Big Ten Network To Cover Obama’s Commencement Address at the University of Michigan

The Big Ten Network has announced they will be carrying Barack Obama’s commencement address at the University of Michigan this Saturday morning. The full commencement ceremony will also be streamed live:

The Big Ten Network will offer live television coverage of President Barack Obama’s commencement address at the University of Michigan. Live coverage of the commencement from Michigan Stadium will begin at 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, May 1, as a special edition of the network’s University Showcase programming.

President Obama’s speech will be the first televised commencement address for the three-year-old network, a partnership between the Big Ten Conference and Fox Cable Networks. The entire commencement ceremony will also be streamed live at

HP Buys Palm

Palm is a company which has made great products but without the ability to compete with the bigger players in the market. If they cannot make it themselves, I’m happy to see them get purchased by HP.  Besides all the business advantages, this gets two companies together which have produced a large number of the devices I’ve carried in my pocket over the years.

When calculators replaced slide rules, my first calculator was a scientific calculator from HP which I believe cost $400 back in 1973. Years later, when calculators were replaced by PDA’s I wound up using a great pocked sized computer from HP. The device ran DOS apps and with Software Carousel it could even run multiple apps at one time.

Eventually as DOS died out I moved from HP to Palm, and I still get a lot of use out of my Palm Tx. The Palm Tx has been so useful that I resisted buying a smart phone for years, carrying both the Palm and a cell phone. I finally gave in and got a smart phone this year. It was a tough decision between a Palm Pre and a Droid. The deciding factor was that, even though there were some advantages to the Pre, I see the Android operating system as being more likely to dominate the market while I feared Palm might not even survive. One big advantage of this acquisition is that consumers will be more confident in purchasing a Palm device which  has the backing of Hewlett Packard.

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Charlie Crist Running As An Independent

The Republican Party’s small tent is getting a little smaller. Charlie Crist is the latest moderate Republican to find that moderate candidates can no longer win in a party which has been taken over by the extreme right wing. Crist is expected to announce tomorrow that he is running as an independent. While he is expected to lose in the Republican primary for the Florida Senate seat, he now appears to have an even shot running as an independent.

Sarah Palin Gets It Right For Once

Normally I don’t think much of someone like Sarah Palin who promotes ignorance as a virtue, and generally attacks the media not for its true limitations but for failing to go along with her bizarre world view. This time, however, Palin is right in attacking the “lamestream media.” As Media Matters notes, the lame media she is attacking is her own employer–Fox:

On last night’s Hannity, Fox News contributor Sarah Palin did what she does best-complain about the “lamestream media throughout our country.” This time, the media’s “lame[ness]” was revealed through their coverage of Arizona’s new controversial immigration law. Palin sniffed: “One of the media outlets the other day just-was killing me on this one, Sean, where they had a caption across their screen that said Arizona law will make it illegal to be an illegal immigrant? Some bizarre type of headline like that where it was just this illustration that they just don’t get it.”

The media she happened to make the claim that “Arizona law will make it illegal to be an illegal immigrant” turns out to be the April 27 broadcast of Fox & Friends:

The Relationship Between Obama And The Press

This story should be filed under generally true but not very significant criticism of Barack Obama. While there has often been the impression that Obama receives favored coverage from the press, there has actually been some friction. Even during the presidential campaign many noticed that Obama was somewhat distant from the press and the campaign was working hard to control the message.

Politco ran a story whining about this today as they noted most reporters prefer to keep this off the record because they “worry about appearing whiny.” They write:

Obama and the media actually have a surprisingly hostile relationship — as contentious on a day-to-day basis as any between press and president in the past decade, reporters who cover the White House say.

Reporters say the White House is thin-skinned, controlling, eager to go over their heads and stingy with even basic information. All White Houses try to control the message. But this White House has pledged to be more open than its predecessors, and reporters feel it doesn’t live up to that pledge in several key areas:

— Day-to-day interaction with Obama is almost nonexistent, and he talks to the press corps far less often than Bill Clinton or even George W. Bush did. Clinton took questions nearly every weekday, on average. Obama barely does it once a week.

— The ferocity of pushback is intense. A routine press query can draw a string of vitriolic e-mails. A negative story can draw a profane high-decibel phone call or worse. Some reporters feel like they’ve been frozen out after crossing the White House.

— Except toward a few reporters, press secretary Robert Gibbs can be distant and difficult to reach — even though his job is to be one of the main conduits from president to press. “It’s an odd White House where it’s easier to get the White House chief of staff on the phone than the White House press secretary,” one top reporter said.

— And at the very moment many reporters feel shut out, one paper — The New York Times — enjoys a favoritism from Obama and his staff that makes competitors fume, with gift-wrapped scoops and loads of presidential face time.

The attempts to control the issues are also understandable considering how much the right wing noise machine distorts the truth. Yes, ideally we would have a White House which is totally open with the press. However, considering how poorly the media (including Politico) often does in covering the issues, this attitude is understandable.

The report notes, “this attitude, many believe, starts with the man at the top. Obama rarely lets a chance go by to make a critical or sarcastic comment about the press, its superficiality or its short-term mentality.” I certainly have to agree with Obama here. I have also read elsewhere that Obama is often very sarcastic but keeps such remarks private, recognizing that his sarcasm might not always come off well publicly. While I don’t always agree with him, I tend to like what appears to be the real Obama as opposed to the Messiah image which some detractors believe is what attracts supporters.

The complaints against the White House might also be summarized in this item from the article:

The New York Times’ Peter Baker, who reported on the Clinton and Bush 43 administrations for the Washington Post, said that the Obama administration is “in some ways … more transparent,” but in other ways, “they’re just like every other White House.”

In some ways they are transparent and in some ways they are not. In some ways they are just like every other White House and in some ways they have changed things. Somehow none of this is terribly shocking, or different from what I anticipated.

Some of the problems might just come from the learning curve as White House staffers must figure out the best way to deal with the press. They must balance openness with trying to get out a message which is not totally distorted by the media. While, as I noted above, I heard these same complaints during the campaign, Chuck Todd believes that the Obama people have become more open since taking office.

“So far, I actually feel like the Obama White House is treating the press with more respect than the campaign,” Todd said, adding that it was a “myth” that the Obama campaign and traveling press corps had a great relationship. “There’s more access to these guys, weirdly enough, than during the campaign.”

Those who thought Obama was going to totally change everything bad about Washington overnight will be disappointed. Those who understand the real world will hardly be shocked by any of this.