Monday, January 24, 2011

Pawlenty - inching towards an official declaration?

Last week, we brought you a few musical tributes to possible Republican presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Today, Governor Tim Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC released "Courage to Stand," an extremely well-produced video...err, cinematographic experiment? Watch it here:

While Pawlenty has not officially declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination, with videos like this, we wouldn't be surprised if he did announce something in the near future. We'll certainly be keeping an eye on his YouTube channel though...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Your questions, your State of the Union

[cross-posted from the YouTube Blog]

It’s the biggest speech of the year, and next Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET, people across the country and around the world will sit down to watch. But as President Obama delivers the 2011 State of the Union Address, which will be streamed live on YouTube along with the Republican response, you can do more than just watch the speech: you can also submit your questions for the President for an exclusive YouTube Interview that will take place just two days later, on January 27.

In fact, you can get started today. Health care. Education. Foreign policy. What would you like to ask the President about the most important issues our country faces? Go to to submit your question now, or watch the speech on Tuesday night with your webcam or video camera nearby so that you can record and submit your question as soon as it strikes you. This year, you'll also be able to ask your question via Twitter: just include the hashtag #askobama in your Tweet. And be sure to have your say in what should be asked by voting on questions submitted by others, too.

A few suggestions before submitting your questions:
  1. Video questions are highly preferred (though we also accept text). Videos should be about 20 seconds long and be sure to ask the question directly.
  2. Speak clearly and try to film in a place with minimal background noise. Keep the camera as still as possible.
  3. Feel free to be creative (use props, charts, etc.) to help your question stand out. If you have time, find an interesting backdrop that may help reinforce your message.
  4. Submit your question early. The final deadline is Wednesday January 25 at midnight ET.
President Obama’s responses to a selection of your top-voted questions will be streamed live from the White House on at 2:30 p.m. ET on Thursday January 27.

This interview is the first in a series of world leader interviews coming to YouTube in 2011 as part of YouTube World View. These interviews will give people around the world the chance to engage in conversation with their elected officials and other influential people from the world of business, philanthropy, technology, media and the arts. Check back on the channel in the next few months for more opportunities to participate.

You have until Wednesday January 25 at midnight ET to submit your question for President Obama. The YouTube community made history last year when the President answered your questions in the first ever citizen-powered interview of a United States president. If you didn’t get an opportunity to ask the President a question last year, make sure you don’t miss out this time -- get your submission in early.

Remember, after the President’s address you’ll have the opportunity to watch Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) deliver the GOP response to the State of the Union as well. And within the month, we’ll be holding a similar YouTube Interview with a prominent Republican leader - more details soon.

Posted by Olivia Ma, YouTube News and Politics, recently watched “Submit your question for President Obama

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Footage from the Ground: Brazil Mudslide, Aftermath

Cross posted from the YouTube Trends blog

It's been a week since mudslides in Rio De Janairo left over a reported 700 dead and 14,000 homeless in what's being described as "one of the worst natural disasters in Brazilian history."

In addition to the kind of dramatic news footage that's made its way to YouTube and drawn a lot of attention, we've also seen a lot of amateur footage documenting conditions in the region. Over the past seven days, "enchente" (flood) has been one of the top rising search terms among YouTube users in Brazil.

We've pulled together this playlist, which begins with footage from the disaster itself and progresses to show some of where the recovery stands today:

50th Anniversary of John F. Kennedy's Inauguration

John F Kennedy’s inaugural address, delivered 50 years ago today, is widely considered to be one of the best speeches in American history. Throughout the speech JFK touched on themes both timeless, such as the importance of freedom and public service, and timely, like manned space exploration and cooperation in Latin America. JFK’s iconic exclamation of “ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country” became the calling card for a generation committed to service.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary Harvard’s Kennedy School released a video in which present-day luminaries like Congressman John Lewis, journalist Christiane Amanpour, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Gen. Colin Powell, former FL governor Jeb Bush, activist Marian Wright Edelman, and UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-moon, recite passages from Kennedy’s speech.

The video brings the historic speech to a new generation that didn’t witness JFK’s words live. Watch it here:

Also in honor of the 50th Anniversary, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is sharing for the first time previously unreleased footage from the Pre-Inaugural Gala. The gala, produced by Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford (with Sinatra as the MC), includes short speeches by VP-elect Lyndon Johnson and President-elect John F. Kennedy, as well as performances by the leading stars of the time, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Milton Berle, Nat King Cole, Gene Kelly, Ethel Merman and more.

Finally, in case you haven’t visited the Google homepage yet today, the logo also pays homage to the inaugural address with a special JFK-themed ‘Doodle’.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Republican: Odes to Sarah Palin

Nothing says "impending primary season" like a good campaign tribute song. In 2008, Obama Girl shared her breathy pledge of allegiance to Barack on YouTube, while an unlikely trio of middle-aged women informed America that it was "raining McCain."

This year, there's only one potential Republican primary candidate who is already inspiring dozens of ditties...Sarah Palin. This song, set to the tune of the American classic "Battle Hymn of the Republic," was uploaded in October but is only now finding its footing on the interwebs - it has close to 50,000 views and this count is rising. Potentially troubling, however, is the fact that the video has 1,722 "dislikes" and only 226 "likes":

But wait! A quick search yielded quite a few more Sarah songs, like this one, posted just six days ago, and whose description reads "Written for Governor Sarah Palin's 2008 vice-presidential campaign, the words I wrote to "All American Woman" are as true and meaningful today as they were then. She still represents the freedom loving and conscience guided Americans who are quite concerned with the direction this country is headed; which is to put it bluntly - down the tubes! Understandably, she is despised by extreme leftists and not without good reason, for Sarah Palin exposes them for what they are - people who hate America. Rich and remastered the vocals and rhythm tracks to kick it up a notch!"

This video from Zachary Stockdale is perhaps the most "professional" of the lot but also reeks of a possible parody:

Seen any other tribute songs we should know about? Perhaps a Romney rap or a Thune tune? Let us know in the comments.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

7 Billion

Here's a thought provoking video from National Geographic about our global population growth.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Focus Returns to Haiti for Charities on YouTube

Cross-posted from the YouTube Trends Blog

Today marks the one year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, and "haiti earthquake" is among our top spiking search terms today. In the past 7 days, nearly 4,000 Haiti-related videos have been posted to the site (over 1,000 in the past 24 hours).

Disney actress, singer, and UNICEF ambassador Selena Gomez posted the most-viewed clip so far, advocating for the charity's efforts in Haiti. (The message she posted a year ago went on to draw over 600,000 views.)

In addition to the news organizations, which have posted numerous reports, updates have been provided by large organizations Amnesty International, American Red Cross, and Unicef.

In the playlist below, we've collected a few of the many videos posted in the past few days to our "People & Blogs" category. The videos depict thee breadth of relief efforts taking place on the smaller scale, varying from a little boy in the U.S. who's been saving up for a donation to footage from service trips in villages on the ground. They also show some of the different fundraising strategies being employed on YouTube at this time:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Flooding in Queensland, Australia

Flash flooding in Queensland, Australia continues to uproot countless suburban towns. The floods, which are described as behaving like a mini-Tsunami, have already claimed 10 lives and led to tens of thousands of evacuations.

The footage below, captured by YouTube users, provides a first-hand account of the flood's disruptive power. To read more click here.

NASA Moment of Silence

"Moment of silence" was a top Google search Monday, and the one observed by NASA Mission Control, held for the victims of the tragic shooting in Arizona, was among the most memorable. A touching reflection was led by Commander Scott Kelly, brother-in-law to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, from aboard the Space Station.

Cross-posted from YouTube Trends

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The YouTube Interview with Salman Taseer, assassinated yesterday in Islamabad

Last month, during a business and media development visit to Pakistan, we sat down with Salman Taseer, the influential governor of the Punjab province, to talk about the future of his country. Today, Taseer was assassinated by one of his bodyguards in while getting into his car in a market in Islamabad. Though it's unclear yet whether his bodyguard acted alone or was part of a larger plot, sources say the assassination was motivated by Tasser's opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

A high profile leader within the Pakistan People's Party, Taseer talked with us about the world's view of Pakistan, and what he wanted to do to put forth a more moderate picture of his country.

An avid Twitterer, Taseer spoke out to appeal for the pardon of a Christian woman who'd received a death sentance for reportedly speaking against the Prophet Mohammed.

"I was under huge pressure sure 2 cow down b4 rightist pressure on blasphemy. Refused. Even if I'm the last man standing," he tweeted at the end of last month.