Overnight Briefing & General Reality Check - Aug 11, 2011
August 11, 2011
The White House:
The White House is pushing back on accusations that PRESIDENT OBAMA has green-lighted a higher-than-usual amount of access to the U-S Navy SEAL team that killed OSAMA bin LADEN for producers of a big-budget Hollywood movie about the raid scheduled for release on October 12 of next year, less than one month before the presidential election. White House spokesman JAY CARNEY told reporters, "There is no difference in the information that we've given to anybody who's working on this topic from what we gave to those of you in this room who worked on it in the days and weeks after the raid itself."
The film is being directed by KATHRYN BIGELOW and written by MARK BOAL, both of whom teamed-up on the 2008 Oscar winner, "The Hurt Locker." The Weekly Standard notes that Sony Pictures --the company distributing the film-- hosted a fundraiser for the president back in April, the only major studio to hold a political fundraiser so far this cycle. (Pacelli)
Here she comes again! Politico and several other outlets report that SARAH PALIN --who's been completely overshadowed lately by MICHELE BACHMANN-- plans to drop in this weekend at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. In an e-mail to supporters, she said in part, "The heartland is perfect territory for more of the One Nation Tour as we put forth efforts to revitalize the fundamental restoration of America by highlighting our nation's heart, history, and founding principles."
And in an obvious shot at PRESIDENT OBAMA, she added, "I'm also excited to try some of that famous fried butter-on-a-stick, fried cheesecake-on-a-stick, fried twinkies, etc. I'll enjoy them in honor of those who'd rather make us just 'eat our peas!'" (Pacelli)
Is this just another viral marketing campaign? Who knows, but there's now an iPhone app to cover the cost of your coffee.
It's called "Jonathan's Card."
A guy named JONATHAN STARK posted a screen shot of his Starbucks card so you --anyone, actually-- can display it on any Smartphone and use it to buy coffee, or, if you're feeling generous, load money on to it.
Think of it as a scaled-up version of "take a penny, leave a penny." But in this case it's "get a coffee, give a coffee."
At Starbucks, you simply have the barista scan the screen, and if there's a sufficient balance in the account, it will cover your cup of coffee.
All Stark asks is that if you use the app to pay for a cup, add a few bucks for the next person in line, sort of like "pay it forward."
All the transactions are publicly posted, and thousands of dollars have passed through the card. You can even follow the account's balance on Twitter at @jonathanscard. (Maiman)
If you’ve ever trusted glowing TripAdvisor hotel reviews only to find the “oceanfront” room you booked faced an ocean-themed mural across the street, you’ll welcome the software created by a group of Cornell University students to combat "opinion spam:” in other words, bogus reviews planted by the hotels to look like actual guest opinions.
The students claim their software is able to spot fake reviews 90% of the time, versus just 50% for human subjects. The authors say roughly half of all online hotel reviews are fake --four times the proportion guessed by human subjects (who estimated fake reviews as 12% of all reviews).
It seems phony reviews try too hard. Words like "hotel," “husband,” "my," "experience," "vacation," and the names of cities show up more often in fake reviews. Real reviews tend to cut to the chase with more specifics and less set-up, containing words like "floor," "bathroom," "small," “price” and the "$" sign.
PDF file HERE. (Kaye)
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