Sarah Palin Is Really Enjoying The Olympics

If you are a Facebook friend of Sarah Palin’s and/or you follow her on Twitter it’s hard to miss her enthusiasm for Team USA. Now that we are more half way through the Games (the closing ceremony is this Sunday) I thought it’d be a good time to look back at her Olympic Games thus far:

YES, Team USA!
Sun at 10:42pm
Congratulations to Team USA’s men’s hockey team for a sensational game this evening. We needed this! It made us so proud to be fans of this team, this sport, and this great country. America’s Olympic team of hard working, selfless team players – with no individual superstars – is an inspiring story for all. Now on to the next chapter in this great sports story… Go Team USA!

Facebook, Blogosphere Take On “Traitor” Scott Brown

Sen. Scott Brown is making his mark as a legislative maverick whose yet-untainted heart is his compass. Too bad it’s not 2008, the Republicans don’t have anywhere near a majority in the Senate, and Republican mavericks are passé. Brown ruffled his party’s feathers as he joined fellow Republicans Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Kit Bond, and George Voinovich in voting for a Democrat-backed job stimulus bill, but despite not being alone, Brown is taking most of the hit for being the “41st vote” that never was. His vote – and the reasoning behind it: “I’m not from here; I’m from Massachusetts” – was not taken very well by a significant chunk of his supporters, and some of the biggest names on the American right are tripping over themselves to call out “told you so!”

The Facebook reaction – all too important in the post-Palin world – has already been catalogued extensively elsewhere, and it is not positive. There are all-caps and typo-laden tirades (“WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE ANY MORE RHINO’S LIKE SCOTT “TRAITOR” BROWN!”) and mixed capitalization typo-laden tirades (“VERY disappointed by your vote for another Stimulus Bill! Jobs Bill, a bill by any other name etc. etc. etc. Have any of you heard we are BROKE??”). There are a few “thank yous” here and there, but mostly from self-described liberals. Oh, and fan art – tons of fan art. The betrayed Brown team took their show to Ayla Brown’s fan page, too, though they were much better behaved commenting on her latest TV appearance. Even outside of Facebook, on the ScottBrownPres Twitter (the one that gives out free “Scott Brown for President” bumper stickers), his fans are questioning their allegiance.

The blogosphere and major conservative media outlets are reacting, if not with less despondence, at least without surprise. After all, it was precisely them who elevated him to the status that justifies the outrage of all his “fans” on Facebook. While some of the more extreme corners of the right-wing blogosphere, like World Net Daily, were busy uncovering the true liberal menace to bother with a know resident of Massachusetts, others were all too happy to point out that Brown was destined to be a traitor.  National Review’s “The Corner” contrasted Brown’s behavior with Glenn Beck’s Republican-bashing CPAC speech. Greta Van Susteren, who was slightly more enthusiastic about Brown, asked her blog readers to “check out the way Scott Brown is voting.” The Drudge Report showcased a dramatic close-up of Brown in bright red to give readers even more uneasy sleep last night. Michelle Malkin, on her end, was “not surprised. And I pointed out Brown’s moderate record several times on Fox and on this blog during the campaign.” And since it was so clear to her he was a liberal, she argues, the liberals owe Brown an apology for labeling him a conservative.

Not all of his conservative followers have counted Brown out, however. Laura Ingraham seemed willing to give him a second chance this morning on Fox and Friends, noting that, while she took issue with the fact that he considered himself the “first step to bipartisanship” (“that’s having a pretty big opinion of yourself”), he at least never lied about what he stood for. Ingraham distanced herself completely from the bill, but still noted that “he said from the beginning he was going to be his own man and forge his own way.”

Many people on the right, especially those that are not necessarily Massachusetts or even New England voters, expected Brown to be the savior of the Senate Republicans, eliminating the supermajority and existing solely to make the lives of his Democratic colleagues miserable. Shockingly, he also happens to have opinions of his own, not to mention those of his constituents (who, again, live in Massachusetts). He should be in the clear with Massachusetts voters as long as he is the 41st vote against health care – the one issue that propelled him to office. And while out-of-staters and major media personalities can have a profound effect on an election, he has a lot more to fear from his constituency.

