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Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo TV

The Supreme Court has ruled for broadcasters and against Aereo TV in the battle over Aereo's tiny antennas which allow people to watch live TV broadcasts over the Internet. The opinion is here. (Background is here.)

The Court today ruled (with Justices Alito, Scalia and Thomas dissenting) that Aereo's service is one that transmits performances of copyrighted works to the public. It rejected Aereo's arguments that it merely supplies equipment that allows others to do so. [More...]

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"Senor de los Cielos" Second Season Begins

"Senor de los Cielos", Telemundo's series, based on Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes, also known as "Lord of the Skies", starts its second season tonight. In the series, his name is Auerlio Casillas.

Although Carrillo Fuentes supposedly died on the operating table in 1997 while undergoing plastic surgery to change his appearance, he rises from the dead in the second series and returns to reclaim his business, his family and his assets. Also "returning from the dead" this season is his chief mistress and fellow drug trafficker, Monica Robles.

The network will be all Senor de Los Cielos all night. At 7pm ET, there will be a program “En La Sombra del Narco,” "a one-hour special about the reach of Mexican and Colombian drug cartels into US territory." One of those interviewed will be Juan Diego Espinoza Ramirez, alias El Tigre, the Colombian trafficker and boyfriend of Sandra Beltran, who was an early link between the Colombian and the Mexican traffickers.[More...]

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Greenwald's New Book on Snowden

Glenn Greenwald has written a new book, No Place to Hide, that is getting great reviews. It's about the chaos in the hours and days following the Edward Snowden disclosures. The Guardian has an excerpt here. From Amazon's page on the book:

Now for the first time, Greenwald fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity ten-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSA’s unprecedented abuse of power with never-before-seen documents entrusted to him by Snowden himself.


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Monica's Back, Did You Miss Her?

Monica Lewinsky is back in the news, this time of her own making. She's decided to tell her story after 20 years of silence in the new Vanity Fair.

She wants to set the record straight and take back control of her life. Her goal, she says:

Her current goal, she says, “is to get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums.”


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White House Correspondents Dinner 2014

President Obama is about to speak.

Watching on TV, it seemed like a very lackluster affair tonight. Very little glamour and everyone looked tired, with the exception of Arianna Huffington, who looked terrific and was very animated.

Maybe it's because we're getting towards the end of Obama's "reign." During the dinner, he kept shaking his head "no" when the server wanted to give him food. He rubbed his eyes. He perked up and started smiling just before he was about to speak, when a flock of males all came up to greet him like groupies. Interesting that no females were fawning over him.

Is anyone else watching? I doubt I'll make it through Joel McHale. (Update: I watched him, comments below):[More...]

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Comcast Announces Divestiture of Some Markets

Comcast today announced that it will divest 3.9 million subscribers of Comcast and Time Warner to Charter Communications and a new spinoff company, after its planned acquisition of Time Warner.

Contrary to earlier reports, Comcast is holding onto Colorado. Most of the divestitures are in the Midwest and South and currently belong to Time Warner.

The changes would occur after approval of the Comcast-Time Warner deal, and are intended to increase the likelihood of the deal's approval.

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Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Aereo Case

Here is the transcript of today's oral argument in the Supreme Court in the case of ABC v. Aereo. Aereo is a broadcast tv streaming service that for a small monthly fee, allows computer and mobile device users to access their network of antennas and watch shows that are broadcast on free over the air channels in their area. Not surprisingly, the TV networks want to shut them down.

The networks claim Aereo violates copyright laws. Aereo says all it does it provide access to the antennas and the user decides what to watch.

The legal issues are very technical. One has to do with whether Aereo's service falls under the "public performance" or "reproduction" part of the copyright statute. If the networks are right, then Aereo is in violation of the law for not paying re-transmission fees to the networks. (Networks earn $3 billion a year in re-transmission fees from cable and satellite providers.) [More...]

