Do-It-Yourself Virtual Universities?

Anya Kamentz has written a new book titled DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education.  She gives us a taste of the argument in a piece for TAP: Since 2001, a growing movement — from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, and hundreds of other universities worldwide to insurgent bloggers and […]

ACORN Shuts Down

The controversial grassroots organization that launched Barack Obama’s political career is going out of business. The community organizing group Acorn announced Monday that it would close all its remaining state affiliates and field offices by April 1. The organization is “developing a plan to resolve all outstanding debts, obligations and other issues,” said a statement […]

Jon Stewart: Blogs Must Be Crazy

I’m a bit behind on my “Daily Show” viewing, so hadn’t yet seen this segment where Jon Stewart pokes fun at some blogs for the use of outlandish headlines: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c The Blogs Must Be Crazy Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Health Care […]

Obama Revamps White House Communications

Danny Glover reports on President Obama’s total restructuring of the White House message machine in a piece ominously titled “The Cost of Controlling The Press.” Barack Obama’s White House is spending more than $80,000 a week to staff its old and new media offices. Add the price of speechwriters and the White House communications tab […]

Public and Private

Jeff Jarvis notes that there has been some controversy over Google’s Streetview, which allows people to see videos of what’s going on in the streets, including residential neighborhoods, in an ever-expanding number of locations. In a few countries around the world, we’ve seen a backlash against Google’s Streetview as somehow an invasion of privacy, even […]

Congress Spamming YouTube

Members of Congress are flooding YouTube with scads of amateurish, unwatchable videos, The Telegraph‘s Mark Coleman reports. Two months ago, the website added an official Congress channel, inviting Democrats and Republicans to share quirky political messages with voters.  But analysts say the move has been hampered by politicians’ inability to adapt to an online audience. […]

How to Turn a Cigarette into a Knife

John Nagl’s classic book on counterinsurgency is called Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife. Less insightful, perhaps, but easier to implement is Neil Strauss’ survivalist video, “How to Turn a Cigarette into a Knife.” Via Noah Shachtman, who has an interview with Strauss and several other videos. (Also, one of the most annoying pop-over […]

Stimulus Humor Videos

From Nick Gillespie and the gang at Reason: “If you find it hard to achieve and maintain growth, maybe Stimulis is right for you. Take Stimulis once every election cycle or whenever you’re in need of economic enhancement.” And, from Mary Katharine Hamm (via Fausta Wertz): The Snuggie Stimulus!

Obama – McCain JibJab

The gang at JibJab have released a new animation, Time for Some Campaignin‘: Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today! “Like the change we must change and the change we hold dear. I really like change, have I made myself clear?” is probably the best line. UPDATE:  Newsweek‘s Samantha Henig has an interesting interview with JibJab […]

John McCain’s Message

Daniel Strauss sat through a session at the center-left New America Foundation yesterday and came away with an epiphany about John McCain’s campaign: “It’s what he’s saying, not how he says it.” Jeremy Rosner observed, A lot of people have noted he’s just very incoherently between the right and the center, between offshore drilling and […]

Congress Banning Social Media?

As if to prove Robert Heinlein correct, the House Administration Committee is, apparently with honorable intent, considering effectively banning the use of popular social media sites, including YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook by Members. Soren Dayton couches this in partisan terms: “In typical fashion, House Democrats are trying to pass rules that stifle debate and require […]

John McCain ‘Love’ Ad

John McCain’s latest ad, “Love,” contrasts himself with those dirty hippies who spent the summer of 1968 on sex, drugs, and rock and roll rather than being tortured for their country. The voiceover: It was a time of uncertainty, hope and change. The “Summer Of Love.” Half a world away, another kind of love — […]

Google Shuts Down Anti-Obama Blogs

Some Obama supporters are apparently taking advantage of Google’s terms of service to silence anti-Obama blogs, Simon Owens of Bloggasm reports. The company automatically shuts down sites upon receipt of TOS violation claims until they’re able to do a human audit, a rather slow process with given little priority on the free BlogSpot service. After […]

Nationalize The Oil Industry?

