TGS Report: All Hallow’s Eve Edition

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Happy Halloween, everybody, whether you’re out and about tonight or just handing out “the goods”, be sure to tune in tonight on the live cast tonight around 10 PM PST for our holiday cast. If you see a black screen, it’s cause my computer can’t really video cast cause a certain “friend” of mine, gave me a pirated copy of something a couple years back and didn’t mention that I was missing a registry file/important file that won’t allow me to visual cast, so just read this while listening to some fitting holiday music. Let’s begin tonight with some news for Halloween.

UNESCO votes to admit Palestine; U.S. cuts off funding

By , Updated: Monday, October 31, 11:38 AM

NEW YORK — UNESCO voted Monday to admit Palestine into the organization as its newest member, and the United States promptly responded by cutting off funding for the agency.

Acting under a legal requirement to cut U.S. funds to any U.N. agency that recognizes a Palestinian state, the State Department on Monday announced that the United States has stopped funding the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization because of the vote. Department spokesman Victoria Nuland told reporters that the Obama administration would not make a planned $60 million payment to the agency due this month.

The vote at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters follows a stalled effort by the Palestinians to seek recognition as a U.N. member state. It signaled that the Palestinians intend to pursue membership in a number of specialized U.N. agencies, which have their own rules for membership and where the United States does not have veto power.Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, expressed disappointment with the U.S. intention to cut funding to the agency.“We hope that the United States will not take such a step,” he said. “The world is changing, and the Arab region is changing as well, so it is better to move toward recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people, rather than adopting the same old policies which have proven to be fruitless.”The vote came amid a surge of cross-border violence between Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli military. Gaza militants fired several rockets into Israel on Monday after an Israeli drone strike overnight left two Palestinians dead. Egypt continued its efforts to mediate an end to the violence.Since Saturday, rocket exchanges and Israeli airstrikes have left 12 militants and one Israeli civilian dead. Most of the rocket firing has been carried out by Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed militant group.The UNESCO membership bid, which required approval by two-thirds of the agency’s General Conference, passed by a vote of 107 to 14, with 52 abstentions.

Huge cheers erupted in the Paris meeting hall when the Palestinian membership was approved, news agencies reported. France cast a surprise yes vote, drawing applause from the delegates. The United States, Israel, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany were among those voting no.

The United States provides UNESCO with more than $80 million a year, covering about 22 percent of its budget, thus making any cutoff painful. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said she supports a cutoff of aid as mandated under U.S. law.

“Today’s reckless action by UNESCO is anti-Israel and anti-peace,” she said in a statement. “It rewards the Palestinian leadership’s dangerous scheme to bypass negotiations with Israel and seek recognition of a self-declared ‘Palestinian state,’ and takes us further from peace in the Middle East.”

“We recognize that this action today will complicate our ability to support UNESCO’s programs,” said David T. Killion, the U.S. ambassador to UNESCO, who characterized the Palestinian bid as “counterproductive” to pursuing peace in the Middle East.

After the vote, the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement denouncing the membership bid as a “unilateral Palestinian move which will bring not change on the ground but further removes the possibility for a peace agreement.”

The prohibition on U.S. funding of U.N. agencies that recognize a Palestinian state was included in two pieces of legislation that were signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and President Bill Clinton in 1994.

The 1990 law prohibits the appropriation of funds “for the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as a member state.”

In 1994, Congress barred funding “any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.”

The latest Palestinian move comes as congressional appropriators are looking for cuts in foreign aid spending and the Republican-controlled House, especially the Foreign Affairs Committee led by Ros-Lehtinen, is keen to impose cuts on the United Nations for considering the Palestinian statehood drive.

Fearing cuts, UNESCO’s ­director-general, Irina Bokova, appealed to the United States not to punish the organization for the decision of the agency’s executive board, which is comprised of representatives of UNESCO member states. In a letter to The Washington Post, she said UNESCO “supports many causes in line with U.S. security interests” from Afghanistan to Iraq, where “we are helping governments and communities prepare for life after the withdrawal of U.S. military forces.”

“The issue of Palestinian membership should not be allowed to derail these initiatives, which go far beyond the politics of the Middle East,” she added, citing UNESCO’s work in tsunami early warning in the Caribbean and the Pacific. “None of this is in the interest of UNESCO. Nor do I believe it’s in the interest of Americans.”

Staff writer William Branigin in Washington and correspondent Joel Greenberg in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

Irony, true irony, we’re cutting funding to the middle east, after we tore apart their government. Oh the melodramatic irony and all if it is the American Love/Hate drama from the mouths of the pig disgusting people in the house and senate doing the dumbest things. By the way, for those of you who don’t know what the UNISECOis, I’ve provided a link, so enjoy.Next up is this lovely  miku figurine gallery…

Hatsune Miku HSP Version Figure

Author: Leon

A new Miku figure based on one of Kanzaki Hiro‘s illustrations, also known as “Hanasoumen-P,” is set to be released in March 2012 thanks to Max Factory.

The gallery can be seen on the site, enjoy.

This is a bit interesting, this next news I mean. I do want to warn you that there’s blood and stuff in the images and it’s a little gross even for my tastes so, view with caution or not at all; Better to not see than try to UNsee, I always say.

Naked Women Crawled Into Horse “To Feel One With It”

Author: Artefact

Police have declined to press charges against a woman who posted photographs of herself climbing inside a horse she had just gutted and subsequently standing naked and covered in blood before its carcass.

According to reports, the Oregon couple recently took custody of the 32-year-old horse. As it was elderly and in declining health, they decided to kill and eat it.

Sometime during this process the 21-year-old woman decided it would be a good idea to strip off and climb inside the gutted horse’s carcass. For good measure, the couple photographed their handiwork and posted it on Facebook.

To Love-Ru Darkness Plunges Into Toilet

Author: Leon

The latest To Love-Ru Darkness chapter has managed to expand its already legendarily broad portfolio of fetishes to include young girls going to the toilet whilst accompanied by a male chaperone…
Since this another one of those NSFW galleries, I’m not going to post it. But here’s an interesting fact, my brother watches this stuff. My brother may not masturbate, but he watches this shit. I spent 7 years among lolis, pornfags, and god knows what so I’m completely over looking at 2D. It’s one of the reasons I rarely watch anime or look at 2D girls, but that’s neither here nor there.
Anyway, since I don’t want to bore you too badly on Halloween night, I’ll share some history with you of what Halloween really is. Halloween is the celebration of All Hallow’s Eve or Dia de los Muertos as the Hispanic call it. All Hallow’s Eve, well… let me just give you a wiki article.

Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while “some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, whose original spelling was Samuin (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)”.[1] The name of the festival historically kept by the Gaels and Celts in the British Isles is derived from Old Irish and means roughly “summer’s end”.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of English folk lore: “Certainly Samhain was a time for festive gatherings, and medieval Irish texts and later Irish, Welsh, and Scottish folklore use it as a setting for supernatural encounters, but there is no evidence that it was connected with the dead in pre-Christian times, or that pagan religious ceremonies were held.”

The Irish myths which mention Samhain were written in the 10th and 11th centuries by Christian monks. This is around 200 years after the Catholic church inaugurated All Saints Day and at least 400 years after Ireland became Christian.

Last up, I’ll share a bit of advice for you on Halloween. I know many of you get enough of this shit from work, but I’m gonna give you some good advice, not the kind your co-workers give you and you end up realizing ‘Oh I shouldn’t have gone to that party’ kind of feeling. So without further ado here it is:

  1. If you’re going to a party don’t drink. One drink leads to another and another and before you realize it you’re drunk and you can’t drive home. OH NOEZ!!
  2. If you’re going with your kids, make sure they’re not 13 or 14 or something to that degree, they can handle themselves. Just make sure they get home before midnight.
  3. If you’re going to be working alone at night at the office, don’t be too surprised if the janitor scares you.
  4. If you’re going out with friends, make sure they don’t ditch you and forget to text you. My friend, Tracy, was apparently ditched by her friends. Learn from this friend fail. d(‘ ‘)d
  5. If you’re going to pass out and forget to hand out candy, put the candy on the porch.
  6. And always remember to have enjoy your days and nights like every day may be your last. You will love life more this way.

Those are my rules to remember for a wonderful evening. I hope you guys enjoy your Halloween tonight and don’t forget, we’re all stuck in the same boat in life, so keep a stiff upper lip and keep your hopes high. Good night, everybody.

Sunday’s Orange Juice Recap with a Slice of Monday Bacon

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Ready for another stressful week? I sure as hell am, and look Halloween on Monday night. Even more rage and FFFFF to be had, I hope you guys will enjoy your nights and remember to stay safe and away from alcohol and adult toys. [HeartyLaugh.jpg]

Let’s start with Sunday’s BIGGEST STORY! The Return of Hirano Aya to the stage once more as seiyuu. That’s right, the most scandalous and scary Hirano Returns and Haruhi is once again reborn as a the goddess she once was. Ooooohoooohooo….Spooky!! That was just terrible, I mean plane terrible, those who have seen the drama know just how out of proportion Hirano’s blown herself up. It is in my honest belief that these seiyuus are regarded to be like the Charlie Sheensters of Japan. There’s no other reason for people to get so worked up for over a voice actor or actress. But, hey, far be it for me to troll you “otakus” or should I say “Nerds“. Those living in their own country, especially the US, should not conform to this standard of “kawaii desu” fanboys and fangirls of the modern day and age. Anyway, if I rant anymore I’m going to forget why I’m posting this blog and that’s to show you little kawi boys and girls that the real world out there isn’t a bunch of toys and games and that, quite literally, the world doesn’t care about you so if you want to cut yourself, go ahead. Now, without further ado, let’s get this show on the road.

The Return of Aya Hirano

Author: Artefact

Scandal seiyuu Aya Hirano is apparently set to make a comeback as a seiyuu, having revealed that she has managed to secure no less that 4 new roles – although not everyone is convinced.

Her enthusiastic tweets about her new roles:

“I’m really excited about tomorrow’s recording! I can’t calm down! (゚レ゚)”

“No, it’s a new one! I’ve got 4 new regular roles now!”

Whether she is rising like a glorious phoenix from the ashes of her own burning career or is merely being economical with her definition of what constitutes a “new role” is the subject of much debate online:

“She’s got 4 regular roles! How the lifeliners will rejoice!”

“Amazing! We love you Aya! Well done! I’m really looking forward to these! I’ll be sure to watch all 4 of them!”

“She’s got talent, after all.”

“4 roles – a huge victory for Aya!”

“Are they all anime? 2012 is the year of the Aya!”

“You can also interpret her wording as stating that she has 4 roles in total.”

“Why can’t she tell us which? It looks as if she was told to keep it quiet in case all their fans become enraged…”

“I wonder how much her guarantee is now.”

“After the uproar died down she’s really shining again!”

Just how many of her “new regular roles” actually involve anime characters, let alone major ones, remains to be seen…

Let’s not dawdle, moving on…deranged otaku think 2D loves them. Good job /a/ you can always be counted on when garbage happens in this world.

“The 9 Reasons Men Think Their Sweetheart Likes Them”

Author: Artefact

An article giving the “9 reasons” men end up thinking the girl they have their eye on has the hots for them too has lately been the subject of much soul-searching reflection on the more desolate and lovelorn parts of 2ch.

The original article:

Nothing is quite as pleasing as the moment you realise the person you had your eye on feels the same way about you as you do about them.

We surveyed our male readers about what caused them to think their love was mutual rather than unrequited.

1. She meets your eye a lot

2. She makes a happy face when you meet

3. Your mail exchanges get quite intense

4. She calls you by a special name

5. She asks if there is someone you like

6. People around you point you out as a promising pair

7. She makes efforts to be alone with you

8. She avoids breaking off long conversations, and talks with you as long as possible

9. Her friends scout you out by asking what you think of her

The 2ch version of “mutual love” is rather different in character:

“The third time you meet is mutual love, isn’t it?”

“For people like us, a girl sitting next to you on a bus is liable to be mistaken as being interested in you.”

“I fell for and confessed my love to a girl who met my eye and shook my hand. She told me she had a boyfriend and refused. Die!”

“If girls come and talk to you you really think they have fallen for you, don’t you?”

“She called me by my first name, so I called her with her first name, and she made a ‘haa?’ face. Die, me.”

“When they meet your eyes, you do get the impression they want your kids, don’t you?”

“I made so many mistakes in this area. I’d rather just be a virgin forever now.”

“When I’m alone in the reference room with a girl and they rush to finish their work and hurry out, is it because they feel danger or because they are interested in me?”

“I kept sending a girl mails for 2 weeks but she made virtually no response. I finally got a response!

‘Look, I’m sorry, but could you please stop sending me mails?

Very creepy. Give it a rest, please.’

I was surprised, I didn’t expect this. Who wouldhave thought she’d use a vertically hidden message!”

[In Japanese, the message is two lines and the first character of the first line is ‘su’ and that of the second is ‘ki’]

Next up is our favorite contradiction website known as The Christian Science Monitor, enjoy.

National Grid, others expect power outages for days to come

National Grid and other utility companies are reporting more than 200,000 customers in New York without power after an October snow storm downed power lines in the northeast.

By VERENA DOBNIK

An early taste of winter weather brought down tree limbs all over New York and turned off power for thousands, as wet snow from an unusual October snowstorm meant putting down the rakes and picking up the shovels.

Around the state, more than 200,000 customers were without power, most in the hard-hit Hudson Valley region of the state. Consolidated Edison reported almost 69,000 customers were without power in Westchester County, as were about 4,700 customers in New York City.

Orange and Rockland said it had 84,000 customers out in Rockland, Orange and Sullivan counties. New York State Electric and Gas reported at least 52,000 customers with outages, and National Grid reported at least 9,300 customers out.

“I think wind is the biggest factor. The wind makes the trees wobbly and they tumble onto our lines and transformers and equipment,” said ConEd spokesman Allan Drury. He said it would take several days for full restoration.

In the Hudson Valley, state police evacuated motorists from numerous vehicles stuck on Interstate 84 and the Taconic Parkway overnight and took them to hotels. Police said about 50 to 75 vehicles were towed away so the highways could be plowed, and owners were being reunited with them Sunday afternoon.

The National Weather Service says the storm dropped more than 21 inches of snow in Millbrook in the Hudson Valley. Power was knocked out to more than 110,000 homes and businesses in Dutchess and Ulster counties.

The storm was a taste for what’s to come for the demonstrators camping out at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan for the Occupy Wall Street protest.

Nick Lemmin, 25, of Brooklyn, spent his first night camping out at the plaza. He slept in a sleeping bag, and had on extra layers — thermals, a sweatshirt, a scarf.

“I slept actually pretty well,” he said. “It was pretty quiet.”

He said the OWS demonstrators were prepared for the weather, with tents. “Once you’re in a tent, it’s pretty warm,” he said.

Lemmin thought the early snow was actually helpful, that it gave the protesters a chance to see how cold weather would be before it sets in more permanently.

“I think it’s a good test,” he said.

Around Albany, where most tree leaves are still green, cottony snow coated every twig and power line Sunday morning. But by noon, under a clear blue sky, the few inches of snowfall had vanished from all but the shadiest grass. At the Occupy Albany encampment across from the Capitol, about 40 people spent the night in tarp-draped tents.

“There was a team of people sweeping snow off tents overnight,” said Kathy Manley, who was snug and warm overnight in a winter sleeping bag. “It’s getting a little rough with the cold nights, but if people have the proper equipment it’s no problem.”

A couple of dirt- and leaf-caked snowmen stood among the people waving “We are the 99 percent” signs for passing cars. Geordie O’Brien, sitting with Manley at an information table under a canopy, said the protesters plan to remain in place into the winter.

With temperatures in the 30s on Sunday morning, a brilliant sun shone on Central Park, alive with people taking walks and on exercise runs.

They passed thousands of feet of yellow “caution” tape that kept them away from danger — downed tree limbs strewn all over the park, ripped off Saturday in the winds that accompanied a record snowfall on New York City.

The damage didn’t keep Becky McKee, a visitor from Iowa, from enjoying a unique sight — Sheep Meadow aglow in snow white against the Manhattan skyline.

“It’s so pretty!” exclaimed the teacher’s aide from Underwood, Iowa.

“I wasn’t expecting to be wearing hat and gloves here,” she said.

McKeel said she was impressed by how New Yorkers reacted to Saturday’s weather.

“I couldn’t believe it. Nothing stops New Yorkers! This is not what I expected,” she said.

This actually wasn’t the story I wanted to cover, but rather an outage in the south about plantations and such, but you know Google, always updating news before you can paste it. Google News is like if I had a hyper-active younger brother with autism that loves going in circles and on and on about how it’s such a bad ass reporter for the middle east. Oh, well let’s move on.

MREs get a new kick with caffeinated jerky and Zapplesauce

By , Published: October 29

Natick, Mass. — And now, from the folks who developed the atomic bomb, Kevlar underwear and the Humvee, presenting the latest in war-fighting technology:

Caffeinated meat.

That’s right, an Army lab here is testing a beef jerky stick that looks and tastes just like your average Slim Jim but contains an equivalent of a cup of coffee’s worth of caffeine to give even the sleepiest soldier that up-and-at-’em boost.

After a decade of war, military food scientists have been hard at work at a little-known research facility outside Boston transforming the field ration — known as the Meal, Ready to Eat, and perhaps the most complained about food in the world — into something not just good-tasting but full of energy-enhancing ingredients.

“There is a lot of science that goes into this,” said David Accetta, a spokesman for the Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center, where every item put into an MRE is tested and tasted. “And that’s what a lot of people don’t realize. It’s not just a bunch of cooks in the kitchen making up recipes.”

In addition to caffeine, military technologists are lacing food with supplements such as omega 3s and curcumin, which act as anti-inflammatories. Maltodextrin, a complex carbohydrate that gives service members a little turbo charge, is injected into an amped-up applesauce called Zapplesauce.

And that energizing goo gobbled by marathoners? The Army is developing its very own.

Complaining about the MRE has been a sport within the ranks for years. They’ve been called every derogatory name possible: Meals Rejected by Everyone. Meals Refused by the Enemy. Materials Resembling Edibles. Meals Refusing to Exit.

But in its latest permutations, officials here say, the MRE has gone gourmet — or as gourmet as can be for food that has a shelf life of three years at 80 degrees and can withstand an airdrop from thousands of feet.

The no-name casserole, mystery meat and mealy tuna have been replaced by dishes endorsed by the Natick center’s “sensory evaluators.” Recent chow additions include chicken and pesto pasta, feta cheese and tomato. Dining al fresco in their trenches, soldiers now can choose from ratatouille, garlic mashed potatoes, salsa verde and a strawberry-banana dairy shake.

If you have the time to heat water, there’s instant Irish-cream coffee. If not, caffeinated beef jerky, the military’s variation on the commercially available Perky Jerky, should soon be turning up in MREs.

The technologists’ efforts may be paying off. In reviewing one of the newer entrees, a food writer for the Boston Globe wrote, “The pasta is tender but not falling apart, the sauce dense and sweet, similar to many commercial sauces.”

Besides whipping up new, improved MRE items, Natick also serves as the Army’s equivalent of James Bond’s laboratory.

Here, scientists are developing Global Positioning System-guided helicopters and weaving electrical wires into uniforms and adding keypads to the sleeves. They’re working with Lockheed Martin, the Bethesda-based defense contractor, to build a robotic exoskeleton (think a less dramatic Iron Man) that would allow service members to carry as much as 200 pounds on their backs.

Ya, let’s pump our soldiers witch Caffeine, Taurine, and god knows what else, cause we are men not boys, we intake caffeine cause we like it. I’m sure Rummy will find that the US caffeine jerky is nothing like the French caffeine jerky; I’m sure he and Roy Campbell can figure out their differences at the next International Rations Convention aka I.R.C.

So the other day, I had some coffee with Death (metaphorically speaking of course) and he gave me this great site that fed me comedy and news all in one. Sure, it’s nothing like my blog that gives you everything from anon perspective to things that leave you curious, like Steve Jobs always said ‘stay foolish, stay hungry’. Guy was fired by Apple, a company he made. It took 10 years for him to get back when Apple couldn’t compete with Micro$oft anymore. Anyway, enough anecdotes; here’s the site.

http://fark.com

Great place to hang out, like a coffee shop of horrors for the underworld, except it was all comedy. Downtown hell was a great place back in the day when the smog wasn’t such a huge problem and the souls didn’t run around screaming all the time. Ah, the 90s great times, great times.

Anyway, I got 2 more stories that will probably leave you in stitches; both from Fark.

What the Costumes Reveal

By

Published: October 28, 2011

On Friday, the law firm of Steven J. Baum threw a Halloween party. The firm, which is located near Buffalo, is what is commonly referred to as a “foreclosure mill” firm, meaning it represents banks and mortgage servicers as they attempt to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their homes. Steven J. Baum is, in fact, the largest such firm in New York; it represents virtually all the giant mortgage lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

The party is the firm’s big annual bash. Employees wear Halloween costumes to the office, where they party until around noon, and then return to work, still in costume. I can’t tell you how people dressed for this year’s party, but I can tell you about last year’s.

That’s because a former employee of Steven J. Baum recently sent me snapshots of last year’s party. In an e-mail, she said that she wanted me to see them because they showed an appalling lack of compassion toward the homeowners — invariably poor and down on their luck — that the Baum firm had brought foreclosure proceedings against.

When we spoke later, she added that the snapshots are an accurate representation of the firm’s mind-set. “There is this really cavalier attitude,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that people are going to lose their homes.” Nor does the firm try to help people get mortgage modifications; the pressure, always, is to foreclose. I told her I wanted to post the photos on The Times’s Web site so that readers could see them. She agreed, but asked to remain anonymous because she said she fears retaliation.

Let me describe a few of the photos. In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.

A second picture shows a coffin with a picture of a woman whose eyes have been cut out. A sign on the coffin reads: “Rest in Peace. Crazy Susie.” The reference is to Susan Chana Lask, a lawyer who had filed a class-action suit against Steven J. Baum — and had posted a YouTube video denouncing the firm’s foreclosure practices. “She was a thorn in their side,” said my source.

A third photograph shows a corner of Baum’s office decorated to look like a row of foreclosed homes. Another shows a sign that reads, “Baum Estates” — needless to say, it’s also full of foreclosed houses. Most of the other pictures show either mock homeless camps or mock foreclosure signs — or both. My source told me that not every Baum department used the party to make fun of the troubled homeowners they made their living suing. But some clearly did. The adjective she’d used when she sent them to me — “appalling” — struck me as exactly right.

These pictures are hardly the first piece of evidence that the Baum firm treats homeowners shabbily — or that it uses dubious legal practices to do so. It is under investigation by the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. It recently agreed to pay $2 million to resolve an investigation by the Department of Justice into whether the firm had “filed misleading pleadings, affidavits, and mortgage assignments in the state and federal courts in New York.” (In the press release announcing the settlement, Baum acknowledged only that “it occasionally made inadvertent errors.”)

MFY Legal Services, which defends homeowners, and Harwood Feffer, a large class-action firm, have filed a class-action suit claiming that Steven J. Baum has consistently failed to file certain papers that are necessary to allow for a state-mandated settlement conference that can lead to a modification. Judge Arthur Schack of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn once described Baum’s foreclosure filings as “operating in a parallel mortgage universe, unrelated to the real universe.” (My source told me that one Baum employee dressed up as Judge Schack at a previous Halloween party.)

I saw the firm operate up close when I wrote several columns about Lilla Roberts, a 73-year-old homeowner who had spent three years in foreclosure hell. Although she had a steady income and was a good candidate for a modification, the Baum firm treated her mercilessly.

When I called a press spokesman for Steven J. Baum to ask about the photographs, he sent me a statement a few hours later. “It has been suggested that some employees dress in … attire that mocks or attempts to belittle the plight of those who have lost their homes,” the statement read. “Nothing could be further from the truth.” It described this column as “another attempt by The New York Times to attack our firm and our work.”

I encourage you to look at the photographs with this column on the Web. Then judge for yourself the veracity of Steven J. Baum’s denial.

Them trolls, man even in life, wow, just wow.

Our last story for tonight is an interesting one.

The Onion’s fake story no laughing matter for Santa Rosa institute

By KERRY BENEFIELD

The equivalent of a media practical joke seemed funny at first to the head of a Santa Rosa parenting institute.

But it quickly turned into a nightmare.

The Onion, a 23-year-old satirical online and print publication, wrote a tongue-in-cheek story that all styles of parenting cause children to grow up into “profoundly unhappy adults,” based on a study credited to the California Parenting Institute of Santa Rosa.

The reported research — which caused tremors in parenting circles nationwide — found that even varying parenting styles lead to bitterness, isolation or adults “unprepared to contend with life’s difficulties.”

Except the institute never conducted any such study.

Robin Bowen, executive director of CPI, is familiar with The Onion and even laughed when she was first alerted to the faux-story by her daughter Thursday morning.

“Her friend in Portland had emailed her with the link,” Bowen said. “She came in and woke me up and said, ‘Mom, you are never going to believe this.’”

It was when she got to work later that morning that the enormity of the impact became clear.

The story brought a deluge of calls to the Standish Avenue offices of the 33-year-old non-profit advocacy group.

“We even had parent educators who work here say, ‘When did we do a study?’” said Wendy Hilberman, director of marketing and development for CPI.

The Onion, which describes itself on its website as “an omnipotent news empire,” ran the story Wednesday near stories headlined, “Nation Finally Just Breaks Down and Begs Its Smart People to Fix Everything,” and “John Madden Agrees to Work as a Consultant for Raiders Concession Stand.”

Nonetheless, CPI officials said they were inundated with phone calls and emails from people concerned that parenting really does not matter.

“For instance, we had a lady, she basically called and said she was writing a book or something and she really wanted a copy of the research and it supported some of her thoughts,” Hilberman said.

“It’s obviously not OK to list our agency, even in satire,” she said.

The institute offers parenting instruction, coordinates a local child abuse council and provides children’s counseling services, among other programs.

In a press release issued Friday, CPI touted its good works while dismissing any connection with The Onion story.

“The falsified study quoted in The Onion states that all parenting styles lead to the same outcome — unhappy, miserable adults,” the release reads. “We have been around a long time because we know that parent education does work.”

Officials at The Onion, which has offices in Chicago and New York, acknowledged that some of their stories have caused confusion in the past. Separate web sites have been set up paying homage to some of The Onion’s top headlines and how readers have been duped.

“Generally people recognize The Onion and are familiar with what we do. However, there are certainly cases of confusion for those that have never heard of us,” said The Onion spokeswoman Anne Finn.

Social media and lightning quick communication can deliver news, but Bowen said it’s not always clear from where the information is coming.

“I’m totally aware that it’s satire,” she said. “But it’s spreading through the internet and people’s blogs and where it’s coming from is getting left off and it’s looking like a news story.”

Consumers of information need to be savvy, said Jonah Raskin, Sonoma State University professor of communication studies and media law.

“If you go online, you will find all kinds of things that are false and misleading about products and individuals,” Raskin said. “If anyone takes The Onion seriously, they are sadly misunderstanding The Onion.”

Bowen said the group’s hand was forced by the public’s reaction to the story.

“I kind of feel like we needed to be preventive,” she said. “I think that things with the Internet are so easily accessible, it’s like the old game of telephone that we would play when we were kids.”

That’s our show for today everybody, see you Monday night.

Sono me, dare no me?

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Evening, all~ Just in time for Halloween weekend, this week’s review is of one of the creepier VNs I’ve read lately, Chaos;Head.

Chaos;Head follows a borderline hikkikomori otaku by the name of Nishijou Takumi. Though he goes to school on occasion, most of his time is spent locked away playing games or surfing the internet.

However, this peaceful, if lonely, existence isn’t meant to last, and before long Takumi finds himself caught up in a string of serial murders…and a plot that threatens to change the world as we know it.

The game has a unique “Delusion” feature that allows the player to choose the direction that the daydreaming protagonist’s fantasies go. The green delusions are often happy and cheerful, the red ones paranoid or violent. The game is certainly not meant for everyone, and should be avoided by children and those that are particularly sensitive. For those that can stomach it, however, Chaos;Head has an incredibly tense and riveting story that will keep you in suspense until the very end.

That’s all for now, everyone~ See you next week!

Weekend Quicky: Aya Hirano Returns The Movie

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Weekend Quicky this Sunday is about Hirano returning as a seiyuu. News will return on Monday; stay foolish, my friends.

The Return of Aya Hirano

Author: Artefact

Scandal seiyuu Aya Hirano is apparently set to make a comeback as a seiyuu, having revealed that she has managed to secure no less that 4 new roles – although not everyone is convinced.

Her enthusiastic tweets about her new roles:

“I’m really excited about tomorrow’s recording! I can’t calm down! (゚レ゚)”

“No, it’s a new one! I’ve got 4 new regular roles now!”

Whether she is rising like a glorious phoenix from the ashes of her own burning career or is merely being economical with her definition of what constitutes a “new role” is the subject of much debate online:

“She’s got 4 regular roles! How the lifeliners will rejoice!”

“Amazing! We love you Aya! Well done! I’m really looking forward to these! I’ll be sure to watch all 4 of them!”

“She’s got talent, after all.”

“4 roles – a huge victory for Aya!”

“Are they all anime? 2012 is the year of the Aya!”

“You can also interpret her wording as stating that she has 4 roles in total.”

“Why can’t she tell us which? It looks as if she was told to keep it quiet in case all their fans become enraged…”

“I wonder how much her guarantee is now.”

“After the uproar died down she’s really shining again!”

Just how many of her “new regular roles” actually involve anime characters, let alone major ones, remains to be seen…

Ponies Party on Priday

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Pony Fridays is brought to you in part by

MLP: Fighting is Magic

Hello Grassolites, welcome to Friday…*sigh* now I’m talking like Stephen Georg. Nah, screw that, let’s do an actual intro: “Hey everyone, this is Friday October 28th 2011.”

There, much better. Anyway, let’s move on with  the news.

Friday marks the last day of NCFC, I will not be attending today as I have a lot of work to do over the weekend so, enjoy the last day. If you haven’t already grabbed at least 1 game on the site, today is your  last chance to do so. I recommend Psycho Waluigi, Earthbound 3 (not to be confused with Mother 4), Battle Network Chrono X, and Xenofighters R. All of which are free and downloadable.

Off  to Sankaku we go…

Here’s Autumn’s  top 10 anime

1. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai

2. Fate/Zero

3. Working!!

4. Mirai Nikki

5. Guilty Crown

6. Ben-Tou

7. C3

8. Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere

9. Persona 4 The Animation

10. Un-Go

Not really surprised but here, have some comments.

The mid-season ranking of the fall 2011 season may well be the most utterly devoid of surprises yet, with otaku expectations seemingly well served.

Of the season favourites, only Persona 4 seems to have underperformed expectations.

Next up…

China’s Luckiest Driver: “Saved By Not Wearing Seatbelt”

Author: Artefact

Chinese are finally celebrating a happy tale from the chaos of their nation’s roads – the driver of this vehicle apparently somehow managed to survive the impact of a truckload of metal bars almost unscathed.

The incident unfolded in China’s Zhejiang province. The driver involved had no number plate, so upon seeing police he immediately tried to perform a U-turn in the middle of a busy road, at which point he collided with a taxi in the opposite lane.

After losing control of his vehicle he collided with a three wheeled truck carrying a cargo of steel frame, which shed its load into his windscreen.

Images can be seen via the link  in the title.

Moving on.

Hiroki Narimiya as Phoenix Wright – “No Objections!”

Author: Artefact

Almost unheard of for a game to movie adaptation, the online reaction is almost uniformly positive:

“No objection!”

“He looks just the part…”

“No objection, unexpectedly.”

“This verdict is quite the reverse!”

“I’ll watch it!”

“It won’t be this close, surely.”

“Ob-No objection!”

“I expect they can get someone to match the judge as well.”

“They really put some effort in then.”

The film is due to hit Japanese cinemas on February 11th, 2012.

Unexpectedly for a game-based film, the casting of Hiroki Narimiya as Phoenix Wright (Naruhodō Ryūichi) in the upcoming movie adaptation of Capcom’s Ace Attorney (Gyakuten Saiban) series has been meeting with widespread approval online.

This aught to be good, a phoenix wright flick. Can’t wait to see the translators pick this up; Seems Jap-anons approve at least.

Republican Idol: 2012

Posted: 10/28/11 07:26 AM ET

Were it not for the struggling American economy, President Barack Obama would be in a commanding position in his campaign for re-election in 2012. But the current field of Republican presidential candidates is doing all they can to help President Obama win a second term.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has pretty much been the GOP frontrunner since he announced his candidacy. But Romney has been stuck at about 23% in national polls of those who say they are Republicans. The fact is that many conservatives don’t believe he is one of them because Romney has flip-flopped on several of their key issues, like abortion.

Just this week Romney sidestepped a question on whether he supported Republican Gov. John Kasich’s restrictions on public sector employee bargaining in Ohio. State polls show that the restrictions are overwhelmingly unpopular among Ohioans. One day later Romney clarified his position by saying he supported the initiative “110 percent.” But both Democrats and Republicans criticized Romney for his handling of the issue.

Texas Governor Rick Perry briefly shot past Romney when he declared his candidacy, but he crashed back to earth following a series of poor debate performances. In an effort to regain momentum, Perry announced a “flat tax” that, upon careful examination, benefits the rich at the expense of the middle class. He then raised questions about the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate, a move that has been denounced by many leading Republicans. Now the Perry campaign has suggested that he may not participate in some future Republican debates.

Businessman Herman Cain charmed the American public with his smooth and likeable style, whether on the campaign stump or in debates. He surged to the top of the polls after he announced his “9-9-9” plan as a “bold and simple” way to turn the economy around. When critics charged that his plan was regressive for low and middle income taxpayers, he then came up with the “9-0-9” plan. Some observers suggest he is making it up as he goes. Now his position on abortion has been attacked as too liberal. Meanwhile, Cain has not yet put together a serious campaign organization. Instead, he has been on a nationwide book tour.

Representative Michele Bachmann, leader of the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives, started strong but quickly sank in the polls. Now a tea party group is calling for her to end her presidential quest. A tea party executive told CNN, “I think it’s pretty obvious that Michele Bachmann is about Michele Bachmann.”

For the most part, the other Republican candidates have languished in the polls. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman has been too centrist. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich is too unpredictable. And former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has consistently trailed the others.

Meanwhile, President Obama has taken to the campaign trail to sell parts of his jobs bill that failed to pass Congress intact. He got some good news on Thursday when the House passed one small portion of that bill which would repeal a 3% withholding tax on payments the government makes to contractors. The president also got some encouraging economic growth numbers for the U.S. as Europe announced a major agreement to deal with their economic crisis.

With the 2012 election one year away, it is unlikely that the nation’s unemployment rate will significantly decline or that the economy will take off in the next twelve months. Despite his string of national security successes, President Obama will almost certainly be on the defensive during the fall campaign for his handling of the economy.

However, he is no doubt grateful to the Republicans for their brutal primary process. It has shown that the GOP is bereft of any good ideas to turn the economy around — other than cutting taxes for the rich and reducing entitlements. More importantly, it has exposed the enormous flaws each of the Republican candidates has, beginning with the serial flip-flopper, Mitt Romney. It is like the worst season of American Idol — call it Republican Idol.

President Barack Obama should be feeling a little better these days about his re-election chances in 2012.

It really is fun watching Reps squirm and lose it, but when Republican candidates are rooting for Obama as well, you know damn well he’s going to get past this hurdle, and I’m glad to see this.

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China could play key role in EU rescue

By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing and Richard Milne in London

China is very likely to contribute to the eurozone’s bail-out fund but the scope of its involvement will depend on European leaders satisfying some key conditions, two senior advisers to the Chinese government have told the Financial Times.

Any Chinese support would depend on contributions from other countries and Beijing must be given strong guarantees on the safety of its investment, according to Li Daokui, an academic member of China’s central bank monetary policy committee, and Yu Yongding, a former member of that committee.

Financial markets reacted with relief hours after a European deal was agreed at a summit aimed at calming the two-year-long sovereign debt crisis. The plan includes recapitalising European banks, making them accept a loss of 50 per cent on their holdings of Greek debt and boosting the firepower of the rescue fund, known as the European Financial Stability Facility.

The S&P 500, which rose 3.4 per cent, is on course for its best monthly gain since October 1974. The FTSE All World stock index gained 4.1 per cent, its best one-day rise since May 2010.

Bank stocks also increased sharply with the S&P financials index gaining 6.2 per cent, led by big commercial banks. The dollar slumped 1.6 per cent, its biggest one-day drop since May 2009, as the euro surged more than 2 per cent, above $1.42.

“It is in China’s long-term and intrinsic interest to help Europe because they are our biggest trading partner but the chief concern of the Chinese government is how to explain this decision to our own people,” said Professor Li. “The last thing China wants is to throw away the country’s wealth and be seen as just a source of dumb money.”

He added that Beijing might also ask European leaders to refrain from criticising China’s currency policy, a frequent source of tension with trade partners. The US argues that an intentionally undervalued renminbi unfairly supports Chinese exports.

In spite of discomfort among some Europeans about Chinese investment, the comments represented a fillip to eurozone leaders hours after a summit aimed at calming the two-year-long sovereign debt crisis.

With $3,200bn in foreign exchange reserves, roughly a quarter of which are believed to be held in euros, China could be willing to contribute between $50bn and $100bn to the EFSF or a new fund set up under its auspices in collaboration with the IMF, according to one person familiar with the thinking of the Chinese leadership.

“If conditions are right then something a bit above $100bn is not inconceivable,” this person said.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France welcomed the prospect of a Chinese contribution to the eurozone rescue package. “Our independence would not be put into question by this,” he said in a television interview. “Why would we not accept that the Chinese had confidence in the eurozone and place a part of their surpluses in our funds or our banks. Would you rather they placed it with the US?”

Klaus Regling, head of the EFSF, was due to arrive in Beijing late on Thursday for discussions with senior Chinese leaders on whether and how much China might contribute. President Sarkozy telephoned his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao a few hours after the summit ended to discuss the rescue plan but there was no immediate announcement on any Chinese involvement.

European leaders agreed that the EFSF would explore two plans to increase its remaining firepower from about €250bn to €1,000bn. One would be to offer investors insurance on selected government debt while the other would create a special fund in which countries such as China could invest.

One condition China might ask for is that its contribution be at least partly denominated in renminbi, which would protect its investment against currency fluctuations. China would buy euro-denominated bonds but repayments would compensate for any changes in the value of the renminbi, which has appreciated nearly 20 per cent against the euro in the past three years.

Reflecting the unease in Europe, the head of Germany’s industry association said he feared Chinese help could “come at some political cost”. Hans-Peter Keitel told the FT: “Asking a non-eurozone nation to help the euro would give the other nation the power to decide the fate of the single currency.”

The global focus on how China might contribute to the European rescue plan illustrates its increased influence on the world stage and many in Beijing believe this crisis presents an opportunity for it to display global citizenship and responsibility commensurate with its rising status.

Beijing’s main concern is how any contribution to a European bailout will be viewed domestically by an increasingly informed and critical populace.

“Any mis-steps in helping Europe could cause problems with domestic public opinion – the Chinese people will watch very carefully what their own government does,” Prof Yu said. “European leaders also must have a clear plan of what to do and they must show China they have the political will as well as the support of their own people; if we see protests and chaos all the time, then China won’t have confidence in Europe’s political ability.”

And here’s one more article about Obama wondering why he’s peaked at 44%.

“Considering the debacle that he came in with, the tough choices he’s made and how there have been few, if any breaks, he says it himself all the time,” Daley says. “He doesn’t know why he’s as high as 44 percent.”

That is supposed to be a laugh line, but, indeed, the RealClearPolitics average of leading polls currently has Obama at 44.0 percent approval and 50.7 percent disapproval.

That is due to many factors, Daley says, and he starts reeling them off: trying to stimulate the economy; trying to save the auto industry; trying to increase the debt ceiling; passing health care legislation; fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; and dealing with Syria, North Korea, Egypt and Iran. To name a few.

“It’s been a brutal three years,” he says. “It’s been a very, very difficult three years, an incredible three years. And we are doing all this under the overhang of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. F—k! It wasn’t like all this was happening in good times.”

But good times — well, better times — are possible before November 2012, Daley says. And all President Obama has to do to achieve this is make a startling end run around not just the Republicans but also the Democrats, in Congress.

All he has to do, Daley says, is operate in domestic affairs with the same speed, power and independence that he possesses in foreign and military affairs.

That’s all.

“On the domestic side, both Democrats and Republicans have really made it very difficult for the president to be anything like a chief executive,” Daley says. “This has led to a kind of frustration.”

The president’s solution? “Let’s figure out what we can do [without Congress] and push the envelope on some of these things,” Daley says.

Daley recognizes that there are three branches of government and the president leads only one of them, but now is the time for him to flex his muscles and show what he can do without the squabbling, ineffective — and far less popular than even he — Congress.

That’s our show for today, tune in Monday and we’ll have yet another stressful week where we try to attune ourselves to Zen; I will see you then.

THORsday is here!

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Today’s crap is brought to you by a remix of Eirin’s Theme by Lyude (jp). Playlist can be found here.

With the advent of Thursday upon us,  dawn of the 4th day of NCFC begins. The guys over at the Mother 4 team have  generously provided us with a very nice wallpaper. Without further ado, let’s head to the news shall we?

 

GTA has been a long-running series for Rockstar since the days of GTA II. GTA V now boasts a lot of things, but if you’re like me and completely disinterested in sandbox games, that’s ok too. Here’s the article in all it’s glory.


Grand Theft Auto V: Facts and Conjecture

Let’s hypothesize.

October 25, 2011

 

It’s not exactly a surprise that Grand Theft Auto V is officially in the works. Gamers have been awaiting any word on its development since 2008’s release of Grand Theft Auto IV (and the subsequent push of two full-fledged DLC packs), but Rockstar has been mum for over three years on the future of the franchise.

We heard analyst rumblings way back in the summer of 2009 that GTA V was under way. About a year later, the rumor was that Grand Theft Auto V would be set on the west coast of the United States. The latter rumor persisted into this year, when a casting list for Grand Theft Auto V supported the California setting.

Finally. It’s real.

All of that speculation combined with Grand Theft Auto V’s official announcement begs certain questions. What exactly is Grand Theft Auto V? Where will it take place? And most importantly, how will it borrow from the four sandbox GTA games that preceded it in order to make the ultimate Grand Theft Auto experience?

Looking back, the great strength of Grand Theft Auto III was how much of a mind-blowing, revolutionary title it was. Vice City and San Andreas were built on identical architecture, and Grand Theft Auto IV simply reimagined the notion of a sandbox city on a beautiful new engine. But none of them provided the be all, end all paradigm shift that Grand Theft Auto III was when it came out in 2001. Could Grand Theft Auto V reinvent what the GTA franchise is known for? Will it be something unexpected or will it be totally safe?

Certainly, Grand Theft Auto V will take place in a sandbox of its own, complete with over-the-top action, violence, sexual innuendo and everything else the series has been known and loved for over the last decade. But it could certainly be cleaned-up, too. If there’s something I hope Rockstar focuses on more than anything, it’s the fidelity of on-foot gameplay. Vehicular mechanics can’t get much better than they were in Grand Theft Auto IV (well, except for those pesky-as-hell helicopter missions), but the on-foot portions of Grand Theft Auto V need to be as strong and polished as everything else in the game if, like Grand Theft Auto III, GTA V is set to raise the bar yet again.

GTAIV’s on-foot mechanics were fun, but they could have been stronger.

Vice City and San Andreas expanded on Grand Theft Auto III’s greatness with an insane level of attention paid to certain periods of time. Vice City, the first post-GTA III foray, embodied the 1980s. With its look and (especially) its soundtrack, Vice City was a spot-on, admittedly facetious look at the excesses of the ’80s, and isn’t only my favorite Grand Theft Auto game, but ranks extremely high in my all-time list of games. Likewise, San Andreas busted-open the sandbox and made it humongous (almost to the point of unwieldy), but again, its acute attention to the look and feel of the west coast during the mid-1990s was appreciated by fans around the world.

With Rockstar having proven that it could nail the look and feel of certain time periods, could Grand Theft Auto V explore another time entirely? The Godfather and Mafia games, competent in their own right though certainly not even remotely of GTA’s quality, already covered the post-war era adequately. That leaves a vacuum for the 1960’s and 1970’s, two eras that I’d love to see Rockstar dabble in. Of course, Grand Theft Auto V could take place in the present à la Grand Theft Auto IV, but I really hope it doesn’t. Rockstar manages to do special things when it focuses on certain time periods, and this remains true outside of the GTA franchise. Just think of Red Dead Redemption for a great example.

If there is a polarizing game in the series, it’s no doubt San Andreas, the third and final GTA game on the PlayStation 2. San Andreas was a huge hit, and it was a great game, but some gamers suggest that it tried to do so much. San Andreas as a landmass was leaps and bounds ahead of Liberty City and Vice City in terms of size, and some thought that it forced the game to lose focus. Likewise, emphasizing RPG-like elements in terms of ancillary character development also contributed towards a more unfocused experience.

Vice City was fabulously ’80s.

Still, San Andreas was instructive in that it gave Rockstar a formula that, if honed and fine-tuned, could again contribute to the ultimate Grand Theft Auto experience the developer will no doubt strive for with GTA V. Size wasn’t necessarily the problem with San Andreas but rather what was done with a map of that size. If Grand Theft Auto V does indeed take place on the west coast, it’s worth considering that Rockstar will revisit San Andreas itself, just like Liberty City was revisited in GTA IV. If this is so, Rockstar needs to focus on making it as diverse as possible and as populated as it can be with as much interesting scenery, people and stories as the studio can muster.

Likewise, the RPG elements introduced in building-up CJ could be more robust, friendly and useful, giving players more control over their character’s development and destiny. There’s nothing wrong with having your character exercise or eat, but why not take the obvious leap and go to the full-bore RPG route? Rockstar could give your characters real statistics that can be built-up. It would be awesome to have a character that earns experience points and levels-up. Imagine a GTA game where points could be attributed to certain stats, and your character could, say, drive better, run faster, or use firearms with more accuracy?

On November 2, we’ll know more about Grand Theft Auto V when Rockstar finally releases the first trailer of the game. In the meantime, let the conjecture roll on. And be sure to contribute some of your own conjecture in the comments below, letting us know what your ultimate GTA V experience would be and what Rockstar should borrow (or not) from previous games in the series.

Yes, you heard it here folks, Grand Theft Auto 5’s trailer is coming to a site near you in November. The lot of us who do remember GTA from the computer days will remember how fun top-down gaming is. Moving on…

 

Next up is an interesting piece. Apparently Congress has passed a bill that could shut down youtube. Oh, how nice, time to move to daily motion.

 

Feds to Blacklist Piracy Sites Under House Proposal

By David KravetsOctober 26, 2011
7:43 pm

A bipartisan group of House members introduced legislation Wednesday that would boost the government’s authority to disrupt and shutter websites that hawk or host trademark- and copyright-infringing products, including allowing the government to order sites removed from search engines.

Much of the package is similar to a stalled Senate measure known as the Protect IP Act. Both proposals amount to the holy grail of intellectual-property enforcement that the recording industry, movie studios and their union and guild workforces have been clamoring for since the George W. Bush administration.

Both bills allow the Justice Department for the first time to obtain court orders demanding American ISPs to stop rendering the DNS for a particular website — meaning the sites could still be accessible outside the United States. The House bill also allows the Justice Department to order search sites like Google to remove the allegedly infringing site from its search results.

Furthermore, the newest proposal, (.pdf) introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), grants the U.S. attorney general sweeping powers to block the distribution of workarounds that let users navigate to sites that have been blacklisted or had their domain name seized, such as the MafiaaFire plugin on the Firefox browser.

Sherwin Siy, a staff attorney with digital rights group Public Knowledge, said the measure could be interpreted to prevent reporters from writing about DNS workarounds, such as publishing the IP addresses of banned websites. DNS servers translate domain names, such as Wikipedia.org, into IP addresses – but DNS can be bypassed if a user knows the IP address of a site.

“If anybody tells people how they can get around that block, the attorney general can bring an action on them,” Siy said in a telephone interview.

He suggested the government could order news sites to take down stories noting workarounds. ”It’s written pretty broadly,” he added of the bill, officially known as the “Stop Online Piracy Act.”

The anti-workaround provisions of the 79-page proposal, in part, appears to be in response to a white paper from top internet security experts concerned over the fallout if the Justice Department begins ordering American internet service providers to stop giving out the correct DNS entry for an infringing website under the .com, .org and .net domains.

DNS filtering not only causes security problems, it also invites the creation of workarounds, according to the paper written by Steve Crocker of Shinkuro, David Dagon of Georgia Tech, Dan Kaminsky of DKH, Danny McPherson of Verisign and Paul Vixie of Internet Systems Consortium.

Mandated DNS filtering would be minimally effective and would present technical challenges that could frustrate important security initiatives. Additionally, it would promote development of techniques and software that circumvent use of the DNS. These actions would threaten the Domain Name System’s ability to provide universal naming, a primary source of the internet’s value as a single, unified, global communications network.

Moments after the House legislation was introduced, Smith said the bill was needed because “Rogue websites that steal and sell American innovations have operated with impunity,” Smith said in a statement.

The United States, however, has been invoking an asset-forfeiture law to seize generic top-level domains of infringing websites under a new program called “Operation in Our Sites.” It began last year, and the Department of Homeland Security has targeted more than 128 sites, ranging from sites that link to video streams to those that hawk knock-off paraphernalia.

The House bill, like the Senate bill, allows rights holders to seek court orders instructing online ad services and credit card companies from partnering with the infringing sites.

The Smith proposal is set for a hearing Nov. 16  before the House Judiciary Committee, where it is expected to pass and then move to the House floor.

The Senate’s counterpart legislation, however, has been placed on a permanent, procedural hold by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon). Wyden said the Protect IP Act represents a “threat to our economic future.”

It’s all good man; We’ll be back in the dark ages. Japan and the US aren’t so different after all; We both have old-fucks  running our out-of-date country with their medieval ideologies. This is literally east meets west, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. [putsonshades.jpg]

Now for some horse-shit laden ideal-isms from Japan.

 

79% of Women: “Posters of Girls = NG”

Author: Artefact

 

A Fuji TV claim that 79% of women cannot abide the prospect of girlie posters in a man’s room has otaku up in arms – not least when they realise female objections extend even as far as desktop wallpaper…

The online reaction is predictable:

“So are 2D girls OK?”

“Eroge posters are OK.”

“Seiyuu posters too.”

“Otoko no ko posters will be fine, I’m sure.”

“You’re supposed to take that stuff down if a woman visits, it’s only polite.”

“21% are OK with it but still no woman come to my room…”

“Figures and dakimakura are OK then?”

“Anime figures:”

no-girlie-posters-1.jpg

“Ehhhh – impossible!”

“Anim dolls were panned as well.”

“Well, at least allow them a nice desktop wallpaper.”

no-girlie-posters-2.jpg

“This is some game character, isn’ it?”

no-girlie-posters-3.jpg

“This is no good at all!”

no-girlie-posters-4.jpg

“I imagined a more manly sort of room…”

“At least let them do as they like with their desktop!”

“This programme is creepy.”

“Of course, it’s NG for single women to have posters of guys put up in their rooms – isn’t it?”

 

I just love the picture of the woman in the last picture; It very much says she’s retarded. I never could understand this sexualized feminism Japan seems to have with everything. It’s actually very much depressing that Japanese women can’t even get along with the animation industry that has brought up so much of Japan’s culture. Well, can’t do anything about it, tis the world and how convoluted it is that makes for some real things.

Let’s move on.

The JSDF (Japanese Self Defense Force), aka whats left of Japan’s military after WWII, held a cosplay on base. Journalists and Otaku alike came out to see as well as Lenfried. The gallery can be seen here.

Moving on.

 

Gallery can be seen by clicking the title.

Ro-Kyu-Bu – “Elementary Schoolers Better Than Ever!”

Ro-Kyu-Bu‘s latest Blu-ray release has arrived, proving just how good elementary schoolers can be when freed of the all obscuring steam which is such a central pillar of anime marketing…

 

Let’s go west and find more booze, I mean news.

 

U.S. Economy: Growth Accelerates as Consumers Spend More

October 27, 2011, 12:46 PM EDT

By Alex Kowalski

 

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. economy grew in the third quarter at the fastest pace in a year as Americans reduced savings to boost purchases and companies stepped up investment in equipment and software.

Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, rose at a 2.5 percent annual rate, up from 1.3 percent in the prior three months, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Household purchases, the biggest part of the economy, increased at a 2.4 percent pace, more than forecast by economists.

The biggest drop in incomes in two years, along with declines in home prices and consumer confidence, cast doubt on whether the increase in spending can be sustained. Federal Reserve policy makers, who meet next week, and the Obama administration are considering additional measures to reduce an unemployment rate that has been stuck around 9 percent or higher for 30 months.

“There is some gain in momentum after a very weak first half,” said Robert Dye, chief economist at Comerica Inc. in Dallas, who correctly forecast the rise in GDP. “We need to get the jobs machine going and get the housing market moving in the right direction. The economy remains in a low-to-moderate growth mode, and that keeps us vulnerable.”

Stocks surged as European leaders agreed to expand a bailout fund to stem the region’s debt crisis. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 2.8 percent to 1,277.3 at 12:01 p.m. in New York, extending its October advance to 13 percent and erasing its 2011 loss. Treasuries fell, pushing the yield on the 10-year note up to 2.31 percent from 2.21 percent late yesterday.

European Agreement

An agreement by European leaders on steps that included recapitalizing the continent’s banks brought them closer to a resolution of the sovereign-debt crisis that Fed policy makers have identified as a risk to the U.S. economy.

Other data today showed that consumer confidence declined last week as Americans’ views of the economy sank to the lowest since the recession, and the number of contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly fell in September.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index dropped to minus 51.1 in the week ended Oct. 23, the lowest in a month, from minus 48.4 the prior period. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed had a negative opinion about the economy, the worst since April 2009 and one percentage point shy of a record high.

The National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales fell 4.6 percent, the biggest decline since April. Economists forecast a 0.4 percent gain, according to the median of 38 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

Household Spending

The increase in consumer spending last quarter followed a 0.7 percent gain in the previous period and exceeded the 1.9 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Purchases added 1.7 percentage points to growth.

Consumers lowered the pace of saving as incomes declined, the report showed. The savings rate last quarter dropped to 4.1 percent, the lowest since the last three months of 2007. After- tax incomes adjusted for inflation decreased at a 1.7 percent annual rate, the biggest drop since the third quarter of 2009.

McDonald’s Corp., the world’s biggest restaurant chain, is among companies trying to keep prices down to attract budget- conscious customers. The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company this month said third-quarter profit gained 8.6 percent.

‘Still Fragile’

“The environment out there is still fragile,” James Skinner, McDonald’s vice-chairman and chief executive officer, said in an Oct. 21 call with analysts. “Consumers everywhere continue to be cautious and hesitant to spend.”

Gross domestic product surpassed its pre-recession peak for the first time. The 15 quarters it took to reach that milestone compares with an average of five quarters it has taken to recover from previous post-war recessions.

While the expansion is “encouraging,” faster growth is needed “to replace jobs lost in the recent downturn,” Katharine Abraham, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in a blog posting.

The economy expanded at an average 0.9 percent rate in the first half of 2011, the worst performance since the recovery began in June 2009. Growth needs to exceed 2.5 percent to reduce the jobless rate, according to estimates by Kurt Karl, chief U.S. economist at Swiss RE in New York.

Business Investment

One bright spot is business investment. Corporate spending on equipment and software climbed at a 17.4 percent pace, the most in a year. It contributed 1.2 percentage point to growth.

“We are starting to see our customers resume their investment activity,” Richard S. Hill, chairman and chief executive officer at San Jose, California-based Novellus Systems Inc., a maker of machinery used in semiconductor production, said on a conference call with analysts yesterday.

A rush to qualify for a larger government credit may be contributing to the increase. The Obama administration’s tax compromise allows companies to depreciate 100 percent of investment in capital outlays in 2011 and 50 percent in 2012.

“A lot of the strength is being driven by tax incentives,” said Aneta Markowska, a senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York.

The pickup in investment didn’t translate into more jobs. Payrolls rose by an average 96,000 workers per month last quarter, down from the 166,000 average in the first quarter.

Unemployment Benefits

A Labor Department report today showed that fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment assistance last week, signaling limited improvement in the labor market.

First-time jobless claims decreased by 2,000 to 402,000 in the week ended Oct. 22. The number of people collecting unemployment benefits fell in the prior week by 96,000 to 3.65 million, the fewest since September 2008.

President Barack Obama proposed last month a $447 billion plan to stimulate jobs, which included expanding a payroll tax break due to expire at the end of this year, increasing spending on public works and extending jobless benefits.

Obama yesterday said he is seeking ways to take action without congressional approval after the Senate blocked the measure earlier this month. The steps include altering a program to help homeowners refinance mortgages and easing the burden of student loans.

Fed policy makers are developing options for further monetary easing even as the economy picks up.

Policy Makers

Vice Chairman Janet Yellen said last week that a third round of large-scale asset purchases “might become appropriate if evolving economic conditions called for significantly greater monetary accommodation.” Governor Daniel Tarullo said buying mortgage-backed securities “should move back up toward the top of the list of options.”

Policy makers pledged in August to hold the benchmark interest rate near zero at least through the middle of 2013 so long as joblessness stays high and the inflation outlook is “subdued.” On Sept. 21, they announced a plan to replace debt in the central bank’s portfolio with longer-term Treasuries to help cut borrowing costs.

Companies also kept a tight rein on stockpiles last quarter, making it less likely that production will have to be cut back. Inventories were rebuilt at a $5.4 billion annual pace, down from the second quarter’s $39.1 billion rate. The reduction subtracted 1.1 percentage points from GDP growth.

Excluding inventories, the economy grew at a 3.6 percent annual rate last quarter, up from a 1.6 percent in the April through June period.

The biggest increase here isn’t 1.3 to 2.5 percent in earnings, which by all standards is meager when looked at on a yearly basis. A 2.5% increase is so dismal and it’s only a fraction of the total US earnings that it makes very little difference on what happens in the grand scheme of things.

Next up is news about a comedian being slammed about tweets regarding killing Sarah Palin.

Comedian slammed for posting tweets to get Sarah Palin killed

 October 27, 2011 – 4:10 pm

 

Washington, Oct 27 (ANI): Critics have slammed funny man Orlando Jones for crossing the line when he tweeted that liberals should “Kill Sarah Palin.”

The comedian posted his views on his Twitter account after the death of Muammar Gaddafi.

“Libyan Rebels kill Gaddafi, if American liberals want respect they better stop listening to Aretha and kill Sarah Palin,” he wrote.

Many did not take the actor’s post lightly and posted theirs in retort, saying that it was not funny to ask for the former governor of Alaska to be killed.

Jones, 43, then took to his Facebook account to explain himself, Fox News reported.

“My job as an artist is to hold up a mirror to society. I do not decide how people feel or react to that. My tweet hit a nerve. That’s good. The fact that is has taken precedent over the serious issues that face us is not good. That’s media outlets vying for attention and ad dollars.”

“Was it my best line? No. It would be great if those individuals who are genuinely outraged redirected that energy toward the greater good. Any anger directed at me and my right to free speech is an absolute waste of time. I am not a statesman. My comments reflect no political affiliation. It’s just me being me, in a world that will never comfortably mix political correctness with artistic expression. For that, I offer no apologies, excuses or wisdom,” he wrote.

That’s our show for today, I will see you next time. Goodbye, everybody.

Wicked Wednesdays

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Today’s music is brought to you by Michael Franti & Spearhead who I see as the modern day Bob Marley.

If you're wondering why I'm giving these corny days nicknames, it's cause of NCFC. Once it's over, it'll be back to better titles.

So Wednesday marks the 3rd day of the NCFC and the 3rd day of the full day stream. So far, a few good games have been showcased and many of them have yet to even make it onto the stream. I want to show a game called Mushroom Kingdom Fusion (abbr. MKF), a game that is possibly incomplete due to issues with staff and is also not  a game that made it to the 2011 NCFC. The game is similar to Super Mario Bros. Crossover, which if you haven’t heard of or played yet you’re missing out, is a great game.

Now a small bit of lulz. A company whose games I used to play’s rating on the BBB:

Suffice it to say, OGPlanet was shit, Nexon got a D+ in case you care. Next up we have the Top 10 Shounen Manga of the 2000s; Here’s hoping One Piece makes it lol.

Top 10 Shonen Jump Manga of the 2000s

Author: Leon

1. Death Note [4267]

2. Gintama [3746]

3. Bleach [2569]

4. Toriko [658]

5. Katekyoushi Hitman Reborn! [642]

6. Bakuman [597]

7. Eyeshield 21 [478]

8. Ichigo 100% [436]

9. Beelzebub [386]

10. Pyu to Fuku! Jaguar [347]

Now here’s a little something interesting, 25% of the Japanese population now consider themselves Otaku. That’s 5% more than a couple years ago, lol.

25% of Japanese Now “Otaku”

Author: Artefact

A recently published study on the “otaku” market finds that as many as 25% of Japanese may now consider themselves otaku, an increase of 5% on the previous year.

According to a multi-channel survey of 10,102 people undertaken by the Yano Research Institute, Japan’s oldest market research firm, 25.5% of those asked whether they consider themselves otaku or have been labelled otaku by others responded in the affirmative.

Compared to the 2010 edition of the same survey, this represents a 5.1% increase in the otaku population.

The survey also noted much growth in certain “otaku” markets – online gaming saw a 40% increase to 299 billion yen, and the market for dating games grew 30.2% to 11 billion yen, although these increases are attributed to the rise in social gaming and dating simulations marketed to women on mobile phones – hardly qualifying as “light otaku,” let alone “otaku.”

The market for digital comics also saw dramatic growth, although this is widely interpreted as the result of long-delayed technological change rather than actual growth – traditional manga sales continue to decline.

The market for idols, long considered the preserve only of the very creepiest otaku, is also growing, although this has been attributed to more efficient exploitation of existing otaku rather than an increase in the number of consumers.

Yano’s conclusion is that the “otaku” market is growing, but that it is also being heavily supplemented by the participation of non-traditional otaku – although with a limited population available in Japan, they stress the need to market more to non-Japanese markets.

There is some scepticism about their results when it comes to otaku population size, although Yano is a credible market research company and other studies have found similar increases in populations identifying themselves as “otaku” in recent years.

As the survey seems comparatively sound, those who are sceptical of such vast growth in the “otaku” population tend to identify the fact that such surveys invariably base their results chiefly on respondents self-identifying as “otaku.”

The term “otaku” has no real objective definition and has increasingly found itself used by non-traditional otaku to mean “anime and manga fan” rather than the more classic “obsessive maniac” – this has led to a lowering of resistance to the label and large numbers of normals identifying themselves with a now trendy label, runs this line of thought, commonly espoused on 2ch.

As a result of this, terms like “kimo-ota” (“kimochi warui” or “kimoi” otaku – “creepy otaku”) now take on the negative nuance once so strongly attached to “otaku,” whilst (amongst some at least) identifying as an otaku becomes a point of pride.

There is also some disdain on traditional haunts towards “self-proclaimed otaku,” who are regarded merely as fad-following normals rather than true obsessive maniacs.

Whatever the case, critics cannot help but note that such dramatic increases in the otaku population do not seem to have been accompanied by similarly sized increases in anime and manga sales, or even any increase at all…

The last bit of junk from Sankaku is actually an NSFW Gallery, which I will only link and not discuss.
I’m gonna move onto the western hemisphere now..

Dems want to put a 3 trillion dollar package of cuts on spendings such as Medicare and many others in order to please the GOP. Ya great job, mate,  cut more to make the country more fucked…that’s just what we need. Eventually we’ll have nothing left to cut. Then what’ll you do, government? Quit? Give up? Cause if that’s the case, then good job.

Democrats offer $3-trillion deal to slash deficit

By Lisa MascaroOctober 26, 2011, 1:39 p.m.

Top super committee Democrats have proposed a “grand bargain”-like offer to their GOP colleagues on the panel, picking up where negotiations between President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner broke off this summer over a $3-trillion package of spending cuts and new taxes.

The proposal was intended as a gesture of compromise as the committee struggles to find common ground to slash deficits by cutting spending, raising taxes or both by its Thanksgiving deadline. Summer talks broke down over Republican resistance to new taxes.

Failure of the super committee to reach a compromise is increasingly drawing concern from forces outside of Washington that are worried about another downgrade of the nation’s once-stellar credit rating. Standard & Poor’s issued a downgrade after the summer debt ceiling deal, and other credit rating agencies could follow suit if Washington fails to make progress on reducing its debt load. That would likely spike interest rates for ordinary Americans.

The Democratic proposal was not aired publicly, but sources indicated it would combine spending cuts and new tax revenue as had been discussed this summer. Those earlier talks included changes to the way Medicare‘s cost-of-living adjustments are made that would result in cuts to beneficiaries. Such changes could also generate new revenue.

Democrats have been intent on putting cuts to Medicare entitlements on the table if Republicans are willing to agree to some new taxes. But so far, the GOP has resisted new taxes. Instead, Republicans, led by Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, have pushed for an overhaul of the corporate tax code that would lower tax rates in a way they believe would spur economic growth and generate higher tax revenue.

Seniors’ advocates pounced on the proposal, and said if Democrats intended to send up a trial balloon, it was bound to pop among voters.

“I don’t think it’s going to float very well,” said Eric Kingston, co-chairman of the Strengthen Social Security Coalition.

But the influential Business Roundtable urged the super committee Wednesday to find consensus.

“A successful outcome to this process is critical for future economic growth, job creation and American global competitiveness,” wrote John Engler, the organization’s president.

Saying that I was surprised is like telling a brick wall to stop hurting you after punching it. I can’t say I’m shocked either cause at this point, if the US ends up slashing everything and everyone’s jobs America will cease to function as a country; 2012 is upon us, my friends, brace yourself for political turmoil of the 21st century. And just to further prove that the 2012 world wide economic disaster is upon us, let me show you this article about fistfights, yes fist fights, breaking out in the Northern League in Italy over a reform.


Italian deputies in fist fight over reforms

ROME | Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:02am EDT

(Reuters) – Italian deputies exchanged blows in parliament on Wednesday as tensions over a tough economic reform program came to a head.

At least two deputies from the Northern League, a member of the ruling center-right coalition, fought with members from the opposition FLI party of speaker Gianfranco Fini. Two deputies grabbed each other by the throat as other parliamentarians rushed to separate them.

The parliamentary sitting was suspended for several minutes after the fight, which broke out because of sarcastic remarks on television by Fini alleging that the wife of League leader Umberto Bossi had retired at 39.

Bossi has steadfastly refused to make more than slight concessions to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on the League’s objections to changing Italy’s generous pension system as part of reforms demanded by European leaders.

Berlusconi will travel to Brussels on Wednesday with a letter of intent on reforms to boost stagnant growth and cut Italy’s debt. But critics, including senior Italian bankers say firmer and more substantive undertakings are required.

“There is a climate of violence and intolerance,” said Amedeo Ciccanti from the centrist UDC party. “We need to calm down because Italians are more irritated than us about this.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, when Italians in their own government are fighting amongst themselves with a bowl of pasta on their table you know SHIT IS GOING DOWN! But that’s not even half as funny as when something like Occupy Oakland goes to hell. A war vet went and got himself severely injured in some police violence during the protest.

Occupy Oakland: Iraq war veteran in critical condition after police clashes

Scott Olsen, 24, in hospital with fractured skull and brain swelling after allegedly being hit by a police projectile in Oakland

An Iraq war veteran has a fractured skull and brain swelling after allegedly being hit by a police projectile.

Scott Olsen is in a “critical condition” in Highland hospital in Oakland, a hospital spokesman confirmed.

Olsen, 24, suffered the head injury during protests in Oakland on Tuesday evening. More than 15 people were arrested after a crowd gathered to demonstrate against the police operation to clear two Occupy Oakland camps in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Jay Finneburgh, a photographer who was covering the protest, published pictures of Olsen lying on the ground.

“This poor guy was right behind me when he was hit in the head with a police projectile. He went down hard and did not get up,” Finneburgh wrote.

Olsen was taken to Highland by fellow protesters.

The Guardian spoke to people with Olsen at the hospital. Adele Carpenter, who knows Olsen through his involvement with anti-war groups, said she arrived at the hospital at 11pm on Tuesday night.

Carpenter said she was told by a doctor at the hospital that Olsen had a skull fracture and was in a “serious but stable” condition. She said he had been sedated and was unconscious.

“I’m just absolutely devastated that someone who did two tours of Iraq and came home safely is now lying in a US hospital because of the domestic police force,” Carpenter said.

Olsen had only moved to Oakland in July, Carpenter said. He is a member of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War, and met Carpenter through her work with the civilian soldier alliance.

Keith Shannon, who served with Olsen in Iraq, arrived at the hospital after protesters contacted him through Facebook. He confirmed Olsen had a fractured skull, and said he had been told by a doctor Olsen also had brain swelling.

A neurosurgeon was due to assess Olsen to determine if he needed surgery, Shannon said.

“It’s really hard,” Shannon said. “I really wish I had gone out with him instead of staying home last night.”

Shannon, who is also 24, said he had seen the video footage showing Olsen lying on the floor as a police officer throws an explosive device near him.

“It’s terrible to go over to Iraq twice and come back injured, and then get injured by the police that are supposed to be protecting us,” he said.

He said Olsen had served two tours of Iraq, in 2006 and 2007. Olsen was in 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines with Shannon before leaving the military in 2010.

He moved to the San Francisco area in July and works for Opswat, a software company, living with Shannon in Daly City, just south of San Francisco.

Shannon said Olsen was hit in the head by a tear gas canister or smoke canister shot by a police officer. He said Olsen had a curved scar on his forehead consistent with a canister.

Protesters who had accompanied Olsen to Highland hospital got in touch with Shannon through Facebook, after Olsen said he lived with someone called “Keith”. Shannon said he was told Olsen was unable to say his surname.

Olsen is originally from Wisconsin and some of his family were planning to fly out to California to be with him, Shannon said.

Video footage published to YouTube shows Olsen lying prone in front of a line of police. Around 10 people gather around him in an apparent attempt to provide aid, before a police officer throws an explosive device into their midst, scattering the group.

Footage captured after the explosion, which appears to be from a flash bang grenade, shows Olsen being carried away by a group of people.

Oakland police confirmed at a press conference that they used tear gas and baton rounds, but said they did not use flash bang grenades. Police could not be immediately reached for comment.

Now, going back to Europe, we have some Greeks crack some Nazi jokes in the form of comics. I do believe the tension in the world economic standings is heating up quite intensely. Let’s step back a bit before I dump the article and survey the world just a tad bit. Japan’s flailing government coupled with a ban on their media industry is crippling their economy, meanwhile fist fights and political and economic tension is boiling up in Europe, and in the Americas, governments are yelling and screaming and tearing out hair over legislation. If this isn’t an apocalypse of 2012, I don’t know what is. We don’t need natural disasters to fuck with the world, just a couple of old idiots with suits trying to “better” the world we live in. Anyway, without further ado, here’s the article.

Nazi jokes, wrath at Germans highlight Greek despair

By Amie Ferris-Rotman

ATHENS | Wed Oct 26, 2011 8:42am EDT

(Reuters) – The dark shadow of German-driven austerity measures squeezing Greece has revived historical enmities and evoked comparisons to the massive destruction of the Mediterranean country at the hands of Nazi Germany over 65 years ago.

Cartoons have sprung up depicting the European Union’s “troika” as ferocious soldiers in World War Two German uniforms, and some Greeks are beginning to resent the German tourists flocking their ancient sites.

The staff cartoonist for the liberal daily Eleftherotypia has drawn dozens of such cartoons in recent months, often showing Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos giving the Nazi salute “Sieg Heil” (Hail Victory) to a soldier.

“I used the German uniforms symbolically,” cartoonist Stathis Stavropoulos told Reuters through an interpreter.

“They show that what Germany did not manage with weapons during World War Two, it is now trying to do through economic means,” he said.

The war, during which Greece was occupied and suffered enormous losses, is still a touchy subject today despite Greece’s fierce resistance movement at the time.

Some voices in the media have called the present Greek government ‘dosilogos’, a word meaning traitor and which referred to Greeks who collaborated with the Nazis during the war.

One of Stavropoulos’ cartoons, published on October 15, shows a soldier in German uniform watching over Venizelos as he barks at a Greek citizen to cough up more money in taxes.

Defying violent street protests, Greek parliament approved a painful set of austerity measures last week to ensure the release of a vital 8 billion euro ($11 billion) loan tranche from the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF), which the government needs to keep paying its bills past November.

STREET ART

Germany, the euro zone’s largest economy, has been playing a key role in trying to prevent Europe’s Greece-spurred debt crisis from spiraling. The “troika” unites the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank, which is headquartered in Frankfurt.

Another cartoon from last month shows a soldier atop Venizelos asking why lists of names for the “Labour Reserve” remain empty, nodding at Greece’s new austerity law which wants 30,000 state workers put aside. They will be laid off permanently if no other public sector job is found for them within a year.

In the cartoon, a young Greek answers the soldier: “They are empty as you exterminated the Communists, the Jews, the homosexuals, the gypsies and the crazies last time,” in an obvious swipe comparing the “troika” to Nazis.

For ordinary Greeks, the German presence in their affairs is chilling. The German head of a new EU task force for Greece, Horst Reichenbach, is often poked fun at in media, who link his last name to the Third Reich.

“We hate the Germans now. They want to buy up our monuments and islands on the cheap,” said Faye, a 39-year-old writer in the historical center of Athens, echoing widespread fears that richer European countries will want collateral on loans.

Prime Minister George Papandreou has dismissed such suggestions from other countries as “insults.”

“When I hear them I just turn the other direction,” Faye said, pointing at a group of elderly German tourists, their cheeks slightly burned from the strong October sun.

Work by a Greek street artist, who goes by the name Bleeps.gr, adds to the collective ire.

He unveiled a piece last week on a concrete wall in a rundown area in central Athens, depicting a life-size man on crutches holding a Greek-German sign saying: “Health is kaput,” using the German word for “broken.”

Illustrating the heavy toll the economic crisis is taking on health, Bleeps.gr said he chose German to highlight the Greek government’s plans to take legal action against German firm Siemens for allegedly bribing Greek officials.

The cash-strapped government said it wants to seek compensation for damages it suffered by past corrupt practices.

REPARATIONS

Such newfound anger toward Germans adds to decades of pent-up resentment over what many Greeks say is unpaid compensation for Nazi atrocities.

Public opinion is being rallied by former Greek lawmaker Manolis Glezos, 89, who famously risked his life in 1941 when he scaled the Acropolis to pull down the Swastika flag.

He has repeatedly called on Germany to bail out Greece on the grounds it owes Athens money for war crimes, telling local media Germans owe around $40 billion.

Tensions with Germany have been on the rise since before the first rescue package for Greece was agreed in May 2010. In February that year, opposition lawmakers said Germany should pay reparations for its wartime occupation of Greece before criticizing the country over its yawning deficits.

Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos stoked tensions in the same month by saying gold taken away from the Greek central bank by Nazi Germany had never been returned.

“I don’t say they have to give back the money necessarily but they have at least to say ‘thanks’,” he said.

Berlin dismissed that complaint and declined to comment on remarks Pangalos made to a Portuguese newspaper two months later that Germany’s hard line on aid for Greece was based on a “moral, racial approach” and the prejudice that Greeks don’t work enough.

Adding to national frustrations, Greek survivors of a Nazi massacre lost one legal battle in July when the European Court of Human Rights ruled against their claim, which had been backed by the Greek government, but the case is still pending.

Germany paid Greece $67 million in war reparations in the 1960s and has since refused to pay any more.

That’s our show for today, oh and don’t forget to thank China for saving the Euros. I will see you all next time for another edition of  Grass’ World.

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