Tuesday, September 30, 2003

this isn't good...

Pope's Health 'In a Bad Way'
The next office that they have to check out is the new pseudo CIA that Rummy created when the others (NSA, CIA, etc.) wouldn't give him the answers he wanted regarding Iraq.

Congress Shuts Pentagon Unit Over Privacy

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 — A Pentagon office that became steeped in controversy over privacy issues and a market in terrorism futures was shut down by Congress today as the Senate passed and sent to President Bush a $368 billion military measure that eliminates money for it.

The Pentagon spending plan for 2004 adopted by the Senate says that the office, the Information Awareness Office, which had been headed by Adm. John M. Poindexter, should be "terminated immediately" while a few projects under its control could be shifted elsewhere within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The House passed the measure on Wednesday.

"They turned the lights out on the programs Poindexter conceived," said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, who led opposition to the office. "From a standpoint of civil liberties, this is a huge victory."

Congress first turned its attention to the operation headed by Admiral Poindexter, who had been a central figure in the Iran-contra scandal of the 1980's, because of the proposed Total Information Awareness program, a sweeping computer surveillance initiative developed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Critics challenged the program as a potential invasion of privacy.

Pentagon officials renamed the effort the Terrorism Information Awareness program and said it would be devoted to analyzing foreign intelligence data. But the Senate still imposed restrictions on its operations.

Then, in July, Mr. Wyden and Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, disclosed that the Pentagon office was about to open an Internet trading market to test the theory that traders could help predict the probability of events like terror attacks, missile strikes and assassinations of foreign leaders. Outraged lawmakers called for the program to cease, and it was closed within a day.

The furor surrounding the terror market gave momentum to the effort to cut off money for the office entirely, and the legislative report accompanying the spending measure said Congress wanted it shut.

"This was a hugely unpopular program with a mission far outside what most Americans would consider acceptable in our democracy," said Timothy Edgar, a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union office in Washington.

Admiral Poindexter resigned last month, though he defended the initiatives under his control and said the plan for a terror futures market had been sensationalized.

Mr. Wyden said the programs that survived were mainly training initiatives like war-gaming software that helped agencies analyze evidence and communicate with one another. The legislation said Congress allowed the use of "processing, analysis and collaboration tools" developed by the disbanded office for foreign intelligence operations, but it did not specify agencies that would be using it.
The joy of powerpoint!!

The Level of Discourse Continues to Slide

Is there anything so deadening to the soul as a PowerPoint presentation?

Critics have complained about the computerized slide shows, produced with the ubiquitous software from Microsoft, since the technology was first introduced 10 years ago. Last week, The New Yorker magazine included a cartoon showing a job interview in hell: "I need someone well versed in the art of torture," the interviewer says. "Do you know PowerPoint?"

Once upon a time, a party host could send dread through the room by saying, "Let me show you the slides from our trip!" Now, that dread has spread to every corner of the culture, with schoolchildren using the program to write book reports, and corporate managers blinking mindlessly at PowerPoint charts and bullet lists projected onto giant screens as a disembodied voice reads

• every

• word

• on

• every

• slide.

When the bullets are flying, no one is safe.

But there is a new crescendo of criticism that goes beyond the objection to PowerPoint's tendency to turn any information into a dull recitation of look-alike factoids. Based on nearly a decade of experience with the software and its effects, detractors argue that PowerPoint-muffled messages have real consequences, perhaps even of life or death.

Before the fatal end of the shuttle Columbia's mission last January, with the craft still orbiting the earth, NASA engineers used a PowerPoint presentation to describe their investigation into whether a piece of foam that struck the shuttle's wing during launching had caused serious damage. Edward Tufte, a Yale professor who is an influential expert on the presentation of visual information, published a critique of that presentation on the World Wide Web last March. A key slide, he said, was "a PowerPoint festival of bureaucratic hyper-rationalism."

Among other problems, Mr. Tufte said, a crucial piece of information — that the chunk of foam was hundreds of times larger than anything that had ever been tested — was relegated to the last point on the slide, squeezed into insignificance on a frame that suggested damage to the wing was minor.

The independent board that investigated the Columbia disaster devoted an entire page of its final report last month to Mr. Tufte's analysis. The board wrote that "it is easy to understand how a senior manager might read this PowerPoint slide and not realize that it addresses a life-threatening situation."

In fact, the board said: "During its investigation, the board was surprised to receive similar presentation slides from NASA officials in place of technical reports. The board views the endemic use of PowerPoint briefing slides instead of technical papers as an illustration of the problematic methods of technical communication at NASA."

The board echoed a message that Mr. Tufte and other critics have been trying to disseminate for years. "I would refer to it as a virus, rather than a narrative form," said Jamie McKenzie, an educational consultant. "It's done more damage to the culture."

These are strong words for a program that traces its pedagogical heritage to the blackboard or overhead projector. But the relentless and, some critics would say, lazy use of the program as a replacement for real discourse — as with the NASA case — continues to inspire attacks.

It has also become so much a part of our culture that, like Kleenex and Xerox, PowerPoint has become a generic term for any bullet-ridden presentation.

Dan Leach, Microsoft's chief product manager for the Office software, which includes PowerPoint, said that the package had 400 million users around the world, and that his customers loved PowerPoint. When early versions of Office for small business did not include PowerPoint, customers protested, he said, and new versions include it.

"We're proud of it," he said, pointing out that the product is simply a tool — "a blank for you to fill in" with ideas and information.

"I feel like the guy who makes canvas and the No. 2 green viridian paint," Mr. Leach said. "I'm being asked to comment on the art show."

His point is shared by plenty of people who say the criticism of PowerPoint is misdirected. "The tool doesn't tell you how to write," said Bill Atkinson, the creator of HyperCard, an earlier program considered by many to be the precursor to PowerPoint. "It just helps you express yourself," he said. "The more tools people have to choose from the better off we are."

It's likely, then, that PowerPoint is here to stay — everywhere. And not always for the worse. At the wedding reception of Lina Tilman and Anders Corr last year in New Haven, guests made two PowerPoint presentations. They were everything that slide shows usually are not: wry and heartfelt works that used the tired conventions of the form to poke fun at the world of presentations and celebrate the marriage.

NASA apparently still lacks a similar sense of irony. Earlier this month, the space agency held a three-day workshop in Houston to give reporters a firsthand view of its return-to-flight plans. Included in the handouts were dozens of PowerPoint slides.
Interesting article about security in the Windows environment. It notes a particuliar theme that I have heard mentioned a number of times - MS puts out a patch and within weeks a hacker has reverse engineered that patch to create a virus since they know that people are slow as snot about updating their computers.

To Fix Software Flaws, Microsoft Invites Attack

Microsoft's Security Response Center in Redmond, Wash., is the computing equivalent of a hospital emergency ward. When a problem comes in the door the center's director, Kevin Kean, and his staff must swiftly make an assessment: Is the security weakness detected in a Microsoft software product only minor? Or is it possibly so serious that, if exploited by a vandal's malicious code (as happened last month with the Blaster worm) it might crash computers and networks around the world?

If the threat appears grave, the problem goes immediately into the center's emergency operating room, where it is attended to by a team of Microsoft engineers, working nearly round-the-clock to analyze the flawed code, anticipate paths of attack, devise a software patch to fix the defect and alert millions of customers of the problem and the patch.

"It's triage and emergency response — so it's a lot like an E.R. ward in that sense," Mr. Kean observed last week.

The race to protect the computing patient has begun again.

On Sept. 10, after Mr. Kean's team completed another E.R. mission, Microsoft issued an emergency warning of a critical vulnerability in its Windows operating systems and released a patch — its 39th so far this year. What particularly worries computer professionals about the warning is that the security hole in Windows is the same kind of flaw, in the same feature of the operating system, that was exploited in August by the notorious Blaster worm.

Those who monitor Internet crises know that once Microsoft raises the alarm and releases a patch, a curious race begins. Digital vandals — those who write worms, viruses and other rogue programs — eagerly download the patch and reverse-engineer, taking it apart to search for clues on how to exploit the very Microsoft security hole the patch was meant to cover.

Some portion of Microsoft customers, from corporations to home PC users, takes the time to download the patch, but most do not. Meanwhile, there is a scramble to write malicious code and spread it across the Internet.

The Blaster worm was sighted on the Internet 25 days after Microsoft warned of that security hole. The company issued the latest warning 19 days ago. So if recent history is a guide, Blaster 2 may be coming soon to a computer near you.

The brand-name worms and viruses of the last couple of years — Blaster, SoBig, Slammer, Code Red, Nimda, ILoveYou and others — are simply the most virulent representatives of an alarming surge in attacks by malicious programmers.

The CERT Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University, which monitors rogue computer programs, reported 76,404 attack incidents in the first half of this year, approaching the total of 82,094 for all of last year. And the 2002 incident count was nearly four times the total in 2000. If anything, the CERT statistics may understate the problem, because the organization counts all related attacks as a single incident. A worm or virus like Blaster or SoBig, a self-replicating program that can infect millions of computers, is but one event.

