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24/03/08 - 31/03/08 U.S. Edition

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

Filed under: Democrats, Featured Stories, 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: Humor, LOLection Tired of sparring over your choice of Democratic candidate in the comments section? Got some bloodthirst on? Act out

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

Get Your Game On
By Denise Williams (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 1:00:00 PM

to your hearts content: Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Democrats, 2008 President,


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Dith Pran Taken, Not by Killing Fields
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 10:49:00 AM

Filed under: Obits The New York Times reports that photojournalist Dith Pran, subject of the film, The Killing Fields, has died at the age of 65: Dith Pran, a photojournalist for The New York Times whose gruesome ordeal in the killing fields of Cambodia was re-created in a 1984 movie that gave him an eminence he tenaciously used to press for his people's rights, died in New Brunswick, N.J., on Sunday. He was 65 and lived in Woodbridge, N.J. The cause was pancreatic cancer, which had spread, said his friend Sydney H. Schanberg. Anyone unfamiliar with Pran's story should check out The Killing Fields, but be prepared for a sobering, shattering experience. Pran outlived the actor who portrayed him, Dr. Haing Ngor, himself an escapee of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge. Ngor was murdered in as unjust a fashion as I can imagine, by a street gang who shot him when he, after surrendering his Rolex, refused to give the thieves a locket containing a photo of his late wife. I can only hope that Pran's death was more peaceful. The Times did a fine job of reporting on Pran's life. I want to spend a

minute telling you what Pran meant to me. When I saw The Killing Fields, I was 16 years old, and I still harbored dreams of being a journalist. The film was at once an inducement and a discouragement, as it showed both the power and the powerlessness of the pen. But Pran's courage was undeniable. After seeing the film, I read Dr. Ngor's story as well, and both of their tales humbled me. These were not "great men" of grand aspiration, but rather fighters for that which we take for granted, our lives, our freedom, food in our

stomachs. There are times in Pran's story where I imagined he had no hope, yet he kept going. I wondered what fueled him at those times, what ground did he stand on, or even fall to, when everything went to hell in Cambodia? I was reminded of this again when I first saw reports of the Rwandan genocide, of people being machine-gunned in their hospital beds and slaughtered in the streets. What is there to return to after that? Both Pran and Dr. Ngor are among a tiny handful of people whom I would call heroes, in the sense that they possess qualities that I can never claim, but to which I can aspire. They survived when there was no reason to, and it seems they did so only to help others once they did. I am sorry to say, I haven't thought about Pran much, really since I heard that Dr. Ngor had been killed, as life replaced my dreams of being a heroic journalist. I didn't know he lived a scant 90 minute drive from me. Hearing of his death today reminds me that there are seas of injustices in this world, and only pebbles to fight them, but those pebbles can cause mighty ripples. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Bill Clinton to Democrats: "Chill Out"
By Christopher Weber (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 12:30:00 PM

Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Democrats, Primaries, 2008 President, Bill Clinton Not surprisingly, Bill Clinton doesn't believe a long, drawn out battle between Hillary and Obama will hurt the party. Quite the contrary. He think it's the way to victory in November. The former president was a special guest at this weekend's powwow of California Democrats in San Jose. He cozied up to superdelegates and gave a speech urging Dems to let the balloting continue."There is somehow the suggestion that because we are having a vigorous debate about who would be the best president, we are going to weaken this

party in the fall," he said Sunday at the state Democratic Party convention. "We're going to win this election if we just chill out and let everybody have their say," Clinton added. Mr. Clinton of course failed to address the elephant (make that donkey) in the room: the fact that Obama appears to have a nearly-insurmountable lead in delegates over Mrs. Clinton. While many of his supporters are calling on Hillary to drop out, for his part Obama says he doesn't care either way. Campaigning in Pennsylvania, Obama said, "My attitude is Senator Clinton can run as long as she wants." Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Videos of the Week - American Dad
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 11:42:00 PM

Filed under: Republicans, John McCain, 2008 President, Videos of the Week Welcome to Videos of the Week. It has been a bad week for Hillary Clinton, with the Senator taking a lot of heat over her trip to Bosnia, and an ever-increasing drumbeat of pundits suggesting that she feel the fork and bow out gracefully. As a longtime Hillary Clinton admirer, this puts me in an awkward position, as I don't really want to play you some of these videos again. It just feels like piling on. Here's what I will do instead. At the end of VOTW, I will post a video player with all

of the related videos. That way, if you missed them, you can still catch up, and I can still look myself in the mirror. So, our first VOTW is a controversial new ad from John McCain, the first of the general election. Why controversial? Mark Impomeni asks the question here, but I will answer it, and so can you. The last line of the commercial: ANNCR: John McCain. The American president Americans have been waiting for. View Poll My answer? Of course it's a swipe at Obama, and a damned clever one. The more people talk about it, the more they emphasize and magnify the smears against their rival, while retaining complete

deniability. This was a busy week for my pals at, and it's good to see

that great minds think alike. Obama Girl wants Hillary to stop helping McCain, and so do I. Speaking of Obama, he's got a new ad out. I really like what he says in this one, and I think it will resonate with voters. Remember those lines? Remember how, in the late 80's, Geo made cars that got 60 miles per gallon? What happened? Time to lighten the mood and darken the skies. Here's The Onion with a report on China's environmental achievements. China Celebrates Its Status As Worldâs Number One Air Polluter This week marked a tragic milestone in the Iraq war, as the U.S. saw its 4,000th soldier killed in that conflict. As you can see from the press briefing, not much has

changed in the administration's view of Iraq. This next clip features my new favorite Clinton, Chelsea, fending off an inappropriate question. I would like to help Chelsea out here by finishing her sentence. " asshole!" Now, try laughing through the tears at the "trailer" for Recession: The Movie. That's it for this week. As promised, here's the "Sniper-Gate" roundup. See you next week. Don't bite your friends. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

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Sadr Reverses Course; Calls for Truce
By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 9:00:00 AM

Left Hooks
By Denise Williams (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 9:40:00 AM

Filed under: Bush Administration, Breaking News, Iraq One day after telling his Mahdi Army fighters to defy the Iraqi government's call for the militia group to lay down its weapons, rebellious Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr told his followers in Iraq's southern port city of Basra to cooperate with government forces. The turnaround comes as U.S., and British forces engaged in the conflict yesterday in support of Iraqi Army units trying to wrest control of the city from the Iranian backed group. Sadr announced the change in plans in a nine-point address delivered from his headquarters in the Shiite holy city of Najaf. He renounced "anyone who carries weapons and targets government institutions, charities and political party offices," and called for the Iraqi government to grant amnesty to his fighters and release any they have detained during the standoff. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has not responded to the demands. While this turn of events could have been anticipated since it has been Sadr modus operandi to cause trouble and then pull back, hoping to be viewed as a

conciliatory figure, the quick turnaround may indicate that the entrance of coalition forces made Sadr's patrons in Iran nervous. Maliki is in Basra, and has vowed to stay there until the unrest is brought under control. He met with local tribal leaders on Saturday and secured their support for the government's effort to "save Basra from

the criminal gangs," according to the Prime Minister's office. Maliki was characteristically bombastic in a statement about the government's actions, comparing the Mahdi Army to al-Qaeda. "We will continue to stand up to these gangs in every inch of Iraq. It is unfortunate that we used to use say these very words about al Qaeda, when all the while, there were people among us who are worse than al Qaeda." Just yesterday, it appeared that Maliki's gamble in going after the Mahdi Army might backfire, causing the Iraqi government to appear weak and vulnerable. But coalition firepower helped turn the tide in the standoff, so that now it is Sadr seeking an accommodation. Like a cat with nine lives, Sadr will survive this confrontation to cause trouble at another time, likely the next time he feels it necessary to solidify his own position as a leader among the Shiite factions in Iraq. Eventually, though, his chances will run out. In the deadly game of Iraqi politics, al-Sadr will one day overplay his hand. When he does, U.S. forces should be ready to go all in, and call his bluff. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Media MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has a 5-year anniversary special tonight on regular ole NBC AND he blogging over at Daily Kos about it - Daily Kos Some pics and back story on blogger's convention that I went to in Philly this weekend that included political cartoonist Ted Rall, Princeton U Economist (and NYT columnist) Paul Krugman, Harper's Magazine's Scott Horton, Philadelphia News' Will Bunch and Eric Johnson (Chief

of Staff for Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL)) as well as some of the best progressive bloggers around the blogosphere(partial list). - Blast Off Paul Krugman makes a funny on the mortgage bubble (thanks Will Bunch, I couldn't read my notes), "It's not some radical new technology -- it's housing". Obama should stick to basketball. He sucks at bowling - Reuters Karl Rove was not well-received at GW University. Watch how he describes his horns and tail: Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

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

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?

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

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


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N.J. GOP Chief Lays the Smack Down
By Liza Porteus Viana (Political Machine)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 5:01:00 PM

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

Filed under: Democrats, Republicans, 2008 Senate New Jersey GOP Chairman Tom Wilson set a Friday deadline for a vicious prankster to come forward - or else. Well, the prankster failed to reveal him or herself, now they will face Wilson's wrath. reports on the apparent cat-and-mouse game being played between the prankster and Wilson after the alleged offender impersonated Wilson in e-mails to several Republican County chairmen. Because the prankster said he or she was a college student just trying to be funny, Wilson gave them another chance to come forward and apologize to all parties involved. Since the vicious e-mailer didn't come forward by the stated deadline, Wilson and his attorney are expected to file a criminal charges and push Yahoo! to release the name of the impersonator. Wilson's attorney on Thursday sent a letter via email to the prankster, which can be read here. "Your actions are illegal, dishonest and and an affront to democracy

and decency," the e-mail letter says. "I will not tolerate them." In other New Jersey news, PolitickerNJ called U.S. Senate GOP candidate and Goya Foods millionaire heir Andy Unanue at his parents' Bergen County home and instead got the housekeeper, who said the candidate doesn't even live there. He has a place on Central Park West in New York City. (Insert uproar and gasps here.) Unanue's campaign told PolitickerNJ that Unanue "is New Jersey" and that he lives with his parents there, votes there, has his car registered there, and has his business there. (I'll hold my tongue here about why an adult millionaire lives with his parents.) Unanue, who was recruited to enter the race Sunday after former candidate Anna Estabrook dropped out of the race because of health reasons, is one of three Republicans challenging Democratic incumbent Frank Lautenberg. Also, Morristown Mayor Donald Cresitello reportedly will launch a petition drive tomorrow to challenge Lautenberg in the Democratic primary. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

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

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

NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX triple-SLI rig benched
By Ryan Block (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 11:14:00 AM

Filed under: Desktops, Gaming Looks like the first NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX cards have made their way out in the world -- officially announced or not

-- and TweakTown's got the benches. Performance gains seem marginal in triple-

SLI over dual, but hey, those drivers probably aren't finished and these cards aren't official, so we recommend withholding judgment until it's all legit. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Big Banks Shuffle
( 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

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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 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

Windows XP-powered Eee PC laptop: $400, April 9th
By Ryan Block (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 5:31:00 AM

Filed under: Laptops Sounds like we've finally got a price and

a date for the XP powered Eee PC: $400, and April 9th. The hardware's identical to current-gen Eee PCs, though, so if you're happy with your little white lappy and are itching for XP you might try to pick up a

license on eBay. Still, if all goes well for

ASUS, they'll be selling 4x what they did the first time around, innit? P.S. -If you are, for whatever reason, itching to read more about current hardware running the 7 year old OS,

Laptop's got a hands-on. Nothing that wasn't already out there though. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments


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

Killer Diller
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 2:30:00 PM

Original content coming to Xbox 360
By Ryan Block (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 1:43:00 PM

Filed under: Gaming, Home Entertainment We were kind of wondering when it was finally going to happen: Microsoft's inked a deal with a production company to do original content for the

Xbox 360. The licensed back catalog of stuff is good and all, but this would fill that

niche in between Xbox 360's digital downloads and long-promised IPTV. No word yet on when it's coming, just that we can expect the usual compliment of Hollywood pap. Read| 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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When Genius Fails Again, and Again
( News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 3:00:00 AM

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

Don't invest based on a company's fancy Lehman Gets a Boost address
( News and Markets)
Submitted at 3/28/2008 5:30:00 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

By Zac Bissonnette (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 5:10:00 AM

Filed under: Scandals, Entrepreneurs, Housing A piece in the latest issue of BusinessWeek discusses an interesting trend among scammers, charlatans, and con-artists: they're renting out virtual offices on Wall Street in an effort to enhance their credibility and project an image of success. For just $100 a month, they get a fancy address to put on stationary, a post office box, and a conference room they can use for occasional meetings -- all shared with dozens, or even hundreds or other clients. The president of one company that rents out virtual offices to businesses told BusinessWeek that "As much as our

services help hundreds of small businesses brand themselves, there will always be crooks who try to misuse the polished facade for their dirty business." Maybe I'm a prude, but I would have nothing to do with a company using a "virtual office" for its address, even a legitimate one. I would argue that the goal of these set-ups is to mislead potential investors or customers -- projecting an image of something that differs from reality. Even if the company is legitimate, a phony address is still dishonest. In any case, investors shouldn't be hoodwinked by a fancy sounding address. After all, Worldcom and Enron also had great addresses and pretty offices, and investors lost billions. To avoid getting scammed -- or just losing money on a bad investment -- there are two things you can do: make sure you

understand how a company makes its money, and make sure the returns offered aren't too good to be true. As the managers of West Coast Asset Management wrote in their book The Entrepreneurial Investor, the people who really understood Enron's business model did quite well -- but ended up in jail. And use common sense. One firm that was using a "virtual office" promised returns of 25-30% per month. That's a better return per month than Warren Buffett earned per year. And if they could earn those great returns, why would they need your money? If it's so risk-free, can't they just borrow it from a bank for a lot less money? Permalink| Email this| Comments

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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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

Which presidential candidate understands economics best?
By Zac Bissonnette (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 7:10:00 AM

Red Hat sees some green
By Tom Taulli (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 4:10:00 AM

