Dissent Is Not UnAmerican!

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In the days after September 11, 2001, government-sponsored mottoes like “United We Stand” became code language for the sinister notion that to critique government policy is to be a disloyal American. In the face of a heavy-handed attempt to silence free speech, City Lights inaugurated our Storefront Banner Series (shown above in a photo from October 2001) with a bold assertion of our First Amendment right to question the policies and actions of our government, one of America’s most basic and most critical freedoms.

As we anticipate the inauguration of a president and administration whose approach to dissenting opinion may become even more heavy-handed, we intend to do our part to defend our right to read, write, gather, debate and dissent. We are convinced of the need to nurture and protect peoples’ ability to think critically, to discern truth, and to communicate knowledge, and we believe that these qualities are basic to an empowered citizenry, essential to the future of a democratic society. In this, along with you, we stand united.

— From City Lights Newsletter, December 2016

Stop Praying To Our iPhones

iPhoneDisclaimer: I do not own an iPhone. In fact, I waste a great deal of money on the digital phone I do have (phone, camera, that’s it) because my current calling plan is the minimum discounted plan (I worked for the company) giving me 450 minutes each month … I use 2. But my daughter says she is tired of not being able to text me or share photos instantly and all the other social activities a smart phone allows so I have agreed to be added to her family plan and get an iPhone (which my neighbor laughingly says is not a phone but a pocket computer). This plan will make my daughter happier and actually make my monthly bill go away: it’s a good deal. Now I can only suggest that I will use the iPhone for periodic communication but otherwise, at least it replaces my old, old iPod Touch (and my loyal Flip Phone).

But the topic is not my own limited use of a future device but rather the suggestion made by W. Andrew Ewell in Salon that:

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