1. They are correct, the current hardware iteration of PS3s doesn't have backwards-compatibility in terms of being able to play PS2 games since there aren't enough people out there who actually demand such a feature (those who do usually still own a PS2 or first-generation PS3, and if they don't, PS2 are dirt-cheap nowadays).
The only thing that's a pain is having to have multiple machines hooked up (or, rather, climbing behind the set and changing the cables). I'm considering buying a first-generation PS3 as there are some available, but will they play the newest games?
2. Don't worry, you will be able to play all these games without access to the internet / the PlayStation Network.
That's good to hear. Once again referring to the fine print I was looking at a couple games that seemed to suggest you needed to be hooked up to the net to play them. (Again I know you do need it, obviously, for multiplayer and I assume there's probably a Warcraft-like game out there that's played over the PSN. But for LA Noir and that new Tomb Raider I'd like to be able to play "free as a bird" as it were. (I also hear rumor that GTA V might be a redo of San Andreas, which I just have to see based on how GTA IV reimagined Liberty City. The release of nuTomb Raider or GTA V will probably be what gets me to shell out for the PS3. Probably a week before Sony announces the PS4, of course!