Alabama’s Bachus Won’t Seek Re-Election in 2014

Representative Spencer BachusDave Martin/Associated Press Representative Spencer Bachus

Representative Spencer Bachus, the dean of Alabama’s congressional delegation, will not seek re-election in 2014.

Mr. Bachus was the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, a post he held for six years until 2012, including a stint as the panel’s chairman in the 112th Congress. He came under fire from conservatives for helping Democrats craft the bank bailout in 2008, then he led House Republicans as they pushed back against the Obama administration’s efforts to overhaul financial regulations after the 2008 financial crisis.

In a statement on Monday, Mr. Bachus, 65, said that his choice to leave was a family decision.

“It has been the greatest privilege imaginable to serve as the representative of the people of Alabama in the United States House of Representatives,” he said. “It is an honor that I never dreamed could have been possible for me and the words ‘thank you’ are far from adequate. But as Ecclesiastes 3 says, to everything there is a season, and I feel in my heart that now is the time for me to announce this decision and allow others to have the opportunity to serve.”

Though Mr. Bachus has stuck to a right-of-center agenda of small government and limited regulations in Congress, he also supported a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as part of a broader effort to overhaul the matrix of immigration laws. Alabama has one of the strictest immigration laws in the country; some lawmakers there have argued that it would force undocumented immigrants in the state to “deport themselves.”

Before he retires in December 2014, Mr. Bachus said he would like to see the government implement a “spending reduction plan that will put the federal government on a sensible and sustainable financial path going forward.”

Mr. Bachus was elected to his 11th term in 2012 with 71 percent of the vote, his smallest margin of victory since 1996, and the first time he had faced a Democratic challenger since 1998. A native of Birmingham, Mr. Bachus is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of Alabama law school. He served in the Alabama National Guard and owned a sawmill before entering Congress. Currently, he is the chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, and the chairman emeritus of the Financial Services panel.

Shortly after Mr. Bachus became the ranking Republican on the Financial Services Committee, his inheritance of the chairmanship was endangered in 2008, when he worked with Democrats in crafting the government’s $700 Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, known as the bank bailout. John A. Boehner of Ohio, then the minority leader, blocked Mr. Bachus from speaking for the G.O.P. during deliberations and replaced him with Roy Blount of Missouri to lead the Republican side of talks. The legislation passed, although Mr. Bachus called his vote for the bill against the will of his constituents a “near-death experience.” After Republicans took control of the House in 2010, Mr. Bachus’s status as a prolific fundraiser for Republicans — and support from the incoming majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia — helped him to overcome a challenge for the committee gavel.

While he was chairman of the financial services panel, Mr. Bachus faced an ethics investigation after a “60 Minutes” report alleged that he used insider information to make stock trades. Mr. Bachus bet on a market collapse in 2008, after receiving a briefing from Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and other Bush administration officials. He denied wrongdoing and the Office of Congressional Ethics dropped its investigation in May 2012.

His decision to step down leaves an open seat in Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District, which is rated one of the most conservative congressional districts in the country by the Cook Political Report. The district includes the predominantly white middle-class suburbs of Birmingham.

Ads to Urge Obama to Reject Oil Pipeline

A new television ad scheduled for broadcast on Sunday will call on President Obama to “do the right thing” to prevent climate change by rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline.

Produced and narrated by Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund manager from California, the ad is the latest attempt by his political action committee to put pressure on Mr. Obama and try to counter proponents of the pipeline.

“Mr. President, you’ve had real accomplishments when it comes to fighting climate disruption,” Mr. Steyer says in the ad, which will run on broadcast television stations in Washington on Sunday and on cable networks across the country. “Let’s do the right thing on Keystone.”

The 1,700-mile pipeline would carry crude oil from the oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to American refineries on the Gulf Coast. Proponents say the project would create jobs and help the United States reduce its dependence on oil from the Middle East.

But opponents like Mr. Steyer say it will enable oil companies in Canada to extract and distribute much more oil from the ground and will contribute to the changing climate by pumping more carbon dioxide into the air.

Critics of the pipeline have one principal target: Mr. Obama. Because the pipeline would cross the border between the United States and Canada, it must get a permit from the State Department after environmental and other reviews. Mr. Obama has said he will make the decision about whether to approve the pipeline based in part on whether those reviews conclude that the pipeline contributes significantly to carbon pollution.

In the new television spot, Mr. Steyer claims that has already been answered.

“The truth? Scientists report Keystone oil would produce as much carbon pollution as 620,000 cars every year,” he says in the ad.

Sunday Breakfast Menu, Sept. 29

Sunday's Breakfast MenuStephen Crowley/The New York Times

The deadline for what would be the first federal government shutdown in 17 years is fast approaching, with House Republicans demanding a delay of President Obama’s new health care law as the only option for keeping the government funded past 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday. Members from both parties will appear on this week’s Sunday talk shows to discuss the next step.

NBC’s “Meet the Press” will air an exclusive interview with Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, in the wake of his 21-hour speech on the Senate floor railing against the Affordable Care Act.

Another outspoken opponent of the health care law, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, will discuss the fight that threatens to halt government operations, on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, and Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, will appear on the program as well.

CNN’s “State of the Union” will turn to the Republican leadership for answers on how to handle the spending dispute, with Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican of Washington and one of Speaker John A. Boehner’s top deputies, speaking on raising the nation’s debt limit and infighting within her party. Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, and Howard Dean, the former Democratic Party chairman and Vermont governor – both doctors – will discuss the politics and practicality of implementing the law.

The conversation on practicality will continue on “Fox News Sunday” as Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, and Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, debate whether President Obama’s signature legislation can work, and whether any of its risks are worth closing the government over. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House majority whip, will also be featured on the show to discuss Republican strategy.

ABC’s “This Week” will feature former President Bill Clinton, who will weigh in on the budget battles and his work with the Clinton Global Initiative. Later, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran will delve into his recent meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry and the latest talks over Iran’s nuclear program.

“Enfoque” on Telemundo will devote its entire program to the new health care law with a special analysis on the impact and scope of the legislation. Mr. Kaine will break down benefits of the program, while Santiago Lucero of Covered California and Ed Gómez of Houston Area Community Services explain what consumers need to know about registering for the new plan. Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, will also be on to discuss his party’s stance on immigration reform and providing a path to citizenship.

The topic of immigration reform will extend to Univision’s “Al Punto” with Representative Jeff Denham, Republican of California, and Representative Joe Garcia, Democrat of Florida, on to discuss the prospect of comprehensive changes. There will also be a sit down with President Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala, about his proposal to legalize drugs.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, will be on Bloomberg’s “Political Capital” offering more insight on the debt ceiling debate, and Mr. Durbin will be on the network’s “Capitol Gains” program discussing his predictions on who will be chosen to lead the Federal Reserve.

Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz will discuss United States energy policy on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers.”

Clinton Aides to Help in McAuliffe Fund-Raising Efforts

Friends of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton have come out of the woodwork to help raise money for Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia who is close with the former president and served as chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

In addition to Mr. and Mrs. Clinton hosting a fund-raiser for Mr. McAuliffe at their Georgetown home in Washington on Monday, a collection of longtime Clinton aides will also host a reception the same evening. The event will be held at the Dupont Circle home of Joe Lockhart, a White House press secretary during Mr. Clinton’s administration.

Other hosts include Paul Begala, James Carville, Tina Flournoy, Cheryl Mills, John Podesta, Melanne Verveer, Maggie Williams, Capricia Marshall and Mack McLarty — all of whom have known the Clintons, and by extension, Mr. McAuliffe, for decades. (Mr. McLarty is from Mr. Clinton’s hometown of Hope, Ark.)

Ms. Flournoy is Mr. Clinton’s current chief of staff, while Mr. Podesta and Mr. McClarty both served as chief of staff in the White House. Ms. Verveer served as Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff in the White House. Ms. Williams, Ms. Mills and Ms. Marshall all also worked for the former first lady. Ms. Williams served as Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager in 2008, while Ms. Mills and Ms. Marshall held key roles at the State Department when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state.

