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Franken objects to Facebook’s built-in ‘photo-tagging’

Sen. Al Franken has a problem with Facebook’s “tagging.” Jim Spencer of the Strib says: “The Minnesota Democrat called out the company for making it hard for members to avoid having online photos of themselves shared with people they might not want to see them. Chairing a hearing of a subcommittee on privacy and technology, Franken challened Facebook’s practice of automatically including its members in a facial recognition program that lets people “tag” their Facebook “friends” so those friends’ pictures are initially published without their knowledge. Facebook’s manager of privacy and public policy, Rob Sherman, told Franken that ‘Facebook is an opt-in experience,’ but he said the network made it easy for users to stop photo tracking if they wanted. Franken replied that it took ‘six clicks’ on Facebook’s ‘easy-to-use privacy settings’ for a user to even find the words ‘photo recognition.’ In contrast, the senator added, Google leaves facial recognition software off until users ask to turn it on.”

Officially, supporters of the GOP’s marriage amendment say Secretary of State Ritchie’s title change will hurt their cause. Brian Bakst of the AP writes: “In a legal brief filed ahead of a late-July Minnesota Supreme Court hearing, lawyers for Republican lawmakers and Minnesota for Marriage said it was improper for Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to alter the title that will appear above the November ballot question. The lawyers criticized the wording he chose as misleading and said it could sway votes. ‘Even small changes in the wording of ballot measures and titles can have a dramatic effect on the election results,’ according to the brief. It was signed by Minneapolis attorney Erick Kaardal but assembled by a group of local and national attorneys who want the court to reverse Ritchie’s changes.” I think we kind of assumed as much.

Someone’s going to be getting a lot of Barney Fife jokes. Mara Gottfried of the PiPress reports: “A St. Paul police officer’s loaded gun was stolen from his vehicle when it was parked outside his Roseville home, according to police. Sgt. Thomas Arnold reported the theft to Roseville police Tuesday, July 17, at 8:45 a.m. He said it occurred sometime between Monday at 10 p.m. and Tuesday at 8 a.m. The loaded 9mm Glock, Arnold’s St. Paul police duty weapon, had been in the center console of his sport-utility vehicle, said Lt. Lorne Rosand, Roseville police spokesman. Arnold thought he’d locked the SUV the night before but suspected he might not have because the vehicle was not damaged, Rosand said.”

The AP story is short but comes with a few attention-grabbing statements: “The state Health Department says the rate of increase in health care spending in Minnesota has slowed to its lowest point since 1997, and the recession is a big reason. The department says health care costs are still rising, but at a much slower pace — 2.2 percent from 2009 to 2010. State Health Economist Stefan Gildemeister … said many lost their insurance when they lost their jobs and others who kept their jobs were more cautious. Gildemeister said another reason health care spending may be slowing is that consumers are increasingly paying more of out-of-pocket costs. Health care spending, at $37.7 billion, accounts for almost 14 percent of Minnesota’s economy.”

T-Paw was on … where else? … Fox News Wednesday, joking that he’d show his “tats” to prove he isn’t dull. Politico’s Mackenzie Weinger writes: “[Neil] Cavuto laughed as Pawlenty added, ‘I’m teasing, I’m teasing.’ The ‘Your World’ host also pressed Pawlenty on whether he thinks Mitt Romney needs a flashy running mate. ‘We have a lot of people who are entertaining, who can light their hair on fire or, you know, do whatever,’ Pawlenty said. ‘But the bottom line is, these are serious times, we need seasoned, experienced people who get the job done.’ ”  He wasn’t asked if he knew anyone who could finish up a couple of dozen jobs back in Minnesota.

Adam Belz of the Strib has a piece about Minnesota companies looking for ways to sell more food to India: “The 250 million members of India’s growing middle class are young and educated, they have money, and they want new kinds of food. About 15 smaller Minnesota companies that sell everything from dried chickpeas to milkshake mix heard that pitch this week in downtown Minneapolis. They met Indian buyers and now will decide whether to export to the world’s second-most-populous country. By the numbers, this is a huge opportunity for food exporters — 1.2 billion people who eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. And it’s a key example of a demographic phenomenon playing out in several parts of the world. Large numbers are joining the middle class, and forward-thinking businesses are looking for ways to sell their goods in the new market.” They’re not coming after our chocolate-dipped bacon on a stick, are they?

GOP Sen. Scott Newman is up today in a Strib commentary ripping Mark Ritchie: “Ritchie has greatly overstepped the authority of his office by unilaterally changing the name of the voter ID question that will be on this year’s ballot. … The secretary of state and outside special-interest groups have called the ballot question misleading. The amendment passed by the Legislature is very clear and understandable. Ritchie is clearly trying to mislead citizens with a vague, ambiguous title in a naked attempt to deter Minnesota’s electorate from voting for the proposed amendment, a mission that is not part of his duties as secretary of state. According to several recent polls, Minnesotans overwhelmingly support the voter ID amendment, with 60 to 80 percent support for the provision. Photographic identification for legal, qualified voters is absolutely crucial and an important step toward increased integrity in the election process.”

