Light Tuesday Bloggage

The scandal du jour is how the gathering of tabloid gossip has escalated from eavesdropping on insider chitchat to outright espionage.  In Britain, reporters from Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World are accused of trying to get the dirt on royals, politicians, and sports stars by bribing bodyguards and household staff, hacking phone lines, and cracking into email accounts.  The spying operation apparently extends to the United States, where Murdoch reporters are said to have hacked the families of 9/11 victims, among others.  I’m certain it runs deeper than anyone is saying right now, because once you start getting insider news this way, how do you stop?

But why haven’t we heard more about Squidgygate and Camillagate?  Way back in 1989 someone recorded phone calls from Princess Diana and Prince Charles.  Transcripts of the calls ended up in the British tabloid press, to the great embarrassment of all involved.  There were investigations: I believe it came down to simple gossip-gathering, someone digging up dirt on the royals to sell to the highest bidder.  Isn’t what’s going on now, more than 20 years later, just a continuation of that?  Hell, reporters were caught trying to break into the missing baby’s upstairs nursery in the wake of the 1932 Lindbergh baby kidnapping.  Nothing new here.

I’m thinking what’s different this time around is Murdoch’s boys crossed the wrong person, someone with the power to destroy them.  The Lindberghs couldn’t take down the tabloids 80 years ago, the royal family couldn’t do it 20 years ago … but someone’s doing it now.  Murdoch owns newspapers all around the world, and no doubt the extent of the spying has only begun to be revealed.  I  must say I’m glued to this story.

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I’m increasingly unglued to NPR, particularly when it comes to news about the debt ceiling standoff here in the USA.  NPR aired a long segment this morning absolutely filled with Republican and Tea Party talking points, and nary a word about what 2- to 4-trillion dollar cuts will actually mean to regular people, nor what will happen if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.  Are Social Security checks going to keep coming?  What about military and federal pensions?  Will people on Medicare still be able to see their doctors?  Will VA hospitals continue to operate?  Will government workers be furloughed?  Why isn’t NPR talking about these things?  I was so disgusted I changed the station.  Liberal media my ass.  Propaganda funnel is more like it.

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Speaking of fighting city hall, my daughter went to traffic court this morning to contest a parking ticket … and she won!  I’m going to remember that next time I get a bogus ticket.  You can still fight ’em, and it’s still possible to win.  A lesson there for us all.

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On the geek front, I’ve been tinkering with the formatting of my book and DVD review posts.  What works on a desktop or laptop doesn’t necessarily work on a mobile phone screen.  What works in Firefox might not work in Internet Explorer.  What works on a screen set to 1024 by 768 pixels works differently at smaller or larger resolutions.  The <div> tag is supposed to separate elements on a page, something like a hard paragraph break, except that it doesn’t.  So many problems!

I’m trying different formatting techniques, checking them on Firefox and IE, then checking again with larger and smaller screen resolutions.  I’ll probably have to download Chrome and Safari too.  Why should it be so damn hard to set up your blog so that it looks the same to every reader?  Look, people, just change to Firefox, set your screen resolution to 1024 X 768, and you’ll see what I see.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

Google+ opened up invitations again, at least for a short time, and I was able to sneak in (I’m listed as Paul Woodford, if you’d like to find me there).  First impressions: G+ is simple to understand and use, not cluttered with Facebook-style time-wasters like polls, games, and who-befriended-whom notices.  I particularly like being able to set up defined circles of friends and acquaintances (friends, family, hash house harriers, etc) so that I can have discussions with people in some circles without being overheard by all.  And, as with Twitter, I can follow notable people without being a pest.

Now to see whether sufficient numbers of my friends and relatives make the move.  I hope they’re not all busy playing Farmville.

© 2011, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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