Mr. McAuliffe, a businessman and former Democratic Party chairman, is in a close race against the Republican Ken Cuccinelli. Both parties consider Virginia, which voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, as an important state on the electoral map.

Mr. Clinton has attended several fund-raising events to help Mr. McAuliffe. Mrs. Clinton, who has largely avoided politics since she left the State Department in February, has a second fund-raiser planned on Mr. McAuliffe’s behalf on Oct. 15 in New York. The event is expected to bring in $25,000 per couple.

App Smart: Apps That Make the Most of iOS 7

Apps That Make the Most of iOS 7

App Smart: Best Apps for iOS7: Now that Apple has rolled out its latest mobile operating system, iOS 7, several apps take advantage of the new look and feel of iPhones.

Consumers have been lining up worldwide to buy Apple’s new iPhones, even braving a typhoon in Japan.

Infinity Blade III, a $7 iOS app.

Soundwave, a free iOS app.

TiltShiftGen 2, a $1 iOS app.

The new phones are also running on new software, the iOS 7 operating system. If you are among the nine million people who bought a new iPhone 5S or 5C during the first weekend of sales, or have just updated your old device’s software, you will want to try some new apps that make the most of the new capabilities.

One of the best tests for the new iPhones is the graphically intensive game Infinity Blade III. It’s a 3-D fantasy-battle game in which you fight your way through a mystical world, slashing with a sword controlled by finger swipes.

The game is exciting, and the graphics are its most impressive feature. They are highly detailed and are about the same quality as graphics on a gaming PC a few years ago. Infinity Blade III’s battles are a little repetitive, but the game is remarkable enough to warrant its $7 price.

Testing the new phones’ camera is also a must. But no matter how good the camera is, there’s always room for improvement. For editing photos or adding special effects like filters, try Aviary’s Photo Editor app. This app is one of my favorites for photo-tweaking thanks to its straightforward interface and powerful effects, like blurring of images or adjusting their contrast.

The app’s interface has been improved to align with iOS 7’s clean, simple look. A few improvements have made it easier to use, like putting the special filters, photo frames and customizable stickers in one location — the new “Supply Shop.” Best of all, the app is free, although many effects add-ons are not. It’s around $2 for a pack of filters.

A different but cool photo-effects app is TiltShiftGen 2, which adds a special distortion to a photograph so it looks like an image of a miniature or model, instead of a photo of the real world. The app looks great on iOS 7, and the controls are all simple, with intuitive gestures. TiltShiftGen is just $1.

For an unusual way to read the news, try Flipboard. This app aggregates news items from many sources. It presents items in a graphics-heavy display controlled through finger swipes to “flip” the screen to the next article. You can explore news items more deeply by tapping on them, and share what you’ve discovered over e-mail or perhaps Twitter. The app is customizable by news sources and categories, and it has been updated to look at home on iOS 7 — including subtle animations of the images when you tilt your iPhone. It’s highly useful, and it’s free.

Apple’s own music-playing app is built into iOS, but for a different experience check out the free Soundwave. This app is about discovering new music via a social network. For example, it can show music that your Facebook friends have played recently. More exciting is the “music map” feature, where you draw a circle on a map of your current location and the app tells you what people are listening to in that area. You can even hear snippets of music, so you can decide if you’d like to buy it later.

To show off the geo-location and processing powers of your phone, try the $1 app Night Sky 2, an augmented-reality guide to the heavens. It will show an image of the stars and planets above your head along with data on each one as you hold your phone up to the sky and move it around. It’s fun, educational and futuristic.

Finally, Twitter has long been one of the best social-networking apps for communicating with friends. It’s also a great way to keep abreast of the news in real time. The Twitter app has just been updated to suit iOS 7’s look so it’s visually clean and simple. The iPhone’s voice-controlled digital assistant, Siri, can now search within Twitter’s messages, making it easier to find information. If you’re new to the iPhone or haven’t yet tried Twitter, now’s a great time. It’s free.

