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08/07/08 - 11/07/08

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It's Crowded 'Under the Bus'
By David Knowles (Political Machine)
Submitted at 7/11/2008 2:18:00 AM

Filed under: Barack Obama, John McCain, Featured Stories, 2008 President Greetings from our nation's capital! Here, a robust public transportation system helps shield the local populace from the pain of high gasoline prices. But that's not to say there aren't mobility problems. In fact, this year, DC has witnessed a sharp increase in high-profile political figures who have been tossed "under the bus." Really, it's a wonder that they run at all anymore. The single-most overused cliché among pundits and journalists these days, "under the bus" connotes a public cutting-of-ties with a former ally. The action, like a sucker-punch on its hapless victim, often, but not always, comes as a surprise. Those who are tossed under that large, moving vehicle usually express outrage, or shame, or both. Those who toss run the risk of charges of hypocrisy. The timing of the tossing is always seen as suspect, a symptom of political convenience rather than of true moral fiber. Here's a highlight reel of the dizzying number of U.T.B. moments from our current presidential campaign, in no particular order. John McCain tosses Phil Gramm In perhaps the single-most tone-deaf utterance of the campaign season so far, McCain economic adviser Phil Gramm diagnosed our economic woes as being a figment of our whiny imaginations. McCain's response to his old friend was anything but kind. Asked if Gramm would still hold a place in his hypothetical administration (Treasury?), McCain quipped: "I think Senator Gramm would be in

Did President Bush Get Into the Sake?
By Christopher Weber (Political Machine)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 10:23:00 AM

serious consideration for ambassador to Belarus, although I'm not sure the citizens of Minsk would welcome that." Belarus, under the bus with you, too. Jesse Jackson tosses Barack Obama This is the strangest UTB television spectacular this season. A live mic catching Jackson threatening to castrate Obama for having the audacity to hope that black fathers will take more responsibility for their own lives. Come on, Jesse, tell us how you really feel! The subsequent apology tour has dragged on for two days, giving Jackson more airtime than he'd seen since Bill Clinton threw him under the bus in South Carolina. As I wrote yesterday, sometimes being thrown under the bus is a gift. Scott McClellan tosses the entire Bush

Administration If you've got a whole group of people you'd like to stuff under a bus, a tell-all memoir is the way to go. Scott's blockbuster, What Happened, paints a dim portrait of way our government trumped up the case for war in Iraq and systematically stifled dissent. Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and, yes, Scott's former boss, President Bush can now all be found under one very powerful bus. A great beach read! Barack Obama tosses Jeremiah Wright and Wright tosses back. File this one under, "What took you so long?" Obama's critics say that Wright's inflamatory preaching style qualified him for under-bus placement long ago. About twenty years, in fact. But in this "damned

if you toss, damned if you don't toss" world, some have criticized Obama for breaking with Trinity, and disavowing its fiery former pastor. Among the latter was Wright himself, who, like a woman scorned, unleashed his bizarre fury on Obama in a series of painfully entertaining public appearances. These are but a few of the instances of UTB. Feel free to leave your own favorites in the comment section. Let's get them all out, and then maybe we can be done with the term for a while. I, for one, am ready to throw "Under the Bus" under the Metro train. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: President Bush, Environment, Gaffes Is there anyone worse than that guy at the party who thinks he's HILARIOUS but is really just obnoxious and dumb? What if the party was the annual G8 summit and that annoying guy was President of the United States? Well then something like this might happen: George Bush surprised world leaders with a joke about his poor record on the environment as he left the G8 summit in Japan. The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words:"Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter." Yes that did actually happen. And it gets even better (ie. worse). The president drove home his witticism thusly: He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock. Punched the air? What, he didn't have the presidential snare and cymbal handy? If I ever finish this damn time machine I'm going to set it for January 20, 2009. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments


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Obama on Women, Dr. Phil, Gilligan
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:18:00 AM

Filed under: Democrats, Barack Obama, Economy, Abortion Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama delivered a speech today at the Women's Economic Security Town Hall, in Fairfax, VA, and his campaign held a conference call to discuss the policies. The address comes on the heels of Senator Hillary Clinton's reintroduction to the Obama campaign, as the two former rivals appeared at fundraisers together this week. Obama rolled out a laundry list of policies in his speech, mostly having to do with economic issues, but he also took a swipe at John McCain: (via email) Senator McCain, however, has said that we've made "great progress" on the economy. And Senator Phil Gramm, a top economic advisor to Senator McCain, just recently said that this is merely "a mental recession." Senator Gramm then deemed the United States - and I quote - "a nation of whiners." This comes after Senator McCain recently admitted that his energy proposals will have mainly "psychological" benefits. Well, you know, America already has one Dr. Phil. When it comes to the economy, we don't need another. The McCain campaign has not responded to queries of, "How does that make you

feel?" On the Obama campaign conference call, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar compared McCain's agenda for women to a classic sitcom: When I see (McCain's policies), it reminds me of TV Land rerunning, over and over again, episodes of "Gilligan's Island, and Ginger and MaryAnn are never getting off the island. This is in keeping with the rest of McCain's policies, which are modeled after the show, "Lost." I asked Klobuchar where

Mrs. Howell fit in there, and she responded, "Well, Mrs. Howell is among the group whose tax cuts we'd like to scale back." The call ended before I could ask if any of them knew the full name of The Professor's character. Heidi Hartmann, President of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, urged any women thinking of voting for John McCain to "take another look." The campaign released a "50 State

Impact Report" on the Senator's proposals, available here. The plan addresses income inequity, and a variety of life/work balance issues. Senator McCain, meanwhile, as David Knowles reports, was unable to muster any answer at all to a question about his support for women's access to birth control. That question was a result of his finance co-chair's observation that ""There are many health insurance plans that will cover Viagra but won't cover birth-control medication. Those women would like a choice," McCain couldn't remember his previous vote on the subject, and apparently could not remember his current position, either. In fairness, most candidates only memorize their positions on issues they care about. The Obama speech provided a stark contrast for women voters, many of whom have expressed concern over Senator Obama's commitment to abortion rights and reproductive choice. Senator McCain has pledged to overturn Roe v. Wade, and doesn't even know his own position on access to birth control. CT. Senator and McCain butler Joseph Lieberman has made clear his opposition to making emergency contraception available to rape survivors, so perhaps he can whisper that into McCain's ear. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Closing bell: markets flip-flop and financials dive again
By Douglas McIntyre (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:36:00 AM

Filed under: After the bell, Dell (DELL), General Electric (GE), Wal-Mart (WMT), Intel (INTC), Federal Natl Mtge (FNM), Wachovia Corp (WB), Lehman Br Holdings (LEH) At the close, most of the indexes had done OK DJIA: 11,229.58 up .75% S&P 500 : 1,253.52 up .71% NASDAQ: 2,257.85 up 1..03% And, of course, the 52-Week Low Club Most of the market did relatively well, but shares in big financials could not be saved, even by reassurances from the Treasury Secretary himself. Comments from the former president of the New York Fed to the affect that Fannie Mae(NYSE: FNM) and Freddie Mac(NYSE: FRE) sent the stocks down with Freddie Mac down, at one point, over 25%. Continue reading Closing bell: markets flip-flop and financials dive again Permalink| Email this| Comments

Obama Channels James Dobson?
By Greg McNeilly (Political Machine)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 11:54:00 AM

Filed under: Barack Obama, Religion, 2008 President In an under-reported sermon campaign speech, Barack Obama gave a pitch to people of faith. This political pitch was a homily this past weekend, in St. Louis, to the African Methodist Episcopal Church General Conference. One wonders if the repetitive mentioning of "Jesus" and reciting Christian scriptures suggest he'd be comfortable with Mike Huckabee as his running mate?

Some observations... -- Offering a prayer for those afflicted from flooding...had a Republican done this, how would media elites react? -- He calls for a celebration of the promise of America...does this preclude celebrating its current nature? -- When he says "I won't be fulfilling the Lord's will unless I am doing the Lord's work" do we think he means something different than if a Republican were to say the same? -- Does the above quote mean Obama believes he transcends the "Wall of Separation" and like those certain about

their Faith, his religion will dictate public policy? After all, if he doesn't, he says he won't be doing the "Lord's will." -- Obama adds our faith - the Lord's will must be expressed in our public policy...had a Republican said this, would it have been extreme and radical? -- Obama says our values must be expressed in our government and then notes government needs to support faithbased organizations. Does that apply to those organziations that compete with unionized failing government bureacracies? (Example, school vouchers to empower parents with children stuck in

failing schools.) -- What part of the scripture justifies Obama's class-warfare? Generally, it's been a common belief that jealousy and envy are not virtues but vice. -- Does Obama's belief in an eternal afterlife qualify him as an anti-science neanderthal? -- Does this speech in anyway violate the host church's nonprofit tax-status? After listening to Obama it makes since why Democrats - more so than Republcians - want to rewrite the U.S. Consitution to their own personal agenda. Rassmussen reports that 51% of Barack

Obama's party want major or minor changes to our Founding document. 23% of Republicans want a change but 76% of GOPers see no change needed. So maybe...because we still dont' know, and we're left guessing...the change that is Obama's mindless mantra means rewriting the U.S. Consitituion and adding God to it. Maybe! Or maybe something else...who knows! Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

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Hispanics Are People Too
By Tommy Christopher (Political Machine)
Submitted at 7/11/2008 3:09:00 AM

Filed under: Ads, John McCain, Featured Stories, 2008 President, Immigration Update: I can't believe it, either, but here I am in agreement with Captain Ed: This is a monumentally stupid ad. It spends a full minute saying nothing about the issue it supposedly addresses, and it insults the intelligence of the people whom McCain is trying to woo. And I'm someone who has a little more sympathy for McCain's efforts on immigration than most on the Right. Take two big steps backward, Senator McCain. John McCain has released a new campaign ad, entitled, "God's Children," that seems to be stating something so obvious, you have to wonder why it needed to be said at all. Via press release: ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain's presidential campaign today released its newest television ad entitled "God's Children." The ad features John McCain's remarks at a June 2007 debate in New Hampshire honoring the service and sacrifice of Hispanics in our Armed Forces. The ad will air in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. The McCain campaign has also scheduled a conference call to discuss the ad. I'll have more on that later. Here's the ad, followed by the transcript. Ask yourself, "Who is this ad aimed at?" Script For "God's Children" (TV 1:00)

JOHN MCCAIN: My friends, I want you the next time you're down in Washington, D.C., to go to the Vietnam War Memorial and look at the names engraved in black granite. You'll find a whole lot of Hispanic names. When you go to Iraq or Afghanistan today, you're going to see a whole lot of people who are of Hispanic background. You're even going to meet some of the few thousand that are still green card holders who are not even citizens of this country,

who love this country so much that they're willing to risk their lives in its service in order to accelerate their path to citizenship and enjoy the bountiful, blessed nation. So let's from time to time remember that these are God's children. They must come into country legally, but they have enriched our culture and our nation as every generation of immigrants before them. Thank you. JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message. The

ad does have some kind words for Hispanic Americans, so it is tempting to see this as a grab for the latino vote. If it is, it seems to be a pretty tone-deaf one. "So let's from time to time remember that these are God's children." Who is forgetting this? That line seems to be directed at other Americans who would lump all Hispanic people into the illegal immigration problem, and who are hostile towards them. Hmmm...who does that? But, then, McCain himself lumps all Hispanic Americans into the category of immigrants, legal or not. "They must come into country legally, but they have enriched our culture and our nation as every generation of immigrants before them." You know, a lot of "them" come into the country the same way I did, in a hospital delivery room. There is another possibility. Perhaps McCain is saying that only Hispanics are "God's Children," and the rest of us are...what...Demon hellspawn? Soulless animals? God's Adults? Cleverly disguised androids? This ad is clumsy, at best, and offensive at worst. This is a shame, because McCain really does deserve credit for having a reasonable immigration plan. Which he now does not support. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Option Update: Royal Caribbean and Carnival put volume and volatility spike
By Paul Foster (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:25:00 AM

Filed under: Carnival Corp (CCL), Options Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.(NYSE: RCL) recently down $1.03 to $20.31: RCL is expected to report Q2 EPS in late July. RCL call option volume of 2,789 contracts compared to put volume of 8,808 contracts. RCL July option implied volatility was at 67, August at 74; above its 26-week average of 47 according to Track Data, suggesting larger price movement. Carnival Corporation(NYSE: CCL) recently down $1.57 to $30.83: CCL call option volume of 7,827 contracts compared to put volume of 33,198 contracts. CCL July option implied volatility was at 50, August at 58; above its 26-week average of 39 according to Track Data, suggesting larger price movement. Option Update is provided by Stock Specialist Paul Foster of theflyonthewall.com Permalink| Email this| Comments

Petraeus Confirmed as CENTCOM Commander
By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 2:15:00 PM

Filed under: Bush Administration, Senate, Breaking News, Iraq, Foreign Policy Iraq Commander Gen. David Petraeus was confirmed by the Senate today to be the new chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). In his new position, Petraeus will give up day-to-day control of events in Iraq and take charge of all U.S. military activities in the Middle East and central Asia. President Bush nominated Petraeus for the post back in April on the recommendation of Defense Secretary

Robert Gates. But Gates' promotion of Petraeus for the job was probably a mere formality, given the fact that Petraeus has been the general in charge of the troop surge strategy that has been so remarkably successful at reducing the level of violence in Iraq and helping to boost the confidence and competency of the Iraqi government. The Senate vote was 95-2. Only Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Robert Byrd (DWV) voted against Petraeus's confirmation. Byrd said that his vote was based on his belief that Petraeus has been successful in Iraq, and should remain there. "[I]t does not seem prudent to remove the mastermind behind the fragile successes

that have been thus far achieved," he said. The reason for Harkin's no vote are unclear, but he also cast the lone vote in

opposition to the promotion of Petraeus's deputy, Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, to be the new Iraq Commander. Odierno will receive a fourth star as a result of his confirmation and take over responsibility for operations in Iraq. Petraeus's tenure as the top commander in Iraq has been nothing short of remarkable. He successfully developed and implemented the troop surge strategy, changing U.S. tactics in fighting the stubborn insurgency in Iraq and rescuing the war effort there. He has also seen first hand the daily meddling of Iran in Iraq, and will no doubt take that knowledge to his new post, where he will be charged

with countering the growing threat from Iran in the region. Petraeus has won praise from Republicans and Democrats alike for his candor, his calm and confident leadership, and his tactical brilliance. He seems destined for much greater things and a higher profile role in the Pentagon in the years ahead. He is a once-in-a-generation military leader and is rapidly approaching the exalted status of a MacArthur, Bradley, Pershing, and Eisenhower. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments


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EPA: No New Regs for Greenhouse Gases
By Mark Impomeni (Political Machine)
Submitted at 7/11/2008 3:30:00 AM

Dems Getting Nervous About Drilling Bans
By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 1:09:00 PM

Filed under: Bush Administration, Environment The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce today that it will not issue new regulations for greenhouse gas em missions this year, delaying action on the issue until the next Administration takes office. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA must regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act, or provide a good reason for not regulating it. The EPA argued that it did not have the authority under the act to regulate carbon dioxide partly because the gas is a ubiquitous substance, and not simply a product of emissions from factories and power plants. The EPA denied that it is dragging its feet on the regulations, saying that regulating is, "a long process." "You don't just wake up one day and say, 'Here's the decision.' It's a long process with lots of thought, lots of analysis and lots of research that gets you to that decision point. We're going to be more transparent than we've been, laying it all out and saying, 'How should we do this?'" But some inside the agency tell the Washington Post a story of a series of moves by the Administration to deliberately delay new regulations, including editing congressional testimony,

changing official agency policy, and burying reports from career professionals in the agency. In effect, putting a bureaucratic lockdown on the process. "They argued that this increase in regulation should be on the next president's record," an unnamed official told the Post. Part of the debate revolves around whether the agency should declare global

warming to be harmful to human health and welfare. Making such a declaration would require the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide, potentially adding billions of dollars in regulatory costs for auto makers, utilities, and industrial producers. That drew criticism from Rep. Ed Markey (DMA), Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. "If this administration spent the same effort fighting global warming as they do editing and censoring global warming documents, the planet might not be in such dire straits." But it is far from certain that U.S. action alone would do anything to significantly impact global warming, if it is indeed caused by human activities. And the sheer magnitude of the changes required in the U.S. economy to fight greenhouse gases argue for a slower approach to developing regulations meant to control em missions of carbon dioxide. The delays inherent in government rule-making, the timing of the Court's decision so late in the Bush Administration's term, as well as the complexity of the task, have all combined to slow the process. Ultimately, that may be a good thing. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Steve and Barry's files for bankruptcy
By Zac Bissonnette (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:12:00 AM

Filed under: Bad news It's a dark day for bargain-savvy college students across the country. Steve and Barry's -- whose low price and rapid expansion made it a poster child for success in innovative retailing just a few weeks ago -- has filed for bankruptcy. The company is eliminating 172 corporate jobs, but plans to keep its 276 stores open while

it continues its search for a buyer. But according to The New York Times, "If a deal is not reached with another retailer or investor, the company will most likely begin to close some stores, and it still faces the possibility of a total liquidation." I still think there are a number of companies that should consider making a bid for the company, including Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.(NYSE: WMT), which could use it as an entry into the wallets of costconscious college kids, and Sears Holdings Corporation(NYSE: SHLD), which is

rumored to be interested in acquiring some of the company's brands. But if the 126 comments left on one of my recent posts on Steve and Barry's problems are any indication, whoever decides to buy them will have a lot of work to do in the employee morale department. People identifying themselves as employees were upset with the lack of communication in recent weeks and the company is also accused of stiffing many of its vendors. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Democrats, 2008 Senate, 2008 House, Energy Some Democrats may be just now waking up to the fact that there is huge frustration over high energy prices and they see danger in allowing too much time without addressing this issue. Specifically, Harry Reid and Dick Durbin: "I'm open to drilling and responsible production," Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin told The Wall Street Journal, adding that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could also support the move. However, Durbin said his support for opening new areas to drilling was contingent on setting requirements that oil and gas companies begin production within a specified time frame on acreage they have leased from the government. Steny Hoyer in the house is trying as well: Following weeks of bashing by Republicans who criticize Democrats for opposing an expansion of offshore oil drilling and opening part of an Alaskan wildlife reserve to production, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer tried to put Democrats squarely on the side of more domestic oil production. Speaking to reporters, Hoyer said, "Let's be clear: Democrats support increasing the domestic production of petroleum and other energy resources." ... Democratic leaders also hammered away at the U.S. oil industry, saying it is doing little with the leases it already holds to drill on 68 million acres in the lower 48 states. Under the Democratic bill, such lease holders would have to "use it or lose it," Hoyer said. I don't know, the oil industry has been laughing off the use it or lose it line, saying if there was oil on those properties, they'd

be drilling like there is no tomorrow. So it sounds to me as if the Steny Hoyer is all in favor of drilling where there's no oil and not drilling where the oil is. (ANWR, Oil Shale, and offshore). They may be able to hang on with rhetorical flourishes like this, but it's clear that the Republicans think they've found an issue they will ride to November on. And as the weather gets colder and the first fillups for fuel oil tanks happen in the northern states, the GOP could well be right. The Democrats are at least now signalling that they recognize this as an issue, but they'd rather not give any ground just yet and have to choose between the environment and keeping their seats. UPDATE Put Jim Webb in the category of Drilling Dems. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

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Man Retires Rather Than Lower Flag for Helms
By Denise Williams (Political Machine)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 2:35:00 PM

McCain Has Cash
By Dave (Political Machine)
Submitted at 7/11/2008 1:00:00 AM

Filed under: Senate, Featured Stories, Media, Obits "Monday was sunny. And Eason was out of a job." L.F. Eason III, a 29-year veteran of the state Department of Agriculture and lifelong Democrat, had no issues asking his staff at the North Carolina Standards Laboratory to lower the facility's flags to half-staff for former senator Ted Sanford or Ronald Reagan. He didn't need to act on it though - it rained on both days. The News & Observer reported yesterday that Eason retired rather than order his staff to lower the flag for the recently deceased former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms. But this time Eason didn't believe this politician deserved the respect afforded by lowering the flag in his honor. In an email to his staff the night before this chore was to be performed, Eason informed employees, "Regardless of any executive proclamation, I do not want the flags at the North Carolina Standards Laboratory flown at half staff to honor Jesse Helms any time this week". After an employee called Eason's superior in another location in Raleigh, Mr. Eason was given an ultimatum - order the lowering of the flags or retire. Eason's wife and co-worker's tried to reason with him that the lab and the flags belonged to the state of North Carolina. but he wouldn't

budge: Eason and a previous boss had sketched out the building's rough design on a napkin at the Atlanta airport in 1984 after attending a national conference on weights and measures. He then worked to get funding for it in the state budget, and he recently helped snag state money to study building another lab. "I designed and built that lab," he said. "Even though technically the bricks and mortar belong to the state of North Carolina, I feel very strongly that everything that comes out of there is my responsibility." The flags were lowered by a co-worker that day as Eason's superiors drove by to make sure the deed was done. Good on you, Mr. Eason. Godspeed. You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result. - Mahatma Gandhi Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: John McCain, 2008 President, Fundraising Insert Dr. Evil pinky finger to end of mouth: $95 Meelyun Dollars! CBS News: Davis said that the McCain campaign and Republican National Committee had $95 million cash on hand at the end of July - $26.7 million for the McCain campaign and $67.8 million for the RNC. (McCain's figure is down from the $31.5 million he had on hand at the end of May.) He said McCain raised "just over $22 million" in the month of June- more than the candidate has raised in any previous month. Davis also said that " the McCain campaign spends about $10 million a month less to run their campaign" than Obama, which he suggested has helped the campaign of the presumptive GOP nominee close the cash-on-hand gap on his rival. As the article states at the end, the last time we heard from Obama he had raised $23 million in May and had $43 million cash in hand. Two points here obviously. One is that those that were impressed by Obama's fundraising numbers and were looking at that as a reason to choose him over Hillary are probably getting a queasy feeling in their stomachs. Unless Obama can pull a rabbit out of a hat, his numbers will not look that impressive next to McCain here. My own queasy feeling relates to the part

Overstock and Gradient trade barbs in the media
By Zac Bissonnette (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:51:00 AM

that I bolded above. As I recall Kerry ran a very efficient campaign and even had money left over. But he lost. I'm hoping McCain remembers that and remember that the election is not won by the candidate that most efficiently manages money. But still, it appears that McCain's moves dating back to a year ago, when his campaign was on the ropes and he was bleeding money are still paying off. He has a tight disciplined campaign, that's not a bad thing. Permalink| Email this| Linking Blogs| Comments

Filed under: Law, Scandals Normally when a public company is involved in litigation, it discloses what it must to shareholders via press releases and 8-Ks, and then only material developments. In light of its inability to turn a profit, Overstock.com, Inc.(NASDAQ: OSTK) has taken to issuing press releases announcing the back and forth in its lawsuit against Gradient Analytics, an independent research outfit Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne claims was involved in a campaign to beat down the company's stock. Interestingly, Overstock has not been filing 8-Ks about these developments, indicating that they really aren't material -just chest-pounding press releases designed to hype the stock. Yesterday Overstock put out a press release: Overstock.com Announces Favorable Court Ruling in Rocker/Gradient Case, announcing that a court "ruled favorably on a demurrer brought by Overstock Chairman & CEO Patrick Byrne, dismissing on statute of limitations grounds three causes of action, which Gradient had asserted as counterclaims against Byrne personally." Continue reading Overstock and Gradient trade barbs in the media Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Marriott International F2Q08 earnings transcript
By earningstranscripts (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 10:04:00 AM

Filed under: Conventions and conferences, Marriott Intl'A' (MAR), Earnings transcripts Marriott International, Inc.(NYSE: MAR) F2Q08 Earnings Conference Call

July 10, 2008 10:00 AM ET Management Summary Operator (Operator Instructions) Good day and welcome to this Marriott International second quarter 2008 earnings conference call. Today's call is being recorded. At this time for opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the call over to Executive Vice President, Chief

Financial Officer, and President of the Continental European Lodging, Mr. Arne Sorenson. Please go ahead, sir. Arne M. Sorenson, Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President, President - Continental European Lodging Thank you, Kat. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our second quarter 2008 earnings conference call. Joining me today are Laura Paugh, Senior Vice

President, Investor Relations; Carl Berquist, Executive Vice President, Financial Information and Enterprise Risk Management; and Betsy Daum, Senior Director, Investor Relations. Before I get into the discussion of our results, let me first remind everyone that many of our comments today are not historical facts and are considered forwardlooking statements under federal securities

laws. These statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties as described in our SEC filings which could cause future results to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by our comments. Continue reading Marriott International F2Q08 earnings transcript Permalink| Email this| Comments


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Entrepreneur's Journal: So, what is your business worth?
By Tom Taulli (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 8:57:00 AM

Poole talks solvency in Fannie, Freddie
By Todd Harrison (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 10:05:00 AM

Live iPhone 3G Unboxing and Review on CrunchGear Tomorrow at 7am EDT
By John Biggs (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 6:37:52 PM

Filed under: Small business Let's say you want to sell or buy a business. Or, suppose you want to gift a piece of your business to your family. Maybe you want to raise capital? Well, you'll need to determine the value of your business. So, to get some perspective on the topic, I spoke to Scott Gabehart. He has valued over 700 businesses since 1991 and has written several books on the topic, such as The Business Valuation Book (with CDROM). According to him, there are several approaches to getting a valuation: Do-It-Yourself: Yes, the valuation process can be extremely complex. But Gabehart has an easy system that will provide a rough estimate. First, you will need to calculate your company's adjusted cash flow (ACF). This is: Net income + Your salary + Your perks (personal travel, discretionary expenses) + Depreciation

Filed under: Money and Finance Today, Economic data, Headline news, Recession Minyanville's Mr. Practical dares to share the kind of keen insight and actionable information you won't find in any prospectus. For more original thought, visit www.minyanville.com. There's lot of speculation today following former Fed official Poole's comments on what exactly constitutes solvency for Fannie Mae( NYSE: FNM) and Freddie Mac( NYSE: FRE). The definition of solvent is the ability to pay back debt. Lenders may be willing to lend money to the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), thus keeping them + Interest expense After all, it's common for owners to use their business to pay for personal expenses. Thus, it's important to factor our certain items (for example, depreciation is a noncash expense). Continue reading Entrepreneur's Journal: So, what is your business worth? Permalink| Email this| Comments

from declaring bankruptcy, but that is not solvency. Solvency connotes the ability to be a continuous, sustainable institution because there are positive margins in production. At current borrowing costs, the GSEs are not making money. Unless margins widen, they will not be able to pay back debt, save for the government stepping in and indemnifying that debt. So while the GSEs may continue to exist, because the business model does not work, they're likely to exist in a different form. Namely a government entity using taxpayer money to pay back debt and issue mortgages. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Get thee to the computer screen bright and early tomorrow for we will have a live unboxing and review on CG at 7am EST. Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Bringing new life to GE stock
By Peter Cohan (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:02:00 AM

Martha Stewart goes to Wal-Mart
By Zac Bissonnette (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 10:20:00 AM

Filed under: Wal-Mart (WMT) Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's(NYSE: MSO) recent announcement that its crafts line would be debuting in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.(NYSE: WMT) stores nationally sent MSO up more than 5% at first, but the stock has since given all that back and then some: the stock is down nearly 10% from where it was before the

announcement. The company needs to replace the guaranteed licensing fees from K-Mart that are in the process of phasing out, and revenue from that business is likely to plummet when the guarantee declines from $65 million this year to around $20 million next year. But Wal-Mart? Haven't their been entire books written on how tough it is to make money selling to Wal-Mart? It's easy for me to understand Wall Street's skepticism about this deal, and there have been a lot of

uninspiring developments for the company in recent months: first the company paid $45 million for the Emeril empire, what was supposed to be company transforming acquisition. Then a few months later, CEO Susan Lyne resigned abruptly -- which doesn't speak well for the new strategy. Maybe the Wal-Mart deal will work out splendidly -- but the company appears to be all over the place. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: General Electric (GE) General Electric Company(NYSE: GE) used to have a great advertising slogan: "GE: We Bring Good Things to Life." I don't know when GE dropped that slogan but since its stock has dropped 32% under its current CEO, I was wondering how it could bring new life to its stock. When GE announced this morning that it would try to spin off its Industrial unit, I realized that GE would like to bring new life to its stock. And I was invited to GE's CNBC Power Lunch this afternoon to discuss this before my segment was

canceled. If I had appeared, I would have discussed the benefits of focusing GE on businesses with high profit potential in which GE has a competitive advantage. GE's best business in that regard is its booming Infrastructure Unit which had $58 billion in sales and $11 billion in profit -- up 23% and 22% respectively in 2007. Infrastructure sells power plants, aircraft engines, and locomotives to growing economies like the Middle East, China and India. Unfortunately, GE has many other business units which do not perform as well. Continue reading Bringing new life to GE stock Permalink| Email this| Comments

ACLU Sues Over New Surveillance Act
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 12:53:04 PM

Following Congress granting President Bush the "get out of jail free" card he

demanded, it probably comes as no surprise that he's signed the bill into law -claiming (laughably) that the bill was designed to "protect the liberties of our citizens." It's unclear what in the new bill

does that -- though there's plenty that does the opposite. Almost immediately, the ACLU has sued to challenge the constitutionality of the bill, saying that it appears to violate the 4th Amendment

against unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause. Meanwhile, the EFF is also preparing to sue over both the telco immunity issue and the expanded surveillance powers. All of these efforts

are probably long shots, but it means this isn't over yet. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

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UBS exec and McCain advisor Phil Gramm: U.S. is 'nation of whiners'
By Peter Cohan (BloggingStocks)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 12:21:00 PM

When Everything On The Internet Is Encrypted...
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 2:49:00 PM

Filed under: Presidential elections The Washington Times reports that Phil Gramm, UBS AG(NYSE: UBS) vice chairman and senior economic advisor to John McCain (R.-AZ), thinks we're a nation of whiners. Gramm's UBS is a leader on three important fronts in the effort to destroy the U.S. economy: the $1.3 trillion subprime mortgage catastrophe, the $330 billion Auction Rate Securities (ARS) freeze, and a tax evasion scheme of unknown magnitude. The Washington Times quotes Gramm as saying: "We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant

whining." UBS probably pays Gramm well for his services so I can see where he's coming from. He is making money and he's the only one who matters. But if you think he is helping McCain, think about these things: Continue reading UBS exec and McCain advisor Phil Gramm: U.S. is 'nation of whiners' Permalink| Email this| Comments

For years, we've been pointing out that as the entertainment industry, telcos and the government increase efforts to spy on the activities of users (for various reasons, good or bad), all it's going to do is speed the adoption of encryption technologies. Well, that appears to be happening. Thanks to governments increasing the ability to spy on citizens combined with ISPs capitulating to entertainment industry and government demands to start acting as copyright cops, monitoring usage, more and more people are getting interested in

encrypting their internet activity. While it's unclear if it will go anywhere (and some argue it's guaranteed to fail), the folks behind the Pirate Bay are the latest to jump into the game, promising a system that will "encrypt the entire internet." Whether accomplished by The Pirate Bay or others, this is the near inevitable end result of this cat and mouse game. Even if you believe the entertainment industry, broadband providers and the government have both the best of intentions and the absolute right to do these kinds of monitoring activity, the fact that encryption will make it so those who don't want to monitored can hide means

that it's only going to become more popular. And, at that point, it only makes the efforts by the entertainment industry, the broadband providers and the government that much more useless -because all that monitoring they've pushed to do will not only be nearly impossible, but they've also lost the trust and respect of all those users/customers/constituents. It's a true lesson in the unintended consequences of getting what you wished for. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Rescue Memo: Jerry Yang
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 7/9/2008 11:00:00 AM

To: Jerry Yang, C.E.O., Yahoo From: Jack Flack Subject: Becoming the $33 Candidate I know you didn't get much of a chance to consider the Rescue Memo I sent you just before Microsoft first withdrew. The sudden Icahn intervention and the oscillations in Redmond radically changed the situation. But I knew it was time for some new advice when I read your cringe-inducing quote in today's Wall Street Journal story: "I think that I can bring stability back to Yahoo, and I want to get on with building [the] company," Mr. Yang said. "I think that the destabilizing by Microsoft has become more and more intentional. I am not happy about it." Those words reveal four dangerous assumptions: Dangerous Assumption No. 1: All of this will blow over. Ballmer and Icahn will go away. Your shareholders will forget they could have had $33, if not $40. You'll pick up the pieces, and get the old magic back. Unfortunately, that would qualify as a

minor miracle. Even if the rest of the world—particularly Mountain View—stood still for three years, you wouldn't stand much of a chance. Yahoo had been languishing for years, and the trauma of the past few months has been devastating. The lawsuits will pile up, and demands that you sell the company will continue, if not escalate. You'll be faced with trying to lead a slim-chance turnaround while operating as a marked man. Dangerous Assumption No. 2: You still hold the cards. The day your stock dropped back into the teens, it revealed what life will be like for Yahoo if the company is not acquired in full by Microsoft. That specter puts you in a position of extreme weakness. Dangerous Assumption No. 3: You are uniquely suited to stabilize Yahoo. Unfortunately, at this point, you are personally toting the symbolic baggage that most destabilizes your company. Your shareholders don't trust that you have their best interests at heart. A big percentage of your key leaders have bolted. Most of your remaining Yahoos question the latest round of internal eggHas to be Hold On!, a button which times how long you can, um, hold it down, to

scrambling. And all fingers are pointing at you, not Bostock, Decker, or even Semel. You should understand that Microsoft is no longer trying to destabilize Yahoo; it is trying to destabilize Jerry Yang. Dangerous Assumption No. 4: Your happiness matters. Actually, you are widely perceived as having acted out of emotion instead of rationality. Thus, your personal feelings are probably not the biggest concern of your shareholders at this point. U nless you change the state of play quickly, things will get worse, not better. Here's what you must do: 1. Respect the future. Get over the past, and quit making decisions based on expired realities. You rejected $40 because you remembered the glory days. You rejected $33 because you remembered $40. Meanwhile, you accelerated the decline in value of your enterprise by installing prohibitively expensive defense mechanisms. Now, you must instead make decisions based on the current realities, with a full appreciation for the future implications. Ask yourself, how the vote will go? If you survive that, ask yourself what the odds are "improve your concentration skills." Screenshot, App Store link. [ via]

that you can successfully rebuild value at a pace that will be the slightest bit satisfying to your shareholders. As you answer those questions, you must... 2. Get very objective. I know it's hard. But to avoid going down in history as the most tragically self-destructive titan of the tech era, you must become completely clinical in your decision-making. Otherwise, you will act out of pique, instead of doing what's actually best for you and your reputation. Try this exercise. First, think how personal this has become for you. Now, try to imagine that it's become just as personal for Ballmer. After all, the press has skinned him about this deal almost as much as they have you. The big difference is that he's the one who now holds the cards. 3. Explicitly offer $33. It's not enough to sit on the porch and say that you'll entertain a return visit from a suitor who is tired of being scorned. Stop fanning yourself like Scarlett, and take the action required to reframe the game: Grab Ballmer in Sun Valley and tell him you'll do the deal for $33.

If Ballmer demurs or hedges, immediately issue a short statement summarizing your offer. That will give shareholders a meaningful reason to vote for you. In effect, you will make yourself the "$33 Candidate" and relegate Icahn to being the "Beggar's-Price Candidate." If Ballmer agrees, insist on jointly issuing a short statement within 24 hours. 4. Move on to the next thing. Expedite the deal with graciousness, and then start clean by focusing on an idea that truly stirs your passions. Make that idea work, and the world will once again start thinking of you as a gifted innovator. And oh, no matter how this thing plays out, do not even think of taking your old title of "Chief Yahoo." Somehow, it's just not as cute as it used to be. Related Links Yahoo: UPPER-CASE Icahn v. lowercase yang Icahn wants to fire Yang? SHOCKING! The Takeaway: Microsoft-Yahoo Fallout

The Most Unproductive "Productivity" iPhone App [Iphone 2.0]
By Gina Trapani (Lifehacker)


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Don't Blame Canada
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 7/9/2008 10:00:00 AM

T wo weeks ago, Portfolio.com posed a simple question with a not-so-simple answer: Who killed the economy? We suggested a few possible culprits and introduced an interactive bracket in which Ben Bernanke faced off against OPEC and Hank Paulson took on President Bush. And then we opened the floor to readers, many of whom said we had left off some other probable suspects, including Congress, the American people—even Texas. Of the more than 130 comments on Portfolio.com and over 4,000 on Yahoo, many took on the legislature for failing to push for alternative energy technologies and higher gas-mileage standards that would reduce costs. Others thought we had met the enemy and it was us. We overspent, built up personal debt, abdicated personal responsibility, and now we are paying the price, end of story. Additional candidates included the media, U.S. monetary policy over the past century, and Big Oil—but the "whodunit" remains unsolved. Below, an edited sampling of some of the most insightful and provocative comments on the Portfolio.com and Yahoo websites. Whose responsibility is it to ensure that people don't borrow more than they can afford? The government's, the bank's, or the borrower's? Unless we want a controlling-nanny state, it's clearly the borrower's responsibility. The government has a duty to ensure that the lender provides clear and full disclosure of the transaction, including risk, but it ends there. --by Yahoo There are a number of people to blame but I think Congress tops the list...and they are not even on your list. Think about why we do not provide more of our own oil or gas, why we do not have more nuclear power, why our cars do not get better mileage, and why the price of food has gone up so much. They are a major cause of all of that. --by mike The Sheeple who live where the United States used to be: 1. Trying to borrow themselves into prosperity. 2. Sucking all possible equity out of their

homes to buy S.U.V.'s and big-screen HDTVs. 3. Expecting a bailout when the foolishness of their behavior catches up with them. --by Koozarian2000 I blame it entirely on the loose monetary policy that Greenspan championed, from bailing out L.T.C.M. in 1998 to the bailout of Bear Stearns. If there is one thing that he set the tone for, it is making the Fed clean up the mess of the investment banks. Greenspan has been more fond of Wall Street than Main Street. --by Austin Consumers are to blame. They overspent (credit-card debt); they took out hefty mortgages, but with a little math calculation these consumers would have realized that a $350,000 first mortgage with a monthly payment of $500 did not wash. They also bought S.U.V.'s without thinking about (1) the turmoil in the Middle East, (2) more people driving, and (3) the fact that with limited oil exploration, the price of gasoline would explode upward. --by AlanLester The real culprits are: F.D.R. and Nixon, who serially eliminated the gold standard. This economic mess (which is just starting, BTW) was 80 years in the making. The abandonment of gold-backed currency allowed the Vietnam War, the Great Society welfare spending (and the federal debt in general), the exponentially grown trade deficits with the Middle East and China, and even personal (credit-card and mortgage) indebtedness. And now...we will pay the piper. --by dr.shannon Texas killed our economy. It is the greed and arrogance of the Big Oil executives that have kept our country "addicted to oil." The U.S.A. should have led the world to a renewable-energy-powered economy 30 years ago. Had we done that, we would not be fighting energy resource wars or paying for gas at all. The technology has been here for years. It has been the will to move forward and the leadership that has been lacking. --by BaronVonRichter Where is the block for all the dumb-ass people who were too stupid to do basic math and consumed their way into oblivion? Time to put the blame back

where it belongs—on the guilty. --by Diogenes I think that a lot of people are to blame. We can start at the bottom of the list with all the individuals out there brokering mortgages who have no business education, no ethical standards, no certification, and fat commissions as incentive to broker deals between lenders and people who can't afford a flat-rate, fixed-term mortgage. Then I blame lending institutions who come up with these mortgage plans that no person in their right mind would ever consider agreeing to in the first place, so that people could "get in and get out" in a short period when the market was hot so they would accumulate enough cash on the sale to use as a down payment on the home they really wanted to buy with a flat-rate, fixed-term loan. Entirely too many people signed on to these kinds of mortgages without realizing that these notes were NEVER meant to be long-term loans—and shame on the brokers who did NOT tell them this. Then I blame investment houses with fund managers who bought all this bad paper, bundled it up, and sold it to both foreign investment houses and foreign banks—realizing a nice profit for their fund and for their investors (and pocketing their fat commissions, of course), all the while knowing that eventually this paper was going to "go bad" and negatively impact economies around the world. If people think that America isn't liked because of the war, they should read what people around the world think of our investment companies bringing down their economies and collapsing their banks. Funny how the American media isn't touching that story. I blame the American media. I don't blame Alan Greenspan or Ben Bernanke. Their job at the Fed was/is to keep money flowing in a way that stimulates business growth in America and keeps the U.S. growing and competitive in the world marketplace. They have done that. I blame Congress for passing bad banking laws. For eliminating the usury laws and letting the credit industry in general write their own ticket. --by OaklandWoman Bush and OPEC. Didn't help that they

were in bed together. --by stang You forgot the media. They created a relentless drumbeat of negative stories on the evening news and in the print media. It almost seemed like they wanted a recession because of their partisan political beliefs. --by Red I blame Hollywood. When I was a child, the popular television shows did not show working-class people owning a large home, two cars, TVs in every room, and every gadget that money could buy. The only "homeowners" in television shows when I was a kid were professional people. And the families stress the importance of saving money, being thrifty, and going to school. Now Hollywood depicts lower and working class families as having all the "toys" of life—which they can't possibly afford. They grow up thinking that is what they are entitled to have. And they browbeat their parents into buying them things they can't afford just so they will shut up. --by BlameGreed The economy was killed by deregulation of the banks together with the economic policies of this regime. Restrictions in place since the Great Depression were eliminated, allowing the Wall Street wonders to slice and dice mortgages and sell the results. That created the housing crisis. On top of that, most of the jobs created in this country over the past seven years require only that you can say, "Would you like fries with that?" --by alan_gesler (via Yahoo) Bush& Greenspan—a weaker dollar and a weaker country. --by Ichenraksha (via Yahoo) You guys don't get it, do you? Bush, Bernanke, Congress, big corporations, etc. aren't that important. It's human nature. We've been on top of the world and are fat and lazy. We don't want to work hard, save more than we earn, or make our kids bust their butts in school, etc. Let me see, we save $0, we spend double-digit percentage points more than we earn, we let our kids watch 10 times the amount of TV as compared to reading, worship pop stars as idols, and expect the government (somebody) to save us. Compare that to China, India, and other third-world

countries that produce as good a product (sometimes better) for 10 percent of the cost. They are trying to kick our collective arses while we change the channel. Turn off the TV, get off the couch, and start producing equal to your standard of living. What a concept. Go figure. --by fugawee60 (via Yahoo) Before my comment, a small bit of truth: The economy is not dead. We indebted our economy to its present sick state. I am so sick of Americans who call themselves hapless victims. If we don't believe that we are the ones who most should have known, then we insult ourselves. Did Alan Greenspan get a commission on your mortgage refinance? --by arctific (via Yahoo) Why would anyone think that war spending is an economy killer? The defense industry is probably the least 'offshored' of U.S. industries at this time. Of the billions spent each month on the war, much of it is pumped right back into the U.S. economy. I'm not saying this is morally correct, merely that the money spent is an economic stimulus. --by Yahoo! Finance User (via Yahoo) It's all fine to make a few dollars more and to bring up the lifestyle of those in other countries. However, when you take a huge number of jobs and move them elsewhere, you severely damage the American consumer. The American consumer was the factor that drove the majority of purchases up until recently. Now they can no longer continue to do that with cheap wages, and worse yet, NO jobs or decent wages. We cannot afford to continue shipping work overseas. These countries do not pay enough for their employees to buy cars or anything else of any significance. If they cannot afford to buy products, they should not be trying to manufacture. Secondly, Alan Greenspan should have stuck to his guns initially when he told Bush no tax cuts, but he capitulated to Republican politics as usual. --by Yahoo! Finance User (via Yahoo) Anyone who has taken an entry-level financial-markets class knows that the good times cannot always last. The current downslide of the economy was brought about by financial innovations but not one single person can be to blame. The DON'T page 9

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The Rot in C.D.O.'s
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 3:00:00 AM

Heavy Medal
managers. Yet, as he points out, his list is dominated by the biggest and most wellregarded names in the industry. The C.D.O. crash hit the best and the brightest, who were grabbing the most fees and now are reaching for more investor money. Here's his list: C.D.O. Manager # of C.D.O.'s in Default Expected Losses (in millions) • Strategos Capital Management 11 $10,946 • GSC Partners 10 $7,440 • Blackrock 6 $6,358 • Harding Advisory 8 $6,212 • ACA Management 6 $6,033 • Credit Suisse 7 $5,574 • Tricadia (Mariner Group) 5 $5,561 • Bear Stearns 4 $4,853 • Vertical Capital 5 $4,702 • Vanderbilt Capital Advisors 4 $4,401 • 250 Capital Advisors 3 $4,071 • Declaration Management & Research 5 $3,994 • Ellington Capital Management 3 $3,818 • TCW 6 $3,778 • State Street 3 $3,231 • Delaware Asset Management 3 $2,662 • Terwin Money Management 4 $2,620 • NIB Capital 2 $2,467 • Maxim Advisory 2 $2,269 • Seneca Capital 3 $2,110 Related Links Wall Street Requiem The New Committee to Save the World Bad News for Bear Shareholders is Good News for the Markets

H edge fund manager Simon Mikhailovich is naming and shaming his colleagues. Good for him. Mikhailovich runs Eidesis, a hedge fund that invests in distressed structured credit. He has been in the market since the 1990s, the Paleozoic Era of collateralized debt obligations. Yet he was also one of the first to raise flags about the toxicity of the structured-finance business, turning bearish in 2005. C.D.O. management was a big business in those days. But Mikhailovich was proved right last year, when C.D.O.'s, in particular those tied to subprime mortgages, turned disastrous. Fortunately for the underwriters and the C.D.O. managers—the firms that create and manage the securities that Mikhailovich invests in—they took down huge fees. At the peak, they were generating $800 million a year from creating asset-backed C.D.O.'s. Now there have been $217 billion worth of structured-finance C.D.O.'s that have triggered default since October. And it's going to get worse. So far, less than half of C.D.O.'s in the class of 2006 and 2007 have gone bad. Given the rot in those vintages, that figure will likely rise. So, Mikhailovich was compelled to do a bit of research: Who created these horrors and how much have they lost? The fund manager did an analysis, compiling a list of the top wealth

destroyers. Not that they are acting with any sense of shame. As a Bloomberg News article last week pointed out, many of these same managers are seeking to raise money to buy some of this supposedly distressed paper. The pitch? They aim to follow in the footsteps of Drexel Burnham Lambert bankers. Drexel, you will recall, blew the world up in junk bonds. Then its former employees—famously Leon Black of the private equity firm Apollo Management—formed investment partnerships to buy beaten-up junk bonds, ultimately making a killing. That's brazen, even by Wall Street standards. As Mikhailovich writes in his recent letter to his investors: "Drexel bankers sold the overpriced bonds to the gullible investors at par and then raised money to buy the same bonds back for cents on the dollar. Those bankers may not have been terribly ethical but incompetent they were not! Managers of the busted C.D.O.'s, on the other hand, paid full prices to buy the bonds that subsequently became deeply distressed. Now they are raising money to invest in the very same bonds they failed to properly analyze the first time around." People have frequently noted that this has been the "smart money" bear market, with investment banks, big commercial banks, and other sophisticates bearing the brunt of the credit crisis and market downturn. The C.D.O. market isn't much different. A couple of years ago, skeptics like Mikhailovich were warning of a huge influx of new, inexperienced C.D.O.

