Distribution Automatique

Saturday, April 21

this just in
via buffalo poetics list

Help Save Small Magazines

by Robert Mcchesney -

The news media are covering the tragic murders in Virginia this morning, and as they do an extraordinarily significant story is slipping through the cracks.

On very rare occasions I send a message to everyone in my email address book on an issue that I find of staggering importance and urgency. (My address book includes pretty much everyone who emails me in one form or another, and I apologize if you get this message more than once.) This is one of those times.

There is a major crisis in our media taking place right now; it is getting almost no attention and unless we act very soon the consequences for our society could well be disastrous. And it will only take place because it is being done without any public awareness or participation; it goes directly against the very foundations of freedom of the press in the entirety of American history.

The U.S. Post Office is in the process of implementing a radical reformulation of its rates for magazines, such that smaller periodicals will be hit with a much much larger increase than the largest magazines.

Because the Post Office is a monopoly, and because magazines must use it, the postal rates always have been skewed to make it cheaper for smaller publications to get launched and to survive. The whole idea has been to use the postal rates to keep publishing as competitive and wide open as possible. This bedrock principle was put in place by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. They considered it mandatory to create the press system, the Fourth Estate necessary for self-government.

It was postal policy that converted the free press clause in the First Amendment from an abstract principle into a living breathing reality for Americans. And it has served that role throughout our history.

What the Post Office is now proposing goes directly against 215 years of postal policy. The Post Office is in the process of implementing a radical reformulation of its mailing rates for magazines. Under the plan, smaller periodicals will be hit with a much larger increase than the big magazines, as much as 30 percent. Some of the largest circulation magazines will face hikes of less than 10 percent.

The new rates, which go into effect on July 15, were developed with no public involvement or congressional oversight, and the increased costs could damage hundreds, even thousands, of smaller publications, possibly putting many out of business. This includes nearly every political journal in the nation. These are the magazines that often provide the most original journalism and analysis. These are the magazines that provide much of the content on Common Dreams. We desperately need them.

What the Post Office is planning to do now, in the dark of night, is implement a rate structure that gives the best prices to the biggest publishers, hence letting them lock in their market position and lessen the threat of any new competition. The new rates could make it almost impossible to launch a new magazine, unless it is spawned by a huge conglomerate.

Not surprisingly, the new scheme was drafted by Time Warner, the largest magazine publisher in the nation. All evidence available suggests the bureaucrats responsible have never considered the implications of their draconian reforms for small and independent publishers, or for citizens who depend upon a free press.

The corruption and sleaziness of this process is difficult to exaggerate. As one lawyer who works for a large magazine publisher admits, It takes a publishing company several hundred thousand dollars to even participate in these rate cases. Some large corporations spend millions to influence these rates. Little guys, and the general public who depend upon these magazines, are not at the table when the deal is being made.

The genius of the postal rate structure over the past 215 years was that it did not favor a particular viewpoint; it simply made it easier for smaller magazines to be launched and to survive. That is why the publications opposing the secretive Post Office rate hikes cross the political spectrum. This is not a left-wing issue or a right-wing issue, it is a democracy issue. And it is about having competitive media markets that benefit all Americans. This reform will have disastrous effects for all small and mid-sized publications, be they on politics, music, sports or gardening.

This process was conducted with such little publicity and pitched only at the dominant players that we only learned about it a few weeks ago and it is very late in the game. But there is something you can do. Please go to www.stoppostalrateh ikes.com and sign the letter to the Postal Board protesting the new rate system and demanding a congressional hearing before any radical changes are made. The deadline for comments is April 23.

I know many of you are connected to publications that go through the mail, or libraries and bookstores that pay for subscriptions to magazines and periodicals. If you fall in these categories, it is imperative you get everyone connected to your magazine or operation to go to www.stoppostalrateh ikes.com.

We do not have a moment to lose. If everyone who reads this email responds at www.stoppostalrateh ikes.com , and then sends it along to their friends urging them to do the same, we can win. If there is one thing we have learned at Free Press over the past few years, it is that if enough people raise hell, we can force politicians to do the right thing. This is a time for serious hell-raising.

And to my friends from outside the United States, I apologize for cluttering your inbox. If you read this far, we can use your moral support.

From the bottom of my heart, thanks.


Robert W. Mcchesney www.mediaproblem. org www.freepress. net Department of Communication University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Be well

David Baratier, Editor

Pavement Saw Press
PO Box 6291
Columbus, OH 43206

Wednesday, April 18

Big Surprise

Study Says Chimps More Evolved Than Humans


On My Desk

Nancy Shaw, "Affordable Tedium", Tsunami

"From the far room a voice returns as so many facts.

Wrapped lips encumbered gently in her younger days.

Some days he takes long walks.

Along the beach they wept in solitude.

And now only long glances across the view.

She was to have married soon on another Sunday.

