Balance Sheet



Border Busters

Congress slaps the INS for slapping whistleblowers. The agency had transferred and threatened employees who said the borders were a mess.

Seed Scene

Biotech firms Syngenta and Monsanto pledge to make public aspects of the technology behind genetically modified rice. On the downside, anti-GM activists say it still won't make the crops safe.

Magic Beans

Ward Connerly revs up the Racial Policy Initiative, an attempt to get Californians to vote on racial bean counting. Should his intiative pass, the state stops most of its check-box labeling schemes.

Up Periscope

A fed-up Kentucky lawmaker introduces a bill to buy the USS Louisville from the Pentagon and turn it loose in the Ohio River. The target: Indiana's state-licensed riverboat casinos.

Watt Answer

Forget microradio: Picoradio looms. Berkeley's Wireless Research Center builds a wireless network that uses almost no power yet can control complex systems such as high-rise thermostats.

Bad Water

More than a decade on, the final independent counsel report on Whitewater concludes with what was nearly self-evident from the start: Bill and Hillary did the kinds of deals that got other folks indicted.

Dutch Treat

A Dutch court rules that file-trading company Kazaa is not responsible for copyright violations committed by people using the Napster-like program. It is the first such "safe harbor" decision for swapping software.


White-Shirt Team

The FBI's data net is so low-tech that it has to overnight mug shots of terrorists to far-flung offices. The bureau has turned to the genealogists of the Mormon church for expertise on how to build name-tracking databases.

Big Lie

The Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act is as fraudulent as the name implies. As law it would ban MP3 players or any recording device that wasn't licensed by Hollywood and the music industry.

Rotten CARP

The Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel relies on 25 defunct webcasters to set royalty rates for Net radio. Only Yahoo! is still in business after trying to pay the royalties in those "model" agreements.

Pants Police

The Louisiana Supreme Court says sodomy is still illegal. Could a round-up of conventioneers prowling the Big Easy for a "date" be next? Nah.

Click-Click Boom

Anti-gun activist Sarah Brady buys a .30-06 hunting rifle for her son, skirting a criminal background check for him. Such "loopholes" must not just be for gun nuts.

Closet Cleaning

Rosie O'Donnell comes "out" on national TV years after the tabloids said she was gay. Her avowed concern for gays who want to be parents seems more like an attempt to keep the public from shrugging.

Mail Bomb

First-class mail use is stagnant, so the cash-poor Postal Service hikes the stamp price to 37 cents. The mailmen blame last fall's anthrax scares, but the General Accounting Office says a new business model is needed.