'American Censorship Day' Campaign Against SOPA Happening Now

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An example of the Stop Censorship bar, from NYU Local.
Members of the House have been holding their first hearings today on SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act), a bill that would effectively require sites to police their user-generated content much more tightly and make it possible for them to be sued for said content.

Also today: a grassroots campaign led by groups Demand Progress and Fight for the Future, among others, is putting on American Censorship Day. You might have noticed some websites with a "Stop Censorship" logo at the top; that's part of this. The campaign also encourages people to write to their congressmen and women to stop the bill from passing.

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Ai Wei Wei, Chinese Artist, Freed From Jail, With Gag Order

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Ai Wei Wei, the prominent artist and outspoken critic of the Chinese government whose arrest on April 3, 2011, spawned international demonstrations and outcry, has been released on bail. Via cell phone, the previously vocal artist and prolific tweeter reportedly said :"I'm released, I'm home, I'm fine... In legal terms, I'm -- how do you say? -- on bail. So I cannot give any interviews. But I'm fine." The Wall Street Journal reports that the artist has been banned from talking to the media for one year as a condition of his release -- that includes Twitter posts.

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Gay Center Now Bans All Talk on Israel/Palestine

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Reversing field once again, the LGBT Center has now banned all discussion of the explosive issue of Israel and Palestine on its premises.

The most recent flip-flop (a reversal of its previous reversal) came a week after a new group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid was allowed to meet at the Center to discuss plans to march in various Gay Pride parades this month. Predictably, gay pornographer and ardent Zionist Michael Lucas was not pleased, telling Gay City News that "this group has had their first and last meeting in the Center. If someone fucks with Israel, I fuck them back. And I usually win." He was right.

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Hipster Huckleberry Finn Solves Censorship Debate By Replacing "N-Word" With "H-Word"

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Richard Grayson, a Brooklyn writer and editor, has gone above and beyond angry or satirical tweets in response to Publishers Weekly's announcement that they would release version of Huckleberry Finn (and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) without the word "nigger." He's released a whole new version of the book, entitled The Hipster Huckleberry Finn, which replaces every instance of the offending word with "hipster." Seriously.

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Apple's Nu-Censorship: Freedom From Porn and Freedom From Farting

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Apple's irritatingly named "App Store" has plenty of applications you can buy for your phone, none of which have porn on them, because Steve Jobs is trying to save the world from porn. [Full Disclosure: We are not.] He is also, apparently, now trying to save the world from farts.

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Bloody Bloody Broadway Warfare: Public Theater's Emo-Rock Opera Attacked by Indians!

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If you haven't already heard of it, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is an emo-rock opera by young theater provocateurs Michael Friedman and Alex Timbers, who's also the guy responsible for mounting a "Hell House" in bougie-Brooklyn, a Scientology Christmas Pageant, and a version of Henrik Ibsen's classic Hedda Gabler that stars robots (entitled, of course, Heddatron). All the shows have been pretty monumental successes, including Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which is the Public Theater's second-highest grossing show, ever. And the big news is that they're thinking of moving it to Broadway. Problem: People are pissed, and now there's a scandal.

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Tenant Activists Slap Landlord, Win Big Bucks

NYC's 10 Worst Landlords
Frank Palazzolo, a member of the Voice's "Ten Worst Landlords" list, has lost a long-running court battle with tenant activists.

Back in 2003, Palazzolo took activists to court for organizing tenant meetings in his buildings, some of which are the most poorly maintained in the Bronx. The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition and Highbridge Community Life Center fought back, arguing that the lawsuit was a way to intimidate tenants who were trying to protest slum conditions.

All these years later, Palazzolo companies have to shell out $420,000 — plus interest — to compensate the activist groups for the money they spent fighting him.

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Nude Greenwich Village Art Show Spurs Nostalgia, Publicity

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The latest live-nude-girl-in-art controversy -- naked girl in gallery window under netting -- has some ties to old ones.

The Times tells us today that the "Greenwich Village art gallery" from the window of which an undressed woman was removed by police request, and to which she has apparently returned, is Chair and the Maiden, which showed the nude photos infamously taken in the subway by Zach Hyman last summer. These guys will never want for patrons.

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