The Ledes

Thursday, October 23, 2014.

Guardian: "The prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, vowed a tough and uncompromising response to a brazen gun attack on the national parliament on Wednesday that left a soldier dead and a nation in shock. As calm fell on Canada’s idyllic capital, where hours earlier Michael Zehaf-Bibeau had forced his way into the parliament building in a hail of gunfire before being killed by a ceremonial official, Harper delivered a sombre television address declaring that the country would not be cowed by terrorism." ...

... Toronto Globe & Mail: "Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain 32-year-old suspected killer of a Canadian Forces soldier near Parliament Hill, was a labourer and small-time criminal – a man who had had a religious awakening and seemed to have become mentally unstable. Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was born in 1982 and was the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. The two were divorced in 1999." ...

... New York Times: "A day after a terrorist attack convulsed the heart of Ottawa, the Canadian capital, the city’s police chief said he was satisfied that it was the work of a lone gunman, who shot dead a soldier before being killed in a hail of gunfire in the Parliament building.... In the hours following the raid, police officials had said that there might be as many as three armed men."

The Wires

The Ledes

Shooting Wednesday in the Canadian Parliament building:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014.

New York Times: "The heart of the Canadian capital [Ottawa] was traumatized and placed in emergency police lockdown on Wednesday after a gunman fatally wounded a soldier guarding the National War Memorial, entered the nearby Parliament building and fired multiple times before he was shot and killed. It was the second deadly assault on a uniformed member of Canada’s armed forces in three days. While the motive was unclear, the Ottawa attack heightened fears that Canada, a strong ally of the United States, had been targeted in an organized terrorist plot." ...

... Toronto Globe & Mail: "Federal sources have identified the suspected shooter as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a man in his early 30s who was known to Canadian authorities. Sources told The Globe and Mail that he was recently designated a 'high-risk traveller' by the Canadian government and that his passport had been seized – the same circumstances surrounding the case of Martin Rouleau-Couture, the Quebecker who was shot Monday after running down two Canadian Forces soldiers with his car." The page includes links to related stories. ...

... Here's the Guardian's live feed.

Hill: "The Pentagon confirmed Wednesday that Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters took possession of a stray bundle of U.S.-airdropped weapons and other supplies in the Syrian border town of Kobani earlier this week."

Guardian: "A three-month old baby was killed and eight other people wounded in Jerusalem – one seriously – in what Israel police are describing as a 'terrorist attack' in which a speeding car drove onto a pavement crowded with pedestrians alighting from the city’s light railway. Video footage posted on social media appears to show a car on the main road slowing slightly before crossing to the train tracks and climbing on to the station pavement and ploughing through the people standing on it."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, September 17: "Artificial sweeteners might be triggering higher blood-sugar levels in some people and contributing to the problems they were designed to combat, such as diabetes and obesity, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

New York Times, September 1: "People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study [financed by the N.I.H.] shows."

White House Live Video
October 23

12:30 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks about an anti-domestic violence program in Duluth, Minnesota

12:45 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

Washington Post: A "virtual autopsy" of King Tut suggests the boy king had "buck teeth, club foot and a pronounced overbite."

Stephen Colbert describes his workday:


No Surprise Here. Valerie Tarico of AlterNet, in Salon: "... online search traffic from behind closed doors in Jesusland suggests that the bad, nasty, sexual impulses righteous believers are trying so hard to shut down may be their own. And if Google search patterns mean anything, they’re not succeeding too well: studies consistently demonstrate that people in conservative religious states search for adult materials online far more often than people in blue states."

Jeffrey Frank reviews, for the New Yorker, a new biography of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith. The review is fairly entertaining & informative.

Michael Cieply of the New York Times: "... several of the companies behind 'Citizenfour' — which takes issue with Mr. Obama’s expansion of Bush-era surveillance, and his administration’s attempt to prosecute [Edward] Snowden for espionage — are led by some of the president’s close political allies. They include Harvey Weinstein, the Weinstein Company’s co-chairman, as well as Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant Media, and Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, who all have been major contributors to Mr. Obama’s political campaigns."

Washington Post: "President Obama's credit card was rejected last month at a restaurant in New York. 'I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was -- during the U.N. General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected,' Obama said Friday while signing an executive order to protect consumers from identity theft. 'It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough. They were -- they thought there was some fraud going on. Fortunately, Michelle had hers.'"

"Who's Gonna Stand Up & Save the Earth?" Not Stephen Colbert:

Novelist John Grisham recants his apologia for child porn. Good to know.

Unsolved Mystery. Washington Post: "Human remains recently exhumed from an Alabama grave are not those of the notorious fugitive William Bradford Bishop, who is accused of killing five family members with a small sledgehammer in Montgomery County in 1976 and setting their bodies on fire, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. The FBI said that DNA taken from the unidentified body in Scottsboro, Ala., on Oct. 9 did not match Bishop, who is a member of the Ten Most Wanted list." Original story further down this column. Thanks to Haley S. for the lead.

New York Times: "CBS announced a new subscription Internet streaming service on Thursday that allows people to watch its live television programming and thousands of its current and past shows on demand without paying for a traditional TV subscription. The new 'CBS All Access' service, costing $5.99 a month, is the first time that a traditional broadcaster will make a near-continuous live feed of its local stations available over the web to non-pay-TV subscribers. At its start, the live stream will be available in 14 markets in the United States." ...

... New York Times: "HBO announced Wednesday that it would start a stand-alone Internet streaming service in the United States in 2015 that would not require a subscription to a traditional television service, a move that intensifies the premium cable network’s growing rivalry with Netflix. Just hours after HBO unveiled plans for its new service, Netflix announced that its subscriber growth was slower than expected...."

Joe Coscarelli of New York: "Following its initial mercy killing at the hands of Jon Stewart, Crossfire was rebooted last year with Newt Gingrich and Van Jones to dismal returns..., CNN ... scrapped it for good today [October 15] so that Newt can spend more time with his animals — and hopefully run for president again."

Joe Concha of Mediaite: "A well-placed source tells me MSNBC will be announcing major programming changes sometime in the next month, including the cancellation of Ronan Farrow‘s afternoon program, Ronan Farrow Daily." CW: I've caught a few minutes of Farrow's show a couple of times, & it was clear the guy was in way over his head. His performance was as embarrassing as the Russert kid's, though he isn't an obnoxious bro in the Russert-kid mold. I'm not sure if the suits will ever figure out that legacies & children-of-famous-people are usually not the best & brightest, perhaps because a lot of the suits themselves are legacies.

Philip Shenon in Politico Magazine: "If even Robert Kennedy was a conspiracy theorist, it is hard to see how millions of other Americans will ever be convinced to accept that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone."

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "MSNBC has seen its ratings hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows."

Snowden, The Movie:

... AND, Snowden's girlfriend is living with him in a Moscow apartment. David Harding of the New York Daily News: "His girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, moved into his apartment in the Russian capital in July, a detail that was revealed in the new documentary, 'Citizenfour.'” ...

... George Packer of the New Yorker on Laura Poitras & making the film "Citizenfour." ...

... Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times discusses the film. He attended the premiere at the New York Film Festival, where the documentary got a rare standing O. CW: I'm kinda sensing that "Citizenfour" can best be described as "documentary as hagiography." And, yes, I'm definitely seeing an Oscar here. Call me an oracle.

 

 

A video for Marco I'm-Not-a-Scientist-Man Rubio & Bobby I'm-Not-an-Evolutionary-Biologist Jindal, & all their non-scientist Republican friends:

Selina Gray, on right, saved Arlington House treasures during the Civil War.Michael Ruane of the Washington Post: "When Robert E. Lee’s wife, Mary, fled Arlington House at the start of the Civil War, she gave her personal slave, Selina Norris Gray, the keys to the mansion and responsibility for the grand house the Lees had lived in for 30 years. Gray fulfilled her duties. She is famously credited with saving from marauding Union soldiers numerous heirlooms belonging to George Washington that were stored in the house. Now the National Park Service, which administers Arlington House, has acquired what it says is a rare and previously unknown photograph of Gray and, apparently, two of her eight children."

"An FBI wanted poster shows William Bradford Bishop Jr. The image on the left shows how Bishop would look now. (Getty)"Dan Morse of the Washington Post: "For nearly 40 years, the legend of Bethesda fugitive William Bradford Bishop Jr. carried an air of not just evil brutality but refined sophistication. This was a man suspected of killing his family with a small sledgehammer in 1976 and setting their corpses on fire. Then he vanished, taking with him fluency in five languages, the experience of a world traveler for the State Department, and a fondness for playing tennis, flying airplanes and drinking Scotch. There were alleged sightings: a public park in Stockholm, a restroom in Sorrento, Italy, a train station in Basel, Switzerland. Now, in a potentiality stunning development in the case — centered in a municipally owned cemetery in the northeastern corner of Alabama — remains that were exhumed Thursday may tell a different story. Bishop could be the heretofore unidentified man called John Doe, who was struck by a car while walking down a highway in 1981, a person who appeared to be homeless, who’d worn several layers of heavy, dirty clothes and weighed just 155 pounds." ...

... CW: If you like mysteries & enjoy reading about how they're unravelled, you should find this a compelling story.

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Sunday
Feb262012

The Commentariat -- February 27, 2012

** That's No Elephant; It's a Wooly Mammoth. Jonathan Chait writes a terrific feature for New York magazine: Republicans aren't paranoid; they're right -- they're becoming extinct. "Portents of this future were surely rendered all the more vivid by the startling reality that the man presiding over the new majority just happened to be, himself, young, urban, hip, and black. When jubilant supporters of Obama gathered in Grant Park on Election Night in 2008, Republicans saw a glimpse of their own political mortality. And a galvanizing picture of just what their new rulers would look like." ...

... Here's a clip of a speech that proves Chait's point. And, no, I would never accuse Rick Santorum of race-baiting:

James Hohmann of Politico: "A new Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll reveals the prolonged nominating battle is taking a toll on the GOP candidates and finds the president’s standing significantly improved from late last year. President Barack Obama’s approval rating is 53 percent, up 9 percentage points in four months. Matched up against his Republican opponents, he leads Mitt Romney by 10 points (53-43) and Rick Santorum by 11 (53-42). Even against a generic, unnamed Republican untarnished by attacks, Obama is up 5 percentage points. In November, he was tied."

** Thomas Edsall in the New York Times: "If enacted, the tax proposals Mitt Romney outlined last week to the Detroit Economic Club would provide multimillion-dollar benefits to a newly powerful constituency: the rich men and women who are bankrolling 'super PACs.' ... The Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, and a series of related cases..., have undermined the democratic character of the presidential nomination process by empowering the rich to exert disproportionate control over it.... The putative independence of presidential super PACs from the candidates they support is a fiction." 

David Savage of McClatchy News: "Two years ago, the Supreme Court said corporations were like people and had the same free-speech rights to spend unlimited sums on campaigns ads. Now, in a major test of human rights law, the justices will decide whether corporations are like people when they are sued for aiding foreign regimes that kill or torture their own people.... On Tuesday, the justices will hear an appeal of a suit accusing Royal Dutch Petroleum and its Shell subsidiary in the United States of aiding a former Nigerian regime whose military police tortured, raped and executed minority residents in the oil-rich delta. The victims included famed Nigerian author and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa."


Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/02/26/140047/supreme-court-to-weigh-torture.html#storylink=cpy

Robert Reich: "The Obama administration is proposing to lower corporate taxes from the current 35 percent to 28 percent for most companies and to 25 percent for manufacturers. The move is supposed to be 'revenue neutral' -- meaning the Administration is also proposing to close assorted corporate tax loopholes to offset the lost revenues.... Why isn’t the White House just proposing to close the loopholes without reducing overall corporate tax rates? ... It’s discouraging. The President gives a rousing speech, as he did on December 6 in Kansas. Then he misses an opportunity to put his campaign where his mouth is."

Eileen Sullivan of the AP: "Millions of dollars in White House money has helped pay for New York Police Department programs that put entire American Muslim neighborhoods under surveillance. The money is part of a little-known grant intended to help law enforcement fight drug crimes. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush and Obama administrations have provided $135 million to the New York and New Jersey region through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, known as HIDTA."

Matthew Rosenberg & Thom Shanker of the New York Times: "... American officials described a growing concern, even at the highest levels of the Obama administration and Pentagon, about the challenges of pulling off a troop withdrawal in Afghanistan that hinges on the close mentoring and training of army and police forces. Despite an American-led training effort that has spanned years and cost tens of billions of dollars, the Afghan security forces are still widely seen as riddled with dangerously unreliable soldiers and police officers." Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post tells the same story.

Still Watching. Tanzina Vega of the New York Times: "Last Thursday federal regulators, members of advertising trade groups and technology companies gathered in Washington to announce new initiatives to protect consumers’ privacy online.... The industry’s compromise on a 'Do Not Track' mechanism is one result of continuing negotiations among members of the Federal Trade Commission, which first called for such a mechanism in its initial privacy report; the Commerce Department; the White House; the Digital Advertising Alliance; and consumer privacy advocates.... Many publishers and search engines, like Google, Amazon or The New York Times, are considered 'first-party sites,' which means that the consumer goes to these Web pages directly. First-party sites can still collect data on visitors and serve them ads based on what is collected."

Jason Ullner, a career foreign service officer, in a Washington Post op-ed: "I am a federal bureaucrat. A professional government employee. And guess what? I’m damn proud of it. It seems that all I hear these days are the once and future leaders of our country tripping over themselves to denigrate the work we do.... Most of us do this job not because we want to make a lot of money but because, simply put, we want to serve our country."

Neal Ascherson in a New York Times op-ed: "If [Scottish First Minister Alex] Salmond has his way, [a referendum] vote will take place in 2014, just shy of 700 years after King Robert the Bruce defeated the English at Bannockburn. And he wants only one question on the ballot paper: 'Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?'”

Paul Krugman: on the Eurocrisis, there's a Republican story (welfare state!) and a German story (fiscal irresponsibility!), and they're both wrong.

Abby Goodnough of the New York Times: "Patrick J. Kennedy lashed out at Senator Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts on Sunday, asking him to stop invoking the name of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Mr. Kennedy’s father, in a radio advertisement about insurance coverage for contraceptives.... In a letter that the Brown campaign released on Sunday, Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat like his father, wrote: 'Providing health care to every American was the work of my father’s life. The Blunt Amendment you are supporting is an attack on that cause.'”

Right Wing World

The deficit hawks who are the Washington Post editorial board are fit to be tied: "At a time of record debts and deficits, the two leading Republican presidential candidates are proposing a path on taxes and spending likely to add trillions more. That’s the sobering conclusion of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), whose board includes six Republican former lawmakers with expertise in budget issues, three Republican former heads of the Congressional Budget Office, and two former Office of Management and Budget directors under Republican presidents." ... 

... "Primary Numbers." The CRFB estimated that Romney's plan would increase deficits by $250 billion through 2021, resulting in 2021 debt levels at about 86 percent of GDP. Santorum's plan would increase deficits by $4.5 trillion through 2021, with debt levels at about 104 percent of GDP. Gingrich's proposal would increase deficits by $7.0 trillion, for a debt level at about 114 percent of GDP. But wait. Ron Paul is totally fiscally responsible: Paul's plan would reduce deficits by $2.2 trillion, yielding a 2021 debt level of about 76 percent of GDP. “However a larger portion of this debt reduction is a result of Paul’s policy to cancel all federal debt held by the Federal Reserve System.” Say what?! You can read the CRFB's executive summary here, which may be as good a comparison of the GOP candidates' budget proposals as you'll find.

** Rick Hertzberg sums up the GOP primary race as only he can. For example, here's his description of the base to whom the candidates scrape & bow: "an excitable, overlapping assortment of Fox News friends, Limbaugh dittoheads, Tea Party animals, war whoopers, nativists, Christianist fundamentalists, à la carte Catholics (anti-abortion, yes; anti-torture, no), anti-Rooseveltians (Franklin and Theodore), global-warming denialists, post-Confederate white Southrons, creationists, birthers, market idolaters, Europe demonizers, and gun fetishists."

Quotes of the Day. I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks. -- Mitt Romney, to a group of NASCAR fans wearing plastic ponchos at Daytona Beach

     I have some great friends who are Nascar team owners. -- Mitt Romney, responding to someone asking if he was a NASCAR fan

Question of the Day. How can a guy who is so practiced at being a lying phony still be so bad at it?

Katharine Seelye of the New York Times: "Two days before the Arizona and Michigan primaries, Rick Santorum on Sunday made a broad appeal to social conservatives, arguing that religion and conservative principles are at risk, both on college campuses and in the public square. On ABC’s 'This Week,' with George Stephanopoulos, Mr. Santorum repeated his belief that President Obama is wrong — is, indeed, a 'snob' — for encouraging all Americans to go to college. And he defended his view that John F. Kennedy, before he became president, was wrong to assert that the separation of church and state should be absolute." This guy is unbelievable:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

... Evan McMorris-Santoro of TPM discovers that Michigan Tea Partiers agree with Santorum: Obama's push to provide broader access to higher education is just wrong. Here are a few choice quotes from the Santorum intelligentsia: "Everybody can’t be equal. Somebody needs to do the manual labor.” “It starts down at the elementary school level with all this bullshit about diversity, pardon my French... Diversity and sensitivity and all that crap.” “They try and disguise it with, you know, ‘equal opportunity.’” “It’s communism.” “Where does the social engineering stop? Does it become the Soviet Union?” ...

... BUT Dave Weigel of Slate notes, "Obama hasn't told the lumpen proletariart to go to liberal arts schools and become indoctrinated in left-wing thought and a cappela. His universal college call, which took on form in 2009, was for some kind of higher education. Trade schools? Have at it. Politically, here, it hardly matters. As he does on many topics, Santorum skillfully cracks open a policy issue and finds the culture war walnut within." Facts are such a pain.

... AND Santorum wasn't always Uneducated Man. McMorris-Santoro publishes a screengrab from Santorum's 2006 Senate campaign site. It reads, in part, "In addition to Rick's support of ensuring that primary and secondary schools in Pennsylvania are equipped for success, he is equally committed to ensuring that every Pennsylvanian has access to higher education."

... John Cole of Balloon Juice: "Nowhere in the speech did [Kennedy] dictate that people of faith could have no role in public life. Nowhere. Santorum is lying or stupid or both, and I’m going to go with both and throw in a dash of evil. What Santorum wants is not religious freedom. What he wants is the freedom to force you to live by his religious beliefs." ...

Wherein Saint Ronald of Reagan Makes Rick Santorum Throw Up: We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. -- Ronald Reagan, October 1984 ...

Digby: "I don't think Ricky understands his history very well. Evidently, he was unaware that in 1960, conservatives thought of Catholics the same way think of Muslims today. He seems under the impression that America was a wonderful religiously tolerant nation until the horrible secularists came along and ruined everything. I guess he didn't know about this, perpetuated, by the way, not by the secularists who didn't give a damn, but by his favorite allies, the right wing protestants." ...

... A Unique Way to Stop Iran from Getting Nuclear Weaponry. In case you are the last person on the planet who thinks Santorum is not sex-obsessed --

News Ledes

New York Times Caucus: "Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona announced on Sunday, two days before the state’s Republican presidential primary, that she would endorse Mitt Romney...." That'll help.

New York Times: "The officer leading a police investigation into Rupert Murdoch’s British newspapers said on Monday that reporters and editors at The Sun tabloid had over the years paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for information not only to police officers but also to a “network of corrupted officials” in the military and the government." The Guardian story, with video of testimony, is here.

Reuters: "The trial to decide who should pay for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been delayed by a week, to allow BP Plc to try to cut a deal with tens of thousands of businesses and individuals affected by the disaster. Less than 24 hours before the case was set to start in a New Orleans federal court, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier pushed back the date to March 5 from February 27."

Reuters: "A suicide car bomber killed at least nine people in an attack on a military airport in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, officials said, the latest incident of violence and protests since copies of the Koran were inadvertently burned at a NATO base last week."

New York Times: "Russian television reported early on Monday that a joint operation by Ukrainian and Russian intelligence services succeeded in averting an assassination attempt on Vladimir V. Putin, just days before he hopes to secure a six-year presidential term which would extend his rule as Russia‘s paramount leader to 18 years."

Al Jazeera: "Senegal's presidential vote appears set for a runoff, with results indicating that incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade has failed to win an outright majority. Tallies reported since the vote finished on Sunday night show Wade leading and former Prime Minister Macky Sall close behind, suggesting the two will face off in a second round."

Guardian: "Syrian government troops fired heavy barrages of artillery and rockets on Monday into districts across Homs, where rebels have been holding out through weeks of bombardment, opposition activists said."

AP: "Pakistani authorities have reduced the house where Osama bin Laden lived for years before he was killed by U.S. commandos to rubble, destroying a concrete symbol of the country's association with one of the world's most reviled men.Workers completed the demolition job in the garrison town of Abbottabad in northwest Pakistan on Monday."

Reader Comments (10)

I think the current political situation is the fault of Steve Jobs. The entire Romney/Santorum following is terrified by the phrase 'IPad app'.

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Hey, I was lost at "Blackberry." Still am. My friends who have teenagers or young adult children are all into the thumbs thing -- I never want to learn!

February 27, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Marie, I am not a fan either, although my wife is fixated. But the idea that this technology and many others are coming into our lives doesn't scare me. I really believe that many people are terrified by the new and the fact that they don't believe they can adapt. So instead of dealing with the new reality, lets go back to the 1950's when the only technological thing you needed to do was turn on the TV. How else can you hide from reality? Oh well, you can vote for Santorum.

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Chiat's article is really a must read for the 'inside game'. It sure has appeared as though the Greedy Old Party has been willing to mortgage the future to service the present during the whole primary season.
The GOP took Trump seriously? He's a serially bankrupt reality tv personality - like Regis. Herman Cain hasn't even been a dogcatcher let alone a county commissioner. Perry is an ego from Texas. Bachmann from Regent U? Pat Robertson U. Good grief! And then there is the guys still standing. I'm just thinking that the GOP is just as dumb as were the Dems were when they let Al Sharpton on stage. These talking heads aren't serious at governance.
It is all about the Supreme Court. Take a friend or 5 out to register and then take them out to vote. If need be use a mantra like: "corporations are not people" or "separation of church and state is original intent", if it makes voting easier.

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercitizen625

I'm not afraid of new technology, but I have chosen to limit what I learn to what I know I can use. There's also an economic factor involved. For instance, I'd love to learn to use Photoshop, but it's really expensive and I won't pay for it. I have a cellphone on which I could text -- I just checked! It's got a little virtual keyboard! -- but that would be more expensive than sending an e-mail; all my text-savvy friends also have e-mail addresses, and I never need to reach anyone immediately.

It is true that in some ways the complexity of technology has made us stupider. I had high school friends who could overhaul a car engine. High school kids can't do that today. For decades, I did my own taxes -- now they're way too complicated. Even the accountant screwed them up a couple of years ago; my husband caught the error, and it was a big one -- and not in our favor. But the mistake was so complicated, my husband had to ask me about it, and I had to think about it. We literally sat down and reasoned out why the numbers didn't just "seem" wrong; they were wrong. Had it been a smaller error of the same complexity, my husband never would have noticed it.

If I ever put in a better sound system, I won't just go to the electronics store & buy a bigger woofer; I'll have somebody "advise" me, and there's a good chance I'll have somebody install it.

But does that mean I want to go back to the '50s with the three channels and the tinny little speaker? Or the single phone in the hall (we had a party line!). Hell, no. I appreciate what technology does for me. But I kind of decide what I'll let it do.

February 27, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Dilemma: We've been getting robocalls and emails from supposedly
the Michigan Democratic party urging a vote for Santorum. The
explanation is that this will drag out the Republican efforts and
cost them millions more, which will not then be spent on ads
attacking President Obama. Does anyone think this makes sense?
Thinking of voting for Santorum for any reason makes me want
to _____.

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris

@forrest morris. TPM just came up with this story you probably should read: "A robocall making the rounds in Michigan the day before the state’s GOP primary purports to be paid for by the Rick Santorum campaign and urges Democrats to vote for Santorum and against Mitt Romney. TPM obtained audio of the call Monday afternoon." Some callers said you had to wait to the end to find out it was Santorum, not Democrats who paid for the robocalls; i.e., the ad was made to sound as if it was coming for a union or the Dems.

Here's a similar story from Blue Wolverine at the Daily Kos.

I didn't find anything on a Democratic party denial, but it sounds like these calls are coming from Santorum, not from the Democratic party, even tho they're trying to sound like Democrats & speak to Democratic issues.

I'll leave it to others to decide whether or not this is a good idea. I'd like to hear from you all. Forrest Morris needs to know. Now!

February 27, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@CW

" I'd love to learn to use Photoshop, but it's really expensive and I won't pay for it."

Are you aware of an open source graphic program called GIMP?

gimp.org

I've never used GIMP, but I do know it is very well thought of and I understand the concepts learned can be transferred to Photoshop should you ever want to switch.

Here's what the site says:

"GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.

It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc. "

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKarl Thompson

@Karl Thompson. I'd never heard of GIMP. Thank you so much. I'll noodle around with it in my spare time. Reality Chex readers may have some really goofy "genuine" photos in their futures!

February 27, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@CW

\\\"I'd never heard of GIMP.\\\"

There are actually quite a few free alternatives to Photoshop. If GIMP does not suit you, maybe another program will.

10 Excellent Open Source and Free Alternatives to Photoshop

I don't know how easy/hard it would be to learn any of these programs, but I'll tell you, I found Photoshop to be one of the hardest program to learn of of any of the program I know. That might be because I don't have an art background. At least I did not have to pay for it. I won my initial copy as a door prize when Adobe presented at a user group meeting. (But I have been paying them ever since!)

February 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKarl Thompson
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