Filed under: Politics, Presidential elections Whatever your political ideology happens to be, I think we can all agree on one thing: Given the complex economic issues currently facing our country -- many of which will continue to be important for the foreseeable future -- our next president must be someone who understand economics. To that end, the latest issue of Barron's looks at the backgrounds of each candidate(subscription required), showing something troubling: McCain's financial expertise is pretty much limited to having married a rich woman. That's a good strategy to be sure, but not necessarily the best background for someone charged with dealing with the current mess. Advising struggling homeowners to scan the obituaries in search of newly widowed socialites might not go over well. Then there's Barack Obama whose experience in the market is, according to Barron's, pretty much limited to having once lost $13 thousand on stocks acquired through a blind trust. Barron's writes that "Small wonder he's giddy to raise taxes on interest and dividends. Obama has little skin in the game ... He's as insulated from his own dividend and capital gains proposals as a penguin is from the cold." Hillary Clinton's net worth is very high,

but she owns little stock. Her experience on the board of directors at WalMart(NYSE: WMT) is intriguing but, looking at the available information, one thing is clear: None of these candidates can be considered an economics expert, something that we badly need, although George W. Bush's MBA from Harvard did little to avert the current mess. Perhaps we'll get our economics expert from the other half of the presidential ticket. Private equity titan Mitt Romney is rumored to be a possible pick for John McCain, and there is some speculation that Barack Obama could pair up with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Earnings reports, Forecasts, Oracle Corp (ORCL), Red Hat Inc (RHT) There's much concern in the information technology (IT) world. Might companies cut back on spending in light of the slowing economy? Well, as for Red Hat(NYSE: RHT), the environment seems to be OK. For example, in Q4, the company posted a 27% increase in revenues to $141.5 million. What's more, bookings are bulging (above $200 million). While RedHat has a strong business with its Linux offerings, the company is also seeing lots of traction with its middleware platform, known as JBoss. Interestingly enough, with Oracle's(NASDAQ: ORCL) buyout of BEA Systems(NASDAQ: BEAS), there's been a surge in downloads of JBoss. Basically, customers want an alternative. Going forward, Red Hat forecasts revenues of $665 million to $680 for the upcoming year. Earnings are expected to range from $0.78 to $0.82 per share. And Red Hat recently purchased Amentra, which is a systems services company. Basically, the deal will allow Red Hat to continue to turbocharge its sales of JBoss. 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

SolarWinds: Headwinds or tailwinds for the IPO?
By Tom Taulli (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 9:10:00 AM

Filed under: SEC filings, Initial public offerings Except for a few deals -- such as the Visa(NYSE: V) public offering -- the IPO market has been fairly quiet. But, there are some companies that think things will warm up.

Take SolarWinds, which has recently filed for an offering. The company develops enterprise-class network management software. What's more, the technology is easy to use (which is a rarity in the space). As of last year, SolarWinds had more than 50,000 customers, which range from small businesses to Fortune 500 biggies. A key to SolarWinds success is its

focused marketing, which heavily leverages online marketing. There is also a direct sales force that knows how to close leads. So far, the results have been stunning. From 2005 to 2007, revenues have gone from $27.9 million to $61.7 million. What's more, operating income is about $30.9 million. And there is much room for growth.

According to a research report from Gartner, the network management sector is expected to grow from $4.95 billion in 2008 to $5.66 billion by 2011. The underwriters on the IPO include JP Morgan(NYSE: JPM), Goldman Sachs(NYSE: GS) and Lehman Brothers(NYSE: LEH). You can also locate the prospectus at the SEC website. 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

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UBS to mark down value As newspaper spending of auction-rate securities falls, some companies face end
By Douglas McIntyre (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 2:10:00 AM

Filed under: Rumors, Industry, Law In a move that will bloody a number of its customers, UBS(NYSE: UBS) will mark down the value of auction-rate securities held by its customers. According to The Wall Street Journal, the bank "began on Friday to lower the values of socalled auction-rate securities held by its clients, a move that will be a jolt to customers who had been told they were investing in a 'cash alternative.'" The action could drop the value of some of the paper by as much as 20%. Other banks are likely to follow UBS's example. Auction-rate securities are held by individual investors, institutions and some corporations, who list them on their balance sheets as cash equivalents. At the end of the first quarter, the public companies in this pool may have to take large write-offs for their holdings, which will hit P&Ls. There is a strong case to be made that the

banks and brokerages that marketed auction-rate paper did so by saying that they were nearly as safe as cash. The auction-rate market traded well from 1985 until late last year. At that point troubled financial companies were not willing to keep the market liquid by buying excess securities from one auction and selling them in the next. This role as "specialists" kept the market operating smoothly. There will almost certainly be a rash of lawsuits now from institutions and corporations. They will argue that the financial companies who "made the market" in auction-rate paper had an obligation to keep it trading if the securities were offered to investors as being as liquid as Treasuries. If the auction-rate market continues to deteriorate, the lawsuits can go on as investors lose more with each passing quarter. Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at Permalink| Email this| Comments

Countrywide CEO to get $10 milion on way out
By Douglas McIntyre (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 6:10:00 AM

By Douglas McIntyre (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 11:40:00 PM

Filed under: Earnings reports, Forecasts, Bad news, Industry In the fourth quarter, newspaper revenue dropped 10%. That includes revenue from online enterprises. According to The Wall Street Journal " Ad spending at newspapers and their Web sites totaled $12.6 billion in the December quarter, compared with $14 billion in the final three months of 2006, the Newspaper Association of America said." Only spending was only 7% of the total. Two companies may be facing forced sales of some of their properties or even outright liquidations. The company in the most trouble is Journal Register(NYSE: JRC). The firm's share price is at $.55 and has been slightly lower. Two years ago, it traded above $12. Falling revenue this year could cause the company to miss payments on its debt. In the fourth quarter of last year, the company has about $9 million in

operating income before a non-cash writeoff. Its debt service was also $9 million. Revenue is likely to be down more again this year. The other company in real trouble is the nation's third largest operator of newspaper, McClatchy(NYSE: MNI). The operator bought rival Knight-Ridder and took on huge debt in the process. McClatchy trades just above $10, down from $50 less than two years ago. The company's revenue fell almost 12% in February. McClatchy recently wrote off almost $1.5 billion due to the falling value of its assets. Moody's and Fitch has both either cut the firm's ratings or put is on credit review. Just a year ago, it would have been unusual to find investors who thought a large newspaper company would go Chapter 11. This year, it will almost certainly happen. Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

BlackRock: Rolling the dice on an IPO
By Tom Taulli (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 8:10:00 AM

Filed under: Private equity, Initial public offerings BlackRock(NYSE: BLK), which is a top global asset manager, is one of the few that has been relatively unscathed in the financial meltdown. The company avoided such things as subprime securities and was quite conservative with client portfolios. As a result, BlackRock now has lots of flexibility. So, what to do? Well, the firm has put together an IPO filing for a fund of hedge funds(to raise about $500 million).

The offering will be on the London Stock Exchange. Basically, a fund of hedge funds is a platform where managers invest in various hedge funds. True, the fees can be high, but there are some key advantages, such as diversification and improved due diligence. Besides, BlackRock has proved to be a top-notch operator with understanding complex investments. After all, the firm is helping to deal with the

management of a big part of the Bear Stearns(NYSE: BSC) portfolio. Actually, BlackRock's fund of hedge funds is part of Quellos Group LLC, which the firm purchased last year. In other words, it looks like BlackRock may snag a nice return on this deal. 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

Filed under: Deals, Management, Bank of America (BAC), Countrywide Financial (CFC) Countrywide(NYSE: CFC) CEO Angelo Mozilo, perhaps the most reviled executive in corporate America, will get $10 million as part of a Bank of America(NYSE: BAC) takeover of the mortgage broker. Investors and members of Congress are incensed. The "bonus" is described in SEC filing as "performance based." Countrywide shares are down from $42.24 to $5.63 over the past year. One powerful senator may go after the payment. "It's perverse for Bank of America to reward the principal architects of the bad business practices that caused this housing crisis,'' said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, said in a statement, according to the AP. Perhaps shareholders will get lucky and Schumer will fight the pay-out of the money. It is a shame that Bank of America would hurt its own reputation by doing this. Countrywide was available for sale because it was in such deep trouble. BAC did not need to "pay off" Mozilo to get a deal done. Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at Permalink| Email this| Comments

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

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


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Superman flies back to his creator's heirs
By Zac Bissonnette (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 3:10:00 AM

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

Filed under: Law, Time Warner (TWX) Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) ownership of Superman is no longer absolute. Some 70 years ago, Superman co-creator Jerome Siegel sold the rights to the hero to Detective Comics for $130. Detective Comics is now DC Comics and is owned by Time Warner unit Warner Bros. Superman has been the subject of much legal wrangling over the years, a brief summary of which can be found on Wikipedia. On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that Siegel's heirs were entitled to

share of the copyright, but left Time Warner's international rights intact. How this will effect the future of Superman remains to be seen, as there is still much more legal wrangling to come.

It gets more complicated. According to the New York Times, " A similar ruling in 2006 allowed the Siegels to recapture their rights in the Superboy character, without determining whether Superboy was, in fact, the basis for Warner Brothers's 'Smallville' television series. The decision was later challenged in a case that has yet to be resolved, said Mr. Toberoff, who represented the family in that action." If you're interested in learning more about the legal issues involved in comic book cases, check out this story from The National Law Journal. Permalink| Email this| 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

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

Could housing take a decade to Atom processor to cost Intel just $6 to $8? recover?
By Peter Cohan (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 2:36:00 AM

Filed under: Forecasts, Bad news, Consumer experience, Economic data, Housing The Boston Globe interviews Warren Group CEO Timothy Warren whose firm tracks housing in Massachusetts. He suggests that it could take about 10 years before housing prices return to where they were at the peak in 2005. Warren is a breath of fresh air when it comes to analyzing the housing market. Unlike industry-sponsored studies -- such as this bubbly comment from the National Association of Realtors -- Warren carefully tracks and analyzes data and his

observations are not filtered by the need to use public pronouncements to spur real estate transactions. But Warren's loyalty appears to lie with objective data gathering and analysis, rather than having an ulterior motive. He thinks that the declining number of home sales is worse than the previous housing slump of the early 1990s. He notes that "In the 1990s, we had just two years when the number of sales declined. We are in the fourth year of declining sales in the current slump." Continue reading Could housing take a decade to recover? Permalink| Email this| Comments

By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 10:46:00 PM

Filed under: Handhelds, Laptops, Tablet PCs Ever since Intel compared the criticality of its (still) forthcoming Silverthorne (which now goes by Atom, if you couldn't guess) processor to the original Pentium last June, we've all wondered just how fantasmical our worlds would become when this thing finally dropped. Now, however, Tom's Hardware has discovered that the release may actually do more for Intel than we geeks. After consulting a source it believes to be quite credible, it found that the CPU -which will likely sell for upwards of $30 at the low-end -- will cost Intel just "$6 to $8, including production, packaging and shipping." Without busting out the abacus, it's still fairly easy to see how profitable said chips could be if Intel can move these

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.

at even a snail's pace, but of course, we'd take the dollars and cents estimates with a grain of salt until they actually hit the market. [Via Digg] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Cancer patient has PSP stolen en route to chemotherapy treatment
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 2:00:00 AM

Filed under: Gaming, Handhelds There's depressing gaming stories, and then there are outright travesties. Unfortunately, this case falls squarely into the latter category,

as a 7-year old cancer patient had his beloved PlayStation Portable swiped -right along with his medical records, a backpack full of medication, his games and even his homework -- while en route to a chemotherapy treatment for a tumor in his brain. Apparently the boy's family had

stopped at a restaurant while traveling

from Oklahoma to Texas, and while inside, thieves had their way with what was left inside the vehicle. Thankfully, authorities from the Dallas police department came to the rescue by purchasing a brand new PSP and raising over $1,000 to repurchase the goods that were lost, and as for the crooks,

we'll just trust karma to handle the rest. [Via PSPFanboy, image courtesy of Flickr] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

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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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet another Microsoft white space device fails FCC testing
By Nilay Patel (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 4:02:00 AM

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

Filed under: Wireless Although several other companies have submitted white space devices to the FCC - we know Philips has one in, and Google's making a lot of noise about new and improved reference designs-- it looks like Microsoft's run of bad luck with the tech continues, with yet another white space transceiver unexpectedly failing during

FCC tests last week. There's no word on if the latest unit failed for the same powerrelated reasons as the previous test devices,

but Microsoft's doing a little damage control and saying that the FCC hasn't found any interference with TV signals so far, and that it's easier to pull the plug now and let other, non-MS devices finish out testing. Yeah, we'd say so -- at this point Redmond's bungled attempts to get this stuff working are becoming sort of embarrassing. Google to the rescue? Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

PSP slim modded for dual analog sticks
By Ryan Block (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 3:38:00 PM

Filed under: Gaming Been longing for a second analog stick on your PSP? Modder LordNico's got you covered with the Razor X (seriously, where do these guys come up with their names?), a user-installable analog stick

that appears to mimic the functions of your standard four button pad. (In other words,

getting the games to take advantage of the controls is another matter entirely.) Apparently details of the mod will be released soon enough for those brave enough to consider relocating their power switch to the start button -- yikes. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

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.


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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

Apple seeds updated iPhone 2.0 beta, not many changes
By Ryan Block (Engadget)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 10:31:00 AM

Filed under: Cellphones Looks like Apple's been passing around a new working version of the iPhone 2.0 beta firmware -- not too many changes since the last release we saw, though. So far, from what we can tell the build is now officially 2.0 (before it was registered as

1.2), the Cisco VPN settings got some tweaks, and the root-level mail / ActiveSync settings have been reshuffled a bit. We'll let you know if anything else pops up. Gallery: Apple seeds updated iPhone 2.0 beta, not many changes Permalink| Email this| Comments

Advertising network Glam is putting an 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.

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

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

In a quickie interview on 24/7 Wall

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Six Months In, And 600 Posts Later . . . The Worlds Of Blogging and Journalism Collide (In My Brain)
By Erick Schonfeld (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 10:21:18 AM

Blink, and six months go by. Ever since I made the move from Time Inc. to TechCrunch, my life has become a whirlwind of nonstop blog posting, little sleep, and a growing addiction to news feeds, Techmeme, and my Blackberry. Last week, I wrote my 600th post (this one is No. 617). The boxes I brought over from my previous career are still stacked, unopened, in my TechCrunch office. A lone painting from my three-year-old son adorns the wall. I have not had time to unpack or even buy a bookshelf to put things on. Fourteen years worth of stuff, and it still amazes me I don’t need any of it. The journalist in me has been avoiding this post (too navel-gazing, too selfabsorbed), but the blogger in me can’t help it. Media is changing—how it is produced and how it is consumed. The worlds of blogging and journalism are colliding and I want to get some thoughts down on this transition before I forget what the old world was like or feel too comfortable in the new one. (Fair warning: If you don’t like long posts, skip this one). Just as more and more blogs are building up professional writing staffs, more and more newspapers and magazines are requiring that their writers start blogging. A quick glance at the Techmeme Leaderboard, for instance, shows that its top spots are almost evenly split between blogs and traditional news organizations. Note that the blogs are all of the professional variety, complete with writing staffs (TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Ars Technica, Silicon Alley Insider, GigaOm, VentureBeat, etc.) and that the highest ranking news sites (CNET and the New York Times) also have the most active journalist bloggers.