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R.I.P. Ruben "Hurricane" Carter" (Open Thread)

Bob Dylan - Hurricane - 1975 Live by movisfree

R.I.P Ruben "Hurricane" Carter, who died this weekend in Toronto of complications from prostate cancer at age 76.

Carter spent 19 years in prison for a triple killing in New Jersey before a federal judge ruled in 1985 that he and John Artis, who was with Carter on the night of the shootings, did not receive fair trials and released them.

Artis was with Carter when he died early Sunday morning.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Guardian and WaPo Win Pulitzers for NSA Coverage

The Guardian and Washington Post have won gold medal Pulitzer Prizes for their coverage of the National Security Agency's secret electronic surveillance program. The announcement is here. The full list of winners, with citations, is here.

For a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site through the use of its journalistic resources, including the use of stories, editorials, cartoons, photographs, graphics, videos, databases, multimedia or interactive presentations or other visual material, a gold medal.

Awarded to The Washington Post for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.


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Steven Colbert to Replace David Letterman

Late night TV viewers are about to get a new choice -- Steven Colbert has been tapped to replace the retiring David Letterman.

Good choice.

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"The Good Wife": How Not to Handle a Major Character's Departure

The creators of "The Good Wife" decided that the best way to handle Will Gardner's decision to leave the show was to have him killed by a client at the courthouse. Here's their explanation. Poor choice.

Even worse, now the show will bring back Michael J. Fox, in his role as a sleazy lawyer, and Stockard Channing, as Alicia's irrelevant mother. And judging from the preview for next week, Alicia and Peter will recreate The Taming of the Shrew.

The show has been off its game most of this season. The "new firm" storyline went nowhere, they turned Eli Gold into a neurotic mess and they neutered Galinda by pairing her with milk-toast Carey. The new characters, like the ethics lady, and Will's yoga teacher girlfriend, were one-dimensional and embarrassingly demeaning. The only thing we were spared (for the most part) this season were Alicia's unappealing teenage kids. [More...]

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R.I.P. L'Wren Scott

Update: Mick Jagger has released a statement on his website, which now features a photo of L'Wren.

I am still struggling to understand how my lover and best friend could end her life in this tragic way.

We spent many wonderful years together and had made a great life for ourselves.

She had great presence and her talent was much admired, not least by me.

I have been touched by the tributes that people have paid to her, and also the personal messages of support that I have received.

I will never forget her, Mick


Fashion designer L'Wren Scott, long time significant other of Mick Jagger, was found dead in an apparent suicide in her New York apartment this morning. [More....]

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Comcast First to Air Medical Marijuana Ad

Latest example of our rapidly changing times when it comes to marijuana: Comcast accepted and has begun airing an ad for medical marijuana. The ad is by MarijuanaDoctors and will be seen on a variety of channels between 10 pm and 5 am.

The commercial draws a parallel between a “shady” street dealer attempting to push “unsafe” sushi to unsuspecting buyers, and medical marijuana patients being forced to obtain their medication in a similar fashion. MarijuanaDoctors.com draws this parallel in an attempt to prove the severity of consulting physicians in order to obtain medical marijuana for terminal & debilitating medical conditions where the doctor may recommend that the benefits of medical marijuana outweigh the risks of in order to improve a patients overall health.

You can view the ad below: [More...]

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Oscars Thread

It's time for the Oscars. Up for Best Picture:

  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Nebraska
  • Philomena
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

Here's a thread for your thoughts.

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Glenn Greenwald's New Journalism Venture

Say hello to The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald's new journalism website, published by First Look Media and funded by EBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

While announcing the formation of First Look in October, Omidyar said he is contributing $250 million to pursue independent journalism, and tapped Greenwald to lead editorial operations.

One of today's two articles is about the NSA's role in the targeted assassination program.

The list of authors and staff is impressive -- it includes Marcy Wheeler (Empty Wheel) as Senior Policy Analyst, and Peter Maass, and Dan Froomkin as senior writers. Reporters include Ryan Gallagher, Ryan Devereaux, and Murtaza Hussain.

I hope they are a great success. We need more independent journalism ventures like this.

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