Remember to check out the “near me” tab in Apple’s App Store app, which may uncover many more cool new apps that people nearby have downloaded.

¶ Quick Call

Moves is a popular activity-tracking app on iOS. It’s designed to log where you’ve been as you’ve walked or run as part of a fitness regime, and then displays the data in a simple and beautiful way. It’s just arrived on Android, and it’s free.

Tool Kit: A Surge in Growth for a New Kind of Online Course

A Surge in Growth for a New Kind of Online Course

Illustration by The New York Times

Online course work has been a staple of American higher education for at least a decade. But over the last few years, a new, more ambitious variant known as a MOOC — massive open online course — has challenged traditional assumptions of what an online course can be. MOOCs have exploded in that short time, redefining who can enroll in college courses, as well as where, when and even why people take online classes.

Available globally to hundreds of thousands of people at a time, these classes depend on highly sophisticated digital technology, yet they could not be simpler to use. Signing up takes less time than creating an iTunes account. You can create a user name and password and start exploring the rapidly expanding course offerings.

The major Web sites already provide dozens of courses, as diverse as basic calculus and European intellectual history. It is both new and experimental, and as much as MOOCs have evolved since beginning in recent years, enthusiasts expect many more changes. From an early focus on technical and scientific courses, for instance, offerings now include the humanities and social sciences.

While there are some significant differences among the major MOOC Web sites, they share several main elements. Courses are available to anyone with access to the Internet. They are free, and students receive a certificate of completion at the end. With rare exceptions, you cannot earn college credit for taking one of these courses, at least for now.

“For a decade, people have been asking, ‘How does the Internet change higher education,’ ” said Edward B. Rock, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who is the institution’s senior adviser on open course initiatives. “This is the beginning. It opens up all sorts of possibilities.”

Navigating the world of MOOCs begins with three major Web sites.

EdX

Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology created this nonprofit joint venture in May 2012. It has already offered dozens of courses in subjects as diverse as physics, computer science, engineering, literature, ethics, law, medicine and economics.

Twenty-nine universities have signed up to participate, including the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Texas, Austin; Georgetown; Cornell; the Berklee College of Music; the University of Toronto; and the University of Kyoto.

Courses are offered for a designated period of time, with lectures and reading assignments provided in weekly segments. Videos of lectures are generally augmented with exercises, quizzes, labs and simulators. Like other platforms, edX emphasizes interactivity.

You can audit a course — meaning you don’t take exams or do writing assignments — or you can fulfill all of the requirements to earn a certificate of completion.

Each course’s home page provides an estimate of how many hours a week the course will require. Workloads vary widely. A Global History of Architecture, an M.I.T. class, requires at least five hours a week. Introduction to Computer Science, Harvard’s traditional introductory course, asks online students to complete eight problem sets, each of which will take 15 to 20 hours, along with two quizzes and a final project.

Coursera

Two computer science professors at Stanford began this commercial venture in April 2012. The original partners were Stanford, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan. Seventeen months later, Coursera has partnerships with 84 universities and offers more than 400 courses.

Yale, Duke, Wisconsin and the University of Chicago are among the participants, as are the University of Edinburgh and the École Polytechnique in France.

Because courses are free, Coursera hopes to generate revenue in other ways, like linking corporations with students who have learned specific skills. Coursera does not formally offer the option of auditing a class, but people certainly can. Anyone can simply watch the videos and do some, all or none of the reading and homework; you just would not receive a certificate at the end.

State of the Art: Sony’s Whole New Idea: Half a Camera

Sony’s Whole New Idea: Half a Camera

105 Seconds With Pogue: Sony QX: The Times’s David Pogue checks out the Sony QX camera, which adapts to smartphones.

Sony’s concept for the new QX100 is among the most brilliant in its history.

More Photos »

Unfortunately, the good idea ended with the concept. By the time the poor QX100 reached the production line, it never really had a chance.

Oh, wait — you want to know what it is?

