Wednesday, December 23, 2009

the best protest EVAR

We are thinking of having a support drive. Having our french VPAR handing out miniskirts for the cause. VIVENT LA REVOLUTION! XD

French youth across the country are rebelling against various new school dress codes that ban low-slung trousers, short garments and piercings, and even holes in trousers and garments above the knee.

At Lycee Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire in Essonne, south of Paris, 300 of the 2,100 students came to school wearing short shorts or mini-skirts. And at Lycee Condorcet d'Arcachon in Gironde, 200 students protested in the streets. One student said, "We're at school, we don't want to feel like we are in a prison," according to the Independent UK.

Lycee Saint-Jean-Hulst in Versailles, has taken a different approach in dealing with sartorial rebels. Girls wearing short skirts are given overalls to change into, and boys sporting saggy pants are lent a pair of suspenders.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Op-Ed: Not to mention the disposable income. XD

update: (lets just be clear this is no way means that VPAR are against children. Have all you like. They're cool. Its an op-ed so stop emailing.)

I feel the need to relay a large point I made earlier.

Anyone having kids today does so out of pure selfishness. I was then asked to consider the joy and happiness a child can bring.

That's right. YOUR joy. YOUR Happiness. What about theirs? And there-in lies the many problems.

Kids today are bombarded with way more information than they can process. Between 24 hour non-stop, on-demand whatever they want on TV and the internet, their forcefully raised way too quick. Even if you work to keep them shielded from something, their friends are seeing it so the effort is futile.

Not to mention the effect it has on their egos. Kids today play little league games with no winners, play soccer games where everyone's a "hero." Because god forbid a child learns how to properly deal with loss. Then between their 800 facebook friends, their 5000 myspace friends and their 300 followers on twitter their psyches are built to think people give a crap about the mundane shit they do. Now more than ever the illusion of the "american dream" of fame and fortune is perceived to be reachable because they've seen no talent nothings "achieve". Bathroom mirrors and digital cameras are two of the biggest culprits for your kids inflated sense of self.

There's no more social conscience. Even adults today spend hours trying to find the right ringtone or laptop color that will tell the world who they REALLY are. Kids are so self involved and cold in this century of electronic detachment that they'd eat each other alive for a chance to meet a member of the Twilight cast.

And so how do we handle it when the little starlets can't cope? Well its a product of a chemical blah blah, their midichlorian level is too high, A.D.D. this, Autism that, and so here's some pills, this will fix it aaaannd BOOM, nothing is their fault.

But SOMEONE has to be to blame and between Tyra Banks and every "DR" with a book, everything always ends up being the parents fault. You'll never win. You miss a soccer game because you had to work and before you know it your daughter has daddy issues and is dating a guy twice her age and your son is in therapy 5 times a week and can't get a hard-on.

But NONE of that even matters because with the current state of global warming and the little were actually doing about it, kids born today will spend the second half of their life in fucking Waterworld. And Kevin Costner's hot-air balloon wont fit everybody.

So no, I don't want kids.

Friday, December 18, 2009

well NO SHIT

A New Poll taken this week shows that a large majority of americans would reject a health care reform bill that has neither the public option or Medicare expansion but STILL has a buy-in mandate. NO DUH. Why is the mandate SO unpopular? Well right now Senate leaders are all over Washington trying to spin that they finally have a healthcare reform bill they can pass, as long as they remove the public option and the Medicare expansion because, After all, they say that even without them, the bill still "covers" 30 million more Americans.

What they are talking about is that "individual mandate." That's a section of the bill that requires every single American buy health insurance or break the law and face penalties and fines. So, the bill doesn't actually "cover" 30 million more Americans -- instead it makes them criminals if they don't buy insurance from the same companies that got us into this mess."

Will Obama next make us ship packages only with Fedex and not the post office? Will we have to call blackwater when we hear a burglar, instead of the police? What ELSE do we have to do that will just rip us off while lining the pockets of private industry?

We've reported in the past that we were always skeptical of Obama given the remark made by his college professor that while at Harvard everyone thought Obama was a republican. Now it seems those inklings bore fruit as he has proven that while campaigning for the little guy, he really intended to work for the big corporations.

This bill as it stands isn't popular with too many people outside of the healthcare industry and their whores. Howard Dean has taken quite a bit of shit for commenting that the bill in its current version should be killed. Despite being ridiculed by the same White House that championed him just a year ago, he refuses to stop his criticism and we appreciate that. Here's an excerpt from his most recent op-ed piece.

The truth is that health care reform was probably doomed to be deeply imperfect. As Ezra Klein pointed out a few weeks ago, we're basically in a hostage situation: progressives really, really want to cover the uninsured, while centrists whose votes are needed can take it or leave it. So the centrists have a lot of power -- which in the case of Joe Lieberman means the power to double-cross and indulge his pettiness.

Now, in a hostage situation there are times when you have to just say no -- when giving in, by encouraging future hostage-takers, would be worse than letting the hostages perish. So the question has to be, is this one of those times? I don't think so, given the history: as Kevin Drum points out, health reform has come back weaker after each defeat. I'd also point out that highly imperfect insurance reforms, like Social Security and Medicare in their initial incarnations, have gotten more comprehensive over time. This suggests that the priority is to get something passed.

By all means denounce Obama for his failed bipartisan gestures. By all means criticize the administration. But don't take it out on the tens of millions of Americans who will have health insurance if this bill passes, but will be out of luck -- and, in some cases, dead -- if it doesn't.

Currently the White House is said to be FINALLY getting off their ass and trying to make the senate bill closer in form the the house bill which had a public option in it, BUT that the WH is just working to make the private plans we HAVE to buy more affordable and are happy to let the Public Option and Medicare buy in die....What an asshole...

We ask that if you are so inclined, email your house rep and make it clear you will not tolerate having to buy overpriced shitty private insurance healthcare.

Never forget, knowledge is power, and the power is YOURS! XD

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

tripping the light fantastic

We V.P.A.R. have always been supporters and lovers of light graffiti, now we have some like-minded individuals who feel the same. Some l.g. artists realized that light graffiti looks a little like the things we've seen in so many science fiction films and have created accordingly. Below are some highlights of the new standard.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

hasidim but i dont believe 'em.

We are here today to hand out yet another prestigious honorary Vice Presidential Action Rangers Membership. We are proud to honor the guerrilla line painters of Brooklyn New York, who are letting the religious nuts know that public streets DON'T have a dress code.

Below is the story. Here's hoping the lanes keep getting repainted as long as they need to. Viva La Resistance!

The war over Williamsburg has taken yet another turn.

In response to last week's removal of the bike lanes in the traditionally Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn, a group of local bike riders took it upon themselves to repaint the bike lanes running down Bedford Avenue.

The Hasids had asked the city to remove the bike lanes from the neighborhood, claiming the influx of bikers posed a "safety and religious hazard."

In an interesting twist, the group of guerrilla line painters reportedly included members of the Hasidic community who are not opposed to the lanes.

Last year the religious group complained to the community board that many of the young, female cyclists who rode through the neighborhood were "hotties," who "ride in shorts and skirts," both of which are against their dress code.

According to the New York Post, "a source close to Mayor Bloomberg said removing the lanes was an effort to appease the Hasidic community just before last month's election." No word yet on if the lines will be removed again.

(Below is a video of the heroes in action.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

for all your vampire hunting needs...

Now we VPAR like to mix it up and we can't think of anything mixier? than some proof that either vampires actually exist, or at the very least suckers hundreds of years ago too.

Maybe they were advertised just like crap is today.

"If you're hunting just a couple of vampires a week, then the standard kit will do nicely but if you are a connoisseur in the trade of vampire slaying then might I recommend our premium 'bloodletter' kit. It comes in this stylish mahogany box, and numbered for authenticity. Also, If you order now, we'll throw in a second bottle of holy water! That's a 2 copper piece value, free!"

Ripleys Believe It or Not has 30 authentic kits touring there museums all over the U.S.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rick Warren: Whaaaat a dickface.

Rick Warren, that flip flopping tub of goo who contradicted himself so blatantly before his inaugural invocation is back in the news, this time for not even coming out against a proposed law that would murder people. So fetus's, no. Homo's, yes?

Rick Warren, the pastor who delivered the invocation at President Obama's inauguration, is once again on the defensive -- this time for his work with a Ugandan pastor who would like homosexuality to be punishable by death.

Rick Warren seemed to question the fuss. "Globally last yr 146,000 Christians were put to death because of their faith. No one, except Christians, said anything," (who are these christians in question who died? where did this happen? What planet?)

Newsweek tried to get Warren's reaction to the anti-gay work of Martin Ssempa, a Ugandan pastor who has come to his Saddleback Church multiple times. (Warren has distanced himself from Ssempa in general terms, saying the Ugandan minister does not represent him or his church.) Warren wouldn't reject the idea:

But Warren won't go so far as to condemn the legislation itself. A request for a broader reaction to the proposed Ugandan anti-homosexual laws generated this response: "The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations." On Meet the Press this morning, he reiterated this neutral stance in a different context: "As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides." Warren did say he believed that abortion was "a holocaust." He knows as well as anyone that in a case of great wrong, taking sides is an important thing to do.

Ssempa has also burned condoms "in the name of Jesus," helping roll back a highly successful anti-AIDS campaign in Uganda. (becaauuuse christians like aids? I don't get why he would do that...)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the dark shall RISE AGAAIIIN!

November hasn't been good to us as of late. Little to nothing of value to speak of, that is until, THIS happened. Some of the first photos of Tim Burton's showing at MoMa came out. The exhibit features everything from props and character designs from his movies, photography hes done and even sketches he kept from when he was very young and it all answers the age old question, Yes, you can be born goth. For all the east coast action rangers, we envy you and the rest of us hope the exhibit goes on tour. In the meantime, here it is.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This kid is badass!

Behold! The newest Honorary Vice Presidential Action Ranger. XD

Via Queerty comes a story from the Arkansas Times about Will Phillips, an elementary school student who refuses to say the pledge of allegiance in school because of discrimination against gay people:

"I've always tried to analyze things because I want to be lawyer," Will said. "I really don't feel that there's currently liberty and justice for all."

After asking his parents whether it was against the law not to stand for the pledge, Will decided to do something. On Monday, Oct. 5, when the other kids in his class stood up to recite the pledge of allegiance, he remained sitting down. The class had a substitute teacher that week, a retired educator from the district, who knew Will's mother and grandmother. Though the substitute tried to make him stand up, he respectfully refused. He did it again the next day, and the next day.

A columnist for the Arkansas News has stood up for Phillips against his angry substitute teacher. Predictably, fellow students have taunted the kid and called him a "gaywad," but he says he doesn't see his quiet act of protest ending any time soon.

UPDATE: the kid has since done a CNN interview.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Vimeo Update!

This update was a long time coming, and in the hopper for a bit because we wanted the last post to sink in. Though frankly the state of things is so macabre that here it is, helping you forget the sky falling around you! So lets do it! XD

The Astronomer's Dream (2009) from Malcolm Sutherland on Vimeo.

ARS ELECTRONICA animation festival 2009 - TRAILER from Claus Helfenschneider on Vimeo.

Hecq Vs Exillion - Spheres Of Fury from Tim.Chris.Film on Vimeo.

this is pretty funny

King Bleso - Peaches & Gumbo from zava on Vimeo.

Showdown with Zeus -- a lightning storm timelapse from Lucasberg (Joey) on Vimeo.

I Love xkcd from NoamR on Vimeo.

JESUS2000 from jesus 2000 on Vimeo.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Barack Obama: Too conservative for liberals, too black for conservatives.

President Barack Obama is actively discouraging Senate Democrats in their effort to include a public insurance option with a state opt-out clause as part of health care reform. In its place, say multiple Democratic sources, Obama has indicated a preference for an alternative policy, favored by the insurance industry, which would see a public plan "triggered" into effect in the future by a failure of the industry to meet certain benchmarks.

The administration retreat runs counter to the letter and the spirit of Obama's presidential campaign. The man who ran on the "Audacity of Hope" has now taken a more conservative stand than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), leaving progressives with a mix of confusion and outrage. Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have battled conservatives in their own party in an effort to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Now tantalizingly close, they are calling for Obama to step up.

"The leadership understands that pushing for a public option is a somewhat risky strategy, but we may be within striking distance. A signal from the president could be enough to put us over the top," said one Senate Democratic leadership aide. Such pleading is exceedingly rare on Capitol Hill and comes only after Senate leaders exhausted every effort to encourage Obama to engage.

The president's retreat leaves Reid as the champion of progressive reform -- an irony that is not lost on those who have long derided the Majority Leader as too cautious.

"Who knew that when it came down to crunch time, Harry Reid would be the one who stepped up to the plate and Barack Obama would shy away from the fight," emailed one progressive strategist.

Outside Congress, anger trumped confusion. On Saturday, the activist group Progressive Change Campaign Committee - which just days earlier had targeted Reid in a separate campaign, took out a television advertisement in Maine accompanied by an "emergency petition." Titled, "Time to Fight," the spot featured a former Obama campaign volunteer pleading with the president not to abandon the public plan.

"If this once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass a public option goes down the drain after we were just a couple votes away in each house of Congress, everyone will remember exactly who was and was not willing to fight when it counted," said the group's co-founder, Adam Green, when asked why he aired the ad. "Our grassroots pressure is an attempt to get President Obama to live up to the mandate for sweeping change that was given to him in the 2008 election." rallied its base on Friday. "The President has said many, many times that a public option is the best way to keep insurance companies honest and lower skyrocketing health care costs. Senate Democrats are ready to fight for a public option--if the White House gives up now, it would be a tragic mistake," said an e-mail to the group's membership.

It is not philosophical, one White House aide explained, but is a matter of political practicality. If the votes were there to pass a robust public option through the Senate, the president would be leading the charge, the aide said. But after six months of concern that it would be filibustered, the bet among Obama's aides is that Reid is now simply being too optimistic in his whip count. The trigger proposal, said Democratic aides, has long been associated with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

"He's been so convinced by his political people from the beginning that we can't get a bill with a public option, he's internalized it. Even though it's now become obvious we can get a bill without selling out the public option, he's still on that path," said a top Democratic source. The White House, he said, continues to assure progressives it'll improve the bill in conference negotiations between the Senate and House, but advocates are unconvinced.

"If we're this close in the Senate and they're not helping us, I have a feeling they could screw us in the conference," said one.

Advocates of a public option consider a "trigger" the equivalent of no public option at all. A trigger would implement a public option only if insurance companies failed to meet certain benchmarks over time and it would only be implemented in the regions of the country where those benchmarks weren't met. The Medicare prescription drug proposal passed in 2003 includes a "trigger," but the public provision has never been activated despite soaring drug costs. The industry can help craft the trigger language and can game its stats to prevent it from becoming reality.

"The current state of our health system should be trigger enough for anyone who's paying attention," said a congressional aide in the middle of the health care battle. "The American people pulled the 'trigger' in November."

The intellectual father of the public option, Yale Professor Jacob Hacker, told HuffPost that the trigger proposal is a betrayal.

"The trigger is an inside-the-beltway sleight of hand that would protect private insurers from the real competition that a strong public health insurance option would create," he said in an e-mail. "It is unworkable in the current Senate bills, unwise as public policy, and unwanted by the substantial majority of Americans who say they want a straight-up public option."

(Barack Obama needs to remember that the President should lead the charge from the beginning, not only lead if he feels its an easy victory because the votes are already there. LBJ never backed down due to being short on votes. He did his job, he lobbied congress better than anyone on K Street and Barack Obama is president because of it. You don't fight the fights you can win, you fight the fights worth fighting.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'm sorry you were raped, sorry it didn't happen sooner so we could save more money! DENIED!

Christina Turner feared that she might have been sexually assaulted after two men slipped her a knockout drug. She thought she was taking proper precautions when her doctor prescribed a month's worth of anti-AIDS medicine.

Only later did she learn that she had made herself all but uninsurable.

Turner had let the men buy her drinks at a bar in Fort Lauderdale. The next thing she knew, she said, she was lying on a roadside with cuts and bruises that indicated she had been raped. She never developed an HIV infection. But months later, when she lost her health insurance and sought new coverage, she ran into a problem.

Turner, 45, who used to be a health insurance underwriter herself, said the insurance companies examined her health records. Even after she explained the assault, the insurers would not sell her a policy because the HIV medication raised too many health questions. They told her they might reconsider in three or more years if she could prove that she was still AIDS-free.

