Newsweek cover: Obama ‘first gay president’

By Dylan Stableford | The Ticket
It won't be nearly as controversial as Time magazine's breastfeeding cover, but Newsweek's May 21 issue declares Barack Obama the country's "first gay president."
The accompanying cover story was written by Andrew Sullivan, the popular--and openly gay--political blogger. The magazine even gives the commander-in-chief a rainbow halo.
Obama, Sullivan writes, "had to discover his black identity and then reconcile it with his white family, just as gays discover their homosexual identity and then have to reconcile it with their heterosexual family."
The full cover story is not yet online, but in a blog post published earlier this week, Sullivan wrote that Obama's support of gay marriage brought him to tears:
I do not know how orchestrated this was; and I do not know how calculated it is. What I know is that, absorbing the news, I was uncharacteristically at a loss for words for a while, didn't know what to write, and, like many Dish readers, there are tears in my eyes.
So let me simply say: I think of all the gay kids out there who now know they have their president on their side. I think of Maurice Sendak, who just died, whose decades-long relationship was never given the respect it deserved. I think of the centuries and decades in which gay people found it impossible to believe that marriage and inclusion in their own families was possible for them, so crushed were they by the weight of social and religious pressure. I think of all those in the plague years shut out of hospital rooms, thrown out of apartments, written out of wills, treated like human garbage because they loved another human being. I think of Frank Kameny. I think of the gay parents who now feel their president is behind their sacrifices and their love for their children.
The interview changes no laws; it has no tangible effect. But it reaffirms for me the integrity of this man we are immensely lucky to have in the White House. Obama's journey on this has been like that of many other Americans, when faced with the actual reality of gay lives and gay relationships. Yes, there was politics in a lot of it. But not all of it. I was in the room long before the 2008 primaries when Obama spoke to the mother of a gay son about marriage equality. He said he was for equality, but not marriage. Five years later, he sees--as we all see--that you cannot have one without the other. But even then, you knew he saw that woman's son as his equal as a citizen. It was a moment--way off the record at the time--that clinched my support for him.
Today Obama did more than make a logical step. He let go of fear. He is clearly prepared to let the political chips fall as they may. That's why we elected him.
The New Yorker, which is also out with a cover story on gay marriage, took a bit more subtle approach with its May 21 issue.
"It's a celebratory moment for our country, and that's what I tried to capture," Bob Staake, the artist behind the New Yorker cover, said. "I don't especially like those rainbow colors, but they are what they are—I had to use them."
He added: "I wanted to celebrate the bravery of the President's statement—a statement long overdue—but all the more appreciated in this political year. We are on the right side of history."
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Facebook CEO turns 28, IPO could be $100B gift



