- The Washington Times - Monday, May 29, 2017

Those who adore “House of Cards” are poised for some binge-watching: Tuesday marks the return of the intense political series, which finds fictional U.S. President Frank Underwood in the throes of a re-election campaign with first lady Claire, his vice presidential running mate.

There are scandals, drama, trauma, crime, punishment, terrorist threats and media misbehavior. And speaking of media, multiple news organizations continue to treat the series as a real political entity, now in its fifth season on Netflix.

“The deranged chaos of the Underwood White House will seem tame in comparison to the Trump administration,” noted The Guardian, while National Public Radio deemed the series “a political thriller in the age of President Trump which brings a new twist on modern politics.” And in a quirky quiz, Wired.com asks this: “Frank Underwood or Donald Trump: can you tell who said and did what?”

Robin Wright, who plays first lady Claire, recently told Variety that “Trump has stolen all of our ideas,” and that she personally hopes Michelle Obama runs for president.

The series is known for creating its own reality. Netflix commissioned an official oil portrait of “President Underwood,” and saw to it that he had a credible, public campaign website. The online video provider also has hired Pete Souza — former White House photographer for both Presidents Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan. Only last week, Mr. Souza trailed after Kevin Spacey, the veteran actor who portrays Underwood. He bustled to multiple sites in the nation’s capital, including the National Mall, the White House and Ben’s Chili Bowl, an iconic local eatery. The candid shots, complete with tourists and a security presence, look mighty authentic.

“Whether photographing the real president or a fictitious presidential character, it’s an exciting experience,” says a diplomatic Mr. Souza.

“The show is again delightfully blurring the lines between real and fictional,” observes Tim Nudd, an Adweek columnist.


Defense Secretary James Mattis appeared on “Face the Nation” on CBS Sunday, addressing a variety of the nation’s challenges.

“What keeps you awake at night?” asked host John Dickerson.

“Nothing,” the retired Marine general replied. “I keep other people awake at night.”


“You know the funny thing? I don’t get along with rich people. I get along with the middle class and the poor people better than I get along with the rich people.”

President Trump, then a reality TV star and businessman, in an interview with ABC News on March 17, 2011


“Despite a significant rise in formal insider threat prevention programs at federal agencies, the rate of cyber incidents perpetrated by insiders is not declining,” says a new report from MeriTalk, which recently surveyed 150 federal cybersecurity professionals.

Just for the record, the Department of Homeland Security defines an insider threat this way: “A current or former employee, contractor, or other business partner who has or had authorized access to an organization’s network, system, or data and intentionally misused that access to negatively affect the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of the organization’s information or information systems.”

About 45 percent of the IT respondents in the survey reported that such attacks had taken place within their agency, and 75 percent say insider threats are just as — or more — challenging to identify and mitigate today than one year ago. Nearly a quarter said their agency lost data to an insider threat in the last year, and 59 percent reported that cloud-based systems now make insider threats harder to identify.

Meanwhile, 53 percent complained about the complexity and number of systems they had to manage, and almost as many said it was hard to monitor all the “endpoints” of the data itself. According to 41 percent, it was just plain difficult to implement and enforce identity and access policies in the federal systems.

“Our study found that half of agencies report that unauthorized employees access protected information at least weekly. It’s time to plug those holes. The potential consequences — from identity theft to national security crisis — are too dire,” says Steve O’Keefe, founder of MeriTalk, a partnership of private and public groups addressing federal IT issues.


Almost nine years ago, a certain Alaska governor brought global attention to her office. That was Sarah Palin, who emerged as a surprise vice presidential running mate to Sen. John McCain. These days, interest in the governor’s office is heavy — but local.

There are 63 Republican hopefuls who are now interested in running for the big title, according to Rick Whitbeck, vice chairman of the Alaska Republican Party. But they appear to be in dilly-dally mode.

“People ask me, ‘Who’s the candidate? How are we going to avoid having too many candidates? Should we back this person? Or should we support that candidate?’” party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock told Alaska Dispatch News. “It would help a lot if the candidates who are serious about running for governor would file, have a campaign and start the process.”


73 percent of Americans have “financial regrets.”

22 percent say their biggest regret is not saving for retirement early enough; 16 percent most regret not saving for emergency expenses.

9 percent most regret taking on too much credit card debt; 9 percent regret taking on too much student loan debt.

8 percent regret not saving enough for their children’s education; 2 percent regret buying “more house” than they could afford.

7 percent said their greatest financial regret was something besides those six things.

20 percent had no financial regrets.

Source: A Bankrate/Princeton Survey Research poll of 1,001 U.S. adults conducted May 4-7 and released Friday.

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