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06 Nov 2011 21:21


World: Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, stuck with huge tax bill, gets huge donations

  • $2.4M the size of the fine China gave to firebrand artist Ai Weiwei — to be paid in just 15 days
  • 20k number of people who have offered Weiwei donations to help pay this insane tax bill
  • $550k amount of money these people have given the artist in just five days; impressive source
  • » This on top of a long arrest earlier this year: Ai Weiwei spent 81 days in jail on tax evasion charges, but claims all authorities wanted to talk about was his pro-democracy record. The fine Ai has been forced to pay is more than three times the size of his tax bill — and he needs help paying. The surprising part is that he actually got said help. “It’s surprising; it has really changed my perspective on people,” he said, noting that people traveled long distances to give him financial help — in person. Ai prefers to think of the payments as loans, and turned down a $157,000 payment from a businessman, saying he preferred smaller loans.

26 Jun 2011 10:57


World: Chinese dissident Hu Jia freed after three-year jail term

The Chinese dissident, shown with his wife Zeng Jinyan, has remained quiet since his release … much like fellow freed dissident Ai Weiwei, who refuses to answer questions. source

23 May 2011 10:33


Politics: Shocker: Scott Brown doesn’t support the Paul Ryan Medicare plan

  • Thumbs-up to photo ops, thumbs-down to the Ryan plan. Sen. Scott Brown got into office largely on the promise he’d vote against the health care bill. Since then, he’s followed a strongly moderate path, reaching out to the other side of the aisle more than any other GOP senator. So, it’s with that in mind that you should read the op-ed Brown wrote for Politico, which claims that Medicare has already been weakened by Obamacare, and that at large, the focus should be on removing waste in Medicare. “While I applaud Ryan for getting the conversation started,” he said, “I cannot support his specific plan — and therefore will vote ‘no’ on his budget.” If only Newt Gingrich had this script to read from a week ago. (photo via Flickr user dianezink1021) source

05 Apr 2011 13:50


World: Ai Weiwei’s arrest may signal dire sea change in China

  • Western capitals are failing to understand the magnitude of what is happening now. The Chinese authorities are actively seeking to try to redefine the boundaries of which opinions are tolerable, and which are not.
  • Nicholas Bequelin, researcher for Human Rights Watch in China • Speaking on the grim state of Chinese affairs, in the wake of the arrest of famed artist and dissident Ai Weiwei. He argues that the Chinese’s tightening grip over the citizenry indicates a meaningful shift towards more abject totalitarianism. Bequelin added: “We know for certain that there are lawyers who haven’t been arrested, but have been clearly threatened. They’ve been told ‘the gloves are off, we can do anything we like now’. One was informed that ‘the party has special ways to deal with people like you’.” source

08 Mar 2010 23:47


U.S.: The Supreme Court takes on Fred Phelps’ hate-causing cronies

  • cause Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church,
    which has made it a mission of
    theirs to protest soldiers’ funerals,
    was sued in 2006 after they
    protested the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder.
  • issues The corresponding issues of
    free expression and right to dissent meet with the conflicting issue of
    privacy in this case, which could
    set a pretty huge precedent for
    protesters. source

04 Mar 2010 11:08


Offbeat: Fat guy puts his middle finger into a huge free speech battle

  • Robert Ekas dared to flick off a cop with his middle finger and got ticketed by the cops despite the fact he did nothing wrong otherwise. How did he handle it? He filed a lawsuit, claiming they violated his right to dissent. When you’re driving, it’s the best dissent tool available, apparently. It’d be funny to see if this went anywhere.

10 Aug 2009 09:57


Politics: In a move seemingly designed to incite, Pelosi writes an op-ed

  • These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.
  • Democratic House members Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer • Talking about town hall meetings in USA Today. In their opinion, the more fiery people at the meetings drown out actual discussion on health care. They want it to stop so that people can have an actual dialogue on health care. Of course, Pelosi merely posting this means that those very types of people have loaded the comments up with torrents of spew against her. We’ll gladly take some of that spew off your hands, Nancy. • source

08 Feb 2009 21:25


U.S.: Harsh criticism of the stimulus thing from a top senator

  • Everybody on the street in America understands that. This is not the right road to go. We’ll pay dearly.
  • Sen. Richard Shelby • The ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee. So, if this isn’t the right road to go down, why didn’t we go down the right road with our last president? Just sayin’. • source