(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 7/9/2008 4:00:00 PM

DON'Tpage 8 continued from
economy will go up and then later go down. Most of us have lived in a period that has seen record levels of growth, and now the economy has to slide down a bit to readjust. Politicians can't fix it; the Fed can't fix it; only time can fix it. Blaming people gets us nowhere. --by rickjamesb05 (via Yahoo) Bankers and savings-and-loan executives knew many years ago that a home loan's value was based upon the homeowner having equity in the home. With that we saw good maintenance and pride of ownership. The idea that every American should own his or her own home is madness. Not every American should own his or her own business. Home loans have recently been treated the same way as auto loans. No one has voiced concerns about the high rate of auto repossessions we have witnessed for many years. I have little sympathy for a foreclosed homeowner who paid no down payment, has no equity, then quit making the payments. They have lost nothing. Why should they be rescued with taxpayers' money? This is only good for politicians who are grubbing for votes. --by msb1929 (via Yahoo) Related Links Why the Fed Won't Raise Rates to Prick Bubbles The Blame Game Fed: Wall Street Needs More Time

Keeping up with the Olympics this summer promises to be an effort of, well, Olympian proportions. That’s because NBC, which is broadcasting the summer sporting event for the sixth consecutive time is threatening to unleash 3,600 hours of coverage on viewers. "It’s more live coverage from a single Olympics than the total of all previous Summer Olympics combined," Dick Ebersol, the chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics, said in a press release issued by the company. "The enormity of what we’re doing just blows me away." Self-congratulation aside, the coverage—which will be broadcast across eight NBCU platforms, including the NBC network itself, plus cable properties from MSNBC to Telemundo, and on the web at NBCOlympics.com—represents a bid by chief executive Jeff Zucker to drum up interest after disappointing ratings during several previous summer Olympic games. In 2000, the network coughed up $705 million—not including production costs—to broadcast the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. The overall ratings for those games, for which viewership totaled about 200 million, were the lowest for any Olympics ever broadcast by NBC, for a variety of reasons. Interest is lower for Olympics outside of the U.S., the Games took place in late September, when school and work obligations competed with viewing, and the time difference meant a lag during which Americans could get the results of Olympic competitions online or from the newspaper. In 2004, the story was slightly sunnier. After spending $793 million to broadcast the Summer Games from Athens, Greece, NBC garnered household ratings for the event that were 245 percent higher than those from the previous month. That year also marked the first enormous increase in coverage—the company aired a thenrecord 1,210 hours, thanks to the recent acquisition of three cable networks: USA,

Bravo, and Telemundo. This year, the broadcast rights for the Olympics cost a record $894 million, not counting a reported $125 million extra for production expenses. And in exchange for that huge outlay of capital, NBC has found itself embroiled in an international hubbub about China’s human rights record, as well as protests against and attacks on Olympic sponsors. To make it all worthwhile, the network is no doubt banking on a huge payoff in the form of ratings numbers, and is luring viewers with promises of unparalleled choice and live coverage. In addition to 225 hours of coverage on NBC itself, viewers this year will be able to tune in live to the heretofore ignored triumphs of Olympic canoeing, archery, and judo competitions via NBCOlympics.com. Seventy-five percent of the broadcasts across every NBC platform will be live. Coverage from every Olympic sport will be included, and barn-burner sports like gymnastics and swimming will receive especially comprehensive coverage. Also in NBC’s favor: "The time difference works well this year," says Brad Adgate, senior vice president at mediaplanning and -buying agency Horizon Media. "If an event starts in the morning in China, that’s prime time on the East Coast" of the U.S. Adgate forecasts an audience of "upwards of 200 million" for the Games this summer, but points to other, intangible benefits of broadcasting the Games, such as promoting its fall lineup. And besides, NBC doesn’t have a ton of competition in the form of quality programming from the other networks, most of which are sticking with a tried-and -true slate of reality shows this summer. Still, digesting 3,600 hours of Olympic coverage? Now that’s gold-medal worthy. Related Links Strong Interest in Summer Olympics Spurs Vibrant Ad Sales Are the Olympics Worth It? Music + Sports + Technology = Telecom Trifecta?


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Rush to Judgment
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 7/9/2008 9:00:00 PM

R ush Limbaugh's reported mammoth, eight-year, $38 million-per contract with Clear Channel has quickly sparked two very different reactions: It's given hope to a bloodied radio industry and simultaneously angered legions of talkshow hosts who aren't making enough to buy entire emerging-market nations. But news of the contract "is a great affirmation by Premiere"—Premiere Radio Networks syndicates The Rush Limbaugh Show—"and by the advertisers that there's great reach still in radio," argues Jeff Haley, chief executive of the Radio Advertising Bureau. That "great affirmation" comes as ad revenue evaporates and audiences vanish. Annual revenue for radio has been spiraling. In 2007, overall revenue for the U.S. radio industry declined 2 percent, to $21.3 million, from the year before, wiping out meager 1 percent gains in 2006. Haley says (surely with fingers and toes crossed, and eyes fixated on heaven) that podcasts and streaming internet broadcasts will likely be incorporated into Limbaugh's new contract, as Clear Channel and its ilk struggle to capture and retain tech-savvy listeners, bored with the standard radio box. And as that evolution takes place and the medium modernizes, "it's only natural that these strong franchises," like Limbaugh's, "will expand," he says. Limbaugh himself is a complete stranger to audience woes. He claims to have 20 million listeners (other industry analysts

peg it at closer to 14 million), and he's available on the AM dial, readily accessible to anyone with a bare-bones radio and a tolerance for ads, no subscription necessary. His bombastic personality and conservative views have paved the way for the likes of Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. And the new contract marks him as central to the success of Premiere's business plan. Despite that, the contract may serve as a mixed blessing to the rank and file of the radio industry as a whole. Sure, it’s a vote of confidence for the viability of radio as a successful medium for ads. Sure, it offers some glimmer of hope to aspiring talkradio hosts. More immediately however, it is causing untold frustration among other up-andcoming hosts. Michael Harrison, editor of radio industry trade publication Talkers magazine, says many have called him in frustration to complain that they aren't making enough. Another high-profile radio personality, Howard Stern, made headlines four years ago after signing a reported $100-million-a -year contract with the subscription-only Sirius Satellite Radio. That arrangement, too, was based on capitalizing on emerging technology to garner new listeners, but has had mixed results so far: Stern has failed to drum up an audience bigger than somewhere in the estimated "single-digit millions" for his channel, according to Harrison. Still, Sirius's investment in Stern was a wise one, he says. The star brought the fledgling company significant notoriety

and can be expected to build a more solid audience given time now that Sirius has merged with rival XM. Amid the fuss, it's worth remembering that the contract's financial details were revealed by Limbaugh himself, hardly an impartial source, in a profile in the New York Times Magazine. The deal is reported to be worth $400 million over eight years, not including a nine-figure signing bonus. But none of this has been confirmed by Premiere. And, like any contract, Limbaugh's is no doubt peppered with protective clauses and contingency plans to shelter the company signing the checks. The host is "going to have to continue to do a heck of a job for that figure to come to fruition," says Harrison, in terms of ratings, revenue, and other performance metrics. Premiere will likely expect revenue growth to at least keep pace with the cost of living, say 3 percent a year—and ratings goals will reflect similarly high expectations. Still, if the contract numbers are real, they may be justified. In radio, "there's a powerful personal connection that happens. That's what drives Rush's reach and the valuation of his programming," says Haley. "The new contract will absolutely pay off." Related Links All Talk? Pump Up the Deal Volume Music Wars

Fannie and Freddie Need a Sibling
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 5:00:00 AM

Connecticut Still Wants To Try Julie Amero
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 6:24:03 AM

You may recall the case of Julie Amero, a substitute teacher in Connecticut who was found guilty of charges that she had showed pornography to children in her classroom, and who faced 40 years in jail. The problem was that the police and the prosecutors seemed unable to understand what had actually happened. The computer in the classroom had been infected by

malware, which tossed up porn pop-up ads. It wasn't that she was surfing porn, but that the computer had malware. As news of this wrongful conviction got out, more and more security experts tried to explain to everyone involved why Amero was not the guilty party. Eventually, the judge agreed, and struck down the guilty verdict. However, the state still has not dropped the case. In fact, as reader Phil K lets us know, the state has no intention of dropping the case,

and appears to want a new trial. No one involved in the case will explain why they won't drop it. In fact, they won't even apologize for what was clearly a wrongful prosecution in the first place. The prosecutors, the police and the school Amero worked for haven't said a word. The fact that they're planning to go through another trial over this matter suggests they still don't even realize what they did. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Fears about the two mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have dragged down the stock market into a bear market and prompted doomsday discussions in Washington. The worry is that the two will not able to weather the housing slump, as foreclosures surge (up 53 percent in June), and that the government will be forced to bail them out. A bailout of the two government-created, but investor-owned, companies would make the rescue of Bear Stearns look like a petty cash transaction. Fannie and Freddie, the two largest buyers of American mortgages, have some $5 trillion in mortgage-related debt—about half of the mortgage debt market. "If Fannie or Freddie failed, it would be far worse than the fall of Bear Stearns," Sean Egan, head of credit-rating firm Egan Jones, told Katie Benner of Fortune. "It could throw the economy into depression or something close to it." The former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, William Poole, tells Bloomberg News that under fair accounting rules, both Fannie and Freddie are technically insolvent. "Congress ought to recognize that these firms are insolvent, that it is allowing these firms to continue to exist as bastions of privilege, financed by the taxpayer,'' Poole said in the interview with Bloomberg. In early May, Charles Duhigg of the New York Times had a remarkably prescient report about the fears in Washington over the two companies. Following up on that, James Hagerty, Deborah Solomon, and Damian Paletta of the Wall Street Journal report today that such discussions within the Bush administration have stepped up in recent weeks. The focus in Washington has been on now seemingly stalled housing legislation that would increase the might of the Federal Housing Administration and

overhaul the way Fannie and Freddie are regulated. But the debate may have to turn sharply radical as the housing slump deepens. Nationalization of the two is an idea, but Benner says it is unlikely in an election year and with a lame-duck administration. What Congress should do is show the same initiative it did during the dark days of the Depression when Fannie and Freddie were born: Create a new government-sponsored enterprise to compete with the two and buy mortgages in the secondary market. In other words, backstop the market, don't backstop Fannie and Freddie. Bailing out Fannie and Freddie would reward years of aggressive use of derivatives, accounting shenanigans, and wasteful spending on top executives and lobbying. And both companies failed their public mission of making housing affordable. A new housing G.S.E. would of course be a costly undertaking and thus, probably politically impossible. But in the end a government-owned corporation would arguably benefit homeowning taxpayers, whereas a bailout of Fannie and Freddie elevates the problem of moral hazard to a whole new level. And the creation of a rival has been proposed before, although by conservative Congressional critics of Fannie and Freddie when times were good. In 2001, the director of the Congressional Budget Office said that "if the number of companies granted a G.S.E charter was increased, the secondary market would become more competitive, resulting in a larger portion of the subsidy being passed through to borrowers." These are desperate times that call for radical measures. Fiona Mo anyone? Frankie Morg? Related Links Fed: Keep Rates Low for Now The Fed's 125bp Two-Step Fed Leaves Door Ajar

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The Art of Making Money
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 7/9/2008 4:00:00 AM

A dearth of new buyouts? Check. Deal implosions? Yep. Tight credit? Unfortunately so. Ergo, a private-equity slump, right? Not so fast. It turns out the buyout kings don't have reason to hang their crowns up just yet. According to a pair of studies this week, money is still flowing into private-equity funds at a healthy clip, and their managers continue to make windfalls from exiting their investments. Or they did in 2007, anyway. Ernst & Young's annual study of private-equity value creation was released this morning, and the takeaway for 2007 seems to be much the same as it was in the 2006 and 2005 studies: Private-equity owners create more value than their public counterparts. Hear that, potential E&Y private-equity clients? The report looked at the 100 biggest global private-equity exits in 2007. Three were in Asia and Australia, 53 were in Europe, and 44 were in North America. The objective was to measure how much value the portfolio managers created in the companies they bought, including metrics such as earnings growth and productivity. The results aren't really surprising. After

all, the first half of 2007 was a great time to exit a portfolio investment made, on average, three and a half years earlier. But the study doesn't differentiate the results from the first half of the year to the second half. Here's what did happen, according to the study: P.E. exits in Germany showed more growth in value than any other geographical area; deals under $1 billion outperformed their public counterparts better than those over $1 billion; and private-equity firms had better luck buying private companies than taking publicly traded companies private. In fact, a big exit strategy for privateequity-backed companies in 2007 was to sell them to other private-equity firms. In North America, 47 percent of the biggest exits came from secondary buyouts, versus 27 percent in 2006. One man's trash is another man's treasure, or so they say. It's clear that the 2008 E&Y study will paint an entirely different picture (but rest assured it will still conclude that private equity creates value). The M&A market has slowed to a crawl, and the I.P.O. market is nearly nonexistent. The report's authors suggest that the industry spread its wings a bit to take on more opportunities in sectors like mining, energy, and financial services. They

predict secondary buyouts will continue to increase, and sovereign wealth funds will become a stronger presence as exit sources. Instead of exiting investments this year, the industry seems to be focused on raising more money. According to data tracked by Dow Jones' Private Equity Analyst, buyout firms and their funds raised $132.7 billion during the first half of this year, down just 3 percent from the same period last year. Fundraising in Europe outpaced that in the U.S. They may as well get it while the getting's still good. Pension funds and endowments are still eager for places to park their cash. Besides, fund managers can use 2007's glowing figures to make their sales pitches. As for where all that money will end up invested, it's anyone's guess at this point. But these are financiers who can make 2 percent fees without even investing that money for years if they want. What's not to love about that? Related Links Private Equity: Breaking Up Is Not That Hard to Do WaMu Gets Its Deal Split Decision in Europe

IPhone 3G: The Story So Far
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 7:30:00 AM

Oil on the Trigger Finger
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 7/9/2008 4:30:00 AM

What does it take to reignite a rally in oil? Nine missiles. Crude oil futures surged on world markets after Iran announced that it had test fired nine long- and medium-range missiles. Among them was a Shahab-3, which is said to have a range of 1,250 miles and is capable of hitting Israel. The tests came just a day after the Iranian president appeared to play down the threats to Israel and the United States over the stanadoff on Iran's nuclear program and oil prices fell in dollar terms by the biggest amount since 1991. But the saber-rattling today revived worries about a disruption to Mideast oil. "While we're still in a phase of verbal

attacks, the danger of military strikes is real and Iran might halt its oil exports,'' Gerrit Zambo, a trader at BayernLB in Munich, told Bloomberg News. "This is driving the oil price up and the situation remains tense.'' Crude oil futures slid 6 percent on Monday and Tuesday on expectations that the global economy will slow and ultimately cut back on demand. The retreat gave rise to the view that oil's climb may have peaked. Americans have cut back on their driving and air travel, and India and China have reduced government subsidies on oil imports. Yet such optimism may be misplaced. For one, the decline in oil came after the dollar gained in value, which has more to do with European interest rates than anything else. Oil is priced in dollars, so

the decline was not as keenly felt by global consumers and investors. And oil has a geopolitical element that has little to do with the market dynamics of supply and demand. Higher oil is in the political interests of Iran, which produces more than 4 million barrels per day, nearly 5 percent of the world's oil supply. The Economist recently noted, "The tightness of the oil market has become, in effect, a line of defense for Iran, letting its radical leadership hint, truthfully, that any hostile act that may impede the flow of Iranian oil would risk a global economic decline." Related Links The Coming Oil Crash Oil Prices Climb Oil Strikes Out

Let's face it. Today and tomorrow will be about one thing. The iPhone. And not just in the tech blogs. As we saw earlier, the mainstream press has got iPhone Fever, too, although US stalwarts Mossberg, Pogue and Baig didn't fall over themselves with gushing praise like they did last year. So, ahead of tomorrow's Second Coming, what do we know? Here's a roundup of the latest leaks and announcements. First, we know that the handset is already in the wild. Gadget Lab's all-action playboy, Danny Dumas, showed us the World's first unboxing, and the Boy Genius Report went one better with a video of an iPhone sneaked to them by an Apple insider. Software, too, has started to trickle out. ITunes 7.7 is already available from both the Apple website and via Software Update, and some of the new features are live (App Store: Yes. iPhone 2.0 OS: No). And Mobile Me, the replacement for the withering dotmac service, is already available for download(for Mac users, at least), and, for some, already live. One of our own contacts, Kyle Wiens from iFixit, had a 3G iPhone flashed at him in the queue outside a New Zealand store, doubtless accompanied by the words "na-na na na-na". Kyle mailed me from the line last night, where he's waiting to get a phone to tear apart and photograph for our pleasure: Someone came by the line in NZ with a 3G iPhone to show off. I'm guessing it's one of the demo units... I'm told the screws

are easily visible, and look like #00 Philips. We're #4 in line, so we'll have our own soon enough. As of this writing, the iPhone has just gone on sale in New Zealand, where some enterprising (or just plain crazy) Americans have flown to join the queue. Luke Soules, one of Wiens' colleagues, at iFixit, is in line and will be pulling the phone apart as soon as he has one. Computer World New Zealand: Soules flew in from California on Wednesday afternoon and quickly grabbed a spot in line [...] "hopefully, at 12.30am, I will be pulling [the device] apart. UPDATE: The iFixit site shows that the boys have the iPhone, but have yet to take a hammer to it. This mania will doubtless continue until the weekend. Lines are already forming in the US, and Gear Diary has a blog covering the goings on outside Apple's flagship glass cube in New York. To many, it might seem rather pointless, especially after the launch of the original iPhone: When the queues dispersed, customers were able to walk in and just buy one, no waiting required. What these naysayers miss, though, is the camaraderie and carnival atmosphere amongst the Apple fans. As Gear Diary's Wayne Schulz says: It seems more likely that this line is some type of odd family picnic. Related Links iMania What's Good for Apple is Better for Everyone Else The $199 iPhone Challenge

It's the Little Things [Iphone 2.0]
By Gina Trapani (Lifehacker)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 5:10:01 AM

Two tiny but handy features of note: iTunes 7.7 can sync your Google Contacts to your iPhone, and the iPhone 2.0

software has a screen capture utility built right in—and that "Hurrah!" you just heard comes from tech writers across the internet.


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Chemistry in Chemicals
(Portfolio.com: News and Markets)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 6:30:00 AM

What does it take to do a $19 billion deal at a 75 percent premium in this dismal market? Cold, hard cash from Omaha and the Middle East, that's what. Or convertible preferred securities will do. Dow Chemical announced this morning that it is acquiring Rohm & Haas for $18.8 billion, or $78 per share. The price represents a 74 percent premium to Wednesday's share price. Dow is getting some help financing the deal from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, which is contributing $3 billion, and the Kuwait Investment Authority, with a $1 billion stake. Last December, Dow Chemical entered a joint venture with Petrochemical Industries Company of the State of Kuwait. Andrew Liveris, chief executive of Dow Chemical, said the company had been looking for an acquisition to help it diversify its business from petroleumbased commodity chemicals. Rohm & Haas makes chemicals for acrylic paints, adhesives, and personal-care products.

"We only ever had two or three companies in our vista that made sense for us,'' Liveris said in an interview with Bloomberg Television, "and our patience and our discipline, the wait for the right moment and the right time for the right property. When it becomes available you make the deal happen.'' Besides being a multibillion-dollar transaction in an otherwise quiet M&A market, this deal is notable for the absence of any private-equity money. Debt financing was committed by Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley, who were also advisers on the deal. Buffett didn't let his dealmaking keep him from attending the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. DealBook noticed yesterday that Buffett seemed preoccupied with work while fellow attendees enjoyed golfing and other activities. No word yet on whether or not he participated in the bridge tournament. Related Links Kuwait's Chemical Reaction A Dimon in the Rough Mark-to-Model on Wall Street: The Numbers

PR Guy Says Bloggers Should Shut Up And Take Press Releases
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 7:47:05 AM

iPhone 2.0 Software Update Unofficially Available [Iphone 2.0]
By Gina Trapani (Lifehacker)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 1:29:03 AM

MacRumors unearthed a link to the iPhone 2.0 Software Update which we've confirmed does indeed work, if you can't wait for Apple's official push. Download the update, sync your device, then hold down Option on the Mac (Shift on Windows) when you hit the "Check for

Update" button inside iTunes and choose the file you downloaded. The update takes several minutes and will wipe your device and re-sync it. From our tests it only worked on iPhones, not the iPod touch. Here's the direct link to download the iPhone 2.0 software update. Thanks, jarhead!

