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Nexis Nexus
July 29, 2008 4:06 PM   Subscribe

[first name of a candidate] and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or gore or republican! or democrat! or charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! or defend! or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount or sex! or controvers! or racis! or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or layoff! or downsiz! or PNTR or NAFTA or outsourc! or indict! or enron or kerry or iraq or wmd! or arrest! or intox! or fired or sex! or racis! or intox! or slur! or arrest! or fired or controvers! or abortion! or gay! or homosexual! or gun! or firearm!
posted by unSane (85 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Um, wow.
posted by jacobian at 4:08 PM on July 29, 2008


Eponhysterial.
posted by porpoise at 4:08 PM on July 29, 2008


My sentiments exactly.

Also: FAIL.
posted by nevercalm at 4:09 PM on July 29, 2008


hell, did I screw up the link? This is it:

http://danieldrezner.com/blog/?p=3871

Could an admin fix if post is deemed worthy of survival? Tx.
posted by unSane at 4:09 PM on July 29, 2008


Uhhh...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:09 PM on July 29, 2008


Did the Internet just fart or something?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:09 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


If there were a contest for today's funniest front-page "oops," this would win first prize.
posted by amyms at 4:10 PM on July 29, 2008


You ignore cubic math at your peril.
posted by Flunkie at 4:11 PM on July 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


[first name of a candidate] and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or gore or republican! or democrat! or charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! or defend! or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount or sex! or controvers! or racis! or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or layoff! or downsiz! or PNTR or NAFTA or outsourc! or indict! or enron or kerry or iraq or wmd! or arrest! or intox! or fired or sex! or racis! or intox! or slur! or arrest! or fired or controvers! or abortion! or gay! or homosexual! or gun! or firearm!
posted by mr_roboto at 4:11 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


That's how you do the internet!
posted by mr_roboto at 4:11 PM on July 29, 2008


I had a friend in college who, while high, ordered some food and when it arrived he discovered the burger had no pattie. He looked at it for a long time, then looked up and said, 'What's the message?'
posted by jfrancis at 4:13 PM on July 29, 2008 [9 favorites]


I can't stop giggling.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:13 PM on July 29, 2008


Thank you mr_roboto but after all that it was somewhat anticlimatic.
posted by electricinca at 4:13 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think I asked in the 1st call in podcast what would happen if someone linked to the front page as a recursion joke. I guess we'll have the definitive answer now.
posted by hellojed at 4:14 PM on July 29, 2008


That is a pretty funny posting mistake. That said, the fact that LexisNexis logs searches back to 2005 is pretty interesting.
posted by pombe at 4:15 PM on July 29, 2008


MetaFilter: blam!
posted by GuyZero at 4:16 PM on July 29, 2008


Paging interrobang?!?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:17 PM on July 29, 2008


Gezundheit?
posted by 5MeoCMP at 4:19 PM on July 29, 2008


Wow. I think we should all link to other comments in this thread, just to keep the recursion going.
posted by never used baby shoes at 4:20 PM on July 29, 2008


We are through the looking-glass here, people.
posted by Rangeboy at 4:21 PM on July 29, 2008


I don't get it or I get it!
posted by iamkimiam at 4:21 PM on July 29, 2008


I like how 'spotted owl' is hiding in this cloud of toxic buzzwords, like it's been chased out of every physical habitat and is now leading a stealth existence on the internet. ORLY indeed.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:22 PM on July 29, 2008 [12 favorites]


Metafilter: The Internet can do what now?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:22 PM on July 29, 2008


I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "I drank what?"
posted by kirkaracha at 4:26 PM on July 29, 2008


Right now! Right here!
posted by Free word order! at 4:26 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


unSane, are you LWI (linking while intoxicated)?
posted by ornate insect at 4:28 PM on July 29, 2008


OK, now that I know what the post is about ... I actually read a related article earlier today, and it's an interesting story.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:28 PM on July 29, 2008


no, just plain old LWI (linking while idiot)
posted by unSane at 4:30 PM on July 29, 2008


You can think of this as Metafilter's version of SPORE. Leveraging user created content and all that.
posted by unSane at 4:31 PM on July 29, 2008


I'm surprised this story isn't a bigger scandal. I guess the Justice Dept. is so completely rotten, it's practices so clearly utterly corrupted by party-political machinations, that we all just sigh and say "well, of course they did that." But, really--this is in many ways bigger than Watergate.
posted by yoink at 4:31 PM on July 29, 2008


Also, I don't even know how I did it.
posted by unSane at 4:32 PM on July 29, 2008


Oh, and I meant to say: the mods should fix the link--the story's important.
posted by yoink at 4:32 PM on July 29, 2008


Another take on the matter.
posted by Science! at 4:34 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nice use of the norealllythatswhattheyused. The extra L is for emphasis! It'll be fun to see who uses that tag next.
posted by etc. at 4:39 PM on July 29, 2008


Also, I don't even know how I did it.

You did it by not putting anything into link text.
posted by empath at 4:42 PM on July 29, 2008


I see what you did there.
posted by AwkwardPause at 4:42 PM on July 29, 2008


(err, link url, rather)
posted by empath at 4:42 PM on July 29, 2008


[first name of a candidate] and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 charg! or accus! or controvers! or racis! or fraud! or investigat! or bankrupt! or indict! or arrest! or intox! or racis! or intox! or slur! or arrest! or fired or controvers!

Edited for relevance
posted by JaredSeth at 4:43 PM on July 29, 2008


You know, I just noticed that intox! is in there twice. Why pick on the drunkards?
posted by JaredSeth at 4:45 PM on July 29, 2008


let’s do the “fork in the garbage disposal”
posted by ijoshua at 4:47 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich.
posted by brain cloud at 4:48 PM on July 29, 2008


hell, did I screw up the link?

I'd say "yes."
posted by ericb at 4:50 PM on July 29, 2008


You did it by not putting anything into link text

Thanks. Should I file that under bug or feature?
posted by unSane at 4:51 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nice. Essentially the story is that White House liaison Jan Williams, asked to research candidates for the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women, used Lexis-Nexis to find out political affliations, religious beliefs, and the sexuality attitudes of those candidates. She then shared her search techniques with Monica Goodling.

When confronted with this abuse of power (and quite possibly a wholly illegal abuse at that), she lied her face off, and was subsequently caught-out.

The Administration needs to be purged. I'd advocate a Stalin-style purging, with the guns and the bleeding and dying and all, but that seems to upset people, so an old-fashioned jailing would probably have to do.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:53 PM on July 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Oh, and I meant to say: the mods should fix the link--the story's important.

I think a re-try/repost might be in order, since this thread will continue to slip-and-slide, shift-and-"shiggle" beyond the intended topic and hoped-for discussion.
posted by ericb at 4:54 PM on July 29, 2008


Is this post supposed to be some kind of sick, cruel joke?
posted by baphomet at 4:56 PM on July 29, 2008


ARGOT INKLING FLATFISH BLUE, WOMBAT NIBBLES, MARINATED BOOTS.*waves hands meaningfully* CROSSED BROCOLLI! YOU EAT THE LLAMA, THEN FIND THE WOMAN THEY CALL CROW. MOONLIGHT WILL CALL. WATCH OUT FOR ORCHIDS
posted by loquacious at 4:58 PM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


We didn’t find any results for “[first name of a candidate] and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or gore or republican! or democrat! or charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! or defend! or iran contra or clinton or spotted owl or florida recount or sex! or controvers! or r”

Some reasons might be...

* a typo. Please check your spelling.
* your search includes a term that is very rare. Try to find a more common substitute.
* too many search terms. Please try fewer terms.

Finally, try to think of different words to describe your search.
posted by swell at 5:01 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


HEY I FIXED THE LINK
posted by cortex at 5:02 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


yoink's right...this story is interesting enough to warrant fixing the link.
posted by JaredSeth at 5:04 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Figures.
posted by JaredSeth at 5:04 PM on July 29, 2008


They forgot:

alleg! or islam! or muslim! or oil! or petrol! or impeach or shred of compassion or humani! or decen! or geneva conv! or human right! or respect constitution! or respect bill of right!

and so on and so forth.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:05 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The exclamation points just make it so special. Like an angry search query.
posted by smackfu at 5:08 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


yoink: (recusion added for emphasis) I'm surprised this story isn't a bigger scandal. I guess the Justice Dept. is so completely rotten, it's practices so clearly utterly corrupted by party-political machinations, that we all just sigh and say "well, of course they did that." But, really--this is in many ways bigger than Watergate.

