Japan’s Emo problems and more

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Apologies for yesterday’s fucked up post, I was trying to post from an out of date computer and gave up eventually, so today I’ll make up for it. I ended up going shopping with my brother in some mall yesterday so whatever, it wasn’t terribly bad, we just ended up doing nothing for a whole day in a town by the beach. Anyway, let’s get moving.

Radioactive fallout from Fukushima nuclear meltdowns caused abnormalities in Japan’s butterflies

 

Radioactive fallout from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture created abnormalities among the nation’s butterflies, according to a team of researchers.

“We conclude that artificial radionuclides from the Fukushima (No. 1) nuclear power plant caused physiological and genetic damage” to pale grass blue butterflies, a common species in Japan, a recent article in Scientific Reports, one of on-line journals of the Nature Publishing Group, said.

Radiation exposure harmed butterflies’ genes, and the damage could well be passed on to future generations, the article stated.

“Sensitivity (to irradiation) varies between species, so research should be conducted on other animals,” said Joji Otaki, a team member and associate professor at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa.

“Humans are totally different from butterflies and they should be far more resistant” to the health effects of radiation, Otaki noted.

The researchers collected 121 adult pale grass blue butterflies in and outside Fukushima Prefecture in May 2011, two months after the nuclear crisis started.

Abnormalities such as unusually small wings were found in 12 percent of the total. But the rate rose to 18 percent in a second generation produced through mating among the butterflies collected and some even died before reaching adulthood.

When second generation butterflies with abnormal traits mated with healthy ones, the rate of abnormalities rose to 34 percent in the third generation, according to the article.

The team collected another 238 butterflies last September and determined that the abnormality rate stood at 28 percent. However, it nearly doubled to 52 percent among a second generation born to the original butterflies caught.

The researchers said the butterflies collected in May were heavily exposed to radiation as larvae. The impact was apparently more severe on the second generation, as well as on the butterflies collected in September, because they suffered heavy exposure at a far earlier stage while they were still fertilized eggs or just reproduction cells, according to the team.

The impact of artificial radiation exposure on the species was also investigated using larvae collected in Okinawa, one of the prefectures least affected by fallout from the nuclear disaster.

After the larvae were exposed to radiation and fed with leaves contaminated with radioactive materials, similar rates of abnormalities and premature deaths were observed, the article said.

 

So as the population returns to normalcy, the life on the island struggles to maintain itself. And then there’s this jimmy-rustler.

Korean soccer player kept off medal stand for political antics

Associated Press

 

 

I’m a massive faggot and don’t deserve to have my medal.

 

LONDON — A South Korean soccer player who held up a sign with a political message after the team’s victory over Japan did not get a bronze Sunday when the Olympic medals were handed out in a ceremony to the rest of his team.

Midfielder Park Jong Woo is under investigation by the IOC and soccer’s governing body, FIFA, for displaying the sign Friday with a slogan supporting South Korean sovereignty over Korean-controlled islets that are claimed by both his country and Japan. The largely uninhabited islets are called Dokdo by South Korea and Takeshima by the Japanese.

The IOC and FIFA have statutes that prohibit political statements by athletes and players. Olympic officials had asked the South Korean Olympic Committee to take action against Park and that he not be present at the ceremony.

When the men’s soccer medals were presented at Wembley Stadium following Mexico’s 2-1 win over Brazil in the gold-medal match, only 17 of the 18 South Korean players were on the field for the ceremony. Park was not among them.

The IOC has opened an investigation into Park’s actions, and FIFA said it has opened a separate investigation to discipline the athlete.

The Korean Olympic Committee said Park’s act was a mistake that occurred in the heat of the moment as players celebrated their victory over Japan in Cardiff.

“We understand this wasn’t an intentional act on the player’s part,” the committee said in a statement cited by Yonhap news agency. “We are trying the best we can to resolve this issue.”

Yonhap also quoted an unnamed official at the Korea Football Association as saying that Park picked up the sign, which was thrown from the stands, and officials immediately moved to stop him from holding it aloft.

Calls to the Korean Olympic Committee in Seoul and a Korean official in London were not returned.

South Korea beat Japan 2-0 Friday, hours after President Lee Myung Bak raised diplomatic tensions by traveling to the islets. The presidential visit prompted Japan to recall its ambassador from Seoul.

Photos of the player holding a sign were passed along to FIFA to determine if any further disciplinary action will be taken, the governing body said.

South Korea maintains a small contingent of police officers on the islets in a show of control, but Japan maintains the rocks are its territory. Tokyo renewed the claim last month in an annual defense report.

During his visit Friday, Lee reportedly told police officers there that the islets are “worth sacrificing lives for,” according to the presidential office.

 

That’s some hardcore trolling, man. Man’s got balls, serious balls.It’s like Japan’s already been fucked pretty badly and then Asian trolls come in and start screaming obscenities.

And finally…

 

DPJ vow for next poll: a nuclear phaseout

Role for Kan urged to draft pre-election energy goals

Kyodo

 

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s party is arranging to make a nuclear phaseout a key policy pledge in the next general election, sources in the Democratic Party of Japan said.

The DPJ’s plan comes amid widespread opposition to the continued use of nuclear energy. Noda has drawn strong public protests over his recent decision to approve the restart of two reactors at the Oi power plant in Fukui Prefecture, the first reactivations since all of the country’s reactors went offline amid the Fukushima nuclear disaster that started last year.

Many DPJ lawmakers fear the ruling party, via the restarts, signalled to the public that it is keen on using nuclear power when this is not the case, a senior party member said Sunday.

DPJ members said earlier this month that the DPJ will set up a panel to discuss the potential pledge for the House of Representatives election, which Noda said last week will take place “soon.”

The panel will probably be headed by DPJ policy chief Seiji Maehara. Some DPJ lawmakers say former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who has taken an increasingly antinuclear stance since the crisis started at the Fukushima No. 1 plant during his watch, should become an adviser to the new body.

To government is weighing three options for a new energy mix by 2030, including having nuclear power provide zero percent of Japan’s total energy, or 15 percent, or between 20 and 25 percent. The state has also held hearings to gauge public opinion, which has strongly come out in favor of the first option.

60% against nuke power

jiji

Over 60 percent of the Japanese public thinks the country should give up nuclear power, a recent Jiji Press survey said.

About half of the respondents opposed restarting the dozens of idled nuclear reactors.

The survey covered 1,211 men and women 20 or older across the country between July 6 and 16.

In face-to-face interviews, respondents rated their attitudes toward various issues related to nuclear energy on a scale of zero to 10, with 5 meaning “neither agree or disagree.”

Of the respondents, 62.6 percent opposed the use of nuclear energy, giving scores between zero and 4, with 17.8 percent saying they think Japan should idle all nuclear plants immediately.

By contrast, 9.7 percent assigned scores between 6 and 10 suggesting that Japan should continue using nuclear.

The results of the survey, the ninth by the news agency on national nuclear power use since May 2011, showed parallels with the previous surveys.

The poll was the fourth of its kind since March on sentiment toward restarting reactors halted chiefly for routine checks.

In the survey, 50.5 percent opposed resumption, with scores below 5. The figure dropped 8 percentage points from the March survey. About a fifth, or 21.4 percent, gave zero support for restarts.

Well that’s about all from the east coast, oh wait, there’s one more.

 

Total Eclipse Totally Sexy

Author: Leon

 

 

Fortunately alien invasions are no impediment to yet another gratuitous beach outing, as Muv-Luv Total Eclipse amply demonstrates in its latest and rather sexy service outing.

 

As usual the gallery is within your grasps. Also I wanted to bring about something to y’all’s attention. White people can’t be discriminated against. For more info, read this. I was a little surprised at first too, but whatever, this world is fucked up enough w/o saying that I can’t be racist against white people because they’ve never been oppressed. And next up…this is news?

 

A Nice Lady From Florida Got A Tattoo On Her Butthole Over The Weekend

 

Overheard in the dressing room of a sad Florida strip club last night…

“Hey Mercedes…what did you do over the weekend?”

“Oh nothing much, Lexus…got a tattoo on my butthole. That’s about it.”

“OMG what was that like?”

“It felt SO F*CKING GOOD…SO GOOD!”

Butthole tattoos are the tramp stamps are the new anal bleaching, y’all. You heard it here first. Deuce-deuces. (This should go without saying but the video above is slightly NSFW.)

And last but not least.

 

The following article is adapted from David K. Randall’s Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep, out now from W.W. Norton.

This is the tale of how an Australian man with a vacuum cleaner fixed a mistake in evolution.

It begins in the late 1970s. Colin Sullivan is a physician in the respiratory unit at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. There, he treats patients who have problems breathing. The most common complaint, by far, is snoring. Sullivan knows better than most doctors in his field that snoring is often a sign of a serious disorder known as sleep apnea. The disorder had been identified only about a decade earlier.

Patients with sleep apnea experience a strange nightly sensation that brings the body disturbingly close to death. First, the throat closes randomly throughout the night, choking off the body’s air supply. This puts in motion a cascade of increasingly bad side effects. As if on a seesaw, the lack of air causes the oxygen levels in the blood to plummet and the blood pressure to jump. The lips and skin start to turn blue. Air may not come into the lungs for up to a minute. And for some patients, the heart stops beating for almost 10 seconds at a time.

Eventually, the brain gets the urgent message that the body is choking. The brain jolts awake, and the body instinctively gasps for air. Yet as soon as the airway is clear, the brain immediately falls back to sleep. That’s when the cycle starts again. It is all so quick that it can happen more than 20 times an hour, all night long, without the sleeper remembering it the next day. Someone lying next to him or her, however, can hear this process at work: When the rhythmic sawing of a snorer’s breath pauses and then becomes a hard ghhack-ghhack-ghhack, it’s most likely the body frantically clearing its airway.

Sleep apnea was discovered when a group of American physicians noticed that some obese patients complained of overwhelming fatigue and would drift asleep unintentionally. With a literary flourish, they named the condition Pickwickian syndrome after a character who falls asleep standing up in Charles Dickens’s first novel, The Pickwick Papers. Doctors incorrectly attributed the sleepiness to a combination of excess weight and abnormally high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. It was only later that science understood sleep apnea to be a common breathing disorder caused by the position of the tongue and tissues of the throat. It was then given the name apnea, from the Greek word for breathless.

Sleep apnea was on the frontier of sleep medicine in the late 1970s. Sullivan had recently returned from a fellowship in Toronto, where he spent three years studying the breathing patterns of dogs while they slept. English bulldogs, pugs, and other breeds with pushed-in faces are the only animals besides humans that experience sleep apnea. The years spent working with dogs gave Sullivan an idea. Once back in Sydney, he devised a mask that fit over a dog’s snout. The mask continuously pumped in air from the surrounding room, increasing the air pressure in the throat and preventing it from closing up. Experiments with dogs suggested that the steady flow of air dramatically improved sleep. All Sullivan needed was a human to try it out on.

In June of 1980, he found one. A man walked into the hospital with such a severe case of sleep apnea that Sullivan recommended an immediate tracheotomy. This procedure, which consisted of making a hole in the throat to allow a person to breathe without using the nose or mouth, was one of the few approved treatments for sleep apnea at the time. It required a permanent, quarter-size opening in the neck, however, and was quite painful.

The patient refused the tracheotomy. But he was happy to volunteer as a test patient for Sullivan’s air-pressure machine. Sullivan built a test model that afternoon. He grabbed the engine out of a vacuum cleaner and attached it to a handful of plastic tubes. He then took a diving mask and coated the edges with a silicone sealant that prevented air from leaking out of it. Soon, he had a system that allowed him to pump air through the mask at a controlled pressure. Sullivan found an empty room in the hospital and set up equipment to monitor the patient’s breathing and brain waves, which would tell him what stage of sleep the man was in. The patient was hooked up to the monitors, put on the mask, and fell asleep almost instantly.

He began experiencing sleep apnea within a few minutes. Sullivan then slowly started to increase the pressure in the air flowing through the mask and into the patient’s airway. Suddenly, the apnea stopped. The patient began breathing normally. As Sullivan watched in amazement, the patient instantly went into deep REM sleep—a rare phenomenon suggesting that his brain had been starved of restorative sleep. Sullivan then slowly decreased the pressure of the air flowing through the mask. The apnea returned. Sullivan rapidly went through several cycles of increasing and decreasing the pressure. He found that with the machine’s controls alone, he could effectively turn the patient’s sleep apnea on and off.

The machine worked. The next question was whether its benefits would last all night. Sullivan left the settings on the machine at a level where the patient was free of sleep apnea. Then he waited. For about seven straight hours, the patient was in abnormally intense, deep sleep. When he woke up the next day, he told Sullivan that he felt awake and alert for the first time in years.

A study in 1994 found that about 10 percent of women and 25 percent of men have difficulties breathing in their sleep. These numbers climb as a person gets older, so that as many as 1 out of 3 elderly men have at least a mild case of sleep apnea. All told, about 20 million Americans have the disorder.

Its cause could simply be the trade-off that the human body makes for having the ability to speak in a complex language. A short tour of fossils illustrates this point. If you were to look at a Neanderthal’s mouth, you might think that its descendants would have been the ones to survive over the long run, considering their jawbones were larger and stronger than our own. Plus, with extra room in their mouths, Neanderthals never experienced the pain of impacted wisdom teeth. Homo sapiens differed from Neanderthals by developing a flatter face, a smaller jawbone, and a tongue that descends deeper into the throat than in any other mammal. With this new hardware, humans were able to move beyond making simple grunts. Those first, complicated sounds uttered by Homo sapiens soon developed into language.

But the positioning of the tongue in the Homo sapiens mouth complicates the acts of eating, drinking, and breathing. Food could literally go down the wrong pipe, a biological problem unique to modern humans. Darwin noted “the strange fact that every particle of food and drink we swallow has to pass over the orifice of the trachea with some risk of falling into the lungs.” The longer tissues of the soft palate at the back of the throat made it possible for the airway to become blocked after a routine exhalation, which could start the cycle of sleep apnea. In the mid-1990s, researchers in Japan found that slight changes in the size and position of the pharynx at the back of the throat drastically increased the likelihood that someone would develop a breathing disorder during sleep. The shape of a person’s neck and jaw can also be a factor. A large neck, tongue, or tonsils, or a narrow airway often signal that a person will develop sleep apnea because of the increased chance that breathing will become blocked during the night.

And yet the physicians who first recognized sleep apnea were half right when they assumed that the disorder was a side effect of obesity. Sleep apnea is a flaw that is part of the blueprint of the human body, and excess fat often teases it out. The chances of developing sleep apnea go up with weight because the tissues in the throat become enlarged, making it more likely that they will obstruct the airway during sleep. For some patients, losing weight alone can solve the problem. Other changes in behavior—like drinking less alcohol, cutting back on smoking, sleeping on one’s side instead of on the back, or doing exercises or playing musical instruments that build up the muscles in the throat—can also help.

Breathing masks like those manufactured by ResMed, the company Sullivan co-founded in 1989 after developing simpler prototypes of his machine, are the most common medical treatment for sleep apnea, but they aren’t for everyone. Some patients never get used to the awkward sensation of sleeping with a mask on their face or never become comfortable with breathing in the cold air that is continuously pumped into their mouth throughout the night. In the long term, patients with mild sleep apnea wear the masks between 40 and 80 percent of the time, according to various studies. There is also a social stigma that complicates treatment. Some patients with sleep apnea decide not to use a continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine because they are worried that it will make them less attractive to the person they are sharing a bed with. In an online support group for patients with sleep apnea, a man wrote that he was “feeling like I am going to be Darth Vader if I have to wear one.” A woman wrote that her husband “fought it, cried, said he is defective, said he would prefer to put a gun to his head then wear one of those things.” Another wrote that “I’ve yelled that I feel like a freak to my husband way too many times this fall.”

Dental devices are typically the next choice. These aren’t as effective as CPAP machines for severe sleep apnea, but they may be easier for some patients to use, especially those who have to travel frequently. One of the most popular looks like a sports mouthguard. It forces the lower jaw forward and slightly down to keep the airway open. Another device holds the tongue in place to prevent it from getting in the way. Surgery is the last option. One procedure, called an uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, consists of removing excess soft tissue from the back of the throat. Its long-term success rate is only about 50 percent, and it can lead to side effects such as difficulties swallowing, an impaired sense of smell, and infection. It is also extremely painful. Few medications have been shown to help sleep apnea and may in fact make the problem worse. Sleeping pills and tranquilizers, for instance, can make the soft tissues in the throat sag and obstruct the airway more than they would otherwise.

In 2000, four separate studies found conclusive evidence that sleep apnea was associated with increased rates of hypertension. Left untreated, patients with sleep apnea are at a greater risk of developing kidney disease or vision problems, or having a heart attack or stroke. Those studies helped convince government insurance programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the British National Health Service to pay for a portion of the cost of each ResMed device, which can be several-thousand dollars if a patient were to buy it out of pocket. Sleep labs across the country now conduct overnight tests in which patients who are suspected to have sleep apnea are hooked up to equipment that monitors their hearts, breathing patterns, and brain activity, as well as the number of times they wake up throughout the night and how often they move their limbs.

As scientists began to understand sleep apnea in more depth, they started to see it as the foundation for serious illnesses affecting the mind. In one study, researchers at UCLA conducted brain scans of patients with long histories of sleep apnea and compared them with the scans of control subjects who had normal sleep patterns. The investigations focused their inquiry on the mammillary bodies, two structures on the underside of the brain so named because they resemble small breasts. Mammillary bodies are thought to be an important part of the memory and have long been associated with cases of amnesia. This memory center of the brain was 20 percent smaller in patients with sleep apnea. Had a doctor looked at a patient’s brain scan alone, it would have suggested severe cognitive impairment: A similar shrinkage in the size of the mammillary bodies is found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease or those who experienced memory loss as a result of alcoholism. It was the first indication that sleep apnea leaves a permanent scar beyond the daily difficulties of focus and attention that come with sleepiness.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association supported this conclusion. Kristine Yaffe, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California-San Francisco, led a study that recruited nearly 300 elderly women who were mentally and physically fit. The average age of the subjects in the study was 82. Each woman spent a night in a sleep lab, and Yaffe found that about 1 in every 3 met the standard for sleep apnea. Yaffe re-examined each woman five years later. The effects of age on the mind seemed to depend on the quality of sleep. Nearly half of the women with sleep apnea showed signs of mild cognitive impairment or dementia, compared with only a third of the women who slept normally. After controlling for factors such as age, race, and the use of medicines, Yaffe found that the women with sleep apnea were 85 percent more likely to show the first signs of memory loss. The frequent interruptions in sleep and the reduced oxygen in the brain may reduce the brain’s ability to form and protect long-term memories.

Sleep apnea and weight are not problems limited to the United States, a fact that hasn’t been lost on companies like ResMed. The spread of Western fast-food companies like McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Pizza Hut to emerging countries such as China and India may be the greatest growth engine for ResMed. Simply put, more fat in the bodies of the world’s population equals a larger number of sleep apnea cases, creating a larger customer base for ResMed’s products. “Genetically you’re still engineered for a low-calorie, low-fat diet,” Kieran Gallahue, CEO of ResMed at the time I visited the company’s headquarters in 2010, told me. “That’s what your body has been optimized for over centuries. Boom, you introduce burgers, and your body is not going to handle it. One of the outcomes is going to be a skyrocketing in the prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing.”

 

And that’s our show for tonight, tune in next time as something else happens in the world and I have to be a dick about it, Goodnight Everybody.

New Mittxico is found at six flags

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So like I promised 1 to two posts week starting this week since our summer is officially over as of August first and our fall readiness program will begin. However all is not well with the world, and we need to know why, so let’s begin.

 

Dog Days Untamed

Author: Leon

 

 

Wanko anime Dog Days is almost there in its latest episode, showing plenty of flesh but apparently saving the important bits for the disc-buying elite…

 

The gallery as usual can be seen on the site. Also, LB was finally announced so, let’s get that out of the way.

 

Little Busters Anime Finally Unveiled

Author: Artefact

 

 

Legendarily long-awaited Key anime Little Busters! may have attracted as much attention for who it is not being animated by as for its actual announcement, but that has not stopped enthusiastic optimists from excitedly hailing the release of its first trailer with some anticipation.

The trailer, announcing TV broadcasts are to being in October:

 

 

 

That being said, the gallery of posts can be seen on there. So let’s talk Romney.

 

Mitt Romney ‘providence’ comments in Israel outrage Palestinians

 

Palestinian leaders expressed offence and outrage at comments by Mitt Romney during his lightning visit to Israel, in which he said the Jewish state’s economic success compared with its Palestinian neighbours was due to “cultural” differences and the “hand of providence”, and declared Jerusalem to be “the capital of Israel”.

The presumptive Republican candidate in the the US presidential race told a $25,000 (£16,000)-a-head fundraising event in Jerusalem: “As I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognise the power of at least culture and a few other things.”

He cited a climate of innovation, the Jewish history of thriving in adversity, and the “hand of providence”.

Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official, condemned Romney’s comments. “It is a racist statement, and this man doesn’t realise that the Palestinian economy cannot reach its potential because there is an Israeli occupation,” he said.

“It seems to me this man lacks information, knowledge, vision and understanding of this region and its people. He also lacks knowledge about the Israelis themselves. I have not heard any Israeli official speak about cultural superiority.”

Romney, who did not visit the West Bank while in the Holy Land, made no mention of either Israel’s 45-year occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, nor its continuing blockade of Gaza, both of which have had a catastrophic impact on the Palestinian economy.

The consensus of international economists, including the IMF and the World Bank, is that the Palestinian economy will fail to develop firm foundations and sustained growth until Israeli restrictions on imports, exports and the movement of goods are lifted.

Romney’s comparison between the Israeli and Palestinian economies drew on figures substantially different from those cited by the World Bank. Romney said: “As you come here and you see the [gross domestic product] per capita, for instance, in Israel, which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality.”

According to the World Bank, however, Israel’s per-capita GDP was about $31,000 in 2011, while the West Bank and Gaza’s was just over $1,500.

More than 40 people attended Romney’s fundraising breakfast at Jerusalem’s famous King David hotel, amassing more than $1m for the Republican election campaign. The event was moved from Sunday after Romney aides realised it had been scheduled during Tisha B’Av, a Jewish day of mourning and fasting.

Sheldon Adelson, the Jewish-American billionaire casino magnate who has bankrolled Romney’s presidential campaign, sat next to the candidate at a U-shaped table. Adelson also owns Israel Hayom, the Jewish state’s biggest-circulation newspaper, which is a staunch supporter of Binyamin Netanyahu’s government.

Among the other guests were the New York Jets owner, Woody Johnson, and the hedge fund manager Paul Singer. Donors ate a typical Israeli breakfast of salads, cheeses, yoghurt and pastries.

Romney, who introduced his eldest son, Josh, to the gathering, said he had “read a number of books” on what makes countries successful.

He added: “I am overwhelmingly impressed with the hand of providence, whenever it chooses to apply itself, and also the greatness of the human spirit, and how individuals who reach for greatness and have purpose above themselves are able to build and accomplish things that could only be done by a species created in the image of God.”

During a speech on Sunday delivered against the backdrop of the historic old city at sunset, Romney described Jerusalem as “the capital of Israel”. Erekat said the remark was “absolutely unacceptable”.

A second senior Palestinian official, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said the statement was unhelpful to peace negotiations, pointing out it “contradict[ed] the previous positions held by the American administration”.

The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. East Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 and later annexed by Israel in a move not recognised by the international community. The future of Jerusalem is one of the most complex and delicate issues in negotiations on a possible peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

All foreign embassies, including that of the US, are in Tel Aviv, with consular services based in Jerusalem. According to a statement, the White House official policy is: “The status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. We continue to work with the parties to resolve this issue and others in a way that is just and fair, and respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.”

 

If Romney can get the Pale’s and the Jews to play nice, I might actually vote for him. I mean, it’s pretty ground breaking to have the 2 biggest warring countries fighting over an invisible man that never existed. Course, if he does, it’ll be an even bigger shock to the rest of the US than killing Osama.

 

Kryptonite particles found in new Superman ride

 

VALLEJO, Calif. —

Twelve people were stuck Sunday afternoon for nearly two hours on the new Superman roller coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo.

Two cars stalled at the highest point of the ride, 150-feet high, around 2:30 p.m. and riders were upright, according to witnesses.

Rescuers used a crane to release the cars from the track shortly after 4 p.m., according to a spokeswoman for the park.

Every ride is checked every morning to make sure it runs properly and the Superman wide was checked Sunday morning and no problems were found, according to the park spokeswoman.

The park president said he doesn’t believe there was a mechanical problem with the ride.

Park mechanics have not yet investigated what led to the stall. The ride will stay offline until they complete their investigation.

The Superman ride opened on June 30 and is 15 stories tall at its highest point and reaches speeds of 62 mph.

This is not the first time there have been roller coaster issues at the Six Flags park.

In August of 2010, the boomerang ride got stuck in the upright position for about an hour with 26 people on board.

 

Louisiana police got bored and are looking into dirty license plates.

 

State police watching for dirty tags

 

Associated Press Reporting

Louisiana state police and local law enforcement agencies are telling motorists to clean off their dirty license plates.

State police say in a news release the motorists caught with their license plates obscured in any way, including by dirt, mud or frames that cover part of the plate, could be ticketed.

Louisiana law requires vehicle license plates be clearly displayed, as well as illuminated at night by license plate lights.

Col. Michael Edmonson, state police superintendent, says clean license plates can help citizens more easily report reckless or impaired drivers, as well as vehicles involved in criminal acts.

 

Next up, ermahgerd. How the fuck is this news?

 

JERMPING TEH SHERK: ERMAHGERD EENERPERPRIT ERMAHGERDZ

 

By now you all know about the ERMAHGERD meme, using the twisted face of some poor girl from the ’90s for the expression of excitement and the belittling of those with speech impediments. It showed up on the weird shadowy side of the Internet a few months back and just now started gaining traction with the normals.

You know, that poor lady is probably sitting at a Denny’s right now writing a suicide note because some ass clown found her picture at a garage sale and dredged up old feelings of loneliness and pain of adolescence.

But as the meme would say, it has, jermped teh sherk. Nowadays if you don’t get on the ground floor of a meme the first few weeks, you get buried under the weight of a million others on Facebook, attaching a political cause to something that doesn’t need to be attached to.

ERMAHGERD CHERK-FER-RAY IS HERMAPHERBIC!

Or something like that.

That’s why I came up with eight or so inappropriate ERMAHGERD, because before now this meme has been too cutesy and dear. Pain, death, misery, hatred, these things deserve to be memes.

Er, merms.

 

Next up, The Olympic flame has died. Now they have to sacrifice 12 vestal virgins, six ping-pong players and start war with Persia.

The Olympic Flame Dies, Gets Unceremoniously Relit By Old Guy On a Cherry Picker

 

This is not a metaphor: the Olympic Flame has died for real, as technicians were moving the cauldron to a new location in the stadium. Now, they have to sacrifice 12 virgin ping-pong players and start a war with the Persians.

Actually, they just sent some old guy named Austin Playfoot on a cherry picker to re-light it. It looked more ridiculous than majestic, but it did the trick. At least Mr. Playfoot was one of the Olympic Torch-bearers, both this year and back in the 1948 London Olympics.

According to millenary tradition, the flame has to burn inside its cauldron for the duration of the game. It went out this Sunday, 11:14pm London time.

Thankfully, it was not accidentally extinguished by London’s perpetual rain. It had to be extinguished for security reasons before the cauldron was moved to a new location. Before unceremoniously turning off the gas, they lit up the torch that was used by Mr. Playfoot to relight the cauldron this morning.

The move follows strong criticism by British media, which has been hammering the games’ organizers’ decision to place the cauldron in a place where it can’t be seen from anyone outside of the stadium—something that apparently has never happened in Olympic history. Their strong criticism included words like bloody, git, knobhead, cabbage and how dare they. They also wrote organizers in the traditional British way: organisers.

 

And now more Olympic fails.

 

Olympics epic fail

Man gripped by Olympic fever tries to swim to America… and fails

 

After a pulsating and pounding opening ceremony on Friday night, and world record’s being broken left, right and centre on the days that followed, it seems as if Olympic fever has gripped us all. There’s no doubt about it, people’s interest in sport has shot through the roof, and so have people’s expectations.

For one man, it inspired him to try and swim to America from Biarritz, southern France, without any training or equipment. In short, he had gone out of his mind on the Olympics.

Despite his insistence that he was up to the challenge, he was rescued by coastguards just off the coast who convinced him that it probably wasn’t a good idea to continue, in what will no doubt be one of many epic fails at the Olympics.

It’s thought that the 34-year-old holidaymaker was visiting Biarritz with friends. He told them that he was planning to swim to New York, 3,594 miles away, to carry the Olympic spirit across the Atlantic.

They let him go because they thought he was joking and knew that he was a strong swimmer.

At 3.30pm, lifeguards watched as he swam past the buoys 300 yards out to sea, which mark the legal limit for swimmers. He then continued to swim until he was out of sight.

At this point, lifeguards called out a helicopter and a diver dropped into the sea and explained to the man that it was a good idea to turn back.

At the same time, lifeguards arrived in a rescue dinghy. The man then realised that he might have made a mistake, so lifeguards threw him a line and towed him back to the beach.

Laurent Saintespes, senior officer at Biarritz airbase told Agence France Presse: “He was a bit naive. But at a time when the Olympics are taking place in London you have to see the funny side of things.”

Have you seen any epic fails at the Olympics yet? What’s been your best bit?

Oh, and here’s an epic fail by Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, a few days ago:

 

 

Oh did you hear about the 19 year old that tried to use twitter to join the National Guard?

 

Kent State student accused of tweeting threat instructed to stay away from school, president

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Kent State University student accused of posting a message on Twitter saying he planned to “shoot up” the northeastern Ohio campus has been instructed to stay away from the school and its president.

Nineteen-year-old William Koberna will be released Monday after posting part of a $50,000 bond set at Portage County Municipal Court. He will be required to wear a GPS tracking device and to stay away from university President Lester Lefton and the school.

Koberna was arrested Sunday at his parents’ home in the Cleveland suburb of Brunswick. The sophomore has been charged with inducing panic, a felony, and aggravated menacing. A preliminary hearing is scheduled Friday.

University officials say Koberna posted a tweet July 25 that included the threat: “I’m shooting up your school ASAP.”

 

And finally,  a 74 year old man gets police to chase him around at 105 miles an hour.

 

Driver, 74, injured while fleeing police

 

PRINCEVILLE —

A 74-year-old Peoria man was airlifted to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center on Sunday morning and remained in serious condition after he crashed while trying to flee police.

David Carlson, of 3232 W. Westport Road, was driving eastbound on Illinois Route 90 at 11:50 p.m. Saturday without a passenger side headlight, according to a report on the incident. Carlson initially appeared to pull over to the right side of the road but then sped away.

During the chase down Route 90, a Peoria County Sheriff’s deputy reported that Carlson reached speeds approaching 105 mph while passing westbound vehicles.

Carlson apparently did not see the turn in the road at the intersection of Route 90 and Illinois Route 91 and smashed straight through the guardrail. The car then ramped off the side of a ditch and went airborne over the nearby Holmes Road, coming to a rest in a corn field on the south side of Holmes.

When fire rescue officials attempted to extract Carlson from the wreckage, he was briefly unconscious and then awoke, confessing that he’d been drinking earlier. Later blood tests showed his blood alcohol content to be 0.137 percent.

Police issued Carlson citations for driving under the influence of alcohol, aggravated attempt to elude police, reckless driving, driving with a revoked license, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and driving with only one headlight.

A 74-year-old Peoria man was airlifted to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center on Sunday morning and remained in serious condition after he crashed while trying to flee police.

David Carlson, of 3232 W. Westport Road, was driving eastbound on Illinois Route 90 at 11:50 p.m. Saturday without a passenger side headlight, according to a report on the incident. Carlson initially appeared to pull over to the right side of the road but then sped away.

During the chase down Route 90, a Peoria County Sheriff’s deputy reported that Carlson reached speeds approaching 105 mph while passing westbound vehicles.

Carlson apparently did not see the turn in the road at the intersection of Route 90 and Illinois Route 91 and smashed straight through the guardrail. The car then ramped off the side of a ditch and went airborne over the nearby Holmes Road, coming to a rest in a corn field on the south side of Holmes.

When fire rescue officials attempted to extract Carlson from the wreckage, he was briefly unconscious and then awoke, confessing that he’d been drinking earlier. Later blood tests showed his blood alcohol content to be 0.137 percent.

Police issued Carlson citations for driving under the influence of alcohol, aggravated attempt to elude police, reckless driving, driving with a revoked license, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and driving with only one headlight.

That’s our show for today folks, I’ll see you guys on the flipside. Good night, everybody.

Something for All

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In the advent of Black 2 and White 2, TPC has once again come up with another opening for Best Wishes Shizun 2.

 

 

 

 

But let’s move on. As the date nears for black 2 and white 2, I might as well show you guys some of the aesthetics the game has to offer come October.

 

Aesthetic changes

  • The opening is drastically different from the one in Black and White, now featuring the new game characters, the Tao trio and the legendary musketeers. Also, the title screen shows either Black Kyurem or White Kyurem, depending on the version.
  • The bar that shows a Pokémon’s level, Exp. Points and HP has been redesigned. It is black in Black 2 and white in White 2.
  • The area eyecatch has also been redesigned and shows the location in the top left of the screen and season in the bottom right. It is black in Black 2 and white in White 2.
  • New locations, such as Aspertia City and Sangi Town, have been added to the game.
  • New characters are introduced, such as Hugh, Colress, Roxie, Marlon and Banjirou.
  • Cheren, Bianca, Elesa, Ghetsis and Iris all receive redesigns.
  • All Unova gyms receive redesigns.
  • Most of the Black and White music has been slightly remixed, in addition to the Gym Leader and Champion music from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and Sinnoh.
  • There have been several changes made to existing locations, such as Driftveil City and Nimbasa City.
  • Every trainer has their own fully animated sprite.
  • Several attacks have received new battle animations.
  • The battle menu has seen a redesign.
  • The C-Gear has been redesigned.
  • The Unova Pokédex has been expanded tremendously to accommodate older Pokémon.
  • All returning Gym Leaders and Champions receive new sprites.
  • Route 4 has changed drastically and also differs between Black 2 and White 2.
  • Victory Road changed drastically from Black and White to Black 2 and White 2 as well and differs in appearance between Black 2 and White 2.
  • Challenger’s Cave‘s entrance collapsed while Route 10 was locked off due to landslide on Victory Road, making both areas inaccessible. In place of Cold Storage there is now the Pokémon World Tournament.

Aesthetic changes

  • The opening is drastically different from the one in Black and White, now featuring the new game characters, the Tao trio and the legendary musketeers. Also, the title screen shows either Black Kyurem or White Kyurem, depending on the version.
  • The bar that shows a Pokémon’s level, Exp. Points and HP has been redesigned. It is black in Black 2 and white in White 2.
  • The area eyecatch has also been redesigned and shows the location in the top left of the screen and season in the bottom right. It is black in Black 2 and white in White 2.
  • New locations, such as Aspertia City and Sangi Town, have been added to the game.
  • New characters are introduced, such as Hugh, Colress, Roxie, Marlon and Banjirou.
  • Cheren, Bianca, Elesa, Ghetsis and Iris all receive redesigns.
  • All Unova gyms receive redesigns.
  • Most of the Black and White music has been slightly remixed, in addition to the Gym Leader and Champion music from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and Sinnoh.
  • There have been several changes made to existing locations, such as Driftveil City and Nimbasa City.
  • Every trainer has their own fully animated sprite.
  • Several attacks have received new battle animations.
  • The battle menu has seen a redesign.
  • The C-Gear has been redesigned.
  • The Unova Pokédex has been expanded tremendously to accommodate older Pokémon.
  • All returning Gym Leaders and Champions receive new sprites.
  • Route 4 has changed drastically and also differs between Black 2 and White 2.
  • Victory Road changed drastically from Black and White to Black 2 and White 2 as well and differs in appearance between Black 2 and White 2.
  • Challenger’s Cave‘s entrance collapsed while Route 10 was locked off due to landslide on Victory Road, making both areas inaccessible. In place of Cold Storage there is now the Pokémon World Tournament.

So there you have it, something to look forward to this fall.  Now, onto pressing matters, a giant list of boring anime for the summer.

 

Top 10 Summer 2012 Anime You Dumped After 1 Episode

Author: Artefact

 

With most regular anime viewers (or at least those not reading about them all online instead) basing the decision of which anime to keep watching almost entirely on their impressions of the first episode, few rankings could be more telling as to who the season’s losers and winners are…

The ranking:

1. Dakara Boku wa H ga Dekinai

2. Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru!

3. Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero

4. Tanken Dry Land

5. Dog Days II

6. Jintai wa Suitai Shimashita

7. Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere II

8. Chouyaku Hyakunin Isshu: Uta Koi

9. Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate

10. Arcana Famiglia

The bottom of the ranking saw such apparent classics as Tari Tari, Kokoro Connect, Ebiten, Nobuna’s Ambition and Binbougami-ga!, indicating either that they are so good nobody in their right minds would drop them, or less flatteringly that nobody bothered watching their first episodes anyway…

See also the most anticipated anime of summer 2012 – amazingly only 3 anime from there feature in this list, although again this could merely be because nobody had high hopes for them in the first place.

 
Have a figurine.

 

Dog Days Riccotta Elmar Nendoroid

Author: Leon

 

The little genius Riccotta Elmar from Dog Days gets a Nendoroid set for release in November 2012, by Good Smile Company.

 

And now we talk about the first woman who went to spehz.

 

Sally Ride, first American woman to fly in space, dies at age 61

 

HOUSTON — Sally Ride, who blazed trails into orbit as the first American woman in space, died Monday of pancreatic cancer. She was 61.

Ride died at her home in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, said Terry McEntee, a spokeswoman for her company, Sally Ride Science. She was a private person and the details of her illness were kept to just a few people, she said.

Ride rode into space on the space shuttle Challenger in 1983 when she was 32. After her flight, more than 42 other American women flew in space, NASA said.

“Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model. She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, a former astronaut, said Ride “broke barriers with grace and professionalism — and literally changed the face of America’s space program.”

“The nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers and explorers,” he said in a statement.

Ride was a physicist, writer of five science books for children and president of her own company. She had also been a professor of physics at the University of California in San Diego.

She was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1978, the same year she earned her doctorate in physics from Stanford University. She beat out five women to be the first American female in space. Her first flight came two decades after the Soviets sent a woman into space

“On launch day, there was so much excitement and so much happening around us in crew quarters, even on the way to the launch pad,” Ride recalled in a NASA interview for the 25th anniversary of her flight in 2008. “I didn’t really think about it that much at the time — but I came to appreciate what an honor it was to be selected to be the first to get a chance to go into space.”

Ride flew in space twice, both times on Challenger in 1983 and in 1984, logging 343 hours in space. A third flight was cancelled when Challenger exploded in 1986. She was on the commission investigating that accident and later served on the panel for the 2003 Columbia shuttle accident, the only person on both boards.

She also was on the president’s committee of science advisers.

The 20th anniversary of her first flight also coincided with the loss of Columbia, a bittersweet time for Ride, who discussed it in a 2003 interview with The Associated Press. She acknowledged it was depressing to spend the anniversary investigating the accident, which killed seven astronauts.

“But in another sense, it’s rewarding because it’s an opportunity to be part of the solution and part of the changes that will occur and will make the program better,” she said.

Later in the interview, she focused on science education and talked about “being a role model and being very visible.”

“She was very smart,” said former astronaut Norman Thagard, who was on Ride’s first flight. “We did have a good time.”

It was all work on that first flight, except for a first-in-space sprint around the inside of the shuttle, Thagard recalled by phone on Monday. He didn’t know who won.

One of Ride’s last legacies was allowing middle school students to take their own pictures of the moon using cameras aboard NASA’s twin Grail spacecraft in a project spearheaded by her company.

“Sally literally could have done anything with her life. She decided to devote her life to education and to inspiring young people. To me, that’s such a powerful thing. It’s extraordinarily admirable,” said Maria Zuber, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who heads the Grail mission.

Ride’s office said she is survived by Tam O’Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years; her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear, a niece and a nephew.

 

And let’s not forget about those idiot’s in the US.

 

Driver in head-on collision charged with using cell phone

 

ANNSVILLE —

A Sylvan Beach man who was allegedly using his cell phone while driving was injured Sunday after he drove into an oncoming car on state Route 69 in Annsville, the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office said.

Andrew Bonomo, 21, turned left from Main Street onto Route 69 just before the accident, but turned into the wrong lane and proceeded to drive east in the westbound lane, deputies said.

The driver of an oncoming car, 47-year-old Luke Pomilio of Rome, attempted to drive onto the shoulder to avoid a collision with Bonomo’s car, but Bonomo reportedly continued steering toward the other vehicle, according to witnesses, resulting in a head-on crash, deputies said.

Bonomo was taken to Rome Memorial Hospital with injuries. He also was ticketed for failing to keep right, using a cell phone while driving and other traffic charges, deputies said. He will appear in Annsville Town Court at a later date.

The Taberg Fire Department and state police assisted at the scene.

 

And let’s not forget, Asia’s billionaires.

 

Asia’s millionaires outnumber America’s

 

(CNN) — For the first time, the Asia-Pacific region has become home to the highest number of millionaires in the world, according to an annual global wealth report by Capgemini and Royal Bank of Canada Wealth Management.

Asia-Pacific surpassed North America in 2011 to have 3.37 million high-net-worth individuals (HNWI), which the report defined as people with at least US$ 1 million available for investment, excluding personal assets such as primary homes, collectibles, and consumer durables.

North America was a close second with 3.35 million HNWIs, although the region still led with the highest amount of investable wealth at US $11.4 trillion, compared to Asia-Pacific’s US $10.7 trillion.

Despite the reshuffling, investable wealth fell across all regions, except the Middle East, due to HNWI investments in risky, less liquid assets amid high volatility in global markets. The overall 1.7% decline was the first recorded since the 2008 financial crisis. At 11 million, the worldwide number of HNWIs only increased by 0.8%.

China accounted for about half the increase of HWNIs in the Asia-Pacific, where the super-rich increased 5.2% to 562,000 people—placing the country in fourth place behind the U.S., Japan, and Germany. On the other hand, Hong Kong and India were the worst-hit, falling 17.4% and 18%, respectively. Singapore and South Korea also saw falling number of HNWIs.

The report cited rising inflation, declining exports due to weakened European demand, and crises such as Japan’s earthquake in March last year as the key negative factors impacting the region. It went on to say the region’s growth will “depend most heavily on whether China can engineer a soft landing, and the mature economy of Japan can recover from a challenging 2011.”

The 16th World Wealth Report, which assessed economic activity in 2011, covered 71 countries that account for more than 98% of gross national income.

 

And finally this happened.

 

Americans with guns at border use ‘cultural difference’ defence

 

Gun violence has no borders — as evidenced in recent weeks with mass shootings in Toronto and Colorado — but laws in Canada and the U.S. differ, prompting at least one Ontario lawyer to say “cultural difference” is the best defence for Americans caught with weapons.

Greg Goulin, a defence lawyer in Windsor, Ont., represents Americans caught with restricted and prohibited weapons when they cross into Canada.

He said the best defence is to claim cultural differences.

“Saying ‘I forgot’ doesn’t sell too well in our court system. [We think], ‘How can you forget you had a loaded handgun in your car?’” Goulin said.

He called loaded handguns “very frequent” in the U.S. and “standard additional equipment” in homes and cars.

“To me, the cultural difference is so very obvious,” Goulin said.

Goulin said Canadian courts accept “cultural differences” as a legitimate defence. He said in some cases, “upstanding U.S. citizens” have been caught with a handgun at the border because they live in high-crime areas where owning and carrying a firearm is “normal” or “justifiable.”

Goulin represented one person who was shot and then, after a lengthy recovery in hospital, was robbed at gunpoint.

“He wasn’t going to be parted from his gun,” Goulin said. “You have a certain degree of appreciation if you understand the violent culture they come from.

“Sometimes a handgun is considered an obvious necessity if you live among, in one case, coyotes.”

Stricter penalties

Under the recently passed omnibus crime bill, the penalty for being caught bringing a handgun into Canada is a three-year minimum jail sentence.

“The Crown attorney’s office has a degree of discretion. Should the person have a reasonable explanation for their error and are willing to admit culpability in the matter, that minimum penalty can be reduced at the discretion of the Crown,” Goulin said.

Signs do notify American visitors to Canada handguns are prohibited. Goulin said they don’t work all the time.

“When you come into the [Detroit-Windsor] tunnel, there’s very little time for you to see a sign. When you come to the [Ambassador] bridge, there’s such a confusing set of signs to get to the bridge, I imagine a driver’s attention is drawn elsewhere,” Goulin said, referencing ongoing construction there.

He said a solution would be a one-by-four-metre sign that reads: “Canada: No Guns.”

“The point is, [Americans] come there, they’re asked at the border, they appreciate they have a gun and still say no. Why? Why say no?” Goulin said.

The response, he said, is often, “I’m not in my home state, so how would I get another one?”

 

That’s all for tonight folks, g’nite everybody.

Mitt Romney is out of control

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Let’s talk a little philosophy for a second about the anime industry and how we incorporate women and all these sorts of things involved in the culture of Japan. Specifically seiyuus and how they are portrayed. Now, I’m not siding with the critics or the V.A.s but there comes a time when we have to realize this…

Lewd Seiyuu Philosophy and What IS a Seiyuu?

Bishoujo Project class in session again. This ain’t no Koe de Oshigoto. Okay I lied. It sort of is, but first: what is a Say Yoo? Say Yuu? Seiyuu. Oh right. To quote ANN:

Seiyuu is the Japanese term for voice actor or actress – whether in animation, radio, dubbed non-Japanese films, etc.

Essentially it’s a Japanese word to refer to someone in the voice acting industry, however it should be noted that the voice acting industry in Japan has much greater prominence than in most other places; voice actors there often have idol-like status, fan-clubs, and whatnot. Popular seiyuu in Japan commonly have fan meetings, and are as well-known as famous musicians. There are actually even magazines and television shows dedicated to seiyuu. Every endeavor has it’s “groupies”, and as such there are even seiyuu otaku as previously noted here — furthermore these kinds of otaku tend to be of the creepiest variety, however that’s for another article.

So what relevance does Koe de Oshigoto have? It reveals that a lot of seiyuu are actually shockingly lewd creatures. The word “seiyuu” has a very vanilla nuance, however they’re also the ones who do things like auditorily guzzle cum (among other things) in your Japanese multi-media. I bet that doesn’t occur to many people.

..Yeah.

In all seriousness though, in regards to perception within otaku communities, it’s just that “I sell my voice professionally” is a slightly more lewd role than most people may think, but only in the context of the Japanese voice industry in that anime is a very sexualized medium with extremely close ties to eroge and hentai. I believe this is where a lot of the sexualization and sexual jokes come from in regards to famous Seiyuu 1 being sluts. Of course it’s really just an explanation of why certain things happen within otaku culture, so I wanted to explain the reasoning behind some of these things with them being so relevant to an article on defining the seiyuu.

Sex scandals and jokes aside for those unfamiliar with seiyuu and other related musings hopefully this article taught you something, and what role they have in otaku culture. Naturally at the BP we teach you how to identify a SLUTwhat you need to know.

I’m on the side of realism, but c’mon this is no different than the gossip we see in the states with people like Angelina Jolie or whoever. My point is this, it’s gossip, when it comes down to it. But the case with Seiyuus it’s more like a developed culture influenced this sort of thing. But that’s just what I think, once again, you should do your own research instead of taking things first hand from me. So let’s move onto some real news.

Mitt Romney’s tax excuse #213: The widow did it, why can’t I?

By Patricia Murphy

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been hounded for months by Democrats and Republicans to release several years of his tax returns. But he may have hit a new low Tuesday when he declared on “Fox and Friends” that plenty of other presidential hopefuls have made the same choice to keep their personal finances private, including Teresa Heinz Kerry.

“You know, John McCain ran for president and released two years of tax returns,” Romney said.  “John Kerry ran for president. You know his wife, who has hundreds of millions of dollars, never released her tax returns. Somehow this wasn’t an issue.”John Kerry’s wife?  Really, Mitt Romney?

It’s hard to know where to start with Romney’s Widow Heinz defense, but let’s begin with the obvious—  Teresa Heinz Kerry was not running for president in 2004, her husband was.  Even then, Teresa Heinz Kerry actually did release a summary of her tax returns for 2003, but only after it became such a big issue for the Kerry camp it could no longer be ignored.

Although the Kerrys kept their finances so separate that Kerry famously had to take out a $6 million mortgage on his house to keep his presidential campaign afloat (rather than dip into the vast fortune that his wife had inherited from her late husband), everyone from the Howard Dean campaign to the Wall Street Journal editorial board wanted  to see what his wife’s millions would say about the senator —Were there offshore accounts?  Exotic tax shelters?  A lower tax rate for the heiress than the regular tax rate a waitress would pay?

In the end, Teresa Heinz Kerry reluctantly allowed a peek into her family’s financial information—yes, she paid a significantly lower percentage of her income in taxes than most working Americans.  But a family lawyer added that none of her money was parked offshore to avoid taxes at home. Romney’s lawyers have made no such claim.

On Tuesday, Romney also pointed to McCain as an example of a presidential candidate who kept his money matters mostly secret.  But just like Kerry, McCain came across most of his money by marrying it. His wife, Cindy McCain, had inherited a multi-million fortune from her family’s liquor business, while the senator had just his Senate salary and his Navy pension to his name. Even then, Cindy McCain eventually did release two year’s worth of information, saying she “just didn’t want the release of the tax returns to become a distraction from the big issues of the campaign.”

Romney’s comparison to McCain and Kerry ignores the crucial fact that nearly all of the money he is taxed on has come directly from his own actions and from a radically successful business career that would make most people proud. But his refusal to share the details of his money and the taxes he has paid on it leaves voters with only one assumption to make—that the damage he’s inflicting on himself now is nothing in comparison to the damage that would be done by revealing where his fortune comes from and which taxes he has paid on it over the years.

As a glance at history shows, Americans have no problem with a wealthy president.  In fact, they often to gravitate toward men with deep pockets, family compounds and glamorous dynasties to lean on. But Americans do have a problem with someone who seems to be hiding something. And a candidate who points a finger at someone’s wife as an excuse for his own choices? That never ends well.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of what Reps do but I think it’s safe to say we should let them do whatever it is they want. Cause nothing ever ends when Republicans are behind these things.

Anime Cakes Sweeter Than Ever

Author: Artefact

Fans of anime and cake have been lauding the work of a cakery specialising in providing some rather well illustrated cakes for the discerning otaku palette.

The cakes, by Gunma patisserie Torte, have been proving popular online of late.

Yet another gallery post, jeez Artefact is lazy. Moving on…

U.S.: Syria Violence ‘Out of Control’

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration declared Wednesday that Syria’s government is losing control of the country and said the world must act to prevent the development of a dangerous and violent power vacuum.

“The Assad regime is losing control of Syria,” a senior administration official said, citing a bombing that killed the country’s defense minister and two other associates of President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, noting sustained fighting in Damascus, also said the situation was “rapidly spinning out of control.”

“It’s obvious that what is happening in Syria represents a real escalation in the fighting,” Mr. Panetta said during …

Let’s talk about bad drivers shall we?

Teen Ejected From Car, Others In Car Unaware

BLACKDUCK, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota State Patrol says a driver who bounced in and out of a highway ditch unknowingly lost her backseat passenger, who was ejected through a broken window.

The patrol says the 72-year-old driver, Louise Ericksen, was driving southbound on Highway 72 in Beltrami County Sunday when her car strayed into the ditch, hit a sign and broke a back window. As the car bounced along the rough terrain, 15-year-old Kendall Ericksen was ejected out the broken window.

The driver maneuvered her Impala back on the highway and continued southbound without realizing Kendall was missing.

The Duluth News Tribune says when the driver and a front seat passenger discovered Kendall wasn’t there, they drove back to the area where they had gone in the ditch and found her standing alongside the highway. She wasn’t seriously injured.

And just in case you thought the Taleebahn was kaput, well…

MAZAR-E-SHARIF, Afghanistan (Reuters) – A bomb planted by the Taliban destroyed 22 NATO trucks carrying supplies to their forces in northern Afghanistan, the Taliban and police said on Wednesday.

Eighteen fuel trucks and four supply vehicles were parked in Aibak, the capital of Samangan province, when a bomb ripped through them, wounding one person, local police said.

“At 2 a.m. the mujahideen attacked the invader NATO trucks,” the Taliban said in a statement, referring to the wagons which had been driven from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan’s north.

The trucks were attacked in the same province where prominent anti-Taliban lawmaker Ahmad Khan Samangani was killed on Saturday at his daughter’s wedding, in a suicide bomb attack that killed 22 other guests.

“We believe the Taliban carried this out. Eighteen trucks have been totally destroyed, the rest were damaged by fire,” Samangan police chief Khalil Andarabi told Reuters.

Separately, police in neighboring Baghlan province said they had detained 10 suspected Taliban members with so-called magnetic bombs, which they were trying to attach to supply trucks.

Pakistan recently reopened its border crossings with Afghanistan for NATO supplies after shutting them in November after a U.S. airstrike unintentionally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Just a small bump in the road after all, I’m sure America will conquer and live in the middle east some day. Then the Americans will all be like ‘PRAISE ALAH!’ Hahahaha, that’ll be the day. One can still dream can’t they? 😉

And last but not least, let’s remember that idiot shotacon Sandusky.

The torturous, winding path of Sandusky’s ‘Victim 1’

And he couldn’t begin to describe to his mother why he no longer wanted anything more to do with Jerry Sandusky, who had eagerly sought to become a part of the child’s life, disguised as a generous father figure.

The teenager’s horrific account of Sandusky’s abuse, which spanned nearly four years, could have easily been buried here for good.

After all, the former Penn State University assistant football coach was regarded in this gritty, central Pennsylvania town — as he was across the state — as a savior for a legion of troubled, fatherless kids. Even if he could overcome the shame of acknowledging that he was regularly forced to submit to a middle-age man’s sexual advances or shed the fear of naming someone as prominent as Sandusky, who would believe him?

And who would save him from the predator, who the victim was convinced would kill him if he dared take his story to police?

Improbably, the shaggy-haired teenager would overcome it all: the shame, the humiliation and the fear. Designated by the Pennsylvania grand jury as “Victim 1,” he has long been credited with launching the successful prosecution of Sandusky, leading to last week’s devastating internal review of the university. It found that Penn State‘s top leaders did nothing to stop the former coach’s abuse.

What has not been discussed in detail before now is the victim’s painful journey — from accuser to crucial prosecution witness — in one of the most damaging sports scandals in U.S. history. This account was provided to USA TODAY in interviews with the victim’s psychologist, Michael Gillum, who in addition to counseling the victim, sat in on key police interviews and accompanied the victim to secret state grand jury sessions. He described his client’s decision to step forward, an exhaustive schedule of police interviews and three anxious appearances before the grand jury. All of it a prelude to taking the witness stand in a packed courtroom just yards from the man who abused him.

Gillum’s account is not disputed by Pennsylvania authorities and is supported by courtroom testimony, which outline similarly wrenching decisions by the other seven known victims to tell their stories in an open courtroom. It is USA TODAY’s policy not to name the victims of sexual abuse. An attorney representing the victim declined to allow him to be interviewed. Gillum, who spoke with his client’s knowledge, said that he hoped that by relating his experience other victims of abuse would be encouraged to report it, regardless of the consequences.

“From the first time we met,” Gillum said, “he was fearful that he would be killed. He believed that Jerry Sandusky could have him killed.”

There is no evidence that Sandusky made such a threat, but Gillum said the boy’s extreme fear, along with anonymous threats delivered by telephone and letter after his name was linked to the investigation, set in motion elaborate plans by Clinton County, Pa., youth authorities to relocate the victim and his mother if their safety was put at risk.

“This was Jerry Sandusky we’re talking about here,” Gillum said of the former coach who was described by an official at the victim’s school as possessing a “heart of gold,” and who once patrolled the sidelines of the nearby football cathedral that is Penn State’s Beaver Stadium.

Yet against all odds, unlikely Lock Haven is where the case against Sandusky began, leading to his ultimate conviction last month on 45 counts of child sexual abuse. The 68-year-old is in a central Pennsylvania jail awaiting sentencing later this summer.

A collective silence

From the time the teen found the courage to speak in 2008 until the day he took the witness stand last month, his experience underscores a complex reality that defies the megawatt attention that child sex abuse cases often draw once they become public, victims’ advocates said.

To a person, each of the coach’s eight known victims described in court how they attempted to block the horrific memories of abuse from their consciousness.

Some initially refused to cooperate with the criminal investigation when police approached them. One of them, now 28, told jurors in the Sandusky trial that he had wanted to “bury forever” the memories of an estimated 50 sexual encounters with Sandusky, only to come forward after police investigators “hunted me down.”

High-profile child sex abuse scandals at Penn State, the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America represent evidence of the pervasive nature of abuse, and the victims’ accounts reveal that public attention to such cases — no matter how intense — often is not enough to overcome the paralyzing fear and humiliation that, for many, result in their collective silence.

On the same day that the Sandusky verdict was delivered, June 22, Philadelphia Monsignor William Lynn was convicted of child endangerment, the first Catholic Church official found guilty of covering up past abuses by priests under his direction.

Earlier last month, the Oregon Supreme Court approved the release of thousands of pages in files compiled by the Boy Scouts related to suspected child abusers in its ranks. The files came to light as part of a 2010 lawsuit in which a jury found that the group failed to protect children from an abusive assistant scoutmaster, Timur Dykes, dating to the 1980s.

“There is shame, fear, even guilt that they (the victims) may have allowed something like this to happen,” said Curtis St. John, a spokesman for MaleSurvivor, a national advocacy group for sex abuse victims.

Himself a victim, St. John, 44, said he kept the secret of his abuse by a middle school teacher for 22 years.

“Even when sexual abuse as a child could be the root cause of all their current problems, victims always are reluctant to talk about it.”

An estimated one in four women and one in six men are sexually abused before age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jolie Logan, president of Darkness to Light, another victims’ advocacy group, said the reluctance to report such cases suggests the numbers of victims could be much higher.

She said cases involving assailants such as priests or prominent figures like Sandusky are particularly insidious. Typically, she said, the contact begins — as eight Sandusky victims testified — with gifts, trips and other benefits “that serve to break down victims’ defenses and instincts” before the conduct veers into the physical and sexual realm.

“Because these victims are young and in the midst of physical development, this escalating behavior adds to confusion,” Logan said. “They are often put in a position to think, this is what men do.”

‘He was shaking’

Gillum doesn’t have to consult a file to recall the day when a shaken 14-year-old boy and his angry mother arrived at his nondescript Main Street office.

It was Nov. 20, 2008, and his two visitors had come straight from a disturbing meeting at a local high school where the boy told a counselor that Sandusky, then a volunteer football coach at the school, had engaged in unspecific inappropriate conduct with him.

The boy’s mother had arranged the meeting with the counselor, she told the jury at Sandusky’s trial, after her son began asking questions about how to access information about sexual abuse online.

Angered that school officials cautioned her against going immediately to authorities with information about such a prominent figure, the mother testified that she went directly to the Clinton County Children and Youth Social Services office.

Jennifer Sobjak, the office’s assistant director, said the boy and his mother showed up with no advance notice. An initial interview with a female staffer proved uncomfortable and halting, Sobjak said, before the boy was referred to Gillum’s second-floor office, partially decorated in Crayon images created by his daughter and some young clients.

“He was so anxious, he was shaking,” Gillum now recalls.

In the two hours that followed, the psychologist said, the boy provided enough information — incidents of fondling, kissing and other inappropriate contact — that “indicated Jerry Sandusky as a child sex abuser.”

The conclusion triggered a series of notifications and telephone calls to the Pennsylvania State Police, to Sandusky’s charity for troubled children, known as The Second Mile, and to the boy’s high school, where officials were notified of the claims against Sandusky.

The county report resulted in Sandusky’s required separation from the school pending the resolution of the allegations.

The public backlash, Gillum said, was almost immediate and jarring. Within weeks, the boy’s mother reported to state investigators that she was confronted in a Lock Haven business by an unhappy local resident who had learned that her son had been linked to the allegations triggering Sandusky’s removal as a volunteer.

The child’s identity spread rapidly through the community, the psychologist said, making him and his mother the target of harassment — and ultimately threats of harm — by locals upset that Sandusky had been dismissed from the school.

School officials did not respond to requests for comment.

From his initial meetings with the boy, Gillum said, it became clear, based on the victim’s fear and the community’s anger, that extraordinary steps were needed to protect him and his mother.

“We started putting a (witness) relocation plan together almost from the first week,” Gillum said, adding that an undisclosed sum of county money was dedicated to the effort. “There was huge fear.”

The search for other victims

Despite his mounting personal anxiety, the victim’s role in the case quickly expanded, as monthly meetings with state police investigators were added to a weekly meeting with the psychologist.

Anthony Sassano, the attorney general’s chief investigator, testified at Sandusky’s trial that the teenager’s account launched a wide-ranging inquiry against the former coach. He described a “daunting” effort in which fellow agents tracked leads provided by the victim to find other key witnesses.

A search of Sandusky’s home, Sassano said, later turned up a trove of photographs, including several photos of the teen and other fellow victims.

Still, Gillum said, it took about three months before the victim began to speak about the most disturbing aspects of his contact with Sandusky: explicit encounters involving oral sex during extended stays at Sandusky’s home in State College.

“He was very reluctant to talk about what happened to him,” Gillum said. “He would say, ‘I just hate talking about it; I can’t stand talking about it.’ “

During his first appearance before a state grand jury in the summer of 2009, Gillum said his anxious client was often “overcome by emotion,” resulting in frequent breaks to help steady him.

With the approval of the supervising judge, the psychologist was allowed to accompany his client inside each of the three secret grand jury sessions in Harrisburg, which extended into 2010.

Yet the task of relating years of abuse by Sandusky never got easier, despite relaxation and visualization exercises Gillum used to help the victim cope with the unfamiliar trappings of the criminal justice system.

“There were times,” Gillum said, “when he couldn’t talk about what happened to him at all.”

A new wave of anxiety crashed the teenager’s world last November when the charges against Sandusky were made public. The announcement set off an intense national media pursuit of the victim and seven others.

(Two other victims have not been found by authorities.)

Anticipating the media onslaught, the county activated one of its three relocation plans, financing the move of mother and victim to a rental home in a local neighborhood. Gillum said the victim’s mother added two “large” guard dogs to patrol the fenced-in yard, and a state police detail was placed on call in the event of trouble.

“The state police were very helpful,” he said.

School, however, was a different story.

Tense encounters with fellow students after the release of the graphic grand jury report led to the victim’s transfer midway through the school year.

Gillum said the move became necessary after some students, angered that the allegations would taint Penn State and the reign of legendary coach Joe Paterno, began making physical threats against his young client.

The timing of the move meant he would be preparing to graduate from a new high school and testify against the former Penn State icon at the same time.

‘I’m here to tell the truth’

Days after his graduation, the victim finally appeared in a packed Bellefonte, Pa., courtroom.

His face showing the strain of an emotional legal and personal journey of nearly four years, the victim began recounting some of the worst abuse Sandusky was later convicted of inflicting. His halting testimony, often through tears, appeared to provoke an equally wrenching response from the jury of seven women and five men seated just to his right.

When lead prosecutor Joseph McGettigan finished guiding him through a catalog of horrors, the victim was forced to face Sandusky at the defense table where attorney Joe Amendola questioned whether financial motives were behind his accusations. No, he said.

“All I know is, I’m here to tell the truth about what happened to me, just like everybody else,” the victim said, before stepping down and mercifully out of the spotlight.

Ten days later, while on his way to a new security job and perhaps the next chapter in a young life, the 18-year-old’s cellphone rang.

The jury, his mother told him, had reached a verdict.

Gillum said the victim pulled his car to the side of the road, where, alone in the car on a late Friday night, he took in the news: guilty on 45 counts, including all charges related to Sandusky’s abuse of him.

“I think he was just relieved that it was over,” the psychologist said.

This is Grass signing out. Good night, everybody.

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