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Tuesday, September 20, 2004

The Case Against Bush:
A startlingly frank email from John Kerry explains why we are lost in Iraq, and what it will take to get out.

Letter from John Kerry:

This election is about choices. The most important choices a president makes are about protecting America at home and around the world. A president's first obligation is to make America safer, stronger and truer to our ideals.

Three years ago, the events of September 11 reminded every American of that obligation. That day brought to our shores the defining struggle of our times: the struggle between freedom and radical fundamentalism. And it made clear that our most important task is to fight and to win the war on terrorism.

In fighting the war on terrorism, my principles are straight forward. The terrorists are beyond reason. We must destroy them. As president, I will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat our enemies. But billions of people around the world yearning for a better life are open to America's ideals. We must reach them.

To win, America must be strong. And America must be smart. The greatest threat we face is the possibility Al Qaeda or other terrorists will get their hands on a nuclear weapon.

To prevent that from happening, we must call on the totality of America's strength -- strong alliances, to help us stop the world's most lethal weapons from falling into the most dangerous hands. A powerful military, transformed to meet the new threats of terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. And all of America's power -- our diplomacy, our intelligence system, our economic power, the appeal of our values -- each of which is critical to making America more secure and preventing a new generation of terrorists from emerging.

National security is a central issue in this campaign. We owe it to the American people to have a real debate about the choices President Bush has made and the choices I would make to fight and win the war on terror.

That means we must have a great honest national debate on Iraq. The president claims it is the centerpiece of his war on terror. In fact, Iraq was a profound diversion from that war and the battle against our greatest enemy, Osama bin Laden and the terrorists. Invading Iraq has created a crisis of historic proportions and, if we do not change course, there is the prospect of a war with no end in sight.

This month, we passed a cruel milestone: more than 1,000 Americans lost in Iraq. Their sacrifice reminds us that Iraq remains, overwhelmingly, an American burden. Nearly 90 percent of the troops -- and nearly 90 percent of the casualties -- are American. Despite the president's claims, this is not a grand coalition.

Our troops have served with extraordinary bravery, skill and resolve. Their service humbles all of us. When I speak to them when I look into the eyes of their families, I know this: we owe them the truth about what we have asked them to do and what is still to be done.

In June, the president declared, "The Iraqi people have their country back." Just last week, he told us: "This country is headed toward democracy. Freedom is on the march."

But the administration's own official intelligence estimate, given to the president last July, tells a very different story.

According to press reports, the intelligence estimate totally contradicts what the president is saying to the American people.

So do the facts on the ground.

Security is deteriorating, for us and for the Iraqis.

42 Americans died in Iraq in June -- the month before the handover. But 54 died in July -- 66 in August and already 54 halfway through September.

And more than 1,100 Americans were wounded in August -- more than in any other month since the invasion.

We are fighting a growing insurgency in an ever widening war-zone. In March, insurgents attacked our forces 700 times. In August, they attacked 2,700 times -- a 400% increase.

Falluja, Ramadi, Samarra, even parts of Baghdad -- are now "no go zones" -- breeding grounds for terrorists who are free to plot and launch attacks against our soldiers. The radical Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, who is accused of complicity in the murder of Americans, holds more sway in the suburbs of Baghdad.

Violence against Iraqis from bombings to kidnappings to intimidation is on the rise.

Basic living conditions are also deteriorating.

Residents of Baghdad are suffering electricity blackouts lasting up to 14 hours a day.

Raw sewage fills the streets, rising above the hubcaps of our Humvees. Children wade through garbage on their way to school.

Unemployment is over 50 percent. Insurgents are able to find plenty of people willing to take $150 for tossing grenades at passing U.S. convoys.

Yes, there has been some progress, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our soldiers and civilians in Iraq. Schools, shops and hospitals have been opened. In parts of Iraq, normalcy actually prevails.

But most Iraqis have lost faith in our ability to deliver meaningful improvements to their lives. So they're sitting on the fence instead of siding with us against the insurgents.

That is the truth -- the truth that the commander in chief owes to our troops and the American people.

It is never easy to discuss what has gone wrong while our troops are in constant danger. But it's essential if we want to correct our course and do what's right for our troops instead of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

I know this dilemma first-hand. After serving in war, I returned home to offer my own personal voice of dissent. I did so because I believed strongly that we owed it those risking their lives to speak truth to power. We still do.

Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell. But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: we have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.

The president has said that he "miscalculated" in Iraq and that it was a "catastrophic success." In fact, the president has made a series of catastrophic decisions from the beginning in Iraq. At every fork in the road, he has taken the wrong turn and led us in the wrong direction.

The first and most fundamental mistake was the president's failure to tell the truth to the American people.

He failed to tell the truth about the rationale for going to war. And he failed to tell the truth about the burden this war would impose on our soldiers and our citizens.

By one count, the president offered 23 different rationales for this war. If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded.

His two main rationales -- weapons of mass destruction and the Al Qaeda/September 11 connection -- have been proved false by the president's own weapons inspectors and by the 9/11 Commission. Just last week, Secretary of State Powell acknowledged the facts. Only Vice President Cheney still insists that the earth is flat.

The president also failed to level with the American people about what it would take to prevail in Iraq.

He didn't tell us that well over 100,000 troops would be needed, for years, not months. He didn't tell us that he wouldn't take the time to assemble a broad and strong coalition of allies. He didn't tell us that the cost would exceed $200 billion. He didn't tell us that even after paying such a heavy price, success was far from assured.

And America will pay an even heavier price for the president's lack of candor.

At home, the American people are less likely to trust this administration if it needs to summon their support to meet real and pressing threats to our security.

Abroad, other countries will be reluctant to follow America when we seek to rally them against a common menace -- as they are today. Our credibility in the world has plummeted.

In the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy sent former Secretary of State Dean Acheson to Europe to build support. Acheson explained the situation to French President de Gaulle. Then he offered to show him highly classified satellite photos, as proof. De Gaulle waved the photos away, saying: "The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me."

How many world leaders have that same trust in America's president, today?

This president's failure to tell the truth to us before the war has been exceeded by fundamental errors of judgment during and after the war.

The president now admits to "miscalculations" in Iraq.

That is one of the greatest understatements in recent American history. His were not the equivalent of accounting errors. They were colossal failures of judgment -- and judgment is what we look for in a president.

This is all the more stunning because we're not talking about 20/20 hindsight. Before the war, before he chose to go to war, bi-partisan Congressional hearings... major outside studies... and even some in the administration itself... predicted virtually every problem we now face in Iraq.

This president was in denial. He hitched his wagon to the ideologues who surround him, filtering out those who disagreed, including leaders of his own party and the uniformed military. The result is a long litany of misjudgments with terrible consequences.

The administration told us we'd be greeted as liberators. They were wrong.

They told us not to worry about looting or the sorry state of Iraq's infrastructure. They were wrong.

They told us we had enough troops to provide security and stability, defeat the insurgents, guard the borders and secure the arms depots. They were wrong.

They told us we could rely on exiles like Ahmed Chalabi to build political legitimacy. They were wrong.

They told us we would quickly restore an Iraqi civil service to run the country and a police force and army to secure it. They were wrong.

In Iraq, this administration has consistently over-promised and under-performed. This policy has been plagued by a lack of planning, an absence of candor, arrogance and outright incompetence. And the president has held no one accountable, including himself.

In fact, the only officials who lost their jobs over Iraq were the ones who told the truth.

General Shinseki said it would take several hundred thousand troops to secure Iraq. He was retired. Economic adviser Larry Lindsey said that Iraq would cost as much as $200 billion. He was fired. After the successful entry into Baghdad, George Bush was offered help from the UN -- and he rejected it. He even prohibited any nation from participating in reconstruction efforts that wasn't part of the original coalition -- pushing reluctant countries even farther away. As we continue to fight this war almost alone, it is hard to estimate how costly that arrogant decision was. Can anyone seriously say this president has handled Iraq in a way that makes us stronger in the war on terrorism?

By any measure, the answer is no. Nuclear dangers have mounted across the globe. The international terrorist club has expanded. Radicalism in the Middle East is on the rise. We have divided our friends and united our enemies. And our standing in the world is at an all time low.

Think about it for a minute. Consider where we were... and where we are. After the events of September 11, we had an opportunity to bring our country and the world together in the struggle against the terrorists. On September 12, headlines in newspapers abroad declared "we are all Americans now." But through his policy in Iraq, the president squandered that moment and rather than isolating the terrorists, left America isolated from the world.

We now know that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and posed no imminent threat to our security. It had not, as the vice president claimed, "reconstituted nuclear weapons."

The president's policy in Iraq took our attention and resources away from other, more serious threats to America.

Threats like North Korea, which actually has weapons of mass destruction, including a nuclear arsenal, and is building more under this president's watch -- the emerging nuclear danger from Iran -- the tons and kilotons of unsecured chemical and nuclear weapons in Russia -- and the increasing instability in Afghanistan.

Today, warlords again control much of that country, the Taliban is regrouping, opium production is at an all time high and the Al Qaeda leadership still plots and plans, not only there but in 60 other nations. Instead of using U.S. forces, we relied on the warlords to capture Osama bin Laden when he was cornered in the mountains. He slipped away. We then diverted our focus and forces from the hunt for those responsible for September 11 in order invade Iraq.

We know Iraq played no part in September 11 and had no operational ties to Al Qaeda.

The president's policy in Iraq precipitated the very problem he said he was trying to prevent. Secretary of State Powell admits that Iraq was not a magnet for international terrorists before the war. Now it is, and they are operating against our troops. Iraq is becoming a sanctuary for a new generation of terrorists who someday could hit the United States.

We know that while Iraq was a source of friction, it was not previously a source of serious disagreement with our allies in Europe and countries in the Muslim world.

The president's policy in Iraq divided our oldest alliance and sent our standing in the Muslim world into free fall. Three years after 9/11, even in many moderate Muslim countries like Jordan, Morocco, and Turkey, Osama bin Laden is more popular than the United States of America.

Let me put it plainly: The president's policy in Iraq has not strengthened our national security. It has weakened it.

Two years ago, Congress was right to give the president the authority to use force to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. This president, any president would have needed the threat of force to act effectively. This president misused that authority.

The power entrusted to the president gave him a strong hand to play in the international community. The idea was simple. We would get the weapons inspectors back in to verify whether or not Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And we would convince the world to speak with one voice to Saddam: disarm or be disarmed.

A month before the war, President Bush told the nation: "If we have to act, we will take every precaution that is possible. We will plan carefully. We will act with the full power of the United States military. We will act with allies at our side and we will prevail." He said that military action wasn't "unavoidable."

Instead, the president rushed to war without letting the weapons inspectors finish their work. He went without a broad and deep coalition of allies. He acted without making sure our troops had enough body armor. And he plunged ahead without understanding or preparing for the consequences of the post-war. None of which I would have done.

Yet today, President Bush tells us that he would do everything all over again, the same way. How can he possibly be serious? Is he really saying that if we knew there were no imminent threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to Al Qaeda, the United States should have invaded Iraq? My answer is no -- because a commander in chief's first responsibility is to make a wise and responsible decision to keep America safe.

Now the president, in looking for a new reason, tries to hang his hat on the "capability" to acquire weapons. But that was not the reason given to the nation; it was not the reason Congress voted on; it's not a reason, it's an excuse. Thirty-five to forty countries have greater capability to build a nuclear bomb than Iraq did in 2003. Is President Bush saying we should invade them?

I would have concentrated our power and resources on defeating global terrorism and capturing or killing Osama bin Laden. I would have tightened the noose and continued to pressure and isolate Saddam Hussein -- who was weak and getting weaker -- so that he would pose no threat to the region or America.

The president's insistence that he would do the same thing all over again in Iraq is a clear warning for the future. And it makes the choice in this election clear: more of the same with President Bush or a new direction that makes our troops and America safer. It is time, at long last, to ask the questions and insist on the answers from the commander in chief about his serious misjudgments and what they tell us about his administration and the president himself. If George W. Bush is re-elected, he will cling to the same failed policies in Iraq -- and he will repeat, somewhere else, the same reckless mistakes that have made America less secure than we can or should be.

In Iraq, we have a mess on our hands. But we cannot throw up our hands. We cannot afford to see Iraq become a permanent source of terror that will endanger America's security for years to come.

All across this country people ask me what we should do now. Every step of the way, from the time I first spoke about this in the Senate, I have set out specific recommendations about how we should and should not proceed. But over and over, when this administration has been presented with a reasonable alternative, they have rejected it and gone their own way. This is stubborn incompetence.

Five months ago, in Fulton, Missouri, I said that the president was close to his last chance to get it right. Every day, this president makes it more difficult to deal with Iraq -- harder than it was five months ago, harder than it was a year ago. It is time to recognize what is -- and what is not -- happening in Iraq today. And we must act with urgency.

Just this weekend, a leading Republican, Chuck Hagel, said we're "in deep trouble in Iraq ... it doesn't add up ... to a pretty picture [and] ... we're going to have to look at a recalibration of our policy." Republican leaders like Dick Lugar and John McCain have offered similar assessments.

We need to turn the page and make a fresh start in Iraq.

First, the president has to get the promised international support so our men and women in uniform don't have to go it alone. It is late; the president must respond by moving this week to gain and regain international support.

Last spring, after too many months of resistance and delay, the president finally went back to the U.N. which passed Resolution 1546. It was the right thing to do -- but it was late.

That resolution calls on U.N. members to help in Iraq by providing troops, trainers for Iraq's security forces, a special brigade to protect the U.N. mission, more financial assistance, and real debt relief.

Three months later, not a single country has answered that call. And the president acts as if it doesn't matter.

And of the $13 billion previously pledged to Iraq by other countries, only $1.2 billion has been delivered.

The president should convene a summit meeting of the world's major powers and Iraq's neighbors, this week, in New York, where many leaders will attend the U.N. General Assembly. He should insist that they make good on that U.N. resolution. He should offer potential troop contributors specific, but critical roles, in training Iraqi security personnel and securing Iraq's borders. He should give other countries a stake in Iraq's future by encouraging them to help develop Iraq's oil resources and by letting them bid on contracts instead of locking them out of the reconstruction process.

This will be difficult. I and others have repeatedly recommended this from the very beginning. Delay has made only made it harder. After insulting allies and shredding alliances, this president may not have the trust and confidence to bring others to our side in Iraq. But we cannot hope to succeed unless we rebuild and lead strong alliances so that other nations share the burden with us. That is the only way to succeed.

Second, the president must get serious about training Iraqi security forces.

Last February, Secretary Rumsfeld claimed that more than 210,000 Iraqis were in uniform. Two weeks ago, he admitted that claim was exaggerated by more than 50 percent. Iraq, he said, now has 95,000 trained security forces.

But guess what? Neither number bears any relationship to the truth. For example, just 5,000 Iraqi soldiers have been fully trained, by the administration's own minimal standards. And of the 35,000 police now in uniform, not one has completed a 24-week field-training program. Is it any wonder that Iraqi security forces can't stop the insurgency or provide basic law and order?

The president should urgently expand the security forces training program inside and outside Iraq. He should strengthen the vetting of recruits, double classroom training time, and require follow-on field training. He should recruit thousands of qualified trainers from our allies, especially those who have no troops in Iraq. He should press our NATO allies to open training centers in their countries. And he should stop misleading the American people with phony, inflated numbers.

Third, the president must carry out a reconstruction plan that finally brings tangible benefits to the Iraqi people.

Last week, the administration admitted that its plan was a failure when it asked Congress for permission to radically revise spending priorities in Iraq. It took 17 months for them to understand that security is a priority, 17 months to figure out that boosting oil production is critical, 17 months to conclude that an Iraqi with a job is less likely to shoot at our soldiers.

One year ago, the administration asked for and received $18 billion to help the Iraqis and relieve the conditions that contribute to the insurgency. Today, less than a $1 billion of those funds have actually been spent. I said at the time that we had to rethink our policies and set standards of accountability. Now we're paying the price.

Now, the president should look at the whole reconstruction package, draw up a list of high visibility, quick impact projects, and cut through the red tape. He should use more Iraqi contractors and workers, instead of big corporations like Halliburton. He should stop paying companies under investigation for fraud or corruption. And he should fire the civilians in the Pentagon responsible for mismanaging the reconstruction effort.

Fourth, the president must take immediate, urgent, essential steps to guarantee the promised elections can be held next year.

Credible elections are key to producing an Iraqi government that enjoys the support of the Iraqi people and an assembly to write a Constitution that yields a viable power sharing arrangement.

Because Iraqis have no experience holding free and fair elections, the president agreed six months ago that the U.N. must play a central role. Yet today, just four months before Iraqis are supposed to go to the polls, the U.N. Secretary General and administration officials themselves say the elections are in grave doubt. Because the security situation is so bad and because not a single country has offered troops to protect the U.N. elections mission, the U.N. has less than 25 percent of the staff it needs in Iraq to get the job done.

The president should recruit troops from our friends and allies for a U.N. protection force. This won't be easy. But even countries that refused to put boots on the ground in Iraq should still help protect the U.N. We should also intensify the training of Iraqis to manage and guard the polling places that need to be opened. Otherwise, U.S forces would end up bearing those burdens alone.

If the president would move in this direction, if he would bring in more help from other countries to provide resources and forces, train the Iraqis to provide their own security, develop a reconstruction plan that brings real benefits to the Iraqi people, and take the steps necessary to hold credible elections next year -- we could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer and realistically aim to bring all our troops home within the next four years.

This is what has to be done. This is what I would do as president today. But we cannot afford to wait until January. President Bush owes it to the American people to tell the truth and put Iraq on the right track. Even more, he owes it to our troops and their families, whose sacrifice is a testament to the best of America.

The principles that should guide American policy in Iraq now and in the future are clear: We must make Iraq the world's responsibility, because the world has a stake in the outcome and others should share the burden. We must effectively train Iraqis, because they should be responsible for their own security. We must move forward with reconstruction, because that's essential to stop the spread of terror. And we must help Iraqis achieve a viable government, because it's up to them to run their own country. That's the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.

On May 1 of last year, President Bush stood in front of a now infamous banner that read "Mission Accomplished." He declared to the American people: "In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." In fact, the worst part of the war was just beginning, with the greatest number of American casualties still to come. The president misled, miscalculated, and mismanaged every aspect of this undertaking and he has made the achievement of our objective -- a stable Iraq, secure within its borders, with a representative government, harder to achieve.

In Iraq, this administration's record is filled with bad predictions, inaccurate cost estimates, deceptive statements and errors of judgment of historic proportions.

At every critical juncture in Iraq, and in the war on terrorism, the president has made the wrong choice. I have a plan to make America stronger.

The president often says that in a post 9/11 world, we can't hesitate to act. I agree. But we should not act just for the sake of acting. I believe we have to act wisely and responsibly.

George Bush has no strategy for Iraq. I do.

George Bush has not told the truth to the American people about why we went to war and how the war is going. I have and I will continue to do so.

I believe the invasion of Iraq has made us less secure and weaker in the war against terrorism. I have a plan to fight a smarter, more effective war on terror -- and make us safer.

Today, because of George Bush's policy in Iraq, the world is a more dangerous place for America and Americans.

If you share my conviction that we can not go on as we are that we can make America stronger and safer than it is then November 2 is your chance to speak and to be heard. It is not a question of staying the course, but of changing the course.

