KINGS OF LEON get a rave review for their new disc from Rolling Stone.
ROBERT POLLARD is auctioning stuff from his personal collection on eBay.
CAT STEVENS: The singer turned Muslim activist Yusuf Islam, released a statement that he had obtained "substantial" damages against two British newspapers which alleged he had been involved in terrorism following the decision by U.S. authorities in September 2004 to refuse him entry to the U.S. on "security grounds." Note that it's much easier to win a libel case in the U.K. than in the States.
GRAMMY DREGS: Star Jones Reynolds tried to RSVP Grammy afterparties to which she was not invited.
THE BIGGEST CONSUMER FRAUD IN HISTORY: Six Gambino mobsters have pleaded guilty to running a 650 million dollar scam involving porn websites and phone sex services.
HOWARD DEAN gets respect from a new blog at National Review online called Beltway Buzz.
BLOGGERS AND JOURNALISM: There is continuing fallout from the forced resignations of Jeff Gannon (noted here Friday) and Eason Jordan (noted here Monday). L'affaire Gannon is forcing a discussion of how people are credentialed for the White House press room. Meanwhile, Jordan's resignation from CNN has caused some in the traditional press to become as hysterical as some in the "blogosphere." Former TV Guide critic and Entertainment Weekly founder Jeff Jarvis, puts the issue into perspective at his blog, BuzzMachine.
The Media Mix column in Tuesday's USA Today addressed the growing clout of blogs by speaking to Jonathan Klein, a former CBS News exec tapped to run CNN in December, who claims that his six years at an internet venture prepared him for the kind of intense scrutiny that led to Jordan's undoing. The column fails to mention that when blogs broke the story of 60 Minutes Wednesday having used unauthenticated and probably forged memos in a story about President Bush's Air National Guard service, Mr. Klein's response was: "You couldn't have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of check and balances [at '60 Minutes'] and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing."
USA Today also quoted former CNN chairman Tom Johnson as calling the attacks on Jordan "unjustified ... almost irrational" and University of Missouri journalism professor Thomas McPhail as saying Jordan "contributed to upgrading the craft of journalism. Now he is roadkill for the bloggers." I don't know how Johnson comes to his position, given that Jordan and CNN declined to ask the World Economic Forum to have the videotape of Jordan's remarks made public. Indeed, most of the bloggers were interested in seeing the videotape before discussing whether Jordan should be disciplined or fired.
Prof. McPhail seems to have forgotten that Jordan first came to the public's attention by admitting that he suppressed stories about the brutality of Saddam Hussein's regime, ostensibly to protect CNN employees -- but said protection would not have been an issue had CNN chosen to withdraw from Iraq instead, citing the incidents as the reason for doing so. Prof. Mc Phail also may not be aware that Jordan previously accused U.S. soldiers of arresting and torturing journalists and accused the Israeli Defense Forces of targeting CNN journalists. Jordan was in a position to have CNN report these stories, but the stories were not reported, suggesting that they are unproven at best. Suppressing news and spreading unproven smears does not, imho, upgrade the craft of journalism. But it just might have gotten Jordan a date with Sharon Stone. So he's got that going for him.
BLOGGERS AND THE REPORTER'S PRIVILEGE: I noted this issue a while back, opining that the rules should be the same for bloggers and reporters, lest government become involved in defining who has the right to freedom of the press. Tuesday, the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled that New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine must comply with a subpoena from a grand jury investigating whether the Bush administration illegally leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to the news media. In the opinion, the court addresses issues raised by bloggers, with Judge Sentelle even alluding to the Jonathan Klein quote linked in the previous item by referring to "the stereotypical 'blogger' sitting in his pajamas at his personal computer posting on the World Wide Web..."
JACKO JUSTICE: Michael Jackson was taken to the hospital with the flu Tuesday, putting jury selection on hold for another week. Translation: Jackson is out of the denial stage.
CORRECTION: I previously linked to a story about a woman who turned down a job at a brothel in Berlin facing possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under a new German law. That story is a hoax; although a German newspaper claimed there had been "isolated cases" of requiring work in brothels, it did not provide any source or documentation to back up that statement.
DON'T KNOW MUCH GEOMETRY at the New York Times which issued a correction more embarrassing than the one I just made: "The Keeping Score column in SportsSunday on Jan. 23, about a mathematical formula for projecting the winner of the Super Bowl, misstated the application of the Pythagorean theorem, which the formula resembles. The theorem determines the length of the third side of a right triangle when the length of the two other sides is known; it is not used to determine the sum of the angles in a right triangle." Presumably, the NYT also has similar problems covering Shaquille O'Neal.
CULT OF THE iPod: Wired takes in the celebrity sightings at L.A. area Apple stores. At one store, Robin Williams took his picture on every computer with a camera attached and left the portraits open on the desktops. "That was truly great," said one of the anonymous associates.
GEORGE CLOONEY continues to feast on the corpse of Frank Sinatra.
NAPSTER'S COPY PROTECTION scheme has already been defeated.
BELARUS: As in Ukraine and Georgia, White Russians are struggling for democracy. Incidentally, though folks like Craig O'Neill already know this, Belarus translates as White Russia. So I'm not talking about the cocktail.
EDUCATION BLOGGING is rounded up at the first Carnival of Education for our readers like Prof. Ken King, who is on the site as I type this.
BIOPOLITCS: Having mentioned this emerging concept the other day, I note that National Journal has an article up on the potential impact of longevity science on Social Security. Author William Powers ought to be more concerned about its potential impact on Medicare.
MEN ARE FROM MARS, ETC.: Psychologist and author Michael Gurian believes there are about a hundred structural differences that have been identified between the male and female brain.
CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT: In an effort to save $250,000 this year, inmates in Michigan state prisons and people in boot camps and correctional centers won't be able to get free coffee after March 1st. I smell a franchising opportunity for Starbucks...
WHERE IS JESSE JACKSON when Black History Month is under attack?