Stories of how victims of sexual assault can get tangled in the health insurance system have been one result of the Huffington Post Investigative Fund's citizen journalism project, which is calling on readers to provide information and anecdotes about the inner workings of the insurance industry. The project aims to uncover details and data that can inform the larger debate over how to fix the nation's health care system. As the Investigative Fund reported in September, health insurance companies are not required to make public their records on how often claims are denied and for what reasons.

Some women have contacted the Investigative Fund to say they were deemed ineligible for health insurance because they had a pre-existing condition as a result of a rape, such as post traumatic stress disorder or a sexually transmitted disease. Other patients and therapists wrote in with allegations that insurers are routinely denying long-term mental health care to women who have been sexually assaulted.

Susan Pisano, spokeswoman for the health insurance industry's largest trade group, America's Health Insurance Plans, said insurers do not discriminate against victims of sexual assault and ordinarily would not even know if a patient had been raped.

"These issues you are bringing up, they deserve to be brought up," said Pisano. "People who have experienced rape and sexual assault are victims and we want them to be in a system where everyone is covered."

Turner's story about HIV drugs is not unusual, said Cindy Holtzman, an insurance agent and expert in medical billing at Medical Refund Service, Inc. of Marietta, Ga. Insurers generally categorize HIV-positive people as having a pre-existing condition and deny them coverage. Holtzman said that health insurance companies also consistently decline coverage for anyone who has taken anti-HIV drugs, even if they test negative for the virus. "It's basically an automatic no," she said.

Pisano, of the insurance trade group, said: "If you put down on a form that you are or were taking anti-HIV drugs at any time, they [the insurance companies] are going to understand that you are or were in treatment for HIV, period," she said. "That could be a factor in determining whether you get coverage."

Some doctors and nurses said that the industry's policy is not medically sound. "The chance of a rape victim actually contracting AIDS is very low. It doesn't make any sense to use that as a calculus for determining who get health insurance," said Dr. Alex Schafir, faculty instructor at Providence St. Vincent Hospital in Portland, Ore.

Nurses who deal with sexual assault cases say the industry's policy creates a significant problem for those treating women who have been assaulted. "It's difficult enough to make sure that rape victims take the drugs," said Diana Faugno, a forensic nurse in California and board director of End Violence Against Women International. "What are we supposed to tell women now? Well, I guess you have a choice - you can risk your health insurance or you can risk AIDS. Go ahead and choose."

Turner, now a life and casualty insurance agent, said she went without health coverage for three years after the attack. She second-guesses her decision to take the HIV drugs. "I'm going to be penalized my whole life because of this," she said.

Several women told the Investigative Fund that after being sexually assaulted they had been denied care or ruled ineligible for health insurance because of what were deemed pre-existing conditions stemming from their assaults -- particularly post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

A 38-year-old woman in Ithaca, N.Y., said she was raped last year and then penalized by insurers because in giving her medical history she mentioned an assault she suffered in college 17 years earlier. The woman, Kimberly Fallon, told a nurse about the previous attack and months later, her doctor's office sent her a bill for treatment. She said she was informed by a nurse and, later, the hospital's billing department that her health insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield, not only had declined payment for the rape exam, but also would not pay for therapy or medication for trauma because she "had been raped before."

Fallon says she now has trouble getting coverage for gynecological exams. To avoid the hassle of fighting with her insurance company, she goes to Planned Parenthood instead and pays out of pocket.

A New Mexico woman told the Investigative Fund she was denied coverage at several health insurance companies because she had suffered from PTSD after being attacked and raped in 2003. She did not want to disclose her name because she feared that she would lose her group health insurance if she went on the record as a rape victim. "I remember just feeling infuriated," she said.

"I think it's important to point out that health plans are not denying coverage based on the fact that someone was raped," said Pisano of the insurance trade group. "But PTSD could be a factor in denied coverage."

"That might not be a discriminatory action, but it certainly would seem to have a discriminatory impact," said Sandra Park, staff attorney at the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. "Insurance discrimination against rape victims will only further discourage them from coming forward to law enforcement and seeking medical help."

Even when patients have coverage, there are fundamental disagreements between insurance companies and doctors about what mental health treatment is medically necessary. The Investigative Fund spoke with doctors, psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers around the country who work regularly with victims of sexual assault. They said that their patients have been experiencing an increase in delays and denials, particularly for talk therapy.

"There's a lot of anger about this in the medical community," said Dr. George Shapiro-Weiss, a psychiatrist in Middletown, Conn. "You don't realize what an Alice in Wonderland web this has become."

"A lot of my patients are being told that their treatment isn't medically necessary," said Keri Nola, an Orlando, Fla., psychologist, who said about 75 percent of her patients are victims of sexual violence.

Several therapists cited problems with managed care companies that specialize in mental health. Such firms generally work under contract with health insurers to hold down costs while still authorizing appropriate care.

Some therapists and patients said the managed care companies have cut off necessary treatment for sexual assault victims in the name of cost containment. "The companies are peppering them with questions about their symptoms, and about their histories, and asking, 'Well, are you sure you really need therapy?'" said Jeffrey Axelbank, a New Jersey psychologist. "For someone who has been traumatized, it can feel like another trauma, and it makes the therapy less effective."

Pisano, of the insurance association, said it was not fair to draw a larger pattern from such anecdotal evidence. "These situations are evaluated on a person-by-person basis," she said. "There is nothing routine about this."

Jim Wrich, a Madison, Wis., a consultant who helps employers evaluate the companies that manage their mental health care, said his work has made him wary of the industry. "This is absolutely routine - these denials," Wrich said. "The default position is to reject care."

Magellan Behavioral Health Services, Inc., one of the nation's largest managed-care companies with more than 58 million customers, said that it does not routinely turn down treatment requests from victims of sexual assault or other clients. "We're not denying care. We are exercising our responsibility to make sure that medical necessity is met," said Dr. Lawrence Nardozzi, Magellan's medical director. "I think the process works well."

Asked if cost is a factor in the company's decisions, Magellan spokeswoman Erin Somers said: "If all the safeguards are in place to determine whether treatment is medically necessary and appropriate" then "the cost takes care of itself."

A former care manager for Magellan said in an interview that she felt pressure to deny care for cost reasons. Lois Gorwitz, a psychologist with thirty years of experience who went to work for Magellan in California in 2000, said her superiors would tell her: "We are not denying this person treatment, we are denying them their benefit. If they want the treatment they can still pay out of pocket." But, Gorwitz said, "You know that means that the person is not going to get the treatment because they can't afford to pay out of pocket."

Gorwitz quit after two years. "It's a very uncomfortable feeling of not being able to offer help," she said.

Asked for a response, Magellan's Somers said, "I think you should keep in mind that there have been a lot of changes at Magellan in the last seven years. I think the people who work at Magellan now are not having that experience."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Times bygone

Today is a sad day indeed my fellow action rangers, as "Captain" Lou Albano passed away. He died of natural causes at the age of 76.

Now he is best known as a wrestler from the 70s and 80s but oddly his most iconic was his portrayal of Mario on the Super Mario Bros Super Show.

As a kid this show was every kind of amazing. First of all, just the title. I'd run around excited as kid yelling, "its time for the super mario brothers SUPER SHOW." Second it was the first time that the iconic Mario was a living person, not a cartoon or some pixels. A real person who would tell jokes and do funny antics and talk about loving italian food and pizza. I naturally thought back then that doing the Mario was a legitimate dance craze. The show didn't run long due to Lou wanting to focus on wrestling, but it reran for years after and cemented mario as being a fat italian in red overalls. So much so, that when Mario debuted on the N64, People were pissed he was so thin, and that his overalls were blue. Never realizing until later that they were always more often blue.

In the end all of Lou's fans owe him thanks for being a character we could love and enjoy. Whether in wrestling or on TV, he always hammed it up, for us. So thank you Lou.

In honor of his legacy I think we should all, one last time, do the Mario.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

They should be THANKING loggers for making it so they can get a notebook for 76 cents at walmart. >_>

Decline of a tribe: and then there were five

The last surviving members of an ancient Amazonian tribe are a tragic testament to greed and genocide

By Guy Adams

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

They are the last survivors: all that's left of a once-vibrant civilisation which created its own religion and language, and gave special names to everything from the creatures of the rainforest to the stars of the night sky.

Just five people represent the entire remaining population of the Akuntsu, an ancient Amazonian tribe which a generation ago boasted several hundred members, but has been destroyed by a tragic mixture of hostility and neglect.

The indigenous community, which spent thousands of years in uncontacted seclusion, recently took an unwelcome step closer to extinction, with the death of its sixth last member, an elderly woman called Ururú.

"I followed the funeral," says Altair Algayer, a local representative of Funai, the Brazilian government agency which protects Indian territories. "She died in a small house. We heard weeping and rushed over, but she had already died." Ururú's death means the entire population of the Akuntsu now consists of just three women and two men. All of them are either close family relations, or no longer of child-bearing age – meaning that the tribe's eventual disappearance is now inevitable.

The slow death of this indigenous community is far more than an unfortunate accident, however. Instead, it represents the long-planned realisation of one of the most successful acts of genocide in human history. And the fate of the Akuntsu is seen by lobby groups as an object lesson in the physical and cultural dangers faced by undiscovered tribes at so-called "first contact".

Much of the Akuntsus' story is – for obvious reasons – undocumented. For millennia, they lived in obscurity, deep in the rainforest of Rondonia state, a remote region of western Brazil near the Bolivian border. They hunted wild pig, agoutis and tapir, and had small gardens in their villages, where they would grow manioc (or cassava) and corn.

Then, in the 1980s, their death warrant was effectively signed: farmers and loggers were invited to begin exploring the region, cutting roads deep into the forest, and turning the once verdant wilderness into lucrative soya fields and cattle ranches.

Fiercely industrious, the new migrant workers knew that one thing might prevent them from creating profitable homesteads from the rainforest: the discovery of uncontacted tribes, whose land is protected from development under the Brazilian constitution.

As a result, frontiersmen who first came across the Akuntsu in the mid-1980s made a simple calculation. The only way to prevent the government finding out about this indigenous community was to wipe them off the map.

At some point, believed to be around 1990, scores of Akuntsu were massacred at a site roughly five hours' drive from the town of Vilhena. Only seven members of the tribe escaped, retreating deeper into the wilderness to survive.

Those seven were not formally "contacted" until 1995, when Funai investigators finally made it to the region and were able to have a 26,000-hectare area of forest protected for them. They included the late Ururú, who was the sister of the tribe's chief and shaman, Konibú.

"We know little of what Ururú's life was like," says Mr Algayer, who was among the Funai team that first discovered the tribe. "In the 14 years that we have been with her, she was a happy, spontaneous person ... She recounts that she had four children who were all shot dead during the massacre. We don't know who her husband was or how he died."

One other member of the group of seven, known as Babakyhp, was killed in a freak accident in 2000, when a tree blew over in a storm and landed on her hut. The others, who still survive, are Pugapía, Konibú's wife, who is roughly 50 years old, their daughters, Nãnoi and Enotéi, who are around 35 and 25 respectively, and a cousin, Pupak, who is in her forties.

Evidence of their suffering is visible in bullet wounds which both Konibú and Pupak showed to cameramen making a documentary about their struggle – Corumbiara: they shoot Indians, don't they? – that was filmed over the last 20 years and has just been released in Brazil.

It is also evident in a simple fact: on its own, the Akuntsu gene pool cannot allow it to survive another generation. Since tribal custom will apparently not allow outsiders to marry in, it is therefore effectively doomed.

The Akuntsu story is not unique. Even if they escape persecution, communities that have never encountered the outside world often face tragedy. Typically they lose between 50 and 80 per cent of their population in a matter of months, since they have no immunity to common diseases.

Ancient ways of life are also frequently corrupted by the arrival of outsiders. Though indigenous tribes rarely have much interest in material possessions, and often don't understand the concept of money, their traditional clothes and rituals are vulnerable to change.

Campaigners now hope the fate of the tribe, which will be publicly highlighted by Ururú's death, will persuade the Brazilian people to further strengthen government protections for indigenous people.

Stephen Corry of Survival International, a human rights organisation that has been working with Funai, said: "The "Akuntsu are at the end of the road. In a few decades this once vibrant and self-sufficient people will cease to exist and the world will have lost yet another piece of our astonishing human diversity.

"Their genocide is a terrible reminder that in the 21st century there are still uncontacted tribes in several continents who face annihilation as their lands are invaded, plundered and stolen. Yet this situation can be reversed if governments uphold their land rights in accordance with international law.

"Public opinion is crucial – the more people speak up for tribal rights, the greater the chance that tribes like the Akuntsu will in future survive."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

a la mode: sexiness

Once again we find it befitting to award the best of the best with the highest honor we have to bestow. Lifetime membership to our organization. *cough* OK not like, a gift certificate but still pretty awesome.

A change in programming to note. We have decided to make this a bi-monthly affair. At first we thought there were plenty of these to go around and there is, but we didn't want any previous winners to feel like they are just a drop in the bucket. So 6 a year feels exclusive enough without too long an interval in between. We hope. OK lets start the show!

With over 80 sets to her name, Toryn is one of the hardest working Godsgirls there is, and we are always grateful for it. Her fun, natural beauty is the classic girl next door. The girl next door who you'd wish would accept any of your marriage proposals. The girl next door who, like in so many movies, you wish you had some kind of "in" or cool trait to get her attention. Well, you get the point. Godsgirls is where it is today because of the work done by girls like Toryn. Who with her smile, form, and deep dark eyes, made sure the site never went stale. She hasn't had a new set in sometime but we wait with bated breath.

Every now and then a girl comes along who when you look at her pictures you don't know if your just looking at a beautiful girl, or actual living art. Coley is one of the few who blur that line each more and more each time. By looking at her you'd think she herself was the origin for the word "statuesque". If she were alive centuries ago, there's no doubt we'd see her portrait hanging in a museum today, no doubt the muse for many a legendary artists.

Congratulations to the winners and as always, thank you. XD

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

why there will never be a live action pokemon movie.

The question has been posed more than once, wondering if there will ever be a live-action pokemon movie. And why not? It's an established franchise, it is an incredibly profitable brand with popularity that stretches all over the globe. It's characters are household names to young and old. Why the very word pokemon has taken its place in the universal lexicon. This franchise is just BEGGING for the big screen treatment isn't it?

NO. NO it isn't. And thank god for it. To anyone who has ever taken more than just a passing glance at the pokemon themselves, they'd notice that pokemon are WEIRD looking. Weird is the nicest of words. A kind of weird that when a digital animator tries to re-create them to real world specs, would cause him to shoot himself in the face.

Words like freaky, odd, or insane come to mind. Phrases like acid trip, or unstable mental capacity spring up too. Sure in the cartoon and game they're cute and adorable and fun and catching them all easily becomes an addiction but to try and make them real? Weeelll the hurdles the pokemon creators made for themselves might just be too arduous. Here's some examples.

Here's a Pikachu. Which looks like it puts on makeup every morning.

Heres a Lugia. Actually this looks kind of cool, maybe the next one will too.

Ok...nevermind...Imagine the hell created by a charmander skittering about with its tail on fire. Insurance companies wouldn't even cover you if you trained one.

Here's a cubone who when made to look life-like, is the only pokemon who murders some other animal in order to use its bones as weapons and armor. No that won't scare kids at all.

Ah metapod. Literally a bug cocoon with eyes...staring at won't stop...please make it stop!

Whew glad thats over. Ok here's a beedr..JESUS CHRIST!! Kill it! Kill it!! it gone? ok, *whew* here is a vulpix. Which basically in real life looks more like something a toxic waste dump would try to cover-up than a fantastical animal.

Ok next we have, oh jeez!
I don't know what this is, it isn't mine, someone must of mixed it up..who put this here?! Moving on moving on..

Here is a mudkips. Adorable if you enjoy tracks of slime all over the place.

So cute....

A kyogore. Try catching that shit.

O_O ....BWWAAAARGGGHHLPPH! uh ahuh...this is, this is a weezi..BLOOORRPLHKCH!

Oh thank god. A shaymin. Ok this is do-able. This could be in a movie.

And heres an umbreon. Though quite frankly in real life, this would probably eat the shaymin.

Heres a tauros. Which isn't that offensive though im sure one of the movie tie-ins would be "tauros burgers" served at mcdonalds.

A pidgey. This one actually looks like a real, normal bird. Maybe this could actually work ou...


Ok so it should be clear a live action pokemon movie should NEVER happen...EVER.

But that doesn't mean pokemon can't branch out into other areas!