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color enhanced copy of b/w picture in released documents

“This surveillance system lets FBI agents play back recordings even as they are being captured (like TiVo), create master wiretap files, send digital recordings to translators, track the rough location of targets in real time using cell-tower information, and even stream intercepts outward to mobile surveillance vans.

FBI wiretapping rooms in field offices and undercover locations around the country are connected through a private, encrypted backbone that is separated from the internet. Sprint runs it on the government’s behalf.”

Documents recently released to the EFF’s FOIA, suggest that the FBI’s wiretapping engineers have succeeded in tapping into our standard digital communication’s systems. As Randy Single writes in Wired, the FBI has quietly built a sophisticated, point-and-click surveillance system that performs instant wiretaps on almost any communications device, according to nearly a thousand pages of restricted documents newly released under the Freedom of Information Act. The redacted documentation leaves many questions, however. In particular, it’s unclear what role the carriers have in opening up a tap, and how that process is secured.

“The real question is the switch architecture on cell networks,” said Matt Blaze, a security researcher at the University of Pennsylvania . “What’s the carrier side look like?

Randy Cadenhead, the privacy counsel for Cox Communications, which offers VOIP phone service and internet access, says the FBI has no independent access to his company’s switches.

“Nothing ever gets connected or disconnected until I say so, based upon a court order in our hands,” Cadenhead says. “We run the interception process off of my desk, and we track them coming in. We give instructions to relevant field people who allow for interconnection and to make verbal connections with technical representatives at the FBI.”

The nation’s largest cell-phone providers — whose customers are targeted in the majority of wiretaps — were less forthcoming. AT&T politely declined to comment, while Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon simply ignored requests for comment.

FBI Agent DiClemente, however, seconded Cadenhead’s description.

“The carriers have complete control. That’s consistent with CALEA,” DiClemente said. “The carriers have legal teams to read the order, and they have procedures in place to review the court orders, and they also verify the information and that the target is one of their subscribers.”

Despite its ease of use, the new technology is proving more expensive than a traditional wiretap. Telecoms charge the government an average of $2,200 for a 30-day CALEA wiretap, while a traditional intercept costs only $250, according to the Justice Department inspector general. A federal wiretap order in 2006 cost taxpayers $67,000 on average, according to the most recent U.S. Court wiretap report.

To security experts, though, the biggest concern over DCSNet isn’t the cost: It’s the possibility that push-button wiretapping opens new security holes in the telecommunications network.

Documents show that an internal 2003 audit uncovered numerous security vulnerabilities in DCSNet. In this internal audit, (pg 61/112pdf), commenced after discovering that no security audit had been concluded for four years, pointed out some very basic security breeches. Some were the direct results of budget cuts, such as limiting technical staff. Others were the result of putting high tech toys in front of those too green to understand the full implications…..The security assessment titled Operation Mayday, uncovered this nugget. Problem:

“Zipdrive attached to FBINet machine.


Recommended Action: Complete Trilogy User training. Remind users not to attach unauthorized devices to network. Remind users not to install unauthorized software. Treat future instances as security violations and report through appropriate channels with increasingly severe penalties for
repeat violations.

Remember, this accesses all your bank documents as well as your deepest, intimate conversations…..which due to lack of oversight over the past four years, if cached, is now open forever to the world……Other samples of Katrina-like misconduct or ineptitude: Problem:

Outdated or no disk encryption on laptop
computers.


Recommended Action: Install PointSec on all machines unless excepted. Provide written justification to SecD for consideration of any exceptions.


Problem-: Baton Rouge RA, CART laptop has no disk encryption.

Also in the report:

1. There is no anti-viral software loaded on the DCS-3000 machines. If malicious
code, viruses, and/or executables are introduced, there will be potential for risk to the system or compromise of data, thereby compromising evidence contained therein.


Current Status:
• Verified Closed: McAfee 4.5.1 installed with Virus updated 05/05/2006

Current Status:
• Verified Closed: Passwords require eight characters, complex etc.

3. Successive failed logon attempt lockout is not enabled. Without a lockout policy,
an unauthorized user would have infinite attempts to gain access to the system.


Current Status:
• Verified Closed: Accounts lock out after three attempts and must be reset by
admin.

5. Workstations associated with the system do not enforce adequate user permissions. Improperly configured machines do not adhere to the least privilege principle. This practice could potentially give a user access and rights not warranted for by their position.

In particular, the DCS-3000 machines lacked adequate logging, had insufficient password management, were missing antivirus software, allowed unlimited numbers of incorrect passwords without locking the machine, and used shared logins rather than individual accounts.

The system also required that DCS-3000’s user accounts have administrative privileges in Windows, which would allow a hacker who got into the machine to gain complete control.

WTF?

The flaws are appalling and show that the FBI fails to appreciate the risk from insiders. The system is insecure, essentially because the people who designed it and run it have an insecure attitude about the nature of threats to the system. Outsiders may be stopped by VPNs, firewalls, etc., but insiders may wander around the system nearly at will. Not so different from the situation that set up the Vodaphone/Greece fiasco.

As Steve Bellovin from Columbia points out:

“Instead of personal userids, the FBI relies on log sheets. This may provide sufficient accountability if everyone follows the rules. It provides no protection against rule-breakers. It is worth noting that Robert Hanssen obtained much of the information he sold to the Soviets by exploiting weak permission mechanisms in the FBI’s Automated Case System. The DCS-3000 system doesn’t have proper password security mechanisms, either, which brings up another point: why does a high-security system use passwords at all? We’ve know for years how weak they are. Why not use smart cards for authentication?”

Any wiretap system faces a slew of risks, such as surveillance targets discovering a tap, or an outsider or corrupt insider setting up unauthorized taps. Moreover, the architectural changes to accommodate easy surveillance on phone switches and the internet can in itself, introduce new and frightfully dangerous security and privacy holes.

So where does our safety lie? In a bill of goods sold to us and to Congress in order to protect us from “phantom” terrorists, we have allowed anyone and everyone to compromise our personal privacy. Most particularly, those very ones we trusted to defend us from our enemies………

Education is a vast enterprise, covering the scope of human existence. Currently our nations entire bureaucratic focus is to raise our test scores. This starts on a national scale and penetrates right down to the roots of each individual. Obviously, to increase test scores, you remove those who are pulling down the average.

Since our obsession with test scores has mushroomed, so has our dropout rate. More students are failing to graduate. Is there a correlation?

It seems from personal experience that as soon as a child has taken his last DSTP in March of his 10th grade year, he is considered a lame duck, and is left in educational limbo. Of course that is not true, all school administration officials will sound…..but for those skeptics I challenge them to compare the intensity that exists before the test to that of the educational process that occurs afterward.

So from society’s point of view, what good does it do to increase test scores marginally, even as we fail to graduate more of those same students? In energy talk…..we are drilling a dry well.

Since Delaware, due to the relationship of its size to its wealth, is the perfect laboratory to test this rethinking, we should begin debating the use of graduation rates to rank our schools.

But wait,…. some of the more astute will say. That is just what we did before testing and people were being passed to the next grade even though they were not ready? They are right. Graduation rates alone should not be the final word in ranking a school.

When struggling with a problem, it is always prudent to ask, 1) who is doing it right and 2) how can we do what they are doing. Reinventing the wheel is usually fun, but is always much more expensive than purchasing one cheap that does the job.

Except for the US, almost all other industrialized nations have a comprehensive exam that is taken post secondary school. We have two that could be used. The ACT and the SAT. Our higher educational institutions have relied on these two tests for half a century to determine the future potential of a high school graduate.

So what if we made the SAT mandatory? To be taken at the end of the senior year? For one, most college bound students have already taken it twice, so perhaps they may pull off their highest score yet……. 2) It is pre-standardized making the act of developing a separate state test nothing more than a waste of money. 3) It can be trained and taught within a curriculum that begins with the seventh grade. 4) Every student can be given the pre-study books out today that not only trains one on the questions that will be asked, but in the explanations provided, actually teaches how to solve the problems better than all but the most motivating teachers on the planet. 5). As a student graduates, the test score beside their name, gives future institutions a clear idea of whether they deserved to graduate.

Therefore, by streamlining the DSTP to blend and meet with the future criteria of the final Comprehensive Exam (SAT), we can use that data to determine and rate the effectiveness of each student, each teacher, each school, each district, each state, as well as the quality of our nation’s educational output compared to our intellectual rivals for future economic opportunities.

Now that we have a way of measuring results, it is time we get to the heart of the problem and figure out how to stem the drop out rate that is extremely high in schools where our poverty is the highest.

Again we turn to someone who has succeeded. The inner city district showing the most success is the Boston District. Basically they have found that it is rather cheap to target those individuals where intercession is needed, intercede, and follow through up to the point they graduate.

Delaware does well in the lower grades (K-5). Our problems develop first at the middle school level, and continue into the district’s high schools. Based on the inner city districts of other cities, we can be reasonably assured that if and when a Wilmington District is reborn, that it will have the highest drop out rate of all Delaware’s schools. Especially if nothing is done to intercede.

The intercession dollar amount tabulated in Boston was between 600 to 800 additional dollars needed per student. In Delaware this funding will need to come from other sources outside the current revenue flow patterns for our schools.

The Chicago school district study reveals an even finer point. Based on correlations with those who failed in freshman year or 9th grade, with those who failed to graduate, by interceding just with those failing or about to fail (D), one could make drastic reductions in the graduation failure rate, and increase the numbers of those continuing education beyond high school.

The most interesting facet of the study was this caveat. Interviews with 8th graders still showed strong positive outlooks towards their future. Many thought they were going to college, or getting a great job. But physical data directly shows that those who fail one grade in freshman year, will probably not go all the way to finish high school.

One failing grade during freshman year has not been considered critical. The student has three years left, they can make it up. But evidence shows that the tendency exists to fail another courses the next year and the year after that. It is the accumulative effect that disillusions most students who then fail to apply excessive effort.

100% success rate is a worthy goal, and may be achievable. However my concern is reducing the rate of drop outs.

What worked in Chicago was targeting those in freshman year who needed additional help, and giving it to them. Once they had the basics down pat in algebra, the tended to do well on their own in the upper classes.

Of course parents and society have a part to play in the ennui occurring in each student. But even those students who had nothing to go home to, if given proper respect, encouragement, and instruction at school, they too began to believe in themselves despite their economic surroundings.

This is just one head of Delaware’s hydra of educational problems. But for someone looking for a bang for the buck, and willing to donate substantial funds to do Wilmington’s poverty stricken schools some good, this intense focus on incoming high school freshmen, just might to the trick…………

Positivity works with children. Negativity works for wizened adults. Unless you turn an inner city school into a meaningful experience for each student who lives in an inner city environment, you give them no reason for wanting to succeed.

If you didn’t heed my earlier post and shift all your assets over to fixed rate, you still have time. Not much, however according to this.

Possibility of another terrorist attack?

Unconfirmed talk is that international terrorist chatter is as high as it was in August of 01, just before the planes came………Definitely expect an attack within 90 days we are told. Code Red.

Wasn’t it a former Pennsylvanian senator named Santorum who said last week that what ultraconservatives needed to push their agenda forward is another terrorist attack like 9/11? What?

Isn’t that what Mitch McConnell is currently peddling around Congress, this heightened level of chatter? But who is the source? Silence…..Is there any independent confirmation? Silence…… The only answer the public hears is a rumble from the gut of Chertoff. ……..Feed me……

The fear every American has, is not from the random violence of a terrorist, who supposedly will fight the sharks and swim across the ocean to get here, but of our own self-appointed president, declaring martial law, stripping us of our rights, in order to stay in power forever. What better method than to use a massive terrorist attack to push ones agenda…… It worked the last time, right?

