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24/03/08 - 30/03/08 U.S. Edition

Single White Democrat, Seeking...
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 12:39:00 PM

Filed under: Democrats, Race While researching yesterday's Obama/Clinton story, I came across a Pew Research Study entitled, Obama Weathers the Wright Storm, Clinton Faces Credibility Problem, which I used in that story. As is often the case, the study "buries the lede," as they say. Deep into the report, I found a fascinating survey. I deliberately haven't linked it here. I will do so after the jump. The portion of the study that caught my eye was called Political Values, Traits and Emotions, and it was a survey of white Democrats on a variety of issues, questions I would never have thought to ask of any Democrat. I have always taken for granted that being a Democrat carried with it a set of automatic principles that transcended politics. These were not traits that I ascribed solely to Democrats, but that I assumed all, or most, Democrats shared. The overarching philosophy of the Democrats, as I saw it, was tolerance, empathy, and fairness. You know, the old Liberté, égalité, fraternité. Sure, there were nonDemocrats who shared some or all of these principles, like good people who were just a little too greedy. It's that smug superiority that people hate in us. Of course, I'm oversimplifying, but you get the idea. Even after the Ohio primary, when there was so much chatter in the media about white Democrats voting for

Hillary based on race, I stuck to my theory that demographics are secondary to regional considerations. After the jump, we'll put you all to the test and see how you stack up against Pew's white Democrats, and chew over the survey's results. OK, now, answer as honestly as you can. Results from the Pew Study after the poll. I am a White Democrat White Republican Non-white Democrat Nonwhite Republican White Independent Nonwhite Independent Vote We have gone too far in pushing equal rights in this country Agree Disagree Not sure Vote I think it's all right for blacks and whites to date each other. Agree Disagree Not sure Vote Women should return to their traditional roles in society. Agree Disagree Not sure Vote In general, men are better leaders than women. Agree Disagree Not sure Vote We should be willing to fight for our country, whether it it right or wrong. Agree Disagree Not sure Vote The growing number of newcomers from other countries are a threat to traditional American customs and values. Agree Disagree Not sure Vote Without further ado, here are the results of the Pew Study. I was pretty shocked even by these questions, let alone the results. I call it a Pew study because I have to hold my nose when I read it. From the Pew summary: Overall, 61% of white Democratic voters

completely agree that it's "all right for whites and blacks to date each other." But fewer than half of non-college and older white Democrats completely agree (44% for each group). Notably, about one-in-five in each of these groups disagrees with the idea that interracial dating is acceptable. By contrast, just 6% of college-educated Democratic voters, and just 3% of younger white Democrats (ages 18 to 44), find interracial dating unacceptable. Then,

there's this: Few Democrats believe that women should return to their traditional roles, or that men make better leaders than women. However, younger and better educated white Democrats are even more likely than others to disagree with these notions. About three-quarters of college educated (76%) and younger Democrats (73%) completely disagree that women should return to traditional roles, compared with 48% of those who have not attended

college, and 56% of Democrats ages 45 and older. Similarly, 57% of Democrats with college experience completely disagree that men are better leaders, compared with 40% of Democrats who have not attended college. Finally, there's the war question, which, while less disgusting than the other questions, was far more disturbing in the outcome: Democrats are nearly equally divided over the statement that "we should be willing to fight for our country whether it is right or wrong" (50% agree and 46% disagree). However, 52% of Democrats who have attended college disagree with this view, compared with 37% of non-college Democrats. There are no significant age differences on this question. What conclusions can be drawn from this? Well, without comparative data, I can only glean from this is that a party is made up of people, and that some of them are deeply flawed. I would love to see how Republicans would do in a poll like this. Although the proportions might be different, I would expect similar relationships between these questions and the age and education level of the respondent. I would also love to see numbers from 25 years ago, to see if this is a messaging issue. In any case, this was an eye-opener for me. Your thoughts? Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Sunday Talk Line-Up!
By Greg McNeilly (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 7:15:00 AM

Filed under: 2008 President, Media The Sunday talking heads schedule:

ABC - This Week( George Stephanopoulos): with Governor Ed Rendell(D-PA), U.S. Senators John Kerry(D-MA) and Joe Liberman(I-CT). CBS - Face the Nation( Bob Schieffer):

with Governor Bill Richardson(D-NM), Philadelphia Mayor Mike Nutter, and Democrat strategist Joe Trippi. CNN - Late Edition( Wolf Blitzer): with Chilean Ambassador Heraldo Munoz and

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson(D-FL). Fox - News Sunday( Chris Wallace):with U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham(R-SC) and Jack Reed(D-RI). NBC - Meet the Press( Tim Russert) with

CIA Director Michael Hayden. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments


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Democrats, Bush Squabble over Housing
By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 2:45:00 AM

McCain Ad Controversy?
By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 7:30:00 AM

Filed under: President Bush, Bush Administration, Democrats, Economy Democratic heavyweights in the Senate clashed with President Bush yesterday over the Administration's actions to help ease the housing market. The Senators think that the White House has not gone far enough in its efforts to put the brakes on foreclosures. Their comments came as the president traveled to suburban New Jersey to visit a debt-counseling center that is participating in the Administration's initiative to get struggling homeowners help with refinancing options. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said that the Administration's moves thus far amounted to nothing more than fiddling while Rome burns. "The administration refuses to step up to the plate and do what's needed. The administration joined by [congressional Republicans] in their Herbert Hoover-like attitude of do nothing, twiddle your thumbs while the economy gets worse, especially in the housing area, is not going to sit well with the American public." Senate Democrats, led by Schumer and Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, want Congress to pass a series of mortgage reforms that would allow governments at all levels to buy up foreclosed properties or provide financial backing for loans in danger of foreclosure. The plan would also allow bankruptcy judges to change the terms of mortgages in trouble, lowering payments and adjusting interest rates. The Democrats' plans, however, would have the opposite impact on the housing market from what they intend. They would likely raise interest rates and artificially prop up home prices. Both need to be allowed to come down to market levels in order to

avoid a worse housing crisis. At his stop in New Jersey, President Bush countered the Democrats by stressing that the Federal government's role is to help "responsible" homeowners and warning that too much government intrusion in the market would make things worse. "There are some homeowners who have made responsible buying decisions and who could keep their homes with just a little help. We have a role to play at the government level, and that is to help lenders and borrowers work together to avoid foreclosure. The housing market problems are complicated and there's no easy solutions. But ... we will help responsible homeowners weather a difficult period." The president's dwelling on the word responsible underlines the key difference between the Administration's and the Democrats' plans for the housing market. The White House is taking personal

responsibility into consideration in deciding how and whom to help. Speculators, for example, who bought homes on bad terms hoping to turn them around for a quick profit, would not come in for assistance in the Administration's view. Neither would homeowners who bought bigger homes than they could afford by utilizing creative mortgages offered by unscrupulous lenders. Those categories of homeowners, and the lenders who financed their purchases, would have to bear the consequences of their decisions. That is a policy that would allow for a soft landing in the housing market, as just enough downward pressure on prices would result from eliminating poorly financed mortgages from the market, but not so much as to affect the values of the majority of home loans that were taken out under traditional terms. Democrats, on the other hand, see the issue in terms of rescuing unwitting homeowners from the underhanded practices of mortgage lenders. They believe that predatory lending has played a part in helping to create the mortgage mess and want the government to step in to help regardless of the circumstances behind individual loans. This view is shortsighted at best. It would probably help to reduce the number of foreclosures in the immediate future, but would also essentially validate the poor decisions of some borrowers and lenders. The danger is that without some pain in the short term, similar bad decisions will be made in the future, and the problem will only repeat itself at a later date and in a bigger way. With their focus squarely on the short run consequences of the mortgage crisis, Democrats seem to be proposing a solution tailored to assist their electoral chances as much as the housing market. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Republicans, Ads, John McCain, 2008 President Sen. John McCain is set to release his the first television ad of the general election campaign on Monday. The ad, titled " 624787," will air statewide in New Mexico, neighbor to McCain's home state of Arizona and which President Bush carried by a small margin in 2004. Now the Washington Post reports that the ad's last line is causing an online controversy. Some commentators find it to be an indirect shot at Sen. Barack Obama. The script of the ad follows. JOHN MCCAIN: Keep that faith. Keep your courage. Stick together. Stay strong. Do not yield. Stand up. We're Americans. And we'll never surrender. ANNOUNCER: What must a president believe about us? About America? That she is worth protecting? That liberty is priceless? Our people, honorable? Our future, prosperous, remarkable and free? And, what must we believe about that president? What does he think? Where has he been? Has he walked the walk? INTERVIEWER: What is your rank? JOHN MCCAIN: Lt. Commander in the Navy. INTERVIEWER: And your official number? JOHN MCCAIN: 624787. ANNCR: John McCain. The American president Americans have been waiting

for. JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message. The Post reports that the phrase "American president" is being interpreted by some as an oblique reference to the various controversies surrounding Obama: from his Kenyan ancestry; to the false allegations that he is Muslim; to the incendiary and antiAmerican remarks of his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The whole line seems designed to counter Obama's, "We are the ones we've been waiting for." message. But does a candidate referring to himself as an "American" necessarily mean that his opponent isn't? McCain's campaign has not commented, yet. But the campaign may welcome questions about the ad should they come. As the Democratic nomination battle drags on through the summer, the McCain campaign increasingly finds itself in a position where it has to generate free media coverage in order to breakthrough the media's focus on the Democrats. A controversy about an advertisement is tailor made for that effort. It would increase the ad's visibility, thereby highlighting McCain's military service record, as the ad intends. If the ad's last line wasn't a planned swipe at Sen. Obama, it could prove to be a very fortuitous coincidence for Sen. McCain. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Nader to Hillary: Hang In There!
By Christopher Weber (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 11:30:00 AM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Primaries, 2008 President, Media, Ralph Nader Politico had it first: On his web site today, Ralph Nader has a little advice for Hillary Clinton. Senator Clinton: Just read where Senator Patrick Leahy is calling on you to drop out of the Presidential race. Believe me. I know something about this. Here's my advice: Don't listen to people when they tell you not to run anymore.

That's just political bigotry. Listen to your own inner citizen First Amendment voice. This is America. Just like every other citizen, you have a right to run. Whenever you like. For as long as you like. It's up to you, Hillary. Just tell them - It's democracy. Get used to it. Yours truly, Ralph Nader More evidence that politics makes strange bedfellows. If Hillary's lucky, maybe Nader will consider her for a cabinet position. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

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U.S., British Troops Back Florida Senator: 'Reform Iraqis in Basra Elections'
By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 5:00:00 PM

Bad Penney
( News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 6:00:00 AM

By Jay Allbritton (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 11:32:00 AM

Filed under: Bush Administration, Breaking News, Iraq As the standoff between the Iraqi Army and police and firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army continues in the strategic southern Iraqi port of Basra, U.S. and British troops have engaged in supporting government forces. U.S. jets were dropping precision-guided bombs on Mahdi Army strongholds inside the city, while British ground troops, which had patrolled Basra until withdrawing to bases outside the city, handing over control of Iraq's second largest city to the Iraqis, fired artillery in support of Iraqi Army units. Al-Sadr, who is backed by Iran, told his followers to defy the government's order to turn in their weapons. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is in Basra and has unwisely vowed to stay there until the unrest is quelled, originally set a deadline of Saturday for militia members to surrender their arms. That deadline has since been extended to April 8th. Sadr supporters accuse the Maliki government of attempting to eliminate the rival Shiite group ahead of provincial elections this fall. Sadr's decision to call his army to the streets now may be the opening salvo in what is a sad grab for political legitimacy. Maliki has staked his government's reputation on its ability to bring Sadr to heel in Basra. If government troops are seen as backing down, it will only encourage more trouble making by Sadr and various other ethnic factions. Further, it could cause the Kurds in northern Iraq to depend much more heavily on their own forces, known as the Peshmerga, for security, threatening to split the already semi-autonomous north from the rest of the country. The United States and Britain, perhaps fearing the political consequences of seeming to take the lead in the clashes,

initially stood by while Iraqi forces began the planned offensive. The entrance of coalition air and ground power signals that Iraqi forces are not quite ready to take on a challenge the size of the Basra operation on their own. But the fact the Maliki was willing to make the move to rout the Mahdi Army out of Basra does indicate that his government is feeling more secure in its position. President Bush called the decision "bold" earlier this week. Maliki has been lobbying Washington for greater freedom to control security operations in Iraq for some time. Although he may have bitten off more than he can chew in Basra, the fact that Iraq is moving to solve its own security problems will eventually prove to be a positive step. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Senate, 2008 President Democracy has had its ups and downs in Florida. From the butterfly ballots, hanging chads and Brooks Brothers riot of the wild 2000 presidential election to the current controversy over the state's Democratic delegates, if there's a problem with an election and you're not in Ohio, you're probably in Florida. Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson has had enough. He wants an entirely new system--a new primary system for the democrats and a new system for the general election. What would Nelson's system look like?Nelson proposes six, rotating interregional primaries. Nelson's legislation would bring early voting to every state, provide a paper trail and make voting absentee an option for all voters. The bill also proposes funds to research mail-in and internet voting. Nelson also called for the elimination of the electoral college. As unpopular as the electoral college is now, it's actually much more popular since the 2000 election than it was before it. Having said that, it's an undemocratic recipe for disaster--as we

saw in 2000. The only part of the plan I'm wary of is the early voting. It depends on how long of a period we're talking about. A few days will allow more voters to make it out to the polls. If the window is extended into weeks, then voters are in danger of making a decision they may regret because conditions may change. For example, a lot of early voters in California voted for John Edwards before he dropped out of the race. What if the kind of scandal that took down Eliot Spitzer hit the news a day or two before the election after millions of people already voted? A far better idea would be to make election day a national holiday. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

In a stark illustration of the weakness in consumer spending, J.C. Penney has cut its forecasts for the first quarter, saying that sales through Easter were "well below expectations." The company says it now expects to report earnings of 50 cents per share, below last month's forecast of 70 cents to 80 cents per share. The bleak outlook will heighten fears that the economy is in a recession and that consumers are cutting back their spending as a result despite a $186 billion government stimulus package. "Consumer confidence is at a multi-year low," said Myron Ullman, III, Penney's chief executive. "J.C. Penney counts half of American families as its customers, and they are feeling macro-economic pressures from many areas, including higher energy costs, deteriorating employment trends, and significant issues in the housing and credit markets." Related Links A Bad Penney Stocks: We Have Liftoff Shop Til the Deals Drop

Rush Limbaugh Safe
By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 2:17:00 PM

Filed under: Republicans, Primaries, 2008 President I never doubted it, but now I have a little more backup, via the Columbus Dispatch: "We have no intention of prosecuting Rush Limbaugh because lying through your teeth and being stupid isn't a crime," said Leo Jennings, a spokesman for Democratic Attorney General Marc Dann. When asked whether she has concerns about what Limbaugh did, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat,

replied, "I think it's very bad form, but I think most voters are intelligent enough to make their own decisions." I wonder what Mr. Jennings thinks about lefty blogger Markos of DailyKos, who was running his own little Operation Chaos back in January. Now here's the thing -- without a real Democratic contest on the ballot, and a lack of party registration in Michigan, this is an open primary. Anyone can pick up a Republican ballot. So Michigan Democrats and independents who want to see the Republican battle royale continue should just take a few minutes on Tuesday,

January 15th to cast a ballot for Mitt Romney in the Republican primary. If you know someone in Michigan, send them the email I've included below the fold. If you don't know someone in Michigan, send the email to your liberal friends and see if THEY have friends in Michigan. Get the word out, whether by blog, mailing list, MySpace or Facebook page, or whatever. If this is a crime, Rush would be far from the only one in trouble. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments


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By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 5:02:00 PM

Lehman Bros. hit by fraud
know. To the former Gore aides, this could be anything from a couple of guys speculating with a reporter at a bar, to a serious study commissioned by Al himself. Or anything in between. Given his unwillingness to oxygenate any presidential rumors so far, I'd bet on the former. The big point to remember about an Al Gore candidacy is that we'd go from either Hillary or Barack supporters being very unhappy, to both Hillary and Barack unhappiness. Both sides would have to be convinced that Gore is an acceptable alternative to their candidate winning in their own right. And we're not there yet at all. Barack has a lead in the delegates, and Hillary still thinks she owns the nomination. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

By Douglas McIntyre (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 6:40:00 AM

Filed under: Democrats, Breaking News, 2008 President, Al Gore With apologies to Queen, is this the real life, or is this just fantasy? I'm voting for fantasy, but that doesn't mean that the Gore option won't burn a bunch of news cycles between here and the convention. Jay posted on Thursday, and the story has gotten a few more legs since then. This article is sourced to "former Gore aides": Former Gore aides now believe he could emerge as a compromise candidate acceptable to both camps at the party's convention in Denver during the last week of August. Two former Gore campaign officials have told The Sunday Telegraph that a scenario first mapped out by members of

Mr Gore's inner circle last May now has a sporting chance of coming true. Added to this, we have the chin-scratcher of Gore's appearance on 60 Minutes. "Why now?", inquiring minds would like to

Filed under: Deals, Bad news, Scandals, Lehman Br Holdings (LEH), Bear Stearns Cos (BSC) There has been concern for several weeks that Lehman Brothers(NYSE: LEH) might have problems similar to Bear Stearns(NYSE: BSC). Customers might be worried about Lehman's financial health and, if they were to withdraw large sums of money, the brokerage could face liquidity problems. Just as those concerns appear to be falling, Lehman has been hit by a fraud that may involve amounts as great as $250 million. According to The Wall Street Journal(subscription required), "swindlers

used forged documents from one of Japan's biggest trading companies to bilk it out of as much as $250 million." The money was to go to a division of Japanese firm LTT Bio-Pharma. The capital was secured by certificates from Marubeni, a huge trading company. Marubeni may have to pay Lehman back the capital, but that is not yet clear. One consequence of the news is likely to be that investor confidence in Lehman will be eroded again. Why the brokerage would extend the money without complete due diligence is certainly a fair question for shareholders to ask. One more straw on the pile of Lehman's troubles. Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at Permalink| Email this| Comments

Scalia Takes Liberal Media To Task
By Justin Paulette (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 4:40:00 AM

Filed under: Media, Supreme Court Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia criticized the news media this week for presenting court decisions as policy judgments rather than textual interpretations of the relevant law. Scalia singled out the New York Times as particularly offensive, citing the Grey Lady's wont to cast decisions based on law as hardly possible. This slant in coverage reflects a

pervasive ideological foundation at liberal news outlets. The courts have long been a refuge wherein liberal policies could be imposed in contradiction to the popular, democratic will. Recognizing the courts as instruments of social justice (read: liberal policy implementation), the news media naturally sense injustice when the courts do not reach liberal results. It requires a prevalence of character and dignity to accept that the result of a principled adjudication of the law should sometimes produce a conclusion contrary to personal preferences. The outrage which accompanied the miscarriage of justice in

Roe v. Wade was not attributable solely to the Court's permitting of infanticide, but also to the imposition of a political policy

by means of an illegitimate judicial decree. Liberals wail and gnash their teeth when a conservative president takes actions which they regard as exceeding executive power and contravening legal standards - and yet they rejoice when liberal judges do the same. Justice Scalia's righteous indignation is not warranted simply from a judicial standpoint, but from a love of democratic liberty. Were it that more on the left shared his sentiments. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Fee for All
( News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 11:00:00 AM

Edgar Bronfman Jr.'s Warner Music Group has tapped industry veteran Jim

What's Up With Lehman?
( News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 11:30:00 AM

Now that Wall Street has taken a deep breath and relaxed over the fate of Bear Stearns, it apparently needs to start worrying about someone else. Shares of Lehman Bothers have been battered today by rumors of a possible Bear-like run on the bank. A spokeswoman for Lehman denied that there was anything to the rumors and the stock, which was

down by 10 percent earlier, recovered a bit by mid-afternoon, trading at $39, down 8 percent. Also on The Debt Shuffle New questions emerge. Burned on the Street Why investors should stop listening. Earlier in the day, April options to sell Lehman at $30 were very active. As the headline on the Wall Street Journal's MarketBeat blog put it: "Your Weekly Scheduled Bank Stock Freak-Out"

Kerrie Cohen, a spokeswoman for Lehman Brothers, told Reuters, "There are a lot of rumors in the marketplace that are totally unfounded. We are suspicious that the rumors are being promulgated by short sellers of our stock that have an economic self-interest." Lehman, which like Bear has been a huge player in the mortgaged-backedsecurities business, has in recent weeks been very vocal in emphasizing that its liquidity position is much stronger than

Bear's was. Still, questions about Lehman persist. Jesse Eisinger last week gave a skeptical assessment about Lehman's balance sheet, noting that its leverage and assets rose in the first quarter. More troubling, Eisinger said, was that the firm changed the way it defines "tangible equity" or the hard assets that it has left over after subtracting its liabilities. To be sure, when it comes to market worries, Lehman is not the only financial

firm. Shares of Merrill Lynch were down 5 percent today after analysts forecast a lost for its first quarter. Related Links For the Record Subprime: It's Not About Creditworthiness Illiquidity and Insolvency in the Commercial Real Estate Market

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FEE from page 4 continued
Griffin to spearhead a controversial plan to bundle a monthly fee into consumers' internet-service bills for unlimited access to music. The plan—the boldest move yet to keep the wounded entertainment industry giants afloat—is simple: Consumers will pay a monthly fee, bundled into an internetservice bill in exchange for unfettered access to a database of all known music. Bronfman's decision to hire Griffin, a respected industry critic, demonstrates the desperation of the recording industry. It has shrunk to a $10 billion business from $15 billion in almost a decade. Compact disc sales are plummeting as online music downloads skyrocket. Also on MySpace and Friends Need to Make Money The answer may lie in creating "social ads." Future Pop CDs are history. U.S. labels should look to Jin-Young Park if they hope to survive."Today, it has become purely voluntary to pay for music," Griffin told in an exclusive sit-down this week. "If I tell you to go listen to this band, you could pay, or you might not. It's pretty much up to you. So the music business has become a big tip jar." Nothing provokes sheer terror in the recording industry more than the rise of peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. For years, digital-music seers have argued the rise of such networks has made copyright law obsolete and free music distribution universal. Bronfman has asked Griffin, formerly Geffen Music's digital chief, to develop a model that would create a pool of money from user fees to be distributed to artists and copyright holders. Warner has given Griffin a three-year contract to form a new organization to spearhead the plan. Griffin says he hopes to move beyond the years of acrimonious record-industry litigation against illegal file-swappers, college students in particular. "We're still clinging to the vine of music as a product," Griffin says, calling the industry’s plight "Tarzan" economics. "But we're swinging toward the vine of music as a service. We need to get ready to let go and grab the next vine, which is a pool of money and a fair way to split it up, rather than controlling the quantity and destiny of sound recordings." Warner Music Share Price In the last year, the Recording Association of America, the industry group that represents the major labels, has sent 5,400 threatening letters to students at more than 150 schools, and reached settlements with more than 2,300 them. It has filed formal lawsuits against 2,465 others, who did not respond. "I don't think we should be suing students and I don't think we should be suing people in their homes," says Griffin. "We want to monetize the anarchy of the internet." Griffin says Warner Music is "totally committed to this." The fundamental issue, he says, is whether music consumers will buy songs and albums individually, or whether they will subscribe monthly to access a "universal" database of songs. Will Tanous, Warner Music's communications chief, said Griffin's initiative is part of Warner's "ongoing effort to explore new business models in the music industry." In recent weeks, major music industry players have signaled their interest in the "music as a service" model. Sony BMG Music Entertainment is said to be developing an online music subscription service that would give users unlimited access to its catalog. Apple is reportedly negotiating with the major record labels to offer consumers free access to the entire iTunes library in exchange for paying a premium for Apple hardware. Warner's plan would have consumers pay an additional fee—maybe $5 a month—bundled into their monthly internet-access bill in exchange for the right to freely download, upload, copy, and share music without restrictions. Griffin says those fees could create a pool as large as $20 billion annually to pay artists and copyright holders. Eventually, advertising could subsidize the entire system, so that users who don't want to receive ads could pay the fee, and those who don't mind advertising wouldn't pay a dime. "Ideally, music will feel free," says Griffin. "Even if you pay a flat fee for it, at the moment you use it there are no financial considerations. It's already been paid for." While few of the plan's details have emerged, critics have begun their attacks. David Barrett, engineering manager for peer-to-peer networks at Web contentdelivery giant Akamai, says he's opposed to it on principle. Griffin's plan, he says, is tantamount to extortion, because it forces everyone to join. "It's too late to charge people for what they're already getting for free," says Barrett. "This is just taxation of a basic, universal service that already exists, for the benefit a distant power that actively harasses the people being taxed without offering them any meaningful representation." Griffin, who in 1994 was part of the team that made Aerosmith's "Head First" the first song available on the internet, goes to great pains to emphasize that the collective licensing plan is not "his" plan. "This isn't my idea," says Griffin. "While I would gladly take the credit, blanket licensing has over 150 years of history behind it." "Collective licensing is what people do when they lose control, or when control is no longer practical or efficient," Griffin says. "A pool of money and a fair way to split it up replaces control." Griffin was quick to point out that the $5 figure is arbitrary. "We negotiate in every place," Griffin says. "Clearly $5 per month would be an insane number in China or India. If you could get a nickel a month you could grow the business tenfold in those countries. In another country that had a high G.D.P., a nickel per month would be ridiculously cheap. So you negotiate. Fair is whatever you agree upon." Griffin says Bronfman and Michael Nash, the company's digital-strategy chief, brought him into Warner to create an organization to negotiate collective licensing deals. But Griffin's ambitions extend far beyond just Warner Music. "We're building a [as yet unnamed] company inside Warner that is not intended to be solely owned by Warner," Griffin says. "We hope all of the rights holders will come in and take ownership with us, and Warner will not control it. Our goal is to create a collective society for the digital age." Meanwhile, critics have already attacked the plan as a kind of mandatory "culture tax." "Jim will vehemently deny the 'tax' label," says Akamai's Barrett. "But it's a tax nonetheless. It'll be a governmentapproved cartel that collects money from virtually everyone—often without their knowledge—and failure to pay their tax will ultimately result in people with guns coming to your door. "Jim's proposal does nothing but direct money to the very people that tried to prevent this future from coming to be," Barrett adds, "while further legitimizing the terror being waged in the courtrooms against their members." Griffin dismisses such criticism. "I understand what David is thinking, but I assure you, we have no such interest in government running this or having any part of it," he says. Griffin says that in just the few weeks since Warner began working on this plan, the company has been approached by internet service providers "who want to discharge their risk." "But more important than the risk for an I.S.P. is the marketing," Griffin says, drawing a comparison to Starbucks' marketing of "fair trade" coffee. "I.S.P.'s want to distinguish themselves with marketing," Griffin says. "You can only imagine that an I.S.P. that marketed a 'fair trade' network connection would see a marketing advantage." Gerd Leonhard, a respected musicindustry consultant who has advised Sony/BMG, which recently announced plans for a flat-rate-subscription model for digital music, rejects Barrett's argument that the monthly fee amounts to a tax. "This is not a tax," says Leonhard. "It's bundled into another charge." "People should not be too harsh on Jim for trying to get the ball rolling," says Leonhard. "At this point, 96 percent of the population is guilty of some sort of infringement, whether they're streaming or downloading or sharing. "What we have here is the widespread use of technology that declares all of the population to be illegal." Related Links The Pirates Can't Be Stopped Coming Down Hard on Downloaders Splitting the Apple Online

Lehman Gets a Boost
( News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 5:30:00 AM

Plagued by market speculation that it could become the next Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers has received a vote of confidence from Citigroup, which raised its rating on Lehman shares to a "buy." Also on Lehman’s Debt Shuffle Questions remain. Burned on the Street Why investors should stop listening. In a note headlined "Reality Will Trump Fear," Citigroup analyst Prashant Bhatia says that Lehman has "ample liquidity." "With $34 billion in liquidity at the parent company, the ability to get access to over $200 billion in liquidity from the Fed's primary dealer credit facility, and its ability to tap the term auction facility, access to liquidity is a non-issue, he said. In addition, he said, pointing to the diversity in the firm's earnings "We estimate that, write-downs aside, Lehman had its second best fixed-income trading quarter ever." Shares of Lehman fell 9 percent on Thursday on rumors of a possible run on the bank. Activity in options to sell Lehman were active. OptionsMonster noted on Thursday that "The type of put buying seen is reminiscent of the put buying in Bear Stearns just before the axe fell." Lehman said on Thursday that the liquidity rumors were unfounded, adding that, "We are suspicious that the rumors are being promulgated by short sellers of our stock that have an economic selfinterest." Related Links Leveraged Super Senior Trades and the Liquidity Put Credit Losses: The Good News Awaiting Citi's Big Number


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Earnings highlights: Adobe, ConAgra, Lennar, Oracle, Tiffany, Darden and others
By Trey Thoelcke (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 8:40:00 AM

Killer Diller
( News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 2:30:00 PM

Filed under: Earnings reports, Walgreen Co (WAG), Penney (J.C.) (JCP), Adobe Systems (ADBE), Tiffany and Co (TIF), ConAgra Foods (CAG), Darden Restaurants (DRI), KB HOME (KBH), Lennar Corp'A' (LEN), Oracle Corp (ORCL), CKE Restaurants (CKR) Here are some highlights from this past week's earnings coverage from BloggingStocks: • AAR Corp. (NYSE: AIR ) posted record third-quarter earnings and revenue. • Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE ) posted better-than-estimated first-quarter results and raised its outlook. • CKE Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: CKR ) posted third-quarter results that missed estimates. • ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG ) third-quarter profit surged as strong sales offset commodity prices. • Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI ) beat third-quarter expectations and offered guidance. • FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE: FDS )

second-quarter results beat estimates and it raised its outlook. • Fortress Investment Group (NYSE: FIG ) remained upbeat despite a fourth-quarter loss . • Guess Inc. (NYSE: GES ) record fourth-quarter results beat Wall Street expectations. • Inter Parfums Inc. (NASDAQ: IPAR ) posted better-than-estimated fourth-quarter results and raised its outlook. • Jabil Circuit Inc. (NYSE: JBL ) beat second-quarter expectations but lowered its guidance. • JC Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP ) lowered its first-quarter outlook on weaker-than-expected sales. • KB Home (NYSE: KBH ) swung to a larger-than-expected first-quarter loss on write-downs. • Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN ) posted a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss . • Monsanto Co. (NYSE:

MON ) raised its second-quarter and full-year guidance. • Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL ) merely met earnings expectations , sending shares lower. • Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF ) posted better-than-estimated fourth-quarter results and raised its outlook. • Usana Health Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: USNA ) posted lower-than-expected first-quarter results . • Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG ) posted solid second-quarter results , including same-store sales growth. Also, auction-rate securities issues may hurt some tech company results. Analysts keep cutting earings estimates for the big banks, but some are eyeing Yum! Brands(NYSE: YUM) earnings prospects as it expands in China, as well as Archer Daniels Midland(NYSE: ADM) on soaring demand for commodities. Upcoming results to watch for include Best Buy(NYSE: BBY), Monsanto(NYSE: MON), and Research in Motion(NASDAQ: RIMM). Visit AOL Money & Finance for more earnings coverage. Permalink| Email this| Comments

After a week of high drama in the Delaware Chancery Court, John Malone has lost his dispute with longtime partner Barry Diller, the chief executive of IAC/Interactive Inc., an internet conglomerate that Diller has built into a $6 billion enterprise with Malone's backing. Malone and his company, Liberty Media Corp., lost claims that Diller violated contracts with Malone by proposing to spin off IAC into five separate companies with a single-tier stock structure. Such a move would eliminate the supervoting shares Liberty owns in IAC, effectively wiping out its majority control of the company. Under a proxy agreement in their 13-year partnership, Diller has had the right to vote Liberty's IAC stock. The court ruled that right permits Diller to vote Liberty's shares against Liberty's interests. "The court concludes that Liberty has failed to demonstrate that Diller breached or threatened to breach any contractual duty he owed to Liberty," Vice Chancellor Stephen Lamb wrote in an opinion issued this afternoon. "In particular, the court rejects Liberty's claim that the proposed single-tier spin-off gives rise to any right of consent on LIberty's part. It follow that the proxy remains in effect." In his 79-page opinion, Lamb rejected Liberty Media's claim that its "veto" rights, as contained in the governance agreement between Malone and Diller, contained a "sweeping" catchall provision. Lamb concluded that the "only sensible conclusion" for interpretation of the veto right was that it applied to "regulatory matters." From the outset of the relationship, Liberty was concerned with the Federal Communications Commission's rules on cross-ownership of broadcast companies. Malone said he left the details to his lawyer, but Diller, on the witness stand, testified that"alarm bells" would have gone off if he thought the Liberty veto applied to more than regulatory matters. Lamb's ruling is a win for Diller's lawyers at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Diller presented well as a witness, and in the end, no one from Malone's team

could testify that a "catchall" veto was communicated to the Diller team. The case boiled down to the parties conflicting interpretations of the veto provision—"the centerpiece of this litigation," in Lamb's opinion. In that opinion, the vice chancellor examines scenes from the deteriorating marriage between Malone and Diller. Lamb pegs the "deterioration" of that marriage to 2005, a period that coincided with the appointment of former Microsoft executive Greg Maffei as the C.E.O. of Liberty. Lamb's opinion notes that Diller told Malone that the choice of Maffei for the position was "poor." The vice chancellor addressed what became something akin to the discovery of infidelity between Diller and Malone: A Wall Street Journal article under the headline "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" In the article, Malone repeatedly criticized Diller. In his opinion, Lamb pointed out: "The article greatly upset Diller. Diller testified that, combined with Malone's previous negative comments about IAC and it's lack of management, the article was nothing short of an outright attack on his abilities and a thinly veiled threat that Liberty would not fairly negotiate a breakup of IAC." Lamb also ruled against LIberty's claims that the IAC board, by hearing a proposal on the spinoffs from Diller and his lawyers, had violated their fiduciary duty to shareholders. The vice chancellor concluded that those claims were "unripe" because the IAC board has given "only general (and ununanimous) approval to the spinoff, but has not considered or acted on any final details of that plan." "Most importantly," he adds, "the IAC board has not yet made any decision about the voting structure of the spincos." And so this partnership, such as it is, lives on to fight another day. Like many (unfortunate) marriages, it is a war without conclusion, at least for now. Related Links Smacking Down a Plaintiffs' Law Firm Diller on the Stand Malone on the Ropes?

