Who wants to see the White House from a dog's perspective? If you answered, "Uh, not me," you're clearly not among millions who already have.

The "Barney cam," an online video filmed from the presidential pooch's perspective, received 24 million hits its first day on WhiteHouse.gov. Yes, you too can watch the little Scottish terrier sniff the Christmas tree and knock ornaments onto the floor.

Since its debut a week ago, Fools and press secretaries alike are getting their yuks out of the dog's-eye view of the decorated state rooms. "Barney is what you might call a 'publicity hound,'" said spokesman Ari Fleischer. "But he was unable to watch his own video because he hit the 'paws' button."

Stop, Ari. Our sides hurt.

The FOOL 50, down 1% today, peed on the Prez's desk and got swatted with a newspaper.

In today's Motley Fool Take:

Oracle Foresees Growth

Don't dis the flatlands. Sure, mountains and valleys make for breathtaking vistas, but let's not deny Oracle(Nasdaq: ORCL) the panoramic splendor of flat fiscal terrain.

Yes, to hear the business software giant posted second-quarter earnings of $0.10 a share on a little more than $2.3 billion in revenue, you might think it just spun off copies of last year's fiscal Q2 report at Kinko's. The results are similar. Operating margins? Those, too, came in at 34% for both second quarters.

Not impressed? There are worse things than no growth. As a matter of fact, analysts estimated earnings would dip for the November period, and the consensus was for the company to wind up with lower earnings for the second fiscal year in a row, as well.

Oracle continues to grow market share at the expense of its competition, which may seem noble now, but all this will pay dividends down the road when the economy bounces back. The company is showing gains in upgrades and product support, but that's being offset by softer showings in service and license revenue. Let corporate confidence return to the levels in which enterprise software budgets are growing again, and Oracle will be smiling nicely.

Second only to Microsoft(Nasdaq: MSFT) in the software space, Oracle has been shaving its overhead, despite an uptick in general and administrative expenses. Its balance sheet remains a fortress of greenery with $5.5 billion in cash.

Sure, the company's performance is flat right now -- but the view for the future's not bad.

Discussion Board of the Day: Oracle

Where do you stand on the prospects for the country's second-largest software company? Is CEO Larry Ellison a genius, or simply a legend in his own mind? All this and more -- in the Oracle discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

HDTV Gets Clearer

Two industries received a huge boost today when they agreed on a single standard for digital television receivers. The deal between cable operators and television manufacturers should accelerate the rollout of high-definition, cable-ready digital TV sets, jump-starting a process that has been bogged down for months.

High-definition TV, or HDTV, provides a much sharper picture than U.S. consumers are used to -- five times the resolution of an analog signal. Digital signals are available now, but only through a set-top box. The FCC has ordered in-set digital receivers to be available in all new TVs by 2007.

The conversion to HDTV should energize the sector and benefit cable companies such as Comcast(Nasdaq: CMCSA) and AOL Time Warner(NYSE: AOL), as well as manufacturers such as Sony(NYSE: SNE).

Consumers will benefit as well, because HDTV provides more than just a sharp picture. The digital medium will allow stations to broadcast several channels simultaneously, and users will have access to other data carried with the signal.

Best of all, the new sets -- which may not be available for quite some time -- won't be much more expensive than today's TVs. One study predicts the digital tuners may add as little as $16 to the cost of lower-end sets.

Finally, we should note that the agreement won't take effect without the FCC's approval. But even though there may be some opposition from satellite companies, it seems a digital standard has finally arrived.

Quote of Note

"Television is more interesting than people. If it were not, we would have people standing in the corners of our rooms." -- Alan Corenk

Give a Groom Credit

Attention, potential grooms: It's not your future father-in-law you have to worry about. One Minnesota fiancé discovered that complimenting mom's cooking and youthful countenance wasn't enough to gain the favor of her daughter's hand.

Mary K. Grendahl hired a private investigator to perform a background check on her daughter's suitor. But she went a little too far, according to the The National Law Journal, when the firm she hired nabbed the man's credit report.

The move may be a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which allows firms to peer into credit records for legitimate business reasons, such as decisions on credit, insurance, and employment. But "investigating a person because he wants to marry one's daughter" was a bit out of whack, the court wrote.

The groom-to-be, Lavon Phillips, sued Grendahl, the investigative agency she hired, and Econ (the firm that handed over his credit report) for prying without a legitimate purpose. A Minnesota federal court agreed that he had a case, and granted summary judgment for the trio on all allegations, including a claim that they had invaded Phillips' privacy.

Our advice to grooms before mom pays you a visit is to edit the contents of your medicine cabinet, put the toilet seat down, and clean up your credit record, just in case.

Despite the legal hullabaloo, the private investigator claimed he found much more egregious dirt on Phillips through public records.

The shocking end to this tale of snooping? Phillips and his fiancée did not marry.

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Quick Takes

In a sign of the times, Dole Foods'(NYSE: DOL) CEO David Murdoch and a group of banks will take the world's largest food and vegetable producer private in a transaction valued at $2.5 billion. They will pay $33.50 a share, an 18% premium to yesterday's close and 14% more than Murdoch's offer in September. Murdoch's company bought Dole in 1985.

General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) said it will buy General Motors'(NYSE: GM) defense unit for $1.1 billion in cash, becoming the No. 1 U.S. maker of armored vehicles. General Dynamics, the fifth-largest U.S. defense contractor (according to dollar value of Pentagon contracts), already makes Stryker combat vehicles in a joint venture with GM Defense. The Pentagon just added $1.5 billion to the 2004 budget to fund a fourth brigade of Strykers. (Bill Mann covers General Dynamics' virtues in this Rule Breaker.)

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said that in settling cases against the 12 largest investment banks for allegedly misleading investors with conflicted research, he won't be individually prosecuting execs. That means no perp walk for Citigroup(NYSE: C) CEO Sanford Weil, among others. Darn. (For a strong opinion on Citigroup, read Jeff Fischer's recent column.)

The world's second-, third-, and fourth-largest securities firms reported quarterly results. Morgan Stanley's(NYSE: MWD) EPS for the quarter was off 14% versus last year. Cost-cutting helped Goldman Sachs(NYSE: GS) to a 5% quarterly gain, year over year, while bond-trading profits boosted Lehman Brothers'(NYSE: LEH) profits almost 100%.

And Finally...

Today on Fool.com: The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to propose a rule requiring mutual funds to disclose holdings quarterly instead of two times a year.... Jeff Fischer explains what Pfizer and J&J's cash conversion cycles mean to their businesses.... Hold on to your wallet and be sure to read the fine print carefully when using online auctions, in Hot Topics.... Not all corporate debt is bad debt -- we explain in Fool's School.

Bob Bobala, Robert Brokamp, Jeff Fischer, Tom Jacobs, LouAnn Lofton, Bill Mann, Selena Maranjian, Rex Moore, Rick Munarriz, Matt Richey, Jackie Ross, Reggie Santiago, Dayana Yochim