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    The Brooklyn Public Library is offering access to banned books to teens across the country as more states restrict material deemed sexually explicit or racist. As more states moved to ban certain books in public schools, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) started a program called Books Unbanned, which offers those aged 13 to 21 access to a free e-card for a 'limited time.'  '[The BPL e-card is] providing access to our full eBook collection as well as our learning databases,' the library's website said. It provides access to 25,000 books to both residents and non-residents, according to Politico.  At the end of the day, the BPL says that disseminating information is part of its mission and it felt compelled to help as more states moved toward bans and has helped more than 5,000 people.  'We’re saying this is what libraries do, we provide access to these materials,' BPL CEO Linda Johnson told Politico.  'Literature is such a powerful thing and it’s something which allows you to get to know yourself better, your world, it allows you to see new things and we...
    Robin Rayne/Zuma Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.Former Vice President Mike Pence, who appears to be laying the groundwork for presidential run, called on Friday for “every state in the land” to enact an abortion ban. Pence, who has called certain abortions “infanticide,” celebrated the Supreme Court’s historic overturning of Roe v. Wade, tweeting, “Having been given this second chance for Life, we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land.” Today, Life Won. By overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court of the United States has given the American people a new beginning for life and I commend the Justices in the majority for having the courage of their convictions. — Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) June 24, 2022 He did not directly call for a national abortion ban (yet). But Pence has made his position clear. A “born-again evangelical Catholic,” he has gone to dubious crisis pregnancy...
    (CNN)Teens and young adults across the country now have unlimited, free access to books that have been banned at their local libraries, thanks to a digital initiative from one of the nation's largest public libraries.New York City's Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) took a stand against growing censorship and book bans in announcing its "Books UnBanned Initiative" recently, providing young readers access to the library's full eBook collection, according to a release."We cannot sit idly by while books rejected by a few are removed from the library shelves for all," BPL's President and CEO Linda E. Johnson said in the statement. "Books UnBanned will act as an antidote to censorship, offering teens and young adults across the country unlimited access to our extensive collection of eBooks and audiobooks, including those which may be banned in their home libraries."Texas leads among 26 states with book bans, free speech group says The move comes amid increasing book bans across the country. Last year, there were 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services. That's up from 156 and 377 challenges reported...
    As GOP states across the country make moves to ban abortion and restrict residents from obtaining essential health care services, some Democratic states are making moves of their own. Colorado’s governor signed HB 22-1279 on Monday to ensure that Coloradans who want reproductive care, including abortions, will be able to get it in the state. The bill will guarantee abortion access—regardless of whether the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. "In the State of Colorado, the serious decision to start or end a pregnancy with medical assistance will remain between a person, their doctor, and their faith," Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement after signing the bill into law on Monday. "This bill simply maintains the status quo regardless of what happens at the federal level and preserves all existing constitutional rights and obligations," he added. It took about 24 hours to pass the bill when it was proposed, according to House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar. “It’s more important now than ever to protect women and people who choose to be pregnant or choose not to be pregnant...
    Abortion advocates, on the other hand, have slammed the provision as an unconstitutional overreach, especially as they prepare for the Supreme Court's potential overturning of its landmark ruling in Roe. "If the court does that, the ability to get an abortion will be on the line for everyone in America, and so we’re at a crisis point," Andrew Beck, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said, adding, "The Missouri bill crystallizes that as extreme and dangerous as that crisis is, it’s just the first step in politicians’ effort to outlaw abortions for everyone." Under Coleman's proposal, anyone who drives a woman across state lines to an abortion clinic, pays for their procedure or travel costs, helps a woman secure insurance coverage for the operation, promotes out-of-state abortions on a billboard, or otherwise "aids or abets" the action is liable to be sued. Abortion advocates have been working hard to bypass the state laws in recent months. The AP reported that a network of 90-plus groups has sprung up across the U.S. recently for the specific purpose of...
    The city of Los Angeles outlawed homeless encampments Wednesday at 54 locations across the city. The Los Angeles City Council voted 12-2 to ban the actions of sleeping, sitting, or lying at the specified spots throughout three city districts. The measure also outlaws homeless camps within 500 feet of schools , parks, libraries, and daycare facilities. SAN FRANCISCO HOMELESS MAN DIES AFTER BEING LIT ON FIRE WHILE SLEEPING The homeless in the restricted areas will be given notice at least 14 days prior to their removal with signs, and "outreach teams will continue to engage anyone remaining on the site," the Los Angeles Times reported . Placing the signs at the 54 approved locations will cost the city roughly $2 million. Homelessness has risen to a severe problem in Los Angeles throughout the pandemic, analysis shows. Some officials in the city say the ordinance is akin to violence against the homeless. "We know what the ordinance says," Los Angeles Community Action Network spokesman George Herod said. "It's just another attack that will...
    TEXAS Governor Greg Abbott accused Joe Biden of “bullying” as he banned all Covid vaccine mandates in the state "by any entity". It comes just a month after the president urged businesses to order their workers to be vaccinated against the virus. 3Texas Governor Greg Abbott banned all Covid vaccine mandates in the state 'by any entity'Credit: AFP 3The Republican accused Biden of 'bullying' entities into enforcing Covid-19 vaccine mandatesCredit: AFP It’s reported that several thousand people have been fired after refusing to comply. Abbott is opposed to making Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory. In an executive order, he said: “In another instance of federal overreach, the Biden Administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, causing workforce disruptions that threaten Texas' continued recovery from the COVID-19 disaster.” He said “no entity in Texas” could compel proof of vaccination by any individual, including employees or customers. The White House didn't respond when approached by Reuters for comment. Tech giants Facebook and Google, who employ large numbers in Texas, have reportedly told employees that they will need proof of...
    NEW YORK (AP) — Quintin Sweat and Renée Harrison live only 15 minutes apart by car, with the U.S.-Canada border between them. But the couple, who got engaged in 2019, has only been able to be together three times during the pandemic. Travel restrictions mean Harrison must drive four hours from her Windsor, Ontario home to the Toronto airport in order to fly to Detroit where Sweat lives. For Sweat, it means a mandated two-week stay in Canada. The two even drove to the outer limits of their respective borders just to see each other but they were still so far away that they “looked like dots,” Sweat said. “She’s gone to the edge of Windsor and I’ve gone to the edge of Detroit and we can see each other, but we can’t actually be with each other,” he said. They have delayed their wedding to 2022. Since the start of the pandemic, a constantly changing and confusing web of travel restrictions have separated loved ones around the world. For people whose lives cross international borders and for immigrants...
    A Virginia school system has removed children’s books by famed author Dr. Seuss from its annual Read Across America program over charges that his books have “strong racial undertones.” Dr. Seuss, whose real name is Theodor Geisel, is famed for classics including Horton Hears a Who, The Grinch, and Green Eggs and Ham, but the Loudon County school system now also says his work has “strong racial undertones,” the Washington Post reported. According to a school spokesman, the district said they are looking toward books that are more “inclusive and diverse and reflective of our student community,” according to school Loudoun schools spokesman Wayde B. Byard. Byard insisted that the district feels there are “strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” and added, “Given this research, and LCPS’ focus on equity and culturally responsive instruction, LCPS has provided guidance to schools in the past couple of years to not connect Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss’ birthday exclusively.” The school district is not the first to hit the venerable children’s author with charges of racism. As far back...
    The self-proclaimed “front page of the internet,” Reddit, has banned an unofficial Donald Trump forum following the President’s blacklisting across Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. The popular link-aggregation and discussion website Reddit recently announced that it has banned the r/DonaldTrump subreddit (the site’s name for its user-generated forums) following recent events at the U.S. Capitol. Reddit confirmed to TechCrunch that the subreddit was shut down for “repeated policy violations.” In a statement, the company said: Reddit’s site-wide policies prohibit content that promotes hate, or encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence against groups of people or individuals. In accordance with this, we have been proactively reaching out to moderators to remind them of our policies and to offer support or resources as needed. We have also taken action to ban the community r/donaldtrump given repeated policy violations in recent days regarding the violence at the U.S. Capitol.” r/DonaldTrump was not the most popular of the pro-Trump subreddits that have appeared across the site. r/The_Donald was banned in June of 2020, Breitbart News reported at the time: Reddit CEO...
    Pennsylvania will ban restaurants and bars from serving alcohol after 5pm the night before Thanksgiving in a bid to prevent crowds from gathering as health officials warn the state could run out of ICU beds by next month.  Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr Rachel Levine announced the new measures on Monday after modeling projected 22,000 new COVID-19 cases per day across the state by next month.   The number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been surging across the state since last month with Pennsylvania recording a total of 314,000 infections and 9,800 deaths.  The number of deaths in Pennsylvania has quadrupled in the last week and the average daily case count is now seven times higher than it was just two months ago.  Pennsylvania will ban restaurants and bars from serving alcohol after 5pm the night before Thanksgiving in a bid to prevent crowds from gathering as cases, hospitalizations and deaths surge across the state The number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been surging across the state since last month with Pennsylvania recording a total...