I'm convinced that with the right leadership, we can create a fresh start and move more effectively to accomplish our goals. Our troops have served with extraordinary courage and commitment. For their sake, and America's sake, we must get this right. We must do everything in our power to complete the mission and make America stronger at home and respected again in the world.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

-- John Kerry

full text from email received today.

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Bush by numbers: Four years of double standards
by Graydon Carter / Independent

1 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security issued between 20 January 2001 and 10 September 2001 that mentioned al-Qa'ida.

104 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned Iraq or Saddam Hussein.

101 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned missile defence.

65 Number of Bush administration public statements on National security and defence in the same period that mentioned weapons of mass destruction.

0 Number of times Bush mentioned Osama bin Laden in his three State of the Union addresses.

73 Number of times that Bush mentioned terrorism or terrorists in his three State of the Union addresses.

83 Number of times Bush mentioned Saddam, Iraq, or regime (as in change) in his three State of the Union addresses.

$1m Estimated value of a painting the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, received from Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States and Bush family friend.

0 Number of times Bush mentioned Saudi Arabia in his three State of the Union addresses.

1,700 Percentage increase between 2001 and 2002 of Saudi Arabian spending on public relations in the United States.

79 Percentage of the 11 September hijackers who came from Saudi Arabia.

3 Number of 11 September hijackers whose entry visas came through special US-Saudi "Visa Express" programme.

140 Number of Saudis, including members of the Bin Laden family, evacuated from United States almost immediately after 11 September.

14 Number of Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) agents assigned to track down 1,200 known illegal immigrants in the United States from countries where al-Qa'ida is active.

$3m Amount the White House was willing to grant the 9/11 Commission to investigate the 11 September attacks.

$0 Amount approved by George Bush to hire more INS special agents.

$10m Amount Bush cut from the INS's existing terrorism budget.

$50m Amount granted to the commission that looked into the Columbia space shuttle crash.

$5m Amount a 1996 federal commission was given to study legalised gambling.

7 Number of Arabic linguists fired by the US army between mid-August and mid-October 2002 for being gay.

George Bush: Military man

1972 Year that Bush walked away from his pilot duties in the Texas National Guard, Nearly two years before his six-year obligation was up.

$3,500 Reward a group of veterans offered in 2000 for anyone who could confirm Bush's Alabama guard service.

600-700 Number of guardsmen who were in Bush's unit during that period.

0 Number of guardsmen from that period who came forward with information about Bush's guard service.

0 Number of minutes that President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, the assistant Defence Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, the former chairman of the Defence Policy Board, Richard Perle, and the White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove ­ the main proponents of the war in Iraq ­served in combat (combined).

0 Number of principal civilian or Pentagon staff members who planned the war who have immediate family members serving in uniform in Iraq.

8 Number of members of the US Senate and House of Representatives who have a child serving in the military.

10 Number of days that the Pentagon spent investigating a soldier who had called the President "a joke" in a letter to the editor of a Newspaper.

46 Percentage increase in sales between 2001 and 2002 of GI Joe figures (children's toys).

Ambitious warrior

2 Number of Nations that George Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into office.

130 Approximate Number of countries (out of a total of 191 recognised by the United Nations) with a US military presence.

43 Percentage of the entire world's military spending that the US spends on defence. (That was in 2002, the year before the invasion of Iraq.)

$401.3bn Proposed military budget for 2004.

Saviour of Iraq

1983 The year in which Donald Rumsfeld, Ronald Reagan's special envoy to the Middle East, gave Saddam Hussein a pair of golden spurs as a gift.

2.5 Number of hours after Rumsfeld learnt that Osama bin Laden was a suspect in the 11 September attacks that he brought up reasons to "hit" Iraq.

237 Minimum number of misleading statements on Iraq made by top Bush administration officials between 2002 and January 2004, according to the California Representative Henry Waxman.

10m Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets on 21 February 2003, in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, the largest simultaneous protest in world history.

$2bn Estimated monthly cost of US military presence in Iraq projected by the White House in April 2003.

$4bn Actual monthly cost of the US military presence in Iraq according to Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld in 2004.

$15m Amount of a contract awarded to an American firm to build a cement factory in Iraq.

$80,000 Amount an Iraqi firm spent (using Saddam's confiscated funds) to build the same factory, after delays prevented the American firm from starting it.

2000 Year that Cheney said his policy as CEO of Halliburton oil services company was "we wouldn't do anything in Iraq".

$4.7bn Total value of contracts awarded to Halliburton in Iraq and Afghanistan.

$680m Estimated value of Iraq reconstruction contracts awarded to Bechtel.

$2.8bn Value of Bechtel Corp contracts in Iraq.

$120bn Amount the war and its aftermath are projected to cost for the 2004 fiscal year.

35 Number of countries to which the United States suspended military assistance after they failed to sign agreements giving Americans immunity from prosecution before the International Criminal Court.

92 Percentage of Iraq's urban areas with access to potable water in late 2002.

60 Percentage of Iraq's urban areas with access to potable water in late 2003.

55 Percentage of the Iraqi workforce who were unemployed before the war.

80 Percentage of the Iraqi workforce who are unemployed a Year after the war.

0 Number of American combat deaths in Germany after the Nazi surrender in May 1945.

37 Death toll of US soldiers in Iraq in May 2003, the month combat operations "officially" ended.

0 Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home that the Bush administration has permitted to be photographed.

0 Number of memorial services for the returned dead that Bush has attended since the beginning of the war.

A soldier's best friend

40,000 Number of soldiers in Iraq seven months after start of the war still without Interceptor vests, designed to stop a round from an AK-47.

$60m Estimated cost of outfitting those 40,000 soldiers with Interceptor vests.

62 Percentage of gas masks that army investigators discovered did Not work properly in autumn 2002.

90 Percentage of detectors which give early warning of a biological weapons attack found to be defective.

87 Percentage of Humvees in Iraq not equipped with armour capable of stopping AK-47 rounds and protecting against roadside bombs and landmines at the end of 2003.

Making the country safer

$3.29 Average amount allocated per person Nationwide in the first round of homeland security grants.

$94.40 Amount allocated per person for homeland security in American Samoa.

$36 Amount allocated per person for homeland security in Wyoming, Vice-President Cheney's home state.

$17 Amount allocated per person in New York state.

$5.87 Amount allocated per person in New York City.

$77.92 Amount allocated per person in New Haven, Connecticut, home of Yale University, Bush's alma mater.

76 Percentage of 215 cities surveyed by the US Conference of Mayors in early 2004 that had yet to receive a dime in federal homeland security assistance for their first-response units.

5 Number of major US airports at the beginning of 2004 that the Transportation Security Administration admitted were Not fully screening baggage electronically.

22,600 Number of planes carrying unscreened cargo that fly into New York each month.

5 Estimated Percentage of US air cargo that is screened, including cargo transported on passenger planes.

95 Percentage of foreign goods that arrive in the United States by sea.

2 Percentage of those goods subjected to thorough inspection.

$5.5bn Estimated cost to secure fully US ports over the Next decade.

$0 Amount Bush allocated for port security in 2003.

$46m Amount the Bush administration has budgeted for port security in 2005.

15,000 Number of major chemical facilities in the United States.

100 Number of US chemical plants where a terrorist act could endanger the lives of more than one million people.

0 Number of new drugs or vaccines against "priority pathogens" listed by the Centres for Disease Control that have been developed and introduced since 11 September 2001.

Giving a hand up to the advantaged

$10.9m Average wealth of the members of Bush's original 16-person cabinet.

75 Percentage of Americans unaffected by Bush's sweeping 2003 cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes.

$42,000 Average savings members of Bush's cabinet received in 2003 as a result of cuts in capital gains and dividends taxes.

10 Number of fellow members from the Yale secret society Skull and Bones that Bush has named to important positions (including the Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum Jr. and SEC chief Bill Donaldson).

79 Number of Bush's initial 189 appointees who also served in his father's administration.

A man with a lot of friends

$113m Amount of total hard money the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign received, a record.

$11.5m Amount of hard money raised through the Pioneer programme, the controversial fund-raising process created for the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign. (Participants pledged to raise at least $100,000 by bundling together cheques of up to $1,000 from friends and family. Pioneers were assigned numbers, which were included on all cheques, enabling the campaign to keep track of who raised how much.)

George Bush: Money manager

4.7m Number of bankruptcies that were declared during Bush's first three years in office.

2002 The worst year for major markets since the recession of the 1970s.

$489bn The US trade deficit in 2003, the worst in history for a single year.

$5.6tr Projected national surplus forecast by the end of the decade when Bush took office in 2001.

$7.22tr US national debt by mid-2004.

George Bush: Tax cutter

87 Percentage of American families in April 2004 who say they have felt no benefit from Bush's tax cuts.

39 Percentage of tax cuts that will go to the top 1 per cent of American families when fully phased in.

49 Percentage of Americans in April 2004 who found that their taxes had actually gone up since Bush took office.

88 Percentage of American families who will save less than $100 on their 2006 federal taxes as a result of 2003 cut in capital gains and dividends taxes.

$30,858 Amount Bush himself saved in taxes in 2003.

Employment tsar

9.3m Number of US unemployed in April 2004.

2.3m Number of Americans who lost their jobs during first three Years of the Bush administration.

22m Number of jobs gained during Clinton's eight years in office.

Friend of the poor

34.6m Number of Americans living below the poverty line (1 in 8 of the population).

6.8m Number of people in the workforce but still classified as poor.

35m Number of Americans that the government defines as "food insecure," in other words, hungry.

$300m Amount cut from the federal programme that provides subsidies to poor families so they can heat their homes.

40 Percentage of wealth in the United States held by the richest 1 per cent of the population.

18 Percentage of wealth in Britain held by the richest 1e per cent of the population.

George Bush And his special friend

$60bn Loss to Enron stockholders, following the largest bankruptcy in US history.

$205m Amount Enron CEO Kenneth Lay earned from stock option profits over a four-year period.

$101m Amount Lay made from selling his Enron shares just before the company went bankrupt.

$59,339 Amount the Bush campaign reimbursed Enron for 14 trips on its corporate jet during the 2000 campaign.

30 Length of time in months between Enron's collapse and Lay (whom the President called "Kenny Boy") still not being charged with a crime.

George Bush: Lawman

15 Average number of minutes Bush spent reviewing capital punishment cases while governor of Texas.

46 Percentage of Republican federal judges when Bush came to office.

57 Percentage of Republican federal judges after three years of the Bush administration.

33 Percentage of the $15bn Bush pledged to fight Aids in Africa that must go to abstinence-only programmes.

The Civil libertarian

680 Number of suspected al-Qa'ida members that the United States admits are detained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

42 Number of nationalities of those detainees at Guantanamo.

22 Number of hours prisoners were handcuffed, shackled, and made to wear surgical masks, earmuffs, and blindfolds during their flight to Guantanamo.

32 Number of confirmed suicide attempts by Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

24 Number of prisoners in mid-2003 being monitored by psychiatrists in Guantanamo's new mental ward.

A health-conscious president

43.6m Number of Americans without health insurance by the end of 2002 (more than 15 per cent of the population).

2.4m Number of Americans who lost their health insurance during Bush's first year in office.


$44m Amount the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign and the Republican National Committee received in contributions from the fossil fuel, chemical, timber, and mining industries.

200 Number of regulation rollbacks downgrading or weakening environmental laws in Bush's first three years in office.

31 Number of Bush administration appointees who are alumni of the energy industry (includes four cabinet secretaries, the six most powerful White House officials, and more than 20 other high-level appointees).

50 Approximate number of policy changes and regulation rollbacks injurious to the environment that have been announced by the Bush administration on Fridays after 5pm, a time that makes it all but impossible for news organisations to relay the information to the widest possible audience.

50 Percentage decline in Environmental Protection Agency enforcement actions against polluters under Bush's watch.

34 Percentage decline in criminal penalties for environmental crimes since Bush took office.

50 Percentage decline in civil penalties for environmental crimes since Bush took office.

$6.1m Amount the EPA historically valued each human life when conducting economic analyses of proposed regulations.

$3.7m Amount the EPA valued each human life when conducting analyses of proposed regulations during the Bush administration.

0 Number of times Bush mentioned global warming, clean air, clean water, pollution or environment in his 2004 State of the Union speech. His father was the last president to go through an entire State of the Union address without mentioning the environment.

1 Number of paragraphs devoted to global warming in the EPA's 600-page "Draft Report on the Environment" presented in 2003.

68 Number of days after taking office that Bush decided Not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty to reduce greenhouse gases by roughly 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. The United States was to cut its level by 7 per cent.

1 The rank of the United States worldwide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

25 Percentage of overall worldwide carbon dioxide emissions the United States is responsible for.

53 Number of days after taking office that Bush reneged on his campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

14 Percentage carbon dioxide emissions will increase over the next 10 years under Bush's own global-warming plan (an increase of 30 per cent above their 1990 levels).

408 Number of species that could be extinct by 2050 if the global-warming trend continues.

5 Number of years the Bush administration said in 2003 that global warming must be further studied before substantive action could be taken.

62 Number of members of Cheney's 63-person Energy Task Force with ties to corporate energy interests.

0 Number of environmentalists asked to attend Cheney's Energy Task Force meetings.

6 Number of months before 11 September that Cheney's Energy Task Force investigated Iraq's oil reserves.

2 Percentage of the world's population that is British.

2 Percentage of the world's oil used by Britain.

5 Percentage of the world's population that is American.

25 Percentage of the world's oil used by America.

63 Percentage of oil the United States imported in 2003, a record high.

24,000 Estimated number of premature deaths that will occur under Bush's Clear Skies initiative.

300 Number of Clean Water Act violations by the mountaintop-mining industry in 2003.

750,000 Tons of toxic waste the US military, the world's biggest polluter, generates around the world each Year.

$3.8bn Amount in the Superfund trust fund for toxic site clean-ups in 1995, the Year "polluter pays" fees expired.

$0m Amount of uncommitted dollars in the Superfund trust fund for toxic site clean-ups in 2003.

270 Estimated number of court decisions citing federal Negligence in endangered-species protection that remained unheeded during the first year of the Bush administration.

100 Percentage of those decisions that Bush then decided to allow the government to ignore indefinitely.

68.4 Average Number of species added to the Endangered and Threatened Species list each year between 1991 and 2000.

0 Number of endangered species voluntarily added by the Bush administration since taking office.

50 Percentage of screened workers at Ground Zero who now suffer from long-term health problems, almost half of whom don't have health insurance.

78 Percentage of workers at Ground Zero who now suffer from lung ailments.

88 Percentage of workers at Ground Zero who Now suffer from ear, nose, or throat problems.

22 Asbestos levels at Ground Zero were 22 times higher than the levels in Libby, Montana, where the W R Grace mine produced one of the worst Superfund disasters in US history.

Image booster for the US

2,500 Number of public-diplomacy officers employed by the State Department to further the image of the US abroad in 1991.

1,200 Number of public-diplomacy officers employed by the State Department to further US image abroad in 2004.

4 Rank of the United States among countries considered to be the greatest threats to world peace according to a 2003 Pew Global Attitudes study (Israel, Iran, and North Korea were considered more dangerous; Iraq was considered less dangerous).

$66bn Amount the United States spent on international aid and diplomacy in 1949.

$23.8bn Amount the United States spent on international aid and diplomacy in 2002.

85 Percentage of Indonesians who had an unfavourable image of the United States in 2003.

Second-party endorsements

90 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on 26 September 2001.

67 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on 26 September 2002.

54 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on 30 September, 2003.

50 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on 15 October 2003.

49 Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president in May 2004.

More like the French than he would care to admit

28 Number of vacation days Bush took in August 2003, the second-longest vacation of any president in US history. (Record holder Richard Nixon.)

13 Number of vacation days the average American receives each Year.

28 Number of vacation days Bush took in August 2001, the month he received a 6 August Presidential Daily Briefing headed "Osama bin Laden Determined to Strike US Targets."

500 Number of days Bush has spent all or part of his time away from the White House at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, his parents' retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine, or Camp David as of 1 April 2004.

No fool when it comes to the press

11 Number of press conferences during his first three Years in office in which Bush referred to questions as being "trick" ones.

Factors in his favour

3 Number of companies that control the US voting technology market.

52 Percentage of votes cast during the 2002 midterm elections that were recorded by Election Systems & Software, the largest voting-technology firm, a big Republican donor.

29 Percentage of votes that will be cast via computer voting machines that don't produce a paper record.

17 On 17 November 2001, The Economist printed a correction for having said George Bush was properly elected in 2000.

$113m Amount raised by the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, the most in American electoral history.

$185m Amount raised by the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign, to the end of March 2004.

$200m Amount that the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign expects to raise by November 2004.

268 Number of Bush-Cheney fund-raisers who had earned Pioneer status (by raising $100,000 each) as of March 2004.

187 Number of Bush-Cheney fund-raisers who had earned Ranger status (by raising $200,000 each) as of March 2004.

$64.2m The Amount Pioneers and Rangers had raised for Bush-Cheney as of March 2004.

85 Percentage of Americans who can't Name the Chief Justice of the United States.

69 Percentage of Americans who believed the White House's claims in September 2003 that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 11 September attacks.

34 Percentage of Americans who believed in June 2003 that Saddam's "weapons of mass destruction" had been found.

22 Percentage of Americans who believed in May 2003 that Saddam had used his WMDs on US forces.

85 Percentage of American young adults who cannot find Afghanistan, Iraq, or Israel on a map.

30 Percentage of American young adults who cannot find the Pacific Ocean on a map.

75 Percentage of American young adults who don't know the population of the United States.

53 Percentage of Canadian young adults who don't know the population of the United States.

11 Percentage of American young adults who cannot find the United States on a map.

30 Percentage of Americans who believe that "politics and government are too complicated to understand."

Another factor in his favour

70m Estimated number of Americans who describe themselves as Evangelicals who accept Jesus Christ as their personal saviour and who interpret the Bible as the direct word of God.

23m Number of Evangelicals who voted for Bush in 2000.

50m Number of voters in total who voted for Bush in 2000.

46 Percentage of voters who describe themselves as born-again Christians.

5 Number of states that do not use the word "evolution" in public school science courses.

This is an edited extract from "What We've Lost", by Graydon Carter, published by Little Brown on 9 September

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Get well Bill Clinton!

NEWS: On Sunday, the Associated Press reported on their continuing fight to get records of Bush's service released. The AP, which is a cooperative of almost every newspaper in the nation, has sued the Bush administration for records of Bush's service, which are still being withheld even though President Bush agreed on national television to release everything about his service.

Is Osama waiting to be "captured" in Guantanamo? See also: Pakistan: U.S. Official's Osama Claim Was 'Political'

For conservatives who believe in fiscal responsibility:
The U.S. budget deficit will balloon to a cumulative $2.29 trillion over the next decade, congressional analysts said on Tuesday, a worse outlook than previously forecast REUTERS

"Did George W. Lie? Impossible!"

Everything is bigger in Texas, even the lies. The Bush campaign took a huge risk last week: rather than focus on issues or vision at their convention, they attacked John Kerry where he is strong and where they are weak. This isn't surprising. Big lies have become a trademark strategy of the Bush administration and now the Bush campaign. However, lies come back to haunt.

In this case, smearing John Kerry about his service in Vietnam has brought focus back on Bush's embarrassing evasion of service. Today, a group in Texas, Texans for Truth, is launching an ad campaign that highlights Bush's absence from duty in 1972. The first ad, featuring a National Guardsman at the base where Bush was supposedly posted, will air as soon as Texans for Truth can raise their $200,000 budget for the ad. Let's help get this ad on the air now.

