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The Worst You Can Say About: Barack Obama
By Denise Williams (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 12:30:00 PM

Filed under: Barack Obama, Featured Stories, 2008 President, Scandal In the next part of our series, The Worst You Can Say About... I'll be looking at some of the myths going around the intertubes about Barack Obama. (Check out the first part in the series by Jay Allbritton, who looks at what people are saying about John McCain.) Some of our most vocal commenters here on Political Machine are very familiar with the false stories circulating about Obama. They have been most kind sharing those lies with all of us in the comment sections of our posts. Thanks to all of those who have provided me with links and insight into these unfounded rumors. The most "popular" of these viral emails can be found on Fact Check. These phony stories will surely become more widespread and talked about if Obama wins the Democratic nomination. So, here's my stab at creating a quick link of myth debunks for future use on 527's and the RNC: Flat-out Untruths and Lies: Myth #1 - Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Honolulu, Hawaii in 1961. The Obama's divorced in 1963. When Barack was six his mother married Lolo Soetoro and moved to Jakarta. While there Obama attended both Muslim and Catholic schools - about 2 years each. Both schools, by their nature, offered religious instruction. When Barck was ten he was sent to live with his maternal grandmother in Honolulu and attended a secular private school on the island from 5th grade until graduation. Links that debunk this myth (there are many more): http://www.snopes.com/politics/obam a/muslim.asp http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS /01/22/obama.madrassa/ http://www.politico.com/news/stories /1007/6314_Page2.html

Obama's church: Please read and go to this church's web site and read what is written there. It is very alarming. Barack Obama is a member of this church and is running for President of the U.S. If you look at the first page of their web site, you will learn that this congregation has a nonnegotiable commitment to Africa. No where is AMERICA even mentioned. Notice too, what color you will need to be if you should want to join Obama's church..._ B-L-A-C-K!!!_ Doesn't look like his choice of religion has improved much over his (former?) Muslim upbringing. Are you aware that Obama's middle name is Mohammed? Strip away his nice looks, the big smile and smooth talk and what do you get? Certainly a racist, as plainly defined by the stated position of his church! And possibly a covert worshiper of the Muslim faith, even today. This guy desires to rule over America while his loyalty is totally vested in a Black Africa! I cannot believe this has not been all over the TV and newspapers. This is why it is so important to pass this message along to all of our family & friends. To think that Obama has even the slightest chance in the run for the presidency, is really scary. Click on the link below: This is the web page for the church Barack Obama belongs to: www.tucc.org/about.htm

From FactCheck.org: It is true that the U.S. Code states that "all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart." But the word "should" rather than "shall" makes that a recommendation and not a legal requirement. To confirm, we spoke with Anne Garside, director of communication for the Maryland Historical Society - home of the original manuscript of "The StarSpangled Banner," and asked if anyone could be punished for not placing their hands over their hearts during the national anthem. She quickly replied, "Oh, of course not," adding that "there is no obligation to put your hand over your heart." Pictures and video of Obama holding his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance, The Nation Anthem, and even leading the Pledge as a member of the Senate can be found here, here and here. Myth #5 - Obama's United Church of Christ parish is a black-only racist church. And if you can't get a soul to believe the Muslim smears, you can always revert back to his OTHER church, the predominately African American Trinity United Church of Christ. Again from Fact Check is the email that I see copied and pasted here alot with the link. Unfortunately for recent visitors looking for black on white death and destruction, you'll now see the Church's mission statement AND and kindly while female Reverend waiting for you there to debunk this crap right there! You don't even need the email sent to you to get this - you can hear it on Hannity & Colmes nearly every night. Subject: Obama's church Obama mentioned his church during his appearance with Oprah. It's the Trinity Church of Christ. I found this interesting.

Myth #2 - Barack Hussein Obama's middle name is Muhummad. This one cracks me up everytime I see it. His middle name is Hussein. It doesn't make it scarier to add the Muhummad in there. We get the point. See Myth #5 below. Myth #3 - Obama swore his Senate Oath of Office on a Koran See Myth #1. Obama is a Christian and used a Bible. Ask Dick Cheney, who administered the Oath. People who repeat this are thinking of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim Congressman, who did use a Koran in his ceremonial swearing-in. Ellison used a Koran borrowed from the Library of Congress that was owned by that crazy jihadist Thomas Jefferson. Links that debunk this myth:

Based on a chain email titled "Who is Barack Obama?" and it's variations. The usual story here is that Obama's mother married a Kenyan Muslim (also named Barack Hussein Obama) divorced him and then married an Indonesian Muslim and that Barack went to an extremist Wahabbi madrassa in Jakarta, Indonesia. Variations include that because his father was Muslim, Obama will always be Muslim, and run to the extreme theory that he's some sort of Muslim Manchurian Candidate and will invite Osama bin Laden to be VP or Secretary of State. These of stories, of course, have been debunked many times by multiple sources. Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, did indeed marry a Kenyan that she met while both attended the University of Hawaii. Barack was born in

http://www.politifact.org/truth-ometer/statements/238/ http://www.snopes.com/politics/obam a/muslim.asp http://www.factcheck.org/elections2008/sliming_obama.html Myth #4 - Obama won't put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. This rumor goes along perfectly with the Muslim myths as it says, "See! He's not aMurkin!" Apparently this one started after a picture was taken at the Tom Harkin Steak Fry in Iowa back in September right as this group was about ready to hear the National Anthem: It's time to say goodbye to Fidel Castro. What a journey!

It's also been reported widely that TUCC's magazine Trumpet gave Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said "truly epitomized greatness." It's covered pretty well here by Washington Post's Richard Cohen. Obama's adamant disavowal of the church magazine's decision here. Now there are plenty of legitimate reasons to knock this candidate - his issues, his substance and his words recently are more than enough fodder for anyone. It's a shame in 2008 that we still see irrational fear and loathing of people and cultures we don't understand. We are Americans and we should be alot better than this. Stay tuned for our next chapter in The Worst Thing You Can Say About... Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Ryan Seacrest on Fidel Castro
By Mo Rocca (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 10:30:00 AM

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Buckley Scion Gets Mad
By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 12:24:00 PM

Filed under: Republicans, John McCain, 2008 President This piece from Christopher Buckley deserves some attention, since he is the son of the William F. Buckley who founded National Review and was widely seen as the leader of the conservative movement for many, many years. It may strike some conservatives today as odd, if not absurd, to see John McCain being subjected to an auto-da-fé conducted by such Torquemadas of the right as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity. The other day, he even endured jeers at a conservative gathering in Washington, by otherwise well-behaved exemplars of conservatism. Indeed, turn on the TV at any hour of the day and you'll find Mr. McCain being excoriated in harsher terms than he endured from his jailers at the Hanoi Hilton variously denounced as a) not conservative, b) really, really not conservative, or even c) so notconservative as to make you wonder if he isn't just the latest re-issue of the Manchurian Candidate. Why would it strike anyone as odd? I mean, unless you've been under a

rock for the past eight years, you would know that McCain has, in that time, carried on a crusade against conservatives in the way that only McCain can. In that crusade, whether it was immigration or campaign finance, or torture, there were two sides. One side was that of truth justice and light, and that was McCain, and the other side was full of evil, corrupt, despicable, vile people, and those were the conservatives. But all that's in the past. Now McCain is the virtual nominee and if the conservatives don't like it, they can suck it... or as Chris put it: In response, let me offer a thoughtful, considered, carefully worded comment: Would you all please just...shut...up? (I'd insert an intensifier, but this is a family newspaper.)

about the various well known faults of the other candidates, but he offers not one shred of evidence that McCain is conservative, only this final summation: I'd love to have been inside his brain or to have had a mind-reading crawl run across the bottom of the TV screen - as he was offering his emollient words. I'm guessing it was something along the lines of, "All right, you blinking, high-maintenance idjits, if this is what it takes, I'm willing to do it, but honestly I'd rather be doing vodka shots with Hillary Clinton." But then defiance - defiance of the gleeful kind - is a quality I've always associated with conservatism. So his final point is that McCain is seeking only the mollification of conservatives, and that's supposed to be a supportive statement for his assertion that conservatives should just shut up? Yeah, that's not going to be a persuasive argument. But if Chris's real goal was to spark a civil war between the moderates and the conservatives, this is a great opening shot. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Option update: Volatility levels for tax preparers HRB, JTX
By Paul Foster (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:15:00 AM

Filed under: H and R Block (HRB), Options H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) closed at $18.47 Tuesday. Soleil Securities has a Buy rating on HRB. HRB overall option implied volatility of 45 is near its 26-week average according to Track Data, suggesting non-directional price movement. Jackson Hewitt (NYSE: JTX) closed Tuesday at $21.65, near a 30-month low. Soleil Securities has a Hold rating with an $18 price target on JTX. JTX overall option implied volatility of 59 is above its 26-week average of 43 according to Track Data, suggesting larger price movement. Option Update is provided by Stock Specialist Paul Foster of theflyonthewall.com Permalink | Email this | Comments

Mr. Buckley then goes on for about thirty pages and thousands of words about defending McCain's various positions, allies, and crusades against conservatism, all in the name of finding out whether McCain is actually a conservative. In that time he finds space to talk

Obamomentum: 'W' Tuesday Postgame Analysis
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 10:45:00 PM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Breaking News, 2008 PresidentWashington, Wisconsin, and HaWaii (it's a stretch, I know, but work with me) all held nominating contests today, and as David Knowles noted earlier, Barack Obama carried Wisconsin by a wide margin, his 9th victory in a row, and has taken Hawaii as expected, 76%-24%. John McCain carried the state by a huge 18 point spread over rival Mike Huckabee, and more than doubled Huckabee's vote total in Washington. The Washington State Democratic Primary is being described as a "beauty contest", since the state has already pledged its delegates based on the results of a February 9 caucus, which Obama won by more than double, 68%-31%. Despite that fact, Washington is shaping up to be the lone bright spot for Hillary Clinton. With record turnout expected, Clinton has made up incredible ground in the state, allowing her campaign to point to the contest as a momentum-stopper for Barack Obama, and to challenge

Washington. In exit polls, 54% of voters found that Clinton had been more unfair to Obama in campaigning, compared with 34% for Obama, indicating that it will be increasingly difficult for Clinton to benefit from negative campaigning. Another symbolically bad moment for Clinton occurred when, during her speech, MSNBC and other outlets cut away to Barack Obama's victory speech. There seems to be no way Clinton will drop out before Texas, but the writing appears to be on the wall. The highlight of the coverage was this clip, of Chris Matthews embarassing an Obama backer. It's the kind of clip that gets forwarded around in emails, and fair or not, it does play neatly into the popular line of attack against Obama.

the validity of his caucus state wins in the court of public opinion. On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee picked up no delegates, as both contests were "Winner take all." Huck shows no sign of dropping out, but at this point, McCain is at least benefiting from headlines of wide victories, rather than sitting quietly with a secured nomination.The

headline for Clinton is, "We made up 33 points in Washington." They can point to the disparity between the caucus result and the primary result as an indicator that all of Obama's caucus wins are less valid as expressions of the popular will. Of course, the rest of the world will be talking about Obamomentum, as these contests were his 9th and 10th victories in a row, 11th if you count

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Disney's world is starting to look wonderful again
By Joseph Lazzaro (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:25:00 AM

aforementioned in mind, Disney is worth a review. Disney (NYSE: DIS) is the world's second largest media conglomerate. In general, analysts see adequate revenue gains on media network performance (including solid TV advertising sales), and relatively

heavy traffic at worldwide theme parks. Meanwhile, merchandise licensing revenue should be adequate, as should film revenue, with difficult year-to-year film revenue comparisons expected to lighten somewhat in F2009. Further, Disney's balance sheet is among the strongest

Filed under: Walt Disney (DIS), Stocks to BuyIn less-than-certain economic times, it's prudent to add one or two large-cap demonstrated business model performers to your portfolio, and with the

in the sector. The Reuters F2008/F2009 EPS consensus estimates for DIS are $2.23/$2.39. Continue reading Disney's world is starting to look wonderful againPermalink | Email this | Comments

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Al Gore?
By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 11:55:00 PM

Filed under: Republicans, 2008 President, Michael Bloomberg John Derbyshire at NRO puts together a fascinating and fun scenario, and a way out for Democrats if the frontrunner stumbles before the convention: I assume that the folk at the DNC, who are not fools, have thought things through to this point. What comes next? What do you think? I've been telling you for months, but you just won't listen. I told you right here back in May last year. Some weeks before that I had told attendees at a private lecture the same thing. The organizers of that event had asked me to give a talk on the 2008 field of candidates, which was at that point very large. At the end of my talk, they said, I should offer my opinion as to who would actually be the next president. Preparing my talk,

I mulled over the matter carefully. At the very end of the lecture, after 40 minutes of surveying the entire field, both parties, I said "Ladies and gentlemen, the next President of the United States," pressed the key (it was a PowerPoint presentation), and up on the screen came Al Gore. There was a chorus of boos and jeers - it was a conservative crowd. Derb: "Look, this is not my guy. I'm antiGore, and have a paper trail to prove it (see here, here, and here). But as an analyst, it's my job dispassioantely to weigh the probabilities. I weighed them. This is what they told me." It's not impossible, but it's close. The major obstacles are two by number: 1. The Democrats feel they already have their knight in shining, and his name is Barack Obama. 2. Hillary has to remain close in the delegate count, which hinges on her winning many of the remaining primaries, and that's looking tougher and tougher by the day. Also there's an assumption here predicated that McCain's resume

alone makes him a stronger candidate than either. I think that assumption is a false one. One can either win the presidency by putting together a coalition of your base plus a majority of the swing voters, or by boosting turnout to extraordinary levels among your base. This latter part is the Bush method in 2004 and it worked spectacularly. John McCain is not going to be able to go for the spectacular turnout method, as the base may vote for him, but only grudgingly. and he is not going to be able to outdo the Oprah candidate (if Obama is the nominee) for the swing voters. And even then, of all the candidates, only Barack has the capability of boosting turnout, but among Democrats. See obstacle #1. The stronger resume thesis does not hold. And the conservative establishment continues to whistle past the graveyard. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Option update: Intuit volatility flat into EPS, tax season
By Paul Foster (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:20:00 AM

Filed under: Intuit Inc (INTU), Options, Politics Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU) is scheduled to report Q2 EPS on February 21. Soleil Securities says: "We continue to see double-digit core -business growth, with expanding margins." INTU closed at $30.23 Tuesday. INTU March option implied volatility of 34 is near its 26-week average according to Track Data, suggesting non-directional price movement. Option Update is provided by Stock Specialist Paul Foster of theflyonthewall.com.Permalink | Email this | Comments

Obama Outpolling McCain in Swing States
By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 11:22:00 PM

Speech! Speech! Speech!
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 12:39:00 AM

Filed under: Democrats, Barack Obama, 2008 President, Polls These sorts of polls are absolutely meaningless in any predictive sense, but they are very important nonetheless. Hillary's been campaigning that she is the best candidate to beat the Republican, but now the Republicans have had the bad form to elect the one candidate that is a perfect matchup for Obama. And these polls from SUSA show it (link to Jeff at Ohio Daily):Iowa McCain 41% Obama 51% McCain 52% Clinton 41% Virginia

McCain 45% Obama 51% McCain 48% Clinton 45% Wisconsin McCain 42% Obama 52% McCain 49% Clinton 42% Survey USA is always a bit sketchy in my mind, as they do robopolling, but the propaganda effect of this on the remaining primaries will be very bad for Hillary. Obama has increasing evidence that he is the best candidate on the electability front, which leaves Hillary with no winning message whatsoever. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

'Night Shift' Clinton
By Greg McNeilly (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 1:47:00 AM

faster than a 20-plus-point-lead in Texas. So which candidate was more rude? The future of America depends on the answer. John McCain's speech was marked, yet again, by the relatively small room in which he delivered it. That metaphor was punctuated by countryclub crowd interrupting McCain's remarks with chants of "U-S-A! U-SA!" The speech itself took aim at Barack Obama. McCain seems to realize who he's more likely to face in the general election. Essentially, however, his attacks on Obama are identical to the ones Clinton has been making. Given how well those seem to be going over with the voters, he may want to consider a "new and improved" speech of his own.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Republicans, John McCain, Featured StoriesIf there was any drama in last night's blowout wins by Barack Obama and John McCain, it waited until after the victors had been decided. Of course, I speak of the speeches each candidate offered the nation. The biggest story of the night was the punch/counter-punch that ensued between Hillary Clinton and Obama. Ever gracious in defeat, Clinton, speaking in Youngstown, Ohio, again declined to congratulate Obama on his wins, and, with the aide of a teleprompter, proceeded to use her media spotlight to launch into a "new and improved" attack on her rival. Having heard enough, Obama took to the podium midway through Clinton's bruising oratory, causing her image to disappear from television screens

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Ads, 2008 PresidentHillary Clinton is airing a new :30 second spot in Ohio titled "Night Shift." The script reads: Announcer: "You pour coffee, fix hair, you work the night shift at the local hospital. You're often overworked, underpaid, and sometimes overlooked. But not by everyone. One candidate has put forth an American family agenda to make things easier for everyone who works so hard. Universal health care.

Increased daycare. And help with elder health care. She understands. She's worked the night shift, too." Clinton: "I'm Hillary Clinton and I approved this message." Clearly channeling the John Edwards populism, Clinton is hoping to steer her campaign off the iceberg in Ohio and elsewhere. The math is becoming more difficult. At this point, the election is no longer about her, her record, or her vision. There has been such a large momentum shift that a change of fate is only possible if she can pop the Obama bubble. A doubtful scnario (and legacy-wise risky). Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

H/T Talking Points Memo. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

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Obama's Streak Continues
By David Knowles (Political Machine)

SCOTUS Scuttles ACLU's Wiretapping Case
By Justin Paulette (Political Machine)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 1:16:00 AM

Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:06:00 PM

and 37% for Clinton. Maybe she should have paid more attention to all those "insignificant" states. There's no way to spin this pretty for Clinton. She lost in a state where she should have been competitive--and by 17%. Just another blowout. What's her excuse this time? Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Filed under: Bush Administration, Breaking News, Terror, Supreme Court ACLU v. NSA has just been dropped from the Supreme Court's docket, in effect granting a victory to the Bush administration. The ACLU had argued the illegality of the executive's warrantless wiretapping program, the secret program revealed to the world within the pages of The New York Times. (I've written on the program here and here.) The decision was resolved on the procedural matter of "standing." The ACLU sued on behalf of itself, lawyers, reporters and scholars. None of the plaintiffs could show that they had been harmed by (or even subjected to) the program, Hence, they lacked standing to sue.

The ACLU calls this a Catch-22: The government classified the identities of persons monitored by the program, but only those unknown persons have standing to sue. Of course, the converse logic shows that, in the years of the programs' existence, no one has been harmed by its existence - except some disgruntled (would-be) terrorists. But those ACLU clients are another matter.... The ACLU lamented, "It's very disturbing that the president's actions will go unremarked upon by the court. In our view, it shouldn't be left to executive branch officials alone to determine the limits." No doubt, they believe private groups with a penchant for undermining national security should be entrusted with adjudging the merits of secret antiterror programs. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Filed under: Democrats, Barack Obama The momentum continues. Wisconsin was the 9th consecutive win. Hawaii made it 10. Texas is looking precarious for Clinton. After last night, it got that much more so. The big headline? Exit polls show that for voters who made up their minds in the past month went 63% to Obama

Forget Notepad: 8 Online Text Editors
By Sean P. Aune (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 4:16:18 AM

MySpace hears the music
By Douglas McIntyre (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 2:22:00 AM

Yes, most of us are used to using Notepad for text editing, but if you want to take your text online, you can find more robust and full featured (or even simpler) editors. We’ve gathered up eight that will let you code web pages, type in other languages, and even create PDFs. (more…) ShareThis

Rails and trucks: A look at two Buffett stocks
By Steven Halpern (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:38:00 AM

Filed under: Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), Newsletters, Commodities, Oil, Agriculture, Stocks to Buy, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNI) With Warren Buffett in the news recently, it is timely to look at a recent report from Paul Tracy, highlighting some of the bestpositioned stocks currently held by Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) -- Burlington Northern Santa Fe (NYSE: BNI) and WABCO Holdings (NYSE: WBC). Here, the editor of StreetAuthority Market Advisor explains, "Buffett

looks for such factors as intrinsic value, low debt, managerial expertise, a margin of safety and an 'economic moats' that offers some sort of sustainable competitive advantage." Here's a pair of transportation stocks that fit the bill. "While many investors fret over the current volatility in the stock market, Warren Buffett is likely busy looking for value. Historically, in volatile up and down markets, Buffett has found even more opportunities than in raging bull markets." "Burlington Northern Santa Fe is the second-largest railroad in the U.S. Berkshire holds an 18.2% stake in BNI, recently boosting that stake by purchasing 11 million shares to bring

its total ownership to more than 63 million shares. Buffett has made no secret of his desire to purchase more of the stock. "The key to discerning competitive advantages between the major railroad firms lies in the strategic location of their networks. Specifically, BNI has the largest network of track in a region of the western U.S. known as the Powder River Basin, which is home to America's largest reserves of coal. Continue reading Rails and trucks: A look at two Buffett stocksPermalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: Launches, Industry, Apple Inc (AAPL), Wal-Mart (WMT), Amazon.com (AMZN), News Corp'B' (NWS) Everyone else is in the music download business so why not add News Corp (NYSE: NWS)'s MySpace. The big social network is in talks with the major record labels including Universal Music and Sony BMG. The service would offer the downloads for free and the service would be supported by advertising. According to the FT, the deal would put MySpace in a similar position to companies like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) that are trying to challenge Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s iTunes. While MySpace has over 100 million registered users, it is hard to see why the project will have much success. The social network is not a music download destination per se, and it is uncertain the visitors will want to use the site for a service that they are probably getting from Apple, or as they probably rip their own DVDs. The launch is another sign that social networks do not have a model for making big money. The last News Corp estimates showed that MySpace revenue was under $700 million last year -- modest given its size. Getting MySpace users to move to any new service may be like herding cats. Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 247wallst.com. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Wal-Mart's strong international growth a sign of things to come
By Brian White (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 2:48:00 AM

