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Cultural Commentary

World's most powerful woman is mad at Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) chat during dinner at the Chralottenburg Castle in Berlin June 19, 2013 (Credit: Reuters/Michael Sohn) Imagine this scene from a Jason Bourne movie: the chancellor of Europe's strongest economy receives intelligence that the United States is monitoring her personal cell phone.  She calls the American president to tell him that she "unequivocally disapproves of such practices and sees them as completely unacceptable."

She then adds that "between close friends and partners there should be no such monitoring of the communication of a head of government.  That would be a grave breach of trust."  The American president assures the chancellor that "the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor [her] communications."  When reporters later ask if her calls had been tracked in the past, the president's spokesman says he does not have an answer to that question.

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People pay only $60 for works by famous artist

A man holds up a local newspaper as he poses for a photo in front of a new art piece by British graffiti artist Banksy in the Brooklyn borough of New York, October 17, 2013. (Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri)Have you heard of a "graffiti artist" named "Banksy"?  I hadn't.  It turns out I've been missing a significant cultural phenomenon of our day.

Banksy is a pseudonymous British-based artist, sculptor, film director and painter.  While one of his movies was named Best Documentary Film of 2010, he is best known for his paintings on walls, trucks, and nearly any other public space—works known as "graffiti art."  He has painted on walls all over London, and in American cities such as New Orleans and New York City.

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Orphan pleads for a family—10,000 people respond

Davion Navar Henry Only tossing a basketball in the air, a screen grab from ABC News segment entitled Overwhelming Response to a Young Boy's Heartfelt Plea for a Family (Credit: ABC News via Youtube)Davion Navar Henry Only was born while his mother was in prison.  The 15-year-old has been in foster care his entire life.  In June, he learned that his mother had a criminal background including drugs and theft, and that she had died just a few weeks earlier.

Knowing that he was now alone in the world, Davion went to the front of St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida and made a plea for a family.  "I'll take anyone," he said.  "Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple.  I don't care.  And I would be really appreciative.  The best I could be."  In an interview with ABC News, Davion said, "If you can, reach out and get me and love me until I die.  I'm praying and still hoping.  I know God hasn't given up and I'm not either."

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Oreos as addictive as cocaine

Small boy sitting at a table dipping Oreos into a glass of milk (Credit: Jaimie Duplass via Fotolia)Studies show that Oreos are as addictive for laboratory rats as cocaine.  (Like us, they eat the filling first.)  In fact, researchers have discovered that Oreos activate significantly more brain neurons than even cocaine or morphine.

Now we learn that monster cereals are making a big comeback this Halloween.  You may remember Count Chocula, Frankenberry and Boo Berry.  General Mills discontinued them in 2010, bringing them back only for Halloween each year.  Now the cereal manufacturer has announced plans to bring Yummy Mummy and Fruit Brute back from the dead as well.

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What the Internet thinks of Ted Cruz

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks to the press after leaving the U.S. Senate Chamber after a marathon attack on Obamacare at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 25, 2013. (REUTERS/Jason Reed)Today begins "Free Speech Week."  Launched in 2005, the week is designed as "a unifying celebration, elevating the vision of the Founding Fathers above the political fray and recognizing free speech as something we can all believe in and cherish."

Does it seem to you that free speech is more cherished or abused today?

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