But remember that all the big blogs that have turned professional and are now out there trying to build small media businesses started out as personal. Also, remember that these blogs (TechCrunch included) represent a tiny, tiny sliver of the millions of blogs out there. Unlike others, I don’t draw as sharp a dividing line between professional and personal blogs. Any blogger can rise to the level of contributing to the public discourse. Those that do so on a consistent basis—such as Dave Winer, Robert Scoble, Nick Carr, Mark Cuban, Fred Wilson, and others—gain wide followings, and with that a responsibility to their readers that is equal to any journalist’s. A more useful distinction is that there are sources of information that readers trust and sources of information that they don’t. Once someone reaches that level of trust, their responsibility is to tell the truth as best they can. For me, blogging and journalism began to blur long ago. I took over the Business 2.0 blog (which became the Next Net) from Damon Darlin, now technology editor at the New York Times. That was back in May, 2005, one month before Michael Arrington started TechCrunch—which just goes to show that Michael and I have been on the same wavelength from the start. Of course, back then, he took blogging much more seriously than I did. At Business 2.0, my blog was always a side project—although it grew to 50,000 feed subscribers. I was paid to write, package, and orchestrate articles for the print magazine—in addition to other sidelines, which included organizing miniconferences and dabbling in Web video. Eventually, blogging became more important to the magazine—all writers and editors had to start one. But it could never quite shake that extracurricular tinge.

Working at TechCrunch is a completely different experience. For one thing, I no longer write long-form, narrative journalism. There is not much time for story-telling (except for weekend posts like this one). It is mostly breaking news, reporting facts and providing analysis. At TechCrunch, I am completely focused on blogging, 24/7. With a few exceptions, no single post is very difficult to write (unlike an in-depth magazine article that can require 50 interviews and weeks of travel, for instance). But taken as a whole, blogging is actually harder. That is because the blogging never stops. Just ask my wife and kids, who now mock me by repeating back my new mantra: “I’m almost done, just one more post.” Putting out TechCrunch is like riding a bullet train. When I jumped aboard, it was already going 150 miles per hour. Six months ago, the main TechCrunch site was attracting about two million visitors a month and it was ranked No. 4 on the Technorati 100 list of the most linked-to blogs. Today, six months later, we are within spitting distance of three million visitors a month (2.9 million, to be exact),

and last week we overtook Engadget for the first time to reach the No. 1 spot on the Technorati 100. (We’ll see how long that lasts, the Hufifngton Post is right on our tail). So what is the TechCrunch formula? It is hard to say other than obsession. The main TechCrunch blog is written by four of us—Michael, Duncan, Mark, and me. (When I began, there were five, but Nick Gonzalez decided to opt for the comparatively saner hours of a startup). Despite our small size, we are a global organization. When not traveling, Michael and Mark write from California, Duncan writes from Australia, and I write from New York. Somebody is always online—often all of us. Michael literally never sleeps. It is really unhealthy. What we do at TechCrunch is actually pretty simple. We write about Web startups and the larger tech companies that try to either copy or acquire them. Depending on the day, I could be liveblogging the launch of the Amazon Kindle, arguing about free speech in the Internet age, uncovering secret projects at Google, giving Yahoo unsolicited acquisition advice, or writing about a hot new startup. There is always something else to write about, and not enough time to cover it. But we live or die by how fast we can post after a story breaks, if we can’t break it ourselves. We hardly have time to proofread our posts, as anyone who’s come across one of the frequent typos in TechCrunch knows. Luckily, our readers love to point out our mistakes in comments. They are our copy editors and fact checkers. (We love you guys). Our philosophy is that it is better to get 70 percent of a story up fast and get the basic facts right than to wait another hour (or a day) to get the remaining 30 percent. We can always update the post or do another

one as new information comes in. More often than not, putting up partial information is what leads us to the truth—a source contacts us with more details or adds them directly into comments. Some people question whether TechCrunch is even a blog anymore rather than a professional media site. But that distinction is becoming increasingly meaningless. The truth is that we are both. We compete with traditional news organizations, but with a small fraction of their staff. That is our competitive advantage. We certainly cover the news and do original reporting, but we also discuss news reported by others and are not shy about voicing our personal opinions. We are as much a filter as a source. There is something about blogging—the immediacy, the give and take, the point of view—that helps it compete with traditional media for attention. And we don’t want to lose that. We like to speculate, argue, and debate—sometimes in ways that traditional journalists may think is unseemly. That’s okay, as long as our readers keep coming back for more. Because what is a blog? It is a conversation with readers. And you don’t have to start a conversation knowing all the facts. But it helps if you end up with more than you start out with, and if you turn out to be right more often than wrong. Otherwise, people will stop listening to you—the same as they would with any media source. (Hubble Telescope photo of colliding galaxies via Oswaldo). Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

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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FriendFeed, The Centralized Me, and Data Portability
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 2:02:05 AM

It’s definitely FriendFeed month in Silicon Valley. The company, founded by ex-Googlers, let you aggregate information and activity streams from all of the various services that you use on the internet Flickr photos, YouTube videos, blog posts, delicious bookmarks, Twitter messages, and other stuff (33 services total to date). Your friends subscribe to your stuff, and see a stream of data on their home page coming from everyone they follow. The site also allows users to add content directly, comment on information and, more recently, added an excellent search feature that is still sorely lacking in Twitter. The site is more than a list of feeds that can be re-exported. FriendFeed wants to be a destination site, too. And their growth is very strong, given that the service only launched publicly a month ago. The number of users was growing 25% per week earlier this month. Last week the site announced the availability of an API, which allows third party services to easily add in FriendFeed data and features. The first batch of these applications are starting to be released now. The Centralized Me But there’s something just a little weird about FriendFeed, some people are starting to mumble. It’s an aggregated “me” but it sits in a centralized site (in fact, centralization is kind of the point). FriendFeed is a (and hopes to become “the”) Centralized Me. It’s a data silo. True, it’s a friendly data silo, with APIs and RSS feeds to move some of the data around, but it’s ultimately housed on their servers, and always will be. Loic Le Meur sort of summed it all up tonight in a blog post where he says that we grew used to having a Centralized Me in the days before all these services popped up, starting in 2004 and spreading since then. That Centralized Me was the blog.

Barnes & Noble’s New How-To Site Quamut Already Being Link Spammed
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 6:19:54 PM

Then we grew used to having a Decentralized Me - your stuff was literally everywhere. Go here for photos, here for the blog, here for videos, and here for bookmarks. Robert Scoble today is sort of the quintessential Decentralized Me - his stuff is everywhere, and he seems to love the chaos. What Loic wants, and I think other people will want it too, is a place that they control where this information is aggregated. That may be right back at the blog for some people. For others it may be Facebook ( who understands this fully). Wherever a person considers their home turf is where they’ll want all this data. FriendFeed can become that place, but it’s an uphill climb. So many other services have already become the psychological home of their users. Changing that is like swimming upstream.

Is Data Portability The Anti-FriendFeed? The Data Portability Project may turn out to be the answer that people are looking for. And it may turn out to be a sort of antiFeedFriend. The whole point of Data Portability is to get social networks talking to each other and exchanging user data, with their explicit permission. Want to add your flickr photos, twitter messages and YouTube Videos to your blog? Data Portability is working to help make that happen through consensus driven policies and procedures. In essence, data portability embraces the Decentralized Me, but lets users re-centralize it wherever they please. Frankly, not enough people know much about DataPortability yet. That will start to change, as founder Chris Saad is starting a road show presentation to talk at a high level about what he’s trying to accomplish. Some big partners are joining, even if just

in spirit so far. Ultimately, Data Portability is to the Centralized Me (all your stuff) as OpenID is to identity (your literal identity). And just as the big players are sort of supporting/exploiting OpenId to maintain their user accounts, they will also support/exploit Data Portability to remain the place users consider the Centralized Me. Serious politics and power plays are coming. What I’m wondering is if FriendFeed can get big enough fast enough, and get enough users to think of it as their Centralized Me, to be in the game. CrunchBase Information FriendFeed OpenID Foundation Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Barnes & Noble officially launched howto site Quamut this week, and it’s already attracting link spammers. The main service offers online guides that cover more than 1,000 topics written by experts in each field. Guides include illustrations and pictures and can be purchased as PDF’s or laminated how-to sheets. It’s a reasonable offering; nothing ground breaking but clean, thorough, and usable. Quamut also offers a user-generated how -to wiki with similarities to Squidoo, but with no revenue sharing model for contributors. With no revenue sharing model there’s no obvious reason why someone would contribute to the Wiki (after all there’s no for the good of humanity angle like Wikipedia), but one week in free Google juice has become a driving force behind user contributions. Around half of all pages in the Quamut Wiki tested included links to external services, most clearly focused on gaining Google juice, for example links on terms like search engine optimization and web design (page here). A check of the source code on these pages show that links are not tagged link=nofollow. B&N will likely crack down on this shortly, but it’s a lessoned learned: anywhere you offer unmoderated user contributions without safeguards, someone will always end up trying to exploit the situation. CrunchBase Information Quamut Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

