The Wikileaks War is on. A loose collection of between 1,000 and 4,000 “hacktivists” are fighting to take down the companies and individuals fighting to take on Wikileaks. It’s the best combination of Hackers, The Legend of Billy Jean and Pump Up the Volume the real world’s ever seen.
Wednesday’s denial of service attacks, dubbed Operation:Payback by this group called Anonymous, plagued online operations at Mastercard, VISA, and PayPal, a Swiss bank, the Swedish government, the Swedish prosector who’s handling Julian Assange’s sex crimes case, poor ol’ Joe Lieberman and political celebrity Sarah Palin. (Interestingly, Anonymous has not taken credit for the Palin hijinx reported by ABC’s Jake Tapper — is it possible she’s just trying to jam her voice into yet another story?)
Anonymous’ 22-year-old spokesperson, Coldblood, described the group’s level of support: “Anonymous is supporting WikiLeaks not because we agree or disagree with the data that is being sent out, but we disagree with any from of censorship on the internet. If we let WikiLeaks fall without a fight then governments will think they can just take down any sites they wish or disagree with.” READ MORE.
[The Best Thing You'll Read This Week] There are these things called books that are pretty swell. Peachy, even. And one of the best books of the past decade debuted in 2010 — that would be Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom: A Novel. The worst sentence in that nearly 600-page work of genius is better than the best sentence ever written on this website (well, except for the scat-infused phone sex scene). In any event, magazine profile genius Chuck Klosterman took the Acela from Philly to DC with literary genius Franzen, and the end result is this exquisite piece that you absolutely must read or forfeit all rights to be our best friends. It’s amazing what can come of putting two men like this together.
[Baseball Birther] The Baltimore Orioles aren’t very good. They lose a lot of games. But I didn’t expect professional athletes to be such sore losers. One such loser is a 32-year-old Luke Scott, a career .268 hitter with Houston and Baltimore. Scott stopped by baseball’s winter meetings and gave a long, rambling interview to Yahoo!’s David Brown in which he officially joined the birther movement! Here’s part of the exchange:
DB: You don’t think that Obama wasn’t born in the United States, do you?
LS: He was not born here.
LS: That’s my belief. I was born here. If someone accuses me of not being born here, I can go — within 10 minutes — to my filing cabinet and I can pick up my real birth certificate and I can go, “See? Look! Here it is. Here it is.” The man has dodged everything. He dodges questions, he doesn’t answer anything. And why? Because he’s hiding something.
[I Have a DREAM Act] – The US House of Representatives on Wednesday night passed the long-stalled DREAM Act, a bill that “offers a path to citizenship for young people who were brought to this country illegally before age 16 and who have enrolled in college or entered the military.” Eight Republicans joined the majority in the 216-198 vote, and as @DanaHoule pointed out, amazingly, “Of the 8 Repubs who voted for DREAM, 6 won’t be in next Congress, remaining 2 are immigrants from Cuba.” As usual these days, the bill faces a tough battle in the Senate.
[The Obama You Voted For] President Obama’s tax cuts compromise has received stern condemnation from the president’s most liberal critics, but as OsborneInk makes clear in the best piece written on this subject yet, you can hardly blame Obama for the Democratic Party’s infighting: “This is what I find most bizarre about yesterday evening’s coverage across the ‘sphere. People say they want Obama to fight; I have heard it a lot. He used more martial language in his presser yesterday than I’ve ever heard from him. His attitude is very different than one year ago. So what’s with negative headlines about a “combative” Obama? Isn’t that the Obama they voted for?” It’s a must-read piece.
[At Least He's Still Got Bridgette] Tennis legend Pete Sampras won 14 Grand Slam titles and countless other medals, trophies and chotchkies in his storied career as America’s best ever tennis player. Unfortunately, though, “Sampras has been robbed of the majority of trophies, medals, plaques, crystal and rings that are a testament to a career that brought a then-record 14 major titles and status as one of the greatest ever to play the game. Three weeks ago, he found out that the dozens of boxes containing those symbols of his career had been stolen.” Thankfully, 13 of his 14 Grand Slam trophies are safe.
[Fox News Caught] In a story that will surprise literally nobody, Fox News has been retroactively caught taking sides in last summer’s nasty, partisan health-care reform debate: “At the height of the health care reform debate last fall, Bill Sammon, Fox News’ controversial Washington managing editor, sent a memo directing his network’s journalists not to use the phrase ‘public option.’ Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox’s reporters should use ‘government option’ and similar phrases — wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats’ reform efforts.” Incredible, yes, but not surprising.
[He's Totally Running] New York City Mayor/Ruler Michael Bloomberg added fuel to the speculative fire that he’ll be running as an independent against President Obama and [Insert Republican Challenger here] in 2012. On Wednesday Mayor Mike laid out a “middle way” and a plan for job creation in a 30-minute quasi-stump speech in which he slammed “ideologues” on both the left and the right.
[Scary Times] Like the Fox story, these stats about middle-class retirement are scary but not surprising in the least: “The average American has saved less than 7 percent of his desired retirement nest egg and will likely have to keep working in retirement to supplement his income. Middle-class Americans think they need $300,000 to fund their retirement, but on average have only saved $20,000, according to a survey released on Wednesday by Wells Fargo & Co.”
[The Fighter Review] Our very own WG saw a sneak peak of The Fighter, which opens on Friday. Check out his full review, which is positive on the whole, but here’s our favorite part:
Marky Mark, on the other hand, is more like the Derek Jeter of acting: he does a fine job within his extremely limited range. He basically does a good job of covering two characters:
1. Boston tough-guy asshole (The Departed)
2. Boston tough-guy with a good heart (The Fighter)
Again, he’s not bad, but anytime the lead gets outperformed this greatly, it can be a little distracting.
[Urkel'd] Finally, how do you get schoolkids to stop sagging their pants and showing off their drawers? By forcing them to hike ‘em up like Steve Urkel! It’s a great idea in theory, but we can’t wait ’til the lawsuits start — never a good idea to touch the pants of students.
That’ll do it for us. You’ve been great. If you like this edition of Hype AM, pass it along or “like” it. And if you have any tips for us, send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Danke.