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Each day's paper brings another story of stolen passwords, invasions of commercial and corporate computer systems or other horrors of the digital age. In my wanderings, virtually everyone I meet maintains that the provisions for their own computer security are excellent. Not good, mind you....excellent. Yet some of these people are the same ones whose personal emails send me charming little reminders to buy their male-enhancement remedies, acreage in some swamp or requests for money to be sent to some poor stranded traveler, widow, orphan or whatever.

Town Hall has incredible archives from its 75 years of incredible speakers. The following words are not mine. They are the words of Ray Bradbury, who spoke to Town Hall on February 20, 1979. Nothing I could possibly write could improve or make his words clearer. So from us to you: the voice of Ray Bradbury. "In 1969 I was a guest on a British talk show the day Apollo 11 touched down on the moon's surface. I wasn't on that show to explain the science of space travel. I was there to provide the poetical, philosophical and theological reasons for survival in space.

There are many reasons to be proud that Town Hall is celebrating 75 years of getting ideas and issues into our community conversation. One point of pride is that our member-only programs get us into places that are hardly at the top of our bucket list but they are truly a major part of our collective achievements. We are - even when we despair - a community.

Remember when letters were answered, calls were returned and invitations were acknowledged? It really did happen once...I swear. Then technology crept up on us and passive-aggressive behavior became the de facto standard. Just think about how easy it is to do nothing - treating modern communications as a screening tool or gating principle. This way, an invitation or email can be ignored because it's not as dangerous to the relationship or someone's self-interest by saying no or declining - and passive-aggressives can't do that anyhow. So we've all adopted their very successful m.o.

It's true and I admit it. I've been living under a rock. I thought this was a forthright, upstanding community. Oh well. When the Anti-Corruption Report Number 5, authored by Dick Simpson, et al., was published in February, 2012 under the title of "Chicago and Illinois, Leading the Pack in Corruption" I smiled knowingly. "Aha", said I to myself, "what a surprise". Been there, seen it, chose not to live there. Then I read the report. The first thing that jumps out is that this report is not a partisan screed. There is only one measure of corruption used: the conviction of a public official.



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