Some streams are blue."

Tuesday, April 17

On My Desk

Kate Greenstreet, *case sensitive*, ahsahta press, Boise State University

(from "[SALT]"
"8 [will become rock hard but never lose its taste]"

"A funeral. I had to speak. The words just came.
There were so many dead.
Even as we were burying them, no one was sure who was who.
Everyone was saying what they'd take, if they could only take one thing.
The men would be allowed two things, and nobody knew why."


Gwyn McVay, *Ordinary Beans*, Pecan Grove Press

(from "Grief Psalm, For Large Ancient Rock Band")

"...there was a car crash here, say the flowers, and in that
crash someone died. I make my own flowers out of newspaper:
how my playmates have grown and gone on.

"I will apply the lipstick of greatness, the limestone mascara of
love. Need I say? There are few rubber dogs in the hills these days.
I mean steam that rises from a body.

"Don't think for a second you haven't become alien, part water,
part of the bathtub you scrub with Dr Bronner's Soap, All-
One. Some kind of rising creature.

"I will let my mascara to dry, then put on the dark glasses of a fool
and hum. Oh sisters, let's go down, down to the river, sisters, let's
go down. O sisters, let's go down, down to the river to pray."

Sunday, April 15

Bemsha Sting

I remember when, years ago. Laurable erased all her blog links with
the single line, "too many poetry blogs."

Looks like Jonathan Mayhew (Bemsha Swing) just erased his, a few days after expressing some
minor dissatisfactions with Ron Silliman's blog.

The only reason you don't see a link list on my blog is that I don't know how to do this on New Blogger. Nada Gordon has promised to walk me through doing this. It was Jonathan Mayhew who, several years ago. first taught me how to put a link on my blog!


On My Desk

Aaron Belz, *The Bird Hoverer*, Blaze/VOX,
"My name is Anatoly Karpov. Excuse my
beleaguered appearance, I have spent two
excruciating weeks tutoring the biggest
dumbass in the chess world..."

Tom Beckett, "Unprotected Texts*, Meritage
"Elliptic seizures./Unacknowledged quotations/
increase and are better comprehended"

Alan Davies, *Book 5*, Katalanche
"I wake up/feigning/ wakefulness"

Katie Degentesh, "The Anger Scale", Combo
"as long as we're laughing/ at Rush Limbaugh's addiction/
remember that Mt. Rushmore was itself/
the creation of an ardent member of the Ku Klux Klan"

Elaine Equi, "Ripple Effect", Coffee House
"Fountains, I realized, are thirsty too-/
for company"

"The Diary of Anne Frank", Pan Books
"I wonder whether you can tell me why it is that
people always try so hard to hide their feelings."

John Gedo, "Beyond Interpretation:Toward a Revised
Theory for Psychoanalysis", International Universities Press
"To repeat, we no longer attempt to illuminate all of human
behavior in terms of derivatives of the unresolved conflicts
of the Oedipus Complex"

Nada Gordon, *Folly", Roof Books
"O! Rend my heart with ev'ry pain!
But let me, let me love again!"/
And while you're at it,'/
voting machines."

Franz Kafka, *The Zurau Aphorisms*, commentary
by Roberto Calasso, Shocken Books,
"A cage went in search of a bird"

Amy King, "I'm the Man Who Loves You", Blaze Vox
"Though muffled, new holocausts/trace the Cinderella
myths/They tunnel from echoes ago/into sparks
of souls ignited"

Mitch Highfill, "Konig's Sphere", Situations
'Knock-knock./Click-click./Hand emerges from cloud"

David Markson, "The Last Novel", Shoemaker Hoard
"In the Spring of 1944, at the height of their efficiency,
the forty-six ovens in the crematoriums of Auschwitz were
incinerating as many as twelve thousand corpses per day"

David Shapiro, "New and Selected Poems (1965-2006), Overlook
"They have used the bodies of children/
As improvised bridges/Which they later cross"

Vanitas 2, edited by Vincent Katz,
"Nico, famous Nico/, who once sang a dirge-like version of/
"Deutchland, Deutchland Uber Alles"/swore to solemn Lou/
she'd come tonight to the band's one night reunion./
But night's almost gone- soon day will be creeping/
like dirty rain through its gutters."
Jerome Sala

Nico Vassilakis, "pond ring e", nine muses
"I will ask you to whisper/a list of inventions/in my ear"

Mark Young, "the allegrezza syndrome", Otoliths
"There isn't a person alive who can truthfully say/
that they have never waited in vain for their lover"

Bill Zavatsky, "Theories of Rain", Sun
"We are dumbbells you exercise in the night! We are stupid/
ambassadors hijacked pants-down in flight ,colonials/ stabbed
by parrot revolutionary fever-for a moment exulting, soaked with
blood of the absolutely free.../ the fabulous blood of
you and me"