Posts Tagged ‘people


Good news, tweeps, tele-tweeting is on the way!

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Friday, February 04, 2011
Twitter GC defends users’ right to speak freely
By Shannon Green, Corporate Counsel
The revolution will not be televised, but tweeted. Make that the revolution will not be tweeted, but Speak2Tweeted.

Following a government shutdown of most Internet and mobile cellular service in Egypt last week, Twitter, Inc., declared freedom of expression—and by extension tweeting—to be a human right.

In a Jan. 28 blog post titled “The Tweets Must Flow,” Twitter general counsel Alexander Macgillivray and co-founder Biz Stone defended their mandate to protect Twitter users’ right to speak freely—and touted social media as not only fun but powerful.

The post went up as mass demonstrations calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak broke out across Egypt.

Over the weekend, Twitter teamed up with Google and SayNow, a company Google acquired just last month, to establish @Speak2Tweet. The account created a workaround for demonstrators to continue tweeting even though they were offline. Via @Speak2Tweet, anyone with access to a landline can leave voice messages, which are instantly posted on Twitter.

“Like many people, we’ve been glued to the news unfolding in Egypt and thinking of what we could do to help people on the ground,” said Ujjwal Singh, the co-founder of SayNow, and Abdel Karim Mardini, Google’s product manager for the Middle East and North Africa, in a joint statement Monday.

“Over the weekend, we came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service—the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection,” the statement said. “We hope that this will go some way to helping people in Egypt stay connected at this very difficult time. Our thoughts are with everyone there.”

Macgillivray could not be reached for comment, but a spokesperson for Twitter issued the following statement on the company’s involvement in the Egyptian protests:

“Along with the rest of the world, we’re watching closely as the events in Egypt develop. We’re humbled by the way the people there have used Twitter to communicate with each other and people around the globe. We’ve always believed that the open exchange of information can have a positive impact.”

“Speak2Tweet has changed the game,” said Brad Shear, a lawyer and social media expert based in the Washington, D.C., metro area. “Shutting down the Internet is not enough,” said Shear. “Now you also need to shut down telephone landlines.”

He said that it’s very difficult for countries, even those with limited political freedoms, to cut off all forms of communication without simultaneously destroying their economy. “If you can’t communicate with the outside world, there are implications,” said Shear.

Instead, technology must be embraced and utilized. “You can’t silence the messenger,” said Shear. “You must engage with your detractors and try to find common ground.”

Social media has enabled large groups of people to discuss their anger collectively and engage in political crowdsourcing in countries where citizens don’t typically have political freedoms, said Shear.

In his blog, Shear on Social Media Law, which is part of’s blog network, he wrote that where the Iranian Twitter Revolution failed to achieve its immediate goal of peaceful institutional change in 2009, it may have inspired the current Social Media Revolution in Egypt.

It appears Egyptians have learned a lesson from Iran’s failed Twitter Revolution and pre-planned to try to create institutional change via social media, said Shear.

“It appears that the Egyptians knew exactly how Mubarak would react,” he said. They knew he would shut down the Internet and would refuse to communicate with the demonstrators through social media. “Mubarak should have engaged his country via social media and set up a dialogue because by shutting down the Internet he only proved that he is a dictator that does not want any dissenting opinion,” said Shear. “Therefore, these actions have only emboldened his detractors and demonstrated Mubarak is not capable of change.”

“It’s very cool, but also very scary what all this technology can do,” said Shear. “It’s a very exciting world,” he said. “The sky’s the limit.”

As of Wednesday, mobile and Internet service had been restored in Egypt and Speak2Tweet had almost 10,000 followers. Mubarak’s refusal to immediately step down from office caused violence to escalate. (Mubarak has said he won’t seek re-election in September.)

According to The Associated Press, on Wednesday Mubarak supporters charged into Cairo’s central square on horseback and camels and others threw firebombs at anti-government protesters. Three people died and 600 were injured.

Shannon Green writes for Corporate Counsel, a Daily Report affiliate.




This is what happens when Obama’s Oval Ofc rug goes off prompter. #tcot

Perhaps you’ve read that an MLK quote was woven into the new Oval Office rug’s border, adding to those of past presidents Lincoln, Kennedy and others.

But as this article points out, King is not the source, MLK was quoting social progress champion Theodore Parker who died over 100 years before King uttered the phrase.

Please bear in mind, that when Parker was a social progressive in the 1800s, as well as when King led the Civil Rights efforts, it was before the terms “social” and “progress” meant tyranny.

Consistent with the Left’s revisions of history, this mis-attributed quote twists the meaning of these words through the lens of their new concept of “social progress.”

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A mistake has been made in the Oval Office makeover that goes beyond the beige.

President Obama’s new presidential rug seemed beyond reproach, with quotations from Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. woven along its curved edge.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” According media reports, this quote keeping Obama company on his wheat-colored carpet is from King.

Except it’s not a King quote. The words belong to a long-gone Bostonian champion of social progress. His roots in the republic ran so deep that his grandfather commanded the Minutemen at the Battle of Lexington.

For the record, Theodore Parker is your man, President Obama. Unless you’re fascinated by antebellum American reformers, you may not know of the lyrically gifted Parker, an abolitionist, Unitarian minister and Transcendentalist thinker who foresaw the end of slavery, though he did not live to see emancipation. He died at age 49 in 1860, on the eve of the Civil War.

A century later, during the civil rights movement, King, an admirer of Parker, quoted the Bostonian’s lofty prophecy during marches and speeches. Often he’d ask in a refrain, “How long? Not long.” He would finish in a flourish: “Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

King made no secret of the author of this idea. As a Baptist preacher on the front lines of racial justice, he regarded Parker, a religious leader, as a kindred spirit.

Yet somehow a mistake was made and magnified in our culture to the point that a New England antebellum abolitionist’s words have been enshrined in the Oval Office while attributed to a major 20th-century figure. That is a shame, because the slain civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate was so eloquent in his own right. Obama, who is known for his rhetorical skills, is likely to feel the slight to King — and Parker.

My investigation into this error led me to David Remnick’s biography of Obama, “The Bridge,” published this year. Early in the narrative, Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, presents this as “Barack Obama’s favorite quotation.” It appears that neither Remnick nor Obama has traced the language to its true source.

Parker said in 1853: “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one. . . . But from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice.”

The president is at minimum well-served by Parker’s presence in the room. Parker embodied the early 19th-century reformer’s passionate zeal for taking on several social causes at once. Many of these reformers were Unitarians or Quakers; some were Transcendentalists. Most courageously, as early as the 1830s, they opposed the laws on slavery and eventually harbored fugitives in the Underground Railroad network of safe houses. Without 30 years of a movement agitating and petitioning for slave emancipation, Lincoln could not have ended slavery with the stroke of a pen in the midst of war. Parker was in the vanguard that laid the social and intellectual groundwork.

The familiar quote from Lincoln woven into Obama’s rug is “government of the people, by the people and for the people,” the well-known utterance from the close of his Gettysburg Address in 1863.

Funny that in 1850, Parker wrote, “A democracy — that is a government of all the people, by all the people, for all the people.”

Theodore Parker, Oval Office wordmeister for the ages.

Jamie Stiehm, a journalist, is writing a book on the life of Lucretia Mott, a 19th-century abolitionist and women’s rights leader.




From @edmorrisey Pelosi: Gov’t should probe people opposed to Ground Zero mosque #gzm

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Pelosi: Gov’t should probe people opposed to Ground Zero mosque

Of course!  What better way to defend the First Amendment freedom of religion than to have the Speaker of the House ask the federal government investigate those exercising their First Amendment right to free speech?  Nancy Pelosi just guaranteed at least two new news cycles for a story, tossing even more gasoline on the fire than Barack Obama’s pas de deux this weekend:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday said she supports an investigation into groups opposing the building of a mosque near ground zero in New York.

Pelosi told San Francisco’s KCBS radio that “there is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some.”

“I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded,” she said. “How is this being ginned up?”

Does that mean that Pelosi wants Harry Reid investigated, too?   Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY)?  This should be fun!

One might think that Pelsoi would want a peek at where the Park51 will be getting its funds to build the mosque, especially since the State Department is footing the bill for a tour conducted by the imam at the head of the project.  Instead, Pelosi wants the power of the government directed at people taking political positions.  That goes well beyond any supposed extremism by the mosque’s opponents, most (but not all) of whom acknowledge that the property owners have the right to build on their lot anything that meets code, but want to express their opposition to the plans.  Pelosi would take this opportunity to use the government as a thought police to silence dissent.

Still, Pelosi said she’d like to see the issue determined by New Yorkers and slip off the national stage.

Yes, and a federal probe into political speech will certainly accomplish that, Speaker Pelosi.  Is the leadership of the Democratic Party really this clueless all of the time, or did something get into the water system in Washington DC this past week?

Incredibly, in the same interview, Pelosi also says this:




Looks like the Dems are putting the kibosh Skype on Tea Party Caucus

Didn’t those White House party crashers use Skype to get past security?

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Why lawmakers can’t use Skype

At last week’s kickoff meeting for the group of representatives who aim to enact the tea-party agenda, caucus leader Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) suggested that lawmakers use video conferencing to connect with grassroots leaders.

But that requires lifting a ban on Skype that Democratic leaders say could compromise House security. They fear hackers could manipulate the tool to access Congressional servers.

Bachmann, who along with her Republican colleagues made the request earlier this year as well, said she has effectively used Skype to hold virtual town halls on the campaign trail. The tech-savvy lawmaker also makes use of social media tools and has more than 54,000 fans on Facebook and 18,000 followers on Twitter.

“Rather than having a woman flying in from Washington state, we would like to give people the opportunity to speak to us on a regular, real-time basis,” Bachmann said of her proposal.

“That’s really the only purpose of the Tea Party Caucus – to listen to the ideas of the people,” she said.

“I think it’s rather profound,” she said. “We are members of Congress who have said we are willing to listen to real people.”

The first idea from the Tea Party Caucus may be dead on arrival.



Cheryl Prater

Managing Director

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