It’s the answer to a long-simmering problem. Digital cameras take excellent photos, but aren’t good at transmitting them. Cellphones are great at sending pictures — but aren’t very good at taking them.

Sony’s masterstroke: Why not create a weird new half-a-camera that contains exactly the components that a cellphone camera lacks?

It could have a lens that really zooms. It could contain serious, professional “glass” — a Zeiss f/1.8 lens, with the quality, multiple glass elements and light-passing capacity that cellphones wouldn’t have in their wildest dreams. It could have manual controls, optical image stabilization and a tripod mount.

Above all, it could have a huge sensor, the digital “film.” This sensor could measure one inch diagonal — over 40 times the size of a cellphone’s sensor.

A large sensor gives you delicious amounts of detail, true colors and exceptional clarity in low light. A big sensor means less blur, because the shutter doesn’t have to stay open long to let in enough light.

Megapixels, on the other hand, aren’t a very big deal. Even so, Sony’s semicamera could offer 18 or 20 megapixels — enough for even giant prints — compared with the 5 or 8 megapixels on your phone.

So that’s what the QX100 ($500) is. There’s a half-priced junior version, too. More on that in a minute.

The QX100 is the craziest-looking camera you’ve ever seen. Even on close inspection, you’d swear that it’s just a lens. Not a whole camera — just a lens, like maybe one from somebody’s S.L.R. camera. It’s a black cylinder, 2.2 inches long, 2.5 inches across.

Somehow, into that space, Sony has crammed most of a camera. There’s a 3X telescoping zoom, with a zoom lever. There’s a real shutter button, a battery, stereo microphones and a memory-card slot.

There is not, however, a screen, because your phone already has a huge, really great one. So between this lens thing and your phone, you have all the elements of a top-notch photographic machine.

The QX can snap onto a plate bearing rubber-lined grippers. They’re spring-loaded so that they can firmly grip your phone. That’s right: You can actually attach a $500, semiprofessional zoom lens to your cellphone and take some truly excellent pictures.

To communicate with your phone, you install the clunkily named app, PlayMemories Mobile.

If you have an Android phone, and it came with an NFC (near-field communication) chip, you now just tap your phone against the QX100. That gestures “pairs” them and opens the app, ready for shooting.

If you have an iPhone or a non-NFC Android phone, things get trickier. You’re supposed to connect your phone to the private Wi-Fi hot spot generated by the QX itself — which, in this case, has nothing to do with the Internet.

Once you have everything set up, the phone’s screen acts as the lens’s viewfinder. Using touch controls on your phone, you can zoom in and out; take a picture by remote control; and adjust the exposure, automatic and program modes, plus aperture priority mode, manual focus and white-balance options. It all works, although the camera takes part of a second to respond to your phone taps; you should not expect pinpoint timing with your zooming or shuttering.

The QX100 is based on the best pocket camera ever made, the Sony RX100 Mark II ($750). (The Mark II is the successor to the previous best pocket camera ever made, the RX100; the Mark II offers a tilting screen, Wi-Fi transmission to your phone and even better lowlight photos.)

In other words, the QX’s pictures are truly terrific. Samples accompany this article online.

Washington Mayor Deems Entire City Government ‘Essential’ to Avoid Shutdown

A shutdown of the federal government, which could come next week if Congress does not pass a stopgap budget measure, would also require the government of the District of Columbia to discontinue its nonessential spending and send some employees home.

But Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Wednesday declared all of the district’s government operations “essential,” and told the White House that all employees would continue to work even if Congress could not reach an agreement on the spending bill by Monday, the end of the fiscal year.

“It is ridiculous,” Mr. Gray said in a statement, that the district “cannot spend its residents’ own local tax dollars to provide them the services they’ve paid for without Congressional approval.”

District spending is budgeted by the mayor’s office and approved by the City Council. The budget must then be approved by Congress each year as part of federal appropriations bills. Like federal government agencies, when a shutdown looms, the district government must submit its contingency operation plans to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

In a letter to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the budget office, Mr. Gray said that he had determined that all operations of the district government were “essential to the protection of public safety, health and property.”

