POSTS WITH TAG: censorship

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    Yesterday was the United Nations International Day of Happiness -- a day to simply celebrate the things in life that should make us ... well, happy. Sounds lovely, right? But not everyone believes people should have the freedom to express their joy through music, dance, and public displays of individualistic spirit. While Americans continue to go crazy over Pharrell Williams' catchy-as-can-be tune "Happy," in Iran, six young people were arrested for making a "Happy" fan video that couldn't be less offensive.

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    When the new National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum opens this May in New York City, it will display 1,000 artifacts related to the tragic event -- but a 17-foot cross-shaped beam found in the wreckage will not be one of them, if the group American Atheists have anything to say about it.

    The cross was discovered by a construction worker at the World Trade Center site, who said it provided him with great "comfort." But a representative for the atheist group argues that the "Miracle Cross," as it is being called, doesn't belong anywhere within a museum that is being financed by taxpayers and that it violates the Constitutition's separation of church and state. The group claims it is fighting to include an object of its own to be put up in the museum -- a plaque that says "atheists died here, too."

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    It's over -- it's finally over -- at least for a few months! The government shutdown, which lasted a whopping 16 days, has been lifted after the Senate voted 81 to 18 late last night to approve a proposal that they somehow found the ability to put their hard heads together and concoct. The House followed with a sad 285 to 144 vote in favor of the proposal and it was finally signed by President Obama at 12:30 a.m.

    So it goes without saying, it was a long night for our elected leaders, but hey, it was an even longer night for all of those furloughed workers who finally got news that they can return to work today -- and that at the very least they'll be receiving back pay for the days of work they missed. But the longest night of all, perhaps, could be claimed by one vocal White House stenographer who made her feelings known as the bill was being passed. 

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    Miss Universe Olivia Culpo -- AKA Nick Jonas' lovely girlfriend -- tried to do the right thing on her recent trip to India. As part of her charity work, she visited underprivileged children and inmates at overcrowded hospitals and was snapped all over the place, smiling and looking respectful, even dressed in a traditional sari, her forehead adorned with a bindi. But she made a huge mistake, Indian officials say, when she was spotted appearing to be modeling a pair of high-heeled shoes in front of the Taj Mahal. She and her handlers could be in deep trouble, as a police complaint has been filed against them by the rigid Archaeological Survey of India, which governs the Taj Mahal -- a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

    Olivia acted in a way that was "disrespectful," they say, and for that they feel it's necessary to drag out an entire investigation, which may end in a hefty fine. Uh, okay, if you say so, guys. Or it could have just been a minor accident. 

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    Are you sick and tired of hearing the same people lodge complaints about the government shutdown on news programs? Even my close friends' tweet-insults at whichever politician they're peeved at in the moment are getting bor-ring to read. Words don't do a whole lot to change the situation or further a political cause, do they?

    But while most of us rattle our rants on Facebook and go back to eating lunch, an unassuming 45-year-old man named Chris Cox quietly bought a lawn mower, threw on jeans and a T-shirt, and headed up from South Carolina to Washington, D.C. He has made more of an impact than the millions screaming for change by doing something totally wacky and awesome: mowing the lawn in front of the Lincoln Memorial

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    A group of veterans from the war in Vietnam were arrested in New York yesterday. Their crime? The cops would tell you it was a case of violating the 10 p.m. curfew at the New York Vietnam War Memorial. Police state the men ignored the repeated warnings that preceded their arrest.

    But it's slightly more complex than that. The vets, who were arrested while reading out the names of their dead comrades, had arranged this vigil as part of a peaceful protest against the War in Afghanistan, now entering its 12th year. They did the same thing last year -- with similar results.

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    As if the debate over Common Core curriculum weren’t heated enough, now we have videotape of one dad being manhandled by the police for questioning the effectiveness of the educational standards now used by 45 states.

    Last Thursday, Robert Small attended a town hall-style meeting held by the Maryland State Department of Education. Attendees were invited to submit their questions in writing, but this dad apparently decided to go off script when he asked, “How does lowering educational standards prepare kids for … college, because that’s what it’s all about?”

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    Lawmakers in California want to make revenge porn illegal. What’s revenge porn, you ask? If it sounds salacious, that’s because it is. Revenge porn is when a lover scorned publicizes all those sexy selfies you sent back when you were too busy seeing stars to see reality.

    In other (more boring) words, revenge porn is the “sharing [of] nude photos or videos of a former significant other or love interest with the intent to embarrass them after breaking up.” And in today’s social media world, it’s becoming increasingly common.

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    Now in what the heck were they thinking news, a Texas sign company has created quite the controversy by offering a truck decal depicting a kidnapping victim. The photographic image features a woman lying on her side, bound and tied, her blonde hair obscuring her face. The decal, which is meant to be slapped on the back of a tailgate, is incredibly realistic.

    Hornet Signs, the company that put this out there, says that it’s meant to be an optical illusion, and they had no idea the amount of negative attention they’d receive!

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    Florida Atlantic University has recently come under fire due to a class activity in which students were asked to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, put it on the floor in front of them, and stomp on it. It was supposed to teach something about culture and symbolism, and came from an official instructor’s manual.

    Apparently this made several students uncomfortable, but one actually spoke out about the insulting and offensive nature of the assignment. Ryan Rotela, a devout Mormon, says he picked up the paper and put it back on his desk. “I’m not going to be sitting in a class having my religious rights desecrated,” he told a local news station.

    Rotela complained to the instructor’s supervisor -- and was subsequently suspended from class!

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