Saturday, January 14, 2006

Television and Self-Delusion


This past week has been interesting as an observation in Maturity. The confirmation hearings of Samuel Alito have actually gone better than many on the Right expected, in large part due to the Democrats’ inability to perceive when they have crossed the line, to such a degree that even Katie Couric chided Senator Bombast for his conduct. A rather plain, professorial man has become perceived as the unfair target of a political witchhunt. And so his stock rises even among thsoe who would prefer to see him fail. But we already know that Democrats, in the main, have simply abandoned responsible priorities and civil debate. This week, while welcome, was predictable.

So too the trends in Mainstream television. I don’t just mean the “News”, which on the major broadcast networks means running the copy through the Boston and Los Angeles affiliates to make sure it has that left-wing sheen to placate the screaming lunatics sophisticated minions of journalism, but the prime time fare. During this week, I noted the leading shows, established and new, and found them strangely familiar in their method:

Cold Case - Unsolved murders are unraveled by a single white female, who heads up the Cold Case team. In true PC fashion, even her boss defers to her judgment and opinion. The victims are usually women and minorities, and the villains generally male and white.

Close to Home - Brave single white female leads search for truth, prosecuting crimes perpetrated against women and minorities by males and whites. This week’s episode featured a white family carrying out a race war one murder at a time; the black victims were always helpless, and there were several scenes where the families of the victims nodded their obligatory thanks for the courageous white woman stepping to save them from the other white people.

CSI - Team of pathologists solves what is beyond trained investigators from the police department. The forensics team is diverse in race, gender, class and culture, but homogenous in political sentiment. The villain is often the richest white person in the plot.

Injustice - Hailed by ABC as “groundbreaking”, this series features a brave white defense lawyer, who convicts the entire Criminal Justice system on the assumption of massive misjudgments by police, courts, attorneys and juries. The brave white man steps in to help minorities who apparently are not able to find justice without a brave white liberal to help them. Apparently the “groundbreaking” part comes from a white liberal male helping the minority people out, instead of a white liberal female.

The idea is well-established in more than a dozen primetime dramas, and yet it would offend any reasonable person, the notion that minorities need the help of liberals to find justice, to say nothing of a minority person holding authority under their own merit and effort. And yet, that is exactly how the Democrats present their candidates; mostly men, a few strong women, but always white in the nationally prominent positions, and always left-of-center. OK, so these days it’s hardly shocking that Democrats look for left-of-center, but it’s fascinating to notice just how much the Democrats seem to think that Hollywood’s version of things ought to be, is just how the DNC spends its support. Comparing the Republican record, especially in recent years, to the Democrats’ record, is amusing and quite telling. President George W. Bush has appointed more minorities to significant posts than any Democrat has even suggested. And look at the judicial appointments; no modern Democrat has even nominated a Black, Hispanic, or Asian to the Supreme Court, ever. A glance at the short list for Bush’s next appointment shows some faces and names that would be hilarious to see the race-conscious Liberals attack; they will of course, just as they did with Clarence Thomas, but the hypocrisy will be harder than ever for them to hide.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Facing Down Malice And Morons


Readers may be aware that I am preparing, late in life, to pursue my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree. Because of my work and family responsibilities, I am not in a position to move to another part of the country and spend full-time studies at a prestigious university, nor does my resume suggest that such a commitment would be significantly effective in improving my career. Like many Americans, my career needs documentation to advance, but my position does not afford the luxury of full-time study. As a result, I began to research part-time study and Distance Learning. A large number of schools offer graduate degrees with evening and/or weekend classes, and of course the Distance Learning courses were designed with working people in mind. But in addition to the need to measure the reputation of each school and program, the working student must also consider the stupidity, prejudice, and hidebound fear of progress present in many places, especially as ‘brick-and-mortar’ schools find themselves ill-equipped to address 21st-Century realities.

As a case in point, there is a blogger by the nomme de plume of “Dead Man Blogging” (his real name appears to be Dean Domenico, first name unknown, college unstated, credentials nonexistent judging from this little piece of work), which seems an awfully petty inference to such a serious issue, especially given that this fellow has not posted even one article on the Death Penalty, but I digress.

This fellow claims to be a Department Chairman at “a New England College’s Business School”. Certainly he has the arrogance to match the claim, as he tears into Distance Learning with absolutely nothing beyond his prejudice and fear of new technology to support his insults. Even so, his claims are worth examining, as they demonstrate not only the false assumptions of the Brickhead set, but also their emotional refusal to examine the matter in detail, which practice is often fatal in the business world. That is, when an executive makes important decisions on assumptions and prejudice, he is often going to discover his error in the General Ledger. For a department head of a college to make such a mistake in dismissing the value and credibility of alternative degree programs, is no less stupid than Ken Lay’s repeated imitation of Sergeant Schulz about what was going on at Enron.

Dead Man”, as he wishes to be called, makes a series of blunders in his assertions, which should be considered in the light of reason, to which I humbly submit my efforts:

Dead Man: “Distance learning, where students essentially attend college online, seems to be a win-win for all concerned. Students get college credit from the comfort of their own home, and colleges have a high profit, high growth potential alternative revenue stream. Even make-believe colleges, like the University of Phoenix, can get in on the action in tapping into the large number of people looking for an easy degree and willing to buy the credential.”

So, beyond the obvious hatred for Distance Learning, what errors does Dead Man make here? First off, he implies that Online students are lazy and Online schools are greedy. The best refutation to that comes from the fact that the University of Phoenix is accredited, meaning that its practices and curriculum have been reviewed and approved by an authorized body of professionals. In UoP’s case, that would be the Higher Learning Commission, founded in 1895 and responsible for accrediting higher-learning schools in nineteen states. The HLC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Phoenix is also a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, one of eleven major regional accrediting agencies in the United States. The United States has no national accrediting body, but does recognize several national associations in specialized degrees.

As a result, not only is the University of Phoenix recognized at regional and national levels as a fully-accredited school of higher learning, it is entirely possible that UoP has better accreditation than the college where “Dead Man” runs a department. I think it is patently obvious at this point, that referring to an accredited university with clear and strict degree requirements and course curricula as “make-believe” is not merely a baseless insult to the professors and students at the University of Phoenix, but demonstrates the low intellectual effort made by Dead Man to determine the school’s qualities. Claiming that Distance Learning is an “easy” degree or that students are trying to “buy the credential”, appears to my mind to be so false and prejudiced as to tread on an actionable offense.

Dead Man has therefore established an intellectual laziness on his part, with more than a whiff of dishonesty and malice. One difference, after all, between the in-school and online studies, is that the student attending school can sometimes hide in the back, “attending” the class but not participating if he is not prepared, while the online student is required to participate and contribute – the system records his comments and questions, so there is actually a higher standard of participation required for the online student. Dead Man is oblivious to this rather plain fact.

Next, we read this from Dead Man : “I see a lot of students, especially those returning after some time in the work force, that are just looking to get their ticket punched and seeking the easiest path to the sheepskin.”

Now see, only someone so immersed in Academia and its Elitism for Elitism’s Sake mantra, could possibly address professionals seeking an advanced degree with such obvious contempt. It seems that we working folks are somehow sullying the halls of his Ivory Tower to seek a degree which we can actually use, or to presume that years of professional work can add practical value to classroom discussion would somehow diminish the wisdom of such sages as “Dead Man”. I rather suspect that Dead Man fears that theories which are touted in the classroom would have reason to fear close examination by people experienced in the real world, and so he would prefer to keep out those who might prove him wrong, unaware that his own arguments demonstrate his error.

Dead Man did make one salient comment in his article: “The two important issues are whether the distance learning experience delivers a valuable education, and whether a distance learning degree delivers a valued credential.”

Unfortunately, this “Department Chairman” completely fails to answer the first question honestly, and so fails on accuracy as well. His article places the value on what Dead Man calls “traditional college educators” and “sophisticated employers”, never observing the false premise contained in those groups. First, a reasonable querant looks for objective responses to significant questions, not consensus among partisans. Dead Man apparently asked some people with backgrounds and environments similar to his own, and wonder of wonders, discovered that they share his prejudice. Dead Man reinforces this blunder by claiming, again on no evidence whatsoever, that Distance Learning means “low-level entrance requirements (which are essentially a pen and checkbook)” [the man simply cannot be bothered to go dig up the facts on this point], and “the lack of a classroom experience replete with interactions with instructors and other students”. This second statement is even more outrageous, when one considers real-world examples. I have already outlined the accreditation of Phoenix, but Dead Man also blows the point by failing to observe that a number of very fine traditional universities also offer Distance Learning graduate programs, including Arizona State University, Boston University, Colorado State University, Drexel University, Gonzaga University, the University of Iowa, Loyola Marymount University, Pepperdine University, Purdue University, Quinnipiac University, Syracuse University, Temple University, Tulane University, Villanova University, Wake Forest University, and the University of Washington. Dead Man manages to falsely insult over a hundred universities offering online degree, including many with AACSB accreditation – the highest tier of accrediting associations for business schools. Dead Man once again proves himself to be either exceptionally dense, or exceptionally malicious in addition to being recklessly stupid.

