Right Wing Watch (a web site that admittedly doesn't like the principals of conservatism or the people who push its agendas in print, online and on broadcast television) points out in this story that Glenn Beck blames the Sandy Hook School Shooting in Newton, Connecticut entirely on the shooter's consumption of violent video games. Beck made his comments on last night's show which airs on his web site.
You may recall the Space Invaders-inspired flash game Truth Invaders way back during the 2008 presidential campaign. Back then the game focused on the "lies" told by both Democrats and Republicans.
Well the game is back with a 2012 edition, but this time it focuses only on the "lies" of Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and the Republican party.
The FAQ on the site tries to explain the change:
We alluded to this earlier but here's the full story on an amendment about abortion being offered to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012. Adding nonsensical or unrelated amendments to bills in committee is pretty normal, but Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) might win the booby prize for most unrelated issue ever attached to a bill. After a bill to ban abortions in D.C. after 20 weeks was defeated on Tuesday night because it failed to garner enough support (a two-thirds majority), Senator Mike Lee decided to offer it up as an amendment to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012.
Conservative-Tea Party-Libertarian activist and Ron Paul operative Jack Hunter tackles CISPA in the latest edition of his web show "The Deal with Jack Hunter" over on The Daily Caller. The show opens with a clip of a story about Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-California), who wrote a scathing letter to Attorney General Eric Holder because her phone had been wiretapped.
Fox News commentator Oliver North has been signed to help Activision sell its next big Call of Duty game, Call of Duty Black Ops 2. North appears on-screen in an infomercial for the game talking about war. We'll leave the characterizations to Fox News (from his bio there as a contributor to the network) and this Wikipedia entry on him, but the short story is that North's past is marked with scandal.
In March of last year the state of Illinois decided to pass a law that collected Internet sales tax from online companies like Amazon.com and eBay. Commonly referred to as an "affiliate nexus tax," the law passed by Illinois and other states including California, Connecticut, and New York, required online retailers who advertised on "affiliate sites" that had a physical presence in the same state to collect sales tax. The Illinois law had broad support among lawmakers and the state’s governor, Gov. Pat Quinn (D).
According to a GamesIndustry International report, Electronic Arts has become the target of a letter writing campaign by family advocacy groups who are upset with same-sex relationships in several of its games including Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic.
An odd story on the conservative political news site The Daily Caller corners EA at GDC to ask them about the new SimCity game and if it was inspired by the recent publicity related to former presidential candidate Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan. EA announced this week that they would release a new game in the city-building game series in 2013.
If Grover Norquist isn't breaking up with SOPA, he's certainly taking some time to revealuate his relationship with the anti-piracy bill. The face of the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform is letting his underlings say the things he hasn't personally said about SOPA: he doesn't like it in its current form.
Alex Beltramo, the lead developer of the web-based online game Dungeoneers, says that he's been quietly working on his game for years, and planned to keep it under wraps until it was finished but something came up: the presidential campaign. Beltramo believes strongly in Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul - so much so that he has pledged to give the candidate money the first time a player slays a dragon in his game. The game, for the record - is currently free. Here's Beltramo, in his own words:
In yet another editorial masquerading as a news report (the last one being the whole Carole Lieberman "Games cause Rape" story), Fox News writer John Brandon takes another shot at stirring the pot about Epic Games' Bulletstorm. In his latest article, Brandon uses the censorship of the game in Germany as a jump-off point to attack Rock, Paper, Shotgun's dissection of his first article, to claim that "anyone" can buy the game online, and to throw some more quotes around. Of the censorship in Germany, Brandon opens by baiting gamers with the line: "It's too violent for Germany. But it's okay for America?”
Conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation has issued a report urging congress to review what it calls 20 "unnecessary and harmful regulations" - three of which have to do with the FCC.
"This regulatory tide must be reversed," Heritage's Dianne Katz said. "Policymakers should not just prevent harmful new regulations, but must repeal costly and unnecessary rules already on the books."
Ars Technica details the three items that Heritage Foundation is putting a bull’s-eye on: net neutrality regulations, media ownership rules, and the FCC's merger review authority.
Arizona State Senator Linda Gray recently said that the Tucson shootings weren't caused by lax gun control laws, but a culture of violence.. and abortion. Yes, you have read that right, ABORTION. She later distanced herself slightly from her comments. How abortion factors into the equation I’m not sure, but politicians do so enjoy tying irrelevant things to tragedies to score political points..
"The problem is not the gun, but about respect for all human life, from the unborn, a 9 year old child, a senior citizen or a political leader," Gray told Raw Story, by e-mail. "The shooter had no respect for the value of any these innocent citizens who were injured or killed."
Rush Limbaugh recently defended videogames after a caller to his talk show brought up the subject of Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, but is Limbaugh someone that the game industry even wants on its side?
