Watch Monday October 17 at 10 pm Eastern on HBO, the true story of an icon, Harry Belafonte Here’s the site. Enjoy, discuss. To most to he’s a hero. To Tea Party types he’s just another angry old man. Guess who prevails? Yes, the hero crowd…

Source: The Daily Kos

By Cynthia Pyle, ’11, Political Science

On Libya the Republican hypocrites are stepping out of the woodwork once again. After years of rubber-stamping a failed leader as he bumbled two failed wars and dropped the ball on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice they just cannot stand the fact that another leader may have better ideas in another country where the people have already risen against a despot. I guess it must disturb them that the new President is not willing to risk thousands of American lives and treasure for years in a bottomless pit to bring change. Indeed this leader is doing something Republicans would never dream of. Giving rebels trying to shake a despot what they asked for and not forcing American troops upon them.

The President said in his address on Monday…

Of course, there is no question that Libya — and the world — will be better off with Gaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.

The task that I assigned our forces — to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger, and to establish a No Fly Zone — carries with it a UN mandate and international support. It is also what the Libyan opposition asked us to do. If we tried to overthrow Gaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter. We would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground, or risk killing many civilians from the air. The dangers faced by our men and women in uniform would be far greater. So would the costs, and our share of the responsibility for what comes next.

To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq. Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our troops and the determination of our diplomats, we are hopeful about Iraq’s future. But regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives, and nearly a trillion dollars. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.

I believe that in Libya with the actions of the people there and our reaction to it we have a much better chance of actually creating Democracy in the middle-east and creating real allies among the Arab and Muslim world. Unfortunately some folks would rather push their own beliefs and agendas on that region instead. Worse yet they are obsessed with the thought that their own narrow-minded approach to dealing with the middle-east may be proven for what it was all along. A fraud.

Reyhana Athie, ”11, Communications

The uprising in Egypt has made it clear that social media has become the new method of getting out information and sharing it with others globally while traditional media has become, well, sort of a tag along following the lead of Facebook and Twitter.

Social media has played a key role in the changes going on the Middle East as it promotes and transforms a basic form of communication: word of mouth.

The series of uprisings in the Middle East have been surging for quite some time as people have begun to take matters into their own hands beginning in Tunisia – people began spreading the word about the unknown events going on in their government based on the information provided on Wikileaks.

Egyptians also used Facebook in order to communicate among themselves which ultimately helped them successfully uproot the Mubarak regime after over 30 years. Facebook being the most dominate social network used was the main source of communication among the people as they began to organize demonstrations against their government.

This form of “neo-media” has begun to change the outlook of reality in the Egypt. Social media has allowed those in the Egypt to express themselves as they addressed their government about its corruption with a new-found sense of liberty, a sense of pride in being able to determine their own future despite the iron fist in which Mubarak has dominated the land.

During the uprising in Egypt, social media stood as the only beacon of truth. Egyptian State Television watered-down the chaos that was taking place in Egypt in pursuit to mislead their viewers.

As a result, many journalist have resigned from the network.

Among the journalists who resigned was deputy director of Nile Television, Sahira Amina.

Now a freelance writer for CNN, Amin worked for Nile Television from 1989-2011. She resigned during the protest and joined the people in Tahrir Square stating “I am on the people’s side, not the regime’s. “

The state television network blatantly disregarded the unprecedented revolution that was taking place: one led by the people.

Traditional media has been known to investigate issues going on in society and present it to the people. In this case, traditional media exposed the sad truth that traditional media fails to project unbiased truth in today’s world as every major network is owned by a conglomerate that imposes it’s political views on producers and reporters in order to influence what consumers see and hear.

Mubarak’s regime also shut down the internet in Egypt in order to stop the uprising among the people that was gaining more and more clout and building pressure on the regime.

Instead of relying on trained journalists to relay the truth to their society as well as the world, people such as Wael Ghonim, a Google specialist in Egypt, started a Facebook page in the name of a protester, Khaled Said, where people began sharing photos and videos about abuse at the hands of Mubarak’s regime.  Ghonim began organizing protests and posted the dates and locations in order for followers of the Facebook page to attend (they had over one million within months).

This form of neo-media relies on eyewitness reports for breaking news. It is faster, it is front-and-center, and it has the power to mobilize millions of people for a cause. It has allowed the unfathomable to occur.

Given the uprising in the Egypt, social media has emerged as a very essential tool in which its value surpassed the mere use of posting up pictures and post up our current mood to our “friends.”

In the Egypt, social media such as Facebook has aided people to communicate with one another despite opposition from their government in order to voice their opinions which have led to change.

Egypt|Facebook|Wael Ghonim|Sahira Amina

Swiping Is the Easy Part

Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

Paying for items at Duane Reade with a mobile phone.

By TARA SIEGEL BERNARD and CLAIRE CAIN MILLER
Published: March 23, 2011

The cellphone has been more than a cellphone for years, but soon it could take on an entirely new role — standing in for all of the credit and debit cards crammed into wallets.

Minh Uong/The New York Times

 

Instead of swiping a plastic card at the checkout counter, consumers would merely wave their phones.

There’s just one hitch: While the technology is already being installed in millions of phones — and is used overseas — wide adoption of the so-called mobile wallets is being slowed by a major behind-the-scenes battle among corporate giants.

Mobile phone carriers, banks, credit card issuers, payment networks and technology companies are all vying to control these wallets. But first, they need to sort out what role each will play and how each will get paid.

The stakes are enormous because small, hidden fees that are generated every time consumers swipe their cards add up to tens of billions of dollars annually in the United States alone.

“It all comes down to who gets paid and who makes money,” said Drew Sievers, chief executive of mFoundry, which makes mobile payment software for merchants and banks. “You have banks competing with carriers competing with Apple and Google, and it’s pretty much a goat rodeo until someone sorts it out.”

In one camp are the long-established players. Payment networks like Visa and MasterCard, along with banks that actually issue credit cards to customers, want to stay at the center of any payment system and continue to collect their fees from merchants.

They are facing competition from companies they see as interlopers. These include PayPal and Google, which want to play a part in a new payment system, as well as Apple and the mobile carriers, which want to collect fees through their control of the phones themselves. In the middle — and perhaps playing a deciding role — are the retailers. They have to install terminals that accept mobile payments.

Consumer advocates, meanwhile, said they were concerned that a mobile system would bring higher fees and questioned whether consumers even want a new system.

“Is it possible to make a system that’s too easy to use, where you reduce so much friction from the transaction process that people aren’t necessarily aware of what they’re spending on something?” asked Jan Chipchase, executive creative director at the design firm Frog Design, who studies mobile payments.

Credit card and technology companies have talked about mobile wallets for well over a decade. But now, finally, the pieces are starting to fall into place.

“Now that we have this commitment by the handset manufacturers and telcos, I think things are looking far more promising than ever,” said Gwenn Bézard, research director at the Aite Group, a research and advisory firm focused on the financial services industry. “The question is, Are telcos and card networks and banks going to agree on anything?”

Visa and MasterCard now dominate the major tracks that shuttle credit card and debit payments between banks and retailers. Retailers must pay the banks issuing the cards a percentage of each transaction, and payment networks like Visa take a small cut. So for every $1 spent by a consumer, the retailer keeps about 97 cents, the card-issuing bank takes nearly 2 cents and the remaining penny goes to the merchant’s bank handling the transaction and the payment network.

With mobile payments, it is still unclear how all the players will get paid or if any of the costs will trickle through to consumers, perhaps through new fees. Mobile carriers may demand that the card issuers pay them something akin to rent, or reach some other agreement, to store important payment credentials on a secure piece of the chip inside the phone. There are several technologies that allow phones to communicate wirelessly with other technologies, though the front-runner for payments is one called near-field communication, or N.F.C.

“I think watching the industry evolve will determine where we need to go,” said Peter Ho, product manager for Wells Fargo’s card services and consumer lending, adding that the banking industry’s past conversations with mobile carriers had not been fruitful because they could not agree on financial terms.

The mobile carriers’ frustration with the banks, some analysts said, was the impetus behind a joint venture by Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Discover to create their own mobile wallet. The venture, known as Isis, is expected to introduce its system next year. Barclaycard, already a major player in Britain, will be the first issuer of the group’s in-phone credit card and sees it as an opportunity to expand in the United States. Referring to the carriers’ 200 million customers, Amer Sajed, chief executive for Barclaycard US, said, “It’s phenomenal for us to be able to leverage such a large customer base, right as the customer is getting or updating their mobile device.”

The banks and credit card issuers, meanwhile, have found a way to temporarily avoid working with the cellphone carriers.

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp and JPMorgan Chase, working with Visa, are all in various stages of testing wallets that would provide access to some of their own credit or debit cards. Because their model is powered by a chip that consumers insert into a slot in certain phones, it does not require the cooperation of the mobile operators.

Visa said some of its bank partners might introduce mobile payments in the second half of this year. But that variation may become outmoded as more phones with embedded chips become available. Visa said it was also working with other providers to ensure that its network would work in all wallets.

(As to the issue of security, several banks and payment networks said that mobile wallets would require a pass code and could be disabled remotely if a phone was stolen. Consumers would not be responsible for transactions they did not make.)

Apple and Google already have payment systems — Apple’s iTunes has 200 million accounts tied to credit cards, while Google Checkout has been less popular. Both could be turned into mobile wallets, allowing users to pay for offline purchases with their Apple or Google accounts. But they would need access to the cellphone chips and the merchants’ terminals. Apple could make its own cellphone chips to make this all happen, but Google could not because it makes only Android cellphone software, not the phones themselves.

Getting retailers on board is important to the widespread adoption of the mobile payments because many merchants will have to replace their card terminals.

While one analyst estimated, conservatively, that only 5.9 percent of merchants will accept mobile payments by 2015, Mr. Bézard of Aite Group said that many of the large retailers — including McDonald’s and CVS — already had the terminals and thus could take part whenever the payment network was figured out. And, he said, 80 percent of consumer transactions occur at the top 200 merchants.

Mobile payments have taken off more readily in other countries, using a variety of technologies. In Africa, where many people do not have credit cards, mobile phones have often replaced cash. And in Japan, people have been swiping phones at convenience stores and bus stations for several years.

“Other global markets may have a single dominant mobile carrier, or a small number of banks, or a strong central bank,” said Beth Robertson, director of payments research at Javelin Strategy and Research. “And this has made it easier for them to reconcile a model.”

Posted By Sadina Todorovac ’12 International Affairs

Hit Sensation Rebecca Black

Posted: March 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

Kayla Smith Communications ’12

Rebecca Black has been a joke and a success wrapped within one with her pop single “Friday” that sucks so bad…..

The song is so catchy it’s sickening…

There are so many paradies online  that clown Rebecca Black its HILARIOUS.

Nonetheless she has been trending on twitter for about 3 weeks…. KUDOS

From the Dancing to the 13 year olds cruising  the streets with no seat-beats and no adults. I just cant take Rebecca Black seriously……..

“Friday” is a song written by Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson, performed by Rebecca Black, a 13-year-old singer from Anaheim Hills,California.[1] It was released as a single on March 14, 2011.“Friday” was produced by the ARK Music Factory, a company owned by Jey and Wilson.[3] Within a week after being released on iTunes it has jumped the iTunes sales chart to 19 as of March 19, 2011.[4]

The music video for the song became a viral hit,[5][6] starting on Friday, March 11, 2011, when the video’s view count on YouTube jumped from around 3,000 views to 18 million a week later.[7] The sudden surge was attributed to a Tosh.0 blog post titled “Songwriting Isn’t for Everyone”, posted on March 11.[8] Since the growth in popularity of the song and video, there have been numerous parody videos and remixes.[9][10] Forbes stated that the notoriety of the song is another sign of the power of social media – specifically Twitter, Facebook, andTumblr, in this instance – in the ability to create “overnight sensations

 

By Cynthia Pyle, Political Science ’11

Department of State Spokesman P.J Crowley resigned on Monday after some highly scrutinized remarks he made last week regarding the Obama administration’s treatment of Bradley Manning.

Sources close to the matter said the resignation, first reported by CNN, came under pressure from the White House, where officials were furious about his suggestion that the Obama administration is mistreating Manning, the Army private who is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia, under suspicion that he leaked highly classified State Department cables to the website Wikileaks

Speaking to a small group at MIT last week, Crowley was asked about allegations that Manning is being tortured and kicked up a firestorm by answering that what is being done to Manning by Defense Department officials “is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”

Read the full story with video at Crooks and Liars.