Emperor, empress to be relieved of some official duties


The Imperial Household Agency said Monday it will reduce the official duties of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, both in their 80s, to ease burden on them by cutting the number of their meetings with guests at the Imperial Palace.

By next March, it will begin to reduce the number by about 10 per year. It will be the first major review of guidelines on their duties since 2009, when the agency decided that the emperor and empress basically will not give speeches during their visits to local cities.

“We considered how official duties should be performed by the couple in view of their age and obtained consent from the emperor and the empress,” said the agency’s Vice Grand Steward Shinichiro Yamamoto.

According to the agency, the imperial couple’s meetings with chiefs of prefectural police departments, district public prosecutors offices, district courts and municipal assemblies will be cancelled.

The emperor and empress will also skip luncheon parties with foreign guests, including national leaders, who are on an official working visit.

Some duties will be handed over to Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, such as a meeting with members of the Japan Disaster Relief Team.

At a press conference to mark his 80th birthday in 2013, the emperor showed eagerness to continue with his official duties, saying “I would like to maintain the status quo for the time being.”

But Yamamoto noted the emperor had about 270 meetings, including with foreign guests and recipients of decorations, in the past year.

He said the agency started to review the imperial couple’s official duties in earnest after their trip to the Philippines in late January, but added “no particular changes have been observed” in their health.


for Barbara Ellen at the Guardian: Former DHS worker pleads guilty to rape of 16 year old

Barbara Ellen: “do we seriously think that a female teacher sleeping with a male pupil is on a par with a male teacher sleeping with a girl pupil? i don’t”




A former Department of Human Services child welfare worker has pleaded guilty to the rape of a foster child in her care.

District Attorney Craig Ladd confirmed Elizabeth Williams entered a guilty plea to second-degree rape in front of Associate District Judge Thomas Baldwin Tuesday. The judge accepted the plea. Baldwin also accepted a plea bargain agreement that exchanged her guilty plea for a sentence of 10 years — one year in prison and nine suspended with the added stipulation she must register as a sex offender.

Discussing the 37-year-old mother and former DHS employee’s plea Ladd said, “I am grateful she took responsibility for her actions and spared the victim the rigors of a jury trial. At this time, he (foster child) continues to be in the custody of the Department of Human Services while she will be transferred to the custody of the Department of Corrections.”

Williams was charged in August based on a Wilson Police Department investigation that began July 4 when officers responded to a domestic violence call at her Wilson residence. At the time police reports indicated Williams admitted to having a sexual relationship with the teenage boy who had been placed in her home as a foster child. Williams also told investigators she had contacted a DHS employee hotline June 29 concerning her actions and the agency was suppose to begin an internal investigation July 6. She subsequently was terminated from her job as a child welfare worker.

Meanwhile the criminal case went forward and Ladd filed the second-degree rape charge against her in Carter County District Court. The felony charge alleged that between April and June 2015, “the defendant engaged in sexual intercourse …” with the 16 year old male who was under her supervision.

At the time the charge was filed Williams’ attorney Jason May said he was confident a jury would find his client innocent. May described Williams as the victim of an overzealous prosecutor who was misinterpreting the state’s rape statutes.

Wednesday Ladd was asked about May’s claims that his actions were overzealous and he had misinterpreted the law.

“The law on this issue in Oklahoma is fairly straightforward and clear. Jailors are not permitted to have sex with inmates, teachers are not permitted to have sex with students, and DHS employees are not permitted to have sex with 16 year old boys in DHS custody. Especially when the DHS employee also happens to be the 16 year old boy’s foster mother and she knows he basically has no other place to go. I am not overzealous and took no joy in prosecuting Mrs. Williams. Nevertheless, it is my job to hold people, who I can prove have violated the law, accountable for their actions.”

Williams is currently detained in the Carter County Detention Center pending her transfer to a state prison.

Study: bouncing breasts deter girls from sports



A “study” was needed to determine why girls participate less in sports than boys do. The apparent answer? Large breasts, and an unfamiliarity with sports bras.

why aren’t more teenage girls out on the playing fields?

A recent study in The Journal of Adolescent Health found a surprisingly common reason: developing breasts, and girls’ attitudes about them.

In a survey of 2,089 English schoolgirls ages 11 to 18, nearly three-quarters listed at least one breast-related concern regarding exercise and sports. They thought their breasts were too big or too small, too bouncy or bound too tightly in an ill-fitting bra.

“We make assumptions about what we think we know, so it’s important to be able to say that as cup size increases, physical activity decreases for a lot of girls,” Dr. Sharonda Alston Taylor, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, who focuses on adolescent obesity.

Joanna Scurr, the lead author of the study and a professor of biomechanics at the University of Portsmouth in England, said the breast itself had little internal support, so when a girl’s body moved, the breast moved independently, and the movement increased with breast size.

It’s good we have studies like this to tell us that breasts bounce.

Only 10 percent of the girls surveyed said they always wore a sports bra during sports and exercise. More than half had never worn one.

Dr. Taylor said that lack of education about bra fitting and sizing was commonplace in her practice.

“The mom will say, ‘I don’t know what size she is,’ and the patient will say, ‘I just grab my sister’s or my mother’s bras to wear.’”

That’s it! Girls have never heard of sports bras. We need a government program to educate them about it.

Using data from this study and others, the researchers from sports and exercise health departments at three British universities are trying to design school-based educational programs.

See? They want a government program! You thought I was joking!

Why is this a “problem” in need of an answer? Maybe girls simply don’t want to do sports as much as men do. Why must boys and girls do everything in equal amounts?

Christian Tow truck driver “”Something came over me, I think the Lord came to me, and he just said get in the truck and leave,”

The freedom of conscience cancer



GREENVILLE, S.C. — A tow truck driver refused to a help a customer stranded on Interstate 26 in Asheville on Monday.

“Something came over me, I think the Lord came to me, and he just said get in the truck and leave,” said Ken Shupe of Shupee Max Towing in Traveler’s Rest, S.C.. “And when I got in my truck, you know, I was so proud, because I felt like I finally drew a line in the sand and stood up for what I believed.”

Motorist Cassy McWade says she was in a car accident, and the family called their regular mechanic to drive about 45 minutes north in order to tow her home to Traveler’s Rest from the side of the Interstate. He wasn’t able to make the trip, so McWade says he called Shupe.

He arrived after about an hour and began the process of towing the vehicle.

“He goes around back and comes back and says ‘I can’t tow you.’ My first instinct was there must be something wrong with the car,” McWade told News 13 on Wednesday. “And he says, ‘No, you’re a Bernie supporter.’ And I was like wait, really? And he says, ‘Yes ma’am,’ and just walks away.”

McWade has a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker on her rear fender and a yard sign in her rear window for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Shupe , who supports presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, said his decision on the side of the interstate this week was more about business than politics.

He believes Bernie Sanders supporters are socialists, and says he’s had problems with two customers over the last six months who supported Bernie Sanders. He said they caused him problems over paying their bills.

“I’ve had some horrible experiences in the last six months with towing cars for this mindset individuals, in that I don’t get paid. They want to argue about a $50 tow bill, and it turns into just a drama and a fuss. And I said, you know, I’m not going to associate with them, and I’m not going to do any business with them,” Shupe said.

“I’m really not interested in doing business with that clientele,” he said of Sanders supporters.

“I personally don’t believe that you don’t have to agree on anything just to be kind to one another,” McWade said. “I was like, what did I do to you? You know, I do believe I try to do right by people. So I was offended, and I don’t know what exactly he thinks I would have done to him directly by being a believer in Bernie.”

McWade, 25, has psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and early-stage Crohns, which she said made sitting on the side of the road without a restroom nearby”terrifying”. She is legally disabled and says the handicapped placard was hanging on her mirror when Shupe arrived.

She also says the family mechanic informed Shupe that she was disabled.

After waiting more than an hour and a half, McWade was towed by another company.

Shupe says he did not know that McWade was disabled.

“Had she been disabled, would I have towed her car? No ma’am. I would have pulled forward and sat there with her to make sure she was OK until another wrecker service showed up to get her home safely, but I still would not have towed her car,” said Shupe. “I stand by my decision, and I would do it again today if the opportunity presented itself.”