Friday, April 07, 2006

When These Guys Get Caught, It's Never the First Time

WaPo: DHS Background Check Questioned

The Department of Homeland Security official arrested Tuesday on charges of seducing a minor over the Internet faced disciplinary action at his previous workplace, Time magazine's Washington bureau, for misusing company equipment to download pornography, friends and former colleagues said.


Three people said in separate interviews that, between 1999 and 2001, Doyle viewed pornography on Time's computers, was caught and faced discipline, and that bureau colleagues circulated a petition or letter in his defense.

Conspiracy Theory

From Overheard in New York, Carl Everett visits the Museum of Natural History in drag:

Yeah, Famous Like...Um...

Chick: I know you'll think I'm crazy, but I just don't believe that dinosaurs ever existed.
Guy: What? Well, where do you think those dinosaur bones come from?
Chick: People just make them and put them in the ground and then dig them up so they will be famous.
Guy: I can't believe you're serious.

--Museum of Natural History

Meet the Birds

Bird Family Photograph

From Scamboogah, via A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory

World Cup Update

US defender Jimmy Conrad undergoes double hernia surgery, therefore doubtful for US roster.

German goalkeeper Jens Lehman gets the nod in goal for Germany's national team over Oliver Kahn, who was named Player of the Tournament in 2002.

Sven Goran Errikson tells Arsenal's Sol Campbell he will be on the England squad if he comes back with Arsenal.

The Washington Post has a new blog called "Road to the World Cup".

US National Team Coach has named his squad for Tuesday's friendly against Jamaica in Cary, North Carolina. Tony Meola will earn his 100th cap and that is the only reason he is on the squad as he is not under serious consideration for the roster. Whew.

In Group of Death news, Italian striker Christian Vieri injured his left knee in Monaco's game last Tuesday. Predictably, Vieri says he will recover in time for the Cup. Reports are also out that Totti has recovered from surgery on his broken leg and is expected to be on the squad. Perhaps Vieri's injury will open the door for Fillipo Inzaghi, Italy's hottest striker, who was dropped from the national team two and a half years ago.


No longer exists.

AT&T opened their entire network to the National Security Administration and has been letting the NSA listen in on all its client's phone calls and emails. Luckily I don't have an AT&T account. But has Verizon protected me? No evidence yet against Verizon, but I no longer feel that I have any privacy.

HuffPo: New Case Says AT&T Is Helping the NSA Spy on Americans

A reading of both EFF's original complaint and the public parts of the new filings indicate a shocking allegation: The complaint says that AT&T installed or helped the government install equipment in its main facilities to intercept almost all communications that move through AT&T's circuits.

Spam Daily News: EFF: AT&T forwards all Internet traffic into NSA

"The evidence that we are filing supports our claim that AT&T is diverting Internet traffic into the hands of the NSA wholesale, in violation of federal wiretapping laws and the Fourth Amendment," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston.

"More than just threatening individuals' privacy, AT&T's apparent choice to give the government secret, direct access to millions of ordinary Americans' Internet communications is a threat to the Constitution itself. We are asking the Court to put a stop to it now," said Bankston.

CNet News: AT&T whistleblower claims to document illegal NSA surveillance

Evidence provided by a former AT&T technician proves that the telecommunications company secretly and unlawfully opened its networks to government eavesdroppers, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said Thursday.

RIP Maggie Dixon

Shocking women's basketball news. Army's 28-year-old women's basketball coach, Maggie Dixon, collapsed Wednesday and died yesterday of a heart arrythmia. I had never heard of her before this season when she became known because she had the best record at Army in 30 years, she took her team to the NCAA tournament for the first time ever, and her brother is the coach at Pittsburgh. Very sad.

ESPN: Dixon's death cuts short a championship-caliber life

AP: Army Women's Basketball Coach Dead at 28

'Delusion as a solution'

Sidney Blumenthal in yesterday's Guardian (uk):

The tethered goat strategy
Amid an internal crisis of credibility, Condoleezza Rice has washed her hands of her department

Since the Iraqi elections in January, US foreign service officers at the Baghdad embassy have been writing a steady stream of disturbing cables describing drastically worsening conditions. Violence from incipient communal civil war is rapidly rising. Last month there were eight times as many assassinations committed by Shia militias as terrorist murders by Sunni insurgents. The insurgency, according to the reports, also continues to mutate. Meanwhile, President Bush's strategy of training Iraqi police and army to take over from coalition forces - "when they stand up, we'll stand down" - is perversely and portentously accelerating the strife. State department officials in the field are reporting that Shia militias use training as cover to infiltrate key positions. Thus the strategy to create institutions of order and security is fuelling civil war.

