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Jun-08-2008 23:21printcommentsVideo

Deleted Comments on Youtube Video Raises Storm of Protest

The Delta Queen is the last traditional steamboat carrying overnight passengers on America’s inland waterways.

The Delta Queen
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(MUNICH, Germany) - The deletion of negative comments on a Youtube video has raised a storm of protest among supporters of the Mississippi River steamboat Delta Queen. The video in question was posted under the user name "OberstrMN08". It shows Representative James Oberstar of Minnesota, Chairman of the House's Transportation Committee, speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives on April 24, 2008.

In the speech, he explains why he is vehemently opposing proposed legislation that would exempt the Delta Queen from technical provisions of the 1966 Safety at Sea Act.

Numerous viewers submitted comments to the video claiming that many of Mr. Oberstar’s statements were untruthful and that he was trying to manipulate his fellow members of Congress into voting his way. Within a few days, OberstrMN08 deleted all comments, and refuses to allow any further comments.

Delta Queen supporters are accusing Rep. Oberstar of violating their right to freedom of speech while claiming the same right liberally for himself by posting the video in the first place. But they say Rep. Oberstar has not taken into account the accepted rules of the Internet. Just hours after the comments had been deleted, they posted their comments again on a different website,

This site also features an electronic document showing a print-out of the original, now deleted comments at Youtube. Another website,, has posted a detailed analysis of Rep. Oberstar's speech where Save the Delta Queen campaign member Franz Neumeier pinpoints what are, in his opinion, manipulative and even untrue statements in Rep. Oberstar’s remarks.

Says Neumeier: "Rep. Oberstar might be able to betray his constituents. He might be able to be untruthful to his fellow Representatives in the House because they not interested in any details. But condoning the deletion of comments on a video posted by his campaign organization on a public video-sharing platform like Youtube is really too much. This is an absolute no-go on the Internet."

"Manipulation" and "inaccuracy" are words that can be found again and again in comments and statements by Delta Queen supporters when they talk about this speech of Rep. Oberstar in the House. Travis Vasconcelos writes in his comment at "

Mr. Oberstar is neglecting to accept the fact the United States Coast Guard did in fact certify the Delta Queen to operate for the 2008 season and has had multiple inspections where she does pass all necessary safety regulations as an overnight passenger carrying riverboat." and continues: "If Mr. Oberstar wants us to accept his assumption the Sultana [a steamboat of the Civil War era; editor's note] and the Delta Queen are of the exact same technological era, do we not have to accept for fact a 747 and anything the Wright Brothers flew are utilizing the same technology and therefore should be shunned for their danger potential. Are we to believe there have been no technological advances in any area ever?"

The Delta Queen is the last traditional steamboat carrying overnight passengers on America’s inland waterways. For that reason she has been designated a National Historic Landmark. In 1966, she was inadvertently caught in the technical provisions of the Safety at Sea Act—a piece of legislation that was intended to cover ocean-going ships, not riverboats. Recognizing the difference between boats that operate on rivers, within yards of the shore, and ships that sail the high seas, Congress established an exemption for the Delta Queen in 1968. Since then, the exemption has been renewed nine times, in virtually every case by near-unanimous votes in both the House and the Senate.

Without congressional action, the current exemption will expire on November 1st 2008. Bipartisan legislation to extend the exemption, H.R. 3852, was introduced by Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) on October 16th 2007. Currently it has 31 cosponsors. The bill remains in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure because Committee Chairman James Oberstar of Minnesota refuses to release it to the floor.


For more information about efforts to restore the status of this historic vessel, visit:

Here is Part 1 of Save Overnight Steamboating's video "Save the DELTA QUEEN!" for the 2007/2008 Save the DELTA QUEEN Campaign.


Part 2 of Save Overnight Steamboating's video "Save the DELTA QUEEN!" for the 2007/2008 Save the DELTA QUEEN Campaign.

This is the Science TV report about the ghost reportedly aboard the Delta Queen, it is a fascinating story:

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Make Something Happen June 9, 2008 8:18 am (Pacific time)

Great story. We linked it at because we spend a handful of our time tracking how the heck folks are using YouTube to convey political messages and, in this case, maneuver around censorship accordingly. Interesting.

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