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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:55 am 
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'Sex Box': WE tv's New Dating Show Goes All the Way
by Lesley Goldberg
21 August 2014

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Real couples will have sex in a box and address their issues with experts in the new series

The AMC Networks-owned cabler has ordered dating show Sex Box to series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The network has picked up nine hourlong episodes for a 2015 premiere.

Based on the U.K. show of the same name, Sex Box follows real couples whose relationships are on the rocks. The couples have sex in a soundproof box and immediately afterward, address their issues with a panel of experts for a series of emotionally honest conversations about intimacy.

"Sex Box is one of the most unique and compelling show concepts we’ve ever seen, and we can’t wait to bring it to WE tv,” WE tv president Marc Juris said. “Our featured couples will get a once-in-a-lifetime experience, while our viewers will get the kind of bold, break-through-the-clutter programming they increasingly associate with WE tv.”

The series, which hails from Relativity Television, started as a special on the U.K.'s Channel 4 and collected 906,000 viewers to its October debut. The series drew lots of media attention and was a hit on social media. Relativity acquired the rights to the series and pitched it to U.S. networks, with WE tv president Juris ordering a pilot of the series in March.

WE tv's panel includes Dr. Fran Walfish, a leading Beverly Hills relationship psychotherapist who treats celebrity couples and L.A.’s poshest residents through her private practice; Dr. Chris Donaghue, a licensed clinical therapist and one of only 600 certified sex therapists in the world; and Florida pastor Dr. Yvonne Capehart, founder of Healed for Real, a healing and deliverance conference. Comedian Danielle Stewart will provide backstage commentary on the series, which hails from Relativity's Tom Forman and Brad Bishop. WE tv's Juris and Lauren Gellert will oversee for the network.

Sex Box comes as broadcast and cable networks have been struggling to launch a new reality format. The show marks the latest twist on the dating genre, where VH1 most recently made headlines with Dating Naked.

For WE tv, the series arrives as the cable network looks to expand beyond female-skewing fare. The cabler recently rebranded and dropped the word "women" from its name with a renewed focus on attracting a broader audience. Sex Box joins a lineup that includes Braxton Family Values, SWV Reunited, Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars and scripted drama The Divide, from Richard LaGravenese and Tony Goldwyn.

Watch an episode of the U.K.'s Sex Box below.



Source: Hollywood Reporter.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 6:07 am 
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Texas court upholds right to take 'upskirt' pictures
by Tom Dart
Friday, 19 September 2014

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Paparazzi photograph Gwyneth Paltrow. Photograph: Rex Features

A court has upheld the constitutional right of Texans to photograph strangers as an essential component of freedom of speech - even if those images should happen to be surreptitious “upskirt” pictures of women taken for the purposes of sexual gratification.

Criticising an anti-“creepshot” law as a “paternalistic” intrusion on a person’s right to be aroused, the Texas court of criminal appeals struck down part of the state’s “improper photography or visual recording” statute which banned photographing, broadcasting or transmitting a visual image of another person without the other’s consent and with the intention to “arouse or gratify … sexual desire”.

The case stemmed from the arrest of a man in his early 50s named Ronald Thompson who was stopped in 2011 at Sea World in San Antonio after parents reported him swimming with and taking pictures of children aged 3-11. The local district attorney’s office said that he tried to delete the photographs before his camera was seized and a police examination of it revealed 73 images of children in swimsuits “with most of the photographs targeting the children’s breast and buttocks areas”.

Prosecuting lawyers argued that the constitutional right to free speech, which includes taking public photographs, should not be a factor because photography is essentially a technical recording process and that attempted lawbreakers should not be able to hide behind free-speech protections.

Attorneys for Thompson said that the statute was “the stuff of Orwellian thought-crime” and that it did not distinguish “upskirt” or “peeping Tom” photography from “merely photographing a girl in a skirt walking down the street”, so in theory it could criminalise the likes of paparazzi journalists.

The appeals judges appeared to agree, stating that although “upskirt” type-images are intolerable invasions of privacy, the wording of the law is too broad. Presiding judge Sharon Keller wrote in the court’s opinion published on Wednesday: “Protecting someone who appears in public from being the object of sexual thoughts seems to be the sort of ‘paternalistic interest in regulating the defendant’s mind’ that the First Amendment was designed to guard against.” The judges said that photographs were “inherently expressive”, like other artistic mediums such as films or books, and so the process of creating them, as well as the images themselves, was part of an American’s right to free speech because “thought is intertwined with expression”.

