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Beyond The First Amendment by Jaclyn Lyons

A guest article by Jaclyn Lyons - blogger, student and features editor at Beyond Good Ideas magazine - about what being free has meant to her in her development as a writer, and overcoming the obstacles within herself along the way.

When I was a young child, strangers probably assumed I was a mute. I barely spoke to my own family and had to have my mother volunteer in my classroom until I overcame the severity of my separation anxiety in the second grade. I was a prisoner to my anxiety that back then was simply called shyness.

“Why won’t Jackie talk?” other children in my class would ask.

“Oh, she’s just shy,” people would say.

In kindergarten my teacher thought I was memorizing my books at home since I could read them so quickly and with ease, but I wasn’t; I was reading. I had no problem using the voice of another--in this case it was a character called Mortimer Frog--but I couldn’t find the courage to use my own. When my teacher learned that it wasn’t memorization, but an early talent nurtured by my parents, she sent me to reading group with kids in the grade above me.

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Freedom™ by Nadia Nasir

In case you haven’t noticed, America is absolutely crazy about freedom. Well, not necessarily ‘freedom’, per se, but Freedom™ — as brought to you by the United States of America. You know, stars, stripes, and unalienable rights. The freedoms of speech, press, petition, assembly, and religion. The freedom to purchase guns and the free market system. Fat-free, meat-free, free of blemishes and human deficiency (à la Hollywood); discrimination-free, segregation-free, free to think what you want, do what you want, and achieve what you want regardless of sex, race, religion, or disability.

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Freedom To Ignore by Layla Carr

Layla Carr is a Washington DC-born blogger and science fiction writer. She recently graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy, and is currently based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she works a day job and routinely gets up-in-arms about feminism, traffic jams, and people who are wrong on the internet. She can be reached at

My childhood holds a whole mass of things I try not to dwell on unless absolutely necessary – middle school, braces, and tie-dye to name just a few. Along those lines, I haven’t thought seriously about the Catholic church since I was fifteen, and being forcibly ejected from bed every Sunday morning, to spend an hour in a drafty room with a bunch of strangers that smelled of incense and old lady perfume, with nothing to look forward to at the end besides a stale donut. […]


Jessica Cox is a motivational speaker. She is a black belt in tae kwon do, a graduate in psychology, a pianist, a wife, and an airplane pilot. She drives herself to work, travels the globe, brushes her hair, and can even eat with chopsticks. There’s no question: Jessica Cox is an inspiration to us all. Oh – and did we mention she was born without arms? Read more about her truly incredibly story, and what it really means for the rest of us. […]

Liberty by Joe Roberts

A new article on Isaiah Berlin’s concepts of positive and negative liberty, and their impact on the author’s journey into discovering how to attain greater freedom – by Joe Roberts.

“To know one’s chains is the first step to freedom, which may never come if one loves or ignores them.” 



It’s been just over two weeks since Internet genius Aaron Swartz took his own life. The creator of the popular website Reddit was facing criminal charges for illegally downloading files from JSTOR, a database of academic research. The sentence he might have faced if found guilty (up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine), followed by Mr Swartz’s suicide has sparked controversy across the world, and last week the activist group Anonymous made their opinion known by hacking into the United States Sentencing Commission’s homepage and leaving a declaratory video[…]

In Defense of New Year’s Resolutions

Maybe you’ve done this before. Somewhere around the end of December or as late as the beginning of January, you’ve stood in front of your figurative or literal mirror, looked yourself square in the eyes and said the most magical of magic words. “Self,” you’ve said, “this year is going to be better. You are going to be better. Because as of tomorrow, we are going to start – !” […]

The Bright Side of the Apocalypse

Tomorrow, they say, the world is going to end.

Whether you believe in the doomsday prophecies or not, you’ve probably heard that the Mayan calendar will come to a close on December 21st. Speculations as to what could happen range from the cataclysmic environmental disasters, to a visit from extraterrestrials, to nothing at all – and while I can’t say for sure one way or another what’s going to happen, just in case this is the last blog entry I ever write, let’s talk optimism. […]

F for Friendly

You can find it written on the official website of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) under the section titled ‘Scout Law’. Check out ‘F’ for ‘Friendly’: “A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.” It’s probably something Ryan Andresen was keeping in mind when he built his ‘Wall of Tolerance’, a tiled wall whose purpose was to create solidarity among bully victims at a local school – but obviously not a quality that can be sung of those who are denying Ryan his well-earned Eagle Scout status simply because he is gay. […]

Awkward Encounters of a Ridiculous Kind

I hate aliens.

Not the immigration kind; I’m talking big-eyed, squishy, green monsters that supposedly live in a galaxy far, far away. I’ve always found them utterly ridiculous and irrelevant, because really – don’t we have enough to worry about here on Earth without spending all our time scanning the night sky for mysterious flashing lights that turn out to be helicopters or rogue weather balloons?

What could entertaining the mere idea of aliens possibly do for me other than waste my time? […]