February 26, 2004

No Nanny Needed

No Nanny Needed -- Listening to our morning radio fix, my wife and I are vacillating between depression and anger at what is happening in this country. With issues like deficits, wars, CIA failures, health care mismanagement, and the economy to worry about, it seems that the news outlets have been shanghaied (Maybe Tienamen-ed is a better word.) by silliness around a singer's breast, a bloody movie, gay relationships, and morning radio. After complaining to the probably deaf ears of my Republican congressman and to my spineless Democratic senators, I find myself at a loss for words. Thank goodness for Jeff Jarvis, who hits the nail on the head...
The death of broadcast
: Clear Channel has cut off Howard Stern. When Janet Jackson's outfit opened, it opened a door not on her breast but on censorship. Clear Channel even sent out a press release bragging about cutting off Stern. MarksFriggin, the unofficial Stern site, says those stations are in Pittsburgh, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Rochester, Louisville and San Diego. Clear Channel also fired Bubba the Love Sponge.

: Here's how I predict this will play out:
- Stern will engineer his firing from Viacom.
- Stern will sign with satellite, giving satellite the boost it needs to become a viable business.
- Buy satellite stock now. Sell radio stock now.
- Broadcast radio will quickly falter, losing attention to MP3s, satellite, and cellular broadcast. Broadcast radio will die. Consolidation won't kill it. Censorship will.
- Satellite will grow rapidly, getting more consumer revenue and ad revenue.
- Broadcast TV will suffer similar blows.
- Cable and satellite TV will grow.
- The bottom line: Any medium that can be government-regulated will shrink; any medium free of government regulation will grow.
- Government censorship will grow until, at long last, libertarians and Republicans and Democrats wake up and realize that this is not the role they want for government, this is not the America they envision. But in the meantime, they will have destroyed a medium or two.

: And why don't you tell the FCC what you think. Here's how.
I don't need a government nanny, do you? I didn't think so.

: The more I think about this, the more enraged I get. One tit flopped out and the government -- the Bush administration -- can't wait to play to its far-right fringe and censor speech and intimidate speech and chill speech. How dare they? This is not the role we expect of our government. We don't need a nanny.

Let's hear a little libertarian outrage at government meddling in our lives and our speech.
Let's hear a little conservative outrage at government growing beyond its bounds.
Let's hear a little liberal outrage at goverment stiffling free speech.

I don't give a damn whether you like or despise Howard Stern; that's beside the point. If you're American, you cherish free speech and you should be appalled at what is happening to it. This is not coming from media consolidation. This is coming from government intimidation.

F Michael Powell. F the FCC. F Clear Channel.

Defend Howard Stern. Or lose your own rights to say what you want where and when you want to say it.

: I know that many constituencies want to tell Clear Channel to f off. Here's where and how.
As a regular listener, I don't believe it's the "n-word" or the "f-word" that is the problem today. It's far more political than that. Stern's been at this for long enough to understand where the real lines are (and should be). What I believe has caught him up this time is his inciteful (and entertaining) commentary on the situation. He's be specifically asked by his bosses to stop pointing out the absurdity of some of the statements coming out of a particular congresswoman on the current witch-hunt committee. It's not about indecent speech. It's about political speech.

As Pat Buchanan suggested a few years ago, we are in a "culture war." And as in most wars, the first casualty is a sense of proportion. It might seem that worrying and venting about a radio show is out of proportion given the seemingly big things that face us, but it, and the brouhaha over Jackson, and constitutional amendments denying rights instead of assuring them, and knee-jerk reactions to bloody movies are all symptoms of a very big issue...big enough that the founders of our nation addressed them as the first of what they deemed important, the first amendment to our founding document.

I guess I'm no longer at a loss for words.

An Eloquent Response

An Eloquent Response -- To the proposed defacing of the constitution, from a vocal conservative supporter of Bush. (At least in the past.)

February 22, 2004

Election Turnouts

Election Turnouts -- Britt's recent piece about the leverage available in the upcoming presidential election got me thinking. If a 40-45% turnout of potential voting population is a protest against rigged democracy in Iran, what could be said about a fairly well-established democracy that has seen its two flavors of national elections trend from about 63% and 47% in 1960 to 51% and 36% in 2000?

February 18, 2004

Blog for America : A Beginning not an End

Blog for America : A Beginning not an End -- End of a campaign, beginning of a movement? After all, the theme of Dean's campaign was not the much touted anger, but that we "have the power." The John Edwards blog magnaminously gets it...
"Howard Dean has brought so much to this race-not just his ideas and passion for change, but hundreds of thousands of Americans who had never participated in a campaign before. Howard has been a powerful voice for change, and I share his belief that special interests and Washington lobbyists have taken over our government. This is the year for Democrats to take it back-not for our Party, but for our country.

"Howard Dean has energized and revolutionized this race, and excited a whole new generation of young Americans. He deserves our thanks and so much credit for what he has accomplished. I hope he continues to offer his ideas, and encourages millions more to participate in this democracy so we win back the White House in November."
Dean and his campaign made the whole Democratic primary season meaningful for me.

This, I can't imagine

This, I can't imagine. Whoa.

February 14, 2004

Happy Valentines' Day

Happy Valentine's Day -- From Ming the Mechanic: Love from Rumi.

February 12, 2004

You can have my clicker when you pry it from my cold dead hands

You can have my clicker when you pry it from my cold dead hands -- It's started. All those hypocritical politicos who think that less government and regulation is better are piling government and regulation on our entertainment. The same people who want to make it easier to get guns on the street want to make it harder to get adult entertainment in our living rooms. They even equate flashing a second or so of body part with Enron.

Suckling hard on Janet's teat for the milk of election year headlines and soundbites, our own home-grown Taliban is starting first on f-words from shock jocks and the few snippets of live life that make it onto the public airways. And now they're talking about butting their noses into cable TV as well. Next thing you know, to "protect us," the government will want to start watching what books we take out of the library...Oh yeah, I forgot.

Which Twin Peaks Character Are You?

Which Twin Peaks Character Are You? --

You are the Giant. You're mysterious, benevolent,
and spooky as all get-out. Though you're
extremely wise, your cryptic demeanor unnerves
the hell out of folks. So does your bow tie.

Which Twin Peaks character are you? brought to you by Quizilla

The truly scary thing is that I have been known to wear bow ties on a semi-regular basis.

February 11, 2004

Where is R&G DVD?

Where is R&G DVD? -- I've seen a few ads this week for something called Lion King 1 1/2, apparently Disney's Lion King story from the point of view of the warthog and meerkat characters. Looks cute, but it reminded me to check to see if Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead - the story of two minor characters in Hamlet - is out yet. It's not.

February 09, 2004

More Terror in the Air

More Terror in the Air -- It's tough to make believe you're asleep when the idiot bending your ear has the intercom.

February 01, 2004

Where I've Been

Where I've Been -- A cool tool for mapmaking...

create your own visited country map
or write about it on the open travel guide

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide

The only problem I have with it is they show "my states" as "red states."

(hmmm...I have stopped at a rest stop during a 20 minute "passing through" visit to West Virginia. Does that count as having visited?)