This time I am not so sure it would work. If one has an employee who makes the same mistake twice, big time, one fires his ass. A terrorist attack is definitely big time. And whose ass did we entrust the last time to make us safe? And now miraculously those same people are telling us that Al Qaeda is as stronger than it was in the summer of 01?

That doesn’t make me scared. It really pisses me off!  How on earth can the greatest country in the world, be completely powerless to contain Robin Hood and his band of merry men, climbing over moon rocks while carrying a kidney machine? Bottom line is that they can’t…. unless not finding him is being done on purpose.

“What is most troubling is that no one in a position of authority is trying to get to the bottom of this.

If GOP leaders like Dennis Milligan (R-Ark) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa) possess information that could protect the American people from another terrorist attack, the CIA should interrogate them using the techniques our Vice President has approved,” Fetzer observed. “Let’s water-board them and subject them to sexual humiliation. After all, that’s what we are doing to prevent attacks abroad. Why aren’t they being used here? Chertoff appears to be making no effort to get to the bottom of this. Bush can’t claim to be ‘the security president’ if he won’t keep us secure.”How much money have we sunk into Iraq, where according to every nation’s intelligence agencies, there were NO terrorists before we started. How many bridges could we have inspected and repaired in this country if we had used that money less foolishly?……..

If we have an administration that allows us another terrorist attack, this time killing between 30,000 and 300,000, we need to impeach that administration; not give them more power. What the hell have we been spending our children’s money on? and they are telling me that terror is worse now?…. than it was before 9/11?

And they want us to trust who? Should another attack occur, an attack more viscous than 9/11, the ugly truth is that such an attack could only occur because one man fell asleep at the wheel: George W Bush. America will be furious. They will not reward him with powers of tyranny, they will impeach!

Cheney’s diversion in Iraq provided a lull in the war on terrorism. Had we finished Afghanistan first, maybe made a couple or secret raids across the border into Pakistan, there would be no Al Qaeda. But no, we are now being warned of an eminent attack………..

If the unthinkable occurs and we are attacked, America must get it’s own house in order first before striking back. America must replace its 2 leaders with ones who are competent,… so that when our time comes to return the favor to Al Qaeda………we won’t make the same mistake twice………..

Bush can’t claim to be ‘the security president’ if he won’t keep us secure

Taking the Easy Pass Lane

So there I was as a young man, traipsing over the grassy knolls of a compound called Dachau……..and the single image of which I could not shake from my mind, was a view back home from the top of the former Twin Towers.………taken while walking  around the observatory in a slow 360 degree circle and realizing that the entire mass of humanity in that circle of twenty miles, was less than the amount of those eradicated by the Nazis, without a whimper from the German people.

And as my eyes watered a bit, ((no I did not cry), I was still too young), while gazing upon the fake showers, and peering into the cyanide vats on the other side, a tiny child’s voice between my ears, kept repeating a phrase I had stumbled across before the tour on the floor inside the museum. ” You saw us being beaten, you saw us wearing stars, you saw us humiliated, you saw us being transported, and YET YOU DID NOTHING……… I remember at the time being quite angry at the timidity and the complicity of the German people. For a brief moment I hated them…….and in a typical fashion common of that gender in possession of high and excessive levels of testosterone, in those emotional moments I vowed that I, (superior being that I was) would never fear or cave in to brutal intimidation………..

Today, my friend’s friend, lies buried in Arlington……And when I clicked on a forgotten link……(do I still need this?…) and saw the face of a very brave New Castle citizen…….looking back from her high school picture…..those jaded eyes of mine wet over again as I slowly realized that I too had failed to live up to that promise I once made on a bright July afternoon, while standing beside a giant trench planted over with flowers……….

So where was I when it happened? What was I doing that was so important as events played around me? Nothing earth shattering really, and if you probe and scrape all the residue away, I was simply way too busy going through motions in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, to really worry making those tough sacrifices that are personally required to implement the necessary changes (piece of crap, I am)……. Then,……… something about that girl’s picture…………..pissed me off. I think it was how much like my own daughter she was……

So what can I do? Not much, I am no Kissinger nor Howard Baker. I cannot bring these people together and make a settlement. But I can make a choice……and that choice is this.

I can choose to STOP DOING NOTHING. I can go on record and suffer the surprise trip to Guantanamo that may come in the middle of the night (risk diminished), or the bullet to the back of the head in some forgotten landfill (not likely), if it comes to that. And most particularly, I can look at those who enabled and supported this administration when it chose to invade a nation that had not attacked us, a nation that had no intention of attacking us, a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11…….but only a nation that had the poor unfortunate distinction, of being the chosen victim that this bully of an administration had decided to make an example of………..long before the 2000 elections were ever held!

If any of you have ever felt that you too have done too little, that you too were lulled and fooled into believing this war made you safer, then come, join me outside Delaware congressman Mike Castle’s office on Friday July 6th. And should you be too busy, I will understand. Most likely you do not have that haunting childlike voice as do I between my ears, that implores ……..AND YET YOU DO NOTHING…….…But if, by some ancient gene, you do…… possess the capacity to know right from wrong, and if…… by the grace of God, you have been given time to come and be counted, and if…… you do not want to pass on, having never made a difference in anything………… then take the half hour, and come and join us; be counted on this upcoming Friday at 11:00am. (Tell Boss-women you have a doctors appointment if you have to……or call on someone you know who feels like you do, and unlike you, has nothing going on at moment in time.)

Results:

If ten people show, the war goes on, but us ten can rest at ease that we did our part. If twenty show, our numbers just grew 100% !!…….If hundreds show, one or two lines will appear in the News Journal and it will not have been in vain. If a thousand people show, the Congressman and staff will take notice. And just maybe……just maybe……..find within themselves the moral courage to add their voice to echo ours……..WE CAN MAKE A CHOICE……WE CAN DO SOMETHING.

In democracy, the real leaders are always “We, the people“: it is us who tell the government what We want them to do…… Please……..come with us……….and make our stand?

Recently Duffy made a comment that was, as my kids would say, was “sooo…..2004” Being away I failed to respond in a timely fashion, and Tyler Nixon, thankfully, stepped up to the plate, and contributed the opposing point of view.

But it caused me to reflect, since a month ago I heard the same type of comment offered again in defense of Cheney, that events have moved forward so fast, that it is quite plausible that one missed an integral piece of the puzzle needed to understand today’s events.

In an effort to fill in those “gaps of knowledge”, perhaps allow me to expand on why it is quite conceivable that Cheney orchestrated the war to enrich his pockets.

These sources may be unknown to many of you. But I have found that credibility is often more prevalent, the further one is removed from the Kleig lights of media’s attention. When thing are said that are not “self serving”, their is a good chance that there may some truth buried within.

The area of concern lies with how intelligence was orchestrated by the administration to create an illusion, instead of being used to find facts. Now in late 2006 and 2007 we are starting to get the “unofficial” side of events that led us to invade Iraq, as ex-American intelligence officers have vetted their manuscripts and now are publishing them.

Are these ex intelligence officers to be believed, over the “official” Administrative take of events leading up to March 03?

Perhaps. Our Supreme Court always publishes a dissenting opinion, whenever it processes a verdict. This allows the open discussion of ideas, even after the discussion is rendered obsolete due to the decision having already being made.

These opinions, now being published, should be treated as the dissenting opinions that did not win in the inner office discussions leading up to the chain of command’s decision. But unlike Supreme Court decisions, these do not need a court case to be overturned.

One further note, before I begin. If history had shown the Iraqi war to be successful and accomplish the mission that was sold to the American people, then this conversation would be irrelevant. It is only within this context, that five years after we were first presented this intelligence, we are currently mired in dealing with bombs smuggled into the very safe Green Zone, and with demonstrations against American occupation, by the very Iraqi policeman and Iraqi army officers we counting on to defend our troop’s safety and security within that region, that this dissenting opinion, belatedly offered, has any merit.

When one of these sources took over as CIA chief of the European division, he was told the White House was extremely interested in Iraq, and that his department should report everything they could find out about it, as well as on Iran and China. The scuttlebutt within the agency was that the Bush people were out to settle the score for the first Gulf War. Bin Laden was an afterthought. All effort to move the terroristic threat into the inner sanctums of the White House, were blocked or shut down, as evidenced by the now famous “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” fiasco proved. Instead of revamping efforts to concentrate on unearthing terrorists in Europe and infiltrating weapons proliferation networks in Europe, resources were shuffled towards gathering any dirt on the Saddam regime that could justify a ground attack upon that country. In any bureaucracy one career moves forward only if one gets noticed. When praise was delegated to Iraqi findings and silence given towards Bin Laden findings, a strong signal reverberated throughout all intelligence agencies.

George Tenet, to his credit was dedicated to breaking down barriers with our European allies. but he was swimming against the tide, which was turning increasingly away form the real targets and toward Iraq.

“The Bush administration was about to embark on a course that would do more to undermine this country’s intelligence community than any of the actions of its predecessors.”

This caveat was offered to illuminate how this administration chose fiction over fact.

Just hours after 9/11 one of our allies offered their support. “Anything we can do”, they said, “is at your disposal”. ” I hope we can all agree that we should focus attention on Afghanistan and not be tempted to launch any attacks on Iraq.” this representative said.

George Tenet replied. “absolutely, we all agree on this that. Some might want to link the issues but none of us wants to go that route.” The other side of the argument was of course represented by Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Cheney, and the others, but for now, under the quiet skies over post 9/11 DC, no one in the intelligence communities on BOTH sides of the Atlantic, considered pursuing Iraqi leads.

Had intelligence been part of the policy decisions, we might be in much better situation than where we are now. Under a different administration, the policy hatched out in meetings between underlings of international intelligence agencies may have risen to the policy determining level of senior officials. It was thought that European allies might take a request of cooperation from one of their neighbors better than they would have from us. This attempt to make the pursuit of Al Qaeda appear to be a multinational effort, was stopped by Rumsfeld’s disparaging remarks against our allies France and Germany by calling them “Old Europe” Had this officer known what was to come, he would have tried to make them understand the value of our friends across the ocean. “But then again, with their agendas, their mind was made up.”

Ohio Class Submarine  US Navy

Saw a good friend today over Easter Break, who offered this comment.

He does submarines.

One, it brought home how dangerous our technology has evolved in order to protect us and keep us safe by mobile storage of nuclear missiles underwater.

Two it spoke volumes of a professionalism that exists, I believe in every member of our armed forces, that seems to be sorely lacking in the top circle of advisers of our government.

I mentioned before, that our military succeeds in taking complicated bits of knowledge, breaking them down into logical pieces, and feeding them piecemeal to a collective group of every race, religion, educational, and economic background known to man. This would be a good model for our education system to copy, in order to start the rectification of America’s excellence in math and engineering.

The difference between discipline and brutality, is that one is positive and the other negative. Discipline is enforced because all parties, both the instructor and instructed, understand that it saves lives. Brutality, however, is when we allow the worst part of ourselves to intimidate those who oppose us, and hope such a blatant display of force will subdue them into submission. The latter is primarily supported by the argument of “because I said so.”

I think Von Steuben, the fowl mouthed Prussian drill instructor who relentlessly drilled the Revolutionary American troops at Valley Forge, is the one who said, “it takes great discipline to overcome the natural tendency to flee the enemy, after seeing a cannonball disembowel your best friend standing next to you.