When we first started Techdirt, one of the things I said clearly on the site was not to send us press releases, as we had no interest in writing about them. Yet, so many PR people clearly chose not to read the site and they send them anyway. They don't read the fact that we don't want press releases -- and in most cases they clearly don't read the site because the press releases obviously are about stuff we never write about. And it just gets worse and worse. These days, my inbox is filled with more press releases than regular email -and I don't post any of them. You would think that PR people would eventually recognize how inefficient it is to send these press releases -- but since it's so easy to just cc every email address in a press list, they never even think about it. This leads me to write posts trashing PR people. But, of course, that does no good, because (as already established) the PR people who send us press releases obviously don't actually read the site. While there are some PR people who understand this, and with whom I have a good relationship, the vast majority don't seem to care at all. And, now, some seem to be going in the opposite direction. Romenesko points us to a marketing/PR guy who claims that bloggers with large audiences have a responsibility to just accept these press releases-- even if they have no intention of writing about them: In my view, a popular, well-read blog de facto takes on some of the public trust that the mainstream media have always assumed.... Why shouldn't I send you a

press release? If you've got 2,000 readers, you're like a small newspaper. Newspapers don't complain when we send them press releases. They may throw the release away, but they don't write articles ridiculing the person who had the audacity to send it, as some bloggers do when they get an unwanted release. Well, we've got a lot more than 2,000 readers, and if we have any sort of de facto "public trust" with our readers, it's to write about what we think they'll find interesting -- and they've made it clear they don't care about press release "fake news." And if we ridicule PR people -- it's not simply for sending us a press release. It's for clearly not reading the site where we ask them not to send us press releases and for not understanding what we want to write about. We do want story ideas. We have always asked our readers for story ideas. But press releases aren't story ideas. They're attempts to spin a story in a positive manner with a bunch of unwanted and useless information that actually makes our job harder. The fact is, in a very short time, you've become a key cog in our society's communication machine. You're part of something that's destroying the old model; at the same time, you're being given the opportunity to help create something worthwhile to take its place. Yes, and part of that "something worthwhile" is getting rid of simply parroting spin from a company PR person. It's about having a real conversation. Spamming people with press releases is part of that "old model" that isn't working. Why do you think it's okay that journalism is changing, but it's just hunky dory that PR people do the same old thing? Don't get me wrong: I'm

not saying that you have an obligation to actually write about what's in press releases. The world will go on whether you tell your readers about XYZ Widgets or not. But understand that you have an audience and people are going to want your ear. Accept that as a compliment, and don't be indignant when it happens. No. You've got it wrong. We know that we have an audience and people are going to want our ear. And that's why we make it clear how to get our ear. You're the one choosing to ignore the very clear terms of engagement that we've laid out -- and thus, you shouldn't get upset when we point out that you weren't paying attention. Since you seem to think our "ear" is so valuable, isn't it up to you to at least understand how to get that ear to pay attention? If you want to be lazy and not understand, that's not our fault. Finally, the biggest problem with press releases is simple: they're not actually about getting the ear of the blogger. They're about using the blogger as a oneway path to that blogger's audience. It's missing the point of why many (though certainly not all) bloggers do what they do. They blog to be a part of the conversation - which is more than a one-way path. It's a multi-directional conversation where everyone gets something out of it. If you stop looking at the blogger as a one-way road to an audience, and realize that the blogger, the readers and the company you represent should all be part of a larger conversation, you might realize just how ineffective press releases are for that purpose. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

WordPress and TypePad Spawn Mobile Blogging
By Mark Hendrickson (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 8:07:03 PM

Forgive us while we navel-gaze for a minute, but we were particularly pleased to learn that a mobile app for WordPress will debut in the iPhone store soon. The app will work with both Wordpress.com blogs and on-premise installations of version

2.5.1 and newer. Its announcement comes just over a month after competitor TypePad showcased its iPhone app onstage at the WWDC keynote(you can download it here). Blogging through Safari is practically impossible on the iPhone due to the excessive real estate taken up by the keyboard. As the demo below shows,

native apps have the potential to make the whole ordeal much more manageable, and they could spawn a new trend of bloggers who post while on the road. Publishers will now have the option to expound on their thoughts while on scene. Before they often resorted to summarizing them in 140-character tweets, or broadcasting them through services like

Qik and Flixwagon. The ability to insert photos into posts directly from phonebased cameras will also come in handy. Perhaps the greatest effect of these apps will be to encourage spontaneous coverage, since most bloggers equip themselves with laptops and EVDO cards when attending planned events. In any case, check out the WordPress demo above

and prepare yourself for an even greater frequency of spelling errors in the posts we churn out. Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

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iPhone Application Overview And Demo Videos
By Jason Kincaid (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 8:59:13 AM

It’s not official quite yet, but the iPhone App Store is live and you can download version 2.0 of the iPhone software - which is all you need to run the 552 applications currently available. We’ve been gathering videos and overviews of many of the applications and have held them until now. We received demo vidoes for dozens of applications, ranging from basic games to complex GPS -enabled social networking applications. Below are some of our favorites. Among the apps that we didn’t include below (primarily because of their simplicity) are Recorder(a voice recorder), Movies(movie showtimes), and iMaze(a basic maze game). Social Networking On The iPhone: The iPhone, with cult-like users and l ocation aware technology, is the perfect social networking device. Earlier this year we speculated that someone would emerge with a killer social networking app for the iPhone. It turns out that there are lots of contenders. Loopt Loopt- We’ve been tracking Loopt’s efforts around their iPhone application for months now. In April we posted early screen shots of the app without saying who had built it. Think of Loopt as a simple social network to find local businesses, message friends and send status updates with where you are (using the iPhones location technology). And a key difference with Loopt and many of the other networks below: you can meet new people who are nearby, if they choose to share that information. If everyone used this, you could see who’s single in a bar before you approach them (and flirt with them by phone first), and know the first name and job of everyone at that cocktail hour at the tech conference. We’re big fans of Loopt,

and will have more news on them later today. For now, download the free application here. Limbo Limbo- Limbo is another geo-aware social network that behaves like a mashup of Twitter, Loopt, and Whrrl. One of the app’s most compelling features is its gridlike diagram that visually groups your friends according to what they’re doing (for example, all of your friends that are Out Drinking will be lumped together, even if they aren’t necessarily drinking in the same place). The app accomplishes this feat by forcing users to select from a predefined hierarchal list of activities (while this might sound restrictive, the list is pretty comprehensive). This categorization allows users to see what they’re friends are up to without having to sift through each of their messages. On the geo-positioning front, Limbo allows users to interact users who are within a close radius (about a quarter mile), in a manner that is similar to Loopt. You can download the app here for free. MySpace MySpace- The MySpace iPhone app is everything you’d expect from a multibillion dollar company: the app integrates seamlessly with the massive social network, allowing users to add friends, exchange messages, upload photos, and do just about anything else they could do from their computers at home. They aren’t yet integrating with the location features, but expect that in the near future. If you are a MySpace user, you’ll be using this constantly. You can download the app here for free. Shozu ShoZu- The ShoZu iPhone app allows users to interact with a number of social websites, including YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, and a number of others. Users can upload photos to these services, comment on other users’ profiles, and send status

updates, depending on the site involved. You can download the app here for free. Utilities and Reference: The introduction of the iPhone app store has effectively made the iPhone the ultimate utility belt. We’re seeing no shortage of apps that aim to make life easier for users, and while many of them are a little too simplistic (how many tip calculators do we really need?), others will be godsends for some people, serving up the latest sports news, on-demand drink recipes, and restaurant recommendations. Save Benjis Save Benjis- Save Benjis is a shopping tool that will look up a product’s price according to its model number. Using model numbers instead of product names helps take the guesswork out of pricing comparisons (for example, it would be much easier to compare two computers with their model numbers versus a name like “MacBook Pro”). The app integrates the Safari web browser, so users can browse and purchase goods on a website from their phone if they find a better price. You can download the app here for free. Pocket Express Pocket Express- Pocket Express is a news and information service that is available for a number of smart phones. The app allows users to browse through news articles written by the Associated Press on topics that include politics, science, and world news. Users can also browse through sports scores, weather reports, and movie information. You can download the app here for free. Urbanspoon Urbanspoon- Urbanspoon brings a fun (and gimmicky) solution to choosing a restaurant for dinner. After using the phone’s GPS to detect restaurants in the area, Urbanspoon presents you with a slot machine-like listing of cuisine types and price. To activate the slot machine, you give the phone a hard shake (the

accelerometers inside the phone will measure the movement). The dials will spin around a few times, and you’ll be presented with a suggested restaurant (you can shake again if you’re not satisfied). You can download the app here for free. Cocktails Cocktails- Cocktails is a well designed reference for “potent potables” that will put traditional bar-tending guides to shame. Users can browse through a large index of drinks, search by ingredient or drink name, and label drinks as favorites for future reference. The app also includes information about the type of serving glass to use, as well as the date that each recipe was created (there are often multiple recipes available for each drink). You can download the app here for $9.99. ForeFlight ForeFlight- ForeFlight is an iPhone app that is aimed towards pilots (both recreational and professional) rather than your average consumer. The app allows users to find nearby airports, maps, diagrams of airports, and lookup of plane information by tail number. The app also includes the A/FD, the Airport and Facilities Directory, which includes location data like field and approach information and location data on hotels. You can download the app here for a whopping $69.99 (the highest price in the store). Audio and Video App providers will make use of the 3G iPhone’s speedy network with streaming audio and video apps that will allow users to consume a near-limitless amount of content without having to sync up with their computers. Unfortunately, the iPhone is still unable to record video, so all media uploading will be limited to photos for now. Kyte Mobile Producer Kyte Mobile Producer- Kyte’s Mobile Producer is a mobile image uploading app.

Users can upload the images they take from their iPhones directy to Kyte Channels that they’ve embedded in their blogs or onto their Facebook profile through Kyte’s facebook app. Users can also compile their images into slideshows, complete with captions and polls, which can also be played through the their Kyte Channels online. You can download the app here for free. mdialog mdialog- mdialog’s iPhone app allows users to browse through content that have been uploaded to the video site. The app is reminiscent of YouTube, allowing users to share and bookmark their favorite channels, leave comments, and browse through a “What’s New Section”. Users can also attach polls to their videos. You can download the app here for free. Pandora Radio Pandora Radio, our flat out favorite application so far, is an audio app that streams music to the iPhone over Wi-Fi, 3G, or Edge. Pandora is a popular music service that creates a “Music Genome” to analyze music a user likes and then recommend new artists. Users can enter the name of an artist or song they like, and Pandora will generate a streaming playlist, even if they haven’t created a profile. You can try out the app here for free. Update: Here is a late addition: Jott Jott- Self-dubbed “the notepad you’ve always dreamed of,” the Jott iPhone app records your voice and turns it into text. You can add items to specific lists and cross them off once you don’t need to worry about them any longer. Additionally, all of your notes are backed up online. You can try out the app here for free. Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Nobel Prize Winners Continue To Explain How IP Hurts Innovation
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 3:10:00 AM

We've discussed multiple times in the past about how economics Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz believes that patents hurt innovation. Michael Geist points us to

Stiglitz's latest speech, where he teamed up with John Sulston, a 2002 Nobel Laureate in Physiology/Medicine, to point out how the patent system is stifling innovation. It's great to see Stiglitz continue to point out the problems caused by the patent system (and great to see other Nobel winners

noticing as well). While Stiglitz has normally focused on pharmaceutical patents, in this speech he also touched on software patents. While Stiglitz hasn't yet come around to believing that patents should be abandoned, he is quite convinced that they're doing plenty of

harm in many cases, often locking up innovation and costing society a lot more than they benefit it. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story


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Facebook’s iPhone App (Almost) Replaces My Contacts List
By Mark Hendrickson (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 3:40:36 PM

Japanese Gov't Says No (Again) To An iPod Tax
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 4:49:01 AM

All of us iPhone fanatics are just getting our hands on the new apps, but I’ve already found one that I’m sure to consider indispensable within the next few months: Facebook’s new app. Why is it so compelling? Because it almost eliminates the need to maintain a separate contacts list on my phone. While Facebook’s web app for the iPhone was cool enough, the native app basically transforms Facebook into a mobile directory with rich information about your friends. If you’re even semi-serious about using Facebook to keep track of your friends, you may never have to click the “Phone” icon to dial them up. Just hit the Facebook icon and move over to the “Friends” tab. You’ll see all of your Facebook friends laid out, and when you click on their names, their contact info appears in the iPhone’s customary user interface. Tap a friend’s phone number to call them (or hit their email address to write). The only time this method falls through is when a friend has decided not to enter the requisite contact info into their profile (something unnecessarily cautious, in my opinion, if you’ve set up your privacy settings correctly). This application has the potential to eliminate the need for two other native iPhone features as well: SMS and Email. The app comes with Facebook Chat baked right in so you can send instant messages to friends who are currently online (either at their computers or on their phones). As soon as Facebook figures out a way to keep you “online” and available for chat even when the app is closed - and hooks Chat to the new push notification service so you’re aware of messages as they come

in - I’ll be one step closer to saving that extra $10 per month I pay AT&T to let me send ludicrously overpriced text messages. Facebook should be working on a Chat-toSMS (or Message-to-SMS) conversion feature that can be used to message with my friends who don’t own iPhones, or any other email-equipped smartphone. As for email, Facebook’s messaging system is also built right into the app making it unnecessary to send lengthy messages through email (who wants to keep track of friends’ email addresses anyway when you can look them up by name?). Joe Hewitt has also suggested on Facebook’s blog that the application will also become location-aware within the next few months:

The first version of Facebook for iPhone is just a glimpse of the future. For instance, the iPhone has the ability to find where you are located, and we are looking for ways to let you opt-in to share your location and discover nearby friends. We’re developing this and several other exciting new features that we’ll release in the coming months. Looks like Loopt and all of the other location-based social networks are going to get a run for their money by the biggest player in town. I have no fear that Facebook will thrive in the iPhone 2.0 world given this strong start. It’ll just need to find a way to get its developers involved since the platform is noticeably absent from the first version of this app.

Learn how to install the new iPhone software (which works on both the old and new models) here. Cross your fingers that you won’t lose any data during the update (I had no problems, however). Also check out the new MySpace iPhone app which, while quite functional, doesn’t replace the contacts list or provide chat. Update: If you want to take a screenshot of an iPhone app, follow the instructions here. Update 2: It looks like Facebook’s iPhone app doesn’t know how to properly render messages with quotations in them. Hopefully such obvious bugs will be worked out over the next few days. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

Back in 2005, the recording industry in Japan urged the government to create an iPod tax, adding a tax to every iPod (or other digital music player) sold. The idea was that the recording industry wanted to assume that every iPod owner was obviously "stealing" music, and this tax would help pay for the supposedly "lost" revenue. Of course, as we all know, that's a very questionable assumption. An iPod can often make people buy more music, but the recording industry has never been willing to even consider that idea. Luckily, a few months later, the Japanese government rejected the idea. However, with the recording industry, these things always seem to have a way of popping back up again. And, indeed, there's been another big push this year for Japan to add an iPod tax. Luckily, however, the consumer electronics lobby in Japan is a lot more powerful than the recording industry lobby, and it appears that the iPod tax proposal is dead once again. Of course, it will likely be suggested again next year, but as we start to see more and more business models built on a base of free music, perhaps more people will recognize how unfair (and damaging to the market) an iPod tax would be. It would lower the incentives for people to buy these devices, decrease music consumption habits, and hurt all these other business models. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11: 1.5TB of love
By Nilay Patel (Engadget)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 10:10:00 AM

Filed under: Storage You know, we're not actually certain we want to trust 1.5TB of our precious

precious NES ROMS invaluable work data to a single drive, but that doesn't mean Seagate's latest Barracuda isn't droolworthy regardless. The jump from 1TB to 1.5TB is the "largest capacity hard drive jump in the more than half-century

history of hard drives," according to

Seagate, and the perpendicular-recording drives should begin shipping in August. There are also a pair of Momentus 2.5-inch 500GB notebook drives coming in Q4 in 5400 and 7200RPM speeds, but like big brother, pricing is unavailable -- we've got

a hunch you might want to start saving those pennies, though. [Thanks, Dave] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

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MediaMax/TheLinkup Closes Its Doors
By Jason Kincaid (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:35:36 PM

After a tumultuous history including lost data, upset users, and seemly endless name changes, TheLinkup(aka MediaMax) has shut its doors. Users of the storage site will be unable to access their files after August 8th. The company has a long (and extremely confusing) history. In our last post on the site, Charlie Jackson, one of the company’s investors, left a comment explaining the following (we’ve added links to relevant events): The original entity was Streamload. The product name was changed to MediaMax and it was still the same service. Steve Iverson, the founder, was still CEO. Patrick Harr was brought in to be CEO and to help raise money, Iverson was moved to being CTO. When a C round investor was found, Mission Ventures, this venture firm wanted nothing to do with the consumer service of MediaMax, only wanted to be in the backend business. The C investor allowed a spin-out to be done, and the new company

was allowed to take the name MediaMax and the consumer customers, but no software, no servers, no data. The frontend software was licensed to the spin-out, but for a limited time. Steve Iverson took over this company, while the existing company, with all the servers and data, was re-named Nirvanix. Virtually all the employees stayed with Nirvanix. Nirvanix is trying to compete with Amazon’s S-3 service. Around the time this spin-out was happening, Nirvanix engineers screwed up royally and accidentally deleted half the files. Most were recovered over time, but it took months, and there was never 100% recovery (I never got some of files back). MediaMax wrote new front-end software

and recently changed its name to TheLinkup. Nirvanix wrote new back-end software, but had trouble migrating all the MediaMax files from its old software to its new software. MediaMax/TheLinkup coudn’t make all its customers’ files available, ran out of money, and not having a viable business anymore, had to shut down (the C investors never put any money into the spin-out). The company’s latest venture, TheLinkup, was supposed to be a social network centered around storage, but it barely managed to get off the ground. This could be considered a blessing in disguise, as a storage-centric social network would have probably had a difficult time building a substantial userbase, and may have simply resulted in more lost time and money. We’ve added the TheLinkup to the Deadpool. Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

German Court Says That Open WiFi Owners Not Responsible For File Sharing Done By Others
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 7/9/2008 11:44:00 PM

There's been plenty of back and forth over the years concerning the question of whether or not an open WiFi network makes the owner of that network liable for or protected from charges of file sharing by others on that network. Since the entertainment industry can only trace back to the access point, but has no idea who's using that access point, some have always contested that an open WiFi network is a defense against charges of file sharing, since it could be anyone doing the sharing. Others contend that the owners of the open network should be liable for any crimes committed on that network.

A German court has now ruled that open WiFi network owners are not responsible for actions committed by other users on their network. This overrules a lower court decision, which the entertainment industry had been using to threaten people whose IP addresses turned up in file sharing sweeps. This doesn't mean that the owner of the network won't still be hauled off to court, or that they won't eventually be found guilty of infringement -- but if the person can present evidence that others used the network, then they have a defense against charges of file sharing. This seems like a reasonable ruling that hopefully other courts will follow as well. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Before the App Store “Opens”, it has already made Apple $55,000
By Dan Kimerling (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:07:25 PM

HTC Touch Diamond gets FCC clearance, smells like CDMA
By Chris Ziegler (Engadget)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 12:54:00 PM

Tucked away on the iPhone 2.0 version of Apple’s Application Store is a counter for the number of times that each application has been purchased. When this information is combined with an application’s price, and the uniform 30% that Apple pockets on each download, it is possible to know how much Apple is making from the App Store. As of 4PM (PST), that number hovers around $55,000. This is pretty incredible given that the iPhone 2.0 software is not officially available and App Store does not officially open till tomorrow, that bloggers have only been able to access the Apps Store for less than 18 hours, and that the 3G iPhone, with the

App store built in out of the box, is not even on sale yet in the United States. If sales of applications stay at the current pace, which they won’t, because they are going to speed up dramatically, the Application Store would still provide Apple with an additional twenty million dollars of revenue per year. Embedded in the post is a simple revenue model for the App Store, using the fifty most popular applications. We will update this regularly, hopefully including all of the 100 most popular Apps, so stay posted for more data points and more revenue models. That is, unless Apple disables the counter in order to stymie bloggers and stock analysts eager to know how much incremental income Apple is going to make from selling Applications in the App

Store. A few notes on the data are necessary. I stopped updating the data at 4PM (PST), but it was affected by sales that occurred

over the ten or so minutes that I spent collecting the data. Also, Apple’s counter has some bugs. In the Application Store, the number of sales does not always correspond to an Application’s position on the Top-50 list. My list is a correct ranking based strictly on the number of downloads. And, while collecting the data I noticed that sometimes the counter would go down, something that makes no sense in an Application download store. However, this is still the best and most accurate data we have on the impact of the Application Store on Apple’s bottom line. Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Filed under: Cellphones, Handhelds Well, looky here! Not happy with the Touch Dual or Touch Pro, you saucy CDMA lovers, you? Try this one on for size then: the last piece in HTC's EV-DO puzzle for 2008 has now hit the FCC, the Touch Diamond -- and though only Telus has managed to announce it so far, we're feeling good about plenty of other carriers on the CDMA train recognizing the importance of this device and signing on before too long. We see test reports for WiFi, too, though we imagine it'll be at carriers' descretions to disable it if they're so inclined. Let's get a move on, Sprint. You too, Verizon, don't think we don't see you whistling over there in the corner. Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments


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Is This The Best Homeland Is Cost Accounting To Security Can Do In Defending Blame For Patent Laptop Searches At The Border?
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:21:02 AM

The courts have said that US Customs officials do not need probable cause to search laptops. While some Senators are questioning why Department of Homeland Security is searching laptops without probable cause, the administration is working hard to defend such searches at the border as reasonable. However, they're not making very much sense. The article trots out James Jay Carafano from the Heritage Foundation with a couple of interesting statements. Let's take them in order. First:"The idea that we would create some kind of sanctuary for criminals and terrorists to carry things across the border to me is absolutely ludicrous." Well, that's not just an exaggeration, it's wrong. Does Carafano actually believe that someone manually walking a laptop across the border is the only way that data gets across the border? Of course that's not true. Data flows across borders via the network all the time -- with no customs review whatsoever. No one is walking across the border with a laptop thinking that's the best way to get some data across the border.

Then there's this statement:"It's also unrealistic to require probable cause when you think about the millions of people a day who come in and go out of the country." Let's just change a few words in that statement and see how Carafano feels about it: "It's also unrealistic to require probable cause when you think about the millions of people a day who walk up and down the streets of America." Yet, we don't hear Carafano pushing for a removal of probable cause for searches on the street, do we? The border searches of laptops issue is a ridiculous one. Yes, it makes sense to search through what physical goods you might be bringing into the country -because you specifically chose to bring those goods into the country. But the digital things you have stored on your laptop are an overall archive. You didn't choose to bring those specific things across the border -- and it's not like going through a border crossing is the best way to move that content across the border. There's simply no reason for why laptop searches should be allowed without probable cause. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

Submitted at 7/10/2008 11:13:00 AM

By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Michael F. Martin is a lawyer/investor who is always good for some interesting debates in the comments here on the question of patents. He's a supporter of the patent system, with some fixes. Suffice it to say that he and I disagree on an awful lot, though I appreciate his willingness to try to really dig into the questions being discussed and to dig through all sorts of ideas and research. It's just that we usually come to almost the exactly opposite conclusions. I'm not sure where I come down on his latest thought piece, suggesting that part of the reason why companies have been hoarding so many patents is because of cost accounting. His assertion is that cost accounting treats patents as an asset, rather than as equity. That causes companies to overvalue the patent itself, rather than the investment and effort that need to go into making a useful, marketable product. His feeling is that as companies move away from static cost accounting, the problems related to patent hoarding will hopefully

decrease. It's an interesting theory that I have not heard of before. I agree that cost accounting creates all sorts of problems with accurately valuing company assets. I also agree that companies overvalue patents compared to the effort of actually bringing a product to market. However, it's not clear that it's cost accounting that's leading to the problem. He presents no evidence to show that the two things are connected. It seems that there's a much more straightforward explanation: numerous high publicity patent lawsuits with extreme awards combined with loosening of the restrictions on what can be patented has created a mad rush for patents. And, to make matters worse, companies feel they need to build up a stockpile of their own patents to fend off others with their own patent portfolios. The cost accounting angle is an interesting one, but it seems like a stretch to think the impact is that big compared to those other factors. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

SynthaSite Launches New Interface To Simplify WYSIWYG Site Creation
By Jason Kincaid (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 8:57:31 AM

Dutch Chipmaker Sues To Prevent Researchers From Publishing Info About Security Flaws
By Michael Masnick (Techdirt)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 1:24:00 AM

SynthaSite, an AJAX-based webpage editor that lets users create websites by dragging-and-dropping, has relaunched with a new interface that it hopes will make the site more appealing to casual web designers. While most of the feature set will stay the same, the company believes that the new interface will expose users to features that were hidden in confusing menus in the last iteration of the site. One of the most useful features of SynthaSite is its integration with Picnik, an online image editing site. Users can easily manipulate the images they’ve uploaded to SynthaSite using Picnik’s browser-based editor, with the changes seamlessly reflected in their SynthaSite library. We originally wrote about SynthaSite in September 2006. A year later, the site made the bold (and somewhat bizarre) move of giving away some of its stock away to users, prompting Michael to question if it was becoming desperate. The site later raised$5 million, allaying these concerns. SynthaSite sees competition from a number of other WYSIWYG designers, including Wix and Weebly. Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

NXP Semiconductors, which was formerly Philips Semiconductor division, is suing some researchers to prevent the publication of a paper outlining the security flaws in smartcards made by NXP. These smartcards are widely used for transit systems and building locks. Of course, the fact that these cards have been insecure has actually been known for quite

some time. Rather than fixing the problem, though, NXP spent plenty of effort denying any problem existed. Now that multiple researchers have demonstrated that the problem really does exist, NXP is claiming it hasn't had enough time to fix the problem, and thus is suing to prevent publication. Of course, if NXP hadn't wasted so much time insisting there was no problem, perhaps it would have been closer to a fix. And, most importantly, those who are

looking to use this vulnerability already have access to it. Publication in a journal isn't going to alert criminals -- they already know about it. What it could do, however, is get more researchers helping on a solution. But, apparently, NXP would rather pretend that if they keep the details hidden, they can pretend there is no problem. Permalink| Comments| Email This Story

StreetRead Aggregates Financial Data and Business News [Finance]
By Tamar Weinberg (Lifehacker)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 7:00:00 AM

Webapp Streetread is a dead-simple aggregator which compiles stock news and economic data for the financial buff. Updated in real-time, Streetread provides visitors with the latest news about the market. To track your favorite stocks, register for a free account and add the symbols of the stocks you want to track.

