fergusonIThe images coming out the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, ignited in protests since a white cop shot an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown 10 days ago, are eerily echoing the kind of photos we associate with the Deep South in the years leading up to the Civil Rights Act 50 years ago.

Civil rights protestors are attacked with a water cannon.ferguson5

This time around, it’s a little different. We are a nation led by a black man, in spite of the kicking and screaming of less than half the electorate (and probably half of those who could vote but were not uninterested enough to bother). We also have become a global society where the image – delivered in nanoseconds via Twitter, Facebook or any of the thousands of online news sites – enables us to see the bigger picture without reading any of the facts.

If you want facts, click here (as of Tuesday morning August 19).

More will be forthcoming, no doubt. In the interim, the pictures will continue to flood our feeds and Americans (and the rest of the world) will continue to draw conclusions and wonder. Why, 50 years after the Civil Rights Act is racial unrest still a problem in America? Will Ferguson finally be the end of it? Could social media and online coverage as well as instantaneous (and nearly constant) imagery play a healing role? Or will it just fan the flames more glaringly?

Image credits: St. Louis Post-Dispatch cover by David Carson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Civil rights water cannon, 1963 by Getty Images; Police fire device at protestors by Jeff Roberson, AP.

Hey, Where Did North Korea Get that Lincoln Contintental From?


Watching the secret footage of the funeral of Korean dictator Kim Jong-il has an eerie Cold War feel to it. While the footage is certainly better than what James Bond might have shot with a camera embedded in a shoe or ball point pen, the snow, the huge military presence and the 1970s-era Lincoln Continentals are all reminders of the not-so-distant past.

The New York Times points out that it’s odd to see the body of Kim Jong-il transported on a vehicle made by his sworn enemy – the USA. Car aficionados were quick to pounce on the video and photos like this one with their opinions of make and model. Perhaps a 1975 or 1976 model, brought in through China – North Korea’s largest trading partner. (Read more at Backflashes)

(Photo credit: Associated Press)

Why Couldn’t the CIA Find Osama bin Laden Through an IP Address?

We know you’ve been wondering why, in this high-tech day and age, were all the hyper-intelligent bells and whistles and secret decoder rings we have access to unable to find Osama bin Laden?

Simple. He wasn’t hooked up to the Internet and lived his life offline. bin Laden communicated by thumb drive (e.g., flash memory sticks)- receiving and answering emails offline, transferring them to a thumb drive and giving them to a courier to take to an Internet cafe. It was a system that worked well for many years – but in the end, it still was the Internet that brought him down. Our intelligence forces suspicions were raised when a big house in a well-off neighborhood kept showing up on the grid without access to the online world. What self-respecting, upper-middle class citizen wouldn’t have their house wired for 24/7 Facebooking, online shopping or a little live-streaming entertainment?

Apparently, bin Laden found a way around downloading his own porn – but in the end, his decision to remain disconnected did him in.

VentureBeat: “Bin Laden relied on thumb drive couriers to evade email detection” by Dean Takahashi.

New York Post Headline Truly Tit-allating

Tops Headless Body in Topless Bar

Imagine New Yorkers disappointment two weeks ago when Osama bin Laden was finally captured and killed. The city that waited nearly 10 years for justice to be done awoke on Monday morning, May 2, to the tepid New York Post headline “Got ‘Em!” What!? No “Headless Body Found in Topless Bar”-style blast that would keep people talking for decades to come (and possibly breathe much needed life back into the newspaper business).

Let’s face it, we read headlines all day long online – all kinds of crazy things – but nothing sizzles and pops like a juicy (and occasional laughable) tabloid headline. This morning, New Yorkers and (by virtue of the Interwebs) the rest of us got our fix. Apparently, Osama bin Laden’s condo was laden with porn DVDs. We’ll let Mediaite tell you the rest. (Click here)

Hat tip to Mediaite for the story and the photo. Other notes: Yes, we know the “Headless Body Found in Topless Bar” headline was in the New York Daily News, not the Post. We grew up in the New York Metro area – and can prove it. How? Well, what other baseball team goes by the tabloid nickname the “Amazin’s” other than our beloved New York Mets!

No, But I Saw the Traffic

What do you say when you’re aware of a news story, but haven’t actually read anything more than the headlines — or “online buzz” about it? For instance, I was aware that DC was getting dumped on (snow-wise) last weekend, but since I don’t live there, wasn’t heading there, and most of my family and friends back East are in the greater tri-state New York metro area, I never bothered to “click” on any of the multitude of links about the snowstorm that appeared on my newsfeeds via my laptop or my phone.

Saying you’re onto the “buzz” sounds a bit like an old hepcat talking, or acknowledging that you’re up on the latest Brangelina or Lady Gaga news, not exactly the kind of term you’d apply to a snowstorm or even everything iPad.

The other day a friend of mine admitted he’d “seen the traffic” on an Australian innovation video called “Hitler Launches Australia’s Innovation Policy” as a way to say he knew about this, but hadn’t actually watched the video yet. I liked that!

And, hat tip to my friends at Australian Anthill for circulating the video through their daily email newsletter. Now I’ve not only “seen the traffic”, I also feel like I’ve been run over by a bus. Click here to see the video. Bad language or NSFW (not safe for work), if you think your boss might be looking over your shoulder to read the subtitles.

Michael Jackson Fakes Death: Ronald Reagan, Elvis and Princess Di All Still Alive, Too

We can’t let the “Media Event of the Century” go by here at KazzaDrask Media without adding our commentary to steaming heaps that have been piling up over the last 12 days since the Death of Pop (aka controversial mega-star Michael Jackson). In fact, today’s funeral will probably just be the cusp of the MJ stories we will be reading for the rest of our lives. So, yes, we went with a sensationalist tack, reporting that Michael Jackson is still alive. We weren’t the first to report this, and you can bet we won’t be the last.

For a temporary last word on today’s funeral coverage, read the New York Times’ “Funeral of a Superstar as a Media Moment”.

The Death of Censorship

This is a difficult video to watch. It is the death of a teenage girl, known as Neda, who was shot by a sniper on the streets of Tehran a few days ago, amid the political unrest and the desperate attempts of the Iranian government to censor it. My source for this is PR Squared, and I refer you to their excellent commentary on the video and the changes in the way we now get our information. As PR Squared writes, “The filters are off. The collective is self-aware. The masses are the media.” (Read more)

Social Media and the Election in Iran

Lots of commentating today on social media and aftermath of the Iranian presidential election. So, we’ve picked one to roll with.

Here’s a well-done post from one of our colleagues in Australia, Elias Bizannes, who takes a look at the remarkable impact ubiquitous computing and ubiquitous connectivity to the Internet has and its potential to disrupt even the most tightly controlled police state in the world. In “The Internet, Iran, and Ubiquity,” Elias explores “how these new technologies are transforming everything, and disgracing the mass media in the process.” and adds to the argument that “Social media is having a remarkable impact. Not only are we getting better quality reporting of events (with the mass media entirely failing us), but it’s enabling mass collaboration on a grand scale. One where even a government has the risk of being toppled.” (Read more)

Photo Heard ‘Round the World

This photo of California Freedom to Marry heroes, Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis made the front page of several major US newspapers (including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times) on Friday morning, May 16. Stuart and John were two of the plaintiffs in the historic California pro same-sex marriage ruling that came down on Thursday, May 15. Thank you, Stuart and John for all you’ve done — and for also being supporters of Out4Immigration.

In this story from the Boston Globe, Stuart and John meet up with two of Out4Immigration’s co-founders Mickey and Amos Lim while celebrating the California Supreme Court decision on Friday night. Mickey, who is also Out4Immigration’s vice president, is no stranger to a tough battle, and a good quote. At the end of the article he says, “Everybody knows there’s a fight to fight on Monday. But let’s celebrate tonight and tomorrow and do battle the next day.”