Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 10, 2009



Independent, UK
- New York's attorney general says that Tagged.com stole the identities of more than 60 million internet users worldwide - by sending emails that raided their private accounts. Andrew Cuomo said he plans to sue the social networking website for deceptive marketing and invasion of privacy. "This company stole the address books and identities of millions of people," Cuomo said in a statement. "Consumers had their privacy invaded and were forced into the embarrassing position of having to apologize to all their email contacts for Tagged's unethical - and illegal - behavior." Started in 2004 by Harvard math students Greg Tseng and Johann Schleier-Smith, Tagged calls itself a "premier social-networking destination." The California-based company claims to be the third-largest social networking site after Facebook and MySpace, with 80 million registered users. Cuomo said Tagged acquired most of them fraudulently, sending unsuspecting recipients emails that urged them to view private photos posted by friends. When recipients tried to access the photos, Cuomo said they would in effect become new members of the site - without ever seeing any photos. Recipients' email address books would then be lifted, the attorney general said.


- In a case in New York one juror accused another of threatening to cut off his finger. The allegation was made on the sixth day of deliberations in the Manhattan federal court trial of a lawyer accused of involvement in the fraud of collapsed commodities broker Refco Finance. "In a loud and belligerent manner" the juror "threatened to 'cut off your finger,'" the juror wrote in a note to the jury foreman that was included in a court transcript. "She made that statement twice. In the same tirade she stated, 'I will have my husband take care of you,'" said the note, which was given to U.S. District Court Judge Robert Patterson. The judge denied a mistrial request by defence counsel William Schwartz who spoke of the "chilling effect of the altercation on the other jurors." The note said the threat was made on Wednesday. The 12 jurors were still deliberating on Thursday. In a separate note the jury foreman told the judge that he believed the "altercation yesterday could be traced to both parties involved."


Ad Week
- Nearly two in three Americans said news organizations gave too much coverage to the sudden death of Michael Jackson in the days following his June 25 heart attack in Los Angeles, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. While 64 percent deemed media attention to the 50-year-old pop superstar excessive, 29 percent thought it was appropriate and only 3 percent thought there was not enough coverage. . . 30 percent of those surveyed during June 26-29 said they followed those stories "very closely," with that level similar to the 28 percent who said they followed the death of NBC newsman Tim Russert very closely in June 2008 and the 30 percent who followed the death of crocodile hunter Steve Irwin very closely in September 2006. Nonetheless, interest in Jackson's death is far less than the 54 percent who said they followed the sudden deaths of John F. Kennedy Jr. in July 1999 and Princess Diana in September 1997. . . Eight in 10 African Americans said they followed news about Jackson's death very closely, compared with 22 percent of whites.


Inside Higher Ed - The University of Colorado won just about everything it wanted, and Ward Churchill lost just about everything he wanted, in a ruling Tuesday by a state judge in Colorado. Judge Larry J. Naves ruled that the University of Colorado Board of Regents had "quasi-judicial immunity" when it voted to fire Churchill from his tenured position teaching ethnic studies, after faculty panels found that he had committed multiple instances of research misconduct. Naves vacated an April ruling by a jury in the case that found that Churchill had been inappropriately fired. Based on that ruling, Naves could have ordered Churchill reinstated or ordered Colorado to pay him -- issues that would have been moot given that Naves vacated the jury's decision. But Naves went on and said that, even based on the jury's findings, Churchill was not entitled to his job back, or to any money.


A Wells Fargo spokesman said that "Banks are not and cannot be the solution to California's budget problems."


- A hippopotamus that escaped three years ago from a zoo built by the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has been spotted living in the wild near the Magdalena river, according to a local magazine. Preferring the wetlands of northern Colombia to luxurious captivity after being imported from Africa, two of Escobar's hippos ran from the zoo in 2006. Not seen since, they became something of a local legend until photographer Julian Lineros and reporter Diana Pachon recently went searching for them.


Anonymous laughing said...

Naves, a corrupt, corporately whored joke vacated the jury's verdict.

July 10, 2009 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I.e. to say, the shithead Naves opened his mouth and vacated his bowels, little surprise that his ruling is a bunch of corporate crap.

July 10, 2009 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Solidarity said...

We, the recycled USA-aided, USA-funded, USA-trained murderous, repressive, illegitimate coup plotters and actors in Honduras who are doing our utmost to stop any movement that threatens to increase the quality of life and the economic position of the world's poorest and are devoted to returning Latin America to the days of consumated rule by the domestic and international oligarchs courtesy of the military might said oligarchs purchase for us, would like to thank Michael Jackson for dying when he did and we profusely thank the corporate media in the usa for replacing coverage of our heinous crimes with nonstop focus on Jacko's funeral events.


Sam Smith, by far the most important and least reported undernews of the past 10 days is the Honduran coup, yet even ProRev is ignoring it - and that surprises and disappoints this reader. I am following the events closely at this linked thread I offer below, and suggest your other readers will not anywhere find gathered more complete and comprehensive information about the Hondurans' tragic situation - a situation that grows more dire and important as I type.

Please note this is not an endorsement of the entire site I'm linking to, but the person who is pulling all this undernews togather (oh, I'll leave in the typo!) there in one thread, should be awarded a Pull-itzer prize for his efforts and accomplishment in creating the web's best coverage of the illegal coup - and for including the larger context and perspective Americans need in order to understand the situation and the the usa role in it.

I think you are missing an enormous teaching moment, Sam, and I hope you'll decide the USAmerican public needs to tune in to what's happening in Honduras. Here's that thread:

Rigorous coverage of Honduras coup

That will take you to the last page of posts, but it's worth the time to go backwards from there. Don't miss the photos, btw.

Pinochet's daughter is in on the act now (could you just puke?!), and the International version of the Republican Party is using our tax dollars to unseat democracy yet again. Thanks to John McCain et al.

Effing priceless.

July 11, 2009 9:47 AM  

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