Kids, Piracy, and Anonymous

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I want to discuss issues with the world in the last 10 years. It seems that adults have been trying to make the world safe for kids, but yet every now and again, you see children watch a news report about a murder or a rape or some other non-specific crime about a guy no one knows or cares about, we just know he committed the crime and should be locked up. Remember the late 80s and early 90s? Jobs were pretty sparse back then, oh look 10 years later, they’re still sparse; What a coincidence. Let me guess, it was the adults’ fault cause of failed policies and such. Hmm, what was it that we wanted our kids to grow up in? A safe world? Darling, I believe that’s a lie, the world was never safe to begin with, nor was it ever. You guys ever heard of that word, taboo? Well, as it turns out the more taboo a word is, the more curiosity is associated with it, and telling your kids the word ‘Fuck’ is a bad word isn’t going to make them want to not say it. The point is, if you want to bring up your kids in a fantasy fake world of safe-ness, you can try but you will never succeed. And what is it about making the world safe for kids, anyway. If you think about it, the adults made the laws and the rules of society governed by ‘the adults’, etc. etc. My point is simply this, there’s no point telling your kid that the word fuck or shit is a bad word cause they’ll say it eventually anyway. It’s human behavior that defines one’s true colors.

 

With my rant and food for thought over and done with, we move onto the news.

Support for Cabinet below 30%

Kyodo

Public support for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Cabinet slipped back below 30 percent, often seen as a make-or-break line for the long-term survival of a Cabinet, following the passage of a tax-hike bill in the Lower House, a Kyodo News poll showed Wednesday.

The support rate of 29.9 percent was down 2.1 percentage points from the previous poll conducted earlier this month after Noda carried out a minor Cabinet reshuffle, while the disapproval rate came to 54.3 percent, up from 50.0 percent in the poll conducted June 4 and 5.

In the latest poll conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, 59.8 percent of respondents said they cannot understand why former ruling Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa and his followers in the DPJ chose to rebel in Tuesday’s vote by opposing the government’s tax-hike proposal.

The poll covered 1,415 households randomly selected across the country with at least one voter, with valid responses obtained from 1,023 voters.

The poll came after the DPJ and the major opposition parties voted Tuesday in the House of Representatives on a bill to double the nation’s consumption tax rate in stages, while a big chunk of DPJ Lower House members voted against it.

In the poll, 79.6 percent of respondents said they do not have high expectations of any party Ozawa may form if he splits away from the DPJ, while 15.9 percent said they do.

The poll also showed that 40.8 percent want to see the Lower House dissolved for a general election as soon as possible, compared with 31.7 percent who want an election for the lower house to be held at the same time as an election for the House of Councillors in the summer of 2013 when the current term of lower house members and that of a half the upper house lawmakers expire.

 

Well, there we have it, ladies and gents, our leaders in Japan have even less support than Obama, I mean if Obama’s support level went to the 30s, we’d have a problem.

 

Seems Baltimore won’t survive this summer….

 

 

 

 

Good job, newscasters, another fail for the record books. Let’s move onto what anon has don

Anonymous claims retaliation for copyright laws

Website attacks prompt probe

AFP-Jiji, Jiji, Kyodo
Japan probed attacks on government websites Wednesday apparently after the hacker collective Anonymous lashed out at beefed-up laws against downloading copyrighted works, and warned of more to come.

A site purporting to speak for the group said newly enacted laws that could mean jail for anyone downloading copyrighted music and movies “will result in scores of unnecessary prison sentences to numerous innocent citizens.”

The Finance Ministry’s website came under attack Tuesday, with a number of Web pages defaced, ministry official Takanari Horino said.

Supreme Court and intellectual property high court websites were also down for a short time overnight, he said.

“We are investigating where the illegal item came from,” the official said, referring to an unauthorized link posted to the ministry site.

“We are aware of the Anonymous statement referring to the new copyright law, but we don’t know at this point if the cyber-attacks are linked to the group,” he said.

According to the top court, its Web pages providing information about courts across Japan became totally inaccessible for at least 50 minutes through around 9:40 p.m. on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the website for workers at the Kasumigaura River office of the land ministry’s Kanto Regional Development Bureau was suspended after it was found to have been defaced, according to the National Information Security Center.

The anonpr.net website said laws passed by both houses of the Diet last week would do “little to solve the underlying problem of legitimate copyright infringement.”

“The content industry is now pushing ISPs in Japan to implement surveillance technology that will spy on . . . every single Internet user in Japan,” it said.

“This would be an unprecedented approach and severely reduce the amount of privacy law-abiding citizens should have in a free society.”

The statement also warned the government and country’s Recording Industry Association to “expect us the same way we have come to expect you in violating our basic rights to privacy and to an open Internet.”

A Wednesday morning post on Twitter by user @op_japan claiming to speak for Anonymous said: “Good morning #japan. Expect more from us today! #anonymous #opjapan #anonfamily #freeanons.”

Another post reads: “dpj.or.jp its your turn now,” apparently referring to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s ruling party.

A DPJ official said it was difficult to connect to the party’s server for a short period of time early Wednesday but there have not been any more serious problems. The Liberal Democratic Party website has also reported difficulties in its website Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the Recording Industry Association said on Wednesday no attacks on its website had been recorded, but it was investigating.

The new copyright law stipulates that “downloading of copyrighted works knowing that they are not free and that it is illegal” will lead to a prison sentence of up to two years, or a fine of up to ¥2 million, or both.

Some 4.36 billion files, including music and movies, were illegally downloaded in 2010, 10 times the number of legally downloaded music files, the association said.

Anonymous is a “hacker-activist” network that has claimed online attacks on sites ranging from the Vatican to the Los Angeles Police Canine Association, but is increasingly the target of police who have arrested dozens of members.

“There have been no reports of computer virus infections or information leakages at this stage,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said at a Wednesday morning press conference.

“The Cabinet Secretariat told government agencies yesterday to look out for possible cyberattacks and take prompt action if attacked, following the Anonymous statement,” Fujimura said. “To protect against cyberattacks is a key element of crisis management.”

Last June, Spanish police arrested three Anonymous members on charges of hacking into Sony Corp.’s PlayStation Network.

In February, the group attacked the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s website and made it inaccessible for several hours.

 

And for our final story.

 

Man accused of waving machete after O.C. kindergarten graduation

 

A Lake Forest man who allegedly began waving a machete during a kindergarten graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach has been arrested on suspicion of exhibiting a deadly weapon, possession of drugs and driving under the influence, authorities said.

Juan Vigil Portillo, 31, was arrested Saturday  following the ceremony at Anneliese School, according to Lt. Jason Kravetz.

Police said they began receiving calls around 2 p.m. that a man had pulled into the parking lot of the school on Laguna Canyon Road as the kindergarten graduation ceremony was ending. Callers reported that he was drinking beer in his Toyota Tundra and acting strangely, Kravetz said.

When one of the teachers approached the man and asked him to leave, he allegedly pulled out a machete and swung it at her, Kravetz said.

The teacher called 911, but the man allegedly pulled away just as officers were arriving.

About 20 minutes later, police from nearby Irvine said they pulled over Portillo. Irvine police said they had received calls of a man driving erratically and swinging a machete at motorists.

Laguna Beach police responded with the teacher to identify the man. Police said they found methamphetamine in his possession during the booking process.

 

That is our news for the day, good day and good bye till next time.

Another Week Another Slice of Cake

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I’m going to be honest with you, I’m not satisfied by the world, and every Monday I have a headache that’s killing me from stupid family drama, but today will be the last you hear of my personal matters as I don’t think it’s very professional to bring family matters to a blog that I run for news and such. Let’s press forward though, Obama’s new bill has just been signed into office and let me show you what it means for the rest of us.

 

 

BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court upholds Obama health care plan

 

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld President Obama’s health care law in a complex opinion that gives the president a major election-year victory.

The historic 5-4 decision will affect the way Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced the decision that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

A majority of the justices said that the individual mandate — the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine — is constitutional as a tax.

“Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” wrote Roberts.

The court’s four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, joined Roberts in the outcome.

Conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

Roberts — a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush — provided the key vote to preserve the landmark health care law, which figures to be a major issue in Obama’s re-election bid against Republican opponent Mitt Romney.

The government had argued that Congress had the authority to pass the individual mandate as part of its power to regulate interstate commerce; the court disagreed with that analysis, but preserved the mandate because the fine amounts to a tax that is within Congress’ constitutional taxing powers.

As lawyers examined the details of the various opinions, political analysts quickly predicted at least a short-term political boost for Obama.

Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said “you can hear the sigh of relief at the White House” over a big win for Obama.

“It allows the president’s signature achievement to stand,” Brown said. “Since politics is the ultimate zero-sum game, what’s good for Obama is bad for Gov. Mitt Romney.”

Brown also noted that the ruling allows Romney “to continue campaigning against the law and promising to repeal it.”

The Republican-controlled House have scheduled a vote July 11 for a full repeal of the health care law. It is a symbolic move that stands no chance of passage in the Democratic-controlled Senate. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., acknowledged that the election will be a determining factor for the law’s fate and the GOP’s ability to overturn it. “It’s up to the American people in the next election and their representatives to determine the fate of this law.”

Other congressional Republicans vowed to step up efforts to repeal what they call “Obamacare,” should they win control of Congress in the November elections.
“The president’s health care law is hurting our economy by driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “Today’s ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety.”

The law’s individual mandate had been the key question for the court.

Critics called the requirement an unconstitutional overreach by Congress and the Obama administration; supporters say it is necessary to finance the health care plan.

The decision showed once again that the high court isn’t shy about weighing in on major legislative issues and influencing the political balance of power. Since its 5-4 decision affirming George W. Bush’s election as president in December 2000, the justices have tackled issues of huge importance, ranging from affirmative action to campaign finance, with equal aplomb.

In this case, the decision will have an immediate and major impact on the nation’s health care system, the actions of both federal and state governments, the course of the November elections for president and Congress, and the reputation of the Supreme Court for decades to come.

While the individual mandate requiring most Americans to have health insurance remained 18 months away from implementation, many other provisions already have gone into effect, such as reductions in seniors’ prescription drug costs, help for children and some adults with pre-existing conditions, and allowing children up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ policies.

Now that the court has issued its verdict, look for these repercussions:

– Health care for millions of Americans will be affected — coverage for some, premiums for others. Doctors, hospitals, drug makers, insurers and employers large and small all will feel the impact.

– States — some of which have moved ahead with the health care overhaul while others have held back — now have decisions to make.

– Republicans and Democrats in Congress are likely to move in different directions, seeking to expand or restrict health care and its associated costs.

– The presidential race between Obama and Romney will be affected, especially by energizing the two parties’ bases. Obama’s health care law has proven increasingly unpopular among Americans in most polls.

The court decision represents “the beginning, not the end, of the big debate on health care reform,” said Bill McCollum, the former Florida attorney general who filed the first lawsuit on the day the law was signed 27 months ago.

Not since the court confirmed Bush’s election — before 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq, Wall Street’s dive and Obama’s rise — has one case carried such sweeping implications for nearly every American.

Passed by Democrats along strictly partisan lines, the law is designed to extend health coverage to some 32 million uninsured people, ban insurers from discriminating against those with expensive ailments, and require nearly all Americans to buy insurance or pay penalties.

Its passage on March 23, 2010, marked the culmination of an effort by Democrats to overhaul the nation’s health care system that dates back to Harry Truman’s presidency. The most recent effort by President Bill Clinton in 1994, spearheaded at the time by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, fell victim to Republican opposition. Since then, lesser changes have been enacted, including creation of a separate Children’s Health Insurance Program in the states.

The new law was challenged in a Florida court the day it was passed, and several other lawsuits made their way through district and appellate courts. A majority, but not all, of those courts upheld the law.

The principal challengers were a coalition of 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business. Beyond them, more than 130 briefs in support or opposition — a modern record, surpassing two Supreme Court affirmative action cases in 2003 — were filed by organizations ranging from the seniors group AARP to the Young Invincibles, representing young adults.

During three days of dramatic oral arguments in March, attorneys for the plaintiffs, led by former U.S. solicitor general Paul Clement, argued that the government never has required Americans to enter into commerce and warned that such a mandate could lead to more in the future. If this is allowed, they said, what couldn’t the government do?

The current solicitor general, Donald Verrilli, argued that Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce. The mandate would do that by regulating the financing of health care, which represents 18% of the nation’s economy. He argued that the mandate was required in order to carry out the changes in the insurance market, such as guaranteeing coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Yet even the government contended in court that if the mandate was struck down, it should take at least some of the most popular provisions with it. That would include guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and limits on premiums for those with expensive ailments — changes the government said could not be paid for unless millions more people bought insurance.

The states and business group challenging the law argued that the mandate wasn’t “severable” at all — if it was struck down, the entire law should fall. During three days of oral arguments in late March, several of the court’s conservative justices appeared to agree with that argument.

In addition, the states argued that the expansion of Medicaid with initial 100% federal funding was “coercive,” by luring states into an offer they could not refuse. They said it also would pull other people into Medicaid who already qualify but have not enrolled and would require certain treatments, all at a cost states cannot afford.
About the only thing both sides agreed on was that an obscure 1867 law, the Anti-Injunction Act, should not prevent the justices from rendering their verdict before the entire law was in effect.

 

So there you have it folks, a new bill signed off by the supreme court. Congrats, US, this is gonna come bite your ass off someday. I’m not against Obama, but frankly this just isn’t very logical, but everyone seems to be cheering for the big word: H E A L T H C A R E.

While it is true this will affect many young Americans who are unable to afford health care, it doesn’t necessarily mean that big a change. Obama care hasn’t really changed, it’s just that the Supreme Court backs it; That’s the major news, nothing special.

 

And now for more news about loli-R4p3 from Japan.

 

Cops Drop Charges Against Lolicon Rape Teacher

Author: Artefact

 

Police have dropped rape charges against a lolicon teacher who admitted having his way with a 12-year-old schoolgirl in the back of his car, and have declined to explain why.

The 26-year-old Sendai middle-school teacher was arrested for the attempted rape of a 12-year-old girl from another school, whom he had met online using an unnamed social networking service, and then arranged to meet up with in the back of his car.

For reasons they declined to clarify police dropped the charges against him, despite him admitting them and helpfully telling them “I was interested in girls of elementary school age.”

However, police searches revealed he had induced her to send nude pictures of herself to his phone, which he transferred to his PC, so police did later charge him with “manufacturing” child pornography, which he also admitted.

The incident came to light after the girl’s mother became suspicious and noticed her daughter had been exchanging mails with him.

What actions, if any, the school took in response to all this are not clear.

Police have not been forthcoming about the circumstances of him meeting the girl, but one possible scenario is that she was consensually engaged in prostitution, and that as a 12-year-old police may have been forced to charge him with statutory rape, which for whatever reasons they declined to do.

The other more widely favoured possibility is simply that he was a teacher and therefore practically immune to prosecution…

 

Not to be a downer but Artefag is a dick for posting this kind of news so often on the Sank blog. IF anyone out there has a better place for me to post Nippon news, that isn’t this depressing, please drop me a line.

 

Sesame Street strip club to serve liquor

Council votes to overturn alcohol ordinance

Author: Jeff Weinsier

 

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. –

A proposed strip club in North Miami will be able to serve liquor with its lap dances.

Late Tuesday night, the North Miami City Council voted 3-2 to overturn an ordinance that prohibited selling alcohol in a club with full nudity.

The city of North Miami had prohibited full nudity and alcohol in the same establishment, and the owners of the proposed club asked the City Council to lift the ban.

The proposed adult entertainment facility would be North Miami’s first. It is planned adjacent to Channel 2, on Sesame Street, in North Miami’s industrial district.

There is no word on when the club would open.

 

This was pretty funny. Strip club on Sesame Street. Anyway, ANN has the uh comic rankings, this was yesterday by the way.

le link

 

One other thing though…

 

Kingdom Hearts 3D’s English Dream Eaters Trailer Streamed

posted on 2012-06-27 18:00 EDT

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Latest in Kingdom Hearts franchise slated for N. America, Europe in July

Square Enix began streaming a 134-second English trailer on Wednesday for the Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]Nintendo 3DS game. The trailer highlights the different Dream Eaters featured in the game that can act as either allies or enemies. Square Enix previously streamed a trailer highlighting the game’s “flowmotion” system on Friday.

An English demo for the game is currently available to download at the Nintendo eShop. Square Enix will release the role-playing game on the Nintendo 3DS system in North America on July 31, after the European release on July 20. The game shipped in Japan on March 29.

 

So there you have it; And then there’s this…

 

Biglobe Poll: Most Anticipated Summer Anime OP/ED

posted on 2012-06-28 02:15 EDT

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Last Thursday, the Japanese Internet service provider BIGLOBE posted survey results on the most anticipated opening and endings for the summer anime season. The ranking was not an official BIGLOBE survey, but a poll conducted by the user “umapaka” under BIGLOBE‘s Anime Ranking Maker system.

Among the 2,441 self-selected responses from users of BIGLOBE‘s Anime One portal site, these were the 45 choices

 

The list can be viewed on-site. That is the end of my news, have some horses while I sign off. Goodnight, everyone.

 

2012’s Mid Year Review

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We’ve come a long way since January 2012 so let’s look over what’s happened since the year started. Romney took highest bidder for the election nominee, the war in Iraq ended, Osama was shot, Facebook made stocks that no one wanted, Little Busters got made into an anime which is still being “made” cause the producers got lazy, Fakebook shut down “The Most Beautiful Teens” Contest (which I still say was hilarious since only about 10% of all teens are actually “pretty”), oh and Florida decided to stop allowing classes for game dev.

Wow we’ve been busy. Americans sure love that dick in their holes, I mean why else would they screw with the nation. I used to think we had “conventional logic”. I don’t think logic is very conventional anymore, especially with stories like this.

 

An Unsung Hero of the Nuclear Age

Maj. Harold Hering and the forbidden question that cost him his career.

By

 

It was a risk. Dedicating a book to someone I’d had had a five-minute phone conversation with three decades ago. Someone who, last I’d heard, had become a long-haul trucker and whom I’d given up trying to track down.

But I went ahead and dedicated my new book, How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III, to Maj. Harold Hering because Maj. Hering sacrificed his military career to ask a Forbidden Question about launching nuclear missiles. A question that exposed the comforting illusions of the so called fail-safe system designed to prevent “unauthorized” nuclear missile launches.

It was a question that changed his life, and changed mine, and may have changed—even saved—all of ours by calling attention to flaws in our nuclear command and control system at the height of the Cold War. It was a question that makes Maj. Hering an unsung hero of the nuclear age. A question that came from inside the system, a question that has no good answer: How can any missile crewman know that an order to twist his launch key in its slot and send a thermonuclear missile rocketing out of its silo—a nuke capable of killing millions of civilians—is lawful, legitimate, and comes from a sane president?

I tried to track Hering down before my book went to press but failed to connect. And so I chanced it, dedicating the book to someone who, for all I knew, had gone from self-sacrificing hero to—who knows?—subprime mortgage broker? Not that it would have diminished his original sacrifice; heroes don’t always fare well after they’ve left the stage, especially when they go unsung.

But I had an intuition when I first read about Maj. Harold Hering and his Forbidden Question that in addition to courage he had a rare kind of uncompromising integrity. And when I finally tracked him down … well, let me first explain why I think he’s an American hero.

Let’s say you were a Minuteman missile crewman during the Richard Nixon presidency at the very height of the Cold War. You and your fellow crewmen are down in your underground launch control center, tending to your sector of the “silo farm”—the vast field under which nuclear missile silos (actually heavily reinforced concrete silo-shaped holes in the ground) shelter the instruments of mass death that lurk beneath the bleak badlands of the northern Great Plains. There you are, running through a drill, going down a routine checklist for launch readiness, when suddenly you get what seems like a real launch order. Not a drill. Get ready to twist your launch keys in their slots and send anywhere from one to 50 missiles rocketing toward Russia. World War III is under way.

Or is it? Your launch order codes are “authenticated,” everything seems in order, the seconds tick away. But in what may be the last seconds of your life—for all you know Soviet missiles are about to rain down on the plains—a thought crosses your mind. About “authentication.” It’s supposed to ensure that the launch order comes from the president himself, or (if the president has been killed) from the surviving head of the nuclear chain of command.

But what about that person at the top of the chain of command, the person who gives the order? Has he been “authenticated”? Who authenticates the authenticator? Can the president start a nuclear war on his own authority—his own whim or will—alone? The way Brigadier Gen. Jack D. Ripper did in Dr. Strangelove? What if a president went off his meds, as we’d say today, and decided to pull a Ripper himself? Or what if a Ripper-type madman succeeded in sending a falsely authenticated launch order? You’re about to kill 10 million people, after all.

Such a scenario was not inconceivable at the time when Maj. Hering was going through missile training class at Vandenberg Air Force base. Bruce Blair (then a missile crewman himself, a wing commander in charge of 200 minuteman missiles, and now the head of the nuclear abolitionist Global Zero Initiative) discloses in my book that he had figured out a way to launch all 200 of his “birds” without authorization. Good thing he’s a very stable guy.

But you’ve probably read about Richard Nixon acting erratically, drinking heavily as Watergate closed in on him. You may not have read about the time he told a dinner party at the White House, “I could leave this room, and in 25 minutes, 70 million people would be dead.” (Try that line out at one of your dinner parties. I’ve always found it a good conversation starter.)

Anyway, back down there in your launch capsule you might allow yourself to wonder: “This launch order, is this for real or for Nixon’s indigestion?”

If you were asking yourself that question, you wouldn’t be the only one. James Schlesinger, secretary of defense at that time, No. 2 in the nuclear chain of command, was reported to be so concerned about Nixon’s behavior that he sent word down the chain of command that if anyone received any “unusual orders” from the president they should double-check with him before carrying them out.

So there you are, having just received the order to launch nuclear genocide. Should you suppress any doubts, twist your launch key in the slot simultaneously with your fellow crewman and send death hurtling toward millions of civilians halfway around the world? Without asking questions? That’s what you’re trained to do, not ask questions. Trainees who asked questions were supposed to be weeded out by the Air Force’s “psychiatric consideration of human reliability” requirement. I’ve read this absurd Strangelovian document, which defined sane and reliable as being willing to kill 10 or 20 million people with the twist of a wrist, no questions asked.

Maj. Hering decided to ask his question anyway, regardless of consequences: How could he know that an order to launch his missiles was “lawful”? That it came from a sane president, one who wasn’t “imbalance[d]” or “berserk,” as Maj. Hering’s lawyer eventually, colorfully put it?

Hering needed a lawyer because as soon as he asked the question he was yanked out of missile training class, and after two years of appeals, eventually had to leave the Air Force, trade in a launch key for the ignition keys to an 18-wheeler.

 

But he forced the Air Force to face the question. We couldn’t ignore the problem any longer. Although, as it turned out, we couldn’t solve it, either.

If you think Hering’s question is a relic of the Cold War, consider the situation now. Say you’re a missile crewman today (remember, they’re still down there, both the missiles and the “Missileers,” no longer just missilemen), all briefed and ready to launch. Let’s say you’re at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the place where some mysterious glitch caused 50 missiles to go offline last October. You know the missiles stopped talking to base. Stopped responding to all commands. And you’ve read about the way the Stuxnet computer worm demonstrated an ability to insinuate itself into the actual control systems of nuclear facilities in Iran and turn them to its own ends.

And you get a launch order. It looks like it’s the real thing, it’s all “authenticated.” It directs you to retarget your “de-targeted” missiles and then tells you to get ready to launch. Should you entertain doubts? You know most of your fellow missileers (really, didn’t someone in the Air Force realize how much this would sound like “Mouseketeers” in a Strangelovian way?) will follow orders and fire. If you don’t fire it won’t make much of a difference, a few million fewer dead among what will probably be tens of millions minimum. (The number of deaths that might result from a nuclear strike has been the subject of controversy. It might vary depending on conditions such as the height of the blast, but a minuteman missile carries a warhead at least 12 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb, which killed—again it’s in dispute—around a 100,000 people in the first few days and many more over the years from radiation sickness and cancers. And a recent Scientific American study of the possible effects of a “small” nuclear war—say, between India and Pakistan—concluded that in addition to the immediate effects, the ash-shroud kicked up into the atmosphere by the blasts would chill and kill enough crops worldwide to starve 1 billion more people.)

Should you question the order to launch such an attack, not knowing for sure it doesn’t come from a president off his meds? Or a cyberworm disguised as a president?

Do you have the right to question? Do you have the duty, under the Nuremberg precedent in international law, which denies a “just-following-orders” defense for genocide?

One would think so, since our policy of nuclear deterrence—a legacy of the Cold War—is based on threatening genocidal retaliation to prevent genocidal attack. Indeed, even if a retaliatory attack would be entirely pointless—indeed morally obscene—it’s one that we’re committed to carry out 24/7.

In the book I wrote, I focus on the astonishingly unexamined morality of retaliation that Maj. Hering-type questions open up. One of the most surprising discoveries I made was in my conversation with Moshe Halbertal, the Israeli military ethicist who said no—no nuclear retaliation is morally acceptable. I found myself in agreement. And you, dear reader, would you question such an order, like Hering or Halbertal, or just carry it out? Would you kill 20 million people to carry out a threat that failed?

There’s no question the president now has just as much authority as he had then. You should read then-Vice President’s Dick Cheney’s declaration about the president’s unchallengeable power to launch nuclear missiles whenever he sees fit.

Here’s what Cheney told Fox News: “The president of the United State is now, for 50 years, is followed at all times, 24 hours a day, by a military aide carrying a ‘football’ that contains the nuclear codes that he would use and be authorized to use in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States. He could launch a kind of devastating attack the world’s never seen. He doesn’t have to check with anybody. He doesn’t have to call the Congress. He doesn’t have to check with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in.”

There was a fascinating debate among constitutional law specialists on the Volokh Conspiracy blog following the Cheney statement, and, alas, from my reading of the cases cited, there was no definitive judicial limit to his power as commander in chief to avow he had no time to consult Congress for a declaration of war. No one could come up with a definitive constitutional refutation of this. If a president said he had intelligence of an imminent nuclear attack there was no provision requiring him to prove it to anyone else. Congress couldn’t defund a missile once in flight. (Well, it could, but lawmakers would have better things to do at that point—i.e., run for the hills.)

In other words, what Richard Nixon said still holds true: Any president could, on his own, leave a room, and in 25 minutes, 70 million (or more than that) would be dead. Not likely but in the new, more unstable, multi-polar nuclear age we’ve entered, Maj. Hering’s question about the instability or sanity of the president himself remains valid, as does the larger sanity question: Can any order to kill 20 million with the twist of a wrist be sane?

Maj. Hering, I should emphasize, did not ask his question because he was some kind of peacenik or a pacifist. You wouldn’t have seen him at a Jackson Browne no-nukes concert in the ’80s. He had done multiple tours of duty in Vietnam, doing dangerous Air Rescue Service work, flying copters into live-fire zones to pick up the wounded and the dead. He hoped to make the Air Force his lifetime profession and was expecting a promotion to lieutenant colonel when he asked his Forbidden Question.

He asked his question, he later told the Air Force Board of Inquiry that heard his appeal, because his fidelity to his oath as an officer required him to carry out only “lawful orders.” The Air Force maintained that the information he sought, about how he’d know a launch order was lawful, was beyond his “need to know.”

To which Maj. Hering replied, in an interview, “I have to say, I feel I do have a need to know, because I am a human being.” Yes!

“It is inherent in an officer’s commission that he has to do what is right in terms of the needs of the nation despite any orders to the contrary,” he went on. “You really don’t know at the time of key turning, whether you are complying with your oath of office.”

It was only by accident that I came upon Maj. Hering’s story. I was flipping through the inside news pages of the New York Times back at the height of the Cold War and saw the following headline:

This seemed to me to be a more important story than its placement indicated, so I took the clipping up to Lewis Lapham at Harper’s, and he commissioned a story that would explore not just the sanity question raised by the Major but the larger sanity of the system itself.

I spent three years investigating and writing a story about the mechanics and morals of the nuclear command and control system.

It was a story that took me into the underground war room of the Strategic Air Command (now STRATCOM) beneath Omaha’s Offutt Air Force Base, and eventually out to a silo farm in the badlands where, at a missile launch control center, I got to hold a launch key in my hand and twist it in the slot in a test console, exactly as if I were executing a launch order that would kill 10 million people or more.

And believe me: Once you hold a launch key in your hand and twist it (hard to the right and hold for two seconds) it unlocks a door you never can close again. A door to the abyss.

So I came to understand the major’s focus on “the time of the key turning.” But I had trouble reaching the major. After his discharge, his job as long haul trucker made it difficult to reach him. But finally, as my story was going to press, I caught him at home in Indianapolis. He told me he’d just put his cartons of files on the Forbidden Question in storage, but that I was welcome to come out and go through them. I was already up to my eyeballs in Congressional hearings on the subject and he sounded as if he was weary of the matter and wanted to move on. And so did I.

So I moved on—like we all did after the Cold War ended, during the “holiday from history” that ensued. I moved on until 2007, when several events awakened me to the fact that we had entered a new age of nuclear peril with the same old flawed command and control system the Major had questioned.

And I wondered what had become of the major.

In the intervening years, Maj. Hering’s question was not a tree that fell in the forest. Even if it didn’t get the attention it deserved, it influenced some influential people.

Daniel Ellsberg, for instance, was very familiar with Maj. Hering’s question. Ellsberg’s post-Pentagon career has been devoted in great part to anti-nuclear activities. In fact, Ellsberg had saved clippings he had found in Detroit and San Francisco newspapers about the Major’s case which he’d scanned and sent to me.

Another key figure, Bruce Blair, the missile-crewman-turned-anti-nuke-activist, had also been provoked to investigate the question of launch-order authentication. (He’s the one who figured out that he could launch 150 missiles all by himself. He even told me how he’d do it.)

After Blair left the Air Force, he eventually became a consultant to the Congressional Office of Science and Technology, where he was given “above top secret” clearance to study the Pentagon’s nuclear command and control systems. Blair told me that one of the reasons he went from being an advocate of nuclear arms control—in favor of a reducing the numbers of nuclear weapons, but not abolishing them—to being an advocate of “Global Zero” for nuclear weapons, is that even now, with all the digital modernizations of command and control, “no one has yet come up with an answer to Maj. Hering’s question.”

In other words we have risked the fate of the earth, the fate of the species, on the mental stability of a few ambitious politicians who rise to the top of the heap, not necessarily because of their rationality. There is no foolproof command and control system. The imposing phrase “command and control” belies its meretriciousness.

It was Blair who put me back in touch with the major, whom he’d checked in on periodically over the years, and it was through Blair I first got a working phone number for the major during my research for this new book. But some voice-mail glitch led to an unreturned message and a feeling that perhaps Hering had moved on or didn’t want to talk. It was only after the book went to press, at the urging of my editor, that I tried one more time. After all, I dedicated the book to him. I didn’t want it to come as a complete surprise.

This time he got my voice mail, or a version of it.

He responded by e-mail that he understood from my phone message that I wanted to send him a copy of a Harper’s story I’d written and that he was glad that people were still interested in what he called “my Board of Inquiry,” the hearing before the division of the Air Force judiciary which had rejected his appeal of his dismissal from the missile class because of The Question.

In other words he’d never seen the original 15,000-word story that had been inspired by him. I would blame the turbulent state of my life back then for my not sending him a copy. I guess I just assumed someone had brought it to his attention and that despite my admiration for his question, he’d read it and not responded because it was a chapter in his life he wanted closed.

I was wrong about that. I replied by e-mail to clarify that I was trying to reach him because I had dedicated my book to him (and wanted to send him a galley). I also sent along some questions about what course his life had taken after the Air Force ended his military career. How The Question had changed his life. I must admit the response was moving and surprising.


It was clear from his reply that he’d always been conflicted in a certain way about what he’d done. In his initial statements at the time of the Board of Inquiry he made clear that he was not seeking to disobey or ignore a “lawful” order, but he felt a responsibility imposed by his oath as an officer and by his “conscience” to be sure an order to launch his missiles was truly “lawful.” He had wanted to be both loyal and unquestioning but had to question to be truly loyal. He’d found himself in an impossible catch-22 position.

It had taken him a long time, he told me, to absorb the “devastating” consequences of what he thought was strict adherence to duty. After cautioning me that he didn’t want me to mention any family matters, he said, “I’ve been through some pretty rough times but have tried not to be bitter about it all.”

The difficulty and the bitterness have been exacerbated by the kind of self division of which I speak. He told me: “I thought my actions were proper, but felt shame.”

Proper. Shame. He was doing the right thing but had to suffer the ostracism of those who didn’t understand the urgency of his question, who blindly sought to inculcate an unquestioning “follow orders” order of things.

He seemed to have a kind of love-hate relationship with the military. He said, “For a number of years I did not use many of the military facilities available to me as a retiree.” He said that was because, “I didn’t feel like I fit in any more, like damaged goods or general inadequacy.”

The military that so undeservedly caused him to feel this way, that treated his urgently important question without the seriousness it deserved, caused him to reject the free medical care available at VA hospitals or other outreach services to assuage the suffering he’d gone through. The suffering they’d caused!

Instead, he sought alternate remedies, he told me. “During this time I became involved in several personal growth workshop/events, some very intense and also spent over a year in solitude in the mid ’80s.” He had a lot to think about.

A year in solitude. Like burying himself in an underground launch control center.

“Sixteen months,” he told me later, where his only companion was a cat and the only contact he had with the outside world was listening every Saturday night to Prairie Home Companion.

I know, it sounds a bit bizarre, but we all have our own ways of healing our wounds.

“I left work as a road driver early on to work for the Salvation Army as a counselor into the mid-’90s. During that time I also volunteered for a year as a clinical associate for the Crisis Suicide Line.”

Crisis suicide line. What could be more appropriate? It’s impossible not to infer a kind of connection: Maj. Hering’s question went directly to the issue of whether the human race would commit collective suicide in a crisis. He felt a responsibility then and later to intervene. We were, we are, a system in need of salvation from ourselves.

All the while he was counseling the suicidally inclined, he was in a “dark emotional hole” himself, he told me.

For one thing, despite all that had happened, he said, he “missed the Air Force, especially flying with the Air Rescue Service.”

Indeed, one of his proudest claims to me was that at age 72, he’d become a marathon runner and competed in the U.S. Air Force marathon. “And today,” he adds, “I proudly wear the Air Force insignia.” In fact, he tells me, he was recently married for the second time “in [a] Navy Chapel … wearing the new Air Force dress uniform.”

But he can’t help feeling a loss and he can’t help feeling his question still goes unanswered.

“I still miss/regret the loss of promotion to lieutenant colonel and believe I had the potential to advance further,” he told me. “And I have certainly missed flying. But in the final analysis, I definitely would ask the question if I had it to do over. The Officer’s Oath of Office demands it, I think. In looking back over my life, most of my working career has been saving lives and helping people. I have thought about the issue of Nuclear Warfare a lot and still do not have a definitive, fit-all, answer. But the concept seems generally insane to me and begs for very stringent checks and balances at all levels, especially pre-emptive strike considerations.”

“Generally insane.” It’s interesting that he’s moved from the special case of presidential sanity, to the question of the larger sanity of the system itself.

And, indeed, he told me that when he read the last page of my book, in which I urge anyone with a launch key or a launch code, not to send it, not to twist it, no matter what the circumstances—because any nuclear launch is genocidal—he said he agreed with me.

“I am left with a deep and growing hunger for peace among people at every level,” he wrote me. “It seems urgent to me that we find ways to become a more tolerant and forgiving people. Perhaps,” he says “I was not a good match for duty as a missile launch officer.”

It depends on what you mean by a good match. If you want unthinking automatons imposing genocidal punishment on the innocent citizens of an attacker nation, he’s not your man, he’s not your major, not your “good match.”

On the other hand, some might say we can’t give the impression that everyone in missile launch control centers engages in Socratic debate about whether genocidal revenge is justified, or could be seen as “insane” in itself. Such debate, the official line goes, would end up “weakening the credibility of our deterrent” and perhaps inviting a genocidal attack. The major knows this. He’s still a divided man.

In a way, we all are. We may feel the threat of an insane or unbalanced commander-in-chief doing something “irrational” is unlikely. But is the genocidal retaliation we’ve pledged ourselves to in the policy of nuclear deterrence, ever rational?

What I learned when I finally tracked Hering down didn’t change anything I felt about him or his act. But I learned a lot more about what it cost him. I learned that he still doesn’t really know he’s a hero, though he comes as close to a definition of it as anyone I know. That on some level he’s had to come to term with shame. And shame on us that he did and we didn’t feel shame, that we didn’t properly recognize his heroism.

So I’m writing this for Maj. Harold Hering, to convince him that in my mind he deserves more than a dedication, he deserves a medal of honor. The president who called for a world without nuclear weapons should give it to him. It’s long overdue. And time is running out.

 

I’m not sure it’s possible, but if someone in the military gets fired for asking is the order logical, I think we have a problem here; Houston, we definitely have a problem here. I mean it used to mean something when logical things mattered in this world. Remember those days? Even when Clinton was near impeachment, things out there still made a decent amount of sense. People who robbed stores, still got arrested, child abductors and murderers were still jailed, and the world was at peace, then again, I grew up in the 90s where jobs were as stale as they are now, so my opinion on this means very little.

 

So what is it that we have seen over the past 6 months? Not a whole lot since 2011 to be honest. I’m sure Europe is still tard raging like they always do in the European nation, but all in all 2012 is becoming nothing more than the doldrums of  cynics of politics. Oh and apparently Mitt Romney likes Cocoa Puffs.

 

Mitt Romney gets serious about lightening up

 

On NBC, viewers got a glimpse inside Mitt Romney’s campaign bus on Thursday night and learned that he likes Cocoa Puffs. The night before on TBS, Romney’s five sons yukked it up on Conan O’Brien’s show, sharing tales of their dad’s pranks.

Romney, whose image as a stiff businessman has proven hard to shake, is on a new charm offensive.

It’s standard for presidential candidates to show the lighter side of what they’re like in private, or at least try to, in the friendly realm of late-night talk shows, MTV or ABC’s “The View.”

For Romney, this is no laughing matter.

A poll released Thursday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found 47% of voters held an unfavorable opinion of him. Over the last 20 years, Romney is the only presidential candidate viewed more unfavorably than favorably at this point in a campaign, according to Pew.

Romney trails President Obama “by wide margins on connecting well with ordinary people, honesty and truthfulness, consistency, displaying good judgment and several other personal dimensions,” Pew reported.

Romney has made progress. His personal favorability rating rose from 29% in March to 41% this week. But he has a ways to go – and he spent a good deal of time trying to get there over the last week on his tour of small towns in key states.

It’s an urgent task, with Obama already spending heavily on ads trying to define his challenger negatively just as many swing voters are getting to know him. In his latest ad, Obama brands Romney a “corporate raider.”

In a video posted on the web by NBC, “Rock Center with Brian Williams” captured the moment on Saturday when Romney sneaked onto an empty press bus with smooth leather seats. It shows Romney leaving reporters a note saying, “You guys have it way too soft – nice ride. Mitt. P.S. – Erased your hard drives.”

(Obama’s campaign has been needling Romney and his staff in the governor’s office for buying their computer hard drives from the state and erasing their emails from a public server just before his term ended.)

During his small-town tour, Romney visited reporters several times in the rear section of his plane. After light banter for the TV cameras, Romney retreated to the front when questions turned serious. Standing in the aisle just before takeoff on Monday, Romney opened a conversation by joking about his puzzling (and much-lampooned) observation at a rally that Michigan’s trees were just the right height.

“We’re about to go to Michigan,” he said. “When we land, look around, and you’ll see the trees are the right height.”

A reporter asked him to reveal the best advice he ever got on a rope line. “Stop trying to be like yourself,” he said. “Be someone else. Just don’t be you.” He smiled and added, “Just kidding.”

On O’Brien’s show, one of his sons, Matt Romney, retold a story that he’d shared at a pancake breakfast Sunday in Ohio. His dad used to ask his kids to smell butter or whipped cream that seemed to have gone bad, then push their face into it as they tried to take a whiff.

“So he’s basically just smashing your faces into food all the time,” O’Brien responded.

Another son, Tagg Romney, recalled that his father, as a young man, used pink nail polish to paint “HELP” on the soles of a bridegroom’s shoes at a Catholic wedding. Guests saw it when he kneeled down to get the priest’s blessing.

“That’s a very good prank actually,” O’Brien said.

“I’m not sure they’re still friends,” Tagg Romney said.

“No, no, no,” O’Brien said. “The wife would not think that’s funny.”

 

Very funny, Romney, but you’re still not impressing me. The only reason he’s got so many votes, is cause Romney acts like a, for lack of a better term, family guy in front of the cameras. It’s all a show after all, I mean why else spend thousands of dollars on campaign ads and stuff to make yourself “Amurrika” worthy.

 

You guys remember sexting and all that junk made up in the early 2000s? Look at this.

 

Bus bullying video becomes fundraising juggernaut and social media soap opera

 

What started as a modest goal – raising a few thousand for a bullied school monitor – has morphed into a half-million-dollar fund and media circus, complete with praise, apologies, a piggy-back fundraiser and questions over what the extra money will be used for.

Max Sidorov reacted to an unpleasant 10-minute video online of children berating Karen Klein, a cash-strapped widow, on a school bus in New York state. After he appealed to strangers to give her the trip of her dreams, news of the fundraiser was picked up by international media outlets and donations poured in.

“I thought no way we could even get the goal. I thought a few thousand to send her somewhere nice,” Mr. Sidorov said Friday, one of numerous interviews he has done since starting the campaign. “I thought, wouldn’t it be a nice idea to send her on a nice vacation, take her away from this torment.”

The effort clearly touched a nerve, amid increasing signs that bullying is seen as an issue that needs to be addressed. More than 23,000 people had contributed by late morning Friday. In a typical comment at the site, one person wrote that he could barely watch the video without crying. “I am angry and outraged by what those despicable little monsters did to you,” he added.

Police in a Rochester suburb had to step up patrols near the houses of several boys, the Associated Press reported.

“They’ve received death threats,” Police Captain Steve Chatterton was quoted saying Thursday. “Their families have been threatened. We have custody of one of their cellphones, and he had over 1,000 missed calls and 1,000 text messages threatening him. And he’s 13 years old. That must stop.”

The father of one boy on the bus told a television station his son had written a letter of apology. But Robert Helm was worried the problem may go beyond grounding or other normal punishment and could require professional intervention.

“I’m sorry, this is not the way I raised my kids,” Mr. Helm said. “I never would have, in my wildest dreams, think that they were ever capable of anything like this.”

With 29 days before the fundraiser expires, more than 100 times the goal of $5,000 already had been donated. The total was still climbing on Friday and there were no plans to move up the campaign’s end-date.

Which means that Ms. Klein – unless she dreams of space tourism – will have far more than she needs for a trip. There have been hints that the additional money could be used to let her retire, though she has expressed a desire to continue the job, which pays about $15,000 annually.

Some are calling for the extra money to be used for some sort of anti-bullying initiative. That will be Ms. Klein’s call to make.

“It all goes to her,” Mr. Sidorov said. “She will decide what to do with it. It’s her money.”

There will also be money for Mr. Sidorov to use. On Thursday, the campaign he started spawned a cascade effect. Someone else started a second fundraiser, a pat on the back for Mr. Sidorov that already exceeded its goal of $2,500. On Friday morning it passed $4,000.

The second campaign – designed to “pay it forward … encourage all the Maxes out there” – sparked a mostly positive, but somewhat mixed, reaction. One person called it “in such poor taste” while others slammed critics as cynics. “Thank you Max for showing us all that one person can make a difference! hope this buys you a few coffees,” one typical person wrote.

But Mr. Sidorov’s role itself was being called into question as well.

The video initially was spotted by visitors to the websites Reddit and 4chan, who helped identify the school in question. They sent messages to school officials and local New York media. They also scoured Ms. Klein’s social media presence, learning that she lost her husband 17 years ago and did not have much money.

It was Mr. Sidorov, though, who took the step of starting the fundraiser. On Friday he said he would have been happy had someone else played that role.

“I never wanted the attention,” he said. “The only reason I’m doing this is to spread some awareness.”

 

This is moronic…I can’t believe THIS is news. ‘Oh no, help, my son or daughter is getting bullied in school.’ This is growing up, deal with, fight back or whatever, but putting this on the news just makes bullies fight back more.

 

If you guys are wondering why I don’t use Google News, it’s cause there’s no need, if you wanted to hear bad news, go on CNN, don’t come here. This blog is for fun news, education about the environment, not war stories. Speaking of war stories, we should send all our idiots in the US who like games like call of Duty or Battlefield to Uganda. They want to hold a gun and kill people, let them be child soldiers, less idiots to populate the US the better. Much like this person.

 

Miami Heat tickets sale ends with SWAT standoff

By Barbara Hijek

 

Bradley Earl Wasserman scored some Miami Heat tickets, promising to take his stepchildren to the game. However, he sold one to his neighbor’s son in North Naples for $2,500, according to Wasserman’s wife, reports the Naples Daily News.

He and his wife reportedly began to feud after his his wife became upset, fearing the 55-year-old man would gamble away the money.

Wasserman grabbed a shotgun, hit his wife in the face with the butt of the gun and threatened to shoot himself before shooting a hole in a bathroom door, according to reports.

Wasserman then got to see some play action from another team — SWAT.

As of this morning Wasserman is still in custody.

Guess he missed the game.

 

And finally the last news of the day. You guys all remember the DSXL, right? That huge brick of an NDS that had a bigger screen and refused to fit in your pocket? Guess what, the 3DS is getting one, too.

 

Nintendo Unveils 3DS XL

Author: Artefact

Nintendo has announced its new model 3DS XL, boasting a bigger screen, chunkier console and heavier weight – barely a week after Miyamoto had apparently been insisting that no such console existed.

The 3DS XL (or “LL” in Japan, just to keep things confusing) is due August 19th in the US and July 28th in Japan, for $199 and ¥18900, respectively.

The main distinguishing features are that it is bigger:

It is in fact 46% bigger: 93mm x 156mm x 22m, compared to the 3DS’s 74mm x 134mm x 21mm

This brings a screen increased in size by “90%” (4.88″ & 4.18″ vs 3.53″ & 3.02″)

Less helpfully, it also weighs much more, at 336g to the original’s 235g

Battery life for 3DS titles is increased by a moderately unimpressive 30-90 minutes – 3.5-6.5 hours vs 3-5 hours

 

The video:

 

 

Displaying the usual total lack of straightforwardness consumers have unfortunately had to come to expect from big gaming companies, only on June 12th was Nintendo’s boss quoted lying through his teeth by saying there would likely be no revised 3DS and Nintendo would instead release a next generation portable later:

“I really feel like I’m satisfied with the 3DS hardware as it is. I feel like it’s the best for this generation. What we’re thinking about right now is probably going to be for a future generation of handheld.”

This will not blow over well. Anyway, my job’s done today. This is Grass signing out.

Ponies and Parties galore

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I just got back to the condo and my head is swimming and about to explode. I feel like my head is a coconut bomb loaded with gunpowder and ready to give me headaches throughout the day. So while I’m chugging down my morning green tea with a side of buttered bagels, I began to think. How far will you go to achieve something that isn’t expected of you in this world. How far is it worth going to realize your dreams. Well, I’m sure this is all very cliché, so here’s some wisdom from people of the west: When big man swing big stick at you, you should run or get another big stick to fight big man.

 

So without further ado, let’s move onto the regulars of the day.

 

Lisa Brown: Silenced for saying (shock!) ‘vagina’

By Lisa Brown

 

(CNN) — One week ago, the Michigan House of Representatives was taking up some of the most restrictive anti-choice legislation in the country. It was in the context of this bill that I said, “Finally Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.'”

You can watch me say that here. My comment is made around the 1:50 mark, and you can see exactly how the legislators seated behind me reacted. While there was a scatter of applause from my colleagues, there were no dropped jaws, bulging eyes or fainting. In fact, the only remarkable thing about their response is that there was virtually no response at all.

Not until the next day. That’s when I got word that Republican House leaders had banned me and my colleague Rep. Barb Byrum from speaking on the House floor. I was shocked.

Given my speech, I could only assume it was because I spoke to my Jewish values or because I had said vagina. But later that day, Rep. Mike Callton told the press that what I had said was so vile, so disgusting, that he could never bear to mention it in front of women or “mixed company.”

Since we share the same religion, I’m guessing he wasn’t referring to my kosher sets of dishes. Even though Callton has a bachelor’s degree in biology and worked as a chiropractor, it was the word “vagina” that did him in.

As a storm of protest grew against our silencing and women across the state started to rally around my use of the word vagina, Republicans changed course. They insisted they had no problem with vaginas. Byrum and I were being punished for our lack of decorum. We were accused of throwing a “temper tantrum.”

Take another look at the video. Do you see a temper tantrum? Does that look like a group of people shocked by what we said or how we behaved?

Vagina enters stage left — or is it right?

When complaints about our banning picked up pace, Republicans tried again. This time, their story was that I was kept from speaking because I said “no means no.”

As Republicans continued to throw mud against the wall to see what stuck, they only made it worse for themselves. Thousands of women, not only in Michigan but across the country and even around the globe, saw exactly what was going on. What they saw was a male-dominated legislative body going to great lengths to silence two women who dared speak in opposition to a measure that would limit access to our health care. They saw it, and they didn’t like it.

Among the people watching this unfold was Eve Ensler, who wrote the award-winning play, “The Vagina Monologues.” Ensler, who has worked for nearly 20 years to empower women and undo the shame many of us are taught to feel toward our bodies, didn’t just see a group of mostly male legislators freaking out about “vagina.” She saw them trying to shut women up at the same time they were trying to pass laws about our health.

She wouldn’t stand for it. That’s why she came to Lansing this week to lead a performance of “The Vagina Monologues.” Thousands of men, women and children showed up to see it and show their support for Byrum and me.

In the aftermath of this, Rep. Jim Stamas, whose job it was to issue the edict against me, said he “honestly had no idea it would become such an issue.” I find it amazing that a fellow legislator wouldn’t understand why it’s outrageous not to just silence me, but my 90,000 constituents.

I hope he and his fellow Republicans get it now. If not, the election this November will surprise them even more.

 

I believe congress is racist…against people in general, not black or whites, just people. We are racist against humanity, not words like ‘Vagina’ or ‘Penis’ or god knows what else we could blurt out while we’re talking in “professional” cases. I mean, one can only give a damn about so much. It’s why we invented this word called, Taboo. It only creates fear of a word so the curious can learn it and taboo other people who say it. This is ludicrous, but it’s how society operates, I’ve been against the way America has been running the government for so long. Ironic we choose to employ democracy in our country, but only REPRESENTATIVE democracy. True democracy from ancient Rome was quite possibly the best thing that happened to this world. I loved Rome back in the day, when people could be heard and the government didn’t dabble so much in the affairs of the average citizen.

 

 

Wife Attacks Husband After Finding Copies of The Onion in Car

Victim tells police his wife considers the papers “pornography” and it has caused issues in their marriage.

By Joe Petrie

 

The Shepherd Express and The Onion are iconic Wisconsin publications well known for their alternative views and humor.

However, when one man’s wife found issues of those two papers in his trunk, it incited an incident that could very well be mistaken for a headline in The Onion.

A 56-year-old Menomonee Falls woman is facing charges after she allegedly attacked her husband for having copies of the Shepherd Express and The Onion in the trunk of his car.

Lynne M. Rasbornik was charged in Waukesha County Circuit Court Monday with one count of disorderly conduct domestic abuse. If convicted, she faces up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint:

On May 19, the victim’s car was parked in their driveway in the N5100 block of Dolphin Drive and Rasbornik was going through the trunk when she found copies of the newspapers. She came into the house and confronted her husband about the papers then attacking him.

 

The man said his wife considers the publications “pornography” and the issue has been around in their marriage before.

The victim was able to get Rasbornik to the ground, then he wanted to leave, so he let her go and went to get his son’s guitar that he was going to borrow. Rasbornik then grabbed a vase and tried to throw it at her husband, but he was able to grab her arms and stop her.

Rasbornik began to flail her arms and scream before running out of the house to the victim’s car and take his cell phone, a notebook with his driver’s license and credit card inside, a Starbucks gift card and his handicapped placard.

While talking with a police officer, Rasbornik said her husband had attacked her, but she kept scratching and poking herself to make injuries more apparent. The officer told her to stop, but once taken in for booking she continued to scratch and twist her arms to make it appear that she was injured.

She will make her initial appearance in court Aug. 7.

 

Lake Worth woman sues Walmart, citing secret insurance policy on her husband

By: By Jane Musgrave

When Linda Gaub’s 51-year-old husband died of a heart attack in 1994 she said his employer, Walmart, couldn’t have been more supportive.

They took up a collection. They brought Christmas presents for the couple’s three young children. They donated plants for a garden at Liberty Park Elementary School, a project that had been her husband’s passion — a way of using his skills as a farmer to help out one of his kid’s school.

Then, last year, the Lake Worth woman got a letter, alerting her that Walmart benefited richly from her husband’s death. Like hundreds of thousands of its other employees, the Arkansas-based discount giant had secretly taken out a life insurance policy on her husband when he worked as a department head in the garden center of its store on Forest Hill Boulevard, her attorneys said. Ronald Gaub’s death, they said, put between $75,000 and $150,000 in its pockets.

“I was floored,” she said of the news. “Myself and my children were extremely upset that they had profited from his death. It’s deplorable.”

As if that wasn’t enough, she learned she couldn’t share in the $2 million the company last year agreed to pay to settle claims filed by other Florida residents who were equally shocked to learn that the death of loved ones had lined Walmart’s pockets.

According to the settlement reached in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Tampa, only court-appointed administrators of estates could share in the settlement. Because her husband, a healthy jogger, had no reason to believe death was imminent, he died without a will.

In a lawsuit filed on Gaub’s behalf this week in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, her attorneys claim the restriction was no accident. Based on its experiences in similar lawsuits in other states, Walmart knew a large percentage of its employees died without wills so there were no court-appointed administrators to collect money from the settlement, said Scott Clearman, a Houston, Tx. attorney who is representing Gaud in the lawsuit he hopes will benefit others in similar straits.

While the families of 223 Walmart employees who died in Florida were supposed to get money from the $2 million settlement, he estimates only about half of them qualified. According to the agreement, after paying about $675,000 to plaintiffs’ attorneys, Walmart was allowed to keep any money that wasn’t handed out. Clearman estimates that Walmart paid out about $660,000 to families of dead employees and got to keep roughly the same amount.

“Walmart used slight-of-hand to conceal the lack of a settlement with Gaub and the people in her category,” he said in the lawsuit. Estimating more than 100 people were also denied their rightful shares, he is asking U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp to certify the case as a class-action lawsuit.

Randy Hargrove, a Walmart spokesman, said the company will investigate Gaub’s claims. “We acted in good faith through the settlement and believed we settled with all of the estates of individuals whose lives were insured,” he said.

A brief investigation on Wednesday revealed that it had paid out at least one claim to the spouse of an employee who had died without a will, he said. The spouse received a court appointment to share in the settlement, he said.

After taking out life insurance policies on an estimated 350,000 employees, Walmart stopped doing so in 2000 when the tax implications outweighed the benefits, Clearman said. But, he said, Walmart isn’t alone. Other companies secretly take out life insurance policies on employees. He is convinced it violates state laws, including those in Florida, which require people to have an insurable interest in the life of someone before they can take out a life insurance policy in that person’s name.

Walmart didn’t admit wrongdoing when it settled the lawsuit in Tampa or similar ones in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Hargrove said employees were aware of the practice the company initiated in the 1990s to defray rising health care costs.

I suppose, Japan needs a word from us too…

 

Powerful typhoon hits Japan, 150,000 ordered to evacuate

Kyodo

 

A powerful typhoon made landfall Tuesday for the first time this year in southern Wakayama Prefecture, western Japan, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, with evacuation orders issued for more than 150,000 people in central, eastern and northeastern Japan.

The typhoon made landfall just after 5 p.m. in southern Wakayama, moved offshore and then made landfall again in eastern Aichi Prefecture. It is expected to head northeast across eastern and northern Japan, the agency said, warning of heavy rain and strong winds across a wide area through Wednesday.

The typhoon brought torrential rainfall of over 100 millimeters per hour to central Japan and around Tokyo.

A total of 49,594 households comprising 123,085 people in Toyohashi, Aichi, were requested to evacuate as the water levels of the city’s Umeda, Sana and Yagyu rivers rose.

In Miyagi Prefecture in the northeast, hit by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the city of Ishinomaki issued an evacuation order for 4,309 households comprising 10,359 people and the city of Kesennuma issued an order for 2,202 households comprising 5,258.

Evacuation orders were also issued in Odawara in Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, for around 4,700 households comprising 11,800 people.

As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Typhoon Guchol, with an atmospheric pressure of 970 hectopascals at its center, was located around 30 kilometers south of Suwa, Nagano Prefecture, traveling northeast at a speed of 70 kilometers per hour with a maximum wind velocity of 162 kph around its center, the agency said.

Thirteen people sustained injuries due to the typhoon in the Kinki region in western Japan, over 70 houses in Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture were flooded, while blackouts affected over 10,000 homes in Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Osaka, Hyogo, Okayama and Shimane prefectures.

Transportation was disrupted, with over 450 domestic flights canceled and some bullet train services on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line suspended. West Japan Railway Co. and Shikoku Railway Co. also suspended 184 limited express train services.

At the just-opened Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest broadcast tower at 634 meters, in the capital, the operator suspended elevators linking the 350-meter-high observation deck with the 450-meter-high deck due to gusts. Opening hours were also shortened for the two decks.

Rainfall over the 24-hour period through Wednesday evening is expected to reach 400 mm in the Tokai region, 250 mm around Tokyo and in the Tohoku region, and 180 mm in the Kinki region.

It is the first time since 2004 that a typhoon has made landfall in June in Japan.

Typhoon Talim, the fifth typhoon of the season located in the South China Sea, is also expected to approach the Japanese archipelago, following Guchol.

 

And finally a figurine…..

 

Accel World Kuroyukihime Figma

Author: Leon

 

I’ll see you guys all next time, goodnight.

Endless 7 Cruise: Summer Edition

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So I mentioned I’d be spending time with the fam this summer holiday season and I am. Just not on a goddamn cruise liner and for good measure. I’m pretty worried that in the long run, my family will probably get either me or my dad arrested; Heaven forbid one of us falls over the damn ship. Anyway, I figure since there isn’t any need to start an argument, my trip for the week of the first of July will involve some friends and a make-shift raft out in the Pacific. But enough about my plans. Let’s get some news going.

Let’s open with some anime news.

 

New Minami-ke “May Actually Be Good This Time”

Author: Artefact

Who is to produce the “4th” TV season of top bakayarou anime Minami-ke has finally been announced, and for once fans are expressing relief that the production has been entrusted to a studio of some quality, and that it will retain its all-star seiyuu cast – some even going so far as to say it may be the best season of all, how ever many they choose to believe there were…

Production goes to Feel, and the seiyuu cast is to remain unchanged, with Rina Sato, Marina Inoue, Minori Chihara, Nana Mizuki, Eri Kitamura and Aki Toyosaki making for an almost ridiculously luxuriant cast.

TV airdates are unknown, but an OAD is due in October with volume 10 of the manga, which is taken to suggest a January airing might be on the cards.

Recent Feel works of note:

Da Capo II (2008)

Kiss x Sis (2010)

Yosuga no Sora (2010)

MayoChiki! (2011)

Papa no Iu Koto (2012)

Dakara, Boku wa H Dekinai. (2012)

I’m gonna be honest, Minamike S2 held a lot of complains for me, esp. re-colorations of the characters. I prefer consistancy to recolors every time. Imagine if the charactes for something like Men at Work were played by women instead of men; It’s just something worth thinking about. On the plus side, I managed to catch the first ep of Hyouka, it’s ok, but nothing on a major must-see anime on my list.

 

 Brave premieres new Dolby sound system

Earlier this year Dolby announced a new sound system for theatres, called Atmos, that provide for 128 different sound “objects” to play at any given time. The more major advance from the audience perspective is the ability to have sound come from above with ceiling mounted speakers. (The Vergehas more technical details on the system.)

Pixar’s Brave became the first new film to debut it, with the specially mixed Atmos sound track being played at the premiere at the Dolby Theatre yesterday. Entertainment Weekly was there. And while they think the sound was impressive and immersive, they were mostly distracted by the actual film itself.

To find out more about Atmos watch the following Soundworks Vimeo video and then check out this Hollywood Reporter story to see if the system is coming to a theatre near you.

And then there’s this….

 

 

Deputies: Accused mugger left his mug at crime scene

By  Barbara Hijek

Investigators from the Broward Sheriff’s Office on Monday released a few mugs of a man they say is a wanted for mugging.

The photos, including one showing the man accused in an attempted armed robbery holding up blue cotton candy, were found on a cellphone left behind at the crime scene, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

According to officials with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, a man told deputies that while he was walking  someone came up from behind him, put him in a choke-hold and held an object, believed to be a box cutter,  to his neck.

When the robber began to run away after demanding money from the man, the man chased him, according to the report.

During a struggle, the mugger dropped his cellphone, which contained at least three photos matching the man’s description of the mugger, officials said.

Oh look at what the National Security Association dug up for the rest of us in America.

 

 

NSA: It Would Violate Your Privacy to Say if We Spied on You

By Spencer Ackerman

 

The surveillance experts at the National Security Agency won’t tell two powerful United States Senators how many Americans have had their communications picked up by the agency as part of its sweeping new counterterrorism powers. The reason: it would violate your privacy to say so.

That claim comes in a short letter sent Monday to civil libertarian Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall. The two members of the Senate’s intelligence oversight committee asked the NSA a simple question last month: under the broad powers granted in 2008′s expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, how many persons inside the United States have been spied upon by the NSA?

The query bounced around the intelligence bureaucracy until it reached I. Charles McCullough, the Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the nominal head of the 16 U.S. spy agencies. In a letter acquired by Danger Room, McCullough told the senators that the NSA inspector general “and NSA leadership agreed that an IG review of the sort suggested would itself violate the privacy of U.S. persons,” McCullough wrote.

“All that Senator Udall and I are asking for is a ballpark estimate of how many Americans have been monitored under this law, and it is disappointing that the Inspectors General cannot provide it,” Wyden told Danger Room on Monday. “If no one will even estimate how many Americans have had their communications collected under this law then it is all the more important that Congress act to close the ‘back door searches’ loophole, to keep the government from searching for Americans’ phone calls and emails without a warrant.”

What’s more, McCullough argued, giving such a figure of how many Americans were spied on was “beyond the capacity” of the NSA’s in-house watchdog — and to rectify it would require “imped[ing]” the very spy missions that concern Wyden and Udall. “I defer to [the NSA inspector general’s] conclusion that obtaining such an estimate was beyond the capacity of his office and dedicating sufficient additional resources would likely impede the NSA’s mission,” McCullough wrote.

The changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008 — which President Obama, then in the Senate, voted for — relaxed the standards under which communications with foreigners that passed through the United States could be collected by the spy agency. The NSA, for instance, no longer requires probable cause to intercept a person’s phone calls, text messages or emails within the United States as long as one party to the communications is “reasonably” believed to be outside the United States.

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008, as it’s known, legalized an expansive effort under the Bush administration that authorized NSA surveillance on persons inside the United States without a warrant in cases of suspicion of connections to terrorism. As my colleague David Kravets has reported, Wyden has attempted to slow a renewal of the 2008 surveillance authorities making its way through Congress. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to address the FISA Amendments Act on Tuesday, as the 2008 law expires this year.

Longtime intelligence watchers found the stonewalling of an “entirely legitimate oversight question” to be “disappointing and unsatisfactory,” as Steve Aftergood, a secrecy expert at the Federation of American Scientists told Danger Room.

“If the FISA Amendments Act is not susceptible to oversight in this way,” Aftergood said, “it should be repealed, not renewed.”

Even though McCullough said the spy agencies wouldn’t tell the senators how many Americans have been spied upon under the new authorities, he told them he “firmly believe[s] that oversight of intelligence collection is a proper function of an Inspector General. I will continue to work with you and the [Senate intelligence] Committee to identify ways we can enhance our ability to conduct effective oversight.”

 

I’m sorry, wut? Make sense plawks.  What we have here gentlemen is an exceptional example of stupidity and for lack of a better word fail. And since I don’t intend on doing anything else today, enjoy today’s last post.

Rie Tanaka Weds: “Now We Can Only Weep Over Her Pics!”

Author: Leon

 

 

The announcement that sexy seiyuu Rie Tanaka married some male and even closed down her fanclub has left her many fans reduced to forlornly spilling their Rie cosplay folders online one last time, often whilst either congratulating her or vehemently insisting that as she was just an “old hag” she was well past it anyway…

 

Another ginormous gallery post…enjoy.

 

Well that’s it for our show today, see you again next time.

This is Grass signing out.

Burnt Grass over the summer

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So apparently I’m exempt from a family cruise next week.

“Huzzah, the fun has been–”

Shut up, Luna, not now. So anyway, as I was saying, I’m not going on a cruise next week, which opens me up for anime, hopefully, time to catch up on watching shit. Hopefully I’ll have more time to re-watch MLP. Oops, I mean HYOUKERRRRP!! Anyway, I know my posts are only gonna be more lax from this point onward so, honestly don’t expect much out of this. So let’s get this show on the road.

 

By Jonathan Easley

 

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin rallied conservative media activists for “victory in 2012” as the keynote speaker at the RightOnline conference in Las Vegas on Friday, but never mentioned the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

Instead, Palin directed fire at her two favorite targets – President Obama and the mainstream media.

“We would have known, had the media done its job, of [Obama’s] strange attraction to the most leftist -– radical of leftist ideas,” Palin said, adding that “if [the media] had done their job, perhaps we would not be shocked to know that our White House would politicize national security by leaking highly confidential information to prop up the polls.”

National security leaks which led to news reports documenting the administration’s “kill list” of suspected terrorists and a cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear program sparked congressional anger and led to charges from GOP lawmakers that the leaks were intended to bolster Obama’s foreign policy credentials.

President Obama, earlier this month, rebuked critics who suggested the White House purposely leaked national security information to help his reelection campaign.

“The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive,” Obama said. “It’s wrong, and people, I think, need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office.”

The FBI opened an investigation this week into the leaks, but House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said there were concerns that sources of the leaks could be involved in the investigations. Obama said the White House has “mechanisms in place” to “root out” people who leak national security information.

But Palin also mocked the president for two items Obama addressed in his memoir – trying drugs and eating dog meat as a child in Indonesia.

“That cocaine snorting, and what he ate — Fido? Rufus?,” Palin said. “I think it’s funny that the cocktail circuit gives me a hard time for eating elk and moose. Anybody here have a pet moose? There’s a difference.”

But Palin’s headlining speech was also notable for what it left out – support for the Republican Party’s presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.

Palin voted for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) in the Alaska caucuses this year, and was critical of Romney, who at the time was still struggling to fend off a steady flow of up-and-coming challengers that were viewed by the base as more conservative alternatives.

“I trust that [Romney’s] idea of conservatism is evolving and I base this on a pretty moderate past he has had, even in some cases a liberal past,” Palin told Fox News in February. “He agreed with mandating on a state level what his constituents needed to be provided, needed to purchase in the way of healthcare and RomneyCare, which of course was the precursor to ObamneyCare.”

 

Does anyone take what this woman says seriously anymore? She’s like the female George W. Bush. No one listens, and no one cares. Onward, our next story for the masses….

 

Average gasoline prices in California drop below $4

By Ronald D. White

 

Average retail gasoline prices in California have dropped below $4 a gallon for the first time since mid-February, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. The breaking of that important consumer cost threshold came as oil prices again wallowed below $83 a barrel, as the commodity was weighed down by continuing economic concerns.

The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in California is $3.990, down another 12.7 cents since last week, the AAA said. Just one month ago, the state’s average was $4.35 a gallon.  The third straight week of double-digit price drops also left the California average 1.1 cents a gallon below the 2011 level.

The AAA uses daily receipts from more than 100,000 retail outlets around the U.S. that have been compiled by the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express.

One reason for the drop, analysts said, was improved production flow from the state’s refineries, which had been operating at some of their lowest levels in many years. As of June 8, production of the state’s expensive blend of gasoline was running at 6.71 million barrels, which was slightly ahead of last year’s pace.

“West Coast wholesale gasoline prices are now among the lowest in the nation with California, Oregon and Washington seeing their averages drop back under $4 a gallon,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for Gas.Buddy.com.

GasBuddy.com reports on the highest and lowest prices at more than 140,000 retail outlets in North America. Today, it showed California service stations in Suisun City, Fairfield, Highland and near Travis Air Force Base selling gasoline for as little as $3.59 a gallon.

The good news in California did contain at least one troubling figure. With California refinery gasoline supplies still running 14.7% below 2011 numbers, another refinery glitch could quickly stop the price slide.

Nationally, gasoline prices also were dropping, but the pace of the decline was slowing. The national average for a gallon of retail gasoline is $3.505, down 3.5 cents since last week, the AAA said.

In other energy news, U.S. oil prices were down $1.08 a barrel to $82.95 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, the oil used to set the price of most U.S. imports was down $1.23 to $96.38 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange on fears that the continuing European debt crisis would slow demand for crude.

The drop in crude prices, which had hit $109 a barrel in February, has prompted the Energy Department to sharply reduce its estimate of the average price for oil in 2012. Just a month and a half ago, the Energy Department was expecting U.S. oil prices to average a record $105 a barrel. The latest estimate is $95 a barrel.

“Regular gasoline is now expected to average $3.51 per gallon nationally in the third quarter,” the Energy Department said, “down from the $3.76 per gallon forecast in May.”

 

Now for something completely unrelated…

 

 

Japan’s Precocious Preteens: “These Girls Are 11!?”

Author: Artefact

 

Japanese TV’s loving coverage of these charming 11-year-old fashionistas has been doing the rounds, with their precocious looks astonishing, and delighting, many – not least the TV station.

 

Huge ass gallery post, go enjoy.

 

Now we have a guy who did something…idk pussy related? I know this will be a bad joke, so sue me before you read it.

 

Sheriff: Drunk Man Couldn’t Take Kitten Into Strip Club Repeatedly Called 911

 

Murdock, FL– When you enter any type of night club you usually have to follow certain rules. Sometimes those rules include what you can and can’t bring with you inside, like say a…live kitten.

A man in Florida apparently didn’t think those rules applied to him when he tried to take his Kitten into of all places a strip club. But it’s what the man did after being refused entry into the club, that got him arrested.

Deputies were called shortly after 9:00 pm on Tuesday, to the Emerald City in Murdock after the owner said he told Everett Robert Lages, 47 to leave. The owner said Lages had attempted to bring a kitten into the club.

Instead of leaving, witnesses said Lages sat down outside the business and repeatedly called 911.

When the deputies spoke with Lages, they noted that he appeared intoxicated. They told him he needed to leave the premises and assisted in calling a taxi for him. However when the taxi arrived, Lages would not cooperate with the driver. He refused to give his address or say where he wanted to be taken.  Instead Lages began yelling and causing a disturbance. Lages insisted that the club owner had committed a crime and continued to call 911 on his cell phone, even though the deputies were on the scene.

Deputies told Lages to stop calling 911, as continued calling of 911 was a crime. Lages refused to hang up the phone and refused to exit the taxi.

Lages was placed under arrest and had to be forcibly restrained. He was booked into the jail on charges of Misuse of the 911 System, Disorderly Intoxication, Trespassing after Warning and Resisting Arrest without Violence. He is being held on $4,000 bond.

Animal Control was called to pick up the kitten and is now safe and sound.

 

Ya, I know, bad joke, sue me. Of course, that’s nothing compared to the woman who threw down tacks on a bike trail in Florida.

 

Lyons: Dirty tricks on the Legacy Trail

By

 

Amazed as I am that someone would play such a dirty trick on so many Legacy Trail bike riders, I’m more amazed that it worked so well.

According to a sheriff’s report, one day in May, someone spread carpet tacks over a long section of the paved hiking and biking trail that stretches from Sarasota to Venice.

The scene of the crime was not far from the Bay Street entrance in Osprey. Before the tacks were reported and cleaned up, some bike club members I talked to estimate the tacks caused flats on 30 to 40 bikes. Many were riding in groups and hit them together.

Who knew it was that easy for some unknown jerk to anonymously ruin so many people’s rides on that popular trail?

But hold on. Did I say unknown? Just maybe, the culprit isn’t all that anonymous.

As a report makes clear, an investigator felt sure right away who his prime suspect had to be. He thought of the woman who had, in his written words, “left large piles of debris in the middle of the trail,” and “disrupted events and made threats to persons using the trail.” The investigator concluded: “I feel that it can be attributed to her.”

That woman was known to be outspokenly bothered by many of the trail users, and many bikers were clearly included. She lives near the trail and, unlike those who love having it close by, she has frequently complained about so many people making noise and sometimes stopping close to her backyard pool patio. It is just a few steps or so from the trail property.

 

Some members of two local bike clubs thought of that woman, too. Those feeling more than suspicious included one bike-hike organizer who used to be a cop up north. That ex-cop, Connie Garrison, did some legwork and somehow got a nearby store to confirm a purchase of such tacks, shown on a store video. The purchaser was the woman’s husband.

Could be coincidence. And as the sheriff’s office seems unlikely to file charges, I’m not going to name the woman or her husband, or even tell much about them except that she has a job in which a reputation for being honest and law abiding would be important.

Both she and her husband adamantly say they had nothing to do with putting any tacks on the trail. They know nothing about it, they say.

But both were very willing to tell me what a royal pain in the neck it has been living next to that lovely trail since it opened four years ago.

Bikers and hikers, for instance, sometimes stop and talk very near their backyard, sometimes while putting on shoes before starting out, the woman told me. Some point out an owl in a nearby tree, and some even chat with her about it if she happens to be out by her pool.

“They, I guess, are being friendly,” she said, “but I don’t want to come home and entertain people I don’t know.”

She can hear many of their conversations way too easily, she said. “They discuss wildlife on a daily basis.”

And, she said, some bikers totally ignore the speed limits. They could hit people, including her, or her dogs when she is close by or is using the trail herself.

She denied threatening anyone or disrupting any activities. Sure, she has spoken loudly to some groups, and asked things like “Who’s in charge?” or said, as she quotes herself in a polite tone, “You guys are kind of loud.”

But she said she never blocked the trail with debris. Some palm fronds must have just fallen there, she told me.

 

Page 3 of 3

Amazed as I am that someone would play such a dirty trick on so many Legacy Trail bike riders, I’m more amazed that it worked so well.

According to a sheriff’s report, one day in May, someone spread carpet tacks over a long section of the paved hiking and biking trail that stretches from Sarasota to Venice.

The scene of the crime was not far from the Bay Street entrance in Osprey. Before the tacks were reported and cleaned up, some bike club members I talked to estimate the tacks caused flats on 30 to 40 bikes. Many were riding in groups and hit them together.

Who knew it was that easy for some unknown jerk to anonymously ruin so many people’s rides on that popular trail?

But hold on. Did I say unknown? Just maybe, the culprit isn’t all that anonymous.

As a report makes clear, an investigator felt sure right away who his prime suspect had to be. He thought of the woman who had, in his written words, “left large piles of debris in the middle of the trail,” and “disrupted events and made threats to persons using the trail.” The investigator concluded: “I feel that it can be attributed to her.”

That woman was known to be outspokenly bothered by many of the trail users, and many bikers were clearly included. She lives near the trail and, unlike those who love having it close by, she has frequently complained about so many people making noise and sometimes stopping close to her backyard pool patio. It is just a few steps or so from the trail property.

Some members of two local bike clubs thought of that woman, too. Those feeling more than suspicious included one bike-hike organizer who used to be a cop up north. That ex-cop, Connie Garrison, did some legwork and somehow got a nearby store to confirm a purchase of such tacks, shown on a store video. The purchaser was the woman’s husband.

Could be coincidence. And as the sheriff’s office seems unlikely to file charges, I’m not going to name the woman or her husband, or even tell much about them except that she has a job in which a reputation for being honest and law abiding would be important.

Both she and her husband adamantly say they had nothing to do with putting any tacks on the trail. They know nothing about it, they say.

But both were very willing to tell me what a royal pain in the neck it has been living next to that lovely trail since it opened four years ago.

Bikers and hikers, for instance, sometimes stop and talk very near their backyard, sometimes while putting on shoes before starting out, the woman told me. Some point out an owl in a nearby tree, and some even chat with her about it if she happens to be out by her pool.

“They, I guess, are being friendly,” she said, “but I don’t want to come home and entertain people I don’t know.”

She can hear many of their conversations way too easily, she said. “They discuss wildlife on a daily basis.”

And, she said, some bikers totally ignore the speed limits. They could hit people, including her, or her dogs when she is close by or is using the trail herself.

She denied threatening anyone or disrupting any activities. Sure, she has spoken loudly to some groups, and asked things like “Who’s in charge?” or said, as she quotes herself in a polite tone, “You guys are kind of loud.”

But she said she never blocked the trail with debris. Some palm fronds must have just fallen there, she told me.

The county should worry more about enforcing rules and catching up with the homeless people who camp out along other spots on the trail, she and her husband said.

Some pass the couple’s home on the way in and out, she and her husband said. Bike riders also go by even at night, when the park is closed, and that’s also when some people use motorized four wheelers and scooters that are supposedly banned.

“There’s a lot going on on the trail, 24/7,” the husband said. Deputies rarely show up even when called, he said. “I’ve even stopped calling.”

He has no trouble believing the estimates of the park being used by thousands of people every day, he said. “I think I’ve met them all.”

He didn’t make it sound like a good thing.

But putting tacks on the trail? They have no idea who would do something like that.

 

You know, I have no idea who’d do something like that either, must be Mitt Romney. He sure hates those idiots out there who aren’t gonna vote for him. Gotta be that, gotta be that conspiracy.

 

And our last bit of news.

 

 

AKB48′s Rino Sashihara Apologises for Having Sex with Fan

Author: Artefact

 

“Super-carnivore” AKB48 idol Rino Sashihara has partially admitted allegations that she pursued one of her own creepy otaku fans for sex, and has been dumped from the group and banished to the wastes of Kyushu.

The 19-year-old idol tearfully apologised for the scandal she still insists mostly did not happen and revealed that she had been transferred to (i.e. sacked and given a face-saving exit) obscure alphabet soup sister group HKT48:

It’s true that that person was a friend of mine. I’m really sorry about this.

[…]

When I first heard about the article, I didn’t know what to think.

But when I read it, I was shocked. A lot of it wasn’t true, but it is true that that person was my friend.

After that I couldn’t keep my food down, and I hyperventilated during the tour. I couldn’t even speak to my mother, and reading the comments of my fans on my blog made my heart ache. I’m so sorry.

Her “transfer” to HKT48, a group with an average age of 13.8 and a reputation for possessing only the “raw” part of “raw talent,” is widely viewed as a demotion, exile, punishment, or prelude to outright sacking:

“What!?”

“She’s totally admitting it all…”

“Congratulations on your promotion there!”

“Isn’t this a demotion?”

“HKT is based in Fukuoka, way over in Kyushu, so this is the last we’ll be seeing of her in Tokyo!”

“This slut admitted it and she still wasn’t fired?”

“So why wasn’t Akimoto fired…”

“She was just banging people as part of her job so she was blameless.”

“So the rest of HKT are OK with having lascivious whores in their ranks?”

“They can’t be too pleased at being used as a dumping ground for scandals.”

“If none of it was true why can’t she say which parts aren’t true?”

“Probably just the part about him being handsome wasn’t true.”

“She got off real light!”

“Especially since she has essentially admitted it was all true.”

“So now she’s reduced to doing local pachinko ads in Fukuoka…”

“From heaven to hell in one fell swoop.”

“What the hell is HKT48 anyway?”

 

Well, that’s our show for today, good night everyone.

Weekend Quickie: Doctors kill Patients

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Just an update, not much, don’t expect much over the coming days..I’ll blog when I can or have time. So I heard this story about doctors who write sloppy prescriptions and patients getting screwed over the fail writings.

Don’t believe me? Read this.

 

Cause of Death: Sloppy Doctors

By Jeremy Caplan

 

Doctors’ sloppy handwriting kills more than 7,000 people annually. It’s a shocking statistic, and, according to a July 2006 report from the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine (IOM), preventable medication mistakes also injure more than 1.5 million Americans annually. Many such errors result from unclear abbreviations and dosage indications and illegible writing on some of the 3.2 billion prescriptions written in the U.S. every year.

To address the problem—and give the push for electronic medical records a shove—a coalition of health care companies and technology firms will launch a program Tuesday to enable all doctors in the U.S. to write electronic prescriptions for free. The National e-prescribing Patient Safety Initiative (NEPSI) will offer doctors access to eRx Now, a Web-based tool that physicians can use to write prescriptions electronically, check for potentially harmful drug interactions and ensure that pharmacies provide appropriate medications and dosages. “Thousands of people are dying, and we’ve been talking about this problem for ages,” says Glen Tullman, CEO of Allscripts, a Chicago-based health care technology company, that initiated the project. “This is crazy. We have the technology today to prevent these errors, so why aren’t we doing it?”

One of the reasons is that doctors haven’t invested in the needed technology, so it’s being provided to them. The $100 million project has drawn support from a variety of partners, including Dell, Google, Aetna and numerous hospitals. “Our goal long-term is to get the prescription pads out of doctors’ hands, to get them working on computers,” says Scott Wells, a Dell vice-president of marketing. Google is designing a custom search engine with NEPSI to assist doctors looking for health data. Insurance companies such as Aetna have pledged to provide incentives for physicians using e-prescription systems.

Although some doctors have been prescribing electronically for years, many still use pen and paper. This is the first national effort to make a Web-based tool free for all doctors. Tullman says that even though 90% of the country’s approximately 550,000 doctors have access to the Internet, fewer than 10% of them have invested the time and money required to begin using electronic medical records or e-prescriptions.

By providing doctors with free tools and support—and perhaps a little prodding from the big insurers who pay the bills—the NEPSI alliance hopes to encourage a quickening in adoption of electronic prescribing. Because the new program is Web-based, no special software or hardware is required, and NEPSI says the new system takes 15 minutes to learn. Sprint plans to give away 1,000 web-enabled phones to be used to transmit e-prescriptions and to demonstrate the technology’s ease of use. To keep pharmacies plugged into the new system, SureScripts, which links pharmacies around the country much like the national ATM network connects banks, will handle the e-prescriptions traffic from doctors to the country’s 55,000 pharmacies.

Automation should eliminate many of the errors that occur when pharmacists misunderstand or misrecord medication names or dosages conveyed messily on paper or hurriedly by phone. Given that there are more than 17,000 pharmaceutical brands and generics available, a spoken request for Celebrex, for instance, can be mistaken for Celexa, or a notation requesting 150 milligrams of a drug might be read as 1500. In electronic systems, drugs and dosages are selected from menus to prevent input errors, and pharmacists don’t need to re-enter information.

SureScripts CEO Kevin Hutchinson says one key to reducing medication errors is to get the most prolific prescribers to transition to electronic processing. “Not a lot of people understand that 15% of physicians in the U.S. write 50% of the prescription volume,” Hutchinson says. “And 30% of them write 80%. So it’s not about getting 100% of physicians to e-prescribe. It’s about getting those key 30% who prescribe the most. Then you’ve automated the process.”

Wider adoption of e-prescribing could lead to further efficiency in medical record keeping, which many believe is vital to both improving health care delivery and lowering costs. “Electronic prescribing could be an on-ramp for physicians beginning to use a full-featured electronic medical records system,” Hutchinson says. “That’s the holy grail.”

 

And then there’s this…

 

Top 10 Most Followed Seiyuu

Author: Artefact

 

None other than scandal seiyuu Aya Hirano herself has been unseated from her position as most followed seiyuu, with even her fascinating antics not enough to spare her the humiliation of being overtaken by the actor behind one of her on-screen peons.

The ranking:

1. Tomokazu Sugita – 285,516

2. Aya Hirano – 272,915

3. Yuichi Nakamura – 211,070

4. Yukari Tamura – 180,873

5. Eri Kitamura – 138,855

6. Rie Tanaka – 126,080

7. Yūki Kaji – 112,965

8. Akio Ōtsuka – 110,815

9. Marina Inoue – 108,001

10. Ayana Taketatsu – 96,682

There is some wonderment at Hirano’s loss (although she still has enough followers to populate a small if terrifying city), as well as the fact that Taketatsu only started her account at the end of November:

“Debuynan is doing so well after starting so late!”

“Is Sugita that interesting?”

“He picks fights with all kinds of people!”

“Number 4 isn’t following any other seiyuu – doesn’t she have any seiyuu chums?”

“The life-liners outnumber our SDF soldiers…”

Those looking for the executive digest of Hirano’s antics might do well to follow Sankaku Complex on Twitter.

 

That’s all for today, we’ll you next time Space Cowboy.

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