Monthly Archives: July 2007

Yahoo!’s Veracity Challenged

Does Yahoo! have more in common with Gonzales than is good for them? You may recall the cause celbre of Yahoo! giving up email records to the Chinese government which were then used to jail a dissident. According to Yahoo! at the time the issue hit the fan, the story was that when Yahoo! had been asked for the email records Yahoo! didn't know this was a political rather than ordinary criminal matter.

Now, however, there's evidence that at all relevant times Yahoo! knew or should have known that this was a political case. The case is made out by Rebecca MacKinnon at RConversation: Shi Tao's case: Yahoo! knew more than they claimed.

Posted in Internet, Politics: International | 1 Comment

Snarky, Yes — But How Is It Wrong?

Jim Henley knows how to upset me. In It Takes a Pillage he asks one of tough questions about Hillary Clinton (the other one would be about K Street, I think).

Go visit: it's not long, and I'll wait.

Now, what's the answer?

Posted in Politics: US: 2008 Elections | 2 Comments

Lies – Gonzales Must Go

Anonymous Liberal makes The Case Against Gonzales — and it's a pretty powerful account that very strongly indicates he lied to Congress. Some, maybe most, of the lies technically may not be perjury as they were statements made while Gonzales was not under oath, but even so, telling a Senate committee lies is illegal, immoral, and ample reason for Gonzales to go.

Try here if cartoon doesn't appear properly.

Posted in Politics: US: GW Bush Scandals | Leave a comment

SWAT Team Takes Over Part of the Campus Today

Oh what fun.

University of Miami Police, in conjunction with the City of Coral Gables Police Department, will hold an all-day training exercise on the northeast section of UM's Coral Gables campus from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 28. The exercise will involve mock explosions, helicopters, SWAT teams, and multiple response teams from most local municipalities, which are expected to send teams to participate. In addition, Doctors Hospital will participate in the exercise by offering simulated on-site medical assistance to actors posing as victims.

Access to Mahoney/Pearson Residential College will be limited to authorized personnel only on the day of the mock exercise. If you must be on campus in the vicinity of this mock exercise-which will take place between Stanford Drive and Granada Boulevard and from Ponce de Leon Boulevard to Campo Sano Avenue-please display your 'Cane Card. If you must enter this area, you will be asked to furnish UM-issued identification.

Posted in U.Miami | Leave a comment

Critique of NASA Stalls on Launch Pad

Speaker Pelosi's blog carries a bit of news designed to shock us about the terrible management over at NASA. It seems they've lost $94,000,000 in stuff.

But read on to the end please before you get all worked up about this one.

First, here's what the Speaker's office, echoing the GAO, had to say:

This week, the General Accountability Office (GAO) released a report requested by Science Committee Chairman Bart Gordon on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) lack of monitoring and control over their $35 billion of property, plant, and equipment. NASA has reported a loss of over $94 million in equipment in the last ten years.

The GAO noted that they have reported on NASA’s lack of property control “for years” and that NASA themselves undertook an internal study but “instead of tightening controls, as recommended by the agency’s 2002 equipment loss study, when faced with equipment losses, NASA raised its threshold for tracking and controlling nonsensitive equipment items from $1,000 to $5,000. This essentially eliminated control over all nonsensitive equipment costing less than $5,000.”

And here are the two worst examples they found, both involving lost laptops:

  • “My wife needed a computer at home to perform her work as a real estate broker so I checked one out from the surplus stock available. I turned the computer back in when she was done using it but never received a receipt.”
  • “This computer, although assigned to me, was being used on board the International Space Station. I was informed that it was tossed overboard to be burned up in the atmosphere when it failed.”

Now, I'll grant you that the first is a bit suspicious, and the second not real credible (but who knows?).

Even so, I just can't get real worked up about this particular example of governmental waste, fraud and abuse for the following reasons:

1) It confuses stock and flow. NASA has a stock of $35 bn in equipment; it loses $94m over ten years (flow).

2) So in a single year, on average, out of $35,000,000,000 of stuff, NASA loses/misplaces $9,400,000 worth.

3) Let's do the math: 9,400,000 / 35,000,000,000 = 0.000268571429 or if you prefer 0.0268571429 %

Yes that's right: less than .03 % (three one-hundredths of 1 percent) of lost stuff per year.

Is that so terrible? I bet few corporations do so well. Sure, there's some petty theft, and there shouldn't be, but even so…

I am sure there is a great deal to pick on at NASA, but this doesn't cut it for me.

Posted in Econ & Money | 2 Comments

More Stuff to Read

Again, feel free to add yours.

Posted in Linkorama | 3 Comments