Open Thread for Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Been busy today, but here’s some stuff to talk about:

  1. Trump says U.S. and North Korea have had direct talks at ‘very high levels’ — Looking ahead, does anyone else get a chill at the idea of our hair-trigger lunatic sitting down with their hair-trigger lunatic and talking nuclear weapons? What could go wrong?
  2. Templeton calls for return of firing squad — Finally, something she and I can agree on! Just kidding, sort of — gallows humor you might say (if she were trying to bring back hanging, which she might, given time). If I believed in capital punishment, I’d be for bringing back firing squads. But I don’t. Oh, I assume she’s not volunteering to be on the firing squad herself, is she? I ask because she doesn’t know how to fire the gun she carries with her….
  3. IRS electronic filing system breaks down hours before midnight deadline — Doug, this is my little tax-day gift to you. In other absurdities, Trump Requests Extension to File 2017 Taxes
  4. NPR Newscaster Carl Kasell Dies At 84, After A Lifelong Career On-Air — Increasingly, the stars of NPR are retiring or dying… Robert Siegel… Tom Magliozzi…
  5. Starbucks to Shut 8,000 U.S. Stores for Racial-Bias Training After Arrests — Please don’t say they’re shutting down my Starbucks… Please don’t say they’re shutting down my Starbucks… Please don’t say they’re shutting down my Starbucks… If they are, I’ll take my racial-bias training to go, thanks…
This is at the Gervais Starbucks. Interesting. You know, in some countries they assume you want to consume it on premises unless you say it's to go....

This is at the Gervais Starbucks. Interesting. You know, in some countries they assume you want to consume it on premises unless you say it’s to go….



98 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, April 17, 2018

  1. Richard

    1. Nope
    2. Good for her, we need to have a menu for death row inmates to choose from, out of one… pick another.
    3. What’s absurd? Tens of thousands file extensions… I’m sure the Donald Trump taxes are a little more involved than the Brad Warthen taxes.
    4. Well considering the average NPR listener is likely over 60, I would expect the reporters would be geriatric.
    5. Don’t care, not a coffee drinker and have never been in a Starbucks.

  2. bud

    With all due respect, I don’t get confused.
    – Nikki Haley

    Can this administration go one day without something totally bizarre?

  3. Norm Ivey

    I got Comey’s book on my Kindle yesterday. Very nearly finished it already. He’s had an interesting life. The book is mostly about integrity in leadership.

    We need more people like Comey.

    1. Doug Ross

      I’m not sure I would take someone’s own proclamations about his own integrity as 100% verifiable… just saying.. I read John Edwards’ book when he was running for President and he gave a very glowing view of his own accomplishments.

      I’d rather Comey NOT write a book to prove his integrity.

      1. Norm Ivey

        He openly shows his warts as well, which is part of integrity. I’ve never heard from a reliable source that he doesn’t have integrity.

        1. Doug Ross

          What are some of the warts? I’m thinking of job interviews where they ask you for your weaknesses: “I try too hard to do a great job” “I don’t have enough time to do help others” “My colleagues end up respecting me so much that I feel I let them down when I am only above average”

          1. Norm Ivey

            He helped bully a kid in college. He seriously considered not pressing the case against Martha Stewart because of the notoriety. There are others.

          2. Richard

            The best weakness answer is to tell them you’re a compulsive liar, then tell them that’s a lie.

      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        Whereas I didn’t need to read a book by Edwards. Meeting him was enough…

        Seriously, I like a guy who can write a book. And I’d like to once again have a president who can do that — or even read a book…

        1. Norm Ivey

          I think y’all should read the book. It’s not like, “look how much integrity I have!” It’s more he describes men and women he has known that have integrity, and how he’s tried to live up to their examples, but sometimes fails.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Of course, most literate adults can make themselves look good without being painfully obvious about it.

              Most people aren’t like Trump, frankly praising themselves in terms that would be embarrassing coming from a 5-year-old…

          1. Bryan Caskey

            That’s fair. Yeah, I haven’t read the book. Probably won’t get around to it. I’ve got way too many books in my “to-read” queue right now, as it is. Almost finished with the Aubrey-Maturin epic. (Then it’s back to finish Churchill’s memoirs.) Then lots of other military histories….this list goes on and on.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Me neither. But I usually don’t read these trendy books from the world of politics. I prefer to read history, about things that have cooled off a bit to the point that they can be examined more dispassionately…

              1. Norm Ivey

                I have a weakness for biographies, which is what this is. I just finished it. He gave Trump a couple of chapters. Nothing new in those sections except what he was thinking through it all.

    2. Richard

      “We need more people like Comey.”

      Self absorbed attention seekers? We have enough with the Kardashians.

  4. Doug Ross

    “Doug, this is my little tax-day gift to you.”

    It’s the gift that keeps on taking.

    It’s always so inspiring when I fill out my federal taxes to know that my wife and I work 1.5 days a week for the Federal government, 1 day for the state government, and a half day for Richland County. Or if I look at it another way, my wife’s entire income (and some) goes to the government. But look at what we get for that! Missiles that kill people, solicitors who get better vacations than we do, and millions of dollars in “penny” taxes that go to the buddies of politicians! Yay!

    1. Richard

      There’s a simple way to end the Richland County tax… I no longer feel sorry for people who take the abuse by that corrupt county government. Don’t like it, move across the river.

    2. Harry Harris

      Welcome to the middle class in modern democracy. We still have some responsibility to each other as citizens. Too bad you don’t see the more useful things provided to you by government – like safety, roads to travel, customers and neighbors who can read and write (somewhat).
      I would suggest seeking better tax strategies. You must be self-employed, paying both sides of FICA and Medicare insurance. Getting more passive income would help (rents, royalties, dividends worked for me). Maybe taking stock options, to turn bonuses into capital gains would help. Inherit some wealth and invest it. Get your salary well above the 118K FICA ceiling would help. Stop being inspired and earn a lot more money. You’d be amazed at the tax advantages you will find.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        When I was at the paper, the money I didn’t have to pay for Social Security at the end of the year was sort of Christmas Club account.

        I thought, and still think, it was ridiculous for me to be freed from paying those taxes for a month or two, when people who made far less (such as the present-day me) had to pay it on ALL their income. But there it was, and it made Christmas shopping so much easier, which is nice when you have a big family.

        In the last years of my time as EPE, that tax-free period got shorter and shorter because as the cap rose, my salary was stagnant. (Although when I was laid off I was making almost $30k more than when I started in the job 12 years earlier, when adjusted for inflation I was making LESS.)

        Of course, now I’d love to have that “stagnant” salary back. And I’d be happy to pay my full share of it in taxes, including on FICA…

        1. Doug Ross

          If you want me to pay more for other people’s Social Security, then call it a welfare program instead. I will work 50 years and deserve to reap the benefits of my career, not pay for someone else’s retirement who made other choices.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            “…who made other choices…”

            Because, of course, anyone would automatically make as much money as you do unless they made the wrong “choices.”

            If only the word could get out. It would save so many people so much hardship…

      2. Doug Ross

        “Get your salary well above the 118K FICA ceiling would help.”

        I’ve been well above the ceiling for a long time. (And when I WAS self-employed, it was even worse). Why do you think I pay so much in taxes? That’s the “beauty” of progressive tax rates, right? I get to pay more for the same things everyone else gets for less or for free. And for making a very good salary, I get lumped in with people who the lower end call “lucky” and “privileged” instead of being thanked for supporting the government they get for free.

        Those who don’t pay any federal income tax should send a thank you card instead of a tax return.

        1. Harry Harris

          The beauty of “progressive tax rates” kicks in for those like Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and others based on filings that show effective federal income tax rates of 13% or less. If you are paying 30% to Uncle Sam (based on those 1.5 days) and 20% to SC, you must be truly middle class. Not only are you paying part of the share due from the bottom-earning 40+ percent, you are paying part of the share for those who make contributions to PACs disquised as “educational eleemosynary” groups. These include Heritage Foundation, many TEA Party groups, Koch Brothers funded endeavors, Dick Armey and friends, one of Karl Rove’s “charities,” my church, and numerous fake-grass-roots outfits that legally hide their donors’ identities.
          Oh. and thanks for all the free stuff I get.

          1. Doug Ross

            You talk about rates. How about talking about real dollars? 13% of a million is $130K.

            The government exists because of those people paying 13% not because of the middle class…

            The share of federal income taxes paid by the top 1% was 37.8 percent in 2015.

            In 2012, the top 50 percent of all taxpayers (69.2 million filers) paid 97.2 percent of all income taxes while the bottom 50 percent paid the remaining 2.8 percent.

            I don’t care what rate someone pays. Those who earn the most pay the most. They are the driving force behind the federal government outside of Social Security (which should be privatized anyway).

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                It’s more accurate to say, “those who obtain the most,” however that happens.

                Of course, no one can EARN a billion dollars. But some people become billionaires. I think even Justin Bieber is a billionaire. I assure you, he did not EARN it, in any normal sense of the word, that of, shall we say, deserving it because of his actions — or, as Doug likes to say, his “choices.” Someone else could have made every single choice Bieber did, and worked twice as hard, and have to get a job at McDonald’s to free him to pursue his singing “career.”

                Once you get above upper-middle class — above the kinds of money a doctor or lawyer or engineer or successful small business person makes — when you get into the realm of great wealth, it’s like what William Munny said in “Unforgiven”…

  5. Harry Harris

    Carl Kasell was a witty guy with a notable voice, and was a terrific fit for the humor on “Wait, Wait.” The cast, regulars, and most listeners loved him. The show, 11:00 AM on Saturdays is my favorite media show on all formats. It’s the only show I try to never miss.

  6. bud

    Doug, with all due respect you’re just whining now. You’re fortunate (yes I mean lucky) to be so financially well off. You live a comfortable life. So why should anyone respect this wah wah wah tirade.

    1. Doug Ross

      Yep. 40 years of luck. Just one lucky day after another. No effort or skill required. No setbacks to recover from, no risks taken, no attempts to improve my skills. That I went from making $3.16 an hour in 1977 to where I am today was pure luck.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Here we go again, round and round, the same arguments, with folks on both sides being wrong, because they want it to be ALL luck or ALL hard work…

        1. bud

          Brad I’ve never claimed it all about luck but everyone stands on the shoulders of others to be successful. It’s just preposterous to say a persons wealth entirely because is decisions they make. Anyone born into the American middle class is basically standing on third. Doug has taken advantage of that good fortune. But to hear this constant whining about a little bit of a tax burden from someone who jets around the country is really very offputting.

          1. Richard

            Yep, I’m sure Doug loves the glamorous lifestyle of standing in a TSA line or sitting in the middle seat in Coach on a red-eye flight. From personal experience, living in a hotel wears off off after about 4 days. Then you’re just in a room that you get kicked out of from 8:00 – 3:00 on most days. If you haven’t done it, go home and spend a week living in your bedroom.

            I know more middle class born people who have failed than succeeded, it depends on how much work you put into your future. I know families where one kid is a medical doctor and the other is in prison for drug related crimes. If both born on 3rd base, shouldn’t they both be doctors?

              1. Doug Ross

                Not really. There is a direct link between education and employment/career. EVERYONE starts with some opportunity to get a free public education and then use all sorts of programs/loans to achieve a higher degree.

                Nearly all of the thousands of factors you mention are related to choices and effort. Show me an adult with a dead end job and I’ll bet there are “thousands’ of choices that led to that result.

                1. bud

                  There is a direct link between education and employment/career.

                  It’s also true that there is a direct link between how tall one is and their odds of making it in the NBA. It also depends on gender. A’ja Wilson will never earn 1/10 what Lebron James does. Yet she excels in the game she plays.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Yep. She’s awesome, and she’s made all the right choices, and made the most of every opportunity that has come her way. No one could say she hasn’t worked hard enough. But she’s female, so…

          2. Doug Ross

            “Anyone born into the American middle class is basically standing on third. Doug has taken advantage of that good fortune. But to hear this constant whining about a little bit of a tax burden from someone who jets around the country is really very offputting.”

            You have no idea about my background or my work schedule.

            If you think being the grandson of a woman with a 2nd grade education whose husband died while she was pregnant with my mother during the worst of the Depression is being “born on third base”, you’re just a typical class warfare lunatic who tries to rationalize his own status in life. If you think working 80-100 hours a week during summers to pay for college myself is an example of my privileged existence, you are simply wrong. I have worked hard for everything I have — and, unlike you and Brad and others – I begin with the idea that everything I earn belongs to me first and not to the government.

            As for “jetting around the country”, you obviously don’t fly enough to know that there is no luxury in that process. How many flights have you taken this year?

            As for my “little tax burden”, I’ve made my case clearly. My wife and I pay more in federal tax than she makes in income. That’s too much… I don’t want to pay zero, I want to pay less. And I want to pay less because what I do pay is given to entities that are inefficient, corrupt, and deliver a below value return for the money received. I pay for a steak dinner and get a veggie burger made of kale and beets.

  7. bud

    Those who don’t pay any federal income tax should send a thank you card instead of a tax return.

    That perfectly describes Donald Trump who likely went years without paying income tax. But it doesn’t include me. I pay plenty every year. And I don’t complain. I live a fine life.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      It’s never occurred to me to gripe about paying taxes, either — even when my income has been low, and especially not when it’s been high…

      1. Norm Ivey

        I’m the same. I was disqualified for military service, and taxes have always felt like my duty and service.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Yeah. Kind of the least I can do.

          I’ve always like when mob boss Frank Costello was asked by Sen. Kefauver if he could name anything worthwhile he did as a citizen, and he said, “I paid my tax.”

          The folks in the hearing room laughed, because that was pretty pathetic. Like, of course you pay your taxes! That’s the LEAST you can do for your country…

          Nowadays, though, people don’t take that for granted. Now, it’s like it’s some big imposition…

    2. Doug Ross

      “That perfectly describes Donald Trump who likely went years without paying income tax. ”

      Trump has paid more income tax in a single year than everyone on this blog has paid in their lifetime. He also has created thousands of jobs that contribute millions of taxes.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        What’s your point? Does that excuse him from being an idiot or something?

        If he’s as rich as he says he is, he’d damn’ well BETTER be paying more than I’ve paid in my life…

      2. bud

        Doug we don’t know how much income tax he’s paid since he won’t release his returns. But we do have some clues that he’s written off tons of money for his 4 bankruptcies and other loopholes. The jobs he’s “created” are nothing compared to smaller companies on a per unit of income basis. He’s cheated and bullied his way to his current lifestyle. You’ve bought in to this bizarre fantasy that Trump is a good businessman. Once his Russian oligarch pals stop propping him up he’ll be living in a cardboard box.

        1. Doug Ross

          Rachel Maddow got all excited about a tax return for one year that ended up being a dud in her quest for relevance. Turns out Trump paid millions in taxes that year. Care to estimate how much you’ve paid in federal income tax in your lifetime? Is it a million?

            1. Doug Ross

              Really? Didn’t bud say this: “Doug we don’t know how much income tax he’s paid since he won’t release his returns.”

              and my response is directly to that comment. A Trump tax return was released and it showed he paid $38 million in taxes in 2005. I think 38 million is a reasonable amount for anyone to pay no matter how much money they make. And it’s more than you and every member of your family (and bud’s) will pay in a lifetime.

              Maybe you’re reading comments out of order…

              1. bud

                Trump paid a sizable amount of tax primarily because of the Alternate Minimum Tax, AMT. He would have paid far less without that tax provision. And now conservatives are trying to get that changed.

                Doug all I’m looking for is an acknowledgement that you have had opportunities that others haven’t. And so have I. And so has Brad. We live in a country that gives people opportunities but those opportunities are not equally distributed. As a liberal I would simply like to see that opportunities ARE distributed as equally as possible. If people don’t take advantage of what’s available then they will fail. But sometimes failure is not an individual’s fault. Illness, poverty, gender and race DO play a role. Male basketball players make more than women; female porn stars make more than men. Also, some conscious choices may not be the best way to become financially rewarding but may instead be rewarding in other ways. The military and the peace corp don’t pay particularly well. Yet people that take those options can be very successful, just not rich. Other options clearly don’t serve much of a social purpose but can be very financially rewarding. Sheldon Adelson hasn’t contributed much to the welfare of society at large. I would say he is not really successful. His wealth is due mostly to his lucrative casino business. Can anyone really argue that casinos would not exist without Sheldon Adelson? While I can certainly admire hard work it is really a relatively minor factor to acquiring great wealth. And that hard work is even more of a minor factor the wealthier one becomes. It is really just preposterous to say luck plays zero role in wealth accumulation.

                1. Doug Ross

                  “Doug all I’m looking for is an acknowledgement that you have had opportunities that others haven’t”.

                  I do not acknowledge that. I have taken advantage of the opportunities that have been presented to me and everyone around me… not once, not ten times, but in the millions of decisions I have made since becoming an adult. Everything I have done could have been done by someone else (and many have done better because they have worked harder).

                  I need to look no further than my own family to see that the outcomes were different for my brothers than mine based on their decisions. We all started at EXACTLY the same place within a three year window. We each made different choices for schools, careers, personal decisions like when to get married, when to have kids.

    3. Richard

      “That perfectly describes Donald Trump who likely went years without paying income tax.”

      The important word there that discredits it, is “likely”. So you’re saying it’s a 50-50 deal that he paid taxes. I’m willing to bet his taxes paid for one year are more than your lifetime tax payments.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Doug writes, “And it’s more than you and every member of your family (and bud’s) will pay in a lifetime.”

        Richard writes, “I’m willing to bet his taxes paid for one year are more than your lifetime tax payments.”

        And I sit here thinking, What the hell does that have to do with ANYTHING?

        It doesn’t make Trump a good person, or a worthwhile citizen, or qualified to be president of the United States, or anything else relevant to a political discussion.

        If he, who claims to be a billionaire, doesn’t pay more than all of us put together do in our entire lives, then either a) he needs to be in prison, or b) our tax laws need to be radically overhauled — and not the way Paul Ryan likes to overhaul taxes.

        I mean, you know, duh… Which is why it absolutely perplexes me that y’all keep mentioning that as though it means something. It does not…

        1. bud

          Yep. The richest people pay the most because they can, and should. And I would go one step further and say they BENEFIT the most from our government and the way it’s structured.

          1. Richard

            “The richest people pay the most because they can, and should.”

            Is that your only justification? Do you pay more for items than your neighbors who earn less? Why not, you should because you can.

              1. Richard

                How does that not make sense, If I have a house worth $100,000 and my neighbor has a house worth $100,000 and I make twice as much as he does, should I pay twice as much for fire protection as my neighbor? After all I can afford to pay more than my neighbor… see how stupid this is?

                Brad, if you make more than the person you go to lunch with, and you order the same thing… do you pay more for your meal than the other person? Why not… you make more money than he does.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  The things you’re saying have zero to do with what we’re talking about.

                  But if you want to have an argument, go have one with Doug. He thinks if you have a $100,000 house and your neighbor has a $500,000 house, you should pay the same amount in property tax.

                  And if I’m inaccurately describing your position, Doug, I apologize…

                2. Doug Ross

                  Yes, two neighbors should pay the same property tax. To think otherwise is crazy. We’re paying for services, not paying for our decision to have an extra bedroom. Property taxes are the dumbest taxes.

                3. Doug Ross

                  And even dumber is that the tax is based not on what the property was purchased for and not what it could be sold for, but for what someone in the county decides the value is. Then they use another dumb concept called millage that nobody can comprehend. It’s government stupidity at its finest.

                4. Doug Ross

                  So if I buy a house for 100k and 10 years later the government decides it’s worth 200k, I pay property taxes on 200k… Even though I don’t have that extra 100k in actual value until I sell the house. Idiotic.

                5. Claus2

                  Brad it’s nice to know that I leave for a week and come back and not a damned thing has changed… arguing the same things that you were arguing three years ago.

            1. bud

              Is that your only justification?

              Yep. And it’s both necessary and sufficient to establish my point. But really the rich benefit so much more from our government institutions than the poor. Isn’t that obvious?

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Now, you’re making me uncomfortable, Bryan.

              You’re unlikely to come up with a bigger anti-communist than Yours Truly. I think the Cold War was eminently worth struggling through and winning, and I couldn’t be gladder that the Reds lost.

              But I have to tell you, I’ve always found that an appealing formula.

              As a communitarian, I believe every citizen has a responsibility to his community, according to his ability to contribute. Anyone who doesn’t is an a__hole, in my book.

              And as a Christian, I don’t believe in anyone having to go with actual needs unmet. And if we’re even halfway decent people, we’ll see that that doesn’t happen — in our actions, in our giving, and in the way we vote on issues.

              So I’m on board with the sentiments expressed. (Which is why it was such a compelling slogan for Marx, et al.) I just abhor pretty much everything the Bolsheviks ever did in supposedly trying to implement those principles…

              Now, have at me…

              1. bud

                You’re unlikely to come up with a bigger anti-communist than Yours Truly.

                Hmm. Communist sounds an awful lot like Communitarianism. Hey I’m on your side here but that claim really is ridiculous.

        2. Richard

          He pays multiple times what anyone here pays, yet he gets the same benefits as someone who doesn’t pay at all. Why does one person have to pay $10,000,000/yr. and someone else pay $10? What else is billed based on income earned? Restaurants, gas stations, Amazon???

            1. Mark Stewart

              Just explain to “Richard” what his annual taxes would be if we did not have a graduated income tax scale. It might be a glass of cold water to the face…

              It’s just like everyone in South Carolina not understanding that basically 4-5 states subsidize the taxes for all the rest of the country – SC most certainly included.

          1. bud

            What else is billed based on income earned?

            I love that “income EARNED” screed. The rich really don’t “earn” in any conventional sense the money they command. They either inherit it, steal it or fall into it through shear happenstance. Donald Trump has managed to pull the trifecta.

              1. Doug Ross

                Forbes did an analysis of all his holdings and determined Trump was a multi-billionaire. I’m sure the valuation changes on a daily basis, particularly when there is so much real estate involved. He’s super rich and pays plenty enough in taxes both directly and through all of this business holdings. I don’t need for him to pay more so you can get what you want. I don’t have the same mentality that assumes that what someone else has belongs to everyone…

        3. Doug Ross

          Paying taxes is not virtuous. Has he ever been arrested for tax evasion? If not, he’s done everything he is obligated to do. Oh, you want him to pay MORE than he is legally required to pay. Well, do better at electing socialists then.

          The point is that Trump and the 1% are the people who give you the massive military you enjoy and provide the majority of the funding for the federal government. I know you want the government to be even larger… so naturally, those of you who pay the least decide that the best source for your wants and needs is from the “rich guys”. In my book, that makes Trump more virtuous when it comes to taxes. He’s paying for the party and you want him to also provide an open bar.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            “Oh, you want him to pay MORE than he is legally required to pay.”

            Where do you get that?

            You say he pays more than all of us. I say, I certainly hope so — if not, there’s something seriously wrong.

            Are you saying he’s NOT paying more than we are? I just don’t see where you got what I just quoted from what I’d said…

            1. Doug Ross

              I’m assuming if you want national health you expect it to be paid for without cutting spending.. And I assume you will expect the rich to pay for it, not the poor. Am I wrong?

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Correct, except for the “not the poor” part. I’d like to see everyone who possibly can pay something. Of course, it would be ridiculous to try to charge the poor more than their income, or so much of their income that they can’t buy food or housing. The point is to see more people being able to afford health care. We already HAVE people choosing between seeing the doctor and paying the rent.

                Here’s how you start with single-payer: You have everyone pay in what they’re currently paying for health care coverage plus their out-of-pocket expense. If that’s not enough to cover everyone (which I suspect it might be, but I don’t have numbers to prove it — nor have I seen numbers to the contrary), then we’ll talk about paying for the rest of it….

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        And when they start embedding chips under people’s skin with all their medical data on them, I want to be one of the first in line to get one.

        I like my privacy; I really do. I just define privacy differently from the way a lot of people do…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I do!

          And our Echo kind of freaked us out the other day. I was in the kitchen talking loudly to my wife, who was in our TV room. Suddenly, Alexa — which is in our dining room — starts talking, going on at some length in answer to… nothing. Neither of us had said “Alexa,” yet she seemed to be explaining in detail why she couldn’t perform some function (I could only make out the occasional word, such as “video.”) It was creepy….

          1. Richard

            Soon you’ll be able to subscribe to a special section within where you can locate any related violent criminals.

            I wonder what happens if I send in a DNA sample and register as someone else’s name?

            But seriously, those of us who are adopted and don’t want to know anything about our biological parents are screwed when using these types of tools. I’d have to get a brother or sister to submit a DNA sample in order to use it the way I want to.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Actually, several months ago some of my relatives and I heard from a guy who was trying to figure out who his father was, and he thought it was one of my cousins — he just didn’t know which one.

              Thing is, the guy was definitely on the right track. On Ancestry, you can look to see who — among all the people who’ve done the DNA test — is related to you, ranked by how closely. My mom did the test a few month ago, so she comes up first. Her brother, my uncle, comes up next. Then come two first cousins, one from each side of my family (which tells me the people I think are my parents actually are my parents).

              Then comes the guy who was searching for his father — before any of my 2nd or 3rd cousins…

              Probably the most trouble these DNA tests have caused for people (after the serial killer, that is) are the people who find out the guy they thought was their Dad isn’t there Dad, or something like that. A lot of DNA tests have led to some family crises…

          2. Brad Warthen Post author

            This is helpful. I’ve been meaning to take time to figure out which of my relatives are serial killers and turn them in — an onerous task under the best of circumstances — and this saves me the trouble!

            Thank you, Ancestry!

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