Earlier today I noted the sudden disappearance of (and associated back-end server error pages relating to) archival material on Senator Orrin Hatch's site, the day after a Salon author called attention to the Senator's past support for allowing persons not born in the U.S. (such as Arnold Schwarzenegger) to become U.S. president.
The Salon article noted the conflict of this position, supported by many in the GOP at the time, vs. the currently still very much alive "birther" movement and other efforts to even more tightly restrict presidential candidacies. A Salon follow-up article today also mentioned that Hatch's office didn't respond to their original query yesterday on this topic, but added that the Senator's office since then has now claimed that the missing material is simply a coincidence, resulting from a site redesign issue that just happened to take place between Salon's queries about the amendment yesterday, and my noticing the missing pages and visible database errors this morning.
Hey, coincidences can happen, right? Just really bad timing. Or good timing, depending upon your point of view. I'm not a gambling man, and am only an armchair statistician, so I'll let the ersatz-Spocks in the readership calculate the odds.
In any case, here's a little free SEO (Search Engine Optimization) advice for Hatch's Web site designers. Standard good practice when cutting over a new Web site isn't to use the equivalent of a fire axe, that leaves important links not only failing to reach appropriate pages or redirects, but instead lead to pages of back-end database errors that would seem as cryptic as hieroglyphics to most viewers.
Accurately or not, such techniques give the impression of what we might call "Web site 'get the stuff offline fast!' panic redesign" -- or in the UNIX/Linux world the
Just a remarkable coincidence. OK, let's take them at their word. And if the good Senator is still willing to publicly stand behind his earlier words that so directly conflict with birther sentiments, more power to him, and then of course my apologies for casting any aspersions on his character or motivations, irrespective of the impression given by his site's sudden, coincidental, and quite dramatic perturbations.
Perhaps the Senator will now be one of President Obama's staunchest and most vocal defenders against birther nuttiness, and the Orrin Hatch Web site (new and improved, with suspicious broken links all eventually neatly repaired) will trumpet Hatch's support in this regard for all the world to see!
It's a good day in Washington D.C., after all!