Friday, March 22, 2013


This is Maverick Media’s Rebel News Round Up, broadcast at 9 a.m. Friday on WOMM (105.9-FM/LP – The Radiator and live streaming) in Burlington. This Week: Crisis signs in Europe, cost of the Iraq war, Occupy buys emergency room debt, Wind power progress, Support for gay marriage, mining asteroids, Trump v. Bill Maher -- the egos have landed, can the Internet survive capitalism?, the next war, plus an interview on the Keystone XL pipeline.  VERMONT NEWS: 350 Vermont Calls for Divestment, Mayor Weinberger goes to school, and Waterfront redevelopment. Here are some highlights:

Europe on the Edge

In Italy, the economy is in the midst of a credit crunch that is causing thousands of companies to go bankrupt. The youth unemployment rate has risen to a new all-time record high of 38.7 percent.
     In Greece, during the 4th quarter of 2012, the unemployment rate was 26.4 percent...and the youth unemployment rate was 57.8 percent.
     The unemployment rate in Spain has reached 26 percent. There are 107 unemployed workers for every available job. Manufacturing activity is declining just about everywhere in Europe except for Germany.
     Overall, the Greek economy has contracted by more than 20 percent since 2008.Things have gotten so bad that the Greek government plans to sell off 28 state-owned buildings - including the main police headquarters in Athens.

Iraq War Could Cost $6 trillion

A new report by the Costs of War Project shows that “war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest. 
     The report concludes the United States gained little from the war while Iraq was traumatized by it. The war reinvigorated radical Islamist militants in the region, set back women’s rights, and weakened an already precarious healthcare system, the report said. Meanwhile, the $212 billion reconstruction effort was largely a failure with most of that money spent on security or lost to waste and fraud.”

Occupy Wall Street forgives $1 million in debt

An Occupy Wall Street offshoot, Strike Debt, has abolished $1.1 million in medical debt for more than 1,000 people. The group has bought emergency room debts for pennies on the dollar and then forgave them rather than trying to collect the money. 
     When a bank, lender or other company, like a hospital, is unable to collect on a debt, it typically sells it to debt buyers or collectors -- often at a much lower price than the original amount owed since the odds of collecting the money are low. Whoever buys the debt then attempts to get the money from the debtor.

Lost in the papal shuffle

1. Pope Francis is 76 years old. That’s just four years short of the the age limit Pope Paul VI set for cardinal to participate in choosing a pope. Pope Francis was very likely elected as a transition pope, to give the church more time to get its act together.

2. Much has been made of the fact that Pope Francis comes from Latin America, ending the European domination of papacies. But Wikipedia reports that Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires , one of the five children of Mario José Bergoglio, a railway worker born in Portacomaro (Asti) in Italy's Piedmont region, and his wife Regina María Sivori, a housewife born in Buenos Aires to a family of northern Italian (Piedmontese-Genovese) origin." The Vatican doesn't like to rush things.

States Go Big on Wind Power

Defying conventional wisdom about the limits of wind power, in 2012 both Iowa and South Dakota generated close to one quarter of their electricity from wind farms. Wind power accounted for at least 10 percent of electricity generation in seven other states. 
     The US now has 60,000 megawatts of wind online, enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 14 million homes. A record 13,000 megawatts of wind generating capacity was added to the country’s energy portfolio in 2012, more than any other electricity-generating technology. Wind developers installed close to two thirds of the new wind capacity in the final quarter of the year.

Quick Shift to Gay Marriage

A new Pew Research survey says the rise in support for same-sex marriage over the past decade is among the largest changes in opinion on any policy issue over this time period. The survey finds that "much of the shift is attributable to the arrival of a large cohort of young adults - the Millennial generation - who are far more open to gay rights than previous generations.
     Equally important, however, is that 14% of all Americans and 28% of gay marriage supporters say they have changed their minds on this issue, often because they have a family member or friend who is gay.
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