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So I took a 'mental health day' yesterday -- glorious weather here in DC and the Cherry Blossoms at their peak, but you're out one day and ...

So I'm catching up. Here are a bunch of items worth checking out.

* The WP has an editorial this morning on Lurita Doan.

Playing Politics at the GSA [WP, 4.3.2007]
Lurita Doan's willful disregard of the Hatch Act

What we have here is an apparent violation of the Hatch Act of 1939. That's the federal law that prohibits political activity by government employees and agencies. Unfortunately, it hasn't stopped the Bush administration from walking the line between the two as if it were a tightrope at the circus: The Doan drama is yet another example of the administration's politicization of the federal government.

It's interesting because I think the Hatch Act issues were the most significant, and yet I have heard from Hill folks who said that Doan seemed to be the least prepared on those issues.

* I was on Federal News Radio on Monday ... well, I was going to talk about protests, but they ended up wanting to talk about Marty Wagner's must read column, "Why GSA matters." But we ended up talking about Wagner's column, the Doan hearings, FCW's editorial this week urging lawmakers to do away with stovepipes, ie, practice what they preach ... and midway through the interview, you can even hear my sister-in-law's puppy Beagle Rudy voice her opinion on the matter. Anyway, you can hear the whole thing here.

* The WSJ had a remarkable story Friday about government outsourcing.

Is U.S. Government 'Outsourcing Its Brain'? [WSJ, 3.30.2007, registration required... or try this link]
Virginia's Tysons Corner has become outsourcing central, filled with people who do the kind of complex work that clock-punching civil servants can't. As the number of private federal contractors continues to rise, some worry the U.S. government is "outsourcing its brain."

One of the better stories the mainstream press has done on this subject.

* Clinton -- Bill, not Hillary -- speaks out for e-health records. (InfoWorld)

* SJMN: After years of selling data to make electronic maps of Santa Clara County, officials have temporarily stopped the practice, saying they didn't want some of the information to end up in the hands of terrorists.

* You may have heard about the case of a blogger who got all sorts of threats. (No, not me!) SJMN columnist Mike Cassidy says bloggers need to put muzzle on malevolence.

For a week now, blogs have been bubbling with chatter about Kathy Sierra and the cyber thugs who have threatened her life and showered her with profane and disgusting insults.

Sierra is a woman who is passionate about technology. She asks what we all ask about much of it: "Isn't there a better way?"

She's also attractive and smart and opinionated -- the last two being fairly important to the success of her blog "Creating Passionate Users."

Many have said Sierra is drawing such vile criticism in part because she is a woman in a predominantly male blogosphere. And I believe that.

There are thoughtful, caring bloggers. But there is also an air of juvenilia in the blogosphere, created by the sort of punks who amused themselves by writing horrible things about girls on the restroom stall.

* A British computer expert accused by Washington of the "biggest military hack of all time" lost an appeal on Tuesday against plans to extradite him to the United States to stand trial.

* And a journalism item: Columbia Journalism Review had an excellent piece headlined, We're At War; That's Front-Page News Every Day.

There is more going on in the world than our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our agenda-setting media are going make their daily choices based on a set of values and priorities that we won't always agree with. But if ever there were a case for journalism to give the people what they need, even if sometimes they say they don't want it, this would be it. Every day Americans are fighting and dying while trying to stand up police forces, armies, and humanitarian missions. We need to hear their stories, every day.

Hence, when the WP runs a story on Doan that has no new information, it makes you think. This is how journalistic motives get questioned.

* And just for fun, if you didn't see the haha item from Google for April Fools' Day, you can see it here.

Google TiSP (BETA) is a fully functional, end-to-end system that provides in-home wireless access by connecting your commode-based TiSP wireless router to one of thousands of TiSP Access Nodes via fiber-optic cable strung through your local municipal sewage lines.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Apr 03, 2007 at 12:16 PM

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