Limbaugh used the case to rail against an over abundance of government and liberalism, asking the caller to “Join me when the government gets involved in all these other behavioral and speech things that they try to tell you and control us we can't do.” He added that he was “glad” that the case was taking place, as it would push these topics (over-governing and liberalism) into the mainstream, alerting people “to what’s happening throughout society.”
Believe it or not conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh recently came to the defense of videogames during a recent call to his radio show (thanks Kotaku!).
21-year old caller Cory from Waterville, Ohio posed the question to Limbaugh, asking if Schwarzenegger vs. EMA was a “relevant thing that the Supreme Court should ever be even considering.”
Limbaugh, in answering said that since he was 21 years old, he has “been concerned about the infringements on free speech that come from Democrat regimes and courts because I'm in the free speech business.”
Saying that he was "glad" that the case was happening, Limbaugh continued:
Could the Tea Party ultimately help to pass net neutrality legislation? While that might seem unlikely, and editorial on Nextgov tries to make the case, speaking to leaders on both sides of the issue. The Tea Party generally doesn't support net neutrality, because it see it as government intervention into a free market. But the real complaint the Tea Party has, according to experts, is the FCC's move to enact and enforce rules all on its own.
But groups that claim to have the ear of Tea party supporters say that, ultimately, members will support some sort of legislation put together by Congress. Why? Mainly because they do not want the FCC to be a lone sheriff making and enforcing rules.
Even though Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal had a few moments of shame after he was caught overstating his military service earlier in the year, he managed to stay well ahead of his Republican rival, but things are changing rapidly.
That’s because, it seems, that Linda McMahon has the momentum, according to the latest polls so much so, in fact, that a Reuters story from Sunday has the political chattering classes in the state afraid to place any bets on who might win in Nov. Connecticut’s primary is today, and while McMahon and Blumenthal will have a fairly easy time rolling over their party's challenges to incumbency (barring any surprises), their match-up this November won't be a cake-walk for either of them.
What's most interesting about this race is that both candidates have a history with videogames. For Blumenthal it has been against video games in general, and for McMahon it has been as a character in videogames based on the company she ran for a very long time.
Connecticut senatorial candidate Linda McMahon, her husband Vince McMahon Jr., and their company, World Wrestling Entertainment, are being sued by the widow of Owen Hart, according to the Associated Press. McMahon, who is probably the only candidate running in the 2010 election cycle to appear in a WWE videogame, is vying for the senate seat being vacated by Chris Dodd.
Owen's widow, Martha Hart, is suing the McMahons and the WWE because the company continues to use her husband's image to promote the WWE. Martha does not want Owen Hart's name associated with the WWE in any way. Martha Hart planned to file her lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Hartford.
Owen Hart, brother of Brett "The Hitman" Hart, died when he fell 78 feet from a harness as it lowered him into a wrestling ring in Kansas City, Mo., on May 23, 1999. He was 34. Martha settled a lawsuit with the WWE concerning Owen's death in 2000. In a written statement Martha explained why she is suing the WWE now:
It's hard to be a candidate who is a part of an industry that makes its money off of gratuitous violence. Linda McMahon, like California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has made millions off of an industry that has no problems with using sex, violence and adult themes to sell its image. But the Connecticut senatorial candidate running in the Republican primary shares another distinction with the Governator: she's a playable video game character, as the video in this story shows.
In arguably one of the best wrestling video games ever made -- WWF No Mercy -- Linda, complete her husband's "Mac Stunner" finisher, is an unlockable, playable character. Linda is also part of a storyline involving her daughter Stephanie McMahon and real life husband Hunter Herst Helmsely. In the segment, which starts at the 4:10 mark and ends at the 5:29 mark, Linda enters the ring, makes a ruling on a world championship match against wrestler Kennedy and then gives both her daughter and Triple H a "Mac Stunner" after her daughter attempts to slap her across the face.
In politics, 24 hours is a lifetime when you are in the media spotlight. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal can attest to that personally, thanks to a freshly conducted telephone poll of "likely voters" in the state conducted by Rasmussen. In one day, Republican senatorial candidates are closing in on the Attorney General, who once enjoyed double digit leads over every possible opponent this fall. But the darling of the CT political machine has taken a real credibility hit not only in CT but around the country, following a New York Times report that he exaggerated his military record (or at the very least never corrected the record on it).
Current Connecticut Attorney General (and current senatorial candidate), Richard Blumenthal, has more to worry about than Beer Pong for the Wii and the way the ESRB classifies alcohol use in videogames this morning. According to a New York Times story, Blumenthal has been lying about his service in Vietnam. "Lying" is a strong term for a politician to face, and though he has acknowledged in the past that he didn't actually serve in Vietnam, he certainly has never gone out of his way to correct the record; in many speaking engagements across the state of Connecticut and in front of Veterans groups, he has gone as far as he could to give the impression that he was in fact a Vietnam veteran. He also never corrected the record on being on the Harvard swim team, a widely circulated biographical note that turns out to be false as well.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) kicks off tomorrow in Washington D.C. and organizers of the event are turning to videogames and hip-hop in an attempt to ramp up the event’s attraction to a younger audience.
