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THE MONEY

It’s a little like the “Find the hidden picture in this picture” puzzle featured in Highlights Kids magazine.

Let’s take another look at President Obama’s high-tech mystery dinner, viewed in dollars and cents.

Billed as a technology and job creation meeting, among the attendees were those who invented an entire industry in a garage or a college dorm room.

They were meeting with someone who has never held a job, let alone created one. Never met a payroll. Never created a thing of value in his entire life.

What would these dozen American entrepreneurs, industrial titans of our era, captains of capitalism, creators of multi-billion dollar corporations that employ hundreds of thousands of people, possibly have in common with a community organizer to discuss technology and job creation?


Official White House photo by Pete Souza

What is the common denominator among the people in this image? The hidden picture within the picture? If you guessed money, you’d be right. Money. Lots and lots of it.

The capitalists and Obama might have chatted about job creation over hors d’oeuvres, but it’s a safe bet the main course was served over talk about campaign contributions for Obama’s 2012 reelection run. Seated at the table were gazillionaires with wealthy friends and armies of well-paid employees.

So what does this new wave of blue chips influence? The Internet. For example, look closely and see the immense power of Google. With just one tiny tweak, “Do No Evil Google” can ruin a business without missing a byte.

Obama was wooing a group that represents companies worth billions and by implication, their employees, who contributed financially to Obama’s 2008 campaign for president. Among them was one holdout who before dessert was served, might have been convinced by presidential charisma to get out his checkbook too.

And that brings us to control:

Company Lobbying (2010) Obama campaign contribution (2008)
Apple $1,610,000.00 $92,141.00
Google $5,160,000.00 $803,436.00
Facebook $351,390.00 $34,850.00
Yahoo $2,230,000.00 $164,051.00
Cisco Systems $2,010,000.00 $187,472.00
Twitter $0.00 $750.00
Oracle $4,850,000.00 $243,194.00
Netflix $130,000.00 $19,485.00
Stanford $370,000.00 $448,720.00
Genentech $4,922,368.00 $97,761.00
Westly Group $0.00 $0.00

THE CONTROL

How easy would it be to control Internet communications? Ask Google’s Wael Ghonim, who took credit for coordinating and organizing the uprising in Egypt.

The North African country of Libya is the latest to experience “rolling blackouts” of its Internet connections during the Gadhafi regime’s violent crackdown on protestors. According to Internet traffic monitors Renesys, Google’s online “Transparency Report” and Arbor Networks, a network security company which issued similar findings, Internet traffic to and from Libya was periodically shut down overnight from 1 to 8 a.m., the time when cyber dissidents typically organize online.

Only about 6 percewnt of Libyans are on the Internet. The news network Al-Jazeera reported that Facebook was used to help coordinate the start of the protests in Libya, which went into full swing on Feb. 17.

Blogs, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter were used heavily by some who helped organize the anti-Mubarak Egyptian protests. Authoritarian regimes like Syria, China (when it’s not using whistles, water spray, and police), and Russia filter some websites and use the Internet as a way to monitor their citizens and steer public discourse.

Strong social ties create revolution; the Internet just helps it along. The Facebook revolution is global, and it’s only just getting geared up. Its influence is felt in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya. Social media like Facebook is the Internet, half a billion people strong and growing to an estimated 3 billion users in the next six years, democracy in action, tremendously influential in coalescing groups and a threat to totalitarian regimes.

When Iranian opposition leaders Mir-Houssein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi began organizing new demonstrations to be held in Tehran next week, they turned to the Internet. They posted statements on

The Los Angeles Times reports the speech has been widely interpreted as a sign that the Chinese government intends to tighten its controls over the media and Internet. The slightest hint or whiff of a protest bring the police.

China also blocked LinkedIn for 24 hours.

Zimbabwe isn’t messing around either. In Zimbabwe, a professor who regularly held gatherings to discuss different news topics and social issues was reportedlyarrested, charged with treason and tortured for showing groups of some 45 people BBC and Al Jazeera news clips about the uprising in Egypt and Tunisia.

THE INFLUENCE

With Google it’s a race against Facebook for search engine functionality. Who’s ahead? It’s almost too close to tell.

One of the Internet’s founding fathers talks about Google’s new boss, Facebook Search and “Revolution 2.0″ in Egypt. In this video, Vint Cerf discusses the Internet’s beginnings and future, including interplanetary Internet now in development with NASA.

It used to be that TV was the leader in setting social norms and mores, but that’s changing. As more and more people chat on Facebook, Twitter and a host of smaller sites – television networks are trying to figure out how to capitalize. Here’s how one network is tying social media to the Academy Awards, to capture and keep the attention of social media users in real time.

“American Idol” voting comes to Facebook

Facebook users could be the determining factor in who will be a future American Idol. Fox’s hugely popular TV singing contest will add online voting. Facebook users will log in to a designated voting page on the “American Idol” website.

Bloomberg West: Live tech TV

Bloomberg is launching a daily live tech TV show called Bloomberg West. And as you’d expect of a tech show, it’s available for viewing online as well.

Google cooks!

In a previous Surfin’ Safari column, we told you about Google’s wedding planner function. This week, Google’s in your kitchen.

Recipe View is the 21st century version of the cookbook. It shows clearly marked ratings, ingredients and pictures and lets you narrow results by ingredient, cooking time and calorie count. Google executive chef Scott Giambastiani demonstrates Recipe View in this video.

Do you know where your friends are?

Facebook can show you. Now you visualize where they are with “Where My Friends Be?”, aGoogle Maps mashup with pinpointed locations.

NOAA map gives weather conditions across the continent

Find out the weather conditions anywhere in North America by running your cursor over the cross. This NOAA map is one of the most amazing and handy weather maps I’ve come across. It also gives other weather-related data points. Great for pilots.

Amazon storms the beaches of Netflix

Amazon has unveiled a free instant movie and TV show streaming option for users already paying for its Amazon Prime service.

Bad mobile etiquette rising – study

Are you permanently attached to your mobile device? You might be among 20 percent who admit they check their mobile gadgets before they get out of bed in the morning. Gadget sightings have even been reported on honeymoons, in public restrooms and in movie theaters. It’s getting to be downright rude.

Bits and Bytes

“Content farms” targeted.

Alert: Facebook scam – free Southwest flights.

Facebook tests new simplified version of privacy policy – shorter than U.S. Constitution.

Social media sites determine college acceptance?

U.S. social network game: Facebook 57, Twitter 11

You can sit at JKF’s desk, The Resolute. Take a seat!

Shop with friends at virtual social shopping mall.

Your bad Twitter grammar has been corrected. You can change your entire life by downloading the extension here.

MySpace continues its downward plunge.

Yahoo’s MyBlogLog closing its doors.

Togetherville – kids’ social network site acquired by Disney.

First there was band camp, scout camp, music camp, boot camp … now there’s Game Camp.

Doctor’s best friend: the iPad. Obama nudging docs towards online med records.

Skype just got better … cheaper too.

The time capsule

1854 – Republican Party formed in Ripon, Wis.

1931 – “Star-Spangled Banner” becomes U.S. national anthem

1953 – Stalin rumored to be near death

1963 – Argoud charged in de Gaulle assassination plot

1969 – Golda Meir first female Israeli PM

1983 – Final episode of “M*A*S*H” airs on CBS

Now playing at the Princess Theater, Urbana, Ill.

Congratulations to WorldNetDaily readers Tracy Hightower of Tennessee and David Haines of Leesburg, Fla., who were among the first to correctly guess actor Tom Hanks in his portrayal of baseball coach Jimmy Dugan in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own.”

Directed by Penny Marshall, the film tells the story of two sisters who joined the first female professional baseball league when many young American men went overseas to fight in World War II, depleting the ranks of pro ball players. Candy manufacturer Walter Harvey (Gary Marshall), comes up with the idea to create a professional baseball league for women to keep the sport alive and make a buck or two. Starring Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell and Lori Petty, the film was nominated for two Golden Globes.

The quote: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard … is what makes it great.”

This week’s quote: “We are the Pros from Dover and we figure to crack this kid’s chest and get out to golf course before it gets dark.”

Name the movie, the actor and the character. Send your answer to me at the e-mail address below. Good luck!

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