Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The latest from Setec Astronomy

First off, if you get the Setec Astronomy reference, you get automatic admission to my Geek Hall of Fame.

Chatterbox has the latest on the oft-amusing way the internet has of keeping people in the public eye from re-writing recent history--currently Repubs trying, for whatever reason, to scrub the ignominious history of pushing "voter fraud" memes.
In a recent Slate column, I noted the strange demise of the American Center for Voting Rights, an organization that sprouted up in the last few years to push the "voter fraud is a big problem" line at government hearings, conferences, and, most importantly, in the courts to defend strict new voter-ID laws. The brains behind ACVR is a St. Louis lawyer, Mark "Thor" Hearne, who has worked for the Bush-Cheney campaign and other Republican candidates for years. Oddly, the organization suddenly disbanded recently and yanked its Web site. Even more strangely, Hearne's résumé at his law firm, Lathrop and Gage, was scrubbed of references to ACVR. Thanks to the Internet Wayback Machine and blogs like the Brad Blog, much of ACVR's material still remains available, however. You just can't erase stuff put out in cyberspace very easily.

But Hearne apparently wasn't satisfied with just cleansing his résumé. Despite the Slate article and follow-up NPR, National Journal, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch articles on Hearne, ACVR, and his possible connection to the U.S. attorneys' scandal, someone is working hard to scrub Hearne's paper trail. And now somebody is going into Hearne's Wikipedia entry and trying to cleanse it of references to ACVR. (Just about anyone can edit a Wikipedia entry, though the organizers have some methods of quality control.) Moreover, someone's been trying to clean up Wikipedia's entry on ACVR itself.

Who would do such a thing? Wikipedia keeps records of the user IDs or IP addresses of whoever changes its pages, and it turns out, astonishingly, that this cleansing was done by someone at one of the IP addresses of Hearne's law firm.
Get it through your heads, folks, if you ever say something and it winds up on the internet, it is there forever, somewhere. Even if there's a massive EMP in the stratosphere that fries all electronic circuits in the world, somewhere out there, there is a shielded box contained a flash drive with the MPEG of you lip-synching Clay Aiken. You can't hide.

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