Debjani Roy, deputy director of Hollaback!, a New York-based anti-street harassment group, told the Guardian it is “a huge violation and absolutely appalling that the rights of predators are being valued over the rights of women and girls.”

Thompson was indicted by a grand jury on 26 felony counts of improper photography. After another appeals court declared the statute unconstitutional last year, the Bexar County district attorney’s office issued a press release titled “Cover up while we appeal!”

At least 151 inappropriate photography cases have been filed in the Houston area alone since the law’s introduction in 2001, the Houston Chronicle reported. One saw a 12-year-old girl convicted and sentenced to a year’s probation for taking a surreptitious photograph of a classmate in a school dressing-room, though the image did not show nudity and was swiftly deleted.

While there is a federal law against taking voyeuristic images on federal property, the issue is generally regulated at state level where seemingly outdated rules have prompted occasional controversies. Earlier this year the highest court in Massachusetts ruled that a man who used his mobile phone to take “upskirt” photographs of women riding the Boston subway did not break the state’s secretive photography law because the women were not nude or partially nude. The following day, lawmakers approved a bill criminalising such behaviour.

Source: Guardian UK.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:50 pm 
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No-cost, long-acting contraception cuts teen pregnancy by 79 percent
By Gene Emery
October 1, 2014

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A program that offered long-acting no-cost contraception to U.S. girls and women age 15 to 19 reduced the teenage pregnancy rate by 79 percent over five years and cut the abortion rate by 77 percent, according to the results of a new study.

"This has really important public health implications in the United States, where we have had persistent challenges in trying to decrease unintended pregnancy," said Cynthia Harper, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive services at the University of California, San Francisco. She was not involved in the research. "The findings were surprising because they had such a large impact," she told Reuters Health.

The report in the October 2 New England Journal of Medicine comes at a time when more than 600,000 U.S. teens become pregnant each year. By age 20, about 20 percent of white teens and 40 percent of Hispanic and black teens will have been pregnant, according to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

The new study comes from the Contraceptive CHOICE Project conducted in the St. Louis area. It was designed to see if teen pregnancy rates could be brought down by aggressively providing information on contraceptives and offering contraception for free.

"For many years, parents, practitioners and policy makers thought, 'Those (long-acting contraception) methods aren't for teens; they're not going to want those methods.' We were able to demonstrate that if they are properly counseled and if they have a choice, they will pick those methods, actually use them, and have really great outcomes as a result," said chief author Gina Secura of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The teens, all of whom had sought contraceptive services through a clinic, were told about various types of birth control, including the long-term injectable and implantable contraceptives such as IUDs that have been used around the world for years and whose effects are reversible. Generally, fewer than 5 percent of U.S. teens use such methods.

Ultimately, 72 percent of the 1,404 teenage girls and women enrolled in the study went with an intrauterine device (IUD) or an implant. Only 12.5 percent opted for an oral contraceptive pill. The volunteers were followed for as long as three years during the study period, which lasted from 2008 to 2013.

  • The annual rate of pregnancy was 3.40 percent compared to 15.85 percent in a survey of sexually experienced U.S. teens and women in the same age group.
  • The likelihood of giving birth each year was 1.94 percent among the St. Louis teens versus 9.40 percent nationally.
  • The abortion rate was 0.97 percent when the long-acting contraception was free, compared to 4.15 percent in the rest of the U.S.

"These methods are not known by teens and providers are not used to providing them," Harper said. She said young women seeking contraception should initially ask their doctor which method is the most effective because - unlike doctor-patient discussions about other medical treatments - when it comes to contraception, "effectiveness is not always one of the things that is discussed." "What we saw was that among the teens who started with the shorter-acting methods like the pill or the patch, after a while they started to see they were forgetting to use them. And they then transitioned to a long-acting method," Secura told Reuters Health.

