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Air America

Air America, the progressive talk-radio station that launched Rachel Maddow’s national career and featured the voices of other liberal personalities like Al Franken, has folded. Filing for bankrupty, Air America will cease its programming and go off the air at 9:00 pm EST on Monday, January 25.

Air America was a great and hopeful alternative to all the conservative talk radio out there (again, I think I mentioned that it aired the Rachel Maddow radio show? I still miss the “Ask Doctor Maddow” segments.) So I actually take back the whole rest-in-peace thing. I am actually hoping for some unrest―more progressive voices fighting for a place to be heard, in local and national media, in independent and mainstream media.

The beginning of Air America’s official statement:

“It is with the greatest regret, on behalf of our Board, that we must announce that Air America Media is ceasing its live programming operations as of this afternoon, and that the Company will file soon under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code to carry out an orderly winding-down of the business.

“The very difficult economic environment has had a significant impact on Air America’s business. This past year has seen a “perfect storm” in the media industry generally. National and local advertising revenues have fallen drastically, causing many media companies nationwide to fold or seek bankruptcy protection. From large to small, recent bankruptcies like Citadel Broadcasting and closures like that of the industry’s long-time trade publication Radio and Records have signaled that these are very difficult and rapidly changing times.”

Read the rest over at the Air America website.

Reverend Billy and the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir

Reverend Billy and the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir

Do you feel like the addiction to stuff—buying stuff, owning stuff, wanting stuff—is too much? Sick of being a customer, a consumer, and want to just connect like a simple human being? Feel like ever-creeping consumerism is going to bring on the shopocalypse? Well, Reverend Billy and the Life After Shopping gospel choir—a group of creative and enthusiastic performance artist-activists—are right there with you. Back in December, a friend and I attended a Shopocalypse Revival performance at the always awesome Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, New York. Check out two video pieces from the service: Shopocalypse and Beatitudes of Buylessness. These people are fun, they’re talented, they’re hilarious, and they’ve got a really serious point or two. If you can’t catch them live, you can find out more about them and what they’ve got to say in the documentary What Would Jesus Buy?—one of my favorite lines: “Are you people or are you sheeple?” In the words of Reverend Billy, “Peaceallujah!”

Vote January 19

US Senate Special Election

For any Massachusetts resident readers, Tuesday (January 19) is the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. Strangely enough, the race between Democrat Martha Coakley and Republican Scott Brown seems to be really close (oh, you unpredictable Massachusetts), so it’s incredibly important for us to get out there to the polls on Tuesday to vote for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and health-care reform (read: vote for Martha Coakley).

Want to know more about Martha? Check out her stances on the issues.

Need to know where to vote? Find out.

Polls are open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, so there’s lots of time to squeeze this really important vote in.

The news from Haiti in the wake of Tuesday’s massive earthquake is horrific. Current estimates of the death toll are ranging from 30,000 to 100,000. Following is a list of reputable organizations to which you donate to help (you can even donate via text—it can’t get much easier than that):

Info on where to find up-to-date information on the situation in Haiti can be found at Talking Points Memo.

Uganda

Uganda

In case you haven’t heard about it yet, in Uganda there is currently horrific legislation—the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009″—under consideration that has proposed the following:

  • Death penalty for LGBTQ people (this part of the legislation is apparently being removed from consideration, but is included in the original legislation)
  • Life imprisonment for LGBTQ people
  • Substantial jail time for people who actively support LGBTQ people
  • Substantial jail time for anyone who knows LGBTQ people and doesn’t report them.

The insanity is beyond comprehension, and I’ve been meaning to mention it here earlier. I’ve been keeping up with the status of it through in-depth reporting that Rachel Maddow has been doing on the matter, including the role of anti-gay American evangelical religious activists in helping influence the Ugandan legislation.

It’s so important that all American politicians and religious figures with ties to the Ugandan government (and there are many, I’ve learned over the past month or so—the “Family,” in particular) vociferously speak out against this legislation and do all that they can to press the Ugandan parliament to get rid of this bill, which is an abominable threat to fundamental human rights for the Ugandan people. Uganda may seem really far away, but the right for all people—gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer included—to be who you are, love who you love, and be free to express that should be inalienable, and that right transcends miles and borders. As Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

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