The announcement came two days after Mr. Gray said that 21,000 of the district’s 35,000 employees would be considered excepted, or deemed essential. Among that number were police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians, school employees and some other social services workers.

The idea to keep the entire district government open during a shutdown seemed to emerge on Tuesday morning during a breakfast meeting between Mr. Gray and the City Council.

But it is unclear whether residents could actually expect the continuation of trash collection or the operation of libraries and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The district’s attorney general, Irvin B. Nathan, told the local radio station WAMU on Tuesday that such a plan to keep the city’s government open could violate the Antideficiency Act, which prohibits spending money that has not been appropriated by Congress.

Gadgetwise: With New Stylus, LeapFrog Tackles Reading and Writing

With New Stylus, LeapFrog Tackles Reading and Writing

The LeapReader from LeapFrog.

For years, LeapFrog has developed tools to help children learn to read. Now, the company is turning to the second of the three R’s, writing.

Creativity Camera, a case and app that work with an iPhone or iPod Touch, from LeapFrog.

LeapFrog’s newest device, the LeapReader, is an update of its Tag Reading System, a chunky electronic stylus that sounds out words and sentences printed in LeapFrog books. The LeapReader, aimed at children ages 4 to 8, takes the lesson a bit further by instructing young learners to trace letters, encouraging them to then write their own and correcting them if the letters go astray.

The pen works only on LeapFrog books, so parents don’t have to worry about scribbles on the coffee table. And it’s compatible with the older Tag library of books.

LeapReader has a USB port to connect it to a computer for charging and downloading additional content. The pen contains 256 megabytes of memory, enough to hold up to 40 audiobooks or 175 songs, which are available from LeapFrog’s site.

Keeping in mind that children like to play, too, LeapFrog developed the Creativity Camera, a case and app that work with an iPhone or iPod Touch. Once the device is locked inside the protective case, the app uses the device’s camera to take pictures, which can then be edited and morphed to create funny faces. The camera, intended for children ages 3 to 6, includes an augmented-reality game that children can use to take pictures of imaginary fairies flying around the room.

My boyfriend and I took the Creativity Camera and the LeapReader on a recent trip to visit his nieces, ages 4 and 7. The girls responded intuitively to both devices, turning them on and getting started immediately. They were unable to choose a favorite, although the camera produced more giggles. Their mother joined in, too, helping identify words and posing for portraits.

The LeapReader starter kit, which comes with a sample activity book, costs $50 and is available at most national retailers. Additional books cost about $12 to $20. The Creativity Camera case costs $20, and the app is free.

Minimal Desktop Speakers With Maximum Sound

Minimal Desktop Speakers With Maximum Sound

Three things distinguish the new Logitech Z600 desktop Bluetooth speakers. The manufacturer, Logitech, uses two as selling points and doesn’t say much about the third.

The Z600s have an eye-catching design. At about 9.5 inches high, the tapered, cloth-wrapped cylinders look a bit like miniature nuclear power cooling towers, and a textured silver-gray material that wraps them gives the speakers a Moderne look.

Another distinguishing feature is the three drivers. Two face the listener and the bass faces down. The Z600s pump out some serious volume. I thought their sound was very detailed; you can hear every little finger pick, but they are a little bright. After adjusting my iTunes equalizer, they were quite pleasing, but if you are looking for a hip-hop bass sound, these aren’t your best bet.

Keeping ornamentation to a minimum, the on-off switch is discreetly flush with the cabinet, as is the concealed auxiliary input jack. Volume is controlled by swirling your finger on the top surface of the speaker cabinet.

The one thing that Logitech doesn’t mention is all the wiring these little towers require. They are wired to one another and to a power source by stylishly flat cables. It would be nice if they could coil up in the speaker to maintain their sleek look. But how much can you fault them? After all, the speakers aren’t meant to be portable, and to maintain sound quality, sacrifices must be made.

The Z600 speakers are $150 through Logitech and other online retailers.