U.S. free-speech advocates on Tuesday gave their annual "muzzle" awards to violators including police who charged a woman for swearing at her overflowing toilet, and a motor vehicles department that deemed a "GETOSAMA" license plate offensive.

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression said police in Scranton, Pennsylvania had no right to issue a disorderly conduct citation to Dawn Herb, who "let loose a tirade of foul language" directed at her toilet. A neighbor who was an off-duty police officer made a complaint.

The center also gave an award to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles after it demanded the return of the plates reading "GETOSAMA" that had been issued to a retired police officer who wanted to express his desire to capture Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks.

The center, linked to the University of Virginia, reserved special scorn for the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a press conference at which agency staffers posing as reporters pitched soft questions to officials in an effort to show FEMA had done well in tackling California wildfires.

And it gave a "Lifetime Muzzle" to the Federal Communications Commission for years of applying what it said were inconsistent or arbitrary standards of indecency on the airwaves.

More info, including the results of the incidents, at the following link: