Dashy is best po– oh, wrong thread

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Is rainbow dash best pony? No, too opinionated and I still love Pinkie. Plus that question just starts shit storms all over the net so I’m not going to ask it at all. Instead, have a poll.

 

 

So I’ll let you guys bitch about who is best pony in the comments or whatever. In other news, I should be back to my daily posts and shiz, hopefully nothing too problematic. Anyway, lets move onto tonight’s news.

 

Pakistan is helping Afghan Taliban, says Nato report

The leaked report, derived from thousands of interrogations, claims the Taliban remain defiant and have wide support among the Afghan people.

It alleges that Pakistan knows the locations of senior Taliban leaders.

A BBC correspondent says the report is painful reading for international forces and the Afghan government.

Pakistan has strenuously denied any links with the Taliban on previous occasions.

“We have long been concerned about ties between elements of the ISI and some extremist networks,” said US Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby, adding that the US Defence Department had not seen the report.

‘Informational’

The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says the report – on the state of the Taliban – fully exposes for the first time the relationship between the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) and the Taliban.

The report is based on material from 27,000 interrogations with more than 4,000 captured Taliban, al-Qaeda and other foreign fighters and civilians.

It notes: “Pakistan’s manipulation of the Taliban senior leadership continues unabatedly”. It says that Pakistan is aware of the locations of senior Taliban leaders.

The report states: “As this document is derived directly from insurgents it should be considered informational and not necessarily analytical.”

Despite Nato’s strategy to secure the country with Afghan forces, the secret document details widespread collaboration between the insurgents and Afghan police and military.

Lt Col Jimmie Cummings, a spokesman for Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan, said the document was “a classified internal document that is not meant to be released to the public”.

“It is a matter of policy that documents that are classified are not discussed under any circumstances,” he said.

The report also depicts the depth of continuing support among the Afghan population for the Taliban, our correspondent says.

It paints a picture of al-Qaeda’s influence diminishing but the Taliban’s influence increasing, he adds.

Taliban influence

Afghan President Hamid Karzai
Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants peace talks with the Taliban

In a damning conclusion, the document says that in the last year there has been unprecedented interest, even from members of the Afghan government, in joining the Taliban cause.

It adds: “Afghan civilians frequently prefer Taliban governance over the Afghan government, usually as a result of government corruption.”

The report has evidence that the Taliban are purposely hastening Nato’s withdrawal by deliberately reducing their attacks in some areas and then initiating a comprehensive hearts-and-minds campaign.

It says that in areas where Isaf has withdrawn, Taliban influence has increased, often with little or no resistance from government security forces. And in many cases, with the active help of the Afghan police and army.

When foreign soldiers leave, Afghan security forces are expected to take control.

However according to the report, rifles, pistols and heavy weapons have been sold by Afghan security forces in bazaars in Pakistan.

Ya clearly the Taliban and Pakistan are friends.

 

Letter from freed slave to former master draws attention

By Eric Pfeiffer

A newly discovered letter from a freed former slave to his onetime master is creating a buzz. Letters of Note explains that in August of 1865, a Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee wrote to his former slave Jourdan Anderson, requesting that Jourdan return to work on his farm.

In the time since escaping from slavery, Anderson had become emancipated, moved to Ohio where he found paid work and was now supporting his family. The letter turned up in the August 22 edition of the New York Daily Tribune. Some excerpts:

Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin’s to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.

On the “good chance” offered by the former slave owner:

I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, “Them colored people were slaves” down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.

And then Jourdan explains that anything his former master could offer, he’s already earned on his own. Other than some back wages:

As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor’s visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams’s Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.

And after a few more jabs about how his children are now happy and receiving an education, Jourdan concludes his letter with:

Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.

And our last bit of news for today.


Python latches onto woman’s face

MADISON, Wis., Jan. 30 (UPI) — Police in Wisconsin said a woman who decided to take a python out of its terrarium during a book club meeting ended up with the serpent latched onto her face.

Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said the 31-year-old woman was attending a book club meeting Jan. 19 at another member’s home and decided to take Annie, a 12-year-old ball python measuring about 4 feet long, our of its terrarium, The (Madison) Capital Times reported Monday.

“She just wanted to hold her,” DeSpain said. “She apparently had prior experience handling snakes and had no reason to believe she was putting herself in danger.”

However, the non-venomous snake bit into the woman’s right cheek and refused to disengage until the owner was able to remove it.

The snake was returned to its enclosure and the woman’s injuries were treated by a doctor.

“It was sort of a happy ending,” DeSpain said. “The women ended up with no scars and no lasting emotional trauma.”

 

I will see you tomorrow for a full post including Sankaku topics and posts so stay tuned. Good night everybody.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late Happy 100th post

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If you guys haven’t checked out the Japple-Ack Tumblr who, I believe is run by Max Gilardi from hotdiggedydemon.com and I figured I’d share these 2 links since Max started doing pony parodies. (Warning hardcore pony fans may not like his work as it is a work of comedy meant to make fun of the series). I’m still thinking it’ll be worth watching oh and if you haven’t checked out the uh Ponycraft portraits (Starcraft 2)…

 

Twilight as a Ghost

Rarity as a BattleCruiser commander

Pinkie as Schwarzen– I mean Thor

Flutter as Medivac

AJ as SCV

Rainbow as a Banshee Pilot

 

He’s also done Portal Parodies so check out his works.

 

But the real reason I wanted to talk about this post was because I’m apparently, as of this post, 7 posts late to celebrate the 100th post of this blog, so happy belated 100th post? I haven’t really been watching post counts since I started posting shit in January, still it’s not big problem and overall but whatever, I just hope I don’t forget about the anniversary post. 😆 Anyway let’s move on to today’s news.


The dark side of shiny Apple products

(CBS News)

Even in this high-tech age, our most popular electronic devices are largely made by hand . . . MANY hands, as it turns out . . . hands that often are very over-worked, or so industry’s critics contend. Our Sunday Morning Cover Story is reported by Martha Teichner:

Just try to imagine 37 million iPhones . . . that’s how many Apple sold in just the last three months of 2011.

On Tuesday it announced revenue of more than $46 billion for the quarter ending December 31.

Tim Cook, the man who replaced the late Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple, told Wall Street analysts the company couldn’t keep up with global demand for the new iPhone 4S. “We didn’t bet high enough,” he said.

The world is in love with everything Apple . . . but here’s a question: Have you ever wondered where all that stuff gets made?

“I had never thought ever, in a dedicated way, about how they were made,” said performer Mike Daisey, an admitted geek. That is the centerpiece of his monologue, “The Agony and the Ecstacy of Steve Jobs.”

“Shenzhen is a city of 14 million people that is larger and denser than New York City. It’s the third-largest city in all of China. It’s the place where almost all your **** comes from.”

The show is an on-stage expose of working conditions at a factory in Shenzhen, China, owned by a company called Foxconn, which manufactures electronics under contract for practically every major brand you can name, including Apple.It is, as Daisey says in his performance piece, “the biggest company you’ve never heard of. Foxconn makes over 50 percent of all electronics in the world.”

The Foxconn plant in Shenzhen employs more than 400,000 people.

“If you’ve never been to the economic engines of China, these giant buildings stacked up with people, they’re just staggering,” said Daisey. “It almost takes your breath away.”

Daisey went to Shenzhen. Foxconn wouldn’t let him in, so he stood outside the main gate with his translator, talking to workers at shift change.

“In my first two hours of my first day at that gate, I met workers who are 14 years old,” Daisey said. “I met workers who were 13 years old. I met workers who were 12. Do you really think Apple doesn’t know?”

But what was news were the suicides . . .

“While I was there, in May and June 2010, that’s really at the peak of when the suicides were happening with kind of terrible regularity,” he said, “where week after week, workers would go up onto the roofs of these buildings and throw themselves off the buildings.”

(Credit: CBS)

“When you were there, were there nets around the building to prevent further suicides?” asked Teichner.”There was,” he said. “They look a lot like the nets you would put out to catch fish.”

“From the spike of suicides at Foxconn, we began to question maybe the harsh management methods drive the workers to commit suicide,” said Debby Chan, a project manager for SACOM – Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, a labor watchdog group based in Hong Kong. SACOM reported at least 18 Foxconn workers committed suicide in 2010, and more tried.

“We began to interview the workers, and then many of them told us they have work pressure – if they make some mistake they would be punished.”

Rest can be read here.

I’m not going to jump 3 pages. I know the article is huge and I know it’s about Chinese people being slaves to the system making apple products.


Hercules Family Battles Sex Assault Claim Against 6-Year-Old

 

HERCULES (CBS 5) – An East Bay dad claims a game of tag on the playground resulted in his 6-year-old son being accused of sexual assault – a decision he said was an overreaction by school officials.

The parent, who asked only to be identified as Oswin, said his son was accused of brushing his best friend’s leg or groin while the two were playing on the playground at Lupine Hills Elementary in Hercules two months ago.

Oswin said his child was kept in the principal’s office for two hours until he confessed. He was suspended, and a sexual battery charge was placed on his permanent school record.

“To me, I think it’s an overreaction,” said Marilyn Cheeks, a Lupine Hills Elementary parent

Legally, there’s no such thing as sexual assault for a six year-old in California.

It wasn’t until Oswin and his wife got a lawyer that the school backed off. District officials declined to discuss specifics. They did confirm that an investigation was conducted, and that the child could not be charged with sexual battery. The claim was removed from the boy’s record.

Oswin’s son is attending another school now. He said he only hopes no one else will have to go through what his family did.

 

And our final story tonight.


Commuter rail could soon be a costly ticket to ride

By Laura Krantz/Daily News staff

 

MetroWest residents might soon think twice about taking a Friday night trip to Fenway Park on the commuter rail, or even about accepting a job in Boston.    That’s because as part of its plan to get out of the red, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said it will likely raise commuter rail fares about 40 percent and eliminate weekend and late night service.

But local officials and legislators, not to mention commuters, say MBTA cuts and fare hikes will hobble MetroWest and take a sizable chunk from peoples’ pocketbooks.

“I have serious concerns about limiting the access to affordable public transportation and the impacts it will have on the quality of life of our residents and the economic vitality of our region,” said Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland.

The MBTA, $5.2 billion in debt, recently proposed the first fare increase in five years.

“The MBTA is by no means pleased with the prospect of having to cut service, but we are struggling to deal with a $161 million deficit in next year’s budget,” said T spokesman Joe Pesaturo.