    Reuters November 16, 2020 0 Comments The city of Philadelphia will ban indoor gatherings altogether and the nearby state of New Jersey will strictly limit their size as U.S. officials struggle to slow a COVID-19 surge that could overwhelm hospitals and kill thousands. Philadelphia, the nation’s sixth-largest city, is strongly urging residents to shelter at home and “prohibiting indoor gatherings of any size in any location, public or private,” health commissioner Thomas Farley said at a news conference on Monday. “We need to keep this virus from jumping from one household to another,” Farley said. If “exponential” growth of cases continues, hospitals will soon become overwhelmed and more than 1,000 people could die in Philadelphia over the next six weeks before the end of the year, he said. In neighboring New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy on Monday said a maximum of 10 people will be allowed to gather indoors, down from 25. On Nov. 23, the limit for outdoor gatherings will drop from 500 to 150. “It’s gotten worse and it’s gonna get worse,” the Northeastern state’s Democratic governor...
    Social media giant Facebook recently announced that it will expand its hate speech policies to ban any content that “denies or distorts the Holocaust.” Axios reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a recent post that the social media giant would be expanding its hate speech policies to ban Holocaust denial. This is a sudden change from an interview that Zuckerberg ave with Kara Swisher on the Recode Decode podcast in 2018 in which he stated that he didn’t believe that Facebook should take down Holocaust denial content because “I think there are things that different people get wrong,” even if unintentionally. In his post announcing the decision, Zuckerberg explained that he was conflicted about the issue, stating: “I’ve struggled with the tension between standing for free expression and the harm caused by minimizing or denying the horror of the Holocaust. My own thinking has evolved as I’ve seen data showing an increase in anti-Semitic violence, as have our wider policies on hate speech. Drawing the right lines between what is and isn’t acceptable speech isn’t straightforward, but with the...
    Facebook has banned all accounts linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory movement from its platforms. "Starting today, we will remove Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts," the company said on Tuesday. The move is a significant escalation to Facebook's earlier decision to remove or restrict groups and accounts sharing and promoting QAnon material. QAnon is a conspiracy theory that says President Trump is waging a war against elite Satan-worshipping paedophiles. In a statement released on Tuesday, Facebook said its staff had begun removing content and deleting groups and pages, but that "this work will take time and will continue in the coming days and weeks". "Our Dangerous Organizations Operations team will continue to enforce this policy and proactively detect content for removal instead of relying on user reports," the statement added. Facebook takes action on conspiracy groups QAnon, coronavirus and the conspiracy cult Facebook said it was updating measures implemented in August, which aimed to "disrupt the ability of QAnon" to organise through - and operate on - its networks. That policy - introduced to limit the...
    Facebook on Tuesday said that it would ban the QAnon conspiracy theory across the platform. Hide The move comes a week after the social media giant said it would prohibit ads about QAnon from appearing. Hide In a blog post on Tuesday, Facebook said it would remove Facebook Pages, Groups, and Instagram accounts about QAnon. Over the summer, Facebook said it would try and stop the spread and influence of QAnon. While the ban will start today, the social media giant said that it will “take time and need to continue in the coming days and weeks.” “Starting today, we will remove any Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon, even if they contain no violent content,” the company said in a blog post. “This is an update from the initial policy in August that removed Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with QAnon when they discussed potential violence while imposing a series of restrictions to limit the reach of other Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with the movement.” Hide Facebook says since...
    Portland’s officials first revealed that they were working on the bill back in November 2019, and that if the bill passes, it will be the first to prohibit private businesses from deploying facial recognition systems. The legislation other cities approved in the past weren’t as strict: San Francisco’s ban, for instance, only applies to the city government. A report by Motherboard says Amazon spent $24,000 lobbying council members after that in an effort to convince them to soften the bill’s language. As the publication explains, the e—commerce giant is most likely worried that Portland’s legislation would create a nationwide legal precedent that could affect its facial recognition business. At a council meeting, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he hopes his city’s legislation would inspire other local governments to pass tougher facial recognition laws. Lia Holland from Fight for the Future agreed and said in a statement: “Now, cities across the country must look to Portland and pass bans of their own. And, Congress should act to pass bans at the federal level. We have the momentum, and we...
    Twitter is taking new actions to curtail followers of the so-called QAnon conspiracy theory in an effort to crackdown on misinformation and harassment. The Tuesday night announcement comes as the fringe theories espoused by QAnon’s adherents have crept into mainstream politics, with some right-wing candidates expressing support for the movement going into the 2020 election. QAnon supporters subscribe to the notion that there is a child-killing satanic cabal working to control the United States. “We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm. In line with this approach, this week we are taking further action on so-called ‘QAnon’ activity across the service,” Twitter announced the crackdown in a thread on the platform. “We will permanently suspend accounts Tweeting about these topics that we know are engaged in violations of our multi-account policy, coordinating abuse around individual victims, or are attempting to evade a previous suspension — something we’ve seen more of in recent weeks,” it added. We will permanently suspend accounts Tweeting about...
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