October 24, 2006

Does the President go on the "internets"?

Yes! He likes Google Earth:
“I kind of like to look at the ranch on Google, reminds me of where I want to be sometimes."
But -- unlike the rest of us -- the President must stay away from email:
“I don’t e-mail, because of the different record requests that can happen to a president. I don’t want to receive e-mails because there’s no telling what somebody’s e-mail would show up as a part of some kind of a story, and I wouldn’t be able to say, ‘Well, I didn’t read the e-mail.’ ‘But I sent it to your address, how can you say you didn’t?’ So, in other words, I’m very cautious about e-mailing.”
But everyone gets off the hook for not reading email, don't they? I get so much email, and so much of it is from lists and mass mailings that it's really easy for me to miss things. Plus, I have a powerful spam filter and a big junk folder... There's always an excuse for not reading email.

ADDED: Here's the video, with Bush saying: "One of the things I’ve used on the Google is to pull up maps." Okay, all you comedians. Not only will you have to keep calling the internet "the internets." You'll have to start calling Google "the Google."

25 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Your email must've been swallowed by my spam filter. That sentence solves a world of problems. Sometimes you have to say it like you're sorry.

Mark the Pundit said...

"the Google"

If I recall, Google is threatening to sue various entities for implying their name is a verb. This is the President recognizing that legal peril!!!

Now, I wonder if he likes reading the Althouse?

paul a'barge said...

Maybe he's channeling "THE" Manolo, putting "the" in front of everything!

Seriously, I repeat:
1. BA from YALE
2. MA from Harvard
3. Certified to fly jets
4. Volunteered for Vietnam, but the jet in which he was certified was not being flown there.

Those are the facts folks. Idiots don't sport that kind of resume. Be careful.

Dave said...

MBA, not MA, from Hahvahd.

I actually know a number of people who swear off email. Their reasoning is more along the lines of: written communications are better replaced by phone calls or face to face conversations.

I imagine for certain gregarious types (of which most politicians are, by necessity) email is a rather inefficient means of communication.

Ron said...

We should all be grateful that Google has not created an obnoxious cartoon character -- The Google -- to use as its pitchman! No plushys Please!

CB said...

My mother has the same verbal tic; she'll say that she has to go to "the Target" or that she watched "the Project Runway." Drives me crazy. It's interesting that this is what's normally done when speaking Spanish, German, etc. Noam Chomsky has studied how children often make grammar mistakes that are correct in other languages--maybe this is something like that.

NSC said...

There is only one Google so isn't he correct?

Also, what about the inverse - we say "We are going to the hospital," yet the Brits say "We are going to hospital."

Balfegor said...

“I don’t e-mail, because of the different record requests that can happen to a president. I don’t want to receive e-mails because there’s no telling what somebody’s e-mail would show up as a part of some kind of a story, and I wouldn’t be able to say, ‘Well, I didn’t read the e-mail.’ ‘But I sent it to your address, how can you say you didn’t?’ So, in other words, I’m very cautious about e-mailing.”

And the awesome power of discovery strikes again! Somehow, when people go on about "chilling effects" on freedom of speech, they always seem to neglect the American discovery system. Which actually does chill speech in real ways, not just hypotheticals. Well, writings, at least.

Bruce Hayden said...

I really am losing email. I run multiple spam filters, and every once in awhile I find someting flushed as spam that isn't. Clients get a separate email address (that is about to change, since I am getting a little spam on it).

Currently, on my maybe half dozen or so email accounts, I get maybe 200 emails a day, and probably 170 or so are spam. It is so bad, that for my main external account, I just delete the email marked as spam without even glancing at what it there any more. It doesn't help that the first page of email headers is invariably unreadable.

So, I can now legitimately claim to not have received email that I haven't responded to, because in many cases, I didn't receive it, or if I did, it was thrown out as spam long before I had a chance to read it.

knoxgirl said...

Here in East Tennessee people say stuff like, "I'm going to the Wal Mart" or "I bought that at the Kroger" all the time. It tends to be more country or older people who do it but it's not at all unusual.

George said...

Knoxgirl--

I do my trade at the Althouse, and it's a fur piece aways.

Morven said...

It depends how small a community you're in - if there's only one Wal-Mart or one Target, saying you're going to 'the Wal-Mart' or 'the Target' is correct, when speaking to another person in that area.

For the record, although I don't think much of Bush's leadership or presidency, I don't think he's stupid. I do think he's frequently anti-intellectual and shows a propensity to deal with things he doesn't understand or doesn't like by ignoring them.

I also think he plays down his intelligence, as many people do - to be more likeable, perhaps? Certainly a common reason to do that.

John-o said...

I'm actually a big fan of "The Google". I'm not super old (just 34) and it's something that is really common within my group of fellow geeks. Typical usage (said with an horrendous French accent) "The Google, she can find *anything*." Usually after doing a James-Lilekian search for something so esoteric it couldn't possibly be on the web and then finding it within nanoseconds.

Long Live the Google!

HaloJonesFan said...

I'm starting to balance between Google and Wikipedia, though, because if it's anything that can be bought or sold then Google is likely to return three advertising hits out of every five. At least Wikipedia is--for now--supported by user contributions.

paul a'barge: Actually there were a few F-102 squadrons in Vietnam; they even got used for ground-strafing missions! It's true, though, that the vast majority were Air Defense Command and only ever flew from CONUS.

The President Versus E-Mail: I'd wager that even if he did try to use publicly-accessible email, it would be completely swamped by assholes who were stimulating their sex organs by Really Sticking It To The Man! (And even if those people weren't there, the cranks would fill up the inbox. Although those emails at least would be good for a laugh...)

Paul Zrimsek said...

If you're in California you could use the Google to map out a route to the 405.

TW: busgoi. What, a nice Jewish boy you couldn't find to clear your tables?

Balfegor said...

Re: Morven

I also think he plays down his intelligence, as many people do - to be more likeable, perhaps? Certainly a common reason to do that.

For his family too, maybe the old-fashioned/out-of-touch thing is a part of their appeal. Bush I may not actually have been unable to recognise a supermarket scanner, but the anecdote has been told so many times now that it's gone from a negative campaign hit to a kind of charm.

Bush's fans (on National Review Online) have previously commented on his old-fashioned use of "fabulous," oblivious to modern gay-camp overtones. Calling the internet "the internets" or Google "the Google" shows a similarly appealing befuddlement with modern technology.

Re: Halojonesfan
And even if those people weren't there, the cranks would fill up the inbox.

If that were really a concern, though, his techs could restrict incoming emails to mails originating from .gov IP ranges, or even from specific IP addresses corresponding to, e.g. the computers of department chiefs, cabinet secretaries, congressmen, etc. I think the standard email headers contain that information. Certainly he wouldn't be getting emails from the man on the street then, but I don't think that's what a presidential email address would really be for.

Is there a way to spoof all the header info so that an email looks like it came from a government computer, when routed to another government computer? I know you can spoof a lot of it, but how much?

Seneca the Younger said...

Is there a way to spoof all the header info so that an email looks like it came from a government computer, when routed to another government computer? I know you can spoof a lot of it, but how much?

Using regular SMTP mail, pretty much all of it.

But the discovery issue is a real one: an increasingly important issue in computer security is "trustworthy deletion", being able to prove deletion to a degree that will stand up against discovery demands. See, eg, Radia Perlman's work.

Adam said...

Discovery isn't the "problem"; FOIA is.

Seneca the Younger said...

No, it's discovery. Not every place that uses computers is the White House. FOIA, and the restrictions on possible intercepts of communications of "US persons", is another difficult issue.

Balfegor said...

FOIA probably doesn't apply to Presidential communications anyhow, except insofar as they constitute records of an "Agency." The NSA, for example, is apparently not subject to FOIA requests.

Revenant said...

FOIA probably doesn't apply to Presidential communications anyhow, except insofar as they constitute records of an "Agency."

Even if that is true, the fact that people have no right to request a document doesn't keep them from getting political mileage out of making the demand. Politically speaking there is a world of difference between the President telling an investigator "you can't see my email" and the President telling an investigator "I have no email for you to see". The latter inspires a few zillion essays on The Imperial Presidency and The President Disregarding Constitutional Checks and Balances and the latter just inspires some snarky posts about how Bush isn't technically savvy.

Art said...

As pointed out by Froomkin, if you go to the Google and look for his ranch most of it is blacked out.

Kirk Parker said...

paul a'barge,

Ooooh, so close, yet so far away! Who says W is 'channeling' Manolo? M has a secret identity, you know...

Balfegor said...

Re: Art:

As pointed out by Froomkin, if you go to the Google and look for his ranch most of it is blacked out.

Did you try and check? Because I think Froomkin is lying. Bush's ranch appears to be right here. Apparently, the estate is known as Prairie Chapel Ranch.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Pretty impressive resolution on that Google photo of the ranch! I think I can make out the spy dish aimed at my house-- it's between the Nazi clone bunker and the larger of the mass graves.

VW: battuh. I thought the Red Sox were out of it this year?