One of the best teachers I have seen was Ms Roane, a first grade teacher for my son. She understood the energy level inside of a first grader and pro actively channeled that energy into acquiring knowledge, instead of useless time-consuming ploys to keep them quiet, but do nothing to teach.

One, she was nice to look at. Every day she dressed as if she might be called on to plea for the salvation of the Newark Chrysler plant. She was methodical with her praise and always corrected and disciplined in a positive manner. Example: she would explain to the class how a persons action was preventing the entire class from doing their task, and then would address the student publicly and discipline him for his action.

After a few short weeks, she had no discipline problems. I have seen her accolades in various local publications as parents often write in to praise her for her demeanor and effectiveness.

I remember another educator, Mr Pritchett who headed one of the inner city schools I “choiced” my child into. His job was larger and tougher, he had a entire school to run, but he ran it well. (I often tease him for giving us George Bush, because Bush had lost all his primaries up until Pritchett introduced him at Riverfront Center as the “next President of the United States.” Thereafter, the curse was dropped.)

Again, he explained why an infraction was bad for everyone and then he would address the infractee and persuasively win a promise of support.

This approach to discipline is readily seen on the sideline of our schools athletic fields, and one must wonder why it fails to permeate into the classroom. It, along with ability, is what differentiates a good from a bad coach.

But we see little of this accountability in our elected officials and their appointees who oversee the process of educating our children. We used too. Tom Carper, at least did something towards improving the standards to which we hold our students accountable. The sad case is that, after he moved on, the wheels began to spin.

As Mike Protack would be inclined to say, perhaps it is because we have the wrong officials.

As we gear up to new elections, and even right here, right now, as several districts go to the polls this spring to fill replacement seats, we Delawareans need to hold them accountable on the single greatest issue that affects the future economic viability of our state.

And that is education. Or more specifically, education in science and math. Or even more specialized, engineering. What can these candidates bring to the table to improve the engineering capability of Delaware students?

Expected answer: “Gee, I haven’t really thought of that.”

Appropriate answer: The state should fund .5 mil for stipends to assist engineering classes. Those students who possess superior math skills should be challenged by an interesting and enlightening curriculum. Visiting professors could be brought in to generate interest and excite students into the possibility of pursuing a career in engineering.”

But what is most needed, is to change the image of the future engineer from being a geek, to something to be sought after. Immigrant cultures pursue this naturally when they come to this country. The problem lies not with our abilities as a culture, but with our attitudes.

There is no shortage of raw material for potential engineers. Our cities are full of them. Right now, these resources are wasted. Particularly in Delaware, the students of the city are deemed a curse imposed by an archaic judicial order upon the suburban elite. I find this demeaning attitude to be the culprit. To bypass it, Wilmington needs their own school district, hopefully headed by Mayor Baker, after his mayoral term expires, to prove there is nothing wrong with students who happen to live in the inner city.

I am sure racial skeptics will scoff at this suggestion and say privately that inner city kids can never rise above their inadequacies. What a delusional state one must be in to even suggest it………………………………

To them I answer:

Take a look who is running our submarines………………………..

Viacom‘s attempt to muzzle YouTube, makes less sense than allowing Campbell’s Foods to censure Andy Warholl.

EFF is challenging Viacom in court:

“Our clients’ video is an act of free speech and a fair use of ‘Colbert Report’ clips,” said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. “Viacom knows this — it’s the same kind of fair use that ‘The Colbert Report’ and ‘The Daily Show’ rely upon every night as they parody other channels’ news coverage.”

One has to wonder how far the human race would have gotten had every word been copyrighted to its creator……………………and could not be used without their approval and permission.

Hat’s off to EFF for taking these ex CBS Newsguys on. I am probably the last person on this planet who finds it ironical that the kingpin of all Liberal media, is no more than a ball-busting, conservative-leaning, money-hungry corporate “tool”.

Not only that, but Colbert has been knocked off his pedestal for being the only human being left in America to directly tell George Bush what he needed to hear……………….

And now his “owners” or handlers are disallowing others to do to him, what he makes his living on doing to others.

At stake is where America draws the line between private ownership and public domain.

One of the fallacies of any leadership position is that one is held responsible for everything under ones jurisdiction, even if when not under their direct control. Accountability as we see today, unfortunately has its price, and something so innocuous as a year ago procedural firing of US attorneys can spawn a crises of severe proportions.

Currently in my dealings with the Public Educational system, I have been forced to settle on mediocre performance from students, because of a antique bias among Delaware’s educational professionals.

That bias pertains to use of electronic data acquisition as opposed to using books.

Most homework assignments require references to hard copies resources, and will not utilize internet sources. Perhaps they mean well, but they have forced irreparable harm upon today’s students.

Most of those who establish educational policy are computer illiterate.

Here is an example. Driver’s Ed requires a student to clip drunk driving stories from newspapers and paste onto a poster board. Forty years ago, no problem. But today, who in the hell buys the paper? Ok, so until the project is done, buy a paper. Considering that police blotters are not allowed. and that only a news story with a reporters bi-line attached can be used, the child is still doomed to failure……………..

Don’t believe me? Try standing at the front door of a Wawa, going through every paper on the rack, looking for any accident reported? Learning this was unproductive from my first child, for my second child, I thought I would sit in one of our fine New Castle Libraries and skim the massive stacks of papers. Finding nothing in over five hours of reading, the pointlessness began to sink in. What is this teaching our kids? Perseverance?

The real answer is this. It teaches them that education, at least in terms of their parent’s generation, is SO STUPID.

How did I help get my kids project done? I had my son Google accidents in all the counties surrounding Delaware, then took a day off, and picked up papers in Lancaster PA, then on to Bel Air and Chestertown Maryland

It was pass/fail.

Why a student cannot point, click, print, read, and learn, is beyond me.

Another example of bureaucratic antique thinking: my daughter requires 3 hard sources for her paper. She has instant access to 1,694,935 on her topic of alternative medicine. But she is requred to have three books, still sitting on the shelf of her local library. She has been asking her errant and inconsiderate father to take her for two weeks. But the library is not open after 9:00 pm, not does it open before 10:00 am. If one is going to demand hard sources, then those entities should also demand that libraries, where those sources are stored, remain open for twenty four hours.

Visit a library at noon and it is empty. Return just minutes before closing time, and it is full. If we are paying for libraries to serve the public, doesn’t it make sense for their opening hour to match our needs, not theirs?

About the libraries, I am not totally serious. For where are you going to find a midnight librarian. But using this example brings out the idiocy of misguided bureaucratic educationists who believe life today is like it was forty years ago.

Their policies are seriously limiting our students educational potential and disrupting their natural will to learn………………………..

This bias and ban against electronic sources of knowledge is overdue for re-evaluation and needs to be rescinded now. Or perhaps, we will need someone who is more in touch with today’s world, running the Department of Education in the state of Delaware.

Old news, October 2005,  from a new source.

“when it comes to surveillance issues, the DOJ has been pulling the wool over their eyes for far too long.”Earlier this month, a magistrate judge in Texas, following the lead of Orenstein’s original decision, published his own decision denying a government application for a cell phone tracking order. That ruling, along with Judge Orenstein’s two decisions, revealed that the DOJ has routinely been securing court orders for real-time cell phone tracking without probable cause and without any law authorizing the surveillance.

“The Justice Department’s abuse of the law here is probably just the tip of the iceberg,” said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. “The routine transformation of your mobile phone into a tracking device, without any legal authority, raises an obvious and very troubling question: what other new surveillance powers has the government been creating out of whole cloth and how long have they been getting away with it?”

So the real question is George, it is past 11:00………..Do you know where Jenna and Barbara are?

a normal daughter's reaction to finding out that her dad is tracing her GPS location at all times