Let’s see. There’s the iPhone. Granted, that’s almost entirely Apple, but they did need a carrier for the first version, and Ma Bell stepped up. Then there’s AT&T Park, one of the most picturesque ballparks in America, in spite of being home of the woeful San Francisco Giants. And now there’s a fresh batch of Wes Anderson directed commercials, thanks to goldenfiddle from kottke for the tip.

I heard one of them in the background yesterday, but didn’t catch the video, only the story-line and absurd amalgamation of cities and places at the end. All in all, very clever, but nothing without the trademark Wes Anderson seamless movement from scene to scene to pull it all together. Roll the tape:

Typical Wes Anderson brilliance.


As for the dark side of AT&T, see the inimitable emptywheel Marcy Wheeler, at The Next Hurrah for a quick rundown:

Back in June, the Bush Administration invited one of AT&T’s key lobbyists, Ed Gillespie, to serve as White House counselor. A few weeks after that, BushCo expanded AT&T’s resident lobbyist’s role to include most of Karl Rove’s portfolio. Just days after Gillespie took over that role, the DOJ made an unusual intervention into the FCC’s request for comments on Net Neutrality, weighing against Net Neutrality.

Well today, one of AT&T’s former key attorneys, Peter Keisler, just took over the Department of Justice.

Basically, Bush just gave AT&T the ability to have its long-time lawyer give it legal authority to collaborate with the government to spy on citizens.

And in case you’re worried that AT&T is stuck with no good legal representation, having lost Keisler, rest assured. You see, former Associate White House Counsel Brad Berenson (who also happens to be Kyle Sampson and Susan Ralston’s lawyer) has taken over for Keisler and is working on the AT&T case, among other things.

Reaching back a week for this gem, on the matter of our esteemed former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his desperate attempts to bury the warrantless domestic spying fiasco:

And finally, it adds another reason why telecom companies are anxious to get immunity for their work on the Administration’s warrantless wiretap program. That’s because some of that wiretapping was based on analysis the telecom companies are already doing on us.

You see, when these lawsuits go forward, we’ll have a sense not just of how the telecom companies are complicit in the government’s spying on us–but how much they’re already spying on us, anyway.

Luckily, all of AT&T’s and the Bush administration’s “alleged” efforts to spy on their customers and citizens takes place just right outside my front door at 611 Folsom Street. Thanks, fellas. I feel much safer already.

So says Ask a Ninja in this hysterical, and incredibly important, riff on net neutrality. Don’t miss it:

Though admittedly late to the game on this one, I am now convinced that net neutrality is without a doubt the single most pressing issue of the moment. And yes, I believe it is even more fundamental than stopping the War in Iraq. I realize that sounds ridiculous, but please allow me to explain…

Duncan Black, as he so often does, perfectly frames the problem (my emphasis in bold):

I’d say that roughly speaking there are 4 kinds of people in this country when it comes to politics and current events (of course these are broad brush categories). There are the people who really don’t pay any attention at all, and whose only real knowledge comes from passive absorption of random things that they happen to hear. There are the people who get all of their information from Limbaugh and the rest of the conservative media. There are the people who imagine that they’re paying attention, and think that by listening to NPR and reading gullible idiots like Joe Klein they’re “very informed.” And then there are the readers of this blog who know what’s really going on (joke).

It’s the third category of people I worry most about how to reach. They’re the ones who absorb and regurgitate Maureen Dowd’s latest bon mot, or the latest bit of Washington “conventional wisdom,” and think they’re really on top of things. They aren’t necessarily stupid people, they just haven’t come to terms with the fact that the mainstream media is something to be treated with great skepticism.

Need proof? Compare the New York Times’ “Gonzales Denies Improper Pressure on Ashcroft” headline with Josh Marshall’s “Gonzales to Schumer: Blow Me” version. Watch the video at the end of Josh’s post, then read the NYT article. Not convinced? See this New York Times’ jewel “President Links Qaeda of Iraq to Qaeda of 9/11″ versus Dan Froomkin’s Bush Can’t Make the Sale. In both cases the NYT version is complete and utter bullshit, but you would never think so if you didn’t know where else to look.

Like it or not, America is still governed by the court of public opinion, and until very recently the ability to shape this narrative rested solely in the hands of the rich and powerful. We have only begun to challenge the status quo and the media machine that enforces it, but the difference is clear: they seek power, we seek the truth. We can only gain power by exposing more people to the truth, which is why Duncan’s third category is so critical to our cause.

The mass media triumvirate of television, newspapers, and magazines is dying, and what will replace it is a hybrid of all three and more, something that can only exist on the internet. In that regard, we are clearly a threat: we understand this brave new world better than they can, both today or tomorrow. By necessity, their game plan is to ignore, omit, and silence any viewpoint that does not match its own, but that plan works only when there is no other compelling venue in the market.

Net neutrality ensures that all of us have a voice in our nation’s destiny, and creates a marketplace where the best idea, and best expression of it, wins. It creates a productive discussion, a natural balance, a healthy tension. It yields a place where honesty and integrity matter, where lies have consequences, where injustices can be made right.

We can even end a corrupt and craven presidency, and along with it the war in Iraq, but before we project our voice we must first protect it. Come to think of it, they’re one in the same.

More soon.