It’s Wednesday, let’s relax and open with some ponies and Japan before news.

 

Will Anderson Looking For Bronies // Hey Ocean CD Release Party // SEASON THREE SPOILER

 

 

Cereal here, grouping somewhat related news items for fun and profit.

William Anderson, whom you may remember as the most badass person on the face of the entire planet, just landed in Rome and wants to know if there are any pony fans in the area he can hang out with. Be sure to flood him with requests! Make his trip special. Tell him Cereal sent you.

In other news that may or may not be related, I’m sure most of you are aware that Ashleigh Ball (the voice of Rainbow Dash and Applejack) heads her own band called ‘Hey Ocean!’. For fans in Vancouver on June 16, the band is having a concert and CD release show at the Vogue Theater. It’s $20 and you can find more details here.

And just in case that’s not enough news for you, there’s a spoiler for season three under the page break, tweeted by Tara Strong herself. You’ve been warned!

 

 

 

Yep, Trolla Strong at it again. Now for something from AJ/RD’s VA, Ashleigh Ball.

 

 

 

 

 

Support Ash’s band by visiting their site at HeyOcean.com and buying merch.

Let’s move on.

 

Bleach Anime Ending Pleases Fans

Author: Artefact

The better part of a decade of Bleach anime has finally drawn to a close, with its many quick-to-complain fans seemingly satisfied the series ended fittingly, and the hero’s future neatly summed up as “unemployment.”

Just how much is left in the manga is not clear, but it is thought that it may end at some point.

Rather than ponder the fate of post-Bleach shonen anime, one fan shares this most pressing concern.

“Is she nopan? She’s walking about town nopan?
If this is nopan, foreigners may misunderstand this as Japanese all being HENTAI.
It should really be made clear if she’s wearing pantsu or not.”

Barbarian viewers take note – Bleach is most assuredly not a “HENTAI” anime, and the concern of its Japanese fans about the cast’s underwear status is solely out of concern for the good name of Japan’s anime industry.

 

Gallery post. Enjoy. And now this.

 

YouTube Child Chaser Commits Suicide

Author: Artefact

A man who uploaded a video of himself chasing a schoolboy on a bicycle in his car whilst threatening to run him off the road to YouTube has committed suicide, despite police and the boy declining to press charges, prompting furious speculation as to why he would kill himself when he remained anonymous and faced no punishment.

The incident began in July of 2011, when a Himeji company employee in his forties apparently succumbed to road rage and began chasing a middle schooler on a bicycle, screaming various threats against the boy, including telling him he would ram him into the river.

He recorded the entire chase on his dashboard camera, and for reasons which are not clear decided it would be a good idea to upload the video onto Youtube:

 

 

 

He later deleted the video, but by then mirrors had proliferated and it was too late, and soon the police became involved.

The boy being chased was less than fazed by his ordeal, brushing off his pursuer as not worth bothering with – “I got through it fine. I’m not scared of some guy like that.”

He declined to press any charges against the man (with a complaint from his victim he could have been charged with misdemeanour intimidation or similar), and police had to settle for issuing him a verbal caution and making him sign a written pledge not to do it again.

The Internet, however, was much less forgiving – viewers of the video clamoured for his arrest and denounced him with much vitriol, outraged by his reckless and potentially murderous conduct. The media soon picked the story up as well.

All this was evidently too much for the schoolboy chaser – on the 27th, Tottori prefecture police reported discovering him dead, in what they are treating as a suicide.

There appears to be very little sympathy online, but there is a great deal of curiosity as to what actually transpired:

“This guy had no balls at all, did he?”

“He gets hit back and he kills himself…”

“This is the happiest news I’ve heard all year.”

“The kid didn’t even file a complaint. Why’d he kill himself?”

“He’s trying to get back at the kid.”

“He killed himself to atone. A happy end.”

“Did the kid even do anything to provoke this?”

“This is not going to leave a nice aftertaste for the kid.”

“You guys drove another one to suicide I see.”

“Nobody actually found out who he was and put it online, did they?”

“Nobody found out who he was. There should not have been any public impact on his life.”

“Scum has died, that is all.”

“He was probably up to all sorts of other dodgy stuff which would have ruined him if it got out.”

“If he had any real sensitivity he would never have uploaded that.”

“Apparently he went missing shortly after this blew up, after saying he didn’t think it would be this big of a deal.”

“Watch the video. Guys like that are a waste of oxygen.”

“The classic case of a dog whose bark was worse than his bite.”

“He probably had a mental illness of some sort.”

“A real ruffian wouldn’t have uploaded it like that. He was just a total coward in the end.”

“He had probably done other stuff which would have come out if anyone investigated.”

“Could have been his family which applied the pressure.”

“Was this really a suicide?”

“Why was he found in Tottori? With no complaint filed against him he basically got off scot-free.”

“He was probably unstable to start with. I’m more worried about the effect him killing himself will have on the schoolboy…”

 

Yay, An Heroes everywhere. Win!!

 

Daughters Disguised: The Afghan girls who are dressed and raised as boys

By Tahir Qadiry BBC Persian, Kabul

When Azita Rafhat, a former member of the Afghan parliament, gets her daughters ready for school, she dresses one of the girls differently.

Three of her daughters are clothed in white garments and their heads covered with white scarves, but a fourth girl, Mehrnoush, is dressed in a suit and tie. When they get outside, Mehrnoush is no longer a girl but a boy named Mehran.

Azita Rafhat didn’t have a son, and to fill the gap and avoid people’s taunts for not having a son, she opted for this radical decision. It was very simple, thanks to a haircut and some boyish clothes.

There is even a name for this tradition in Afghanistan – Bacha Posh, or disguising girls as boys.

“When you have a good position in Afghanistan and are well off, people look at you differently. They say your life becomes complete only if you have a son,” she says.

There has always been a preference for having sons in Afghanistan, for various economic and social reasons.

Ms Rahfhat’s husband, Ezatullah Rafhat, thinks having a son is a symbol of prestige and honour.

“Whoever came [to our house] would say: ‘Oh, we’re sorry for you not having a son.’ So we thought it would be a good idea to disguise our daughter, as she wanted this too.”

Azita Rafhat is not the only mother who has decided to do this.

Not girlish

Many girls disguised as boys can be found in Afghan markets. Some families disguise their daughters as boys so that they can easily work on the streets to feed their families.

Some of these girls who introduce themselves as boys sell things like water and chewing gum. They appear to be aged anywhere between about five and 12. None of them would talk to me about their lives as boys.

Girls brought up as boys do not stay like this all their lives. When they turn 17 or 18 they live life as a girl once again – but the change is not so simple.

Elaha lives in Mazar-e Sharif in northern Afghanistan. She lived as a boy for 20 years because her family didn’t have a son and reverted only two years ago when she had to go to university.

However, she does not feel fully female: she says her habits are not girlish and she does not want to get married.

“When I was a kid my parents disguised me as a boy because I didn’t have a brother. Until very recently, as a boy, I would go out, play with other boys and have more freedom.”

She has returned reluctantly to her gender and says she has done it only because of the social traditions.

“If my parents force me to get married, I will compensate for the sorrows of Afghan women and beat my husband so badly that he will take me to court every day.”

Common story

Atiqullah Ansari, head of the famous blue mosque in Mazar-e Sharif, says the tradition is about appealing to the divine.

He says those families who do not have a son disguise their daughters as boys for good luck so that God gives them a son.

Mothers who do not have sons come to the shrine of Hazrat-e Ali and ask him to grant them sons, he adds.

Atiqullah Ansari says that according to Islam the girls who live as boys must cover their heads when they come of age.

In Afghanistan, stories like this have become more common. Almost everyone has relatives or neighbours who have tried this.

Qazi Sayed Mohammad Sami Balkh Human Rights Commission

Fariba Majid, the head of the Women’s Rights Department in the northern province of Balkh, used to go by the boy’s name Wahid.

“I was the third daughter in my family and when I was born my parents decided to disguise me as a boy,” she says.

“I would work with my father at his shop and even go to Kabul to bring goods from there.”

She thinks that experience helped her gain confidence and helped her get where she is today.

It is not surprising that even Azita Rafhat, mother of Mehran, once used to live as a boy.

“Let me tell you a secret,” she says. “When I was a kid, I used to live as a boy and work with my father.

“I experienced both the world of men and of women and it helped me to be more ambitious in my career.”

‘Breach of rights’

The tradition has existed in Afghanistan for centuries. According to Daud Rawish, a sociologist in Kabul, it may have started when Afghans had to fight their invaders and for this women needed to be disguised as men.

But Qazi Sayed Mohammad Sami, head of the Balkh Human Rights Commission, calls it a breach of human rights.

“We cannot change someone’s gender for a while. You cannot change a girl to a boy for a short period of time. It’s against humanity,” he says.

The tradition has had a damaging effect on some girls who feel they have missed out on essential childhood memories as well as losing their identity.

For others it has been good experiencing freedoms they would never have had if they had lived as girls.

But for many the key question is: will there be a day when Afghan girls get as much freedom and respect as boys?

 

And now for stories from the cockpit.

 


JetBlue pilot faces federal charges

By Bart Jansen

An affidavit unsealed Wednesday states that Capt. Clayton Osbon told his co-pilots that things didn’t matter during a New York flight bound for Las Vegas. Court documents say Osbon told the plane’s first officer, “We’re not going to Vegas” and began giving a sermon.

Passengers wrestled Osbon, 49, to the ground after he left the cockpit and sprinted down the cabin screaming and urging everyone to pray. The plane made an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas. No one on board was hurt.

Osbon, a 12-year veteran of the airline, was suspended by the airline and is undergoing medical care. If convicted of interfering with a flight crew, he could face up to 20 years’ imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines.

An FBI affidavit filed with the complaint said Osbon arrived later than he should have for Flight 191 and missed the crew briefing. After takeoff, Osbon told his co-pilot he was being evaluated by someone, then began talking about religion in an incoherent way, according to the affidavit from FBI Agent John Whitworth.

The co-pilot became concerned when Osbon said, “Things just don’t matter” and “We need to take a leap of faith,” according to the affidavit.

Osbon abruptly left the cockpit to go to the forward lavatory, alarming the rest of the flight crew when he didn’t follow the company’s protocol for leaving the cockpit, according to the affidavit.

When flight attendants met Osbon and asked him what was wrong, he became aggressive and banged on the door of the occupied lavatory, saying he needed to get inside.

Osbon walked to the rear of the aircraft but along the way stopped and asked a male passenger if he had a problem. Osbon then sprinted back to the forward galley and tried to enter his code to re-enter the cockpit.

The co-pilot asked over the intercom for passengers to restrain Osbon, which they did, and he yelled comments about Jesus, Sept. 11, Iraq, Iran and terrorists.

Osbon was removed from the aircraft and taken to a facility in the Northwest Texas Healthcare System in Amarillo for medical evaluation, where he remains.

The case is being investigated by the FBI, along with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board and Amarillo police.

JetBlue CEO Dave Barger told NBC’s Today show Wednesday that Osbon had been a “consummate professional.”

Barger said Tuesday’s incident began as a “medical situation” and became a “security situation” as passengers and crewmembers restrained him.

“I’ve known the captain personally for a long period of time,” Barger said of Osbon. “There’s been no indication of this at all in the past.”

Osbon’s LinkedIn page describes him as a flight-standards captain who works in pilot recruitment and leadership development. He earned degrees from Hawthorne College in aeronautical physics and Carnegie Mellon University in physics.

Barger commended the company’s workers and passengers for responding well to the incident.

“That was a tough situation at altitude,” Barger said. “The customers and crew did a great job.”

The incident was a rare one and frightening for passengers.

At the time, JetBlue said that the captain of Flight 191, which was diverted to Texas on Tuesday morning, had a “medical situation” and that an off-duty captain traveling on the flight entered the cockpit before the landing “and took over the duties of the ill crewmember once on the ground” in Amarillo.

Tony Antolino, a security executive from Rye, N.Y., said he realized something was wrong on the flight when Osbon left the cockpit and starting walking erratically through the cabin, drinking water and becoming agitated.

Antolino, 40, said he and several other passengers realized they needed to subdue him after the co-pilot locked Osbon from the cockpit. The captain started yelling about Iraq and Afghanistan, then told passengers to start reciting the Lord’s prayer.

“That’s when everybody just tackled him and took him down,” said Antolino, an executive with a security firm headed to an industry conference. “We just physically stood on top of him until the flight was diverted and we landed in Amarillo.”

Because the incident was so unusual, other pilots are waiting to hear more before passing judgement. “We know what happened,” said Capt. Lee Collins, executive vice president of the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations. “We don’t know why.”

Heidi Karg, another passenger on the flight, told CNN that the man was shouting, “I need the code! Gimme the code! I need to get in there!”

“We heard the word ‘bomb,’ ” Karg said. “We didn’t know exactly what was going on.”

Several passengers wrestled Osbon to the floor. David Gonzalez, 50, a former New York City Department of Corrections officer, told ABC News he put him in a choke hold.

“We got to get this plane down,” Gonzalez, who was traveling to an security show, said he recalled thinking. “This guy is nuts.”

Dave Funk, a retired Northwest Airlines captain now an aviation consultant with Laird & Associates, compares the co-pilot’s decision to bar Osbon from the cockpit to what Captain “Sully” Sullenberger did when he landed a US Airways flight into New York’s Hudson River with no lives lost.

“The first officer recognized the gravity of the situation and solved the problem,” Funk said. “The co-pilot is a hero not because he landed the plane safely but because he created situation to do that.”

Former pilot John Cox, president of Safety Operation Systems, said he could recall only a couple of incidents similar to Tuesday’s in 40 years in commercial aviation.

Cox said the first officer could have landed the plane safely, even without assistance from the off-duty captain. Cox said crewmembers are trained to restrain combative passengers under a program called Crew Resource Management that could have applied to the pilot.

“The same training to restrain an abusive passenger that presents a physical threat could be utilized against a crewmember,” Cox said. “It was great that there was another captain that was on the flight that could assist the first officer. Had he not been there, though, the first officer is completely capable and trained to land the aircraft. There was never a risk to the passengers.”

Airline pilots must have a first-class medical certificate, which is renewed annually if the pilot is under 40 and every six months over that age, according to the FAA. As part of that process, the pilot must have a physical exam by an FAA-designated medical examiner, who assesses the pilot’s psychological condition . The examiner can also order additional psychological testing.

Glenn Winn, a former airlines security chief who teaches at the University of Southern California, said the physical exams are very thorough. There is also random urinalysis. Airlines have numerous employee assistance programs to help deal with stress.

Bob Francis, former vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said for the most part, the JetBlue incident had a positive resolution. “A problem in the cabin in the aircraft is a lot less serious than a problem in the cockpit,” he said. “If there is a problem in the cockpit, you might end up losing the whole airplane.”

No official mental health testing is required. Instead, pilots are trained to be on the lookout for any sign of mental distress among their peers. “The mental health side is constant monitoring from your co-workers,” Funk said .

If someone’s personality changes drastically, he said, “we’re going to pull him aside. Management will get involved and not in a hostile fashion. We work with people.”

“I’d say the system functioned properly,” Funk said. “There’s a reason we have two pilots. There’s a reason we have flight attendants. … One healthy pilot on the flight deck who’s qualified would have no problem landing the plane.”

Antolino commended the co-pilot for recognizing Osbon’s behavior, getting him out of the cockpit and landing the plane safely.

“The co-pilot from JetBlue was the real hero for having the sense to recognize that something was wrong here,” Antolino said.

In August 2010, an upset JetBlue flight attendant, Steven Slater, pulled the emergency chute on a flight from Pittsburgh International Airport to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. He went on the plane’s public-address system, swore at a passenger who he claimed treated him rudely, grabbed a beer and slid down onto the tarmac.

Slater completed a court-ordered treatment program and was sentenced to one year of probation. “That was one moment; that was not indicative of who I am,” Slater said at sentencing.

On March 9, American Airlines passengers were settling in for a trip from Dallas to Chicago when a flight attendant launched into a rant on the public-address system about 9/11 and the safety of the plane.

Several passengers wrestled the woman into a seat while the plane was on the ground, and the attendant was taken to Parkland Hospital for evaluation.

Randy Reep, who has spent 16 years as a commerical pilot, said crew members are much more stressed out these days. “I think its indicative of where we find ourselves as an industry,” he said. “It is much more stressful in the sense that the job security isn’t what it once was.”

“What was once an extraordinarily glamorous job and arguably well paid is now an okay paid job and not as glamorous,” Reep said. “You have to take your shoes off three or four times a day to go to your office. You’re in charge of your airplane but you have someone go through your shaving kit before you even get on that plane.”

 

And now for something completely different.

Supreme Court rules that the Federal government can tell the world about your HIV status if it wants to

By Bill Mears

A divided Supreme Court ruled Wednesday against a California pilot who sued after the federal government publicly revealed his HIV status.

In a 5-3 ruling, the high court decided Stanmore Cooper’s claims of mental and emotional distress are not covered under the Privacy Act.

“The Privacy Act does not unequivocally authorize damages for mental or emotional distress and therefore does not waive the government’s sovereign immunity for such harms,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the conservative majority.

Three liberal justices dissented, while a fourth — former Solicitor General Elena Kagan — did not participate.

Cooper became a licensed recreational pilot in 1964, but two decades later, the San Francisco man was diagnosed with the HIV virus. As his condition worsened over time, he let his private pilot’s certificate and his airman medical certificate lapse.

In 1996, Cooper applied for long-term disability with the Social Security Administration.

“I was in bad shape, I didn’t have long to live,” he told CNN last year. But his health improved thanks to a cocktail of anti-retroviral therapy. He went back to work and wanted to fly again.

“I found out they were issuing medicals (exemptions) and I reapplied” to the Federal Aviation Administration “without revealing my HIV status,” he said. “Big mistake.”

He received his new pilot’s certificate but, unknown to him, a joint local-federal initiative called Operation Safe Pilot was launched in 2002. Using a spreadsheet, the agencies shared and compared the names and personal data of about 45,000 pilots in Northern California, looking for potentially medically unfit individuals who were also receiving federal benefits.

Cooper was among four dozen or so pilots tagged as a “person of interest.” When confronted by government agents, he admitted to a misdemeanor charge of filing a false report.

He was sentenced to probation and fined, and his pilot’s certificate was revoked. The retired business executive’s name was listed in a federal press release and later, through his prosecution, Cooper’s medical history suddenly was a matter of public record.

“I had been able to control those (with) whom I shared my information about my HIV status, limited to some co-workers, family, and close friends,” he said “And suddenly that was out of my control.”

Cooper, who was eventually allowed to fly again, sued.

“I chose not to reveal my HIV infection and that was a very bad thing,” he said. “I took responsibility for it and I paid the price. I was punished. And I think now it’s the government’s turn to own up to breaking the law and take responsibility for what they did.”

A federal judge found both the FAA and the Social Security Administration violated the Privacy Act with the information-sharing probe, but said under the law, only “actual damages” could be collected by plaintiffs seeking redress.

Since Cooper made no claims for economic harm, such as lost wages or medical expenses, he was out of luck. The judge found “emotional injury” alone did not qualify and dismissed the lawsuit.

A federal appeals court reversed that decision, ruling for Cooper. The FAA then asked the high court to intervene.

During a sedate hour of oral arguments last year, the justices stayed away from the specific claims of emotional harm made by Cooper, focusing instead on what the law says about qualifying for damages.

“The argument you have made — and I certainly understand it, that this is the Privacy Act and so it’s precisely these types of damages that you would be concerned about — really cuts both ways,” Chief Justice John Roberts said to Cooper’s lawyer.

“What you are saying is this (law) covers a really big chunk of damages, because this is what the whole act was about,” Roberts said. “And it seems to me that argument suggests that there is some weight to the government’s point: That if you are going to get that, you really do need clearer” language in the law that would immunize the government to some extent, from a flood of hard-to-disprove lawsuits.

The ambiguity has divided lower courts for years, and privacy experts say the ease with which the government can collect and share information in the digital age makes the issue of personal privacy liability ripe for review.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg repeatedly hammered away at the government lawyer arguing for the FAA. She said the federal damages provision in question is similar to state tort claims that include both emotional and financial harm.

“The person who is subject to this, to this embarrassment, this humiliation, doesn’t have out-of-pocket costs, but is terribly distressed, nervous, anxious, and all the rest,” Ginsburg said. “The act that the Congress is reaching, the impact is of that nature. I mean, pecuniary (monetary) damages ordinarily attend conduct that embarrasses, humiliates you, causes mental distress.”

Eric Feigin of the Justice Department admitted the Privacy Act’s language may be interpreted as allowing damages for such things as “humiliation, embarrassment and mental anguish,” but said because the phrase “actual” damages remains vague, the government should get the benefit of the doubt, tipping the case in its favor.

“Simply because a plaintiff may have suffered an adverse effect” from the privacy violation, argued Feigin, “doesn’t mean that the plaintiff suffered actual damages.”

Raymond Cardozo, Cooper’s lawyer, pointed out during the hearing that his client’s information was made public, and his name and HIV status are still posted on a federal government database. He also made a larger argument, that his client’s dilemma is one that may affect all Americans.

“Congress passed this act to restore the citizens’ faith in their government, and it made a solemn promise to the American citizens that in cases of intentional and willful violation, the United States shall be liable for actual damages,” Cardozo said. “Today, the government is proposing that “actual damages” be read in a way that renders this act virtually irrelevant. That makes a mockery of that solemn promise.”

Cooper attended the public session at the court and expressed optimism afterward he would prevail.

“They’ve betrayed my trust and I can’t get that back,” Cooper said at the time. “There was nothing to lose here. I had to do it. It was the right thing to do.”

The case is Cooper v. FAA (10-1024).

 

That’s our show for tonight, I’ll see you guys all next time. Buh-bye!