Vudu Convinces Walmart to Pay Up: Why an Also-Ran Web Movie Service Sold for More Than $100 Million

As I wrote in January, Walmart is indeed interested in buying Vudu, the online movie service. I was off about one thing, though–the price.

Walmart (WMT) will be paying more than $100 million for the service, people familiar with the deal tell me. That’s much more than the $50 million I had previously heard Vudu was seeking and much more than industry observers thought it would get.

At this point I need to advise skepticism about reported sales prices, since they’re often inflated or include theoretical but seldom achieved “earnout” clauses. But my source tells me this will be a cash deal when it officially closes, which it hasn’t. No money has changed hands yet.

Vudu is an also-ran in the online movie business, which isn’t that much of a business to begin with. So why would the world’s biggest retailer pay a premium to get in?

Because Vudu’s management has convinced Walmart that its video-compression technology is something special, people familiar with the transaction tell me. Apparently, others think so, too: Vudu was able to attract multiple bidders. I’ve heard, but haven’t been able to confirm, that one of them was Cisco (CSCO).

Vudu has licensing deals with all the big movie studios as well, but that’s of secondary importance to Walmart, which has way more leverage with Hollywood than Apple, Netflix or Amazon (AMZN): The studios need Walmart’s physical reach much more than Walmart needs to get into the digital movie business.

Still, doesn’t hurt to make nice. Walmart and Vudu have been briefing the Hollywood studios today in advance of an official announcement, which could come later today.

Here’s some more background on the piece, from my January story:

After trying for two years to compete with Netflix’s DVD-by-mail business, Walmart gave up in 2005 and agreed to send its customers directly to Netflix (NFLX). In 2007, with the backing of all the big studios and tech help from Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), the retailer tried to launch a download service, a la Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes. But it abandoned that effort in less than a year.

Meanwhile, sources say Vudu has been seeking a buyer–in the form of either a big-box retailer or an electronics manufacturer–for some time without success. Internet executive Mark Jung ran the company for a year but left in November 2008; founder Alain Rossmann became interim CEO when Jung left and has kept the title since then.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Vudu has raised at least $21 million from Benchmark Capital and Greylock Partners.

UPDATE: Walmart has officially announced the deal, noting that it is expected to close within a few weeks. No word on price except that it won’t be material.

Walmart Announces Acquisition of Digital Entertainment Provider, VUDU
Company takes next step to enhance home entertainment and information delivery options for consumers

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Feb. 22, 2010 — Walmart announced today a definitive agreement to acquire VUDU, Inc., a leading provider of digital technologies and services that enable the delivery of entertainment content directly to broadband high-definition TVs and Blu-ray players. The deal is expected to close within the next few weeks.

VUDU is a revolutionary service, built into a growing number of broadband-ready TVs and Blu-ray players, that delivers instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows directly through the television. Customers with broadband Internet access and an Internet-ready TV or Blu-ray player can rent or purchase movies, typically in high-definition, without needing a connected computer or cable/satellite service. New movies and features will be added continually, enabling customers to enjoy a product that continues to become more robust long after they have left the store.

“The real winner here is the customer,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman for Walmart. “Combining VUDU’s unique digital technology and service with Walmart’s retail expertise and scale will provide customers with unprecedented access to home entertainment options as they migrate to a digital environment.”

VUDU has licensing agreements with almost every major movie studio and dozens of independent and international distributors to offer approximately 16,000 movies, including the largest 1080p library of video on-demand movies available anywhere. Via their broadband Internet connection, users have the ability to rent or buy titles and begin viewing them instantly.

VUDU will continue developing entertainment and information delivery solutions such as VUDU Apps, a platform that delivers hundreds of streaming Internet applications and services to TVs and Blu-ray players with built-in Internet connectivity. VUDU has partnered with some of the leading names in Internet and media entertainment to offer applications on its platform including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, The New York Times and The Associated Press.

“We are excited about the opportunity to take our company’s vision to the next level,” said Edward Lichty, VUDU executive vice president. “VUDU’s services and Apps platform will give Walmart a powerful new vehicle to offer customers the content they want in a way that expands the frontier of quality, value and convenience.”

VUDU, based in Santa Clara, Calif., will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walmart. The company is not disclosing financial terms of the agreement as the acquisition is not material to its first quarter earnings for fiscal year 2011.

MTV’s Return to Disco Gets Early Facebook Debut

UPDATE 5:30 PM PST: Due to technical issues, tonight’s screening was postponed to next Monday at 7 PM EST/4 PM PST. The screening will stream on

You know what the new MTV generation just loves? The disco nightclub scene. I know! I was surprised to hear that too. But why would MTV make an original direct-to-cable movie about some attractive young people transforming a club into a disco in order to achieve their dreams if that weren’t the case?

Turn The Beat Around, starring a cast of mostly unknowns, premieres next week on MTV, but dance movie fans eager to hear hip-hop covers of disco classics will get a sneak peek tonight via Facebook before the film premieres on TV (and, presumably, as VOD content on on February 26.

Ustream is working with MTV to debut the film in its entirety starting at 7 PM EST/4 PM PST (a popular time for starting live web broadcasts recently). The preview is not getting much play on MTV’s official site, but it does have a Facebook event page set up to guide interested fans who cannot wait to the movie.

Watching the trailer (which includes our young heroine asking her mom to teach her some old disco moves), I have to say that thanks to my pre-established love for dance movies, I’m pretty intrigued. And I only have to wait another few hours to see if the dancing lives up to John Travolta’s old moves.

Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required): Is Facebook Video Chat the Future of Social Media?

Family Guy’s Andrea Fay Friedman: ‘Sarah Palin Has No Sense Of Humor’

One can only imagine the sort of response this is going to elicit from Sarah Palin’s all-powerful Facebook page! Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress (Life Goes On, Law And Order, Saving Grace) who played the character with Down syndrome on this week’s much-talked about Family Guy, and who actually has Down syndrome in real life, has responded to Sarah Palin’s wrathful criticism of the show in an email to the New York Times. Sarah Palin has no sense of humor!

I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line “I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska” was very funny. I think the word is “sarcasm.”

In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life.

Sarcasm, satire…all forms of funny Sarah Palin may or may not understand and/or appreciate. Also, SNAP. However, it does not stop there. As pointed out by Gawker, who picked it up from the blog Palingates, the NYT may have left out the best part. According to Palingates this is how the full email read:

My name is Andrea Fay Friedman. I was born with Down syndrome. I played the role of Ellen on the “Extra Large Medium” episode of Family Guy that was broadcast on Valentine’s day. Although they gave me red hair on the show, I am really a blonde. I also wore a red wig for my role in ” Smudge” but I was a blonde in “Life Goes On”. I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor. I thought the line “I am the daughter of the former governor of Alaska” was very funny. I think the word is “sarcasm”.

In my family we think laughing is good. My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life.

My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.

Emphasis mine. Also, yowzer. Palingates has also posted a copy of the email to back up their claim of what the NYT allegedly cut. I say allegedly, because I would not exactly classify Palingates as the most reliable source of information for all things Sarah Palin. Also, the tone of that last line is not all that consistent with the rest of the letter, nor is it all that consistent with the entire Q&A with Friedman the Times features in their Arts Blog. Though, lord knows it’s the sort of thing that’s red meat for Andrew Sullivan, who has long felt (he’s not the only one) Palin was carting out son Trig for her own benefit. I’ve emailed the NYT to confirm that they did, in fact, remove that line and will update when I hear back. In the meantime, some more from the Q&A:

Q: Do you agree with what she and her daughter Bristol were saying, that the character and the jokes were insulting to people with Down syndrome?
A: It’s not really an insult. I was doing my role, I’m an actor. I’m entitled to say something. It was really funny. I was laughing at it. I had a nice time doing voiceover. It was my first time doing a voiceover, and I had fun.