You can make this possible by going to

The ad features Robert Mintz, who served in Alabama's 187th Air National Guard when Bush claims to have been there. In the ad, Robert Mintz says simply and powerfully that

"I heard George Bush get up and say 'I served in the 187th Air National Guard in Montgomery Alabama.' Really? That was my unit. And I don't remember seeing you there. So I called friends. 'Did you know that George served in our unit?' 'Naw. I never saw him there.' It would be impossible to be unseen in a unit of that size."

Texans for Truth
Fact Check:
Bush's National Guard Service

While Bush claims he served in the Alabama Air National Guard, the truth is he went missing from service for months.

1. A commander says he saw him, but...

Aside from a statement by a former Alabama Air Guard officer who said he saw Bush report for duty there in the fall of 1972, the only evidence he was at Dannelly Air National Guard Base in Alabama was a record of a dental exam on Jan. 6, 1973, at the base. USA Today, Questions About Bush’s Guard Service Unanswered, By Dave Moniz and Jim Drinkard, August 8, 2004

Willard G. Hill, then a sergeant and supervisor in the personnel section, said "I've really thought about it, and I have to say I have no knowledge of him."
The New York Times, Seeking Memories of Bush At an Alabama Air Base, David Barstow, Feb. 13, 2004

"I don’t have any recollection at, none," said Rodger S. Garrett, the sergeant who supervised the command post at the flight operations center, the unit Mr. Bush was instructed to report to in September 1972. The New York Times, Seeking Memories of Bush At an Alabama Air Base, David Barstow, Feb. 13, 2004

Nor did Joseph Chastain, a second lieutenant and supervisor in the supply squadron. "I feel quite certain I would have remembered if he had worked with me," Mr. Chastain said. The New York Times, Seeking Memories of Bush At an Alabama Air Base, David Barstow, Feb. 13, 2004

2. An officer says he was there, but the truth is...

"I saw him each drill period," said retired Lt. Col. John "Bill" Calhoun in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Daytona Beach, Fla., where he is preparing to watch this weekend's big NASCAR race.
USA Today, Former Guardsmen: Bush Served with Me in Alabama, Associated Press, February 13, 2004

However, 16 retires officers, pilots, and senior enlisted men who served among the hundreds with the 187th in 1972 all said they simply do not recall seeing Mr. Bush at Dannelly Air Base, the sprawling compound adjacent to Montgomery’s airport that is home to the 187th. The New York Times, Seeking Memories of Bush At an Alabama Air Base, David Barstow, Feb. 13, 2004

Joseph Chastain, a second lieutenant and supervisor in the supply squadron, said "I feel quite certain I would have remembered if he had worked with me." The New York Times, Seeking Memories of Bush At an Alabama Air Base, David Barstow, Feb. 13, 2004

Willard G. Hill, then a sergeant and supervisor in the personnel section, said "I've really thought about it, and I have to say I have no knowledge of him."
The New York Times, Seeking Memories of Bush at an Alabama Air Base, David Barstow, Feb. 13, 2004

3. Bush’s girlfriend says he was going to Alabama to make up for lost time, but...

Emily Marks Curtis, who is said to have briefly dated George Bush in Alabama, was quoted in an article in Alabama's The Times Daily, that "the thing I know about George is that after the election was over in November, George left and said he came back to Montgomery to do his guard duty." But Ms. Curtis also told reporters that she never actually saw Bush at Dannelly, neither did Joe Holcombe, who worked on the Senate campaign with Mr. Bush.
The New York Times, Seeking Memories of Bush At an Alabama Air Base, David Barstow, Feb. 13, 2004

The records suggest that during a five-month period of that year Bush failed to show for any Guard duty. Worse, there are no corroborating records generated in Alabama to confirm the payroll documents. If Bush was in Alabama and getting paid, as the records indicate, a paper trail originating with his unit in Montgomery should confirm the dates highlighted in those documents. No such records have come to light., Bush’s Service Records: The Score Card, By Eric Boehlert, February 13, 2004

When the story first broke in 2000, a group of Alabama veterans offered a $3,500 reward to any guardsmen who could help confirm Bush's whereabouts. Nobody came to collect the money., Bush’s Service Records: The Score Card, By Eric Boehlert, February 13, 2004

4. Bush’s dental records show he was there, but the truth is...

187th Commanding Officer William Turnipseed and his administrative officer at the time, Kenneth K.Lott, said they had no memory of Bush ever reporting. "Had he reported in, I would have had some recall, and I do not," Turnipseed said. "I had been in Texas, done my flight training there. If I had had a lieutenant from Texas, I would have remembered." Boston Globe, 1-year Gap in Bush’s Guard Duty: No Record of Airman at Drills in 1972-73, May 23, 2000

"For a full year, there is no record that he showed up for the periodic drills required of part-time guardsmen." Boston Globe, 1-year Gap in Bush’s Guard Duty: No Record of Airman at Drills in 1972-73, By Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff, May 23, 2000

In an effort last year to solve the puzzle, Lloyd said he scoured Guard records where he found two ‘special orders’ commanding Bush to appear for active duty on nine days in May 1973. That is the same month that Lieutenant Colonel William D. Harris Jr. and Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian effectively declared Bush missing from duty.

The dental record, which places Bush in Alabama in early 1973, completely contradicts statements from Bush's aides, particularly during the 2000 campaign, that immediately following the completion of the Blount campaign in November 1972, Bush returned to Houston. Moreover, the dental exam still does not prove Bush ever performed any paid duties while in Alabama, only that he went in for free dental care on one day., Bush’s Service Records: The Score Card, By Eric Boehlert, Feb. 13, 2004

5. Supposedly Bush "worked" on an Alabama senate campaign, but...

C. Murphy Archibald, a nephew of Red Blount by marriage and a Vietnam veteran who volunteered on the campaign from September 1972 said, "But then no one understood why he [Jimmy Allison] brought this young guy from Texas along. It was like, 'Who was this guy who comes in late and leaves early? And why would Jimmy Allison, who is so impressive, bring him on?'", George W. Bush’s Missing Year, By Mary Jacoby, September 2, 2004

Allison confirmed previous reports that Bush often showed up in the Blount campaign offices around noon, boasting about how much alcohol he had consumed the night before., George W. Bush’s Missing Year, By Mary Jacoby, September 2, 2004

But Ms. Curtis also told reporters that she never actually saw Bush at Dannelly. Neither did Joe Holcombe, who worked on the Senate campaign with Mr. Bush. The New York Times, Seeking Memories of Bush At an Alabama Air Base, David Barstow, Feb. 13, 2004

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The best speech ever from Bill Clinton:
"We Democrats want to build a world and an America of shared responsibilities and shared benefits. We want a world with more global cooperation where we act alone only when we absolutely have to.

We think the role of government should be to give people the tools to create the conditions to make the most of their own lives. And we think everybody should have that chance.

On the other hand, the Republicans in Washington believe that America should be run by the right people — their people — in a world in which America acts unilaterally when we can and cooperates when we have to.

They believe the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their economic, political and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on important matters like health care and retirement security.

Now, since most Americans aren’t that far to the right, our friends have to portray us Democrats as simply unacceptable, lacking in strength and values. In other words, they need a divided America.

But we don’t.

Americans long to be united. After 9/11, we all just wanted to be one nation. Not a single American on September the 12th, 2001, cared who won the next presidential election.

All we wanted to do was to be one country, strong in the fight against terror, helping to heal those who were wounded and the families of those who lost their loved ones, reaching out to the rest of the world so we could meet these new challenges and go on with our democratic way of life.

The president had an amazing opportunity to bring the country together under his slogan of compassionate conservatism and to unite the world in the struggle against terror.

Instead, he and his congressional allies made a very different choice. They chose to use that moment of unity to try to push the country too far to the right and to walk away from our allies, not only in attacking Iraq before the weapons inspectors had finished their work, but in withdrawing American support for the climate change treaty and for the international court on war criminals and for the anti-ballistic missile treaty and from the nuclear test ban treaty.

Now, now at a time when we’re trying to get other people to give up nuclear and biological and chemical weapons, they are trying to develop two new nuclear weapons which they say we might use first..."

(see the full text of former President Clinton’s speech Monday at the Democratic National Convention)

Thursday, July 15, 2004

"...I think what the Bush administration saw was a world they thought was full of dangers and problems, the worst of which in their mind was Saddam Hussein, and that they should act alone whenever they could, and then cooperate when they needed to, and there's a big difference.

It's not just Iraq. They got out of the Conference of Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, a treaty supported by every Republican and Democratic president since Eisenhower. They got out of the Kyoto Climate Change Treaty. They were opposed to the International Criminal Courts, to strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention. They bagged the Antiballistic Missile Treaty to build a missile defense even though we don't know whether it works or not.

And maybe most troubling and least known to the American people, they're trying to develop two new nuclear weapons, smaller nuclear weapons, and it changed our nuclear doctrine for the first time since the end of World War II, to say that, well, maybe we will be the first to use nuclear weapons if we use these small ones..." from Bill Clinton's interview w/ Jim Lehrer

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Courage = Paul Klebnikov, 1963-2004. Read this as well.

Friday, July 9, 2004

Was it not scary, wags asked after Dick Cheney suffered a heart attack, to think of Bush just a "heartbeat away"? Read on...

Drop Cheney? Democrats hope not MSNBC

Letterman's Top Ten List
Top Ten George W. Bush Complaints
About "Fahrenheit 9/11"

10. That actor who played the President was totally unconvincing

9. It oversimplified the way I stole the election

8. Too many of them fancy college-boy words

7. If Michael Moore had waited a few months, he could have included the part where I get him deported

6. Didn't have one of them hilarious monkeys who smoke cigarettes and gives people the finger

5. Of all Michael Moore's accusations, only 97% are true

4. Not sure - - I passed out after a piece of popcorn lodged in my windpipe

3. Where the hell was Spider-man?

2. Couldn't hear most of the movie over Cheney's foul mouth

1. I thought this was supposed to be about dodgeball

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Candidate who offers a can-do message IHT

The patrician and the populist Economist

US media positive on Edwards BBC

Kerry's deputy alarms Republicans The Age

Quick comparison:
Dick Cheney = #1 Corporate ass-kisser
John Edwards = #1 Corporate ass-kicker
Who do you want on your side? Someone who hands over Iraq to Halliburton, or someone who fights against HMO weasels? Case closed.

Also- Edwards doesn't have foreign-affairs experience, say the Republican critics. Heck, neither does George Bush. They forget to mention that Edwards has something Bush doesn't - the ability to think for himself...

Kerry, Edwards a winning combination, pollster says Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Bush and Kerry sites 'not secure' BBC

Monday, July 5, 2004

Scientists turn to Popeye to save planet Independent

The coolest moment at this year's Wimbledon was the camera shot of John McEnroe holding his tiny USA flag in the broadcasting booth on July 4th. McEnroe may have been a brat, but he always showed up to play for his country... Andy Roddick- better luck next year! McEnroe also had it right on the women's final.

Baptists angry at Bush campaign tactics USA Today

Thursday, July 1, 2004

Mark McCormack. I was just re-reading his What They Still Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School. A gentleman, a visionary, and a history--maker...

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Bikram Choudhury is trying to do to yoga what McDonald's did to food Economist

A diary of Wayne Rooney, aged 18½ BBC

Scientists discover decaf coffee bean Guardian

Somebody should keep track of our shadow-president:

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Forrester Research

>>Design Matters! Fast Company
No matter what you do for a living, design matters. Meet and learn from 20 visionary men and women who are using design to create not just new products, but new ways of working, leading, and seeing.

Peak Performers: Four masters who are leading the world of design
* J Mays , VP of Global Design, Ford Motor Co.
* David Kelley , Founder and Chairman, IDEO
* David Macaulay , Author and Illustrator
* Burt Rutan , Founder, President, and CEO, Scaled Composites

Impact Players: Four high-impact projects that shaped the year in design--and the people who launched them
* William McDonough , Principal and founder, William McDonough + Partners
* Tom Ford , Former Creative Director, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent
* Jonathan Ive , Vice President of Industrial Design, Apple Computer Inc.
* Marcia Lausen , Founding member, AIGA Design for Democracy

Game Changers: The risk takers and agitators who are rewriting the rules
* Adrian Van Hooydonk , President, DesignworksUSA
* Maurice Cox , Mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia
* John Maeda , Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, MIT
* Arnold Wasserman , Chairman, The Idea Factory

Collaborators: Champions who help make great design happen
* Robyn Waters , Founder and president of RW Trend, LLC
* Kun-Hee Lee , Chairman and CEO, Samsung electronics
* Sam Farber , Founder, Copco, OXO, and Wovo
* Bob Porter , Executive Vice President, SSM Health Care

Next Generation: Meet four rising stars who are charting the future
* Yves Behar , Founder, fuseproject
* Kathleen Brandenburg , Principal and Cofounder, IA Collaborative
* Geoff McFetridge , Founder, Champion Graphics
* Angela Shen-Hsieh , President and CEO, Visual i/o

ALSO: Fast Talk: Better By Design and Welcome to the Design Revolution (from FC's Byrne)

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Museum of Unworkable Devices - take a tour!

"Facts are the enemy of truth."

Music Downloads: Pirates—or Customers?
Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee and co-author Koleman Strumpf floored the disbelieving music industry with their findings that illegal music downloads don’t hurt CD sales. Oberholzer discusses what the industry should do next. HBS Working Knowledge

see also: The Way the Music Died PBS

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Hub Marketing: "Interbrew, the Belgian brewer of Stella Artois, is using hub targeting to sell its budget beer at a premium in the United States. Upon entering the U.S. market, the company restricted distribution to the hippest bars in New York—other bars couldn’t get their hands on the stuff—and charged far more than it does in its home country. Consumers were soon convinced that it must be good. Despite Anheuser-Busch’s outdoor ads slamming Stella Artois (“Belgium’s ordinary beer. Overpriced especially for you”), U.S. sales doubled through September 2002, according to Forbes." Eric Bonabeau, The Perils of the Imitation Age, Harvard Business Review, June 2004

Also: “The average man is destitute of independence of opinion. He is not interested in contriving an opinion of his own, by study and reflection, but is only anxious to find out what his neighbor’s opinion is and slavishly adopt it.”— Mark Twain

Pentagon: Military Hid Iraq Prisoner from Red Cross Reuters

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Beijing determined to prevent protests on 15th anniversary International Herald Tribune

Tenet resigns as head of CIA (is he actually taking responsibility?) International Herald Tribune

Broadcaster is fired over interview that government disliked... International Herald Tribune

Soccer: Brazil teaches Argentina the 3 'R's: Ronaldo, Ronaldo and... International Herald Tribune

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

A new IDC survey of 100 senior executives reveals that the decision to invest in external IT services and business services in 2004 will be predominantly based on internal factors, including strategic priorities, business objectives, and business problems. In addition, the U.S. economy, with its strong impact on corporate profits, is also an important driver with the potential to inhibit services spending should the economy stall in 2004. Finally, the survey reveals that 63% of the participants' existing contracts will end in 2004, suggesting a market ripe for contract renewals and possible vendor shifts. "These drivers and the differing ways companies will react to them create strong and shifting undercurrents that vendors must navigate to compete successfully in 2004," said Maryanne Coughlin, director of Model and Forecast Management for IDC's Services Industry Research Group. "Vendors with a core competency of uncovering and analyzing business problems should emphasize this capability, while all others should develop their skills in this area."

The following key survey findings are also presented in the report:

>> The highest priority business problems in 2004 include internal organization structure, relationships with external constituents, and duplicative or inefficient processes
>> The top business objective for 2004 is to increase revenue by focusing on core competence
>>The factor most likely to accelerate the timing of spending on external services in 2004 is new business pressure

Making It Work: How to avoid some common offshoring blunders -- and what to do when you can't. CFO

Business Week on Linux- a good exec summary!

Esther Dyson: Marketing is a Conversation...

Rock On, iPod: What Jobs must do to maintain Apple's dominance Business Week

Neo-Con Collapse in Washington and Baghdad

20 Outrageous Assertions, Shameless Lies and Broken Promises Buzzflash

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

The Paper Trail Time
TIME has obtained an internal Pentagon e-mail sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official—whose name was blacked out by the Pentagon—that raises questions about Cheney's arm's-length policy toward his old employer. Dated March 5, 2003, the e-mail says "action" on a multibillion-dollar Halliburton contract was "coordinated" with Cheney's office. The e-mail says Douglas Feith, a high-ranking Pentagon hawk, got the "authority to execute RIO," or Restore Iraqi Oil, from his boss, who is Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. RIO is one of several large contracts the U.S. awarded to Halliburton last year.

Cheney greased big contract: email evidence Sydney Morning Herald

Questions for Bush Mother Jones

The Lie Factory Mother Jones
Late last year, a special Mother Jones investigation detailed how, only weeks after 9/11, the Bush administration set up a secret Pentagon unit to create the case for invading Iraq. Here is the inside story of how they pushed disinformation and bogus intelligence and led the nation to war.

The Master Builder Time

Also>> Cover-Up Costs:The Bush administration may have broken the law on Medicare.

Blogged Down: Political Campaign Debate Centers On Web Logs

US Online Retail Sales to hit $144 BILLION IN 2004...

Washington, DC, May 25, 2004 – Online sales sped past the $100-billion-mark in 2003, surpassing all industry expectations. According to The State of Retailing Online 7.0, an annual study conducted by Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) of 150 retailers, 2003 online retail sales jumped 51 percent to $114 billion. The study also reported that online sales represent 5.4 percent of all retail sales.* is a division of the National Retail Federation.

While each online product category experienced strong growth in 2003, certain areas were particularly robust. Online travel sales were solid, increasing 91 percent to $52.4 billion. Home and office ($11.1 billion) and computer hardware and software ($11.0 billion) were also major drivers for online growth.

Profitability Reigns In 2003
After breaking even in 2002, online retailers were poised for profitability in 2003. Last year, online retailers collectively raised operating margins to 21 percent. Once again, catalogers held their post as the most profitable online sellers, with operating margins of 28 percent, up from 22 percent in 2002. Even Web-based retailers joined the trend after taking control of marketing costs; operating margins of those retailers were up 15 percent compared with margins of negative 16 percent in 2002.

“Online retailing has arrived as a profit engine with double-digit operating margins,” said Elaine Rubin, Chairman. “Retailers online have found the right balance between selling a product, acquiring and retaining customers, and earning a profit, which is powerful news for consumers and retail investors.”

The study also found that a greater number of retailers are continuing their march to profitability — 79 percent of all online retailers were profitable last year, up from 70 percent in 2002.

Strong Sales Growth To Continue In 2004
This year, online retail sales are expected to grow 27 percent, to $144 billion. As online sales increase, some sectors are experiencing extremely high growth, with online sales expected to increase more than 40 percent in the health and beauty (61%); apparel (42%); and flowers, cards, and gifts (41%) categories.

“Consumers continue to expand their online buying into new product categories as they become more comfortable shopping online,” said Carrie Johnson, lead author of the report and Senior Analyst at Forrester Research. “This mainstreaming of the Web into consumers’ lives not only fuels online sales, but also creates new opportunities for retailers to successfully grow their online businesses.”

Online sales are expected to reach 6.6 percent of total retail sales in 2004, up from 5.4 percent in 2003. Twelve sectors will experience a retail share of 6.0 percent or higher this year, compared with eight sectors last year.

