The Daily Showdown
July 25, 2014

On July 12, Japanese police arrested artist Megumi Igarashi on obscenity charges for encouraging people to print 3-D replicas of her vagina, to raise money to make a vagina-shaped kayak. (She was released almost a week later, but still faces possible jail time). On Thursday night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart puzzled through why Japan would react so harshly to yonic art — and how it justifies such a gross double standard when it comes to obscenity. "On the Japanese pervometer, the vagina boat is practically a Disney World ride," Stewart said.

Stewart finds his answer, sort of, in an annual phallus-themed parade in Kawasaki, and in the Japanese folk legend behind it. "Look, Japan, I don't want to tell you how to run your country," he said, "but just think about it this way: America has a long tradition of allowing its female artists to express their innermost thoughts — and as a result, we don't spend 51 weeks a year storing a giant steel dick in our garage." --Peter Weber

pulling the plug
12:59 a.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sarah Palin Channel, we hardly knew ye.

Starting August 1, you'll no longer have to shell out $9.95 a month for the musings of the former Alaskan governor and vice president nominee. Her subscription only online channel is shutting down, just a year after it launched last summer. Palin promised to discuss "important issues facing the nation" and delivered videos titled "Gun Free Doesn't Equal Crime Free" and "Moose Meat: It's What's for Dinner!"

The channel made its announcement on July 4, Variety reports, and said all of Palin's content will now be available for free on her political action committee site,, as well as her Facebook page. The move ends her partnership with Tapp, an online video startup. For super fans who forked over $99.95 for a whole year of the Sarah Palin Channel, Tapp will offer refunds of remaining subscriptions, or let the user apply it to another one of its channels — Alive with Joan Lunden (focusing on breast cancer patients and survivors), New Life TV (a Christian relationship show), and K-Love TV (a Christian music channel). Catherine Garcia

everyone knows ricky was actually black and white
12:17 a.m. ET

Paula Deen says she fired the social media manager who tweeted a photo from her account Tuesday showing her son Bobby in a Ricky Ricardo costume with brownface.

Deen also appears in the shot, dressed as Lucille Ball. The photo — which was quickly deleted — was captioned, "Lucyyyyyyy! You got a lot of esplainin' to do! #TransformationTuesday." In a statement to People, Deen's representatives said, "This photograph is from a Halloween episode of Paula's Best Dishes that aired in 2011. Paula immediately had this picture taken down as soon as she saw the post and apologizes to all who were offended. As such, Paula Deen Ventures has terminated their relationship with this Social Media Manager."

The celebrity chef came under fire in 2013 when it came out that she admitted in a deposition to using the "n-word." In the aftermath, Deen lost several sponsors and was dropped by the Food Network. Catherine Garcia

In Remembrance
July 7, 2015

On the 10th anniversary of the London bombings, services were held across the UK to remember the 52 people who died and more than 700 people injured when four suicide bombers attacked three trains and a bus.

At St. Paul's Cathedral, a minute of silence was observed, and the families of victims, survivors, and first responders gathered at Hyde Park for a ceremony with songs and personal readings, the BBC reports. Flowers were placed at the sites of the four explosions, and commuters were urged to take part in the "walk together" movement, finishing their bus or subway commute one stop early and traveling the rest of the way on foot. Paul Dadge, who stopped to help survivors after the blast at the Edgware Road station, spoke at Hyde Park, and said his country will never surrender to terrorism: "That's not the spirit we saw on 7 July. That's not the spirit we've ever seen. That's not the spirit we will ever see." Catherine Garcia

Law And Order
July 7, 2015

A man who ran for Congress in Tennessee last year was charged Tuesday with plotting to burn down a mosque and other buildings in a New York community with a large Muslim population.

Robert R. Doggart, 63, of Sequatchie County, was indicted by a federal grand jury, accused of the civil rights violation of soliciting others to destroy religious property. Court documents say he wrote on Facebook that his targets — a mosque, school, and cafeteria in a hamlet near Hancock, New York called Islamberg — "must be utterly destroyed in order to get the attention of the American people." Doggart spoke with a confidential source and others on a cell phone being tapped by the FBI, court documents said, and he was heard saying he wanted to firebomb the different buildings. The plot was never carried out.

Doggart was arrested in mid-April, and said he would plead guilty, but a judge rejected the proposed plea as legally insufficient, NBC News reports. During the 2014 Congressional race, Doggart ran as an independent against the incumbent, Republican Scott DesJarlais, and received six percent of the vote. Catherine Garcia

activist governor
July 7, 2015

Despite an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling last week saying a 10 Commandments monument violates the state Constitution, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) said it will remain on Capitol grounds.

Fallin said she made her decision after Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt asked the court to reconsider its 7-2 decision and lawmakers filed legislation to have citizens vote on whether to remove Article II, Section 5 of the constitution, which reads "No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such."

The court said the statue, which was privately funded by Rep. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow), was obviously religious in nature and an integral part of Christian and Jewish faiths, Tulsa World reports. Citing Pruitt's request and the potential vote, Fallin said, "Oklahoma is a state where we respect the rule of law, and we will not ignore the state courts or their decisions. However, we are also a state with three co-equal branches of government."

The ACLU of Oklahoma filed the challenge on behalf of three plaintiffs, and Fallin's decision doesn't sit well with executive director Ryan Kiesel. "The Supreme Court did not give any leeway in their opinion," he told Tulsa World. "The bipartisan, seven-member majority did not say remove the monument except if you look into your crystal ball and think the law might allow it at some point in the future and go ahead and keep it. The court said remove the monument." Catherine Garcia

Greek debt crisis
July 7, 2015
Thierry Charlier/Getty Images

The eurozone is giving Greece until Thursday to come up with new proposals to secure a deal with its creditors.

This is the "most critical moment in the history of the eurozone," European Council President Donald Tusk said. "The final deadline ends this week." During an emergency summit Tuesday in Brussels, it was expected that new Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos would bring written proposals, but instead only supplied an oral update on Greece's financial situation. The problem goes beyond Greece, French President Francois Hollande said, adding, "It's the future of the European Union."

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he wants a "socially just and economically viable agreement," and suggested on Tuesday night he will agree to several demands from creditors, including some that he rejected in the past. In return, he wants a third bailout from the eurozone, an agreement on restructuring Greece's public debt, and measures to encourage economic growth, the BBC reports. Catherine Garcia

Crisis in Syria
July 7, 2015
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress Tuesday that the United States has only trained roughly 60 Syrian opposition fighters to take on the Islamic State.

The program launched in Jordan and Turkey this May, with the goal of training 5,400 fighters a year, Reuters reports. Some rebel leaders say that in order to be successful, the trainees have to target Syrian government forces, but they are off-limits for U.S. offensive operations.

Carter said he thinks Syrian recruits need some protection from the U.S., but said no decisions have been made yet on the type of assistance to provide. He also said that after the U.S. streamlined vetting candidates, the numbers of recruits would increase. “We are refining our curriculum, expanding our outreach to the moderate opposition, and incorporating lessons learned from the first training,” he said. Catherine Garcia

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