The Providence Journal reports that a hearing looking into 38 Studios' lobbying activities prior to securing the now-infamous $75 million loan from the state of Rhode Island, has been delayed to late-August.
The Providence Journal reports that a hearing looking into 38 Studios' lobbying activities prior to securing the now-infamous $75 million loan from the state of Rhode Island, has been delayed to late-August.
Rhode Island lieutenant governor candidate Dan McKee (D) has vowed to launch an online petition later this week calling for an independent counsel to review at "arm's length" the failed 38 Studios deal.
The current Cumberland, Rhode Island mayor says this particular effort is an attempt to pressure elected officials to do more to get answers. McKee has been highly critical of current elected officials over their handling of the 38 Studios deal and subsequent investigations into it.
Republicans in California have been relatively quiet about a trio of Democratic state legislators who have been in the news this year for various unethical and illegal behavior - but, according to Fresno Bee, that may be about to change.
Republican leadership in the state have begun throwing around the names of certain lawmakers who have either been charged with a crime or convicted.
Cumberland, Rhode Island Mayor Dan McKee showed a flair for the dramatic this week when he brought a letter to the race for lieutenant governor, according to the Providence Journal. Mollis showed up at the State House to personally hand-deliver a letter to his democratic primary opponent, current Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis.
The fallout from the $75 million loan given to 38 Studios is continuing to be a hot-button issue in the state of Rhode Island. In the race for Rhode Island Attorney General, one candidate is using the deal in his attack ads against incumbent Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. In a new 60 second attack ad airing on radio in the state, Republican state senator and attorney general candidate Dawson Hodgson's campaign highlights Peter Kilmartin’s 2010 vote for the legislation that allowed the 38 Studios loan guarantee.
Former Rhode Island State Treasurer Frank Caprio (D) is calling on the Gov. Chafee's administration to cancel the state’s new financial advisor contract with a company the state is apparently suing in connection with the $75 million 38 Studios loan deal.
A new two-year contract had been awarded to First Southwest this week, but this deal has not been formally signed according to a spokeswoman for current State Treasurer Gina Raimondo - who is also running for governor. Caprio is running for his old job this year.
Cranston, Rhode Island Mayor Allan Fung has challenged Governor Chafee to answer "three important questions" related to his stance that the state must avoid defaulting on the bonds that financed 38 Studios. Fung, who is a Republican candidate for Governor, is skeptical that defaulting on future debt payments will damage the state's reputation and ability to secure credit for future endeavors. He put the following questions to Chafee:
East Bay Express has an interesting article on a California Congressional race where votes for the National Security Agency's budget and the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) are taking center stage. Eric Swalwell (pictured, left), the current U.S. Representative of California's 15th District (D), is taking heat from his opponent Democratic State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett.
Even though many have declared the Republican nomination process for selecting a presidential candidate over and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney the de facto winner of the contest, some candidates have not stopped running like soon-to-be-retired Texas congressman Ron Paul. We don't really care one way or the other about that race, but we do find the Libertarian-leaning candidate's take on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) interesting.
Will former Red Sox ace Curt Schilling run for the Senate seat vacated by the recent death of Ted Kennedy?
If he does, how will MMO development at his company, 38 Studios be affected?
These remain open questions following yesterday's acknowledgement by Schilling that he is considering a bid for the late Kennedy's former spot. Writing on his 38 Pitches blog, Schilling was candid about his potential foray into big-time politics:
While my family is obviously the priority, and 38 Studios is a priority, I do have some interest in the possibility [of running]. That being said, to get to there from where I am today, many many things would have to align themselves for that to truly happen. I am not going to comment further on the matter since at this point it would be speculation on top of speculation.
Although Bloomberg reports that Schilling is a registered Independent, as GamePolitics reported during last year's presidential race, Schilling stumped for Republican contender John McCain. He is most definitely not an Obama fan.
The Boston Globe has additional quotes on the Senate issue from Schilling, including this one:
I'm not going to divulge the discussions, but I've been contacted by people whose opinion I give credence to and listen to, and I listened...
