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Friday, Nov. 13th & Saturday, Nov. 14th
at the Independent Media Center
WRFU BIRTHDAY EXTRAVAGANZA
Celebrating the 4th anniversary of Radio Free Urbana
Community radio by and for the people
The Show 10pm-12am
Watch the making of a live episode of The Show with Ray Morales*
Audio Skill Shares 11am-2pm
Learn how to make great radio! All ages, all skill levels
Potluck Dinner 6pm-8pm
Meet-and-greet for radio lovers & past and current members, unveiling of photo gallery, audio scrapbook listening party, and group history of WRFU
by Dean Baker
As we passed the fifth anniversary of the peak of the financial crisis this fall, the giant insurance company AIG was prominently featured in the retrospectives. AIG had issued hundreds of billions of dollars of credit default swaps (CDS) on subprime mortgage backed securities. When these mortgage-backed securities failed en masse, AIG didn't have the money to back them up.
This would have forced AIG into bankruptcy. However Lehman had declared bankruptcy the day before and the world was still engulfed in the aftershocks. The Bush administration and the Federal Reserve board decided that they would stop the cascade of failing financial institutions and bail out AIG. As a result, the government agreed to honor all the CDS issued by AIG and effectively became the owner of the company.
by David Cay Johnson
Anyone in a public-sector job looking forward to retiring in comfort should look carefully at what is going on in Detroit and Springfield, Ill. Sherlock Holmes would call it the case of the missing pension money.
News leaking out this week from the Motor City tells how the enormous gap between the pensions workers earned and the money set aside to pay for them will be closed. By stealing from the workers.
Courts, legislatures, and corporations are all working in concert not to pay the full benefits owed. For decades, political and business leaders failed to set aside the right amount of money each payday to cover the pensions workers earned and, in some cases, covered up the mismanagement of pension fund investments.
This is nothing short of theft, as pensions are simply deferred wages, that is, money that workers could have taken as cash in their regular paychecks had they not opted to set it aside.
One more story demonstrating the low standard of accountability police are held to in Illinois.
Press reports indicate that the bill to approve gay marriage in Illinois has now passed both the State House and Senate. It is now on it's way to Gov. Quinn's desk, who has said he will sign it. Marriage begins for all next June 1. Congratualtions to all who've worked so long to demand equal treatment before the law for all, no matter who they love!
by Monica Davey and Steve Yaccino
The Illinois House of Representatives voted Tuesday to allow same-sex couples to wed, ending months of delay over the issue in the Capitol and clearing the way for Illinois to become the 15th state, along with the District of Columbia, to permit gay couples to marry.
The vote was 61 to 54, mostly along partisan lines, with only three Republicans voting yes. Eleven Democrats voted no, and two voted present.
by Michelle Chen
As tuitions rise and the job market still slumps, many young college graduates are wrestling with the question of how to make their increasingly expensive educations pay off. Now, new technologies are emerging as a potential solution for the college affordability crisis, according to some educational administrators and officials. The growing public fascination with “Massive Open Online Courses,” or MOOCs, suggests that in the near future, a public university degree may become cheaper and more accessible, with a greater economic "return on investments" for the government. Yet some education advocates are wary of the MOOC phenomenon and urge the government to focus on brick-and-mortar educational investments before seeking a magic bullet .
by Stephanie Storm
ALTON, Iowa — The puny, yellow corn stalks stand like weary sentries on one boundary of Dennis Von Arb’s field here.
On a windy day this spring, his neighbor sprayed glyphosate on his fields, and some of the herbicide blew onto Mr. Von Arb’s conventionally grown corn, killing the first few rows.
He’s more concerned, though, about the soil. During heavy rains in the summer, the runoff from his neighbor’s farm soaked his fields with glyphosate-laden water.
“Anything you put on the land affects the chemistry and biology of the land, and that’s a powerful pesticide,” Mr. Von Arb said.
But 20 miles down the road, Brad Vermeer brushes aside such concerns.
He grows “traited,” or biotech, corn and soy on some 1,500 acres and estimates that his yield would fall by 20 percent if he switched to conventional crops and stopped using glyphosate, known by brand names like Roundup and Buccaneer.