More on the latest Michele Bachmann furor. Kevin Diaz at the Strib says: “Bachmann has long been a lightning rod of criticism from the left, but her public campaign against what she calls a ‘deep penetration’ into government circles by Islamic radical groups is being met with denunciations from both sides of the political aisle. Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress, went on CNN Tuesday night to fire back at Bachmann just as she was warning of the dangers of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Obama administration in a keynote speech at a Washington summit of Christians United for Israel, a staunchly pro-Israel evangelical group. ‘This is McCarthyism at its worst,’ Ellison told the Star Tribune Wednesday, referring to the late Sen. Joe McCarthy, whose name became synonymous in the 1950s with his accusations of Communist infiltration in all walks of American life. ‘This is one of those moments when you can’t stay silent,’ Ellison said.” She sure can’t.

Steve Karnowski of the AP reports that Costco has taken a stand against the confinement pens used for pregnant sows captured in an undercover video from a Minnesota pork-producing facility: “The company acted after an animal welfare group shot an undercover video showing conditions at one of the chain’s pork suppliers.    Gestation stalls have been a major target of groups like Mercy for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States. Mercy for Animals had been preparing to release a video shot in a sow barn at Minnesota-based Christensen Farms. Costco then gave the group a letter it sent to its pork suppliers Tuesday urging a phase out of the crates by 2022. The group supplied the letter to The Associated Press. Mercy’s director of investigations, Matt Rice, says he commends Costco.”                                           

Comments (18)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 07/19/2012 - 07:05 am.

    Yeah, right

    Only a Republican would characterize a title that more completely and specifically describes what is actually in the text of the proposed amendment as “vague” and “ambiguous.

    Oh, the joys of political spin . . . . . . .

    • Submitted by Kyle Thomas on 07/22/2012 - 02:57 am.

      Hey Pat

      Actually it’s made more complicated since your man in the SOS office knows that the majority of Minnesotans would pass it in the language it was written. Interestingly he made it more complicated so the “vulnerable” voters your team claims to protect won’t understand the question.

  2. Submitted by Rod Loper on 07/19/2012 - 07:11 am.

    Crazy Michelle no longer a joke

    A crowd inspired by the Glenn Beck/Bachmann reports of pro Muslim Brotherhood bias pelted
    Hillary Clinton’s entourage in Egypt recently. When will she stop inciting those who “hate America”?

    • Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 07/19/2012 - 01:58 pm.


      Maybe when more people with actual power in DC start taking her seriously and realize she’s a threat, not just another loony conspiracy theorist. Would the Egyptians have believed Obama imposed a Muslim Brotherhood government on them with the credibility of the charge coming from a member of Congress? They don’t know she’s nuts. I don’t have strong hopes her constituents will finally figure out what they elected, so here’s hoping her colleagues in the House and other Republicans have the sense to ostracize the nuts.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/19/2012 - 07:21 am.

    Hey Rob Sherman:

    You didn’t build Facebook. Somebody else made that happen. And since “government research created the internet so all the companies could make money off the internet” Al Franken feels justified in telling you how to run Facebook.

    • Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 07/19/2012 - 08:53 am.

      Oddly enough

      there were a number of lawsuits suggesting that the people who made Facebook possible weren’t the ones who reaped the rewards, kind of like how the rest of our economy works.

      All the decisions are made by suits focused on money, and what customers want is the least part of that equation. Of all the social apps I’ve tried out, none were more invasive, less honest or more into “tricking” me into giving up personal information.

      Facebook is model for how Wall Street wants to run this country, and I am grateful (for a change) to Senator Franken for stepping in and telling Facebook to back off.

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 07/19/2012 - 09:05 am.

      I agree Denny…

      …I hope somebody can teach Franken how to be an American.

    • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 07/19/2012 - 09:51 am.

      “You didn’t build Facebook. Somebody else made that happen. And since “government research created the internet so all the companies could make money off the internet” Al Franken feels justified in telling you how to run Facebook.”

      I know! Obama had the audacity to say “”I know that you recognize that a lot of people help you in a business. Perhaps the banks, the investors. There’s no question your mom and dad. Your school teachers. The people that provide roads, the fire, and the police. A lot of people help.””

      Oh wait, that was Romney. Agreeing EXACTLY with what he was criticizing Obama for. In the same speech. Nothing notable about that. Move along.

  4. Submitted by Jim Camery on 07/19/2012 - 08:54 am.

    and damned if he doesn’t…

    Doesn’t the law require Ritchie to provide a name? The writing job falls to the leg, and the naming job falls to the SoS. The repubs apparently thought that if they went ahead and named it themselves he’d just go along with their suggestion.

    Oh, and I really miss Denny Hecker.

  5. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 07/19/2012 - 09:31 am.

    Dumb to leave weapon in unlocked car, but

    Dumb to leave weapon in unlocked car, and maybe in the center console of a locked car (there are small safes designed for this).

    But this police officer could easily have broken his own car window and lied about leaving it unlocked. So I give him credit for stepping up and being honest.

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/19/2012 - 09:42 am.

    Joe McCarthy was arrogant and power hungry…

    …but as documents obtained from Russia after the collapse of Communism proved, in the majority of cases, he was right.

    Maybe Rep. Ellison could take a break from defending the Muslim Brotherhood to educate himself on US History.

  7. Submitted by Cecil North on 07/19/2012 - 01:38 pm.

    Yes, let’s investigate all the anti-Americans influences

    in our government. But let’s start with the anti-American influence of radical evangelical “Christians” who are bent on imposing their own brand of sharia law. Then, let’s investigate the anti-American politicians who want to gut our healthcare and environmental laws, “reform” tort law to protect guilty corporations and drive our nation into deeper debt by lowering taxes for the wealthy. If we still have time left over, we can think about looking into Michele’s lunatic ravings.

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