Rather than being received as invaluable intelligence, the messages are discarded or, worse, considered signs of disloyalty. Rejecting the facts on the ground apparently requires blaming the messengers. So far, two top attaches at the embassy have been reassigned elsewhere for producing factual reports that are too upsetting.

The Bush administration's preferred response to increasing disintegration is to act as if it has a strategy that is succeeding. "More delusion as a solution in the absence of a solution," said a senior state department official. Under the pretence that Iraq is being pacified, the military is partially withdrawing from hostile towns in the countryside and parts of Baghdad. By reducing the number of soldiers, the administration can claim its policy is working going into the midterm elections. But the jobs the military doesn't want to perform are being sloughed off on state department "provisional reconstruction teams" (PRTs) led by foreign service officers. The rationale is that they will win Iraqi hearts-and-minds by organising civil functions.

The Pentagon has informed the state department it will not provide security for these officials and that mercenaries should be hired for protection instead. Internal state department documents listing the PRT jobs, dated March 30, reveal that the vast majority of them remain unfilled by volunteers. So the professionals are being forced to take the assignments in which "they can't do what they are being asked to do", as a senior department official told me.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Pervert Alert -- Ewwwwwwwwwwwww.

Hasn't the Department of Homeland Security ever heard of background checks? Of course, they are part of the Bush Administration, so their greatest characteristic is Bush's: incompetence.

Incompetent perverts, it seems.

Pervert #1:

Brian Doyle, Deputy Press Secretary, Department of Homeland Security. (photo via

Here's the Washington Post's evolving take on the creepy story of the deputy press secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, arrested while soliciting a 14-year-old girl online. Well, he thought he was sending web porn to a 14-year-old girl, but it was really an undercover detective in Polk County, Florida. Ewwwwwwww.

Yesterday, 2:43 p.m.:
Homeland Security aide suspended after sex sting

Today's paper:
DHS Spokesman Is Accused of Soliciting Teen Online

Straight from Reuters, 12:49 a.m. last night:
Homeland Security official arrested in sex sting

8:11 a.m. this morning, an AP story, but who would call sending porn to a 14-year-old 'seduction'? Ewww.
DHS Official Charged in Online Seduction

Latest headline, with his attorney's spin that he is depressed -- because of the death of two siblings. I think he's depressed he got caught.
DHS Official Charged With Soliciting Minor Online

Pervert #2:

Frank Figueroa, special agent in charge of the Tampa office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the law enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

The former head of the Department of Homeland Security’s program targeting child predators (Operation Predator) was himself a child predator. Today he plead guilty to exposing himself and masturbating in front of a 16-year-girl in the food court of a mall. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Former Top DHS Child Porn Official A Sex Criminal?

More child sex troubles at DHS.

I'm Talkin Basketball

Shoulda-been-MVP Kristi Toliver (5' 7") hits a 3-pointer over 6' 7" Allison Bales to send Maryland-Duke to overtime

Fantastic weekend of basketball here in Boston. Saturday night Coach Mom & I went into town to meet up with my sister. We had dinner at Skipjack's in Copley Square. While waiting for a table, seats at the bar opened up, so we got to watch George Mason lose to Florida in the first game of the men's semifinals. I love my family. At one point I asked, "Where did [Florida coach] Billy Donovan play in college?". My sister & Coach Mom answered in unison "PROVidence" (in a tone that said, 'you idiot', which I accepted as my due), and Coach Mom said, "For Rick Pitino." Doesn't everybody know that? In my family they do. Idiot.

I got to have sushi and everyone loved their dinners. We walked on Newbury St. afterwards and windowshopped art and clothes. We left sis who was heading to a WNBA party & headed back to central Mass.

For Sunday's games we picked up my friend's kids, ages 14 and 11. They were excited to go to their first Final Four. We got to the Garden pretty easily, parked in the underground parking garage ($23, ouch), and headed upstairs. I stood in line at the undermanned souvenir stand (why do they only have two people working these booths? They could have sold out the first day with more salespeople.) for 20 minutes and got the kids Final Four shirts with their favorite team's logo (North Carolina and Duke) and a ticket lanyard and a pin for Coach Mom. Then we got hotdogs & drinks and headed up to our seats in the balcony. I was pleased to see that no alcohol was being served. It was a very family atmosphere, especially if you come from a family with lots of tall women (like I do.) I always feel so short at the Final Four. I have to keep reminding myself, You are the average American woman. Not short, average.

Our seats were in Balcony section 307, row 5, in the corner on the same side as the benches. We had a good overview of the court, but I was glad we brought binoculars so we could see the player's faces.

