January 20, 2012

A Flipped Cruise Ship & A Wikipedia Blackout

2012's moving fast,
Flocab breaks down the last few newscasts:
Monday was for MLK,
So we hope you spread peace and love to celebrate.

Now you may have heard about the ship,
That was cruising through Italy until it got flipped.
People died but, where was the captain?
It seemed like he was the first to flee the action.

Hey, yo what happened?
There's no Wikipedia, Google or a lot of other online media.
January 18th was a blackout,
Against the SOPA law, they're saying it's a wack route.

Mubarak had clout, now he's on trial,
The people want justice, but it's taking awhile.
For activists in Egypt, yo they only want change,
But from their point of view the regime may remain.

Are you into business but not big gain?
Would you rather have a positive vision to maintain?
Well try a Benefit Corporation,
A new style of business that's sweeping the nation.

Recently on your TV stations,
You may have seen Stephen Colbert, the comedy sensation.
He brought up a point about Super PACs,
Tell Flocab what you think after you do the facts.

Oh the internet and its stupid hacks,
Zappos and Amazon are getting sued for that.
They got breached and data was taken,
Now a civil suit's trying to bring home the bacon.

Mitt Romney was a little shaken,
From the GOP candidates and their debating
Maybe next week we'll get him here for a statement,
Flocab's giving you news and entertainment.

The Obamas dedicate a statue to Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Monday, many of you had a day off from school for Martin Luther King Day. King is remembered for his influential leadership in the civil rights movement and his eloquent and inspiring speeches. President Obama said that engaging in public service is the best way to honor King's legacy of giving to the community. So to follow his own advice, the Obama family took part in a public service project to build book shelves at a school library. In what ways has Martin Luther King, Jr. influenced our modern world? Learn more.

The capsized ship

Nearly 100 years after the sinking of the Titanic, another luxury cruise liner faced tragedy last weekend. After traveling too close to the shore, the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground and capsized. As of Thursday, the death toll had reached 11, and 28 people were still missing. And now all eyes are on Captain Francesco Schettino, who is being accused of reckless behavior and abandoning the ship during the disaster. The captain has claimed that he didn't intentionally abandon the ship, but instead just happened to fall off the ship and into a lifeboat. The Italian public isn't buying his story, but they are buying something else: t-shirts that say, "Get back on board," a phrase that an Italian Coast guard official screamed at the captain during the evacuation. Do you think that the Captain should be held personally responsible for the cruise ship crash? Learn more.

A notice on wikipedia.com during the blackout

Wikipedia blacked out its entire English site on Wednesday to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in U.S. Congress. These acts were intended to cut down on illegal downloads of movies and TV shows, but many online companies argued that SOPA and PIPA had the potential to limit free speech on the internet. Joining Wikipedia in educating internet users about the bill, Google blacked out its logo. Popular sites like Reddit and "I Can Has Cheezburger" were also down. Now many members of Congress who previously supported the bills have changed their mind. But the fate of the bills remains to be seen. Do you think that Congress should intervene to cut down on online piracy? Learn more.

Anti-Mubarak protesters

After the revolutionary overthrow of his regime, a new government took hold. And now, Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian dictator, is on trial for his life. Mubarak is being tried for allegedly killing hundreds of protesters. But Mubarak has been taken to the courtroom in a helicopter, and his sons have appeared in court in designer tracksuits. So supporters of the new government are concerned that Mubarak's cavalier attitude and displays of wealth during the trial represent the continued power of the authoritarian regime. Do you think that there are neutral parties that could offer fair judgment for Mubarak in the trial? Learn more.

Warby Parker is a Benefit Corporation

Standard corporations are required to make as large a profit as possible for their shareholders. But a new type of corporation classification is looking to shift business conversation from profit to social purpose. If a company registers as a Benefit Corporation, they are committing to making a positive impact on the society and environment. Warby Parker, a new glasses company, is a Benefit Corporation. For every pair of glasses they sell, they give a pair of glasses to someone who can't afford them. There are nearly 500 Benefit Corporations in the United States. Do you think that more standard corporations should become Benefit Corporations? Learn more.

The line between reality and satire gets finer and finer.

A major buzzword during this election season is "super PAC." Political Action Committess (PACs) are private groups that can raise money to support a political candidate or cause. Before a Supreme Court ruling in 2010, individuals were only allowed to contribute $5,000 per election. But after the ruling, PACs are now allowed to raise unlimited sums of money. Enter: The super PAC. Many people are concerned that the lack of contribution limits will allow corporations to unfairly influence elections by purchasing ads. Super PAC supporters say that it's fair, though, because candidates are not allowed to coordinate with the super PAC. But comedian Stephen Colbert is taking political satire to a new level to question the realities of the super PAC. Rather than just poke fun at them, Colbert actually started a super PAC to show how it is possible to exploit loopholes. Do you think super PACs are fair? Learn more.

Keep your passwords safe.

When a hacker broke into Zappos.com's accounts, millions of customers who had enjoyed convenient online shoe shopping were suddenly stopped in their tracks. Zappos informed its customers that they should change their passwords, but that their credit card information was safe. Still, a Texas woman has filed a class action law suit against Zappos and its owner, Amazon.com for loss of privacy and emotional distress. What are good habits to follow to keep your online data safe? Learn more.

Back to Texas

And then there were four. This Thursday, Governor Rick Perry dropped out of the Republican presidential race. In his resignation speech, he encouraged his supporters to vote for Newt Gingrich. Along with Gingrich, the remaining candidates are Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. Though Romney won the last two state elections, other candidates are urging him to release his tax records. Romney is very wealthy, but he's hinted that he pays a relatively low tax rate since most of his income comes from investments. South Carolina voters will get their say in the next primary this Saturday. Why do you think that candidates endorse other candidates when they drop out of a race? Learn more.
Which civil rights leader did we celebrate on Monday?
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Where did a cruise ship run aground and crash?
What was Wikipedia protesting when it blacked out on Wednesday?
Who is on trial in Egypt?
Former dictator Hosni Mubarak
What type of corporation is required to give back to the community?
A Benefit Corporation
What organization has Stephen Colbert started, to draw attention to the political process?
A Super PAC
Which major website was the latest to fall prey to hackers?
Who dropped out of the Republican Presidential race this week?
Rick Perry
Which Republican candidate was asked to disclose his tax information?
Mitt Romney
Flocab's giving you news and...
Entertainment! Catch you next Friday.

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