Updated: 3/17/2004; 7:59:42 AM.
Mike Walsh's Radio Weblog
Warning: this is my test site and may appear confusing as hell at times because this is where I draft my stories before I post to my "public" blog at http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/MikeWalsh .

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Heavy Security at the KSG's "Patriot Act" Forum

At what seemed to be the last minute, KSG implemmented a high security protocol for last night's "Civil Liberties vs. The Patriot Act" forum, meaning you could only get in with a Harvard ID or specific invite. 

I had planned to meet some other people at the event so I waited in the Eliot Street Cafe hoping to intercept them as they tried to enter the KSG.  The Cafe, by the way, is a Dunkin Donuts disguised as a trendy coffee shop to make it more palatible to the Cantabridgians.

It was about 5:30 pm and the cafe was filling up fast.  Apparently I was not the only one suprised by the KSG lockdown.  I shared a "table for two" with a guy that looked familiar.  He even sounded familiar but I couldn't place him.

We small talked for a bit.  He had been invited to the forum by a Dean at the KSG who he was trying contact by cell phone so he could get an escort past the barrier.  He mentioned in passing that he was either "retired" or "between gigs" and that he hadn't quite made up his mind which it was. 

A snow storm was closing in on Cambridge and the weather was really starting to get nasty so I decided to head for the T.  In leaving, I introduced myself to this guy.

"I'm Mike Walsh" sez I.

"Oh I'm sorry, my name is David Kay" sez he.

"Oh shit" sez I.



7:49:06 AM    comment []

Angus King at Jesse Ventura's Workshop

Angus King, the two term independent governor of Maine, spoke at Jesse Ventura's IOP workshop yesterday.  Lot's of great stuff but I'm not sure I can blog about it until I receive permission from either Ventura, King and/or the IOP.  Personally, I don't believe anything they said yesterday was the least bit controversial but I have to respect the IOP's "off the record" stance.

7:21:19 AM    comment []

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Great KSG Forum yesterday on medical malpractice

The AMA has designated 19 states as "in crisis" with regards to malpractice insurance.  Rates have skyrocketed and doctors are abandoning high risk practice areas such as obstetrics and orthopedic surgery. 

The people at Harvard's Kennedy School brought together a stellar panel for a frank and sometimes less than cordial discussion.  You can view the video archive of the event by going to http://www.iop.harvard.edu/programs/forum/forumarchives.html

10:30:19 AM    comment []

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Dems Cancel Boston Convention

Ok, probably won't happen but maybe it should. 

Think about it.  What really is going to happen at the Boston Democratic convention other than a bunch of Democratic delegates running around with funny hats, getting drunk, tying up traffic and pissing off the locals.

I mean its not really a convention, it's a coronation as Michael Feldman ( Dowbrigade ) has pointed out.

This convention which was supposed to be a "feather in his cap" for the long time Democratic Mayor of Boston, Tom Menino, will probably turn out to be an arrow in his ass.  He has been fighting tooth and nail with the Boston Police who have been working without a contract for sometime now.  I read this morning in the Globe that Boston's finest may picket the damned convention.  

Why not cancel the convention, and use the money to fund some useful Anti-Bush activity.  For example, fund a real facting finding mission to Iraq so Kerry can develop a concrete plan for reconstructing Iraq and getting the hell out of there.



9:09:18 AM    comment []

Avoid Urban Areas, Seaports and High Profile Events

That's my take after listening to counter terrorism expert Richard Marcinko's presentation yesterday at Harvard's Kennedy School.

In 2002, I "retired" to a bucolic little NH community nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains.  I thought I woud be safe there from terrorism and/or pandemics (e.g. SARS) which I'm fairly certain will sweep the world sometime soon.

Boredom and ennui quickly set in.  I became concerned when I found myself actually talking to a racoon.  So for the last nine months or so, I've been dipping my toe back into urban areas.  Nothing serious, mind you.  Day trips mostly.  After 30 months without a major terrorist event in the US, I figured maybe Tom and the folks at Homeland Defense had really gotten a handle on things. Hell, even the FBI announced they have broken up around 40 terrorist plots.  Granted they may have been Islamic Girl Scouts plotting to sell cookies in Detroit but hey, a plot's a plot right. 

When I saw Richard Marcinko listed as a speaker at Jesse Ventura's IOP workshop I figured I just had to attend.  Surely Dick would be able to tell me that it was safe to  move back to Boston.

Well I'm afraid not.  Marcinko painted a fairly bleak picture.

He started out by stating what I always considered the obvious. "If two amateur snipers can tie up 7 million people and over 1,000 highly trained federal agents in the nation's capital, just think what 7 highly motivated, highly trained two man teams spead out across the United States could do."

He then went on to tell the audience about six or seven little plots that any reasonably intelligent, reasonably motivated terrorist could carry out to wreck havoc on the East Coast.  He started with Boston and worked his way down the coast stopping at the Navy installations in Newport News. 

OK Dick, we get the point.

He said that he has been predicting an attack each Christmas for the last two years.  He speculated that for some reason the terrorist may not want to carry out small attacks but rather concentrate on big, high profile stuff.  Something that tops 9/11.  At one point he stopped, gazed off into the distance and said.... "You know, I just wouldn't want to be anywhere near the Republican convention in New York City this fall."

Ok, I heard enough.  I'm headed back to New Hampshire to talk to the racoons.  I'm even considering moving to some Island nation that would be totally off the radar screen for terrorists.  I've always liked Iceland but the weather a little tough to take.  Maybe New Zealand.  Hell, I even speak the language.  Sort of, anyway.


7:30:17 AM    comment []

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

My Love Hate Relationship with Boston

Busy day planned in Boston (read Cambridge) today.  I want to stop by the "Emerging Robotics Technologies & Applications Conference" at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge and check out the scene.  Then its over to Harvard to hear Robert Marcinko talk at Jesse Ventura's workshop on counter terrorism.

Probably only in Boston could you find two such events within walking distance of one another.  That's what I like about Boston.

What I don't like about Boston is the cruel winter weather that stretches from Jan. 15 thru at least March 15.  Also, what I don't like about Boston is the general demeanor of the populace.  This was first pointed out to me by a friend and colleague who grew up in the south and attended MIT.

He used to say.. "Mike, nobody laughs in public in Boston.  Nobody seems like they're having fun.  They walk around biting their upper lip."  As a Boston boy, born and bred, I thought that was a little harsh but god damned it's generally true.  Everybody seems to be walking around with their suit of full interpersonal body armor. 

I would love to be able to inject some Virginia, North Carolina or Texas personality into Boston.  Hell, I would even settle for a little Chicago attitude.


8:21:10 AM    comment []

Monday, March 08, 2004

A "Real Shooter" at the Kennedy School

Earlier this year, Jesse Ventura promised to bring a "real shooter" to the Kennedy School to discuss counter terrorism from the perspective of an active participant.  It looks like Jesse will make good on his promise by having Richard Marcinko as his special guest tomorrow.  Here are the details.

"Body Slamming the Political Establishment: Third Party Politics"
"Fighting Terrorism at the Ground Level"

Tuesday - March 9, 2004 @ 4:00-5:30 PM

Led by: IOP Fellow JESSE VENTURA, Governor of Minnesota (1999 - 2004)
Guest: Richard Marcinko, SEAL Team 6 commander and best-selling author

Lowell House JCR

1:18:46 PM    comment []

RNC Leans on TV Stations to Stop Moveon.org's Ads

The Republican National Committee thinks Moveon.org's ads violate the Federal Elections law.  They sent a letter to roughly 250 TV stations to tell them so.

Moveon.org is considered a "527" organization for the purposes of the Federal Election Commission rules.  Lynn Sweet over at the Kennedy School's Institute of Politics warned earlier this year that under the new Campaign Finance Reform regs (McCain-Feingold), these "527's" organizations would be playing a big role in the 2004 presidential race.

Apparently the rules re "527's" are murky and subject to a wide variety of interpretations.  As usual, lawyers will be the primary beneficiaries of this ambiguity.

This week's guest at Lynn's workshop will be Steven Moore, the president of Club for Growth.  This group is credited with wounding if not killing Dean in Iowa by funding the "Sushi eating, Volvo driving, latte drinking..." anti Dean ad.  

Lynn's IOP workshop usually is held at 4pm on Thurs. in the faculty dining room.  For some reason her event has fallen off the IOP calendar.  It could just be a mechanical issue.  According to the IOP calendar, Steven Moore will be presenting at a JFK Forum at 6pm on Thurs. March 11 entitled "Why Bush's Tax Cuts Should be Made Permanent."


6:57:45 AM    comment []

Follow up on CNN's Dean "Documentary"

I did get a chance to watch CNN's True Believers - Life Inside the Dean Campaign last night in a noisy sports bar.  They really should have entitled the piece... "The Rise and Fall of Howard Dean as Seen Through the Eyes of Joe Trippi."  The gist I get from the report is:

1. Howard Dean and Joe Trippi were not the best of friends.

2. Dean became increasingly suspicious of Trippi when Joe's mug started appearing on magazine covers.

3. Joe Trippi couldn't "control" Howard Dean and Howard would have a tendency to shot himself in the foot.

4. Joe is quirky and "get's it" whereas Howard is square and doesn't.

5. Joe takes no responsibility for a disorganized campaign in Iowa even though he was nominally the campaign manager.

6. That the movement "Dean for American" somehow got attached to the wrong guy and that the right guy is Joe Trippi.  You can demonstrate your support by sending your checks directly to Joe at his bucolic "farm" on "Cummings Creek" on Maryland's eastern shore.

Maybe I'm too cynical.  If you were able to watch the show, I'd love to hear your comments.



6:20:39 AM    comment []

Sell, sell, sell !

Warren Buffet, the "Sage of Omaha," doesn't like where the economy is headed and he's a card carrying Republican.  You can read the CNN snopsis here or the full text of his annual letter to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders here.


6:14:14 AM    comment []

Sunday, March 07, 2004

CNN's Documentary "Inside the Dean Campaign" Sunday March 7th at 8pm

This should be an interesting show but I won't be able to watch it live and evil gremlins continue to haunt my Tivo.  I would be deeply grateful if any of the Berkman Thursday regulars could Tivo this show and pipe it to a VCR tape of DVD.

CNN's gallery of "important players" in the Dean campaign includes some people I didn't expect to see, notably Nico Mele, who was described by Jim Moore *and* Dave Winer as a particularly capable no nonsense technology guy ( a "red meat eater" as they say in Silicon Valley).

The gallery of players does not include:

- Matt Gross, the Meet Up guy
- Kate O'Connor, Dean's trusted aide
- Karen Hicks, the "community" organizer
- Zephyr Teachout, another "community" organizer
- Mike "Mara",. Dean's personal assistant.. Mike showed up at an IOP workshop at KSG when Steve McMahon gave his presentation about the Dean campaign on February 26.  I didn't get Mike's last name, only phonetically and it sounded like Mara.  As you can imagine Mike had some really interesting perspectives on "what really happened."

Hopefully some of these characters will show up in the documentary.  Maybe they weren't included because of a "time and space" thing.





6:08:02 AM    comment []

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Bridgette is back from Haiti

Bridgette and her crew of amateur medical missionaries made it back from Haiti on Monday. Bridgette, my sister-in-law, is a card carrying member of the Irish Women's Martyr's Society. We like to call her Saint Bridgette. Her day job is clinical director of a long-term care facility for people with chronic debilitative diseases. It's the kind of job where you can schedule heartbreaks on a regular basis. So what is a nice Irish girl do to take a break from such a stressful job... go to Haiti during a friggin revolution, what else.

Her son, Patrick, who just finished up a two year stint with a DC based quasi-NGO warned her not to go. He was a junior policy wonk and part time "election observer" in hot spots through out South and Central America. He did not work in Haiti but his immediate supervisor did. His take on Haiti was simple - FUBAR. Patrick's touching farewell to his mother as she headed off to Port-Au-Prince was something like... "Hey, Ma! If your crazy enough to go to Haiti at least put a couple of quarters in that airport life insurance Vend-o-matic machine so we can have a nice Irish wake when the rebels decide to use you for target practice."

Well the team of four (see previous story) did make it back alive, although there were some tense moments when they fell off the radar screen. Bridgette's take on the situation in Haiti was that the majority of the people do in fact support Aristide. These folks are not naive. They know Aristide has his weaknesses but consider him to be the lesser of two evils compared to some of the whack jobs in the rebel groups.

There is a "wealthy" class in Haiti, if you can believe that. They own the car dealerships, gas stations, telecoms and the "tourist" businesses. Yes, there is a small (very small) section of Haiti that is quite nice. Bridgette said that most of the businesses in Haiti revolve around illegal drugs and/or money laundering. The drug dealers are the only guys who can afford cars, cells phones and the nice (read adequate) houses.

The really weird set of circumstances, according to the locals (via Bridgette), is that most of the rebels are ex military, para military or police that Aristide supposedly routed out of the government during some of his anti corruption campaigns.

I can't wait for Patrick's assessment of the situation. He's usually very analytical. Unfortunately, I will have to wait about a month. He is currently in Africa on yet another NGO project to help local tribes get high speed telecommunication access. The technology is actually quite interesting.

And finally, another big awakening for Bridgette. The Haitians don't need medicine as much as they need food. Almost all the disease they encountered at the clinic could be attributed to chronic malnutrition. As she said..."These people don't need Zantac, they need oatmeal and yogurt."

9:56:10 AM    comment []

Medical Malpractice Forum at the Kennedy School

"Is Medical Malpractice Damaging Health Care?"

March 10, 2004
6:00 PM

A Panel Discussion With:
  • EDWARD DAUER, Esq., Dean Emeritus, University of Denver Law School
  • MICHELLE MELLO, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Law, Harvard School of Public Health
  • DONALD PALMISANO, M.D., President, American Medical Association
  • DAVID SHRAGER, Esq., Founding Partner, Shrager, Spivey & Sachs; President, Association of Trial Lawyers of America (1983-1984)
  • MILES SHORE (Moderator), Bullard Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Visiting Fellow, KSG Wiener Center for Social Policy

Location: John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum

Getting Palmisano and Shrager to sit on the same panel is truly a feat for KSG.  Miles Shore will truly have to wear a striped shirt for this one.  Too bad John Edwards couldn't attend.

8:59:16 AM    comment []

Mr. Patriot Act to Present at a KSG Forum

"Civil Liberties and National Security: Is There Common Ground?"

March 16, 2004
6:00 PM

A Panel Discussion With:
  • VIET DINH, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center; Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Policy, U.S. Department of Justice (2001-2003); Harvard Law School (1993)
  • NADINE STROSSEN, President, American Civil Liberties Union; Professor of Law, New York Law School
  • JULIETTE KAYYEM (Moderator), Adjunct Lecturer and Senior Fellow, Belfer Center's International Security Program; Co-Director, Harvard University Long-Term Legal Strategy for Combating Terrorism

Location: John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum

Viet Dinh is an interesting guy.  He truly was a boat person and has worked his way up to a high level position in the justice department.  I read a Wired interview with him recently and he really made the interviewer look like a fool... which frankly he was.

8:39:22 AM    comment []

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