The Outpost

"Just a short way down the road..."

In keeping with current styles, new commentaries are now on the WebLog.

Blogs from 2003 to 2008 are here.

Welcome to The Outpost -- a bit outside of town, and definitely off the beaten track. For a similar perspective, check out Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row". You remember Desolation Row -- it's just a short way down the road from The Outpost.  Dylan's Sugar Baby comes from the same place but on a cosmic plane.

The Outpost has existed in several incarnations, including a song, a radio program and now this web page. In any event, The Outpost is where we observe... "Lucifer's motley minions, Gabriel's holy host ... Passing in parade as I look out from The Outpost."

Comments from The Outpost have been heard from time to time on WMBR Radio, 88.1 FM in the greater Boston area, most often around Friday at 6:30 pm. Past topics are below; click on the date for the full text.

Comments? Email to the Outpost. Your host at The Outpost is Dan Murphy.

Outpost commentaries are back! Here are the latest:

4-October-2002 The fear factor. Remember what FDR said? What would Dubya say? MP3

27-September-2002 - It's too late to stop the last war; what are you doing about the next one? MP3

2-August-2002 - Part 2 of a quick look at the big music business. They have been ripping us off for years; any wonder they don't get no respect? MP3

26-July-2002 - The big music business -- greed exceeded only by stupidity. MP3

Out of date? Maybe, but we stand by them all.

18-September-2001 - 9/11/2001 - Why Do They Hate Us?

13-September-2001 - 9/11/2001 - Where to Now?

18-May-1998 - The "White House Sex Scandal" -- it has died down but it's not over. What have we learned from it? The lessons may have nothing to do with sex.

23-May-1997 - The US Senate passed the bill banning so-called "partial birth" abortions this week amidst much melodramatic debate. Problem is, the proponents of the ban never mentioned the people most seriously affected. Oh well, there's not very many of them -- not enough to count in the next election.

11-April-1997 - I've been on vacation and out of touch for the past few weeks. Speaking of being out of touch, I found myself looking at the cover of Time this week wondering why it would be news that someone is gay, and who this person is anyhow. The answer? It's television, stupid! And in the never-never land of network TV sitcoms, gays haven't exactly been considered regular folks up to now.

14-March-1997 - A local high school provides us a pointed example of the failure of the government's drug policy this week. We also have a first-hand example of how government officials remain stuck in the war metaphore and clueless as to how and when this war might ever end. Does this sound familiar? Does the name "Viet Nam" ring a bell?

28-February-1997 - Well, hello Dolly! No, I'm not trying out for the Broadway show, just looking at the countenance of a sheep by that name, an animal which is the first ever fully realized clone. This event has brought back all the old clone jokes and whimsical fantasies, but these may be covering some real and justifiable fears.

21-February-1997 - Let's talk about sex again. The phrase "sex and violence" is tossed around a lot, but it's clear that they aren't treated at all equally in our society. Violence is the winner, of course; you can see it and buy it almost at will. Meanwhile, somebody in New Hampshire is out to protect the morals of the citizens again.

14-February-1997 - It's Valentine's Day -- a good day for love and, yes, sex! It's rather remarkable that we actually have a sex-positive cultural holiday in our otherwise sex-repressed and sex-confused society. We may have had a sexual revolution in the '60s and '70s, but the moral standard of today is still based on the old, puritanical imperatives. It's a club that hangs over many heads.

7-February-1997 - In some sort of cosmic convergence, the verdict in OJ Trial #2 came down in the middle of the President's State of the Union address. Can we look at one without looking at the other? Not if we're looking at them on TV. Maybe there are other connections as well.

Rationality and Spirituality - Bonus! A more extended exploration than the usual weekly commentary, delivered from the pulpit in this case. Are these two very human dimensions separate and disconnected? Does spirituality require religious or theological concepts? Come spend a few minutes exercising your mind and then find out what happens beyond the limits of rational thought.

24-January-1997 - I know the Superbowl is this Sunday. I can't avoid knowing that even though I would prefer to. Pro sports takes from the poor fans and gives to the rich players, and then they want taxpayer support too?! Is this the big game or just another (yawn) game? Superbowl? Or Superbore!

10-January-1997 - It's about choice. What is? Two of the hottest current social issues now being thrown into the courts. "Pro-choice" or "no-choice", that really is the question, and it underlies many of our most controversial lawmaking decisions.

27-December-1996 - Time to review the year of 1996 -- as much as I can in five minutes anyhow. Seems like it's been an especially long and trying year, too. Who's been tried this year? Just about everybody, including our patience.

20-December-1996 - I'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas! And I will, too. In case you hadn't noticed, it has become an American holiday quite distinct from its Christian origins. Then again, what are it's origins, really?

13-December-1996 - A group of economic hotshots thinks the federal government can save a trillion dollars over the next decade by changing how the CPI is calculated. A clever idea? If so, I can tell you how to get penny postcards and nickel phone calls too! Watch carefully -- my fingers never leave my hands.

6-December-1996 - John Salvi died in Walpole prison last week, a suicide according to official reports. Now there is much wringing of hands and questioning about whether he received enough psychological and other services. But how much does society really owe to those who have committed such heinous crimes? And maybe suicide is really the best way out in this and other such cases.

29-November-1996 - Like the weather we've been having? Where's "global warming" when you really need it! Research shows that the globe has been both cooler and warmer in the past; who says it can't happen again? Paranoia about global warming only distracts from the environmental problems that we could actually do something about.

22-November-1996 - Two stories about Cuba were in the news this week. After granting Fidel Castro an audience in Rome, the Pope has decided to visit Cuba next year. Meanwhile, the US government is harassing some people who visited Cuba this year in defiance of the long-standing and still unconscionable travel restrictions. A change in policy toward Cuba is long overdue, and the Pope appears to have a far better attitude than does US foreign policy.

15-November-1996 - Staying close to home this week. WMBR is celebrating its 35th anniversary of FM broadcasting. Why is this station different from all other stations, particularly now? Why is this innovative station also an anachronism? What do we do that all the experts say is wrong? Hint: it has to do with diversity.

18-October-1996 - Howard Zinn spoke here at a WMBR/Pacifica News benefit this week. On that same date in 1967, he spoke at a draft and Viet Nam war protest in Boston that made news across the country as draft cards were burned and the authority of government was questioned. This was a defining moment of the sixties, and it continues to reflect fundamental differences today. What laws are good, what laws are bad, and when should laws be defied.

11-October-1996 - Things could be worse. Look around the world just a bit, and you may realize that we're doing pretty well in matters such as women's rights, supporting diversity, and individual freedoms. We could be doing better, but then again, there are some in this country who would enforce their religion and lifestyle on the rest of us if they could. Then things would be worse.

4-October-1996 - Ross Perot squawks about being included in the presidential debates, but there's someone who deserves it far more -- Harry Browne, the candidate of the Libertarian Party. Think we learned our lessons from the Viet Nam war of the 1960s? There's a war going on now, and we're making many of the same mistakes. It's time once again to say, "Stop the War".

27-September-1996 - Race was once again a factor in an incident in Boston this week -- or was it? Maybe that perception was hasty. And speaking of haste, the Republican-controlled congress is showing uncharacteristic haste in its desire to defend the republic from urgent moral threats. It's not conservative so much as authoritarian -- father (or big brother) knows best.

20-September-1996 - Racial preferences and quotas as discussed in Boston Globe columns this week. Another story that shows why government promises to keep your secrets (or your encryption keys) safe and private have about as much credibility as the assurances of your local used car salesman. Progress on the CDA and a lesser known but equally insidious federal law known as 18 USC 2257.

13-June-1996 - Boston Drivers Explained. The behaviour of Boston drivers has been much observed and described. By why to they, ah, we drive like we do? It's no fluke. This explains it all.

And don't forget, The Outpost may be visited in yet another form! The Outpost CD was released in mid-1997. Watergate, J. Danforth Quayle, adventures in cyberspace -- all our favorite subjects in a (somewhat) musical setting!

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