The girls and women in the study were not new to sex. Nearly half had already had an unintended pregnancy, 18 percent reported having had at least one abortion and nearly three quarters reported having sexual intercourse during the 30 days before they enrolled in the study. Only 3 percent were sexually inexperienced. When the researchers compared the young women in the study to all U.S. women - both sexually experienced and inexperienced - ages 15 to 19, they found that the program reduced the pregnancy rate by 41 percent, the birth rate by 44 percent and the abortion rate by 34 percent.

Secura said more teens and young adults are not using the longer-acting methods because, "Historically, it's been easier for practitioners to write a prescription for pills and have a teen go on her way." In addition, inserting long-acting contraception devices "take more training than some family physicians are used to," Harper said.

The other problem: the longer-acting methods are far more expensive, at first. "The up-front costs are anywhere from $500 to $1,000, depending on the device and the cost of the insertion," said Secura. "You reach cost neutrality within two years with the long-acting methods. But these methods last three, four, five, or six years. So not only are they more effective, they start to regain the financial investment while they're still in use," she said. "Hopefully, data like this can show people why it's so important to cover contraceptives for women's health," said Harper.

SOURCE: The New England Journal of Medicine online October 1, 2014.
Source: Reuters.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 7:02 pm 
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CDC: 110 Million Americans Have STDs At Any Given Time
October 6, 2014

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Nearly 20 million cases of a sexually transmitted disease infection are reported each year in the United States and the number could be higher because many sufferers don't show symptoms. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – While the national media focus on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the patient in Dallas, the CDC is reminding Americans that sexually transmitted diseases are an ongoing but hidden epidemic.

In the United States, nearly 20 million cases of new STD infections are reported each year, reports Live Science. Since infections can persist for a long time, and because some victims are not even aware they have a disease and can easily spread it to others.

Based on data from 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the eight most common sexually transmitted diseases are: chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B virus (HBV), genital herpes, HIV, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis and trichomoniasis.

About 50.5 million current infections are in men while 59.5 million are in women, for a total of 110 million Americans with STDs at any given time. Fifty percent of new infections occur in young people from ages 15-24 and gonorrhea is the most commonly reported STD in that age group. Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported STD in the United States. The most commonly reported infection is chlamydia. But since many who are infected don’t show symptoms, the number could be far higher than the 1.4 million in 2012, a rate of 457 cases per 100,000 people.

New infections with HIV and hepatitis B occur in less than 50,000 people each year. New cases of STDs cost nearly $16 billion a year in direct medical costs, according to the CDC.

Source: CBS.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:21 pm 
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University of New Mexico apologizes on 'sex week'
October 3, 2014

Albuquerque, New Mexico (AP) -- An effort to promote sex education and raise awareness of sexual assault at the University of New Mexico backfired, forcing administrators to apologize.

Vice President for Student Affairs Eliseo Torres issued an apology Wednesday after officials received dozens of complaints about "Celebrate Sex Week at UNM." The four-day program by the Women's Resource Center and the Graduate and Professional Students Association began Monday.

Critics say some workshops' titles seemed to endorse promiscuity and multiple-partner encounters. Student fees paid for the event. Torres says a lack of supervision allowed for the inclusion of topics that were "sensational and controversial."

Angela Catena, a gender violence program assistant, told the Daily Lobo that topics like bondage and masochism were scheduled to be discussed. Women's Resource Center director Summer Little says the week was meant to promote safe sex.

Source: Jakarta Post / AP.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 1:22 pm 
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:yeahright:

The horror!
Discussing something controversial at college! Whatever next! Before you know it the students may even think for themselves! Surely that can't be allowed!

NO SEX AT COLLEGE!

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:58 pm 
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Turkey: US embassy 'censored' frescoes in historic building
6 November 2014

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Palazzo Corpi was built in 1860 by Giacomo Leoni in Istanbul

(ANSAmed) - ISTANBUL - Restorations at a historic building in central Istanbul, which had been used as an embassy and a consulate building for nearly a century by the U.S., have unveiled a unique example of "censorship," after nude drawings surfaced from under thick wall paint as daily Hurriyet online reports.

The U.S. mission left the building in the Tepebasi neighborhood of Istanbul's Beyoglu district in 2001, and the building has remained mostly idle since then. However, property developer Serdar Bilgili recently hired the facility for 51 years to transform the venue into a branch of the private members' club, Soho House. During restorations of the building, workers came across "erotic" murals when they removed thick paint from the walls. Bilgili confirmed to daily Hurriyet that the paintings on the walls were covered when the building was used as the U.S. consulate, as they were considered improper.

The Palazzo Corpi was built in 1860 by Giacomo Leoni for Italian businessman Ignazio Corpi. The U.S. consulate left the building in 2001 in a bid to move to a more secure location following the 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks. Soho House was founded in London in 1995 as a private members' club for those in film, media and creative industries. Its venues vary from hotels and houses, to restaurants and cinemas.

Source: ANSAmed.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:22 pm 
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Los Angeles approves ads aimed at shaming men who hire underage prostitutes
By Michael Fleeman
December 10, 2014

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Men caught buying sex from underage prostitutes could soon find their faces plastered on billboards in Southern California under a proposed ordinance in the nation's most populous county.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a "john-shaming" publicity campaign on Tuesday, sending the measure to lawyers to study and return within 45 days to determine at what point in the legal process such photos can be posted and whether there would be any risk of lawsuits. "The overriding thing we're trying to do is shame those individuals that buy children for sex," Supervisor Don Knabe, who authored the proposal, which also calls for posting the men's names and faces online, said on Wednesday. "It's a powerful deterrent."

Various forms of "john-shaming" tactics have been used for years with mixed results. But measures have picked up speed lately across the country. A National Institute of Justice study found 60 percent of police stations publicized alleged johns' names in some way, often by posting mug shots online.

In California, the policies have proceeded in fits and starts. A "Sex Purchasers" website set up by the Orange County district attorney's office has a call-out to county police agencies for offenders' photos. Oakland police announced plans to follow Fresno in posting photos of alleged johns and pimps about every two weeks. But police in Richmond, California, last month stopped posting such photos on social media after users started adding details including addresses, officials told the Los Angeles Times.

The measures have faced resistance from civil libertarians and defense lawyers who argue there is a risk of wrongfully shaming people whose charges end up getting dropped or who are acquitted. Opponents say the shaming also unfairly hurts a suspect's family with no proof it works as a deterrent. "Does it make our community safer? I would argue that it doesn't," said San Francisco's elected public defender, Jeff Adachi. "What it does is considerably aggravate people in that situation, and make it harder for them to re-enter society."

Inspired by a similar program aimed at deadbeat dads failing to pay child support, the Los Angeles ordinance is intended to battle underage sex trafficking, not prostitution in general, although details are yet to be worked out. Knabe has no sympathy for the accused johns. "It's called choices and consequences," he said. "Good choices, good things happen. Bad choices, bad things happen."

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)
Source: Reuters.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 3:59 am 
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CBS Films ‘looking into’ why homosexuality was removed from ‘Pride’ DVD cover
4th January 2015
by Nick Duffy

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A sign was removed from the original promotional image

CBS Films has said it will look into why all reference to homosexuality was removed from the American DVD release of Pride.

The film, about a group of gay and lesbian activists who rallied in support of striking miners in the 1980s, was released in the UK to acclaim last year.

However, the US DVD cover makes a number of shocking changes, removing all reference to sexuality. The film’s synopsis is changed from mentioning “a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists” to “a group of London-based activists”. PinkNews also discovered that a picture on the back cover has been digitally altered from a widely-circulated promotional image – removing a sign stating ‘Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners’.

CBS Films – which released the DVD alongside Sony Pictures – told PinkNews that it is “looking into” the release – and points out its own website carries the original synopsis, which does reference sexuality. The company said: “We’re looking into this now and our page for the film remains the same as it has for months: http://cbsfilms.com/pride/

The film company later tweeted a review of Pride making its content clear, writing: “‘Pride,’ a film about gay and lesbian support for striking Welsh miners in the ’80s, resonates today”

The back cover is below:

image

And the original promotional image:

Image

The synopsis states: “PRIDE is inspired by an extrodinary true story. It’s the summer of 1984 and much of blue-collar Great Britain is on strike. For one tiny Welsh village, the strike brings unexpected visitors – a group of London-based activists who decide to raise money to support strikers’ families and want to make their donations in person.

The text appears to be an edited version of the film’s original synopsis providing more context to American audiences while failing to mention homosexuality. The orignal synopsis said: “PRIDE is inspired by an extraordinary true story. It’s the summer of 1984, Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers’ families. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person…”

The DVD was released by Sony Pictures and CBS Films on December 23. Pride is released on DVD in the UK in March.

Source: PinkNews.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:19 pm 
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Swingers club in N. Texas home shut down by city
By Jim Douglas
January 29, 2015

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(Photo: WFAA)

ARLINGTON, Texas – An alleged swingers' club in an upscale Arlington neighborhood has been ordered to cease operation because it violates zoning.

On a swingers' website, Eutopia is promoted as an exciting, upscale "lifestyle" venue. Neighbors say it's not a venue, it's a home. And they've been trying for weeks to get the city of Arlington to crash the party. "This is a sexually-oriented swingers' club in my neighborhood," said neighbor Jon Vecchio. "We don't want it here."

Vecchio lives a few blocks from the half-million-dollar home at the corner of Cooper Street and Beady Road. The yard has been paved to accommodate 70 cars. It's owned by an Azle man. But a man in Weatherford told us he's been hosting parties since last summer. The home has hosted close to 60 erotic parties, some with themes, since it opened in May 2014.

David Esopenko said off-camera it's not a swingers' club, because he doesn't charge. But the suggested donation is $80 per couple, $20 for single women and $80 for single men. Esopenko said the money mainly covers snacks and drink set ups. The city says up to 200 people have attended some parties, which could add up to thousands of dollars in one night. Esopenko said not everyone pays and that no money is collected at the door. He said guests write a number on an envelope, and drop the cash into a box.

"Shocked," Vecchio said. "Couldn't believe it was going on. We don't want it in our neighborhood." The city just sent the owner, James Self, and Esopenko an order to cease operations. According to the city, Eutopia is a business because it offers promotional advertising, regular hours (every weekend from 8:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.), and services such as food, beverages, and condoms. The house is furnished, but unoccupied. Esopenko said he plans to move in. "Yeah, right," Vecchio said. "I don't believe that any more than he's just having parties for a hundred of his closest friends."

David Esopenko did not duck questions, but did not want to appear on camera. He said police officers, attorneys, teachers and nurses attend his parties. He said he will appeal the city's decision within 10 days.

Source: KHOU.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 9:39 pm 
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Naked violinist sues over arrest in Portland last year
January 25, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Hillsboro, Oregon, man arrested after playing a violin while naked outside the federal courthouse in Portland last year is suing police.

The Oregonian reports that 25-year-old Matthew T. Mglej claims authorities used excessive force and violated his First Amendment rights. He named the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and Portland Police Bureau as defendants in a lawsuit filed last week, and he's seeking $1.1 million in damages.

Police showed up after receiving complaints about the demonstration, during which the man played violin, meditated and quoted former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They said they arrested him for indecent exposure and carried him to a patrol car when he refused to walk.

Mglej claims jail deputies cut his wrists by jerking on his handcuffs and called him names when he cried from the pain and for his service dog. He has a hearing on the indecent exposure charge next month.

Source: Yahoo! AP

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:26 pm 
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Cal State LA Cancels ‘Sex Toys’ Event After Parent Complaints
February 3, 2015

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Cal State L.A. parents and students are voicing their shock after learning students’ fees were set to fund an event about sex toys, before CBS2 questioned administrators about the plans.

An upset parent first made us aware of the event, revealing her 18-year-old daughter brought home a flyer promoting “Sex Toys R Us.” University administrators say they didn’t know the nature of the event until CBS2’s inquiries and subsequently decided to call it off.

“It is shocking when you see it,” student Laura Maturino said after looking at a copy of the black-and-white flier for the Feb. 11 event promoting “handcuffs,” “swings” and “#PlayTimeAtCalStateLA.”

The university confirms the event, planned by its Gender and Sexuality Resource Center in partnership with a L.A. adult store, was slated to use money from fees meant for student activities, clubs and events.

A Cal State L.A. spokeswoman says the administration did not know the details. “This was a student-driven event, and when made fully aware, the university determined it was not appropriate, and we immediately canceled it,” CSULA spokeswoman Jocelyn Stewart said. The university spokeswoman says there was additional concern because there are two high schools on campus.

