Searching and Searching

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Jan. 20 2006 6:42 PM

Searching and Searching

The blogosphere is outraged over the government's attempt to obtain search records from Google. Also, bloggers ponder Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest troubles and praise Theo Epstein's return to the Red Sox.

Searching and searching: The Justice Department is trying to force Google to hand over records regarding millions of users' search queries. The government is seeking the information to revive an online pornography law that the Supreme Court struck down two years ago and already has records from Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN.

The reaction in the blogosphere is largely pro-Google."It feels really strange to be cheering on one of the most powerful corporations in America," writes liberal Jack Ballinger at Blue Collar Politics.

The liberal editor at multi-viewpoint Watch Blog writes: "Why stop at pornography? Search engines could be used to ferret out little tidbits with which to attack critics of the administration, dissidents of the Iraq war or just plain Democrats. … Three cheers for Google. I hope they keep resisting."

As Blue Collar and other bloggers point out, Google's motives in resisting the subpoena aren't entirely altruistic. Trade secrets are also at stake.

"Reading through the materials more carefully," observes the tech veteran behind Epigonic, "it would seem Google's resistance is less predicated on principle and more on protection of proprietary information for competitive reasons. (Oops, I should have had my cyncicism barometer dialed up)."

Indeed, Chris Nolan of group blog Spot-On finds a lesson here: Don't trust your privacy to corporate America. "One of the reasons I have steadfastly refused to use Google's GMail," she writes, "is because I don't trust that corporation - or any other - to maintain my privacy. When you're in the business of keeping secrets and not telling people where or how you get information, having private email is a good, good thing."

Not surprisingly, libertarian bloggers are unhappy. "Trying to stop the trafficking of kiddie porn doesn't bother me," writes Jonathan Leffingwell on Crush Liberalism. "However, scouring the search records of millions of people to do it is where I draw the line."

Read more about the Google subpoena here.

More Terminator turmoil: California Republican activists, disappointed with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in general and with his new Democratic chief of staff in particular, will try to strip him of the party's endorsement for re-election unless he fires that controversial appointee, Susan Kennedy.

And that's not the end of the Governator's woes. In Schwarzenegger's native Austria, Green Party members of parliament formally requested Monday that his citizenship be revoked for allowing death-penalty executions in California. This comes less than a month after Schwarzenegger ordered his name removed from a soccer stadium in his hometown of Graz amid local outrage at his refusal to block Stanley "Tookie" Williams' execution.

"I think it's a great idea," cracks the liberal Jason Gooljar at Working Party Families Man. "I just keep on thinking that they actually wanted this guy to run for president one day."

Now there's an element of Schwarzenegger's own party that may not even want to see him run for governor—despite, as Winds of Change points out, the unlikelihood that the elephants could win without him. "Here's the deal, Republicans," Armed Liberal writes on the group blog. "You've managed, in a historic accident, to elect a moderate to the governorship of California, a state where the money and concentration of votes are still in the deep blue Bay Area and core of Los Angeles. The likely candidates that will replace him are both liberals."

Schwarzenegger's troubles underscore the difficulty of being the governor of an "off-color" state, opines Devo at group blog Inter-Galactic Jester: "(N)ot only did he scare away the always crucial independent vote, he also gave his supporters too much hope of true conservatism. Having been elected as a centrist reformer, Schwarzenneger could have likely kept his base content with the symbolic vetoes and the idea that nothing more conservative was possible in California these days. Once he showed them he could be willing to move to the right, all bets were off."

Read more about Schwarzenegger. 

Red Sox revival: Theo Epstein has officially returned to the Boston Red Sox after abdicating his general manager's position in October ago amid reports of front-office tension. Epstein was in charge when the Sox ended their 86-year World Series championship drought in 2004, so Red Sox Nation is reacting as if this is the Second Coming.

"Zeus has sent thundah out of a cleah blue sky—Odysseus has returned!" writes the Soxaholix, a unique, arcane comic-strip blog that must be fully read to be understood.

While the media point out that nothing has really changed—Epstein reportedly has been involved behind the scenes for some time—Sox bloggers are just happy their savior is back. "If they can fit him up with a mitt to play shortstop, so much the better," writes Eric at Red Sox Diary, the blog of two Sox fans living in New York City.

Boston Dirt Dogs has all of the necessary news links, plus photo manipulations of Epstein as Don Corleone, Frankenstein, and Luke Skywalker. Read more about Epstein and the Red Sox here.

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