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Archives

You use that word “archive,” but I don’t think it means what you think it does.

A couple of things have led me to think about archiving this week. The first is the brouhaha about a crashed hard drive at the IRS, and the IRS claim that all the backups are overwritten after 6 months. When is an email a record? What are the retention policies at the IRS? I lack the motivation and the stamina to examine this question in detail, but for the brave souls that might want to dig deeper, I offer these documents:

There is, of course, the occasional variance between policy and practice in the real world.

The other thing that made me think about archiving is the recent going offline of the Orly Taitz ESQ web site. Naturally, when such a site goes offline for a while, there is something on it needed. The Wayback Machine is a great source to find old web pages, but a fair portion of Orly’s site is not in the Wayback Machine for some reason. The Google Cache captures some things, and some sites, including Orly’s site and this one, get republished by Before It’s News. BIN provides us a copy of Orly’s article that some suggest is the reason her web site has been taken down. Here is the advice of “Attorney Orly Taitz” from the article:

Now there are a lot of lost Mexican children, who wandered into the US territory. Well, it is time for every American to become a good Samaritan and help the lost Mexican children by driving them to the border and taking them to thecustody of Mexican border patrol, so that Mexican border patrol that speaks Spanish, can reunite them with their families in Mexico.

Bizarre! Attorney Taitz is giving advice that could result in anyone who follows it ending up in federal prison.

What hit home for me is that over 700 articles on my own web site are not in the Wayback Machine for some reason. Some missing articles are current, but many date back as early as 2010. Ouch! I have been busy coding software yesterday and today to deal with this problem. What I did was to use the WordPress API to download the URLs of all the posts on this blog into a database. I then used the Wayback Machine API to determine which of them were not in the Wayback Machine archive. I then developed a system for adding them. Right now, I have to push a couple of buttons to scroll to the next missing page and add it. I’ll automate that shortly. I just have to be careful not to add to fast, or I’ll get kicked off as an attacker. A 5-second delay seems to work pretty well.

What happened

I enjoyed reading the book What Happened by former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, but I did not particularly enjoy what happened over the last 8 hours when there was a question of whether Obama Conspiracy Theories would continue to exist outside of the Internet WayBack machine.

imageI’ll begin the story in January of 2012, when I moved the blog to a new host and in the process messed up the database encoding, leaving non-displayable special characters scattered through the whole database. I’ve been finding and fixing them ever since, and that was what I was doing today when I trashed the database. Instead of replacing the content of the article on Orly Taitz using an SQL update statement1, I replaced every post and page on the blog with the article on Orly Taitz. The home page was 10 copies of Orly Taitz. The Visitor’s Guide was Orly Taitz. The Debunker’s Guide to Obama Conspiracy Theories was Orly Taitz.2

I shut down the blog.

First, I thought “backup.” My web host had nothing in their documentation about backups being available that you don’t do yourself. I knew my own backups were not current, but I went to the folder where I keep them and got the message “A hardware error prevents the opening of this folder.” I read up on MySQL on the Internet, and there was no rollback available since I hadn’t used transaction control. That was the low point: No blog, no backup. Continue Reading →

Internet Archive donation link added

Sometimes the world is generous and we receive gifts we cannot hope to repay. Sometimes we can give back. This blog and I have gotten so much from the Wikipedia that I personally donate to it, and I have a donation link on the right sidebar of the blog.

One of my favorite articles is titled: “Kenyan web site names Obama birth hospital.” It was a story of a Kenyan tour company offering an “Obama tour” including his ancestral village. They identify the hospital where the President was born. It was cool until that tour company web site went dark,  spoiling the story. To the rescue came the Wayback Machine, a massive collection of over 300 billion archived web pages maintained by the Internet Archive. My story now links to the archived page, and all is back to normal.

In addition to the Wayback Machine, the Internet Archive has a massive collection of scanned books and audio books, even including some books I recorded.

In recognition of the increasing importance of the Internet Archive to my writing as birther web sites go offline and newspaper stories become unavailable, I have added a donation link to the Internet Archive in the sidebar. They are having a fundraising campaign this month and donations in December will be matched 3-1.

Faded hope and broken dreams

Remember my article, “Tricked out Obotmobile?” The Obama 2012 sticker in the photo looked bright and shiny. It’s coming apart today. I don’t mean that my tattered Obama bumper sticker is a metaphor for President Obama’s second term in office. I just mean it as a example of the fact that things get old and wear out, or in the words of the hymn writer Henry Francis Lyte:

Change and decay in all around I see;

Replacing the bumper sticker is on my to-do list and so are a lot of other decay-related things.

One of my wishes is that one day when I hang up my Dr. Conspiracy hat, the blog will remain online as a reference for anyone interested in our peculiar topic. Towards that end, I’ve been doing some work on the site, cleaning up old articles for typos, and adding updated references in a few old stories—and there are the inevitable broken hyperlinks.

The first bad hyperlink I found appeared in the “Bad” links at the bottom of the page, a link to a blog called “The Betrayal.” It had a black background on the page, and it seemed to pick up every birther story from the other sites. I knew that it had been offline for a while, but hadn’t removed the link. The one that surprised me was the Hawaii Department of Health Obama FAQ, a document I refer to almost weekly. It’s moved and been reformatted, but it still opens with that powerful statement:

On April 27, 2011 President Barack Obama posted a certified copy of his original Certificate of Live Birth.

Can’t you just feel a thrill up your leg every time you read that?

The reason that I’m writing this article is primarily to publish a list of web sites I referenced that have gone away since I started writing this blog:

  • OilForImmigration.org (The Betrayal)
  • CountUsOut.wordpress.com (suspended for TOS violation)
  • CrisEricson2010.blogspot.com
  • FightTheSmearsAgain.wordpress.com
  • ObamaKenyanOrIndonesian.com
  • NiggerObama.com
  • ObamaTrueAndFalse.com
  • ObamaWaffles.typepad.com
  • ParalegalNM.wordpress.com (Leonard Daneman)
  • ResistNet.com
  • CaosBlog.com (domain expired this month)
  • StopObamaInfo.org
  • TrueObamaFacts.com
  • Zapem.wordpress.com
  • stop-obama.org
  • FightTheSmears.com
  • Vermontropy.com
  • BryanKeithNixon.com
  • YesToDemocracy.com
  • AppealingDentistry.com (Taitz dental practice)
  • BulletContract.com
  • UncleStrawberry.com
  • MissTickly.wordpress.com
  • TheIssueJoined.blogspot.com
  • EdSchultz.invisionzone.com
  • SaveOurConstitution.ning.com
  • BlogTalkRadio.com/the-american-complaint-department/
  • VattelVision.com
  • PolitiJab.com
  • WashAmericom.org

and there are more. In addition to these web sites that have gone dark, there are hundreds of specific court and newspaper pages no longer available. I have about 3,000 hyperlinks to check out and replace with the Wayback Machine when available, remove when not. I have some of the court documents on my hard drive that I can upload.

And please, don’t leave a bad URL with your name and email when posting a comment. The URL is not required, and bad ones clog the list of broken links on the pages. Don’t say “none,” just leave it blank.