A parent who first contacted CBS2 called the event “outrageous.” Students, however, are divided. “If it’s trying to raise awareness on things people don’t know too much about, I think it’s OK,” student Paulina Rubio said. “No. I don’t agree,” another added.

The event coordinator, who is a student, says he was planning to check IDs.

Source: CBS.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:58 pm 
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After uproar, Utah restaurant statue loses prominent feature
30 March 2015

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Barista's Restaurant sign before the penis was removed from the bull sculpture, Hurricane, Utah, March 17, 2015 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

HURRICANE, Utah (AP) -- The small southern Utah town of Hurricane might become a little quieter after a statue of a copper bull lost its most prominent private feature this weekend.

The sculpture holds a high perch above the sign for Barista's restaurant, and owner Stephen Ward said he woke up Friday and decided the bull would look better without the oversized genitalia that caused uproar among the neighbors. Hurricane residents disturbed by the noticeable, cone-shaped feature had asked the city council to revoke Barista's business license.

Ward told the Spectrum newspaper in St. George Saturday that he made it clear to city officials before he altered the statue that he wasn't bowing to community pressure. "I told them I am not removing the penis for you or because of your complaints. I don't like you. I'm doing it for me," Ward told. "I just decided it would look better without the weenie. And oh my God! It's beautiful."

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Owner of Barista’s Restaurant has bull’s penis removed from his restaurant sign that sparked outrage within the community over the bull’s extra-large male anatomy, Hurricane, Utah, March 27, 2015 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

Even before the battle over the bull, tensions had been running high between Ward and the local community just north of the Arizona border. Customers have said the food is too expensive, alleged that Ward is hostile and has poor business practices. He says his offerings are the best in the region and hasn't hesitated to push back. The dispute got physical on March 14, when an altercation erupted between a Barista's employee and a patron. The patron was cited for a number of misdemeanors, including assault, according to the Hurricane City Police Department. Ward, however, said the incident wasn't handled appropriately and is upset that the patron wasn't arrested.

The copper bull's outsized genitalia reinvigorated the fight. After a steady stream of complaints, city officials were evaluating whether there were grounds to force the removal or modification of the bull.

City Manager Clark Fawcett said the sign was approved by the planning department and Ward went through the proper channels, but: "the dimensions of certain parts of the animal don't seem to be built the same way as in the plan that came to us."

Ward acknowledged Saturday that he did feel like something was a bit off after he installed the bull. "It didn't even look (right), it was in the shape of a cone - but I don't know what a weenie on a bull is supposed to look like," Ward said. He said he didn't put it up to make anyone angry on purpose, but the conflict hasn't hurt his business. "I put it up because it's an amazing piece, and I bought it as-is," he said, "but I am having fun with all the attention and it's brought in more customers."

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Owner of Barista's Restaurant Stephen Ward said he plans to sue the City of Hurricane, Hurricane, Utah, March 27, 2015 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

Information from: StGeorgeUtah.
Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:54 am 
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Most Americans side with gays in religious freedom disputes: Reuters/Ipsos poll
9 April 2015
By Steve Holland

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A box of cupcakes are seen topped with icons of same-sex couples at City Hall in San Francisco, June 29, 2013.
Reuters/Stephen Lam

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A majority of Americans believe businesses should not be allowed to refuse services based on their religious beliefs in the wake of controversies in Indiana and Arkansas over gay rights and religious freedom, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found on Thursday.

The poll, conducted April 6 to 8, also found that 52 percent of Americans support allowing same-sex couples to marry, far more than the 32 percent who oppose it. The survey results suggest a split over the issue between Americans and some of the politicians who represent them.

Indiana's Republican governor, Mike Pence, triggered a firestorm in his state this month by signing a law that would allow businesses to refuse services to certain groups or people based on their religious beliefs. Gay rights activists saw the law as discriminatory and the resulting backlash forced Indiana's state legislature to make changes to the law. Days later, Arkansas's Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, forced his state legislature to change a similar law in order to avoid having it blow up into a controversy in his state.

The poll found solid opposition to allowing businesses to refuse services or refuse to hire people or groups based on religious beliefs. Fifty-four percent said it was wrong for businesses to refuse services, while 28 percent said they should have that right. And 55 percent said businesses should not have the right to refuse to hire certain people or groups based on the employer's religious beliefs, while 27 percent said businesses should have the right.

