The Isthmus just ran an article saying that DePula DESERVED to have lost positions on three committees because "he anonymously insinuated that county Supv. Don Eggert, who had bested him at the polls, was into bestiality, based on decade-old Internet posts of uncertain origin."
Because I find the censorship tactics used in this case to be absolutely appalling, and because Google is such a convenient-to-use search engine, I decided to have a look at what DePula was talking about. According to the Isthmus, he said, "While searching for applicable articles, votes, etc, I stumbled upon posts that I believed to have been made by Don Eggert in old newsgroup archives. The posts were made from his University of Wisconsin email account in 1994 and 1995 to Alt.sex.bestiality, alt.sex.masturbation, and alt.sex.wanted and others. The email used to make the posts was firstname.lastname@example.org..."
Now, looking at Google.com, something quickly jumps out at me: no such posts currently are indexed in their archive. Indeed, an Advanced Search for posts with author = "email@example.com" turns up absolutely zero posts.
On the other hand, a search in Google for the content firstname.lastname@example.org picks up 120 posts, which appear all to be replies to posts by some "email@example.com", who appeared to term himself as "That Guy Don" or "Don Eggert". As such, they occasionally quoted some snippets of these posts. Furthermore, the numbers don't add up - you click on a Google link that says "view complete thread (4 posts)" but there are only three posts, or one that says "view complete thread (8 posts)" but there are only four posts.
The simplest explanation for this that I can think of is that there were a series of postings apparently from firstname.lastname@example.org which were once a part of Usenet, but have subsequently been removed from the Google archive. If I believe DePula's claim that he actually read and printed these posts, then I must conclude that they have been removed from the archive rather recently.
Now, Isthmus insinuates that some or all of the email@example.com postings may have been forged. I haven't seen any news story in which Madison's Eggert explicitly denies making these postings, or disputes DePula's letter of resignation, in which DePula claims to have found personal details confirming that they were from Eggert. But I could easily have missed it; I've been on vacation recently. What I can definitely tell you is that the Google site has no entries referencing "firstname.lastname@example.org" containing the words "forged", "faked", "spoofed", or "identity". I would have expected that if ddeggert shared his address with someone faking or hacking his identity, that such words might come up, but that's only my guess. Perhaps such a post was never quoted, and was removed from the Google archive with the others; or perhaps the Don Eggert in Madison never knew about any such e-mail address.
Now, I should say that I HAVE NO IDEA WHETHER EGGERT MADE THESE POSTINGS OR NOT. I have never met nor spoken to nor received e-mail from DePula, Eggert, or any other Madison public official. I know nothing of this case but what I've read in Isthmus, on these forums since I joined in July, or on Google.
If you're not afraid of being tried for "stalking", you might want to copy the URL:
http://groups.google.com/groups?as_epq= ... &lr=&hl=en
This is simply an Advanced Google search for all quotes of this email@example.com on alt.sex.*
A few curious excerpts from the text (WHICH MAY NOT BE WRITTEN BY OUR DON EGGERT) taken from the link above include:
firstname.lastname@example.org (That Don Guy) writes:
>My parents were married 3 days before I was born. I didn't know this
>until I checked my case file at the Department of Social Services when
>I was 18. My father was 56 when I was born. Not impossible for him
>to be my biological father, but certainly questionable. I still would
>like to know for sure, although I don't obsess over it. Don't tell me
>it doesn't matter... I know it DOES.
[ I don't need any ten-year-old allegedly forged posting to convince me that Eggert is a bastard...]
That Don Guy <email@example.com> writes:
>I have a question too.... I have seen some posts in this group about
>SEX, or HAVING SEX. Can anyone tell me what this is about?
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com
(That Don Guy) wrote:
> Not a zoo, just a regular
> guy with a sense of humor
[note that if this post were authentic it would actually contradict what I took to be a suggestion in the Isthmus that the firstname.lastname@example.org postings made the author out to be a zoophile]
[in a reply to alt.sex.bestiality:]
TD | email@example.com (That Don Guy) says, quoting
JA > firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeffrey D. Angus):
> Please do NOT repost them here. Put them over in
> alt.pictures.binaries.tasteless or
> alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.bestiality (cross post them). But
> please do not repost them here.
TD | Geez! What's the big deal??? Some of us don't get a.b.p.e.b, so
| what does an occasional post here hurt?
| Relax a little bit. Don't stress so much. Take a Valium....
[hmmm... that'd be good advice for Madison computer pigs!]
Centuries ago, Nostrodamus predicted that on 27 Dec 1994 15:00:53 GMT, That Don Guy (email@example.com) would say:
> Hey Mikey, care to explain exactly what "Lorena's Lesson" is? I know it's
> not "keep that woman happy"...
> Maybe I can summarize it: Don't rape your wife, or you'll lose your dick.
- - - - -
My conclusion from this brief investigation of the facts, is that DePula was telling the truth in his resignation letter when he said that HE BELIEVED that Eggert made these posts. I think that most ordinary people, observing the footprint on Google, would have come to the same conclusion that he did. I am therefore inclined to believe the DePula and Powell version of events is accurate in other regards as well.
P.S. At this point, I suppose the Isthmus editors might say that I've done the same thing --- anonymously "insinuating" that Eggert was into bestiality. To which I respond a) I recognize the posts might have been forged, b) I don't believe that everyone who ever looked at a bestiality picture is a zoophile (at least, I'm not..... ), and c) we just had a President almost impeached for lying about a hand-job in his private residence, and you're telling me Eggert has a right not to permit any mention of his alleged public non-anonymous Usenet postings to alt.sex.bestiality????
P.P.S. Personally, I think that trying to use old Usenet postings against someone really is a scummy tactic. HOWEVER, it is not as offensive as people having their computers seized and their offices searched for their political expression.