The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office has offered Occupy protesters a get-out-of-jail card: all they need to do to skip their court dates is pay $355 for private "free speech lessons" where they will be taught a highly selective version of Constitutional law that holds that the First Amendment doesn't include the kind of protest they enjoy.
It's like they combined traffic school with Maoist "self-criticism sessions" from the Cultural Revolution to make something worse than both combined.
As a civil rights attorney working with some of the approximately 350 protesters who have been arrested in recent weeks noted, the offer is nothing short of "patronizing."
However, it's much more than that. It's a disgusting and cynical way to alleviate the strain on city courts by having protesters pay for an unofficial guilty plea.
In short, the city is offering protesters the chance to purchase courses in which they will learn about the free speech LAPD officers stripped from them.
Apparently, in L.A., you can pay to learn about the free speech you don't actually have.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.