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    Sunday, March 9, 2008

    USA TODAY - Rodgers ready to step out of Favre's shadow

    This story has been sent from the mobile device of Bombastic4000@gmail.com. For real-time mobile news, go to m.usatoday.com.

    By Skip Wood, USA TODAY

    Now that life without Brett Favre has settled into the consciousness of the NFL and fans of the Green Bay Packers, a closer look at his presumable successor reveals much.

    At his first press conference since Favre's retirement announcement last week, Aaron Rodgers came across as something of a Roger Daltrey creation, and not simply because of his 1970s-style, over-the-shoulders hairstyle.

    Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss?

    Maybe.

    At least in off-the-field presentation. At various points during his press conference, Rodgers showed off several Favre-like qualities, exhibiting an easy-going manner, a self-deprecating wit and an unmistakable yet subtle self-confidence.

    Rodgers even did the swig-of-the-bottled-water-thing, much in the same way Favre did when explaining his decision to retire several days earlier.

    He did, though, stress one thing.

    "I'm not Brett Favre, and if they're wanting me to be the next Brett Favre, I'm not going to be him," Rodgers said. "I'm Aaron Rodgers. That's who I am. I'm going to be the best quarterback I can be.

    "He did it his way, I'm going to do it my way, and hopefully I can be successful."

    The 24th pick in the 2005 draft out of California, Rodgers admittedly chafed at but then embraced being Favre's vice president, for lack of a better phrase. He watched, learned and matured.

    Rodgers is the first to acknowledge he often and for the foreseeable future will be compared to Favre, and notes that's not only proper but natural.

    But as Favre did after taking over for fan favorite Don Majkowski 16 years ago, Rodgers understands reality. The other guy's gone. So go with it.

    "I'm in a good situation," Rodgers said. "I've got a great team around me. A lot of people are focusing on what I'm going to do. It's what the team is going to do, really. I'm an important part of that, I know my role, and I need to play well.

    "I'm stepping into a team that's established already. I'm going to be expected to play well, I expect to play well, but I've got a great supporting cast around me."

    Website address: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/packers/2008-03-09-rodgers-favre-shadow_N.htm

    USA TODAY - AP: NFL, Matt Walsh near agreement on Spygate material

    This story has been sent from the mobile device of Bombastic4000@gmail.com. For real-time mobile news, go to m.usatoday.com.

    NEW YORK

    Maui golf pro Matt Walsh, the former New England Patriots employee said to have tapes of illegal spying by the team, is close to an agreement to turn over information to the NFL.

    "Both sides are optimistic that any remaining issues can be addressed successfully and they are committed to reaching a full agreement as promptly as possible," the statement added.

    Walsh, a golf pro at Kaanapali, has been seeking protection from lawsuits and other legal action, whether by the Patriots or other parties. The two sides have been negotiating for almost a month after reports surfaced just before the Super Bowl that Walsh videotaped a walkthrough practice of the St. Louis Rams before the 2002 title game. It was won by the Patriots 20-17 over the Rams, who were favored by more than two touchdowns.

    Walsh's lawyer, Michael N. Levy of the Washington firm of McKee Nelson, confirmed Sunday night that an agreement was near.

    "I have consistently asked the NFL to provide appropriate legal protections for Mr. Walsh," Levy said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

    "In recent discussions I have had with the league's lawyer, we have made substantial progress toward this end, and I am hopeful that we will be able to craft an agreement with the necessary legal protections so Mr. Walsh can come forward with the truth."

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said Walsh was not interviewed as part of the league's investigation into "Spygate," which involved the league confiscating tapes from a Patriots employee who recorded the New York Jets' defensive signals from the sideline during the opening game of the 2007 season.

    Six confiscated tapes and other documents pertaining to the Patriots' taping were subsequently destroyed by the league. Goodell has defended the destruction of the tapes.

    As a result of that investigation, New England coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 and the team was fined $250,000 and forfeited its 2008 first-round draft choice. That pick would have been 31st overall, but New England still has the seventh overall pick, obtained in a trade with San Francisco last year.

    Goodell has also met with Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who asked pointed questions about taping of both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots beat the Eagles in the 2005 Super Bowl and the Steelers in two AFC championship games.

    "As commissioner Goodell has repeatedly emphasized, 'Nobody wants to hear from Matt Walsh more than the National Football League,' NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Sunday night.