It was front page of the Austin American-Statesman today. If any newspaper was going to ignore a Bush-admin scandal, this is the one it'd be, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it there. Monica Goodling and others could get brought up on perjury charges at the very least, if we get lucky.

Oh, and let's just get this over with now: Devils+Rancher+Spotted+owl+sawed+off+shotgun+
COMMUNISS!!+ecology+environment+DaBomb!+Obama+
Osama+ if/and/or TERROR!

Screw it --I can't afford to fly, anyway.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:14 PM on July 29, 2008


thanks, Cortex
posted by unSane at 5:15 PM on July 29, 2008


he discovered the burger had no pattie

Once in Big Chimney, WV I ordered a chili dog at the local Dairy Queen. When served, I had a hot dog bun with chili on it ... no tube steak. I took it to the counter and inquired about where my hot dog was. To which the counter clerk replied, "That's how we do a chili dog around here." That wasn't the only thing missing in Big Chimney that day.
posted by netbros at 5:19 PM on July 29, 2008


This post needs to be yanked and replaced with a new one that makes sense.
I'd suggest using five fresh fish's comment.
posted by rocket88 at 6:26 PM on July 29, 2008


I think everyone is so overloaded with Bush scandal and economy terror and terror terror that no one really wants to read this stuff until there's a new administration and then we'll be like, ok, we can deal with it now that it's over. Of course, this depends on what new admin it is.

but i do get the sense that people really want to be in denial right now and read about chandra levy or something other than Bush screwups because it's so scary to think that he's still got months and look how much he did in the short time he's had so far. i mean, completely wiping out a surplus and torture and the justice department and contractors and science and and and...
posted by Maias at 6:45 PM on July 29, 2008


Don't worry, we couldn't possibly charg! or accus! or criticiz! or blam! you for your mistake - it could have been any one of us (while drunk).
posted by The Light Fantastic at 7:16 PM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Nice. Essentially the story is that White House liaison Jan Williams, asked to research candidates for the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women, used Lexis-Nexis to find out political affliations, religious beliefs, and the sexuality attitudes of those candidates. She then shared her search techniques with Monica Goodling.

When confronted with this abuse of power (and quite possibly a wholly illegal abuse at that),


I have to admit I'm confused here. How is doing a literature search for background material on a potential political appointee an abuse of power?

I don't care which side of the political fence you're on, if someone has been commenting publically on any of those topics I would damn well want to know what they said before appointing them to anything....
posted by tkolar at 7:22 PM on July 29, 2008


[thinks a bit]

... *especially* sense that search is going to be the first thing the NY Times runs after you make the appointment.
posted by tkolar at 7:24 PM on July 29, 2008


sense-->since
posted by tkolar at 7:24 PM on July 29, 2008


I'm surprised this story isn't a bigger scandal. I guess the Justice Dept. is so completely rotten, it's practices so clearly utterly corrupted by party-political machinations, that we all just sigh and say "well, of course they did that." But, really--this is in many ways bigger than Watergate.

Well, the thing about the DoJ is that it's explicitly non-partisan, or it's supposed to be. Until Bush, that's pretty much the way it's been. The stuff they did was just blatantly, egregiously illegal and unethical. Nobody's really done quite this much damage before now, as far as I know. It's impossible to ask the AG to do anything about it, so it's pretty corrupt. We can't fix it until these guys are gone, or at least there is no political will to kick the goddamn lying bastards out of office right the fuck now.

But there should be, truly.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:46 PM on July 29, 2008


I don't care which side of the political fence you're on, if someone has been commenting publically on any of those topics I would damn well want to know what they said before appointing them to anything....

Taken in isolation, maybe. But the DoJ is not supposed to be basing their decisions on political affiliation, and, under Bush, they have been. That's very clear now. This is just part of the whole pattern, and it didn't come out of nowhere.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:58 PM on July 29, 2008


How is doing a literature search for background material on a potential political appointee an abuse of power?

IIRC, public employees are protected from discrimination against race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etceteras. That the DoJ would break its very own laws is appalling.

There are a lot of people in positions of government power who should be going to jail. Important laws were broken and democracy essentially overthrown. It's simply stunning how complacent your representatives are about the whole debacle.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:49 PM on July 29, 2008


THis post reminds me of on old original Flash Gordon strip where he is trapped in another dimension, one which is inescapable and which is actually a round room in which he will live forever, and it's with a woman who is totally goo goo-eyed over him—but Flash is of course in love with Dale....

...then what?
posted by humannaire at 9:05 PM on July 29, 2008


How is doing a literature search for background material on a potential political appointee an abuse of power?
IIRC, public employees are protected from discrimination against race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etceteras. That the DoJ would break its very own laws is appalling.


Uh, not to be all contrary here but doing a literature search is not discrimination. It could turn *into* discrimination, but in itself it looks like a wise precaution. Do you really want to appoint a person to head the Violence Against Women advisory committee who has taken a public stand that lesbians deserve to get raped?

More importantly, as much disdain as we share for the current administration, would you expect Obama's administration to *not* do background checks? It would be sloppy as hell to appoint someone without knowing what sort of controversial stands they may hold.

I'm not sure about the mindset that says that less information is better when making political appointments.
posted by tkolar at 9:44 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


tkolar, it's not about "doing background checks" it's about what was done with the information gained from said checks. For example, if the background check shows that someone is married to a democrat That's not a reasonable or legal reason to ignore that person's job qualifications.

There's a big difference between searching for extreme views, and searching for opposing views.

I'm not sure about the mindset that says that less information is better when making political appointments.

These weren't political appointments. These were government jobs. Not every government job is political in nature. I don't care what the guy in charge of prosecuting terrorists thinks about gay marriage. I just want him to be good at prosecuting terrorists.

If you hire people to look for terrorists based on their views on the environment, you end up with a list somewhere that says "terrorists" across the top in big bold letters followed by a bunch of names of people who vocally disagree with the administration's views on the environment.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:15 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


tkolar, it's not about "doing background checks" it's about what was done with the information gained from said checks.

I agree, which is why I'm confused that the outrage appears to be centered around doing the checks.

Once again, would you expect the Obama administration *not* to run that search, or at least a very similar one with "Kerry" swapped for "Bush" and "spotted owl" swapped for "tobacco"?
posted by tkolar at 10:34 PM on July 29, 2008


Researching political affiliation / opinion before hiring someone for a non-partisan desk job is not reasonable in any case.
posted by mek at 10:55 PM on July 29, 2008


Do you really want to appoint a person to head the Violence Against Women advisory committee who has taken a public stand that lesbians deserve to get raped?

I wouldn't, but the Bush government did. Or, if not someone who took a public stand that women deserve to be raped, someone who took a public stand against prescriptive birth control. Heck, the Bush administration has been notorious for putting the most wildly inappropriate people into these positions.

Anyhoo, point is that they were using these search terms to eliminate candidates on the flimsiest of excuses: reject this qualified person because they're married to a Democrat; eliminate that qualified person because they spoke out about global warming; eliminate another because they have a gay friend. That is what the controversy is about: yet more evidence that this government didn't hire based on competency, but on trite vendettas.

This road to hell hasn't been paved with good intentions.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:56 PM on July 29, 2008


Once again, would you expect the Obama administration *not* to run that search, or at least a very similar one with "Kerry" swapped for "Bush" and "spotted owl" swapped for "tobacco"?

I cant speak for anyone else, but it's not the search that pisses me off, it's the intent. I would not expect an Obama administration to run that search with the *same intentions* of the current administration. Not because I think Obama is perfect or above politics. I just haven't seen anything in his words or actions to lead me to believe he will run a Bush-style administration. Considering the many failings, both criminal and otherwise of this administration, I am not prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt on anything.

If the news reported tomorrow that The White house ordered bagels for breakfast, I would assume that both bagels and breakfast were very bad things.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:12 PM on July 29, 2008


Once again, would you expect the Obama administration *not* to run that search, or at least a very similar one

[first name of a candidate] and pre/2 [last name of a candidate] w/7 bush or reagan or creationis! or asskiss! or yesman! or college roommate or faith-bas! or halliburton or no-bid! or cocaine or cheney or hunt! or shoot friend in face or incompeten! or fraud! or american peso! or deathbed sign! or bankrupt! or bin laden free! or ghraib or sycophant! or north korea diplomacy or abramoff or deficit! or oilman! or abstinenc! or voter cagi! or vindictiv! or exit strategy or chalabi or war profite! or anti-scienc! or raptur! or rumsfeld or wiretapp! or neocon! or arrest! or born-again! or AEI or pageophilia! or robertson or clean air act! or toe-tapp! or we are fully prepar! or katrina or presidential librar! or liberator! or libby or wipe ass with constitution or controvers! or horse judg! or incompetent! or braindead or schiavo or nuklear!
posted by benzenedream at 11:55 PM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Just for the record, if the Obama administration ran the same search, I would be pissed and disappointed.

I don't think you need to guess at intent here. What legitimate reason is there for including terms like "spotted owl" or "iraq" or "homosexual" in the search? How is this different from asking a job applicant what church they attend, which in the real world would lose you the discrimination suit right there?
posted by bjrubble at 9:13 AM on July 30, 2008


"What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?"
posted by aiq at 9:36 AM on July 30, 2008


I saw the mess, noticed it was a link to somewhere and went 'meh'.

Slashdot did a better job of telling me WHY I should care about the link.

Slashdot.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:08 PM on July 30, 2008


tkolar--you're missing the point about the nature of the jobs that people were being vetted in this way for. No one expects the President to appoint someone as part of his/her administration who has publicly advocated positions opposed to the President's or which might embarrass the President. But these searches were used on people who were being hired for non-political administrative positions within the Justice department. I would be completely outraged if, in an Obama administration, someone was turned down for a position as an "assistant US Attorney" (for example) because they donated money to the Republican party. This has not been the norm in previous administrations, and it is quite rightly condemned as illegal by the Justice Dept. Auditor.
posted by yoink at 2:00 PM on July 30, 2008


benzenedream, thattsa pretty good list, or at least the start of one.

It was front page of the Austin American-Statesman today. If any newspaper was going to ignore a Bush-admin scandal, this is the one it'd be...

Really?!?! Part 2.

Slashdot did a better job of telling me WHY I should care about the link.

Metafilter is not your mother.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:54 PM on July 30, 2008


yoink writes...
tkolar--you're missing the point about the nature of the jobs that people were being vetted in this way for.

The article writes...
Williams used the search string to research 25 people, of whom 23 were candidates for the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women.

Are you going to suggest that a National Advisory Committee is not a political position?
posted by tkolar at 4:53 PM on July 30, 2008


Do you really want to appoint a person to head the Violence Against Women advisory committee who has taken a public stand that lesbians deserve to get raped?

And if the person running for Official Strawman Of America was found in a search to have commented on strawmen, do you really want to appoint them? And also if they were a Democrat.
posted by inigo2 at 9:40 PM on July 30, 2008


After reading this link, I'm convinced Monica Goodling should be in prison.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:14 PM on July 30, 2008


After reading this link, I'm convinced Monica Goodling should be in prison.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:14 PM on July 30, 2008


It just seems to me that this administration has a list of indictable crimes about half a mile long. There's really no need to stretch our outrage out to cover marginal shit that probably indicates wrongdoing, but is in itself rather banal.
posted by tkolar at 10:18 PM on July 30, 2008


After reading this link, I'm convinced Monica Goodling should be in prison.

Now *that* is some nasty shit.
posted by tkolar at 10:19 PM on July 30, 2008


Although I'm a little disturbed that the bottom of the Washington Post article features links to The Onion.
posted by tkolar at 10:22 PM on July 30, 2008


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