AT LENGTH-As the resident skeptic in this part of the great metropolis at the Port of Los Angeles, I tend to have contrarian reactions when I hear people start repeating mindless refrains about making America great again or insisting that standing for the National Anthem is somehow a mandatory expression of patriotism. 

MY TURN-Having just had a birthday, I must admit I am considered chronologically old. At this stage in life, we are happy to still celebrate birthdays but they seem to come around a lot faster than they used to. But I don't feel old! And therein lies the problem. Gail Sheehey wrote in her book, "Passages," that all of us are ten to fifteen years younger than our parents were at the same age. 

BELL VIEW-While Trump angles for war anywhere he can find it, many of his supporters are asking for peace. We need a reasonable debate, they say. We need to pull together as Americans. Mass shootings like the one in Las Vegas will only stop, they say, when we stop the hate. Can’t we all just get along? 

GUEST WORDS-It never ceases to surprise me how the mere suggestion that our current global capitalistic system is not the best humanity can do for itself, is so often met with virulent hostility. One would think that when we are still recovering from the economic crisis of 2007-2008 (and many economists see an even worse crisis on the horizon), when inequality has been steadily rising since the neoliberal turn of the early 1980s, when real wages have remained virtually stagnant, and the list goes on – one would think that perhaps we would keep an open mind regarding alternatives; instead of buying the tired old argument that anything else must either lead to totalitarianism, or be incurably utopian.

ALPERN AT LARGE--Man, there's a lot of things we didn't ask for, but we're getting, anyway.  On the other hand, we NEED some McDonald's Szechuan sauce.  You know, from the McDonald's promotion of the 1990's Disney Mulan movie?  That was AWESOME, and what do we do when we don't have Rick Sanchez's ability to go back in time to GET that awesome Szechuan sauce! 

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