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Steve Hansen When are suspects armed and not dangerous? Along with other news foibles

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Steve Hansen

Posted: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:02 am, Tue Feb 7, 2012.

When most of us read newspaper stories, we draw conclusions after reading or skimming them. Usually, these thoughts just reinforce what we already believe or don't believe. Here are some examples — acting as my own armchair commentator:

Lodi News Sentinel (AP): New research concludes that babies learn to talk not only by listening, but by reading lips as well.

Comment: I don't believe this. If it were so, a baby's first words would be: "Read my lips: No new taxes."

New York Times: The Environmental Protection Agency orders fines on companies that are not using biofuels. Unfortunately, these biofuels are not available.

C: Go get 'em, EPA! And while you're at it, why not fine the rest of us for not powering our cars with hydrogen?

Associated Press: Wikipedia goes dark for a day to protest anti-piracy bill.

C: Could this be a legitimate excuse for turning in an "extensively researched" term paper a day late?

Los Angeles Times: Ron Paul gets boost from brothel bunnies.

C: Three cheers for Viagra!

New York Times: Greece economic collapse could threaten world economy.

C: Again, I don't believe it. Isn't it true that the squeaky wheel always gets the "Greece?"

Los Angeles Times: Killer of family gets five life terms.

C: Hummm. I wonder if he could get two life terms off for good behavior?

Lodi News Sentinel: Vice principal makes citizen's arrest of teacher who bumps into her.

C: Wow! I can only imagine what she does to those who turn in lesson plans late!

Lodi News Sentinel (AP): Paula Deen hid diabetes, pushes high-fat food.

C: Yeah, but wait 'til you see her new cookbook — tofu filet, smothered in watery seaweed-flavored gravy; along with soybean tails dipped in "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter."

KCRA News: The suspect is armed and dangerous.

C: Has there ever been a suspect who was armed, but not dangerous?

Lodi News Sentinel (AP): Gingrich food stamp comments spur anger.

C: It should! Even Ron Paul knows the needy now use government credit cards.

London Telegraph: Captain of doomed cruise ship says he tripped and fell into a lifeboat.

C: "It's not my fault. It was these darn platform pumps!"

So you see, we all do it. Most of our opinions are already formed. We're just looking for reinforcement for what we already believe. Even those who don't read the paper or look at any news sources have formed unwavering positions. Maybe historian Gregory Gores got it right when he said:

"Man does not change. Only his technology changes."

Steve Hansen is a Lodi writer and satirist.

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