Official Google blog …

YouTube Highlights 3/3/2011

Posted: 03 Mar 2011 02:57 PM PST

This is the latest in our series of YouTube highlights. Every couple of weeks, we bring you regular updates on new product features, interesting programs to watch, and tips you can use to grow your audience on YouTube. Just look for the label “YouTube Highlights” and subscribe to the series. – Ed.

In past weeks, we’ve featured two more YouTube interviews with leaders through the World View program and seen more footage come in from across the Middle East as unrest there continues.

David Cameron and John Boehner on YouTube

In YouTube World View’s second interview, YouTube and Al Jazeera English sat down with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Ten thousand people submitted questions, and in the interview, the Prime Minister shared his thoughts on what should be done in Libya, and talked about increased taxes for banks in the U.K. and Britain’s role in Afghanistan.

And as the budget debate rages on the U.S. Capitol Hill, we asked viewers from across the U.S. and around the world to submit questions to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH). The final interview will be posted to YouTube on Friday, March 4.

We’ll have another interview in the coming weeks—check YouTube World View for more details soon.

Join us on YouTube for Carnaval in Brazil

An estimated 100 million people travel to Brazil each year to experience Carnaval, the iconic celebration on the streets of Salvador, Bahia. This year, you can join the festivities on the Carnaval YouTube channel via computer or mobile phone. Watch live feeds of Salvador’s multi-day street fest from Thursday, March 3 through Tuesday, March 8. If you’re lucky enough to be there in person, find out how to buy a pass to Google’s street-side camarote (cabin) at the celebration at

February’s “On The Rise” winner

After tens of thousands of votes, D-trix from theDOMINICshow has been named February’s “On The Rise” contest winner. He beat out tornado chasers, graphic artists and pop stars for the honor. When D-trix isn’t spoofing Justin Bieber, he’s dancing or teaching people how to rap. Congratulations!

Making YouTube seven times faster

To help you better enjoy all the great content that’s uploaded to YouTube every minute, we recently increased speed for uploads and playback. Google’s cloud computing capabilities help us process videos in chunks on different machines—making our video-processing seven times faster than in 2008.

Ad Blitz winner

Super Bowl ads are always a big draw of the game. This year, we added Super Bowl spots to the Ad Blitz gallery so you could vote for your favorites. More than 2.7 million votes were cast, and 3.5 million views took place on mobile devices. This year’s winner, Chrysler, was featured on the YouTube masthead for the Saturday following the game.

This week’s trends on YouTube

Here are a few recent highlights from YouTube Trends:

Britney Spears built up anticipation for her latest music video.

Dramatic footage poured in from across the Middle East: Libya, Iran, Algeria and Yemen.

A funny moment from “Family Feud” got “passed around.”

We’ll have another update for you in a couple of weeks. Until then, visit us at the YouTube Blog.

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Marketing Manager, The YouTube Team

Does Ford’s clean car press match what they’re saying in DC?

Make Sure the Media Gets it Right on Clean Cars

Make your voice heard and hold the automakers accountable both for their words and their actions as we aim to secure our clean car future.

Tell USA Today that Automaker Sales Show Why We Need Clean Car Standards >> .. 

The time to secure our clean car future is now. The federal government and California are collaborating on new emissions and fuel economy standards (aka “clean car standards”) which will cover vehicles from model years 2017-2025. These standards will help break America’s dangerous addiction to oil and are a significant piece of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ plan to cut our nation’s projected oil use in half by 2030.

U.S. automakers, such as Ford, are already benefiting from the current round of clean car standards. Indeed, USA Today notes that Ford’s main sales winner is the remodeled Explorer SUV model, which focused on fuel efficiency improvements. In acknowledging the U.S. consumer, Ford said “With oil nearing $100 per barrel and gasoline prices continuing to rise, consumers’ consideration for fuel economy once again is taking top billing.”

But as Ford sings the clean car song to the press, they and the other U.S. automakers are actually pushing to weaken the 2025 standards. Ensuring full and accurate coverage of the automakers in the press will be critical to pushing back against this effort.

We’ve proven time and time again that the public voice is an essential counterbalance to the automaker spin machine. So head to our online Action Center and help make sure the press is covering this story with your interests in mind, not just the automakers’.

Take Action Today!

Take care,

Scott Nathanson

National Field Organizer

UCS Clean Vehicles Program

P.S. Are you a FB user and want to use the power of “The Social Network” to clean up our cars? Then “like” our new UCS Clean Car Watchdog Facebook page. It will give you the latest news and even more real-time opportunities to make your voice heard on this crucial issue.

Recall elections in Wisconsin …

Republican politicians in Wisconsin have gone mad with power.

Yesterday, the state Senate president issued arrest warrants for the brave Democratic state senators who left Wisconsin to stop the attacks on workers.1 And Republicans have locked down the Capitol building, even denying access to firefighters responding to an emergency call.2

We need to put a stop to this madness, and the only way is to flip control of the state Senate with a recall election.

Grassroots progressives, students, workers, and unions in Wisconsin are coming together with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to do just that.3 But they’re going to need a lot of help. MoveOn members in Wisconsin are already volunteering to canvass voters. The rest of us need to raise $150,000 to get the recall campaign off to a great start.

A number of Republican senators are particularly vulnerable, getting less than 51% of the vote in their last election.4 We can win this, but with billionaires like the Koch brothers supporting Walker’s plan,5 progressives in Wisconsin are going to need the support of all of us.

Over the past 36 hours, over 245,000 MoveOn members signed an emergency statement of support for the “Wisconsin 14,” the brave Democratic senators who left the state to block a vote on Walker’s plan. They’re continuing to hold firm and stay out of Wisconsin.

But the fastest way they can come home to their families—with workers’ rights intact—is if some Republican senators see the light and decide to oppose the governor. Organizing a strong recall effort is the best way to help make that happen.

$150,000 will send a clear message to Scott Walker and his allies in the Senate that there will be dire consequences if they keep pushing their radical agenda. Click here to contribute via ActBlue:

Thanks for all you do.

–Daniel, Kat, Julia, Marika, and the rest of the team


National Security:The King’s (Islamophobic) Speech

House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King‘s (R-NY) hearing on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response” will take place Wednesday. King’s public statements have revealed a deeply Islamophobic and paranoid streak in his thinking, and his list of proposed witnesses has shown a brazen anti-Islamic slant. But under increasing pressure from activists and organizations in the Muslim American community and elsewhere, as well as from progressive outlets and even from his own fellow representatives, King’s grandiose vision for the hearings is coming apart at the seams. By his own admission, no member of law enforcement is willing to publicly substantiate King’s claim that Muslim American communities do not sufficiently cooperate with law enforcement. King has split the hearings into panels of witnesses, one of which will include members of Congress. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who is a Muslim, will be included in the latter. Meanwhile, King has avoided the spotlight in recent weeks, in contrast to his earlier public promotion of the hearings, and has been keeping quiet about both the list of witnesses and the specific questions that will be asked.

THE KING’S MYTHS: King has repeated the demonstrably spurious assertion that “80 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by radical Imams.” Media Matters for America traced this claim back to an unsubstantiated statement by California cleric Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, concluding the claim “has been repeated by conservatives and anti-Islam activists for more than 10 years, despite a complete lack of evidence to back it up, and Kabbani’s admission that his criteria for extremism was ‘a focus on the Palestinian struggle.'” King has also called Muslims “an enemy living amongst us” and declared that “there are too many mosques in this country.” On the latter point, a study carried out by professors at Duke University and the University of North Carolina determined that “contemporary mosques are actually a deterrent to the spread of militant Islam and terrorism.” As for the charge that Muslim Americans do not sufficiently cooperate with law enforcement, ThinkProgress, The New York Times, and CNN have reported on multiple studies that contradict this assertion. Work by the Muslim Public Affairs Council — cited by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) at an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress Action Fund — concluded that “about a third of all foiled al-Qaida-related plots in the U.S. relied on support or information provided by members of the Muslim community.” A study by Duke University and the University of North Carolina found that contemporary mosques in the United States serve as a pro-active deterrent to radicalism, and that “many mosque leaders had put significant effort into countering extremism by building youth programs, sponsoring antiviolence forums and scrutinizing teachers and texts.” As for the notion the Muslim Americans do not sufficiently denounce terrorism, David Schanzer, co-author of the Duke study, has emphasized that many Muslim American organizations have consistently and repeatedly denounced terrorism in the name of their religion, but this fact simply fails to make it into the mainstream press.

THE KING’S PANEL: Ayann Hirsi Ali, a Dutch critic of Islam working at the American Enterprise Institute, was one of the most prominent possible witnesses to be dropped from King’s list. Among other notable statements, Ali has suggested amending the Constitution to give fewer rights to Muslims, has described Islam as “a cult,” asserted that “there is no moderate Islam,” and claimed that “we are at war with Islam .” Another prominent witness to be dropped from King’s list was Walid Phares, who is on the Clarion Fund advisory board. The Clarion Fund is most well known for producing several documentaries which presented the United States as caught in a civilizational conflict with Islam, and Phares himself is “a former official with the Lebanese Forces, a Christian militia” which was implicated by Israel’s official Kahan inquiry in the 1982 massacre of Lebanese civilians. The inclusion and subsequent abandonment of Ali and Phares is also noteworthy given that King claimed he would rely on Muslims themselves to detail the supposed extent of radicalization within the community, but Ali is an atheist and Phares is a Maronite Christian. Other even more egregious witnesses apparently never even made it as far. “King told Politico that he’s not planning to call as witnesses such Muslim community critics as the Investigative Project’s Steve Emerson and Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer, who have large followings among conservatives but are viewed as antagonists by many Muslims.” The only witness which King has now identified as attending the hearing is Zuhdi Jasser, who runs the nonprofit group American Islamic Forum for Democracy. On the practical level, Jasser has served as a moderate spokesperson and comrade for blatantly Islamophobic organizations, including the Clarion Fund, whose documentaries he narrated. Daniel Pipes, the Middle East Forum director who has written extensively on the threat posed by radical Islamists, summed up the situation in an e-mail to The Washington Post. “Unfortunately, Rep. Peter King has proven himself unsuited for this important task, as shown by the gratuitous controversy he has generated over the mere selection of witnesses.”

THE PUSHBACK AGAINST KING: In contrast to the unwillingness of law enforcement to substantiate King, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder have praised the Muslim-American community for its cooperation. “The cooperation of Muslim and Arab-American communities has been absolutely essential in identifying, and preventing, terrorist threats. We must never lose sight of this,” Holder said. And Sheriff Leroy Baca of Los Angeles, a member of the Major City Chiefs Association, the Major County Sheriffs Association or the National Sheriffs Association, has publicly stated that he has not heard any complaints of Muslim noncooperation from these organizations. Meanwhile, work by the Council on American Islamic Relations was instrumental in removing Walid Phares from the witness list. Faith leaders of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu congregations in King’s own district have sent a letter expressing their concern that his hearings “only further divide our community and undermine our nation’s highest ideals.” Over 100 religious leaders in California have signed a letter asking King to cancel the hearings, and even King’s fellow congressmen have risen in opposition: Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) wrote an op-ed recalling the lessons of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and said, “Rep. King’s intent seems clear: To cast suspicion upon all Muslim Americans and to stoke the fires of anti-Muslim prejudice and Islamophobia. By framing his hearings as an investigation of the American Muslim community, the implication is that we should be suspicious of our Muslim neighbors, co-workers or classmates solely on the basis of their religion.”

URGENT: House Republican​s preparing to defend DOMA!

In the wake of President Obama’s courageous decision to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), radical lawmakers have sunk to a new low.

Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor have spent this past week working to placate anti-LGBT members of Congress and their right wing base by indicating they will defend DOMA – no matter what it takes.

So much for their pledges to focus on jobs and the economy. These so-called fiscal conservatives are wasting Congress’s time and resources to defend discrimination.

We’ve never taken these attacks sitting down – and we can’t start now. Time and again, our opponents lash out when we make progress. And time and again we band together to stop them. We’ve got to do it again this week, with a rapid-response effort in Congress and beyond. Can you help now?

In the past several weeks, HRC has helped drive major victories: civil unions in Hawaii and Illinois; unprecedented progress on marriage equality in Maryland, Rhode Island, and New York; and President Obama’s decision on DOMA. All of those phone calls, rallies, letters to Congress, meetings with lawmakers – they’re working.

But these victories have pushed our opponents to redouble their efforts to undermine equality.

So we’re at a crossroads. We can catapult off of these recent victories and others in Illinois and Hawaii, grab this momentum with both hands and lay a foundation now for a future of full marriage equality – or we can let the extreme right wing dictate America‘s political agenda.

Right-wing radicals know the tide is turning against them. It’s just making them more desperate. Only your generous grassroots support will help us stand strong. We must seize this moment. Are you with us

Thank you for helping us win – and for keeping this movement stro ng.


Joe Solmonese