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Plus a bunch of random nonsense I find entertaining on the web.
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The Minnesota Senate, after four hours of floor discussion Monday, joined the state House of Representatives in approving same-sex marriage.
North Korea has a history of Photoshop fails, so you think the country’s neighbor to the south would take heed and keep a close watch on manipulation. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case, as the above photo painfully clearly illustrates.
The photo — chosen by South Korean news outlet Yonhap to illustrate their coverage of President Park Geun-Hye’s recent visit with President Obama — shows the two leaders shaking hands. The only problem is that they seem to be standing in different rooms … and President Obama has two right arms.
To say this is a Photoshop fail is almost an understatement. Yonhap (who happens to be South Korea’s leader in news) seems to have taken two separate photos, cropped them, and slapped them together without even looking twice at the result.
According to the Atlantic Wire, the half of the photo with President Park in it actually came from a different event in which she shook hands with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:
The strangest part of this story is that there were plenty of legitimate photos of the two leaders shaking hands all throughout President Park’s visit, making us think that this may not be so much a Photoshop fail as a split-screen photo gone wrong.
It’s not like they were trying to fake an event that didn’t happen, they were simply trying to illustrate a handshake between the two leaders. Still, next time, they might wanna chose two photos that don’t make for such an awkward composite.
Glenn Greenwald notes the alarming revelation from a CNN Out Front interview between host Erin Burnett and Tim Clemente, “a former FBI counterterrorism agent,” where Clemente claimed that the FBI had access to recordings of every phone call made in America:
BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It’s not a voice mail. It’s just a conversation. There’s no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?
CLEMENTE: “No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It’s not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.
BURNETT: “So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.
CLEMENTE: “No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.”
(Photo: Frank Thorp / NBC News)
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who voted against expanding background checks on gun sales, was confronted by the daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary’s slain principal at a rowdy town hall in New Hampshire.
It’s not just White House tours and airplanes. Here’s how budget cuts are hurting people in 50 states.
Read: Mother Jones
Obama’s one-liners during his speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
Our POTUS has some serious chops.
Edmund Clark’s series about Guantanamo Bay isn’t simply a glimpse into one of the world’s most controversial detention camps. Clark spent three years working on what would become a book, Guantanamo: If the Light Goes Out, which focuses on the naval base and prison camp at Guantanamo Bay as well as a look into the homes of released detainees.
The book presents all three environments without a direct narrative, thereby creating a sense of disorientation and inviting the viewer to create his own interpretation of the images.
“The purpose [of the camp] was to disorient, to make them [the detainees] paranoid, so I decided to use a chopped, mixed, disjointed narrative to evoke in the viewer a sense of disorientation: They’re looking at a domestic civil life, then suddenly a McDonald’s, then a church, then a force-feeding chair,” said Clark about the series. “It’s a way for people to engage with imagery so they will think more about the process of disorientation.”
Before working on the series, Clark had previously focused on projects that dealt with incarceration including a project about teenage fathers in prison and another on the problems associated with aging prisoners. He was also influenced by 16th-century Dutch painters, specifically the way they painted “ordinary objects imbued with significance about the passage of time and the ephemeral nature of human existence.” Clark found himself interested more in the spaces the prisoners inhabited rather than simply taking another portrait of an inmate.
Today in terrifying fake news
The Associated Press’ Twitter account was hacked earlier today, sending out a false report of explosions at the White House. The tweet was swiftly debunked, no report was sent on the AP news wire and Twitter has since suspended the account.
But that didn’t stop some from immediately believing the fraudulent tweet. Note the sudden plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the time the tweet went out:
In the wake of the now-notorious tweet, and the outrage last week over a number of grassroots amateur detectives on Reddit working to solve the Boston Marathon bombings, it’s important to remember that not everything online should be taken at face value.
Photos: Twitter, Google
A Senate in the Gun Lobby’s Grip
By GABRIELLE GIFFORDS
Published: April 17, 2013
SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them.
On Wednesday, a minority of senators gave into fear and blocked common-sense legislation that would have made it harder for criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses to get hold of deadly firearms — a bill that could prevent future tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., and too many communities to count.
Some of the senators who voted against the background-check amendments have met with grieving parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook, in Newtown. Some of the senators who voted no have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago, and expressed sympathy for the 18 other people shot besides me, 6 of whom died. These senators have heard from their constituents — who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them.