    In addition to the negotiations over Walsh's testimony, Willie Gary, who played in that game for the Rams, filed suit in New Orleans last month accusing the Patriots of fraud, unfair trade practices and engaging in a "pattern of racketeering." Three fans joined in the suit.

    Specter subsequently said that his interest might be covered by that suit.

    "I think now that the lawsuits have been started, that I got the ball rolling, and the plaintiffs' lawyers are picking it up," he said.

    Website address: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2008-03-09-walsh-spygate_N.htm

    Yes We Can

    I'm 27 Y'all

    I've been doing this blogging thing for over a year now, started when I was 25, continued at 26. Now I'm 27 y'all. It's already March. The year and time slows down and waits for no one.

    I took my birthday off from work on Wednesday. Watched a lot lot of DVDs. Didn't do much reading but got some much needed rest. Last night I got so drunk and wasted. Partied it up.





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    Reuters - Could Arctic ice melt spawn new kind of cold war?

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    Could Arctic ice melt spawn new kind of cold war?

    Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 11:48AM UTC

    By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With oil above $100 a barrel and
    Arctic ice melting faster than ever, some of the world's most
    powerful countries -- including the United States and Russia --
    are looking north to a possible energy bonanza.

    This prospective scramble for buried Arctic mineral wealth
    made more accessible by freshly melted seas could bring on a
    completely different kind of cold war, a scholar and former
    Coast Guard officer says.

    While a U.S. government official questioned the risk of
    polar conflict, Washington still would like to join a
    25-year-old international treaty meant to figure out who owns
    the rights to the oceans, including the Arctic Ocean. So far,
    the Senate has not approved it.

    Unlike the first Cold War, dominated by tensions between
    the two late-20th century superpowers, this century's model
    could pit countries that border the Arctic Ocean against each
    other to claim mineral rights. The Arctic powers include the
    United States, Russia, Canada, Denmark and Norway.

    The irony is that the burning of fossil fuels is at least
    in part responsible for the Arctic melt -- due to climate
    change -- and the Arctic melt could pave the way for a 21st
    century rush to exploit even more fossil fuels.

    The stakes are enormous, according to Scott Borgerson of
    the Council on Foreign Relations, a former U.S. Coast Guard
    lieutenant commander.

    The Arctic could hold as much as one-quarter of the world's
    remaining undiscovered oil and gas deposits, Borgerson wrote in
    the current issue of the journal Foreign Affairs.

    Russia has claimed 460,000 square miles (1.191 million sq
    km) of Arctic waters, with an eye-catching effort that included
    planting its flag on the ocean floor at the North Pole last
    summer. Days later, Moscow sent strategic bomber flights over
    the Arctic for the first time since the Cold War.

    "I think you can say planting a flag on the sea bottom and
    renewing strategic bomber flights is provocative," Borgerson
    said in a telephone interview.

    SCRAMBLING AND SLEEPWALKING

    By contrast, he said of the U.S. position, "I don't think
    we're scrambling. We're sleepwalking ... I think the Russians
    are scrambling and I think the Norwegians and Canadians and
    Danes are keenly aware."

    Borgerson said that now would be an appropriate time for
    the United States to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Law of
    the Sea, which codifies which countries have rights to what
    parts of the world's oceans.

    The Bush administration agrees. So do many environmental
    groups, the U.S. military and energy companies looking to
    explore the Arctic, now that enough ice is seasonally gone to
    open up sea lanes as soon as the next decade.

    "There's no ice cold war," said one U.S. government
    official familiar with the Arctic Ocean rights issue. However,
    the official noted that joining the Law of the Sea pact would
    give greater legal certainty to U.S. claims in the area.

    That is becoming more crucial, as measurements of the U.S.
    continental shelf get more precise.

    Coastal nations like those that border the Arctic have
    sovereign rights over natural resources of their continental
    shelves, generally recognized to reach 200 nautical miles out
    from their coasts.

    But in February, researchers from the University of New
    Hampshire and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric
    Administration released data suggesting that the continental
    shelf north of Alaska extends more than 100 nautical miles
    farther than previously presumed.

    A commission set up by the Law of the Sea lets countries
    expand their sea floor resource rights if they meet certain
    conditions and back them up with scientific data.

    The treaty also governs navigation rights, suddenly more
    important as scientists last year reported the opening of the
    normally ice-choked waters of the Northwest Passage from the
    Atlantic to the Pacific.