Though I’m not that fond of the Democrats on most economic matters, I don’t think they are socialists (what they are would involve a much longer discussion). The idiocy of socialism and national ownership of industry is apparent to most thinking people. Nevertheless, my first reaction to tripe like this is alarm: Link: Once […]

Online Life Rewiring Our Brains

The cover story of the current Atlantic (Monthly) is an interesting piece by Nicholas Carr which asks, Is Google Making Us Stupid? It begins with the standard “the Internet is giving us short attention spans” meme but eventually gives us much more than that. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that […]

Obama Quits Trinity United Church of Christ

CNN has issued a Breaking News alert: “Barack Obama has resigned as a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, his campaign says.” The story itself is on their Political Ticker blog: Barack Obama resigned Saturday from his Chicago church — where controversial sermons by his former pastor and other ministers had […]

Rachael Ray, Donut Terrorist

Dunkin’ Donuts has pulled an ad spot featuring Rachael Ray wearing a scarf around her neck because some thought it was a subtle nod of support to Palestinians. Does Dunkin’ Donuts really think its customers could mistake Rachael Ray for a terrorist sympathizer? The Canton-based company has abruptly canceled an ad in which the domestic […]

If Wright Were White

Leonce Gaiter believes that ,”If Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his former disciple, Barack Obama were white, this would not be a story.” He contends that, “White pastors have been spewing hateful bile and filth for generations. But it’s white bile, and that makes all the difference.” Ezra Klein disagrees slightly, arguing, “Americans recoil from the […]

Swift Boating Obama?

Andrew Sullivan has declared that the “Swift-Boating” of Barack Obama has begun, noting that both Republican operatives and Clinton supporters are piling on over the Jeremiah Wright scandal. He cites a report by The Politico‘s Jonathan Martin that, “A YouTube video mash-up that attacks Barack Obama on issues relating to his patriotism that has rocketed […]

Wright Videos and Timing

Stacy McCain questions the timing: “Is it coincidental that Jeremiah Wright’s racially provocative rants made national news in the run-up to the key primary in Pennsylvania, a state with a population that’s 86% white?” He doesn’t have any evidence but he sees the fingerprints of Hillary Clinton on both the turtle and the fencepost. I’m […]

American Elections Like American Idol

John Cole offers example of bottom-up* YouTube videos for the Clinton and Obama campaigns that have gone viral and quips, “Someone is lucky elections don’t work like American Idol.” He’s got an open thread on the subject but my initial response was, They don’t? Turns out that there are two posts in the OTB archives, […]

Time on Hillary’s Side? Or Obama’s?

Two reports highlighted at memeorandum give opposite views on what impact the six week lull between the Mississippi and Pennsylvania primaries will have on the Democratic race. ABC’s Rich Klein argues that it will benefit Hillary Clinton in a piece headlined “Time on Her Side: Obama Maintains Lead, but Clinton Might Have the Edge.” “When […]

The Many Faces of Hillary Clinton

Danny Glover marvels at Hillary Clinton’s adaptability. Hillary Clinton adopts a new persona for every setting. She is alternately a lover, a fighter, a mocker, a whiner and a crier as she competes with Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. Whatever it takes! As I recall, the same was true of Bill Clinton in […]

12 Year Old Taliban Boy Beheads Man on Video

A few years back, the horrific videos of Islamic terrorists sawing off the heads of kidnapped hostages on video had the Internet abuzz. Eventually, though, the tactic lost its shock value and it seemed to backfire, causing disgust among the Muslim populations who had otherwise been sympathetic to the Islamist cause. Indeed, there were so […]

Republican Diaz-Balart Disrupts Lantos Memorial

Silliness in Congress has morphed into ugliness, including a disruption of the memorial service for recently passed colleague Tom Lantos, NBC’s Mike Viqueira reports. Republicans are outraged. Democrats are putting forward a resolution holding White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers in contempt of Congress. House GOP rank-and-file […]

Confederate Flag Flies in South Carolina Primary

The Civil War might have ended 143 years ago but the Confederate battle flag refuses to die as a political issue. The Republican presidential candidates on Thursday moved to appeal to different types of conservative voters before the South Carolina primary, with Mike Huckabee using colorful language to declare the Confederate flag a states’ rights […]

McCain’s Promise to Cut Medicare Premiums

In reading McCain’s position on taxes I came across this little gem, Lower Medicare Premiums: Seniors face a growing threat from higher Medicare premiums that tax away their Social Security and retirement savings. John McCain has proposed comprehensive, pro-market health care and Medicare reforms to reduce health care costs and control increases in premiums — […]

Fred Thompson Wakes Up for South Carolina Debate

Fred Thompson showed up at last night’s presidential debate enthusiastic, prepared, and seeming to care. If this keeps up, George Mitchell might need to investigate him for use of performance enhancing substances. […] Mr. Thompson leavened his responses with the kind of one-liners that many supporters had hoped he would use sooner. Asked about the […]

Hillary Clinton ‘Iron My Shirt’ Stunt

TownHall‘s Mary Katharine Ham seems to have broken the news last night about a bizarre stunt at a Hillary Clinton rally yesterday evening. 7:26 PM – Two protestors just stood up in the audience holding orange signs that read “IRON MY SHIRT,” and chanted “Iron my shirt, Iron my shirt” for a few seconds until […]

Keystone Kops Terror Plots

Bernard Finel, noting the recent string of highly touted terror plot arrests that have ultimately proven to be the work of crazies rather than genuine terrorists, wonders, “Where are the real terror plots?” At some point, you’d figure we’d bust open a ring where there is actually hard evidence of wrong-doing. Where are the weapons […]

Romney’s Mormon Hurdle

Mitt Romney’s efforts to have it both ways on his Mormonism continue to spark rather bizarre theological discussions, such as the most recent kerfuffle over LDS teaching that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers. Or the rantings of Lawrence O’Donnell that were so over-the-top as to have Eleanor Clift calling them shrill. Regardless, though, Duncan Black […]

CIA Destroyed Subpoenaed Torture Tapes they Denied Existed While Congress Stood By

The CIA destroyed at least two tapes of its operatives using “severe interrogation techniques” to obtain information from suspected terrorists, Mark Mazetti reports for the NYT. Both the 9/11 Commission and attorneys for Zacarias Moussaoui had specifically requested any such evidence and Agency officials had previously denied, under oath, that any such tapes ever existed. […]

YouTube Debates – How Different?

Tomorrow night at 8 Eastern, CNN will air the Republican version of the much-touted YouTube debates, wherein video questions submitted by “regular people” are played and answered by candidates. USA Today‘s Mark Memmott and Jill Lawrence have a take very similar to the one I expressed last July after the Democratic debates: That, these YouTube […]

Mitt Romney ‘Five Brothers’ Video

I gather this Mitt Romney parody video has been making the rounds but this is the first I’ve seen it: Classic. For background, see Romney Sons Join Campaign, Not Army. via Soren Dayton

O’Reilly: Blacks Order Tea without Cursing!

Bill O’Reilly made some, um, interesting comments on his radio show Wednesday that have sparked some controversy in the blogosphere after being highlighted by Media Matters. Here, in context, is what he said. All emphases from the Media Matters transcript: O”REILLY: Now, how do we get to this point? Black people in this country understand […]

Luciano Pavarotti Dead at 71

Opera great Luciano Pavarotti has died after a long bout with cancer. Luciano Pavarotti, opera’s biggest superstar of the late 20th century, died Thursday. He was 71. He was the son of a singing baker and became the king of the high C’s. Pavarotti, who had been diagnosed last year with pancreatic cancer and underwent […]

Content King Online, Not Search or Commerce

A new survey finds that, “over the past four years, the primary role of the Internet has shifted from communications to content.” Pam Horan, president of survey sponsor Online Publishers Association, says, “[The Internet now handles] traditionally offline activities, such as getting news, finding entertainment information or checking the weather.” It’s strange to me that […]

Why Do Conservatives (and Liberals) Hate America?

Kathleen Parker begins her latest column, “The Pornification of Politics,” thusly: If our enemies don’t hate us, it’s an oversight. The confluence of the worst of modern American trends — national narcissism, the sexualization of all things animate and otherwise, and the devaluing of currencies from literature to public discourse — has reached a perfect […]

New Osama Video Contains Old Tape

A previously unseen video featuring Osama bin Laden has renewed speculation as to whether the al Qaeda leader is still alive and running the show. CNN: Osama bin Laden stresses the importance of martyrdom for Muslim causes in a videotape that purportedly contains a 50-second message from the al Qaeda leader. The 40-minute videotape, whose […]

Ron Paul Tops John McCain in Cash on Hand

Ron Paul reports $2.4 million in cash remaining in his campaign coffers, compared to just $2 million for John McCain. George Stephanopoulos apparently broke the story: Though often regarded as a longshot candidate for president, Republican Ron Paul tells ABC News that he has an impressive $2.4 million in cash on hand after raising an […]

Dark Forces Behind Internet Videos

Mary Lu Carnevale, the blogger for the WSJ’s Washington Wire, has broken the lid open on a scandal that threatens to upend the blogosphere: Hot Air Network’s Web ad … urged “conservatives fed up with Republican scheming on this bill, [to] do something about it. If you gave to the party in the past year, […]

Homemade Porn Killing Adult Film Industry

ABC’s Marcus Baram reports, After two decades of phenomenal growth in profits, the porn industry is facing some major challenges as its X-rated DVDs and Internet content lose out to free videos and photos distributed by amateurs on the Web. Sales and rentals of adult DVDs fell 30 percent in the last two years and […]

Presidential Campaigns, Web 2.0, and Online Censorship

The use of online social networks like YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace has accelerated the pace of the 2008 presidential campaign. The Politico‘s Ben Smith warns that this comes at a price: the ability of network owners and others to censor political speech. He notes controversies over the removal of Michelle Malkin videos, the John McCain […]

Fort Dix Terrorist Plot

A terrorist plot on Fort Dix has been thwarted, AP reports. Six men were planning to attack the Fort Dix Army base and “kill as many soldiers as possible,” federal authorities said Tuesday. The men, Yugoslav nationals, were arrested early Tuesday, said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the United States Attorney’s Office in New Jersey. […]

1st Republican Debate of 2008 – Video, Transcripts, Reax

I caught perhaps half an hour of last night’s so-called debate between Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and eight other guys. I don’t feel deprived at not having seen the rest. The format was awful and the not unreasonable decision to include people whose candidacy has no shot (Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul, at a minimum) […]

Beatles for iTunes

It’s looking like the Beatles catalog will finally be available for legal download. Record company EMI Group PLC said Sunday it planned to unveil “an exciting new digital offering” with computer company Apple Inc., raising expectations that The Beatles’ music catalog is about to be made available through Apple’s iTunes online music store. EMI said […]

Media Research Center DisHonors Awards

Last evening, I attended the Media Research Center’s 20th Anniversary Gala as a guest of Matt Sheffield of MRC’s Newsbusters blog. While the festivities went late into the evening, thanks to not starting the presentation until after everyone had finished dessert and a rather rambling performance by substitute presenter Mary Matalin, it was quite fun. […]

YouTube the Craig’s List of Local Television?

Jeff Jarvis reflects on a reader’s observation that the advent of viral online videos at YouTube and elsewhere may have the same impact on the bottom lines of local television affiliates as Craig’s List did for local newspapers. It’s an interesting point and one I think has some merit.

Iran’s British Captives: The Briar Patch

My initial reaction to the news that a group of British sailors and marines had been seized by the Iranians—that it was a case of the actions of an overzealous ship’s captain being exploited for domestic political gain by the Iranian regime—is becoming less and less supportable. Austin Bay’s observation Britain says it has definitive […]

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