The security flaws Mr. Kean's team is scrambling to catch and patch are part of the larger problem with software today. The programs that people rely on for all manner of tasks — from writing reports and sending e-mail, to monitoring factory floors and managing electric power grids — are becoming increasingly large, complex and, all but inevitably, filled with bugs. The problem is magnified by the fact that most computers are now linked to the Internet, enabling programs to travel around the globe and mingle with other programs in unforeseen ways.

Most software bugs are a result of small oversights by a programmer. And most large software programs are combinations of newer code and old code, accumulated over time, almost as if in sedimentary layers. A programmer working years ago could not have foreseen the additional complexity and the interaction of software programs in the Internet era. Yet much of that old code lives on, sometimes causing unintended trouble.

Security holes, computer experts say, are a manifestation of the fragile and often unreliable software foundation that underlies today's economy. "These worms and virus attacks are just the visible tip of a massive iceberg," said Peter G. Neumann, a computer scientist at SRI International, a research firm.

The major rogue programs all exploit vulnerabilities in Microsoft products, and Microsoft is the leading target of criticism by computer security experts. Indeed, Microsoft must shoulder a lot of the responsibility for the security woes suffered by its customers, analysts say. But the security weaknesses in Microsoft products, it seems, stem mainly from the company's success as the leader of the PC era of computing.

The PC business model has been to push products out the door fast, add features constantly and market each product version as a millennial event. Microsoft perfected the model and attracted millions of customers. But security experts note that the PC business model has not placed much value on building secure, well-engineered software.

The other reason Microsoft is the white whale for most digital vandals is that more than 90 percent of all desktop PC's run on the Windows operating system software. And the company's Office package of programs has more than 90 percent of the market for word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software.

Other operating systems like Linux, Unix and Macintosh, experts say, all have security vulnerabilities. "But they don't get the attention and the attacks because, unlike Microsoft, the other technologies are not deployed on 300 million computers," said Russ Cooper, a security expert at TruSecure, a computer security company. "This is not just Microsoft's problem."

The task of making software more reliable and secure will not be quick or easy. But computer scientists and industry analysts say that the goal is achievable, and that some encouraging steps have been taken. Improvements, they note, will depend largely on changing attitudes in the marketplace so that software makers have a greater incentive to invest in building better software.

"By and large, vendors build what people are willing to pay for," said Edward Lazowska, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington. "People have historically been willing to pay for features — not reliability or security."

There is evidence, though, that corporations and the federal government are placing a greater emphasis on obtaining secure software. Within the last two years, the government has pushed security initiatives in its technology policy, especially in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Recent moves by the government include placing greater emphasis during the purchasing process on software design and reliability standards like the Common Criteria and the National Security Telecommunications and Information Systems Security Policy No. 11, a Pentagon directive that went into effect 14 months ago.

Such standards now apply mainly to the Department of Defense and national security agencies, but Congress is looking to extend similar standards to other federal agencies. The federal government is the world's largest buyer of information technology, spending nearly $60 billion a year.

"If the government made a serious commitment to buying better software, it would change the industry," said Mary Ann Davidson, chief security officer of Oracle, the big database software company.

Two weeks ago, the House Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census, which is under the Committee on Government Reform, held a hearing on the impact of the Pentagon's programs to link procurement to tighter security standards for software.

Representative Adam H. Putnam, the Florida Republican who is chairman of the subcommittee, said he saw great promise for adopting similar standards for civilian agencies. "The government can leverage its purchasing power," he said, "and can be a leader for the entire industry in setting rules and standards of engineering behavior."

A decisive step toward changing market incentives would be to expand product liability law to include software products. So far, software companies have sidestepped liability suits partly by selling customers licenses to use their programs, not own them, with a lengthy list of caveats and disclaimers.

The industry has resisted any suggestion that software should be held legally liable for bugs. The industry's argument is that software is a highly complex product, which users tend to misuse or modify, so trying to assign responsibility for a failure would be unfair to any single company.

Whether the software industry can continue to operate beyond the reach of product liability suits is uncertain.

A report last year by a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, "Cybersecurity Today and Tomorrow: Pay Now or Pay Later," included the recommendation that "policy makers should consider legislative responses to the failure of existing incentives to cause the market to respond adequately to the security challenge."

Professor Lazowska, a member of the panel who at times has advised Microsoft, explained, "You could draw an analogy to auto safety, where a set of government actions has caused automobiles to become far more safe over the course of the past 35 years."

Technology is giving programmers tools to build more reliable software. The Java programming language, created at Sun Microsystems, and C#, developed later by Microsoft, are technologies for creating "managed code," which sharply limits the damage that can be done by errant lines of programming. "You have to design it so that bad things don't happen when programmers make mistakes," said William Joy, the former chief scientist at Sun.

At Microsoft, much more time is now being set aside in the design cycle of products for security considerations, a mandate approved by senior management this spring. "There is a shift from mainly an emphasis on working features to an emphasis on trustworthy and secure computing," said Steven B. Lipner, director of security engineering strategy at Microsoft.

Some of the tougher security standards, Mr. Lipner said, have shown measurable improvement in Windows Server 2003, which shipped earlier this year. The number of security vulnerabilities detected so far is half as many as at this stage after the release of Windows Server 2000, Mr. Lipner said.

Yet years of steady progress in the quality of software engineering will be needed for big gains in security and reliability to become apparent. And it starts with education, noted Shawn Hernan, a security specialist at CERT. He makes a game of seeing how quickly he can find security vulnerabilities in the programming examples used in college textbooks. It rarely takes him more than few minutes.

"The textbook examples are riddled with vulnerabilities," Mr. Hernan noted. "Computer science culture is based on, build it, get it working and fix it later. We need a culture change away from the cowboy and toward the engineer."

Even as his E.R. team scrambles to patch Microsoft's security holes, Mr. Kean agreed. "It's not just Microsoft," he said. "The world will commit itself to more secure computing. There will be a cultural change."
Hmmph, the Defense Intelligence Agency says that the intelligence provided by the people that - in effect the Bush Admin paid - wasn't accurate about the state of Iraq weapons. What a surprise....

Agency Belittles Information Given by Iraq Defectors

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 — An internal assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that most of the information provided by Iraqi defectors who were made available by the Iraqi National Congress was of little or no value, according to federal officials briefed on the arrangement.

In addition, several Iraqi defectors introduced to American intelligence agents by the exile organization and its leader, Ahmad Chalabi, invented or exaggerated their credentials as people with direct knowledge of the Iraqi government and its suspected unconventional weapons program, the officials said.

The arrangement, paid for with taxpayer funds supplied to the exile group under the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, involved extensive debriefing of at least half a dozen defectors by defense intelligence agents in European capitals and at a base in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil in late 2002 and early 2003, the officials said. But a review early this year by the defense agency concluded that no more than one-third of the information was potentially useful, and efforts to explore those leads since have generally failed to pan out, the officials said.

Mr. Chalabi has defended the arrangement, saying that his organization had helped just three defectors provide information to American intelligence about Iraq's suspected weapons program, and that two of them had been judged to be credible.

But several federal officials said the arrangement had wasted more than $1 million in taxpayers' money and had prompted them to question the credibility of Mr. Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress. Both have enjoyed powerful backing from civilian officials at the Pentagon and are playing a significant role in the provisional government in Baghdad.

Intelligence provided by the defectors that could not be substantiated included information about Iraq's suspected program for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as other information about the Iraqi government, the officials said. They said they would not speculate on whether the defectors had knowingly provided false information and, if so, what their motivation might have been. One Defense Department official said that some of the people were not who they said they were and that the money for the program could have been better spent.

Two other Defense Department officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, defended the arrangement. While the credibility of the Iraqi defectors debriefed under the program had been low, they said, it had been roughly on par with that of most human intelligence about Iraq. The officials also said the Defense Intelligence Agency had been generally skeptical of the defectors from the start, on the ground that they were motivated more by the money and the desire to stir up sentiment against Saddam Hussein than by a desire to provide accurate information.

A Defense Department official who defended the arrangement said that even most of the useful information provided by the defectors included "a lot of stuff that we already knew or thought we knew." But the official said that information had "improved our situational awareness" by "making us more confident about our assessments."

The Defense Intelligence Agency's conclusions about the value of the intelligence provided as part of the arrangement are believed to have been included in a broader, classified report sent this month to Stephen Cambone, the under secretary of defense for intelligence, the officials said. That report focused on lessons learned by intelligence agents during the war in Iraq, they said.

The Iraqi National Congress had made some of these defectors available to several news organizations, including The New York Times, which reported their allegations about prisoners and the country's weapons program.

The Iraqi National Congress, a London-based umbrella group, was formed with American help in 1992 and received millions of dollars under the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. In a stance that angered the dissidents and some Pentagon officials, the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency had long been skeptical of the information from defectors that Mr. Chalabi's organization had brought out of Iraq. Among that group of defectors was Khadhir Hamza, the most senior Iraqi official ever to defect from Mr. Hussein's nuclear program, who complained about the seeming lack of interest of American intelligence organizations in hearing what he had to say.

The partnership between the Iraqi exiles and the American government was initially run by the State Department, with millions of dollars provided to the Iraqi National Congress under the Iraq Liberation Act, whose declared purpose was to promote a transition to democracy in Iraq. One element was intended to collect information about Iraq in order to promote public awareness about the failings of Mr. Hussein's government.

Instead, State Department officials involved in the program said, the Iraqi exiles used most of the money to recruit defectors who claimed to have sensitive intelligence information. Until 2002, the State Department handed over those defectors to the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for debriefing. Federal officials said that very few of them had been judged to be credible, but that they knew of no specific assessment of their credibility.

After internal State Department reviews in 2001 and 2002 concluded that much of the $4 million allocated for the program had not been properly accounted for and that the intelligence-gathering program was not part of the department's mission, oversight was transferred to the Defense Department in 2002.

The Defense Intelligence Agency then took the lead in debriefing the defectors, Defense Department officials said. The officials said they believed that the review of the defectors' credibility overed only the period in which the defense agency had run the program.
FILE SHARING A CRIME? UM implements digital music firewall across campus
Not only do they want to be scumbags - they want to be EFFICIENT sumbags!!

Washington Insiders' New Firm Consults on Contracts in Iraq

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 — A group of businessmen linked by their close ties to President Bush, his family and his administration have set up a consulting firm to advise companies that want to do business in Iraq, including those seeking pieces of taxpayer-financed reconstruction projects.

The firm, New Bridge Strategies, is headed by Joe M. Allbaugh, Mr. Bush's campaign manager in 2000 and the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency until March. Other directors include Edward M. Rogers Jr., vice chairman, and Lanny Griffith, lobbyists who were assistants to the first President George Bush and now have close ties to the White House.

At a time when the administration seeks Congressional approval for $20.3 billion to rebuild Iraq, part of an $87 billion package for military and other spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, the company's Web site, www.newbridgestrategies.com, says, "The opportunities evolving in Iraq today are of such an unprecedented nature and scope that no other existing firm has the necessary skills and experience to be effective both in Washington, D.C., and on the ground in Iraq."

The site calls attention to the links between the company's directors and the two Bush administrations by noting, for example, that Mr. Allbaugh, the chairman, was "chief of staff to then-Gov. Bush of Texas and was the national campaign manager for the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign."

The president of the company, John Howland, said in a telephone interview that it did not intend to seek any United States government contracts itself, but might be a middleman to advise other companies that seek taxpayer-financed business. The main focus, Mr. Howland said, would be to advise companies that seek opportunities in the private sector in Iraq, including licenses to market products there. The existence of the company was first reported in The Hill, a Congressional newspaper.

Mr. Howland said the company was not trying to promote its political connections. He said that although Mr. Allbaugh, for example, had spent most of his career "in the political arena, there's a lot of cross-pollination between that world and the one that exists in Iraq today."

As part of the administration's postwar work in Iraq, the government has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to American businesses. Those contracts, some without competitive bidding, have included more than $500 million to support troops and extinguish oil field fires for Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, which Vice President Dick Cheney led from 1995 until 2000.

Of the $3.9 billion a month that the administration is spending on military operations in Iraq, up to one-third may go to contractors who provide food, housing and other services, some military budget experts said. A spokesman for the Pentagon said today that the military could not provide an estimate of the breakdown.

Administration officials, including L. Paul Bremer III, the top American official in Iraq, have said all future contracts will be issued only as a result of competitive bidding. Already, the Web site for the Coalition Provisional Authority, http://cpa-iraq.org/, lists 36 recent solicitations, including those for contractors who might sell new AK-47 assault rifles, nine-millimeter ammunition and other goods for new army and security forces.

New Bridge Strategies was established in May and recently began full-fledged operations, including opening an office in Iraq, its officials said. They added that a decision by the Governing Council of Iraq to allow foreign companies to establish 100 percent ownership of businesses in Iraq, an unusual arrangement in the Mideast, had added to the attractiveness of the market.

Mr. Howland is a principal of Crest Investment in Houston and was president of American Rice, once a major exporter to Iraq. Richard Burt, ambassador to Germany in the Reagan administration and a former assistant secretary of state, and Lord Powell, a member of the British House of Lords and an important military and foreign-policy adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, are among the 10 principals.

Mr. Allbaugh, the chairman, spent most of his career in Texas politics before Mr. Bush appointed him to head the federal disaster agency. Mr. Allbaugh, who now heads his own consulting firm here, did not return calls to his office today.

Mr. Rogers, the vice chairman who was a deputy assistant to the first President Bush and an executive assistant to the White House chief of staff, is also vice chairman of Barbour Griffith & Rogers, one of the best-connected Republican lobbying firms in the capital. Mr. Rogers founded it in 1991 with Haley Barbour, who became chairman of the Republican National Committee and is now running for governor of Mississippi.

Shortly after leaving the White House, Mr. Rogers was publicly rebuked by the first President Bush after he signed a $600,000 contract to represent a Saudi, Sheik Kamal Adham, who was a main figure under scrutiny in a case that involved the Bank of Commerce and Credit International. Mr. Rogers canceled his contract to represent the sheik, former head of Saudi intelligence.

Mr. Griffith, a director of the new company, is chief operating officer of Barbour Griffith & Rogers, which he joined in 1993. He was special assistant for intergovernmental affairs to the first President Bush and later worked under him as an assistant secretary of education.

Until November, Mr. Rogers's wife, Edwina, was associate director of the National Economic Council at the White House. Reached by telephone today, Mr. Rogers said he did not want to speak for the record and referred a reporter to Mr. Howland.

The company Web site says the company was "created specifically with the aim of assisting clients to evaluate and take advantage of business opportunities in the Middle East following the conclusion of the U.S.-led war in Iraq."
OK - so this is the story. The White House get's pissed that someone tells the world that they were wrong and then a story comes out with the name of the guys wife (and I still don't understand how this was important) who was UNDERCOVER for the CIA.... and we are to believe that the reporter just stumbled on it??

And then, the White House says that the Justice Department - which need I remind you is lead by a man who lost an election to someone that was DEAD and who was then appointed to the post by George Jr. (Shrub) - is the one that should lead the investigation? When Clinton got a blow job - we needed special prosecutors. When a CIA operatives life may have been put on the line - that isn't important enough? Hmmmm, priorities, priorities, priorities......

White House Denies a Top Aide Identified an Officer of the C.I.A.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 — The White House today dismissed as "ridiculous" the suggestion that Karl Rove, senior adviser to President Bush, had illegally disclosed the identity of an undercover C.I.A. officer, as the F.B.I. opened an investigation into the case.

At the same time, the White House rejected growing calls from Democrats for the appointment of a special outside counsel to determine whether someone in the administration had disclosed the officer's identity in an effort to punish criticism of its Iraqi intelligence by the officer's husband.

Asked if there was a need for an independent counsel, Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, said, "At this point, I think the Department of Justice would be the appropriate one to look into a matter like this."

Pressed on whether there would be a potential conflict of interest for Attorney General John Ashcroft to oversee an investigation that could have immense political implications for Mr. Bush, Mr. McClellan said that there were "a lot of career professionals" at the Justice Department and that "they're the ones that, if something like this happened, should look into it."

The growing furor underscored the Bush administration's continued political vulnerability on the issue of whether it exaggerated the threat from Iraq before the war. The developments also raised questions about the relationship between the White House and George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence.

It was the C.I.A.'s general counsel who asked the Justice Department to open an inquiry into the July newspaper column, by the syndicated writer Robert Novak, that identified an undercover C.I.A. agent.

The firestorm over the leak comes at a time when even some Republicans in Congress are beginning to cast a more skeptical eye on the administration's use of intelligence to make its case against Iraq. In an interim assessment made public over the weekend, the senior Republican and senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said there were "too many uncertainties" in the intelligence underlying the National Intelligence Estimate used by the administration to justify the war.

Faced with a torrent of questions from reporters, Mr. McClellan engaged in a balancing act all day. He said the issue of disclosing classified information about a C.I.A. officer was "a very serious matter" that should be "pursued to the fullest extent" by the Justice Department. But he also repeatedly said there was no evidence that Mr. Rove or any other White House officials, including those in Vice President Dick Cheney's office, had disclosed such information.

"There's been nothing, absolutely nothing, brought to our attention to suggest any White House involvement, and that includes the vice president's office as well," he said.

Should any White House officials be found to have disclosed the information, he said, they would lose their jobs, "at a minimum."