NEW YORK (AP) — He famously wears a hoodie, jeans and sneakers, and he was born the year Apple introduced the Macintosh. But Mark Zuckerberg is no boy-CEO.
Facebook's chief executive turned 28 on Monday, setting in motion the social network's biggest week ever. The company is expected to start selling stock to the public for the first time and begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Friday. The IPO could value Facebook at nearly $100 billion, making it worth more than such iconic companies as Disney, Ford and Kraft Foods.
At 28, Zuckerberg is exactly half the age of the average S&P 500 CEO, according to executive search firm Spencer Stuart. With eight years on the job, he's logged more time as leader than the average CEO, whose tenure is a little more than seven years, according to Spencer Stuart.
Even so, the pressures of running a public company will undoubtedly take some getting used to. Once Facebook begins selling stock, Zuckerberg will be expected to please a host of new stakeholders, including Wall Street investment firms, hedge funds and pension funds who will pressure him to keep the company growing.
Young as he may seem — especially in that hooded sweatshirt — Zuckerberg will be about the same age as Michael Dell and older than Steve Jobs when those two took their companies, Dell Inc. and Apple Inc., public. In his years as Facebook's CEO he's met world leaders, rode a bull in Vietnam while on vacation, started learning Mandarin Chinese and as a personal challenge, wore a tie for the better part of a year.
Facebook, of course, got its start in Zuckerberg's messy Harvard dorm room in early 2004. Known as Thefacebook.com in those days, the site was created to help Harvard students — and later other college students — connect with one another online. The scrappy website later grew to include high-schoolers, then anyone else with an Internet connection. Today more than 900 million people log in at least once a month, making Facebook the world's definitive social network.
All along, Zuckerberg has shown a maturity beyond his years. As the site grew rapidly and caught the eye of big media and rival Internet companies, Zuckerberg consistently rebuffed mouth-watering buyout offers, including those from Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc.
"Simply put: we don't build services to make money; we make money to build better services," Zuckerberg wrote in his letter to prospective shareholders. "And we think this is a good way to build something. These days I think more and more people want to use services from companies that believe in something beyond simply maximizing profits."
People who've observed Zuckerberg closely say his age is an asset. His is the generation that grew up with social networking, with computers all around them and the Internet as something that's always existed. Many of his employees are younger than him, as are a lot of the up-and-coming technology entrepreneurs with whom he competes.
"I don't think you could build a company like this if you were an old guy like me," says David Kirkpatrick, a 59-year-old author who chronicled the company's early history in "The Facebook Effect."
Kirkpatrick, who is also founder of Techonomy, a media company that hosts conferences on the relationship between technology and economy and social progress, first met Zuckerberg six years ago. He says he was impressed with his vision, even then.
"It's the willingness to take risks, the willingness to abide by a very contemporary vision ... I don't think that he's too young. I think most CEOs are too old."
Zuckerberg, who lives in Palo Alto, Calif. with his girlfriend and a white Hungarian Puli dog named Beast, has matured as a leader with the help of experienced mentors.
One of his closest advisers is Sheryl Sandberg, whom he hired away from Google in 2008. Zuckerberg, known for sometimes-awkward public appearances, realized that the razor-sharp, people-savvy advertising executive complements his own shortcomings. Sandberg is Zuckerberg's No. 2, the chief operating officer who oversees advertising and often serves as Facebook's smiling, public face.
Then there's Donald Graham, the 66-year-old CEO and chairman of The Washington Post Co., who serves as a mentor to Zuckerberg and holds a seat on Facebook's board of directors.
Rebecca Lieb, analyst at the Altimeter Group, says Zuckerberg has assembled a team of "truly exceptional lieutenants." David Ebersman, Facebook's chief financial officer, who hails from biotech firm Genentech, is another example. Zuckerberg hired him in 2009, saying that Ebersman's previous job, helping to scale the finance organization of the fast-growing biotech company "will be important to Facebook."
He was right. Facebook's revenue grew from $777 million in 2009 to $3.7 billion last year. In the first quarter of 2012 it was more than $1 billion.
Even so, Zuckerberg still has a lot to learn. As part of Facebook's pre-IPO "road show" last week, Zuckerberg visited several venerable East Coast financial institutions wearing his signature hoodie. While Silicon Valley insiders defended his fashion choice, others saw it as a sign of immaturity. Was it, as some speculated, a sign of a rebellious 20-something acting out?
For Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities, Zuckerberg's attitude and attire symbolizes "a level of aloofness to stakeholders."
"He seems very customer focused and very employee focused. I am not sure he cares about anyone else. ... If he's going to go public, he has to answer to shareholders," Pachter says. "That's why Google hired Eric Schmidt. That's why Steve Jobs was ultimately forced out of Apple."
Jobs, in fact, was another Silicon Valley luminary who had Zuckerberg's ear. He was 25 in 1980 when Apple went public. He was ousted five years later after clashing with John Sculley, the former Pepsico executive Apple hired as chief executive. Jobs famously returned to lead Apple in 1997 and the company has thrived since.
Not much is known about the relationship Jobs and Zuckerberg shared, but Jobs reportedly told his biographer Walter Isaacson: "We talk about social networks in the plural, but I don't see anybody other than Facebook out there. Just Facebook, They are dominating this. I admire Mark Zuckerberg ... for not selling out, for wanting to make a company. I admire that a lot."
When Jobs died last October, Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page, "Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you."
Jon Burgstone, professor at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley, believes that Zuckerberg will need to keep his perspective and continue developing.
"He has already become one of the world's most famous people, and also the richest," he says. "He walks into a room and you can feel people's excitement and the rush to be near him. He's already had time to learn how to deal with such fame and fortune, but now it's advancing to an entirely new level. How will he handle it, emotionally and professionally?"
Lieb marvels at the life Zuckerberg has led so far. Imagine being in your 20s, a self-made billionaire, your life the subject of a Hollywood movie, 2010's "The Social Network."
"It's a lifetime and the guy isn't 30 yet," Lieb says.
He's made big mistakes, especially with regard to users' privacy. One example is Beacon, Facebook's misguided advertising product that broadcast user's activities on outside websites without their explicit consent. Still, he took steps to correct them. On blog posts about Facebook's privacy blunders, he's admitted the company has made mistakes. His 2007 post about Beacon showed his straightforward, methodical thinking:
"We've made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we've made even more with how we've handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it. While I am disappointed with our mistakes, we appreciate all the feedback we have received from our users. I'd like to discuss what we have learned and how we have improved Beacon," he wrote five years ago. Facebook shut down Beacon two years later.
Zuckerberg has done well for himself so far, but he'll be pulled in many directions once Facebook is public.
"There is going to be a tremendous amount of scrutiny on this company," Lieb says. "Who really is qualified" to carry such a weight?
Article url:  ,http://finance.yahoo.com/news/facebook-ceo-turns-28-ipo-could-100b-gift-192840074--finance.html

Facebook Co-Founder: America is OK. It’s the Rules That Are a Pain


Eduardo Saverin, the Facebook co-founder who gave up his U.S. citizenship, has nothing against the U.S., just its complicated rules on U.S. citizens holding money overseas, a spokesman said.

Mr. Saverin, who now lives in Singapore, decided last year to renounce his U.S. citizenship, a decision that was made public a few days ago. The move sparked an outcry among some tax experts who suspect he’s aiming to save on taxes. Although Mr. Saverin will have to pay a hefty exit tax for renouncing his citizenship, based on some calculation of his assets, Singapore is a relatively low-tax jurisdiction, particularly for foreign investors, and does not levy capital gains tax. Thus he could save in the longer term.

[More from WSJ.com: How Facebook's Elite Skirt Estate Tax]

In a political environment that’s rife with talk of raising taxes on the wealthy, Mr. Saverin’s case could become another flash point.

Saverin spokesman Tom Goodman said Sunday his renunciation was prompted not by tax considerations but by U.S. rules that make it more difficult for U.S. citizens to live and invest overseas.

“U.S. citizens are severely restricted as to what they can invest in and where they can maintain accounts,” said spokesman Tom Goodman. “Many foreign funds and banks won’t accept Americans. This was a financial rather than a tax motive.”

[More from WSJ.com: The Facebook-Free Baby]

It’s true many U.S. expats complain that American rules are making life more difficult for them. Those include the U.S. tax system’s global reach (many countries tax based on residency); foreign bank account reporting rules; and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which requires foreign financial institutions to start reporting to the IRS on U.S. citizens’ accounts.

Expats say as a result of all the regulations, some foreign banks are dumping more U.S. customers. Mr. Goodman also cited FATCA, among other rules, as a problem for Mr. Saverin.

[More from WSJ.com: How Facebook Could Trip Up Investors]

Treasury Department officials say they don’t see evidence of a systemic problem for Americans living abroad arising from FATCA. People as wealthy as Mr. Saverin tend to have an easier time untangling red tape than the average U.S. retiree living abroad.

The spokesman said Mr. Saverin plans to continue to invest in tech companies around the world, including the U.S.

