Features

Obama proposed stimulus includes $650 million for DTV coupons - plus $6 billion for broadband

John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable

According to an outline of the elements of the economic stimulus package--specifically the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009--the legislation contains $650 million dollars in extra funding for the DTV-to-analog converter box program.

There is also $6 billion in broadband and wireless grants to boost the rollout of Internet access to underserved areas, which will create business and job opportunities to boost the economy.

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And then they came for Lasantha Wickramatunga

Bob Dietz, Commitee to Protect Journalists

Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga was gunned down in his car last week on his way to work. According to colleagues, his attackers used an automatic pistol equipped with a silencer. After they smashed in one of his car windows, they repeatedly shot Lasantha at close range. Somehow he didn't die on the spot. He died about three hours later in a hospital operating room. Just days after his death, his newspaper published his final editorial, showing that Lansantha may have seen what was coming.

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Obama picks Julius Genachowski to chair FCC

Cecilia Kang, Washington Post

President-elect Barack Obama will name Julius Genachowski to head the Federal Communications Commission, according to one source close to the transition team and two sources close to key lawmakers.

Obama's transition team declined to confirm Genachowski's nomination.

Genachowski, 46, is a veteran of technology policy having served as chief counsel for former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt. He also has business experience as an executive at Internet firms IAC/InterActive and currently as a venture capitalist in Washington.

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Hearst will stop printing P-I if no buyer found in 60 days

Gene Johnson, Associated Press

Hearst Corp. put Seattle's oldest newspaper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, up for sale Friday, saying that if it can't find a buyer in the next 60 days, the paper will close or continue to exist only on the Internet.

"These options include a move to a digital only operation with a greatly reduced staff, or a complete shutdown of all operations," Hearst, the P-I's parent company, said in a statement. "In no case will Hearst continue to publish the P-I in printed form following the conclusion of this process."

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Obama team asks Congress to postpone DTV switch

Kim Hart, Washington Post

President-elect Barack Obama's transition team today asked key members of Congress to consider delaying the nation's switch to digital television scheduled for Feb. 17, saying there is "insufficient support" for the problems consumers will experience during the shut-off of analog signals.

In a letter sent to Capitol Hill this afternoon, the transition team said congressional action is needed. The action would be the "first step" toward helping consumers get ready for the transition to digital television. It also called funds provided to support the conversion "woefully inadequate."

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Digital TV coupon program runs out of money

Ira Teinowitz, TV Week

In a new challenge to the digital TV transition, the government’s program offering $40 coupons for TV converter boxes is out of money, weeks faster than anyone expected.

The Department of Commerce today announced that it now has committed the entire $1.34 billion available for the coupons and is starting to put new requesters on a waiting list.

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Media bias endangers peace in Gaza

Terry Ahwal, Detroit Free Press

In the media coverage of the violence in Gaza, the voices of Palestinians are, as usual, absent.

The voices of the Israelis have proclaimed defense. Ehud Barak, Israel defense Minister was quoted as saying“There is time for calm and time to fight.” Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stated on NBC news that Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas and has the right as a sovereign country to defend itself. Outgoing U.S.resident George Bush told the Israeli government that the U.S. will stand by Israel. Our incoming President Barak Obama is refraining from taking a stand at this time, but when the commentator on this subject pressed his aid David Axelrod, he responded that Israel has the right to defend itself.

Am I surprised?

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Government's DTV coupon program may run out of money - soon

Bob Williams, Hear Us Now

In the latest in an ongoing series of eye-rolling developments, the government agency in charge of the digital television converter box coupon program – the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration – said it will likely stop processing coupon requests as early as next week because it expects to run out of money.

Think about that for a minute. NTIA says it will stop processing coupons at the precise moment that consumers will be needing them most – the last few weeks leading up to the digital television switchover.

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Larry Lessig's Newsweek piece is a pre-dot-bomb retread

Mike Weisman, Ask Uncle Mike

Larry Lessig’s latest article in Newsweek is very disappointing, a pre-dot-bomb retread that backs down from all his recent progressive thinking. It’s so dated, one wonders if it was written in the last ten years, or if someone just found this article now and decided to print it. When was this written? 1995? 1998? Are you sure this was written by Larry Lessig, not George Gilder? If this is what it purports to be, then it helps explain why Larry is a very good teacher, but he should never be let closer to a telecom network than the handset.

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Happy birthday, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

(Universal Declaration of Human Rights video by Seth Brau)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on Dec. 10, 1948. Article 19 states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Full text below...

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. - John Dewey