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

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 :)

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

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

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

Stats Junkies Get Another Fix: Woopra
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 2:08:09 PM

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

Want to talk to the people visiting your blog in real time via a chat request? That’s just one of the features of new stats/analytics startup Woopra. Think Google Analytics or Nuconomy, but in real time. The product includes real time statistics (”tiny details on every single visit and/or visitor, where they came from, what pages they visited what keywords they used etc.”), chatting with users on the site at any time (and tagging them for future identification). Cali Lewis interviewed the founder at Wordcamp Dallas today. The video demo is below (and is significantly better than the officially-worst-demo-video -ever produced by the company). Woopra is currently in private beta and will only take blogs with less than 10,000 page views/day. Like Google analytics and most other hosted analytics services, integration occurs via a javascript addition to the sites you want to track. The evolution of analytics condinues (I still remember the days of MeasureMap, which was awesome when it actually worked). CrunchBase Information Woopra Nuconomy Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

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

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

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

Google Powering America’s First Line Of Defense
By Duncan Riley (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 4:51:19 AM

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.

Google has been selling search servers to America’s Intelligence Agencies to assist them in defending America. According to the SF Chronicle, the Google powered search appliances are used for storing and searching internal documents, with Agencies able to use the devices “to create their own mini-Googles on intranets made up entirely of government data.” The Google servers are being used to power Intellipedia, a Wikipedia like service for spooks that offers a cross departmental database of national intelligence. There was no mention of Google powering A-Space, the MySpace network for spooks we wrote about in August. They might also want to do work on some of their search results: according to Google Osama’s Cave is at 1133 21st St NW, Washington, DC Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0


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Revision3 Acquired By Fox News, Says Kevin Rose
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 12:45:13 AM

Episode 143 of Diggnation: Hosts Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht announce the sale of Revision3 to Fox News at about the 2:05 mark. Rose says“Well, ah, we basically have a big announcement for everyone. Revision3 has been acquired by a bigger company. We’ll be moving to Fox News.” He added“I’m thinking of getting a fox tattoo, its kinda part of my signing bonus, if i do it i get a little extra money.” It’s an early (very early) April Fool’s

joke, of course. Jump to the 3:45 mark. They are clearly playing off a story from two weeks ago, spread quickly via a credulous Robert Scoble Twitter message, that CNET had acquired Revision3 for $58 million. The company was founded in April 2005 and has raised$9 million in funding. CrunchBase Information Revision3 Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

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

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

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 ;)

2008 March Madness TV Listings
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/30/2008 6:33:11 PM

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

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

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 Cal-

Berkeley. 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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2008 page 18 continued from
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 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 2008 page 20


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2008 page 19 continued from
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 9am: various NCAA repeats, CSTV (CBS College Sports) 5pm: CBI Playoff Final (Best of 3, game #1), Fox College sports Tue April 1, 2008 4pm: NIT semifinal #1, UMass vs Florida, ESPN2 630pm: NIT Semifinal #2, Ohio State vs Ole Miss, ESPN2 Wedn April 2, 2008 5pm: CBI Playoff Final (Best of 3, game #1), Fox College sports 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 ***

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

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

Most Final Four Appearances including the 2008 Final Four field
By ncaahoops
Submitted at 3/30/2008 6:16:18 PM

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

So after the Final Four field was set, which colleges have the most NCAA Tournament appearances in men's basketball? Who is it? Who is it??? 1. UCLA 18 (three in a row) 2. North Carolina 17 3. Duke 14 4. Kansas and Kentucky, 13 each As you can see Kansas was at #5 but since they made the 2008 Final Four, they have moved on to tie UK at #4. North Carolina was ahead before Ben Howland took over UCLA, but three backto-back UCLA final fours jumped them

over UNC which had 16 at the time. Ole Roy put the Tar Heels in this year's Final Four, generating even more separation between UNC and the Dookies! In 2004, the year Ole Roy took over UNC, the Dookies were just one Final Four away, after Coach Ratcase managed to steal the last Final Four spot from Thad Matta's Xavier. But two more UNC appearances (2005, 2008) have created a three-final-four advantage for the TarHeels. And I wouldn't be surprised if either Kansas or Kentucky tie the Dookies at the #3 spot in 2009 :-)

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 :)

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 ;-)

Big Brother 9: Live feeds report - March 30
By Jackie Schnoop (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 11:01:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, Big Brother (US) Since the Bible is the only reading material in the Big Brother 9 house, I've been trying

to think what the Commandants would be for the hamsters. Hmm ... thou shalt not backstab unless you can do it first. Thou shall steal, lie, and do whatever it takes to win. Thou shall bear false witness. Thou will covet thy neighbor's wife and anything

else that moves. Thou shall not murder ...

that's taking things too far and is probably an FCC violation. If you read on past the jump, you'll see spoilers for both tonight's show and the Tuesday episode. But if you read on, you can also tell me some BB Bible

Commandants in comments! %Gallery-19446% Continue reading Big Brother 9: Live feeds report - March 30 Permalink| Email this| | Comments

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What's On Tonight: Keith Olbermann, Unhitched, The Tudors
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 9:03:00 AM

You have a toaster? Then you may win the 'Make a Cylon' contest
By Richard Keller (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 8:11:00 AM

Filed under: Programming, What To Watch Tonight • At 7, CBS has a new 60 Minutes , then new episodes of Big Brother and Cold Case , then an episode of Dexter . • NBC has the fifth anniversary Countdown with Keith Olbermann special at 7, followed by a new Dateline . • At 8, FOX has a new Simpsons , then a new King of the Hill . • ABC has a new Extreme Makeover at 8, followed by new episodes of Oprah's Big Give and Here Come The Newlyweds . • There's a new Everybody Hates Chris on The CW at 8. • Also at 8: Cartoon Network has a new My Gym Partner's A Monkey . • At 9, PBS has a new Masterpiece . • HBO has another installment of

John Adams at 9. • The CW has a new episode of The Game at 9. • Showtime has the season premiere of The Tudors , also at 9. • At 9:30, FOX has the season (series?) finale of Unhitched . • At 10, Food Network has a new Throwdown with Bobby Flay . • FX has a new Dirt at 10. • At 11:30, Cartoon Network has the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie. Check your local TV listings for more. Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Industry, Battlestar Galactica So, you're sitting in front of your flatscreen, watching your Season Three DVD of Battlestar Galactica, in anticipation of the new season starting April 4th, and you happen to glance over at your 2-Slice stainless steel toaster. As you stare at your reflection in the gleaming metal you think 'Hey, if I put some flashing lights on the face of that toaster it would look like a Cylon's head. But, who in hell would be interested in seeing something like that other than myself?' Funny you should think that, because someone is interested in seeing your creation. In fact, three someones in the form of,, and Make magazine are willing to judge your work, along with others, to see who can mod or make a Cylon from scratch. If they like what you made they'll give you a chance to

The Tudors: Episode 2-1 (season premiere)
By Kristin Sample (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 3:05:00 PM

show your creation on the SCI FI Channel. And you thought putting blinking lights on your toaster was stupid, didn't you? Continue reading You have a toaster? Then you may win the 'Make a Cylon' contest Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Torchwood: From Out of the Rain
By Jason Hughes (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 6:36:00 AM

Filed under: Torchwood, Episode Reviews(S02E10) I guess everyone at Torchwood Creative was still exhausted from the Owen three-parter, because this episode was even more of a letdown than the previous one. While the notion of these "night travelers" somehow being able to step out of old film and into the real world is interesting enough, it seems a better fit for a show like Supernatural than Torchwood, which tries to explain everything away with the Cardiff rifts and space aliens. It was cool to think of Jack exploiting his immortality by performing as "The Man Who Could Not Die" in a traveling freak show a hundred years ago or so. It would make perfect sense that he'd go into that line of work. But then we learned that he

Filed under: Other Drama Shows, OpEd, Episode Reviews( S02E01) The Tudors is back. And in true Tudor style, it's back with a vengeance. Last year in the season finale we left Henry on the brink of a climax. And I would say no pun intended, but if you saw the season finale, you know that pun was definitely intended. A lot was set in motion with the premiere of The Tudors. The ambitious Boleyns will rise even higher in the king's esteem this season. However, if you know your history, you'll know that we will watch their bloody fall from grace too. Henry and Anne's fiery relationship will deteriorate. And influence of Protestantism will continue to surge, while Catholicism in Britain will collapse almost entirely. Continue reading The Tudors: Episode 21 (season premiere) Permalink| Email this| | Comments

did so while investigating the "night travelers," but he wouldn't say for whom and why he was investigating. Another layer of the Captain Jack onion almost peeled. Continue reading Torchwood: From Out of the Rain Permalink| Email this| | Comments


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The Simpsons: Smoke on the Daughter
By Richard Keller (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 4:37:00 PM

Ashley Dupré to get some class?
By Brad Trechak (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 1:51:00 PM

Filed under: OpEd, The Simpsons, Episode Reviews (S19E15)"I'm not a nerd. I'm a jock who's too cool for sports."-- Bart Simpson From the outside, the Family Simpson comprises a group of people who go from one wacky adventure to another. Yet, when you go beneath their four-fingered exteriors, each member of the family is actually fighting their own little battle. For Bart it's the fight against the establishment; for Marge it's finding order withing the disorder of her life; for Maggie it's getting through an entire day on one pacifier; and for Homer it is the philosophical dilemma of whether or not death brings forth life or life brings on death. That, or just trying to get between breakfast and lunch without

starving to really depends on the day. Continue reading The Simpsons: Smoke on the Daughter Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: OpEd, Celebrities The Donald is producing a new "My Fair Lady" style reality show involving party girls attending a private boarding school, and he wants Dupré to be one of the participants. Her history must make her an ideal candidate for this show. The show is based on a British show called Ladette to Lady, which sounds a lot like Charm School from VH1. I guess Donald wants his hard-partying girls to have class. The show has not heard back from Dupré. Perhaps she's holding off for more cash. Maybe she's putting this in the same

category as her offers from Larry Flynt and Joe Francis. Continue reading Ashley Dupré to get some class? 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

Battlestar Galactica season four: An early look
By Keith McDuffee (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 5:20:00 PM

Ian McShane cast in royal drama for NBC
By Allison Waldman (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 11:23:00 AM

Filed under: Pickups and Renewals, Casting Chances are the NBC censor will not have to worry about Ian McShane's mouth this time around; he won't be playing Frank in Deadwood. No, the new role he's tackling is a much more majestic kind of guy. What am I talking about? Ian McShane has been cast as one of the title characters in NBC's new drama Kings. McShane, who was a memorable, dirtymouthed proprietor of a seedy saloon on HBO's Deadwood, will be King Silas on Kings. The Universal project is said to be set in modern times, although its based on a story from the Old Testament, King

Filed under: Battlestar Galactica, Early Looks For some time now, at least some members of the press and other media outlets have had an early copy of the fourth season premiere of Battlestar Galactica. This season, however, Sci Fi has made everyone sign and adhere to an embargo agreement, making us keep our traps shut about anything at all to do with the screener until today. I'm not going to reveal what I consider spoilers here, though I will warn you that I

will discuss some key plot points below. Consider yourself warned Continue reading Battlestar Galactica season four: An early look Permalink| Email this| | Comments

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

Big Brother 9: Nomination Ceremony #7
David (remember Richard Gere in the movie of the same name?) Continue reading Ian McShane cast in royal drama for NBC Permalink| Email this| | Comments

By Jackie Schnoop (TV Squad)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 5:02:00 PM

Filed under: OpEd, Big Brother (US), Reviewcaps, Episode Reviews (S09E23) She was destined to win head of household. Call it divine intervention, call it dumb luck, but she won it and Natalie's one happy little hamster in the Big Brother 9 house. Of course we had to

see it all over again, but that's beside the point. So, what will Natalie do in her reign? Will she don a robe and tiara? Will

she decide that skimpy clothing isn't suited for royalty and cover herself up a bit? Read on past the jump for the for the goods! Continue reading Big Brother 9: Nomination Ceremony #7 Permalink| Email this| | Comments

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The Asylum Unveils Mandatory 'Indiana Jones' Knock-Off
By Eugene Novikov (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 2:02:00 PM

New 'Indiana Jones' TV Spot!
By Eugene Novikov (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 6:02:00 PM

Filed under: Action, New Releases, Newsstand, Movie Marketing, Trailers and Clips We at Cinematical love The Asylum- and how could we not? No outfit that has enough chutzpah to cash in on Hollywood's blockbuster successes by releasing cheap direct-to-DVD films with titles like Snakes on a Train, The Da Vinci Treasure, Pirates of Treasure Island, Transmorphers, Alien vs. Hunter and I Am Omega(which the courageous Matt Bradshaw reviewed here) can deserve anything but unbridled affection, especially if one is shrewd enough to avoid watching the actual films. When they make a mistake and hitch their wagon to a movie that bombs -- like The Invasion, which spawned The Asylum's Invasion of the Pod People-- my love for them only grows. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull must have seemed like a

pretty safe bet, though, and so on April 29th (almost a month before Crystal Skull's May 22nd release), The Asylum will bust out -- are you ready? -- Allen Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls. You can see its product page, complete with stills and a trailer, right here. The DVD case proclaims this to be "the story that inspired Indiana Jones," and the website helpfully clarifies that the film is "a retelling of H. Rider Haggard's classic novel King Solomon's Mines, featuring the adventurer who was the inspiration for Indiana Jones" (a claim I can't authenticate). The trailer is pretty incredible, featuring a villain who seems to be channeling Daniel Plainview and culminating in a climactic shot of our hero nonchalantly picking up his hat and leather jacket off what looks like a hotel bed. Continue reading The Asylum Unveils Mandatory 'Indiana Jones' Knock-Off Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Action, Paramount, Fandom, Steven Spielberg, Movie Marketing, Trailers and Clips Check out a brand new wonderful-looking Quicktime TV spot for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. (There's also a chintzy flash version here, if that's your thing.) It's snappier than the trailer we got earlier in the month, with the humor excised to make room for the action (they cut away just before our hero crashes ass-first into the windshield of that truck). There's also more Shia LaBoeuf and Cate Blanchett, plenty of those absurd off-road vehicles they drive, and a stronger classic Indiana Jones feel -- I love that sandtrap and retracting spiral staircase. I actually quite admire Paramount's marketing of their big summer tentpole: it's been funny, classy, and appropriately reverent of the beloved franchise. They're clearly confident about the film's boxoffice prospects, as evidenced by the fact that we didn't get a trailer until just over two months before release, and this seems to have led to an advertising campaign

