The “God Hates Fags” people have a new villain: Lady Gaga. On today’s list, hear their song, find out how the rich cope with meltdown, and explore whether a Siamese twin would be libel for a murder committed by his conjoined brother.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that 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.

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Estate-Tax Changes Did Not Make Big Difference to Charities

Gradual increases in the level of the federal estate-tax exemption in several recent years apparently did not cause wealthy people to change the shares of their estates that they left to charity, according to a new report from the Internal Revenue Service.

Westboro Baptist Church vs. Lady Gaga — Not a Fair Fight The “God Hates Fags” people, Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, have turned their soul-eating hatred on Lady Gaga, to hilarious effect.

Conservative Mogul Buying Up Reporters to Promote His Regressive Agenda Pete Peterson, the Wall Street billionaire who wants to loot Social Security, has created a “news network” hooked up to the Washington Post.

When the Swiss Voted to Ban New Minarets, This Man Built One Guillaume Morand, owner of the Pomp It Up shoe-store chain, put a minaret on his roof, shined spotlights on it and thumbed his nose at the ban on such spires.

The Genetics of Political Intensity Your genes may determine whether you cling furiously to your political beliefs or cast them aside at a shift in the breeze.

If a Siamese Twin Commits Murder, Does His Brother Get Punished Too? Three weeks ago, the Explainer released the annual list of questions we were either unable or unwilling to answer in 2009 and asked readers to vote for the question that most deserved a response. By the time the polls had closed, more than 27,000 votes had been cast.

Washington Post Lets Lobbyists Write Its Stories The Washington Post’s publication of a “news” article written by an organization created to advance an ideological agenda is a troubling reminder of the declining ethical standards at one of the nation’s most influential newspapers.

Friends in High Places: Obama and the American Oligarchy “An oligarchy,” says Wikipedia, “is a form of government in which power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society distinguished by royal, wealth, intellectual, family, military or religious hegemony.”

Annals of Schadenfreude: How the Super-Rich Are Coping With the Crisis The super-rich lost a great deal in 2009, with hundreds of unfortunates losing their billionaire status. A Swiss private banker talks about the ugly consequences of the crisis for his elite clientele and the discreet services he is sometimes asked to perform, such as buying secret apartments for clients’ mistresses.

McCain Gets It, Obama Doesn’t Maybe I got it wrong. During the presidential campaign I wrote columns blasting Sen. John McCain for siding with the big bankers on deregulation, citing his choosing ex-Sen. Phil Gramm, currently a vice chairman of the Swiss-owned banking giant UBS, as his presidential campaign chair.

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