Saturday, March 07, 2015

Fun with E-mail

Politician computer errors, masquerading as stupid politician tricks, are in the news again as Hillary Clinton tells the State Department, (to paraphrase) "Oh snap! I forgot to use an official government e-mail account and now, well, I'll just have to print 'em out for ya.  After my staff reviews them, of course."

There are things politicians can do that are difficult to prove stupid.  I actually watched the Watergate hearings.   As a 10 year old, I watched it the first day and was fascinated, then couldn't stop watching them. It was in the Congressional building and famous people whose names I'd read about in the newspaper kept popping up; I remember thinking, "This will be in my kids' history books."    But I didn't understand them.  Nixon having what was probably damning material erased from a spool of audio tape was pretty straightforward.  But oversight committees and national security and why so many people were in trouble wasn't clear to me then and wasn't really clear to me until I saw "All the President's Men" as an adult (Incredible movie; the screenplay was done by the guy who wrote "The Princess Bride.")

But the shenanigans of the current administration don't really seem hard to me to decipher, if you grew up using computers.

Take  Lois Lerner's disappearing e-mails, for instance, and the slew of crashing hard drives that came afterwards.  In what universe do e-mails disappear???  I began using e-mail the day I started graduate school at the University of Michigan in 1989, and I remember early on being told the cardinal rules :

1) Don't send in an email anything you woudn't tack up on a lunch room bulletin board


2) E-mail never, ever, ever disappears.  If you delete it from your mailbox, delete it from your hard drive, erase it from your memory, someone will always have access to it.  If a hard drive crashes, someone can fix it and find the e-mail.  At least, they have a good chance of recovering it.

In fact now that I'm thinking of it I believe that an old friend who worked in the General Accounting Office in Washington DC may have been the first to give me both of those pieces of advice.  She was a UM alum who participated in a couple of the forums (which  I became addicted to on  my second day of grad school.)

So when the Lerner thing happened, I'm like, Huh?  So was Go Remy, apparently:

Clinton's "mistake" is less of a fairy tale.  Of course it's possible to use your own private e-mail account to do the government's business, but WHY WOULD YOU unless you'd been raised in Richard Nixon's White House and led to believe that it doesn't matter if you hide things from elected officials (which you're not, Ms. Ex-Secretary of State), and from Americans in general.  I would have thought her attempt to act like this was an innocent error made ( because this e-mail thing, well, it's only been around for nearly fifty years, I mean WHO really knows how this crazy stuff works?) would have everyone else in addition to me ROFLAO. 

I can only surmise by their silence that a million IT pros, many of whom make it their business to help make computers less confusing to old ladies, must really, really want Clinton to win the Democrat primary and to let the Obama administration lie over and over again over how "transparent" it is.  

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