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Make Them Accountable / Media & Politics (one section only today)

Media & Politics (one section only today)

Permanent link to MTA daily media news

Obama Denies Habeas Corpus (video at the Colbert Report)
Barack Obama helps
America escape from the Bill of Rights lovers who keep humping the leg of habeas corpus. (01:53)

Obama won’t charge CIA officers for rough tactics (AP)
In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, CIA operatives were allowed to shackle, strip and waterboard terror suspects. Now, President Barack Obama has assured these operatives that they will not be prosecuted for their rough interrogation tactics. At the same time, Obama’s attorney general offered the operatives legal help[*] if anyone else takes them to court over the harsh interrogation methods that were approved by the Bush administration. The offer of presidential support, however, did not extend to those outside the CIA who approved the so-called enhanced interrogation methods or any CIA officers who may have gone beyond what was allowed in four legal memos written in 2002 and 2005 that the Obama administration released Thursday.
The Nuremberg standard is that people are responsible for their inhuman actions, even if they thought those actions were approved by a higher authority.  Obama does not have the power to override Nuremberg.

*That’s you and me, folks.  We the taxpayers will be giving legal help to criminals, if anyone dares try to sue them.

Toobin describes torture memos as “shocking and appalling stuff,” which were “totally without legal support” (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)

Bush Memo Footnotes Define Waterboarding As Torture (by Sam Stein at the Huffington Post)
A Bush administration memo from 2005, intended to establish a legal basis for aggressive interrogation techniques, contains a footnote that actually describes waterboarding as falling within the administration’s definition of torture. The footnote, found within one of the Office of Legal Council memos released by the Obama administration on Thursday, suggests that officials in the previous White House likely knew that they were torturing terrorism suspects at a time when they claimed to not be involved in such a practice.
The crimes are obvious.  The need for punishment is obvious.

Quote of the Day (by Susie at Suburban Guerilla)
A little unintended humor from President Obama: “The
United States is a nation of laws. My Administration will always act in accordance with those laws, and with an unshakable commitment to our ideals. That is why we have released these memos, and that is why we have taken steps to ensure that the actions described within them never take place again.”

Tortured Logic: Obama Writes Off Old Crimes While Promoting New Outrages (by Chris Floyd at Empire Burlesque)
I know that some are holding on to the hope that Obama’s carefully worded statement leaves open the door to prosecuting the actual instigators of the crimes — the top officials of the Bush Administration…; but I believe this is wishful thinking in the extreme… [F]ocus closely on this astonishing phrase: “…we must resist the forces that divide us, and instead come together on behalf of our common future.” It is clear in the context of his statement that “the forces that would divide us” refers to those who are calling for the instigators and perpetrators to be prosecuted. They are the ones insisting on the disturbing, disunifying course of “laying blame for the past.”  But what, in the name of God, are America’s “core values,” if they do not include prosecuting people who order and commit the high crime of torture?

And cannot every criminal on the face of the earth now claim the Obama defense: “Surely, your honor, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past. So let’s forget the fact that I (raped/murdered/robbed/tortured), and move forward, shall we?”… In the overblown, self-regarding prose that has become his trademark, Obama lauds himself and his administration for their fealty to the “rule of law” in releasing the memos. But of course, the “rule of law” also dictates that those who have planned, ordered and committed torture be prosecuted. The law has no special dispensation for crimes that might be “too disturbing” to prosecute.

Obstructing Justice By Any Other Name (by Deacon Blues at The Left Coaster)
Mr. President, … if you plan to extend this unwillingness to prosecute torturers to those who wrote and approved the war crimes policies, then you have not only enabled future war crimes, but you’ve prevented the highest law enforcement agency in the land from enforcing our own laws and the Geneva Convention protocols. In other words Mr, President, you yourself will be obstructing justice. And if you go that far, for any reason, you are no better than George W. Bush.

Either we are a civilized nation of laws or we are not. (J -SOM at Liberal Rapture)
[R]eleasing the documents while giving any possible law breakers a pass makes it nothing more than a self defeating, lame gesture. It does not even have moral value… Either we are a civilized nation of laws or we are not. Either we follow our laws or not. Barack Obama remains utterly unwilling to take a principled stand on anything. 

Bush’s Tortured Logic (by Larry Johnson at No Quarter)
When the question first arose about what techniques were appropriate for using to interrogate terrorist suspects I drew on my own experience as a “subject” during a CIA hostage interrogation training course… I was wrong. I was in an exercise that was going to end and I knew the people running it could not hurt me or they would face punishment. Zubaydah did not have that option. Moreover I was not familiar with the law. When I took time to read the UN Convention Against Torture I received an eye-opening education. The law is clear. What Bush authorized was torture and was against the law.

Finding weak legal arguments to justify immoral activity is the work of fools and knaves. I applaud the ACLU for securing these documents. It is a good first step. Unfortunately, Barack “Mr. Constitutional Scholar” Obama left the door for future abuses.

CNN’s No Bias, No Bull hosts Watergate criminal and radio host G. Gordon Liddy to discuss Bush administration torture memos (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)

Doocy, Huckabee, Carlson make light of torture (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)

At the White House, Joking about a Torture Investigation (by David Corn, Mother Jones)
I was asked to go on Hardball on Tuesday night to discuss the news that Spanish prosecutors [were] likely to recommend a full investigation be conducted to determine if six former Bush administration officials—including ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales—ought to be indicted for having sanctioned torture at Guantanamo. So I thought I’d ask White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about the matter… Have you spoken to the Spanish government about this case? He seized on my use of the word “you” and, with a broad smile, said, “I have not spoken with the Spanish.” Reporters in the room laughed. I obviously did not mean him personally…

[M]oments later, when a reporter asked Gibbs if Obama had any reaction to the conservative groups organizing “tea parties” of protest on tax day, he replied, “I’ve never monitored them nor spoken with the Spanish about them.” People in the room laughed. And when the questioning in the room turned to the all-important subject of the Obama’s new Portuguese water dog, Gibbs continued the joke. Noting that the dog might be spotted on the White House lawn later in the day or that it might not, he added that “the dog has also not talked to the Spanish about impending torture cases.” More laughter. But I wondered, had the press secretary just made a joke about a torture investigation?

As I posted yesterday, though, the Spanish have developed cold feet:
Spanish AG: No torture probe of US officials
Spain’s attorney general has rejected opening an investigation into whether six Bush administration officials sanctioned torture against terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, saying Thursday a U.S. courtroom would be the proper forum. Candido Conde-Pumpido’s remarks severely dampen the chance of a case moving forward against the Americans, including former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Conde-Pumpido said such a trial would have turned
Spain‘s National Court “into a plaything” to be used for political ends.
Yes, bringing torturers to justice turns courts into playthings.  Much better that they be used to put ordinary citizens away for doing things that make other citizens uncomfortable, like smoking pot.

