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Morning Media Summary

Tech: Google To Punish No-Good Sites With Revised Search Ranking: “Google's method of ranking of search results took a hit last week in a chilling New York Times piece . The article exposed a merchant who gamed Google by bullying his customers: The ruder he was, the more negative reviews he received, and, ironically, the better his website's ranking on Google.” F.T.C. Backs Plan to Honor Privacy of Online Users: “Signaling a sea change in the debate over Internet privacy, the government’s top consumer protection agency on Wednesday advocated a plan that would let consumers choose whether they want their Internet browsing and buying habits monitored.” Amazon pulls plug on WikiLeaks: “Amazon booted WikiLeaks from its US-based servers overnight, prompting the whistleblower website to shift to web-hosting services in Europe.” YouTube Officially Launches Ads You Can Skip: “Yep, you read that right. Today, YouTube is officially launching TrueView, a new ad format that lets users skip over ads they aren’t interested in — and advertisers are actually okay with it.” BitTorrent Based DNS To Counter US Domain Seizures: “The domain seizures by the United States authorities in recent days and upcoming legislation that could make similar takeovers even easier in the future, have inspired a group of enthusiasts to come up with a new, decentralized and BitTorrent-powered DNS system. This system will exchange DNS information through peer-to-peer transfers and will work with a new .p2p domain extension.” Amazon faces boycott over WikiLeaks axe: “The internet giant took action after coming under pressure from right-wingers in the US to stop hosting the site, which this week published tens of thousands of confidential diplomatic e-mails.” Global Warming / Environment / Energy: Gas Pipeline Firm’s Plans in Pa. Hit Snag: “State public utility regulators have been advised to reject an effort by a natural gas pipeline firm that could subject its unregulated pipelines to safety standards, but also help it secure the power of eminent domain on private property.” Obama backtracks on plan to open more Gulf waters to offshore drilling: “The United States Interior Department on Wednesday backtracked on a plan to open up the eastern Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Atlantic seaboard to new offshore drilling leases – a decision sparked by the Gulf oil spill this summer and the failure to strike a political deal with Republicans on global-warming legislation.” Pelosi Climate Panel Dies in Republican Sweep of House: “Republicans will eliminate the House committee created by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to highlight the threat of climate change, Representative James Sensenbrenner, the top Republican on the panel, said today.” Insurance / Gambling: Hungary’s gambling laws said to be inadequate for internet age: “Gambling online in Hungary - currently illegal - is getting more and more popular but Hungarian law is not keeping up to date with the fast-changing environment, national dailies on Wednesday quoted experts as saying.” Health / Safety: Overeating, Like Drug Use, Rewards And Alters Brain: “If you've ever wondered why it's hard to stay on a diet, consider this observation from Ralph DiLeone, a brain scientist at Yale University: "The motivation to take cocaine in the case of a drug addict is probably engaging similar circuits that the motivation to eat is in a hungry person."” Food safety bill: Spinach gets new oversight, but not beef: “Months after her 2-year-old son died from eating a fast-food hamburger tainted with E. coli in January 1993, Diana Nole of Gig Harbor, Wash., went to Capitol Hill and asked Congress to overhaul the nation's food-safety laws. ” Economics: 50,000 inmates claim tax refunds, report no wages: “Nearly 50,000 prison inmates claimed more than $130 million in tax refunds this year without providing any wage information to the IRS, a government investigator says in a report to be released Thursday.” Fareed Zakaria’s Right to Pay Higher Taxes Stops at My Right Not To.: “I've long admired Fareed Zakaria's work, but what a piece of lazy slop his latest column is. He's in favor of letting all the Bush tax rates lapse, thereby granting us a shot at cutting "deficits by about a third—more than $300 billion!—permanently and relatively easily." You know the drill: Returning to Clinton-era tax rates would mean $3.9 trillion in more revenue over the next decade. Hitting up the top 2 percent or 3 percent alone would bring in about $700 billion over the next decade. Hitting just the lower 97 percent would bring in $3.2 trillion. Zakaria is jumping on the responsibility and fairness wagon, saying all should pay more.” European banks took big slice of Fed aid: Legal: Supreme Court Questions Broad Government Use of FOIA Exemption to Withhold Documents: “The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the government's broad use of an exemption in the federal Freedom of Information Act to withhold documents from the public.” NJ Governor Chris Christie asked to pardon man with seven-year jail sentence for gun law violations: “In New Jersey, residents who want to transport firearms legally must request a permit from a local law enforcement office and produce a letter stating why it is necessary for them to carry a gun. In other words, New Jerseyans have to prove need before exercising what many Americans consider a constitutional right.” Labor: CORRECT: Express Scripts: To Shut Second Pennsylvania Plant After Talks Fail: “Express Scripts, one of the nation's largest pharmacy benefits managers, said the Bensalem prescription-processing center, which employs about 500 union workers, will close about Feb. 1.” Delta Air Lines is Hiring 1,000 New Flight Attendants; More Than 100,000 Applied: “Delta Air Lines is having what might possibly be the most-popular job search in a long time: More than 100,000 people have applied for just 1,000 openings as flight attendants.” Transportation/ Land Use: High-speed rail in Michigan could become a reality if state Senate acts: “The benefits to metro Detroit of intercity passenger rail and commuter rail service are clear: economic development, environmental improvement, affordable connections between our communities and convenient travel to and from home and work.”