The White House sought today to head off the calls for a special counsel as numerous Democratic lawmakers and presidential candidates said they doubted that the Justice Department could investigate without at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.

One Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, said the situation was reason enough to revive the independent counsel law, which Congress allowed to die in 1999 after widespread concern over Kenneth W. Starr's Whitewater investigation.

The current regulations, put in place by former Attorney General Janet Reno, give Mr. Ashcroft discretion over whether to appoint a special counsel if the department appears to have a conflict of interest.

In a letter to Mr. Ashcroft the Senate minority leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota, and three other leading Democrats said, "We do not believe that this investigation of senior Bush administration officials, possibly including high-level White House staff, can be conducted by the Justice Department because of the obvious and inherent conflicts of interest involved."

Mr. Bush ignored a reporter's shouted question about the matter this afternoon in the Rose Garden.

Mr. Novak's column centered on a retired diplomat, Joseph C. Wilson 4th, who concluded more than a year and a half ago in a report for the C.I.A. that there was no clear evidence that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium ore from Africa in order to build nuclear weapons.

Mr. Novak disclosed in his column that although Mr. Wilson never worked for the C.I.A., his wife, Valerie Plame, "is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction" and that "two senior administration officials" told him that she was the one who suggested sending him to Africa.

Speaking on CNN today, Mr. Novak said, "Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this." Instead, he said he was doing reporting on Mr. Wilson's Africa trip when a senior administration official told him the trip was inspired by his wife.

It is a felony for any official with access to classified information to disclose the identity of a covert American agent. Mr. Novak said he did not believe that was the situation.

He said he checked with the C.I.A., which asked him not to use Ms. Plame's name but gave him no indication that doing so would endanger her or anyone else. He also suggested that Ms. Plame might not have been an undercover agent.

"According to a confidential source at the C.I.A., Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operative, and not in charge of undercover operatives," he said.

In an interview tonight, Mr. Wilson declined to comment on his wife's job, but said the C.I.A. would not have referred the matter to the Justice Department for investigation if it did not believe national security had been breached and the law broken.

Mr. Wilson backed off somewhat from his previous statements that Mr. Rove had probably leaked the story. But, Mr. Wilson said, "at a minimum, he condoned it, and he most certainly did nothing during the six or seven days after the Novak article appeared to discourage others from talking about it."

Soon after Mr. Novak's column first appeared, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, pressed Mr. Ashcroft to open a criminal investigation, and the C.I.A. referred the issue in late July to the Justice Department.

Mr. Ashcroft decided during the past several days to move ahead with a preliminary inquiry, and the Justice Department notified the F.B.I. late today that the bureau would lead the investigation.

"We'll start with the C.I.A.," said an F.B.I. official. "They're the ones that held the information, so we'll go from there to find out who had access to it."

Thursday, September 25, 2003

complete and total proof that the french are morons....

Europe Heat Wave Killed Some 19,000
Hmmm - what a surprise. The weapons hunters haven't found anything in Iraq. Geez, I guess if they would have then Shrub and Dick and Rummy would have been swining from chandeliers!

Draft Report Said to Cite No Success in Iraq Arms Hunt

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 — An early draft of an interim report by the American leading the hunt for banned weapons in Iraq says his team has not found any of the unconventional weapons cited by the Bush administration as a principal reason for going to war, federal officials with knowledge of the findings said today.

The long-awaited report by David Kay, the former United Nations weapons inspector who has been leading the American search for illicit weapons, will be the first public assessment of progress in that search since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1.

Mr. Kay's team has spent nearly four months searching suspected sites and interviewing Iraqi scientists believed to have knowledge about the country's nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Kay and his team had not found illicit weapons. They said they believed that Mr. Kay had found evidence of precursors and dual-use equipment that could have been used to manufacture chemical and biological weapons.

They also said that Mr. Kay's team had interviewed at least one Iraqi security officer who said he had worked in such a chemical and biological weapons program until shortly before the American invasion in March.

Sections of the interim report by Mr. Kay are expected to be made public later this month. A spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency, Bill Harlow, said in a statement today that Mr. Kay was still receiving information from the field and that his progress report would not "rule anything in or out."

The administration's inability to uncover evidence of banned weapons has prompted increasing criticism from Capitol Hill. Until now, administration officials had insisted that they did not know what Mr. Kay's report might conclude. The effort by the C.I.A. today to emphasize the interim nature of any document seemed intended to minimize political fallout from his findings.

The failure to find banned weapons has been cited by Democratic presidential candidates and other critics of the war as evidence that the administration exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq to secure public support for toppling the government in Baghdad, a course that some of Mr. Bush's deputies had long promoted.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Harlow said that Mr. Kay's report was still being drafted and that it would be premature to describe any draft as reflecting even interim conclusions. Mr. Kay reports to George Tenet, the director of central intelligence, and oversees the Iraq Survey Group, an organization made up of about 1,400 American and British weapons experts, security teams and support personnel.

Mr. Kay returned to the United States from Iraq about a week ago, government officials said, and is working from an office at C.I.A. headquarters in Virginia.

The details of Mr. Kay's findings have been closely held within the administration as part of a strategy that officials said was intended both to prevent unauthorized leaks and to minimize internal disputes about any emerging findings. Issues related to the Iraqi weapons program have been contentious inside the administration as well as outside, with the State Department's intelligence branch and some officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency taking issue with a report made public in May by the C.I.A. that said mysterious trailers discovered in Iraq were used to manufacture biological weapons.

Mr. Bush, who said at the time that the discovery of the trailers meant that the administration had found illicit weapons in Iraq, has not repeated such statements in recent months. But in a recent television interview, Vice President Dick Cheney called the trailers "mobile biological facilities that can be used to produce anthrax or smallpox or whatever else you wanted to use during the course of developing the capacity for an attack."

In early June, American and British intelligence analysts with direct access to the evidence disputed claims that the trailers were used for making deadly germs. They said in interviews with The New York Times that the evaluation process had been damaged by a rush to judgment.

As recently as Monday, Mr. Bush said he believed that Saddam Hussein buried or dispersed his stockpiles of illicit weapons before the United States mounted its invasion in March. But Mr. Bush said it would take Mr. Kay "a while" to uncover the truth about what happened to them.

People who have been hunting for weapons in Iraq have said that Mr. Kay has been frustrated over the lack of progress in the search, initially over problems involving coordination with military commanders charged in some cases with detaining the very Iraqis whose cooperation Mr. Kay's team was seeking.

Those problems have been largely resolved, the weapons hunters said, but Mr. Kay has still found it difficult in recent weeks to investigate leads that seemed worth pursuing, in part because the unstable security situation in Iraq has made it difficult for his teams to travel to some areas.

Iraq acknowledged having stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons after the Persian Gulf war of 1991 but maintained that it destroyed all such weapons after that conflict, a position that Iraqi officials in American custody are said to have reiterated in recent interrogations.

In a formal National Intelligence Estimate last October, the C.I.A. and the rest of the American intelligence community concluded that "Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons" and that "if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade." That general view was shared at the time by the United Nations and most foreign governments but support for the position has been eroded by the American failure to discover the weapons in Iraq.

A United Nations inspection team headed by the Swedish diplomat Hans Blix said in June that Iraq had never accounted for weapons and materials it claimed to have destroyed. But Mr. Blix said in more recent interviews that he now believes that Iraq destroyed its banned weapons long before the United States mounted its invasion in March.

Addressing the United Nations on Tuesday, Mr. Bush showed no sign of backing away from the administration's view that the Iraqi claims were not credible. At the White House on Monday, Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, said that at the time of the war there had been "nobody who knew anything about Iraq who believed that Saddam Hussein had destroyed all of his weapons of mass destruction."

"I think we will find that Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction can be accounted for and we'll know the truth," Ms. Rice said, but she added: "David Kay is not going to be done with this for quite some time."
This is VERY cool news from the city...

City Unveils Plans to Turn Old Rail Line Into a Park

The Bloomberg administration moved ahead yesterday with its plans to transform an abandoned elevated rail line into a 1.6-mile-long park and make it the centerpiece for new commercial and residential developments along the western edge of Chelsea.

At a news briefing, city planning officials unveiled a detailed proposal to carve out a special redevelopment district along 10th and 11th Avenues, between West 16th and West 30th Streets. The plan is part of the city's overall effort to encourage and control development on the West Side, Manhattan's most undeveloped area.

Zoning there would be changed from manufacturing and commercial uses to allow up to 4,200 units of new housing, primarily along the avenues.

Running through it would be the High Line, a railroad viaduct from the 1930's that extends from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street. Development along the line would be restricted to protect the open views. The plan also restricts development of midblock areas throughout the district to preserve the low-lying warehouses that are home to more than 200 art galleries.

In a concession to those who own land directly under the High Line, the proposal would allow those property owners to sell their air rights — as much as one million square feet — to high-rise developments on the avenues.

