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Casey Johnson Found Dead At 30

January 5th, 2010 admin No comments

Casey Johnson, troubled heiress to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, was found dead in Los Angeles Monday morning at the age of 30. She was the daughter of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson.

Johnson had made headlines of late, including her arrest for grand theft and her “engagement” to Tila Tequila.

Av avid user of Twitter, Casey’s last message from December 29th read “sweet dreams everyone… I’m getting a new car.. Any ideas? cant b a two seater cause we have a daughter…sedan, sports car, suv??”

Ms. Tequila tweets: “Everyone please pray 4 my Wifey Casey Johnson. She has passed away. Thank u for all ur love and support but I will be offline to be w family”


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Popbox v1.0 hardware specs and content partners revealed

January 5th, 2010 admin No comments

We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get our hands on the Popbox, son of Popcorn Hour C-200, but in the meantime we’ll chew on this healthy list of specs and content providers to imagine what the future of media streamers has to offer. Netflix and 1080p have already been mentioned, but the lists reveal that even as a a slimmed down and more affordable option than the box it replaces, it still has the file and codec compatibility fans have come to expect. We’ll soon see if this combo of wide appeal online services like Twitter and MLB.tv, existing media streamer framework, a greatly improved UI (able to pull down IMDB info for appropriately tagged content) and Popapp Center — openly courting developers to take advantage of the SDK since this box was codenamed DAVID — is a winner.

Gallery: Syabas Popbox

Continue reading Popbox v1.0 hardware specs and content partners revealed

Popbox v1.0 hardware specs and content partners revealed originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 04 Jan 2010 17:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Can Democrats Be Saved By Their Opposition?

January 4th, 2010 admin No comments

Make no mistake: the essay you are about to read is not one that is awash in optimism.

There are no shortage of signs that 2010 could be a deeply perilous year for the Democratic Party:

  1. The ghosts of cycles past is certainly going to visit the Democrats with no small amount of woe to follow. It is, in the recent political past, decidedly rare for a political party to have two “wave elections” in a row. Yet that is exactly what the Democrats have enjoyed in both 2006 and 2008, when they gained over a dozen Senate seats and over 50 House seats. This creates two dangerous dynamics for the Democrats: (a) there is precious little low-hanging fruit left for the Democrats to harvest and (b) there are plenty of potentially imperiled Democrats who owe their seats to the favorable electoral climates to which they were elected.
  1. Whereas Democrats benefitted politically from voter discontent in both 2006 and 2008, any lingering voter anger (and recent right track/wrong track polling data confirms it is still very much out there) is likely to get directed disproportionately to the party-in-power. Of course, this is a fluid statistic, and voter malaise in January could become relative contentedness by November, depending on the state of the economy and any legislative accomplishments that can be touted between then and now.
  1. Perhaps the biggest concern for Democrats has to be the sizeable gap between the two parties in terms of voter motivation as we head into 2010. It should give the Democratic Party tremendous pause that, according to the final Daily Kos “State of the Nation” tracking poll, 45% of Democrats identify themselves as either unlikely to vote or certain not to vote. For the Democrats to avoid a major defeat in 2010, this above all other things needs to be rectified.

Democrats, all that having been said, do have a unique weapon at their disposal which might limit their losses in 2010. And it is not the traditional advantages of money, or superior recruits, or even an advantage in open seats (although, despite the hype over Democrats “fleeing” from Congress, the two parties are both defending roughly an equal number of open seats).

Their unique weapon? The Republican Party.

It has gone largely underreported in the traditional press, but the ascendancy of the “tea party” movement brings with it enormous electoral peril for the Republican Party, and carries with it the potential to blunt potential gains for the GOP in what otherwise might have been a very lucrative 2010 election cycle.

The typical trad-med coverage of the “tea party” goings-on have reflected on the ascendancy of the movement and the implications for the Obama administration and their political initiatives. Lost in the coverage was the implications for the Republican Party, save for a brief moment of reflection on that subject in the wake of the electoral outcome in New York’s 23rd district (although even that got buried underneath the tortured attempts to pin the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial results on the Obama administration).

It is mystifying that a simple Google News search of the term “Democrats Divided” yields significantly more results than the term “Republicans Divided” (1060 to 794, for those scoring at home). After all, while it was given scant coverage in the larger narrative of the 2009 election cycle, the odyssey that was the New York 23rd special election might have been the most instructive in understanding the political dynamics of the 2010 electoral cycle.

In retrospect, there were several aspects of the Owens-Scozzafava-Hoffman contest that were extraordinary. It was not just the discontent of the activist Right over the decision to nominate Scozzafava, who like many Northeastern Republicans was not doctrinal on social issues. That, to some extent, was to be expected.

What made the betrayal of DeDe Scozzafava so extraordinary was the reaction of the “official” GOP to the events as they transpired. In short, the reaction was so scattershot that it bordered on the comical.

In one hand, the Republican party funded the Scozzafava candidacy with independent expenditures that may well have topped a million dollars. In the other hand was the steadily increasing number of Republican “regulars” eager to embrace the third-party insurgent conservative, Doug Hoffman. It culminated in the campaign’s final week, when no less a Republican figure than national party chairman Michael Steele essentially abandoned his own nominee, saying that a Hoffman victory would be just fine by him, since Hoffman, too, was a registered Republican.

This is a microcosm of the problem confronting the GOP. They want to harness the potential political energy and power of the “tea party” movement. But they are very wary of ceding their party to that movement. Thus, the often absurd dance of the Republican Party, which in one breath embraces the teabaggers while in the next breath endeavoring hard to keep them at arms length.

Nowhere has this dance been more evident than in one Newt Gingrich. Back in October, he endorsed DeDe Scozzafava, and then pushed back hard when the usual suspects on the right criticized him for embracing a “RINO”:

My number one interest is to build a Republican majority. If your interest is taking power back from the Left, and your interest is winning the necessary elections, then there are times when you have to put together a coalition that has disagreement within it.

We have to decide which business we are in. If we are in the business about feeling good about ourselves while our country gets crushed then I probably made the wrong decision.

Of course, that was then. This is now, in the form of a Newt Gingrich tweet from Saturday:

Every American who is not corrupted by the secular-socialist left should join the Tea Party movement.

Another dilemma for the GOP is that this schism is, in no small part, an inside job. Some of the most vocal proponents of the Republican Party have elected to make themselves leaders of the insurgency.

In some cases, this has come from the realm of the conservative media, where voices like Laura Ingraham are using their fairly vast platform to extol insurgent candidates against candidates that were recruited, in no small part by the GOP. In just the past month, Ingraham has used her show to tout insurgent primary challenges to party-anointed 2010 candidates like Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte and VA-05 House frontrunner Rob Hurt.

In other cases, the push for insurgency has come from within their elected ranks. No one has pushed that envelope further than right-wing U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, who has made it his quest to dramatically reshape the Senate by endorsing and fundraising for insurgent right-wing candidates from coast-to-coast. As James Rosen at McClatchy News Service wrote last month:

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint is using his rising national profile among conservative activists to support and bankroll Republican Senate candidates around the country, some of them underdogs challenging GOP establishment favorites.

DeMint’s endorsements of former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio over Gov. Charlie Crist and California state Rep. Chuck DeVore over former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina put him at odds with other prominent Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and fellow South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

This movement by DeMint has to rankle Republicans eager to make gains in the Senate. If a sitting Senator like DeMint says that people like Carly Fiorina and Charlie Crist are insufficently conservative to become U.S. Senators, then what can be said about some of the NRSC’s top recruits? Certainly Mike Castle in Delaware, and Rob Simmons in Connecticut (try as he might to embarrassingly he tries  to ingratiate himself to the teabaggers) would not meet the Jim DeMint purity test.

And therein lies a monstrous dilemma for the GOP, one which could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Do they risk dimming the fire of the insurgents by sticking with their anointed “mainstream” candidates? Or do they embrace the insurgents, and wind up anointing unelectable candidates in winnable races (see: Hoffman, Doug)?

Worse yet, does their dithering on the issue actually inspire a spate of conservative third-party challengers, as has already happened in several races?

Any political analyst who does not factor the GOP/teabagger relationship into their electoral calculus may well be missing a potentially pivotal piece of the campaign puzzle.


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Palm’s Jon Rubinstein named a ‘Geek of the Year’

January 4th, 2010 admin No comments

Just to clarify right out of the gate, the “year” Fast Company is referring to is 2009, but nonetheless, it’s an award we’re sure Jon is happy to have. 11 geeks were found worthy of the “Geek of the Year” award in ‘09, with the likes of Evan Williams and Biz Stone (Twitter), David S. Goyer (the creator of Flash Forward on ABC), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Neill Blomkamp (the writer of District 9) joining him. The justification for Jon making the cut?

“He came on board as the new chairman of Palm and brought about the Web OS and the Palm Pre, the start of a line of products that is the best hope for reintroducing the geek masses to Palm.”

After speaking with him on our first-ever Engadget Show and falling head over heels in love with webOS, we can’t help but agree. And yes, after last year’s introduction at CES, it’s all we can do to contain our excitement for this Thursday.

Palm’s Jon Rubinstein named a ‘Geek of the Year’ originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 03 Jan 2010 13:06:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jonathan Handel: Cat Fight in the Fox’s Den

January 2nd, 2010 admin No comments

Until moments ago (mid-day Jan. 1), when a deal was reached, Fox was threatening to black out its channels, most notably Fox broadcast, from Time Warner Cable (TWC) unless TWC anted up a subscriber fee of reportedly $1 per subscriber per month. Historically, cable networks such as HBO, Showtime, AMC, etc. got those fees, but broadcast networks didn’t. They need them now, with ad revenue shrinking, and customers departing networks in favor of cable channels — a multi-decade trend — and, more recently, video games, Internet TV sites such as Hulu, unauthorized (pirated) content, and user-generated content such as on YouTube.

Broadcast networks have started to get paid — CBS, for instance, reportedly gets up to $0.50. TWC apparently offered Fox only $0.30, but the terms of the deal they reached are undisclosed and most likely higher. Even though Fox ultimately didn’t pull the plug, it took the intervention of Senator John Kerry to keep football and “American Idol” from going dark on TWC. That’s not the sort of attention a media company wants. So why didn’t TWC just ante up the $1 and pass on the cost to consumers?

The answer is that MSO’s (cable cos. like TWC) are afraid that if they keep raising cable prices, they’ll drive more consumers to satellite or induce them to drop cable and just watch TV on the Internet. That is, instead of buying an Internet+cable bundle from Time Warner Cable, the customer might just drop the cable portion and buy Internet only.

Even worse for TWC: If customers opt for Internet only, some will be peeled away by telephone+Internet or cellular+Internet bundles from ATT or Verizon, causing TWC to lose the customer altogether. It’s called churn, and it’s especially likely because customer perception of cable company greed would dovetail with the belief that telcos offer better customer service anyway. Thus, raising cable prices could cost TWC dearly.

So, the battle between TWC and Fox is just another facet of an n-dimensional war between MSOs, satellite cos., landline telcos, cellular cos., cable networks, broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, NBC), network affiliates (the local stations that actually broadcast the network signal), video game companies, Internet TV sites, unauthorized (pirated) content, user-generated content–and, of course, the consumer. And that’s not even to mention the companies that manufacture the hardware, such as handsets, TV’s, cable and satellite receivers, and other set top boxes. They’re always looking to play transmission companies off against each other and capture more of the consumer dollar.

To add to the confusion, there’s cross ownership between some of these companies but not all of them, meaning that ostensible competitors have very different profiles from each other, and also that they must often collaborate. For instance, when the Comcast – NBC Universal deal closes (assuming, of course, that it does), Comcast will control a cable system, a broadcast network, and multiple cable channels, whereas Time Warner Cable is a cable system only (that’s because Time Warner Inc. spun off TWC) and Fox’s parent, News Corp., lacks a cable system. Speaking of News Corp., throw in the fight between newspapers and Internet sites, and it’s clear that the Internet sparked a revolution that’s got everybody up in everyone else’s business. It’s the media equivalent of string theory, except that MBA’s usually have better hair than Einstein did.

————–

Subscribe to my blog (jhandel.com) for more about entertainment law and digital media law. Go to the blog itself to subscribe via RSS or email. Or, follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, or subscribe to my Huffington Post articles. If you work in tech, check out my book How to Write LOIs and Term Sheets.


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Bow Wow Drives a Lil Drunk

January 2nd, 2010 admin No comments

Filed under:

Bow Wow clearly has something in common with Chris Brown — they both commit crimes behind the wheel.The Artist Formerly Known as Lil’ Bow Wow, who partied with Brown and Akon last night at LIV nightclub at the Fontainbleau in Miami, posted a message …

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Midday Open Thread

January 1st, 2010 admin No comments
  • As has been the case for months now, there’s been mixed news on the economy this week:

    The Conference Board’s consumer confidence indexrose 2.3 points to 52.9, a good sign, but the “present situation index” fell 2.5 points to 18.8, a near-record low, and an extremely large 46.6 percent of respondents said business conditions are bad.

    Hotels had their worst year since the Great Depression.

    The restaurant business took another dive in November.

    The Department of Labor reported that four-week running average for unemployment compensation claims dropped again.

    The Institute for Supply Management reported a large expansion in the purchasing manager index.

    Fannie Mae reported another increase in mortgage payment delinquencies.

    NASDAQ up 45%, DOW industrials up 20% and the S&P up 25% for the year.

  • Is delayed gratification really good for you?. Edward Tenner explores the concept with a story from David Ogilvy:

    When I was a boy, I always saved the cherry on my pudding for last. Then, one day, my sister stole it. From then on, I always ate the cherry first.

  • Jeff McMahon takes note that North Dakota wants to sue Minnesota for even thinking about a carbon tax:

    North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Tuesday he expects to sue Minnesota for just that, and North Dakota’s legislature has set aside $2 million to fund the lawsuit. Now there’s a good cause.

    What did Minnesota do wrong? Two years ago the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission passed a regulation requiring utilities to consider the potential cost of carbon emissions when they project the cost of energy to Minnesota consumers.

  • Some folks are still arguing about when the decade really ends.
  • In Single-Payer’s Last Stand?, Greg Kaufmann offers a chance for the Congressional Progressive Caucus to provide a smidgen of help in this direction:

    One item worth rallying around–and it hasn’t received a lot of attention–is waiver language that would permit states to implement alternatives to insurance market exchanges, including single-payer systems.

    The Senate bill would allow such waivers, but not until 2017, even though the private exchanges start in 2014.

  • Jim Hightower suggests Six Things to Do in 2010:

    On issue after issue, it’s been go-slow and don’t-rock-the-corporate boat. “Where’s the ‘audacity of hope?’” people are asking. “Where’s the ‘change you can believe in?’”

    The answer is that in our country’s democracy, audacity and change are where they’ve always resided: out there with you and me, at the grassroots level.

  • Yes, polar bears and (walruses) are in big trouble:

    [Thursday], responding to a court-ordered deadline, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized long-overdue reports documenting the status of polar bears and Pacific walrus in Alaska. The reports confirm that polar bear populations in Alaska are declining and that Pacific walrus are under threat. Both species are being hurt by the loss of their sea-ice habitat due to global warming, oil and gas development, and unsustainable harvest.

  • Targeted Yemeni cleric says, ”I’m Alive”

    A week after U.S. and Yemeni officials said the radical Yemen cleric Anwar Awlaki may have been killed in a U.S.-backed Christmas eve air strike, a Yemeni journalist says Awlaki has surfaced to proclaim, “I’m alive.”

    “He said the house that was attacked was two or three kilometers away from him and he was not there,” the journalist, Abdulelah Hider Shaea, told ABC News. He said he talked to Awlaki on the phone and recognized his voice from previous interviews.

  • The Daily Beast has something to make you smile and probably piss you off in its 2009 Gallery of Monsters and Weenies.
  • Glenn Greenwald hits the bullseye with a Tweet:

    As AQ Terrorists make explicitly clear, nothing helps them more than treating them as warriors rather than criminals: http://is.gd/…

  • The Real News Network takes a look at a New stage of resistance in Iran, including an interview with Nader Hashemi, Assistant Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics at the University of Denver.
  • Thalif Deen investigates how U.S. Arms Feed Yemen’s Gun Culture.


Categories: Politics Tags: , , , , , , ,

Youth Activist Ruchi Jain On Her Hope For Change

December 31st, 2009 admin No comments

As a young person in India, Ruchi Jain began to see the effects of global climate change all around her. She talks about farmers in the Himalayas who worry about their future due to warmer temperatures and decreased rainfall.

At 23, she quit her job as a marketer in Mumbai to become a climate change activist. In Copenhagen this month, she worked to organize other youth activists to deliver a clear message to delegates at the conference: the entire world is affected by our actions, and you must come to an agreement.

Sara Peach from Grist.org compiled some great footage of Jain at the Copenhagen Climate Conference.

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ASUS Eee PC 1001P with Atom N450 appears on Amazon.de

December 31st, 2009 admin No comments
With Christmas out of the way and CES just around the corner we’re starting to see significant momentum in the Pineview department (which is between HR and the Engadget Bouncy Moon Castle). Currently listed on Amazon.de as a pre-order item for €249 (roughly $360), the Asus Eee PC 1001P is a 10.1-inch clamshell PC featuring an Intel Atom N450 at 1.6GHz, 1GB RAM a 160GB HDD and Windows XP. Between this bad boy and that 1005P/PE we first set eyes on earlier this month, it sure looks like the next-gen processor will be available sooner rather than later. Wouldn’t that be… magical?

ASUS Eee PC 1001P with Atom N450 appears on Amazon.de originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 30 Dec 2009 14:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Midday Open Thread

December 30th, 2009 admin No comments
  • Pushing the Obacalypse is shaping up to be the Gee Oh Pee’s campaign strategy for 2010, writes David Corn. Rep. Pete Sessions, the Texas Republican, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, sent David Corn the same email a lot of us got, which, amid other hyperbole, stated:

    In just one year, liberals have altered the course of this country so dramatically that current U.S. policy is almost unrecognizable from the conservative values on which we built this country.

    America cannot survive on this new course. Fortunately 2010 offers us a chance to hold the far left accountable and elect Representatives who will stand up for our American values in Congress.

    Yikes and a half. You mean the far left?

  • If you gotta have your news graphically, you might head over to GOOD for a gander at their year’s end effort on The Biggest News Stories of the Year. There, you can get a full-screen treatment of this transparency:
  • Assuming Ron Paul doesn’t seek another shot at the brass ring, here is the guy most likely to try to take on the Paulite mantle: Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is heading to New Hampshire.
  • Joe Lieberman: How About Another War?:

    Referencing his own travels to Yemen, and meetings with unnamed U.S. officials, the senator chirped: “Iraq was yesterday’s war, Afghanistan is today’s war. If we don’t act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow’s war.”

    Lieberman, whose refusal to serve in the military when he could have during the Vietnam era has never prevented him from spouting hawkish views so over-the-top that his wiser colleagues to keep him off committees that deal with issues of war and peace, seems to be unaware that “acting preemptively” in the manner he suggests, is an act of war.

  • Ha! Ha! Ha! A tea partier and his money are soon parted, with the cash going right into the hands of the GOP consulting group that created the “party.” One of the leading Tea Party PACs, called Tea Party Express, has paid out nearly two-thirds of its funds to the consulting group that created it.
  • If you thought wackos would just fade away in the second decade of this century, you…uh…missed the boat. Because Randall Price will be back in Turkey digging into the ice on Mount Ararat, searching for Noah’s Ark. He says they’re close. “While we’d like to think it’s Noah’s Ark, we’re not sure what it is, but it’s in the right place,” he said.
  • In Science, Andrew J. Oswald and Stephen Wu have concluded a scientific study purporting to show by nonsubjective measures the 10 unhappiest states in the U.S.: In reverse order, with No. 10 first: Rhode Island, Ohio, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, New Jersey, Indiana, Michigan, Connecticut, New York.
  • Not that anyone here has ever been afflicted, but Anatomy of A Brain Fart might still be of interest. Who knows what could happen in 2010?
  • Nate Silver offers A Note on Activism, Populism and Polarization at the End of the ‘Aughts:

    Take the Tea Parties, for example. Liberals don’t give nearly enough credit to the technological sophistication of the Tea Partiers. Back in the old days — you know, like 2005 or so — getting several hundred people together at several hundred different locations would have required months of planning. But thanks to the Tea Partiers’ ability to find one another on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and so forth — and to some extent the megaphone of Fox News — these protests can come together fairly spontaneously. The left’s use of the Internet has been much more heralded, but obviously has been exceptionally impressive too, particularly the extent to which the most listened-to people on the left (think Markos Moulitsas or Jane Hamsher) tend to come from nonpolitical backgrounds. Then there are things like the Ron Paul movement, which would have gotten absolutely no traction without the Internet.

  • After nearly 37 years of solitary confinement, the consequences of a trial that depended on manufactured evidence, Herman Wallace, now 68, is still shackled to the table when his 70-year-old sister arrives for her weekly visit at one of the country’s most infamous prisons, the former slave plantation at Angola, Louisiana.


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