Glenn Beck Removes States’ Stars From American Flag Until “They Get Serious About States’ RIghts” Like Alaska, Tennessee (VIDEO)

Fox News host Glenn Beck is known for the bizarre antics he pulls on his radio and TV show.

But, in his latest stunt, caught by Media Matters, Beck just may have outdone himself.

Noting that one of the reasons he loves Sarah Palin is that she recently signed a joint resolution claiming sovereignty for Alaska under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, Beck said "That means states rights." Evidently, this resolution exists in six other states, but only Alaska and Tennessee have had their governors formally sign it.

The fact that so few states have these types of resolutions asserting their rights infuriated Beck, and to show his displeasure he went to a board with an American flag and swept off all the stars representing the states except for Alaska and Tennessee.

Beck warned that he wouldn't replace the stars until their representative states "decide to get serious about states' rights."

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Andrew Rosen: YouTube Diplomacy Meets #iranelection

Twitter and the birth of the "real-time" web mark a new chapter in the rapidly evolving new era of public diplomacy.

Four months ago, President Obama's Nawroz message to the Iranian people was posted to YouTube, and just over one month ago, the White House posted the video of president's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo. In both cases, the State Department translated, distributed, and engaged audiences around these videos in dozens of languages, and in more than 170 countries. "YouTube Diplomacy" allowed State to control, to the extent possible, the message and certain variables of its distribution.

A week later, the elections in Iran took place, and Twitter and the real-time web entered the equation. Almost instantaneously, the Obama Administration's picture of a chaotic but somewhat controllable medium that could be engaged via YouTube Diplomacy was replaced with the chaos of an overwhelming flow of emails, SMS messages, YouTube videos and Twitter "tweets" providing updates and Iranian requests for assistance in real-time.

The Obama Administration immediately reacted to the "real-time" web by changing its public diplomacy with Iran from active to passive. After directly engaging the Iranian people around Nawroz the week before, the president resisted initial requests for strongly worded official language about the regime's response to protests. At the same time, the target audience of YouTube Diplomacy -- web 2.0 savvy "citizen diplomats" -- did not adjust their behavior in response to a different flow of information. They demonstrated they will still communicate, collaborate, and share with a flow of information around a policy issue, anywhere and anytime, via mobile phone or via laptop.

Twitter added the new dimension that there is no longer an either/or proposition of how someone would choose to engage with or impact this flow of information -- someone without Internet access could still consume and share info via SMS, and someone with mobile Internet access could do more than just retweet information -- they could consume YouTube video (iPhone), read stories (mobile browser), or forward emails. But more importantly, the real-time web allowed anyone, anywhere to participate in the events on the ground in Iran.

There are a number of lessons from the Iran election about this new dynamic. First, by participating in real-time, Americans, and others, quickly learned they could affect the internal politics of Iran. Of greater concern, they could do so without much background in Iran-US relations, or understanding how their actions might affect US foreign policy priorities.

Second, this high degree of participation by "citizen diplomats" seems to contrast with the more passive picture of citizens informing US foreign policy, which has been the core assumption of the State Department's "21st Century Statecraft" initiative. Within 4 months, it appears the Obama Administration has had a core assumption of 21st Century Statecraft disproved, and its public silence implies that it may not understand fully the implications of its efforts to date.

Third, Iran has shown that uninformed, and misinformed, citizens can have an impact on events in the ground by virtue of their participation. The flood of information coming from Iran via the real-time web was flawed. Some information was verifiable -- Demotix posted photos coming out of Iran from its verified citizen journalists, Nico Pitney of the Huffington Post selectively curated videos and stories to post, and the NY Times posted articles on its blog The Lede from its sources on the ground. But other information was more suspect -- videos were posted to and circulated on YouTube without confirmation of when or where they had been taped, or even staged. Users searching for the hashtag #iranelection on Twitter could find thousands of tweets circulating unconfirmed rumors, hyperbole or outright lies.