Amanda M. Burden, the city's planning director, said the High Line would open up parkland in a part of the city that does not have enough while adding character to a once thriving manufacturing area.

Members of Manhattan Community Board 4 said, however, that they were concerned about the proposed height of some of the buildings and wanted more assurances that there would be enough housing at prices for lower- and middle-income people. City officials estimate that developers could set aside as much as a quarter of the new units at below market rates.

"There really are some very good things there, but there are still some glitches," said Lee Compton, co-chairman of the board's Chelsea preservation and planning committee.

City officials will seek comments on their proposal at a public hearing on Oct. 2, and could adopt the special district as early as next fall. The final proposal would have to be approved by the City Council.

The neighborhood has been much coveted by developers in recent years, prompting the city to insist on an overall plan for the area. Much of the discussion has centered on the future of the High Line.

The last boxcar rumbled over the line more than two decades ago, and many New Yorkers have pushed to save the rusty relic. The rail line has even inspired its own group of patrons, the Friends of the High Line, which has enlisted the help of celebrities like Edward Norton to drum up support for preservation efforts.

Council Speaker Gifford Miller, who keeps a giant color photograph of the railway in his home, has committed to spending more than $15 million over the next four years to transform the High Line into a public space. City officials estimate the project's cost at more than $65 million.

"I'm probably the High Line's biggest supporter," Mr. Miller said. "I've had the opportunity to walk on it, and it's a transforming experience. You see the city in a different way than before."
NCAA says no to ACC championship game with just 11 teams in conference

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

interesting first step for a music company.

BMG Offers Legal Song Sharing
Wow - take a look at what the people across the pond are saying about our move to electronic voting! There are an excellent collection of links at the bottom of the article that will let you review a number of other stories.

It's always interesting to read news about the US from a place as different as Russia - very different and fascinating take on the news.

Chris Floyd's Global Eye - The St. Petersburg Times - Russia
Mike and Mike in the morning are AWESOME!!

Are Mike and Mike metrosexuals?

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Stuck looking for a present for me - here's a hint!!

With God as my witness, I thought those turkeys could fly......

Gordon Jump dies at 71
interesting story about what is coming out of the NYC 311 center.

Local - 311: Making a better city
Hmmm, how odd is this? The Dept of Sanitation was wildly off on the numbers that they generated for how much they thought they would save by eliminating recycling??

NYC recycling fiasco

Sunday, September 21, 2003

hard to be critical of a victory - but when we have been groomed with such an offensive amount of success in cane-land...well, this "slower" offense could cause you at least a little bit of concern when you stop to think about it.

Warning: Don't let score fool you

Saturday, September 20, 2003

the man is BACK!!!

UM's Geathers ready to show his mettle
further proof of miami's status as a third world country.

Jurors plead guilty to fixing trial
My email to Carly Fionarina regarding recent ads by HP:

Carly -

I need you to clarify something about your new ad campaign for HP. In particuliar, the statement that "nanotechnology is the building block of life".

Last time I checked - that was inaccurate. As a matter of fact, atoms, molecules, or even DNA could be considered the building blocks of life - but something that you want to eventually sell and make money on.... I don't think so.

Please make sure to have a competent fact checker review all information before your ad agency makes HP look stupid. I realize that most people won't catch this faux pas - but then again, the people that don't catch it won't be buying nanotechnology - will they??

Thank you -

i put the cell phone industry right up there with the big pharma's and the oil companies as far as being scum bags.

in the case of cell phone companies, they have treated us - the customers - as shit for waaayyyy too long. This new regulation from the government will let that behavior come home to roost. The execs at the cell phone companies better be sweating what's really gonna happen come late November. One of the biggets reasons people never switch is because so many people know the number - that is no longer a problem. And even better is that the way that the cell phone companies work - they rely on keeping us around for and avoiding this churn to make money. Their past actions are now going to come back to hit them where it hurts - right in the wallett.

Phone number rule spawns wireless ad war
thing is, i don't know how i feel about this. i know that there is a need for the government to do this kind of research - i mean, this very research may lead to saving my life or that of others... but there are some pretty big privacy issues as well.

JetBlue admits it shared data

Thursday, September 18, 2003

30 carries , 188 yards for an average of 6.3 yards per carry. Yeah, Jones up there at V Tech is a stud.
yeah - this couldn't have been any fun.....

Unlucky Concorders get from JFK to London - in 10 hours
Face of Mount Rushmore Moving Slightly
Wall St. bloodhounds track IMs for clues
The op-ed piece in the NY Times by the former ambassador, Joe Wilson, who was sent to Africa to investigate the claims of Iraq trying to get nuclear materials. Interesting in the fact that he - after being sent by the Bush admin - said that there was no proof of any of these rumors.

What I Didn't Find in Africa
Interesting take on the furor over the NYSE compensation issue.

One the one side - the NYSE is a private company. What the hell is it anyone's business what the compensation is for the CEO?

On the flip side - they do position themselves as the "gold standard" of exchanges, and with that, just like for a sports figure or celebrity - they have to be cleaner and better then those that they serve. How can they tell companies to be better corporate citizens when they do things like this??

And on a whole other side - the fact that the board of the NYSE is such a bunch of incestious bastards does nothing to make them look anything even approaching credible!
Grasso's compensation
Is VoIP pioneer Cisco losing momentum?
Hmmm, I wonder who is more to blame here.

Is it the warlords and drug dealers that are back doing their thing in the wild west that most of Afghanistan qualifies as?

Or coud it be the new neo-Taliban (I like that, it looks/sounds like neo-conservative, the name for the cabal running DC now. Of course, those are both a takeoff on NeoNazi - but we won't go there...wink wink) that are rearing their ugly heads?

Or could it simply be our screwed up governemt with Bush and his merry pranksters running amok as they exercise their demons of being dorks and picked on in school. I don't care what they say about Rummy, Rice, and Cheney - if they were in high school with me.... it would have been swirly time. The only decent one of the lot is C. Powell - but the rheotoric of the rest of them drowns him out. I mean, look at the link just a couple below where they are now saying that there was no effort by the administration to portray Saddam as having something to do with 9/11. Sorry boys - but we remember too well. Unfortunately, your spin has come to bite you in the ass - too many comments made out of one side of your mouth as you smirk with the other will get you in trouble......

Afghanistan: Current Trends Spell Disaster, Warns CARE
Dream ticket for the Dems in 2004 - Dean for President and Gen. Clark for VP. A pair of Washington outsiders - one strong on domestic issues, and the former commander of NATO could hardly be questioned on defense.

I would love to see this pairing - wonder if the two ego's could exist in the same room to make the killer ticket happen.......

Besides - how funny would it be to have a Prez and VP with the names Howard and Wesley!?!?
All K2 has to keep on doing is that sick blocking - and the catches will come as the teams realize that they have to triple him, Hester, Beard, Parrish, Geathers, and Gore to try and stop us. Once they get done trying to triple team those six guys and then blitz Berlin to slow him down - it's game over with a pass to Kyle COBIA!!!

Winslow Flattered, Frustrated by Steady Attention
hmmmm - the rankings put out by a Va Tech grad have VT moving from a ranking of 106 to #2 - on an off week? Wow. If a U Miami grad had that kind of input to the BCS rankings and that happened, there would be cries of foul play stretching from Tallahassee to South Bend!

But, in the end, all is right in the world with Miami ranked #1!!!!!!!!!

Pre-BCS projections crazy as ever

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Hmmm - so the Administration is doing the old two step shuffle. Wow, I can't believe that they have the gall to say that they didn't try to say that Iraq was connected DIRECTLY to 9/11. What a joke, just a sad sad joke.....

Bush: No Proof of Saddam Role in 9-11
as an FYI - Sandy Hook (the north end of the northern tropical storm warning) is actually a few miles north of my office - but south of my house.

Tropical Storm Advisories
The day may finally be near when digital technology eviscerates a $60 billion ad business. How will the networks survive?Forbes.com: ZAP!:
Megachurches, Megabusinesses

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

wonder if it has anything to do with them getting thumped by an unranked team - at home??

quiet in texas
Isabel's project path continues to slide to the south of us.

weather.com - Projected Path
Let's just HOPE!!

Is IT's Spending Drought Over at Last?
This is one of the funniest things that I have read in a while - and it's no surprise that it comes from Bill Maher....

While the rest of the world honored the second anniversary of 9/11 by cracking down on terrorism, the people responsible for the attacks zeroed in on the real problem facing the world, Barbie. That's right, Saudi Arabian police declared Barbie "offensive to Islam" as well as a "Jewish" doll and banished her from the kingdom. Barbie was then whisked to the French Riviera in a private jet, where she was plied with cocaine and drinks, then raped all night by 2,000 Saudi princes.

