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Freedom to Tinker Research and expert commentary on …

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Nov 032015

Yesterday I posted some thoughts about Purdue Universitys decision to destroy a video recording of my keynote address at its Dawn or Doom colloquium. The organizers had gone dark, and a promised public link was not forthcoming. After a couple of weeks of hoping to resolve the matter quietly, I did some digging and decided to write up what I learned. I posted on the web site of the Century Foundation, my main professional home:

It turns out that Purdue has wiped all copies of my video and slides from university servers, on grounds that I displayed classified documents briefly on screen. A breach report was filed with the universitys Research Information Assurance Officer, also known as the Site Security Officer, under the terms of Defense Department Operating Manual 5220.22-M. I am told that Purdue briefly considered, among other things, whether to destroy the projector I borrowed, lest contaminants remain.

I was, perhaps, naive, but pretty much all of that came as a real surprise.

Lets rewind. Information Assurance? Site Security?

These are familiar terms elsewhere, but new to me in a university context. I learned that Purdue, like a number of its peers, has a facility security clearance to perform classified U.S. government research. The manual of regulations runs to 141 pages. (Its terms forbid uncleared trustees to ask about the work underway on their campus, but thats a subject for another day.) The pertinent provision here, spelled out at length in a manual called Classified Information Spillage, requires sanitization, physical removal, or destruction of classified information discovered on unauthorized media.

Two things happened in rapid sequence around the time I told Purdue about my post.

First, the university broke a week-long silence and expressed a measure of regret:

UPDATE: Just after posting this item I received an email from Julie Rosa, who heads strategic communications for Purdue. She confirmed that Purdue wiped my video after consulting the Defense Security Service, but the university now believes it went too far.

In an overreaction while attempting to comply with regulations, the video was ordered to be deleted instead of just blocking the piece of information in question. Just FYI: The conference organizers were not even aware that any of this had happened until well after the video was already gone.

Im told we are attempting to recover the video, but I have not heard yet whether that is going to be possible. When I find out, I will let you know and we will, of course, provide a copy to you.

Then Edward Snowden tweeted the link, and the Century Foundations web site melted down. It now redirects to Medium, where you can find the full story.

I have not heard back from Purdue today about recovery of the video. It is not clear to me how recovery is even possible, if Purdue followed Pentagon guidelines for secure destruction. Moreover, although the university seems to suggest it could have posted most of the video, it does not promise to do so now. Most importantly, the best that I can hope for here is that my remarks and slides will be made available in redacted form with classified images removed, and some of my central points therefore missing. There would be one version of the talk for the few hundred people who were in the room on Sept. 24, and for however many watched the live stream, and another version left as the only record.

For our purposes here, the most notable questions have to do with academic freedom in the context of national security. How did a university come to sanitize a public lecture it had solicited, on the subject of NSA surveillance, from an author known to possess the Snowden documents? How could it profess to be shocked to find that spillage is going on at such a talk? The beginning of an answer came, I now see, in the question and answer period after my Purdue remarks. A post-doctoral research engineer stood up to ask whether the documents I had put on display were unclassified. No, I replied. Theyre classified still. Eugene Spafford, a professor of computer science there, later attributed that concern to junior security rangers on the faculty and staff. But the display of Top Secret material, he said, once noted, is something that cannot be unnoted.

Someone reported my answer to Purdues Research Information Assurance Officer, who reported in turn to Purdues representative at the Defense Security Service. By the terms of its Pentagon agreement, Purdue decided it was now obliged to wipe the video of my talk in its entirety. I regard this as a rather devout reading of the rules, which allowed Purdue to realistically consider the potential harm that may result from compromise of spilled information. The slides I showed had been viewed already by millions of people online. Even so, federal funding might be at stake for Purdue, and the notoriously vague terms of the Espionage Act hung over the decision. For most lawyers, abundance of caution would be the default choice. Certainly that kind of thinking is commonplace, and sometimes appropriate, in military and intelligence services.

But universities are not secret agencies. They cannot lightly wear the shackles of a National Industrial Security Program, as Purdue agreed to do. The values at their core, in principle and often in practice, are open inquiry and expression.

I do not claim I suffered any great harm when Purdue purged my remarks from its conference proceedings. I do not lack for publishers or public forums. But the next person whose talk is disappeared may have fewer resources.

More importantly, to my mind, Purdue has compromised its own independence and that of its students and faculty. It set an unhappy precedent, even if the people responsible thought they were merely following routine procedures.

One can criticize the university for its choices, and quite a few have since I published my post. What interests me is how nearly the results were foreordained once Purdue made itself eligible for Top Secret work.

Think of it as a classic case of mission creep. Purdue invited the secret-keepers of the Defense Security Service into one cloistered corner of campus (a small but significant fraction of research in certain fields, as the university counsel put it). The trustees accepted what may have seemed a limited burden, confined to the precincts of classified research.

Now the security apparatus claims jurisdiction over the campus (facility) at large. The university finds itself sanitizing a conference that has nothing to do with any government contract.

