Another schedule update

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No major post today, but I’ll leave you with this story. It’s likely we’re gonna be going on hiatus soon during the fall school session so people can focus more on their work and I’ll probably only be posting once a week if not once ever 2 weeks, so don’t expect too much. And although it isn’t a permanent hiatus, unless there’s major news in the fall, don’t expect too long a post, I’ll get back to daily posts next summer if I can make it. Other than that, enjoy these 2 stories for today.

 

We Should Be Calling The Designer of These Games Some Kind of Genius

Evan Narcisse

 

You probably don’t know his name. And you might have ignored his games. But Luke Schneider deserves your respect. And your money.

Schneider’s turned out more than a dozen games in two years, a feat that’s impressive no matter what you think of his output. And that output from his RadianGames studio has been very, very good. From the hypnotic Joy Joy to the clever hybrid Inferno, Schneider’s games have taken familiar design templates and branches them out in challenging ways tweaks them to feel modern, re-invented and fresh.

Super Crossfire adds warping to the top-down shooter genre, letting you teleport across the screen. Fluid grafted physics simulation and momentum to a Pac-man style eat-em-up. Ballistic SE manifests on the iPad as a twin-stick shooter without actual sticks and lets you control gameplay with one hand. Slydris, reviewed here, takes Tetris and reshapes it into a different kind of intelligence test. I could go on, but generally feel that riffing off of familiar experiences is the best part of Schneider’s approach. Part of the fun to be had from his games is in the discovery of new tensions found in the mix-and-match mechanics.

He’s also moved from platform to platform with an ease that serves as an object lesson for bigger companies and other indies. Leaving AAA development after working on game franchises like Descent and Red Faction, Schneider started to crank out games that went up on Xbox Live Indie Games, portals like Desura and the Apple App Store.

Maybe Schneider isn’t a lightning-bolt-concept guy like, say, Warren Spector. You can see the through-line of emphasizing play style in the titles on the Epic Mickey creator’s resume. The recurring theme in Schneider’s oeuvre has been more like re-visitation. Playing something like Fluid makes you wish that present-day Pac-Man could be something like it. The same goes for Super Crossfire and Space Invaders. Where games came from and how they evolve get wrapped up in concise, appealing packages.

So, yeah, Schneider isn’t mentioned in the A-list of game design heavyweights like, say, Patrice Desilets, Hideo Kojima or Kim Swift. But I feel like he’s doing something that’s worth paying attention to. These games speak to a new entertainment landscape where small nuggets of attention chain together to a larger engagement. That is to say, the tiny bursts of pleasure you get from a quick session in Slydris builds an increasing reward the longer you play. When one game-maker’s creations have demonstrated a sharply-honed fusion of speed, craft and conceptualization like Schneider’s have, there’s probably something that other game-makers could certainly learn from. And, you out there, Temple Run addicts and scoffers-at-mobile-games alike, pick a RadianGames release to buy. Chances are that you’ll find yourself surprised at you’ll be diving into.

and this one last one.

 

School Seeks To Expel Bullied Torture Victim

Author: Artefact

 

Yet another Japanese school has caused a bullying scandal, this time by insisting a bullying victim who was tortured with dozens of cigarette burns leave the school as the ghastly state of his arm might bother classmates.

A 16-year-old student at a Sendai city high school was the victim of sustained bullying from 4 classmates starting in November of 2011, culminating in “a test of courage” involving repeatedly burning him with cigarettes.

He suffered over 20 cigarette burns in one attack, and as graphic photographs of his forearm show, this left him with significant scars. He was also repeatedly beaten and attacked, eventually becoming unable to attend school further.

According to the boy’s mother, in August the school finally tackled the incident, with the bullies apologising for some of their actions, but the school also told her they wanted the boy to “voluntarily” drop out of the school, “as the scars on his arm will disturb other students.”

In response, his family has raised the stakes – by reporting the incident to police as a case of assault. For once, police have accepted the complaint and are apparently investigating.

The school has refused to comment on their handling of the incident.

It should be noted that the school’s response occurred in August and July – well after the bullying suicide incident in Shiga played out into a national scandal and a major criminal investigation.

Amongst Japanese there appears to be increasing exasperation at just how rotten the nation’s teachers and schools have become, although if this can occur even after the issue was repeatedly addressed by the PM and cabinet and police and media descended upon a sacrificial school there does not appear to be much prospect of progress:

“So now they expel the victim…”

“Are there really schools which are this horrible?”

“This is grotesque.”

“These will never heal completely. Too harsh.”

“I simply cannot believe a school could be this nasty…”

“The school’s message is that weaklings who get bullied should just stay home!”

“Can’t they fix this with surgery? He won’t be able to get a job unless he can keep his arm covered all the time.”

“It’s as bad as the one in Shiga…”

“It’s even worse than Shiga!”

“I suppose this time the bullies have powerful parents as well. Expelling the victim is just…”

“The bullies should be expelled for smoking if nothing else.”

“I just feel sick when I hear about how these schools handle this stuff…”

“What does this school even mean by it ‘disturbing other students’?”

“This is well within the bounds of criminal assault. Those bullies ought to have been promptly arrested and that would have been the end of the matter!”

“What kind of school expels bullying victims?”

 

And that’s all we’re gonna cover tonight. G’nite everyone.

Shota Week Final Day: Romney Steps up to Bat

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The weekend is upon us, which means 1 thing and one thing only, flicks or movies if you still call them that cause you’re not a hipster. I josh, but some people in this country still believe that we should stick to our old ideals; namely the Republicans. But getting to our news story about Romney will come shortly. Today is the last day of shota week for us which is something I decided to do on a whim. In any case we should probably move on at this point. The US campaign for presidency sure has been busy lately. What does that mean for the rest of us? Well, bad times is what it means. Let’s open up and look at this recent article about Mitt Romney talking some bullshit about his campaign against Obama.

Romney camp steps up response to Democrats’ attacks

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For weeks, anxious Republicans called on Mitt Romney to respond more aggressively to attacks from the Democrats, afraid his hopes of winning the presidency could slip away if his rivals are able to define him as being out of touch with ordinary Americans.

This week, those Romney supporters are getting their wish.

Over the Internet and the airwaves, Romney and his allies have launched a stream of counterpunches against President Barack Obama and his team.

The effort is aimed at countering the Democrats’ attempts to cast Romney as someone who shipped U.S. jobs overseas as a private equity executive at Bain Capital and hid much of his fortune in overseas accounts to avoid paying taxes.

The aggressive Republican strategy has included calling Obama a liar and demanding that a top Democratic Party official release her tax returns.

It is a shift from early July, when missteps by Romney’s campaign on healthcare and immigration, among other issues, had some conservatives questioning his staff’s competency and grumbling that Romney was playing too much defense while leaving Democratic attacks unanswered.

A speech by Romney on Wednesday, in which he was booed by a pro-Obama crowd at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) convention, seemed to reflect that more aggressive strategy.

In what many analysts saw as Romney sending a signal to conservative white voters, Romney went before a not-so-supportive mostly African-American audience and criticized the first black U.S. president and his policies, particularly the healthcare overhaul the Republicans have dubbed “Obamacare.”

At a fundraiser in Montana on Wednesday night, Romney told supporters: “I want people to know what I stand for and if I don’t stand for what they want, go vote for someone else. … Your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this: If they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy – more free stuff.”

Romney occasionally has used the phrase “free stuff” to decry what he and other conservatives see as wasteful spending, although some Democrats see the phrase as a racially tinged reference to welfare.

‘STEPPING UP THEIR GAME’

Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak said firing back at the Obama campaign’s attacks suggests “the Romney camp realizes that they played defense all last week and they are stepping up their game.”

Opinion polls indicated that Democratic attacks on Romney’s record at Bain helped Obama gain ground with many Americans, notably in politically divided industrial states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, both battlegrounds in the November 6 election.

Some of Obama’s claims about Romney’s role in outsourcing jobs at Bain “have hurt Romney, particularly in the Rust Belt,” Mackowiak said.

Romney’s team argues that an Obama ad calling Romney an outsourcer of jobs was unfair and cites various political fact-checking columns that said as much.

A new ad from Romney’s campaign, addressing Obama’s claims about the Republican’s business record, calls the president a liar running a “dishonest campaign.” It is also firing back at Obama by accusing the president of being “the outsourcer-in-chief” and using “taxpayer dollars to create jobs overseas.”

The attacks focus on job-creation programs in Obama’s $800 billion economic stimulus program, and are essentially based on an assumption that any money sent to a foreign-owned company goes to hire foreign, not American, workers.

Analysts have called that leap in logic a stretch.

“It seems rather strange for Republicans, who claim to be defenders of free enterprise, to be making an argument that foreign companies should not receive federal money even if it is used to hire American workers,” The Washington Post’s political fact-checking column said on Thursday.

ROMNEY’S TAX RETURNS

The new wave of attacks by Romney’s camp also fights back against Democrats’ calls for the former Massachusetts governor, who has a fortune of up to $250 million, to release more of his tax returns.

In January, Romney released his family’s 2010 return and an estimate of its filing for 2011. They indicated that Romney is holding millions of dollars in offshore accounts and once had a Swiss bank account.

The disclosures raised questions about the lengths to which Romney has gone to shield his money from taxes – and inspired Obama campaign’s suggestions that Romney is hiding something.

Republicans have countered that Obama is diminishing himself with personal attacks targeting capitalism, and are demanding the release of Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s tax returns.

Wasserman Schultz has been a leading voice in the tax offensive against Romney, but it is otherwise unclear why she has been targeted.

Since 1968, most presidential candidates – including Romney’s father, George, who sought the Republican nomination that year – have released years of tax records. Members of Congress, including Wasserman Schultz, generally do not. She has responded to Republicans’ calls for her to release her returns by noting that she is not running for president.

Mackowiak, the Republican strategist, said there was some risk Romney’s strategy of striking back at Obama could alienate independent voters being courted by both sides. Conservatives may have been thirsting for Romney to hit back harder against the Democrats, but he also will need to win over independents to oust Obama from the White House in the November 6 election.

“Base Republicans unquestionably want to see Romney fight,” Mackowiak said. “The question is, what happens to swing voters if both sides are throwing haymakers for four months?”

 

It’s funny what Romney’s done. Hiding his assets overseas so he doesn’t have to pay taxes. Can we as Americans trust this kind of behavior and reward him by giving him presidency? If so, we Americans have hit an all time low and probably should kill ourselves. It’s kind of a morbid thought to think that we as Americans can think the way we do and get away with it just because we’re America. That’s dangerous thinking, I mean, if we follow this logic, we could simply say Americans will rob another country in a sneaky way and get away with it just because we’re Americans. I mean what kind of world do we live in anymore? Next up we have a major fail by Koei.

 

Koei Accidentally Publishes Wrong Game

Author: Artefact

Koei has managed the perhaps unprecedented feat of accidentally publishing the wrong game, after it attempted to release a PSP version of Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII, only to mistakenly place Romance of the Three Kingdoms VII on all the discs.

The title, released on the 12th as part of their “Teiban” classics series, included the wrong game on the UMD but was otherwise correctly marketed as VIII.

Koei have published a suitably formulaic apology, expressing their deep regret for the “great inconvenience” they have caused customers who were expecting the game on the package.

They also promise to replace the game with the right version, and have cancelled all sales of the present special edition whilst they sort out the mess and doubtless assign a few employees to cleaning toilets.

How exactly the mistake came to pass and how it was possible for them not to have picked up on it until the game was on sale has been the subject of much speculation, although it might always be possible games in the series are so similar they did check but didn’t notice…

 

Oh and look another fail by a company in Japan. Let’s move on to this next gallery about some ero-anime.

 

Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! Nipple Anime

Author: Leon
Harem horror anime Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru!’s steamy bathing scenes have delivered that most sought after of anime elements, a nipple – and on a (human) female as well.
Next up is a story about domestic violence in Japan…against women. Oh look America #2!!!

 

Domestic violence reports in the first half of this year skyrocketed 46.3 percent from a year before to 2,016, National Police Agency data showed Thursday.

Women were the victims in 94.3 percent of the cases.

NPA officials attributed the steep rise to stepped-up efforts by police to encourage victims of domestic violence to file reports.

These efforts began after a police station in Chiba Prefecture came under fire for mishandling a stalking case that resulted in the murder of two people in Saikai, Nagasaki Prefecture, last December.

Spousal abuse cases rose noticeably in three prefectures in the Kanto region: Saitama saw its number rise by 100 to 156, Chiba by 84 to 121 and Gunma by 62 to 102.

Overall crime rates in the country fell 6.4 percent in January-June from a year earlier to 665,666, down for the 10th straight year on a first-half basis after peaking in January-June 2002.

Thefts, which account for some 75 percent of all crimes in Japan, dropped 8.0 percent to 500,062.

However, violent crimes, such as assault, and public indecency and other sex offenses, increased from a year before.

This reflected a rise in reports from the public after prefectural police forces nationwide set up special teams to beef up their fight against crimes targeting children and women, the agency officials said.

In the three Tohoku region prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, which were severely damaged by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, the number of crimes fell 7.3 percent year on year to 19,086.

 

I’m sorry, what the hell Japan? Why do you want to act like America so much? I mean I get that US and Japan relations have gotten better since days of WWII, but I mean c’mon this is absurd. I usually don’t hear much about about domestic violence in Japan though I know they’re prone to using corporal punishment. But this is just what the hell…I don’t even have words for this. And now more fail for you!

 

Texas Demolishes USDOJ’s Case Against Voter I.D.

 

Testimony has concluded in the trial of Texas ‘Voter I.D.’ law, after attorneys for the state demolished the main arguments raised against the law by the Obama Administration, and got the key witness for the Justice Department to admit he got his information from Wikipedia, 1200 WOAI news reports.

The Justice Department presented what it said was evidence that as many as 1.5 million Texans don’t have the government issued photo i.d. required to vote, but Attorney General Greg Abbott says of the people on that roll, 50,000 are dead, 330,000 are over the age of 65 and can vote by mail, where a photo i.d. is not required, and more than 800,000 are on the list improperly.

Among the people who the DOJ listed as ‘lacking the required documentation needed to vote’ are Former President George W. Bush, San Antonio State Senator Leticia Van de Putte, and Licia Ellis, who’s husband, Houston state Senator Rodney Ellis, on Wednesday blasted the voter i.d. law as ‘just like the racist murder of James Byrd’ who was dragged to death in east Texas in 1998.

In fact, University of Texas students conducted a telephone survey of random people on the DOJ’s list of people who allegedly don’t have the documents required to vote, and found that more than 90% of them, including 93% of African Americans and 92% of Hispanics on the list, actually have a photo i.d.

Which brings us to Victoria Rodriguez.  The San Antonio teenager was the only individual in a flurry of ‘experts’ the Department of Justice called to the stand to represent the 1.5 million allegedly set to be disenfranchised under the Texas law.  Rodriguez testified that she not only lacks a photo i.d., but lacks the documentation need to obtain one, and State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer said requiring her to pay to obtain those documents would amount to an illegal ‘poll tax.’  Under cross examination, Rodriguez admitted that she has a birth certificate, a voter registration card, and a Social Security Card, and only two of those three forms of i.d. are required to obtain a free voter i.d. card offered by the DPS.  Rodriguez testified that she ‘doesn’t have time’ to go the DPS office to obtain the voter i.d. card, but she testified she had plenty of time to fly more than 1500 miles to Baltimore, catch a train to Washington DC, and sit for hours in a federal courtroom to testify about how unfair the Texas voter i.d. law is.

Perhaps the most embarrassing for the Justice Department was the testimony of its alleged expert witness, Harvard Professor Stephen Ansolabehere.

He testified that his research shows the law is ‘more likely to affect black and Hispanic voters worst than white voters.’

But under cross examination, Ansolabehere testified that in fact ‘almost no one is excluded’ by the requirement to vote.

Another Department of Justice ‘expert’ testified that the Legislature ‘intended’ to discriminate against minorities when it passed the Voter I.D. bill.  But J. Morgan Kousser’s comments under cross examination show he knows little to nothing about the Texas Legislature (he referred to State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte as the enate Minority Leader, a position that doesn’t exist in the Texas Legislature) and lawyers for the state pointed out that  he said the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which upheld a similar voter i.d. law in Indiana, a decision which was written by Justices O’Connor, Kennedy, Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas, was written so the five, laughably, could ‘promote white supremacy.’

Kousser also claimed in a book that Republicans are ‘not legitimate representatives’ of minority communities, and that any African American or Hispanic who supports voter i.d. ‘has been manipulated and misled by Republicans.

In fact, Kousser admitted that he got many of the ‘facts’ used to buttress these bizarre claims from ‘Wikipedia,’ an on line encyclopedia that anybody, including Kousser himself, can upload information onto.

The three judge federal appeals court panel, which includes two Democrats and one Republican, will issue its ruling on the case in the coming weeks, and the ruling will certainly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

And next up, even more dumbassery.

Back-to-back hold-ups at shopping center were fruitless, police say

 

NORCROSS — In back-to-back attempted robberies at a shopping center near Norcross last week, police say a Cadillac-driving crook netted not one thin dime.

Charged with two counts of robbery by intimidation, 42-year-old Alex Mccray remained at large Thursday. Arrest warrants list his home city as Norcross, but his address is unknown.

Just after noon Friday, Mccray allegedly walked in a certified public accountant office at the Carter Oak Crossing shopping center on Jimmy Carter Boulevard and presented a female employee with a handwritten note. It demanded money and claimed the robber had a gun.

“(The employee) informed the suspect that she was not able to give him any money due to the business not collecting money from their customers,” an officer wrote in a report.

The frustrated suspect left the business, walked two units down and handed the note to the owner of a gift shop. She got a closer look and noticed the note threatened to kill its reader if demands weren’t met, the report states.

The owner pretended that she couldn’t speak English, and the man eventually grew frustrated again and left. Another employee followed him to his getaway car and jotted the tag number, the report states.

A security guard told police the car was an older model, four-door, white Cadillac with aftermarket chrome wheels.

Police describe Mccray as a 5 foot 10 inch black man with no facial hair and a clean-shaven head. He wore a white tank top, blue jeans and black shoes, the report states.

Mccray’s whereabouts were unknown Thursday. He wasn’t listed as an inmate in Gwinnett County Jail records.

“There is nothing to indicate (Mccray) is in custody at this time,” Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Edwin Ritter said Thursday.

 

Harrison Ford is 70 today. Congratz man. Moving on to our final post for today.

 

Man says woman wanted $50 to return his iPhone

OKALOOSA ISLAND – Lawmen say a woman and man tried to extort money from a man for the return of his mobile phone.

On July 2 the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a man who said his $400 iPhone had been stolen the day before while he and his girlfriend were out shopping.

He told deputies he had earlier called the phone. It was answered by Shannon Chere Johnson, 39, of Fort Walton Beach. The man told her the phone was his and was stolen from his vehicle yesterday afternoon. Johnson told him she wanted money for the phone’s return. The man offered $20, but Johnson hung up.

Later, Johnson called back and told him if he’d pay her $50 she’d return the phone.

Around 4 p.m. the man called his phone and said he’d pay $50 to get it back. Johnson told him to meet her at the corner of Santa Rosa Boulevard and Bluefish Drive. As Johnson and co-defendant William James Ector, 42, of Fort Walton Beach, approached the man’s car, she was seen by a watching sheriff’s deputy handing over the phone.

Johnson denied knowing anything about the phone being stolen and denied trying to extort money.

Both were charged with felony dealing in stolen property and have an Aug. 7 court date.

 

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen, the idiots of America being celebrated every single day. Good night everybody, this is Grass signing off.

 

 

New Final Andy Griffith Dies to Yuri Yuri

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With the advent of the 4th just 1 day away, I figured I’d spruce up the posts for today. Mind you I will not have a post on the 4th so I can enjoy myself and maybe eat out. But what I plan to do on my time really shouldn’t matter to you guys. But seeing as I’m semi-obligated to post on this blog, I find myself needing to probably post a quickie at best tomorrow, don’t expect much if anything at all. I will probably go enjoy a film or something tomorrow at best and that’ll be that and maybe grab some food from the grocery store. But I plan to be outside most of the night at least to watch the fireworks. That said, I’m just filling up the blog intro with needless words and enjoying what’s to come on the 4th. So let’s move on, shall we.

 

So let’s start off with the Yuri Yuri post from Leon about S2.

 

Yuru Yuri 2 Even Cuter Than Ever

Author: Leon

 

 

The new season of yuriblob anime Yuru Yuri 2 has been acclaimed for delivering even more cuteness than the previous season, no mean feat by any means, and for good measure it gets stuck staight into an onsen episode…

 

There’s a huge gallery on Sank for this so, enjoy that.

 

Moving on, my friend actually did the karaoke for the intro to Yuri Yuri of some seasons I don’t know which. I don’t keep up with anime so don’t ask me about it. You can DL it here.

 

Our next major story is about that actor, Andy Griffith, dying.

 

Actor Andy Griffith dies in North Carolina, TV station says

Reuters

 

(Reuters) – Actor Andy Griffith, whose portrayal of a small-town sheriff made “The Andy Griffith Show” one of American television’s most enduring shows, has died at his North Carolina home, television station WITN reported on Tuesday.

The television station quoted a longtime friend as saying that the 86-year-old actor died at his home on Roanoke Island. The Dare County Sheriff’s dispatcher would say only that an ambulance was called to Griffith’s residence but would not comment further.

Griffith created another memorable character, the folksy defense lawyer in “Matlock” in the 1980s and ’90s, but it was his portrayal of Sheriff Andy Taylor on the “The Andy Griffith Show” in the 1960s that gave him a place in U.S. television history.

The show portrayed life in the friendly, slow-moving fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina, which was widely believed to have been based on Griffith’s own hometown, Mount Airy, North Carolina.

 

Oh and Final Fantasy is coming to iOS WITH 3DS GRAPHICS.

 

New FINAL FANTASY DIMENSIONS Screenshots

We’ve got some brand new English screenshots for you to drool over. If you’re not familiar with FINAL FANTASY DIMENSIONS it’s a nostalgic salute to the SQUARE ENIX games of old. Originally released in Japan 2 years ago under the name Final Fantasy Legends: Hikari to Yami no Senshi, it returns with a similar look to Final Fantasy IV: The After Years with a Job Change system similar to FINAL FANTASY V.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That being said let’s move onto our next post; An whole EqD post.

 

 

The video will take you there. Enjoy.

And finally our last post.

 

 

Al-Qaida linked fighters destroy ‘end of the world’ gate in Timbuktu

World cultural body UNESCO was set to create a special fund to protect Mali’s heritage on Tuesday after al-Qaida-linked Islamists attacked historic and religious landmarks in the city of Timbuktu for a third day, breaking down the door to a 15th century mosque that — according to legend — had to remain shut until the end of the world.

A UNESCO committee also called for a mission to go to Mali to work with local and national leaders to stop what it called “wanton destruction.”

“In legend, it is said that the main gate of Sidi Yahya mosque will not be opened until the last day (of the world),” Alpha Abdoulahi, the town imam, told Reuters by telephone.

Yet Islamists intent on erasing traces of what some regard as un-Islamic idolatry smashed down the door to the mosque early on Monday, saying they wanted to “destroy the mystery” of the ancient entrance, he said.

“They offered me 50,000 CFA ($100) for repairs but I refused to take the money, saying that what they did is irreparable,” Abdoulahi added.

In a statement emailed to msnbc.com Tuesday, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee called for a series of measures to help save Mali’s ancient sites and condemned the “repugnant” destruction of Timbuktu’s mausoleums.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has appealed for a halt to the attacks.

“There are mausoleums, there are mosques, there are manuscripts which represent enormous value for humanity and it is totally unacceptable what is happening there,” Bokova said on Monday.

The U.N. body seeks to protect places around the world it classifies as world heritage sites, arguing they are of special cultural significance and should be preserved for posterity.

Government powerless
Mali’s government in the capital Bamako about 630 miles south has condemned the destruction, but is powerless to halt them after its army was routed by rebels in April. It is still struggling to bolster a return to civilian rule after a March 22 coup that emboldened the rebel uprising further north.

The attacks have been widely condemned inside Mali as well.

“The 333 saints would be turning in their graves,” the country’s Les Echos newspaper wrote on Monday, referring to 333 revered Sufi imams, sheiks and scholars buried in Timbuktu.

“Today there are old women, old people in Timbuktu who say that maybe it is the end of the world,” entrepreneur and former Timbuktu resident Male Dioum told Reuters.

Islamists of the Ansar Dine group say the centuries-old shrines of the local Sufi version of Islam in Timbuktu are idolatrous. They have so far destroyed at least eight of 16 listed mausoleums in the city, together with a number of tombs.

Ansar Dine and well-armed allies, including al-Qaida splinter group MUJWA, have hijacked a separatist uprising by local Tuareg MNLA rebels and now control two-thirds of Mali’s desert north, territory that includes the regions of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu.

The size of the area under their control is bigger than France, heightening fears that Mali will become a jihadist haven.

The MNLA rebels criticized the Islamists’ destruction of holy sites, underlining a growing rift between the two groups that had formed an uneasy alliance to take over the north of the country.

“The perpetrators of these heinous acts, their sponsors, and those who support them must be made accountable,” MNLA spokesman Hama Ag Mahmoud told Reuters in an interview in Nouakchott

Desert tourism
Sufi shrines have been attacked by hardline Salafists in Egypt and Libya in the past year. The attacks also recall the 2001 dynamiting by the Taliban of two 6th-century statues of Buddha carved into a cliff in Bamiyan in central Afghanistan.

According to Time magazine, those who adhere to a more orthodox brand of Islam tend to harbor a particular animosity to Sufism, who have a more mystical interpretation of the divine and a faith that is often rooted in pre-Islamic traditions and a reverence for saints and dead wise men.

Located on an old Saharan trading route that saw salt from the Arab north exchanged for gold and slaves from black Africa to the south, Timbuktu blossomed in the 16th century as an Islamic seat of learning, home to priests, scribes and jurists.

In recent years, Mali had sought to create a desert tourism industry around Timbuktu. But even before April’s rebellion many tourists were being discouraged by a spate of kidnappings of Westerners in the region claimed by al-Qaida-linked groups.

 

And that’s our show for today folks. This is Grass signing off, till next time and good night.

As we near the 4th

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So the fourth of July is coming soon, which means that good old family tradition of sticking your dick in your cousin’s vag time. It means hamburgers, hot dogs and the good old tradition of applejack pie.

“Okay, enough with the Red, White, and Blue already, Grass.”

Fair enough, technician Luna. So let me be honest here, the 4th is a boring holiday celebrated by a few yanks every year to claim independence and yet here we are depending on our government to bail us out; Ironic isn’t it. For the last 4 years since the end of Bush’s Reign of Supremacy, prices have gone up, livelihood has gone down and production has gone down. So let me get today’s blog post started with this. Believe it or not we’re getting an Elite Beat Agents FF game.

Want To Play A Full Final Fantasy Game With Rhythm Combat

There’s a new Final Fantasygame coming out tomorrow.Don’t get too excited: this isn’t Final Fantasy XV. There are no next-gen graphics or melodramatic stories here. Instead, Square Enix will release Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, a 3DS game that is best described as “Elite Beat Agents with Final Fantasy music,” or “the game that makes everyone on the subway stare at you and think things like ‘why is that asshole tapping so much?'”

I’ll have a full review up on Kotaku tomorrow, but my initial reaction to this game is: why doesn’t Square Enix turn it into a real RPG?

Here’s the thing about Theatrhythm: this is a game designed to appeal to that part of your brain that fondly remembers running home from school to scarf down pasta and glue your eyes to the television for marathon sessions of Final Fantasy IV. You’ll spend the bulk of your time tapping your 3DS’s bottom screen to the beat of old-school tunes from every numbered Final Fantasy game before #14. There are a bunch of different modes of play, but they’re presented in a menu hub that is more a collection of ten-minute-at-a-time mini-games than any sort of coherent, full-fledged narrative experience.

Yet games like Sequence have proven (quite well) that this Dance Dance Revolution-inspired tapping frenzy can work as part of a larger campaign too. Why not design some sort of an RPG that uses rhythm as its main combat mechanic?

See, what’s great about Theatrhythm‘s tapping is that it feels like you’re playing against your own limitations. Instead of facing off against some arbitrarily-difficult creation of some bored programmer in Osaka, you’re fighting your body’s lack of rhythm. And getting better requires practice, not level grinding.

What if there was a game that took that mechanic and added a full-fledged campaign? You’d explore a new world. You’d collect items and party members. You’d participate in a story. You’d defeat enemies by tapping along to increasingly tricky beats, some of which could be altered by your characters’ equipment and skills.

We’ve yet to see a story-heavy, AAA game with this type of skill-centric combat system. I’d love to see Square Enix experiment with the idea. Why not? And, hey: I hear of a certain console coming out in the near future that might just be the perfect fit.

A musical final fantasy isn’t a bad idea, but it sounds very awkward. I will give Square Enix an A+ for attempt at originality, because originality is so hard to stumble upon these days that it’s almost become a novelty of sorts. Ironic, the game industry used to be full  of originality, then FPS came along and shot it all down. I’m talking to you Activision and your shitty CoD games; “Why fix what isn’t broken?” you say? Well, the problem is a game should be ENTERTAINING, not repetitive; Chalk up another generic shooter for the masses. American’s love their first dick shooters so much, we made a company solely to provide for it. And not just one company, but at least a dozen, all producing the same generic shit that made Halo popular. Bungie knew how to make a shooter fun and not stupid. I admit, Halo is still loads of fun with friends and occasionally if you decide to do a Halo get together, it can be really fun. But it isn’t the element of FPS that makes it fun, it’s friends and enjoying a game that made the industry top teir for a few years before the cancer came back to kill everyone.

With that said and done, I should say that Bronycon was a pretty big success, and people enjoyed it. I didn’t attend myself, what being a couple thousand miles away from NY and not being able to afford a plane ticket, but that’s beside the point. It is good to here from the people that went to Bronycon though and how much they loved it. You can see a lot of the panels on Equestria Daily from the last few days including a panel by Faust.
It’s been a while since I posted so music so here you go.

Excuse the lack of space formatting here, because WordPress is extraordinarily dumb. Let’s move on shall we?

 

 

Sword, Sandwich Used in Attack on Women, Deputies Say

 

A Winter Haven man remained in jail Sunday after he was accused of attacking three women with a 4-foot sword and a peanut-butter sandwich, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Mark Christopher Miller, 50, used the sword to threaten two women, one of them pregnant, and then smeared another with the sandwich before the deputies hauled him away, according to his arrest report.

As the deputies drove him to jail, Miller ripped a piece of padding from the inside of the patrol car with his teeth, the report says.

The fracas began when Miller heard a disturbance outside his mobile home at 2500 U.S. 92 W. No. 18A. He exited, sword in hand, and “poked” it at the 6-month pregnant woman’s stomach, the report says. She managed to grab the blade and stop him from stabbing her.

 

 

And there’s this…

 

Man arrested for theft, told police he borrowed car from ‘Brittany Spears’

CLEVES, Ohio – Police arrested a man Sunday morning in Cleves after he was found in a car that didn’t belong to him, but he claimed it belonged to his friend, “Brittany Spears.”

Deputies with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office say Brian Burton, 43, was arrested on Valley Junction Road.

Deputies say Burton was seen inside a parked car that didn’t belong to him. He then fled the scene and was found at a nearby homeless camp under a bridge.

During an interview with deputies, Burton allegedly admitted he was in the car, but said he thought it was his friend “Brittany Spears’” car, according to court paperwork.

Police did not say if Burton meant “Britney Spears,” the American recording artist and entertainer. It is not know if the famous singer owns a vehicle registered in Ohio, but Spears currently resides in California.

Burton was allegedly found to have marijuana in his pockets.

Burton was charged with attempted theft and possession of drugs, both misdemeanors. Police don’t say what Burton allegedly tried to steal leading to the theft charge.

Officials have not released any additional details at this time.

Oh and apparently, farting can cure high blood pressure.

Hydrogen sulphide — a toxic gas generated by bacteria living in the human gut — has been shown to control blood pressure in mice.

Those with higher levels of the gas had lower blood pressure than rodents with less.

Boffins at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland, US, found that hydrogen sulphide in flatus — informally known as a fart — is also produced by an enzyme in blood vessels where it relaxes them and lowers blood pressure.

Now researchers at China’s Southeast University in Nanjing are trying to work out whether this could be used to create a treatment for people suffering high blood pressure.

Professor Yao Yuyu from the uni’s Zhongda Hospital said: “Despite the treatment’s potential, using gas to treat high blood pressure has yet to be tested on humans.

“The effective dosage could prove difficult to establish due to the difference in size between humans and mice.”

He added: “The gas could also have negative effects on other parts of the body.”

 

This deserves a no-shit-Sherlock stamp of approval. When has keeping noxious gases in one’s body ever been good.

 

Anderson Cooper: “The Fact Is, I’m Gay.”

 

Last week, Entertainment Weeklyran a story on an emerging trend: gay people in public life who come out in a much more restrained and matter-of-fact way than in the past. In many ways, it’s a great development: we’re evolved enough not to be gob-smacked when we find out someone’s gay. But it does matter nonetheless, it seems to me, that this is on the record. We still have pastors calling for the death of gay people, bullying incidents and suicides among gay kids, and one major political party dedicated to ending the basic civil right to marry the person you love. So these “non-events” are still also events of a kind; and they matter. The visibility of gay people is one of the core means for our equality.

All of which is a prelude to my saying that I’ve known Anderson Cooper as a friend for more than two decades. I asked him for his feedback on this subject, for reasons that are probably obvious to most. Here’s his email in response which he has given me permission to post here:

Andrew, as you know, the issue you raise is one that I’ve thought about for years. Even though my job puts me in the public eye, I have tried to maintain some level of privacy in my life. Part of that has been for purely personal reasons. I think most people want some privacy for themselves and the people they are close to.

But I’ve also wanted to retain some privacy for professional reasons. Since I started as a reporter in war zones 20 years ago, I’ve often found myself in some very dangerous places. For my safety and the safety of those I work with, I try to blend in as much as possible, and prefer to stick to my job of telling other people’s stories, and not my own. I have found that sometimes the less an interview subject knows about me, the better I can safely and effectively do my job as a journalist.

I’ve always believed that who a reporter votes for, what religion they are, who they love, should not be something they have to discuss publicly. As long as a journalist shows fairness and honesty in his or her work, their private life shouldn’t matter. I’ve stuck to those principles for my entire professional career, even when I’ve been directly asked “the gay question,” which happens occasionally. I did not address my sexual orientation in the memoir I wrote several years ago because it was a book focused on war, disasters, loss and survival. I didn’t set out to write about other aspects of my life.

Recently, however, I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something – something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true.

I’ve also been reminded recently that while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible. There continue to be far too many incidences of bullying of young people, as well as discrimination and violence against people of all ages, based on their sexual orientation, and I believe there is value in making clear where I stand.

The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.

I have always been very open and honest about this part of my life with my friends, my family, and my colleagues. In a perfect world, I don’t think it’s anyone else’s business, but I do think there is value in standing up and being counted. I’m not an activist, but I am a human being and I don’t give that up by being a journalist.

 

Since my early days as a reporter, I have worked hard to accurately and fairly portray gay and lesbian people in the media – and to fairly and accurately portray those who for whatever reason disapprove of them. It is not part of my job to push an agenda, but rather to be relentlessly honest in everything I see, say and do. I’ve never wanted to be any kind of reporter other than a good one, and I do not desire to promote any cause other than the truth.

Being a journalist, traveling to remote places, trying to understand people from all walks of life, telling their stories, has been the greatest joy of my professional career, and I hope to continue doing it for a long time to come. But while I feel very blessed to have had so many opportunities as a journalist, I am also blessed far beyond having a great career.

I love, and I am loved.

In my opinion, the ability to love another person is one of God’s greatest gifts, and I thank God every day for enabling me to give and share love with the people in my life. I appreciate your asking me to weigh in on this, and I would be happy for you to share my thoughts with your readers. I still consider myself a reserved person and I hope this doesn’t mean an end to a small amount of personal space. But I do think visibility is important, more important than preserving my reporter’s shield of privacy.

 

Well well, AC is gay, holy crap; That’s some amazing news to me. This is journalism at it’s best folks, truly. Let’s give these people a round of applause. And for our final news today…

 

 

UK’s teenage girls are biggest binge drinkers in Europe as more than half of 15-year-olds drink to excess at least once a month

By Daniel Martin

Teenage girls in Britain are more likely to be binge drinkers than anywhere else in Europe, according to a devastating dossier on our nation’s problems with alcohol.

More than half of girls aged 15 and 16 say they drink to excess at least once a month.

The shocking figure also means the UK is one of the few countries where the girls binge-drink more than boys.

The paper, drawn up by the Department of Health, also revealed that the debilitating effects of drink cost the UK economy more than £21billion a year.

The NHS now spends £3.5billion a year dealing with drink – up 30 per cent in just three years – thanks to a relentless rise in the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions. In 2003, our death rate from chronic liver disease overtook that of France for the first time.

In its submission to a Commons health select committee inquiry, the Department of Health also warns more than 60 diseases and conditions – including heart disease, stroke, liver disease and cancer – can be directly linked to alcohol.

It warns that young adults who ‘pre-load’ on drink at home before they go out to the pub are more likely to get involved in crime.

The 33-page submission cites a 2007 report of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs, which questioned children across the continent on how much they drink.

In the research, overall British children aged 15 and 16 were the fifth most likely in Europe to have had a binge-drinking episode – defined as having had five or more drinks on at least one occasion – in the previous month.

However, among girls aged 15 and 16, Britain comes out worst – with 55 per cent of girls saying they had drunk to excess over the month, the worst figure in Europe.

Among boys, the figure is 52 per cent. For boys and girls overall, the UK is behind only Malta, Portugal, Estonia and Latvia.

The survey found Danish children drank more, but this was dismissed as an unreliable figure by researchers because the sample size in that country was so small.

The DoH submission said: ‘The UK is consistently in the top five European countries for binge drinking and drunkenness among school children.’

The paper blamed the availability of cheap drink in supermarkets for the pre-loading trend, which it said was having ‘significant impacts on health and crime’.

Amongst girls aged 15 and 16, Britain comes out as the worst in Europe for binge drinking

It adds: ‘In a recent study, 66 per cent of 17- to 30-year-olds arrested in a city in England claimed to have pre-loaded before a night out, with pre-loaders two-and-a-half times more likely to be involved in violence than other drinkers.

‘This has contributed to a fifth of all violent incidents in or around a pub or club.’

Every year, drink costs the nation £21billion – £11billion in crime, £3.5billion for the NHS, and £7.3billion in lost productivity such as sickness absence and premature deaths, the submission said.

In just three years, the NHS bill rose by 30 per cent, from £2.7billion. The number of alcohol-related hospital admissions has risen by 4 per cent a year every year from 2002 to 2010.

Liver disease – usually linked to alcohol – costs the NHS £1billion a year, the paper said.

About 9 per cent of men and 4 per cent of women are drinking at harmful levels, or more than 50 units and 35 units a week, it said.

‘More than 90 per cent who sustain drinking at these levels will go on to develop excessive fat accumulation in their livers – this is reversible if drinking is reduced but, if not, 15 to 30 per cent of those will develop more serious inflammation, and up to 10 per cent could develop cirrhosis. The Government believes such severe financial pressure on the NHS from liver disease, as this is a preventable illness, is unacceptable.

‘The rate of liver deaths in the UK has nearly quadrupled over 40 years; a very different trend from most other European countries.’

An estimated 1.6million people are moderately or severely dependent on alcohol – up 24 per cent between 2000 and 2007.

Alcohol-specific deaths soared 30 per cent between 2001 and 2010 – at the same time as deaths from all causes fell by 7 per cent.

Drinking before the age of 15 carries a series of possible health risks and other harms, including truancy, exclusion and lower educational attainment; involvement in violence; suicidal thoughts and attempts; sexually transmitted infections; and problems in getting and keeping a job.

Warnings: Suzi Fox, 22, from Sherborne, who has turned her life around and away from drink and drugs

By MARIO LEDWITH

A young woman who began binge drinking when she was just 11 years old has told how she could have ‘drunk myself to death’ after her habit spiralled out of control.

Suzi Fox’s years of addiction led to her sleeping rough as well as suffering permanent liver damage.

At her lowest point the mother-of-one, who is now 22, was hospitalised after drinking 100 units of alcohol in one sitting.

At the age of 13, she started skipping school with friends to drink beer and smoke cannabis in the park.

She soon moved on to spirits, drinking large amounts of vodka and rum, and said she could ‘easily polish off a crate of beer – 24 cans – and a bottle of vodka in a day’. After an argument with her parents, Miss Fox began living in foster care and by the age of 16, her alcohol addiction led to her sleeping rough.

While homeless, her drinking became so dangerous she was frequently rushed to hospital after heavy binges.

Miss Fox, from Sherborne, Dorset, said: ‘I barely drink at all now because when I have a few sips of wine my liver swells up and I look like I’m nine months’ pregnant.’

As well as liver damage, the years of drinking and drug abuse have badly affected her sight in one eye.

‘I woke up one morning after a big session and realised I could not see out of my left eye,’ she said. The doctor was not sure what happened but I’m pretty sure it was because of the drinking.’

She added: ‘I can only see light and blurs in the eye and have trouble keeping my balance sometimes.’

Miss Fox is now retaking a GCSE in English and plans to go to college.

She also hopes to work with young women, warning them about the dangers of binge drinking.

She said: ‘I am living proof that drink and drugs are not cool and can lead to health problems.

‘I would love to speak to other young people and give them help. I’m lucky to be alive – I could have drunk myself to death.

‘I don’t want anyone else to make the same mistake.’

Okay I lied, this is the last post.
Author: Artefact

Serious doubts are being raised as to whether Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U console has the power to support more than one of its wonder-controllers in play, something Nintendo seems to have been keeping quiet by only showing it running with one controller…

The problems were raised by Dean Takahashi, a prominent games journalist (for what this is worth), when he was interviewed about Nintendo’s E3 showing:

With Nintendo, where do you think they came up short in the way they showed the Wii U?

They have a major issue with the capability of the Wii U console where it has a single processor but it has to drive multiple displays.

A single graphics chip inside the console has to drive the big screen, the main game screen, but it also has to provide the imagery for the tablet controller, the game pad.

And yet the system itself isn’t that powerful. Nintendo only showed games with one game pad controller and the TV.

Most games out there, if you’re in a social setting, you want two controllers. Nintendo didn’t show any games that do that.

They admitted in a Q&A that the games are going to run slower if you have two game pads and playing on a main display. That’s a fairly big issue for them.

They made a good case that you can play with one controller and multiple Wii controllers, what they call asymmetric gaming where one person is looking at the small tablet screen and trying to deploy zombies while the people playing with the controllers were all on the main screen. You come up with very creative, different kinds of games where it’s one against four, or one person going online.

They tried to justify and turn into an advantage this major weakness of the Wii U, but I think a lot of people saw this as a weakness.

[…]

Nintendo came up as a pretty big disappointment at E3.

The fact that the Wii U’s graphical capabilities can apparently barely hold their own against the existing generation of consoles has already provoked much debate, one that looks set to intensify should it be true that it can barely drive its own controller – not that this necessarily matters if Nintendo can sell as many of the consoles to children and old people as they apparently hope.

That’s our show for today, don’t forget to subscribe to this blog if you enjoy reading it. And as always, this is Grass signing out.

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.

Weekend Quickie: The end of the FPS Reign

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It’s a fucking miracle folks, I never thought it’d happen, but it finally happened. Here’s some real game news.

Ubisoft Employees: “I Can’t Continue To Make Shooters Over And Over Again”

 

Jade Raymond the Managing Director of Ubisoft Toronto has stated that a number of her employees approach her and confess that they no longer feel passionate about creating yet another first-person or third-person shooter. Raymond firmly believes that it’s now time to “give our teenage medium a kick in the balls.”

“More and more people come to me at Ubisoft and say, ‘I love games. I came into this industry with so many ideas. But I can’t continue to make shooters over and over again. I’m not even in line with the messages.’ I have that meeting a lot these days. Yeah, it’s time to give our teenage medium a kick in the balls.”

“I don’t know when we decided as an industry that in order to sell five million copies of a game you have to make a Michael Bay film. There are other options.”

 

The world has hope and the tyranny of FPS has hope to come to an end.

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