Archive for January 16th, 2008

Quote Of The Day

From an eBay auction page:

We offer super large postage discounts for three or more monkeys.

I think this is only fair, really.

January 16th, 2008 at 11:39pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Quotes

Spoliation

By now, I assume you’ve all heard that the Bush administration has grudgingly admitted, one minute before the due date on a court order, that they were recycling (also known as deleting and overwriting) their e-mail backup tapes until October 2003. This is in clear violation of federal document retention law, but that’s okay, because they were following industry best practices:

Prior to October 2003 and continuing through 2005 and to the present, this office has regularly created back-up tapes for the EOP Network, which includes the system’s email servers. Consistent with industry best practices relating to tape media management for disaster recovery back-up systems, these tapes were recycled prior to October 2003. In October 2003, this office began preserving and storing all back-up tapes and continues to do so.

Awesome. I’m sure that explanation would totally hold up in court… if anyone ever bothered to take them there.

But here’s the really interesting thing, from lhp in the comments of that post (emphasis added):

The law is : A doctrine called “spoliation” which says that if you destroy evidence that you had an obligation to preserve, if you knew or reasonably should have known that the evidence in question related to a possible claim against you, then your opponent is entitle to a “negative inference” against you.

More simply, with less jargon. The court will instruct the jury that your opponenet is entitled to an inference that the destroyed evidence would either support their case or damage the theory of your case.

This was the problem when Arthur ANderson had it’s shredding party after the Enron collapse. It didn’t matter whether or not they had a regular practice of shredding stuff once it got old. Once htey Knew or should have known that any of that paper might have been relevant to the Enron investigation, they had an obligation to preserve it.

So if someone takes the Bushies to court and demands to see e-mails from the March 2003 (when the WH started deleting e-mails) to October 2003 timeframe, then they have screwed themselves. Ironically, they could conceivably even get convicted for something they were actually innocent of (if such a thing exists), because they wouldn’t be able to produce e-mails to prove otherwise.

Of course, in the real world, no-one actually has the balls to take the Bushies to court, and even if they did, the administration would argue (as they have all along) that the nonexistent e-mails are covered by the magic cloak of Executive Privilege, so they have no obligation to produce them anyway.

Two other caveats:

1) Payton claims, seemingly nonsensically, that “emails sent or received in the 2003-2005 time period should be contained on existing back-up tapes.” If – I repeat, if – the data files being backed up extended beyond 7 months, and the backups were full rather than incremental, then the first non-“recycled” backup tape from October 2003 should contain all of the e-mails from March onward. Or, alternatively:

2) Several commenters in that same thread make a distinction between backups for purposes of disaster recovery, where the emphasis is on restoring the work environment, vs. backups for purposes of archival storage. However, it seems odd that the WH would not make such a distinction to explain their claim that all the 2003 e-mails were still intact.

It’s a bit reminiscent of Saddam’s WMD dance, where he wanted to simultaneously claim that he didn’t have any so that the US wouldn’t invade, yet also suggest that maybe he did, so that he could still pretend to be a scary badass. I’m thinking that the administration doesn’t want to come out and admit that they’ve broken the law, yet at the same time doesn’t want to suggest that those e-mails are available either. It’s a very strange two-step, and I sure hope someone calls them on it some day.

January 16th, 2008 at 10:21pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Libby/Plame,Republicans,Technology

The Awesome New Technology Product That I Must Have!

Yeah, okay, a gorgeous, fully-functional 3/4″ thick laptop is pretty cool, but I don’t think it can possibly top this:

sno-cones.jpg

It’s a miniature sno-cone maker, people! How awesome is that???

Besides, I already have a laptop.

Oh, damn. Here’s another one (h/t Engadget). Wow.

1 comment January 16th, 2008 at 06:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Technology

All According To Plan…

Kung Fu Monkey may be on to something here:

PRESENT: AGENT [REDACTED], ASSET CODENAME/TOXIC
Preliminary Interview
Interview already in progress, see Transcript #194BSZ

Toxic: So what am I looking at here?
Agent: Osama Bin Laden’s cave headquarters near Tora Bora. Footage was shot by a Marine Recon Team….

Agent: …Well, as you can see as we enter Osama’s personal chambers …

Toxic: Oh my.
Agent: Yes.
Toxic: I mean, a lot of people have “… Baby One More Time”, but —
Agent: On that shelf next to the poster for the Onyx Hotel Tour, those are bootleg tapes. Of your Mickey Mouse Club appearances.
Toxic: Oh.
Agent: Mmm-hmm.
Toxic: That’s just gross, y’all.
Agent: Our official judgment as well.
Toxic: Wow, he’s even got “And Then We Kiss”.
Agent: Based on this evidence, our profilers believe you have the best chance of getting close to Osama Bin Laden. He is utterly obsessed with you.

(PAUSE / 8 SECONDS)

Agent: Miss [redacted]?
Toxic: Anything for my country
Agent: We’re not going to lie to you. You’re America’s pop princess. There’s no way he’s going to believe you just decided to “hook” up with him. No way he’s got a chance with you at the height of your fame and power. We need —
Toxic: — to ruin me.
Agent: A downward spiral. Very public, very messy. This is deep cover, Miss [redacted]. Not everybody comes back.
Toxic: What’s the timetable?
Agent: To make it convincing? Years. At least. Sham marriage. Alcohol and drug abuse, multiple psychological problems. We need to go completely over the top, too, to make it convincing. And then …
Toxic: Then what?
Agent: You contact any one of these paparazzi we’ve had under surveillance. They’re all of Middle Eastern or Muslim descent. Begin a relationship. Our profilers feel that at that point, Bin Laden will figure he has a chance, and will make the call.
Toxic: What do I do when that happens?
Agent: You’ll receive weapons training.
Toxic: I understand.

Well, she is very patriotic…

This would also explain why she doesn’t want custody of her children, or even visitation rights – if her cover is broken, anyone close to her will not be safe. Fortunately, this blog is an excellent place to hide classified information where no-one will ever see it.

2 comments January 16th, 2008 at 11:44am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Terrorism

Yet Another Reason I Do Not ♥ Huckabee

No, this doesn’t sound scary at all…

The United States Constitution never uses the word “God” or makes mention of any religion, drawing its sole authority from “We the People.” However, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee thinks it’s time to put an end to that.

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

When Willie Geist reported Huckabee’s opinion on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, co-host Mika Brzezinski was almost speechless, and even Joe Scarborough couldn’t immediately find much to say beyond calling it “interesting,”

Scarborough finally suggested that while he believes “evangelicals should be able to talk politics … some might find that statement very troubling, that we’re going to change the Constitution to be in line with the Bible. And that’s all I’m going to say.”

Jeez. He just proudly announced that he’s a Dominionist. Fantastic.

(h/t Albatross! and A Blog Named Sue)

4 comments January 16th, 2008 at 07:55am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Elections,Huckabee,Religion,Republicans

Anchors Away

That Ad Nags – seems like he’s only happy when he can write a “______s In Disarray” story. Always nice to see him turn his, um… talents onto the Republicans for a change:

Can anyone bring the Republicans together again?

The convincing victory by Mitt Romney in the Michigan primary on Tuesday means three very different states — with dissimilar electorates driven by distinctive sets of priorities — have embraced three separate candidates in search of someone who can lead the party into a tough election and beyond President Bush.

(…)

On the most tangible level, the vote on Tuesday was proof from the ballot box of what polls have shown: this is a party that is adrift, deeply divided and uninspired when it comes to its presidential candidates and unsure of how to counter an energized Democratic Party.

Even in victory, Mr. Romney stood as evidence of the trouble the party finds itself in. He won, but only after a major effort in a state he once expected to win in a walk. That was before he lost Iowa and New Hampshire, two other states where he had campaigned all out.

More than any candidate in the Republican field, Mr. Romney has made a conscious effort to reassemble the coalition of economic and social conservatives that came together with Ronald Reagan and that President Bush kept remarkably unified in his two campaigns and through much of his White House tenure.

Mr. Romney’s uneven performance has highlighted the strains in that coalition, and a central question about his candidacy is whether he will be able to rally its fractured components to his side. It was no coincidence that he invoked Reagan more than once in his victory speech on Tuesday, though it was perhaps equally telling that he also invoked the first President Bush, who like Mr. Romney struggled to convince Republicans that he was Reagan’s rightful heir.

“The problem for the Republicans is they all have part of it,” said Lou Cannon, the Reagan biographer, referring to the conservative movement. “Huckabee has the social conservative part of it. Reagan had a lot of draw among independents, and McCain has stepped into that. And you have the conservative Wall Street types who are with Romney.”

Mr. Cannon added, speaking of Mr. Romney, “I don’t know how you put Humpty Dumpty back together again, but certainly he has tried to do it.”

(…)

From Michigan, the Republican candidates head to South Carolina and Nevada on Saturday and to Florida the next week. Again, these are states with very different electorates and, at least potentially, very different concerns. The way things are going for the Republican Party this year, there may be five Republicans who can claim a victory by the time the votes are counted in Florida on Jan. 29.

The headline of the story is, “No G.O.P. Anchor in Sight,” but I think that depends on just what kind of anchor you’re talking about. If you’re talking about the kind that prevents you from moving, and sometimes even drags you down to the bottom, then I think the Republicans have an embarrassment of riches.

January 16th, 2008 at 07:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Media,Politics,Republicans


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