Archive for the ‘US News’ Category

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springer opera house logo A popular, uncensored weekly performance event at the Springer Opera House in Columbus Georgia has been put on hold following a skit involving a joke with the line ‘fuck Jesus’. The Springer announced that it suspended indefinitely the No Shame Theatre event following the inevitable social media backlash. A statement said:

The incident that occurred at No Shame last night in no way represents the values or mission of the Springer Opera House. Management is investigating the situation. At this time, No Shame Theatre is suspended indefinitely. Our patrons are our No. 1 priority. Your happiness and comfort are key to our organization’s success. Thank you for patience as we further investigate this matter.

At the end of almost every show, the event ends with a segment called Sex with Me. Members of the audience suggest a person or item to use as a comparison. The host picks a topic, and other members of the audience create jokes. In Friday’s event, host Alli Kaman chose Jesus from the suggested topics.

Four people spoke with the Ledger-Enquirer about the event. One man claims the host of the event said ‘fuck Jesus’ ; another claims that it was a member of the audience who yelled the phrase; and another pair claimed they didn’t hear anyone yell the expletive.

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us congress The Parents Television Council have reported that the FCC is required to review the TV content ratings system and report on the effectiveness of the system within 90 days, as per the Appropriations Bill of 2019. Specifically, the Conference Committee Report says:

Oversight Monitoring and Rating System.-In lieu of Senate report language on oversight monitoring and rating system, the FCC is directed to report to the Committees on Appropriations of the House and Senate within 90 days of enactment of this Act on the extent to which the rating system matches the video content that is being shown and the ability of the TV Parental Guidelines Oversight Monitoring Board to address public concerns.

PTC President Tim Winter said:

Finally, after more than 20 years, Congress is addressing the needs of families and the welfare of children by formally calling for the first-ever regulatory review of the TV Content Ratings System and its ostensible oversight. We are elated that this important legislative wording was adopted as part of the appropriations bill that funds the federal government for this fiscal year.

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second coming Buckling under pressure from enraged Christians, DC Comics has announced that it’s pulled the plug on a planned series called Second Coming , in which Jesus returns as a superhero.About 233,000 people signed a petition saying:

Can you imagine the media and political uproar if DC Comics was altering and poking fun at the story of Muhammad — or Buddha?

This blasphemous content should not be tolerated. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. His story should not be ridiculed for the sake of selling comic books.

The plot summary for the first issue, previously sated for  March, said:

Witness the return of Jesus Christ, as He is sent on a most holy mission by God to learn what it takes to be the true messiah of mankind by becoming roommates with the world’s favorite savior: the all-powerful superhero Sun-Man, the Last Son of Krispex!. But when Christ returns to Earth, he’s shocked to discover what has become of his gospel 203 and now, he aims to set the record straight.

The writers will now offer the series to other publishers.

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FBI logo A US federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit that Google’s non-consensual use of facial recognition technology violated users’ privacy rights, allowing the tech giant to continue to scan and store their biometric data.The lawsuit, filed in 2016, alleged that Google violated Illinois state law by collecting biometric data without their consent. The data was harvested from their pictures stored on Google Photos.

The plaintiffs wanted more than $5 million in damages for hundreds of thousands of users affected, arguing that the unauthorized scanning of their faces was a violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which completely outlaws the gathering of biometric information without consent.

Google countered claiming that the plaintiffs were not entitled to any compensation, as they had not been harmed by the data collection. On Saturday, US District Judge Edmond E. Chang sided with the tech giant, ruling that the plaintiffs had not suffered any concrete harm, and dismissing the suit.

As well as allowing Google to continue the practice, the ruling could have implications for other cases pending against Facebook and Snapchat. Both companies are currently being sued for violating the Illinois act.

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New York State seal A bill was recently introduced to the New York State Senate by Senator Kevin Parker and Brooklyn borough President, Eric Adams, that would require gun license applicants to hand over social media passwords, and 3 years of search history for review by the State. Regardless of how you feel about gun rights, this is a clear violation of privacy, and a request like this in any context is completely inappropriate, and totally unconstitutional. Background checks are one thing, but the process outlined in this bill goes way too far. This isn’t about gun rights, this is about privacy rights.

