Diversify the airways, maybe

Air America might be a great idea in theory, but it seems a bit rough getting off the ground. Like Blunted, I tried to register for the streaming audio, and got the cold shoulder from their server. I also searched for some of the stations listed on their member list, and got dead-ends for listening mirrors.

Not only that, but their form’s radio buttons for gender let me select both male and female. I guess there are more transexuals in the liberal audience than in the conservative audience.

I’m sure they’ll work it out, but I was hoping to be there for the debut. I’m not as excited about Al Franken’s show (though interested) as I am about Chuck D co-driving the morning show bus. Como se dice, iconic?

Oh, and MPs* to the small beta testing group for this site — particularly those on Microsoft platforms. The feedback has proved beneficial, and helped my coding slave (re: brother) jiggle the handle, as it were, to make the site more stable.

* Mad props

Flashback, and look forward

[Editor’s note: This is an excerpt of H.D. Thoreau’s On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, also known as Resistance to Civil Government, courtesy of the Gutenburg Project. Find the full text here. I’ve inserted a hard return or two for readability.]

The authority of government, even such as I am willing to submit to — for I will cheerfully obey those who know and can do better than I, and in many things even those who neither know nor can do so well — is still an impure one: to be strictly just, it must have the sanction and consent of the governed. It can have no pure right over my person and property but what I concede to it. The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual.

Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man?

There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.

I please myself with imagining a State at last which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow men.

A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which I have also imagined, but not yet anywhere seen.

Deviation from the norm

[steps to mic]


Nearly 38 years have passed since Lenny Bruce’s last performance in the smokey halls of Fillmore Auditorium. My birth seven years later meant that I missed that bit of history, but I want an encore.

People fear speaking up or out. Indeed, the fines for speaking loudly and bluntly are now enormous. That’s a shame.

I won’t climb up on this orange crate and pretend I love what Howard Stern does. Not my kind of funny. But you have to admit that a lot of people do find him funny – he’s lingered on the airwaves for the better part of my life.

Though crass, Stern represents a whole aspect of the American conversation. Police aren’t hounding Stern like they did Bruce, yet. But he’s endured a hefty financial hit for speaking his raunchy mind. He, and society by proxy, have gotten a big message from the FCC: deviation from the norm is not tolerated.

The FCC’s restrictive bent misses the point. Congress should rein in the commission, and protect the First Amendment.

Speech should be cherished, even unpleasant or not widely accepted speech. Frank Zappa (who was on that Fillmore ticket with Bruce) said, “Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”

Which brings me to this site. Obviously, it’s a forum for my writing. Watch yourself: It mixes commentary and straight reporting.

I will make off-handed observations about politics, culture or religion. (On randy days, it might be all three.) I’ll back up what arguments I can, and level with you otherwise.

Oh, and I’ll occasionally hand the mic off to other writers – guest baristas. The Special area is their orange crate. Sometimes, I like to climb off my crate, and hear what they to say.

Both myself and guest baristas will hold to my ethics and corrections policy. It’s just like that. Find that policy in the Who area of the sight. Feel free to drop a line to keep us honest.

Together, we’ll see just what kind of discourse we can engorge ourselves in. Welcome to www.blocletters.com.