    "Of course we need to be at the table as ocean law
    develops," the U.S. official said, speaking on condition of
    anonymity. "It's not like ocean law is going to stop developing
    if we're not in there. It's just going to develop without us."

    (Editing by Philip Barbara)

    (For Reuters information on the environment, see

    http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/ )

    Reuters - RIM to bring Will.i.am's Dipdive to BlackBerry

    This article was sent to you from Bombastic4000@gmail.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
    http://mobile.reuters.com

    RIM to bring Will.i.am's Dipdive to BlackBerry

    Thursday, Mar 06, 2008 6:14PM UTC

    By Wojtek Dabrowski

    TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is partnering with pop artist Will.i.am to help merge social networking and multimedia, in the company's latest move to gain more traction in the consumer retail market.

    RIM will make Will.i.am's Dipdive online community and content available wirelessly on the BlackBerry, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said in an interview.

    "Probably the two hottest trends in wireless are social networking ... and the other one is the multimedia, which is principally portable music," Balsillie said.

    Will.i.am is known for his career with the band Black Eyed Peas and his "Yes We Can" Barack Obama video, a huge hit on YouTube.com, where it has garnered millions of hits.

    Balsillie said users currently view social networking and downloading music and other multimedia as two separate experiences. Increasingly, he believes, they are merging into one.

    Dipdive, he said, is an example of this -- where politics-heavy blogging meets music video content.

    "It brings the artist into a direct relationship with the fan," Balsillie said.

    Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM has steadily expanded its offering of so-called "lifestyle applications" like games and multimedia in a bid to attract more retail users to the traditionally business-focused BlackBerry.

    Last fall, it rolled out Facebook software designed especially for its smartphones to make it easier for users to browse the popular social networking Web site.

    As RIM continues to push into the broader consumer market, some analysts have expressed concern it will face increased competition from Apple's iPhone. RIM has repeatedly insisted it has nothing to worry about.

    Just last month, RIM raised its fourth-quarter subscriber growth forecast to reflect strong holiday sales and its shares rose. One analyst speculated a big promotional push from U.S. service providers for Christmas and Valentine's Day may have helped the company.

    Despite RIM's consumer ambitions, about two-thirds of the total 12 million BlackBerry subscribers at the quarter ended December 1 were still classified as governments or large corporations.

    Because of this, there has been concern that RIM would be hit by a slowdown in the U.S. economy, which may prompt employers to cut costs and delay upgrading their BlackBerry models.

    However, Balsillie has said the economic turmoil would only have a limited impact on RIM.

    RIM shares were down 89 Canadian cents at C$99.54 on the Toronto Stock Exchange amid a broad selloff.

    ($1=$0.99 Canadian)

    (Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Rob Wilson)

    Reuters - Technology turns music videos into shopping portals

    This article was sent to you from Bombastic4000@gmail.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
    http://mobile.reuters.com

    Technology turns music videos into shopping portals

    Saturday, Mar 08, 2008 8:52PM UTC

    By Gail Mitchell

    LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - View music videos and shop at the same time. That's the premise behind an innovative advertising and entertainment branding program launched by GET Interactive.

    By way of GET Interactive's Ad-Venture technology, viewers watching a video on the Internet or a mobile phone will be offered the option of opening a new window to browse through still images and shop for products tagged with a GET Shop Spot.

    The technology goes live in March with Knockout Entertainment/DEJA34/Koch artist Ray J's "Sexy Can I" video. Winston-Salem, N.C.-based GET Interactive has signed content deals with Universal Music Group and Sega of America. The company is also in discussions with Epic Records.

    GET Interactive CEO Rick Harrison sees the company becoming a partner with record labels to help generate more revenue and cover the cost of production on video shoots.

    "We're not trying to force a banner ad, streaming ad or another ad form in consumers' faces," he says. "Our opt-in platform really opens up the door for brands to deliver compelling brand interaction with a very targeted consumer."

    Harrison says the sky is the limit in terms of the types of products that can be flagged. Apparel, accessories and cosmetics are popular choices. But cars, packaged goods and electronics also can be targeted. Beyond being linked to a purchase page, consumers could click to get a coupon, play a branded videogame, enter a sweepstakes or watch a special ad about a product category.

    FROM ANONYMITY TO COMMODITY

    "Now all of the historically anonymous items can be identified and branded for a one-on-one experience," Harrison says. He's quick to note that GET Interactive is not a placement firm but works with such companies.

    In the case of Ray J's "Sexy Can I" video -- which has already claimed more than 1 million YouTube hits -- Koch is shooting new scenes in which Ray J and featured rapper Young Berg wear particular brands. In turn, GET Interactive is building its platform from a product list drawn up by Ray J, the video director and a stylist.

    Of partnering with GET Interactive for its live launch, Koch vice president of digital and mobile Bill Crowley says, "R&B/hip-hop videos really do help create street fashion trends. Ray is a perfect artist to try this out with. His audience base is broad, moving from core R&B/hip-hop to pop. The more ways we can involve consumers with our artists, the better."

    An early devotee of TiVo, Harrison devised the GET Interactive concept when he wondered how TiVo technology would affect commercials. He began working full-time on the GET technology two years ago. When a nonpromoted beta test in 2007 with the Paramount DVD release "Freedom Writers" drew impressive consumer response, he moved forward.

    The goal is to partner with as many premium content owners and developers in as many entertainment arenas as possible, including college sports, TV programming and movies. Harrison is customizing the program for cable providers to allow a two-way experience via set-top boxes.

    "What you've been handed, by definition, is your target audience," Harrison says. "They've chosen to seek out brands in the video, clicked on the ad and asked to be told more. No one comes here by accident."

    Reuters/Billboard

    Reuters - Clintons push a Hillary/Obama ticket

    This article was sent to you from Bombastic4000@gmail.com, who uses Reuters Mobile Site to get news and information on the go. To access Reuters on your mobile phone, go to:
    http://mobile.reuters.com

    Clintons push a Hillary/Obama ticket

    Sunday, Mar 09, 2008 8:34PM UTC

    By Thomas Ferraro

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hillary and Bill Clinton are again teaming up on Barack Obama -- this time saying the first-term U.S. lawmaker, whom they have derided as inexperienced, would be a strong running mate on a Democratic presidential ticket headed by the former first lady.

    In hailing Obama as a possible vice president, the Clintons are reaching out to him and, perhaps more importantly, to his backers, whose support she would need to defeat Republican presidential candidate John McCain in the November election.

    "The Clintons are in a difficult position," said Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at Drake University in Iowa, who has tracked the presidential race.

    "If she wins the Democratic presidential nomination, she would need Obama's supporters. But she needs to be careful. If this talk of him on the ticket is seen as a cynical maneuver, it could backfire and hurt her," Goldford said.

    Obama leads Clinton, a fellow Democratic senator, in a bruising race for their party's presidential nomination, but neither is likely to reach the 2,025 delegates needed to become the nominee in the remaining state by state contests.

    As Democratic leaders worry about the damage that could be done if neither has a clear lead by the August nominating convention, the party is also trying to decide what to do about election results from Michigan and Florida that do not count because of a dispute over when they were held.

    The Clintons have charged that Obama, a charismatic lawmaker from Illinois, lacks the experience to handle an international crisis as president.

    But since Clinton, a two-term senator from New York, won primary elections in Ohio and Texas, she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have touted Obama as a possible running mate.

    'ALMOST UNSTOPPABLE'

    Sen. John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat who has endorsed Obama, derided that suggestion. "The first threshold question about a vice president is, are you prepared to be president?" Kerry told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

    "So on the one end, they are saying he's not prepared to be president. On the other hand, they're saying maybe he ought to be vice president," Kerry said.

    Campaigning on Saturday, in Mississippi, the former president was quoted as saying his wife and Obama would be a dynamic duo, "an almost unstoppable force."

    The candidate said last week she and Obama may end up on the same ticket, with her on top.

    Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell, a Democratic who has sought to rally support for Clinton in his state's April 22 primary, backed the idea of Clinton and Obama teaming up. "It would be a great ticket," Rendell told NBC's "Meet the Press."

    Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, an Obama backer, mocked the idea.

    "It may be the first time in history that the person who is running number two would offer the person running number one the number two position," Daschle told "Meet the Press."

    Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean said a battle over whether to seat Michigan and Florida delegates at summer convention could cost Democrats the presidency.

    "The only thing that can beat us is that we're divided," Dean said on ABC's "This Week." He said a solution must be found that's acceptable to both Democratic candidates.

    Michigan and Florida defied the Democratic Party and held their presidential nominating contests earlier than permitted, costing them delegates at the party's convention.

    Officials in both states have discussed redoing their primaries. But the candidates, state parties and national party would have to agree on timing, funding and formats.

    (Additional reporting by Bill Trott, editing by Patricia Zengerle)

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