The Circuit

You Got It, Brother

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) recently visited Commerce One Inc.'s e-government solutions division in Laurel, Md., part of his district. After a brief presentation on the company's various e-government initiatives, Hoyer saw a demonstration of NASA's Image.2000 project. The program, designed to provide a host-independent image- processing system for students and educators, was recently approved for grades six and above. Hoyer said the company might be missing the best target audience.

"My suggestion would be for grades six and below because they understand it a lot better," Hoyer said, adding that age and understanding often have an "inverse relationship" when it comes to technology. When a Commerce One employee dubbed that idea the "Nintendo mentality," the 62-year-old lawmaker showed he's still with it. "You got it, brother," he replied.

Grading OMB

When the White House's government management reform agenda was released last month, much was made about how the Office of Management and Budget would be evaluating agencies' progress on the initiatives chosen by President Bush. But participants in the briefing wanted to know this: Who would be evaluating OMB's work?

Deputy Director Sean O'Keefe quickly said that OMB would apply the same standards to itself, but then admitted that at least part of the power would rest with agencies. Apparently, OMB seeks input on the data requirements and reporting mandates involved in OMB's circulars and bulletins that are "time consuming and irrelevant," he said. And O'Keefe said the agency will start with the assumption that if a regulation has not been updated in the last three or four years, it will likely be dropped.

The Odd Couple

House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) has been denouncing the use of red-light cameras a high-tech tool law enforcement officials have grown to love. That puts the conservative Armey in agreement with the liberal American Civil Liberties Union, which recently called for a halt to the use of such cameras.

Huh? Armey spokesman Rich.ard Diamond noted in an e-mail message, "This is the second time we've found ourselves in full agreement with the ACLU and that's saying something." The first time was over the Tampa, Fla., police department's use of crowd-scanning facial recognition cameras at this year's Super Bowl. What's next?

Whom Can You Trust?

The State Department's NetDiplomacy 2001 takes place this week to examine the role the Internet can play in furthering U.S. foreign policy objectives. But although the topic involves the Internet, we note with great irony the following statement on the conference Web site: "As part of recent modifications to our network, the registration site is temporarily being hosted external to the State Department network. As this is a secure site, your browser may present you with a dialog box telling you that the "certificate is from a site you have decided not to trust.' Please accept the certificate and continue with the registration process."

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