Cuckoo for Coconuts: Where It’s Legal for Women to Go Topless in the U.S.A

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A guide to patchwork and confusing laws on taking it off

Local officials in the Venice Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles voiced support this week for allowing women to sunbathe topless, calling the move “a serious equality issue” and citing the city’s Italian namesake as one of many European regions where toplessness is socially acceptable. But topless sunbathing is illegal in the city and county of Los Angeles, and the local disagreement is just the skin of a patchwork of nudity laws and customs that vary by state and municipality across the country.

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The vast majority of states actually have laws on the books making clear that women can’t be arrested under state law solely for being topless in settings where it’s OK for men. But many local ordinances ban the practice anyway. And there’s plenty of grey area for police officers to make their own interpretations and make arrests for “public indecency” or “disorderly conduct.”

GoTopless.org

GoTopless.org

Celebrities like Chelsea Handler and Miley Cyrus have been public critics of what they call a double-standard that women face when it comes to going shirtless, and have tried to get Instagram to stop taking down photos of breasts, garnering some support with the hashtag #FreeTheNipple. Scout Willis, daughter of the actor Bruce Willis, recently illustrated the point that women are technically permitted to walk the streets of New York City topless—but not to post topless photos on Instagram—by posting shirtless photos of herself on city sidewalks to Twitter. Read the rest of this entry »


Straight pride fliers removed from YSU campus

The Butcher:

Rationalizing censorship, justifying restricting free speech

Originally posted on WKBN.com:

[anvplayer video=”486626″ /]
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Leaders with the Student Government Association at Youngstown State University said they decided to act quickly this week when posters showed up on campus promoting “Straight Pride” week next month.

The posters contained profanity, which our station has blurred for viewers. The posters promote the event as a way of not showing the differences between students.

Campus leaders said while they believe the posters were meant more as satire, especially since no names were associated with them, they determined the flyers went too far with their message.

“When you are talking about minority activism, it is very easy that if you are in the majority to say ‘well, this sort of activism is not necessary. This sort of zeal in your activism is over the top.’ For minorities who experience discrimination, that is not the case,” Student Government Vice President Jacob Schriner-Biggs said.

After consulting with…

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‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ Moment

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Tom-W

Charmian Neary via Twitter – h/t Instapundit – PJMedia 


Bill Maher: Anti-Vaxxer? In Bizarre Interview, ‘Real Time’ Host Sides with Cuckoo Crackers Anti-Vaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr.

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On Friday night’s Real Time with Bill Maher, noted anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. came on to talk about the link between vaccine and autism. Maher took Kennedy’s side

Marlow Stern writes: It was a very Beasty episode of the HBO series Real Time with Bill Maher.

On Friday night, The Daily Beast contributors Ana Marie Cox and Liz Mair joined Maher and some bald guy from The Weekly Standard to discuss the latest current events topics.

But prior to all that, Maher conducted a sit-down interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who came on the program to promote his book Let the Science Speak, as well as the full-page ad Kennedy recently ran in USA Today claiming that thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in vaccine medications, causes autism.

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It’s a stance Kennedy’s taken for quite some time.

Back in 2005, Kennedy made an infamous appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart for an “autism” special. There, Kennedy preached his anti-vaxx stance, claiming not only that vaccines cause autism, but also The Apple Store Soho Presents Meet The Filmmakers: "The Last Mountain"that there’s a wide-ranging conspiracy to cover this fact up involving the government, academia, and Big Pharma. Stewart, who’d later rip anti-vaxxers a new one in a February 2015 Daily Show rant, just nodded his head and said, “I appreciate you getting the word out.”

[Read the full text here, at The Daily Beast]

And just last week Kennedy apologized for a statement he made calling the number of children injured by vaccines “a holocaust.”

“Obviously some minority gets hurt by this stuff. I don’t understand why this is controversial? Why we have this emotional debate about something that—there is science there.”

Maher opened the interview asking him about the USA Today ad, and his anti-vaxx stance.

“I got dragged into the vaccine issue kicking and screaming because I was going around the country suing coal-burning power plants and talking about the dangers of mercury coming from those plants, and almost everywhere I stopped or I spoke there were women there—very eloquent, articulate, grounded people—who said, ‘You have to look at the biggest factor of mercury in American children now, and it’s vaccines, and we need you to look at the science,’” Kennedy said.

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“And I resisted for a long time but I started reading the science after a while, and I’m very comfortable reading science,” continued Kennedy. “I’ve brought hundreds and hundreds of successful lawsuits, and most of them have involved scientific controversies. I’m comfortable reading science and dissecting it, and discerning the difference between junk science and real science. When I started looking at it, what I saw was very alarming, which is we were giving huge amounts of mercury to our children. A lot of it has been taken out of vaccines, but there’s still an extraordinary amount in vaccines—in particular the flu vaccine.”

Kennedy went on to answer Maher’s softball questions by explaining what he believes are the “unanimous dangers of thimerosal” and “the links between thimerosal and an epidemic of neurological disorders that are now afflicting American children: ADD, ADHD, speech delay, language delay, hyperactivity disorder, ASD, and autism, all of which began in 1989, the year they changed the vaccine schedule.”

Then, Kennedy made an interesting admission. Read the rest of this entry »


Enforcing Sharia Compliance: Infamous Saudi Religious Police Unit Debuts on Twitter

Abdul-Rahman-Al-Sanad-Haia-Twitter

Jordan Schachtel reports: Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, known as “Haia” in the Wahhabi Kingdom, has arrived on Twitter under the verified username @PvGovSa.

“Haia can arrest anyone for violating Islamic customs and dietary laws, such as women smoking, couples celebrating Valentine’s Day, or either gender eating pork or consuming alcohol.”

“Abdul Rahman Al-Sanad, president of the commission, inaugurated the account and announced the formation of a higher committee for media and public relations to improve the Haia’s public image,” the Saudi Gazettereports.

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The group’s initial tweet read, “In the name of Allah and Allah’s blessing kicks off the official account of the General Presidency for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice on Twitter asking Allah to benefit by everyone.”

“Several controversial acts have embroiled the Sharia-enforcement agency over the years. In 2002, 15 young Saudi girls died from burns and smoke inhalation after the religious police prevented them from leaving their school while it was on fire.”

Haia is the Saudi Arabian government’s “religious police” that seeks to enforce the customs of the Koranic Sharia law within the country.

The religious entity patrols the streets ensuring that individuals, particularly women, are maintaining a Sharia-compliant lifestyle, which includes dressing properly (wearing a full cloak) and remaining separated from men at all times. The Haia agency is also known for enforcing Saudi Arabia’s ban on female automobile drivers. Read the rest of this entry »


Anti-capitalists #ResistCapitalism with smartphones, laptops, Twitter

Originally posted on Twitchy:

The hashtag #ResistCapitalism has been riding high on Twitter’s (NYSE: TWTR) list of trending topics all day long, though the irony doesn’t seem to have been lost on everyone.

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Baltimore Protests Turn Violent


BREAKING: Russian Hackers Read Obama’s NCAA Brackets, Officials Say

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WASHINGTON — Some of President Obama’s email correspondence was swept up by Russian hackers last year in a breach of the White House’s unclassified computer system that was far more intrusive and worrisome than has been publicly acknowledged, according to senior American officials briefed on the investigation.

The hackers, who also got deeply into the State Department’s unclassified system, do not appear to have penetrated closely guarded servers that control the message traffic from Mr. Obama’s BlackBerry, which he or an aide carries constantly.

But they obtained access to the email archives of people inside the White House, and perhaps some outside, with whom Mr. Obama regularly communicated. From those accounts, they reached emails that the president had sent and received, according to officials briefed on the investigation.

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White House officials said that no classified networks had been compromised, and that the hackers had collected no classified information. Many senior officials have two computers in their offices, one operating on a highly secure classified network and another connected to the outside world for unclassified communications.

But officials have conceded that the unclassified system routinely contains much information that is considered highly sensitive: schedules, email exchanges with ambassadors and diplomats, discussions of pending personnel moves and legislation, and, inevitably, some debate about policy.

Officials did not disclose the number of Mr. Obama’s emails that were harvested by hackers, nor the sensitivity of their content. The president’s email account itself does not appear to have been hacked. Aides say that most of Mr. Obama’s classified briefings — such as the morning Presidential Daily Brief — are delivered orally or on paper (sometimes supplemented by an iPad system connected to classified networks) and that they are usually confined to the Oval Office or the Situation Room.

Even though Obama's email is protected by Secret Service guards, somehow Russians got access

Even though Obama’s email is protected by Secret Service guards, somehow Russians got access

Still, the fact that Mr. Obama’s communications were among those hit by the hackers — who are presumed to be linked to the Russian government, if not working for it — has been one of the most closely held findings of the inquiry. Senior White House officials have known for months about the depth of the intrusion.

“This has been one of the most sophisticated actors we’ve seen,” said one senior American official briefed on the investigation.

Others confirmed that the White House intrusion was viewed as so serious that officials met on a nearly daily basis for several weeks after it was discovered. “It’s the Russian angle to this that’s particularly worrisome,” another senior official said. Read the rest of this entry »


‘I Am Pol Pot, and I Approved This Message’

PolPot


#FreddieGray protesters pull down American flag, smash police cars at Camden Yards [video]

Originally posted on Twitchy:

A massive march in Baltimore Saturday to protest the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who died of a spinal injury one week after being taken into police custody, stopped temporarily at Baltimore City Hall, where demonstrators pulled down and attempted to burn an American flag before replacing it with a black-and-white version.

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‘Everybody Knows Who killed Her and Why': Gunmen Kill Prominent Female Activist Sabeen Mahmud in Pakistan

Pakistan

Friends are calling it an assassination

(KARACHI, Pakistan)— Adil Jawad reports: Gunmen on a motorcycle killed a prominent women’s rights activist in Pakistan just hours after she held a forum on the country’s restive Baluchistan region, home to a long-running insurgency, police said Saturday.

While investigators declined to speculate on a motive for the killing of Sabeen Mahmud, friends and colleagues immediately described her death as a targeted assassination in Pakistan, a country with a nascent democracy where the military and intelligence services still hold tremendous sway.

The gunmen shot both Mahmud and her mother, Mehnaz Mahmud, as they stopped at a traffic light Friday night in an upscale Karachi neighborhood, senior police officer Zafar Iqbal said. Later, Mahmud’s car was brought to a nearby police station; blood stained the car’s white exterior, the front driver’s side window was smashed and a pair of sandals sat on the floor, surrounded by broken glass.

“Two men riding a motorcycle opened fire on the car,” Iqbal said. Mahmud “died on her way to the hospital. Her mother was also wounded,” he said.

Alia Chughtai, a close friend of Mahmud, told The Associated Press that Mahmud was driving at the time of attack and her mother was sitting next to her. Chughtai said Mahmud’s driver, who escaped unharmed, was sitting in the back seat at the time of the attack. She said she did not know why the driver wasn’t driving the car.

Iqbal and other police officials declined to speculate on a motive for the slaying. However, earlier that night, Mahmud hosted an event at her organization called The Second Floor to discuss human rights in Baluchistan, an impoverished but resource-rich southwestern province bordering Iran.

Thousands of people have disappeared from Baluchistan province in recent years amid a government crackdown on nationalists and insurgent groups there. Activists blame the government and intelligence agencies for the disappearances, something authorities deny. Read the rest of this entry »


Google Executive Killed in Avalanche on Mount Everest

Originally posted on Variety:

Google executive Dan Fredinburg was among 18 people killed on Mount Everest after a 7.8 earthquake ripped through Nepal on Saturday.

His younger sister, Megan, made the announcement on Instagram. He apparently suffered a “major head injury.”

Fredinburg was chief of privacy for the company’s semi-secret facility Google X. Last year, he reportedly survived another deadly avalanche on Mount Everest.

“We appreciate all of the love that has been sent our way thus far and know his soul and his spirit will live on in so many of us,” his sister wrote. “All our love and thanks to those who shared this life with our favorite hilarious strong willed man. He was and is.”

Fredinburg, along with two other Google executives, were featured in an article for The Guardian about their travels to Mount Everest.

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Los Angeles Airport Security Boosted Amid Possible ISIS Threat

Originally posted on TIME:

Security is being stepped up in Los Angeles, its area airports and other parts of Southern California amid new Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS)-related threats calling for attacks on uniformed personnel, several U.S. officials told NBC News on Friday.

ISIS, which controls swathes of Syria and Iraq, has long called on its sympathizers to attack Western interests around the world.

Los Angeles had already started using two-man patrols as a precaution. Upgraded measures were extended to Los Angeles International Airport this week, officials said.

Investigators said there was no specific plot but concerns increased as result of intelligence from overseas as well as ongoing…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

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‘When did America forget that it’s America?’

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A Message from Natan Sharansky, a Human rights Activist and Former Political Prisoner in the Soviet Union

Natan Sharansky writes: On a number of occasions during the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, the Israeli government has appealed to the United States and its allies to demand a change in Tehran’s aggressive behavior. If Iran wishes to be treated as a normal state, Israel has said, then it should start acting like one.

Unfortunately, these appeals have been summarily dismissed. The Obama administration apparently believes that only after a nuclear agreement is signed can the free liberty-statue-one-world-trade-center-nightworld expect Iran to stop its attempts at regional domination, improve its human rights record and, in general, behave like the civilized state it hopes the world will recognize it to be.

As a former Soviet dissident, I cannot help but compare this approach to that of the United States during its decades-long negotiations with the Soviet Union, which at the time was a global superpower and a existential threat to the free world. The differences are striking and revealing

For starters, consider that the Soviet regime felt obliged to make its first ideological concession simply to enter into negotiations with the United States about economic cooperation. At the end of the 1950s, Moscow abandoned its doctrine of fomenting a worldwide communist revolution and adopted in its place a credo of peaceful coexistence between communism and capitalism. The Soviet leadership paid a high price for this concession, both internally — in the form of millions of citizens, like me, who had been obliged to study Marxism and Leninism as the truth and now found their partial abandonment confusing — and internationally, in their relations with the Chinese and other dogmatic communists who viewed the change as a betrayal. Nevertheless, the Soviet government understood that it had no other way to get what it needed from the United States.

Imagine what would have happened if instead, after completing a round of negotiations over disarmament, the Soviet statue-libertyUnion had declared that its right to expand communism across the continent was not up for discussion. This would have spelled the end of the talks. Yet today, Iran feels no need to tone down its rhetoric calling for the death of America and wiping Israel off the map.

Of course, changes in rhetoric did not change the Soviet Union’s policy, which included sending missiles to Cuba, tanks to Prague and armies to Afghanistan. But each time, such aggression caused a serious crisis in relations between Moscow and Washington, influencing the atmosphere and results of negotiations between them. So, for example, when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan shortly after the SALT II agreement had been signed, the United States quickly abandoned the deal and accompanying discussions.

Today, by contrast, apparently no amount of belligerence on Iran’s part can convince the free world that Tehran has disqualified itself from the negotiations or the benefits being offered therein. Over the past month alone, as nuclear discussions continued apace, we watched Iran’s proxy terror group, Hezbollah, transform into a full-blown army on Israel’s northern border, and we saw Tehran continue to impose its rule on other countries, adding Yemen to the list of those under its control. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘Reunion of Giants': Official Lancaster UK Tour Trailer

It has been 50 years since two Avro Lancaster bombers flew side by side. The Canadian Warplane.

Coming Summer 2015 – Worldwide TV release followed by DVD/Blu-ray (all formats).


U.S. Sending Disaster Response Team, $1 Million in Aid to Nepal

Kathmandu Struck By Powerful Earthquake

(WASHINGTON)—The United States is sending a disaster response team and $1 million in aid to Nepal following a devastating earthquake that shook three countries.

The White House and Secretary of State John Kerry are offering condolences along with pledging the support.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake outside the capital Kathmandu killed more than 1,000 people in Nepal, India and Bangladesh. It also toppled buildings and triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest.

Kerry says in a statement that the United States stands with the people of Nepal and sends heartfelt sympathies.

He says USAID is preparing to deploy the disaster assistance response team and is activating an urban search and rescue team.

National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan says the U.S. stands ready to provide further assistance in the region.

[TIME]


Why You Need to Stop Saying ‘Awesome’

Originally posted on TIME:

Inc. logo

Awesome. I would advise any entrepreneur who aspires to be taken more seriously to eliminate this ubiquitous word from his or her vocabulary.

Urbandictionary.com describes awesome as “something Americans use to describe everything.” When something describes everything, it describes nothing.

I just got back from Inc.‘s GrowCo convention in Nashville. Lots of useful, enjoyable, wonderful stuff there, as always, but I was stunned by how almost every speech by every presenter and almost every overheard or casual conversation was peppered with the word awesome. It was inescapable, like verbal kudzu choking out the variegated richness of the English language–so omnipresent it seemed like an acceptable substitute for just about any word. “Awesome.” “Awesome.” “Awesome.” “Yeah, really awesome, man.” It was like a lingua franca of evanescent mush, a meme of meaninglessness masquerading as communication and cool.

Fact: People in Shakespeare’s time had working vocabularies of around 54,000 words. They…

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Bring Back the Serialized Novel

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Hillary Kelly writesIn 1847, an English cleaning woman was extremely excited to learn that the boy lodging in her employer’s house was “the son of the man that put together Dombey” — that is, the son of Charles Dickens. The woman could neither read nor write, but she lived above a snuff shop where, on the first Monday of every month, a community of friends would gather to read aloud the latest installment of “Dombey and Son, which had begun serialization on Oct. 1, 1846. By that time, the monthly installments of Dickens’s novels — which started with The Pickwick Papers in 1836 — were such a staple of British culture that an illiterate woman with no access to the actual book knew the author’s work intimately.

“…the publishing industry is in the doldrums, yet the novel shows few signs of digging into its past and resurrecting the techniques that drove fans wild and juiced sales figures. The novel is now decidedly a single object, a mass entity packaged and moved as a whole.”

More than 150 years later, the publishing industry is in the doldrums, yet the novel shows few signs of digging into its past and resurrecting the techniques that drove fans wild and juiced sales figures. The novel is now decidedly a single object, a mass entity packaged and moved as a whole. That’s not, of course, a bad thing, but it does create a barrier to entry that the publishing world can’t seem to overcome. Meanwhile, consumers gladly gobble up other media in segments — whether it’s a “Walking Dead” episode, a series of Karl Ove Knausgaard ’s travelogues or a public-radio show (it’s called “Serial” for a reason, people) — so there’s reason to believe they would do the same with fiction. What the novel needs again is tension. And the best source for that tension is serialization.

“Since the loss of compelling plot is one of the things that readers most often complain of in the modern novel. it might be a salutary discipline for novelists to have to go back to Dickens, or even James, to learn how it’s done.”

— Critic Adam Kirsch

“The Pickwick Papers” wasn’t the original serialized novel — the format had existed for at least a century prior — but it was the work that truly popularized the form. The first installment had a print order of 1,000 copies; by the time the final entry was published, circulation had reached 40,000. Buoyed by the success of “Pickwick,” Dickens serialized his work for the rest of his career, and scores of other notable Victorian novelists joined the publishing craze. William Makepeace Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair, Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories all emerged as serials.

[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]

Old and new magazines, such as Blackwood’s and Household Words, competed for established and emerging voices. The constant influx of unresolved plots and elliptical section breaks stoked a fervor for fiction in Victorian England. It wasn’t until book production became cheap and easy, and new mediums such as radio arose to fill leisure time, that serialization slowly shriveled away.

“In many ways, the novel is already designed to be delivered in serial form: Chapters and section breaks bring full stops to the narrative, while flashbacks and shifts in perspective and narration create time and space for momentum to build.”

Why can’t the same techniques that once galvanized readers be revived? Today, when a novel is released, it relies on a series of tried (but not always true) advertising methods. The book is accompanied by a simplified synopsis targeting a specific audience, inflated with blurbs from “influencers” and dropped onto reviewers’ desks with the hope that enough serious critics will praise it that it will wriggle onto a prize list. Even greatness doesn’t always guarantee success. As the Telegraph noted in its look at “Why great novels don’t get noticed now ,” Samantha Harvey’s “Dear Thief” received universally glowing reviews — and sold only 1,000 copies in six months. Publishing houses have a brief window to push a work into the public’s consciousness. If the pilot doesn’t light, the novel doesn’t move. But with a constant stream of exposure over a period of six or 12 or 18 months, a novel would stand a far better chance of piquing the public’s interest. Read the rest of this entry »


Apple Watch survives remarkably well in kitchen torture test until…

Originally posted on 9to5Mac:

The Apple Watch Sport’s Ion X glass has been put through a torture scratch test and we’ve seen it survive 15 minutes under water but now that Apple Watches are being shipped en masse, we’re going to see many full-on torture tests.  The first such test is from Cnet which takes it through some (admittedly unlikely) kitchen destruction scenarios.

The Apple Watch and its white band survived admirably through the gauntlet but you could tell this video was going to end with a broken watch and it finally broke when smashed with a iron skillet. OK, sure. Broken-apple-watch-shattered-gass

I don’t know about you guys but this test gives me a lot of confidence in the Apple Watch, particularly the drops, band stain resistance and waterproofing. Even this broken glass might be easily repairable as shown by iFixit yesterday. 

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Valerie Jarrett credits Eric Holder for bending ‘the arc of the moral universe’ toward justice

Originally posted on Twitchy:

As Twitchy reported, former Attorney General Eric “Contempt of Congress” Holder was honored today with yet another going away ceremony. In February, a teary-eyed President Obama claimed that, thanks to Holder’s efforts, “America has become a better country.” Not to be outdone, the president’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett chimed in, tweeting that Holder had bent the arc of the universe during his tenure.

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[VIDEO] Tomorrowland Trailer #2

Disney’s Tomorrowland comes to theaters May 22, 2015

 


[PHOTO] Miles Davis, by Anton Corbijn

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Miles Davis autographed pic. Photo by Anton Corbijn


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