Barbie, a Jewish doll? Oh, I guess there's some evidence of that -- it's true when you put Ken on top of her she just lies there. But maybe that's because Ken is gay, which probably doesn't go over well in Mecca either. Guys, if you're worried that Barbie is offensive, you have no idea how offensive to Islam we can be. We've got Christians, Jews, lesbians, pork chops, ass-less chaps, loud music -- and that's just at a restaurant in West Hollywood.

The truth is, the Saudis and the terrorists who extort their support at our expense, are all about the purity of the seventh century until it suits their needs. If the West is so tainted, why don't you stop using our technology?

This week Osama bin Laden put out a new videotape. Guess who invented videotape? Not anybody named Abu. Same goes for satellite phones, computers, SUVs, and everything else the terrorists use to hatch their evil plans -- they were all invented by the infidels. Their last new idea was something about stonings at night, when it's cooler. I don't know where Osama's hiding, but I do know one place he's never been -- the patent office. So don't claim you're rejecting the West when you're using our technology. Go back to homing pigeons and camels, and those big curved swords. Because if there's anything more annoying than an evildoer, it's a hypocritical evildoer.
Isn't this interesting. A scientest funded by the government gets results that the government wanted. Hmmm - and then he had to retract them, What a surprise, giving monkeys lethal does of speed kills them. The government could have given me the money and I could have told them the same thing without killing any monkeys!!

Wired News: Ecstasy Study Botched, Retracted
Improvements in the forecasting of hurricanes -

Improved Forecasting Helps Hurricane Experts See Into Storms' Futures

As Hurricane Isabel churns toward a probable collision with the Middle Atlantic coast on Thursday, it is providing the first significant test of a new government effort to provide five-day forecasts of hurricane movements.

And federal officials said yesterday that this season's storms had already bolstered recent conclusions that a five-day hurricane forecast is now just as reliable as a three-day forecast was 15 years ago.

Max Mayfield, the director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said that the average error range on the 19 five-day forecasts generated since Sept. 6, when the center started issuing advisories on Hurricane Isabel, had errors that were typical of a two-day forecast in his early days at the agency, 30 years ago.

"I don't want to brag about that yet," Mr. Mayfield said, explaining that the hurricane had moved slowly and steadily westward through the tropics and was only now beginning its curving run toward the coast. "Now things get complicated."

The trajectory of the storm is nearly parallel to the Atlantic coast north of the Carolinas, meaning that even a slight tweak to the east could result in a landfall 100 miles or more from the current center of the bull's-eye.

Mr. Mayfield emphasized that people ashore should not be focused on the precise strike zone in any case, because destructive winds swirl concentrically more than 200 miles from the hurricane's eye.

From 1964 until this year, three days was the longest ahead that federal hurricane forecasters dared venture.

In that time, meteorologists greatly improved their ability to predict the track of storms through vastly increased computing power, more realistic simulations of general global weather conditions and increased satellite and aircraft observation of storms' behavior and movements.

But only this year has the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration started releasing official forecasts projecting five days of behavior by the lumbering, unpredictable meteorological equivalents of rogue elephants.

Hurricane Isabel has been relatively straightforward as hurricanes go, experts said yesterday, because it is taking a path familiar to meteorologists, in which north-south-running ridges of high pressure constrain a storm's route, just as parallel mountain ranges force road builders to stick to the valleys.

"This storm is in the alley in the Atlantic that the global models just do so well on," said Timothy P. Marchok, a hurricane modeler at N.O.A.A.'s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J. Still, it is a sign of the sophistication of modeling and monitoring now that five-day forecasts of Hurricane Isabel generated over the last week, when superimposed, neatly chart the path the storm has actually taken, federal and private meteorologists said.

The latest projections and an archive of earlier ones are at nhc.noaa.gov.

The next big challenge, hurricane experts said, is to improve the ability to forecast changes in a storm's intensity.

"We don't yet understand really what controls storm intensity," said Dr. Kerry A. Emanuel, who analyzes hurricane-ocean interactions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "And the few things we've learned have not yet been incorporated into the models."
Excellent - even borderline explosive - article from of all place, the NY Times. While they may not be known as a great sports newspaper - they do have some good thinkers over there!!

To Keep Title Would Be to Lose Integrity

EIGHT months ago, Maurice Clarett scored the winning touchdown in the second overtime of the Fiesta Bowl to propel Ohio State to a 31-24 victory over Miami and an undisputed national championship. The game was an example of how enthralling intercollegiate sports can be.

Now I feel Ohio State should entertain the possibility of returning the championship trophy. Karen Holbrook, the first-year president of the university, should insist that this option be put on the table.

Earlier this week, Clarett was suspended by Ohio State for the remainder of the football season for violations the university said it uncovered during a two-and-a-half-month investigation. Athletic Director Andy Geiger said the university had determined that Clarett violated N.C.A.A. bylaws that make it illegal for players to receive preferential treatment based on athletic reputation or skills and that require players to be truthful and cooperative with investigators.

The evidence suggests that Ohio State played last season with an ineligible player - the team's best player. Asked at a news conference earlier this week if Clarett had received some of the preferential benefits during the 2002 season, Geiger replied, "Partially, I think." When asked later at the news conference if, in effect, Clarett was an ineligible player last season, Geiger maintained that Clarett wasn't ineligible because the university wasn't aware of any violations at the time.

Asked if he wasn't splitting hairs, Geiger responded: "It's not splitting hairs. It's exactly the way the rule is.''

So Geiger's defense in all this is ignorance: He had no idea last season what Clarett was up to, and the athletic department had no idea.

"If the university was unaware or uninvolved, then the university is not culpable," he maintained at the news conference.

The N.C.A.A. is not disagreeing with Geiger, at least for the moment. Yesterday, Jeff Howard, a spokesman for the N.C.A.A., said during a telephone interview that Ohio State was not culpable for what may have occurred last season, but then added, "at this time."

Ignorance is no defense.

The bedrock of N.C.A.A. reform is institutional control: the president of a college, its athletic director and the head coach of the sport in question should know what is going on. In a tight-knit football community like the one at Ohio State, they usually do. And for that reason alone, Ohio State has to think about giving the trophy back. Maybe Ohio State didn't know what was going on - attempts to reach Holbrook and Geiger yesterday were unsuccessful - but that doesn't mean that the spirit of the N.C.A.A. rules wasn't being violated.

As it is, the N.C.A.A. can't strip the Buckeyes of the national championship because the N.C.A.A. does not have control over the Bowl Championship Series. If it did, Ohio State might eventually be facing the possibility of having the N.C.A.A. order it to give the trophy back. After all, there are any number of instances in which the N.C.A.A. does hold an institution responsible for violations committed by a student-athlete, even when they occurred without the college's knowledge.

The N.C.A.A.'s executive committee ruled that the University of Massachusetts had to vacate its basketball team's 1996 Final Four finish and return money because players were deemed to have received benefits from an agent.

Connecticut's 1996 Round of 16 team was penalized by the committee for the same infraction, and had to return nearly $100,000; its tournament appearance was wiped away. In 1971, Howard Porter of Villanova, the most valuable player in that year's Final Four, was determined to have played after signing a professional contract. Villanova had to return money and its achievements were wiped away, too. And Michigan, citing a scandal over payment made to Chris Webber and three other star players in the 1990's, announced last November that it would forfeit every game won while those four players were there.

So despite the note of finality suggested by Geiger earlier this week, the whole issue of Ohio State's championship season may not be over yet. Which brings us to Miami. Donna E. Shalala, the president of that university, said yesterday that she wasn't interested in Ohio State handing back the championship.

"The game's over, and we really want to move on," she said. "We like to win games on the field.''

But she was less compromising about the idea of institutional accountability and control. "We are smaller, so I would expect someone to notice. If a student-athlete is suddenly flush and driving a fancy car, I would expect someone to know."

I don't know what Geiger and Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel are telling Holbrook, but I suggest she heed the advice someone gave to Shalala when she left Hunter College in 1988 to become chancellor at the University of Wisconsin. "They said trust no one in athletics,'' she recalled at the time. "More presidents have gone down the tubes because of their athletic department."

Ohio State won a national championship, but the championship appears to be tainted. Geiger likes to talk about integrity and morality in intercollegiate athletics. If there is any of that left at Ohio State, university officials should seriously consider returning the trophy. They may not have known then, but they know now.
New York City - how it's recovering from 9/11 and the previous 30 years of change as well.


Monday, September 15, 2003

Chatting with Brock
Portis had 12 carries for 129 yards - in the first half, then was injured and missed the second half.

Shit - he keeps performances like this up and Jamal Lewis's record could be in jeapordy he knows it!!

Recap - San Diego vs Denver

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Not the most inspiring quote about Lamar Odom's chances of doing well and being mature in Miami. "There are no guarantees. Hopefully, the light switch will go on." I mean, he had trouble because of the vice and sin of Vegas and LA - and he thinks going to MIAMI is a good idea?!?!?

The Miami Herald | 09/14/2003 | The ultimate fast break: Odom's escape
The only - and I repeat the ONLY reason that I was happy to see FSU beat GT (other then College Pick Em :) was so that the Cane's can knock off a higher ranked opponent when we make our trip up to Tallahassee

'Noles escape Yellow Jackets' upset bid
Perry is the ONLY Heisman candidate at this time - as far as I am concerned.

Heisman Watch
please, oh pleasssseeee let the coke head be ready for the game against ND so that they can get their clocks cleaned again!!

Smoker's status uncertain for ND game - Sunday September 14, 2003 7:39PM
I can't believe my eyes. The coaches dropped Ohio State after they won. I figured that they were all worshiping at the feet of the Buckeye God - I guess there is hope in this world.....

College Football Rankings
I was wrong - the Canes had 7 penalties for 75 yards

Game Summary
some good general game info - including Jason Geathers coming back. Can't WAIT for him to get back into game form and contribute.

Gore hits 100 yards in first three games
Gore's feat a first among Miami RBs
UM trio makes most of chance
Defense punctuates UM's win

Friday, September 12, 2003

I love the quote at the bottom - "the only "harm" is loss of monopoly profits"

Phone Cos. Ask Court to Stop FCC Rules
life is good when adam ant can make it in the news..... you're going to have to look hard.

MTV.com - For The Record
OK - R. Kelly may need more supervision during interviews then Jeremy Shockey -
The new issue of Blender magazine features an interview with R. Kelly, who discusses how pending child-porn charges have destroyed his image. "Osama bin Laden is the only one who knows exactly what I'm going through," he said
this will make you laugh your ass off - if you like college football....

Weekend Pickoff: Irish upset isn't in the cards - Friday September 12, 2003 11:17AM
Micheal Dell Says Some Tech Firms Doomed
interesting read......

Mr. Bush, You Are A Liar
from www.fireronzook.com

this gator fans ain't happy
Interesting story from the times -

Cellphones That Reach Alter Egos

On Oct. 1, Cingular will begin selling a unique $40 cellphone cradle called the FastForward. What it does can be described by a single sentence: whenever you slip your cellphone into it, the FastForward automatically routes incoming cell calls to your home or office phone.

The implications of this simple idea, though, constitute a much broader topic. In fact, you could write a whole column on it.

For you, the consumer, this elegant device confers a number of benefits. First, you save all kinds of money, because the rerouted calls don't use up any of your monthly cellular minutes. Incoming calls behave exactly as though your callers dialed your home or office number directly.

Second, the FastForward means that your friends and family have to memorize only one phone number for you instead of two, three or four. When you're out and about, their calls to your cell number ring the cellphone; when you're at home or at work, calls to that same cell number ring your home or desk phone (known as your land line). Your callers never know the difference. This is a big deal for people who must always be reachable, like real estate agents, heart surgeons and expectant fathers.

You pick up a sound-quality benefit, too. For example, a Cingular representative admitted that Cingular coverage in his own home was, as he bravely put it, "not swell." But now he doesn't care. Whenever he's at home (and therefore out of prime cell range), his FastForward gizmo shunts incoming calls away from his cellphone and onto the perfect clarity of his land line.

Finally, when you're upstairs, you no longer have to run all the way downstairs just to answer your cellphone. All right, having to run to find a ringing cellphone may not rank right up there as the most sympathy-worthy complaint of the new millennium. (Heck, it's the only exercise some people get.) But the point is that the FastForward makes every phone extension in your home ring simultaneously. If you're upstairs, you answer the call upstairs.

This gadget is no low-tech A-B box. It doesn't even connect to a phone jack (only to a power outlet, because it also recharges your cellphone). When you insert your cellphone, it transmits a short text command to the cellular network itself that says, in effect, "Begin diverting calls now." In other words, the call switching doesn't take place in your home. It happens much farther upstream, which is why incoming calls don't eat into your monthly minutes.

You can redirect your cellphone's calls to any local number, not just your home phone. In fact, you can create up to three different entries in your cellphone's phonebook - labeled CF1, CF2, and CF3 (for call forwarding) - that correspond to the land line numbers where you spend the most time. Then, a switch on the cradle lets you specify which number you want to ring: CF1 for your home, CF2 for your office, and CF3 for your secret apartment, for example. (You can change any of these numbers at any time.)

To turn off the call forwarding - when you're leaving home, for example - you're supposed to press a Cancel button on the cradle and wait four seconds. During this time, the cellphone sends a "Cancel" text message to the Cingular network. Incoming calls will once again ring your cellphone (and use up your minutes).

If you just yank the phone out of the cradle without pressing the Cancel button, though, you hear an alarm that seems to say, "Hope you know what you're doing, Bub." You've just put yourself into a weird sort of cellular limbo: you can make outgoing calls on your cellphone, but all incoming calls still ring at home, no matter where your errands take you.

That situation may not always be as nonsensical as it sounds. For one thing, it leaves the cellphone ready to dial, yet relieves you of the burden of having to remember to shut it off before entering a meeting, movie or religious ceremony. For another, it saves you money when you're going to be out of touch anyway, because your home answering machine rather than your cellular voice mail can pick up the missed calls. (In any case, you can turn off the call forwarding at any time by dialing a code on the cellphone.)

Without a doubt, the remarkable FastForward is elegantly simple in function but deliciously flexible in potential. But there is, as you might suspect, some fine print.

First of all, the FastForward works only with Cingular cellphones. That's just tough rocks for the residents of Denver, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Montana and anywhere else with iffy Cingular coverage. The FastForward cradle will happily recharge phones from other carriers but won't give you any of that call-forwarding magic. (You need a different cradle model for each phone brand, by the way. The Motorola cradle will be available on Oct. 1; cradles for Nokia, Siemens and Sony Ericsson phones will arrive in November.)

Second, the FastForward's call-redirecting feature is either free or costs $3 per month, depending on a couple of factors. It's free if your local phone company is one of Cingular's corporate parents - SBC or BellSouth - and you have elected to receive a single combined monthly bill for local and cell service. (And who on earth wouldn't want a single bill? "People who don't like the sticker shock of seeing the grand total," ventures a Cingular spokesman.) BellSouth also requires that you have at least two calling features (call waiting, for example) on your land line.

The service is also free if you're willing to let redirected calls eat up your monthly cellphone minutes, thus giving up one of the system's main perks. (Which is a better deal: paying $3 a month, or paying for the cellular minutes that the FastForward would have saved you? Only a few hours snuggled up with a spreadsheet can yield the right answer for you.)

Finally, the FastForward deprives you of one common cellphone trick. When you're trying to call home but you've been getting a busy signal for hours, you can no longer resort to calling the culprit on the cellphone to say, "Honey, get off the phone! I'm trying to call you!" After all, calling the cellphone amounts to calling the same busy home number. (You can still send text messages to the cellphone in its cradle, however, in hopes that the "You've got mail" icon might catch the yakking homebody's eye.)

When you really think about it, the chief function of the FastForward is to reduce the cellular minutes you use up. It's rather selfless of Cingular to invent a gadget that's designed to make you use less of its service, isn't it?

Not necessarily. Behind the scenes, this humble gadget is quietly helping to execute a number of corporate missions.

For example, the FastForward will redirect your calls only to numbers in your local Cingular calling area. (For New York City customers, for example, that region includes Manhattan, Long Island, Connecticut north to Danbury and most of New Jersey.) That's a limitation designed to serve the interest of SBC and BellSouth, which aren't about to let you hand off your calls to other long-distance companies.

Similarly, growing numbers of people are dropping their home-phone service, preferring only a cellphone - a trend that SBC and BellSouth would clearly like to reverse. For its part, Cingular hopes that if enough people buy FastForward, it will benefit from less congestion on its wireless network.

And in an era when many people choose a carrier on price alone, Cingular is trying to differentiate itself by offering, yes, singular features. (Cingular is also the only carrier that rolls over your unused talk minutes from month to month, instead of discarding them.)

So yes, the FastForward symbolizes a strike against some unsettling signs in the cellular sector. But no matter what's in it for Cingular and its owners, you, the consumer, also stand to gain a lot, both in dollars and in convenience; the FastForward is the proverbial win-win. Cingular deserves considerable credit not only for dreaming up an ingenious gadget, but also - for a company that's never developed hardware before - designing it so simply and so well.
TiVo Sales Remain Tepid Despite Fanatic Fans
An editorial about the upcoming elections and their perceptions (pretty fired up ones) about our last ones.... oh, and this quote - "We know that Bush never reads any book that doesn't have pictures of goats in it"

Global Eye -- Last Rights
Last Flight Of The Concorde
honestly, i didn't believe it when i read it, but what the hell....

First Snow Falls In Colorado
excellent - the decision is final... Canes vs. Noles on Labor Day in 2004 and 2005!!

CanesTime.com: Are You Ready For Some Football?

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

At Miami we don't rebuild - we RELOAD
interesting article about hybrid cars.

Where High-Tech Cars Still Sputter
it's official.....

Ohio State's Clarett Suspended for Season
After 9-11, Iraq Is Proving Ground for American Empire
now we know where james stewart has been - don't we??

i would only read this to mean that maurice is done and gone.

big question is now - how does that affect OSU and how other teams plan to defend them? will the other teams in the big ten respect their running attack or will they just key on krenzel and make his life a living hell??

Ohio State Coach Says Clarett Can Leave
Blogs Starting To Make Their Mark in the Workplace
CRM News: Voice-Activated Services Gaining Attention

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

maybe a good time to buy stock in broadcom??

Small wireless chip poised to make mark
short - and interesting - article about moving IT jobs overseas

IT Jobs That Belong Overseas
I got no shame - I love "Newlyweds" on MTV.

Can this marriage be saved?
MTV's "Newlyweds" serves up a riveting spectacle of jealousy, cluelessness and raw onions with its running battle between popster Jessica Simpson and boy-band hubby Nick Lachey.

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By Heather Havrilesky

Sept. 9, 2003 | Americans are hopelessly romantic about marriage. Little girls grow up daydreaming about their weddings, believing that their lives from that special day forward will be summed up with the phrase "happily ever after," when the truth is much uglier and more complicated and often includes words like "debt consolidation," "ectopic pregnancy" and "compulsive infidelity."

For those of us who've sidestepped enough flawed long-term relationships to adjust our expectations considerably, transforming ourselves from dreamy princesses in white to financially solvent pragmatists in sensible shoes, the tearful monologues and soulful kisses presented in romantic comedies no longer soothe us. What we find soothing is the specter of supposedly perfect relationships dissolving into pointless bickering, reckless insults, and inconsolable sobbing.

Which is only natural, considering the fact that everyone from movie stars to mere mortals has a bad habit of describing their relationships in unnaturally glowing terms. For those of us who walk around assuming we're the only ones whose relationships are more Archie and Edith than Romeo and Juliet, seeing other couples quarrel with impunity can be a cool salve for the red-hot diaper rash of romantic disappointment.

Thus, it is with open arms that we welcome "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica," the latest reality experiment from MTV featuring the shockingly untested marriage of pop singer Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, former member of the boy band 98 Degrees. Far from the shots of matrimonial bliss through a Vaseline-smeared lens that you'd expect from the title, "Newlyweds" lets all the insecurity and clashes and shocking revelations play out, to the unmitigated delight of viewers at home. Not only do the oddly unguarded squabbles and tense silences dished up by Simpson and Lachey never fail to prove entertaining, they can make even old married couples feel grateful to be past the point of unwelcome surprises.

Thrillingly enough, Simpson and Lachey don't seem to know each other well at all, despite having dated for three years. The honeymoon seems to be ending as the cameras roll, and there's something absolutely mesmerizing about watching these two stare at each other in shock, wondering who replaced Dream Barbie or Dream Ken with such a crabby, impatient jerk. "Being married is definitely everything I thought it would be, but it's different, too," Simpson remarks. "It's not the fairy tale. It's not like you're having picnics every day." Indeed! At least not unless you're homeless.

Simpson fulfills her role as the high-maintenance wife so convincingly, she's sure to inspire cold feet among countless engaged men nationwide. Not only is she unrealistic in her demands on her new husband, but she seems to seek out trouble at every turn. She shows up at the studio where she knows Lachey is auditioning hot female dancers and glares at the girls as they gyrate around her husband.

Later, Simpson retreats to a lingerie store in the hopes of finding something sexy to get her man's mind off those voluptuous sirens, then calls him on his cellphone, distraught, when she discovers that she's just spent $750 on two bras and two pairs of panties that she can't return or exchange. In a sitcom scene out of every little green monster's nightmare, Lachey is forced to take a minute from his lunch with a gaggle of sultry dancers to quietly urge his wife to check out the price tags before she pulls out her credit card.

Despite Lachey's patience, like so many misguided young wives, Simpson treats him like a bad dog that merely needs to be trained to behave. Ever the princess, she complains when Lachey doesn't open the car door for her, and she often sits in place and makes him fetch her things -- and then gets pouty if he comments on the absurdity of her behavior. She may coax coyly, but the bottom line is that her needs come before his. Or, as my grandmother used to say, "She just wants what she wants when she wants it, the little stinker!"

To his credit, Lachey stands up to the little stinker more often than not, particularly when she's whining out of insecurity.

Simpson: "You haven't seemed half-interested in half the things I've said today."

Lachey: "Everything that's comin' out of your mouth is cryin' about something. I'm not interested in it."

Simpson: "I have not cried, or bitched! Screw you."

Later, Simpson is appalled by a brazen show of independence by her husband -- he dares to take the elevator downstairs to rehearse his act without her!

Simpson: "Screw Nick! He left without me? He didn't even say, 'Jess, I'm leaving'? Whatever. I'm over him."

Far from being over it or him, Simpson continues complaining about this blatant neglect all the way down in the elevator, and then, while Lachey is rehearsing, she stands, hands on hips, frowning at him from the audience. The episode ends absurdly with the couple singing a sugary duet together onstage. Ah, matrimonial bliss! If only we could all be as happy as Nick and Jessica!

The producers of "Newlyweds" clearly have a firm grasp on the comedy presented by these two. The clever editing and comical music choices echo the style and tone of "The Osbournes" and indeed, the two shows share many of the same producers, line producers and story editors, along with the same music supervisor, Melinda Gedman. While few would dispute that the quality of "The Osbournes" lies in the family's incomparable charms, "Newlyweds" proves that editors and producers who can craft a compelling, witty storyline from countless hours of raw footage play a crucial role in making these shows so entertaining.

In one particularly hilarious use of cross-cutting between scenes, Lachey visits his sexy dancers' hotel room as they change into costume while Simpson talks to her mom in a room a few doors down:

Simpson: "We're getting a gun."

Mom: "Why?"

Simpson: "For protection. He's like, 'You just gotta promise me you won't shoot me.'"

Cut to Lachey talking to dancers in their bras. Close-up on a dancer's butt with the word "Nick" written on it.

Simpson: "I'm like, 'Baby, the only time I would ever shoot you is if you cheated on me, and then I'd shoot your dick off.'"

That sounds reasonable enough, right? At least no one can say these two don't communicate openly.

Having grown up with parents who didn't ask her to so much as straighten up her room, Simpson struggles mightily with the simplest tasks, balking at cleaning spills off the floor or doing her own laundry. In one episode, the couple goes camping with Lachey's brother and his wife, and the women spend most of the trip whining about bugs and dirt, or daydreaming about the manicures, pedicures, massages and facials they're going to line up the second they get back to Los Angeles.

Home life seems to be just as taxing. "Is this chicken or fish?" Simpson asks as she eats dinner on the couch with her husband. She's confused, you see, because on the can it says, as she puts it, "Chicken by the Sea." Her husband just stares at her blankly like he can't tell if she's joking around or not. Sadly, she's not, and she quickly becomes angry at him for refusing to answer her question. Indeed, Simpson seems very sensitive about having lived under a rock all these years, and can repeatedly be heard chirping, "Don't make fun of me!"

In contrast, Lachey has done his own laundry "since he was in the third grade," according to Simpson. Instead of hiring movers, Lachey moves himself out of his condo and into the garish house he and Simpson have shared since their wedding. Simpson and her mother find this choice preposterous, of course, and sit around looking baffled as they watch him drag heavy furniture through the door. At one point, while Lachey and his brother are moving a big dresser up a long flight of stairs, Simpson yells to him from the next room.

"It's in these moments I'm glad I don't have a gun," Nick mumbles. "Because I would shoot myself." His brother responds, "Why would you shoot yourself?"

Assuming that their marriage doesn't end in bloodshed, how long can these two stubbornly hold their own ground? Simpson never seems to give up her efforts to bend Lachey to her will, and Lachey rarely backs down from the things that are important to him. Take the classic marital dilemma presented by raw onions:

Simpson: "Whoa, you stink."

Lachey: "Baja Fresh is just ... too much onion."

Simpson: "You know you can get it without onions. Always ask to do that. You know you'll get more kisses."

Lachey: "I'm not gonna blow a good meal for a kiss!"

As henpecked husbands and raw-onion fans alike shed tears of joy at Lachey's courage in the face of oppression, we're reminded that, in the end, the health of a marriage boils down to a few simple choices: A good meal or a kiss? An endlessly whining wife or a cleaning lady? One night of passion with a hot stranger or the family jewels?

Even with such telling moments captured on camera for all eternity, it's impossible to tell where Lachey and Simpson's marriage is headed. Will the relationship become more solid as Simpson learns to enjoy camping, folding her own laundry and delaying gratification, almost like a real live adult? Or will the marriage crumble under the strain of their differences, devolving into alienation and contemptuous outbursts? Either way, we can only hope that cameras are rolling on that fateful day when the picnics come to an end.