Fox News reports that videogames will be featured in a room called the XPAC Lounge, or as one event organizer termed it, the “hub of fun.” The lounge was the brain-child of radio host Kevin McCullough and actor Stephen Baldwin.
Ten videogame stations will be featured in all, offering attendees the chance to play games such as Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution and Call of Duty.
The XPAC Lounge will also be home to a late night “rap/jam” session on Thursday night. The article questions the viability of such a function in light of Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s (pictured) failed past attempts at interjecting hip-hop culture into conservative principals. Steele previously published a blog entitled “What Up?” that he eventually killed in reaction to ridicule of the name and he also reportedly once described a GOP public relations initiative as “off the hook.”
CPAC Director Lisa De Pasquale seemed to think that “the energy” is flowing more towards conservative candidates right now, adding, “To be a rebel on campus, you have to be a conservative."
5,000 people are pre-registered for the conference, 61.0 percent of whom are students.
Jim Ward, who left the CEO job at video game publisher LucasArts in early 2008, is now hoping to win a seat in Congress.
Ward, a Republican who currently works as a venture capitalist, is running to represent Arizona's 5th Congressional District. That seat is currently held by two-term Democrat Harry Mitchell. The district includes Scottsdale, Tempe and parts of Phoenix.
Ward outlines his philosophy on his campaign website:
I’m not a professional politician. I’m a businessman. And I don’t disagree that this country needs change. But, in my experience, there’s the right kind of change and the wrong kind of change. I believe what’s happening to this country represents the wrong kind of change...
Partially via: Kotaku
Not for the first time, potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (left) has mentioned Nintendo's Wii on Twitter.
Gingrich, who formerly served as Speaker of the House and was the driving force behind the conservative Contract with America in the mid-1990's, Tweeted yesterday about playing Nintendo's system at a family gathering. Twitter user Konabess offered some follow-up advice and Gingrich responded. Here's how the conversation went:
NewtGingrich: Wii bowling in stevens point wisconsin home of point beer and callista's brother and his family; seven year old is proving tough competition
konabess: @newtgingrich keep your elbow in and follow through!
NewtGingrich: @konabess good advice I will try this Any advice for wii golf
As GamePolitics reported in March, Gingrich gushed about the Wii his wife Callista received as a birthday present. In February Gingrich dangled the chance to win a Wii as a means of enticing supporters to sign up for the launch of a media campaign.
Partially Via: Kotaku
Last week, GamePolitics broke the news that the ultra-conservative Eagle Forum had filed a "friend of the court" brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Calfornia's bid to have its 2005 violent video game law reviewed by the justices.
The rambling brief sought to link video games with everything from school shootings to poor grades to sudden death.
The group, founded by conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly, wades back into gamer space tomorrow when video game critic Arthur Ally appears as a guest on Eagle Forum Live, a radio show hosted by Schlafly.
Ally bills himself as a morally-responsible fund manager. In December his Timothy Plan investment fund issued a list of 30 "most offensive" video games, including the likes of World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online and Halo 3.
Ally also rather famously criticized Army of Two for "somewhat homo-erotic undertones between the two main characters."
Ironically, the conversation between this pair of would-be censors airs at 11:00 a.m. Central Time on Independence Day.
The conservative Eagle Forum has filed an amicus (friend of the Court) brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of California's 2005 violent video game law.
As GamePolitics reported last month, California Attorney General Jerry Brown petitioned the High Court to review a U.S. District Court ruling that the state's 2005 law blocking the sale of violent games to minors is unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court upheld the District Court decision in a February ruling.
The family values group, founded by conservative Phyllis Schlafly (left) in 1967, filed the brief on Monday. The document was authored by Andrew Schlafly, son of Phyllis and founder of Conservapedia (sort of the anti-Wikipedia). In the amicus brief, the Eagle Forum lays an array of societal problems at the feet of violent video games: bad grades, violent behavior, poor graduation rates, school shootings, game addiction and even sudden death.
We'll let the Eagle Forum's laundry list speak for itself (with a little help from GP's trusty red pen):
The First Amendment does not render our nation’s youth defenseless against the predatory, billion-dollar video game industry that churns out increasingly graphic blood and gore for impressionable minds to imbibe...
The corruption of our nation’s youth with increasingly deviant video games is a matter of national importance. Our nation’s youth is in crisis, by any measure. A calamitous 30% of our nation’s youth fail to graduate from public high school, and only 32% of those who attend public high school are ever qualified to attend a four-year college...
A substantial percentage of teenagers are hooked on these disturbing video games, and spend many hours each week playing them. Moreover, mass killings perpetrated by youngsters are frequently linked to addiction to violent video games...
The First Amendment does not forbid state legislatures from keeping this harmful material from children. The California legislature, not known to be conservative, protected its youth against the predatory video game industry. It was an error with national implications for the Ninth Circuit to invalidate the California statute...
Violent video games hurt children in two ways. Their increasingly realistic and disturbing images burn into children’s impressionable minds much as pornography does, and the role-playing inherent in a video game causes the child to buy into the rampages of murder and other heinous crimes that he is acting out...
The early market leader in video games was Nintendo, which adopted a policy against “excessive blood and violence,” but it was trounced in sales by a 3 to 1 margin by more gory material produced by Sega, and Nintendo learned the message that “violence sells video games to children...”
Numerous studies confirm the obvious: violent video games do cause addiction and harm... There has never been a full First Amendment right to flash highly objectionable and disturbing images specifically at children, or to entice them to participate in destructive role-playing behavior...
Displaying a shocking image to a child is conceptually identical to the utterance of “fighting words” to an adult, which this Court famously held to be out-side of First Amendment protection...
The stress attributed to violent video games can even be physically harmful. Eighteen-year-old Peter Burkowski, an avid video gamer, collapsed and died of a heart attack while playing games in an arcade...
Children who play violent video games have difficulty obeying authorities, treating peers properly, and succeeding in school...
DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of the Eagle Forum's amicus brief here.
Rev. James Dobson, the politically influential, conservative evangelical leader of nonprofit group Focus on the Family, has given a green light to some video games while offering warnings about violent an sexual content as well as possible game addiction in regard to others.
Dobson's comments appeared in his newspaper column in response to a question from a parent about their son's video gaming:
Depending on the particular games in question, you may have a valid cause for concern... two University of Michigan researchers concluded in 2007 that violent media, including television, film and video games, pose a significant public health threat...
Furthermore, some video games add unhealthy sexual themes and profanity to the mix, not to mention that the American Medical Association estimates one in 10 video gamers is addicted.
Of course, not all video games are problematic. Certain sports games, for instance, can be loads of fun. Some can even be educational...
I’d advise you to put clear limits on the amount of time your son will be allowed to spend with video games... Insist he avoid the troublesome ones altogether...
GP: Dobson is referring to the 2007 Huesmann-Bushman study.
Hegseth, who served with the U.S. military in Iraq and as a guard at Guantanamo Bay, was also interviewed by conservative newspaper the Washington Times:
[Rendition: Guantanamo] looked like to us a blatant attempt to twist reality and change the perception of the American soldier...
We need to keep [pressure] on guys like [former Guantanamo detainee] Moazzam Begg and what they are trying to do in rewriting history at Guantanamo: That our troops are oppressors and that the detainees are all victims.
Rendition: Guantanamo, an upcoming Xbox 360 and PC game, has come under fire from The Weekly Standard, a conservative publication owned by Rupert Murdoch.
In a blog entry The Weekly Standard's Thomas Joscelyn writes:
One of the more popular former [Guantanamo] detainees is Moazzam Begg, who regularly appears in anti-American documentaries on television... Begg is a big hit with the global left... Begg is upping the ante by trying to win even more hearts and minds with an Xbox videogame...
By the sound of it, the videogame will allow users to pretend they are Gitmo inmates shooting at American servicemen... The director of the firm that is producing the game, Zarrar Chishti, denies this, of course, saying that “no US or British soldiers get killed in it.” Chisti claims: “The only ones being killed are mercenaries.”
Joscelyn writes in detail about Moazzam Begg (left), linking him to reports of jihadist beliefs and Al Qaeda training:
[Begg's] release [from Guantanamo] by the personal intervention of President Bush... was done, many think, as a political palliative to his friend and war supporter British prime minister Tony Blair, who was under much criticism at the time for not demanding immediate release of all British citizens held at Guantanamo...
Begg’s propaganda efforts will now include a disgusting video game in which Begg... gets to target “mercenaries” -- in reality, stand-ins for American servicemen...
Meanwhile, CBS News reports that Zarrar Chisti expects Rendition: Guantanamo to sell well in the Middle East. Begg, who has a financial stake in the game, said that his earnings will be donated to a charity devoted to the rights of Guantanamo detainees.
UPDATE: Gawker reports that Microsoft has denied knowledge of Rendition: Guantanamo. That's a key piece of information, since MS would have to license the game for it to appear on the 360. From Gawker:
In a statement, Microsoft said: "We are unaware of this game and have not been contacted by this developer. As such, we don't have enough details about the game to even comment about it."
More info upcoming...