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Los Angeles residents recently began seeing a new sort of Obama poster plastered across their city. Instead of promoting "hope," these posters feature U.S. President Barack Obama wearing the Joker's clown makeup from the Batman movie "The Dark Knight." Even those outside of L.A. have likely seen this image somewhere as it soon took on a viral nature, appearing both online and in other cities across the country. The politically charged (and rather disturbing) photo serves as a counterpoint to the prolific and iconic "hope" posters that became popular during Obama's campaign. Regardless of which side you favor, one thing can be said about this photo: it definitely grabs your attention.
In June 2009, two Leesburg, FL mothers went on television and petitioned to have Maureen Johnson's YA novel The Bermudez Triangle removed from the YA section of the library. A Leesburg library advisory committee voted to keep the book (in addition to a book from the Gossip Girl series that was also challenged) on the YA shelves.
Author Johnson composed a video response to the censorship attempt. It includes a thank you to librarians for resisting censorship and fighting to provide teens with access to materials they want--and may even need.
(story via I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?)
Former Army reservist Lynndie England, a symbol of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, was set to discuss her biography Friday at the Library of Congress as part of a veterans forum on Capitol Hill, but her lecture was canceled after several staff workers received threats, according to the Associated Press.
NPR's Andy Carvin reports from "All Tech Considered"...
The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that they have settled out of court with two Tennessee school districts sued on behalf of local students for blocking classroom access to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Web sites. The lawsuit, as we reported last May, alleged that Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and Knox County Schools violated the rights of three students by denying them access to LGBT sites, yet continued to allow access to sites that advocated "reparative therapy" programs that attempt to change a person's sexual orientation.
As part of the settlement, the school districts agreed to unblock the LGBT Web sites. If the districts re-block the sites at any time, the ACLU says it will bring the case back to court.
Library Association Abandons Principle, Allows Censorship
by Steven Emerson
July 21, 2009
"Appel told Rehab, according to sources close to the situation, that she wanted to disinvite Spencer, but would be accused of censorship if she did so. The indirect method was a face-saving solution."
A fight over books depicting sex and homosexuality has riled up a small Wisconsin city, cost some library board members their positions and prompted a call for a public book burning. Outside West Bend, the fight caught the attention of some old folks, who, with three other Milwaukee-area men, filed a claim against West Bend calling for one of the library's books to be publicly burned, along with financial damages.
The four plaintiffs -- who describe themselves as "elderly" in their complaint --- claim their "mental and emotional well-being was damaged by [the] book at the library."
At the ALA Conference in Chicago, the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) planned a panel discussion "Perspectives on Islam: Beyond the Stereotyping" on
Sunday: 7/12/2009 Their announcement read: "Islam is not new in America; over 40% of the Muslims in America are African-Americans. The change is within the Muslim immigration trend, that's grown 38 fold over the past three decades. Arriving from countries all over the world, Muslims are a diverse population speaking different languages and practicing different customs with a faith, often misunderstood, that binds them. This program offers a brief overview of the cultures and literatures of the Muslim populations and the ties that bind the faith with Judaism and Christianity. A General Meeting will precede the program."
The three speakers, Esmail Koushanpour, Dr. Marcia Hermansen and Dr. Alia Ammar withdrew from the panel, so the program was cancelled. What happened seems to be in dispute and the censorship charge goes back and forth. Here are several takes from different points of view on the situation at Chicago: -- Read More
Stars and Stripes, the newspaper that receives U.S. military funding to help it cover and get distributed free to American forces in war zones, complained Tuesday of censorship by military authorities in Iraq.
A soldier with the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division patrols the streets of eastern Mosul, Iraq, on June 16.
In a story on its Web site, the newspaper known as Stripes said the military violated a congressional mandate of editorial independence by rejecting a request to embed reporter Heath Druzin with the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division, which is attempting to secure the city of Mosul.
Read more about it at: http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/06/23/us.iraq.newspaper.censorship/index.html
The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether it's constitutional for public libraries to refuse to disable their Internet filters for adults who want access to sites that have been blocked.
From The Seattle Weekly:
Tomorrow, the State Supreme Court will hear Bradburn v. North Central Library Region (NCLR). The North Central Library Region is a system spanning Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, and Okanogan (WA) counties. Like other library systems that receive federal funds for Internet access, the NCLR is required to have the ability to block minors from seeing materials deemed "harmful" to them. Typically, libraries disable those filters at the request of adults.
Nevertheless, the NCLR has instead decided that it will judge the merits of each adult's request to disable the filter. This, says the ACLU, "hampers adults in researching academic assignments, locating businesses and organizations, and engaging in personal reading on lawful subjects." ACLU spokesperson Doug Honig says that the majority of requests to lift the filter has been denied.
The organization sent out a partial list of sites that have been blocked by the filter:
* The website of an organization encouraging individuals to commit random acts of kindness
* The Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra website
* The website of an organization encouraging women to carry to term by creating "a supportive environment for women in crisis situations to be introduced to the love of Christ"