The White House and Illegal E-mail

I just read a flurry of accounts describing the many ways the Bush Administration has repeatedly violated the Presidential Records Act.

There’s an excellent segment explaining why this act requires White House officials to communicate via their official e-mail addresses and how much of the activity behind the Gonzales / AG firings scandal took place on RNC servers, where the data transmitted could be encrypted, deleted, and stay out of the public eye. You can click here and listen to the segement on this from this weekend’s On the Media:

Additionally, we now know that the White House has added five years of delay into the process of releasing presidential records (since 2001) if for nothing else than to cover their asses.

Further investigation of this issue points to conspiratorial — but heavily documented — accusations that Karl Rove is the kingpin of covert (and illegal) e-mail communications in concert with a Republicans-trusted server farm based in Tennessee.

UPDATE: Coptix is now taking credit for manufacturing the digitally altered photo referred to below.

This post at CorrenteWire explains best how a recent photo of Rove with a Coptix folder unravels into a long paper trail of activity involving the nameserver gwb43.com and Rove (he privatized his e-mail there). This method helps him, and other White House staffers, like his ex-assistant Susan Ralston, feel confident that they will not be held liable as they can destroy any evidence that might lead to a subpoena. But, alas, might the circumvention of white house communication policies alone be enough to serve a subpoena. Furthermore, the same company, Coptix, also SmartTech, is said to have been involved with filtering election results through their servers.

OK, now — I know it’s April Fool’s Day and this sounds incredibly tin-foiled-hatty as I’ve tried to relay it, but listen to the short radio piece and read the Corrente piece (and comments)…. Of course, this isn’t the first (or last) time BushCo will be caught breaking laws, but…

Finally, in another careless and potentially fatal blow (the Department of Homeland Security seems to be able to do whatever it wants):

“At an ICANN meeting in Lisbon, the US Department of Homeland Security made it clear that it has requested the master key for the DNS root zone. The key will play an important role in the new DNSSec security extension, because it will make spoofing IP-addresses impossible. By forcing the IANA to hand out a copy of the master key, the US government will be the only institution that is able to spoof IP addresses and be able to break into computers connected to the Internet without much effort. There’s a further complication, of course, because even ‘if the IANA retains the key … the US government still reserves the right to oversee ICANN/IANA. If the keys are then handed over to ICANN/IANA, there would be even less of an incentive [for the U.S.] to give up this role as a monitor. As a result, the DHS’s demands will probably only heat up the debate about US dominance of the control of Internet resources.'”

read the article DHS Wants Master Key for DNS (via slashdot).

Yahoo! Goes Underground

Choosing to launch on April Fool’s Day, Yahoo! is live with its eccentric, odd news portal, Yahoo! Underground.

Despite whispers that this may in fact be a hoax, this project was mentioned in an October interview (as set for January ’07) with Y! News exec Scott Moore for the PBS Frontline series “News War.”

According to the transcript, Moore says, “We have another project coming out in January that’s called Odd News Underground, and it involves a journalist who also writes songs. So it’s a singing reporter, if you will, and he will be covering a number of very interesting sort of eccentric subject areas.”

In the televised version — you can stream it here — at just over halfway through Chapter 20 of News War, we see a snippet of what would qualify for a great April Fool’s prank, were it not broadcast in February on PBS.

The clip matches up to the content in the Gay Rodeo post, which promises: “We’ll lasso you into a two-step in April.”

The idea is a good one — everybody loves Odd News and profiles of fringe culture, and Brad Miskell has the talent to attract a younger audience to dig the news but unfortunately, the UI is pretty outrageous as you can see below.

As far as making the news fun again, I’m more optimistic about the proposed Luke Burbank-hosted Morning Edition alternative planned for NPR or even (OK, now this is sort of a joke) ONN, the Onion‘s planned 24-hour “news” network.

Smilin’ With Brian Humphrey While LA Burns

andy sternberg brian humphrey lafd burbank hollywood fire hillsLAFD blogger Brian Humphrey was lucky to have the day off today as a fire broke out in the Hollywood Hills. Instead he was at the OJR Conference at USC Annenberg, as was I. Soon after the fire broke out, though we couldn’t see it from SC, David Markland and myself (he was also at OJR) posted about it at Metroblogging LA and LAist respectively.

During the break I put KTLA’s live video stream of the fire on the overhead which inspired David to take the above freaky, evil-looking, and ironic photo. You can’t get that at Sears Family photo.

Thanks, David! Crazy-awesome fire photos — uploaded immediately to flickr — made it possible to track this fire even before the TV choppers were there. Below is a feed of flickr photos tagged “fire” and “hollywood” dated 3.30.07.

EFF Pioneer Awards

cory doctorow at eff pioneer awards etech san diego 2007I’m at ETech and have posted audio of a heated debate last night at the EFF Pioneer Awards between Fred von Lohmann and Mark Cuban here at LAist.

Cory Doctorow was draped in a cape and goggles to accept his Pioneer Award. Below is his intro and acceptance speech. More photos after jump.

above photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid via flickr.

Continue reading “EFF Pioneer Awards”

This Los Angeles Weekend

My early observations on BarCamp:

BarCamp LA at Little RadioJust come on down, BarCamp is free (thanks to sponsors) and its fun. Day one is winding down but many are expected to hang long into the night (geeking out with DJ’s, werewolf and Wiis) and even sleep here at the spacious Little Radio Warehouse. There are four presentation spaces and two breakout areas where sessions thus far have included:

— Foodies: Classically Trained Cook Chef Joanna answers your culinary questions
— How to create disruptive content: Make your own online comic book.
— Fight Back: Know Your Rights in California Moving Violations — Fight Them & Win!
— Photography, Galleries, and Administration

We’re especially looking forward to PowerPoint karaoke, after dinner, in which 5 volunteers will each take their best shot at presenting a PPT presentation they’ve never seen before. Audience applause will determine the winner, who (we hope) will already be drunk and make a total fool of themselves. Photos as-it-happens posted here.

My ramblings on the LA Times sorry-ass attempt at recovery:

Daniel Hernandez, journalistStopping just short of demanding abstinence from its Opinion column contributors, the LA Times most likely paid a pretty price to scrounge together today’s “Current” section.

Case in point: The lead column is by the venerable Daniel Hernandez, the 26-year-old LA Weekly staff writer who left the Times last year. Why? Because, as he told us last August, the culture of the Times was exhausting and unfulfilling. He felt he was “challenging the institutional and cultural barriers of an ultimately very conservative place.” And this was before Herrs Hiller and O’Shea showed up. Hernandez seemed to kiss off the Times once and for all in a December Weekly column, which only reinforces how desperate Timespublisher David Hiller must be.

Ah, but we digress. Hiller deemed it necessary to scrap this week’s all-but printed “Current” because the section editor (Andrés Martinez) makes out with an LA girl involved in media (in this case a publicist for Brian Grazer, who guest-edited the unprinted section). But without even pausing to laugh at himself, Hiller ass-kissingly announced his “hope [that] there will be an avenue to bring these creative, thoughtful and insightful pieces to our readers in the near future.”

This is hardly Clark Kent and Lois Lane. We hope you paid your former staffers, like D. Hernandez (who could have written his column in his sleep) big bucks. He deserves it and so do we. Because LA needs to hear from its many voices, be it Grazer or Hernandez. Some respect, please, Mr. IMAGE man “(Showing off what L.A. does best“). Quit messing with what LA really does best.

 

Originally posted at LAist.