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
He has been one of the video game industry's most aggressive critics in the past, but GamePolitics has learned that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D) will partner with the ESRB on a public service ad campaign designed to raise parental awareness of the video game rating system.
The campaign, unveiled in Boston by Menino and ESRB President Patricia Vance, will feature T.V. and radio ads as well as outdoor print ads. Of the media blitz, Menino said:
Parents want control of the media that comes into their homes, and the entertainment that their children enjoy. That’s why it’s so imperative that we educate parents about useful and informative tools like the ESRB ratings and rating summaries, so they’ll be empowered to make informed choices about which games they deem appropriate. I’m proud to be educating parents in our city about the tools at their disposal.
With today's news, Menino joins a number of high-profile elected officials around the country who have partnered with the ESRB on game ratings awareness campaigns over the past several years. Given Menino's track record as a video game industry critic, the turnabout is especially significant.
In 2006 Menino led a campaign to have Grand Theft Auto ads removed from public transit. In 2007 his office flirted with video game legislation authored by Jack Thompson. The Boston Mayor's video game bill was eventually submitted to the legislature in 2008, but died in committee.
Menino, who earlier this year touted Boston as a game industry-friendly city in an effort to attract jobs, is running for an unpredecented fifth term as mayor.
City Councilman Michael Brown (I, at left) hopes to mount a challenge to incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) next year for the top job in Washington, D.C. city government.
The Brookland Heartbeat reports that in a recent speech, Brown listed video games among the top problems facing youth in D.C.:
Mr. Brown criticized Mayor Adrian Fenty and DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee... Mr. Brown also criticized the District’s school modernization program for failing to address what he said were the real problems facing District youth: lack of vocational/technical schools, gunfire, excessive video game playing, and lack of neighborhood amenities such as grocery stores.
Until those problems are solved, “it doesn’t matter how pretty the school is,” said Mr. Brown...
GP: Ironically, in 2005, while still a member of City Council, Mayor Fenty unsuccessfully tried to legislate the sale of violent video games to minors in D.C.
A mayoral candidate in Austin, Texas has made attracting game developers and other creative media types a key part of his campaign platform.
McCracken, currently a member of Austin's City Council, sees game development as a way to help the city weather the recession:
Starting with a vision of independent film, independent music and 3-D animation leadership in digital media... We will need elected leaders to personally recruit creative economy employers. We will need expanded incentives to recruit films and TV series. We will need to recruit video game and music publishers and firms with expertise in digital media distribution to empower local creative artists.
GP: We should mention that Austin already has a thriving game development community. McCracken wants to attract additional talent to the city.
While the presidential election has, understandably, received the lion's share of voter attention this year, there are a number of other races around the country which carry implications for gamers.
Roger Wicker (R-MS) is running for re-election. In July Wicker introduced the Video Games Rating Enforcement Act. The measure would "...prohibit the distribution or sale of video games that do not have age-based content rating labels [and] prohibit the sale or rental of video games with adult content ratings to minors..." Wicker is in a tight race with former Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove (D).
Ted Stevens (R-AK) is running for re-election. It's a toss-up as to whether the tech-challenged Stevens is more famous for his recent conviction on federal corruption charges or for his memorable description of the Internet as a "series of tubes." Most observers expect Democrat Mark Begich to win in a close race.
Mark Warner - the former Virginia governor is running for the U.S. Senate. Warner gets a mention here thanks to his groundbreaking 2006 appearance in Second Life. He was the first major candidate to appear in an online game. At the time, Warner was exploring a presidential bid.
U.S. House of Representatives:
Lee Terry (R-NE) is running for re-election. Terry is co-author of the House version of the Video Games Rating Enforcement Act and was lampooned by Daily Show host Jon Stewart following a 2006 congressional hearing on video game content. He is in a close race with Democratic challenger Jim Esch.
Jim Matheson (D-UT) is running for re-election. Matheson (with Lee Terry) is co-author of the House version of the Video Games Rating Enforcement Act. He proposed a similar bill in 2006, also an election year. Matheson's seat appears to be safe.
Fred Upton (R-MI) is running for re-election. Known for almost never missing a vote, Upton is generally well-regarded. In 2005 he proposed a resolution directing the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the Hot Coffee scandal involving Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. In 2006 he proposed Video Game Decency Act. Disbarred anti-game attorney Jack Thompson often writes to Upton, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Upton writes back. Upton's seat appears safe.
Betty McCollum (D-MN) is running for re-election. In the past McCollum has stood with Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family as Walsh presented his group's Annual Video Game Report Card. In 2007 McCollum criticized the video game industry, urging it to take Walsh's recommendations to heart. At the time, McCollum said, "The gaming industry has clearly failed to learn its lesson here: The pattern of inappropriate content hidden in Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt is a violation of parents’ and families’ trust." McCollum's seat does not appear to be in jeopardy.
Cliff Stearns (R-FL) is running for re-election. In 2006 Stearns, then running for re-election, chaired a subcommittee hearing which delivered a nasty beat-down to the ESA and ESRB. That same year he co-sponsored the Truth in Video Games Rating Act in Congress. Stearns has not made much news on the game front since that time.
Joe Baca (D-CA) is running for re-election. Baca has proposed video game legislation and been a game industry critic in the past but his efforts have not gained much traction. His seat appears safe.
Ron Paul (R-TX) is running for re-election. Although his presidential campaign fizzled, Paul enjoyed tremendous Internet support, including the first-ever political campaign rally in World of Warcraft. GP was on hand in January as Paul supporters marched from Ironforge to Stormwind. The Paul campaign also created an ad using snappy, gamelike visuals.
Peter Myers: The Green Party candidate is running for Congress in California's 15th District. He has criticized the use of the America's Army game series as a military recruitment tool. His chance of victory is slim.
UPDATED: Added in Mark Warner and Ron Paul...
Green Party candidate Peter Myers, running for Congress in California's 15th District, has come out in opposition to the Pentagon's use of the America's Army: Virtual Army Experience simulator in recruiting efforts.
As GamePolitics has previously reported, Virtual Army Experience sparked protests from anti-war groups at several stops during a summer tour of county fairs and air shows.
On his campaign blog, Myers writes:
This report from CNN shows you what some of your hundreds of billions of dollars of tax dollars pay for when they go to the Pentagon. The military's recruitment process for future wars is slick and neatly packaged, and you and I pay for it every day.
My opponents won't take the initiative to rein in this type of wasteful spending that creates an American culture more militant than ever before. Only I have chosen to stand up against these disturbing military recruitment practices; a vote for anyone else is a vote for more disappointment.
In late August, following protests, the Army agreed to restrict participants to those 17 and older. However, the CNN report referenced by Myers clearly shows a 13-year-old boy in line for the exhibit and having his personal data being collected (see pic). It's unknown when the CNN footage was shot.
The more familiar America's Army PC and console games have been criticized by some peace groups for allegedly violating U.N. protocols barring military recruitment of children.
The Green Party's Myers is running against incumbent Mike Honda (D). Myers candidacy is a long shot.
Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), national co-chair of Barack Obama's presidential campaign, was among recipients of 3rd quarter campaign contributions from the video game industry's political action committee. Jackson (left), who received $1,000, is the son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
As GamePolitics has previously reported, the Entertainment Software Association, which lobbies on behalf of U.S. game publishers, formed its PAC late last year and began making contributions in 2008.
In addition to Jackson, 3rd quarter campaign donation recipients include:
Contributions to the ESA PAC came from:
It's always entertaining to guess why the ESA chooses to fund particular candidates. In Jackson's case, the strong Obama connection is a significant clue. In addition, the seven-term Democrat is a member of the House Appropriations Committee. His family connections can't hurt, either, although he has occasionally been put in the position of doing damage control over comments made by his father.
Bono Mack, a moderate Republican, has been a strong supporter of copyright protections in the past, which makes her a natural ally of video game publishers. The ESA PAC actually made a contribution to her in the first quarter, but it appears that the check wasn't cashed for some reason and was re-issued.
Smith is a moderate Republican who serves on the Senate Commerce Committee. He has a track record of supporting IP content owners, so it's not difficult to guess why the ESA would look favorably upon his re-election. As a longtime Tivo and DVR user, GP notes this rather disturbing passage from Smith's Wikipedia page:
In January 2006, Smith began circulating a draft of the Digital Content Protection Act of 2006... The legislation would grant the Federal Communications Commission the authority to authorize a technology known as the "broadcast flag." This technology would enable the producers of television programming to ensure the programs cannot be recorded by viewers in their homes, for instance using a digital video recorder like TiVo or onto recordable DVDs.
Wasserman-Schultz seconded Obama's nomination at the DNC and serves on the House Appropriations and Judiciary committees. Radanovich is a conservative Republican who serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Why these two members of Congress were selected for support is not clear.
For a copy of the ESA PAC Q3 report click here.
For previous GamePolitics coverage of ESA campaign contributions, click here.
Accusing your opponent of being a flip-flopper? Why, that's practically Politics 101.
But calling out a challenger for playing Halo and blogging? Must be a sign of the times.
In Maricopa County, Arizona, Republican incumbent Fulton Brock has rolled out those allegations and more by way of slinging mud at his Democratic challenger, Ed Hermes (left). Both men are vying for the job of county supervisor.
As Joystiq reports, a campaign mailing sent out by Fulton uses the Halo referenced in an attempt to portray Hermes as young and inexperienced:
Skilled player of popular video game Halo. Hermes was quoted in the ASU student newspaper as saying, "I am addicted to Halo and play almost every night."
The anti-Hermes ad also accuses the Democrat of being a student mascot at football games as well as a blogger and a video gamer.
A high-ranking German official who has in the past advocated jail time for creators and players of violent games may be forced to give up his post following weekend regional elections.
As reported by Forbes, the status of Bavarian state premier Guenther Beckstein (left) is in jeopardy after voters rejected his party, the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU).
That's the good news. The bad news is Forbes' speculation that Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, a fellow CSU member, may be in line to succeed Beckstein. As GamePolitics reported last month, Herrmann is pushing a ban on what he terms Killerspiele (killer games).
Thanks to: Long time GP reader Bart George, aka Soldat Louis...
In an article titled, Who Is The Gamer's Candidate?, Edge Online has recapped the positions of both parties' presidential tickets as they relate to video games.
It's good to know that none of the four candidates have ever gotten behind a video game ban, although Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin gave consideration in the past to censoring books. Of the four, Barack Obama has said and done the most in regard to games.
While the EO piece offers no new information, it is a worthwhile summary.
A new YouTube video spoofs Republican presidential contender John McCain with a Mario Bros. flair.
In John McCain - POW Bros. video game journalist Jared Rea depicts McCain as exploiting his five years spent as a prisoner of war to counter just about every issue.
Jared, clearly not a McCain fan, writes:
John McCain uses his prisoner of war status as both sword and shield. It’s the entirety of his foreign policy experience and ultimate defense against legitimate questions and concerns rolled into a single onomatopoeia.
Final Fantasy XI gamer catwho, posting on liberal political supersite Daily Kos, describes using her feminine wiles (read: cleavage) in an attempt to win a "player of the month" election on a popular Final Fantasy XI fan site. Posted under The Politics of Video Games, catwho writes:
While the Presidential war rages on, I'm fighting the good fight on a video game forum of all places... But now, I'm in a race on that very forum -- for Player of the Month for my video game. This is more or less like the Democratic Primaries where it came down to Clinton and Obama -- I'm the only girl in the race, and it's the funny popular guy that is my main competition...
More or less, the "race" is just a popularity contest. Unlike the Democratic primary, however, this is a no-holds-barred knock-down drag-em-out slugfest. I'm behind in votes, so I offer to sing songs for people. I surge ahead briefly. Then I break out the big guns and post a shot of my cleavage. (Sexism? What's that?) My competitor responds by posting a pic of his man cleavage, chest hair and all. Words cannot describe the horrors contained in this image...
GP: Seems like it worked. Election results on Allakhazam show catwho edging out her nearest competitor.
In Georgia, Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor is now making a bid for the top job. The Democrat is running TV spots promising to legislate video games.
It's the second ad we've seen in the last 24 hours that seems to equate the threat of violent video games with that posed by online predators. The other is from Ed Perlmutter (see following article) from Colorado.