Budget Problems from Mars, Merger Gaffs from Exxon

From outer space to inner ranks, crisis was in the air last month. Most crises occur because the media "discovers" them. But the worst nightmare is when we alert the media and essentially say "watch this," only to have disaster strike. Which is exactly what happened at NASA. While the world held its collective breath, the Mars Polar Lander apparently reached its destination and then vanished without a trace. After a week of attempts to contact it yielded nothing but silence, fingers started pointing. The biggest target seemed to be Daniel Goldin, NASA administrator and his policy of "better, faster, cheaper." But Goldin's candor and willingness to admit mistakes - coupled with a bit of deft deflection - shifted a lot of the attention to Congress.