Analyst initiations: Chesapeake, Brookfield Asset Management, Nile Therapeutics
By Eric Buscemi (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:50:00 AM

Filed under: Products and services, Competitive strategy, Wal-Mart (WMT)When Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) reported it had achieved its first $100 billion quarter in the company's history Tuesday, it was probably a time to celebrate at its Bentonville headquarters. But even a $100 billion quarter doesn't make for good feelings sometimes, as much of that growth came from the company's international division. Yes, that's the one I've lamented over frequently in the past. This time, it was shining brightly. Wal-Mart's Q4 sales came in showing a 19% international growth rate that pushed those sales to $27 billion for the just completed quarter. At the same time, the retailer's U.S. sales rose only 5%. Is international becoming the company's growth engine like it has frequently wanted

to happen? This quarter proved it -yes, it has. Wal-Mart's Asda grocery chain in the UK even showed samestore sales growth in the "mid-single digits" for all of 2007. Wal-Mart indicated that its Asda operation was the fastest growing food retailer in Europe, ahead of competitors Tesco and Sainsbury. Is "Everyday Low Prices" winning over customer groups outside the U.S. now? That was the reason given behind Asda's growth, as customers seeking out the lowest prices more frequently shopped at Asda. Is this the beginning of the "WalMartization" of all its global markets? Commodity and energy prices aren't doing anything to help, but it's too early to make that call. Give four quarters of outstanding international growth, and finally, Wal-Mart investors may have something to cheer about.Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: Analyst initiationsMOST NOTEWORTHY: Chesapeake, Brookfield Asset Management and Nile Therapeutics were today's noteworthy initiations: • Jefferies initiated Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) with a Buy rating and $54 target and thinks the company can post group-leading organic growth in production and reserves over the next several years. • Thomas Weisel assumed Brookfield Asset Management (NYSE: BAM) with a Market Weight rating citing slowing cash flow growth. • Rodman & Renshaw is positive on Nile Therapeutics' (OTC: NILT) lead

compound, CD-NP, a chimeric natriuretic peptide with potential efficacy and safety enhancements that could permit broad use in acute heart failure setting. The firm started shares of Nile with a Market Outperform rating and $7 target. OTHER INITIATIONS: • Baird initiated Concur Tech (NASDAQ: CNQR) with a Neutral rating. • RBC Capital initiated General Moly (AMEX: GMO) with a Sector Perform rating and $11 target. • Wachovia (NYSE: WB) was reinstated at Goldman with a Neutral rating. Permalink | Email this | Comments

A Microsoft proxy battle for Yahoo? Yeah, Right
By Jonathan Berr (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 2:35:00 AM

Staples offers to buy Corporate Express; offer rebuffed
By Brian White (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 2:10:00 AM

Filed under: Deals, Microsoft (MSFT), Yahoo! (YHOO), Marketing and advertisingMicrosoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) will start a proxy fight for Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) "unless Yahoo reverses course and enters into talks' regarding its $44.6 billion unsolicited offer," according to The New York Times' DealBook blog. I'll believe it when I see it. First of all, proxy battles are a gigantic pain in the butt. The bigger the deal, the larger the hassles. There are lawyers, proxy solicitation firms and deal PR firms to pay. M&A reporters at the major media outlets have to be wooed. It takes forever. Yahoo's board probably won't meet until June. Plenty of things can happen between now and then. Probably, the only reason why

Filed under: Competitive strategy, Staples Inc (SPLS)Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) wants to buy the largest global supplier of office supplies to enhance its most profitable division. That company, Corporate Express, doesn't seem interested in Staples' offer, calling the U.S. retailer's $3.6 billion unsolicited offer inadequate and "significantly undervalues the company." Corporate Express, based in Amsterdam, saw its shares trading above Staples' offer price once the bid was announced, signaling that investors expect a much larger offer price for the office supply company. Although Staples knows all too well that U.S. regulators would probably not approve the acquisition of a U.S.based retailer (its attempt to buy Office Depot in 1997 failed),

Microsoft is even considering a proxy fight is because Yahoo does not have a staggered board, meaning all of its directors are up for renomination this year. Investors need to remember that the media loves to hype potential battles like proxy battles even if the chances of them actually happen are quite remote. Freelance writer Jonathan Berr edits the blog Ketchup and Eggs.Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Corporate Express is a smart move. The company does half its business in the U.S. already, and acquiring it would give Staples a much-improved delivery business in the U.S. Sanford & Bernstein analyst Colin McGranahan said "the potential synergies could make this very accretive" to earnings. McGranahan then indicated that Staples' management team is conservative and smart, and that a higher office price could make things more difficult. Reading between the lines, then, Staples may not up its offer even though it's been rebuffed by Corporate Express.Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Airbus foresees sharp drop in orders
By Douglas McIntyre (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:02:00 AM

Filed under: Forecasts, Industry, Boeing Co (BA) Airbus believes that new orders for its planes will drop by half to about 700 in 2008. The company's backlog of planes that it has to build and deliver

sits at 3,600 according toThe New York Times. The introduction of new products helped Airbus and Boeing (NYSE: BA) to a year of record orders in 2007, but that has taken up most of the demand for commercial aircraft which will be delivered over the next few years. The slowdown in orders is not likely

to harm earnings at either company soon because heavy delivery schedules will keep revenue flowing. It does raise the question of whether the industry will hit a slump near the end of the decade when current orders have been filled. If the market senses that the aircraft business will not be as robust over time as it is now, it will probably

pressure Boeing's shares which have already fallen from 52-week high of almost $108 to just above $85. Investors who plan to hold Boeing long-term may want to reconsider. Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 247wallst.com. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

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So it begins: Toshiba's HD-A3 falls to $99 at Circuit City, comes with 7 free HD DVDs
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 1:26:00 AM

Filed under: HDTV, Home Entertainment It's not like there has been any shortage of deals on HD DVD hardware over the past few months or anything, but now that Toshiba (and almost everyone else on the planet) has officially yanked support for the format, prices are beginning to plummet en masse. First on the docket is the HD-A3 at Circuit City, which now sits at just $99.99 and

comes with seven free titles, two of which are 300 and Bourne Identity. So yeah, if you've been waiting for this moment to snap up the failed format for cheap, hop on in -- but if we were betting souls, we'd say holding out just a wee bit longer would actually be in your wallet's best interest. [Thanks, Dustin] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Sharper Image can't move enough air purifiers to avoid bankruptcy
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 1:58:00 AM

Filed under: Household We can't say the writing was exactly on the wall or anything, but when Sharper Image attempted to sell selfbranded cellphones and got dinged for pushing grossly overpriced air purifiers that actually made things worse -- well, you could tell things weren't all peaches and cream. Regardless, the company made famous for selling trinkets and massage chairs in malls everywhere has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

after "declining sales and three straight years of losses led to a shortage of liquidity." Comically enough, the retailer actually went so far as to "partly blame" the negative publicity surrounding the aforementioned Ionic Breeze air purifiers for its falling revenues, and court papers also show that it's currently seeking a $60 million loan to keep operating. Oh, how the mighty mediocre have fallen. [Thanks, Steve] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

MyRacer MF101 handheld does gaming first, media second
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:27:00 AM

Lessig May Run
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 12:44:49 AM

Erick reported February 15 that a Facebook group was trying to draft Stanford Law professor and free culture champion Lawrence Lessig to run for Congress. It took 5 days but they may get their way with Lessig announcing Lessig ‘08, a site that will host an introduction to his “Change Congress Movement,” (video above) as well as his yet to be announced decision as to whether he’ll run or not. Writes Lessig I have decided I want to give as much energy as I can to the Change

Congress movement. I will decide in the next week or so whether it makes sense to advance that movement by running for Congress. Many friends have weighed in on that decision — both strongly in favor and strongly opposed. Many more have joined draftlessig.org and a Facebook group asking me to consider it. The first candidate to run based on support via Facebook? Maybe not completely, but it’s a headline I’m sure others may use if and when he decides to run. C r u n c h N e t w o r k : MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Filed under: Gaming, Handhelds First things first -- Americans can keep dreaming on this one, as we're looking at yet another curious creation that probably won't wander far beyond the borders of South Korea. MyRacer's MF101 handheld can certainly play nice with a few audio / video formats -- AVI, MP3, WMA, WAV, JPEG and BMP, for starters -- but the control pad flanking each side of the 2.4-inch 320 x 240

resolution display gives away its true calling. Reportedly, it sports a Flashbased interface that enables users to sort through titles on their SD card or the 1GB of internal memory, but details are fuzzy on what games it'll actually play. Still, doesn't seem like a half bad investment for 99,000 ($104) if you're in the area. [Via Technabob] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Windows XP SP3 RC2 publicly available. That's three times the SP!
By Paul Miller (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 2:53:00 AM

Post-format war, which Blu-ray player will you snag?
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:00:00 AM

Filed under: Desktops, LaptopsLook, we sense the Vista hate out there, but frankly we think it's your own dang business what OS you choose to run. If Vista SP1 is rocking your world right now, we say more power to you, if XP is more your pace then you're certainly not alone, and if you're still trying to install Firefox on Haiku we feel your pain. That said, XP users are getting a bit of love this week, since Microsoft just made Service Pack 3 Release Candidate 2 publicly available via Windows Update. You have to download a little registry key to help Windows Update know you're RC2 fodder, and remove any previous

version of SP3 from your machine, but it should be smooth sailing from there. How do you like them apples, Vista SP1? Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: HDTV, Home Entertainment After what seems like ages, the deadlock between HD DVD and Bluray has finally been broken, and as you undoubtedly know, highdefinition film lovers everywhere are now scrambling to figure out which BD player would suit them best. 'Course, the easy answer is Sony's Profile 2.0-capable PlayStation 3, but

if you've got a higher-end home theater, things aren't necessarily that simple -- there are some pretty big audio codec issues to keep in mind. Either way, now that it's safe to commit to one format, why not check out what everybody else is doing and toss in your own vote at Engadget HD's poll? [Image courtesy of AV Revolution] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Sony selling Cell chip facilities to Toshiba for $835 million
By Paul Miller (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 1:46:00 AM

Filed under: Gaming, Home EntertainmentWe're pretty sure there's a load of irony here somewhere, but we just can't put our finger on it. Sony is selling its chip manufacturing facilities -- including ones that build the Cell and RSX chips that go into the PS3 -- to Toshiba, and the $835 million deal goes down April 1. (No, this is not some April fool's joke, just really awkward timing.) Toshiba's also in a $16 billion partnership with SanDisk to produce flash memory, so it's looking like with the inclusion of Sony's chip capacity we're looking at quite the chip giant. We had wind of this Sony deal last year, but it looks

Creative working on a "Zen Share" WiFi music player?
By Paul Miller (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 1:05:00 AM

Filed under: Portable Audio, Portable Video, Wireless like things finally got official just as all this "HD DVD losing the format war" stuff went down. No hard feelings, right Toshiba? Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments Rumors of a brand new Creative music player looking exactly like this are unconfirmed at the moment, but we do have a pretty solid lead on the name: Zen Share. That word comes from the mouth of epiZENter.net, and why would a self-termed Creative

fansite lie about something like this? Apparently the player does WiFi sharing, but that's all we've got to go on at the moment, so let your imagination run wild. Zen to Zune to iPod wireless sharing? In a world of magic, anything is possible. [Image courtesy of Bent Post] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

HP's new UMPC 2133 hotness to run VIA, not Penryn?
By Paul Miller (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 2:19:00 AM

Filed under: Laptops If that new HP Compaq 2133 is hitting your ultraportable sweet spot, there's more news on that front to

drool over. UMPC Portal has word from a supposed industry insider that the computer is not running an Intel chip as previously suggested, but instead will rock the range of VIA processors. That means the computer could fight it out with Eee PC in the low-end with a C7 processor, or

chips and duke it out with Penryn ultraportables. If this is true it'd be a big win for VIA, and consumers might just get some budget-friendly excitement out of the deal as well. adopt one of those upcoming Isaiah Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Palm Centro for AT&T unboxing and hands-on at Engadget Mobile
By Joshua Topolsky (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:07:00 AM

Filed under: Cellphones, Features If you've been feeling like you don't

have enough Palm in your diet, maybe it's time to look into the Centro for AT&T. Not sure? Then perhaps our handy unboxing and hands-on could help cement your decision. Head on over to Engadget

time. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments Mobile where it's all going down, big

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VideoEgg: Rich Media Ads, Pay Only When Users Engage

Blist Secures $6.5M for Cloud Database Software
By Mark Hendrickson (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 5:00:41 AM

By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 12:01:21 AM

Two years of battle between HD DVD and Blu-ray: a retrospective
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:48:00 AM

Filed under: HDTV, Home Entertainment It's been a long, hard journey to get to this point, but at long last, the format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray is over. Sure, we've got a somewhat clearer view of how things will pan out going forward, but we figured it

prudent to take a step back and really scope out how we got to this point. If you're interested in taking a walk through the past two years of headbutting without, you know, actually sifting through headlines from the past two years, head on over to Engadget HD and dig in. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Blist, a browser-based database management application, has raised $6.5M in Series A from Frazier Technology Ventures and Morgenthaler Ventures. The company launched in private beta at DEMO this year, although we first covered them this past November. In addition to this funding announcement, Blist is also rolling out data importing, sharing, and charting features. The new charting capabilities can be seen in the picture to the right.CrunchBase InformationBlistInformation provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGeardrool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Peter Lynch Wants to Give You $1 Million
By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 9:00:34 PM

What is legendary investor Peter Lynch doing involved with a sweepstakes Website that guarantees giving out $1 million a week, and offers jackpots as large as $100 million or more? Lynch is an investor in Jackpot Rewards, a site that mixes retail discounts, giveaways, and charity. The company has raised a $16.7 million series A financing from Lynch and other Boston-area captains of finance, including Chuck Clough (the former chief global investment strategist of Merrill Lynch), advertising man Jack Connors, and DST Systems CEO Tom McDonnell. “The company grew out of a strategic planning mission for charity,” says CEO Jim Miller. It is a for-profit company that will give 50 percent of its profits to education and children’s health charities. The site launches today. You sign up and get up to 10 percent cash back for purchases at 550 retailers, including Apple, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Land’s End and Target. The company makes money by driving sales to the retailers. It gets a commission for each sale. But instead of pocketing the commission, it passes on the savings to its members. This may

sound like iWon redux, but it is really quite different. Jackpot Rewards is not ad-supported. To participate, members need to subscribe and pay $3 a week. That’s right. You’ve got to pay to play. Is Peter Lynch crazy? Nobody subscribes to anything on the Web (except the WSJ and Consumer Reports). That is where the $1 million jackpot comes in. While you would have to spend $30 a week ($120 a month) online to break even on the rewards program, there are plenty of people who spend more than $3 a week on lottery tickets. This lottery ticket actually comes with fringe benefits like retail discounts and the knowledge that half your money is going to charity. When I spoke to Miller, he seemed sincere enough: What goes on typically in sweepstakes is that if it is a huge prize, it is an illusory prize where nobody will win it. Even most million -dollar offers are rarely won. We are building in large jackpots we will give away in rapid succession—one

million dollars a week. Those are guaranteed, he says, every week. But there is also a bigger jackpot that keeps growing and has very miniscule odds (1 in 847 million). But when it hits $150 million, the company guarantees giving that away as well. It is all based on how many subscribers it can attract. Since the jackpots are paid out as a 40-year annuity (or a much smaller up-front cash payment of about $420,000 for each $1 million), the cash outlays could become manageable. Miller figures he needs only 150,000 subscribers ($23.4 million a year in subscription fees) to do okay. At 300,000 subscribers ($46.8 million), the business becomes a nice cash machine. And at 1 million subscribers ($156 million), it really takes off.Is Peter Lynch Going to Hit the Jackpot With This Idea? • No, Put This in the Deadpool • Yes, That Guy Is a Financial Genius View ResultsCrunchBase I n f o r m a t i o n J a c k P o t RewardsInformation provided by CrunchBase C r u n c h N e t w o r k : MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Videoegg, the one-time video startup that sort of competed with YouTube and sort of competed with BrightCove (very different companies), has basically transitioned itself into a very robust rich media advertising network. In August 2007 they started selling ad units for Facebook applications. Since then they’ve expanded to include advertising for many other sites, including Meebo, Flixster and others. Today at an event in New York they’ll announce a business model change, moving away from charging advertisers a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) for their display ads to a new model where advertisers pay only when a users has engaged with the ad. The new product is called AdFrame Brand Response Network quite a mouthful. Engagement is defined as clicking on the ad, or hovering over it for a second or two. Once that happens, a new Flash overlay pops up over the content on the page and shows a video, Flash game and other content. Once the Flash overlay is triggered, the advertiser pays a fee of $.50 - $1. VideoEgg CMO Troy Young says its a much better deal for advertisers, since they pay only when they have a verifiable action by a customer. And publishers, while they don’t get a guaranteed fee per impression, may make more money anyway. VideoEgg says they were able to charge $10 or so CPMs for their ads previously. The new ads, which have engagement rates of .5% - 9%, generate comparable CPMs of $2.5 to way above $10. Plus, Young says, advertisers are much more comfortable buying more inventory under this new model, so there is much less unsold advertising. That last sentence is key to publishers, who care about revenue per page view on average, not just small ad buys at high CPMs. Microsoft has signed up for the new product as an advertiser, and will use it to distribute videos promoting Microsoft Office (an example ad unit is here). There are also a number of examples on the product home page. VideoEgg is serious about this business - they’ve got 25 full time sales people out there selling ads for publishers in the network. The company has raised a total of nearly $34 million over four rounds of financing.CrunchBase InformationVideoEggInformation provided by CrunchBase C r u n c h N e t w o r k : CrunchBoardbecause it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

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SGN Starts to Look Like a “Real Company.” Adds Jetman To Its Gaming Platform, About to Raise $10 Million
By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 4:45:38 PM

It was only last week that the Social Gaming Network (SGN) and Zynga announced their respective developer platforms for games on Facebook and other social networks. I said the game is on between these two companies to win the hearts and minds of social gaming developers. The folks at Zynga took exception to this characterization. If you put all of its games together, Zynga is the 10th largest app company on Facebook as measured by number of installs. SGN is No. 51. Venture capitalist and Zynga investor Fred Wilson accused me of not doing my homework in a post that set off a minor debate over the holiday weekend. After I commented on his post that the jury is still out on which of these young companies will succeed, Wilson responded: Its not even debateable who is a real company and who is not. Zynga CEO Mark Pincus also clearly feels that the comparison is not warranted. He told me of SGN: It is just a thorn in my side. It is some bad ex-girlfriend who will not leave me alone. I think we are very clearly the leader in the space. That thorn is about to get pricklier. Sources outside of SGN confirm that the company is about to raise as much as $10 million in a venture round. Multiple term sheets are on the table. None have yet been signed as the company studies its options. Says one competing VC who has done his due

diligence and is eager to lead SGN’s round: When all is said and done they will have as big a network as Zynga. Fred Wilson doesn’t understand what is going on. Sounds like a debate to me. If size is the determinant of a “real company” (which I don’t think it is), then SGN’s platform is already a whole lot bigger than just a week ago. In less than a week it has signed 10 Facebook games to its budding social gaming hub, including Jetman—one of the most popular games on Facebook—Pirates, and The Dot Game. It has also signed Free Gifts, a virtual gift-giving application on Facebook that includes the other seven of the ten games. All told, the new apps will triple SGN’s daily active users from 200,000 to more than 600,000 on Facebook alone, bringing it substantially closer to Zynga’s 900,000. And in terms of the number of installs, the SGN network is getting much closer to Zynga’s 11.8 million (18.4 million including recently acquired CLZ Concepts and four other Zynga games not reflected in the stats), depending on how you count. Jetman alone has 3.8 million installs and 200,000 daily active users, SGN currently has 3.3 million installs, and Free Gifts has 10 million installs—but that is mostly for its gift giving app, which other gaming developers on the SGN gaming hub will be able to incorporate into their games. Responding to Pincus’ quip, SGN CEO Shervin Pishevar says: “We are

like an old girlfriend that got famous.” Noting that many of Zynga’s games are copycat versions of other games (Zynga’s Diveman is very similar to Jetman, for instance), he adds: If you want to be a developer platform, you probably shouldn’t be copying developers’ games. If you want to compete with them, fine. That is why they are joining us. So is it game over? Hardly. The games have just begun. But is SGN a real business? It is as real as any business built on Facebook. Update: In an e-mail Pincus responds: Wow erick. A) you give them credit for traffic they don’t even own And B) you won’t give us credit for traffic (clz apps) we do actually own. Do you even care how hypocritical sherwin is to accuse me of copycat games when he copied free gifts on bebo and risk on fb? Getting the irony? He is partnering with an app he literally copied in december while accusing me of this? Erick, with all due respect I’m wondering if you work for sgn now? I’ve updated the post to include the

