Saturday, May 28, 2005

NYT: Bully Boy "asked a federal appeals restore its ability to compel Internet service providers to turn over" customer information

The Bush administration asked a federal appeals court Friday to restore its ability to compel Internet service providers to turn over information about their customers or subscribers as part of its fight against terrorism.
The legal filing with the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York comes amid a debate in Congress over renewal of the Patriot Act and whether to expand the FBI's power to seek records without the approval of a judge or grand jury.
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero of New York last year blocked the government from conducting secret searches of communications records, saying the law that authorized them wrongly barred legal challenges and imposed a gag order on affected businesses.

That's from the Associated Press' "White House Wants Search Limits Overturned" and was e-mailed by Gareth for us to highlight.

We'll note an AP article that's too brief to pull quote. It's entitled "Head Start's Director Quits Amid Review." Windy M. Hill has resigned. We'll quote the full statement online at the Head Start site (it's a government site, the information is public record):

Associate Commissioner for the Head Start Bureau Windy Hill announced today her resignation. Ms. Hill’s resignation will take effect immediately. The Head Start Bureau is part of the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Joan Ohl, who currently serves as Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, will also oversee the Head Start Bureau on an interim basis.
"Windy is a caring and devoted person who has always been interested in the well-being of children," said Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Wade F. Horn, Ph.D. "We appreciate her service and wish her well in future endeavors."

The Associated Press article alerts readers to questions "over accusations of financial abuses at the Head Start center she ran in Bastrop, Tex." and notes that, despite no official reason being given for her departure, she was "under review by the Health and Human Services Department's inspector general."

The article alerts readers to allegations by the National Head Start Association but doesn't inform what the alleagtions were. At the National Head Start's Associationweb site, you can find an article from the New York Times (dated June 30, 2004, published July 1st):

Advocates for Head Start day care centers on Wednesday accused the national head of the Head Start program, Windy M. Hill, of violating federal ethics rules in an effort to cover up evidence of mismanagement at a Head Start center she ran in Texas before coming to Washington.
The advocates also said that Ms. Hill announced in a management meeting several weeks ago that she planned to step down as head of the $6.7 billion program in November. Ms. Hill, accused by Head Start providers of mismanaging her own Head Start program in Texas, has been under investigation by the inspector general's office at the Department of Health and Human Services for several months.
Wade F. Horn, assistant secretary for children and families, said in a statement that Ms. Hill had not submitted her resignation and that he did not expect her to.

The article is by Jean Schemo and entitled "Head Start Group Accuses Program Official of Ethics Violations."

That's two AP articles the Times is carrying online (the Head Start piece appears in print in my edition, the other doesn't) that they could have utilized staff to write. Maybe everyone's working on some big story or maybe everyone's on holiday?

Douglas Jehl and Carl Hulse's "McCain Urging Accord on Bolton and Secret Documents:"

One of John R. Bolton's leading Republican backers, Senator John McCain of Arizona, signaled his support on Friday for a compromise in which the White House might allow Senate leaders access to highly classified documents in return for a final vote early next month on Mr. Bolton's nomination as United Nations ambassador.
The conciliatory signal from Mr. McCain came as Senate leaders traded blame over who was responsible for the miscalculation that led to Mr. Bolton's nomination being blocked Thursday. But the White House showed no sign that the Bush administration might change course.

Back to Associated Press (seriously, how many Times staffers are on vacation right now?), we'll note "Microsoft Cuts Ties to Lobbyist:"

The Microsoft Corporation said on Friday that it had severed ties with Ralph Reed, a Republican lobbyist and former leader of the Christian Coalition who is running for lieutenant governor of Georgia.
"Ralph Reed is no longer on retainer with Microsoft," said a company spokeswoman, Ginny Terzano.

Question for Terzano, why was he ever on retainer to begin with?

Gina: Did I miss some revelation that Reed was a computer genius?

Ned: Microsoft tried to stand apart from MSNBC during the airing of Michael Savage's program. I wonder if they'd be cut as much slack if it happened now since we've learned that Microsoft has gone far beyond it's stated core principles of respect? Abandoning support for gay rights and hiring a Reed or a Savage go hand in hand.

Brandon e-mails another Associated Press article "Nuclear Plants Lack Warning Sirens, Study Says." (Short article, so utilize link.)

Again, how many people at the Times are already on holiday? Now during the tsunami, the coverage from the Times benefitted from the fact that reporters we hadn't usually heard from (or heard from as much) were able to break through with strong reporting. But how many AP articles is the Times running this morning? (Only the Microsoft and the Head Start pieces appear in my print edition.)

Carl e-mails to ask if I'm going to discuss Elisabeth Bumiller's latest which isn't a "White House Letter" (therefore, not an op-ed). I may read it later, Carl, but honestly, right now I'm willing to note that at least Bumiller didn't start her holiday Friday. (Though I'm not sure that's a good thing with regards to Bumiller's content.)

Erika e-mails to note Thomas J. Lueck and Kareem Fahim's "Mass Bicycle Ride Leads to Few Arrests:"

The monthly Critical Mass bicycle ride, which has often been met by a large police presence and many arrests, began more peacefully last night and ended with a brief show of force by the Police Department. The ride included fewer arrests and what appeared at first to be an accommodating tactic by the police, according to people who took part.
[. . .]
"We are really excited, and we are hoping this is a good sign," said Bill DiPaola, the director of Time's Up!, an advocacy group that is closely allied with the monthly ride, before hearing news of riders' being detained. Participants in the Critical Mass rally, who maintain that it has no formal organization, say they participate in the monthly ritual to promote pollution-free transportation.

Randy e-mails to note John Tierney's latest op-eds. (Members are allowed to comment and editorialize on them.)

Randy: Is he suffering from Mad Cow? What world does he live in and why does the paper publish this nonsense. He's a complete idiot and a Happy Talker of the worst sort. The house around him could be burning down and he'd be calling for franks and sausages he could roast.
[David] Brooks is bad enough with his psuedo research but Tierney has assumed the dottering old fool mantle from Safire quicker than I would have expected. It's amazing how early senility has set in. You picture him wondering around the room in a shawl, clucking like [Charles Dickens'] Miss Havisham.

Lastly, Keesha e-mails to note Raymond Bonner's "Indonesia Sentences Australian to 20 Years on Marijuana Count." Keesha notes: "He did end up having an article in Saturday's paper." From the article, here's the opening:

A drug smuggling case that has captivated and outraged Australia came to a climax on Friday when a 27-year-old Australian woman was given a 20-year prison term for trying to bring nine pounds of marijuana into Bali hidden in her bodyboard bag.
The verdict, read in a packed courtroom in Bali, was carried live on Australian television and radio. The three judges who heard the case could have sentenced the defendant, Schapelle Corby, to death, a fate met by many foreigners convicted of drug offenses in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries.
Ms. Corby has steadfastly maintained her innocence [. . .]

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[Note: Entry corrected to spell "marijuana" correctly. Obviously I'm an idiot and, presumably, have never been around marijuana hence my ignorance of the spelling. Unless, of course, I've so baked my head with marijuana that, as a result, I'm no longer able to spell it correctly. Or possibly somewhere in between the two positions.]