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Archive for June, 2010

BOOBGATE: Oregon Police Reopen Investigation Into Al Gore Breast Groping Allegation

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

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ASSOCIATED PRESS: The police are reopening an investigation into a Portland massage therapist’s allegations that former Vice President Al Gore groped her at a hotel in 2006. In a brief statement Wednesday, the Portland police did not say why they were reopening the investigation. They earlier said they considered the case closed because there was no evidence. The masseuse told the police that Mr. Gore made unwanted advances during an appointment on Oct. 24, 2006, at a downtown hotel. He was in Portland to deliver a speech on climate change. Last week, the Portland police said that the woman’s lawyer came to them in 2006 but that the masseuse canceled appointments with detectives. The case was reopened in 2009, when detectives interviewed the woman. They determined that there was insufficient evidence. MORE

NATIONAL ENQUIRER: AL GORE SEX SCANDAL ACCUSER reveals shocking NEW EVIDENCE  — ONLY to the NATIONAL ENQUIRER in a bombshell world exclusive interview! “AL GORE is a pervert and sexual predator,” declares MOLLY HAGERTY, 54, the massage therapist who told Portland, Ore. police that the ex-VICE President sexually assaulted her. “He’s not what people think he is – he’s a sick man!”  When the ENQUIRER gore-nat-enq.jpgfirst broke the world-exclusive story last week her name was withheld as the victim of a possible sex crime.  NOW, Hagerty has bravely gone public – AND on the record-  only to The ENQUIRER –  to demand police launch a full investigation. “I want justice served,” Hagerty said as she reveals the key witness who could blow the case wide open, the secret hotel video surveillance and  the DNA evidence! MORE

OREGON LIVE: So, how much did the National Enquirer pay for the allegations by a Portland massage therapist against former Vice President Al Gore  — $1 million? How about — $0. Yep. That’s what the tabloid says. Zero. Zilch. Nada. In an interview in the Washington Post, the Enquirer’s executive editor Barry Levine says the publication did not pay the woman — or anyone for the story. In fact, he says the therapist came to them, seeking $1 million for her allegations of being sexually assaulted by Gore during a massage session at the Hotel Lucia in October 2006. […] The National Enquirer may have broken the story this week, but the Portland Tribune got the first hot tip in early 2007. What’s up with that? Cover-up? Not so reports Salon.com. The free weekly spent a year investigating the story but found, in the end, that what it dug up just didn’t pass journalistic muster. “The truth is we very much wanted to report the story on Al Gore,” Mark Garber, executive editor of the Tribune tells Salon.com. “We worked on it for a year so that we could report the story. There’s nothing we would have liked more.” The Tribune’s police reporter talked to the victim, interviewed Gore handlers and even posted ads on Craigslist in cities he had visited, looking for other potential victims. No one turned up. MORE

SALON: Last week, Salon spoke with the executive editor of the Portland Tribune, a free weekly newspaper that learned of Hagerty’s charges more than three years ago. The editor, Mark Garber, detailed the fairly exhaustive (and, at times, creative) efforts that the Tribune made to verify the story. Ultimately, after a two-year probe, the paper declined to print a single word on the matter. “There were things that we discovered throughout our investigation that raised serious questions in our mind,” Garber told Salon. MORE

GORE FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: “Further investigation into this matter will only benefit Mr. Gore. The Gores cannot comment on every defamatory, misleading, and inaccurate story generated by tabloids. Mr. Gore unequivocally and emphatically denied this accusation when he first learned of its existence three years ago. He stands by that denial.”

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SCRAPPLE TV NEWS: The Week In Weed

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
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AP goofs on Philly Mag’s cover story blaring the no-shit news that marijuana is, like, popular.

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VALLEY OF THE SHADOW: A Town Without Pity

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

[Photos by JEFF DEENEY]

EDITOR’S NOTE: This first ran on Phawker on August 26th, 2008. Sadly, it’s become no less current in the two years since we first published it.

deeneythumbnail.jpg BY JEFF DEENEY For the next few weeks, the focus of Valley of the Shadow will shift to Chester, Delaware County. In 2008, Philadelphia experienced a significant reduction in homicides. That has not been the case in Chester. In fact, this month Chester saw six homicides in a single week, which for a city of only 35,000 is a staggering number. Before starting in on a series about Chester I sat down with someone acquainted with the city’s underworld, a former junkie and mid-level Delco drug runner called Cupcake. Cupcake spent the better part of 10 years in Chester buying weed and coke that he in turn took to the greener pastures of Nether Providence, and turned a pretty profit supplying the privileged kids at Strath Haven High School and later at Swarthmore College fraternity parties full of Polo-sweatered silver spooners. Cupcake had family living in Chester’s notorious Bennett Homes (now Matapos Hills), so he had a foot on either side of the tracks, so to speak.

Fully understanding the story of Chester requires stepping back and placing it within the larger framework of Delaware County, which became increasingly well-to-do over the decades that the small city languished. There is an obvious race angle here, with Chester being 75 percent black and overwhelmingly poor and the rest of the county being 80 percent white and firmly middle class. The tony town of Wallingford is only three-and-a-half miles up the road; I’m sure a lot of Wallingford residents aren’t entirely comfortable about that, though I’m sure it’s not considered good form to say so.

Cupcake’s story of running drugs from Chester into the suburbs confirms one of Delco’s dirty secrets, that the cocaine over which poor black kids in Chester are routinely killing each other often makes its way into the noses of wealthier whites up-county who never see where their drugs really come from. Cupcake also corroborated several unsavory anecdotes I’d heard growing up in Delco about sundown-town style policing, where young black men passing through white towns on foot after dark were were given a police escort to the Chester city limits. He also had personal experience with the reverse scenario, where young white kids trying to buy drugs are escorted out of Chester with a simple admonishment from the cops to stay on their side of the tracks from now on.

Chester is broken down geographically into the Eastside and Westside; it’s hard to say which is worse because both are pretty thoroughly decimated. Chester currently has a population that’s roughly half of what it was at its peak in the 1950s, and the number of crumbling, abandoned houses that can be found on just about every block reflects this exodus. The Westside sprawls a little more, where the Eastside is fairly condensed over a smaller area. The open spaces give the Westside a less claustrophobic feel, and it also has a greater number of blocks cared for by old heads who have been there for decades. You’ll find a lot of elaborate front yard gardens and decorated patios on the Westside. However, much of Chester’s recent violence has been concentrated on the Westside, which is also home to a number of public housing projects notorious for their high concentrations of dope and guns.

(more…)

TONITE: Dumpster Diving

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

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It’s that time of the month again, folks, when the Dumpsta Players, that intrepid troupe of dragsters-gone-wild, lift up their skirts and give us a little cud to chew on. (hot!). Our story opens with 2010’s Prom-trash queen and insatiable tramp Mrs.Miller out on her usual twittering binge. It doesn’t take long before she stumbles upon a Tea Party with Commie-Hater Don and Horely Tates, and not at the sweaty man-pit she was expecting. Crestfallen, Mrs. Miller hops into her Hot Tub Time Machine and sets the way back widget to 1776, where the real party must be—or so she thinks. Instead, Paul Revere and Betsy Ross expose fallacies of American history with some secret intel and place it in the cum-stained hands of Mrs.Miller. Can the pill-popping trollop d’jour return to the present and change it for good? And where do Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama fit into all of this? Clash of the Titans, anyone? We’ll find out tonight, at the Dumpsta Players, “Mrs. Miller’s COFFEE, ME OR TEA PARTY!” – AARON STELLA

Tonight at Bob and Barbara’s, 1509 South Street. Doors open at 10pm. Show starts at 11pm-sharp! Cover’s $1.99 (Recession proof baby).

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KHYBER PAST: Indian Prime Minister Discussed David Headley Revelations With Obama At G-20

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

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[Illustrations by ALEX FINE]

SIFY NEWS: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told US President Barack Obama that Pakistan should to act on information provided by Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Coleman Headley in order to stop anti-India terrorist activities. Raising the issue during his meeting on Sunday with Obama on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit, the prime minister [pictured, below left] said Pakistan should show its commitment to stopping anti-Indian terrorist activities to promote dialogue between the two neighbours. “They spoke about the ongoing interrogations about the activities of David Coleman Headley and said that both India and the US have mutual interest that information that is coming out of this interrogation is taken seriously by Pakistan with a view to controlling and eliminating terrorist elements on its territory,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told media persons here. MORE

prime-minister-manmohan-singh.thumbnail.jpgTHE ECONOMIC TIMES: India has categorically told Pakistan to catch hold of at least six 26/11 handlers and controllers — including two suspected officers of Pakistan Army, identified as Brigadier Riaz and Major Abdur Rehman — who continue to have a free run on its soil.  During his recent visit to Islamabad, Union home minister P Chidambaram sought immediate action against the Pakistan-based handlers of those who executed the Mumbai attacks — Sajid Mir, Major Abdur Rehman alias Pasha, Brigadier Riaz, Abu Qahafa, Abu al Qama and Abu Hamza. Armed with descriptions of these men furnished by Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley during his recent questioning in the US by an NIA team — detailing their physical appearance, possible location and position in the LeT-ISI hierarchy — Mr Chidambaram suggested that Pakistan’s FIA make a sincere effort to seek them out and place them under investigation. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: On the afternoon of Nov. 26, 2008, death came ashore at the Indian coastal city of Mumbai in the form of 10 Pakistani assassins aboard a rubber dinghy. Young and cocky, the killers were dressed in bluejeans and cargo pants, pumped up on steroids and ripped from months of headley_2.jpgrigorous physical training. They brandished AK-47s and carried backpacks loaded with grenades and ammo. When fisherman asked them what was going on, the gunmen told them in fluent Marathi to, in effect, go fuck themselves. The fishermen reported the incident to police who, tragically, paid it no mind.

Over the course of the next 50 hours, the gunmen would kill 173 people—including six Americans—and injure hundreds in a vicious three-day wave of violence, according to the Department of Justice. They split up into small groups and fanned out across the city, navigating by GPS and keeping in constant cell phone contact with their minders back in Pakistan. They blew up taxis, tossed grenades into crowds, murdered police officers and indiscriminately mowed down bystanders at a crowded cafe, movie theater and a train station with a blizzard of hot lead. They stormed two five-star hotels, set them on fire, took hostages and slowly tortured, disfigured and then executed them one by one.

One team of gunmen entered a women and children’s hospital with the intent of killing as many patients as they could, only to be thwarted by hospital staff that had locked down certain wards. Once inside, the gunmen again asked the staff their religious affiliation. When one man answered ‘Hindu’, they shot him in the head. Another team took over a Jewish center called the Mumbai Chabad House, where they killed six hostages, including a rabbi and his pregnant wife. The gunmen injected cocaine, LSD and steroids to enable them to fight police for 50 hours straight without food or sleep. They smiled while they killed, according to eyewitnesses. MORE

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EARLY WORD: Viva Las Vegas!

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

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Jeebus! It’s like 1995 never stopped!

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SCRAPPLE TV NEWS: With AP Ticker

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
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AP cracks wise about hospital infections, the Feds gunning to put Fumo in an iron maiden, and Larry Platt’s testicles. Plus sports: Phils suckage, Vick’s ” ‘All White’ birthday party shooting, and Tiger to take on 18 local holes. Only watch if you like to laugh.

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MEDIA: King Of The Softballs To Go Dark

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

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[photo by RAY FISHER]

LOS ANGELES TIMES: After a quarter century as host of “Larry King Live,” the centerpiece of CNN’s prime-time lineup and a required stamping ground for striving politicians and contrite celebrities, the 76-year-old announced Tuesday that he will be leaving the program this fall. In a nod to how much the medium has changed since King began broadcasting in 1957, he broke the news himself on Twitter. “The daily grind is tough,” King said in a phone call moments after his tweet went out. “And there are aspects of it, you know, when you’ve got to do tabloid shows, which is the nature of the business, you’ve got to do the girl that’s missing in Aruba. It’s hard to make the case that that is major news, but that’s what news is today. And my curiosity runs to that, but not nightly.” MORE

THE LARRY KING ENIGMA: Intrigued by the notion of a super secret society controlling world events, King began a 15 year quest to uncover truth.   While seemingly interviewing celebrities (usually older ones) with his trademark softball questions, King was really trying to lull them into a false sense of security in hopes of another Randall-esque gaffe.   King soon realized that the Supremacy was probably aware of his search, and in 1964,larrykingmugshot.jpg enlisted the aid of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, most famous for his investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.   King and Garrison launched an investigation into the Supremacy under the cover of Garrison’s Kennedy Conspiracy investigation.   Their investigation led them to the brink of discovering not only the membership but the true purpose of the Supremacy, when suddenly King was arrested in 1971 for passing bad checks in Florida.  However, this arrest was merely a cover-up for the Supremacy’s true purpose, the recruitment of Larry King.   In reality, King and Garrison were abducted by Randall and Klugman in late 1970.   Randall was still embarrassed by his gaffe in 1958 where he divulged the existence of the Supremacy and was determined to silence King.  Randall quickly dispatched Garrison and had him replaced by a Lorne Green-style android (see Total Supremacy hierarchy).   For King, however, Klugman, had a better idea. He concocted a plan to use King as a celebrity interviewer/mainstream voice for the Supremacy.   King was asked to continue with his trademark easy questions to whichever dead or impersonated celebrity the Supremacy wanted to use to spread subliminal signals over the airwaves.   In reward for his loyalty, King was offered a position in the Supremacy (possibly within the top 10 slots).   King readily accepted the deal, and to this day continues to be broadcast nightly on his CNN Talkshow. Some of his favorite and most consistently re-occurring guests over the years have, ironically, been Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.  King has also interviewed every one of the Masters from Nixon onward.   In fact, to this day, the only confirmed Supremacy members not interviewed by Larry king are Orson Welles and Lorne Greene. MORE

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WILL THE REAL LADY GAGA PLEASE STAND UP: Matt Taibbi Calls Out CBS’ Lara Logan And Her Notion Of The Media As The Obedient Lapdog Of Power

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

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MATT TAIBBI: See, according to Lara Logan [pictured, below left], not only are reporters not supposed to disclose their agendas to sources at all times, but in the case of covering the military, one isn’t even supposed to have an agenda that might upset the brass! Why? Because there is an “element of trust” that you’re supposed to have when you hang around the likes of a McChrystal. You cover a war commander, he’s got to be able to trust that you’re not going to embarrass him. Otherwise, how can he possibly feel confident that the right message will get out?

lara-logan.jpgTrue, the Pentagon does have perhaps the single largest public relations apparatus on earth – spending $4.7 billion on P.R. in 2009 alone and employing 27,000 people, a staff nearly as large as the 30,000-person State Department – but is that really enough to ensure positive coverage in a society with armed with a constitutionally-guaranteed free press?

And true, most of the major TV outlets are completely in the bag for the Pentagon, with two of them (NBC/GE and Logan’s own CBS, until recently owned by Westinghouse, one of the world’s largest nuclear weapons manufacturers) having operated for years as leaders in both the broadcast media and weapons-making businesses.

But is that enough to guarantee a level playing field? Can a general really feel safe that Americans will get the right message when the only tools he has at his disposal are a $5 billion P.R. budget and the near-total acquiescence of all the major media companies, some of whom happen to be the Pentagon’s biggest contractors?

Does the fact that the country is basically barred from seeing dead bodies on TV, or the fact that an embedded reporter in a war zone literally cannot matt-taibbi.jpgtake a shit without a military attaché at his side (I’m not joking: while embedded at Camp Liberty in Iraq, I had to be escorted from my bunk to the latrine) really provide the working general with the security and peace of mind he needs to do his job effectively?

Apparently not, according to Lara Logan. Apparently in addition to all of this, reporters must also help out these poor public relations underdogs in the Pentagon by adhering to an “unspoken agreement” not to embarrass the brass, should they tilt back a few and jam their feet into their own mouths in front of a reporter holding a microphone in front of their faces. MORE

HUFFPO: Matt Taibbi [pictured, above right] was responding to Logan’s appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday, during which she trashed Rolling Stone writer Michael Hastings for violating an “unspoken agreement” and publishing anecdotes in his article on General McChrystal that she feels were meant to be off-the-record. Logan also maligned Hastings’ methods of gaining McChrystal’s trust in order to facilitate their interview. MORE

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PREVIOUSLY: AFGHANISLAM: McChrystal In Dutch With The White House For Loose Cannon-isms In Rolling Stone Profile

PREVIOUSLY: McChrystal Fired Over Rolling Stone Flap

gagaga.jpgFORBES: Lady Gaga can thank Virgin Mobile, Polaroid, Monster and Viva Glam for helping her earn $62 million between June 2009 and June 2010. The fact that her music is insanely popular doesn’t hurt either. She earned $31 million from a 106-date tour and her video for Telephone (featuring Beyoncé) has been viewed 90 million times. Gaga’s Internet presence is so strong that she ranks first on our list for Web hits and social networking. With a new album in the works Gaga should have a long life on the Celebrity 100 list. MORE

ALSO: Steve Carell, the bumbling star of NBC’s “The Office,” plans to leave the series at the end of the next season, potentially dealing a setback to the network as it tries to rejuvenate its prime time schedule. “The Office” is NBC’s No. 1 prime-time show among the 18- to 49-year-old viewers that advertisers value, in part because of Mr. Carell, who has played the boss of Dunder Mifflin, Michael Scott, since the show’s debut in 2005. In recent years, it has been a rare bright spot on the schedule of the low-rated network. In separate interviews last weekend, Mr. Carell seemed to confirm reports that he would leave when his contract expires at the end of the 2010-11 season. MORE

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SCRAPPLE TV NEWS: Life Lessons

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
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Your life coach AP Ticker on why he loves, loves, loves sum, sum, summertime!

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SIDEWALKING: Top Of The World

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

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Top of the Mellon Bank Building, 18th and Market, 11:30 AM yesterday, by JEFF FUSCO

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FAITH NO MORE: I Started A Joke

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

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KILL YOUR TELEVISION: How To Cut The Cord

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

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PBS: Anyone who gets cable TV or satellite in the U.S. has noticed a pronounced trend over the years: their monthly bill keeps going up. Sure, you can get lots of channels, plus HD channels and DVR functions, but those usually cost extra. According to research from Centris (PDF), the average digital cable bill was nearly $75 last year, and the average monthly satellite TV bill was $69. What’s causing those bills to skyrocket? A lack of competition among cable and satellite providers, and the rising costs of programming. Like other traditional media, TV networks (both cable and broadcast) are being squeezed by lower advertising income, and think they can just keep raising the cable bills indefinitely. Thanks to the rise of Netflix, Hulu and hardware like the Roku box and Apple TV, cutting the cord to cable TV doesn’t mean cutting yourself off from your favorite shows and channels. While past experiments at bringing together the web and TV (such as WebTV) have failed, the recent recession has pushed people to pursue their own convergence projects that enable them to watch web content on their TV. Depending on various living room setups and viewing habits, making the experiencing-technical.jpgchangeover from cable to online TV can be complex and maddening. But you’re sure to save a bundle of money.The first thing to do when cutting the cord is list the shows you watch regularly, and your favorite TV channels. Next, do a little online research to find out whether those shows appear on the channel’s streaming sites (such as NBC.com, CBS.com, etc.) or on Hulu or YouTube. MORE

WIRED: The stage is set for a showdown between television networks and cable/satellite TV services, thanks to the internet. It won’t happen overnight, but your monthly cable or satellite bill could eventually be replaced by a monthly bill from Hulu, an online service that streams TV shows on demand. For $10 a month, viewers will reportedly have access to a wider selection of shows than the free, ad-supported version Hulu currently offers. The service would work on PCs and specialized devices such as the iPad, videogame consoles and set-top boxes. The company plans to test a version of this “Hulu Plus” subscription, an expected development, with select users as early as this month to find out whether they’ll will bite, according to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal and All Things Digital. In order for consumers to pay for a video service like that, it will need to be reasonably comprehensive. So it’s no accident that the same week Hulu’s subscription plans came to light, a Bloomberg report surfaced that the company is talking with CBS, Viacom and Time Warner’s television studio divisions to add their shows. That would be on top of a line-up that already includes “Fox, NBC Universal, ABC, ABC Family, Biography, Lionsgate, experiencing-technical.jpgEndemol, MGM, MTV Networks, National Geographic, Digital Rights Group, Paramount, PBS, Sony Pictures Television, Warner Bros. and more,” including Wired.com. MORE

UPDATE: Online video site Hulu has launched a $9.99-per-month paid section, under pressure from its media company parents to generate a profit. A new tab opened up on the site directing users to Hulu Plus, a section that shows current season episodes of “Glee,” “The Office,” “House,” and other shows from broadcasters ABC, Fox and NBC. The service also allows viewing of multiple back seasons of shows. MORE

ARS TECHNICA: Rodriguez also argues that the economics of the media world that Fisher hopes for have yet to be worked out, to put it mildly. By and large, Hulu programming has already been shown somewhere else first, and that’s where it made its money via access fees or advertising. As for those iTunes TV pay-per-downloads, they can add up pretty fast, Rodriguez notes. Even Fisher gets around to acknowledging this in a footnote at the end of his article. “Of course, I know that cable is cheaper because it bundles,” he writes. “Five hours of TV a day multiplied by $2 per hour-long show would mean $300 a month on cable.” And that, says CableTechTalk, is why pleasant dreams of consumers “canceling their subscriptions or deciding not to pay their cable bill, meanwhile educating each other on how to find other ways to get the same programming,” are futile. “You can’t duplicate your cable line-up online for free. Not yet,” Rodriguez reacts. “And I have difficulty seeing a future in which you will.”

Therein lies the rub. As I’ve argued before in the case of podcasting, the millions of Americans struggling to get themselves and their kids through this recession haven’t got the time to sort through all this crazy stuff—much less sit around on chat boards “educating each other on how to find other ways experiencing-technical.jpgto get the same programming.” That’s a huge reason why cable TV prevails. It’s expensive, but it offers lots of choices in a predictable format at a relatively accessible price.

So if advocates of a true non-cable- or telco-centric video model want that vision to prevail, they’re going to have to look to the state as well as the market for solutions. Everyone gets all touchy about the government creating business models, but let’s face it, that’s how it has worked from the beginning. In the formative years of television, the Federal Communications Commission discouraged the expansion of cable service, arguing that all consumers should get access to free TV broadcasting first. Then in the 1970s and 1980s Congress rewrote the rules, unleashing cable’s power. In 1996 it revised the regulations again, encouraging cable to migrate to the Internet.  MORE

RELATED: A Groundbreaking Innovation In The Field Of Obsolescence

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