the circuit

Rumblings in Paradise

Seems that IT guru Manny DeVera is having trouble getting his government-wide reverse auction program launched at the General Services Administration. Although the plan calls for a reverse auction to help government agencies save money by buying online starting this month, some folks within GSA apparently think it will cost jobs — their own, as a matter of fact.

In fact, one source tells us that there's more than just bickering going on. There is, in fact, "an intense firestorm" over launching the program and whether it should extend into other GSA areas such as the public building construction service. While the point of e-government is to streamline federal agencies and save money, some sources say the internal politics are derailing even the start of it.

And that may be why DeVera is trying to move quietly — not even releasing so much as a press release about the project. After all, it is an election year, and when jobs are at stake, so are policies.

We also hear that DeVera hastily convened a meeting on June 7 and asked nine companies selected for the GSA auction program to help pay for an advertising campaign. All but one of the firms declined. Stay tuned.

SSA: "Michael' Still a Star

Everybody loves a list, and so does the Social Security Administration. It looks like someone didn't have enough to do and decided to compile a list of the most popular names in America by using a sample of names on Social Security cards. If you are interested, you can find lists of names published by the SSA's Office of the Chief Actuary, which is part of the SSA, listing top names for boys and girls for most of this century at

The lists are sorted different ways, including the top three names, by year, between 1900 and 1997 and the top 1,000 names by decade. Not surprisingly, some of the most common names were Michael and Jennifer. And you can't even tell the list includes the 1960s because "Moonbeam," "Sunshine" and "America" are nowhere to be found.

No Prozac, Pepcid or Rogaine

If you want to see how doctors treated their patients in medieval times, check out the National Library of Medicine, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. It has one of the greatest collections of Islamic medical manuscripts in the world, and they can be viewed at

The manuscripts show that Islamic physicians treated a wide variety of ailments and diseases, including stomach woes and hemorrhoids, which were prevalent, as well as forgetfulness. But there is nothing about such modern-day quests as weight loss, cosmetic surgery or the fountain of youth. Sigh.

Raining Money

Seldom inclined to suppress his opinions, an effusive Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) greeted Intel Corp. chairman Andrew Grove during a Joint Economic Committee hearing June 6 by praising technology for creating millions of new jobs.

"High technology has raised a lot more money than I'm able to spend as an appropriator, so it's nice to see you, Dr. Grove," Stevens concluded.

Asked during the hearing about keeping information private in the Internet Age, Grove explained to committee members why it is going to be difficult. "Personal data is the currency of the Internet," he said. "People trade it, covet it, and it is as valuable as money in my pocket."


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