Cutting Costs: Successes And Challenges
Online retailers took control of marketing costs in 2003, but struggled to maintain budgets in other areas. Overall marketing costs per order fell to $4 from $8, largely due to Web-based retailers, which slashed costs from $10 per order in 2002 to $2 in 2003. Although retailers were able to halve their marketing costs, customer service costs rose to $2.30 from $1.90 per order, and fulfillment costs jumped to $9.80 per order from $6.30 in 2002.

Channel Integration Marches On
Today, retailers understand how much the online sector affects their brick-and-mortar stores. According to the study, retailers believe that 24 percent of offline sales last year were influenced by the Web, up from 15 percent in 2002. As a result, retailers are bolstering their efforts to integrate channels. For example, 87 percent of retailers accept in-store returns of online purchases. In addition to in-store returns offering a seamless shopping experience to customers, retailers said that one in four consumers will make a purchase in the store when returning an item they purchased online.

Retailers have also gotten serious about cross-promoting channels. Last year, three-fourths of retailers (77%) collected customers’ email addresses at their stores, up from just 57 percent in 2002, and clerks at more than half of retailers (55%) are able to place customers’ online orders from their store.

“Retailers understand that, in a multichannel environment, each channel has unique strengths and benefits,” said Scott Silverman, Executive Director. “We are beginning to see retailers crack the code of maximizing each channel so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

"Retail Sales” include the following categories: sporting goods and equipment; flowers, cards, and gifts; health and beauty; travel, consumer electronics; other - subscriptions, art, and collectibles -; apparel; jewelry and luxury goods; home; food and beverage; books; tickets; computer hardware and software; music and video; toys and video games; auctions; auto and auto parts

see: Profits grow at online retailers International Herald Tribune

Sunday, May 30, 2004

The applause is fading; it's time to change the Iraq script...

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The rightful President speaks:

Remarks by Al Gore
May 26, 2004
As Prepared

George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility. Instead, he has brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world.

He promised to "restore honor and integrity to the White House." Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon.

Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.

How did we get from September 12th , 2001, when a leading French newspaper ran a giant headline with the words "We Are All Americans Now" and when we had the good will and empathy of all the world -- to the horror that we all felt in witnessing the pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib.

To begin with, from its earliest days in power, this administration sought to radically destroy the foreign policy consensus that had guided America since the end of World War II. The long successful strategy of containment was abandoned in favor of the new strategy of "preemption." And what they meant by preemption was not the inherent right of any nation to act preemptively against an imminent threat to its national security, but rather an exotic new approach that asserted a unique and unilateral U.S. right to ignore international law wherever it wished to do so and take military action against any nation, even in circumstances where there was no imminent threat. All that is required, in the view of Bush's team is the mere assertion of a possible, future threat - and the assertion need be made by only one person, the President.

More disturbing still was their frequent use of the word "dominance" to describe their strategic goal, because an American policy of dominance is as repugnant to the rest of the world as the ugly dominance of the helpless, naked Iraqi prisoners has been to the American people. Dominance is as dominance does.

Dominance is not really a strategic policy or political philosophy at all. It is a seductive illusion that tempts the powerful to satiate their hunger for more power still by striking a Faustian bargain. And as always happens - sooner or later - to those who shake hands with the devil, they find out too late that what they have given up in the bargain is their soul.

One of the clearest indications of the impending loss of intimacy with one's soul is the failure to recognize the existence of a soul in those over whom power is exercised, especially if the helpless come to be treated as animals, and degraded. We also know - and not just from De Sade and Freud - the psychological proximity between sexual depravity and other people's pain. It has been especially shocking and awful to see these paired evils perpetrated so crudely and cruelly in the name of America.

Those pictures of torture and sexual abuse came to us embedded in a wave of news about escalating casualties and growing chaos enveloping our entire policy in Iraq. But in order understand the failure of our overall policy, it is important to focus specifically on what happened in the Abu Ghraib prison, and ask whether or not those actions were representative of who we are as Americans? Obviously the quick answer is no, but unfortunately it's more complicated than that.

There is good and evil in every person. And what makes the United States special in the history of nations is our commitment to the rule of law and our carefully constructed system of checks and balances. Our natural distrust of concentrated power and our devotion to openness and democracy are what have lead us as a people to consistently choose good over evil in our collective aspirations more than the people any other nation.

Our founders were insightful students of human nature. They feared the abuse of power because they understood that every human being has not only "better angels" in his nature, but also an innate vulnerability to temptation - especially the temptation to abuse power over others.

Our founders understood full well that a system of checks and balances is needed in our constitution because every human being lives with an internal system of checks and balances that cannot be relied upon to produce virtue if they are allowed to attain an unhealthy degree of power over their fellow citizens.

Listen then to the balance of internal impulses described by specialist Charles Graner when confronted by one of his colleagues, Specialist Joseph M. Darby, who later became a courageous whistleblower. When Darby asked him to explain his actions documented in the photos, Graner replied: "The Christian in me says it's wrong, but the Corrections Officer says, 'I love to make a groan man piss on himself."

What happened at the prison, it is now clear, was not the result of random acts by "a few bad apples," it was the natural consequence of the Bush Administration policy that has dismantled those wise constraints and has made war on America's checks and balances.

The abuse of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib flowed directly from the abuse of the truth that characterized the Administration's march to war and the abuse of the trust that had been placed in President Bush by the American people in the aftermath of September 11th.

There was then, there is now and there would have been regardless of what Bush did, a threat of terrorism that we would have to deal with. But instead of making it better, he has made it infinitely worse. We are less safe because of his policies. He has created more anger and righteous indignation against us as Americans than any leader of our country in the 228 years of our existence as a nation -- because of his attitude of contempt for any person, institution or nation who disagrees with him.

He has exposed Americans abroad and Americans in every U.S. town and city to a greater danger of attack by terrorists because of his arrogance, willfulness, and bungling at stirring up hornet's nests that pose no threat whatsoever to us. And by then insulting the religion and culture and tradition of people in other countries. And by pursuing policies that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children, all of it done in our name.

President Bush said in his speech Monday night that the war in Iraq is "the central front in the war on terror." It's not the central front in the war on terror, but it has unfortunately become the central recruiting office for terrorists. [Dick Cheney said, "This war may last the rest of our lives.] The unpleasant truth is that President Bush's utter incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorism against the United States. Just yesterday, the International Institute of Strategic Studies reported that the Iraq conflict " has arguable focused the energies and resources of Al Qaeda and its followers while diluting those of the global counterterrorism coalition." The ISS said that in the wake of the war in Iraq Al Qaeda now has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq is swelling its ranks.

The war plan was incompetent in its rejection of the advice from military professionals and the analysis of the intelligence was incompetent in its conclusion that our soldiers would be welcomed with garlands of flowers and cheering crowds. Thus we would not need to respect the so-called Powell doctrine of overwhelming force.

There was also in Rumsfeld's planning a failure to provide security for nuclear materials, and to prevent widespread lawlessness and looting.

Luckily, there was a high level of competence on the part of our soldiers even though they were denied the tools and the numbers they needed for their mission. What a disgrace that their families have to hold bake sales to buy discarded Kevlar vests to stuff into the floorboards of the Humvees! Bake sales for body armor.

And the worst still lies ahead. General Joseph Hoar, the former head of the Marine Corps, said "I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. We are looking into the abyss."

When a senior, respected military leader like Joe Hoar uses the word "abyss", then the rest of us damn well better listen. Here is what he means: more American soldiers dying, Iraq slipping into worse chaos and violence, no end in sight, with our influence and moral authority seriously damaged.

Retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni, who headed Central Command before becoming President Bush's personal emissary to the Middle East, said recently that our nation's current course is "headed over Niagara Falls."

The Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, Army Major General Charles H. Swannack, Jr., asked by the Washington Post whether he believes the United States is losing the war in Iraq, replied, "I think strategically, we are." Army Colonel Paul Hughes, who directed strategic planning for the US occupation authority in Baghdad, compared what he sees in Iraq to the Vietnam War, in which he lost his brother: "I promised myself when I came on active duty that I would do everything in my power to prevent that ... from happening again. " Noting that Vietnam featured a pattern of winning battles while losing the war, Hughes added "unless we ensure that we have coherence in our policy, we will lose strategically."

The White House spokesman, Dan Bartlett was asked on live television about these scathing condemnations by Generals involved in the highest levels of Pentagon planning and he replied, "Well they're retired, and we take our advice from active duty officers."

But amazingly, even active duty military officers are speaking out against President Bush. For example, the Washington Post quoted an unnamed senior General at the Pentagon as saying, " the current OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) refused to listen or adhere to military advice." Rarely if ever in American history have uniformed commanders felt compelled to challenge their commander in chief in public.

The Post also quoted an unnamed general as saying, "Like a lot of senior Army guys I'm quite angry" with Rumsfeld and the rest of the Bush Administration. He listed two reasons. "I think they are going to break the Army," he said, adding that what really incites him is "I don't think they care."

In his upcoming book, Zinni blames the current catastrophe on the Bush team's incompetence early on. "In the lead-up to the Iraq war, and its later conduct," he writes, "I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility, at worst, lying, incompetence and corruption."

Zinni's book will join a growing library of volumes by former advisors to Bush -- including his principal advisor on terrorism, Richard Clarke; his principal economic policy advisor, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who was honored by Bush's father for his service in Iraq, and his former Domestic Adviser on faith-based organizations, John Dilulio, who said, "There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you've got is everything, and I mean everything, run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis."

Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki told Congress in February that the occupation could require "several hundred thousand troops." But because Rumsfeld and Bush did not want to hear disagreement with their view that Iraq could be invaded at a much lower cost, Shinseki was hushed and then forced out.

And as a direct result of this incompetent plan and inadequate troop strength, young soldiers were put in an untenable position. For example, young reservists assigned to the Iraqi prisons were called up without training or adequate supervision, and were instructed by their superiors to "break down" prisoners in order to prepare them for interrogation.

To make matters worse, they were placed in a confusing situation where the chain of command was criss-crossed between intelligence gathering and prison administration, and further confused by an unprecedented mixing of military and civilian contractor authority.

The soldiers who are accused of committing these atrocities are, of course, responsible for their own actions and if found guilty, must be severely and appropriately punished. But they are not the ones primarily responsible for the disgrace that has been brought upon the United States of America.

Private Lynndie England did not make the decision that the United States would not observe the Geneva Convention. Specialist Charles Graner was not the one who approved a policy of establishing an American Gulag of dark rooms with naked prisoners to be "stressed" and even - we must use the word - tortured - to force them to say things that legal procedures might not induce them to say.

These policies were designed and insisted upon by the Bush White House. Indeed, the President's own legal counsel advised him specifically on the subject. His secretary of defense and his assistants pushed these cruel departures from historic American standards over the objections of the uniformed military, just as the Judge Advocates General within the Defense Department were so upset and opposed that they took the unprecedented step of seeking help from a private lawyer in this city who specializes in human rights and said to him, "There is a calculated effort to create an atmosphere of legal ambiguity" where the mistreatment of prisoners is concerned."

Indeed, the secrecy of the program indicates an understanding that the regular military culture and mores would not support these activities and neither would the American public or the world community. Another implicit acknowledgement of violations of accepted standards of behavior is the process of farming out prisoners to countries less averse to torture and giving assignments to private contractors

President Bush set the tone for our attitude for suspects in his State of the Union address. He noted that more than 3,000 "suspected terrorists" had been arrested in many countries and then he added, "and many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: they are no longer a problem to the United States and our allies."

George Bush promised to change the tone in Washington. And indeed he did. As many as 37 prisoners may have been murdered while in captivity, though the numbers are difficult to rely upon because in many cases involving violent death, there were no autopsies.

How dare they blame their misdeeds on enlisted personnel from a Reserve unit in upstate New York. President Bush owes more than one apology. On the list of those he let down are the young soldiers who are themselves apparently culpable, but who were clearly put into a moral cesspool. The perpetrators as well as the victims were both placed in their relationship to one another by the policies of George W. Bush.

How dare the incompetent and willful members of this Bush/Cheney Administration humiliate our nation and our people in the eyes of the world and in the conscience of our own people. How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace. How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison.

David Kay concluded his search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq with the famous verdict: "we were all wrong." And for many Americans, Kay's statement seemed to symbolize the awful collision between Reality and all of the false and fading impressions President Bush had fostered in building support for his policy of going to war.

Now the White House has informed the American people that they were also "all wrong" about their decision to place their faith in Ahmed Chalabi, even though they have paid him 340,000 dollars per month. 33 million dollars (CHECK) and placed him adjacent to Laura Bush at the State of the Union address. Chalabi had been convicted of fraud and embezzling 70 million dollars in public funds from a Jordanian bank, and escaped prison by fleeing the country. But in spite of that record, he had become one of key advisors to the Bush Administration on planning and promoting the War against Iraq.

And they repeatedly cited him as an authority, perhaps even a future president of Iraq. Incredibly, they even ferried him and his private army into Baghdad in advance of anyone else, and allowed him to seize control over Saddam's secret papers.

Now they are telling the American people that he is a spy for Iran who has been duping the President of the United States for all these years.

One of the Generals in charge of this war policy went on a speaking tour in his spare time to declare before evangelical groups that the US is in a holy war as "Christian Nation battling Satan." This same General Boykin was the person who ordered the officer who was in charge of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay to extend his methods to Iraq detainees, prisoners. ... The testimony from the prisoners is that they were forced to curse their religion Bush used the word "crusade" early on in the war against Iraq, and then commentators pointed out that it was singularly inappropriate because of the history and sensitivity of the Muslim world and then a few weeks later he used it again.

"We are now being viewed as the modern Crusaders, as the modern colonial power in this part of the world," Zinni said.

What a terrible irony that our country, which was founded by refugees seeking religious freedom - coming to America to escape domineering leaders who tried to get them to renounce their religion - would now be responsible for this kind of abuse..

Ameen Saeed al-Sheikh told the Washington Post that he was tortured and ordered to denounce Islam and after his leg was broken one of his torturers started hitting it while ordering him to curse Islam and then, " they ordered me to thank Jesus that I'm alive." Others reported that they were forced to eat pork and drink alcohol.

In my religious tradition, I have been taught that "ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

The President convinced a majority of the country that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11th. But in truth he had nothing whatsoever to do with it. The President convinced the country with a mixture of forged documents and blatantly false assertions that Saddam was in league with Al Qaeda, and that he was "indistinguishable" from Osama bin Laden.

He asked the nation , in his State of the Union address, to "imagine" how terrified we should be that Saddam was about to give nuclear weapons to terrorists and stated repeatedly that Iraq posed a grave and gathering threat to our nation. He planted the seeds of war, and harvested a whirlwind. And now, the "corrupt tree" of a war waged on false premises has brought us the "evil fruit" of Americans torturing and humiliating prisoners.

In my opinion, John Kerry is dealing with this unfolding tragedy in an impressive and extremely responsible way. Our nation's best interest lies in having a new president who can turn a new page, sweep clean with a new broom, and take office on January 20th of next year with the ability to make a fresh assessment of exactly what our nation's strategic position is as of the time the reigns of power are finally wrested from the group of incompetents that created this catastrophe.

Kerry should not tie his own hands by offering overly specific, detailed proposals concerning a situation that is rapidly changing and unfortunately, rapidly deteriorating, but should rather preserve his, and our country's, options, to retrieve our national honor as soon as this long national nightmare is over.

Eisenhower did not propose a five-point plan for changing America's approach to the Korean War when he was running for president in 1952.

When a business enterprise finds itself in deep trouble that is linked to the failed policies of the current CEO the board of directors and stockholders usually say to the failed CEO, "Thank you very much, but we're going to replace you now with a new CEO -- one less vested in a stubborn insistence on staying the course, even if that course is, in the words of General Zinni, "Headed over Niagara Falls."

One of the strengths of democracy is the ability of the people to regularly demand changes in leadership and to fire a failing leader and hire a new one with the promise of hopeful change. That is the real solution to America's quagmire in Iraq. But, I am keenly aware that we have seven months and twenty five days remaining in this president's current term of office and that represents a time of dangerous vulnerability for our country because of the demonstrated incompetence and recklessness of the current administration.

It is therefore essential that even as we focus on the fateful choice, the voters must make this November that we simultaneously search for ways to sharply reduce the extraordinary danger that we face with the current leadership team in place. It is for that reason that I am calling today for Republicans as well as Democrats to join me in asking for the immediate resignations of those immediately below George Bush and Dick Cheney who are most responsible for creating the catastrophe that we are facing in Iraq.

We desperately need a national security team with at least minimal competence because the current team is making things worse with each passing day. They are endangering the lives of our soldiers, and sharply increasing the danger faced by American citizens everywhere in the world, including here at home. They are enraging hundreds of millions of people and embittering an entire generation of anti-Americans whose rage is already near the boiling point.

We simply cannot afford to further increase the risk to our country with more blunders by this team. Donald Rumsfeld, as the chief architect of the war plan, should resign today. His deputies Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and his intelligence chief Stephen Cambone should also resign. The nation is especially at risk every single day that Rumsfeld remains as Secretary of Defense.

Condoleeza Rice, who has badly mishandled the coordination of national security policy, should also resign immediately.

George Tenet should also resign. I want to offer a special word about George Tenet, because he is a personal friend and I know him to be a good and decent man. It is especially painful to call for his resignation, but I have regretfully concluded that it is extremely important that our country have new leadership at the CIA immediately.

As a nation, our greatest export has always been hope: hope that through the rule of law people can be free to pursue their dreams, that democracy can supplant repression and that justice, not power, will be the guiding force in society. Our moral authority in the world derived from the hope anchored in the rule of law. With this blatant failure of the rule of law from the very agents of our government, we face a great challenge in restoring our moral authority in the world and demonstrating our commitment to bringing a better life to our global neighbors.

During Ronald Reagan's Presidency, Secretary of Labor Ray Donovan was accused of corruption, but eventually, after a lot of publicity, the indictment was thrown out by the Judge. Donovan asked the question, "Where do I go to get my reputation back?" President Bush has now placed the United States of America in the same situation. Where do we go to get our good name back?

The answer is, we go where we always go when a dramatic change is needed. We go to the ballot box, and we make it clear to the rest of the world that what's been happening in America for the last four years, and what America has been doing in Iraq for the last two years, really is not who we are. We, as a people, at least the overwhelming majority of us, do not endorse the decision to dishonor the Geneva Convention and the Bill of Rights....

Make no mistake, the damage done at Abu Ghraib is not only to America's reputation and America's strategic interests, but also to America's spirit. It is also crucial for our nation to recognize - and to recognize quickly - that the damage our nation has suffered in the world is far, far more serious than President Bush's belated and tepid response would lead people to believe. Remember how shocked each of us, individually, was when we first saw those hideous images. The natural tendency was to first recoil from the images, and then to assume that they represented a strange and rare aberration that resulted from a few twisted minds or, as the Pentagon assured us, "a few bad apples."

But as today's shocking news reaffirms yet again, this was not rare. It was not an aberration. Today's New York Times reports that an Army survey of prisoner deaths and mistreatment in Iraq and Afghanisatan "show a widespread pattern of abuse involving more military units than previously known.'

Nor did these abuses spring from a few twisted minds at the lowest ranks of our military enlisted personnel. No, it came from twisted values and atrocious policies at the highest levels of our government. This was done in our name, by our leaders.

