and i would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for you meddling kids

A Japanese pop star has been forced to cut off all her hair and make a tearful public apology after being caught spending the night with her boyfriend.

Minami Minegishi, 20, made the dramatic gesture after a tabloid magazine printed pictures of her leaving his house last week.

In an emotional four-minute YouTube video, now viewed almost 5million times, she asks for forgiveness and displays her shaven head, a traditional act of contrition in Japan.

A member of the popular girl band AKB48, Miss Minegishi explained she decided to cut off her long hair immediately after seeing the photos of her leaving 19-year-old Alan Shirahama’s house with her face hidden behind a surgical mask and a baseball cap.

The band has a strict policy that members should not be involved in any romantic or sexual relations and the group’s management agency demoted her to ‘trainee level’ yesterday, according to the band’s official blog.

She said she had been 'thoughtless and immature’ and had considered quitting the group in shame.

'I know this is being over‐optimistic, but I want to stay as Minegishi Minami of AKB48 if possible,’ she said. 'It was all my fault about this. I am very sorry.’

She ends the video by saying: 'As a senior member of the group, it is my responsibility to be a role model for younger members.’

Made up of girls in their teens and early twenties, AKB48 are one of the biggest musical acts in Japan and have sold millions of CDs and DVDs including an estimated £126million in sales in 2011 alone. (via)

It was a common scam to circumvent the payment of fares by jamming the token slot in an entrance gate with paper. A passenger would insert a token into the turnstile, be frustrated when it did not open the gate, and have to spend another token to enter at another gate. A token thief would then suck the token from the jammed slot with their mouth. This could be repeated many times as long as no police officers spotted the activity. Token booth attendants would often coat the token slots with soap to discourage “token sucking”. Token sucking (also known as stuff ‘n’ suck) was charged under Theft of servicesCriminal tampering and Criminal mischief.

nytimes.com
Paul Krugman on Occupy Wall Street

By PAUL KRUGMAN
NY Times Published: October 16, 2011

As the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to grow, the response from the movement’s targets has gradually changed: contemptuous dismissal has been replaced by whining. (A reader of my blog suggests that we start calling our ruling class the “kvetchocracy.”) The modern lords of finance look at the protesters and ask, Don’t they understand what we’ve done for the U.S. economy?

The answer is: yes, many of the protesters do understand what Wall Street and more generally the nation’s economic elite have done for us. And that’s why they’re protesting.

On Saturday The Times reported what people in the financial industry are saying privately about the protests. My favorite quote came from an unnamed money manager who declared, “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it.”

This is deeply unfair to American workers, who are good at lots of things, and could be even better if we made adequate investments in education and infrastructure. But to the extent that America has lagged in everything except financial services, shouldn’t the question be why, and whether it’s a trend we want to continue?

For the financialization of America wasn’t dictated by the invisible hand of the market. What caused the financial industry to grow much faster than the rest of the economy starting around 1980 was a series of deliberate policy choices, in particular a process of deregulation that continued right up to the eve of the 2008 crisis.

Not coincidentally, the era of an ever-growing financial industry was also an era of ever-growing inequality of income and wealth. Wall Street made a large direct contribution to economic polarization, because soaring incomes in finance accounted for a significant fraction of the rising share of the top 1 percent (and the top 0.1 percent, which accounts for most of the top 1 percent’s gains) in the nation’s income. More broadly, the same political forces that promoted financial deregulation fostered overall inequality in a variety of ways, undermining organized labor, doing away with the “outrage constraint” that used to limit executive paychecks, and more.

Oh, and taxes on the wealthy were, of course, sharply reduced.

All of this was supposed to be justified by results: the paychecks of the wizards of Wall Street were appropriate, we were told, because of the wonderful things they did. Somehow, however, that wonderfulness failed to trickle down to the rest of the nation — and that was true even before the crisis. Median family income, adjusted for inflation, grew only about a fifth as much between 1980 and 2007 as it did in the generation following World War II, even though the postwar economy was marked both by strict financial regulation and by much higher tax rates on the wealthy than anything currently under political discussion.

Then came the crisis, which proved that all those claims about how modern finance had reduced risk and made the system more stable were utter nonsense. Government bailouts were all that saved us from a financial meltdown as bad as or worse than the one that caused the Great Depression.

And what about the current situation? Wall Street pay has rebounded even as ordinary workers continue to suffer from high unemployment and falling real wages. Yet it’s harder than ever to see what, if anything, financiers are doing to earn that money.

Why, then, does Wall Street expect anyone to take its whining seriously? That money manager claiming that finance is the only thing America does well also complained that New York’s two Democratic senators aren’t on his side, declaring that “They need to understand who their constituency is.” Actually, they surely know very well who their constituency is — and even in New York, 16 out of 17 workers are employed by nonfinancial industries.

But he wasn’t really talking about voters, of course. He was talking about the one thing Wall Street still has plenty of thanks to those bailouts, despite its total loss of credibility: money.

Money talks in American politics, and what the financial industry’s money has been saying lately is that it will punish any politician who dares to criticize that industry’s behavior, no matter how gently — as evidenced by the way Wall Street money has now abandoned President Obama in favor of Mitt Romney. And this explains the industry’s shock over recent events.

You see, until a few weeks ago it seemed as if Wall Street had effectively bribed and bullied our political system into forgetting about that whole drawing lavish paychecks while destroying the world economy thing. Then, all of a sudden, some people insisted on bringing the subject up again.

And their outrage has found resonance with millions of Americans. No wonder Wall Street is whining.

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Dash cam captures Taiwan gas explosion. Some End of Days type shit.

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Google Glass is Orwellian, according to famed American philosopher, scientist, and activist Noam Chomsky.

“I feel we’re moving into a world that was described pretty accurately by one of the founders of Google,” Chomsky said. “Some reporter asked Eric Schmidt if this was an invasion of privacy … and he said, ‘If you’re doing anything that you don’t want to be on the Internet, you shouldn’t be doing it.’”

Chomsky, who also calls Google Glass “a way of destroying people” and “ridiculous,” makes at least one pretty significant mistake, however. He said that Google Glass has a camera and a recorder, “which means that everything that’s going on around you goes up on the Internet.”

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Chris Hedges: “What happens is in all of these movements … the foot soldiers of the elite – the blue uniformed police, the mechanisms of control – finally don’t want to impede the movement and at that point the power elite is left defenseless … the only thing I can say having been in the middle of similar movements is that this one is real, and this one could take them all down … I can guarantee you that huge segments of those blue uniformed police sympathize with everything that you’re doing.” – Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges brings his 20 years of experience as a war correspondent, having covered movements and revolutions throughout the the world, to the discussion.