Obama Protecting Bush from Spain? (by David Swanson at After Downing Street)
The official story is that Spain has decided not to prosecute Bush’s torture lawyers. Yet the known facts suggest something else entirely… We know that the prosecutor who initiated this effort wants to prosecute Bush… We know from Scott Horton’s reporting that Spain and the Obama administration have been communicating about this case… We know that the White House’s press secretary was asked this week about those communications and avoided answering the question at all, rather than simply going with the story already reported that the U.S. was just observing and “gathering information.”.. We know that Obama wants to “move forward,” does not want to prosecute Bush, and is going to extraordinary lengths to maintain and expand the power of the presidency…

These facts [click through for more] are at least extremely suggestive of a less than independent decision by the Spanish to deny justice and stick to “looking forward,” a decision that certainly does not follow public opinion in Spain and was not predicted by reporters in Spain but was predicted by Doug Feith on Fox News: “I hope and expect that the Obama administration will communicate to the Spanish government that they — that they do not view this as simply an attack against some former officials; they view it as an attack on the U.S. government — because as I said, the principle that’s involved here would attack current officials as much as former officials.”

White House Responds to GOP Criticism: Releasing Memos on Enhanced Interrogation Policies Doesn’t Make Us Less Safe — the Policies Do (by Jake Tapper at Political Punch, ABC News)
Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that Al Qaeda will use the information in the memos not only to train their followers to resist interrogation, but that it will provide “propaganda for Al Qaeda’s media machine.” The release will “make us less safe” and “heighten anger” in parts of the world “where we’re trying to make friends,” Bond said.

I asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about Bond’s charge. Gibbs said that when making the decision as to what he should do with the memos – which human rights groups were seeking through the Freedom of Information Act — President Obama “wrestled with a number of issues related to national security, related to the rule of law, and related to national security.” “I don’t think and the president doesn’t believe it’s the existence of enhanced interrogation techniques in memos that has made us less safe,” Gibbs said. “It’s the use of those techniques in the view of the world that has made us less safe. And that’s precisely why the president moved swiftly to end” their use on the second day of his presidency.

Officials Say U.S. Wiretaps Exceeded Law (New York Times)
The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews… [N]ew details are also emerging about earlier domestic-surveillance activities, including the agency’s attempt to wiretap a member of Congress, without court approval, on an overseas trip, current and former intelligence officials said.

NYT Report On ‘Significant’ Surveillance Abuses Confirms Progressive Criticisms Of 2008 FISA Compromise (Think Progress)
Last night, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists James Risen and Eric Lichtblau reported in the New York Times that “the National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year.” According to intelligence officials, the problems grew “out of changes enacted by Congress last July in the law that regulates the government’s wiretapping powers.” In July 2008, as Congress — including then-Sen. Barack Obama — moved towards approving the re-write of surveillance law, progressives mobilized against the legislation. As Glenn Greenwald points out, many of the concerns held by progressives at the time are proven by the NYT report.

Mich. Muslim group says FBI asking people to spy (AP)
A Michigan Muslim organization said Thursday it has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate complaints that the FBI is asking followers of the faith to spy on Islamic leaders and worshippers. The Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan sent a letter last week to Holder after mosques and other groups reported members of the community have been approached to monitor people coming to mosques and donations they make.

Halfway to recovery – (by Nicholas Bloom, thanks to Economist’s View)
This column says that the policy response to the financial crisis seems to have been adequate – we will not slip into another Great Depression. It argues that growth will resume by late 2009, as uncertainty is subsiding due to global cooperation.

Banking Industry Showing Signs of a Recovery (New York Times)
On Thursday, JPMorgan Chase became the latest bank, after Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo, to announce blockbuster profits in the first quarter. The reports fed a rally in financial stocks that began more than five weeks ago, when Citigroup and Bank of America, two of the banks hit hardest by the crisis, suggested the worst might already be over… But this silver cloud has a dark lining: millions of consumers continue to default on their mortgages, home equity and credit card loans. Corporate loan losses are just starting to pile up. And the residential housing crisis is seeping into commercial real estate with a vengeance: on Thursday, General Growth Properties, one of the nation’s largest mall operators, filed for bankruptcy in one of the biggest such collapses in United States history.

“We are in the eye of the storm,” Gerard Cassidy, a banking analyst at RBC Capital Markets. “The worst is behind us for housing. For commercial real estate and corporate lending, there is still a big dark cloud.”

Green Shoots and Glimmers (by Paul Krugman) 
Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, sees “green shoots.” President Obama sees “glimmers of hope.” And the stock market has been on a tear. So is it time to sound the all clear? Here are four reasons to be cautious about the economic outlook.
1. Things are still getting worse…
2. Some of the good news isn’t convincing…
3. There may be other shoes yet to drop…
4. Even when it’s over, it won’t be over…

So now that I’ve got everyone depressed, what’s the answer? Persistence. History shows that one of the great policy dangers, in the face of a severe economic slump, is premature optimism. F.D.R. responded to signs of recovery by cutting the Works Progress Administration in half and raising taxes; the Great Depression promptly returned in full force. Japan slackened its efforts halfway through its lost decade, ensuring another five years of stagnation. The Obama administration’s economists understand this. They say all the right things about staying the course. But there’s a real risk that all the talk of green shoots and glimmers will breed a dangerous complacency. So here’s my advice, to the public and policy makers alike: Don’t count your recoveries before they’re hatched.

Stiglitz Says White House Ties to Wall Street Doom Bank Rescue (Bloomberg)
The Obama administration’s bank- rescue efforts will probably fail because the programs have been designed to help Wall Street rather than create a viable financial system, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said. “All the ingredients they have so far are weak, and there are several missing ingredients,” Stiglitz said in an interview yesterday. The people who designed the plans are “either in the pocket of the banks or they’re incompetent.” The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, isn’t large enough to recapitalize the banking system, and the administration hasn’t been direct in addressing that shortfall, he said. Stiglitz said there are conflicts of interest at the White House because some of Obama’s advisers have close ties to Wall Street.

“We don’t have enough money, they don’t want to go back to Congress, and they don’t want to do it in an open way and they don’t want to get control” of the banks, a set of constraints that will guarantee failure, Stiglitz said. The return to taxpayers from the TARP is as low as 25 cents on the dollar, he said. “The bank restructuring has been an absolute mess.” Rather than continually buying small stakes in banks, weaker banks should be put through a receivership where the shareholders of the banks are wiped out and the bondholders become the shareholders, using taxpayer money to keep the institutions functioning, he said.

“No End Yet for Downturn in Housing, New Data Suggest” I Told You So, # 23,456 (by Dean Baker)
That’s right boys and girls, the alleged upturn in the housing data was just due to weather. Yes, analysts were surprised, but competent analysts were not.

These United States: Too Big to Fail? (by Justin Raimondo,
It’s no accident that the world’s biggest financial combines, along with the giant producers like GM, are in trouble: like the dinosaurs, their bigness – once an advantage – evolved into a fatal gigantism. In the economic realm, this condition distanced management from the market it was supposedly serving and set up these companies for the big crash. They are now claiming that they’re “too big to fail,” and therefore deserve government bailouts — yet their very size (and the hubris that went with it) is what caused them to fail in the first place.

A similar trend is evident in the realm of nation-states. Remember when no one imagined that the mighty Soviet Union was about to fall flat on its face and shatter into several dozen pieces?… China, too, is experiencing problems… Iraq is another example… In the United States, the idea of secession is considered beyond the pale, and Gov. Perry [of Texas] will no doubt catch a lot of flack for his comments, but the reality is that big countries – and bigness, per se – are on the wane. The future belongs to smaller, more manageable and efficient units, whether political or economic, which can better navigate the troubled waters of the world economy.

The curse of politics (The Economist, thanks to Economist’s View)
AS THEIR banking crisis approaches Japanese proportions, Americans can take comfort from the fact that their political culture is more capable of finding a solution. Or can they? Today’s anti-banker backlash bears a striking resemblance to the voter outrage that stymied efforts to fix
Japan’s banking system in the 1990s. Indeed, an enduring lesson of financial crises is how political constraints interfere with economically efficient solutions.

Beyond the Stimulus: Time to Get Real (by Sherle Schwenninger at, thanks to Economist’s View)
Obama’s economic recovery program will help soften the economy’s fall as households and the financial system deleverage and rebuild their balance sheets. But it fails tragically to put the economy on a new more sustainable growth path… The administration’s much-hyped green investment agenda comes to about $17 billion a year, far short of what is needed to create a new driver of investment and job creation. Indeed, on balance, the White House’s green energy agenda could actually become a drag on any economic recovery…

Meanwhile, the cut-back in the domestic exploration of oil and gas, caused by falling prices and by Obama’s withdrawal of incentives for exploration, seems likely to reduce the domestic supply of energy by as much or even more. This a prescription for a new spike in energy prices that could snuff out any recovery just as it gets going. In the short term the administration’s green investment agenda may actually cost the economy jobs in the energy sector and lead to higher imports of foreign oil.

The Real “Green” Innovation (by Daniel Gross, Slate, thanks to Economist’s View)
Amid this withering contraction, at least one clean-energy company is booming. The 380 employees of SolarCity, based in
Foster City, Calif., are working all-out on installing solar panels on homes, mostly in the Golden State. Business has doubled since the spring of 2008… SolarCity is growing—and not because it has made a breakthrough in the design of solar panels. Rather, last year it developed a new model for selling the units, offering them for lease. Outside investors eager to take advantage of the tax credits and rebates associated with solar installation provide the cash, and homeowners are able to buy the electricity produced at a discount. “Customers pay no money down, and they save money from day one,” says CEO Lyndon Rive. “People want to go solar, but they don’t like to spend $30,000.”

As Rive has discovered, the future of the alternative-energy industry now depends far more on financial engineering than mechanical engineering.

A ‘Copper Standard’ for the world’s currency system? (The Telegraph, U.K.)
China has woken up. The West is a black hole with all this money being printed. The Chinese are buying raw materials because it is a much better way to use their $1.9 trillion of reserves. They get ten times the impact, and can cover their infrastructure for 50 years… The next industrial revolution is going to be led by hybrid cars, and that needs copper. You can see the subtle way that China is moving into 30 or 40 countries with resources,” he said. The SRB has also been accumulating aluminium, zinc, nickel, and rarer metals such as titanium, indium (thin-film technology), rhodium (catalytic converters) and praseodymium (glass).

Bailed out banks actually lowering lending (by lambert at Corrente)
Online WSJ: “The largest bank recipients of U.S. government aid are offering less credit to businesses and consumers, the Treasury Department said Wednesday, reflecting and exacerbating the tenuous state of the current economic environment. In a monthly snapshot of lending by the 21 largest banks receiving Troubled Asset Relief Program funds, the Treasury said credit being offered fell 2.2% across all commercial-lending and consumer-lending categories in February, compared with the prior month.” I thought the purpose of TARP was to increase leading. Did I miss the memo? Let’s “check the website”:

Commentary: Legalize drugs to stop violence (by Jeffrey A. Miron , senior lecturer in economics at Harvard, writing at CNN)
Violence was common in the alcohol industry when it was banned during Prohibition, but not before or after. Violence is the norm in illicit gambling markets but not in legal ones. Violence is routine when prostitution is banned but not when it’s permitted. Violence results from policies that create black markets, not from the characteristics of the good or activity in question. The only way to reduce violence, therefore, is to legalize drugs. Fortuitously, legalization is the right policy for a slew of other reasons.

Prohibition of drugs corrupts politicians and law enforcement…
Prohibition erodes protections against unreasonable search and seizure…
Prohibition has disastrous implications for national security…
Prohibition harms the public health…
Click through for more of this dose of sanity.  So what is the Obama administration’s view of what should be done about drugs?  You remember, the guy who said he would implement policies that work?  Did he listen to this expert economist?  See below.

Obama stands next to Mexico in war on drugs (Reuters)
President Barack Obama stood alongside Mexico’s Felipe Calderon on Thursday and promised to help his “courageous” fight against ruthless drug cartels waging turf wars along the joint border.

President Obama Suggests Pushing for “Assault Weapon” Ban Not In the Cards (by Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller)
“As a long-time resident and elected official of Chicago, Barack Obama has seen the impact of fully automatic weapons in the hands of criminals,” then-Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign stated. ”Thus, Senator Obama supports making permanent the expired federal Assault Weapon Ban. These weapons, such as AK-47s, belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets. These are also not weapons that are used by hunters and sportsmen.” That ban expired in 2004, and Mexican President Calderon recently told Nightline that he thought “it was very good legislation. During that period, we didn’t suffer a lot, like we suffered in the four or five years” since it expired.

But the White House has indicated it is not willing to expend political capital on the issue. At a joint press conference with President Calderon, President Obama just now said that he has not backed “off at all from my belief that the assault weapons ban made sense…Having said that, none of us are under any illusion that reinstating that ban would be easy.” “What we’ve focused on how we can improve our enforcement under existing laws,” Mr. Obama said. Calderon said that he understands that “this is a politically delicate topic” in the US.
They’ll call you a Second Amendment destroyer anyway, Barack, when will you get that?

DHS issued report on extremism despite concerns (AP)
Civil liberties officials at the Homeland Security Department did not agree with some of the language in a controversial report on right-wing extremists, but the agency issued the report anyway… Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defended the report Thursday, but she said the definition of right-wing extremism that was included in a footnote should be changed. In the report, right-wing extremism was defined as hate-motivated groups and movements, such as hatred of certain religions, racial orethnic groups. “It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” the report said.
Surely, most of this report was researched and written under the Bush administration.  Why is Napolitano taking the blame for it?

Rep. Peter King Responds To Extremism Report, Says DHS Should Be Targeting ‘Mosques’ Instead (Think Progress)
On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a report requested by the Bush administration that warned of the rising threat of right-wing extremism. The political right has been up in arms over the intelligence assessment, falsely claiming it is an assault on conservativism. [Thursday] on MSNBC, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) used the release of the DHS assessment to advance his well-documented anti-Muslim agenda. King told Joe Scarborough that, instead of discussing the threat of anti-government radicals, DHS should focus on the threat emanating from “Muslims” and “mosques” at home.
Click through to watch the video.

Kristol says “juvenile” DHS report “reveal[s]” Obama administration “think[s] about veterans” as “pathological killers” (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)

CNN’s Tucker airs DHS report critics comparing it to McCarthyism, Nixon’s enemies list (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)

Savage: “McCarthy was right; he was just ridiculed to death by the American media” (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)

Dirty Bastards (by Susie at Suburban Guerilla)
We need single payer NOW: “An Oklahoma man who lost an eye and a leg in Iraq says the giant insurance company AIG refused to provide him a new plastic leg and fought to keep from paying for a wheelchair or glasses for the eye in which he has 30 percent vision. AIG has made everything a battle after injury, he says… Woodson says he was told by an AIG representative in the hospital that he would be fully covered by AIG, but that when he returned home, he quickly discovered AIG was prepared to challenge almost all of his medical needs.”

Obama and AIG (by Joseph Cannon at Cannonfire)
As you know, Obama won’t go for single payer health insurance, even though a lot of his prog supporters thought he would. Instead, Obi wants to push through the slimey Healthy Americans Act, which will dissolve all employer-based plans and force Americans to pay for private insurance plans offered by a newly-formed state agency. All of which brings us to the now-notorious AIG. They sell insurance. All sorts — including health insurance. Just thought you should know that. After all, you own the company, or nearly all of it. And you’ve given the company tons of taxpayer dollars. 

Betcha a donut that AIG will be one of the prime beneficiaries of the Healthy Americans Act. Heh heh heh heh hee hee ha ha. Heh. Betcha two donuts. So. You can’t have single-payer, because that would be socialism. But Obi says that you can pay insurance premiums to a private company — 80% of which is owned by the gummint. What’s the difference? Far as I can see, the only real difference would be mill-yuns and mill-yuns paid in bonuses to the CEOs. Ain’t “capitalism” grand?

Health Care for All: A Moral Obligation (by Bruce Barry, a professor of management and sociology at Vanderbilt University, thanks to Susie at Suburban Guerrilla)
Re “The Misguided Quest for Universal Coverage,” by Ramesh Ponnuru (Op-Ed, April 9): Mr. Ponnuru’s argument against universal health insurance coverage oversimplifies the moral issue involved. Having health insurance in our modern economy is not just desirable but absolutely essential, as matters of both individual survival and collective well-being… Health insurance in a civilized society is a collective moral obligation, not a discretionary consumer good. It’s somewhat analogous to national defense: We strive to safeguard everyone from the unpredictable consequences of an unforeseen tragedy, not just those who can find room in their household budgets to pony up for defense spending.

Single payer is moving forward in the states (by DCblogger at Corrente)
National Nurses Movement has a wonderful diary at MyDD about all the single payer bills in the states (but leaves out the legislation in Maryland). [There is] good news in California, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, and Washington. Clearly single payer is a political winner, witness the increasing momentum in an atmosphere where the national media has airbrushed out all discussion of single payer. The most important thing is to make sure that whatever Obama does, no federal legislation prohibit the states from creating their own single payer systems.

Procrustes Prep, B. Obama, Headmaster (by Michael J. Smith at Stop Me Before I Vote Again)
Here’s the New York Times: “President Obama and his team have alternated praise for the goals of President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law with criticism of its weaknesses, [but it seems] the Obama administration will use a Congressional rewriting of the federal law later this year to toughen requirements… The law’s testing requirements… will certainly not disappear… [One] provision gives Education Secretary Arne Duncan control over $5 billion, which Mr. Duncan calls a ‘Race to the Top Fund’…”

Race to the top? And the losers go… where? College, the workplace, or the military — those are our options. They left one out: jail. Of course, education as a feeder industry for the incarceration sector wouldn’t sound too good — even though that is, of course, the fact. You, to college. You, to the mailroom. You, Lynndie England, to the military. And you — what was your name again? — to jail. And about time, too.

Steven Rattner Payments Investigated By SEC Officials (Wall Street Journal)
Steven Rattner, the leader of the Obama administration’s auto task force, was one of the executives involved with payments under scrutiny in a probe of an alleged kickback scheme at
New York state’s pension fund, according to a person familiar with the matter. A Securities and Exchange Commission complaint says a “senior executive” of Mr. Rattner’s investment firm met with a politically connected consultant about a finder’s fee. Later, the complaint says, the firm received an investment from the state pension fund, then paid a $1.1 million fee.

A War By Any Other Name…. (by Pat Racimora at No Quarter)

It appears that the Obama Administration wants to fiddle with our perceptions of terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not by actually doing anything except to neutralize the associated words to come off as emotionally flat, yet pedantic enough to give the false impression that they have some deeper meaning. The wars are now “overseas contingency operations.” That conjures up an image just a skosh riskier than planning a trip to Europe and, at the same time, as boring as reading the tax code. Terrorism is being referred to as “man-caused disasters.” That term could also be applied to a defective Pinto or even my Uncle Jerry’s dreadful jokes…

Obama’s team is without peer when it comes to successfully selling perceptions, at least during the primaries. (How else could a junior Senator with little relevant experience be elected as the leader of the free world in a time of colossal national and international peril?) Joe Queenan, writing for the Wall Street Journal, decided to have some edgy fun with how our adversaries’ gruesome practices could also be made more palatable using word tricks. [Example:] “Beheading” might be renamed “cephalic attrition.”
Click through for more.

Beyond Pew Survey: How Web Sparked Obama Win (by Greg Mitchell , Editor & Publisher)
The new Pew survey shows that a majority of Americans got politically active, on the Web, last year — but it doesn’t do full justice to just how that really was crucial in pushing Obama into the White House. Here’s a full assessment.
It was mostly razzmatazz, Greg, not a real movement by any stretch of the imagination.  Because there were no principles involved, only personalities.

New Film Tells Unreported Story of Obama’s Election (by Danny Schechter, the News Dissector)
“Barack Obama, People’s President” Describes Techniques That The Obama Administration Is Now Using To Win Support For Its Agenda, And Can Be Used To Hold Him Accountable

Pelosi vows new “Pecora-style” commission to investigate economic collapse (by bringiton at Corrente)
Speaking Wednesday at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she will act next week to begin setting up an investigatory committee to examine and document what went wrong with economic policy and practices.
I’ll believe it when I see it.

Lawmakers post earmarks online, but good luck finding them (McClatchy)
Want to learn about the earmarks, the federally funded local projects that your member of Congress wants to stick in the federal budget? It may not be easy. In fact, it could be like looking “under an electronic rock,” as one budget watchdog group put it… [S]ome congressional home pages, such as that of Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., announce a link to his earmark requests in big letters, and Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., has a big link to “Wisconsin projects submitted for consideration in FY 2010 appropriations.” Others, however, are harder to find.

The congressional instructions don’t spell out how the earmarks are to be presented on lawmakers’ Web sites, and two kinds of problems have resulted. First is what Allison calls the “spirit of euphemisms.” The earmarks of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., are found by clicking on “Community Funding Requests.” Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., calls earmarks “Investing in Oregon,” while Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., lists them on her “legislative issues” page under “economic recovery and reinvestment.”
There should be one database that has them all listed, with access to all at one time or requested by individual legislator.  That’s what they would do if they were serious about providing transparency.

Coleman Begins Media Blitz (Political Wire)
With polls showing Minnesota voters want the race over, the Minneapolis Tribune reports Norm Coleman “is using a media blitz to convince Minnesotans weary of the recount process and frustrated that they are still a senator short that he has good reason to appeal Democrat Al Franken’s victory in the U.S. Senate election trial.” Said Coleman: “I’m hopeful. I think the law is on our side… “In spite of what some say, that somehow this is an effort to delay something — no. There are very legitimate, important constitutional questions regarding whether or not people’s vote should count.”

Dems air ad calling on Coleman to quit (Star-Tribune)
Democrats trying to pressure Norm Coleman to abandon his fight for his former Senate seat have added a radio ad to their arsenal. The ad, set to run on Twin Cities talk radio stations, was unveiled by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Tuesday, one day after a three-judge panel rejected Coleman’s legal arguments and declared Al Franken the winner of the race.
Why are they spending money on this?  It’s an incredible waste of resources.

Only Five Connecticut Residents Gave to Dodd (Political Wire)
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) “appears to have looked everywhere but his home state to fuel what pundits anticipate will be one of the most hotly contested races in the nation in 2010,” the Connecticut Post reports. “The five-term incumbent reported raising just $4,250 from five Connecticut residents during the first three months of the year while raking in $604,745 from nearly 400 individuals living outside the state… The meager state fundraising effort also seems antithetical to a campaign strategy to rebuild confidence among Connecticut voters that he is on their side.”

Dodd Gets Key Ally (Political Wire)
In an interview with the Boston Globe, President Obama made clear he’ll be backing Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) in his increasingly tough re-election fight next year. Said Obama: “I can’t say it any clearer: I will be helping Chris Dodd because he deserves the help. Chris is going through a rough patch. He just has an extraordinary record of accomplishment, and I think the people in
Connecticut will come to recognize that… He always has his constituencies at heart, and he’s somebody I’m going to be relying on and working very closely with to shepherd through the types of regulatory reforms we need.”

A Running Start in Political Leadership (by Liz Wing at
Here’s some remarkable news… Last week I had the pleasure of learning about Running Start, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring young women and girls to run for political office. Each year they bring 50 high school girls to D.C. to participate in The Young Women’s Political Leadership Training, an intense, interactive 5-day training program about political leadership. In previous years, approximately 20 – 300 girls applied to participate in the program. 

In 2009, something remarkable happened. 30,000 girls applied to be part of this program. Let me say that again. 30,000 girls applied. It may be no surprise that in their entrance essays about 80% of them referenced the 2008 election on why they were interested in the program. The election inspired them like nothing else. They saw great people running for president, congress and state and local office, who looked like them and who they related to.
That is WONDERFUL news.  Since I’ve vowed never again to vote for anyone other than non-Republican women, this development may broaden my choices.

Gov. Paterson introduces legislation to legalize gay marriage in New York (New York Daily News)
Gov. Paterson introduced legislation Thursday to legalize gay marriage in New York state – to raucous applause from lawmakers and advocates. “The time has come to act,” said Paterson, joined in his Manhattan office by Mayor Bloomberg. “The time has come to bring marriage equality to the state of New York.”

Alaska lawmakers reject Palin’s controversial attorney general pick. (Think Progress)
The Alaska Legislature rejected Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) pick for state attorney general, Wayne Anthony Ross, by a vote of 35-23 today. Ross’s nomination caused a firestorm because of his radical right-wing views. He had called gay people “degenerates” and allegedly defended men who rape their wives. He also praised a student for creating a large statue of a Ku Klux Klan member, saying the “project gets ‘A’ for courage.” Introducing Ross last month, Palin said he “brings years of good service, in more ways than one.” “He will make an excellent attorney general,” she said.

Fmr. President George H.W. Bush To Host ‘Economic Leadership Forum’ With ‘Recognized Expert’ Rick Santelli (Think Progress)
The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation at Texas A&M has announced that the former president will host an “Economic Leadership Forum” next week that includes a panel of “distinguished leaders and recognized experts” — one of which is CNBC blowhard and former derivatives trader Rick Santelli.

Bush Aide Perino to Join Firm Led by Clinton Adviser? (Wall Street Journal)
Dana Perino, President George W. Bush’s last White House press secretary, will join
Clinton administration adviser Mark Penn at public-relations firm Burson-Marsteller, where she will be “chief issues counselor.” Mr. Penn, the firm’s CEO, said Ms. Perino’s experiences in Mr. Bush’s second term make her a valuable addition to the team of battle-tested public-relations veterans he is assembling.
Why anyone wanting to get elected would hire Mark Penn is far beyond me.

Same-Sex Marriage Dominates Conversation In The Blogosphere (Project for Excellence in Journalism)
The online community was focused on two subjects that received little attention in the mainstream press last week – the debate over gay marriage and the death of a man at the G20 Summit.

Daily Show: Nationwide Tax Protests
The tea party protests allow Fox News to become the voice of the people’s revolution.

Toobin describes as “disturbing” the “anger at the government” present at “some of these [tea party] protests” (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)
Sorry, Jeffrey, I think anger at the powers that be is a damned good thing.  I wish it were better directed.

Tea-baggage (by Michael J. Smith at Stop Me Before I Vote Again)
I like the teabaggers. It’s easy enough to find ‘em saying silly things — like that chap rambling about “hippos on the Titanic” who amused the smug Rachel Maddow so much. And all these chestnuts about Big Gummint spending and waste and handouts are, of course, simply examples of people’s fondness for repeating, with a wise expression, things they heard their grandmother say: It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. There’s no accounting for taste. Vote for a Republican if you want a depression, and a Democrat if you want a war. But nobody in the entire history of the world ever objected to having money spent on himself. What bugs the teabaggers is that Obie seems to be spending money on other people — bankers, carmakers, undeserving spendthrifts who got themselves over-mortgaged. These are not folks in the grip of an idea. They’re folks who resent other people getting goodies they’re not getting.

And jeez, who can blame ‘em? They’ve got a point, and then some… If the Dems were the party of “the little man,” Obie would have long since bought ‘em off. The teabaggers would be sending him espresso beans instead of teabags, so he could stay up nights figuring out ways to spend more money on ‘em. And if he doesn’t find a way to spend some money on ‘em pretty soon, he’ll deserve to be buried in teabags, and when he burrows back into the air, find himself looking at a whole graveyard of reanimated Congressional zombies in 2010, just like his sage philosopher and friend Bill Clinton did in ’94. So keep those teabags coming, folks. Give the guy a fright.

What If Fox News Covered Other Protests The Way They Covered The Tea Parties? (by David DeGraw at Media Channel)
If television networks covered past protests the way Fox covered the Tea Party protest, we wouldn’t be in this economic crisis.

It’s the populism, stupid (by vastleft at Corrente)
Obama has an historically historic opportunity to be one of the great populist presidents, getting the gig at a time when most Americans are keenly aware that far-reaching changes are needed, beginning with shoring up the threadbare safety net. If “progressives” can do little better than playing the cultural-superiority card vs. the ignorant Bubbas who are too unhip to know racy associations for the word “teabag” — rather than defending and promoting the economic policies that are proven to be the best answer to recessions and depressions — we’re just begging the Republicans to become populist heroes.
And that is what is happening.  The right wingers, crazy as they sound, are diverting the anger from the people responsible—top echelons of the Republican Party and the banksters and hedge-hogs—to dark skinned people and Democrats.

They Hate Him Because He Is “Black” (by Turkana at The Left Coaster)
I deliberately use the word black rather than the words African American. The latter lacks the proper emotional value. It is cultural and geographical. The former is visceral. Bigotry is not subtle. It is primal. It is not about ideas. It is irrational. He is smarter and more educated and more articulate than they. A self-made man, he represents everything they would claim to value. But he looks different, to them. They hate him because he looks different. They hate him because he is dark. In “Western” “Culture,” the very words black and dark have powerfully negative value. They often are used as synonyms for the sinister. They hated President Clinton, and tried to destroy him.
My comment:  And the reason they hated President Clinton was … ? They hate Obama because he’s a Democrat. Claiming that everyone who opposes Obama is a racist is just plain stupid, bigoted, and worst of all unproductive.

Give us this day our Daily Howler (by vastleft at Corrente)
Somerby: “You simply can’t build a progressive politics by letting a bunch of upper-class kids disinform average people.”

Beck endorses Texas secession. (Think Progress)
While speaking at a “tea party” [Wednesday], Texas governor Rick Perry (R) suggested that his state might have to secede “if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people.” [That] night on Fox News, Beck seemed to agree with Perry’s call, insisting that “Texas does America best“.
Click through to watch the video.

Matthews gets DeLay to admit that Texas can’t secede from the Union (video at County Fair, Media Matters for America)

O’Reilly Producer Who Ambushes People For Avoiding Interviews Refuses NYT Requests For Comment (by Amanda Terkel at  Think Progress)
On the front page of [Thursday’s] Arts section, New York Times reporter Brian Stelter has a story with the headline, “Gotcha TV: Crews Stalk Bill O’Reilly’s Targets.” In the piece, Stelter notes that over the past three years, O’Reilly’s “young producers” have stalked more than 50 people. In “almost every case,” the Fox News host has used ambushes “to campaign for his point of view,” and 10 of the last 12 ambush targets “were either outwardly liberal or had criticized Republicans.” The network began using the tactic in 2002, but it became an O’Reilly Factor “staple” in 2006. (It has now spread to other Fox shows as well.)

Stelter talked to a Fox executive, who claimed that O’Reilly goes after people only when they won’t give the network “answers.” Ironically, producer Jesse Watters — who staked out my apartment and stalked me — refused to give Stelter any answers.
Wasn’t it 60 Minutes that started this practice, lo these many years ago?  Michael Moore does it, too.  Did we object to those?

The Al Jazeera Effect (by Michael Getler, PBS)
A story on last week, headlined “Al Jazeera’s Presence on PBS Alarms Some” by Eric Shawn, apparently did alarm some of those who saw the story. The episode is interesting because it raises issues of censorship and propaganda.

Irony alert: Politico complains about too much Obama coverage (by Eric Boehlert at County Fair, Media Matters for America)
Politico’s Roger Simon seems to mock Obama for wanting to be in the headlines all the time with [a] piece, “It’s all Obama, all the time”: “…He doesn’t just control the news cycle, he is the news cycle…Today, we have a president who so fills the airwaves that he really should have his own network with the motto: ‘All Obama, All the Time.’ Scratch that. He doesn’t need it. Cable news is pretty much that already.” Ah, it’s cable news that’s  going overboard with its Obama coverage. It’s cable news that latches onto trivial White House happenings and trumpets them as key events. It’s cable news that treats the president as a celebrity.

For the record, Politico recently billboarded its site with a lead story about what Obama watches on TV. (ESPN and Entourage, we learn) I can’t think of a single news outlet that’s done more to trivialize political coverage, and do it 24/7, than Politico. But Simon’s sure cable news is to blame.

Politico’s Mike Allen Defends Use Of Anonymous Bush Torture Memo Spin (by Greg Sargent at The Plum Line)
There’s a growing blogospheric campaign underway to pressure journalists to stop letting government officials spin or dissemble under cover of anonymity — and the latest to take a hit for the practice is Politico’s Mike Allen. Allen’s article today on Obama’s release of the torture memos features three paragraphs of criticism of the decision from an anonymous “former top official” under Bush — prompting sharp criticism… But Allen defended the decision in an email to me, conceding it was “not ideal” but better than including no reaction at all from the Bush camp.

