March 9th, 2012
I know everybody just loves it when Christie goes off on some feckless Liberal or Union school teacher, and I actually do, too, sometimes, dependent upon the situation. And yet, I can't quite figure out why he went off on this kid, who is also a Veteran, the way he did, and why many seem to be celebrating it like it's the second coming.
Think about it; what if Obama went off on a Conservative asking a simple question, calling the man an idiot, and all, the way Christie did here.
The Conservative media would have a heyday, and we would be justified.
When we complain about authoritarians and tyranny, as Conservatives, and then watch how Christie treats, no, absolutely berates, a citizen who he is supposed to be serving like this, who was simply asking a question, or ENGAGING AUTHORITY, you have to at some point begin wondering.
Now, if the kid were being disrespectful, calling him names, or just generally being an actual pinhead, then that's one thing. But I can't, with every video I have been able to view, understand what it was that was so bad regarding what the student said.
And then we celebrate Christies' temper tantrums like they're the greatest thing since peanut butter. What does that say about us, as Conservatives? Do you teach your children that it's totally right to completely lose it and be abusive to others who have the gall to question?
Quite frankly, I am not aware of any true Conservative who would treat the people they are supposed to be serving in quite this way.
I'm just sayin'.....
March 9th, 2012
Rush Limbaugh has drawn the ire of celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, who sent a letter to the Palm Beach County state attorney requesting an investigation into whether the popular radio host should be prosecuted for calling a law student a “slut” and “prostitute” last week.
“Mr. Limbaugh targeted his attack on a young law student who was simply exercised her free speech and her right to testify before congress on a very important issue to millions of American women and he vilified her. He defamed her and engaged in unwarranted, tasteless and exceptionally damaging attacks on her,” Allred told POLITICO Friday afternoon. “He needs to face the consequences of his conduct in every way that is meaningful.”
In a letter dated March 8, Allred, writing on behalf of the Women’s Equal Rights Legal Defense and Education Fund, requested that Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe probe whether the conservative radio personality had violated Section 836.04 of the Florida Statutes by calling Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke the two derogatory words.
The statute stipulates that anyone who “speaks of and concerning any woman, married or unmarried, falsely and maliciously imputing to her a want of chastity” is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. Allred explained that the statute recently came to her attention as having never been repealed, and that it could very well apply to Limbaugh’s remarks as his show is broadcast from West Palm Beach.
It is now entirely up to the prosecutor to exercise his discretion on whether there will be a prosecution. McAuliffe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Allred, whose most recent high-profile clients have included Sharon Bialek, who accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment, and porn star Ginger Lee, who exchanged explicit emails with former Rep. Anthony Weiner, said Friday that she has not yet been in touch with Fluke.
“I don’t reach out to women, they reach out to me,” she said. “If she did reach out to me, obviously I would respond.”
Limbaugh’s contentious remarks, made against Fluke for testifying on Capitol Hill about women’s access to contraception, resulted in widespread public outrage and dozens of advertisers pulling their commercials from his three-hour program.
(See also: Cartoonists skewer Rush Limbaugh)
“I understand why sponsors are abandoning Mr. Limbaugh in droves,” Allred said. “I think sponsors that remain with him are supporting him and providing commercial dollars to him and his program, condoning what he said.”
She added, “Hitting him economically is one price that he has to pay. He needs to be accountable in every way possible.”
March 9th, 2012
CR: Not promoting the "Kony" clip, it's quite easy to find, but the social-media phenomenon is incredible...
An Internet video seeking to draw attention to fugitive African rebel leader Joseph Kony now stands as the fastest-growing viral phenomenon in Web history, thanks to informal celebrity advocates and young viewers.
Posted online on Monday, the video had been viewed more than 80 million times by Friday afternoon, according to online measurement firm Visible Measures Corp.
The video's creators say they can't fully explain the explosive popularity, given that they promoted it in similar ways to their previous, less-popular productions.
Why the "Kony 2012" video has taken off so quickly is "a hard question for us to answer," said Ben Keesey, chief executive of Invisible Children, Inc., the nonprofit behind the campaign. "We're sitting around late at night saying the same thing."
But as with many popular videos, two main factors contributed to the virality: young people were drawn to the story, and celebrities and other public figures promoted it through social-media sites such as Twitter.
Mr. Kony, the Ugandan-born leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder, sexual slavery and abusing children.
The video aims to spur his eventual capture.
To make their nearly 30-minute movie about a such a serious topic appealing to young viewers, the filmmakers asked themselves: "How do we make this translate to a 14-year-old who just walked out of algebra class?" Mr. Keesey said in an interview.
Among other elements designed to attract that demographic, the slickly produced video features the presence of the toddler son of one of the filmmakers, to whom the narrator tries to explain Mr. Kony's crimes, as well as numerous references to Facebook and its power to raise awareness about global causes.
On Monday evening, Invisible Children held a premiere for the film at the Los Angeles, Calif. headquarters of top Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency, where actress Kristen Bell, a friend of the filmmakers, served as host, along with actor Jason Bateman.
"As soon as the CAA premiere was over, we knew something special happened, because the look in peoples' eyes was like, 'We have to do something,' " Mr. Keesey said.
Invisible Children posted the video on YouTube on Monday and also promoted it to its followers on Facebook and Twitter.
Almost immediately, "Kony 2012" ignited chatter on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. As the filmmakers intended, the video first took off among a younger audience, with early data showing that the average viewer is 24 years old, according to Visible Measures.
Its rapid dissemination was fueled in large part by links on the Invisible Children website that allowed viewers to send online messages seeking the support of "culture makers"—including Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Bill Gates—and "policy makers" such as former U.S. presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
While Invisible Children suggested that its website visitors send messages to those influential figures, the group didn't directly ask for their involvement.
"We actually kind of tried to, but we didn't get our message out to them in time," Mr. Keesey said.
The five days Invisible Children's video took to reach 80 million views is a full day less than it took the 2009 video of Susan Boyle singing "I Dreamed a Dream" on the show "Britain's Got Talent" to reach 70 million, according to Visible Measures. That video ranks among the most-watched viral videos of all time, with 480 million views.
Another popular series of online clips, featuring the "Old Spice Guy," captured 35 million views in the first week but didn't reach 70 million views until five months after it launched, Visible Measures says.
"The [Kony] video and the visibility from celebrities gave it the push it needed to catch fire," said Matt Fiorentino, chief marketing officer at Visible Measures. "It's front and center for millions of people now and they're going to continue to actively support it."
Twitter users mentioned "Kony" more than three million times from Monday until Friday afternoon, according to social media analytics firm PeopleBrowsr.
By Friday afternoon, Invisible Children had more than 380,000 Twitter followers and more than 2.5 million Facebook fans.
Though at 29 minutes and 59 seconds the film is significantly longer than most other viral videos, it was expressly designed to be shorter than Invisible Children's previous movies. "It was intentional to make it under 30 minutes," Mr. Keesey said.
Mr. Keesey dismissed criticism that proponents of the campaign might not take an active role in the cause beyond retweeting a link or "liking" a message on Facebook.
"For some people, retweeting about this movie is a big deal, and that in and of itself is a big step in the right direction for young people," he said.
And he added, his video's serious subject matter sets it apart from many viral Web videos, such as "cats flushing toilets."
On the heels of the video, Invisible Children is partnering with a Washington, D.C., nonprofit, Resolve, to launch a series of meetings around the country between young supporters and their congressional representatives, designed to provide a forum to encourage action with respect to Mr. Kony.
But activists and government officials in Uganda criticized the movie as outdated and irrelevant. Okot Patrick, a local official in Mr. Kony's hometown of Gulu, in northern Uganda, said the rebellion no longer is an issue. Instead, officials are focusing on the resettlement of more than 2.5 million people displaced by the war.
"People have more pressing problems such as poverty and diseases," Mr. Patrick said.
Even so, other charities focused on helping Africa are benefitting from the halo of the campaign. Africare, a Washington-based nonprofit organization devoted to humanitarian issues in Africa, says that it has seen donations to its group spike "by several thousands of dollars" following the "Kony 2012" video.
"We're all trying to reverse engineer this," says Shomwa Shamapande, director of communications for Africare, a Washington-based non-profit organization devoted to Africa.
—Nicholas Bariyo contributed to this article.
A version of this article appeared Mar. 10, 2012, on page B3 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: How 'Kony' Clip Caught Fire Online.
March 9th, 2012
The Washington Post
“MORNIN’ Y’ALL”: Mitt Romney, a Yankee born and bred, is trying hard for the Southern vote. Real hard. Aside from shouting out the regional greeting to a Jackson, Miss., audience, Romney shared with them his breakfast menu: cheesy grits with a biscuit on the side. Romney is battling against his perceived weaknesses in the Deep South. In Jackson, he focused heavily on his private-sector background while answering voters’ questions and sought to cast himself as the Republican candidate best-suited to tackle the nation’s economic problems.
PRIVATE EMAILS IN PUBLIC OFFICE: Mitt Romney used a free Microsoft Hotmail account and a private email address to conduct state business at times when he was governor of Massachusetts, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. The communications were legal, although Romney’s own administration warned state agencies against the practice because of security concerns. The Romney files span four months in mid-2006. The state archives in Massachusetts says copies of the private emails should have been preserved as state records. Private email accounts used by public officials to perform their public jobs are effectively off limits to review by citizens, watchdog groups, political opponents and news organizations because they’re often used secretly. Romney’s presidential campaign declined to explain why Romney and his aides used the private accounts or explain how long and how extensively they used them, saying he complied with the law and followed precedent.
SUPERDELEGATES’ HO-HUM: Mitt Romney’s Super Tuesday victories have been met with a collective yawn from GOP leaders who could play an important role at the party’s convention this summer. After Tuesday’s voting, Romney picked up only a single endorsement from a member of the Republican National Committee. Those members automatically attend the convention and can support any candidate they choose. Some of the undecided superdelegates say they expect the former Massachusetts governor to be the eventual nominee. But like many Republican voters, they’re not quite ready to embrace him. A new Associated Press poll of the 117 RNC delegates shows Romney with 24 endorsements, Newt Gingrich with four, Rick Santorum with two and Ron Paul with one. Seventy-six RNC delegates said they are undecided or not ready to make a public endorsement.
ROMNEY IS OBAMA, JUST ASK RICK: While campaigning in Kansas on the eve of the state’s Republican caucuses, Rick Santorum took swipes at both Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney and incumbent President Barack Obama, casting both as unacceptable for conservatives. Romney, Santorum said to cheers, reinvents himself for whatever the political occasion calls for. Obama, he said, doesn’t tell the American people the truth, either. Through a spokeswoman, Romney reminded Santorum — and voters — that he’s got more than twice the delegates that Santorum has, making it hard for the rest of the pack to catch up. Santorum is running strong in Kansas, and Republican voters there could give the former Pennsylvania senator yet another win and further challenge Romney’s front-runner status.
March 9th, 2012
New Scientist / Catherine de Lange
It was just another day on the beach for holidaymakers off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when a pod of about 30 dolphins swam ashore on Monday. Beachgoers quickly came to the rescue, rushing into the sea and dragging the dolphins by their fins and tails into deeper water.
The whole episode was captured by Gerd Traue in a video (above), which has racked up over a million views online.
What can experts learn from the footage? The species involved, for one. These are common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), which typically live a long way off shore, says Mark Simmonds of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, a global charity.
However the video does not reveal what caused the stranding – fishing boats or sonar are two possibilities.
Had experts rescued the dolphins, says Simmonds, they may have examined the individuals for damage, such as net marks, that may have provided clues. But he says the dolphins in the video appear to be healthy.
Out of their depth
The topography of the coastline may have disoriented the dolphins, says Michael Moore of the Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. It would not be surprising if offshore dolphins like these had trouble navigating the sandbars and silty seabeds found in shallow waters.
Nor is it surprising that such a large number of dolphins would head for land together. Dolphins are social creatures, so it would take only one member of the pod to go astray – say, if it was diseased – and the others would follow.
Call in the experts
Understanding what's going on in such cases is especially hard because scientists must rely largely on postmortem evidence. Moore and others are trying to develop early warning systems to get to the dolphins while they're still alive.
Sensors deployed in regions where strandings are common, for example, could detect the sounds of the cetaceans nearing shore and send a text message warning officials of an imminent stranding.
The Brazilian video has widely been greeted as a good news story. But Simmonds is uneasy about this.
"There's a clock ticking, so it's important to respond quickly, but it's also important to move them in the right ways," he says. Typically it's best not to touch the animals and to call in experts instead, he says. "Pulling their flippers can dislocate their bones, or even pull a flipper right off."