It is hard to deny that the emotional resonance of the images and videos of marches, protests, and shootings fueled engagement. This highlights the fourth lesson: the real-time web exposes the newfound power of citizen participation in foreign policy to the unpredictability of a media cycle. This has been true on Twitter, where #iranelection fluctuates in and out of the Top Trending Topics, recently falling behind Michael Jackson and Harry Potter as most discussed on the platform.

The Obama Administration is absolutely right to ensure US diplomacy engages with and adopts web 2.0 technologies as they evolve. Their framework (People to People and Government to People) is conservative in its agenda, and they have successes to point to already. But the fact remains that anyone, anywhere can participate in the political tumult of another country. We have no idea what the implications of having encouraged citizen diplomats to use these powerful tools of communication, collaboration, and sharing are or will be on the future of Iran, on the behavior of other states, or on the effectiveness of our foreign policy.

The Obama Administration should continue to proceed carefully, but must recalibrate its evangelism of 21st Century Statecraft. To bet heavily on Web 2.0, particularly in light of the events in Iran, is too aggressive a step for the Obama Administration with too unpredictable a technology still early in its infancy.


Greg Archer: That Cronkite School of Journalism — An ASU Alum Looks Back

Walter Cronkite is dead.

But is (real) journalism? I'll ponder the latter--a most curious shape-shifting beast of late--later. For now, it's all about Uncle Walt.

2009-07-23-walter_cronkite.jpg

What a guy. What an icon. Considered to be the most trusted man in America, the former, longtime anchorman of the CBS Evening News died at the age of 92 in his New York home on Friday, July 17. Today a bevy of relatives and friends paid homage to the legend at a memorial service at St. Bartholomew's Church in Manhattan. The Cronkite clan attended services at the church for many decades.

I was watching Real Time With Bill Maher when I heard the news of Cronkite's death. I sat there a bit dumbfounded, my mind floating back to more than 20 years ago.

I met Walter Cronkite back in the late '80s. At the time, I was working as a features editor at the Arizona State University newspaper. Our newspaper team was certainly excited to have the man -- the Walter Cronkite -- visit us in what was considered the armpit of the desert: Tempe, Arizona. He came to give a small talk about the evolution of journalism and the importance of integrity. Later, he toured our newsroom -- a wildly inventive yet somewhat embarrassing mess situated in the basement of an old building on campus. I wore my shirt tucked in at the time. Other writers came in flipflops and tank tops, something I sneered at. Cronkite was a legend -- at the very least he deserved socks. At one point, I was so excited to have the man talking to our entire newsroom, I quickly dialed my Polish mother back in Chicago.

"You'll never guess who's standing 100 feet away from me," I whispered into the phone.

When I told her, she said, "Oh, that's nice. Do you need any money?"

I needed a lot of things back then and encouragement sat at the top of the list. Looking back, I think I could have taken in more of what Cronkite was saying at the time of his visit. Not long before his arrival, ASU had been given a major honor. Its journalism college had been changed to "The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism."

Truthfully, I was surprised ASU received the honor. Don't get me wrong, ASU is a festive university -- barbecues, suntans, trips to the river ... in between "serious" studies--but being the Midwesterner that I am, I would have thought Ball State University or Northwestern University would have nabbed such a prestigious honor. But thank goodness ASU did. The journalism school at ASU was considered prestigious and pushed its students to become the best reporters they could be. We were alive and hungry to know things back then. (Some of us still are.) We wanted to report "real" stories. We tried to emulate Cronkite's integrity, his passion, his devotion to the medium. We strived to be both interesting -- and interested.

I can't help but wonder what this solid, creative titan of a man would have thought of 21st century broadcast media (and some print media) before he passed on. What in the world would he have thought about the often overly frothy, celebrity-obsessed and over-opinionated streams of "news" currently flooding the airwaves?

Cronkite's famous signature sign-off comes to mind: "That's the way it is ..."

True. But does it have to be?


Chris Brassington: Hackers Go Mobile: Is Your Cell Phone Prepared?

The current investigation into the mobile phone hacking operation allegedly perpetrated by the UK's News of the World has highlighted the vulnerability of mobile communications that politicians, celebrities and everyday users have neglected to protect from unauthorized use. As we increasingly move from using personal computers to relying on mobile handsets, the need for individuals to take steps to protect the data on their handsets grows ever more urgent. Mobile usage is vast. Each day, billions of messages are sent via mobile around the world, which is more texts than Google searches..

Hackers can use a variety of methods to access voice and data transferred via, or stored on, mobile handsets, be it images, text messages, or even voice mails. This includes everything from installing ghost programs on the handset that will monitor all communications to accessing over-air radio wave transmissions from the mobile. Sophisticated spy software exists that users wouldn't even know is on their phone. However, there are simple steps that users can take to ensure that their personal information is not compromised.

Mike Hawkes, Director of Security for the Mobile Data Association and Director of Innovations at 2ergo, suggests top tips for consumers and businesses who want to prevent unauthorized access of their private information.

How to protect your mobile from hackers:

  1. Consider how information is stored on your handset. If you were to lose your handset, would someone else be able to easily access passwords, bank details or other personal details?
  2. Ensure your handset is password-protected and, if possible, encrypted.
  3. Change your voice mail password. Users who fail to set a voice mail password are opening the door to would-be data thieves into their mail box, as networks will set all voice mail services with a default password that will remain the same until the user changes it directly.
  4. Think before you accept downloads pushed to you. In the same way that you wouldn't download a program from an unfamiliar source onto your computer, users need to consider the source of the content before installing on their handsets.
  5. If your handset can access WiFi, Bluetooth or other unprotected networks, think about the content you send and receive. While your provider network will protect you when you are accessing information on its network, any content you send or receive when connected to external networks like WiFi is not secure.
  6. Consider using one of a range of programs that can help protect data from unauthorized use both on your mobile handset and when in transit.

This crisis has exposed once and for all the necessity for both individuals and consumers to protect content on their mobile handsets. Mobiles now act as laptops as well as phones for accessing the internet. Make sure you are aware of the sheer extent of personal data you are storing and exchanging on your mobile, and take steps to prevent that from getting into the wrong hands. 2ergo has invested millions in innovating mobile security technology as it is critical to ensure everyone can benefit from the huge potential of mobile. 2ergo SAMS (Secure Advanced Messaging Service) is a secure protocol standard protecting the use of mobile as a channel.

www.2ergo.com


Stephen Wilkes: The Art of Listening: In Memory of Walter Cronkite

It was a beautiful spring day in March 1974. I was a high school student in the tenth grade and as excited as I've ever been in my entire life. I was the photographer/reporter for my high school T.V. station and my best friend was the manager and lead reporter. It was through his fearless tenacity that we had set up a number of interviews with some of our local TV anchors for our combined piece on great broadcast journalists of the day. We had sent letters to several well-known reporters requesting an interview but were met with disappointment, as many of our letters were unanswered and seemingly unimportant. However, we had somehow managed to pique the interest of one reporter to give us an exclusive. It was on this day, the 20th of March in the spring of 1974, that the legendary Walter Cronkite granted us our first interview and a life changing experience.

We were scheduled to meet Mr. Cronkite at 2:00pm, yet we realized early on that his schedule might change because it was the day that Chet Huntley had died, and Mr. Cronkite was in the midst of writing a eulogy. Yet, with all that was going on during that busy day, he still managed to sit down with us for a full one-hour interview. We sat in his office, both of us with our yellow notepads and all our pre-written questions. He was incredibly gracious and patient as we both read our questions one at a time and answered every single one of them.

At the end of questions he looked at us and in a very calm yet direct manner asked,

"Boys, I'd like to ask you both a question."

Well, my friend and I both looked at our notepads, and quickly realized that this was NOT part of our script. As we blankly stared upward, Mr. Cronkite looked at us and said,
"Do you know what makes a good interview?"

