Friday, August 10, 2007

Daily Headliners, Part Deux--AT&T censors Pearl Jam, Giuliani backpeddling, We need another 9/11, RNC's sleazy mass mailing, GOP bigotry

Is it my imagination, or are we seeing a huge news dump of crap today? I've got a Daily Headliners, Part Deux for you.

AT&T censors Pearl Jam: I found this LA Times story through Americablog, and in one sense, it doesn't surprise me. AT&T certainly has to protect King George The Deciderer from criticism by a rock band, since the company is probably spying on that band on behalf of the king. From The Los Angeles Times:

In a prominent nod to one of the festival's lead sponsors, the logo for this year's Lollapalooza concerts in Chicago includes the tag line, "delivered by AT&T." But Sunday's headliner Pearl Jam complained that AT&T delivered less than the band's full performance during its Lollapalooza webcast. The powerhouse telco turned off the audio during the song "Daughter" while singer Eddie Vedder was railing against President George Bush. That bit of censorship -- which AT&T says was a mistake -- gave a bit of fuel to the forces arguing for "Net neutrality" regulations.

The missing lines -- "George Bush, leave this world alone" and "George Bush find yourself another home" -- are benign compared to some of Vedder's more pointed critiques of Bush and the Iraq war. This isn't exactly "I'm ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas" territory. So you have to wonder what the person who pulled the plug on Vedder was thinking -- or not thinking, as the case may be.

AT&T spokeswoman Tiffany Nels said the company goofed. Its Blue Room website is open to Internet users of all ages, so it tries to block "excessive profanity" from the broadcasts. It hires contractors to monitor the performances, and the broadcasts are delayed slightly to enable monitors to bleep off-color material. But those monitors aren't supposed to edit songs, just the stage patter between them, Nels said. "It's not our policy" to censor performances, Nels said, "and we regret the error." She added, "There was no profanity. It was a mistake."

AT&T wants to post an unexpurgated version of the performance on its Blue Room Lollapalooza page, but it will have to obtain permission from the copyright holder (which would be Pearl Jam, I believe). The band, meanwhile, says it will post the video on its own site soon.

Translation--OOPS! We goofed! But then again, our little mistake certainly did help out our King George, who will protect us from those pesky lawsuits being filed by the states against our participation in the King's spying program.

Giuliani misspoke about Ground Zero: I found this through Carpetbagger, where the original source is from an Associated Press story, through CBS News:

(AP) Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Friday that he misspoke when he said he spent as much time, if not more, at ground zero exposed to the same health risks as workers combing the site after the Sept. 11 attacks.

"I think I could have said it better," he told nationally syndicated radio host Mike Gallagher. "You know, what I was saying was, 'I'm there with you.'"

The former New York mayor upset some firefighters and police officers when he said Thursday in Cincinnati that he was at ground zero "as often, if not more, than most of the workers."

"I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them," he told reporters at a Los Angeles Dodgers-Cincinnati Reds baseball game.

Fire and police officials responded angrily, saying Giuliani did not do the same work as those involved in the rescue, recovery and cleanup from the 2001 terrorist attacks, which left many workers sick and injured.

On Friday, Giuliani said he was trying to show his concern for the workers' health.

"What I was trying to say yesterday is that I empathize with them, because I feel like I have that same risk," he said.

Translation--OOPS, I goofed! What I really meant to say was that I was with you in my heart as you were working on Ground Zero, even though I was spending more time at press conferences and PR-spin in selling myself as "America's Mayor." Carpetbagger has a great list of the denunciations against Giuliani by these same rescue workers here.

To save America, we need another 9/11: This Philadelphia Daily News column by Stu Bykofsky is popping up all over the blog sites. I've seen it on The Carpetbagger Report, Daily Kos, Shakespeare's Sister, Crooks and Liars, News Hounds, and Boing Boing. Bykofsky bemoans the fact that America has politically splintered itself because we don't know who the enemy really is in the Great War on Terrorism. And because we have so splintered ourselves, Bykofsky wishes for another 9/11 terrorist attack to rally the American people around the flag, and around President Bush's Great War on Terrorism. According to Bykofsky;

Remember the community of outrage and national resolve? America had not been so united since the first Day of Infamy - 12/7/41.

We knew who the enemy was then.

We knew who the enemy was shortly after 9/11.

Because we have mislaid 9/11, we have endless sideshow squabbles about whether the surge is working, if we are "safer" now, whether the FBI should listen in on foreign phone calls, whether cops should detain odd-acting "flying imams," whether those plotting alleged attacks on Fort Dix or Kennedy airport are serious threats or amateur bumblers. We bicker over the trees while the forest is ablaze.

