Monday, August 28, 2006

RE: SP's "Suppression of Dissent in Mrs. Gregoire's Amerikkka"

They... won't... let... him ... post... Legislative press releases on his campaign website! Oh my freaking God, what a travesty!!

Turns out Rep. Toby Nixon wants to cut and past some press releases written for him by his legislative staff onto his campaign website. Also turns out this is against the rules (for Democrats, Republicans and theoretical Libertarians) and he is being asked to take them down. Turns out that the legislative caucus websites basically become blank during campaign season so as not to run imply that state money is being used for campaigns.

Stephan casts this as a "public information" sort of bad thing, that by asking Nixon to take the state-funds written press releases down, they're also asking him to take information away from the public. Oh, ok. Because there is no other way for people to find out what their legislators are doing, other than through legislative caucus press releases.

Two possible ways they could get around this one.

1. Get a nice eager Young Republican intern (or paid staffer) to rewrite the press releases. This isn't that hard, shouldn't take anyone very long. In most circles its called plagiarism, most students these days are familiar with the technique. Shouldn't be a problem.

Take these rewritten press releases and then post them on your website. For of course they were actually written by your campaign staff, but were based on publicly available information.

2. Understand the Internet. Just because something is taken off a website, doesn't mean it is gone. Both Google Cache and the internet archive are really good at finding old versions of websites, such as the House Republican Caucus newspapge. In this case, Google Cache wins though.

For example: House approves loans for public works projects benefiting East King County communities

While they're copies of the original works of state employees, they aren't actually hosted on state servers, possibly getting around the letter, if not the intent, of the law.

UPDATE: Here's Nixon's letter and press release on the topic. Nothing new to add, but it was funny to see him mention the difference between a paper society and a digital one. FYI, Michael O'Connell and Emmett O'Connell, no relation.

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