Tag Archives: free speech

Your Cat Can Fight Internet Censorship With A Kim Jong Un Scratching Post

pussycat riot
The Pussycat Riot

If there is one thing cats hate, it’s water. If there’s two things cats hate, it’s water and Internet censorship.

A group called The Pussycat Riot (not affiliated with the band) is using famous Internet cats to draw attention to world leaders who suppress their peoples’ access to information online. It’s a project launched by Hide My Ass, a for-pay site that allows Internet users to access blocked content from anywhere in the world. Kittehs draw attention to their cause, but also to the part of their site where they sell (very expensive) Vladmir Putin and Kim Jong Un scratching posts and litter boxes featuring the faces of other despotic leaders. Can cats get people who take their freedoms for granted to pay attention to Internet censorship? Who knows. It may not help, but probably couldn’t hurt.

Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Anti-Abortion Protesters In Clinic Buffer Zones Case

abortion protester

Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of anti-abortion protesters in a case regarding the First Amendment as it pertains to buffer zones around abortion clinics.

The state of Massachusetts had a 2007 law that forbids anti-abortion protesters from entering a 35-foot radius around the entrances of clinics, marked in yellow around the sidewalks. The law is meant to contain the intimidation, harassment and threats lobbed against staff, patients and escorts at the clinics.  McCullen vs. Coakley challenged the law, arguing that it was a violation of protesters’ free speech because the speech of those allowed inside the buffer zone was being privileged over that of those allowed outside the buffer zone.

The Supreme Court unanimously agreed, stating that in previous rulings they have not curbed speech on public sidewalks. Keep reading »

Arizona Gets Strict On “Revenge Porn”

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This week, Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed a law cracking down on so-called “revenge porn,” classifying it as a sex offense. “Revenge porn” consists of sexual photos or videos which are posted online without the person’s consent. Generally speaking, ex-boyfriends or jilted partners post intimate images or videos of ex-girlfriends, which go up along with the women’s full names, addresses and employers. The aim is to ridicule humiliate their victims.

AZ’s strict new law makes “revenge porn” a felony, establishing an initial 18 months in prison, or two-and-a-half years in prison if the person in the image can be easily identified. It will apply to any “photograph, videotape, film or digitial recording of a person” and makes it a crime to “disclose, display, distribute, publish, advertise or offer.” It doesn’t include an exception for photos deemed by the press to be in the public interest, such as celebs’ or politicians’ sexy photos. It does make an exception for “voluntary exposure in a public or commercial setting.”
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6 Things To Know About The Supreme Court’s Abortion Clinic Buffer Zone Case

abortion protester

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court is set to begin hearing arguments on the subject of abortion. But it’s not reproductive rights, per se, that the Court will be hearing about: this time it’s a matter of clinic safety.

McCullen vs. Coakley is a lawsuit against a 2007 Massachusetts law that forbids anti-abortion protesters from entering a buffer zone of 35 feet in front of the entrances and exits of clinics. Under the law, anti-abortion protesters — known for their intimidating and harassing behavior — must do all their prosthelytizing and praying from outside of a yellow line painted on the side walk, allowing clinic patients and their escorts to pass freely into and out of the facility. Protesters say this is a violation of the First Amendment.

Find out more about what the Supreme Court will be determining in McCullen vs. Coakley, after the jump: Keep reading »

University Of Edinburgh Bans “Blurred Lines” From Campus

blurred lines

It was bound to happen sooner or later: a college banned “Blurred Lines” from campus for being too rapey-sounding.

The student union of  University of Edinburgh banned the Robin Thicke song as part of a policy called “End Rape Culture & Lad Banter On Campus,” which is seeking to make the campus safer sexually. Students apparently became aware of the song after it was played by a school DJ last weekend, who was instructed by a campus employee to “fade” the song. Keep reading »

Court Rules In Favor Of Anti-Gay Teen Kicked Out Of Class By Teacher

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In 2010, high school teacher Johnson McDowell wore a purple shirt to school in solidarity with bullied LGBT youth, and screened a video about someone that had committed suicide after being bullied for his sexual orientation. At the end of the video, his student, Daniel Glawacki, stated that he could not accept gay people because of his religion. He also questioned McDowell for presenting his personal views via his clothing, because earlier in class McDowell had asked a student to remove a belt with the Confederate flag on it. Glawacki and one other student were then dismissed from class for stating that they would not accept homosexuality.

Then Glawicki took his case to court, claiming that he was wrongly dismissed.

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