The Reuters-Ipsos poll found divisions among Americans on where same-sex marriage laws should be made. The largest grouping, 34 percent, believes same-sex marriage laws should be made by the U.S. Supreme Court declaring a nationwide constitutional right. Another 22 percent said same-sex marriage laws should be made at the state level by voter referendum. Eleven percent said laws should be made by state legislators and 8 percent would leave it up to Congress. The poll found 24 percent did not know how best to handle it. The poll said 55 percent want to see all states - even those that do not permit same-sex marriages - recognize such unions from states where same-sex marriage is legal.

For the survey, 892 people aged 18 years old and over were interviewed online. The Reuters/Ipsos online poll was measured using a credibility interval. It has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

To explore more of the poll: bit.ly/1aKHlSN
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Caren Bohan and Lisa Shumaker)
Source: Reuters.

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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 6:10 am 
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Venice Beach council wants women to be able to sunbathe topless again
By Martha Groves
22 April 2015

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The Venice Neighborhood Council has approved a resolution that would afford women "the same rights as men to sunbathe topless" at Venice Beach. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

LOS ANGELES -- Forty years ago, a cadre of Venice Beach sunbathers routinely basked in the altogether.

The Venice Neighborhood Council thinks the time is ripe to take a half-step back to that time of physical freedom. In a 12-2 vote Tuesday, the council said it "supports women being afforded the same rights as men to sunbathe topless."

The city and county of Los Angeles prohibit nude or topless sunbathing. But Melissa Diner, the Venice council community officer who sponsored the resolution,said the panel would draft letters to Councilman Mike Bonin, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which has jurisdiction over the beach, calling for Venice to be exempted.

"I think this is a serious equality issue, and I'm not going to shy away from it," Diner, 32, said Wednesday. The wave of publicity that instantly followed the decision had done exactly what she'd hoped: "start a conversation about not only wanting to show our nipples on Venice Beach but about what else people want to see."

"Venice Beach was founded and designed around the European culture of Venice, Italy," the neighborhood council said, "and … topless [sun]bathing is commonplace throughout Europe, much of the rest of the world and many places within the U.S."

"I'm all for it," Martin Squires, a surf instructor who lives in a van in a Venice Beach parking lot, said of the proposal. "It's time that America grew up."

Mike Fischer, a Venice resident strolling the beach with his 21/2-year-old son, Owen, criticized the idea of letting women sunbathe topless. "I believe in freedom," he said, "but it's not really appropriate for the general public. It would make the beaches a little uncomfortable."

Linda Lucks, president emeritus of the Venice Neighborhood Council, expressed dismay that the panel would spend time on a proposal that she said had no chance of being approved. "There are so many more important things to be concerned about in Venice," she said. "I want us to be taken seriously, and this makes us look foolish."

Venice's earlier flirtation with laissez-faire sunbathing ended soon after the non-nudist public took notice. News crews swarmed. Helicopters hovered. Lifeguards found themselves rescuing people with nothing material to grasp. Lascivious men in leisure suits showed up carrying cameras with telephoto lenses. "It became a freak show," Jeffrey Stanton wrote in his book, "Venice California: Coney Island of the Pacific." In 1974 the city outlawed displays of genitalia and female areolae in parks and at beaches, and the Venice nude beach ceased to be.

At his vendor station on Ocean Front Walk not far from Rose Avenue, Micah Boyer, 38, a homeless artist, said the new vote for topless bathing was "almost like they were trying to get a strip club on the beach instead of focusing on providing shelter, hot showers and meals" for people in need. He said police recently took him in on warrants for sleeping on the beach, and he spent six days in jail.

Mike Newhouse, president of the Venice Neighborhood Council, said he thought the vote was largely symbolic. "It's more of a statement about equality," he said, "and not so much a full-throated effort to make this happen come hell or high water."

Bonin, who represents Venice, sought to douse any suggestion that he would carry water for the topless-sunbathing advocates. "While I appreciate the idea," he said, "right now my priorities for Venice are increasing public safety, housing the homeless and protecting affordable housing, reining in overdevelopment, enhancing mobility and improving the delivery of core city services."

Source: Los Angeles Times.

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