The anonymous Bush official blasted Obama’s decision as “damaging,” claimed torture techniques “work” and asked whether Obama still thinks we’re at war with terrorists. Which prompted Sullivan to ask: “What journalistic standard is Allen following in allowing such a person to speak anonymously?”
And why is no one complaining about all the anonymous sourcing from the Obama administration?

Philadelphia Inquirer pays Santorum $1,750 per column
That’s disclosed in Philadelphia Media Holdings’ bankruptcy filing. Former US Sen. Rick Santorum’s column, “The Elephant in the Room,” runs every other Thursday in the Inquirer.

Media Matters for America headlines

On Hannity, North falsely claimed DHS says right-wing extremism is “number one threat to American safety”

On the house: Fox aired 107 ads for its coverage of tea party protests over 10 days

Fox News personalities continue to ignore Bush administration role to slam Obama DHS

Cavuto continues Fox paranoia about DHS report reports GOP reps’ attacks on DHS report without noting findings by Bush FBI

Free from facts: CNN repeatedly misrepresented “Tax Freedom Day”

Fox News continues with DHS freak-out even after Smith and Herridge’s debunking

Fox News anchors lash out at CNN reporter who said network “highly promoted” tea parties

Hannity ignored payroll taxes to claim nearly 50% don’t pay taxes

Cable news caricatures immigration issue with ubiquitous footage of border-crossers

Fox Nation, Drudge Report, CNS distortion: White House requested “Jesus” be hidden during speech

CNN’s Crowley understates Making Work Pay tax credit

Crowley cites poll to show “fertile political ground” for tea parties, but ignores Gallup’s conclusion

Fox News’ tea party coverage makes mockery of claim that network provides “straight … news” in daytime

Pirate Bay fileshare four guilty
A Swedish court handed down a guilty verdict and a year in prison on Friday to all four defendants in a copyright test case involving The Pirate Bay, one of the world’s biggest free file-sharing websites.

Activist college opinion-page editor fights her dismissal
Marissa Blaszko was fired in March as opinion editor of the Central Connecticut State University newspaper for violating the paper’s code of ethics, which forbids an editor “to act on any political leanings.” Blaszko is active in protesting the war in Iraq, she signs petitions and stands up against any kind of social injustice, reports Carolyn Moreau.

Detroit reporter will have to sit for pretrial questioning
A federal appeals court says Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter will have to sit for questioning by attorneys for a former federal prosecutor wanting to find out who leaked word that he was under an internal investigation. “We are disappointed,” says Free Press lawyer Richard Zuckerman.

The Anguish of a Story Can Haunt Journalists
Journalists who peer into the abyss of war, crime, and natural disasters as part of their jobs can end up as emotionally scarred as the victims they never imagined joining. “Journalists can experience powerful frustration and demoralization,” said Dr. Frank M. Ochberg a psychologist who specializes in trauma.

Newspapers are the most common source of information for Daily Kos, but…
In one week, newspapers accounted for 123 out of 628 total original information sources, or just shy of 20%, reports Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas. “In the unlikely and tragic event that every single newspaper went out of business today, we’d have little problem replacing them as a source of information.”
The arrogance of the young and lucky!

“Newspapers are in no position to charge for content”
“The last thing an industry hard hit by disruption should be doing is raising prices, whether from zero to something, or from something to something more,” writes Martin Langeveld. He has some thoughts on what newspapers should be doing.

Muck Rack helps you follow journalists on Twitter
“Muck Rack makes it easy to follow one line, real time reporting,” says the website’s promotion. Tweets from journalists working for NPR, NYT, WSJ, CBS News, CNN and other news orgs are posted.

Newsroom Employment Drops to Lowest Level Since 1978 — But Online Jobs Up 
Newsroom employment at newspapers has plunged 11.3% in 2008, with the industry losing some 5,900 jobs, according to the American Society of News Editors (ASNE). It’s the biggest drop the organization has recorded since it first started conducing its newsroom employment survey in 1978.

[New York] Times Will Cut Sections to Lower Costs
Several weekly sections will be eliminated, with other parts of the newspaper absorbing some content, in an effort to save millions of dollars.

Media General Posts Wider Loss and Cuts 300 Jobs
After a deepening slide in advertising revenue, the newspaper publisher and TV station owner said it plans to freeze its pension plan as of the end of May.

World’s largest newsprint maker files for bankruptcy protection
Attempts by debt-laden AbitibiBowater to raise newsprint prices by closing mills and reducing production were unable to keep pace with the precipitous fall in demand from the troubled newspaper industry, reports Ian Austen.

BoSox Owner Interested in Globe
Boston Red Sox principal owner John Henry has signaled his willingness to take on the troubled Boston Globe as part of a deal to buy The New York Times Co.’s stake in his baseball team, sources say.

ASME: Us Weekly Violated Edit Guidelines With Cover
The American Society of Magazine Editors said Us Weekly violated its editorial guidelines designed to protect magazines’ editorial integrity. The flap involves the April 20 issue of the Wenner Media pub. The celeb weekly ran a mock cover as part of a five-page ad for HBO’s Grey Gardens.

Time Inc. Warns mine Subscribers ‘Computer Error’ May Have Screwed Up ‘Personalized’ Content
The first copies of mine, Time Inc.’s experiment in free, customized content in magazine form, hit mailboxes this week, and some of the magazine’s launch subscribers have received an e-mail saying that a “computer error” may have affected the content in the first issue.

Newsweek to Turn New Page With Relaunch
A prototype of Newsweek’s redesign that will be launched in early May is a cleaner take on the old, with more white space and bolder photographs. The launch will coincide with a relaunch of that will replace wire copy with links to the best sources of online news.

iPods distract, but don’t destroy.
The fear that iPods and iPhones would have Americans abandoning radio is clearly turning out to be unfounded. While 14% of respondents to the Arbitron-Edison Research study say they’re listening to less radio because of their MP3 player — nearly a quarter report it’s had no impact. The biggest impact is on 12-24 year olds.

Online radio hits 17%.
That’s what percentage of Americans listened to an online radio station in the previous week according to the Edison Research-Arbitron Infinite Dial study. The report finds programming diversity and control are what’s attracting listeners, although nearly a third discovered their favorite online station from over-the-air radio.

March video game sales slump more than expected
U.S. video game sales slumped more than expected in March and were flat in the first quarter when compared with a year earlier – hurt by the recession, a shift in the Easter calendar and fewer big game launches. March sales of hardware, software and accessories fell 17 percent.

Eco-games help kids to do good
With Earth Day coming on April 22, the Internet offers many activities that can heighten kids’ awareness of environmental issues. Here are some that are worth checking out.

Rock till you drop in ‘Guitar Hero Metallica’
Music game fans looking for something edgier than Michael Jackson or Duran Duran can now rock out with Activision’s Guitar Hero: Metallica, the latest in the best-selling rhythm series.

Forget consoles — it’s all about the handhelds
Nintendo’s handheld DS machine and Sony’s PSP have been socking each other in the noses for years now. But the grudge match got more interesting when Apple jumped into the ring.

TV Advertising Market Moving Again
But Are Purchases Replacing All the Upfront Buys Marketers Have Canceled?

Local Media: Starving for Ad Dollars
Why they’re doing far worse than national media—and why ad spending may not come back quickly, if ever

Spike Wins With Sports-Themed Entertainment
Network Can Reach Young Men, Integrate Advertisers Without Being Hamstrung by League Restrictions

U.S. TV Stations Attract More Viewers With News Than ‘Seinfeld’
Instead of paying for reruns of “Seinfeld” at 11 p.m. and “Access Hollywood” at 4:30 a.m., News Corp.’s WJBK-TV in Detroit decided to air more local news. Since making the changes last year, the Fox station’s late- night news is attracting 65 percent more viewers ages 18 to 49, those most sought by marketers, according to Nielsen Co. data. The morning newscast is up 33 percent. TV station owners, facing a record drop in advertising, are pushing their news crews to fill expanded schedules, allowing programmers to eliminate more costly syndicated programs

NBC Universal Earnings Sliced In Half, But There’s a Bright Side
The bad news for NBC Universal: Earnings dropped 45 percent in the last quarter. The good news: The GE unit says that if you stripped out one-time costs, charges, etc, it would have only been down something like 15% – 25%. That’s right: For media conglomerates this quarter, down 20% is the new up.

YouTube boosts full-length movies, TV show lineup
Google Inc.’s YouTube said Thursday it is vastly expanding its library of full-length movies and TV shows it offers online, while also launching a new advertising service and adding about a dozen new content partners.

First Look: YouTube TV, Movies: A Starter House—Not A Mansion (by Staci D. Kramer at Paid Content)
If your current idea of online video is slickster Hulu, prepare to be whelmed during your first visits to YouTube’s new showcases for movies and full-episode TV. It’s a starter house and not fully furnished, at that. But it’s the kind of structure the Google video unit needs to prove it can build in order to move up to newer full-episode programming, higher-end movies and the kind of advertiser it needs to succeed. (And if you saw Hulu in alpha and public beta, you know how far it’s come in just over a year.)…

Don’t get me wrong—there’s plenty to watch now if you enjoy reruns of Bonanza, never finished watching Party of Five and are a sucker for The Little Princess… On the newish side, you can also see the CBS series Harper’s Island, clips from ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and a lot of good documentaries. But I don’t have to go to YouTube to see most of this—and YouTube execs say they don’t expect exclusivity. On the user level, this is about keeping my attention if I’m already on YouTube or I’m a frequent YouTube visitor… YouTube is well ahead of Hulu in terms of unique users and community, but Hulu’s player, for now, is more sophisticated. YouTube’s willingness to use content partners’ players may wind up as a plus for users.

Google TV Ads’ New Feature Includes Online Video (Paid Content)
Piggybacking on YouTube’s new showcase for TV programming, Google is expanding its cable and satellite ad targeting program, Google TV Ads, to online. Of course, Google’s online advertising initiatives are already fairly extensive. But since coming out of beta a little over a year ago, Google TV Ads’ audience measurement program’s growth has moved fairly slowly. In a post on Google TV Ads’ blog, Product Manager Geoff Smith says the new feature, currently in beta, invites marketers to place commercials into the ad breaks of TV programs watched online. Ads can also run pre-roll or post-roll.

Smith’s post mentions YouTube’s efforts but says the extension of Google TV Ads to full-length broadband TV programming will extend to “other websites that carry full-length video programs.” As for marketers, the beta test is available only by invite.

CaptionTube: Sophisticated Caption Editing for YouTube Videos (Mashable)
Last August YouTube enabled users to upload closed caption files for video captions, but today they’re trying to make it even easier for you to reach those viewers who are either hearing impaired or unable to understand your audio. YouTube’s new caption feature, CaptionTube, now allows for adding captions via a sophisticated video caption editor, so users can add their text transcriptions side by side with the video in question.
Could the caption text be used for text-based searches of video material?

Video Takes You on 3-D Virtual Trip Into Growing Tumor
Take a virtual trip inside the human body at a cellular level to see how blood vessels grow to feed tumors. Stopping this growth is one of the primary lines of attack scientists take in trying to defeat diseases, cancer in particular.
I report this to you in this section because, unlikely as it seems, this video does have a bit of a 3-D aspect to it, even on my laptop.  How long before 3-D hits YouTube?

Does IPTV Threaten the Cable Subscription Model? (video)
Verizon CMO John Stratton Acknowledges It Could

Singing Scottish spinster becomes global sensation
A 47-year-old Scottish charity volunteer who claims never to have been kissed has become an international media sensation amid reports she is set to cash in with a quick record deal.
If you haven’t seen the video, it’s amazing.  Just shows to go you, you may not have to give up your dream no matter what your age.

Creating a digital legacy
Graduation is right around the corner. So are Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. What better way to mark these occasions than with a slide show of family memories?

Google’s Profit Is Up 8%, Beating Analysts’ Estimates
Google’s revenue was just short of analysts’ forecasts, while cost-cutting measures helped push profit above expectations.

F.D.A. Rules on Drug Ads Sow Confusion as Applied to Web
Drug companies say Food and Drug Administration regulations must take into account the realities of Internet search ads.

Time Warner Backs Away From Metered Billing, For Now (Paid Content)
Mounting pressure from consumer-rights groups, legislators like Sen. Chuck Schumer and angry subscribers has led Time Warner to pull the plug on its metered broadband access plans—at least for the time being. In an official statement, the company said it “will not proceed” with the trials until “further consultation” with customers and legislators.

Gmail Fails; Find Out About It In 30 Minutes On Twitter (by Adam Ostrow at Mashable)
[Wednesday was] not a good afternoon for the Internet; at least for the portion of it that I spend a good bit of my time on. Gmail, my email program of choice, went down for a good hour, leaving me unable to send messages or chat with my Google contacts. Meanwhile, Twitter, usually a reliable medium for finding out if it’s “just me” or the Internet at-large, is once again running on a significant delay both on your friend’s timeline and in Twitter Search, meaning that discussion of the Gmail outage – which now appears to be widespread – didn’t surface for about 30 minutes.

Twitter has been dealing with this issue on and off for a few weeks now, but is doing a relatively good job keeping everyone informed on the Twitter Status Blog. Yes, this is the nature of the hosted services we use and depend on, and outages are unavoidable. But when it crosses over like this and effects multiple key tools at the same time, boy, is our world a mess!

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