Quickly navigate through your favorite stocks with the green arrows on the top of the page. When applicable, news stories will have a magnifying glass icon displayed next to it; hover your mouse over the icon to read a brief snippet of the news story. Streetread currently only supports US stocks but intends to support international stocks in the future. Streetread[via Webware]

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iPhone App Store: The Early List of Top Downloads
By Michael Arrington (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 12:13:19 PM

Browse Del.icio.us Bookmarks Visually With FavThumbs
By Calley Nye (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 10:20:09 PM

While we’ve waited with bated breath for the release of Delicious 2.0 (Yahoo’s been teasing us for months), Ryan Sit, the creator of Swurl, a recently launched startup that offers a lifecasting aggregator for web activity, has been toying around with the Del.icio.us API to bring us FavThumbs. FavThumbs offers a visuallypleasing web application to view your bookmarks. Through the site, users can input their Del.icio.us ID, and then browse their bookmarks in a grid or a coverflow-like display. Sit hopes that the site will offer a

much better alternative to the out-dated Del.icio.us list. A similar app that was we covered last year is Fichey. Fichey acts like a microfiche for headlines from social bookmarking sites. Users can flip through the pages like a magazine, but they are only the headlines, not user-specific. Sit says that he was inspired by the desktop client Delish, which was created by Freestyle Labs. Another app created by Sit is ListPic, an application to browse local classified pages through a calendarlike display. Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

As of now (about noon California time) the iPhone 2.0 software update hasn’t officially launched yet, but everyone who cares knows that for the last five hours they could download v.2.0 anyway and access the App Store. Early download stats are coming in on the most popular apps. We’ve divided these into two lists, one for paid apps and one for free apps (there’s a big difference in download numbers). We’ll update for comparison purposes in 24 hours or so. We’ve listed some of our personal favorites here. And the sleeper hit is clearly PhoneSaber, which I deftly demo here and here. With just 2,229 downloads, though, it doesn’t make the top ten list for free apps. In early download voting, Facebook is beating MySpace hands down with nearly

3x as many downloads. One thing Facebook has that MySpace doesn’t - the chat feature is enabled, which is a really nice feature. Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

Ask Engadget: What's the optimal DVD archival solution?
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 2:00:00 PM

That Didn’t Take Long…iPhone 2.0 OS Unlocked
By Peter Sauer (TechCrunch)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 4:00:59 PM

It has not even been officially released yet, and the iPhone 2.0 OS already has been unlocked. In contrast, the original iPhone OS took hackers a couple of months to unlock. But this time they got a head start. Gizmodo reports the iPhone Dev Team has been working on jailbreaking the phone since the beta version went out with the iPhone SDK. But does it really matter? While it’s

exciting that the new OS is unlocked and unauthorized apps can be added, it’s not as useful as when the original version was

jailbroken. That’s because there’s this little thing called the App Store, along with the new phone’s tighter bundling with an AT&T contract no matter where you purchase it, and because the phone will soon be available in most countries. But if you enjoy the sheer sport of watching people hack Steve Jobs’ precious creation, keep an eye on the iPhone Dev Team’s site for the release of their tool. It reportedly will be released “soon.” Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, Storage This week's Ask Engadget question is a bit on the specific side, but it's one we've heard asked time and time again. Thus, we figured it was time to finally get it out in the open for you readers to debate. "I have an extensive DVD library that I would like to archive on a network drive and be able to access via my PS3, menus and all. I am currently using TVersity to stream videos from my PC to the console. I've seen walk-throughs for archiving

DVDs, but I haven't seen anything that will present these via a DLNA server (to my PS3) with their original menus intact so that you can access special features such as commentary tracks and featurettes. I am not even sure that it is possible to navigate the menus via the PS3 remote. Any recommended solutions out there?" Can't you just hear the hopelessness in poor Ron's voice? Throw the guy a bone, will ya? And while you're at it, throw our highly sophisticated email sorter a question of your own at ask at engadget dawt com. Permalink| Email this| Comments



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Konami sues Harmonix, Viacom, and MTV over Rock Band
By Nilay Patel (Engadget)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 6:17:00 PM

Are you having problems with iPhone 2.0?
By Nilay Patel (Engadget)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 11:36:00 AM

Filed under: Gaming Alright, this is getting a little silly. First it was Gibson claiming that Rock Band and Guitar Hero violated a patent covering"simulating a musical performance," and now Konami is suing Harmonix, Viacom, and MTV Game because Rock Band allegedly violates a similar set of patents covering "simulated musical instruments" and "musical rhythmbased matching games." Filed in good ol'

Marshall, the suit seeks the big green in damages and an order preventing the sale of Rock Band's instruments. Interestingly, Gamasutra noticed last year that the fine print on Activision's Guitar Hero homepage says the game is covered by the Konami patents in question, so it appears that Activision's managed to reach a licensing agreement with Konami -- which, if true, doesn't necessarily bode well for Harmonix and company. No one's commenting yet, but we hear Harmonix's lawyers are furiously punching in the old up-up-down-down trying to get this to go

away. Read- Wired article on the lawsuit Read- Gamasutra article Read- Konami's complaint (PDF) Read- Konami patent covering simulated musical instruments (PDF) Read- Konami patent covering musical arcade machines (PDF) Read- Konami patent covering musical game machines (PDF) Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Cellphones So we can't help but notice that Apple still hasn't officially released iPhone software 2.0 for first-gen iPhones, even though most self-respecting gadget freaks have pulled it from the direct download links that popped up earlier. Since the file was hosted and available on Apple's servers around the time it was expected for release, it seemed safe to assume that it was legit -- and indeed, it (for the most part) works fine and plays well with the newly-live App Store. But a few of us here

have had persistent problems on our firstgen iPhones: interface lag, crashing apps, hard resets, you name it. On top of that, we're hearing whispers that the .ipsw in question was meant only for 3G phones and not first-gen units -- and bizarrely, the build number of what we've got is 5A347, while our launch iPhone 3G is running build 5A345 on them. So until Apple stops being, well, Apple, and clears this all up, we're putting it to you: how are things going? Any problems, or smooth sailing? Happy you took the early plunge? Let us know in comments! Permalink| Email this| Comments

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Analyst says Motorola "would be lucky" to get $500 million
By Donald Melanson (Engadget)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 10:34:00 AM

MeeBone Packages Meebo Chat for Your Desktop [Featured Download]
By Kevin Purdy (Lifehacker)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 1:00:00 AM

AOC's 22-inch 2230Fm HD3 display includes integrated media player
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 4:48:00 PM

Filed under: Cellphones Things have been looking pretty bleak for Motorola and its attempts to salvage its handset division for some time now, but a number of analysts are now painting an even clearer picture of just how bad things might be. According to BusinessWeek, some analysts are saying that with spin-off plans looking less and less likely, Motorola may revert back to its original plan to sell off the handset division outright, although Envisioneering Group's Richard Doherty says it "would be lucky to fetch $500 million." As BusinessWeek points out, that very same analyst pegged the business at a hefty $8 billion just last year. Analyst Richard Windsor of Nomura even went so far as to say that Motorola might actually

have to pay someone to take the division off its hands. Now that's an idea we can get behind. [Via Unwired View] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Windows/Mac/Linux (Adobe Air): MeeBone, an Adobe Air implementation of chat aggregation service Meebo, makes the previously web-only chat service feel like a standard instant messaging app, complete with a skinny buddy list and popup chat windows. You can sign into AIM, GChat, MSN, ICQ, or any other service supported by Meebo, and you'll get all the integrated video and voice chat options offered on Meebo's website. It doesn't have all the options of dedicated desktop clients like Pidgin, but it is slick, easy to use, and adds simple video. MeeBone is a free download, requires the Adobe Air platform to run. MeeBone[Google Code via AppAholic]

Video: iPhone 3G unboxing and first look
By Ryan Block (Engadget)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 2:19:00 PM

Filed under: Displays, HDTV AOC's 2230Fh LCD was fine and dandy, but if you're looking for something similar to pull triple duty as a media player and digital photo frame (its words, not ours), you'll need to refocus on the 2230Fm. Said display is apparently the first from the firm to boast HD 3 technology, which alludes to its abilities to function as more than just an HDTV. The unit includes a proprietary menu and remote to play back clips loaded

onto memory cards (there's a 4-in-1 reader), not to mention a 1,680 x 1,050 native resolution, 20,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, USB 2.0 socket, DVI / HDMI inputs, integrated speakers, 2millisecond response time and a piano black finish. All that for $399.99. Full release posted after the jump. Continue reading AOC's 22-inch 2230Fm HD3 display includes integrated media player Permalink| Email this| Comments

Filed under: Cellphones Here she is: the iPhone 3G, captured on video. We've gone through a number of the new features on the device and in the 2.0 software release, but apologies in advance if you're looking for side by side speed tests (there are some

coverage issues where we're at). Video of the unboxing, new feature walkthrough,

and GPS use (while on a train) after the break. Still got questions about the 3G? Get 'em answered right here. Continue reading Video: iPhone 3G unboxing and first look Permalink| Email this| Comments

Apple fesses up to MobileMe transition difficulties
By Paul Miller (Engadget)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 6:12:00 PM

Filed under: Cellphones It doesn't talke a genius to figure out that there's something wrong with Apple's MobileMe transition-- which was originally scheduled to take place

Wednesday evening. Now, into the early hours of Friday, and almost a day after the iPhone 3G's launch in NZ, we've seen maybe a total of 30 minutes of scattered uptime for the service, and Apple is finally confessing that the transition is "taking longer than expected." The good news is that .Mac users should still be able to

no telling when MobileMe's sexy new web apps will be available, or what to expect next as far as those other services. [Thanks, Alec A] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments check their mail, sync their contacts and use their iDisks, but at the moment there's


Gadgets* Web 2.0

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Virtual Worlds: 20+ Tools for Creating 3D Graphics and Environments
By Sean P. Aune (Mashable!)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 2:52:25 PM

RED delivers new rendering of Scarlet 3K camera
By Darren Murph (Engadget)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 11:09:00 AM

Filed under: Digital Cameras From the word go, amateurs and professionals alike were hot for RED's (relatively) minuscule Scarlet. After all, can you really go wrong with a 3K camera in one hand and a Dairy Queen dipped cone in the other? (No, no you cannot.)

Nevertheless, those anxious to see more as the run-up to its early 2009 release continues can feast their eyes on an all new rendering. Oh, and if you're the talkative type, tag the read link and join in the 8+ page discussion about that image you're eyes are still fixated on above. [Thanks, anonymous] Read| Permalink| Email this| Comments

Earlier this week Google launched Lively, a new social network where anyone can create an avatar and virtual room that can be embedded anywhere on the Web. 3D services such as Lively are popping up more and more online thanks to the popularity of virtual worlds like Second Life, Meez, and more. So are your skills up to snuff? We’ve gathered over 20 3D creation tools so that you can create your own avatar or virtual world. Whether you’re a 3D pro or just starting out, we’ve got tools for everyone. Try them out and let us know what you think. Free 3D Tools SceneCaster.com- Create 3D environments, complete with talking avatars, that you can then share on Facebook, Flickr and more. 3D models are partially based on items from major retailers. Can be displayed on any device that supports XHTML (i.e. the iPhone). You can learn a lot more in the write up our Kristen Nicole did. Akebulan.com- Makers of 3DBuilder and 3DRender. Builder is currently in beta (you need to sign up and they will email it to you), Builder lets you create interactive 3D environment that can then be accessed in a browser via a regular URL. 3DRender allows modelers to test their models with the Java3D API. Anim8or.com- A freeware 3D modeling program created by a software engineer at NVidia. The last stable release was in April 2007, but it says it’s still being worked on. ArtOfIllusion.org- An open source project for building a 3D modeling program that can be used by all skill levels. AutoQ3D- Has both free and paid versions. Blender.org- A full-featured, GNU licensed free program that clearly gives you more bells & whistles than we could ever list here.

Seamless3D.com- An open source 3D modeling program project, has several tutorials and seems like a good place to get your feet wet. SketchUp.com- Proving that Google will come out with some crazy stuff, this Google app has numerous 3D modeling possibilities, and can help you create more 3D buildings for Google Earth. TopMod3D.org- An open source 3D mesh modeling system that is platform independent. Wings3D.com- An open source mesh polygon modeling program that is under very active development. ZModeler2.com- A 3D modeler primarily aimed at those creating models for games. Environments Ajax3d.org- An effort to build 3D online worlds using both Ajax and the X3D open standards. Seems a bit quiet over there, but there is some activity on the forums. OpenGL.org- A standard for 3D, crossplatform, cross-device development since 1992. Web3d.org- A project that is working to develop an open standards, royalty free, system based in XML. The goal is for it to work between the Web, networks, and mobile devices from the same development and render full 3D

environments. Commercial 3D Tools 3ds Max- One of the top tier makers of 3D programs, offers different programs for different jobs, expect to spend several thousand dollars. Animation Master- This program will let you create still images as well as animation. Offers annual subscription plan or one-time purchase pricing. Bryce- This program boasts of its landscapes, but from watching their demo reel, it is capable of a lot more, and is reasonably priced. LightWave- High end 3D modeling that has been used in movies such as Sin City and 300. Will cost you around $1,000 at the high end of pricing. Modo- A rich 3D tool used by architects, package designers, animators and more. Price is in the $900 range. Maxon- Is capable of lighting, polygons, animating, texturing and more. Works well with Adobe. OpenWorlds.com- Used by groups as large as NASA, you can find uses for learning apps, ecommerce, gaming and more. 3D Box Maker Professional- A shareware licensed tool to create 3D software-style boxes such as the one pictured in the screenshot. Perfect for the small software developer. --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Best4c Offers Basic Chart Creation & Whiteboard Tools Adobe’s Buzzword Open to Public Xcellery Excel Collaboration Tool For Sale on eBay SmartSheet Raises $2.69M in Funding Zude Raises $5.3 Million for Web Mashup Tool Blurb Community Books for Multi-User Publishing Shutterfly Gallery: First Major Release Since Acquiring Nexo

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Battle of the iPhone Apps: MySpace vs Facebook
By Paul Glazowski (Mashable!)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 1:10:32 PM

By now you’ve all been made well aware. Apple’s App Store, crafted to make the iPhone and iPod touch devices trump any others in their respective markets, has been activated, though not yet officially introduced. And we’ve of course done our customary duty, browsing the selection for cool social applications that you might be interested in. Naturally, MySpace and Facebook stand out among the pages of downloads (front page placement can do that). They command the largest percentage of users in the marketplace, after all, and are currently battling for global supremacy. Considering that the iPhone will soon undergo a 22market rollout with 48 additional countries to enter the picture in subsequent months, it’s probably expected for a little contest among giants to erupt. Given the demographic that occupies the Facebook network, it’s probably clear who will rank higher in stature within Apple’s new mobile software emporium. Download counts aside, however, there is still the question of which application is in fact best. So, irrespective of popularity, let’s go ahead and make that comparison. MySpace vs. Facebook, the iPhone apps! Which bears more features? Which bears better features? And which bears a more pleasant physique, etc., etc.? (For the record, both applications are free to download. No fees levied by either company.) First impressions… The application being offered by MySpace does look good, I must say. If one were to come off the years-old MySpace.com design, one would be in for a shock. This iPhone application is quite a pleasant adjunct to the host service, which itself had a visual refresh not too long ago. Menu buttons at the bottom are straightforward and easy to understand. And the layouts for various portions of the

applications are equally elegant. Everything seems super intuitive, too. Easily browse and search for top friends, folks currently online, new contacts, plus photos, email and so on and so forth. Facebook’s iPhone application is beautiful as well. It’s designed primarily to let you know what friends are up to and allow you to converse with those people via Facebook Chat. Which I think makes it especially appealing, to be honest. It kind of gets to the root of what you want from a mobile social application, and leaves anything else to the desktop. If I had to choose to award one network or the other points for palatability, Facebook would nab gold by a step or two. Not to say MySpace is worse, necessarily. It’s just a bit different. Facebook seems to prioritize more of what I’m looking for in such a utility. MySpace Mobile seems more busy (some might understandably prefer this). Technically speaking…

Feature for feature, they have their similarities, but they also have some significant differences, some of which will prove crucial to users’ decisions of which utility to pay more attention and which to pay less. As I said above, Facebook’s iPhone application arrives with Facebook Chat on board. That’s a big plus in my book. It also sports an email inbox and page that asks you the simple question of “What are you doing?” You and your friends’ activities are published in chronological order. Pretty basic stuff, but again, quite useful when on the go. Another thing. Both MySpace and Facebook integrate themselves with the iPhone’s camera, allowing users to snap and upload images. These are definitely nice options to have offered by each company, since digital photography has all but taken the social Web by storm the last year or so. The applications display photos a bit differently, though. MySpace has a

standard menu button reserved for photo album browsing and organization. The Facebook application is geared towards publish photos in line with postings on the activity wall. Does this mean one is better than the other? Who’s to say, really. To each his own. In conclusion… As far as mobile usage with either social network is concerned, they were all but neck-and-neck prior to the debut of their respective iPhone applications. MySpace claims to have served some 1.7 million “daily unique mobile visits,” while Facebook reports having seen regular use by some 1.5 million people. These numbers certainly have no bearing on the qualitative properties of the networks’ native iPhone offers introduced today. But if I’m to hazard a guess about which download takes off more strongly in the coming weeks, Facebook will probably hit the right spot for more people. Support for Facebook Chat is quite a debut, after all. That being said, numbers might fluctuate. MySpace has made it known that it intends to offer support for 12 languages by the end of the month, so it might be a toss-up on a global scale for the rest of the summer. When all is said and done, both applications are quite strong introductions. And because they’re free, there’s really no reason not to try both. Together they weigh in at less than 2 MB. Download away, I say. Facebook MySpace --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: STUNNING: Facebook on the iPhone The Daily Poll: Which Platform is the Best Opportunity for Developers? World’s Simplest iPhone App Facebook Overtakes MySpace for Search Inquiries in the UK Multiply Launches iPhone Edition AWESOME: Meebo on the iPhone MySpace Losing High Schoolers to Facebook?

Share the Joy and Cheers of the World iPhone 3G Release via Qik Events
By Adam Hirsch (Mashable!)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:41:22 PM

I’ll be in line at a 6:30 am Tweetup in Manhattan at New York City’s 5th Avenue Apple store and sharing the joy, the moments and scene with my N95 on Qik. If you are at or going to be in line for the iPhone 3G at any AT&T or Apple store, share the scene, the joy when the doors open, and the shouts and cheers (and boos) as the first people leave the store with their brand new “toys.” Thank to Qik, as long as you are signed in and click through our“iPhone 3G Launches Around the World” event that “ You are Attending” then your streams will be live on the page for everyone to see. I’ll update this post with the link to the best videos. FYI, event is “scheduled” from 6am EST till 9am PDT, so any Qik during those hours will appear if you are “attending”. *Qik isn’t compatible with iPhone 3G yet --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: iPhone to Offer YouTube Videos Apple Making a Directory for iPhone Apps? iPhone Arrives in the UK and Germany Today iPhone. Europe. September. World’s Simplest iPhone App iPhone to Spur Growth in the Mobile Video Industry? Box.net Extends Your iPhone Storage

The Mobile Photo Enhancer Improves Camera Phone Pics [Featured Windows Download]
By Jason Fitzpatrick (Lifehacker)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 6:12:05 AM

Windows only: Although the quality of camera phone pictures has increased over

time, many camera phones still leave a lot to be desired. If you have a bunch of camera phone pictures you'd really like to keep but the quality seems a bit off, a run through the free Mobile Photo Enhancer

might be your saving grace. With single and batch processing, Mobile Photo Enhancer has a host of tweaks to correct problems like low contrast, vignetting at the edges, poor sharpness and artifacts.

While it won't make your photos of Mardi Gras revelry look like they were taken with a medium format camera, it will put a little sparkle back in your beads. The Mobile Photo Enhancer is a free download for

Windows only. Mobile Photo Enhancer[via Life Rocks 2.0]


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SummerMash Sings Sweet Home San Francisco
By Karen Hartline (Mashable!)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 1:12:23 PM

Mashable is ready to rock in San Francisco for the second stop on the U.S. Summer Tour. Join the Mashable locals, Pete Cashmore, Kristen Nicole, Alicia Lin, Chris Peri and Karen Hartline, for a night of drinks, prizes and fun. Make sure to bring business cards and keep those fingers crossed for some major prizes. There are just a few tickets remaining - get yours before they’re all gone. Check out the other cities on the U.S. Summer Tour: Seattle| Los Angeles| Austin| Miami| Boston| New York City When: July 15th, Tuesday, 7:00 - 10:00 PM Where: Mighty SF, 119 Utah Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 What else?: Drinks Tickets, great people and a few surprises! RSVP?: Tickets will be released through Eventbrite, 21+ Only Socialize: Facebook, MySpace, Meetup and Upcoming Press Passes: Please inquire through events [at] mashable |dot| com for Press Passes Local Sponsors: ‘ PubMatic is the world’s first service that increases Web publishers’ revenue by automating and optimizing ad serving decisions.’ The Yuku platform makes it easy for anyone to create an online community around topics that they’re passionate about. With a suite of message board, social networking and video and photo sharing applications, Yuku currently powers over 50,000 websites on topics that include fan sites about reality television, retro sneakers, and celebrity news & gossip. Create your own Yuku now or join one that interests you. ‘ speakTECH provides User Experience and technical consulting for some of the top social networking companies in the world.’ Special Book Signing: ‘ Personality Not Included: Get the ultimate guide to marketing with authenticity from Rohit Bhargava…featuring a forward by Guy Kawasaki.’

Introducing Mashable’s New Mobile Web Site: m.mashable.com
By Tamar Weinberg (Mashable!)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 1:00:07 PM

Local Media Partners: “Bernardo’s List is an email newsletter about upcoming events for entrepreneurs, investors and tech execs in New York and other cities nationwide. Signup is free at http://www.bernardoslist.com!” ‘ Social Radius is an award-winning social media marketing firm, specializing in SEO/SMO, thought leadership platforms/social media creation, viral/syndication, outreach and strategy.’ Tour Sponsors The Sun(TM) Startup Essentials program is designed to help startup businesses off the ground by providing access to industryleading systems at deep discounts, free world-class software and web-based training, discounts on partner hosting services, and more. Yoono’s mission is to make the social web accessible, easy and fun for everyone. Its newly expanded service socializes your browser, helps you manage your digital life and brings the best of the web into one single browser-based application. Today, 1.3 million users are leveraging Yoono. Yoono is hosting Social Media Camp at each tour stop which brings together the top local names in Blogging, Podcasting,

Live Streaming, and New Media to participate in an open workshop about the power of social media. MySites is a single place for all your online needs. You can create and customize a website, save and share any media, decide who can view it, embed anywhere, and use any device. Touring Video Partner Launched in February 2006, Stickam emerged as the first and largest Web site dedicated to live interactive video streaming. Stickam’s cutting edge technology delivers millions of streams each day, reaching over two million registered users. They are continuing on the path of social interactive TV by adding features that nurture its growing community and tech-savvy broadcasters. Whether you are famous for 15 or 150,000, Stickam.com is where you will find your friends and fans. See and be seen at Stickam.com, The Live Community. Exclusive Ticketing Partner “ Eventbrite is the world’s largest selfservice online ticketing site. Eventbrite makes it easy for anyone to sell-out an event.” Online Community Partner

‘ EventVue helps conference attendees meet the people that matter to them before they even arrive at an event.’ Tour Media Partner “ Thrillist is a free daily email that sifts through the crap to bring you the best of what your city’s hiding. Each day, you’ll get one quick email with info on the best food, drinks, gear, services, and events. Whatever it is, we promise it won’t suck. Get on the list.” --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Get Your Startup on Mashable (If You’re in a SummerMash City) Qik Mobile Live Streaming Straight to Mashable Events Pages I’m on Tour with Mashable. Are you? Google Offers GrandCentral Service Free to San Francisco’s Homeless Sponsor Opportunities for 1 to all 7 US Summer Tour Cities Millions of MySpacers Rejoice: Photobucket Videos are Back Tickets Now Available for SummerMash San Francisco!

While all of the buzz today might be about Apple’s new iPhone app store, we’ve got a mobile announcement of our own: we have a new mobile Web site, available by pointing your mobile browser to m.mashable.com! The site is powered by Mofuse, and includes our most recent blog entries, marketplace listings, and exclusive invites. As Mark recently wrote, Mofuse “defines mashup,” allowing us to simply plugin our RSS feeds to build a site optimized for the mobile Web. Give it a try and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear your thoughts. --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Mashable Rocks SXSW: Schwag Bag Update Mashable Rocks: Announcing the Winner of Rock Band Mashable Officially Goes Mobile with Viigo Mashable Rocks with Viigo: Get Mashable Content on Your Smart Phone Reminder: Mashable Rocks SXSW Contest Continues Rock Hands: So Easy, Even Robert Scoble Can Do It Mashable Rocks SXSW: Win Rock Band and TONS of Schwag!

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IntroNiche: Back-Scratching Ad Network Ask Private Practice stars a question for Outside the Box [The Startup Review]
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 4:44:09 PM

Editor’s Note: If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion in “The Startup Review” series, please see the details here. STARTUP DETAILS: Company Name: IntroNiche 20 word description: A simple classifieds marketplace which helps small companies and entrepreneurs find matching partners for cross-promotion and marketing. CEO’s 100 word description: One of the main hurdles in making effective crosspromotion deals is finding the right partners. This basic marketplace helps you to find companies who target a similar market to yours and are willing to close cross-promotion deals. By posting a classified, companies can significantly reduce the time and effort needed to find their match. And then the cross-promotion bonanza can begin. Sam, the founder used to try his hand at cross-promotion dealmaking at eBay. When leaving for greener shores, he just couldn’t help himself and made his own little marketplace. There are just a couple

of hundred of cross-promotion ads right now but Sam is convinced this could be the beginning of something nice. Mashable’s Take: You scratch my back, I scratch yours. That’s a very common, unspoken rule of the land, no matter what industry you’re talking about. No matter how small the favor, there’s always a way you can work with somebody so that you can both come out ahead. What those benefits express on each end, however, often comes down to your bartering skills and what you have to offer. Different versions of this have come about in the form of various online marketplaces, such as link-swapping sites. Most of these offer a standard rate of exchange, however, and don’t leave much wiggle room for the individual parties. IntroNiche is hoping to change all that. Founded by Sam Desimpel, a former eBay employee who spent all his time working out mutually beneficial deals between the online auction company and

trade organizations, IntroNiche has created an open market system that is built around classifieds from individual parties. Anyone seeking a deal for any type of promotional purpose can post their needs on IntroNiche and seek out others that may be a good fit. The desired result would be a marketing tool that gets these individual parties in front of niche audiences across the Web. The necessity in such a system, however, is critical mass. IntroNiche must scale to a pretty large and prolific user base in order to garner any major benefits as a selfsustaining marketplace. The other necessity, especially once critical mass is achieved, is search and filtering. IntroNiche has begun to address this with a tiered search option on the left-hand side of the page, allowing you to search by region, language, market and industry type. I think, in the end, such an open-ended market will still need some sort of standardization, even if it’s only by way of a trust-based system that helps users indicate which parties have built a good reputation for this cross-promotional network. Sponsored by Sun Startup Essentials

By Kelly Woo (TV Squad)

Submitted at 7/10/2008 11:01:00 AM

Filed under: Interviews, Celebrities, Private Practice, Reality-Free Outside the Box is an upcoming video interview series from AOL TV, where stars of your favorite shows sit down and answer questions from fans. This is your chance to (sort of) talk to celebrities! We've already asked you to submit questions for the cast of Scrubs and the stars of Dirty Sexy Money, and next on deck are Kate Walsh, Tim Daly, Taye Diggs and Audra McDonald from Private Practice. Practice has one of the sexiest casts on TV. Daly and Diggs and Paul Adelstein and Chris Lowell AND David Sutcliffe? Come on. That's not even fair. The show's first season was interrupted by the strike, but I'm hoping that the time off gave creator Shonda Rhimes space to refine the storylines, just like she did with Grey's Anatomy. When we left off, Addison had gotten her mojo back and asked police officer Kevin on a date. I'm hoping to see more of that (and "I don't get stood up. I'm

Addison.") when season 2 starts. If you've got a burning question for the four Practice stars, submit it in the comments below by Tuesday, July 15. Don't forget to include your first name and city/state. And try to come up with something other than "ur hot, will you marry me," OK? Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Announcing BLVD Status: A New Way to Track Statistics [video]
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 7:32:19 PM

Sean and I met with Chris Bennett from 97th Floor today on Mashable Conversations - and a particularly interesting conversation ensued. 97th Floor is a Utah based social media firm that has their hands in a wide variety of projects, almost all of which are instantly intriguing and interesting. We focused on just two of them yesterday - briefly we spoke about soapboxxer, an interesting and surprisingly insular online community that provides (as you might guess) it’s members a soapbox for which to air their grievances. After your opinion is posted, it turns into

an instant poll where the other members of the community can agree, disagree and comment further on their position - it’s set up in such a way as to make it very addictive. What we spent the most time talking about though was a brand new offering, blvdStatus, a stats package that focuses not just on providing accurate and detailed statistics, but also an emphasis on conversions. Most third party stats packages offer conversions, but they’re often difficult or intricate to set up. You’re probably thinking the same thing I was when I heard it was focused on conversion tracking: “sales stuff? I’m not particularly interested in yet another system designed to track sales conversions.” This one is different though.

Ever been curious as to which RSS subscribers click on what? Been interested in where folks discover your RSS feed from or what stories turn a casual blog reader into a blog subscriber? These are the types of conversions they track. Check in on the conversation below for more information on this ( MP4). Discussion: Sean and I had a

conversation that delved even further into the topic I wrote about earlier in the week How much should newpapers model themselves after New Media, and do they have a choice? Discuss below, your comments coming up on tomorrows episode! Never Miss an Episode! Get the Mashable Conversations podcast

here(video feed). Get the Mashable Conversations podcast here(audio feed). --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Facebook Removing “is” from Status Updates The Daily Poll: How Often Do You Broadcast Your Status? MySpace Dating Made Easy SONR is a Terrible, Terrible Idea That Simply Won’t Work Twitter Updates Now Connected to Facebook Status Plaxo Pulse Wants to Sync Your Status Updates Podbridge - Better Podcast Statistics?


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eNotes Wants to Revolutionize the Learning Process, But Does it Make it Too Easy? [50 Premium Invites]
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 2:50:32 PM

No Sex in Lively? Yeah, Right!
By Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins (Mashable!)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 6:59:08 PM

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again the Internet has been built on two cornerstones: sex and hate. You’ll have griefers anywhere there’s a group of people, and if there’s anywhere that creativity’s encouraged, folks will use that creativity to come up with new ways to talk about, view, or engage in virtual sex. Virtual World News spoke a bit with the folks behind Lively at Google to get some background information on what separates it from other virtual worlds like Second Life. The take-a-way theme that Silicon Alley Insider pulled from the interview was that Google definitely intends on defining themselves (and protecting their brand) from the scourge of sex-talk. As Eric Rice noted on FriendFeed last night, though, “the top rooms on Lively right now: Sex, Gay, Sex, Goons, Brasil, Developer City, Caroline, Sex, Sex, Sex.” Chalk it up to Google’s blue-sky idealism, but they were under the mistaken impression that if you set down the guidelines from the beginning, you can contradict human base instincts (particularly when your target market is the teenage set. Hormones, anyone?).

It’s definitely an issue that needs to be addressed by more than making rules against it. Despite those that would say there’s something definitely morally broken about having an erotic services section on Craigslist, it serves an important purpose. Sure, most of the services bought and sold through that part of the forum are illegal as hell, but it keeps it from cropping up throughout the rest of the site. This may be a situation where Google need to take the PR hit and create sections for it where it can be segregated out, so that there will be “safe areas” on the service. --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Google Launches Lively to Create a Virtual World Across Social Networks Is Google Building a Media Empire Based on Your Searches? Of Course. Virtual Worlds: 20+ Tools for Creating 3D Graphics and Environments 5 FriendFeed Rooms To Get The Party Started 50 Great Widgets For Your Blog 70 Fresh And Modern Blogger Templates Blogging Toolbox: 120+ Resources for Bloggers

eNotes is a new online resource for those in the education field, or others that are just interested in learning. Similar to some other tools for aggregating content and creating personalized notes on various topics, eNotes allows you to bookmark items, take notes and organize your referenced data. eNotes, however, is unlike most similar services in that it provides all of its own content, which comes through a regimented in-house publishing team that verifies all work available on the site. Upon registration you can tell eNotes what type of user you are — student, teacher or neither — so the content can be presented, organized and recommended accordingly. Some of the features I particularly found useful on eNotes are the highlighted-text dictionary search options, the deep categorization of available content, the ease of search, and the study guides. One feature that students will especially appreciate is the ability to print and cite content; the citation option gives you the reference already formatted so all you have to do is copy and paste it into your term paper, granted this is the bibliography format your professor requires. If you’re hoping this service is free, you’ve already gotten your hopes up. It will cost you $49.95 per year. Fortunately for you, eNotes has given us 50 premium accounts for Mashable readers, so you can

check out the full eNotes service. Just click here and enter “Mashable-50 as the invite code, and proceed to the registration process from there. In addition, eNotes offers custom versions of its service for schools and organizations, which would be ideal for shared lesson plans across a school district, or a collaborative graduate project at a university. The real question, though, is concerning the attitude certain educators will have towards this online resource that’s aiming to be an all-inclusive research tool. Given the instant gratification that Web search provides us is enough to make certain educators fearful enough to ban specific Web searches all together. So what happens when a premium service like eNotes comes along and provides search, filtering, study guides, lesson plans, and ready-formatted citations? I personally think it’s a step in the right direction. It won’t dumb us down, and such a resource can only be improved with the support of academia.

Chris Rock to do his fifth HBO special in September - TCA Report
By Kristin Sample (TV Squad)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 12:23:00 PM

Filed under: Other Comedy Shows, Programming, OpEd, Celebrities, TCA Press Tour, Reality-Free Chris Rock is returning to HBO! The network announced today at TCA that the comedian would premiere his fifth stand-up special this fall. The special will feature footage from three locations: South Africa's Carnival City Casino, New York's Apollo Theater, and the Carling Apollo Hammersmith in London. Of the return to HBO, Chris Rock says, "I wanted to do that type of stand-up special that I've never seen before, and the only place that I could see doing that is at HBO. I love HBO because they want to take chances." Also of note is that Rock set the Guinness World Record on the No Apologies Tour by playing to crowds of 15,900 at Greenwich's O2 venue. That's the largest audience for stand-up comedy performance in British history. I'm psyched that Chris Rock will be returning to HBO. He's on the few comedians whose performance I can watch from beginning to end and not get bored. Ever. Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger will debut on Saturday, September 27th at 9:00 p.m. ET / PT on HBO. Permalink| Email this| | Comments

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Greystripe iPhone 3G API Lets Game Developers Earn Ad Revenue
By Kristen Nicole (Mashable!)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 2:51:02 PM

HBO execs sound off on possible second SATC movie, Sopranos movie, and Mad Men - TCA Report
By Kristin Sample (TV Squad)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 11:56:00 AM

Greystripe has been one of the many services to push mobile games, providing incentives for both gamers and developers with its ad-supported model. Now Greystripe, along with many other developers today, is launching an iPhone 3G API for game developers. One differentiating point for Greystripe, however, is its ad revenue-sharing model that gives developers some of the monetary benefits of the Apple application store. While many iPhone apps will be free, there are others that will cost iPhone users. Greystripe’s mobile games are offered for free, and are presented to gamers with the Greystripe AdWRAP, which is an option that the company introduced last year. Greystripe’s iPhone API is an extension of its existing mobile platform, which distributes games created by independent developers and installs an alternative route to the mobile gaming economy. The good thing about Apple is that it’s come a long way since last year, when the company seemed whole-heartedly against supporting the developer community. In terms of similar platforms being offered across various social media networks,

many have speculated that the platform owners would eventually take a more controlling stake in the use of their networks for third-party revenue systems, but Apple seems to have shifted from its previous stance to one that is partaking in some of the revenue-sharing. Regardless, there are those, like Greystripe, that are creating avenues for developers to further their distribution and revenue, in addition to any systems that larger networks may put in place. --Related Articles at Mashable! - The Social Networking Blog: Greystripe Offers Hands-On Mobile Games for Free Greystripe Brings Free Mobile Games to Opera Mini–With Ads Greystripe Raises $8.9M for AdSupported Mobile Games World’s Simplest iPhone App iPhone to Launch in Germany on TMobile 3G iPhone Confirmed for 2008 Mundu Optimizes Multi-Client Chat Tool for the iPhone

Filed under: Industry, TV on the Bigscreen, TCA Press Tour, Reality-Free During the HBO's panel at the TCA Press Tour, executives Richard Plepler, Copresident, and Michael Lombardo, President of Programming and West Coast Operations, said they'd be interested in doing a Sopranos movie and a second Sex and the City movie. Plepler said that Warner Bros. and New Line are definitely interested in doing another Sex and the City movie. They are trying to put something together, but there's no timeline. "Everyone associated with the project was really heartened by the fans and by the new fans to the show," Plepler said. As far as a Sopranos feature goes, Lombardo says HBO would be delighted to take part in it. He says that series creator David Chase is in France on vacation right now but, "If David wants to do it, we'd be delight to explore that." When the executives were pressed about Mad Men(rumors are abound that HBO turned down the show and AMC snatched

Talk Talk: Kathy Griffin, Al Roker, Willie Nelson
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
it up), Lombardo said only this, "Heres the bottom line, it's a wonderful show and I wish it were on HBO. Matt [Weiner is] an extraordinary talent and I hope that one day, he'll do something for us." Would you see another Sex and the City movie? How about a Sopranos movie? Permalink| Email this| | Comments
Submitted at 7/10/2008 10:03:00 AM

What's On Tonight: Greatest American Dog, Hopkins, Burn Notice
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:01:00 AM

Filed under: Industry, Programming, What To Watch Tonight, Reality-Free • At 8, CBS has the premiere of Greatest American Dog. • TLC has two new episodes of Monster Garage at 8, then a new American Chopper. • Versus has more coverage of the Tour

de France at 8. • There's a new Chowder on Cartoon Network at 9, followed by new episodes of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack and Total Drama Island. • At 9, NBC has a new, two hour Last Comic Standing. • TBS has a new Bill Engvall Show at 9, followed by a new My Boys. • History Channel has a new Modern Marvels at 9, then a new episode of The

Works. • Hallmark has the new movie A

Gunfighter's Pledge at 9. • At 10, CBS has a new Swingtown. • ABC has a new Hopkins at 10. • USA has the season premiere of Burn Notice at 10. • Also at 10: Bravo has a new Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. Check your local TV listings for more. Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Late Night, TV Royalty, Programming, Celebrities, Talk Show, Reality-Free Here's who's on the late night shows tonight. • Charlie Rose: a discussion with the National Teachers of the Year • The Daily Show: James Harding (repeat) • The Colbert Report: Barbara Ehrenreich (repeat) • The Late Show with David Letterman: Paris Hilton, Steve Wyrick, and Panic at the Disco (repeat) • Jay Leno: Kathy Griffin, Adam Carolla, Willie Nelson, and Wynton Marsalis • Jimmy Kimmel Live: Regis Philbin, Sharon Osbourne, and Lil' Wayne (repeat) • Tavis Smiley: Helen Hunt and Majora Carter (repeat) • Late Night with Conan O'Brien: Al Roker, Paul Pierce, and Pilobolus • The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Valerie Bertinelli, Paulina Porizkova, and Estelle (repeat) • Last Call with Carson Daly: Aviva Yael and The Game (repeat) Permalink| Email this| | Comments



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Ask Dirty Sexy Money stars a question for Outside the Box
By Kelly Woo (TV Squad)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:21:00 AM

Filed under: Interviews, Celebrities, Dirty Sexy Money, Reality-Free AOL TV's new video interview series, Outside the Box, takes questions from you (the fans) and poses them to the stars of the hottest shows. We already asked you to submit questions for the stars of Scrubs. Next up will be Peter Krause and Lucy Liu of Dirty Sexy Money. While DSM's first season was tragically cut short by the writers' strike, the 10 episodes that did air were full of frothy fun. And that cast! Krause, Liu (who's new for the second season), Donald Sutherland, Jill Clayburgh, Billy Baldwin, Glenn Fitzgerald ... and I could go on. And if you don't quite remember where the show left off, read Erin's review of the season finale. So, if you're wondering what's in store for Dirty Sexy Money, what Liu's

Burn Notice: Breaking and Entering (season premiere)
character will be like and if we'll ever find out who killed Nick George's dad ... submit your questions in the comments below by Tuesday, July 15. Be sure to include your first name and your city and state. Good luck. Permalink| Email this| | Comments

By Paul Goebel (TV Squad)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 4:19:00 PM

Conan staffers deface Burn Prematurely canceled sci-fi shows Notice ad! By Brad Trechak (TV Squad)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:40:00 AM

By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 11:37:00 AM

Filed under: OpEd, Reality-Free, Star Trek: Original Series Topless Robot has posted a list of the top 10 sci-fi television shows that were canceled too soon. I've never seen most of the other shows (and if a lot of America followed my example, that could somewhat explain their early cancellation), but I have watched numbers 1,2 and 7. Star Trek is an obvious choice for number 1 given that it is still the icon of science-fiction television. I've heard good things about Max Headroom(number 3) and would probably at least watch it on DVD should it ever be released in the format. I disagree about the 1981 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series (number 2) and think it works best at its current length. I find it interesting how the only reason the author wanted to

extend Buck Rogers In the 25th Century was to see more of Erin Gray ("Off think. Off think. Off think"). Continue reading Prematurely canceled sci-fi shows Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Late Night, Web, Talk Show, Reality-Free, Burn Notice Just in time for tonight's second season premiere of Burn Notice comes this little piece of news from the studios at NBC. Two guys on the staff of Late Night with Conan O'Brien are so ticked off at the ads for the USA show (USA is part of the NBC Universal family) that appear in the building that they decided to deface them. The insults range from dialogue bubbles that say"It 'Burns' when I pee" and"Thanks for the 'Notice' " to this entry on the Late

Night blog where the staffers complain about the ads and explain their actions. It is kinda funny how many of these ads NBC puts in their own building. Of course, the blog entry isn't all bad and acts as a nudge-nudge wink-wink push for the show. Despite the graffiti, the Late Night guys do say that the show is "awesome," "smart," and "funny," and they even want to make sure you watch the show tonight. (And I'd like to repeat that too - watch Burn Notice tonight at 10 on USA!) Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Filed under: Episode Reviews, RealityFree, Burn Notice ( S02E01) Man, it's been a long time since last season. I remembered very little of what they showed in the recap and after being reminded, I was hungry for the new season. It occurs to me as I'm watching this episode that Michael Westen is a less philanthropic MacGyver. He knows a lot of tricks that will help you in sticky situations but he's smart enough to keep most of them to himself. I, personally, have never had to run from the police but if I ever do, I now know the best way to stop the airbags from going off. Continue reading Burn Notice: Breaking and Entering (season premiere) Permalink| Email this| | Comments

Here are some clues about Mad Men season two - VIDEOS
By Bob Sassone (TV Squad)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 8:41:00 AM

Filed under: Video, Reality-Free, Mad Men It's somewhat rare when a TV show lives up to massive hype, but Mad Men really is one of those shows. It really is as great as

you've heard, and it's great to see AMC putting so much money and time behind it. The second season premieres on Sunday, July 27 (after a July 20 marathon to get non-fans caught up), and below are some videos to give you a taste for what the show is like and what might be in store for the guys and girls at Sterling Cooper.

(And yes, in the new cast photo above, Paul has a beard!) Continue reading Here are some clues about Mad Men season two - VIDEOS Permalink| Email this| | Comments

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Tech Tips*
MyMobiler Controls Windows Mobile From Your Desktop [Featured Windows Mobile Download]
By Jason Fitzpatrick (Lifehacker)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:00:00 AM


What's Good (and Free!) in the iTunes App Store [Iphone 2.0]
By Kevin Purdy (Lifehacker)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 2:00:00 AM

More than 550 new applications arrived for the iPhone and iPod touch this morning in iTunes' brand new App Store and more than 130 of them are available for free. This morning we're taking a look at the best free applications for your iPhone and iPod Touch, available after the 2.0 software update officially arrives (or after you've grabbed the unofficial update). Check out our list after the jump—and check back throughout the morning, as we'll be updating it with more picks as we find them. Note: Most of the apps listed here work with both iPhones and iPod touch models, but we've noted where an app requires the iPhone's voice, SMS, or GPS capabilities to run. Remote Controls Your iTunes Library The iTunes App Store's marquee freebie, the Remote app turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a remote control for your media library. Remote works almost exactly like the iPod application on your device—the main difference being that rather than playing back music on your iPhone or iPod touch, you've got access to your entire iTunes library and you're playing it over your computer's speakers. Read more about setting up and using the Remote app>> Google Mobile is Quicksilver for the iPhone/iPod touch Google already has a fast and slick iPhone version, but this app is hyper-optimized for quick searching. Search-as-you-type results spin up for web pages, click-to-call business and residential phone listings, nearby stores and restaurants, and more—and Google Mobile's brought to you by the guy who made one of our favorite free launcher desktop apps, Quicksilver. Read more about how Google Mobile searches your contacts and the web>> Jott Transcribes Speech to Text iPhone only: Free voice-to-text service Jott is a natural fit for an iPhone app, and its implementation here is pretty nifty. You

can simply say a note into the recording interface (at right), and it'll show up in your Jott notes (or on Google Calendar, Remember the Milk, or Jott-connected applications). You can also simply type a note in, making the Jott app a quick interface for a lot of web apps. Managing all your notes with finger-swipe deletion is pretty handy as well. Evernote The universal stuff-gathering site Evernote gives you all the major tools of its desktop and web software in its iPhone app—add text, snap a phone cam shot, record a memo, or upload a photo, and it's all available for organizing, tagging, or searching later. New in this interface is a straight-forward voice recorder; if you'd rather have your audio transcribed, you can use the Jott app as a gateway to Evernote. Given that even free users of Evernote can have the service scan their pictures and extract visible text, Evernote's app makes your iPhone a serious universal capture device. NetNewsWire As Adam has detailed, users of desktop-based readers like NetNewsWire(Mac) or FeedDemon(Windows) have their reasons for sticking with them. NetNewsWire for iPhone syncs with either of those clients, meaning you won't read the same items twice. There's a "Clippings" feature for setting items aside for later (or when you'll be offline) that also syncs to your desktop, and the interface is straightforward—and that's about it. If you're a Google Reader addict, you're already set up with GReader's iPhone beta view. Read more about how NetNewsWire brings synced RSS feeds to Your iPhone>> Zenbe Lists Free service Zenbe works as a multi-account mail organizer in its web form, but they've stuck with to-do-style lists for their iPhone app. Those lists, however, can be edited on any browser and synced back to your Zenbe account, or published on an iGoogle page. The real benefit, though, is sharing with other Zenbe Lists users. Anyone you share with can then edit and update your list and sync

them back to you—a kind of nifty no-realcomputer-required list wiki. Yelp The iPhone app for business review site Yelp takes good advantage of your location-aware device to dish up the details on nearby restaurants, bars, gas and service stations, and much more. There's a custom search function too, so you can always know when you're in the presence of, say, high-quality sushi while you're traveling, and how much reviewers say it's going to cost you. A great app for traveling, or just seeing what the hive says about your home town. Read more about finding and filtering everything around you with Yelp>> Save Benjis Save Benjis (as in the face on the bills) makes it seriously convenient to compare prices on online purchases, or the gadget that's sitting right in front of you at the store. Type in a name, a product ID number, or other details, and you'll get a list back with links and prices from Amazon, NewEgg, and other online merchants. If you've ever wondered how much markup you're paying to grab that gear now, wonder no more. Saving Benjis also integrates well with Amazon for making actual purchases. Read more about comparing prices on the fly with Save Benjis>> Talking Phrasebook ( French, Italian, German, Spanish) Translation tools and dual-language dictionaries are great, but sometimes, you really just need to ask "How much to park here?" in German. The Talking Phrasebook apps offer phrases you'll want to know translated from English to Spanish, French, German, and Italian, and you can click to hear them pronounced (or, perhaps, just have your iPhone speak for you). Read more about getting the words you need quickly with Talking Phrasebook>> Midomi iPhone only: This one's not terribly productive—unless you're the type to spend far too much time trying to name that song you just can't remember. For those moments, or for proving a friend right/wrong, Midomi is a true gift. You can type in an artist or song name to get more

info (and you can write it phonetically), but the true joy is in humming or singing a few bars into your iPhone, waiting a bit, then seeing your song title come back. You can also hold your phone up to the music itself, and Midomi will try to ID it. Seriously neat stuff. Read more about Midomi—and watch a video demonstration—at Gizmodo>> Where One of the most comprehensive location-aware apps in the Store, Where gives you all sorts of location-based information—like where the nearest restaurants, Zip cars, gas stations, and Starbucks locations are in relation to you. Enable Buddy Beacon to see nearby friends also using Where. Get to know the new place you're visiting—or even your hometown—with one of the coolest features, called HeyWhatsThat, which identifies landmarks you can see from your location—like the names of nearby mountains and overhead constellations. AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) Send and receive instant messages over Wi-Fi, EDGE, or 3G networks, and manage your AIM buddy list right on your device with the AIM iPhone app. PayPal Send money from your iPhone or iPod touch to anyone—like your dinner companion when you're splitting the bill—with the PayPal app. You've been able to send money via SMS using PayPal for some time now, but the app makes it even easier—it keeps you from having to remember the text message format. Aside: Gedeon Maheux points out that six iTunes Store Apps listed under Productivity use the check mark as their icon. Group-think! [via Daring Fireball] We'll be updating this list with more free apps as we download and test 'em out. What should we look at next? Post your favorite free iPhone application in the comments, and vote for the best you've seen (so far) below. What's your favorite free iPhone app so far? ( surveys)

Windows only: The My Mobiler desktop application controls your Windows Mobile device through its Active Sync connection. We've already covered the GetPDAScreen program, which allows you to see your mobile device remotely and capture the screen, but My Mobiler adds so many more features. What you see in the desktop application is real time and you can interact with your mobile device using the mouse and keyboard as through you were holding the phone in your hand. It has screenshot and video capture capabilities as well as the ability to cut and paste between the phone and desktop environment. The MyMobiler desktop interface even has the ability to emulate the physical keys on the phone which lets you fully interact with the device. My Mobiler is a free download for Windows only. Thanks, joelena and fellow savvy readers! My Mobiler[mtux]

iPhone 2.0 Better than Jailbreaking Except... [Iphone 2.0]
By Adam Pash (Lifehacker)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 7:58:01 AM

Adventurous iPhone users willing to jailbreak their device have had third-party applications for almost a year now—so now that the App Store's open, you may be thinking: So what? Truth is, the iPhone 2.0 software update and its App Store offerings actually are something to talk about. The 2.0 software update has introduced better applications, better app management, and tons of other excellent features worth the upgrade, but they still haven't made jailbreaking obsolete. Here are some ways iPhone 2.0 one-ups jailbreaking, and then the stuff jailbreaking IPHONE page 28


Tech Tips* Religion*

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IPHONE 27 continued from page
offers that we're still waiting on from Apple. What's Great About iPhone 2.0 • Apps Are Better: While this point may still be up for debate, the offerings available in the first iteration of App Store are impressive. Among other things, developers no longer need to figure everything out as they go along—the iPhone SDK provides them with a robust toolkit for making great applications, and the proof is in the pudding. That's not to say that several developers who made programs for jailbroken phones didn't do amazing things, but overall the quality is higher in the App Store. • iTunes Remote Is Awesome: Everyone's got their favorite jailbreak app that they hate to leave behind, but one free application that's almost worth abandoning jailbreaking in and of itself is the iTunes Remote application. Seeing that it's now a default feature of iTunes, you almost have to wonder why it's not included with the rest of the default applications—maybe to get people like me to abandon jailbreaking. • • Location-Aware Is the Standard: One thing that you'll see a ton of in App Store applications is location-aware applications. We already covered how your locationaware iPhone will change your life, and now apps from the very impressive Yelp to the get-close-and-shake-to-exchangedetails Friend Book to friend tracking and simple movie showtime applications are delivering that. Location aware apps were available in jailbroken iPhones, but it's a stronger trend in iPhone 2.0. • App Store is Better: As impressive as the effort behind Installer.app is, the official App Store is just a much better tool for managing, browsing, and installing applications. Again, that's not the fault of the jailbreak developers—Apple just has all the tools they need to make it what it should be. When you installed an app on a jailbroken iPhone, your iPhone had to do a soft reset every time. App Store has this very nifty download-and-install interface for downloaded apps that's markedly better. • Managing Apps is Easier: Using Installer.app, you had to completely uninstall an application through Installer if you didn't want it. With the 2.0 software update and the latest iTunes, you've got way more flexibility. You can remove an app from the phone itself the same way you deleted web clips in previous versions: Just hold down on an icon until they all start to jiggle, and each installed app will have a black 'x' in the corner. Tap the 'x' and confirm to remove it. Even better, you can now remove an application from your phone through iTunes. The beauty of this method is that you don't actually have to uninstall the application altogether, and you can return it to your iPhone with all the application data intact. Definitely not the case for your jailbroken iPhone. What's Great About Jailbreaking • Ditching AT&T: If you're not into rolling with AT&T or whomever your country's default iPhone provider is, jailbreaking is still your best avenue for unlocking your phone to use on another GSM cell network. We'll have to wait and see if a jailbreak shows up for the 2.0 software update (my guess is that it will), but right now you don't want to go 2.0 if you want to use your phone with anyone but the default carrier. UPDATE: iPhone 2.0 is already jailbroken. • Background Apps: One of the biggest drawbacks of iPhone 2.0 versus jailbreaking is background applications—namely that your jailbroken apps can keep running in the background while your official apps cannot. That means functionality from great apps like Mobile Scrobbler (sends music data to Last.fm while playing from your iPod) is lost in the wind, and it's questionable as to whether or not it will ever return. Apple has promised a very interesting workaround for the lack of background apps with push notifications. (In short, apps talk to Apple without your phone, and Apple pings you with any info the app wants to send you.) However, push notifications aren't going to be available until September. Push notifications will fill a need, but they don't altogether replace background apps. • Play By Your Rules: Perhaps the most attractive thing about jailbreaking your phone is that you don't have to play by Apple's rules. If you want to install an app to run in the background and drain your battery, that's your prerogative. With the App Store, Apple can be as strict and arbitrary in what applications it allows and which developers are approved as they want to be. It's your device, you should get to decide what applications you want to install on it and what you want them to do. If your into customization, you're also unlikely to find any Apple-sanctioned applications like Customize or Summerboard (pictured right) to tweak the look of your iPhone. Personalizing and customizing your device is what some users live for, and for those folks, jailbreaking is currently the only way. Photo by theopie. What Else Is Missing Of course, none of this addresses the iPhone's still-missing features. Some—like video recording—is already available for jailbroken iPhones but is unavailable from the App Store. Likewise, VoIP is still MIA from the App Store but fully functional on a jailbroken device. Luckily for us, the iPhone 2.0 software has already been unlocked and jailbroken, so it's not unlikely that you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Finally, there are other features—like copy-and-paste or MMS messaging—to which we still haven't seen a practical solution in either avenue. If you've gone the jailbreak route in the past, let's hear what you think of the App Store, iPhone 2.0, and the new iTunes in the comments.

Choose From Your Gmail Contacts in Any Email Form [Featured Greasemonkey User Script]
By Gina Trapani (Lifehacker)
Submitted at 7/10/2008 12:30:00 AM

Firefox with Greasemonkey only: The Google Contacts Autocomplete user script adds a drop-down of your Gmail contacts on any web-based email form where you'd enter an address. You must be signed into your Gmail account for the script to work; once it's installed, just start typing into an email text field to get search-as-you-type results from your Gmail address book. The

first day or so it was installed, the script did nothing for me—then it magically started working (see screenshot)—so your mileage may vary. When it is working, this is a nifty way to access your contacts quickly and easily. The Google Contacts Autocomplete user script is a free download and requires Firefox with Greasemonkey. Thanks, Matt! Google Contacts Autocomplete[Userscripts.org]

Female bishops: Big story or not? (updated)
By tmatt
FEMALE page 29

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FEMALE 28 continued from page
On one level, it is obvious that the Church of England’s decision to raise female priests to the episcopate is a big news story. I mean, click here for a Google News tour of the coverage and here for a regular Google collection. Or, if you wish, here’s the New York Times report. There is, in fact, too much coverage to scan and critique in any fair manner. So let’s just look at one or two things in the London coverage via The Times. As you would expect, Ruth Gledhill’s report has lots of drama and details. Take a look at the top of the story: The Church of England decided last night to consecrate women bishops, with minimum concessions to opponents and despite the threat of a mass exodus of traditionalist clergy. After one of the most contentious debates faced by the Church’s General Synod, its members voted to allow the consecration of women bishops but rejected compromise proposals for new “super bishops”, who would have catered for the objectors. The decisions, after more than six hours of debate, led to extraordinary scenes at the University of York, with one bishop in tears as he spoke of being “ashamed” of the Church of England. The Rt Rev Stephen Venner, Bishop of Dover, who is in favour of women bishops, said that the failure to agree to create “super bishops” meant that every opportunity to allow objectors to “flourish” within the Church had been turned down. Once again, this is the same kind of church-within-a-church approach that many in North America are seeking as a way to wrestle with other issues, most obviously the ordination of noncelibate gays and lesbians who oppose the Anglican Communion’s current stand on the moral status of sex outside of a traditional definition of marriage. It should be noted that the left’s critique is accurate that this “super bishops” concept also requires major changes in centuries of traditions and doctrines. Both sides are proposing major changes, only on issues involving different levels of doctrine and biblical interpretation. Gledhill also sums up the regional, national and even global implications — global as in Roman — of this action. Catholic and evangelical bishops are also understood to have held secret talks in Rome to discuss how to proceed with unity talks once women are ordained, and what, if any, kind of recognition might be granted to Anglo-Catholics by Rome. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who urged generous provision for opponents, sat with his head in his hands as a proposal for “super bishops” for objectors to women bishops was defeated. The super bishops would have been an upgraded version of the “flying bishops” appointed to care for opponents of women priests. The synod rejected the plan even though it had the backing of the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu. Under the new proposals to consecrate women, flying bishops will also disappear and parishes will no longer be able to opt into their care instead of that of their diocesan bishop. Like I said, the key details are in the story and even more details are hidden in the oceans of digital ink Gledhill — again, there are other reporters doing the same thing — are spilling on this story in the form of blog postings. This is part of the entire “ summer of schism” theme that is developing online( again and again). The Telegraph offered this apocalyptic summation in a blog: “It’s the end of Anglo-Catholicism.” In the actual news story, the headline was just as overwhelming: “Church of England set to split over women bishops.” It’s also clear that the Roman Catholic option story is now going to be huge, with reports that about 1,300 priests and bishops are planning to leave the Church of England over the issue of female bishops. Click here for the actual document on that threat. Meanwhile, the Vatican Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, to no one’s surprise, had this to say: We have regretfully learned of the Church of England vote to pave the way for the introduction of legislation which will lead to the ordaining of women to the Episcopacy. The Catholic position on the issue was clearly expressed by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. Such a decision signifies a breaking away from the apostolic tradition maintained by all of the Churches since the first millennium, and therefore is a further obstacle for the reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England. This decision will have consequences on the future of dialogue, which had up until now born fruit, as Cardinal Kasper had clearly explained when he spoke on June 5 2006 to all of the bishops of the Church of England at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. But I was struck by another quote, far down in the Gledhill weblog, a quote that actually gets at the heart of the various Anglican disputes this summer and, thus, at a theme that should be important to the news coverage itself. This is a clip from the reporter’s notes, posted online: Moving at last to debate the final motion, Alan Hargrave pleaded that none would leave the Church and said that staying in the Church was the ‘test of a true Anglican.’ Stephen Venner, Bishop of Dover, said: ‘I have to say that for the first time in my life I feel ashamed. We have talked for hours about wanting to give an honourable place for those who disagreed. We have turned down almost every opportunity for those opposed to flourish. And we still talk the talk of being inclusive and generous. The Rochester report said in many many pages that there were a variety of ways in which scripture and reason could be read with integrity.’ Note the connection of two different realities. On one side, people argue that the ultimate doctrinal test of whether one is an Anglican is whether one elects to stay in the church. Period. Meanwhile, others argue in official reports that there must be two (or more) different ways to read the relevant scriptures, doctrines and traditions within the same Communion. The doctrines do not unite. Only the name of the church provides unity and an agreement that there are no set doctrines on these matters — for now. But the liturgical actions of the structure will change (an ordination is an ordination, a consecration is a consecration) which means that the ultimate decision will be whether one can live, doctrinally, with the changed Communion or the creation of some new option that clashes with Canterbury. Again, this is so complex, if reporters are going to try to cover the viewpoints of those on both sides of these issues. Note, for example, that there are evangelicals who accept the ordination of women and those who do not. There are also people on the theological left who enthusiastically claim the Anglo-Catholic mantle on issues of worship. So the fault lines are in different places for different people. But there is one other reality to consider: Look at the screen shot of the Times front page for today, at the top of this post. You’ve got soccer, of course, and Madonna’s love life and other sex scandals. There’s the state of the economy. But where is this historic decision by the Church of England? The story did not make the front page until ( wait for it) the Vatican reaction. So there is the other side of the story. The wars in the global Anglican Communion are, ultimately, about decisions that will be made in the Church of England. But is the Church of England big enough, these days, to make page one in England? Strange. UPDATE: Interesting email in from Ruth Gledhill, offering some insights into how British papers view the U.S. and this new global WWW news cycle that we are all in. This has been edited a bit to flesh out some IM-style chat. I think the reason it wasn’t page one earlier was simply due to different staff on night and day desk. Also this morning they realised better the global interest and thus gave story better show. Online is edited as much with you guys over there in mind and we often think here, perhaps, that the US is not interested in the Church of England. Bookmark to:

Sigh . . . Back into ‘On Faith’ fog
By tmatt
Submitted at 7/10/2008 7:34:08 PM

I know, I know. I have said what I have to say already about the mini-firestorm over Sally Quinn of the Washington Post electing to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the funeral Mass for the late Tim Russert. I really don’t want to have readers start clicking “comment” again to talk about the theology of this or the state of Catholic canon law. For me, the key is journalism. Why, at the “ On Faith” site, is this a subject that is defined in terms of feelings instead of facts. As I said in my last post on the topic: There are facts that matter here. Facts about history, doctrine and courtesy. Facts matter when you are covering religion news and trends. Facts matter when you are interviewing religious people — left and right, members of major world religions and members of lesser known bodies that some would be tempted to call “fringe.” Facts and doctrine matter to religious people.. . . This isn’t about emotions and feelings. It’s about getting the facts right and showing respect for the people for whom those facts, doctrines and rituals are a matter of eternal life and death. Facts matter in journalism, religion and journalism about religion I bring this up, heading once again into the fog bank defined in my first post, SIGH page 31



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Williams: Russert ‘took the call’
By tmatt
Submitted at 7/9/2008 6:18:55 PM

We are into the second wave of media coverage of the death of NBC’s Tim Russert, featuring stories that are one step away from the actual memorial service and the mainstream press memorials. Some of these events are going to be linked to more complex, personal aspects of Russert’s career — such as his faith. Before his death, I had already noted that Russert was scheduled to give a June 27 lecture for the Catholic Common Ground Initiative, to be held at the Catholic University of America. The announced topic sounded a bit on the lofty, perhaps even pretentious side of things: “Learnings from the Political Process for Common Ground in the Catholic Church.” That certainly doesn’t sound like the kind of blunt, direct language that Russert favored. I immediately made plans to go or to get a copy of the talk. After Russert’s death, NBC anchorman Brian Williams — a Catholic who briefly attended CUA — agreed to step in and speak in place of colleague. The emphasis for the event changed, as you would expect. I am not sure that this was a “news event,” per se. But Williams certainly took on a question of interest to GetReligion readers, which is the degree to which Russert’s faith had an impact on his work in politics and then journalism. Did it help shape some of those infamous questions that he aimed at politicians, questions that often touched on the intersection of religion and politics and the events and trends that result when they are mixed? Since I was out of town when the event was held, I ended up writing a Scripps Howard News Service column off an audio recording (hat tip to my Washington Journalism Center co-worker Greg Perreault). Now, you can watch the Williams talk online, as well. Click here to go to the National Pastoral Life Center site to view that. I have not found an embed code for this yet, so if it hits YouTube let

me know. In the column, I opened with that infamous exchange between Russert and Vice President Al Gore about abortion and the question of when life begins. This leads into the big questions that lots of people — usually those on the religious and political left — used to ask about Russert from time. That’s an interesting comment in and of itself, considering his years of work in the offices of Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. Anyway, here is the top half of the column. Click here for the version that is up at Scripps: The politico facing Tim Russert was Vice Present Al Gore and their testy dialogue was one of the memorable

moments during the 2000 White House race. RUSSERT: When do you think life begins? GORE: I favor the Roe vs. Wade approach, but let me just say, Tim, I did — RUSSERT: Which is what? When does life begin? GORE: Let me just say, I did change my position on the issue of federal funding and I changed it because I came to understand more from women — women think about this differently than men. RUSSERT: But you were calling fetuses innocent human life, and now you don’t believe life begins at conception. I’m just trying to find out, when do you believe life begins? GORE: Well, look, the Roe vs. Wade

decision proposes an answer to that question — RUSSERT: Which is? Liberal critics said this line of questioning veered out of journalism into hostile territory, especially when Russert probed Gore on laws banning the execution of any pregnant woman on death row, somewhere, someday. Gore defenders defended his stunned, befuddled silence — what one called a “pregnant pause.” But the Gore showdown raised other questions. Was the host of NBC’s “Meet the Press” asking this question because of his own Catholic beliefs? Or was Russert pressing hard because he knew that, as a U.S. senator from Tennessee, Gore had an 84 percent positive National Right to Life voting record and he wanted to hear the

candidate describe his change of heart? “Tim wore his Catholicism proudly. He talked about it all the time,” noted NBC anchor Brian Williams, who stepped in, after Russert’s death, as the featured speaker at a recent Catholic Common Ground Initiative forum in Washington, D.C. In fact, Russert’s faith was not “an elephant in the room. It was the room. It was the room he was raised in. It was one of his great charms, as was how he dealt with it in life and in our public discourse.. . . Catholicism was his base. It was never his bias. I think that’s absolutely crucial and I will debate anyone who contends to the contrary.” Williams said that the key question for the night could be stated this way: Was Russert’s relentless search for the truth a result of his Catholic upbringing? In a moment that could have produced an entire forum, event or book, Williams briefly discussed Russert’s internal struggle during the waves of clergy sexabuse scandals that rocked his church. Trying to handle that horrific reality — as a Catholic parent and as a journalist — was a test of Russert’s faith. But, Williams said, he also knew that he needed to do the “job of a journalist.” The column ends with this quote from Williams: Russert always “understood that the stakes were high. He knew that better than most of us,” added Williams. “He knew that the civility of our dialogue was under attack. He knew that diversity in the public square takes work every day. And he knew that our standards of journalism were being attacked. … “He understood what it meant to be ‘called’ to be Catholic, and I think that’s very important. He took the call.” And some of the people said, “Amen.” There are those who would disagree, which is totally understandable in light of the topics that Russert tried to cover as a Catholic and a journalist, Sunday after Sunday. Bookmark to:

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McCain’s evangelical wooing continues
By dpulliam
Submitted at 7/10/2008 10:57:49 AM

Reading about presumed Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s outreach to so-called evangelical voters and “leaders” is like reading the 2004 presidential coverage only in reverse. Reporters should take whatever efforts McCain’s campaign makes to “outreach” to evangelical leaders with a large grain of salt. There are several reasons for this. Contrary to the common assumptions, evangelicals are anything but homogeneous. Along with that, there is a diverse group of evangelical leaders and evangelicals are not easily led. Lastly, few evangelical leaders have expressed much excitement for a McCain presidency. This of course makes the story much more difficult to cover, particularly compared to four years ago when magazine covers blared the common knowledge that evangelicals were voting in huge numbers for Republican George W. Bush and helped push him into his second term in office. Wayne Slater of The Dallas Morning News appropriately conveyed this skepticism Sunday as he wrote about how McCain is stepping “up efforts to woo religious voters.” Slater, in his second paragraph, reports that McCain’s campaign has already written off the evangelical as a way of winning in November: But even as he woos evangelicals, his campaign is pursuing a different strategy — abandoning George W. Bush’s model of galvanizing the GOP base and targeting independents to make up for lost socialconservative votes. “We can’t win the election the way George Bush did by just running up the

score with Republicans, running up the score with evangelicals and taking what we can out of the independent mix,” said Sarah Simmons, the campaign’s director of strategy. It is a risky move, though, as religious conservatives have been instrumental to Republican victories for a generation. Some social conservatives warn that the appeal to moderate swing voters will jeopardize already lukewarm support from evangelicals. Simmons quote is rather significant, particularly as McCain is in the middle of efforts to gain the support of evangelical “leaders.” A good question to ask those “leaders” is why they would support a candidate who won’t try to win their followers’ support the way the current president did just four years ago? All the summer talk is directed at McCain’s running-mate selection. Former Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee comes up a lot, but the Associated Press’s Eric Gorski rightly reported a week ago that a Huckabee in the second spot won’t solve McCain’s evangelical problem: The group also agreed to sign a letter urging the McCain campaign to consider Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and Southern Baptist minister, as his vice presidential choice, said another participant, Phil Burress. Burress, who heads an Ohio group that helped pass an anti-gay marriage measure in that state in 2004, was among a group of conservative Christian leaders who met with McCain last week. Burress characterized the Huckabee overture as a “suggestion, not a demand.” “This is a man you don’t threaten,” Burress said of McCain. “His principles are his principles. The last thing you want to do is try to force him to do something he

doesn’t want to do because he’d probably do the opposite.” Burress said that while Huckabee is a favorite of Christian conservatives, the most important thing is that McCain’s running mate be “pro-life and pro-family.” Huckabee isn’t a favorite of all evangelical leaders, either; some dislike his populist message, emphasis on the environment and economic positions. What deserves a closer look is the impact of the big social issues — abortion, gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research

