Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Corporate front groups, Super PACs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the nasty menagerie of unaccountable electioneering entities are dumping billions into the elections this year – most likely geared towards electing the horrendous candidates a small cadre of CEOs and hedge fund managers like best.

The whole situation is awfully ugly and getting uglier (c/o the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission).

Then it occurred to me. You know what this stinking bog of profligate political spending needs?

Love, that’s what it needs.

That got me thinking: If corporations are people, to whom are they sending love letters this Valentine’s Day?

And so the thought experiment that is #corporateloveletters was born.

I went onto Twitter and posted these gems:







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By Paul Alan Levy, originally posted on Public Citizen’s Consumer Law and Policy blog.

Coventry First is in the viatical business.  It buys life insurance policies hoping to profit from payment of the insurance proceeds when the insured dies.  It recently got a spate of publicity for its trademark action against one of its critics who anonymously set up a parodic Twitter account, using the Twitter name coventryfirst, to publish a series of messages focusing on the ghoulish aspect of Coventry First’s business —the sooner the insured dies, the better the return on the investment.  As one blogger noted,  “it has been criticized as an industry that basically bets on death.” Coventry then sent a subpoena to Twitter demanding the identity of the account holder.

"Twitter lawsuit Public Citizen" We at Public Citizen have defended consumers’ rights to use trademarks in domain namesFacebook account names, titles and meta tags of web sites and web pages that criticize the trademark holder.  The ability to put the company or product name in those locations is important both because it identifies the subject of the criticism and, in many cases, may help consumers who are using search tools to find information about companies to find criticisms as well as the companies’ own self-aggrandizing web sites.  We have also been concerned about efforts to overcome anonymity based on legal claims without a realistic chance of success because it puts speakers at risk of retaliation for speaking out against powerful and well-connected companies and politicians, and our client was worried about what she considered to be Coventry First’s pleasure at using its economic clout against perceived enemies.  We were thus happy to help the Twitter user defend herself against the suit.  We thus undertook to file a motion to quash the subpoena.

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Today is World Poetry Day and it is also the anniversary of “Twitter,” an online information sharing powerhouse recently leveraged by the Egyptian people to organize for social change. For those of you who don’t know, Public Citizen uses Twitter to try and organize for social change as well.

In honor of Twitter’s anniversary and in celebration of World Poetry Day, Public Citizen would like to invite those of you with a Twitter account to follow us on Twitter @Public_Citizen and take us up on our challenge:

Follow us on Twitter and then tweet us a poem, 140 characters or less,  expressing your thoughts on any of the issues we cover. From energy policy to financial regulation, have your voice heard and help us get the word out about our work by using the hash tag #PCpoem. To the left, is an example from our very own wordsmith Dorry Samuels, who opted to take the challenge on nuclear in the form of a haiku. We will retweet our favorites.

For those curious about Twitter but not familiar with it or how it works, try checking out this YouTube channel.

Yours truly is about to work on a short poem about BP, that is “Beyond Pathetic,” a phase that aptly describes both British Petroleum and congressional languishing we are seeing on the Oil Spill Commission recommendations in Washington.  Last week, Congress held offshore drilling hearings and the head of the House Natural Resources Committee announced that he would soon be introducing legislation to speed up the federal water lease approval process to aid the oil industry.

The New York Times reported of the hearings,

Democrats on the panel accused Interior critics of massaging statistics and neglecting the devastation caused by the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, which included the loss of 11 lives and spilled 4 to 5 million barrels of oil. . . . “This hearing is apparently taking place in a parallel universe,” said Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) the ranking member on the committee, who pointed to the “systemic” problems with the offshore drilling industry identified by the presidential Oil Spill Commission earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration issued approval for a third deep water oil drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico. Bloomberg reported that ATP Oil & Gas Corp., the company the permit was issued to, saw an immediate jump in New York trading.

Please tell your representatives to act on the Oil Spill Commission recommendations today!

Today’s Flickr Photo

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and Chief Justice John Roberts. Flickr photo by TalkMediaNews.

If you read one thing today . . .

Because it’s not everyday that we get to hear sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices talk about the Court’s decision-making process, this Bloomberg News interview with Justice Stephen Breyer caught our interest, especially the headline that proclaimed, “Breyer says U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t have pro-business slant.” Come again? Saying the conservative-leaning Court doesn’t have a pro-business slant is like saying that Glenn Beck doesn’t have a flair for self-promotion. In this case, however, I think there’s a nuance to Breyer’s remarks. What he says is that the current Court is no different than those from years gone by. Historically, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and business always do well. Bloomberg reporter Greg Stohr writes:

Breyer also said that partisan politics doesn’t influence the court’s actions, even in cases with political ramifications, including the decision this year that allowed unlimited corporate and union campaign spending, and the Bush v. Gore ruling that decided the 2000 presidential election.

“I don’t see that politics,” Breyer said. “It would be bad if it were there. And I don’t see it.”


From a Washington Post story about politics in the age of Facebook:

“So you have 50,000 Facebook fans – what the heck are you going to do with them?” said Vincent Harris, a GOP new-media consultant for numerous 2010 candidates. “Campaigns this cycle are in this frenzy of numbers, numbers, numbers. But how do you effectively reach these people and activate them?”

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