There are two MBTA proposals to reduce that deficit, both of which would eliminate all weekend commuter rail service as well as weekday service after 10 p.m. One would raise fares by 35 percent and the other by 43 percent.

The T faces the highest debt burden of any transit agency in the country, its officials said.

As part of 24 public forums about the fare hikes, the MBTA has scheduled a MetroWest hearing in Framingham on Feb. 14 in the Memorial Building.

Officials will make a decision about fare increases after the forums end in March.

In the meantime, MetroWest commuters are already worrying.

“I’m thinking about starting to drive to work but that’s expensive,” said Framingham commuter Arun Radhakrishnan last week, stepping off the 6:31 p.m. train from Boston. “I feel I’m stuck with no choice.”

“We certainly understand the important role that the commuter rail plays in many lives,” Pesaturo said.

MBTA data shows that almost 5,000 people commute by train daily into Boston from MetroWest.

According to the state Department of Transportation, commuter rail ridership would drop by 20 percent with the proposed service cuts and fare increases.

There are an average of 3,300 weekend trips on the Worcester line and 2,300 on the Franklin line, Pesaturo said. One person traveling one way equals one trip.

On weekdays after 10 p.m. there are about 160 trips on the Franklin line and 170 on the Worcester/Framingham line.

Framingham State University last week started a new shuttle service to take students to the West Natick commuter rail stop.

“I suppose it’s a necessary evil,” said Framingham commuter Jeff Tarlin about fare hikes. “It seems you have to do it.”

But others aren’t so sure.

“There’s got to be something wrong that they would increase the fares that much,” said commuter Susan Horan.

There is something wrong, said Paul Matthews, executive director of the 495/MetroWest Partnership, a public-private group focused on economic development in MetroWest.

“It’s a financial crisis that’s a decade in the making,” he said.

The MBTA’s debt is the result of a poor funding system until 2000, rising operating costs and $3.6 billion of debt inherited from state transportation projects, namely the Big Dig.

But Matthews said the proposed short-term solution to reduce the debt will hurt MetroWest.

“The commuter rail is an economic lifeblood to and from this region,” he said.

Overall MBTA ridership increased nearly 6 percent last year, with 1.3 million trips taken every weekday. Matthews said rising turnpike tolls and gas prices have prompted many to turn to public transportation.

“In a sense, they’re held hostage to the rate increase,” said Bellingham Town Administrator Denis Fraine. Cities and towns along the commuter rail lines also contribute money to the MBTA.

Under the first scenario, a one-way ride from Framingham to Boston would jump from $6.25 to $9. A monthly pass would increase from $210 to $282.

From Franklin, a ride to South Station would cost $9.75 and a pass $306.

In the second scenario, which raises fares less but cuts more services, a ticket from Framingham would cost $8.25, and a pass $259. A ticket from Franklin would cost $9 and a pass $282.

As program director for the T Riders Union, Lee Matsueda encourages people to attend the public hearings.

“We talk about public transit as an economic engine,” Matsueda said. “I would expect the Framingham people to sort of stand up and say the same thing.”

Matthews said the MBTA shouldn’t be left to solve its financial crisis by itself. The solution should include a larger discussion about all transportation statewide, he said.

“There is a phenomenal correlation between transportation infrastructure and economic development and employment,” he said.

Spilka agreed.

“I understand that the MBTA needs to solve a serious fiscal problem but these proposed cuts to service will leave commuters in the MetroWest who depend on public transportation stranded without any other options,” she said.

 

That’s all the time we have for tonight, I will see you all in few days for another post…maybe, goodnight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celestia Radio and West Coast Winter Wrap Up

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Discord and Twi'

Wrapping up winter in January? Yes, yes we are. The weather has been wonky for a while and I can only assume that it will go on like this for the next couple of months. If you want details, let me put it this way: Warm weather followed by a few days of rain, followed by a few days of cold. It’s time to do a wrap up anyway. Now what can you expect on this wrap up? Well, we learned about hearth’s warming eve last month, we learned SOPA had it’s time in the media spotlight of big-time news, we learned that while the United States slowly creeps toward North Korea-ism we will use what power the people have left to fight back. And knowing full well what’s going on in the next year we are full on ready to take on what oppresses us. So what are we to do, we move on.

I was going post this up on the 25th but a lot of stuff pushed me to move this to today. Anyway, without further ado, I’ll present the news to you.

It’s been a while since I posted anything from Sankaku so here you go. A brand new, critically acclaimed JRPG.

Tokitowa “Ultimate JRPG for Anime Fans”

Author: Artefact

Newly unveiled “HD anime” JRPG Toki to Eien: Tokitowa has been enthusiastically greeted by both anime and RPG fans (admittedly two groups with a great deal of overlap) as the “ultimate RPG for anime fans.”

By Namco Bandai and Image Epoch, Toki to Eien: Tokitowa (“Time & Eternity: Tokitowa”) boasts “2D-styled 3D” graphics, “HD quality” anime, character designs by VOFAN (the Taiwanese illustrator behind the character designs for the ****monogatari series), and animation by Satelight on the production side.

In addition to the traditional 10 minutes of random anime snippets which plague such games, Satelight is supposedly animating the game’s character models as though they were 2D animation to give the game a more cohesive anime feel (motion-capture apparently still being a concept alien to JRPG developers).

As for the game itself, it boasts the all-important generic fantasy setting and a nameable knight protagonist (voiced by Tsubasa Yonaga) set to marry a 16-year-old bishoujo arquebusier (queen Toki, voiced by Kana Hanazawa of Suou and Tenshi fame).

Doubtless, saving the kingdom from an ancient evil with the aid of some other adolescents will also feature. A flat-chested girl with twintails and pseudo-nekomimi features for good measure.

The gorgeous graphics and character designs have earned the title an instant following, with the only concerns being raised relating to its as yet unknown battle system and length

The game is set for a 2012 release on the PS3, so with any luck an English language release will be available by 2015 – just in time for the console to become obsolete.

Next thing I wanna discuss is Celestia Radio. A great place for pony remixes and other such things, give them a look if you like dubstep or techno or whatever most of their songs a pretty damn good.

 

Anyway, let’s move on.


FBI plans social network map alert mash-up application

BBC

The FBI is seeking to develop an early-warning system based on material “scraped” from social networks.

It says the application should provide information about possible domestic and global threats superimposed onto maps “using mash-up technology”.

The bureau has asked contractors to suggest possible solutions including the estimated cost.

Privacy campaigners say they are concerned that the move could have implications for free speech.

The FBI’s Strategic Information and Operations Center (SOIC) posted its “Social Media Application” market research request onto the web on 19 January, and it was subsequently flagged up by New Scientist magazine.

The document says: “Social media has become a primary source of intelligence because it has become the premier first response to key events and the primal alert to possible developing situations.”

It says the application should collect “open source” information and have the ability to:

  • Provide an automated search and scrape capability of social networks including Facebook and Twitter.
  • Allow users to create new keyword searches.
  • Display different levels of threats as alerts on maps, possibly using colour coding to distinguish priority. Google Maps 3D and Yahoo Maps are listed among the “preferred” mapping options.
  • Plot a wide range of domestic and global terror data.
  • Immediately translate foreign language tweets into English.

The FBI says the information would be used to help it to predict the likely actions of “bad actors”, detect instances of people deliberately misleading law enforcement officers and spot the vulnerabilities of suspect groups.

Privacy permissions

The FBI issued the request three weeks after the US Department of Homeland Security released a separate report into the privacy implications of monitoring social media websites.

It justified the principle of using information that users have provided and not opted to make private.

“Information posted to social media websites is publicly accessible and voluntarily generated. Thus the opportunity not to provide information exists prior to the informational post by the user,” it says.

It noted that the department’s National Operations Center had a policy in place to edit out any gathered information which fell outside of the categories relevant to its investigations.

It listed websites that the centre planned to monitor. They include YouTube, the photo service Flickr, and Itstrending.com – a site which shows popular shared items on Facebook.

It also highlighted words it looked out for. These include “gangs”, “small pox”, “leak”, “recall” and “2600” – an apparent reference to the hacking-focused magazine.

‘Dragnet effect’

The London-based campaign group, Privacy International, said it was worried about the consequences of such activities.

“Social networks are about connecting people with other people – if one person is the target of police monitoring, there will be a dragnet effect in which dozens, even hundreds, of innocent users also come under surveillance,” said Gus Hosein, the group’s executive director.

“It is not necessarily the case that the more information law enforcement officers have, the safer we will be.

“Police may well find themselves overwhelmed by a flood of personal information, information that is precious to those it concerns but useless for the purposes of crime prevention.”

The group noted that it was seeking information from the UK’s Metropolitan Police Service about its use of social networks

And our last news, a woman calls 911 6 times for cigarrettes.

 

Woman arrested after allegedly calling 911 six times

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. —

An Osceola County woman is still in jail for allegedly calling 911 six times for no apparent reason.

“What’s going on there ma’am?” the 911 operator asked.

“None of your business! Just send me a sergeant. It’s none of your business! Why the hell are you so stupid?” Joan Mayo replied.

Each time Mayo got connected to the 911 center in St. Cloud on Tuesday, she screamed profanities at dispatchers and berated them, according to police.

Officials said Mayo never had a clear reason for calling, but neighbors said she was looking for something in particular.

“She just wanted cigarettes. That’s all she wanted. She wanted cigarettes,” said her neighbor, Lillian Morales.

The final straw came when police showed up to talk to her. Police said Mayo called 911 on her cellphone a sixth time while they were in the parking lot dealing with the situation.

Mayo was arrested and hauled off to jail on charges of misusing 911.

“Rarely do we get calls like this for service,” said Sgt. Denise Roberts, of the Saint Cloud Police Department.

Police said this affected two agencies, because cellphone calls are first answered by Osceola County, then routed to St. Cloud.

But, Mayo won’t be forced to pay back money wasted investigating her calls because no real calls were delayed.

Mayo allegedly told police she had no regard for the 911 system and would call whenever she wanted to.

 

That’s our news stories for this week-ish; See you next week.

Nostalgizz in the 21st century

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If you guys haven’t heard of the Beatle Bronies, you guys might wanna check these guys out. They parody the Beatles songs and they’re worth checking out. Anyway let me get on with the intro. So let’s start off with why I’ve done more of nothing recently. Well I am now going to take my break from the game, kinda. Kinda? You ask. Well let me put it this way, I need something called medals. Anyway you guys don’t care what I’m doing in game and there’s little point for me to explain in game mechanics, so let’s just get the news out of the way and I’ll show you guys what interesting news is on the nets, at least before it gets shut down by SOPA.

 

Anonymous briefly deletes CBS.com from the Internet

By Muriel Kane

In a rampage following the U.S. government’s takedown of file-sharing site MegaUpload, the hacktivist group Anonymous not only knocked the CBS.com website offline on Sunday, but deleted all its files.

As described by Gizmodo, “The CBS takedown wasn’t your regular DDoS attack because if you went to CBS.com at the time Anon attacked it, there was nothing except an index page with a single file. That’s it. Basically, Anonymous gained access to CBS.com and deleted EVERYTHING.”

This followed a series of distributed denial-of-service attacks on Thursday, during which Anonymous took credit for bringing down the websites of the Department of Justice, Universal Music, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the Motion Picture Association of America.

The CBS site was soon restoried, but other targets on Sunday included Universal Music (for a second time), the French media company Vivendi, and a number of Brazilian sites.

Meanwhile, sites in European nations were being attacked by Anonymous over their support for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a treaty widely described as similar to but potentially worse than the Stop Online Piracy Act, which provoked a dramatic protest blackout earlier this week. The websites of Poland’s parliament and prime minister were among those affected, and the Anonymous Facebook page on Sunday also featured defacements of sites in Romania.

Anon is now officially a public figure taking down CBS. And really? PBS? Anon, you have no respect among your fans or even followers anymore. You’re nothing like you were back in the 2000s.

 

McDonald’s proposal divides healthy Loma Linda

By Phil Willon
Without a single liquor store, and legally smoke-free for nearly three decades, the tiny hillside town of Loma Linda brims with pride about its devotion to health and spiritual well-being.

So news that the first McDonald’s was coming to town, with its special-sauce-slathered Big Macs and 500-calorie sheaves of large fries, has triggered enough political reflux to put City Hall on the defensive.

A noisy group of doctors at the city’s landmark Loma Linda University Medical Center definitely isn’t lovin’ it. Already, there are whispers of election day payback and crafting a ballot measure to choke off a proliferation of fast-food joints.

“McDonald’s does not fit the Loma Linda brand of health and wellness,” said Dr. Wayne Dysinger, head of preventive medicine at the medical school. “Compare it to smoking laws: There’s no question that smoking is harmful to people’s health. Exposing people to fast food also is harmful to their health.”

That healthful lifestyle is a core tenet of the Seventh-day Adventist faith, which is woven through the San Bernardino County town of 21,000, from the Adventist-run Loma Linda University Medical Center to a City Council governed exclusively by church members. There’s even a Loma Linda line of vegetarian food, produced by the same company that makes Morningstar Farms vegan burgers.

Along with being vegetarian, most Adventists shun tobacco, alcohol and fancy dress. They are quick to brag about being home to the healthiest, and longest-living, folks in the nation. National Geographic in 2005 identified Loma Linda as one of the world’s four “blue zones” — towns with greatest number of people living healthy lives into their 90s and past 100. The others were Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; and Nicoya, Costa Rica. “It’s a great point of pride that their commitment to health is paying off,” said Dysinger.

For Loma Linda residents, temptation already is just down the street. There are a half-dozen McDonald’s restaurants within five miles, all outside the city limits, and the town already has a Carl’s Jr. and Del Taco. But something about the Golden Arches popping up along Barton Avenue, within sight of the rolling hills that Adventist prophet Ellen G. White envisioned as a haven for the church, has proved too much to bear for many.

Dysinger is a member of the Healthy Loma Linda Coalition, composed mainly of preventive health professionals, which opposes the McDonald’s.

The group is considering a ballot measure to require the city to ensure that the number of eating establishments that offer healthful food will always outnumber fast-food restaurants.

“Plus, every city councilman is an elected official,” he warned, referring to consequences at the ballot box.

The City Council so far has taken its chances, voting 3-2 to approve the McDonald’s as part of a larger development of a vacant lot a block from City Hall. The controversy has created an uncomfortable rift among Adventists. Dysinger and other parishioners call fast food an affront to the faith’s teachings of holistic wellness. Others call that an extreme view of the Adventist faith.

Loma Linda Mayor Rhodes Rigsby, an Adventist and director of the medical center’s home care services, expressed frustration about all the attention. His city’s political dust-up has been dissected on ABC’s “Nightline,” and he’s gotten calls from reporters in Germany.

“The press is casting it as health-conscious people versus greedy business people. It’s not. This is a disagreement about the role of government,” said Rigsby, a physician and lifelong vegetarian.

“My perspective as a conservative libertarian is that government’s role should be minimalized. We should keep people from harming one another, but government doesn’t have a strong need to keep people from harming themselves.”

Darold Retzer, executive pastor at the Loma Linda University Church of Seventh-day Adventists, said all the attention was “almost an embarrassment to the church.”

Within a block of the Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods market is a Stater Bros. market stocked with rib-eyes.

The Adventist church’s holistic devotion to people’s health and spiritual well-being dominates daily life.

For 81 years, the post office didn’t deliver mail on Saturdays, the Adventist Sabbath, opting for Sunday instead. The postal service ended that policy last spring in a cost-cutting move, which faithful Adventists took as another slap at their traditions.

The Adventists’ emphasis on health, nutrition and exercise would be easy to miss for those living outside the city limits were it not for the medical center and university’s schools of health. They attract 600,000 patients a year. For many, the hospital’s vegetarian-only cafeteria is the first hint that life is different here.

Oh you thought life in America was going to change? Were you expecting hope and change? you won’t find it here.
Anyway, that’s our week’s quickie for today, and maybe expect another post later this week. I will see you all next time, g’nite folks.

 

 

 

 

 

Internet goes on strike

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So it seems certain sites like wiki have shut down for 24 hours in protest of SOPA. Nothing good has ever come out of the act of protesting, it just harms the people and aggravates others. Wiki shuts down so people can imagine a world without free knowledge, Google censors their logo, and Celestia Radio is shut down for 24 hours so there’s no pony radio. I’m just glad something like Justin.tv hasn’t shut down or we’d all be in deep shit cause then broadcasters would have to stop their casts and go masturbate or something. But I’m being honest here, and however much this internet strike is aggravating people and stopping us from enjoying our entertainment, we as a people still need to stand up to the tyranny of our government and bring back free speech. We all know what’s right and what the government is taking away from us and how we cling to our values. Yes folks, we cling to our values because we want freedom. Freedom from tyranny, freedom from oppression, cause after all if we don’t have freedom what’s the point of living. America the once free country will become New North Korea and shit will just hit the fan. NDAA and SOPA will make our lives a living hell and here we are in the FIRST month of January and shit has already hit the fan. We don’t need a natural disaster of some giant magnitude to climate change to fuck us in 2012, we’re fucking ourselves in the ass WAY before the planet will do it.

I already foretold that 2012 will be a hellish year and the first month of the year has already proven it. It will only get worse this point on and I guarantee you, you won’t like one bit. I’ve forewarned about how things in this world will be far worse than any natural disaster in this world and I’m sure there are a few skeptics out there who didn’t believe me in 2011 about the end of the world by the hands of the people and not by natural disasters. 2011 was a terrible year for governments and politics and it can only get worse because NDAA has already passed and now we’re dealing with SOPA. I’m sure I could write a book about how the United States becomes a prison country like North Korea and the adventures of the resistance of the public. I’m sure people would love it and eat it up quickly. Cause not only is it legitimately a close possible future of the United States, it’s a great work of fiction for the public. And I believe if anyone wants to see said stories I will probably be starting to write a few on Deviant Art just to get the public going at which point I may or may not continue. But folks it’s come to the end of the post now and I would like to bid you all a farewell until next time.
This is Grass signing out.

 

 

Another sleepless week

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It’s become blatantly obvious that I’m now posting about once or twice a week on this blog, at least for the next 20 or so days. So I’m going to just push forward with some news. It’s also become blatantly obvious that grinding has taken up so much of my time I haven’t even done a cast in a matter of days. I still do keep up with MLP eps but that’s only because I’m somehow reminded that people are still watching MLP in 1080p. I know that January 2012 will always be remembered on this blog as a slow start to something big; At least I hope that’s the case. Anyway, without further ado, let’s start.


Iran Agrees to Return the U.S. Stealth Drone in Toy Form

John Hudson

Iranians won’t return the advanced RQ-170 Sentinel drone downed in their country late last year but they will give the White House a toy replica.

On Tuesday, Iranian Radio Payam reported that a local company is manufacturing a toy version of the stealth drone one eightieth of its size that will be shipped to the White House. News of the toy brinkmanship was first reported outside Iran by Reuters‘ Mitrak Amiri, who happened to be reporting on a ban on Barbie dolls by the state’s morality police (children’s toys are a hot topic in Iran right now). The report says the miniature drone will be sold in a “variety of colours.” According to Trend, a news site in neighboring Azerbaijan, the toy will be 30×14 cm bearing the inscription “We will trample the U.S.” While the Associated Press merely notes that a company is behind the toy’s rollout, Trend cites an Iranian radio report attributing its production to a “group of Iranian youths.”

“There will be a special ceremony on Feb. 1 marking the 34th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran,” reads the report.

Since early December, Iran has said that it shot down the stealth drone and has used its capture to champion the country’s military might. U.S. officials maintain that the drone wasn’t shot down and on Monday, told Reuters that they now know how the craft crashed. (However, since military officials won’t explain exactly how it malfunctioned or went off course, you just have to take their word for it.) In any case, given that President Obama personally stated the U.S. expects Iran to return the drone, responding to the commander-in-chief with a toy is quite the brazen act.
Update: The Washington Post reports that the Iranians reserved a pink-colored drone for President Obama.
Ah, those Iranians trolling the U.S. again; Such a nice laugh was had.
Next up, Donald Trump the cheapskate.

Donald Trump: Still A Miserly Billionaire

JANUARY 17–Confirming that Donald Trump is the world’s most miserly billionaire, the latest tax return filed by the real estate developer’s private foundation shows that he again failed to donate a penny to his eponymous charitable group.

The 65-year-old businessman–who recently reported his net worth as $7 billion–is president of The Donald J. Trump Foundation, which filed its 2010 return with the Internal Revenue Service three months ago. The return shows that, for the second straight year, Trump donated nothing to his foundation, which was formed in 1987.

In large part, the Trump charity has been funded in recent years by $5 million in donations from World Wrestling Entertainment. The foundation received the seven figures in return for Trump’s involvement in a couple of WWE story lines, which included promotion of a pay-per-view WrestleMania event.

IRS records show that, over the past five years, Trump–who describes himself as an “ardent philanthropist”–has donated just $675,000 to his foundation. As TSG has previously reported, this level of philanthropy is dwarfed by Trump’s billionaire peers like Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, George Soros, and the Koch brothers.

When compared to Bloomberg–another New York City billionaire with a household name–Trump’s stinginess is staggering. In 2010, Bloomberg (pictured below) donated more than $350 million to his foundation, which during the year made donations totaling about $105 million. At year’s end, the Bloomberg foundation had assets of $2.734 billion. Trump’s foundation had $2.255 million (largely thanks to Vince McMahon).

The Trump Foundation’s 2010 return shows that the group made 53 donations totaling $1.037 million. Contributions ranged from $110,650 (American Heart Association) to $300 (National Multiple Sclerosis Society).

The charity’s third-largest donation–$100,000–went to the Eric Trump Foundation, which is run by the billionaire’s 28-year-old son Eric. Other contributions went to foundations affiliated with Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher ($10,000); Larry King ($2500); NASCAR ($2500); the New York Jets ($10,000); and the late Princess Grace of Monaco ($5000).

A golf enthusiast, Trump gave $1000 to the Metropolitan Golf Association and $10,000 to Fore Life, a Miami-based group that describes its “principle objective” as providing “access to the game of golf and it’s life altering skills to impact the lives of youth involved in criminal and/or unhealthy behavior or at risk of such behavior.”

The president of the Fore Life’s board of directors is Lawrence Taylor, the NFL Hall of Fame member whose most recent criminal conviction stemmed from his patronizing of an underage prostitute at a New York hotel (Taylor, 52, recently had to register as a sex offender in Florida, where he lives adjacent to the Grand Palms Golf and County Club in Pembroke Pines).

Trump, who recently positioned himself as a possible Republican presidential candidate, also donated $10,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation.

To read more, go here. But in the end, we all know Trump is a rich asshole who doesn’t give 2 shits about anything because he has power and he has money. Power and money are clearly what run this world we live in, and in a true sense that is what has become of our world in the current day and age.

And our last post of the day.

 

Bush tax cuts helped the rich get richer

WHILE FEW QUESTION the fact that income inequality has risen in the United States over the past three decades, there is plenty of dispute about why. Some argue that the upward shift in after-tax income reflects a high-tech society’s increasing rewards to highly skilled workers, or the rise of super-paid “superstars” in everything from finance to sports, or the decline of labor unions and the minimum wage.

Another concern is that the lighter federal taxation of capital gains and other investment income relative to ordinary income has skewed income distribution upward. This is related to the so-called “Buffett Rule,” whereby the Omaha billionaire (and former Washington Post Co. board member) Warren Buffett pays income tax at a lower effective rate than his secretary does, largely because so much of his income comes from investments.

Now comes evidence that this is, indeed, at least part of the story. A report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service shows that, between 1996 and 2006, the share of total after-tax income attributable to dividends and capital gains grew by 40 percent, faster than any other category. Earned mostly by the well-to-do, investment income was the largest contributor to the increase in income inequality between 1996 and 2006, according to CRS.

The tax cuts enacted at the urging of President George W. Bush magnified what CRS calls the “disequalizing” impact of this shift. The 1986 tax reform eliminated the gap between the ordinary and capital gains rates. The gap began to widen again during President Bill Clinton’s second term, but the Bush tax cuts of 2003 blew it wide open by slicing the top rate on dividends and long-term capital gains from 28 percent to 15 percent. The tax code as of 2006 was still progressive, in that top earners paid a greater share of their income to Washington than everyone else. But thanks largely to the more favorable treatment of investment income, the code was significantly less progressive in 2006 than it was in 1996, CRS found.

True, the study does not account for the impact of the Great Recession, which hit top earners hard. The top 1 percent’s share of total income (before taxes) dropped from 23 percent in 2007 to 17 percent in 2009. That group’s average income fell to $957,000 in 2009 from $1.4 million in 2007. A plunging stock market is probably the cause.

Yet it remains true that the top ordinary income rate of 35 percent is 20 points higher than the 15 percent rate on dividends and capital gains. Not only does this foster inequality, it also creates an incentive to seek investment income rather than the ordinary kind, either through productive investment that creates jobs or through tax shelters and other gimmicks.

There is a case to be made that capital gains and dividend taxes are a second tax on earnings that have been subject to the 35 percent corporate income tax; the report acknowledges that this argument has merit.

But it shouldn’t be impossible to resolve this dilemma. One approach would be to lower corporate rates to compensate for increasing rates on individual filers’ dividends and capital gains. A 2007 CRS report suggested that Congress could cut four percentage points from the corporate rate if it eliminated the Bush tax cuts on dividends and capital gains, and that the code’s overall efficiency would improve in the process. When Congress turns to tax reform, it will have to keep equality as well as efficiency in mind.

That’s our stories for today folks, I’ll see you next time.

 

A week of work and ponies

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So you people have probably been wondering why my posts have been so sparse this week and why my last cast was like 6 minutes. I’ve been watching S1 of MLP since I had a bit of time and I haven’t spent any time watching any animation in a while. I’m sure MLP is on DVD already if not then it will be soon. I enjoyed watching the first season even re-watching some eps I’ve seen before. I want to say my first impressions on the first season of the series is pretty good. I found out where all the songs came from and I’m impressed on how well the originals sounded so much better than the remixed versions. I find it ironic that the fan mash-ups are actually worse than the originals. Well, some of them anyway.

Well enough reminiscing let’s get to news.


NIA busts fake note gang, 14 held

DHANBAD: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has unearthed an organized gang engaged in smuggling and circulating “high quality” fake Indian currency notes suspected to have been printed in Pakistan. Members of the gang are from West Bengal’s Malda and they had their accomplices in Jharkhand and Bihar.

A team of the NIA had conducted a nationwide raid on different places of Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Karnatka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh last week and arrested 14 people. After conducting the raids, the agency found Morgen Hussain and Rakib Sheikh, the residents of Jamshedtola, Mohabbatpur of Kaliachak in Malda district, were coordinating the smuggling and circulation of the fake notes across the country.

S K Singh, the inspector general (IG) of NIA, said Habibul Rehman, Abdul Mutalik, Prashant Mondal, all residents of Malda, were operating from Chennai and their co-villagers, Sajib Ul Haq, Manik Sheikh, Anwar operated from Andhra Pradesh, Jamal Sheikh, Akram functioned from Karnataka. “Their agents worked in different places of Jharkhand and Bihar with an aim to destabilize the economy of the country,” he told TOI over the phone from Delhi.

The investigation also revealed that the accused people were the members of an international network that manufactured and printed “high quality and high value” fake Indian currency notes in Pakistan and smuggled them into India via Bangladesh and Nepal circulated them across the country. The network used bank accounts and ATMs for circulating the fake notes. “The gang members were in communication with the Pakistan-supported suppliers of fake notes operating from Bangladesh,” Singh said.

Based on the verification report, a proposal was sent to the Union home ministry for its permission to register a case. After getting the go-ahead, a case was registered and a nationwide raid was organized for seizures of fake notes. Twelve teams of the NIA were fanned out to different places in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana.

“On January 6, gang leader Morgen Hussain was arrested after an operation in a remote part of Malda and simultaneous raids were conducted across the country,” the NIA official said.

As a result of the operation, which is a still continuing, 14 persons have been arrested and investigation is in progress. “Searches have led to the recovery of large number of ATM cards, bank passbooks, SIM cards and high-quality high-value fake notes being used in smuggling.”

Explaining the modus operandi of the gang, the NIA official said bundles of fake notes in the denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 500 and Rs 100 are thrown into the Indian villages bordering Bangladesh. The accused persons with their aides collect the notes and distribute them to the agents spread all over the country. “They carry the fake notes on train and other modes of transport to all the states for circulation. The local agents collect them in exchange of 60% of the original value of the genuine notes,” the official added.

And then there was this…

I lost my virginity twice: Woman, 27, reveals she has TWO VAGINAS

By Claire Bates

Hazel Jones always wondered why she suffered from terrible cramps and heavy periods during puberty. But it wasn’t until she turned 18 that she was given her astonishing diagnosis – she had two vaginas.

The blonde 27-year-old from High Wycombe has the million-in-one condition uterus didelphys, which means she has two separate uteruses and cervixes as well.

But she told ITV’s This Morning she was comfortable with having the condition, despite the fact she had to effectively lose her virginity twice.

‘Once I found out what it was I told everybody,’ she told TV hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.

‘I thought it was amazing and it’s definitely an ice-breaker at parties’

Sitting next to Hazel, Doctor Dawn Harper explained: ‘When developing in the womb girls start with two tubes. These fuse and the septum breaks down and forms one uterus.

‘In around one in 3,000 cases the septum stays within the uterus but to actually have two separate uteruses is much rarer.’

Hazel said previously she had found sex very uncomfortable, but now she didn’t suffer any adverse effects. She turned down surgery as it could have left significant scar tissue.

She revealed: ‘When I was younger I thought I was having cystitis and urine infections from a young age when I was tearing the middle septum.’

She added that she once asked a school friend which ‘hole’ she should use for a tampon, but became too embarrassed to continue the conversation after her friend thought she meant she put it up her bottom.

She added: ‘I used to suffer from horrendous cramps and my periods could be very heavy. I now know that my periods were worse because I have two wombs.

‘So if I get pregnant I have to be very aware not to get pregnant on the other side.’

Dr Harper added that Hazel was more likely to have a breached birth as her uteruses were smaller and she was more likely to need a caesarean section. She must also have double smear tests when checking for cervical cancer.

But Hazel is unphased by the prospect.

‘I have a great sex life,’ she said.

I’m sure you do, lady. You can now have 2 guys fuck you at the same time. Must be nice to have 2 dicks in your hole as opposed to one. pokerface.jpg

That’s our short post for today, I’ll see you guys next time. This is Grass signing out.

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