The Exhibitionist: Mourning the Multiplex
By Christopher Campbell (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 2:32:00 AM

that's more relaxed and less overbearing than we're used to. There's only a bit of new footage in this spot, but it's exciting, and its tone recalls the series at its best. Those eager to devour every scrap the studio throws us before May 22nd -- and I know there are plenty of you -- ought to check it out. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Kevin Kline Turns French... For Real This Time
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 4:02:00 AM

Filed under: Drama, Casting, Games and Game Movies Time really does fly. It has been thirteen years since Kevin Kline wooed Meg Ryan in French Kiss, where he got to play a theiving French man who could teach someone to pull out the complex flavors in wine in seconds. It's not Shakespeare, or storms of ice, but it has its moments. And now, he gets to play a French man for real -- in French! The Hollywood Reporter posts that Kline has signed on for his first French speaking role in Caroline Bottaro's drama Queen to Play( Joueuse). This is the chess film I blogged about

back in November, which focuses on "a hotel chambermaid who develops an obsession for chess." Bruno Ganz was attached, but now it looks like he is out. Instead, Klein will be rejoined by his

Anniversary Party co-star Jennifer Beals, plus Sandrine Bonnaire and Francis Renaud. Bonnaire will play the chambermaid who is "captivated by a romantic couple (Beals and Renaud) playing chess while staying at the Mediterranean island hotel where she works. The doctor (Kline) whose house she cleans reluctantly becomes her mentor in the game, leading her to a chess tournament and initiating major transformations in her life." Continue reading Kevin Kline Turns French... For Real This Time Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Exhibition, Columns I'm old enough to have mourned singlescreen theaters and drive-in theaters, and now I'm ready to begin mourning multiplexes. Of course, just as there are still some single-screens and drive-ins in existence, the beloved box-shaped movie theaters, which we've become so accustomed to frequenting in cattle-like fashion over the last forty years, are not becoming extinct anytime soon. In fact, there are new ones popping up all over the place; they're just newer models with more "luxurious" amenities. But specific multiplexes, perhaps some we have fond memories of, are indeed disappearing. Well, disappearing might not be the right word, since some of the actual buildings aren't going anywhere just yet. But whole cinemas are shutting down, and it's not because their companies are going out of business or because they're going to be replaced with upgrades. Last week in the Hartford Courant, there was a terrific yet melancholy article about the recent closure of the Showcase Cinemas in East Windsor, Connecticut. The reason, according to its owner, National Amusements (which owns Viacom, too), is that the location was "no longer financially viable." Continue reading The Exhibitionist: Mourning the Multiplex Permalink| Email this| Comments



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Gettin' Ready for the Next 'Joy Ride'
By Scott Weinberg (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 5:32:00 AM

Don't Fear the Subs: 'Kiltro' and 'Them' -- Chile and France Kick Butt
By Peter Martin (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/29/2008 11:32:00 AM

Filed under: Horror, Thrillers, 20th Century Fox, Home Entertainment, Remakes and Sequels It's tough to know which tone I should take when discussing the latest DTV remakes and sequels. On one hand, I just saw a "remake" of April Fools Day that's so amazingly awful it made my corneas itch -- but on the other, I was pleasantly surprised by titles like Wrong Turn 2 and White Noise 2. So I think I'll just forgo the excited geekiness AND the snarling disdain, and just get with the trailerness: Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead(or maybe it's Joy Ride 2: End of the Road?) is a videostore follow-up to the surprisingly solid 2001 thriller Joy Ride. (Don't even pretend you don't remember the awesome combined power of Zahn, Walker and Sobieski.) The semi-sequel comes from first-time scribe James Robert Johnston and one of the guys who penned Dumb & Dumber. The director is Louis Morneau, well-known to schlock-fans as the man who helmed The Hitcher 2, Bats, and

Carnosaur 2. And get this! The flick is about a bunch of young people who get terrorized by a raving madman! Don't believe me? Check out the trailer at and tell me if you'd rent this flick. (I would. Obviously.) You have until October to decide. Read| 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

Radha Mitchell Joins Bruce Willis in 'The Surrogates'
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

By Jessica Barnes (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 8:32:00 AM

'Bangkok Dangerous' Trailer
By Erik Davis (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 10:02:00 AM

FANfrom page 22 continued
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: Action, Drama, Movie Marketing, Trailers and Clips In the original Bangkok Dangerous, the main character (an assassin) was deafmute. A very interesting angle for a killer, and one that would've made for good conversations had that aspect of the film made its way into the English-language remake. Ah, but it's not to be. I mean, could you imagine hiring Nicolas Cage for a film and then giving him no lines? Seriously -- the guy overacts as it is; what in the world would it look like if Cage had to tell us everything through facial

expressions? There's a chance the dude's cheeks would literally explode on camera. But anyway, above you will find the trailer for Bangkok Dangerous; a remake of the 1999 Pang Brothers film, directed by the boys behind the original. Here, Cage plays an assassin who travels to Thailand to kill a bunch of people, but falls for a local Thai girl in the process. Cue feelings of regret ... yada yada. For those who saw the original, how do you feel about them removing such a crucial part for the remake? Bangkok Dangerous hits theaters on August 22. Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Thrillers, Casting, Disney According to Coming Soon, Radha Mitchell has joined the cast of Jonathan Mostow's sci-fi thriller, The Surrogates. The movie is based on the graphic novel from Robert Venditti and was adapted by the screenwriting duo of Michael Ferris and John D. Brancato. The bad news is that these guys have written some pretty crappy movies in the past. Hopefully, these two are better at adaptations than they are at original ideas. In The Surrogates, Bruce Willis stars as a cop in a futuristic world where all human interaction is performed by look-alike robots called Surrogates. Not only do the robots do all the talking for us, but they're even better looking too (when it comes to Mitchell, though, the original is none too shabby ... so I can't imagine what they would do to make her even better looking). When someone begins murdering 'surrogates' right and left, Willis is forced to venture into the outside world for the first time to track down the killer. Continue reading Radha Mitchell Joins Bruce Willis in 'The Surrogates' Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

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'Maynard and Jennica' Gets Optioned
By Monika Bartyzel (Cinematical)
Submitted at 3/30/2008 7:02:00 AM

Filed under: Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Deals, Scripts What would happen if you merged the early days of Sex and the City with Amelie? Methinks you might get Maynard and Jennica, a recently released book from Rudolph Delson, which The Hollywood Reporter posts has just been picked up by Scott Rudin for a big-screen adaptation. He has tapped playwright and television Liz Meriwether to adapt it into her first feature script. The novel is a "whimsical story about the relationship between a filmmaker-musician and his more introspective girlfriend that is set before, during, and after Sept. 11." The story has 35 first-person narrators, who include not only friends and family, but also dead ancestors, a Russian Israeli scam artist, the emergency break on a train, and a macaw. So, I'm getting flashbacks to the

old at-the-camera dating tidbits from SatC's early days, plus the strange wonder of Amelie. Continue reading'Maynard and Jennica' Gets Optioned Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments