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08/03/08 - 10/03/08 U.S. Edition

Videos of the Week
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 9:18:00 AM

gone with a punt. There are some, by the way, who think someone else doctored up the footage to frame the poor guy and turn world opinion against the US. This is a comical notion, and it showcases a particular brand of American self-centeredness. Trust me, the world doesn't care how we treat puppies. For those of you who do care about how soldiers treat puppies, check out this more uplifting puppy story from Iraq. This would have been my pick for VOTW last week. Note the thematic similarity to's "America is at Risk" . In the interest of fairness, here's Obama's rebuttal, which hasn't been getting much play in the media. Has the press turned on the "Hopemonger?" Here's a decent argument for keeping John McCain away from "the button" and "the red phone." Of course, once he's President, he can take care of the New York Times once and for all. Here's a two-fer: Frickin' Cool Video of the Week and Airline Pilot of the Year. And don't call him "Shirley." I will vote for the first candidate who hires that guy to drive "Air Force One." With the uproar over Hillary Clinton's "3 am" ad, nobody's paying much attention to McCain's ads. I'm not really sure whether this is an ad or a dramatization of what McCain's journey to Heaven will be like, With all the attention being paid to the Presidential race, it's easy to forget there's already someone in the White House. Let's see how the last guy to get that phone call is doing now. Wow. That's way better than windsurfing. paul video. In honor of Ken Layne's video tribute to Ron Paul, I would like to conclude with my favorite Ron Paul video, an appearance on the Morton Downey, Jr., show from 1988. It showcases the things I like best about Dr. Paul, his ability to cut through knuckleheaded knee-jerk hysterics and explain difficult concepts effectively. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot covering his campaign. Any of you wondering what ever happened to my Ron Paul interview, keep checking my other blog, I will tell the tale soon. Also, thanks to Ron Paul, I discovered I got my first Wikipedia citation, which is kinda cool. The video is 10 minutes long, and the audio is crap, but anyone who remembers Morton Downey will surely appreciate this. See you next week. or maybe it's a documentary about his high school graduating class. The description, familiarly, says, "John McCain is prepared to lead our nation on day one." Are he and Hillary Clinton suggesting that Obama will still be learning how to work the fryer and clean out the shake machine on Day One? When you think about it, they're setting a pretty low bar, like the old Delta Airlines slogan: Delta Gets You There. Here's a clip I referred to earlier this week, when Hillary Clinton courageously defended her rival, Barack Obama. Hillary is not a communist, as far as I know. Here's the "HAW-kward Video of the Week", and a great illustration of the pitfalls of injecting race into a race. Yeah, uncomfortable.

Filed under: John McCain, Ron Paul, Videos of the WeekWe're baaaack! Sorry I missed you all last week, we were "experiencing technical difficulties." I probably should have posted some of that great old standby music they used to use back when there were only 5 channels. Rather than trying to go back and recap the week we missed, I'll throw in one selection from that bygone era; you remember it, don't you? Hillary Clinton was working on her concession speech and rehearsing the smile she'd be using as she accepted Barack Obama's invitation to be his running mate? What a difference a week makes in aught-eight politics. I'm going to warn you, this first video is very controversial, and you might very well not want to watch it. It's the Youtube video that appears to show a US soldier throwing a puppy off of a cliff. Lots of people wring hands about showing the video, and if you're one of them, don't press "play." The existence of this thing is news, whether you believe it's real or not. I, personally, am happy to presume the soldier's innocence, because I find the reaction to this thing far more fascinating.Real or not, the uproar over this points up a startling contrast over the way we view war. This country is desensitized, to varying degrees, to human suffering in Iraq, even that of our own soldiers. When Michael Moore showed footage of such suffering, the outrage was over the showing, not the suffering. If it's real, that puppy joined a countless number of his and our countrymen in learning that war is hell. If it's a fake, by the way, I would have

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Hillary Clinton to Reverse Course?
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 2:11:00 AM

3 AM Girl Is An Obama Girl Now
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 6:12:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Featured StoriesOn February 19th, Hillary Clinton's campaign reacted angrily to a Politico story that credited an anonymous source with the revelation that Team Clinton planned to go after delegates already pledged to Barack Obama. Pledged delegates, of course, are the kind that are awarded to a candidate after he or she wins a proportion of a state's vote or caucuses. In other words, a pledged delegate is something that is legitimately earned, as opposed to super delegate support, which can be given on a last-minute whim. My original column on the matter can be read here. Well, when the Politico story appeared, an emphatic Phil Singer, a Clinton spokesperson, offered the following statement: "We have not, are not and will not pursue the pledged delegates of Barack Obama. It's now time for the Obama campaign to be clear about their intentions." Obama's campaign, who then, like now, led in the delegate count, had never been accused of going after Clinton's pledged delegates, but they pledged not to do so, anyway: "We would absolutely not use these sorts of tactics. Senator Obama is focussed on wining contests and earning the support of pledged delegates." Well, perhaps that original Politico piece was accurate, after all. Here's Hillary Clinton herself, talking in the most recent edition of Newsweek about the few mathematical paths to victor that remain for her candidacy: "There are elected delegates, caucus delegates and super-delegates, all for different reasons, and they're all equal in their ability to cast their vote for whomever they choose. Even elected and

Filed under: Democrats, Ads, Breaking News, 2008 PresidentNothing blunts the effect of a political ad quite like one of its stars supporting your opponent. It turns out the little girl in Hillary Clinton's "3 am" ad is all growed-up now and supporting Barack Obama. From Veracifier: Like deep-fried Oreos, this is delicious, but is it good for you? Do you care? And did you all catch the irony of the girl's name, vis a vis The Political Machine? Let's kick this around real quick. Of all the nonsense that gets covered in election campaigns, this is my favorite kind, the kind that force the media to pull back the curtain on the absurdity of their part in the process. The story is irresistible, yet it shows not only the artifice of political campaigns, but the bankruptcy of ideas that is modern political coverage. The ad asks you to form an emotional connection to that sleeping child, but that child is acting in a piece of stock footage from Getty Images. She didn't know if she was supposed to be safe from terrorists, or burglars, or wearing a bedwetting alarm, or acting out a "before" scenario for "The Clapper." In fact, when that footage was shot, there wasn't yet an Iraq war to make judgments about. Now, as a news story, you're supposed to connect with the young woman, Casey Knowles, (no relation, I presume, to our own David Knowles, a favorite of Clintonites everywhere) as she has grown into a supporter of Barack Obama who will

be of voting age in April, plenty of time to make her bit of difference. Before I watched the video, I thought, "Who cares? It didn't matter what she thought before, why would it now?" The thing is, she does connect in a way that sleeping ambiguously through some stock footage does not. In the admittedly brief clip, she comes off as smart and gracious. What red-blooded American isn't proud to see a 17 year-old girl who is a caucus precinct captain and didn't say, "like, y'know" even once during the interview? The fact that she's an Obama supporter is mostly dumb luck, but he does do well with young voters, and he could probably get a lot of mileage out of a counter-ad with a smart, attractive young voter like Casey. He should probably give her tax returns a once-over first, but after that, it's a no-brainer. This shouldn't hurt Hillary to much, as Casey is from one of those states that don't matter, and Hillary had no control over this. You can't be expected to vet all actors in stock footage. Now, if the little boy and the Mom turn out to be Obama suppoerters, that's a different story. I've already got my "Obama Wins 3 am Ad Caucus" story ready. Tommy Links Tommy Christopher Uncut l TomMySpace l TommYoutube Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

caucus delegates are not required to stay with whomever they are pledged to. This is a very carefully constructed process that goes back years, and we're going to follow the process." In other words, once Hillary gets to the convention, even if she's trailing in pledged delegates, there's still hope. These impressionable delegates might decided to change their minds, ignore the way they were selected, and line up behind Clinton. Political Machine contributor and Time columnist Mark Halperin sees this statement for what it is: Clinton re-raises, ever so subtly, the notion of just how pledged the elected delegates are... ...Innocent remark or another trial balloon (on a topic already raised and shot down)?

A oft-repeated knock on Hillary Clinton is that she's "ambitious." I've always thought that was a stupid, latently sexist criticism. By definition, if you're running for the presidency, you've got to be ambitious. What is disturbing, however, is the way in which Clinton's ambitions would seem to have gotten the better of her conscience. Of course, Hillary feels she's the best person for the job--just as Obama and McCain both believe in themselves--but an unsettling, win-at-all-costs pattern has emerged in the way she has run her campaign. She has crossed the threshold into dubious ethical territory. H/T TPM Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

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Mayor of 9/11 for Senator from NJ?
By Denise Williams (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 3:25:00 PM

down the carpetbagger-seeking GOP politicos. Not to be outdone seeking some namebrand out-of-state panache, Monmouth county GOP Chairman Adam Puharic today said he was calling for an emergency meeting of Republican county chairmen to discuss the party's options in nominating a candidate. As for his own personal choice for a GOP senate candidate now that Estabrooks is out, Puharic said he would be happy joining a coalition of New Jersey Republicans calling on former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to enter the race, or "other talented Republicans."

So, in other words, NJ residents need not apply. Hey, carpetbagging has worked well for some - look at Hillary Clinton - and not so much for others. Barack Obama owes his own senate seat to last minute, scandalplaqued Jack Ryan's replacement, Alan Keyes. As a NJ Dem, I don't take too much stock in the Republican's pie-in-sky hopes and dreams here. Could Giuliani beat the 84 y/o ultra-liberal Lautenberg? Probably, but I don't see it happening. Try as I might, I have not found any response from Giuliani's people yet. Maybe they'll just quietly decline... Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Web 2.0 Invites for March 9th, 2008
By Pete Cashmore (Mashable!)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 10:29:08 PM

Crossover Investigations
By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 8:42:00 AM

Filed under: Republicans, Rudy Giuliani, 2008 Senate New Jersey's very senior senator, Democrat Frank Lautenberg, is up for reelection this year. Three Republican rivals were vying for the nomination that will be decided in the state primary in June. The candidate considered to have the best chance against Lautenberg, Monmouth Co. businesswoman Anne Evans Estabrook, dropped out of the race last week due to a mini-stroke. The NJ state GOP officials don't seem to have much faith in the chances of the two remaining candidates, state Senator Joe Pennacchio and Ramapo College professor Murray Sabrin (endorsed by Ron Paul!). Former NY Yankee and Florida resident Al Leiter and Mike Huckabee have turned

New Web 2.0 services await; all you need to do is grab your free invites over at Mashable Invites! (more…) ShareThis

U.S., Poland Seeking Missile Defense Deal
By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 1:00:00 AM

Filed under: President Bush, Bush Administration, TerrorPolish Prime Minister Donald Tusk (left) will be at the White House today for talks with President Bush. Tusk is hoping to make progress on a proposed deal between the United States and Poland that would result in U.S. upgrades for Poland's military in exchange for the right to place missile defense batteries on Polish soil. The missile defense proposal has been a sore point in an ever more tense relationship between the United States and Russia. Former Russian president Vladimir Putin once threatened to target and missile shield installations in Eastern Europe with nuclear weapons.

Poland has been a staunch U.S. ally in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has contributed troops to both theaters and is looking to concrete and specific assurances from the U.S. on military cooperation in return. A NATO country, Poland is planning on increasing its troop commitment to Afghanistan as well as sending in much needed helicopters. Russia has called the Bush Administration's plan to place missile interceptors and radar bases in the Czech Republic and Poland a threat to Russia's security. Moscow wants the United States to use an old Soviet air base and radar installation in Azerbaijan instead. The Administration has said that it would study the Russian proposal, but that is more likely a polite "no" than an expression of serious intent to change its plans.

Today's meeting between Tusk and Bush is as much about U.S.-Russian relations as it is about Poland. President Bush once famously said that he had looked into the Russian strongman's soul and has declared him a good friend. But Russia's foreign posture has become increasingly bellicose in the seven years of the Bush Administration, and its government has slid backwards toward less democratic ways recently. In light of those facts, the United States may want to grant Poland's request for a beefed-up military. The Russian Bear has been stirring. In addition to the missile defenses, Poland wants the U.S. to give it Patriot 3 missile batteries for protection against short to medium range missiles, made necessary by the Russian threat to target Poland. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, 2008 President, Investigations Further evidence that Hillary did get a little boost from her newfound Republican friends. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer: A staggering 16,000-plus Republicans in Cuyahoga County switched parties when they voted in last week's primary. ... Anyone who crossed lines was supposed to sign a pledge card vowing allegiance to their new party. In Cuyahoga County, dozens and dozens of Republicans scribbled addendums onto their pledges as new Democrats. "For one day only." "I don't believe in abortion." One Cuyahoga board member wants to investigate and possibly prosecute. Although what good that is going to do I'm not sure. Assuming they find at least one insincere party switcher and prosecute, I'm not sure they could get a conviction, and the mere act of the prosecution would probably just rile up anger among the GOP electorate. If there was a real sincere crossover movement, that would vanish into thin air. So it's probably not worth the risk, and it's futile anyway. I understand the frustration though, as one who has seen my formerly conservative party (the GOP) being taken over by a moderate with the help of independents and crossover Democrats. Believe me, I feel your pain. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Web 2.0 Marketplace Listings for March 9th, 2008
By Pete Cashmore (Mashable!)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 10:29:07 PM

The Web 2.0 Marketplace is a place to list

Web 2.0 and “New Media” websites for sale, job offers, consulting services, Facebook development services and more. (more…)



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Dick Morris: It's Over
By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 9:37:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Democrats, 2008 President Dick Morris is certain and his logic is sound: The results are already clear. Obama will go to the Democratic Convention with a lead of between 100 and 200 elected delegates. The remaining question is: What will the superdelegates do then? But is that really a question? Will the leaders of the Democratic Party be complicit in its destruction? Will they really kindle a civil war by denying the nomination to the man who won the most elected delegates? No way. They well understand that to do so would be to throw away the party's chances of victory and to stigmatize it among African-Americans and young people for the rest of their lives. The Democratic Party took 20 years to recover from the traumas of 1968 and it is not about to trigger a similar bloodletting this year. That doesn't mean that Hillary will withdraw, it just means that she will draw things out, hope for a scandal or an implosion, which is pretty much all she can do. Barring that, the only other option is to

engineer a power play at the national convention with superdelegates. This is fraught with danger of blowback, and I believe that apart from hardcore Clintonites, most Democrats won't allow that to happen.

AOL Straw Poll: March 10-17
By Kathleen Hayden (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 5:00:00 AM

But still Hillary's action will guarantee media attention will focus on the Democratic side of the debate until the convention and starve the McCain campaign of any media Oxygen. But the big factor here that we must not forget is that Obama is the perfect matchup for the Democrats against McCain. Young versus old, Rhetorically gifted versus very much not. And enthusiastic intensity versus grudging acceptance. Are the Democrats really going to throw that out and run their own "grudging acceptance" candidate? Of course not, not if they have an ounce of sense in their heads. If the GOP nominee was anyone other than McCain, Hillary might have a shot. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Filed under: Straw PollThis content requires the most recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Get this version below:<br /><a href="" >Get Flash</a> Note From AOL: Our weekly Straw Poll was restarted again on Monday, March 10 at 12PM ET. After voting, check back again next Monday for a chance to recast your ballot. Last week's poll received almost 420,000 votes. On the Republican side, John McCain came out ahead with 82% of the Straw Poll vote. Hillary Clinton led the Democrats with 55%, over Barack Obama's 44%. Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Al Sharpton Threatens Florida Lawsuit
By Justin Paulette (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 3:31:00 AM

International Business Machines (IBM): Shares cycling in bullish 'flag'
By Larry Schutts (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 5:12:00 AM

Filed under: Primaries "Laying the groundwork for a court battle that could divide the Democratic Party, the Reverend Al Sharpton is threatening to sue...." Nothing in the least bit surprising there. The eternal pariah of race-baiting politics, Al Sharpton is again preaching the gospel of litigation. This time, the Reverend can be found trolling the streets of Florida in search of the disenfranchised. Sharpton is building an argument that those who didn't vote (because Florida's delegates had been disqualified after the states moved it's primary forward, in violation of party rules) would be disenfranchised if the DNC changed it's mind and sat delegates anyway. Of course, it has nothing to do with the fact that Barack Obama, a black man, lost in Florida (as well as in Michigan, which is in

a similar bind). And, of course, it has nothing to do with the fact that Barack Obama, a black man, is... well, a black man. Sharpton is only concerned with obeying the rules. Laying aside the question of how Obama will respond to Sharpton's not-so-subtle support (the photo insert alone is sufficiently to cost Obama 200,000 white votes in the South), the issue refines the delicate predicament into which the Democrats have backed themselves. Florida and Michigan non-voters have a legitimate complaint in that they were told their votes would not count toward the delegate count - and yet, it is difficult to label as "disenfranchised" those who choose not to show up to the polls. As the saying goes, the Democrats have made their bed. . . . Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

Filed under: Good news, Microsoft (MSFT), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), International Business Machines (IBM), Electronic Data Systems (EDS), Technical Analysis, Stocks to Buy International Business Machines Corporation (NYSE: IBM) is a top provider of information technologies, including computer systems, networking systems and storage devices. It is also one of the largest providers of software and semiconductors and its service arm is the largest in the world. Competitors include Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Microsoft

(NASDAQ: MSFT) and Electronic Data Systems (NYSE: EDS). The company pleased investors late last month, when it authorized $15 billion in additional funds for use in the IBM stock repurchase program. That amount was in addition to about $400 million remaining from a prior authorization. Management said that the anticipated repurchase activity could add five cents per share to FY08 earnings and that led to declaration of FY08 EPS guidance of at least $8.25 ($8.22 consensus). Continue reading International Business Machines (IBM): Shares cycling in bullish 'flag'Permalink | Email this | Comments

'Two White Liberal Guilts'
By Justin Paulette (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 1:45:00 AM

'TWO page 5

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Media "People will have to choose which of America's sins are greater, and which stain will have to be removed first. Is misogyny worse than racism, or is racism worse than misogyny?" Whose views of the Democratic electoral process could be so blighted and narrow as to regard the contest so? None other than the New York Times' own Maureen Dowd. "As it turns out," Dowd laments, "making history is actually a way of being imprisoned by history. "With Obama saying the hour is upon us to elect a black man and Hillary saying the hour is upon us to elect a woman, the Democratic primary has become the ultimate nightmare of liberal identity politics. All the historical victimizations go tripping over each other and colliding, a competition of historical guilts." One must wonder how many liberal Democrats are entrapped within Dowd's nightmare. Yet Dowd appreciates that not all of America shares the bleeding-heart liberalism sundering the Democratic party: "Meanwhile, the conventional white man sits on the Republican side and enjoys the spectacle of the Democrats' identity pileup and victim lock." The whole issue provides rich fodder for Mark Stein's new column, "Torn Between Two White Liberal Guilts," in which he confesses: "A Democrat nominating process that's a self-torturing satire of upscale liberal guilt confusions will at least give us a laugh along the way." Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments

January wholesalers' sales increase 2.7%, inventories rise 0.8%
By Joseph Lazzaro (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 4:26:00 AM

Analyst downgrades: TMA, KERX, ARO and WMT
By Eric Buscemi (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 4:33:00 AM

Filed under: Economic dataSales at U.S. wholesalers increased 2.7% in January 2008, their fastest pace in four years, helping producers work-off inventories, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Monday. Meanwhile, inventories in January 2008 climbed 0.8.%. December 2007 wholesalers' sales were revised upward to a 0.5% decline. December 2007 inventories remained the same at a 1.1% increase. Also, the January 2008 inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers' sales branches and offices, based on seasonally adjusted data, fell to 1.07. In January 2007 the ratio was 1.16. Compared to last month, January 2008 sales of metals and minerals, except

petroleum, increased 4.2%, furniture and home furnishings rose 3.7%. Sales of nondurable goods climbed about 3.0% (+/0.8%) from December 2007 and are up 24.8% (+/-2.0%) compared to January 2007. Farm product raw materials increased 16.1%, and petroleum/petroleum products rose 3.5%. Economic Analysis: Wholesalers' inventories are at a record low, which can be interpreted two ways: 1) wholesalers are efficient and lean, and do not have swelling inventories ahead of what many expect will be a downturn in demand; or 2) the record-low inventory reflects a lack of supply by producers into wholesalers, denoting low-confidence regarding the short-term prospects for rising demand. Still, economists caution against reading too much into the wholesalers' statistics: they are not strongly correlated with future economic activity, and are not considered leading economic indicators.Permalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: Analyst reports, Analyst upgrades and downgrades, Wal-Mart (WMT)MOST NOTEWORTHY: Thornburg Mortgage, Keryx Biopharma and Aeropostale were today's noteworthy downgrades: • Jefferies downgraded shares of Thornburg Mortgage (NYSE: TMA) to Underperform from Hold after the company said it is unable to meet margin calls despite asset sales and will restate 2007 earnings. • Keryx Biopharma (NASDAQ: KERX) was downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Merrill, to Neutral from Overweight at JP Morgan, to Underperform from Market Perform at Rodman & Renshaw, to Hold from Buy at Jefferies and to Underperform from Outperform at Bear Stearns after the company announced the Sulonex SUNMICRO Phase 3 trial failed to meet the primary endpoint. • Citigroup lowered Aeropostale (NYSE: ARO) to Sell from Hold as they believe inventory levels are building and that there is downside risk to Q1 estimates. OTHER DOWNGRADES:

Analyst upgrades: JWN, JCP, ZQK, OMTR and CCK
By Eric Buscemi (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 4:31:00 AM

Filed under: Analyst reports, Analyst upgrades and downgrades, Penney (J.C.) (JCP), Nordstrom, Inc (JWN)MOST NOTEWORTHY: Quiksilver, Omniture and Crown Holdings were today's noteworthy upgrades: • B. Riley upgraded shares of Quiksilver (NYSE: ZQK) to Buy from Neutral on valuation and to reflect the EPS catalyst and debt reduction associated with divesting Rossignol.

• Friedman Billings upgraded shares of Omniture (NASDAQ: OMTR) to Outperform from Market Perform following the recent pullback, as they believe the company is in its best competitive position ever, which should drive increasing win rates and help restore pricing power. • Banc of America upgraded shares of Crown Holdings (NYSE: CCK) to Buy from Neutral to reflect the company's international exposure and believes metal packaging companies should be better able to manage input inflation.

OTHER UPGRADES: • UBS raised AmerisourceBergen (NYSE: ABC) to Neutral from Sell. • Stephens raised its rating on Amedisys (NASDAQ: AMED) to Overweight from Equal Weight. • Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) and JC Penney (NYSE: JCP) were upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs. Permalink | Email this | Comments

Blackstone (BX) fourth -quarter profit plunges 89% on write-downs
By Eliza Popescu (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 4:41:00 AM

• Deutsche Bank cut Lincare Holdings (NASDAQ: LNCR) to Sell from Hold. • RBC Capital lowered J2 Global (NASDAQ: JCOM) to Sector Perform from Outperform. • Goldman removed Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) from its Conviction Buy List. Permalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: Earnings reports, Forecasts, Bad news, Blackstone Group L.P (BX), Initial public offeringsShares of Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX) have been dropping in early trading after the company reported this morning a plunge of 89% in its fourth-quarter profit. The company's quarterly numbers were dragged down by higher write-downs BLACKSTONE page 7


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Time Warner's prehistoric romp wins big box office bucks
By Steven Mallas (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 4:11:00 AM

Analyst initiations: SMBL, HOO and ASH
By Eric Buscemi (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 4:56:00 AM

Filed under: Time Warner (TWX), Walt Disney (DIS), Sony Corp ADR (SNE), Film Mammoths and multiplexes go hand in hand, apparently, especially if said mammoths are of the CGI variety. According to Boxofficemojo, 10,000 B.C., Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) prehistoric epic, pounded the rest of its competition like an angry caveman warrior clubbing a saber-toothed tiger (I didn't see the film, but I assume this happened at some point during the plot). The film is estimated to have taken in over $35 million (final numbers are due later today) at domestic theaters over the weekend. Disney (NYSE: DIS) couldn't even come close to Time Warner -- its family comedy, College Road Trip, right now stands at a gross of $14

million, which was at least good enough for second place. Erstwhile Disney Channel phenomenon Raven-Symone star in the flick, so at least there was a little bit of synergy in that respect -- Disney is nothing if not about synergy, as we all know. Sony's (NYSE: SNE) Vantage Point came in third, and Time Warner's Semi-Pro, starring the hilarious Will Ferrell, came in fourth. Lions Gate's (NYSE: LGF) The Bank Job, which achieved fifth position,actually did pretty well, considering that its per-theater average of approximately $3500 was much higher than the per-theater average for the two films above it. Continue reading Time Warner's prehistoric romp wins big box office bucksPermalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: Analyst reports, Analyst initiationsMOST NOTEWORTHY: Smart Balance, Cascal NV and Ashland were today's noteworthy initiations: • Citigroup initiated Smart Balance (NASDAQ: SMBL) with a Hold rating and $9 target, as they believe success of the company's new products is not a foregone conclusion and prefers to wait for increased visibility before becoming more positive on the name. • JP Morgan believes Cascal NV (NYSE: HOO) will leverage its global scale and expertise in water infrastructure markets to drive 25% annual EPS growth through 2010. The firm has an Overweight rating on the stock.

• Ashland (NYSE: ASH) was started with a Positive rating as Susquehanna, as they are positive on ASH's earnings power. The firm views shares as a compelling risk/reward opportunity. OTHER INITIATIONS: • Broadpoint assumed SuccessFactors (NASDAQ: SFSF) with a Strong Buy rating and $12 target. • Morgan Stanley initiated Fastenal (NASDAQ: FAST) with an Equal Weight rating and $40 target. • RBC Capital started Ultra Petroleum (NYSE: UPL) with a Sector Perform rating and $80 target. Permalink | Email this | Comments

Safe Money seeks safety in Treasuries
By Steven Halpern (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 5:36:00 AM

Oil surges over $107 as analysts raise price forecasts; $110 is next hurdle
By Joseph Lazzaro (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 5:21:00 AM

is up about 75% during the past 12 months, and has traded above $90 per barrel for most of 2008. Further, the weak and falling U.S. dollar is also boosting oil prices. Because oil is priced in dollars, if the dollar falls, oil producers will try to increase the price of the product to maintain their purchasing power. A lower dollar also implies higher U.S. inflation, prompting some investors to buy oil as an inflation hedge, further boosting the commodity's price. Continue reading Oil surges over $107 as analysts raise price forecasts; $110 is next hurdleRead | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: Newsletters, Federal Reserve, Recession "Derivatives - the 'global Vesuvius of debts and bets' that we have been warning about since 2006 is beginning to erupt," says Martin Weiss. The editor of The Safe Money Report explains, "The time is now to build cash and the best place to put it is in United States Treasury bills or equivalent." Here, he looks at the benefits of Treasuries and the various ways that investors can add them to their portfolios. "We now have overwhelming evidence of a severe recession. And we have a solid confirmation in the stock market itself. But we also forecast that the Fed would fight back, and do so aggressively, fomenting an

inflationary recession. "They're pumping in massive amounts of money, trying to calm markets and seeking to avert a recession. But it's too little, too late for the economy. And it's too much, too soon for the already-shaky dollar. *Result: Gold has surged along with other commodities. "And consumer price inflation, long a sideshow on the American scene, is now surging back. Our urgent appeal: If youhaven't done so already based on our earlier issues, the time is now to shift from complacency to protective action ... from bull-market plays to income opportunities ... from risk to safety. Continue reading Safe Money seeks safety in TreasuriesPermalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: International markets, Bad news, Commodities, OilCrude oil jumped $1.85 in early trading Monday morning to touch a record $107 per barrel as investors continued to pour funds into oil futures, Bloomberg News reported Monday. Oil traded at the record price before pulling back slightly to $106.31 by midday Monday. Heating oil gained 1 cent to $2.96 per gallon, unleaded gasoline was unchanged at $2.69 per gallon. With U.S. stocks expected to underperform historical averages due to sluggish U.S. economic growth, and with global oil demand still strong, investors are increasing positions in oil, calculating that the world's most vital commodity will outperform other asset classes in 2008. Oil

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BLACKSTONE continued from page 5
related to its holdings in bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Co. Wall Street has reacted by pushing the stock down 3.4% to $14.08, and at one point, traded shares down to $13.82, which set a new all-time low for the stock since its debut last June. Excluding compensation expenses, the manager of the world's largest leveragedbuyout fund announced that its quarterly profit dropped to $88 million, compared with $808.1 million a year ago. Blackstone's income declined through the quarter, hurt by its investment in Financial Guaranty Insurance. Deterioration in the credit markets, which came with lower takeover fees and reduced the value of its new investments, made the company post adjusted earnings of 8 cents per share. As Trey Thoelcke discussed, analysts had been expecting Blackstone to show quarterly earnings of 19 cents per share. The company failed again to beat, or at least to match, analysts' predictions. Continue reading Blackstone (BX) fourthquarter profit plunges 89% on writedownsRead | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Silverlit VBeat Air Guitar and Air Drums are better than the real thing
By Paul Miller (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 5:11:00 AM

Option Update: Bear Stearns put volume & volatility spike as shares sell off over 9% on chatter
By Paul Foster (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 4:55:00 AM

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets Face it, nobody has time these days to learn a real instrument with "strings" and "sevenths" and these "quarternotes" we hear tell of. That's why all music recorded from 2002 on has been 100% sampled: it's just better that way. The next step in this natural evolution, of course, is instrumentless instruments. Silverlit provides just such a future with the VBeat Air Guitar and Air Drums. Building upon Tomy's groundbreaking Air Guitar Pro, the VBeat instruments include "free style" and "easy go" modes, the latter of which allows for

Filed under: Bear Stearns Cos (BSC) Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC) is recently down $5.08 to $64.92 on unconfirmed liquidity problems chatter. BSC is expected to report Q1 EPS on March 20. BSC call option volume of 12,607 contracts compares to put volume of

47,978 contracts. BSC March option implied volatility of 91 is above a level of 81 an hour ago; April option implied volatility of 78 is above a level of 62 from an hour ago. BSC average option implied volatility over the 17-weeks is 53 according to Track Data, suggesting larger price movement. Option Update is provided by Stock Specialist Paul Foster of Permalink | Email this | Comments

playing you fakestrument to preprogrammed rhythms -- a synergy of layered samples and a metronome, simply stunning. There's also a step-by-step learning mode called Pop Academy, but only losers need apply. These should sell for about £29.99 ($60 US) a piece, no word on availability. Action video is after the break. [Via Coolest Gadgets] Continue reading Silverlit VBeat Air Guitar and Air Drums are better than the real thing Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Sprint Mogul getting the EV-DO Rev. A treatment, as promised
By Paul Miller (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 3:02:00 AM

Filed under: Cellphones, Handhelds Here's a treat from HTC and Sprint to lighten those Monday blues: the Sprint Mogul, built by HTC, is getting a software update to bump the phone's data connection up to EV-DO Rev. A, roughly doubling current download speeds, and really boosting uploads. This makes the Mogul the first phone in the States to hit Rev. A speeds, and should make the $199 phone quite the attractive option for modem usage when an ExpressCard would be just too darn convenient. Only problem is that when Sprint and HTC promised this update in back November, they also said GPS would be a part of the package -- and just such a ROM was leaked in January. We're not sure what happened to that feature, but we'll try not to look a gift horse in the mouth for the time being. Update: Turns out GPS is indeed included in this update, as confirmed by by Sprint. [Thanks, Joel P.] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

TSA can't believe MacBook Air is a real laptop, causes owner to miss flight
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 12:58:00 AM

Filed under: Laptops The TSA has been known to take issue with products designed in Cupertino before, but for one particular traveler, it was Apple's thinnest laptop ever that caused the latest holdup. Upon tossing his ultra-sleek slab of aluminum underneath

the scanner, security managed to find enough peculiarities to remove it from the flow, pull it aside and wrangle up the owner for some questions. Apparently, the TSA employee manning the line was flabbergasted by the "lack of a drive" and the complete absence of "ports on the back," and while hordes of co-workers swarmed to investigate, the user's flight took off on schedule. Thankfully, said owner was finally allowed to pass through

an SSD was, but the poor jet-setter most definitely paid the price for trying to slip some of the latest and greatest under the sharp eyes of the TSA (and cutting it close on time, of course). [Image courtesy of ABC] after some more in-the-know colleagues explained in painfully simple terms what Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments


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Buffalo announces 500GB MiniStation TurboUSB external HDD

Sony confirms Giga Juke SC55PKE and E35HD for the UK
By Paul Miller (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 3:30:00 AM

By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 4:30:00 AM

Filed under: Storage Although Buffalo managed to squeeze one whole terabyte of storage into its new LinkStation Mini, the firm is looking to give the bytes within its latest external drive a bit more breathing room. The 500GB MiniStation TurboUSB is a touch more capacious than the previous 320GB king, and as with other TurboUSB devices, it supposedly offers up "30-percent faster transfer rates than most USB hard drives." Additionally, the firm throws in its own Shock Resistant technology along with its SecureLockWare in order to prevent "unauthorized access in the event the drive is lost or stolen." Heck, you'll even find Memeo's AutoBackup right in the box, and as for the box itself, look for it to land later this month for a cool $329. Permalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: Home Entertainment Sorry Sony, but we saw these coming back in January. Sony just got around to confirming its new line of Giga Juke home audio players -- at least in the UK -- after letting them float around on the internet for a good couple of months. The networked SC55PKE has 80GB of storage, 16x CD ripping, a 4.3-inch LCD and iPod / Walkman support, along with a wireless hookup for beaming to a wireless control

unit and five wireless speakers. The E35HD (pictured after the break) keeps it wired and boring, with a less sexy screen, slower CD ripping and the odd replacement of the SC55PKE's ATRAC support for AAC. Yeah, we're not following that one, Sony. [Via Wired] Continue reading Sony confirms Giga Juke SC55PKE and E35HD for the UK Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

USB TiltStick opens up new world of accelerometer projects
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 1:27:00 AM

Filed under: Handhelds It's not like the modding community at large hasn't shoved accelerometers within vehicles before, but conjuring up projects that utilize acceleration sensing just got a whole lot easier thanks to the USB TiltStick. Reportedly, the minuscule device features a two axis acceleration sensor and emulates a USB joystick in order to play nice with any USB-equipped host. In particular, a standard PC or Nokia's N810

makes for the perfect comrade, and what you do from there is really only limited by your imagination. Granted, only the DIY veterans in attendance should give this one any serious consideration, but feel free to jump on through the break to catch it interfacing with N810. [Via Internet Tablet Talk] Continue reading USB TiltStick opens up new world of accelerometer projects Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Modder builds his own coffee table PC, your coffee table still sucks
By Paul Miller (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 2:22:00 AM

Filed under: Desktops, Displays While we wait for those Microsoftees to pull it together and get real with a shippable version of Surface, we can enjoy the valiant efforts of modders like Xylomn.

This guy built his very own touchable coffee table PC with a 24-inch display and a ceiling-mounted camera for tracking hand motions. Since it's part of his dissertation for his software engineering degree, Xylomn also worked up some custom software which allows users to beam media to the PC via Bluetooth, and then geotag it on a touchable map. The

automatically towards whoever is grubbing up the display at that point. [Via Geeky Gadgets] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments table allows for multiple users at once, and the interface part of the software rotates

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European Xbox 360 price cuts officially official
By Nilay Patel (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 4:50:00 AM

Mac SE gutted, converted into toilet paper dispenser
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 1:54:00 AM

Filed under: Desktops, Household We've seen antiquated Macs given new life as fish tanks and living room decorations, but the iWipe takes repurposing to an entirely different level. As you can clearly see in the image above, one particular engineering soul figured a spare Macintosh SE case would look a whole lot better in

his bathroom than in the trash, so he whipped out a screwdriver, removed some internal brackets and gave the unit a fresh coat of paint. $15 and a few hours later, out popped his new toilet paper dispenser. Check out the read link for a bunch more pics -- oh, and stop second guessing yourself, you're totally building one of these next weekend. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Zune Originals engravings still free, as in $10 to $15
By Thomas Ricker (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 1:13:00 AM

Filed under: Gaming Yeah, we had plenty of advance notice, but it looks like those European Xbox 360 price cuts are now the real deal. The 360 Arcade is now just €199.99 / £159.99, while the Premium drops €80 / £50 to €269.99 / £199.99 and the Elite comes down €80 / £40 to €369.99 / £259.99. That means the Arcade is now half the price of the 40GB PS3 in the EU -- not necessarily a great 1:1 comparison, but something tells us it's going to look awfully convincing on store shelves. Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: Portable Audio, Portable Video It couldn't last forever. Now those free, laser-etched designs of the Zune Originals series will cost ya. Microsoft quietly made the switch sometime over the last few weeks (if not the weekend) according to

forum jockeys riding the Zuneboards. The Tattoo Series is now $10 or $15 for the Artist Series. Custom engravings are still free. Of course, there's no better way to keep those Zunes original than to charge cold, cash money for off-the-shelf designs. [Thanks, Mike] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

The Best Things In Life May Be Free, But It Cost $400 Million To Get The Beatles On iTunes
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 12:05:08 AM

The best things in life are free But you can keep them for the birds and bees

Now give me money That’s what I want That’s what I want, yeah That’s what I want… Paul McCartney has signed a $400 million deal with Apple for the distribution of the

entire Beatles’ back catalog on iTunes.

Under the deal, the money will be distributed to Ringo Starr, the families of George Harrison and John Lennon, Michael Jackson, EMI and Sony, along with McCartney getting his share as well. The deal finally finishes Steve Job’s quest

for the Holy Grail of music downloads. (via CrunchGear) Crunch Network: CrunchGeardrool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.


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Digg Users Are Doing Their Best To Kill Watch Out FriendFeed: An Acquisition Socialthing! Is Even Easier to Use
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 3:25:06 PM

Digg users tend to get pissed off about a lot of things. Any story about Microsoft, for example. Or anything that criticizes Apple. Usually, the ability to bury stories about non-mob-approved topics, combined with the comment area under headlines, is enough of a release valve to settle things down. But not always - and Digg has a track record of surrendering to the mob when things get really bad. Based on some of the comments to this story about Digg’s officially-nothappening (but happening nonetheless) acquisition, Digg users are getting all riled up for another fight. Particularly if the buyer ends up being Microsoft. A sample of the 544 comments left on that story: • Don’t sell Digg Kevin! Digg this story he needs to know how we feel! • Why not sell digg when you don’t care about the community. Sell it and we will be happy. • Somehow i think if Microsoft manages to buy digg a larger revolt than 09 F9 11… will happen, at least i know what i will do • I would have to see how things went afterward. If Google tried to shoehorn their “style” in to Digg’s interfaces (see: Jotspot), or if Microsoft tried to turn it in to a Windows program, I would switch to

Reddit. I like Digg more, but either of those scenarios would kill Digg for me.If MS is in, I’m out. • OK guys, Kevin doesn’t give half a shit about you. He cares about what all americans care about: $500,000,000 in his pocket. Good old capitalism, eh?Goodbye Digg… Its been good knowing you… too bad you were gobbled up by corporate america. I remember back in the day when you were a bastion of free speech and unfettered entertainment, but no longer. I guess I will have to revert back to the “best of” section of Craigslist. Don’t sell your soul. • As long as they lets us delete our accounts • I am new to and I really like it. If Microsoft were to buy it that would be it for me. I will remove it from my favorites and never come back. • Dude. If Microsoft gets its fucking hands on this site then you will definitely have

one less viewer. Those fuckers taint everything they touch. • Is this for real come on Kevin don’t give up to digg to these huge companies. What makes digg so special and fun is that it’s independent this is not a good idea. • If Microsoft purchases this site, go ahead and make your last act to institute a ‘delete your account’ function. • This is terrible news. Lets see if we can have yet another viable outlet bought up by huge conglomerates which try to feed us what we are allowed to think and censor our beliefs. I tell you what. If digg is sold, I’m not coming here anymore! Kevin please don’t let this happen. Tell us this is about more than money. So far, the feedback is mostly pleading, not angry (see this blog post). But as things progress, this could turn nasty, and fast. Mixx, Reddit and other competitors, I’m sure, are looking forward to that happening, and will be more than happy to pick up any stray Digg users who abandon the much-loved/much-hated D i g g . C r u n c h B a s e InformationDiggInformation provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

By Mark Hendrickson (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 1:05:34 AM

There are a bazillion social network aggregators out there (Mike attempted to round up some of the most notable ones here). FriendFeed is the most visible of them all for two main reasons: it was founded a group of ex-Googlers and, as a consequence, benefits from a clean and easy-to-use design. But FriendFeed’s going to have some serious competition from a TechStars startup called Socialthing!, which makes it even easier to get an overview of what your friends are doing on the web. Socialthing! officially goes into private beta today and will let in the first 1,000 TechCrunch readers who use the invitation code “TechCrunch” to sign up (you’ll have to wait a few days to get your account, however). The service primarily differs from FriendFeed in the way it determines which of your friends to track. While FriendFeed actually requires users to create their own list of friends on FriendFeed, Socialthing! realizes you probably don’t want to create yet another list of your friends. So instead of asking you to do more work, it automatically detects who your friends are on the social services to which you belong. The distinction may sound inconsequential but Socialthing!’s method actually makes things a lot easier, both for initial set up and for longer term maintenance. When you sign up for Socialthing!, you only have to provide it with your credentials to sites like Facebook and Pownce. And as time goes by, you don’t have to worry about setting up new friends on the service because it will automatically know that

Gigya Gets $9.5M to Grow Widget Ads
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 2:27:54 PM

Widget platform Gigya has just raised $9.5 million in a Series B round of financing, led by Mayfield Fund. Additional investment comes from existing investors Benchmark Capital and First Round Capital. Just a few weeks ago, Gigya added some major updates to its ad network, and is

seeing some good results from its Wildfire initiative, reporting hundreds of thousands of widget installs per day, tracking over 3 billion widget impressions per month. With the funds, Gigya will focus on growing out its platform, and further pushing its core Wildfire technology, as well as its ad network. Gigya is really looking at ways in which marketers can provide more content-rich solutions for their campaign efforts, and as

I’ve mentioned with several other widget ad networks, the tracking and analytics are all very important. This is for the purpose of providing a viable and attractive alternative to traditional web advertisements, and a way to offer a more inclusive set of feedback mechanisms for utilizing widgets as advertising methods. ShareThis

you’ve become friends with people elsewhere. In contrast, FriendFeed requires you to both explicitly designate friends during the initial configuration (either oneby-one or through Facebook/Gmail importing) and manually add new friends over time. Another benefit Socialthing! has over FriendFeed is its focus on allowing users to send data back to social services (if you want to respond to someone’s tweet, for example, you can do so directly from Socialthing!). On the other hand, FriendFeed is all about reading data from services but not about writing it back. While FriendFeed generally takes more effort, its approach does have unique advantages. You can follow friends of friends on FriendFeed and see updates from services that you don’t personally use, all because FriendFeed users have more independently-defined presences. FriendFeed also supports a wider range of services than Socialthing! (28 vs. 11, although Facebook updates are noticeably lacking from FriendFeed). Time, however, should narrow the gap. In the end, whether FriendFeed succeeds more than Socialthing! will depend on whether people are looking for another community or just a way to easily track their existing ones. I suspect the latter will be the case.CrunchBase InformationSocialthing!FriendFeedTechSt arsInformation provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

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Gmail Scam Signal Of A Much Bigger Security Issue
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 12:20:38 AM

Manage Human Resources Online With Zoho People
By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 12:26:01 AM

This weekend news came that a Gmail archive service called G-Archiver, which backs up all of your Gmail emails to your hard drive, was actually the front for a scam - hard coded into the application was a “feature” that sent every user’s email address and password to the creator’s own email account, giving him access to all of their Gmail messages. These users should have known better than to type their email credentials into a third party service, so sympathy levels are at a minimum. But there is a much bigger problem to consider. Gmail is the entry point into a vast array of Google office services - including Google Docs and Google Apps. Those services allow users to share documents with others. If one user’s email credential become compromised, all of those sensitive documents become available to the bad

guys, too. So if a single user’s credentials become known, the business they work for is at risk. That has led a number of experts to conclude that Google Apps can never be a real threat to Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint. All of the sensitive business information of a company, if stored on Google’s servers, is just a password guess, or in this case what is effectively a phishing scam, away. I’ve spoken with Google employees about this issue in the past, and they point out that Google Apps allows authentication mechanisms that require more than just a password. In the Google Apps Security Policy, they state: “Google Apps integrates with standard web SSO systems using the SAML 2.0 standard. This allows integration with custom sign-on and/or advanced authentication (SecureID). Solutions can be custom made or Google Partner supplied.” Of course many companies won’t use

SecureID for authentication, and they’ll still be at risk. Over time, hopefully, even smaller companies will require it. In the meantime, something else about Google’s security policy caught my eye. They’ll turn over data to third parties when required to by law (including search warrants, court orders, or subpoenas.) Google says they will “attempt to notify users before turning over their data whenever possible and legally permissible.” That may not be good enough for many companies, who would choose to fight an information transfer in court before they turn it over. If it was on their own servers they would be able to do that. But Google, certainly, won’t be going to court to fight on your behalf. Users should consider themselves luck just to be notified that the information was released. Caveat Emptor. Crunch Network: CrunchBoardbecause it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Despite fierce competition from Google, the folks at Zoho seem to be determined to offer a very complete office & productivity online package and emerge as the leader in this crowded space. Their latest offering is Zoho People, an online “people management & recruitment solution” as they call it, which boils down to what we’re used to calling “human resources management”. Zoho People provides you with a dashboard which lets you control every aspect of your company’s workforce: recruitment, organization, departments, salaries, leaves of absence, holidays, trainings - in short, I wasn’t able to remember anything that Zoho People didn’t have.

As Allen at Center Networks correctly suggests, Zoho People won’t work in large corporations simply because they probably have some enterprise grade system in place, and is thus best suited for SMBs. However, Zoho People looks good enough that even some larger companies might consider switching from an expensive system to lower costs. Check out the screenshot tour here; see the online videos, or try the online demo. You can also see an overview video below. ShareThis

No Longer Under Age: Zivity Takes $7 Million In Venture Financing For Adult Content Social Network
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 12:25:43 AM

Hear The New R.E.M. Album on iLike Before it Hits the Stores
By Stan Schroeder (Mashable!)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 1:15:11 AM

Zivity is an adult content social network and user generated content site (they call it “Promoting Beauty 2.0). It has the distinction of being one of the first adult content startups to be backed by venture capital via a $1 million seed round in 2007, and it caused quite a stir at its official launch at TechCrunch40. As we mentioned last month, mainstream press is starting to pay serious attention to them. The company will announce a new $7 million round of financing in a deal led by both BlueRun Ventures and Founders Fund. The company has now raised a total of $8 million. The social networking experience that these VCs add is substantial. Founders Fund is an early

Facebook investor. Both are investors in Slide. John Malloy of BlueRun Ventures and Luke Nosek of Founders Fund join Zivity co-founders Scott Banister, Cyan Banister (who also models for the site) and Jeffrey Wescott on the company’s board of directors. The site allows both amateur and professional models and photographers to show their stuff. Users vote on those that they like, which channel real dollars to the talent. The more votes, the more money. The basic site is free, but users must pay to vote. About 40% of gross revenue is given directly to the talent. With a recent redesign, the site is focused much more on social networking - users and talent have profile pages and can add each other as friends. They’ve even added a news feed

feature that shows who is adding who as friends, and which models users have voted for. Zivity remains in private beta (and will

likely stay there until early 2009), although current users are given invitations to give to their friends. That means that most people joining the site today already know someone who’s using it, and can add them as a friend. In my “testing” of the site I noticed that the current users seem active in voting and friending. My guess is that building the community slowly but focusing on active users is a good way to go. And besides, anyone that really wants in can get an invitation on InviteShare.CrunchBase InformationZivityInformation provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoardbecause it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Music discovery social network (most famous for its Facebook application) iLike will be streamed in its entirety beginning March 24th - a week before is US release on April 1st. R.E.M. will also record an exclusive video message for iLike users in which they’ll introduce and discuss the album. The album is called “Accelerate” and if you still hope it’ll be better than “Automatic For The People,” wake the hell up. It won’t. This is cool news for iLike, which has really gone a long way. One day, everyone around you is telling you that making Facebook apps is a waste of time and that it’ll never amount to anything, and the next day a huge rock band is streaming its new album through your service. Next step: Rolling Stones give exclusive distribution rights for their new album for a plugin of a widget in an iPhone app. ShareThis


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CNET Board Has “Tense, Uncomfortable” Meeting With Jana Corsortium
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 8:11:19 PM

Zoho People Launches for Free. Does Have Anything to Worry About?
By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 8:54:02 AM

Last Thursday, March 6, multiple sources say, the CNET board of directors and CEO Neil Ashe met with representative from the Jana Partners investor consortium that has amassed a 21% ownership stake in the troubled company. The goal of the meeting was to negotiate a settlement that would avoid a proxy fight and a potential hostile takeover attempt. Jana Partners’ founder Barry Rosenstein was the lead representative from the consortium’s side, which also includes investments from Sandell Asset Management, Spark Capital, and entrepreneur Paul Gardi. From what we hear the meeting didn’t go so well. “It was tense and uncomfortable,” said one source. The CNET board “is in a state of denial” about the seriousness of the situation, said another. The consortium wants the company to focus on technology, including an overhaul of the dated CNET content management system and ad serving platform. The CNET board instead wants to “aggressively expand” their

business internationally and focus less on infrastructure improvements. For now the two groups are mostly talking about high level company strategy. But at some point the consortium, which is the largest CNET stockholder, will want a significant board presence. That might mean as many as 3-4 board seats out of the 8 that exist now. CNET stock continues to slump - it’s worth about half as much as it was two years ago. The company has recently made a few high profile management changes (all for the better, in my opinion) and has sold off assets. But deeper changes are clearly needed.CrunchBase InformationCNET NetworksInformation provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

If you’ve heard of Zoho, you probably think of Zoho Office, its suite of Webbased productivity software (word processor, spreadsheet, presentation). But Zoho Office is primarily as a marketing exercise. Zoho’s real business is in offering a series of Web-based enterprise apps that it started introducing last September—CRM, Project Management, Web conferencing, an online database. And today it is adding Zoho People in beta. Zoho People is a Web-based enterprise app f o r m a n a g i n g h u m a n resources—recruiting, org charts, HR forms, an employee self-service portal. Here are some screenshots and an online demo. Zoho People is targeted at small businesses with 50 or more employees—companies that cannot afford PeopleSoft, but cannot manage their business on Excel spreadsheets anymore. More directly, Zoho

is going after WorkDay (started by PeopleSoft founder Dave Duffield),, and smaller online HR apps such as Vemo’s. To get businesses to try it, the software will be free for the beta period. The pricing is yet to be determined, but will probably be in the range of $50/month for HR administrators and $4/month for other employees. It will also be available as part of Zoho’s suite of enterprise apps under blended pricing. Maybe Salesforce should just buy Zoho. Oh yeah, it already tried that. Zoho People from Raju Vegesna on V i m e o . C r u n c h B a s e InformationZohoVemo Enterprise Workforce PlanningInformation provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

A Facebook Application To Find Blood Donors Fast
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 9:32:46 PM

Startups Must Hire The Right People And Watch Every Penny. Or Fail.
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/8/2008 11:02:58 AM

Yesterday Jason Calacanis, the founder of Mahalo (and, full disclosure, our partner at TechCrunch40), wrote a blog post titled “How to save money running a startup.” Boy was he attacked. Bloggers lined up to take their shots at him. Examples are here, here, here and, especially, here. Our own Duncan Riley also wrote a post criticizing Calacanis and a firestorm of comments blew in. He took a more humorous approach to make his points, but

his opinion on the matter was clear. I happen to disagree with Duncan and the others criticizing Calacanis, though. Our writers have complete editorial discretion, and I would never ask him to change his overall tone or message. But I do want to chime in with my own thoughts because this is an important cultural issue and worthy of further discussion. Some of Calacanis’ points were probably written in haste, like his statement “Fire people who are not workaholics” (he later changed it to “Fire people who don’t love their work”). Others were not

controversial, like his advice to “Buy cheap tables and expensive chairs.” Overall, I get the impression that if he had

spent just a few minutes editing his post, he would have had a 100% different reaction from readers. I’m not that interested in analyzing each of his 17 suggestions - some I agree with, some I don’t. But I am interested in adding my thoughts to what I believe are (or should be) his underlying messages: (more…) Crunch Network: MobileCrunchMobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

About 43,000 pints of blood are donated each day by Canadians and Americans, which help the 4.5 million patients who need that blood transfusions every year. Total donations aren’t adequate to satisfy demand, though, and shortages occur regularly. When a patient is in need of blood that isn’t available, it becomes a life and death situation. Historically the Red Cross will make efforts to alert the public during a shortage. But there may be a better way leverage the social networks to get the word out. If shortages of a certain type of blood occur in a certain zip code, having a database of willing donors in that zip code to contact may be the most efficient way to solve the problem quickly. That’s where Takes All Types (TAT), a non-profit organization, comes in. Users install their just-released Facebook application, tell it their location and blood type, and say how often they are willing to be contacted to donate blood (maximum is every 57 days). If a shortage occurs, they’ll contact you via the methods that you authorize (Facebook, email, text message, etc.) Crunch Network: CrunchGeardrool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

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Technology * Social Net * TV *


MightyQuiz: Stump Strangers Wetpaint Adds Friend with Your Arcane Knowledge Feeds, and Social
By Mark Hendrickson (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 2:30:56 AM

Y Combinator startup MightyQuiz just launched with the intent of bringing user generated content to quizzes. The concept is straightforward: users can write their own quiz questions on any topic (e.g. “Aside from English, what is the second official language in New Zealand?” Answer: “Maori”). These are then categorized, answered, rated, and commented on by other users, who can pass time by going through them one after another. The creators have implemented all of the social features we’ve come to expect from Web 2.0: user profiles, top contributor lists, most popular quiz questions, and widgets. We’re told that one potential monetization strategy will come from white labeling the service for use on traditional media sites that need ways to engage users. For example, Rolling Stone could encourage their online readers to contribute questions about the history of music. While the service is mainly for

Networking Tools
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 2:36:16 PM

entertainment in its current form, it could also be tailored for educational purposes. The topics of history and science are two natural fits for a tool like this. As apparently is Seinfeld (see pic).CrunchBase InformationY CombinatorInformation provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoardbecause it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Wetpaint wikis are taking more steps to become like fully-functioning social networks, with the release of several new features that are typically found on social networking sites, moving attention away from the enterprise solutions Wetpaint has recently been working on. Feeds, for instance, seems to be the single-most important feature that any and all social networks are adding to their feature sets for the purpose of making their users more communicative. The feeds will include dashboard and friend updates, so users can have global and personal view of what’s occurring on Wetpaint. There are also more friend invite options to get others to contribute to wiki material that you’ve worked on, which is of course an integral tool for wikis and speaks to the overall trends we’re seeing in social media collaboration. Custom profiles give more personalization options for wiki users, and a bulked up photo gallery means that media sharing can become more central to users’ activity. There are a couple of self-promotional features that have been layered into this update, such as the Promote My Site Wizard, which is a “hands-off” way for users to seek out better SEO and traction

for their wikis. This is pretty important for those Jericho lovers out there, and others looking to turn their wikis into a weborganism that brings people together to affect change (or just get you more attention). One feature that is actually sure to make Wetpaint wikis feel more like a social network is the new Compliments option, which lets you dole out kudos to your friends. It’s a very nice version of poking, and will hopefully be used for encouraging purposes, in garnering additional support for continued contributions from other users. These compliments can actually be collected and displayed as awards on your profile, so everyone knows how cool you are. Some may wonder if wikis really need to move in the direction of social networking as we currently know it, but as more collaborative tools are layered into social networking tools, it’s important on both ends for these efforts to be realized. ShareThis

Breaking Bad: A No Rough Stuff Type Deal (season finale)
By Jason Hughes (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 1:42:00 AM

Filed under: Episode Reviews, Breaking Bad (S01E07) Well, I have to say that while this finale did establish a certain status quo, albeit a highly precarious one, it was by no means a satisfying series ender. Thus, I fully expect that AMC will renew this amazing show for a second season post haste. Did you here me, AMC? Whatever you need to do to secure these actors and get this ball rolling. And maybe give us at least 13 episodes next time, eh? Continue reading Breaking Bad: A No Rough Stuff Type Deal (season finale) Permalink | Email this | | Comments

MySpace Said To Be Ready To Strike Music Deals By March Close
By Paul Glazowski (Mashable!)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 10:08:20 AM

Reports were filed last month by the media concerning MySpace’s purported negotiations with the world’s four largest record labels to gather rights for its own music distribution platform. Today, Joshua Chaffin of the FT talks of learning that those talks may proceed to legitimate agreements among MySpace and at least three of the four labels - Sony BMG,

Warner, and EMI - by the end of March. That offers any potential deals about three weeks’ time in which to establish official ties. The sole holdout in such discussions is Universal Music, “which has insisted that MySpace first resolve a lawsuit that (UMG) filed against the site over alleged copyright violations.” As Chaffin alludes very clearly to, this news of impending agreements among the abovementioned parties not only would

draw the notice of major distributors of digital downloads like iTunes and Amazon, but also Facebook, which also has been said to be in discussions with the Big Four to build in tandem with its network its own full-fledged music annex.

A personal observation of this news is that it is not iTunes nor Amazon that should be especially frightened of a MySpace- and/or Facebook-based music service. Rather, it should be social Web-based services built upon the model of music sharing. is a prime example. Such business will likely be most immediately affected by the emergence of musics services installed within the top two largest social networks online. On the other hand, if the Bebo-iTunes deal

of mid-2007 is anything to go by, perhaps businesses like may not find any such debut by MySpace or Facebook especially threatening. Any measurement of success of proposals mentioned over the last several weeks will hinge on excellence of execution - or lack thereof. ShareThis


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iTunes Finally Secures Beatles Catalogue. Mr Jobs $400m Poorer.
By Paul Glazowski (Mashable!)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 10:32:11 AM

MashMeet NYC REMIX This Friday: 20 More Tickets Now Available
By Adam Hirsch (Mashable!)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 2:28:40 AM

Following up the previous music-specific story of the day here on Mashable, it appears that Paul McCartney, previously a member of the fabled Beatles music quartet (the so-called Fab Four), has finally agreed to distribute the whole of the historied band’s back catalogue for the sum of $400m. A portion of the profits will be given to Ringo Starr, another surviving member of the group, as well as the families of the late George Harrison and John Lennon, reports the UPI. So far, the Beatles catalogue has been one of few in existence not secured by Steve Jobs and his iTunes enterprise. It has been suggested for a number of years that a deal was imminent at numbers moments in the past, only to be unsubstantiated. Now the news is permanently etched in stone - or what amounts for “stone” in age of the Web. And it appear that McCartney has kept his word. He said last November to expect an aggrement to be made within a year. His word has proven accurate. Look for the Beatles catalogue to arrive

sometime later this year. Perhaps this coming Tuesday? How enticing a prospect. However it is highly unlikely that iTunes’s proprietor would exercise such haste when dealing with something so coveted the world over as the Beatles songbook. Instead, the service is likely to promote the impending delivery of albums such as Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Revolver extensively prior to their debut. Great sales are what iTunes is after, for sure, and

arousing strong anticipation among its customer base is a standard practice among marketing forces that will no doubt be used. Particularly so in this case. A comment on this post counts as an entry in our Mashable Rocks contest! ShareThis

Entriq Acquires DayPort to Better Service Cross-Platform Ads
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 8:59:30 PM

The re-scheduled MashMeet NYC REMIX is approaching! With a new, slightly larger venue, we have decided to release an additional 20 tickets for sale. MashMeet NYC REMIX is a whole new spin on the massively popular MashMeet NYC meetups: in addition to the usual drinking and networking, there will be presentations in front of a 300+ crowd and streaming live on the web. There will be food, liquor and beer! Join Pete Cashmore, Adam Ostrow, Adam Hirsch and hundreds of top technology powerbrokers for the biggest, best and most exclusive Mashable event so far!Full details for the event: Name: MashMeet NYC REMIX Date: Friday, March 14th, 2008 Time: 7:00 pm till 10:00 pm EST Place:The Anchor Bar NYC, 310 Spring Street, New York, NY RSVP?: 20 additional tickets on sale here. We have also alloted 30 additional tickets for members of the media (if you are a member of the press or a blogger, please email me for details).