The first semi was a barnburner. We were rooting for North Carolina and Ivory Latta, but she got hurt in the first half and was never very effective. Reportedly, she hyperextended her left knee. She was carried of the court so we were surprised when she returned. Maryland's freshman guard Kristi Toliver was guarding Latta and she used her 4" height advantage to great advantage. She just wouldn't let Latta drive on her which really took a lot away from Latta's game. Maryland ran a couple of clear-out plays where Toliver isolated Latta and drove on her, scoring with ease. Toliver finished with 14 points, as did Latta, but that was advantage: Maryland, as Latta averaged 18.2 during the regular season, while Toliver averaged 11.5.

It was a very physical game. Maryland substituted in a post player, Jade Perry, whose sole purpose seemed to be putting a body hard on North Carolina's talented post player, Erlana Larkins. Larkins finished with 28 points to lead NC but she took a lot of punishment. The terrible officiating crew from the Pac-10 didn't help matters, letting assault go on in the paint while calling touch fouls on outside shooters. They were consistent -- consistently terrible, as was all the officiating in the tournament. (Sally Jenkins of the WaPo says, fire all the officials and start all over.) Some fans from the Pac-10 were sitting in front of us & they groaned when the officials walked out onto the court.

North Carolina never was able to cut the gap and when Larkins fouled out with less than a minute remaining, she went over to shake hands with Duke coach Gail Goestenkors and the game was over.

Between games we met up with my sister after rendevousing via cellphone. (We passed Georgia coach Andy Landers on our way.) She moved us down to centercourt, 7th row seats for the second game. What a difference! We were behind the Duke bench. Allison Bales is huge. Unfortunately it wasn't much of a game. Duke put a smothering double-teaming defense on Siemone Augustus, and no one else from LSU stepped into the void. LSU's 45 points was the lowest point total ever in a semi-final game. It was such a blow-out that we left early with 4 minutes left on the clock, something we never do, but it was almost midnight, and the kids had school the next day.

Why do they start the games so late? The only reason the kids got to see the game is because they were there. If they were home not surrounded by screaming fans they would have been asleep on the couch. How can you build a fan base when the games are played while they're catching zzzz's?

The final last night was great. On our way in Coach Mom recognized former longtime Maryland coach Chris Weller, so we stopped and congratulated her. I'm sure it was a bittersweet moment, as she built the program, then got run out of town by AD Debbie Yow. I'm sure they had her resign or something like that to save face, but everyone knew what had happened.

I couldn't really root for Maryland. First, Maryland AD Debbie Yow, credited with the huge expansion of the Maryland women's basketball program, has been no friend of Title IX. It was Yow, a member of Bush's Title IX commission, who proposed allowing schools to comply with Title IX by offering as few as 43% of scholarships to women, even though women make up 55.5% of undergraduates nationwide. Add to my dislike of Yow all the allegations of recruiting violations swirling around the Maryland women's basketball program. Who wants to have the first women's basketball championship revoked because of later-adjudged recruiting violations?

So Duke it was. The building was packed -- well, maybe there were a few empty yellow seats in the balconies, but at least 16,000 people in the building. The crowd was wild. And Duke came out hot, packing in the defense, denying Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper, Maryland's leading scorers in the semis, good looks inside. Duke led by as much as 13 points in the first half, but while Maryland continued to play poorly, Duke didn't take advantage and put them away. They got sloppy, threw away passes, missed layups, and at half Maryland was only down by 10.

Maryland hung in there, hung in there, and then with about 8 minutes left in the game, they found their stroke. Duke fell apart. Mistie Williams, who had led them in scoring in the semis, only had 3 points last night, and by the end she was passing up all open shots. No one from Duke seemed to want the ball during the last five minutes or in the overtime.

When Toliver hit her three-pointer with 6 seconds left to tie the game, the Garden went wild. People were shouting, throwing up their hands, shaking their heads, and just screaming. I just knew Duke was dead. Duke has a well-earned reputation as chokers. Goestenkors has built a great program at Duke, but she seems like a tense person, and her teams always play tense in the big games. Exactly what they did last night. Their best player last night was guard Lindsey Harding, but she committed a senseless foul in the final minute to take herself off the court. Mo Currie finally hit two shots in the OT, but never touched the ball again on offense. Duke had one final chance, but the shot was off balance, and off target. Duke melted off the floor, while Maryland streamed onto it, exulting in their improbable win.

Laura Harper was named Tournament MVP. She did lead Maryland with 25 points over North Carolina, but in the championship she had 16 points (same as Toliver and Shea Doron). Toliver only had 14 points vs. North Carolina, but she was guarding Latta, NC's best player, and she took her out of the game. Without her cool three-pointer, Maryland does not go to overtime, does not win the title. Therefore, Toliver was my MVP. She got robbed, IMHP.

Congratulations to Maryland. Fear the turtle!

ESPN: Terps take title and there may be more on the way

SI: Start of something big
Toliver, Maryland have bright future after taking title