— on the evangelical vote. Here is the AP: Although McCain opposes abortion rights, his support for embryonic stem cell research and opposition to a federal amendment prohibiting gay marriage clashes with the widely held social conservative view. Have those issues remained significant enough for evangelicals to avoiding voting (or voting) for McCain regardless of their other issues with him? On the other hand, is the moderate position expressed by

presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama enough to convince evangelical voters that mobilizing against him is not necessary? More over, do these issues remain the most significant issues that will decide the evangelical vote this fall? Ultimately many of these questions will not be answered until after the November elections. But the coverage of this will only get heavier in the meantime. Check out the Los Angeles Times or this Religion News Service piece. Veteran RNS reporter Adelle Banks notes, concerning the recent evangelical politico summit in Denver: The meeting featured conservative Christians from various sectors of evangelicalism, including AfricanAmericans, Hispanics and younger evangelicals. Tim and Beverly LaHaye, the couple known respectively for their roles in the Left Behind book series and Concerned Women for America, were there, as were Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, former Christian Coalition president Don Hodel, and Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, an Ohio organization affiliated with Focus on the Family. But one person who was not invited was one of the movement’s most prominent voices, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, who recently blasted Obama’s politics and his theology, and has previously said he would not vote for McCain. That’s the thing about covering issues like this. When it doubt, find out who is in the room. And who is not. Bookmark to:

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because of an email blurb that the “On Faith” team sent out to promote one of its religious questions that are posted for debate. The question: What do you think about Sally Quinn, a non-Catholic, going to Communion at Tim Russert’s Catholic funeral? What are some do’s and don’ts for observing the religious rituals of others? This was, of course, posted to the weblog’s 100-plus-member panel of religious thinkers and leaders. Thus, we are told: With backgrounds and beliefs spanning a wide range, panelists include Rock musician Salman Ahmad, Arun Gandhi, grandson of “Mahatma” Gandhi, bestselling author Sam Harris, Bishop T.D. Jakes, His Excellency Mohammad Khatami of Iran, Reverend Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, Reverend Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel, Anglican Bishop Nicholas Thomas Wright among others. The assumption is that all of these people have something to say about this issue. I can see that many would, about the question about the “do’s and don’ts for observing the religious rituals of others.” In a general sense, they can talk about their various traditions. But that isn’t the issue here, is it? The question concerns Quinn’s decision to knowingly violate Catholic tradition and law. If she didn’t know that she was violating Catholic tradition and law, then that raises another set of journalistic questions. What do all of these panelists have to do with the question at the heart of the controversy? If Quinn had chosen to visit a synagogue and break Jewish traditions, the relevant discussion would involve Jews in various traditions. If she had decided to visit a mosque and do something totally contrary to Islamic SIGH page 32



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‘No’ gets no religion coverage
By dpulliam
Submitted at 7/8/2008 12:56:26 PM

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law and custom, the relevant discussion would be among Muslims. The goal would be to explore the facts of that tradition and the differing ways — perhaps — that these facts are interpreted by experts and believers in that tradition. Rest assured that there would be a debate between American Catholics on the left and right on the Communion issue at hand, between progressives and the pro-Vatican traditionalists. Meanwhile, we get all kinds of views on Quinn’s act from all kinds of people, including some Catholics. But the emphasis is on the people outside the Catholic fold, with Quinn. It is not surprising that many take her side. For example, here is the trailblazing postmodern evangelical “emergent” thinker Brian D. McLaren, who even manages to jump inside the mind of Russert as he argues that traditional Catholics are bad Christian evangelists, because they want to maintain centuries of law and tradition: Tim Russert, it was clear, lived in this dynamic tension, and created this kind of space for his friends. He was a deeply committed Catholic who welcomed into his circle of friendship people who did not share — or even begin to understand — his commitment. My guess is that Tim would not have joined with those who took offense, interpreted her choice with a “hermeneutic of suspicion,” and who blasted Sally for taking part in communion. Instead, I think that Tim would have interpreted her choice with a “hermeneutic of grace,” seeing in her action — which strictly speaking, did violate Catholic protocols — as a step of faith, and not as an act of disrespect for his religion. All priests and pastors and parishioners, it seems to me, face similar situations, and we all have four options: A. To show this “hermeneutic of grace” in neither our personal lives nor in our church lives. B. To show it in our personal lives but not our communal lives. C. To show it in our communal but not our personal lives. D. To show it in both. Protocols? In other words, if a Catholic pope, bishop or priest does not offer nonbelievers Holy Communion, then they are not gracefully taking part in their search for God, truth, etc. They are turning seekers away and, well, bad on them for doing that. Forget centuries of converts, martyrs and everyone else. But I am straying from the subject. The bottom line: What does this have to do with the journalistic questions being raised? McLaren is a Protestant’s Protestant, although that statement will anger many Protestants. He is free to do whatever he wants in his church. The question is whether he would want, let’s say, some hardshell fundamentalists coming into his services and taking actions that directly oppose the teachings of his church. In other words, McLaren makes the rules or anti-rules in his own church, correct? If you are writing about his church, the important thing is to know and understand the teachings and traditions in the context of his flock. You would want to show his congregation respect, by “getting things right” when covering them. That’s journalism. What do feelings and emotions have to do with this, in the context of a journalistic enterprise? There are facts linked to this discussion. Right? Or, is the question of whether there are facts or truth claims about Catholic sacraments what is actually in dispute? Is it a newspaper’s job to tell the Catholic Church what is and what is not good Catholicism? Is it the newspaper’s duty to call for doctrinal change? Would Quinn do that for other world religions? Questions and more questions. More fog, instead of information. What we need here is journalism. Bookmark to:

In the many news articles on the death of former North Carolina Republican Senator Jesse Helms, little is said outright of the social conservative politician’s religious faith. There are certainly hints of it, but even in the Baptist senator’s home state newspapers, most reporters failed to mention anything of note regarding religion. Over the weekend, I conducted a rather informal survey of the state’s major newspapers and will include in this post links to most of the news articles I found. Please forgive me if I missed an article or a newspaper’s coverage somewhere. I will certainly note my oversight if that is the case. In The Charlotte Observer, the largest newspaper in terms of circulation in North and South Carolina, an article on Helms’ roots notes his Baptist upbringing, but nothing is said about how this impacted his youth or his later views: Helms was born in October 1921, son of Ethel Mae and Jesse Sr. — whom he admiringly would refer to as the “real Jesse Helms.” His mother was active at First Baptist Church, which Helms attended. “Everybody was poor, but nobody realized it,” McLeod said. “Everybody went to church on Sunday morning. The environment had as much to do with him as anything.” Jesse Sr. was Monroe’s fire chief — and for a short while police chief — and among the son’s strongest memories was his father’s generosity. Jesse Jr. sometimes woke to his mother making breakfast for hobos that Jesse Sr. had rounded up and offered a place to sleep for the night. Much is said of the senator’s steadfast beliefs, but little is said of those beliefs’ source or origin. The simple question that remains unanswered is how did Helms’ Baptist faith impact his political career and politics? For some insight, check out the blog“The Big Daddy Weave,” which reports that Helms’ funeral was held at “a decidedly

moderate Baptist congregation.” It’s quite interesting that a true political fundamentalist/purist like Helms known best for his utter disdain for “liberals” and his inability to “agree to disagree” chose to remain a faithful member of a moderate Baptist church that understands quite well the importance of “agreeing to disagree” and supports with its time and money organizations that have been characterized by many (if not most) of his fellow conservative cohorts from the Christian Right as liberal at best and not-Christian at worst! Quite interesting indeed. As a commenter on the blog notes, perhaps Helms’ personal faith was more complicated than reporters are telling us and/or perhaps moderate Baptists are more diverse than people generally assume. The Asheville Citizen-Times is unfortunately vague about the senator’s faith, although a book reference about Helmes suggests that at least someone has commented on the role of religion in his life. Helms is famously known for the“Hands” campaign ad televised during his 1992 race against Harvey Gantt, an African-American and former mayor of Charlotte. The TV spot show a pair of white hands crumpling a piece of paper that indicated the man’s job had gone to a

person of color. He staked out his position on race and civil rights early in his career, when fiveminute Viewpoint” editorials on WRAL-TV made him well known throughout eastern North Carolina. In his book “ Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism,” University of Florida history professor William Link said Helms used “Viewpoint” as a soapbox against what he considered as an intrusive federal government bent on racial equality. Helms considered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to be a blow to states’ rights, Link wrote. What exactly was “righteous” about the senator’s wars? Also, at the very end of the article, the reporter cites a series of individuals praising Helms. In addition to quoting career politicians and the president of the Jesse Helms Center Foundation, the article quotes two evangelists praising Helms: North Carolina residents Billy and Franklin Graham. The News & Observer, which is based in based in Raleigh, N.C., points out that Helms was key in making Southern states a Republican stronghold that exists even to this day. Part of this involved bringing together “social conservatives” that helped elect President Reagan, but is “social conservatives all we get to define this movement? Much is also made in nearly every story about Helms’ support, late in his career, for funding AIDS relief in Africa. Apparently Bono played a role in convincing Helms that saving people’s lives was a cause worth his time. Was the role of religion discussed at all in that conversation? There’s a deeper story here that North Carolina newspapers are not covering about the role of faith in the life of Senator Helms. Hopefully someone has told it and I’ve overlooked the article, or it will be written soon. Bookmark to:

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Troubles with Templeton obits
By Mark Stricherz
Submitted at 7/10/2008 9:47:51 PM

By most any measure, the late Sir John Templeton was a remarkable man. He was a pioneer in not one but two fields: investing in stocks and donating money to explore the intersection of science and religion. After Templeton died Tuesday, his obituaries were quite detailed and informative about one of those fields. You can guess which one his obituaries didn’t fare so well. Religion News Service’s obituary was not objectionable. It just wasn’t insightful. Reporters Daniel Burke and Benedict Cipolla noted, appropriately, that Templeton grew up in a town not far away from the Scopes Monkey Trial occurred, a big influence on his outlook. Yet their religious analysis was only skin deep. Take this passage about the intellectual projects that Templeton funded: High-profile initiatives have included a study on the healing benefits of prayer, overseen by a researcher from Harvard Medical School; an investigation into the development of purpose among young people; the Stanford Forgiveness Project; and the Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year award through the Religion Newswriters Association. In February, the Templeton Foundation announced that it will donate $4 million to researchers at Oxford University to investigate the origins of belief in God. While some critics questioned the subjects and methods of Templeton-funded projects, even skeptics acknowledged the caliber of many of the studies, and several grantees praised Templeton for his handsoff manner. Surely this last paragraph needs an extra sentence or two of explanation; as I will note later, two publications asserted that actually the caliber of the studies was questionable. To get their point across, Burke and Cipolla should have found out what made Templeton’s projects distinctive or not. A quote from an expert

or academic would have been helpful. This quote from Templeton, too, cried out for explanation: “I formed charity foundations. . . so that, within a century, humans will know a hundred times more about divinity and spiritual principles as any human has known to date,” Templeton said in 2003. Templeton presumably is referring to the masses, not spiritual leaders. But come on. Templeton is making a bold claim: that his charity foundations, and others like them no doubt, will reveal divinity and spiritual principles. A quote from a scholar or Templeton aide would have been helpful to readers. At least RNS’ story was critical and fairminded. Scientific American’s obituary was one sided and sneering. According to reporter JR Minkel, Templeton was a wellmeaning but naive old man. Consider the obit’s final few paragraphs: Critics charged that by attempting to reconcile what the late evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould referred to as the “nonoverlapping magisteria” of science and religion, Templeton was twisting scientific concepts in religion’s name. “This is a sad event, since from all I’ve heard from those who met him, he was a

very nice fellow,” biologist P. Z. Myers, a fierce opponent of creationism, wrote on his blog, Pharyngula. “It’s just too bad that he threw so much money away into a fruitless and pointless endeavor that does nothing but prop up belief in unreality.” Others supported Templeton’s work. He was knighted in 1987 by Queen Elizabeth II for his philanthropy. While Queen Elizabeth is better known than P.Z. Myers, the contrast is not fair toward Templeton. Myer’s quote is pointed and polemical. The Queen is not quoted, nor are any supporters of Templeton. Were no Templeton Prize winners available? The Los Angeles Times’ obituary had a different problem. It made an outright bizarre statement about the Templeton Foundation’s projects: . . . the Templeton charities have engendered controversy over the years for their support of research into such topics as character development, forgiveness, free enterprise and the role of prayer in medical healing. Detractors have argued that the grants back flimsy science aimed at promoting religion and right-wing causes. The online magazine Slate called Templeton “a conservative sugar daddy” whose ultimate goal was “the reunification of science and religion.” How topics such as character development and forgiveness are controversial is never broached. I realize that numerous post-Enlightenment philosophies deny free will, as do some Christian ones. But unless I am wildly off base, a typical LAT reader would wonder why character development and forgiveness, or even prayer, meet intellectual resistance. Don’t get me wrong. Maybe Templeton’s awards and prizes were hokum, although I doubt it given the roster of its past winners. But these obituaries needed to explain why it was so. Bookmark to:

‘Take, eat; this is My body’
By Mollie
Submitted at 7/9/2008 4:55:37 PM

It seems that if reporters don’t know much else about Roman Catholics, they should know something of what they believe about the Eucharist. Catholic belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist has various supporting dogmas, including Transubstantiation and the Permanence of Presence and the Adorableness of the Eucharist. But apparently the Catholic belief that the wafer and wine of Holy Communion become the body and blood of Christ and should be treated as such is unknown to reporters. Take this story from FoxNews.com. I’m actually going to begin with its closing paragraph: The UCF student leader said he stole the communion bread, known by Catholics as

the Eucharist and believed to symbolize the body of Christ, to show to his nonCatholic friend. “Symbolize” the body of Christ? No. And what a rookie error. Anyway, the rest of the story is horrific as well: College Student Gets Death Threats for Smuggling ‘Body of Christ’ A student at the University of Central Florida claims his life — and afterlife — were threatened by enraged Catholics after he pocketed “the body of Christ” during a church ceremony, according to a report on myfoxorlando.com. Webster Cook says he received death threats and eternal damnation after he removed a wafer of bread from his mouth during communion and smuggled it from the church in a Ziploc bag. ‘TAKE, page 34



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Feeling blue about abortion coverage
By Mark Stricherz
Submitted at 7/9/2008 2:04:37 AM

‘TAKE,page 33 continued from
1973 decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton federal law in the event that those decisions are overturned. Greenburg implied that Obama’ s statements are at odds with the high courts’ decision in Doe, the companion case to Roe: I’d like to hear how Obama can continue to support the federal Freedom of Choice Act, which contains a broad mental health exception by specifically referring to the 1973 Supreme Court case that demands that any abortion ban contain an exception based on “all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age. . . all these factors may relate to health.” A fair-minded critic should not be too tough on either reporter. AP reporters have arguably the toughest job in journalism, as their stories not only have to be accurate but also fast. The Post’s Weisman was writing a wrap-up story not an examination of Obama’s stand on individual social issues and religion. Yet both the AP and the Post’s stories were more conclusory than factual. It’s good that the stories attempted to link Obama’s position with religious voters. But it’d be better if the articles were accurate. (Photo by user Carf used under a Creative Commons license). Bookmark to: Though Cook returned the wafer one week after the theft, outraged Catholics were unforgiving, according to WFTV.com. “We don’t know 100 percent what Mr. Cook’s motivation was,” Susan Fani, a spokeswoman with the local Catholic diocese, told myfoxorlando.com. “However, if anything were to qualify as a hate crime, to us this seems like this might be it.” If the headline alleges that death threats were made, the story better cite those death threats — not unsubstantiated claims of death threats. More than that, though, what a hysterical way to treat this serious subject. The actual story is that a student government leader — angry over funding to religious groups on campus — pocketed the host and broadcast that fact to the campus. That fact is missing from this story. A few other things — rather than using square quotes around “body of Christ,” the reporter should just calmly explain Catholics believe the body of Christ is received in the Eucharist. Did Webster Cook really say he received eternal damnation or did the reporter mean to say that anonymous, unnamed people said his eternal life was in jeopardy? The whole story is so amateur that it’s not really

Several days ago, two MSM reporters described Barack Obama as a centrist on the abortion issue, or at least wrote that his position differed from that of liberal prochoice activists. Their news hook was an interview that Obama gave to a magazine aimed at young evangelicals. For The Washington Post, reporter Jonathan Weisman characterized Obama’s comments this way: Last week, Obama expressly came out against using “mental distress” as a justification for late-term abortions, a position widely seen as the latest in a string of moves toward the political center but one aimed specifically at Christian conservatives. “Historically, I have been a strong believer in a woman’s right to choose, with her doctor, her pastor, her family,” he said Saturday. “And I’ve been consistent in saying you have to have a health exception on any significant restrictions or bans on abortions, including late-term abortions. “It can be defined by physical health. It can be defined by serious clinical mental health diseases,” he continued. But “it’s not just a matter of feeling blue.” Such statements may run the risk of alienating Obama’s liberal activist

supporters. For the Associated Press, reporter Jim Kuhnhenn characterized Obama’s remarks this way: The health care exception is crucial to abortion rights advocates and is considered a legal loophole by abortion opponents. By limiting the health exception to a “serious physical issue,” Obama set himself apart from other abortion rights proponents. Both reporters jumped the gun. Instead

of drawing political conclusions, they should have given readers accurate facts. Which is what bloggers, as well as the Baptist Press, have been doing since the stories came out: showing that Obama’s statements were misleading and incompatible with his previous record. Over at ABC News, Supreme Court reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg noted that Obama supports the Freedom of Choice Act, which would make the court’s

Discussing doctrine
By Mollie
Submitted at 7/9/2008 2:19:21 PM

Unless Mitt Romney gets picked to be John McCain’s VP nominee, the mainstream media may completely forget about that major news story from earlier in the primary season: Mormonism. Without that news hook, most reporters have moved on to different topics — debunking Christianity and shark attacks, or something. But the Salt Lake Tribune is always on the Mormon beat. And I really enjoyed a recent piece by Peggy Fletcher Stack, the paper’s religion reporter. Noting that the president of Fuller Theological Seminary Richard Mouw was calling for more dialogue with the Latter-day Saints, Fletcher Stack explored the possibilities

and barriers to such dialogue: Not all Mormons think Mouw’s proposal is feasible. The difference between Evangelicals and Mormons is more than theological, says Kathleen Flake, who teaches American religious history at Vanderbilt University. It’s also organizational and systematic. Evangelicals are only loosely organized around a set of principles; not least emphasizing the primacy of the Bible over theology, Flake says. Latter-day Saints, on the other hand, “are tightly organized around an enlarged canon of Bible-based narratives. These are loosely employed to express personal conviction of God’s contemporary and revelatory immediacy.” Mouw’s invitation for official, Vatican II -like negotiation makes sense, she says, “only if you think that Evangelicals and

Latter-day Saints have a theology sufficiently systematized to speak definitively. It seems to me that neither

does.” Talking is good, Flake says, “but it’s never going to be official, only academic.” Rather than a boring story about the evangelical proposal and official response from the Latter-day Saints, Fletcher Stack actually takes it to the next level. She shows some of the challenges inherent to dialogue between the two non-systematic beliefs. The rest of the piece looks at conversations between evangelicals such as Muow and Latter-day Saints over the last decade: “They’ve been good discussions,” Mouw said in a phone interview. “We really disagree about things but at the same time, we have gotten to a place where there’s trust between us.” In a 2004 speech before a packed

audience in the Mormon Tabernacle on Temple Square, Mouw chastised his fellow Evangelicals for sinning against Latter-day Saints by misrepresenting their views to others in order to debunk Mormonism. “It’s a terrible thing to bear false witness,” Mouw said. “We’ve told you what you believe without first asking you. . .I remain convinced there are serious issues of difference that are of eternal consequence, but now we can discuss them as friends.” This bit of color is also helpful. So often we see the mainstream media work from the notion that dialogue can only happen between people who are not dogmatic. All in all, Fletcher Stack moves beyond press release journalism to an interesting story. Bookmark to:

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Chuck Colson, Renaissance man
By Mollie
Submitted at 7/10/2008 3:10:26 PM

Sir John Templeton, the wildly-successful mutual-fund manager who pioneered international investing died Tuesday at the age of 95. He was also well-known for giving away much of his fortune to scientific and religious causes. Mark will be looking at some of the obituaries, which seem amazed by Templeton’s belief that science and faith might be reconciled, in the next day or so. But one had an error we have to point out. Like many other papers, the Telegraph focused a great deal on Templeton’s religious philanthropy. But check out these paragraphs: In 1973 he inaugurated the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, an annual award to remedy the Nobel Foundation’s omission of religion from its prizes. A brilliant publicist, Templeton guaranteed that his prize would always be

worth more than the Nobel, and arranged for the Duke of Edinburgh to present the award at Buckingham Palace, thus ensuring full press coverage. From 1973, when it stood at £70,000, the prize money has risen to £820,000, making

the Templeton Prize one of the world’s largest annual monetary awards. Winners over the years have included Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Alexander Solzhenitzyn, the Reverend Dr Billy Graham, and Charles Colson, the Watergate-burglar-turned-minister. Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Jews also qualified to win the prize. All of which is interesting. Except that Chuck Colson(who, by the way, donated his entire prize to Prison Fellowship) was not a Watergate burglar and is not an ordained minister. Other than that, no problem. The bungling of these descriptors is just sloppy journalism. As for the second of those two mistakes, it makes you wonder if the reporter thinks that all people involved in religious work are clergy ( see James Dobson, etc., etc.). Bookmark to:

‘TAKE,page 34 continued from
worth parsing. How did other media outlets handle the doctrinal issues in this story? Let’s take a look: Here’s Cheryl Getuiza from WOFL: Webster Cook says he smuggled a Eucharist, a small bread wafer that to Catholics symbolic of the Body of Christ after a priest blesses it, out of mass, didn’t eat it as he was supposed to do, but instead walked with it. WFTV: A University of Central Florida student, upset religious groups hold church services on public campuses, is holding hostage the Eucharist, an object so sacred to Catholics they call it the Body of Christ. Ugh. The rest of the WFTV story, however, is much better. Hopefully reporters can learn these basic beliefs about the Eucharist before their next breathless reports. Bookmark to: