Despite Anonymous’ worst intentions, the State of the Union went off without a hitch last night–save for reducing the state of political discourse to water gulping memes. Every generation gets the joyless Twitter account it deserves, we suppose.
President Obama has relied heavily on technological innovation to get him reelected, and is fond of citing the industry as a potential source of economic growth. But this is the first SOTU where tech got real air time at the podium. Chances are that will only increase.
Here’s hoping, next time around, the tech bubble won’t be invoked in the same grim paragraph as the housing market.
Flame I'm Gonna Live Forever
David Einhorn, whose hedge fund Greenlight Capital has a large stake in Apple, took to the airwaves yesterday and touted a plan in which the iPhone maker would issue preferred shares as a means of returning cash to investors and boosting the share price: “Steve is not with us anymore, and that is negative in many ways, but it is positive because Apple doesn’t have to be committed to that way of thinking at this point in time.” [Bloomberg Television]
LinkedIn beat Wall Street expectations when it announced quarterly earnings yesterday, and anticipated future revenue growth tied to raising the rates it charges customers for professional services. [BusinessInsider]
Venture capitalists are going further and further to build their brands these days, but that doesn’t mean entrepreneurs should believe the hype. Ask First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman, who dressed up as a certain YouTube sensation for his firm’s holiday video: “I know many super-angels who have gotten a lot of press. Some of them aren’t so super, and some of them are not very angelic.” [PandoDaily]
Chris Hughes had enough influence in Washington to score an interview with President Barack Obama for the relaunch of The New Republic. The Facebook cofounder could soon have even more pull: His husband, Sean Eldridge, is running for Congress in an upstate New York district. [Mashable]
For a couple million bucks, the NFL could have rented a few bus-sized diesel generators and accompanying equipment and avoided the Super Bowl blackout. [Wired]
Can't Help Myself
With cyber attacks whistling by at an ever-increasing clip, it’s not surprising that the Obama administration is hard at work nailing down how to respond. The policies will remain hush-hush once they’re finalized, but the New York Times (which previously connected the president to the deployment of Stuxnet) has one juicy tidbit: A classified legal review has found that the president has “broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad.”
That’ll sound familiar to anyone who hasn’t entirely repressed the memory of the Bush administration! (Mr. President, a very agitated Colin Powell is on line two. Something about enriched uranium and the U.N.?)
Something momentous happened yesterday. America, the beautiful–now with higher “flawless quotient” thanks to second couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé–inaugurated a black president for the second time, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day no less. Bangs were swung, shade was thrown, a terrifying parallel universe was kept at bay.
Less importantly, but no less indicative about the direction this country is heading, the inauguration also elevated the “selfie” onto the political stage. Literally.
In the wake of the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, social networks lit up with cries for gun control. Hundreds of thousands of people descended on We the People, the White House’s official petition portal, to ask the President to take meaningful action to help stop gun violence. Today, President Obama released a video recorded especially for those who signed these petitions.
Largely associated with Internet pranks and dubious ideas, the petition platform at WhiteHouse.gov has been put to more serious use in the wake of last week’s tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut. By Friday afternoon, someone had posted a call for the president to “immediately address the issue of gun control” by introducing a bill to Congress.
The response was immediate: Mashable reports that within 48 hours, it was the most popular thing ever posted to the site.
Less than a week ago, only 7,000 people had signed the White House petition urging the president to begin building a Death Star, the space station/superweapon from Star Wars, by 2016. Now, with a little help from 4chan, the petition has passed the 25,000 signature threshold it needs to be reviewed by the White House.
Let’s start by saying you can make a petition for almost anything on WhiteHouse.gov, and we’re pretty sure the President never even glances at them. But apparently, over 6,800 people have signed a petition asking President Obama to start building a Death Star, the space station/super weapon from Star Wars, by 2016. And who says the Internet savvy are politically lazy?
It seems as if poor, poor Glenn Beck is the next sympathetic figure to be punished by eBay’s Machiavellian auction rules. After submerging an Obama statue in what he claimed to be a glass case of his own urine, he decided to auction the piece of “art” off, with proceeds benefitting his own charity, Mercury One. Someone actually offered $11,300 for the statue, maturely named “Obama in Pee Pee,” before eBay swooped in and shut the whole thing down.
It’s about two weeks later and we’re still reeling from the Presidential election. Luckily, we got our campaign fix today because Tumblr and The Daily Beast spoke to Laura Olin, one of the Obama campaign’s top social media strategists.
Ms. Olin was responsible for scheduling the victory posts to all Obama’s social networks. Most notably, she posted the now-famous photo of a hugging Mr. and Mrs. Obama with the simple caption “four more years.” The post has amassed more than 800,000 retweets and is the most liked Facebook photo of all time.
But like all important moments in history, the much loved post almost never happened, Ms. Olin explains: