Texas Police Kill Gunmen at Exhibit Featuring Cartoons of Muhammad

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/04/us/gunmen-killed-after-firing-on-anti-islam-groups-event.html?_r=3

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Neil Gaiman stands up for Charlie Hebdo: “For f**k’s sake, they drew somebody and they shot them, and you don’t get to do that”

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2015/05/05/neil_gaiman_stands_up_for_charlie_hebdo_for_fks_sake_they_drew_somebody_and_they_shot_them_and_you_dont_get_to_do_that/

Gaiman, Art Spiegelman and Alison Bechdel on why comics are so controversial — and why they must be defended

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

When six writers withdrew in protest from PEN American Center’s annual fundraising gala last week, they set off a long and lively discussion of free expression and its limits. At issue is the Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award that PEN is tonight bestowing on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, eight of whose staff members were killed, along with four other people, when gunmen sent by the militant Islamist group al-Qaida in Yemen assaulted their offices earlier this year. The dissenting six were soon joined by more than 200 other PEN members, who signed a letter objecting to “enthusiastically rewarding” the magazine because they consider its cartoons of the prophet Mohammed to be offensive to Muslims.

But those six writers also left six empty chairs at the event, chairs ordinarily occupied by well-known literary figures who serve as “table hosts.” Over the weekend, six other writers stepped forward to fill those seats. They include journalist George Packer, “Reading Lolita in Tehran” author Azar Mafisi and Alain Mabanckou, a Congolese-born French author who will present the award to Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief.

The other three are all celebrated comics artists: Art Spiegelman, Neil Gaiman and Alison Bechdel. Spiegelman, author of the legendary graphic novel “Maus,” had read that some PEN members had floated the idea of standing up and turning their backs when the award was presented, or hissing. “I thought, that’s obscene,” he said on the telephone yesterday. “I talked to a few friends, and Alison and Neil Gaiman were able and willing to come. Matt Groening [creator of “The Simpsons”] tried to come but he was in production this week. I thought it would be great to have someone to shout out, ‘Cartoonists’ lives matter!’ when the award is being given if anybody dared hiss it.”

Cartoonists tend to stick together because they have to; as Gaiman points out, their work is disproportionately singled out for suppression both abroad and in the U.S., while at the same time often regarded as not “serious” enough to deserve a full-throttle defense. “I spent 12 years on the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund,” Gaiman told me, “for which I was fighting on a daily basis to keep people who had written, drawn, published, sold or owned comics out of prison and from losing their livelihood for having drawn something that upset somebody.”

Cartoonists are particularly vulnerable when addressing Islam, as some (but not all) Muslims believe that it is sacrilegious to depict their prophet visually in any way. This is not a threat limited to Europe. Earlier this year, CNN reported that the Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris is still in hiding, four years after she attracted death threats for drawing non-satirical images of Mohammed on a teacup and thimble and domino. Her name recently appeared on the most-wanted list of the al-Qaida magazine Inspire.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2015/05/05/neil_gaiman_stands_up_for_charlie_hebdo_for_fks_sake_they_drew_somebody_and_they_shot_them_and_you_dont_get_to_do_that/

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Hillary Clinton Calls For ‘Toppling’ The 1 Percent

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/21/hillary-clinton-calls-for_0_n_7108026.html?ir=Business&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000015


Hillary Clinton believes that strengthening the middle class and alleviating income inequality will require “toppling” the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans, according to a New York Times profile published on Tuesday.

The Times article quoted a host of Clinton confidants characterizing Clinton’s economic policy record as a populist agenda akin to that of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). That includes a view that the ongoing accumulation of massive wealth at the top of the spectrum is holding back the broader economy.

In a meeting with economists this year, Mrs. Clinton intensely studied a chart that showed income inequality in the United States. The graph charted how real wages, adjusted for inflation, had increased exponentially for the wealthiest Americans, making the bar so steep it hardly fit on the chart.

Mrs. Clinton pointed at the top category and said the economy required a “toppling” of the wealthiest 1 percent, according to several people who were briefed on Mrs. Clinton’s policy discussions but could not discuss private conversations for attribution.

The Clinton campaign told HuffPost they could not confirm the precise language of the quote, but did not distance themselves from its populist essence.

“No one in the room remembers this quote, and it doesn’t sound like language she’d use,” a Clinton aide emailed to HuffPost. “That said, our economy was nearly toppled in 2008 because the deck was stacked for those at the top and Hillary Clinton has said she’s running to reshuffle the deck for everyday Americans so that it doesn’t topple again and people can actually get ahead. It’s a belief at the core of her entire career fighting and at the core of this campaign.”

But while Clinton may be focusing on the wealthy, the Times article also seemed to underscore a lingering tension between some of her top advisers and Warren herself.

One anonymous Clinton adviser gave the Times a research memo championing Clinton’s career in economic policy making, while dismissing Warren as a “footnote.” Gene Sperling, a long-time economic adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama appeared to criticize Warren as an ineffective attack dog.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/21/hillary-clinton-calls-for_0_n_7108026.html?ir=Business&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000015

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