12 LINKS ON 02/25/2011

DISNEY BUYS TOGETHERVILLE

NEW YORK – Walt Disney has acquired Togetherville, a social network for children under the age of 10 and their parents. Togetherville provides tools that allow parents to interact with and monitor their kids. For example, parents approve children’s friends. Meanwhile, children can interact with friends, exchange gifts, play games, watch videos and create art. They can also comment on, or “heart,” friends’ activities and update their status with pre-screened phrases, such as “Who is going to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid?” or “Aced the test. Oh yeah!!”.

VINYL SALES UP

According to recent Nielsen SoundScan numbers, vinyl was the fastest-growing musical format in 2010, with 2.8 million units sold, the format’s best year since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991.

Vinyl’s increase in popularity is providing a beacon of hope for independent record stores — an industry that has suffered with the increase of digital downloads this past decade.

THE RETURN OF KEITH OLBERMANN:

A tough job, even when my salary went up five grand when I hit my one-year anniversary. But as I said, my boss, Stan Sabik, was great. 20 years in the business and the Bureau Manager for UPI Audio and still he treated me like I wasn’t a punk kid with a really bad mustache and incredible arrogance. If I didn’t like one of his decisions he’d hear me out and once in a long while he’d say “how is this possible? You’re right” and change his mind. I could even go back at him two or three times to appeal something and he’d yell and I’d yell back and we’d never hold it against each other.

Time is running out for Republicans and Democrats to come up with a budget deal. If they don’t reach one in eight days, the federal government could shut down — much like it did about 15 years ago.

MORE THOUGHTS ON RADIOHEAD

Still, I think music fans and cultural observers need to grapple with this a little: Radiohead’s first album, Pablo Honey, came out 18 years ago. Here’s another way to think about it: when that album came out, I was 13; now I’m 31. And from at least The Bends to the present, they’ve commanded the attention of the musical press and the rock audience as one of the top ten — or higher — bands at any given moment. You might have loved Radiohead, you might have been bored by them, you might have wished they’d gone back to an earlier style you liked better, but you always had to pay attention to them, and know where you stood. For 18 years. That’s an astonishing achievement.’

IS DONALD RUMSFELD A LIZARD?

Donald Rumsfeld has been all over the media to plug his new book, and yesterday he surfaced on the Opie & Anthony Show, where comedian Louis CK happened to be a guest. Over the protestations of the sycophantic hosts, Louis repeatedly pressed the former Defense Secretary on whether he’s a flesh-eating lizard person. It starts around the 2:30 mark:

PARKER LEAVES PARKER SPITZER

Confirming weeks of speculation (beginning with a Jan. 10 Wall Street Journal report), CNN vice president Ken Jautz announced today that journalist Kathleen Parker would leave the show, which has been renamed ‘In the Arena.’ Jautz wrote in a memo to his staff, according to The Hollywood Reporter, that “Kathleen Parker has decided to leave the program to focus on her writing, and we have decided to take the show in a new direction.”

SCHOOL BOARD FIRES ALL TEACHERS

PROVIDENCE — After two hours of contentious discussion, the School Board voted 4 to 3 Thursday night to send out termination notices to each of the city’s 1,926 public school teachers. More than 700 teachers jammed a high school gymnasium to tell school officials that their hearts were broken, their trust violated and their futures as teachers jeopardized.

WHERE’S MY MILK FROM?

FACEBOOK HELPED EGYPT UPRISING

Emails obtained by The Daily Beast show that Facebook executives took unusual steps to protect the identity of protest leaders during the Egypt uprising. Mike Giglio on how the social media giant scrambled to keep pace with Egypt’s revolution. As unlikely protests swept across Egypt on January 25, an administrator from the Facebook page that was helping to drive the uprisings emailed a top official of the social network, asking for help.

DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT IN JEOPARDY

President Obama’s assertion that the federal ban on same sex-marriage is unconstitutional has expanded the political debate on legal rights for gay Americans. The administration’s position on the Defense of Marriage Act “will affect every nook and cranny of gay rights,” says James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union.

BREAST MILK ICE CREAM

Anyone pining for some ice cream in London now has an unusual option to consider: ice cream made from mothers’ breast milk. The Icecreamists shop has made headlines for using milk from as many as 15 women to make its new “Baby Gaga” flavor. The rare offering proved a hit with customers at the Covent Garden store — the first batch sold out within days of being introduced. A serving of Baby Gaga, which is reportedly flavored with vanilla and lemon zest, goes for 14 pounds — or about $22.50.