Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Two phone scams Canadians warned about

Two phone scams Canadians warned about

Canadians are being warned about two telephone scams that involve impersonation of the RCMP and the National Do Not Call List.: The Canadian Press, Published on Wed May 20 2015

Canadians are being warned about two telephone scams that involve impersonation of the RCMP and the National Do Not Call List.
The RCMP says several Ontarians have been called by someone who says they are from the Mounties’ integrated technical crime unit.
They say the scam starts with the caller saying the RCMP has found the resident was sending malicious content through their computer, or that their computer was accessed by international criminals.
The caller then asks for money to either fix the problem or for protection from future incidents.
The CRTC, meantime, says there have been calls from someone alleging to be with the National Do Not Call List saying the residents must re-register by handing over their personal information to the caller.
Both the RCMP and the CRTC are warning Canadians not to fall for the scams or to provide financial or personal information to strangers over the phone.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mad Men Finale...

Do not read on unless you’ve seen “Person to Person,” the series finale of “Mad Men.”

“People just come and go and no one says goodbye.” - Don Draper/Dick Whitman
Well. It’s hard to write about series finales, because whatever I say here might be taken as the final word regarding my assessment of the show in question.
So let me say up front: I absolutely love “Mad Men.” It has supplied me not just with many hours of pleasure and contemplation, but it’s been one of the most enjoyable and enlightening shows I’ve ever been lucky enough to write about. Since it premiered eight years ago, I could count on several things where “Mad Men” was concerned: The show would surprise me, it would confound me, it would make me laugh and make me think, it would frequently look amazing and it would experiment with storytelling and have top-notch aesthetic elements. I always knew it would force me to raise my game as a critic -- and it did, I hope. You get to be the judge of that, but regardless, having conversations via email and Twitter and in real life with fans and fellow critics has been one of the best parts of engaging with this drama. I’m going to miss writing these reviews and having those conversations a lot. But I’ll miss the show even more. It’s a classic.
But that finale … well, there were three main character threads to it: Joan, Peggy and Don. One of them was satisfying, but two of them, for various reasons, ended up being frustrating. I didn’t expect “Mad Men” to tie everything up neatly -- far from it, given what the show has been about for the past seven seasons. But let’s just say that some past season finales were more satisfying and resonant than the series finale was.
The thing is, big chunks of “Person to Person” would have made a pretty good second-to-last episode of “Mad Men.” As the series finale, certainly as far as Don was concerned, it left a fair amount to be desired.
Let’s start with the story line that was most satisfying: Stan and Peggy. Hot damn, that was great.
For several seasons now, “Mad Men” has built up the fabulousness of the phone relationship between those two characters. Of course, their in-person relationship has had many terrific moments too, but on the phone, Stan and Peggy both let down their guards, or maybe it’s more accurate to say they let down their hair (and in Stan’s case, that is a lot of hair). Peggy’s more relaxed and open when she’s half-distracted by the work on her desk, and she never felt pressured or tense during her phone chats with Stan. She never realized a relationship with a guy could be so easy, because all of hers have just been so damned difficult. With Stan it was easy, and that can be one sign that it’s love, but Peggy -- so smart about so many other things -- didn’t know that. When she did begin to understand the depth of her feelings, wow.
Elisabeth Moss has done so much amazing work as Peggy that we’re used to it by now, but she was just incredible in that phone scene. All by herself, she had to sell the idea of Peggy finding out that she was in love with her best friend. Moss absolutely conveyed that realization with incredible conviction and wonder (and humor: I need a GIF of the second time she said, “What?”). All of the Emmys for Elisabeth Moss now, please and thank you.
I don’t mean to slight Jay R. Ferguson; since he arrived on the show, he’s made Stan’s bear-like charisma and down-to-earth persistence seem eminently appealing. Peggy can be pretty waspish in person, and she needs to be with someone who is willing to call her on that behavior, but who also knows that her mean moments spring from a deep well of fear and anxiety. Peggy has a lot of barriers up to the world, and for good reason. No doubt she’ll need to keep those walls up to survive in a harsh environment like McCann, as we saw in an early finale scene, in which she had to fight to keep an account. But Stan has her back in every possible scenario, and with him at her side, there is literally nothing Peggy won’t be able to do. (I can't help but think Freddie Rumsen would be so happy for her and proud of his protégée -- his "ballerina.")
I especially love that my Twitter mentions lit up like a Christmas tree the minute Stan and Peggy kissed, and some Twitter folk went so far as to wonder whether that scene had been written by me. Ha, nope! But it was absolutely wonderful and I give it top marks. Steggy forever!
The second of the three main storylines: Joan. Here’s one of my problems with the Joan situation: We haven’t known Richard all that long, not long enough for any issues that couple might have to seem believably complex. The one problem we know he had in the beginning was her other commitments -- to her child, especially. Richard wanted Joan all to himself, and, early on, he had a tantrum when she made it clear that her son was a priority in her life. He realized what an ass he had been in that situation, and he has been nothing but supportive and kind since then.
So why did he suddenly reject her when she decided to become an entrepreneur? Not only does that not track with what we know of him -- earlier, he’d realized that he’d do anything to keep a great woman like Joan in his life -- it does not track with what he said in this episode. He was excited about Joan’s prospects and called her entire life “undeveloped property,” and he didn’t say that in any way that indicated that he expected her to join the country club, enjoy her windfall and leave it at that. Sure, his excitement might have partly been the cocaine talking, but his comments were in line with his previous behavior: Richard has been generally supportive of her career and has always prized Joan’s intelligence and drive. But suddenly, he didn’t want to share this new adventure with her, and because she showed some ambition, he shut down the entire relationship? Just like that?
Eh, I’m not going to burst a blood vessel over it, but that development felt as though it almost came out of nowhere. Again, if we knew more about Richard and if we had more evidence by which to judge his actions, maybe that heel turn would make more sense. But it didn’t quite track for me; honestly, it felt as though creator Matthew Weiner wanted Joan to have a sad ending, so he jury-rigged one at the last minute.
Why? Did too many other characters get relatively happy endings and someone had to draw the short straw? In any event, why did Joan have to face another major betrayal from a man? It felt a bit tired, honestly -- this again? We’ve been down this road plenty with Joan, and for her to have a functional relationship with a solid, kind man would have felt like a new and fresh thing for her. All things considered, from a writing standpoint, Richard’s sudden exit just felt half-baked. With more set-up, it might not have felt so rushed and forced. If only some of the real estate given to Glen freaking Bishop had gone to Joan and Richard, arrrrgh.
I know, I know -- you can make the argument that Joan got a happy ending, sort of. She was well on her way to setting up a thriving new business and I have no doubt that she would be very good at what she did. Holloway Harris was clearly off to a great start (especially because someone named Maureen was helping out, heh). And no matter what, Kevin would be taken care of, thanks to Roger’s largesse. Joan would soldier on, because that’s what Joan does, but I won’t lie and say I didn’t want more for her.
Speaking of Roger, how great is it that he did not actually die, but was last seen in the finale ordering lobster and champagne? Never change, you magnificent bastard! The one person we all expected to keel over from all kinds of excess was smoking, drinking and eating rich food right up until the end. May the rest of us be half as lucky as that man.
All right, I’ve danced around this long enough. Time to make my big pitch. And Marie Calvet actually supplies me with some of the ammunition I need. We got two scenes of her with Roger -- but not one Don-Sally or Don-Peggy scene? In person, that is. Phone calls just aren’t the same -- not for me, anyway.
If you liked Don’s storyline and thought it worked well, more power to you. On an intellectual level, I understand the logic of what we saw Don go though. He once again felt the pain of his failures, a disgust at his deceptions and the deep wound caused by the rejections he endured as a child. This time, however, he was moved to reach beyond his pain to comfort someone else. Yep, I understand all that.
But my response to the episode is not about logic. It’s about having spent eight years with these people, and it’s about the show’s ferocious ability to get me invested in their lives. On the latter score, “Mad Men” was incredibly effective. It’s because the show made me so very interested in their fates that how things actually worked out in some arenas was, frankly, irritating.
“Mad Men” boasts plenty of intellectual firepower, aesthetic ambition and shiny structural experimentation. But, if you will, “there's the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash, if they have a sentimental bond with the product.” I have a sentimental bond with the men and women who inhabit the world of “Mad Men.” I don’t love them all the time -- sometimes they’re real jerks -- but I am always interested in them (well, most of them). I say all that to make it clear that I can’t be logic-ed out of the reaction I had to Don’s storyline. I get what happened intellectually, but it all felt a bit hollow emotionally. Don was off in Don-land, but a whole continent separated him from the heart and the soul of the show.
Of course, Matt Weiner is free to make the show he wants to make. But I have to say that certain things felt off to me. Some of those elements felt decidedly off.
Less than a quarter of the way into the episode, Don found out Betty was dying and he didn’t go straight home? I know that Sally didn’t ask him to return and Betty asked him not to, and I know that his old pattern is to drink and flee, but still. In every scene, I expected Don to get in a car or flag down a cab or hop on a rail car or commission a Learjet or whatever. I kept expecting him to go back to New York, or to at least try to head east, at some point, and the fact that he did not left me in a state of suspended animation.
It’s one thing for an episode to thrum with a secret that the audience knows but certain characters don’t -- that’s a tension-building strategy “Mad Men” has employed very well in the past. What I felt during parts of the finale was a skittering sense of frustration. That tipped into irritation once I realized that Don was going to keep on hobo-ing, even as his neglected children risked a fire in an attempt to cook dinner. Go home, Don. If hugs are being doled out, go hug your kids. I was so distracted by thoughts of that nature that at times, it wasn't easy to focus on what did occur.
Overall, the fact that certain relationships ended where and when they did -- over the phone, instead of in person -- well, that just felt off.
Don and Sally have one of the key relationships on the show, and the last we saw of them was a difficult phone call that Sally cut off at an awkward moment. For those two characters, for that to be the end of their association on screen -- it just felt odd.
What’s even more jarring is the way things were left between Peggy and Don. Here are some character groups we got to see together in the series finale: Pete and Peggy; Pete, Harry and Peggy; Joan and Roger; Pete and Trudy; Betty and Sally; Roger and Marie Calvet. An in-person scene we didn’t get in the finale: Don and Peggy. We got multiple scenes of Don and Stephanie, but the last time we saw Don and Peggy have a real conversation, it was a few episodes ago, and Peggy was mad at Don for dumping all over her dreams. That was the last time they spoke in person.
In the series finale, the last Peggy knows of Don is that he sounds suicidal and he’s calling her collect from California. That’s it. She doesn’t know where he is or how to help him. So much of the foundation of “Mad Men” has been built on the complicated bond between those two characters -- professionally and personally, each one looms large in the other’s life. The series premiere was all about Peggy’s first day at work as Don’s secretary. Their relationship during the ensuing decade formed, in a very real sense, the spine of the show. For those two characters, for that phone call to be the end -- well, I can't convince myself that that felt satisfying.
Before you send me a long email, I can already think of a million reasons why I should just accept how those relationships ended -- starting with the fact that they didn’t end. We’re supposed to accept the ambiguity because life will go on for those characters, and they will circle back into each other’s lives. Especially since Don went back to New York and came up with Coke’s famous “Hilltop” ad.
Or did he? That’s what the end of the episode strongly implies. But the episode doesn’t actually say so because … reasons? I do know one thing about that final scene and the Coke ad: Matt Weiner has ensured that he will probably be asked about whether Don created that ad in every interview he does for the next decade of his life. Maybe he will enjoy that as much as I enjoyed being asked, for three solid years, whether Peggy's sister took her baby (no, she did not).
In all seriousness, I absolutely get that “Mad Men” loves to play around with ambiguity, grey areas and doubt -- and I’ve reveled in that fact for eight years. Really, I have! But the vagueness about the ad wasn’t the good kind of ambiguity, it was just a knowable piece of information that the show chose to exclude. It created confusion, not pleasant or thought-provoking ambiguity.
That said, the clues embedded in the episode make it relatively easy to believe that, within the universe of the show, Don created that iconic Coca-Cola ad. The show has been dropping hints about Coke since Season 1, and the Coke references have come thick and fast in the last stretch of episodes (Peggy even mentioned it in her phone call with Don). Also, if you look at the similarities between the words of the meditation instructor said and the lyrics of the song, and add to that the gong-like tone at the start of meditation -- which perfectly matched the note at the start of the ad -- I think it’s a pretty open-and-shut case, myself. One inspired the other. The kicker is the smirk that broke out on Don’s face, right before the commercial began. Don Draper had clearly thought of a great idea for an ad, one that would get him out of the massive trouble he was in at work and would win a shelf of awards as well.
In seven seasons, "What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons" had evolved into, "What you call enlightenment was invented by guys like me to sell cola." That feels like the show at its most cynical, rather than at its most open-hearted, but Stan and Peggy kissed, so I'm just going to let it go.
By the way, I do believe Weiner would be fine with attributing a real ad campaign to a fictional character. In Season 1, we saw Don get the credit for Lucky Strike’s “It’s Toasted,” which was an actual slogan that company used for years. Another note: The timing works. The song and the commercial came out in 1971, and this episode was set around Halloween in 1970.
So sure, the ad makes sense in terms of being something Don could have done. The bigger problem was that various gaps, repetitions and dislocations led to an overall sense of dissatisfaction with Don's story. One or two gaps we have to fill in? Fine. Five or six big gaps? Eh, that’s more of a problem. We’re meant to assume that, at some point, Don left California and went back to New York, attended to his children, reconnected with Sally, had more dealings with Peggy, dealt with the death of his ex-wife, got back in the saddle at work, and eventually created the ad. Again, as far as Don’s storyline is concerned, if this had been the second-to-last episode -- great. As a series finale, “Person to Person” felt more than a bit disjointed; it left some important things out and left a lot of characters far apart.
And truth be told, it’s a little deflating to realize that Don’s big revelation led him to the creation of a memorable jingle. I know that that’s how the show operates -- the revelations Don encounters in his personal life often inform his work, which is really the only way he can consistently communicate with the world. I wrote a couple of weeks ago that I hoped that, wherever he was in his life or his career at the end of the series, if Don was in a place where he could feel, give and receive love, that would be progress for him. I am glad he got to that place. I just wish the finale had shown him sharing some of that love with his real family and his work wife.
Leonard’s big group-therapy scene was finely acted (excellent work by Evan Arnold), and I know that Don’s heartfelt hug of a total stranger -- followed by deep sobs -- was meant to be the big emotional payoff of the hour. However, Evan is a total stranger. That moment could not have the resonance of something like “The Suitcase,” or even the impact of a moment like the one in which, some time back, Sally impulsively told her father she loved him. Even Stephanie wondered why Don was with her, not with his actual family. There were a lot of references to mothers and children and abandonment, and obviously Don/Dick is the original sad orphan. But knowing his family needed him so much made it hard for me to invest in what the beaded and bearded folk in California were seeking.
It used to feel like a big deal for Don to confess, but this half season opened with Don regaling a couple of good-time girls with stories of his poverty-stricken upbringing. Don’s phone confession to Peggy was by no means his first confession. He’s been in the process of shedding his lies and sharing his truths for years now, and that process has been especially prominent in the last few seasons. I’m all for Don learning to accept himself and embracing his past, but the Don-Dick revelations don't have much force any more (partly because there have been a lot of them, partly because this final season should not have been dragged out over two years).
Don’s last encounters with the three major women in his life -- Betty, Sally and Peggy -- were on the phone. Who knows where Gene and Bobby ended up (maybe they will get lost in transit between the homes of various caregivers and nobody will notice for months). Don hugged a man named Leonard and he never did get rid of Anna’s ring. Don got a tan, shed some healing tears, and went on to create a cool ad (probably). Much of it felt like a prelude or a repetition, but maybe it was supposed to evoke the wheel, if not "The Wheel." You often end up where you started. That makes sense from a symbolic standpoint, but I felt, in "Person to Person," Don was re-learning things he had already learned many times.
Don once counseled Peggy to forget the hardest thing she’d ever done -- give up her child. Talking to a distraught Stephanie, he still clung to that belief -- that the past can be shed and its pain minimized -- but we in the audience know it’s not true and I can't quite bring myself to believe that the man who worked so hard to embrace his past truly believed that anymore. He has only made progress when he has realized admitted that the pain of the past still has a hold on him. As Don/Dick knew before he arrived in California, the only way out is through.
Ah well. I got one more hour with these people, whom I miss already. What can I say -- my relationship with "Mad Men" might be a little like Stan's relationship with Peggy. When I don't want to strangle it, I love it, and vice versa.
The truth is, I can’t stay mad at “Mad Men,” and as frustrating as parts of this finale were, I don’t even know if it truly made me mad. My reaction involved more irritation than anything else. But I’ll deal.
Of course, it was always going to sting to lose this show, and the show has confounded me so many times in the past -- why not go out on that note? Go ahead and be your idiosyncratic self, “Mad Men.” “Person to Person” has some good moments and some lovely grace notes, but it’s not a great series finale, nor is it an episode I’ll eagerly look forward to revisiting (except for the Stan-Peggy parts). But so what? I knew this wasn’t a show that would go the expected way; I half-expected the finale to troll me, and parts of it did. “Person to Person” was messy in some ways that caused me to grit my teeth, but I’ll get over it.
I am still grateful to “Mad Men,” and I’m sad, not just because that frequently amazing journey is over, but because this moment feels like the end of an era. When I got into the TV critic game more than a decade ago, back in the Elder Days, “The Sopranos,” “Deadwood,” “Lost,” “Battlestar Galactica” were on the air. Giants roamed the earth. My sentimentality about the early aughts is not so blinding that I fail to see how amazing the TV scene is now — I truly love where the evolution of the medium has brought us. But now that “Mad Men” is over, an era is truly finished; the anti-heroes that once dominated the landscape have exited stage left, whiskey in hand, pursued by various demons.
It might be tied with “Lost” or “Battlestar Galactica,” but the truth is, I have probably expended more words, more mental energy and more time on “Mad Men” than any other show I’ve ever written about. I don’t consider a minute of that time wasted -- far from it. It’s been a joy.
As Marie Calvet might say: Je ne regrette rien.
A final hail of bullets:

