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Bill Moyers Essay: SOS

It's time to send an SOS for the least among us — I mean small independent magazines. They are always struggling to survive while making a unique contribution to the conversation of democracy. Magazines like NATIONAL REVIEW, THE AMERICAN PROSPECT, SOJOURNERS, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE, THE NATION, WASHINGTON MONTHLY, MOTHER JONES, IN THESE TIMES, WORLD MAGAZINE, THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY, CHRISTIANITY TODAY, COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW, REASON and many others.

The Internet may be the way of the future, but for today much of what you read on the Web is generated by newspapers and small magazines. They may be devoted to a cause, a party, a worldview, an issue, an idea, or to one eccentric person's vision of what could be, but they nourish the public debate. America wouldn't be the same without them.

Our founding fathers knew this; knew that a low-cost postal incentive was crucial to giving voice to ideas from outside the main tent. So they made sure such publications would get a break in the cost of reaching their readers. That's now in jeopardy. An impending rate hike, worked out by postal regulators, with almost no public input but plenty of corporate lobbying, would reward big publishers like Time Warner, while forcing these smaller periodicals into higher subscription fees, big cutbacks and even bankruptcy.

It's not too late. The postal service is a monopoly, but if its governors, and especially members of Congress, hear from enough citizens, they could have a change of heart. So, liberal or conservative, left or right, libertarian, vegetarian, communitarian or Unitarian, or simply good Samaritan, let's make ourselves heard.

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It was quite interesting watching in order of appearance Malissa Harris-Lacewell discussing bigotry and racism followed by Bruce Bawer's racism and bigotry. Tellingly, Ms. Harris-Lacewell shares her classroom query, what if the Supreme Court were female African American Lesbians as opposed to white "presumably" heterosexuals. Mr. Bawer would find himself in a dilemma with such a proposition as he is clearly incapable of moving beyond white male xenophobia. His "fears" are laughable but certainly sells books and finds air time.

Bawer was not totally honest about Muslim attitudes towards homosexuality. Homosexuality by itself is not a crime in Islamic law but sodomy is. Quran simply calls homosexuals, "people who transgress," but it does not specify any punishment. Similarly, in saying of Prophet Muhammad (Hadiths), it is simply stated, "A man should not lie with another man without wearing lower garment under one cover; and a woman should not be lie with another woman without wearing lower garment under one cover." (Abu Dawood). However, since the death of Prophet Muhammad, Muslim legal scholars have debated and disagreed as to what is the proper punishment for sodomy. That is one of the reasons that executions typically have NOT been carried out, as there is no consensus. In the penal code of almost all Muslim countries [especially countries Muslim immigrants have come from], the punishment for sodomy is jailtime, not execution.

I strongly agree, if only the citizens would act on something like this it would prove their voting power does work. How? When? and Where can we start to effect this?


Thanks Bob McChesney for the organized site for comments. I love my "small" magazines. Reading and sharing these resources creates community, just like buying from small local retailers preserves towns. Small is still beautiful.

This is the site to go to that was put together by all the magazines and Free press to organize opposition to the rate hike. It has all the background information and press coverage, too. Please check it out and sign the letter.

James C. Miller III, Chairman of the Board of Governors, USPS

Ditto DO we get ourselves heard on this issue?

Moyers' SOS turned out to be hard to respond to.

I've created a Tiny URL to reach the USPS email page with a form......

It is safe & tested. It took 15 min on the USPS site to find out how to contact, by the way!

Also asking for instructions on how to help.

Have emailed my Senators on the postal service small magazine postage assault but ...... Bill, you told us to go to and their was no mention as to what the public can do?????
Had to search for your blog in order to find your letter.
I think you could do more to direct your listeners on how to voice their outrage.

okay - do you have information about the best way to contact the U.S. Postal service on the issue of reduced postal rates for small journals and magazines? or is there a forum on this somewhere?

So HOW do I make myself heard in favor of small journals?

Your interview with Nick Gillespie last week was an incredibly shallow piece of journalism. Like too many other talking TV heads these days, you only asked softball questions that let Gillespie extol the wonders of Libertarianism without asking any tough ones that would explore the boundaries where his philosophy breaks down. Does he believe in global warming? How does he propose we solve problems that require collective action? How about problems where property rights are next-to-impossible to define? How would his ideal society deal with people who are born with developmental handicaps?

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