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Drama Over Including Gays in Immigration Reform

Though President Obama is trying to find a place for gay binational couples in his immigration reform plan, Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey Graham just won’t have it; as a tribute to the late Aaron Swartz, MIT should make academic articles free to the public; meanwhile, new studies show that urbanites have developed neural responses that keep them constantly on the lookout for danger. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

Lindsey Graham (R-Closet) Having Vapors Over Including Gays in Immigration Bill
“Confirmed-bachelor” GOP Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Closet), who has no plans to marry Ricky Martin, is having the vapors over President Obama’s push to include a fix for binational gay couples in the immigration reform debate.

Criminalizing Dissent and Punishing Occupy Protesters
Military-style command and control systems are now be­ing established to support “zero tolerance” policing and urban surveillance practices designed to exclude failed consumers or undesirable persons from the new enclaves of urban consumption and leisure.

Why Is ‘Authenticity’ So Central to Urban Culture?
One of the worst things you can publicly call someone today is a fake.

How MIT Can Honor Aaron Swartz
Fight to make academic journals open to everyone.

How Smiles Control Us All
The neuronal signals for smiles usually start in the cortex of our brain. From there they travel to the deeper part, the brainstem — which, in terms of evolution, also happens to be one of the oldest parts of our brain.

When Newspapers Were New, or, How Londoners Got Word of the Plague
Daniel Defoe’s novel about London’s 1665 plague can help us understand new media. No, really.

City Life Changes How Our Brains Deal With Distractions
City life requires a lot of attention.

In Digital Age, Social Media Impacts College Journalism
The evidence of a digital revolution in journalism is only mounting: Newsweek has moved from print to completely online after 80 years of publication, and Internet news sources like The Huffington Post and Patch are rising in popularity.

LGBT Activists Have to Set Their Sights Higher Than Marriage Reform
On 5 February, the House of Commons will give a first reading to the government’s marriage (same-sex couples) bill, introduced last week by culture secretary Maria Miller.

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