Balance Sheet



Job Core

IBM creates a $25 million training fund for IBMers afraid that their jobs will be outsourced. The move tries to get ahead of outsourcing hype and, more importantly, actually help someone.

Maize Phase

The British government edges closer to allowing the cultivation of a genetically modified corn, which would move the U.K.'s biotech policy closer to the U.S.'s than to the biotech-spooked E.U.'s.

Hemp Day

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals finds that strict regulation of hemp foods simply because they contain trace elements of THC makes no sense. The feds had sought to ban the sale of foods containing or flavored with hemp.

Liquor Run

The state house in Vermont modifies alcohol laws to allow bar hoppers to order two drinks at once or actually walk from the bar to a dance floor with a drink. Both practices had been banned out of fear that…well, it's not exactly clear why.

Interactive Action

Researchers at eMarketer find that the Net has surpassed cable TV in household penetration. The Net is used in 68 percent of households; cable reaches 66 percent. Net penetration continues to grow while cable TV has remained flat for years.

Market Change

A U.N. commission finds entrepreneurship crucial to attacking poverty in developing countries. Former Mexican President Zedillo, a commissioner, notes that "property rights aren't truly protected, and government regulation of businesses is excessive and of bad quality."

Back Spin

Spin maven Bill O'Reilly vows to be much more skeptical about the Bush administration after the WMD snipe-hunt winds down. Doesn't make up for questioning the IQ, motives, and very sanity of those who took that position before him, but it's a start.


Yes? And?

A study by the Columbia University School of Nursing spawns breathless headlines reporting that antibacterial soaps do not kill viruses. Nor do they save the rainforest, make you taller, or do any number of things they are not designed to do.


Rhode Island joins New York, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts, and other states in creating its own homeland security law. These statutes make some previous public records secret and, duplicating federal law, create new felonies for things like using a weapon of mass destruction.

Weak Teacups

Fear of lawsuits infects the Magic Kingdom: Disney World neuters its famous spinning Mad Tea Party ride after a disabled rider falls. The cups are now nearly impossible to spin, park visitors report.

Roman Excess

The Italian Parliament votes in a strict ban on assisted reproduction. Freezing embryos and egg donation are among the mainstream fertility techniques outlawed.

Gateway Drugs

The Food and Drug Administration flips out over a Minnesota state program to buy cheap drugs from Canada. The FDA labels the practice unsafe, unsound, and ill-considered. Worse, it operates "outside of our regulatory system." The horror.

Ex Copy

A U.S. District Court in California declares there is no such thing as fair use in the digital age. The court bans DVD X Copy software as a violation of copyright laws and explicitly tells consumers that they may only make analog backups of their own DVDs.

Government Tithe

Federal officials fine a Maine man $10,000 for repeatedly crossing the Canadian border to attend church. His mistake was failing to drive three hours each way to the only Sunday-manned border checkpoint, opting instead to cross, as he has for decades, near his home.