- Don't like Stern? Fine. I understand. Don't want to defend Stern? Ok, but what happens when they come after somebody you do like. What happens when Bill O'Reilly slips one day and says something that offends someone in a gotcha way and that's just the excuse somebody needed to demand that he go off the air. Or Andy Rooney. Or Dan Rather. Or Al Franken, once he's on radio. Doesn't matter what your political stripe is; it's all speech and once it can be shut off for one guy it can be shut off for the next.
Defending free speech almost always starts with defending those whose speech you don't like -- but if you don't defend that speech, then you defend no one's speech.
When I grew up, the ACLU defended the noxious speech of the KKK to march in the heavily Jewish Chicago suburb of Skokie. It was necessary to defend the principle even with them so as to defend the rights of antiwar protesters or civil rights protesters or, in latter days, abortion protestors to protest.
If you don't defend Stern agains the government chill, then you open the door for someone you like to be taken off the air.
- Yes, they are public airwaves. That means they belong to me, too. I want to listen to Stern. You don't. Fine. Change the channel. We have lots of them.
- I abhor this culture of offense. We are becoming ruled by what offends a few of us. If it's offends somebody, then it must be wrong and it must be shut up.
Well, I don't need anyone -- government or corporate nanny -- to protect me from that which might offend me. I can take care of myself and respond myself.
- I have been far, far more offended by things I have heard Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson say on our public airwaves but I have not called for them to be banned, even though they are more disgusting and hateful than Stern has ever been.
Remember when I posted a while back about Cuban musicians (including the fantastic Ibrahim Ferrer) not being able to get US visas for the Grammy Awards?
Turns out it's a new blanket policy -- every Cuban musician who's applied for a visa since November has been turned down, for a total of 151 so far.
I'm still waiting for a government official to delineate how these musicians' presence would be "detrimental to the interests of the United States." The government is saying that these musicians, such as the Buena Vista Social Club crowd, not to mention the wonderful Los Van Van are "Castro's cash cows" and are "part of the regime that oppresses."
Errr...exactly which oppressive regime are we talking about here?
We trade with Vietnam, China, and other Communist countries. We trade with dictatorships such as Uzbekistan. We trade with countries with incredibly poor human-rights records, such as Indonesia. But the republic will evidently fall if we let some Cuban musicians in.
Bush campaign chairman Marc Racicot was interviewed on NPR this morning by Juan Williams. During the interview, Racicot said that Bush "signed up for dangerous duty. He volunteered to go to Vietnam. He wasn’t selected to go, but nonetheless served his country very well."
He did? No, he didn't. He didn't volunteer to go to Vietnam. He volunteered for the Texas National Guard so he could get out of going to Vietnam. Juan Williams should have followed up on this, but didn't.
Just when you start debating how much or whether the president's military service record should be an issue in this campaign, you realize that the main reason it's an issue is that the president and his surrogates just won't stop lying about it.
When will the Bush campaign correct its chairman's blatant lie?
The S.U.V. boom represents, then, a shift in how we conceive of safety--from active to passive. It's what happens when a larger number of drivers conclude, consciously or otherwise, that the extra thirty feet that the TrailBlazer takes to come to a stop don't really matter, that the tractor-trailer will hit them anyway, and that they are better off treating accidents as inevitable rather than avoidable. . .
This is a new idea, and one largely confined to North America. In Europe and Japan, people think of a safe car as a nimble car. That's why they build cars like the Jetta and the Camry, which are designed to carry out the driver's wishes as directly and efficiently as possible.
However, it doesn't list my favorite place, Mandoo Bar. I go here every coupla months whenever I crave some bibimbap and goon mandoo. And the Korean supermarket across the way is good, too; I recently picked up some dumplings, green tea ice cream, noodles in black bean sauce, pocky, and other assorted goodies.
I know everybody is linking to this, so I'll jump on the bandwagon. Flowers for Al & Don is a nifty effort to provide flowers to people waiting in line at San Francisco's City Hall for gay marriage licenses. PayPal 'em a few bucks and send some love their way.