These horrors were the predictable consequence of policy choices that flowed directly from this administration's contempt for the rule of law. And the dominance they have been seeking is truly not simply unworthy of America - it is also an illusory goal in its own right.

Our world is unconquerable because the human spirit is unconquerable, and any national strategy based on pursuing the goal of domination is doomed to fail because it generates its own opposition, and in the process, creates enemies for the would-be dominator.

A policy based on domination of the rest of the world not only creates enemies for the United States and creates recruits for Al Qaeda, it also undermines the international cooperation that is essential to defeating the efforts of terrorists who wish harm and intimidate Americans.

Unilateralism, as we have painfully seen in Iraq, is its own reward. Going it alone may satisfy a political instinct but it is dangerous to our military, even without their Commander in Chief taunting terrorists to "bring it on."

Our troops are stretched thin and exhausted not only because Secretary Rumsfeld contemptuously dismissed the advice of military leaders on the size of the needed force - but also because President Bush's contempt for traditional allies and international opinion left us without a real coalition to share the military and financial burden of the war and the occupation. Our future is dependent upon increasing cooperation and interdependence in a world tied ever more closely together by technologies of communications and travel. The emergence of a truly global civilization has been accompanied by the recognition of truly global challenges that require global responses that, as often as not, can only be led by the United States - and only if the United States restores and maintains its moral authority to lead.

Make no mistake, it is precisely our moral authority that is our greatest source of strength, and it is precisely our moral authority that has been recklessly put at risk by the cheap calculations and mean compromises of conscience wagered with history by this willful president.

Listen to the way Israel's highest court dealt with a similar question when, in 1999, it was asked to balance due process rights against dire threats to the security of its people:

"This is the destiny of democracy, as not all means are acceptable to it, and not all practices employed by its enemies are open before it. Although a democracy must often fight with one hand tied behind its back, it nonetheless has the upper hand. Preserving the Rule of Law and recognition of an individual's liberty constitutes an important component in its understanding of security. At the end of the day they (add to) its strength."

The last and best description of America's meaning in the world is still the definitive formulation of Lincoln's annual message to Congress on December 1, 1862:

"The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise - with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history...the fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation...We shall nobly save, or meanly lose the last best hope of earth...The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just - a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless."

It is now clear that their obscene abuses of the truth and their unforgivable abuse of the trust placed in them after 9/11 by the American people led directly to the abuses of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison and, we are now learning, in many other similar facilities constructed as part of Bush's Gulag, in which, according to the Red Cross, 70 to 90 percent of the victims are totally innocent of any wrongdoing.

The same dark spirit of domination has led them to - for the first time in American history - imprison American citizens with no charges, no right to see a lawyer, no right to notify their family, no right to know of what they are accused, and no right to gain access to any court to present an appeal of any sort. The Bush Admistration has even acquired the power to compel librarians to tell them what any American is reading, and to compel them to keep silent about the request - or else the librarians themselves can also be imprisoned.

They have launched an unprecedented assault on civil liberties, on the right of the courts to review their actions, on the right of the Congress to have information to how they are spending the public's money and the right of the news media to have information about the policies they are pursuing.

The same pattern characterizes virtually all of their policies. They resent any constraint as an insult to their will to dominate and exercise power. Their appetite for power is astonishing. It has led them to introduce a new level of viciousness in partisan politics. It is that viciousness that led them to attack as unpatriotic, Senator Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in combat during the Vietnam War.

The president episodically poses as a healer and "uniter". If he president really has any desire to play that role, then I call upon him to condemn Rush Limbaugh - perhaps his strongest political supporter - who said that the torture in Abu Ghraib was a "brilliant maneuver" and that the photos were "good old American pornography," and that the actions portrayed were simply those of "people having a good time and needing to blow off steam."

This new political viciousness by the President and his supporters is found not only on the campaign trail, but in the daily operations of our democracy. They have insisted that the leaders of their party in the Congress deny Democrats any meaningful role whatsoever in shaping legislation, debating the choices before us as a people, or even to attend the all-important conference committees that reconcile the differences between actions by the Senate and House of Representatives.

The same meanness of spirit shows up in domestic policies as well. Under the Patriot Act, Muslims, innocent of any crime, were picked up, often physically abused, and held incommunicado indefinitely. What happened in Abu Ghraib was difference not of kind, but of degree.

Differences of degree are important when the subject is torture. The apologists for what has happened do have points that should be heard and clearly understood. It is a fact that every culture and every politics sometimes expresses itself in cruelty. It is also undeniably true that other countries have and do torture more routinely, and far more brutally, than ours has. George Orwell once characterized life in Stalin's Russia as "a boot stamping on a human face forever." That was the ultimate culture of cruelty, so ingrained, so organic, so systematic that everyone in it lived in terror, even the terrorizers. And that was the nature and degree of state cruelty in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

We all know these things, and we need not reassure ourselves and should not congratulate ourselves that our society is less cruel than some others, although it is worth noting that there are many that are less cruel than ours. And this searing revelation at Abu Ghraib should lead us to examine more thoroughly the routine horrors in our domestic prison system.

But what we do now, in reaction to Abu Ghraib will determine a great deal about who we are at the beginning of the 21st century. It is important to note that just as the abuses of the prisoners flowed directly from the policies of the Bush White House, those policies flowed not only from the instincts of the president and his advisors, but found support in shifting attitudes on the part of some in our country in response to the outrage and fear generated by the attack of September 11th.

The president exploited and fanned those fears, but some otherwise sensible and levelheaded Americans fed them as well. I remember reading genteel-sounding essays asking publicly whether or not the prohibitions against torture were any longer relevant or desirable. The same grotesque misunderstanding of what is really involved was responsible for the tone in the memo from the president's legal advisor, Alberto Gonzalez, who wrote on January 25, 2002, that 9/11 "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."

We have seen the pictures. We have learned the news. We cannot unlearn it; it is part of us. The important question now is, what will we do now about torture. Stop it? Yes, of course. But that means demanding all of the facts, not covering them up, as some now charge the administration is now doing. One of the whistleblowers at Abu Ghraib, Sergeant Samuel Provance, told ABC News a few days ago that he was being intimidated and punished for telling the truth. "There is definitely a coverup," Provance said. "I feel like I am being punished for being honest."

The abhorrent acts in the prison were a direct consequence of the culture of impunity encouraged, authorized and instituted by Bush and Rumsfeld in their statements that the Geneva Conventions did not apply. The apparent war crimes that took place were the logical, inevitable outcome of policies and statements from the administration.

To me, as glaring as the evidence of this in the pictures themselves was the revelation that it was established practice for prisoners to be moved around during ICRC visits so that they would not be available for visits. That, no one can claim, was the act of individuals. That was policy set from above with the direct intention to violate US values it was to be upholding. It was the kind of policy we see - and criticize in places like China and Cuba.

Moreover, the administration has also set up the men and women of our own armed forces for payback the next time they are held as prisoners. And for that, this administration should pay a very high price. One of the most tragic consequences of these official crimes is that it will be very hard for any of us as Americans - at least for a very long time - to effectively stand up for human rights elsewhere and criticize other governments, when our policies have resulted in our soldiers behaving so monstrously. This administration has shamed America and deeply damaged the cause of freedom and human rights everywhere, thus undermining the core message of America to the world.

President Bush offered a brief and half-hearted apology to the Arab world - but he should apologize to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions. He also owes an apology to the U.S. Army for cavalierly sending them into harm's way while ignoring the best advice of their commanders. Perhaps most importantly of all, he should apologize to all those men and women throughout our world who have held the ideal of the United States of America as a shining goal, to inspire their hopeful efforts to bring about justice under a rule of law in their own lands. Of course, the problem with all these legitimate requests is that a sincere apology requires an admission of error, a willingness to accept responsibility and to hold people accountable. And President Bush is not only unwilling to acknowledge error. He has thus far been unwilling to hold anyone in his administration accountable for the worst strategic and military miscalculations and mistakes in the history of the United States of America.

He is willing only to apologize for the alleged erratic behavior of a few low-ranking enlisted people, who he is scapegoating for his policy fiasco.

In December of 2000, even though I strongly disagreed with the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to order a halt to the counting of legally cast ballots, I saw it as my duty to reaffirm my own strong belief that we are a nation of laws and not only accept the decision, but do what I could to prevent efforts to delegitimize George Bush as he took the oath of office as president.

I did not at that moment imagine that Bush would, in the presidency that ensued, demonstrate utter contempt for the rule of law and work at every turn to frustrate accountability...

So today, I want to speak on behalf of those Americans who feel that President Bush has betrayed our nation's trust, those who are horrified at what has been done in our name, and all those who want the rest of the world to know that we Americans see the abuses that occurred in the prisons of Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and secret locations as yet undisclosed as completely out of keeping with the character and basic nature of the American people and at odds with the principles on which America stands.

I believe we have a duty to hold President Bush accountable - and I believe we will. As Lincoln said at our time of greatest trial, "We - even we here - hold the power, and bear the responsibility."


[Even George W.'s Enron-speech writers can't match this for eloquence!]



No form of education is more commercialised than management education.
But are business schools teaching the right things?

what a great cover! :-)

Does IT Matter? John Hagel versus Nick Carr: FREE WEBINAR plus Whitepaper ...
(arranged by yours truly!)

FORBES: Exxon's Raymond says no problems in crude supply. The current high price of gasoline at the pump was not caused by a problem with crude oil supply, but by factors such as political uncertainty in the Middle East, Lee Raymond, chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp. said Wednesday. "There is adequate supply everywhere in the world," Raymond told reporters after the company's annual shareholders meeting. [Another way to say it- "the problem is in the White House!"]

Amy Goodman: The Truth About Ahmed Chalabi: Why the US Turned Against Their Former Golden Boy--He Was Preparing a Coup.

Scary stuff: Nuclear jet crash 'could kill millions'

"The administration's war on terror is bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle, and it has made the world a far more dangerous place." Ouch!

In other news: Chromosomes reveal surprise human-chimp differences.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

This time there's a profit model!
"WHEN the technology bubble burst in 2000, the crazy valuations for online companies vanished with it, and many businesses folded. The survivors plugged on as best they could, encouraged by the growing number of internet users. Now valuations are rising again and some of the dotcoms are making real profits, but the business world has become much more cautious about the internet's potential. The funny thing is that the wild predictions made at the height of the boom—namely, that vast chunks of the world economy would move into cyberspace—are, in one way or another, coming true." more from this Economist survey

Shock defeat for India's Hindu nationalists The Guardian
see also: A stunning defeat for Vajpayee The Economist

Now it's time for "regime change" in the good old USA...

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The cynical evasions of Bush and Rumsfeld International Herald Tribune

I keep thinking that George W. has succeeded in destroying the USA in ways Al-Qaeda could not. Check out the partisan politics at play.

It's quite amazing that the so-called liberal media is now so corporate, and that the free-press censors itself. Anything but the truth... It took the New Yorker to break this story, not ABC News, not CBS, not NBC, not CNN, The NY Times, not Paul Gigot and the apologists at the WSJ, not FOX-propaganda-channel, not the BBC or the Economist...

I'm outraged at the "outrage about the outrage."

Friday, May 7, 2004

Dame Anita's radical approach BBC
Anita Roddick, the self-styled hell-raiser of the business world and one of the UK's favourite entrepreneurs, reveals why retirement from the Body Shop has made her even more radical

Where Should The Democrats Advertise?
Here's how a good online map of the market can help you (not just the Democrats or Republicans) get the best return on your ad dollars..

Oceans Awash With Microscopic Plastic, Scientists Say... National Geographic News
Let's just start eating FDA-approved plastic! (The FDA approves anything!)

The coalition’s reputation takes another hit Economist

see also: Resign, Rumsfeld Economist

Are Bush and Cheney Inc. destroying brand USA? Hmmmm...
Here's an article on why branding a country or region is just like a product brand… except way more complex and far less controllable.
No kidding! :-)

Trademarking: Senses and Sensibility -- Randall Frost
Trademarks — the symbolic representation of brands, have traditionally consisted of words or graphic designs. Now many nontraditional brand representations, including colors, shapes, scents and sounds, are also associated with product or service origin by consumers. Not a few of these sensory representations now have official trademark status.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Bush: "History. We don't know. We'll all be dead." This "Plan of Attack" is brought to you by our government's sponsor, the shadow president- Dick "Oil-Boss" Cheney...

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

America's Most Endangered Rivers of 2004:

#1 Colorado River
#2 Big Sunflower River
#3 Snake River
#4 Tennessee River
#5 Allegheny & Monongahela rivers
#6 Spokane River
#7 Housatonic River
#8 Peace River
#9 Big Darby Creek
#10 Mississippi River
learn more>>

America's waters became progressively cleaner for decades after Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, but recent monitoring data indicates that this trend has reversed itself. For example, sampling at estuaries across the country in 2000 found that more than half were "impaired" - up from 37% in 1994. Estuaries are good indicators of broad water quality trends as they receive pollution from every stream and river in their watershed. American Rivers predicts that actions taken by the Bush administration will accelerate this decline. In particular, the administration has reduced the number of Clean Water Act enforcement actions, levied fewer and smaller fines on lawbreakers, and created new loopholes on behalf of polluting industries. The administration failed to disclose the results of an internal audit, which found that one-quarter of all major industrial and wastewater treatment facilities are in "significant violation" of the law at any one time. more>>


What a disaster of a press conference! Our puppet President doesn't seem to have a clue. And the bigger disaster is the utter failure of the so called news media to report on Bush's incoherence/incompetence... for example:

Q Thank you, Mr. President. In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you'd made in your life, and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa. You've looked back before 9/11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?

THE PRESIDENT: I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time, so I could plan for it. (Laughter.) John, I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could have done it better this way, or that way. You know, I just – I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't yet.

I would have gone into Afghanistan the way we went into Afghanistan. Even knowing what I know today about the stockpiles of weapons, I still would have called upon the world to deal with Saddam Hussein. See, I happen to believe that we'll find out the truth on the weapons. That's why we've sent up the independent commission. I look forward to hearing the truth, exactly where they are. They could still be there. They could be hidden, like the 50 tons of mustard gas in a turkey farm.

One of the things that Charlie Duelfer talked about was that he was surprised at the level of intimidation he found amongst people who should know about weapons, and their fear of talking about them because they don't want to be killed. There's a terror still in the soul of some of the people in Iraq; they're worried about getting killed, and, therefore, they're not going to talk.

But it will all settle out, John. We'll find out the truth about the weapons at some point in time. However, the fact that he had the capacity to make them bothers me today, just like it would have bothered me then. He's a dangerous man. He's a man who actually – not only had weapons of mass destruction – the reason I can say that with certainty is because he used them. And I have no doubt in my mind that he would like to have inflicted harm, or paid people to inflict harm, or trained people to inflict harm on America, because he hated us.

I hope I – I don't want to sound like I've made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't – you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.

complete transcript of this incoherent press conference>>

P.S.- Here are some of the most outrageous ways George Bush is using our tax money to campaign for another four years in the White House:

The Bush-Cheney campaign has used government employees to conduct opposition research on John Kerry. Even a former Republican Treasury official admitted that they had "stepped over the line." [Wall Street Journal, 3/31/04]

The White House directed the Health and Human Services Department to run thinly disguised campaign ads that mislead seniors about Bush's Medicare plan which funnels billions of dollars to giant pharmaceutical companies. [Washington Post, 10/20/02]

The Bush campaign is charging taxpayers $15 million dollars for political forays into battleground states, turning Air Force One into the Bush campaign plane. Bush has even asked for a larger travel budget for 2004, funded by the taxpayers. [Washington Post, 10/20/02]

The White House has billed the federal Office of Family Assistance $210,000 to help pay for five trips in which President Bush promoted welfare reform at official events and made separate fundraising appearances for GOP candidates. [Washington Post, 10/20/02]

"[Bush's] Cabinet secretaries are covering additional ground to spread good news about the Bush administration." [Associated Press, 4/5/04]

"'One hundred seventy million dollars would not be nearly enough for [Bush] to run for re-election if he had to reimburse the full cost of traveling on Air Force One,' Federal Election Commission spokesman Bob Biersack said." [, 3/22/04]

The House Resources Committee posted a diatribe against Kerry's "absurd" energy ideas on its taxpayer-funded Web site. [Associated Press, 4/6/04]


A Mexico cover-up of U.S. terror threats?
Task-force investigators find U.S. space center, George Bush International Airport among targets...


Monday, April 12, 2004

FACT: President spends 40% of time out of the office
President George Bush has spent more than 40% of his presidency at one of his three retreats... The Guardian

Job Exports: Europe's Turn
It's following the offshoring trend -- and much of it is white-collar...

Business Week

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

'Dead zones' in world's oceans are growing, say alarmed UN scientists
It is as sinister a development as any in the list of things going wrong with the planet. Marine "dead zones" - oxygen-starved areas of the oceans that are devoid of fish - are one of the greatest environmental problems facing the world, UN scientists warned yesterday.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Please READ>>
What a mess:

EPA let industry dictate policy on mercury, some staffers contend
By Tom Hamburger and Alan C. Miller Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON — Political appointees in the Environmental Protection Agency bypassed the agency's professional staff and a federal advisory panel last year to craft a rule on mercury emissions preferred by the industry and the White House, several longtime EPA officials say.

The EPA staff members say they were told not to undertake the normal scientific and economic studies called for under a standing executive order. At the same time, the proposal to regulate mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants was written using key language provided by utility lobbyists.

The Bush administration has said the proposed rule would cut mercury emissions by 70 percent in 15 years. But critics say it would delay reductions in mercury levels for decades at a risk to public health, while saving the power and coal industries billions of dollars.

Studies designed to address such questions are the ones that were not conducted.

EPA veterans say they cannot recall another instance when the agency's technical experts were cut out of developing a major regulatory proposal.

The administration chose a process "that would support the conclusion they wanted to reach," said John Paul, a Republican environmental regulator from Ohio who co-chaired the EPA-appointed advisory panel and who says that its 21 months of work on mercury was ignored.

"There is a politicization of the work of the agency that I have not seen before," said Bruce Buckheit, who retired in December as director of the EPA's Air Enforcement Division, partly because he thought enforcement was stymied. "A political agenda is driving the agency's output, rather than analysis and science."

Russell Train, a Republican who headed the EPA during the Nixon and Ford administrations, said: "I think it is outrageous. The agency has strayed from its mission in the past three years."

Analysis now sought

Buffeted by complaints about the mercury proposal from both within and outside the agency, EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt in recent days has called for additional analysis. EPA staff members say they have been asked to suggest possible comparative studies for the agency to run, much like the analyses they say they were ordered not to conduct last year.

"The process is not complete, nor is the analysis," Leavitt said Monday. "I want it done well, and I want it done right, and I want it done in a way that will maximize the level of (mercury) reductions."

Leavitt portrayed the new period of inquiry as part of the "normal process" of rule-making, noting the agency had so far filed only a provisional rule. But veteran regulators say it is unusual to propose a rule first and do extensive comparative studies later, unless new information emerges.

Leavitt said he could not address what happened at the agency before he arrived in November but that he has had "no pressure to do anything other than the right thing from the White House."

Christie Todd Whitman was the EPA administrator when the career employees say they were told not to conduct the analysis. She left the agency in June, six months before the proposed rule was announced.

"I did not know that we were cutting a process short or shortchanging the analysis," Whitman said Monday. Had she heard such allegations, she said, she would have intervened.

What went on

Five current career employees — all speaking on condition they not be named for fear of retribution — and several former officials provided a behind-the-scenes account of the EPA's decision-making in the mercury case.

Mercury's threat to the human nervous system has been known since at least the 19th century, and a cascade of studies in recent years has cast it as an escalating health danger.

Today, the use of mercury in U.S. manufacturing is tightly restricted. But there has been no strict limit on mercury released into the atmosphere from the nation's 1,100 coal-fired power plants, the largest single source in the United States.

Mercury occurs naturally in fossil fuels such as coal and is released into the atmosphere when those fuels are burned. When mercury particles and gases drop into water, some turn into a more toxic form known as methyl mercury, which enters the aquatic food chain. People are exposed to mercury chiefly by eating fish.

In 2000, a National Research Council study commissioned by Congress estimated that 60,000 children may be born in the United States annually with neurological problems that could lead to poor school performance because they were exposed to mercury before birth.

In the past few months there has been a flurry of other disturbing reports, most focusing on the threat to fetuses from mothers eating fish with elevated levels of mercury. In December, the Food and Drug Administration warned all women of child-bearing age to limit their intake of tuna and some other fish because of concern about mercury.

Economic warnings

Coal and utility executives don't dispute the dangers of mercury, but question how much of the threat comes from power plants. And they warn that overly aggressive regulation of coal-fired power plants could damage the coal and power industries and the economy and endanger already thin supplies of electricity.

In its final days, the Clinton administration determined mercury to be a toxic substance and thus subject to strict regulation under the Clean Air Act. The administration's decision required that the EPA propose standards for power-plant emissions by the end of 2003. As part of that process, the EPA selected a 21-member federal advisory panel in 2001 to make recommendations to the agency.

Mercury was on the agenda at a staff meeting last spring at EPA headquarters presided over by Jeffrey Holmstead, a lawyer who represented industry interests on air-pollution issues before Bush appointed him to run the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. Several of the staff members said they expected to discuss plans to carry out comparative studies of proposals to reduce mercury emissions. The studies, which had been requested by the federal advisory panel, were designed to examine the impact of mercury regulation on energy markets, electricity prices and public health.

But William Wehrum, a senior adviser to Holmstead who also represented industry clients before joining the Bush administration, told the dozen or so employees that comparative studies would be postponed indefinitely.

"I was floored," one participant said. "We pointed out that the studies were required ... that the data runs were promised to a federal advisory committee."

Holmstead did not respond to the expressions of concern, participants said. "There was an awkward silence," one recalled.

After the meeting, two staff members said, Holmstead informed them the studies would not be conducted partly because of "White House concern."

Holmstead and Wehrum declined repeated requests for comment.

'We were cut off'

Paul, the co-chairman of the advisory committee, which was made up of regulators, environmentalists and industry representatives, says his panel was promised the comparative data last March, but that its next meeting was canceled by the EPA and that the group never met again.

"We were cut off without any warning or explanation," he said.

Even as career staff members and the EPA's advisory panel thought their contributions to the mercury proposal were being restricted, utility-industry lobbyists were given extraordinarily direct input.

When the Bush administration took office in 2001, slowing mercury regulation was among the priorities for the coal and power industries. The administration has responded to three other key industry goals: It ended U.S. participation in the Kyoto process to reduce global warming, accelerated the permitting process for coal mines, and relaxed regulations that required the power industry to install pollution controls when renovating plants.

The proposed mercury rule, published in the Federal Register in December, contains numerous paragraphs of verbatim language supplied by two separate industry advocates.

Several complete paragraphs were lifted from three memos provided by Latham & Watkins, a national law firm whose clients include large coal-fired utility companies. Both Holmstead and Wehrum are former Latham & Watkins attorneys.

Industry wording

The proposal also includes exact language provided by West Associates, a research and advocacy group representing 20 power and transmission companies in the western United States.

The West language suggests a standard for determining likely mercury emissions at power plants. That standard — largely incorporated by the EPA — is enormously beneficial to industry, said S. William Becker, executive director of the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators, a group that represents state and local regulators in Washington, D.C.

Under the proposal, the government would set a national annual cap on emissions but then permit individual companies to choose whether to reduce their own emissions or buy credits from other companies that do. This is designed to provide an incentive to cut emissions nationwide, without limiting them at each individual facility.

Such an approach was widely hailed in the 1990s for reducing power-plant emissions that produce acid rain, but critics say it would be ill-advised for a toxin such as mercury.

Some scientists say that mercury, which is heavier than acid-rain-producing sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, will remain close to the point of emission, creating hot spots of potentially high levels of mercury contamination near power plants. Power plants in communities with high levels of mercury could opt to buy credits rather than spend to make reductions.

The EPA's own Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee wrote Jan. 26 that "the cap and trade program, as proposed, may not address existing hot spots and may create new local hot spots for mercury."

Overall, the committee said, the Bush proposal "does not sufficiently protect our nation's children."

Proposed reductions

Today, coal-fired power plants pump out about 48 tons of mercury annually. The Clinton administration order under the Clean Air Act would have mandated reducing the amount of mercury produced by coal-fired power plants by as much as 90 percent to about five tons annually by 2008.

The Bush Clear Skies plan, as modified on Capitol Hill, calls for a national cap of 34 tons in 2010, a level that wouldn't require any extra spending by the industry because it would automatically be reached if utilities add scrubbers and other equipment to comply with Clear Skies rules regulating nitrogen-oxide and sulfur-dioxide emissions.

Opponents of the Bush plan contend that setting a lower cap in the near future would encourage innovation by assuring a market for the new equipment. But utility-industry officials argue that forcing rapid adoption of that technology would be so expensive that it would lead electric generators to shift from coal to natural gas.

"The result would be increased electricity prices and higher costs for home heating, food and a host of consumer and industrial products," said Scott Segal, director of a coal utility trade association.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

(THANK TO The Los Angeles Times and The Seattle Times,
that we NOW call "news.")

Monday, March 22, 2004

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Newsweek: The Smell of a Real Scandal
"The run-up to the Iraq war was more hype than lie. Medicare is a clearer example of dishonesty and corruption at high levels..."

Fun Rumor: Kerry will ask John McCain to be his running mate.

Loss of birds and butterflies may be a sign of major global extinction - IHT
A detailed survey of birds and butterflies in Britain shows a population decline of 54 to 71 percent, a finding that suggests the world may be undergoing another major extinction. Researchers said the study helped support the theory that the sixth big extinction in Earth's history is under way, and this one is caused by humans.
[My Comment: GRRR... GREAT!@#$%$*^^%$#@@~#^$#!!!]

Monday, March 15, 2004

Blog against Blog- Bush vs. Kerry!

Here's a cool tool: onfolio from Allaire's new company... - check it out!

See also: - I built the site :-)

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Google's Ads -- and Minuses The search engine's policy of not taking ads that slam a third party could end up hurting its reputation, not to mention muffling free speech Business Week

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Yahoo stops using Google. Why? My theory is: because Microsoft is going to buy Google! :-)

Hats off to Howard Dean... I just want Kerry to win and put Bush out of his (and our) misery.

(click here for full size image)

George W. Bush officially cranked up the Republican smear machine this week by choosing to make his first campaign ad a misleading attack against John Kerry. In fact, the ad was so misleading that Bush wouldn't even appear in it to back up its claims.

Let's remind the American people that George W. Bush has taken more special interest money than anyone, ever. And Enron has been his single biggest contributor -- over $600,000...

Thursday, January 29, 2004

From: Mary Beth Cahill
Campaign Manager, John Kerry for President

Today, RNC Chair Ed Gillespie made another desperate attack on the patriotism of John Kerry. The Republicans have used the same Lee Atwater/Karl Rove attack plan book for decades, and today marks just the beginning of their plan to smear John Kerry.

What you can do: take a moment to write Ed Gillespie now at Tell him to stop the cheap shots on John Kerry!

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

See Morgan Stanley's Global Tech 2004 Preview.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Who pays to study? When universities depend on taxpayers, their independence and standards suffer ... The Economist

Kodak’s shares jumped this week on some sobering news: the photographic company is cutting its workforce by a fifth. Has Kodak finally grasped what it needs to do to compete successfully in digital photography, or has it missed the point? Read the article>> The Economist

Kerry wins in New Hampshire. There's hope for us in the U.S. yet!

"This is not an eliminating victory [for Kerry], but it's a pretty doggone impressive victory. And coming on the heels of Iowa, I think it's a pretty impressive victory for John Kerry. We've got seven more states to go next Tuesday. I think this puppy's gonna get wrapped up here in a couple weeks." -- Democratic strategist and CNN analyst James Carville

In other news- it's time for Sharon to go.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

"Did you see Howard Dean ranting and raving? Here's a little tip Howard – cut back on the Red Bull." - David Letterman

"...Cows in Iowa are afraid of getting mad Dean disease... It's always a bad sign when at the end of your speech, your aide is shooting you with a tranquilizer gun." - Jay Leno

And the BEST candidate is:

Monday, January 19, 2004

Go Kerry Go...

Friday, January 16, 2004

Halliburton wins another new Iraq contract- whoa- and no one in the US media covers this!

Thursday, January 15, 2004

1789-97: George Washington
1829-37: Andrew Jackson
1841: William Henry Harrison
1849-50: Zachary Taylor
1853-57: Franklin Pierce
1869-77: Ulysses S Grant
1877-81: Rutherford B Hayes
1881: James Garfield
1889-93: Benjamin Harrison
1953-61: Dwight D Eisenhower
2004: Wesley Clark?

also: 8 Million Workers Could Lose Overtime Pay are you one of the lucky ones?

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

in the Economist

posted 1:00 AM

Friday, January 2, 2004

From the NY Times: "The Cow Jumped Over the USDA"

January 2, 2004
The Cow Jumped Over the U.S.D.A.

lisa Harrison has worked tirelessly the last two weeks to spread the message that bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, is not a risk to American consumers. As spokeswoman for Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman, Ms. Harrison has helped guide news coverage of the mad cow crisis, issuing statements, managing press conferences and reassuring the world that American beef is safe.

For her, it's a familiar message. Before joining the department, Ms. Harrison was director of public relations for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the beef industry's largest trade group, where she battled government food safety efforts, criticized Oprah Winfrey for raising health questions about American hamburgers, and sent out press releases with titles like "Mad Cow Disease Not a Problem in the U.S."

Ms. Harrison may well be a decent and sincere person who feels she has the public's best interest at heart. Nonetheless, her effortless transition from the cattlemen's lobby to the Agriculture Department is a fine symbol of all that is wrong with America's food safety system. Right now you'd have a hard time finding a federal agency more completely dominated by the industry it was created to regulate. Dale Moore, Ms. Veneman's chief of staff, was previously the chief lobbyist for the cattlemen's association. Other veterans of that group have high-ranking jobs at the department, as do former meat-packing executives and a former president of the National Pork Producers Council.

The Agriculture Department has a dual, often contradictory mandate: to promote the sale of meat on behalf of American producers and to guarantee that American meat is safe on behalf of consumers. For too long the emphasis has been on commerce, at the expense of safety. The safeguards against mad cow that Ms. Veneman announced on Tuesday — including the elimination of "downer cattle" (cows that cannot walk) from the food chain, the removal of high-risk material like spinal cords from meat processing, the promise to introduce a system to trace cattle back to the ranch — have long been demanded by consumer groups. Their belated introduction seems to have been largely motivated by the desire to have foreign countries lift restrictions on American beef imports.

Worse, on Wednesday Ms. Veneman ruled out the the most important step to protect Americans from mad cow disease: a large-scale program to test the nation's cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

The beef industry has fought for nearly two decades against government testing for any dangerous pathogens, and it isn't hard to guess why: when there is no true grasp of how far and wide a food-borne pathogen has spread, there's no obligation to bear the cost of dealing with it.

The United States Department of Agriculture is by no means the first such body to be captured by industry groups. In Europe and Japan the spread of disease was facilitated by the repeated failure of government ministries to act on behalf of consumers.

In Britain, where mad cow disease was discovered, the ministry of agriculture misled the public about the risks of the disease from the very beginning. In December 1986, the first government memo on the new pathogen warned that it might have "severe repercussions to the export trade and possibly also for humans" and thus all news of it was to be kept "confidential." Ten years later, when Britons began to fall sick with a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob syndrome, thought to be the human form of mad cow, Agriculture Minister Douglas Hogg assured them that "British beef is wholly safe." It was something of a shock, three months later, when the health minister, Stephen Dorrell, told Parliament that mad cow disease might indeed be able to cross the species barrier and sicken human beings.

In the wake of that scandal, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Japan banned imports of British beef — yet they denied for years there was any risk of mad cow disease among their own cattle. Those denials proved false, once widespread testing for the disease was introduced. An investigation by the French Senate in 2001 found that the Agriculture Ministry minimized the threat of mad cow and "constantly sought to prevent or delay the introduction of precautionary measures" that "might have had an adverse effect on the competitiveness of the agri-foodstuffs industry." In Tokyo, a similar mad cow investigation in 2002 accused the Japanese Agriculture Ministry of "serious maladministration" and concluded that it had "always considered the immediate interests of producers in its policy judgments."

Instead of learning from the mistakes of other countries, America now seems to be repeating them. In the past week much has been made of the "firewall" now protecting American cattle from infection with mad cow disease — the ban on feeding rendered cattle meat or beef byproducts to cattle that was imposed by the Food and Drug Administration in 1997. That ban has been cited again and again by Agriculture Department and industry spokesmen as some sort of guarantee that mad cow has not taken hold in the United States. Unfortunately, this firewall may have gaps big enough to let a herd of steer wander through it.

First, the current ban still allows the feeding of cattle blood to young calves — a practice that Stanley Prusiner, who won the Nobel Prize in medicine for his work on the proteins that cause mad cow disease, calls "a really stupid idea." More important, the ban on feed has hardly been enforced. A 2001 study by the Government Accounting Office found that one-fifth of American feed and rendering companies that handle prohibited material had no systems in place to prevent the contamination of cattle feed. According to the report, more than a quarter of feed manufacturers in Colorado, one of the top beef-producing states, were not even aware of the F.D.A. measures to prevent mad cow disease, four years after their introduction.

A follow-up study by the accounting office in 2002 said that the F.D.A.'s "inspection database is so severely flawed" that "it should not be used to assess compliance" with the feed ban. Indeed, 14 years after Britain announced its ban on feeding cattle proteins to cattle, the Food and Drug Administration still did not have a complete listing of the American companies rendering cattle and manufacturing cattle feed.

The Washington State Holstein at the center of the current mad cow crisis may have been born in Canada, but even that possibility offers little assurance about the state of mad cow disease in the United States. Last year 1.7 million live cattle were imported from Canada — and almost a million more came from Mexico, a country whose agricultural ministry has been even slower than its American counterpart to impose strict safeguards against mad cow disease.

Last year the Agriculture Department tested only 20,000 cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, out of the roughly 35 million slaughtered. Belgium, with a cattle population a small fraction of ours, tested about 20 times that number for the disease. Japan tests every cow and steer that people are going to eat.

Instead of testing American cattle, the government has heavily relied on work by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis to determine how much of a threat mad cow disease poses to the United States. For the past week the Agriculture Department has emphasized the reassuring findings of these Harvard studies, but a closer examination of them is not comforting. Although thorough and well intended, they are based on computer models of how mad cow disease might spread. Their accuracy is dependent on their underlying assumptions. "Our model is not amenable to formal validation," says the Harvard group in its main report, "because there are no controlled experiments in which the introduction and consequences of B.S.E. introduction to a country has been monitored and measured."

Unfortunately, "formal validation" is exactly what we need. And the only way to get it is to begin widespread testing of American cattle for mad cow disease — with particular focus on dairy cattle, the animals at highest risk for the disease and whose meat provides most of the nation's fast food hamburgers.

In addition, we need to give the federal government mandatory recall powers, so that any contaminated or suspect meat can be swiftly removed from the market. As of now all meat recalls are voluntary and remarkably ineffective at getting bad meat off supermarket shelves. And most of all, we need to create an independent food safety agency whose sole responsibility is to protect the public health. Let the Agriculture Department continue to promote American meat worldwide — but empower a new agency to ensure that meat is safe to eat.

Yes, the threat to human health posed by mad cow remains uncertain. But testing American cattle for dangerous pathogens will increase the cost of beef by just pennies per pound. Failing to do so could impose a far higher price, both in dollars and in human suffering.

Eric Schlosser is author of "Fast Food Nation" and "Reefer Madness."

posted 1:20 PM

Sunday, December 7, 2003

Books of the Year 2003
- from The Economist
Pattern Recognition. By William Gibson. Putnam; 368 pages; $25.95. Viking; £16.99
The Recurrent Crisis in Corporate Governance. By Paul MacAvoy and Ira Millstein. Palgrave Macmillan; 168 pages; £40. To be published in America by Palgrave in January
Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value. By Bill George. Jossey-Bass; 240 pages; $27.95 and £18.50
Beyond the Core: Expand Your Market Without Abandoning Your Roots. By Chris Zook. Harvard Business School Press; 256 pages; $29.95. To be published in Britain by HBS Press in January

Corn and Capitalism: How a Botanical Bastard Grew to Global Dominance. By Arturo Warman. University of North Carolina Press; 288 pages; $49.95 (hardback) and $24.95 (paperback)
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. By Michael Lewis. W.W. Norton; 288 pages; $24.95

posted 10:15 PM

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Clayton Christensen's Value Prop:
Six Decisions To Make- Creating Businesses to Commercialize High-Potential Innovations

1) Whether the new business should be set up to operate autonomously. Opportunities that require developing new skills and using new business models ought to be kept separate from the main business.

2) The activities the company should build versus the activities it should buy. The new business needs to control activities that allow it to improve performance along dimensions that matter most to customers.

3) How the new business should interact with “value network” participants, such as suppliers and channel partners. The new business must help its value network partners move up their own improvement trajectory. People don’t do what doesn’t make sense to them.

4) Which managers should be appointed to run the new business. Managers should have wrestled with challenges (attended “schools of experience”) they know they will encounter.

5) How the new business should set its strategy. In all likelihood, the new business needs to use an “emergent” strategy process that lets it experiment and learn from the

6) Who should fund the new business. The new business needs investors whose prioritization criteria match the business’ needs. For truly disruptive innovations, this typically means being patient for growth but impatient for profits.

posted 1:00 AM

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Meanwhile, the AARP leadership cheats its own members. Let's do as Shields says: "...shift the entire burden and cost of the war and the new seniors' drug benefit, along with the cost of the Bush tax cuts, on to our kids and our grandkids, while all the time hypocritically proclaiming how much we love and value them." posted 1:35 AM

Dell Inc to shift technical support to US... hmm. posted 1:30 AM

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Meet a steelmaker who understands that a "triple bottom line" is good business -- in one of the world's toughest businesses! posted 6:30 AM

Alec Gores, founder of Gores Technology Group, buys troubled companies and turns them around. Gores insists that the magic has less to do with numbers than with culture. "A lot of people focus on the P& Ls and forget about customers, employees, and the culture," he says. " We help people be more nimble. We give them ownership and make them feel like it's their company."

