The ScriptKiddies have struck again, hacking Friday afternoon into the official Twitter feed of NBC News. They posted a series of tweets about a fictional airplane attack on ground zero in New York City.
In a statement, NBC said, "The NBC News Twitter account was hacked late this afternoon and as a result, false reports of a plane attack on ground zero were sent to @NBCNews followers. We are working with Twitter to correct the situation and sincerely apologize for the scare that could have been caused by such a reckless and irresponsible act."
Here's what was posted:
Twitter has now suspended the hackers' account, @s_kiddies.
Vivian Schiller, the chief digital officer for @NBCNews and @MSNBC used her....
Those piercing professional eyes of one of our faves, Dana Loesch, have spotted another disparity in media treatment of commentary on the nation's vacationer-in-chief and Republicans.
ESPN golf analyst and 12-time PGA Tour winner Paul Azinger put out a funny and biting tweet during this week of President Obama's famous vacation on Martha's Vineyard:
"Facts: POTUS has played more golf this month than I have; I have created more jobs this month than he has."
Friday, as Dana reports, ESPN "reminded" Azinger that his tweet was inconsistent with the social media policy of the company (corporate parent: Disney).
And that "political commentary is best left to those in that field."
Then Dana astutely wonders aloud what kind of warning verbal outlaw Kenny Mayne got for his twittered desire in June to wreak mechanical mayhem on a passing car, ramming it simply because it carried a Sarah Palin sticker. Presumably Mayne pulled over before tapping out his tweet.
When it comes to donations, Texas Rep. Ron Paul believes small is beautiful.
In a 24-hour fundraising push over the weekend, GOP presidential candidate Paul scooped up more than $1.6 million in small donations. It was Paul's 76th birthday and his loyal band of dedicated campaigners came through again for the inconoclastic Texas libertarian.
This happened despite a cyber-attack on the campaign Website, announced on Paul's Facebook page, that shut it down for a few hours.
A press release quoted campaign chairman Jesse Benton as saying, "Our campaign is surging, and today's money bomb results show the strength of our grassroots support. We've just come off an impressive finish in the Iowa straw poll, and our growing poll numbers and strong fundraising proves that our message is resonating with people."
Indeed, those who support Paul are passionate, but the RealClearPolitics.com average of major polls puts the 11-term congressman sixth in the field of Republican hopefuls, behind Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin (who's not actually running yet), Michele Bachmann and Rudy Giuliani (also not officially running), but ahead of declared candidates Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman Jr. and Rick Santorum.
The 2012 campaign is a final push for Paul, who has announced he will not seek another term in the House in order to concentrate on his presidential race.
One of the biggest obstacles in Paul's way is fellow Texan Rick Perry, the Lone Star State's longest-serving governor. Since announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination last Saturday, Perry has generated a lot of buzz and attention (and a Twitter endorsement from rocker and businessman Gene Simmons).
Perry also has a successful history of getting donors to open their wallets.
In an interview with ABC News, Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, said, "He is the most successful campaign fundraiser in the history of Texas politics, hands down."
The question will be whether Perry can transition from his base of big-money donors in his home state to attract the attention of big donors nationwide -- a strength of Romney, who's also got personal wealth to draw on -- and the support of individual donors more focused on particular issues and ideologies (such as Paul's).
"I don't think money will be an object [for Perry]," McDonald also said. "I mean, it won't be a question in his success unless he stumbles badly."
True, Paul's moneybombs were larger back in the 2007-08 cycle; he got $5 million one day then and even outraised Mike Huckabee, the last GOP candidate to concede to John McCain's primary efforts.
There's little doubt Paul's ardent fans will continue to throw dollars at him, but if Perry locks into the national big-money bundlers, the battle of Texas could be over quickly.
Media critic Kate O’Hare is a regular Ticket contributor. She also blogs about TV at Hot Cuppa TV and is a frequent contributor at entertainment news site Zap2it. Also follow O'Hare on Twitter @KateOH.
On Tuesday, during a town hall meeting in Decorah, Iowa, on his non-campaign campaign-style bus tour, President Obama remarked on political rancor of the past, saying, "Lincoln, they used to talk about him almost as bad as they talk about me."
(Click here for the full text, courtesy of RealClearPolitics.com)
The Great Emancipator certainly was the target of his share of political trash talk. Of course, the nation was being torn asunder in the bloody and protracted Civil War, which tended to make people cranky, but even so, some of this stuff is harsh.
For example, consider this 1919 letter to the editors in the New York Times, published during the administration of Progressive Democrat Woodrow Wilson, called "In Lincoln's Day: Examples of the Kind of Attack a President Had to Endure Then."
The writer, Frederick Francis Cook, thanked the Times for an inspiring article on Wilson, saying, "And especially pleasing was the way in which you douched the spirit of that fiery patriot Mr....
As a debt-ceiling agreement has been hammered out, averting default (but not necessarily a credit-rating downgrade), everyone from President Obama to Sarah Palin to John Boehner took to Twitter to make their cases to the American people.