I am glad to see that Princeton takes the view that [s]ecurity regulations and classification of information are at variance with the basic objectives of a University. It does not permit faculty members to do classified work on campus, which avoids Purdues facility problem. And even so, at Princeton and elsewhere, there may be an undercurrent of self-censorship and informal restraint against the use of documents derived from unauthorized leaks.

Two of my best students nearly dropped a course I taught a few years back, called Secrecy, Accountability and the National Security State, when they learned the syllabus would include documents from Wikileaks. Both had security clearances, for summer jobs, and feared losing them. I told them I would put the documents on Blackboard, so they need not visit the Wikileaks site itself, but the readings were mandatory. Both, to their credit, stayed in the course. They did so against the advice of some of their mentors, including faculty members. The advice was purely practical. The U.S. government will not give a clear answer when asked whether this sort of exposure to published secrets will harm job prospects or future security clearances. Why take the risk?

Every student and scholar must decide for him- or herself, but I think universities should push back harder, and perhaps in concert. There is a treasure trove of primary documents in the archives made available by Snowden and Chelsea Manning. The government may wish otherwise, but that information is irretrievably in the public domain. Should a faculty member ignore the Snowden documents when designing a course on network security architecture? Should a student write a dissertation on modern U.S.-Saudi relations without consulting the numerous diplomatic cables on Wikileaks? To me, those would be abdications of the basic duty to seek out authoritative sources of knowledge, wherever they reside.

I would be interested to learn how others have grappled with these questions. I expect to write about them in my forthcoming book on surveillance, privacy and secrecy.

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Freedom Forum | Newseum Institute

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Nov 032015

The Freedom Forum, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonpartisan foundation that champions the First Amendment as a cornerstone of democracy, and is the principal funder of the Newseum and Newseum Institute.

The Newseum Institute is the education and outreach partner of the Newseum, including the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Centerand the Newseums Education department.

The Newseum Institute also is affiliated with the Al Neuharth Media Centerat the University of South Dakota; the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi; and the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University, which houses segments of the Institutes First Amendment and diversity education and training programs, including training sessions for the Chips Quinn Scholars program, and various seminars and symposiums such as the Minority Writers Seminar, operated in cooperation with the Association of Opinion Journalists.

The Freedom Forum was established July 4, 1991,under the direction of founder Al Neuharth as successor to a foundation started in 1935 by newspaper publisher Frank E. Gannett. The Freedom Forum is not affiliated with Gannett Co. Its work is supported by income from an endowment of diversified assets.

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Political freedom – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Oct 052015

“Freedoms” redirects here. For other uses, see Freedom.

Political freedom (also known as political autonomy or political agency) is a central concept in history and political thought and one of the most important (real or ideal) features of democratic societies.[1] It has been described as a relationship free of oppression[2] or coercion;[3] the absence of disabling conditions for an individual and the fulfillment of enabling conditions;[4] or the absence of life conditions of compulsion, e.g. economic compulsion, in a society.[5] Although political freedom is often interpreted negatively as the freedom from unreasonable external constraints on action,[6] it can also refer to the positive exercise of rights, capacities and possibilities for action, and the exercise of social or group rights.[7] The concept can also include freedom from “internal” constraints on political action or speech (e.g. social conformity, consistency, or “inauthentic” behaviour.)[8] The concept of political freedom is closely connected with the concepts of civil liberties and human rights, which in democratic societies are usually afforded legal protection from the state.

Various groups along the political spectrum naturally differ on what they believe constitutes “true” political freedom.

Left wing political philosophy generally couples the notion of freedom with that of positive liberty, or the enabling of a group or individual to determine their own life or realize their own potential. Freedom, in this sense, may include freedom from poverty, starvation, treatable disease, and oppression, as well as freedom from force and coercion, from whomever they may issue.

Friedrich Hayek, a well-known classical liberal, criticized this as a misconception of freedom:

[T]he use of “liberty” to describe the physical “ability to do what I want”, the power to satisfy our wishes, or the extent of the choice of alternatives open to us… has been deliberately fostered as part of the socialist argument… the notion of collective power over circumstances has been substituted for that of individual liberty.[9]

Anarcho-socialists see negative and positive liberty as complementary concepts of freedom. Such a view of rights may require utilitarian trade-offs, such as sacrificing the right to the product of one’s labor or freedom of association for less racial discrimination or more subsidies for housing. Social anarchists describe the negative liberty-centric view endorsed by capitalism as “selfish freedom”.[10]

Anarcho-capitalists see negative rights as a consistent system. Ayn Rand described it as “a moral principle defining and sanctioning a mans freedom of action in a social context. To such libertarians, positive liberty is contradictory, since so-called rights must be traded off against each other, debasing legitimate rights which, by definition, trump other moral considerations. Any alleged “right” which calls for an end result (e.g. housing, education, medical services) produced by people is, in effect, a purported “right” to enslave others.

Some notable philosophers, such as Alasdair MacIntyre, have theorized freedom in terms of our social interdependence with other people.[11]

According to political philosopher Nikolas Kompridis, the pursuit of freedom in the modern era can be broadly divided into two motivating ideals: freedom as autonomy or independence; and freedom as the ability to cooperatively initiate a new beginning.[12]

Political freedom has also been theorized in its opposition to (and a condition of) “power relations”, or the power of “action upon actions,” by Michel Foucault.[13] It has also been closely identified with certain kinds of artistic and cultural practice by Cornelius Castoriadis, Antonio Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse, Jacques Ranciere, and Theodor Adorno.

Environmentalists often argue that political freedoms should include some constraint on use of ecosystems. They maintain there is no such thing, for instance, as “freedom to pollute” or “freedom to deforest” given that such activities create negative externalities. The popularity of SUVs, golf, and urban sprawl has been used as evidence that some ideas of freedom and ecological conservation can clash. This leads at times to serious confrontations and clashes of values reflected in advertising campaigns, e.g. that of PETA regarding fur.

John Dalberg-Acton stated that “The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.”[14]

Hannah Arendt traces the origins of the concept of freedom to the practice of politics in ancient Greece. According to her study, the concept of freedom was historically inseparable from political action. Politics could only be practiced by those who had freed themselves from the necessities of life, so that they could attend to the realm of political affairs. According to Arendt, the concept of freedom became associated with the Christian notion of freedom of the will, or inner freedom, around the 5th century C.E. and since then, freedom as a form of political action has been neglected, even though, as she says, freedom is “the raison d’tre of politics.”[15]

Arendt says that political freedom is historically opposed to sovereignty or will-power, since in ancient Greece and Rome, the concept of freedom was inseparable from performance, and did not arise as a conflict between the “will” and the “self.” Similarly, the idea of freedom as freedom from politics is a notion that developed in modern times. This is opposed to the idea of freedom as the capacity to “begin anew,” which Arendt sees as a corollary to the innate human condition of natality, or our nature as “new beginnings and hence beginners.”

In Arendt’s view, political action is an interruption of automatic process, either natural or historical. The freedom to begin anew is thus an extension of “the freedom to call something into being which did not exist before, which was not given, not even as an object of cognition or imagination, and which therefore, strictly speaking, could not be known.”

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Town of Freedom

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Sep 262015

Town News

Plan Commission Meeting – Wednesday,October21, 20155:30p.m. – Town Hall

Town Board Meeting – Wednesday, September 23, 20156:00 p.m. – Town Hall

Join our Text Message List to receive important information/announcements from the Town. Just text the word “FREEDOMT”to “36000” and answer the question with a “Y”. You will then receive a text that you have been added toour list!

Property Taxes The second installmentis due to Outagamie County Treasurer by July 31, 2015. Paymentsmust be made payable to the Outagamie County Treasurer and mailed or taken in person to the Outagamie County Treasurer located at 410 South Walnut Street, Appleton, WI.

Trash & Recycling Container Placement Please remember to properly place your weekly trash and recycling containers along your street. The containers should be positioned four feet from the paved road surface for roads with ditches or as close to the backside of the curb as possible for roads with curb & gutter. Properly placing the containers allows the snow plowing crews to do a better job of plowing and also minimizes the potential for damage to the containers.

Dog Licenses2014 Dog Licenses expired December 31st. The Town is reminding residents that by state law,the owner of a dog more than five (5) months old is required to obtain an annual dog license. You must bring in a current rabies vaccination certificate from a veterinarian in order to be issued a license.

Doglicenses are sold at the Town Hall, located at W2004 CTH S. Licenses issued after March 31, 2015 will pay an additional $5.00 late penalty per Wisconsin State Statutes.

The 2015 Garbage & Recycling Schedule is now available.

Yard WasteYard Waste is accepted by the Town beginning approximately April1st of each year andends approximately November 15th. Yard waste can be disposed of at the Town Garage located at N4245 County Highway E. Yard waste drop off is open to residents of the Town ofFreedom only and contractors are not permitted to dump yard waste. Valid ID and/or proof of ownership may be required. Drop off hours are every other Wednesday from Noon to 6:00 PM and every other Saturday from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Acceptable materials include grass clippings, leaves,brush, and tree limbs.Stumps will not be accepted.

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Town of Freedom

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Freedom, New York –

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Sep 162015

We are giving away $1200 in prizes – enter simply by sending us your own city pictures!

Zip codes: 14065.

Freedom town income, earnings, and wages data

Estimated median house or condo value in 2013: $96,237 (it was $66,800 in 2000)

Freedom, NY residents, houses, and apartments details

Profiles of local businesses

Business Search – 14 Million verified businesses

Races in Freedom, NY (2010)

Races in Freedom detailed stats: ancestries, foreign born residents, place of birth

Latest news from Freedom, NY collected exclusively by from local newspapers, TV, and radio stations

Ancestries: German (34.6%), English (15.7%), Irish (13.5%), Polish (10.5%), United States (7.4%), Italian (7.1%).

Current Local Time: EST time zone

Land area: 40.3 square miles.

Population density: 60 people per square mile (very low).

21 residents are foreign born

Median real estate property taxes paid for housing units in 2000:

Nearest city with pop. 50,000+: Cheektowaga, NY (36.4 miles , pop. 79,988).

Nearest city with pop. 200,000+: Buffalo, NY (38.7 miles , pop. 292,648).

Nearest city with pop. 1,000,000+: Philadelphia, PA (239.5 miles , pop. 1,517,550).

Nearest cities: Farmersville, NY (2.3 miles ), Arcade, NY (2.3 miles ), Delevan, NY (2.4 miles ), Centerville, NY (2.5 miles ), Lime Lake, NY (2.5 miles ), Yorkshire, NY (2.6 miles ), Lime Lake-Machias, NY (2.6 miles ), Machias, NY (2.9 miles ).

Number of permits per 10,000 residents

Latitude: 42.47 N, Longitude: 78.36 W

This town’s Wikipedia profile

Work and jobs in Freedom: detailed stats about occupations, industries, unemployment, workers, commute

Based on data reported by over 4,000 weather stations

Freedom-area historical tornado activity is near New York state average. It is 63% smaller than the overall U.S. average.

On 7/24/1967, a category F3 (max. wind speeds 158-206 mph) tornado 11.3 miles away from the Freedom town center caused between $5000 and $50,000 in damages.

On 6/20/1969, a category F3 tornado 19.3 miles away from the town center caused between $500,000 and $5,000,000 in damages.

On 9/25/1998 at 19:52:52, a magnitude 5.2 (4.8 MB, 4.3 MS, 5.2 LG, 4.5 MW, Depth: 3.1 mi, Class: Moderate, Intensity: VI – VII) earthquake occurred 124.6 miles away from the city center On 1/31/1986 at 16:46:43, a magnitude 5.0 (5.0 MB) earthquake occurred 155.7 miles away from Freedom center On 10/7/1983 at 10:18:46, a magnitude 5.3 (5.1 MB, 5.3 LG, 5.1 ML) earthquake occurred 227.1 miles away from the city center On 4/20/2002 at 10:50:47, a magnitude 5.2 (5.2 MB, 4.2 MS, 5.2 MW, 5.0 MW, Depth: 6.8 mi) earthquake occurred 271.6 miles away from the city center On 1/26/2001 at 03:03:20, a magnitude 4.4 (3.9 MB, 4.4 LG, 4.3 LG, Depth: 3.1 mi, Class: Light, Intensity: IV – V) earthquake occurred 130.2 miles away from Freedom center On 1/16/1994 at 01:49:16, a magnitude 4.6 (4.6 MB, 4.6 LG, Depth: 3.1 mi) earthquake occurred 191.2 miles away from the city center Magnitude types: regional Lg-wave magnitude (LG), body-wave magnitude (MB), local magnitude (ML), surface-wave magnitude (MS), moment magnitude (MW)

Causes of natural disasters: Storms: 10, Floods: 8, Snowstorms: 3, Blizzard: 1, Hurricane: 1, Ice Storm: 1, Power Outage: 1, Snow: 1, Tornado: 1, Tropical Storm: 1, Winter Storm: 1, Other: 1 (Note: Some incidents may be assigned to more than one category).

Political contributions by individuals in Freedom, NY

Click to draw/clear town borders

Notable locations in Freedom: Scouthaven Camp (A), Elton Station (B), Edelweiss Farms (C), Camp Vick (D), Turkey Run Golf Course (E). Display/hide their locations on the map

Churches in Freedom include: Salem Church (A), Sandusky Baptist Church (B). Display/hide their locations on the map

Cemeteries: Siloam Cemetery (1), Elton Cemetery (2), Sandusky Cemetery (3), Salem Cemetery (4), Freedom Cemetery (5), Maple Grove Cemetery (6). Display/hide their locations on the map

Lakes and swamps: Moores Pond (A), Skim Lake (B), Beaver Lake (C), Crystal Lake (D), Burleson Pond (E). Display/hide their locations on the map

Detailed information about poverty and poor residents in Freedom, NY

Educational Attainment (%) in 2000

School Enrollment by Level of School (%) in 2000

Most commonly used house heating fuel:

Presidential Elections Results

1996 Presidential Elections Results

2000 Presidential Elections Results

2004 Presidential Elections Results

2008 Presidential Elections Results

2012 Presidential Elections Results

Graphs represent county-level data. Detailed 2008 Election Results

4.18% of this county’s 2011 resident taxpayers lived in other counties in 2010 ($32,141 average adjusted gross income)

5.04% of this county’s 2010 resident taxpayers moved to other counties in 2011 ($31,902 average adjusted gross income)

Fatal road traffic accident statistics for 1975 – 2013 (per 100,000 population)

Jun 23, 2005 09:54 AM, Maple Grove Rd, Vehicles: 1, Persons: 1, Fatalities: 1 Apr 11, 2003 10:25 PM, Bixby Hill Road, Vehicles: 1, Persons: 1, Fatalities: 1, Drunken persons involved: 1 Apr 29, 1998 05:35 PM, Cr-90, Vehicles: 2, Persons: 3, Fatalities: 1 Aug 29, 1998 06:10 AM, Sr-98, Vehicles: 1, Persons: 2, Pedestrians: 1, Fatalities: 1

New bridges – Historical Statistics

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Freedom, New York –

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Freedom, New York – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Sep 162015

Freedom is a town in Cattaraugus County, New York, United States. The population was 2,405 at the 2010 census.[1] The town is in the northeast corner of Cattaraugus County.

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 2,493 people, 871 households, and 680 families residing in the town. The population density was 61.8 people per square mile (23.9/km). There were 1,033 housing units at an average density of 25.6 per square mile (9.9/km). The racial makeup of the town was 98.88% White, 0.16% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.08% Asian, 0.08% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.76% of the population.

There were 871 households out of which 39.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.5% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.9% were non-families. 16.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.20.

In the town the population was spread out with 29.5% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 9.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 103.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $34,654, and the median income for a family was $36,061. Males had a median income of $27,380 versus $22,188 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,145. About 12.2% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.3% of those under age 18 and 18.5% of those age 65 or over.

Freedom, New York – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Freedom (Franzen novel) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Aug 292015

Freedom is a novel by American author Jonathan Franzen. It was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and released on August 31, 2010.

Freedom received general acclaim from book critics, and was ranked one of the best books of 2010 by several publications.

Freedom follows several members of an American family, the Berglunds, as well as their close friends and lovers, as complex and troubled relationships unfold over many years. The book follows them through the last decades of the twentieth century and concludes near the beginning of the Obama administration.

Freedom opens with a short history of the Berglund family from the perspective of their nosy neighbors. The Berglunds are portrayed as the most ideal liberal middle-class family, and they are among the first families to move back into urban St. Paul, Minnesota, after years of white flight to the suburbs. Patty Berglund is an unusually young and pretty homemaker with a self-deprecating sense of humor; her husband Walter is a mild-mannered lawyer with strong environmentalist leanings.

They have one daughter, Jessica, and a son, Joey, who early on displays an independent streak and an interest in making money. Joey becomes sexually involved with a neighborhood teen named Connie and begins to rebel against his mother, going so far as to move in with Connie, her mother, and her mother’s boyfriend Blake, making Patty and Walter increasingly unstable. After several unhappy years, the family relocates to Washington, D.C., abandoning the neighborhood and house they worked so hard to improve. Walter takes a job with an unorthodox environmental project, tied to big coal.

The second portion of the book takes the form of an autobiography of Patty Berglund, composed at the suggestion of her therapist. The autobiography tells of Patty’s youth as a star basketball player, and her increasing alienation from her artistically inclined parents and sisters. Instead of attending an East Coast elite college like her siblings, she gets a basketball scholarship to the University of Minnesota and adopts the life of the athlete. She meets an attractive but unattainable indie rock musician named Richard Katz, and his nerdy but kind roommate, Walter Berglund. After her basketball career-ending knee injury, Patty suddenly becomes desperate for male affection, and after failing to woo Richard, she settles down with Walter, who had been patiently courting her for more than a year. We learn that Patty retained her desire for Richard and eventually had a brief affair with him at the Berglunds’ lakeside cabin.

The novel then jumps ahead to New York City in 2004 and shifts to the story of Walter and Patty’s friend Richard, who has finally succeeded in becoming a minor indie rock star in his middle age. His hit album Nameless Lake tells the story of his brief love affair with Patty at the Berglunds’ lakeside cabin in Minnesota. Richard is uncomfortable with commercial success, throws away his new-found money, and returns to building roof decks for wealthy people in Manhattan. Walter calls him out of the blue to enlist his help as a celebrity spokesman for an environmental campaign. Walter has taken a job in Washington, D.C. working for a coal mining magnate who wants to strip mine a section of West Virginia forest before turning it into a songbird preserve of future environmental value. Walter hopes to use some of this project’s funding to hold a concert to combat overpopulation, the common factor behind all his environmental concerns, and he believes that Richard will be able to rally well-known musicians to his cause. Meanwhile, Walter’s marriage to Patty has been deteriorating steadily, and his pretty young assistant Lalitha has fallen deeply in love with him.

In parallel, the Berglunds’ estranged, Republican son Joey attempts to finance his college life at the University of Virginia by taking on a dubious subcontract to provide spare parts for outdated supply trucks during the Iraq War. While at college, he marries his childhood sweetheart but dares not tell his parents. After visiting his roommate’s family in the DC suburbs, he also pursues his friend’s beautiful sister Jenna and is exposed to her father’s Zionist, neoconservative politics. After months of pursuing Jenna, when she finally wants him to have sex with her, he cannot maintain an erection. Later he becomes conflicted after making $850,000 selling defective truck parts to military suppliers in Iraq. In the end Joey gives away the excess proceeds of his profiteering, reconciles with his parents, settles down with Connie, and moves into a sustainable coffee business with the help of his father Walter.

Now, Richard’s re-appearance destroys Walter and Patty’s weakening marriage. Richard tries to convince Patty to leave Walter, but she shows Richard the autobiography she wrote as “therapy”, trying to convince him that she’s still in love with Walter. Richard deliberately leaves the autobiography on Walter’s desk, and Walter reads Patty’s true thoughts. Walter kicks Patty out of the house, and she moves to Jersey City to be with Richard, but the relationship only lasts six months. Later, she moves to Brooklyn alone and takes a job at a private school, discovering her skill for teaching younger children. When Patty leaves him, Walter has a catharsis on live television, revealing his contempt for the displaced West Virginian families and his various commercial backers. Local rednecks respond by dragging him from the platform and beating him up. He is promptly fired by the environmental trust, but his TV debacle makes him a viral video hero to radical youth across the nation. He and his assistant Lalitha become lovers and continue their plans to combat overpopulation through a concert to rally young people in the hills of West Virginia. Lalitha is killed in a suspicious car accident a few days before the concert is due to take place. Shattered, and having lost both of the women who loved him, Walter retreats to his family’s lakeside vacation house back in Minnesota. He becomes known to a new street of neighbors as a cranky old recluse, obsessed with house cats killing birds nesting on his property.

After a few years living in Brooklyn, Patty’s father dies and she is forced to settle the fight that erupts within her family of spoiled bohemians as they attempt to split up the much-diminished family fortune. This experience helps Patty to mature. After a few years of living alone, she appraises the emptiness of her life and honestly faces her advancing age. She decides to hunt down Walter, the only man who had ever really loved her. She drives to the lakeside cabin in Minnesota, and despite his rage and confusion, he eventually agrees to take her back. The book ends in 2008 as they leave as a couple to return to Patty’s job in New York City, after turning their old lakeside vacation home into a cat-proof fenced bird sanctuary, named in memory of Lalitha.

After the critical acclaim and popular success of his third novel The Corrections in 2001, Franzen began work on his fourth full-length novel. When asked during an October 30, 2002 interview on Charlie Rose how far he was into writing the new novel, Franzen replied:

I’m about a year of frustration and confusion into it…Y’know, I’m kind of down at the bottom of the submerged iceberg peering up for the surface of the water…I don’t have doubt about my ability to write a good book, but I have lots of doubt about what it’s going to look like.[1]

Franzen went on to suggest that a basic story outline was in place, and that his writing of the new novel was like a “guerilla war” approaching different aspects of the novel (alluding to characters, dialogue, plot development etc.).[1] Franzen also agreed that he would avoid public appearances, saying that “…getting some work done is the vacation” from the promotional work surrounding The Corrections and How To Be Alone.[1]

An excerpt entitled “Good Neighbors” appeared in the June 8 and June 15, 2009 issues of The New Yorker.[2] The magazine published a second extract entitled “Agreeable” in the May 31, 2010 edition.[3]

On October 16, 2009, Franzen made an appearance alongside David Bezmozgis at the New Yorker Festival at the Cedar Lake Theatre to read a portion of his forthcoming novel.[4][5] Sam Allard, writing for North By Northwestern website covering the event, said that the “…material from his new (reportedly massive) novel” was “as buoyant and compelling as ever” and “marked by his familiar undercurrent of tragedy”.[5] Franzen read “an extended clip from the second chapter.”[5]

On March 12, 2010, details about the plot and content of Freedom were published in the Macmillan fall catalogue for 2010.[6]

In an interview with Dave Haslam on October 3, 2010 Franzen discussed why he had called the book Freedom:

The reason I slapped the word on the book proposal I sold three years ago without any clear idea of what kind of book it was going to be is that I wanted to write a book that would free me in some way. And I will say this about the abstract concept of ‘freedom’; it’s possible you are freer if you accept what you are and just get on with being the person you are, than if you maintain this kind of uncommitted I’m free-to-be-this, free-to-be-that, faux freedom.[7]

Freedom received general acclaim from book critics, particularly for its writing and characterization. Shortly after the book’s release, the front cover of a TIME magazine issue showed a picture of Franzen above the words “Great American Novelist,” making him the first author to appear on the front cover in a decade.

Sam Tanenhaus of The New York Times and Benjamin Alsup of Esquire believed it measured up to Franzen’s previous novel, The Corrections. Tanenhaus called it a “masterpiece of American fiction,” writing that it “[told] an engrossing story” and “[illuminated], through the steady radiance of its authors profound moral intelligence, the world we thought we knew.”[8] Alsup called it a great American novel. “[9] In The Millions, Garth Risk Hallberg argued that readers who enjoyed The Corrections would enjoy Freedom. He also wrote that they’re “likely to come away from this novel moved in harder-to-fathom waysand grateful for it.”[10] An editor for Publishers Weekly wrote that it stood apart from most modern fiction because “Franzen tries to account for his often stridently unlikable characters and find where they (and we) went wrong, arriving atincrediblygenuine hope.”[11]

Benjamin Secher of The Telegraph called Franzen one of America’s best living novelists, and Freedom the first great American novel of the “post-Obama era.”[12] In The Guardian, Jonathan Jones called him “a literary genius” and wrote that Freedom stood on “a different plane from other contemporary fiction.”[13]

Michiko Kakutani called the book “galvanic” and wrote that it showcased Franzen’s talent as a storyteller and “his ability to throw open a big, Updikean picture window on American middle-class life.” Kakutani also praised the novel’s characterization, going on to call it a “compelling biography of a dysfunctional family and an indelible portrait of our times.”[14]The Economist wrote that the novel contained “fully imagined characters in a powerful narrative.” The reviewer went on to say that it had “all its predecessor’s power and none of its faults.”[15]

Not all reviews were raving. Most lukewarm reviews praised the novel’s prose, but believed the author’s left-wing political stance was too obvious. Sam Anderson, in a review for New York magazine, thought the characterization was strong, but perceived the politics as sometimes too heavy-handed: “Franzen the crankmighty detester of Twitter, ATVs, and housing developments” occasionally “overpower[s] Franzen the artist […] but if crankiness is the motor that powers Franzen’s art, I’m perfectly willing to sit through some speeches.”[16]Ron Charles of The Washington Post also felt less favorably, remarking that it lacked the wit and “[freshness]” of The Corrections. Charles praised Franzen’s prose and called him “an extraordinary stylist,” but questioned how many readers would settle for good writing as “sufficient compensation for what is sometimes a misanthropic slog.”[17] In addition, Ruth Franklin of The New Republic believed the novel resembled a “soap opera” more than it did an epic, and that Franzen had forgotten “the greatest novels must […] offer […] profundity and pleasure.”[18]

Alexander Nazaryan criticized its familiarity in the New York Daily News remarking that the author “can write about a gentrifying family in St. Paul. Or maybe in St. Louis. But that’s about it. Nazaryan also didn’t believe Franzen was joking when he suggested “being doomed as a novelist never to do anything but stories of Midwestern families.”[19]Alan Cheuse of National Public Radio found the novel “[brilliant]” but not enjoyable, suggesting that “every line, every insight, seems covered with a light film of disdain. Franzen seems never to have met a normal, decent, struggling human being whom he didn’t want to make us feel ever so slightly superior to. His book just has too much brightness and not enough color.”[20]

Ross Douthat of First Things praised the “stretches of Freedom that read like a master class in how to write sympathetically about the kind of characters” with an abundance of freedom. Yet, Douthat concluded the novel was overlong, feeling the “impression that Franzen’s talents are being wasted on his characters.”[21]

Freedom won the John Gardner Fiction Award. Additionally, it was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. The American Library Association also named it a notable fiction of the 2010 publishing year.

Oprah Winfrey made Freedom her first book club selection of 2010, saying, “this book is a masterpiece.”[22][23] US President Barack Obama called it “terrific” after reading it over the summer.[24]

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 Posted by at 5:42 am  Tagged with: – Texas Secession, Texas independence …

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Aug 172015


I know that this article will catch lots of grief and criticism, but I and millions of Texans are fed up with the rhetoric, misleading reporting, and just plain naivete or stupidity of the press in the handling of Obama and the present Islamist situation we have in this world.

Every day we actually watch the truth of the Muslim world on TV. My God, when you see it, how can you not believe it? Radical Islam has declared war worldwide! Now, from Bill OReilly to our local news reporters, everyone – including the retired generals interviewed about the subject – all say the same thing: We cannot understand why Obama does not do more about the violence from Islamist radicals. We dont understand why Obama will not engage. Why does Obama want to raise taxes and continue to write mandates through executive orders that harm America? All I hear is that he is a good family man, and nice guy, and maybe he just doesnt understand.

Fellow Texans, he not only understands, but he knows exactly what he is doing! Did you read his book Dreams From My Father? He hates America! He hates a red Texas. He is a supporter of the Muslim religion. He orchestrated the Arab Spring and covered it up with a move for democracy. Those countries wouldnt know democracy if they stepped in it! It was a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood, and was supported by Obama. The political correctness and nice guy reporting must stop, and people better wake the hell up because we are sliding into a cesspool that we will never get out of.

Obama is a socialist, Islamist apologist, America-hating radical who is pulling off what he told all of us when he got elected the first time: We will fundamentally change America. Can everyone wake up and see that he is doing exactly that?

To the Governor of Texas, the legislature in Texas, the spineless Congress in Washington DC: I know the majority of you only care about power, money, and your next elected office, but you damn well better start telling the truth about Obama, his administration, and his ultimate goal of destroying America, or as they say in the not listened too part of America, the you-know-what will hit the fan! We common everyday folks can see through this like a glass door and will not stay quiet any longer!

When the SHTF scenario begins – and it will – all of you from the press to the sitting elected plutcocrats will have no one to blame but yourselves. We all know that you will label patriots as home-grown terrorists, right wing radicals, Bible toting gun lovers, but, in reality, they are good people who saw through the BS of this government a long time ago; people who will not give up their freedom and liberty at any cost. It will be the People who understand that Obama and his minions are evil!

We in Texas demand of those who can make a difference: stand up! Take care of Texas by getting us out of this situation. The next two years of this administration will cause the fall of all the states and the US government, or worse yet, a civil war that will make the Civil War of 1861 look like a skirmish!

Can we return to a small government led by and founded on the God-given rights as laid out by our Founding Fathers? Will you say the truth of the real evil that runs DC now? Will you stop lying to the people who know that what you say are lies? If not, people of Texas, it is time to get off the couch, take firm action with our elected leaders, and do not surrender our beloved home, our Texas, to those that lie and refuse to act!

Deny this if you will, but most know it to be true. Those that know will be enough to change things. I believe that, because there is nothing else left to believe in anymore!

God Bless Texas, Cary Wise Freedom Texas

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 Posted by at 5:44 pm  Tagged with: Freedom: A Novel (Oprah’s Book Club): Jonathan …

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Aug 022015

This is clearly a love-it-or-hate-it novel, if the reviews on Amazon are any indication. Five-star reviews and one-star reviews dominate, in almost equal numbers.

I have never read Franzen before, and in fact was put off by all the hype surrounding his earlier work. I read a particularly devastating review of this book in the Atlantic Monthly (“The Case Against Jonathan Franzen”), so even before picking this up I had a negative impression. I got the book from the library out of curiosity, expecting that I would browse through a few pages, be bored out of my wits, and return the book forthwith.

However, I was hooked from the very first page and found it almost impossible to put down. Franzen’s writing satisfies on many levels, but as a pure storyteller who can make a character come to throbbing, pulsating, three-dimensional life in a few sentences, he knows no peer. He reminds me a little of T. C. Boyle, without the obscure vocabulary.

If there is a weakness here, it’s that there is not a dramatic plot as such. It’s more a slice-of-life study of a family and a straightforward love triangle, but it’s not easy to say exactly what the book is “about.” Like many great works of art, what it’s about will ultimately be in the perception of the reader.

Most of the negative reviews found the characters to be unlikeable, which surprises me; they all have serious problems, but I felt sympathy for almost all of them. As to whether they are believable, suffice it to say that Franzen’s storytelling spell is so complete that I suspended any disbelief and surrendered to the story. And that’s what good fiction requires: suspension of disbelief.

Follow this link: Freedom: A Novel (Oprah’s Book Club): Jonathan …

 Posted by at 3:17 pm  Tagged with:

New Jersey Freedom Sports

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May 092015

JOIN THEFREEDOM COMMUNITY Tired of the so called nationalsanctioningbodies of softball and other sports who put making money first?? FreedomSportsAssociation in it’s fifth yearofexistence, has proven it can be done be right, and puts the teams first!!

Currently we offer adult slow pitch, and youth fast pitch and have plans for more sports in the near future.We are very excited to have this avenue of communication with players and coaches as well as visitors looking forFreedominformation We hope you find the website helpful and easy to navigate. If there’s information you are looking for and can’t find, pleasecontactus.

We appreciate your feedback!.


Men’s Comp (D) Worlds October 16th, Myrtle Beach , S.C.

To be eligible to play in our Slow Pitch Worlds, teams mustparticipatein their respective state tournament and a regional or NIT tournament in theirregion.Once a teamwins the berth, their roster is locked. At this point only two players can be added to the roster and still must be approvedto play the event and be an allowed player in that respected division. If a team adds more then 2 players they will losethe paid berth that may have been won. CLICK here for more information about the Freedom Slow Pitch program.

Freedom Sports is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports for both youth and adult.

If you are interested in becoming a Tournament Director or wish to run a Freedom Sports Association program in your area, please contact us or call us at

732 200-0967.

2015 New Jersey Freedom Sports

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New Jersey Freedom Sports

 Posted by at 11:41 am  Tagged with:

Check EZGO Electric (2000-Up) PDS TXT Golf Cart "Freedom" High Spe Slide – Video

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Apr 142015

Check EZGO Electric (2000-Up) PDS TXT Golf Cart “Freedom” High Spe Slide
Visit: EZGO Electric (2000-Up) PDS TXT Golf Cart “Freedom” High Spe SPECIFICATIONS: See: Credit: Buy EZGO Electric…

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Check EZGO Electric (2000-Up) PDS TXT Golf Cart "Freedom" High Spe Slide – Video

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Monday night Bushcraft/Survival talk with Crash and Freedom Bushcraft – Video

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Apr 142015

Monday night Bushcraft/Survival talk with Crash and Freedom Bushcraft
At 10 pm Monday night we will be hosting a Monday night talk. Your invited and we will try to answer any questions you may have. Also if we don't know it we will dig to find it. Also if you…

By: Crash Bushcraft

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Monday night Bushcraft/Survival talk with Crash and Freedom Bushcraft – Video

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Freedom Church 04/05/15 – Application: What Does the Text Tell Me To Do? – Video

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Apr 142015

Freedom Church 04/05/15 – Application: What Does the Text Tell Me To Do?
Equipped Luke Vandall – Lincolnton, North Carolina.

By: Freedom Church

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Freedom Church 04/05/15 – Application: What Does the Text Tell Me To Do? – Video

FCS Day 195! – Freedom! Channel Spotlight – Video

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Apr 142015

FCS Day 195! – Freedom! Channel Spotlight
Freedom! Channel Spotlight, day 195! – To get a spotlight leave a comment below help your fellow partners! Today's featured channels: Qazint…

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FCS Day 195! – Freedom! Channel Spotlight – Video

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism