An author claims countries with effective social programs and labor unions harbor content citizens; Pope Francis excommunicates a Catholic priest for favoring gay rights; and can you count how many lies Obama told in his U.N. speech? 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.

Political Economy of Happiness Benjamin Radcliff, author of the Political Economy of Human Happiness, argues happier people live in countries with strong social safety nets and labor unions.

Top 45 Lies In Obama’s U.N. Speech President Obama’s opening lines at the U.N. on Tuesday looked down on people who would think to settle disputes with war.

Are Tenured Professors Really Worse Teachers? A recent Northwestern study suggested they might be (at least compared to some well-paid competition).

Think Your Plastic is Being Recycled? Think Again U.S. recycling companies have largely stayed away from recycling plastic and most of it has been shipped to China where it can be processed cheaper. Not anymore.

Pope Francis’s Vatican Excommunicates Pro-LGBT Priest Last week, Pope Francis once again made international headlines by saying something nice about LGBT people.

NSA Stories Around The World Revelations continue to produce outcomes on multiple levels in numerous countries around the world.

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