“His decision had nothing to do with dissatisfaction here, but with his strong desire to do business there,” Mr. Goodman said. He also plans a charitable foundation.




'Supermoon' May Outshine Meteor Shower This Weekend





The biggest full moon of the year, a so-called "supermoon," will take center stage when it rises this weekend, and may interfere with the peak of an annual meteor shower created by the leftovers from Halley's comet.
The supermoon of 2012 is the biggest full moon of the yearand will occur on Saturday (May 5) at 11:35 p.m. EDT (0335 May 6), though the moon may still appear full to skywatchers on the day before and after the actual event. At the same time, the annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower will be hitting its peak, NASA scientists say.
"Its light will wash out the fainter Eta Aquarid meteors," NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke of the Marshall Space Flight Center told SPACE.com in an email. Still, Cooke said there's a chance that the brightest fireballs from the meteor display may still be visible.
A supermoon occurs when the moon hits its full phase at the same time it makes closest approach to Earth for the month, a lunar milestone known as perigee. Scientists also refer to the event as a "perigee moon," according to a NASA video on the 2012 supermoon.
That's exactly what will happen on Saturday, when the moon will swing within 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometers) of Earth — its closest approach of the entire year. Because the moon's orbit is not exactly circular, there is a 3-percent variation in its closest approaches to Earth each month. The average Earth-moon distance is about 230,000 miles (384,400 km).

With May's full moon timed with the moon's perigee, it could appear 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than other full moons of 2012, astronomer Tony Phillips explained in a NASA video. There is absolutely no chance the supermoon will threaten Earth.
The last supermoon was in March 2011. At the time, it was the biggest and brightest full moon in 18 years. [Amazing Supermoon Photos from 2011]
While the moon's extra brightness during the supermoon may wash out some of the fainter Eta Aquarid meteors, all is not lost, Cooke said.
"Our fireball cameras have already detected four bright ones. So I would say that the odds are pretty good that folks can see a bit of Halley's Comet over the next few days, if they care to take the time to look," Cooke explained. "They will be the big and bright ones, fewer in number with a rate of just a few per hour, but they will be there."
Cooke anticipates that the 2012 Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak at up to 60 meteors per hour on May 5.
The eta Aquarid display is one of two meteor showers created by dust from Halley's comet (the Orionid shower in October is the other). It occurs every April and May when the Earth passes through a stream of debris cast off by comet Halley during its 76-year trip around the sun.
The eta Aquarid meteor shower of 2012 actually began on April 19 and ends on May 28, but its peak is in the overnight period between Saturday and Sunday (May 5 and 6).
"Meteor watchers in the Southern Hemisphere stand the best chance of seeing any meteors," a NASA advisory from the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory explained.
If you snap an amazing photo of the supermoon of May or the Eta Aquarid meteor shower and would like to share it with SPACE.com for a story or gallery, send photos and comments to managing editor Tariq Malik at: tmalik@space.com.
You can follow SPACE.com Managing Editor Tariq Malik on Twitter @tariqjmalik. Follow SPACE.com for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.
Copyright 2012 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Article Url: http://news.yahoo.com/supermoon-may-outshine-meteor-shower-weekend-201132286.html
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Facebook isn’t making us lonely. It’s making us anxious. Get over it.

 
 Virginia Heffernan is the national correspondent for Yahoo! News, covering culture and politics from a digital perspective. She wrote extensively on Internet culture during her eight years as a staff writer for The New York Times, and she has also worked at Harper’s, the New Yorker and Slate. Her new book, Magic and Loss: The Pleasures of the Internet, will be published in early 2013.
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As a masterpiece and a cultural catastrophe at once, Facebook is distinctly American. It represents a social regime that’s scintillating and hideous. The values intrinsic to it—velocity, wit, growth, exhibitionism and “connectivity”—can seem superficial, but they’re ours.

This week, the Facebook brass are making housecalls to investors, using razzle, dazzle and astral projections to justify valuing the eight-year-old company at a big, round $100 billion. This comes in preparation for Facebook’s midmonth initial public offering—what’s expected to be the biggest I.P.O. in the history of the Internet.

At the same time, government officials have started to cast a cold eye on Facebook, making sure it—and Apple and Google—don’t get a regulatory pass from Washington just because they’re cute. Facebook not long ago had to agree to a 20-year settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that the company violated users’ privacy.

Many consumers are even wary of Facebook.  A recent poll put Facebook’s favorable rating among Americans at 58 percent, well behind Apple (74 percent) and Google (82 percent). 

Just as the company prepares for its close-up, Facebook is the subject of near-hysterical anxiety. “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” asks this month’s Atlantic cover story, only to answer “you’re damn right”—and then heap on the freestyle condemnation in the way that only a fact-free, full-tilt cover story can. Facebook, it turns out, makes us sick, narcissistic and mentally ill.

Facebook—and its 901 million users—should take this alarmism in stride. The great American cultural accomplishments have always been the result of our national tension between appetite and anxiety.  At the moment, Facebook is the apotheosis of this dynamic. A vast, conceptual frontier—one with no known outer limits on population, size or revenue—the social Web sometimes seems to exist to worry about itself. Is it costing us our humanity? Our dignity? Our communities? Our attention spans? Our politics?

But the Internet is no longer the Wild West. It looks more like the so-called Postbellum West, when the Homestead Act had established some order, and borders, public institutions, railroads and agricultural colleges were being erected. This is precisely the kind of radical transition in American history that engenders panics—financial panics, about what companies or dollars are worth, and moral panics, about what in the world we’re all doing here.

Just ride it out. Since the Revolution, two opposing fantasies have defined the creation of moral, aesthetic and financial value in America. The first is the fantasy of promiscuous, wanton appetites and ambition. This fantasy is so integral to national operations that everything in our culture—from advertising to monetary policy—is designed to stoke hunger and keep satiety out of reach.

Against the monstrous and glorious and neverending ravenousness that is our birthright, the scolding voice of temperance can seem bearish, soul-smothering and European. But it exists in productive tension with the first fantasy. This second, contractionist fantasy of restraint and restriction—often styled as more sophisticated than naked greed—makes much of processes like restoration and “right-sizing” and comeuppance.

Its exponents evince a nostalgic longing for an imagined past when the genie was in the bottle; when everyone knew where and who and what he was. On this reasoning, “the value of a dollar” is intrinsic and not a function of strings pulled by economic architects and market forces.

This tension between expansiveness and restraint ought never be resolved. That’s a safe argument to make because it will never be resolved. There is no America (and thus no Internet, and no Facebook) without this tension. We Americans are frontiersmen and immigrants who live to go too far while we’re also puritans who are cross with ourselves for doing it.

Of the many arguments for why French women eat croissants and stay slim, while Americans diet and get fat, the most appealing one has it that Americans gain weight because we worry about gaining weight. We fret over our hunger. Calories + cortisol = America.
Recently in Slate the sociologist Eric Klinenberg made the same point as he skillfully debunked the Atlantic article, and the tenacious myth that the Internet engenders “alienation,” that modernist phantom. Surveying the history of alienation hysteria in American social science, Klinenberg wrote, “What distinguishes Americans is not that we are more isolated, but that we spend more time and energy worrying about whether we are.”

No more worrying! Facebook is right where it should be. It’s a free and vast global enterprise in conflict with forces (governmental, cultural, popular) that want to inhibit it. Sounds like the perfect time for an I.P.O.

Maybe, in fact, the company should host a beautifully designed Federal Trade Commission fan page, and allow the government to post Facebook’s privacy infractions on it.  Then they should have a running roll of “Is Facebook killing us?” articles and let everyone chat about them online. It will pass, the high moral tone of our era—but hopefully not too soon, giving Facebook time to take its place among the great American public companies.

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