Monday, September 22, 2008


O Gawker, how I lurve thee...

Thank you, intertubes, for doing what the Freedom of Information Act and the Alaskan State House couldn't or wouldn't.

Predictably, The Splotchy-Faced One railed against hacking and how these people---and by "these people" he means both the hacker(s) and the sites like Gawker that published the information--- ought to be executed publicly. Unfortunately, he was no match for Constitutional scholar Megyn Kelly, who correctly distinguished between obtaining information through illegal means and the publication of th---wait, Megyn Kelly's not a Constituional scholar? She's a Fox News anchor? A female Fox News Anchor? Papa Bear, it's anchorman, not anchorwoman!

The McCain campaign cried foul: Sarah Palin, who, might I remind you, is running for Vice-President alongside a former prisoner of war, would never act in anything but an upstanding way in her communications about state business, and how dare you even question that?

So...why the personal accounts, exactly? Is this an IT problem? Unless the Alaskan state government servers are so antiquated as to create a legitimate quality of service issue, GWS fails to find a good reason for Palin to conduct state business on a Yahoo account (there could be a QoS problem in Alaska: Ted Stevens tells us that he once waited for a long time receive his inturn3tz).

Fox News's Greta van Susteren insists that these are only personal e-mails and that Palin was not using the Yahoo account for government business, but the former lawyer seems to be missing the point of regulating government officials' e-mails: transparent government means that citizens don't have to take a government official's word that he or she is working in an ethical manner---we can go check for ourselves. Using a private e-mail account to conduct state business is a naked end-run around the Freedom of Information Act, certainly in spirit if not so clearly in deed. Palin could have published her Yahoo e-mails, but she chose not to, invoking that old Republican stand-by, executive privelege.

The Anchorage Daily News, whose sudden spike in readership and prestige seem to be the only clear winners so far from Palin's selection, published an excellent article on Palin's dual e-mail accounts. Privacy of executive branch communication was a cornerstone of the Bush Administration's approach to policy-making, so expect to see Joe Biden touch on this in his debate with Palin on October 2. But Sarah Palin is starting to seem---dare we say it?---over her head.

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