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Comcast Backs Down
( News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:30:00 AM

Big Banks Shuffle
Communications Commission on what rights users have on the internet." "The F.C.C. should continue to reinforce its principles of internet access and should continue to work for the benefit of consumers regardless of any particular arrangements made by the private sector," Sohn added. Markham Erickson, executive director of the Open Internet Coalition, which lobbies for net neutrality, said that "despite the welcome news that Comcast and BitTorrent are working together, the F.C.C. still needs to reinforce these efforts by establishing the basic rules of the road for BitTorrent users and all internet consumers by defining permissible broadband network-management practices." "Time and time again, when the telcoms and cable companies engage in discriminatory behavior against certain types of speech and content—as we've seen with AT&T, Verizon, and most recently with Comcast—a familiar pattern emerges," Erickson said. "First, a spotlight gets focused on the bad behavior," he said. "Then, when exposed, the companies state such action is within their power as network operators. After that, the F.C.C. and Congress focus on these discriminatory acts, and finally, the companies do a U-turn and apologize. "While it's always a positive step when these companies admit the error of their ways," added Erickson, "it's a bad way to run the internet." Related Links Comcast Has Plenty of Room for Video — Its Own F.C.C. Warns Comcast Over Web 'Blocking' Crackdown: Comcast Blocks Peer-toPeer Web Traffic

Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, said today that it will change its controversial network management practices and work with file-sharing services to address complaints that it unfairly blocks certain peer-to-peer traffic. But consumer groups weren't buying it. The Federal Communications Commission is currently investigating Comcast over charges that it stifles legal peer-to-peer traffic on its network. Consumer groups and network-neutrality advocates have been pushing the F.C.C. and Congress to forbid Comcast to discriminate against legal traffic on its network. Today's announcement is a stunning turnaround for a company that until just months ago denied it engaged in any Web blocking at all. After the Associated Press caught Comcast blocking certain traffic, the company was forced to admit that it "delays" certain peer-to-peer traffic, but it defended the practice as "reasonable network management." Comcast said that by the end of 2008, its network-management policy will be "protocol agnostic"—meaning it will not favor one type of traffic over another—and will instead focus on users who consume the most bandwidth. "This means that we will have to rapidly reconfigure our network-management systems, but the outcome will be a trafficmanagement technique that is more appropriate for today's emerging internet trends," Comcast chief technology officer Tony Werner said in a statement. Comcast will also expand its network capacity to better accommodate rapidly increasing bandwidth consumption, said John Schanz, a Comcast Cable executive vice president.

"We plan to more than double the upstream capacity of our residential internet service in several key markets by year end 2008," Schanz said. Comcast also said it had agreed to work with file-sharing service BitTorrent in an effort to address the best way to manage peer-to-peer traffic, one of the most bandwidth-intensive activities on the Web. "Recognizing that the Web is richer and more bandwidth-intensive than it has been historically, we are pleased that Comcast understands these changing traffic patterns and wants to collaborate with us to migrate to techniques that the internet community will find to be more transparent," said Eric Klinker, BitTorrent's chief technology officer. Meanwhile, consumer groups reacted warily to Comcast's about-face. Nicholas Reville, co-founder and executive director of the Participatory Culture Foundation, wasn't buying what Comcast was selling. "Comcast is taking a page right out of the auto-industry playbook: Car companies deny the importance of global warming while using announcements of future technology to block meaningful environmental protections," said Reville. "Comcast can see that public demands for net-neutrality protections are growing—this announcement is a transparent attempt to distract from that debate." "The announcement from Comcast and BitTorrent has absolutely nothing to do with the need for net-neutrality protections and BitTorrent certainly does not speak for other torrent technology companies," Reville added. Gigi Sohn, president of consumer rights group Public Knowledge, called Comcast's agreement with BitTorrent "irrelevant," and said in a statement that it does not have "any bearing on the complaint and petitions pending before the Federal

( News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 4:30:00 AM

Amid estimates that they will report billions of dollars in additional writedowns for the first quarter, the two largest U.S. banks by deposits are preparing for their post-subprime futures. Citigroup has a new chief for its U.S. consumer business, David Enrich of the Wall Street Journal reports, while Bank of America has agreed to pay $28 million to David Sambol, the chief operating officer of Countrywide Financial, to stay on when the two companies merge. Terri Dial, who runs the retail banking business of Lloyds TSB of Britain, will be Citi's new chief of U.S. consumer operations, succeeding Steven Freiberg, the Journal says. Freiberg will now run the bank's global credit-card business. Dial, 58, was a highly regarded Wells Fargo executive when she joined Lloyds in 2005. The Financial Times' Alphaville blog notes that the situation at Citi's consumer unit, a sluggish business plagued by rising defaults, is similar to what she stepped into at Lloyds. Citi is also ousting the chiefs of its global finance and prime brokerage business. Nick Roe will replace Ali Hackett and Tom Tesauro, according to an internal memo, Reuters and Bloomberg News report. The shakeup is part of Vikram Pandit's effort to overhaul troubled bank giant since he took over from Charles Prince as C.E.O. in December. "For Pandit it's the case of a new broom sweeps clean," Rupert Della-Porta, the chief operating officer at Atlantic Equities in London, told Bloomberg News. "You

should expect a rotation of people, and prime brokerage is an area that people are focusing on, including Citigroup." Bank of America, meanwhile, is facing a number of doubters about its planned $4 billion acquisition of Countrywide Financial, the largest mortgage lender in the country. Countrywide continues to suffer from mounting foreclosures and it faces criminal and regulatory investigations. But Bank of America is going full-steam ahead. It has already announced that Sambol would be the chief of the combined mortgage businesses of the two companies, a move that Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, asked that Bank of America reconsider. Now, the bank has disclosed its incentive to keep Sambol. According to a filing on Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sambol will be due a $20 million bonus to be paid in two parts, on the first and second anniversaries of the merger. He also gets $8 million in restricted stock in three installments. In addition, Sambol gets to keep his Countrywide fringe benefits until the end of next year, which include use of a jet, car, and financialconsulting services, as well a country-club dues. All in all, Sambol gets a much richer deal than Bank of America's chief executive, Ken Lewis, who received $20.4 million in compensation. But did he have a better year? Related Links Was B of A Blindsided by Countrywide Lawsuits? Countrywide Gets a New Home When Banks Diversify Internationally

The Wal-Mart Weekly: Why do many hate Wal-Mart?
By Brian White (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 4:40:00 AM

Filed under: Wal-Mart (WMT), Columns Welcome to the 55th installment of The Wal-Mart Weekly, a column dedicated to bringing you insight, wit, facts, results, opinions, and just a bit of everything else

when it comes down to a very hot topic these days: Wal-Mart. In this week's Wal-Mart Weekly, I'll be looking at what seems to be second nature to many Americans in this day and age -hating Wal-Mart Stores Inc.(NYSE: WMT). Like many divisive issues these days (think Democratic candidates), many

Americans I have met either love or hate

Wal-Mart. There seems to be little to no middle ground. I can very much understand the love many customers have over Wal-Mart. But the hatred? Who is to blame for all the hatred towards Wal-Mart? The retailer itself? How about the customers who keep it at the top? These are questions that

constantly see emotion overtaking logic when the questions arise. Let's take a look at them a little more closely today. Continue reading The Wal-Mart Weekly: Why do many hate Wal-Mart? Permalink| Email this| Comments


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When Genius Fails Again, and Again
( News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 3:00:00 AM

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Was this the motto for Long-Term Capital Management alumni? It certainly seems that way. But perhaps it's time to find a new one. It turns out that Long-Term Capital founder John Meriwether isn't the only survivor of the hedge fund that imploded spectacularly in 1998 who is having trouble surviving today. Eric Rosenfeld, a former Salomon Brothers trader who helped Meriwether start both L.T.C.M. and J.W.M. Partners, has his own troubled tale to tell, has learned. Rosenfeld parted ways with Meriwether to start his own fund last year. He reunited with L.T.C.M.'s former chief financial officer, Robert Shustak, and the fund's former controller, Bruce Wilson, to start Quantitative Alternatives L.L.C. in Rye Brook, New York. The plan, according to reports, was to use statistical models for trading strategies much like those employed by the ill-fated L.T.C.M. It had hoped to start trading by

the end of last year. But that day would never come. The fund never got off the ground, and the three partners decided to fold the operation at the end of last year. But unlike the dramatic finale of L.T.C.M., Quantitative Alternatives exited the scene in silence. "The capital-raising environment was very challenging," says Shustak, who was reached by phone in his new office at QFS Asset Management. "At the end of the year, we just decided it wasn't the right time to raise a new quantitative fund. We didn't feel it was appropriate." No one knows about today's challenging environment better than Meriwether, who is now struggling to keep his nine-year-old hedge fund solvent, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Meriwether started J.W.M. Partners with five other principals of L.T.C.M., including Rosenfeld, and its biggest fund is down 28 percent so far this year. As for the defunct Quantitative Alternatives, Shustak declined to say how much money the trio raised before quietly calling it quits. He landed on his feet at QFS earlier this year, and Shustak says

Wilson is now working for Third Point Partners, an activist fund run by the outspoken Daniel Loeb. Rosenfeld, however, is still "exploring his different options," Shustak says. Efforts to reach Rosenfeld both at home and at the former offices of Quantitative Alternatives were unsuccessful. So is there a Long-Term Capital curse? When two or more former L.T.C.M. traders enter the same room, does lightning strike? Shustak doesn't think there's enough evidence that the shared experiences at L.T.C.M. have anything to do with the success or failure of a new joint venture. And he has reason to hope that's true. One of the principals of QFS, Shustak's current firm, worked in the back office for L.T.C.M., according to his bio. Related Links It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Meriwether Decimates his Partners' Capital, Again Another Hedge Fund Tracker Launches

Ringside: Bringing social networking to all businesses
By Tom Taulli (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 10:40:00 AM

Harvard's New Stockpicker
( News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 9:30:00 AM

Look out, Harvard. There's a new girl in town. Actually, it's a familiar face to the Crimson crowd. After an extensive search, Harvard has hired Jane Mendillo to oversee its $35 billion endowment. Mendillo spent 15 years at Harvard Management Company before leaving in 2002 to manage the endowment for Wellesley College. During her five years at the women's school, the fund grew from $1 billion to $1.7 billion, and had annualized returns of 13.5 percent, according to an announcement by Harvard. She returns to Harvard to run the country's largest university endowment, a

position that was vacated by Mohamed ElErian last year. El-Erian returned to the giant bond fund Pacific Investment Management Co. Mendillo worked at Harvard from 1987 to 2002 in a number of different management positions. During most of that time, she worked under the legendary investment manager Jack Meyer. When Meyer joined Harvard in 1990, the endowment was worth $4.7 billion. Under his oversight, aggressive fundraising efforts and more diversified investment strategies helped it grow to nearly $23 billion by the time he left in 2005. Meyer launched an investment strategy that's still paying off handsomely today—one that relies less on stocks and bonds and more on alternative investments like real estate

and hedge funds. He left to start his own investment firm with several of his top managers from Harvard after a firestorm erupted over the compensation packages of the fund's employees. As a protégé of Meyer's, Mendillo should be a welcome sight to the endowment office, which has been without a leader during one of the most tumultuous market cycles in its history. Related Links Back to the Beach, as Heir Apparent Harvard Gets It Right Again El-Erian Leaves Harvard, Returns to Pimco

Filed under: Next big thing, Small business, Technology With the popularity of Facebook, bebo and MySpace, companies are trying to find ways to leverage social networking. However, it can be expensive to build out a strong platform. Well, things are getting easier; that is, Ringside Networks has launched an open source server to build social networks (it's in the beta mode). True, there are other systems on the market. However, in the case with Ringside, it allows for seamless integration with other sites, such as Facebook. In other words, it will help companies migrate users to their own platform. What's more, Ringside allows companies to keep their own branding and the lookand-feel of their own websites. Oh, and some of the co-founders of Ringside -- Bob Bickel, Rich Friedman and Mark Lugert -- were instrumental in

the development of JBoss, which turned out to be one of the most successful open source projects in tech history. To get some perspective on this, I talked to David DePaolo, who operates He has known about Ringside for some time. His take: "It makes sense that someone would start this up as they have with other technologies, and just in time. As technology progresses, we find that it is not all about the technology and patents, it's the application of that technology to a specific market." Tom Taulli is the author of various books, including The Complete M&A Handbook and The Edgar Online Guide to Decoding Financial Statements. He also operates Permalink| Email this| Comments

Option Update: Cal-Maine Foods volatility elevated into EPS, $3 dozen eggs
By Paul Foster (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 5:40:00 AM

Filed under: Options Cal-Maine Foods(NASDAQ: CALM), a producer and marketer of fresh shell eggs, is expected to report Q3 EPS on March 31. CALM shares have rallied 173% over the past 12 months. CALM will initiate a variable dividend policy during Q3 to replace a fixed dividend policy. According to NASDAQ, CALM on March 14 had a short interest of 12,436,184 shares with average daily volume of 585,828 shares.

CALM April 35 straddle is priced at $7. CALM May 35 straddle is priced at $9. CALM May call option implied volatility is at 87, puts are at 103--above its 26-week average of 68 according to Track Data, suggesting larger price movement. Puts are price higher than call because CALM is difficult to borrow. Option Update is provided by Stock Specialist Paul Foster of Permalink| Email this| Comments

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The real victims of a housing industry bailout
By Zac Bissonnette (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 2:40:00 AM

Filed under: Housing Yesterday I received a great comment from long-time reader Dr. Michael Schneider of He wrote: Every market has buyers and sellers-- so far it seems the remedies for the housing mess have been directed at helping the banks and homeowners (sellers) and, rightly or wrongly, propping up housing prices. This has the effect of helping those who created the mess or who profited from it while possibly hurting potential buyers-including 1st time home-buyers who may have to pay higher prices for homes that may still be overpriced. This may seem like fairly obvious point but it has profound ramifications: it's been completely missed by the people who are supposedly working to solve these

problems. Propping up home prices delays the inevitable reversion to something resembling intrinsic value, and prices first time home buyers out of the market. This was one of the effects of the subprime bubble as well: lax lending prices that made homes available to people with brand new SUVs and double-digit FICO scores made it difficult for people who wanted to do it the right way: work hard, save money, and make a 20% down payment on an affordable home with a 30year fixed mortgage. When you think about it like that, you have to wonder why there is so much resistance by supposedly reasonable politicians to just letting the darn prices come back down to earth: it's a zero-sum game, and lower home prices will help just as many people as they hurt. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Is Paulson using the credit crunch to deregulate Wall Street even more?
By Peter Cohan (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 3:39:00 AM

Filed under: Market matters, Politics, Headline news, Federal Reserve The last time Washington took a fundamental rethink of how best to regulate the financial markets was during the 1930s. Now it's decided to try again. The New York Times reports that on Monday Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson will announce a plan to substitute an alphabet soup of regulatory agencies with three new ones. I think it's a clever way to use the current credit crisis to loosen regulation on the financial industry while doing little to fix the current problem or prevent future ones. A better way would be to nip future problems in the bud by changing financiers' incentives -- requiring them, rather than taxpayers, to foot the bill for

the bad deals they originate -- and shedding far more light on their dealings. Paulson's proposal brings many questions to mind: • Would the proposed scheme have prevented the current credit crisis? • Could the scheme actually be passed by Congress? • Would it prevent future crises? • Is there a better way to manage the capital markets? I think the answers are no, no, no, and yes. Before addressing these questions, though, let's examine what Paulson is proposing. Specifically, he wants to create three new agencies detailed as follows: Continue reading Is Paulson using the credit crunch to deregulate Wall Street even more? Permalink| Email this| Comments

Oregon newspaper claims JP Morgan Chase memo of dubious intent
By Gary E. Sattler (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 9:40:00 AM

Barron's: BlackRock's CEO looks into the crystal ball
By Tom Taulli (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 7:40:00 AM

Cayne Sells Out
( News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 2:00:00 PM

Filed under: General Electric (GE), Boeing Co (BA), United Technologies (UTX) About a year ago, I had a chance to hear a presentation by Laurence Fink, who is the CEO of BlackRock(NYSE: BLK), which is a mega money manager. Simply put, he was a bit concerned about the markets. With the huge amounts of leverage, he thought that investors weren't getting enough premium for the potential risk. Yes, it was a good call. And the upshot is

that BlackRock has been a stellar performer. Well, now Fink is more sanguine. In fact, in this week's Barron's[a paid publication], there is an interview with him. What's his take? First of all, he think investors should dip into equities, such as the big caps that benefit from global growth. Some of his choices include: General Electric(NYSE: GE), Monsanto(NYSE: MON), United Technologies(NYSE: UTX) and

Boeing(NYSE: BA). He also likes high-grade mortgage debt. Basically, the spreads are attractive (and seem to account for the risk levels). Finally, Fink is bullish on overseas markets, especially commodity-based counties like Brazil. Tom Taulli is the author of various books, including The Complete M&A Handbook and The Edgar Online Guide to Decoding Financial Statements. He also operates Permalink| Email this| Comments

It's over. Any hope that there will be a deal other than J.P. Morgan Chase's $10-per-share stock offer for Bear Stearns should now be finally dashed. James Cayne, the chairman and former chief executive of Bear Stearns, has sold 5.6 million shares of Bear for $10.84 a share, or about $60.1 million, on Tuesday. It's quite a comedown for a man who was a billionaire about a year ago, when Bear's stock price was near $160. He had been among Bear's largest shareholders. The Securities and Exchange Commission filing indicates that Cayne's wife sold 45,669 Bear shares. Related Links The Age of Reregulation Will Asking Mortgage Servicers to Modify Mortgages Have Much Impact? Bear Funds Being Liquidated: Who Wants to Buy?

Filed under: Rumors, Management, Newspapers, Rants and raves, Scandals, JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Housing Jeff Manning, staff writer for The Oregonian newspaper, released a story Thursday, March 27, 2008, that claims the paper has come into possession of a copy of an internal memo from JP Morgan Chase(NYSE: JPM). According to The Oregonian article, which hints at unsavory or even fraudulent mortgage processing practices, the memo indicates that loan processors can (not should) use creative data entry to alter automated underwriting system results. The Oregonian writer entertains the "dark side" scenario in the tone of his article.That's a real convenient, time-tested ploy for selling newspapers. Kudos for his attempt. However, representatives for Chase mortgage operations have dismissed the memo as nothing more than a strategic angle on automated process. While no one has actually come out to say they created the memo or why, the company allegedly admits that the document is genuine. I get no sense that anyone from the company who commented on the situation has anything to hide. In fact, company reps appear to be quite forthcoming on the matter. Continue reading Oregon newspaper claims JP Morgan Chase memo of dubious intent Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments


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Comfort Zone Investing: Creative halts unauthorized Can stocks get much worse? distribution of homegrown Vista drivers
By Ted Allrich (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 3:40:00 AM

Filed under: Comfort Zone Investing Ted Allrich is the founder of The Online Investor and author of the just released book: Comfort Zone Investing: Build Wealth And Sleep Well At Night. In this weekly column, he'll offer advice to investors who are just getting started. Of course they can. But they can also get much better. While the stock market, as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, has rallied from its lows, can it sustain the gain or will investors take this opportunity to reap smaller losses (who has profits these days?) or step up and buy? Here's what will influence them. It seems all economic news is bad. "Credit crunch" is more common than Captain Crunch around the breakfast table. Banks are hemorraging from bad loans. They're reluctant to make new ones unless the credit is so good and the loan so small that it would be impossible to lose money on it. Most likely the best terms are for

By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 9:52:00 AM

those borrowers who deposit all the money they need in the bank first, then borrow it back, but not all of it. The banks want that extra cushion of safety these days. Don't look for the banks to change lending habits soon. More losses are coming. Until they stop, banks will keep credit tight. Continue reading Comfort Zone Investing: Can stocks get much worse? Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Peripherals, Portable Audio Chances are that if you do your duties on Vista and rely on one of Creative's sound cards to get your dance on, you may have become frustrated by the firm's inability to offer up a driver package that lived up to those loosed for Windows XP. 'Course, if that rings a bell, you're probably not too concerned -- you know, thanks to those unofficial (but totally functional) drivers brought to you by Daniel_K. Unfortunately for users suddenly excited to gain some extra utility from their device, Creative has hopped on the offensive and is forbidding said compiler from distributing the firm's technology / IP (not to mention collecting donations), and it's also scouring the 'net to remove other links to the software. Granted, we fully understand Creative's desire to disallow the distribution of untested, potentially harmful third-party drivers, but until they release the drivers customers expect they should be a little

more cautious about shutting down third party patches. [Via Slashdot, thanks to everyone who sent this in] Update: It seems Creative has decided to allow Daniel_K to continue with one particular endeavor at least, noting that "as long as no intellectual property of Creative is distributed, [it] will have no problem with it." Thanks, Aaron! Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Video of the iPhone Pwned project in action
By Nilay Patel (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 1:38:00 PM

Linux becomes only OS to escape PWN 2 OWN unscathed
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 7:48:00 AM

Filed under: Laptops After a week full of Red Bulls, Fruit by the Foot and dreams of In-N-Out, the mighty Sony VAIO loaded with Linux stood as the only machine unhacked by the end of the PWN 2 OWN hacking contest at CanSecWest. As you're well aware by now, the MacBook Air on display was seized in two minutes by the presumably well prepared Charlie Miller, and after two

full days of work, Shane Macaulay and a few of his 1337 associates managed to crack the Vista rig on Friday. Reportedly,

Shane and his pals weren't expecting to do battle with the extra protected SP1 version of Vista, and while the exact loophole won't be divulged, we are told that it was a cross-platform bug that "took advantage of Java to circumvent Vista's security." In the end, it was reported that some folks on hand had discovered bugs in the Linux OS, but many of them "didn't want to put the work into developing the exploit code that would be required to win the contest." [Image courtesy of TippingPoint] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Cellphones Those crafty kids on the iPhone Dev Team have already hacked the 2.0 firmware, but now they're getting ready to release the oh-so-creatively-named PWNED tool, which takes iPhone hacking to the next level by patching the bootloader to let you load any firmware image you want -- even images not signed by Apple. That means custom patched firmware can now be loaded directly from iTunes, which simplifies the jailbreaking / unlocking process tremendously, and also means that a patched version of the 2.0 firmware is coming soon. We're putting the tool through its paces right now and we'll have a hands-on with it (and the Dev Team's patched 2.0 firmware) as soon as we get it all working, but check out some highlights after the break, and hit the read link for more info. Continue reading Video of the iPhone Pwned project in action Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

BlackBerry service outages keeping your weekend interesting?
By Paul Miller (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 6:18:00 AM

Filed under: Cellphones Having some

BlackBerry troubles? You're not alone, we've been receiving some sporadic tips on the subject, and some forum users have reported outage trouble as well, though for

other users it seems just fine. Let us know

how your service is doing. Or don't -- this might be just the chance you were looking for to ditch work email and get a start on that spring tan. We won't tell a soul.

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Hackers embed flashing animations on epilepsy support forum
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 1:50:00 PM

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets Shortly after hearing a sad tale of a 7-year old cancer patient having his medication and PSP stolen whilst en route to treatment comes yet another story of the world's meanest preying on the helpless. This go 'round, a group of griefers (assuming to be members of Anonymous) managed to invade a support forum established by the nonprofit Epilepsy Foundation and use JavaScript code and messages littered with flashing animations to effectively assault dozens of visitors who suffer from the disorder. The Foundation managed to catch wind of the problem within 12 hours of the attack, and while the boards were closed down temporarily to purge it of offending messages, many readers (such as RyAnne

Fultz, pictured) experienced headaches and seizures before rescue arrived. Let's just say we sincerely hope the culprits get what's comin' to 'em. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Mesiro Merium media PC has sleek, sexy down pat
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 12:44:00 AM

Biosensing nanodevice could hasten security checks, health screenings
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 5:13:00 PM

Nyko's wireless Wii nunchuk adapter hits the FCC, itself with the ugly stick
By Nilay Patel (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 10:42:00 PM

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets We'll go ahead and warn you: if you're hoping to purge your mind of all things science this weekend, this post isn't the one to be reading. For the rest of you knowledge seekers, Arizona State University researcher Wayne Frasch has developed a biosensing nanodevice that could possibly revolutionize health screenings and speed up that grueling airport security process. Put simply (well, as simply as possible), he discovered that the enzyme F1- ATPase can be equipped with an optical probe and "manipulated to emit a signal when it detects a single molecule of target DNA."

Currently, a prototype of the DNA detector is already being worked up, but there's no word on when (or if) the device will escape the lab and hit the commercial realm. Still not geeked out? Hit the read link and hold on for dear life. [Via Physorg] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Gaming No matter how we might try and stop it, Nyko's wireless Wii nunchuk adapter / abomination ceaselessly advances upon the unsuspecting American consumer, stopping at nothing to ruin the delicate aesthetics of the Wii controllers and pump us full of even more unnecessary RF. The adapter and its receiver have just hit the FCC, and our nation's government has managed to use every ounce of

photographic skill at its disposal to render these mutant hunks of plastic in as flattering a light as possible -- just look at that stained blue backdrop. Seriously, is anyone going to drop $20 on this thing? Isn't that money better spent on games? Explain yourself in comments, in ten words or less. [Thanks, Mickel] Read- Wireless adapter Read- Receiver Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Home Entertainment, Media PCs Those on the hunt for a pre-fabricated HTPC can't complain about a lack of choices these days, but if you've yet to be taken aback by anything out there, why not give Mesiro's Merium a glance? The standout feature here isn't the 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo T5500 processor, 250GB internal HDD, dual-layer DVD burner, GMA950 graphics accelerator, WiFi, 5-in1 multicard reader or the bundled MCE remote -- oh no, it's the interchangeable chassis covers (weird, right?). Yep, you can swap out the covers on this rig whenever you feel the urge, ensuring that there's a case for every occasion. Unfortunately, those in America who'd like to get in on this won't appreciate the €999 ($1,578) price tag, and those €55 ($87) faceplates aren't any easier to swallow. [Via MoCo Loco] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments


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Nintendo's Wii Wheel priced at $14.99
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 11:15:00 AM

Filed under: Gaming, Peripherals We've known that Nintendo would be bundling a single Wii Wheel in with the forthcoming Mario Kart Wii title, but now it seems that folks riding shotgun (or riding your tail) can grab one of their own. According to a recently released flyer from GameStop, extra Wheels -- should the plethora of steering apparatuses already out there not suffice -- will be sold for a cool $14.99 each. April 27th just seems so, so far away, doesn't it? Check the flyer in full after the jump.

[Thanks, Pat] Continue reading Nintendo's Wii Wheel priced at $14.99 Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Glam Makes Big Cuts In Publisher Payments - “Up To 80% Drop In Revenue”
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 12:09:41 PM

Advertising network Glam is putting an

South Korean police aiming to equip all new handsets with GPS?
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 5:40:00 AM

Newspapers' Real Problems
By Kevin Maney ( Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 5:53:25 AM

Filed under: Cellphones, GPS Presumably taking a note from Japan, it's being reported that South Korean police are backing a highly controversial plan that would equip each new mobile sold in the nation with a GPS chip. Reportedly, Song Kang-ho, chief of the investigation bureau of the National Police Agency, has stated that the government has "already submitted a related bill to the National Assembly,"

and the general idea here is to crack down on the rise of kidnapping and various other crimes against children and women (not much different than we Americans having such a chip for E911, really). Granted, there's not a lot of supporting evidence that this is actually set to go down, so until we see it inked in stone, our skeptic hats are remaining in place. [Via textually, image courtesy of The New York Times] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

WordPress Gets Major Overhaul
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 4:04:11 PM

WordPress 2.5 has been released with a major overhaul to the interface and a range of new features. The biggest change is in the appearance of the administration backend, which is described as being a “Cleaner, faster, less cluttered dashboard.” The WordPress dashboard is now widget friendly, and users can include items such as stats, offering similar functionality to MovableType. Other new features include multi-file

uploading, one-click plugin upgrades, built -in galleries, salted passwords and cookie encryption, media library, code friendly WYSIWYG, concurrent post editing protection, full-screen writing, and improved search. A demo video from Automattic’s Matt Mullenweg above, and further details on the WordPress blog here. CrunchBase Information Automattic Matt Mullenweg Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Newspapers aren't dying because of the Internet. Newspapers are dying because of two reasons that usually go unspoken: most newspapers suck, and almost all newspapers aim at the wrong audience. Throw in screw-ups like the Los Angeles Times' Tupac mess, and you get a train wreck. The New Yorker has a lengthy story delving into why newspapers are dying. It names all the usual suspects -- Craigslist, Google, disinterest among the young to read anything on paper. If those are the culprits, though, how do you explain the success of college newspapers? You'd think, since college kids are so wired, they'd rather pick up a cow pie than a printed paper. Yet a 2006 survey showed that 44% of college students read their campus paper twice or more a week -- a market penetration city newspapers only dream about. Advertising revenue for college papers increased 15% in 2007. College newspapers are indispensable parts of their communities. They're written by students for students. They're often courageous, whether taking on the administration or running sex-advice columns. Most college papers have Web sites, but students still read the print version, actually enjoying a break from their computer screens.

So why can't city newspapers have that kind of success? Well, for one, outside of maybe the 10 biggest papers, they don't have the talent for it. Most city newspapers have seen their newsroom budgets squeezed tighter and tighter for the past decade or two. They're left with too few people. The salaries that newspapers pay, coupled with the conventional wisdom that the medium is dying, prevent them from luring or keeping the brightest newcomers. In short, newspaper companies have not seriously invested in improving and updating their product in years -- for the most part, not since the move to color. With rare exception, newspapers are dull and bound to outdated traditions. (My old employer, USA Today, busted out of that container 25 years ago only by starting with a clean slate -- but then increasingly adopted newspaper traditions over these past 25 years.) In a Pew survey, less than 20% of journalists named the quality of coverage as something that journalism "is doing especially well these days." Along the way, newspapers portray themselves as purveyors of trusted professional news, and then suffer scandals, like the LA Times linking Sean Combs to Tupac Shakur's death based on false FBI documents. No wonder papers are losing customers. And then, if you want to accept that younger people won't read a newspaper (which the success of college papers seems to counter), or if you want to accept that newspapers need to hold onto their

traditions, then newspapers keep trying to win the wrong audience. They constantly talk about appealing to younger readers -but they shouldn't. Newspapers might do better if they consciously play to older readers. Surveys show a generation gap in the way people get news -- particularly national and international news. In one Pew survey, the median age of the three categories of news consumers least likely to turn to the Net is around 50. The information "omnivores," who use the Net for most everything, has a median age of 28. Newspaper executives tend to covet a generation of readers they can't win while taking for granted the readers who could become loyal fans. It's completely backwards. Logic says that newspaper companies should give their customers what they want: aim the print product squarely at people, say, 40 and older, and aim the Web site at 40 and younger. That could create some branding tensions. But what else are newspapers going to do? Everything they've tried over the past decade has not worked. Related Links Idle Chatter: All Eyez on the 'L.A. Times' Late Breaks: About that Diddy-ShotTupac Story... The Incredible Shrinking Newspaper Business

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GLAM page 12 continued from
end to at least some of its guaranteed payments to publishers, just a month after raising an$85 million round of financing. Scott Swanson, Glam’s GM and Vice President, told publishers in an email (full text below) that “house ads” that were served for unsold inventory were being discontinued as of March 25, except to fulfill “minimum commitments that Glam has contractually agreed to.” The email says the change was made to give publishers “more choice when it comes to how you use your unsold inventory.” But according to one large publisher partner to Glam, this is actually nothing more than a way for Glam to dramatically cut payments to partners. He said“While they’re spinning this as positive news, it sucks for publishers. Publishers were previously guaranteed $3 $5 CPMs for house ads. By no longer running any house ads, that revenue dies. And, given Glam’s fill rates retwork wide are only 30%, that’s 70% of traffic (for most publishers) that’s no longer earning revenue from Glam…It’ll basically cause a 30 - 80% drop in revenue for publishers” Glam’s business model is to guarantee minimum flat payments to publishers. A medium sized blog will receive, say, a guaranteed payment of $10,000 monthly. Glam then sells ads into those blogs, and placed house ads with a high CPM for any unsold inventory. If the blog’s page views grew, those additional payments over the guarantee could really add up. Some publishers, with 3 or more ad units on a page, could guarantee a $15 or higher RPM (revenue per thousand page views). That’s an awesome advertising income for blogs, particularly blogs targeting women generally (highly specific niche blogs can command higher rates, but usually only at scale). So why is Glam doing this? Three reasons, probably. First, they need to get costs down. Last year the company lost $3.7 million on $21 million in revenue. They’ve promised investors that 2008 would bring in $150 million in revenue with $40 million in profit. The only way to get there is bring in a lot more publishers, sell a lot more ads, and keep a larger share for themselves. Second, Glam really needed to keep all those bloggers happy last year while they were raising capital. There’s no better way to do that than to send them big checks every month. Now that Glam has raised the big round, they don’t need the small bloggers at all, and they certainly aren’t going to be losing money on them. Third, Glam is actively acquiring many of the blogs that they currently sell ads for, and they want them cheap. By cutting their revenue dramatically and quickly, many of those blogs will immediately be in a very tight cash position. They may be forced to sell. And with revenues down, Glam can pick them up for a song. What does all this mean? It means if you are a Glam publisher, you’ve served your purpose and the good times are over. Move along, please. They have a company to build. And if you’re counting on those guaranteed payments after the termination date on your contract, well, you’re as dumb as Glam hopes you are. I’ve emailed Glam for a comment, but haven’t heard back from them yet. The company has raised a total of$114 million. Update: Scott Swanson replies in the comments: As GM of the Glam Publisher Network, my team’s #1 priority is to ensure the success of our publishers and to help them secure high-CPM brand advertising. Unlike most other networks we do not compromise on our rate card and as a result, our partners benefit from high CPM brand advertising. When we’re unable to deliver a paid ad, we have traditionally run a Glam house ad (i.e. a current house ad announces our upcoming Glam Network blogger awards). Publishers have requested more choice for the impressions that our house ads would normally fill. This default ad technology simply replaces the Glam house ads with a host of options. This is similar to standard network ‘default’ technology that’s been in general use for years. I want to acknowledge that Glam is successful because of our publisher partners. As a company, our focus is on convincing the brands to engage in new ways with a media landscape made up of independent premium publishers with passionate audiences. We welcome the ongoing dialogue. CrunchBase Information Glam Media Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Image Recognition Problem Finally Solved: Let’s Pay People To Tag Photos
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 6:46:35 PM

Most people have thousands of digital photos sitting on their hard drive. And the vast majority of those photos aren’t tagged or searchable. Want to find the 300 pictures of your youngest son amongst 10,000 others? It’s not going to happen. Unless you’ve been diligently tagging and categorizing those photos over the years, and who does that? The problem is obvious. The solution, not so much. A trail of failed startups have tried to tackle the problem with a fairly serious application of technology, including: Riya(now focused on ecommerce via, Ookles(never launched), and Polar Rose(in private beta for nearly a year), among others. And now suddenly TagCow appears, which allows users to upload photos and have them tagged within a few minutes. The technology appears to be “magic,” meaning there’s no explanation of it. If there’s a mountain in the photo, it’s tagged. A dog? yep. A yellow cup? Absolutely. It does people, too. Upload an image of a person and say who it is, and all other images you upload will be tagged with that person, too. The service also integrates with Flickr and will auto tag the photos you have on the service. Thomas Hawk, the CEO of photo site Zooomr, tried the service and declared it“really, really cool,” although he wonders how it works.

The answer is, humans do it. I note that the TagCow site is careful not to say anything about the tagging process, and never use the word “automated” or anything else that would suggests computers are doing the work. Munjal Shah, the founder of Riya/Like, agreed, noting that it recognized a witch in Thomas’ photo - he says this just isn’t something a computer can do today. I haven’t confirmed this yet. I’ve emailed the company for a description of how the service works but have yet to hear back. Until we do, I’m betting that humans are the taggers. Note that Google has effectively thrown in the towel and uses humans for this kind of work, too. TagCow appears to be offering the service for free, so the cost side of the business may be a problem for them down the road. And the business is definitely a little sketchy. Worried about the privacy of your data? Just don’t click on their Privacy Policy or Terms of Use: “Privacy policy is TBD.” and “Legal stuff TBD.” Not exactly a way to build confidence. CrunchBase Information TagCow Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Microsoft Succeeds in Making Vista Even Worse
By Kevin Maney ( Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/24/2008 6:08:57 PM

Windows Vista is already perhaps the most frustrating product Microsoft has yet heaved onto the computing public. But now its Service Pack 1 update, which is supposed to FIX holes and squeaks in the Vista code, seems to be making things

worse -- so much worse that venerable publications like Computerworld are running stories about how to get SP1 off your machine. InfoWorld has a piece about how Vista users are blasting Microsoft on Microsoft's own Vista blog. The headline on T he Washington Post's story says a lot: "Vista SP1: Threat or Menace?" For what it's worth, for Microsoft's much

-ballyhooed power, its stock traded at around $25 a share five years ago today.

Last I looked, it was at $29, with some relatively minor ups and downs in between. You'd have gotten just about the same performance from an electric power company, like Con Ed. Vista, the stock price -- something's clearly not going well in Redmond. Think buying Yahoo will help? (Microsoft vs. Con Ed, courtesy Yahoo)

Related Links Idle Chatter: Sumner 'n' Tom, Together Again Ballmer: We're Not Behind on Search; Just Waiting to Make Our Move Parsing Eric Schmidt: Microsoft is Evil, Google is Not


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Motorola: The Loss of a Once-Great Company
By Kevin Maney ( Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/26/2008 7:05:40 AM

Motorola is pitching its split into two companies, announced this morning, as a chance to re-focus and grow. It smells more like the death of a great American company. It certainly feels that way to the Galvins - the family that built and ran the company for most of its existence. Paul Galvin founded Motorola; his son Bob Galvin made it huge; and the grandson, Chris Galvin, was CEO from 1995 through 2003 -- when the board forced him to resign. Motorola had a spurt of growth just after Chris Galvin left -- which Galvin and a lot of others believe came from products Galvin had teed up -- and performed pretty well through 2006 under CEO Ed Zander. Since then, Moto's cell phone business has sputtered and lost market share while its stock price has gone off a cliff. Chris Galvin recently told me that his family has sold 99% of their Moto holdings -- a devastating vote of no-

confidence. "Motorola as an innovator is dead and cannot be retrieved," he said. Yes, of course, that could sound like sour grapes -- except that he might be right. An investor, Carl Icahn, has succeeded in putting short-term shareholder gain above everything, forcing Motorola into pieces that surely can't have the cultural strength or market impact of the whole.

Fourteen years ago, when Jim Collins and Jerry Porras wrote their groundbreaking book Built to Last, they included Motorola among just 18 global companies that had enduring top-shelf success. Moto was especially cited as a company that had a built-in mechanism for renewal. It periodically dipped into a difficult time, but found new businesses

and exited old ones and got going again. It could do that because it had patient management -- the family that built the company. Once that was gone, crass shareholder returns took the lead. Splitting into pieces doesn't seem like the same recipe that got Motorola onto the Built To Last list. Motorola's individual businesses might do fine. Perhaps they'll surprise everyone and bounce back. But at the moment, the split seems like a giant step back from greatness -- and maybe a step toward that place where you'll find other once-iconic names like Polaroid, Westinghouse and Sears. (A disclosure and bit of trivia: The quote on the front of most paperback copies of Built To Last, attributed to USA Today, is me.) Related Links Motorola: Maybe the Problem Isn't Zander Motorola Splits Replacement Value

Montgomery & Co. Raises $50 Million For Realtime Worlds
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 4:14:53 PM

YouTube Insight: Underwhelming
By Kevin Maney ( Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 7:48:48 AM

Google's YouTube announced a tool, called YouTube Insight, but it doesn't seem all that great. The company says it can "give a lot of context around the performance of video over time, where are your audience coming from, and how your message is connecting to your audience." It's gotten a ton of coverage from the media. But while the information you get is interesting, it's so broad that it strikes me as underwhelming. I tried it out on the most popular video I ever uploaded -popular, I should add, for reasons that are unfathomable to me. Its title is"Loudest Car at CES," and I posted it from the

Consumer Electronics Show in January 2007. It has since had 46,833 views. The Insight tool shows me that it first broke 100 views a day on May 19, 2007 -five months after the video was posted. I can follow a timeline and see that it passed 300 views a day on October 26, and even

now gets nearly 200 views a day. I can also see that almost every viewer comes from the U.S. I can see some other geographic oddities -- like, on Oct. 30, it was a very popular video in Namibia! (Like...huh??) But that's about it. That's all I get from

Insight. No idea why this video got popular when it did or where. I suppose a band might be able to find out that its music videos are extremely popular in some farflung nation, and could make decisions to market or tour there. I'm sure there are other ways this is useful to marketers and potential YouTube advertisers. But hopefully YouTube will eventually give us more refined ways to slice and dice this stuff. (YouTube Insight map) Related Links I Don't Want My Web TV Watching for the Next YouTube Internet Video Growth: It's All YouTube -ish

Scottish game developer Realtime Worlds has raised $50 million in a third round of financing led by Maverick Capital, says a source with knowledge of the deal. The company previously raised nearly$33 million in capital from CIM Fund and NEA. We’ve also heard that Montgomery & Co. were advisors on the deal. Realtime Worlds is behind a number of game titles on a variety of platforms, including Mobile Forces, Crackdown and the upcoming All Points Bulletin. Montgomery & Co. is an extremely busy dealmaker these days. They are also reported to be working with Meebo on a big new round of financing, as well as doing mergers and acquisitions work for a number of well known startups. They also represented Club Penguin in their$700 million sale to Disney in August 2007. CrunchBase Information Realtime Worlds Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

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Yahoo’s New Rock Star Retention Program
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 2:38:27 PM

Andreessen, Worthwhile Reading
By Kevin Maney ( Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 7:14:06 AM

Dash GPS/Wi-Fi Gadget Lives Up to Billing
By Kevin Maney ( Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/27/2008 6:33:47 AM

I've been following and writing about Dash Navigation since early in its inception, and much of the tech world has been anxious to see it go live. Finally, it's here -- and reviews say it's the in-car GPS unit to beat. But always, the thing about Dash is that if it catches on and gets critical mass -certainly not a guarantee -- it could bring about a dramatic shift in how people think about getting around by car. Dash aggregates input from all of the Dash units out there -- gathering anonymous info about exactly where each Dash car is and how fast it's moving -- and feeds it back to Dash users. If thousands of cars are driving around with Dash units in a given city, Dash owners will get pretty decent up-tothe-second information about how traffic is moving on roads they're heading towards or intend to take. It could be a classic case of information

shedding light on something that was previously opaque. People mostly guess what traffic will be like using models they've built in their heads about what it's usually like at certain times of day. Dash promises to stop the guessing -- we can know what traffic is like RIGHT NOW on the roads ahead. Interestingly, while states struggle to fund roads to relieve congestion and cities like London come up with schemes to reduce peak traffic -- Dash might be one of the best solutions of all to congestion. If everyone had Dash, drivers would make better decisions about routes and could disperse traffic more evenly around highways and cities. Dash is probably, in fact, the cheapest way to do that. Related Links Survey Confirms iPhone Users are HardCore Internet Junkies Code Black: Portable Email Network Crashes Again How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong

Yahoo, in the midst of a fight to remain independent, is granting “golden handcuff” stock options to key employees. The stock options are given to “key contributors” among the rank and file - senior executives are not eligible. These stock option grants are on top of the previously announced changes to Yahoo’s severance plans. That provided for accelerated vesting of employee stock options and severance pay following a change in control (an acquisition by Microsoft, for example) and a termination of employment, and it applied to all Yahoo employees. The new plan applies only to a select group of key Yahoo employees - the “rock stars,” as one source put it. They are being given special (and large) stock grants over and above their normal allotment. The size of the option grants is discretionary, but may be almost as large as their existing grants. One in twenty or so Yahoo employees will be getting these grants, says one source.

The options are also on an accelerated vesting schedule. Normal options are granted with a four year vesting schedule. If you leave earlier, those stock options disappear. The Rock Star options, though, vest over just 18 months. And they are also subject to the same acceleration provisions that Yahoo announced in February, so if the company is acquired and the employee terminated (or quits under certain conditions), they get all the stock. It is apparently fairly well known within Yahoo that some key employees are being given these special stock options, although we haven’t heard much grumbling from the vast majority that didn’t get them. Perhaps they’re too busy worrying about job security to spend much time on envy. Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Marc Andreessen has a new company, Ning, and seems to be active in business. But really, he seems to be morphing into something of a scruffy philosopher/preacher pumped up on massive quantities of Red Bull. Somehow, he manages to find time to pop out long, well-argued blog posts that would challenge most professional writers. Marc has started on a series that riffs on theories espoused by Charlie Munger, who is the quiet business partner of Warren Buffett. It's quite a start, and will be interesting to see if Marc will the see series through. Related Links Andreessen's Truth-Telling, and Lots of It Andreessen's Amazing Blog, Cont'd Sowood: Long Debt, Short Equity

Zillow's Business During a Real Estate Meltdown
By Kevin Maney ( Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/25/2008 7:38:42 AM

Rich Barton, CEO of popular real estate site Zillow, passed through town yesterday and met me for coffee at my satellite office, Jamie's General Bean. Zillow has grown like crazy in the two years since it launched and now gets 5 million visitors a month. It makes its money strictly on advertising. (Still private, it doesn't release financial figures.) So I had to ask: Now that real estate is in a crisis mode, what's that doing to Zillow? "We're growing 30% year over year," Barton said. He thinks the site is getting even more traffic now that it's a buyer's

market. "People take time to research because they have the time -- it's hard to take the time to research when the market is in a buying frenzy and you have multiple bids on a house." The site also keeps adding features and is "dipping its toe into home improvement" -perhaps showing people how a certain remodeling project would affect a home's price in a certain neighborhood. When real estate goes sour and people stay put, they tend to remodel what they own. It will soon launch mortgage marketplace on the

site. My guess, too, is that if housing prices are diving, a lot of people want to keep an eye on that. Zillow is a good way to watch what's happening to your home's value -or the prices of homes in a place you want to live. Zillow recently picked up another $30 million in financing in the fall. "I raised the last round not because we needed the money, but for a rainy day," Barton said. "A rainy day (in terms of being able to raise money) is kinda here." Related Links Prying Eyes House Poor Peter Schiff on the Housing Market and the Rescue Plan


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Adobe AIR Desktop App For Decline Of US Newspapers Accelerating FriendFeed Coming
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 6:37:23 AM

By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 8:09:55 PM

FriendFeed released their API just a few days ago, but third party developers are already scrambling to build on top of the service. We just heard that Howard/Baines will be releasing an Adobe AIR application for FriendFeed in the next week or so. So far all we have is the screen shot and a confirmation from Baines that his team is working on it. The application will be called Alert Thingy (I assume the site will be here). If this is anything like Twhirl, an AIR application for Twitter, it’s likely to be a hit. Since it’s AIR it will work on both Windows and Macs right from the start. If the application also allows users to comment on items, post directly to FriendFeed, flag items as “liked,” etc., users will have little need to visit the FriendFeed site directly. And that should be fine with FriendFeed, since users will have persistent interaction with the service on the desktop. Other early applications built on the

FriendFeed API are coming out, too. See this Wordpress plugin and FriendFeed Stats. CrunchBase Information FriendFeed Alert Thingy Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Figures released by the Newspaper Association of America show that the decline of newspapers is more rapid than previously thought, with total print advertising revenue in 2007 plunging 9.4% to $42 billion compared to 2006, the biggest drop in revenue since 1950, the year they started tracking annual revenue. Online provides some solace for the dead -tree business, with internet ad revenue growing 18.8% to $3.2 billion compared to 2006, but a rate significantly lower than the 31.4% growth the year before, and not even close to replacing the losses from print. Online revenue now represents 7.5% of total newspaper ad revenues. Newspapers do have a future, but as I wrote in November, we are yet to see a major consolidation of print in the United States. Declining revenues will ultimately force consolidation across print media in

Turn Your Lights Off, Google Needs Extra Power Today
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 9:34:03 AM

the United States, and many of those that fail to embrace change will be on borrowed time. (via E&P) Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

LinkedIn Now Offering Network RSS Feeds
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 8:47:55 PM

Google Risks Muslim Backlash By Hosting Fitna
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 7:25:21 PM

Google is currently hosting controversial film about Islam Fitma. The film has made tech headlines after Network Solutions suspended the site the film was to debut on, then Live Leak was forced to pull it following serious threats against the company from Muslims unhappy with the film. Live Leak’s explanation video above. The film, ripped from Live Leak, is now available on Google Video here in full, and

can also be found on YouTube. Warning on the film: there are graphic scenes in it. What Google does now will be an interesting test for a company that claims “do no evil” as its company mantra. The video is hosted in the US, and we presume with part or full support of the creators of the film negating any copyright considerations, so ultimately it will be up to Google to decide between free speech and global jihad. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

LinkedIn is now offering RSS feeds for network updates. The feature allows users to track updates and connections across their LinkedIn network via their favorite RSS Reader. For example the feed shows when people in your network connect with other people, make recommendations or update their LinkedIn status. As Ben Barren points out, it’s a handy way of keeping up to date for those who

live in their feed readers “because if its not in my google reader it doesnt exist to me, so now I’ll see what people are doing.” Access to set up the feed on LinkedIn here. CrunchBase Information LinkedIn Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

As we noted two days ago, Google is taking its home page black in support of Earth Hour. We criticized Google when we first posted about this because, it turns out, black web pages actually may use more power than white ones (based on a study that Google itself cited last year). So Google is, ironically, causing people who visit their site to use more power to celebrate Earth Hour than they would on a normal day. Google changed its message to users to note the disparity (compare to what they said to Israeli users two days ago), but I still find this all very funny. Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Joost in the Browser
By Kevin Maney ( Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/25/2008 5:52:02 AM

A few blogs have pointed out that there was a bit of news buried in my story on Joost in this month's Portfolio magazine.

(Working for a monthly, I didn't know whether the news would be out before my story ran -- but as it turns out, this is the scoop, as they say.) Anyway, it's the bit about Joost soon playing inside the browser, rather than only in a special Joost player that must be

downloaded. Joost did not say exactly when this will happen -- only "later this year." But clearly it's important to CEO Mike Volpi.

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Google and Its Click-Through
By Kevin Maney ( Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 7:58:24 AM

Roy Williams Commits NCAA Violation!
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/29/2008 11:40:14 AM

Google is getting some press about a dip in its click-through rate, but the news is not evidence of Google being in trouble. It's about a change in the way it generates clicks, and most analysts say it's a temporary blip. Certainly Google s tock

isn't suffering. It's up about 4% today. If you want more Google, dip into the interview of CEO Eric Schmidt by my colleague Russ Mitchell. Related Links Google's Fortune Cookie Says... The $1 Executive Club Doubts Spread About Google Earnings

But not what you think :) During the press conference before the Louisville vs North Carolina game, Roy Williams committed an NCAA violation, in front of everyone, the media, the cameras, the reporters, and ESPN News!

What was the violation? He pulled out a Coke bottle and poured it into his blue NCAA-logo cup. This is a violation because the NCAA does not want any other marketing logos to appear in their press conferences. This is further complicated because Coca Cola is one of the premier North Carolina sponsors :)

Will this amount to anything? Probably not :) Is this worth talking about? Probably not! PS> In the same press conference, Roy Williams revealed he said "NO" to NBA teams eleven times, including three NOs to the Los Angeles Lakers. Take that Coach K ;-)

Ballmer: We're Not Behind on Search; Just Waiting to Make Our Move
By Kevin Maney ( Tech Observer)
Submitted at 3/25/2008 10:50:27 AM

Sweet 16 Preview and Predictions, Day 1
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/26/2008 4:33:00 PM

In a quickie interview on 24/7 Wall Street, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer maintains that Microsoft's search situation is more like a distance runner waiting to make his move past the leader -- i.e. Google. And he says a little -- very little -about Yahoo and Microsoft's future as provider of software that sits on PCs. Related Links The War for the Internet Ballmer's Big Play Search Mission

You can get a two hour preview of the NCAA Tourney games on CSTV, today at 2pm pacific (5pm eastern), but you can also get a preview right here. For all the TV stuff, be sure to check our March Madness TV listings. West Virginia vs Xavier The first wave of games tips off with a good old rivarly, Bob Huggins vs Xavier. As you may recall, Huggins was the head coach at Cincy, and they had an annual intense rivarly game every year. We now love West Virginia even more, after they beat up the Dookies, and we are planning a blogging celebration for them later today :) And because of that we want West Virgina to win and move along. But Xavier, just like Texas, is one of those crazy teams that can beat anyone and can lose to almost anyone. They already showed early tournament onions by making comebacks against Georgia and Purdue. But ultimately we think the combination of outside shooting, Joe Alexander, and Bob Huggins toughness will get the Threepointers over the top and send the Musketeers home. And the X-men will have to worry some more, as their head coach may be poached by one of the BCS schools. Indiana is not the only major program looking for a head coach, and the impressive success of Herb Sendek at Arizona State may tempt other Pac-10 schools to go after one of his former

assistants. We are talking potentially Oregon, California or USC. But let's leave that for the coaching carousel discussion :) North Carolina vs Washington State In the other game, North Carolina will face Washington State. This is the ultimate contrast in style, although the young singer is not a ...dick like his dad, he lets his team run when they have the advantage. We've said all along that Washington State, just like Wisconsin, are operating in a narrow band. They usually beat the teams they are supposed to beat, and lose to the teams they are supposed to lose to. If you don't think so, be sure to check Washington State's record, courtesy of Ken Pom RPI. They are 0-5 against Sweet 16 teams (UCLA, Stanford), but they beat up NCAA teams that lost in the first week (Baylor, Zags, USC, Oregon). Arizona is an exception because when they had their full complement they were playing like a Sweet 16 team. But injuries and such derailed them. But that's a story for another day. Ultimately we think that UNC will overmatch Wazoo. Derrick Low may give them some headaches, as neither Lawson or Q are ideally suited to guard him. Kyle Weaver on the other hand will have his hands full having to deal with Ellington on defense and Ginyard and Green on offense. Hansbrough will probably be limited by the Wazoo interior play and defensive scheme, but the combination of Lawson and Green/Ellington, and possibly Deon Thompson's bank shots will be the

difference. Louisville vs Tennessee This is a game we have a hard time getting a read on. Both teams are deep, both press and run and gun. We would have preferred that this was a Final Four game instead of a Sweet 16 game. But let's consider Tennessee's history in the NCAA tourney in the Bruce Pearl era and Pitino's history. That does not look favorable for Tennessee, but one could have easily made the same argument for Texas A&M vs Louisville last year at Rupp Arena, and Billy Clyde Gillispie pulled out a tough win at his future home court beating Pitino on his former home court. Or to use Pitino-speak, his former home cot :) But there's something else that goes against Tennessee: Consider how they did not only in past NCAA tourneys under Bruce Pearl, but also in other tourneys. This year they got blown out by Texas in a pre-season tourney in New Jersey. Last year they lost to Butler in the pre-season NIT. They haven't done well in the SEC tourney either. Obviously the three point shot can be a determining factor and if there is a big difference in the shots made, we think that the team with that advantage will probably win the game. Other than Lofton - if he is having a wild shooting game - we don't see any potential matchup advantages for the Vols. Ultimately we think that Padgett and TWill will be able to make up for the

potential shortcomings of the Cardinals guards crumbling under the Vols pressure, and Derrick Caracter and Earl Clark will be too much for the Vols big men to handle. Louisville will win, we predict, but it could be a very close game. Western Kentucky vs UCLA We badly want Western Kentucky to win, but we are afraid that UCLA will be too much. Duke West has been getting a series of "friendly" calls by the zebras, not just the highly visible controversial calls, but also the multiple fouls per possession the UCLA wrestling-forwards commit on screens on offense and double teams on defense. We have enough material now to convict Ben Howland of ruining the game of basketball. You have two of the fastest guards in the country in Collison and Westbrook, and the most smartest (LOL) big man in Kevin Love, and yet you try to win the games in a slugfest, the same way a desperate low-major coach of a 300+ RRI team is clinging on to dear life. For crimes against basketball, Ben Howland, you have been convicted to lose in the Elite 8, and never make it to the Final Four again :) Friday's Games We will be posting our preview and predictions for the four day two games later today! Update! The time is Later! Here is the preview and predictions for day two of the Sweet 16 (Friday).

March Madness On Demand breaks traffic records!
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/26/2008 10:16:57 PM

We already mentioned the Compete story, but now we have more hard numbers on

March Madness OnDemand, courtesy of The numbers went through the roof compared to last year, with a total of 3.7 million hours watched! All the numbers

across the board went up up and away. Also of interest in that story, ESPN and CBS Sports had about the same number of entries in their online bracket competitions!

But remember, every time you fill in a bracket, Coach K eats a kitten for breakfast ;-)



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2008 March Madness TV Listings
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/29/2008 11:54:51 AM

If you enjoyed our regular season TV listings, and our 2007 March Madness TV listings, you will be thrilled by our 2008 March Madness TV listings! 2008 NCAA Tournament TV listings The National NCAA tourney TV listings were just published (March 17) at CBS Sports. The tourney games will be on CBS, CBS-HD, and CSTV (now CBS College Sports). The play-in (cough cough opening round game) tips off on Tuesday night on ESPN and ESPN-HD, and squares off Mount Saint Mary's with Coppin State, the team with the 20 losses. The CBS studio hosts will be the same as before (Seth Davis, Bryan Gumbel and Clark Kellogg), and the eight announcer teams are the usual faces, but with one addition. Youngster Carter Blackburn of CSTV will be "trained" by Dick Enberg (old enough to be his great grandpa) and Jay Bilas (tall enough to be his grandpa). Action begins on Thursday at 9am pacific (noon eastern), and CBS decided to start things off with an intriguing game, Xavier facing off the Georgia Bulldogs, aka the Georgia Miracles! You can also watch games live or repeats on your computer for FREE at This is what they call March Madness On-Demand. They also have a "video library" of previous games and events. Or so they claim ;-) The 2008 NIT TV listings The TV listings are embedded in the brackets at the NIT website(embedded PDF file). Direct link to the PDF file right here(PDF file). Every single NIT game (31 total) will be carried by the ESPN family of networks, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPN Classic. For more details on the NIT tourney, check the NIT website. The inaugural CBI TV listings The games are available online and at Fox College Sports. Details here. Action tips off on Tuesday March 18, 2008 with two games, and continues on Wednesday with two more games. We are not sure which games will be available on local channels or regional FSNs. Detailed daily TV listings(ALL TIMES PACIFIC)

Monday March 17, 2008 6pm, Black Magic Part #2, ESPN (commercial free; will re-air on ESPN Classic later on) 730pm, College Gamenight, ESPN2 9pm: ESPNU Inside the Polls, ESPN2 Midnight: CLASSIC, 1993 Arizona vs Kentucky, in the Maui, ESPN Classic various time: Debut of College Sports Tonight on CSTV (CBS-CS). This is a daily one-hour show that recaps the world of college sports. Think of it as SportsCenter for college sports but not by ESPN. Tuesday March 18, 2008 11am, 1987 NCAA Final: Syracuse vs Indiana, ESPN Classic 12pm, repeat: P10 tourney: Arizona vs Oregon State, Fox College Sports 1pm, 1998 NCAA Final: Texas vs Oklahoma, ESPN Classic 130pm, repeat: 2008 SEC tourney final, Georgia vs Arkansas, the miracle, CSTV (aka CBS College Sports) 4pm, NIT game: UNC Asheville at Ohio State, ESPN2 (7'7" giant Kenny George visits Value City arena) 4pm, 11pm, CBI game: Richmond at Virginia, Fox College Sports 430pm, NCAA Opening Round: Mount St Mary's vs Coppin State, ESPN 6pm, NIT game: Oklahoma State at Southern Illinois, ESPN2 6pm, NIT game: Akron at Florida State, ESPN Classic 6pm, 1am, CBI game: Houston at Nevada, Fox College Sports 630pm, NIT game: Minnesota at Maryland, ESPN 630pm, 1130pm, NAIA D2 tourney final, CSTV (CBSCS) 8pm, NIT game: Alabama State at Arizona State, ESPN2 Wedn March 19, 2008 Pregame press conferences on ESPN News throughout the day! midnight: Classic: 1987 TipOff classic: UNC vs Syracuse, ESPN Classic 10am: CLASSIC 1966 NCAA Final: Texas Western vs Kentucky, ESPN Classic 11am: CLASSIC 1989 NCAA Final: Seton Hall vs Michigan, ESPN Classic 1pm: CLASSIC 1990 NCAA final: UNLV vs Duke, ESPN Classic 1pm: March Madness Central (3 hours), CSTV (CBS CS) 4pm: NIT UAB at VCU, ESPN2

4pm: NIT Morgan State at Virginia Tech, ESPN Classic 4pm: CBI Cincinnati at Bradley, Fox College Sports 6pm: CBI Valpo at Washington, Fox College Sports 6pm: NIT Charlotte at Nebraska, ESPN Classic 6pm: NIT San Diego State at Florida, ESPN2 8pm: NIT New Mexico at California, ESPN2 Thur March 20, 2008 *** check local CBS station for listings in your area *** *** all times pacific *** 7am to 9am: SportsCenterU, ESPN 9am to 2pm: NCAA Tournament begins!, CBS, National schedule 9am to 145pm: March Madness Central on CSTV (CBS CS) 11am to 1pm: Tourney Gameday, ESPN2 145pm, 1am: NCAA tourney from Anaheim: Cornell vs Stanford, CSTV (CBS College Sports) 4pm to 10pm: NCAA Tournament afternoon session, CBS 4pm to 10pm: March Madness Central on CSTV (CBS CS) All night: March Madness Highlights (one hour long), CSTV (CBS CS) 9pm: NIT Second round: Southern Illinois at Arizona State, ESPN2 (first one to 39 wins!) Fri March 21, 2008 *** check local CBS station for listings in your area *** 7am to 9am: SportsCenterU, ESPN 9am to 2pm: NCAA Tournament Round 1 Day 2!, CBS, National schedule 9am: NCAA Tourney, CSTV (CBS College Sports) 11am to 230pm: College Gameday, ESPN 2pm, 1am: NCAA tourney from Anaheim, CSTV (CBS College Sports) 4pm to 10pm: NCAA Tournament afternoon session, CBS 1am: NCAA tourney repeat, CSTV Sat March 22, 2008 *** check local CBS for your area *** *** all times pacific *** 9am: NIT round 2: Akron at UMass 10am: Road to the Final Four, CBS 11am: NCAA Round 2 Day 1, four games [1-2-2-3], CBS, National schedule.

11am: WEST VIRGINIA vs Duke, CBS 120pm: Kansas State vs Wisconsin or Xavier vs Purdue, CBS 340pm or so: Notre Dame vs Washington State, or Marquette vs Stanford or UNLV vs Kansas, CBS 6pm or so: Pitt vs Michigan State or Texas A&M vs UCLA, CBS 9pm: Gameday on ESPN (1 hour long) Sun March 23, 2008 *** check local CBS for your area *** *** all times pacific *** 6am: Game of the week repeat: NIT, Rhode Island at Creighton, ESPN Classic 630am, Outside the Lines: Pat Summitt vs Geno Auriemma, The Drama, ESPN. Video preview. 9am, NCAA Round 2 Day 2, three games, CBS, [1-4-3], National schedule. 910am: Siena vs Villanova 1120am or so: Miami vs Texas or Bulter vs Tennessee or Davidson vs Georgetown or Western Kentucky vs San Diego 130pm or so: Miss State vs Memphis, or Oklahoma vs Louisville or Arkansas vs North Carolina 9pm: Gameday on ESPN (1 hour long) All Nite: March Madness Highlights, CSTV (CBS CS) Mon March 24, 2008 *** good news, NCAA games repeating on CSTV! *** 9am: Three NCAA game tourney repeats, CSTV (CBS College Sports). That's right, if you missed any games or your local CBS kept switching out, you can watch them in a full two-hour edit window! 9am: full-game repeat: BELMONT vs Duke, CSTV (CBS CS) 11am: full-game repeat: UConn vs San Diego, CSTV 1pm: full-game repeat: Drake vs Western Kentucky, CSTV 11am: Two Classic NCAA Tournament Finals on ESPN Classic 11am: 1991 NCAA Final Duke vs UNLV Kansas, ESPN Classic 1pm: 1993 NCAA Final Michigan vs North Carolina, ESPN Timeout Classic 4pm: NIT game, ESPN 4pm: CBI game: ODU at Virginia, Fox College Sports, CBI schedule 6pm: NIT game, ESPN 6pm: CBI game: Utah at Tulsa, Fox College Sports 920pm: College Gameday, ESPN (20

minutes) 1am: full game repeat, not sure which one, CSTV Tue March 25, 2008 9am: three full NCAA Tourney game repeats: UConn vs San Diego, Drake vs Western Kentucky (2.5 hours long), and Davidson vs Gonzaga, CSTV 11am: Two Classic NCAA Tournament Finals, 1994 Arkansas vs Duke, and 1995 UCLA vs Arkanas, on ESPN Classic 230pm: March Madness College Coaches, FSN 4pm: NIT game, ESPN2 6pm: NIT game, ESPN2 Wedn March 26, 2008 8am: Three repeats of full NCAA games: Davidson vs Gonzaga, Butler vs Tennessee, and Xavier vs Purdue, CSTV (CBS College Sports) 1020am: Gameday repeat (20 minutes), ESPN 2pm: March Madness Central (2 hours long), CSTV (CBS College Sports) 4pm: CBI semifinal #1, Fox College Sports 4pm: NIT Quarterfinal, ESPN 5pm: NCAA repeat: Texas A&M vs UCLA slugfest, CSTV (CBS College Sports) 6pm: CBI semifinal #2, Fox College Sports 6pm: NIT Quarterfinal, ESPN 630pm, 2008 McDonalds All American Game, ESPN. Preview at Recruiting Wars. 8pm: NCAA repeat: Xavier vs Purdue, CSTV 11pm: NCAA repeat: Butler vs Tennessee, CSTV Thur March 27, 2008 8am: NCAA repeats: Butler vs Tennessee, Xavier vs Purdue, Stanford vs Marquette, CSTV (CBS College Sports) 2pm: March Madness Central (1 hour), CSTV 3pm: NCAA Division 2 tourney, semifinals (two games), CSTV 4pm: NCAA Tourney, Sweet 16 Day 1, CBS National sked. 4pm: Washington State vs North Carolina or, West Virginia vs Xavier (around) 630pm: Louisville vs Tennessee, or, Western Kentucky vs UCLA 10pm: College Gameday, ESPN 1130pm: NCAA repeat: Stanford vs 2008 page 19

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2008 page 18 continued from
Marquette, CSTV Fri March 28, 2008 8am: NCAA repeats: UCLA vs Texas A&M, Memphis vs Mississippi State, Davidson vs Georgetown, CSTV 10am: College Gameday, ESPN 2pm: March Madness Central (2 hours), CSTV 4pm: March Madness Central (5.5 hours), CSTV 4pm: NCAA Tourney, Sweet 16 Day 2, CBS National sked. 4pm: Stanford vs Texas, or, Davidson vs Wisconsin (around 630pm: Villanova vs Kansas, or, Memphis vs Michigan State 10pm: College Gameday, ESPN 1130pm: NCAA repeat: Davidson vs Georgetown, CSTV Sat March 29, 2008 *** all times pacific *** *** Elite 8, Day 1, CBS (two games) *** 1130am: March Madness Central (30 minutes), CSTV 1130am: Division 2 final, CBS 2pm: Road to the Final Four (90 minutes), CBS 330pm: NCAA Tourney Elite 8 Game #1: Xavier us UCLA, CBS around 6pm: NCAA Tourney Elite 8 Game #2: Louisville vs North Carolina, CBS 430pm: March Madness Central (3.5 hours), CSTV 9pm: College Gameday, ESPN Sun March 30, 2008 *** all times pacific *** *** Elite 8, Day 2, CBS (two games) *** 10am: License to Thrive, Title 9 at 35, ESPN2 11am: March Madness Central (5 hours), CSTV 11am: NCAA Tourney Elite 8 Game #1, Memphis vs Texas WOW! around 130pm: NCAA Tourney Elite 8 Game #2, Kansas vs Davidson, Go Cinderella! 930pm: College Gameday, ESPN Mon March 31, 2008 8am: NCAA repeats: Davidson vs Georgetown, and more, CSTV Tue April 1, 2008 4pm: NIT semifinal #1, ESPN2 630pm: NIT Semifinal #2, ESPN2 Thur April 3, 2008 4pm: NIT final, ESPN 6pm, repeats at midnight: College Basketball Skillz (2 hours), ESPN More coming later on *** all times in this post are PACIFIC, unless otherwise indicated ***

Daily Tourney Talk: Sweet 16 day 2, and Elite 8 coming tomorrow!
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/28/2008 12:40:09 PM

Ben Braun officially fired by California Berkeley
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/26/2008 5:01:59 PM

We went 3-1 in yesterday's Sweet 16 predictions. We don't want to tout our horn, but we predicted that the Lawson/Green/Ellington trio would be what gave UNC the victory over Washington State. We missed the West Virginia loss to Xavier as we were betrayed by the ThreePointeers outside shooting. Now we are 100% behind Xavier's attempt to beat UCLA and get to the Final Four. As you may recall in 2004, the Thad Matta X-men would have made the Final Four had it not been for extreme Duke favoritism by the zebras in that game. And last year the X-men also lost an NCAA game on a controversial call, ironically to Thad Matta. After all the crapola UCLA has put "basketball" through, they deserve to lose to the X-men, and we predict that Xavier will beat UCLA in overtime. That game will be played tomorrow, in the Elite 8. That will be the first game.

We also had a good read on the Louisville vs Tennessee game, and it's really sad that these two teams had to meet in the Sweet 16 instead of the Elite 8. It is also sad that Louisville will have to face North Carolina in the Elite 8, instead of the Final Four. Both are Final Four caliber teams, and one could make an argument that they are two of the best three in the country at the moment (the third being Kansas). So it will be sad from a basketball perspective to see one of them go home without a trip to the Final Four. We predict that, partially thanks to the home co(ur)t advantage, North Carolina will beat Louisville in an instant classic. And now that we got tomorrow's Elite 8 games out the way, here are our predictions for today's four Sweet 16 games. Will we go 4-0 this time? If we do, it will be upset city baby!!! And don't forget to check our on-going TV listings, as well as our March Madness shopping segment.

Elite 8, the Final Four is just around the corner!
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/29/2008 11:00:50 AM

MLB Extra Innings free preview on Comcast!
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/27/2008 11:47:41 AM

We posted our preview of today's Elite 8 games yesterday, so be sure to check that out. Xavier and UCLA will tip off at 330pm pacific, and North Carolina vs Louisville will tip off around 6pm pacific. For more on that, be sure to check our march madness tv listings. Our predictions for day two of the Sweet 16 went 2-2, but we were glad to be wrong on Davidson and see Davidson advance to the Elite 8!. If any coach at a non-BCS school deserves a run in the NCAA tourney, it is Bob McKillop. We did predict that Memphis would have an easy

victory of Michigan State, just like we predicted Michigan State would beat Pitt. A number of analysts including Bob Knight and cheerleader Vitale were just so wrong on this matchup, when it was fairly obvious how the match ups would pan out! Speaking of Vitale, it was so cool to see Steve Lavin call Vitale an ACC Homer, when they were both doing the Friday night College Gameday scoreboard on ESPN! Go Lavin! Lavin of course is learning under the master, as he may end becoming the next Dick Vitale! Unless he takes the California job? :) CBS must be crying after last night's game, as they had four relatively not-veryclose games, but at least they had a

Cinderella Magic Moment in Davidson. Will the success of Bob McKillop in the NCAA tourney have mid-major programs from all across the country running to New York to get New Yorker coaches? :) Already Cal used the geo-tagging feature to go after Jamie Dixon of Pitt, after the success of Ben Howland at UCLA, and Herb Sendek at Arizona State! And what about the talk that Pete Newell is promoting Bob Knight as the next head coach at Cal? Well, he would fit real well with the Berkeley crowd, but he won't be the craziest one of the lot for a change ;)

Comcast (and maybe other cable companies too) will be having a week long free preview of its baseball pay per view package MLB Extra Innings. The preview will start on March 31st, and end on April 6. The free preview includes all the available channels, up to 10 games running in parallel, depending of course on what games are scheduled each night. You do usually need to have access to digital cable, as the cable companies are moving from analog to digital, for various reasons. But that's a story for a different blog :)

As we predicted a few days ago, CalBerkeley head basketball coach Ben Braun was fired after 12 (not 15) seasons as the Chief Bear. Story at Sports Illustrated. More on this story at regional website And also at the university newspaper, the Daily Californian. So our first of two predictions came true. Which one was our second prediction? Randy Bennett riding his second wave of NCAA Tournament selection success a few miles down the road to take over CalBerkeley. One of the pluses of Randy Bennett is that he looks a bit like Herb Sendek, and if Sendek was able to reboot ASU in just two years... Ironically this is the second coach Herb Sendek unintentionally managed to get fired. If it wasn't for Sendek's success in Year Two at ASU, the other coaches (Jay John, Ben Braun) could have gotten more out of the usual excuses (tough conference, not easy to do it, east coast bias, etc). But if Sendek turned ASU into a promising and rising program, what exactly has Ben Braun being doing in Berkeley? But in our opinion the firing offense was poor recruiting decisions. How can you have a team loaded with big men, and yet fail to get enough guards around them? And why was Jordan Wilkes not even given a chance to play through the season when the team was struggling? And the "Omar Wilkes bolted out a year earlier" excuse does not hold water. Wilkes was a wing. The team badly needed a point guard. Both Knezevic and mini-me Randle are backup guards at best. Christopher is a nice Pac-10 caliber player but he is more of a wing-guard.


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Outside the Lines: Tyler Smith and Duke's Blues
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/27/2008 11:06:37 AM

Bob Knight on today's Outside the Lines!
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/28/2008 11:05:56 AM

Today's Outside the Lines, on ESPN2 (330pm eastern) has a distinct College Basketball flavor. First up, Duke's Blues as Coach K gets his second early exit from the NCAA tourney! Thank you VCu, thank you Belmont, thank you West Virginia and Bob Thuggins! Outside the Lines reexamines the Duke/North Carolina rivalry with Raleigh Radio Host, Bomani Jones. Some love for Coach K As we mentioned a few years ago, in October 2005, at our sister blog, Recruiting Wars, that the return of Roy Williams at UNC would significantly alter the dynamics of the rivarly. Don't look now if you are a Duke fan, but look now if you are not! A national championship, an elite

8, a current run in the sweet 16, an amazing job on the year after the championship when he didn't have the usual Kansas/UNC talent, and such. More on that in January 2006. What has Coach Ratface K done? He stockpiles Mcdonalds All-Americans, plays only half of them, and wastes the life and potential of almost all of them. Look at where DeMarcus Nelson's career has gone! He was a scoring machine that could have been a whole lot more in college had he played elsewhere. At Duke, just like most players, their life force is drained by the Ratface K, and their game just evaporates into floor slaps. The second feature, the centerpiece, is the story of Tennessee's Tyler Smith, told by Tom Friend.

Well well well, if you like Bob Knight on your TV, whether it's because you are a fan of his, a hater or just waiting for his next outburst, you are in luck as the ESPN family of networks is giving us a steady stream of Knightalia! So today, at 330pm eastern (12:30pm pacific), on Outside the Lines, on ESPN, Bob Knight discusses hoops. Details on the OTL page. This will also have a sneak preview of the Rece Davis interview with the trio of headcases, Bob Knight, Bill Parcells, and the softball coach of the Bird

League ;-) Knight will also preview today's Sweet 16 games, and recap yesterday's action... It is interesting to see how Rece Davis's star continues to rise in the ESPN World, as now he has been "blessed" by the General who hates the media. But as Digger Phelps told him "You are MEDIA!". Bob Knight tries to think of himself as a "consultant" on TV. By the way it is Rece Davis, not Reece Davis, he is not a peanut butter cup ;-) This is a good way to remember how to properly spell his name :)

Conan does Leno but they don't talk about Filed 2009 under: Late Night, Video, - Talk Show Celebrities,VIDEOS
BySo Conan O'Brien showed up on Jay Bob Sassone (TV Squad)Submitted

Leno's show Out of the Blogosphere last night. Late Night is in

By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 3:06:00 AM

What's On Tonight: Naruto, Torchwood, Mad TV
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 9:04:00 AM

Filed under: Programming, What To Watch Tonight • Yup, CBS has March Madness all night again. • At 8, FOX has a new Cops . • TLC has two new episodes of Flip That House starting at 8, followed by new episodes of Trading Spaces and Moving Up . • At 9, FOX has a new

America's Most Wanted . • CNBC has a new Suze Orman Show at 9.

• Lifetime has the new movie The Double Life of Eleanor Kendall at 9. • ABC Family has the new movie The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing The Dream at 9. • There are two new episodes of Naruto on Cartoon Network at 9. • Also at 9: BBC America has a new Torchwood . • At 11, FOX has a new Mad TV , then a new Talk Show with Spike Feresten . Check your local TV listings for more. Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Jack Klugman sues NBC over Quincy profits
By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 2:41:00 AM

Filed under: Industry, Celebrities This is a very odd story, and not because it involves one-half of TV's most enjoyable sitcoms ever, The Odd Couple, but it's not about that show. It's about his other

successful series. Jack Klugman has filed suit against NBC Universal over profits

from Quincy, M.E. The oddity is that the show hasn't been in production for 25 years and this hasn't come up till now! Continue reading Jack Klugman sues NBC over Quincy profits Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Industry, Programming, Web, Celebrities What's happening on other blogs via the interweb. • Henry Rollins wants to know what's up with Carrot Top . • Ben Stein loves the women of the FBN. •'s James Poniewozik has some questions about Lost while we wait for new episodes. • Speaking of Lost , check out this funny postcard (and the one that features Giles from Buffy The Vampire Slayer . • Simon Baker ( The Guardian / Smith ) is returning to CBS as The Mentalist . • I'm so glad I don't watch Celebrity Fit Club .

• Ken Jennings interviews a former Jeopardy writer. • What if everyone died in the finale of Battlestar Galactica ? Permalink| Email this| | Comments

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Saturday Morning: 1965 VIDEOS
By Richard Keller (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 3:44:00 AM

Talk Talk: John Larroquette, k.d. lang, Carole King
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 10:00:00 AM

Filed under: Video, Animation, Children, Retro Squad If the years 1960 to 1964 were a time when the networks put their toes in the Saturday morning waters to see what it was like, 1965 was the year where they took a few steps in. Not completely enough to submerge themselves, mind you...that would be left until the Fall of 1966. But, just enough to feel comfortable enough to dive in. Like the nation, television was changing in 1965, and the shift could be felt on Saturday mornings. Gone were many of the post-primetime, live action shows that filled the schedule during the first few years of the 60's. In its place was more animated fare. And, that programming was geared to current fads that were taking place in pop culture during that time. It was also the year that a certain animation studio known for its primetime and

syndicated fare took its first tentative steps back into original Saturday morning programming. %Gallery-19311% Continue reading Saturday Morning: 1965 - VIDEOS Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Late Night, TV Royalty, Programming, Celebrities, Talk Show Here's who's on the late night shows tonight. • Charlie Rose: a discussion of integrative health • The Late Show with David Letterman: Charles Barkley and Bill Burr (repeat) • Jay Leno: John Larroquette and k.d. lang • Jimmy Kimmel Live: Kate Bosworth , Spencer Grammer, and Serj Tankian • Tavis Smiley: Carole King • Late Night with Conan O'Brien: Jerry Seinfeld, David Ortiz, and Sondre Lerche (repeat) • The Late, Late Show with Craig

Will Project Runway winner be fierce with Ugly Betty?
Ferguson: Tom Selleck, Dario Franchitti, and Ziggy Marley (repeat) • Last Call with Carson Daly: Brooke Burns and Shiny Toy Guns (repeat) Permalink| Email this| | Comments

By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 2:02:00 AM

CONAN 20 continued from page
repeats this week and O'Brien was out on the West Coast for some reason (maybe checking out his new studio?) and he appeared as the first guest. And it was kinda funny, but mostly dull. I didn't expect some long discussion about O'Brien taking over for Leno when Leno steps down in 2009, but I did think they'd at least bring the topic up at some point. The only thing said about it all night was a one line joke by Leno in the monologue ("Conan O'Brien is on the it 2009 already?"). Instead, O'Brien just rehashed his Good Housekeeping recipe story and told stories about the Emmys and Jerry Lewis. It was odd they didn't address the issue (and it was made even more weird by the fact that Leno did make a joke about it at the start of the show). Video of the appearance is after the jump. Continue reading Conan does Leno but they don't talk about 2009 - VIDEOS Permalink| Email this| | Comments

NBC's Jeff Zucker: Funny or no? - VIDEO
By Anna Johns (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 11:25:00 AM

Filed under: Video, Watercooler Talk, WGA Strike NBC Universal CEO and president Jeff Zucker might be funny... or just a prick. He appears in a new promotional video to air on April 3rd before a new episode of My Name is Earl. Zucker plugs, where people can catch up on their favorite shows that are about to return after being on a long hiatus because of the strike. He includes what could be considered as digs toward writers, including asking viewers to watch the videos within the first 17 days of posting. The new WGA contract allows studios to stream content for 17 days before they have to pay writers royalties. Plus, there's a little dig at the writers when he's talking about My Name Is Earl-- how

Filed under: Celebrities, Project Runway, Ugly Betty, Casting You know that movie, When Worlds Collide? Okay, maybe it won't be like that, but still. Project Runway season 4 winner Christian Siriano is doing a guest spot on ABC's Ugly Betty, according to TV Guide. As anyone knows who watched this past season -- which was fabulous! -- Christian was one of the most funny and articulate designers in quite a while on the show. And his designs weren't bad either! He's already become famous for his use of the word "fierce." Kinda like Rachael Ray has made EVOO her own trademark term. You watch, someday soon Christian Siriano will name his label Fierce Fashions. (Do I get a piece of the action for that idea?) Continue reading Will Project Runway winner be fierce with Ugly Betty? Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Earl gets hit by a car again in the cliffhanger. "Writers refer to it as a 'callback'. I call it getting paid twice for writing the same thing." Continue reading NBC's Jeff Zucker: Funny or no? - VIDEO Permalink| Email this| | Comments


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Big Brother 9: Live feeds report March 28
By Jackie Schnoop (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 11:43:00 AM

Is Hayden Christensen the New Superman?
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 5:02:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, Big Brother (US) We're in the busy days of Big Brother 9 right now. Since the live show on Wednesday, there has been a food competition, nominations, and today is the power of veto competition. After today, there isn't anything except the power of veto meeting. Then it's a mix of doldrums and drama until the next live eviction on Wednesday. Natalie is doing her artwork in the image here. I've been surprised that BB is allowing that as they aren't allowed to write. In other seasons, they had nothing with which to write. She's using nail

polish. For show spoilers, read on past the jump! Continue reading Big Brother 9: Live feeds report - March 28 Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Simon Baker returns to CBS & Wheeler gets a greenlight
By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 4:29:00 AM

Filed under: Pickups and Renewals, Casting As someone who was a regular watcher of The Guardian, it makes me happy to see that the star of that show is coming back to the home screens. Simon Baker will star in the CBS drama The Mentalist. The pilot has been given the goahead by the network, which mean Simon could be back on the schedule by next fall (if the show is picked up). The Mentalist sounds like it should be something like a Kreskin extravaganza, but it's not. Instead it's described as the story of Patrick Jane, a man with heightened skills of observation who uses his talents to solve

crimes. Continue reading Simon Baker returns to CBS & Wheeler gets a greenlight Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Action, Casting, RumorMonger, Fandom, Comic/Superhero/Geek Take from this what you will, but Cinema Blend is reporting on a tip they received from someone who was hanging with Adam Brody in a bar up in British Columbia. What's Brody doing there? Well, apparently some of the cast is with George Miller scouting locations for Justice League Mortal. (Not sure why they'd be up there with the director scouting, but let's roll with it for now ...) Anyway, Brody, Miller and a few others were in a bar, getting wasted, when this girl (who wrote into CB) asked him what they all were doing there. Naturally he said they were scouting for Justice League Mortal(which recently had to shift production from Australia to Canada). Then it gets interesting. Here's her full quote: "George is our director. He said he's playing The Flash, Common is playing Green Arrow (or Lantern, one or the other), Armie Hammer (sounded like Arm and Hammer) is Batman, someone from "mad max" is Martian Man-hunter (didn't catch the name) and Hayden Christensen is Superman. Brody also nodded to the

Don't Fear the Subs: 'Kiltro' and 'Them' -- Chile and France Kick Butt
woman to his right and said "she (he said her name but I didn't catch it) is in it too". Oh, and they had lots of drinks." While I'm very reluctant to believe this one, on the other hand I could totally buy them wanting Christensen to play Superman. He'd bring some more "celebrity" to the cast, even though the fanboys who hated him Star Wars would hate him again -even more this time -- for Superman. Should be interesting to see this one play out, as Justice League Mortal is supposed to begin shooting this summer. What do you think about Hayden Christensen playing Superman? Permalink| Email this| Comments

By Peter Martin (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 11:32:00 AM

The Queen's Peter Morgan Moves On to 'Hereafter'
By Eugene Novikov (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 1:32:00 PM

Filed under: Horror, Thrillers, Awards, Deals, Dreamworks Peter Morgan, screenwriter of The Queen, The Last King of Scotland and The Other Boleyn Girl, is fast becoming one of Hollywood's hottest commodities. Variety tells us that his latest, a supernatural thriller called Hereafter, has been sold to Dreamworks

for seven figures. Morgan's prestige no doubt helped the sale, though Dreamworks may also have had a Pavlovian response to the fact that the screenplay is pitched as being "in the vein of The Sixth Sense." Morgan has a unique and very valuable talent for telling stories that are hugely entertaining and "respectable" at the same time. The Other Boleyn Girl was a steamy, melodramatic soap opera that managed to worm its way into the arthouses,

presumably because of its historical grounding. His play Frost/Nixon was a political gabfest that became a Broadway sensation and is now being adapted for the screen by Ron Howard. The Queen took a dry subject and transcended demographics on its way to several Oscar nominations. Studios understandably flock to him. I'm very interested to see if he can bring the same sort of aura of dignity to a ghost story. Maybe Hereafter's biggest similarity

to The Sixth Sense will be that Morgan, like M. Night Shyamalan, will get the supernatural thriller genre some rare Oscar attention. No more details about Hereafter are currently available -- it has nothing to do with this David Strathairn film-- but I'm keeping my eye on it. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Action, Foreign Language, Thrillers, New on DVD, Home Entertainment, Cinematical Indie Both of these movies come highly recommended -by other people, because my personal copies have not arrived yet (Grrr!!!). Still, I've heard from such a wide cross-section of trusted friends and complete strangers that I feel completely confident in suggesting you check these movies out. Both were released in Region 1 DVD editions earlier this week. Kiltro was one of the movies that people were raving about at Fantastic Fest last fall. As as our own Scott Weinberg noted at the time, Kiltro is an action flick from Chile starring "stuntman-turned-hero Marko 'The Latin Dragon' Zaror." Michael Gingold of Fangoria wrote that, despite a multitude of kung-fu movie conventions, Kiltro succeeds "due to a tongue-in-cheek approach that tweaks the genre's requirements ... and the charisma and abilities of Zaror." The DVD from Magnet Releasing includes deleted scenes, bloopers, fight training and behind the scenes footage, and storyboard action. Continue reading Don't Fear the Subs: 'Kiltro' and 'Them' -- Chile and France Kick Butt Permalink| Email this| Comments

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Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno Nails Ben Affleck
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 6:32:00 AM

Filed under: Comedy, RumorMonger, Celebrities and Controversy, Fandom, DIY/Filmmaking So it appears as if Sacha Baron Cohen is still causing quite the mess here in the United States as his alter-ego Brüno; getting kicked out of airports, showing up to an Easter play at a church in Kansas wearing chains, and the list goes on. First off, for those not familiar with Brüno, he's a gay Austrian fashion reporter who's wildly flamboyant in every way. The film, which marks Cohen's follow-up to Borat, will be called (deep breath) ... Brüno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable in the Presence of a Gay Foreigner in a Mesh T-Shirt. Needless to say, I cannot wait to hear my local news coughing up that title when it comes time for the weekend box office figures. But back to Ben Affleck. Seems Mike Walker from the National Enquirer called into Howard Stern last week saying that Affleck called friend Sarah Silverman following an interview with Brüno. Affleck was told Brüno was a "very famous openly gay fashion journalist," but that didn't stop Ben from admitting it was "the weirdest sit-down he has ever had

with a reporter." Eventually, Silverman coughed up his name and only then did Ben realize he'd been had. Part of me doesn't believe this at all, because I can only imagine the hoops one would need to jump through in order to get an actual sitdown interview with Ben Affleck. Then again, perhaps Cohen's crew have perfected their little joke by now. Either way, I'm sure Affleck will be making an appearance in the film. For more, as well as a brief video of Brüno's crew dancing in an airport, head over to Slashfilm. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Fan Rant: The Trouble With Today's Spoofs
By Eugene Novikov (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 1:02:00 PM

Review: Shotgun Stories - Jeffrey's Take
By Jeffrey M. Anderson (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 2:32:00 AM

Filed under: Comedy, New Releases, Fan Rant As Scott pointed out in his review, you need not fear that this week's Superhero Movie is another brainchild of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, whose satanic perversions of the parody genre -Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans-- have been terrorizing unsuspecting audiences every year since 2006. Superhero Movie was actually directed by Craig Mazin, a protégé of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker dream team responsible for Airplane! and The Naked Gun, and produced by David Zucker himself. But it, too, is plagued -- albeit to a much lesser degree -- by what's turning out to be the problem with the entire modern generation of spoofs going back to Scary Movie: relentless pop culture specificity. The basest incarnations of this, of course, are the Friedberg-Seltzer monstrosities,

which may be worthless as comedies but which could prove valuable to historians because they indicate precisely what dominated the American zeitgeist in the few months before their release. It's too generous to call these films' vulgar spasms "jokes," but to the extent that's what they are, they depend entirely on either audience members' awareness of US Weekly-type factoids such as Britney Spears' shaving her head or their recall of particular scenes and characters in recent box-office hits. That's not to say that these kinds of jokes can't be funny -- the problem with Friedberg and Seltzer, as others have pointed out, is that they think throwing something current on the screen ("Look, Paris Hilton!") constitutes humor. But they do limit comedies' universal appeal and staying power. Continue reading Fan Rant: The Trouble With Today's Spoofs Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Drama, New Releases, Theatrical Reviews, New in Theaters, Cinematical Indie A man sits on his bed in the half-light, shirtless. On his back is a series of little bumps, perhaps scars, possibly cigarette burns, or buckshot wounds? His coworkers at the fish hatchery take secret bets as to their origin. But for Son Hayes ( Michael Shannon), they are part of a hurtful past, one that he is forever trying to get beyond. Son's name, as well as those of his brothers, Kid ( Barlow Jacobs) and Boy ( Douglas Ligon), no doubt came from their awful father, a kind of branding that they can never escape. We never meet this father. He dies at the beginning of Shotgun Stories. Son, Kid and Boy attend his funeral, and that's when the trouble starts. If not for that, life in this Arkansas small town probably would have gone on as always, with Kid sleeping in a tent in Son's backyard, with Boy living out of his van, and with the three of them getting together for beers. (There is a lot of beer drinking in this movie.) Continue reading Review: Shotgun Stories - Jeffrey's Take Permalink| Email this| Comments



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Lionsgate Puzzles Over 'The Last Equation'
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 10:02:00 AM

Review: Superhero Movie
By Scott Weinberg (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 3:31:00 AM

Filed under: Classics, Comedy, MGM, Theatrical Reviews, The Weinstein Co., Comic/Superhero/Geek It ain't high art and it sure isn't "brilliant filmmaking," but the arrival of Craig Mazin's Superhero Movie is actually a (small) cause for (minimal) celebration. And here's why: Over the last few years, the word "spoof" has become synonymous with the phrase "wretched non-movie." One need only pick through titles like Date Movie, Epic Movie, The Comebacks and Meet the Spartans to see that the spoof movie is one good place to hide if you're very lazy. Just about every movie freak I know was skeptical of Superhero Movie because they've been burned too often by this sort of schtick -- but I'm pleased to

note that Superhero Movie actually represents a (slight) upswing for the oftmaligned sub-genre. It's sure as hell no Airplane!-- but it sure as hell isn't Date Movie, either. Written and directed by Scary Movie(s) scribe Craig Mazin (and produced by two of the guys responsible for not only Airplane!, but Top Secret!, Hot Shots, and The Naked Gun, too), Superhero Movie is a colorful mixture of the old-school spoof style (thank god for Leslie Nielsen) and the more current crotch- and fart-addicted sensibility. It's very broad, very silly, very episodic, and frequently very sloppy, but (and here's a big but) Superhero Movie succeeds over many of its cousins for one simple reason: It's pretty funny. Continue reading Review: Superhero Movie Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Action, Thrillers, Deals, Scripts Proof may have failed to wow audiences, but it looks like math is coming back to the big screen, mixed with science, adventure, and intrigue. No, I'm not talking about 21, but rather a new adaptation that's on the way. The Hollywood Reporter has posted that Lionsgate films have picked up the film rights to Stuart Gibbs' debut novel, The Last Equation. It's all based on "the mystery surrounding Pandora, Albert Einstein's last equation. It had the potential to solve the world's energy problems, but it so drastically simplified the process of harnessing atomic energy that it essentially made it possible for anyone to create atomic weaponry. Because of the risks, Einstein either hid or destroyed the equation before his death." Zoom forward to the present day. The government gets the help of a fugitive criminal (Snake Plissken!) and a math genius (John Nash!) to find the equation ... dum, dum, dum ... before it falls in the wrong hands. What is it about bad guys that makes them the only savior when potentially terrible things happen?

Cinematical's Friday Night Double Feature: It's Just a Game!
Lionsgate's Mike Paseornek says: "Stuart Gibbs has written a novel that has everything you need for a first-rate actionthriller, starting with an ingenious premise about a mathematical formula that could either save the world or destroy it." It could be good, it could be bad. All I know is that I'd like at least a little camp to it. The world needs a new, great good bad guy. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 2:02:00 PM

Filed under: Comedy, Drama, Fandom, Home Entertainment, Games and Game Movies, Friday Night Double Feature Everything is coming up parties and games this week. I've been busy making a kickass birthday cake for a friend, planning for the party, and finally picking up a belated gift

The Aftermath of Minghella's Untimely Passing
By Eugene Novikov (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 8:32:00 AM

If you are a fan of the late Anthony Minghella, take a look at this heartbreaking Variety article about the professional void left by his demise. Some prominent folks have some very nice things to say about the extremely accomplished and respected writer-director -producer, including the fascinating tidbit that the final shots of Atonement, with Robbie and Cecilia on the beach, arose out of his conversations with Joe Wright. The piece also offers a status report on the fates of the projects he left behind as

one half of Mirage Entertainment, the other half being the currently ill Sydney Pollack. The ones that made it far enough through development remain on track,

including Minghella's contribution to the short-film compilation New York, I Love You, which Shekhar Kapur has taken over, and the Stephen Daldry-directed The Reader, which still has Scott Rudin to shepherd it through post-production. Productions in earlier stages, such as an untitled David O. Russell project and Minghella's own planned adaptation of Liz Jensen's psychological thriller The Ninth Life of Louis Drax, may well collapse. Continue reading The Aftermath of Minghella's Untimely Passing Permalink| Email this| Comments

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CINEMATICAL'S continued from page 24
of Scrabble for another friend. Top that off with news stories about Kevin Kline and chess, and getting sent pictures of really cool Blue Velvet cakes, and, well, I've got games and parties on the brain. Picking this week's films was a bit of a challenge, but it all depended on the angle. Did I just want movies with games in them? Did they have to be performed at parties? Would I consider the likes of Bobby Fischer or Jumanji? Nah. Instead, we've got two films that boast insanely great ensemble casts, have some pretty fierce competition, and yet are wonderful for completely different reasons: The Anniversary Party and Clue. Continue reading Cinematical's Friday Night Double Feature: It's Just a Game! Permalink| Email this| Comments