Books won’t stay banned. They won’t burn, ideas won’t go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom.
— Alfred Griswold Whitney
The week of Sept. 21-28 has been designated Banned Books Week by the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association. During this time, libraries and schools around the country hold programs and readings to celebrate the “right to read.”
Think censorship and banning books are ancient history, or at least not problems we face here on Long Island?
I read your ALB (Asian long-horned beetle) article with interest. [‘Landscape-Altering Pest Creeping North’ in the Aug. 29 edition]
Recently two young gentlemen from ALB Cooperative Eradication Program in Amityville knocked on my front door and asked permission to inspect the two trees on my property. I let them; there were no beetles.
Some sports stories amuse me, while some anger me. Following are my musings about some recent sports section articles.
Medford’s own Marcus Stroman currently has a winning record for a Canadian team in the American League. So why didn’t the Mets sign this good young pitcher first?
I was very surprised when Alex Rodriguez’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, expressed such glee over A-Rod’s drug dealer finally facing a possible prison sentence; but then I remembered that Anthony Bosch had forced A-Rod to inject all those steroids at gunpoint. Or have I misremembered that?
This week Long Islanders face another anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. As we remember the thousands of innocent lives lost — including ten residents of Levittown — we also face the annual barrage of talking-head tributes, academic examinations and psychological analyses.
Residents were surprised to get tickets during the summer when they did not know schools were in summer session.
People know the difference between justice, and the law. Ticketing people who did not know school was in session is not just.
Not every school has summer sessions, nor is it obvious sessions are in progress for those that do. The Director of Nassau County Traffic Safety Chris Mistron states no schools are in session now, so none of the cameras are active. I am glad he knows when the speed limit changes, but what about the rest of us?
Next month, St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Wantagh celebrates not merely a decade of pastoral service by the Rev. Christopher Hofer, but a writ small reflection on the nature of spiritual leadership; how a charismatic individual can enter a moribund institution and reject entirely the notion of managed decline and wholly embrace the possibilities of rejuvenation. Father Hofer took a parish church that was dwindling in numbers, rapidly ageing, and dysfunctional in some respects — an unlikely home for newcomers from the now-defunct St. Francis Episcopal Church of Levittown — and crafted it into a burgeoning one overrun with young families and children.
The irony of its namesake patron saint is not lost in the mix and whilst St. Jude’s has become, again, the kind of parish many over fifty remember in their Baby Boom youth, there is much work to be done in the painfully uncertain future. Father Christopher and the vestry harbor no delusions in this respect; are not blinded by nostalgia for 1956 when the church was established in an entirely different America on a wholly different Long Island when life in the suburbs arrived with assurances for even the most modest working class family. Indeed, his own story as a gay priest from the mid-West who married his husband in the Episcopal Church in 2011 before his jubilant parishioners is one of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Those which await in the future shall be no less challenging.
“Potato fields”, one said. “Nothing but potato fields”, spake another. And the shibboleth became a mantra with “potato fields as far as the eye could see”. These people were describing Levittown prior to World War II on a social networking site. They were wrong.
The fact is, in the two decades prior to Levitt & Sons building roads and recreational facilities to accommodate the residents of the 17,447 mass-produced homes they erected between 1947 and 1951, the Levittown landscape was a complex and diverse one that had a considerable impact upon our community’s present-day configuration.
Remy International is closing the Bay Shore auto parts plant it purchased less than eight months ago. “USA has an outstanding reputation with strong product distribution and a diverse product line,” the acquiring CEO said back then. But the short gap between purchase and closing suggests Remy never intended to keep USA’s plant or its 271 workers, just its customers.
This year occasions the centennial of the beginning of World War One and I can’t throw off the glum feeling that Americans have learned absolutely nothing from the conflict.
Levittown Community Council recently celebrated its 17th annual Lazy Days of Summer event with a record turnout of participants. As chairperson of the event, it became even more apparent to me than in the past that events such as this, which attract crowds upward of 600 people, are never the success of one or two individuals. It takes cooperation by many people and businesses who donate money, goods, services and spare time to create, time and again, a remarkable event.
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