Senator Ted Cruz Denies Shutting Down U.S. Government, Gets Laughed at by CBS News Host Bob Schieffer

Raw Story on Senator Ted Cruz’s denial of having any culpability in the October 2013 government shutdown:

The veteran newsman led off his Sunday interview by simply asking if Cruz would be willing to once again hold the government hostage to try to get concessions from President Barack Obama.

“Well, Bob, with all due respect, I don’t agree with the premise of your question,” Cruz replied. “Throughout the government shutdown, I opposed a government shutdown. I said we shouldn’t shut the government down. I think it was a mistake that President Obama and the Democrats shut the government down this fall.”

“The question I asked you was, would you ever conceive of trying to shut down the government again?” Schieffer pressed, clearly not buying in to the alternate reality.

“As I said, I didn’t threaten to shut down the government the last time,” Cruz insisted. “I don’t think we should ever shut down the government. And I repeatedly voted…”

“Well,” Schieffer interrupted, laughing out of frustration. “If you didn’t threaten to shut down the government, who was it that did?”

“President Obama,” Cruz said.

How is it that we allow our politicians to live in such obviously asinine alternate universes?


Jelly-Belly Introduces Beer-Flavored Jelly Bean, Causes Uproar Among Stupid People

International Business Times on the introduction of a beer-flavored jelly bean:

Jelly Belly says customers have requested a beer-flavored bean for decades. The Draft Beer bean took three years to develop.

“The effervescent and crisp flavor is packed in a golden jelly bean with an iridescent finish,” Jelly Belly says to describe the Draft Beer jelly bean. The flavor is said to be clean with notes of wheat and a touch of sweetness, with a bread-like aroma.

The taste of the candy is said to resemble a German Hefeweizen ale. I am not really into Hefeweizen’s but I will most definitely give these a try. On no planet will I turn down an opportunity to try a beer-flavored candy.

Unfortunately Americans don’t like nice things. The introduction of this new beer-flavored candy has some idiotic and neurotic parents freaking out:

The new flavor has unexpectedly polarized candy lovers. Thousands are thrilled by the new flavor, but a number of people are outraged by it, saying it will encourage kids to try alcohol and could even trigger a relapse for recovering alcoholics.

“I am so angry and disappointed about this decision,” Facebook user Mindy Chemaki wrote on the company’s Facebook page. “I have been a big fan of Jelly Belly since I was 13. And now you have developed a flavor that that may encourage minors (like I was 20+ years ago or my own children today) to develop a substance abuse problem. Just as bad, have you though about recovering alcoholics who are harmed by such an influence?”

Amy Mehalko added, “It’s just so wrong to have this flavor. Very disappointed. Why not just make a cigarette flavor while your at it.”

Several people said they would be boycotting the brand for introducing the new flavor, which is formally called “Draft Beer.”

Can people in the U.S. get any more stupid about something absolutely benign? Flavor is not the same as affect, with the latter being the primary reason people smoke cigarettes or drink until intoxicated.

As if the flavor of a jelly bean will cause recovering alcoholics to have relapses while the hundreds of varieties of beers on-sale at stores everywhere has no affect whatsoever.

When are people in the U.S. going to grow up and start acting like responsible adults?


“Rent-A-Gaijin” Allows Japanese Locals to Rent Gaijin to Fulfill Any Legal Need

Tofugu on a peculiar service being offered to Japanese locals to rent gaijin to fulfill just about any desire, so long as it is legal limits of Japanese law:

A little while back someone sent me a link to an interesting website. On it, they said you could rent a gaikokujin (foreign person) who will do various things for you, depending on the person. They could speak English with you (seems like the most obvious application), be a model, DJ, write, be a bartender, hang out with you, etc., etc. As long as it is legal and the gaikokujin is willing, your imagination is the limit.

Sounds like a peculiar business model. Sometimes the weirder ideas turn out to be the more successful ones but this seems a tad suspect.

It looks like anyone can sign-up to offer their own services on the site:

Customers read your profile here and rent you. They choose the number of hours they want to rent you and send along their preferred meet-up place, time, and requests to us at Gaikokujin Rental. We then forward these details, along with your new customer’s contact information, to you. You then contact your new customer to seal the deal. Customers have agreed to pay you in cash. Your business with them is yours, as well as what you earn from them. Gaikokujin Rental is not involved.

So the site merely acts as a middle-man between the Japanese local and services-offering gaijin. I think the idea is noble but sounds ripe for abuse. Of course that could be said about any services driven site, but there is something about this particular idea that seems different than others.

If I were to offer up my services, knowing my luck I would end up getting stuck having to clean some hoarders apartment or something worse, if that is even possible.

This post is part of the thread: Japan – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.


WTF: NHK Chief Claims Japanese Comfort Women only Wrong Based on “Today’s Morality”

The Japan Times on controversial remarks made by the NHK chief regarding World War II comfort women:

Asked about the women who were forced to provide sex to Imperial Japanese soldiers before and during World War II, Momii said such an institution existed in “every country” and that it is only considered wrong based on “today’s morality.”

“Things are complicated because South Korea says Japan was the only country that forcibly recruited (comfort women),” Momii, a former president of Nihon Unisys Ltd. and vice president of trading house Mitsui & Co., said, noting he was only stating his personal view.

Why is it that people in positions of power have no idea how to control the stupidity flowing from their mouths? Even if he actually believes what he’s saying, would it not be prudent to keep that to himself?

This post is part of the thread: Japan – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.


“Chinese Professional” Claims “Surgical Strike” on Japan’s Senkaku Islands Will Avert Global War While Asserting Chinese Military Might

Business Insider on comments made by a “Chinese professional” during dinner in Davos at the World Economic Forum last night:

The Chinese professional acknowledged that if China asserted control over the disputed islands by attacking Japan, America would have to stand with Japan. And he acknowledged that China did not want to provoke America.

But then he said that many in China believe that China can accomplish its goals — smacking down Japan, demonstrating its military superiority in the region, and establishing full control over the symbolic islands — with a surgical invasion.

In other words, by sending troops onto the islands and planting the flag.

The Chinese professional suggested that this limited strike could be effected without provoking a broader conflict. The strike would have great symbolic value, demonstrating to China, Japan, and the rest of the world who was boss. But it would not be so egregious a move that it would force America and Japan to respond militarily and thus lead to a major war.

Well, when the Chinese professional finished speaking, there was stunned silence around the table.

Wow. Consider me stunned with silence.

This post is part of the thread: Japan – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.


Shinjuku Station shot in High Speed but with a Neat Slow Motion Effect

Stainless – Shinuku, shot in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station, is a really cool high-speed recording that has a very neat slow motion feel. The video allows the viewer to peer into the almost private and seemingly personal world everyone occupies while waiting for a train in Tokyo.

This post is part of the thread: Japan – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.


FixMeStick for Mac is a Bootable Anti-Malware USB Stick for Scanning and Remediation

Geeky Gadgets on a new Kickstarter fund for FixMeStick, a USB thumb drive designed to scan and remediate Mac OS X malware infections:

FixMeStick for Mac is the plug-in and plug-out device that anyone can use to remove hard to detect malware from Apple computers and it is a bootable USB utility that makes virus removal easy, and won’t harm your Mac in the process.

The recent Flashback virus infected around 1% of the world’s Macs and if you would like an easy way to check your Mac is clean the FixMeStick for Mac might be worth more investigation.

Interesting solution to the multi-faceted malware problem end points face today.

This post is part of the thread: Security – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.


Snowden Calls Proven Liar Mike Rogers’ Allegations of Russian Assistance Absurd

The New Yorker on proven liar, House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers’ allegation that Edward Snowden was aided by the Russians:

Snowden, in a rare interview that he conducted by encrypted means from Moscow, denied the allegations outright, stressing that he “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.” He added, “It won’t stick…. Because it’s clearly false, and the American people are smarter than politicians think they are.”

If he was a Russian spy, Snowden asked, “Why Hong Kong?” And why, then, was he “stuck in the airport forever” when he reached Moscow? (He spent forty days in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo International Airport.) “Spies get treated better than that.”


CISSP Certification Exam Adding New Question Types in 2014

INFOSEC Institute on ISC2 adding new types of questions to the CISSP certification exam:

So you’re thinking of earning your CISSP. Wouldn’t you like to see some sample questions from the legendary CISSP test? There has been a lot written about sample CISSP exam questions in the traditional four-answer, one-right format.

However, starting in 2014, the CISSP exam will start to contain two additional types of questions: “drag and drop” and “hotspot.”

I am so glad I won’t be taking that test again.


Peculiar Vehicle Fire Kills Two in Fussa

Japan Today on a peculiar vehicular blaze killing two people in Fussa:

Two people died when they were trapped in their station wagon after it burst into flames on a highway in Fussa, Tokyo, on Monday night.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 8 p.m. Fuji TV quoted police as saying that witnesses saw the car pull over and the driver get out. Shortly thereafter, the car lit up and before the two passengers in the front and back seats had a chance to escape, the car was engulfed in flames. When police and firefighters arrived at the scene, the driver was nowhere to be found.

According to police, the fire began somewhere inside the engine block, causing the entire car to eventually burst into flames. Police said Tuesday they still have not been able to get in contact with the owner of the car. The two victims are believed to be a 66-year-old man and his 31-year-old daughter, police said, without giving further details.

I was returning from work around this time, and was on a bus at 8:05pm-ish when a torrent of police cars jumped in front of us as we were turning. When the bus finally arrived at the stop I get off at, about 1km after the turn, approximately 4-5 police cars drove past us, sirens screaming.

Even after I returned home I could hear sirens for another 20 minutes or so. I had wondered what all the fuss was about, and think this could quite possibly be the culprit. The only damper in this theory is I am in Hamura, a suburb adjacent to Fussa.

Either way, what a very weird yet tragic story.

This post is part of the thread: Japan – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.