CLZ numbers, which are still counted separately by Adonomics, the data source I linked to. As for who owns what traffic, Pincus is right to point out that games Zynga owns and operates are probably worth more than games simply affiliated to any particular gaming network. But SGN’s deal with Jetman and Free Gifts is as tight as it gets without buying them outright. SGN will be hosting their apps, and Jetman’s developer will be creating more games for the SGN network. The battle here is over who will build the most powerful network and attract other developers, not who will buy up the most traffic. Update 2: CLZ actually has 11.5 million installs, instead of the 5.3 million that Adonomics reports (it only counts 2 of CLZ’s 18 apps). But not all otehse are games (You’re Naughty, You’re a Hottie). I am beginning to really question how reliable Adonomics is. The SGN numbers are probably off as well. Also, all of these numbers come from Facebook, which currently has a bug with how it reports total installs. Daily active users is the better metric to use. Zynga has over one million daily active users, about double SGN’s (including Jetman and Free Gifts). Dead installs (i.e. inactive users) are only good for spamming. CrunchBase InformationSocial Gaming NetworkZyngaInformation provided by CrunchBase C r u n c h N e t w o r k : MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Yahoo Search Wants to Be More Like Google, Embraces Hadoop
By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 8:59:42 AM

Yahoo is following in Google’s footsteps again in search. Today, it is shifting a crucial part of its search engine to Hadoop, software that handles large-scale distributed computing tasks particularly well. Hadoop is an open-source implementation of Google’s MapReduce software and file system. It takes all the links on the Web found by a search engine’s crawlers and “reduces” them to a map of the Web so that ranking algorithms can be run against them. Yahoo is replacing its own software with Hadoop and running it on a Linux server cluster with 10,000 core processors. The Hadoop software does the same job 34 percent faster than the old software. Yahoo is also providing some other interesting stats that gives us a view into the computing infrastructure behind its

Introducing The Most Advanced News Site On The Planet
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
search engine: Some Webmap size data: * Number of links between pages in the index: roughly 1 trillion links * Size of output: over 300 TB, compressed! * Number of cores used to run a single Map-Reduce job: over 10,000 * Raw disk used in the production cluster: over 5 Petabytes Compare this to some data from Google on its MapReduce computing infrastructure (it is not quite apples to apples, but Google was processing 20 petabytes a day back in September, 2007 and outputting 14,000 terabytes in compressed data per month):
Submitted at 2/19/2008 8:27:22 PM

Hadoop is a project of the Apache Software Foundation. It also works for large-scale computing problems beyond search. For instance, IBM is using Hadoop as a foundation for its cloud computing initiative. Competing with Google using opensource software where it can is a smart move on Yahoo’s part, especially when that software outperforms its own.CrunchBase InformationHadoopInformation provided by CrunchBase C r u n c h N e t w o r k : MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Well, another news aggregator launched today. This one is called Newspond, and while they didn’t set a record for baseless hyperbole, they come close. The site, like TechMeme and Digg, tries to determine breaking and important news - but it is a little different than both. Digg uses user voting to determine headlines. Techmeme uses linking behavior of blogs and other news sites. Both are, arguably, fairly transparent, and you can see the number of user votes or inbound links, respectively to a headline. Newspond, by contrast, has a black box algorithm that looks at number of factors and comes up with an overall score called a Buoyancy INTRODUCING page 10

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Rating. The higher the rating, the higher the headline. So their approach is fine, although I argue that it’s filling a need that doesn’t exist. There’s just little to drive people to the site day after day. The user interaction on Digg, both from submitting and voting on stories (and getting all your friends to vote on stories) drives significant viral growth. TechMeme doesn’t have that, and has orders of magnitude less traffic. Newspond doesn’t have it either. And it’s unlikely to replace TechMeme as the blogger’s news site of choice. But they just make ridiculous statements on the website that I can’t ignore. The home page says Newspond is “The most advanced news site on the planet.” The about page has a huge yellow ball thingy and the same words in 40 point type. It also calls itself “the ultimate hub for the latest news.” What’s the technology behind this stunning new startup? Well, within “the heart of Newspond lies a tireless electronic brain” with “highlyadvanced machine intelligence” that analyzes news “at a faster rate of speed than any human being could ever dream of.” It reads like a movie script. So far here’s my experience with the site - questionable freshness on the headlines and a complete failure to send me an activation for my account signup (they’ve posted on their blog about the problem). They also fail to provide a RSS feed for their content. Not so useful. More and more websites are starting to make these types of ridiculous claims to get attention. It works, but only for a day. And after that, with your credibility shot, everyone is waiting for the inevitable failure. And since expectations have been set so astronomically high, even a mild success is still seen as a dismal failure. Glam did it on a grand scale when they called themselves the “fastest growing web property in the United States” to justify a huge valuation. What they really are is a big ad network that’s currently unprofitable but is growing rapidly. But they are most certainly not the largest womens site on the Internet, or the fastest growing site in the U.S. (they count the traffic of all of the sites they sell ads for as “theirs). Glam is worthy of positive attention, but their ridiculous statements cost them credibility. And we saw it again yesterday. New startup YouNoodle, which is currently little more than a catalog of startups, claimed that they could predict the valuation of startups five years out based on nothing more than information about the founders. The product hasn’t even launched, but the New York Times jumped on the story anyway. The only way I’ll believe it works, I said, is if they use it to predict their own failure. I’m going to continue to call companies on unrestrained hyperbole, and hold them to the expectations they’ve set with users. Being proud of your work is one thing, but spouting random nonsense is something else entirely. Enough.CrunchBase InformationNewspondInformation provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGeardrool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

TrialPay Taps Europe For Big Second Round Of Financing
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 4:18:59 PM

GenieTown Launches To Tackle Local Services
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 6:00:03 AM

Palo Alto-based GenieTown launches this morning. They’re trying to crack the local services nut - a huge market, but one that a lot of the big guys are eyeing, too. The company says they are addressing the long tail of local services. The GenieTown site allows local service providers (plumbers, dentists, whatever) to put up a web presence. Users looking for providers can find them, based on their location and user rating. The site competes on one end with services like (gulp) Google Local, Yahoo Local, Yelp and of course the Yellow Pages (both online and off). All of those services are great places to find local service providers. Eventually GenieTown says they’ll integrate more closely with service providers to coordinate calendars and booking systems. At that point they’ll run into another group of competitors, including recently funded Liberysy. If they are going to be successful in both carving out a niche and avoiding all those competitors, they’ll need to quickly get a lot of those service

providers to start using their service. To concentrate their efforts they are rolling out the Bay Area only for now - service providers and users from anywhere can use the service, but the company will only market locally. They’ll grow from there. And GenieTown is also trying to engage with users on more than just making introductions. The smartest part of the service, in my opinion, is a Q&A area that will do very will with search engine optimization. The company has raised $2 million in

a first round of funding from a number of angel investors, including Stanford professors Hassan Chafi (also the CEO) and Kunle Olukotun.CrunchBase InformationGenieTownInformation provided by CrunchBase C r u n c h N e t w o r k : CrunchBoardbecause it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

San Francisco based TrialPay will announce a $12.7 million second round of financing tomorrow, which brings them to $15.8 million raised in total. They tapped European money for the round, bringing in London based Atomico, as well as previous investors Index Ventures, Baseline Ventures and Battery Ventures. The service provides users with an alternative payment method at 3,000 or so participating merchants. Instead of directly, users are offered something for free (such as free calling minutes on Skype) in return for buying a magazine subscription. Another example - “If a customer isn’t quite sold on a software title, he or she could get that software for free by sending flowers from FTD.com, signing up for Blockbuster Total Access or buying $50 worth of clothes at Gap.com. TrialPay pays for the software using revenue (CPA) from the advertiser, and the customer gets a free license.” We first covered them at launch in October 2007. Buyers are presented with the alternative options at the time of checkout, so they can choose to just pay as normal or take one of the offers. It’s an easy option for merchants to accept, since they get paid anyway. The question is, will consumers use it enough to make a real business out of it? I’m doubtful, but that’s mostly because we’ve seen a trail of dead bodies who’ve tried to create alternative payment schemes. People seem to like their credit cards just fine, and can smell a marketing gimmick a mile away. TrialPay says they’re adding 15,000 new registered users per day, though, with 5.2 million total. Maybe people aren’t so good at smelling those gimmicks after all.CrunchBase InformationTrialPayInformation provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGeardrool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Fun Spreadsheet Maker Blist Gets $6.5M
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:25:11 AM

I first caught wind of Blist during DEMO last month, and the still-inprivate-beta site has raised $6.5 million in Series A investment just weeks after its debut. Led by Frazier Technology Ventures and Morgenthaler Ventures, the funding will go towards the further development and the marketing of its social database service. Frazier

general partner Scott Darling and Morgenthaler partner Ken Gullicksen have also joined the Blist board of directors. At first glance, the term social database sounds either boring or daunting–but really it’s just a fancy way to say that Blist is a way-cooler service for making spreadsheets. I got a chance to try it out on my own, before meeting face to face with the Blist team. As you can tell from my screen shot on the initial Blist post, I

couldn’t find too many ways in which to use the service on my first shot. That’s mostly my fault, as I seldom have cause for creating spreadsheets of any kind, no matter how cool they look. But after meeting with the Blist team and getting a deeper look at what Blist is capable of, I realized that Blist isn’t only for making spreadsheets, but it’s a multimedia, interactive way of organizing your data. Whether you’re creating a list of your

favorite shopping sites and tagging and rating them, or separating images into “yes, maybe, no” piles for your graphic designer to use, Blist’s added functions for formulas and filtering makes it an easy and useful tool. In speaking with the Blist team, a more automated process for the eventual creation of mashups is likely on the way, now that the company has funding. ShareThis

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Mozilla Messaging Thinks Email Is Broken
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 2:13:15 AM

Mozilla officially launched its new Thunderbird focuses spinoff Mozilla Messaging yesterday with David Ascher as CEO. Mozilla Messenging begins with the proposition that email is broken, with its goal being to fix it. Writes Ascher: Email and other forms of internet communications present us with a paradox. The stunning proportion of our days spent communicating online clearly indicates that as a society, we are more intricately connected via the internet than ever before….Yet as the number of such interactions grows, and as the number of ways in which we interact grows, the joy that communication can bring is too often replaced by frustration, confusion, or stress. One common short-hand for the above is to say, somewhat flippantly, that “email is broken”.

….we see our primary role as that of facilitating collaborative approaches to problem solving and incremental progress, through a combination of leadership and facilitation work. This is an unusual approach, and it can be chaotic and slow. But it seems to have worked well for Firefox and the web, and I believe it can work well for Thundebird and email. It’s a noble cause that starts with a solid email product that has struggled for attention next to the shining beacon of Firefox. We’ll certainly be watching to see what they come up w i t h . C r u n c h B a s e InformationFirefoxInformation provided by CrunchBase (via IW) C r u n c h N e t w o r k : MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

CinchCast: Podcasting Made Even Easier
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 8:33:30 PM

VideoEgg Introduces “Pay for Engagement” Model to Video Advertising
By Adam Ostrow (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 10:00:12 PM

There are a lot of tools that allow you to easily create podcasts on the go with your mobile phone. Utterz, BlogTalkRadio, TalkShoe, and even several random free conference calling utilities qualify. Few of them, however, allow you to accomplish that task without at least a modicum of account setup first. As several folks have noticed (I first spotted Digital Podcast’s coverage), BlogTalkRadio has released a new CINCHCAST: page 12

Local Services Marketplace GenieTown Launches Public Beta
By Paul Glazowski (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:51:14 AM

Happen to like the concept of the ageold Yellow Pages, but don’t like the way the directory has been implemented, online or off? Consider GenieTown an easier-to-use alternative. This startup, today launched as a public beta its local services marketplace, a so-called hybrid lovechild of a trio of services: the Yellow Pages, Craigslist, and eBay. It claims to mate the A-to-Z system of the first, plus the localism of the second, and the “long tail-ness” of the last (not literally, though; it does everything on its own merit), and brings the benefits of each together to give people the option to find plumbers, electricians, and emergency Web developers without trying too hard. GenieTown hopes to be the connection for any type of service delivered anywhere to anyone. Be it something to do with home improvement, culinary gigs, music

lessons, or troubleshooting those finicky home networks everyone and their mother is putting together, this new site is looking to match you with any and all professionals and assistants for a near limitless array of possible tasks. One significant limitation you should be made aware of. (Very significant, actually.) GenieTown is presently targeted for services and service seekers mainly in the San Francisco Bay Area. So Kansans and Alabamans aren’t going get much out of GenieTown from the start. Of course, as with most things born today on the Web, attention will bring growth. Probably quite a bit of it. But how much short-term growth will come is what will likely make or break this debut.

There’s also, you know, the marvel that is Craigslist to account for. Craigslist isn’t just classifieds anymore. For a long while it’s been…everything. It is indisputably the king of local, and is probably be the biggest name in service search, too - whether common or miscellaneous. So its not going to be very easy for GenieTown to compete. The most popular kid on the block is popular for a reason. In virtual reach, Craigslist is pretty much insurmountable at this point. GenieTown is going to have to exploit niche sectors like crazy to get itself a market footprint that’s really sustainable and which can then snowball into something much larger and a more legitimate alternative to the status quo for the average individual. Think GenieTown has the stuff to succeed? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’d be happy to hear your first impressions. ShareThis

VideoEgg is launching what it calls the “AdFrames Brand Response Network,” (available here) a new option for video advertising that moves away from charging by CPM (a price per thousand impressions) and instead determining rates based on how users respond to ads. Here’s how VideoEgg defines engagement: “Engagement doesn’t begin until a user rolls over the ad, and the AdFrame Invitation has expanded into an overlay. AdFrames includes a three-second delay during the rollover to ensure the user is not engaging with the ad inadvertently.” The overlay format is nothing new – it’s currently being employed by a number of major video players including YouTube. As for paying by engagement, this is a big deal. Advertisers will obviously love it, since they don’t pay for people who completely ignore ads. On the other hand, for publishers, it means there is no revenue earned until a user has clearly indicated an interest in an ad. Given recent data that suggests about 6% of Internet users (with some rather undesirable demographics) do 50% of clicking on display ads, the engagement metric may raise some eyebrows with publishers, especially those catering to folks not especially apt to engage with advertisements. In any event, here’s what it looks like (along with some further explanation from CMO Troy Young): That said, some of VideoEgg’s more important publishers, including Meebo and Flixster have already signed on to participate in the program. Meanwhile, Microsoft will be running a campaign for Office, featuring comedian Amy Sedaris. All the while, VideoEgg isn’t putting all of its “eggs” in one basket and won’t be discontinuing its existing services, which pay publishers on a traditional CPM basis. So, what we’re looking at here is a pretty radical experiment in how video advertising is paid for. Engagement is certainly a promising metric for advertisers, but it will require a lot of uptake from publishers to take off. On the other hand, given it’s hard for most publishers to sell out 100% of their ad inventory, an ad network like VideoEgg is well suited for using engagement-based ads for remnant inventory (inventory not sold on a CPM-basis) which ultimately results in more total earnings for publishers. Who knows though - perhaps the premium advertisers will pay for engagement will make up for the more predictable earnings you can expect from CPM ads. ShareThis

Shutterfly Gallery: First Major Release Since Acquiring Nexo
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:51:06 AM

event or place, or point in time. This is all done with the purpose of telling a story, which likens it to Blurb and also Kaltura, which recently launched a Facebook app, leveraging Facebook’s existing social network. Given Shutterfly’s demographic, however, I think its integration of Nexo’s networkcreation tools will work out pretty well. ShareThis

A few weeks back, Shutterfly acquired Nexo, the personal social networking-creation tool. I wrote quite a long post on the history of the photo-sharing concept and the opportunities for commerce that photo-sharing providers have taken advantage of thanks to the Internet. Now, we have the first official release from Shutterfly since the acquisition. Called the Shutterfly Gallery, this is the collaborative tool that we

expected from a photo-sharing tool that took on a social networking service. With the Shutterfly Gallery, users can essentially make use of social networking tools that are made available with the Shutterfly Gallery. There are group collaboration tools mixed in there, so multiple people can contribute to a single collection of images that focus on a particular

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Orangutag Is For Couch Potatoes, Not Monkeys
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 9:10:14 PM

Web Developer Forum v7n is Up for Sale
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 8:50:01 PM

Orangutag isn’t a site for monkeys, but for couch potatoes. It’s a niche RSS tool that gives you updates on television programs you’d like to keep track of. Now, if you love a show enough, you are likely aware of the basics about a television show, but Orangutag brings more information to give you up to date information about your favorite programs, notes Profy. For each show that you follow, you’ll also be able to break it down into episodes. Mark the ones you’ve seen, and subsequently you’ll be able to see which ones you’ve missed, by power of deduction. When you view the details of a particular episode, you’ll see that this has a user-generated element, that allows users to add their own reviews to Orangutag. There’s a bit of social networking involved, which lets you layer in different RSS feeds for following other users’

Despite v7n’s sub-culture appeal, the folks behind the large webmaster community are giving it all up. For about $400,000. v7n is up for sale on Sitepoint, with a starting bid of $400,000 and a buy-it-now price of $500,000. Take even a quick glance at v7n’s homepage and you’ll see right away the type of content that’s typically discussed on the site. As Sites For Sale points out, v7n has nearly 40,000 members with over 800,000 posts. With the low price of $400,000 you’ll et the forums, the site’s bulletin, a web directory, an affiliate program, host ratings, a job marketplace, and the site’s claim to fame, having pulled off quite a hoax with its fake term SEO contest some time ago, and getting lots of press for what it was worth. While the owners of v7n have reportedly assured everyone that the sale is indeed real and not just another prank, it looks

like the reasoning behind the sale could be a waning desire to manage a web community forum any more. John Scott, the man behind v7n, admitted in the company blog that he’s in “back to school mode” and is stepping down from the daily duties of running the site. It looks like this is the primary reason behind the decision to sell, despite the reported tens of thousands of dollars that comes through the site through Google ads alone, on top of submission costs from users. What may have further spurred Scott’s decision to step away from the web forum business is the fact that monetizing a forum is quite difficult, outside of selling data direct to research firms and the like, and several tools for integrated forums are being introduced across a variety of platforms for a number of different uses, but this is mere speculation on my part. ShareThis

watchlists, or their activity on the site. While this can be used as some level of recommendation, the personalization options stop there. Without many outside resources, there’s little connection between the shows you’re watching and other sites across the web. This limits the amount of action users can take online in the actual interaction with their favorite shows. It also increases the necessity to return to the site in order to search and maintain the shows you’d like to track and manage. As niche sites offer services that aren’t expected to offer over-arching features, I would expect them to be integrated in a deeper manner with other, more inclusive tools that web users frequent. ShareThis

Is it Really “Official”? Is it Really “Breaking”?
By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 11:48:15 PM

CINCHCAST: continued from page 11
utility that does just that called CinchCast. I made a couple of quick podcasts in my best radio voice earlier this evening. Check them out yourself here: http://cinch.blogtalkradio.com/21450 41985 You can subscribe in your favorite feed reader or just grab the MP3s from the RSS feed. The files showed up in the feed almost immediatly after I left them with the system, and seem to be decent enough quality for a phone conversation. The address for the feed reflects the standard domain for the Cinch system, with the trailing directory being an alias based off the caller ID from the phone the podcast was made from. How is it useful? At a conference and want to record a quick interview with someone, or perhaps you want to cover live an event you may be witness to, and you don’t happen to have your mobile podcasting rig with you? Perhaps you have an account set up with TalkShoe or another phone podcasting system but no access to a computer so as to schedule the episode. Or perhaps you’d like to record something, but don’t want it to immediately go live to your entire Utterz friend list. Those are just a few use instances that spring to mind. It’s a valuable tool to have in a podcaster’s arsenal, and I’m sure you’ll think of a few more uses. ShareThis

Some smart Redditer did a Google search for all the Reddit stories containing the words “It’s Official” in the title. The idea, of course, is to show that the Redditers use this phrase way too much, be it for fun, or to make a story that isn’t actually official in any way more plausible. Immediately, I remembered all those “BREAKING” stories on Digg. The first time someone thought of using the word to make a news item seem more important, it was over. Soon, your story had no chance of making the front page if it didn’t have “BREAKING” in it, and thus we

have stories like “Breaking: Washington Governor Chris Gregoire endorses Obama,” which is just as breaking as news about a new mobile phone being launched. Nothing unexpected here: since everyone is trying to push his/her story to the top/front page, competition tough, and one has to adapt and use more and more tricks to succeed. The question is: will bad journalism and sensationalist titles win, or can the community somehow fix it and raise its own standards? Unfortunately, it seems to me that the more users a social news site has, the lower the standards. ShareThis

NBC to stream classic series
By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 2:28:00 AM

Filed under: Other Drama Shows, Other Sci-Fi/Supernatural Shows, WebIf you're really into watching classic TV on the web, like AOL's fare at In2TV, you're going to be thrilled to hear that NBC today unfurled a line-up of oldies-butgoodies to stream on their entertainment sites -- NBC.com, SCIFI.com, ChillerTV.com and SleuthChannel.com. NBC is providing full episodes, people, streaming and waiting to be viewed, beginning this month. It's quite a variety of shows too (including some crossovers from one site to the other). "These are the kinds of titles we get requests for all the time at the network, and now we're able to give our viewers a new way to watch their

favorite classic shows and share them with their friends," said Craig Engler, Senior Vice President, SCIFI.com. Continue reading NBC to stream classic series Permalink | Email this | | Comments

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13

Australian Government On Their Internet Filters: We Failed
By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 4:30:52 AM

Boston Legal: Rescue Me
By Paul Goebel (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 12:42:00 AM

Mike at Techdirt reports that the Australian government has officially declared their internet filtering program, which they started about a year ago as an attempt to protect kids from pornography, a complete failure. Only 144,000 copies of the software were downloaded or ordered on CDROM with only about 29,000 actually being used. On top of that, kids were able to hack them anyway. This wouldn’t be so bad if the Australian government hadn’t spent 85 million dollars on this program (it is a central part of a larger initiative that cost, all in all, 189 million dollars); quite a nice amount to throw away for something that anyone who has a clue would have declared a failure right from the beginning. Let it be known, once and for all: if a

smart, computer-savvy 16 year old wants porn, no technical barrier will be able to stop him. This is a natural law, similar to the laws of gravity or thermodynamics. [ i m a g e s o u r c e : www.sweetmarias.com] ShareThis

Filed under: Boston Legal, Episode Reviews (S04E14) Hooray! Finally another episode with a lot of Larroquette. In fact I think I just came up with a new spinoff...Carl and The Beav. Katie's case was a little confusing but very interesting. I had never heard of such a situation. Also as soon as I heard that the client had AIDS, I became worried that Alan might treat us to another one of his speeches. Honestly, the more I heard about the case, the more fascinated I was by it. I have always been a fan of Michael Landes and I found him particularly engaging in this episode. What I liked the most was how simply Katie spelled it out for opposing counsel. They made a bet that the client would die. He got lucky and is living. They lost. It happens sometimes, but when you make a bet and you lose, you have to pay. It makes perfect sense to

me. I don't really approve of Katie kissing her client but considering that Jerry is the closest she's come to a relationship, I can look past it. Continue reading Boston Legal: Rescue Me Permalink | Email this | | Comments

A first look at the Smurfs movie
By Kristin Sample (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 12:23:00 AM

TV 101: Dribs and Drabs (or, stuff that wouldn't fit in my last column)
By Jay Black (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:41:00 AM

Filed under: TV Royalty, TV on the Bigscreen, OpEd, Animation, Watercooler Talk, ChildrenLong have I prayed for the following kid shows of yesteryear to be made into movies: Smurfs, She-Ra, and Jem (*sings* Truly Outrageous!). And now, I only have to wait a little longer (late 2008 to be more specific) for the Smurfs to take the big screen. Cinematical is reporting that a movie about Peyo's little blue buggers is in the works. The film, produced by Paramount / Nickelodeon, will be directed by Colin Brady who has worked as an animation supervisor on films like E.T., Hulk and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Here's what I'm not so jazzed about. The movie is 3D CG-animated. What happened to regular animation? I just want my smurfs in regular 2D and only three-apples-tall (or however three-apples-tall translates onto a movie screen). What do you readers

Filed under: OpEd, TV 101Like a lot of writers, I have an idea folder (it's manila, but I have it covered in puffy rainbow and unicorn stickers, so it's beautiful). As each week progresses, I jot down all my ideas -- for columns, for stand-up bits, for ransom notes -and at the end of that week, I take stock of my creative output. This week, I noticed that there were a lot of ideas that I wanted to share, but that weren't quite big enough for a full TV 101 column. I attached them to the end of my last column in a section called "Dribs and Drabs." It was a good thought, except that it took an already bloated piece (my writing makes the Unabomber's manifesto look like a dream of concise thought) and puffed it up into a 3000 word monstrosity. My editor suggested I break up the Dribs and Drabs section into its own piece, and that, dear readers, is what I did. Dribs and Drabs, after the jump... Continue reading TV 101: Dribs and Drabs (or, stuff that wouldn't fit in my last column) Permalink | Email this | | Comments

think? Am I being too old-fashioned in saying this creative move will jeopardize the soul of the Smurfs? Well, maybe that was harsh. Anyway, check it out for yourself. If you'd like to see some production stills, click here. Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Monk returning for seventh season
By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:05:00 AM

Filed under: Programming, Monk, Psych, Pickups and Renewals, RatingsMonk will be back for a seventh season. It isn't an even number, a fact that would irritate the OCD detective to no end, but it is a lucky one. USA Network has ordered 16 new episodes of the idiosyncratic mystery series which has turned character actor Tony Shalhoub into an Emmy-winning star. USA has plans to run eight of the new episodes

Monk, and USA's other whimsical detective series, Psych, when they air on NBC in March. Although it has not be announced as yet, USA will likely pick up Psych, too, and they will continue running in tandem. %Gallery-16506% Continue reading Monk returning for seventh season in July and August; then the other eight in January and February. Before then, you can catch up with Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Big Brother 9: PoV Competition #1
By JJ Hawkins (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 5:23:00 PM

Filed under: OpEd, Big Brother (US), Episode Reviews (S09E04) It's another night in theBig Brother 9house and the house is full of people in various states of BIG page 14

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ION hires Boston Legal for fall cases
By Jason Hughes (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 2:07:00 AM

Spoilers Anonymous
By Isabelle Carreau (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 1:02:00 AM

Filed under: Spoilers Anonymous This is Spoilers Anonymous, a weekly column here at TV Squad where we'll supply you with the dirt on some of the more popular shows on the air. We'll never put spoilers up here on the main page in order to help the reformed stay unspoiled. If you have anything to add to the group, feel free to step up and let yourself be heard, either with our tips form or by

emailing us at tvsquad at gmail dot com or call and leave a message at (775) 640-8479 - your anonymity is guaranteed, if you wish to remain as such. This week we have: Desperate Housewives, Greek, Kyle XY, Lost and One Tree Hill. (SPOILERS FOLLOW!) Continue reading Spoilers Anonymous Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Filed under: Boston Legal, Pickups and RenewalsConsidering how often ABC has opted to not air repeats of Boston Legal during its first four years, it should come as good news to fans of Denny & Alan's buddy dramedy that ION has picked up the series. It plans to re-air the series weeknights in the fall. Personally, I'm thrilled because I missed the first season altogether and various scattered episodes here and there since then. Oh, and Boston Legal isn't streamed at ABC.com. Alan: "So what do you think of our show going to ION, Denny?"

Denny: "Well I knew technology was making things smaller and smaller, but an ion Alan? Really?" Continue reading ION hires Boston Legal for fall cases Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Jericho: Condor
By Paul Goebel (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 12:00:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, Jericho, Episode Reviews (S02E02) "I'm not a conspiracy nut." - Jake Green Condor? Really? The most creative code name they could come up with is Condor? How about something meaningful like Savior or something cryptic like Shadow or even something funny like That One Guy Who We All Recognize But Can't Remember What From. It's nice to see some things never change. Mayor Douchebag is still more concerned with how he looks than with the evil corporation that is clearly infiltrating his town. You just

know that meeting the President has always been a dream of his. I guess any old President will do. Continue reading Jericho: Condor Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Nip/Tuck: Candy Richards (season finale)
By Jonathan Toomey (TV Squad)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 1:44:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, Nip/Tuck, Episode Reviews (S05E14) "I pretend to do the thing I actually do and suddenly I'm cool." Sean Going into this episode, I was really expecting it to be just be so-so. With the trend of so many other shows being cut short because of the WGA strike, I just assumed Nip/Tuck would

fall victim as well. Not the case. Even if this season's full order of 22 episodes had been met, this installment was still clearly meant to be a mid-season finale. There's no way an ending like that gets a new episode the very next week. It worked here as the season ender and it worked well. %Gallery-8310% Continue reading Nip/Tuck: Candy Richards (season finale) Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Asian Films on DVD: 'Nightmare Detective,' 'Zebraman,' 'Girl Boss Revenge'
By Peter Martin (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 12:02:00 AM

BIG from page 13 continued
unhappiness and discontent. Most prominently, Parker was extremely upset with Jen's antics so he decided to list out the "three steps of destruction by Jen." A. She held the secret that her and Ryan were dating (then subsequently revealed it to the house). B. She's cocky to a fault. C. She's an idiot and he's the one who has to suffer because of her ignorance. I can't really say that I disagree with any of his points. In fact, I'd probably add a few more items to the list. Continue reading Big Brother 9: PoV Competition #1 Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Filed under: Action, Drama, Foreign Language, Horror, Independent, SciFi & Fantasy, New on DVD, Home E n t e r t a i n m e n t , Comic/Superhero/Geek, Cinematical IndieA detective, a zebra and revenge! What more could you ask for when seeking out Japanese films newly-released on DVD? I've been hearing terrific things about Nightmare Detectivesince it came out in Japan early last year. Directed by Shinya Tsukamoto, who also made Tetsuo, the Iron Man and A Snake of June, among other wonderfully weird and twisted concoctions, the film was described by Mark Schilling of The Japan Times as probably "too dark and disturbing for the average punter expecting, from the title, something in the X Files line. ... Be prepared for not just the usual goosebumps, but a viral infection of your dream life." The DVD from Dimension Extreme includes a documentary by the director and a "making of" feature. Originally released in Japan three years ago, Takashi Miike's Zebraman finally sees the light of digital day in Region 1. This is the lighter side of the notoriously edgy Miike, a comic

fantasy about a schoolteacher who pretends that he's a superhero, only to discover he is "fated to become the real-life protector against an alien invasion," wrote Aaron Hillis for The Village Voice. "Miike's most accessible exploit to date ... is still deliciously insane." The DVD from Tokyo Shock includes a motley collection of extras, such as a look at the singer of the theme song and TV spots, according to SciFi Japan. Continue reading Asian Films on DVD: 'Nightmare Detective,' 'Zebraman,' 'Girl Boss Revenge'Permalink | Email this | Comments

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EXCLUSIVE: Sigourney Weaver Says 'Ghostbusters III' Won't Happen
By Ryan Stewart (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 1:32:00 PM

Filed under: Classics, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Deals, Fandom, Comic/Superhero/Geek, Remakes and Sequels, Games and Game Movies In a forthcoming interview with Premiere conducted by yours truly, Sigourney Weaver talks at length about all her various franchises, and even has a few words to say about the recently resurrected hoopla over a possible Ghostbusters III. When I pointed out that the film industry's renewed focus on next-gen 3D imagery and CG-rendered worlds means that perhaps a third Ghostbusters adventure is still feasible, Weaver looked at me a bit like I had just given her a toothache. She then took a big breath and said "Well, I just saw Ivan Reitman at this dinner, this lunch for his son, and, ummm, there's no way." Perhaps responding to the look of sadness on my face, she quickly added "You could 3D Ghostbusters. You could pay for that. I think they're fantastic

movies for that time, and I think, if anything, Be Kind, Rewind is kind of a Ghostbusters for this time." Since I haven't seen Be Kind, Rewind, I have no clue what that last part is supposed to mean. Does Slimer make an appearance in Be Kind, Rewind or something? It's not like any of this is a great surprise -- to my knowledge, Weaver has never expressed any enthusiasm for returning to the franchise and rumor has it she declined to participate in the upcoming video

game that will feature voices from the main Ghostbusters and will cannibalize Dan Aykroyd's never-indevelopment Ghostbusters III: Ghostbusters Go to Hell script. Most of the recent GIII talk stems from Ernie Hudson, who was quoted as saying that he hoped the success of that particular game would renew interest in creating a third film, and that Ramis and Aykroyd still wanted a third film, too. That would be fine with me as long as it starts with a fresh concept, as opposed to the whole 'Manhellton' crap. I've heard Aykroyd describe his 'hell' script at length -- to a radio DJ on a country music station, no less -- and, frankly, it's the opposite of impressive. It sounds like a recipe for a studiokilling flop with a $300 million budget. But with Murray and Weaver and (apparently) Ivan Reitman not even down for a third go-round, don't hold your breath. To read the interview, which mostly centers on Avatar, check out Premiere.com on Thursday. Permalink | Email this | Comments

Oscar Predictions: Filipino Cruise Ship Bartenders
By Peter Martin (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:32:00 PM

Filed under: Awards, Fandom, Oscar Watch Writers are whores. We love assembling random letters of the alphabet into words, phrases, sentences, and articles, and will happily do almost anything (except sell our integrity) that allows us to ply our trade. That's how I ended up on a Caribbean cruise last week, happily working away as the waves crashed outside and the sun shone brightly on miles of publicly exposed flesh that, in a better world, would only have been revealed in private to a loved one. Travel tip: to keep from overeating on a cruise, simply stroll by the pool before lunch and take a close look at all the out-of-shape bodies. Yuck! I immediately started exercising ... Movie choices were slim on board. I brought a few DVDs to watch on my laptop computer, and watched a little TV. (It may be a 500-channel universe, but only a handful are evidently available at sea. And did you know that TCM Latin America shows old TV shows with commercials in addition to classic movies?) Yet the eager, if not quite ready for Vegas, live entertainment shows and, especially, the bars consistently lured me out of my cabin. It's hard not to feel like an overprivileged colonialist when you see how hard cruise ship personnel work. They sign up for months at a time and have very little "free time," which means, for our purposes, that they fall very far behind current theatrical releases. To my mind, that makes them perfect representations of the world at large which will be tuning in for the Oscar telecast with zero advance knowledge of any of the nominees. Continue reading Oscar Predictions: Filipino Cruise Ship BartendersPermalink | Email this | Comments

'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' Adds Some Hip Hop Flava
By Elisabeth Rappe (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/19/2008 2:02:00 PM

Filed under: Casting, Fandom, Comic/Superhero/Geek, Remakes and Sequels It has been a big news day for the old Canucklehead. It was announced earlier that Ryan Reynolds was joining the cast as Deadpool, and that Taylor Kitsch had signed on to play Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Before fans could wrap their mind around the fact that Wolverine wasn't running solo in this film, Variety just announced a third addition. Hip hop star will.i.am has signed on, and IESB has the scoop that he will be playing John Wraith. John Wraith, also known as Kestrel, was one of the members of Team X. He was a skilled teleporter and always knew when to use massive explosives. He wasn't particularly memorable, nor was his storyline

where he and Team X tried to prevent themselves from rapidly aging into goo. I vaguely remember this from the Wolverine's solo comic series, and am very sorry it has been dredged up. Team X was one of the most convoluted and bizarre story arcs ever written, where Wolverine ran around in third world countries as a sort of CIA Agent with a team of mutants. He was usually accompanied by his arch-nemesis Sabretooth, who was no

longer a savage psycho, but all sophisticated and smart. They wore suits and carried guns with the handles wrapped in tape. They were like hairier versions of James Bond. To make things weirder, Silver Fox, Logan's once-murdered lover, often showed up as a drug runner or revolutionary. Charmingly, she was always sporting her Indian maiden headdress so that readers could recognize her. It was, needless to say, extremely lame, particularly when it concluded with Silver Fox being eaten by a tree. Only recently, the arc was dismissed as implanted memories, as nearly all bad Wolverine stories are. It's good to have a brainwashed character sometimes. Continue reading 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' Adds Some Hip Hop FlavaPermalink | Email this | Comments

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Kelsey Grammer Gets Scroogey Again
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 2:32:00 AM

Zack Snyder Fans the Flames With New Watchmen Still
By Elisabeth Rappe (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 1:32:00 AM

tried to keep the faith and remain true to the original panel. (Will the other guys being torched be CGI'd in?) It looks cool, but is just vague enough to drive Watchmen's diehard fans into a frenzy that he's mishandling it. I can already hear the howls and fierce nitpicking. Personally, I have faith that Snyder will deliver a solid and faithful adaptation. He has so much passion for the book that I think it would kill him to fail as much as it would destroy his audience. Regardless, I want more! Let's see some set videos, stills of other characters, or an actor interview or two. As fun as the anticipation is, I want to see my faith in Snyder justified. Or at least proof he improved Laurie's costume.

Filed under: Comedy, CastingYes -once again, Kelsey Grammer will play Scrooge. And no, I'm not talking about Frasier, but rather the bonafide holiday sourpuss. However, it's not going to be your everyday Dickens. Variety reports that the actor has signed on to play a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge in the indie satire An American Carol, which will take on current American culture -"particularly Hollywood." (Will menace-to-the-road Britney run over Tiny Tim or something?) The man behind all of this is David Zucker; he will direct the comedy from a script written with Myrna Sokoloff. Production is scheduled to begin on the 28th, which might have made me giddy for casting announcements and details 15 years ago, but not so much now. Zucker is one of those guys who makes me buy into that whole "selling your soul for success" idea. Now, I'm not trying to insinuate that he's some devil worshipper or anything, but it's amazing how many directors of funny, classic films take nosedives or head down failing comedic mountains. How do you lose

that much of your funny? Is it just that comedy success is luck rather than having a firm grip on how to be funny and satirical? Zucker had some biggies at the beginning -- like the classic, Airplane! In the next decade, he had the Naked Guns, and now we get My Boss's Daughter and some Scary Movie sequels. So far, it sounds like a crapshoot. At the very least, it can spawn a sequel: An American Carol: Scrooge Goes West.Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Warner Brothers, Fandom, Comic/Superhero/Geek, Images Zack Snyder, director of 300 and the upcoming Watchmen, has posted a thank you to the film's cast and crew on the film's official website. Filming has now wrapped and unlike the constant video features from 300, Watchmen tidbits have been kept under incredible lock and key. (At last, we have an answer as to who watches the Watchmen. . . ) But Snyder hasn't forgotten about us and has given fans a wrap gift -- a new still from the movie. We still don't get a glimpse of Ozymandias, Nite Owl or Doc Manhattan, but a violent Rorschach is always nice. And Slashfilm has already done a lovely comparison of the comic book panel versus the finished product. As with his work on 300, Snyder has

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Kenneth Branagh and Rhys Ifans Board 'The Boat that Rocked'
By Jessica Barnes (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 1:02:00 AM

Filed under: Comedy, Music & Musicals, Casting, UniversalIt was over a year ago that news first surfaced about Richard Curtis' (Love Actually) rock 'n' roll comedy, The Boat that Rocked. But at the time, there was no cast in sight. Well, we've waited long enough, and now it looks Curtis has finally found his stars. Varietyreports that Rhys Ifans and Kenneth Branagh have signed to star in the musical flick for Universal and Working Title Productions. The story is set in the wild and heady times known as the 1970s. The two men will play pirate radio DJ's who run their station from a leaky boat out at sea. When an American woman

comes to visit the deejays, she falls for her boyfriend's pal (Ifans) and chaos ensues. Joining Branagh and Ifans is January Jones (best know as the depressed hausfrau on TV's Mad Men) as the beguiling American gal.

Curtis wrote the script himself and will also direct. The story has been described as "Animal House meets Titanic," which probably isn't the most likely pairing of styles, but what can you do? Ifans has made a name for himself in ensemble comedies playing characters that are a little -shall we say, 'out there'? Branagh, on the other hand, might not seem to be the obvious choice for a comedy, but if you have seen A Midwinter's Tale, then you know that he has a few giggles up his sleeve. So in the end, it seems that the two actors make a good fit for the seemingly 'wacky' flick. The Boat that Rocked is set to start shooting in early March on location in London.Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

'Toy Story 3' Details Leaked by The Wall Street Journal?
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 2:02:00 AM

Filed under: Animation, RumorMonger, Scripts, Family Films, Remakes and SequelsIt has been over a year since the director and screenwriter were named for Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich and Michael Arndt). Finally, it seems that we're getting some plot details, but there's a case of dueling summaries going on. Over at Empire, they say that The Wall Street Journal got a bit looselipped in an article they recently ran about Disney Pixar stopping the outsourcing of their movies' video games. The Journal says: "Woody the cowboy and his toy-box friends are dumped in a day-care center after their owner, Andy, leaves for college." That makes sense. It's been 11 years since the last film, so a whole lot of time has gone by (not 'TOY page 17

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'Sweeney Todd' Hits DVD on April First! (No Foolin'.)
By Scott Weinberg (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:32:00 AM

Filed under: Comedy, Drama, Horror, Music & Musicals, Thrillers, P a r a m o u n t , H o m e EntertainmentSweeney Todd deserved a better fate. Sure, sure, it's a very fine film -- and that's really all that matters when all is said and done, but I can't help but think its domestic box office tally (just over $50 million) and its Oscar nomination haul (lead actor, art direction and costume design) should have been a little ... well, bigger. But I suppose it's tough to sell a big-budget horror musical, even if it is based on a very popular stage play AND showcases movie star Johnny Depp in a really (ahem) unique light. Fans of the flick will be pleased to learn that Tim Burton'sSweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street will be available to own (via shiny disc) on the first of April. Choose between a single-disc release (which includes one "making-of" documentary) or a extras-laden double-disc edition that comes with a

BUNCH of featurettes, photo galleries, trailers and a Moviefone Unscripted piece, which is cool because we love Moviefone! Neither DVD package will include an audio commentary, unfortunately for those who love audio commentaries. Like me. Oh, but the 2-discer will be making an appearance in my collection. Book that. [ Thanks to DVDActive.com. Check out the cover art! ]Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

First Pic of Aaron Eckhart as Two Face!
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 2/20/2008 3:02:00 AM

Filed under: Action, Fandom, Movie Marketing, Comic/Superhero/Geek, Remakes and Sequels, Images Okay, so it's not exactly a photo of Aaron Eckhart from the actual movie, but it is a blurry photo (click on the image for a larger version) of the new Two Face action figure recently showcased at a restricted press event during the New York Toy Fair. Of course, throw up the word 'restricted' and there's bound to be at least one dude with a hidden camera phone. Dark Horizons nabbed the photos,

which are indeed fuzzy, but enough to make out what the character will look like. This also means that, yes, Eckhart will most definitely make his transformation in The Dark Knight from Harvey Dent to the villainous

Two Face. But when he does it, and for how long he's on screen, we do not know. Some have suggested that Two Face will make an appearance at the very end of the film, for one or two scenes,

as a teaser into the third installment. Seeing as it's been confirmed that Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) and Joker (Heath Ledger) will both be included in the film, it's my hope that this is the way they go. Last thing we want is a rushed Two Face storyline; I'd rather more focus on the Joker and for Two Face to team up with another Gotham baddie in the third installment. What do you think? The Dark Knight hits theaters on July 18. Permalink | Email this | Comments

'TOY page 16 continued from
that time really matters in the film world). Now, the twist comes in over at IMDb. Just the other day, the plot summary was updated and it says: "In this new adventure, Buzz Lightyear has encountered a malfunction and is being sent to Taiwan to be fixed. It appears that these malfunctions are occurring with toys all around the world! Now, Woody and a group of his friends are on a mission to save Buzz's destruction." So, did the Journal really leak something? Is Disney/Pixar putting up a bunch of different summaries to mess with our minds? Or, is this summary on IMDb just b-s? More importantly: Which would you prefer? Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments