Tag Archives: us-government

The Basic Incident Command System

[ via Jim Macdonald ] The Incident Command System is the standard, scalable procedure for handling everything from a car wreck to a hurricane. FEMA has an online course.

Stand down

So first, The Economist: YOU are fighting against international terrorists in a battle that both they and you describe as being one about values. You fight a war against Saddam Hussein at your initiative, not his, and you say that it is a war about law, democracy, freedom and honesty. A big metaphorical banner hangs [...]

Special Elections in case of Disaster? No thanks.

The older I get, the less I like direct democracy. Consider the bill passed yesterday by the US House that provides for special elections within 45 days in case the Congress is decimated by some catastrophe. James Sensenbrenner (R, WI,) never a friend of individual rights, and a backer of the bill says it’s important [...]

Constitutional High Concept

Kieran Healy’s pitch for a horror movie: “The Constitution really is a living document!” Must send this to screenwriting teacher.

The Anti-Miscegenation Amendment

Yipes, in 1912 there was an attempt to amend the US Constitution to ban interracial* marriages, this in the wake of a black man defeating a white boxing champion. You can insert that line about the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. *I can’t stand the term ‘race’ because it has no [...]

Interview with Stan Robinson

[ via Electrolite ] SciFi.com interviews Kim Stanley Robinson. The focus is on his new novel on the politics of climate change, Fourty Signs of Rain, [ thanks, PNH ] which will be called The Capital Code in the States.

More Buttle/Tuttle Errors

From the end of the BBC report: The French Government believes the mix-up was partially down to the mistaken translation of some Arabic names. “Sorry we vanished your husband. We’re immune to torts resulting from clerical errors, however, we are prepared to refund you the cost of the bullet we used on him.” [ Thanks [...]

If Clear Channel Owned the Time

[ via Ward Willats ] Suppose the NIST let Clear Channel run WWV, the nation’s Time and Frequency radio broadcast. They’d feel compelled to re-brand it. And given that Clear Channel’s given plenty to the Bushies, it’s not a stretch to see the GOP actually give them the station.

Solving the Junk Mail Problem by redefining it

[ via Anita Rowland ] A family in Washington State stops junk mail by using a postal regulation left over from the days of Comstock: you can forbid someone from mailing sexually oriented advertising from you. The trick that makes this work is that you, dear reader, are the judge of what is sexually oriented [...]

How to deal with 15,000 messages a day at the White House: Bayesian Filters

Breakfast for Lunch alerted me to the White House’s new web mail system. Mail to president@whitehouse.gov now receives a bounce message. Instead, you must submit mail from a web form that asks you to select a topic from a dynamic JavaScript nested menu, then navigate a multipage process. Note that the first time I loaded [...]

Homeland Security Department Used to Track Texas Democrats

I was laughing about the boycott by Democratic reps in the Texas Legislature. The petulant reactions of the Republicans brought home just why I’m glad I’m no longer in that state. However, there’s a chilling side to this story. It seems that calls were made to Tom Delay, the Speaker of the US House of [...]

Thirty Years Of Fudge Could Bring Down The Shuttle Yet

The Columbia Accident Review Board has dragged out the story behind the numbers used to justify the Shuttle program back in the 1970s. It astonishing to learn just what a death trap the Shuttle is, even though other writers were aware of the problems back in the early 1980′s before Columbia first flew.

The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Neoconservative

Salon had another in a line of articles similar to the Haaretz story on the origin of the New American Century Neocons, but this one raised an ‘ah ha!’ with the following: Most neoconservative defense intellectuals have their roots on the left, not the right. They are products of the influential Jewish-American sector of the [...]

Kanan Makiya’s Proposal for Iraqi Democracy

Lazy Web, I invoke thee! I’m trying to find Kanan Makiya’s paper proposing a federalist government for post-invasion Iraq, and Google hasn’t helped. Neither has the Brandeis website. The paper is described in a reprint of a recent NY Times Magazine article on Iraqi dissidents.

UT Student Charged in Data Theft

Updating an earlier item, the University of Texas and the US Attorney for the Western District of Texas announced the arrest of a UT student in the investigation of a theft of data from a campus system. Kudos to UT Austin’s IT division for keeping alumni informed.