The California Recall

First Peter Ueberroth spammed me for his ill fated campaign. Now Arianna Huffington is spamming me. Sorry to be filling up a blog that should be full of silly stories and geekishness with politics, but some things just get to me!

The candidates for California Governor have dragged me, kicking and screaming, into thinking about politics, a little earlier than I’d like to.

See, generally I prefer to quietly watch things develop and then start coming to a decision a few days before I sit down and connect the dots at the local electorate. I generally register who’s the candidates in my head and start collecting notes. Arianna Huffington… yeah, she’s the one who rails against rich people who pay no taxes yet pays very little tax on her sum of money herself. Georgy Russell, the young geek candidate from the bay area.. and who can forget Aaaahnold.

The easy part is that I consider one thing indicative of poor character for a politician: Annoying campaigning. I can tolerate a certain amount of political dirt. I can tolerate the streets and television and radio being filled with campaign advertisements. No sweat there.

But the two major things that really annoy me, no matter how attractive they are as a candidate, to the point where I won’t vote for them under any circumstance, is candidates that leave pre-recorded messages on my answering machine and candidates that spam.

Peter Ueberroth was the first out of the gates to spam. However, his losing campaign is now over. I’m not sure if spamming had anything to do with it. Apparently he sucked at the first debate.

The second candidate, who apparently did well in the first debate, is Arianna Huffington.

I’m not sure where these people are getting my address. They are using my full, legal, name, and also are using an unadorned email address for me. This is curious, because I’ve made a concerted effort since I’ve been out here to make sure that every email address not given to a friend has identifying information about who I gave it to attached. And given that I’ve been a Californian for a little over 2 years, makes me wonder.

I was talking to my friend Earl after I received it. We discussed it a little and he pointed out that, while Huffington’s site was hosted by RealNetworks Inc., the mail came from Raging Wire, off of Sprintlink. Of course, the obvious great smear campaign (And claim to defense) is that another candidate did it to make them look bad.

Which is all very interesting and bears much consideration. The ”Please let me know what you think by clicking here” link (email addy changed for my personal amusement) points to URL, not to her site. I looked at and noted some interesting things there. They claim that “Internet users love to fill out opinion polls” and pointed out that they will create opinion polls and then use that to screen email addresses. This quote from their site points out how they probably got my address:

…we would take your house list and match it to a permission-based database of over 200 million addresses in order to find emails for some 15% - 30% of people…
[We] automatically inserts unsubscribe links at the bottom of your messages to keep it permission-based

and shows that @dvocacy Inc. really is most likely a clueless mailer. There’s some spammer databases that have my name and email address matched, and I have no doubt that her interest list was probably every registered voter in California.

We wanted to make sure about this, so Earl suggested that I go to her site and add myself to her list. I generated a new, tagged, email address under my domain name and added “myself” Any doubts as to weather Arianna meant to spam went away when the new address was added to her list and the mail headers were exactly the same. Arianna is a spammer.

This really makes me want to vote for her. The woman who makes a big deal about being a mother is using the same technology that fills the email address of every netizen, including kids, with advertisements for porn and viagra.

Apparently I’m not the only person to have noticed.