Balance Sheet



False Positive

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld nukes the Pentagon's new Office of Strategic Information after it is criticized as a potential source of false stories and propaganda.

Tube Boobs

The Virginia legislature rejects a call to turn off TVs for a week. "You're asking us to approve something not a single person up here would comply with," one state lawmaker says. The TV-Turnoff Network, a nonprofit group that says TV hurts kids, put forth the failed resolution.

Word Play

A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel rules that a California public relations firm may use the domain EntrepreneurPR.com, regardless of trademarks held by Entrepreneur magazine. The panel decided that use of the word entrepreneur wouldn't confuse consumers.

Fine Tuning

The D.C. Court of Appeals shoots down two Federal Communications Commission rules on the ownership of cable and broadcast TV stations. The rule limiting each company's combined audience to 35 percent of the national market is removed, as is the ban on cable/broadcast cross-ownership in local markets.

Whistle Stop

Senators from both parties want new controls on the FBI, including an inspector general's office with teeth. Under proposed legislation, FBI employees would also be protected by the Federal Whistleblower Act for the first time.

Stunning Development

United Airlines doesn't wait for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to start training pilots to use stun guns, which will be locked in the cockpit. With an FAA OK, stun guns could be on United flights by summer's end.


Securing Secrets

Lawmakers prepare to vote on the Maryland Security Protection Act. In addition to banning "price gouging" during a state of emergency, the act would keep more state records secret. Nationally, at least 301 laws have been proposed to roll back open records rules.

Continental Cuisine

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin celebrates bloated agriculture subsidies. "Agriculture must not obey liberal rules, it must be organized," he tells farmers. As the E.U. expands, French farmers could face competition from poorer E.U. countries.

Penny Ante

Deep inside the Library of Congress, the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel decides that Internet radio stations should pay 0.14 cent for every song they play. The new royalties go to the record labels; music publishers require a separate fee. Many online stations say they can't afford it.

Risk Premium

Commercial lenders insisting on imaginary "zero risk" demand terrorism insurance for properties. Most landlords comply, hiking rents to pay the thousands of extra dollars. A hopeful sign: One property, the Mall of America, went to court and won a reprieve.

Liquored Up

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) leads a 13-congressman assault on NBC for airing liquor ads. NBC parent General Electric is warned that the ads could be "the reason that Congress steps in to protect the public interest and public airwaves" by regulating advertising.

Nightmare Drive

State agencies in Pennsylvania unload old computer hard drives but neglect to erase all the data on them. The result: Hundreds of drives with personal data such as Social Security numbers of state residents could be floating around. Identity theft, anyone?