I watch TV and read the papers like everyone else. We know what we’re going to hear: vague platitudes like “tough vote” and “complicated issue.” I was elected six times to represent southern Arizona, in the State Legislature and then in Congress. I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither. These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying and outside spending.
Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious. I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe. We cannot allow the status quo — desperately protected by the gun lobby so that they can make more money by spreading fear and misinformation — to go on.
I am asking every reasonable American to help me tell the truth about the cowardice these senators demonstrated. I am asking for mothers to stop these lawmakers at the grocery store and tell them: You’ve lost my vote. I am asking activists to unsubscribe from these senators’ e-mail lists and to stop giving them money. I’m asking citizens to go to their offices and say: You’ve disappointed me, and there will be consequences.
People have told me that I’m courageous, but I have seen greater courage. Gabe Zimmerman, my friend and staff member in whose honor we dedicated a room in the United States Capitol this week, saw me shot in the head and saw the shooter turn his gunfire on others. Gabe ran toward me as I lay bleeding. Toward gunfire. And then the gunman shot him, and then Gabe died. His body lay on the pavement in front of the Safeway for hours.
I have thought a lot about why Gabe ran toward me when he could have run away. Service was part of his life, but it was also his job. The senators who voted against background checks for online and gun-show sales, and those who voted against checks to screen out would-be gun buyers with mental illness, failed to do their job.
They looked at these most benign and practical of solutions, offered by moderates from each party, and then they looked over their shoulder at the powerful, shadowy gun lobby — and brought shame on themselves and our government itself by choosing to do nothing.
They will try to hide their decision behind grand talk, behind willfully false accounts of what the bill might have done — trust me, I know how politicians talk when they want to distract you — but their decision was based on a misplaced sense of self-interest. I say misplaced, because to preserve their dignity and their legacy, they should have heeded the voices of their constituents. They should have honored the legacy of the thousands of victims of gun violence and their families, who have begged for action, not because it would bring their loved ones back, but so that others might be spared their agony.
This defeat is only the latest chapter of what I’ve always known would be a long, hard haul. Our democracy’s history is littered with names we neither remember nor celebrate — people who stood in the way of progress while protecting the powerful. On Wednesday, a number of senators voted to join that list.
Mark my words: if we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress, one that puts communities’ interests ahead of the gun lobby’s. To do nothing while others are in danger is not the American way.
Gabrielle Giffords, a Democratic representative from Arizona from 2007 to 2012, is a founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, which focuses on gun violence.
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on April 18, 2013, on page A27 of the New York edition with the headline: A Senate in the Gun Lobby’s Grip.
The project began after Banning was given an assignment to document Dutch development aid and the decentralization of administration in Mozambique. Not exactly the most colorful assignment for someone who describes himself as a “people photographer.”
Although Mozambique wouldn’t factor into Banning’s ambitious project (two printings of Bureaucratics, published by Nazraeli press have already sold out), it planted the seed that would eventually take Banning to five continents and eight countries documenting those who work in the executive branch of government.
There aren’t many ways to get intimate access to the behind-the-scenes of government as a photog. Your best option is probably to try and snag a spot as the official White House photographer, but those jobs are hard to come by. A senator from Vermont, however, has found another way: get a day job as a Senator and moonlight as an amateur photographer.
According to an article in USA Today, that’s exactly what Senator Patrick Leahy has been doing for a long time now. And once you get past the irony that he is from the same state that recently proposed a bill to ban public photography, you start to appreciate the level of access the Senator enjoys, and the quality of his work.
Senator Leahy is the most senior member of Congress. Including this year’s inauguration, he has attended 10 in total, and he has the pictures to prove it. From the presidency of Jimmy Carter on up, the Vermont Democrat can be easily distinguished from his congressional peers by the SLR hanging from his neck.
Leahy’s status as the go-to amateur photographer is well-known in congressional circles. He’s photographed everything from George H.W. Bush wearing a Donald Duck cap while holding a cocktail (the former President asked him to) to VP Joe Biden and his wife in Paris (they were there for a NATO conference), but his photography is often about more than fun.
He’s been known to put his skills to use for political reasons — showing other members of the Senate pictures of the devastation in Vermont caused by Hurricane Irene, and lobbying for foreign aid for landmine victims by showing gruesome pictures of the victims themselves. There’s no indication that he’s going to get out of politics any time soon, but if he does he may have a promising photography career ahead of him as a retiree.