America's fabric is pulling apart like a cheap sweater.

What would sew us back together?

Another 9/11 attack.

The Golden Gate Bridge. Mount Rushmore. Chicago's Wrigley Field. The Philadelphia subway system. The U.S. is a target-rich environment for al Qaeda.

Is there any doubt they are planning to hit us again?

If it is to be, then let it be. It will take another attack on the homeland to quell the chattering of chipmunks and to restore America's righteous rage and singular purpose to prevail.

Excuse me Mr. Bykofsky, but the reason why we've splintered over this war is because President Bush and the PNAC neocons is because President Bush shifted his attention away from fighting the real terrorists of Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, towards invading Iraq and deposing Saddam Hussein in order to enact the PNAC Doctrine of controlling the Middle East oil supplies and exerting American military and imperial power in the Mideast. In other words, Bykofsky, Bush screwed up in sending us into this disastrous war. The Bush administration lied to Congress and the American people through their selling of false intelligence as a means to market their war. The Bush administration did not have enough troops to completely occupy Iraq. The Bush administration screwed up in the reconstruction of Iraq--from disbanding the Iraqi army, not having enough troops to guard the weapons depots, the corruption, the shoddy workmanship in projects--the list goes on. Bykofsky fails to understand this, even as he makes this meaningless call for unity with an administration that is responsible for dividing us in the first place. It is disgusting.

RNC Voter "Audit" Letter Raises Questions: This is just a WOW of a TPM Muckraker story;

What 83 year-old William Sidwell of Queen City, Missouri found in his mailbox last week scared him. It was a letter from the Republican National Committee, but it seemed to bear grave news: "Our records show that you registered as a member of our Party in Schuyler County, MO," the letter said. "But a recent audit of your Party affiliation turned up some irregularities."

Audit? Irregularities? Was he in trouble? Were they threatening him? Sidwell went immediately to his ask his son, Dennis, a licensed public accountant, for advice. You can see the letter, and the accompanying "Voter Registration Verification and Audit Form," right here. Particularly puzzling to the both of them, Dennis told me, is that his father is a life-long Democrat.

The letter, it turns out, is just a misleading pitch for a contribution to the RNC -- one of the "irregularities" cited in the letter is that "I cannot find a record of you taking a single action in support of the Republican Party -- not locally, not nationally!" A contribution, the letter suggests, would help set the record straight.

The letter is signed by Bill Steiner, the director of the RNC's Office of Strategic Information, a title Steiner assumed at the end of July. His responsibilities "include managing the RNC’s national voter file and Voter Vault, the committee’s highly touted micro-targeting operation," Roll Call reported last month. And indeed, the voter "audit" requests detailed information about the voter's voting history and current opinions on the 2008 presidential race.

It's unclear how many similar letters (tens of thousands? millions?) have been sent by the RNC. The RNC did not respond to our requests for comment.

The letter "appears to be in a gray area," David Becker, Director of People for the American Way's Democracy Campaign and a former voting rights attorney at the Justice Department, told me. "It could potentially run afoul of the law if it led an eligible voter to believe they're no longer eligible to vote." The letter, Becker said, "appears designed to give that mistaken impression."

That is the key point here. The Republican Party is trying to target key Democratic voters into giving up their own voter information to a GOP database under the guise of an "audit." And the people the GOP are targeting are either the elderly Democrats, or poor working-class Democrats, who may not understand that this a political sales pitch. This letter has been designed to elicit fear among the elderly voters, and to extort these voters into contributing to the Republican Party in order to "set your record straight." This letter campaign is both slick, and especially sleazy.

GOP bigotry rises its ugly head: This story is also moving up in the liberal blogosphere, with postings on Crooks and Liars, Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo, and Orcinus. It has to do with Idaho GOP Rep. Bill Sali attacking the U.S. Senate for allowing the first Hindu prayer to open the Senate's session. If you recall, the Hindu prayer was disrupted by three Christian fundamentalists protesting against the event. Well, Sali decided to present his own bigoted view on this issue through The American Family News Network;

"We have not only a Hindu prayer being offered in the Senate, we have a Muslim member of the House of Representatives now, Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Those are changes -- and they are not what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers," asserts Sali.

Sali says America was built on Christian principles that were derived from scripture. He also says the only way the United States has been allowed to exist in a world that is so hostile to Christian principles is through "the protective hand of God."

"You know, the Lord can cause the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike," says the Idaho Republican.

According to Congressman Sali, the only way the U.S. can continue to survive is under that protective hand of God. He states when a Hindu prayer is offered, "that's a different god" and that it "creates problems for the longevity of this country."

Incredible. Is this guy the new face of the Republican Party?

No comments: