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Episode 51 – download now subscribe now

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We opened the show with something Mark thought would be good news for conservatives wishing to stay sane in the mornings… of course Art found the dark cloud around the good news rather quickly:

Rosie O’Donnell has fought her last fight at The View.

ABC said on Friday she will not be back on the television talk show following her angry confrontation with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Wednesday.

It ended a colourful eight-month tenure for O’Donnell that lifted the show’s ratings but no doubt caused heartburn for show creator Barbara Walters.

O’Donnell feuded with Donald Trump and frequently had tense exchanges with the more conservative Hasselbeck.

O’Donnell said last month she would be leaving because she could not agree to a new contract with ABC executives.

“Rosie contributed to one of our most exciting and successful years at The View,” Walters said.

“I am most appreciative. Our close and affectionate relationship will not change.”

In a statement, O’Donnell said that “it’s been an amazing year and I love all three women.”

‘US troops terrorists’

No one was feeling the love on Wednesday, when the argument with Hasselbeck began over O’Donnell’s statement last week about the war: “655 000 Iraqi civilians have died. Who are the terrorists?”

Talk show critics accused O’Donnell of calling US troops terrorists.

She called Hasselbeck “cowardly” for not saying anything in response to the critics.

“Do not call me a coward, because No 1, I sit here every single day, open my heart and tell people what I believe,” Hasselbeck retorted, and their riveting exchange continued despite failed attempts by their co-hosts to cut to a commercial.

According to a New York Post report, O’Donnell’s chief writer, Janette Barber, was allegedly led out of the building on Wednesday after she was caught drawing moustaches on photographs of Hasselbeck in The View studios.

ABC executives did not return repeated calls for questions on the incident on Friday.

Scrapbook-like video

On Thursday, O’Donnell had asked for a day off to celebrate her partner’s birthday. The View aired a taped show on Friday.

On her website, O’Donnell posted a scrapbook-like video on Friday with pictures and news clippings of her tenure at The View.

Cyndi Lauper’s Sisters of Babylon played in the background.

A day earlier, she had posted messages on her website indicating she might not be back.

“When painting there is a point u must step away from the canvas as the work is done,” she wrote. “Any more would take away.

The Nose on your Face finds a conspiracy uncovered in all this:

Despite claims that a monster pig shot in Alabama bears a striking resemblance to “The View” host Rosie O’Donnell, both ABC and O’Donnell representatives deny that the enormous swine is the controversial star. ABC’s abrupt announcement on Friday, however, that O’Donnell would be immediately leaving “The View” only lent strength to the rumors that she may indeed have been bagged by 11 year-old Jamison Stone while on a hastily scheduled “foraging retreat” in Alabama.

“Rosie does like foraging as a stress-reliever,” said her spokesperson, Amelda Johnson, “but she stopped going to Alabama several years ago after she discovered it was a favorite foraging haven of Starr Jones.”

In Newsguy Jon news:

Sheen Re-Thinks Loose Change Alliance

May 27, 2007 — SUPPORT for the loopy 9/11 documentary “Loose Change” – which argues that the World Trade Center terror attack was part of a secret U.S. government conspiracy – is quickly losing steam.

A source tells us Charlie Sheen “is having second thoughts” about being involved in an updated version of the flick, which has a huge following on YouTube. As Page Six reported in March, Sheen had agreed to narrate the ridiculous flick, presumably to give it some needed Hollywood sizzle.

The conspiracy documentary got a further boost earlier this month when Virgin Atlantic announced it would offer the current, narration-free version as an in-flight movie choice. But just days later, it scrapped the idea. “After Virgin announced it, bloggers went nuts and there was so much negative feedback that [the airline] a few days later nixed it,” the source said.

After we revealed Sheen’s participation, the “Two and a Half Men” star told Extra: “It’s a story that needs to be told. It’s a story about the truth, and the truth needs to be exposed. It’s not just me, not just the Hollywood community [that] is standing up saying what you have given us doesn’t make sense. We just want better answers

.” As for Sheen now pulling his support, the star’s flack, Stan Rosenfield, did not return calls over two days.

Another proponent of the “Loose Change” theory is Rosie O’Donnell, who trumpeted her feelings about it on “The View” and her blog, making ABC brass nervous and infuriating some viewers.

O’Donnell reportedly had booked the film’s producers, Korey Rowe and Dylan Avery, on Thursday’s show. But after getting into a fight with Elisabeth Hasselbeck Wednesday, and after her chief writer was caught defacing Hasselbeck’s photos with mustaches, O’Donnell left the show.

“Loose Change” pushes the widely debunked “controlled demolition” theory, which claims the Twin Towers and 7 World Trade Center were blown up from within. It alleges the jet-fuel fires inside the towers weren’t hot enough to melt the buildings’ steel beams.

Those claims were soundly refuted by Popular Mechanics magazine, which meticulously shot down every single one.

In other Venezualian news, there is major political change afoot… the pictures tell the story better than the links do, but pay close attention to both:


Venezuala continues its descent into hell.
** The Jungle Hut is following the clashes from Venezuala.
** Globovision has photos from the crackdown by the regime.
** Venezuela News and Views– Even in San Felipe we are hearing sirens and pot banging!
** Devil’s Excrement– “Chavista thugs are attacking another private station!” –Photos
** Xeni Jardin has video links of the regime blasting the protesters with water cannons.
** Citizen Feathers has video of the “pot-banging” against the regime.


Chavez warned (via BBC): “Venezuelan armed forces are ready. Anyone generating violence will regret it.”

He even sent in the tanks for the first time on the opposition.

A supporter of Radio Caracas TV (RCTV) uses the Venezuelan flag to cover herself from tear gas during a protest outside the National Commission of Telecommunications (CONATEL) in Caracas May 27, 2007. (Reuters)

Venezuelan troops earlier today seized the broadcast equipment of the opposition television station.
Reuters reported:

Venezuelan troops have seized an anti-government television channel’s broadcast equipment, the station said on Sunday, ahead of a controversial midnight EDT/0400 GMT takeover by President Hugo Chavez that will take the broadcaster off the air.

Supporters of Radio Caracas TV (RCTV) lie on the floor after being hit by tear gas during a protest outside the National Commission of Telecommunications (CONATEL) in Caracas May 27, 2007. RCTV is being forced off the air after President Hugo Chavez’s administration refused to renew its broadcasting license which ends on Sunday. (REUTERS/Yuri Ferrioli)

Publius Pundit has several pictures from the protest earlier before the clashes.
Fausta has a podcast posted discussing the closure of the popular opposition news station.
FREERCTV.com has more on the shutdown.
This is very sad.

Actress Cynthia Lander cries during a live broadcast at RCTV station in Caracas May 27, 2007. The government is not renewing RCTV’s license after 53 years on the air because of accusations that the broadcaster participated in a bungled 2002 coup against Chavez, incited violent demonstrations and aired immoral programming. (REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

Supporters of Radio Caracas TV (RCTV) clash with police during a protest outside the National Commission of Telecommunications (CONATEL) in Caracas May 27, 2007. RCTV is being forced off the air after President Hugo Chavez’s administration refused to renew its broadcasting license which ends on Sunday. (REUTERS/Francesco Spotorno)

Hugo Chavez Silences the Opposition- Sends Tanks In!

We had a huge discussion on the devolution of democracy in the UK, much to the chagrin of some of our British listeners:

UK: Police to Get Tough New Terror Powers
David Cracknell writes in The Sunday Times:

New anti-terrorism laws are to be pushed through before Tony Blair leaves office giving “wartime” powers to the police to stop and question people.

John Reid, the home secretary, who is also quitting next month, intends to extend Northern Ireland’s draconian police powers to interrogate individuals about who they are, where they have been and where they are going.

Under the new laws, police will not need to suspect that a crime has taken place and can use the power to gain information about “matters relevant” to terror investigations.

If suspects fail to stop or refuse to answer questions, they could be charged with a criminal offence and fined up to £5,000. Police already have the power to stop and search people but they have no right to ask for their identity and movements.

More here.

Turning to tech news, the whole blogosphere is buzzing with the Facebook stuff. Here’s our token coverage:

MySpace v. Facebook: “It’s Not A Decision. It’s an IQ Test”

Venture capitalist Josh Kopelman rips into MySpace today as he applauds Facebook’s new developer platform.

Facebook’s timing is perfect. They just released an API that gives third party developers deep access to Facebook functionality and it’s 20 million users. Not only can these third party startups get a widget placed on people’s Facebook profiles, but they can also get viral distribution through users’ news feeds and access core Facebook features. Using the tools that Facebook made available, developers could build new versions of some of Facebook’s own applications, like Facebook Photos. Users can then remove those default applications and add the new ones. Like Microsoft with Windows, Facebook is now competing with application developers on its own platform.

This isn’t all just talk, either. The most popular third party application, iLike, has nearly 400,000 users just a couple of days after launching and 10x what they had just last Friday. That means nearly 5% of Facebook’s users have now included it on their profile.

Kopelman’s post looks at the new reality from the perspective of a startup. MySpace is a minefield – startups want access to their users but suffer from the very real possibility of being banned, either temporarily or permanently.

Facebook is viewing things from exactly the opposite position: they are giving startups access to Facebook’s core feature set, and allowing them to show advertising and conduct transactions with users without even asking for a cut. This is exactly why I called Facebook the Anti-MySpace last week. Kopelman goes on to say:

Think about it. If you ran a venture-backed company and had to decide whether you wanted to focus your effort on: (a) a property that welcomed you in and let you keep 100% of the revenue you generate or (b) a company with a vague policy that doesn’t let you generate any revenue, which would you choose? I don’t think it’s even a decision. It’s an IQ test.

Kopelman estimates that $250 million has been invested in widget companies in the last 18 months. When these startups think about where to spend their resources, they’ll be weighing MySpace’s relative size advantage (MySpace has 100 million users, growing by 300,000 or so per day. Facebook has 20 million users, growing by 100,000 per day) to the open and transparent nature of Facebook’s approach. On balance I agree with Kopelman. Startups can build a very large business on the back of Facebook. The MySpace path is much riskier.

And as a nod to a few of our listeners who have talked a bit about needing this kind of service, we present Gaboogie:

Conference calling is a $2 billion business in North America alone. But it’s not perceived to be a sexy space, and Gaboogie, which brings some next generation smarts to conference calls if making sexier. Gaboogie starts with a beautifully simple “why didn’t I think of that” solution to this problem: the service calls you. No password is needed because if you’re not supposed to be there, you don’t get called. Participants simply press ‘1′ to join, ‘2′ to decline, and ‘3′ for ‘later.’ The service makes the adjustments for time zones, too. And if you get disconnected, the number is on your caller ID to redial. Calls are setup through the website and it’s easy to check the schedule online. Moderators have a dashboard to monitor calls in progress. You can set participation in a call to “lecture” which lets you simply listen. Calls can be recorded and shared as RSS feeds or MP3 files, all with a single click. Attendees can be added on the fly by simply dragging them from the phonebook.

Want to be part of the Rizzn-ite army? Indoctrination instructions here.

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