Schedule: Presentations will begin at 7:15 promptly. There will be 6 five minute presentations, each with a short question and answer period following. The presentations will be streaming live via the internet on Mashable and CenterNetworks, a MashMeetNYC REMIX affiliate. (more…) ShareThis

Stump the King - Uncle Fester
By Paul Goebel (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 12:34:00 AM

Entriq is a DRM service that deals with end-to-end media solutions for content owners and publishers that are active in web distribution. One thing th company noticed as a point of major discussion and concern was the ability to provide a way in which brands could reach audiences across platforms and media consumption methods. In an effort to address this issue within its own company, Entriq has in fact acquired DayPort, a company that deals with video publishing, content, work-flow and syndication solutions, for an undisclosed amount. Cory Factor, CEO of DayPort,

will be joining Entriq as the company’s new CTO. While some of DayPort’s and Entriq’s services overlap, it’s the ability to bring a higher level of functionality across more platforms and channels of distribution, in order to reach more consumers. One thing I’ve found in speaking with media publishers, especially in the video realm, is that the exacting trends for online media consumption have yet to be fully figured

out. This is partially due to the presence of the long tail, and the ability for the web and other platform services to provide accessible means for media consumption in multiple ways. So what are you left with? A growing necessity to have an all-encompassing service that will let you reach your consumers, despite their method of media consumption. This is one thing that Entriq is attempting to accomplish with its acquisition of DayPort, especially for the purpose of spreading advertising opportunities. ShareThis

Filed under: Ask TV Squad, Children Here's an interesting letter I got from a reader named Carla Lee. "When i was a little girl, I lived in Ohio. There was this show called the uncle al show. I was on one of the weekly shows. Do you know how i can get info on this. I would like to see it if possible. thanks " I, personally, had never heard of The Uncle Al Show, but I did a little research and found out that it aired on the ABC affiliate, WCPO in Cincinnati.

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The Simpsons: Dial 'N' for Nerder
By Richard Keller (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 4:29:00 PM

Giveaway Monday: South Park Imaginationland
By Keith McDuffee (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 2:01:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, The Simpsons, Episode Reviews (S19E14) "Oh boy, dinnertime! The perfect break between work and drunk." -Homer J. Simpson Before I get to the review as a whole for this week's installment of The Simpsons I want to talk about one of the most disturbing scenes that has ever graced this program. It involves Homer, who is breaking his one millionth diet or something. In one scene he's shown entering a room of a sleazy motel with what looks like another woman. Turns out it's just a rack of meat (I think it was lamb, I couldn't hear Homer) dripping in its own juices. He then goes about treating the meat like a lover, sucking on the juices, caressing it, and even bringing it to the shower with him. I was in total agreement with the host of Sneakers -- the fictitious television show that was a parody of the real-life show Cheaters -- when he asked

Filed under: TV on DVD, Animation, Contests and Giveaways, South ParkThis time we've got five copies of South Park Imaginationland on DVD for five lucky, random commenters. The DVD is available in stores tomorrow. To enter, simply leave a comment below before 5:00PM Eastern, Friday, March 14, simply telling us your favorite quote from South Park. As always, we'll randomly choose five winners amongst the eligible entries. Some other details: • To enter, leave a confirmed comment below stating your favorite quote from South Park. • The comment must be left before March 14, 2008 at 5:00PM Eastern Time. • You may enter only once. • Five winners will be selected in a random drawing. • Five winners will receive a copy of South Park Imaginationland on DVD (valued at $19.99). Click here for complete Official Rules. Permalink | Email this | | Comments

the guys in the control truck to turn the hidden cameras off. Brrr! Other than that, this was a pretty good episode. Continue reading The Simpsons: Dial 'N' for Nerder Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Human Giant: The TV Squad Interview - AUDIO
By Joel Keller (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 4:02:00 AM

Ten actors I want to see on TV
By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 5:00:00 AM

Dirt: Dirty Slutty Whores
By Jonathan Toomey (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 4:01:00 PM

Filed under: OpEd, Celebrities, Awards, EmmysHave you noticed lately that the new faces cropping up on TV series in starring roles are often actors you've never seen before -- or if you have, it was in a supporting role of a feature or a foreign TV show? Think about it, Lee Pace as the Pie Man on Pushing Daisies, Jonny Lee Miller on Eli Stone, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in New Amsterdam, Michelle Ryan in Bionic Woman, all of these leads are relatively new faces. That's one way to cast series. Another is for big stars to take to TV, if not for the first time, than for a return. In an interesting article at, blogger Travis Fickett points out that there used to be a line of demarcation between the worlds of acting: film actors vs. television actors. But nowadays the stars

Filed under: OpEd, Dirt, Episode Reviews (S02E02) "Let's just figure out how her Daddy's gonna use his money to get his little girl off... did I just say that? Huh, oddly aroused." - Lucy At first glance, Dirt may not look all that original to a new viewer. Granted we're only two episodes into the new season, but bear with me for a second. In the most

noticeable departure from last season, these first two installments have relied heavily on recent tabloid headlines. It was

something we saw in season one (such as Rick Fox's portrayal of a basketball star based loosely on his former teammate Kobe Bryant), but not as much. The fun this season comes from seeing where the tabloid headlines end and the creativity of Dirt's writers begins. %Gallery-17043% Continue reading Dirt: Dirty Slutty Whores Read | Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Big Brother 9: Nomination Ceremony #4
are going back and forth a lot more fluidly. %Gallery-18004% Continue reading Ten actors I want to see on TV Permalink | Email this | | Comments

By Jackie Schnoop (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 4:00:00 PM

Filed under: OpEd, Big Brother (US), Episode Reviews (S09E12) "We can only come out of this stronger." - James I think he meant "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." While Big Brother 9 probably won't be responsible for the physical deaths of any of the houseguests, it just might ruin whatever social lives they

may have once had. I'm continually amazed by this group, usually not so much in a good way. I think I'm more amazed along the lines of Dumb and Dumber. Continue reading Big Brother 9: Nomination Ceremony #4 Permalink | Email this | | Comments


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HUMAN 15 continued from page
Filed under: Other Comedy Shows, TV on DVD, InterviewsConsidering that MTV seems to cater to nothing but teenagers, how did two thirtysomethings and a very mature 25 year-old end up making one of the network's most popular shows? By being funny. Damn funny, in fact. Rob Huebel, Aziz Ansari, and Paul Scheer (l-r), otherwise known as Human Giant, are entering their second season on the cable network, starting tomorrow night at 11 PM ET. I spoke to the guys by telephone last week as they were doing a round of promotion for their second season, as well as the DVD of the first season, which was released on March 4. Tidbits from the interview, and audio clips, are after the jump. Continue reading Human Giant: The TV Squad Interview - AUDIO Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Stargate Atlantis may be coming back earlier than expected
By Richard Keller (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 3:04:00 AM

Live from SXSW: Who Wants to See 'Super High Me' With Some Friends?
By Scott Weinberg (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 3:02:00 AM

Filed under: Industry, Programming, Stargate A few weeks ago we reported that a fifth season of Stargate Atlantis would be airing on the SciFi network sometime in the fall, just as the fourth season did back in 2007. Well, it now seems like the premiere of the new season will be moving up a couple of months. A number of online resources, including Gateworld, TV Guide, and the personal blog of Atlantis executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, are reporting that the showwill be premiering in July. "The decision on the Season Five premiere date rests with SCI FI," Mallozzi writes in his blog, "However, I'm hopeful that fans won't have to wait until the fall to see the resolution of our

The Wire: -30- (series finale)
By Jonathan Toomey (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 1:21:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, The Wire, Episode Reviews Season Four cliffhanger." Continue reading Stargate Atlantis may be coming back earlier than expected Permalink | Email this | | Comments (S05E10) "...the life of kings." - H.L. Mencken History repeats itself. Just like Daniels said, what's the point if one generation is too busy training the next how not to do the job? More than anything, that was the biggest message that came across in the

series finale of The Wire. But there was one more too. You always hear the saying "if it ain't broke don't fix it," but over the course of five seasons and sixty episodes of The Wire, David Simon systematically explained why things that are broken don't seem to get fixed either. And now it's over. %Gallery-13453% Continue reading The Wire: -30- (series finale) Permalink | Email this | | Comments

Filed under: Comedy, Documentary, SXSW, DistributionI recently got to have a very entertaining conversation with Super High Me star Doug Benson and producer Alex Campbell -- most of which you'll get to read later -- but for now, there's some fun news to share regarding the flick. As you may or may not know, Super High Me is (obviously) a take-off on Morgan Spurlock's very entertaining Super Size Me -- only instead of eating Big Macs for 30 days ... Doug Benson is going to smoke marijuana (all day every day) for 30 days. (But only after he stays pot-free for 30

By the Hammer of Thor -- Movie Still Happening!
By Elisabeth Rappe (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 5:02:00 AM

have to decide if they want to make the movie and then we take it from there." Marvel not want to make a comic book movie? Yeah, I don't think they're really going to duck out of that. Vaughn recognizes that the character is inherently a bit ridiculous, but is confident he can strike a balance between a faithful portrayal and updating that winged helmet. "I think you have to respect that it is comic book and silly to be frank, so you have to combine that with a modern style and hopefully

Filed under: Action, RumorMonger, Newsstand, Comic/Superhero/GeekThere are some comic book heroes I just can't envision on the big screen. One of these is Thor -- but Matthew Vaughn is still determined to do it. In an interview with Empire, he confirms that he's still on board and that the next move is up to Marvel. "We're in a holding pattern at the moment," he said. "It's up to Marvel, they

September, he cited Gladiator as an inspiration, and scriptwriter Mark Protosevich sees the story in Biblical terms. Vaughn also says he wants a total unknown to play the part -- I think this is the first buff hero movie that hasn't immediately had Gerard Butler's name attached to it. (Until someone picks this up and sees only "Butler" and "Thor" and runs it as a rumor.) Another Scottish actor, Kevin McKidd, was rumored to be in the

running but is still in talks only for a secondary part. Like I said, I can't really picture it. Even in epic Gladiator terms, I still see it as something that might have been made in the 1980's. Am I missing the awesomeness of the character? Feel free to flame me and tell me so, Thor fans.Permalink | Email this | Comments

come up with something fresh. I think we can come up with something special." Last

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Simon Pegg is Givin' it All He's Got in Star Trek
By Elisabeth Rappe (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 2:32:00 AM

LIVEfrom page 16 continued
days, of course.) If this sounds like an entertaining idea for a documentary ... too bad. Someone already made it. Get your own idea. But here's the next best thing: If you'd like to organize a (FREE!) screening of Michael Bleiden'sSuper High Me for you and your pals, you can do so starting on (you guessed it) April 20. You don't even have to smoke weed while you watch it! It's funny either way! (Erik Davis' full review of Super High Me will appear on this very blog in the very near future. But here's a preview: He liked it.) Head on over to the official Super High Me website to check out all the "Roll Your Own Screening" information. Over at The Hollywood Reporter, Screen Media's Suzanne Blech summed it up nicely: ""It can be difficult to get stoners off the couch ... The number of people who get stoned in America is quite a large percentage, and all we want for them is to tell their friends that they have to see this funny, funny movie." Well, speaking as a big fan of ...comedy, I can agree with Suzanne there. The only people who might not chuckle at this flick are DEA agents.Read | Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Filed under: Classics, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, P a r a m o u n t , F a n d o m , Comic/Superhero/Geek, Remakes and SequelsHas there ever been a set more tightly guarded than J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot? Even Eric Bana was twitchy and guarded on Jay Leno about his shaved head, as if we don't already know who he's playing. I respect it. It's nice when everything isn't spoiled right off the bat, but it doesn't seem as though your actors should fear you. ButEmpire managed to get Simon Pegg, who's playing that famous Scottish engineer, to talk a bit. He revealed he had finished his scenes and that he thinks the movie is going to be "fantastic." A Star Trek geek himself, the biggest moment for him was "just being there on the Enterprise, it was incredible." It should hearten any Star Trek fan to hear Pegg's devotion to the original Scotty, James Doohan. "Everything is just a tribute to James Doohan and it's his role. I'm just very honoured to be able to step into his shoes. I just hope I do him proud." He's borrowing his wife's "merry [Scottish] accent" for the part, but isn't at liberty to say whether she's a Highlander, a Lowlander or of that special Glasgow variety. "I'll get sued," insists Pegg. (That means it is Glasgow and fans will be angered. Just kidding. Now I'll be sued.) Star Trek will be released May 8th, 2009. And we'll all be sued for talking about it until then! Why, this post could be yanked before any of you read it. . .Permalink | Email this | Comments

SXSW Review: The Promotion
By Scott Weinberg (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 4:02:00 AM

Filed under: Comedy, SXSW, Theatrical Reviews, The Weinstein Co. A few years ago, we were treated subjected to a retail farce known as Employee of the Month, a near-witless comedy that pitted Dane Cook and Dax Shepard against each other as moronic clerks who vie for the title of (you guessed it) Employee of the Month. I knew there was a lot of room for successful comedy in this sort of premise, but aside from a stray chuckle or two, EOTM was an entirely stale and completely sitcom-level effort. Now comes a very small, very funny, and oddly warm-hearted flick in sort of the same vein. It's called The Promotion; it stars Sean William Scott and John C. Reilly; it was written and directed by firsttimer Steve Conrad ... and if it comes out

in 2008, then it will definitely end up in my top ten of the year. (Conrad is a firsttime director; his previous screenplays include Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, The Weather Man, and The Pursuit of Happyness.) This is a fantastic little comedy, filled with all sorts of weird little moments and strange diversions, but at its core, The Promotion is a profanely sweetnatured dual character study that doles out a LOT of laughs while actually celebrating ... small doses of actual humanity! It's a great comedy with an excellent message delivered by a bunch of actors who are clearly savoring the material. (My normal m.o. is to "champion" smaller horror flicks, but a good movie is a good movie, period. If I can turn a dozen people onto The Promotion, then I'm doing my job.) Continue reading SXSW Review: The PromotionPermalink | Email this | Comments

Justin Long Heads to 'Hell'
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 3:32:00 AM

Filed under: Horror, CastingCould Justin Long be the next Bruce Campbell? Yeah, no, but he is going to follow in Bruce's footsteps. As we already know, Sam Raimi is returning to horror with Drag Me to Hell. First Ellen Page was attached, then Alison Lohman replaced her. But what's a good Raimi horror without a leading man? Variety reports that those shoes will be filled by none other than Justin Long, who will play Lohman's boyfriend. Not too many details about the film are being released, other than that it will focus on a supernatural curse that falls upon

latter, maybe he'll follow in girlfriend Drew's footsteps and not make it past the opening. I would say he bites it quickly...if anyone other than Sam and Ivan Raimi were behind it. So, all bets are off. The big question, however, is: What does Raimi horror look like post-Spider-Man? Back in the day, he had Bruce Campbell and low-budget beauty, but a lot has changed since then. Will it be a blast to the past with some new spark, a solid mixture of past and present, or be an effects extravaganza that even Ash wouldn't recognize? And speaking of Ash, what sort of role will Campbell inevitably get in this flick?Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Lohman's character, and it's a morality tale. Seeing that the boyfriend isn't the star this time around, Long could be movielong help, or quick curse fodder. If the



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Perfect Casting of the Day: Depp as Dali
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 5:32:00 AM

Terry Gilliam Confirms Depp, Law, and Farrell in 'Parnassus'
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 4:32:00 AM

Filed under: Drama, Independent, Casting, RumorMongerI imagine that the posthumous completion of Destino sent many a studio into a creative flurry. "Salvador Dali! Why didn't we think of it before! Let's get a movie in the works!" Then, of course, the idea spread through a billion little tentacles and we ended up with what Christopher Campbell said last year was 9 projects. Some have petered off, some have stayed around, and one seems to have nabbed its superstar. The New Zealand Herald says that Johnny Depp is holding auditions to find screenwriters for the Peter Rawleyproduced Dali picture. (When CC wrote about it last year, Rawley was trying to woo Depp.) In what I would call the best casting move in eons, Depp will star as Dali, and is scavenging the earth for the right writer. A source told the publication that Depp is "open to working with anyone -- from housewives to pensioners -- if the script is right." Meanwhile, it also looks like the Al Pacino and Peter O'Toole pics are still in the

Filed under: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, CastingAfter the shock of Heath Ledger's death, there were questions about his latest project, Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. Then came rumors last month from AICN that Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell would ALL step in to replace the actor. Well, the site was right! Reuters reports that the filmmaker has confirmed the involvement of all three actors. According to a statement from producers: "Since the format of the story allows for the preservation of his entire performance, at no point will Heath's work be modified or altered through the use of digital technology." They follow with: "Each of the parts played by Johnny, Colin, and Jude is representative of the many aspects of the character that Heath was playing." For once, it seems like Gilliam's notorious bad luck will pay off into something special. In the words of the man himself: "I

Live from SXSW: Film Festival Madness
By Kim Voynar (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 12:02:00 PM

Filed under: SXSW, Festival Reports, Cinematical Indie Saturday was a very busy day here at SXSW. We were up absurdly late on Friday night, and then awakened at 8AM by a car alarm going off outside our window, followed by all four of my kids' soccer coaches calling me from OKC to let me know that today's games were canceled due to cold weather. Thanks, guys, but I'm in Austin. After the panel this morning, I grabbed lunch with filmmaker AJ Schnack (Kurt Cobain: About a Son), who also writes a very excellent blog called All These Wonderful Things. We gabbed about documentaries, traveling for film fests, balancing work and family, and lots of other stuff; he's a supremely nice guy and it's always fun chatting with someone who's as big a dork for documentary films as I am. Our lunch ran long due to crowds at all the area restaurants, so I missed the screening of We Are Wizards and had to bump it out to a later day in the fest. Continue reading Live from SXSW: Film Festival MadnessPermalink | Email this | Comments

works. Now, I completely get Depp as Dali, and think that's as good as you can get for the epic artist. I would also bet that O'Toole could pull off something funky, but Pacino? It almost sounds like a joke. Nevertheless, this might just pull me out of my distaste for back-to-back biopics on the same person. Stay tuned! [via Ace Showbiz] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

am delighted that Heath's brilliant performance can be shared with the world. We are looking forward to finishing the movie and, through the film, with a modicum of humility, being able to touch people's hearts and souls as Heath was able to do."Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Can Apatow Reinvigorate Sandler's Career with Another Collaboration?
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/10/2008 2:02:00 AM

Filed under: Comedy, CastingRecently, I watched the old Judd Apatow series Undeclared. It was both a blast from the past and a reminder that Adam Sandler used to be pretty darned popular. He gets knocked a lot these days; but really, he is still around and kicking. However, the big question is: What happens when you team him up with the super-popular Apatow? They're already testing that question with the upcoming Don't Mess with the Zohan, and now Variety reports that the two are teaming up again.

project between Universal and Sony. While production is set to begin later this year, Judd is keeping the plot under wraps. Argh! That's so annoying. Since we can't talk about what the movie will be about, other than to muse about what sort of movie would require that trio, what do you think about this Sandler/Apatow pairing? At the very least, it looks like Sandler is now one of Apatow's talent pool.Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

This time, Apatow has written a currently untitled comedy that will star Sandler, Seth Rogen, and Leslie Mann, and will be a co-

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Live from SXSW: The Festival in Pictures
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/9/2008 1:02:00 PM

Filed under: SXSW, Festival Reports, Images My favorite image from the fest so far -that's Cinematical's Scott Weinberg hanging with some dude with a laser gun. I apologize for not knowing what this guy was promoting (it was late and we were stumbling out of the opening night party),

but I simply HAD to get a pic of Weinberg with this guy. Check out the gallery below for images from our first two days here in Austin, and make sure you stay tuned all week long as we continue to report back with reviews, interviews and plenty of onthe-scene coverage from the 2008 South by Southwest Film Festival. Gallery: SXSW 2008 Permalink | Email this | Comments

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