Again, we looked down at our yellow pads, as if we might have written something during our one-hour conversation that could have given us THE answer. Scrambling as we were, we could barely even get a word out, and rather than let us struggle with a long silence, he looked at us both, and in the nicest way possible, told us what he was looking for.

"Being a good listener boys. That's what makes for a good interview."

We stared, dumbstruck and in awe.

"Being a good listener will always lead you to the next question."

My friend and I looked at each other, and realized in that very moment that Walter Cronkite just told us what we invariably had missed during our one-hour interview.

I remember leaving his office that day and feeling that I had learned an incredible lesson. It is a lesson that I have applied throughout my life.

He was known as a great and legendary newsman, but I'll always remember him from that brief meeting in March 1974 where he inspired me to listen.


Kevin Morris and Glenn Altschuler: In Your Face(book)

Review of The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal . By Ben Mezrich. 260 pages. Doubleday Publishing

Q: When is a book not a book? A: (1) When it is Facebook; (2) When it is The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal.

The soft pornmeister of yuppy nonfiction, Ben Mezrich, author of Bringing Down the House, is back to tell the story of the founding of the hugely successful social network, Facebook. In an "Author's Note," he lays out his methodology:

I do employ the technique of re-created dialogue. I have based this dialogue on the recollections of the participants of the substance of the conversations. Some...took place over long periods of time, in multiple locations, and thus some conversations and scenes were re-created and compressed. Rather than spread these conversations out, I sometimes set these scenes in likely settings.

He then acknowledges that the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, "as is his perfect right, declined to speak with me for this book despite numerous requests."

So wait, a lot of this is, like, made up? And isn't Zuckerberg the whole story? As the guy said in the movie, it's Quiz Show hearings without Van Doren -- it's Hamlet without Hamlet.

The book -- which begs to be called a novel -- is set on the campus of Harvard University, its Finals Clubs and dormitories. The characters are cardboard cut-out versions of clever and connected college kids. The story is populated with Victims and Victimizers. The central victim (and, the all but acknowledged central source) is Eduardo Saverin, the Brazilian Young Enterpriser who used some of the $300,000 he made trading stocks during his sophomore summer to bankroll the embryonic stages of Facebook. Cast as roadkill are the strapping twins, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, Varsity Crew members by day and internet entrepreneurs by avocation.

And, of course, there's Zuckerberg, a fleece-hoody and Addidas-sandals-wearing geek with a golden touch, as outwardly unemotional as Mr. Spock but ruthless in his determination to dominate. You half expect him to appear in the book sitting in a jacuzzi in Palo Alto with a laptop on his knees, telling a bevy of bodacious blondes, "Now the entire world is mine...all mine! Haha hahahahah!! Aaahhahahahaha!!!!"

Mezrich's conceit is that the Victims were lambs led to the Zucker-slaughter. The twins, he tells us, thought they had hired Mark to design their website and Eduardo thought he was his partner. Aided by the slimy Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur Sean Parker, Zuckerberg relentlessly rolls Facebook into the behemoth that it's become. Until, of course, in a final gooey twist, Parker makes a misstep and Zuckerberg zaps him. "Ahahahahah!!! Mine, all mine. Hahahahahah!!!"

Actually, there doesn't seem anything especially accidental about the accidental billionaires. If this book says anything it's that these kids wanted to make shitloads of money and decided that a social network was the way to do it. And that Zuckerberg knew what he was doing.

Mezrich misses few opportunities for pulp fiction digressions. He describes what it feels like to be drunk ("the pleasantly warm flush to his normally sallow cheeks"); the buildings at Harvard ("complete with iron bars, ornate masonry, and a great limestone boar's head carved into its arched pinnacle"); and the girls that neck with the nerds ("his hands roamed under her open white shirt, tracing the soft material of her red bra, his fingers lingering over her perky, round breasts").

With the exception of the author, who will cash in on a film version, it seems clear to us that it does no one any good to see people slammed and stereotyped with the sour-grapes recollections of their former associates. For all we know, Zuckerberg may have screwed his college colleagues. But, unlike Julia Angwin's excellent book Stealing MySpace, the only case The Accidental Billionaires can make is a case of beer.

The "invention" of Facebook raises all kinds of interesting and important questions, including the viability of contracts between students, ownership of intellectual property in an academic setting, the proper role of the University in mediating disputes, and, of course, the features that made Facebook so popular. But Mezrich isn't interested in laying them out -- he'd rather imagine the scene of Eduardo and Mark getting laid in a dorm bathroom.

In an age blessed with heavyweight business analysts -- from Michael Lewis to Ken Auletta -- it's too bad that Facebook went face down at the hands of bare-knuckled bantam Ben.



Walter Cronkite Funeral Draws Family, Friends, Colleagues

NEW YORK — Walter Cronkite was remembered as a great journalist, sailor, friend and father during services that, despite the grandeur of the setting, felt remarkably comfortable – like the man.

"I was often asked, `What he's really like?' And I would always answer, `He's just the way you hope he is,'" said Mike Ashford, a sailing comrade of more than 30 years and one of the speakers at Thursday's funeral.

Another speaker, longtime CBS newsman and "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney, recalled meeting Cronkite when they both were in England covering World War II.

"You get to know someone pretty well in a war," said Rooney, describing Cronkite as "such a good friend."

"I just feel so terrible about Walter's death that I can hardly say anything," he admitted, excused himself and left the pulpit.

The services were witnessed by a near capacity crowd at the elegant, enormous St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in midtown Manhattan, where the Cronkite family has worshipped for years.

Broadcast journalists – co-workers, competitors, successors – were on hand, including Connie Chung, Bob Schieffer, Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams, Dan Rather, Barbara Walters, Charles Gibson, Matt Lauer, Tom Brokaw, Morley Safer and Meredith Vieira. Comedians-actors Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller were also in attendance.

But there was also room for members of the public to pay their respects.

James Huntsburg and his wife, Sylvia, visiting from Canada, had heard about the funeral. Admitted to the sanctuary, they took their place in one of the pews.

Huntsburg said he grew up watching Cronkite, who, he said, "touched me."

When he heard of Cronkite's death last Friday at 92, Huntsburg and his wife hadn't yet left from their home near Toronto for their Manhattan vacation.

"I feel blessed to be here," said Huntsburg, visibly moved.

For his reporting, Cronkite came to be called "the most trusted man in America" and was widely considered the premier TV journalist of his time. He anchored "The CBS Evening News" from 1962 until 1981 – a period that included the Vietnam War, the space race, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy as well as Martin Luther King Jr. and Watergate.

Sanford Socolow shared anecdotes from his many years working with Cronkite as a producer.

"Once," Socolow recalled, "he had this bizarre idea that he would ad-lib the newscast without a script." As Cronkite's cue for the control room to roll each film clip, he would gently brush his nose with his hand.

"It was utter chaos," said Socolow. "It lasted for two days."

But repeatedly during the ceremony, Cronkite's passion for sailing his beloved boat, the Wyntje, was celebrated.

Ashford offered vivid memories of their sailing adventures.

"Walter, hunched over the helm, would catch my eye, grin, and over the racket of the wind, holler, 'Sen-sational!'"

And veteran TV producer Bill Harbach, a Cronkite friend for a half-century, recited the John Masefield poem "Sea-Fever," movingly addressed to Cronkite.

Chip Cronkite affectionately gave thanks to his father for a host of things – on the water and off.

"Thanks," he said, "for rushing to the side of the boat when a boom knocked me overboard. You stood there ready to jump in after me, and then were glad you didn't have to. Thanks for getting ready to take out my appendix yourself with a sharpened spoon on the African plains, two days' drive for a hospital. That time, I was glad you didn't have to."

A separate memorial will be held within the next few weeks at New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Cronkite is to be cremated and his remains buried next to his wife, Betsy, in the family plot at a cemetery in Kansas City, Mo.

___

Associated Press Writer Marcus Franklin contributed to this report.