  • Jon Hamm finishes strong by ripping my heart out again during his phone call with Betty. The way he said, “Birdie” was so epically sad. Terrific work by both actors in that scene. January Jones has also been really wonderful in these final two episodes.
  • Meredith will be just fine. In all seriousness, yay for Meredith.
  • “Keep it up and you’ll be a creative director by 1980!” Way to make a compliment sound incredibly depressing, which is such a Pete Campbell thing to do. Clearly, I was grumpy about the in-person final scenes we didn’t get, but there were some bonus final meetings that I really didn’t expect. It was nice to seek Ken and even Harry again, and I did enjoy the lyrical montage near the end, in which the show checked in on several main characters. Even so, the meeting I liked best was the final scene between Pete and Peggy, even though he once again left her with something she didn’t truly want. And that was a lovely last line from Peggy, echoing a favorite line of Pete’s: “A thing like that.”
  • “This way, you’ll see them exactly as much as you do now -- weekends and, well, wait -- when was the last time you saw them?” Even with her dying breaths, Betty Hofstadt Draper Francis can still slay with the sick burns. Respect.
  • I do not understand how Roger and Joan had a blonde child.
  • I had a theory before the finale that we’d see Don Draper working under the name Dick Whitman as a mechanic somewhere out west, and his grease-monkey racing antics partly fulfilled that prediction, sort of. I didn’t necessarily predict he’d get rolled by a working girl again, but I can’t say I was surprised at that either.
  • “All I got was ‘suitcase’ -- yell at me slower or in English!” I’m so glad we got one more classic Roger Sterling quip. And the way he angrily swept out of the bedroom with the blanket arrayed around him was completely hilarious.
  • Another reference to a suitcase -- look at the scene in which Peggy and Don are on the phone. The poster behind Peggy depicts a stylized suitcase.
  • Speaking of the decor in Peggy’s office, the fact that Halloween decorations were carefully positioned on the print of octopus erotica to make it look like the black cat and the skeleton were all part of that disturbing sex scene made me love Peggy even more, which I didn’t think was possible.
  • I love that we got a final Joan-Roger scene. Joan’s laugh and her reaction to Roger’s news of his marriage was perfect. “That’s spectacular! What a mess!” And the final word on her awful ex-husband: “So he knows?” “No, he’s just a terrible person.” Yep.
  • If Don really gets into the self-help scene and goes to a lot of Est meetings in the early ‘80s, maybe he’ll come across Philip Jennings from “The Americans”!
  • We got a final Joan-Peggy scene, which was another bonus. “The partnership is just for you.” I knew Peggy would never take it, but I love that their friendship had come that far.
  • Caity Lotz was so good as Stephanie in this episode. And it didn’t escape my notice that Helen Slater was the caring woman who appeared several times in this episode (she came to Don’s aid in a pay-phone scene). So I am going to treat “Person to Person” as an original “Supergirl”-Black Canary from “Arrow” crossover.
  • It was fun to see Brett Gelman pop up in this episode. He also frequently appeared in group-therapy scenes in “Go On,” but he didn’t wear a bright red jumpsuit on that canceled ABC show, so “Mad Men” gets the win in that department.
  • The best part of the Stan-Peggy scene was when they kissed, but the second best part was the goony smile she got when she truly realized she was in love. I love Peggy’s goony, in-love smile.
  • Betty was smoking until the end. At that point, why the hell not?
  • The outfit Trudy wore to her first ride in a Learjet was amazing. 100 fire emojis!!

  • If you want more “Mad Men” talk, I was on WDCB Public Radio last week talking for a full hour about the show’s history and context, and I thought that conversation turned out really well. I enjoyed it a lot and hope you do too.
  • Speaking of conversations, Ryan McGee and I will have a new Talking TV podcast on “Mad Men” Monday or Tuesday, check the podcast page for that this week. And I will appear later in the week on Tom and Lorenzo’s podcast.
  • The last thing I have to say is thank you, from the bottom of my heart. It has been a joy and a pleasure to talk “Mad Men” with you every week. I will miss the show, I will miss writing about the show, and I will miss the “Mad Men” fans that I’ve gotten to interact with over the years. Thanks so very much for reading my words -- it means a lot to me. Always has.

Friday, May 15, 2015

End Of The World Message Martin Sheen Care Of John Oliver

John Oliver care of  CNN produced an actual doomsday video to broadcast when the world is ending and it’s incredibly dull. We've enlisted Martin Sheen to help make humanity’s final moments happier!

Boston Marathon bomber sentenced to death

BOSTON — A jury of seven women and five men sentenced Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death by execution, closing one of the most painful chapters in this city's history.
Tsarnaev looked straight ahead, showing no emotion, as the sentence was read. Jurors wiped away tears as the judge thanked them for their service.
"Your service as jurors in this case has been the very antithesis of mob law," U.S District Judge George O'Toole Jr. told the jury. "You can and you should be justly proud of your service in this case."
The judgment comes from the same jury who found Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts related to the April 15, 2013, bomb attacks and four-day manhunt. The jury found him responsible for killing four people, seriously maiming 17 and injuring hundreds more.
Reaction to the sentencing was swift with praise for the difficult work of the jury in making a decision that many said was just.
Marathon survivor Sydney Corcoran posted on Twitter that she was relieved with the decision.
"My mother and I think that NOW he will go away and we will be able to move on. Justice. In his own words, 'Eye for an eye.' "
Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said after the decision that Tsarnaev's crime was not motivated by religion; it was motivated by politics. She said the gravity of the crime, the murder of a child, a police officer and two young women merited the death penalty.
"This was an act of terror," she said.
His four defense attorneys left the courthouse through a back door. They walked away quickly together, ignoring questions from reporters.
Tsarnaev will next face a sentencing hearing to officially sentence him. No date has been set yet. After he is formally sentenced, the Federal Bureau of Prisons will decide where he will be incarcerated until the date of the execution or if he appeals the sentencing.
In the end, it all came down to one question: Should Tsarnaev be put to death or spend the rest of his life in a federal prison with no possibility of parole?
In reaching their verdict, the jurors weighed 12 aggravating factors against 21 mitigating factors. They were charged to consider the suffering Tsarnaev caused, his intent, his character and his relationships, among other things.
By choosing the death penalty, the jurors clearly rejected the defense's efforts to show Tsarnaev's older brother Tamerlan was the mastermind of the attack and the younger man was only following a charismatic, domineering sibling.
There may be an epilogue, however, with defense appeals of the sentence, which could last years.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

3 lessons learned when companies reject consumer complaints: Roseman

3 lessons learned when companies reject consumer complaints: Roseman

Media intervention won’t fix a consumer issue if you wait too long to complain or sign a deal before reading fine print.

I receive so many requests for help that I can’t handle everything. Here are my guidelines for going ahead.
Is the complaint about a large company known for customer service? Is it likely shared by other readers?
Even when facing media exposure, some large firms refuse to budge if they feel a consumer is in the wrong.
Here are three complaints I didn’t resolve and the lessons that arise from them.

Canadian public and private computer networks daily.” CSIS REPORT

Cyberattacks on economic, political targets threaten to overwhelm spy agency, report says

“Hostile state-sponsored actors (are targeting) Canadian public and private computer networks daily.” CSIS REPORT
OTTAWA— Canada’s spies admit they can’t keep up with daily cyberattacks from state-sponsored hackers, according to an internal report obtained by the Star.

A heavily censored “threat overview” prepared by CSIS last September stated hostile “state-sponsored” hackers are targeting everything from political positions and trade strategies to commercial data and personal information.

“Hostile state-sponsored actors (are targeting) Canadian public and private computer networks daily to advance their economic, military, (and) political agendas,” reads the report, prepared for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney’s office. “Offensive cyber operations (are) employed with more traditional methods in support of strategic and economic objectives.”
A separate overview of CSIS operations, also prepared for Blaney and obtained under Access to Information law, stated CSIS is being overwhelmed by the sheer number of attacks. CSIS reported the “scale of the threat has fast outpaced (its) capacity,” and the agency has been required to “prioritize” its efforts. That document rates cyber security as an “operational pressure,” along with terrorist travel.

Ottawa recently named China as the state sponsor behind a 2014 hack of the National Research Council’s network — an attack that CSIS and Canada’s electronic spy agency, the Communications Security Establishment, monitored for some time before quarantining the agency’s network from government servers. But while that high-profile attack made headlines, the September 2014 threat overview shows Canada’s public and private networks are targeted more often than most people realize.

CSIS also identified more traditional methods of espionage in the threat assessment, including “political espionage targeting government officials and systems.”
The CSIS threat assessment indicated traditional foreign influence “threatens” diaspora communities in Canada, but did not elaborate on the nature of that threat.

The Star requested an interview with both CSIS and Blaney’s office, and sent a detailed list of questions. CSIS did not return the Star’s call. Blaney’s office declined the interview request.
In an emailed statement, Blaney spokesman Jeremy Laurin said he could not comment on specifics of security cases. “We have made significant investments in a Cyber Security Strategy to defend against electronic threats, hacking and cyber espionage,” Laurin wrote. But a December 2014 memo from CSIS Director Michel Coulombe to Blaney, obtained by La Presse and shared with the Star, said previous “one-time” funding increases did not increase the agency’s “operational capacity.”
“In the face of a dynamic threat environment and a climate of fiscal restraint, CSIS will continue to seek out efficiencies and prioritize efforts,” Coulombe wrote in a highly censored briefing note.
NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison accused the Conservatives of “sleight of hand” in pointing selectively to budget hikes, while ignoring ongoing belt-tightening since 2012.
“(CSIS) is still behind, without accounting for inflation, without accounting for new duties, without accounting for the increased threat level,”

Garrison said. “They’ve got less money.”
Garrison noted CSIS operational challenges are likely to be even more pronounced with the new mandate to “disrupt” threats proposed in Bill C-51, the Conservatives new terrorism legislation.
Christopher Parsons at University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said the documents point to a larger conflict that’s largely been taking place behind the scenes — the militarization of the Internet.

“Canada is hardly alone as the target — or originator — of state-sponsored hacking,” Parsons said.
As countries continue to develop both offensive and defensive Internet capabilities, he said it’s become urgent to come to an international consensus of what counts as legitimate targets in the Internet age.
“The internet has become militarized behind the backs of most citizens, and I think that if we’re not going to roll back that militarization entirely . . . at the very least principled agreements about what are legitimate and illegitimate modes of militarization have to be established.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Picasso Sells For Record 179 Million - 4 Bidders 2 USA 2Chinese Billionaires

Exceptionally prolific throughout the course of his long life, Picasso achieved universal renown and immense fortune for his revolutionary artistic accomplishments, and became one of the best-known figures in 20th-century art.

Picasso Painting Sells For $179 Million, Breaking Art Auction Record

NEW YORK (AP) — A vibrant, multi-hued painting from Pablo Picasso set a world record for artwork at auction, selling for $179.4 million on Monday, and a sculpture by Alberto Giacometti set a record for most expensive sculpture, at $141.3 million.
Picasso's "Women of Algiers (Version O)" and Giacometti's life-size "Pointing Man" were among dozens of masterpieces from the 20th century Christie's offered in a curated sale titled "Looking Forward to the Past."
Christie's global president, Jussi Pylkkanen, who was the auctioneer, said the two pieces are outstanding works of art.
"I've never worked with two such beautiful objects," he said.
The Picasso price, $179,365,000, and the Giacometti price, $141,285,000, included the auction house's premium. The buyers elected to remain anonymous.
Overall, 34 of 35 lots sold for an auction total of $706 million.
Experts say the high sale prices were driven by artworks' investment value and by wealthy collectors seeking out the very best works.

Weak candidate Dr. Ben Carson will be eliminated as soon as the debates

Even Chris Wallace is all: I can't even with you, Ben Carson.
The "Fox News Sunday" host challenged the 2016 presidential candidate on some of his most inflammatory remarks, including Carson's comparing the Obama administration to Hitler's Germany.
"I want to ask you about some remarks you've made that you say that you stand by," Wallace said. "You have compared our government today to Nazi Germany. Do you really believe that?"
"Well, a lot of people like to say that," Carson responded. "But what I said is that in Nazi Germany, most of those people didn't believe in what Hitler was doing, but did they say anything? They did not. That's what allowed people to progress to that point. We need to be willing to stand up and speak up for what we believe."
Wallace jumped in: "But people oppose Barack Obama all the time!"
The Fox News host also brought up Carson's claim that Obamacare is the worst thing to happen to the country since slavery.

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