conference from Youth Media Council. She is an artist, singer and video coordinator for Oakland-based <a href="http://www.youthsounds.org">Youth Sounds</a>. "It was useful to learn who calls the shots, to learn about consolidation and the recent FCC rules being pulled out," says Cynthia.<br /><br />Why should media reform groups spend limited resources and energy on engaging youth?<br /><br />"Historically, if you look at major social change movements, students were always at the forefront of it," Dax explains about why he chose to volunteer his time to organize students within media reform. "Students are one segment of society that is insulated from the real world responsibilities--high-paying jobs, mortgages. They can risk taking a confrontational stance."<br /><br />As a genuinely grassroots, bi-partisan effort, the media reform movement is a unique success story. Free Press has become its de-facto national voice, and it's engagement with grassroots organizations around the country helped place media as the number two concern among Americans, according to recent surveys.<br /><br />Most other progressive causes--environmentalism, civil rights, labor and women's issues--are suffering political defeats. Organized and managed in a top-down hierarchy, these movements have become inextricably linked to the Democratic Party.<br /><br />But the continued success of media reform will depend on the willingness of its key leaders -- like Free Press -- to broaden their agenda-building meetings. "We want media in this country that reflects the American people in all of its diversity: racial, class, gender, voices, opinions," says Colin Rhinesmith when asked to articulate the vision of a just media system, which his student group is advocating for. "We should be invited to planning meetings, funders meetings. ... Also, as much as I like [Al] Franken and [Amy] Goodman, they are not speaking to me. We need to stop interviewing one another. We need to open up that circle," says Jared Ball, a professor at the University of Maryland, who trains young people of color to create their own music and radio shows through <a href="http://www.voxunion.com/">FreeMix Radio</a> in Washington D.C.<br /><br />Media reform groups also seem to lack a unified, clear vision of what media they are advocating for. "The first myth of [media reform] is that US media used to be democratic and has become less so over time. ... For people of color, women, and queer people, there has never been a free press," said Malkia Cyril of <a href="http://www.youthmediacouncil.org/">Youth Media Council</a> arguing that communications rights must be tied to economic and racial justice.<br /><br />Cynthia Blancaflor believes that adding diverse perspectives to the table will help activists make media issues more relevant in their back yards across the country. "They poked at corporations, inundation of logos, brands. They talked about the Big Six owning all media outlets," says Blancaflor. "But when I tell my largely poor youth community of color about the Big Six, I gets the 'So, what?' stares. There are more urgent concerns--poverty, violence, drug addictions."<br /><br />Gavin Leonard argues that opening up media reform and progressive circles in general to youth will make media reform ideas more appealing to mainstream America. "Three years ago I subscribed to the Nation, Utne, the Progressive... And I felt depressed by how disconnected they are from young people, people of color, urban populations, regular people in the mid-west. At times, this conference felt like reading aloud from the Nation. ... I didn't hear anything new," comments Leonard.<br /><br />"Progressives don't pay enough attention to design, marketing and presentation," Leonard adds. Young people can help make dull, serious information more entertaining and appealing.<br /><br />As participants packed their suitcases and returned home, they shared suggestions for increasing youth engagement. "We need more young presence on the panels. It's adults talking about young people," Blancaflor reflected. She would like to hear young panelists share their methods of connecting national media policy issues to more immediate local needs. Discussions like these can help turn abstract political concepts into personal issues.<br /><br />Leonard would like to see more long-term, ongoing, earnest conversations between the different groups at the conference. "Calling us once a year and inviting us feels very alienating. It breeds a process of tokenism. The left needs to spend time in their communities and build trust and relationships. Crossing this line is very important. ... We need to be more patient, do more planning, work together on that plan."<br /><br />Jeanne Frith left wanting more tools for action. "I've heard about consolidation before and left somewhat depressed. There is so much corporate money in there. It's a much bigger beast than I thought."<br /><br />"We need more caucuses and organizing on campuses. Panel workshops for students by students," says Rhinesmith. "We will work with <a href="http://www.ucc.org/ocinc/mep/about.htm">Media Empowerment Project</a> at the United Church of Christ to develop clear messages on why young people should care about media reform. ... We will tell them about existing policy groups, public access channels, encourage them to write for independent papers."<br /><br />Earl Dax summarized key suggestions at the Youth Caucus and found that most participants asked for a national youth coalition. "We need to create a follow-up beyond the conference," says Dax, who is coordinating an online youth discussion group that will appear on <a href="http://www.mediatank.org/">Media Tank's website</a> in the next few weeks. " We probably need separate tracks for high school and more advanced college students. ... And we need a youth introduction session before conference begins next year."<br /><br />As debates over the long-term future of social security, war, environment and education policies continue, young people have arguably more at stake than any other group. With conservative cable networks expanding, church-groups mimicking Clear Channel in its domination over the low-power radio stations, and corporate advertising increasingly moving into the public education spheres, the battle over young minds and hearts becomes more urgent than ever.<br /><br />"We're not going to win or lose -- it's a continuing battle," Mark Lloyd explained to a group of eight young students in a room full of veteran media activists. "But the continued success of this movement depends on your talent and your energy." <!-- All divs have been put onto one line because of whitespace issues when rendered inline in browsers --> <div class="field field-name-field-bio field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even"> <!--smart_paging_autop_filter-->Kristina Rizga is an associate editor at AlterNet. She edits <a href="http://www.alternet.org/wiretap/">WireTap</a>, AlterNet’s youth-oriented section. </div></div></div> Wed, 25 May 2005 21:00:01 -0700 Kristina Rizga, WireTap 633404 at https://img.alternet.org WireTap WireTap