Dead man dismisses the online discussions as “canned”, which I find distinctly hypocritical and pretentious. I recall my undergraduate days at Baylor, in classes which sometimes exceeded a hundred students, so that asking the professor a question during class was simply impossible, and many professors were notorious for not being at their offices during posted hours. The online experience, on the other hand, is specifically engineered to create conversation including all students, where every student has access to the professor and classmates, and where questions and observations are not limited to a set schedule, but are posted and answered both in real time and as different individuals see the posting. This provides not only for more response, but better information and a deeper understanding of the material discussed. Once again, Dead Man’s prejudices blind him to perceiving the true state of things.

Dead Man sniffs at the very notion of Distance Learning, saying “This is not a defensive posture germinating from a desire to preserve our jobs and the status quo; quite the contrary, distance learning (and for some, even web-ct, i.e., distance learning lite), would make our jobs immensely easier. We are philosophically against it, and see it as a matter of ethics and efficacy.”

Having cited evidence that shows Dead Man is not only unaware of the educational advantages of the online classroom, clearly biased against fullly-employed students pursuing advanced degrees, and totally out of touch with not only the failings of old-style classrooms, but also the teaching gains to be had by using new technology, this statement is worse than self-serving – it is no better than denial, and once again falsely implies a lower standard to Distance Learning. Further, the exponential growth of Distance Learning degrees from schools ranked as among the very best for business degrees by such publications as Business Week and U.S. News and World Report, demonstrates a rank hypocrisy by Dead Man and his like-minded cronies. No, he and his ilk demean Distance Learning, even as some of the very best schools in the country pursue such options and excel in their results. Dead Man says “When we get applications from those with distance learning degrees, for instance, they are immediately discarded. Many of the employers we talk to have the same perspective, and in fact a distance learning degree is sometimes viewed as worse than having no degree at all.”

That is simply the hate speech of a delusional bigot, and at this point only reinforces the sad stupidity of this claimant. Dead Man demands that students “work in the right way and get the job done. A distance degree signals sloth with the faint scent of artifice, a desire to take the easy way out.”

I dare say sir, that a graduate from a school like Syracuse or Drexel with an online MBA is far more competent in his field than you can pretend, especially as your inability to support your claims with evidence, or even notice the explosion of quality programs, so coldly displays a refusal to do your homework or consider evidence from the real world. And speaking from my writing perspective, Dead Man is also a distinctly poor blogger.

My point in this denunciation of such recalcitrant hypocrisy, is not only to take apart this slander against a sector of the student population, whose work is equally as good as the old-style schools could claim, but to point out that a key responsibility for the modern commentator includes challenging the prejudices and old-world bias that still stain progress and injure honest people. Whether correcting the bias of Mainstream News or the malice in Hidebound Academia, we must pursue open discussion, correction, and redirection towards Reality, away from the assumptions and hypocrisy of the past.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Where’s Waldo? I Could Tell You, But Then I Would Have To Kill You

.* * * .

Yes, it’s me again, “shilling” for the Intelligence Community, or more accurately explaining some of the roles of and distinctions between the different agencies and offices in the Intelligence Community (IC). The Aluminati will claim it’s all conspiracy of course, but the actual separation of duties and roles for each agency is important to seeing the mosaic which is U.S. National Security. I have already discussed the CIA, NSA, and FBI, although barely touching the surface of each. Today, I examine one of the more obscure agencies, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

From its name, one would suspect that the DIA performs a military version of the functions done by the CIA, but that is not exactly correct. The DIA is a manager of information for the military, but where the CIA uses its agents to collect information and analyzes that for decisions by the Executive Branch, the DIA receives military intelligence and disseminates it to the men in the field.

The DIA was created in 1961, and enjoys the distinction of being the first agency to conclusively determine the existence of Soviet missile launch pads on the island of Cuba in 1962.

This parsing of information may seem small matters to people obsessed with our collection efforts, but analysis is the key to making use of any information. As important as it is to gain the clues to what our enemies intend, we must have capable analysts who can not only determine the likely intentions of our foes, but offer useful information to the men who must prevent those intentions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Malcolm In The Middle, SCOTUS Style


As the Senate Judiciary Committee bumbles through predictable questions, predictable statements, and heads towards what certainly appears to be the predictable confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, there seems to be little attention paid yet to the man whose stock rises the most in this new balance of influence; Justice Anthony Kennedy.

It looks pretty likely that Samuel Alito will be confirmed to the high court, and it’s pretty clear that Alito will be, as much as we can be sure, more to the liking of Conservatives than Liberals. He will join the likes of Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and of course Chief Justice Roberts as champions of that paradigm.

On the other side, of course, are the existing voices which have sung a chorus more to the Liberal tune: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, Stephen Breyer, and John Paul Stevens. That matches up four from the Right, against four from the Left. The tipping point on controversial issues, then, will be Justice Kennedy.

In theory, Kennedy is a little bit more to the Right than to the Left. But there is reason for concern in his opinions. As an example, regarding the rights and authority of the President under Article II of the Constitution, which bears directly on the present conflict, we may find reason for concern from Kennedy’s comments in CHENEY V. UNITED STATES DIST. COURT FOR D. C. (03-475) 542 U.S. 367 (2004), where Kennedy wrote the opinion, saying “Once executive privilege is asserted, coequal branches of the Government are set on a collision course. The Judiciary is forced into the difficult task of balancing the need for information in a judicial proceeding and the Executive’s Article II prerogatives. This inquiry places courts in the awkward position of evaluating the Executive’s claims of confidentiality and autonomy, and pushes to the fore difficult questions of separation of powers and checks and balances”, meaning that the Court may claim the right to review Presidential authority. In the case before the court, Kennedy and the majority reasoned that the “Court’s analysis of whether mandamus relief is appropriate should itself be constrained by principles similar to those we have outlined, supra, at 9—11, that limit the Court of Appeals’ use of the remedy. The panel majority, however, failed to ask this question. Instead, it labored under the mistaken assumption that the assertion of executive privilege is a necessary precondition to the Government’s separation-of-powers objections.” A mixed bag, confirming the President’s authority, while claiming the right to review that authority.

Also of interest would be Kennedy’s concurrence in ASHCROFT V. AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION (00-1293) 535 U.S. 564 (2002), where Kennedy sided with arguments defeating the Child Online Protection Act, placing the freedoms of pornographers ahead of the safety of children. Kennedy made the same decision again in ASHCROFT V. AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION (03-218) 542 U.S. 656 (2004), even to the point of arguing that because foreign pornography could still be seen with the COPA filters in place, that this constituted unfair treatment of American pornographers, since it suppressed their expression but not foreign expression.

Another indicator of the mind Of Kennedy would be the Kelo decision. In Kennedy’s concurrence of the near abolition of private property rights, Kennedy changed the meaning of the law to put all the weight on proving malice on the part of the homeowner, creating a government "right" to seize private property unless malice was proven. Kennedy sniffed “while there may be categories of cases in which the transfers are so suspicious, or the procedures employed so prone to abuse, or the purported benefits are so trivial or implausible, that courts should presume an impermissible private purpose, no such circumstances are present in this case.” One wonders if Kennedy has ever seen things from the eye of the common man.

So, while the coming confirmation of Alito is a good sign, we still need to gain a sound mind to put the Court right. I worry that the celebrity of being courted by both sides will give Kennedy an arrogance worthy of his surname.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Hokey Pokey


My books from Ebay finally arrived. What’s interesting is, the tracking number at still shows them in Dallas. The lack of detail in their tracking system is obvious; they show the initial pickup in Seattle, travel to Federal Way that same day, then nothing until January 5th, when the books were located in Dallas. And no movement in the tracking number through today, even though the books have actually been delivered. Apparently, it requires a manual notice added to the account to update the location, which not only delays the notice of movement, but creates a real potential for error. Compared to UPS, the Postal Service really is still in the Stone Age, and their recent rate hike is not likely to fix that.

I am not saying that UPS is perfect, by any means. A couple years ago, a UPS delivery ended up on my door, even though it

A - was for a house on a completely different street; and
B - was supposed to be signed for on delivery.

I looked up the right street and delivered the package myself. I wondered at the time, and wonder again now, what sort of disciplinary measures UPS uses when a delivery guy makes this kind of error. In any case, it reminds me that any company is going to have a certain amount of lost or delayed deliveries. But it also reminds me that the mindset at any given company is trained, and avoidable mistakes happen in places where the perspective is not in line with the real world. On every level, the Postal Service does its best, but cannot claim a standard of excellence. Lines are shorter at private companies, their rates go up less often, the private companies’ tracking process is more effective and accurate, and deliveries can be guaranteed to a more precise degree. The Postal Service, for example, offers guaranteed delivery within two business days, but FedEx can guarantee delivery within a twelve-hour window, in some cases within a four-hour window. That reflects not only the limitations of a massive government-style bureacracy, but also an attitude which is not primarily focused on the customer. Not to pick on the USPS, but I have observed periods where the carrier simply chose not to complete a route, where deliveries were missed for two or three days at a location, simply because the delivery person was not motivated to go to all their assigned stops. This speaks to Accountability, and to Apathy.

The reader may well wonder why I am rehashing something I brought up last week, but in this case I am thinking about how the USPS reflects the shortcomings of another large government body with a problem focusing on Accountability or personal responsibility - the U.S. Senate. As you read this article, somewhere in a committee room a Senator is either asking a question for no purpose beyond grandstanding, laying a foundation for his or her political campaigns in the fall, or some Senate aide is looking past the larger evidence of Alito’s mind and character, in search of some small piece of paper which can be employed, no matter how out of context, as an attack on him or the President who nominated him. As I was driving home yesterday, I heard Hugh Hewitt discuss the Alito record with another lawyer, who mentioned the sheer hypocrisy of Ted Kennedy, for suggesting that Alito is racist because of his ruling in one case, even though there were more than a dozen major cases where Alito’s opinion was in strong favor of the minority plaintiff. I did not have a way to write down the names or cases at the time, but the point was not only clear, but also sadly familiar. We are all aware that politics takes precedence over things most of us would count greater. The United States Senate seems to consider themselves above the accountability they demand of most public servants. Indeed, I suspect most of them only think of the very word “servants” as people they employ, rather than a description of their own office and duties. More than a few Senators have made comments this winter which suggest they plan to wait out President Bush, knowing he will not run for a third term (since such limits are applied to Presidents but not Senators), and wait for a more malleable Chief Executive. Small wonder that the rumor mill is pressing the names of McCain and Clinton, members of “The Club” themselves, for the party nominations, even if the average American would be poorly served by either one as President.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Spies With Nice Ties – The FBI

[ .*.*. ]

Well, the fire is burning nicely, I can see. The previous discussions about the CIA and the NSA have enjoyed a fair amount of discussion, but I find myself amused by the confusion on the Left’s part. Not so much that they still continue to ignore the legality of the electronic intercepts, which they insist on miscalling “wiretaps”, but the fact that liberals continue to obsess on foreign intelligence agencies possibly trampling on their civil rights, when in actual fact the only intelligence agency known to have any history of abusing citizens’ rights, of committing violence against splinter groups, and using force to remove an asylum-seeker from his mother on U.S. soil, is also the primary intelligence agency authorized to conduct domestic surveillance on American citizens – the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The FBI began with a series of events not unlike the present need to match agencies with the needs they faced. In 1908, the Justice Department, tired of having to request help from the Treasury Department when in need of detectives, pressed for the creation of a detective service for the DoJ. On July 26 1908, Attorney General Charles Bonaparte hired nine detectives, thirteen civil rights investigators, and twelve accountants to take on a range of cases deemed important to the Department of Justice. In World War One, the Bureau acquired responsibility for enforcing the Espionage, Selective Service, and Sabotage Acts. From there on, the FBI was the principal government arm for investigating domestic threats to National Security.

In its present identity, the FBI is the agency which most implements the provisions of the PATRIOT Act. If someone flashes a badge and asks your boss about you, it will most likely be the FBI. If someone goes through your trash or follows you on your way to work if you live in the United States, it’s the FBI looking over your shoulder. And its’ the FBI who make the most use of the FISA warrants; because the FBI is a dual-purpose agency, who is at long last allowed to tell intelligence agencies information of value to National Security, but who also has a keen interest in making arrests when a citizen goes dirty.

The FBI also has a very different idea of profile. The CIA hides as someone else, and the NSA simply won’t be seen. The G-men, on the other hand, work up a high profile, very sharp and smooth. Look on television, and you will see no less than a half-dozen major shows where an FBI agent is the hero. Even “The X-Files” foilhead agent Mulder made the Bureau look cool. This is no coincidence. Even from the start, the FBI kept strict rules about dress and appearance, and whatever else was important to J. Edgar Hoover, the man understood public image, and never ceased to boost the profile of the clean-cut government agent as hero.

The Bureau has had more documented cases of abuse than virtually all the other intelligence agencies combined. Yet the FBI also stands out as an efficient and respected group of agents. In addition to hundreds of U.S. offices, the FBI also maintains a number of offices in foreign nations, called Legates. These agents act as a sort of consultant to other nations and to U.S. agencies abroad, providing access to the FBI’s cutting-edge forensics laboratories and analysis facilities. And the FBI has always maintained strong relations with the military – it’s hardly a coincidence that the main FBI training grounds are a Quantico.

Also, it’s worth noting that many intelligence agents join the FBI when they leave the field, and the FBI works in an advisory capacity with many intelligence agencies. Now that’s dressing for success!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

No Such Agency


If you make a phone call to someone in another country, and use any of a certain lexicon of words, especially in certain combinations, odds are that your conversation has been professionally recorded and analyzed to determine whether or not you represent a threat to the National Security of the United States. Not just in the past few years either, but anytime in the past couple decades. The stories are actually far behind the technology, and the technology is still chasing the need. In case you are curious about who has been listening in on your calls, I can’t give you specific names, but I can assure that the eavesdroppers work for the National Security Agency (NSA).

In true American tradition, and paying homage to the need to advertise everything these days, the NSA has a web site, complete with virtual tour. If you go there, you will note that the NSA site is also linked to something called “Central Security Service” (this is tied to cryptology in specific, and that’s really as far as the NSA/CSS will go about them) . While the site is interesting and attractive, it actual has quite a bit of detail to it, which is a surprise. It’s a savvy place, which not only details the history of the NSA and what it does (officially, anyway), it includes a plan for declassifying historically significant information, and even includes a cartoon character named “T.Top”, a hip hop turtle with a goatee and a team of cartoon friends dubbed “CryptoKids: America’s Future Codemakers and Codebreakers” - it’s a way to get kids interested in the mathematics of cryptology and ciphers, and to give the NSA an idea who’s interested. Hey, it’s no worse than the cookies embedded in the Nickelodeon site. It also shows that the NSA is quite a bit further along in figuring out how to sell themselves to the country, and how to keep silent what they want to protect. As an example, when the story broke (illegally, by the way) about the NSA plan to monitor international electronic communications involving suspected terrorist plans and activities, many Americans accused the CIA of conducting the operations, even though the NSA was specifically named. Even though the NSA is actually as old as the CIA, is far larger in terms of budget, staffing, and allotted resources, it remains largely unknown to most Americans, and even when Hollywood goes after the NSA as a stock villain (a common practice, actually) , the average viewer often does not realize that such an agency really does exist. And unlike the CIA, the NSA is fully authorized, within certain limits, to conduct surveillance on U.S. soil.

But while the NSA is intensely interested in monitoring communications of likely interest, it is even more intent on maintaining something called Information Assurance (IA). To put it in simpler terms, the USA has long held a commanding lead in electronic surveillance and secure communications. This means that our enemies and rivals have been working hard not just to catch up, but to find ways to destabilize our secure communications. Viruses, worms, trojan horses and the like, are not only malicious pranks created by individuals with perverse senses of humor, but are also major programs planned and coordinated with the intent of finding a fatal flaw in our infrastructure. Criminals understand that it’s possible to steal thousands of dollars each from victims, by gaining access to their credit card accounts; governments understand that it is theoretically possible to destablize a government by wrecking confidence in its financial structure, through malicious destruction or corruption of, say, the trade records at the New York Stock Exchange, or the wire transfer protocols of Chase Bank, or any of hundreds of similar scenarios. You may not think that National Security depends on your ability to trust the security of an online purchase or bill pay, but the NSA believes so.

Just something to think about.

PFL Wild Card Round


American ConferenceTeddy Roosevelt (16-0) -bye-
Reagan (16-0) -bye-
Washington (16-1) 31, Polk (12-5) 17
Monroe (14-3) 30, Grant (14-3) 6

National ConferenceGeorge W. Bush (16-0) -bye-
Eisenhower (15-1) -bye-
Franklin Roosevelt (15-2) 27, Kennedy (11-6) 9
Jefferson (14-3) 24, Truman (13-4) 15

Next Week:

Monroe (14-3) at Teddy Roosevelt (16-0)
Washington (16-1) at Reagan (16-0)

Jefferson (14-3) at George W. Bush (16-0)
Franklin Roosevelt (15-2) at Eisenhower (15-1)