Here's the Gores value-creation recipe. Ask yourself, am I doing this?

posted 6:22 AM

Monday, November 10, 2003

Funny- the US has quotas and tarrifs on textiles, sugar, and steel to protect the industries of the past... while we just give away our future for nothing: see- "Army of consultants smooth companies' entry to India"

Is this the future? McJobs in the high tech industry... eg. Oracle...

say, why not outsource your CEO?

posted 6:09 AM

Friday, November 7, 2003

Nearly half of companies in Europe and the United States are considering outsourcing part of their procurement operations within three years, more than double the 22 percent of respondents who said they currently outsource aspects of procurement, according to a survey released recently by Accenture.

Results of the survey, which entailed querying more than 200 procurement directors from a wide variety of industries across Europe and the United States, indicated that companies in France are most likely to outsource their procurement in the near future, with 64 percent of respondents there saying they would do so by 2006. Companies in the United Kingdom and United States were the next most likely to outsource procurement functions by 2006 (58 percent each), followed by companies in Italy (42 percent). Thirty nine percent of all companies from Germany, Austria and Switzerland said they anticipate outsourcing procurement processes in the next three years.

Additionally, non-strategic processes – such as application hosting and requisitioning-to-pay –and indirect spend categories are the areas most often outsourced. Referring to these activities, 43 percent of respondents said they were attracted by the combined opportunities for cost reduction and the ability to focus more time on the management of the categories that they retained in-house. However, 22 percent of respondents said they were prepared to consider outsourcing part of their direct materials by 2006, compared to 9 percent that do so today.

“Survey results show that procurement outsourcing is here to stay,” said Richard Laub, the partner who heads Accenture’s European procurement practice. “Looking ahead, however, the principal challenge will be to derive more than just cost-savings. Procurement outsourcing is a powerful weapon that savvy companies can use to build new strategic and competitive advantages.”

Company size – in terms of sales revenues – is the clearest indicator of both present and anticipated use of procurement service providers. Thirty-one percent of the largest companies surveyed said they presently outsource some aspect of procurement, while another 36 percent said they plan to do so in the future. Conversely, only 15 percent of smaller companies said they outsource procurement functions today, while another 34 percent said they intend to do so in the future.

“The businesses most likely to outsource all or part of their procurement processes are large companies that might have exhausted most of the gains available to them through their own internal efforts, but nonetheless continue to set aggressive cost-reduction targets,” said Laub. “Those companies are smart to recognize that outsourcing is a great way to turn ambitions into actions.”

Survey Methodology
From April through July of 2003, 219 procurement directors from companies in 14 European countries and the United States completed a Web-based survey on their current and anticipated procurement operations. Eighty-three percent of respondents work in organizations with sales revenues exceeding $500 million, and 67 percent of organizations had operations at five or more locations. Respondents represented the manufacturing, telecommunications, retail, services and public sectors
. posted 7:09 AM

According to Greenspan>>

In one of his strongest criticisms of the administration of George W. Bush, the President, Mr. Greenspan said he is worried the deficit, expected to be US$374-billion this year, will hurt the economy. "The relatively optimistic short-term outlook for the U.S. economy is playing out against a backdrop of growing longer-term concern in financial markets about our federal budget," Mr. Greenspan told a U.S. securities association meeting. Read more...

FYI: Since W took office, 2.6 million jobs have disappeared and unemployment stands near a seven-year high of 6.1%. posted 7:00 AM

Thursday, November 6, 2003

Reshaping Dell: Kevin Rollins, Dell's president. If you read between the lines, you can see how Dell is actually losing its soul!


"There's a whole range of products we could have launched immediately, but our team was telling us that that's too much--that we'll kind of break if we do too much too fast. So we scaled it back and have been very disciplined on what we launch and how fast we launch. We're making sure that we have people to run things before we launch them. That's been a change. Before, it was: 'Get it done.'"

He does go on to make some interesting points, especially about "on-demand" computing:
We're not big advocates of on-demand computing. We think that that's really a return to the past: "Trust us, give us all the keys to the car, and we'll get you there. Just trust us." Generally, we find that for companies that are very inefficient, it might look like a good deal initially. But in the longer term, that's a very costly effort. What we would rather do is make the product simple enough and easy enough so that customers can use it themselves at a low cost. We believe in standards, simplification, ease-of-use. Those models suggest, "You're just too stupid. You can't run it on your own. Give it to us, because we can run it. You can't. And trust us, we'll charge you a fair price."

posted 11:15 PM

Just days after the Food and Drug Administration announced preliminary findings that meat and milk from cloned animals were safe to consume, a scientific review panel for the agency said on Tuesday that there was not enough data to support that conclusion and asked for more studies... the FDA, like the EPA, and basically entire US administration puts business interests first and public safety fourth or fifth or maybe twenty-seventh. Let's go take our kids to play at the local arsenic-laced playground! (The lumber industry maintains that treated wood is safe and that children are exposed to more arsenic in food and water than on the playground.) GRRRR. Can you tell I'm angry? :-) posted 11:10 PM

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

The best democracy money can buy. Today's election is brought to you by:

posted 12:10 PM

Sunday, October 26, 2003

IT outsourcing vendors must cater to non-IT business users, says Gartner. What a revelation! :-) posted 12:09 PM

"It was Herman Goering, that old Nazi, who said, 'People can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.… All you have to do is tell them they're being attacked and denounce the pacifists for a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.'" - Arundhati Roy posted 12:05 PM an idea whose time has come!
Check out The Ten-Point Plan for Good Jobs and Energy Independence.
posted 12:00 PM

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Jim Hightower's klep·to·crat na·tion...
(klep´te krat na´shen), n. 1. a body of people ruled by thieves. 2. a government characterized by the practice of transferring money and power from the many to the few. 3. a ruling class of moneyed elites that usurps liberty, justice, sovereignty, and other democratic rights from the people. 4. the USA in 2003. posted 4:47 PM

Would Sam Walton approve of this? posted 4:44 PM

The CEO of HIp_HoP: Russell Simmons in BusinessWeek. Wealth creation or exploitation? My view- this is materialism gone mad! Let's feed our children more escapist fantasies since reality is too hard to face... Courvoisier over Calculus- an easy sell. Challenge to Simmons: Can you merchandise Calculus? posted 4:40 PM

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

The neoconservatives ... When ideas become more important than human lives, everyone loses. Walker Percy - where are you? posted 3:40 AM

Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Karl Rove: are his dirty tricks catching up to him at last? posted 7:30 PM

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Another great article by John Seely Brown and John Hagel: Flexible IT, better strategy...

Mystery man rubbed Pentagon brass the wrong way: Wesley Clark may be just what this country needs- someone with a brain. And, someone who can take on the establishment and listen to our allies...

"Republican reaction to Clark's imminent announcement"

See also: The entrepreneur as a systems thinker: a revolution in the making posted 5:31 AM

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Finally, a candidate. Here's an interesting article: Wesley Clark, Clinton's Choice To Prevent A Dean Disaster. Clark may turn out to be Superman, if he can raise the funds.

Meanwhile, Verisign takes a page out of the Microsoft gamebook, and decides it wants to fight everyone. How dumb is this?
posted 8:01 PM

Thursday, August 14, 2003

My Linux site got some press:

BMC widens support for Linux BusinessWeek

BMC widens support for Linux ZDNet

BMC Software Introduces Linux Community Web Site Yahoo

BMC widens support for Linux CNET

BMC Software Introduces Linux Community Web Site EETimes

posted 2:40 AM

There they go again. The Texas Republicans are giving our state a bad name. And look at how stupid they are in California. Maybe it's time to recall Bush as well? posted 2:35 AM

Saturday, July 26, 2003

It's about demand generation. See Adrian Slywotzky's book: How to Grow When Markets Don't. Says a reviewer: "Slywotzky and co-author Rick Wise concisely frame the growth challenge faced in many industries today, and help the reader in identifying several tangible options for driving revenue and profitability, even in the current market." True, true...- if your company is struggling, read this book ASAP!
posted 2:35 PM

One of these days I'm going to build one of these sites... here's my design for a world soccer site...

posted 2:33 PM

The Progressive - $1 a month... for news not covered by the pay-per-news folk at corporate media-land. posted 11:35 AM

Thursday, May 22, 2003

My dream - finally, a useful robot...?

See the Friendly Robotics RL800 Robomower

posted 6:33 AM

Monday, May 12, 2003

Another Bush, another jobless recovery The Economist

Also- check out the latest IT Survey from our friends at The Economist.

In the survey:

Paradise lost
Modifying Moore's law
Moving up the stack
Techniques, not technology
At your service
The fortune of the commons
Cold killer application
Regulating rebels
Déjà vu all over again

interesting insight:


posted 5:30 AM

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Our nearest relatives are going extinct.

Meanwhile, even Google goes down when too many people want their news:

Our friends the Republicans are using terror laws to protect polluters. Has anyone read Charles Lewis' The Buying of the Congress: How Special Interests Have Stolen Your Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? The song remains the same.

see also: The Cheating of America: How Tax Avoidance and Evasion by the Super Rich Are Costing the Country Billions--and What You Can Do About It
posted 1:30 PM

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Company Philosophy: Marvin Bower found 5 common principles across the companies he admired-

Wait, there's more. What does Bower mean by competitive urgency?

Alas- where have you gone Marvin Bower?
posted 11:30 AM

question: Will media giants bulldoze communities?
posted 11:33 AM

Friday, March 28, 2003

I believe George W. lost the next election this week. My main concern is the safety of our troops and the innocent. I hope we can send in reinforcements fast enough.

Bill Moyers is the only newsperson I trust on TV. When the newsmedia starts expressing patriotism in reporting, they destroy their own credibility: Dan Rather, Ted Koppel, Peter Jennings - you guys are harming your profession. posted 10:30 PM

Monday, March 24, 2003

Blogging tools: b2, Blog, Blogalia, Blogger/Pro, Blog Studio/Pro, BlogWorks XML, Bloxsom, CityDesk, Coranto, Drupal, Facto, GreyMatter, LiveJournal, Macrobyte Conversant, Monaural Jerk, Movable Type, NewsBruiser, Nucleus, Pivot, pMachine/Pro, Radio Userland, Rodin, Sunlog. Tell me about others. I'm doing research on the "social function of blogging."
posted 5:30 PM

Friday, March 21, 2003

Copywriting. I must say I don't normally buy stuff like this, but I did. The best article is the one with the dubious title- How To Write Million Dollar Ads, Sales Letters, & Web Marketing Pieces: 23 Superstar Copywriters Take You On A Step-By-Step Tour Of Some Of Their Most Profitable Promotions. This 372-page tutorial seems to be on target- from my perspective at least.

Their one-line ad is cheesy. Cheesy, but effective: Click Here for the BEST Copywriting Resource on the Net! The problem is quite common in the copywriting world- writers turn up their noses at these "simple" techniques, and end up w/ pretty campaigns w/ pathetic results...
posted 5:20 AM

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Pat Buchanan is against the war: "a neoconservative clique seeks to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interest." I'm not a fan of Buchanan's at all, but here's a Democrat who got in trouble for saying essentially the same thing.
posted 6:10 AM

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Al Gore is now an apple-head. And- McNealy calls .NET a joke. If .NET is a joke, what is Sun? posted 6:03 PM

Overseas Outsourcing Hurts U.S. Economy. Time for some economic patriotism. posted 6:12 AM

Monday, March 17, 2003

Why wars happen- is it really this simple?
A nearly two-year investigation by the Center for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that a handful of individuals and companies with connections to governments, multinational corporations and, sometimes, criminal syndicates in the United States, Europe, Africa and the Middle East have profited from war commerce – a growth industry whose bottom line never takes into account the lives it destroys.
posted 6:20 AM

Thursday, March 13, 2003

I try to remember the key points of the Tapscott-Porter debate.
posted 7:10 AM

Selling for profit: Redesigning the sales effort to jumpstart growth - an excellent Mercer White Paper.
posted 7:02 AM

10 Reasons why CEOs do not take action with a subordinate. You have to dig into the middle of this article to find this, but it's worth a look, especially if you are the CEO. posted 6:45 am

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

What can you offer customers beyond the basics of product functionality? Fortunately, in most industries there is abundant next-generation demand, because a wide range of higher-order customer needs are going unmet. These needs involve the broader economic issues surrounding the product rather than the strictly functional needs met by the product alone. They include such needs as:

Learn more about next-generation customer needs from Mercer.
posted 6:33 AM

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Here's my list of Web Services management vendors- AltoWeb, AmberPoint, Avinon, Blue Titan, Confluent, Digital Evolution, Primordial, Talking Blocks, WestBridge and WestGlobal. Do you know of others? Let me know. posted 7:30 AM

Monday, March 10, 2003

Now is the time to spend. Some companies emerge from a recession stronger and more highly valued than they were before the economy soured. By making strategic choices that sometimes defy conventional wisdom, they increase their stock market valuations relative to those of their former peers and thus gain more power to shape their industries. (McKinsey Quarterly) posted 8:50 AM

In an open letter to 10 Downing Street a group of 16 academic lawyers have argued that taking action without a new, clear United Nations mandate "will seriously undermine the international rule of law". See the full text. Since when has that stopped George W.?

Lawyers in the US are too busy making money to say or do anything.

In other news, Beckham forgives Ferguson (BBC).
posted 8:10 AM

Health-fun: Research finds eating fast food meals more than twice a week is associated with double the risk of abnormal glucose control and a 50 percent increase in the risk of obesity...
posted 7:50 AM

Is Iran next? Here, an article from the Washington Post on the "startling progress" of Iran's nuclear program.
posted 7:34 AM

Bosnia all over again?
What to expect once the war is over...

March Madness: Is the US going to war this week?

The Economist compares Bush policies with apartheid policies in the old South Africa... wow!
posted 6:30 AM

Chelsea joins McKinsey. Can she save them from themselves? :-)
posted 6:25 AM

Monday, October 21, 2002

Ancient 'bone box' may be earliest link to Jesus... CSM posted 1:06 AM

New strategy site on Web services- includes John Hagel, John Seely Brown, Patricia Seybold, Sue Aldrich, Brent Sleeper, and Dale Kutnick.
posted 12:30 AM

Monday, October 14, 2002

Here's an ad-style you'll be seeing a lot more of... wonder which agency- was it Black Rocket? (if you know, let me know!)


posted 8:08 PM

I must be stupid, since I didn't go to any of these schools. Now that I think about it, I didn't even go to business school...

posted 3:06 PM

OpenCourseWare from MIT. Let's see, where do I go to learn about the problem of evil?
posted 1:58 PM

The Antikythera mechanism Economist
posted 12:22 PM

Ring the outsourcing alarm- there go your health-benefits! (What benefits?)...

posted 10:08 AM

Check out this interview with John Hagel. And buy his latest book.

posted 10:05 AM

An interesting site - I like the left column- it tells you who's credible and who's incredible. There'll never be no peace... and that's depressing.
posted 10:02 AM

Sunday, October 13, 2002

X-Docs - available in the middle of 2003 - and hopefully, usable! I just hope it's not FrontPage all over again...

posted 11:51 PM

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Chickenhawks - must we go to war just before the elections?

posted 10:21 PM

100 new frog species show up on Sri Lanka- surprise!
National Geographic

posted 10:01 PM

Tuesday, October 8, 2002

I took a break from blogging over September... too much work!
posted 10:31 AM

Friday, August 30, 2002

Public Relations: A New CRM Market? Line 56
posted 10:31 AM

Is It Time to Fire Your CIO? HBS Working Knowledge
posted 10:29 AM

Web Services: Creeping Into Europe Yankee Group
posted 10:27 AM

The biggest transatlantic trade dispute in history BBC
posted 8:41 AM

The Ronaldo saga continues...
posted 8:38 AM

Most established businesses have an array of underutilized resources they can leverage – natural byproducts of a company's delivery of its core products or services. When skillfully employed, they enable a company to deliver an array of related value-added offerings, often with unusually high margins. Mercer MC has identified eighteen types of such assets in five major categories...
posted 8:35 AM

Thoughts for the Beach (or Questions to Keep CEOs Awake at Night Instead of Enjoying Their Vacations)
Mercer Delta

posted 8:33 AM

Don't Let Your Brand Falter During a Recession! and Four Ways to Generate Greater Brand Efficiency
Lippincott & Margulies

posted 8:29 AM

Managing sales compensation: Critical business issues and best practices... Mercer HR
posted 8:25 AM

Monday, August 26, 2002

The remarkable demographic difference between America and Europe... Economist
posted 12:33 PM

Tropical forests are disappearing at the rate of 5% a decade. The World Bank reckons that by 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities: and by 2025, three-quarters will live within 100km of the sea, putting enormous pressure on coastal eco-systems. Yet average income in the richest countries is now 37 times that in the poorest 20 nations. How can those in the developing world be expected to take seriously the need for conservation of energy and other resources seriously, when they watch rich nations bicker about even the modest steps represented by the Kyoto protocol on climate change? Will the United Nations Earth summit accomplish anything? Economist
posted 11:27 AM

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Free speech, free beer and free software: Apache, NetBeans and Linux! The promise of Open
posted 9:05 AM

What a national ID card might look like. Popular Science
posted 8:55 AM

NASA plans to read terrorist's minds at airports... Wahington Times
posted 8:51 AM

Not just another news portal:
posted 8:45 AM

Goin' South: Zora Neale Hurston was in flight from a failed relationship when she created her masterpiece. Book
posted 8:40 AM

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

The penguin goes to Washington
posted 12:24 PM

Serie A season delayed... should we be surprised? I'm sticking with my rumor: Ronaldo to ManU for 100 million euros!
Also: Julien Escude will join ManU sooner rather than later- what's £5.1m these days?
Another burning question: should Beckham play center-midfield or should he stick to the right? BBC

posted 11:59 AM Elvis fever has reached the "tipping point"!
posted 11:56 AM

Seeding Future Innovation the economy is bottoming out and bargains abound. For companies with strong finances and steady nerves, it's a good time to get serious about corporate investing. Optimize
posted 11:51 AM

The Economist Style Guide - what does this have to do with innovation? Not sure, but hey...
posted 11:45 AM

Monday, August 19, 2002

A new buzzword: the "tipping point" from The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
posted 1:46 PM is a free service that:
- scans products on to record their sales ranking over time
- scans website rankings on Alexa to record their ranking over time
- allows you to start or participate in disucssions about any website or item

posted 1:34 PM

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

IT Service Effectiveness Survey 2002 from Fujitsu Consulting. The scope of the survey includes all activities associated with IT infrastructure, IT Telecommunication and Application Support and Maintenance.
posted 8:57 AM

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

posted 1:54 PM

Pseudo-Meat and The Art of Rat-Powered Pigs Wings Wired
posted 1:49 PM

National White Collar Crime Center
posted 1:47 PM

Top-Earning Dead Celebrities Forbes
posted 1:42 PM Still an innovative approach to visualizing performance in near-real-time...
posted 1:38 PM

Akamai for corporate intranets. Baseline
posted 1:37 PM

SAP's opportunities are great. But it should not let pride blind it to Microsoft threat. Baseline
posted 1:35 PM

Monday, August 12, 2002

The Truth About Customer References: How Sweet Deals Can Be Rotten Business Also: Whatever Happened to the CTO? CIO
posted 3:03 PM

Dell will offer to its hardware customers Oracle's application server software, technology that runs e-business and other Web site transactions.
posted 2:59 PM

Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins: The Paradox of Innovation
see article

posted 2:04 PM

Did you know there are over eight thousand artificial objects orbiting Earth?
posted 1:47 PM

Friday, August 09, 2002

Smile Jamaica! 40 years- forward ever, backward never! BBC
posted 2:51 PM

The Gurus of Medical Technology BusinessWeek
posted 2:47 PM

The SpinBrush BusinessWeek
posted 2:45 PM

At the recent Open Source Group Conference, Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, spoke out on the need to keep Web standards and Web services patent-free. He knows what he's talking about—not only do patents threaten the standards put forth by his World Wide Web Consortium, they have even threatened his very invention of the Web, one that has been compared to Gutenberg's creation of the printing press. eWeek
posted 2:18 PM

Business Process Standards for Web Services- there are many candidates. And now there's Business Process Execution Language which merges two languages--Microsoft's Xlang and IBM's Web Services Flow Language--that the two companies originally created separately. Is this real or is it more alphabet soup?
posted 1:32 PM

NASA investigating hacker theft of sensitive documents Computerworld
posted 1:21 PM

Innovator of the Year: Smart Crow Makes Her Own Tools. Yahoo (submitted by Dana Farver)
Learn more...

posted 8:12 AM

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Let's start a rumor: Ronaldo to ManU for 100 million euros! :-)
posted 4:11 PM

2001 CFO Pay: The Top Ten
Michael E. Lehman, Sun Microsystems $37,201,000
Mark H. Swartz, Tyco International $32,368,000
and more...

The interesting thing is that the median total CFO compensation has hovered persistently at 40 percent of chief executive pay. CFO

posted 4:03 PM

Fifty-five percent of IT managers surveyed in a recent poll were considering other vendors and options as a result of Microsoft's changes to its licensing model. ZDNet
posted 3:57 PM

Open Source Case for Business still rings true... go Linux!
posted 3:54 PM

The Innovation Factor: Inside the Idea Mill — What's better than one blockbuster innovation? A company designed to crank out innovations one after another. Inc
posted 3:35 PM

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Innovation Landscapes: mapping innovation across industries - from Doblin
posted 11:59 AM

Stink coming in California BBC
posted 11:49 AM

Hmmm: RosettaNet Merges With UCC.
posted 9:33 AM
posted 9:25 AM

See also: Disruption: The Art of Framing — Your chief competitor creates a breakthrough technology. Should you frame that event inside your company as a threat or opportunity? HBS Working Knowledge
posted 8:50 AM

"There’s usually some process by which a potentially great idea gets prostituted into something lackluster." — Clayton Christensen. Understanding the Process of Innovation: Just what is the BIG idea? In this Harvard Management Update piece, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen helps us understand the sources of innovation inside companies and what blocks it.

Other HBS Working Knowledge stories featuring Christensen:
- Angels Face the Innovator's Dilemma
- David, Goliath, and Disruption
- How Technological Disruption Changes Everything
- Growing Pains: Prescriptions for U.S. Health Care

HBS Working Knowledge

posted 8:43 AM

Biometric Security Barely Skin-Deep: Recordings and even gummy bears can hack through biometric devices, security expert tells BlackHat crowd.
posted 8:32 AM

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Manufacturers and Web Services: technology allows companies to focus today on process, not integration Line 56
posted 6:43 AM

IBM's Consulting Foray Could Force Hewlett-Packard's Hand
posted 6:41 AM

MBAs as CEOs (PDF) by Henry Mintzberg & Joseph Lampel
posted 6:34 AM

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

The world's largest shared-experience: The 2002 World Cup was viewed by 1.5 billion (that's "unique visitors" in web-lingo) in 18 countries as measured by Nielsen. FIFA, soccer's governing body, estimated that the 1998 tournament was watched by a cumulative 37 billion worldwide, including 1.5 billion for host France's win over Brazil in the final. The cumulative numbers for Korea-Japan aren't in yet.
posted 5:54 PM

Oracle Corp. plans to make India its key product software development and customer services base outside the US. idg
posted 7:07 AM

20 Technology Briefs: What's New? What's Next? What Matters?
1. Technologists have developed capabilities that strategists haven't figured out how to use.
2. Technology is fast; the absorption rate by society and by organizations is slow.
3. We have a global network, broadband, and data centers. Now all we need is a way to make money.
4. Just because we haven't figured out yet how to monetize technological advances doesn't mean that they aren't critically important.
5. We're only 5% of the way toward using the technology that's been developed.
6. No more technology Vietnams. No more CIO-centric technology implementations. No more open-ended technology deployment.
7. Technology doesn't make you less stupid; it just makes you stupid faster.
8. Information architecture can be as inflexible as a building. Sometimes you have to knock down the walls.
9. CEOs were looking for an online presence. Now they're looking for ROII -- return on Internet investment.
10. When do people actually act? When there's pain, fear, or hope.
11. CEOs are talking about surviving tough times, about their customers, and about their people. They're not talking about technology.
12. The only way technology matters is if the PDU -- the poor dumb user -- trusts it, believes in it, and wants it.
13. The job of the CIO is to provide organizational and strategic flexibility.
14. Internal constituents and external customers aren't on the same page: It's technology Bosnia.
15. Competitors are forming consortiums to eliminate technological complexity.
16. Collaborative computing will be the next big thing.
17. In five years, the best personal assistant you've ever had will be with you every minute.
18. If you can't explain it to your mother or your grandmother, don't do it.
19. Architect to evolve and build to perform.
20. Everyone gets the technology they deserve.

fast company

posted 6:44 AM

Electronics' Final Cost: Debate Heats Up on Environmental Impact of Old PCs, TVs npr
posted 6:40 AM

Scientists "Drive" Rats By Remote Control. When are they going to try this on humans? National Geographic
posted 6:29 AM

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Holy cow, Batman! Boeing's Sonic Cruiser is struggling to take off. But even more fantastic models are on the company's drawing-board. Economist
posted 5:08 PM

Thomas Middelhoff's departure as CEO of Germany's Bertelsmann this week has all but cemented the victory of the old guard in big media following years of costly ventures by bold Internet experimenters.
posted 5:04 PM

IBM grabs PwC for $3.5 billion. What's HP going to do?
posted 5:02 PM

Is .NET Dead Yet? E-Commerce Times
posted 4:58 PM

Get well George Best!
posted 4:56 PM

Monday, July 29, 2002

Rethinking Content on the Web by John C. Dvorak PC Magazine
posted 12:50 PM and
posted 12:44 PM

oobeya! Toyota Drives for Innovation... Fast Company
posted 12:43 PM

Friday, July 26, 2002

Is the BBC playing fair with its online drive? New Media Age
posted 10:00 AM

Deep Linking Takes Another Blow- those EU bureaucrats are nuts! Wired
posted 7:29 AM

''How do you prevent some big outfit from snagging your idea or otherwise crushing your new venture?''
posted 7:25 AM

So, What Makes a Good Name? "It all starts with naming. Once you have made the decision to start a new business or launch (or relaunch) a new product or service—technology-related or otherwise—and have at least the basic resources in place, one of the biggest challenges will be deciding what to name it." Darwin
posted 7:24 AM

Executives Guides — You don't have to be an exec to read these. Darwin
posted 7:20 AM

Thursday, July 25, 2002 vs Ouch!
posted 1:46 PM

Someone is thinking strategically: Microsoft plans to increase its research and development budget by 20 percent and hire 5,000 new workers in the coming year.
posted 1:43 PM

"Here's why folks stopped buying PCs" — Patrick Moorhead
posted 1:41 PM

Marathon Oil uses Skywire to ease its SAP implementation, with an eye on pain-free customization and changes; reports $300,000 annual cost savings! Line 56
posted 1:37 PM

Still a great read after all these years. Drucker's Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
posted 1:27 PM

"[Political fund-raising] gives the American people the impression, which is not always erroneous, that to get legislation passed or decisions made, you've got to contribute money in a so-called legal bribe." — Former President Jimmy Carter (CNN's "Late Edition", 10/19/1997)
posted 1:22 PM

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Wow - is this a bit too creepy?

posted 2:22 PM

What's this? The innovative part of Enron is still ticking!
posted 12:53 PM

Internet standards can no longer be written by technology firms alone. Economist
posted 11:42 AM

Tons of new working papers from John Hagel III and John Seely Brown on the subject of Web Services.
posted 11:38 AM

I'm with Michael Porter! I'm sure he's still fed up with CEOs who claim that the world changes too fast for their companies to have a long-term strategy. Fast Company

Here's some more from Porter: a lecture on Innovation (held in the Netherlands).

posted 11:25 AM

"What do Norwegians do better than anyone else? According to the latest Human Development Report, published on Wednesday July 24th, Norway is again number one on the Human Development Index... Among the world’s poorer countries, the index makes for depressing reading—as does much of the report, which is produced annually by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The spread of democracy, so heralded in the 1990s, seems to have stalled; in some places it is even in retreat." Economist
posted 11:23 AM

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

£46.5m: Zindedine Zidane (Juventus to Real Madrid).
£37m: Luis Figo (Barcelona to Real Madrid).
£35.7: Hernan Crespo (Parma to Lazio).
£32m: Gianluigi Buffon (Parma to Juventus).
£31m: Christian Vieri (Lazio to Inter Milan).
£30m: Rio Ferdinand (Leeds to Man Utd).

posted 11:11 AM

The biggest merger in history. "The changing nature of the threats facing America requires a new government structure to protect against invisible enemies that can strike with a wide variety of weapons. Today no one single government agency has homeland security as its primary mission. In fact, responsibilities for homeland security are dispersed among more than 100 different government organizations. America needs a single, unified homeland security structure that will improve protection against today’s threats and be flexible enough to help meet the unknown threats of the future."

posted 10:50 AM

Want Innovation? 5 1/2 Weird Practices That Work:
1. Hire slow learners of the organizational code
1.5 Hire people who make you uncomfortable
2. Hire people whom you ( probably ) don't need
3. Use job interviews to get new ideas, not just to screen candidates
4. Encourage people to ignore superiors and peers
5. Find happy people, and let them fight

Stanford professor Robert Sutton is a "unique voice with an urgent message about how to generate and capitalize on new ideas." (submitted by Dana Farver)
Fast Company

posted 10:29 AM

Monday, July 22, 2002

McKinsey doesn't get it. is converting to a paid site next month. And you have to get the dead-tree-edition ($150/year) in order to get into the digital version. Even The Economist has a special rate for access to the online version, as does the Wall Street Journal.
posted 11:47 PM

Thursday, July 18, 2002

A Hard Road to New Wonder Drugs: With few potential blockbusters in its pipeline, Big Pharma is mounting a costly quest on the very edge of the scientific frontier BusinessWeek
posted 2:52 PM

Connecting Enterprise Solutions Across Organizations by Thomas Davenport.
posted 12:09 PM

Can E-tailers Find Fulfillment with Drop Shipping? For some e-tailers, drop shipping has actually proved the goldmine it is touted to be. Knowledge@Wharton
posted 11:39 AM

The telecoms industry is in a mess.
What went wrong, and how can it be fixed? Economist

posted 11:34 AM

Break on Through to the Other Side: A Missing Link in Redefining the Enterprise (PDF) by John Hagel III and John Seely Brown. Here's an explanation of the new web services architectures for CEOs and other senior-management types.
posted 11:29 AM

CIOs aren't taking many chances on startup technology. So is innovation dead? Information Week
posted 11:27 AM

The Disturbing "Rise" of Global Income Inequality by Xavier Sala-i-Martin. Is global inequality really getting worse? The Economist says no.
posted 11:25 AM

Attack of the clones. In South Africa, the African honeybee is being devastated by invasions of self-replicating clones—all descendants of a single, long-deceased individual—from another honeybee subspecies. Economist
posted 11:20 AM

Wednesday, July 17, 2002 Launches Web Services. The thing about it- they are proprietary.
posted 11:59 AM

Issues. Questions: How do countries innovate to break these cycles of misfortune? Do we need watchdogs to police the world? Do we need watchdogs to watch the police? Who polices the watchdogs? In the end it's always about the perception of accountability or lack of it.
posted 11:38 AM

Why stocks and economy diverge: Nasdaq's tumble now approaches Depression-era magnitude. Economic data point to a rebound. Christian Science Monitor
posted 11:33 AM

After sliding for months, on July 15th, the dollar finally fell to parity with the euro, and then slid further. Now that it has broken this psychologically important barrier, is the American currency heading for freefall? Economist
posted 11:30 AM

Beyond ROI to Enterprise Value Creation. Line 56
posted 11:25 AM

Maintaining Intellectual Capital: It's not just retirement, the down economy and M&A landscape make retention of knowledge worker skills more important than ever. Line 56 said the same thing- first!

posted 11:23 AM

Hewlett-Packard has discontinued its family of e-business software after failing to make a splash in the multibillion-dollar market. cnet
posted 11:19 AM

Interesting article on Honda. Let's compare and contrast Honda with DaimlerChrysler. Fortune
posted 11:14 AM

How infotech can combat homeland insecurity. Fortune
posted 11:12 AM

New Republic

posted 11:02 AM

"If everyone had to think outside the box, maybe it was the box that needed fixing..." The Talent Myth. (submitted by Kevin Kelly) New Yorker
I still think there's a place for talent with the right attitude- witness Ronaldo's voluntary salary cut. Now that would not happen at Enron! :-)
See also: Rational Cheaters vs. Intrinsic Motivators

posted 11:01 AM

Monday, July 15, 2002

Sales and Marketing Strategy (audio): Guy Kawasaki and Joe Costello on what to do with sales and marketing in a downturn. Venturewire
posted 2:44 PM

The Politics of Innovation / Innovation et politique...1996 Change is always political because of the status quo.

Like the Nissan ad says, "more status, less quo." See what Salon says.

posted 1:37 PM

Case Study: Reinventing The Heel. Nike and the culture of endless invention. Forbes
posted 12:20 PM

posted 12:15 PM

Tom Toles - wasn't it our friend Plato who said something like: the poet speaks the truth, and must be banned from the Republic?
posted 11:02 AM

Enquête sur l'homme qui a voulu tuer le président. LeMonde
posted 10:57 AM

2002 Auto Sales to Reach One Million in China... People's Daily
posted 10:52 AM is interesting...
posted 10:47 AM

Mind-mapping. Don't get carried away :-) Oxford School of Learning
posted 10:44 AM

When life gives you locusts, eat them. Reuters/Yahoo News
posted 10:30 AM

Saturday, July 13, 2002 is down. I'm thinking maybe they got hacked... they've been down for at least 30 minutes.
posted 9:01 PM

"The spirit wishes, but the flesh is weak"- online translation services. Yahoo News
posted 8:59 PM

Friday, July 12, 2002

Want to Maximize Your CRM Performance? Measure It!
posted 3:43 PM

Google is advertising! I like the "usability" of their ad. This one was in Line56. I wonder: does Google advertise using Ad Words?

posted 3:35 PM

A New Code for Anonymous Web Use. A group of veteran hackers is about to unveil a new peer-to-peer protocol that may eventually let millions more surf, chat and e-mail free from prying eyes.
posted 3:31 PM

Seth Godin's memo to media monopolists. ALSO: Yahoo Kisses It All Good-bye FastCompany
posted 3:26 PM

Microsoft Customer Relationship Management.
posted 3:23 PM

Thursday, July 11, 2002

The National Debt Clock is ticking again.
posted 8:42 PM

Alas, I knew him well... the first "agilebrain."

posted 12:51 PM

Venables aims to keep Ferdinand at Leeds... The challenge for Venables, who has been in charge of Spanish giant Barcelona and the Australian national side during a 26-year managerial career, is to save money but still find the winning formula.

posted 12:45 PM

The Economist Guide to Corporate Scandals...Economist
posted 12:42 PM

A new economic indicator? Bump in trademark applications may signal economic rebound...
posted 12:37 PM

Bell Labs creates a software tool for automatically optimizing wireless networks, saving money and time. Red Herring
posted 12:34 PM

Can EMC Restore Its Glory? The hardware juggernaut's answer to its problems: software. FORTUNE
posted 12:32 PM

Terror online. USA Today
posted 12:30 PM

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Buy online without revealing your card number. Citibank pushes the online-buying-experience envelope. Christian Science Monitor
posted 9:33 PM

Strategic Move: Will do apparel? Will it partner with the Gap? Seattle Times
posted 9:26 PM

Does anyone remember the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award? It's still around at the good old NIST. Funny how the buzz is off. Check out their Criteria for Performance Excellence (PDF-format) for Business.
posted 2:26 PM

How to Fashion Your New E-Business Model. A teaser from Harvard's Lynda Applegate.
posted 2:18 PM

The latest edition of the Mercer Management Journal explains why your company needs a value growth agenda.

posted 12:30 AM

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

A memorial fund is being set up in Gene Kan's name at UC Berkeley. Donations can be sent to the following address: In memory of Gene Kan; Manager, Gift Stewardship; College of Engineering; University of California, Berkeley; 201 McLaughlin Hall; Berkeley, Calif., 94720-1722. Checks should be made out to "UC Regents" but clearly marked for the Gene Kan fund.
posted 10:30 PM

Weblogging and traditional media: should old media embrace blogging?
The Economist

posted 7:13 PM

Freezing Ted Williams. IHT/Wahington Post
posted 1:22 PM

Strategic Moves: Health insurance for online auctioneers, then PayPal. Meg Whitman and EBay show that this is a good time to innovate. It will be tricky.
posted 1:15 PM

The IT Train that Could. Business Goals>Processes>IT - in that order, says the former CIO of Union Pacific Railroad in CIO.
posted 1:06 PM

Sector 5: The Global Summit Exploring Cyber Terrorism and the Targets of Critical Infrastructures- August 21-23, 2002, Grand Hyatt Washington, Washington DC. This is "an executive level event, meaning that ALL facets of the program are geared toward C level security and management attendees (CEO, CIO, CTO, CFO, CISO, CSO, etc.)"

Also read: Cyber-Attacks by Al Qaeda Feared in the Washington Post.

posted 12:57 PM

In India, the vultures are dying. What's going on? Since the early 1990s, hundreds of thousands of healthy-looking vultures have dropped dead there. No one knows why. Curiouser and curiouser.
posted 10:14 AM

Monday, July 08, 2002

Five Questions, Ten CIOs
1. How much do you plan to spend on IT in 2002?
2. What's your biggest tech nightmare?
3. Where will you invest in the next year?
4. What disappoints you about Web-based technologies?
5. How do you measure success and failure as a CTO?
An interesting series from
posted 9:59 AM

CFO = "Chief Fiddling Officer"? Ouch. The Economist says that CFOs need to go back to bean counting :-)
posted 9:41 AM

"The best sales team wins" - this article by Beth Healy from the Boston Globe points out how important a competent sales force is to a company's success- especially in the technology sector. Hmmm.
posted 9:36 AM

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Inside McKinsey... Enron isn't its only client to melt down. Suddenly, times are trying for the world's most prestigious consultant... (BusinessWeek)
posted 11:03 PM

"World Cup draws Japanese and Koreans closer" - a testimony to the global power of soccer or should we say futebol?
Interesting article from the NY Times/IHT.

posted 9:22 AM

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Martha Stewart versus AOL- John Hagel's interesting take on his weblog. John's new book- Out of the Box: Strategies for Achieving Profits Today and Growth Tomorrow Through Web Services, is due out in October from Harvard Business School Publishing.
posted 12:46 PM

Execution is the ability to mesh strategy with reality, align people with goals and achieve the promised results. Sounds easy, ha? In his book Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done (coauthored with Ram Charan), Larry Bossidy shows what separates the talkers from the do-ers. Here's a revealing interview with Bossidy from CIO Insight magazine.
posted 12:17 PM