The authorities intend to check that all licence applicants are totally politically correct. The relevant text of the bill reads:

In order to ascertain whether any social media account or search engine history of an applicant presents any good cause for the denial of a license, the investigating officer shall, after obtaining the applicant’s consent pursuant to subdivision three of this section, and obtaining any log-in name, password or other means for accessing a personal account, service, or electronic communications device necessary to review such applicant’s social media accounts and search engine history, review an applicant’s social media accounts for the previous three years and search engine history for the previous year and investigate an applicant’s posts or searches related to:

  • (i) commonly known profane slurs or biased language used to describe the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation of a person;

  • (ii) threatening the health or safety of another person;

  • (iii) an act of terrorism; or

  • (iv) any other issue deemed necessary by the investigating officer.

For the purposes of this subdivision, “social media accounts” shall only include facebook, snapchat, twitter and instagram, and “search engine” shall only include google, yahoo and bing.

Security experts have long warned that it’s extremely dangerous to give your password to anyone, including your local police department. It not only exposes you to unreasonably intrusive analysis, but also exposes private details of everyone you have ever communicated with with online. If your friend wants to buy a gun does that mean the police should get to read every message you’ve ever sent them? The best thing we can do is reject these ideas right now to prevent bad privacy practices from become normalized.

It makes perfect sense to require background checks and other vetting before allowing someone to purchase a weapon, but setting any precedent that allows the government to demand social media passwords is extremely dangerous. If you care about privacy, and keeping a close eye on overreaching state power, please sign this petition and tell the NY State Senate that you oppose bill S9191.

Sign the petition from actionnetwork.org

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beau stantom mural Beau Stanton’s mural of Ava Gardner adorns the Robert F. Kennedy Community School in LA’s Koreatown. The mural is an homage to the famed Cocoanut Grove nightclub which stood nearby, and depicts the Old Hollywood film star in profile, palm trees and moorish architecture overlaid on her face. Behind her head, alternating rays of blue and orange in a sunburst pattern.japan rising sun flag Last month, the Wilshire Community Coalition sent a letter to the Los Angeles Unified School District requesting that the mural be censored. The group ludicrously claimed that the pattern was too similar to the Rising Sun Flag of Imperial Japan, a symbol loaded with pain and trauma for the Korean-American community that they likened it to the Swastika of German Nazism. The group wrote:

This work is extremely offensive and threatening to many survivors, descendants and community stakeholders who stand in absolute opposition of the Japanese Imperialism, Racism, ethnic hatred and crimes against humanity committed by the military aggression during the World War II

In response to their request, the LAUSD agreed to paint over the mural during winter break.

Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight issued a scathing rebuke to the decision calling it deplorable. An innocent artist is being smeared as a promoter of hate speech, Knight wrote, his work unfairly attacked for something it is not. He went on to detail the ways in which the mural differed from the Rising Sun Flag, from the number of rays — 44 vs 32 — to the colors used, and the myriad sources in which similar motifs can be found. Deceptive claims have been weaponized to shut down free speech, he concluded. The school mural is not the scandal; LAUSD’s imminent censorship is.

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US Supreme Court After the recent censorship purge of over 800 independent media outlets on Facebook, the Supreme Court is now hearing a case that could have ramifications for any future attempts at similar purges.The United States Supreme Court has agreed to take a case that could change free speech on the Internet. Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, No. 17-702, the case that it has agreed to take, will decide if the private operator of a public access network is considered a state actor.

The case could affect how companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google and YouTube are governed. If the Court were to issue a far-reaching ruling it could subject such companies to First Amendment lawsuits and force them to allow a much broader scope of free speech from its users.

DeeDee Halleck and Jesus Melendez claimed that they were fired from Manhattan Neighborhood Network for speaking critically of the network. And, though the case does not involve the Internet giants, it could create a ruling that expands the First Amendment beyond the government.