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Bless me readers, for I have sinned. It's been 90 days since my last post. I feel bad about it but don't worry - not bad enough to bore you with all the carefully reasoned rationalizations for my absence. But I had to take TWO STINKING MINUTES out of my important work day to let you know that the former president, who Spike Lee refers to as "Agent Orange," (that's funny, I don't care how you vote!), is suing big Social Media, and their CEOs as individuals, for censorship. In particular the article reads , "The three related lawsuits, filed in federal court in Florida, allege the tech giants have violated plaintiffs’ First Amendments rights." Those of you who read even one of my three-part series in April about this very topic will remember, "The First Amendment doesn’t guarantee any of us unrestricted speech. It only protects us from government censorship. Said another way, neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights says you have the legal
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I'd like to thank the Academy

So if you've been twiddling your thumbs waiting for this, the third installment in my Free Speech Trilogy, I have one question for you: Why don't you have anything more interesting going on in your life? I mean, I'm grateful, don't get me wrong, need to get out more.  I'm just saying. When last we left our intrepid hero ( moi ) we had visited two questions, and hopefully answered them, at least to some degree: What is, and isn't, the First Amendment? (Hint, it doesn't really protect you from anything other than government censorship.) How does social media change the rules? (Two ways: You can't escape it; and you can't navigate it independent of its technology-enabled echo chamber.) This last installment is the most difficult, of course, because it seeks to answer the question: Now what? Instead of explaining where we are or how we got here, there are no clear cut answers. And, as a corollary to that, some days it can feel like there

My first year by the numbers: Putin on the Ritz

I started out as a writer, and in my experience the two most important measures of a person’s writing are: How the writer feels about it How the reader feels about it There’s also how your mom feels about it, but that’s really a subset of #2 so I went for simple-is-better. Then when you give up writing and instead pick a profession that kinda-sorta has writing in it, you learn quickly that there are other metrics that must be satisfied, and this is not always easy. For example, the world’s most brilliant, edgy, breakthrough creative advertising campaign is a brick if no one sees it. So today is the one-year anniversary of this blog. ( Insert favorite party noises here .) I began writing it pretty much for myself but quickly became infatuated with the idea that people were reading it. Accordingly, my process over the last 12 months has been unscripted and influenced dually by what was going on with me, and consideration of my readers, both actual and potential. Some things I w

Rage against the Machine

If you stumbled onto this post because you think it's about the band, I'm sorry. You can leave - no harm, no foul.  If you are here without reading the prior post, called Let them eat Twinkies , you should go back and read that now , since this is part 2 of a planned 3-part series. And finally, if you're here because you've been waiting to follow the thread we pulled together in the prior post, then...Hooray! My plan worked! As you know, the last post looked at the origin and intent of the First Amendment and, specifically, the idea that the Constitution only really protects you from government censorship. It doesn't begin to guarantee any of us the right to speak our minds as we see fit. This is particularly interesting, and caught my attention, because recently several social media platforms banned any messaging originating with former President Donald Trump.  Note: This is not an anti-Trump post. Pro-Trump or Anti-Trump, that's not terribly interesting to me

That was fast!

In a week, April 8 to be exact, I will mark the one year anniversary of this blog! I have a dozen or so ideas about how to commemorate this, and no real capacity or mind-space to execute on most of them, so I thought I would start with this:  What do YOU think? I assume if you're reading this, you're not a first-time reader. Maybe you've read one, or a handful, of the 65-ish posts from the prior 12 months. If so, you came back at least once to read another one. I would be interested in your feedback. What did you think? What do you think? What do you like? What would you like to see different, or in addition to?  And if you feel like it, tell me how I should recognize the accomplishment of one year behind me. You can leave your feedback in the comments or you can email me privately , either one. I'm grateful for any suggestions and insight you care to share. And even if you don't respond, thank you for reading! I hope I continue to earn your interest.

Let them eat Twinkies

I saw an article confirming, “Facebook removes video interview with Trump, citing his ban from the platform,” which made me happy. In reading the article I learned that the interview in question was between Donald Trump and his daughter in law, Lara Trump ; and that she knew in advance that the content would be deleted by the platform. For those just joining us, Facebook was one of multiple social media platforms that suspended Trump-authored communications following the January 6, 2021 deadly Capitol riots. It made perfect sense: Here was a man who, almost individually and unilaterally, was fomenting dissent among thousands of Americans to the point that they would attack our elected leaders and institutions, bent on retribution and violence. Makes perfect sense; shut off his access. Or does it? The question arises: Should Donald Trump have the same First Amendment rights as any other US citizen? And the answer may surprise you, especially coming from me: Absolutely. He should

Another round for the lady

I have wanted to go to Minnesota for a long time. It’s kind of a weird reason why. It’s because the novelist John Sandford is from there, and has based pretty much all of his books in the heartland of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and the like. Sandford is not his real name, but rather the nom de plume of John Camp , an award winning journalist who has been keeping me and millions of others riveted with his fiction for the last 20-plus years. I read my first Sandford novel, the first of his Prey series, in 1999, and I have read everything he’s written since then. I feel like I know his characters as well as he does. I feel like his chief protagonist Lucas Davenport’s family is my family. I am fully invested in Davenport’s ability to thrive as both he and I get older. And I have vivid pictures in my head of the landscape, painted from Sandford’s books. Everything from the mean streets of the Twin Cities to the rural rust belt towns in the southern part of the state. I want to go th