While many Twitter accounts went quiet Sunday (or even a bit earlier) as negotations got down to brass tacks, it's clear social media has become a big gun in the political arsenal -- even if it's one that can misfire.
This past week, the White House instituted a program called "Office Hours," pushing out tweets intended to school users on fiscal policy.
Apparently the administration's emphasis on money talk bored Twitterer....
A New York Times reporter this morning offered White House communications folks an unsolicited tip on using Twitter to drive improved public support for President Obama's stance in the debt ceiling negotiations.
And within minutes they took it.
As the Daily Caller's Neil Munro relates, New York Times reporter Jen Preston, like millions of Americans, heard Obama's remarks this morning urging citizens to phone, email and Tweet their support for the Democratic "compromise" legislation in the stubborn budget talks with Republican members of Congress going on now for weeks.
Soon after, Preston tweeted two White House officials asking if they're using a special #hashtag as Twitter users do to group messages of common interest. This White House has never been slow to use social media. Quickly, they came up with #compromise.
(UPDATE: Preston and Erik Wemple of the Washington Post have a totally different take here. "I wasn’t doing it to help the White House. I was doing it to help myself," Preston told Wemple. "I didn’t hear his address, and I was simply trying to find out what the hashtag was.")
Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty took to his @TimPawlenty Twitter account Friday to issue a challenge to fellow Republican contender Mitt Romney.
He inserted a linkfrom his recent conversation about the debt ceiling vote with CNBC's Larry Kudlow and tweeted around it, "My thoughts on the debt ceiling. What say you @MittRomney? Help us fight back."
In an interview with Mashable.com, Pawlenty said, "The old way was the semi-monopolistic providers of content would pipe the news into you and and cover the angle or spin that they thought was appropriate."
But now, Pawlenty said, "the consumer's more in charge."
Pawlenty has more than 44,000 Twitter followers, more than 1 million views on his YouTube channel (and 895 subscribers) and more than 103,000 fans on his Facebook page (with another 1,500 or so thrown in from a page for Tim Pawlenty 2012).
The scheduled launch of Atlantis space shuttle, with a reduced crew of four, will be all over television today. It's the 135th and final flight in the fabled 30-year history of America's space shuttle adventure.
We are participating in the NASA Tweetup this week with unique access to the space center and NASA experts. So in anticipation of the launch we decided to gather gobs of details about what you won't hear or see on TV, courtesy of numerous interviews at the Kennedy Space Center, most especially with the veteran and patient American astronaut Doug Wheelock. Plus we have some inside NASA launch videos below:
While you were sleeping, technicians fueled the amazing mechanical monster. Flight managers made that decision at 2 a.m. Eastern, hoping to find a clear spot of weather between today's predicted storms.
The rockets are so huge, they will take more than a half-million gallons of liquid oxygen and nitrogen. If you laid Atlantis and its rockets down on a football field, they would reach from one goal line beyond the far 30-yard line.
And these engines have a voracious appetite. At T-minus three hours, technicians will have loaded 150,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and 345,000 gallons of liquid nitrogen. The LOX alone weighs 10 pounds per gallon. So there's 1,500,000 pounds right there.
Most of this fuel volume will be consumed in the 8.5 minutes it takes to reach orbit.
Attached to the huge rust-colored tank (the color is thermal protection, no longer painted white, which saves 600 pounds) are those twin solid rocket boosters. Each of those long white cannons weighs 1.5 million pounds. They are reusable. (See video below for a rocket's eye view of the last launch.)
Altogether depending on payload, the rocket-shuttle combo weigh just under five million pounds, even more than the combined weight of Congress after lunch. Did you know that together the package is called the shuttle. When Atlantis returns home alone, weighing less than 250,000 pounds, it's called the orbiter.
There are several holds or planned pauses built into the countdown. The main reason for these: To let human minds catch up with the monitoring and analysis of their computers.
At T-minus 15 seconds, 350,000 gallons of water flood the area beneath the shuttle. But not just, as you might think, for the heat. It's to subdue a sound pulse created by the engines' beyond deafening roar.
Those sparks you might see beneath the main engine nozzles are intentional to burn off any hydrogen fumes. At T-minus 6.6 seconds the main engines ignite. But the entire assembly remains bolted to the pad.
As the thrust from the three shuttle engines builds, it actually moves the tip of Atlantis three feet over and then, in slow motion, back to vertical. If all is well with the main engines, eight explosive bolts tethering the machine to earth are blown. (Watch for small puffs of white smoke at the rocket base in the bottom video here.)
And the solid fuel boosters ignite.
These twin towers of power have no throttle. No controls. They know nothing but full blast. It's basically a pair of two-minute controlled explosions out the rear.
As Wheelock puts it, "Once you light those babies, you're going somewhere."
Together at liftoff the engines provide in excess of six million pounds of thrust and the burning fuel reduces the weight it's carrying by thousands of pounds per second.
Watch this cockpit view video of a launch and see how even the tightly-tethered crew is firmly jostled. (More text below)
Ever wonder why shortly after launch as it starts its flight up the East coast, the shuttle always turns on its back? "Houston, Atlantis roll program." One, that movement aligns rooftop antennas with the myriad of tracking stations below.
But since the shuttle has wings with lift, it wants to fly on its own. Not a good thing when tethered to rockets, or until journey's end. Turning upside down transforms that wing lift into negative force, saving strain on connections.
You're likely to hear a myriad of other terms in the radio chatter. "Go at throttle up," meaning all is well and the engines can be returned to full thrust after passing through the sound barrier.
"CDR" is the flight commander, Chris Ferguson. "PTL" is the pilot, Doug Hurley. "MS1" and "MS2" are the mission spoecialists, Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim.
At two minutes-five second comes "BECO," booster engine cutoff. Those twin rockets that have been burning 11,000 pounds of fuel per second are discarded by explosive bolts. However, since their burning fuel will carry them four miles higher, mini-rockets steer the spent engines away from the shuttle.
In the nose of these rockets is a trio of parachute packages that open, first, to right and steady the falling cylinders, then slow them more and finally take them to a splash landing in the Atlantic, where two recovery ships are already waiting 120 miles off Jacksonville.
If you've ever wondered what it's like to fall about 14 miles, check out this video from NASA booster cameras and then read more below:
You might also hear "Negative return," meaning Atlantis is too high and too far away to return to the Cape if something went wrong. NASA has emergency landing fields around the globe.
"MECO," main engine cutoff, meaning they've made it into orbit. Shortly after the boosters fall away, the shuttle is traveling 4,000 miles an hour. Less than two minutes later it's going Mach 8, about 5,700 miles an hour. Thirty-five seconds later it's increased to 6,600 miles an hour.
Before six minutes of flight it's hustling along at Mach 13, 9,000 miles an hour. A minute later 13,000 miles an hour. One more minute and they're doing 17,500 miles an hour, Mach 25. (And, yes, during launch all astronauts wear diapers.)
Here's another sense of space speed. In orbit, they have a sunrise or a sunset every 45 minutes. In its 293 days in space Atlantis has seen 4,648 of each with temperature swings of several hundred degrees.
Wheelock recalls casually while returning to Earth one time, he looked down and saw Seattle. Nineteen minutes later he was in Florida -- just one mile from where Atlantis now sits for her next -- and last -- adventure.
Photo: Andrew Malcolm / Los Angeles Times (Atlantis countdown clock at T-minus 11 hours and holding, Atlantis on Launch Pad 39A can be seen just to the right of the clock, three miles away, July 7); Andrew Malcolm / Los Angeles Times (Wheelock by Atlantis, July 7).
"May God Bless Atlantis and Her Crew" say the signs all along the Eastern coast of Florida near the Kennedy Space Center. There, on Pad 39A Thursday Atlantis was unveiled for its 33rd and last flight, despite leaden skies and vicious circling thunderstorms.
If all goes well, after 12 days 250 miles up at the International Space Station, where the humidity is considerably less than Florida in July, Atlantis will end up as the prime attraction at the historic space facility's Visitors Center.
We are participating in the NASA Tweetup this week for the final U.S. space shuttle launch with unique access to the space center and NASA experts. Scroll down for Thursday's collection of Tweets, vis Storify.com, including a photo of a longtime Ticket reader we finally met in person, Jenn Perry, a veteran launch-watcher.
The photo above was taken about 1,000 feet from the shuttle and booster rockets after the service facility was retracted Thursday afternoon.
The four astronauts are sleeping right now. The launch is scheduled for 11:26 a.m. Friday Eastern time. Bad weather threatens that time, but launch controllers will not decide until the wee hours of Friday morning if the weather will permit loading of hundreds of thousands of gallons of volatile fuel.
If they go proceed with fueling, they will try to find a moderate weather window to launch in time to catch up to the circling ISS. They can scrub Friday's flight, but if they've fueled the rockets, another try can't come before Sunday. If they decide to write off a Friday flight attempt without fueling, Saturday and Sunday are fallback launch dates, when weather is predicted to be slightly better.
There's a tight launch window for NASA's Atlantis because the Air Force has another timed launch scheduled for next week and needs the range clear.
We'll be here, of course, tweeting up our own storm @latimestot with occasional items, numerous Tweets and exclusive photos here too. Spread the word.
President Barack Obama answered a lot of questions about jobs, the economy, and taxes in his first Twitter Town Hall on Wednesday.
One of the most memorable statements the president delivered was when he said that one of the things he would have have done differently "would have been to explain to the American people that it was going to take a while for us to get out of this."
Obama admitted, "I think even I did not realize the magnitude, because most economists didn’t realize the magnitude of the recession until fairly far into it, maybe two or three months into my presidency where we started realizing that we had lost 4 million jobs before I was even sworn in."
After the jump: The entire transcript of the Twitter Town Hall, as provided by the White House.
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.